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Lotta Dots, Lotta Data

We all enjoy the dazzling screen on our hand-held device, which seems brighter and more defined than our old desktop computer. Well, it is and there's good reason.

Some dazzling views pack 326 pixels per inch of display. A few of the newest phone displays reach 440 pixels per inch. We old monitor users were used to 72 or 96 pixels per inch.

Okay. Define "pixel". The term "pixel" is actually short for "picture element". These small little dots are what make up the images on computer displays, whether they are flat-screen (LCD) or tube (CRT) monitors. The screen is divided up into a matrix of thousands or even millions of pixels. Typically, you cannot see the individual pixels, because they are so small. But again, what all this boils down to is the fact that older monitors displayed 72 or 96 pixels per inch, and small hand held devices—phones and I-pads types—now boost the pixels per inch way, way up.

Remember back in the old days when pictures were printed on paper using little inked dots of varying shades and intensity to define the image? NO? Okay, I'll skip that part. But I used to work at a Printers Devil in an old shop that used lead type and printed pictures just that way. My job title included re-melting the lead so that the Linotype machines would make new images using little dots. See, dot matrix isn't new.

Recently a TV manufacturer announced that they had produced an ultra high-resolution display aptly termed "4K sets". True, the view is fabulous but there are problems. The manufacturer provides some movies reprogrammed for the high 4K resolution to people who buy the set; but otherwise there isn’t available—at least yet—any amount of stuff that can take advantage of this real high resolution. Oops, there's a problem. Also the set costs, suitably, an arm and a leg.

Things have to be reprogrammed to take advantage of this really high resolution. And then there's the quandry of getting data across the Internet to display on your device, whatever the device might be. The amount of data needed to produce these high res images, and especially videos, is TRULY HUGE. There aren't any Internet providers, to speak of, who are willing or can pass this much data across the ethers of the web. That isn't going to change any time soon.

So, what to do. Well, if you have a hand held device and because of its small sized display you can manage okay to get some graphics displayed in higher resolution, there you go. Ooops! We're forgetting about the data limits set by the providers of your phone signal. They don't want you to download big stuff unless you pay for it. Dang.

There was a small window in time where there were no limits on data passed across the web/Internet/signal. Ah, those golden times. But then there weren't so many movies available like now. And YouTube was a start-up. Sigh!

Note of disclosure: I don’t have much actual time operating one of those smaller hand-held 326-pixel-per-inch devices. Someone else seems to be using it far more than I.


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