GM audio engineer lists Top 10 songs to test your car’s stereo

Hotel California? Bird on a Wire?

Test driving the sound system when you’re car shopping can be as key to your long-term satisfaction as checking out the handling. So we thought you’d like to see this list of Top 10 songs for testing car audio quality from General Motors audio engineer Matt Kirsch, who led the sound work on the Chevrolet Cruze.

GM also posted the tracks as a mix at the iTunes store: If you want it for your own audio test driving, you can buy here for $12 (you gotta have iTunes to download it, of course).

Here are Kirsch’s “10 Songs for an Audio Test Drive” and what he says to listen for in each track:

  1. “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones. Listen for Norah’s voice to sound natural, and centered in front of you.
  2. “Diamonds and Rust” by Joan Baez. Listen for strong vocals, and for the instruments to be set across a wide sound stage
  3. “No One” by Alicia Keys. Listen for clarity in Alicia’s vocals and spacious background sound.
  4. “Hotel California” by the Eagles. Listen for the clarity and dynamic range during the opening guitar solo, and of course the powerful drum beat.
  5. “Boom Boom Pow”by the Black Eyed Peas. Listen for powerful, accurate bass beats, even at full volume.
  6. “Rock that Body”by the Black Eyed Peas. Listen clear, intelligible lyrics over the powerful, persistent bass beat.
  7. “Hide and Seek”by Imogen Heap. Listen for the enveloping ambience of the song, building on the openness and dynamic vocals.
  8. “He Mele No Lilo” by Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu from Lilo and Stitch.Listen for the ambience and staging as the children’s chorus is offset by powerful bass.
  9. “Bird on a Wire” by Johnny Cash. Listen for the clarity in Johnny’s distinctive voice, and his guitar to sound natural and free of any coloration.
  10. “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box”by Radiohead. Listen for the punch from the percussive bass, and the ring of the steel drums.

gotta download and burn this songs on cd and test them in night fury. though there’s no fancy ICE, just wanna know how she fared.. article from DriveOn of USAToday.

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Billionaire Branson calls for break up of large GLCs

Smaller, privatised companies can attract foreign investors, says Virgin airways founder

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should break up and privatise large Government-linked companies to increase competition and attract foreign investors, according to Virgin group founder Sir Richard Branson.

He said a lot of the local companies were run by the Government and it would be better if they were privatised.

“Break them up into smaller companies for them to compete with each other.

“It will be better if Malaysia can be more liberal and open. It will attract more people to come and invest,” Branson said yesterday.

He cited the success story of AirAsia Bhd and its long-haul carrier AirAsia X and commended them for “doing a good job”.

“They (AirAsia) came with a lower cost base and helped transform Malaysia. And that is because they are more nimble compared with bigger government-run companies,” he said.

Branson said one expected to receive good service whenever one flew Singapore Airlines or Malaysia Airlines.

“It’s bizarre that some American carriers have such dire service and therefore they should continue to fail,” he added.

Last year, Branson and AirAsia group CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes agreed to a bet that between Lotus F1 Racing and Virgin Racing, whoever finished worse at the end of the F1 season would dress up as an airline stewardess of the winner’s airline.

“I think Tony will be fetching in a Virgin stewardess (outfit).

“I think he (Tony) is making an outfit for me as well,” Branson said when asked if he had an outfit ready.

At the conference which was attended by more than 500 delegates, Branson also pointed out the importance of entrepreneurs doing philanthropy work as they had enough financial resources and entrepreneurial skills to help others in need.

“With excessive wealth comes excessive responsibility. I think business leaders have the ability and experience that a politician does not.

“It is also good business sense for a company to do more than just take care of its shareholders,” he said.

Branson, who has hundreds of companies under his stable, advises young entrepreneurs not to be afraid of failure.

“Be brave and bold. Don’t be frightened of failure. I failed too, many times. Learn from failure,” he advised.

He also asked entrepreneurs to enjoy and have fun along the way because life was too short.

