December 31st, 2001
ECS Takes Top Spot
Mario writes: DigiTimes reports
the estimated 2001 total shipments of the major Taiwanese motherboard
manufacturers. Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) edges out Asustek as the
number one supplier by shipping 14.92 million units. Its low-price
marketing strategy no doubt contributed to its success during this economic
downturn. MSI and Gigabyte are three and four, respectively.
December 30th, 2001
XboxHacker: Xbox Hacking FAQ
Interesting tidbits of information about the Xbox.
inquirer: AMD Chip Named CPU of the Year
The VIA P4X266 is tagged "Bravest" move for taking on
Chipzilla noggin-to-noggin, while Kentron QBM is labeled "Most Interesting" new
technology. Sony gets "Worst Technical Support" booby prize.
December 29th, 2001
inquirer: Athlon XP 2000+ for Sale in Japan
Quoting Mario: the inquirer gets the scoop on AMD's
latest Athlon XP2000+. Looks like AMD's ramp is going very well. Our
Japanese friends will be paying ¥50,000 which equates to around $380.
Looks pretty expensive until you read the next sentence. Intel's 2.2GHz
Northwood is selling for ¥80,000 which equals about $608. Does Intel's
Northwood perform 60% better than AMD's best? No, but that's the price
premium the Japanese consumer is asked to pay. Let's hope they can do the
December 28th, 2001
The Afghan Oil Pipeline
Unocal throws a
party for the
in Houston in this October article.
As John Flynn wrote in 1944: "The enemy aggressor is
always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always
moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate
our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilize savage and
senile and paranoid peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells."
It is hard to keep up with all of the
information that we get sent each day, so we have created a new feature for VHJ
entitled “Web Watch.” This daily page contains links to reviews, analysis and
other articles submitted to us by computer hardware and news sites from around
the Worldwide Web.
Linux Crystal Ball Gazing
Mario writes: Freelancer
Joe Barr reflects
on his predictions from last year and considers how Linux will impact the next.
Robin "Roblimo" Miller takes the Linux crystal ball and gazes deeper into
2003, as this is the year that M$ will end full support for Win 98 & NT.
Asus Athlon 760MPX Motherboards Available?
EvilPaul lets us know that he has spotted the Asus A7M266-D
on Price Watch for about $250.
December 27th, 2001
BestBuy.com to Sell Only P4 Alienware Gaming PC's
Serendipitously complimenting our earlier story today, Mario
writes: What a surprise! AMD's Athlon
XP provides the best overall gaming platform, yet BestBuy.com chooses not to
offer AMD based systems, systems that provide the best bang for the buck. When
will retailers stop taking the consumer for a ride and offer real choice and
value? My advice, if you want an Alienware system, visit their
website and buy the
Athlon based Aurora and save yourself 100's of $$$'s.
Red Hat & Mandrake Linux Review
From Mario: Tech-Junkie compares the latest offerings from
these respected vendors using an Athlon XP1600 system and looks at installation,
desktop usability, gaming performance compared to Win XP, and a Q & A with both
Those considering the switch to Linux should give this a read. Those who want to
migrate to Linux but wish to avoid the do-it-yourself pit falls should also read
this Red Hat
7.2/Athlon XP1700+ system review.
Cold Calculus of Corporate Bribery
Joseph Zaher writes:
A while back, VHJ posted a story about how Compaq does not offer Windows
XP Professional or Windows 2000 on AMD machines and that this may have been at
Intel's request. I believe there were numerous other instances where Intel is
offering severe incentives for PC makers NOT to advertise AMD. The controversy
as to the legality of this practice was discussed.
Well, just last week I was reading the Yahoo! AMD message board and came across
references to this
article, which blatantly explains the workings of Intel's marketing and why
I haven't seen one commercial from Compaq or HP featuring AMD and probably won't
A pretty cold article. Intel is celebrating the practice of suppression of AMD
from the market rather than focusing on advertising it's own offerings.
This is pretty darn close to running a negative campaign (mind you, Jerry
Sanders has always been blatantly negative about Intel as well). It is sad but
probably true that this marketing practice is perfectly legal. You would think
Intel has plenty of lawyers to advise in this matter.
here is another article from a couple of years ago hinting at other Intel
marketing wrongdoing [ed: it is also interesting to note how much market
share has changed since this article; in 1998 AMD only had 12% while independent
projections for this year are around 27%]..
More P4 Woes for Intel
From Mario: DigiTimes reports that South Korea has
suffered P4 shortages for the past three months forcing Samsung to evaluate AMD
processors for possible use [ed: this is just after Intel's
press release boasting that one division of Samsung had decided to establish
an "Intel Architecture Solutions Lab" conspicuously using the Pentium 4].
Also, the healthy sales of Athlon XP desktops by rival TriGem Computers have no
doubt been another factor which it has had to take on board.
December 26th, 2001
News Site of
the Day: Independent Media Center
Yes, some of the stories at Indy Media are off the
deep end -- sometimes from the far Right, but most often the extreme Left -- but
the site is all about free and independent discourse and is powered by people
who care: its readership provides the bulk of the site's material. If you
have something you want to say or if you want to add to or counter an argument,
by its readership's posts. If you don't mind wading through a little
noise or encountering the not-so-rare extremist, there are often interesting
news items published at IM that corporate media do not carry. And,
occasionally, you will find an intelligent, probing and sincere write-up from
one of the visitors to a site inherently of the people and by the people.
Ebola Expert Found Dead in Mississippi River
Renowned Harvard biochemist Don Wiley was considered one of
the world’s leading researchers of deadly viruses. Family members
suicide. Dr. Wiley, who had been missing for more than a month, was in Memphis
visiting family and attending a scientific meeting at St. Jude Children’s
Research Hospital. Link courtesy of Hertel.
The End of Duron & Celeron in 2002?
From Mario: This story discusses the convergence of price
between budget and performance processors, making Duron and Celeron chips
unattractive, but misses the impact it could have on Intel to AMD's advantage.
This could be very good news for AMD for three reasons. Firstly, if Intel has
to switch off Celeron to build 0.18 P4's, the die size at a minimum doubles
causing Intel to have to ramp up wafer production just to keep on par with
what they're currently shipping, adding serious cost.
