66 posts • joined 7 Jun 2011
Re: will it have downloadable maps?
I have my doubts as to whether it'll support that, but I've found "citymaps2go" to be an alternative on iOS. Pay a couple of quid for the app and then download the maps you need. I'm not sure it offers turn by turn, but as I can actually read a map it's not that important for me.
It's not the the map app was crap
It's not that the map app was, in itself, crap, it was the data being fed to it that was seriously lacking in some departments. Although it could be said that the map app is still overly simplistic.
To be honest I never had a problem with it. Probably because I don't blindly trust whatever navigation system I'm using, and that I only really use it to locate places in urban areas - although I've got to say that google maps is still more accurate.
Then again I'm old "Skool" I guess at my age. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was navigating London with a well thumbed copy of the A to Z and was thus used to finding things that were not quite as they were when my copy of the A to Z was first published.
Map apps in general are a great assistance but nobody in their right mind should treat any of them as gospel. Unfortunately this is what some people do, and when this is added to a lack of common sense disaster ensues.
Re: 2007 hardware obsolete?
You're kidding right. My firm shoves around 50 White MacBook models into recycling every month. If you want to use it a 2007 model will still run Lion, or Linux with bootcamp ;-)
A laptop's useful lifetime is around 3 years, 4 years tops. A 2007 MacBook is now over 6 years old. I really fail to understand what you're complaining about.
Linux is a fractured mess
Ok, I use Linux every day, but the whole ecosystem is a fractured mess. It will never gain traction outside of the server room due to the fact that everybody important involved with desktop Linux will eventually throw their toys out their pram and fork it.
This is bad for any business as quite frankly there are no believable roadmaps for any of the desktop environment providers. Gnome screwed up with v3, ubuntu screwed up with Ubiquity etc. Nobody knows what's coming next and whether it's going to screw up their current perfectly running system.
Basically anybody running desktop Linux is a beta tester, actually an alpha tester if the truth be known.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy using Linux and I do experiment with the various flavours and desktop environments, but it is experimentation. If a client wants to put in a Linux server then no problem, but if they want to do a Linux desktop rollout then I'm "hang on, you really don't know what your asking for". Sure it can be done, but it's not going to be that smooth.
Well, this old fart has gone in the opposite direction. Basically at the start of last year I conceded defeat at trying to find what I wanted on CD, and started downloading from iTunes. The reason is that record shops here in Switzerland basically have the top 30 (and remember this is Switzerland so a good portion of the top 30 is made up of Hans-Ueli doing his latest covers, or DJ Bobo - the less said about him the better) plus a smattering of well known bands back catalogues
Trying to find anything alternative was a wild goose chase, yeah sure there are alternative record stores but their mostly filled with gangsta c-rap. iTunes was effectively a god send in terms of being able to obtain new music.
As for the quality of the sound, well I can't complain. 256 AAC VBR is transparent to my ears. Basically I can't hear the difference between that and the original CD, and I've put this to the test with some very esoteric headphone kit. One thing to note is that iTunes music downloads haven't been DRM'd for a long time now so you can do whatever you want with the file, although they do come with metadata that identifies the purchaser, but that's easy to strip.
Filtering through the crap
Filtering through the crap is by far the biggest challenge facing anybody using any App Store. There are plenty of great apps that just fall to the bottom because they cost a little bit. People will take free but crap apps in favour of good but cost a couple of quid apps.
As an example I've been looking for a suitable calculator for my iPad. Sure there are plenty of free calculators out there that do the job, but they were all basically simulating a traditional calculator. Up until recently the best I could find was the TI-nSpire app which was more of a CAS app than a calculator, meaning it can be heavy going. Then just after the new year I noticed something in the iTunes app store as a new addition called Tydlig which has now replaced all calculators on all of my iOS devices. However it costs around 3 quid which means it'll probably and undeservedly fall out of sight because people are too tight arsed to pay for a bit of quality and innovation.
Check it out, just google Tydlig - it's probably the coolest calculator for iOS out there.
By the way I'm in no way associated with this app, although I did have an email conversation with the author regarding a very obscure and minor bug that I found.
Oh, FFS, now Apple can't trust anybody to be anything other than a fumbling moron. Mind you, given my professional dealings with Apple that does just about sum up their attitude to anybody not directly employed by them, or anybody at all for that matter.
