Posts in the Technology category

Leaving Quora

Quora recently changed the site in some heinous ways. They removed the details from all questions, because they're trying to make sure that there's only one "canonical question" you can search for an answer to.

Quora Logo

Unfortunately this destroys nuance - after all, there's only so much detail you can put into 250 characters.

So in response, I'm going to start migrating all of my question answers on Quora to my blog. It's going to take a while, but hey, more content for the blog.


Why movies look weird at 48fps, and games are better at 60fps, and the uncanny valley…

the hobbit

Damn you, Peter Jackson!

Let’s end this debate once and for all. Humans can see frame rates greater than 24fps (although plenty of people will argue that they can’t on the internet). I’ll explain more in a future post if necessary, but let’s take that as read.

Once you’ve accepted that fact, the next question is why do movies at 48fps look “videoy”, and why do movies at 24fps look “dreamy” and “cinematic”. Why are games more realistic at 60Hz than 30Hz?

The answer to all of this lies in two things – ocular microtremor, and center-surround receptive fields in the retina. And it predicts where the cut-off lies as well.


It doesn’t make sense to roll-your-own PC any more…

So, in my opinion, it no longer makes sense to build your own PC (and five years ago, I was on the fence about it).

I've come to this conclusion after spending 10 hours trying to get a Foxconn AT-5570 nanoPC from NewEgg up and running with anything faster than 10MB/s HDD throughput. (From an SSD, no less).

Their download page is broken, so I can't download BIOS updates.

The stock drivers that come with it? Crash Windows 8 on boot.

I had to renew my subscription to DriverAgent to try to fix the mess, and after installing everything, it's still crawling accessing the HDD.

I've now been waiting over an hour for it to install PCMark so I can test it, and the WD Black^2 drive won't partition to unlock the extra 1TB of storage.

Verdict? Abject, utter failure.

Now to decide if I want to cut my losses, or hopefully find another nanoPC or similar which works with Windows 8 and has a 2.5" SATA bay.

People - do yourself a favor. Unless your time isn't important toyou, just buy off-the-shelf stuff. The manufacturers are lousier than ever at keeping your drivers up to date, so if you build your own, you're in for a world of hurt.


Is a “Fail Fast” methodology a good idea for new projects?

The whole idea of having a “fail-fast” philosophy for new projects is problematic in a lot of ways. Here’s the deal: “Fail Fast" is a strategy that only works for about half of the people out there who might be working on a project.

Imagine you were totally omniscient, and could split your developers into two teams based on their character traits and working styles.

Let's call these two teams  Team Burny-Ouchy and Team Cassandra.