Ultra wide monitor Q&A

Source: LG official website.

Following up from my previous post on ultra wide monitor, here are some common questions that one may faced when deciding whether to go for ultra wide or not. I’ll try my best to answer them based on my understanding and knowledge.

Will it be difficult to navigate your mouse from one edge to the other?
No, not really. But I guess it depends on your pointer speed and how accurate your mouse is. I always set my pointer speed to very fast speed so I don’t see any problem, delay or slow reaction in moving my mouse from one end to the other.

Does it require high graphic performance on my PC?
Not exactly, but that very much depends on the specification and what you are pushing it to do. For standard refresh rate and native resolution, even my 5 years old company laptop which runs on Intel 6th gen i5 CPU with internal graphic can drive the display without issue. If you are pushing more pixels, higher refresh rate, use it for gaming and so on, I believe you will need a discrete GPU to drive those pixels.

Is 29” too small to be useful?
It really depends on what you use it for and your distance from the screen. If you are not sitting too far away and you usually only need to run 2 programs at the same time, then I would say 29″ is just nice. If you have a deep desk or you prefer to run 3 or more programs at the same time, then getting something with 34″ or higher would be more suitable.

I can’t imagine how will the monitor and aspect ratio be like
It certainly is not easy to imagine. One good way to start is to compare to your current monitor. I found this website useful in giving me an idea what the 21:9 monitor will be like if it was a 16:9 monitor instead. From there, I roughly estimated that a 29 inch 21:9 monitor will have similar screen height as a 23 inch monitor, which is something close to my office’s monitor, and I’m comfortable with this screen height, so 29 inch ultra wide should do the job for me.

21:9 or 32:9?
There’s another breed of wide display dubbed Super Ultra Wide that has aspect ratio of 32:9, which is basically two monitors built as one. They are even wider, gives you even more screen estate, can run 4 programs or more side by side. I have not used one before, but I did saw some users mentioned about the quirks with that resolution as it is not commonly supported. Anyway, no comment. 21:9 is good enough for me at the moment.

Full HD or higher resolution?
This is pretty subjective. For me, I use this for my work purpose only, thus 2560×1080 resolution is good enough for my use. If you do the math it is around 96PPI, which is no where near the density of some of the higher end screen out there. If I work from a distance, I will not noticed the pixel, but I do aware that it is not as sharp (I’m spoilt by my iMac’s screen anyway). So if you need sharper screen, you’ll need to step up to 3440×1440 resolution. You can use this website to estimate at what distance your eyes will not be able to differentiate the individual pixels.

Flat or curve?
Now, this is an interesting topic of discussion. I have not used a curve screen long enough to provide judgement on whether it is better than a flat screen. I guess the merits of curve screen is to provide you with more immersion on your media and at the same time avoiding some glare on the glossy screen. For me, currently I don’t see a need to go curve when using my 29” matte screen, it is very useable as it is. But if you are going for larger screen such as 34”, perhaps it makes sense to go curve… anyway, I’ll reserve my judgement and suggestion for now on this topic.

And that’s about it for now. If there are any other thoughts few months down the road, I’ll share again with everyone. Till then.

Going wide… like ultra wide

Source: LG official website

This is going to be a long one.

As you may or may not aware, Singapore was under “circuit breaker” period for the past months. Similar to lockdown imposed around the world, everyone needs to stay home as much as possible, limiting their contact and exposure to others in order to curb the spread of virus. Like everyone else, I was forced to work from home. My daily work involves juggling between 2 to 3 super long excel sheets and a few power point slides at the same time, and doing that on a 13 inch laptop screen is tougher than mission impossible. I do have a 22 inch Full HD monitor borrowed from office for this period. Although it does help a little, but there are many issues that I ran into with the dual screen setup of monitor + laptop screen.

