Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

GOA8: Two questions that need feedback

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

Unlike the longer-term question of whether I should do the country book, these two questions need to be resolved before I start datagathering (on or about January 1), as they’re about gathering data. As always, you can comment here (for two weeks), or send email to, or reply to the tweets I’ll do on @goajwcc.

1. Should I rely on DOAJ for fee data in almost all cases?

That is: rather than going first to a journal’s website, looking around to see what it says about charges, and going to the DOAJ info only if I can’t figure things out directly, should I do it the other way around: Start with DOAJ, and unless the journal has had fee complications in the past (e.g., requiring membership. charging a variable fee, charging for submission or charging for both submission and processing), use the DOAJ data?

For GOA7, I wound up using 470 fees from DOAJ because I couldn’t determine the fee otherwise, and there were about 570 special cases. In those 570-odd cases, I would of course continue to base fees on the website itself.

I’ve seen very few cases where the DOAJ information contradicts what’s on the journal’s website, and relatively few journals seem to add complexity to their fees. If I make this change–which would save a fair amount of time–I’d guess a couple of dozen journals would wind up with slightly less accurate fee information (but that info would necessarily be more consistent with DOAJ). Since most complex cases are also relatively small journals with relatively low fees, I can’t imagine that discrepancies would change overall figures much.

I’m inclined to make this change, but I’m certainly open to your thoughts.

2. Should I look at DOAJ first for article counts?

As things stand, I look at a journal’s website first to do article counts–but if it’s not easy to determine the counts, I go to DOAJ and use that count if there is one and if it seems reasonable.

If I switched that, then for the journals that report metadata to DOAJ at the article level–by no means all of them. (DOAJ no longer reports that count on the homepage: my best guess is that about two-thirds of journals report at the article level.)

I would only use the DOAJ article count for a journal if it seemed to make sense–usually only for journals that have been around at least since 2021, where I can compare the DOAJ count with the GOA7 count. If in doubt, I’d try to count the articles directly.

This could save a lot of time (and as DOAJ grows and I get older and slower, time becomes more of an issue). I’m not sure whether it would decrease the accuracy of the figures–and, again, the figures would necessarily be closer to those in DOAJ.

[When nearly all DOAJ-listed journals provide article-level metadata and simple pricing, I’ll stop doing the GOA series, probably, if it doesn’t stop before then.]

Again, I’m inclined to make this change, but definitely open to persuasion.

Doing another project this year?

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I’ll be done with GOA7 in a few more weeks (late June or early July barring major surprises), and will probably spend a few months reading a lot more, watching a little more TV, possibly dealing with some household and personal maintenance issues, and determining whether to propose GOA8.

That last depends on whether I believe I can do a good job (am up to it mentally, physically, and in terms of other demands), whether it still seems to be valuable, and whether I’d still have funding.

Meanwhile–let’s say in the time between July 15 and December 15–I could take on another project, if there was one that made sense for all concerned. That is: something where my remaining skills would yield worthwhile results, that wouldn’t be stepping on Proper (Paper-Oriented) Research, that would be financially supported, and would interest me.

I don’t know what that might be, if anything, but thought I’d put it out there. I thought about investigating the “rest of ROAD,” that is, what are all those other OA journals, why aren’t they in DOAJ, do they publish a lot of articles…etc, But ROAD doesn’t appear to have downloadable metadata, and I’m not sure where such a project would lead.

That’s one example. There might be others. If you’re interested, get in touch ( I won’t be holding my breath.

NHT: An antidote to NFTs?

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

This is probably a stupid or unworkable idea (unworkable because I don’t have enough followers who would find it intriguing), but here goes:

Non-Harmful Thingies

So you have money and you want a unique digital image that might have some artistic or aesthetic value? But you’d just as soon not contribute to global warming by using vast amounts of energy for cryptocrap? Oh, and you’d like to actually have something, not just a token?

I have a collection of 200+ high-quality original 8×10 photos from around the world, and a list of 25 transforms that still yield interesting images.

You contribute at least $500 to one of these ecologically or socially positive charities: Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense, World Wildlife Fund; any Feeding America affiliate; ACLU, Americans United, Doctors Without Borders, PPFA.

You email me a copy of the dated receipt and deposit $5 in my PayPal account.

