So my brother decided to get one of those cheapo-dvd players for $40. I was given the task of setting this up for my mom, and my first thought was "what an utter piece of junk this thing is. I'll be surprised it it lasts 6 months."
To no surprise, it failed within 2 hours of use. I told my brother to return it and PLEASE let me go with him to pick out a better model -- something that was at least $100 with a brand name, since he insisted on being so cheap! He declined and came back with another $40 player with the hopes that it wouldn't die so quickly. We'll see how long this one lasts...
I looked at the specs -- audio signal to noise ratio of 60dB -- how pathetic -- analog cassettes have a better s/n ratio than that! I truely wonder exactly how cheap the D/A converters are in that thing. I see DVD-Rom drives going for like $16 these days.. the decoder card I can see being $10 -- I don't think they can meet the standard consumer electronics price point of selling at 4 times manufacturing costs. If they indeed do with these no-name chinese players, then how they manufacture them for $10 is beyond me.
I do in fact personally own the player that started this cheap! cheap! cheap! craze -- the Apex AD600A -- which I bought solely for the novelty of playing MP3-CD's in 2000, when it was the only player that could do so. While it still works today, I regret the purchase in a way, because it was just a sign of things to come. I do fully intend to purchase a Sony 999ES or the earlier 9000ES one day in the next two years. Then I'd have a DVD player on par with the rest of my audio equipment, but since I am more of a music person than a video or movie buff. Nor do I have the space or money in college for a really nice TV.
I suppose my point is, why do people WANT to buy this crap, solely on the fact that it's cheap? What happened to people willingly spending money on things that LAST, rather than things that are CHEAP! As I said, standard fare in the consumer electronics world is sell at 4 times manufacturing costs. If they somehow got the costs to $10 in china for that player, it's no wonder that the parts inside do indeed, suck. And the quality control does too. And under what labor conditions was this thing manufactured to meet that price point and still make a profit?
I look at a lot of my stereo equipment, a lot of which is 10-year old Rotel gear that is solid as a brick (and yes, made in china), some 10-year old Sony ES components (Made in Japan), and I have a 20-year old Tape deck (Technics 3 head) which retailed for $400 when it was new. All of it still works, and works beautifully. I bet you it will all still be working in 10 more years. But I spent the time to earn the extra money and spend it on *quality.*
I look at those $500 computers in the same way. Sure it's cheap, but what was the cost to get there? Memory shared with the Video card? CPU with high clockspeed but castrated L2 cache? Hard drive that will fail in one year? I still have some $2000-$3000 machines that are 6 years old and solid as a brick. I have a working Apple II+ still.
C'mon people, demand quality again. And Quality costs MONEY. I had a discussion with a GM engineer a couple months ago who was shocked that Toyota (Lexus) switched steel suppliers on a whim for their RX330 manufacturered in Canada, because the hood panel gap was something like .05" too much, and the Japanese engineer decided it was the steel they were using that was the problem, so they are now shipping steel in from Japan rather than using a local supplier in Canada.
My response to him was, "Well you do that 128 times, and you end up with a better car, not just a better part."
Whew! Finals are finally finished, so I finally get to blog again. Recently, I upgraded my soundcard to a Terratec DMX6 Fire 24/96
-- my old soundblaster live wasn't cutting it anymore. Amazing what a difference a sound card made for audio makes, as compared to one for gaming! One day I'll be able to afford one of those Lynx Two's
Ok, before anyone else says I'm going overboard, I'm an audiophile, and well, my work has to do with speech recognition and dialogue systems. So, sound is my life so to speak. I also got an excellent new microphone, the Andrea ANC-750
which also is helping my demos.
On the dialogue systems front, there are many interesting things happening, though I'm not saying what just yet. All I'll say is watch this space closely.... there should be a new build of ariadne by mid-January, I may not make a public release this time, though.
Lots of trips coming up for me, too:
Winter Break: New York City, Jan 1st - 10th (philadelphia the other part of winter break)
Spring Break: San Francisco, March 6th - 13th
post graduation: Germany (probably Freiburg), June 1st - July 29th
Wondering which course to take... I've always fancied multiprocessing and learning how to utilize it better. Though Networks is useful too...
any suggestions from blog land?