To put it simple, Windows is just poor in managing screens. That’s what I summed up from my experience thus far. Connecting the monitor, setting it as primary display, yet time and time windows and programs will open itself on the secondary screen instead. Although it is possible to work on this setup, the hiccups and the occasional quirks have hindered productivity. Something needs to be done. I could add another external monitor and stop using my laptop screen, but that will not solve the issue of windows opening randomly on any monitor it wished. After long consideration, I figured that I need to use a one monitor setup. Large high resolution screen came to mind, but considering Windows is so sucks in managing screen scaling, it would still be problematic and I may not be able to really improve my workflow. Hence, came the idea of trying out an ultra wide monitor.

Watching movie in its native 2.35:1 aspect ratio

My aim is to connect my laptop to only one display, and this display should allow me to have a good multi-tasking workflow. I don’t need ultra high resolution screen for my work, as long as I can read the text and graphics I’m okay to see some pixels (anything equivalent to what my current loan monitor will be good enough). After searching high and low, I decided to settle with the LG 29WN600-W. The basic specifications that I bothered for this monitor are as follow:

Screen size: 29 inch
Resolution: 2560 x 1080
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Brightness: 250 nits
Color accuracy: Calibrated, 99% SRGB
Display type: IPS, matte coated
Built-in speaker: 7W x 2
Security: Kensington lock compatible

That’s about it! It does have other gamer centric features, HDR10 support and so on which are not of my concern. All in all, this is a very basic monitor with ultra wide aspect ratio of 21:9, which is around 33% more screen estate than a regular 16:9 Full HD monitor. Reading the specification and looking at the monitor itself shows how “basic” it really is. For example, there’s no height adjustment and swivel on the monitor stand, it doesn’t come with USB-C connectivity, there’s no downstream USB port and the list goes on. But still, I decided to purchase this monitor for a few reasons. It is one of the affordable monitor that grant me access to 21:9 aspect ratio and its feature set meets my need for office use. I’m saying this because if you are willing to pay more, there are much better options out there with much better feature set. If you are interested with this monitor, or you would like to know more about 21:9, feel free to read on.

Multitasking at work

Let’s get the downside out of the way first. Other than those missing features mentioned earlier (which is to be expected for monitor at this price point and not a deal breaker), the complaints I have with this monitor are:

  1. If you are close to the screen or viewing the screen from a steep angle, you may notice the left and right edge of the screen tears a little. Perhaps because the panel is not laminated, or maybe the matte coating, or for whatever reasons, but it is not noticeable as long as you maintain a normal viewing distance from the screen.
  2. No cable management included. I guess it won’t add a huge cost to them by just adding a hook or something at the back of the stand in order to run the cable through.
  3. The base of the stand is rather wide, it supports the monitor well without letting it wobble while in use, but it will take up some space on your desk.
  4. The overall height is pretty low, most probably you will need to use vesa mount or a stand to elevate the monitor to your eye level.
  5. After using it for few days I noticed a little bit of discomfort to my eyes. I thought it was due to PWM flickering, but after I checked it seems to be a flicker free panel. Things got better after switching to “Reader Mode”, but after playing around with the settings for a couple of days, seems like the problem has reduced or resolved. This very much depends on individual, so your milage may varies.

And… that’s about it. Yes, I don’t have a lot to complaint overall. In fact, there are a number of surprises that I did not expect the monitor will deliver, such as reasonable sound quality from the built-in speaker and colours are quite accurate out of the box. So in the end, does a 21:9 monitor solved my problem?

After using it for awhile now, I must say yes it did improved my workflow and productivity. Opening two programs side by side with enough space to see the content and work on them is a game changer, something that is hardly doable with my previous screen. And now since I’m running everything on one screen, it has less annoyance and I was able to work through windows by windows easily. However, if you are running programs on fullscreen, it could be overwhelming at times. Excel is okay as I’m able to glance more columns. Website for example are not optimized for such aspect ratio, so there will be a lot of empty spaces lying around.

