July 31st, 2002


A Small Correction

Nils writes, "IBM has ported DB2 to the Suse Linux x86-64 build for AMD's x86-64. Now doesn't this sound a bit better than just IBM ports DB2 to hammer, as most headlines are reading? Now ask yourselves WHY the wording is so carefully chosen by major news sites when a bit more would explain things completely."


If You Value Freedom And Privacy, You've Got To Defend It

Spencer writes, "Here's a good piece by Nicholas Petreley.  The analysis is excellent and page two is a must read for those who cherish their freedom and privacy.  (If you haven't figured out yet that Microsoft is a serious threat to your privacy get a clue.)"

July 30th, 2002


Apple To Adopt nForce?

Mario writes, "the inquirer has an interesting story about the possibility of Apple adopting Nvidia's nForce chipset. This speculation is based on motherboard pictures that were put up on the web, but which have since been speedily removed. Apple already uses Nvidia's graphics technology in some of its products, so if this turns out to be true, this would be a strengthening of ties between these respected and innovative companies.

"This makes for some long-term possibilities, which are also very interesting. Apple's Steve Jobs has publicly said that his company would look at the options of moving to a X86 platform next year. This of course raises the big question: AMD or Intel? Apple and Intel are not exactly bedfellows, so such an arrangement would seem improbable but not impossible. Also, Nvidia does not currently have a P4 bus license to which it could connect its core logic technology, so this brings AMD nicely into the frame with Hammer. This speculation, which if it became a reality, would certainly give Apple a very differentiated product range compared to any Wintel offering; something that Apple customers would really appreciate. Apple would also be able to tout performance numbers with the same zeal as its market leading ergonomics. OS 10, Hammer, and nForce; sounds like a dream ticket to me."


Study History Or Repeat It

Nils send us a new link.


Linus Torvalds Prays Intel Will Adopt Yamhill

Jerry Andrews send us this link from the inquirer.


July 29th, 2002


Breaking Performance Bottlenecks of SMP Systems with Opteron

Spencer writes, "How are we going to wring out the maximum performance from AMD Opteron systems?  We don't want to simply match existing SMP performance (which can be awful) but develop both OS and application designs which take advantage of the lack of limitations the new AMD architecture provides." Read more on what Spencer has to say here.

The Inquirer Reports On A Piece At ViaHardware

Jerry Andrews says "This deserves to be pointed to on the VHJ main page. All your Athlon powered readers will enjoy it (as I did)," about the what the Inquirer reports in its Something for the weekend, sir? - Hardware Dribble. “Viahardware has written to plug its piece on 'Why the Buzz on AMD's Hammer won't quit. To understand the future, check out the past, they suggest. Back in 1999, as Athlon neared launch, no one quite knew what to expect. Would K7 deliver-or would it sink like a stone?' they ask. Will Hammer match the impact Athlon had? The piece is here.”


July 27th, 2002


For Whom Prefers Details On x86-64

Nils writes, "Dave Feustel has pointed me in a very useful direction. There are very fine information sites on the fine details of Hammer's software side." Read more here.


Lotsa Science News

Spencer writes, "New Scientist is full of fun stuff:  Sub-orbital commercial space flight only three years away(?!), lasers for space communications and as weapons in fighter aircraft and the ongoing search for gravity waves by simulating black hole collisions.  Good reads all."


July 26th, 2002


Review of BitWiseChat Deidru

Dave Graham reviews BitWiseChat.


If I Had a Hammer....

Nils Dahl on Hammer architecture.


July 25th, 2002


Acer Aspire 1300 Notebook

Jeff Wood sends us this, "I am a reseller in Canada and have Acer Aspire 1300 notebooks on order. They will be in stock in 2 weeks so it looks like Canada will be selling these. I am also a Premier Partner with AMD talk to you soon as I get more info. ACER ASPIRE 1300 AMD ATHL. 1.2, 20GB 256MB 14.1iTFT DVD-CDRW here is the product spec from my order sheet.  Retail price from me will be $1999.00 Canadian."


July 24th, 2002


Anyone Catch This High Humor?

Nils Dahl comments on The Inquirer article, Sneak Preview: Intel "Tiger 4" Quad-CPU Itanium 2.


