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posted by cmn32480 on Monday November 13, @06:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-old-is-still-old-but-they-are-making-more dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

National Audio Co. is the only company in the U.S. that produces cassette tape. Now, as cassette tapes enjoy a resurgence in popularity, National Audio has less than a year's supply left of the stuff, The Wall Street Journal reports.

For the last 15 years, National Audio's co-owner and president Steve Stepp has been clinging to his company's dwindling supply of music-quality magnetic tape. In 2014, National Audio's South Korean supplier stopped making the material, so Stepp bought out their remaining stock before they shuttered — and has been left with a shrinking stockpile ever since.

Although the demand for tape has increased in recent years, the quality and supply has not; National Audio has long relied on outdated gear that Stepp jokes is "the finest equipment the 1960s has to offer." That's why the company — which makes cassettes for everyone from indie bands to Metallica — is planning to build the U.S.'s first high-grade tape manufacturing line in decades.

Crap! Where am I going to store my TRS-80 programs now?

Source: https://theweek.com/speedreads/735269/america-running-cassette-tape


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:00PM (50 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:00PM (#596375)

    I have two teenage kids. Cassette tapes are NOT making any kind of resurgence. Where the &(*&(&*(&*%*& do you all find this stuff?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13, @07:10PM (15 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @07:10PM (#596381)

      I have two teenage kids. Cassette tapes are NOT making any kind of resurgence. Where the &(*&(&*(&*%*& do you all find this stuff?

      In the real world, outside of the little suburban bubble you probably live in.

      It's not teenagers who are into this stupid shit, it's the hipster 20-somethings and maybe 30-something Millenials. I've seen these cassettes in the hipster clothing/knicknack stores these people like to frequent, right next to racks of vinyl records that they also like.

      Don't worry, they're not taking over for streaming audio and CDs, but they are experiencing enough resurgence that I can see how a single supplier using stockpiled inventory is going to run out soon.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:22PM (12 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:22PM (#596389)

        Devil's advocate time.

        Given the DRM that's invading every aspect of personal computing, such as Intel TPM, doesn't it make sense to fall back to a more free (as in freedom) format such as simple magnetic tape, especially for something that tends to attract free spirits like music?

        (No, I don't expect that's why hipsters are doing it....)

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:26PM (7 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:26PM (#596392)

          Speaking as a (real-life, gig-playing, self-managing, indie) musician, in small runs tape is still cheaper to publish than even CD.

          The reasons can come from the supply and the demand ends of the spectrum.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Monday November 13, @09:04PM (6 children)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:04PM (#596459) Journal

            in small runs tape is still cheaper to publish than even CD.

            Except people have no where to play it. Cassette players have vanished from cars, nobody is really building home component audio systems with tape players any more, and you can't even find a walkman anymore.

            Furthermore, I doubt your claim. 5 minute of web searching turned up: Tape tends to be more like $20/tape.

            With blank CD media (reasonable quality) being available for about 20 cents a disk.
            A small volume CD printer/Recorder is around $500 bucks, artist communities often buy and share these.

            You don't want to get all techie, you buy professionally packaged CDs with artwork for just under a buck apiece.

            There are even companies that specialize in getting you published on Amazon/Google, etc.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 3, Touché) by EvilSS on Monday November 13, @09:17PM

              by EvilSS (1456) on Monday November 13, @09:17PM (#596466)

              Furthermore, I doubt your claim. 5 minute of web searching turned up: Tape tends to be more like $20/tape.

              You should spend more than 5 minutes then because you are off by a factor of 10.

            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @09:36PM (4 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @09:36PM (#596483)

              Except people have no where to play it. Cassette players have vanished from cars, nobody is really building home component audio systems with tape players any more, and you can't even find a walkman anymore.

              Just the other day, I handed a tape to a woman who has a tape player in her car - and no CD. And you're missing the (quite substantial) boombox community. Oh, and do a quick Amazon search for cassette players.

              You may be surprised just precisely how incredibly wrong you are.

              Furthermore, I doubt your claim. 5 minute of web searching turned up: Tape tends to be more like $20/tape.

              http://www.atozaudio.com/html/azezcass-J.html [atozaudio.com]

              Search better next time. 100 60-minute tapes with full colour j-cards, wrapped, $180.95. From the same site, comparable packaging, $2.50 each for CDs at the same volume, and that's a damn good price.

              You don't want to get all techie, you buy professionally packaged CDs with artwork for just under a buck apiece.

              You're right! ... if you're buying at least a thousand. Realistic prices for small run (a couple of hundred) is nowhere near tape levels of pricing.

              There are even companies that specialize in getting you published on Amazon/Google, etc.

              You're right! ... but if you want to actually hand fans a physical thing that you can sign rather than signing body parts, online publishing ain't where you're going. Is it in the publication mix? Sure. Is it the only thing on the list? Not for me, and not for many, many others.

              • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday November 14, @12:23AM

                by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday November 14, @12:23AM (#596569) Journal

                Does anyone want to buy my modest vinyl record and cassette tape collection? Got some VHS too.

                Every time I see one of these stories, the first thing I want to know is where can I unload that old crap.

              • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Tuesday November 14, @07:14PM (2 children)

                by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @07:14PM (#596924) Journal

                http://www.atozaudio.com/html/azezcass-J.html [atozaudio.com]

                Search better next time. 100 60-minute tapes with full colour j-cards, wrapped, $180.95. From the same site, comparable packaging, $2.50 each for CDs at the same volume, and that's a damn good price.

                You don't want to get all techie, you buy professionally packaged CDs with artwork for just under a buck apiece.

                You're right! ... if you're buying at least a thousand. Realistic prices for small run (a couple of hundred) is nowhere near tape levels of pricing.

                https://duplication.cdbaby.com/quoter/default.aspx [cdbaby.com]

                100 CDs, full color printed and packaged in jewel cases, for $139. Pretty close to a buck a piece, and significantly less than what you quoted for tapes. Higher capacity too.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:59AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, @02:59AM (#597117)

                  I just took like-for-like from a given vendor that does both. I didn't say it was best in market - and cdbaby isn't the best choice for a lot of people (look at their T&Cs).

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, @06:40PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, @06:40PM (#599326)

                  Dude, just followed your link to CDBABY.

                  What I'm seeing isn't anywhere near what you're posting. I went to basic, CDs in Jewel Cases, 100 count ...

                  $418.00 before shipping.

                  I couldn't get anywhere near $200 (or $2/each, the tape ballpark) until I went for slim jewel cases.

                  Where's the secret button to get the $1/CD jewel case packed and wrapped 100 count small run quote?

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13, @07:32PM (3 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @07:32PM (#596397)

          No, where did you get that idea?

          Digital audio is superior in every way to analog, given a high enough bitrate and sampling frequency. TPM is a canard: a standard audio CD does not have DRM on it, it's just simple PCM audio. There's many audio formats that support higher quality with lossy and lossless codecs, and they're all DRM-free too: I recomment Ogg Opus and Ogg Vorbis and FLAC.

          DRM isn't a given in computing by any means. You can easily buy yourself a Raspberry Pi for $50 or less which has no support for DRM through TPM modules, run Linux on it, and listen to audio in one of the above Free formats.

          Just because Windows 10 is spying on you doesn't mean you need to listen to audio on shitty old analog formats that never had decent sound quality; it just means you need to stop using Windows.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:02AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:02AM (#596708)

            I actually wanted to buy a tape recorder for my kids (3 and 1 right now).
            I can trust a 4 year old with something more or less mechanical, he will understand exactly what's happening (therefore there will be no need to take it apart until he's 8 and starts wondering about the motor), and there's no risk of damaging anything important if he wants to play/record.
            a computer is somewhat more expensive, and much more complicated to operate.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:23AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:23AM (#596709)

            One of the Ogg developers has an article about this (Google it if you care). The signal to noise ratio (S/N) can be converted directly to bits per sample.

            If I remember the numbers:

            Home recorded cassette tape is about 6 bits.
            Professionally recorded cassette tape is about 8 bits.
            Vinyl gets up to a whopping 10 bits.

            CD's are 16 bits, since then the numbers have only been going up.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:30PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:30PM (#596799)

            dude who would do all that stuff you listed

            just buy a $20 mp3 player and get a 2 gig CF card or something. better yet it supports headphones and probably AA batteries so you can replace them easily and even use rechargables if you wanted. great for workouts and probably won't break if you drop it

            people do not need to carry their ENTIRE library with them, or have internet connection.

            you make me laugh. you rag on windows 10 to play media as if its the only thing, then a raspebrry pi for $50? you think regular people are going to set one up? to use an actual computer to play music? christ you can get a used android tablet with a terrible horrible screen running 2.x something that plays mp3s just fine if you can figure out where to shove the memory chip.

            i cant think of anybody ever that just wants to listen to music on the cheap that even know what you said, except for the CD and DRM acronyms. they arent worried about windows 10 i promise you so stop being an IT guy and just press play

      • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Monday November 13, @08:52PM (1 child)

        by deimtee (3272) on Monday November 13, @08:52PM (#596452)

        I bought a beat up old car just for running around town in. Didn't cost much, runs well, and has a old school cassette radio in it. I'm not buying any new tapes, but I dug up a box of old ones from out in my shed, and I've been playing all the old tapes I made twenty to thirty years ago. It's awesome.
        What's amazing is that I made some of those tapes just over thirty years ago, and they almost all still play fine. TDK SA-90's rock! :) .

