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.
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…
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that one in five American teenagers has some irreversible hearing loss. That’s bad. Even worse, the number of teens with slight hearing loss has increased 30% in the last 15 years, and the number with mild or worse loss is up 77%.
I’m sure your first thought upon hearing that was the same as mine: Bring me the snack foods!
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?
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.
They are not so common any more, but I'm sure you remember used record & CD shops. Now imagine them without the bricks and mortar. Or the bins. Or the records and CDs. Say what? Welcome to the biggest music-industry brouhaha since Napster.
What do TVs and music sales have in common? They are both big businesses, and both markets are rapidly shifting the money from Old Business companies and business models to New Business companies and business models. And some major players are getting left behind.
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.
The iPhone 4S was released last week. Of course, people were camping out at Apple stores to buy it. Of course, Apple sold a zillion of them in the first five minutes. Of course, you already have one, and you're probably reading this blog on it.
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.
Of course, you have a wall of discs. And what an impressive wall it is. LPs, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. There is no better feeling than firing up the home theater and sipping on a martini as you casually peruse your massive collection, pondering which disc to deploy. Moreover, with Vudu to Go, you can take the wall with you anywhere you go.
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.