Opteron Desktop/Server Comparisons

Spencer writes, "The Inquirer has a link in their their Daily Wibble page to the Japanese site PC Watch Impress. On that page were a pair .jpeg's that on first impression were identical but by clicking back and forth you can immediately see the differences between the desktop and server versions of the pending Opteron (Hammer) chips. The server chip has nearly 1000 pins (or BGA bumps), a lot more cache, three fast HyperTransport links, and dual (probably interleaved) 72 bit DDR 333 memory channels.  There's even a little note on the desktop image that shows how HT replaces address, data and control bus elements (just as Nils has indicated in his explicative brief)."


The Driver Depot Presents: 'The Sum of All Drivers' Contest

Phil writes, "The contest runs till midnight, August 31st 2002. Prizes for the top computer-driver uploaders are Top Uploader - $100 USD, Runner up - $50 USD, Random Drawing Prize - $25 USD."


Hypersonic Future Travel

Spencer writes, "Via Science Daily comes this link to a NASA release featuring hypersonic aircraft that are within a decade of testing.  The press release gives some details of the programs and the artists renderings are interesting.  The first X43A test was aborted in June of 2001 when the hosting Pegasus rocket veered out of control.  More tests of the 10 foot long X43A are planned. For a quirky but kinda cool hydrogen fuel page, see this."


What Ties Apple, Nvidia and AMD Together?

Spencer writes, "The Inquirer has an interesting analysis piece that postulates that Apple could challenge Microsoft with Hammer/nForce hardware.  It's plausible that such a switch to an x86 platform could occur and the article notes that if AMD can crank out Hammers and Dell finally sells an AMD product it's likely that Apple will have a go at what will be effectively a new market segment, the mainstream 64 bit desktop.  Of course there's more to the mix with Open Office, ATI's hardware, OSX on a real Unix kernel, the whole open source movement, etc.  Nils must be smiling...."

July 22nd, 2002


What is Hypertransport?

Nils Dahl explains.


July 21st, 2002


New AMD Powered Notebooks

Mario writes, "the inquirer reports that Acer has launched the Aspire 1300 range of notebook computers that are powered by AMD's new 130 nm mobile Athlon XP. Unfortunately, those products will only be available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You can blame Intel for the lack of availability in Acer's home market, Asia (USA as well?). Those fortunate enough to have a choice will be able to select models that are powered by either a XP1400+ or a XP1800+.

Closer to home, Wal Mart has new AMD powered HP notebooks available online. What caught my eye in the value segment was a $1,098 Pavilion XF315. This is powered by a 1.2 GHz Duron processor, has 256 MB of memory, a 20 GB hard drive, and a 14.1 XGA TFT display. Surprisingly at this price point, it is also fitted out with a DVD/CD-RW drive, which should help them sell like hot cakes. They also have better featured but more expensive Pavilions with Athlon XP processors at 1400+, 1500+, and 1800+. It's also worth noting that 40% of their HP notebooks for sale are AMD based.


Mike Magee Leaks Details Of AMD 'Celeron Debacle'

Nils Dahl writes, "Note that AMD used an MSI K7N420 Pro motherboard for the Duron and Athlon XP system base. This isn't really fair, as the nVidia integrated video easily beats even Intel's new 845G integrated video. But then the real world isn't fair.

"As a useful test, this all seems eminently proper to me. It is Intel's latest integrated solution pitted against AMD/nVidia's integrated solution from last year. It also is an amusing statement by AMD about its opinion of the nForce 420 design and perhaps a reminder of just what the industry missed by neglecting the 420 for so long.


"And when the next generation nForce does ship, things will get much more interesting.


"Now if you have heard any details of the nForce solution that will match the 32-bit clawhammer, don't tell me. I love pleasant surprises."


nils dahl

just an old man - smiling


Internet Domain Case

Thanks to our reader who sent in this, "From the Globe and Mail (Toronto newspaper) about small(er) businessman winning Internet domain case against (very) large business -- won on appeal in court after Internet arbitration awarded the name he'd registered to Molson."


July 19th, 2002


AMD Goes on the Offensive Against P4-Celeron

 … and quotes Van’s Hardware in an aggressive presentation that notes that P4-Celeron + i845G combinations are incompatible with leading gaming titles like Tiger Woods 2002, Spiderman and Nascar 2002.  Intel discloses a number of these incompatibilities at its website.  Kathy’s recent tests support AMD’s claims that this hardware combination, which is common in OEM systems, simply doesn’t measure up to competing and often much cheaper AMD-based systems.


