Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, June 20, 2021

eyeballing it
I pretty much get the science and specs behind the iPhone 4’s ultra-high-def display resolution:

By developing pixels a mere 78 micrometers wide, Apple engineers were able to pack four times the number of pixels into the same 3.5-inch (diagonal) screen found on earlier iPhone models. The resulting pixel density of iPhone 4 — 326 pixels per inch — makes text and graphics look smooth and continuous at any size.

Still, did they have to call it “Retina Display”? However accurate it might be, it sounds vaguely creepy to me — like that extreme micro-pixelation is somehow boring into your eyeballs, potentially causing damage. Better to leave the anatomical terms out of consumer technology pitches.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/20/2010 10:51pm
Category: Science, Tech, iPhone
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Writer Rosecrans Baldwin theorizes that a novel isn’t a novel without an obligatory barking dog:

Having heard the dog’s call, it seemed like I couldn’t find a book without one. Not “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”. Not “Shadow Country”. Not “Ulysses”. Not Robert Penn Warren’s “All The King’s Men”, or Monica Ali’s “Alentejo Blue”, or Stephen King’s “It” or “Christine”. Not Jodi Picoult’s “House Rules”. If novelists share anything, it’s a distant-dog impulse.

Picture an author at work: She’s exhausted, gazing at her laptop and dreaming about lunch. “[Author typing.] Boyd slammed the car door shut. He stared at his new condominium, with the for-sale sign in the yard. He picked up a pistol and pointed it at his head. [Author thinking, Now what? Gotta buy time.] Somewhere a dog barked. [Author thinking, Hmm, that'll do.] Then Boyd remembered he did qualify for the tax rebate for first-time home buyers, and put down the gun.” If a novel is an archeological record of 4.54 billion decisions, then maybe distant barking dogs are its fossils, evidence of the novelist working out an idea.

Is the far-off bark really that widespread of a literary crutch? Should creative-writing courses start teaching “The Art of the Bark” to aspiring scribes?

I was skeptical of this claim, so I decided to do a quickie search with the one novel I’m currently reading: Bret Easton Ellis’ “Imperial Bedrooms”. Even better, I have the ebook edition, which is fully text-searchable via the Kindle iPhone App I’m reading it on. Sure enough, a search for “dog” brought up a solitary reference, to “dogs barking in the distance” (I haven’t read up to that part yet, so I didn’t dig any deeper).

I’m sure others with whole libraries stored on their e-readers can do a more thorough investigation, but I’m already convinced. The dog meme in long-form fiction seems to be a fixture. Woof!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/20/2010 09:09pm
Category: Creative, Publishing
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