W A R N I N G !


W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cost of repair (+ Sirius LCD TV repair)

Something just struck me

I'm going to spend $20 on a case and that's considered stingy.

Previously I spent $30 on a spoilt NAD 3225PE

Case, transformer, knobs, pots 'n' all, plus precut holes.

Then I spent $40, and lots of time, to repair it.

I could've just spent a bit more money, buy a new working amp board, and put it inside.

Unless one can convince me that that thing repaired is worth $300, there is no point. Since, the Sure, after a bit of modding, does call $300 for a finished product.

That's why some things are just not worth repairing.

So that's part one of today's entry.

Onto part two

My house's LCD TV was acting up right after its warranty period of one year. The symptom of unable to power up right after the wall socket is switched on indicates a failed cap - what I deduced from experience with many cheap computer PSUs with this problem.

Taking the thing apart finds me a bunch of TEAPO (read as CHEAPO) caps, with one slightly bloated.


Another angle.


As I was ordering some things from Farnell I "tong pang" the caps with them - Panasonic M 1000uF 16V (to replace the original 10V; I bought over to increase reliability) and 1000uF 35V.

Turns out the original TEAPOs are rated 105 degrees while the Panasonic M series is rated for 85 only, with this in mind I decided against replacing all the caps until necessary. But knowing how TEAPOS fail when exposed to 60+ degrees inside computer PSUs anyway, I decided the Panasonics are still more reliable.

Then I also learnt that I should've gotten EPCOS MKP over WIMA MKS4.

Nvm, I can use all these caps for future small things.

Replacement part: $0.78
Knowledge to take things apart and analyse: Unmeasurable, but not a lot
LCD TV when I paid for it: $700
Revenue of entire industry operating in the conspiracy of ensuring things break down right after the warranty period thus forcing you to buy a new one: Priceless

There are some things money can't buy
For everything else, there's

PayPal

Which requires MasterCard.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Real products stand the test of time

This is related to the hype cycle here:
http://wwenze.blogspot.com/2009/11/hype-cycle.html

Hyped products survive for only a few months, maybe a year or two if lucky.

Real products survive forever.

Like Wharfedale Diamond - now at version 10
Or Paradigm Atom - the v.1 that I own, now at v.6
Or Bose series I, II, III, IV, V...
The 60-year-old Klipschorn that is still in production today
The famous LS3/5a that packs value, sound, monitor, and size into one and kept alive by fanatics who overrate this otherwise still good value speaker

ATP3 and MX5021 that people just prefer over newer offerings
Benchmark DAC1 - while too many DACs come and go in this era, this guy stays there from lack of challengers alongside Lavry, the only things demanding more money are mostly from bullsh!t brands also selling other bullsh!t products.

Now lets look at hyped products.

I'm sure you can make your own list by now. Just think of things that are not popular now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A delivery from Sure Electronics:


Nakamichi banana plugs - USD$4.59 for a pack of 5 pairs

Probably not original but at this price who cares, plus the name gives bragging rights. Like Monster. And considering it's Nakamichi, this should be at least the same quality if not better. Like Monster.


Sure Electronics 2*100 watt @ 4ohm TK2050 Class-D Amplifier - the board that can be either heaven or hell - either unbeatable value at USD$39.99, or pair it up with a good power supply, some boutique component upgrades, and you have an amplifier that can rival or even beat those boutique-brand-name amplifiers priced over $500-$1k.

It does say MSI on the sticker on the fan on the heatsink. The power of China OEM.


A side view showing the height of the heatsink, and the spare heatsink they provided in the left still in its bubble-wrap.


Your laptop power brick is not a 145W PSU. THIS is a 145W PSU.

Pair it with a good power supply I mentioned, pair it with a good power supply I did. This Meanwell 145W power supply provides 6A @ 24V, which is more than enough for driving 8 ohm loads.
This amplifier is said to sound good at diyaudio, and anything good enuff for diyaudio is good enuff to own commercial brands with.


Their Christmas present to me - 2*8W @ 8ohm/4ohm, MPS7720 Class-D Audio Amplifier - good for use with the TV computer, lets see how I'll fit it into the computer casing.

Computer power supply and audio aren't supposed to match, but this is a cheap setup in the first place - onboard sound and JBL CS100, I feel sorry for the Yulong T-Amp that doesn't match.


The Sure running on computer PSU +12V. A Seasonic S12-430. For testing. It gets pretty loud with just 12V, as do my Yulong, but I'm going to give it 24V anyway - amplifiers always sound nicer with more spare capacity.

With its ground currently floating the amp gets some noisy buzz with nothing connected but becomes dead silent when connected to the source. A dead-silent T-Amp, now that's some rare proper design there. For I seldom see cheap T-Amps that don't buzz. The floating ground is good, but the voltage-offset at turn-on can scare the shyt out of people.

And a lesson learnt today - not all power bricks are good quality. Using the 12V 2A brick that came with my USB to IDE HDD adapter the highs just go into a crackling of noises, for a while I thought my tweeters are fried.


It fits just nice in a Ferrero Rocher box. Hmm ideas...

And I'm thinking that the Nakamichi plugs aren't that good quality after all, sound quality suffers after using them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quote of the day: Psycho-Acoustics

"I think it all works on Psycho-Acoustics.

In other words, you have to be a bit Psycho to believe it will affect your acoustics."

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/everything-else/156748-lmao-any-idea-how-works-3.html

Noisy lamp dimmer


Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I've always known that dimmers are noisy but didn't understand why a simple device like this can dump more noise than a switch-mode power supply.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/everything-else/156750-so-now-i-have-worry-about-dirty-electricity-2.html

Tagged under audio because, buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, need I say more?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

[Rant] Oxygen-free copper cables

It's acceptable when you find this term being mentioned in general forums, it's not when you see it on pro-audio forums (or "act-pro"-audio forums).

Oxygen-free copper, or OFC cables, cables made of high conductivity copper alloys that have been electrolytically refined to reduce the level of oxygen to .001% or less,

Is NOT a new thing in electronics or audio. In fact, I'd be surprised if I find a cable that is NOT made of OFC nowadays.

The big letters "OFC" on the reel, that is for the $1/m cable from my neighbourhood's DIY store (cost price: 10cents) to distinguish them from the 1cent ones, not for the $10/m "rated for audio" cables, and certainly not for the $100 speaker cables and interconnects.

So if you see a $100 cable with "OFC" as its feature, you know it's got nothing else worthy of marketing and nothing worth your money. It's like those overpriced and underpowered nettops that tout HD-playback capability, something that anything with a current-gen gfx processor or decent GPU can do, and give away the fact that without the built-in H.264 acceleration these things can't do shiat, they can't use FFDShow, and they suck at gaming.

So, if you ever see anyone talking about OFC cable as though it is something significant, do me a favour and shoot him.

You'd do the same without me telling if people talk about gold-plated connectors, rite?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thank you, Captain Obvious


Yes, I know what's the meaning of disable. And that's precisely what I want to do. Stop rephrasing as though I'm somebody from management. They won't manage to reach this place anyway.


So... you're saying in other places if I want to disable something I should choose "Enabled"?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Full-range speakers - how purist are they actually?

This topic might need some background introduction -

Full-range speakers, or fullrangers, or (according to some) more accurately wide-range speakers, are basically speakers that only have one driver per cabinet that handle the entire range of frequencies.

The beauty of this lies in the lack of crossovers that dirty the sound.

But, in order to make up for the lack of frequency extension, the low-end is usually covered by an elongate bass reflex port while the high is sometimes handled with a coaxial tweeter. Bass reflex cabinets have an extra resonance from the reflex port that is used to boost the low-end volume, but this extra resonance also means harder tuning for the entire system, and almost every guide on bass reflex speakers will mention the group delay and poor transient response, which combined with the resonant frequency of the port gives what's well-known as boomy bass.

