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[P]
Enough already!

By japhar81 in Op-Ed
Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:42:31 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

For sale, pentium 9 100 gigahertz, 2 terrabytes RAM, 100 googlebytes of drive space, all in a small laptop package for only $50!!!! Well, maybe not, but I've gotta wonder, is what we have fast enough or not?

So there I was, sitting in class, typing away on a nice new Sony Vaio laptop, with enough horespower to literally run the network of the entire college (I know it can, because I used it for that when our servers died). And then it occurs to me...


And then it occurs to me, I've got a powerful piece of equipment sitting on my lap, and, for the most part, it's going to waste. Now, yes, I do enjoy being able to build a linux kernel in about 4 minutes, but seriously, enough already. There are two viewpoints fighting it out in my head, the realist, and the geek.

Geek: Hey, I like the idea of being able to run my entire OS out of a RAM disk and still have enough horsepower to run quake 3 at 500 fps. Besides, if we don't make things faster, we'll never innovate.

Realist: Yes, fast innovative technologies are very cool, but what do you actually do with a machine that requires that sort of performance? Checking email? A lowly 233 will do that in an instant. Play games? Ok, so you need that 333, but you dont need 500 fps, you can't even tell the difference above 32 or so.

Strangely enough, the realist is winning. I hope I'm not loosing my geekness... So my question is, why are we, as a society in general, and the geek culture in particular, so obsessed with the new fancy super-fast chips? Are they phallic symbols (Sorry ladies). Does knowing that you can run a nuclear power plant from your laptop give you a kick? (yeah, me too;P). I know I'm playing both sides of the argument, but I really can't see a point to faster and faster gear, other than, hey, it's cool, and I want it. So, that's my rant for the day. What do you all think? Are we just seeing our computers as representations of the size of our (insert body part here) or what?

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Enough already! | 64 comments (60 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Coolness factor (2.33 / 3) (#3)
by tympanic on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:10:54 PM EST

The coolness factor is a very strong pull for most/all geeks, but personally I just can't afford all the newest Pentium XX 5GHz w/ PC6000 ASDFRAM. I suppose part of that is the fact that I have MSWife 1.0 installed, which is widely known to use precious resources, but what can you do.


"I've noticed success tends to mean making sure people's expectations are low and then exceeding them" -David Simpson

MSWife 1.0 (4.00 / 3) (#22)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:39:43 PM EST

Just keep in mind the compatibility issues between MSWife 1.0 and MSMistress 1.0...

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
leads to: (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by ZanThrax on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:24:02 PM EST

highly expensive upgrade process from Mistress 1.0 to wife 2.0...

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

And we all know... (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by whatnotever on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 07:03:17 PM EST

While running mistress 1.0 and wife 1.0 concurrently *can* be done with VMCleverStories, running wife 1.0 and wife 2.0 on the same machine is simply illegal.

[ Parent ]
Unless... (none / 0) (#58)
by jc on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 04:23:45 PM EST

Unless you live in Utah.

[ Parent ]
Unless you live in Utah... (none / 0) (#59)
by TheLaser on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 06:15:03 PM EST

...before it was actually Utah, you mean?

[ Parent ]
[OT] Re: unless... (none / 0) (#64)
by jc on Sat Nov 11, 2000 at 07:18:13 PM EST

No, i mean currently :P Google-search it if you are dubious...

[ Parent ]
Yeah, coolness! (none / 0) (#47)
by dabadab on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 03:49:01 AM EST

Yeah, coolness factor is very important. That's why I have a dual Celeron system with mighty huge coolers.
Not as that I would need the second processor, most of the time it's just idling, but the feeling is worth every penny I spent on it :)
--
Real life is overrated.
[ Parent ]
The only reason for more power... (4.25 / 4) (#4)
by greydmiyu on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:13:16 PM EST

The only reason for more power at the consumer level lies in games and graphics and those two are, for the most part, inertwined.

I have, for some time, been upset at Intel's misrepresentation of the PIII somehow magically making the internet faster when chances are a cablemodem or DSL would do a far better job of getting those pages up faster. I've cringed at people telling me their "old pentium" is too slow for checking email when I used to run a BBS on an 8086 w/2 5.25" floppies so people with their C=64s could call in and check their email.

I have often asserted that anything over a P5-100 is not needed to do any production work of any sort outside of graphics design. The only limiting factor of most P5 class machines at the time they were cutting edge was the lack of affordable RAM.

What is even worse is the problem with this "Faster is better, must get faster!" syndrome running around. For months now I've wanted a cheap laptop. Cheap as in $800 or so. Can't find them. Nooo, the cheapest I can find is a PII-400 w/64Mb RAM. I'm looking for a Celeron-200 w/64Mb RAM since I know that is all I'd need for the work that I am going to do. Can't find it, "too slow."

Of course the computer industry doesn't want it any other way. Detroit may never had gotten the art of planned obsolescence down but never say that Silicon Valley failed.
-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
Used + Liquidation (3.66 / 3) (#12)
by sugarman on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:46:45 PM EST

For months now I've wanted a cheap laptop. Cheap as in $800 or so. Can't find them.

I hear what you're saying. I was feeling the exact same way up to 6 months ago. However, I decided to try a different search engine, and it has come up with exactly the results I've been looking for.

Start looking at liquidations and / or used / refurbished / consignement places. I've had remarkable success finding the parts, and or whole systems I've needed for a home network in the last 6 months since I've gone this route. Things like a P90 with a 1GB HD, perfect for a OpenBSD firewall, or a P233 for under $400 (CDN), for the kid to use for e-mail and the low-end, Walmart type games that he still gets a kick out of.

The computer market has pretty much reached the saturation point where it is in most homes. With that comes expectations that it is treated like other home appliances, and available in some outlets you might not have looked in previously.
--sugarman--
[ Parent ]

I admit it! (2.50 / 2) (#5)
by Devil Ducky on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:15:18 PM EST

I admit it, I'm only running a K6-3 450 w/256M of ram... I'm so ashamed...

