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* Posts by Mike Flugennock

1826 posts • joined 19 Nov 2007

Facebook to debut auto-play video ads in 2013

Mike Flugennock
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FAIL

Re: Good luck with that

...They show us ad videos on YouTube, but hey, at least you went there looking for a video.

And besides, you have the option of clicking past the ad in five seconds.

What Farcebook proposes to do is a throwback to the bad old days of the Web -- media content which plays automatically when the page loads, something I was taught was a big, fat no-no back when I was first learning to design for the Web.

As it is, I use Facebook sparingly; bullshit like this will pretty much guarantee that I'll use it even less, if not at all.

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Mike Flugennock
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Pirate

Feeling guilty? Bah!

I must admit, I feel a bit guilty at the level of ad blocking I employ as i know sites need money. I drop it every now and again to see if things have improved, but it has only got worse...

Feeling guilty? Don't. You don't owe the advertisers jack shit. Just because they pissed away a buttload of cash to have their crap shoved in your face doesn't mean you're obliged to look at it. C'mon, man, El Reg is paid whether your browser loads the ads or not.

I've had "shields at full intensity" for nigh on ten years. I see practically no advertising at this or any other site, and I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. Screw 'em. Asshats.

It's the same approach that I take towards TV, without guilt or apology. I tape the show and fast-forward through the ads; when watching live TV I mute the volume when the ads come on and use that time to grab a sandwich and a beer and take a quick piss.

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Search engines we have known ... before Google crushed them

Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: No Ink Tummy?

I do seem to remember a fleeting moment in time when SEO was a noble art before it became infested with marketroid scum.

Wow, no shit. Exactly which alternative universe was this in?

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Mike Flugennock
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Meh

Re: So much for Bing

I'm sorry, but I've tried DDG off and on occasionally, but I'm just not seeing the greatness.

There's no simple, easy way to sort by date/relevance, search on an exact phrase, nor any way to search within a domain -- which brings us to its obscure advanced search syntax. It's almost like a throwback to those old-time search engines, where you had to learn some weird-assed search language to get any usable precise results.

Google may be evil as hell, but at least they don't need an entire help page devoted to advance search syntax for users who need to narrow down their criteria.

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Mike Flugennock
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Coat

Re: hmmm

Bloody luxury. I had a 300 baud acoustic modem. It was two rubber rings and you plugged the headset of a regular Bakelite phone into it.

There were thirty-seven of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road. Our father used to get us up at three o'clock in the morning and make us lick the road clean with our tongues. Then, he would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

But, if you tried to tell the youth of today that, they'd never believe you.

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Samsung, LG 'lose confidence' in OLED TV tech

Mike Flugennock
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Well, that settles that...

...looks like the wife and I will hang onto the little LCD digital set in the kitchen and the 30" flat direct-view CRT hooked up to the satellite box in the bedroom. Working fine for us.

Somehow, I just can't see throwing down all that cash for a 4k x 4k flatscreen just so we can watch crap like "Project Runway" on it.

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NASA reveals secrets of Curiosity’s selfies

Mike Flugennock
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Waste of time? Hardly

Even inasmuch as they're also spectacular eye candy, the high-res mosaic "selfies" provide important information to engineers about the state and health of the rover, as well as information about the nature of the terrain the rover is traversing.

On at least two occasions, both MER rovers had become stuck in deep dirt, and the engineers and rover drivers used extensively detailed "selfies" to determine the extent of the predicament, develop extraction solutions, and determine how well these solutions were working. Also, polar-projected panoramic "selfies" of Spirit and Opportunity were used to determine the extent of dust coverage on the solar panels before and after dust storms.

But, yeah... the by-product is really, really cool fotos. That can't be bad.

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Last moon landing was 40 years ago today

Mike Flugennock
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Re: That launch was very Impressive

I was lucky enough to get tickets to a beach site inside the restricted zone. The loud base was incredible as it rattled everything but the most impressive thing was seeing part of the sky turned blue.

Lucky bastard.

I may be wrong*, but I recall somewhere on the Web (YouTube?) seeing a remastered video in 24-bit stereo of a Saturn V launch, with an advisory to turn it up and stand between the speakers on your stereo system. It was gobsmackingly loud -- and very clean. I checked it out once on my stereo at home. Great googly-moogly, was that ever something.

