Saturday, February 21, 2009

24 GB PCs Available Soon

Kingston is getting to announce 4 GB DDR3 DIMMs in their ValueRAM product line, no less.  Custom PC (UK) reported that Kingston demoed the new memory in a six-slot Core i7 machine, with nine virtual machines popping right up as the demo switched from task to task.

It won't be cheap to load up a 24 GB machine -- $2,000 at today's prices -- but DDR3 prices are down 35% in the last three months and will continue falling.

The masses like us can expect virtualization to become a lot more common as memory -- the key ingredient in virtual machine performance -- becomes cheaper.  Business users of workstations, Rejoice!

I can also tip my own hat, recalling that four years ago I predicted the crossover to 64-bit operating systems would occur in 2010.  With cheaper, denser memory such as the Kingston Value RAM 4 GB parts, that prediction looks like it's in the bag for mainstream machines next year (performance machines are already running 64-bit OS versions at 6 GB memory and up).

-- Peter

World Declares War on IE6

OK, I maybe overstepped:  Norway, Sweden, and Australia sparked an effort that's spread to Wired.  The goal is to kill off the quirky, ancient (circa 2001), and security-challenged Internet Explorer 6 browser so that the web's content developers will be a step closer to play-nicely-together standards.

Folks, if you are using IE 6, even Microsoft wants you to upgrade (to IE 7).  But don't overlook FireFox, Safari, and Opera.

Keep it safe out there, Y'All.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Smart woman bests lawyers with cat

Listeners to the On Computers radio show will soon learn that there are a lot of cats in our otherwise geeky lives.

The referenced article is a how-to by Anne Loucks.  Exasperated by arcane for no good purpose End User License Agreements (EULAs), Anne documents the steps on how to get your cat to electronically sign the EULA.  So the lawyers can sue your cat, right?

Take that, Adobe!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Anonymous Caller? That's What You Think

A new service set for launch Tuesday allows cellphone users to unmask the Caller ID on blocked incoming calls, obtaining the phone number, and in some cases the name and address. The service, called TrapCall, is offered by New Jersey's TelTech systems, the company behind the controversial SpoofCard Caller ID spoofing service. The new service is likely to be even more controversial — and popular. .....

Look But Don't Leap at SSD Boot Drives

The benchmarks in this article point to a potential major stumbling block in using solid-state disks (SSDs) in ordinary PCs. The Achilles heals with SSD disks are write speeds and longevity.  Vendors do all sorts of technological tricks to speed up SSD writes (reads are fabulously fast). But SSDs have a finite write life.  My experience is that the real world life may be measured in months, not the years we are used to.

I just yanked a pair of Intel X25 SSD disks after less than six months of daily use.  They ran as a RAID 0 pair in my daily driver PC.  I think I hosed them by trying a apply restore images to recover from an un-bootable system.  As the article says, the more you write small files over an SSD, the more internally fragmented it becomes. (And no, you should never use a defrag utility on SSD's.)  The SSD drives were Intel X25M engineering samples, so your milage may vary. But read the article anyway before dropping your hard-earned cash on the barrel head.

So, as Joe posted below about SSD prices dropping, beware a technology bargain you do not understand.  I'll try to recover the SSDs after I rebuild my system with a conventional hard drive.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Vista to Windows 7 Free Upgrade Plans Leaked?

As was what Microsoft offered prior to the release of Windows Vista, the software giant is plotting upgrade options for those who want to purchase a new PC soon, but without being left in the dust once Windows 7 ships.ZoomFrom reports of the beta experience, Windows 7 is the new Microsoft OS that everyone’s been waiting for -- for both XP and Vista users. Some consumers can’t afford to wait, however, need to purchase new hardware soon. For those such consumer, and those on the fence, Microsoft will offer a program where those who purchase a new PC

Microsoft Puts $250K Bounty on Worm Author
Microsoft is putting on the pressure in a movement that could see the catch of the Conficker worm author – the worst Internet worm outbreak in years. A bounty payment of $250,000 is on the table
Microsoft is also working with security researchers, domain name registrars, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in efforts to take down all of the servers that have been launching the Conficker attacks. ICANN is a non-profit corporation that oversees Internet addressing

Judge OKs Psystar's Countersuit Against Apple
Earlier in the week we reported that a German company was following in the footsteps of Mac clone company Psystar, and offering machines running OS X on non Apple-branded hardware. A federal judge last week signed an order giving Psystar the OK to amend its countersuit against Apple. On Friday U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Psystar may change that countersuit, which originally accused Apple of breaking antitrust laws, to instead ague that Apple has stretched copyright laws by tying the Mac operating system to its hardware.The OS X EULA states that the software can only be installed on Apple-branded machines and according to Apple, Psystar is violating that licensing agreement. However, Psystar says that’s akin to saying Honda owners can only drive on Honda-approved roads and filed an anti-trust suit.

Intel's 32nm Core i7 Coming this Year
On a telephone briefing today, Intel announced that its 32 nm processors will begin production later this year, specifically in the 4th quarter of 2009.
Intel is in the process of bringing Core i7 down to a 32 nm fabrication process and will begin production and shipping of the processor in the second half of 2009. The new 32 nm platform is codenamed Westmere and is comprised of two 32 nm Core i7 processors and a new chipset family called the Intel 5-series (P55 and P57). With the move to 32 nm, Intel will free up room on the package to integrate graphics. With Westmere-based Core i7 processors, the first series of products will come with a 45nm integrated graphics core and memory controller, on a separate die, on the same processor.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 02-15-09

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 02-15-09. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific that's 1PM to 4PM Eastern. Join us for the live show and chat. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.

Links from the Gregg Zone

1) I was caught by the headline here, “The Next Big Green Industry?” thinking it would be some fancy new solar twist, new car or hi-tech advance of some sort. Not so they are talking about a ground level easy to get into industry. This is an interesting article if you are looking for a new career, or know someone who lost a job and in need of a new start. The timing seems to be about perfect, anyway an interesting read will be interesting to see if the field develops as well as they predict.
2) Crop circles, is a subject that has intrigued me for a long time. They are still popping up world wide, still more in the U.K. than anywhere else. This is another of those anomalies like U.F.O.’s, there is just too many for it to it to be just a couple of guys faking everything to spoof the rest of us. For starters it seems they would have caught more than one or two rather low tech guys with ropes and boards. This is about the best site I have found to keep up with what’s going on with the subject.
3) For a future tech link I thought I would use this one, I caught Jay Leno the other night he referenced being able to watch T.V. on your contact lenses. You know me that demanded a Google; sure enough they are saying within the next ten years we will be able to watch T.V., videos on a pair of contact lenses. I would imagine that will include internet also, not that big of a leap. I cannot imagine what that would look like, nor can I decide if I would be interested. But when you think about it, hook it up to a pair of digital binoculars, bingo see for miles, or a digital microscope you can read the fine print on anything. More I think about it the cooler it sounds.
4) This is a quickie for the cooks out there. Got a favorite restaurant item, wish you could cook it at home, rather than pay the high price. There are several of these sites out there if you want to Google, this is just one I found that I liked
5) Last up how about a green phone, well blue phone that is green, actually I am talking about a new phone being unveiled next week at the Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona. The phone is solar powered no more recharging nightmares. Interesting concept; may be a problem with purses and pockets, but who knows how long it needs to charge.