But I know what some of you are running...
/me points finger accusingly

But how many people can say they are saving for a new super-harddrive because they have already filled 36Gbs w/ MP3s and *COUGH*other stuff? Of course developing tear requires that I test it right?

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
Oh Yeah? Well -- (2.00 / 2) (#6)
by greyrat on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:24:49 PM EST

I've got a P2 233 with 32 meg in a shared memory model; meaning video gets 2Mb and the OS only get 30. Now, on my 486 system....
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

[ Parent ]
Laptops (2.00 / 2) (#13)
by Devil Ducky on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:52:25 PM EST

don't make me get into my laptop configuration...
I have a broken IBM Thinkpad 755C, it's a 486 with 8megs of ram and a 540meg hdd.
now the NEC Versa V (replaced the poor IBM) is a 486/75 with 12 megs of ram and a 1G drive :)
neither one has a CD-ROM drive...

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
Memory.. (2.00 / 2) (#15)
by evvk on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:58:21 PM EST

P2? Wow! I'm still running a ppro200 and tell you what, upgrading from 32MB to 96MB was a much better thing to do than buy a new processor. I don't play games (most games are crap nowadays. I don't want 3d, I want nice hand-drawn adventures and such more intelligent games than FSP/driving/etc.) and I don't want fancy programs, but I do have a _lot_ of programs running (or, should I say, sleeping; xterms most of them). I still cannot run mozilla and similar bloatware, though. (Not that I care; unnecessary bloat and sluggishness should not be supported.).
Also, many older mid-nineties Unix workstations are still quite usable and powerfull. They had much more memory and bandwidth than x86:s some years ago, although their processors are not much faster than a P120.

[ Parent ]
windows (2.00 / 6) (#8)
by mstevens on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:34:16 PM EST

Most people want the latest and greatest windows software - thus they need to constantly upgrade to run things at a remotely tolerable speed...

Processor Power & Marketing Droids (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by Matrix on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:37:00 PM EST

I agree. Some of the demands for processor speed right now are totally insane. Yes, games and graphics do require high speeds, but lots of RAM and a good graphics card are just as important, if not more so. A faster processor's also nice when compiling stuff... but how many people do that, other than programmers, most of whom are geeks who'd go for fast processors anyway?

Besides, wouldn't a better CPU architecture be better than raw clockspeed?

(Please excuse any mistakes I've made here, or politely correct them in a reply.)


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett

PEBKAC (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by Matrix on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:41:38 PM EST

Another case of hands working faster than brain... Completely forgot the second part of that subject.

Ok, the other thing driving processor power up is the marketing war between Intel and AMD. They both are screaming as loudly as possible about how much faster their chips are than anyone else's. Remember the race to be the first to market with a 1 GHz chip? Despite the fact that most people will probably not need a 1 GHz chip's power for quite a while, even the rabid gameplayers.

As the author of the original article mentioned, graphics and games are tied up. And game publishers like to hype the latest graphics, and promote how much better their graphics are than the competition's. This is despite the fact that the best-selling games are rarely the ones with better graphics... But graphics are easier to compare with pretty columns of numbers than gameplay is.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

the need for speed (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:38:32 PM EST

At work, I'm stuck with a one and a half year old PII 400 with 256 MB primary memory. While the disk is only 6GB, I've yet to fill it up. The funny thing is how often my programs run slow. Large disk reads are especially bad for this. Netscape Navigator and MS Office are the two worst villians in the race to stop my clock. (I don't have a choice of software.)

At home, I've an ancient Pentum classic 166 w/ 64 MB of RAM. It does what I need it to, but not much else. I wanted to try out the Linux version of IBM's VAME (Visual Age Micro Edition) but the reqs are for a much faster processor and twice the memory. On my work machine, VAME can take as long as ten minutes to load up. I don't want to even think about trying the same on a machine with a quarter of the memory and sixth of the disk space.

On the road, I've got a more ancient still NEC 486-50 laptop. It runs xemacs in cosole mode fast enough, for the most part. Occasionally it starts swapping and gets annoying, but for the most part I only use it on the bus to and from work while I'm writing the great American sci-fi novel (I'm about 35k words into it).

I'd like faster machines all around. At work, stuck using an NT workstation as a combination xterminal and productivity app box (Visio/Office/Notes) the horsepower I have seems subpar. One would think that 256MB ought to be enough for anyone, but it pages considerably at times. At home, what can I say, I'm too cheap to buy this years technology. (That and the money I earmark for new toys is going toward network gear first.) Oddly enough I'm most content with my laptop (the slowest machine I have). I suspect this is mostly due to the limited use I put it toward. As far as laptops go, I'll put money toward increased battery life before I look to a faster machine. I'd love to have a portable machine I can leave on all day long without dragging a power brick along.

How fast is "fast"? (4.71 / 7) (#14)
by mingTmerciless on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:56:30 PM EST

  • At work I use a P5-200, 64M -- and that was an upgrade from a 486-33, 32M.
  • When I had a P5-200, 64M at home, my work machine seemed just fine. My work apps ran OK.
  • When I had a C300A, 128M at home, my work machine seemed a little irritating. My work apps ran OK.
  • Now that I have a P3-800, 256M at home, my work machine seems unbearably slow. I'm thinking about quitting if I don't get a better machine -- and my work apps run the same as they ever did.
I've come to the conclusion that I'm driven by comparative performance, not absolute performance. Once I realized that my home machine could finish a job in five seconds that took my work machine 15 minutes, I started to go slowly insane.

...once upon a time, fourteen minutes was fast -- because the 486 would take three times as long. But now that I can complete the build in less than a minute, anything longer seems absolutely infuriating.

Of course, this strikes me as being somewhat pathological, but since cool gear is one of the very few things in life that makes me happy, I'm gonna stick with it and stay on the Silicon Valley upgrade train...let this be a warning to the rest of you.