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:29AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:29AM (#596644)

          I've got an older car with cassette and CD player. Every now and then an old tape decides to wind itself around the innards and it's a pain to fish out the mess. Might be correlated with very hot or very cold weather? Other than that, the cassette player works fine -- Maxell for the win(grin).

    • (Score: 2) by jimtheowl on Monday November 13, @07:13PM

      by jimtheowl (5929) on Monday November 13, @07:13PM (#596382)
      Certainly from a larger statistical sample than two. They are not going to overtake any modern media storage, but they have their niche and I know people who use them.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:14PM (31 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:14PM (#596384)

      My roommate is a DJ who does some of her own stuff too. It seems it's become popular for artists to record their music to cassette tape for distribution at anime conventions and the like.

      I don't pretend to understand why. I asked why not buy thumb drives in bulk, like little 1 gb drives, but she said cassette tapes is what everybody uses. Doesn't make a terrible lot of sense to her either, since she's a technically-inclined person as well, but there you are.

      (She does Soundcloud as well, so it's not only tapes--tapes are just when she's going to an anime convention and wants to pass out her latest work.)

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:29PM (30 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:29PM (#596394)

        I did the math. For small runs (under a thousand), especially for long albums and so on, tape is cheaper than USB sticks, SD cards, CDs and (duh) vinyl.

        It's not bad to hand out cards with links to your bandcamp/soundcloud/cdbaby/whatever, but fans like physical things. Some will take a card if it's on offer, but the majority also like a physical medium, and that goes double if you'll sign it for them.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13, @07:36PM (28 children)

          by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @07:36PM (#596399)

          How much can it possibly cost to hand out 500 tapes? You can buy very small (big enough for some MP3s) USB sticks for next to nothing these days, and you can write your music on them yourself easily. CDs are also dirt cheap, with CD-Rs.

          And how the hell do these fans play these cassettes anyway? I haven't even seen a cassette player in years, except maybe at the museum, not too far from the Apple Macintosh or the Altair.

          • (Score: 2) by t-3 on Monday November 13, @07:47PM (9 children)

            by t-3 (4907) on Monday November 13, @07:47PM (#596405)

            Maybe it's related to ease of self-production, or mass-production? Can you order 500 USB sticks with specific data on them easily? Is there an easy way make many USB stick copies at once? I know this is easy with tapes and CDs/other discs, but I've never heard of a USB stick duplicator. A quick search shows that they exist,, but are much more expensive than tape duplicators. I didn't bother looking up commercial services, but judging from other comments, the price difference is reflected there..

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Monday November 13, @09:09PM (1 child)

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:09PM (#596461) Journal

              Its just as likely related to the difficulty of (unauthorized) reproduction.

              Most millennials have no clue how to make an MP3 out of an audio tape, because they have nothing but tablets to work with.
              (Of course the only tape player they have is in the beat-up Toyota they drive around in, - so....

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:07PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:07PM (#596505)

                Most millennials have no clue how to make an MP3 out of an audio tape, because they have nothing but tablets to work with.

                I doubt this very much. All except perhaps the very youngest millennials likely had audio casette tape players during childhood and could very well still have them today.

                But it makes no sense to rip from an audio casette tape unless there is literally no better source available...

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13, @09:32PM (5 children)

              by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:32PM (#596479)

              Why would you need to order 500 USB sticks with data? Just copy it yourself. One album's worth of MP3s is maybe 50MB, guessing; it shouldn't take more than 10 seconds to copy that much. Find some kid to do it for you if you're that busy, but the whole thing shouldn't take more than 4 hours. You can do it while watching a movie.

              Now if you really want those USB sticks to be professionally printed, that's another matter.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @09:51PM (2 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @09:51PM (#596492)

                Try more like 400MB for FLACs. But it'll still fit on a dirt cheap USB stick.

                The thing is, making it nice and memorable and a touchstone for fans means it costs more. Then you're talking engraving or printing or embossing or something like that, and that costs money.

                It's not like you're handing out copies of Ubuntu in Outer Buttfuckistan.

                • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:31AM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:31AM (#596711)

                  Try more like 400MB for FLACs.

                  Why the **** would you use FLAC - the highest quality format available - for people who are willing to listen to cassette tape - the lowest quality format available outside of museums?

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @04:54PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @04:54PM (#596857)

                    TL;DR: because not being a dick to your fans for no reason.

                    If you provide someone a medium, the general understanding is that you're providing them as much as the medium allows, rather than the minimum you think that they might accept (unless you're Sony, I guess).

                    There's no point cramming things into lossy formats unless you're in a strictly space-constrained environment, and modern small format digital storage is so fast at retrieval, and so capacious, that the savings you might get from using MP3 and a smaller storage unit are negligible.

