Thursday, April 14 2016

Finding a use for old Pentiums
[22:09:18] matt []/benito Intel may have been ahead of its time with the FDIV feature:

(The page only seems ot render if you kill CSS, otherwise it complains about having read too many free articles even if it's your first time there.)

Tuesday, March 22 2016

Apple talking smack about six-year old machines
[23:18:17] matt []/Psi+ Watching the "Loop-in Event" yesterday, Apple had a segment where the speaker made derogatory comment about people who owned computers that were six years old. At the time I was working on an EeePC that was from mid-2008 (about seven years old). It works for me, and frankly computers frive five years ago should work fine for 99% of computer users; but that's not the oddest thing about the statement.

My work laptop is a 15" Macbook, based on an Intel Haswell chip (two generations old) and is from 2013. In nearly three years since it was released (mid-2013), the current model has barely changed (the CPU speeds have changed from a base 2.0GHz to a top 2.6GHz, the currently line starts at 2.2GHz and tops-out at 2.8GHz). That means that buying a brand-new Macbook Pro Retina 15" gets you a three-year old machine right now. The previous model of the Macbook Pro Retina 15" was based on Intel's Sandy Bridge chip, and was essentially unchanged since the Macbook Pro Retina was announced in mid-2012, nearly four years ago. Feeling nostalgic, or simply want to replace your aged nearly six-year-old comptuer with something nearly four-years-old? The good news is that the mid-2012 Macbook is still available new from Apple today for $1099.

In general, Apple's on a 2.5-3 year major upgrade cycle on the Macbook Pro depending on how you define a "major" upgrade (I'm looking essentially at the chipset and processor generation). What a six-year old machine means in Apple-speak is at *most* two generations back. Chances are, a non-Apple PC purchased at that time would be closer to the upcoming generation of Apple computers, so most users with a six-year old computer are on-par with a previous generation Apple computer, or on par with the currently shipping non-Retina Macbook Pro.

Wednesday, September 8 2010

[14:17:11] matt []/Merch MeeGo is effectively killing the best part of Maemo, the community. The draft of the spec is in RFC stage, but it sounds like it'll be an up-cliff battle at this point for MeeGo to have a full-fledged dependency-checking package managent system. Instead, the steering committee (Intel and Nokia) are hoping to convert it to use a restricyed Android/IOS packaging model in the hopes, apparently, of catching-up with the other platforms. The packaging system for Android is a simplicity for the system; it isn't an ideal, and it certainly isn't the secret sauce. If Nokia wants to try and copy Android/IOS it should look to the the development model (actions) of Android and the perceived simplicity of IOS' UI.

Tuesday, April 13 2010

Fancy Small Computers
[19:49:41] matt []/kerberos I remember a time, not so long ago, that it was difficult to find a small computer that was portable and had a long battery. The OQO looked intriguing, but it would continue to be vaporware for several years. The only thing I could find was the Fujitsu Lifebook P-series, which at the time was using the exciting new Transmeta Crusoe chips designed for energy efficiency. Unfortunately, even compared to the computers of the day, that laptop was slow.

These days "netbooks", much to the shagrin of Psion, are bountiful--often running on Intel's x86-compatible Atom processor, although increasingly running on ARM Snapdragons (supported by Maemo, Android, and Ubuntu Linux distributions among countless other variants). Jamie just got an Assus EeePC that's running Ubuntu; my mother has an Acer Aspire One running some MicroSoft version. I borrowed the EeePC and didn't want to give it back, it's really well done given a single-use mentality (the Netbook Remix variation of Ubuntu is very Mac-like).

The question I find myself pondering is what do I really want? I recently picked-up the Nokia N900 which runs at a decent clip, the Maemo 5 (Fremantle) interface is pretty snappy, and I've really gotten used to the touch interface for anything non-productive ("consumptive") tasks. It's actually a very amazing machine that in practice is very much like that P-2110 but smaller.

In the end there's a lot of small options, and they each have a different niche to fill--but I'm not sure how much overlap they all have. It could be that one covers too much of another's niche, making two distinct devices redundant. I can carry the N900 instead of the E61; but it doesn't replace the Neo when I need a small pocketable phone. I could carry the EeePC on trips where it would take-up less space than the MacBook, and still have a phenominal-for-a-laptop keyboard to compose messages or configure machines, or even do work albeit on a small screen. But what does that really get me? A slightly bigger screen (2") and a bigger keyboard, at the cost of another device--and one that doesn't have a ubiquitous Internet access at that.

If more areas had converted to municipal WiFi, it might be a different situation.