“Malaysia has tremendous future. Good luck!” Branson said in his parting remarks.

words from the most exciting billionaire.. Sir Richard Branson. article from The Star Online.

syafeerul: Panasonic HDC-SD60

presenting the latest addition to my gadget zone: Panasonic HDC-SD60 HD Camcorder

Panasonic HDC-SD60 HD Camcorder

yup.. the black one. there’s few other options of colors but i chose black. after almost 3 weeks searching and looking for review plus a week of price survey from various places from The Mines to Digital Mall to Lowyat Plaza, finally it comes down to this black Panasonic HDC-SD60.

almost a month back, in the month of puasa, i decided to look into camcorders. i didn’t know the price range back then. so i’d survey and make a rough estimation before deciding on buying it. there was no urgency. the need is there but it wasn’t that critical. back then it was still a question of either a DSLR or a video camera a.k.a camcorder. i still miss my FZ28. that was my first camera. its a prosumer type. superzoom. very much fits the purpose of me having a camera. but my FZ28 was stolen and was lost forever. friends and family both suggested a DSLR for me as i’ve been into DSLR type camera for quite sometime already. with some small knowledge on camera functions i might and could develop more from having a DSLR. but somehow it came to my mind that almost everyone now owns a DSLR. if there’s a need of a good picture i can always ask them to shoot for me. 🙂 but there’s too few who knows video shooting. with this i’d have the opportunity to embark on videography.

after the short survey i found that purchasing the camcorder was within my budget. from then i set a budget limit and specs identification. specswise i only require HD recording capability, manual focus coupled with good auto focus, long zoom and anti-shake. it came down to this three:

  1. Panasonic HDC-SD60
  • Pros: OIS and bigger CMOS size. although i have no idea how the size might affect on videos but from reviews i’ve read across the cyber space, those experts suggests to buy a camcorder with bigger CMOS size. perhaps this is similar to DSLR as having bigger sensor size gave better picture quality. on OIS, its stability control. pretty smooth on max zoom.
  • Cons: No built in memory.
  1. Canon Legria HF-R16
  • Pros: 8GB built-in memory.
  • Cons: at max zoom, video seems shaky. no camera flash.
  1. Sony HDR-CX150
  • Pros: steady and smooth at max zoom. 16GB built in which captures almost 4hrs of HD video. the ability for Direct Copy to transfer video to HDD seems pretty cool and user friendly. perhaps this camcorder have the most features of all.
  • Cons: holding the camcorder feels too light. and most significant drawback was the price tag. not to mention with only 1 year warranty by Sony. coz usually all products would do well in a year and starts to fail after that.

finally after weeks of search and tests, i decided to buy the SD60. the price was slightly above my budget. just slightly which is still acceptable. the package comes with additional battery, a tripod 8GB memory card and a small case for the camcorder. i’ve just registered with Panasonic Online and that gave me additional 1 year warranty. for reviews, Google the HDC-SD60 and there’s tons of reviews on the net. for the links above, they are directed to TestFreaks for direct comparison. there’s also direct comparisin being done at Camcorders-Only. see Legria HF-R16 vs HDC-SD60 and HDR-CX150 vs HDC-SD60. for quite an in depth review see this camcorderinfo.com. and its also wise to visit the Panasonic Official Website on the SD60.

Marvell Debuts Mobile CPU with Playstation 3-like GPU Performance

It might be a little overkill for your handheld device, but a new CPU from Marvell looks to bring video game console-like power to smartphones and tablet PCs.

The tri-core Armada 628 processor can almost be thought of as a 2.5-core device, for only two of the CPU’s cores run at their unrestrained, 1.5-GHZ clock speeds. The third core, acting as a kind of low-power CPU manager, only makes it to 624 MHz. Still, it’s a not an uncommon element for a system-on-a-chip design, and it allows the Armada 628 to function in a manner analogous to a hybrid car—playing more than 10 hours of 1080p video, for example, while still dishing out fast processing power.

In addition, the Armada’s 628 on-die graphics processor spits out a whopping 200 million triangles per second (M/T), the standard nomenclature used to compare the raw processing power of a particular GPU. We make the console analogy above for a very specific reason—the Playstation 3, for example, can dish out roughly 250 million triangles per second. Although its CPU, a 3.2 GHz cell microprocessor, nevertheless puts Marvell’s work to shame in terms of raw speeds, the underlying graphical performance of the Armada 628 is still quite formidable.

