Greg's bite: My dearest apologies to Mattel
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: My dearest apologies to Mattel

By Greg Mills

In recent articles I attributed the embarrassingly flubbed Ken smartphone Microsoft  launched as being a product of Mattel, when actually  Sharp produced it. I was frankly deceived by the toy like quality of the Kin/Ken, thus never attributing the toy phone to a serious manufacturer like Sharp.  

Actually, I am joking at the expense of Mr. Ballmer and the copycat software firm responsible for the Ken's release. Those folks, instead of being fired, were put to work building the (too late to be relevant) Windows 7 Mobile OS. I can't wait to see what wonders they can perform.

Microsoft has lost half its market cap since Mr. Ballmer took over the company from the other Steve. To their credit, Mattel never sued me for defamation or some other legal theory for embarrassing them with my insinuation they had anything to do with the Ken Phone.  (I never seem to spell "Kin" the same way Microsoft did). The dilution of the "Barbie" brand might also have been grounds for Mattel to have sued me, so I hereby apologize to Mattel.   

Going on to interesting tech issues, I read an article this morning where Sharp is working on a cool 3D touch screen smart phone display they hope to launch soon. That 3D screen may be a limited run item and thus only sold in Japan. This is somewhat typical that test runs; often, the latest thing is launched first in Japan. The Japanese are early adopters, and the latest tech gadgets always get snapped up by the locals.

There are so many ways to present a 3D display I hardly know where to begin. The theory is that we see with two eyes and thus see things in 3D. The two dimensions we see on current computer displays has only vertical and horizontal dimensions. When you add the third dimension things pop out from the screen and seem to be projected in front of the screen.  Sometimes the display forms the background and the 3D portion of the displayed image is projected to appear between us and the background. There is an overhead in additional information required to do this. The 3D image must be recorded and stored in such a way that the part that pops out is displayed at the right time and works with the background to make a believable image.

Some 3D images offer just sort of a fuzzy, out of focus softness. Other 3D systems are much crisper and really pop out.  Dual layer screens that sort of divide the display into two images that are polarized by a layer of plastic, so each eye sees at a slightly different angle that the brain converts to 3D is one approach.

Remember the little plastic toy images that came in Cracker Jacks? When you tip them back and forth they change the image as the plastic has prisms on it that divide the view into two different angles where you view one thing -- or two completely different images that alternate when the item is tipped. This requires the two images be stripped where every other narrow strip would be one image and the other strips are the other image. This is the cheapest way to do the 3D trick, but it has limitations.

Glasses that have colored filters that are different over each eye are able to trick us into seeing a 3D image, but you have to wear the silly glasses to see the effect. saw a demonstration of Panasonic's 3D HDTY system at a Home Show a year ago that used a variation of the 3D movie type glasses but was much more high tech. The expensive and relatively heavy glasses or goggles which could fit over regular glasses used Bluetooth to actually sync the lenses. The goggles alternately shut the lenses on and off in such a way as to sync with alternating images in the display. That mechanism offered slightly different angles of view, which resulted in a strong and vivid 3D effect. It did seem to be distinctly layered, however. The images flashed back and forth so fast you never noticed the alternation.

Numerous patents are both pending and issued for various ways to do the 3D trick. It is even possible to create a set of glasses that give a 3D effect for the person who wears them.  Connecting the glasses to a computer with Bluetooth is easy.  

Projecting a color 3D hologram may be the "Holy Grail" of 3D displays. A common problem with 3D displays is that the effect may only be visible at a narrow angle in relations to the screen.  Popular movies such as the "Star War " series have shown holographic projections in a science fiction presentation of what the future might hold.  

The issues are finding the combination of some sort of 3D effect that works with low power, full color, convincing 3D effects, low data stream requirements, without glasses, that are cheap and easy to manufacture. These are the elusive goals of Apple and the others researching 3D displays face. These companies use billions of dollars worth of displays for smart phones, iPads, iPods, laptops, desktop displays and TV screens, that display images to us many hours per day.  

