30 posts • joined Thursday 3rd January 2008 16:44 GMT
Missing the mark
This "article" completely misses the mark. The Ars piece points out that what is perceieved as a duopoly is actually a monopoly. Fiber is non-existent in most of the country, DSL is laughable, and the other "alternatives" are a non-starter. In my neck-o-the-woods, the choices are Cable (bloody expensive but intermittently fast), DSL (reliably fast, but limited to town centers), WLAN Wireless (reliably mediocre), satellite (ha!), or dial-up (HA!). This leaves cable with the "broadband" monopoly. I've had to settle on WLAN Wireless, with speeds that a Japanese or Swedisd phone would consider an error. I ask Andrew to come live in North-central Minnesota for a week and carry the same tune.
An okay start
Much of the kit is a good start, but for my money, since I've already spent it, I prefer (and use) one of Dan's earlier designs, the KAS (Krell Audio Standard). 3.04KW of pure class A power. My set are driven by a decidedly downmarket, but very enjoyable Musical Fidelity AMS Primo preamp. Sources include an Avid Acutus SP (quite a bit lower-end than Mikey Fremer's Caliburn/Cobra combo) with a Zyx Airy III MC cart, a custom DIY phono stage, and my trusty and still competitive Denon DCD-3520 (with Furutech mods). I've never heard a speaker I was entirely satisfied with, so I had my own built. They're a 5-way, 6-driver design that makes use of an Infinity-Watkins woofer, and delightful ribbon tweeters with nearly invisible first-order crossovers all the way around.
Really not worth it...
I really can't see how they banked on something as gimmicky as 3D, and, apparently, banked on it so hard. Many moons ago, I was less than impressed with 3D on my computer (back in Elsa GLadiac 3D, complete with glasses. Thing cost and arm back then). The effect was not worth the boggling of my eyes and dull-looking display. But, I will concede that when it worked, it was pretty. But certainly not worth the extra hassle or expense (I seem to remember that the card with glasses was at a $200-$300 premium over the same card, sans 3D).
Saw a couple movies in 3D in the theater (Avatar and Captain America) and, while Avatar was pretty decent, Captain America was a mess. But, Avatar, I think, would have been good 3D or no. Captain America, on the other hand, was done disservice by the ham-fisted attempt at 3D. It was so dark most of the time, I had to take the dreadful "one-size-fits-none" glasses off to see any detail at times.
My current TV is 3D, but, I must admit, that I did not choose it for that ability. I chose it because it offered a very good picture with good old-fashioned 2D material. The couple of times I've tired it with 3D BRD's, I've ended up taking off the glasses and switching back to 2D. Just not that impressive.
And added to my woes, the spacebar on my keyboard has started to act funny... Coincidence? I surely think not!
But, as someone will undoubtedly point out, passing along the email addresses of 42k+ furry toothed, not entirely naive or defenseless geeks is not half as bad as say, your NHS leaving about the generous gift of names, numbers, addresses, whatever equivalent of SSN's you have over there, &t, for any old body to pick up, ???, and profit from. To that, I preemptively say: Bull cookies!
Still, you apparently saw fit to at least acknowledge the, heh, mistake quite promptly, thereby if not minimizing the potential damage and outcry, at least foisting responsibility for what follows on to the owners of these misplaced readers. Trebles all around!
In other words, welcome to humanity: the race was lost before it ever started.
I've owned this player (US-spec) for about a month, and your assessment, as far as it goes is spot on. I downgraded from the erstwhile TOTL BDP-1, which recently gave up the ghost. The BDP-S380 is certainly faster loading Blu-ray discs, and the internet connectivity is a bonus. Having experienced HT 3D, any 3D capability is not missed in the least (how anyone can enjoy it is beyond me), and lack of built-in wi-fi is also no cause for concern.
However, I do miss having the multi-channel outputs for playing SACD in surround, and musical performance via the analog outputs is not as good in general (cooler-sounding midrange, very thin bass). Clearly the addition of SACD was an afterthought, and while it's a nice little addition, it may give (or reinforce) the perception that high-res audio sources are not worth the price or trouble.
