56: The Woodpecker14 Mar 2014
Software complexity, comp-sci usefulness, Marco’s Mac Pro, John’s AV receiver, and home-theater speaker philosophies.
- Follow-up on software complexity: The Mythical Man-Month, No Silver Bullet, the original Agile manifesto, and what Agile has become.
- What we found most useful from our computer-science educations.
- Marco's impressions of his new Mac Pro.
- External disks, PCI-Express SSDs, and cable management.
- John buys a home-theater AV receiver. (The newer version he didn't need)
- Stereo vs. surround speakers, and integrated vs. external subwoofers. (Marco's tiny, buggy amp and great speakers).
- After-show: Pono, ABX tests, mp3ornot.
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⏹️ ▶️ Marco given your musical taste i bet you’ll like coldplay
⏹️ ▶️ Casey i do like coldplay i prefer radiohead but i like coldplay
⏹️ ▶️ Casey what that’s probably a perfectly reasonable joke that i just did not get
⏹️ ▶️ Casey so john tell us about the fountain format
⏹️ ▶️ John yeah we mentioned this in the show where we talked about script notes uh fountain is that markdown like
⏹️ ▶️ John format that you use to write screenplays and the time that I
⏹️ ▶️ John brought we brought up the second time I said it was invented by John August and someone tweeted me to just clarify
⏹️ ▶️ John it was created by John August and Nima Yousefi and Stu Mashwitz so three people created not
⏹️ ▶️ John just John August don’t want to just give credit to the one guy who happens to have a podcast that we listened to and talked about
⏹️ ▶️ John and are still talking about there you go you know I mean like this is the thing about the correction that that’s small
⏹️ ▶️ John like I think it’s worth correcting but like you have no place to correct for it except in the follow up. So
⏹️ ▶️ John like if I just tweet about it and I have to rely on everyone who listens to the podcast also following me on Twitter. So the correction has
⏹️ ▶️ John to go in the podcast. No way around it. Usually follow up this this minuscule I exclude but
⏹️ ▶️ John I think crediting is worth putting in.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right. So software complexity.
⏹️ ▶️ John If you guys remember what I said about software complexity to be last week.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It was second only to parenting.
⏹️ ▶️ John Something like that. I you know as always I really listen to the show. I’m like I want to make
⏹️ ▶️ John sure that I remember what I said. But of course, I relistened to the show so long ago that I’ve since forgotten.
⏹️ ▶️ John But I personally got a lot of feedback about this. I don’t know if all of you guys did it. Did
⏹️ ▶️ John it come to the feedback from a little bit came to the feedback from but I got a lot of tweets, a lot of snarky,
⏹️ ▶️ John angry and questioning tweets.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Oh, that’s right. Because I saw Dr. Drang call you out on it. And you said that you would
⏹️ ▶️ Casey correct him in my words, not yours. You said you would correct him at the end the next episode,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and I’d forgotten about that. And I’m very excited to hear where this is going.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, so it was like an offhand comment, something to the effect that software is the most complex thing
⏹️ ▶️ John made by humans or something similar like that, you know, or I threw in parenting at the end as a joke.
⏹️ ▶️ John And it was imprecisely worded, because I thought I was referring to an idea
⏹️ ▶️ John that everybody knew, like I was referencing something that was shared knowledge with me in the audience. And we all knew
⏹️ ▶️ John about it. And most of us probably agreed so I could just you know say something
⏹️ ▶️ John vague and be like oh he’s referring to that idea and then let’s put the joke about parenting at the end you know ha whatever
⏹️ ▶️ John but that like that was not an expression not a complete expression of what I meant and which is it’s not surprising
⏹️ ▶️ John to me that so many people heard that and misinterpreted it because if they don’t know what the heck I’m talking about it the
⏹️ ▶️ John words I said were not essentially what I meant so Did
⏹️ ▶️ John you well you saw dr. Drang being angry about it, but What did you guys think I
⏹️ ▶️ John meant or think I was referring to or did you know what I was referring to
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I did not I thought you were being genuine. I didn’t think you were being I thought you were being playfully
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Snarky like you were you were trolling in a not jerky way in a ha ha funny
⏹️ ▶️ John you’re gonna make me go off on a tangent about the the definition of trolling because I
⏹️ ▶️ John Have a fairly precise definition of trolling which is intentionally saying something you don’t believe to get a rise
⏹️ ▶️ John out of people. That was not what I was doing. People use trolling to mean just like saying
⏹️ ▶️ John something that gets people angry, but if you really believe it you’re not trolling you are expressing your actual…
⏹️ ▶️ John anyway forget about trolling. So here’s what I was referring to. I think I can sum
⏹️ ▶️ John it up reasonably concisely and then just like ramble a lot at the end until everyone’s sick of it, this is this topic.
⏹️ ▶️ John And I had to look this up because it was another thing that I just assume everybody
⏹️ ▶️ John knows but they don’t like a saying that I can remember seeing like for decades I don’t know where
⏹️ ▶️ John it came from when I googled for it. I got it attributed to some name, but not a timestamp but
⏹️ ▶️ John What the last place I can be sure I remember seeing it or the first place I can be sure I remember seeing is on Usenet and signatures
⏹️ ▶️ John like it was in everybody’s dot sig kids. Yes your parent was or that sig is And it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John this thing and you can tell me if you’ve heard this before if builders built buildings the way programmers write programs The first
⏹️ ▶️ John woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization. Have you heard that one before? No Very
⏹️ ▶️ John popular saying back in the early days of the Internet in lots of dot sigs I’m sure predates
⏹️ ▶️ John the Internet because programming certainly does I found it credited to Gerald Weinberg, but I
⏹️ ▶️ John don’t know if that’s accurate I Only did five minutes of looking that
⏹️ ▶️ John up. He’s not supposed to any research. All right, so Good boy So this is the
⏹️ ▶️ John that saying what it’s trying to get at is like the first premise behind the idea that I’m getting at Is that software
⏹️ ▶️ John has more problems than other seemingly similar things? Like other forms of engineering
⏹️ ▶️ John and construction and stuff like that. That’s what they’re saying It’s like well the people who build buildings if they were as crappy as programmers
⏹️ ▶️ John woodpeckers would destroy civilization That’s that’s idea number one like that. There are always
⏹️ ▶️ John bugs in software and sometimes they’re super really serious bugs not just minor ones
⏹️ ▶️ John and And even software written by the very best programmers, the very best practitioners in the entire field,
⏹️ ▶️ John those have big problems too. And I think everyone can agree on that.
⏹️ ▶️ John If you write software for a living, you know bugs are a fact of life. It’s not as if, oh, when I get really good at programming, I’ll stop writing bugs.
⏹️ ▶️ John That never, never, ever happens. Actually, your bugs become harder to find. And
⏹️ ▶️ John that the quality of software, I think we would all agree, like that saying is funny about the woodpecker
⏹️ ▶️ John destroying civilization, civilization because there is not just a grain of truth but a serious amount of truth behind that. They’re like
⏹️ ▶️ John people in other professions that seem similar certainly seem a hell of a lot more competent. Like the average
⏹️ ▶️ John is better and in programming in particular there’s not like no matter how good you are you’re never you’re
⏹️ ▶️ John never gonna achieve a level of competence that you know that’s even close to the average of these other professions.
⏹️ ▶️ John All right so the second premise of Behind the idea that I was referring
⏹️ ▶️ John to is that assuming you agree with the first one This is another big chain of things like if you disagree with me at any point
⏹️ ▶️ John They’re not gonna all connect you have to kind of like if you you have to kind of follow the whole chain And if you disagree at any point
⏹️ ▶️ John well, then oh well so but if you agree with that first bit the second bit is This
⏹️ ▶️ John this the first bit about software being crappier and the woodpecker thing. It’s not because
⏹️ ▶️ John software developers are dumb or lazy Like that it’s not
⏹️ ▶️ John because because we haven’t thought about programming. It’s not because people haven’t tried to figure out better ways we might be able
⏹️ ▶️ John to program. It’s not because programming is super young. We’ve been doing this for decades.
⏹️ ▶️ John And something that I think most programmers and most other people would agree with is that
⏹️ ▶️ John this nature of software that is discussed, that being crappier than other things, is because software
⏹️ ▶️ John is different than those other things, not because of any lack of effort or knowledge or skill or,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, because programmers are stupid or anything like that. We’ve had decades and decades of research
⏹️ ▶️ John and hard work, and they have not really led to any big reduction in
⏹️ ▶️ John the number of bugs per line of code or whatever stat you want to put up. A programmer today
⏹️ ▶️ John versus a programmer writing something on punch cards, error rate-wise, are probably pretty similar.
⏹️ ▶️ John And it’s not for lack of trying. It’s not like, well, we’ve never really put any effort in trying to figure out how to write software better.
⏹️ ▶️ John No, we put a lot of effort into it, and it seems, I’m not going to say it’s intractable, But so far we haven’t cracked it.
⏹️ ▶️ John And like the Fred Brooks things that I mentioned in the last show, you know, the mythical man month, how
⏹️ ▶️ John adding manpower to a late project makes it later, that is not true of, you know, building
⏹️ ▶️ John a bridge. If you double your manpower, you can probably build a bridge faster, or, you know, anything, any sort
⏹️ ▶️ John of more scalable physical endeavor, or building a skyscraper. If you’ve got one guy building your skyscraper, boy, it’s going to take forever.
⏹️ ▶️ John If you’re running late, if you add more construction workers, up to a point, obviously. But
⏹️ ▶️ John like this, the mystical man month is famous because it’s such a counterintuitive finding for
⏹️ ▶️ John software in particular. And you know, Fred Brooks again with no silver bullet. The mythical man month
⏹️ ▶️ John was 1975. No silver bullet was 1986. Programming’s been around since,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, in its current sort of modern form since the 50s, 60s, right? So
⏹️ ▶️ John these are people trying to research what we can do to get better. I know Silverbolt was that we’ve looked into this, and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can
⏹️ ▶️ John do that will really make us better programmers by an order of magnitude,
⏹️ ▶️ John used in the correct sense for all the people who are pedantically correcting Casey about that.
⏹️ ▶️ John And these two sort of seminal works in the world in the software field are fairly
⏹️ ▶️ John old. And I think most people accept them, that this all comes
⏹️ ▶️ John together as programming is, for some reason, we’re really crappy at it. we can’t figure out how
⏹️ ▶️ John to get that much better and it’s not for lack of trying.
⏹️ ▶️ John And so that’s that’s where I’m coming from in this and there’s lots of silly misinterpretations of what I said
⏹️ ▶️ John which are probably accurate if you were to look at the words but like should have been dismissed this is something when you listen to somebody
⏹️ ▶️ John like give them the benefit of the doubt assume they’re not like really dumb because it’s always easy to say aha the exact words you
⏹️ ▶️ John said would only make sense if you meant you know mean this and that’s a stupid idea instead of saying well you must
⏹️ ▶️ John not have meant the stupid idea you must have something else. Anyway, it’s not their fault. It’s my fault for saying the wrong thing. But silly misinterpretations
⏹️ ▶️ John that I like to dissuade people from now is, one, that programmers have the hardest profession in the world.
⏹️ ▶️ John That’s obviously silly. Pretty much any other job in the universe is harder than programming, at least
⏹️ ▶️ John physically and emotionally. It’s very hard to think of a profession that is easier than programming.
⏹️ ▶️ John Maybe you can think of some that might be easier mentally, but that really depends on what kind of mental
⏹️ ▶️ John state you have. If you have the type of brain that eats itself, if it isn’t giving you something to do than
⏹️ ▶️ John actually being a checkout clerk is harder mentally than being a programmer. But you know, any
⏹️ ▶️ John any job is harder physically, almost all jobs are harder emotionally, like it’s trivial to think of a harder job. So that’s not what I meant.
⏹️ ▶️ John Software is the most complex thing in the world. That is obviously also silly.
⏹️ ▶️ John But there is there’s some nuance that that’ll get to in a bit. But like for just to give an easy example, the human body is obviously
⏹️ ▶️ John more complicated than any software we will probably ever write. And people deal the human body all
⏹️ ▶️ John the time in many forms, not just doctors and all that other stuff. So here’s
⏹️ ▶️ John what I did mean based on all those premises that I just described about software being the most
⏹️ ▶️ John complex things made by human. Well, I guess one more sort of foundational
⏹️ ▶️ John thing that you have to understand and agree with me with is that software is written on top of an abstraction,
⏹️ ▶️ John and that abstraction is what we call the hardware, and it’s an engineering task to make that hardware.
⏹️ ▶️ John So like someone somewhere is responsible for making essentially a machine with, you know, chips or transistors
⏹️ ▶️ John or whatever, that provides an abstraction that lets software work in the world of ones and zeros. It’s the hardware’s
⏹️ ▶️ John job to figure out the ones and zeros. You know, completely on, completely off, transistors, CPUs, clocks,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, phase loops, power supplies, all that stuff, that’s providing hardware. That is all
⏹️ ▶️ John to make an abstraction where it’s like, okay, from this level up, it’s ones and zeros.
⏹️ ▶️ John Sometimes that abstraction is leaky to use Joel parlance. But that’s not what we’re talking about when we’re
⏹️ ▶️ John talking about bugs. If only most of our bugs were attributable to hardware problems where the ones and
⏹️ ▶️ John what causes most of our software bugs. The hardware, for the most part, does a really amazing job of maintaining that
⏹️ ▶️ John ones and zeros abstraction. And our software bugs are not caused by that abstraction leaking, are not caused
⏹️ ▶️ John by, oh, a one accidentally flipped to a zero, and that’s what caused the bug in my… No. What caused the bug in your program was you
⏹️ ▶️ John writing bad code. There are hardware bugs, but that’s not what we’re talking about almost all the time. In In fact, it’s so
⏹️ ▶️ John novel when it’s a hardware bug, it’s like an exciting story, right? Whereas if you just make a software bug,
⏹️ ▶️ John it happens every day. And above that ones and zeros layer,
⏹️ ▶️ John we human beings, we software people, are responsible for everything. And that’s not to say that we
⏹️ ▶️ John have to write everything ourselves, because you have libraries and OSs and frameworks, like we’ve built up this gigantic tower of
⏹️ ▶️ John stuff on top of those ones and zeros. But there is an expectation, and I think it’s a
⏹️ ▶️ John founded expectation, that every single thing in this giant tower of crap that we’ve built
⏹️ ▶️ John is understandable to a programmer. The idea that software is, for the most
⏹️ ▶️ John part, pretty much nearly 100% knowable by humans. It doesn’t mean they have it all in their head, doesn’t mean
⏹️ ▶️ John any human being fits the entire, like, knows every single thing that’s happening in the program, but it is knowable and understandable.
⏹️ ▶️ John If you want to look up what’s happening, you can find out. All the way down to getting, like, the manual for the CPU
⏹️ ▶️ John and figuring out what the machine code is and disassembling it. Like, it is knowable. Doesn’t mean you know it,
⏹️ ▶️ John but it means like the only thing stopping you from figuring it out, like if you have some super hard bug and you keep digging down, down,
⏹️ ▶️ John down, eventually you’re going to get down to ones and zeros. And those ones and zeros are knowable, you know, in case you would know,
⏹️ ▶️ John or any other person who’s done EE or any type of thing where you build a CPU up from logic
⏹️ ▶️ John gates. First you learn how a transistor works, then you learn how a logic gate works, and now you’re into the world of ones and zeros, and you can very easily
⏹️ ▶️ John build a CPU from those logic gates and work your way up. It’s knowable from top to bottom, every single
⏹️ ▶️ John piece, because we’re building on top of these ones and zeros. Now, I mentioned the human body before,
⏹️ ▶️ John which is way more complicated than any program, but humans don’t create the human body, not in the way
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m about to describe. Obviously, we do, but not assembling it a piece at a time. So
⏹️ ▶️ John let’s think about something like a bridge. A bridge is also more complicated than any program we will ever write.
