A rant

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A rant

Postby kareno » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:17 pm

I've been rather subdued of late and this is in no small part the result of the intensity of my PIC coding in recent months.

But there's another reason. The penny has dropped that there are no CRT TVs on sale in the shops any more. Add to that the analogue switch off that's due to take place later this year, and I find myself in mourning for the passing of an era - my era!

Also, despite working with microcontrollers and DSPs for a living, I am somewhat tired of the 'digital for digitals sake' attitude that is prevalent today. Half the time my digital creations are simply emulations of previous analogue ideas but when people go 'wow!' I find myself staring at them and thinking "and it wasn't 'wow!' when it was analogue?"

Then I read about spread spectrum, code division multiplexing, graceful degredation. That sounds like analogue! And why was AM so evil back when a UK CB band was being contemplated yet now it's okay for phones to chop their carriers at 200Hz thereby breaking through on anything more sensitive than a crystal set?

I'm sorry, but I just get the feeling that the disease of whim and fashion has spread to the highest echelons of business and society. My employers have fits of rapture about blue LEDs yet don't see the value of an automated code generation tool I put together. And despite all the technology, the quality of the dozens of TV programs you can now get is so bad it's hard to tell whether the MPEG4 compression is working properly.

Strange days indeed.
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Postby Steve Anderson » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:54 pm

Karen, not a rant, but a cry of despair. I too am bewildered as to what is going through peoples heads. When blue LEDs appeared at a sane price a few years back, if a product didn't feature one, it didn't sell...huh?

I get quizzical looks when others see the six year old mobile phone I still use, I explain, "All I want is a phone without a cord or a coin-slot, nothing else." I also point out I only recharge mine on Fridays...they have to do it daily.

"But mine has this...mine has that!", but do they use it? So it has a six megapixel camera built in, big deal. The results still look like they've been shot through an old sock 'cos the lens is covered in pizza remnants.

Touch-screens, same story. The 1992 Barcelona Olympics was my first exposure to touch-screens. Ever seen what journalists are capable of? I won't go into it here.

There are plus points to the 'Digital World'. I know some will not agree with me but the Audio CD was the greatest leap forward in domestic sound reproduction for many a long time. It's not perfect, but for the great unwashed (I include myself) there hadn't been such an audible leap forward before or since...at least in my lifetime.

But like Lemmings to a cliff-top people here are going out buying HD 16:9 TVs by the drove. Anyone gonna broadcast HD here in the next decade? Unlikely. Anyone gonna release HD movies with Thai subtitles or dialogue? Unlikely as there are no production houses here to do such, and they make more money out of commercials anyway. Can they afford to produce them overseas? Nope, budgets won't allow.

So they sit and watch programs that look like they're 24 hour versions of "The Biggest Loser."

I can't wait for my cranial USB implant.

Steve A.
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Postby AncientBrit » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:50 pm

I agree Karen.

Maybe that's why you, me and many others have turned to the simplicity of NBTV?

To add to your rant, what about the latest wheeze of using the house mains distribution as a form of RF network for the internet?

The radiation on MW is terrible.

I much prefer the picture a good CRT produces, near 180degree viewing, no colour washout off axis.

You'll also find it increasingly difficult to buy scope tubes these days.
12 months ago I bought surplus a BT test set that used a small 3inch rectangular tube in a form of TDR for line testing.

Haven't got around to re-building it yet though.

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Postby kareno » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:25 pm

Hi Steve, Graham,

My phone's a Sony J6. I can leave it on a pub table knowing it won't be pinched. Only museum curators would be interested in it.

As for the analogue switch-off, I'm thinking about building some illicit short range transmission gear that puts Planet Rock on FM and a few selected TV channels on UHF. That way, I can carry on using my radio and TV :)

Frankly, most digital stuff doesn't work. We've tried at least ten different media boxes to permit us to watch films on our server. Our current one works MOST of the time but by no means all. Why is it that they permitted to sell crap that doesn't work?!!!

I'm tired of seeing remote controls that look like the cockpit of Concord. I am thinking of making a remote in the form of a wooden cabinet with a volume knob and a big clunky turret tuner knob on it!

Oh, the hopes I had as a child following the Apollo missions! If someone had told me then that almost all of the computing power of the future would be squandered on social networking and banal phones I doubt I would have believed them. We wouldn't reduce my beloved electronics to silly trinkets, would we? Well, we have.

