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Comment Multimode (Score 1) 381

Isn't OPUS mainly developed for speech applications in mind?

It was mainly developed for *internet* in mind.
(main key-points where extremely low latency, and possibility to deploy everywhere due to lack of patents).

1 of the (lower bandwidth) algorithm available to OPUS is more voice optimized.
OPUS can smoothly switch between available algorithms based on available bandwidth.
There are tuning parameters that can optimize more for human voice, or more generic sound.

At high bandwidth (>192kbps according to some ABXing done at Hydrogen audio) OPUS "sounds lossless" for complex music, etc. (not only human speach).
OPUS still caps at 20kHz sounds by filtering, so it's useless for dogs or bats (but perfectly enough for humans).

Meaning, it's not lossless either and behaves much like aptX.

The common point with aptX:
- extremely low latency

The differences are:
- OPUS is an open standard, aptX is proprietary and patented
(- OPUS also scales better at lower bitrate, it could be still perfectly usable for speech as a low bandwidth headset)

For lossless, there's FLAC.

Yup. In the "best of the world", upcoming Bluetooth 5.0 should mandate for a special mode where FLAC is used to compress most of the audio, but could optionnally degrade to lossy high bandwidth OPUS, whenever FLAC exceeds maximal allowed bandwidth. (just the way aptX works now, but with free and open standards).

Or an OPUS 2.0 could feature an extra "lossless" algorithm in its sleeve (with basically most of FLAC rolled in).

Comment Chatbot (Score 1) 78

But in theory you could combine with other indicators.
Group togher with all the other "Depression could be predicted based on your behaviour on XyZ social network" studies that have been mentioned here on /. lately.
Then you can have an even smaller cohort of "potentially depressed social netowrk users".

And you could target them for prevention.
Instead of displaying ads, you could display public service announcement (about services that exist to support depressed people, etc.)
You could actively contact them (either through real human operator, or even chatbot. Or maybe FB/Instagram/etc. could send a trigger to the phone's on board Siri/OkGoogle/Cortana/etc. assistant) - there are short series of question that can reliably assess depression and pin point those who should be encouraged to seek professional care.

Or, because the thing is happening in the US, you could data mine the shit out of this.
You could bombard the user with fuck-tons of ads for fluoxetine (Prozac (tm) ).
The health insurance company could take the opportunity to kick their client before they get to costly.
The boss can fire the employee before they get too unproductive, but right after they've lost any will to fight back.
Databases will get hacked/leaked/doxed in attempt to blackmail the people.
Violent religious extremist organisations could leverage leaked database to try to find potentially suicidal people to whom quickly to sell a flag right before the person acts so the organisation can acknowledge the suicide.
And the NSA can spy on all of the above, just because they can.

Comment Re:The problem isn't that they're old... (Score 4, Interesting) 181

Even making them less expensive doesn't seem to help. Young people have "upward potential", whereas an older person who is applying for a job that much younger people also applied for clearly is a "loser" with a dead end career... Never mind the years of experience that he brings. And young people "exciting new ideas and insights to the company", whereas old guys are "change-averse". True to some extent, but sometimes that is the benefit of experience as well. I worked in an organisation with a great mix of old and young, and every now and then some young manager would come up with a brilliant new way of doing things. To which the old guys often responded: "yeah, we tried that before, in '86, '95, 2001 and 2007, and it didn't work. How are we going to try this differently this time?"

Comment Or the other reason.... (Score 3, Informative) 415

The fact the whole state is a river flood plain and only stupid people build homes in a river flood plain?

Global warming may have cause the weather pattern changes, but it does not change the fact that if you build in the low lands, you have to expect flooding because it will absolutely happen with a 100% guarantee.

Comment Mozilla Firefox (Score 1) 38

Mozilla has their own password manager as part of their sync service.

And if you don't trust them, you can even sync using your own home server (I think I remember that you need WebDAV for that.)

And that one works *also* on Linux.

And in addition to a password manager, you should enable 2 factors on anything critical: Your banks, e-mail address that you use for password recovery, OAuth and OpenID providers that you use to log elsewehere (like Google or Facebook), etc.

Comment Solutions (Score 1) 381

This seems perfectly sensible to somebody making a media player, but for smartphones it means you have to come up with something else to do with your UI tones and notifications and whatnot (because you can't mix them into the mp3 stream without decoding and re-encoding, defeating the purpose of mp3 passthrough).

Or, the sound server/mixer in the phone could switch from MP3/AAC passthrough to mix-and-reecode whenever there are multiple streams, and switch back to passthrough once the music is the only remaining sound.