⏹️ ▶️ John In fact, bridges are so complicated that we can’t even reason about them as they are. We have to use approximations
⏹️ ▶️ John and models and stuff like that to figure out whether they’re going to work, right? Everything we do in that type of engineering
⏹️ ▶️ John has to be based on these models that are not reality, but they’re hopefully close enough when we refine them and do everything like that.
⏹️ ▶️ John Because they’re fiendishly complicated. That’s another thing people think, oh, you’re saying computer
⏹️ ▶️ John programs are so complicated. Well, what about a bridge? A pencil is more complicated than a computer program
⏹️ ▶️ John if you look at it at the atomic level. So
⏹️ ▶️ John I think we can all agree that bridges are generally reliable than software, like actual bridges. Like,
⏹️ ▶️ John bridges fall down dropping the cars into the ocean much less often than software just totally craps the bed and does
⏹️ ▶️ John the equivalent. And granted, we’ve been building bridges for a long time, but I don’t think the head start
⏹️ ▶️ John really explains this because of the acceleration of technological advancement. So
⏹️ ▶️ John the analogy I would say is programming is like having to assemble a bridge starting from
⏹️ ▶️ John subatomic particles, and you’re not allowed to know the current laws of physics and use them as a reference.
⏹️ ▶️ John You have to invent everything, right? And so you’d build on the equivalent of libraries and frameworks.
⏹️ ▶️ John The equivalence of library and frameworks in the bridge world would be like, well, what if there’s a bug in the gravity library?
⏹️ ▶️ John What if the guy who wrote the steel molecule framework left some corner case unchecked, and at
⏹️ ▶️ John some point, all the steel would turn to liquid at room temperature if a certain kind of car travels over the bridge?
⏹️ ▶️ John That’s what we’re doing in the world of software, and it’s because the entire stack is both created
⏹️ ▶️ John by humans and noble by humans. There is no sort of like, well, that’s the way things work
⏹️ ▶️ John and we’ll build models to sort of approximate what’s going on and using these
⏹️ ▶️ John heuristics, we can come up with something reliable. Every single piece of it from the top of the bottom is noble
⏹️ ▶️ John and changeable by the programmers. And so these things, when I say software is the most complicated thing created by
⏹️ ▶️ John a human, I guess maybe more accurate to say software is the most complicated thing wholly created by a human, because it is
⏹️ ▶️ John wholly artificial. Like once you get above the ones and zeros, all that ones and zero is us. And there
⏹️ ▶️ John are no rules except the rules we make. There is no gravity. There’s no laws of physics. There’s no
⏹️ ▶️ John physical properties. There’s nothing. There is only what we make of it. Every single layer of that layer cake
⏹️ ▶️ John has bugs and nuances that are knowable to us, but are not known to
⏹️ ▶️ John us. And so the higher we build, the more chance there is that we don’t understand something about
⏹️ ▶️ John COCO that we think we understand. And this thing ends up being unallocated in the time we tried
⏹️ ▶️ John to access it. Or there’s a bug in the COCO library, and it’s revealed in some very strange
⏹️ ▶️ John corner case. Like I’m not saying all bugs are due to bugs in frameworks and everything, but like, that all the way this turtles all the way down. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John all humans writing programs, you know, that are knowable, but unknown. And that’s the world
⏹️ ▶️ John we’re living in. And that I think is describes the unique nature of software as being the most complicated thing that
⏹️ ▶️ John we make from top to bottom, because it is completely artificial. The human
⏹️ ▶️ John body is not knowable because it’s way too complicated, but we don’t make it. We, you know, we’re not responsible for
⏹️ ▶️ John it. No one expects you to know. Could you tell me what the electron in this atom in this person’s eyeball is doing
⏹️ ▶️ John right now? Of course not. But if someone asks you, can you tell me when this value is going to change, A, you can
⏹️ ▶️ John actually tell them, and B, you should understand why that’s happening. And if you had a bug related to that little electron, you should be
⏹️ ▶️ John able to figure it out. So I don’t know if this is convincing as I keep piling
⏹️ ▶️ John on the assumptions. I think most people will agree that software is bad and that it’s not bad because programmers
⏹️ ▶️ John are lazy. But I think most programmers will agree that the unique nature of software
⏹️ ▶️ John is essentially that it is really complicated in the realm of things that we make ourselves
⏹️ ▶️ John and every single part of us, every single part of it is created by us and in theory knowable
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⏹️ ▶️ John I know you guys want to get off this topic but I want to at least get both of your take on this
⏹️ ▶️ John realm assuming you care. I don’t Casey?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I sort of do. So as as someone who claims to be an engineer, which is to say, I went
⏹️ ▶️ Casey through an engineering program at a at a relatively large university,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I, I feel like I can be extremely snobby about
⏹️ ▶️ Casey engineers versus non engineers. For example, I think that Marco got an inferior education
⏹️ ▶️ Casey simply because his education was in computer science and not computer engineering.
⏹️ ▶️ John I wouldn’t call it inferior. I would just say that as as someone who also has an engineering degree, the one thing I think
⏹️ ▶️ John we can rightfully get to do is lord it over the people who took what we consider to be easier majors. Yes.
⏹️ ▶️ John Is it inferior education? I don’t know. But is it harder to go through, in general, is it harder to
⏹️ ▶️ John go through an engineering degree than it is to go through a computer science degree? I would say in general
⏹️ ▶️ John for most people, yes. And so that’s the one little thing that we can hold up with some tiny
⏹️ ▶️ John amount of pride. Please email them.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Please email us. Furthermore, like you were saying earlier, the difference to be between computer engineering
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and computer science, all kidding aside, is that in principle, when John and I graduated,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey if not today, we should be able to, like John said, follow
⏹️ ▶️ Casey software at a high-level language like Objective-C or C-sharp
⏹️ ▶️ Casey or even Perl or PHP or whatever the case may be. We should be able to follow that all the way down to NAND
⏹️ ▶️ Casey gates and so on and so forth within a processor, or even transistors within a processor, just like John
⏹️ ▶️ Casey said. And I think what’s interesting is I can see
⏹️ ▶️ Casey why people like Dr. Drang, who is an air quote traditional engineer, could be offended
⏹️ ▶️ Casey by John or me or anyone saying that the sort of thing we do is extremely
⏹️ ▶️ Casey complex or even the most complex.
⏹️ ▶️ John the thing we do, it’s the thing we create.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey right, the thing we create. And so I can understand both sides of this. And to me,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I think the thing that makes the most sense is that for us, by
⏹️ ▶️ Casey comparison – and John, you touched on this – our industry,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey our engineering discipline is so much younger, so much younger than most
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of these other disciplines. You could argue that mechanical engineering, for example, has been around for a really
⏹️ ▶️ Casey long time, hundreds of years at the very least, if not many, many, many more than that. And so because of
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that, I think the reasonable argument for software being
⏹️ ▶️ Casey terrible and for us not being good at our jobs is that we’re very – we
⏹️ ▶️ Casey as a race, as a race I guess, yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey are just very ignorant and we’re kind of amateurs at this.
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t buy that argument because of the accelerating pace of technology. You’re right that it’s so much newer than structural engineering,
⏹️ ▶️ John for example, but technology, if you like put any graph of like technological advancement after like the
⏹️ ▶️ John Industrial Revolution, like the rate of change is accelerating. So even though our thing came in much later
⏹️ ▶️ John in the timeline, it came in after the bend in the hockey stick. So we’ve had
⏹️ ▶️ John the equivalent of millennia of technological advancement in software, and yet
⏹️ ▶️ John we are not getting better at these things. I don’t buy that, like, I think that contributes
⏹️ ▶️ John to it somewhat, but I think the thing we’re making because it is so wholly artificial and knowable
⏹️ ▶️ John and complicated, that unique combination of factors, like, I’ve spent a little while trying to think of something
⏹️ ▶️ John that has similar properties. I can think of science fiction things that have similar properties, like,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, building living beings from, like, you know, doing DNA programming or stuff like that,
⏹️ ▶️ John or building nanobots maybe that are self-replaced. Everything I think of that would
⏹️ ▶️ John be worse has some kind of place where we decide that it’s not knowable anymore, like
⏹️ ▶️ John genetic algorithms or things where we’re like, well, just let it go run off on its own and we’ll do some tiny
⏹️ ▶️ John simulation of kind of like how life evolves. But we won’t understand the reasoning or
⏹️ ▶️ John the functioning. We’ll just hope that the end product works. Can you think of one that has the combination
⏹️ ▶️ John of like totally made by humans also very complicated
⏹️ ▶️ John and No help from any pre-existing anything you just start with like ones and zeros
⏹️ ▶️ Casey well No, but you could argue that you know we’re building on More building on physics
⏹️ ▶️ Casey as well just as much as a bridge builder
⏹️ ▶️ John is well I know, but I think there’s that clean break like yes the engineers who build the hardware Yes, that’s all physics obviously
⏹️ ▶️ John like that’s yeah But I’m saying like there’s a hard layer between like that’s the hardware And they do a great
⏹️ ▶️ John job with that because like it’s there They’re you know doing approximations based on the natural world and laws that tend
⏹️ ▶️ John not to change and everything like that But once we get above that the ones and zeros we draw a hard line there
⏹️ ▶️ John We say look if anything happens below that that’s not our problem. That’s not our fault That’s not a software bug and in practice.
⏹️ ▶️ John That’s not where that’s not where our problems are like yeah That does happen hardware fails, right? But nobody blames
⏹️ ▶️ John the software guys for that people blame the software guys for all the other times something goes wrong Then the hardware is functioning
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. It’s tough because, like I said, I see this from both sides, and I understand why Dr. Drang is
⏹️ ▶️ Casey offended, but I also pretty much, I know unsurprisingly, agree with everything you just said. So
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t know. We can move on from this, though.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, somewhat. Two suggestions in the chat room, though. One said complex math.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, maybe that qualifies, although, yeah, kind of. I don’t know. I don’t have
⏹️ ▶️ John enough math to analyze that, but… Well
⏹️ ▶️ Marco math is a little bit different in that Where it’s less built and more discovered
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know it doesn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know everything is like you know you’re discovering properties that were already there, or you’re building
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know you’re building new ways of expressing things that are already there and proving things that already work like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s a little bit different in that You’re not like you’re not as much of building up these whole systems of things that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco could be like three-quarters wrong Or you know would only work in you
⏹️ ▶️ Marco know 80% of the possible cases like usually math is a little more Well grounded than that and it’s more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco provable and and you know kind of built more slowly over the years so that
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s a hundred percent Provable like that’s what defines it like but like it’s not you’re not building a little machine to do something like math
⏹️ ▶️ John is applicable to Every machine that we make of course But like when you’re doing math you’re like you’re not
⏹️ ▶️ John concerned You’re not trying to make a thing to do something you’re trying to you know sort of explore the nature of truth
⏹️ ▶️ John You know the only real truth we have so that should make the mathematicians happy other people suggested music and storytelling
⏹️ ▶️ John Lots of things that human do is like love is more complicated right but like It’s much harder to
⏹️ ▶️ John define a bug in Storytelling and music and stuff like that and those things
⏹️ ▶️ John although they’re kind of executable where you play them like The music doesn’t like
⏹️ ▶️ John the music isn’t isn’t meant to like if it makes one person sadder than another that’s not a bug. If
⏹️ ▶️ John one person finds it boring, one person finds it amazing, that’s also not a bug. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John difficult. Again, tons of things that people do are harder and more difficult, more complicated than programming.
⏹️ ▶️ John I say what we make as programmers, because it’s so completely artificial and also
⏹️ ▶️ John so complex, and there’s nothing to stand it on. It is the world of ones and zeros that we have collectively
⏹️ ▶️ John built up, and a woodpecker would destroy it if it was made of wood.
⏹️ ▶️ John It doesn’t take a woodpecker. It makes like a dust moat floating through in the wrong spot. And again, like
⏹️ ▶️ John all the steel turns to liquid when the yellow car runs over it. Anyway, we can move on. Please.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Really quick real-time follow-up. Firstly, it is math, not maths. You people that are
⏹️ ▶️ Casey hailing from the British Empire are crazy. And I know we have too, but at least we got that right. And secondly,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey when I said race earlier, it’s not about race. I meant the human race slash the species
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of humans. So before we get a thousand emails, actually, it’s probably too late. So let’s talk about
⏹️ ▶️ Casey software methodologies and do a little follow up on that, because Marco isn’t already bitter enough.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey A lot of people wrote in and said, hey, you got Agile totally wrong. And
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to some degree, they were right. And I should say that Agile began as a manifesto
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and that manifesto I’ll kind of get to in a second. But it was more
⏹️ ▶️ Casey about here’s the things we value unless about here’s the steps that you should take in order to do
⏹️ ▶️ Casey these things. And what I had talked about, and I think all of us had talked about
⏹️ ▶️ Casey was more, hey, when you’re a when you’re a soldier on the ground, so to
⏹️ ▶️ Casey speak, and I mean that very, very figuratively, when you’re when you’re a working developer,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey this is what agile and scrum tend to mean. And it tends to mean things like stand ups
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and stories and points and so on and so forth. So those of you who wrote in
⏹️ ▶️ Casey about Agile being more about a series of ideals rather than
⏹️ ▶️ Casey a series of steps, you’re absolutely right, and I should have specified that. Additionally, a lot
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of people have written in and pointed to a post that was very prescient
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and worked out. The timing was great. Post by Dave Thomas, not the Wendy’s guy, but
⏹️ ▶️ Casey the Agile guy. And his post is, Agile is dead, long live agility.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And the TLDR of that is, hey, agile in the sense
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of a series of things that you need to do really is kind of BS. Again,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey agile is really about here’s the values that we have. So he says,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and I’m quoting from this article, look again at the four values. And this is the agile manifesto
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that I mentioned earlier. We value individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey We value working software over comprehensive documentation. We value
⏹️ ▶️ Casey customer collaboration over contract negotiation. And we value responding to change over
⏹️ ▶️ Casey following a plan. So that’s the ideal. That’s what Agile really, really is.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So Dave goes on to say, you know, hey, to prescribe
⏹️ ▶️ Casey standups, to prescribe scrum, to prescribe stories, to prescribe any of that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is really BS. So let’s get back to the basics. and he says, here’s how to do something in an agile
⏹️ ▶️ Casey fashion. What to do. Find out where you are, take a small step towards your goal,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey adjust your understanding based on what you learned, and repeat. And here’s how to do it. When faced
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with two or more alternatives that deliver roughly the same value, take the path
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that makes future change easier. And I’m continuing to quote, and that’s it. Those four
⏹️ ▶️ Casey lines and one practice encompass everything there is to know about effective software development. Of course, this
⏹️ ▶️ Casey involves a fair amount of thinking, and the basic loop is nested fractally inside itself many times as you focus on everything
⏹️ ▶️ Casey from variable naming to long-term delivery, but anyone who comes up with something bigger or more complex is just trying to sell
⏹️ ▶️ Casey you something. And to be honest, this is pretty much right. This is true.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And I stand by our last episode. I stand by all the things I said and all the things that we said
⏹️ ▶️ Casey because Agile and Scrum, as they are perceived today, boils down to those things. But if you
⏹️ ▶️ Casey really, really try to break it down to what is the genesis of all
⏹️ ▶️ Casey this, it’s really programming or developing with agility. And that’s what Dave
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, I read this thing too. And what it reminded me of is the idea, we
⏹️ ▶️ John see it played out many times, that any idea, whether
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s a reaction to previous ideas or an entirely novel new idea about how someone might do
⏹️ ▶️ John something better, inevitably falls victim to the
⏹️ ▶️ John sort of innate human desire for simple answers. Like, you know, Fred Brooks, no silver bullet. Everybody wants
⏹️ ▶️ John the silver bullet, right? And so if someone has an idea like agile, where it’s like,
⏹️ ▶️ John well, you know, a reaction to like, if you just take the opposite of all those points, like, let’s, let’s, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John do a whole bunch of planning up front and take big steps instead of small steps. Let’s, let’s get a full, complete understanding of the problem
⏹️ ▶️ John before we start, instead of like gaining that understanding incrementally. they are opposites of each other in many ways Agile is a reaction
⏹️ ▶️ John to methodologies that have come before it or you know systems of working that have come before it.
