Thursday, January 4, 2018

Screen sizes and how it matters

Apple Computer must be running out of ideas if they think that the a 6.5" screen size is what people want, based on the rumoured iPhone XL. It certainly has not learned any lesson from the lacklustre sales of the Apple Watch.

Here is how screen size plays out its role. Basically the world of communication devices can be divided into 3 "screen sizes", which I simply call large, small, and tiny.

We use large screen sizes where we need to display a lot of information on one screen. Typically this is when we deal with spreadsheets and visual presentations, and sometimes even text documents. Many of these documents have to do with business and education. That is why we have desktop and laptops. Even if we can shrink the computers into a palm-sized gadget, we still need to have a larger screen size. So desktops and laptops are not going to be replaced by smartphone size gadgets anytime soon; or rather, the screen size that I call "large".

A small screen size like what we have on a smart phone is used where we only need to show limited information on one screen to do what we want to do (ever tried to work with a spreadsheet on a smartphone?). There is a compromise between portability and ease of viewing, and most people settle for a screen size between 5" to 5.5". Apple XL with a giant 6.5" screen will not be able to convince the world to shift to this size unless we all grow larger hands and big pockets become a fashion trend.

Finally, the tiny screen. Obviously Apple Computer has not learned that the reason Apple Watch failed to replace many of the things we do on a smartphone is because we simply need the larger real estate for the things a smartphone is designed for. A tiny screen is useful only for apps with very, very limited information to display. We cannot use it for email, and for social media. We cannot use it where we need a keyboard to enter text.

If you are buying a smartphone today, just choose the screen size you are comfortable with. Definitely a 6.5" screen size is going to be awkward and would probably only appeal to you if you are choosing between having to use reading glasses or splurging on a bigger display.

Friday, September 29, 2017

An idea for app developers

I used to get unsolicited calls on my home telephone line. These days I am also getting such calls on my mobile phone. These calls are a nuisance and should be responded to with vengeance.

Here is an idea. Calling all app developers: make an app that is able to deal with unsolicited calls in the most punitive way. What would you do with the call once your phone recognizes it as an unsolicited call?

How about.....
1. Accept, don't block, the call. Then let it listen indefinitely to an endless music stream.

2. Respond with a different answering machine message, reserved for this purpose. Prepare a message that will give the caller an earful.

3. Prepare a list of seemingly valid options to waste the caller's time. For example, "Dial 1 if you are a family member, dial 2 if you are a friend..... etc. Then if 1 is chosen, "Dial one if you are an ex-wife, dial 2 if...."

4. Any other ideas?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Never say never

In 1982, I visited the Petrified Forest National Park. It was quite by chance, actually. I just happened to be in the region and I decided to visit the place. Last month, I traveled to the US for a holiday and I made it one of the stops in my itinerary. Will that be my last visit? It could well be, but I like to tell myself that I might come back again. Never say never!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Living naturally

There is a lot of talk about eating natural foods. How about "living naturally"? What if we get used to the idea that dust and dirt are just a part of the natural environment. Imagine not having to clean the house. I mean, it is still alright to keep the house neat and tidy so that we can find things and we can fit our amenities into our limited space. However, dust and dirt occur naturally; keeping the house spotlessly clean is just something we impose on ourselves. I am pretty sure that in ancient times people do not mind having a bit of dust in their tent, or mud hut, or straw house. Somewhere along the line, someone invented the broom and from then onward we must have developed an obsession for keeping the house dust-free, and looking as unlived-in and as unoccupied as possible.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Notes to myself: Using Image>Calculations with Gradient mask

It is possible to create a selective positive/negative image using gradient mask. The resultant image is in B&W with parts of it in positive and part of it in negative.

  1. Open an image
  2. Create a new file in another tab: File>New. Set Preset to the name of the previous image file.
  3. In this blank image, choose and paint in the required gradient in black and white monotone.
  4. Go back to the previous image (click on the tab)
  5. Select Image>Calculations.Set Source 1 as the original image, and Source 2 as the gradient image. Set Blending mode to Difference, and Opacity to 100%. The result can be set to New Document or as required.
  6. To make the image save-able, set Image>Mode to Grayscale, and then repeat and set Image>Mode to RGB colour. The image is now save-able in the correct colour space.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Notes to myself: Lighthouse blending by Les Walkling

The simple contrast reducing mask is :

Duplicate layer (Ctl+J)
then de-saturate layer, (Ctl+shift+u)
invert (Ctl+i),
change blend mode to Overlay.
Go-to Filter/ blur/ Add Gaussian Blur, 10-60 adjust for effect.
Then adjust opacity for effect.

For areas with halo effect, use brush, set blend mode to Darken or Lighten, and then paint out the halo effect. (Hold down Alt key to sample the correct colour to paint out the halo.)

Notes to myself: Adding gray layer for selective exposure adjustments

Rather than using a brush to work directly on the image, it is better to create a layer filled with 50% gray. To do this:
  1. Open an image
  2. Layer>New>Layer. Select: Mode: Overlay, and tick the box ("Fill with Overlay-neutral colour (50% gray)")
  3. To make selective exposure adjustments, select Brush tool. Set Mode: Normal, Opacity 100%, Flow: 10%. Paint with Black to darken, or White to lighten.
To pin a layer to the layer directly below (so as not to affect other layers), hold down the Alt key and move cursor to the separation between the two layers. The cursor will change from hand icon to a different icon.