And, yeah, you're right on about the sky lighting up. I only saw it on TV, but it was still awesome.

*I may be mis-remembering; it may have been a Shuttle launch.

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Mike Flugennock
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Coat

Re: Scary thing is ...

Er, that's the world's supply of illegal heroin is safe.

Most of the legit, medical stuff comes from plants grown in Tasmania IIRC...

Ahh, ha! So, that's why the Tasmanian Devil in those cartoons is all... d'ahh, nevermind.

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Mike Flugennock
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Pint

Ever since then, I've really loved night launches

I was not quite sixteen when Apollo 17 left for the Moon. We'd only just gotten our first color TV set a year before -- the last on our block, so to speak -- but it was just in time to catch the EVA video transmissions on the later missions, when video from the lunar surface was not only in full color, but amazingly good quality, especially considering it was coming from a quarter million miles out. So, watching the launch of a Saturn V at night on our great, stonking 24-inch RCA was a special treat.

It was spectacular, even before launch, with the Saturn out there in the dark, bathed in floodlights, looking all weird and ethereal, and when they hit T Zero, and the first stage lit, it was like, bammo, instant daylight. It was like watching a sunrise in time-lapse as the Saturn rose from the pad and cleared the tower.

Ever since then, I've always really dug night launches, though the only thing that came close to the Apollo 17 launch was night launches of the Shuttle. Even today, if I know that an ISS crew is launching aboard a Soyuz at night, I'll make a special date to be near the TV -- or the computer, to catch the NASA live stream -- to check out the action.

Here's a cold one for Evans, Cernan and Schmitt.

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Samsung's smart TVs 'wide open' to exploits

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Smart phone, smart tv, smart cars, smart kitchen appliances...

...Please allow me to remain smarter than any of my gadgets.

Seriously, man -- especially my car.

(Cue obligatory jokes about the driver being the dumbest part of the car...)

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Mike Flugennock
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Coat

re: firewall on your toaster joke

I've not heard that one; does it involve Russian mafiosi hackers rooting the toaster and resetting it to "burn"?

Would this also mean I'd have to log on to my "smart" fridge before I can open it? Would it send me an email warning if it senses that I've taken out more than three beers in an hour? And, what happens if I forget the password to my fridge? Would I have to email the admin at Whirlpool with the serial number to have it reset? And what if my fridge is connected to my house net via wifi -- does this mean a passing Google snoopmobile can slurp its address and find out if I have any beers left?

And in the future, would "smart" TVs be capable of preventing me from watching American Idol, Real Housewives, or Two And A Half Men?

Also, does this mean we'll see a return of the legendary Coffeepot Cam page? And, will the coffeepot have its own IP address which we can log on to directly, and get a real-time readout of remaining quantity and coffee temperature direct from the coffeepot itself?

Questions, questions.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: If it looks like a computer....

I blame the word "smart", or more accurately, its heavy use by marketing types. It seems they can hang the word "smart" in front of the name of pretty much any device, and your average customers immediately wet their pants and whip out their wallets.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: I don't want a smart TV.

Essentially a Smart TV is like an iMac with slightly more emphasis on the screen and less on the computer power, but they're much the same sort of deal.

Well stated! Actually, an iMac can become even more like a TV if you hang an Elgato EyeTV dongle or HD DVR off of it.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: ReVuln seem like nice people

I wonder what they do if they find a critical vuln. in say, airplane flight systems,air traffic control or life support?

Does the CAA/whoever have to bid against Al Qaeda?

So, look, gang... I'd like to propose that "Al Qaeda" replace "Hitler" as the Godwin Trigger.

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Mike Flugennock
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Devil

Y'know, this is going to sound really awful...

Some weeks ago, I read on Wired.com or someplace similar about an esteemed hacker/network security type who said people who discover vulns such as these should just shut up and keep it to themselves instead of running the risk of reprisals from corporations by disclosing the vulns with the hope that said corporations would actually do something about it instead of pissing and moaning about how it'll endanger their market share and threatening the discloser with legal action.

Seems this ReVuln outfit as come up with the other half of a two-pronged payback strategy. So, Corporation X is threatening people with legal action for disclosing vulns in their platform? Fine, I'll just keep it to myself and sell it instead, and teach Corporation X a lesson. Hell, it'd serve 'em right.

