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* Posts by Mike Flugennock

1825 posts • joined 19 Nov 2007

Silent, spacious and... well, insipid: Citroën's electric C-Zero car

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Thoughts

"1) Legislation is coming in to stipulate that electric cars must make a car-like noise, which is a huge shame as a lot of the appeal is their quietness. No. People should learn to look where they are going...."

Well said! Even inasmuch as I was once nearly run over by a Prius driving under electric power because I couldn't hear it -- still, I think that's the coolest thing about electrics. I keep trying to imagine how strange and peaceful my city would sound at night if most of the vehicles were electrics.

"2) Why do they have to make them so ugly? Without an engine, small motors could be placed at each wheel, so then the entire front could be glass*. They could actually look cooler than 'normal' cars if they tried."

That's always been my problem, and probably one reason why electrics have never done well -- ever since the first ones were in large production in the '70s, they've always been butt-ugly. The Tesla's had its issues lately, but at least it's the first electric car with real "chick magnet" potential. Everything else looks bland and institutional, like a "people mover" concept at an early '70s transportation expo.

I mean, how tough would it be to design a way more stylin', sporty two-seater urban runabout version of the Prius or this new Citroen beast?

As far as configuring individual wheels' motors to make room for more styling options, I don't know if glass would be the thing for that big front windshield -- but you could probably use some heavy polycarbonate (the stuff they use for space helmets) to create a windshield that's part of a big front door that swings completely away, like the old Isetta.

Actually, you probably couldn't do the entire thing as a windshield as you'd need at least the bottom third of that door to hold the latch/lock mechanism, and the handle.

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SpaceX 'Dragon V2' ROCKET PODULE can hover-land on Earth - or MARS

Mike Flugennock
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"space-loveliness"

"Why isn't there a Nobel Prize for Space-loveliness?"

Yeah, seriously... and they should give one to the guys who designed the Gemini C/SM. Apollo was a real pimp-ass ride for sure, but it didn't have the special kind of "cool" that the Gemini had. Even the cockpit looked cool, a real "pilot's spacecraft", as its crews called it. It may not have been the best thing to spend two weeks in but, man, what a sweet cockpit. We have the Gemini IV CM at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum here in DC, and I always like to stop and check it out every time I'm there.

Also, needless to say, a Nobel for Space Loveliness has to go to the Space Shuttle designers -- and perhaps the X15, too, if you're one of those picky types who consider it a "spacecraft".

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: "My heart would be a fireball...!"

Same here, man. That theme was stuck in my head for days afterwards.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: It's empty!

"...If the computer fails you're kinda up the creek anyway; it's not like you're going to take manual control and pilot it down yourself..."

Uhhmmm... y'mean, the way Neil Armstrong seized control and steered the LM clear of a boulder field that the computer was steering them into on the way down to Tranquillity?

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: It's empty!

That's as maybe, but the Space Shuttle cockpit -- which you show in its last iteration before the fleet was decommissioned -- looks waaaayyy cooler. Reminds me a lot of this.

Just for comparison, here's STS-1 crewmen Young and Crippen in the Columbia cockpit, circa 1981. There's two small computer displays, and the rest is all "traditional" gauges, readouts, and classic "8-ball" displays, bearing a closer resemblance to the old Apollo CM panels than the later "glass cockpit" the Shuttles were flying in the last years before they were retired.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Hooray!

Seriously, awesome reveal.

Maybe after this, Musk should consider adopting a large white Persian cat.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: It's empty!

"If that were the set for a sci-fi film you'd be laughed at -- not nearly enough in the way of switches, lights and buttons."

Not only that, but not nearly enough pointless and meaningless switches, lights and buttons -- at least, for a 1950s "B" sci-fi filck.

Actually, the instrumentation in Dragon V2 looks more like the instrument panels in the spacecraft in Kubrick's 2001 -- lots of video panels displaying multiple types of engineering and flight data, and which look as if they have an actual function and purpose.

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Mike Flugennock
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Thumb Up

"My heart would be a fireball...!"

Is it just me or does the Dragon V2, in orbital configuration, look like the front end of the old Fireball XL5?

I think it's the fins.

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Really?

I'm certainly not foolish enough to think my iPhone or Macs are invulnerable to malware, and haven't been foolish enough since at least 1988, when the first malware serious enough to get media attention appeared -- ironically enough, on the Mac, iirc.

