Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:This is news? (Score 2, Insightful) 484

Of the five Dell laptops between my wife and I since 2003, only one of them had any kind of fault (the fan/heat sink on the 5150 laptop had a nasty habit of storing compressed dust in a way that would make the processor overheat after 5-10 minutes of use) and they sent out a recall for that. We've had that many laptops only because we got greedy for speed. We gutted the 5150 and sold it for parts, and have a pair of older, perfectly capable laptops sitting around collecting dust.

I'm on my second Dell desktop, bought my first one in 2002, and it ran like a tank, and I only ended up replacing it in 2008 because I wanted something faster. My wife's Dell desktop has likewise been great to work with. We just bought a Dell Zino HD to run Hulu and Netflix on the TV. What's even better is that every single one of these machines (except for my 2002 desktop) was a refurb or scratch and dent from the Outlet, so I paid maybe 70% of the normal price.

One time a client I worked with ordered eight Dell desktops in an effort to update his office. One of the monitors was a little wonky - I called up Dell, and they overnighted a new monitor.

Just because I have had a really good experience with Dell doesn't mean I think everyone else is full of it - a friend of mine did laptop repair for a living and swears Dell are crap. However, given my experience, I still recommend Dell to my friends.

Comment Layered audio? Flashblock? (Score 1) 510

Why is it no one talks about layered audio when praising HTML5? I've got this silly but fun idea in my head to fully emulate a Boss DR-110 drum machine in Flash. It's not terribly complicated, and I could probably do a LOT of it in HTML and Javascript, except when it comes to audio playback. Granted, I've only done cursory searches, but from what I can tell, playing back six channels of audio simultaneously is not something I can easily do in HTML5/HTML/Javascript. Major show-stopper, that.

The other nice thing about Flash is that I can easily block it. Yes, with Greasemonkey you can block out HTML as is necessary, but NoScript is so much easier to use off the bat.

That's not even touching on technology like Flash Media Server - are there any equivalent server packages that would be as functional in delivering content to HTML5 applications?

Comment "Fully Orchestrated" misleading, still a good show (Score 1) 112

My wife got me tickets to Video Games Live a couple of years ago, and we drove to Buffalo (the closest venue at the time) from Philadelphia for the show. While it was pretty cool to see, I was actually kind of disappointed that the performance was amplified and overused backing tracks (I'm not against prerecorded stuff, but use it sparingly please), and really didn't like when that guy came out on stage to wank off on his guitar in front of the orchestra during the final piece.

I guess I was expecting something sonically closer to the "Orchestral Game Music Concerts" performed in Japan in the 90s.

Still, it was quite a spectacle, and it's probably the only chance I'll have of seeing some of my favorite childhood music performed by an orchestra, even if what came out of the speakers was manipulated and pumped up beyond my taste. If you're into video game music, it's definitely something you should go see.

Comment In short, sometimes yes: see my another post... (Score 1) 405

...from earlier in the thread, where I directly compare a modern vinyl release to it's CD equivalent, and the vinyl is actually MORE compressed than the CD. Here's the post. The funny bit is that the vinyl came with a digital download of 320kbps MP3s that were sourced from a vinyl copy of the album. That's a fidelity double whammy, isn't it? Lower dynamic range from vinyl, compressed to MP3? (If you don't end up reading my other post, I bought the vinyl because it was $5 more than the digital download)

Comment But that record's got more compression than the CD (Score 1) 405

I bought the Them Crooked Vultures vinyl because it was $5 more than buying the MP3s - and it came with a download of 320kbps MP3s ripped from the vinyl. Out of curiosity, I downloaded CD-sourced FLACs via nefarious means, opened in SoundForge the FLACs, the 320kbps MP3s, and a copy of the vinyl I made from my own turntable running into an M-Audio ProjectMix I/O.

I then took screenshots of the waveforms of these recordings, and overlayed them in Photoshop, setting the overlay to 'difference' and it was pretty clear that the vinyl was actually compressed MORE than the CD version. The second track in the 320kbps vinyl-sourced MP3s also seems to have a big piece of dust on it in the very beginning.

I don't have them online (and I'm at work right now and can't get them) but you can see that I did a similar process here when Nine Inch Nails released a remastered version of The Downward Spiral

The mix on Them Crooked Vultures vinyl is definitely different than the CD - in that if there were a loudness war on, the vinyl would win that battle. If you had made that point with a record I didn't have, I wouldn't really be able to refute your point, but in this specific case, your loudness wars argument does not hold up. CDs have immensely better dynamic range and frequency response than vinyl, and most of the time, vinyl is pressed from CDs anyway.

Comment Re:Free Content? (Score 4, Insightful) 43

When a band saves up enough to pay for a producer and sound engineer, they can hire your brother. Bands and artists don't need studio time and mixing time the way they used to - you can handle a LOT of that yourself at a fraction of the cost, thanks to inexpensive recording hardware and software. Won't sound as good as a well practiced producer? Some of my favorite music sounds like balls from an engineering standpoint. In fact, as bands get more and more budget and afford better production, more often than not, the actual quality of the music goes downhill anyway.

