$peaker$ and cable$: a fun post

October 7th, 2020

Just to get away from the madness for a little while…

An audio magazine I currently receive published a special issue consisting mostly of directories of speakers, subwoofers, and cables from companies the magazine regards as worthy. Oh, and lots and lots of full-page ads from many of those companies,

The directory covers 96 speaker companies (and three that only produce subwoofers, which I’m not dealing with here) and 31 cable companies.

I believe speakers are one area of high fidelity where you can probably keep getting better performance for more money for a very large span of “more money,” although for most of us the point of diminishing returns would come fairly early (as might the point at which we could clearly appreciate a difference).

Even so, some of the numbers are, well, at least interesting.

Speaker prices

  • Only 22 of the 96 companies have any speakers costing less than $1,500/pair.
  • 28 of the 96 have no speakers costing less than $10,000/pair. (The company I’d likely buy from if I had great wealth and needed a really good pair of speakers doesn’t have any speakers costing $10,000/pair or more…)
  • 47 of the 96–nearly half–had at least one pair of speakers costing $50,000/pair or more.
  • I saw 34 speakers costing $100,000 to $199,000 per pair…
  • …and 28 speakers costing $200,000 to $499,000 per pair…
  • …and four costing at least half a million dollars per pair (“at least” because several speakers had “price on request” or some other version of “if you have to ask”).
  • Two of the speakers cost more than $800,000 per pair. Eight hundred thousand dollars.
  • At least five of the speakers weigh half a ton or more; not clear whether that’s per-speaker or per-pair.

Cables (10ft or 2meter speaker pairs or one-meter interconnects)

Almost all of these noted below are speaker cables. I believe each of these prices would need to be doubled for a pair of speakers, but I could be wrong:

  • 26 cables cost $10,000-$19,999.
  • Another 26 cost $20,000-$49,999.
  • Three cost $50,000 or more. For a speaker cable or cables. But hey, if you’re spending $855,000 for speakers (the top price I saw), what’s another $50,000 or $100,000 for cables?

I offer no comment.

Gold Open Access 5: September 2020 report

October 2nd, 2020

Readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 223 views, 39 downloads–and some unknown number of uses from a third-party dashboard incorporating the dataset.
  • GOA5: 406 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 57 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 774 views, 302 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,581 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 553 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 441 PDF ebooks



New and good study on “predatory” journals

September 11th, 2020

I just finished skimming through “How reliable and useful is Cabell’s Blacklist ? A data-driven analysis” by Christophe Dony , Maurane Raskinet, François Renaville, Stéphanie Simon, and Paul Thirion, appearing in LIBER Quarterly.

It appears to be well-done and worth reading. I’m biased, to be sure, since the study relies on my own work on questionable journals and the blacklist.

Gold Open Access, August 2020

September 2nd, 2020


Readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 177 views, 28 downloads.
  • GOA5: 328 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 34 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 759 views, 288 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,459 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 529 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 421 PDF ebooks



Gold Open Access: July 2020 report

August 2nd, 2020

The first report on readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 120 views, 21 downloads.
  • GOA5: 278 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 11 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 725 views, 268 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,347 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 500 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 396 PDF ebooks

Gold Open Access by Country 2014-2019 available

July 16th, 2020

Gold Open Access by Country 2014-2019 is now available as a free PDF ebook or nominally priced trade paperback.

How nominally priced? The book costs $7. I get $0.02 of that. (There’s a 15% discount through Friday, July 17,2020: discount code PUBLISH15 — and Lulu frequently does offer such discounts.)

As always, links are available at the project page, waltcrawford.name/goaj.html

GOA5: June 2020 report

July 2nd, 2020

The first report on readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4–and the final report on GOAJ3. (Work on Gold Open Access by Country 2014-2019 continues; it should be out in late July or early August.)

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 55 views, 12 downloads.
  • GOA5: 123 PDF ebooks. One paperback (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: in progress.

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 695 views, 245 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,237 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 486 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 383 PDF ebooks

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 2,042 views, 375 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 4,022 PDF ebooks
  • Countries: 1,232 PDF ebooks

These will continue to be available, but this is the last report.

