Posts by BenWilson

  • Speaker: The overconfidence man, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    It's pretty safe to say that byelections don't work like full elections. There's less at stake and an increased sense of the value of the vote, and the campaign is likely to be targeting entirely local issues. Also, in this case, there is the confounding factor of the extraordinary reason for even having a byelection in Northland. We still can't officially talk about it, but everybody knows something stank to high heaven there. A stench that could still be wafting around by the next election.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The overconfidence man, in reply to Ianmac,

    Well then how about inviting David to switch loyalty

    Why bother? It's actually a good thing, what he does. Keeping National abreast of the public mood is probably why they're swinging to the left already. And it's not rocket science. There's room in the NZ market for 2 of him.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The overconfidence man, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Or they convey their feelings to the party and even if we get another National government, it's one that really does consider rising poverty to be an important problem that they have significantly failed to address, and begins to do something about it. That's democracy working, and that's the Opposition doing its job.

    I'd suggest that skyrocketing house prices are a pretty significant issue, not just in the poverty they create, but also in the way they overshadow truly productive industry. But I don't know that this is an appeal that will really work for the core National demographic since they're probably very much beneficiaries of the other side of that, the crazy wealth creation from nothing more than being lucky or old, or both. I find it hard to personally feel guilty about property making me rich - that's part of why I bought it, after all, and it carries massive risks with it that I consciously signed up for.

    But I can feel bad that there are very large numbers of NZers who don't even have a roof over their heads at all, that WINZ is currently putting people up in hotels at the same time as standing them down on the dole, because decent rentals have become unattainable on National's watch, but the culture of punitive social welfare policy has become entrenched. There's a level of crazy inefficient fuckedupness about that which I think would probably churn many a compassionate conservative's stomach. My Mum is now working at CAB in her retirement and is getting pretty damned frequent calls from people in extremely desperate situations, sleeping rough or in cars. This is not the NZ I grew up in, nor one any conservative I know really thinks is improved for that, even for them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The overconfidence man, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    @I/S

    Looking back to 1969 - almost 50 years ago - for your political entrail reading probably isn't a good idea. It was a completely different world then.

    That's true, but if you look short term you're approaching n=1 for your data.

    @ScottY

    People have been saying this for the last five years. Where's the actual evidence of a change in sentiment?

    We've needed a David Farrar of the left for that for a while. Any takers? I'm a bit busy.

    @Tinakori

    Please, even if half their audience (no matter how affluent) read the article that is still a tiny sliver of the electorate.

    We're reading the gist of it here without having to get behind the paywall. It will be re-reported by others - but it's a safe sandpit for Key, and a good way of showing whose opinion he wants to sample first.

    @simon g

    History doesn't help us much here.

    It might not, but it's close to all we've got, besides mostly ideological wishful thinking. The only other pool of data that is large enough to qualify for the term but doesn't suffer from being to old is to compare with other nations. And that's got the same issue of comparing completely different systems and demographics for hints as to the future of our own.

    I don't know how we can judge political fortunes in a media world without interviews, debates, speeches, or anything deeper than dancing with cats.

    We need data. We need a David Farrar of the left.

    More to the point, the history of third terms tells us nothing about politics in these strange, superficial times.

    I don't know about that. Again, what else do we really have to base rational thought about politics on? There's a lot of lessons in third terms, and I fully expect Key is looking into them with good advice. His opponents should do the same, even if it's not perfect.

    One thing we're already seeing is that the agenda is being set by the Left. That happened to Labour in their last term, in reverse. I'd go so far as to say that Brash was beginning to set the agenda even before then - we'd never have had the debacle of the F&S Act had Labour felt unassailable. That changed the political landscape here quite dramatically. National faces a very similar danger, that a breakaway faction within its own base could form around a very divisive issue.

    @Bart

    but realizing that Labour lost support is a critical step in changing the outcome of the next election.

    Who really doesn't realize that? The question for people who really want to see the back of National is not what happened, but what should now be done. Labour gaining those votes back is not the only possibility. They could also be targeted by other groups. Or the aim could be to make National stalwarts stay home. But yes, it's certainly important to realize that political disengagement is almost starting to be more important than engagement in the tactical battle for the government. Perhaps the idea might be to try to get conscientious Nats to see more clearly just how stark our long-tailed poverty problems are getting in NZ. They may never be able to stomach voting Labour or Green, but they might just be able to stomach staying home on election day, just this once.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Apple Music: Taking a dump on…, in reply to Moz,

    Dedicated hardware is a good idea, which is why they do it, but it does suffer from difficulties in updating it when improvements in the encoding/decoding algos occur. Also, it’s hardware that’s completely idle in the tiny real estate in the phone for most of the time when you’re not listening to music. Similarly with buffer space – that’s RAM that could be used for something else a whole lot of the time. So it’s a trade off in how important the quality of the sound is compared to the quality of everything else your phone does. Again bearing in mind that the quality of the sound rendering is only one link in a chain to your brain, and there are several more in the phone itself. It’s got to be pumped down a high speed channel to the speakers or all of that resolution is for naught. If you’re cabling it, the phone has to have high speed out ports, which a simple headphone jack isn’t. If you’re wirelessing it, then the quality and strength of that signal is vital, and you want to make pairing it painless.