Hunting Amino Acids In Space With Spectroscopy

Spencer writes, "From New Scientist comes this report of spectrographic radio telescope analysis of large galactic molecular clouds that report the distinctive signature of glycine. Glycine is a simple amino acid that other research has shown can be produce by exposing various combinations of elemental ice to ultraviolet light. This is more minor supporting evidence for the notion of 'panspermia', that life exists simply because it is an eventuality born of the nature of the cosmos. Panspermia is far from proven, even less so than the more terrestrial and swiss cheese theory of evolution.  (New Scientist blatantly ignores or dismisses contrary evidence to evolution so be forewarned when reading NS of their heavy bias and limited data.)  Of course, the existence of such molecules is not surprising given their simplicity and the tremendous variety of conditions found in the huge volume of the universe. This is a piece of data that leads to a "could possibly be" type of conclusion (and nothing further is logically possible from this data point).  It will be interesting to see how long it takes for others to trumpet this research and claim they have found the ultimate origin of life.  The drive to suppress the need for a Creator runs deep in much of the "scientific" community."


Eclectic Bad Writing

Spencer sends us this, " 'On reflection, Angela perceived that her relationship with Tom had always been rocky, not quite a roller-coaster ride but more like when the toilet-paper roll gets a little squashed so it hangs crooked and every time you pull some off you can hear the rest going bumpity-bumpity in its holder until you go nuts and push it back into shape, a degree of annoyance that Angela had now almost attained.'

"In keeping with the eclectic nature of Van's Hardware, I thought you may enjoy something completely different. The above missive is the award winning entry for the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest, also known as the "It was a dark and stormy night" contest. Via GMSV comes this link to hilarious single paragraph story starters. If you've found Hemmingway badly in need of a sharp penciled editor, you'll love these contorted bits of prose. I laughedtill it hurt..."



Bill Brier sends us this, "Did you know - If you had bought 1000 dollars of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth 49 dollars? If you had purchased 10,000 dollars of Enron stock a year ago it would be now be worth toilet paper? If you had spent 1000 dollars on beer a year ago, drank all the beer, then brought the cans to a redemption center for the nickel deposit, you would have 107 dollars? Given current economic conditions and the volatility of the stock market, my advice is to drink a lot of beer and recycle the empty cans."


July 18th, 2002


Who Can We Blame?

Nils Dahl on marketing in the computer industry.


July 16th, 2002


A Dual Hammer System

Nils Dahl on hypertransport and its potential.


Happy Anniversary VHJ

Kathy writes, "Today is our 1 year anniversary for VHJ. We would like to thank all of the folks who have helped in the past year to get us here. We are particularly thankful for Spencer, Phil, Nils, Mario, Joel who have been regular contributors to the site and to Dave and the gang who are running and moderating the forums. (If I have forgotten someone, please let me know. I'm 8 months pregnant and the baby sometimes completely consumes all of my brain waves.) Also a thanks to all of you who have in the past year written and sent us something the was of particular importance that you felt needed to be expressed and shared with others. We have covered a wide range of topics far beyond the bounds of computer hardware and news.


"Our year has been filled with 2 moves, a new job, 2 family passings, a little one due next month and all that other really important stuff that goes on... and what of your year? It has been a joy for us to have this website and to have developed the relationships and acquaintances that we have because of the site. Thank-you to our readers and friends."


July 14th, 2002


COSBI QuickTest Results at Guru3D.com

Guru3D.com has a forum dedicated to COSBI QuickTest results.


NYTimes.com - 07-10-02 Article "Sept. 11 tape could hold some clues to Firefighter's death

John Oram sends us this link as a follow-up to his previous comments.


Second Opinion

Bill Brier sends us this. We found it particularly timely after recently receiving our own $1000 bill from a cardiologist's office. We still have no idea what this doctor looks like, as he wasn't actually there for any of the testing....


July 12th, 2002


COSBI For Dumber Dummies

Kathy returns to Sam's Club to retest the PCs. Also, available for download is a preview version of COSBI QuickTest.