So how does this CPU compare against competing mobile processors? Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip, announced earlier this year and debuting in smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2010, has been smoking up the benchmark charts as of late. However, when you compare Tegra 2 to the Armada 628, you’ll note that the former only comes with a dual-core 1.0-GHz Cortex A9 CPU. As well, the chip’s peak GPU speed tops out at around 90 M/T—less than half that of the Armada 628.

And what about Apple’s iPhone? This favorite target for comparison—in this case, the company’s latest iPhone 4 smartphone—sports a single-core Cortex A8 CPU running at 1 GHz coupled with a PowerVR SGX graphics processor. According to Ars Technica, the latter is rumored to dish out around 28 M/T. That’s nearly one-third the graphical capabilities of Tegra 2-based devices, and but a mere drop in the bucket compared to the Armada 628.

But taking all of the various specifications into account, is the Armada 628 processor really intended for use on a smartphone? Ars Technica’s Jon Stokes doesn’t think so: With hooks for USB 3.0 support and high-definition encoding/decoding, the aforementioned super-fast graphical performance, and three A9 cores… that just seems a bit overkill for something intended to fit in the palm of one’s hand. Expect to see the Armada 628 debut on a larger form-factor—a tablet PC, at the very least, if not a full-fledged netbook or laptop.

hmm.. something to look forward. perhaps would be on my wishlist.. article from PCMag.

Facebook for your Windows Mobile 6 phone

New from Windows Mobile: a Facebook application for your phone! Download the new Facebook application for Windows Mobile and:

* Send messages to any of the people in your Friends list.

*Take pictures and videos on your phone, then upload them right to Facebook.

*Send messages or call people in your Friends list.

*Manage your profile and post anytime, anywhere.

Keep up with the latest news and posts with Facebook on your phone. Now your status updates can be up-to-the moment accounts of what you’re doing. Photos and videos are about as close to live-action as you can get. Show your friends what you’re up to, while you’re out and about.

Connecting and sharing on Facebook just got a lot livelier!

Facebook  screenshot

Facebook screenshot

Facebook screenshot

Facebook screenshot

downloaded this facebook app for windows mobile. it’s nowhere near iphone’s fb app. the main page took quite some time to load. and the photos are almost not available. when someone commented on a status, i can only view the latest. i can’t view its threaded comments. i must say it should be better..
perhaps an update from microsoft might improve this app later.
source: Microsoft.

Latest Sony PlayStation 3 Firmware Blocks PSJailbreak?

Never mind court injunctions that block sales of a hardware-based PS3 hack designed to let users play pirated games, Sony may already be running interference at the source.

The latest firmware update for the PS3 reportedly knocks the infamous PSJailbreak out of commission, or so users claim. That hack, which uses a USB dongle to “trick” the PS3, allows users to play pirated as well as homemade games on the system. Its creators had also claimed it was capable of shrugging off Sony’s “mandatory” firmware updates. Though the new firmware update isn’t technically mandatory–you have to manually accept and install it–ignoring it cripples your ability to access Sony’s PlayStation Network.

The update, which went live yesterday, was barely mentioned on Sony’s PlayStation blog.

“Hi everyone! A minor update to your PS3 system is now available via system software update v3.42 that includes additional security features,” wrote Sony director of hardware marketing John Koller. And that’s about it.

What’s it actually for? Sony’s isn’t saying. Code that blocks PSJailbreak? That recognizes the device and bricks your system? That, and perhaps only that? No one’s certain, but reactions in the comments section of Sony’s PlayStation blog were predictably ambivalent.

“Thanks but no thanks, Sony,” wrote one user, adding “I perfer [sic] Custom Firmware/Jailbreak.”

“Great update…[w]e all know why people were wishing this update wouldn’t happen, and homebrew isn’t it,” countered another. “Homebrew clearly isnt [sic] all that useful if the most wanted psp features still arent [sic] available via homebrew.”

The preliminary hundred-plus comments were mixed, with several simply decrying the need for more frequent system updates.

“You’re going to lose customers this way,” wrote an obviously frustrated user. “This better not turn into the PSP with 5 updates only being for homebrew protection. You will never get ahead of the homebrew community. It’s been proven with everything.”