⏹️ ▶️ John But once you put it out into the world it does not take long for it to snowball into like the silver bullet
⏹️ ▶️ John people get their hands on and the books come out and the seminars and the courses and the consultants and like that is inevitable with any
⏹️ ▶️ John idea. It doesn’t mean the idea is wrong or dead or bad. Any idea you put out there even any technology
⏹️ ▶️ John will be absorbed into the gigantic culture of things that
⏹️ ▶️ John give people what they want. People want to know that you can hire a bunch of consultants. They’ll swoop in, teach everyone in your
⏹️ ▶️ John organization how to do X in the new way, whether it be Six Sigma or all those
⏹️ ▶️ John things that your dad could tell you about from the IBM days, and quality first, and this,
⏹️ ▶️ John that, and the other. Someone’s always selling, here’s a new way you’re going to work. And it always gets perverted from what the original
⏹️ ▶️ John intention was, made into a caricature and just becomes a money machine for consultants
⏹️ ▶️ John and other people. And I don’t think that’s any fault of the original ideas and it’s some kind of a shame, but I think that’s
⏹️ ▶️ John the natural life cycle of any idea about how people can do things better. So Agile
⏹️ ▶️ John has traveled that path and so, you know, we see technology has traveled that path all the time as well.
⏹️ ▶️ John You know, every technology and every idea is somewhere along that continuum and sometimes they wrap back around and get a second run at it and change,
⏹️ ▶️ John but it doesn’t make me think any more or less of Agile. I just think that
⏹️ ▶️ John I feel, in fact, I feel a little bit more comfortable with Agile now, now that it has sort of run through its first kind of burst
⏹️ ▶️ John onto the scene. Oh, everyone has to do this. Actually, it’s not that good. Backlash.
⏹️ ▶️ John Settling down to like, yeah, it’s just one of those other ideas that’s out there. It’s in the mix. And now
⏹️ ▶️ John we can refer to it. Our collective knowledge of it is enough in sort of a vague sense to say,
⏹️ ▶️ John that’s our our counterbalance against, you know, waterfall or whatever. Like it’s it’s another idea that’s out
⏹️ ▶️ John there. And hopefully at this point, we all know it’s not silver
⏹️ ▶️ John bullet anymore because we’ve gone through the backslash backslash. Oh, my God.
⏹️ ▶️ John Give it backlash. Yeah, just with an L backlash, the backlash phase. And we’re on to sort of
⏹️ ▶️ John the steady state. Now we’re just waiting for whatever the next popular idea is. I mean, it’s the same thing with the extreme programming and
⏹️ ▶️ John pair programming. Like I like that life cycle. I think it’s valuable.
⏹️ ▶️ John I think just maybe like people who sort of come of age and like whatever idea is the first
⏹️ ▶️ John idea like that that they see, they might drink the Kool-Aid and think, this is the one. This is going to change everything. But like
⏹️ ▶️ John if you’ve been through six or seven cycles of that, you’re like, oh, well, that’s just the next new popular idea.
⏹️ ▶️ John I’ll wait for it to sort of settle down and then we’ll get the value out of a test-driven development the whole nine yards.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco One thing that always also tends to happen with these ideas or methodologies is like, You know how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco when you try to explain something to someone who is really new at computers, you try to explain how to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do something, and the way they remember to do it, they don’t remember save the document.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They remember click on the file menu, click on save. They remember the steps
⏹️ ▶️ Marco before they can conceptualize the concept. It’s probably very similar to how people learn foreign languages,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from translating in your head every word to becoming fluent. difference between
⏹️ ▶️ Marco following procedures and really understanding and internalizing it. And,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, Agile was seemingly started by a group of people who really understood
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these concepts, who really deeply got them. And once it started becoming
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this procedure and, you know, steps that you could follow, and, you know, part of that was their manifesto, part
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of it was what everyone else added afterwards, you know, then it loses
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the understanding and it start just becoming like a manual, a series of steps, a procedure.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And it needs to be because in order to generalize that to a big organization, and this is one of the differences
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that we talked about last week between small organizations and big organizations, once you generalize
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this past a very small group, it has to be a procedure, it has to be codified, it has to become
⏹️ ▶️ Marco instructions. And inevitably not everyone involved is going to be able to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco rise above like the, you know, the letter of the law and figure and just and gain that that complete understanding.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And over enough time, I think that’s what kind of ruins these things because that happens
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on a grand scale to almost everyone involved in it.
⏹️ ▶️ John People don’t want to understand the philosophy. They’re just like, just tell me what to do. Like, because
⏹️ ▶️ John they want the silver bullet. Like, it’s not even just that they can’t grasp it, or like, they don’t even want that. They’re like, all right,
⏹️ ▶️ John so you’ve done all that thinking, now tell me what to do. And it’s like, no, you don’t understand. It’s like, you know, teach a man to fish. Understanding
⏹️ ▶️ John the ideas that led me to these practices will be much more helpful to you than the practices themselves, and that’s not
⏹️ ▶️ John something people want to hear. All
⏹️ ▶️ Casey right, do we want to cover this question from Paul today, or would we rather
⏹️ ▶️ Casey shelve that for another day?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’ll bring it up, because I’m the one who added it. So a guy named Paul sent us
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a feedback form thing saying, I’m a computer science professor, and I’m always curious what particular things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that we teach turn out to be useful in the end. You had asked each other last week what one thing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you would take from software methodology. My question is, what are the one or two things from your CS education
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that you find the most useful when coding? For me,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I would say it’s two things. I would say one is the operating systems course, where
⏹️ ▶️ Marco we went all the way down into deep explanations and some playing with low-level
⏹️ ▶️ Marco C code, mostly deep explanations of what an operating system does in lots of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco different problems. Memory management, scheduling, interrupts, stuff like that. basics of what
⏹️ ▶️ Marco an OS is doing. That was very helpful just because it gives me a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco major understanding of things that we have to deal with every day. Things like concurrency, things like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco threading and locking and everything like that. It really helps that memory management. It really helps to know that sort of thing.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And the second thing for me is it,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, and in my school, you know, and I think this is common everywhere, there was there were a couple of like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco intermediate level courses where you basically just did like a new programming language every week
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for something. And so we get to explore all sorts of different languages briefly, shallowly,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but we got, you know, we get some experience and in the basic concepts of lots of different types
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of languages. And that’s the kind of thing that in the real world it’s harder to get because it’s harder to justify
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or it’s harder to find the time for. You know, it’s easy to fall into the trap in the real world, which I’m certainly guilty of myself,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of of just going really deep on whatever you do at work and not really exploring lots of new things.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And certainly, there’s so many new things coming out these days that it’s almost impossible to explore them all.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But in a comp sci education, they, at least in a good one, they kind of force you to.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so I know the basics of languages that I’ve never used in the real world, like Lisp. I know the basics of Lisp.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If you sat me down in front of a Lisp codebase and told me to start working on it, I would have some trouble. It would take me a while to get back
⏹️ ▶️ Marco into it. I know the basic concepts and stuff like that. That
⏹️ ▶️ Marco was a very valuable thing to me, to force me to experience a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco new concepts that you wouldn’t really ever have time or reason to in the real world most of
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I would say—I actually exchanged a couple emails with John because I didn’t realize
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that this was going to be covered in the show, and I blamed John for adding it to the show notes. Little did I know it was
⏹️ ▶️ Casey you, Marco. What I’d said to him was the thing that I think
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I value the most from my education, which is going to sound really ridiculous, but I stand by
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it, is learning what a pointer is because pretty
⏹️ ▶️ Casey much all of the development that I’ve done professionally in C++, in C
⏹️ ▶️ Casey of that, all of it comes down to at some point or another truly
⏹️ ▶️ Casey understanding what a pointer is. And C Sharp is a great example because anytime you
⏹️ ▶️ Casey have a class, so if you don’t have a struct and you don’t have a primitive type, if you have a class, it is
⏹️ ▶️ Casey always, always, always, always passed by reference. So whenever you’re dealing with a class, you’re always dealing
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with what is under the hood a pointer. But I have dealt with
⏹️ ▶️ Casey so many C Sharp developers, many of whom I would actually classify as
⏹️ ▶️ Casey very good developers that fundamentally do not understand
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that concept. And so, in C Sharp, when you pass a
⏹️ ▶️ Casey class instance into a method, or I should back up, when you pass anything into a
⏹️ ▶️ Casey method, you could say, you can explicitly state that you would like to pass this by reference. So, for
⏹️ ▶️ Casey example, if you have a string that you might manipulate in a method,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco .NET has call time passed by reference, one of PHP’s worst features that they finally removed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And Dynadon has it?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And it has always had it. And so a better example would probably be like an integer. So I have
⏹️ ▶️ Casey an integer and I call a method and I’d like that method to be able to modify that integer.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey What I can do is I can say that I am passing this by reference and thus I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey am passing basically a pointer to that integer. Well all classes by default are
⏹️ ▶️ Casey passed by reference. You know, you’re just throwing pointers around. so many times the same way that you would say,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I am specifically passing this integer by reference, I will see people
⏹️ ▶️ Casey use that same keyword, which happens to be ref, R-E-F. I will see people put ref
⏹️ ▶️ Casey in front of a class, which is redundant because you’re always passing a class by reference. And
⏹️ ▶️ Casey so they clearly just fundamentally do not understand what’s happening
⏹️ ▶️ Casey here. And I think that that’s true, not just of C-sharp. Clearly, it’s true in C++.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Clearly, it’s true in Objective-C. And I would argue it’s true of many, many, many other languages as
⏹️ ▶️ Casey what a pointer is, I think, is the thing that I am most— not proud of,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey but most thankful for, from my education.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right. And it helps to understand what’s going on under the hood, even if you don’t have to deal
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with it, you it lets you make better decisions up top like at the level you’re working
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you’re still by knowing what actually is going on all the way you know
⏹️ ▶️ Marco at all the levels all the way down it does enable you to make better decisions for all your high level
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that’s exactly right and that’s exactly the point i’m driving at john
⏹️ ▶️ John for me i think i mean the easy ones this is from a CS professor. So I think the easy ones are just
⏹️ ▶️ John the basic CS stuff you learn, like big O notation and algorithms and data structures. It’s boring,
⏹️ ▶️ John but I think you have to learn it. That’s the type of thing that if I wasn’t in a formal
⏹️ ▶️ John class atmosphere, I probably wouldn’t have gone off to learn that stuff on my own. But knowing
⏹️ ▶️ John it, it’s not like you need to know it every day and you can’t just look it up. But even just
⏹️ ▶️ John having known it, at this point, I could not implement a a red black tree if you ask me to. But I know red black
⏹️ ▶️ John trees exist, have a vague idea of how they work, and if I were to look up an invocation I would be like, oh yeah. Versus being
⏹️ ▶️ John like, red black tree? What the hell is that? What’s a tree? Or big O notation? What do those letters mean in the O’s?
⏹️ ▶️ John That’s the basics of a CS education when I think of my CS courses. That’s what you need to know, and
⏹️ ▶️ John you build on that. Because if you don’t have that foundation, everything just seems like
⏹️ ▶️ John a product. You learn a language, you’ll be like, I’m learning this product. You wouldn’t see the generalities underneath
⏹️ ▶️ John it. And so algorithms and data structures definitely were very useful. And I don’t know if this was since
⏹️ ▶️ John I was a computer engineering, and it’s like electrical engineering with a few CS courses. I don’t remember if this was technically a CS
⏹️ ▶️ John course. But the two I found most useful is, one, the class where you build your CPU up
⏹️ ▶️ John from logic gates, which I guess probably isn’t CS. But that’s like the
⏹️ ▶️ John course you have to have. I mean, maybe in your class, you didn’t do VLSI and lay out the chip and like,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, we didn’t manufacture it, but like, you know, doing the electronics design and everything like that. But, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John all the way up the stack, like it helps to come from that perspective, even though I’m never gonna make my own CPU, just because like,
⏹️ ▶️ John look, the best way to prove that you understand it is to actually do it. And then the
⏹️ ▶️ John other one is the courses I took where I had to do assembly programming. I don’t even know if they make people do this
⏹️ ▶️ John anymore, because again, maybe this is an easy thing where you’re programming microcontrollers and stuff, but just thousands
⏹️ ▶️ John and thousands and thousands of lines of assembly. And the only reason the thousands is because do anything in assembly takes fricking
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey thousands of lines because it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John assembly. You know, and that and that in particular, one of the one
⏹️ ▶️ John of the professors I remember who was doing my course, we were doing one of the microcontroller courses for assembly.
⏹️ ▶️ John He was from the telecom background and he was like, I’m going to show you structured assembly, which is what we use in the telecom
⏹️ ▶️ John industry so we don’t go insane. And, you know, like it was like seeing the primordial ooze of
⏹️ ▶️ John C where it’s like we have to do everything in assembly. But we know if you just do whatever the hell you want
⏹️ ▶️ John in assembly, it’s chaos. And so we’ve imposed some, you know, it’s basically like this system of conventions
⏹️ ▶️ John and structures to allow you to approximate what you would write in C. Like, you start to see the C, because we took this assembly
⏹️ ▶️ John course after we had done C. You start to be like, oh, like, I can see. You basically are like a human compiler. Like, when
⏹️ ▶️ John I write a conditional, I always do it in this form, and I always use these labels and this type of thing. So then when I squint at someone’s
⏹️ ▶️ John code, I can, if I squint just right, that gigantic block of incomprehensible assembler turns
⏹️ ▶️ John into, like, an if and a while and a break going to continue?” You know, like, that was very instructive,
⏹️ ▶️ John but mostly just like the thousands of lines of assembly. Because there’s no way to write thousands of lines in assembly and not understand pointers.