What is a whizzer cone?

As for the coaxial tweeter, the main woofer diaphragm can be compliantly coupled (think suspension) such that only the lower frequencies are handled by the main diaphragm while the high frequencies that can't get to the main diaphragm are handled by the whizzer. It's a mechanical crossover.

So in the end, in order to make the speaker full-range, one has to introduce other resonant frequencies that will give the speaker the required greater frequency extension. These frequencies can be tuned of course, but this goes against the purist mindset of fullrangers already. Even if only one driver and a sealed cabinet is used, there will still be one resonant frequency that will show up as a peak, but this should be obvious as the peak is formed due to the trough appearing at where the bass and highs should have been - frequency response is relative.

To top it off, some of the best designs include the addition of a supertweeter which obviously does not include having a crossover design for the application.

One should wonder why we had two-way (or 3 and 4-way) systems in the first place, when the first speakers were single-way. As with many things are simple when they were first invented and got complicated later on due to progress and development, but there are always those who are willing to fall back to the Stone Age. I blame those who can't get a real engineering job and turn to making simple products out of textbook designs, then marketing them as new designs to suckers. Think, if any Tom's Dick's Hairy can come up with a simple design within a few months thousands others must have thought of it before already, and didn't go with it because they obviously knew it sucks. They know they'll make more money designing something else that will sell more rather than this niche market.

I'm not bashing the concept of full-range speakers, but everything, including audio equipment plus others. This topic warrants its own post, but I'm posting it here on momentum. Good full-range speakers do exist, but they're certainly not designed by Tom's Harry Dick. And usually at those competency levels nobody believes in purism anymore, so it's okay with me; I'm just against self-delusioning.

How NOT to do a commercial for a game:



It seems they used a comedian. It does achieve the intended effect.

If somebody told me this is a spoof I'd readily believe it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sign of aging population


In the past only one seat was "reserved for them". Then two.

Now we have four. Almost all the way to the front. All the way if you don't count the opposite-facing seats which are next to useless, unless you enjoy staring at people and freaking them out.

And this is spotted on bus 199, the route almost dedicated to NIE.

Backlight bleeding

Who says only LCDs suffer from uneven backlight?

"Buy-wiring"

"As you can see, they support "buy-wiring", as the market demanded at the time."

http://www.mhennessy3.f9.co.uk/rogers/others.htm

What a great way to put it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

HD4770 with a 430W PSU

Unloaded

Load

PSU is a Seasonic S12-430, YMMV

Friday, November 27, 2009

Re:-posting

I might have reposted a few things a few times.

But that's how journalism works. Every once in a while there will be an article teaching you how to build a DIY computer, how to overclock. And on the forums you often see WOLS people thinking old concepts are new inventions.

At least what I post are hard to find, that is the philosophy of this blog. Unlike how to build a DIY computer which has so many different authors you see until sian already.

And at least I don't repeat it one-hundred-and-twenty-three times

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Difference Between Smart And Dumb Upgrading:

If you have an open mind, you'll believe (with skepticism) most audio upgrades and tweaks

So both the smart and the dumb upgraders will eventually do the same things - audio fuses, CD mats, spikes for equipment with no moving parts, resonators, magic pebbles, de-static for grounded conductive parts (just in case, if you do not understand why this is pointless, please do a search), pulse generators, parallel power noise filters, power grid vibration dampers, and anything requiring nuclear or quantum physics (probably relativistic physics too), Schrödinger's cat, Klingons, Pikachus, and Yagami Light.

But the main difference is that the smart upgraders know where that $200 or $1k should go first. And it usually does not involve Klingons.

So, if you realize that you've been spending extra on stupid things which could be better spent on more realistic things, this is a sign for you to stop. Fortunately for you all, those who enjoy reading my blog, you most probably haven't, and for those who do realize, now you know. For those that are not reading my blog, well, they can't see this anyway.

The Hype Cycle

As technology advances, so do the performance and value of products.

Some people get left behind due to the lack of information of the new products and too much information of the old.

A few pioneers use the new product and go and hype about how good it is. (Note: May not necessarily be true)

More people join the bandwagon, realize (or think - there's a difference) the old product is overhyped and not good, and move on to the new product, and the hype level of new product increases.

New product becomes overhyped.

Repeat cycle.

Well, this is my version for the cycle. Gartner, Inc. has another more widely-known and adopted version here:

Hype cycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Thought A Day: Tubes

I've heard powerful tubes. But I've heard many more lousy ones.

And it's the lousy ones that some people like.

Tubes that do not have the so-known weaknesses of tubes don't sound good, apparently.

(tubes as in the implementation - tube amp, tube DAC)

Note: This post has to do with a newly-released product. And it has a tube inside (you could've guessed). Can you guess what it is?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Words of wisdom of the day:

"If a sales thread gets modified until you see nothing related to any information of the product, or worse if the entire thread is deleted after the sale, high chance there is something wrong.

If you didn't get it, don't feel too bad. If you got it, you'll know whether there is some truth to that statement."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My portable player

- Inspired by ZOMBiE

metro.fi 150 - sold out everywhere

I knew some of the metro.fi series were discontinued, and hence will disappear in time to come

But almost everywhere I see selling the metro.fi (usually NOT earphone/audio shops, but electronics stores or Apple stores) have the 100, the 200, the 170 & the 220.

Just not 150.

Why the distribution?

And the 170 sells for the same price as the 150 - $79.

Did Logitech kill it because it will compete with the 170?

Why didn't they kill 200 then?

Was it too lousy and will shame Ultimate Ears in comparison?

Or is it too good it got sold out?

Being one of the few to have regularly used both the 150 and the 170, I might have the answer.

And the answer is all of them.

I'll save the review for next time though.

Oh and btw, I didn't know there was a nubox outlet in Jurong Point.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why graphics cards don't need as much cooling as CPU

This idea just came to me...

While we already know that graphics cards eat much more power than CPUs...,

Why are the biggest graphics card coolers still way smaller than CPUs'?

How is this thing able to cool a GTX280?


Then I realize that gfx cards can run at much higher temperatures compared to CPU.

The amount of heat dissipated by a particular object is proportional to the temperature delta, or difference, between the object and the thing that it is supposed to lose heat to - air in this case.

The difference in temperature require to transfer energy at the rate of 1W, is called thermal resistance, measured in degrees per W

Which is the the strange °C/W symbol you see on all decent review sites of HSFs. It is a much more accurate show of performance rather than the stupid temperature which differs depending on the CPU and ambient temperature, which always differs.

Since at twice the temperature difference the object dissipates twice the amount of heat

If the air inside the case is 40 degrees and a CPU runs at 50 degrees

The gfx card can run at 80 degrees to dissipate 4 times the heat, given the same heatsink. Meaning it can either dissipate the same amount of heat as the CPU using a heatsink 1/4 as effective or twice the heat with a half-as-effective heatsink, which is what is probably happening now.

Since the most powerful CPU HSF can cool a 78W processor with only 10 degrees difference

A powerful gfx using 150W and a half-as-effective heatsink - 40 degrees difference.

Or lets go lower - a mid-range gfx card with 75W power - and a heatsink 1/4 as effective = also 80 degrees.

CPUs die at 80 degrees, so people will complain. (Anything over 60 or 65 or 70 is bad already)

GFX card can go over 80. Even 100.

Hence the lousier heatsinks.

It all makes sense now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Inside or outside?

The power supply, that is.

In an ideal situation I'd want an oversized chassis with an oversized transformer taking up maybe 1/4 of the space, the power supply 1/4, digital and analogue stages 1/4 each - just rough estimates, ideally and in real life the analogue stage will be closer to half, digital less than 1/4 and power supply in between. Assuming DAC only - if plus receiver and control and other stuff like reclocking and PLL the digital part easily becomes the biggest.