                    Modern (especially electronic) producers do their best to tune their quality, including compression levels and so on, to satisfy demanding ears. So Sonny Celphone listens to 128Kbps stuff through his crappy DAC on his phone, through his Beats by Appledre? Good for him. His experience is not diminished by anything other than his personal choices.

              • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:25PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:25PM (#596517)

                Why would you need to order 500 USB sticks with data? Just copy it yourself. One album's worth of MP3s is maybe 50MB, guessing; it shouldn't take more than 10 seconds to copy that much. Find some kid to do it for you if you're that busy, but the whole thing shouldn't take more than 4 hours.

                Geez, what a colossal waste of time. There are much better things to do with 4 hours than mindlessly duplicating USB sticks -- like reading and posting on soylentnews. And you still have to find a supplier for all the USB sticks anyway.

                The neighbourhood kid probably messes up a couple drives because he's too busy playing cow clicker to do things well, and those drives won't be suitable for sale. It might still better than doing it yourself but if you have to personally spend 2 hours checking every single drive that doesn't sound like much fun either.

                We can expect pros to do a consistent job and instead of 4 hours of my time it takes 5 minutes: send money and specs, receive finished product.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:36PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:36PM (#596800)

                that's about right; 3.5MB or so per song with 128kpbs flat rate or VBR peaking to 384kbps.

                it takes longer than 10 seconds to rip the albumns, though.. maybe 10 to 15 minutes each depending on how the audio transfer is accomplished. if its analog its the full play time... if its a slow reader [stuff is cheaper now than it used to be... because most pcs that have cd roms now don't advertise based on their performance, just that they have one] it will take longer even if not done via that analog method.

            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cafebabe on Wednesday November 22, @03:34AM

              by cafebabe (894) on Wednesday November 22, @03:34AM (#600029) Journal

              In response to your query, I wrote a utility for mass duplication to external volumes [soylentnews.org]. It should work on typical Linux installations and should be easy to adapt for use on MacOS or other operating systems.

              --
              McAfee 2020 [youtube.com].
          • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Monday November 13, @07:56PM

            by EvilSS (1456) on Monday November 13, @07:56PM (#596410)
            For 500? About $700-1000 depending on options, length per side, etc. This is for a professional release, cased, printed, J-Card, shrink wrapped etc. Much better presentation than some sharpie-scrawled CDRs in slim cases. As for players they are still out there. Just check Amazon. Jensen still makes a cheap player, for example.
          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Monday November 13, @08:27PM (8 children)

            by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @08:27PM (#596433)

            I'll tell you what is impossible with tape. Malware. My fear with using a USB stick handed to me is:

            1. Is it a USB stick really?
            2. Is it a trojan horse designed to give physical access to my computer?
            3. Does it have malware in general on it?

            That's the benefit of the analog cassette tape. Very bad medium to transport malware on, and it isn't active in any way. An audio CD can transport malware (Sony Rootkit), but isn't active either.

            A USB stick can be an active threat to your computer operating in many different modes. IIRC, one of those modes allows access to the Intel ME now with JTAG access over USB. Being cheap is a threat too. How do I know that the 5000 count I ordered on Alibaba isn't coming my way with less space than spec'd? Or that they come with some malware in it already?

            What I would imagine is that most ordinary people at one point or another have shelled out hard earned dollars to get their computers repaired. After you've spent as much money repairing some computer systems as buying computer systems, that you would be hesitant to just put anything into it.

            Hence, an audio cassette is fairly non-threatening.

            • (Score: 2, Disagree) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13, @09:35PM (7 children)

              by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:35PM (#596481)

              I'll tell you what is impossible with tape. Malware.

              Use Linux and you won't have that problem.

              Or just turn off Auto-Run.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:41PM (4 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:41PM (#596528)

                Use Linux and you won't have that problem [with malicious usb devices].

                This is patently false.

                You connect a malicious USB device, it reports itself as a HID class device and bam, Linux and basically any other desktop operating system accepts input from it, treating it as equivalent to input from a "real" keyboard and mouse or whatever else. Then whatever user accounts are logged in at the console are pwned.

                And this is essentially unfixable because users reasonably expect USB devices to "just work" when they are connected.

                Or if an attacker just wants to cause damage, it's not too hard to make a fake device that, say, massively overvolts the data lines, likely frying at least the USB PHY and any nearby components on the board you connect it to.

                • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday November 14, @01:57AM (3 children)

                  by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @01:57AM (#596607)

                  This is patently false.

                  You connect a malicious USB device, it reports itself as a HID class device and bam, Linux and basically any other desktop operating system accepts input from it, treating it as equivalent to input from a "real" keyboard and mouse or whatever else.

                  Yeah, so what? That isn't going to root a machine unless you somehow know the root password so you can simulate Alt-F1, root, password, commands to do something....

                  USB is a problem on Windows because of Autorun: you pop in a drive, and Autorun.exe starts running, no questions asked. Linux doesn't do this.

