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Mainframe - A computer system whose purchase requires the approval of a committee of all the top executives in the organization.

Mini - A computer system whose purchase requires the approval of your boss and probably some computer bureaucrat.

Micro - A computer system you can buy at your local computer store.

James Brown posting to comp.org.acm
Sited from Softpanorama Bulletin,
Net-humor section
September 1993

 
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[Sep 16, 2017] Huawei Surpasses Apple As the Worlds Second Largest Smartphone Brand

Sep 16, 2017 | apple.slashdot.org

(theverge.com) 115 Posted by BeauHD on Thursday September 07, 2017 @03:00AM from the there's-a-first-for-everything dept. According to analysis by consulting firm Counterpoint Research, China's leading smartphone marker, Huawei, surpassed Apple's global smartphone sales for the first time in June and July . The company is only behind Samsung in sales. The Verge reports: Figures haven't been released yet for August, though Counterpoint indicates sales for that month also look strong. However, it's worth noting that with Apple's new iPhone releases just around the corner, the iPhone maker is almost certain to get back on top in September. Researchers at Counterpoint also point out that Huawei has a weak presence in the South Asian, Indian, and North American markets, which "limits Huawei's potential to the near-to-mid-term to take a sustainable second place position behind Samsung." Its strongest market is China, and it's also popular in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Still, Apple doesn't have much to worry about; Counterpoint says the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remain the world's best-selling smartphones, while Oppo's R11 and A57 claimed the third and fourth spots, respectively, followed by Samsung's Galaxy S8, Xiaomi's Redmi Note 4X, and Samsung's Galaxy S8 Plus. Surprisingly, despite overtaking Apple in global sales, none of Huawei's phones appear on the Top 10 list.

[Jul 11, 2017] This self-charging smartwatch could be great

Notable quotes:
"... Sequent's eponymous smartwatch uses a self-charging battery system that charges as you move around, much like an automatic movement does in a standard watch (but through a much different process). It comes with your standard hybrid smartwatch features: a heart rate sensor, activity tracker, GPS, Bluetooth, and a notification system. ..."
Jul 11, 2017 | www.msn.com
Smartwatches have a battery problem. Much like smartphones, they don't last long enough, and everyone ends up charging them all the time. In an attempt to fix this, Sequent looked toward the automatic movements in traditional watches to create a kinetic battery system for its smartwatch.

Sequent's eponymous smartwatch uses a self-charging battery system that charges as you move around, much like an automatic movement does in a standard watch (but through a much different process). It comes with your standard hybrid smartwatch features: a heart rate sensor, activity tracker, GPS, Bluetooth, and a notification system.

The biggest question surrounding a kinetic power source for a smartwatch is, of course, how long can it go with little or no movement before it's dead? (And how long will it take to recharge at that point?) If kinetic energy sources were viable for smartwatches on a major scale you'd think a major company would've tried it by now. Either way, Sequent is giving it a shot.

You can back Sequent on Kickstarter starting at $189 for a watch. The company says watches will start at $438 when it hits retail, so that's a pretty hefty discount. As always, Kickstarters aren't guaranteed, so keep that in mind before you back this, or any company.

[Jul 11, 2017] Vodafone shows again that own-brand phones can be good value

Jul 11, 2017 | www.msn.com
Engadget Jamie Rigg 10 hrs ago

Vodafone's own-brand devices have been hit and miss over the past few years. There was the Smart Ultra 6 , which was one of the best affordable phones of its time, and the Smart Platinum 7 , which was an interesting step into more expensive, sub-flagship category. But alongside those, there have been a number of humdrum handsets that failed to impress. As per its yearly update cycle, Vodafone recently released new own-brand hardware, with the Smart V8 in particular slotting into the carrier's roster as one of the best affordable options.

The most immediately striking feature of the Smart V8 when you free it from its box is the build quality. It's almost entirely brushed metal aside from two pockets of textured plastic, with neatly chamfered edges and loudspeaker grilles. While it's not pushing the boundaries of design by any means, it certainly looks and feels like it's punching above the £159 pay-as-you-go price point.

The spec sheet isn't to be taken lightly either. You're looking at a 5.5-inch, 1080p LCD display, an octa-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 435, 3 gigs of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a 16-megapixel primary camera and 8MP front-facer, all powered by a decent-sized 3,000mAh battery. You also get a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and NFC chip -- hello Android Pay. Perhaps even more important, the Smart V8 is running Android 7.1.1, so it's basically as up-to-date as you can get on the software front.

It's more or less the stock Android experience, albeit with a few borderline-bloatware apps from Vodafone added in. One quirk I've discovered worth noting is I can't seem to resize widgets on the homescreen. Not a huge deal, but it does mean the digital clock widget is naturally off-centre, which is slightly irritating.

In sunny summer conditions, the 16MP camera can be pretty handy. Good colour saturation, clarity, and contrast thanks to the HDR mode. The app is pretty busy with filters and features and settings, from full manual control to long exposure and "active photo" modes (kinda like GIFs/Live Photos). You won't find much help in them in low-light conditions, though, where the camera begins to fall off fairly quickly.

All in all, there's nothing particularly special about the Smart V8. These days, metalwork, this kind of spec sheet and value-added features like fingerprint sensor and NFC are becoming standard at the mid-to-low end. The new handset does have something going for it, though -- a pretty competitive price tag.

Vodafone's pay-as-you-go range is relatively sparse around the £150 mark. You've got the £149 Sony Xperia L1, which is less attractive enough on paper to justify the jump to the £159 Smart V8. The closest handset beyond that point is the fairly comparable £199 Huawei P8 lite (2017). The Moto G5 gets a nod too, obviously, as well as the Wileyfox Swift 2 , since they can be bought elsewhere for bang on £159. You wouldn't say either of them are significantly better than the Smart V8, though.

Smart N8

If you've set yourself a slightly tighter budget, Vodafone also recently launched the Smart N8 , an £85 handset sitting in the crowded low-end of the pay-as-you-go spectrum. It's more than appropriately specced, with a 5-inch, 720p display, quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek chip, 1.5GB of RAM, 16 gigs of expandable storage, 13- and 5-megapixel cameras, fingerprint sensor, NFC and 2,400mAh battery.

Despite looking a little on the drab side, it's a decent value device. You could always save yourself a London pint and opt for the £79 Moto G4 Play instead, which recently began receiving Android Nougat, but you would be sacrificing the fingerprint reader/NFC combo. But that's true of most other devices dipping below the £100 marker at the moment.

Smart Tab N8

While the two smartphones have obvious places in Vodafone's backroom, the new Smart Tab N8 is where things get confusing. The draw of pretty much all own-brand tablets is ultimate portability, thanks to 4G, at a reasonable cost. I wouldn't call the Smart Tab N8 very portable though, because it's massive. It's not that heavy at 465g and it's pretty thin, too, with 8.95mm between the glass front and textured, tactile plastic back -- it's that it's all face.

Not only does the slate carry a 10.1-inch display, but a significant bloating of bezel around it. It's not something you could slip into a handbag and it not be a nuisance, let's say. Worse yet, that 10.1-inch screen runs at a very noticeable 1,280 x 800 resolution, making it easy to pick out individual pixels. Large tablets are typically geared more towards entertainment, but 149 ppi doesn't really cut it nowadays.

The other specs are largely irrelevant: A quad-core 1.1GHz MediaTek processor, 2 gigs of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, 4,600mAh battery and 5MP/2MP cameras on the appropriate sides. Vodafone is selling the Smart Tab N8 on contracts starting at £16 per month for a 5GB data cap and no upfront payment. I'd sooner get exactly the same plan with Samsung's 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab A (2016), since it's been upgraded to Nougat already and waves a more alluring spec sheet, the 1,920 x 1,200 display being the most important upgrade. Hits and misses for Vodafone again, it would appear.

[Jun 09, 2017] Sneaky hackers use Intel management tools to bypass Windows firewall

Notable quotes:
"... the group's malware requires AMT to be enabled and serial-over-LAN turned on before it can work. ..."
"... Using the AMT serial port, for example, is detectable. ..."
"... Do people really admin a machine through AMT through an external firewall? ..."
"... Businesses demanded this technology and, of course, Intel beats the drum for it as well. While I understand their *original* concerns I would never, ever connect it to the outside LAN. A real admin, in jeans and a tee, is a much better solution. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | arstechnica.com
When you're a bad guy breaking into a network, the first problem you need to solve is, of course, getting into the remote system and running your malware on it. But once you're there, the next challenge is usually to make sure that your activity is as hard to detect as possible. Microsoft has detailed a neat technique used by a group in Southeast Asia that abuses legitimate management tools to evade firewalls and other endpoint-based network monitoring.