I've never been into silly-ass games, or any of that find-your-friends-and-tell-them-what-bar-you're-hanging-out-at bullshit. I have a grand total of 1 (count 'em) 1 third-party app on my 4S -- Twitter. That's it.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: That's what my boss used to shout

Well, Apple may want me to think I "need" a new phone every year, but the wife and I luckily have the good sense to know better.

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Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

"...to as many customers as possible."

"One of the reasons that iOS has such high customer satisfaction, he said – citing a 97 per cent satisfaction rating in a survey conducted by ChangeWave Research – "is that we make available our software updates for the OS available to as many customers as possible..."

...by forcibly shoving their goddamn' bug-ridden updates down the pipe to my phone whether I want them or not.

An installer for IOS 7.1x is still sitting on my 4S waiting for me to run it and download the update -- and will continue to sit there for the foreseeable future until Apple gets off its ass and does something about the battery-draining bug which has been plaguing users who unwittingly updated from IOS 7.0. The fact that you can't delete that steaming plopper easily sure doesn't endear me to them, either.

I got to watch my wife working her 4S after installing the 7.1x update. Cripes, what a mess. It's like watching Berlin Alexanderplatz.

Protip for fellow iPhone users, if you haven't figured it out yet: if you turn off WiFi, Apple can't shove the whole fat, wheezing load of update down to gobble up space on your phone -- just the installer.

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Still watching DVDs? You're a PLANET-KILLING CARBON HOG!

Mike Flugennock
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Re: I do both

My wife has a Netflix subscription, but she uses it far more often than I do; I've seen their selection, and there's not a whole lot there I'm interested in..

Which country are you viewing it from? Netflix's catalogue varies wildly by territory. Its anime section in the UK, last time I checked, was a whopping eight titles.

We're viewing from the US. They have a "just OK" selection of older (pre-1970) films and some late '40s/early '50s noir and classics -- and nowhere near all of MST3K -- but most of the film selection is the modern-day equivalent of "straight to VHS" releases.

To be fair, though, they did have all of Arrested Development and IT Crowd.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: What a load of left wing crap

Hey, man, watch it.

I happen to be a "left-wing tree hugger", and I nonetheless think this is the rock-stupidest excuse for a "research study" I've seen come down the pike in years.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: I do both

My wife has a Netflix subscription, but she uses it far more often than I do; I've seen their selection, and there's not a whole lot there I'm interested in -- the new season of Arrested Development Netflix commissioned, some older (pre-1970) movies, and all of maybe half a dozen episodes of MST3K -- out of the ten-year run of that show.

Pretty much all of what I like I have stashed on local physical media -- some of it on commercially-produced DVDs, a lot of it on DVD-R's I've ripped of old movies and shows I taped off of cable when they were originally broadcast, or as mpeg4 downloads from archive.org in the case of many of my favorite obscure old '50s "B" movies.

The only time I've watched Netflix recently is on those nights when my wife and I settle in for an episode or three of Arrested Development as I've been trying to work my way through the new season before I go back and look at the old stuff, or maybe a couple of episodes of The IT Crowd -- and even then, I've still got my eye out for a good deal on DVD sets of both.

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Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

This has got to be the lamest, most desperate attempt ever...

...to try and tear people away from dependable, tangible physical media and herd them into sketchy, unreliable streaming services run by corporations who can "disappear" movies or TV episodes on a whim, served over connections delivered by corporations who blow off improving infrastructure because it cuts into their profits.

Hang on a second while I mop up the beer I sprayed all over the place upon reading this article. Bastards owe me a new keyboard...

"...The research was carried out by Arman Shehabi of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, along with Ben Walker and Eric Masane of Northwestern University..."

...on behalf of who, I wonder? The article doesn't mention that. While I have zero evidence to base a guess on, I wouldn't be surprised if it were on behalf of media streaming services.

This sort of reminds me of the article posted here the other day about the marketing clowns whining about "Dark Social" in reference to those of us who prefer to do our sharing over plain-text email or SMS, outside of "social media" and relatively free from the prying eyes of said marketing clowns, making it difficult to track us and harass us with advertising.

Honestly, man... this is so goddamn' weak.

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Still using e-mail? Marketers say you're part of DARK SOCIAL

Mike Flugennock
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Mushroom

Re: Push-driven advertising and extreme greed?

