May 31st, 2002
Great Grill Lighter
Spencer writes, "Via GMSV comes this reference to a web page which is obviously maintained by a pyromaniacal madman. His method for starting a grill full of charcoal briquettes results in a lighting time of approximately three seconds. Cooking time has yet to be evaluated. (Please don't try this at home.)"
May 28th, 2002
PCMag reviews StarOffice 6.0
John Oram sends us this link and says, "There is more depth in this review than many before."
May 26th, 2002
Barge Knocks Out 500ft Span of I-40 Arkansas River Bridge in Oklahoma
At least a dozen vehicles were lost today when reportedly a barge struck a section of a heavily traveled interstate bridge in Oklahoma. Spanning the Arkansas River some 30-miles west of Fort Smith, Arkansas, this apparent accident follows on the heels of a similar incident last September involving the Queen Isabella Causeway connecting the south Texas mainland with South Padre Island. In addition to the still un-tallied loss of life, Interstate 40 is one of the most important east-west thoroughfares in the country and is expected to remain closed in this area for up to six months.
May 25th, 2002
Athlon XP 2200+ on Price Watch
Mario writes: Price Watch prices for AMD's top of the line Athlon XP desktop products fell sharply this weekend, no doubt in anticipation of the chipmaker's latest and greatest arriving soon. A search reveals the availability of an XP 2200+ product at $259. the inquirer reports that AMD will announce deep price cuts on Monday, and has also linked the availability of AMD's next Athlon product here, at $219.
May 24th, 2002
Geoffrey writes, "Clearly the Biometric tech being sold is not so effective. (And on a side point, what Novell is pushing is the back end infrastructure... I.e. You select the biometric, or smart card, or proximity card or whatever, that you want to use, because you think it works, and NMAS will work with it...)"
May 23rd, 2002
Silicon is Slow
Phil writes, "Looks like nano & DNA computing are making good progress. Popular Science has a great overview of the technologies involved, current status, and possible future."
May 22nd, 2002
Lo, The Lowly Transistor Morphs Again
Spencer writes, "The workhorse element of our microelectronics revolution, the transistor, is once again being developed in new directions which promise to make smaller, better, faster telecommunications more and more of a reality for our portable devices. A critical component of these small wireless systems is the final stage driver devices that actually create the RF signal. Currently, these are primarily gallium arsenide components but within two to three years we may be seeing more efficient gallium nitride transistors in common use. From Science Daily comes a link to this article at UCSB. By furthering the work of the legendary Shuji Nakamura (father of the blue and white LED and the blue laser diode) Professor Umesh Mishra and his colleagues have been developing both FET and bipolar transistors out of this difficult to master material. The article is both an excellent brief history and primer on the advantages of gallium nitride."
A Tale of Two Reviews
Mario writes, "On Monday, VHJ reported on PCWorld's accurate 'avoid' assessment of Intel's all bark and no bite P4 based 1.7 GHz Celeron. Yesterday, PC Magazine, part of the Ziff Davis media group, gave it unjustified recognition by awarding a Gateway machine an Editors' Choice award. The uninformed reader who read those reviews is left none the wiser. This is what brings the IT media industry into disrepute. It seems that banner ads and revenue have more editorial influence than objective independent reporting. PC Magazine's assertion that they are "the independent guide to technology" is as good as Arthur Anderson saying that Enron's accounts are good. Those in the know will take PC Magazine's advice for what it is, those who aren't may make a poor purchasing decision."
May 21st, 2002
May 20th, 2002
May 19th, 2002
May 18th, 2002
May 17th, 2002
Enthusiast Website O'the Day: 4peeps.com
We will commence regularly spotlighting enthusiast site startups. We begin with 4peeps.com.
Linux Gaining in Business
Spencer writes, "The other day I was at Best Buy and checked out the available
computer systems and thought I'd ask an improbable question: "Can I get either
a bare bones computer or one with Linux preinstalled?" The two sales staff
present laughed (which was predictable). However, both of them used Linux
themselves and the suggested that within 18-48 months we would see prepacked
Linux based PC's as retail items. As for business use, I suspect it will come
faster than that. The following quote is indicative of how Linux has been
continuing to gain a following, "Three or four years ago, Linux was a hard
sell, [but now it's] really taking server business away from Microsoft and
Unix," Toxen says. "Microsoft products just aren't as reliable, secure or
cost-effective as Linux." There's a lot more in this excellent business
Soon we won't be able to trust video
Spencer writes, "This article about work at MIT is an example of how the confluence of digitizing everything and using advanced computer techniques is certainly going to render our concepts of 'reality' nearly meaningless. In this example, some crafty researchers have managed to create completely realisitic videos of people saying things they never said! The implications of such technology are huge and will affect the 'truthfulness' of evidentiary videos in legal proceedings, be used for propaganda and political manipulation, blackmail, etc. We may soon never be quite sure if what we see is what really happened."
May 16th, 2002
Fooling Fingerprint Scanners
...with gummy fingers. Link courtesy Brad.
The Benefits of a Short Pipeline
EvilPaul thinks that AMD could learn a little from Apple about how to promote its QuantiSpeed architecture. Many of the issues that Apple brings up were listed (borrowed from?) our Athlon XP 2000+ review. Apple even hammers on biased benchmarks.
May 15th, 2002
FUD Attack? IBM Drops Intel High-end Server
Arjen sends us this link. How many times can you count the word *NUMA* in this Intel(?) sponsored article?
Thanks to Bill for sending us the link.
Thanks to Tim for sending us the link. In it, is mentioned this very thoughtful letter written by Peruvian congressman Edgar David Villanueva Nunez and reported on by Mario last week.
