Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 22nd Nov 2008 23:05 UTC
In the News When you're diving into the history of computing and its concepts, you rarely have to look much further back in time than the Second World War. It happens sometimes, but not that often. However, there are exceptions - and this is one that really boggles the mind: the pixel? One of those little dots on your screen? It's well over 400 years old.
Order by: Score:
Comment by BSDfan
by BSDfan on Sat 22nd Nov 2008 23:40 UTC
BSDfan
Member since:
2007-03-14

You dare trick us with a broken link? ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by BSDfan
by JLF65 on Sat 22nd Nov 2008 23:47 UTC in reply to "Comment by BSDfan"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Works fine for me, and is a very interesting read. ;)

Reply Score: 4

441?
by wakeupneo on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 09:29 UTC
wakeupneo
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd always thought the logical precursor to the pixel is the mosaic which dates back to the 4th century B.C.

If that's so then I think their count is a little off...

Reply Score: 2

RE: 441?
by Buck on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 09:58 UTC in reply to "441?"
Buck Member since:
2005-06-29

Yeah, I thought about mosaic art too... Although it wasn't always pixellated, most of it was tesserated.

Reply Score: 3

RE: 441?
by Googol on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 12:28 UTC in reply to "441?"
Googol Member since:
2006-11-24

methinks a mosaic is more 'free-style' - it's not like the stones are arranged in a matrix with equal numbers per line; or without straight lines of stones all together.

Reply Score: 4

I would suggest pointillism
by unclefester on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 10:52 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

Pointillism is a popular late 19th century technique of painting with quite large (5-10mm) adjoining coloured dots. A dozen or so different colours are normally used. Up close you just see the dots but they form a nice image at arms length.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I would suggest pointillism
by Daniel Borgmann on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 11:54 UTC in reply to "I would suggest pointillism"
Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

But they are not on a grid, right? That's a huge difference.

Reply Score: 3

No surprise there
by asgard on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 12:53 UTC
asgard
Member since:
2008-06-07

This is not surprising to me at all. Digital technologies were there for hundreds of years - just look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquard_loom">Jacquard .

Reply Score: 1

RE: No surprise there
by dpeterc on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 17:39 UTC in reply to "No surprise there"
dpeterc Member since:
2007-09-08

To be even more precise, J.M. Jacquard "only" automated the pattern transfer into the fabric by using a mechanical device with punched cards.
Manual creation of such fabrics existed for over two thousand years. To make any such fabric, a sketch is necessary, since it is impossible for a weaver to make complex designs out of his/her head.
The "pixels" in textile sketch are rectangular, to reflect the density of weaving. So pixels can also be square, but more often they are not.
Weaving of carpets also requires the same kind of pixel-based sketch.
Check the wikipedia entry on tapestry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapestry
for some pictures of old tapestries.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: No surprise there
by sbergman27 on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 18:09 UTC in reply to "RE: No surprise there"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Weaving of carpets also requires the same kind of pixel-based sketch.

As does needlepoint. A friend of mine got me into needlepoint (briefly) some years back, claiming that it was "relaxing". Unfortunately, I did not find it so. It's essentially turtle graphics. Invariably, during a session, I would make a mistake, and then do about a hundred more stitches before I noticed... at which point I would have to tediously back the "turtle" up 100 stitches to correct the error and then redo them all correctly. If I wasn't in an aggravated state at the start of the session, I was surely so by the end.

Latch-hook rug making might be more to my liking. I had not considered it before, thinking it similar to needlepoint. But rug making is essentially raster graphics with random access to individual points. Maybe I should try it out?

Edited 2008-11-23 18:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: No surprise there
by diskinetic on Sun 23rd Nov 2008 19:28 UTC in reply to "No surprise there"
diskinetic Member since:
2005-12-09

It sort of reminds me of the article I read once about the Egyptians somehow "using" Pi to construct their pyramids. Turned out that they didn't have direct abstract knowledge of Pi, but were rather using measuring wheels to set the massive construction dimensions. The wheels then forced Pi's relationships into the pyramids. Here you have a craftsman faced with the challenge of making an image from interconnected yet discrete pieces. He does the (repeatedly) logical thing, and bam! You have "pixels".

I wonder if he thought, "Wow! This would look great on a properly-designed OLED screen!"

Nihil nova sub sola.

Reply Score: 3

rklrkl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Just in case you did a double-take on that alphabet image in the article, there were indeed 24 letters in the (medieval) Latin alphabet (no J or U) - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_alphabet

Reply Score: 3

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Actually there was no J or W in the Latin alphabet. Hence the letter W is called (and often written as) 'double U'.

Italian doesn't use J either. The letter G is pronounced like the English letter J.

Reply Score: 2

WW2?
by h3rman on Mon 24th Nov 2008 12:05 UTC
h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

When you're diving into the history of computing and its concepts, you rarely have to look much further back in time than the Second World War.


You forgot quantum mechanics.
No quantum mechanics, no modern computing.

Reply Score: 2

v One less patent ...
by PortResi on Mon 24th Nov 2008 13:00 UTC
RE: One less patent ...
by DrillSgt on Mon 24th Nov 2008 14:09 UTC in reply to "One less patent ..."
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"I wonder if this is one of the patents Microsoft has claimed they innovated."

No, this patent is held by ISI. Google is your friend...

Reply Score: 3

The death of pixels?
by lykwydchykyn on Mon 24th Nov 2008 16:42 UTC
lykwydchykyn
Member since:
2008-08-24

Fascinating, but I missed the part where pixels are dying? I guess I don't keep up with technology news enough.

Reply Score: 2

RE: The death of pixels?
by sbergman27 on Mon 24th Nov 2008 16:59 UTC in reply to "The death of pixels?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Fascinating, but I missed the part where pixels are dying?

Looks to me like there are far more pixels on earth than ever before. I think the author means that they are so small that we no longer have to care about them, or exactly how they are positioned. Right... Then why are are the OSNews right side bar fonts so grainy when I view them in Opera? And why do we argue back and forth about whether antialiased fonts are better or just blury? And why do we use things like subpixel smoothing? And why did the otherwise seemingly non-technical woman ahead of me in line at Whataburger yesterday make a casual comment about her 1080p TV? Far from dying, nontechnical people are *learning* about pixels. About megapixels, even. It seems to me that pixels are poised to rule the world, or at least demand the vote. ;-)

Edited 2008-11-24 17:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2