⏹️ ▶️ John Like, by that point, I understood them from C, but when I see someone who doesn’t understand pointers,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s like, oh, I’ll just teach you C and you’ll get pointers. They probably won’t. But if you make them understand assembly, they’ll get it. 100% guaranteed.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I remember I did a course that required a lot of assembly, you know, like the MIPS assembly that everyone
⏹️ ▶️ Marco else had to do around that time. And one of the hardest things about that course…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Probably the hardest thing we had to do was during the final exam, we were given a block of roughly
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one printed page or so of MIPS assembly uncommented. And the question is, what does this do?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, that’s tough.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And it was… I sat there for like a half hour, basically compiling
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it back to see in my head, like making little notes like, Alright, here’s a little loop here. And I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco think what it ended up doing was like finding duplicate substrings or something like you know some kind of basic string
⏹️ ▶️ Marco processing thing but it was it was surprisingly hard to figure that out
⏹️ ▶️ John well that’s what when you’re looking at if you actually literally have to translate it to see to understand it it’s kind of like translating the
⏹️ ▶️ John language into english you know so you can
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco understand right
⏹️ ▶️ John eventually like that’s what structured assembly does it lets you start to look at the assembly and recognize you know the assembly
⏹️ ▶️ John chunks as like that’s the equivalent of an if but you don’t have to translate it to see to see what it does because there’s a
⏹️ ▶️ John regularization of it you know you don’t You don’t have to execute every line in your head and visualize
⏹️ ▶️ John the registers in your head and how they’re combining and keep track of all of them on a piece of paper so you can see. You know what I mean? It
⏹️ ▶️ John starts to take on a form of its own. So that’s what I would say. Data structures, algorithms,
⏹️ ▶️ John assembly, and CPU design. So basically, just take the whole curriculum.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I hear a lot from people who say that CS degrees are useless slash
⏹️ ▶️ Marco inferior slash not giving them what they want because they’re not being taught, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco X language, whatever language is hot at this time. And, you know, nothing, nothing that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco we all just mentioned had a lot to do with a particular language that was in when we went to college.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know, if my colleagues taught me a language when I was there, they would have taught me
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Java. And in fact, in the intro, they do teach Java, but then they pretty quickly abandon it because it doesn’t really…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s, you know, first then they go to C, and then it’s kind of mattering what language you use and like for some of the later classes you’re allowed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to just pick whatever language you want and do your projects in that language and at the time
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I was there I was very upset that they weren’t teaching me Windows API programming like like dotnet
⏹️ ▶️ Marco stuff and which had just come out about halfway through my college career
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and and like you know I wasn’t learning C++ during college and stuff like that I was so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mad and what they told me at the time which I’m sure everyone’s heard from their comp sci professors
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that it doesn’t really it’s not really their job to teach you the language and they’re not really doing you a big favor
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if they spend a whole lot of time teaching you a particular language because chances are your
⏹️ ▶️ Marco education will go out of date much sooner if you spent half of it learning whatever language was
⏹️ ▶️ Marco popular at the time that you went to college and and in reality like all the stuff
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you do learn in college in a good CS department all the theoretical stuff and the basic
⏹️ ▶️ Marco principles and everything there’s really never a time in the field where you get to learn that. In
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the real-world workforce, there aren’t a lot of opportunities
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to sit down and learn big O notation and stuff like that. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of times, you don’t even know what to look for. If you didn’t get that background, you don’t even know what to look up on Wikipedia or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco what to look up on Lynda or whatever else. of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco CS is teaching you things that are timeless and that are fundamentals. And it’s hard to see
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that at the time that you’re there. But once you’re out for a while, you appreciate that, okay, well, yeah, now
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that I know the fundamentals, it isn’t that hard to learn a new language when I have to at my job, I can learn a new language
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in a week or two and be pretty good at it after six months or a year. And,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, it’s, it’s like, you wouldn’t want to have spent your entire CS education on a language
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s going to be out of favor five years, 10 years later.
⏹️ ▶️ John It’s not like the languages go out of favor. It’s just that like in higher ed, like they look down their nose at like teaching
⏹️ ▶️ John you practical skills. It’s like we’re not a vocational school. Like this is not apex tech. You don’t get your own tools
⏹️ ▶️ John like they want to teach you the concepts. And I never had a desire for
⏹️ ▶️ John them to try to teach me like any specific technology and they certainly didn’t.
⏹️ ▶️ John And also like I kind of got the sense that a lot of these professors like were better mathematicians than they would ever be programmers, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco especially yes,
⏹️ ▶️ John department like they’re not programmers like you don’t want them teaching you anything because they would teach you the wrong things. But
⏹️ ▶️ John what you learn through osmosis is, in every class, they just expect
⏹️ ▶️ John you to do, OK, and our exercises are going to be in 16-bit assembler, or C++,
⏹️ ▶️ John or plain old C, or Mathematica, or it doesn’t matter what
⏹️ ▶️ John you’re, or MATLAB. Every teacher had some tool that you needed to use. Oh, I do this.
⏹️ ▶️ John This will let you work through whatever it is I’m teaching. And they’d be teaching you concepts and algorithms and stuff like
⏹️ ▶️ John that. And the tool you use to work through them, like every class was like, oh, whatever this professor is, like whatever their hobby
⏹️ ▶️ John horse is. They want us to do everything in Java. Fine, I’ll do everything in Java. And you learn that the programming language doesn’t matter. Like,
⏹️ ▶️ John as you go, like, it’s an incidental detail of you doing your actual job. Your actual job in school is like
⏹️ ▶️ John doing the assignment or understanding the concept. And your actual job in real jobs is making the product
⏹️ ▶️ John or whatever. And it’s like, well, if you’ve never used Java before, and you take this class, and this professor makes you do the exercises
⏹️ ▶️ John in Java, guess what? You’re going to learn enough Java do the exercises, which will probably be actually end up being a lot of Java,
⏹️ ▶️ John surprisingly, but that’s not what they’re teaching you in the class. Like you’re just expected to be able to pick that up. And that is good training for the real
⏹️ ▶️ John world. Because in the real world, yeah, you’re just expected to pick it up like never done it before. Read
⏹️ ▶️ John about it, buy a book, figure it out because you need to do your job.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Exactly. All right. Our second sponsor this week is our friends once again at transporter
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⏹️ ▶️ Marco have a hard drive sitting in your house or your office, you own it, you control it, it’s all your data sitting
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⏹️ ▶️ Casey So Marco, last episode, in a half-hearted attempt to
⏹️ ▶️ Casey derail me from my beloved software methodology
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Oh, that was full-hearted.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Fair enough. You announced to the world on the show
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that you had received your trashcan. I’m sorry, your new computer.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know, as a trashcan, it’s pretty crappy. Because you only have like that top inch or so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of actual volume in there, and if you put a bag in there, then the fan can’t blow the air out. So it’s kind of a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bad trashcan. know a typical typical Apple overpriced.
⏹️ ▶️ John Can you put one of those bloop men like they have in front of the car dealerships and they like wave his arms?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey What’s the line from Family Guy like the crazy inflatable arm waving guy or whatever it is?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLARING TUBE MEN! Somebody has to make one of those for the new Mac Pro.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m sure I’m sure it’s gonna happen you know leave it up to like I don’t know OWC somebody’s gonna
⏹️ ▶️ Marco make one of those But yeah, I don’t… yeah, I mean, what do
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you want to know? So I gave a little quick thing at the end of last show during the after show and,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, basically there’s not that much to talk about. It’s faster, which I knew going into it from benchmarks.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco There is a certain nuance to the fasterness. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco my previous Mac Pro, I had gotten one of those OWC Excelsior cards,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which is basically a PCI Express card with two little SSD
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with two little serial ATA SSD cards in RAID 0 controlled by the card
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and then it shows up to the system as just one drive so one of those you know cheapo software aid kind of things I imagine
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and so that you know there’s a lot of layers of intricacy there a lot of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco translation layers a lot of a lot of components the new one the SSD is not
⏹️ ▶️ Marco only a higher grade higher you know higher speed flash and presumably a more advanced controller than
⏹️ ▶️ Marco what these were using because it’s just simply newer, but also the new SSD is PCI Express
⏹️ ▶️ Marco native. And I’m not entirely sure on the intricacies of how these work, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco as far as I know, that requires fewer levels of translation, fewer bridge and controller chips along the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco way. So what it is, compared to the old Mac Pro,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is simply more consistent and it feels like there are fewer bottlenecks. And this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is all very hard to measure. might not hold up you know this might this might be like audiophile cables like this this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco might not hold up to we should talk about Pono maybe but you know this is that I say Pono
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Pono Pono I don’t know
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I thought it was pronounced piece of crap
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yeah yeah we’ll say that so how do you pronounce it in a triangle
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so it’s it’s faster and it’s faster not only you know like I’ve done a bunch of hand-breaking codes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco since I got it and so then they are subs there you know at least 50% faster
⏹️ ▶️ Marco than, you know, just on the frame rate that Handbrake reports. I’d
⏹️ ▶️ Marco say 50% on some more things, and I think Geekbench bears that out. So it is faster, but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it also feels more consistent. It feels like there are fewer little
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bottlenecks, little hiccups here and there. The Excelsior, I’m not sure I’d recommend it because,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco well, first of all, it’s now outdated. you know the era of PCI Express card
⏹️ ▶️ Marco aftermarket cards is pretty limited now but I’m not sure I recommend it simply
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because a you can now get one terabyte SSDs in two and a half
⏹️ ▶️ Marco inch bays for like 500 bucks so so it’s not as necessary and be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I always it always felt a little bit inconsistent in its performance and but that could just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be in my head I don’t know beyond that with the new one it’s a
⏹️ ▶️ Marco lot quieter and it’s a dramatic difference. I always thought the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Mac Pro was quiet but man this is even quieter. I would say it’s quieter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in most usage than my MacBook Pro and not the MacBook Pro cranking its fan
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on high. It’s quieter than the MacBook Pro at idle to my ears but again that could just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be… that isn’t a precise measurement I haven’t taken. Although I do have an SPL meter I should try it. But anyway,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I got it for a review forever ago. Anyway, so overall, it’s fantastic. There’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not that much more to say, though. It’s just fantastic. It is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not four times faster CPU-wise than my old one.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco But it is faster, and it is really, really nice. And it looks freaking awesome.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And it’ll look even better once I get one of those wavy hand guys on top. So yeah, overall, I give
⏹️ ▶️ Casey What are you doing with your old Mac Pro? Is that getting bequeathed to TIFF? And then if so,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey what’s happening to TIFF’s?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, TIFF has the identical model. She actually got hers back in 2010 when it was new. So, she
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is… I’m gonna… What I’m saying is, tentatively, I’m assuming
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that in roughly a year, maybe a little bit less than a year, the next Mac Pro will
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be out that’ll have the Haswell EP chips. And that will, unlike this one, that will actually come with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a per clock performance gain so we should see a nice single
⏹️ ▶️ Marco threaded jump there the same way we do now with you know that that’s the whole reason why the iMacs and MacBook
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Pros now are occasionally in some benchmarks faster than then the new Mac Pro in single threaded
⏹️ ▶️ Marco stuff because they have the Haswell cores and they have a little bit more efficiency per clock on how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco much they can get done so those that has not come to the Zon line yet so that is not in the new Mac Pro
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but it will be in the new Mac Pro probably a year from now so So I’m guessing a year from now,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I buy one of those for myself. And then I give this one to Tiff to upgrade her. She really wants one because it’s so much
⏹️ ▶️ Marco quieter and so much smaller. And physically, it’ll help a lot in our office.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I still have my old one sitting below my desk here, but it’s going to… Having this little tiny cylinder on top of my desk, instead
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of this tremendous tower below my desk, is going to allow me to totally rearrange the physical
⏹️ ▶️ Marco space here. And same thing on her side of the office. So there’s a lot of gains
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that are not just the specs, but just the physicality of it, the size, the noise,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the cables, stuff like that. So overall, A+.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco One thing I noticed when I restored to it, so I hadn’t been doing disk clones recently,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco which I think is a mistake. I’m going to start doing that again. I had been relying on a combination of Time
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Machine and online backup. So when I got this new one, I did a restore
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from Time Machine over the network, hosted on the Synology box, so I don’t have to have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a desktop covered in hard drive enclosures. And Time Machine restore worked great,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco except that certain things aren’t backed up to Time Machine. And it’s annoying. I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco still haven’t quite figured out what overall has been excluded. The
⏹️ ▶️ Marco data’s all there, the apps are all there, but certain apps lost their preferences. Certain keychain
⏹️ ▶️ Marco things although not all of the keychain mysteriously certain keychain things aren’t there and I had to reenter some passwords
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and stuff Certain apps the biggest thing is like losing losing entire configurations of some
⏹️ ▶️ Marco apps, and I don’t know why that is but it was not a perfect clone and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so I so I want to get back into the cloning business again and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I haven’t quite decided how to do that. I’d rather not have a desk with hard drive enclosures on it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So I’m thinking maybe of trying iSCSI with the Synology But iSCSI requires a kernel
⏹️ ▶️ Marco extension and that’s uncomfortable So I I don’t know I’m actually curious to hear from listeners like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if you do iSCSI Does it you know is it a pain in the butt basically like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with OS upgrades as a pain in the butt? Is it buggy is it weird?
⏹️ ▶️ John Why do you need to use iSCSI? Why don’t you just do a super duper clone to a disk image on your Synology?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I suppose I could do that, but then how do you restore from that? Same way you
⏹️ ▶️ John just you would just you know I guess you’d have to something to boot from but then you just need to run Super get
⏹️ ▶️ John get into a state where you can run super duper and then clone from the disk image back onto your drive
⏹️ ▶️ John I mean you you need like kind of an in-between II drive to be like your your way station because you can’t
⏹️ ▶️ John Clone on to the drive that you’re booted from but that’s not I mean That’s not hard to do you do that on a USB
⏹️ ▶️ John key even like assuming you can boot from it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco One thing I also thought about actually was uh was just just getting a bus powered two and a half
⏹️ ▶️ Marco inch hard drive enclosure uh with like a one terabyte disc in there for which would cost
⏹️ ▶️ Marco substantially less than the iSCSI software for for Mac um and uh
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and just like you know zip tie it to the bottom of my desk so I don’t even see it um but I’m not sure I wouldn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hear it I’m assuming it could be put to sleep you
⏹️ ▶️ John wouldn’t hear it I have a bus powered one terabyte it’s even black just like a Mac Pro I was all ready to use it on Mac Pro it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John like the disc the drive goes asleep you would leave it unmounted most of the time and you’ll never hear it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yeah I think I think I might try that first because that’s that’s just so much easier and then the other thing is I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco actually one of the reasons I was thinking about trying iSCSI but but I might also do the the drive strapped to the desk method instead
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that backblaze does not back up network drives
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and and they’ve made little hints here and there that they might consider adding them in the future but it doesn’t seem like they’re
⏹️ ▶️ Marco they’re in a big rush to do that. So, and I mentioned in previous shows that the other options
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like crash plan just don’t work very well for me with various issues. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I would love to have, I have this like four terabyte share on my Synology that is storing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like all my large archive files and I right now I use ARC on the Mac
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to back that up over the network to Glacier. And I don’t love this setup.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t love that it’s on Glacier and it’s kind of hard for me to get to anything, but it’s too big for S3 to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be well-priced. So I might go back
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to enclosures and just kind of hide them under my desk somewhere so I can’t see them and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco figure out ways of unmounting tricks so they don’t hear them.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So I want to give John a chance to interrogate you, but really quickly, you kind of haven’t
⏹️ ▶️ Casey answered the question. So what is your old cheese grater doing, just collecting dust?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, actually, it has stopped collecting dust because the fans aren’t running in it anymore sucking dust through it. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco right now it has paused its dust collection as well as all of its other activities and is just sitting under my
⏹️ ▶️ Marco desk in its old spot just because I have been too busy to move it. I took a trip this
⏹️ ▶️ Marco past weekend so I’ve been very, very busy just organizing things and then when I get
⏹️ ▶️ Marco back, disorganizing things. So I’ll
⏹️ ▶️ Marco let you know soon how that’s going. I still haven’t even rewired or unwired like I’m gonna this is gonna be
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of those times I get to finally clean out all these old wires behind my desk and like take a bunch of new zip ties and rezip tie Everything
⏹️ ▶️ Marco together and all that stuff, but you should use those little velcro things. They’re better than zip ties I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I have some of it. I have about maybe 20 of those Problem is that they’re big they don’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hold very tightly and they themselves collect tons of dust.
