May 13, 2003

Eh? I Can't Hear You!

My brother brought up some interesting thoughts about the new ACC format for music. You can read my comment at his site if you like. But right now, I have a different point to make about music file formats.

I work with a variety of engineers, computer scientists, and techs. Our particular branch deals specifically with acoustic measurements and thus, we have several acoustic engineers on our staff. These are people who have dedicated their life to everything dealing with sound. I know guys that can tell you the exact frequency of a tone just by listening to it.

Based on my discussions with these people, I've come to the conclusion that in general, the average person cannot tell the difference between 128 kbps MP3s and a CD. A person with a good ear can't tell the difference between 192 kbps MP3s and a CD. Granted, most of what a person can tell has more to do with the system it is being played on, but we'll assume a "perfect" system for this argument.

I've watched people who claim to be able to tell a difference fail at detecting the difference when put to a test. The human ear has limitations and a variety of equipment from the recording equipment used, to the instruments, to the device playing it back, can affect the way music sounds. Even if you had a sample rate in the megabits, your ear just wouldn't benefit.

If you don't believe me, that's fine. You go out and buy your $10,000 stereo and your terabyte hard drive system for storing music. I'll save my money for a nicer computer and a good pair of Bose headphones.

Posted by queue at 05:30 AM | Comments (1) | Category: Punditry

April 29, 2003

District of Cars (D.C.)

Due to trouble I've been having getting to my site, I've not been able to do a blog entry in a while. So let me fill you in. I'm on travel to Washington D.C. to take some classes on various areas that my company deals in. For those of you who don't know, I work for the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Specifically, I work for NAVSEA Carderock Division Naval Surface Warfare Center Detachment Bremerton. Don't you love government agencies and their need for naming and abbreviating?

Anyways, the classes are interesting, but of course I have to do some site seeing while I'm here. Last night, my brother-in-law and I tried to go visit some of the memorials that are open later. He works for the same agency I do and they sent us both on this trip. It is unbelievable how difficult it is to maneuver in D.C. Cars everywhere, roads that don't make sense, and about every 15 minutes or so, an ambulance comes up behind you with his lights going and there's no where for you to go due to all the traffic and no place to pull off.

I think my brother-in-law was nervous with the traffic because he wanted to go back to the hotel, so we didn't really get to see anything. Tonight, I went by myself. After circling D.C. twice and trying to figure out how the roads work, I managed to park near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. I also visited the Roosevelt, Vietnam, and Lincoln Memorials. And of course I took lots of pictures. When I get home, I will post some online. When I finally decided to leave, I got lost again, and then finally found my way back to the interstate I needed to get to my hotel. Of course I saw no less than three more ambulances and heard at least a few more nearby.

On Friday, I'm planning on taking the Metroliner (train/subway) into D.C. since I have all day and visit some of the Smithsonian Museums, the Washington Monument, and maybe a few other things if there's time. I'll be sure to blog on it.

Posted by queue at 07:02 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

April 12, 2003

Premium Music, Premium Price

I had a few interesting comments about my little rant on music. First of all, let's address this whole downloading of music that some of these new services are planning to offer. I'm not convinced these will be all that great for three reasons. First, I've been hearing prices well exceeding what I would think would be reasonable. That remains to be seen. Second, most services are not going to be offering a full selection. You will only be able to choose from artists that are recorded by one or two publishers depending on the service you choose. And third, it appears that the music you will be able to download will be coded so that it can only be played on the computer you download it on. Therefore, if I want to burn it to a CD for my car, it won't be easy without some sort of hack or work around. And getting it onto an MP3 player may be just as difficult given the issues I've heard about with "checking out" music to another device.

Now, to address the price I pay for music. I've done a lot of shopping around to find the best CD prices. Wal-Mart is almost always the cheapest, even over online companies. You may be able to find the same music online at a discount, but it's either because they're used CDs, overstocked CDs, or they gouge you on shipping. Granted, Amazon has lately been doing a nice free shipping deal, but I've yet to see the music I typically buy on Amazon for less than what I pay for it at Wal-Mart. I'm sure there are exceptions; this has just been my personal experience.

Posted by queue at 07:17 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

March 27, 2003

Random Thoughts

Why is it whenever a city needs money, they force their police force to write more tickets? Isn't that kind of like telling your child to bully other kids for lunch money?

I have this theory that the more urgent work I have to do, the more people come by my office asking for assistance with this or that. And speaking of having too much to do, why do bosses want to sit down with you to make a schedule of your workload, yet they don't include time for their meetings in the schedule?

I'm reminded why diseases spread so quickly every time I witness someone not washing their hands after using the restroom.

Who really believes that we can cut taxes and increase spending? Do these people think that politicians will take a pay cut to make this happen? Would you be willing to take a pay cut so that your customers could save a few bucks on your products?

It never fails that the people who make decisions on road improvements never even attempt to drive in the area they're making the decision about.

If anybody really cared what I have to say, I'd probably be writing this for some national publication. Oh well, it's probably good therapy or something.

Posted by queue at 07:18 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

March 26, 2003

Blog On

Once in a while, I surf around and read new blogs in addition to the few I try to follow. My brother had a link to the Defective Yeti blog and this particular entry just struck me as hilarious.

