Samsung’s CES 2013 Keynote: Powerful, Green Components, Bendy Displays, and Bill Clinton

Bookmark and Share

SAMSUNGINTRO

Well, once again, here I am at CES. Thanks to *you* (yes, YOU), I had enough traffic to this site to get a press pass – giving me easy access to the CES Keynotes.

This came in handy when I moseyed on past the crowds of “Industry Affiliates,” “Buyers,” and even “Exhibitors” through the security people and into the large door with “Press” above it to attend Samsung’s keynote. I was a little late to the party – I had no idea that press was allowed in an hour early. A fifth row seat isn’t too bad, though.

Samsung’s CEO Stephen Woo ran the show and talked about three main things: Processing, Memory, and Displays.

Processing

EXNOS5OCTA

The main focus of the processing portion was the new Exynos 5 OCTA
processor. This mobile processor has amazing power – enough to accomplish web searches, a restaurant finder, a GPS, and playing an HD video all simultaneously on a tablet. It also has twice as powerful 3D rendering – as demonstrated by Glenn Roland from EA and a scarily realistic Need for Speed game. The most impressive part of this processor, however, is that it uses 70% less energy than it’s predecessor. Thanks to Samsung’s partnership with ARM, the Exynos 5 OCTA features a technology called “Big Little” (how creative). Essentially, the processor has two sets of 4 cores: One set is of smaller Cortex A7s for simple, efficient browsing; The other of large, powerful Cortex A15s for complex 3D rendering and other processor-heavy tasks. This means that when you’re simply browsing the web, you’re not using a multitude of battery power, but when you open up Need for Speed you have a processing powerhouse at your fingertips.

With this new processor, Samsung showed how their Galaxy Camera would be able to support a 13 megapixel sensor. Woo then showed a video that essentially said that there is too much data on the internet, and it’s all a result of cats (and people making videos of them).

Memory

This section of the keynote was relatively boring. All of the data (that is the result of cats) is stored in data centers across the world, and if every single data center switched to Samsung’s solid state drives, enough energy would be saved to power New York City for 6 months.

Displays

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Brian Berkely Bends a Screen (Getty Images)

This is the area where Samsung got some real cheers from the crowd. Woo brought out Brian Berkely from Samsung’s San Jose Display Lab. Berkely started off talking about how displays have been undergoing a “pixel war”: All of the display manufacturers are battling to get the most pixels into the smallest amount of space. Samsung’s 10.1″ display has the best colors and highest pixel density of any tablet display ever made – 300 PPI. That’s the same resolution of a standard printer.

Berkely went on to talk about how OLED technology gives the brightest, most vivid displays. “They’re super thin and lightweight. Because OLEDS produce their own light, they don’t require thick, heavy, power consuming backlight. And now, thanks to Samsung technology, they can also be flexible.” He brought out a screen prototype and bent it around. Woo then showed a video of a phone that flips open to reveal a large tablet surface.

Then someone from microsoft came out and talked about how samsung is amazing blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah. He showed off Windows Phone on another bendy display. Then there was something with xbox. Here’s a link to an article written by someone who actually cares about it.

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton?

Bill Clinton?

Mr. Woo went on talking about how this new technology should be available for all, and transitioned into the “Samsung Hope for Children” program – providing technology-rich education for third world countries. He then showed a video about the Bill Clinton foundation. And lo and behold, Bill Clinton walks out.

“When I became president, the average cell phone weighed five pounds… There were a grand total of fifty sites on the entire internet. Fifty. More than that have been added since I started talking.”

Then he went on talking about how technology has helped him, and he then somehow transitioned into talking about gun control.

My Thoughts

Samsung’s component announcements will mean very little to the consumer – until a product with one comes out.

Samsung’s display announcements will mean very little to the consumer – until a product with one comes out.

Samsung’s memory announcements mean very little to the consumer and only really appeals to manufacturers.

But in the end, showing off the components in the keynote gives consumers a look into the future of what might be possible using those components.

What we can really take away from this is that the technology exists to have extremely powerful devices with long battery life, energy efficient data centers, and crazy displays.

Oh, and I still don’t understand why Bill Clinton was there.

SelfControl: Goodbye Procrastination

Bookmark and Share

Selfcontrollogo

Okay, so you have a ton of stuff to do. Emails to respond to, presentations to finish, proposals to complete. Calls to make, appointments to schedule, packages to deliver, documents to sign. 