Thought I was fast... (none / 0) (#62)
by BonzoESC on Sat Nov 11, 2000 at 03:01:16 PM EST

At home I run on a C466 w/ TNT2, UDMA-66 5200rpm 45g HD and W2k as my Half-Life machine. Usually, loading the next board in single-player takes about 10 seconds. Multiplayer boards take 20, fast enough for me to cap the flag in well before everybody else loads, thus earning me the "My computer loads faster than yours" award. However, my friend has an uber-fast 7200rpm ATA-100 drive that loads the board in about 2 seconds. I can't cap the flag anymore...

--

Normally, my sig is an image.
[ Parent ]

What that piece of hardware /could/ be used for (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by cetan on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:05:51 PM EST

If you're worried about all that CPU going to waste, start running distributed computing clients on it! There are a TON of distributed computing projects out there. My biased nature says: Choose distributed.net but there is this site which has a very comprehensive review on almost all the distributed computing projects out there. Many of them are very usefull in the matters of science (and no, not SETI@home). We could get into the whole "pay for" computing thing, but that's another topic so I'll just leave it with: Use the horsepower for something good.

===== cetan www.cetan.com =====
Wait... (1.00 / 1) (#21)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:38:45 PM EST

The argument for SETI and other stuff is great, but, why bother? If you want to support them, buy them an extra CPU and give it to them, again, you dont need that power. Yes distributed.net needs massive amounts of processing, but thats them, do you need it for what you do? If you have the clock cycles to give to them, then you really are proving my point, you don't need them.

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Re: Wait... (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by atrodo on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:45:31 PM EST

Yes, i need all my CPU space. Running at 733Mhz P3, 128 Megs on win98, i won't always use all my memory, but i have needed 733Mhz for the programming/developing stuff i do, plus a lot of number crunching and various other things at some given points. I usually have too much stuff for my good open at the same time, but my Mhz have allowed me to keep going, and at a good pace. The point of D.Net is that you don't ALWAYS need the Mhz. Right, for most normal, run of the mill people, you don't need 700+Mhz because they don't stress the system as much as people like me, but people like me exist where you do need upwards of 700Mhz to do decents stuff, and when we don't stress the system, what do we do with the rest of the idle time? Why not give it to a group and get money out of it?

-Jon Gentle(atrodo@geocities.com)

[ Parent ]
what? (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by delmoi on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 09:50:13 PM EST

Maybe you have more money then me, but I'd rather give someone something that I have a infinite supply and little use (idle cycles) then something that's scarce and needed (money). I'm not a rich person, but I've got billions of CPU cycles...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
what "idle" cpu time really is (none / 0) (#55)
by cetan on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 03:19:32 PM EST

I have many uses for my "whopping" 450 mhz machine, for certain tasks. There is no way some programs my machine digests could run on much slower. But I'm not using all 450 mhz every second of every day. While the machine is busy monitoring the latest prob on the DSL, it's just sitting there...why not make it do something usefull.

As another analogy, I need my car to accelerate very quickly only some of the time (i.e. to merge with Freeway traffic)...but when I'm not accelerating quickly, does my engine still need to be running full bore? No, of course not. But if I could figure out how to use the idle engine to do something usefull (say, charge a set of batteries) I would be making use of the tools I had.


===== cetan www.cetan.com =====
[ Parent ]

K5 runs dnetc (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by rusty on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:57:42 PM EST

Rest easy in the knowledge that when you're not clicking a link, the K5 server is happily crunching keys, so no cycles of our beastly VA box are going to waste. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
We needn't go faster, but we need more speed. (3.50 / 4) (#18)
by Morn on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:30:30 PM EST

We don't need faster computers to do what we do (like run most business applications), but we can still use 'extra speed' to make computing 'better'. I'll take as an example Mac OS X (even if you don't like it, bear with me, I'm not a Mac user either). In Mac OS X, Apple are trying to use the extra power in modern computers to make computing more pleasant, and why shouldn't they? Some people dismiss the extra UI features as 'eye candy', but that doesn't matter - most people like using something that looks nice, so if you've got the spare horsepower, why not make things look nicer? For an example more grounded in the present, look at the system you're using now. You could word process on a ZX Spectrum, but no-one would use one for that now, because it's somehow nicer to use a modern graphical UI - this is true even if you are just typing LaTEX into a text editor. No-one needs gigs of storage either, but I don't think many of us would want to go back to only having a few tens of megabytes of hard drive space.

An article like this could have been written five years ago, and in a few years time I think that you'll feel the same way about your Viao as you do about computers from back then now.

Interesting point, but... (2.00 / 1) (#19)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:36:19 PM EST

You make a good case, yes, eye candy is nice, and I do like it, but, again, when is enough really enough? Mac OS X is pretty, but past that, how much eye candy do you need? Besides which, my enlightenment session on my pII-233 is just as pretty, and doesnt take oodles of horsepower.

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Can we ever have enough? (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by Morn on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:52:41 PM EST

when is enough really enough?

...

how much eye candy do you need?

Lots. For example, why not have resolution-independent, higher-resolution-than-we-can-see displays? And it's not just eye-candy. Why not free-flow natural text input, in a busy office, without training? Why not natural language voice recognition and response? All these things are 'extras', but I'd like them, and they'll all take more power than we currently have. My list is not anywhere near exhaustive either, and I'm sure we'll think of even more neat things when we've got some of the things we're thinking about now going.

Besides which, my enlightenment session on my pII-233 is just as pretty, and doesnt take oodles of horsepower.

Perhaps not, but just imagine what you could do with more.