The Stranger in the Mirror: A mini-memoir during the pandemic

June 23rd, 2020

Random current personal observations on the day after completing GOA5 and the day before starting the Countries book…

My wife and I had an advantage going into the shelter-in-place (we’re in Alameda County, Calif., one of the six Bay Area counties to S-i-P before almost anybody in the US): we’re both introverts.

For us, s-i-p has meant missing the usual monthly dinner with our best friend, and more difficulties with shopping. Oh, and wearing masks whenever we’re in a public space (except walking, where we can always stay 6′ from other walkers). For me, it’s meant doing without the 2x/week going out to lunch I used to do–but am getting takeout once a week, from one of the same restaurants. And doing without library books and a weekly 2-5 mile amble with acquaintances (but my wife and I still do our daily 2-mile brisk walk). For my wife, it’s meant not doing the library-related work she was doing (volunteer) at the local history organization, because that’s been closed.

That doesn’t amount to much by most standards. We believe we both had Covid-19 around the start of the year, me a mild case, her a more severe but not quite hospital-grade case–but we’ll probably never know for sure. I’ve been tested twice for it within the past three weeks, for reasons that will come up later, and tested negative both times. And yes, we both take care–because we can’t be *sure* we’ve had it, because we don’t know whether we’re immune, and mostly because we don’t want to help spread it.

As for weight gain…well, I was in the hospital twice during the holiday season; the second time was an upper bowel obstruction which is probably always going to be with me to some extent (adhesions, probably from prostatectomy), and that had the effect of reducing my weight from 162 or so down to 148 or so. Well, and completely changing my diet in ways that make it difficult to get enough calories every day. (No rolled oats; no unpeeled fruit or vegetables; basically no raw vegetables; no nuts; pretty much nothing fibrous…and I stopped eating junk food and fast food, and sodas, a long time ago.) Once I regained the energy and stamina I’d been missing for months (that was the first hospitalization, a LONG one, from a massive staph infection resulting in a 60-day antibiotics regimen), I found that I was healthier at 148lb. than I had been at 162 (itself down from the 165-167lb. I’d been carrying most of my adult life). So I’m just trying to stay around 148-150lb. (I’ve shrunk to about 5’9″ from a former 5’11”, so I’m now at the lower side of a healthy BMI range, rather than the upper limit.) That, as it turns out, means averaging 2,200-2,400 calories a day; without Ensure, I’m not sure how I’d get there. (It also means five small meals a day instead of three larger ones. And aiming for “satisfied but not full” as a benchmark.)

The complicating factor in all this was that I needed cataract surgery in both eyes–and was scheduled for June 4, that schedule made just before S-i-P.

As it turns out, the opthalmologist’s office and the outpatient surgery center I planned to use reopened just in time–and, surprisingly, I was able to keep the dates (June 4 for one eye, June 18 for the other. Plus lots of associated office visits–and because the outpatient surgery center, part of Stanford Health Care/ValleyCare, is currently requiring a Covid-19 test the same week as any surgery, two visits to the drive-through test facility, one agonizingly slow, the other very quick, in both cases reported the next day to my healthcare account.

This was all much harder on my wife than on me, for a variety of reasons, in part because I can’t safely/legally drive until at least late this week.

Oh, and our 20-year-old dryer started leaving scorch marks on clothes, so add to that the need to acquire a new washer & dryer. Interleaved with everything else. And, of course, donning masks even indoors when delivery and maintenance people were here. (So far, in my experience, *almost* everybody wears the masks when they should, but there’s always a jackass or two…)

Oh: the title? I’ve worn glasses pretty much all my life, ever since I told my parents I was having trouble in first grade because I couldn’t read what was on the blackboard. So for, say, 68 years, I put on glasses first thing in the morning and took them off last thing at night, And they would be coke-bottle lenses were it not for the miracle of high-density plastic.

