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Dux Computer Newsletter
May 1, 2001; Vol. 1, No. 2

Recent News and Commentary
Interesting Product
Tech Tip
Around the Internet

Recent News and Commentary. As predicted in the last newsletter, AMD and Intel significantly cut their prices for processors.  AMD's price cuts yesterday were nothing less than spectacular, as were Intel's earlier.  The 1 GHz Athlon dropped from $224 to $138.00 and the 750 MHz Duron now costs $40 in quantities of 1,000.  Rule of thumb: one can usually buy a single AMD processor at roughly the quantity 1,000 price level with some shrewd shopping.  Look for more price cuts this month as these two competitors try to cut each other's throat.

If you would like to learn more about AMD's future plans, a web cast of AMD's 2001 Annual Meeting of Shareholders conducted on 26 April is available here until the 11th of May.  Some of it is rather dry, like most shareholders' meeting, but there is some very interesting material, including a new processor roadmap starting about half way through the web cast.  Intel's Annual report with Intel's vision for the future is available here.

Two interesting developments in the world of R&D may have a significant impact on the future.  The first is news of IBM's development of carbon nanotube transistor technology.  Nanotubes are a derivatives the "buckyballs" that were in the news a few years ago, which are spherical crystals of 60 carbon atoms with rather new and interesting properties.  Nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon atoms.  IBM scientists have made the first array of transistors out of carbon nanotubes.  They are as small as 10 atoms across and 500 times smaller than today's silicon-based transistors.  More info is available on IBM's site.  Fascinating stuff...

The other item may have an even a greater impact.  That is, the demonstration of metamaterials by researches at the University of California, San Diego.  Metamaterials exhibit a negative index of refraction.  Remember Snell's Law?  Light travels faster in a vacuum than it does in a transparent material and, as an example, faster in air (a little slower than a vacuum) than it does in water.  When a light beam traveling in air hits a boundary with water at an angle it bends towards the water. A light beam bends the other way traveling from a vacuum/air through a metamaterial!  Perfect lenses and smart antennas are mentioned as some of the possible uses of this technology.  Like the laser, which was not much more than an interesting couriosity when it was first invented, the uses of this technology may turnout to be quite phenomenal and widespread.  Click here to read more.

Windows XP may be delayed until 2002, if it can't be released in the July-August time frame, so it does not compete with Christmas MS XBox sales.  I'll bet on the past: it will be delayed, as have most Windows releases.  Just to confuse things a little, the server versions of XP will be called Windows 2002, still another name for Windows NT.

More news.

Interesting Product.  Problem: you have a small office/home office (SOHO) with a couple of computers networked with a 100BASE-TX Ethernet network and you want to do two things:  connect another PC at the other side of your house/building ("remote computer") to your network and share a broadband (high speed cable or DSL) Internet connection with it and your SOHO network.  Furthermore, let's stipulate that it would be extremely difficult to a run a CAT 5 network cable to the remote computer, but there is a common phone line at the remote location and in your office, and you want that PC to be able to share the Internet connection without leaving any of the computers on in your office on.  You could go wireless to connect the remote computer, but wireless networks are quite expensive.  Or, you could use a phoneline network (an example and further explanation) to connect the remote computer to a computer in your office; but, you would have to leave the computer in the office with the phoneline network adapter on for access to the Internet by the remote computer.  A broadband router is the best way to share the Internet and the only way to do it without leaving the computer with the Internet connection on.  How about a box that does it all: the  LinkSys HPRO200 - HomeLink Phoneline 10M Cable/DSL Router.  This product is a broadband router with a 100Base-TX local network connection for your SOHO network, a 10 MHz Ethernet connection for the cable or DSL MODEM, and RJ-11 jacks for a Home Phoneline Network.  This was not an advertisement.  I hope to obtain one of these units for a review in the near future.

Tech Tip.  Backing up a hard disk drive.  I often back-up hard disk drives in a customers' computer to be sure no data is lost when working on problem or to take the hard disk down to "bare metal" for a clean install of Windows.  If the drive is easily removed from the customer's computer, the fastest way I know of for doing it is to connect it to another computer and use the Windows Explorer or MS Back-up (if there is lots of data on the drive) to do a disk-to-disk copy/backup of the data.  In the past, when computers only had one IDE interface, one would jumper the customer's drive as a Slave and the other drive as a Master and connect both drives to the same cable.  The easy way, for computers with two IDE interfaces, is to disconnect the CD-ROM, etc. and connect the customer's hard disk to the secondary IDE interface.  Not only is it easier (no jumper changes or zip/cable ties to cut and redo), the data transfers are much faster because the drives do not share an IDE channel as they would if they were both connected to the same cable.  One usually does not have to change the jumper on the drive being backed-up or do anything to the CMOS Setup, if it is set to auto detect drives.  Also, there is no need to physically install the hard disk being backed-up.  Just set it down with the printed circuit board up so it won't get shorted-out (very old drives may not like flying up-side-down).  This method is also useful for moving data from an old hard disk drive to new one with a partition image-copying program, such as Partition Magic, Ghost, and those available from download sites like download.com.

Around the Internet.  Cable MODEM Tutorial.  Wim's BIOS, a good site with all sorts of info on motherboard BIOSs.  SmartFTP, a good, free, and powerful FTP program with no advertising.  It can resume a file transfer after a connection breaks.  It's a bit complicated and takes some getting used to.


Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright 1997-2001 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved.  Except as stated below, this material or parts thereof may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed by any means whatsoever without explicit, written permission from the author.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.