                  Then whatever user accounts are logged in at the console are pwned.

                  This is just dumb. You don't know what's going on when the device is plugged in. If it's not at a terminal window, and instead the cursor is at a SoylentNews input box like I'm using now, you'll just get a weird comment on your SN account.

                  Or if an attacker just wants to cause damage, it's not too hard to make a fake device that, say, massively overvolts the data lines, likely frying at least the USB PHY and any nearby components on the board you connect it to.

                  This doesn't compromise your data, it's just an annoyance. And good luck fitting that kind of circuitry into a thumb drive that's barely bigger than the USB port.

                  This is really just a bunch of scare-mongering.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:45AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @03:45AM (#596650)

                    You're lacking in both technical competence and imagination.

                  • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Tuesday November 14, @05:20AM

                    by Pino P (4721) on Tuesday November 14, @05:20AM (#596668) Journal

                    You connect a malicious USB device, it reports itself as a HID class device and bam, Linux and basically any other desktop operating system accepts input from it, treating it as equivalent to input from a "real" keyboard and mouse or whatever else.

                    Yeah, so what? That isn't going to root a machine

                    You don't need to gain administrative access to a PC's operating system to do serious damage. As Randall Munroe pointed out in this infographic [xkcd.com]:

                    If someone steals my laptop while I'm logged in, they can read my email, take my money, and impersonate me to my friends, but at least they can't install drivers without my permission.

                    For example, ransomware just needs to encrypt ~ (the logged-in user's profile), not / (the entire file system).

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @09:57AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @09:57AM (#596725)

                    So the device registers as USB hub with a storage and a keyboard attached. You're not surprised about the storage; that's what you expected anyway. The "keyboard" starts a script located on the storage device. The script installs some malware on your account. The next time you use your password (for example, to unlock your screen), the malware catches it. Since today's Linux systems are typically set up with sudo instead of root password (how that is supposed to be more secure on single user systems still evades me), and usually the user has just one account used for both admin stuff (thus having sudo enabled) and general stuff (thus it will be the account that is open when inserting the stick). Thus once the user-local malware has the user password, on the majority of current personal Linux installations it owns root.

              • (Score: 2) by edIII on Tuesday November 14, @12:13AM (1 child)

                by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @12:13AM (#596560)

                That's not going to hold true much longer, if it really does now. Microsoft operating systems are merely the most attractive target since they own the desktop spaces. However, they don't own the server spaces, and own progressively less and less embedded devices. The more successful Linux becomes, the more we will see ugly vulnerabilities come to light. We've seen some already, but I think we look the other way or refuse to acknowledge that remote code exploits are a cross platform problem now.

                I believe we will see more exploits against Linux, not less. Then let's add SystemD to the conversation. Whether or not it is a good idea (breaks Unix fundamentals), it represents a far more complex system that requires significantly more resources to perform regression testing. What I believe the last few decades has shown us is that corporations will indirectly fund much of free software and open source, but that it will not, and does not, provide the resources required for testing. All of these years we relied on peer review of code, and it just didn't happen, certainly not at the level of thoroughness and competency we envisioned the community having.

                The issue if further compounded by the fact we *want* users to be accessing the server and enjoying services. Every single on them represents a security vector that needs to be addressed. In other words, you can security harden a server all you want, but the moment you put Wordpress on it....

                I feel safer working with BSD, which I think is one of the safest, and not even it is immune.

                I'm reminded of the gentleman that boasted the Titanic was unsinkable, and the general who thought that the Death Star was the ultimate weapon in the universe that no one would dare stand against. Ironically, in real life it is often a bunch of teenagers causing problems for old white men with expensive platforms.

                 

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:35AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:35AM (#596712)

                  You're missing a point: The big security hole with USB on Windows is not an exploit at all, it's called AUTORUN.

                  On the other hand, you don't actually need an exploit, USB is inherently unsafe. Google "usb killer". Which by the way is a problem it shared with any electrically connected storage.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @08:43PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @08:43PM (#596447)

            It breaks down like this:

            The small run cost of professionally packaged tapes is (ballpark) $2 each.

            This number does not change substantially as your volume picks up.

            The small run cost of professionally packaged (in this case often meaning an imprinted design) USB devices starts at around three times as much.

            Just the USB sticks themselves in bulk packs cost about as much as professionally packaged tapes, unless you're buying them by the truckload.

            CDs are dirt cheap - but only as long as you're making enough to spread the cost of printing (the break-even point compared to tapes is about 1000) or otherwise you're getting a lower-quality burned product, rather than stamped.

            Until you're getting 1000 items in one batch, tape is still the cost king.

            If you don't care about hardware to actually be a physical connection with your fans, soundcloud it up. But it doesn't work as well for that personal connection.