Secondly, if Intel again fails to execute on P4, failing to deliver as they
did this quarter, AMD will see more heightened activity at its fab plants to
the benefit of its impoverished bottom line.
Thirdly, when DDR memory becomes mainstream next year, this could mark the
death-knell of Celeron as it only supports SDRAM [ed: Mario is in error
here; VIA, for one, offers DDR SDRAM Socket 370
chipsets, but the
Celeron’s FSB limits the budget CPU’s ability to take advantage of the extra
bandwidth]. Because Duron supports both types of memory and the same
socket architecture as Athlon, Duron still has a future because many OEM's and
channel builders will always want to build at the lowest possible cost, no
matter how marginal the savings. Duron will give these companies flexibility
that Celeron doesn't come near to offering.
If all this comes to pass next year, AMD could quite possibly end up acquiring
a very healthy share of the budget market.
December 25th, 2001
Xbox for Investors
Microsoft admits that the console delivers little to no
profits while stating, unsurprisingly, that gaming titles are the real money
May the Spirit of Christ deliver peace, happiness, charity
and goodwill across the world today. We at VHJ wish all of our
readers a very Merry Christmas and hope that everyone finds themselves in the
joyous company of family and friends this holiday season.
December 24th, 2001
AMD's Dominance in European Retail
Our friend Johan De Gelas, a Senior Editor at
Ace's Hardware, has posted on his site's message board retail market
information for Europe's top PC processors. Johan, who also works for ZD
some information (from an industry source)
about the Europe Retail market:
Intel Pentium 4: 8-10%
AMD Athlon/Duron: 50-55%
VIA C3: <1%
Not only does AMD boast the lead in overall market
share, but Intel's Pentium 4 remains marginalized at a market slice very close
to single digits. VIA has not yet targeted Western markets with it
low-power C3, a CPU that remains production constrained due to strong demand
in the East and Mideast.
December 23rd, 2001
Digital Media Industry Praise Athlon MP
And rightfully so. Mario writes
that this "Creativecow.net editorial adds to the tidal wave of praise
building up for Athlon MP."
Vladivostok News: Volcanic Power Plant Started in Kamchatka
50 megawatt Russian power plant taps
Mutnovsky volcano. The total station capacity is planned to be 300
megawatts. Link courtesy Blair Myers.
December 22nd, 2001
TruForm Quake II
Good guy EvilPaul writes: The
source to Quake 2 was GPL'ed and within hours it was hax0red by the 1337 and
nefarious M@ and ATI's TruForm support was added. You can download it at
the link above.
Terrorist Nukes in the USA?
Spencer writes: The potential for small
nuclear weapons having been smuggled into the US for a follow on
"decapitating" attack on the government is reported in this item. It is
known that the former USSR had produced over 100 backpack size and suitcase
type nuclear weapons and that dozens of them are unaccounted for.
Of course, there is also the much easier to source and build "dirty" bomb to
consider. Both types of weapons and various nightmare scenarios have US
and Israeli security forces highly focused.
It is reported that a backpack style weapon was intercepted entering Jerusalem
in October. Such a device would be relatively small but its 3-5 kiloton
yield would devastate quite a large area, particularly if it were rigged for
an aerial burst. Quite a lot of information in a single article.
In addition to the link above, here is another
December 21st, 2001
VIA Chipsets’ PCI Burst Length Gates Throughput
Lowers maximum transfer rates for ATA133 PCI
cards. A BIOS or driver patch will probably be issued.
...time to look at big squid.
Analysts and Investors Differ on AMD
Link from Mario.
AMD Processor Shipments to Grow By 40% in 2001
According to this DigiTimes article, as the
Intel Pentium 4 shortage continues unabated, AMD expects to sell a whopping
40% more processors this year than last. Also, previous rumors of a
January launch for the Athlon XP 2000+ have been confirmed. Link
Windows XP Sales Sluggish
The article, on MSNBC, fails to cite
consumer backlash due to XP's invasive WPA as a possible cause for the
December 20th, 2001
3D Memory Said to be Coming Soon
Cheap write-once, stacked, eight-layer memory
technology is claimed to yield nine to ten times more chips per wafer. The
design could lead to inexpensive multipacks of memory sold at grocery store
checkout counters. Applications include MP3, picture and PDA program storage.
Link courtesy Jesse.
From Spencer: An interesting offshoot of AI
research is using AI techniques to produce computer generated jokes. Some of
them, as a play on words, are actually funny.
Mars Robot Prototypes
From Spencer: The future search for water on the
planet Mars will require ever more sophisticated and agile robotic technology.
NASA is developing a variety of robots to search the planet surface and
subsurface. NASA has
robots that work as a team, tumbling/rolling balls, bulldozer styles and
more. The newest ones
are capable of scaling cliffs and traversing 40 degree slopes, essential
capabilities for dealing with rocky Martian terrain.
AtlantaOC: Creative Inspire 5300 Speakers Review
AtlantaOC has a review of the Creative Inspire
Iwill & Chaintech to offer Athlon MP solutions
Mario writes: AMD has let the cat out the bag. No
official announcement of dual MP solutions from these manufacturers or AMD,
but they appear at the above link. These two companies will join Tyan, ABIT,
ASUS, EPoX, and MSI in offering MP solutions for the workstation/server
environment. Athlon MP is readying to steamroll the market in 2002.
Just a comment on Mr. Bray
Mark writes: I've enjoyed Mr. Bray's columns in
the Boston Globe. He is our local IT reporter. Just good, common sense stuff.
I am glad to see he's getting some recognition.
Video Game Deal of this Christmas Season
The Sega Dreamcast is now being sold for only $50
and games start at under $10. Many Dreamcast games are of equal or even
better quality than what is available for the Sony PlayStation II.
Although the Dreamcast platform has been officially discontinued, there are a
sizable number of good games available for the system with new titles still
Study: New Cars Are Bad For Your Health
"New car smell," the aroma that intoxicates so many, causes
cancer according to a two-year Australian study. Next thing in line to
kill us will likely be popping bubble wrap. Link courtesy Technical
Sergeant Timothy Backstrom.
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Our team at Centaur was treated by C.J. Holthaus to
a viewing of the new movie adaptation of the first novel in J.R.R. Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It had been over twenty years since I had
read Tolkien, so I cannot vouch for the movie's accuracy (and there is talk that
the late Mr. Tolkien's descendents are divided with the adaptation, but these
rumors have recently been
but I can say that the picture was very good -- an instant classic in fact.