Bitter? Cynical? M'ehh... yeah, sorta kinda.

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Mike Flugennock
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Coat

And, this is why...

...I prefer my good old-fashioned "dumb TV".

(Insert obligatory redundant expression joke here.)

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Facebook adding new privacy control tools for your 'stuff'

Mike Flugennock
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Alert

D'ahh, cripes...

I have my preferences set to hide my account from Internet searches. So, does this mean that now everybody and their cat can find my Farcebook profile in Web searches now? Not that my feed is full of goatse, Hot Asian Teens and drunken Christmas party fotos, but, still, just on general principle...

Well, at least on FB my name is fake, my place of residence is fake, my gender and birthdate are fake, and all the fields where I'm supposed to put my favorite music/movies/books/workplace/schools I attended have been left blank. At least I've given them practically no marketable information, and I log on once in a blue moon... and the type of images I post -- edgy, mean-assed political cartoons -- aren't exactly the kind of stuff they'd want to use in advertising.

I guess now I'm going to have to head over there, check my preferences and see what they've b0rked this time.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: voting system was borked

Y'know, sometimes I think that if Facebook was an actual country, they'd be under UN sanctions, and have UN observers watching their "voting".

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That square QR barcode on the poster? Check it's not a sticker

Mike Flugennock
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Next Bus/Train?

(there's an android and ipad app to give you the arrival times for the next few buses at a bus stop)

But do these apps come up with times that are less fictional than the 'countdown' displays on London bus stops?

My wife owns an iPhone (I don't) and one of the few apps she has is something she got from the Metro Transit Authority here in DC, the "Next Bus" App, which claims to tell you when the next bus will be arriving based on which stop you tell it you're at (of course). She claims it's quite accurate, at least to within a couple of minutes. I suspect that the countdown displays on your bus stops over there use the same kind of GPS/timetable data that the DC MTA "Next Bus" App uses.

In the DC Metro, we have similar electronic displays on the platforms giving time-to-arrival countdowns for the next three trains. I haven't bothered to time them down to the second, but they're accurate enough.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Same old, same old...

I don't know of an example where the presence of a QR code is anything more than advertising, so it's worth avoiding on general principles anyway.

Y'know, I'd never really thought of that. There may be other uses for them, for sure, but most of the time, in all my comings and goings, the vast majority of QR codes I see have been in the context of advertising.

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New York invites designers to invent Future of Phone Booths

Mike Flugennock
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Phone booth designs

I won't speak for NYCers, but here in DC, most of the remaining public phones aren't contained in complete booths but in little open kiosks with hoods over the phones for a bit of protection against weather so, when using a public land-line phone, you're still standing out in the wind, rain or snow while trying to make your call.

I can see the importance of maintaining the land-line public phone network in case the cellular network goes south, but I think any redesign of public telephone booths should also include wifi, and perhaps even a small built-in QWERTY keyboard for email/SMS (though maintaining the keyboards might be problematic), along with a small LCD monitor (sealed behind a half inch of plexiglas, of course) -- and, of course, a standard land-line voice telephone. I'd also include options for inserting bills and swiping credit cards along with the usual coin slot. I'd also insist that it be an actual booth instead of just a little kiosk on a pole, large enough for someone to actually sit down while using the phone.

Btw... while we're talking about the future of phone booths, does anybody here remember the video phone booth that Matt Deckard is seen using in Blade Runner? You know, the one encrusted with felt-marker graffiti, with the screen displaying a bit cockeyed owing to all the people who probably lost money in the phone, got pissed off, and pounded their fists on it -- kind of like an old-style phone booth? I always thought that was a cool scene. Even in the Blade Runner future, phone booths still looked like they should; I liked how, in Blade Runner, the future looked "old".

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Mike Flugennock
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What's even more important...

...not that it's strictly related to the phone-booth redesign issue in NYC, but a question for you Brits: if, as I understand, the old-style phone booths are being phased out, where does that leave Dr. Who? I guess that'd leave the TARDIS kind of sticking out like a sore thumb, huh?

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: @jake - "What's wrong with rotary dial telephones?"

Please press 1 for the answer to your question...

Actually, more and more lately, I'm coming across menu-driven help-line systems with the option for the user to simply say "one", "two", or "operator".

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2020AD: Space tourists will be FOUND ON MOON

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Boooorrrriiinnnggg

You really think it's boring?

