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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The Internet

Monday, March 17th, 2008

The Internet… explained.

Farewell to HD-DVD?

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Toshiba expected to announce death of HD DVD tomorrow, stop sales by March

I will be pretty happy to find this out. I’ve liked Blu-ray better since I started with HD months ago. I have about 36 Blu-ray discs and about 16 HD-DVDs. Anyways, we’ll probably know by morning!

My Thoughts On The Apple MacBook Air

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

So, they did it. Apple managed to day to announce a super-thin laptop. So what? That’s cool. Well, there’s some things you should keep in mind before you consider spending $2,000+ on one.

  • ┬áIt’s yesterday’s technology… today.
  • The hard drive is 4200 RPM PATA (unless you blow $999 on the solid state drive with a skimpy 64GB of storage). Even then, it’s probably still parallel ATA.
  • The processor options are 1.6 GHz or 1.8 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo chips. Sure, they got Intel to make them micro-sized, but 1.8 GHz? My laptop is over 1 year old and it came with a 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo standard!
  • Remember there is no built in Ethernet, modem, optical drive. You can get them all externally, for an additional $177.
  • One USB port. This may or may not suit you… but I often need at least 2 or 3. And with the previous bullet… you might want to get yourself a hub.
  • It’s overpriced, in my opinion. My direct comparison would be to a Dell XPS M1330. For $1,650, you get an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz processor, 3GB RAM, 200GB 7200 RPM SATA hard drive, nVidia Geforce 8400M GS 128MB RAM video card. The M1330 also has a webcam built in, as well as 2x USB ports, a FireWire port, a fingerprint scanner, HDMI and VGA ports (no adapters needed), and an 8-in-1 media card reader. You can also get the M1330 with mobile broadband built in. Add on a Dell CompleteCare warranty and all accidental damage is covered. Apple has no such protection plan.
  • There’s bound to be premature problems. When the horror stories start popping up on the web in coming months, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, before you make this overpriced heap of yesterday’s technologies your next laptop, think again. It seems pretty foolish to me to choose this over a Dell XPS M1330. Oh, and did I mention you can get that with accidental damage coverage?

Clips: Watch 3000 Barrels Fall Down In Crysis

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Clips: Watch 3000 Barrels Fall Down In Crysis

Yeah, watch this. This just goes to show how freeking realistic and amazing the Crysis engine is.

Adobe is 25, and I’m still young.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Adobe: The second quarter-century begins

Just think.. Adobe is only 25 years old.. in another 25 years, you won’t even have to “Photoshop” your pictures… they’ll come out of your digital camera as PSDs with layer masks already in place. Imagine PSD as the future camera RAW.

I must admit, I am relatively new to creative design software… compared to some well-seasoned folks. I started out with Photoshop 5 for Windows in 1998 and taught myself enough to make my first band’s DIY CD artwork. I couldn’t imagine doing it with another program. Back then, InDesign didn’t exist. I didn’t know how to use Illustrator. And I didn’t even know what QuarkXPress or PageMaker was. The other graphics program for me was Microsoft Image Composer, which I liked VERY much. It was SUPER easy to do cool things like gradients.

I began doing websites using either notepad or Microsoft Frontpage earlier than that, in 1995. I was in 7th grade. I remember thinking about how cool Frontpage Extensions would be if they really worked. I think they were more of a pain. The other alternative for me was Netscape Navigator and it’s built in editor. It did NOT play well with Frontpage. Framesets were the thing to do then. One of my very first sites somehow has survived the past decade without being touched. You can go look at it here. I have no idea how to log in to change anything, delete the account or whatever. I thought it was history when Yahoo! took over Geocities, but it survived.

And so, in this short time that I’ve been keeping up with Adobe, I have come to realize that it’s not what your software can do, but what your software enables you to do. With Creative Suite 3, I truly find myself concentrating more on what I am creating instead of how I am going to create it. It no longer matters what program I start out in, because workflow is so streamlined that I can work on the same design in multiple applications if needed. That’s what it is all about. I congratulate Adobe on this fine achievement.

And right now, it is 5:16 AM, and I need to be waking up at 7 AM. I tried to go to bed 3 times already, but I suppose my nocturnal self doesn’t want to sleep.

New iSkin Cases!

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

For those of you that don’t know me, I don’t buy an iPod case if it’s not an iSkin. I’ve been getting them since my original 4th Gen and they’ve proved to be the best $30 investments I can get for any iPod.

You can check out the evo4 cases here.

My Geek Rig

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

So, I finally got around to taking some photos of my PC, setup, and accessories as I’ve been saying I would for months now. You’re going to want to visit this Flickr page for some important notes!

