I caught up with my old friend, mastering and recording engineer Bob Katz at the Audio Engineering Society convention held last week in NYC. He was there to proclaim an end to the "Loudness Wars," which refers to the overuse of dynamic range compression to flatten the soft-to-loud volume changes that naturally occur in music. Katz was way ahead of the pack in decrying the overzealous use of compression in mastering recordings, he has been in the trenches, fighting the good fight for more than 20 years.
The ALO Island is a USB-powered digital audio converter/headphone amplifier, and it's a honey! Functionally, it's not so different than many of the other USB digital converter/amps I've covered on this blog, but it's a bit bigger. The others are about the size of a thumbdrive; the Island is a 1.25x1.25x3.25-inch aluminum "brick," but it's still small enough to be considered a portable device. It handles low- and high-resolution files, up to 192kHz/24-bit. The Island sells for $299 in the US direct from the ALO Web site, … Read more
These days, the smartphone sector revolves around the competition among Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Those three companies wrested power from the likes of Motorola, Nokia, and BlackBerry (then RIM) -- but there was also another group sidelined in the rise of the smartphone, even as its members profited immensely from the uprising: mobile operators.
Especially in the US, carriers still serve as a vital gateway to phone purchases; their stores are the most popular way that consumers buy smartphones. And how they stock, price, and merchandise new smartphones can make a big difference in how well those phones do.
Once … Read more
The introduction of "Login and Pay with Amazon" on October 8 was a signal that Amazon is getting serious about digital payments at a time when other tech titans, such as Google, Apple, and Facebook, have the potential to become the go-to digital wallet for consumers.
Amazon, however, may be in the best position to take on PayPal. The company offers the unique combination of a large registered customer base, hefty resources at its disposal, and an uncanny willingness to play the long game. … Read more
Shoppers, rejoice: Next time you're browsing the iPad edition of Wired magazine, you'll be able to buy even more impulsively than before.
The mag is rolling out a feature from MasterCard that lets you instantly purchase products in articles or ads without leaving the page on your tablet.
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- J.J. Abrams apologizes for overusing lens flares in his movies.
- Digital motion sickness will be the occupational disease of the 21st century.
- Architect programmers complete the first 3D-printed room.
- The world's craziest toothbrush cleans your teeth in 6 seconds and is 3D-printed.
MasterCard, Visa, and American Express have teamed up to create a new digital payment technology.
The companies say that their proposed standard would increase the security of payments via Web sites and mobile products by using a digital "token." Armed with a token, consumers wouldn't need to input account numbers for purchases.
So far, the companies haven't decided on a token standard, but they expect the industry to accept one before they move forward. From there, upon attempting to purchase a product on the Web or via mobile devices, a customer would be asked to provide … Read more
Can't find anything to watch on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, or any other online-streaming service? Well, now there's one more place to check.
Target on Thursday launched its new digital video service, Target Ticket, which lets people buy or rent movies and television shows. Target said more than 30,000 titles are available for between $1 and $37, including new film releases, next-day TV shows, and exclusive Target content like behind-the-scenes extras.
It's free to sign up for the service and there's no subscription fee. Users can also set up multiple profiles, which means multiple … Read more
As the world becomes more digitized, smartphones, smart watches, and smart cars have begun to hit the market -- and smart guns are no exception.
High-tech weapons, gun-centric apps, and tech-infused optical shooting scopes are popping up not only at hunting and gun shows but also at consumer-focused electronics shows. Earlier this year, one of the world's most high-tech long-range shooting rifles, Tracking Point's XS1, went on sale. And it has competition.
While many of these firearms and apps are geared toward perfecting a shot or feeding the shooter ballistics information, some new inventions are focused on making … Read more