Neuros is a device manufacturer with a simple focus: it creates devices that let you record video from almost any source into a digital format (MPEG-4) that can then be played on almost any device. The trick: its devices connect to your video output sources (VCR, DVD player, etc.) using standard analog RCA cables, avoiding digital copy-protection technologies like HDCP or CSS. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems like this method skirts the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions: the devices don't bypass these digital copy protection schemes, they simply take the signal after the device has decoded it, … Read more
There's a war going on among music critics of a certain age. A few months ago, San Francisco Chronicle critic Joel Selvin mourned the loss of concern for sound quality in the MP3 era. Since then, writers for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have thrown down the gauntlet for the other side, arguing not only that MP3s and other forms of compressed digital music are sufficient, but that audiophiles are delusional--especially older audiophiles, whose hearing has probably decayed to the point where they couldn't even hear all the things that MP3s take out. Slate columnist … Read more
Software updates from Nikon and Canon this month bring Windows Vista support for "raw" images taken with the companies' newest SLRs--and in Canon's case, a number of older cameras as well.
Raw images contain more data than JPEG and give photographers more control over processing, but different cameras and manufacturers use different proprietary formats, making support a challenge. Microsoft relies on camera makers to supply customers with "codec" software that lets Windows Vista--and any programs that use its image-handling abilities--read the proprietary raw image formats. In contrast, Apple writes its own codecs, and Windows XP … Read more
Bluetooth developer Open Interface announced today that it has a new lossless audio codec that leaves the existing A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) standard in the dust. The codec is called SoundAbout Lossless and promises low-latency, low-complexity, multichannel Bluetooth audio, without compromising audio fidelity. Open Interface's Chief Operating Officer Rick Romatowski ran a demo of the new Bluetooth codec at our CNET offices last week, and we were definitely impressed. Jasmine France and I viewed a few scenes from House of Flying Daggers and were blown away by both the sound quality and the undetectable latency introduced by the … Read more
Just to let you know a little bit more about me, here's the obligatory "hit random shuffle and tell me the first ten songs that come up" post. Only instead of using an iPod like most bloggers, I'm using my Zune.
(Full disclosure: this Zune is a review unit I received from Microsoft. I use it as my main music player for two reasons. First, my iPod's hard drive died out of warranty, and my wife is devoted to hers and won't let me steal it. Second, I convert a lot of vinyl using … Read more
Pentax has released software that lets Windows Vista read and manipulate "raw" images taken directly from higher-end Pentax cameras' image sensors without in-camera processing.
Raw images are popular among professionals and enthusiasts who want more elaborate control over their photography, but supporting raw formats is tough, mostly because there's largely no standard from one camera to the next. Pentax is unusual in digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera makers in that its high-end model, the K10D, supports Adobe Systems' DNG (digital negative) format … Read more