When you buy a Rolex Submariner from a guy with a dozen of them in a cardboard box in Times Square, there is absolutely no chance of misunderstanding. Both parties fully understand that the timepieces in question are fakes. But what if you buy a pair of high-end headphones from that kind-of-weird stereo store across from the mall?
"One size fits all" surround is dying. It's time for us all to consider a whole new dimension. First, a parallel to impart from the annals of tech history. In the earliest days of photography, the emulsions and lenses were extremely "slow." Even in bright sunlight, a plate might require hours of exposure time. As technology improved, exposure times decreased to a minute or so.
Boy, do I feel like a dope. I was under the impression that the decades of conspicuous consumption were finished. What with all the Occupy protesters and unemployed French literature majors out there, I thought that anything ostentatious was unfashionable. Or, as French literature majors would say, passé.
I get press releases. Oh boy, do I get press releases. My inbox runneth over. You think spam is bad? Multiply that by 100, and you’ll get an idea of my daily press-release pile. Everybody is flacking their newest and most innovative stuff. And occasionally they flack their oldest and least original.
Gee, who could have predicted this? The Internet is creating entirely new industries, and decimating others. Big-box electronics retailer Best Buy is among the latest bricks and mortar companies to be decimated by the web.
Google had revenue of $38 billion last year. So why would they mess around selling a consumer electronics gizmo? Frankly, I don't have the faintest idea. But they have served up a juicy meatball of a nice product.
It’s easy to think of sound recordings in the present tense. Thanks to modern marketing, we’re fixated on this week’s downloads, who’s doing well on America’s Got Talent, and what Lady Gaga is wearing. (Whatever happened to that meat dress, anyway?) But a very cool thing happens once something is recorded.
I recently received a thoughtful e-mail from S+V reader Michael Kiley. He commiserated with my perception that the general level of sound quality has declined. Like me, he worried that the rise of mobile phones as our preferred playback source, the popularity of listening to compressed files stored or streamed (and through earbuds), isn't exactly making for audiophile heaven. Mr. Kiley's letter provided some perspective and got me to thinking…
Neil Young likes to criticize things: war, environmental abuses, indifference to homelessness, the plight of small farmers, Presidents of the United States, etc. Name an activist topic, and you can probably find several well-crafted lyrics, ranging from subtle to confrontational, on the issue. Neil Young is also critical of sound quality. Highly critical.
You’ve got to hand it to Walmart. First, they make a zillion dollars selling DVD and Blu-ray discs to everyone. Now, they’re set to make another zillion dollars so you don’t have to actually use the discs. Brilliant, simply brilliant.
Michael Jackson is back in the news, and as usual, not in a good way. This time, at least, it’s no fault of his own. Rather, it’s his employer, Sony, who assumes the blame. It was imprudently careless with the keys to Jackson’s bank vault.
8-track tape, cassette, MiniDisc, DAT. They all have two things in common. You don’t find them in new cars anymore. And, like lots of other technologies that have come and gone, car radios have easily outlasted them. Actually, add CD to that list. Within a few years, that’ll be gone. But is AM/FM radio on the endangered species list too?