The group, which Microsoft has named PLATINUM, has developed a system for sending files -- such as new payloads to run and new versions of their malware-to compromised machines. PLATINUM's technique leverages Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT) to do an end-run around the built-in Windows firewall. The AMT firmware runs at a low level, below the operating system, and it has access to not just the processor, but also the network interface.

The AMT needs this low-level access for some of the legitimate things it's used for. It can, for example, power cycle systems, and it can serve as an IP-based KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) solution, enabling a remote user to send mouse and keyboard input to a machine and see what's on its display. This, in turn, can be used for tasks such as remotely installing operating systems on bare machines. To do this, AMT not only needs to access the network interface, it also needs to simulate hardware, such as the mouse and keyboard, to provide input to the operating system.

But this low-level operation is what makes AMT attractive for hackers: the network traffic that AMT uses is handled entirely within AMT itself. That traffic never gets passed up to the operating system's own IP stack and, as such, is invisible to the operating system's own firewall or other network monitoring software. The PLATINUM software uses another piece of virtual hardware-an AMT-provided virtual serial port-to provide a link between the network itself and the malware application running on the infected PC.

Communication between machines uses serial-over-LAN traffic, which is handled by AMT in firmware. The malware connects to the virtual AMT serial port to send and receive data. Meanwhile, the operating system and its firewall are none the wiser. In this way, PLATINUM's malware can move files between machines on the network while being largely undetectable to those machines.

PLATINUM uses AMT's serial-over-LAN (SOL) to bypass the operating system's network stack and firewall.

Enlarge / PLATINUM uses AMT's serial-over-LAN (SOL) to bypass the operating system's network stack and firewall. Microsoft

AMT has been under scrutiny recently after the discovery of a long-standing remote authentication flaw that enabled attackers to use AMT features without needing to know the AMT password. This in turn could be used to enable features such as the remote KVM to control systems and run code on them.

However, that's not what PLATINUM is doing: the group's malware requires AMT to be enabled and serial-over-LAN turned on before it can work. This isn't exploiting any flaw in AMT; the malware just uses the AMT as it's designed in order to do something undesirable.

Both the PLATINUM malware and the AMT security flaw require AMT to be enabled in the first place; if it's not turned on at all, there's no remote access. Microsoft's write-up of the malware expressed uncertainty about this part; it's possible that the PLATINUM malware itself enabled AMT-if the malware has Administrator privileges, it can enable many AMT features from within Windows-or that AMT was already enabled and the malware managed to steal the credentials.

While this novel use of AMT is useful for transferring files while evading firewalls, it's not undetectable. Using the AMT serial port, for example, is detectable. Microsoft says that its own Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection can even distinguish between legitimate uses of serial-over-LAN and illegitimate ones. But it's nonetheless a neat way of bypassing one of the more common protective measures that we depend on to detect and prevent unwanted network activity. potato44819 , Ars Legatus Legionis Jun 8, 2017 8:59 PM Popular

"Microsoft says that its own Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection can even distinguish between legitimate uses of serial-over-LAN and illegitimate ones. But it's nonetheless a neat way of bypassing one of the more common protective measures that we depend on to detect and prevent unwanted network activity."

It's worth noting that this is NOT Windows Defender.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is an enterprise product.

aexcorp , Ars Scholae Palatinae Jun 8, 2017 9:04 PM Popular
This is pretty fascinating and clever TBH. AMT might be convenient for sysadmin, but it's proved to be a massive PITA from the security perspective. Intel needs to really reconsider its approach or drop it altogether.

"it's possible that the PLATINUM malware itself enabled AMT-if the malware has Administrator privileges, it can enable many AMT features from within Windows"

I've only had 1 machine that had AMT (a Thinkpad T500 that somehow still runs like a charm despite hitting the 10yrs mark this summer), and AMT was toggled directly via the BIOS (this is all pre-UEFI.) Would Admin privileges be able to overwrite a BIOS setting? Would it matter if it was handled via UEFI instead? 1810 posts | registered 8/28/2012

bothered , Ars Scholae Palatinae Jun 8, 2017 9:16 PM
Always on and undetectable. What more can you ask for? I have to imagine that and IDS system at the egress point would help here. 716 posts | registered 11/14/2012
faz , Ars Praefectus Jun 8, 2017 9:18 PM
Using SOL and AMT to bypass the OS sounds like it would work over SOL and IPMI as well.

I only have one server that supports AMT, I just double-checked that the webui for AMT does not allow you to enable/disable SOL. It does not, at least on my version. But my IPMI servers do allow someone to enable SOL from the web interface.

xxx, Jun 8, 2017 9:24 PM
But do we know of an exploit over AMT? I wouldn't think any router firewall would allow packets bound for an AMT to go through. Is this just a mechanism to move within a LAN once an exploit has a beachhead? That is not a small thing, but it would give us a way to gauge the severity of the threat.

Do people really admin a machine through AMT through an external firewall? 178 posts | registered 2/25/2016

zogus , Ars Tribunus Militum Jun 8, 2017 9:26 PM
fake-name wrote:
Quote:
blockquote

Hi there! I do hardware engineering, and I wish more computers had serial ports. Just because you don't use them doesn't mean their disappearance is "fortunate".

Just out of curiosity, what do you use on the PC end when you still do require traditional serial communication? USB-to-RS232 adapter? 1646 posts | registered 11/17/2006

bthylafh , Ars Tribunus Angusticlavius Jun 8, 2017 9:34 PM Popular
zogus wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what do you use on the PC end when you still do require traditional serial communication? USB-to-RS232 adapter?
tomca13 , Wise, Aged Ars Veteran Jun 8, 2017 9:53 PM
This PLATINUM group must be pissed about the INTEL-SA-00075 vulnerability being headline news. All those perfectly vulnerable systems having AMT disabled and limiting their hack. 175 posts | registered 8/9/2002
Darkness1231 , Ars Tribunus Militum et Subscriptor Jun 8, 2017 10:41 PM
Causality wrote:
Intel AMT is a fucking disaster from a security standpoint. It is utterly dependent on security through obscurity with its "secret" coding, and anybody should know that security through obscurity is no security at all.
Businesses demanded this technology and, of course, Intel beats the drum for it as well. While I understand their *original* concerns I would never, ever connect it to the outside LAN. A real admin, in jeans and a tee, is a much better solution.

Hopefully, either Intel will start looking into improving this and/or MSFT will make enough noise that businesses might learn to do their update, provisioning in a more secure manner.

Nah, that ain't happening. Who am I kidding? 1644 posts | registered 3/31/2012

Darkness1231 , Ars Tribunus Militum et Subscriptor Jun 8, 2017 10:45 PM
meta.x.gdb wrote:
But do we know of an exploit over AMT? I wouldn't think any router firewall would allow packets bound for an AMT to go through. Is this just a mechanism to move within a LAN once an exploit has a beachhead? That is not a small thing, but it would give us a way to gauge the severity of the threat. Do people really admin a machine through AMT through an external firewall?
The interconnect is via W*. We ran this dog into the ground last month. Other OSs (all as far as I know (okay, !MSDOS)) keep them separate. Lan0 and lan1 as it were. However it is possible to access the supposedly closed off Lan0/AMT via W*. Which is probably why this was caught in the first place.

Note that MSFT has stepped up to the plate here. This is much better than their traditional silence until forced solution. Which is just the same security through plugging your fingers in your ears that Intel is supporting. 1644 posts | registered 3/31/2012

rasheverak , Wise, Aged Ars Veteran Jun 8, 2017 11:05 PM
Hardly surprising: https://blog.invisiblethings.org/papers ... armful.pdf

This is why I adamantly refuse to use any processor with Intel management features on any of my personal systems. 160 posts | registered 3/6/2014

michaelar , Smack-Fu Master, in training Jun 8, 2017 11:12 PM
Brilliant. Also, manifestly evil.

Is there a word for that? Perhaps "bastardly"?