⏹️ ▶️ John What’s big about them? They’re like they’re like a centimeter wide at the widest. Yeah compared to a zip tie. That’s pretty
⏹️ ▶️ John big I know but it’s like you’re spreading the way I found the whole very well I just I did read at the back of my TV when I got all the TV
⏹️ ▶️ John and the new Tivo and everything and I Use those velcro things and I was skeptical because they look like they’re crap But they
⏹️ ▶️ John worked really well and not a single one has come off now You just have to know how to wrap them around enough times and
⏹️ ▶️ John I love the fact that I can undo them read them Zip ties it’s like I can get in there with a needle and undo it, but I really don’t want
⏹️ ▶️ John to so you just end up Cutting them and that’s dangerous. So I’m a convert to the
⏹️ ▶️ John to the velcro things. Maybe it depends on the brand. I don’t remember what I got It was just whatever was highly rated on Amazon.
⏹️ ▶️ John They were super cheap, though
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I got a bag of a thousand zip ties in 2004 and I have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I still have like a quarter of the bag left so I don’t like I just cut them whenever I need to change them and
⏹️ ▶️ John Aren’t you afraid you’re gonna accidentally cut the cables?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco No, you like you hook the scissor under it in such a way that it it can’t cut the cable. Yeah, I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So for now it’s just sitting there but are you eventually offloading your Mac Pro
⏹️ ▶️ Casey on to Dan or is it gonna be a charity case? You’re gonna give it to me?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I thought you hated desktops.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Oh god I don’t want a Mac Pro. Are you kidding me? That’s stupid.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Exactly. Especially
⏹️ ▶️ John who would want an old one? I desperately need an SSD.
⏹️ ▶️ John My new video card is awesome but like spinning disks on this Mac Pro like just
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s becoming unbearable.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If you want the Excelsior I will I’ll give it to you for a very very good price because I just want to get rid of it because
⏹️ ▶️ John it. Well, you’re not selling it very well, saying it’s got weird, inconsistent performance and stuff. I don’t know.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, yeah, I mean, I just have no idea how to use that. For me, if I wanted
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to keep using that, I would have to buy a Thunderbolt to PCI Express enclosure, which is like $300. Oh, yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco no, you can’t use it. A new hard drive, a new SSD of the same size is $500 and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is going to be probably faster because it’s newer. So I don’t know. I’m not,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like, and that’s the problem. Like, if the new 2 1 1 1 1 drive is 500 bucks, what can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I really sell this one for? You know, I mean, this one might be faster because it’s in the slot,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but I don’t know. Anyway, this is all boring, so let’s move on. But yeah, basically,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s awesome. There’s not that much to say about it yet. I don’t have any software, as far as I know,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that takes advantage of the dual GPUs to do computation and stuff like that, so it really isn’t that interesting
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yet. But right now, it’s just a really awesome, very fast, extremely quiet
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Xeon workstation, which is exactly what I wanted. And so I’m very happy.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey John, no questions.
⏹️ ▶️ John I was just going to say, I mean, Mark already touched on this, but it’s kind of a shame that machine is so expensive because the
⏹️ ▶️ John sort of life change that it brings about is going to be such that like once you’ve banished all the cheese graters from your house
⏹️ ▶️ John and you’ve had these little cylinders for a while, you’re going to like see a cheese grater at someone else’s place or
⏹️ ▶️ John something and just be like, do you believe we used to have those things under our desks? Like the size of like dehumidifiers
⏹️ ▶️ John like it’s gonna seem that’s gonna seem absurd just because it’s such a you know
⏹️ ▶️ John You don’t realize how small these things are until you see them in person like in The picture one of the best pictures online was showing
⏹️ ▶️ John it next to the g4 cube Which was like, oh my god, they fit the whole computer to a cube The new Mac
⏹️ ▶️ John Pro is smaller. Like it’s it’s skinnier. It’s a similar height It’s just
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s it’s an unbelievable change in the size of things that were forced to live with
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with. It really got people interested in the Mac Pro again that who weren’t interested for years. I mean the Mac Pro
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is for the first time ever. It was even even when the cheese grater one first came
⏹️ ▶️ Marco out in 2006. It was never like a hot item.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Now this new one is a hot item. They made it cool again and that’s almost almost completely because of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco physical you know superficial things but that matters. Yeah I mean that’s that’s part of the product.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Right, it matters to innovation, you know, Phil Schiller’s ass.
⏹️ ▶️ John Can’t innovate anymore
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Like it matters to all these things and it got people interested in this relatively
⏹️ ▶️ Marco boring out of reach product again and that’s really great.
⏹️ ▶️ John I mean, it makes people wish, it makes me wish for, you know, the X-Mac dream always keeps coming back. It’s like, damn,
⏹️ ▶️ John if it only wasn’t so darn expensive, like can you put one GPU instead of two? Can you use a cheaper
⏹️ ▶️ John chip? I guess they kind of can and that’s not the point of the product but you’re like that form factor is so great
⏹️ ▶️ John that If you just take that form factor and change the guts keep the cooling system and everything
⏹️ ▶️ John but just change the insides to be Hell even iMac caliber
⏹️ ▶️ John M size just to be able to get like a separate screen or like a better GPU than you can put It in an iMac because
⏹️ ▶️ John you’d have a desktop GPU in there and Apple will never do this But it reignites those fantasies of like
⏹️ ▶️ John I love that form factor so much Personal computers should never need to be bigger than that. In fact, they don’t need to be,
⏹️ ▶️ John as proved by the amazing power that’s in this one. So why is it that the only way I can
⏹️ ▶️ John get one of those is to, you know, get two giant GPUs that I’m never going to use in a super
⏹️ ▶️ John expensive server chip?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco To be fair, the four and six core chips are actually pretty competitively priced. The eight and 12
⏹️ ▶️ Marco cores are ridiculous, but the four and the pricing on the four and six is actually pretty good and not that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco far above regular Intel consumer CPU pricing.
⏹️ ▶️ John Oh, it’s not Apple’s fault. I mean, it’s just that, you know, they’re expensive chips and the dual GPUs is out before like you can’t. What if I just
⏹️ ▶️ John want one tough, tough luck,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know? Yeah, exactly. So you know that, but overall it’s and even use of the lifestyle
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing like so I for for large expensive things like this where it’s practical to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I keep the boxes around the shipping boxes and the internal boxes so that when I go to sell them three to five years
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or whatever down the line, I can put them back in their box and it’s easier and it saves some money and everything
⏹️ ▶️ Marco else and I know it’s relatively safe. So in my basement I have two giant
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Mac Pro boxes from mine and Tiff’s old ones and it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just ridiculous. And this one, the box is like the size of a bookshelf speaker. Even that is an improvement.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco There’s things like that you don’t even think about but it all adds up.
⏹️ ▶️ John I think about it because I have a indeterminate but much larger than two number of those
⏹️ ▶️ John cheese grater boxes in my attic.
⏹️ ▶️ John ridiculous like they’re massive. They did get smaller over time believe it or not but only slightly.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah I remember when I sold my old one to Dan Benjamin it cost me over a hundred
⏹️ ▶️ Marco dollars to ship it. Like that’s how big these boxes are and how heavy they are. I mean it’s just incredible.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So anyway yeah talk to me I’ll give you this one to you for a good price. Anyway,
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⏹️ ▶️ Casey All right, so my dad listens to this show, and my dad is a bit
⏹️ ▶️ Casey amateur, stereo file, audio file, whatever you want to call him. I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey know we can go down the road of, oh, cables don’t matter, etc., etc. But he’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey been giving me a hard time for a while because John had mentioned in the past that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey he is either seeking or had found a new AV receiver.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And my dad has also just found a new AV receiver, and I don’t recall
⏹️ ▶️ Casey what it was, but regardless, was very interested to hear how
⏹️ ▶️ Casey John landed or is intending to land on the AV receiver of his choice. And
⏹️ ▶️ Casey my father, whom I love dearly, has been giving me grief every week asking when we’re going to get to this topic.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So dad, this one’s for you. John, tell me about AV receivers.
⏹️ ▶️ John The only reason I was even looking for an AV receiver is because, as I think I complained about when I was first
⏹️ ▶️ John talking about my TV, is that the number of HDMI ports on TVs seems to be going down, even on the super expensive
⏹️ ▶️ John ones. So my new fancy TV had three HDMI inputs, I think, compared
⏹️ ▶️ John to like four or five on my old one and I remember the exact numbers but anyway less and I I had devices
⏹️ ▶️ John I didn’t have any place to plug them in so I needed some kind of solution and AV receiver
⏹️ ▶️ John is one possible solution but before that I tried to just get an HDMI switch and I didn’t actually buy any because
⏹️ ▶️ John every time I read reviews of them there was always like a good 10 15 25 percent horror stories
⏹️ ▶️ John about how terrible they were every single one like didn’t matter the brand or whatever the only ones that didn’t see horror story reviews
⏹️ ▶️ John were were super high end like installed by value added reseller
⏹️ ▶️ John kind of $1,000 boxes and those didn’t have any better reviews because they didn’t have any reviews because sites like that don’t have a
⏹️ ▶️ John place where people can leave reviews and I wasn’t gonna look that’s as much running a receiver so I resigned
⏹️ ▶️ John myself to getting a receiver as far as your dad is concerned I don’t think what I have to say will be useful
⏹️ ▶️ John because and this is just true in general when people ask like what kind
⏹️ ▶️ John of X should I buy the more you know about a topic the more you’re just inclined to say, well, it depends
⏹️ ▶️ John on your needs or whatever. Like, but that’s so true, because like for AV receivers,
⏹️ ▶️ John when I’m reading product reviews, I know what I want. Like I’m basically getting
⏹️ ▶️ John the world’s fanciest HDMI switcher. And I have specific features that are, specific features that
⏹️ ▶️ John are super important to me, but that may not be important at all to other people. And on the reverse,
⏹️ ▶️ John the features that most AV receiver reviews talk about, what kind of speakers they can power, how clean an
⏹️ ▶️ John audio signal they get, all that, all that I don’t care about because I’m gonna have crappy speakers, they’re
⏹️ ▶️ John not gonna sound good, I’m not buying this thing as a sound system, I don’t care about internet radio,
⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t care about music playback, all these things that are you know maybe the primary
⏹️ ▶️ John most important features of a lot of people who are buying AV receivers. So the one that I bought is probably
⏹️ ▶️ John not important because my needs are so weird like what I wanted was a huge number of HDMI ports,
⏹️ ▶️ John the ability to switch the HDMI ports without turning the device on I mean
⏹️ ▶️ John like on on I know they’re always you know on but you know what I mean like Without having anything powered on all the
⏹️ ▶️ John time because I didn’t want to be constantly turning it on and off and The ability to hook up all
⏹️ ▶️ John the devices I have like I have I have component video devices like the PlayStation 2 and
⏹️ ▶️ John my Wii and the GameCube and I have composite input devices like the GameCube I forget if I have composite
⏹️ ▶️ John or component for that But anyway, I can have all sorts of legacy devices that once again on the back of my new TV there’s no place to plug
⏹️ ▶️ John them in because there’s, you know, there’s one component video port, no composite video port, you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John all that stuff. I wanted to play stuff. Say I’m getting a gigantic receiver box that’s got a million plugs in the back of it. I
⏹️ ▶️ John might as well find one that it fits all my devices that has tons of HDMI inputs. They can switch in standby mode.
⏹️ ▶️ John Uh, and I didn’t care about almost anything else. So I don’t think the one I ended up with is particularly
⏹️ ▶️ John useful. I ended up with a Yamaha, but is it RXV
⏹️ ▶️ John 673? I should have looked this up, but anyway, something like that. And that’s that even the particular model
⏹️ ▶️ John number is interesting because when I was looking through the reviews and I spent a long time reading reviews about this, again,
⏹️ ▶️ John ignoring almost everything that’s important in the reviews, looking at the few features that I’m interested in, narrowing it down,
⏹️ ▶️ John there’s a newer version of this Yamaha receiver with a slightly higher number like 675 instead of 673.
⏹️ ▶️ John But the features they added, I don’t care about any of them. And all the features that I do care about are identical.
⏹️ ▶️ John And there’s this thing, even so there’s this thing and I associated with sort of I wrote in the notes of programmers
⏹️ ▶️ John bias towards new models. Like, if you write software for a living, or if you’re a software aficionado,
⏹️ ▶️ John maybe it’s just me, I find myself strangely compelled, like I have to get the new version of everything.
⏹️ ▶️ John And the reason why is because it’s like empathy, like I can empathize with the programmer, you know how good you feel when you deleted that
⏹️ ▶️ John massive amount of code that’s no longer needed to replace it with simpler code, even though it does exactly the same thing. And even though you may
⏹️ ▶️ John have actually introduced a bug because the old code worked But you feel so much better about oh god. I can’t believe people are out there using
⏹️ ▶️ John my old version this new version I deleted like 700 lines of code, and it’s just so much cleaner
⏹️ ▶️ John And I got rid of this flag variable, and there’s you know like you just feel so good about you like please stop running
⏹️ ▶️ John I can’t even believe people even executing that old program. It was so terrible you have to be running the new one right so when
⏹️ ▶️ John Someone releases a new version of a piece of software. I feel that way like I feel that way for them I feel
⏹️ ▶️ John like of course you got to get the new version like I can only imagine Imagine how much better this new version must be, even if it looks
⏹️ ▶️ John functionally identical and they didn’t add a single feature and it’s the same speed. I just know it’s got to be better in the code.
⏹️ ▶️ John I know that feeling. Well, I have the same feeling about, well, if this is 673 and 675, of course you’re going to get a 675. Why would you get a 673?
⏹️ ▶️ John That’s crazy. I’m sure they fixed tons of bugs in the 675 and
⏹️ ▶️ John maybe they consolidated some chips and it puts out less heat. You come up with all these elaborate fantasy scenarios about why the 675 should be better.
