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Comment: Re:Molecularly interesting, applications not so mu (Score 1) 64

by Thagg (#49046547) Attached to: Polymers Brighten Hopes For Visible Light Communication

It's not particularly uncommon for an article about a scientific breakthrough to be almost satirically misleading.

If this really works, for instance, it could be a revolution in television design; far better than the quantum dot technology that people are adapting now. But, if the article was about TVs then it the responses would all go in a million directions (comparisons to plasma, talking about energy star ratings, whatever).

Back in the 50's, it was pretty common for scientists doing nuclear weapons research to talk about things that would happen in stars of unconventional configurations; when they were really broadcasting to the USSR that the US scientists had solved problems with hydrogen bombs that put them far ahead.

Comment: Re: The future is not UHD (Score 1) 332

by Thagg (#48896745) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Go to a friends house and turn on their flat-panel TV. 99% of the time, it will have frame-rate interpolation turned on; which basically means that any content they see on that TV will be at 60 or 120 Hz. Even movies shot at 24.

More and more often as I do presentations to executives, they don't understand why my TVs look so "juddery" compared to what they expect -- it's because at home they're watching everything at 120Hz.

So no -- most people are happy with high frame rate most of the time, and that percentage is getting larger quickly. I am a big 24fps fan, but I believe the days are numbered.

Comment: Re:I won't notice [actually you will notice HDR] (Score 2) 332

by Thagg (#48894909) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

The Dolby Vision TVs will have reasonable controls to set brightness and contrast, but one of the selling points to the studios is that we will strive to maintain the artistic intent of the original. The blacks will be black, the whites will be white, and there will be an unprecedented (but realistic) amount of contrast.

It turns out that in high dynamic range content creation, the most important thing is not that the picture be brighter overall; but that there is an increased range between midtones and highlights. In current production, skin tones are set to about half the maximum brightness in the scene. This means that the brightest things in the image (say, a glint off of a chrome bumper) can only be twice that bright; where in real life it's more that 100 times that bright. So, leaving the midtones about where they are, and giving brighter highlights makes the image look better in a way that you have to see to understand. Or, you can just look out the window.

Comment: Re:I won't notice [actually you will notice HDR] (Score 3, Informative) 332

by Thagg (#48894455) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

As the article states, two of the most important changes in this standard are high dynamic range (HDR) and wider color gamut (Rec. 2020) images. I have been working on this with Dolby Laboratories for the last few years, and whenever we bring in movie directors, cinematographers, colorists, or studio executives to see our ridiculously HDR wide-color-gamut display, their jaws hit the floor. The ability to reproduce the dynamic range and color gamut of real life is breathtaking. One of the studio executives, when asked if she could see the difference said "Do I look like a potted palm?"

You will see the difference, and you'll be able to see it from across the room. HDR and wide color gamut combined with UHD resolution is a revolution.

I know this sounds like a sales pitch (ok, it is!) but I've been working in the film business for 30 years before I started working on this; I know what creatives want, and this is it. I spent that time working on CG visual effects, and I think that HDR will have a comparable impact on filmmaking that VFX did.

The Dolby Cinema theaters opening in the next few months will have similar extreme dynamic range and wide color gamut. They look astonishingly better as well.

Wait and see. It's coming, and it's not far away.

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 667

by Thagg (#48875309) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax


Do you think it's possible in this 'big data' age to come up with an absolute, reasonably accurate, energy budget for the planet? We have storms, and shifting ocean currents, and a number of things that affect the temperatures that are easy to measure; but the net energy is surely growing as inexorably and smoothly as the CO2 concentration.

Now, of course, those kind of facts won't matter to people whose bread is buttered with oil money. Still, it could be useful for tracking our progress or lack thereof.

Comment: Not strictly true (Score 2) 300

by Thagg (#48742031) Attached to: Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

I've done some research into hypersonic technology, and it's not strictly true that hypersonic flights are necessarily less efficient per passenger mile. Sure, up to this point it has been the case, but we haven't explored in detail.

The US currently has tested a hypersonic glider that goes a heck of a long way, with a surprisingly good glide ratio, above Mach 20. Apparently it was to glide for thousands of miles, while only descending maybe 20 miles, implying a tremendously high glide ratio, over 100:1. If that's true, then you could have extremely efficient flight at Mach 20.

These "waverider" planes use radically different aerodynamics, so the old rules don't apply. They're nothing like the Concorde.

Comment: Re:Typical "Big Lie" (Score 4, Informative) 75

by Thagg (#48693173) Attached to: Apple Pay For the UK

Do you honestly believe that the banks are selling credit card info, and that apple isn't sharing any of that info with anyone?

I don't know if the banks are selling credit card info; but I know that merchants are. Apple Pay prevents them from doing that, which is one of the big reasons that so many merchants in the US have stopped using NFC for payments, as this earlier Slashdot story describes.

A friend of mine was deeply involved in NFC payments at significant companies (not Apple) and says that not only is Apple not sharing the info; they can't. It's just not available. The NFC chips in the phone don't send out identifiable information.

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.