JDinKC , Smack-Fu Master, in training Jun 8, 2017 11:23 PM
meta.x.gdb wrote:
But do we know of an exploit over AMT? I wouldn't think any router firewall would allow packets bound for an AMT to go through. Is this just a mechanism to move within a LAN once an exploit has a beachhead? That is not a small thing, but it would give us a way to gauge the severity of the threat. Do people really admin a machine through AMT through an external firewall?
The catch would be any machine that leaves your network with AMT enabled. Say perhaps an AMT managed laptop plugged into a hotel wired network. While still a smaller attack surface, any cabled network an AMT computer is plugged into, and not managed by you, would be a source of concern. 55 posts | registered 11/19/2012
Anonymouspock , Wise, Aged Ars Veteran Jun 8, 2017 11:42 PM
Serial ports are great. They're so easy to drive that they work really early in the boot process. You can fix issues with machines that are otherwise impossible to debug.
sphigel , Ars Centurion Jun 9, 2017 12:57 AM
aexcorp wrote:
This is pretty fascinating and clever TBH. AMT might be convenient for sysadmin, but it's proved to be a massive PITA from the security perspective. Intel needs to really reconsider its approach or drop it altogether.

"it's possible that the PLATINUM malware itself enabled AMT-if the malware has Administrator privileges, it can enable many AMT features from within Windows"

I've only had 1 machine that had AMT (a Thinkpad T500 that somehow still runs like a charm despite hitting the 10yrs mark this summer), and AMT was toggled directly via the BIOS (this is all pre-UEFI.) Would Admin privileges be able to overwrite a BIOS setting? Would it matter if it was handled via UEFI instead?

I'm not even sure it's THAT convenient for sys admins. I'm one of a couple hundred sys admins at a large organization and none that I've talked with actually use Intel's AMT feature. We have an enterprise KVM (raritan) that we use to access servers pre OS boot up and if we have a desktop that we can't remote into after sending a WoL packet then it's time to just hunt down the desktop physically. If you're just pushing out a new image to a desktop you can do that remotely via SCCM with no local KVM access necessary. I'm sure there's some sys admins that make use of AMT but I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers were quite small. 273 posts | registered 5/5/2010
gigaplex , Ars Scholae Palatinae Jun 9, 2017 3:53 AM
zogus wrote:
fake-name wrote:
blockquote Quote: blockquote

Hi there! I do hardware engineering, and I wish more computers had serial ports. Just because you don't use them doesn't mean their disappearance is "fortunate".

Just out of curiosity, what do you use on the PC end when you still do require traditional serial communication? USB-to-RS232 adapter?
We just got some new Dell workstations at work recently. They have serial ports. We avoid the consumer machines. 728 posts | registered 9/23/2011

GekkePrutser , Ars Centurion Jun 9, 2017 4:18 AM
Quote:
Physical serial ports (the blue ones) are fortunately a relic of a lost era and are nowadays quite rare to find on PCs.
Not that fortunately.. Serial ports are still very useful for management tasks. It's simple and it works when everything else fails. The low speeds impose little restrictions on cables.

Sure, they don't have much security but that is partly mitigated by them usually only using a few metres cable length. So they'd be covered under the same physical security as the server itself. Making this into a LAN protocol without any additional security, that's where the problem was introduced. Wherever long-distance lines were involved (modems) the security was added at the application level.

[May 31, 2017] Intels 18-core Core i9 starts a bloody battle for enthusiast PCs by Mark Hachman

Looks like Intel revamped enterprise E series CPUs for PC. Those support 2.4GHz memory not 2.0GHz like Pc variant
Notable quotes:
"... If there's a catch, it's that all of the new 165W, 140W, and 112W chips are designed around the new Socket R4. This 2,066-pin LGA socket is compatible with just one Intel chipset, the new X299, though many X299 motherboards are already being announced. ..."
"... Core i7-7740X (4.3GHz), 4-core/8-thread, $339 ..."
"... The X299 supports faster DDR4-2066 memory, though it's not clear how much. Intel also tweaked its cache hierarchy, an in-the-weeds adjustment that apparently reduces the overall size of the cache, in favor of putting more near the individual processors. Intel says its new cache shows a higher "hit" rate, which means Intel was probably able to cut the size of the chip but maintain its cache performance. ..."
www.legalmatch.com

Mark Hachman Senior Editor, PCWorld |
May 30, 2017 12:01 AM PT

...The Core i9 Extreme Edition i9-7980XE, what Intel calls the first teraflop desktop PC processor ever, will be priced at (gulp!) $1,999 when it ships later this year. In a slightly lower tier will be the meat of the Core i9 family: Core i9 X-series chips in 16-core, 14-core, 12-core, and 10-core versions, with prices climbing from $999 to $1,699. All of these new Skylake-based parts will offer improvements over their older Broadwell-E counterparts: 15 percent faster in single-threaded apps and 10 percent faster in multithreaded tasks, Intel says.

If these Core i9 X-series chips-code-named "Basin Falls"-are too rich for your blood, Intel also introduced three new Core i7 X-series chips, priced from $339 to $599, and a $242 quad-core Core i5. All of the new chips are due "in the coming weeks," Intel said.

Most of the Core i9 chips will incorporate what Intel calls an updated Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, a feature where the chip identifies not just one, but two cores as the "best" cores, and makes them available to be dynamically overclocked to higher speeds when needed. They'll be Optane-ready, too, with over 130 Optane-ready motherboards waiting in the wings, Intel said.

If there's a catch, it's that all of the new 165W, 140W, and 112W chips are designed around the new Socket R4. This 2,066-pin LGA socket is compatible with just one Intel chipset, the new X299, though many X299 motherboards are already being announced.

The prices and core/thread counts are as follows:

Core i9-7980XE: 18-core/36-thread, $1,999

Core i9-7960X: 16-core/32-thread, $1,699

Core i9-7940X: 14-core/28-thread, $1,399

Core i9-7920X: 12-core/24-threads, $1,199

Core i9-7900X (3.3GHz): 10-core/20-thread, $999

For enthusiasts with tighter budgets, Intel will also sell three new Core i7 X-series chips:

Core i7 7820X (3.6GHZ), 8-core/16-thread, $599

Core i7-7800X (3.5GHz), 6-core/12-thread, $389

Core i7-7740X (4.3GHz), 4-core/8-thread, $339

All of the new chips are based upon what Intel calls "Skylake-X," except the i7-7740X, which is designed around the Kaby Lake core.

Intel recommends liquid cooling for its Core i9 parts.

The TS13X uses propylene glycol to pump the heat to a 73.84-CFM fan that generates between 21 and 35 dBA, spinning between 800- and 2,200rpm. The TS13X, priced at between $85 to $100, will ship separately, Intel executives said.

Otherwise, Intel will maintain support for per-core overclocking and per-core voltage adjustments, using its Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU). New controllable features include AVX 512 ratio offsets, trim voltage control of the memory control, and PEG/DMI overclocking.

Intel will also offer its "performance tuning protection plan," a sort of insurance policy for overclockers. The company will let you fry your chip once, just once, and get a single replacement. After that, you're on your own.

The X299 supports faster DDR4-2066 memory, though it's not clear how much. Intel also tweaked its cache hierarchy, an in-the-weeds adjustment that apparently reduces the overall size of the cache, in favor of putting more near the individual processors. Intel says its new cache shows a higher "hit" rate, which means Intel was probably able to cut the size of the chip but maintain its cache performance.

[May 05, 2017] How strange to think the iPhone is 10 years old.

www.softpanorama.org
reslez , April 28, 2017 at 8:45 pm

How strange to think the iPhone is 10 years old. How will all those Millennials and Xers maintain their self-image?

You can't be a cutting edge techie warrior when your "hot new" gadget hasn't materially changed in a decade. I think it's pretty indisputable we've entered a period of stagnation. No antitrust enforcement in 15 years - we're paying the price.

The only reason we got the web is because David Boies went after Microsoft before Bill Gates could strangle it in its cradle.

Those tech companies better hurry it up with the flying cars and sex bots. They can only point at plastic WiFi-enabled fitness bracelets and bluetooth juice machines for so long. All the smart people in Silicon Valley are stuck working on better ways to spy on their customers and sell them ads. That is not innovation.

[Mar 30, 2017] Amazon.com MINIX NEO Z83-4, Intel Cherry Trail Fanless Mini PC Windows 10 (64-bit) [4GB-32GB-Dual-Band Wi-Fi-Gigabit Ethernet-

Mar 30, 2017 | www.amazon.com

I love these things and have 4 of them at my business. They only draw 2-10 watts, so the electricity cost is substantially less than a full tower, and yet they can run full 30fps video on 2 4k monitors at the same time.

We run office, surf the web, run smaller (500mb or less) business applications these and they pay for themselves within a year by the energy savings. Because they are so blazingly fast, (at least compared to my laptop) they will also save us employee time.

