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These are tech/gadget related posts. Archive for 2022.

Optical storage and media in the '20s

Last year I wrote posts about listening to the radio, watching TV and having a landline phone in the 2020s (in Dutch). Today, I want to talk about the place left for optical storage in the 2020s.

Read the article - posted 2022-01-02

Longevity of recordable blu-ray discs (BD-R / BD-RE)

So now I got that new optical drive and can start burning CDs, DVDs, BDs (regular 25 and 50 GB blu-ray discs) and BDXLs (newer 100 and 128 GB BDs). But how long will those last?

Read the article - posted 2022-01-09

The (dark) magic of Unicode

I thought it was time to ramble on about Unicode and UTF-8 a bit, inspired by the need to convert old Amiga text files that have accents in them that won't display properly on my current Macs. Also some food for thought for programmers.

Read the article - posted 2022-01-30

Making 8-bit computers load from "tape" super fast

Back in the early 1980s, kids such as myself had their first computing experiences with 8-bit home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64. And the only way, or in Europe in those days, the only affordable way to load games and save/load your own programs was from cassette tape. And boy was that slow.

If we suddenly had a perfectly-reliable cassette tape, how fast could we possibly load data from it? This is a question I started pondering a while ago. To answer it, I had to do look into how data is stored on tape and how exactly we load it. Along the way, we'll find several limits and assumptions we have to work around on our quest for the fastest-possible loading.

Read the article - posted 2022-04-03

AppleTV (not always) 4K

The idea behind the AppleTV 4K streaming puck is that you see your content in 4K. In the case of photos in the screensaver, that's not what you get. The AppleTV 4K, showing photos from my laptop using "home sharing" (no not iCloud photos):

When I play a slide show with the same images on my LG OLED TV, I get this:

These are photos taken of the TV image, of course zoomed in quite a lot, but if you're sitting close enough to the TV to be able to tell the difference between HD and 4K, the difference is pretty obvious.

What gives, Apple?

Permalink - posted 2022-07-11

My web tool for controlling (the color temperature of) Philips Hue lights

Last year I got a new webcam, which led me to ask myself what color temperature setting for my Hue lightbulbs would work best with that camera. (Turns out: 4000K.)

But: how do you set your Hue lights to a certain color temperature? I didn't find a good solution for that. So I built my own! And then feature creep kicked in and I ended up with a browser-based tool that can control the lights in various ways. Including having the bulbs change their brightness / color temperature gradually over the course of seconds or minutes or even an hour.

So it got a bit more complex than ideal, and you need to jump through a few hoops to get the name or IP address of the Hue bridge and an authentication key. But I promise it's really nice. It has sliders for easy operation on an iPad and the like, but you can also use the keyboard.

Check it out.

Note that the whole thing runs inside the browser and directly talks to the Hue bridge over the local network. So no information is sent to the server. The authentication key can be stored in the browser's password store where it should be safe from prying eyes. But be careful with what you enter in the bridge IP address field because the authentication key is sent to the system with that address or name.

The huge bridge used to create the name "philips-hue.local" for itself, but now they they create a .local name from their MAC address. For instance:

ndp -a 00178827894e.local 0:17:88:27:89:4e en0 23h59m47s S

Permalink - posted 2022-07-12

xkcd: The Best Camera

The Best Camera:

Permalink - posted 2022-07-13

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