Binks Is Here

Commentary on the World

3D Technology

I haven’t posted anything in quite some time; but about a week ago I posted a response to Granite’s post on the 3D DS in particular, and 3D technology in general. It’s long, and I think reasonably well-considered; so I’m cross-posting it here.

I think it’s worth noting that the 3D technology going into the TVs is not the same 3D technology being used in theaters now.

My understanding:
Theater 3D uses polarized light projected on the screen. Two images, each polarized differently, are up on the screen at the same time. You then wear lenses where each lens is transparent to a specific polarity and blocks the other. Thus, each eye sees a different image.
Advantage: 30 cent glasses. Disadvantage: Ungodly expensive projector.

Most (all?) of the new TV sets do it differently. They display twice as many images as the average TV set does (so, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 48 frames per second). You wear glasses where each lens can be made opaque or transparent. The TV set has a transmitter, and each pair of glasses has a receiver. The transmitter screams “Left Eye!” and the left eye becomes transparent. It screams “Right Eye!” for the next frame, and the right eye becomes transparent. So, the left eye sees 24 frames of “left eye” video every second, and the right eye sees 24 frames of “right eye” per second.
Advantage: TV uses fundamentally the same tech that has always been used.
Disadvantage: Glasses are more than $100/pair, because they are pieces of precision electronics.

What I anticipate will happen (and it may already be happening) is that the viewing of additional frames per second is not really all that strenuous (or at least it won’t be in the future - witness how HDTVs used to be absolutely insanely priced). So, most/all TVs in the future will be 3D capable. If you want 3D, you’ll buy the transmitter and a few pairs of glasses and BAM! your 2D set is now 3D capable.

The same deal as HDTV now - most people who buy HD sets don’t really need them, and they’ll be most valuable to people who drop a few hundred bucks on Blu-Ray players. In a few years when the cost of Blu-Ray players goes down, however, people will have TV sets already in their living rooms that can handle the player.

And, as for future 3D, we’ll only get there on the backs and dollars of the early adopters - you can’t jump straight to mass-production of “ultra 3D” any more than you could’ve said in the pre-VHS era, “I’ll just wait for Blu-Ray”. Same thing with the NES and the Wii - if Nintendo didn’t make money on its expensive system with ugly graphics many years ago, they wouldn’t have come out with the neat system they have today.

So, to sum: Every 3D TV is a great 2D TV already, just like every Blu-Ray ready TV is a great DVD TV. Current 3D tech isn’t wonderful, and I don’t think I’ll be buying into it either, but you can only get to wonderful by having companies make money with the not-wonderful.

Too Much Data, Not Enough Enthusiasm

A nugget from the marketer-philosopher, Seth Godin:

Too much data leads to not enough belief.

Business plans with too much detail, books with too much proof, politicians with too much granularity… it seems as though more data is a good thing, because data proves the case.

In my experience, data crowds out faith. And without faith, it’s hard to believe in the data enough to make a leap. Big mergers, big VC investments, big political movements, large congregations… they don’t usually turn out for a spreadsheet.

The problem is this: no spreadsheet, no bibliography and no list of resources is sufficient proof to someone who chooses not to believe. The skeptic will always find a reason, even if it’s one the rest of us don’t think is a good one. Relying too much on proof distracts you from the real mission–which is emotional connection. [Emphasis is mine]

On occasion I’ve found myself trying to get a large organization to do something other than what it’s been doing all along; or trying to get some staffer in a large organization to put a toe outside of their job description. Inevitably, it seems, you hit something - popular excuses include “Privacy law”, “building code”, or “insurance”, that just couldn’t possibly allow my idea to ever work and that ends the conversation.

It’s not that the idea is bad, or that any of these obstacles are insurmountable. The issue is that the person you’re trying to convince just doesn’t care about you or your idea, and has absolutely no incentive to make anything happen. In that case, my response is usually something along the lines of, “Oh, what section of the building code is in error?” or “What exactly is it about this that causes an insurance issue? How about negotiating an additional rider on the insurance you already have?”.

That, of course, is exactly the wrong approach to take. Even if you get past that objection, there’ll just be another one waiting in the wings; or they’ll just stop responding to your inquiries.

The only way to get someone to do something is to make them want to do it. Someone who’s dead set against you will never be convinced by data alone.

Pink Unicorns

Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of awesome mystical power. We know this because they manage to be invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can’t see them. ~ Steve Eley

Campus Bookstore And Pub

I’m not sure what’s happening there. The building is the campus bookstore, but it’s fenced off and a beer tent has been installed. Anyone have any idea why?

EDIT: Went by there last Friday and sure enough the same thing was going on. Asked in the bookstore, and apparently the reason for the party was “It’s Friday”; the guest list consisted of the engineering students on campus.