What a waste. This just isn't my world.
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Postby Dave Moll » Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:08 am

Sorry, I just couldn't resist it. Here is my telephone (well, actually, to be honest, there is a more modern one combined with an answering machine out of shot to the right, but this one is connected and the bellset to the left produces a lovely sound (the ringer on the modern 'phone is turned off).

Also, here is my mobile, but I don't seem to be able to get a signal. :lol:
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Postby M3DVQ » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:04 am

mine's slightly more modern.

Image

It's a horrible American thing, I really want a black type 332 but they seem to go for silly money these days as "vintage" seems to be back in fasion
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Postby Steve Anderson » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:05 pm

Continuing...

I went to a local computer super-mall yesterday as I'm in the market for a new slab-top. As I wandered around I noticed that not one has a conventional 4:3 aspect ratio screen, they're all wide-screen and not of a consistent aspect ratio to boot.

When I asked why do pictures of people make them look fat and the wheels on a car are egg-shaped I got a vacant look. "But everyone wants wide-screen, it's fashionable." Keeping things simple (one has to here) I explained that when I draw a square I want it to look like a square, not a rectangle. A circle to be a circle, not an ellipsoid. I went home having only spent my bus fare.

Of course it's down to installing the correct driver for the screen, (not the bus). But none of these gurus knew this. So Joe Public shells out megabucks to view his family snapshots which are out of focus 'cos the auto-focus on his digital camera doesn't work, now they've apparently become excessively wealthy due to their horizontal dimensions.

One day someone will realize that their world is analogue.

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Postby AncientBrit » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:43 pm

Steve makes a good point about the world being analogue.

I wonder how many natural phenomena such as very LF radio emissions would have been discovered if all our communications had been digital from day one.

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Postby gary » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:24 pm

AncientBrit wrote:... the world being analogue....
Graham


And Max Planck be damned! ;-)
Perfecting an NBTV system is like trying to slam a revolving door...
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Postby M3DVQ » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:11 pm

AncientBrit wrote:if all our communications had been digital from day one.


spark gap wireless telegraph machines were digital...

:wink:
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Postby Andrew Davie » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:06 pm

Steve Anderson wrote:Of course it's down to installing the correct driver for the screen, (not the bus).


If you use VLC as your movie display software, you can right-click while watching and easily select the aspect ratio you need.
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Postby M3DVQ » Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:51 pm

Andrew Davie wrote:
Steve Anderson wrote:Of course it's down to installing the correct driver for the screen, (not the bus).


If you use VLC as your movie display software, you can right-click while watching and easily select the aspect ratio you need.


that only works if your screen is displaying the correct aspect anyway.

It's really not a problem any more as modern monitors inform the PC of what modes they support and the highest resolution they let you set is their native resolution. Of course anyone who leaves windows running at the default 800x600 will get stretch-o-vision but there's no helping some people :)
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Postby dominicbeesley » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:30 am

I too find myself ranting like this - every time I leave the house, or watch the TV, or hear anybody say anything!

As to computer monitors, I keep meaning to work out how I can turn mine through 90 degrees. It's wider than 16:9 and bloody annoying for work! Most of the time I want to read or write documents - and what format are books printed in, why do people think that is, why do they make monitors the wrong way round...because most consumers are ****ing idiots!

Diesel cars are cheaper, digital TV is better quality, replacing your car is good for the environment, efficient boilers save you money, fitting energy saving light bulbs is good for the environment - then leaving them on for ever, having more than 4 TV channels is a good idea when it starves any cash for creativity, twitter...

It's no wonder I drink!

D
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Postby AncientBrit » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:34 am

Careful Dom,

You'll be joining the old *arts club soon,

(I'm a founder member)


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Postby M3DVQ » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:59 am

dominicbeesley wrote:what format are books printed in, why do people think that is

portrait

dominicbeesley wrote:why do they make monitors the wrong way round...because most consumers are ****ing idiots!

they are the right way round for watching videos and playing computer games... can you imagine the size of the black bars watching a 16:10 broadcast on a 10:16 screen :)

dominicbeesley wrote:digital TV is better quality


garbage in garbage out.
The problem with the low quality digital channels is that they are broadcasting a heavily compressed low quality picture, this isn't the fault of "digital" :p

(I too used to moan about digital like that but I've stopped now on the grounds that the DVB-T BBC1 signal is an order of magnitude better picture quality than the Analogue version)

Top notch ranting though, I especially like the "twitter..." at the end. Enough said there! :)
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