But that's for DAC of course. For simple amp with only analogue stages, half pre half power, or a little pre full power, anything. Still I'd want an oversized chassis with a badass transformer and lots of capacitors.

But what if one doesn't have the luxury of a large casing - just a small or tiny one.

Just enough to fit a small transformer.

Would you rather use half the space for a small transformer and enjoy the benefit of a beefier, lower-impedance power-source that requires less capacitors to work well, or use a wall-wart with the entire space in the casing for more and better parts?

One thing I do know for sure, is that I can't choose - I already have one of those small China amps. With the transformer inside. And on the other hand, the Lepai T-amp is wall-wart-powered.

An external power supply via a good power brick would be the best choice. But at $40 for a good one, the cost doesn't add up to the benefits, if you're using or building something that needs to care about this problem.

No picture of my Chinese class-AB amp though, I'm not at home right now. Here's a picture of the Lepai:


It's pretty sexy considering its price and size

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Headphones...

...and why I hate them

I almost forgot about this reason. It's not the warmth, it's not the stress on the ears and surrounding regions,

It's how the sound changes depending on how you wear it. How front, how back, how tilted, how tight. This is before talking about mods such as distancers and sponges and whatnots.

Very irritating if you want your music to be consistent.

One good reason why you tend to see speakers instead of headphones being used for mixing. But there are many good reasons.

Still, you'll always need headphones in the recording studio. For recording purposes.

This deserves a photo:

From this:


To this:


In less than one hour

Hello revision

This is just for the quiz on one subject, expect the one for 2 subjects, full test to be much more epic.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The best things feel short and long at the same time -

Short because you're enjoying it, long because it's meaningful.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This is what happens when you don't practise self-control when posting:

The best sounding audio integrated opamps - diyAudio forums

Though I'm not one to talk... but hey, I use my own blog. He doesn't.

Contradiction of the day:

"yeah..the caps mostly improve the stagesound of the whole setup while minimizing the changes to the sound signature..which mean you still get the sound signature you like..while having more extension and bigger stagesound.."

Needless to say which forum I got this from...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New school of thought:

"There's never too much of something, only too little of something else."

And it's so true. When a speaker has too much mids, it's because it does not have enough bass and highs.

A HD3850 on Athlon 64 (my setup) - it's not too much gfx power, but too little CPU power.

This is based on the fact that there is never enough of everything. Even for fat - not because you eat too much, but because you're not burning it fast enough.

And there's never such thing as too much gfx power.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do not rush to buy the item on promotion...

...especially if it's a tech product, no matter the price and promotion.

Because within 1 month there will be someplace else with the same promo, or better.

There should be a theory for this I think. If not, I'll declare it under wwenze Shepherd Strategies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top 30 highest paid politicians in the world

http://http://www.xtremeplace.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=67992.0

Clean sweep by tiny Singapore to be in the Guinness Book of Records!
Top 30 highest paid politicians in the world and they are all from Singapore.

1. Elected President SR Nathan - S$3.9 million.
2. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - S$3.8 million.
3. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew - S$3.5 million.
4. Senior Minister Goh Chok Thong - S$3.5 million.
5. Senior Minister Prof Jayakumar - S$3.2 million.
6. DPM & Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng - S$2.9 million.
7. DPM & Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean - $2.9 million.
8. Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo - S$2.8 million.
9. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan - S$2.7 million.
10. PMO Minister Lim Boon Heng - S$2.7 million.
11. Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang - S$2.7 million.
12. PMO Minister Lim Swee Say - S$2.6 million.
13. Environment Minister & Muslim Affairs Minister Dr Yaccob Ibrahim - S$2.6 million.
14. Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan - S$2.6 million.
15. Finance Minister S Tharman - S$2.6 million.
16. Education Minister & 2nd Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen - S$2.6 million.
17. Community Development Youth and Sports Minister - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan - $2.5 million.
18. Transport Minister & 2nd Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim Siang Kiat - S$2.5 million.
19. Law Minister & 2nd Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam - S$2.4 million.
20. Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong - S$2.2 million.
21. PMO Minister Lim Hwee Hwa - S$2.2 million.
22. Acting ICA Minister - Lui Tuck Yew - S$2.0 million.
23 to 30 = Senior Ministers of State and Ministers of State - each getting between S$1.8 million to S$1.5 million.

Win liaoz lor...

"Be sure your foil hat has a good low impedance ground"


Thanks to Tweeker for this creative quote.

If the shield is not grounded, it will not act as a shield. It does, however, if wired incorrectly such that it becomes return ground conductor, act as a bigger antenna for the EMI.

But I guess some audiophools don't get the concept. But I guess you don't need science to make some audio stuff.

Shielded home speaker cables, heh heh.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is why you don't need fast internet:

1mbps plan gives ~100kB/s real dl speed

100kB/s x 60s/min = 6MB/min

= 360MB/hr

= 8640MB/day ~ 8GB per day

How often do you dl 8GB worth of stuff?

And if your dl speed is slow (~10-20kB/s) due to various reasons, all the less reason you should subscribe a faster plan.

Unless you enjoy paying more than $60 per month for the bandwidth and free gift that you don't need.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things pple say in their signatures:

"I MAY BE A NEWBIE AT here BUT IM A 3 year VETERAN at vr forum
so trust me on my sales :)"

Here - meaning HWZ

First, 3 years = VETERAN (with the caps)?

Second, VETERAN = trustable?

I see most people with lots of experience in trading are dealers, and rule #1 - never trust dealers

Furthermore, most people who claim to be trustable turn out the opposite.

He may be honest, but his sig yields the opposite effect.

Would you buy from him?

I, for one, wouldn't.

Because noobs tend to overprice their items too.

Hypocrisy: Animal rights

(Note: This post is not specifically directed at anyone, but rather at a huge group of people, I used the link because it was available and because it gave me this topic to talk about)

http://forums.vr-zone.com/pets-lovers-corner/499367-warning-please-have-the-heart-watch.html

Once in a while, this kind of thing pops up.

Arguing for animal rights via sick videos.

Ok, lets see what's sick about this.

The gore?

Have you ever cooked before? Have you ever chopped a head or gutted something?

With your bare hands. Does the videos show anything more gross than that?

Some people go further to eat brains. My mom isn't that extreme, she only eats the eyeballs of fish and opens up the head to eat the meat.

Or, what's sick in the video is the treatment of the animals, how they were killed or left to die?

Ever been to Jurong fishery port? And looked at the fishes lying on the floor trying hard to breath? Occasionally you see a fish flop, amazing how high they can jump. But those are the lucky ones, the ones at the bottom of the pile are not so lucky.

Go to any meat farm, what you see there will not be any better than what you see in the above videos.

Because of this, I don't consider killing Chinchilla for fur any more brutal than killing animals for meat. Some people may care, because of preferential treatment - Chinchilla are cute, cows are not. And these people are hypocrites. I find chickens and ducks cute, as well as most other species of birds. But I still eat chicken. Well's that's their job. Better than let them extinct.

If you're a vegetarian because of this, than it's ok, because you're walking the talk.

What about household pests then. I find mice cute, though women (and some men/'men') may not. Does being a pest mean I can use rat poison and see them curl up, shiver and die? That's like what happened to the Chinchilla in the video. Chinchillas are also rodents btw.

How about a more extreme example - contact of a cockroach means immediate action of an overdose of neurotoxin sprayed directly in the face - I don't think there are many people opposed to that. Then you see the cockroach run a little, flip over, shake its legs like crazy, gets sprayed with more neurotoxin-in-yer'-face, stops moving.

Oh, so, that's not wrong. It's only wrong when you do it on something other than cockroaches and rats.

