Saturday, May 27, 2006

Macworld: News: Apple loses court appeal against online journalists

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Good news. Apple lost their appeal in their lawsuit against bloggers.

For those who were unaware, several rumor-oriented web sites posted information about an Apple project code-named "Asteroid". The sites posted drawings that were allegedly stolen from Apple, in violation of non disclosure agreements.

The owners of the web sites never signed any NDAs, of course. They were given the documents by people who took them from Apple (or from people who got them from people who got them from people who took them from Apple....)

Anyway. Apple filed several "john doe" lawsuits against the unknown parties that leaked the documents. Then they tried to subpoena the web site owners for the identity of their sources. The site owners refused, citing California's shield laws that guarantee the media the right to protect its sources. Apple countered by claiming that these are not legitimate news sources.

Well, the judge upheld the web site owners. Media is media, and journalists of any caliber can not be compelled to reveal their sources.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm on LJ too!

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I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and host a LiveJournal page in addition to this one.

The main reason for the LJ page is because lots of my friends have LJ pages, you have to post comments as "anonymous" if you don't also have an LJ account. (You can also use an "open ID", but I don't think Blogspot has an OID server, and many of my friends' LJ pages don't allow posts from OIDs anyway.) I also want to be able to see my friends' "friends only" postings.

Anyway, I expect to keep both blogs going. This one will be mostly for when I feel a need to comment on a news/product/whatever web page, since the "Blog This" button on my Google toolbar is incredibly convenient. I also plan on using this one for any long original works (like some of my commentary on the computer business or discussions on security systems.)

I plan on using the LJ page for more silly nonsense (like the "star trek character" poll) that will be of possible interest to my friends but of absolutely no interest to the world at large.

So now you know about it. Go create yet another bookmark.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What Star Trek character are you?

1 comment:
Here's mine:

Your results:
You are Geordi LaForge

Geordi LaForge
Jean-Luc Picard
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Mr. Scott
Will Riker
Deanna Troi
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Sulu
You work well with others and often
fix problems quickly. Your romantic
relationships are often bungled.
Click here to take the "Which Star Trek character are you?" quiz...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The next generation of TV

I just ran across this article from Canon (see above link.)

All TV technologies have some key problems with them:

  • CRTs are heavy, use a lot of electricity, and have a practical size limit. The largest widescreen CRTs I know of are 34". The largest 4:3 aspect CRTs I know of are 40". This is a nice size, but is small compared to what other technologies can provide.
  • Internal projection systems (CRT, DLP or LCD) can go to huge sizes, but there are brightness problems. Images tend to dim-out if you watch the screen from an odd angle. CRT-based projectors often suffer from burn-in, so they create problems for video games and those TV channels (like news channels) that have tickers and static images on-screen for extended periods of time. Replacement projector bulbs (for DLP and LCD units) can be expensive.
  • External projection systems (LCD and DLP) can be projected to humongous sizes, but you need a place to put the screen, and the projector needs an unobstructed view of that screen. Lenticular screens (that give you maximal brightness) tend to dim-out when seen from odd angles. And replacement projector bulbs can be expensive.
  • Plasma screens look great, but they can suffer from burn-in. They also tend to lose their brightness and/or focus after a few years. Considering how expensive these screens are, I can't see myself ever buying one. (But if you want to give me one for my birthday, I won't refuse to use it.
  • LCD screens look great (and modern units don't have the off-angle fading and color distortions that were a problem in the past), but they can be very expensive. Especially at very large sizes.
Well, canon has solved these problems with their SED technology.

SED can be thought of as the successor to CRT technology. A traditional CRT has a screen coated with phosphors that glow when hit by an electron beam. An electron gun at the back of the tube beams electrons at the phosphors to light them up. Deflector magnets bend the beam so it can hit more than just the phosphors directly in front of the beam. Circuitry manipulates the deflectors so the beam scans over the entire phosphor-surface 60 times per second (or faster, depending on the refresh rate), producing the image.

This is the reason CRTs can't get much larger than they are now. When the screen gets larger, you need more distance between the electron gun and the screen, since the deflectors can only bend an electron beam so far before it loses focus. Increasing the distance from the gun means you need more electricity (since the beam has a longer distance to travel), and it means the TV will get larger.

With SED, they eliminate this problem. Instead of a single electron gun, producing a beam, there are millions of micro-size electron-emitters. One for each pixel. Since each one beams its electrons straight ahead, there is no need for deflector magnets, and no need for a great distance between the emitters and the phosphors. The result is a screen with all the brightness, color definition, and off-angle quality of a CRT, but completely flat, and with lower power consumption. And there is no technical reason why SED panels can't be made as large as plasma screens - which means pretty much any size the public will be willing to buy.

I can also see these replacing LCDs as the display of choice for computers. Especially for graphic professionals. Large flat screens without all the contrast and color issues that professionals have with LCDs.

This tech is still experimental, so I don't know when we'll see commercial products, but hopefully it will be soon. This seems to me that it will end up being the best of all worlds (unless you want the wall-filling image size of an external projector, of course.)