29 April 2008

Firefox 3 beta 5 and Scribefire

As an avowed Firefox fanboy, I've just upgraded to Firefox 3 beta 5 and was surprised to see it smoothly pick up all my add-ons. Of course, it crashed the first several times I started it up, but now a certain calm seems to have descended, and it's working fine.

Some months ago I installed the Scribefire add-on, and although it's been quietly updating away in the background, I've never actually used it in anger until today. So I guess this is a test of whether it works with the Firefox 3 beta. Now I'm going to press the Publish button, and if this appears on eebahgum! then it works. If it doesn't, I'd appreciate your feedback to tell me so. Here goes...

17 April 2008

Shame on you APC magazine! (Plasma & LCD wars)

Something odd is afoot in the world of large format televisions. There seems to be a global attempt move by the media and sales outlets to trumpet the cause of LCDs at the expense of plasma. Never mind the fact that a blind man in a snowstorm can tell that plasma is better at almost everything. Never mind the fact that large LCDs are still more expensive than comparably sized plasmas.

So walk into a major retail outlet and look at how the floor is set up to drive you towards the LCDs. Look at the way the screens are calibrated to minimise the differences between the two, and the store lighting is set to flatter LCDs. Notice the reluctance of shop staff to tell you flat out that plasmas are still generally better at motion, colour, blacks and that resolution is not ultimately important compared to what you see with your eyes.

Look at the media's constant prattling on about LCD 'closing the gap' and becoming the equal of plasma in so many areas. Then think how many years they've been giving us that message. The media is now speculating that Pioneer's recent decision to stop making plasma panels is a sign of their resignation to the victory of LCD in the long run. Nonsense. Although Pioneer has long since made the world's best plasma panels they just can't make them at a realistic cost, and they realise it. Their chief competitor, Panasonic, works to very different economies of scale and has significantly closed the quality gap such that Pioneer screens are simply not competing in the market. Only sensible then, that Pioneer source their screens from Panasonic in return for sharing their technology. It has nothing to do with Pioneer changing its mind about the superiority of plasma in large screens.

So where does Australia's erstwhile APC magazine come into it? Well, this publication, for whom I have always had the utmost respect, has a headline this month which loudly announces "LCDs CATCH PLASMAS" and "SHOCK RESULTS" implying that the LCD panels on test match the plasmas. The trouble is, that is simply not the conclusion of the tests inside the mag. The article in question evaluates 2 plasma and 3 LCD panels and the plasmas come first and second, closely followed by a Sony LCD with the other LCD a distant 4th and 5th. And anyone who has been shopping recently knows that Sony LCDs still cost significantly more than equivalent sized Panasonic plasmas, for example.

So, APC editors, a far more honest cover headline would have been "LCDs STILL TRAIL PLASMAS". Why did you chose to run the misleading one, and are you too part of the global conspiracy against plasma screens?Go to eebahgum!