Goal Zero 32005 Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Lantern

[ Goal Zero ] Goal Zero’s 32005 Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern is tiny, but bright. The four-LED lantern outputs up to 150 lumens on the highest setting lasting 7 hours, and 170 hours on the lowest setting. No cables are required for charging; just plug in the convenient pop-out USB plug. This IPX6-rated weatherproof lantern can also be used as a 120-lumen flashlight.

Technical specifications:

  • Max Brightness: 150 lumens, 3800K, 7 hours
  • Charge Times: 3.5 hours on USB
  • USB: 5V up to 1A
  • Battery: 9.62 Wh (3.7V, 2600mAh) Li-On NMC 18650 by LG/Samsung
  • Weight: 2.4 oz / 68g
  • Dimensions: 3.66×1.5-inch / 93×37.75mm
  • Warranty: 12 months

The Goal Zero 32005 Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern is small enough to take it everywhere you go. US$24.99

Samsung CH711 Quantum Dot Curved Monitor

[ Samsung ] The Samsung CH711 quantum dot curved monitor uses quantum dots to enhance color purity. Samsung has been incorporating quantum dots in lieu of LEDs in its high-end TVs and now the company is bringing quantum dots to its high-end monitors. Technical specifications of the CH711 quantum dot curved monitor are as follows:

  • Size: 27-inch and 31.5-inch
  • Pixel Format: 2560×1440
  • Viewing Angle: 178/178
  • Curvature: 1800R
  • Color Gamut: ~125% sRGB

Expected to be showcased during CES with availability in early 2017.

Apple’s Search for iPhone OLED Screens

[ Bloomberg ] Pavel Alpeyev and Takashi Amano:

Now OLED is the big goal. The technology has been included on top-end smartphones for years, including almost all of Samsung Electronics Co.’s high-end phones. While LCDs rely on a backlight panel, OLED pixels can glow on their own, resulting in thinner displays, better battery life and improved contrast. OLED screens can also be made on flexible plastic, allowing for a wider variety of shapes and applications.

Better battery life. Let’s talk about that for a minute. Yes, OLED displays can get battery life if the content is on the darker side, things like videos. But if you like white backgrounds on your phone and you’re mostly on non-video apps, then no, OLED displays will get worse battery life than LCDs. Aside from that caveat OLED technology is superior.

John Gruber mentions OLED display’s poor color reproduction:

[…] the thing about this story that has never sat right with me is that OLED displays reproduce colors poorly. Colors look terrible on my Google Pixel, and I don’t think they look good on Apple Watch, either. I’d hate to see a Pixel-caliber display on an iPhone.

Yes, getting colors right on OLED smartphones has been a tricky thing to master for Samsung. But in the last couple of years Samsung has achieved better color accuracy than even the best LCDs. DisplayMate president Raymond Soniera:

The Galaxy S7 matches or breaks new records in smartphone display performance for: Highest Absolute Color Accuracy […]

My guess is Apple’s going OLED for the next iPhone; OLED is superior to LCD in every way. Apple, just make sure to darken the UI a bit.

TouchBar-equipped 2016 MacBook Pro, a Mixed Message

Apple likes to simplify things. And to do that Apple gets rid of the old for the new. Look at the connectivity options on the new MacBook Pro’s: you don’t have any. USB-C is it. Apple is embracing simplicity and throwing out the old: SD slot, USB-A, DisplayPort, HDMI. Some of these ports are not old per se, but USB-C is the new kid on the block and it can do power, data, and video, all in a small, reversible connection.

I understand what Apple is doing. I also understand that our world, our minds, have a tendency to want familiarity. We don’t like change. We want our USB-A ports, because we have a lot of external peripherals that use that connection: USB hard drives, USB flash drives, USB keyboards and mice, etc. In order to use what we already have with the new USB-C-only MacBook Pro we need to spend our hard earned money on dongles or USB hubs. Apple’s goal of simplicity in the design of the MacBook Pro will result in a convoluted mess of dongles and cables for those who buy the new simplified MacBook Pro. It’s quite ironic. But when the dust settles. When peripheral companies come out with USB-A hard drives, USB-A monitors, flash drives, keyboards, mice, etc. our cables will be more unified and interchangeable. But it would have required a lot of our money, a lot of complexity, a lot of time (researching what to buy, buying, and returning stuff that didn’t work, etc.), a lot of patience, a lot of getting rid of old peripherals, etc. Apple is pushing against our desire to sit still and getting us closer to simpler future where we only have one type of cable for power, data, and video: USB-C. It’s uncomfortable now, but I understand Apple’s desire to simplify and take us closer to a simpler future even if that means a little discomfort and a big mess of cables and dongles for the time being.

But here’s what I don’t understand. Apple is willing to pull us kicking and screaming into a simpler future, but at the same time introduce complications into our user experience of Apple products. Before there was a singular MacBook experience for the most part, now there are two distinct MacBook Pro experiences: one with and one without the TouchBar. You’ll need a lot of money to afford and experience the MacBook Pro with the TouchBar. For the rest of us without that kind of disposable income our user experience will remain the same: keyboard including function keys and a trackpad.

One great user experience on the Mac has been consistency. The user interface and the user experience was consistent across all Macs: iMacs, MacBooks, Mac minis, Mac Pros, etc. All the input devices — keyboards, trackpads, mice — worked on all of them. What you saw on the screen were all consistent too. Just because the Mac mini was cheaper didn’t mean you had a different UI/UX experience than on a much more expensive Mac Pro. Of course, user experience has always been a little different from Mac to Mac: a SSD-equipped Mac with maxed our RAM will run much faster and more smoothly than a hard drive-based Mac with minimal RAM. But even then all Macs had the same user interface and if similarly equipped with CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, etc. would essentially be the same user experience. Not anymore: richer people will get to experience a different, better user experience. You won’t be able to add a TouchBar to your iMac or your Mac Pro or your older MacBook Pros. Or your new 2016 13-inch TouchBar-less MacBook Pro.

For all the work done to simplify our cable future toward USB-C, Apple has fragmented the user experience of the Mac with the addition of the more expensive 2016 MacBook Pro with TouchBar. Mixed messages from Apple is rare, but the 2016 MacBook Pro with TouchBar is an oxymoronic message.