The myth of the retina display

As more and more Android phones are coming out with high resolution displays, along the same line as Apple's iPhone's Retina Display, many tech journalists are comparing their screens to the iPhone. They're saying thingts like "it's lower than the iPhone, but still above the 'magic' 300 pixels per inch mark".

It's important to note, though, that the 'magic' 300 really isn't that magic at all. In Apple's announcement, although it wasn't on the slide, Steve mentioned that 300 ppi is the human eye's limit to resolve an image at a distance of around ____ inches.
Many people seem to have forgotten this last part, and are taking the number to just be 300 ppi. If we take the definition of a retina display to be a display that the human eye is incapable of resolving at its intended use distance, then for a larger display, such as a tablet or a computer, the required pixels per inch will be lower. In the case of these larger Android tablets, such as the Galaxy Nexus, which is 4.65 inches, compared to the iPhones 3.5 inches, it's probably safe to say that you'll be holding it a little bit further from your face, and thus the required pixel density will be a little lower.  Thus, the difference of 14 pixels per inch makes even less of a difference than it would if they were held at the same distance.
Device Resolution Size PPI
Retina iPhone 960 x 640 3.5” 329.65
iPad 1024 x 768 9.7” 131.96
Double resolution iPad 2048 x 1536 9.7” 263.92
Galaxy Nexus 1280 x 720 4.65” 315.83
Information courtesy of AnandTech and this DPI calculator
 
 
Now, let me consider the rumours of a retina display iPad. If the same pixel density were used for the iPad as the iPhone, 330 ppi, at the same size, the iPad's screen would be a massive 2558 x 1919 However, because the iPad would be held further away, it's probably safe to simply double the iPad's resolution to 2048 x 1536, and call that a retina display. That gives a pixel density of 264, according to this DPI calculator. This not only makes it much easier to achieve (a significantly lower resolution display, which is likely cheaper to manufacture, and would draw less power), but also makes it easier for developers. A simple doubling in size would provide them with the same assistance as they got when the iPhone 4 was released with its retina display.
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If you could go back in time, what would you change?

If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be, and why?

If it’s embarrassing, just tell me a very very general answer. Be as vague (or as specific) as you like. Just leave your answer in the comments, or email me at jimcullenaus@gmail.com. Feel free to be anonymous.

I have a hypothesis, but I can’t reveal it for fear of contaminating the results.

The effect of blogging on people’s writing ability

This is a blog post that originated from when I wrote for The Teen Geek, a website that has now been discontinued. I then cross posted it onto my Tumblr, before I gave up on that service.

This is my first blog post here, and effectively my first ever, so I thought it would be fitting to write a blog about blogging. Or, specifically, the effects that blogging can have on your ability to write.

Probably the most obvious effect it’s going to have is on your grammar—especially with regards to diction and punctuation. It stands to reason that if you are practicing using all those skills that you learnt in primary school, you’re going to get better at using them. If a writer is treating their blog in a formal or semi-formal manner, and doing their best to use correct grammar, then they will gradually, with the help of constructive feedback from their readers, improve in their writing skills.

Writing a blog may also help you with your ability to research and cite information. Another great tool for this purpose is Wikipedia. (I myself write for Wikipedia from time-to-time, and have even created a whole article.)

However, it is possible for blog writing to have a negative effect. This is particularly true if they rely too heavily on spell-check, and the ever-more accurate grammar-checks that modern word processors (such as Microsoft Office Word) have.

I think that it’s important for people to always treat their writing with pride, and no matter what they’re doing, they should try to produce a work of the best quality possible. The only exceptions I see for this are microblogs, where people need to keep the text as short as possible. If people follow this relatively simple rule, they can expect not only to see their writing abilities improve, but also they will likely get more positive reviews, and they will begin to see more traffic.

On the other side of the coin, reading other peoples’ blogs can also help to improve your writing ability in much the same way as listening to a wide variety of music will help a composer, or looking at a lot of artwork from various artists will prove beneficial to an artist.

