As widely discussed by privacy advocates and blogs, Facebook recently changed some of its privacy settings. Users are no longer able to limit the viewing of their profile photos, home towns, and friends lists to only approved friends. Those are all public now by default. Moreover, Facebook’s new default settings “recommend” that dynamic content such as status messages and photos be made public. While the blogosphere still closely scrutinizes these changes and is aghast at Mark Zuckerberg’s "privacy is over" claims made at the Crunchies awards (he didn’t actually say it verbatim but his statements … Read more
If you listen to music over your iPod or computer, it's safe to say you're listening in stereo.
Cars are a different story; they can have speakers in all sorts of places, so I'll grant that music in the car may not be in stereo.
But the music itself at least started out as stereo; MP3s and CDs are strictly stereo, so unless you listen to a lot of 5.1 channel SACDs or DVD-Audio discs, stereo is where it's at.
Most, but not all post-1980 films are available in 5.1. So if you have … Read more
We have yet to meet a game from PopCap that we didn't like, and Plants vs. Zombies is no exception. The premise doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but we don't care; like most other games from this publisher, it's addictively fun.
The game contains the same high-quality graphics we've come to expect from PopCap. The object of the game is to protect your house from a zombie invasion using a variety of plants in your front yard. Each of the plants needs a certain amount of sunshine (or points) for you to be … Read more
When the CD was introduced in 1982, everyone thought the LP's days were numbered, but it's still here. Now it's starting to look like the LP might outlast the CD.
Of course "record stores" are also on the endangered species list; here in NYC, Tower, Virgin, and Sam Goody are long-gone, but J & R Music World in lower Manhattan is the last remaining full-size outfit. Smaller shops are hanging in there, too.
You can still buy CDs and LPs online, and vinyl's selection is getting better and better. So if you're a music lover, what should you buy, CD or LP? First, it depends on whether you can get the music you want on vinyl.
Sound quality issues aren't black and white. CD wins in terms of noise-free listening, though clean records, played on a decent turntable can sound amazingly quiet. But even then, there will be occasional clicks and pops. That's a deal breaker for some, but if you've never heard records played on a decent turntable, you don't know how quiet records can be.
LPs can sound warmer, fuller, and more natural than CDs, and way better than low-bit MP3 and AAC variants. LP sound seems to engage listeners in a very different way than digital recordings do. It's not that digital sounds bad, but vinyl is more fun to listen to. Music on LP seems more immediate and realistic than digital. Oh, and it's worth noting that most people who use vinyl actually listen to music, while digital listeners rarely do. Digital makes do as background sound. That's just the way it is. If you can't see yourself ever really listening to music--without talking, reading, working on the computer, etc--sure, CDs and MP3s are perfectly fine. … Read more
This week on the Digital City, we consider the PlayStation 3's awkward Netflix implementation; marvel over the super-thin Sony Vaio X laptop; debate the fate of FireWire in new MacBooks; and review some gamer-friendly Halloween costume ideas.
We also plug the first round of Windows 7 laptop and desktop reviews; mourn the death of Geocities; and find out why Julie and Dan have swapped seats for a week.
Related links: &… Read more
I've been testing LCD monitors consistently for the past two years. In that time, I've run various tests designed to evaluate a monitor's response time. I've used games, movies, and the occasional scientific test to confirm if a manufacturer's claimed response time is accurate.
To be perfectly honest, I have a very difficult time seeing motion blur in movies and games. In fact, I'm not sure I've seen it any repeatable evidence of it on a modern monitor during a game or movie.
So it should go without saying that DisplayMate's recent findings on LCD response times come as no big shock to me. The findings come via an article by DisplayMate founder Raymond Soneira.
Here are Soneira's major conclusions based on tests conducted by DisplayMate on LCDs from major manufacturers.
1. A manufacturer's claimed response time specifications are not a scientifically accurate or a meaningful indicator of picture blur.
The motion blur DisplayMate measured on the HDTVs tested was more than 40 milliseconds. According to the article, this is more than a factor of 10 greater than the manufacturer's published specifications.
2. LCD manufacturers have made a big deal about refresh rates in the last couple of years with the jump from 60Hz to 120Hz and now 240Hz. CNET's own David Katzmaier suspected that benefits with the jump to 240Hz were dubious already, but here's more evidence to back it up. … Read more
While the number of Apple-owning households continues to grow, the vast majority of those Macs are sharing space with at least one Windows-based PC, according to a new study.
The NPD Group said Monday that its online survey found that 12 percent of households with a computer have at least one Mac, up from 9 percent a year ago. Nearly 85 percent of those with a Mac, though, also have at least one Windows-based PC.
Overall, Mac owners tend to have more computers and more electronic devices than non-Mac owners. Two-thirds of those with an Apple machine have three or … Read more
They're good, but do the remastered Beatles CDs offer a big enough sonic improvement over the 1987 CDs to make them essential? Listening over my high-end, two-channel system they absolutely do! But are the differences large enough to show up over an iPod, car system, or computer speakers?
The 2009 remasters are louder than the 1987 versions, so a quick comparison might lead you to believe the remaster is "better" simply because it's a little louder. And there's more bass. So if you compare old and new adjust the volume of both CDs to make them the same. Then tell me what you hear.
I compared two of the better sounding CDs, "The Beatles (The White Album)" and "Abbey Road" over my iPod, using my Monster Turbine in-ear headphones, and over my computer, with Audioengine2 speakers. Mind you, the Turbine and Audioengine2 are a good deal better than average-sounding ways to hear music, and after I compensated for the volume differences between the 1987 and 2009 versions, the sound was nearly the same.
And I was listening in a dead quiet room, add some background office or street noise and the differences would be even harder to hear. Rather than buy the new Beatles CDs, buy better headphones or speakers. They would make the Beatles music you already own sound better.
Thing is, with the 2009 remasters we're talking about fairly subtle improvements in clarity, especially in high-frequency detail, overall spaciousness, and naturalness. And the music seems more dynamically alive. Too bad those qualities evaporate over iPods, computer speakers, and car systems. … Read more
Before I get to this week's apps, the folks over at Public Radio Exchange let me know there's a new version of Public Radio Tuner (which I've featured here before). Now called Public Radio Player, this new version has been redesigned from the ground up with a new interface, added station schedule information, and new On Demand radio shows you can stream. Past episodes of This American Life, Fresh Air, and many other popular public radio shows can now be streamed whenever you want to listen.
At the iTunes Store, I noticed a lot of the comments … Read more
Right after the new iPhone 3GS launched, I wrote an article about how the impending onslaught of iPhone videos would just lead to more losses for YouTube. Well, the onslaught has begun, and so have readers' e-mails asking me to promote their YouTube videos.
Today's pick comes from Jeremy, who lives in Chandler, Ariz. He says he got his iPhone 3GS on June 19 and has been recording ever since.
I'd rate the video a strong 7, or maybe an 8 if I was being generous (it's good that it's short). If anybody else wants to submit an iPhone video, click on the e-mail link in my bio below. It has to have been shot with the iPhone, and it's gotta be good. Come on, you can do better than this, can't you?
See bonus video from Jeremy after the jump: Boa plays pool.… Read more