But, for the price (I paid less than US$110/£70, new) and intended market/purpose, it's more than satisfactory.
An embarrassment of riches...
One of the great potential virtues of digital recording is the incredible dynamic range it can afford, particularly on a hi-fi designed for maximum fidelity. Indeed, one of the primary selling points originally in CDDA's favor (and digital recording/playback in general) was the 90dB of dynamic range afforded by CDDA's 16-bit resolution. When you consider that a 3dB change in level requires double (or half) the power output of the associated equipment, this resolution can result in tremendous dynamic range. A premium audiophile cassette deck (with decent tape) might approach 50-60dB of dynamic range, once the noise floor was factored in. Today's best phono cartridges (I'm talking $5k-$10k) might just approach that, with many "mortal" carts getting only the better of 30-50dB.
So, while HD audio formats like SACD and DVD-A have in excess of 100dB of dynamic resolution, the horrible recordings only make use of 3-9dB, never mind MP3's or what not.
Indeed, audiophile LP recordings, on appropriately high-end equipment, wipe the floor with today's "HD" digital formats for just that reason. Many analog houses realize that their range is limited and do their best to maximize what they have. Some publishers like Telarc, BIS, Mobile Fidelity, and other's (mostly out of Japan) do take digital seriously and release material that can more fully utilize the capabilities of digital formats. One piece in particular that comes to mind is the (in)famous Telarc recording of the 1812 Overture that actually came with a warning label because of its dynamic range- people would turn up the volume during quieter passages, but when the canons sounded, speakers would hyper-extend, amps would blow up or go into protection mode. Recorded without compression, it took advantage of nearly all of the nascent CD's resolution and dynamic range. Sadly, many publishers like Telarc feature catalogs limited to classical and Jazz recordings, or rather obscure indie artists. Much popular music would not benefit much from such careful mastering in any event, but there is a good deal of it that would.
Audiophiles for years have been lamenting the degradation of recording quality, and the acceptance of just-good-enough releases. Stereophile has had many articles and papers on the subject.
But, as long as Joe-Sixpack feel's his 256k MP3 is good enough, the loudness wars, regardless of who is involved, will be one of attrition.
A point that a lot of people miss...
Agreed. I think it's nonsense that a site like iFixIt or some such looks simply at the BOM for a product, concludes that an iPad or 3DS costs only 20¢ in parts, and then sites like The Reg quote that as some Holy Number that is a sin to surpass.
Additionally, last I checked it may be unfashionable, but not yet illegal, to make a profit on a device.
That is not to say, of course, that the 3DS was not, shall we say, on the premium end of pricing (Nintendo admitted as much at launch), but market forces have moved the Hidden Hand and Nintendo has reacted, as it should, by bringing the price down to what the market will bear.
Apple's so bloody expensive I have to sell a kidney and a good chunk of liver to buy a mouse!
~Apple drops prices to competitive levels~
OMFG!!!!11 I bought a Apple gadget and I'll be darned if they didn't lower the price and add features during the product refresh!
It would seem that no matter what they do, Apple's damned if they do, damned if they don't. I could go on how I bought a perky Dell monitor for not a small sum of money only to see it up to 50% off clearance two weeks later, while the model that replaced it was $150 cheaper and sported better specs, but I think I just did.
But I am p.o.'d that Snow Leopard will apparently drop PowerPC support. Dropping support for 32-bit PowerPC makes a little sense, but my G5s still have life in them.
You're all wrong! It parallels not with Parallels, but...
Rather the Classic Environment in the early very expensive beta versions of OS X, which ran OS 9 and all of the pre-Carbon apps in their very own sandbox. A lot of people were hard pressed to give up their Adobe Photoshop 5 and such, which could not run at all, let alone natively, under OS X.
It's kind of interesting, really, and clever as well. Apple managed two major architectural shifts and and even a couple of important OS changes, making the process as invisible to the user as possible. For developers on, on the other hand... In any event, this is a good thing for Microsoft to take from the playbook, as long as, like Apple, they don't make it a chore to use for the end user.
All too familiar...
