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CalendarJanuary 23, 2015

CES 2015 - C Stands for Curved TVs

CES might as well be called "TV Fest" because of the way televisions dominate the show each year. It seems that every year the TVs get bigger and thinner. All the major manufacturers display their latest proprietary technology that somehow makes their TVs better than all the competitors. It is a sight to behold.

CES 2015 Samsung TV Display

Two prominent themes stood out among the TVs introduced at CES 2015 - 4K and curved.


HDTV is so 2012. When I visited CES in 2013, several companies were introducing their first production-ready 4K TVs. This January, I didn't see a single HD television except a few old ones for comparison purposes. Every new TV was 4K (with a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160). Make no mistake about it — 2015 is the year of 4K. You'll still be able to find cheap HDTVs for the next few years, but if you're buying a new large panel TV, 4K is the way to go.

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CalendarJanuary 15, 2015

CES 2015 Overview

If you ever feel overwhelmed by negative news and start worrying about the future of the world, CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas is the cure. Thousands of companies from around the world come together to showcase their latest products and innovations, providing inevitable hope for today and the future.

I had a chance to attend this year's CES last week and it was awesome. I was struck by how far technology has come in just the two years since I was at CES 2013. Not only have major leaps in audio and video taken place, but whole new product categories are now taking off.

CES 2015 - Audio prototype

New themes at this year's CES included driverless cars, drones, wearables, virtual reality, wireless charging, and the Internet of Things. Within each of these categories are several new products that are not just cool ideas, but are real devices already in production. It was encouraging to see so many companies creating completely new products and, as I've been known to say, "pushing technology forward."

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CalendarJanuary 3, 2015

2014 Tech Predictions Revisited

Last December, I made my top five tech predictions for 2014. It's time to see how I fared.

  1. No Apple iWatch – This prediction turned out to be partially correct, since Apple isn't releasing a watch until this year. However, they did announce the "Apple Watch," which I didn't expect, so I guess this guess was half right.
  2. Apple iPhone with 5.5" Display – I nailed the dimensions of the new iPhone 6 Plus and was also right about the curved shape, but I expected Apple to name the new model something different. Another half right prediction.
  3. Bing > 30% Market Share – My boldest prediction didn't come true. Bing only climbed to about 20% market share. But Microsoft is still gaining on Google, which could make things interesting if the trend continues.
  4. Cloud Storage – Companies like Microsoft and Apple helped make cloud storage mainstream in 2014. Microsoft integrated OneDrive into Windows 8.1 and Apple integrated iCloud into OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). Both implementations now allow you to access a cloud-based file system, which means you can access your files stored in the cloud as easily as the files on your local disk. Pretty cool.
  5. 3D Printers – While 3D printers didn't become mainstream in 2014, they did start showing up in retail stores, like I predicted. Still, I don't know anyone who owns a 3D printer, so I can only take half a point for this one.

After doing the math, it looks like I got one prediction right and three predictions half right, for a total score of 2.5 out of 5. While 50% isn't great, my goal was to make predictions other people wouldn't, since there is no point in predicting the obvious. Most importantly, companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Tesla continued to push technology forward in 2014 and that benefits us all.

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CalendarDecember 20, 2014

Review: Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display

Review: Apple iMac with Retina 5K DisplayAbout two months ago, I published an article about Apple's new iMac with a 5K display, alluding to the possibility that I might get one. Well, I did. There were two reasons why I made the decision: 1) A Mac specialist at my local Apple Store demonstrated the 5K iMac could handle two external Thunderbolt displays, and 2) I've learned from past experience to NEVER wait for Apple to release a new Mac Pro.

While I would have preferred a Mac Pro, the new iMac is pretty sweet. I upgraded every single component possible, which means my new iMac has a 4.0 GHz i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD, and an AMD Radeon M295X GPU with 4 GB of memory. I would have preferred 64 GB of RAM and more video memory, but overall, I'm pretty happy with the specs.

The 5K Retina Display

Of course, the most notable spec of the new iMac is the display. It supports full 5K resolution (5120 x 2880), which totals 14,745,600 pixels. If you add my two Thunderbolt displays (2560 x 1440 each), I have 22,118,400 pixels between the three displays. That means the GPU is rendering 22 megapixels in real-time, or 60 times per second, assuming a 60 Hz refresh rate. 22,118,400 pixels x 60 Hz = 1,327,104,000 pixels per second. That means my new iMac is processing over 1.3 billion pixels every second.

While that math is impressive, what's more important is how the 5K looks. Some visitors might remember that when I began using the iPhone 4 with a retina display, my computer monitor started looking blurry. I knew that one day high-res displays would make it to desktop computers, and that day has finally come. The iMac's 5K display is awesome. The text is crystal clear and the photo detail is incredible. The colors are especially vibrant on this new iMac and maximum brightness level is higher than what I need.

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CalendarDecember 4, 2014

Goodbye Adobe

Goodbye AdobeIn 2012, I wrote an article titled, "Adobe: Down Two Strikes." I had two back-to-back frustrating experiences with Adobe, and was on the verge of moving away from Adobe products completely. I toughed it out for two more years, but last week I noticed my Creative Cloud subscription had increased from $20 to $50 per month without any notification from Adobe. That's 150% more than I was paying before. Three strikes. I canceled my Adobe Creative Cloud membership.

$50/mo is a reasonable price if you use most of the Creative Cloud apps. I only use three: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Acrobat, but it doesn't matter – I still have to pay $50/mo. Adobe offers individual application pricing of $20/mo per app, but based on that model, I would pay $60/mo for three apps. It's pretty clear Adobe doesn't want anyone using the individual app option.

I make a lot of decisions based on principle and canceling my Creative Cloud subscription was one of them. While I can afford $50/mo, I feel it's too much to pay for three apps, some of which I don't even use that often. I'm frustrated that Adobe doesn't offer industry-specific packages like they used to with Creative Suite. Remember the CS Web, Design, and Production options for web, print, and video? Now Adobe forces everyone to get the equivalent of the old Master Collection.

What annoys me is that Adobe markets Creative Cloud like it's such a good deal since you get so much for only $50/mo. I know a lot of people in the digital content creation industry and not one of them uses all the Creative Cloud apps or even most of them. The value of Creative Cloud is only as good as how many apps you use. For me, three apps for fifty dollars a month is not a good value.

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