[ Parent ]

Wagon in front of the horse? (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:49:04 PM EST

I see your point as far as spiffy new features we all want (Case in point, natural voice processing, etc.). However, it's not a matter of horsepower for the apps. Its a matter of having the apps. IF there was software that would work, if we just had an extra gig of RAM to spare, I'd see the incentive to innovate, as it stands, we're building bigger boxen in the hopes that we can throw enough horesepower at a problem to solve it. Would it not behoove us to instead worry about the app first, and the horsepower to run it second? Henry

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
A wagon's not much use without a horse to pull it (none / 0) (#49)
by Morn on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 06:17:53 AM EST

Don't we need the faster macinnes before we can produce (or perhaps even before we can think about) the applications to take advantage of them?

[ Parent ]
Work vs. Home (2.00 / 2) (#20)
by titivillus on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:36:34 PM EST

At work, I'm running a Compaq full tower running NT4. 350MHz, 64MB RAM, 2 2GB HDs. Onboard 10/100. I compile on occasion, but most of the use this gets is IE, Mozilla, Outlook, IIS, and a third-party Telnet program (NT4 telnet isn't VT220-compliant). I run out of virtual memory regulary, and have driven it to Blue-Screen on occasion. I am scheduled to get another machine, and the existing machine is scheduled to get a memory upgrade. This machine cannot handle the work applications It has been given, so it will be replaced. If Windows NT was a more efficient OS, or if some of the programs were less memory-hungry, then that would be another issue, but Andy Grove giveth and Bill Gates taketh away.

My last work machine, where I used to work, as a PII 450MHz 256 MB, 10GB HDD, running Linux and used for X-sessions on other machines, web serving, web browsing, mail and other stuff. I was running fancy GNOME-Sawfish and KDE environments, and it was seeming slow, but it was a very nice machine when I left it.

At home, the family has:

  1. A 500MHz Celeron eMachine w/ 64MB RAM and 12GB HD running Window 98
  2. A 550MHz Celeron eMachine w/ 64MB RAM and 10GB HD running Window 98
  3. A 350MHz AMD K6 Compaq w/ 64MB RAM, 4GB HD and 12GB HDs running Windows 98
  4. A 400 MHz AMD k6, 7GB and 10GB HDs running RedHat Linux
  5. A 400 MHz Celeron Pionex w/ 128MB RAM and 15GB HD running Linux, having had Win98, NT4, Win2K, BeOS, FreeBSD and a number of Linux distros.
  6. An early PPC Mac with numbers too small to remember
  7. various bits and pieces
and right now, I've been pushing for more slow and cheap machines, as none of them have duties that require fast machines, but I would like to have machines to play with Plan9, Kerberos, WinME, OpenBSD, QNX and all sorts of other stuff without molesting existing, working machines being used by other family members.

That being said, I'm currently dreaming of a dual-1GHz Thunderbird with a Gig of RAM and large 10,000RPM SCSI drives with a dual power supply and casters. Don't you?



Get a computer that fits your needs (3.87 / 8) (#23)
by Scrag on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:41:21 PM EST

Why should technology companies stop producing faster equipment? Are you suggesting that they just stop? That they should just say "OK, computers are fast eneough. You can all go home now."?

I assume what you are really ranting about is that people constantly buy computers faster than what they need. I agree that most consumers who use their computer for e-mail and web surfing dont need a 1Ghz P3, but I'm really glad that they buy them anyway. This chip makers see this demand, and continue to make faster chips. Faster chips that people like me could use.

You say that what we have is fast eneough, but why should we have to wait for our computers at all? I envision a point in the future where Netscape loads *instantly*, rather than taking 2-3 seconds. I know this seems like a small difference, but if everything you did was instantaneous, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be complaining.

Bill gates said "640K should be enough for anybody". That statement was about the same as the one you are making now. There is no way anyone would go back to 640K, but at the time people were saying "why on earth would we need more?". Computers will always be getting faster, and people will always find ways to take advantage of this speed.
This is a good thing.


"I'm... responsible for... many atrocities" - rusty
Yes, but.... (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:18:28 PM EST

Am I suggesting we shut down the factories? No. What I am suggesting, is, as you said, most of us dont need that power. Now, I can see the demand/supply argument, and it's reasonable, but you have to wonder, how far can this go? Will the loop ever stop? And by the way, what the hell do we do with the equipment we already have? Where does it all go?

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Progress never stops (2.75 / 4) (#34)
by Scrag on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:16:38 PM EST

Of course it will never stop. Why should we want it to?

Look at cars for an analogy. We had cars that could get us around perfectly fine, and with relative comfort, before I was even born. They have not stopped making better/faster/more efficient cars, nor do I expect them to. It's hard for me to think of ANY area of life where progress has just stopped because "we have achieved perfection". There will always be ways to improve what we have, and there will always be people willing to pay for these improvements.

I guess my point is, progress doesnt stop in any area, it never has, it never will. If your happy with an old car, a black and white TV, and candles rather than lights, good for you. You can be happy with what you have, and I'm sure no one will really care. However, other people will always want more, and progress will not stop because of a few people who don't buy the newest thing out there. In fact, even people like you will eventually upgrade. I'd be willing to bet that within 10 years, you will have a new computer. Thats just the way the world works.


"I'm... responsible for... many atrocities" - rusty
[ Parent ]
A computer that fits my needs? (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 01:03:10 PM EST

I've looked. I can't find it.

I want a laptop. I don't want to spend absurd amounts of money on it. I want it to have good battery life (4 hours, say, without doing things like watching DVD movies). I want a good sized screen (14", perhaps). What I don't want is a huge processor. It's a waste of money, power, and heat. I just need around 400 for a laptop, maybe less. HD space? 4 gigs or so should do it. RAM is important, though. Need 128 at least.

I'm still looking. I haven't found it.

