Slaying-Dragons

Slaying Dragons #24 – The Wonders of Digital

In today’s world, practically everything is digital or about to become digital and whether that is a good thing warrants some debate. Digital devices are examples of technology and I have held the view for a long time that technology, and the science it is based on, is generally neutral. What is good or bad…

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Slaying Dragons #23 – Time Accuracy

John Watkinson considers Time Accuracy. It’s a funny thing, but despite the Compact Disc being over three decades old I am still regularly faced with misconceptions about digital audio. I don’t mind so much when they come from the population at large, but when they come from the mouths of those making a living out of…

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Slaying Dragons #22 – Teaching

John Watkinson looks at teaching. I have spent a significant part of my life explaining things, because, for reasons that are not clear, I am considered to be good at it, good enough to become a metateacher, someone who teaches others to teach. Over the years I have tried to work out for my own…

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Slaying Dragons #21 – Artificial Intelligence

John Watkinson looks at Artificial Intelligence. Intelligence suggests ability to reason, whereas knowledge is the possession of facts. The two are somewhat independent. The need for artificial intelligence (AI) would suggest that the real thing is in short supply, or is simply too expensive for some purposes. The problem with real intelligence is that it…

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Slaying Dragons #20 – High resolution?

John Watkinson wonders what high resolution or high definition audio might mean. In these days of newspeak, words no longer seem to mean what they used to. Resolution and definition are terms used in audio that have been adopted from photography and television, where I believe they still have some meaning. To see what they…

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Slaying Dragons #19 – The deciBel

Alexander Graham Bell was a multi-faceted individual with wide ranging interests. One of the earliest machines to fly in Canada was down to him, and he also pioneered the hydrofoil. In audio the level unit we use commemorates his name. Bell’s wife, Mabel, was profoundly deaf and as a result could not hear herself speaking…

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Slaying Dragons #18 – Troubleshooting

John Watkinson looks at Troubleshooting. Sound only needs air to travel in, but once we want to transmit or record sound, we have to use technology which is imperfect and subject to failure. Locating and rectifying failures then becomes an integral part of dealing with technology. Efficient faultfinding requires a logical or scientific approach. Sadly,…

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Slaying Dragons #17 – The Oldest Technology

We tend to think of digital recording and information technology as something modern, whereas John Watkinson argues that nothing could be further from the truth. In order to see my point, we need to go back in two ways; back to the foundations of information theory and back before rock and roll, to the beginning…

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Slaying Dragons #16 – Information Theory

We are told we live in an information society. John Watkinson wonders how we recognize information when we see it. Dig deep enough, and everything is digital. Our DNA uses quaternary coding in discrete symbols. Atoms consist of discrete particles. Quantum mechanics teaches us about discrete packets of energy. Electrons are discrete and so on.…

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Slaying Dragons #15 – The Aperture Effect

John Watkinson looks at the aperture effect and finds that it crops up in a surprising number of places. One way of considering the aperture effect is that it is nature’s way of pointing out how non-ideal our efforts are. The ubiquity of the aperture effect underlines that next to nothing is ideal. An aperture…

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