NYTimes.com Article On 9/11 Communications Failures

John Oram comments on an article published this past weekend.


Chicken Feathers to Replace Silicon

Phil Trent writes, "These researchers are like environmental versions of George Washington Carver. Deep research into seemingly mundane materials is a great source for new materials. Corning's research into new uses for glass produced fiber optics.

"Good luck to them; there is likely an abundance of chicken feathers that could be put to good use."


Transparency As A Killer Virtue

Spencer Kittelson writes, "One of the wonderful features of open source is that it is OPEN.  What you see is what you get and there aren't any hidden agendas, sneaky features or backdoors that compromise your security and privacy.  Could this 'transparency' be the killer virtue or feature that is a must have for individuals and corporations? Doc Searls of Linux Journal has had some interesting musings on this notion and its implications for building all important infrastructure.  If you groove freedom and self determination you'll dig this brief article.


More Loss Of Privacy:)

Spencer sends us this. "Check to see if YOUR drivers license information is online in a searchable database."


July 10th, 2002


COSBI For Dummies

Kathy tests the newest version of COSBI at the local Sam's Club. She shares her results and experience with the new benchmarking application.


A Hammer-Powered Cray Supercomputer?

In an analysis published last October, Nils noted the supercomputer-like architecture of the Hammer, so it may come as no big surprise to our readers that, according to a Wall Street Journal article, Sandia National Labs and Cray were working with AMD on a "large" Opteron-based system.


July 9th, 2002


DigiTimes: Intel Strong-arming Taiwanese PC Makers

The Taiwanese IT publication DigiTimes reports today that semiconductor giant Intel is coercing PC makers to not sell AMD-based notebooks in Asia, one of the few places in the world where Intel is still finding profits.

According to the report, both Asustek and Acer have disclosed that they have agreed not to sell notebook computers based on AMD CPUs in Asia in order to “maintain their relationships with Intel.”

As we published in an earlier analysis, AMD’s 0.13-micron “Thoroughbred” Athlon XPs exhibit very attractive mobile characteristics.  This combined with the distinctly mobile-unfriendly high-leakage P4 design place Intel at disadvantages to its chief rival in the high-end mobile space.  The mobile market is particularly attractive due to its relatively lofty margins.

In another VHJ exclusive, we reported in the same article that Intel is currently ratcheting up pressure on OEMs in an effort to force PC makers to drop AMD chips.  The DigiTimes news item is but two examples of this.  According to our sources, domestic PC builders are also feeling similar coercion from the Santa Clara chip goliath.

According to our sources, Intel’s current strategy is to attempt to retard or reverse AMD from its previously strengthening positions with OEMs in anticipation of the Hammer launch late this year.  AMD’s Hammer is a revolutionary 64-bit chip design we expect to decisively trump Intel’s offerings in performance across essentially all targeted market segments.


Looking at Lindows

Positioned as the Linux-derived foil to Microsoft OS's, "Lindows" purports to bridge both the Linux and Windows worlds.  We have a Wal-Mart Lindows machine at our disposal and we have to say that although the machine is solid, at this point we have been greatly underwhelmed with the Windows compatibility features of the operating system.


We have been able to successfully install Microsoft Office 2000, which is a noteworthy advancement beyond typical Linux-Wine (Wine is a Windows emulator) distributions.  Unfortunately, few of the applications would run stably and those that would run were painfully slow.


Under Lindows, Word, PowerPoint and Excel have been the three most solid applications of the Office 2k suite although all three have been noticeably sluggish on a 1.3GHz Celeron.  Outlook locks up before loading any mail.  We were able to load one of our databases into Access, but were unable to view either queries or tables.


Although we will provide a much more detailed analysis next week, we can already state that Lindows is currently not the panacea that many wishing to wean themselves from Microsoft have hoped for.  However, Lindows is a step in the right direction and demonstrates that complex COM-based applications can be made to operate under Linux.  Also keep in mind that Lindows is still a work in progress so we can expect improvements in the months to come.