Things I have learned owning them:

1. IF YOU FLIP A SWITCH THAT KILLS POWER TO A UNIT - EVEN WITH WINDOWS PROPERLY SHUTDOWN BEFOREHAND - IT WILL CORRUPT THE MEMORY ON THE HD OR PARTITIONS UNLESS YOU HAVE TURNED OFF 'FAST REBOOT' FROM THE POWER OPTIONS IN WINDOWS. THIS IS NOT COMMUNICATED ANYWHERE EXCEPT MINIXFORUM.
2. Because power loss can corrupt the memory, I recommend taking a disk image so you can easily rebuild the unit if you have powerloss. It might also be a good idea to run the unit on a small UPS. Longterm, Minix should add a capacitor so the units can shut down safely when there is a power outage.
2 : Display port is only able to be converted to D-Sub VGA signal. HDMI Port can be converted to DVI. So, if you want to run two monitors that have D-Sub (VGA) connectors, you will need HDMI-DVI adapter and one Displayport- VGA Adapter. (Read: displayport CANNOT be converted to HDMI then run through a HDMI-DVI ADAPTER)

Minix Z83-4 as a media center and central archive By S. Hoff on December 16, 2016 Verified Purchase For the price of $169.00 and how well it has worked for my media center setup, it is a perfect little machine. We have thousands of CD's in our music collection and I wanted to create a system where we could archive the entire library with have some space for video as a central media center. It is certainly not a powerful machine by any stretch if you have more intensive applications such as games or video editing. However it excels as a media device which will also easily handle everyday light use for email, internet, office productivity.

What impresses me about the unit is how much hardware is packed into the dimensions of 4.8" x 4.8" x 1.2" chassis. Quad core Atom x7-Z8700 Cherry Trail 1.44 ghz to 1.84 ghz, 4 Gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, 32 gb SSD, Dual band Wifi AC, Bluetooth 4.0, gigabit Ethernet, 3x2.0 and 1x3.0 USB ports, HDMI and display port with discreet Broadwell Gen 8 graphics capable of supporting 4K displays, and Windows 10 64 bit. Just having Windows 10 is around $100 for an OEM license.

When I was putting my media center system together in my head, some of the major considerations was size, available ports, responsiveness, and overall power consumption. I looked at a couple of Intel HDMI stick computers, but the less expensive unit ($131) had only 2 gb of RAM which is too low for Windows 10 to operate without hiccups. The next model of that series ($349.00) has a M3 processor and more disc space (64 gb) than the Minix (32 gb). The first was affordable, but unacceptable for my needs and the more expensive model was too expensive and didn't have an Ethernet connection.

Out of the box, the unit felt solid and the body being both plastic and mostly aluminum in construction. Since this is a passively cooled system, the aluminum helps disperse the heat from the internal heatsink to the outside. The processor has a TDP of less than 4 watts and the overall unit operates from 2-10 watts from idle to demanding applications. This was ideal because I wanted a system that can be on 24 hours a day and the power consumption level is negligible compared to a regular desktop pc. It puts out very little heat as well!

Setup was attaching the power cord and my various connections (Ethernet, external hard drive, USB keyboard, external DVD drive) and startup was a breeze and Windows 10 operates pretty responsively considering the lower end specifications. It booted up in about 30 seconds.

With the limited 32 gb SSD where the operating system resides, I attached a 4 terabyte hard drive and the unit is connected to my living room TV at 1080P. I used JRiver Media Center 22 which is truly the most feature-rich program for $50.00 (30 days free trial of a fully functional program) and it helped me devise an even better archival system that includes content streaming to any device on the same network and over the internet on a different network! That was an unexpected feature that I didn't know about until I downloaded the program. I have started ripping the CD's into lossless flac and the JRiver program has been great with built in metadata editing, cover art aquistion, and organizes all media . There are free programs, but the ease and organization of JRiver made me a convert and I will be paying for it once the 30 period has expired. It is an easy system to use and it plays anything and at high quality. While I do have it connected to the TV via HDMI, the media center it has become only needs the television screen when ripping cd's. After that everything, including metadata, can be controlled and edited strictly from my phone or tablet. It acts both as a remote to the system as well as media streaming .

The Minix z83-4 has performed beyond my expectations and is a bridge between a media streaming device like Roku or Chromecast and a full-fledged Windows computer. For all intents and purposes, even with hardware limitations, it is a Windows 10 desktop. For my purposes, I am able to play CD quality music from it to the stereo and I am also able to stream my own library to up to 5 devices from any remote location. Via Gizmo (free) or JRiver Remote ($9.99) apps, JRiver will stream the original flac quality or transcode it from low to high quality mp3. Both apps do the same thing but the JRiver Remote looks more polished. I tend to stream it at a transcoded 128 kbps if I'm using mobile data but keep it at flac quality with wifi. With a 4 terabyte drive, it should be able to hold around 10,000 CD's as flac files. I am so pleased with this unit which has made my dream media center possible for those of us who have concerns about storing anything with cloud services. Also, I wanted to get away from MP3's because they lack warmth and classical music just sounds so much better at full quality. The the small profile and low power consumption gave me a discreet and efficient system where a bulky desktop or laptop would have been too cumbersome and expensive. For about $300, I was able to put together a system that can stream any personal media I archive to anywhere in the world if I have an internet connection and a Windows, Apple, or Android device!

[Mar 30, 2017] Top 10 Raspberry Pi Zero Projects That Make Use of Its Small Stature

lifehacker.com
Have you seen those cute mini libraries packed with free books in neighborhoods? You can do that digitally with a Raspberry Pi Zero, sharing a whole library of your own books from a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Essentially, you just turn your Raspberry Pi Zero into a Wi-Fi access point then share your own library of DRM-free books, magazines, PDFs, or whatever else you have. Obviously, you should keep this legal, but it's a fun way to share your own stuff. While the Pi Zero makes a nifty little computer as it is, it makes an even better dongle computer. This way, you can attach it to any other computer you have, then it'll tether itself directly so you don't have to add in a USB or any networking.

The best part of this project is the fact you don't need yet another mouse, screen, or keyboard sitting around. Just jam in into your normal desktop computer and you're good to go.

[Feb 27, 2017] 200 PM Water Cooler 2-24-17 naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... really exotic ..."
"... everything ..."
"... Still, if you know what you want computing-wise, you can buy it in a business-class model. Otherwise you're going to be stuck with an overpriced flavor of the month, in my opinion. The other virtue of business-class laptops is that basic things like durability, flexibility, and not crashing are a huge priority. ..."
"... I favour the Dell Latitude E6500. It is just old enough to have a 16:10 1920×1200 screen (matte!) and just new enough to have an Nvidia graphics card with vdpau support. Be sure to get those specs, some are lesser beasts. ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:13 am

Thanks, Clive.

I have never had a Mac laptop die instantly with no warning symptoms. One moment I was typing away, the next moment the screen was dark. I rebooted, and it went down for the count when I was typing in my password. Odd.

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 1:25 am

I encountered that – not on a Mac. Make sure the heat exchanger fins aren't mashed and the hot air can exit. That was the problem on mine. All it takes is one bump in the wrong place.

skippy , February 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

Macbook Pro logic board repair; not turning on, step by step fix.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDjwYf_GzK0

disheveled one wire or reflow .

dontknowitall , February 25, 2017 at 2:28 am

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro that suddenly died on me and would go to sad Mac face when I tried rebooting. After a lot of searching on the internet it turns out the model has a design error where a paper thin $15 data cable connects the hard drive to the motherboard by snaking under the hd and then over the mb rubbing in all the corners against metal as I moved my laptop from place to place. Eventually microscopic cracks develop in the data cable and dead Mac.

After replacing the cable twice the effective solution was taping electric tape under the cable at all spots where it rubbed and removing the two tiny screws that held down the cable at one spot but only worked to create stress on it. No more crashes.

Good luck on your fixit adventure Lambert, it can be strangely fun sometimes.

Ernesto Lyon , February 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I'm using a Windows laptop now for software engineering after years of Macs. It's OK after to get used to it. The bash shell is nice, if not perfect ( it is a real Ubuntu VM ). Apple UI is still better, but the experience continues to degrade for power users as they converge on IOS for their PCs.

If money were no object, Apple still is better, but you get a lot more for the money with Windows machines, as always.

I wonder how much longer Apple will be ae to charge steep premiums for their product line. I ditched iPhones for cheap Androids a couple years ago with no regrets as well.

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:08 am

I'm thinking I need to go the PC laptop/Ubuntu route for redundancy. All I really need to do is browse and write in a text editor, although I'd have to put up with an inferior outliner.

Readers, any suggestions for a rugged Ubuntu-friendly laptop for, say, $500?

