Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Doug's Mailbag: Chip Duel, Windows 7 Reviews, Information Age War

With Intel and AMD announcing their new processor chips this past week, Doug turns to you to see which side of the fence you're on:

As a good American, I've always got to support the underdog. I try to use AMD where I can and there isn't much performance cost. It serves us well to have these two competing. Each inspires the other to greater efforts.

I usually go with what seems best when I purchase (or which is more readily available), as I don't believe that one is substantially better than the other.

I prefer a chip that works!

I used to sing the praises of AMD but I started getting upset that I had to over clock the AMD based processor to get the speed that they said it was capable of. If I buy a 3 GHz processor it should be a 3 GHz processor without over clocking.

I also can't help but to wonder how much of a 64-core processor we could actually use. We run a grip of statistical analysis software and even of the most advanced applications we have do not know how to utilize 4-cores, let alone 64. Until the software geeks start writing code that utilizes these cores, it looks like we're heading for another case of hardware technology having to wait for the applications to catch up.

BTW my vote is for Intel.

On the news of Microsoft extending the trial for Windows 7 until the end of the year, Doug, once again, asks if you are satisfied with the new Windows OS:

Generally I like Windows 7 -- better performance and easy to use. But on my first a few days' use, I noticed that the windows update automatically shutdown my pc without asking -- I feel like Windows 7 is very rude :-) -- does it know that my data/ documents might get lost if it shutdown my pc with brute-force?

I do love many of the new features that make Windows more user friendly, and I certainly love the back-end improvements that allow the same CPUs to run faster than with (choke) Vista. Are there still glitches? Undoubtedly. This is, after all, a Microsoft OS! Come on -- even though retirement draws near for Windows 2000, there are still security patches being released regularly!

I love Windows 7. Best OS Microsoft has ever put out. Vista was a dog -- more like Windows 3.0 than Win 7. I had to keep XP on one machine because Vista was so bad. I've finally converted that one to Win7/64bit and it's been a dream come true.

The new Task Bar is great. The new UAC is a like having Bob disappear.

I've seen a couple minor Win7 glitches:

Outlook e-mails open and flash the body view from the previous e-mail before showing the body. A visual oddity with no apparent harmful effects.

I did some odd drag and drop Windows Explorer stuff that got the system befuddled and my desktop gadgets ended up on top of the application windows. Had to reboot. Minor, difficult to reproduce as I've only seen it once.

And finally, one reader comments on what the court ruling between the FCC and Comcast means to the average Internet subscriber:

 I see a great war coming: an information age war of epic proportions.

On one side, I see an evil alliance of service providers fighting for metered Internet access with ever escalating rates. On the other side, I see cloud proponents like Microsoft, Google and Apple, allied with Internet content providers like NetFlix, Hulu, Facebook and MMO game sites.

Should the evil alliance win, streaming a movie or TV show from the web at $10 per GB would spell economic doom for NetFlix and others. Streaming video would move completely out of the financial reach of all but the richest users. World of Warcraft would end in total destruction. Even on-line stores could face financial ruin.

Should the streaming-cloud alliance win, we will see development of new Internet-based technologies to improve our quality of life, pull us from our current financial doldrums and further shift power from sellers to buyers.

 Okay, so it's pretty obvious which side I'm rooting for. Let's look at how the war is going: the streaming-cloud alliance is losing. They are not organized or taking actions to achieve victory. Maybe, in their complacency, they are oblivious to the threat. On the other hand, the evil alliance is a well funded, well organized collection of ruthless conglomerates that share a common goal -- metered Internet service. The first major battle is already lost. The streaming-cloud alliance must win a terrible uphill battle to recover the lost ground. Cellular Internet access, once unlimited, is now limited to 5 GB per month at almost $10 per GB before taxes and fees. With some providers, the cost tops $15 per GB.

As I said earlier, I see a great war coming. It's time to choose a side and dig in for a long, hard fought battle for our future. 
-Dr. Dave

Posted by Doug Barney on April 09, 2010