But that one tab… it’s flashing. It beckons you. 

“Bob sent you a message!”

Bob. He sent you a message. 

All of the sudden, your entire agenda turns to nothing as you get sucked in to this pointless conversation with Bob. 

But wait – you have a new notification. Someone commented on your cat photo. You need to respond. If you don’t, then your opinion wouldn’t be expressed to the world! Oh, that post, it must be liked. Oh, there’s Bob again – Gotta reply to that. Oh, new comment on that cat photo. What?! They don’t think cats are better than dogs? I need to google why cats are better than dogs. Oh, there’s that flashing tab again! It’s Bob. Oh, I have a new chat. I have to respond to it. Oh hey, there’s my old high school friend! I should say hi. Oh, that post is cool, I should like it. Oh, I need to respond to bob. Oh, someone liked my status. Oh, I have to respond to my chats. 

Three hours have passed. You’ve gotten absolutely nothing done. 

This, my readers, is a daily phenomenon that affects almost 100% of active Facebook users. The term for it is “unconscious procrastination, meaning that you procrastinate and you don’t even realize it until you actually take a look at the clock. And thanks to many sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more, unconscious procrastination is a problem that affects the productivity of the entire world. 

Well, thankfully, there is indeed a solution: SelfControl. 

SelfControl is very simple: Add the sites you don’t want to it’s blacklist, set a timer, hit start, and goodbye procrastination. Any of the sites that you added will no longer work for that amount of time! So no matter how much you might want to get to Facebook to see if Bob responded, you can’t – so I guess that gives you the opportunity to get something done!

One of the beautiful things about SelfControl is that once you set the timer, you can’t stop it. Even if you restart your mac, uninstall the application, whatever, you won’t be able to visit your blocked sites until the timer is up. 

Okay, now for the technical part (those who aren’t interested, skip to the next paragraph). On your Mac there is a file called the hosts file. Basically, it contains a local DNS registry, which usually only consists of localhost being 127.0.0.1. What SelfControl does is adds an entries to the hosts file that direct whatever sites you blacklisted to 0.0.0.0. This means that if you try to visit a site that you blacklisted, you will be redirected to the server at the address 0.0.0.0 – which doesn’t exist. Now for the spoiler: if you really want to get your Facebook and other social networks back before the timer is out, you can use the Terminal to edit /etc/hosts and delete the SelfControl entry.

So say goodbye to Bob, your friends, and your admirers alike; you have work to do. 

SelfControl Website

Direct Download

There’s more to a good product than a good idea

Bookmark and Share



When you think of creating a product, the first thing that comes to mind is always the idea. The idea is really the heart of a product. It is what makes people use it, what makes people discover it, and what makes it worth creating. A bad idea in the first place will always cause complete failure.

I would insert an example of a company where this happened, but frankly, if a company has such a bad idea that it fails, then it’s such a bad idea that nobody ever will take note of it. The idea is what determines everything…. almost.

Once you have your good idea and a company built, you aren’t done. It needs to be available to people, at least 99% of the time. I am going to relate this to the battery life vs. features scenario. If you get a phone that packs the most features and amazing performance with unbelievable power, but it arrives with no battery, then it’s all a failed effort. Something as simple and cheap as a battery can determine the value of the rest of the whole device. This same thing applies with any product or website. If it isn’t available to people or keeps failing/crashing, then the rest of the whole product becomes useless.  You need something to power and maintain your idea, because unfortunately, ideas aren’t self-sustaining.

I am going to bring this whole thing down to a specific example, which was the reason I am writing this post.

The example is chi.mp. The idea behind chi.mp is to aggregate everything from you into a single page. Blog posts, flickr posts, twitter updates, facebook updates, and a whole slew of other things is aggregated into a single page. Your page can be yournamehere.mp, so you can avoid subdomains, but still for free. Pretty good idea in my opinion.

However, the battery tends to become disconnected (metaphorically speaking). Every other page you get this error:

And after a plethora of refreshing, it still displays this. I clear my cookies and cache and a few refreshes later it loads something.

Because of this lack of service (and confusing error messages), I am abandoning this service, as many other people would do. Every browser on every OS, the same thing happens. So this is NOT a problem with your computer, but a problem with THEIR back end (a.k.a. battery).

This example is proof of the title of this post: No use having great features and a great idea if you just plain can’t get to them.

So when you have your magnificent idea, make sure it has a stable power supply.