James Mackenzie

Apple TV Now Syncs TV Refresh Rate to Content

Media, Lifehacks, Streaming

Aug 20, 2018

I’m a die-hard Apple TV fan, using a 4th-gen device for regular big-screen Netflix, YouTube or Plex binges. However during a recent viewing, something struck me as not-quite-right. YouTube’s wonderful 1080p60 content didn’t look quite so buttery smooth as on a phone or iPad.

Heading to the Video Settings menu, I found the culprit. The display was set to 1080p 50Hz - not at all suitable for YouTube’s 60fps content - and the certain cause of my screen judder. After a toggle to 1080p 60Hz, YouTube was once again silky smooth. But the switch came with a downside. The playback of 25fps content (most importantly, my iTunes purchase of Scandi-drama The Bridge) was now suffering the same stuttery side effects

Some more staggering around the Settings menus yielded the following find under “Settings”, “Video and Audio”:

Toggle this on to have the Apple TV detect the frame rate of your video content and match the screen sync accordingly. No more stutter! It even supports 24p for movies, and works with iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, iPlayer and Plex. YouTube is (as far as I can tell) not working, so for best results set your default resolution to 1080p 60Hz - which is the best match for most YouTube content. Examples below

24p Movie Content from iTunes

50Hz European Television Content from iTunes

60Hz Content from Netflix

Dropbox as a GitHub Alternative

Programming, How To, Web Development

Mar 28, 2017

Want the benefits of private, distributed version control but don’t want to pay GitHub’s subscription fee? Or simply don’t trust GitHub with checked in passwords, tokens and secrets?

You can fashion yourself a quick and dirty solution using Git and Dropbox.

What you need

Step 1. Clone an Empty Repository

  • Decide on a folder name for your new repo
  • Clone it via git clone dropbox://[reponame]
  • This will create a new, empty directory in your local with all the necessary .git gubbins

Step 2. Write Some Code!

  • Get busy, write some code! Save it to your new local repo.
  • Or if you’re feeling lazy, just copy-paste the code from somewhere else.

Step 3. Add, Commit and Push

  • Stage the source code via git add
  • Commit to your local repository via git commit
  • Push to the Remote via git push

Step 4. Share and Collaborate

  • Want to collaborate with someone? Just use Dropbox’s built in Share feature.
  • Anyone you add can clone, add, commit and push too. Easy as!

Stop Wasting Time and Use Twitter to Stay Informed

Twitter, Productivity

Jan 8, 2017

Perhaps, like me, you spend far too much time reading news, blogs, journals. And you don’t like it.

Content doesn’t just arrive once a day anymore — it rains down continually. It’s easy to fill every spare moment with this shallow pursuit. Refreshing web pages and checking for updates. Moments that could be much better spent.

Going cold turkey might work for some, but I don’t want to disengage from news completely. I enjoy keeping up with current affairs. I just want to reduce my dependency. Minimize my reading time. Get the most bang for my buck.

It turned out the answer had been staring me in the face all along. Hiding in plain sight. Twitter.

No, I don’t mean Twitter the endless time sink, the bottomless scrolling list of doom. I mean Twitter the bountiful source of curated, low-noise news. This is what I mean:

Combining these into a Twitter List gives me my own personalized news feed. My cost of staying informed has shrunk to 5–10 minutes, twice per day — freeing up the rest of my time for deeper pursuits. I’m much happier with the new balance.

I hope this inspires you to reclaim your time too!