⏹️ ▶️ John But I was good this time and I made myself say, no, you don’t care about that they
⏹️ ▶️ John added better Pandora streaming or some other crazy thing where you can plug in an iPad and like I’m not going
⏹️ ▶️ John to use those features and the 673 was like a hundred bucks less than Amazon so I bought the
⏹️ ▶️ John like basically last year’s model of a receiver and it does all the things that it said it would do now
⏹️ ▶️ John the the reason I put this thing in here is because despite the fact
⏹️ ▶️ John that I was able to shop based on features and stuff one of the things that people don’t talk about
⏹️ ▶️ John in their reviews for the most part is how terrible all AV receivers are in terms of their
⏹️ ▶️ John user interface and how they, you know, connect together. And I was thinking about like it’s not that hard if
⏹️ ▶️ John a programmer was to design an AV receiver, like when I conceptualize it, and in fact in a lot of the manuals
⏹️ ▶️ John you’ll find a big like truth table or grid where it’s like if input is from this device
⏹️ ▶️ John and video input is from this device and audio input is in that device, then the audio output can be on this output. And like, there’s
⏹️ ▶️ John like a truth table of a matrix of given these inputs and these outputs, what combinations
⏹️ ▶️ John are valid and what combinations aren’t. And right away, that’s kind of frustrating. I’m sure there are physical,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, limitations of like, well, if you have video coming in and compositing, you don’t have something converts that you can’t output that
⏹️ ▶️ John video to television and HDMI, unless you have a chip to do that. And all you know, I understand the limitations that
⏹️ ▶️ John define it. But ideally, you’d want. Look, I can take any audio source and put
⏹️ ▶️ John them, any inputs and send them out at any outputs, any combination of. Obviously that’s,
⏹️ ▶️ John you know, again optimistic. There’s hardware constraints that stop from using that, but that’s what you’d like as the ideal. But
⏹️ ▶️ John within the realm of the things that you can do, these inputs on those outputs, like whatever’s valid,
⏹️ ▶️ John and all the other settings you can have, you know, there’s a bazillion settings, the balance of the speakers and the surround
⏹️ ▶️ John decoding mode, and if you’re sending it out to the second zone, and all like there’s
⏹️ ▶️ John a million features in these eight receivers, but if you visualize all those all those settings, the
⏹️ ▶️ John bare minimum that I think any programmer would do is say, give me an ability to save
⏹️ ▶️ John all the current settings under a name, and let me select that name and have it change all those settings to that name.
⏹️ ▶️ John And I’ve never found a receiver that even does that. They all want to be like, well when you save the setting what you’re really saying
⏹️ ▶️ John is when you change this input we We implicitly change to that but you only have one set of speaker level settings or maybe you have two of those that’s a
⏹️ ▶️ John separate scene but the scene doesn’t affect the inputs and the inputs don’t affect the surround mode and This
⏹️ ▶️ John the dialogue delay is independently adjustable and it’s not tied to the input It’s like it’s it’s the most
⏹️ ▶️ John Byzantine mess of crap and it’s harder I feel like it’s harder for them to do that It’s like the
⏹️ ▶️ John stupid simple thing is every single setting under a name Whatever the current state of the machine is right
⏹️ ▶️ John now save them under name and then anytime I go back to that name Set every single setting in the entire
⏹️ ▶️ John machine back to this. That’s the stupidest better one would be to have subsets Here’s one set for for speaker levels. You know
⏹️ ▶️ John Here’s one set for input combinations Here’s one set for like and then you could combine those sets like a nested type of thing But
⏹️ ▶️ John I’m gonna even talk about that just like this stupidest thing a programmer could think of is I have a billion settings
⏹️ ▶️ John There’s only certain valid states set every setting to the way you want it save it all under a name and none of them do that
⏹️ ▶️ John so You’re you’re basically resigned to say look I basically just have to choose one set of speaker levels because this
⏹️ ▶️ John this thing does not have a choice of Way to change speaker levels based on inputs or if it does it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John it conflicts with some other features so I have to resign myself to just pick a good compromise there because I’m never gonna go into these menus
⏹️ ▶️ John and Like turn up the center talent just a little bit when that’s on this button because it’s just too cumbersome So I’m just gonna
⏹️ ▶️ John have to kind of a happy medium and then for these other features I know these are tied to a preset
⏹️ ▶️ John But when I change this preset I have to remember to change the other thing Because the other thing doesn’t follow it with it and when I’m not
⏹️ ▶️ John running through the blu-ray player But the sound is coming back from the TV I don’t want it to come back on the audio return channel
⏹️ ▶️ John because then it’s only two channel because of some insane reason so I have to take the optical Output but then I have to put the audio input to be AV
⏹️ ▶️ John for but it’s only when I’m going through the speakers and it’s like the amount of basically bottom line
⏹️ ▶️ John is It gets the point where I can work it but anyone else in my family tries to use the television It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John too complicated and no a single learning remote won’t solve all this because of the timing delays and how long it
⏹️ ▶️ John takes to turn things on and off and it gets into weird states and you really want to disable HDMI
⏹️ ▶️ John control or HEC or VRCast or whatever the hell they call that thing where the, uh, they
⏹️ ▶️ John have a million different names for where your devices control each other or HDMI, because that just adds more problems to the mix. And your best bet
⏹️ ▶️ John is just turn that off so you have a fighting chance of managing it. So in general, I think I
⏹️ ▶️ John picked the right receiver for me, probably not the right receiver for everybody. And everybody who makes receivers
⏹️ ▶️ John should just be, I’m not going to say taken out and shot, Let’s just say given a stern talking
⏹️ ▶️ John to about Software could do to help them because I feel like they’re trying to
⏹️ ▶️ John help They’re trying to be like it can be like you’re in an opera hall and this and it’s like just let’s just start from the basics
⏹️ ▶️ John Save every single setting under a single name that interface sucks, but still better than what you have now and then work your way
⏹️ ▶️ Casey You know what you’re describing almost sounds like you want the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Apple approach to a receiver and And please don’t email me
⏹️ ▶️ Casey because I haven’t thought this through because I didn’t do any research
⏹️ ▶️ Marco would be a new category
⏹️ ▶️ Casey It would be a new category though. And to be honest, I don’t think it’s really an apples interest to do this sort of thing
⏹️ ▶️ Casey But but maybe we need like a nest, you know a bunch of ex-apple
⏹️ ▶️ Casey people or just smart people It doesn’t even have to be ex-apple to come in and say, you know what? Here’s a receiver
⏹️ ▶️ Casey done, right? And we will we will be an omnivore and consume all these different
⏹️ ▶️ Casey inputs and give you one or perhaps more than one and for whatever reason output
⏹️ ▶️ John well but they would never provide what I’m asking for which is let me change every single feature independently and save
⏹️ ▶️ John them as a set because that’s a terrible interface for most people but um but like that
⏹️ ▶️ John they would never do that they would just say we’ve decided on all the settings for you and you don’t have to change them which is fine for
⏹️ ▶️ John what you want but my big complaint is they give you these settings but then they’re like some of them are global some
⏹️ ▶️ John of them are semi local some of them are local only and when you save a preset like you’re saving some
⏹️ ▶️ John weird subset of that and it’s just it’s terrible.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So when are you making your own AV receiver then?
⏹️ ▶️ John I mean like that that’s what I keep thinking about it’s like it’s I would be I would be okay well no no
⏹️ ▶️ John like in terms of fine people are bad at software like we’re also used to you know car makers
⏹️ ▶️ John and everyone who’s not good at software and the interfaces are ugly and they look like they used to look like MS-DOS or they used to be like they were
⏹️ ▶️ John excited when they even had on-screen controls they used to just be buttons and and everything, but it’s like, isn’t it easier to
⏹️ ▶️ John do it the dumb way? Like it’s almost like they’re, I mean, it’s the CES thing, worst products
⏹️ ▶️ John through software. Like the easier to implement solution
⏹️ ▶️ John is still insanely unfriendly, but it’s still so much better than what they’re offering because there’s
⏹️ ▶️ John just no way any regular person is going to understand the, even with that giant table
⏹️ ▶️ John of valid combinations of input and outputs, they don’t explain like what settings are linked to each
⏹️ ▶️ John other, which settings can be change independently and which like you’d have to send them the source code for like to figure out like
⏹️ ▶️ John when I change this and save this under this setting but I changed to a different setting which settings change when I change settings in which
⏹️ ▶️ John settings stay the same and it doesn’t depend on what those settings are and what things are turned on at the time or like
⏹️ ▶️ John it seems like the stupidest thing you could possibly think of would be better than what we have now and
⏹️ ▶️ John then working your way up and when I think about like Nest or Apple like Nest is trying to not have you
⏹️ ▶️ John the Nest thing is like all people know how to do is turn the dial hotter when they’re hot when they’re cold and colder when they’re hot
⏹️ ▶️ John and that’s all we should expect them to do and we’ll do the right thing which is a noble goal and it’s good but I don’t want that at my receiver
⏹️ ▶️ John I just at the bare minimum I want let me you have a million settings some of them are
⏹️ ▶️ John valid some of them some combinations are valid some aren’t try to make everything valid as possible I don’t want to say that well you have input
⏹️ ▶️ John on HDMI 1 you can only output over HDMI 3 why why well there’s a hardware reason I’m sure there is but
⏹️ ▶️ John like my ideal device would be a the most complete matrix possible
⏹️ ▶️ John for inputs and outputs, put whatever chips in there, you have to do it. Every option configurable and just let
⏹️ ▶️ John me save all those options off into a set. Because then you’d spend three days setting it up, make all
⏹️ ▶️ John your presets and you’d be done. Now it’s like always a mystery of like, oh, which settings do I have to change manually
⏹️ ▶️ John after changing this thing?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I’m really glad that so far I’ve made decisions and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’ve kind of accidentally fallen into limitations that have prevented me from ever actually
⏹️ ▶️ Marco needing a receiver. And I’ve intentionally kept it that way because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I have many of the same concerns that you did before getting one of trying to avoid this world of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco complexity. And I think the result of you getting one has confirmed that those concerns were valid
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and warranted. And you know, like, it sucks that TVs don’t have more inputs.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The reason TVs don’t have more inputs is because, I guess, I assume, because
⏹️ ▶️ Marco most people who would fill all the inputs on a TV and need more probably also have a receiver,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because it’s like the thing to get to advance your setup to the next level. But to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco not have that device would be so much better in so many other ways.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And I’m one of those weirdos. I don’t even have surround sound. I’m very, very happy with stereo
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sound. I had for a while in college I got
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the speaker set off of eBay that was a pretty suspicious description that sounded like it fell off a truck. I didn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco really pick it up at the time but like thinking back on it I was like hmm wait a minute but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco anyway so I had this like integrated powered speaker set from Sony that like just
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of the speakers contained all the amplification for the other ones and and it was a 5.1 set
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and for the first couple years of college I I actually brought all 5.1 speakers with me
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and it sucked and it was a pain and I had all these wires everywhere and then I just eventually stopped bringing the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco center and the rears and just brought the left and the right and just put it in stereo mode and left it there. And I realized
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that once I didn’t have surround sound, I didn’t miss it at all. It was so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco unimportant to me for what I actually used and what I actually cared about. It didn’t matter one bit that I didn’t
⏹️ ▶️ Marco have surround, that I just had left and right. And so I was able to keep the setup simpler that whole time and ever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco since then I’ve kept the setup very simple and just have never had surround sound again because it just turned out to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco be this gimmick that I don’t actually care about. So in the same way I wonder like could
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you, John, like could you give up any of these inputs or could you find some other solution
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to remove your need for this receiver?
⏹️ ▶️ John Well I was in the same camp as you for the longest time because I care less about sound than I do about picture. That’s why I have a
⏹️ ▶️ John super expensive relative to what normal people buy. expensive TV and no speakers
⏹️ ▶️ John at all for the longest time. And I loved having all the inputs on my television because it did make it simple enough for anybody in my
⏹️ ▶️ John family to use it. All my devices were connected. They were all labeled. You could pick any of my game consoles
⏹️ ▶️ John by name and switch to the input. And it was straightforward. There wasn’t three boxes you had to coordinate.
⏹️ ▶️ John But once the TVs came with fewer inputs, I’d say, well, that ship has sailed. And so
⏹️ ▶️ John if I have to get a receiver anyway, now is the time. And this is basically the first, you know, surround, you know, 5.1
⏹️ ▶️ John system that I had. Now it’s time for me to do that. Previously, I had an old analog receiver in there, but I only
⏹️ ▶️ John had two speakers hooked up, though, kind of like you. And I would almost never use them because they were terrible speakers. So basically, I bought
⏹️ ▶️ John the cheapest possible and the smallest possible 5.1 speakers because my room is not set up for 5.1. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ John really hard to even find a place to put the speakers and everything. But you know, I did the research and I found what is the best cheap 5.1
⏹️ ▶️ John system you can get. And I didn’t think I would ever use it, which is why, like, I figured I’m going to get this I better get the speakers anyway, but I don’t
⏹️ ▶️ John want to spend a lot of money Well, they’ll be off all the time. I assume just like my old speakers
⏹️ ▶️ John and That’s why I wanted a receiver that I could change the inputs on without turning it on and they can it works great like you Can
⏹️ ▶️ John you know I can I can change inputs without having to turn the big thing on it all lights up and you guys Which like
⏹️ ▶️ John the features that I picked for it work great, but I find myself now to my own surprise Watching almost
⏹️ ▶️ John all of my television in 5.1 because pretty much every program I want is 5.1 like true detective
⏹️ ▶️ John is 5.1 Netflix streams 5.1 Apple TV 5.1 movies You know horse blu-rays and stuff like that.
⏹️ ▶️ John They all put out 5.1 and My speakers again are crappy But the speakers
⏹️ ▶️ John in flat panel televisions are super crappy. So just having like reasonable bass and
⏹️ ▶️ John a center channel Those are the two biggies forget about surround like very few things actually use the back channels that much anyway, but
⏹️ ▶️ John just having Real low-end sound which you can’t get from flat panel speakers inside the stupid TV
⏹️ ▶️ John and a center channel so the dialogue can be understandable and loud enough without
⏹️ ▶️ John blasting it loud enough to wake up the kids. I am a convert to watching, even on terrible 5.1
⏹️ ▶️ John speakers, watching television and movies like that versus watching through the
⏹️ ▶️ John other thing. So that’s kind of been the big surprise for me, that even though I am so much
⏹️ ▶️ John more visually oriented than auditorially or whatever, audio oriented,
⏹️ ▶️ John I find myself using the surround a lot more than I could. And I guess it goes a long way. The fact that the speakers I got,
⏹️ ▶️ John yes, they’re terrible in the grand scheme of things, but they’re way better than like the crappy stereo speakers I have. Like there’s a couple
⏹️ ▶️ John hundred, I’ve spent a couple hundred bucks on speakers, but basically pretty much the same price as the receiver itself
⏹️ ▶️ John on speakers, which anyone who knows anything about audio would say, no, actually you should spend way more money on speakers than you should
⏹️ ▶️ John on the receiver because they’re much more important. But you know, again, I didn’t care. So it worked out well for
⏹️ ▶️ John me. I’m very happy with the receiver I got. I’m very glad I didn’t buy the Sony receiver that I was looking at that has the 40
⏹️ ▶️ John page Nightmare thread in the Sony support forums with people having problems
⏹️ ▶️ Casey You know, it’s funny. I’m in a similar boat to Marco I used well, I still have a 5.1 setup
⏹️ ▶️ Casey But I only have the subwoofer the center and the left and right speakers
⏹️ ▶️ Casey on We’re installed right now and that’s mostly out of laziness because I didn’t have a really good way to wire
⏹️ ▶️ Casey up the rear speakers Without drilling through the floor or drilling through the ceiling
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and I just didn’t want to deal with any of that And so I just never did we’ve been in the house since 2008 still haven’t done it
⏹️ ▶️ Casey and there are times There are absolutely times that I miss it without question but
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Just having proper non built into the TV speakers and a subwoofer
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Makes a world of difference and even just having that is enough
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to keep me happy And yeah, I wish I had the rear speakers there times We’ll watch a movie that
⏹️ ▶️ Casey that is designed to be particularly immersive if not that movies aren’t in
⏹️ ▶️ Casey general and I can’t think of a great example But you know a movie that clearly you you want to be in the middle of an
⏹️ ▶️ Casey app of the action and I’ll miss those rear Speakers, but generally speaking. I’m fine.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’m perfectly happy with just the the left right and I do have Center, but you know left right and sub
⏹️ ▶️ Marco See, I think Center is even overrated like so so my setup now is I just have these
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this pair of paradigm Adam bookshelf speakers, which are really nice bookshelf speakers, but just left and right and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And it’s like this is a good way to buy speakers. It is the absolute cheapest model
⏹️ ▶️ Marco from a really good specialty speaker company. And so I think they were like 300 bucks for
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the pair, something like that. And so I have those speakers
⏹️ ▶️ Marco powered by this little tiny NuForce, I think it’s called the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco UDAC, or it’s, no, it isn’t it. It’s one of, it’s some
⏹️ ▶️ Marco kind of little like New Force amp thing that is very
⏹️ ▶️ Marco buggy and horrible but it powers them and it’s like the size of like two Altoids tin so it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this nice little tiny thing that powers the speakers. And so all I have is left and right and this little tiny
⏹️ ▶️ Marco thing powering them that has this little tiny remote even smaller than the Apple TV remote
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and it’s fantastic. It’s great. Like the difference between the TV speakers
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and these left and right with no centers, The difference between TV speakers and these is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just that, you know, what John, John, I think this, I think these would address your needs just fine without a center channel. Like it,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you’re able to hear what’s going on on the TV better at lower volumes because the speakers are larger,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco they’re directed more at you, they’re better quality. And so you can understand things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot better without having to really crank it up.
