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The Broken Window Theory

Brilliant article about fixing problems right away or they will inevitably become too large to fix. Choice quote:
“Bill Venners: What is the broken window theory?”
Andy Hunt: Researchers studying urban decay wanted to find out why some neighborhoods escape the ravages of the inner city, and others right next door—with the same demographics and economic makeup—would become a hell hole where the cops were scared to go in. They wanted to figure out what made the difference.
The researchers did a test. They took a nice car, like a Jaguar, and parked it in the South Bronx in New York. They retreated back to a duck blind, and watched to see what would happen. They left the car parked there for something like four days, and nothing happened. It wasn’t touched. So they went up and broke a little window on the side, and went back to the blind. In something like four hours, the car was turned upside down, torched, and stripped—the whole works.
They did more studies and developed a “Broken Window Theory.” A window gets broken at an apartment building, but no one fixes it. It’s left broken. Then something else gets broken. Maybe it’s an accident, maybe not, but it isn’t fixed either. Graffiti starts to appear. More and more damage accumulates. Very quickly you get an exponential ramp. The whole building decays. Tenants move out. Crime moves in. And you’ve lost the game. It’s all over.
We use the broken window theory as a metaphor for managing technical debt on a project.”
Read more here

Jackson Meadow

Jackson Meadow is a sustainable rural community located in Marine on St. Croix. It was designed by famed architect David Samela and is nothing short of breathtaking. It has been featured in most of the contemporary home magazines like Metropolitan Home and Dwell. Bethany and I had the occasion to visit the development during the Parade of Homes a few weekends back and had a great time. The all white houses in ying styles with pitched metal roofs against the background of the Minnesota winter made for some picturesque views. I highly recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in architecture to make a pilgrimage. It is a beautiful drive and close enough to Stillwater to make a day of it.

Stickin’ it to da A&R man!

More and more, artists are taking back control of their art and sticking it to the man. Fiona Apple joins those ranks. When the evil |empire refused to release her new album (I am betting because she is over 21 years of age, actually plays an instrument and writes her own songs) she flipped them the bird and put it out on P2P and pimped it to independent radio herself. Wired has the full story:
Fiona Apple Is Cookin’ on the Net

The Current 89.3

If you like radio. Real radio. Not that Clear Channel version of radio. Radio that is controlled by the listener and not the other way around… Then you will love The Current. They broadcast on 89.3 FM but also stream in both aacPlus and Windows Media format. Check it out.

Interesting Film Sound Info

Info on the three different digital audio systems in use in movie theaters
• DTS (Digital Theater Systems) has the 6 channels of audio on one or two CD ROMs synchronized to the film, 1.5 megabit bit stream. One channel is reserved for the subwoofer or LFE (low frequency effects) as it is called in the industry. DTS is the best system and uses the least amount of compression. DTS time code is printed between the picture and the analog track.
• SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) has its bit stream printed outside of the sprocket holes. Both sides are identical but are staggered in time. SDDS usually hiccups at splices. It is a 7.1 staggered in time. SDDS usually hiccups at splices. It is a 7.1 channel system, 3 behind the screen, 2 surround channels on the left side of the seating area, and 2 more on the right side. Some theaters fold it down to 5.1, with one left and one right surround. The 0.1 channel is for the subwoofer.
• Dolby Digital is a 5.1 channel system over which there is much controversy due to its very low bit rate of only 320 kilobits/ sec and extreme compression. It uses “bit pooling” so that if only one or two channels are active at a given moment, it or they get most of the bits. But when all 5.1 channels are active you can hear it run into trouble. Dolby Digital bit stream is printed “between” the sprocket holes.
Related Additional Info
• Some movies are analog only, usually in stereo; some also have one of the digital systems on the print, some have two digital systems on them and the big budget movies have all three.
• If a theater has one type of digital equipment but the movie does not have that system, that movie is played in analog. All three digital systems can revert to the analog track in the event of trouble.
• Most theaters that have digital are equipped with DTS because DTS is the least expensive system for a theater owner to install. This is ironic when you consider it is the best system. DTS can also supply CDROMs in different languages. Currently DTS is the only system that can be put on 70 mm film but no movies are released on 70 mm anymore and very few theaters have 70 mm equipment.
• Dolby Digital at the slightly higher bit rate of 384 kb/sec has been selected as the mandatory audio format for digital HDTV. This has caused much controversy. Dolby Digital is also the mandatory audio format for DVD.