Is that 16:9 TV truly 16:9 or only 15:9?

Is that 16:9 TV truly 16:9 or only 15:9? And other flat screen observations 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 1.66666667 * 9 = 15 15 <> 16 To get a 16:9 ratio the result should be 16 / 9 = 1.77777778 Which means that with(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 )for 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…

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SPAM keeps rising: Only 11% legitimate email

I’ve said for years that, from my perspective, SPAM accounts for 75% to 95% and in some cases 99.9% of emails received. Finally, the sad truth about how big the SPAM problem really is, is starting to come to light. According to Postini, December last year they found: “81.3 percent of 160,611,437 emails currently processed by Postini per day are spam (that’s 10 of every 12 messages on average) ” and ” The ratio of spam to legitimate email increased from 65 to 80 percent during 2003 ” and now “Of the 10.75 billion SMTP connections received, only 11 percent were legitimate email.” To me, their numbers are far more realistic than the common 50-60% SPAM ratio. What I don’t understand is why the forces that are & the internet industry have such trouble upgrading to a more spoof-proof email protocol, can’t shut down SPAM zombies and can’t stop spammers in their tracks. It’s costing the economy billions of dollars (actually, it does create jobs & revenue in the anti-spam industry). Make the internet environment tighter, secure the mail protocol, make SPAM as illegal as it can get, do the same for SPAM tolerant ISPs & companies and those using SPAM services. You SPAM? Your mail server is insecure? Bye bye connection. Your PC is a SPAM Zombie? Sorry, fix it. ISPs have the capability to check how much email you send, they should use it. You are an ISP that tolerates spammers? Or actually rents bandwidth to known spammers? You’re locked down and we’ll see you in court. Same thing for those using SPAM to promote their product(s), store, service … Of course once that starts, the bad guys will start faking SPAM (!) to get legitimate companies in trouble. But, that shouldn’t be hard to track down. It’s pretty clear that those leading the fight against SPAM know who’s who & where. Fighting SPAM is not impossible, we just need more action.

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12 GB Compact Flash card

If you’re into serious digital photography you have to pre-order a Pretec 12 GB CF card ;) They’re only $14.900! Before taxes. All joking aside, it’s nice to see they are squeezing that much capacity into a compact flash card. Of all camera storage media, compact flash is my favorite and the most economical.

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Canon G5 5MP – Return to Canon

Wanting to grow into a more versatile & better digital camera, we upgraded to a Canon G5 a short while back, and, I have to give it a failing grade. With over a 1000 exposures, I’ve taken enough time for (a) the camera to prove itself and (b) for me to grow into it. I made sure I wasn’t overlooking anything by checking things with the manual. After all it’s a very capable camera with lots of settings. I generally know my way around electronics, cameras & digital cameras, but getting this camera to take a picture was often a nightmare, and then still it wouldn’t have the right focus! Day to day I mainly use P mode -1/3 stop down + manual white balance. On this camera I also used auto mode to complement trying both continuous vs single and center vs evaluative focus in P mode, because I simply wasn’t getting the results a camera of this level should produce. (read more)

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More security risks – not.

I can’t help but laugh and shake my head about some of the technology headlines. A new Intego trojan warning. Do they really need to make a fool of themselves, again?! You’d think they know what is what since they’re in the security business. Let’s see. There is a small applescript file you can download from P2P networks related to cracking Office for Mac, which in fact wipes your home folder. Does that sound like anything virus-, trojan-, whatever-like? Not to me! It’s nice that they alert against such a file but it has zero to do with the virus & security realm. They need a computer dictionary. A new critical wireless 802.11b flaw has been detected at a university. (Ok, you have my attention.) You can disrupt a wireless network with a certain adaptor or transmitter and block communications. Really?! And you need to be at a university to figure that one out? Throw a metal/lead shield around a transmitter and it’ll be mute. Put a more powerful emitter near the infrastructure and it’ll blow the legitimate one out of the air. This has happened with radio communications since whenever. Nothing new. Oddly enough this would only affect 802.11b. Wrong. It affects every kind of radio communication. The only difference is that with 802.11b you can hack the network easier with cheaper tools and then mask the 3rd party router as the one to authenticate with, get people’s NICs, the WEP keys, … and go to work with those later. Old wireless security news in a new jacket. Just two comments ;)

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More worms & phishing

Things just got a little worse, again. Getting a bogus corporate email that your Citibank / Ebay / Paypal / … account has expired / been compromised / … with the kind request to update them; is one thing. Enter SEPUC: You receive a blank email with hidden code that downloads & installs pieces of code on your system which build a keylogger Trojan that transmits your sensitive data nicely back out. Nice! Thing is we had more than a few of those in the past week. Oh, have you heard about the new SASSER? It’s a worm that hits a vulnerable machine, scans the internet for more vulnerable machines, forwards itself without user intervention onto that machine through a windows security hole and then it continues from there. No email involved! Why again do I like using Mac OS X on my primary machine? No, it’s not for some of the features it’s lacking ;) With increasing frequency we find ourselves on the front line, before certain patches and updates have been released. Even with the right tools the security side is a time consuming stressful side effect of Windows computing. I’m starting to see Mac OS X running on C’s desk in the near future (even though her incredimail email client has no Mac brother/sister).

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Virex 7.5 beta

You may have heard that Virex 7.5 beta is available for those who’d like to test it. So, I gave it a whirl for a few days. It’s under NDA, so I can’t disclose anything specific. I’ll just say it’s a step in the right direction, but don’t waste your time & resources. And that you can take very literal. McAfee, my feedback is ready and I’ll gladly consult on a few things as well.

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