⏹️ ▶️ John But it’s not, it’s not the speaker quality, it’s the mix. Like when they mix 5.1, they put loud, they put the
⏹️ ▶️ John dialogue mostly on the center channel and louder on the center channel. There’s actual separation in a 5.1 and a good 5.1 mix
⏹️ ▶️ John Which you need the center channel speaker because they’re not going to send those signals to the stereo
⏹️ ▶️ John and in fact the more a Signal leans toward that the less you can hear the dialogue because there’s almost no dialogue
⏹️ ▶️ John in the left and right almost all the dialogue Is in the center.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s only if your receiver is terrible Every
⏹️ ▶️ Marco signal like almost everything at blu-rays DVDs almost everything has a stereo mix and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and things that only have a 5.1 mix will be down mixed. I
⏹️ ▶️ John know, but I don’t want them, I know, of course there’s surround modes that will just take the stereo signal and
⏹️ ▶️ John send it out to the centers and so on, or just do the stereo mix, but I want to trust
⏹️ ▶️ John the person who did the 5.1 mix to properly mix it between left, right, and center. I find that, I mean, because I’ve
⏹️ ▶️ John done it the other way, yes, I can just power on the left and right speakers and put it on
⏹️ ▶️ John the stereo mix and compare it to what it’s like with the 5.1 with the center channel and I think I think they spend
⏹️ ▶️ John more time on the 5.1 mixes and I think I find them you know better than than
⏹️ ▶️ Marco well regardless so I have in my opinion a very very close approximation to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the value of a full system a full 5.1 but which is these two relatively
⏹️ ▶️ Marco small bookshelf speakers that are each about let’s see two inches taller than the new Mac Pro
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and about twice as deep and you have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sub do something no that’s the because I hate external subs I absolutely
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hate subwoofers I’ve never had an external sub on a system that I cared about for good reason because I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco don’t like the way they sound I don’t like the the imprecise kind of vague
⏹️ ▶️ Marco source of where it’s coming from because you know wherever the heck you tucked it behind the TV or whatever it doesn’t it never
⏹️ ▶️ Marco sounds right I like speakers that are big enough to do their own subwoofering so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these you know bookshelf speakers for TVs are perfectly fine and for low volume audio that’s perfectly fine too.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco If I if I wanted to get a lot more volume I would go with floor standard like you know the full floor
⏹️ ▶️ Marco height speakers. I really really hate external subwoofers. They do not sound good.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco They never have sounded good.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well they’re always they’re always configured terribly at people’s houses like if you’ve only heard them in the stores
⏹️ ▶️ John in people’s houses they are just massively miscalibrated and over boosted and just super terrible. I hate them because they’re
⏹️ ▶️ John gigantic. I mean there’s no getting around the fact that now you You have you have this gigantic thing But other than that like when
⏹️ ▶️ John correctly calibrated and most of the good receivers these days have some Usually pretty crappy but
⏹️ ▶️ John way better than nothing calibration mode where you can just put a you know An omnidirectional mic where
⏹️ ▶️ John your head would be and it just runs test tones to adjust the levels and I was amazed at how how
⏹️ ▶️ John low Level it put the sub like basically I was like is a sub working at all like because it didn’t you
⏹️ ▶️ John didn’t hear that Annoying kind of where is that rumbly thing coming from? The appropriate
⏹️ ▶️ John level for subs according to this adjustment thing, and I totally believe it now, is basically like, I can’t hear it at all. It
⏹️ ▶️ John just sounds like my speakers have more bass. And in the few movies, they really
⏹️ ▶️ John just, you know, thunder that out with an explosion. It works well there. But otherwise, you should basically not hear it.
⏹️ ▶️ John It should just make, you know, my crappy, tiny, even smaller than bookshelf speakers feel like, oh, they
⏹️ ▶️ John actually have low end. It’s a miracle of science. But really, it’s like that sub that, like, you’re not even sure
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s turned on, but it is. We’ll
⏹️ ▶️ Marco see if you need that little of it, then I think, you know, if you’re, I mean, you know, your speakers
⏹️ ▶️ Marco are small, that’s a different story, but like, you know, if I’m willing to have bookshelf speakers, even compact bookshelf
⏹️ ▶️ Marco speakers, I think that’s big enough, you know, the woofers on them are big enough to
⏹️ ▶️ John How big is the biggest cone or whatever?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Including the rubber gasket around it, it’s five inches
⏹️ ▶️ John across. Yeah, that’s probably, I mean, five or six inches is probably plenty, but my speakers are super tiny. That was one
⏹️ ▶️ John of my requirements for my speakers is because you’ve seen the room that they’re in. Like, I have no place to put speakers. So I’m like, well, these just,
⏹️ ▶️ John they better be really small so I can tuck them in, you know, like, you know, those pictures on my mantle,
⏹️ ▶️ John one of the surround speakers is like there amongst the pictures. So it has to be pretty much the height of a picture and
⏹️ ▶️ John inconspicuous as possible, you know. So I definitely needed to set up with those.
⏹️ ▶️ John Otherwise it would just be, you know, nothing. I think the biggest cone is like three and a half or four inches in
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there. Yeah, I also I greatly, you know, especially as I get older and of course, you know, the influence
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of my wife and wanting to keep the house reasonably looking is a different impact as well. But
⏹️ ▶️ Marco certainly as I get older, I’m valuing more and more having fewer smaller things,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, and less complexity in the setup. Like that’s another reason why I don’t want a receiver like just and why I don’t want
⏹️ ▶️ Marco 5.1 or 7.1 surround. I’m so happy just having Decent left
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to right speakers if the TV could power them that would be one more thing that I could remove but it can’t so Oh, well,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I just I’m very happy just keeping things as simple as I possibly can
⏹️ ▶️ Marco had a kid Well, hey that now there’s less for him to wreck or pull down or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know Pull the wires out of or eat or anything else. So it’s all good
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Thanks a lot to our three sponsors this week transporter ting and and Squarespace
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and we will see you next week.
⏹️ ▶️ John And if you’re into Twitter, you can follow them at
⏹️ ▶️ Marco So that’s Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M, Auntie
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Marco Armin, S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Syracuse. So I went on this trip.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Did you survive it? I did, I think, yeah.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco The trip was my friend from high school was getting married. I’m the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco best man and for his bachelor party he wanted to do the ski trip in Seattle and And one of the things that we…
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We also had the idea, you know what, let’s try a LAN game. Because we were the two that always started
⏹️ ▶️ Marco all the LAN games back in high school. And we would play LAN games of Total Annihilation, and then later
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on, more recent games, but mostly Total Annihilation. So we thought, you know, we both have like Apple
⏹️ ▶️ Marco laptops, and a few of the other guys who were coming on the trip also were part of this group and also
⏹️ ▶️ Marco had laptops. So let’s just try to set up, you know, basic LAN gaming. Okay.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco think in this day and age this would be easy that we’re trying to run a game that
⏹️ ▶️ Marco came out in 1996 how hard could it pop or 1997 excuse me how
⏹️ ▶️ Marco hard could it possibly be to run this game in 2014 and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco so I you know first we tried a few things I tried like you know what would be easiest is if I can get it running in VirtualBox
⏹️ ▶️ Marco because VirtualBox is free and then I can just copy the VM between anyone’s computer that needs
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it and just launch it and we could be guaranteed to have the same setup on everyone’s computer because I’m just copying a VM.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That would be the best. Well, first the issue, all right, well, what version of Windows do you run? Well, do you want to pirate some or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco do you want to like, you know, you know, how do you deal with copying it if it’s activation and all this crap? Then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I settled on I was going to get the version of Windows 8.1 that Microsoft is
⏹️ ▶️ Marco offering for a developer preview right now for free because you can download it. There’s no activation. It only runs for 90 days,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco but that’s all we needed to run for. So fine, right? So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I get all that and try installing it in VirtualBox
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and the game just does not run right in VirtualBox. Like the, you know, we wanted to play three games, Total Annihilation,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Moonbase Commander, and if possible Supreme Commander, which is much newer and higher needs. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco we wanted to run those three games and, you know, VirtualBox just doesn’t run right.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We tried Parallels. I tried Parallels before I got there. Because parallels is supposedly the best one of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco these things of gaming Disaster by the way really annoying like parallels
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like the crap it installs without asking you is really obnoxious Really?
⏹️ ▶️ John I would have recommended a VMware and you were said, but they say parallels is better with games They only say that because well I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco yeah VMware was always my choice because it was always the much more
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Professionally made of the two and you could feel it like in all the different various decisions
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just to seem like the more adult version. So I tried VMware, also didn’t work right
⏹️ ▶️ Marco for these games. So I thought, okay, well, I guess I can try Boot Camp. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I tried Boot Camp, everything works great. Now, I get everything set up, and in order to
⏹️ ▶️ Marco try to mitigate having to mess with computers for hours on end, because I knew we wouldn’t have time or
⏹️ ▶️ Marco motivation to do that on a ski trip where we would get home from the ski resort, get home from dinner, and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just wanna like, I just want to start a game in 10 minutes and play. You know, if it takes more than 10 minutes to set
⏹️ ▶️ Marco up once we’re there, no one’s gonna want to do it. So, let’s just make it simple. So I said, all right.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Bootcamp, I know this, even on the most recent version of Windows, Bootcamp worked great.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And I bought the Steam versions of these two games. Of TA, I could copy, but like Moonbase
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and Subcom, I bought the Steam versions, because they were so cheap, because these are such old games, the total was $11
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to buy both of them. So I said, all right. So I emailed everyone, Here’s what you got to do. If you have a PC laptop,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco bring it, install the Steam versions of these two games. Here’s the links. It’ll toss you only $11.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Please install them now before you get here. That way when you get here, everyone has the same versions of the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco game, everyone has the same games, everyone has the same maps, everything’s updated, no one
⏹️ ▶️ Marco has to deal with CDs or CD checks or CD cracks or any of that crap that we used to deal with trying to get LAN games going when
⏹️ ▶️ Marco we were teenagers. So, this should work perfectly. So I get there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco One guy doesn’t have it in bootcamp, it’s only in VMware which doesn’t work,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and can’t boot it. One guy has installed one of the games, not the other game, and hasn’t launched Steam
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in a while, so everything has to update on this satellite connection in the woods that we have in this cabin.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco We spend probably a good 45 minutes trying to get one game started, of the simplest
⏹️ ▶️ Marco possible thing, passing USB keys back and forth, copying all this crap between the two computers, having Steam
⏹️ ▶️ Marco launch and fail and not connect to the internet and then not and then want to update itself not have the updates
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and of course of course nobody had actually done what I said or they didn’t half of it or they’d done it you know a half-assed job of the things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I did say and finally we get the games both launched both running
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and can’t see each other over the network and we’re just like ah screw it let’s get some bourbon
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and that’s then I became a bourbon night instead of a video gaming night and this is like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I tell this here Because it’s like this is This is still like the state
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of trying to get a land keep going
⏹️ ▶️ Casey So I mean in the end of the day though your evening became better because
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it involved bourbon instead of old ass PC games
⏹️ ▶️ Marco To be fair it probably would have ended in bourbon regardless, but at least That would have been after the games
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or maybe during you know halfway through the games games. Yeah,
⏹️ ▶️ John you should have brought Nintendo 64. You could have hooked up a TV and play Goldeneye.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Oh, amen to that. That would have worked.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That actually Yeah, because we have a paid a lot of that to that actually would have been better. And the whole time I was thinking like,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of course, we all had to be like the difficult nerds and like these weird PC RTS games. Like, why couldn’t we all
⏹️ ▶️ Marco just like an Xbox game? It’d be so much easier. Nope. No, we have we have to be difficult
⏹️ ▶️ John for a little while. Anyway, pretty soon, you’re not going to be able to plug in 10 to 64 into the back of a TV because the you know,
⏹️ ▶️ John nothing We’ll have composite ports, but in some crappy hotel composite port They’re still probably there for a while And I think
⏹️ ▶️ John you probably can get some sort of like cheap up converter box to it has HDMI out on it
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah That’s one more thing you got to bring like you know a couple of laptops take up less space in a bag than an n64
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And a few controllers.
