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Messages - mgriffin

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Everything and Nothing / Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« on: January 07, 2008, 03:00:59 PM »
This sub-page is most useful when comparing plasma vs. LCD:

That page says larger LCD models are available but I don't often see them in stores, whereas extremely large plasma screens are commonplace.

Everything and Nothing / Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« on: January 07, 2008, 02:18:49 PM »
Bill -
Plasma burn-in and gas-related longevity issues have been solved.  Current plasma models will last as long or longer than CRT standard-def TV sets.

I'm not aware of any viewing-angle superiority of LCD versus plasma.  The biggest issue when choosing between the two formats is the size of the TV you're looking for.  Plasma sets are usually 37" and up, and LCD sets are usually 42" and down.  So the only time it's a big issue to choose one or the other is if you're buying 37 or 42 inches, in which case you could choose either.  If you're buying a bigger set, you can't buy an LCD, and if you're buying a smaller set, you can't buy a plasma.

Our plasma TV has been great.  It doesn't get constant use (actually, I guess we watch it nearly as much as we watch the projector downstairs, but we don't spend a lot of hours in front of the TV) but the quality is excellent.

Actually, back to the burn-in issue... I've found that most TV sets on display in stores have the contrast cranked to the maximum, I guess to make a better looking picture under harsh fluorescent lights.  If you leave the contrast too high you'll really shorten the life of  the tube, not to mention that you'll have poor picture quality for anything but football or basketball games, or cartoons.  The first thing you do when you get a new TV is to calibrate it, and that generally means turning the sharpness all the way down (sharpness is an artificial edge enhancement that degrades picture, despite what it sounds like), and turning the contrast down below the halfway mark (for best results use a calibration DVD or at least color bars), and turning brightness down to look appropriate based on your room lighting.

Everything and Nothing / Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« on: January 07, 2008, 02:01:38 PM »
If you're set on 1080p and want to save a few bucks, the Vizio and Westinghouse ones are pretty good deals.  I've seen the Westinghouse models on Home Depot's web site and almost bought one last year when I was shopping for a mid-sized plasma HDTV.

Our main TV is a projector (so, a picture equivalent to 120" diagonal or something) and it's 1080p and it looks absolutely fantastic, especially with a true HD 1080p image like a well-mastered BluRay disc.  From what I've seen, the benefits of 1080p are less pronounced as the screen size decreases, so while 1080p looks much better on a huge screen, and looks somewhat better on a big screen, as you get to 42" and below the difference is smaller.

I'm not trying to talk you out of 1080p at all but would I spend, say, $2000 for a 42" 1080p versions $1100 for a 1080i version?  Nope, I'd save 45% and be happy with 1080i, as we did with our secondary, upstairs TV.

Everything and Nothing / Re: New flatscreen TV recommendations?
« on: January 07, 2008, 01:23:35 PM »
I bought a 42" Panasonic plasma about a year ago, and at the time that was one of the best for the money.  Toshiba TVs are also often a good value for good quality.  I've heard some people say they were happy with Vizio TVs they obtained at Costco, which are very inexpensive.

You shouldn't need to spend more than $1200 for a 42" plasma.  Most brands make a 42" and a 50" but some (I think Hitachi for one) might make a 46" size.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Now watching
« on: January 06, 2008, 07:54:41 PM »
We watched Lost Highway on DVD last night.  One of David Lynch's greatest and "Lynch-iest" moments, strange and warped and mind-bending, it's not complete nonsense and nonsequitur -- it actually makes just enough sense that I always feel when I watch it that I have a little more clarity on what Lynch is trying to do.  Bill Pullman is great, Balthazar Getty not so much... Patricia Arquette is wondeful here, sexy and sullen, damaged and desperate (depending on which role she's playing).  This is one of those i'll gladly re-watch once every year or two for the rest of my life.  And I've heard it's coming out on a domestic DVD version (mine's a German import without any significant extras, and so-so picture and sound qualitiy), and who knows... maybe a BluRay!

I'm done with Hypnos work for the day, so tonight we're going to watch the Sci-Fi channel's mini-series The Lost Room, which I recall being mentioned here on the Forum before (though  that might have been before "the great reboot" some time back).  Looking forward to it, will report here.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 06, 2008, 01:57:03 PM »

The "Babylon" theme has been re-installed and briefly tested... seems OK.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 06, 2008, 01:55:35 PM »
Regarding THEMES, the "BacknBlack" theme (which was the one I always used prior to the move) has been re-installed and tested, and it's working fine.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 06, 2008, 01:37:40 PM »
Mike - When you get back to tweaking the forum you may want to add a nicely obvious top-level link to the main Hypnos site.

That's definitely one thing I'd like to implement.  I used that all the time on the old Forum, click on the "Hypnos" logo at the top of any page and you end up at the front page of -- I'll definitely work on that one.  Thanks, Scott.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Best of 2007
« on: January 06, 2008, 11:21:33 AM »
Cool, Brian, I'm downloading now.  You guys are keeping me busy with some good listening while I plug away with web site editing work all weekend! 

