Bullshit Music Technology

Glass CD sounds better. Eh?

According to this Inquirer report, there’s a new kind of CD in town.

A JAPANESE SOUND boffin has come up with a glass CD which he reckons does not warp, distort, and looks and sounds nicer than those nasty plastic creations… He said that plastic CDs were not completely transparent, information on them cannot be read perfectly. They are also susceptible to bending or warping if left in sunlight or humid areas, which leads to sound distortion.

That doesn’t make sense. CDs are digital information, so there’s either data there or there isn’t. You can certainly damage them, but putting your zeros and ones in glass instead of plastic isn’t going to make any difference to the sound quality.

Bullshit Technology

Sony boss: our rivals’ consoles are too expensive at half the price of a PS3

What on earth are they putting in Sony’s coffee? The firm’s Australian MD tied himself in knots in an interview with The Age newspaper, nicely summarised by the Inquirer:

Ephraim said that to have a good Wii you need shedloads of accessories and this makes it cost about $372. He said that $372 was a bit too much for your average Aussie family to fork out for a console, so he expects his PS2 machine to compete well against both it and the more expensive Xbox 360.

…There is little necessity to remind Ephraim that when the PS3 ships it will cost the average punter between $610 and $745.

Bullshit Hell in a handcart Technology

ID cards will cost £5.4 billion, and I’m a fecking pixie

Tim does a lovely demolition of the government’s latest made-up numbers for the cost of ID cards:

Quick numbers. 48 million or so adults, each having the card, the computers, the readers, the database, the taking of the biometrics etc etc etc. 5.4 billion?

112.50 per person over a decade? With all the changes that have to be made as people move house? Alter their details? That includes the costs to the individual as well as the system itself?

Bullshit Health Hell in a handcart

Smoking bans, again

Looks like the Scottish Executive isn’t the only group of politicians acting like complete and utter bastards over smoking:

the Department of Health is considering a Westminster council request that it should be allowed to create smoking “exclusion zones” outside bars, restaurants, clubs or workplaces so those caught smoking there could be punished.

[Via Tim Worstall]


Sonic shenanigans

This Place Is Dead linked to this incredible-sounding story:

A yob-busting alarm using ultra high sound to drive teenage thugs from shopping centres has been hijacked to create inaudible classroom ringtones.Techno-savvy school kids are getting away with using mobile phones in class through the creation of ringtones adults cannot hear.

British firm Compound Security has been praised by the police for its Mosquito device which was developed to stop teenage gangs hanging around outside shops.

Once installed on a building, it emits a high-pitched sound, like a constant insect buzzing, to drive the problem away.

It is highly effective because it cannot be heard by most people over the age of 20 but is deeply irritating to teenagers.

Now the youngsters have turned the tables by making high-pitched recordings which allow them to exchange text messages in class unheard.

Known as “Teen Buzz”, it is spread from phone to phone via text message and blue tooth technology.

I call shenanigans. It’s easy to create a tone of a specified frequency in any audio editor, and I can happily hear 15Khz, 17.5KHz and 20KHz tones (20KHz is the usual upper limit of human hearing) despite my advanced age (33), several years of iPod abuse and 16 years of playing extremely loud guitars in various rock bands. I can also hear Teen Buzz fine, despite its frequency of 18 and a bit KHz. That puts it well within most people’s hearing range – but well outside the typical frequency range attainable with mobile phone loudspeakers, which struggle with frequencies above 10KHz.