Well, check out some of the photography from the Apollo expeditions, especially the last three, which visited the foothills of the Apennine mountain range, and Hadley Rille, a canyon wider and deeper than anything on Earth. Go there yourself and check out those panoramic scenes and then, when you have a moment, look up into the sky and check out the Earth. Then, get back to me on whether or not it's boring.

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Mike Flugennock
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Meh

Oh, Christ, not AGAIN...

Phil Plait's been pimping the hell out of this scheme over at Bad Astronomy -- though, to his credit, he was quite forthcoming about his friendship with one of the guys who runs the thing.

That said... oh, Christ, not AGAIN...!

Honestly, sometimes I think that if I had a buck for every one of these sending-rich-private-citizens-to-the-Moon schemes, I could... well, I could afford to go to the Moon.

"...we’re about American industry and American entrepreneurial spirit leading the rest of the world..."

D'ahh, Christ on a pogo stick. This bullshit again? When are the clowns who write those press releases going to get some original ideas... or at least make up some new phrases? "Entrepreneurial spirit" is becoming one of my least favorite phrases in the English language.

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FCC urges rethink of aircraft personal-electronics blackout

Mike Flugennock
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Re: I agree on the "re-think"

Just upvoted you on that. I'd even go so far as to say that mobile phones and Crackberries should be shut off while on the plane, period.

A few years or so ago, when arriving home in DC from a trip to Montreal, the plane had barely touched down and started taxiing to the arrival gate when some woman a few rows in front of me whips out her mobile, calls a relative in the city, and starts engaging in a heated argument about some private family issue loudly enough to be heard by every passenger within eight or ten rows of her seat.

This, of course, is on top of having to endure the en masse whipping out of mobiles as soon as the plane is down and taxiing to the jetway. My wife and I fly at least twice a year to and from Mexico from DC via DFW, and it never fails -- wheels down, plane starts taxiing to arrival gate, and immediately nearly everybody who has a mobile on them has whipped them out and started calling somebody. Christ, is it going to kill them to wait five minutes until they're off the plane to dial up someone and announce HEY! I'M IN DALLAS/PUERTO VALLARTA/DC, DUDE!"

(Full disclosure: sometimes, while on the plane, I like to watch movies on my laptop with headphones, after shutting off FireWire and Bluetooth.)

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Mike Flugennock
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Thumb Down

"They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family..."

...and they also empower people to irritate the living shit out of their fellow passengers

"Signs of sanity return", huh? Yeah, we'll see how long the sanity lasts when airliner cabins are full of the sounds of people playing games on their slabs and talking on their phones.

Report of first "air rage" incident involving somebody punching a cellphone jabberer in the teeth in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

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Instagram starts filtering out hipster pics on Twitter

Mike Flugennock
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"Used to like Instagram..."

...for the first 5 minutes before you had to trawl through thousands of 'selfies' and advertising pics to see any genuinely creative or thought-provoking pics. The last straw was when i recently posted a pic and instantly got 6 likes, all from 'users' with stuff to sell or promote.

That happened to me when I first set up my Twitter account. Spent five or ten minutes poking around on my feed, getting the hang of the interface and such, and in that short time I'd racked up about ten "followers", all of whom were "hotties in my area" or 'bot profiles with fake "selfies" ripped off from some other site all claiming to just adore the tweets I was posting and supposedly dying to meet me. I blocked and reported them for spamming, of course, and learned how to spot 'bot and spam followers real goddamn' fast. Happily, that bullshit subsided fairly quickly.

I was actually pretty surprised that didn't happen when I set up my Facebook account. Granted, I hardly ever log on there, I gave FB totally fake gender/residence/birthday info, and left all those personal interest, profession and education fields blank, but, still, I was genuinely surprised at not being deluged with fake friend requests from Hot Guys In Tripoli Who Were Wanting To Meet Me Now.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Well said!

It stores it in /instagram on your phone (on android at least).

Thanks for the tip. Still, I don't own an iPhone or Android -- but if I did, I still wouldn't touch Instagram with somebody else's ten-foot pole.

