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The UCC computer science department is in the West Gate Building on the Western Road, Cork (UCC: University College Cork)

The UCC computer science department is in the West Gate Building on the Western Road, Cork (UCC: University College Cork). In the foreground is the south channel of the River Lee.

JUST FINISHED an assignment for CS6103 (Audio and Sound Engineering), 2,500 word technical report comparing digital and analog audio quality (emphasis on technical, which is to say, no guff about LP artwork or vinyl love stories or anything of the like). So….dynamic range, signal-to-noise ratio, pulse-code modulation and so forth (keeping your junky opinions to yourself).

To be honest, it was quite a struggle (even though it was merely recovering the ABC stuff we did in the first couple of weeks). This kind of material is not my sort of gig at all; made much worse by the fact that CS6103 is not what I was hoping for when I signed up for it (the module goes far too far into the belly of the beast for my liking; I’m not going to need to know even half the stuff they’re talking about — and doing, because CS6103 is not just lectures, it’s practicals too). But now that I’m in it, I want to see it through; and, indeed, it is really interesting (I feel I’ve learned quite a lot about the fundamentals of the virtual domain in the past 6 weeks or so [everything is far more advanced and sophisticated than I’d realised]), even though I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed by it all.

Anyway, in the course of my researches I came across these videos which I think are really good. I wish I’d come upon them earlier; unfortunately, I came upon them just on the day that was the due day for the technical report assignment; I came upon them as I was digging around in an attempt to aggrandize my white sliced-pan bibliography (as you do).

I’m putting these videos up here as a way of bookmarking them as much as anything. But also I’d be delighted if anyone else were to get something from them. And, indeed, I want to promote them too, and the website they come from, which looks really worthwhile (I have not, however, had time to dig into it [the website] much, but on a ‘once over’ it looks well worthy, and, if these vids are anything to go by, then it may be just what I’ve been needing):xiph.org

‘The Xiph.Org Foundation’ — this is from the xiph website – ‘is a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the foundations of Internet multimedia from control by private interests. Our purpose is to support and develop free, open protocols and software to serve the public, developer, and business markets.’

One of the interesting things Monty* says in the first of these videos (about 6 minutes in), for example, (something that never occurred to me before) is that most of us think that analog came first and much later along came johnny-come-lately digital. Wrong, says Monty: telegraphy, he says, is essentially digital rather than analog, and it was around for half a century before telephony (and the telegraph network, which included mid-19th century trans-Atlantic cabling, was the first international telecommunications network). Just this little point alone caused me to rephrase and modify a few of my sentences and expressions in my assignment.

*Monty Montgomery is the bloke’s name, apparently (although it looks like he’s called “Monty” because of the Montgomery part of his name — so this is not a Neville Neville type situation); Monty may seem a bit of an odd fish at first (this is the digital underworld after all), but give him 5 or so minutes, he doesn’t take long to firmly establish his credibility. And these are very well made videos (it seems to me); especially the second of them (below), which has the really good stuff as far as [comprehension for] my assignment is/was concerned; the first episode (above) is merely a general intro to the subject area (Monty going for a gallop around the park, so to say).