Monday, March 31, 2008

Loudness war and perfect pitch

So, it's not my imagination - music is getting worse. I found this article from IEEE on how the amplitude of music is going up on one of my friend's blogs and found it truly fascinating. I had heard that this was getting worse, due to the way MP3 compression worked - but this article was enlightening! It seems that MP3 compression has improved enough where loss of quality is no longer as necessary, but that "louder" music attracts more attention - so that's what the sound engineers are going for.  What this really means is that my wacky friends that insist music sounds better on vinyl are right.

There was a follow on article that blew my mind - it covers pitch correcting software used in more than 90% of recordings today. I find this shocking, because I consider part of being a good singer to have a good sense of pitch. It's hard, I know - I've heard some recordings of myself where I'm learning a new song where clearly my sense of pitch at that moment was... a little off. This just seems to me too much like cheating.  How do we really know what we are listening to?  Clearly, I'll have to continue to go  see live theater if I want to see the real thing.  The second article is "multi-media" so you can actually hear the pitch corrections as they are applied.

Speaking of live theater, rehearsals for ATC's Best Little W****house in Texas are going exceedingly well. We did our first run through this week. Yes, still lots to polish, but we're really getting there!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Absentee ballot voter fraud

I've long had my suspicions about the potential for fraud with absentee ballots, and this article out of the UK shows just how easy it is to abuse the absentee ballot situation. Someone actually used this to rig an election! This is a tricky issue, because obviously we do not want to disenfranchise folks who cannot make it to the polls, whether due to travel, work or disability, but a lot of states, including California, are trying to move as many people to vote absentee as possible.  We've already seen problems with stolen ballots in the state of Oregon, which votes 100% absentee. I wonder what it will take to get the powers that be to seriously look into the implications of all of this.  Not that voting in person is much better. I reregistered with my new name this year, but my polling place still had me under my old name. They let me vote with a normal ballot (vs a provisional one) anyways.  Also, my parents said that for years after I left Indiana my name was still listed at the polling place by their house. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ATC needs a few good men...

So rehearsals for Best Little Whorehouse in Texas are going quite well. I'm finally starting to "get" some of the harmonies and we're really diving into the choreography.  I love how Nancy choreographs - she breaks things down so simply, even a non dancer like me can follow along.  This weekend, we're going to start working on the bigger group numbers, which means we need some more men! We need guys that can "move" and sing as Texas Aggie football players coming to visit the "Chicken Ranch" and two leading men as well: CJ Scrubs and Mayor Rufus Poindexter.  Let me know if you're interested!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bike accident

I was so sad today to read about the fatal bike accident that occurred on Steven's Creek Canyon yesterday morning. We do that ride all the time, only missing yesterday because we were skiing. I love riding that road because I find that the cyclists and motorists are generally very courteous, with the exception of occasional yahoos in sports cars. It's a nice, quiet road with a good steady climb. My heart goes out to the families of Matt Peterson and Kristy Gough, and I'm sending as many good thoughts as possible toward Christopher Knapp - I hope he is able to recover from his injuries.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Strong crypto in base Solaris 11!

My Friday night integration of 6498066 PSARC/2006/610 Data Encryption Kit (SUNWcry) Removal now means that strong crypto is available in a base Nevada system, starting with build 85 and forward. What does this mean for you? Mostly it means that you no longer have to get special packages to get longer key lengths for arcfour, aes or blowfish and that things like OpenSSL will work out of the box.

Earlier posts to this blog explained how I took a different approach with strong crypto with Solaris 10 Update 4. This work I just completed in Nevada, which was originally started by darrenm, is not appropriate for an update release since it removes packages and modules from the system.

Also, earlier this project was tied in with libsoftcrypto. I worked closely with the crypto team on this, and we decided that the removal of the Data Encryption Kit was more important and needed to be integrated as soon as possible, so libsoftcrypto was pulled out of this project gate in order to speed up delivery of PSARC/2006/610.

One really cool thing about this integration? It removes tons of now pointless Sun specific modifications from the OpenSSL source. Hurray!

This should make it easier for folks to use Nevada and OpenSolaris builds, as well as make it easier to do development in the affected areas. Let me know if you have any questions!