SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 22, 2013 0 comments

Sometimes, even during the most secret of covert ops, you need to unwind a little. You know - put your weapons aside (but still placed within easy reach) and relax with The Duffel Blog. But what kind of music playback system is best? You sure can’t pack a big boombox into your knapsack, and when the batteries run out, where are you going to find a Radio Shack in Tora Bora? What you need is a small, rugged music player that can recharge on solar power. With carabiner attach points, of course. What you need is an Eton Rugged Rukus.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 10, 2013 0 comments

Would you dunk your entertainment electronics toys in water? Probably not, unless you’re running some kind of insurance scam. Don’t worry. Most of my gear doesn’t like being underwater either. Trust me, if you try to play an LP record at the bottom of your pool, bad things happen. Really bad things. The jacuzzi isn’t good either.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments

Back in the day, as you drove off the dealer's lot, you turned on the radio. And that radio stayed on, all the time, for the life of the vehicle. Whether or not you were actually listening to it, the sound of the radio was as reassuringly present as the purr of the motor. That is changing.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 09, 2013 0 comments

You're probably familiar with Amazon's AutoRip feature. When you buy certain CDs from Amazon, you also get free access to a cloud copy. Now, Amazon has extended the feature to include sales of many vinyl records. When you think about it, a ripped vinyl file is a much more valuable than a ripped CD file.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 19, 2013 0 comments

Streaming is hot. Outfits like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO Go are jamming the internet with data and putting the hurt on DVD and even Blu-ray. Last time I checked, smart phones, tablets, and ultrabooks lacked optical disc drives. Besides, do you really want to mess with disc-based playback on the train to work? Streaming is entering the hockey stick part of its growth curve.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 13, 2013 0 comments

I travel. A lot. Hotel rooms are not my home away from home — they are my home. As such, most of my TV viewing is done in hotel rooms. Thanks to the miracle of jet lag, I know the late-night schedule everywhere around the world. I’ve watched Wheel of Fortune in 53 different languages, and counting.

I’m also familiar with every brand of flat-panel TV. Samsung, LG, Vizio, Panasonic, Hitachi, Philips, Magnavox, Toshiba, JVC, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony: I’ve seen them all. And I know I’m in a faraway place when I’m staring at a Kogan or a Vestel. It doesn’t make any difference. They all have one thing in common: All of these TVs sound terrible.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 24, 2013 0 comments

Scientists, who apparently never cease thinking of things that would never occur to me, have demonstrated that it is possible to store digital data in molecular form. As reported in Nature, a team of brainiacs stored the text of all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, a photo of their institute’s building, and a copy of a paper by Watson and Crick, as DNA sequences.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 10, 2013 0 comments

At a conference call this morning (January 10) Beats Electronics announced the formation of a new music streaming service, and named Ian Rogers as its CEO. You may recall that Beats purchased MOG last summer for $14 million; the announcement of Project “Daisy” provides hints on the new direction they intend to take MOG.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 25, 2012 0 comments

So you’re a committed audiophile. You used a laser to precisely toe in your front loudspeakers. You lie awake at night worrying about that 2-dB dip at 9 kHz in your room’s frequency response. You hire Mike Mettler to hand-deliver every issue of S+V. [I aim to please —Ed.] Well, that’s great.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 18, 2012 0 comments

It is the job of engineers to push the envelope and design the products of the future, not the products of today. When the first Compact Disc players were on the drawing board, 780-nm lasers were extremely expensive, but engineers anticipated that low-cost versions would soon become available. They bet right: cheap laser modules were perfected just before the CD format’s launch.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 14, 2012 0 comments

A post on the Olive One by my colleague Al Griffin got me to thinking. For a modest dollar sum, you can own a cool audio component with audiophile-quality specifications. But here’s the paradox: if it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, can audio gear really have audiophile cache?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 03, 2012 0 comments

Pop quiz! Quick! Which industry is evolving faster? Automobiles or computers? 

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 20, 2012 0 comments

TV manufacturing is a tough business. You’re making a perfectly good black-and-white TV and then someone comes along with a color TV. So you need to make color TVs. Then TVs become digital. Then they become high-def. Then they become flat. Then they become big. Then they become 3D. Then they become really big. Then they become 4K. It just never ends.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 15, 2012 0 comments

How many times has this happened to you? You’re rounding the Warsteiner-Kurve at the Nürburgring at about 3 lateral Gs and your iPad Mini flies out the window of your Porsche 997 GT2 and lands on a hausfrau’s schnitzel, and she exclaims, “Mein Gott in Himmel!”

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 02, 2012 0 comments

There is one thing that Disney does better than anyone: monetize intellectual property. It isn’t easy to build an empire on the back of a rodent (trust me, I’ve tried) but Walt pulled it off. Now, with its newest acquisition, Disney is ready to expand beyond its earthly properties.

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