Why does analog sound better than digital?

Music was forever changed in 1983. Up to that year we had lived in a digital-audio-free world, where musicians and the music industry flourished in a state of pure analog bliss. Vast numbers of people actually listened to music--without doing anything else--on a regular basis.

An analog recording corresponds the variations in air pressure of the original sound. A digital recording is a series of numbers that correspond to the sound's continuous variations, but the numbers have to be reconverted to analog signals before they can be listened to. No wonder analog and digital sound so different from each … Read more

High court rejects Tiffany's appeal in eBay suit

eBay has won the latest and seemingly last round in a lawsuit filed by jewelery maker Tiffany over alleged trademark infringement.

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal filed by Tiffany over a 2008 court decision that found in favor of eBay in a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Initially filed in 2004, the suit from Tiffany alleged that eBay should be held liable for any trademark infringement from the sale of phony goods on the auction site. But in a July 2008 ruling, a U.S. District Court found that trademark law could not be used to … Read more

Can recorded music ever sound like the real thing?

I've heard most of the world's very best speakers and amplifiers, and while they can sound pretty amazing at times, they never sound like live music. The reasons for the shortfall are many, but heading the list are recordings, there's way too much signal processing and manipulation imposed on the sound of instruments and vocals, so even if you had a perfect hi-fi, the recordings wouldn't sound realistic. Analog or digital? Sorry, neither has a real advantage here; state-of-the-art recording technology still loses too much information to achieve total fidelity.

I covered this subject in a … Read more

The 404 713: Where we're ready to believe you (podcast)

Wilson's taking a day off to devote more time to early-morning photography, so Mark Licea sits in his seat to fill in. We received a handful of listener responses about yesterday's TSA scanner conversation, so we spend part of the first half clarifying our stance on the issue, but also discuss our typical Friday stories--Asians, vacations, video games, Apple, Kool-Aid, and paper airplanes just a few things you can expect to hear on today's show!

A 17-year-old geek bearing a striking resemblance to Wilson in middle school is getting heat from Apple after running a six-figure business out of his home selling white iPhone 4s. Six months ago, high school senior Fei Lam contacted Apple's Chinese supplier Foxconn and somehow convinced them to sell him white iPhone 4 parts.

He used those parts for, a site specializing in converting black iPhone 4s into the missing white version. After selling more than $130,000 worth of parts since, Lam just received a letter from a private investigator hired by Apple to investigate accusations of stolen goods, but there's no word yet from Apple about what they plan to do with the litigation. Another reason explaining Wilson's absence today!

Social networks are all fun and games until someone gets outed for digging Asian girls--that's the lesson of the week for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose old Friendster profile is making the rounds on the Internet for comments made about Asian females under the "What I Enjoy Doing" heading.

We'll grant Zuckerberg some slack since he was just a 19-year-old teenager at the time, and the rest of the content is equally lighthearted--he also lists "coding," "IN n Out," "bad life decisions," and "defeating nemeses" under the same category.

Our final story of the day comes from South America, where Brazilian Christians have banned the use of all USB connections and their associated products after claims that the logo for USB resembles the Satanic trident.

The Web is divided on the origin of the USB logo, but some suggest that the artist based the design on Neptune's Trident, with three shapes adorning the points that symbolize several connections to one destination.

Unfortunately, the ban on USB devices means that flash drives, mice, keyboards, and printers all fall under the same devil-worshiping umbrella, so hold onto your parallel port cords and PS/2 extensions--someday you might need them in Brazil.

Episode 713 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

Virtual goods revenue to hit $7.3 billion this year

Between 2007 and 2010, virtual goods revenue increased 245 percent, according to a study released today from market-research firm In-Stat.

According to the company, consumers will purchase $7.3 billion worth of virtual goods in 2010, up from the $2.1 billion they spent in 2007. The company's statistics include revenue generated from social-networking titles like Zynga's FarmVille, and casual games both online and on mobile phones.

In-Stat found that 70 percent of the revenue generated from virtual goods originated from consumers in Asia and Pacific countries, while the remaining 30 percent of the cash was generated from … Read more

Toyota is giving away cars for a few good ideas

Toyota this week announced its new campaign "Ideas for Good," along with a Web site that encourages anyone to post a video of an idea that uses Toyota technology in a new way.

Consumers are challenged to find new, nonautomotive ways to repurpose five distinct Toyota technologies: T.H.U.M.S. (Total HUman Model for Safety) is an advanced injury-simulation, Solar Powered Ventilation System uses the sun's rays to keep an electric fan running while the car is parked, Hybrid Synergy Drive converts braking energy into electricity, Advanced Parking Guidance System helps drivers park hands-free and allows drivers to control music, and Touch Tracer Display allows drivers to control the cabin temperature and other features from the steering… Read more

Putting employees' smartphones to work

Two years ago, casino giant Harrah's Entertainment needed to cut costs. One of the first places managers looked was cell phones.

As the company evaluated its business, one of the quickest and least painful ways to reduce its yearly budget by more than $1 million a year was to change its cell phone policy. Specifically, the company started allowing its employees to use their own cell phones for work.

"We looked at the cell phone market penetration, which is close to 100 percent, and we realized that everyone already has their own cell phone," said Mark Cross, … Read more

Paris Hilton hopes to sell you a skirt that doesn't exist

Paris Hilton is the epitome of virtual success.

She has proved that myths can become flesh and flesh can become a myth that becomes a legend.

So who could not but lie back and admire the fact that one of the 21st century's most significant icons is launching a new fashion line in the world of icons?

Yes, together with Mentez, the self-styled "world's leading publisher and developer of social games" on Google-owned Orkut, and Virtual Greats, the self-styled "world's leading virtual goods and sales distribution agency," Hilton is self-styling clothes that don'… Read more

Seeking all sports nuts: Coveroo phone cases

If you're like me, you might have been on a fruitless hunt for a customized iPhone case that touts your beloved sports team, only to discover nobody seems to have any. Is it critical for me to own an iPhone case themed after the New York Jets? Hardly, but I'm a superstitious fellow and I like my digital trinkets and amulets.

Coveroo, which makes custom cases for iPhones, BlackBerries, iPods, iPads, and many other devices, doesn't actually have an NFL teams license, although it does have a license for NFL players. They have NBA and MLB licenses, … Read more

Verizon and Good boost Android enterprise support

The nation's largest wireless provider has paired up with one of the premier names in the enterprise space to bring business-grade security and management to handsets like the Droid 2, Droid X, and LG Ally. The move will give the carrier a leg up when it comes to attracting business customers who previously worried about security protocols, remote wiping, and general data encryption.

The new solution is based around two components: messaging and control. Good Mobile Messaging will provide personal information management (PIM) and enterprise-class e-mail and Good Mobile Control will allow for over-the-air and on-device encryption of enterprise … Read more