Lightroom on ultra wide screen

The same goes to programs such as Lightroom. However, other application such as Photoshop and video editing software which allow you to rearrange the adjustment panel would be able to make good use of the extra screen estate. As for movie consumption, 2.35:1 movies will play in native aspect ratio without the black envelop, however 16:9 movies will play with black bar on the sides. For these topics, I guess there are enough materials covered by various youtubers or reviewers, so you can search around and see if ultra wide screen will benefit on your current workflow. Don’t ask me about gaming… I don’t game!

All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with this monitor. I got it at a good discounted price during the recent “work from home” sales, and there is no regret so far. I do noticed there are a few older models from LG that are available through some other retailers, if you plan to save on a few bucks, perhaps you can take a look at those too. Now, this brings me to another thoughts… should I get myself a 21:9 for own personal use? Not now I guess as I’m still rocking my 3 years old iMac (still going strong), but in the future, it is certainly something I would really consider. If you have any question, feel free to ask and I’ll try my best to get back to you. Sorry for the super long review, I’ll do a follow up post to discuss more on the 21:9 aspect ratio in another post. Till then.

Shimoda Action X30 Camera Bag: Initial Impression

Credits: Photo from Shimoda website

I’ve backed the kickstarter project from Shimoda for this Action X series backpack. When the project was successfully funded, founder of Shimoda, Ian Miller gave an update that due to overwhelming response, there could be delays in shipping the bags. Since then, there were quite a bit of hoo haa surrounding the delay and a whole lot of mess generated by some backers. I didn’t receive my pack in December 2019 as promised in the project timeline, but I was lucky enough to get one from the second batch which are delivered in January. Well, it is a kickstarter campaign anyway, therefore I have no issue or whatsoever.

There are already plenty of reviews and features rundown on this bag, so I’m not going to repeat those again. I’ll just be sharing what I like and dislike about this bag, and leave it to you to be the judge whether this is the right bag for you.

What I like:

  • Nice balance of size and volume for X30 (30-37 litres)
  • Nice durable materials are used, has a good balance of rigidity and softness
  • Camera access is on the right side (pun intended), I’m probably the few minorities who wants to access camera from the side panel on the right
  • Easily removable core unit and divider allowing bag to double as camera or travel bag
  • Just the right amount of pockets and compartments
  • Beefy and comfortable top and side handle
  • Tripod can be strapped on the side or rear
  • Core unit comes with cover, allowing me to use it separately as camera storage box
  • Not overly engineered with unnecessary features
  • Comfortable shoulder strap (need some times to break-in though)

What I don’t like:

  • Bag is a little heavy when empty
  • Don’t really like the look of the shoulder strap harness (but they are comfortable to wear)
  • There are a lot of zippers, and I wish some of the zipper pulls can be lock down in place for a tidier look on the bag
  • Not a big fan of the look of how the top loader is secured (but it is very functional, nevertheless)

I was contemplating between X30 and X50 during the campaign, worrying that X30 will be too small for my torso length. But X50 is much larger and would be risky to use as carry-on luggage during flight. Furthermore, I do not have that much of gears to pack anyway, so I decided to go with X30 in the end. With maximum torso fit, I’m glad that it fits okay.

This bag is designed for your adventure, for you to go out and explore, and to that extent it does seem to deliver. Of course this is just my initial impression of the bag after using it for my short trips, I still need to use it more often in order to give a full review. If you are interested, you can visit their website to find out more. Till then.

Best Read of 2019

I have read quite a lot of books this year, be it fiction, non-fiction, biography, self-help and so on. And here are my top 3 picks for the year, and I highly recommend everyone to read them too. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Don’t be fooled by the title of this book. It certainly isn’t some fucking nonsense book that talks about nothing. The author discussed about why people felt entitled, how we can make a better decision to make our lives better, what we should be giving a fuck and not giving a fuck on, how we should embrace problems and difficulties for growth and so on.

To put it simply, this fucking book gives you some mind fuck and hopefully you will be able to unfuck yourself after reading it. To get a taste of what is being covered in this book, take a look at Mark’s website here.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

This is another epic book that will surely gives you enough mind fuck. Facts are everywhere, readily available, literally been taught and stuffed into our head, but yet people can still get things so wrong, be so out of touch with reality, and keep believing in the falsehood that they believe in. I myself am guilty of this, and this book gave some guidance on how to be a little more mindful and factual in life, which hopefully lead to better decision making, less complaining and more optimistic.

