Struggling

posted on January 18th, 2008 by Anthony

Only a couple of weeks into 2008 and I’m already struggling to find something interesting to write about!

Obviously there is the MacBook Air.

It Has Issues

Well it does have Supermodel looks…

The all new Apple MacBook SizeZero

… and well that’s it really. Yeah, it looks nice, but you wouldn’t want to actually live with one.

As a usable everyday working laptop it is almost completely useless. Unless, of course, you’ve contracted a rare disease in which the symptoms include the frequent evacuation of vast sums of cash from your southern orifice. If that is the case this, my friend, is the Mac for you!

No ethernet for craps sake – that rules it out for use in our office straight off, and probably a lot of other corporate environments too. Wireless is nowhere near ubiquitous enough to warrant the exclusion of ethernet.

All the parts being sealed away is plainly ridiculous.

Then there’s the price. If they lopped £500 off the price it would be far more realistic.

Apple stuff is always expensive. That’s taken for granted. This itsy bitsy teeny weeny silver alu clad laptopini just takes the piss.

It simply doesn’t have a usable function with most of Apple’s core customer base – i.e. working creative professionals. (Unless you include poncing around Starbucks a usable function.)

Sigh.

Anyway, I’m not going to talk about that. I’ve got other shiny techy things on my mind at the moment…

The Current State

In our living room we have installed an awesome shonky 22″ Toshiba 4:3 CRT television.

Like our telly, but better…

It’s been my TV since I lived at the family home where it was perfectly acceptable sat at the end of my bed.

Even in our bijou proportioned living room it has been just about adequate.

However, in this world of HD, widescreen and general flatness it doesn’t really cut the mustard. The slowly expanding green tinge in the right half of the screen doesn’t help either.

It’s time to get me one of them LCD flat panel jobbies. Yeeeah! (Even Claire has given her approval and shown relative interest!)

Progressively Interlaced to High Def FancyPants-O-Vision

HD Ready? Too bloody right!

I think of myself as a person who understands technology. I keep up to date with what’s going on, what’s being developed, what’s up and coming etc etc. I don’t get bogged down in too much detail, but I know more than enough to hopefully make an informed decision.

If you’re buying a TV now you really should be getting a HD ready one. Of course there are different flavours of HD. And lot’s of numbers. 720p, 1080i, 1080p – things like that. It’s all about lines of pixels and whether they are interlaced or progressive. The details of these standards gets a bit fuzzy, but I know enough to get by.

1080p is the most desirable – but it’s a bit useless on anything smaller than 37″ panel because you don’t really see the benefit of the extra lines. 1080i has more lines than 720p, but because they are interlaced it’s not actually better than the 720 progressively scanned lines…

Already most peoples eyes will have glazed over.

That’s the easy bit. The actual LCD/Plasma panel is just the start.

You can buy massive TVs made by the likes of Humax, Technika or other such made up companies for like £300 these days. You get a nice big panel that plugs directly into the aerial and you get a big picture.

That picture will almost certainly look like crap.

There is a reason why TVs from Sony, Philips, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic et al cost twice as much – and that’s because they pack their tellies full of enough processing power to have carried off several successful moon landings.

This is where the avalanche of pure tech starts to become overwhelming.

Techalanche

Techalanche!

Examples will work best to make my point.

For instance at the moment it’s Philips sets that are taking my fancy. Let’s have a look at their range of proprietary tech (and marketing bollocks):

That is just a few of the processing enhancements that appear on Philips TVs. They don’t appears on all of their sets, obviously some are better and/or more advanced than others, but they all have their affect on the picture quality.

Now let’s look at their model names:

That is Philips’ current range of TVs. Not their whole range just their 32″ LCD based TVs! Each one of those has different combinations of the technologies listed above.

Unless you actually write down the exact model number it can be very difficult to actually tell the sets apart!

And that’s just Philips. Every single bloody manufacturer does the same thing. There are dozens and dozens of TVs on the shelves, and quite honestly it’s pretty overwhelming.

It’s not helped by the fact they all have the same stupid naming conventions.

It’s almost of case when knowing a bit of information makes things harder on yourself. If I didn’t know there was such a huge difference between each set I would just buy the prettiest Samsung in the range.

But because I know that I’m laying down a serious bit of wedge I have to know I’m buying something that will last a good few years. (Which gets me thinking that although 32″ is more than big enough for our flat now, but what about when we move out and get a house?)

Then there’s the hunting down of the best prices. Where not talking the odd £50 here either. The set top of my list at the moment has a range in price of over £350!

It’s a good job I enjoy all this crap…