|Dux Computer Newsletter
July 2, 2001; Vol. 1, No. 6
IN THIS NEWSLETTER
Recent News and Commentary
Around the Internet
Recent News and Commentary. Microsoft announced earlier
today that the first release candidate (RC1) of Windows XP was available. Just
as I was finishing-up this newsletter, an E-Mail arrived from Microsoft stating
that another e-mail with download instructions and a product key would be sent
in the next few days to people who have signed-up (and paid) for the preview
program. The download will be in the form of huge (500 Mbytes) .iso file
which must be burned to a CD before Windows XP can be installed (or a third
party utility can be used to extract the files). It will take about five
hours via DSL or cable MODEM to download it. You can sign-up for the
preview program here.
Intel released 1.6 and 1.8 GHz versions of their Pentium
4 processors today. A 2 GHz version is expected this Fall. Well,
they left me behind at 1 GHz. I can see no reason to buy a processor
faster than that. Which brings to mind some infamous quotes:
"I think there's a world market for maybe five computers."
Chairman of IBM (1958)
"There is no reason why anyone would want to have a
computer in their home."
President, Digital Equipment Corporation (1977)
"640K ought be enough for anybody." [640
KBytes of computer memory]
Bill Gates (1981)
In the high-performance, server/host/database market, Intel
took the first step in eliminating a competing processor to the new 64-bit
Itanium by taking-over "significant Alpha microprocessor and compiler technology,
tools and resources" from Compaq. Samsung will probably continue making
Alphas for awhile, but the processor is certain to die in the next couple of
years, as Compaq has agreed to shift it's server products to the Intel chip. That
leaves IBM and Sun as the only major contenders in this arena. That is,
until next year when AMD is expected to introduce its 64-bit Sledgehammer processor. Success
of the Athlon in the processor wars lends some basis for the appropriateness
of the code name for the processor.
There is word floating around (again) that Dell is looking
into building computers with AMD processors for the first time. This
is supported by the fact that Dell is running a survey on their web site to
gather customer opinions on AMD versus Intel Processors. Glue that info
together with the preceding paragraph, a little imagination, and what do you
As the PC wars continue, it doesn't take a genius to figure-out
what is really happening to Compaq after reading about the Alpha chip, cancellation
of contracts to Mitac to
build PCs for Compaq (apparently, some of this business is going to FIC and Foxconn),
shift in focus to software and services. The Rise
and Fall of Compaq pretty much sums it up.
Michael Dell say's he is out to grab 40% of the PC market
and he might just do it, but I don't think so and don't think the top spot
will be Dell's forever. In this business (PCs, that is), history shows
that a PC king today, is a fiddler tomorrow. That's simply because anyone
can build a computer and just about everyone seems to get "tired" sooner or
later of supporting them. We may(!) soon have a single rewritable DVD
standard and the creation of mass market for these drives. Dell has announced
that it is throwing its weight behind the DVD+RW standard (3 GB) and will start
shipping computers with the drives later this year. HP is also solidly
behind this standard. The DVD+RW alliance includes HP, Sony, Philips,
Mitsubishi Chemical, Ricoh, Thomson, and Yamaha.
Not to be outdone by Intel, which announced a few weeks
ago that is had the world's smallest and fastest transistor, IBM announced
that it had the best silicon-based transistor and promised
100 GHz silicon chips in 2 years; however upcoming silicon-on-insulator (SOI)
technology may prove to be even faster.
Median salary plus benefits for Electrical Engineer's rose
to $99,000 in 2000.
Tech Tips. If you are using Microsoft FrontPage 2002
(may work with older versions) for your web site and you want to insert a graphic
that is already in the web into a page, simply grab it with your mouse from
the Folder List on the left (or even from the Windows Explorer), drag it to
the page you are working on to the right, and drop it where you want it. I
often work-up a bunch a graphics with Corel PhotoPaint, save them to the folder
in the web on my local drive where the article is located, and then simply
drag them to the appropriate pages. Remember, however, that if you use
the same image (exact same file) in more than one page, altering in one will
alter it in the others.
If the LED on a newly installed floppy drive stays on all
the time, the flat cable was plugged-in backwards. Unlike hard disk and
CD-ROM drives, where pin one of the flat cable connector and the red stripe
on the cable are always towards the power connector, the location of pin one
on floppy disk drives varies by manufacturer. It is usually easier to
determine where pin one is located by looking at the printed circuit board
on the bottom of the drive before installing the drive.
Most floppy disk cables have a twist at one end of the cable. That
end connects to floppy A:, the other end connects to the motherboard or controller,
and the one in between, if present, connects to floppy drive B:. Some
cables have pairs of connectors to accommodate either a 3 ½ or a 5 ¼ inch drive
in each position: A: and B:.
Some motherboard CMOS Setups have a "floppy mode 3" as one
of the choices for the type of floppy drive. It is for a special
3 ½" 1.2 MByte floppy used in Japan.
Around the Internet. Dictionaries and other
references. The Free
On-Line Dictionary of Computing is a searchable dictionary with
over 13,000 definitions of words, acronyms, jargon, and anything else to do
with computing. It is frequently updated. You can download a copy
to use off-line, put a button on your web site so visitors can use it, or download
the entire dictionary. If you can't find it there, try Whatis.com. If
you just need a dictionary or thesaurus try the Merriam-Webster's
Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus. It beats running to bookshelf
and digging through a fat dictionary. The
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. The OneLook
Dictionaries index currently lists 3,230,085
words in 736 online dictionaries. Dictionary.com has
all kinds of dictionaries and a translator. You can also
access it with the Internet Explorer by clicking Search in the toolbar, More.,
Look up a word. Alta
Vista has another translator that I use. The Indiana
University Knowledgebase has over 7,000 answers to questions about computing. You
can find most of the rest of the on-line dictionaries, etc., really
hard to find definitions, and answers to tough questions at Google,
my favorite search engine. The next time you get a Windows error
and it mentions a problem with a specific file or driver, try searching Google
with the file or driver name, or with the error code itself. And,
of course, one can find a lot of answers in the more than 2,500 web pages comprising
the Dux Computer Digest with our Site
Search Engine. I found this
info on plastic memory interesting.
Recent Article. I have rewritten the nVIDIA
nFORCE motherboard chipset piece presented in the last newsletter and made
it into a Dux Computer Digest article. It has some new material, pictures,
and block diagrams. You can read it here.
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