Nov 28 2004
Is that 16:9 TV truly 16:9 or only 15:9? And other flat screen

Time for a “Buyer Beware”.

Don’t you love
the looks of a big flat screen TVs? Ultra thin yet with a big bold image. After
quite some time on a 14″ home TV and with many advertised specials, it just may
be time to upgrade. While comparing models, I just accidentally discovered that
many advertised Widescreen / 16:9 TV sets are only 15:9.

Yesterday I
saw an 30″ Audiovox 15:9 LCD TV, which made me think (first time seeing 15:9)
“Now why would they make a 15:9 TV while everybody else makes 16:9 sets? It
doesn’t make sense” (apart from a cheaper panel for a cheaper price) The answer
is: “Many larger panels are 15:9, but the companies are not truthful about that
ratio.” And, unless you know about some of the details to pay attention to,
retailers of course will not tell you, because they want to sell that screen
sooner rather than later.

Simple math proves the findings:

TV set X with actual number of pixels shown = 1280 wide x 768 high;
which is the most common flat panel TV resolution.
1280 / 768 =
1.66666667 * 9 = 15
15 <> 16

To get a
16:9 ratio the result should be 16 / 9 = 1.77777778
Which means that
(a) 1280 horizontal pixels you need 720 vertical pixels ( 720 *
1.77777778 = 1280 )
(b) 768 vertical pixels you need 1365 or thereabout
(1366) pixels ( 768 * 1.77777778 = 1365.33 and 1366 / 768 = 1.778 )
true 16:9 wide-screen.

It seems that TV manufacturers use the 1280 x
768 panels produced for computer screens because of their “cheaper” price,
rather than using more expensive (as they are less common) 16:9 ratio panels;
but always advertise them as 16:9 Widescreen.

So, if you are
shopping for a TV now or in the future, you may want to keep the following in
mind: Make sure you’re aware of the Plasma vs LCD advantages & disadvantages
( plasma screens have serious burn in issues and the screen loses half it’s
original capacity in about 4000-6000 hours ), skip EDTV and other low pixel
panels (640×480, 800×600 and what not) etc. If the pixel resolution is not
advertised, ask for it. If the clerk doesn’t know, doesn’t want to say it or
skips the issue with “oh this is plasma, it doesn’t use pixels”, like we heard
today, step away.

Fact is that every pixel matters, most certainly
when you spend anywhere from $1250 to $8000. 20″, 23″, 30″ or whichever size
flat panel TVs with 1280×768 pixels will NOT show a true 16:9 image. The image
will be cropped (= you lose some), stretched (= distorted heads and
other oddities
) or shown with black borders (= isn’t widescreen nice
without the black bord.e..r…s like on a 4:3?! What the? From personal
experience: I don’t like black borders viewing a DVD on a widescreen set

Are there any true 16:9 sets. Yes, there are a few very expensive
1366×768 sets and Samsung makes 1280×720 panels, I believe, in more reasonable

My advice: Wait for the price to come down and let both HDTV
technology mature & 16:9 panels become mainstream before making the
investment in an expensive panel.

Interesting stuff to read so you
can make an informed decision:
buying guide
with How to buy an LCD TV in 8 easy steps
* Plasma TV buying guide with How to buy a Plasma TV in 10 steps ; Plasma TV half-life and Plasma TV burn in
* Plasma vs LCD

Click here to read more …

Nov 27 2004

iceĀ formingAfter photographing some ice formations you have to warm up by the fire and get hypnotized by the flames.

fireĀ flames

Nov 27 2004
I’m afraid this Canon hardware lost one of it’s stars today. There were
already a few things where I thought the 20D could be improved, but those aside,
I’m not exactly thrilled this evening.

Mid and late afternoon I
took a few photos along the road and – unfortunately enough – purple fringing
(a.k.a. chromatic aberration) showed up a few times. I didn’t expect it could /
would be much of problem with this setup. Canon’s latest digital pro-sumer dSLR
with extra algorithms and especially developed lens for dSLRs should suppress
it, right? Not quite.

See Entry URL for the images.

Click here to read more …

Nov 27 2004
Lifli released iBlog 1.4.1, which fixes some outstanding small
issues: jpg attachment preview, extra .jpg files on the iDisk are no more,
support for RSS2.0 with enclosure tags, all templates are visible again, etc and
better menu layout.

