Plasma TV: 1080p and HDMI

I’m about to purchase a new Plasma TV and thought i’d post about the new acroynms that have become my obsession.

Let’s start with 1080p. There are 3 types of HDTV’s available today: 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. What do these mean. The numbers refer to the number of lines across the screen, the ‘i’ stands for “interlaced” and the ‘p’ stands for “progressive”. Interlaced means that only every other line is refreshed whereas Progressive means every line is refreshed (both happens 24 times a second). To date, only 720p and 1080i have been available. Because ‘p’ refreshes every time, it’s better than ‘i’. But 1080 is better than 720 because it is more lines. So it’s a toss up between the two.

BUT, then came along 1080p, the best of both worlds. These TV’s are just hitting the market now and should be everywhere by this summer and definitely by Christmas. So, the question i ask myself is: do i wait for one of these or shell out for one of the others?

Doing this research (thank you Dr. Raduchel) i found out the following items:

There is NO detectable differnce between 1080p and 720p unless you have a screen larger than 50 inches

There are no HD-DVD’s, Blu-Ray DVD’s, TV shows, or anything available at 1080p. There will be eventually, but it is also true that most movies weren’t shot in high enough resolution to matter. Basically, most movies were shot in worse quality than 1080p so having a super nice picture showing lower quality doesn’t make sense.

The HDMI cord matters. This is the cord that carries the picture and sound to your TV. HDMI 1.3 was just released and you should get this version with your TV. It’s different than 1.2. Speicifically the transfer rate is much higher so if there is a high-resolution standard in the future, your TV can handle it. And, most importantly, it supports something called “Deep Color” which basically extends the number of colors from millions to billions. In the future, you’ll probably want your TV to be using HDMI 1.3. The PlayStation 3 was one of the first to have it and most TV’s will have it soon. (Go here if want to know more)

So all this being said, i’m probably going to go with a 720p Plasma from Samsung.  Anyone else have any thoughts or experiences that they’d like to share?

Next is a Terrible Book

I just have to get this off my chest. I recently finished Michael Crichton’s latest book Next and am pissed that i wasted my time on it.

You would think this would be a book for me – i know i did and i actually bought it for myself for Christmas – as I’m a big fan of Crichton and love thinking about catastrophic genetic sceanrios (previous post i wrote on the subject). But i have to say that this is one of his worst books. The only reason i made it through to the end is because the look at genetic engineering and the moral, ethical and legal mess it creates is pretty interesting. The story and characters (both human and animals) totally suck though.

Crichton’s a smart guy and the premise to his books are really good. I just think he’s become too shallow in his character development. I think his older stuff is better and really love his memoir, Travels. If you have time, you should pick it up – he’s a strange guy and it’s a good read.


My Top Albums of 2006

Yesterday i submitted my playlist for 2006. While individual tracks are great, i typically listen to music in album form. Becausae of this, i thought it necessary to also list of the Top 8 albums of 2006 .

This was a great year for me and music and these were the complete albums that i picked that really defined it for me musically….


Phoenix – It’s Never Been Like That

This was by far my favorite album of the year. So many of the songs are great and get me going. My one negative comment is that many of the songs sound similar but they are so awesome that this one aspect is easily overlooked. Album highlights: Long Distance Call, Consolation Prizes, Rally, and Napolean Says (download entire album)

#2: Jack Johnson – Curious George Soundtrack

This came out in the beginning of the year and dominated my playlists for at least 2 months. I’ve loved all of Jack’s previous albums but i thought they had been steadily decreasing in quality. Granted, they are always extremely listenable, but they were becoming less catchy and more bland. Nothing like Flake, Mud Football or Bubble Toes, which were on the first album, came on the subsequent albums. But, leave it to a little curious monkey to get him back on track! Songs and Lullibies is an amazing album. It’s catchy, fun, and completely feel-good. Songs like 3 R’s, Upside Down, Jungle Gym, and The Sharing Song are bouncy and catchy and just completely enjoyable. (download entire album)

#3: My Morning Jacket – Acoustic Citsuoca

Okonokos is the MMJ album that came out in 2006. It renewed my love of MMJ and took me to see them at the 930 club in November. One of my main complaints of the concert is that they were so damn loud that it took away from the great music and lyrics. So, this live album and concert caused me to explore Acoustic Citsuoca, a past acoustic album, which is my favorite. Citsuoca is a shorter EP album but the recordings of each song, especially Golden and Bermuda Highway are so smooth and mesmorizing, they are well worth about a 1000 listens. (download entire album)

