Matthew's blog

Has display technology stagnated?

I came across an old Jakob Nielsen column this afternoon, dating from November 1995. He predicted / hoped that, when computer monitors and network connections caught up with the human factors research of the day, we ought to have 27" x 40" displays at a whopping 1200 dpi (that's 1.5 billion pixels), driven at 120 Hz by graphics cards packing close to 5 GB of memory.

Why so few proas?

Proas- the original multihulls- are rather rare these days. Which is really quite a shame.

A proa, for the uninitiated, is a laterally asymmetrical multihull: one hull is smaller than the other. Proas, at least in the strict definition, are also double-ended, switching bow for stern in a manoeuvre called a "shunt" when ordinary sailboats would tack. There are, of course, proas that tack in the conventional manner, although these are more commonly called tacking outriggers.

The digital parasite: high frequency trading, evolved

It was bound to happen, sooner or later. Technology evolves at incredible rates, and greed is by far the strongest driver in that evolutionary process. In many ways, the tech world is beginning to mimic the biological world. We have neural nets (analogous to the brain), genetic algorithms (analogous to the process of natural selection), and now we have digital parasites that are at least as aggressive and tenacious as their living counterparts.

Lake waves, and the origin of a new powerboat

Waves, despite their well-understood mathematical and physical properties, remain a rather subjective point of discussion among cruisers. There's the tendency to exaggerate, of course- we've all heard a story that goes something like "I was beating into a force 6, there were 14-foot waves coming over the bow....". (Force 6, of course, brings an average wave height of closer to 9 feet given unlimited fetch.)


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