When does video resolution make a difference?

[via The New York Times]

1080p Does Matter – Here’s When (Screen Size vs. Viewing Distance vs. Resolution)

This is a nice, simple, explanation of how the interaction of screen resolution, screen size and viewing distance all come together around the perceived quality of the TV image. The practical upshot is that maybe you don’t need the full 1080p unless you want to move your chair up to a couple feet from your TV (which just happens to be how you’ll see the set in the showroom).

Wow! UrbanGhost.com

UrbanGhost.com

These is a photoblog from an Toronto based guy who calls himself the UrbanGhost, almost exclusively of people, going about their lives. It reminds me of some of my favorite photos from Gary Winograd. Just awesome site.

Dear Microsoft Entourage Team

I h8 you.

Sure, I have a lot more e-mail than most folks, and I understand that performance might be affected by the quantity, and for the most part Entourage still works pretty good with 200,000+ email messages (except where it hangs for 15 minutes at a time while it is doing something once in a while), but when I actually try to do the good thing, and start deleting mailboxes full of messages, it isn’t cool for you to hang there, deleting 40 messages an hour for HOURS. So, now I gotta delete messages in small batches so as not to upset whatever delicate balance there is in your poorly written software.

I guess the Entourage software interview process doesn’t include corner cases, huh?

[Update 2.24.07- Macworld finally provided a fix]

Why I sometimes hate Christmas

The flipside of the Seatac Airport Trees incident is the right wing’s continual battle against the non-existant War on Christmas. So the LA Times points out that this is really a nice cash making scheme for at least some on the right: ‘War on Christmas’ has a new jingle: money.

Now, as a Jewish person who grew up in an incredibly Jewish area, I used to get offended by those determined to ignore the non-Christian population of the world. Maybe because I’ve gotten older or maybe because I’ve been living in an area insensitive to Jewish culture (but not very Christian either) for the last dozen or so years, I’ve gotten used to the idea that many people don’t really have the religious connotations about Christmas that I have.

Then the “War on Christmas” comes up again, where the right wants to make sure that it is CHRIST MASS and not Christmas, and then I hate it all over again, and some store clerk wishing me Merry Christmas gets my wrath.

Wow, this seems to bug me every year: 2004, 2005

Maybe, feeling ok with it was just ’cause of the Democratic wins this November making me feel less under attack.

So to all my fellow chosen folk, Happy Belated Chanukah!

For everyone else: Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Enjoy Saturnalia, congradulations on the Solstice and whatever else anyone may dig this time of year…

Sony, you disappoint me

Back in 2000, I was looking at the coming technological convergence centered around the living room.

At the time, you had two players, Sony and Microsoft. (Apple hadn’t really entered the picture yet). There was no question who was going to win, it was Sony. Sony had just released the PS2 and it was impressive. There was talk about how you would be able to add a hard drive and turn it into a tivo-like thing. It was ready for the internet. It was going to replace your PC! The PS2 was a PC, but with an operating system tuned to media.

The XBox was also cool, but it was a game machine, and nothing more. Microsoft had released the XBox in a huge push. They knew that Sony was coming after the PC and they had to retaliate (they already had the MediaPC at this point). It is now six years later, and Microsoft is winning, and it is all Sony’s fault. Sony has followed in the immortal footsteps of Netscape, Real Networks and countless others who lost to Microsoft by throwing away their technological lead (rather than having Microsoft beat them). Sony lost before it really got in the game. XBox Live came out and it was sucky, but it got better. The Sony equivalent came out much later and it never got less sucky. Then the PSP came out, which I love, although most hate. I thought that this could have been an excellent move for Sony, but then they didn’t bother making it work with the PS2 or integrate with anything else in their convergence lineup, in fact they used it as an opportunity to foist yet another media type on the world, UMD. How’d that work out for ya, Sony?

Meanwhile, MS pumped out another console. It was another not-quite-there-but-got-better machine. Everyone said that the headstart the 360 had on the PS3 wasn’t going to matter, because the hardcore would wait. And I think they did, for the most part. And then Sony blew it again: a humongo price tag (you thought that the 360 was expensive?!?), half-done software, a new non-industry-standard media type, a trickle of production units, WTF Sony? To be fair, there are some serious issues with the 360 as well; but, by the time the PS3 had come out, Microsoft had fixed a bunch of them.

This irks me, because I really thought that if someone was going to make this work and seemless, it was going to be Sony. They invented the freaking walkman! They work both sides of the aisle, technology and content. They should have won this market years ago. I’m not ready to call them out yet: they are a huge company, they have a lot of compelling products. If they could finally stitch them together seemlessly, they could win. I don’t think they will though.

Now it is up to you Apple. You’ll win… if you don’t do something really stupid…

(disclaimer: I own Microsoft and Sony stock)