On Monday I raved about one of the best small speakers around, the Sunfire CRM-2. I love the little thing because it avoids most of the classic pitfalls of wee designs, but as good as it is, it can't completely mimic large speaker sonics. Priced at $800 each, it's as expensive as many larger designs; buyers are paying a premium for the wee speaker's radical technical engineering that's required to extract maximum performance from its compact dimensions. Big speakers have an ease that little speakers never fully muster. Small drivers, no matter how good or expensive … Read more
If you're into cars you've probably have read a million stories about guys who invest tons of money and time restoring cars. You know the type, a baby boomer in Texas buys a '65 Mustang for $3K, and then over the next five years drops $30K to make it look brand new. But it's still a 42 year old car and no matter how pretty it looks, it can't compare, performance-wise, to any decent modern car, or for that matter, a brand new Mustang. The new one could blow the doors off the original, but it … Read more
I'm back at my favorite record store and I see a guy approach the owner with a proposition: "I want to buy music to put it on my iPod and then resell the disc to you." Intrigued, I jumped into the conversation, egging the guy on. "That's a great idea. Buy new or used DRM-free CDs, burn 'em to iTunes, and what the hell, burn a CD to keep, and resell the disc." The technique won't be cost effective on every title, but say for example you bought a used copy of Smashing … Read more
Fact is, all of the wireless speakers I've reviewed for CNET still use speaker wires to do what speaker wires always do, deliver audio signals from power amplifiers to the speakers. And since wireless speakers have built-in power amplifiers, they need to be plugged into an AC wall outlet. So where a standard speaker has one wire, the wireless speaker has at least two! The "wireless" part refers to the system's ability to wirelessly transmit audio signals from the front of the room to the surround speakers.
The two wireless transmission systems, infrared and radio frequency, … Read more
No, it's not. If it were I wouldn't still be on hold for 43 minutes. And if I were so important I wouldn't be speaking to a know-nothing idiot from God knows where, who doesn't even understand my question.
Lets face it, customer service can be a cruel joke. And sure, there are exceptions. I was truly impressed with Lexicon's staff; their tech crew was absolutely top notch and I didn't have to punch my way through an automated phone directory hell to get to the right person. Lexicon is a high-end audio manufacturer; … Read more
We're constantly imitating nature.
Artificial intelligence researchers study the way babies learn to right themselves after falling down to help train robots to behave similarly.
We're still learning new things about flight dynamics and wing design from butterflies and other animals.
If you've ever carefully tiptoed across the floor to keep from disturbing someone, you're mimicking how a deer walks to avoid alerting predators to its presence.
Okay, that one's a stretch, but if you've ever watched a deer do this, it sure seems like one heck of a coincidence.
In any case, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It's also how modern science works - creating models for simple structures in order to approximate the real world. When we succeed, we learn; when we fail, we learn more. It's a painstaking process of trial and error called the scientific method.
Every year the biotechnology industry comes one step closer to learning how to cure our ills and extend the human lifespan. We have further to go than we've come, to be sure, but getting here was no easy trick. After all, biotech research is attempting nothing short of unveiling the secrets of life.
Perusing the August 26th Sunday New York Times Style Magazine, ogling the latest in women's fashion, my mind wanders. Apparently there's an insatiable market for luxury apparel; the 316 page issue is jam-packed with goodies like a $3,495 Chanel Jersey Handbag and a freaky looking $5,390 Louis Vuitton Feather Necklace. Then again, if you really want to make that special someone really happy, go for the $26,500 Hermes Sable-and-Crocodile Kelly Muff or perhaps something more practical like the $23,155 Yves Saint Laurent sweater embroidered by Lesage. I'm sure it's all splendid couture, … Read more
When was the last time you said something but meant another, or embellished the truth just a bit? Even the most honest and straightforward of us do it from time to time.
Sometimes we're trying to save face or spare somebody's feelings. Other times we're trying to make ourselves appear better than we really are.
I suspect that most of the time we're trying to save ourselves from something unpleasant by telling ourselves it's for the other person's good.
Call them euphemisms, embellishments, little white lies, spinning the truth, exaggerations, whatever you like. They're common in the workplace and everybody's guilty. You can either admit it or not, but if you say "not me," we all know you're lying.
There must be thousands of workplace euphemisms; I invite you to share your favorites with us. Here are some common ones that come to mind, just to get us started:
Hiring and firing You said, "We welcome you to the company." You meant, "We can't wait to dump all this crap on you."
You said, "I've got offers from a few other companies." You meant, "I had one other interview but they never called back."… Read more
Amplifier power is measured in watts, as in "100 watts per channel," but what does that really mean? Do all 100 watt per channel receivers deliver 100 watts? And what about those "1000 watt" home theater in a box systems? Are they more powerful than 2,000 A/V receivers? And what about high-end 100 watt per channel high-end power amps? Are all watts created equal? I don't think so!
Unfortunately power ratings are a near meaningless way to compare the loudness potential of one receiver, amplifier, or HTIB against another. That's what power … Read more
Monty Python couldn't have come up with a more annoying routine than the infamous spam sketch. But way back in the psychedelic 70s, the comedy troupe couldn't possibly have imagined the disgust and frustration the word "spam" would elicit today, especially among IT professionals.
I managed to defeat hordes of telemarketers by signing up for the national do-not-call registry. But when it comes to spam, I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm ready to throw in the towel and become a computerless monk. I feel like less of a man because I couldn't protect my family from this deadly menace.
Maybe 2% of my emails are actually addressed to me personally. The rest are garbage: spams and scams of every shape, size, and flavor. They run the gamut from those offering me supposedly hot stock picks, loans, and drugs, to others concerned with the size and effectiveness of my manhood.… Read more