As blogger and freelance writer Michael Kwan says in one of his blogs, about how to improve your writing:

If all you do is restrain yourself to your own little mental world, you probably won’t improve your writing. In addition to all the writing I do each day, I also do a fair bit of reading. I check out dozens of other blogs on the Internet, I read plenty of tech news through the usual sources, and I check up on the local paper to see what’s happening in the world beyond the blogosphere. Just through pure osmosis, you will start to collect certain ideas and styles that you can integrate into your own writing. This is particularly useful for people who have English as a second language, because it exposes you to the little nuances that they may not teach you in formal English training.

And he is absolutely right. Your writing will improve dramatically if you read other peoples’ blogs—and other forms of writing—because you will take some ideas from the writing of each different person. Gradually you will build up your own writing voice.

As a final point, blogging often will also build your own confidence; if you are getting some good feedback; and this can help you in all areas of life, from your future blogs, to getting a job, to asking a girl out.

Remember to listen to any feedback you get, positive feedback will boost your confidence, while negative (but constructive) feedback will help you improve your writing, so you can do a better job next time.

As this is my first blog, I’m going to request feedback from anyone who reads this. I really do need to know how this is. Any sort of feedback would be much appreciated. The same will apply to any later posts I leave.

I’m still, by the way, interested in any feedback you have on this.

YouTube Easter Egg: Let Google Rick Roll you!

I just discovered a cool little Easter Egg that YouTube has included in its HTML5 version.

By going to http://youtube.com/html5 and joining the experiment, the right click menu on a video will give you the option to ‘Save Video As…’ If you click that option, it takes you to a video of Rick Astley’s song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up, better known as the Rick Roll video.

Why not use this as a clever way to Rick Roll your friends?

Picture instructions on how to join the HTML5 experimentA picture showing the context menu when you right click on a YouTube video

A quick side note, this will only work with videos that do not display ads. The HTML5 player can’t display ads, so YouTube reverts to the normal Flash player, even if you’re in HTML5 mode.

To switch back to the normal Flash mode permanently, just go to the same page, and click ‘Leave the HTML5 Trial’

If you liked this post, please consider sharing it with friends and leaving a comment.

He is an ironman

My dad finished his Ironman in the amazing time of 10:52:12. That’s 10 hours, 52 minutes, 12 seconds.

Ben Turner got 10:26:10, and Wayne was around 10:05. All three of them got amazing times, and I’m sure all their families are extremely proud of them.

This Ironman saw the breaking of a world record. 34 year-old Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium broke the record that has stood for 14 years to set a new record of 7:45:58. That’s nearly 4 minutes ahead of the old record.

All the photos that are going to be uploaded to that location are now at http://ge.tt/84HVxc5

Guten Tag from Austria

Just a quick check in from a café here in Austria.

It’s the middle of my dad’s IRONMAN, and I’m sitting here to upload some photos of the event.

http://ge.tt/84HVxc5 Click that link to see the photos as they upload. Ge.tt is an awesome website for uploading files and sharing them with people. Unfortunately it doesn’t recognise pictures that were taken sideways in the way my camera natively does, as well as the Mac OS, so I didn’t notice this problem until after I had set them uploading.

The IRONMAN organisers have a website where you can track people in the race.

http://ironmanlive.com/tracking.php?race=austria&year=2011

Then enter their last name or number (my dad is 2597), and it will give you their times for each check in they’ve gone through so far.

Good luck to all those still out in their race (that’s everyone at this point, I saw the first runner go past just half an hour or so ago), and I hope everyone has a relaxing holiday 😀

Oh, just remembered. This café is awesome. They use iPads with iBooks as their menu, and they write orders on these little electronic pads. SO COOL!

Problems with WordPress

About two weeks or so ago now, I was working on another blog post about the power of a tool named Prey. Months ago, I created a draft post where I posted a link to an interesting story regarding Prey, and then left for a while.

When I came back to work on it again, I was working for a couple of hours, and I had pretty much finished. I decided it was best to save it, even though I know WordPress should autosave anyway. It was at this point that I experienced a problem… Continue reading