(As far as I know, pulse audio should be able to do it. It's already able to do with sample (only resampling and mixing audio if multiple channels, otherwise switching back to the music's sample rate if supported by the hardware), and is already used in several lesser known smartphone OS: as far back as the openmoko, and more recently in Palm/HP's webOS, and currently in Sailfish OS and Ubuntu Phone.
I suspect that Windows' sound mixing service should in theory be able to do it too...)

SBC was the first implemented because it's computationally trivial and royalty-free.

Speaking of which, FLAC and OPUS are royalty-free nowadays, and OPUS is even a IETF standard. Bluetooth should consider introducing them to Bluetooth...

I'm not sure it would have been practical to encode mp3 in real-time on a featurephone in 2004.

Trivially possible, but it would have required a MP3 *codec* core, instead of a purely MP3 decoding hardware core as done back then, which would have risen the cost of the SoC and thus of the feature phone. So nobody did it to stay competitive.

Anyway, the limiting factor of BT audio quality is the codec, not the radio. AptX is ~384Kbps for 16-bit stereo, and BT4.0 has a raw capacity on the order of 25Mpbs.

Correct me, if I'm wrong, but 25Mpbs figure is basically using AMP - Alternative MAC/PHY. Or in other words, using Bluetooth over a 802.11 transport (i.e.: over a Wifi transport).
That means the headset needs to have a more energy consuming "+HS" variant of bluetooth 3.0 that also features this "over Wifi" part.
(The same way that the low energy of Bluetooth 4.0 LE is bluetooth over WiBee)

This could mean shorter battery life on the wireless headsets.

Comment Batteries are expensive (Score 2) 172

It's not abnormal
The battery, not the motor, is the most expensive part in an electric car.

There are electric car makers who sell you only an empty car, and rent you the battery.
e.g.: Renault's Zoé
These cars are rather cheap.
(And in case of the Zoé, Renault have stated that:
- they DON'T do remote kills, even if they technically own the battery
- in fact they don't do any DRM on the battery
- you could in theory stop paying the battery, bring it back, and refit the car with something else (yup, they are open to the idea of 3rd party battery market that is eventually going to appear as e-cars get more popular) )
(Disclaimer: there are Zoé in pool of cars at the local car-sharing company that I often drive).

To over-simplify to the point of carricature :

In a gaz-powered car:
- The motor is a horribly complex high-precision mechanical piece with thousands of precise components, gearbox and transmission system, etc...
- The tank is basically a huge jerrycan, with a simple cap at one end to top up, and a glorified faucet at the other end to bring fuel into the car.
(Yup I'm over simplifying but you got the picture).

In an electical car:
- The motor is basically just a huge coil almost directly connected to the wheel (well, not quite. There's a fixed ratio gearbox), and that's about it. It just spins faster or slower depending on needs, no complex transmission in play.
- The energy storage is an awfully complex beast: complex (and explosive) chemistry in the battery that requires either custom parts or in Tesla's case a complex grid of thousands of simple common off-the-shelf 18650 elements, with a very complex battery manager to charge and top up the energy storage while keeping the longevity of the battery, and a high power circuit to convert the battery output into what high AC current is precisely needed at the time by the motor.

So yeah, take the energy storage out of the equation, and the rest of the electric car is cheap.

Or in a different perspective: adding 10% more energy to the storage is a complex task, that is going to cost a lot if you pay the battery upfront (like in Teslas)
It's not like extending the range 10% in a gaz powered car (where it's basically about increasing the the "glorified jerrycan" about ~10%)
It's more like extending the power or efficiency of a gaz powered car (where it would need an entirely new and better mottor, which is also going to cost a lot).

Comment What business ?! (Score 1) 76

I don't think you can call it patent trolling when Android is a direct competitor to a line of business they've continuously had for a couple of decades

Microsoft didn't as much had "competitors" and they didn't "had a business line for a couple of decades", as much as they've "continuously struggled, trying unsuccessfully to get a foot in a market that they don't even properly understand".

Nowadays, when Microsoft tries to do something out of their Windows 10 Phone, they've in practice lost to iOS and Android.
Back then, in the Windows Mobile era, Nokia's Symbian and Blackberry were the dominant platforms.
Back before, in the Windows CE era, Palm's PalmOS was the better platform.

They never actually owned the market.

And somebody who :
- is abusing their patent portfolio to get a share of the dominant in a marker that they can't conquest
- for something as trivial as exFAT (hey, it's just like fat, except with an allocation bitmap instead) or LFN (hey, lets invent filenames that are longer than 8.3, and call them something like VFAT)
- which is actually mandatory for some industry standard (SDXC is simply SDHC with mandatory exFAT. Other wise you can trivially plug a 256 GB SDXC card into a "up 32 GB only SDHC" reader as long as you either install a FUSE driver for exFAT or reformat the card into something that your OS can read - like UDF - but there is no physical difference between SDXC and SDHC (unlike the older plain SD))
that qualifies as a patent troll in my book.

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