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Comment Figures. (Score 1) 80

Of course they did, because I just got my RPI3 yesterday, and I had been hemming and hawing for months about what device to get for an HTPC. Decided on PI3 for software and community support, so while this one looks real nice spec-wise, I might still have gone with the PI had I seen this one first. My initial impressions of the RPI3 is that it's surprisingly responsive for such a modest machine. It'd probably be usable as a primary desktop for most non-gamers. I've only played with it for a short time, but it's pretty neat for $35, and LibreELEC seems quite snappy, and was installed within minutes of powering up the board.

Comment Re:Might as well jump on the counter point train.. (Score 1) 370

5. A massive speaker system.
Great if its actually working and actually calibrated. Most theatres I've been to lately present blown-sounding subwoofers and barely audible mid-range.

This. I haven't been to a theater (except for real imax) in over 20 years that had decent audio. Even supposedly "certified" or whatever theaters have crappy sound that is usually:

1. TOO LOUD. It's not a rock concert. It's a movie. Go ahead and make it nice and loud if it's an action movie or whatever, but what is unforgivable is:

2. Crappy and blown to all heck. Clearly clipped bass, midrange, and on at least one occasion clearly crackling high end. Leaving some dialog too muddy and distorted to hear, and any loud booming sounds painfully distorted. Like literally, fingernails on the chalkboard painful.

Both of these (in most theaters) could be fixed by simply "calibrating" the system by having someone sit in the theater with a test loop playing, and turning the volume down until the distortion goes away, and if that happens at a level that leaves the sound too low, then someone needs to upgrade their amplifiers. Christ, I could outfit a decent sized theater myself with clean nice loud power for a few grand. It's not rocket science, and it's not even that expensive these days to buy decent gear.

I can't figure out how people put up with such crappy sound in theaters. The sound quality in a film is actually MORE important than the visual image quality. It's almost like they don't want people to enjoy going to the theater.

I have a 20-year old system in my living room that can get VERY loud if I want it to without clipping, so I simply don't understand why this problem exists to the extent that it does.

Comment Apps are Craps. (Score 1) 84

Hrrmmm.... Don't care about an "app" -- I just want to be able to go to netflix.com in a real web browser, and quickly manage my streaming queue AND my DVD/bluray queue -- right now, it's a PITA because when you're looking at the disc detail for a title, it won't tell you whether it's available on streaming, which it did for years, but is gone now.

It's annoying to have to load up two tabs, and do a search for the title on both sites to figure out if I need to order the disc or can watch on streaming, especially since the streaming catalog changes all the time. It also used to tell you right in the disc queue if a title was available on streaming. Also gone.

The disc queue is AWFUL now if you have more than a few dozen titles, it takes forever to load and times out with a browser warning half the time before it paints the whole screen. I guess I could purge out a lot of crap I might never watch, but I shouldn't have to. They should be able to write an interface that can quickly and easily display 400 items in a modern browser. Their old interface (2-3 years ago) handled it just fine, and my queue was much bigger then.

I'd cancel the disc feature, but there are a LOT of titles they only have on disc that I'm not interested in buying or paying amazon five bucks to watch.

I bet that netflix figured that the studios would be on board by now with streaming for back-catalog stuff (like what spotify did for back catalog albums), so that the disc rental service could just go away for everything but new releases, but apparently the studios still aren't ready to do that.

The only bright side is that their disc library is still getting new stuff added to it weekly, though they might be losing older stuff faster than they add new ones.

I wish someone could figure out how to offer a service that has every film and tv show ever produced available (in some format, don't care what) -- I'd gladly pay $50/month or even more if it was good, even if it didn't have new releases.

Comment Becky Chambers (Score 1) 338

Becky Chambers "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" and it's sequel, "Closed & Common Orbit" come to mind. They're sci-fi with good plot and intrigue, but without being overly dark and heavy, as is the case with so much sci-fi and fantasy of late...

Comment Re:Pipeline protests make no sense (Score 1) 203

I was actually referring to this part of the wikipedia article (emphasis mine):

According to a report done by The Associated Press, North Dakota had nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, all of which went unreported to the public. According to the report, from January 2012 to September 2013, those pipeline spills were only a part of approximately 750 “oil field incidents” involving over four thousand barrels of oil that were spilled without the public’s knowledge.

I don't know what the accident rate for trains and trucks hauling crude is, but If there were more than 150/year in one region of the country, it might have made the news, though I guess since most of the pipeline spills didn't make the news, maybe the trucks and trains that spilled crude didn't either :(

However, I think a major concern with pipelines is that a single leak can produce a much larger spill than an incident with a truck or even a fully loaded train, and that they have a track record that leaves much to be desired. The fact that many of these leaks (in un-populated places) go unreported demonstrates that the operators realize that there's a problem.

I realize that we still need to get our energy from somewhere, but the crux of this particular issue seems (IMO) to be that water safety and common courtesy are being observed for some (the people of Bismark) but not others (the Standing Rock Sioux). Not to mention that the response by militarized police is unjustified and unwarranted.

Comment Re:Pipeline protests make no sense (Score 4, Interesting) 203

... decrease the amount of energy and risk of transporting it via conventional methods..

Only problem is that doesn't seem to be true:


The risk to fresh water supplies is very real. The pipeline has already been rerouted once due to concerns of water supply contamination in the event of a spill for Bismark:


The current route would take it right past the water supply for the reservation. Contrary to information that's circulating, the tribe has been very active in it's opposition to the pipeline being near their water supply since it was proposed to reroute through their land. They most certainly didn't "wait around" just so they could protest. The the objection has nothing to do with "burial grounds" but access to clean drinking water. This is complete and total misinformation.

Pipelines aren't safer, just more profitable. Maybe they _could_ be made safer than truck and train tankers, but my guess is that then they wouldn't be any more profitable.

Comment Verizon is probably going to lose me to Comcast. (Score 1) 104

As much as I don't want to -- after almost 20 years of being on Verizon DSL, I'm going to have to switch to "xfinity".

I can only get ~3Mbit via DSL, due to my distance from the CO, combined with Verizon's aging equipment (circa 1992!) in my semi-rural location. There are people in all directions about 10 miles away from me that have FIOS as an option, which I'd gladly pay more for, but Verizon (in a surprise bit of candor) has told me that we'll "never get" FIOS at our location.

I can pay about the same for 20Mbit cable internet (or a lot more for 50Mbit) but then lose the dry copper pair that I've had forever and that's literally never gone down (we have virtually no cell service at home, so we have to have a landline). The DSL has been nearly 100% as well.

I've been putting off the switch for quite a while, since I'm nervous about being left with no comm at all when there's an (inevitable) outage, but eventually I'll have to bite the bullet and get "xfinity", since I simply don't have any other (affordable) options.

I've looked at voipo for VOIP, since comcast's overpriced "voice" option leaves a lot to be desired. I don't have and don't want premium cable TV. I'd happily pay (a reasonable sum) for local broadcast TV signals over clear QAM cable, since our OTA TV reception isn't great, but they won't sell it to me. I don't want their crappy cable box, when my TV has a perfectly good built-in tuner. Gets my goat, and is half the reason I haven't switched yet.

I wonder how many of those new comcast subscribers are internet-only? I'd guess many of them are verizon refugees in similar situations to myself.

Huh. I didn't even know that AT&T still sold residential internet service.

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