Archive for July, 2023

How high the fi?

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

What’s a reasonable price for a really good set of stereo speakers? What’s absurdly excessive?

I don’t have answers, but found it interesting to peruse a recent issue of a stereo magazine that manages to provide the needed editorial pages to justify all that ads by running an illustrated spreadsheet, a directory of loudspeakers from brands the deities that run this magazine consider worthy.

I was struck by how many models there were costing more than $100,000. (If I did have a personal limit, and was in the market, it would probably be, oh, say, $7,990, but I would never suggest such a paltry limit for anyone else.)

I thought it might be amusing to note, for each brand where it’s appropriate, the most expensive model; how many others (if any) cost $100,000 or more; and the cheapest reasonably full-range speaker in the lineup (defined as claiming to go down to at least 35Hz). In alphabetic order. And, after that, the most expensive model of a fewrands I believe to be well-regarded/well-reviewed that don’t offer such a$spirational $y$tem$. Oh, and boldface for the truly a$pirational models costing at least half a million…

The Six- (or Seven-) Digit Wonders

  • Acora Acoustics: $218,000; none; $28,000
  • Alta Audio: $200,000; none; $5,000
  • Audiovector: $249,700; none; $3,350
  • Avantgarde Acoustic: $481,000; two; $35,850
  • Burmester: $375,000; one; $23,000
  • Clarisys: $146,000; none; $46,000
  • Estelon: $269,000; one; $19,900
  • Focal: $279,998; one; $10,998
  • Gamut: $165,000; none; $5,900
  • German Physiks: $185,000; two (and three”inquire”); $23.600
  • Gershman Acoustics: $129,000; none; $5,500
  • Göbel High End: $549,000; three; $89,000
  • Goldmund: $249,950; one; $84,550
  • The Gryphon: $343,000; one; $46,250
  • Kharma: $940,000; eight; $25,000
  • Lansche Audio: $290,000; one; $35,000
  • Linn: $105,000; none; 44,490
  • Magico: $750,000; one; $9,400
  • MartinLogan: $100,000; none; $3,500
  • MBL: $398,000; none; $39,900
  • McIntosh: $140,000; none; $11,000
  • Meridian: $125,000; none; $11,500
  • Metaxas & Sins: $330,000; one; $82,000
  • Nola: $500,000; two; $3,500
  • Piega: $350,000; none; $1,995
  • Raidho: $227,000; three; $45,000
  • Rockport Technologies: $190,000; one; $38,000
  • Rosso Fiorentino: $140,000; none; $40,000
  • Siltech: $545,000; none; none
  • Sonus faber: $140,000; none; $1,999
  • Stein Music: $500,000; six; $65,000
  • Stenheim: $740,000; two; $33,950
  • TAD: $160,000; none; $29,900
  • Tidal: $1,100,000; three; $64,000
  • Von Schweikert Audio: $365,000; five; $9,000
  • Wilson Audio: $875,000; two; $19,700
  • Wilson Benesch: $255,000; one; $15,500
  • YG Acoustics: $359,300; two; $14,200
  • Zellaton: $595,000; one; $28;,950

A Few Less Aspirational Brands

  • ATC: $36.999
  • Bowers & Wilkins: $38,ooo
  • Canton: $29,995
  • Dali: $24,999
  • DeVore Fidelity: $88,900
  • Dynaudio: $50,000: $350
  • Elac: $22,000
  • GoldenEar Technology: $12,500
  • Harbeth: $22,500
  • JansZen Audio: $21,500
  • JBL: $75,000
  • KEF: $28,000
  • Klipsch: $36,000
  • Magnepan: $39,995
  • Monitor Audio: $17.900
  • Paradigm: $37,000
  • PSB: $11,999
  • Quad: $17,995
  • Revel: $22,000
  • Spendor: $33,700
  • Tannoy: $54,990
  • Wharfedale: $9.995

My apologies to the deserving companies I left out of the second list.

There’s one speaker there that’s about the price of a four-bedroom house. In the Bay Area. Maybe more than one.

A Few Quick Reading Notes

Saturday, July 22nd, 2023

Nothing significant here, but just for fun…

In the second half of each year, I typically read a lot more (mostly fiction), since I’m not working on OA scanning. Until last year, I also watched a lot more old TV and movies–but so far, as was true last year, I haven’t felt the urge to do that. That could change, but…

Anyway, I just went through an odd mix of four library books and had odd reactions to each. I rarely write Goodreads reviews (I’ve done that, but it’s rare), and these definitely are not reviews.

