I had a long fascination with high-end audio before I owned any of the good stuff. I suppose the same allure applies to exotic cars; millions read reviews of cars they never drive, and watch Food Network shows about food they'll never taste. Folks are interested in excellence, but compared to $200,000 cars or celebrity chefs' handiwork high-end audio is more accessible and practical. Two products covered in today's blog -- used high-end Grado headphones and the Oracle Delphi turntable -- sometimes sell for less than $1,000 on eBay. That's still expensive, but more within … Read more
I wrote about Zoom's nifty $99 H1 pocket recorder last year, and really loved its sound, so I was curious to see how the H2n recorder measured up. It's a bit shorter, just 4.5 inches high, but fatter and a little heavier. The H2n's body is shiny black plastic, but it feels more solidly built than the H1.
It has four recording modes: Mid-Side (MS) stereo, 90 degree X/Y stereo, two-channel, and four-channel surround modes. The H2n can record MP3 files (48 to 320 Kbps) or WAV files (44.1-kHz/16-bit to 96-kHz/24-bit). The &… Read more
I've written about the Audeze LCD-2 headphones in this blog before, but now I'm going to cover the LCD-3 model, Audeze's best headphones. At first glance the two don't look all that different, but the LCD-3s sport real zebrawood earcups and have thicker and softer real lambskin leather cushions to coddle your ears. This is a fairly heavy (550-gram) set of headphones, but they're comfortable to wear for hours at a time. Details of why the LCD-2s and LCD-3s sound different aren't forthcoming from Audeze, other than the drivers, which use similar technology, are … Read more
At the end of May, Onkyo will start selling Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel music downloads, first in Japan, and by the fall of this year worldwide. That's either a brave or foolhardy move.
Multichannel music formats -- starting with quadraphonic LPs and tapes in the early 1970s, DTS encoded surround CDs in the 1990s, and DVD Audio and SACD in the early 2000s -- have all suffered from a lack of consumer demand. Very, very few surround releases were initially recorded in surround; most rock and jazz titles are remixed from older stereo recordings. The Blu-ray format has now … Read more
Most people are familiar with NASA's quintessential photograph of Earth -- semi-transparent white clouds sweeping over beige and green swaths of land surrounded by dark blue water.
While that picture's mesmerizing, a photo has emerged showing the planet in even more color and detail, and according to some, it could be among the highest-resolution single pictures ever taken of Earth. It was shot by Russian scientists aboard their weather satellite, the Elektro-L (to download the photo and see a zoomable image, click here). … Read more
After Mark Zuckerberg arrived for a meeting this week with potential investors wearing, of all things, a "hoodie," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter got so worked up that he described the Facebook CEO's attire as a "mark of immaturity" and a demonstration of a lack of respect for investors.
There's been no shortage of commentary about Zuckberberg's seeming faux pas, and it (temporarily?) revived the stereotype of the socially clueless geek who couldn't tell the difference between a cummerbund and a cinnamon bun. But don't jump to conclusions.
While there is … Read more
School principals seem to be struggling with their Facebook principles.
Only last week, a British school principal threatened to report parents of underage Facebookers to child protective services.
And now a story emerges from Missouri of a high school head who is accused of creating a fake Facebook profile in order "friend" her students.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the profile in question -- of a girl called "Suzy Harriston" -- is now gone. However, so is Clayton High School Principal Louise Losos.
The Post-Dispatch says that a former school quarterback accused Losos publicly of … Read more
This DIY cell phone created at MIT manages to have something for just about every major contemporary subculture or hipster subset I can think of.
Nerds and tinkerers? Check. Wooden case for the steampunk set? Check. Huge antenna for the retro, skinny-jeans-wearing set? Check. Big buttons for the fat-thumbed and Luddite crowd? Check. Rugged design for outdoorsy types? Check.
The folks at the MIT Media Lab created this prototype with an SM5100B GSM Module that takes a standard SIM card and a custom circuit board. The screen will take you back to the last century at 160x128 pixels and the laser cut wood and veneer enclosure is just one of many possible exteriors, given the availability of 3D printing. While far from a smartphone, voice, texting, and other slightly old-school functionality is possible. All told, the parts cost between $100 and $150.… Read more
Supercomputer maker Cray will sell its interconnect hardware development program and related intellectual property to Intel for $140 million in cash, the two companies announced today.
Up to 74 Cray employees will join Intel, Cray said. The company currently employs approximately 800 people worldwide.
"By broadening our relationship with Intel, we are positioned to further penetrate the [high-performance computing] market," said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray, in a statement.
Ungaro continued, "This agreement also dramatically strengthens our balance sheet and increases our options for further growth, profitability and creating shareholder value."
Cray said it … Read more
Next time you're stuck in traffic on the highway, consider those lucky Italians. Some will get to ride in style next week when services on the slick Italo high-speed train kick off.
Operated by Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (NTV), the Italo debuts April 28 and will connect Milan, Rome, and Naples. It's being billed as the most advanced train in Europe.
It has a top speed of 186 mph -- not the fastest in the world but still respectable. The record for fastest commercial service depends on several factors, but Shanghai's Maglev Train can run at 268 mph. … Read more