This is not too far from the scheme used by my former employer. You could use the company provided machine (which, as of last year, was a 1.13GHz Pentium !!! Dell Optiplex, with a mighty 20GB HDD and Almost 256MB of RAM), or you could bring in your own system. The caveat was, the system could leave with you at any time, but the hard drive had to remain.
A terrific waste of 10 minutes...
I tried the above referenced link to the new firmware (SD15->SD1A), but although my drive is affected, supported by the firmware, detected by the utility, the update died, saying it could not find the "expected" drive. Really, now?
At the very least, it did not kill the drive (or otherwise make matters worse).
Comon, Seagate! Do we really want the company that inherited Maxtor to be remembered only for techies building walls out of bricked drives?
All is quiet on the Western Front
I've installed the upgrade on both a G4 FW800 and my Vista rig with no real issues on either. The closest I have come so far is that Saturday the Vista version complained that it could not contact the Google server used to update its phishing definitions, and on both the browser seems a bit slower than it was before.
I might also note that I am not using third-party extensions on either, except Adobe Flash.
Behold! The Future of Windows!
I suppose then that Snow Leopard will be a "preview" of Windows 10?
On a slightly more serious note, it does appear that Microsoft has learned from the Vista debacle, which is commendable. They've taken the teething issues of Vista and decided to improve upon it instead of trying to drastically reinvent the wheel again.
The interface, from the various screen shots I've seen, does look like the bastard offspring of an unholy Aqua/Aero union, but there is time to polish it up. I'm not keen on blotting up the desktop with widgets, though. If they were "borrowing" from the Mac OS playbook, they could have gone whole-hog and made a Dashboard (though Apple would let that stand for all of 10-seconds).
The sort of interesting dilemma Microsoft has in borrowing so much from OS X is they do give the impression to the average man-about-town that Apple had it right all along, and Microsoft is trying to play catchup now. That can't be good.
Nothing new under the sun
Does no one remember the TEMPEST project- from the 1980's. The idea was that the Commies could read the recipes off your mother's C64 just by reading the RF blasting out of it. So, they essentially wrapped the cables and components in a Faraday cage, used copious amounts of EMI shielding, and managed to increase the cost of a Mac SE/30 to over $15,000.
Apple users in bed with Rover drivers?
Although Range Rovers rank at or near the bottom of the lists for reliability, in a seemingly bizarro-universe way they also rank at or near the top for customer satisfaction, where as something more ordinary, say a run-o-the-mill Ford sedan may have infinitely greater reliability, but the customers seem underwhelmed by the experience.
For the record, I own a Mac and a 95 Range Rover County LWB (Vogue SE, for you Brits). 183,000 hard-fought miles.
I know that El Reg has never (ever) done anything to stir up controversy, but the Inquirer has really crossed the line here. It's the sort of maniacal mouth dribblings I would expect out Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh, but not out of a tech rag, no matter what their editorial policy is.
I guess THG regains the fourth tab. And that hasn't been worth reading since the 1GHz P!!! incident.
Does anyone remember having to pay for drivers, period? I still have an old 24-bit RasterOps card and recall that the company wanted to charge good money just for the drivers. This after you had already bought this very expensive card. By no means is this a new phenomenon.
Creative is well on its way with going the way of RasterOps- this PR fix is just to save some of their dignity.
Do we need another DS?
I'm perfectly happy with my DSLite. Is there anything particularly wrong with the design that would require a new model. If anything, it may be nice to have the DS Opera web-browser built-in, but that's about the only thing I think could be improved.
I did the same upgrade-downgrade-upgrade. In my case, the initial version of Leopard was just too slow on my G4 MDD/1.25. Plus the ancient Radeon 9000 I was using had no support for any of the CoreImage goodness. Two updates and a less ancient Radeon 9700 later, and I'm back to using Leopard. Slick as snot on a door-knob now, and stable enough to run for weeks on end (months maybe?). And I should mention that Time Machine is the first backup utility I've ever used on a personal computer.
Also, Just as a general OS X observation, each update to a version of OS X tends to make the OS seem more responsive, going back to 10.1.