Although the direction did throw in a few clichés in what can only be explained
as attempts to contemporize the story, these commercially motivated forays were
few and relatively minor.
The nearly three hour motion picture epic is
visually mesmerizing and is paced rapidly enough throughout to leave the viewer
tired yet entertained and even inspired. I did not expect to like this
movie, but it turned out to be the best motion picture I have seen this year.
The show drips in violence which is largely necessary to the plot, but despite
this The Fellowship of the Ring is a very appealing family movie due to
its embodiment of those noble human qualities that are too often trivialized or
ignored in typical family movie fare -- and, frankly, the battle scenes are
rousing entertainment. In a time of pervasive commercial, vacuous and
manipulative garbage, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
stands out as a faithfully spirited work of art and a reminder of some of the
basic elements of Western culture and mythology passed through the mind of one
of the most influential modern British writers.
Pop media's attempts to equate The Lord of the
Rings to Harry Potter is akin to seriously comparing Shakespeare to Pokemon.
Perhaps the most important message of this movie,
especially in today's uncertain times, is that even the most physically frail of
us has the innate potential to change the world for the better through
commitment to ideals, purity of heart, courage, faith and fellowship.
December 19th, 2001
Hell No! Implantable ID Chips Near to Market
Don’t allow our short-term fears to be used as
leverage to override our minds. Our country rebelled against England for less
than some of the invasive measures being discussed now in the name of national
Has Anyone Noticed…
…that Linley Gwennap is rarely
correct, but is oft-quoted anyway? It is amazing that Little Linley’s ego can
fit into his comparatively tiny body; maybe his swollen narcissism has crowded
out his brain. Nah! If you examine his sound bites closely you’ll see that LG
is doing little more than parroting Intel PR.
Drawing Swords - AMD & Intel Rivalry Gets Ferocious
Mario writes: A surprising balanced and well
written article. Hiawatha Bray, Special to NewsFactor Network writes:
The headquarters of Intel Corp. and Advanced
Micro Devices Inc. are practically next-door neighbors, close enough to drop
by and borrow a cup of silicon. Or arsenic, for that matter. There's no love
lost between these titans of technology. They're ferocious competitors in
one of the world's most ferociously competitive markets. A yearlong slump in
the computer business has only stoked the flames.
Now there are hints of recovery in the air. Sales of cheap PCs remain
unexpectedly strong, leading both companies to boost their sales and revenue
forecasts. But for these two leading chipmakers, a few rays of economic
sunshine merely signal fair weather for battle.
Shuttling between Intel in Santa Clara and AMD in Sunnyvale is like passing
through a portal between two parallel universes. In the land of AMD, you
find a company that's steadily gaining market share with its powerful Athlon
AMD is betting hundreds of millions that it can keep gaining on Intel, which
is spending billions to fend off its rival. All that cash and geek machismo
make the headquarters of AMD and Intel the roughest neighborhood in Silicon
VIA Stresses Victory Over Intel in AMD Chipset Case
From Mario. Digitimes.com writes:
VIA Technologies emphasized on December 17
that it had obtained “total victory” in the patent infringement lawsuit
filed by Intel over VIA’s Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)-supporting chipsets.
VIA refuted Intel’s statement that the companies reached a settlement
because “VIA redesigned its products in an effort to avoid infringing on
Intel’s patents.” The Taiwan chipset designer said that the legal dispute
ended because Intel itself withdrew the case and it had not violated Intel’s
To give a clearer account of the case, VIA asked its US lawyers to
participate in a press conference via a video conference. The lawyers said
that VIA did not make any payments to obtain the outcome and would not pay
any royalties. Although no injunction can arise from this case, Intel said
that it retains all of its rights to the patents and could bring suit at a
later time if infringement occurs in the future.
MSFT monopoly on DSL?
From Spencer: Is Microsoft up to more dirty tricks?
It could be according to this article on how difficult it is to get away from
them if you have a Qwest DSLconnection. Of course, when you get caught, the best
defense is to stonewall. Both Qwest and Microsoft refuse to disclose vital
information (how typical of arrogant monopolies). They have even raised the
rates for changing ISP's to nearly$100 and forced waiting periods of weeks. It's
a mess and some are filing complaints with their attorneys general. So much for
integrity in the telecom biz (but we already knew there wasn't any).
AMDZone: The FIC AquaPad
Chis is not only reviewing this nifty unit, but
selling it as well. The price is right -- $700 for a 256MB tablet PC with
an active matrix display. However, the system would have been a better
performer with a VIA C3 over the quirky 500MHz Crusoe. Still, the AquaPad
is compelling. Good luck, Chris.
The Register Axes Four
Early this year, in one of the more shameful public
displays of dot-com greed over integrity, The Register severed its brain,
Mike Magee, from its body and joined the ranks of the walking undead.
Ousted "Mad Mike," the cofounder and former heart-and-soul of the now zombie-fied
British Web page, has gone on to start his own site, the inquirer.
Industry scuttlebutt has it that in its very short history the inquirer
has already surpassed its older retarded stepbrother in terms of daily page
views. To heap indignity on top of implosion, The Register, in dire
financial straits and allegedly in the bull's-eye of big money legal action, has
fired four more of its journalists, cutting said staff in half.
December 18th, 2001
White House leaning toward domestic anthrax source
From Spencer: The WSJ is today reporting that the
White House has for the first time commented on terrorist anthrax sources
potentially being domestic.
From the WSJ:
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the
"evidence is increasingly looking like" the anthrax found in letters to Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Sen. Patrick Leahy came from a domestic source.
He cautioned that nothing has been concluded, but it was the first time the
White House has supported the growing belief that anthrax came from inside the
In addition, advanced mapping of minute genetic
changes should allow investigators to ultimately pin down the original
laboratory source, thus significantly narrowing the search for the perpetrator.
WSJ Subscription coverage
US moves 3rd Army HQ to Kuwait.
