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the trouble with pixels

The PC industry is presently in a period of major bungled transition and chaos related to high-DPI hardware being released before Microsoft and Windows applications can support it. By mistake, I bought a laptop with a beautiful 13″ 1920 x 1080 screen with a 276 pixels per inch density. Packing this many pixels into a small space means that to display something at the same physical size as a standard-density display, it must be “larger” in terms of the number of pixels used to represent the intended object, whether it be a window, text, buttons, graphics, etc.

A typical 13″ display is made of 1440 x 900 pixels at 110 pixels per inch.

13.3″ 2014 Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus: 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels
13.3″ Mid-2007 Apple MacBook: 1440 x 900 = 1,296,000 pixels

What does it mean when you cram nearly twice as many pixels in the same space as before? Everything appears half its usual size. Thus, the operating system software has to double the size of everything it displays in order for it to physically appear the correct size. They haven’t figured this out yet.

The vast majority of Windows software is not designed for this, and Windows itself does a terrible job at dealing with this. I tested Ubuntu 15.04 and it wasn’t much better; for example Google Chrome’s UI will not scale.

Microsoft and Samsung grossly mishandled and/or neglected their implementation of DPI scaling. For example, take a look at this application, Arduino. The text and interface are impossible to read unless I move my face to within 5″ of the screen. This renders the application completely useless, and there’s nothing I can do about it.


An example of an application which does not support high-density displays. The text an interface features are impossible to see.

My advice to you: Hold off on your next laptop purchase. Wait a while until the software industry catches up with the advances in hardware. Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus was initially a haphazard product.

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Can’t move VMWare Fusion on Mac OS X?

If you get some message like “You don’t have permission to move this Application” or some such thing, try this in Terminal:

sudo chown -R username /Applications/VMware\
sudo chmod -R 777 /Applications/VMware\

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Posted in how-to

how to set up a VPN with Asus RT-N16 and Mac OS X

rt_n16_209Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting up and running with a VPN connection between your Mac and Asus RT-N16 router with factory firmware.

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Mac epoch?

Screenshot 2013-11-23 13.51.41

While installing the Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) update, I noticed that the temporary file ( /Applications/Mac OS X Mavericks.appdownload created while the update “app” downloads has the creation date set to January 24th, 1984, the day of the initial Macintosh release. I think this file will be removed by the installer when the download completes and the update installs, so it was a good place to hide something most people probably wouldn’t notice.


I wonder if 1/24/84 2:00 AM could be the standard the Macintosh epoch? At the time this page was rendered, the current UNIX time was [insert_php]echo time();[/insert_php] seconds after January 1 1970, 00:00:00 UTC, which works out to [insert_php]date_default_timezone_set(‘America/Chicago’);echo date(“F j, Y, g:i a”);[/insert_php] United States central time.

For the curious, the PHP functions return and format the seconds since UNIX epoch is as follows:

echo time();
echo date(“F j, Y, g:i a”);

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how to create an iPad video kiosk

Screen shot 2013-10-18 at 4.07.21 PM

I was recently tasked with building an iPad floor display that would loop a series of video clips indefinitely in a public place. Surprisingly, it’s not very obvious how to do this, and the third-party applications for looping video don’t work, are expensive, or show ads on the screen while the video plays.

The following solution requires no extra software or apps at all.

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list of Mac OS computers I’ve had


  • Macintosh SE FDHD
  • Macintosh Plus
  • Macintosh IIcx
  • Macintosh IIci
  • Macintosh IIsi
  • Macintosh Classic
  • Macintosh LC
  • Macintosh LCIII
  • Macintosh Quadra 610
  • Power Macintosh 6100/60
  • Power Macintosh 6500/250
  • Power Macintosh 7200/75
  • Power Macintosh G3/233 Desktop
  • Power Macintosh G3 266 Minitower
  • Power Macintosh G3 400
  • Power Macintosh G4 400
  • Power Macintosh G5 1.8 DP
  • iMac G3/233 Original
  • iMac G3/400 DV SE
  • eMac G4/700
  • iMac Core i5 2.9 27″


  • PowerBook 520c
  • PowerBook 5300cs/100
  • PowerBook G3/233
  • iBook G3/800
  • iBook G4/800
  • MacBook “Core 2 Duo” 2.0 13″ (White/07)


  • Xserve G5/2.0


  • 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300
  • 2.83GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 3770
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quality carried all the way through

When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.

Steve Jobs

The unseen design aesthetic of Apple’s Macbook. Beautiful inside:


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