See, preferential treatment.

There are people who keep cockroaches as pets.

And rats are cute too.



I don't like dogs, does that mean I can shoot them?

Then all the world's dog lovers will turn against me. And there are probably more of them than animal rightists.

So, if you're not supposed to kill animals, you're not supposed to kill animals. Doesn't matter which and what way they're killed.

No point trying to discourage people with sick videos. After all, humans have done more sick things than that.

And does that mean it's okay if we don't see the sickness? Then why bother showing these videos in the first place?

Quote of the day:

"Spending $200 to mod a $200 product does not make it into a $400 product, what you get is still a $200 product with $200 spent on modding."

Did I say that before?

More on this issue to come later...

Random though of the day: Fake Monster cables

So I saw Monster cables selling on Chinese auction sites for 20RMB or less. (that's less than what we pay for normal cables in Singapore)

So it's definitely fake.

But even if you fake a Monster cable how worse can it sound? Who knows, it might even sound better.

Okay, that was a total suanage of the brand which sues everybody, including baby clothing companies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

That was strange!

I just cut and pasted a file when it was playing in WMP!

O.o

Or r u supposed to be able to do that? Like, deleting a file while it's playing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PURE SONGS@DREAM C CLUB - FINALLY!


This is probably the longest I've waited for an album - half a year, maybe more. When I saw the opening video for Dream C Club I had to get that song when it comes out.

This album is nothing spectacular, not even for its best song which IMHO is (and I believe it's supposed to be) the opening theme for the game, but that song is still above averagely good, and good songs are already hard to find. And around half of the songs are good or at least listenable, which is actually quite a feat, since most of the time I don't go for more than 3 songs in an album, and that's when I'm lucky. 1 to nil is when I'm unlucky.

Having heard all the short versions of the songs before does kill freshness, the "wow this's good" feeling you get when you first hear a good song.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Things people say on their sales thread:

"Battery life still normal(80min)"

Normal for a 3-yr-old notebook or a desktop replacement with a power-hungry gfx card

Not normal for a netbook - EEE PC 701

Any netbook without at least 2 hours of battery has no use.

I might have mentioned this before, my laptop has more than 3, probably 3-and-a-half hours of battery life. And from what I see, most laptops less than a year old have high chance of hitting 2.5hrs - playing videos. At least an Acer Extensa 4620Z managed that.

If you really want this worn out piece of crap, you can get it for $300 here, though I have a gentle reminder that this thing only cost $400 when new.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On bad soundcards (onboard) and cheap speakers -

So the Realtek onboard in my laptop sounds muther-f**king gay with its obscene bass boost that the norm consumer (and some 'audiophiles') will say "wow".

Like, you'd think people would be idiots to degrade the already bad sound even further.

Well, shoot me, because when I plugged my bro's Creative Inspire 2600 directly to my laptop's analogue out (without going through the external DAC) it actually sounded better - more full, more mids, not as whiny as usual.

And that's why more bass should definitely help for the huge majority of users on small whiny speakers $20 to $200 (and there are exceptions - I've seen speakers costing over $2-300 and still sound gay) - the overpowered sub with overtiny satellites results in two peaks and no mids. The extra bass from certain "upgrades" of soundcards/audio devices help compensate for this, hence making the sound better.

But of course, use this with any half-decent system, and you'll shouting "OMGWTF" maybe add a BBQ behind.

So, lessons learnt today:

1) System matching (synergy) is important - cheap source goes with cheap speakers, expensive sources goes with expensive speakers

2) Never, never think you're smart and others stupid, you aren't as smart as people getting paid to spend their time working on this

However, exceptions include products that are made in -

- USA
- Eastern Europe
- Middle East
- Australia (including New Zealand)
- South Africa
- Some products from China (you have to check the sources to see if they're not cheating your money)
- Hong Kong
- Singapore - all audio products that are designed in Singapore by Singaporeans are bound to be bloodsuckingly overpriced and have extremely poor performance

That leaves us with -

- Great Britain
- Germany
- Japan
- China (the good parts)
- Taiwan
- Canada
- And a small part of USA

Which is where most of the world's audio came from in the first place or where most of the current audio stuff and technology are currently being designed and produced in.

"All your speakers are made in China"
(Usher - made in Taiwan, Wharfedale - owned by IAG, the list goes on...)

But, then
"All your PSUs are made in China"
- lots of people don't realize this fact - that Delta, Seasonic, Enermax, HiPro, Acbel etc. all are Taiwanese companies with their production in China

"All you phones are made in China"
- ...this should be a given. That, or Taiwan

"All your MP3 players are made in China"
- some people can guess, but there are others that strongly believe that all the good MP3 players are not made in China. Well, wonder what'd be their expression when they know that they're still manufactured by Chinese and to some extent, designed by Chinese

With all these, speakers being made by Chinese doesn't seem bad at all.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quote of the day:

"Noobs are more dangerous than frauds, because frauds know when to stop talking crap"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Over 9000!!!!



From this:



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Wait for it...

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

You know something is wrong

when they give you 5 examples on the same operation in the lecture notes.

Fuk... fuk FE1006 Maths, fuk integration.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A reply to a post:

"fat tiger: hey great blog. I'm a music lover in Sg too. J**** is really overpriced for some stuff. Wish i had more knowledge of electronics to DIY"

Firstly, thanks.

Onto topic, you don't need a lot of knowledge of electronics to DIY. And what I observe is that ironically, it tends to be the case that those who DIY don't have a lot of knowledge, and those who have a lot of knowledge don't DIY because they know that a good product requires months of research, calculations, simulation, measurements (and the required associated equipments), and at least a degree in electronics engineering plus a few years of actual hands-on experience. And so in the end, most don't bother, save for a few really pro ones that aim to achieve something that is better than what their money can buy (and usually having the above mentioned requirements).

And those that really have knowledge AND time, they're getting paid to design for companies, it couldn't count as DIY.

Those that DIY - most of them don't come up with their own designs, all they do is follow (free) instructions from someone else. Like, the Mini^3 amp for example, just follow the instructions and have some soldering skills. Or, some (possibly useless) things like swapping of op-amps, adding capacitors, which again, requires little real knowledge.

It's like, a car repair technician don't need to know how to design a car. Just learn how to hold the spanner.

Sad to say, I probably needn't mention that most DIY design jobs by novices tend to turn out sucky, even those that may be repackaged and sold at obscene prices to suckers.

Yup, so you don't have to really know electronics, just need to know enough to know that buying DIY-ed stuff from others is generally stupid unless they're charging you just the construction fee. Meaning a cable should cost at most as much as what you pay if you order one from LHS. And modded items are worth at most the item + the mod. I've seen too many J****ites trying to sell overpriced stuff either out of ignorance/self-delusion or actually trying to make money by tricking suckers. A certain few trying to act pro actually go around asking for receipes then make the product to sell to said suckers. They have no dignity. So it's best to avoid when you see one.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Subtitle Fail

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why do drama shows always show people having lots of thoughts and feelings

...when in real life people's mind are way shallower than you think.

We're probably more human in storybooks and shows, in real-life, we're closer to animals, and like them we do not think a lot over some things.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

If you had 300 dollars:

1) Buy a netbook to replace notes to bring to school
2) Repair Rogers Studio 3

Which would you choose?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Random thought of the day:

How do elves sleep at night with their long ears? They can't sleep sideways for sure.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

............


The 280 I mentioned is in USD. Plus shipping amounts to around $500.

Calculation of hype

Hype is the deviation between a product's expected worth or performance and its actual worth or performance, expressed in terms of percentage.

It's NOT the number of people supporting the product. We can have lots of people buying supporting a product with negative hype i.e. the product is better than what they think it is, or one idiot preaching that a product is so good so good - the amount of hype is 300%.