Fixing 802.11 insecurity
From Spencer: A new fix to the downright awful
security in 802.11 wireless products (which is useless at best) has been
released by RSA. The old (and still existing) version was so porous that a new
phrase "drive by hacking" was created to describe how easy it was to identify
and break the encryption in WEP, the part that was supposed to ensure Wireless
EquivalenT Privacy, i.e. a secure, wire-like communications link. In some cases,
the old WEP was broken in less than an hour, using a laptop! The weakness was in
how similar many of the packet keys were and in high traffic 802.11
environments, there are so many packets that it was easy to use statistical
methods to work backwards and determine the original source of "secret"
initialization values. The new technology will use the same robust RC4 public
key algorithm as before but major changes were made to the key derivation
functions. Only time will tell if this
technique is robust (we can only hope). The fix is intended as a firmware or
software update. If you are buying now, be sure to get upgradeable hardware.
Lostcircuits: Intel i845DDR chipset / MSI 845 Ultra Review
After a few months of waiting, Intel finally
releases the DDR version of the Brookdale chipset. Positioned, according to
Intel, between the SIS 645 chipset and their own i850 Dual Rambus channel
chipset, the i845D was supposed to be the secret weapon against which the
competition a.k.a. VIA P4X266 would fade away. As so often, there is some
discrepancy between the marketing claims and what eventually comes off the
production line. Our Intel-provided test sample did, unfortunately, not survive
the transport which is why we are using the MSI 845 Ultra as basis for the
evaluation of the new DDR chipset's performance and features. In streaming
applications, the performance of the i845 chipset is more than adequate. In
other applications, the DDR board has its problems, coming in, in some cases,
even behind the i845 SDRAM production boards. Whether this performance spectrum
is typical for the entire future line of 845D production boards or an isolated
case will show in the near future.
Computer Shopper: Shopper's Choice Awards - Best Overall Product Goes
to the Athlon
Wilmark Johnatty writes: Shopper magazine has just
given the Athlon its award of the year. Now we all know that shopper magazine is
a magazine that has lost almost all of its readership and is not the magazine it
used to be, especially since run by Janice Chen. They have steadily been biased
toward to Intel over the last couple years. Note that this award was on the
basis of voting by its readers and NOT the editors of the Magazine. What really
gets me is the lousy editorial content that that is so full of ZD crap.
AMD's Athlon is the processor line that
single-handedly broke Intel's grip on the high-end CPU market. Faster, less
expensive, and more flexible than same-speed Pentiums, Athlons are more easily
overclocked, incorporate AMD's fast 266MHz front-side bus, and don't require
costly RDRAM for optimal performance. Standard Athlons (formerly called
"Thunderbird" Athlons) are available at speeds ranging from 1.2GHz to 1.4GHz,
and the recently announced Pentium 4-class Athlon XP line consists of four
models (clock speeds range from 1.33GHz to 1.53GHz) based on AMD's new,
high-performance Palomino architecture. Also available in mobile and
multiprocessor versions, Athlons have quickly become the CPU of choice for
hardware enthusiasts and first-time upgraders alike.
They just had to take the wind out of AMD Sails that
all by the Tech challenged folks at ZD Inc.
Now tell me - Since when does the Athlon just beat Pentium products at same
speed - SHOULD READ - AT ANY SPEED GRADE - since the introduction according to
tests done by virtually ALL of the independent hardware sites the fastest Athlon
has outperformed fastest Pentium 4 product bar one or two tests out of about 10,
with the exception of when the 2 GHz Pentium 4 was introduced, the P4 had the
lead for about two weeks. ALSO what is PENTIUM 4 class - High Clock numbers
Lower Performance Higher Price???
I think that the FTC should make ALL ZD publication insert the following
statement after all its review comments: TAKING THIS REVIEW SERIOUSLY MAY IMPAIR
YOUR JUDGMENT IN MAKING COMPUTER PURCHASES.
Genesis of Bear Proof Suit
From Spencer: We've had a couple of references to
the bear proof suit recently that would on the surface appear to be loony. It
turns out that the genesis for this wacky
project was a real grizzly
attack and viewing the movie Robocop. The developer is a naturalist who studies
grizzlies, up close. Sourced by GMSV here are a pair of links to the project and
the originator. The picture of the suit does bear some resemblence to Robocop...
CPUTimes: AMD Q&A
Mario sends us this, "Points of interest. Reason for
Morgan MP delay. Status of die shrink. Transition to .13 is a die shrink only,
no architectural changes. More details on Hammer. Hammer and socket A to
co-exist beyond 2003."
More Device Driver Pages
Steve recommends Active Hardware's
Mark recommend DriverZone. WDB
tells us, "an interesting note on Driver
Guide... everyone's ID & password seem to be the same." A member of
our fighting forces sends us that a working username is "drivers" with a
password of "all".
WinXP Pro now available with Presario 700
David Vorov writes, "I still can't get Win2K on any
decent AMD notebook, but it looks like Compaq is now at least offering XP pro on
Athlon notebooks, albeit at a $200 premium. Looks like you've got quite a
bit of influence, Mr. Smith!" Thanks, David, but it is our readers who
move issues like this forwards -- and bring them up in the first place.
AMDWorld: nForce Review
I believe they used our BandwidthBurn benchmark in
one of their tests to show how very dramatically nForce bandwidth can be
influenced by DIMM placement.
Northwood Benchmarks Appear
Written in the language of love, this is a pretty
decent article. One of its highlights are clock-normalized tests showing
that the Northwood brings about a 10% bump in IPC (Instructions Per Clockcycle)
relative to the Willamette core, but remains generally slower in this regard
than the Athlon XP. It appears that the Athlon XP 2000+ and the Northwood
2.2GHz will perform similarly. The challenge for Intel will be to produce
enough of these processors since the chipmaker's transition to 0.13 microns has
so far been a nightmare for it. Oh, and we told you so. We have been
expressing for over a year that Intel would not be able to produce Northwood
until 2002 despite the chipmakers sometimes adamant claims otherwise.
December 17th, 2001
Device Driver Pages
As replacements for the banished WinDrivers which
turned to the Dark Side by going subscription, so far we have gotten a number of
recommendations for Driver Guide. The
one caveat with this site is that it requires registration. Another site
recommended is DriversHQ. This page
doesn’t require registration, but it spits out popup ads like crazy.
December 16th, 2001
Low End Mac: iCab and SmoothType: Odd Couple?