Satisfaction with electronics is based upon getting the highest quality display and sound at the lowest price. That is why HDTV has taken over so quickly.  As prices for HDTV have fallen, regular TV is on the way out. Good quality 3D computer and TV displays will certainly replace current 2D screens when the technology matures.

Improvements such as the Apple Retina Display on the new iPhone 4 are simply a lot more pixels packed into a smaller space than before. The smaller and brighter the pixel the better quality the displayed image. I had a conversation with my iPad-enamored 11-year-old about pixel density the other day. I explained that when you run an iPhone version of an app on iPad the picture is not as sharp as when the app is an optimized iPad app, which has much sharper details. She got it right away.

Look for more pixels, brighter displays and someday soon, some sort of 3D effect coming from your displays.

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

The best video player on mobile
We all know the stock video player on iOS is not particularly convenient, primarily because it asks us to hook a device up to iTunes to sync video in a world that has things like Netflix. [Read more] | Read more »
Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to... | Read more »
Space Grunts guide - How to survive
Space Grunts is a fast-paced roguelike from popular iOS developer, Orange Pixel. While it taps into many of the typical roguelike sensibilities, you might still find yourself caught out by a few things. We delved further to find you some helpful... | Read more »
Dreii guide - How to play well with othe...
Dreii is a rather stylish and wonderful puzzle game that’s reminiscent of cooperative games like Journey. If that sounds immensely appealing, then you should immediately get cracking and give it a whirl. We can offer you some tips and tricks on... | Read more »
Kill the Plumber World guide - How to ou...
You already know how to hop around like Mario, but do you know how to defeat him? Those are your marching orders in Kill the Plumber, and it's not always as easy as it looks. Here are some tips to get you started. This is not a seasoned platform... | Read more »
Planar Conquest (Games)
Planar Conquest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $12.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: IMPORTANT: Planar Conquest is compatible only with iPad 3 & newer devices, iPhone 5 & newer. It’s NOT compatible with... | Read more »
We talk to Cheetah Mobile about its plan...
Piano Tiles 2 is a fast-paced rhythm action high score chaser out now on iOS and Android. You have to tap a series of black tiles that appear on the screen in time to the music, being careful not to accidentally hit anywhere else. Do that and it's... | Read more »
Ultimate Briefcase guide - How to dodge...
Ultimate Briefcase is a simple but tricky game that’s highly dependent on how fast you can react. We can still offer you a few tips and tricks on how to survive though. Guess what? That’s exactly what we’re going to do now. Take it easy [Read more... | Read more »
SoundPrism Link Edition (Music)
SoundPrism Link Edition 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ***Introductory price for a the first few days after launch - if you're reading this, get it while it's fresh out of... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale for $1399 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more
iPads on sale at Target: $100 off iPad Air 2,...
Target has WiFi iPad Air 2s and iPad mini 4s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for... Read more
Target offers Apple Watch for $100 off MSRP
Target has Apple Watches on sale for $100 for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - Apple... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
Macs available for up to $300 off MSRP, $20 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Watch Super Bowl 50 Live On Your iPad For Fre...
Watch Super Bowl 50 LIVE on the CBS Sports app for iPad and Apple TV. Get the app and then tune in Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:30 PM ET to catch every moment of the big game. The CBS Sports app is... Read more
Two-thirds Of All Smart Watches Shipped In 20...
Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipments according to Canalys market research analysts’ estimates. Samsung returned to... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H Photo has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $180 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1499 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.2GHz Silver... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale fo...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale for $1199 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model... Read more
Apple now offering full line of Certified Ref...
Apple now has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Subject Matter Expert - Experis (Uni...
This position is for an Apple Subject Matter Expert to assist in developing the architecture, support and services for integration of Apple devices into the domain. Read more
*Apple* Macintosh OSX - Net2Source Inc. (Uni...
…: * Work Authorization : * Contact Number(Best time to reach you) : Skills : Apple Macintosh OSX Location : New York, New York. Duartion : 6+ Months The associate would Read more
Computer Operations Technician ll - *Apple*...
# Web Announcement** Apple Technical Liaison**The George Mason University, Information Technology Services (ITS), Technology Support Services, Desktop Support Read more
Restaurant Manager - Apple Gilroy Inc./Apple...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.