Samsung SE370

SamsungTomorrow: The Samsung SE370 monitor comes in 23.6-inch (S24E370DL) and 27-inch (S27E370DS) sizes.

Rant: Who comes up with model names like this? What is the logic? Is there a school that teaches how to develop names for gadgets so human beings can understand? If such a school exists it should be mandatory for the Samsung folks responsible for these hideous names to attend such a school. Okay, end of rant.

The SE370 series monitor features an industry first: Qi wireless charging. To charge your wireless charge capable smartphone simply put it on the SE370’s stand. It’s a good idea and helps to declutter your desktop. The wireless charging industry is moving toward a single standard and that should help bring about more gadgets with wireless charging capabilities.

A few specs:

  • Display: PLS (Plane-to-Line-Switching)
  • Viewing Angle: 178
  • Response Time: 4ms
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (typical)

The only downside is the pixel format: both sport 1920×1080. The 27-inch version should be 2560×1440.

I like the color (white) and the slim bezel, but the aqua trim is tacky and has to go. A better name would help too.

The Limits Of Human Vision

Adam Hadhazy, BBC:

A million colours; single photons; galactic realms quintillions of miles distant – not bad for the blobs of jelly in our eye sockets, wired to a 1.4 kilogram sponge in our skulls.

To add a bit of context:

  • Photon wavelengths: about 380 to 720 nanometers
  • Colors: about 1,000,000 (100 color shades per cone x 3 cones)*
  • Sensitivity: one photon
  • Distance: one photon (as long as a photon reaches our retina)
  • Visual Acuity: 120 pixels per degree of arc (fingernail at arm’s length with 60 horizontal and 60 vertical lines)

Our visual system is quite a remarkable design.

* Tetrachromats are people who have an extra fourth cone cell allowing them to perceive 100 million colors.

Why There’s Nothing Quite Like iPhone

Apple:

The fact that there are over a million and a half capable, beautiful, inspiring apps on the App Store. And each and every one was reviewed and approved by a team of real live humans. With great taste. And great suggestions. And great ideas.

And here’s John Gruber:

What irks here, fundamentally, is that Apple is taking credit for the great apps in the App Store, rather than giving credit to the third-party developers who make them.

Humility and Apple don’t mix very well.

Jim Dalrymple Got 99% Of His Music Back

Jim Dalrymple:

It’s been an interesting and confusing day. I arrived at Apple this morning to talk to them about my issues with Apple Music and to hopefully fix my problems. The good news is that I have about 99 percent of my music back.

This is good news. But the following is not:

Apple said my music was never deleted and that it was in the cloud the entire time. Before Apple Music, iTunes Match would show me all of my songs—matched, uploaded, and purchased. However, if you turn off iCloud Music Library and Apple Music, iTunes Match will only show your purchased content now. There is no way to separate iTunes Match from the iCloud Music Library. Before, you would turn off iTunes Match—now you would turn off iCloud Music Library.

iCloud Music Library. iTunes Match. Apple Music. Three different brands doing three different things, and confusing everyone. (Forgot: There’s Beats Music, too.)

At this point, I’m just glad to have most of music back, but I still have no idea what happened to the other songs, for sure.

Apple’s got work to do if songs are ripped into bits as they are being classified as part of one system or another.

Here’s an idea: How about branding the experience of listening to music — the ones we own and the ones we don’t — on Macs and iOS devices as simply Music?

Nature Changes The Urban Brain

Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times:

These results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.

Gregory Bratman is a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University and studies how urban living affects our psychology. Bratman et al. published a paper titled “Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation”. You can read the abstract at PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), but here’s the really short version: Urbanization is linked to increased levels of mental illness like depression and urbanites can improve their moods by being exposed to natural environments.

I Just Want Apple Music Off My Devices

via John Gruber. Jim Dalrymple:

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.

I trusted my data to Apple and they failed. I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music. I will not make either of those mistakes again.

I’m going to listen to what’s left of my music library, and try to figure out all of the songs I have to buy again. I’ll also download Spotify and reactivate the account I cancelled with them a couple of weeks ago.

The latest way to listen to music is to have a computer (smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop), a music app, and stream your music. Some streaming services have ads and you pay a monthly fee to get rid of them. Others limit some capabilities and you pay to restore them. When you listen to music this way you’re paying for the experience of listening to music, unlimited music yes, but you own nothing.

Like Dalrymple I have music ripped from CDs. Lots of them. When I first signed up for Apple’s Music Match service about a year ago, I thought it was a great idea. Then I found Google Play Music that did the same thing, for free. Google Play Music lets me stream my own music on my desktop, laptop, or smartphone. I seldom stream music I don’t own, because I like listening to the music I’ve collected over the years. Makes sense: we collect what we like. If for some reason I trusted Apple with all of my music — I never did, and I now know I should never — deleted those off of my drives thinking my music is safe with Apple, and then Apple wiped thousands of them (probably because of some dude’s programming error), I would be furious.

My trust in Apple continues to erode. (My 2009 MacBook Pro started acting erratically the moment I upgraded to OS X 10.10 Yosemite; despite many patches and fixes it still hangs whenever it wants. It is hot and the fans spin furiously; the only way to shut it up is to long press the power button. The cheaper and older white MacBook, white iMac, and Mac mini work just fine; I will not upgrade them to Yosemite though.) Another thing I won’t try: Apple Music.

Self-Driving Car Subscription

I don’t want to own a car.

Instead, I want a car subscription: 500 miles per month for $50, or unlimited miles for more. I want a self-driving electric car that shows up when I need it. It knows:

  • where I need to be and when,
  • how cool or warm I like it,
  • the music I like listening to morning, noon, and night,
  • whether I like to look outside or not.

And add to that, I don’t

  • own it,
  • fix it,
  • wash it,
  • register it,
  • drive it,
  • park it,
  • pay insurance,
  • worry about running out of electricity.

And all the bad drivers here in Silicon Valley won’t piss me off anymore. With a self-driving electric car at my beck and call, I can relax. Getting somewhere will be pleasant again.

The Electric Car

Geoff Ralston:

Gas stations are not massively profitable businesses. When 10% of the vehicles on the road are electric many of them will go out of business. This will immediately make driving a gasoline powered car more inconvenient. When that happens even more gasoline car owners will be convinced to switch and so on. Rapidly a tipping point will be reached, at which point finding a convenient gas station will be nearly impossible and owning a gasoline powered car will positively suck.

I haven’t thought about the gas station variable in my equation for an electric car future. I simply thought gas stations would add solar power roofs (or use gas to generate electricity) for electric chargers and/or replacement battery packs. But as gas stations focus more on electric car customers, driving a gas-powered car will become inconvenient.