⏹️ ▶️ John I know but the n64 is like you control that that’s the Flaw in your plan was relying on other people
⏹️ ▶️ John to successfully do something you’re like well I’ve done the hard work
⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco I figured out what
⏹️ ▶️ John you guys need to do all you need to do now is execute on this simple plan And that was, you know, that’s your downfalls. Like,
⏹️ ▶️ John if you wanted this to work, you should have been like calling each person on the phone a week before, three days before,
⏹️ ▶️ John day of and say, have you done all this stuff? Have you launched Steam? You’re not running in a VM, are you? I know you might be
⏹️ ▶️ John doing that. Bootcamp means you reboot the whole computer and you just see Windows. No, it’s not, you know, like you have to
⏹️ ▶️ John like nag them to death until you confirm. And then like your test games remote,
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey you know, from each
⏹️ ▶️ John other to make sure you can see each other or the network. And they have different Steam IDs. And you’re connecting to Steam
⏹️ ▶️ John for the first time from from this computer, please re-enter your password. Oh, I don’t remember what it is. There are so many
⏹️ ▶️ John places it could go wrong. It does not surprise me that you were unsuccessful.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Another idea I had was to just rent four laptops before I got there.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You can rent laptops from some places, including TechServe here in the city. You can just rent a laptop. I’m like, let me just configure
⏹️ ▶️ Marco them before I even go and just bring my own. Bring a stack of four 13-inch MacBook Pros
⏹️ ▶️ Marco pre-configured to work exactly the way I want to. But that would to cost like a thousand dollars
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and I thought you know everyone will have laptops anyway that would be wasteful but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know let’s see let’s see what we can do I’m sure it’s so easy you should install any version of Windows
⏹️ ▶️ Marco install the Steam versions of these games and bring your computer that’s it nope that’s not it that’s not that easy
⏹️ ▶️ John and this is the good version like Steam is just you know it’s that the mirror the modern miracle of PC gaming
⏹️ ▶️ John is you know that it like it makes it so much easier you know
⏹️ ▶️ Marco right no serial numbers none of that crap everyone has the same version it’s always updated like come Come on! Nope, can’t
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Sounds like fun. Although, you know, I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t try to bring all these computers through
⏹️ ▶️ Casey either gate check or through baggage claim or whatever, because, oh man, there’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey no reason why that should be a problem, but there would have been a humongous problem with that.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Oh yeah, like, you know, why does one person need four laptops?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Clearly you’re, you know, trying to hack the NSA. What else could you be using four laptops for?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Ay yi yi. What else going on?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, there’s this Pano thing. There’s not much to say about Pano. I wrote a thing about it a few months ago. I’ll link to it again
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tonight, I think. But basically, it’s linked to an article by
⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of my favorite writers, Dan Rudder, of Dan’s data. And he wrote this big thing basically
⏹️ ▶️ Marco debunking the whole, like collecting a whole bunch of debunkness in one place, debunking the whole thing about how,
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like, it turns out you can’t hear the difference between over 44.1 kilohertz
⏹️ ▶️ Marco files and over 16-bit resolution and all the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco supposed benefits of this high bitrate, high sample rate, high-definition
⏹️ ▶️ Marco music. There is a real thing
⏹️ ▶️ Marco with remastering. You have the loudness war making music sound terrible the way it’s released
⏹️ ▶️ Marco on CD and stuff and then a lot of these a lot of these high definition uh re-releases
⏹️ ▶️ Marco that are like at you know 192 kilohertz or something like that 24-bit 32-bit flow whatever
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it is a lot of them will have a better more more even
⏹️ ▶️ Marco less FM radio like mastering so that they will sound better just because like they
⏹️ ▶️ Marco were mastered level uh better and they were you know crushed and compressed less
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the dynamic range. So there are lots of reasons why some of these things sound better, but none of them are
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the bit rate or the sample rate above a certain point. And that point is pretty much
⏹️ ▶️ Marco CD quality. And so, you know, these things like Pono—I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco mean, God, I could talk forever about audiophile stuff, and I won’t, but…
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Let me quickly interrupt you. For those who don’t know, Pono, Pono, Pony, Poned,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey whatever it’s called, is this thing by Neil Young where it’s supposed to be a
⏹️ ▶️ Casey high-fidelity portable music player. I’m assuming there’s a store associated
⏹️ ▶️ Casey with that. Is that correct?
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah. It’s basically trying to be a high-definition version
⏹️ ▶️ Marco of iTunes. It has the device plus the music store that goes along with the device.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s a whole new ecosystem That is I believe funded on Kickstarter
⏹️ ▶️ Marco shortly or about to be fun on a Kickstarter or at least Rather it will be put on Kickstarter. I’m not sure
⏹️ ▶️ Marco if it will succeed But
⏹️ ▶️ John no it’s already like funded is like double funded like I wanted 800 grand and they’ve got 1.6. Pledged already
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, that’s not good.
⏹️ ▶️ John Well. I think that is good I’m rooting for these this ecosystem to become vibrant because that what it means is that
⏹️ ▶️ John we’ll be able to get like you know 256 kilohertz Law see rips of all of their well-mastered
⏹️ ▶️ John tracks and import them into high-speed
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, I mean that’s like I you know this is one of those things where it would be nice
⏹️ ▶️ Marco For for you know mastering engineers to have like a market force to make things better unfortunately
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think they already do I think you know the the general drop in the rev in the relevance of radio
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Helps a lot. I believe Apple’s is called mastered for iTunes.
⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, they’re better, but but open them up in an audio app It’s still kind of like a wall of fuzz like it there
⏹️ ▶️ John There’s a dynamic range is basically what we’re looking for the like You know from the loudest to the quietest
⏹️ ▶️ John thing you just look at the waveform if the waveform looks like one big Scriggle that’s that that goes the full height of
⏹️ ▶️ John the thing all the way across That’s that’s your problem and there their master fried food ones are better in that
⏹️ ▶️ John regard But they’re nothing like if you look at like the levels on like vinyl or whatever where there was the quiet sections were
⏹️ ▶️ John barely little Ripples and then the loud sections just started to go close to touching the edge this
⏹️ ▶️ John is all like in a graphed on a line where the maximum amplitude or whatever, but
⏹️ ▶️ John I think I have faith in the mastering that these people are going to do with their crazy high bitrates and everything,
⏹️ ▶️ John that that mastering will be more aggressive in terms of dynamic range than even the mastered for iTunes. So that’s why actually
⏹️ ▶️ John I was serious, I actually do look forward to if I can get some of my favorite songs
⏹️ ▶️ John as 256 kilobit rips of those lossless crazy
⏹️ ▶️ John high bitrate ones that I’ll be able to experience the song in a new way with a much bigger
⏹️ ▶️ John dynamic range even better than the master try tunes
⏹️ ▶️ Marco right I mean and that’s that’s all very valid but like it’s it’s like you know it’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s kind of like the placebo effect it’s like well you can argue that it works but it doesn’t really work for the reasons people
⏹️ ▶️ Marco think it works it’s like like this is the kind of thing like these these tracks might sound better but
⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s not because of any of the technical things that they have on their platform it’s it’s entirely because of
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the input you know the how the music is mastered going in like that’s that would be why they sound better
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know if it turns out if you do there’s a there’s a number of sites that offer this like
⏹️ ▶️ Marco man I forget let me see if I have my autocomplete yeah this is really cool if you go to mp3 or not calm
⏹️ ▶️ Marco this is this is hilarious so it lets you play
⏹️ ▶️ Marco to play it basically automates an ABX test so an ABX test in brief and
⏹️ ▶️ Marco please people of science I I apologize if I’m messing this up. An ABX
⏹️ ▶️ Marco test, so you’ve heard about AB tests, you try one thing and then try another thing and see which one you think
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is better. And the problem with that, there’s lots of problems with that, but it’s easy to hear things that aren’t there
⏹️ ▶️ Marco or perceive things that aren’t there and you don’t really know. So an ABX test is you have two unlabeled
⏹️ ▶️ Marco inputs, or even labeled, doesn’t really matter, two inputs, A and B, and then
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you have this X and you say, all right, here’s A, here’s B, you can listen to as much as you want, here’s
⏹️ ▶️ Marco X you can listen to that as much as you want is X a or B
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and so mp3 or not this site is an example of one of these things so it says all right so you have
⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know a and B like a is a high bitrate mp3 B is a lower bitrate mp3
⏹️ ▶️ Marco what is X is that the is it the 320 K or is it the 128 K mp3 and I tried on I
⏹️ ▶️ Marco tried this site on my setup which I currently have what many people would arguably
⏹️ ▶️ Marco the best headphones in the world. I could not tell the difference between these two. I failed.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I got it right about half the time, which means I’m failing. That’s random guessing. So
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I could not tell the difference reliably on this site. And
⏹️ ▶️ Marco there’s always more things you can blame. You can blame my lack of sophisticated ears. You can blame
⏹️ ▶️ Marco some other part of my setup. You can blame the fact that these are both MP3s and neither one of them is a lossless file or whatever the case
⏹️ ▶️ Marco may be. But it’s one of those things like hearing the difference
⏹️ ▶️ Marco is large a psychological with a lot of these things and if you add a lot of the
⏹️ ▶️ Marco a lot of the possible upgrades and enhancements in fidelity or hardware advancedness
⏹️ ▶️ Marco in a lot in the audio world a lot of them don’t stand up to ABX testing including things
⏹️ ▶️ Marco like fancy cables or even fancy amps. A lot of this just does not hold up.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco And the reality is most people, even the audiophiles who own
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and buy and talk about these things, usually even they have a pretty hard time in ABX
⏹️ ▶️ Marco testing telling the difference between things like MP3 bitrates, fancy cables, and fancy amps.
⏹️ ▶️ John For MP3 bitrates, a lot of it depends on if the actual specific song they’re playing to you happens
⏹️ ▶️ John to hit one of the areas that MP3 encoding is bad at encoding. this pathological cases with like
⏹️ ▶️ John you know you get that mp3 sizzle but only for certain sounds with a certain cadence and a certain frequency so if you play
⏹️ ▶️ John some song that does not have any of that noise in it you won’t like that’s what people are hearing basically is the artifacts like it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John fine when you know you’re not running into one of these areas where the ways mp3 cheats
⏹️ ▶️ John end up becoming visible and so like if it’s like you know just I don’t even know if it’s right but like sort of middle-of-the-road
⏹️ ▶️ John classical music with sort of like nice tones and it’s not like high frequency high pitch
⏹️ ▶️ John drumming in cymbals where you might start to hear a little bit of those artifact-y sizzles. But that’s
⏹️ ▶️ John basically what I have bad ears to, but if I was trying to listen for something, what I’d be listening for are those artifacts. And I know
⏹️ ▶️ John those artifacts from the days of like, you know, 96 kilobit and all the, you know, way super over-compressed.
⏹️ ▶️ John Like those same artifacts, like, oh, in this part of the song, I can totally hear all this fuzz. Keep
⏹️ ▶️ John cranking up the bitrate around 128, pretty much almost all of that fuzz goes away, but there’s maybe a little bit
⏹️ ▶️ John left. 256 I can’t hear anything and 320 certainly I can’t hear any difference But
⏹️ ▶️ John what I do hear definitely from you know as I have lots of copies of the same music bought on Remastered
⏹️ ▶️ John on CD and stuff like that and the original on CD and then the crappy original CD release I hear differences in
⏹️ ▶️ John the mix And that’s more important to me than the bitrate at this point
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, I I definitely notice older like I I still have
⏹️ ▶️ Casey pretty much my entire music collection from whenever I first started amassing
⏹️ ▶️ Casey mp3s, so 96, something like that, and the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey mp3s that were ripped way back then, when our tools weren’t as good, nobody
⏹️ ▶️ Casey knew what settings to use, arguably nobody does today, but certainly more do than 96, I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey can absolutely hear compression artifacts, particularly with cymbals. Especially
⏹️ ▶️ Casey there I can I can hear a lot of artifacts but Compare that to anything ripped
⏹️ ▶️ Casey in the last five to ten years and I agree with you that once you hit for me It’s about 192
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Over 192. I don’t think it makes a difference. I feel like 128 maybe it’s in my head But I feel like 128 I can still hear the
⏹️ ▶️ Casey artifacts 192 is all I need and I’m happy so titles
⏹️ ▶️ Marco Let’s go with the woodpecker fair enough All right, let’s go to bed.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, I will say that I’m very close to releasing the iOS 7 update
⏹️ ▶️ Casey for FastText, and I really need to do it well in the next six months, so I beat Overcast.
⏹️ ▶️ John Can you put a foot, some kind of feet-based Easter egg in there for me?
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’ll figure something
⏹️ ▶️ John out. And if you don’t beat Overcast, you should really feel ashamed, because the relative complexity of these
⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey applications
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is not… Dammit, John, don’t you sell FastText shortly. No, it’s not true.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco I just set myself back a month. you should be able to beat me pretty easily.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, well, I’ve been working with the designer, Jacob Swidek, and he’s been very good.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey And on a wildly unrelated note, I’ve been playing with Node.js a lot. I
⏹️ ▶️ Casey really like it. It kind of makes me feel dirty.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco That’s good, man, that you’re actually doing something more recent than anything John and I will probably ever do. What are you
⏹️ ▶️ John doing at this point. You’re not just like, oh, this is a way for me to script the browser. That age passed long ago. We’re writing real programs
⏹️ ▶️ John if I had this feature from this other language, this wouldn’t be so
⏹️ ▶️ Marco stupid. Right, you start hitting all the little walls and all the things that are still kind of half-built
⏹️ ▶️ Marco and still immature.
⏹️ ▶️ John Or even just like every time I just have to do string manipulation, it’s like, you were so close, you had all the features, you just, the syntax
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Of course a Perl programmer would complain and moan about string manipulation.
⏹️ ▶️ John Anything, I’ll take it, you pick another language, PHP, Ruby, SED, AWK, anything has
⏹️ ▶️ John Every time I gotta do like, you know, string.match and then wrap the whole thing in parens
⏹️ ▶️ John and subscript off the first one because index zero is the original string again for some insane reason. Like, I just,
⏹️ ▶️ John it’s not, it’s not Huffman coded to use Perl parlance. The most
⏹️ ▶️ John common things are not short and simple. Most common things are just as stupid as the complicated things.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey You’re so bitter and jaded and old. It’s so funny.
⏹️ ▶️ John But anyway, yeah, Node is a fun way to… Have you tried that Ghost thing? That’s speaking of
⏹️ ▶️ John a nice Node app to look at. The what? Ghost. It’s like, what do you call it? Atwood changed
⏹️ ▶️ John his blog to it. I heard about it from him. It’s a way to run a blogging engine. They have a
⏹️ ▶️ John hosted version that they charge an arm and a leg for, but it’s open source and you can just download it and run it on your local system. And it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John just a Node-based blogging engine. It’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey like… Oh, well, that’s exactly what I’m writing right now because you did it and Marco did it and I didn’t want to be left out, damn it.
⏹️ ▶️ John I did not make a blogging engine. made a way to produce HTML files that I rsync up to a server.
⏹️ ▶️ John Anyway, but yeah, like I said, mine is not a system at all. But Ghost is,
⏹️ ▶️ John and if you’re making one yourself, you should just download Ghost and just look at the source, because it’s
⏹️ ▶️ John eminently understandable. And it’s a neat little app. I don’t like it particularly. I wouldn’t use it as a blogging engine,
⏹️ ▶️ John but seeing it’s kind of the first example, because it’s open source, of like, here you go,
⏹️ ▶️ John here’s Here’s the whole thing. Run it yourself if you want. And it’s small enough you can understand
⏹️ ▶️ Casey it. Yeah, but then that defeats the whole purpose. Then I could just use Tumblr.
⏹️ ▶️ John No, no. Just look at it to get ideas of how they structure things. I thought it was a prototypical
⏹️ ▶️ John example of how do you write a modern node-based web application without including
⏹️ ▶️ John umpteen billion frameworks, although they do install a lot of other modules. But it was pretty
⏹️ ▶️ Casey You have to consider that I’m way too self-obsessed
⏹️ ▶️ Casey to do anything smart like that. Plus, I’m way too bad at Node. And I’m sure if I looked at this, which I will, I would
⏹️ ▶️ Casey look at this code and be like, oh, oh, oh, oh, I don’t know what the hell’s going on.
⏹️ ▶️ John No, you will find it completely understandable. Like, everything is extremely straightforward in
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Fair enough. Well, my blogging engine, which is barely an engine that basically just regurgitates
⏹️ ▶️ Casey Markdown and does a couple and builds an RSS feed and does a couple other very small things. It
⏹️ ▶️ Casey is sitting at 309 lines of code. And by that, I mean there’s 309 lines in this file,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey some of which are comments, a lot of which are white space, et cetera. So there’s
⏹️ ▶️ Casey not that much to it. I’m really enjoying it for basic stuff. I wouldn’t want to do it for, I wouldn’t want to
⏹️ ▶️ Casey use Node for anything serious or complex. But for basic stuff, it’s pretty nice.
⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know, if it were Rails, you could build the entire blogging system in one line of code.
⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’ve never done Rails, actually, nor Ruby, ever. I’ve done, I’ve dabbled with Python. I’ve done like basic, basic,
⏹️ ▶️ Casey basic Python and basic, basic, basic PHP, which is to say I’ve never gone object-oriented
⏹️ ▶️ Casey which is kind of neat. Hey, glad you agree.