I have great hope for the new Crusoe laptops. They have a slower, less power-hungry CPU, and are often geared in their other parts towards low-power-consumption. Hopefully I'll soon be able to get what I want, without having to take a lot I don't want with it.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

a quick amendment (4.50 / 2) (#25)
by the_idoru on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 02:59:20 PM EST

the "you cant tell the difference over 32 fps" comment isnt entirely correct. apparently the human eye can tell destinguish up to about 72 fps. your brain cant really interpret anything higher than that.

this article answers that.

or was that some more of the thick sarcasm?
the_idoru

whats the diff? (none / 0) (#27)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:10:48 PM EST

Yeah, I'm a bit sarcastic, but hey, I'm allowed on occasion, right? Anyway, I'll concede the 72fps, because, well, that number is there to make a point, 72 is still alot less than 500;)

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
re: whats the diff? (none / 0) (#36)
by the_idoru on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:27:58 PM EST

yeah, your point is well taken. i really wonder sometimes about them "framerate freaks".


the_idoru
[ Parent ]

yes, but.. (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by molo on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 05:44:15 PM EST

It is important to note that to measure framerate, you get an average! When you have an image that takes significantly more time to render (more objects in view, more complex objects, whatever) that frame rate will drop. Often in gaming, this is right in the middle of a firefight. More shots in the air, more effects, more models, more characters.. adds up to significantly more rendering time. This kills your framerate during the fight.

Ideally, you could measure your framerate MINIMUM as well, cause this is the truly important number to gaming. If you get 90 fps running down an empty hallway, but it drops to 30 fps when you get in a fight, that 90 fps means a hell of a lot less. The gamers are attempting to keep their minimum framerate higher than 72, which can be a daunting task in a team game or free-for-all when you have 4 or more characters in view at once, all firing weapons, etc.

-molo
(former netquake addict)

--
Whenever you walk by a computer and see someone using pico, be kind. Pause for a second and remind yourself that: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." -- Harley Hahn
[ Parent ]

Bandwith (3.66 / 3) (#26)
by henrik on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:09:06 PM EST

Computers are coming to the point where they're fast enough..

I had a K6-2 450, 256 mb ram, 13 gb hd which i upgraded to a 900MhZ Athlon Thunderbird, 256mb ram, 60gb hd. The thing is, that other when looking at rc5 benchmarks, i dont *notice* any improvment.

I dont play much games, but when i do, it's mostly strategy, with an occational q3 session thrown in because i can.

So i'm not going to upgrade my computer for two generations - i'm going to entirely skip the next generation x86 compatible 64bit chips. Once i can buy a 2Ghz machine with a couple gbs of ram and a tb of total storage space i might buy a new system - or i might not.

Computers have for a long time seemed *almost* fast enough.. now, the important thing is changing from cpu cycles to network bandwith. Like you could never have enough cpu cycles a few years back, you can never have enough bandwith today.

So the focus is shifting, as it has several times in the past, but the needs still there.

* then of course, some ppl really need lots of CPU horse power - i'm not peronally that interested in simulating protein folding, but still...

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!

You bring up an interesting point... (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by japhar81 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:12:41 PM EST

I've got to wonder, once we reach our bandwidth limits, what are we going to attack next? Once bandwidth is 'fast enough', what will we worry about?

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
[ Parent ]
Latency (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by fvw on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 04:07:39 PM EST

Prolly latency, imho. The problem is, we're often already pretty close to the theoretical limit....

[ Parent ]
video (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by h2odragon on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 10:15:05 PM EST

specifically monitors. Let there be a minimum of 20" viewable Trinitron goodnes on every desk, with, say, 48 inch or so TFT flat panels for us good folk. People still don't pay enough attention to the monitor when buying their computers from what I've seen.

As those facts are realized more widely expect to see great social pressure if not legal action in the form of building codes and such, for having a big wall screen as a part of every dwelling. In much the same way that indoor plumbing and electricity have gone from fancy add-ons to required in the past 50 years or so.

Prolly won't be long after that 'til the benevolent bunches what know better than us releive the confusion of choosing from the vast array of Dlby Digital HDTV immersive entertainment, and just make the damn things spew constantly a stream of propaganda tailored to your demographic... ...oh, I'm sorry, it must be time for my medication...

[ Parent ]

Here here! (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by ramses0 on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:51:55 PM EST

I'm still running my lowly P200MMX, with 64 mb of ram. What track that I've taken is to upgrade components rather than core.

I recently added a 20gb harddrive to store all my mp3's, I've got a TV card which allows me to use my 21" monitor with my DVD player (svideo input/output). And adding a VGA box to my Dreamcast makes the graphics on Ecco the Dolphin amazing!

Adding a second sound card and dj-style mixer lets me play with mixing music, but that's kindof fallen by the wayside since I don't usually host parties in my room ;^)=

I recently purchased a cheap-o digital camera (look at techbargains.com to see how you can get it for $50 off)... and that's made my computer much more enjoyable than any speed upgrade I could come up with.

Of course this is all running under Linux, so I'm kindof proud to have gotten it all running. About the only thing which is holding me back is the 64 mb of ram, and at 200mhz, recompiling the kernel trying to get my 2x cd burner working is just a pain in the butt. Also lack of USB device support is also annoying, and I'm still on the lookout for a decent video camera to hook up to my tv-card so I can spoof having a webcam. (since my QuickCamVC won't work under Linux).

All in all, it's a lot better to spend $50 on some accessory for your computer than $500 for a new MB/Graphics Card, etc..., at least in my opinion.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Why BigNewFast(tm) is good. (4.00 / 4) (#40)
by whatnotever on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 07:13:18 PM EST

Because it drives down the price of RunsFineThanks so much.

I mean, now that the cutting edge is more than enough I can buy a medioce machine for a mediocre price and have just enough.

And since this is obviously a "Me Too" thread, here's what I'm running:

Desktop: Pentium 90 (original f00f bug included!!!), 32mb ram, 13gb (on a p90?!) - running Debian. Serving files via Samba, web-development via Apache/PHP/MySQL/PostgreSQL, general fun linux hackery... Runs great.

Laptop: PII 266, 96mb ram, 4.3gb - Win95, for surfing the web and providing a nice ssh client for various servers, including the desktop above. My PIII at work loads Netscape a little faster, but ... I don't really care.

