Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grand Central Dispatch

The main topic of discussion today between myself and Stu is a new Snow Leopard Mac OS X 10.6 technology called Grand Central Dispatch. The technical brief gives an interesting glimpse, with enough information to get you excited but not enough actually tell you what you need to know to write program.

Of all the features of the new operating system this feature, I think, will be the most discussed by geeky programmers this week. Sure OpenCL is nice, but we've talked about that. More 64-bit is wonderful. Accessibility is cool. But for programmers, multi-threading is a pain that needs sorting out, preferably before the next generation of multi-core chips arrive.

I know there are many solutions and others (Microsoft, Sun...) are producing 'new' solutions. It's an interesting thing to watch and be able to play with. Pity Snow Leopard is Intel only ... maybe a reason to upgrade. Where are those low power quad core laptop chips?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monochrome Monitors

Whilst I'm not sure I've seen any scientific evidence that monochrome monitors, like amber or green, help with eye strain versus a modern colour monitor, they did tend to be sharper than the same generation/similar cost versions of CRT colour monitors. Today's colour LCD monitors are pretty good for sharpness, of course, so it's less of an issue. And people do love colour - take syntax highlighting in text editors for code.

However, I think there is something special and 'cool' about those old monochrome displays. And I'm sure that's recognised today in a certain class of application. Take for instance the MacOSX Terminal application that has several colour sets built-in, including a pretty class green terminal one, and it allows you to set your own colours. In fact, nearly all command line interfaces, serial and Telnet terminal applications allow you to set colours - and apart from a very few specific instances, these are monochrome applications.

I'm currently making a couple of command line applications and my current command window? Full screen, black background and wonderful amber text. Ahh, bask in that orange glow. More productive? I think so, even if the effect is due to some happiness factor.

And if the happiness fades? Well, there's always green text...
Newer›  ‹Older