But with both eyes done, my eyes appear to be around 20:30 (they’ll be changing for another few weeks, but that seems to be where they are now). So I have drugstore glasses for the computer and for reading (different strengths), and dark glasses for outside for the moment, but otherwise don’t have glasses, Which means I see a stranger in the mirror–a stranger that looks something like my father, albeit less handsome. (We’ll stick with “readers” for a few months as everything settles down, then see whether prescription reading/computer glasses make sense. Because of difficulty getting consistent readings, only my right eye has a toric lens to correct astigmatism, but I don’t seem to have left-eye problems that would suggest serious astigmatism. We shall see.) Oh yes, and as you’d expect, things are much brighter than they were last year. Much. And apart from corneal edema, right eye only, that required a week or so to heal, the surgeries were just as painless as advertised.

So that’s my non-story. I was only slowed down on the Gold Open Access project by about a week, and will start on the Countries book tomorrow. The public library has started doing what looks to be a safe-for-them, safe-for-us circulation (place holds. make appointment, show up, call #, open trunk, they bring out the bag of books–and if you feel the need to return old ones, there’s an outside book drop, but they keep moving due dates forward, and they abolished fines last year), and I may start using it after I can start driving again. Which may be late this week or early next. I hope. Not because I love driving–I don’t–but because it relieves pressure & demands on my wife. I’m hoping we can go back to the occasional dinner with our friend in a month or so; a distanced version of the weekly hikes/ambles starts in early July; and maybe some day I can go back to eating lunch out from time to time. When it seems to be safe…or safer.

I feel sorry for the people really damaged by the pandemic. I do not feel sorry for the fools who did their damnedest to ignore Covid-19 for months, are now busily reopening, having beach parties, and generally risking their own and other people’s health. I guess the US needs to be #1 in something, and we’ve squandered moral and ethical leadership, so maybe MORE PREVENTABLE DEATHS AND ILLNESS is our big claim to fame. Whoopee.

[Not that anyone will read this. If you do, maybe leave a comment.]

Gold Open Access 2014-2019 (GOA5) available

June 22nd, 2020

The fifth edition of the GOA series is now available–as a free PDF ebook, a full-color trade paperback (color for the graphs is new, and raises the price to $11 or the near equivalent in other Lulu-accepted currencies), and a Figshare dataset.

All forms are, as always, linked from the project page at https://www.waltcrawford.name/goaj,html

[The www, should be optional.]

This edition includes 13,938 fully-analyzed journals with 854,018 articles in 2019, up from 774,427 in 2018; 697,390 in 2017; 631,977 in 2016; 571,627 in 2015; and 512,930 in 2014. Of the 13,938 journals, 12,901 published articles in 2019.

Once again, although most gold OA journals (70% of those active in 2019) do not charge fees, most articles (61% in 2019) do involve fees. The average cost per article was no more than $1,023 in 2019 and probably less, but that’s up considerably from 2018. Potential revenue for the year was a little over $863 million.

In addition to broader inclusion, changes this year include:

  • Because the pandemic made it less likely that files could be corrected, I did include journals with malware as long as a full set of figures was available.
  • The Growth and Shrinkage tables have been simplified (and will probably disappear altogether if there’s a GOA6, since they don’t seem useful).
  • Subject profiles are complete in this book, adding about 56 pages; there will not be a separate Subjects and Publishers book.
  • The trade paperback includes color graphs, printed in color, for the first time. That means a modest increase in the price, still rounded up from actual production costs, this time $11.00.

GOA4: May 2020 post (and GOA5 update)

June 3rd, 2020


Readership for the new edition and GOAJ3.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 653 views, 223 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,049 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 468 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 355 PDF ebooks

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 1,971 views, 364 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 3,906 PDF ebooks
  • Countries: 1,215 PDF ebooks

GOA5 Progress

The data gathering is done. Normalization is done. I’m off to a good start on the main book (when it’s done, the dataset will also be uploaded).

My best guess is that I need 13 to 18 solid work days to finish it. But:

  • I’m having cataract surgery on June 4 and June 18. It’s not clear whether this and side-effects will keep me away from the computer two days, four days, or more.
  • Covid-19 and its effects are somewhat debilitating.
  • Flat-out murder and a so-called leader fanning the flames is a lot more debilitating. I used to live in a great country.

Anyway, given all that, I’d guess July is likely–when in July, well, depends on all of those. Perhaps mostly on the last, which is discouraging.