Just remember - after factoring in packaging, marketing, distribution, other business whatnots, the worth of a product is very efficiently decided by the market. More efficiently than analysts, more efficiently than government, and most importantly, more efficiently than you.

A law always applies - whatever idea that you think of has already been thought of by others, and they usually know it in more detail, and if they never implemented the idea, they know the problems with it. The only exception to this law is if you are some professional paid to research in that for months, which most of you likely aren't. Or unless the product maker is an idiot. But if that's the case, the invisible hand will do its works.

BTW if by any chance any of you reading are working in R&D, I'm honoured to have you as my audience.

Let me illustrate it better with a case study - suppose a product is priced at $500. Either some or many people are saying it's good it's good it beats $2000 products - which would mean it's a $500 product with a worth of e.g. $1000 as a conservative estimate.

So logically it would be selling like hotcakes.

If something is selling like hotcakes, then manufacturor will up the price. People who need that kind of product within that price range will still buy it if they think it is worth $1000, which goes in line with the economic concept that consumer will buy something as long as consumer surplus >0 (although really, much of basic economics is common sense).

If the manufacturor downs the price, it would be because they are not selling enough at original price, and that they will get more sales at a lower price. To get more sales by lowering price, in economics this would mean an elastic demand, which means people has a greater unwillingness to pay at the higher price. Which means more people think that the product is not worth the original price.

Summary - manufacturor downs price -> because they will get more sales -> because people think that it is not worth the original price

Since the huge crowd of price-determining people here is the market, market forces adjusts the price of product to what it should be worth.

And this value is lower than the hyped value.

Therefore, no matter how much hype a product has, one must always look at its retail price. Of course, marketing and hype can affect pricing, but you can reduce the effect by comparing prices of different ranges but similar products. For example, no matter how hyped a Zero DAC is, it will certainly never beat a Citypulse. The answer is given clear by the works of market forces.

So I stress, always consider the relative prices when guessing a product's performance.

Now, there is actually an irony here - the reason people follow hype is because they are insecure and hence want to go with what is accepted by others. But this others is actually a small group different from the rest of the world.

Hence hype.

Recall that hype does not require a certain number of partipants, any number will work as long as there is a considerable deviation in expected and actual value. Which agrees with the above proposition that hype happens in groups that are small relative to the market.

What about groups that are big relative to the market, or even as big as the market itself?

It would be marketing. And marketing is both an art and science. And it takes effort to skew people's view by so much. iPod is the best example of marketing.

And the difference between hype and marketing is that, I can always sell my iPod off at a high price second-hand, because marketing has actual value. Hype does not, so good luck selling your hyped-up product before its value halves next year.

Random thought of the day:

Saying the correct and omitting the obvious and general knowledge tends to attract response from people who say what seems correct and state the obvious.

Random thought of the day:

People who act as though they've seen the world with their whatever $200 DAC, $500 speaker, or $2000 system should be shot dead.

Note that money is not a problem here - it applies to all ranges. But those who act so with less budget deserve to be shot with a bazooka or something with a bigger caliber.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I love this site

"Poll: Natural dielectrics like silk,paper or cotton sound more natural than say polyprop"

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=151148

Those with limited engineering knowledge and inadequate hearing will say no

Those with more engineering knowledge and listen with their brains will say yes

Those with enough engineering knowledge, enough hearing with their ears, and enough thinking with their brains will say this is a stupid poll

Because those in the last category know jolly well that "naturalness" is subjective and dependent on system matching, and that given adequate performance of a particular part and sufficiently good design, the circuit itself will affect the sound more greatly than the quality of components used - which is why active components like op-amps have their own sound, and the better systems are not greatly affected by quality of parts and peripherals - e.g. cable, power conditioner, and tend to use lots more not-as-high-end parts (no Blackgates or paper-in-oil capacitors, no oversized/overnumbered transformer and capacitor banks, etc etc etc, there are lots to talk about here) while sounding better than your overbuilt shyt,

Also, what's more important to understand is that, the answer is between yes and no - it would be possible to measure differences, but would the difference be huge and would it be audible, another thing. And the choice of yes and no is not clearly defined,

hence conclusion - this question is stupid

And more than 60% of forumers chose that. And the thread became an almost complete suanage of the very existence of the question. Or is it complete suanage, sometimes they get too technical and I can't tell.

Yup, this site is good. Lots of pros, meaningful and technical discussions, open-minded. Though I know that already.

So visit this website to be happy that you didn't choose electronic engineering or if you want to persuade yourself to change your major:

http://www.diyaudio.com/

Cheapskate Audiophile Rig


http://www.mediageek.net/2008/12/cheapskate-audiophile/

It's not a powerful rig, but it is a good entry into something that sounds decent. And it has the most amount of value-for-money.

If I had the chance and the money to start from scratch again I would gladly go for this.

Sadly, the Sonic Impact T-Amp is not value-for-money anymore, far from it in fact - it was super when it was sold for USD$39, but soon after, no doubt due to some audiophile/"audiophile" sites hyping it (especially this one with its adsurb claims, btw quite a few items had increased in prices to become overpriced after their reviews were published by this site, I'm not even sure whether they look at performance or money paid under the table), it was asking for at least twice as much (and the T-Amp 2 asking 4 times, without any significantly more effort put in).

At those prices, there are many better alternatives from China. And two (non-Chinese) ones made it into Singapore - JAM Acoustics Audio Amplifier using the famous Tripath TA2024 chip selling for $79, or $59 without PSU and Scythe Kama Bay amp using YAMAHA YDA138 selling for less than $100 at the local distributor of Scythe products Alex Tav.

In the end (or rather, before those choices were available), I got a chance to buy an Yulong for $100 and another one for $120. I'd rather go for something with a toroid. And bigger caps.

Back to not talking about myself, the rig on top is worth less than $200 in current monetary value (if hyping does not take place and prices are what they should be selling at second-hand - Extigy goes for less than $40, do not have any hope for the T-Amp - it should sell for at most its ex retail price, anything more you can go for the newer better alternatives - the preamp is worth max $100 - around $150 new & shipped), yet in economic value (as in the amount of enjoyment) it is worth a whole load more.

Actually you don't need a lot of money for something with decent sound - $100 for an amp, $100 for a pair of old passive speakers, and you're good to own. Way more so than Aego M, Klipsch Promedia GMX, Creative T3. Maybe not all-roundedly especially in the bass department, but stretch the budget to $300 and some creativity and you will.

So seriously, consider getting a cheap separate set-up. It will be worth your effort. And money. And it's fun. (By separate it is a term for set-ups with amps, speakers, preamp etc separated into individual units, as opposed to combined in a single speaker enclosure, not separate as in another set-up that is not your current one)

How upsampling may be bad - a hypothesis

I cannot live with a HD screen without the trusty Lanczos, because point sampling is too jaggy, and bilinear is too blur.

So the idea that upsampling is good. Because interpolating the data such that it looks more like a line than a flight of stairs is always good.

But in certain cases, it can be bad. Like on a GBA emulator - using bilinear just blurs things too much, because it has just goddamn too little pixels. Seeing pixelated Nintendo characters is way better. Using point sampling (a.k.a. nearest neighbour) of course.

What if this logic is applied to audio also?

Talk about bilinear first, it is well-known for excessive blurring when the scaling is too great (e.g. >200%, although anything above 50% is bad enough). In general, resampling will blur a picture and it will blur more at higher scalings, although better algorithms can reduce the amount, but higher scalings still means higher blurring.

With audio, you're resampling to 200% or 400% of original frequency, depending on 96 or 192kHz.

Take a low-res image, make it 4x the scale, compare bilinear to nearest neighbour. I won't blame if you choose either over the other.

