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*

Monday, November 29, 2010

Games and 2GB of RAM

We've entered the age of 64-bit computing. Well, at least most of the new computers have an OS and a processor that are capable of 64-bit computing, but nobody's using it.

And with 64-bit address space, we finally break through the memory limit to use 4GB (otherwise capped @ 3GB by Windows XP, for a somewhat related, somewhat unrelated reason) and 8GB and beyond.

But the performance reviews of games still show that 2GB is the sweet spot for price-vs-performance - games are still happy with 2GB of system ram and increasing further yields much less benefit.

Thinking about the 32-bit Win XP, a reason flashed across my mind.

Windows XP allows each process to use a maximum of 2GB of virtual address space.

And most games are written to be compatible with XP since a lot of people still use it.

So...... 2GB limit it is.

The good part is this shows that current-day programmers can still make efficient programs, if they want to, or have to now.

The bad part is this shows that games are super bloated.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Random thought: Data Volumetric Flow Rate

100Mbps - that's pretty easy to hit nowadays.

If each bit is a physical 1 or 0 that is 1cm tall 1cm wide 1cm long,

That's 100 million of them coming out of the cable every second.

Or 100 thousand litres every second.

Or enough to fill your room in less than a second.

How did they use to be able to store bits on paper and punch cards?

Information explosion, it's scary.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New marker for measuring show pace?

There are two types of shows

- the type that you can watch while eating, and

- the type that can't

because things happen too fast you will miss something when eating. Yes I do enjoy my food.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Atom netbook? No thanks. Ion netbook at a premium? Even less thanks.

I never liked the Atom. Because when idling the CPU consumes little power compared to the rest of the laptop it doesn't make sense to save, and when things get demanding this dinky little CPU can't get anything done and end up wasting more time - and electricity.

And, ultra-low-voltage (ULV) CPUs have existed long before the Atom.

A heavily underclocked and undervolted "normal" laptop CPU, perhaps twice the power consumption of Atom at idling - translates into minimal system power consumption difference, and delivers over 9000 times satisfactory performance.

But, those babies often came at a premium, and are clocked much slower than their "normal" counterpart (maybe around 50%). And to make things worse, during the Core 2 Duo era when dual cores were getting picked up, those ULV notebooks tended to be single-core, hence providing way less than half the performance of cheaper, "more entry-level" notebooks. Unless you want the dual-core version, which you have to pay an even greater premium. Still, for a businessman needing battery life and looking to get any real work done, this is better than the Atom.

So, I was surprised when I bought this for $699 -

Asus UL20FT. i3-330UM @ 1.2GHz notebook. And from a good brand to boot, not some crap from the other 4-letter-worded brand that also starts with 'A'.

For the first time, I was deciding between a ULV and a "normal" based on their price and the performance they provide - the other contender was a Lenovo i5 notebook, at $850. Less performance for less money - this is a first for a ULV CPU.

What makes the i3-330UM so interesting, is that it is a dual-core, unlike the SU2000-series that are single-core (and have to pay even more extra for the SU4000 ULV dual-core series).

And the other interesting part is due to the current generation of Intel processors - the difference between i3 and i5 is just Intel Turbo Boost, or ITB, and Hyper-Threading, or HT. ITB, in both laptops and desktops, means "I Tun give a Buck". I mean, temporary overclocking until thermal and electrical limits are reached, = no overclocking when you're doing things where performance really counts and the CPU is at full load all da way. And killing battery life in laptops when the reason for ULV is to sacrifice performance for battery life. And in desktops you most likely can overclock further than the safe factory settings anyway, and for all cores.

As for HT, it stands for "How The-hell-is-this-useful-when-my-programs-can't-even-use-more-than-two-cores-properly?" Pretty self-explanatory.

Enough blabbering, lets look at where it all counts - numbers.

Idle with screen off.

Idle screen on. The LED backlight is even more efficient than my current laptop's.

For comparison, I previously tested a N450 netbook, and IIRC it was either 4 or 6W, and I forgot whether the screen was on or off. Either way, idle wattage are measured with com doing absolutely nothing; with light work or background activity power consumption is easily a few watts higher, going over 10W for both. The Atom is hit hard because the CPU has to rev up higher to do any work.

Full load w/Linpack. I remember the netbook being less than 20W - maybe 14-15W or 17W but definitely less than 20W. But it doesn't matter because the Atom is slow as crap anyway.

Now, the Asus laptop actually has a Turbo mode which increases CPU clock by 33% to a decent 1.6GHz. Both cores, I'm guessing permanent, and what's most important is that it can be turned on or off at will - save battery when on-the-go, or more power when plugged-in, it's up to you. Now that's what is useful. Anyway, that's 400MHz for both cores, which is already more than what Intel's turbo does for the lower-end i5's.

