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Comment Re:No more Fireflock. What next? (Score 1) 154

I think the H.264 point has been mooted by the introduction of WebM (VP8 + Ogg Vorbis). If VP8 is in fact patent-free, it is a good alternative for streaming online video as it provides quality equivalent to H.264 Baseline Profile. In fact, Firefox had builds supporting WebM BEFORE Chrome. Chrome's first release came one day after the public announcement whereas Firefox already had a build at the time of announcement with such support.

MS has stated an intent to include WebM in IE9. Firefox and Chrome already support WebM in development releases, and the next stable releases will support it. Opera beta builds support WebM. The only major browser that doesn't have support, and for which support is not forthcoming, is Safari.

Comment Re:The problem isn't hardware to begin with... (Score 2, Informative) 222

The problem isn't really modern CPUs but the lack of improvement in conventional hard drive speeds. With a Core i7 processor and a 160 GB X-25M Gen 2 Intel SSD, pretty much everything I run loads within 1-2 seconds, and there is little or no difference between loading apps from RAM or my hard drive. Even with a 1 TB WD Caviar Black 7200 RPM drive, my Core i7 machine was constantly limited by the hard drive.

With an SSD, I boot to a usable desktop and can load Firefox with Adblock, Pidgin, Skype, Foobar2000 and Word in around 2 seconds. Many programs like Chrome load so quickly that they are effectively instant-on. Even though quad-core processors are often derided for desktop use, I see a tremendous improvement with a Core i7 + high-performance SSD vs. a Core 2 Duo + mediocre laptop drive. Modern CPUs can make your desktop experience much more responsive. You just need a hard drive that can keep up.

Oh, and in video playback, the difference is incredibly obvious. My roommate is still using a 7 year old laptop which can barely playback a DVD (MPEG-2). In contrast, my Core i7 can simultaneously decode 5 1080p H.264 videos with ease (after this point, the hard drives can't keep up). While this might be considered useless, it definitely makes a difference when running background tasks such as backups. With my Core 2 Duo without hardware decoding, I would have to pause when scheduled backups started or video would skip. With my quad-core system, I can run any task in the background without fear of slowdown, and also use high-quality upscale filters and renderers that would have slowed my dual-core system to a crawl.

Too many people claim that modern processors and hardware do not provide meaningful improvements to the desktop experience. I just don't find this to be true. Multi-core processors have allowed users to run background tasks, install software etc. with no noticeable speed degradation. When I am working with old single-core machines, I miss this benefit.

In addition, today's software is more powerful. You may not need all the features in Word 2007 or the latest Firefox build, but that doesn't mean they aren't useful.

Adblock, Flashblock, Session Management, the ability to have dozens of tabs loaded without memory issues, the ability to stream high definition video in my browser with no or minimal buffering, the "Awesomebar" etc. are all features that didn't exist 5+ years ago.

Real-time indexing of system files and applications is relatively recent, and yet I find that it has fundamentally transformed how I access data.

There are many more examples. It may be popular to say that things haven't changed much in two decades, because word processors are superficially similar for example, but a great deal has changed.

Comment Re:No... (Score 2, Insightful) 182

Easy. Start downloading high-quality 1080p movie encodes (12-15 GB avg) and high-quality 720p encodes of TV series from Blu-Ray (50-75 GB a season). Adds up quickly.

But, the last month was just a freeleech on one of my private trackers. It was upload - not download.

On most private trackers, you have to multiply everything you upload by 2 just to hit a 1.0 ratio, and I tend to seed to significantly higher than that. 250 GB is easy to hit. Hell, 2.5 TB isn't that difficult. :P

Comment Re:No... (Score 1) 182

I'm interested to know if anyone has actually had their Comcast connection terminated (on the East Coast) due to exceeding the 250 GB cap. I have exceeded the cap numerous times and never heard as much as a word from Comcast. In fact, a Comcast tech mentioned that they don't enforce the cap at all in my area.

I wonder if enforcement is regional in nature. It seems stupid to have a rule that generates such bad PR if they're not even going to enforce it.

Comment Re:What could (Score 2, Interesting) 403

This idea is discussed more thoroughly in Steve Levitt's book, SuperFreakonomics. The idea apparently thought up by several individuals in a patent-holding company called Intellectual Ventures (IV) which has a number of noteworthy academics and scientists. I suggest you read more about the idea before rejecting it. It is not surprising that Bill Gates has invested in the idea given that the creator of Intellectual Ventures was a high-level executive at Microsoft, and friends with Bill Gates. Gates has invested in several other of IV's projects - all of which seem a bit crazy at first.

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

Nice. Thanks for the explanations.

An observation... FLAC being a digital representation of analog phenomena (voice/instruments), I suppose ('cause I don't know the details) it needs a very high sampling frequence to achieve "identical" (at least, for human perception).

When I say it's identical to the source, I mean that the FLAC decodes to an exact replica of the original PCM digital stream. A redbook audio CD uses 44,100 samples/second and each sample is 16 bits.