Posted by queue at 06:08 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

March 23, 2003

Secure Like An Open Door

I have mixed feelings about the ruling against Microsoft's advertisement. On the one hand, I can see Microsoft's side, that it is obviously a dramatisation of the software's abilities. On the other hand, I think it's about time the courts start cracking down on misleading advertisements. Now if they would only force beer advertisers to stop making it look like if you drink beer, women will love you.

Posted by queue at 08:23 AM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

March 21, 2003

Trying To Help

Ok, this is a little thing someone sent me supposedly by Dennis Miller. I haven't verified it, but it's actually pretty good no matter who wrote it.

By Dennis Miller

All the rhetoric on whether or not we should go to war against Iraq has got my little brain spinning like a top. I enjoy reading opinions from both sides, but I've detected a hint of confusion from some of you. Maybe this can help.
As I was reading the paper recently, I was reminded of the best advice anyone ever gave me. He told me about the "KISS" method ("Keep It Simple, Stupid!"). So with this as a theme, I'd like to apply this theory for those who don't quite get it. My hope is that we can simplify things and recognize a few important facts.
Here are ten things to consider when voicing an opinion on this important issue:

(1) Between President Bush and Saddam Hussein ... Hussein is the bad guy.

(2) If you have faith in the United Nations to do the right things, keep this in mind: the UN has Libya heading the Committee on Human Rights and Iraq heading the Global Disarmament Committee. Do your own math here.

(3) If you use a Google or Yahoo search and type in "French Military Victories," don't be surprised if your computer panics at its inability to respond to your inquiry.

(4) If your only anti-war slogan is "No War For Oil," hire a pit bull lawyer and sue your school district for having allowed you to slip through the cracks and robbing you of the minimum education that any non-troglodyte deserves

(5) You can take this one to the bank: Saddam and bin Laden will NOT seek UN approval before they try to kill us.

(6) Despite common belief among some, Martin Sheen is NOT the President. He only plays one on TV.

(7) If you are anti-war and even an outright "America Basher," to bin Laden you are still an "infidel" whom he wants dead.

(8) Be careful: if you believe in a "vast right-wing conspiracy," but not in the danger that Hussein poses, the only job you may be able to get is as an Ivy League college professor.

(9) Even multi-culturalists who try to browbeat us into believing that all cultures are equally deserving of respect have trouble explaining the past 500 years of Islam.

(10) Whether you are for or against military action, our young men and women overseas are fighting to defend our right to speak out on these issues. They deserve our unreserved support.

I hope this helps.

Posted by queue at 06:27 AM | Comments (0) | Category: Humor, Punditry

March 17, 2003

Music To My Ears

If you haven't heard it, I highly suggest you check out Evanescence. They just released their first major album a couple of weeks ago. From the very first time I heard one of their songs, I was hooked. Their first hit, Bring Me To Life, was used for the DareDevil soundtrack. This music is a little dark, but it has a really great sound, and Amy Lee's voice is awesome. I'd be interested to hear what other people think.

Posted by queue at 09:54 AM | Comments (1) | Category: Punditry

February 25, 2003

Where, Oh Where Did The Animals Go?

I've decided that I don't really care for Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida.  I guess I was expecting more of a zoo or a reserve.  There just weren't that many animals.  I have to admit there were some pretty nice shows.  I think next time I'll just go to Busch Gardens.

Posted by queue at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

February 02, 2003

Mourning The Dead

Don't get me wrong, I am seriously saddened and mournful about losing the seven astronauts.  Being a Florida native, I always feel attached to the space missions.  But I have to stop and wonder why we put our flags at half-mast for the seven astronauts, but when dozens of our soldiers die over in the middle east, we make mention of it and go on to another news story.

The only conclusion that I could come up with is that we see the soldiers as casualties of a "war", where the astronauts we see as civilians.  True, astronauts are typically military personnel, but they're not fighting in combat and therefore, we tend to be more touched by their deaths.

Posted by queue at 09:32 PM | Comments (1) | Category: Punditry

Attack Of The Bad Movie Clones

I apologize in advance to anyone who's a big fan of Star Wars.  I just saw Episode II and I was absolutely appalled.  The acting was bad, the graphics were lame, and the jokes were cheesy.  Only the story itself saved me from turning it off and throwing the DVD away.  I'm seriously debating whether I even want to see Episode III.  I and II were bad enough.

Posted by queue at 09:28 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

February 01, 2003

Shuttle Tragedy, Take Two

What a somber moment to see the pictures and hear the news of another Space Shuttle Tragedy.  Since there are so many news sources dealing with this, I won't even attempt to talk about the problems here.

I was almost 12 years old when the Challenger blew up in 1986.  Once again, we are reminded that traveling to space is dangerous.  I just hope that people remember that just like getting in your car, or flying in an airplane can be dangerous, so it is with any mode of travel.  Just living can have dire consequences.  It is no reason to stop living, and neither is the accident a reason to halt missions to space.

Posted by queue at 09:23 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry

January 30, 2003

Too Much LOTR?

I have a friend who has seen the second Lord Of The Rings movie 7 times already, and he was going tonight to see it an 8th time. I thought it was a great movie, but geez. I just wish I had the time to see one new movie a week.

Posted by queue at 08:57 PM | Comments (0) | Category: Punditry