That's a big ouch increase in power consumption - increasing voltage for higher clocks almost always hurts performance-per-watt. This is why I'm against turbo and am for ULV in the first place.

It's a 37% increase in total system power. Quite fair for a 33% increase in CPU speed, but remember the CPU only accounts for a portion of the system's total power consumption. The CPU's power consumption probably increased by 50%, or more.

So, you do realize that there are two things to balance when looking for the best performance-per-total-system-watt. I think this configuration achieved it nicely, both in the turbo-ed and non-turbo-ed states. Although an overclock without increasing CPU voltage would be nice, since Intel chips are known to do that easily. But then again, this is a ULV chip, already lower-voltage for the same clock compared to non-ULV counterparts.

Now, lets look at the Super PI results -

Normal mode 35s
Turbo mode 26s

In comparison - my T4200 @ 2.0GHz laptop - 33s

Remember that my T4200 laptop is already undervolted. And this new guy kills it in both performance AND power consumption. And at a slower clock of 1.6GHz; even at 1.2GHz it is pretty close in speed, at less than 2/3 power consumption (and probably almost half if my T4200 wasn't undervolted).

The manufacturer advertised it as having long battery life. I'd expect at least 5 hours, maybe 6.

1.5kg, long battery life, decent performance, $700 with OS

Can you say a better deal?

Oh, and the thing about Ion, is that it provides more graphics processing power, but you don't game on netbooks anyway. CUDA acceleration? Software using it almost non-existent. And as for its best selling-point - acceleration of H.264 decoding - the Intel GMA4500MHD on the i3 CPU can do that as well, so what's the point of getting Ion? Oh yes, Intel is stupid not to include the GMA4500MHD on their Atom processors, and opting for the stupid GMA3150 instead.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to destroy your high-end audio equipment

You send it to your local self-proclaimed diy expert and let him do all the "upgrades" possible on this planet.

Inspired by this thread -
How to destroy your high-end audio equipment... - diyAudio

Friday, November 19, 2010

RMAA loop-back test is not a fully valid test for soundcards' relative output performance

Summary: You're not testing the performance of the output of the soundcard, but also that of the input!

Finally something useful and informative after all that previous ranting. Well, this is also ranting, but I have a valid argument.

Loop-back test, people use it to test the performance of a soundcard.

It is useful, for example in recording, to test the performance of the system.

DAC out to ADC in.

That is where the problem is.

You're not just testing the performance of your output, but also the performance of your input. Actually to be precise, you are testing the loop-back performance of your system - how much the sound kills itself when you play it and record it back.

And most soundcards have better DACs than ADCs.

So the ADC becomes the bottleneck, the decider of the score, not the DAC.

So loop-back tests almost always become a test of the input, not the output.

And how does that result matter to people who are buying soundcards just for playback, and choosing soundcards based on output performance?

It doesn't matter a hoot does it.

So, RMAA loop-back test as a measurement of soundcard output performance - Invalid.

How should it be done then? Simple, output to a soundcard with better inputs.

And I'm not the first to notice this - there is an example here:

Loop-back tests do have their use. For example, calibrating your mic and speakers of your recording system. And loop-back sound quailty.

Just not really as a measurement of just output sound quality.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

[Rant][Anime] Kobato. Ep 1

[Warning] This post may trigger flaming reactions for unstable readers

It's not that much valid of a complaint (hence the [Rant] header), but here goes anyway.

I heard the opening song and knew it was sung by Sakamoto Maaya long before.

Halfway through the first episode I started getting curious about the voice actress of Kobato. When she started singing I was curious enough to pause halfway to check.

Her seiyu is Hanazawa Kana.


A relatively new seiyu whom I have some of my attention caught by, primarily because I like the cute voice characters voices done by her.

And when I heard her sing in ep 1, that was the last straw.

Why the hell did they let Sakamoto Maaya sing the opening song?

The song totally misrepresented the show - I thought it was going to be somewhat slow, serious, heartwarming, yet light story. I expected a Mary Poppins. Then I saw a dojikko with a cute voice.

Seriously, wtf?

And no, after watching Ep 2 my opinion hasn't changed - Kobato IS a dojikko.

It's not as if Hanazawa-san can't sing either - she is in Idolm@ster, although in a more recent addition.

And Sakamoto-dono is not even in the show.

Tell me, is it because of Clamp? Tsubasa Chronicles?
(Sakamoto Maaya voiced in and sang the famous theme songs "Loop" and "Kazemachi Jet" for Tsubasa Chronicles, the single CDs (also containing one other song used in Tsubasa Chronicles each) got #7 and #14 respectively on Oricon)
Is it because she was in and sang for Macross Frontier? (Oricon #3)

I'm not complaining about Sakamoto Maaya - she is good in her own rights. In a sense, she is even better because her singing voice is "more normal" compared to other Anime characters, that makes her ideal for the more serious shows expecting non-Otaku audience. (Look at above again, note the high-scores on Oricon. Oh the power of mainstream exposure. Well duh isn't it, statistics. Tsubasa Chronicles and Macross Frontier and not the more deep (as in underground), latenight, Otaku shitz only helped even further.)