Another bemoaned the apparent pointlessness of the update: “Come on…useless updates are really annoying, you could at least give us people who dont [sic] mess with our consoles something good in the update.”

“[T]he jailbreak is not gone, geniuses…people who don’t update can still use it,” wrote a third user, convinced the update missed the point. “[B]tw, that hack hasn’t been used in online games so stop blaming them…blame your crappy noobish skills.”

At least one person claimed the update “fixed” the PS3’s internet browser, noting the “font now seems bold and easier to read while browsing.”

The problem with verifying? I don’t use the PS3’s browser enough to say, and Sony isn’t talking.

And wherever you stand on the legitimacy of something like PSJailbreak, it really ought to be.

another firmware update to block the so called piracy.. guess sony won’t stop.. here’s the best comment i’ve read:

nilum says:

If all people were using it for was homebrew then I am sure Sony would not minds. However we all know the majority will use it for illegal purposes of playing pirated games.

I don’t agree with this view.

First, Sony screwed themselves over by removing Linux. Notice that the PS3 scene was fairly silent until this happened. Mainly because the good hackers were content with being able to run code on their PS3 (albeit limited from low-level hardware access). You can argue whether Geohot had anything to do with it, but remember the PS3 Slim came out before Geohot joined the PS3 scene. Also, it’s only speculation so far as to whether or not the PSJailbreak devs used Geohot’s methods for hacking the PS3.

Piracy for games is overblown. For most people it’s too complicated and they won’t bother with it. Also, many people use backups for legitimate purposes. Some people use USBLoaders so they can have a Jukebox like experience or backup games specifically so they can keep the original copy unscratched. Another reason, which I consider to be legitimate, is the ability to try before you buy. DMCA laws are as such that it is very hard to return a game or movie. If you didn’t like it, well you’re stuck with it. Unless, you are exchanging for the same exact product, most stores will not allow you to return a game. Many people use piracy as a way to see if they like a game, and if they do they will go out and buy the game to support the developer. If you’ve ever downloaded a torrent or a rar from a newsgroup, you will see that the community is adamant about supporting developers of good games.

So who is pirating?

Poor people who would not be able to afford the game otherwise.

People who download a game to try it, with the intention of buying it if they like it, but otherwise will not purchase the game. Thus if they don’t buy it they are probably never playing the game again, and they probably would not have bought the game in the first place. And, they would have been stuck with it had they bought the game and then disliked it.

People who are using backups for legitimate purposes, who own an original copy.

The only people who hurt companies by pirating are rich kids who pirate. They enjoy the game, they have money to buy it, and don’t own an original copy. But even they make up a small minority.

It’s funny to see the BS numbers that the IP industry come up with for losses due to piracy. Apparently they believe that every download is equal to one lossed purchase. How many times has someone downloaded the same game more than once because their old copy got corrupt? How many of those people downloading the game would have bought it otherwise? How many of those people downloading it bought the game, but it got scratched and they don’t feel like repurchasing? How many of those people already own a game, but they want to keep it sealed in the original packaging for collecting? How many of these people live in an area where the game won’t be released, or an area where their release was censored?

When these industries claim billions of dollars in losses it’s no wonder why investors lose confidence. They spend money unnecessarily for piracy prevention which does them no good in the end. And every year they claim that piracy is driving them bankrupt because of their faulty logic when determining losses.

If the industry would just acknowledge that it’s just a small percentage of people actually stealing and spend less time on piracy prevention and more time on features that hackers usually have to bring to the table, then you would see the industry doing much better.

sony would never be able to catch up with piracy stuff. one day u do this the next day others overcome u. its just technology. it evolves every second. so stop trying and perhaps make more online gaming way better so that people would want to enjoy more from online gaming. im still disappointed when sony removed otheros functionality. i’ve been using it ever since i bought my ps3. up until now i have not update my ps3 to the latest firmware just to make sure i can still use my linux. now i can either update my firmware and loose my linux or keep my firmware and find out the jailbreaking stuff. perhaps that would let me play those pirate games.. oh please sony.. do us a favor will u. let us use the linux.. huh..

article from PC World.