            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday November 13, @09:15PM (3 children)

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:15PM (#596465) Journal

              The small run cost of professionally packaged tapes is (ballpark) $2 each.

              No its much closer to $10 for small runs (say 100). Ant that's one sided, plus one sided art work on the tape box insert and generic printing on the cassette itself.

              The only thing you can get for $2 is unlabled tapes, one-sided, case is extra, quality extremely questionable.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
              • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Monday November 13, @09:23PM

                by EvilSS (1456) on Monday November 13, @09:23PM (#596467)
                ronaldrecords.limitedrun.com/ordertapes

                store.crypticcarousel.com/collections/cassette-manufacturing/products/100-duplicated-cassette-tapes-with-j-cards-shell-print-or-labels-cases

                www.audiogeography.com/tapes/

                Just a few quick google searches. Did you go out of your way to find the most expensive options to make your point?
              • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Monday November 13, @09:32PM

                by EvilSS (1456) on Monday November 13, @09:32PM (#596477)
                Or here: http://www.duplication.ca/quotes/canada/english/cassette-packages.php [duplication.ca]

                Dual side, 24 min per side, pad printed both sides (white print, standard art, single hit), j-card, shrink wrapped. 100 for $301 USD or $3.01 per cassette. Far cry from $10.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:13PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @10:13PM (#596512)

                Wow, you're surely skipping a decimal place there.

                But you know what? It's cool. If you'll pay that for tapes I'll gladly handle all the administrivia for you, and do it at a good bulk rate. What say, $8 each? You'll love that 20% discount!

          • (Score: 2) by number11 on Monday November 13, @09:24PM (2 children)

            by number11 (1170) on Monday November 13, @09:24PM (#596468)

            And how the hell do these fans play these cassettes anyway? I haven't even seen a cassette player in years, except maybe at the museum

            Geez, maybe I should charge admission to my living room. I don't use them often, but I've got both a dual cassette player/recorder and a turntable. And while tape does deteriorate (to prevent print-through you need to play it to the end without rewinding occasionally), vinyl will still be working long after bit rot has eaten your CDs. Just because you're too young to have experienced bit rot on your Justin Bieber CDs, the time will come.

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13, @09:28PM (1 child)

              by Grishnakh (2831) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:28PM (#596471)

              Bullshit. I have CDs that I bought new back in 1990 and they still work just fine. I've never seen a CD (the aluminum kind) die from bit-rot, though I've read reports of some having problems, probably from bad batches.

              CD-Rs, on the other hand, are another matter altogether. I have gold ones that still read fine, but I have dyed ones that are dead.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @06:11PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @06:11PM (#596889)

                This is a pattern common to almost all consumer goods.
                The first ones are usually very well built but very expensive (barring the very, very first ones which might be a little temperamental).
                At the midpoint of the product's life cycle, the quality has dropped a bit to still good enough to do the job, and price drops as well. For most purchasers, this is the golden age of the product: affordable, ubiquitous, and decent quality. Towards the end of the product's life, price is the sole criterion for purchasing one brand over another. Strong competition means price is quite low. Unfortunately, to still make a profit, quality is what has to give. At this point, the products from any manufacturer are junk, and quality simply cannot be found in that type of product.

                All long winded, but I say that to explain myself when I say that CD-Rs and 3.5 inch floppies were actually pretty reliable until the end of their product lifecycle.
                At that stage, they were unreliable trash. But so cheap! >:-(

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:55AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:55AM (#596630)

          Thanks. That makes sense. I had a feeling my understanding was limited. I hadn't considered the physical item bit.

    • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Monday November 13, @08:02PM

      by EvilSS (1456) on Monday November 13, @08:02PM (#596415)
      Well despite the vast weight of your two kid's purchasing decisions on the market, the year-over-year sales have increased for the last two years in a row.
  • (Score: 2) by jimtheowl on Monday November 13, @07:08PM

    by jimtheowl (5929) on Monday November 13, @07:08PM (#596380)
    I do not own a TRS-80 specifically, I do own quite a number of legacy systems and have kept a number of cassette of tapes for that exact purpose. I also own modern attachment to most of these machines that can use SD or flash cards, but being able to use and demonstrate the original equipment adds to the experience, especially for those who might have never seen one.

    I do know at least one person who does audio mixing for a hobby and is obsessed with them. I for one am more into Vinyl, but that doesn't work for those who count audio mixing as a hobby.
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:14PM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:14PM (#596385)

    Crap! Where am I going to store my TRS-80 programs now?

    Get with the time, fool. Cassette tape is like so yesterday. Floppy disks are where it's at. They even make the small 5" ones now. 3M is a good brand.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:20PM (9 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @07:20PM (#596387)

      And you can use a hole punch and flip it over to double the capacity!

      • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Monday November 13, @07:48PM (8 children)

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @07:48PM (#596406)

        Serious question: were there 8" flippy disks, or did that only happen with the 5 1/4" variety?

        • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Monday November 13, @08:15PM (2 children)

          by inertnet (4071) on Monday November 13, @08:15PM (#596425)

          I doubt that, because 8" existed practically only in the professional realm. The personal computer market only took off after 5 1/4" disks were already on the market, as far as I can remember. Those drives were already extremely expensive so nobody would buy a more expensive 8" drive just for a hobby.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday November 13, @09:25PM (3 children)

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:25PM (#596470) Journal

          Yes there were 8 inch floppies and pc-accessory drives for them.
          These were used for data-entry (key-"punch" replacement) and, for a while, you could by 8 inch drives packaged as externals for PCs.

          Some are still available on Ebay.
          https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shugart-8-SD-Floppy-Drive-model-901-motor-tested-44-pin-connector-input-115VAC-/200944527631 [ebay.com]
          https://www.ebay.com/p/NEC-Model-Fd1165-fq-Floppy-Drive-8-Disk-Vintage/1587067061?iid=122153925053 [ebay.com]

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Monday November 13, @09:31PM (1 child)

            by inertnet (4071) on Monday November 13, @09:31PM (#596476)

            Yes, but the question was if they were used as flippy disks (cut a hole and use the flip side).

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:47AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @08:47AM (#596715)

              From the Wikipedia picture, the 8 inch floppies didn't have the hole in the first place, so that wouldn't be necessary.

              It does however have the index hole, so you wouldn't be able to flip it in any drive that uses the index hole. Note that this wouldn't be possible with a 5 1/4" disk either, but some home computers (e.g. Commodore) used "soft sector" formatting, which didn't use the index hole.

              (The index hole is the little round hole near the center, where as the hole you talk about cutting is the write protect hole, which is the square notch on the side.

          • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday November 13, @10:12PM

            by mhajicek (51) on Monday November 13, @10:12PM (#596511)

            I have a stack of 8" floppies on a shelf somewhere.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday November 13, @09:31PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13, @09:31PM (#596475)

          Yes, they did. I used them for about 1 year while in Uni.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bob_super on Monday November 13, @07:29PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Monday November 13, @07:29PM (#596396)

    I told you darling. That giant box of old tapes in the basement is gonna be worth all those times it fell on you!
    And YOU wanted to throw it away, ten years ago!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @08:06PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @08:06PM (#596418)

    First off, 1960s tech is far better than the modern stuff anyway. Look at the autos from that era; they'll outlast anything produced today.

    Secondly, if there's money to be made in it, they'll make more.

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday November 13, @08:37PM (5 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday November 13, @08:37PM (#596442)

      Look at the autos from that era; they'll outlast anything produced today.

      Magnetic tape won't last however, just go and try to listen to that Def Leppard cassette you thought was so cool* in 1983.

      That is one of the reasons everyone converted their video tapes to DVD, quick before the signal disappeared.

      * It wasn't.

      • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Monday November 13, @09:06PM (3 children)

        by cmdrklarg (5048) on Monday November 13, @09:06PM (#596460)

        I bought it once on LP, 3 times on tape (car radio liked the taste of tapes, yum yum), and finally on CD. Yeah, I'm a fan. :)

        --
        THE SOFTWARE, IT NO WORKY!
        • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday November 13, @10:09PM (1 child)

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday November 13, @10:09PM (#596506)

          Congratulations!!

          You are now entitled to pirate that album as many times as you like.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:05AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:05AM (#596727)

          So after your car radio ate the tape, or at least after it ate the tape for the second time, it didn't occur to you that you might just make a copy of it onto blank tape and use that in your car?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:02AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:02AM (#596726)

        That is one of the reasons everyone converted planned forever to one day convert their video tapes to DVD

        FTFY ;-)

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Monday November 13, @10:34PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) on Monday November 13, @10:34PM (#596525)

      Look at the autos from that era; they'll outlast anything produced today.

      My experience:

      A 1966 family station wagon. (Chevy) Gives good service for years, with good maintenance. Croaks at 13 years at almost exactly 100,000 miles. It suddenly all goes bad at once. Multiple problems.

      A 1977 family station wagon. (Chevy) Gives good service for a few years. Croaks at about 5 years. But this seemed to be par for all Detroit vehicles from the late 1970's. Almost as if designed to fall apart.

      A 1990 Honda Accord. Goes 25 years. Rust starts to be the biggest problem. A/C broke -- to expensive because fix would require major upgrade. Still has lots of power and runs great. Practically wants to leap off the road when you mash the pedal. Gave it to a friend. It was just so old, needed suspension work, and I was at the point of not wanting to invest much more in it.

      A 1997 Honda Accord. Still drive every day. Over 240,000 miles. Runs great. Put all new tires a few years ago. Earlier this year about $400 of exhaust work.