"IMO, the most appropriate solution involves tracer ammunition..."

Naahhh. Nuke 'em from orbit; it's the only way to be sure.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: For added irony, on the story's page

"I try to be a "kind reader" and leave the ads un-blocked, but any day now the new habit of auto-play video ads at full volume is going to push me over the edge..."

I'm amazed that they're pulling that shit again, after all the hell-raising about fifteen years or so ago. About twenty years ago, when I first moved over the Web design from print work, one of the first things I learned is that auto-playing embedded media was a big, fat no-no.

Luckily, I see pretty much none of that crap as I'm running SeaMonkey with ABP, FlashBlock, and NoScript.

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Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

"E-mail and SMS hold-outs are a danger to the Internet..."

"...because they foul up media giants' tracking, according to analysts with an interest in flogging social tracking services to media giants..."

BWAHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ...oops, I wet 'em.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Mike Flugennock
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plasma loudspeaker?

"A sphere of room temperature air coupled non-reactive stable plasma, operating as the perfect fidelity loudspeaker..."

That all sounds really excellent until somebody puts on The Who Live At Leeds and your house collapses.

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Mike Flugennock
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Careful what you wish for...

- Self-driving cars

I'm sorry, but there isn't a single phrase in the English language these days that scares the living piss out of me quite like "self-driving cars".

- Real 3D TV with a proper 360 degree "walk-all-the-way-around-it" viewing angle (possibly even walk inside it)

Oh, hot damn. Just what I've dreamed of -- the ability to walk through a scene from Two And A Half Men.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Print dialogs

I can't say for sure for other applications, but Photoshop has a simple "print one" menu choice. It doesn't throw up the standard print/setup dialog, it Just Fucking Prints One.

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Mike Flugennock
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Gimp

Re: laptop battery life

"MacBook Pro"? I don't recall there being an MBP with a grayscale screen.

You may be thinking of the first-generation PowerBooks.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: We Were Promised Jetpacks

Jetpacks, for me, rank right up there with flying cars as far as things that look really cool in the movies but which would be positively hellish in real life.

Remember all our discussions of how horrible air traffic would be if all those idiot drivers on the highways suddenly had flying cars?

Now, imagine all those knucklenobs with their own personal jetpacks... if you dare.

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NASA stitches 3.2 gigapixel 'Global Selfie' mosaic

Mike Flugennock
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Re: I was sick of these long ago

"In summary, then, you're not impressed?"

In so many words...

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Mike Flugennock
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Mushroom

I was sick of these long ago

The first couple of times I saw these large mosaics made of thousands of small images, I thought they were pretty cool. Now, the goddamn' things are everywhere, and I'm sick to death of them -- like time-lapse clips. Everybody and their cat is doing those now, and they just aren't interesting anymore.

What bugs me even more is that some of the images in the mosaic are those annoying-assed fotos of people holding up little signs scrawled with a Sharpie. Those were cool for about five minutes, tops. Now, they're just banal and annoying. God, I want to smack the shit out of those people -- just line 'em up, like the Three Stooges, and slap 'em all at once.

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Beautiful balloon burst caught on camera

Mike Flugennock
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Pint

Whoooooaaaaaaaaa!

That's insanely gorgeous. I love the symmetrical pattern of the burst in the second and third images. Suh-weet.

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Creepy Facebook urges users to pester friends about their SEX LIVES

Mike Flugennock
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Mushroom

Re: Not exactly fake

Mine's under the name of the pseudonym I sign my cartoons with.

Fake name, fake birthday, fake birthplace, fake residence, fake high school, fake college, no recognizeable face foto, no favorite films, music or books listed. Facebook thinks I'm a black woman born April 1, 1984 in Cairo and currently living in Tripoli. You should see the advertisements in my right column. It's friggin' comical.

I'm on usually two hours a month, tops -- long enough to post a copy of my current cartoon, a link to the latest blog post, and then split.

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Redmond slow to fix IE 8 zero day, says 'harden up' while U wait

Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Harden your browser

"Install Chrome......"

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Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

Redmond won't fix IE8 zero day, says 'tough shit' instead

There, fixed it for you.

But, seriously, folks... two words: Sea Monkey.

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Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Twaddle

"...Where do you live? We can then all move to this cloud-topia you speak of..."

You actually mean "cloud-cuckoo land", don't you?

