Widgets Magazine

Bradford’s Brain Balloons Column #0009 – To Error is Human, to think you got it right takes a computer

Bradford's Brain Balloons - Subtitle is "The soft wear said it is write."
Recently Tim and I were debating about the grammar of a sentence. Yes, that is what we do when looking at the website and looking for challenges that can be improved. While I might be cranky quite often, I do not want to berate and attack people with incomplete data. I took the sentence in question and ran it through the Grammarly service. It is one of the highest rated online grammar checking sites. Sure enough, Grammarly indicated that the phrasing of the sentence was correct. The sentence in question is, “Fall of 2015 Josh Srago, Kirsten Nelson, and I was attending the national sales meeting for AVI Systems, an integrator headquartered in Minneapolis.” Grammarly indicated the word ‘was is correct, both of us thought it should be ‘were’. Changing the sentence to, “During the fall of 2015 Josh Srago, Kirsten Nelson, and I were attending the national sales meeting of AVI Systems, an integrator headquartered in Minneapolis.” changed the results. The word ‘were’ is now correct.

How does this story relate to audio, video, lighting, or control? The point of this parable is that software is very fallible. To trust software without checking the validity or sensibility of a result can often be a problem. Many of us have heard tales of GPS based computer directions gone wrong, the same thing can happen in almost any piece of software.

Many of us use software packages designed for making room measurements. These are great tools to help with compensating for room acoustics and speaker performance. I have seen and heard people watch the screen of the software while measuring the room response. They then adjust the digital signal processor to compensate, using all the filter points to get the line looking like they want. It looks like it sounds great.

Then comes the listening, the results are not very pleasing. But the software says it is right, so it must be. All of the available 256 filters were used. Does it sound good? That can be subjective but we all know that things can sound good or bad. There is the answer that one must consider the variable of where the measurements are being taken. To overly simplify, the phrasing of the overall sentence is the same as the location of a test microphone.

To me it comes down to something Steve Greenblatt and Brock McGinnis have been discussing on Twitter, experience. The software will not always give the desired result. Every so often one should step away from behind the software and listen in the run. Do not be afraid to trust your ears, eyes, and brain to verify what the software is indicating.

Now if you will excuse me, my time measuring software says it is time for playoff hockey. Based on the position of the sun, I find that it is showing a reasonable time value. I just need to edit one of Tim’s blog posts first.
Bradford

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