SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann  |  May 09, 2017  |  1 comments
Saturn's rings are pretty cool. They are clearly visible with even a modest telescope. Going where no spacecraft has ever gone before, the Cassini spacecraft is diving through the rings and into the gap between the rings and the planet's surface. Enterprising scientists at JPL have created a file that lets you hear the "sound" of particles impacting the spacecraft as it passes through the rings and into the gap.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Apr 25, 2017  |  3 comments
You probably saw the news reports last week. A lawsuit has been filed against Bose, alleging its Connect app, such as used with a Bose headphone, collects information on the listening habits of the user, without adequately informing the user of the full extent of the practice. The story was widely reported. The rebuttal by Bose was not so widely reported.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  0 comments
Home audio is poised for a comeback and voice interaction is leading the way.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Apr 11, 2017  |  0 comments
Once upon a time, the trajectory of a piece of consumer electronics was arbitrarily ballistic. Much like a cannonball that leaves the muzzle, flies through the air, and lands, a product was manufactured, sold to a consumer, and dumbly performed its appointed functions. Now, and particularly with products like Alexa, when a consumer product enters a home. it's more like adopting a pet, or more accurately, like taking in a puppy that has a doctorate in statistics.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Mar 28, 2017  |  0 comments
Perhaps you remember the story from two weeks ago. A woman (pictured) wearing headphones on a plane was burned when the headphones exploded and caught fire. The woman was relatively okay, but it's never good when a piece of gear catches fire, especially when it's on a plane and especially if it's near your face. With the rise of battery-powered headphones, are in-ear explosions yet another thing to worry about?

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Mar 14, 2017  |  1 comments
Without question, voice control is the hottest thing in audio. Tomorrow it will be something else. Today it is voice control. In particular, Amazon's Alexa is all the rage and is poised to appear in phones, cars, refrigerators, and pretty much anything else that is powered by electrons. But Alexa is really just the gateway drug to the Internet of Things.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Mar 07, 2017  |  7 comments
I remember it like it was only yesterday, but in reality it was probably more like 30 years ago. I walked into my favorite hi-fi store—the one on Dixie Highway. The owner greeted me by name. He was very active as a recording engineer for classical-music groups, and a trusted name in audio. His inventory was pretty high-end and a little spendy for a lowly college professor like me, but we had done some critical listening together and I greatly respected his opinions.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 28, 2017  |  2 comments
I am not a fan of Bluetooth. In particular, I regard Bluetooth audio as the worst thing to happen to audio fidelity in 20 years. When Harman first announced its wireless CarPlay technology, I recoiled at the thought of yet another wireless audio option. But, now I see there is a glimmer of hope.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 14, 2017  |  7 comments
Suppose you had a perfectly fine bucket. As you poured water into your bucket, you marveled at the way it perfectly held the water. Then one day a miscreant drilled a hole in your bucket, and put his own bucket under yours. No matter how fast you pour water into your bucket, it inevitably streams out the bottom. To make it even more frustrating, the hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger. All of which brings us to sales of DVD and Blu-ray.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 07, 2017  |  3 comments
OK. First we need to talk about the picture. His name is Graham. Don’t get too creeped out. He’s not a real guy. He’s just a rendering. You’ve probably already seen Graham. His picture has been floating around the web-o-sphere for a while. He is what a guy might look like if he’s evolved to survive car crashes. But I’m pretty sure it’s also what you would look like, after Alexa has her way with you.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 31, 2017  |  0 comments
Suppose that you are the world's largest TV manufacturer. Everyone wants to buy your TVs. In fact, you can hardly make them fast enough. To ensure a steady supply, you contract with other companies to make LCD panels for you. Now suppose those suppliers suddenly cancel the contract. What do you do? You haul their asses into court, that's what you do.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 17, 2017  |  2 comments
You probably have at least a passing awareness of James May. He was one of the trio who hosted Top Gear (recently reincarnated as The Grand Tour) and is a bona fide cool car guy. But he has also hosted a variety of interesting, verging on odd, television shows. Perhaps the oddest show, and my favorite, is The Reassembler in which Mr. May, well, reassembles things.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Dec 20, 2016  |  0 comments
It's here. That most special time of the year. You know—when people judge you by the presents you give them. In the 5 seconds it takes them to tear away the gift wrapping, all their apprehensions about your character are raised to the surface, and then suddenly revealed to be correct, or not. In other words, finding the perfect gift is extremely stressful, as well as terrifying.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Dec 06, 2016  |  0 comments
It has become trendy to bash corporations. And in some cases, if a corporation is big enough and faceless, it's easy to suppose that it's merely a shareholder profit machine that is uninterested in the needs of individuals. But of course many companies certainly do not fit that profile. Instead, you'll find that many small and medium size companies take a very different view of their role in society and, in many case, are family-run businesses. Case in point: Sennheiser and the Sennheiser brothers.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Nov 29, 2016  |  5 comments
It’s official. Analog video is dead. On the other hand, analog audio is still alive and well, thank you very much. Why is that? Why was analog video so unloved, while analog audio is beloved?

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