Here’s a video of Hans in action:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This is a memoir of Paul, a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with cancer. It’s about the story of him fighting his life between work, family, life and illness. It’s not just an ordinary fiction or Korean drama where the main character get sick and died just for the sake of making you cry. This book is much more than that. It makes you think about life, about choices, about death, and the meaning behind those. All in all, a very nice read that will make you think and re-think about everything.

为了这份爱…我们还能做些什么呢?

我在日本的第二天。没什么计划的一天,因为本来的计划就是让今天没计划…这么说会挨打吧?不过说实在的,今天就是那种“做什么都可以,只要是无所事事就好”的一天。话说来到东京旅行却抱着这样的想法,真的没问题吗?

毕竟并没有什么特别的计划,加上今天是星期天,感觉上去到哪里都会是人山人海的吧?想想来到东京,有什么地方我是没有去过的呢?想着,原来我倒还是没去过秋叶原,也就是传说中的宅男圣地!不过也算是动漫迷的朝圣之地啦。不过,对我而言,许许多多的动漫应该都已经变得非常陌生了吧?毕竟最近除了海贼王之外,几乎就没有看其他的动画了。

查看了一下地图与路线,嗯,没问题,离浅草蛮近的。于是,我搭上电车,来到了秋叶原。离开车站,一眼望去似乎到处都是宅男,不然就是游客,哈哈。喂,不可以以貌取人。我漫无目的的逛了几间商场,然后也在附近吃了顿午餐。不过说实在的,秋叶原真的是应有尽有,不该有的也有啊。那里有许多的二手店,贩卖着二手DVD,漫画,游戏光碟,二手动漫玩具等。我还看到有二手性感洋娃娃…那是用过的吗(>…<)?当然还有许多电子用品,动漫周边商品,还有就是女仆咖啡店和动漫主题咖啡店了。主题咖啡店在周末没有预约是绝对进不了的,所以我就找女仆去了…才没有啦,午餐是随便吃了碗乌龙面就解决了。真的,我有收据作证的!相信我!

48518507791_11ff50e655_c

另外,我还到了秋叶原附近的神田明神神社去参拜。这是一座简单的神社,但是却有着独特的特色,那就是适合秋叶原印象的动漫主题绘马和御守。很难想象神圣的事物会和玩闹的东西连接上来吧?这也是日本的特色之一,总是有这种出其不意的东西会让人会心一笑,也让人感到一丝暖意。参拜完毕,我到隔壁的文化交流馆去参观与买些纪念品。嗯、接下来该做什么呢?今天只想做些不吃力,不需要太多走动的活动呢……

于是,我延续着今天的动漫主题,来到了电影院。索性看一场电影吧!由于突然想起新海诚监督的新作《天気の子》正在上映中,于是我来到了电影院,打算抢鲜看一遍。在电影院前的我徘徊着,挣扎着。为什么呢?因为…没…有…字…幕…啊……字幕版的好像要等到月尾才会有。那看还是不看呢?想了许久,我还是买下了一张戏票。以我对新海诚监督的认识与了解而言,他不是那些会把太过复杂难懂的对白设计在电影内的人。大不了就像傻子一样坐在里面,别人笑你就跟着笑,别人哭你就跟着哭就好了!