I was just curious, though, as when I come out with a new cartoon on my blog, I post it to Twitter via email, using the email link I have to my TwitPic account (and, I also do this with any interesting fotos I take on the street). Seems any hipster with two brain cells to rub together -- yeah, a mutually exclusive expression, I know -- could tweet his crappily-butchered Instagram images the same way. Any Instagram luser who's actually stymied by this boneheaded corporate move would have to be hopelessly and irredeemably st00pid.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Another arrogant clueless idiot CEO brags about his stupid move ...

Really, man... what the hell is it with all these CEOs breaking the Goofy Meter these days -- and managing to actually be rewarded for it, to boot? It's almost like an epidemic of sociopathy, and it seems to be especially bad among the CEOs of tinhorn Internet outfits like Instagram -- and they're being positively reinforced, so they get even goofier. It's like they're batshit and proud, and right up front about it, and they don't give a damn how many people can clearly see that they're batshit.

They're like the kind of characters you see in articles in The Onion, or in old SNL sketches -- except they aren't parodies, but real actual people. If it didn't adversely affect so many people, I'd actually find their behavior entertaining.

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Mike Flugennock
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Thumb Up

Well said!

Just wondering... not that I'd be caught dead using it, but would anybody know if Instagram has the option for downloading the image as a .jpg -- so then you could just manually post the image to your Twitter feed via TwitPic? I mean, how tough could that be?

(Disclaimer: I use Twitter fairly regularly, Facebook sparsely, but, in fact, would not be caught dead using Instagram to post brand-new fotos digitally butchered to look like thirty year-old Polaroids)

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Mike Flugennock
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Meh

M'eh

That's all. Just... m'eh.

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Chinese student fails job interview because of iPhone

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Working at our company is tough. It calls for someone who can take the pain and suffering.

That quote from the personnel department drone was alarming for sure, and yet refreshing, compared to the crap that dribbles from the mouths of personnel department drones in the States.

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Mike Flugennock
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Part of me wants to "thumbs up" this, but...

...still, I can't, as this really does indicate crass bias and ignorance on the part of the interviewer. There are, I'm sure, far more people who put in an honest day's work and earn every penny -- such as my wife -- who also happen to own iPhones (The wife also doesn't take every opportunity to whip it out in front of people or brag about having one, but apparently she's the exception that proves the rule).

As irksome as they can be, though, I think it's really rotten that this guy was turned down for a job simply for being a trend-surfing hipster with more money than sense.

Of course, as others here have mentioned, the question this article doesn't answer is just how the interviewer knew the guy was packing an iPhone.

.

(Disclaimer: I've used MacOS and sworn by it since 1985, but still can't abide the goddamn' iPhone trendoids.)

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Use a Mac? For actual work? Evernote Business has arrived

Mike Flugennock
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Mushroom

Re: Something doesn't add up

I may have paid more money initially, but there were huge savings in the time spent banging my head on Windows trying to figure out why something doesn't work, or in time spent patching, or in time spent scraping viruses and rootkits out of my system.

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Mike Flugennock
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Devil

Use a Mac? For actual work?

Hell, yeah, since 1985. You could've easily reported this event without the gratuitous insults.

Seriously, the snide Mac hate around here is starting to sound like the attitude of the ancient priesthood class after the Gutenberg Bibles were printed, and suddenly everybody and their cat could read the Bible and interpret it for themselves.

Oh, and just to drag this post back on-topic: I have a notepad application already, and it doesn't rely on centralized data servage to run, and if I want to share a document, I can just email it to a cc: list. I don' need no steenkeeng cloud.

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Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction

Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Wait a moment

They want to remake The Forbin Project with Will Smith (and doubtless one or all of his endlessly annoying children?

AAAUUUGGGHHHH. I was a young-ish teenager when that came out. I knew about it, but never got around to seeing it until I was in high school, on a "Movie Of The Week" on TV. Even then, the whole computer-becomes-self-aware-megalomaniac trope was already getting pretty beat, and I thought it was kind of hokey and changed the channel about half an hour into it. As I recall, the producers of MST3K considered it for an episode, but also iirc, it was bumped by another '70s turd called Parts: The Clonus Horror. Still, in other episodes, you can catch references to Colossus in the theater riffs.

Doesn't this constitute a crime against art and humanity?

Crime against art, for sure. You know Hollywood's totally out of ideas when, after doing movies based on comic books and video games, and after running out of good pictures to re-make, they start in remaking crap like Colossus, The Forbin Project... but a crime against humanity? Perhaps not. Hollywood wouldn't keep shoving Will Smith movies in our faces if there weren't enough people out there stupid enough to pay to see them.