These two machines are more than enough for me (and no, I'm not a casual user... I currently spend at least 90% of my waking hours in front of a computer (oh god, why did I just admit that...)). I could double my computer setup for ... maybe $1000 right now.

Developers need fast sometimes (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by Pseudonym on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 07:30:27 PM EST

People developing software (free/open source, of course!) need fast quite often. Or at least they should. We should all know by now how bad premature optimisation is. So if you're deferring optimisation, you need fast just to get the thing working. This is especially true if your software is CPU-intensive.

Besides, waiting for a full compile is quite painful if you have to do it a lot.

Having said that, I'm sysadmin at a certain place where I live, and we're using a 486 with FreeBSD as our firewall/router and it works beautifully. It used to be on someone's desk in the office, until they wanted a newer OS from Redmond which it couldn't handle. So don't despair for old machines. They never die, they just get pushed down the food chain.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
OB Framerate rant (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by delmoi on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 09:23:36 PM EST

Realist: Yes, fast innovative technologies are very cool, but what do you actually do with a machine that requires that sort of performance? Checking email? A lowly 233 will do that in an instant. Play games? Ok, so you need that 333, but you dont need 500 fps, you can't even tell the difference above 32 or so.

rrrr. When are people going to realize that people can tell the diffrence between 25, 35, and even 60 and 70hz. 25-30 FPS is the minimum rate needed for the brain to intereperate what it sees as a moving image, rather then a series of still images. however, the diffrence between 30 and 60 frames per second is huge in terms of visual smoothness, and in games like quake, that smoothness can translate directly into higher scores.

We *do* need more then 30 FPS, please stop saying we don't!

Btw, I'm pretty sure that most CPU usage is going to go into two things (other then games): prettier windowmangers (both in Xwindows and MS windows), and more powerful programming models (or lazy programmers). There's a reason no one's talking about x86SP, assembly server pages, and that's beacuse it takes to long to program. Thinks like Java, XML, and SOAP are powerful tools, but they take powerful chips.

Besides, chips are getting faster wether we want them to or not, so why even bother yourself about it?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Actually, no. (none / 0) (#53)
by fluffy grue on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 01:18:11 PM EST

We really only need 15fps. Watching any cartoon will tell you that. The problem with FPSes is more one of latency than fluidity - if you're only at 15fps, then it means you have to wait 1/15 of a second for your actions to take effect, which IS quite noticeable. Also, subtle things such as motion blur are a lot easier to cause directly (through persistance of vision) than to calculate. :)

Actually, that IS the reason that Jackie Chan at 30fps seems much smoother than Quake at >100fps - motion blur.

That said, it's impossible to actually visually GET over 60/72fps (depending on your monitor retrace) - the only reason that a higher framerate is useful is due to the latency, not the bandwidth (same reason a 28.8kbps modem is better for gaming than a 56kbps modem).

Oh, and the threshold for percpetion of motion vs. the 'slideshow effect' is closer to 8fps. Also, things like Quake 3 seldom get more than 30fps even on killer hardware because they push the hardware to the limits - mostly in texture swapping, because John Carmack is a lightmapping fanboy who thinks he grasps texture bandwidth issues but really doesn't (Quake 3 often spemds more time uploading textures to the card than it does rendering, simply because there's typically 6-8 textures per pixel each at a texel density around 1 texel per pixel - i.e. you need 8x the framebuffer size in texture memory for a SINGLE FRAME to not thrash).


--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Why I want Bigger Better Faster (2.50 / 2) (#45)
by Keepiru on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 12:20:44 AM EST

This something I hear fairly frequently. "What are you going to do with all that power?"

The cutting edge is *always* going to be a little bit ahead of the software. People don't often produce software that will only run on the latest and greatest machine; you want it to run on the majority of machines out there.

Software *WILL* come that will use that currently high-end hardware. And I welcome it. I often fantasize about playing games (as well as doing genuinely productive things) in a fully raytraced photo-realistic 3d environment. You can't do that now. You won't be able to do that for years. And when we can, it WILL be nice. I welcome it.

In the meantime, our hardware advances will let us have more and more fun with our software. An example - Playing mp3's. Until just recently, I was running on an old Cyrix 6x86. It was antiquated hardware, and I knew it, but I was happy with it because it did everything I needed. (I'm not a very demanding user; most of what I do is type in xterms, and run a web browser.) However, we started running an MP3 archive in our house; we ripped all of our CD's and stuck them on one of our file servers. It's a wonderful convenience to have all your music at your fingertips that way. Anyway, that old Cyrix processor could barely keep up with playing the music back; it kept the CPU at about 75% load continuously. The problem was that every time I fired up another app, my music would start skipping; there just wasn't enough horsepower to back it up. So I dropped a hundred bucks and upgraded to a Celeron.

A couple years ago, I got that machine as a hand-me-down; I'd been running on a 486 for some time before that, and it had been adequate for my needs; the Cyrix felt like pure luxury when I got it.

My point is, existing apps may not need more processor power, but when that power becomes available, people will begin to do things that they couldn't before - the software *will* expand to fill all available hardware. So to answer my own question, what am I going to do with all that power? For now, nothing. A year from now? I'll probably be making use of it. That's how it always is.

And I'm not complaining. :-)

--Kai
--slashsuckATvegaDOTfurDOTcom


Why I don't care about bigger worse faster (2.00 / 2) (#46)
by evvk on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 01:30:16 AM EST

Many software already requires the almost latest hardware. That because the software is crap, no one has cared to do little optimization or use a better language/architechture etc. (yeah, yeah, no use to optimize, the customers are stupid and will buy crap nevertheless), or just not include unnecessary bloated features. There's no way running, say, bloatzilla in a usable way on a machine few years old. Or latest $office. But take a version more than few year old that does effictively the same, has most the features and half the bugs and it will be usable. (Not that I care about $office, LaTeX is much nicer to use and generates much prettier output.)