And does Ubuntu essentially run on anything, or do I need to check the model number?

dimitris , February 25, 2017 at 2:50 am

2-gen old thinkpad (2015 vintage), like my daily driver, X250. X series or T series, says the consensus on reddit ( https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/ ), are still not quite crapified.

Avoid non-Intel graphics and non-Intel WiFi for better Linux compatibility.

Ubuntu has itself had signs of crapification lately (Amazon search integrated by default), so maybe Fedora?

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 10:36 pm
It's a difficult choice. They are all crapified now. Fedora with her GUI is a mixed blessing

May be OpenSuse is a better deal.

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 5:01 am

I've just spent a month loading Ubuntu (natively) on a MacBook Pro 5,5, and getting set up the way I want it. Seems to be working OK so far.

Took a bit of Googling. AskUbuntu (a StackExchange site) has been a great help.

Parker Dooley , February 25, 2017 at 8:22 am

Thinkpad T420. Runs Ubuntu just fine. Can usually be found for $250-300 off lease or refurbished. Usually comes with WIN7 Pro. May be a good idea to replace HD with an SSD.

philnc , February 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

2x on the SSD idea. We extended the useful life of my wife's old Thinkpad E ( a budget model with just an i3) by swapping one in.

ilpalazzo , February 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm

This. The last T with a good keyboard. If you stick in 8 GB RAM and an SSD it runs like new. If I were to get something for myself it would be this. My heavily modified T61 doesn't want to die though.

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 10:32 pm
I would recommend Dell Latitute such as E6440. Works well at a reasonable price.

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Latitude-E6440-DVD-Writer-Graphics/dp/B00JH11ITU

It is compatible with Ubuntu (actually most of Latitude models are compatible) but it is OK with Windows 7 too, if you use it only for browsing. It is now very easy to reinstall windows from Image if something went wrong, so it you do not do any scripting or processing, why bother. SSD disk would be a great upgrade, as somebody here already suggested. Even 250GB is OK for most needs.

You can also get a dock for it

Dell E-Port Plus Advanced Port Replicator with USB 3.0 for E Series Latitudes, 130W AC

Dell Latitude E6440 – Core i5 4200M / 2.5 GHz – Windows 7 Pro 64-bit – 4 GB RAM – 320 GB HDD – DVD-Writer – 14″ 1366 x 768 ( HD ) – Intel HD Graphics

Gman , February 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I hear ya, particularly regards iphones and the experiences of many people I've met who own them.

Into my fourth year with blackberry OS10 phone. Updates come along once in a blue moon, phone never freezes, it's robust, typing experience still unrivalled, OS a seamless dream, phone reception and network and wifi connectivity, in the UK anyway, a dream.

Only drawback is the battery life if you use the Internet (easily last all day + easily otherwise) but it looks like iphones aren't exactly all that on this front either.

Anyway I can swap out the battery if I ever need to and carry a spare charge bar too.

kgw , February 24, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Go to Linux, young man! Switched to Ubuntu 16.04, and haven't looked back

WJ , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Can you run linux on any kind of machine? and how hard is it to install and run if you're not super computer literate? If these are silly newbie questions (I'm sure they are), feel free just to refer me to a website or two. I've been using Mac OS X for the past few years, but every new iteration leads to a weaker Preview application and more bugs.

xformbykr , February 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm

i bought a windows laptop, and then removed and replaced its hard drive with a blank one. I installed linux from a DVD (obtained by purchasing a linux magazine, e.g., "linux format" or "linux user/developer") following on-screen instructions. It has been smooth sailing ever since. Meanwhile, the original hard drive with windows 8.1 sits in my spare parts box.

voislav , February 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

It's the same as installing Windows in terms of difficulty and better for installing software. Typically, it will install out of the box with a full suite of software and all the drivers. For your Windows needs, running a Windows virtual machine inside Linux is a good option, most productivity software runs seamlessly, the only issues are for 3D graphics heavy games and applications.
I would recommend Linux Mint for newbies as the installation process is the easiest, it comes with all the necessary media drivers, and it gives you a Windows-like UI. Personally, I am not a big fan of the Ubuntu's native user interface, but that comes to personal preference.

Kurt Sperry , February 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

I've got Mint on a dual-boot set-up and it's pretty easy and intuitive. That said, I almost always fire it up in Win10 because the software ecosystem is sooo much broader and VM is a kludge.

Ruben , February 25, 2017 at 2:28 am

A broader software ecosystem, apt analogy. It includes a lot more parasites, infectious diseases, and predators.

Anon , February 24, 2017 at 10:49 pm

> For your Windows needs, running a Windows virtual machine inside Linux is a good option, most productivity software runs seamlessly, the only issues are for 3D graphics heavy games and applications.

With KVM or Xen and capable hardware (VT-d or the AMD equivalent), you can pass through a PCIe device such as a graphics card to a VM. This allows you to run 3D applications at near-native performance.

Foppe , February 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Yes, pretty much. See here for instructions: https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-macos
(While booting, you can choose the 'live' option, which runs the OS from USB.

WJ , February 24, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Thx!

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:20 am

I want the simplest and laziest solution possible. Can I buy a UBS stick with Ubuntu on it? Or should I go the route of buying an Ubuntu book with a CD, and making sure the laptop has a CD?

The last time I ran Linux, a good decade ago, the WiFi drivers were awfully fiddly. How are they today?

Anon , February 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

You can buy a USB stick or CD from various sources (just Google for that), but there's not much of a reason to - it's really easy to download the ISO and make one yourself (I'm assuming you have access to another desktop/laptop besides the broken one and aren't just posting from a phone; sorry if I'm wrong). The link Foppe provided has workable instructions for doing this on OS X using UNetbootin, but personally I just use 'dd' like: "sudo dd if=ubuntu.iso of=/dev/diskX bs=1m". But there's nothing wrong with UNetbootin, and there's also a Windows version if you happen to be using that: http://unetbootin.github.io .

My experience with Linux Wi-Fi drivers a decade ago sounds similar to yours, but today I find Ubuntu and other modern distros "just work" in this regard.

Irrational , February 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

Agree on the USB and driver points.
The only things we seem to have problems with is devices using proprietary software like the iPhone (seems to be very roundabout to get it to recognise photos) or GPSs (updating maps only works under Windows).
Hubby thinks Mint runs pretty nicely, but there is a new distribution out there called Elementary OS, which looks very similar to Mac OS and is apparently getting rave reviews.
Good luck

Foppe , February 25, 2017 at 5:53 am

1. What anon says. Personally, creating a USB stick using that guide is less effort than searching for a store + having to wait, but YMMV.
2. USB installs faster than DVD, so not necessarily. I don't really see the need for a book - googling will tell you all you need, usually faster.
3. much better.

Zane Zodrow , February 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm

My experience: Bought Ubuntu Linux CD for about $5 (latest LTS version), put it in, followed instructions, that's it. Follow instructions for dual boot to start if desired, computer asks if you want to run Windoze or Linux on startup. After finding I seldom chose the Windows option, I switched to straight Linux. This was about 8 years ago. If I want to play video games, I play on Playstation or Xbox. I've been using Open Office for all word processing and spreadsheets for about 12 years, with good results, Linux seems to do fine on any video / graphics I run into. Not be smug, but I manage to practically avoid dealing with Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

kgw , February 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Need I say more? .. ;~)

Contrary to what Kurt says, I find that the "software ecosystem" is more than adequate for all purposes. Did anyone mention that it is free, including most of the "ecosystem?"

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 5:21 am

One minor caution for those in academia.

The open source Linux word processors (OpenOffice, LibreOffice) can save as either open document format (odt) or MS Word format (doc, docx). BUT! Saving in a Word version will remove all your citation fields (EndNote, Zotero).

Keep the working version in odt, and only save in Word format when you're ready to submit.

visitor , February 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Can you run linux on any kind of machine?

I once saw a presentation held at one of those conference for hackers, where a guy managed to install and run linux on a hard disk. Not running linux from , but on the hard disk. There are sufficient electronics - processor, memory and ports - to run an operating system on a hard disk nowadays

More seriously:

a) If the machine is very recent (say less than 18 months old to be safe), linux is highly likely to run poorly on it, or not at all if it is extremely recent; you must give some time to the linux community for porting the system and developing the necessary drivers for new computer models.

b) If the machine is somewhat old (say more than 6 years), the usual mainstream linux (such as Mint, Ubuntu or OpenSuse) may no longer run on it because these systems set requirements on the hardware (typically the capabilities of the graphics card, or subtle features regarding virtual memory) that old computers do not fulfill. It is not really a problem to install linux on such hardware - provided one selects carefully the version of linux and the kind of graphical user interface to run, and is ready for some tweaking. I have done this several times with Debian, for instance.

c) With a really old (2000 vintage or older) or really exotic machine, then it will require serious system knowledge and dealing with a version of linux like Arch, Gentoo or Slackware.

d) If your machine is standard fare, between 18 months and 6 years old, linux is not an issue at all.

how hard is it to install and run if you're not super computer literate?

