Tag Archives: resolution

Out with the latin1, in with the utf8mb4

The MySQL database underneath this blog has been using the latin1 encoding since the beginning. However, at some point I started posting with Unicode characters encoded with UTF-8. WordPress dutifully stuffed this UTF-8 data into the latin1 columns without complaint. After all, it’s technically valid, even if it’s nonsense.

This wasn’t a problem until I upgraded to MySQL 8.0. Suddenly, characters in a few of my posts were displaying incorrectly. For example, non-breaking spaces in several posts were no longer invisible, showing up as “Å” in odd places. Characters such as “ö” were obliterated. Worse yet, my posts were a mix of latin1 and UTF-8 encoding.

Thankfully, Nic Jansma developed a solution for this problem some time ago. It’s not completely automated, but it helps. If you do this yourself make sure you run the script against a copy of your database, over and over again, until you’ve resolved all of the problems.

At this point everything has been updated to UTF-8 using the MySQL utf8mb4 encoding. Please drop me a line if you notice anything that looks messed up.

macOS vs. VMware vs. scaled Retina resolution

Here’s a quick tech tip; if you have a macOS (or OS X) virtual machine that you can’t seem to set to a reasonably high resolution, it’s probably because scaled Retina resolution is enabled. The telltale sign is that the actual resolution you see, when selecting the Scaled option in Display preferences, is exactly half of what you’re setting with the vmware-resolutionSet utility, followed by “HiDPI”. The other sign is that while you’re able to see an apparently higher resolution in the Scaled resolution list, selecting it has no effect (though you may see the display momentarily go to a higher resolution and then revert).

Disable scaled Retina resolution by opening Terminal.app and running this command:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver.plist DisplayResolutionEnabled -bool false

Reboot, then set your desired resolution with this command (for example):

sudo /Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Tools/vmware-resolutionSet 1680 1050

If, on the other hand, you’re looking to take advantage of a HiDPI display on your host, simply replace “false” with “true” in the first line and set a resolution of exactly half of the desired resolution (on each axis). Make sure you reboot after changing the DisplayResolutionEnabled property.

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