But really, her singing does not match Kobato.. At all.

And to hit the jackpot, Sakamoto-dono isn't exactly flawless in her singing, at the chorus she goes flat at the E-flat when going for the fifth interval (meaning from A-flat to E-flat, for those not into music). That is the best way to kill the most dramatic part of the song.

Want to use a person not in the show to sing at least make it perfect, else there is no point isn't it?

Now, lets try to make sense of why this has happened.

The target audience of Kobato., my guess is, young females. Who are into fantasy and daily-life settings/slice-of-life probably...? Who are into trying to grow up and do mature stuff, you know, like, stuff.

Wait, I don't know of any stuff that you can call mature stuff. (Sex-related does not count.)

And young people like to watch older people. Kinda like old people like to watch younger people; we always like things that are not ourselves.

So, an onee-chan (to them) type of voice will work.

But still...

Ok, that's all. This is just my personal opinion.

Now I'll put my flame shield on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Flame-mode - On

As politically-correct as I try to be, sometimes I just let things break loose.

And when things break loose I'm not afraid of shame - shaming others or letting myself have the opportunity of getting shamed.

I wrote this in a previous post:

"So they can't do anything related to electronic design.

So they do non-electronics-related tweaks instead. And claim it somehow links to the electrical performance of the equipment."

I want you to look at this brand.


Yes, it is the famous, well-known, high-class, Acoustic Revive. And I'm putting it on the grill today.

Look at that page in the link. Look at the product lineup to the left. What do you see?

(words in bracket indicates field of science or technology used)

DEMAGNETIZER WITH MANY USES FOR AUDIO (electrostatics/magnetics)

Ground conditioner (electrical, material science (for the ore))

Negative ion generator
- This ion will purifies the air in the room. The result is, sound waves travels the room well and sound improve remarkably! (Acoustics, and physics in general...???)
- it also emit infrared rays which works as a surface-active agent. This improves transmissivity of the laser beam inside the CD player, which leads to improved sound and picture quality. (Photonics/quantum physics)

Ultra Low-frequency Pulse Generator (magnetism/electromagnetics/environmental science/biology/plus unknown - effects on improving PQ of projector)

Acoustics conditioner (acoustics - under mechanics btw. Mechanical and material science have many interrelated parts)

Speaker stand (probably the same sciences that other speaker stand manufacturers employ, I don't want to argue about this)

Ok, that is a long list, and I'm too bored to carry on. But you get the idea.

If the designer(s) is/are so powderful in such a wide range of sciences why aren't they working in real more-serious jobs that require those knowledge? And why aren't they producing a whole mass of devices employing these technologies instead of producing just one of each and say "Ok, this is good enough, I've done my job, I'll go retire now" or go and research in another field and create something totally unrelated?

And, this one takes the cake -



BTW, there is a saying (more like a common sense) that if a certain tweak or idea for improvement is any good, it would be used already by companies investing billions trying to squeeze an extra drop of performance out of their product. Like the HDD magnet ionizer to improve fuel efficiency of car engines.

Odds of some layman on the street suddenly coming up with something that overtakes trained researchers with loads of budget, are not zero, but fking low.

And as for the FCS-8 Noise filter, the suggested application methods?

I'm staring at one in the face right now. You know the cylindrical cancer lumps on your notebook power cable/USB cable/video cable/heck just as many cable as you can think of? That is the ferrite bead.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Headphones affecting how amps sound? You bet they do!

Transducers are reactive loads

Adding a reactive load to a circuit changes the characteristics of the circuit

Naturally, it will change the output signal, and hence how it sounds.

Ok, so this is a "duh" thing to some of you. But ever tried listening to the difference?

Here is the output from the headphone-out of a US-144, fed to the line-in of ALC888 -


And here is the same output with a MS-1 in parallel -


To the headphone, the line-in with high-impedance does not affect the sound, like how an oscilloscope should not affect whatever it is scoping.

But to the line-in, the sound has changed.

The 'normalized' suffix in the filenames - voltage across line-in is lowered with the low-impedance headphone load in parallel, hence files are normalized to prevent the 'loud effect' from affecting perception.

The amp wants to put out an accurate signal. But by the time it reaches the headphone the headphone sees a different signal instead.

Needless to say, different amps and headphones affect each other differently.

So system-matching between headphone and amp? Yes! And it goes further than just how the sound signature of one compliments the other.

