Eras End

"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Save the Day and Vote

Below is a new video from Joss Whedon and friends of Joss (which basically means bunch of movie and TV celebs) that are attempting to encourage people to actually vote this upcoming November. While not explicitly said, they are asking people to not just complain about Trump and his vile talk but back it up with action. Simple action. Called voting. Something millions have died to protect and yet hundreds of millions of Americans avoid doing. To me its not a choice of Trump or Clinton but a choice of For Trump or Against Trump. If you are for Trump, the choice is simple and you will likely vote. Republicans have never had that problem. If you are against Trump, you have to vote for Clinton. You do not have to like it, you do not have to proud of it (I am not), but you have to recognize that not voting is a vote for Trump as is voting for one of those third party candidates whose chances of winning the election is about equal to you and every single member of your family winning the lottery in the same week despite none of you buying lottery tickets. Until then see the video below and keep and eye on for future vids.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Shiva Ayyadurai Did Not Invent the Concept of Email

Below are two story removed by Univision due to possible litigation with Shiva Ayyadurai whose assertions have not reached a historical consensus. Ayyadurai claims he invented email. The article makes a good case on how he did not. Or at least he was not the first. At most he can claim to have invented the word "email".

It likely is like the case as with other inventions. For example the inventor of the airplane is credited to the Wright brothers for their flight on December 17, 1903 while Brazil considers Alberto Santos-Dumont to be the "father of flight" for his airplane invention that flew on October 23, 1906. Chances are he had no clue of Wright brothers work and so independently invented the airplane. He could accurately claim, based on his knowledge at the time, to be the 1st to fly. Except he wasn't.

Just like Ayyadurai probably had no idea that sending electronic messages from one device to another via a network already existed when he independently created his program called "email." It doesn't change the fact, as indicated by the links below, that he was not the first and thus should not credit no matter how desperate he is to make it happen (100+ websites? really?) and apparently is willing to sue to force history to align to his viewpoint. Sadly the law isn't about justice or being right, it is often just about those with the will and means (aka money) to fight regardless if the fight is worthy or not.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Apple Announces the iPhone 7

Yesterday Apple official announced the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch 2. In short, as rumored, they have eliminated the headphone jack in favor of bluetooth solutions, a dongle, and waterproofing the device. To early to say if the trade off is worth it. In general, just like in the last few years, all the devices are just the usual incremental improvements in CPU, camera and other features. If you are currently using an iPhone 6, the bump to 7 is minor at best but for older devices you might see a real improvement in overall quality. One thing to consider is how often you use wired headphones. If you almost never use them, then the iPhone 7's lack of headphone jack probably will not matter to you but otherwise its something you will need to consider in your upgrading decision. I signed up for the iPhone upgrade program last year but the differences are so minor that it doesn't seem worth bothering with. I can easily get three years or more out of my iPhone 6. While I use bluetooth devices heavily, I also do occasionally switch to headphones either out of convenience or because of dead batteries so the lost of that port is actually giving me pause. Maybe once can touch and feel it in a store I can make a final decision. Below is the highlights, click the links for more details.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- Headphone jack removed: replaced with an adapter that plugs into lightening port (replacement dongles are $9) with expectation of users moving to Bluetooth for sound needs

- Home Button Removed: replaced with Force Touch sensitive spot that acts as the home button

Sony Reveals the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro

After months of speculation, yesterday Sony finally revealed their new Playstation 4 hardware. Previous codenamed Neo, the PS4 Pro is essentially a 4.5 version of the hardware. It still plays existing PS4 games, still plays Blu-rays, but under the hood it has a much more powerful processor and graphics chips. The result is ability to play games in 4K resolution, assuming you have a TV that displays at that resolution (most TVs currently are 1080p which is equivalent of 1K. In addition this will allow those interested in playing in the virtual reality space to be able to do so without having to drop some money for a new desktop computer setup that would be necessary to handle the burgeoning technology. Because of that new power, it means that existing games will get a bit of a graphical bump in quality when playing on it while future games will be able to take full advantage of the new hardware, at least up to a point as the games are required to be playable on the PS4 Slim also.

As for the PS4 Slim, its what the name suggests. Just a smaller version of the current PS4 console. Its actually official name is simply the "PS4" since it will be replacing the current model. Same chip specs, same graphics, same capabilities just in a smaller device that uses less power and runs a bit quieter. The key difference between the two comes down to graphical detail. If you love crisp details in your games, you want the pro. If you don't care or phone and handheld graphics have long suited you without much thought then the $100 price difference and it being about the same size as the regular PS4 may make it not worth it to you to upgrade. If you already own a PS4, the Slim also may not be worth it unless you really need to take advantage of its smaller footprint, less noise and power usage.

One caveat of weirdness is while both systems will be able to display HDR videos. However while only the Pro does 4k, it cannot run 4K Blu-rays. Therefore if you want to watch 4K videos on the PS4 Pro, you will have to stream it and since those files are enormous, be aware that means if your ISP has data caps, it could become a problem. Sony has not explained why they have chosen this rather odd hardware limitation considering the specs of the machine.

The price of the PS Slim is $299 with 1TB hard drive, set for release on September 15th. The PS4 Pro will be released on November 10 for $399 with 1TB hard drive. You can pre-order the PS4 Pro now.