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Robert Poole
Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Software engineer by trade, aspiring writer by avocation.
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Contributed to the PNG specification. Former keyholder of MITSFS.
Education
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Physics, 1988 - 1992
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Computer Science, 1992 - 1994
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So what is with Amazon making certain items exclusive to Prime members?  I noticed recently that there are certain items (including many that were added to my Wish List — in some cases years ago) which now can only be purchased if I get a Prime membership.

I know I can get a free 30-day trial of Prime if I want to, but that's a 1-time deal.  It seems as though they're doing this to items that have dropped substantially in price.
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+Dave Miller Well, yes, it's odd, and I've already tendered a complaint through the well-obfuscated "Contact Us" page.

This morning, I tried checking Amazon in various browsers, and cleared cookies in Safari (where I seldom access amazon.com).  Although the Prime logo still appears next to most products in my wish list, the actual product pages no longer contain a notification that the product is only available to Prime members.  (This verbiage shows up where the Add to Cart and Buy with 1-Click buttons normally show up, and the background for the div appears dark blue instead of the usual color.)  Adding products to the cart really works now, no longer being put in a "saved for later" bucket while notifying me that only Prime members can buy them (and prompting me to click a link to join Prime).

So... was it my cookies?  I am not sure, but I did check this across a couple different machines running different operating systems and multiple different browsers on each.  The behavior as of yesterday seemed consistent.

I do know that Amazon, like other online retailers, has been playing games with providing a different experience via different clients — mobile clients might get one price, while someone sitting at a desktop computer using a conventional browser might get a different price.  But this is the first time I ever saw Amazon explicitly state anywhere on their site that a specific product is currently only available to Prime customers.

Right now, I'm wondering if my complaint caused them to turn this off for me.  Actually, I'm also wondering if I'll start seeing this again.
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I had previously overlooked a strong universal disc player produced by Cambridge Audio, and it looks like it might give the Oppo BDP-105 a run for its money.
#hifi   #audiophile  
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+Andrew Dodson yup!
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We can’t let Republicans in Congress help out an industry that profits by exploiting students
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So yeah, my Denon DVD-2910 is dying, and after almost a decade of service, I think it needs a replacement.  Feel free to vote in the poll over at the blog entry linked herein.
If you can't vote over here, I'll create a post with a poll in it.
Admittedly a first-world problem, but I'm seeking advice. I'd been planning on replacing my aging Denon receiver with something a bit better sounding and with more HDMI inputs, but my universal disc player — a Denon ;DVD‑2910 — decided to take a crap on me now after almost…
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This is actually a great tip for getting Chrome's audio under control.
 
Yes, you can very easily make Chrome's audio notifier into a functional mute button.
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The search for new antibiotics (and other useful genes) has taken to looking at soil bacteria... and other things that live in soil.
There could be stellar drugs in the soil we step on, so researchers want to find out where antibiotics are likely to lurk.
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There was a recent article regarding tests done in and around a NYC subway...  they found DNA traces of things like Bubonic plague, anthrax, and lots of other lovely things (yes I know they are actually much more common than people think, anthrax lives in soil and the plague raises its head almost yearly here in AZ) but they also found traces of DNA they could not identify...  that's kind of cool.
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While taking a peek at Cambridge Audio's Azur series of receivers (which pair nicely with the Azur universal disc player I've been checking out), I found this article which summarizes one of the big problems in hi-fi these days: featuritis.  (Or as some of us would say, Feeping Creaturism.)

Too many of the brands I look at try too hard to cram too many features into their receivers, such as Internet audio streaming or a million different DSP modes to simulate various audio environments — badly.  Even premium Japanese brands succumb to this, because few purchasers buy on sound quality, instead comparing lists of features.

I also, incidentally, discovered that the Azur 551R is now about $600 from various sellers; the 551R V2 is the newer model, and has some extra HDMI ports I probably wouldn't need.  (The older 551R actually has more HDMI ports than my Denon receiver.)

I'm surprised CA didn't include a phono stage in this receiver, but you can always buy an external phono preamp.  I'm also surprised this receiver has a fan-based cooling solution which is thermostatically controlled, but reviewers haven't made much of it.  What I do like is that it has a pure direct analog mode which bypasses all of the digital electronics, so there's no digitizing and massaging with DSP logic.
#hifi   #audiophile   #quality  
Cambridge Audio has the chutzpah to make a high-end AV receiver that's light on features, and put the money into the sound.
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Wow...  Amazon really butchered the latest update for Fire OS on the Kindle Fire HDX.  (I have the Fire HDX 8.9, a 3rd gen device.)

Most egregiously, the Shop Amazon app hangs repeatedly, sometimes just by scrolling a product info page.  The horizontally scrolling subpanes that contain related products will sometimes just stop rendering altogether, after which the rest of the app stops being responsive -- and that's just one failure mode.  Performing a force quit (which requires navigating a few layers deep into settings) is the only cure, unless you feel like waiting for the tablet to reboot.

