Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: July 25th

I have it on good authority some of our readers find the material covered in this space to be trite and unnecessary.  At one point in time I was compared to a barely functional autistic child.  In light of recent comments and in the interest of serving our audience, I would like to take a moment to present an intellectual slant for today's blog entry.  Feel free to absorb some of this material as we go into several items of interest.  Here we go:

The debate between a belt-driven record turntable and a direct-drive record turntable rages on.   There are supporters for both sides, but in terms of which kind sounds better, it is a matter of your personal preference.  There is no definitively correct answer.  Observe:  the advantages of the belt drive is that the motor is handled on a separate axis not directly connected to the platter which reduces rumble noise in playback.  The advantages of the direct drive is that the platter is fully on the same axis which means, inherently, that there can be no wear-down of a presumed rubber belt.  Thus, the direct drive is subject to more consistent rotational speed, and a reduced wow and flutter.

In terms of pure listening, it's possible to assume that both kinds of turntables produce tremendous, balanced, properly sped sound at their best.  However, it is much tougher to manufacture a consistent, well weighted direct drive turntable by most accounts.  Ergo, the Belt Driven turntable, vis a vis the Direct Drive has a greater chance of providing noise free playback across the board.  To put it in laymans terms, you can get a good quality belt drive turntable at a lower price than that of a direct drive turntable.  As the adage goes, your mileage may vary.

Many have speculated the plight of the music program in schools across America.  I too am dismayed to see a diminishing investment in our nation's in-school bands and musical courses.  It's really too bad, but I also think that the impact of same has been overplayed in the media.   My feeling is, the lack of emphasis on math and science is equally as alarming a trend as the reduction in music.  As much as I enjoy and appreciate the liberal arts, music among them, I feel that the less than desired aptitude rates in math and science put America's youth at a disadvantage.  One can only imagine the improved state of engineering were we to make arithmetic, trigonometry, geometry, calculus, and the sciences a priority.  Physics alone could do quite a lot to add to our already big real-world discoveries.  I hope a resolution is afoot, although I grant you that a tangible outcome would be unrealistic in the short-term.

One other area that disappoints me lately is the improper marketing for Core i-series processors for in-store PC computers.   The other day I was joined by my friend at a local Staples office supplies store to recommend a computer to him.   I was under the impression that more machines would offer the Core i5 processor or, at worst, a Core i3.  To my mild surprise, most units instead offered a Pentium processor instead.  Some had an AMD processor, which might be statistically as good, but fundamentally not as desirable.   Bear in mind, the Core i5 processor has numerous internal registers which handle video processing really well.  This creates more efficient computing and less of a lag when watching videos online, generating spreadsheet, and other visual tasks within a two dimensional space.  In essence, I thought this was well understood to become a standard feature.   Alas, the powers that be still thought to sell off the cheaper quality processors in an effort to save money.  I would not be surprised to find most consumers unaware of the difference.  Nonetheless, I took it upon myself to explain the differences to my friend and recommend one PC which contained the Core i5 processor instead.  He was satisfied with the explanation and he opted to buy the Dell Inspiron 660 Desktop Computer, using the Core i5 configuration and 8 Gigabytes of RAM.  Even with my background in client workstations, I was impressed with these specifications, especially for the low price of $480.

When I was younger, about the age of 7, I used to watch the Nickelodeon kids cable channel on our TV set in the early morning.   In the 5 am hour, Nickelodeon would air a rerun of the science program "Mr. Wizard."  This program fascinated me immensely.  Mr. Wizard, known to the outside world as Don Herbert, presented a series of experiments, real-life physics, and even took viewer questions via Mail.   It's good to know that Don Herbert impacted so many.   To this day, I look back at his program fondly.

I'm afraid my mind is at a loss for further commentary, but I hope these paragraphs have generated interest on your end.   I bid you a good Thursday, and hope to see you back at this space tomorrow.

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