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Mike Flugennock
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You forgot a couple

1. M5, from a famous Star Trek OS episode whose title I've somehow forgotten. Nothing surprising about the plot -- your basic "computer develops awareness, gets megalomania, tries to take over ship" kind of plot -- but quite well done, with a plot twist in which, when its designer explains that what it's done is horribly wrong, the computer chooses suicide.

2. The computer in THX 1138 -- or, as I call it, The Only George Lucas Film That Matters -- while not a "character" per se, is still a hugely influential part of the plot. The closest it comes to being an actual character in the film is when it appears as the wise, bearded face on the big screen in the digitally-networked confessional booths throughout the underground city where THX lives.

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Ten technology FAILS

Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Webtop

Early days yet I'd say. Death of the desktop PC is near even if they're way more powerful than the tablets that will kill them off. Something needs to replace the desktop to do the bigger apps, photo & video editing, development, etc.

Once the broadband speeds meet the requirements, and the clients (tablet, set top box, smart tv etc) have the video processing grunt), then all the apps in the cloud, cloud OS, and desktops replaced. Once the performance is there, and it will happen, then it's the end of ever having the pain of installing software. At least locally.

Hey, dude, watch it there, will ya? I damn' near drowned in that snake oil, man.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: MiniDiscs

Late 90s MiniDiscs were going to take over from CDs. They had huge hype but personal music soon went to MP3s...

Shame, really. It was certainly cool as hell that mp3's showed up -- along with standalone mp3 players and recorders -- but for a brief while, there, the minidisc was looking to be a really handy format. I can't be sure about now, but for a while after the format faded in the general consumer market, minidisc recorders were still quite popular among radio reporters. They've pretty much all gone over to memory-card-based recorders now, though I hear there's still some holdouts here and there. I don't know what they do for blank media, though.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: talking of dead things

there's a difference between dead and having been supplanted, but hanging on as a niche product. My teenage son wants a turntable and vinyl for Christmas, I was suprised at what you can get on vinyl these days...

Oh, yeah, no shit. I understand that there's still a lot of dance tracks being issued on 12" vinyl for DJs. Also, the 30th anniversary of the release of Dark Side Of The Moon was marked by a reissue on vinyl -- and on "virgin" vinyl at that, that really insanely thick vinyl, like they used for those Mobile Fidelity Labs half-speed remasters in the early '80s. And, stop me if I'm wrong, but didn't Pearl Jam release one of their recent albums on vinyl?

The only problem I see is that with the advent of CDs, musicians were suddenly no longer constrained by the time limits of LP sides; suddenly, you could do an album up to an hour and fifteen minutes long -- or, these days, an hour and twenty minutes. (Of course, you could release it as a double-disc set on vinyl, but then you'd probably end up with one or two oddly short sides.)

Btw, just out of sheer curiosity, what LPs is the kid asking for?

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Blu Ray

It's just actually buying media to keep that seems rather old fashioned and expensive, to me anyway.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned (55) but owning a copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey or Yellow Submarine or The Maltese Falcon is, to me, just as important as owning copies of The Sun Also Rises or Sirens Of Titan or One Hundred Years Of Solitude. I'm weird that way.

I guess at age 38 I realised I amassed 'a lot of crap I never used' and decided there were more important things in life, like beer and such...

Well, it's like they always say -- "you only rent beer."

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Blu Ray

Spinny disks allow for fewer compromises when you're actually watching the content...

...not to mention that spinny disks keep functioning even if your 'Net feed goes down. My wife is a big Netflix fan, and when I try to point this out to her, she calls me a Luddite. Bah.

Netflix streaming quality is generally pretty crappy and their selection isn't much better. Plus the lack of personal property rights on "streams" means that companies like Netflix are always at the mercy of upstream content owners. That's why their spinny disk library is much more comprehensive.

I've watched streaming movies on Netflix with the wife a couple of times. The image quality is just OK; there's some visible artifacts -- more or less depending on the scene -- and some playback hiccups here and there, and overall I can't understand what the wife is so gaga about. I try to point out the advantages of owning copies of movies and TV shows on real, actual physical media, and not depending on the whims of corporations for the availability of the stuff she likes to watch, but she just gives me the "Luddite" rap.