That said…

China Miéville, Perdido Street Station

This is an acclaimed novel–Hugo- and Nebula-nominated, winner of other awards, a Big Book. And, trying to read it, I could credit its stature while finding that it just didn’t work for me. So, more wisely than usual, I set it aside after about 40 of 710 pages. Will I try another Miéville novel? Quite possibly. Will I try this one again? Unlikely. There are no books, no matter how good, that are must reading for everybody.

Sara Paretsky, Critical Mass

I’ve read a bunch of Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski mysteries, not always in chronological order, and always enjoyed them, while grumping here and there about aspects of them. The one I read before this (but was published after it), Fallout, was by far the most satisfying of the lot. And this one’s also satisfying. V.I. still seems to be too frequently at death’s door by her own doing, but–as with Fallout–this was just plain first-rate. Why? Dunno.

David Baldacci, Long Road to Mercy

I’ve always enjoyed Baldacci perhaps more than I should, and this one’s no exception. What was interesting about this one, which introduced a new protagonist (that I hope has appeared in later books) was that it would have seemed a little too improbable to be coped with…except that it was published in 2018. That made it a little too plausible. (Safe to say that it would be wildly implausible, I think, before 2017 or after 2020…but that all bets are off after 2024.)

Isaac Asimov, Extraterrestrial Civilizations

In my youth I loved Asimov’s fiction and a fair sampling of his nonfiction, so I picked up this 44-year-old nonfiction book on a whim. I would not speak ill of the dead, but Asimov’s style (or lack thereof) has not aged well for me. The book has been a great soporific, but a slog to get through–and I became aware that Asimov was “proving” things that he maybe should have been a little more circumspect about. For example, he embarked on an absolute proof that there can’t possibly be any water on the moon. His reasoning seems bulletproof. But, well, he was wrong. Not the only case, to be sure.

And now I’ll do the next in my second reread of the Discworld books. I know that will be fun. [Moving Pictures, if you’re wondering. Oh, and I finally purchased and read/looked at The Last Hero. Which was, of course, just lovely.]



What’s so terrible about introversion?

Monday, July 17th, 2023

Last week, the Washington Post had an oped from a writer who basically said introverts really needed to Shape Up and become Proper People–that is, extroverts. The editors were so taken with this that it appeared in the weekly Washington Post Week in Ideas email.

I deliberately didn’t remember the writer’s name (I guess she’s really an  Author, not just a writer), and I’m not attempting a fair summary–but the gist was clearly there: There’s something wrong with introverts, and if they [we] just tried harder, we could be real people.

This is nothing new. I read a few of the comments, and after one from a self-labeled introvert who has apparently had a 12-step moment and is determined to Shape Up, there were several who noted that, well, it’s interesting that it’s perfectly appropriate for people to call for other people to change attitudes and behaviors that are causing no harm to anyone to themselves. Yes, of course, there are similar cases–but I rarely see WaPo cheering on advocates for other nondestructive behavioral changes. But introverts are fair game.

And I don’t much like it. I can deal with people just fine, but it can be exhausting. Still…I remember one year when my performance review had one big negative: I didn’t schmooze enough. Not that I didn’t work with people when that was appropriate, and not that I didn’t get the work done: just that I wasn’t spending enough time and energy chatting.

I also remember when I was president of LITA, and at an executive committee meeting the [paid] director insisted that we all take the Myers-Briggs nonsense. She then announced that of course we were all Exxx [I think she assumed values for two of the four indicators, but E was definite.] When I said I scored as an Ixxx [I think INTJ, but it’s been a long time and you can’t pay me enough to take that “test” again], she said that was impossible. I believe another board member was also an Ixxx…

Yes, I went to social events and vendor receptions at conferences–and returned to my room exhausted. But it was needful to do a little pretend extroversion. And I’ll still do it if it’s needful.

What I will not do is accept the notion that introversion is a character defect, that there’s something wrong with me. And I frankly resent other people saying that i (and other introverts) really need to Shape Up.


