Book Reviews

[Day Permalink] Monday, November 18, 2002

[Item Permalink]  -- Comment()
Sun fires up supercomputer connections: "Sun Microsystems will take a major step into supercomputing on Monday with the announcement of Fire Link, a technology that joins its high-end servers with a single high-performance cluster." [Google Technology News]

[Item Permalink]  -- Comment()
Three-year PC upgrade cycle is history: "The three-year upgrade cycle for PCs is increasingly becoming a myth, according to market researcher Gartner." [Google Technology News]

[Item Permalink]  -- Comment()
IBM uncloaks heavyweight supercomputer: "Bringing new meaning to the term "big iron," IBM has begun selling a new supercomputer that weighs nearly two tons in a full-fledged configuration." [Google Technology News]

[Item Permalink]  -- Comment()
Pushing 'smart' computing: "Big Blue lays groundwork for autonomic, grid, and utility strategy." [InfoWorld: Top News]

[Item Permalink] Quick Review of 1 GHz PowerBook G4 -- Comment()
I posted a Quick Review of 1 GHz PowerBook G4. I'll revise the review when I get more experiences of using this system. I must admit I like this machine. In fact, I have already ordered one (with 1 GB of memory) to replace my desktop machine. I'm planning to use the PowerBook for daily tasks, presentations, meeting notes, etc.

[Item Permalink]  -- Comment()
Bill Gates spots the next big thing: "Microsoft's founder predicts that intelligent alarm clocks and fridge magnets will help bring about the next computing revolution." [BBC News | TECHNOLOGY]

[Item Permalink] Benchmarking the 1 GHz PowerBook G4 -- Comment()
I'm running the Mathematica benchmark on the 1 GHz PowerBook G4. I had some applications running in the background (Radio UserLand, for example), which probably caused some overhead. Despite this the total time was only 287 seconds, which puts this system on the same level as a dual-processor 800 MHz desktop G4 system. In comparison, my desktop machine (450 MHz G4 PowerMac) used up 565 seconds. Thus the 1 GHz PowerBook G4 is (at least) twice as fast as the 450 MHz desktop system.

I'll run the Mathematica benchmark again later on, using a system with less background processing and without other applications running. I'll be interesting to see if the results are different when running in an empty system.

Update: running in an 'emply' system the benchmark took 270 seconds. Thus having several other applications running (Radio UserLand, Mail, Chimera Navigator, Terminal, System Preferences) only caused about 6% overhead. This is impressive and probably due to the Unix foundations of Mac OS X.

Does running AirPort/WLAN cause any CPU overhead? I'll have to try to run the benchmark also with AirPort switched off. -- There was no difference, I got again the 270 seconds result from the benchmark.

[Item Permalink] Testing the 1 GHz PowerBook G4 -- Comment()
I'm testing the 1 GHz PowerBook G4 introduced by Apple a few days ago. I have the DVD-R/CD-RW model with 512 MB of RAM and 60 GB hard disk.

The keyboard is a bit different from the iBook, which presents some problems. Also, I have the English keyboard but I'm using the Finnish system version, so I have to remember not to look at the keys and just touch-type.

One positive thing is already apparent: this machine doesn't run much hotter that the iBook, and the fan is luckily also quite quiet (although not as silent as the iBook, which basically makes no noise at all). Not I'm charging the battery, and the bottom of the machine is getting a bit hot (and the fan came on), but when running on the battery, the fan didn't come on during two hours of active use.

This machine is fast compared with my 450 MHz G4 desktop Mac, which is as expected. Perhaps I'll try some computer-intensive applications to see how they perform. The user experience is nice, which is partly due to the high-end video card running the display of the portable. The display is gorgeous at 1280x852 maximum resolution. There is plenty of room on the screen, and the size of the text is just right for the eyes. I'm planning to test also dual-display use, and video projectors.

For comparison, I'm planning to test also a high-end Windows XP portable. Which one, I'm not quite sure yet. I'm relying on the advice of PC experts, who are currently reviewing the options.

Starting to use this machine was straightforward. I just opened the cover, and everything works. I did make a new account for me, so that I can easily remove any traces of my testing the machine. I also installed Chimera for web browsing.

I have been running this machine on the local WLAN network for two hours, and so far the expecience has been a smooth one. I installed also the RealOne player. I carried the PowerBook around the floor and watched a video through the WLAN network. There were some breaks in the transmission, but that might been due to the problems in the experimental WLAN setup, and not the PowerBook.

[Item Permalink]  -- Comment()
Sun expands supercomputer effort: "Sun Microsystems will take a major step into supercomputing on Monday with the announcement of Fire Link, a technology that joins its high-end servers into a single high-performance cluster." [Google Technology News]

[Item Permalink]  -- Comment()
Richard Gayle's Weblog points to Flesh-eating disease linked to gene differences: " Genetic differences between people can explain why some develop a fatal "flesh-eating" disease following infection with a common bacterium, while others colonised by the same strain walk away with just a sore throat." [Moreover - moreover...]