But the rest of the latest Kindle Fire update is just as head-scratchingly awful.  As a resident of Arizona and a software engineer, I'm accustomed to dealing with bad time zone implementations.  The Kindle Fire seems to have several.  The system-wide date/time settings have one implementation, and it sucks because it commits cardinal sins that you expect from a junior level programmer who hasn't figured out yet that common things like managing dates and times is something you don't want to reinvent.

You know, like how Fire OS is derived from Android, and Android has properly implemented time zones and date/time handling.

But no, the Kindle Fire has never had a decent implementation which properly distinguishes between, say, Mountain Standard Time (which is what Arizona is on now, GMT-7, because we don't have DST) and Mountain Daylight Time (which is what e.g. Colorado is on right now, GMT-6).  The Kindle Fire, if allowed to auto-detect time zone, will invariably do it incorrectly for Arizona when the rest of the country is on DST.  The auto-detection seemed to halfway work previously, but it's utterly broken now.

The Calendar app on the Kindle Fire has its own mechanism for selecting time zone, which gives you a different set of choices -- in this case, there's actually a time zone labeled "Phoenix," and it actually has the right offset.  Which is a good thing, because it was really disconcerting to see my Google Calendar appointments all offset by 1 hour.

Someone really needs to shoot whomever thought that displaying multiple time zone choices all labeled "Mountain Standard Time" but with different GMT offsets was a good idea.
#amazon   #kindle   #FireOS   #timezone  
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I'm beginning to think QA isn't really a thing anymore.
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So yeah, my Denon DVD-2910 is dying, and after almost a decade of service, I think it needs a replacement.  Of the following choices for universal disc player, which would you choose?  Feel free to comment why, or suggest an alternative.
#hifi   #audiophile   #adviceneeded  
No votes  -  votes visible to Public
Yamaha BD-A1040
0%
Oppo BDP-103
0%
Oppo BDP-103D
0%
Oppo BDP-105D
0%
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Yeah, I have a PS3 and a PS4, but sadly neither is good for music playback.  (I had an original PS3, which could play SACD discs, but had to replace it.  The new one drops SACD support.)

Frankly, the PS3 Blu-ray video quality is inferior to that of even some of the cheapo Blu-ray players made by Sony, LG and others.  But the main thing I am concerned about is support for high resolution audio formats.
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So, the question came up at work what javelina are most closely related to, with a couple people (including the ever-unpleasant mister triple-niner) expressing the opinion that they are just overgrown rodents, more closely related to a rat than a pig.

Wellll... not so fast.  They are not rodents at all, and they're most closely related to pigs and hippopotamuses.  The link provided below shows the clear taxonomy, and in the Q&A states unequivocally that rodents and javelina belong to completely different family orders.

You can also check out the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peccary which doesn't answer the question quite so explicitly, but does contain other useful information.
The 3 most common non-hunting related questions we get about Javelina. Typical Javelina). Photo By CK Rairden. Are Javelina related to Pigs? Yes, well kind of. Javelina (collared peccaries), and pigs (swine) are members of the order Artiodactyla, suborder Suiformes, sharing a common ancestry ...
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Kind of sad that the preliminary BICEP2 results have been falsified.
However, more work must be done.
Physicists have announced that last year's much-publicized 'discovery' of gravitational waves embedded in the 'echo' of the Big Bang was a misstep.
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Robert Poole

commented on a video on YouTube.
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I do love Kyle, but in this video he severely conflates agnosticism with atheism, especially near the end.  But then, you would need to conflate these two positions in order to support a claim that atheism is not a religion.  (Yeah, I like the Penn Gilette and Bill Maher quotes, but in the end mainstream atheism makes a strong argument that a deity does not exist, which is not the same thing as saying that one does not know whether or not a deity exists.)

This is why I usually self-identify as agnostic — and an occasionally militant one at that. (I don't know whether god exists, and neither do you!)

Still, it's something of a nit pick, and I do like most of the rest of what Kyle has to say here.  Convenient stereotypes of atheists need to be countered with factual, nuanced views of atheism.
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kagutsuchi969's profile photoKen McNutt II's profile photoRobert Poole's profile photoFrankLightheart's profile photo
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+Robert Poole You don't have to say. No one is making you. You left a message on a public forum and are thusly volunteering information about yourself. You obviously don't have to tell me any more. I'm just responding to what you wrote and trying to have a conversation. No one is making you drink any Kool-Aid.

However, it's okay to just say what you believe. They're your beliefs. I don't know why you have to be defensive about them. Is it that you actually have some theistic views and are afraid that proclaimed atheists will criticise you for them?

Or are you NOT convinced by theistic claims and are simply afraid of admitting you're an atheist?
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