I take the next print in the stack, scan it, apply one of the transforms, add a tiny NHT number in one corner, and send you the JPEG as an attachment. And then delete the transformed scan. I keep track; if (as seems unlikely) all the prints get used once, I use a different transform the second time around. Or you can contribute at least $600 and send a transform number (1-25) with your email. Not that you know which transform is which, to be sure.

You get a probably-unique digital print and a $500 tax deduction (at least in some cases).

At the end of the quarter, or when there have been at least 20 such transactions, I take the PayPal amount and contribute it to one of those charities. (I get that tax deduction, but since I have to report the added income it’s a wash at best.)

Oh, two caveats:

  • Your donation must be in some real-world currency.
  • If you choose to sell the digital print to somebody else, that transaction must also be in real-world currencies. [If I find out that cryptocrap has been involved, I will post a new image that uses the same original and same or similar transform and shame you for violating the terms of the agreement. Not that I’d ever find out…]

So there it is. Probably silly because I have at best a few hundred followers, and I’m guessing most of them with a desire for original artwork that doesn’t increase global warming would use this alternate technique:

  • Go to an art fair or gallery, find something that pleases you at a price you can afford, and buy it.

But there’s the idea. If at least two or three people say “Yes, I might go for that,” I’d , set up a tracking spreadsheet, negotiate one required permission and start filling orders.

An update about energy consumption: scans, transforms and email would all be done with zero energy from the grid–during the day, we’re almost always generating more (solar) power than we use.

I’ll probably delete this when comments close after two weeks, unless there are responses.


Friday, March 26th, 2021

Just for fun, I’ve been going through my listening collection–all ripped from owned CDs using MusicBee to FLAC, played back on a Cowan Plenue high-fidelity player–by “genre,” presumably supplied by crowdsourcing to whatever metadata database MusicBee uses. (Background)

Last night, I finished one odd genre and scrolled to the next: Angry.

So what’s included (from my collection, that is)?

One album: No Secrets, by Carly Simon.

Really? Angry? The album shows a confident, talented woman. One song (the basis for the album title) shows her disappointed in her lover/boyfriend/spouse/whatever. Another, the big hit, is “You’re So Vain,” Of the songs on the album, those are as close as I could come to anything even resembling anger, and you’d really be stretching it in either case (especially the latter, which I still love).

My thought went out to whoever supplied that genre: I hope you got help.

Audiophile prices, 2020 edition

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Those of you who were C&I readers may remember that I did way too long discussions of how cheap or expensive audiophile-quality systems can be, based on Stereophile‘s Recommended Components lists.

I’m doing it again, but more simply, and I’m adding another source, The Absolute Sound, a competitive high-end magazine that doesn’t do measurements at all and where many reviews feel like pitches for the product and its company.

Stereophile-based systems

Stereophile divides recommended components into several grades, with A and A+ being the absolute best regardless of price, B-E being still great but less expensive. I’m showing four sets of components (turntable, arm, cartridge, CD player, preamp/amp, and full-range speakers): lowest and highest priced in A and A+, and lowest and highest price in B and below. I’m ignoring cables (which could add $100 to $10K or more), headphones, digital streaming and the like. I’m sticking with full-range speakers for simplicity. I’m also using integrated amps (with phono preamps) for B-and-below and separate phono preamp, preamp, and amp for A/A+. All amps are solid-state, although that wasn’t an assumption.

  • Lowest-priced grade A and A+: Turntable: Rega Planar 10, $5.695; Tonearm: Audio-Creative Groovemaster II Titanium, $1,823; Cartridge: EMT TSD-15, $1,950; Phono preamp: PS Audio Stellar, $2,499; CD: ATC CD-A2 Mk 2, $4,249; Preamp: Rogue Audio RH-5, $2,495; Power amp: Schitt Aegir, $799; Speakers: GoldenEar Technology Triton Reference, $10,000; System total: $29,520.
  • Highest-priced grade A and A+: Turntable: Techdas Air Force One Premium with Titanium upper platter, $162,000; Tonearm: SAT CF1-12, $59,810; Cartridge: DS Audio Master 1, $20,000; Phono preamp: CH Precision P1, $80,000; CD: dCS Vivaldi 2.0, $116,495; Preamp: Dan D’Agostino Momentum HD, $40,000; Power amp: DartZeel NHB-468, $180,000; Speakers: Tidal Audio Akira, $255,000; System total: $913,305.
  • Lowest-priced grades B and below: Turntable: Rega Planar 1 (includes arm and Ortofon cartridge), $475; CD: Rega Apollo, $1,095; Integrated amp: NAD C-328, $599; Speakers: JBL Stage 70, $500; System total: $2,669.
  • Highest-priced grades B and below: Turntable: Haniwa Player w/HTAM01 Arm, $15,000; Cartridge, Rega Aphelion 2 MC, $4,995; CD: Bryston BCD-3, $3,995; Integrated amp: Naim Audio Uniti Nova, $5.990; Speakers: KEF Reference 5, $20,000; System total: $49,980.