Defeating Copyright Protection with Post-It Notes and Markers?
Bill sends us this link. It's translated from German to English. It was reported at chip.de.
May 14th, 2002
May 13th, 2002
Spencer writes, "Microsoft is acting like a schoolyard bully when it comes to enforcing their draconian licensing terms on public education. Nicholas Petreley sums it up."
May 12th, 2002
May 11th, 2002
May 10th, 2002
VHJ Logo Contest
Just a reminder. Logo submissions for VHJ's Hardware Forum must be in by Monday, May 13th.
May 9th, 2002
May 8th, 2002
ALi Makes Inroads in Areas Besides Chipsets
Mario writes, "DigiTimes reports that ALi has outperformed its rivals with year-on-year revenue growth of 64%. This was not attributable to increased chipset sales, it was heavy demand for its more profitable multimedia chips, which include DVD player and USB 2.0 solutions. These products fall outside the 'Intel tax' umbrella, so offset the license fees that ALi has to pay to manufacture Intel compatible chipsets. Because 82% of its chipset revenues are generated from notebook sales, which are more profitable than the desktop variety, this has also contributed to ALi's market leading performance. The revenue ratio of multimedia products is just over 50%, and is expected to rise to 60% in the second half of this year. Even though ALi is the number three Taiwanese chipset manufacturer, their business model looks eminently more profitable than their competitors."
MS Judge Wants 'Modular' Windows Demo
Mario writes, "Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has dealt Microsoft a serious blow by allowing the nine dissenting states who want a modular version of Windows to be part of the remedies decree to demo such a version next week. James Bach, Virginia-based computer testing consultant, has built his modular version of Windows using Windows XP Embedded. Bach will testify that his modular version of Windows turned out "robust and reliable," Kollar-Kotelly said, citing a submission from the states. This could prove to be a defining decision in the four-year-old antitrust case."
May 7th, 2002
May 6th, 2002
Sewage Turned Into Hydrogen Fuel
Phil sends us this from newscientist.com.
May 5th, 2002
May 4th, 2002
May 3rd, 2002
Review of the VIA Eden
…at Mike Magee’s the inquirer.
May 2nd, 2002
Athlon Excels in Real World Benchmarks
Mario writes, "Ace's Hardware has published some Finite Elements Analyses (FEA) benchmarks that shows the superiority of Athlon over P4. The benchmarks were carried out in a real production environment. One engineer commented, 'Why is the Athlon so much faster in the code? This is not obvious by having a look at SPECfp.' What else can one say? Athlon continues to amaze.
Nvidia To Not Pursue P4 License
Mario writes, "CNet reports that Nvidia's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, has said that his company would not be pursuing a P4 chipset license from Intel. He also said that his company has plans for a follow-on to the nForce chipset, but he gave no details. Nvidia has been suffering from financial woes on two fronts. They've suffered the embarrassment of having to restate their earnings and they're in a price dispute with Microsoft over Xbox chipset pricing. On a brighter note, Huang announced that an upcoming graphics chip with a fundamentally new architecture would debut in August. He also expects that his company will have the largest share of the Macintosh graphics market sometime soon."
For a Few Dollars More
Mario writes, "A big understatement on my part. It's more like hundreds of dollars. DigiTimes reports that even though Intel is due to slash prices of its P4-M notebook processors later this month, close Intel customers are already benefiting from these price reductions. This has allowed the big notebook vendors to jump the gun in lowering P4-M notebook prices, which has put the remaining notebook manufacturers at a serious disadvantage. If this is true, this can only be described as an aggrieved situation for these unfortunate notebook manufacturers."
Space Launch Initiative
Spencer writes, "NASA has announced the initial selections of new ideas for the forthcoming Space Launch Initiative which is to be the replacement for our current extremely expensive shuttle fleet. The idea is to cut launch costs tenfold (to merely $1K/lb.) and improve reliability by more than an order of magnitude. Both horizontal and vertical launch concepts are under consideration and completely pilotless operation is highly likely for some configurations. The web sites have links to videos and conceptual artwork."
Fanless 933MHz VIA C3 Review
Hexus looks at the C3-Shuttle Space Walker combo and tries a fanless configuration. Although their Sandra test does not show this, the C3 is capable of higher memory bandwidth than the Celeron.
May 1st, 2002
Athlon 4 Powers New Fujitsu Notebooks
Mario writes, "AMD announced another design win for its mobile Athlon 4 product. Fujitsu PC Corp. has chosen this processor to power its LifeBook A series, which are commercial notebooks that are designed to meet the requirements of business, government and education users at all levels. All three designs are powered by a 1.2 GHz Athlon 4 and feature AMD's PowerNow power management technology. Software options include Win98SE, Win2000, or WinXP Pro. Product specs and pics can be viewed here. Design looks similar to Sony's VAIO, very nice."
Dell Evaluates Hammer
Mario writes, "CNet reports on AMD's gains on Intel, as well as Jerry Sander's comments at yesterday's hardware conference. Michael Dell, who also spoke at the conference, said about Dell's evaluation of Hammer, 'We're very interested and we're looking and there's not much more to say about it in public.' Dell has been openly critical about the demand, performance and cost of Itanium. Customer interest for Itanium servers is 'effectively zero,' said Joe Marengi, senior vice president and general manager, Dell Americas, he added, 'I don't see the speed and benefit to what the processor brings to the equation,' he also went on to say, 'the investment involved in the transition is huge.' Not exactly a glowing endorsement from Intel's number one OEM. If Intel should decide to not launch Yamhill, AMD may at last win its first design win from Dell.
Spectacular Hubble Shots
Spencer writes, "These are from the new ACS installed from a recent shuttle mission. Incredible views of galactic collisions."
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