Re: OT: my new PC rocks!!
From: Beth (BethStone21_at_hotmail.NOSPICEDHAM.com)
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 14:37:54 -0000
> Beth wrote:
> > Oh, wait...you do some video editing sometimes, don't you, Randy?
> > Aaah, that explains why the motherboard and video card are most
> > important in the description...most people ignore "motherboard"
> > when you're shifting around all that movie data, the bus and its
> > _is_ a crucial issue...the old "bottleneck" problem :)
> Video editing and stuff like that is done on a Macintosh.
Duh! Of course...when there's "serious" work to be done, then it's
time to use a "serious" computer rather than cobbled together
hobbyist's "toy" that has to be over-powered in order to counter-act
the degrading effects of the virus software pre-installed and
mockingly referred to as "an operating system"...
> I buy PCs so infrequently these days that I try to get the most
> up-to-date hardware I can because I know I'll have it a while..
That's the grand irony; The PC architecture heralded the coming of
"hardware mix and match" for home users, where they could slot in any
hardware cards...businesses jumped for joy hearing IBM's "salespitch"
that with the PC's delibrately "loose" architecture then machines
could be upgraded piece by piece, significantly reducing the cost to a
company in keeping its machines up-to-date...it was the perfectly
cloneable architecture and PCs flooded the market from a hundred
different manufacturers, wiping out - and sending to bankruptcy, in
some cases - anything that wasn't a PC...they came to dominate the
Consequently, all hardware accessories were increasingly targetted at
this architecture..."if it don't work with Windows, then you ain't
going to make any money" became the truth for the hardware
manufacturers...Windows itself, to cater for this massive array of
hardware, brought the device driver model from the mainframe
world...and layered and layered and layered itself into a
Gigabyte-consuming monster that does the underlying hardware no
justice to what it can actually do...
The hardware people accelerated their research and
developments...machines constantly being "obseleted" the second they
hit the store shelf...the pace faster and faster, all driven by the
complete monopolistic dominance of the PC architecture...prices would
drop like a rock and machines become "obselete" within
months...standards developed until, basically, every single accessory
you can buy now is "USB" and nothing else...
Leading to the grand irony: No-one really actually upgrades piecemeal
anymore...it's, in fact, inadvisable to do so, as simply waiting a
month or two will render it just as cheap to upgrade the whole thing,
as it would be to grab the latest processor the instant it comes out
of the factory (and, however fast you upgrade things, your hardware is
always doomed to be "obselete"...so, those few months of waiting
aren't so important when it's impossible to ever have "the perfect
machine" because it'll be "obselete" within a week and there's always
a better machine out there ;)...just grab the best your money can buy
at the time and then just let it age until you've saved enough for the
newest machine...buying brand new also guarantees that there's no
"compatibility" problems, like buying a new card only to discover that
the motherboard can't really handle its "turbo boosted" power...
Walk passed those business offices (or educational institutions, like
schools and universities) and do we see just a stack of network cards
or just a pile of video cards in the refuse skip outside? Nope, we see
them throw out the _complete_ machines and upgrade the whole lot in
one go (heck, it's even rare to see the monitors saved because their
"technical support" people kinda think of the monitor "going along
with the box"...which is odd because, at home, they don't seem to
think it necessary to throw out all their TV sets just because they
are getting a new video recorder...don't think they realise that a CRT
is just a "sophisticated TV set" and the _exact same logic_ really
does apply...although, of course, if the "upgrade" is to plasma or LCD
monitors in order to save desk space then _that_ is a more reasonable
reason for a refuse skip full of CRTs ;)...do they even remember IBM's
"salespitch" anymore? They certainly don't really seem to think it's
worth the effort anymore, that's for sure...
And all the accessories are all "USB" these days...keyboards, mice,
cameras, etc....and then it'll all go "Bluetooth" or something, no
doubt...so there's not much concern for "connectivity"...ironically,
they've all "unified" and "standardised" that, again, rules out half
the point of this "make it up as you go along" architecture...
Even Microsoft know it with their X-box: a _fixed_ PC configuration...
Then consider all the waste of layering and device drivers for
"innovations" that no-one seems to be looking for anymore...the
hardware people are back to adhering to "standards" with USB and
Bluetooth or DirectX...the users perfectly happy to simply buy what's
"brand new" every two years that the old "model X3" fixed
configuartion system wouldn't upset them at all...the ever-increasing
slowness of Windows software to cater for something that no-one seems
to want...it's not totally useless yet...but, well, as time has gone
on, is there any great disadvantage to Apple's fixed configuration
"model" system anymore? Apple now only suffers because it's a
"minority sport" (but with the "standards" that tends not to matter
for very many things), not because the PC architecture really does
Funny, isn't it? The way evolution works...traits that get you to one
place are then often useless once you get there...humans evolved to be
sooo good at dealing with predators that, ummm, we don't have any (but
ourselves, perhaps?) anymore and all those traits that were developed
specifically for that don't serve that purpose anymore...I mean, the
phrase "outwit your food" even sounds a little daft but that's almost
certainly what human intelligence was primarily about...usefully,
though, "intelligence" is all about being adaptable and versatile
that, amazingly, it has proved just as useful - if not more so - as a
trait to have when designing vehicles to take people to the
Moon...truth is, indeed, often stranger than fiction...