Dan discusses a rendering problem when this
combination is used to view boxed text on VHJ. It appears the issue
occurs because iCab, a beta German browser for the
Macintosh, places text directly against the border, confusing
SmoothType is font anti-aliasing software for the Mac and is similar to
Microsoft's ClearType used on PocketPCs, Microsoft XP, and in
Microsoft Reader. I hate to admit it, but out of expediency we produce
this site in Microsoft FrontPage 2002. As time permits, we will be
developing our own tools and cleaning up the "Microsofted" versions of HTML
coughed out by FrontPage like disease-ridden phlegm.
... and therefore gets on our poop list and taken
off our links page. If you know of a
good and free replacement site for looking up device drivers, please
me know. Our links and free
software pages are both in need of updating, so suggestions for these pages
December 15th, 2001
Quantum crypto advance
From Spencer: A new LED light source which is
capable of emitting single photons has been developed. Such a device is
essential for creation of low cost quantum cryptography since single photons
cannot be detected by a third party without detecting the third party detection
Bear-Proof Suit Scares Off Grizzly
From Spencer: Of course. We should have
that all that titanium and padding wouldn't be needed after all.
From Spencer: Ok, so it was probably a bad idea many
years ago to show a couple of elementary school kids (that my wife to be was
baby sitting) how to cook hot dogs with a pair of large nails, a lamp cord and
good old wall outlet juice. (The parents were NOT happy...) There are of course,
better things to do with electricity, such as make 22,000 volt pancakes (yes,
that's 22kV!). Via GMSV
here's a wacky recipe,
replete with photos and a movie. (Where does GMSV get this stuff???) I'm going
to have to get my old HV supplies out of storage and try this with my 5 and 9
year olds. (They love it when dad does "science". There's always the downside
chance that something will go right and spoil the fun...)
December 14th, 2001
Confirmed: Dell Drops Intel Itanium Workstation
As we exclusively reported early yesterday, Dell has
killed its Intel Itanium workstation. Citing lackluster sales, the Roundrock,
Texas-based OEM’s retreat is a major loss for chipmaking giant Intel, which now
finds itself without any support in the workstation space for its 64-bit chip.
After suffering many years of delays, the Itanium finally debuted earlier this
year, but has found very little acceptance in either the server or workstation
Meanwhile, the staggering Santa Clara,
California-based chip firm is secretly ramping up work on an AMD Hammer clone in
Hillsboro, Oregon. The
semiconductor giant is taking the unprecedented act of copying its most hated
competitor’s designs – and “hate” is probably not too strong of a word in
rivalry that has often seen its share of
dirty tactics – as it scrambles to find an escape route from its current
64-bit travails with EPIC-ly troubled IA-64.
In related news, in an effort to thwart yet another court setback, Intel has
made the face-saving move of dropping its last allegation of patent infringement
against rival chipset maker VIA Technologies. As we reported December 7th, a
California judge threw out related charges Intel levied against VIA recently and
the prospects for success with the remaining charge were slim. VIA’s official
announcement on this triumph can be found
here, while we have posted Intel’s statement
AMD Sweeps PC Advisor PC Charts
From Mario: In what may prove to be an industry
landmark, all the systems in the three PC Advisor desktop PC charts feature
processors from just one manufacturer for the first time.
When the January issue of the magazine hits retailers' shelves this time next
week (20 December) all 30 PCs from our Power, Budget and Superbudget categories,
will show off an AMD processor.
The link states the magazine issue as February. I've changed it here to January.
Towards the Zero Hour - A BBC Special
From Mario: It was the most devastating terrorist
attack the world has ever seen. Panorama's Jane Corbin investigates what drove
the hijackers on a mission to kill thousands of people and themselves on
For over three months and across three continents, Panorama investigated the
terror cell to find out who they really were, and to discover why they went
undetected for three years as they planned their attack on America. This is the
story about how they plotted to fly four planes into some of America's most
symbolic buildings. The moment the terrorists called "The Zero Hour."
Get yourself comfortable, this
is 60 minutes long. The link will go down Sunday afternoon, so don't miss it! A
transcript should be available next week.
"The first aim of war is not civil rights but survival"
Extracts from the BBC's Letter from America by Alistair Cooke.
Well during the past week I've been looking into
the history of a president's emergency powers, into international tribunals,
most of all into a law, a whole body of law, I doubt one American in a thousand
has ever heard of - namely the law of war, which has been developed, refined and
codified by many nations down the centuries with careful provisions for the
humane keeping of captured enemies - spies, agents - but also rules for the
suspension of their civilian rights for the duration of the war.
Why do Americans, then, so smartly spring to attention and shout "You're
violating my civil rights" whenever in a declared emergency a president delivers
an executive order, even when his power to do that is specified in the
The outraged reaction by some people on the left, the middle, the right, to the
president's order springs from a fundamental misconception - that the shattering
of the towers and the Pentagon were criminal acts. They were not. They were acts
of war, so declared within days by the United Nations and entitling the United
States, under the UN Charter, to recruit its allies and respond with force.
The first aim of war is not civil rights but survival.
The audio version is available
December 13th, 2001
Sklyarov Charges Dropped, But...
This was done "in exchange for his testimony in the
trial of his company." Link courtesy Spencer.
FBI Creating Keystroke Logging Virus
The “Magic Lantern” Trojan horse is to be sent via
email or inserted on a target system through OS security holes. Whether the
government will need court orders to deploy the virus under current anti-terror
mania is not clear. Several anti-virus developers have expressed opposition to
providing loopholes in their anti-virus software to enable Magic Lantern to run
WWW Anniversary (of sorts)
From Spencer: It's been about 10 years or so since
the inception of the web as we know it in hypertext form, primarily by Tim
Berners-Lee who developed it while at CERN. From its inception in 1989 to its
very first development/deployment in a NEXT computer in December 1990 and
release to the Internet in the summer of 1991, html and the hypertext transfer
protocol (http) have been an obvious smash hit. The combination of the nicely
extensible Internet and its accommodation of a variety of protocols (wisely
decided over a decade earlier) in combination with the explosion of connectivity
fueled by massive fiber deployments supported by erbium doped fiber amplifiers
and breakthroughs in routing technology, was the perfect medium for such
revolutionary stuff. The point and click interface of html was just the ticket
to set off an explosion.
are some very early pages that the Stanford SLAC team put together in December
1991 to provide access to SPIRES-HEP
(Stanford Public Information REtrieval System, High-Energy Physics).
referred to it as a "killer app" and it showed the world
just how powerful the web could be. The rest is more recent history.
