Friday, November 21, 2008

Modern Times


Taking time out from product evaluations just to go into idle gear and read some stuff that's been stacking up since last spring sometime.  So, here we go:

Self-Healing Carbon Fiber applications:  Did you happen to see the latest movie on Batman -  Batman Begins?  Did you wonder where Hollywood gets those wacky ideas?  Some are not so wacky.  It seems that that fiber already exists.  There's an article about it in Spectrum, (Oct 2008, p.28) the IEEE magazine that all members receive, called, "Self-Healing Hulls" and it's mostly about self-healing boat/auto/airplane bodies made from carbon fiber.  But, from the description it sounds exactly how Batman's wings operated when they "snapped" in to place.  Wow!

Multi-Core Processors:  Same magazine, page 15.  SAVE YOUR MONEY!!  A report by Sandia Labs says that a 4-core CPU will deliver almost as much speed as an 8-core CPU.  But both deliver more than a 2-, 16-, 32- or 64-CPU machine.  (They didn't say HOW they tested, but, hey!  It's the IEEE combined with Sandia Labs - yes, those labs of Jess fame - so they have to be correct.  Right?)  A 2-CPU machine is on a par with a 16-CPU machine.  The fastest was the 8-core but not by much over the 4-core.  Now, remember, they are checking the speed on only ONE application, not lots of applications nor those requiring lots of threads such as Parallel Rulebased Systems.  But for most rulebased systems, a single application should run fine on 4- or 8-core machines.  If you have 64 or 128 cores, have the other cores working on something else, like a database access or screen updates (which really should have their own processors and memory) or doing complicated math routines.  Sandia Labs, in conjunction with Oak Ridge Labs in Tennessee, are experimenting with stacking memory directly on top of the CPU.

Toshiba Quad-Core Laptop:  Yes, you read that correctly.  QUAD-core on a Laptop.  Called the Qosmio (Kos'-mi-o) it weighs in at 10.8 pounds (about 5Kg) it's a monster.  But, on the up side it comes WITH
  • 4GB RAM
  • 2x250GB HDD
  • 1066MHz Front Side Bus
  • 512MB NVidia Graphics 9600 Video
  • 18.4" WS, 1680x945 Display
  • Built-in Camera with Microphone
  • Blue Tooth and Wireless Built-in
  • $1549.99 USD
OK, it's heavy, it's more expensive than most laptops today but cheaper than my 17" MacBook Pro, Core-2 Duo Apple.  Unfortunately, it also comes with Microsoft Windows Vitri 64-bit OS.  But, guys! - it has FOUR CORES on a LAPTOP!!  See Toshiba for more info.  

Thanksgiving USA:  Finally, Thanksgiving in the USA is next Thursday.  Students and teachers in the USA take the entire week off.  Factories shut down Wednesday noon, sometimes the whole week.  Department stores get ready for "Black Friday" by shutting down on Thursday, stocking up and having sales that start as early as midnight Thursday but usually at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning.  And the lines begin forming right after midnight but are already formed by 5:00 a.m.  

The question is, who are YOU going to thank for what you have?  Even if you are unemployed, you have access to an internet connection or you wouldn't be reading this.  But, the question remains:  Who do you thank?  Yourself?  Now, that's being silly.  Mom and Dad for making you what you are?  Good start.  The government?  No, WAY, Jack!!  Go back to the original Thanksgiving day and see what they did and why on Wikipedia entry on Thanksgiving.  While you're there, look up Squanto, the Pilgrims and their reasons for forming, migration to Amsterdam, their eventual voyage to what would become New England, the Mayflower Compact, their incredibly poor planning that led them to become dependent on Squanto, etc, etc.  All very interesting...  


1 comment:

Paul Vincent said...

Hi James - check out for a quadcore laptop too :)