Sunday, November 19, 2006

HDTV 720p, 1080i

It's 2006. There's a lot of product shipping right now in the HDTV market, and a bunch of people who are buying in early are going to be unhappy.
1080p is the full HDTV resolution that is supported by BluRay and HD-DVD. It looks totally awesome. It is supported on the PS3, since it's BluRay compatible.
One of the amazing things about the pace of tech progress is that often times the next generation of product will arrive at the same price point as the previous generation. Right now you can get a generous 42" 1080p monitor with HDMI and/or DVI input for under $1500. That's actually less than many of the 720p or 1080i monitors I've seen at the same size.
Early adopters usually expect to bear the brunt of the costs for new tech, but now that the 1080p monitors are available many of them will choose to upgrade from their previous 720p LCD or plasma selections. Someone who's considering getting one now shouldn't consider getting the lower resolution because they'll only have to upgrade later and pay the same price twice.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The browser Firefox is getting a lot of attention lately because they've asked the Ubuntu people to stop shipping their modified version with the "Firefox" symbols. Ubuntu will be naming it "IceWeasel".

Not everybody remembers that there used to be a Firesomething extention for Firefox that allowed you to change the program name, or for it to change randomly. It can be a lot of fun. The developer has stopped supporting it, but apparently the extension can be modified to work with version 2.0, so we can have the fun all over again.

The joke here is that the Firefox team had to change the name a couple of times early on, so as not to conflict with extant products.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Toynbee idea

As long as I'm blogging about Enigma, I may as well add another. Have you heard about Toynbee tiles? They're laid in streets all over the world, and one of them once nearly killed me. I was crossing a busy street and there in the asphalt was the sign:
IN KUbricK's 2001
Struck dumb for a moment as I unravelled the meme, a bus almost smashed me.

Anyway, if the story intrigues you, you can check out the article on Toynbee at Wikipedia, read some of his works at Project Gutenberg, or (extra credit) find page 22 of the Feb 4, 1958 issue of The Atlanta Constitution. For sharing the enigma, you can as usual get themed merch from CafePress.

Where in the multiverse is John Titor?

John Titor was a poster on Usenet many years ago, who claimed to be from the future. His story remains an enigma. You can read more about him on Wikipedia.

If you're so inclined, you can buy John Titor themed stuff from CafePress. It's the kind of inside joke that takes a special person to appreciate. What intrigues me about the story is that I learned programming on an IBM 5100 and was familiar with some of the material discussed. I think I read some of his articles when they first appeared.

Discover the GRAIL

GRAIL is the Graphics and Imaging Laboratory of the University of Washington's Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

What's interesting about it is that they have a lot of papers available on computer science as applied to graphics.

Music from math

The application of math in music is an interesting concept with a long history. Rather than bore you with it, let me suggest Wolfram Tones as a primer.

This website has a number of generators that let you create music. It's done by the people behind Mathematica. One cool feature is that once you've found or made a composition you like, you can send it to yourself as ringtone.