This might be my next phone
Ok, as the title says this might be my next phone should it come to fruition.
The reason I'm still using a 4S is that the 5 and 5s offer no real improvement in terms of screen real estate. Sure it's bigger, but it's not that much bigger and it's bigger in the wrong way, at least for my purposes.
At the moment I'm packing a 4S in conjunction with an iPad mini. I would really like to consolidate these devices into one and if Apple is going to offer a phablet then I'm in. I already look like a prick carrying two Apple devices so I can't imagine an Apple phablet will make me look more of a prick, who cares if it does anyway.
That said, the biggest problem could be that a phablet is a poor phone because it's not as easily pocketable, and a poor tablet as it lacks the screen size to get anything really useful done. I dunno, I'll consider my prickdom as and when such a device exists
Cool, if ever I need to off somebody I now know exactly how to do it without getting caught. Basically tap the local hoodies for a few wraps of this and that, get the guy plastered with spiked drinks, and then empty my recycling bin on his bed.
Who'd have thought it'd be so simple, and that the powers that be would give away their clandestine assassination secrets so easily
*tongue is firmly in cheek*
Re: Given that only the unwashed would try sudo rm -rf /* ...
Unfortunately the truth is that the vast majority of mac computers have only one account, and that is the account the user created upon first turning the machine on. This is always an admin account and therefore always part of the sudoers list.
I actually think that I'm the only mac user that has a managed account for day to day computing and an admin account for well, you know, admin thingies.
I think the problem is the working culture
To be honest I think the problem lies with the working culture in China. The poor guy probably worked till he literally dropped even though he would have been showing symptoms simply because that's the culture there. If you can walk you can work.
I actually believe Apple, in that they are going further than pretty much any other company with manufacturing interests in china in trying to improve the safety and working conditions of the workers, but I can imagine even Apple are probably hitting their collective heads against a brick wall when it comes to the ingrained culture of the Chinese.
I also suspect that Apple are going further in this mostly as a result of the negative press they receive whenever one of these unfortunate incidences happens.
That's not a false widow.
The pic is not of a false widow. False widows have a bulbous rear end. I'm no entomologist, or whatever they call spider worriers, but the pic looks very much like it's a bog standard house spider.
It's not really a surprise
As I sit here I have a pile of dead OCZ drives which were actually replacements for other dead OCZ drives
If this bankruptcy goes my way then I can just throw them in the bin, which is where they should be in the first place, and write off the loss. My time is better spent doing other more productive things than spending it requesting endless RMAs for OCZ drives.
I'm sorry for the people involved and all that, but OCZ has been nothing but a headache for me with 40%, or thereabouts, failure rate. Quite frankly I'm glad to see the back of them.
Don't blame Cumberbatch
First off an admission - I haven't seen the film and nor am I likely to. Quite frankly from what I can understand there's a significant lack of lasers, phase cannons, Uzi 9mms, warp drives, quantum influx inhibitors, TARDISes etc, for my liking.
However, if the film sucks then it's as a result of the script writers, producers and director screwing up. An actor can only work with what they're given, and if you give them a turd a good actor like Cumberbatch can probably work with it and polish it handsomely, but it's still a turd, and it still stinks.
This sounds like a mess
As the title says, this sounds like a bit of a mess and a bit of a bodge job. IMO any storage device aimed at the laptop market that needs proprietary drivers to get it to work is something that in all honesty needs to be avoided.
This article is vague in terms of how the drive actually presents itself to the system - I'm not interested in user land. Does it present itself as two separate drives, or is it simply not visible until WD's proprietary drivers are installed? If it's the former then it should be useable in Linux and Mac OS environments, and theoretically it would be possible to roll your own fusion drive with it on a mac if that's the case. If on the other hand the drive is simply a dead duck without the specific drivers then it's a pretty bad investment - who knows if the next windows service pack will break it.
Nice idea but it seems somewhat screwed up at the moment.
"As we are paying billions to have GCHQ collecting data about us, could they not simply..."
...provide users that are hit by this with a backup of their data that they've already snaffled through nefarious means.
Re: yeah right.
That's very nearly what happened to Apple in the mid nineties - hell they even needed a 150 million dollar bailout from Microsoft.