话说戏票好贵啊…一张要1900円…看电影的过程其实和我脑海中熟悉的情况没多少落差。来到售票机前,选择介面语言,选择你要看的戏,选择你要的时间,你要的座位,然后就是付款和领取戏票。同样的有售卖爆米花和饮料的柜台,同样的得等到你的影院开放后才得以对号入座,同样的必须看上一大段的广告(不一样的是这里的英文戏都是配音的!狮子王的宣传影片中,动物们都在说日语!感觉就很…怪,哈哈!),最后电影终于发放,然后看完电影后大家把自己的垃圾带到外面去丢弃。

嗯,结果我还真的是哭了。《天気の子》这部电影讲述着离家出走的少年帆高,遇上了拥有能够让天空放晴的超能力少女阳菜。他们之间发生了许多的事情,直到有一天,阳菜因为使用能力过度而“蒸发”到另一个世界去。而帆高为了他们之间的爱,排除万难的把阳菜给救了回来。还是不要剧透太多好了,没看过的朋友就不妨去看一看这部电影吧。

电影有许多让人感动的场景,像是帆高不经意说出自己喜欢雨天而不小心伤了阳菜的心,还有就是他们如何在东京独自生活,为了爱,为了自己,也为了彼此而相依的情节,都让我不自禁的流下眼泪来。这些都是我们能够和故事产生联系的要素,也就是这些要素带动着我们的情绪,让我们投入电影的角色中,让我们的感情随着电影一起波动。有时候,这些不经意的画面勾起了我们那些尘封许久的回忆,让我们再次想起过往,想起一些最重要的小事。

看完电影后,不知道为什么我有着一种空虚的感觉,挥之不去。《天気の子》是一部好电影,那是不争的事实。但是,也许是因为它与上一部作品《君の名は》有着太多相似之处,所以让我有一点失望的感觉吧。两部电影都有着神明,传说,跨越时空等的相似桥段。但是,也许《君の名は》会让人更感动,更有共鸣也说不定,总觉得那段故事写得更有层次,更能让彼此勾起相似的记忆。这让我有些担心,新海诚监督的下一部作品到底会变得如何呢?是不是因为《君の名は》的门栏设得太高了,所以让我对《天気の子》的期待也过高了呢?

无论如何,还是得重申一遍,《天気の子》依然是一部不错的电影,大家还是可以去好好的看一遍的。也许你会认同我所说的,也许你会觉得这部电影更棒也说不定。不过,RADWIMPS的主题歌与电影配乐依然做得非常出色,而且这次的歌词也和电影非常贴切,这也让我格外的喜欢。在这里我就附上电影主题歌的歌词吧,希望你也会喜欢。

为了这份爱……我们还能做些什么?

两手空空来到这世界的我,还在时光的缝隙中痛苦的摸索着
那些已经放弃挣扎的以及那些聪明的人,都在这个胜者的时代里艰难的活着
无论是统治者还是神明大人都做出了一副漠不关心的表情,但他们明明是知道的啊
当勇气、希望、羁绊这些魔法失效时,他们却只是视而不见而已
尽管如此,从那天直到现在都是你在指引我前进的方向
就算我与世界背道而驰,你也一直陪伴在我的身旁

我还能为我们的爱做些什么?我还能为你做些什么?
你给予的这份勇气,我只想为了你而使用
这份与你一起找寻到的爱,如果不是你就毫无意义了
我还能为了我们的爱而做些什么?我还能为了你而做些什么?

难道命运只是摇骰子得出来的东西,还是说得全看神明的心情?
它是被强加的枷锁,还是我们自身绝不动摇的意志?
虽然有些实现不了的愿望与再会,还有那些解不开的误会与仇恨
但也有那些互相谅解的声音以及彼此紧握的双手
这颗星球今天也依旧闪耀着

我还能为我们的爱做些什么?我还能为你做些什么?
你给予的这份勇气,我只想为了你而使用
这份与你一起培育的爱,如果不是你就毫无意义了
我还能为了我们的爱而做些什么?我还能为了你而做些什么?

为何要让一无所有的我们看见梦想呢?
为何要在有限的人生里让我们看到希望呢?
为何总要赐给我们一些抓不住的东西呢?
但仍想紧紧抓着它的我们,看起来是否很丑陋?还是说很美呢?
神明啊,回答我吧!

情歌早已被唱完了,那些情话也早已在电影里被说尽了
就算是出生在这片荒野中的你和我,果然也……

还是有我能够为爱而付出的事
还是有我想要为了你而做的事