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Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Twaddle

D'ah ha ha hah.

Shill much?

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Mike Flugennock
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Pint

Speaking as an artsy graphic designer...

...I wouldn't touch Adobe Creative Cloud with somebody else's ten-foot pole, for the reasons that Dabbs articulated so beautifully.

I plan on holding onto CS6 until Adobe can pry my cold, dead fingers from around it -- or until my retirement, which isn't actually that far off.

Here's a tall cold one for Mr. Dabbs.

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Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

Mike Flugennock
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Recycled ISS drinking water

I often wonder what the ISS crews go through in that regard... even though the potable water recycling hardware has been proven and tested, still -- just knowing it was recycled from you and your crewmates' piss had to cause some consternation at first.

Still, after awhile, I guess they just learn to roll with it... though I'm sure that astronauts now have shared more than a few lame, sophomoric piss-drinking jokes.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: No way near Homeopathic standards..

Major brands of commercially mass-produced American beer are like making love to a beautiful woman in a canoe...

There, fixed it for you. (;^> ...but, yeah, you're pretty much right -- and I'm an American.

May I suggest Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA...?

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Feline quantum particles

Whew, I'm sure glad I'm not the only one whose cat seems to know where all the space-time wrinkles are in the house... and our Minnie, being strictly an indoor cat, has had the better part of a decade to find all the "wrinkles" in our house. I honestly didn't know we had that many.

Still, she does that stupid bit where she crawls under the sofas to sleep and acts as if we can't see her even though she leaves her tail sticking out. Little stinker.

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Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

"taking a slash"

"...cops charged 18-year-old Dallas Jeffrey Delynn for taking a slash at the water repository at Mount Tabor, prompting officials to empty one entire pond..."

At long, long last, I finally "get" that old Benny Hill gag: "...take a slash on the seats, take a slash on the floor -- and if anyone disturbs you, wave your knife in the air and say you're a Liverpool supporter!"

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Boeing shows off 7-4-heaven SPACEPLANE-for-tourists concept

Mike Flugennock
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To be honest, here...

...I would totally have no problem at all riding on the version of CST-100 that Boeing is building for an ISS taxi.

The pimped-up space tourist model is real sharp and cool-looking and all, and I'd totally ride it if I had the chance, but there's something about riding to orbit in the non-flashy, hard-boiled, no-bullshit version of CST-100 that real astronauts will be riding in.

Richard Garriott and Dennis Tito certainly had no problems riding up in a stock Soyuz.

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Mozilla axes HATED Firefox-ad-tab plan ... but will try again

Mike Flugennock
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SeaMonkey?

When this story first broke some months ago, I followed the recommendation of several commenters here and switched to SeaMonkey, and didn't look back.

http://www.seamonkey-project.org/start/

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Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Speakers...

When mixing albums with the Grateful Dead in the late '70s, Jerry Garcia used to do a standard cassette dub of the album in its current "state of play" to listen to in his car for just this reason. He'd play the work mix on his car stereo while doing his daily driving, and take notes to use in making changes to the mix in the studio. In fact, I think he even had a set of car stereo speakers similar to the set in his own car installed in the mixing booth at the studio.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Speakers...

I recall once hearing about a style of mixing in the early/mid '60s known as the "car radio mix" -- that is, tracks purposely mixed so they'd sound good on a car radio, which is where most teenagers were listening to their rock'n'roll at the time. Of course, this was before sophisticated car stereo systems really started taking off.

So, if you're listening to a digital reissue of an old Paul Revere And The Raiders album and wondering why the low end sounds so flat and "punchy", it's because it was originally mixed to be heard on the seven-inch dashboard speaker of a car radio, not your big fancy modern system at home.

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Mike Flugennock
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turntable issue

I can remember in the late '80s, early '90s, people talking up the sound quality of CDs by pointing out how crappy LPs sounded. When they failed to mention that by the early '90s, almost every possible component in turntables -- even supposedly high-end tables -- was being made of plastic. So, if your LPs sounded like crap back then, it's likely because they were being played on those crappy late '80s consumer-grade turntables full of crap plastic parts.

That's the problem with those USB turntables they're advertising to people who want to burn digital copies of their LPs -- it's a good idea, except that they're using those same kind of crap turntables full of plastic parts.

If you're trying to preserve any old LPs you have that are still in good shape, you'd be better off with a proper DJ turntable with the proper set of adapting connectors.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Comment of the day.

