SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 19, 2013 11 comments
For the last few months I’ve thought a lot about the health of the audio/video industry. I worried that the success of smartphones and tablets was irreparably overwhelming traditional consumer-electronics technologies like audio/video. I tried to convince myself that smartphone mania would taper off and the mass market will rediscover big stereos and big TVs. I desperately wanted to evangelize for the profound pleasure that a kick-ass home theater can bring. But lately I’ve changed my mind. I have a new message for everyone glued to their phone: drop dead.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 12, 2013 3 comments
Is our most fervent technology infatuation about to reverse course?

Without question, smartphones are awesome, and they have dramatically changed our everyday lives. We measure our self-worth by the number of bars we have. When our phones are fully charged, we are happy. When they are discharged, we are in full panic mode. Kids today probably can’t fathom how anyone functioned before the advent of smartphones. They ask, “Dude, how did people post pictures of themselves on Facebook while water skiing?”

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 05, 2013 3 comments
The wildly popular Google Chromecast just got even better. It has added Pandora Radio and Hulu Plus to its list of supported content. And, the best may be yet to come.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 21, 2013 6 comments
Their future seemed so very bright. The SACD format, with a bit rate four times that of CD, was designed to lead the CD to new heights. DVD-Audio, sibling of the wildly successful DVD-Video format, offered audiophile fantasy surround at 96 kilohertz/24 bit. Hard on the heels of Avatar, 3DTV promised to change TV viewing forever.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 15, 2013 8 comments
A screen of infinite beauty, of most excellent fancy. He hath shone on me a thousand times. And now, how abhorred he is. Where be your hues now? Your wider viewing angle? Your deeper blacks? Your brightness that was wont to set the room on a roar? Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and let her paint a screen an inch thick. Make her look at that.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
Much to the dismay of audiophile old fogies, the audio scene has been overrun by punks and their celebrity endorsements. Everywhere you look (Dre, I’m looking at you) you see audio gear, headphones in particular, with a famous DJ or other artist name attached. Of course, even old fogies were young once, and now it’s another generation’s turn to discover how cool audio is.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 23, 2013 0 comments
So far, this has been a pretty good year for moviegoers. The Hollywood dream machine has cranked out a steady stream of big-budget movies with colossal production values. If you enjoy getting your eyeballs fried by flying fireballs or your ears rocked by rampaging robots, the multiplex has been very, very good to you. But how will these screen gems look from your Lay-Z-Boy? After our reviews of the theatrical releases, I asked colleague Leslie Shapiro (our Grace Notes blogger) to join me in eagerly anticipating their Blu-ray releases.

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

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?

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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: Aug 04, 2011 0 comments

From far away, you hear it coming. The sky clouds up and you notice that birds are flying away as fast as possible. Your glasses begin to fog up, and then tiny cracks appear in the lenses. Slower birds fall from the sky like rocks. The sheet metal on your hood buckles under the intense sound-pressure wave front. Women faint.

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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: Sep 18, 2012 0 comments

"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.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 14, 2011 0 comments

I have two cars but only a one-car garage. As you might expect, my favorite car (a red 1968 Porsche 911 Targa) gets the garage. Plus, since it’s vintage, it deserves indoor parking. From a performance standpoint, that car is still impressive. It’s lightweight, with lots of horsepower, and since the laws of physics haven’t changed in the last 4 decades, it can blow away most modern cars.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 10, 2012 0 comments

As Mark Twain (and other others) have noted, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

Blu-ray looks a zillion times better than DVD, right? Are all of those British viewers blind, or are we asking the wrong questions?

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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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