Recent Posts in technology - Page 2

March 28, 2013

by Fred Pessaro // BBG

Silent Room

Like the old adage says, the silence is deafening:

Scientists at Minneapolis' Orfield Labs created their own soundless room, an anechoic chamber. Their studies have found that when putting subjects within the chamber, they begin to hallucinate within 30 minutes.

With an average quiet room having a sound level of 30 decibels, the anechoic chamber's sound level is -9 decibels. The ceiling, floor, and walls of the chamber absorb sound rather than have it bounce off as normal objects do. The chamber is so quiet that the subjects can even hear their own organs functioning. -[ATS]

According to a video on the room, humans can only hear things above 0 decibels, which makes any ambient sounds in the room completely inaudible to humans. Kind of reminds me of Ken Russell's 1980 film Altered States, except for without the Ketamine, neanderthals and murder. I hope.

Head below for a video explaining the room.

Continue reading "scientists in Minneapolis create a 100% soundless room"

January 31, 2013

This is the new thing...
no more capcha

The world's largest online ticket retailer is to stop requiring users to enter hard-to-read words in order to prove they are human.

Captcha - which asks users to type in words to prove they are not robots trying to cheat the system - is used on many sites.

But Ticketmaster has moved to ditch it in favour of a simpler system.

It means users will write phrases, such as "freezing temperatures", rather than, for example, "tormentis harlory".

Captcha stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, and was first developed at Carnegie Mellon university in 2000.

For sites such as Ticketmaster, Captcha is used to make sure robots are not used to buy up tickets automatically. [BBC]

Ticketmaster's new system was developed by a company called Solve Media. That's a picture of it above.. "During the purchase process, fans will be presented with phrases, questions or ads from Solve Media instead of the normal, hard to read mix of characters that needed to be deciphered before proceeding with the transaction. This new solution is proven to be a much better user experience and effective at keeping BOTS out of the buying process."

January 30, 2013

Amoeba

Vinyl will never die, but at this may help put some of those ultra-rare releases into your pocket and not just on your turntable:

California-based mega-retailer Amoeba Music, the last big record store on the block, has moved into the digital age with both feet, with its inauguration of a revamped website. And possibly the most intriguing element of that site, and a direct reflection of Ameoba's dig-deeper philosophy, is the so-called Vinyl Vaults section -- thousands of rare and out-of-print LPs, 78s and 45s that flow through the company's three outlets in any given week -- now available for sale via download.
"We've been digitizing a lot," says Jim Henderson, who owns Amoeba along with partners Marc Weinstein, Karen Pearson and Dave Prinz. "What you see now is the lost-between-the-cracks, underappreciated, undervalued (music) from dead labels, (obscure) artists, stuff that we really stand behind. It's mostly in the rock genre, with a lot of jazz, a lot of blues, some country, some spoken word. There are some oddities for sure." -[Variety]
The number of titles grow daily, with more than one thousand already on hand. If it's anything like Amoeba's stock right now, expect some rare/obscure LPs in there. Check out Amoeba's "vinyl vault" here.

November 14, 2012

Beatles box set

Twenty-two pounds. Six Inches. $449 retail. The Beatles are releasing their fourteen original studio albums plus rarities into a single massive sixteen LP box set containing a 252 page booklet. Each album will also be sold individually as well. The release(s) have been newly remastered and are available now ("now $349"), for all of you who don't have copies of the records, possibly purchased from your local used record store.

Rumor has it that this massive sixteen LP and reported 50,000 copy box set has had another, unseen price though too... a delay in the pressing in many other records. Due to the limited and shrinking number of vinyl pressing plants in the US, many other labels have had delayed returns on their own pressings. It's too early to tell if this will have a serious negative impact on some companies (and record collectors), though the renewed interest in Beatles vinyl could also be good for the already-growing vinyl business as a whole.

Let us know if you've had an order delayed "due to Beatles".

October 31, 2012

Apple is getting into the streaming music business. Bloomberg News reports that the company is in talks with record labels and music publishers with hopes to launch a Pandora-esque internet radio service next year.

Meanwhile, Apple just launched the iPad mini which is a little bit cheaper than the regular iPad and fits in your hand. Perfect for those Goldilocks types who thought the iPad was too big but the iPod Touch was too small.

October 17, 2012

The Pirate Cloud

The Pirate Bay has made an important change to its infrastructure. The world's most famous BitTorrent site has switched its entire operation to the cloud. From now on The Pirate Bay will serve its users from several cloud hosting providers scattered around the world. The move will cut costs, ensure better uptime, and make the site virtually invulnerable to police raids -- all while keeping user data secure. -[TorrentFreak]
While the statement "virtually invulnerable to police raids" seems like a debatable one, the move is a bold step for the popular torrent website. Only time can tell what this means for the site and torrenting as a whole.

