November 2004 Archives

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LCD update: Sony SDM-S74/B is next...

My second try at getting an LCD will be the Sony SDM-S74/B from NewEgg. After the last fiasco with NewEgg I thought that they'd jumped the shark (did I mention that the hard drive I ordered showed up broken?) however their return process has been so painless they've won me back.

I called Sony and asked them about their LCD warranty. Sounds awesome. According to the Sony salesperson I spoke with on the phone, "Sony considers one dead pixel defective. Our special [MagicBright?] manufacturing process elliminates virtually all dead pixels. We test all of our monitors before they ship for dead pixels, so I'd be really surprised if you got an LCD from us with a dead pixel." Plus, Sony has a 3 year warranty on all their displays. Sweeeeet. (I dunno if I believe the manufacturing process statement tho)...

I also considered getting a Samsung 710T LCD, as according to Toms Hardware it sounds like "the one to get". I decided against the Samsung however because of their LCD warranty. Although it's 3 years, the Samsung person I spoke with on the phone said they don't consider a Samsung LCD defective until it has "5 or more dead pixels." I tried desperately to find a Samsung LCD at a semi-local store, but couldn't find a 710T within 50 miles. I figured if I bought one in a store I could just return it if it had dead pixels... oh well... My advice: Samsung LCDs sound top-notch, but don't buy one online--buy one in a store with a no-questions-asked return policy.

I even considered an LG display, but I couldn't get to a representative on the phone to talk about dead pixels with within 5 minutes so I gave up.

And I even considered a few monitors from other manufacturers, but I'm just sketched out by a one year warranty. You don't buy LCDs--you rent them. They will fail evetually, as the backlights burnout. I've heard stories of LCDs failing after 13-14 months due to the backlight burning out and with a one year warranty you have no recourse.

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LCD woes: NewEgg said they would take it right back. Yay!

I called Princeton Graphics and they claim that the monitor I got was defective. They claim that the brightness issues are a defect and that one dead pixel is also defective.

The rainbow ghosting however I've learned is not a defect, it's an artifact of 16ms LCDs. According to Tom's Hardware 16ms LCDs don't actually display 16 million colors, they only display about 220,000 and use dithering to flicker back and forth to give the illusion of 16 million colors. My guess is that when you drag a checkboard image around the screen the rainbow ghosting appears because the colors in the checkerboard are not native colors of the display and the monitor is slow to switch to the dithered colors.

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New monitor: Princeton Graphics SENergy 714... dissapointing

I have a pretty nice flat panel at work and I guess I take it for granted. I bought this Princeton Graphics SENergy 714 from NewEgg because it met the same specifications as my display at work for $150 less. Lessons: 1) There's more to an LCD than just specs 2) You get what you pay for.

First, one dead pixel, stuck green. That just ruined the whole out-of-the-box experience right there and then I started to look for more things wrong with it--which I found.

Second, the brightness controls are disabled over DVI. What kind of nonsense is that? Plus, when I try and adjust the brightness from the video card the monitor starts to flip out. So I'm stuck with one mode: way to freakin' bright.

Third, there is some mild haloing going on in certain regions of the display like what happened with the 15" Aluminum PowerBook G4's. It's very subtle, but once I noticed it now I can spot it every time.

Forth, the backlight adjustment doesn't work worth a hoot. Yes, it dims the display, but it's not an even dim, not anything like the LCD I have at work or the one on my PowerBook. When you dim the backlight on the SENergy the whites start to turn brown, not grey.

Fifth, this thing is advertised to have a 16ms response time. IT'S NOT. I can easily spot ghosting during regular use, and in some more extreme tests I put it through you can even get the ghosting to do a rainbow effect.

Overall, I'm very dissapointed with this display. If this is Princeton Graphic's flagship 17" LCD, they're a doomed. It does not at all meet the manufacturer's specifications online.

I'd take this up with NewEgg but they claim to not accept monitors for return (I bet I can raise stink about that tho). I also don't think I'd want to replace this with another SENergy 714--I don't want to take another risk on this brand, I'd rather just plunk down the extra $150 and get something higher quality.

But first I'm gonna call Princeton Graphics and see if they'll ship me a replacement. I don't really understand their "pixel policy" online but it sounds like for this model 1 dead pixel stuck bright is enough to warrant an RMA. Maybe I just got a model made too late in the day or something. :) Either way I'm still irked about the ghosting.

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Biometric Blogging?

Went to the eye doctor today, got a new prescription.. Lemme see if I can make sense of this scribbling:

4.75 - 50x22
4.50 - 75x158

Does that sound right? :)

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photoblogging:

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RSA Public Key / Private Key Encryption with OpenSSL

You can do RSA (and DSA actually) on most unix systems without any additional software... No GPG/PGP required. It's less than obvious however, as I couldn't find any documentation that puts this all in one place. So here it is...

Generate a new private key:

openssl genrsa -out test.priv_key

Generate the public key for this private key:

openssl rsa -in test.priv_key -pubout -out test.pub_key

RSA encrypt a block:

openssl rsautl -sign -inkey test.priv_key -pkcs -out test.sig

Decrypt an RSA block:

openssl rsautl -verify -in test.sig -inkey test.pub_key -pubin

You can also sign a block using MD5:

openssl md5 | openssl rsautl -sign -inkey test.priv_key -pkcs -out test.sig

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photoblogging:

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Photoblogging...

I just got a Sony Ericsson P800 smartphone/cellphone/cameraphone thing and it's turning out to not be as useful as I had hoped for photoblogging. For some reason I was under the impression that easy-to-use and free photoblogging software existed for Symbian phones. Turns out that's not the case. If you want to do photoblogging in a simple manner from your phone you need to either have a full-Internet GPRS service contract (an extra $20/mo through T-Mobile) or pay $.30 for each photo you want to post online. No thanks.

Since this phone has Bluetooth I thought there had to be an easy way to get the pictures off the phone and onto my blog. I looked and asked around, and apparently no such software exists.

So I wrote my own. It's not complicated, it's just a perl script that takes a jpg, resizes it, copies it to a special location on my webserver and then creates a blog entry for it. In case anyone else is interested in this script, I put it online here.

Now, whenever I want to photoblog a picture off my phone, I Bluetooth it to my Mac and then run this script. Setting up Bluetooth File Transfer to automatically accept files and stick them in ~/Documents/Bluetooth elimates a step. If it turns out I'm really using this a lot I'll change the script to detect changes to the Bluetooth directory and automatically blog photos that appear in it.

Lazyweb idea: Anyone understand the Mac Bluetooth API? I'd rather have a standalone program that does this whenever it receives a jpg file.

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photoblogging:

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NASA scientist: Bush wore a device during debate

Let's all join hands and welcome our cyborg overlord.

Myself

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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