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Comment Another thought (Score 1) 128

The jump in intelligibility and voice quality going from 4kHz narrowband to 6kHz mediumband is big- probably bigger than going from mediumband to 20kHz fullband. The distinguishing features of many consonants are between 3.5 and 6 kHz.

Finding some way to take advantage of information beyond narrowband - even if not trying to encode much of it - could be a distinct advantage for a low bitrate codec over existing competition.

Comment Pushing ever further into unintelligibility (Score 2) 128

I guess it's impressive to get anything other than straight noise out of less than 1kbps. But I've wondered why Rowe hasn't focused more on quality at more moderate (e.g. 2-3kbps) bitrates rather than continuing to seek ways to trade away some quality for an ever lower bitrate. It's been a couple years since I tried it out and came to that conclusion; this looks like that trend has continued.

I couldn't get my encoded samples to sound nearly as good as the samples posted on the codec2 site. And it seemed like the second-lowest bitrate at the time (1400?) sounded essentially just as good as the highest (3200), which meant it wasn't making effective use of the additional bits. The quality jump between its highest mode and the lowest Opus mode (at 6kbps) was huge . (EVS would be a big jump over that.)

From what I understand, codec2's most prominent competition operates at 2.4kbps and up and sounds noticeably better at those rates than codec2 does.

Comment Re:Main application? (Score 1) 77

I'm not quite sure why the iRiver IHP-120/140s didn't do FLAC out of the box. They supported some other specialty goodies(line level and optical in and out) that required more hardware and are probably even more esoteric; and they had ogg vorbis support, so it's not like they were MP3 only or wedded to whatever Microsoft was pushing at the time(the 300 series, though, leaned dangerously in that direction).

Luckily rockbox support is quite good on those models, which takes most of the pain away. LCD isn't good enough to do Doom justice, however.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 4, Informative) 30

If memory serves, the original logic behind the existence of this thing was dissatisfaction with Twitter jerking around 3rd party client developers in order to ensure that their freeloading peasants were exposed to enough advertising and had suitably limited control over layout, presentation, etc.

This service was going to be the one where developers came first and you were the customer, not the product. As far as I know that part of the vision was delivered; it just turns out that demand for "Like twitter, except basically empty" isn't all that robust, no matter how nice the service is.

Comment Re:Still no competition (Score 1) 91

Its not 25% of the price though. Not sure where you got that from. The benchmark Intel cpu that AMD is competing against is the I7-7700K, which is $350 on Amazon. It will be the AMD 6-core against that one.

AMD will also be able to compete against Intel's i3's. An unlocked Ryzen *anything* (say, the 4-core ryzen) will be the hands-down winner against any Intel i3 chip on the low-end. Intel will have to either unlock the multipliers on all of its chips to compete, or pump up what they offer in their i3-* series.

The AMD 8-core is probably not going to be a competitive consumer chip.


Comment Re:Touch bar is a good idea (Score 1) 228

I don't disagree that Apple makes good hardware; my point was that (presumably because they care more about iDevices on the low end; and just don't care on the high end; and because, if only because MS and Intel have been cluebatting them as hard as they can for several years, PC OEMs have stepped up their game a little bit) Apple's offerings have gotten comparatively less exciting. They are still very good, unless you are one of the customers they decided they don't care about anymore; but the difference is not as dramatic as it once was.

Back in the bad old days, getting a genuinely thin and light PC laptop was downright hard. Sony and Fujitsu had some slightly eccentric offerings for moderately alarming amounts of money, some of the X-series Thinkpads were pretty good; but ibooks and powerbooks were often actually cheaper once you ignored the janky plastic crap and barely portable stuff in the bargain bin. That situation eased a bit once Intel dropped the pitiful farce that "Pentium 4M" was actually a mobile CPU and accepted that Pentium M parts were going to have to be available across the board, not just as a high end price-gouge product; but even once suitably low power CPUs were available, atrocious screens, shit build quality, and assorted other sins remained the rule.

On the desktop side, the minis were actually pretty aggressive(you could usually 'beat' them with some mini-tower eMachine that managed to be noisier despite having 10-20 times the volume to put a cooling system in; but that wasn't very impressive); The iMacs compared less well in a straight spec-fight; but good all-in-ones were practically nonexistent elsewhere; and the workstation hardware tended to get gimped GPUs; but was otherwise a pretty solid competitor among its peers.