July 8th, 2002


Open Source In Government

Spencer writes, "Here is some excellent news for open source proponents:  The U.S. House of Representatives has just begun testing XML Document Data Types (DTD's) to document their legislative bills.  Following work started last year the new document format is based on open standards and will allow greater access and searchability.  The DTD's themselves are public domain (as should be virtually all government developed methods) and follow the WWW Consortium's ongoing XML standards efforts.  XML is virtually guaranteed to become the lingua franca of data interchange between disparate systems since it provides hierarchical structure, semantic tagging and data content in the same portable, human/machine readable format.  Open source projects such as Open Office use XML as the native storage format for their resultant documents.  Perhaps this is a sign of an inexorable shift away from closed, proprietary formats such as Microsoft's Office formats.  Let us hope so."


Internet Law Articles

Spencer writes, "Here's the link to Dan Gillmore's recent articles which include his recent postings on the Internet Law seminars at Harvard.  Another Must Read column is 'Microsoft Grips the Levers, Harder'."


July 3rd, 2002


Palladium - A Modest Prediction

Nils writes about Microsoft's Palladium initiative.


Is The Future Hyper-anarchy Or Total Control?

Spencer writes, "Via GMSV comes the above quote recently made by Harvard's Jonathan Zittrain. Dan Gillmor is posting excellent summaries while he attends five days of Harvard lectures and seminars on Internet law.  With deep thinkers in abundance (and lawyers only 38% of the crowd) there is some serious issue opening and bashing underway.  From despair over ultimate governmental control to cybersquatting to ICANN's increasingly inbred behavior, there is much to learn from simply following this column.  Freedom and privacy are at stake and it is up to us to know the issues."


New Linux News Site

Spencer writes, "Egan Orion (what a great name) of the Inquirer has posted the news of a new Linux daily site.  It may give Linux Today a run for its money.  It's good to see healthy competition for excellent Linux news.  All you Microsoft weenies pay attention!"


Did Intel Scupper Company Takeover?

Mario writes, "the inquirer reports that Time Computer, one of AMD's biggest UK partners that successfully took over "Intel only" Tiny Computer, has failed in its efforts to acquire the French PC system integrator Continental Edison. A source close to the French company said that Intel may have been involved in the collapse of the talks, to prevent the success of the UK company from reaching mainland Europe. If this is true, then this is another - no doubt legal - unethical act to prevent AMD and its partners from further developing important markets. With AMD announcing second quarter sales that are approximately $300 million lower than the previous quarter, there's nothing like kicking a man when he is already down. Regrettably, it's the consumer who ultimately pays with higher prices when actions of this nature maintains the status quo.


Dowload Microsoft Fix - Lose Privacy

Spencer wrties, "This item on New Scientist points out some of the controversy surrounding the terms of aggreement that you MUST accept in order to get an important fix for Microsoft Media Player.  How long will you let Microsoft control you?"


Amber Passed Away Last Night

...around 11PM.  She fought very, very hard; she had to battle for most of her short life.  Amber would have turned three this November.


We are grateful for the many letters of support.  We especially appreciate all of the prayers made in Amber's behalf.


If you have children, embrace them; cherish them because life is fragile and fleeting.


Don't let the chance to spend this 4th of July holiday with family and friends slip by.  Mend broken fences; let those closest to you know the depth of your love.  Every opportunity we have to do these things is a gift.

Amber Caitlyn Richardson: 1999-2002


July 2nd, 2002


Web Watch

MSI GeForce 4 Ti 4600 Review Posted, Hovertrek personal hovercraft, Trans-dimensional portals and what they have to do with PDAs, Monkeys using mind control to play video games, X-pro surveillance helicopter, KT333 Mainboard Roundup, AOpen AX4B Pro-533 & AX4G Pro Reviews, Acorp 7KT333 Review and Shuttle AK35GT2-R Review.


July 1st, 2002


Linux Laptops

Jesse send us this link to P4 and Mobile Athlon XP (up to 2200+?) laptops.


O'Reilly On The State Of Open Source Software

Spencer writes, "In this two page article, Tim O'Reilly reviews the current state of the open source software movement.  Of course, most of the Internet runs on open source and whole state and national governments are now turning their backs on proprietary software (read Microsoft) and utilizing the incredible economic and freedom advantages of open source. Microsoft has launched a fierce FUD campaign to persuade bureaucrats everywhere that open source is evil and the heat is on so badly that some government employees are running for cover.  The arguments for open source run very deep and Tim has put together an excellent brief.  It's a really good read."



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