Artificial “Intelligence” and the Zeroth Law of Robotics

Monday, July 10th, 2023

I recently had the mixed pleasure* of reading the first third of the Second Foundation Trilogy, and was either reintroduced or introduced to the 0th Law of Robotics, an overriding successor to the first of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics (First law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.). The new law says, paraphrasing, “except when it’s for the greater good of humanity.” [Not even close to the actual wording, which appears to be “A robot may not injure humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” Still, the fact that this takes precedence 0ver “don’t harm a person” boils down to “the greater good over all**.”]

Which means, of course, that there are no laws–only, presumably, a massive background of learning material on which robots would base their decisions as to how best to serve humanity.

For some reason, I flashed to current “AI” and even my own experiment with ChatGPT. (I asked it to write about me. Three paragraphs, only one containing facts, every one of the “facts” wrong.) And other experiences with the superior wisdom of these massively-trained AIs, like the one that wrote a timeline of Star Wars movies/shows–badly wrong.

Piling more and more frequently-noxious “data” may or may not improve outcomes. Where ethics is concerned, I’m not convinced that time will help that much. If the 40% of America that (apparently) believes things I consider not only obviously false but harmfully so makes a lot more noise online and elsewhere than the others–well, where does this all end up?

The Three Laws posed problems. Asimov and others got some good stories from examining those problems. The Zeroth Law…well, I believe you could easily make a case that the greater good of humanity would be improved by eliminating most people.

*The pleasure was so mixed that after checking Goodreads for the other two, even though they’re apparently both better than the first, I’m not planning to read them.

**I was sorely tempted to write “uber alles” there, but that’s unfair–maybe.

GOA9/Diamond OA 2024: Path forward

Monday, July 10th, 2023

With the singular (and welcome!) exception of Bianca Kramer, I received no feedback or suggestions with regard to plans for Gold Open Access 9 and (if done), Diamond OS 2024–specifically, rethinking and clarifying subject assignments and refining or continuing the Diamond OA analysis of wh0’s funding those Diamond OA journals that aren’t published by universities or societies.


Ms. Kramer’s notes and pointers to findings from the OA Diamond Journals Study suggest to me that others are doing relevant work regarding funding for Diamond OA at a level and with expertise that I can’t match, and that my work in this area may be irrelevant. (Ms. Kramer did NOT make any such suggestion, I hasten to add.)

The lack of any other feedback suggests either that nobody cares or that nobody has anything to say. The ebook are being used (151 downloads so far of GOA8, 82 of Diamond OA 2023), but…

[The fact that nobody mentioned that there was an error in the filename to download the dataset is not reassuring. It’s been fixed.]

So: Either tomorrow or Wednesday, barring last minute comments, I’ll proceed with a pass to refine subject assignments and publisher categories–but, based on what I haven’t heard, I won’t attempt to refine funding sources for diamond OA journals, and probably won’t deal with that aspect if there is a Diamond OA 2024.

Reminder: I need feedback by Friday, July 7 if possible

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

I need to make some decisions about the path to a possible GOA9/DiamondOA 2024.

Here’s a link to one post:

So far, the only feedback suggests (indirectly) that my attempts to determine who funds Diamond OA is superfluous, with others doing it better. I’d be happy enough to believe that and scrap further efforts (and maybe scrap DiamondOA 2024?). If you have other opinions and advice, I need to hear about it now.

Also: the decision to continue this unpaid-for extra in the GOA studies is heavily dependent on whether it appears to be useful, as in used, as in strong download (or book sales) counts and maybe even a citation here and there. If you find the book (free or otherwise), let other people know about it. The links are always at

Here’s a link to the other post:

If you think my proposed approach to cleaning up subjects is fine, no need to comment. If not, well, I plan to look at each title (briefly) before the next study cycle begins–thus the July 7 deadline. [I will, of course, read later feedback. I always read feedback.]

Comment here, reply at mastodon, or email at

Gold Open Access stats for July 2, 2023

Monday, July 3rd, 2023

Gold Open Access 8

  • PDF downloads: 145
  • Dataset: 99 views, 11 downloads [all from figshare].
  • Diamond 23: 52 PDF downloads
  • Books: none.

Gold Open Access 7

  • PDF downloads: 1,135
  • Print version: 1 copy
  • Dataset: 368 views, 61 downloads [figshare] and 86 downloads from
  • Country book: 219 downloads, no print

Gold Open Access 6 [last report]

  • PDF downloads: 3,214. No print versions.
  • Dataset: 264 downloads
  • Country book: 489 downloads.