October 9, 2012

Online Piracy

Heads up, file-sharers:

The nation's major internet service providers by year's end will institute a so-called six-strikes plan, the "Copyright Alert System" initiative backed by the Obama administration and pushed by Hollywood and the major record labels to disrupt and possibly terminate internet access for online copyright scofflaws.

The plan, now four years in the making, includes participation by AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. After four offenses, the historic plan calls for these residential internet providers to initiate so-called "mitigation measures" that might include reducing internet speeds and redirecting a subscriber's service to an "educational" landing page about infringement.

The internet companies may eliminate service altogether for repeat file-sharing offenders, although the plan does not directly call for such drastic action. -[Wired]

The plan was outlined with the guidance of the Center for Copyright Information which reccommends email notification, a series of "educational alerts" and finally possible reduction in internet speed, though no cancellation in service.

Meanwhile, have you downloaded your legal BitTorrent Willis Earl Beale EP yet?

October 8, 2012

Howard Scott (R) with the great Aaron Copland
Howard Scott
Howard H. Scott, known by some as the godfather of the LP, and others as a classical composer and producer, passed away last month in Reading, PA at the age of 92 after a fight with cancer.

In 1946, Mr. Scott was 26 and just discharged from the Army when he got a job at Columbia Masterworks, the label's classical division. He was soon assigned to Columbia's top-secret project: developing a long-playing record to replace the 78 r.p.m. disc, which could hold only about four minutes of music on each brittle shellac side.

The project had begun in 1940 and was nearing completion. But its engineers needed someone with musical training -- particularly the ability to read orchestral scores -- to help transfer recordings from 78s to the new discs, which played at 3 31/3 r.p.m., could hold about 22 minutes a side and were made of more durable vinyl.

Howard Hillison Scott fit the bill. -[NY Times]

He went on to produce many classical records with symphonies in Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and the New York Philharmonic among many many others, eventually winning a Grammy in 1966 for his production on Charles Ives's Symphony No. 1, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

R.I.P. Mr Scott, your lasting contributions to both music and technology will be felt for generations to come.

September 27, 2012

music notes

Oh no! PC Magazine reports:

Social network Myspace is back, and it's honing in on Apple's territory.

As noted by GigaOm, trademark judges last week denied Cupertino's attempt to protect its music app image, saying that users might confuse it with the mark already owned by Myspace.

In a Sept. 18 decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) upheld a previous decision denying Apple its requested trademark (left). The rival orange-and-white square music-note icon was issued in 2008 to music service iLike, which was later acquired by Myspace.

Apple argued that the registered mark is "weak," pointing to eight other organizations that have obtained trademarks with music notes without any consumer confusion.

The TTAB dismissed the argument, saying that the Apple and Myspace marks are more similar to each other than the third-party registrations Cupertino submitted to the court. "Moreover, consumers may not recognize the differences because they do not typically set out to find them," the decision said.

Does Apple's icon confuse you? Do you think MySpace will make a comeback?

September 17, 2012

It's just Lego Optimus Prime, checking out the 2011 Con. NBD (more by Chris La Putt)
Comic Con

The 2012 edition of the New York Comic Con returns to Jacob Javits Center on October 11 - 14, featuring four days of sci-fi, your favorite fantasy/action heroes, and costumes, costumes and more costumes. In addition, the 2012 edition will feature its share of big name appearances as well, including the cast of The Walking Dead, members of Robot Chicken and Children's Hospital, Elmo & Gordon from Sesame Street, Draco Malfoy (not kidding) and many others. In addition, you can kick-off the festivities with a concert featuring Ben Folds Five at the IGN Theater on 10/11, as discussed. Tickets for the Comic-Con are on sale.

In semi-related news, gamers know that when you play a video game enough, those songs stay with you until you find yourself humming them when you are far far away from your controller. If you know what I am talking about, this one is dedicated to you:

Featuring dynamic and compelling video accompanied by a live symphony orchestra, The Legend of Zelda™: Symphony of the Goddesses brings the world's most popular video game series to life! Enjoy original music spanning 25 years of adventure from the celebrated Zelda franchise, uniting music and visuals in a way never before realized. Experience the magic at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, November 28.

The Legend of Zelda™: Symphony of the Goddesses is the first ever video game themed concert to feature a complete 4-movement symphony, showcasing the work of Nintendo composer and sound director Koji Kondo.

That's right. Legend of Zelda. IN THE FLESH. Get stoked... tickets are still available.

And finally, if you're heading to Comic-Con, look for possible tributes to Sean Smith, known as Vile Rat, who was tragically killed in the attack on the Libyan Consulate this week. So sad.