Of course, audio uses different (and more complex and better) algorithms than video, but as long as there is a basis for it, there is chance that it is valid.

And like how one can use like trigo-dunno-wat transformation to resize 1600% while still looking like something from earth, throw enough DSP power at it, and you can get anything. Recording studios already did one resampling to 44.1kHz.

So the week's over...

...And I still got quite a few posts in storage.

Will try to finish and post them ASAP. After that, I'm outta here. Leaving this blog in a half-frozen state yet again. Move on with life.

Monday, September 7, 2009

DAC with composite input:

"Selling a mint condition Audio Note DAC 0.1X tube dac. Have both composite and USB inputs."

http://www.xtremeplace.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=66592.0

Hmm, I think composite sucks, how about component? Wait, that isn't the problem. Composite and component and analogue formats, when talking about DAC we mean digital-to-analogue-converter, so the input should be DVI or HDMI. Wait, that still isn't the problem.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Style over substance

Quite a few students in my school use their laptops during lectures and even class - most of them aren't playing games during classes (though there are some that do), but due to the complex nature of the notes system it's much more convenient to bring your computer down instead.

I observed that glossy screens look nice from the sidelines. That is, it looks nice when you're not the person using it.

We know glossy screens stinks for any actual real work due to an optics phenomenum known as reflection. But who cares as long as it looks good from the outside.

And you're not going to buy a product because you know that it's good, but because you think that it looks good. And after you buy it, you get unsatisfactory performance or loads of problems, but companies dun give a hoot because they got your money already.

This does not work for just glossy LCD screens. Think bigger, think further, think wider. Think of parts that look good on the surface only, parts that spoil easily. Think iPod, think Xbox 360 (RROD), think Mac, think Vista, think any product by Apple and Micro$oft, think of a certain stylish small bright-colored speakers that suffers from surround degeneration, speaking of surround degeneration, think Cerwin Vega, think audio products, think *******, think *****, think *********, etc etc etc.

But hey, you may think that this concept seems familiar. I've covered this before.

Damn right I did. This is the basic concept of marketing isn't it? Making your product look nicer than it actually is.

Style extends widely, it may not be aesthetics, even performance numbers can be considered as style.

Beware, the hand is everywhere.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Search Engine Wars

Seems that StatCounter has some pretty handy statistics services instead of just being a counter that you embed onto your webpage.

We look at the Search Engine Wars statistics today:


With a log size of only 500 entries, we'll have to look at this the percentage way -

89 out of 500, or 17.8% of visitors reached this blog from Google

2, or 0.4% reached this blog from Yahoo

What war? More like rape.

The other 81.8% come from...?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Undervolting

If there was any reason to get a T4200 over a T3200, this has to be it:


And it's a good reason. 2GHz @ 0.975V.

Compared to 1.150V without undervolting, and compared to 1.300V of T3200 (same clockspeed, same cache size, 65nm process) in Acer laptops (I know Intel specifies its voltage at 1.075V-1.175V, but it's Acer, and Acer likes to screw us up and being subpar). (Like here, for example)

Using P=V^2/R,

My T4200 consumes 28% less power at 2GHz compared to un-undervolted (to coin a term), and 43.75% less power than a T3200 from Acer.

That translates into slightly longer battery life (most of the battery drain comes from the LCD backlight and the northbridge) and more importantly, cooler and quieter operation as the fan does not have to spin up that often.

But this chip can definitely do better. A lot more better.

That's the problem of having voltage control limits. Something like multiplier lock, but for voltage adjustments.

Without it, it's easy to reduce power draw by at least 33% at near stock speeds. Just as it is easy to overclock at least 33% at stock voltages, or 50% for the cooler and slower Intel entry-level chips. 28% is so little - my A64 at home is running at 38% reduced power, although with a 14% reduction in top speed.

0.975V is the lowest that Intel allows, and it was too easy to hit. Considering this is a 45nm chip at 2.0GHz, based on a technology that can easily do over 3GHz on 65nm with minimal or no voltage raise, I expect this chip to be stable at 0.9V or less.

Still, it's better than nothing.

Oh, and the reason I only did it now (usually I underclock CPUs the day I get them) is because the Multiplier Management of CrystalCPUID (the function responsible for this) does not work in Windows 7 - one more score for XP.

You may say - it's unfair to the T3200 as I didn't compare it undervolted. But the lowest a T3200 can go is 1.087V - this is the limit imposed by Intel. Or even higher, if that T3200 can runs @ 1.3V. What's the deal here? Well, Intel has a very strange system for the new mobile processors out there, the same VID translates into different voltages for either different CPUs or different mainboards, I can't remember. But I'm sure I've read it somewhere. And it's the problem that affects the 45nm "Penyrn"-based processors, like this one. In fact CrystalCPUID says the lowest voltage setting is 1.087V, but I get 0.975V with it.

Something strange, nothing spectacular, nothing to be proud of, nothing to be flamed about. Just something normal, and get on with life.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Best done by gerbils

"Best results obtained if braiding is done by rare south americian mountain gerbils."

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149323

Ah... the power of nature. Natural is good.

I don't know how a cable braided by gerbils looks like, but I've seen cables done by weasels before. It looks like this:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

............



(Please be patient while waiting for the entire flash to load finish, Netfirms isn't exactly a fast host. Any suggestion on a fast host that allows direct-linking and ftp access?)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Goodbye Windows 7, Welcome Back Windows XP.

Apart from being the day of 200th post, yesterday was also the day I switched back from Windows 7 RC to Windows XP. So September 01 also marks the day I first use XP on my laptop. It's also Teacher's Day, but who cares.

Windows 7 was a piece of lard. Incompatible drivers and software, bloated and slow, an interface that looks better than it works, all the advanced settings are almost the same as XP but hidden behind flashy menus meant to either make life easy for beginners or make life hard for both noobs and pros alike. Some functions of XP gone in exchange for features better to be not get used to.

And the most spectacular of all (deserves to be on the front page), it screws the internet connection.

Very interestingly, when I was using the M1 Mobile Broadband, it is very unresponsive and unstable and I cannot download any file without the connection breaking at the 28MB mark. Modem works fine, internet stays connected, but it's just goddamn unstable. And unresponsive - I spend more time waiting for the servers to respond than actually surfing the net. By a factor of a few times.

It's not the modem - as I swapped the modem with my brother. It's not the infrastructure - as his modem is right beside mine.

So, it must be the f*cking OS.

And yes it's true, after returning to XP, my internet is fast again.

Screw u Win 7 RC.

I did lose out on the hardware-accelerated H.264 playback available from Vista and up, but it's a small price to pay for using XP. Although this means that the money I paid for the GL40 chipset is wasted.

And the reason I got Windows 7 in the first place? I mistakenly thought that the SPDIF-out of Acer laptops can only be used with Windows Vista and up. Due to the lack of documentation and the lack of training of the service centre staff.

There's really no need to upgrade your OS unless there's really a need to, like if you have some software that does not run on the previous versions, or there are better functionalities. or if it supports your newer hardware.

Else, you'd be better off sticking to your current OS. I stayed with Windows 98 until around 2005 I think. Furthermore, unless you need the OS to use your hardware effectively, you better don't upgrade unless you have good hardware - 256MB was overkill for Win98 (unless you're playing C&C: Generals, which 512MB is best), but the bare minimum for XP; 1GB is enough for good speed in XP, but barely in Win7.

Now I have a dual-core that requires XP. But nothing else that requires Vista/Win7. So XP's gonna stay for a looong time.