Here's the same test done on iM716 in both 'Bass' and 'HD' settings.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why is it that, calling people white is a compliment...

...like skin/hair white as snow, Snow White,

(I know there are some of you with albino fetish out there, probably caused by Anime)

But calling people black as soot is an insult?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Those who can't do, teach."


"Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym".

Those that can, do
Those that can't, teach
And those that can't teach teach teachers.

Those who can, do.
Those who can't, teach.
Those who can't teach, administrate.

Those who can, do
Those who can't, teach
Those who can't teach, write about those that do and teach.

Those who can't do, teach.
Those who can't teach, manage.
Those who can't manage, consult.

If you can't work, then teach.
If you can't teach, then administrate.
If you can't administrate, then legislate.
If you can't legislate, then litigate.

In Japan, it goes like this:

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, teach.

Those who can't teach, teach EFL. (English Foreign Language)

Those that can, do...
those that can do better teach...
those that can't do either one, criticize.

-- we now interrupt your entertainment programme with an unnecessary opinion which you don't even care sh!t about

This one is especially interesting as it applies to all of us - we call Justin Bieber and Twilight gay... wait, not a good example, we say (insert Singaporean artist name) is lousy even though we can't sing/compose/act/draw, but we still retain the right to say who in our opinion sucks and who doesn't. It is freedom of choice.
On one hand though, the reason we retain the right is because we are the bosses paying their salary; Bill Gates doesn't care about your whining because he pwnzored your @ss.

The reason Justin Bieber and Twilight do not make an example is because it is easy for anyone to be less gay than them, I think it would be harder to be more g@y than to be less.

See more like this here:


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Online guides and why I hate them

I read that not being precise in the wording of the title helps to dramatize things. By being inaccurate - that is the essence dramatization.

I do not hate all guides - I got a whole tonne of knowledge from the internet. Of course, I process these data and come out with new ones of my own, which I write about and share.

The guides I hate, fall into one or both of the following categories - guides that are written based on second-hand knowledge, and guides that are written by noobs.

You'll be surprised, after reading this post, that if you look around the web you can find a huge number of guides that belong to these two categories.

First, guides that are based on second-hand knowledge.

What are second-hand, or secondary knowledge/info/sources? Those are information that you get from somewhere else, as opposed to info that you get or confirm on your own, which is called first-hand knowledge.

What is wrong with second-hand knowledge? Information dilution and accuracy issues.

You got your info from somewhere. At best you can only repeat 100% of whatever information that is written if you didn't add any of your own. Chances are, you don't get the full 100%.

So if your guide is only going to be less informative and more inaccurate than wherever you got it from, why bother wasting bandwidth and the time of poor suckers who were lured into reading it because they needed genuine help on the topic while you spammed your "guide" on forums as if they are your personal webpages? Just link them to a proper guide instead of taking credit! Oh yes, credit, you didn't get the info on your own so credit where necessary.

Next, guides that are written by noobs.

Recall the definition of newbies - those new in a certain area, and noobs, those that plain suck and think they are pro and hence refuse to learn.
Newbies will never write a guide because they do not think they are good enough. If they think they are good enough but are actually not, they are noobs. Hence noob guides are all written by... erm... noobs.

No need much explanation for this - the guide just sucks.

There is a saying however, that game guides are written by people who get pwned so much that instead of enjoying the game by laughing evilly killing others they find more joy in sharing their unconfirmed theories (read - secondary knowledge) on how to play well. This goes in line with the saying - "Those who can't do, teach".

I'm not against more basic, less detailed guides, because there is always a need for teachers. And having taught before I understand first-hand that you need to teach at the level of the student. For example, getting the guy doing your university mathematics tutorials to teach primary school is impossible. Not that he/she does a good job teaching 20-year-olds either, but you get the idea.

But guides that are WRONG because the author is a noob just pisses me off.

So as you might have realized by now, noob and second-hand guides often overlap.

Oh yes I found a good forum thread on "Those who can't do, teach". I'll extract out the various versions of the saying.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sighing sighs away happiness

...or so that is this saying. But you only sigh when you're not happy.

Correlation does not mean causality.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No two snowflakes are the same

...But what about two snowflakes with 95% similarity?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Learning while helping others

That's what is called 教学相长.

I learned today that OPA2228 isn't stable at gains of <5.

So why the f are people recommending them in unity-gain buffer circuits?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Before sensors were installed...

Before temperature sensors were installed, electronics ran at 80 to 100 degree Celsius,

After temperature sensors were installed, people cry when their CPU reach 50.

Before fan speed RPM sensors were installed, fans ran at up to 6000rpm in applications where required,

After fan speed RPM sensors were installed, people whine when they see anything above 2000rpm, even though it may be a 40mm fan which he can't hear shyt over his RAID array.

Customer is always right? Nah.