Yep. The most expensive system with no Grade A components costs about two-thirds more than the least expensive system wit all Grade A components–and the most expensive Grade-A system costs more than thirty times as much as the least. [Unlikely that a buyer would spend less than a $million on that highest-priced system, even without digital streaming.]

Absolute Sound prices

Just a low and a high, since apparently everything this magazine reviews is wonderful. I’m assuming integrated amp with phono preamp at the low end, all separates at the high, and floor-standing speakers.

  • Least expensive: Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC (includes arm and Ortofon cartridge), $449; CD: Rotel CD14, $799; Integrated amp: NAD D 3020 V2, $449; Speakers: PSB Alpha T20, $649; System total: $2,356.
  • Most expensive: TechDas Air Force One Premium, $145.000; Tonearm: Swedish Analog Technologies CF 1-09, $57,418; Cartridge: Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement V2, $16,000; Phono preamp: VAC Statement, $80,000; CD: dCS Vivaldi series 2, $116,496; Preamp: Boulder 3010, $130,000; Amp: D’Agostino Relentless, $295,000; Speakers: Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX w/subwoofer and crossover, $373,500; System total: $1,113,414.

Whew. Yes, there’s more expensive gear–for example, Wilson Audio had a limited run of speakers costing more than $800,000.

But wait…

The prices above don’t include interconnects, speaker cables, fancy power cords, special thingies to support the components, or a rack. Just looking at the megabuck system described–noting that the amplifier is really a pair of “monoblocks” (single-channel amps), I see a need for at least six power cables, four interconnects, six sets of thingies, and two sets of speaker cables. And a good rack.

So let’s see–from the same Absolute Sound issue. Power cables: Crystal Cable Ultimate Dream, $15,970 each, so figure $95,820. Interconnects: Nordost Odin 2, $23,625 each, so $94,500 total. Speaker cables: AudioQuest Dragon bi-wire combo, $48,600, so $97,200 total.

I’m just going to ignore a few $thousands for thingies, quite a few $thousands for a rack, and other stuff like power conditioners. Just the items above add about $285,000 more. But hey, it’s only money!

$peaker$ and cable$: a fun post

Wednesday, 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.

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

Tuesday, 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.]

Notes on journals 6,001-7,000

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Followup: some notes on the next 1,000 journals in my scan of DOAJ; compare to the first 6,000… (I sort by publisher, then journal, because that speeds things up).

A few items do seem interesting.

  • Of the 961 journals for which data has been recorded (39 are either unavailable or have malware issues), 430 (45%) have fees.
  • Of that 430, I find that five have submission fees rather than processing fees–and six others have both submission and processing fees. 31 others have fees that vary based on article length (I don’t record that if the surcharge begins at 11 pages or higher) or author count. Two have membership or similar fee requirements, and one is questionable (it states boldly that there is no fee, then–in the next paragraph–states the mandated fee but says it’s a gift).
  • In 28 of the 430 cases, I gathered the fee status and amount from the DOAJ record because it was not easy to locate within the journal’s website.
  • Malware is still with us: ten of the 40 missing cases have malware (six of the ten from Indonesia); twenty are missing or useless; one requires a login, which makes it not an OA journals; and eight are dead or duplicates (most duplicates are renamed journals, with the old name still appearing.
  • In cases where I do have data, the URL in DOAJ did not yield the website but a journal title search in Chrome did yield the website.


So I’ve done 7,000 in (exactly) seven weeks. That leaves 7.128 to go. Will I be done in seven weeks (and a d ay)?

