Monday, August 18, 2008

Is this kind of thing normal?

I was reading the latest issue of Atomic magazine today, #92. In it, there's a review of the latest-and-greatest sound card from Creative, the "Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium". It seems to have fairly respectable audio performance, with quite low distortion and good signal-to-noise.

The thing that really caught my eye, though, was this paragraph:

"Installation of the card caused several BSODs [Blue Screens of Death], with the Creative installer, dll and hardware detection engine still being quite messy. We also experienced a fairly serious OS level corruption problem when trying to run the X-Fi Titanium in the same host system as an Auzentech X-Fi."

They scored this card 8.5/10. For something that you can expect to crash your system several times on install, and may lead to operating system corruption.

Are they for real?

I guess Creative have dominated the sound card market for so long now that people just accept their buggy drivers as normal.

Me, I'll stick with my on-board audio for the time being. It works, and works well, with pretty good audio quality - and lets face it, I'm not exactly listening to sounds that *need* high quality THD & SNR figures. If I'm after high-fidelity audio, I'll play uncompressed audio through the Yamaha Amp & Peerless speakers in the loungeroom. In the meantime, I save myself several hundred $$, and avoid the general crappiness of Creative's software.

Monday, August 11, 2008


You know, it's probably fortunate that I work in a modern(ish) office building. Plasterboard walls are far less damaging to your forehead...

Consider this scenario:
Client has a site being developed. It has noise issues, we prepare a report, say "you need to do X to fix it", submit it to council. All good. So we thought.

We find out later that, actually, client wasn't intending to put in any noise mitigation measures at all, due to potential for neighbouring residences to be redeveloped as commercial in the near future.

Not good. Council unhappy. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues, during which our response is, essentially, "well, we already told you what to do to fix it".

Today, client sends email to say by the way, we're also going to do BLAH with the noise-producing plant. I'll spare you the details, but BLAH represents a non-favourable outcome for the control of noise emissions.

But it's not the end of the world - we've seen similar things before, so we say, "that's fine, just do ABC to make sure it doesn't become a problem". To which client says, "Oh, we need to have a meeting to sort this out before it becomes a major issue, please meet on site Thursday morning".

Did I mention that a site meeting involves three hours of driving?

And that when we get there, we'll probably just be looking at drawings that we could have looked at in the air conditioned comfort of the client's office on the south side of Brisbane?

Brick wall, meet forehead...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Here's a thought.

A headline on the front of today's The Australian newspaper caught my eye - it was about the Rudd Labor government, and how they may use a tax system reform to try and 'prove' their economic credentials, to show the voting public they're the right people to lead Australia through a global recession, if it eventuates.

That led me to thinking about the usual voter response when a recession / depression strikes: blame the current government, and vote in a new one.

This tends to happen irrespective of who's actually responsible for said economic downturn, which, in the case of a global downturn, would almost certainly not be an Australian government...

So, given the warning signs last year that things were going pear-shaped in the US financial sector, and that this would drag everyone down, does this mean the Liberal party wonks decided to 'throw' the Nov 2007 election to Labor, with the idea that Labor would then take the blame for any negative impacts on the average voter?

A plausible scenario, if you assume there's some shadowy 'supreme council' pulling the strings in the background. I very much doubt the Liberal politicians would go along with it... you don't get to be a federal politician without the hunger for power & wealth, and such people rarely have the self-control to postpone their machiavellian gratification! :-)

Anyway, just a ramble.