There are linux variants - Mint, Ubuntu and OpenSuse come to mind - that have an easy installation CD/DVD-based program with reasonable defaults. The result is a fully functional system with a graphical user interface and lots of standard software packages coming pre-installed, with the result comparable to a common Windows environment.

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 8:56 pm

If the machine is very new, more than likely everything will run poorly or not at all, and unless it's Linux it won't get much better because corporate software 'development' is more an annex of Brand Value than a thoughtful process. (See also corporate-led economic 'development'.)
I detest Apple gadget-worship (no phone/tablet at all, though I get why some people like them), but can still recommend secondhand desktop Macs, which suffer forced obsolescence eventually but not too quickly: staying about 5-7 years 'behind' the latest, replacing the fairly reliable hardware only when really necessary, has always worked for me including for music production (don't get me started on the superiority of chrome tape & Tascam analog multitrack machines, but a computer is useful for storage, post-production and proliferating submixes. And crucially, the 'Mini-Mac' of c.2010 is unusual in that it has a direct audio input, so no need even for Midi control, let alone wireless anything, which would leave years worth of analog studio equipment instantly helpless.)
Secondhand - wiped completely clean after purchase by someone who really knows what s/he's doing, of course - means no need for any 'Apple Account' or other direct interaction with that baleful organization whatsoever, and good open-source software of just about every kind (can't speak for video or image-heavy 'social' media, admittedly) is now readily available, ,which wasn't always the case. I'm well aware of many people's nightmares with Mac laptops of the same generations & similar software though: have never been able to figure out why the relative reliability should be so different between box types, except where those dreadful all-wireless, design-prizewinning 'lite' Macbooks (or whatever they're called) are concerned.

Praedor , February 24, 2017 at 6:48 pm

After you install Linux, you can then install a VM and install any Windows of your choice on the VM, be safe from viruses, and ruin any Windows software you might have to use without reboots.

oho , February 24, 2017 at 7:12 pm

That (running a secondary virtual machine) should be standard for anyone who's paranoid about viruses or has been burned once by losing a half-day's worth of productivity because of virus/malware.

best of all you can do it for free-linux + VMware virtual box player.

Praedor , February 24, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Besides installing and using windows on a VM (I've used VirtualBox (easy) and, more recently, the built in KVM hypervisor system to run windows and Whonix, a really nice, secure version of Tor. Run a Tor gateway and a Tor client in separate VMs and even if your Tor session got compromised, it is still separate from your actual system. It presents a fake MAC address AND a bogus IP. No way to ID your computer or IP address.

Altandmain , February 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm

How crapified these days are new laptops? Seems like many people these days are having IT issues.

They don't seem to be very upgradeable these days. Everything is soldered.

Last year, I bought a 4 or 5 year old used Dell Precision M4600 for cheap on eBay and upgraded it with an SSD. I had to replace the battery and am going to ghetto rig an IPS display (I screwed up and destroyed the delicate LVDS cable, so waiting for replacement). Upgraded the RAM too to 16 GB (it supports up to 32 GB of DDR3 in 4x 8GB SODIMMs). There isn't much room for upgrading the GPU – I was leaning towards seeing if I could get an old M5100 Firepro for cheap.

The thing is, the Dell Precision is Dell's top of the line workstation laptop and because it was so old, I could get it for cheap. Performance wise, with the end of Moore's Law, Sandy Bridge is only 20% slower than Skylake (the current latest generation – actually Kaby Lake now with the fresh, but that's still Skylake, only a couple of hundred MHz faster).

What about new laptops these days? The quality seems to be so-so at consumer prices. Getting used workstation grade laptops seems to be the way to go.

I'm thinking:
– Dell Precision
– HP Z series and the older workstation grade Elitebooks (new ones are now just consumer stuff and Z Books are now their workstation books)
– Lenovo P70 seems good too, but not as much room for upgrades (apparently their BIOS is very restrictive)

Some of the gaming laptops like the MSI GT7x seems to be decent as well.

I've heard negative things about the Apple OLED Macbook, which apparently has fewer ports than what is needed. Apparently iFixIt didn't rate it very well.

On my desktop, I dual boot between Linux Mint and Windows 10.

oho , February 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm

>>How crapified these days are new laptops?

I've been thinking that since 2010.

i bought used Dell Precisions for under $100 each over the past year from eBay.

As I hate the chiclet laptop keyboard and don't need Intel Core i7 level processing. And would rather take my chances w/a used laptop

1 w/a new SSD for use and 1 for spare parts w/ a tablet if I really need to be mobile.

If anyone knows/wants to learn intermediate-level DIY computer skills, I recommend trying used over new.

Altandmain , February 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm

The upgrades I think are worth it:

1. SSD (big time!)
2. Perhaps an IPS display if you care about good viewing
3. If you need it, enough RAM

Most people don't do things that stress out the CPU these days.

If you wait, you can often buy used with an IPS display nowadays.

OIFVet , February 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Second the SSD upgrade. My Kirabook is a joy. Came refreshingly free of bloatware out of the box, too.

Anon , February 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm

I agree with your list as a baseline set of requirements, but I'd add a HiDPI display (and IPS too, as you said; the only thing a TN panel is good for is punching). I have an rMBP and can't stand to use my standard-res (~100 ppi) external monitor. There are non-Mac laptops with HiDPI displays these days.

Software support for HiDPI is most mature on OS X (perfect, in fact), but I've done cursory testing in VMs and Windows 10 and Ubuntu's Unity seem to be getting there. There will probably be issues with certain third-party apps on those platforms, but I'd consider the upside to far outweigh the downside here.

Regarding keyboards (mentioned in the parent comment), it's totally subjective. I'm in the minority that loves chiclet keyboards. Besides the MBP keyboard, I use an Apple chiclet keyboard on my PC. I feel I type faster and more accurately on them (~180 wpm).

funemployed , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

I spent a while shopping for laptops not too long ago. I don't do macs, so I can't comment on them, but after spending way too much time researching I realized there's way better value and customization available if you just skip to the business-class models (and way fewer costly "features" you'll never use). Shopping for them online is a less aesthetically pleasing experience, as their sales folks are more concerned with reps establishing relationships with business customers (specifically IT dept heads who are not going to be impressed by the wonders of, for example, touch-screen PCs that raise support costs, laptop weight, and provide little to improve productivity).

Still, if you know what you want computing-wise, you can buy it in a business-class model. Otherwise you're going to be stuck with an overpriced flavor of the month, in my opinion. The other virtue of business-class laptops is that basic things like durability, flexibility, and not crashing are a huge priority. Employees almost universally treat their work laptops as badly as humanly possible. Because businesses buy in bulk and the good IT admins keep track of costs, you just can't make money on laptops with high upkeep costs and noticeably more-frequent-than-peer breakdowns. In the consumer market, durability is less important than selling expensive service plans and nudging people with means to re-up their computers more often than necessary, and basic functionality takes a back seat to appearing innovative and cool.

All that said, Dell, etc. don't want retail consumers going to their website and actually comparing business-class laptops to the retail models, so sometimes you have to dig or do creative google searching (I went with Toshiba partly because their business-class stuff is easy to buy online). Very happy so far.

bob , February 24, 2017 at 9:40 pm

The biggest difference between "consumer" and business laptops seems to be screen resolution. 1366×768 is where consumer stuff has been stuck for almost 10 years now.

Want better? Gotta go "business"

HP non big box models are still pretty good. There's huge variations in quality among most lines.

Irrational , February 25, 2017 at 9:39 am

And the possibility of getting non-reflecting, non-glossy screens in my experience when I last looked around two and 6-7 yrs ago, but maybe it has changed.

Kurt Sperry , February 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm

I got a Dell XPS 13 for about half of retail used from a highly motivated university student seller and it's a pretty damn nice piece of kit.

Grebo , February 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Used business machines are totally the way to go.

I favour the Dell Latitude E6500. It is just old enough to have a 16:10 1920×1200 screen (matte!) and just new enough to have an Nvidia graphics card with vdpau support. Be sure to get those specs, some are lesser beasts.