So 16 bits/sample x 44,100 samples x 2 channels = 1,411,200 bits/sec or 1411 Kbit/sec

FLAC compresses the audio losslessly, and decodes to the identical PCM input. However, the source may not be "perfect".

Garbage in, Garbage out. :P

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

1) Transparency means that the music SOUNDS indistinguishable to you when compared with the source. So, if I took the original CD and compared it against a V0 MP3, I would find that they sound the same (tested by a blind ABX test). They are most certainly NOT the same - the MP3 throws out quite a bit of high frequency detail, but the vast majority of people simply can't perceive this information. It sounds the same, but it's not the same.

FLAC, and other lossless formats, should always be transparent since they are in fact identical to the source.

2) It's like any other bittorrent tracker, but it's dedicated to music and designed for that purpose (advanced search features, grouping of albums to allow multiple lossy and lossless codecs per album, grouping of editions per album, searching by artist, album, label, catalog # etc.) It's private, so it's invitation only, or requires an "interview".

3. foobar2000 is a highly configurable mostly open-source (special license) player that supports every major format including Ogg Vorbis and FLAC, and can basically do whatever you want it to. If there is a will, there is a way. I currently have it setup with 6 columns for Genre, Album, Artist (Composer), Performer/Conductor, Orchestra, and Compilation. I can simultaneously search all 6 categories.

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

>Anyway... if you want a lossless archival format, FLAC is the best choice. If you have a device with weak format support, or if creating torrents is a big deal to you, then MP3 is the best choice. But if you have a device that supports Ogg, and you don't really give a crap about sharing your own rips, then this format happens to provide the best ratio of quality to file size. Pick your criteria accordingly.

Hey, we agree for once! Let's leave it at that. :-D

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

The only significant hardware vendor that refuses to support Ogg is Apple. Even that's not necessarily true if you're a fan of the Rockbox firmware. Either way, all the Apple guys probably stopped reading this thread two or three levels back.

Ok, I'll keep this short. There are two marginally popular DAPs that support Ogg Vorbis - Cowan and iRiver. See http://wiki.xiph.org/index.php/PortablePlayers

It's not just Apple that doesn't support Ogg Vorbis. It's basically everyone. But assume for a moment you are correct. You make it sound as if Apple makes up an insignificant percentage of the DAP market. Apple's iPod makes up 90% of the market for hard-drive based DAPs and 70% of the overall market. Including other Apple products, that number increases to at least 75%. Ignoring 75% of the market is actually a big deal. See http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/06/05/24/ipod_how_big_can_it_get.html AND http://battleangel.org/2006/08/26/dap-market-shares/

Furthermore, the Ogg Vorbis supporting players all fall into the last category which appears to make up 6% of the total market. Do you really think that being excluded from nearly 95% of the DAP market is inconsequential?

You keep citing to statistics on file-sharing sites, for the formats that leeches would prefer to have provided to them for free. Number one, I frankly don't understand the motivation behind catering to those who would look a gift horse in the mouth. However, if you want to share a CD with the torrent community, or your girlfriend, or whoever, then fine... rip to MP3. I don't see what any of that has to do with the format that you choose to rip for your own personal purposes.

The reason is obvious. Nobody wants to their CD collection multiple times. Ripping to MP3 ensures you can share with anyone. Ripping to FLAC or another lossless format ensures you can transcode to any format. Ripping to Ogg Vorbis ensures you have a format that virtually nobody wants.

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

You are definitely right about Ogg Vorbis's superiority at low bitrates. If you are using a horridly low bitrate like 128 kbit/sec, then you will obtain dramatic gains by using Ogg Vorbis over MP3.

I'm just shocked that's your best source of music. I haven't downloaded anything below V0 (avg. 245 kbit/sec) in years. Perhaps you are in need of an invite to a private music tracker. I'm sure your friends can be of assistance. :P

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

"It's like you're working in the music industry."

Heh, I guess you didn't read all my prior posts in which I stated that part of my preference for MP3 was its superiority as a sharing format on the various private music trackers I visit. As a frequent uploader, this is important to me. If I uploaded Ogg Vorbis, I would get few if any downloads.

I use FLAC for my music archive. I listen to FLACs in foobar2000 with my DAP/Headphone Amp/Sennheiser HD-580s. I also transcode FLACs for sharing.

I use MP3 for the sole purpose of sharing with others. I never listen to the MP3s. I have a DAP but barely use it. My collection is too large to fit on my DAP, and my portable use doesn't justify an upgrade. I listen to classical music which is difficult on a portable due to ambient noise. (the lower dynamic range makes it more difficult to hear the soft parts)

So, I choose the format that the vast majority of people want - MP3. My friends can play it. My gf can play it in iTunes. And it's preferred on all the trackers I frequent.

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

Perhaps I should be more clear. I would be quite supportive of the use of Ogg Vorbis for internet radio and for streaming video, where licensing costs are a concern.

Ogg Vorbis is an excellent format. While I wouldn't use it for my own archive due to the network effect advantage of MP3, that is simply not an issue for streaming audio and video.

Ogg Vorbis is a good choice for HTML5. Theora is not. I'm hoping Google's new codec acquisition is superior.

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