As far as record labels getting a cut of ISP fees, that's a bogus argument. When I pay for DRM-free MP3s from Amazon, the label gets MORE than their fair cut, same as it ever was. They've been making money hand over foot, and rather than reinvesting it into researching decent business models, they pocketed the money, financed their own lavish lifestyles.

Yes, I pay for my internet connection. Websites pay their hosting bills. No one deserves a cut of that unless they're providing me with an extra service. That whining sound that comes out of buggy-whip vendors, I'm sorry, the established music industry, that's the sound of an overinflated sense of entitlement being emitted by greedy, short-sighted people out of touch with reality.

You're upset about ESPN360? I don't even know what that is, but apparently ESPN has their thinking caps on where the RIAA sat on their thumbs.

Comment Re:I've been carless for over a year now (Score 1) 1385

Where is the demand for that route?

Government workers, lawyers. Heh. Maybe not so much Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, but definitely Philly to Harrisburg. And I've taken that route myself a couple times, when I felt like having someone else drive, rather than spend the effort on the turnpike.

I lived in Downingtown, 3 blocks from the R5 station there. Took it into Center City and took the subway to 2nd street where my web dev job is. It actually took a little bit longer than driving into the city, but is so much cheaper.

Yes, Regional Rail's subsidized - so are airlines, highways, basically any other method of transportation. Yes, upgrades to Amtrak will be expensive - but a drop in the bucket compared to all the money we've spent in Iraq.

Comment Re:All headphones are hand-made... (Score 1) 353

I'm pretty sure they were headphones for some festival staffer. They did not become mine until after the show. I was wearing earplugs, and standing to the side. I'm not a huge Rage fan, but there was a car-crash kind of fixation I had on watching the stream of defeated people as they poured out of the pit. Apparently people outside the festival had jumped the fence to get into the show, as well.

All that's beside the point: Maybe the guy I was replying to had bad luck, but in my experience, Sennheisers are very rugged. I bought a spare headphone cable for my HD-500s when I bought them back in 2001 or so, but I haven't needed it.

Comment Re:All headphones are hand-made... (Score 2, Interesting) 353

Not that I doubt you've had trouble, but I thought I'd chime in with a fun story about hardy Sennheisers. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD280 Pros that I picked up off the grass at Lollapalooza after the Rage Against the Machine set. One of the ear cushions was missing, and a piece of plastic was gone from the other side. It was much to my surprise that when I got them home and plugged them in, they worked fine. The replacement ear cushions ran $30 from B&M, and were a royal pain to get on, but now these things are as good as new. THEY SURVIVED THE PIT AT A RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CONCERT AT A PACKED (75,000) FESTIVAL. Kind of solidified my already established respect for the brand. I have a pair of HD-5somethings (not sure where they are right now) that I've had for years too. Bought them because the cable is removable - I was tired of buying headphones over and over again because I would bork the cable.

Submission + - Universal blocks Trent Reznor's fan remix web site (

cLive ;-) writes: "Trent Reznor's recent departure from Universal was meant to leave all this crap behind but, even now, the suits are stopping him from helping to bring the music industry into the 21st century (eg, with new distribution models). Having previously fallen out with his record company by urging fans to steal his music when he thought his CDs were overpriced, now he's being "lawyered" over his upcoming fan remix web site. The main gist of the problem is that Universal are scared to host his remix site when fans could be submitting mashup tracks that would infringe on other artists' rights, as this would affect the industry's ongoing lawsuit against YouTube et al...

When will these dinosaur industries get it?"


Submission + - Saul Williams Continues with Free Download Model

Asterax writes: Artist Saul Williams continues the trend in major artists releasing albums for free download from the artists' website. Not surprisingly, Trent Reznor (of NIN) who already stated his own opinion on downloading music, has produced the entire album. Williams' album is free to listeners at 192 kbps and for $5, listeners can download the album in 192kbps, 320kps and FLAC formats. This is the first time an major artist has offered CD quality music for download, but will the trend continue?

Submission + - Trent Reznor: Steal My Music (

tony writes: Trent Reznor, the man behind the musical entity Nine Inch Nails, said to a crowd: "Last time I was here, I was doing a lot of complaining about the ridiculous prices of CDs down here. And that story got picked up and got carried all around the world and now my record label all around the world hates me, because I yelled at them, I called them out for being greedy fucking assholes. I didn't get a chance to check, has the price come down at all? I see a no, a no, a no... Has anyone seen the price come down? Okay, well, you know what that means — STEAL IT. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin'. Because one way or another these motherfuckers will get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that that's not right." — Via The NIN Hotline.

Slashdot Top Deals

Have you reconsidered a computer career?