I stumbled across an interesting post over at Arcane Radio Trivia where the author discovered an old Home Recording Acetate, in bad shape, but still intact enough to recover some information.
From around or before 1940, these “phonograms” were used to record programs from the radio or from an attached microphone at home. This one had a flimsy paper core which apparently didn’t hold up well to the test of time, but Arcane Radio Trivia managed to grab 1:57 of audio from it.
Beautiful weather has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest and I’ve been taking advantage of it as often as I have time. One thing about living where it’s grey and rainy for so much of the year, it really almost forces me to go outside and be active when it’s nice out. I’ve been riding my bike around, and wanted an easy way to keep track of my stats like speed, distance, which trails I was riding and altitude. Turns out there’s a free and easy way that integrates well with Android: Google My Tracks
My Tracks uses your phone’s GPS to record your position and plots it on a map, where you can upload it to Google Maps or export your track as an industry-standard KML file for analysis in another application.
You get a print out of your statistics at the end, and can optionally insert markers with interval statistics on a custom schedule. The app has been around for a few years but has become much easier to use lately. My last ride was 12.9 miles long at an average moving speed of 7.5 miles per hour:
Total distance: 20.78 km (12.9 mi)
Total time: 2:56:35
Moving time: 1:43:56
Average speed: 7.06 km/h (4.4 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 11.99 km/h (7.5 mi/h)
Max speed: 34.62 km/h (21.5 mi/h)
Average pace: 8.50 min/km (13.7 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 5.00 min/km (8.1 min/mi)
Min pace: 1.73 min/km (2.8 min/mi)
Max elevation: 179 m (589 ft)
Min elevation: 93 m (304 ft)
Elevation gain: 984 m (3228 ft)
Max grade: 12 %
Min grade: -17 %
Recorded: 5/26/2012 12:21 PM
The application also integrates with a Polar brand heart rate monitor over Bluetooth to record heart rate statistics along with the other information. I don’t have that option yet, but plan to add it fairly soon. This is a great free app that everyone should know about. It’s not just useful for mapping a trail, either – you could use it to mark where you left your car, see where you’ve been in an amusement park, or record the location of interesting landmarks you see while wandering around the city. Check it out!
One of my favorite bands, EVE 6, recently got back together after a multi-year hiatus and put out a new album. “Speak in Code” came out a few weeks ago. I caught the band on their tour through Seattle just before the CD release, so ended up having to order mine from the Internet instead.
I bought the vinyl of the album because it seems like a more interesting collectible than a CD, and while waiting for it to arrive downloaded the MP3s of the album from a non-BitTorrent download site. Just yesterday, my copy of the album arrived and inside was an unexpected code for a Dropcards.com Free Digital Download of the album! I went to check it out and download the files and got a great surprise – the free digital downloads were uncompressed WAV files. That’s about as close to the master as you can get without knowing the sound engineer who mixed it.
I wanted to see the difference between the purchased uncompressed files, and the less-than-legitimate free alternative so I generated two spectrum analysis plots (FFT) and placed them on a common axis. I used the second track on the album, “Victoria” which rated decently on the top Alternative charts.
On the left of the frequency plot, the “Inner Sanctum” release MP3s – the only MP3 downloads of this album I was able to find. On the right, the free digital download from Dropcards.com. As you can see there are some differences – both large and small. Click the chart for the full sized version. If you’re not familiar with an audio spectrograph, the vertical axis of the chart plots frequency with bass notes towards the bottom and treble towards the top. The horizontal axis represents the amplitude, or volume, of that frequency in the song. The further away from the center you go the louder the sound.
The MP3 track starts dropping off more sharply than the uncompressed track at around 12 kHz and completely starting at 19 kHz while the uncompressed track carries more detail in those higher frequencies and extends all the way up to 22 kHz. You’ll have to listen for yourself to hear the difference, though, so go and buy their album!
I might post a more detailed comparison later, with some more analysis points, if I can come up with an iTunes version of this track for comparison…if you have one and don’t mind sharing it for this experiment, get in touch!