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 06, 2008, 11:10:51 AM »
Hi Rick-
You're right, there's no "wizard" for typing in URLs or named outside links here.  It's possible there's a plug-in module for some kind of enhancement to the posting process.  I won't be doing much in the way of hot-rodding or adding options on the Forum until things have quieted down here (behind the scenes I mean) with this domain move.  But I appreciate the feature request and it's something I'd like to add if I can find a pre-built module of some sort.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 05, 2008, 11:53:56 AM »
Later last night:

krill.minima - Nautica (Native State Records)

Another case of confounded expectations from Native State Records (see mini-review of Kilowatts CD above).  Based on what I knew of Marsen Jules, and what else I'd heard of Native State, I expected this to be much more rhythm-oriented and with a brighter, more typically electronic tone.  This album is quite restrained ambient, definitely something that would appeal to most people on this Forum.  It's not really drone-oriented or too minimal, though, actually there's a bit of activity under the surface, and rhythmic components that are buried and subtle, more like low-key churning or cyclical sounds than "beats" in most places.  Everything is very restrained and "cool" but there are none of the typical ambient-minimalism cliches here.  Very pleasing material, and having heard this, I will definitely have to seek our more krill.minima and more Marsen Jules.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Best of 2007
« on: January 05, 2008, 11:34:00 AM »

I guess this is a good place to post a Best of 2007 mix.  It's not everything on my best of list, just cuts that worked well together.
Download it here...Best of 2007 Mix

Thanks for posting the Mix, Dave.  I'm listening now and  enjoying it quite a bit.  This is a great way to make new discoveries.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 05, 2008, 11:04:36 AM »
Happy New Year to you too, RDJ.

Lots of great listening lately around here.  Last night:

Kilowatts - Ground State (Native State Records)

Based on the description on the Native State web site I expected this to be edgier and glitchier, but I'd say overall it's very accessible and fun, even "catchy," nothing off-puttingly experimental here.  I'd call it well-crafted, lower-tempo techno with occasional glitch elements, and very prominent melodic/musical content.  In thinking of how to describe it, I keep wanting to use the word "fun."  Definitely will be getting regular play around here.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 04, 2008, 05:02:50 PM »
The Forum seems to be up & running just fine, other than the need for more themes which I'll address soon, so I'm going to "un-sticky" this topic and turn it back into a normal topic.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 04, 2008, 04:32:46 PM »
Here and with avatar too (though I accidently typed in 'avatart' - perhaps I should get a new picture to fit!!).

Mike, will we be able to choose from more skins, I liked the dark one on the earlier version, forget it's name?

Yes, I'll be putting new themes up soon, maybe this weekend.  I decided to remove all but the basic themes from the Forum, even though I had originally transferred them all across, because with all the database updates I was doing last night, every time I'd restore a bunch of settings, it would "break" all the themes except the default and display an error message on every page if you weren't using the default.  So I figured it would avoid problems if we all just lived with this light blue theme for a while.

I'm partial to a darker look myself.

Everything and Nothing / What's HOT and what's NOT
« on: January 04, 2008, 12:38:31 PM »
You know those little mini-articles in Wired magazine, and I think Esquire and Details does them too somethings... hell, probably every magazine does them... where they talk about a few things that are HOT, or NOT?

I was just thinking about a few trends I've observed recently, starting right here in our little neighborhood of ambient music. 

HOT: ambient music with melody and structure
NOT: ambient drone music

Comments... I'm seeing a greater interest in ambient music made by people who come from a more traditional music background, or at least who include more traditional elements in their ambient work.

And one more:

HOT: ambient music with acoustic instruments, guitar, and voice
NOT: ambient music with synthesizers and samplers

Comments... Same thing, just a movement I'm seeing toward more people working with these more "organic" sound sources, and despite my own synths/samplers background, this is a trend I welcome.

Does anybody else have anything to add?  Any movements, shifts or trends that can be observed?  I suppose this should be opened up behind just music-related or ambient-music-related changes.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 04, 2008, 12:12:47 PM »
Hey, husband~

You get another Karma point for staying up half the night working on this, (while I was comfortably snoozing away)... :-*

Hey thanks!  I have double-digit karma points!   And I'm kinda tired from staying up half the night, so I'll gladly take your karma, thanks.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 04, 2008, 12:08:18 PM »
Hello! I'm here, (& so is my avatar. Man, that crazy chick follows me EVERYWHERE)... ;D

Note: Lena looks nothing like the picture in her avatar, which is from before I met her.  She has long hair now!

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 04, 2008, 11:45:54 AM »
Well, maybe people saw the notification of the upcoming move and they decided to stay away for a few days until the dust settled.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 04, 2008, 10:19:05 AM »
I'm concerned that maybe a lot of people are having trouble logging-in for some reason.  I see lots of "guests" viewing the Forum at any given time, but not many logged-in members.

Maybe people are just browsing and waiting to see more traffic before they bother logging in. 

I won't be able to work on this much until later today, but if people are trying to log in and unable to do so, please email me at mg (at)

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