They cost $2000 when new so they tend to be lightly used by top execs rather than hammered by code monkeys, and you can get good ones for ~$140 on ebay.
Business machines also have dockability, a massive bonus if it's your main machine but you also want to take it out and about. Parts are cheap and plentiful. The Latitudes are so easy to open up you'll laugh.

thoughtfulperson , February 24, 2017 at 9:23 pm

I have an Elitebook and it works fine for my needs. I use it as a desktop replacement as well. I replaced the HD with a nice sized SSD and upgraded the memory. After my wife borrowed my computer to take to work at a local private school, I found 6 people had logged in on my machine to their online accounts! I decided to get her her own Elitebook after that. I guess they are about 4 years old now, but with the extra memory and SSD's they are pretty decent

Also, I installed ubuntu linux on my old laptops the Elitebooks replaced. Works fine. And free as pointed out above.

beth , February 24, 2017 at 8:08 pm

The trouble with LibreOffice/OpenOffice is when someone tries to share a MS word document with you and you are unable to open it and sign/or make changes.

Do you have a work-around for that?

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm

There's bound to be a better way of doing it, but having both installed and copying/pasting as necessary still works, at least with Open Office on an ageing but not superannuated copy of Mac OSX.

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 6:06 am

Current versions of OpenOffice/LibreOffice should open and save doc/docx files just fine (although some complex formatting might break).

The online version of MS Office is another option.

[Jan 24, 2017] Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard (Blue) (920-007559) Computers Accessories

This is another keyboard with "normal" Esc key. the F1-F3 keys are for bluetooth switching, so to use those functions as shortcuts, you need to hold down "Fn" first.
No page up / page down without using the Fn key. PgUp and PgDown are achieved by Fn-Up/Down-Arrow
F unction keys (i.e. f1, f2, etc) are not enabled by default, instead shortcut keys are the default keys. And there's no f-lock. Which means that it's impossible to reallocate functional key to standard actions. E.g. alt+f4 doesn't work, which for me felt like a nonsense.
T he K380 is battery operated (with a remarkably long battery life). It uses 2 AAA batteries which I prefer to USB recharging because they last for months instead of just a couple of weeks.
Notable quotes:
"... traditional short cuts like "F5" to refresh and "ctrl+C" & "ctrl+V" to copy and paste also work. To me this is a definite plus as sometimes the copy and paste operations can be tricky with a touch screen and no keyboard. ..."
Jan 24, 2017 | www.amazon.com
Matthew on October 7, 2015

Perfect size and function make it a great choice for Android devices

To start with I would like to mention that this is the first review I have written and I felt compelled to do so after seeing that there weren't many reviews yet, one of which was overwhelmingly negative.

Pairing:

I bought the keyboard to use with my Nexus 9 (android) tablet. Out of the box pairing was a breeze and following the instructions on the slip sheet it took <1min to pair with my tablet. While writing this review I also paired it with my phone (Nexus 5) with equal ease. As advertised it was easy to switch between the two without re-pairing by selecting the proper "device button" at the top of the keyboard.

Functionality:

One of the reasons I selected this keyboard over others was because it is adaptive to different OS's and would allow for full use of the different function keys with my device.

So far I have found all of the special keys to function properly with my Nexus 9, these include the "home" button, the button that allows you to toggle through different windows, the "back" button and the audio short cut buttons.

So far I have found the use of these convenient while browsing. Additionally, traditional short cuts like "F5" to refresh and "ctrl+C" & "ctrl+V" to copy and paste also work. To me this is a definite plus as sometimes the copy and paste operations can be tricky with a touch screen and no keyboard.

T. Joneson October 11, 2016

Did not work with my Dell Laptop

I was not able to get this keyboard to maintain a link. My experience with technical support did not help. I returned it and purchased another model.

[Jan 24, 2017] vitalASC KB10KA-S Ultra Slim Bluetooth 3.0 Keyboard (Silver) - NEW

Please note that there are multiple colors of this keyboard and they are treated by Amazon as separate products. Most reviews are for silver and red variants.
It looks like a standard Pc laptop keyboard . With the standard Windows-style layout as well Esc and F1-F10 key can be pressed directly without using function keys like on many other keyboards. Attractive for Windows 8 and 10 users.
Before you use the keyboard for the first time you should charge it and it may take a couple of hours to charge for the first time. The LED charge light turns red while the keyboard is charging and go out when it is fully charged. If the battery becomes low the power LED will blink orange to indicate that it is time to recharge the battery.
The pairing button is at the right upper corner. Pairing is fast and reliable with 7" Samsung tablet that I tested. Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V work, which alone justifies the price of the keyboard :-) Android looks almost usable for light office work with this keyboard.
The keyboard has of/off switch at the right upper corner (on the side).
Notable quotes:
"... It is thin and small enough to fit over the top of my laptop keyboard, has a good response time, has a light for 'Caps Lock', and doesn't take too long to wake up after sleeping. ..."
"... I really appreciate that it has the F1-12 keys, as well as the functionality of a larger keyboard (print, insert, delete, home, end, etc.). ..."
"... I thought I had a bad one until I realized that I had to click the button that looks like WiFi in the corner. ..."
Jan 24, 2017 | www.amazon.com
kievite on January 26, 2017

Standard PC layout. Works with Win10 smartphones (such as Lumia 950). Excellent for Android tablets like Sumsung 7" Galaxy tab

IMPORTANT: I was able to connect it to Microsoft Lumia 950 smartphone. You need to press the pairing button on keyboard and then phone recognizes the keyboard and pairs with it. Before that it was listed as an Accessory and as there were several of them it was not clear which is what.

NOTE: that there are multiple colors of this keyboard and they are (incorrectly) treated by Amazon as separate products. Most reviews are for silver and red variants.

From my point of view (and probably from the point of view most of PC users) you want a keyboard that looks like a standard PC laptop keyboard. This keyboard fits the bill with the only difference I noticed is that function key is duplicated on the right side of the keyboard.
How many keys work with function key pressed I do not know as I did not tested it with the Windows computer yet, but PgDn, PgUp, Home and End work OK. Selection using shift and arrow keys also work.

It is extremely attractive option for Android users who want to use Android for light office work (It not very usable for working with long emails without the keyboard). What is the most important is that with this keyboard you can use Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V and all similar keys known to Windows users. That alone justifies the price of the keyboard :-)

I also noticed that on Android the menu key works OK producing menu. I experienced no delay in displaying symbols. Keys work OK and a spaced like on full size keyboard so there is almost no adaptation process.

Now you can use Android for working with your email which is not the easy using touch screen alone. You can add mouse if you wish too. I think this combination beats Chomebook. And I'm not that sure that it makes sense to overpay for it, if tablet with keyboard and mouse are good enough. Especially, if you understand that you are paying for the privilege of letting Google harvest even more of your personal data :-)

Before you use the keyboard for the first time you should charge it for a couple of hours. The LED charge light turns red while the keyboard is charging and go out when it is fully charged. Then you need to switch it on (The keyboard has of/off switch at the right upper corner (on the side)) and pair with the device you use. The pairing button is at the right upper corner above power light. Pairing is fast and reliable with 7" Samsung tablet that I tested.

If the battery becomes low the power LED will blink red

Nichole on September 1, 2014 Verified Purchase

Sweet keyboard!

I just got this keyboard about a week ago, and it has been wonderful so far! I'm using it as a replacement for my laptop keyboard after shorting out a few keys with windex... I did a lot of research and this keyboard does everything I wanted it too.

It is thin and small enough to fit over the top of my laptop keyboard, has a good response time, has a light for 'Caps Lock', and doesn't take too long to wake up after sleeping.

I also needed a keyboard that was rechargeable since i didn't want to constantly replace batteries, and I needed something fairly mobile.

I think the key response time is a little slower than my laptop keyboard and sometimes a keystroke gets missed because I didn't press down hard enough or in the center of the key. These problems don't happen often enough to be annoying though. I'm typing this review on it right now!

The keys are closer together than a traditional keyboard, but aren't too close that I hit more than one at once (i guess i have fairly thin fingers though).

The only part that took a lot of getting used to is that the Fn and Ctrl keys on the bottom left are switched on this as compared to my laptop's keyboard. This keyboard has Fn in the bottom left corner with the Ctrl key to the right of it. Even though, I am basically used to this now and I've had the keyboard for about a week.

Christopher Thorpe on December 26, 2014 Verified Purchase

Great!