GMSV for the anniversary reminder.
AMD prepares for SOI processing in Dresden fab
Phil: Is Intel riding AMD's technological coattails? AMD seems to think so.
An AMD manager claims that by working with tool makers, Intel stands to benefit
from AMD’s pioneering of SOI and copper processes by getting cheaper and more
perfected equipment. In regards to 300mm wafers, AMD stands to benefit by Intel
going first. Reminds me of Nascar; cars stay very close to the one just in front
of them, because they benefit from less air resistance. Competition - don't you
just love it?
the inquirer: SiS Looks To QBM
It appears that Taiwanese chipset maker SiS is now
looking towards integrating support for Kentron's
Quad Band Memory into upcoming products. If so, SiS joins the ranks of
fellow core logic developers VIA Technologies and ALi at considering the new
design set to cheaply double current DDR SDRAM bandwidth.
Dell to Drop Intel Itanium Workstation?
VHJ has received an unconfirmed report from
an individual claiming to be an Intel insider that Dell computers will
imminently drop its 64-bit Intel Itanium-based workstation. This informant
claims the Roundrock, Texas-based
Dell computers "did not want to buy that product and that they were the ONLY
customer for it." However, the
ad for the workstation still remains up on Dell's site.
the inquirer: Intel Working on x86-64 Server Chip
Mike Magee reports that not only is there growing
friction between the 32-bit and 64-bit Intel camps, but that the chipmaker is
opening the spigot on a secret clone of AMD's Hammer. According to the
report, Intel is covertly developing this backup plan as news trickles out that
x86-64 acceptance has been thus far very weak. Meanwhile, tweaks to
Intel's troubled 0.13 micron process that benefit the Pentium 4 appear to be
incongruent with Intel's next generation 64-bit processor causing internal
strife for the chipmaker, the inquirer asserts. To add woe to
misery, the stumbling Santa Clara giant is apparently now having
severe problems with its P4 Xeon
where reportedly one-third of the chips have been defective for one supplier.
December 12th, 2001
Bacteria on Europa
The "rosy glow" of Jupiter's moon Europa might be
caused by frozen bacteria.
Christian Science Monitor: bin Laden is in Pakistan
Abu Jaffer, a senior Al Qaeda member, told CSM
that the wealthy Saudi mercenary and former CIA operative, Osama bin Laden, fled
the Afghan fortress Tora Bora ten days ago and is now, with the help of Pashtun
sympathizers, in Pakistan.
Texas Schools Threatened with Attacks
According to the Dallas Morning News, the FBI
is claiming that an unnamed foreign government has warned them that two
individuals may seek retaliation for the US bombing of Afghanistan by attacking
unknown Texas schools. Another state is also allegedly targeted, but not
explicitly named in the article.
Perspective on Intel's Mistakes and Triumphs
Phil: This is someone's perspective on Intel's mistakes and triumphs in the
last 6 years. It covers up to Hypertransport and comments on IA-64. A very good
read. While much of it is familiar, there were several parts that were new and a
few surprising. I found the section on Intel's entry into the graphics market
very interesting; he believes that Nvidia working with AMD is part of that
Tang inventor link
is a pretty small company. I had some technical questions on this to-be-released
battery and he picked up the line. His company is public, but volume is this. I
hope he has enough resources to finish his product. Looks like he was a pretty
prolific inventor. Remember the selectric type ball on old IBM printer? He
conceived of it and someone else made it.
New efficient data transmission method
From Spencer: A (possibly) completely new technique
for moving large amounts of data efficiently has been developed. By using symbol
processing and XORing them (common in compression and encryption schemes) it is
possible to simply stream the symbols at a target and let the receiving system
rebuild the data by combining the results. The best part is that it allows the
streaming to occur and does not require handshaking, which of course takes a LOT
of time given the normal latency of the Internet. In a manner similar to how
streaming media players can buffer packets to get a usable (but lossy) result,
this technique is lossless, purportedly resulting in ultimately perfect data
transmission. It's a bit spendy just now, with prices starting at $70,000! Of
course, someone else will develop a variant or the market will develop into a
more economical model. You'll just have to read about it.
December 11th, 2001
InQuest: I/O Standards War
It appears that Intel is actively working to subvert
64-bit PCI-X with its 3GIO connector standards.
VIA Eden Low-Power Embedded Platform Launched
x86 compatibility, ultra-low-power, Fast Ethernet,
3D graphics, fax/modem, stereo audio and more all in a low-cost bundle.
Check out the highly technical Eden video
Quantum Dots and Neurons
From Spencer: Using cellular molecular recognition
capabilities and the lowly and commonly used cadmium sulfide molecule,
researchers have created precisely spaced quantum dot photo sensors in neurons
that allow researchers to signal the neurons using very specific wavelengths of
light. The peptide recognition technique provides nanometer scale control
and eliminates the need for external electrodes. Such precision allows for
placement capable of effecting control over highly specific cellular functions.
Dual Athlons Versus Dual Xeon Pentium 4s
This article at Ace's Hardware is about testing
dual and single processor systems with many of the current 3D imaging
systems that are used to create ads, movies, etc. In "almost" all
cases, a Tyan dual Athlon MP motherboard using Athlon XP 1800+ processors
beats everything else by a significant margin. In one lone test, a
dual 2 GHz Xeon P4 wins, thanks to careful optimization of the software by
Branch misprediction penalties are blamed for slower
results in all cases of P4 testing. This points out one situation that
I have tried to accentuate. The P4 was designed to best handle certain
linear processing tasks - decompressing MP4 videos and similar linear types
of media file handling. The next rev of the P4 is expected to improve
branch handling 'somewhat' but is not likely to compete successfully with
future Athlon XP chips (i.e. faster models than the 1800+). P4 is a pure
consumer, media-oriented processor for casual home system use. Of course the
design could have been deliberately simplified to permit jacking up
processor speed - solely as a selling point.
On the other hand, even Intel seems to be having
considerable difficulty in exploiting any strengths of the P4. Some of
the 3D rendering packages show optimizing benefits only in certain limited
rendering chores. It is also important to note that little or no
effort is being made to
move mass market software toward a dual processor SMP OS
base. Obviously Microsoft wishes to maintain its 'professional'
software at much higher prices to gain extra profits - and Intel wishes to
continue selling single processor systems that are destined to be obsolete
throw-aways after 1-2 years.