Too confusing - really?
"The GNOME developers think the typical trio of buttons is just too confusing."
Er, really? On an operating system where most of its users are quite happy bashing away in the terminal the gnome developers think we're going to get confused by having 3 buttons on window, which we've had pretty much since WIMP environments first took off. You have got to be kidding me.
With the amount of dumbing down going on across the board by all parties involved in the major OSs my bloody goldfish will soon be able to sign up for a Facebook account, but I won't be able to do a damned thing that's in any way useful and productive.
This has screwed up a lot of people
I'm going to ignore the anti apple comments here as they don't bring anything to the discussion
However, a number of my clients have been totally and utterly buggered by this as they work in remote locations and often have no or very intermittent internet connection at best for weeks at a time. I'm currently advising my clients NOT to upgrade to Mavericks as a result of this issue, and for those that have, but are remote or do not want to use iCloud, I'm suggesting that they use their time machine backup to restore their computer to the last 10.8 state it was in and then bring the changed files, via time machine, over manually.
I've been reading that developers were informed two years ago of the fact that the sync services, which iTunes uses for contacts and calendars would be deprecated. However I'm not a developer, and neither are my clients so how the fuck would they, and I, know that such a critical part of using an iToy would be totally and utterly broken by the Mavericks update.
Apple really fucked up with this one.
Had one today - on a Mac
Had his bootcamp partition infected, refused to pay the demands, the time lapsed, and wanted it fixed, get this, under warranty. It was explained to him politely that only hardware is covered under warranty, and that software and data was effectively his responsibility. He had no backups, because in his own words "I've never had a problem before"
When the situation was fully explained to him about what had happened and that there was little chance of getting anything back yelling, screaming, and finally tears ensued - his entire life and business was on this single partition of the hard disk. Without it everything was gone.
While you can argue more fool you for not having a backup, and as tech people we're inclined to do so, seeing this happen right in front of me, brought me finally to the conclusion that these evil bastards ruin innocent peoples lives.
Treat third party drivers with caution
As a long time Mac user I tend to treat with extreme caution any disk system, be it singular or RAID, that needs it's own driver software to initialise volumes, and thereafter run the drive.
Bascially I dump any manufacturers software straight away and use Disk Utility for any formatting needs. Some RAID systems do require proprietry software for the intial RAID setup, but thereafter everything is formatted with Disk Utility.
These days you shouldn't need a 3rd party system level driver to do something as basic as initialise and run a disk. If a disk product does absolutely need a proprietry driver on a Mac then run away fast.
Competition is indeed good, but when a lawsuit can exist on a patent of "Bouncy scrolling" then something's bloody wrong with the entire system.
Steve W sees the tech world as it should be, he is an engineer after all, unfortunately businesses, especially greedy ones, always seem to get in the way of how things should be.
You could buy Apple gear which is notoriously stingy on storage, and yes there are currently a couple of models that only offer 500GB of spinning rust.
PCs / Laptops will ultimately become a niche market
Yeah, 3 years ago I wouldn't have ever believed I'd be writing a title like that. But the fact is that outside of business and creative tasks such as photography, videography and music (high tend gaming as well) there is little need for a desktop, or even a proper laptop.
If all you do is consume, rather than create, then to a large extent the traditional high powered laptop, or desktop becomes for the most part redundant.
Take my mother for instance - she was always upgrading her computer every 3 years, because that's what you do when you've got two sons in IT. When she visited me last year in Zürich we found some bargain basement iPad 2s and bought a couple of them. One for me and one for her. Since then the only time she actually turns on her PC is to backup the iPad, or install new apps or new iOS versions.
There are millions of people out there that simply require web, email, Facebook and Twitter. Previously you needed an expensive computer to do that, these days you only need the cheapest android device that you can find.
The PC as a device in the home is facing death.
Without Apple we wouldn't have had all the competition
Love or hate Apple, the fact of the matter is that they upped the bar for smartphones in 2007 / 2008 and really forced other manufacturers look hard at what they were doing, they made Google say "fuck, we gotta do something about this". In 2010 they released the iPad which is the first tablet to ever acquire a mass market adoption, making other manufacturers say "fuck fuck fuck, we've got to get a piece of this"
The truth is that if it wasn't for Apple we wouldn't have the diversity and choice that we have in these markets today.