Almost certainly not. Other stuff happens–and the huge chunk of university-based journals is likely to be slow going. I’m hoping to finish the first pass by the end of April–and then there’s a second pass plus a final pass for malware (after journals have had some time to clean up those cases). Then there’s the normalization, data manipulation, table creation and writing the book(s).

GOA4 (2013-2018) appeared on May 4, 2019; that was unusual. GOAJ3 (2012-2017) appeared on May 28, 2018, and even that was earlier than I’d expected. I’ll be delighted if this year’s GOA5 is ready in early June; I won’t be surprised if it takes into July…

A few (more) notes on the first 5,000

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Followup: some notes on the first 5,000 journals in my scan of DOAJ; compare to the first 4,000… (I sort by publisher, then journal, because that speeds things up).

Just for fun–and NOT MEANINGFUL at least partly because a number of journals will show larger numbers or have problems cleared up in the “recount” segment–I’m also comparing this to the equivalent portion of the 2019 scan (that is, the same breakpoint for publisher and journal).

A few items do seem interesting.

  • Of the 4,629 journals for which data has been recorded (371 are either unavailable or have malware issues), 1,731 (37%) have fees.
  • Of that 1,363, I find that 16 have submission fees–and 30 others have both submission and processing fees. 142 others have fees that vary based on article length (I don’t record that if the surcharge begins at 11 pages or higher) or author count.
  • In 98 of the 1,731 cases, I gathered the fee status and amount from the DOAJ record because it was not easy to locate within the journal’s website.
  • Malware is still with us: 144 of the 371 for which I don’t yet have data recorded were flagged by Malwarebytes–an uncomfortably high figure. 147 others don’t seem to be there or are unworkable…and eight aren’t OA journals, AFAICT. (Yes, I’m sending DOAJ problems in chunks; yes, I hope we/they can reduce the malware count to a trivial amount as they did last year. The big trouble spots so far are Indonesia with 64 cases, Brazil with 46 and Romania with 15.)
  • In 100 cases where I do have data, the URL in DOAJ did not yield the website but a journal title search in Chrome did yield the website.

Comparisons to 2019

I’m just a bit more than 1/3 of the way done, and things will change, but here’s what I see at the moment:

  • At this point last year, I’d done 4,519 journals of which 4,412 were in the analysis (that subgroup included 10 malware cases, three not-OA cases and 43 unavailable/unworkable). That’s almost the same percentage of the whole–35.5% compared to this year’s 35.3%.
  • For this portion, the 2018 article total was 290,982 compared to 302,978 this year (but that number should grow a little). For 2017, the numbers are 251,118 and 260,556 respectively.
  • If articles were evenly spread among journals, I could project more than 900,000 total 2019 articles (since 35.3% yield 321,346)–but that’s obvious nonsense, since that projection technique yields just under 820,000 total 2018 articles for last year’s count, not the 711,670 articles actually counted. And I’d expect to see the 2019 article count for this year’s pass go up by at least 2,000-4,000. The closest thing to a SWAG for possible totals this time around might be around 786,000–but I’d suggest “somewhere between 750,000 and 850,000” is as close as I’d want to come to an actual estimate.

A few notes on the first 4,000

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

Followup: some notes on the first 4,000 journals–partly to show just how unrepresentative any sample is. Compare this to the first 3,000… (I sort by publisher, then journal, because that speeds things up).

A few items do seem interesting.

  • Of the 3,747 journals for which data has been recorded (253 are either unavailable or have malware issues), 1,363 (36%) have fees.
  • Of that 1,363, I find that 11 have submission fees–and 24 others have both submission and processing fees. 121 others have fees that vary based on article length (I don’t record that if the surcharge begins at 11 pages or higher).
  • In 79 of the 1,363 cases, I gathered the fee status and amount from the DOAJ record because it was not easy to locate within the journal’s website.
  • Malware is still with us: 100 of the 214 for which I don’t yet have data recorded were flagged by Malwarebytes–an uncomfortably high figure. 109 others don’t seem to be there or are unworkable…and two aren’t OA journals, AFAICT.
  • In 78 cases where I do have data, the URL in DOAJ did not yield the website but a journal title search in Chrome did yield the website.
  • Some of the numbers in the 3,000-journal notes are typos caused by sloppy editing. I’ll go fix those now…