The fold-out cover of my old vinyl copy of Yes' Close To The Edge was so heavily used for this purpose that I suspect that even today I could extract tiny flecks of marijuana from the centerfold crease.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Zero compression

Yeah, sounds basically like fun gimmicks that don't really add to the quality of the recording.

Besides, it's nothing new, really. As I recall, Monty Python's Matching Tie And Handkerchief had three "sides"; one side of the disc had two sets of close parallel grooves cut into it, and you'd get a different side's worth of material depending on where the needle dropped.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Zero compression

I still own a cassette deck -- an Onkyo 3-head machine, lightly used and well-kept -- and a few years ago, just for the hell of it, I made a dub of my copy of the 24-bit remastered CD reissue of Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue, using Dolby C on metal oxide tape.

It actually sounded quite good -- the bass "warmed up" without turning muddy, and the high end was more "sparkly" without turning raspy.

I understand you can get even better results dubbing digital-to-analog on a high-end quarter-inch open-reel deck.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Zero compression

Good example, there -- not to mention it's one of my all-time favorite Floyd albums.

Still, even though it ends with the noise of wind rushing, there's the twenty-odd minutes in between that go from soft and dreamy to loud, distorted jams with pumping hard drum and bass lines. That's what was so great about Floyd; they could gently caress one moment, and peel the skin off your face the next.

(God damn, what an awesome record that was. Now I need to go and listen to it again...)

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: You can do lots of nice hacks with vinyl

I was a teenager in the early '70s and so I'm intimately familiar with vinyl -- and that's why I can't understand all the retro-fetishism, especially after having heard many of my old faves again after buying them on CD. I honestly can't understand how anyone could be nostalgic for the limited recording time -- twenty-five minutes to a side, max -- and the surface noise, and the limited dynamic range.

The OCD audiophile types might have a point about "warmth" and such, but I've found that a properly-sampled FLAC or high-rate mp3 sampled from vinyl in good condition is a totally suitable compromise. My digital copy of Quadrophenia is a 320kbps FLAC sampled from a virgin vinyl import pressing, and it sounds excellent.

A lot of it, of course, depends on the quality of the source material. One of my favorite radio moments from the mid '80s, when CDs started catching on big on radio, was when a local classic-rock station played the CD reissue of The Who's "I Can't Explain". As the track ended, the DJ comes on and announces "...and there's The Who from 1965 with 'I Can't Explain', sounding even trashier on CD." The DJ may have been only half-joking, considering the masters the label had to work with -- likely a four-track master recorded on comparitively primitive equipment, and which had been in storage for twenty years. Compare that to something like Dark Side Of The Moon, impeccably mixed and mastered on a 24-track deck in a state-of-the-art (for 1972) studio.

Of course, let's not forget the one great advantage vinyl has over CD/mp3 -- you can't encode DRM onto vinyl.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Vinyl-fetish hipsters don't have a point

Some years back, I was quite surprised to find out that Pete Townshend's hearing issues were caused not by the massive decibel levels on-stage, but in the studio, where he was cranking his headphones as high as he could stand it.

His audiologist finally had to put his foot down and order Pete to spend not more than two hours at a stretch playing through headphones in the studio in an effort to deal with his tinnitus, which was apparently getting really bad at the time. Pete discusses his audiologist visits at length in The Kids Are Alright.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: That CRT scan tone

Man, it's nice to know I'm not the only one.

When I was young I, too, could tell if there was a TV set on in the house the moment I walked in the door, because I could hear that really high-pitched tone, right at the top end of my hearing range.

Surprisingly, after nearly 40 years of arena rock shows -- including wicked-assed loud performances by The Who, Pink Floyd, Slade and the Grateful Dead -- I can still tell when my wife has the TV on in the bedroom (it's a 12 year old flat-view CRT hooked up to the satellite box) by listening for the CRT scan tone.

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Truck-sized asteroid slips silently between Moon and Earth

Mike Flugennock
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Black Helicopters

Or, as it was reported by the Drudge Report...

ZOMG IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR US!!!!11!!1!!!!

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The ULTIMATE space geek accessory: Apollo 15's joystick up for sale

Mike Flugennock
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Re: To good the throw away?

It wouldn't be the first time. Jim Lovell still has the sextant from Apollo 8.

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