Speaking of which, Microsoft seems to have a 'Tick-Tock' model like Intel, but their Tick-Tock is between products that work and products that don't -

("works" is defined as widespread and prolonged use of the particular product, without being complained too much of bloatedness, incompatibility, and any other complaint that you can throw at Microsoft. Even if a product did not work well at the start, if towards its end of life it gets widely used, then it's still a success. "fail" is the direct opposite: basically nobody would care if this product wasn't released; rather, everybody would be happier if this product wasn't released)

Windows 3.1 - works
Windows 95 - fail (late release + lots of incompatibility + 98 came out)
Windows 98 - works
Windows ME - fail
Windows XP - works
Windows Vista - fail
Windows 7 - *should* work

Monday, August 31, 2009

200th Post Commemoration!

It's also the 20th month since this blog was created!

200 posts and almost 200 posts-worth of bullsh!t, I've never imagined that this blog would go this far. And it almost got frozen a few times, too.

To celebrate, there will be a new post everyday for the next seven days. To spice up this blog a bit.

Although actually I've been posting new stuff every day since last Wednesday. I've got posts in reserve, waiting to be published. Sure this may be cheating, but poor men don't get to celebrate, and many companies practice holding back of their products.

I know this may not be something spectacular, seeing some blogs update everyday on average. But either they (the authors) are getting paid for that, or they have no life. And this is my blog. If there are visitors, then there is demand, no matter how small.

When my posts hit 256, hopefully it will fall with the 2-year-old commemoration, and along with something else - that's a secret, I'll show it when the time comes. \(^^)

Originally I wanted another post today also, since a notice of celebration without any content feels not right. But breaking the one-post-per-day chain doesn't either. So is posting the 201th post on 31th of August instead of 1st of September.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Most scratchable laptop award

...goes to Acer 4736! and its related models.

I saw some marks on the area around the screen. It couldn't be wiped off, so it has to some abrasion marks. The uniformity and locations suggest the marks got there from daily use of closing the lid.

...that doesn't make sense, rite? Especially the markings below the screen. How would they get there from normal daily use of less than one month.

So I decided to use my fingernail to see if it's just some stain. Fingernail, I use most of the time, because it's safer than using tissue, which sometimes it may have hard dust stuck on it that causes scratching when wiping.

To my horror, while doing that, MY FINGERNAIL SCRATCHED ACROSS THE SURFACE!!!

Have you ever had fingernail vs plastic and won? This is the first that I've ever seen it happen.

Ironically the screen is made of a much harder and flexible material that seems scratch resistant.

So, wtf man, Acer, I buy a new notebook that came with 4 imperfections, and now this?

Or is it because this is a rejected good from a certain country that hence only makes its way to certain shops run by a certain kind of people in SLS?

Speaking of imperfections, lets talk about one that is funny. The keyboard.

The up directional button had one side of its spring mechanism faulty and can only be pressed on one side. So I got it replaced, only to be greeted with a refurbished keyboard with a bit of type marks on it and a letter D key that is slanted by about 5 degrees.

Good job Acer. I'll never buy your product again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

High noise levels in cafeteria make children obese

TRAFFIC LIGHT AUDIO MONITOR

The half-assed page design, the loads of bullshit, the fake testimonials, and overpriced products,

Doesn't this remind you of a typical ad for pricey audio equipment?

I like this part especially (from a technical standpoint, from a bullshit standpoint there are other parts better):

"In some ways your inquiry is impossible to answer because occasionally someone does report that they were able to use the $40 light to do the job, but it is a very rare occurrence. What we have found is that if the Chinese $40 light (which is officially classified as a "toy") does NOT work, then the installation of a light like ours will not work out either, since the $40 light is ignored and abused so the students try mightily to do the same thing with the correct unit like ours, and they often succeed."

It's a good roundabout way of saying "our product is no better than the $40 Chinese version but we still claim that it is better, and so we say this to shed our responsibilities when our products fail like a $40 one".

Anyway, now I know why I'm getting fatter. The canteens in NTU are always overcrowded.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Going optical

I once bought an Acer Extensa very cheap but sold it off almost immediately to buy an Aspire. One reason is because of the Aspire's SPDIF-out capability.

The onboard SPDIF is mini-TOSLINK however, instead of the 3.5mm electrical that I'm used to seeing on Creative sound cards, it's not obvious because everybody uses 3.5mm jack and nobody says if they're using optical or electrical. So the Belden 1505F I paid $20 for can't be used.

I need an optical cable. A mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK one. Fast.

So I got this for $60:


Instead of a normal TOSLINK cable with a mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK adapter, I settled for a cable that can do the conversion itself. Not as if I'll have anything else that uses optical, unless somebody sells his M-Audio Transit (like how one guy did for $60 more than a year ago).

...

Who am I kidding, I paid $3.99USD for this cable on DealExtreme.

But even if I paid $60 for the cable, I won't be able to tell if the cable is no different from a $6 one (after conversion). And it will sound as good as a $60 dollar cable. It's the mentality that counts.

While I'm unsure of the works of optical cable (as in the industry) I do know that the standard Belden and Canare choices perform better than some $60 cables from "renowned" brands. The same can be happening here for optical cables.

Anyway, my system - Realtek onboard -> Zhaolu D2.5A -> Allesandro MS-1, doesn't deserve a cable more than $10. Performance matching is key in audio. (Though saying that, the modded Zhaolu is grossly out of the league of the other two components.)

Back on topic, lesson of today is that if you cannot tell the difference between a $300 product and a $30 product, then the $30 product is worth $300. Note that you must be unable to tell them apart after a comparison, if after comparison you can tell the difference, then the difference of $300 vs $30 exists. I'd say the odds of happening are 50-50.

If you do not have the chance to compare, then as long as you think your $30 product is worth $300, you're still good. Be it due to hype, or you paid $300 for that thing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

┐(´~`;)┌

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the day:

"Like resident evil 5 game, shooting white zombies are ok, but black zombies is racist."

http://forums.vr-zone.com/showthread.php?p=7095441#post7095441

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You can't make crap sound good

And onboard audio Is.Still.Sucky.

Every once in a while, someone in the forum you frequent will post something related to soundcards, and there will be a few know-it-alls saying that the "new" (few years ago maybe) Realtek ALC888/889 is as good as decent entry-level soundcards from eras ago to perhaps even now.

The basis of this is that ALC888/889 is new(er), compared to old technologies of e.g. Audigy. Or something else, lets say..., ..., ...there wasn't really much competition for Creative back then.

Newer = better? NO! It's like saying a 2010 Toyota Corolla can outspeed a Porsche GT2.

Firstly, the most important part of the digital-analog conversion process is seldom the DAC chip, as the wide range of devices using the AK4396 DAC chip clearly shows. And although things like PCM1796 and CS4398 are better (?) the devices they are on do not necessarily sound better than the CD players using ol' classic AK4396. In fact, many a times they sound much worse.

They sound much worse because the devices are cheaper, of course. And yet they use the newer components, why? Of course, because they're newer. And also, if I can spend just a few dollars more to increase the manufacturer rated specs of the DAC chip and fool lots of people into thinking better performance, why not.

That concludes the first part: good DAC =/= good performance

Then the next,

Lets say we ignore everything else and look at the DAC chips alone

Who ever gave them the idea that ALC888/889 are good or even comparable to other decent sound cards? Manufacturer rated specs?

The next, apparently you can use modded X-Fi drivers on the Realtek, too lazy to post a link. And it will make the sound better and clearer.

I tried that, and my laptop's onboard still sound very bad, hence the suckiness isn't in the driver.

I haven't mentioned how my laptop's sound is bad, it's just loads of overpowered and undercontrolled bass, nothing else.

You know something is wrong when you can enable SRS WOW to max and hear only a slight difference. The removal of space by the onboard is probably a function of (output space) = (source input space) / 20 - 200.

And woo, some people claim they can hear the difference between the modded and original drivers, yet cannot hear the difference between this and any sound-reproducing product that deserves to be sold. I think I covered this in a previous post.

