6/20/2005

6-20-05 - 5

6-20-05

I despise my TiVo and my Sony DVD player. Why? Latency. Latency is the worst thing for user interfaces. I press stop on the damn DVD player and I'm not sure it even took the command because it takes so long to execute. I love my NAD amplifier. It's all analog and the switches are actual wired electric switches, not buttons that send commands to a chip; the response to every action is instantaneous. This is not a minor detail; Joe Ybarra used to love to talk about this with frame rate - the difference between 40 fps and 60 fps, and more exactly, the latency, is not some small numeric difference, it's not like getting 40 chocolate chips vs. 60 chocolate chips - there's something dramatic that happens when your interface is smooth and responsive and perceptually instantaneous. Suddenly the device is like an extension of your body & mind - it's not some external apparatus that you're fighting with and compensating for, it's your tool and it's doing your wishes and it suddenly tickles some loving part of your brain.

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