      A 1998 Saturn. POS. (And I don't mean point of sale.) Still runs. But what a junk. Gave to daughter after getting new tires and a bit of work.

      On that 1977 station wagon, there were various minor defects from the factory, little things, that you would never see in a Honda or Toyota -- in my experience.

      Maybe American cars were made better in the 1960's compared to anything else in the world -- at that time. But geez, they really screwed themselves in the late 1970's when everything on the road was redesigned for tighter emissions standards. At that point the only vehicles worse than Detroit vehicles was, I suppose, the Moscovite.

      No wonder GM went bankrupt.

      As for cassette tape. In high school (late 1970's) we had a Wang 2200 BASIC computer. It needed these very special, very expensive cassette tapes. It had a 9-track head, and recorded data / programs across the full width of the tape in one direction only. No flipping the cassette. I discovered that I could get the Radio Shack 15 minute cassettes -- and they apparently had just think enough tapes, that they worked. Pretty well. The math / computer / science / physics / chemistry teacher loved my discovery. The school could afford to supply everyone with one tape. Sorry I can't remember how RS branded these cassettes at the time. But it was a letter followed by the number of minutes. Like a C-15. C-30. C-45. C-60. C-90, and C-120. Those C-120's were very prone to jam due to thin tape. The C-90's worked okay in high-speed cassette duplicating machinery in 1970's small church. And that cassette duplicator had the fastest rewind I had ever seen. Electronically controlled. It slowed down deliberately as it reached the end of the rewind. I'm sure that kind of thing was much more common in the 1980's. But impressive in the 1970's. Especially to a teenager.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:08AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @10:08AM (#596728)

        But what a junk. Gave to daughter

        I see, you don't like your daughter. ;-)

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 14, @02:07PM

          by DannyB (5839) on Tuesday November 14, @02:07PM (#596788)

          Everyone gets a junk car as the first car they are expected to wreck.

          Most importantly, it runs.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @08:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, @08:24PM (#596431)

    All my mix tapes done gone, I will never pass them on to my grandchildren

  • (Score: 2, Touché) by Zedrick on Monday November 13, @08:26PM (1 child)

    by Zedrick (2648) on Monday November 13, @08:26PM (#596432)

    "planning to build the U.S.'s first high-grade tape manufacturing line in decades."

    "Crap! Where am I going to store my TRS-80 programs now?"

    uh, how about storing them on some of the new high-grade tapes they apparently are going to make in the near future. You know, the stuff they talk about in the article you are linking to?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:59AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @02:59AM (#596634)

      Encode them as FLAC. Then you can play the audio back through an emulator that also outputs it to speaker for extra nostalgia.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @12:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, @12:50AM (#596585)

    It's all good. They can just switch to VHS.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by RedBear on Tuesday November 14, @07:35AM

    by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 14, @07:35AM (#596702)

    A sort of geeky British YouTuber who has become quite popular did a couple of different videos about how formats like vinyl and Phillips compact cassettes were actually capable of sounding much better than most people remember. You might have heard of him, he goes by "Techmoan". Funny guy.

    I'm not interested in going back to collecting cassette tapes, but it was fascinating how he demonstrated that good quality Chrome tapes recorded with the last generation Dolby S noise reduction (which was only available on a few higher-end decks at the end of the cassette era) yielded a noise floor and dynamic range virtually indistinguishable from CDs. He did something similar with vinyl. We think of cassettes as sounding bad because the players were cheap with poor speed control and the cassettes mostly used cheaper ferric tape with higher inherent noise.

    He's done a whole series of videos about obscure retro audio and video formats, how good they were (or weren't), and why they ultimately failed in the marketplace. Always very well researched and surprisingly interesting even if you initially think it wouldn't be. I recommend the channel for anyone with the slightest interest in retro electronics and such.

    Should I let you discover the hilarious puppet shows after the credits on your own? Yeah.

    --
    ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
    ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
  • (Score: 1) by clickclickdrone on Wednesday November 15, @09:29AM

    by clickclickdrone (6776) on Wednesday November 15, @09:29AM (#597226)

    Despite comments to the contrary, cassette is definitely a huge growth area. Loads of small independent bands (and a few mainstream ones) are releasing albums or singles on cassette. I'm in a band and we're being asked for cassette releases to go with the CD/download/USB releases. A few of our local record shops are starting to have dedicated cassette sections too, along with the vinyl and CD ones.

    As far as quality goes, on a decent deck (and there are loads on eBay) cassette can sound really good but alas, due to the resurgence, used prices are starting to rise again. Getting good blanks is the chore though and unopened ones go for silly money on eBay, especially TDK metal or SAs so most people buy batches of used ones.

    Just because your not aware of it, doesn't mean it's not been happening for a while.
    https://www.whathifi.com/news/cassette-tape-album-sales-grew-74-in-2016/ [whathifi.com]

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