Why I’m not interested in 4K television (yet)

I’ve written about my issues with television technology before, and nothing much has changed, except what the manufacturers are pushing. The technology of the moment seems to be 4K UHD.

Let’s back up a step or two and consider the current state of things.

Traditional broadcast and home video equipment in the United States refreshed the screen about 30 times per second. Films typically used a slightly slower rate of 24 frames per second. Both of these are considered by most people to be good enough. Depending on the conditions, though, some people are sensitive to much higher refresh rates. Once you get to 60 Hz (frames per second) a majority of people won’t detect a difference. If you go above 100Hz virtually nobody can.

For resolution, there’s a similar limit. Your eyes can only resolve the individual dots down to about 300 dots per inch. In a typical living room you’re sitting far enough away from the television that you can’t see the difference between 720p and 1080p with a diagonal size of 40-42 inches.

Did this stop the industry from pumping out sets with 240 Hz refresh rates? How about 24 inch TVs with 1080p resolution? Yeah, it’s possible that you’re putting that 24 inch set on the wall next to the kitchen table, and you might be able to justify that, but let’s be honest; it’s a marketing gimmick. “More is always better,” right?

I’m getting long-winded so I’ll just quickly summarize my remaining point: available broadcast and cable bandwidth just isn’t sufficient for a 1080p 60Hz refresh, the current Full HD standard. You need something better than an average Internet connection or a Blu-Ray player in order to view it.

If you’re not even thinking about a 4K set, you can stop here. I won’t be offended. The same goes if you’ve already spent the money on a 4K set. But, if you’re still thinking about it and the calendar hasn’t hit 2018 yet, you might want to give this a read: The industry wants you to go 4K, but the professionals won’t be joining you

It’s alive!

Like a bad penny that keeps turning up, or a movie monster that simply will not die, this blog rises from the grave (again). I’m not making any promises about new content, but at least I’ve managed to clear a few technical hurdles that prevented it from being online.

What does this mean to you? Not much, other than you should have noticed that (a) it’s online and (b) it’s a lot, lot faster (thanks to pfSense and Varnish).

Horton? Is that you?

My, oh my, where does the time go…?

Some thoughts in no particular order:

  1. It’s been a shade past 4 years since my last update here. Coming up in October is 10 years since I set this blog up.
  2. Yes, I’m still alive. Everyone is well, or at least well-ish. Nothing significant to report here.
  3. My wife is amazing. And beautiful. And amazing.
  4. I used to have a cat. He’s gone. I now have 2 cats. They’re funny. I’ll probably have another cat before long.
  5. There’s probably something wrong with me. I have been enamored by JavaScript. <commence hate mail… now>
  6. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram quite readily by simply using my name. Facebook is a little harder, but I hardly sign on there anyway.
  7. Finding a not-ugly, free WordPress theme is something that required a level of attention that my brain is apparently unable to accommodate. Punt.
  8. Wow, writing more than 140 characters at a time is exhausting.
  9. I wonder if Horton can hear me. I also wonder if anyone is still subscribed to this blog. Heh.

The Baltar Who Stole Christmas

From the Spooky Juxtaposition Department…

In Battlestar Galactica (1978), toward the end of The Living Legend, Part 1, Baltar gloats:

Yes… yes! Think of the impression upon the city of Gomorray when they learn that I, personally, led the final assault on Christmas! I mean, the humans!

Yes, okay, I embellished that a bit (though not much). Seriously, now; go check this out on Hulu while the episode is still available. The resemblance is uncanny, isn’t it? It’s like John Colicos studied the Grinch. Freaky.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss, without whom the lives of young children everywhere would be much more standard.

It Works for Bikesheds, Too

Normally I avoid “me too” posts. Sometimes, though, the ideas are so important to people and communities that I care about that I can’t let it pass by without mention.

If you know me, you are probably aware that I’ve been involved with relatively large open source development community for more than a decade. Unfortunately I’ve had to limit my more recent involvement for one fundamental reason: with somewhat regular predictability a small and fairly consistent group of people either incites or contributes greatly to a pointless, unproductive discussion. The concept of the bike shed is nothing particularly new; neither are the ways to deal with them, at least in concept. All we need is someone to adapt the general principle to our modern mode of distributed interaction – indeed, someone like Alex Payne:

Set emotion aside, and think how much we could accomplish if we had the humility and grace to learn from our peers.

… and so, without further adieu: Mending the Bitter Absence of Reasoned Technical Discussion

(Thanks to Faried for the link!)

There was still time.

He leaned back, took a long drag on his cigarette, then snuffed it under his heel on the stage. “If they only knew,” he thought. “If they only knew.” You see, what they didn’t know — couldn’t know — is that his once promising career as lounge singer was cut short. Tragically short. He sighed… best not to think about that right now. “So there’s this guy I know, a cabbie,” he continued.

The audience responded with a blank stare. In fact, it seemed as if the funnier his material was, the less they got it. It was funny material. It was good material. He’d saved it for just this kind of night.

When he finally stumbled off stage he knew he’d done this for the last time. “Scotch, neat. Better make it a double,” he told the bartender. The bartender mumbled something unintelligible. It might have been a question. “Yeah, whatever,” he responded. It was time for some serious thought.

What did he want to do when he was a grown up, he wondered? Who did he want to be? One would think that a 42 year old man would know this by now. And yet, he didn’t. Besides, if forty is the new thirty, then surely forty-two is the new thirty-three and one half. There was still time.

The pre-pre-meeting meeting

I hope this is just my imagination:

We need a pre-pre-meeting to discuss the scope of the discussion around the agenda for the meeting. For example: Will we allow discussion about topics that do not directly related to the discussion of the agenda, on the off chance that someone might have a great idea of what to put on the agenda for the meeting? Should we discuss the tools and processes used to build the agenda, or will it be acceptable to avoid that topic altogether by specifying which COTS tools we will use in conjunction with the corporate Policy on Discussions of Agendas for Directed Discussions? Also, will it be necessary to create a pre-meeting glossary of acronyms to distribute together with the agenda?

Then again, maybe it’s not. sigh