I worked as a high-end audio salesman for 16 years and spent another 16 reviewing audio products. Here's what I learned: The very best gear is always expensive. Sure, there are occasional examples of affordable products that are remarkable, but they never get remotely close to what true high-end gear can offer. Beyond price the main thing that separates high-end companies from mass-market brands is high-end designers are all about maximizing performance. Mainstream audio companies rarely try to make the best possible sounding gear. They know that features, wireless connectivity, styling, compact size, cheap pricing, marketing, distribution, etc. -- … Read more
Spunk, that's what Music Hall's Marimba speaker has lots of. No measurements are needed to confirm this is an exceptional speaker. Its low-key looks are deceiving; it's just a nicely finished "wood" grain black medium-density fiberboard box, measuring 6.6 inches by 8.7 inches by 11 inches, with rounded corners. There's a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch woofer lurking behind a removable black cloth grille. The internally braced cabinet feels solid; there's nothing exotic about the design, but the box feels more expensive than you usually get in a $… Read more
The people have spoken and the machines are immortalized.
More than 17,000 humans voted online for the 2012 inductees to the Robot Hall of Fame, and they chose a mixture of friendly and terrifying bots, depending on your perspective.
Come on down, Wall-E, BigDog, Nao, and PackBot. You've earned a place among the stars.
DENVER--The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, held in Denver, was a must-see event for audiophiles young and old. The biggest change this year was a bonanza of affordable high-end products -- mixed in with the usual crazy expensive gear -- along with a good helping of midpriced goodies.
Music Hall had a rather plain-looking little monitor speaker, the Marimba ($349 a pair), that sounded big and truly powerful. I have never heard that level of bass "slam" coming out of such a diminutive speaker; I can't wait to get it in for review.
Setting up shop in and around the New York Hall of Science, Maker Faire brought with it its usual cavalcade of robots, 3D printers, lock-picking tutorials, DIY circuit boards, and other experimental, artistic, and otherwise inspired technology and creative projects.
I certainly didn't capture everything at the event in the above slideshow, but after walking around for 3 hours this past Saturday, I'll say that I caught a reasonably representative slice of the Maker Faire at large.
Records, aka LPs, have been around since the 1950s, so there are lots of them out there. I've bought great records for a buck or two at thrift shops and yard sales, and found them on the street for free, but records aren't yesterday's news; lots of young bands are releasing LPs. The way things are going, the LP will probably outlast the CD as a mainstream format.
Speaking of yard sales and thrift shops, you can probably find dirt cheap turntables in those places, but the chances of finding a turntable in good working condition there … Read more
Tuesday's tech news roundup honors our future robot overlords:
AT&T is being accused of data-plan discrimination and breaking FCC rules regarding new iPhone FaceTime options. AT&T recently announced that iPhone customers could use FaceTime video chat service over a cellular network if they have the new shared data plan. (Previously, FaceTime was limited to Wi-Fi.) But several groups have spoken out about the limit and questioned if it follows FCC guidelines. AT&T responded saying it does not believe this breaks any FCC rules, since FaceTime was offered to all customers over Wi-Fi and … Read more
If robots could run for president, which would you vote for?
Nobody doubts that machines would make better leaders than meatsack politicians, but there are so many to choose from. Carnegie Mellon University is helping out by letting us humans elect inductees for its Robot Hall of Fame.
The prestige has been awarded to real robots such as Honda's Asimo, as well as characters like C-3P0 and R2-D2 from "Star Wars." The unprecedented public participation in choosing the members follows years of inactivity at the hall, which was created in 2003 but last added new robots in 2008. … Read more
Omicron, directed by Romain Tardy and Thomas Vaquie, serves as a permanent animated art exhibit that resides within Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland. The overwhelming light show uses an array of projectors to paint shapes upon the walls and massive ceiling.
For those not familiar with the superstructure also known as Hala Stulecia (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the massive building features a 213-foot diameter dome perfect for artsy projections. … Read more
What's your favorite doomsday scenario? Epidemic? Nuclear fallout? The Rapture redux? How about the Mayan apocalypse?
None of these will ruin your day if you live in Survival Condo, a converted nuclear ballistic missile silo in Kansas. With supplies of food, air, and water, you can wait out Armageddon underground.
For years, developer Larry Hall, a former software engineer, has been working on a 1960s-era Atlas F missile silo in north-central Kansas, turning it into luxury lockdown residences in preparation for inevitable end-times (see cleanup photos here). He says all units in the complex sold out this month, and there's even a waiting list. … Read more