    Also, there are big overheads in bigger files. If you choose to have file sizes 4 times greater, then you can only have a music library that is 4 times smaller. If you stream it, then you chew up your bandwidth 4 times faster. If your bandwidth is local and unlimited, you’re still compromising every other user on the network’s bandwidth, and unless you can guarantee your phone the bit rate you want, you’re going to get something a whole lot nastier sounding than a low bit rate – you’ll get dropouts when your kids are streaming their torrents extra fast, or playing their games, or your own downloads find a juicy peer. All for a very, very minor improvement in the sound quality under perfect conditions? I can see it appeals to tech purists, rich people and especially picky music lovers with high-end gear. That ain’t me, babe.

    There’s way, way more product differentiation to be had in the front ends of the systems. Good library control and searchability, good playlist management, good store fronts for people who buy the music. I have no personal problem with Android on the hardware/playback side but I’m yet to find any app that does good playlist management and when I tried to make my own one I found out why. The tendency is to use the libraries built into the Android OS to do this, and they have been way inadequate for ages. I still don’t trust any app not to lose my playlists and those that I do almost trust don’t share themselves with other apps easily. On this, the massive variability in the Android OS flavours and the huge array of hardware does not count in Android’s favour.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Apple Music: Taking a dump on…, in reply to bob daktari,

    Yup, probably most people confuse problems in the underlying level of sampling with micro-dropouts and blockiness due to data streams, disks, memory and algorithms not keeping up with the speed. Which, ironically, happens more the higher the sample rate. I'd be pretty amazeballed if anyone could really discern issues with sounds whose duration is less than 1/32,000th of a second as opposed to a horribly slow 1/8,000th of a second. Especially if they could do it for a sound passing along an analog headphone or speaker cable that probably could only support data at old-skool modem speeds. Remembering of course that for it to reach the human brain it has to turn into analog waves of horrid old compression waves through massively lossey air of varying temperature with huge interference from other sounds, then it hits an eardrum with huge differences in ability to pick up sound of different frequencies, and that's before the issue of how horribly slow our neurons are at firing compared to the data stream they're tapping. So much compression happening right there in the ear itself. We probably need to get bluetooth enabled prosthetic ears before the next jump in music quality can actually be appreciated.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Apple Music: Taking a dump on…, in reply to nzlemming,

    The only time I ever run iTunes is when I open it by mistake

    It was amazing how many ways there were to do this. Eventually an OS reinstall fixed it.

    Having posted some snarky comment on Facebook the other day about 256kbps audio quality, I have to confess I can’t actually tell the difference between Apple Music and Spotify

    Yes, me too. My ears are analog, after all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Apple Music: Taking a dump on…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The iTunes Music Store launched in April 2003 and we tend to forget what a lifesaver that was.

    Yes, it's ironic that a enormous multi-tentacled organization finally finding a way to actually make money out of music downloads killed the ever present tendency of said corporations to try to block the development of what was (to anyone with even half a brain) the future of music. The horrible specter of a world of free music evaporated and was replaced by an actual world of free music. For that, I thank the fanbois who paid to make it all possible. All it took was one obscenely rich guy to get way, way richer and business faith in the unlikelihood of IPGeddon was established. The system was once again working how it should. And it still is, over ten years later, as said fanbois valiantly struggle with the latest tentacle, fending it off from all those hungry ears that gobble it for free.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Apple Music: Taking a dump on…,

    Or perhaps young Spotify users are quite used to have no music actually stored on their devices.

    Damn, I blew it. My 5 year old is now used to having music stored on his device, and will be unable to ever enjoy the Apple Kool-Aid. The gateway drug of having music and playlists as simple files on a device like how they were before Apple ever invented the iPod and iTunes* has him in its vice-like grip.

    Yeah, I know, it's all Dad-music. It borders on abuse that his favorite music is not the Wiggles any more, but Queen, Led Zep and Pink Floyd. Bad Dad.

    *For at least ten years, IIRC.

    Leave out glitzy skins, visualizations, proprietary index files pooped all over the filesystem, recoding, and most of all various doomed attempts to extract microcash from the user.

    Yeah man. Only problem is....um....no one can make a ginormous company doing that. I mean you're almost advocating music piracy with that level of thinking about it. But yeah, it's astonishing how much the profit motive can fuck up the simplest idea. It ... plays ... music. First thought of in the stone age. Og used the 6 basic controls: Play, stop, next, volume, search, download. Og was a happy cavewoman, singing to her little ones. A musical cave was a good cave, and there was a club for any stink caveman trying to tell Og that was his song and all the other cave dudes would have to pay tribute to listen or ever sing it themselves. Go hunt a fucking antelope, Gog, and leave the music player the fuck alone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Potency and purity, in reply to B Jones,

    Yes, it's probably less along racial lines than along the age gap when it comes to drugs that are primarily used by kids in night-clubs. By kids I mean people up to the age of about 30, by which time the Friday night itchy dancing feet have probably worn off and coddling up on the couch sipping beer, wine or spirits, and being able to smoke and safely consume illegal drugs without being busted has become compelling. As has calling that moderation, even if you actually do it every single night, and gradually slide into middle aged obesity watching reality TV or playing Playstation. The urgency of protecting said kids from repression drifts down the memory hole the longer it's been since you last got repressed. Eventually, it feels more like repression is a rite of passage that kids should have to endure just so they can understand why Mum and Dad got so boring.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9045 posts Report Reply

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