I don't think people should have to buy a new computer every two years or so. Some cannot afford it, others have better things to use the money on (say, buying the CDs instead of the MP3s) or just couldn't care.
Often these same people who keep buying new hardware all the time argue how speed is progress and features are progress. Increased resource requirements on behalf of programs, for what could be done before with lesser resources is regress. Requiring a number of huge fans, generating a lot of noise and eating a lot of power is not progress. Creating a powerfull system, that doesn't make noise, doesn't draw much energy, that doesn't have to be upgraded all the time and dumping IA32 is progress.

Going from pretty hand-drawn graphics to ugly polygons is not progress either. For real-time raytracing with geometric surfaces, real lighting and all I could, however, accept huge computing power requirements.


[ Parent ]
On the Joys of Retrocomputing (2.00 / 2) (#54)
by titivillus on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 02:14:13 PM EST

Many software already requires the almost latest hardware. That because the software is crap, no one has cared to do little optimization or use a better language/architechture etc. (yeah, yeah, no use to optimize, the customers are stupid and will buy crap nevertheless), or just not include unnecessary bloated features. There's no way running, say, bloatzilla in a usable way on a machine few years old. Or latest $office. But take a version more than few year old that does effictively the same, has most the features and half the bugs and it will be usable. (Not that I care about $office, LaTeX is much nicer to use and generates much prettier output.)

Personally, I hate serif fonts, and every piece of LaTeX I've seen generated uses the same serif font. I haven't played enough to learn to change that behavior, and I tend to not need to write such documents since I got out of school. (In school, I worked as a web geek, and tended to write reports in HTML and put 'em on my web page, so I could dive into a computer lab and reprint if I didn't have something at class time.)

I don't think people should have to buy a new computer every two years or so. Some cannot afford it, others have better things to use the money on (say, buying the CDs instead of the MP3s) or just couldn't care.

I got my mother-in-law an early PPC Mac to replace the late 0x0 Mac with the whirring drive and whining power supply, then gave her a NIC and hooked her up to my network, showing her Netscape 4.0, IMDB, Yahoo and Hotmail. One morning, when I was leaving for work, she stopped and told me that she went to Discovery.com and it told her "I laugh at your puny computer! Ha! Ha!" (I paraphrase, of course), so I got her an eMachines ~550 w/ CD-RW. She uses it for web browsing and writing grocery lists, and I have it sharing disks and printer and such and use it to burn CDs. It'll last her for 8 years (how old her PPC was in the summer of 00), I'm sure.

I have a 7GB and 15GB full of MP3s, and I still have a lot of CDs left to rip. I'm thinking of making one of my machines into a weak fileserver with 60GB disks and a 300MHz chip.

Often these same people who keep buying new hardware all the time argue how speed is progress and features are progress. Increased resource requirements on behalf of programs, for what could be done before with lesser resources is regress.

User experiences on slower hardware are better in Linux because it has been run on slower hardware and had inefficiencies pulled. Business throws more hardware at it, which would put more life into a PC, but only to a point. The computing power of my 386 laptop dwarfs the computing power of the machines they used to send up Apollo, but I never use it because it is too weak to do what I want it to do, and too heavy and unconnectable to do the other stuff I want to do. I agree, a 200MHz Pentium in an otherwise modern laptop would do most of your mobile computing applications fine. And a 486 running 3.1 and whatever Office was back then likely has the same responsiveness as a 750MHz PIII running WinME and Office2K. Andy Grove giveth and Bill Gates taketh away.

Requiring a number of huge fans, generating a lot of noise and eating a lot of power is not progress. Creating a powerfull system, that doesn't make noise, doesn't draw much energy, that doesn't have to be upgraded all the time and dumping IA32 is progress.

"Go Transmeta!"?

Going from pretty hand-drawn graphics to ugly polygons is not progress either. For real-time raytracing with geometric surfaces, real lighting and all I could, however, accept huge computing power requirements.

We can always find an excuse for a bigger chip.



[ Parent ]
Fonts and LaTeX (none / 0) (#56)
by evvk on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 04:02:06 PM EST

Personally, I hate serif fonts, and every piece of LaTeX I've seen generated uses the same serif font.

I find serif fonts (eg. times) too detailed for low-resolution (compared to paper) screen use and therefore prefer sans serif (helvetica) there. However, for dead-tree format serif is much more readable, of which LaTeX computer modern is one of the prettiest (the CM fonts also include sans serif). But that is just my opinion. To change the font, you must "use the font package", e.g. \usepackage{palatino} to use palatino and other postscript fonts.

(In school, I worked as a web geek, and tended to write reports in HTML and put 'em on my web page, so I could dive into a computer lab and reprint if I didn't have something at class time.)

HTML isn't something I'd use for texts with mathematical formulas. MathML doesn't help either, it clearly wasn't meant to be written. (Just take a look at the w3c intro.) In addition, LaTeX has all the necessary commands, environments and automation for writing standard scientific documents. HTML has nothing. Of course if you don't need any of that.

[ Parent ]

Worn out argument (none / 0) (#60)
by Keepiru on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 09:50:01 PM EST

I've heard this argument many times - "Software sucks now! Back when it was all hand-optimized assembly, it would run on a slow computer without breaking a sweat!"

The thing is, as software gets more complex, you can't write every last instruction in hand optimized assembly - you have to go to higher and higher level languages, so that your focus can be on developing new features. Spend your effort where it's needed. If upgrading your hardware has to be a part of it, so be it.

I would also like to point out that the main reason that Netscape and Orfice are bloated and slow because their companies keep adding useless crap features - be it shopping buttons or talking paperclips - that consumers think they want. Just because this is the case does NOT mean that adding features to software is necessarily a bad idea. That's just an argument for free software, where features are added because they're useful, not because they look good on the back of the box.

But that's another rant entirely.