I guess you could say the best thing about Apple is how they forced the competition to respond. I am unashamedly an Apple user, but quite frankly I'm relieved that there are options available to me to be able to move away from the Apple ecosystem should I so desire.
I don't buy into these pathetic Android is better than iOS, or vice versa, arguments. There is no better, but just simply what works for you.
If Apple had done it right
If Apple had done it right the there would have been 2 options: the first to turn of the parallax effect, and the second to prevent the zooming.
I only objected to the parallax effect as it served absolutely no useful purpose whatsoever, and in the process probably consumed battery. The zooming on the other hand was only a brief bit of eye candy, and also usefully indicated which app you had just "backgrounded", but ultimately was also a waste of processor cycles, as quite frankly is the fade effect we have now.
Either way it's no biggie for me. My main problem is that since the update to 7.0.3 my iPhone won't actually finish syncing. Well, it does, but iTunes doesn't seem to think so. Mind you I did upgrade to Mavericks and update iTunes before I installed iOS 7.0.3, so maybe I'm just simply asking for problems. That's life at the bleeding edge though.
Re: Not possible.
Actually my betting is, based on what I've seen lately, is that it's likely to be the drives manufactured by toshiba. I've seen about 5 of them crap out in macbook airs, at which point that simply report that they are a sandforce drive, and that the capacity is 32k
Fortunately the repair is quick to do. Unfortunately if you have an SSD in that state then your data is well and truly gone.
Seriously, like it's not fucking obvious
Anybody in the market for an iPhone is willing to spend money, be it right or wrong, or good or bad value.
That plastic fantastic, also known as the iPhone 5C is not going to appeal to the traditional apple buyers because it's, well, cheap. It looks cheap, in fact it looks fucking awful. Although Apple might have got away with it if they'd produced a black version.
Those who aspire to own apple products, but could never afford them before, are equally likely to not be interested because it's, well, too damned expensive. Why would they spend a fortune to acquire what has effectively been marketed as a second rate product.
There, I've said it. Apple screwed up on pricing and marketing, and as a result nobody will want a 5C, other than those with enough money for it to be a "festival" phone as an accompaniment to their 5S day to day phone.
It's still going to be a free lunch for the operator, it's just that the consumer and businesses will be paying for it now.
I'm also a bit concerned, and annoyed, that governments can hold their respective populations to ransom over what is essentially wobbly electromagnetics. I'm all for the operators creating and paying for a non profit regulatory body to ensure that nothing interferes with other things, but for a government to be making billions out of this is absolutely criminal.
If I was in the UK at the moment, which thankfully I'm not, I'd be half expecting to see a demand to pay a license fee based on how good my colour vision is - which would be a tax on my ability to receive what is also essentially wobbly electromagnetics.
As with your previous articles on tape this has been an interesting and fantastic read
One the about VHS though. For years now I believed that VHS stood for Vertical Helical Scanning, and it would appear that Wikipedia agrees with the article and calls it Video Home System. But I do remember speaking to a JVC rep back in the mid eighties who definitely referred to it as Vertical Helical Scanning.
Ok, after a bit of research it would appear that JVC's original intention was to call it Video Home System, but for some reason in Europe "Vertical Helical Scan" was often used in place of "Video Home System" despite it being incorrect, not least for the fact that if it was to do with the technology it should have been called DHS - Diagonal Helical Scan.
Their SSDs are beyond crap
A couple of years ago we sold a lot of OCZ SSDs, and according to the return rates over 2 years we've had a 40% failure rate. Ok the drives are under warranty and they're replaced by OCZ, but the amount of replacements that are DOA is astronomical, and the ones that do work initially tend to fail after 3-6 months.
Compare that to samsung. We've sold a few thousand of these drives and not one return so far.
You couldn't give me a barge pole long enough for me to even think about touching OCZ drives.
Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Google, Linux.
Don't hate the players, hate the game.
Given your phone preference plus the fact that none of the others work for you then, and I don't mean any offence here, it looks like you are well and truly stuffed. Sorry.
Re: I quite like iOS 7, but I'm still annoyed.
It's more to do with the computer/device doing the multitasking, not you.
I quite like iOS 7, but I'm still annoyed.