#4: Bob Dylan – Modern Times

I wrote about this album over the summer about how it really surprised me. I didn’t expect Dylan to be able crank out new hits anywhere near his old stuff. Not only did he bring a new song but you can still get the same folkish lyrics that are funny and thought-provoking at the same time. Songs like Spirit on the Water, Thunder on the Mountain, and Workingman Blues are great additions to the Dylan list of hits. (3 downloads are here)

#5: Beastie Boys – The In Sound From Way Out

I’ve always been a big fan of instrumentals and especially funk-laden tunes. Some of my favorite Beastie Boys songs have been their instrumental jams. Songs like In 3’s on Check Your Head were my favorites on all their albums. So, you can imagine my happiness when i saw an entire album comprised of their instrumental tunes. These are great songs to work to or play in the background of a party. It’ll give everyone a little extra movement in their step. (No download, sorry)

#6: Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

This album came out in the beginning of 2006 and was one of the main albums that got me back into indie rock. These guys had some great guitar riffs (see Certain Romance) and some cheeky lyrics (Riot Van and Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor) and almost all of their songs are fun to listen to. A great album that’s worthy of a listen if you like indie rock. I actually think the EP “Who the F%#*k Are the Arctic Monkeys” has better songs but this is the real album that i actually listened to a lot. (download entire album)

#7: Justin Timberlake – FutureSex

I was never a big fan of Justin and never got into any of the boy bands. So when people were saying how great his new ablum was, i pretty much ignored them. That was, until i got hit with SexyBack and My Love over and over and over (and over) again at different parties and clubs. So much that i began to actually began to groove to them. There was something primal to the songs that made you want to dance. So, dance i did and so much so that there’s no way i could mention albums of 2006 without mentioning this album even though i’m slightly embarassed to do so. (download entire album)

#8: From The Cliffs – Guillemonts

This is a great album and Trains of Brazil is a great, great song. This album makes the list because i love these songs, but it’s not higher because i didn’t actually put this album on all that much (or more than any of the ones listed above). So, download the tracks, take a listen and enjoy, especially Brazil and Who Left The Lights on Baby? (No download, sorry)

MPL Playlist: Songs of 2006

2006 has been a year of great music for me. When i first got into Computer Science almost a decade ago, i would have never thought that i would be this involved in the music industry. However, i am and because of it i have become exposed to some great artists – especially this year when i have been into the guts of our music recommendation service. From there, i’ve discovered some fantastic tunes. Some are sad, some are rockin’, but they are all amazing.

Here they are. I’ve linked each one to its track page on Qloud so you can listen to the entire song or if you want you can download each track.

  1. Astair – Matt Costa (download)
  2. Long Distance Call – Phoenix(download)
  3. Consolation Prizes – Phoenix (download)
  4. Body Language – Booke Shade (download)
  5. Tell Me a Lie – Griffin House (download)
  6. Fake Palindromes – Andrew Bird (download)
  7. Spirit On The Water – Bob Dylan(download)
  8. Numb/Encore – Jay-Z/Linkin Park (download)
  9. It’ll Take a 7 Nation Army To Hold You Back – Apathy (download)
  10. Mashup: 99 Ballons & a Bitch Ain’t One – Jay-Z (download)
  11. White & Nerdy – Weird Al (download)
  12. Ten Thousand Lakes – Kid Dakota (download)
  13. Son’s Gonna Rise – Citizen Cope (download)
  14. D’Artagnan’s Theme – Citizen Cope (download)
  15. Golden (acoustic) – My Morning Jacket (download)
  16. Bermuda Triangle – My Morning Jacket (download)\3 R’s – Jack Johnson (download)
  17. Waiting for You – The Guys All-Star Shoe Band from Prarie Home Companion (download)
  18. Hang Me Out to Dry – Cold War Kids (download)
  19. My Love – Justin Timberlake (download)

Even Better Than a Onesy

I’ve always been a big fan of onesy’s and i actually got one from my sister (thanks liz) for christmas last year. I thought i had received the ultimate gift, but apparently there’s a new onesy in town. Check out: the slanket.
This is just a fleece blanket with sleeves stiched in. It’s not a poncho, it’s not a robe and there’s no hole for your head. It’s just a blanket with sleeves. And, yes, it’s completely awesome. Only 104 days to Christmas