Installed the update. No issues noted.

Click here to read more …

Nov 25 2004

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone :)

PS: Who’s getting up early for
the special sales tomorrow morning? Do you have an itinerary of the stores you
need something from?
I don’t need anything really and I’m certainly not
getting up in the middle of the night to drive to the mall 1 hr away so I can
park myself in front of Best Buy in a lawn chair – LOL – but it’s worth an
effort to hit the local Staples (that’s all we have) to grab a few presents.

Click here to read more …

Nov 21 2004
While I appreciate all improvements to Safari, why could they not make
the timeout a customizable preference so all users can have it their way. Short,
standard and prolonged. One size does not fit all.

It used to be 60
seconds, which is way too long for me, so I had shortened it to 15 or 20secs.
Now I may be one of the few people that wanted to shorten it ~ but ~ if it
doesn’t reach anything in 20 secs on my fast broadband connection, it won’t in
60 and I certainly will not leave my system on for hours till it may find
success with the infinity & beyond setting Apple now pushed forward with the
latest Safari update.

If you want to change your Safari

Click here to read more …

Nov 21 2004
Canon EOS 20D & EF-S 17-85 IS USM Lens Kit

The Canon EOS 20D and EF-S 17-85 IS USM are available as a kit,
similar to the kit with the 17-55 EF-S lens already sold with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel a.k.a. 300D, with the
difference that this lens is quite a bit superior (and pricier). Inside the
larger box you find the standard boxes for the camera and the lens atop one
another. No surprises in either. The camera comes with a neck strap, battery,
battery charger, AV cable, USB cable, manuals and software. The lens comes with
the regular caps. One detail is that with an EF-S lens you line-up the white dot
on the lens with the white reference mark on the 20D’s body, which is slightly
to the right of the red mark at the top for standard AF lenses. The combination
does weigh quite a bit. It compares to my older Canon EOS 650 with 70-210 EF
telephoto, which is noticeably heavier than with a 35-70 EF standard zoom.

Three Canon cameras

Click read more or entry URL for more observations, thoughts and

Click here to read more …

Nov 21 2004
Time for a break. From the DIY department: It should be illegal to glue
down a carpet. Especially over beautiful antique hardwood floors. I spent the
major part of yesterday and this morning working on the tiny (25 sq ft?) upper
hallway, tearing carpet pieces up and removing the carpet residue & glue.
Scraping, stripping, sanding like there’s no tomorrow. Why glue it down wall to
wall? Why? … They could have just tacked or stapled it properly along the
edges and it wouldn’t have moved a single mm.

Unfortunately that’s
25 square ft done with several hundred to go, which I’m certainly not about to
start right-away. This was a little test project on the side. I’m hoping a
professional floor sander will go right through that residue, eliminating or at
least minimizing the scraping & stripping phase in the larger spaces.

Click here to read more …

Nov 17 2004
No, it’s not an iPod ;)

It’s not an Apple product either.

It is a …

Canon EOS 20D!

Time for first focus & the maiden
(test) shot …

It is fast! Wicked fast.

(PS: We only put the lights in
the tree the other night, so yes, the tree is rather bare right now)

Click here to read more …

Nov 16 2004
Actually, it’s tomorrow. That’s right. Tomorrow it’s Christmas, and my
birthday, and New Year, and Thanksgiving and whatever other holiday or
celebration comes in the near future, as my combined present for those should be
delivered tomorrow.

I’m pretty excited and nervous. Excited because
I love technology. Nervous because we’ve had a series of bad experiences lately
with a few smaller purchases (some DOA and other quality control issues).
Saturday night I finally bit the bullet. I had been keeping an eye on the
market more than long enough, weighed pros & cons too many times, often
swung back & forth in favor of buying it or not; that I needed a way out to
stop the agonizing. The only way out was to buy the darn thing, which I did on
Sunday. Now I just have to sit and wait for UPS to swing by.

highly doubt it’ll be gift wrapped, but I may just do that when it gets here and
wait till later at night to open it by a glass of champagne.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow it’s Christmas day ;)

Click here to read more …