To be honest I'm not having any real problems with iOS 7, in the same way I wasn't having any real problems with 6.1.3. Both my ancient iPad 2 and iPhone 4S seem to have coped with the upgrade quite well, assuming that bricking my iPad and totally refusing to install until I commented an entry out in my hosts file is coping quite well. Things are still fluid, no noticeable delay when typing. Battery life seems to have gone down just a touch on the 4S with my morning tethering on the train taking 8 or 9% of the battery as opposed to the previous 5 or 6% on 6.1.3.
I like the new control centre, but it's not as complete as it could be. Also the new task switching method (I'll never describe iOS as true multitasking) is much much better than the previous system.
All things considered I'm happy with iOS 7. With Apple and new OS releases it's always the case that the new features don't interest me as much as the features that they've dropped, and there doesn't seem to be much dropped in this release. There have been some problems and niggles, but nothing major, and nothing one wouldn't expect form a point zero software release.
However, it does irritate the shit out of me that I cannot restore to a previous system should I find something that's a deal breaker. This is typical Apple arrogance, and it pisses me off immensely.
Re: CD/DVD drive
Well personally I'm glad they got rid of it. As people have pointed out a 30 quid job does the business for any CD/DVDs you want to listen to, rip, or watch.
The benefit for me is that with these models it's now impossible to lose an SD Card in the CD slot. I don't know who's stupider: my users who constantly manage to miss the SD card slot and end up inserting a card into the CD slot of the older generation iMacs, or the industrial designer who thought putting the two holes so close together would be a good idea. That said, the human body suffers from the same issue, so I guess this design fault isn't unprecedented.
Thunderbolt is dead?
Ok maybe not, but if USB 3.1 can produce the speeds it's claiming then the reasons to buy thunderbolt devices have just reduced quite considerably. True, that specialist task which depends on minimal latency may be better served with thunderbolt, but for the rest of us there's no point in paying extra for thunderbolt devices,. Hell, even with USB 3 there's no point coughing up 3 times as much for a thunderbolt enabled HD.
I'm sorry, but thunderbolt was a good idea screwed up by licensing costs.
One chess computer against another
This sounds a bit like playing one chess computer against another. Great fun when you're a kid, but when you realise what the banks are doing could wipe out a lot of people's pensions and savings on a whim then it would appear that this is not a good application of technology.
I'm all for technology providing information and even suggestions to meat sacks, but ultimately it needs to be the meat sack that makes the decision - for worse or for better. To allow the tech to bypass its water logged operator and make its own decisions is ultimately going to result in bad things and consequences that have not been considered.
I'm not a great fan of this automated trading malarkey as I see it as removing the decision making process from us, and it's us that should decide, not some lump of unsentient silicon.
Great article. Nuff said. Look forward to the second instalment.
Ah, I remember the cassette fondly. Starting with recording the Top 40 on a Sunday evening, through my teenage years with various Walkmans (my favourite was an AWAI model with a 5 band graphic equaliser) where a C90 would just about give you two albums for the days listening, and finally using a TEAC high end transport with all the Dolbys which gave my vinyl setup a run for its money.
Sure the cassette tape was never designed for high fidelity recording and playback, but improving technology with both the electronics and magnetic formulations actually turned it into something that could deliver a petty damned good high quality sound. TDK chrome or metal were my weapons of choice in those days.
And I never had a tape get chewed up, although I had one that melted after I left it on the dashboard of my car on a hot day.
It was a perfect technology for it's time.
The problem with virtual machines
The problem with virtual machines, apart from the performance issue, which is becoming less of a problem as hardware gets faster and the virtual machine coding becomes more efficient, is the backup.
Using virtual drive files leads to an explosion of redundant data on Time Machine, or any incremental backup solution that operates at the file level. Every time you boot the virtual system the drive file will be written to, and as a result the drive file will change, therefore the backup system will backup the whole drive file. For a fixed size drive file of 100GB this will make short work of a 4TB backup solution, filling it in a little over a month if backups are done daily and the virtual machine is in daily use.
Sparse (in Apple parlance) drive files which grow as they fill up can help alleviate this, but only to a certain degree as even they will tend to run to 10-20GB in even lightly used virtual machines.
