Tue, 15 Jan 2008

Either It's a Good Fake...

or I know what my next laptop is going to be.

In either case, all doubt will be removed in a few hours when Steve takes the stage.

I'm speaking of the "MacBook Air" which supposedly features a 2.8Ghz Intel Core Duo (40% faster than this laptop), a 60 or 80GB Solid State (!) hard drive, starting at under $2K!

The biggest problem I'd have with that is the 80GB drive, but aside from that, it looks like Apple's got another hit on their hands.

Oh, and one more thing? Supposedly it ships today. We'll see.

Name/Blog: Justin Akehurst
URL: http://justinakehurst.blogspot.com/
Title: Apple Store
Comment/Excerpt: You going to the Southcenter Apple Store today to view the goods (if any) in person? I'll try to be there by 4:30-5 depending on traffic.

Name/Blog: Christine
Comment/Excerpt: ooooh!

Name/Blog: Khan Klatt
Title: Close.. but not quite
Comment/Excerpt: The "2.8Ghz Intel Core Duo" was actually a 1.8Ghz, and the solid state drive is only 64GB, but otherwise this report was largely confirmed today by his Steveness. If I were to buy, I think I'd spring for the solid state hard drive simply because the drive offers increased battery, increased performance, and decreased heat. Reasons I would tend not to buy is that I think I'd like a larger screen than the 13" 1280x800 display.

Name/Blog: Maelyn Arrasmith
URL: maelyn.arrasmith at_sign gmail.com
Title: We all have our reasons...
Comment/Excerpt: but hers are FUNNIER than mine... http://www.iambossy.com/i_am_bossy/2008/01/dear-steve-jobs.html

Sun, 06 Jan 2008

Will Downloads Make the Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD Debate Moot?

I was reading an article written a few days ago about HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray. One of their premises was that the "format war" was moot because "If the market and industry is moving toward HD downloads to a growing number of consumers with broadband Internet access, the outcome for Blu-ray and HD DVD doesn't look particularly sunny."

Clearly this idea is plausible only to someone who hasn't ever downloaded HD content over "broadband Internet access".

I'm told by Comcast that I have a 12Mbps connection to the Internet (sometimes it appears to perform better than that, if the tests at speedtest.net are any indication). Considering that most standard definition DVDs can push up to 5GB of data, it would take, at a very charitable 100% throughput calculation, a full hour for me to download 5GB of data. More likely, because of shared bandwidth, not to mention Internet congestion and that the throughput is likely to be a fraction of what the peak burst capacity of my Internet connection can push, it would take 4-8 hours or more to download a single standard-definition DVD.

When you consider that a high definition disc can hold nearly 10 times the data that a standard DVD can, we're talking four to eight days to download a single HD movie over the Internet. The time to beat "sneakernet" (i.e. shipping the discs from Netflix) stands at about four days, and they can deliver as many movies during that time that you're willing to pay for (and return)-- not just one.

For online delivery of feature-length HD content to become a reality, average household broadband rates would have to double more than twice, and that's unlikely to happen any time soon if recent history is any indicator. Broadband speed has been doubling every 3-5 years, at best, so my bet is that Blu-Ray* (and/or HD-DVD) will be very well established by 2011 to 2013.

(For readers interested in my previous thoughts on Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD, see my blog post from December 2006 called the Format War Myth)

(* I'm bullish on Blu-Ray because I think as PS3 prices drop, it will become the largest single installed high definition disc player, giving Blu-Ray a definite advantage in the marketplace. Recent news from CES, namely that New Line and Warner Bros. are both going exclusively Blu-Ray, do little to diminish my confidence. I also predict that Apple will begin shipping Blu-Ray reader/writers over the next 12 months, and they often followed by commodity PC manufacturers shortly thereafter, just like they were with USB, FireWire, Bluetooth and WiFi)

Name/Blog: Khan
Title: P.S.
Comment/Excerpt: I forgot to mention that even if you were to download the content, there are several practical hurdles most consumers face. First, my relatively-new primary computer only has a 90GB hard drive, and it's about 80% full. Second, once I get it to my computer, the question is, is my primary computer in proximity to my preferred viewing location? Third, does it have high-quality audio and video outputs to compare to HD video content (i.e. HDMI/DVI and DTS/Dolby 5.1 or better audio out?) While some consumers will be able to answer these questions all in the affirmative, most of them, myself included, won't.

Fri, 04 Jan 2008

User Interface Design at a Crosswalk (Finally!)

Have you ever noticed that people who press crosswalk light buttons hit them more than once, and with more force than is probably required? Why?

Well because the button is poorly designed, that's why. You don't know how much force you need to apply to "register" a click, and can't be sure your first push did the trick.

The only thing I find more of a pet peeve "IRL" are poorly designed doors. I'm speaking of push bars installed on doors that need to be pulled, and handles (rather than push bars or a steel push panel) on doors that are designed to be pushed. It's like putting "save" on the button that deletes all your files.

Khan Klatt

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