Selection didn't exactly set my ass on fire, either. It honestly wasn't that much better than the selection you got in old-school B&M video shops -- all your standard-issue Big Hit Blockbusters, some of your standard-issue predictably quirky indie flicks, and a smattering of your "classics" -- and not a real deep selection of "classics" at that.

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Mike Flugennock
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Re: Hey whevever happened to VRML?

When I joined the 'information superhighway' in the mid 90s I was looking forward to websites with a bit more depth to them...

Hey, yeah, right on, pal. Why isn't the 3-D Web on the list of technology FAILs?

Come to think of it... I'm generalizing here, admittedly, but there seems to be a sort of a pattern to a lot of the Internet/Web-based tech FAILs, in that the ones that blasted the most hype failed the most massively.

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Mike Flugennock
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Facepalm

Re: Hmmmmm

You can record stuff onto cassettes; 8 tracks were read-only...

Actually, there was a stretch in the early '70s where you could get 8-track recorders, and some fairly high-end ones, too (at least inasumch as 8-track could ever be "high-end"). Many component systems offered by major manufacturers offered 8-track recorder options.

I once owned an 8-track recorder -- bought second-hand -- which I fooled around with for a while. Back in high school, an audio freak friend of mine owned a quadrophonic system -- talk about a technology FAIL -- with an 8-track recorder in it. Yeah, that's right, a quadrophonic 8-track recorder. Four mic inputs, four mics -- jeezus, we had fun with that thing. My friend used it to record his band's rehearsals.

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Mike Flugennock
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Devil

Re: Hmmmmm

And the reason 8 track failed was because of its short usable life... I'm old enough to remember trees on the side of the road draped in long gossamer strands of Dark Side of the Moon after someone's 8 track ate yet another tape. While 8 tracks were more convenient, cassettes were a lot more reliable...

...not to mention the fact during the course of an album, the 8-track cartridge player had to switch tracks four times, meaning that longer songs were often faded and split in odd places in the 8-track versions of albums. The listening experience of albums like Dark Side Of The Moon or Close To The Edge were pretty much shot to hell with that goddamn' KERCHUNK every fifteen or twenty minutes. The impact of the famous "side 2" of Abbey Road was murdered by track switching. Oh, yeah, and the hiss. CD aficiionados like to rag on cassettes for surface noise, but 8-tracks took the prize. HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS...

Cassettes were smaller, sounded better, and you could fit a whole album comfortably on one side of a 90-minute tape, or one side of an album comfortably on each side of a 60-minute tape. They got even better as time went on -- chromium oxide, metal oxide, 100-minute tapes...

(Spawn Of Satan icon because, well.. 8-tracks.)

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Mike Flugennock
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Ah memories...

I think I attended one very similar. Lots of big consulting firms marketing droids were there trying to say that people were living in second life, and that the property "value" would keep going up...

Ahh, yeah. Second Life. One of those things that was all the rage, and suddenly disappeared without a trace. At the Web design studio where I was working, almost everybody was on it, and wouldn't shut the hell up about it, and kept pestering me to get into it (kind of like Farcebook now).

Also... am I the only one here who reads these reminiscences about buying "land" on Second Life and thinks of the 1920s Florida real-estate bubble?

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Sandy Island does exist - on a 1908 chart

Mike Flugennock
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Re: Just a silly question: ISS photography?

The ISS doesn't do photography, the nearest it does is one of the tourists (commercial or national space agency) pointing their cell phone out of the window...

Actually, there is a fair amount of serious Earth-observation photography going on, and they're using some seriously-equipped DSLRs to do it, not just someone aiming a mobile phone out a viewport. Check out the Human Spaceflight Web Gallery, under "ISS Crew Imagery". Also, needless to say, there's a wealth of high-resolution satellite photography available.

Sending a ship to the coordinates on the map would give you some "ground truth" (so to speak) for sure, but sometimes maps can be wrong -- especially older ones -- and an island that's little more than a sand bar or atoll that's sometimes below the surface depending on sea conditions, tides, etc. may not always be visible from a ship (unless it's one that's large enough to carry sonar, etc.).

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Mike Flugennock
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Just a silly question: ISS photography?

Is there a chance that there's any high-resolution photographs of the area from the ISS that might settle this hash once and for all?

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