The Official Raspberry Pi Touch Display

[ Raspberry Pi Foundation ] The official Raspberry Pi touch display has been launched and it will cost US$60. The 7-inch 800×480 touch LCD will connect via DPI (Display Parallel Interface) and DSI (Display Serial Interface). Here are some technical specs:

  • Pixel Format: 800×480 RGB
  • Refresh Rate: 60fps
  • Color Depth: 24-bit (8-bit per sub-pixel)
  • Viewing Angles: 70 (not sure if this spec is for all angles)
  • Touch: 10-point capacitive (FT5406)

I’m sure there will soon be some nice cases to encase both the Raspberry Pi and the touch display.

Samsung Gear S2

[ The Verge ] Samsung combined a perfectly circular display, a minimal bezel without protruding buttons (an all-touch UI?), and equally simple watch faces. There are only a few teaser images, but I like what I’m seeing.

Update: 2015.09.01 Samsung officially announced the Gear S2. There are buttons, two: Home and Back. Makes sense. The bezel rotates, a cool feature borrowed from some high-end sports mechanical watches. The Gear S2 comes in two varieties: Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic. The non-classic Gear S2 sports a more modern, minimalisstic design compared to the Gear S2 classic, which looks a bit more like a regular mechanical watch. The display is a 1.2-inch circular (360 degrees) OLED display with a pixel format of 360×360 good for a resolution of 302 ppi. Both versions have 3G options. Battery life is 2 to 3 days. The non-classic Gear S2 looks like it came from the future; itching to try one out.

Project Euler

[ The Atlantic ] James Somers:

Imagine a future in which the best way to learn how to do something — how to write prose, how to solve differential equations, how to fly a plane — is to download software, not unlike today’s chess engines, that takes you from zero to sixty by way of a delightfully addictive inductive chain.

Project Euler is like this future (without all the fancy graphics and animations); I have signed up and am looking forward to learning how to program by solving problems.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

[ 9TO5Google ] Let’s look at the specs for Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 2:

  • Display: 5.5-inch 1920×1080 LCD
  • CPU: 2.0-2.2GHz 64-bit Octa-core Helio
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Internal Storage: 16GB or 32GB
  • Camera: 13MP Samsung
  • SIM: Dual
  • Battery: 3060mAh
  • OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Color: white, black, pink, brown, light blue

I’d put the Redmi Note 2 a notch below the OnePlus 2, which sports 4GB RAM, optical image stabilization, 64GB of storage, among other features. But then there’s the price: the Redmi Note 2 starts at RMB 799 (about US$124) and maxes out at RMB 999 (about $156). The price is incredible; I wonder if the price will hold when/if Xiaomi sends the Redmi Note 2 across the Pacific. The minimal design looks nice too.

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


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.