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December 16th, 2017 Total archive posts: 984
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Your Tax Dollars at Work

As we get closer to tax time, it's nice to see where the money goes in a comprehensive chart. A great tool for putting things in perspective.

by Christopher Heiser on March 12 14:01

On The Perception of Goodness

In the world of audio there has been a divide since the introduction of digital audio. With the arrival of the audio CD there began a huge debate over whether the CD was superior to the vinyl record.

The proponents of digital audio could show that measurable properties such as signal-to-noise ratio, dynamic range, and pitch accuracy of the CD were far superior to vinyl. The defenders of the LP shot back that despite the drawbacks, vinyl had a greater fidelity to the original recordings and retained more of their analog quality.

It turns out that poor analog to digital (A2D) and digital to analog conversion (D2A) in the recording and playback processes in early CD equipment contributed to this perception. Furthermore, research has since shown that the original 44khz/16-bit sampling may have been too low and a higher Nyquist frequency coupled to a greater sampling depth can produce a perceptibly superior digital music experience.

But I digress. One of the interesting aspects of the vinyl vs CD debate was that the vast majority of people who claimed that vinyl was better were people who grew up listening to vinyl. Because of the strong emotional connection to how music sounded when they listened to it, the new medium sounded somehow wrong even if the empirical data showed it to be better in every way.

Evolution of digital audio has given us a wonderful example of this effect, but in the reverse direction. The introduction of MP3, and especially low-quality MP3s (128 kbps or lower) that were popular when bandwidth was less plentiful has given birth to a group of music listeners who actually prefer low-quality digital audio to uncompressed, high-quality versions of the same recordings.

Emotion is a component that is a powerful actor on our perceptions and memory.

by Christopher Heiser on March 12 13:51

Thursday Roundup

I've always been intrigued by wearable displays, and the Vuzix product line seems to be the cutting edge in the consumer sector. However, the future may be less about what you watch and more about how you interact with your surroundings which to the mobility folks out there is an incredibly promising direction for devices. Let's just hope these devices are weather resistant--or at least dry themselves in seconds when you get out of the water.

by Christopher Heiser on March 12 13:33
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