Class Action Suit Against Intel
"It sounds like an AMD versus Intel play by play since the Athlon
introduction with an investor's perspective. Who knows, maybe we'll all end
up as expert witnesses. :)"
Don't smile, Phil. We covered the news
outlined in the complaint as it happened starting with this
We will be producing a followup to that nearly two year-old article shortly.
Burgeoning High-Speed Metro Wireless Standard
From Spencer: A new metro area wireless standard
that operates in the 10-66GHz range has been approved by the IEEE. It will
be a couple of years before much comes of it but products that operate in this
range will offer a very high speed bypass of fiber and wire connections.
In some metro areas the 802.16 connections will become a new backbone.
Extensions to reach down into the existing 802.11b 2.4GHz are planned.
From Spencer: Here's a great report of advanced
technology that lends new meaning to the phrase "insider's view".
December 10th, 2001
Xbox ROM Dumped
The one-megabyte ROM contains four copies of the
same 256kB image. The author had to pull the actual image posted at his
site due to pressure from the Beast of Software, but he has made available the
recorded oh-so friendly message he received from a Microsoft henchmen. The
link is courtesy of Jesse.
Crime Doesn't Pay for Article Thieves
Apparently the website 8080.net
decided it'd be too hard to write their own video card reviews. The
Chinese language site stole Tech-Report's latest review right out from
under them -- even going so far as to pull the graphics from TR's own
web server. However, revenge is sweet. For some truly hilarious
images (and captions) check out TR's "new" graphics for 8080.net's
December 9th, 2001
December 8th, 2001
Solar Cells Edge Towards Endless Energy
Digit Life: Review of the Shuttle SV24 Barebones mediaCube System
In addition to that review of the tiny little box,
here are others:
BetaNews: Trouble Upgrading Sony Computers to XP Pro
While the news blurb is interesting, the posts that
follow are equally so. The site's
news story and
subsequent thread regarding Microsoft's refuting Nintendo's claims of the
GameCube outselling the Xbox is also worth perusing.
December 7th, 2001
AMD Shifts to Green Organic Packaging
Following up on a
story today at Mike
Magee’s the inquirer, we contacted AMD to find out more about the new
green organic Athlon XP packages that are showing up in Japan. AMD spokesman
Damon Muzny informed us that all AMD organic packages will be green by the first
half of next year. Although there are no functional or cost differences with
this switch, Muzny suggested that the move is based on aesthetics: green is
the inquirer: VIA Defeats Intel Again
The Santa Clara chip giant, known for its legal
bullying, has suffered yet another setback at the hands of VIA Technologies. The
last charge thrown out Wednesday originated from
unsuccessful attempts to undermine the launch of AMD’s Athlon by blocking
third party chipsets at an early stage of the rival CPU’s rollout.
AtlantaOC: Swiftech MCX462 Heatsink
OCmadeEZ takes a look at Swiftech's latest and
greatest and compares it to the Alpha PAL8045.
Low End PC: The Knight Line: Number Crunching for Webmasters
Dan Knight writes about patterns in readership and
December 6th, 2001
NVidia SuperStability Mode
Populating the second DIMM in the second NVIDIA
nForce memory channel with double-sided DDR SDRAM can reduce memory speed from
266MHz to 200MHz.
Kentron QBM Roadmap
Andrea Echavarria-Pruna of Kentron Technologies
sent us the following announcement regarding
Quad Band Memory:
Kentron Technologies is proud to announce the
QBM Roadmap through 2005. By working with industry leaders through the QBM
Alliance, QBM will be a reality. Utilizing current, low cost DDR memory
devices and new, faster switching technology to deliver the highest memory
bandwidth in the industry, Kentron and its partners will deliver QBM
module and board based solutions up to 6.4 GB/sec (12.8 GB/sec for dual
channel applications) by 2005. If you would like more information on this
exciting technology please read the release below or contact me toll free
at 877-988-9100, ext 4161 or via
For more information on the QBM Alliance
Members please visit the
section in QBM Alliance website.
Looking a little like an old
Amiga 500 or
an Atari 1040ST,
all-in-one keyboard computers might be making a comeback. The VIA C3 is
probably the best processor for such applications because of the chip’s
extremely modest thermal design considerations. The C3 (Ezra) runs coolly
enough to operate without a fan, which would eliminate much of the noise of a
Athlon Cracks World’s Biggest Mersenne Prime Number
Taken from Chris’s site. JC pointed out
that we should state that a Mersenne prime is a prime number that is represented
December 5th, 2001
CPU choice for new HP Bladeserver
Mario send us this.
Hewlett-Packard will begin shipping with PIII
processors in January but will announce a string of technology partners which
will include AMD and Transmeta. This
video shows just how small it is.
Houston Nutt Named Coach of the Year
The Arkansas Razorback football coach
rallied his team from a 1-3 start to six straight wins and was named the AP’s
Coach of the Year for the dog-eat-dog Southeastern Conference. The humble
Arkansan is a good representative of my home state’s culture.
We've had a system crash, so we will likely not be posting
much today. If you have sent us e-mail in the past 24 hours and we have NOT
responded, please resend your message to us. Thanks.
December 4th, 2001
Duron Outsells Celeron in Western Europe
Mario refers us to Dataquest statistics on page 3 of this PDF
and adds, "it's good to see that the Europeans are appreciative of the clear
architectural advantages of Duron." Europeans have a history of being
educated computer shoppers seeking best bang for the buck.
Frighteningly Easy: Dirty Bombs
Courtesy of Mark. He also sends us another
piece which claims a mid-December date for a
dirty bomb attack in the US. As Mark says, the site is "hawkish," but has
been accurate in some of its previous claims, though its record is not nearly
ATi Radeon 8500 T&L Units
I've been following the never-ending benchmark
battle between the GF3 and R8500 for a while now. Every time either ATi or
NVIDIA release a driver update it seems to be only more kindling on the fire.
A colleague of mine is a registered developer with ATI and can get all sorts of
support and beta drivers, etc., so I had him ask a question for me.
It seems on most all the comprehensive reviews I've seen that included 3DMark
2001 the R8500 beats the stuffing out of the GF3 in the vertex shader and
polygon test. Almost double in fact. So, I found out that something
not mentioned in any reviews is that the R8500 has two T&L units, akin to
the NV2A in X-Box.