And the way Realtek or Acer decided to use to make their product seem to sound better, is by adding bass. Apparently more bass = always good. To all the suckers out there that's been tricked. To the people who think a change of/on their sound card makes their Creative T20 suddenly have a subwoofer.

Result? Even worse. You can't make crap sound good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Blu-Tack Tweak



iPod “Budget” Tweak

More… Asus Xonar U1 Mods

"I receive a ping back from Head-Fi. Some considered as placebo, but one has tried a heard the different. My suggestion, just try it before you speak. With expensive and high quality equipment owned by most Head-Fi members, I don’t think it takes a genius to hear the different."

It's Head-Fi, so the one that has tried a (and) heard the different (difference) must be due to placebo. With all the ears that make their <$500 equipment sound better than $2000 (hence making them expensive and high quality equipment), I don't think it takes a different (difference) in sound to hear the different (difference).

And more: VTS Tuning Dots

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Too old for Anime?

Now that I'm a college student, it feels wierd to be watching shows featuring high-school students.

Like, I'm much older than them, yea?

Then again, the creator of Doraemon drew it until he died. I don't know how any person with enough understanding of how science and the society works can not out grow that within the timeline of his life. Then again, my own story practically negates all science while putting some of my own, but at least it's more philosophical, and counter-trend. And it's cool, I'll make sure for it to be.

Then again, I've seen housewives in their late 40's watching romance shows. When they're at least twice the age of the protagonists.

Then again, Nanoha rules. The loli version.

Then again, Nanoha crushes planets with Starlight Breaker.

Friday, August 14, 2009

After using 14.0" WS screen for my schoolwork...

19-inch 5:4 ratio looks super wide and big

It's a fking luxury man.

More height and slightly less width displayed over a much bigger space.

Lots of time I wonder if getting a 14" 16:9 screen is worth it over 1280x800.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quote of the day - "Live your lifestyle, but do not impose your philosophy on others"

This is my philosophy when surfing the forums. This is also a reason why I started this blog.

Because having two people arguing over which color looks better always results in an extended flame war. (Replace "which color looks better" with any topic of your choice)

They're total idiots, complete morons to you. But in the same way you look like total idiots to them. Although real life decides which is the idiot.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Splitting/cutting MKV files - finally!

For very long, there wasn't anything useful on this page. Which went against my philosophy of blogging. Which is to write information that cannot be found elsewhere, and hopefully be useful.

One day I decided to face again a problem which I've had for years and finally found a solution for it. It was such a long problem because nobody had written a solution that could be found by me. Ironically it would've been so easy for regular encoders/muxers that they wouldn't be bothered to write a guide for it.

So here I am, writing the solution for people who did not have a chance to come across it yet.

By split I mean extracting out a segment of the video from the MKV file, with subtitles, multiple audio tracks and whatever that can be stuffed into an MKV container, extract it into another MKV file (for proper H.264, subtitles support), without reencoding. Not Haali Media Splitter mind you. Those are DirectShow splitters.

We need 3 (or 4) programs for this -

- AVISynth
- AVISynthesizer (optional)
- VirtualDub/VirtualDubMod
- MKVtoolnix w/mkvmerge GUI (again, the GUI part is optional, but only if you're super hardcore programmer)

With some skills you can probably replace AVISynth to VirtualDub with Windows Media Player, but we're looking at accuracy and reliability here.


This is what you see when you open the file in mkvmerge GUI.

Go to the Global tag.


This is where you insert the timecodes.

Frankly, I don't know how to explain what timecode is. But frankly, if you didn't know what timecode is and cannot understand it just by looking, you shouldn't attempt in any form of video encoding or editing.

What will happen is that mkvmerge will split the file into three segments - the part before what you want, the part of what you want, and the part after what you want. You can delete the part before, and abort muxing the part after, hence leaving just the part you want.

Now... where to get the timecodes?

That's where VirtualDub comes in:


This is the start of the segment that I want


This is the end - take down the timecodes. Take note - mkvmerge requires the timecode to be in HH:MM:SS.nnn format, unlike H:MM:SS.nnn in VirtualDub. Change accordingly.

But you cannot just open any file in VirtualDub. That's where AVISynth (and AVISynthesizer) comes in handy. You can find guides on AVISynth easily, and I have a guide on AVISynthesizer here but the image has been deleted by ImageShack - do not use ImageShack for any long-term image hosting.

So there you go - open the file in VirtualDub, search for the start and end of what you want, but instead of clicking Save as AVI write down the timecodes of the frames (or the frame before that frame - see below)

Issues on keyframes

As you seasoned cutters/joiners know, Direct Stream Copy (or no reencoding) means the video has to start on a keyframe. If you start on a non-keyframe, either the starting is skipped to the next keyframe, or pushed forward to the previous keyframe, depending on the program.

mkvmerge uses the first keyframe after whichever frames you selected as the start and end of the segment. Even if that frame happens to be a keyframe also (? - not sure, needs to be verified), which people would instinctively select. i.e.

Example -

I select frames 100-500.
Frames 100, 200 and 600 are keyframes.
The segment starts from frame 200 and ends on 600.

It's dumb, I know. But this thing isn't meant to be a cutter in the first place.

So instead of selecting frame 100, start with the frame before it e.g. frame 99 instead.

Now how to know which are the keyframes - since all frames show up as keyframes in VirtualDub - which is correct because AVISynth feeds it uncompressed AVI

Use the Next scene seek function/button in VirtualDub - it's just a scene change detector, but most of the time a keyframe will lie where a scene change is, so it's a good guide. I've seen exceptions however, especially when fading in/out.

Do not use Prev scene seek unless you want to wait for eternity.

Known bugs

Apart from the above mentioned (which isn't technically a bug), there may be some syncing problems at the start of the segment, due to the way MKV works as opposed to AVI. Goes away after a few frames however.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Idolm@ster coming to DS: Part two

...ok, so I was wrong, it is going to have 3D.

I just saw a picture of the 3D concert here:

http://nds.tgbus.com/news/etc/200907/20090722152656.shtml

The movie is obviously faked and pre-rendered - since when DS has lighting effects, if the amount of detail isn't an obvious giveaway. But look at the pictures. Those look believable. Then again, considering the graphics power of the DS, we'll still in for some trouble. 120 thousand polygons per second versus 33 million on the PSP...

And something strange isn't it... if they have 3D, why do they have normal conversations in 2D? Why not in 3D like the previous 4 generations of IdolM@ster series?

Lady user

Seriously... what's the point of saying "Lady user" in sales ads? Lady user = take better care of their things issit?

If they dun scratch up their things by dumping everything into their handbags.

I've seen ladies that are rowdy. I have seen gentlemen that take good care of their things too.

Heck, I see more males spending time to polish their cars (or LCD screens) on their weekends. I seldom see females do that.

Because it is the male spirit. It's in our genes. To love something.

And the best part is that when you deal the seller turns out to be a he instead. Maybe it's a she-male, wouldn't know.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Actually... what is a tube DAC?

Tube DAC tube DAC, this term keeps popping up now and then, people choosing them for either the tube sound or the tube presence.

What would be the most accurate thing to be called a tube DAC?

Tube, like transistors, are semiconductor devices. You can make a computer out of it.

So instead of using an IC containing tonnes of transistors, you use individual tubes to make the DAC stage instead. Tonnes of individual tubes.

And that's why tubes are never used in computers anymore.

So a tube DAC doesn't exist.

What we have are IC DACs with a tube buffer.

If one argue that since it is a DAC with a tube inside can be called a tube DAC, I can say that a chip amp with a tube inside can be called a tube amp. Some people will go crazy over this statement. But it's the same logic.

Of course, some people think that a hybrid amp is the same as a tube amp. I won't try to argue further. I never do in pointless situations.