Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Quarter-Million Club…

Posted on 6 September 2005

Unbelievably, recently passed the 250,000 visit mark (calculated from July 31, 2004.)

A little over a year for a quarter million visits. Wow.

So a big “Thanks!” goes out to all of you Rachael Ray fans who relentlessly hammer my site from dusk til dawn… I couldn’t have done it without you. 🙂

PSP Web Browsing

Posted on 24 August 2005

PSP Web Browsing, originally uploaded by Squidly.

Upgraded the PSP OS to version 2.0, which happens to include a web browser. Wireless browsing on the PSP without needing to hack something together…. sweet.

Geek goodness

Posted on 24 June 2005

This guy built an flight simulator that you can sit in. So did these two. I admire the focus and dedication…

Upgrading memory

Posted on 22 June 2005

I ordered a gig of memory for my Mac-Mini and installed it last night. The performance gains, particularly in iPhoto and Photoshop, are amazing. It was hardly slow before, but now it’s like a new computer. I can’t believe these things actually ship with 256meg. Amusingly, Crucial shipped me the memory with a free copy of Far Cry on DVD. I played and finished that game over a year ago, and it was a good one. I guess this is how they dump surplus inventory in the gaming world.

All this memory switching got me to thinking about my Windows PC. It’s got a gig of ram in it, and lately I’ve been plagued with crash-to-desktop behavior in games such as World of Warcraft, Area 51, and the Battlefield 2 demo. I decided to price out some new memory for that machine, and I was horrified by what I found. My Gigabyte GA-8IHXP motherboard takes RDRAM, and if you can even find a place that sells it, it sells for like $450 for a gig. I guess RDRAM has become the betamax of the memory world.

UPDATE – Here’s a link to the photos of the upgrade process. Not too tough, and the second time around would be a lot easier once you know what to expect.

Apple-Intel Roundup

Posted on 10 June 2005

Here’s a gathering of Apple/Intel links before I bolt for upstate NY for the weekend.

I love this stuff… 🙂 It’s like a tech-geek soap opera without the commercial breaks for accident lawyers and floor cleaning products. I hope that wherever this rabbit hole leads it doesn’t open up for awhile.

I’ve found another interesting tidbit over at Accelerate Your Mac, in which a WWDC attendee spills some of the beans on just what the deve-demo Mactel machines can do:

First, the thing is fast. Native apps readily beat a single 2.7 G5, and sometimes beat duals. Really.
(I asked about real-world apps – if any were already available in native code-Mike)
All the iLife apps other than iTunes, plus all the other apps that come with the OS are already universal binaries….

They are using a Pentium 4 660. This is a 3.6 GHz chip. It supports 64 bit extensions, but Apple does not support that *yet*. The 660 is a single core processor. However, the engineers said that this chip would not be used in a shipping product and that we need to look at Intel’s roadmap for that time to see what Apple will ship.

It uses DDR-2 RAM at 533 MHz. SATA-2. It is using Intel GMA 900 integrated graphics and it supports Quartz Extreme. The Intel 900 doesn’t compare favorably to any shipping card from ATi or nVidia. The Apple engineers says the dev kit will work with regular PC graphics cards, but that you need a driver. Apple does not write ANY graphics drivers. They just submit bug reports to ATi/nVidia. So, when we asked where to get drivers for better cards the engineers said “The ATI guys are here.” He’s right, they’ve been in the compatibility lab several times.

It has FireWire 400, but not 800. USB 2 as well. USB 2 booting is supported, FireWire booting is not. NetBoot works.

The machines do not have Open Firmware. They use a Phoenix BIOS. That’s right, a Mac with a BIOS.

(I asked if the Bios had any tweaks like Memory Timing which is common for many PC motherboards, although Intel OEM motherboards don’t usually have any end user tweaks like that.-Mike)
They won’t tell us how to get in the BIOS. I’m sure we can figure it out when out dev kits arrive.

They run Windows fine. All the chipset is standard Intel stuff, so you can download drivers and run XP on the box.

Rosetta is amazing. (see earlier post on limitations of the Rosetta emulator – it’s a G3 emulator basically – will not run Altivec code, etc. and performance isn’t going to be as good as native code, but most Mac apps will run on a G3.-Mike) The tests I’ve run, both app tests and benchmarks, peg it at between a dual 800 MHz G4 and and a dual 2 G5 depending on what you are doing.

There’s a lot more, so head over to the story and check it out.

After reading over all of the rumors and such I’ve come to the conclusion that reality can’t possibly be half as exciting as anything these guys are dreaming up.

I figure that Apple will tweak production versions of their hardware and software in such a way that effectively locks X in a deathgrip. That means no OSX on Dells or any of that nonsense. Where I get excited and all hyperventilatey is when I contemplate the inverse…being able to run Windows apps on my Mac, and I’ll be honest, for me this is entirely about games. I’d love to be able to load a Windows version of Half-Life 2 or Doom 3, or Battlefield 2 and have it run flawlessly and fast under OSX. I dunno if this is even possible, but I’ve read enough about Virtual PC and such that I’m keeping hope alive.

Hey, it’s not half as crazy as Intel buying Apple.

Intel Inside

Posted on 9 June 2005

Intel Inside, originally uploaded by Steve Rogers.

Seeing this photo induced the first real cringe I’ve experienced through this whole Mac-to-Intel process.

Flippity flop

Posted on 7 June 2005

Waffling faster than a certain Boston politician, Bill Palmer now sez “Bring it on.” It’s amazing what a Stevenote can do. The insane, difficult, and impossible becomes possible, easy, and downright desirable within the span of an hour.

All kidding aside, it’s a pretty compelling watch. Check out the keynote here if you haven’t already.