--Kai
--slashsuckATvegaDOTfurDOTcom


[ Parent ]

Bloat is still bad (none / 0) (#61)
by evvk on Sat Nov 11, 2000 at 04:41:19 AM EST

I don't mean all programs should be assembly-optimized any more, because it is not portable. There are, however, some cases when assembly optimization is essential, particularly very critical inner loops and such (e.g. the C string functions in libc) and even then there should be the C version for portability. However, software can often be made smaller and faster by designing a better architechture (not going after the usual buzzwords) and better algorithms. In difficult cases and with large amounts of data, better algorithm can drop the execution time considerably more than assembly. Too much abstraction, wrapping and objects is bloated and slow (language_x-wrapper_y-gtk-gdk-xlib vs. c-motif-xlib; more). And let us not forget CORBA, XML and other hype technologies --- can be usefull for something, but should not be used for _everything_ just for being some kind of virtual standard (read: compromise) as there are better ways. Unless buzzwords in the feature list is everything that is wanted.

Not all features in free software are usefull to everyone at all. The problem is that many authors try to please everyone. "I wan't my reinvetion of X be the standard." For example, I often get requests of adding features found in other similar software that I specifically did not include, because there is, in my opinion, a better way to do it. The users are too accustomed to what they've learned, and although they might for some reason prefer program X over Y, they are not willing to learn it. Just like new users want (or at least they're being told so) a Windows-like GUI to Linux. Another analogy is not having learnt a new language (library, etc.) and the philosophy behind it well enough and instead implementing wrapper functions for what one is accustomed to.

The other problem, which used to be problem with commercial software and emacs and now a number of free software projects is trying to do everything with a single bloated program. Yes, this is the usual "does everything but nothing well" rant. I don't want a news/mail reader in my browser/editor/word processor. (What's the difference anymore? Not that I wanted a word processor.). There are much better terminal-based programs with a nice keyboard-based interface for that. If developers were concentrated on simple programs, software would be much less prune to bugs, bloat and everything bad.

[ Parent ]

Topic is at least 15 years old (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by Paul Johnson on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 04:01:55 AM EST

I've been reading "do we really need all this power?" stories for over 15 years now. I remember when the first 16 bit processors came out, and the computer magazines were running editorials saying "but 8 bits are all you need for general office work".

SoHo applications are aimed at the low end of current machines because that is where the market is. Imagine you are writing a desktop app for Windows. On the one hand if you require too many MIPS in your target machines then you cut yourself off from that part of the market which didn't upgrade last year. On the other hand if you limit yourself to machines five years old you can't put in the features Marketing say you need, and you can only depend on Win95 instead of Win98SE. Also people with machines 5 years old are unlikely to buy shiny new software anyway. So you pitch your products somewhere in the middle.

Now the latest 1.x GHz machine comes out, and everybody says "what do I need this for?" and the answer is "Nothing, because the apps that need it haven't been written yet. But they will be. They always have been".

As it happens I run Linux on a 550MHz CPU with 64MB. Our household upgrade policy has always been to stay with pedestrian performance because that gives you the best value for money. Of course there are those who want the fastest, baddest thing out there for whatever reason. But I'll wait until I need the power. (Actually, my Linux box keeps thrashing. Anyone got another 64Mb going cheap?)

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.

Memory's really cheap right now (none / 0) (#52)
by fluffy grue on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 01:10:23 PM EST

Go to Pricewatch... 128MB of PC100 SDRAM is something like $60 right now.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Video codecs, anyone? (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by roystgnr on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 11:41:20 AM EST

Specifically DivX (and probably anything with that level of quality and compression ratio), which requires 700+ MHz processors to decode without skipping, and which can't yet be encoded in real time by any but the GHz+ CPUs. It's great that your computer can saturate a couple 100baseT connections, but that's not enough if you want it to be able to compress and save an 80 MB/sec HDTV signal as well.

The Drive for a computing ENVIRONMENT (none / 0) (#57)
by aeil on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 04:15:30 PM EST

I do not think that I will be satisfied with the performance/speed of computers, until they can completly satisfy my environmental needs. Think of "Snow Crash" by Stevenson. The idea of computers in that world view is one of environmental use, not staring at a screen for long hours, that is looked at as something you are forced to do when your VR environment is not avaliable. For computers to be able to accomplish that (can you say a truly virtual corporation, where the offices are virtual only) and perform real work at the same time, will require large advancements in the computing comminity. If this takes off, think of the savings on travel for the normal office worker, and the ammount by wich the enviroment would be helped by the reducing of (then) unnessesary buisness commuter traffic.
Just my $0.02

Realist vs Geek (none / 0) (#63)
by Chakotay on Sat Nov 11, 2000 at 06:04:15 PM EST

Basically, I couldn't agree more. The one thing that constantly gnaws at me is to see people who want to get on the Internet and write some emails walk away with thousands upon thousands of guilders of equipment that will simply go to waste. I handed my parents my old P166 with 64MB and a Dutch Windows 98 SE, and that's everything they'll ever need.

Currently I have a PII 350 running 392MHz with 128MB, which is more than enough for what I do with it. My G400 dualhead is definitely overdone, but damn, that was a sweet deal. Besides, I'm going to fling together a second computer, so I'll have voyager, my current PII392 128MB but with a G200, running Linux, for the serious stuff, and coming soon delta_flyer, somewhere around a PII400 128MB with the G400, running Windows ME, for multimedia and gaming. Slam an AdderView AV2 switch or something similar in there so you get them both running on one set of human interface devices, and you've got more computer than you can ever get out of a state of the art PIII 1GHz 256MB GeForce machine at a lower price. Already got dibs on a G200, the RAM and the HD, so I should have delta_flyer up and running within a few weeks.

Sure, it's nice to have the latest and greatest, but for almost everybody (except the really hooked gamers) that's just too much power, and it's financially inefficient too.

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

Enough already! | 64 comments (60 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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