Tuesday, 22 February 2011

I feel famous.

Sorry about all the links. - Jack

I'm a member of the forums on a frankly wonderful computing site called Bit-tech. I'm not really one of the regulars and don't post too often, in fact I mainly go to learn. I can be found under the handle 'ShakeyJake' if anyone's even remotely interested. I found this thread about youtube user sonicsoul0 who is a self-professed pc knowledge bank and general pontificator. Fine, great. Except he does seem to get a lot of it very wrong indeed. 

Watching his videos remind me of when someone has read a paper on a subject and then decided they know everything there is to know on that subject. You see it all the time, actually. Musicians often understand that an amp with more power will be louder, but many take this tidbit and run with it. The amount of times I've seen something like "this is a very loud 300W amp, more like 350W" or, "tube watts are louder than solid-state watts". Don't even get me started on certain sized speakers having certain tonal characteristics or especially 'audiophile' cables. These people took the £4.99 class instead of the £9.99 one and sadly missed most of the details. Unfortunately that's where the devil is.

It happens with pcs too. People on Ebay or in PC World will be attracted to pcs that have '8GB RAM' or an '850W PSU' because 'more is better', right? As we all know though, these people inevitably end up with cheap, noisy power supplies and generic-branded RAM that would underperform a good 4GB kit. This is always to be found in it's natural habitat: a cheap plastic case that makes a ton of noise and keeps everything inside nice and toasty.

Back to out friend sonicsoul0. He is not guilty of such a frankly newbish point of view, he does however make the same mistakes on a more technical level. A brief romp through his videos will lead to such gems as: 

  • 16x/16x (talking about PCI lanes here) will yield better performance (not specifically stated but I assume compared to the more common 8x/8x)
  • video games are heavy rendering
  • games/applications rely on cpu 'architecture'
  • (folding@home) is number grinding and not really useful for applications
  • the (ATI) 5970 does not have 'proper' architecture
  • there are only 2 dual-gpu cards

Ok, ok, I lied. Those were all from one video. But, at the time of this writing the guy has 100, so go check them out yourself. On one of his videos I posted a comment along the lines of 'Don't people usually write a script before they press record? Or even do any research on the topic they're talking about?' Actually, that's exactly what I wrote because even though he has disabled comments he handily repeats my comments at the beginning of this response video aimed solely at me. I've never felt so loved. If I couldn't have used my facebook account to sign in to youtube I wouldn't have even had a platform from whence to launch my scathing broadside. 

I'm now faced with a dilemma. If you're sonicsoul0 and you're reading this then please understand I was merely mocking your camera presence and articulation. And your computer knowledge. I wouldn't even care if you were misinformed quietly but you have a youtube channel from which to spout nonsense and it annoys me that some people might actually spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds based on your recommendations. On the other hand though, they're free to do whatever they like, as are you. And if our hypothetical consumer spends loads of money based on a youtube video then they deserve what they get.

I know you study computing science but I have two problems with that term. The first is the 'computing' and the second is the 'science' part. Now, I spent three years working in student recruitment for a large red-brick uni in the UK and as a result I probably know things about your course (or at least, the way it works) that you don't. But it doesn't take someone with any uni experience at all to go to your course's uni page and see that the 3-year BSc contains but a single module based on pc hardware. So please lets DO compare research. Secondly, if you were a scientist you'd quote sources and therefore that's what I'm about to do. 

Your main gaffe seems to be that, in your opinion, a multi-cored cpu will massively outperform a quad in gaming performance. In response, I assert that the vast majority of games are wasted on anything more than 4 cores. (I, II, III) Now I'm not denying that the 980x (which you rightly love) isn't a monster performer, but sadly it's usually bested by the 2600k and even sometimes the 2500k in games. (I, II

Moreover, you general manner as well as the misused and seemingly misunderstood pc terminology in your videos creates the general ambiance that you don't really know what you're talking about. See the bulleted list above for examples from but 1% of your video catalog. I have also heard 'use an adblocker and you wont need an antivirus' (which is dangerous as well as wrong) and  'this is what you wanna look for in a monitor, the 5 million to one contrast ratio'. First of all, I can't find that monitor (though I'm sure it exists) and secondly, why is the contrast ratio so important?

Lastly, I'd hope you don't write a script when talking to your friends. But you're not, you're on camera, to the WORLD. Stop swaying, learn your lines and enunciate man. I do public speaking, in an educational setting, it's my job. I know that winging it and improvising works well, but it's really not working out so well for you.

Really lastly. Who is 'sweshdj'? If he doesn't like you then he's likely another bit-techer but I can't see his comment anymore. I can't speak for anyone else, but I really wasn't trying to start a flame war. There is a decent being inside of me, he just doesn't own a webcam. I honestly can't say I'm that thrilled but I will in fact take you up on your offer to 'talk technology'. In fact, I think I just did.

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