back to article A Shaolin monk, Warren Buffett and a Russian mobster walk into a bar…

Death threats from the Russian mob, a war on Wall Street, Wikipedia puke, Warren Buffett. Where to begin? For years, I've tracked the movements of Patrick Byrne, CEO at online retailer Byrne has a tendency to elevate technology business stories from the mundane to the fantastic. Take, for example, his claims …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Please, oh please, do something about the clipping. If you screwed up in the recording, it's called POST PRODUCTION, people!

  2. Ashlee Vance (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: CLIPPING!!!#@%

    Regrettably, clipping is real tough to fix in post production - at least with my skills.

    The big problem was a software crash with the main copy, which made me use the back-up that's connected to the mixer. Sadly, I obviously had the levels set too high on the back-up machine.

    Am rather inexperienced with this audio stuff, so if anyone has suggestions on fixing clipping in post, please send them along.

    My sincere apologies on this one.


  3. Patrick Byrne

    Ashlee is Flat Wrong About Stormy

    [This story previously characterized Overstock as employing a "former exotic dancer" as an executive. That was a mistake. Patrick submitted the following comment about Overstock Exec Stormy Simon - aka Overstock's Erin Brokovich.]

    Some years ago my friend and colleague, Stormy Simon, put a killer (David Meade) behind bars. For four years the police searched for a witness of whom they knew only a name, “Stormy” (which they mistakenly assumed to be a stripper’s nom du stage: they thus confined their searches to Intermountain strip joints). They never found Stormy, and while Stormy knew some key facts about the murder, she did not know that a murder had taken place (yes, that really happened). Stormy learned only when Meade found her to tell her that if she testified she “would end up face down in a field with a bullet in her head.” At the end of Meade’s trial it seemed certain he would walk out of court a free man, but in a John Grisham-like twist, Stormy surprised everyone by showing up in the courtroom. Her testimony put Meade away for life. She is a hero to the Salt Lake City homicide detectives and prosecutors, one of whom just wrote a book, “Death in a Fish Pond,” the climax of which is Stormy’s out-of-the-blue heroism (the only other witness, incidentally, has since ended up face down in a field).

    The shorts have made legend out of this “ex-stripper executive” story, even though the crux of the story is that it was the police’s mistaken assumption about her name that caused them to miss her in the first place. They know it to be false, yet slimily, they continuously feed it to compliant reporters who dutifully bring it up, often in these “Without any reference to this person’s non-existent illicit past” ways. (For the record, I count several wrigglers and escorts among my friends, consider these women finer human beings than the average denizen of Wall Street, and would have no objection to hiring any of them, but unfortunately, they are all holding out for C-level titles.)

    This introduction contains a grievous error about a wonderful woman.

  4. Stephen Michael Kellat

    Re: CLIPPING!!!#@%

    Clipping is something that cannot be fixed in post. What is beyond 100% in digital audio is gone. Analog could be run to + 5 or + 10 and be used. In digital it is gone as what is captured is all that is captured. You cannot create something out of conspicuous absence. Go look at Rise of the Machines. Considering those stories, do you really want to try to extrapolate stuff?

    If you want an engineering production team, such is available for contract work.

    (Posted by both members of the LISNews Podcast production team)

  5. Patrick Byrne

    Ashlee Vance Is A Classy Guy

    All blame for the misunderstanding rests with me. Ashlee's immediate correction of this point shows immense integrity. Now if only I could get him that iPod order we screwed up three years ago!

  6. Daniel
    Jobs Halo

    true dat

    clipping is chopping the tops off the signal. You cannot recreate it after the fact, if it is bad enough to be audible, any more than you can magically recreate data that you have no backup of.

    problem with recording audio and speech expecially is that levels can easily vary by 20dB or so, so you need lots of headroom when you set levels - if you set the record level so that you peak at say -20 to -30dB, you *should* be OK, but of course people might get excited when you do the show, or whatever. Old style analogue tape recording was much more forgiving in this respect, you can easily go into the red and some even think it sounds better!

    best way is to get a decent compressor/limiter and find out how to set it up so that the analogue signal is prevented from getting into distortion before the converters even see it. It still amazes me that these aren't integrated into digital recorders as standard. (Roland/Edirol do on some of their low end USB converter units)

    Or, I have an old Sony Pro Walkman you could buy ... :-)

    (another old sound engineering type that now does IT for a living ... )

  7. Seán

    Oscars all round

    It's better than No country for old men.

    Step back from the wikipedia, that apple is bitter.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Re: CLIPPING!!!#@%

    "Clipping is something that cannot be fixed in post." While it's not possible to replace lost data in general, it's certainly possible to lessen the aesthetic effects of clipping in post. It's those sharp corners in the waveform that hurt the ears.

    (Posted by the 2,480 members of the Coalition for the Lessening of Intense Pain.)

  10. Richard Henderson

    reduce clipping

    Roll off the high frequencies with a filter, then put an exciter or similar afterwards to give the impression of high frequencies. Will hiss instead of clip, but our ears don't mind that so much. Good luck.

  11. Neural9

    @ Patrick

    Whats a wriggler mate - cant find the slang term on the old itnerweb

  12. Marios Margaritis

    Content lost on audio details

    I like this episode very much, the only one I listened start to finish, even emailed it to friends.

    I wish Patrick Byrne the best of luck in his endeavors. I find we have very similar attitude torwards life.

  13. Trygve


    From context, I'm guessing a wriggler is an 'exotic dancer'

  14. Alan Donaly
    Thumb Up

    Seemed OK to me

    I didn't notice anything annoying in fact it seemed one of the better episodes in terms of audio quality, but then it could just be the way I listen (speakers not headphones ) or the format og though I can't see how that could be.

    What an amazing interview, there is enough material there to keep a journalist in pop-tarts and bottled water for a long time. Nicely done.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A bar, eh?

    They all sit down at the bar. The monk says to Warren Buffett: Silence and abstention from earthly goals are the key to enlightenment. Buffet says - Indeed; I speak very little and still live in a modest dwelling.

    Then the Russian mobster shoots both of them and leaves.

  16. B. Coole

    Hiring People Who Will do Anything For Money

    "I count several wrigglers and escorts among my friends, consider these women finer human beings than the average denizen of Wall Street, and would have no objection to hiring any of them"

    Unless they are repentant about their past, I'd be very wary of hiring someone who has shown that they will do absolutely anything for money to any position of importance. I'm sure they are "resourceful" enough that you can get 10 years if caught.

    That sort of behavior is different from the Wall Street behavior you complain about only in scale and opportunity.

  17. Patrick Byrne

    responses from patrick


    Thanks for your kind words. Glad it was of itnerest. I agree with the commenter who said he thought the sound quality was fine, but I am not an audiophile like so many other listeners apparently are.

    On the "wriggler" front: I think I made that slang up. Not sure. Seems to fit. And the point was not so much to defend their choice of lifestyle (I'm a libertarian, and pretty agnostic about such matters), as to refuse to buy in to the fact that our society denigrates the one but lionizes the Wall Street thief who steals billions. I wanted to defend Stormy without buying into that denigration. That was the best way I could put it.

    Congrats to Ashlee on being among the first to get what is going on.


  18. Paul

    wisdom speech link?

    Could we get a link to the 'life changing' wisdom speech referred to early on in the interview?

    Many thanks to all for what was a fascinating and inspiring interview and best of luck to Patrick in his battle.


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