So, as you eat a turkey sandwich this Christmas, remember that being
able to outwit your sandwich filling is what ultimately allowed
astronauts to play golf on the Moon ;)
> As for the motherboard -- It has the 800MHz memory
> bandwidth (which is important to me, because a large number
> of my programs blow the cache to bits). Indeed, I was originally
> planning on getting a dual CPU system until I discovered the fastest
> bus one could get on the dual systems was 533 MHz :-(.
See, I _knew_ you'd have a memory bandwidth problem...because when you
really push a system with high-performance stuff, it exposes the
"flaws" in the system...and bus bandwidth is generally the big
"bottleneck" problem in PCs, as the CPU (and GPU) guys are able to
improve their end of things far faster than everything else...
> At least I was wise enough to put off installing SATA drives
> for a while (already experienced their operation under Linux
> and I knew better). SCSI is still faster anyway.
No experience with those to have any clue about them...although, it's
a dubious acronym...it's only an "n" short of being the prince of
darkness's name! Mind you, thinking about it, "scuzzy" is hardly the
most charming word I've heard either...sounds like a word you'd use to
describe something you pulled out of a sewer: "Ewww, that's just so
scuzzy! Throw it away!" ;)
> I understand your frustration with Linux. This is why I've
> always just bought a Red Hat (or similar package).
> Although I managed to get RH9 to come up on the box,
> no network support. :-( And installing free BSD achieves
> about the same thing on my new machine that installing
> Linux does on yours -- it crashes during install.
It's very weird, though...as the machine _did_ install RH8 before (one
or two read problems - though forcing a retry a few times meant it
finally worked - but that's probably the old "spare" CD-ROM drive I
used, which had sat around doing nothing for ages that that was
probably just some dust or something getting onto the read head...and
just running it for a while to "warm up" and stuff sorted it out
:)...but RH9 refused and now I can't even get the old RH8 back on
there anymore, because, as I say, this is a second machine I throw
together with the "best" of whatever "spare parts" I have or friends
were just going to throw away, anyway, that one of the problems here
is that it's changed configuration in minor ways since the RH8
install...something I added isn't to its liking...I suppose,
logically, though, it should only be a case of "process of
elimination" trying all the combinations until one clicks...just the
prospect of pulling everything apart, putting it all back together
again, trying to run the install program and then doing that over and
over - with no actual real guarantee that the problem really is to do
with that (it just seems likely looking at the facts logically...but,
then again, when do these things ever fit in with nice, simple logic?
;) - isn't particularly attractive...
> Not even going to try to install BeOS...
> And, of course, Solaris thinks my CPU with hyperthreading
> is a multi-CPU system and claims I should pay big bucks
> to install the SMP version of Solaris...
The only advatange of Microsoft stuff; The installs tend to be less
painless...but, of course, before anyone thinks this means Microsoft
are better programmers, you're missing the real trick...hardware
manufacturers make all their money on Windows (otherwise, they'd never
be so easily forced into that stupid "designed for Windows" badge
scheme, if the guarantee didn't literally give them better sales,
thanks to clever Microsoft sales tricks in making people look for the
badges and some probably even believe that "Windows doesn't work!" if
there isn't a badge or the Windows logo keys, which usually isn't true
;) so they make absolutely sure that it works and is detected properly
and they have up-to-date drivers _for Windows_...Linux and the others?
Well, they can look after themselves, right? Just don't ask us for the
data sheets because we don't publish those publicly anymore...and, no,
we don't have idea how a Linux driver can be coded with the
specifications or the manufacturers writing it themselves either,
other than "legally dubious" and a high chance that something about
the device could have been totally missed in the reverse engineering
process that the resultant driver isn't exactly reliable (and we're
applying US law on it, so you can't use it for anything but "personal
So, the "Microsoft advantage" translates as meaning "they have the
entire industry working for them, as if all those hardware
manufacturers were 'local branch offices' of Microsoft
Corporation"...after all, look at your keyboard...what the hell is a
Microsoft logo doing on those keys? There's _more_ Microsoft logos on
my keyboard than the logo of the company _who actually made it_! Now,
think to yourself how many times you saw Coke give Yves Saint Laurent
free advertising on the side of a Coke can...or buying a box of
chocolates with a list of car company names on the side?
The control Microsoft has over things is very worrying and
sinster...hardware manufacturers really do behave as if Microsoft
owned them: they make things specifically for Windows, they provide
most of the "device driver" code for the operating system (which is
actually the real part that does all the "grunt work"), they "comply"
with some Microsoft scheme to give them free advertising, etc....
I mean, this "protection racket" is more like Maffia behaviour than
anything else...and then there's the "free taster" drug-dealer tactics
of Internet Explorer...this is almost like "one step up" in organised
crime or something...keeping things "mostly legal" (but not totally,
as we saw in the DoJ case ;) so that they get less trouble from the
law but using all the same strategies that a Maffia boss wouldn't be
> Like I said, I'm glad I've still got the old system lying around...
Yeah, my grand problem is, though, that this _is_ my old system I'm
talking about here...