The RigLights On, Case OffLights On, Case OnLights off!

LG unveils Voyager to “kill the iPhone”

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

LG unveils Voyager to “kill the iPhone”

Well, that certainly looks a whole lot more practical than the iPhone. Heck, just the fact that it has a freaking keyboard would make be buy one over the iPhone. Unfortunately, I don’t think consumers are smart enough to choose a better, more useful and functional phone over an Apple product.

The Definition of High Definition

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Yeah, I’ve decided to make the dive into high definition movies. For the past couple of years, I’ve watched the format war unfold. I’ve watched companies push HD as the new “must have” in every home. Every LCD or plasma TV you buy has the HDTV logo on it. Some even have spiffy 1080p stickers on them. I’ve tried to ignore most of this media frenzy, while keeping educated about the different technologies, supporting companies, and price trends. While I’m not here to tell you whether Blu-ray or HD-DVD is the best format, I’m merely relaying some thoughts, and my approach.

Being the geek that I am, all I have to do is read the technical specifications of each disc format, and conclude that Blu-ray is clearly the superior of the formats. The simplest form of this comparison is mere the fact that a Blu-ray disc holds 50GB of data in two layers while an HD-DVD disc holds 30GB. To put this in practical numbers, most computer laptops are coming with 60-100 GB hard drives. In 1997, a 9GB hard drive was considered large. A standard DVD holds 8.5GB in two layers.

Logically speaking, the ability for Blu-ray discs to hold more data should translate to higher video bitrates (less compression), more and higher quality audio tracks, and more special features.

So why wouldn’t one just choose Blu-ray? Studio support. Different motion picture companies are backing different formats. This means, by choosing one format, you won’t get to see every movie you want in pristine quality. Until now, choosing both was simply expensive… or may still be expensive depending on your solution needs.

In preparation for Transformers to be released on HD-DVD on October 16th, I pondered a way to get an HD-DVD player without spending $800+. Then, suddenly, I had a realization – The Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on is only $150 if you shop around. It’s just a drive, right? It hooks up USB to the Xbox 360, right? Well, then… the Xbox 360 being a computer that it is, and made by Microsoft… shouldn’t there be a way to make the cheap drive work on a PC? After one quick Google search, I found this site, which proved that the solution works! My order was placed in a matter of minutes.

Now, what to do about those Blu-ray discs? I thought about just sticking with HD-DVD, but realized quickly that there are a lot of movies on Blu-ray only that I would want in HD. After some Google searching, I discovered that Pioneer recently released a Blu-ray drive for PCs that plays (and doesn’t write) Blu-ray for less than $300. You see, until this drive, most Blu-ray drives could also write, but cost more than $800. So, this is a much more feasible solution for me. I’ve decided to get this drive.

You’ll also notice that my HD experience will be solely computer based. My mom bought a nice LG LCD TV not too long ago. However, my position with HD and home theater is that consumers are being misled! Both HD-DVD and Blu-ray output movies in 1080p resolution (1920×1080 @ 60fps) – 2,073,600 pixels. Guess how many pixels are in most LCDs and plasma that aren’t bigger than 50 inches – 1,044,480 pixels. That’s only about 50% of the pixels available in HD!!! Yes, this is better than 345,600 pixels with a standard DVD (720×480), and upgrading to HD will give you about 3X the picture of a DVD.. but for the prices out there on the HD market.. I don’t think consumers are getting their money’s worth yet. Many TV’s say they support 1080p resolution, when what they meant to say is that it can accept (and convert) 1080p. So, the consumer HD market really isn’t that “high definition” at all. It’s kind of “medium definition”.

As a side note, “fps” means “frames per second”. It’s how many still images are lined up and played for your eyes every second of video. DVDs use about 30 per second. Film is about 24fps. High definition material is 60fps. The result is much smoother motion, especially when the camera or action is moving really fast.

With computer monitors, full HD resolution is in closer reach. My two Dell 20″ wide LCDs each have a resolution of 1680×1050. My laptop has a 17″ wide screen with 1920×1200 resolution (which CAN display HD content natively!). So, it seems more logical to me to go with a computer solution. No, I don’t have a 50″ plasma in my room for HD viewing, but I can see much more detail with my 20″ LCDs anyway. Make sense?

So, hopefully, you’ve learned a little bit about HD with this post… and you’ve also learned why I’ve waited until now to go HD.. I’m not saying you should to, but know what you’re buying before you buy!

Digital ’smiley face’ turns 25

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Digital ’smiley face’ turns 25