Are You Conscious After Your Head is Chopped Off?
Yes. Be warned that these are disturbing accounts.
Bear-Proof Suit to be Tested
Yup. You read it correctly. Some nutcase engineer is
going to have his "destruction proof" suit tested by an attack by a bear -- on
purpose no less. The suit has already survived being bashed by a 300 lb. tree
trunk, smashed by a truck and impacted by bullet, arrow, baseball bat and axe.
Seeing as how the inner core is made of titanium, the occupant may just survive!
December 3rd, 2001
The computer memory platform designer answers questions about QBM,
a new technology that promises to double current DDR SDRAM memory bandwidth.
”It” is a massively hyped, $3,000,
65-pound two-wheeled electric scooter that the inventor purports to be the
transportation wave of the future. Until “It” falls in price to $19.95, I’ll
stick with Jeeps and mountain bikes.
Yikes! Their site
states this beast weighs 80 pounds! That’s like lugging around a ten-year old
kid! At 12.5 mph, it’s a skull crusher too – pardon me, but that fuzzy greasy
spot on the sidewalk was my Chihuahua! I’m afraid that “Segway” may represent
the growing disconnect with reality that many in Silicon Valley seem to be
afflicted with – it’s a condition similar to lead poisoning.
Ma’am, You’re No Keith Jackson
Saturday was a great day for college
football. In the evening we were switching back and forth between the
Texas-Colorado conference championship and the BYU-Mississippi State game. The
latter ESPN2 contest, though exciting, had a female play-by-play announcer who
managed to make a great game look bad. At one point as a Mississippi State
player dove to the sidelines trying to avoid a penalty for being the twelfth MSU
man on the field, she noted his leap by proclaiming, “He’s no
The color commentator almost choked on his tongue, before trying to bail them
out with a more appropriate comparison to American long jumping great
Bob Beamon. ESPN,
we know you are a massive corporate abomination, but can’t you at least find
people who care about the games they are covering and represent the passion of
the fans tuning in?
Thinktechie.com: Senfu Copper Fin w/ Temp Slot
"So I received this new HSF, The Senfu
Copper Fin with Temp Slot. Temp Slot? What a great concept. Built right into the
HSF is a small indentation for the thermal probe. HighSpeedPC was kind enough to
provide the thermal probe also, thanks. Now the Senfu comes with an extra item,
a small pocket screwdriver."
British Media Further Investigates Sept. 11
Mario sends us this.
Guatemala, Lebanon, CIA, PLO, Black September,
Taleban, bin Laden, 60 Minutes, Sept 11th and more. How the CIA became the
'cowering dog' which probably contributed to the lack of intelligence that led
to Sept 11th.
minute Panorama program went out live this evening and should be up for the
next 7 days at least. A transcript is normally available a short time after.
Advances in Robot Expression
Spencer Kittelson sends us this. In the pursuit of creation
of artificial intelligence and artificial "life", it looks like we're (very)
slowly getting there. See these
interaction with Kismet, an expressive tabletop robotic "head".
LostCircuits: Review of Soltek SL 75DRV2
"Overall, an extremely stable board with high performance and
good features like e.g. smart card interface, the SL 75DRV2 is a serious
contender in the field of KT266A-based boards."
The "A" is for "American," You Moron
Chris Tom sends us this quote from a piece entitled "Is Your
Son a Computer Hacker?"
If your son has requested a new "processor" from
a company called "AMD", this is genuine cause for alarm. AMD is a third-world
based company who make inferior, "knock-off" copies of American processor chips.
They use child labor extensively in their third world sweatshops, and they
deliberately disable the security features that American processor makers, such
as Intel, use to prevent hacking. AMD chips are never sold in stores, and you
will most likely be told that you have to order them from internet sites. Do not
buy this chip! This is one request that you must refuse your son, if you are to
have any hope of raising him well.
The news item doesn't deserve any further
recognition, but here
is a mission statement for their screwed-up site. And what is their problem with
Doh! Andrew Champion informs us:
Adequacy likes to be a little inaccessible to those that
don't know who's responsible for it. A lot of them were/are trolls on
Slashdot, that moved on to run a website which is nothing but trolling.
Statements that are controversial and/or misleading, if not completely
untruthful, are the foundations of the site. One of their first articles
(earlier this year) was on DIY PC's -- here are some snippets of the article
A PC Case - simply the cheapest one you can find. Do not
pay more than $15 including PSU and fans... Memory - You need a maximum of
128MB of ram. Again, as with the PC case a lot of nonsense is talked about
memory. What you need for your functioning PC is 1 generic 128MB 168-pin
Here's the rest of the
By the way, although most of you know this, “AMD” stands
for “Advanced Micro Devices,” the high-profile Sunnyvale, California-based
microprocessor designer led by industry legend W.J. “Jerry” Sanders III.
Although the chipmaker has a few factories overseas, the Austin,
Texas-flavored company is as American as apple pie.
Disquiet at Intel?
From a "frustrated Intel employee at the
Dupont campus" (name
and email address supplied):
I just wanted to thank you for the very well
written and researched articles you did on the woes Intel is having. I am an
Intel employee and from my prospective I have seen many of the issues you have
talked about. For example in the race to 1 GHz... even though both Cnet and
ZDnet reported that AMD beat us [an Intel superior] stood up and lied to us
saying we beat AMD... When I went to work for Intel I really thought they were a
forward looking company, but from what I have seen I don't know anymore. Take
for example all the work on the IA-64 at the expense of the 32 bit world not to
mention AMD is beating the P4 in everyway possible at almost half the price
across the model range...
...morale, at least at the campus I work at, is VERY low. No one is getting the
raises they were promised in their last reviews. They started a free pc program
then a month or so into it they told us that only non exempt employees will
receive them till further notice. To top that off I know people that got theirs
(HP built them) and they are junk, the motherboard is made in Mexico and no one
can tell them who made it, the add in cards are no names. The systems like to
crash once a month. Lets just say that if Intel built these systems you would be
hearing about a lot of unhappy customers.
According to "Frustrated," the systems in question
are 933 MHz Pentium III's with i815 chipsets.
Video Review of the Athlon XP 1900+
Donation Page is up.