Most people I know running VMs, including myself, end up excluding the drive files from the backup. In my case it's not critical as I only use Virtual Box to mess around with various flavours of Linux so no big deal if I lose the files. But somebody running critical data on a VM would be well advised to implement a backup system from within that VM, rather than relying on the host system to take care of things.
Somehow I don't see the Oompa Loompas in the Apple store being particularly well informed on that aspect.
Plants, watch out for the plants
Why, whenever I hear of a meteor shower, do I start treating plants with considerable caution.
Not enough in the package
Of course the take up on new iPads has slowed and even declined. Why on earth would anybody spend money on a new tablet, which despite being better on paper, basically doesn't do anything that much better than old one.
The only time I'd consider buying a new iPad is when it's been obsoleted, by which I mean that the latest OS is not available for it, and then only if I absolutely need an app which requires a higher system version than I can install. Or if the battery goes tits up - mine after 6 hours use is still showing above 60% so it's fine.
The thing is that for most people once you've bought into this shiny new thing where the novelty has worn off, but know exactly what you use the device and it's integrated into your life as a need, then having to replace it with another one with no real advantage is almost a grudge purchase. This is pretty much how I felt when I finally updated my 4 year old iPhone 3G to a 4S. I needed to but I didn't want to.
In conclusion, basically anybody who wants an iPad has got one, and there's not enough in the package for anybody with at least an iPad 2 to really warrant upgrading. Therefore sales are sagging. Obvious really.
Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.
Actually he's firing a .22 Long Rifle rimfire round. It has a subsonic muzzle velocity with very little recoil and very little pressure. This type of round basically has a max range of around 130 metres, and is generally used for targets, and hunting rats and squirrels. It's basically an air gun plus round which obviously would help to keep the gun intact. Another reason for choosing this type of round is that the spring firing mechanism would probably lack the force required to detonate a centre fire round. A rimfire round uses a primer around the rim of the rear casing which in turn detonates the main charge.
If he'd have used a Remington .223 or the NATO equivalent the 5.56, which I shoot quite regularly, and are considered relatively light rounds, then he'd have blown the gun apart on the first shot.
This whole printed plastic gun malarkey is basically nothing more than a gimmick. Nobody will ever be able to print a fully functional gun entirely from plastic. Too many problems exist in terms of the gun coping with the pressure and force generated, and accuracy because even if you print lands into the barrel they won't be there after the first shot.
The big fear is that you could print the lower receiver and then use parts that freely available to make a serious gun which is to all intents and purposes untraceable as it's the lower receiver that has the serial number for the gun. But even then those printed so far have failed after 5 or 6 hundred rounds - ok admittedly they lasted long enough to do some serious damage.
Re: I'm confused...
Exactly - the articles written here, often with tongue in cheek, don't tell me what to think, but give me the information to allow me to think for myself, and I will always welcome two different viewpoints.
That's why I've been reading El Reg for over ten years now.
I didn't pay anything for In Rainbows, until it was released on CD and then I bought it. It's one of my most listened to albums and I would have gladly paid more than the 15 quid or so it cost me.
I've said previously on here that the music should be the advert for the real money making stuff such as gigs and merchandising. I got seriously down voted for that, but I still believe it to be true to an extent. That said I'm certainly not a freeloader, and do buy 95% of the music that I listen to, the other 5% tends to come from friends on USB sticks.
I do buy a lot from iTunes as it appears that Apple have let in a lot of musicians publishing under their own label and quite frankly it's a lot less hassle than trying to hunt down some of the more obscure stuff in record shops that, sadly, are dying as a result of the fact that even ageing hipsters like myself can't find anything other than mainstream in the bricks and mortar places
Anyway on to Tom Yorke. He's right. Here with have Spotify who are in effect monetising their business by streaming works of artists who are in turn paid an absolute pittance either individually, or through their associated record company (who I'm sure has negotiated far better terms than the individual). That's what I would consider a leech. At least the vast majority of torrenters don't try to make money out of their ill gotten gains.
Missed the boat
The problem with RIM, or blackberry as it's now known, is that they rested on their laurels. There was no real further innovation on their part until they realised that they were losing market ground. By the time they came up with the current models Android and iOS ruled roost and in the process also took away a significant number of blackberry customers. However good the new BB OS is, it's too little way too late.
You can have a f'ing awesome barn, with a door to die for, but if the horse already gone....