All of this just isn't as true anymore. You can't get a screen that isn't something of an embarrassment for less than ~$1400(there is the macbook air; but 1440x900, in 2017, for $1000?); and once you move north of a thousand bucks; PC laptops suck far less than they used to. The macbook pros are nice; but more 'nice' than 'pro'. iMacs are still pretty good as AIO options; but the less said about the 'Mac Pro' the better.

I have no interest in arguing that what Apple is doing is bad business, they certainly make enough money on it; but it is pretty hard to be surprised that it isn't doing OSX's market share any favors.

Comment Re:Not a huge surprise... (Score 3, Insightful) 228

PC laptop screens went through some dark, dark times. The cheap crap still has lousy screens; but there was some time where it was hard to find anything decent, at any price(especially after the harrowing of the 4:3 panels and the massacre of what few 19:10s existed). At least now you can get decent panels again, if you stay out of the bargain basement.

Comment Not a huge surprise... (Score 5, Interesting) 228

While they continue to pull defeat from the jaws of victory with baffling regularity(eg. needlessly atrocious touchpads for no obvious reason); it's amazing how much less-bad your average PC laptop is today, when compared to the race-to-the-bottom and "Yeah, it's a 15in low-res screen and 2 inches thick" era. Models that can go directly head-to-head with Apple's finest are rarer; but you can often save enough money, vs. the really classy Apple gear, that a few minor sins can be overlooked. Combine that with Apple's more or less total neglect of anything desktop/workstation, which is a boring segment but moves a lot of hardware; and the fair success of Chromebooks as practically-disposable cheap 'n portable options; and you have a few reasons why OSX marketshare might not be doing as well outside of the truly devoted.

Back in the day, an ibook/macbook was both good and actually one of the cheaper options if you needed something small and light; mac minis stacked up reasonably favorably against all but the most atrocious cheapy towers; and Mac Pros were pretty respectably priced workstation offerings. I remember, back when they were still doing the intel-based 'cheese grater' case Pros; we were a Dell shop but when we priced out the Pros vs. equivalent Precisions our Dell rep turned a slightly unhealthy color and had to cut us a deal to make it worth going with those rather than just bootcamping the macs. That...isn't the world works anymore.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 1) 202

I certainly wouldn't bet against that; I just don't think that they need to kill cmd.exe to do it.

It's just shell, and not even a terribly good one; and the shell is only as powerful as the programs and commands you can use it to invoke. Going pure GUI tends to involve some loss of control/dumbing down, just because you can't realistically cram everything a CLI can do into a GUI that any sane person would want to look at; but if the OS vendor doesn't want you to do something, making it impossible via CLI isn't a particularly different problem than making it impossible via GUI.

Comment Re: Surprising. (Score 3, Insightful) 86

No, Nintendo. Their(crude by modern standards; but quite clear in intention) CIC/10NES lockout chips were in full production well before Sony even had a console in the race; and back when 'Microsoft' meant 'MS-DOS 2.0'; and they have been enthusiastically litigating against vendors and distributors of flash carts and assorted unauthorized accessories for ages.

Sony and Microsoft are also control freaks; and quite possibly better at it than Nintendo(they've made mistakes of their own, like the hilarious PS3 LV0 key leak; or the original Xbox's naive assumption that fast busses were enough to keep low end adversaries at bay even though FPGAs exist); but Nintendo has been at least attempting to keep things locked up nice and tight since before Sony and MS had even entered the market.

Comment Surprising. (Score 4, Insightful) 86

It looks like Nintendo did their own, slightly quirky, thing in terms of how the ROMs are stored; but the procedure otherwise uses the same tools you use to manipulate Allwinner SoCs over USB. Since this console is just a cut-down Allwinner board, that isn't a surprise; but (as we know from dealing with cellphones and some tablets from the more obnoxious vendors) the ability to lock the bootloader so that it flatly refuses to do anything with an unsigned payload is a pretty standard feature. Some vendors don't turn it on; or allow it to be turned off; but the hardware is generally capable of it.

Given Nintendo's historical opposition to basically anything they don't explicitly allow happening on their consoles, it seems like a real surprise that this one cheerfully accepts being reflashed with a modified system image. Does Nintendo just not care in this case? Are they doing console lockdown almost as retro as the games being emulated?

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