DRM - no purchase whatever the content
As the title says if some media that I want is DRM hobbled then it's an absolute no go as far as buying it is concerned. I'll go find it elsewhere, not pay for it, and be able to do as I choose with it.
Ok, as for not paying for it that's not what I want really. I do want to give the content creators some of my hard earned, but if they're going to piss me around by limiting what I can do with the media then they're going to have deal with the fact that they'll never get a penny from me.
Let me also clarify what I mean by " to be able to do as I choose with it". This does not mean stuffing it online for everybody to download. What this means is that I can shift the media between devices that I own without hassle, that I can say to my partner "hey have a read/listen to this". Also maybe pass on to a friend or two, which often, in my experience, either produces one of two results. The first being "no, didn't like that", or more often "bloody hell, I enjoyed that so I bought the entire back catalogue".
DRM kills sales, and therefore kills profits. I'm amazed that some media is still DRM protected, especially as DRM protection is actually no protection at all, just an impediment.
TL; You DR did you.
I've long been interested in audio and have come to the conclusion that one mans meat is another mans poison. Audio quality can be both subjective and objective at the same time.
Take the analogue lovers for instance. They feed a signal from a wobbling needle into RIAA equalisation, then into a tube amp, and finally into a pair of carefully voiced speakers. It sounds warm, full, and generally wonderful, and I agree. So the sound quality must be good, right?
Well yes and no. Subjectively yes because the sound is so pleasantly listenable to. Objectively it's a train wreck as there's so much 2nd order harmonic distortion being introduced into, and generated in, all parts the signal chain, which is the stuff that makes it sound so inviting to human ear, that the sound only bears a passing resemblance to what's actually been recorded.
The truth of the matter is that you could take a compressed 128Kbps AAC track, feed it into a reasonably good DAC, then into a good neutral class D amp, and finally into some flat response monitor speakers, and you'll have a sound that is far far closer to the original recording than what you'll ever get from an expensive vinyl/tube setup. The downside is that subjective quality has been reduced as a lot of people find this sound too cold, clinical and perhaps too harsh to be enjoyable.
This is where Beats and it's ilk come in. It seems that Beats, and the general trend towards headphones with a marked bass presence and rolled off highs, are attempting to put the warmth back into the music. The problem is that just putting in a bass hump and a treble dip does not mean warmth. For my ears it just produces a muffled congested sound, which on less demanding material may sound ok, but complex material just becomes an impenetrable wall of sound that is neither warm or pleasurable to listen to. I'll take my Sennheiser HD25-1 IIs (a design that's over 2 decades old) over any beats or beats pretender in the marketplace today.
Just a quick comment on audio compression. Is it bad? For me it depends. I recently did a test in which I compressed a couple of AIFFs into AAC 64, 128, 256VBR and 320, and into MP3 64 and 128. Using Audacity I set up all the tracks to play simultaneously via a neutral DAC/headamp combo feeding a pair of AKG Q701 headphones, which are known to be very analytical sounding.
I used Audacity to quickly A/B the tracks and to cut a long story short I found the MP3 files were so dismal in terms artefacts and metallic sounds compared to their AAC counterparts that I didn't bother testing higher rate MP3s - MP3 is now an antique format which has outlived it's usefulness IMO. The lower rate AAC files were so superior that I would say that if you're a only a casual listener who is happy with earbuds (or beats) then 128 is probably all you'll need. Personally I couldn't hear the difference between AAC 256VBR and 320, but I could differentiate between 320 and AIFF. it was tough to find, but when I found it I could consistently hear the difference. It's only a very slight difference but it manifested itself in the higher frequencies where the compressed track just lacked a touch of air and space compared to the AIFF.
To be honest I found the quality of the AAC files, even at 128Kbps, to be pretty damned good. So much so that if somebody gave me an unfamiliar track at 128Kbps and told me it was lossless I wouldn't be able to argue against it. As a result in music where I want the last degree of detail now gets encoded as ALAC, and music where I'm more interested in the musical message rather than absolute detail gets encoded as AAC 256VBR
Compression has a bad reputation amongst music lovers. However I feel that that reputation is no longer applicable today, and came about purely as a result of poor MP3 encodings. With AAC audio compression is now, and has been for some years, fit for purpose
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