This review is being typed with this keyboard. Its been used for a year and a half and I've been quite pleased with it. The only downside is that every once in a while it will register a keypress and input that character multiple times. For example, an "a" might become "aaaaaa." This doesn't happen too often, or it would have been returned long ago.

I really appreciate that it has the F1-12 keys, as well as the functionality of a larger keyboard (print, insert, delete, home, end, etc.). It's been used exclusively with a nexus 10 and moto x 2014.

Zora Abernathy on January 17, 2016

Definitely Reccomend

Absolutely love it! The keyboard has arrow keys and such. However, I thought I had a bad one until I realized that I had to click the button that looks like WiFi in the corner.

[Jan 24, 2017] Jelly Comb Universal Bluetooth Keyboard Ultra Slim for Windows Android iOS PC Tablet Smartphone,

Jan 24, 2017 | www.amazon.com

The layout of this keyboard is based on Apple's keyboard. That becomes a problem for Windows users, especially gamers, because of the location of the ctrl/control key. But that can easily be fixed by remapping keys.

[Jan 11, 2017] Fake History Alert Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

Notable quotes:
"... In many ways Treo/Palm and Windows CE anticipated it, but especially the latter tried to bring a "desktop" UI on tiny devices (and designed UIs around a stylus and a physical keyboard). ..."
"... The N900, N810 and N800 are to this day far more "little computers" than any other smartphone so far. Indeed, as they ran a Debian Linux derivative with a themed Enlightenment based desktop, which is pretty much off the shelf Linux software. While they didn't have multitouch, you could use your finger on the apps no problem. It had a stylus for when you wanted extra precision though. ..."
"... I was reading a BBC news web article and it was wrong too. It missed out emphasising that the real reason for success in 2007 was the deals with operators, cheap high cap data packages, often bundled with iPhone from the Mobile Operator. ..."
"... Actually if you had a corporate account, you had a phone already with email, Apps, ability to read MS Office docs, web browser and even real Fax send/receive maybe 5 or 6 years before the iPhone. Apart from an easier touch interface, the pre-existing phones had more features like copy/paste, voice control and recording calls. ..."
"... I remember having a motorola A920 way back in 2003/2004 maybe, and on that I made video calls, went online, had a touch interface, ran 'apps', watched videos.... in fact I could do everything the iPhone could do and more... BUT it was clunky and the screen was not large... the iPhone was a nice step forward in many ways but also a step back in functionality ..."
"... Apple invented everything... They may have invented the iPhone but they DID NOT invent the "smartphone category" as that article suggests. ..."
"... Microsoft had Smartphone 2002 and Pocket PC 2000 which were eventually merged into Windows Mobile and, interface aside, were vastly superior to the iPhone's iOS. ..."
"... Devices were manufactured in a similar fashion to how android devices are now - MS provided the OS and firms like HTC, HP, Acer, Asus, Eten, Motorola made the hardware. ..."
"... The government was looking for a display technology for aircraft that was rugged, light, low powered and more reliable than CRTs. They also wanted to avoid the punitive royalties taken by RCA on CRTs. It was the work done in the 1960s by the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern and George William Gray and his team at the University of Hull that led to modern LCDs. QinetiQ, which inherited RSRE's intellectual property rights, is still taking royalties on each display sold. ..."
"... The key here is that Steve Jobs had the guts to force the thought of a useful smartphone, gadget for the user first and phone second into the minds of the Telcos, and he was the one to get unlimited/big data bundles. ..."
"... He identified correctly, as many had before but before the power to do anything about it, that the customers are the final users, not the telcos. ..."
Jan 11, 2017 | theregister.co.uk

deconstructionist

Re: The point stands

the point is flat on it's back just like the sophistic reply.

Lets take apples first machines they copied the mouse from Olivetti , they took the OS look from a rank XEROX engineers work, the private sector take risks and plagiarize when they can, but the missing person here is the amateur, take the BBS private individuals designed, built and ran it was the pre cursor to the net and a lot of .com company's like AOL and CompuServe where born there.

And the poor clarity in the BBC article is mind numbing, the modern tech industry has the Fairchild camera company as it's grand daddy which is about as far from federal or state intervention and innovation as you can get .

Deconstructionism only works when you understand the brief and use the correct and varied sources not just one crackpot seeking attention.

Lotaresco

Re: Engineering change at the BBC?

"The BBC doesn't "do" engineering "

CEEFAX, PAL Colour TV, 625 line transmissions, The BBC 'B', Satellite Broadcasting, Digital Services, the iPlayer, micro:bit, Smart TV services.

There's also the work that the BBC did in improving loudspeakers including the BBC LS range. That work is one reason that British loudspeakers are still considered among the world's best designs.

By all means kick the BBC, but keep it factual.

LDS

Re: I thought I invented it.

That was the first market demographics - iPod users happy to buy one who could also make calls. But that's also were Nokia failed spectacularly - it was by nature phone-centric. Its models where phones that could also make something else. True smartphones are instead little computers that can also make phone calls.

In many ways Treo/Palm and Windows CE anticipated it, but especially the latter tried to bring a "desktop" UI on tiny devices (and designed UIs around a stylus and a physical keyboard).

the iPod probably taught Apple you need a proper "finger based" UI for this kind of devices - especially for the consumer market - and multitouch solved a lot of problems.

Emmeran

Re: I thought I invented it.

Shortly there-after I duct-taped 4 of them together and invented the tablet.

My version of it all is that the glory goes to iTunes for consumer friendly interface (ignore that concept Linux guys) and easy music purchases, the rest was natural progression and Chinese slave labor.

Smart phones and handheld computers were definitely driven by military dollars world wide but so was the internet. All that fact shows is that a smart balance of Capitalism & Socialism can go a long way.

Ogi

Re: I thought I invented it.

>That was the first market demographics - iPod users happy to buy one who could also make calls. But that's also were Nokia failed spectacularly - it was by nature phone-centric. Its models where phones that could also make something else. True smartphones are instead little computers that can also make phone calls. In many ways Treo/Palm and Windows CE anticipated it, but especially the latter tried to bring a "desktop" UI on tiny devices (and designed UIs around a stylus and a physical keyboard). the iPod probably taught Apple you need a proper "finger based" UI for this kind of devices - especially for the consumer market - and multitouch solved a lot of problems.

I don't know exactly why Nokia failed, but it wasn't because their smart phones were "phone centric". The N900, N810 and N800 are to this day far more "little computers" than any other smartphone so far. Indeed, as they ran a Debian Linux derivative with a themed Enlightenment based desktop, which is pretty much off the shelf Linux software. While they didn't have multitouch, you could use your finger on the apps no problem. It had a stylus for when you wanted extra precision though.

I could apt-get (with some sources tweaking) what I wanted outside of their apps. You could also compile and run proper Linux desktop apps on it, including openoffice (back in the day). It ran like a dog and didn't fit the "mobile-UI" they created, but it worked.

It also had a proper X server, so I could forward any phone app to my big PC if I didn't feel like messing about on a small touchscreen. To this day I miss this ability. To just connect via SSH to my phone over wifi, run an smartphone app, and have it appear on my desktop like any other app would.

It had xterm, it had Perl built in, it had Python (a lot of it was written in Python), you even could install a C toolchain on it and develop C code on it. People ported standard desktop UIs on it, and with a VNC/RDP server you could use it as a portable computer just fine (just connect to it using a thin client, or a borrowed PC).

I had written little scripts to batch send New years SMS to contacts, and even piped the output of "fortune" to a select few numbers just for kicks (the days with free SMS, and no chat apps). To this day I have no such power on my modern phones.

Damn, now that I think back, it really was a powerful piece of kit. I actually still miss the features *sniff*

And now that I think about it, In fact I suspect they failed because their phones were too much "little computers" at a time when people wanted a phone. Few people (outside of geeks) wanted to fiddle with X-forwarding, install SSH, script/program/modify, or otherwise customise their stuff.

Arguably the one weakest app on the N900 was the phone application itself, which was not open source, so could not be improved by the community, so much so people used to say it wasn't really a phone, rather it was a computer with a phone attached, which is exactly what I wanted.

Mage

Invention of iPhone

It wasn't even really an invention.

The BBC frequently "invents" tech history. They probably think MS and IBM created personal computing, when in fact they held it back for 10 years and destroyed innovating companies then.

The only significant part was the touch interface by Fingerworks.

I was reading a BBC news web article and it was wrong too. It missed out emphasising that the real reason for success in 2007 was the deals with operators, cheap high cap data packages, often bundled with iPhone from the Mobile Operator.

This is nonsense:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38550016

"Those were the days, by the way, when phones were for making calls but all that was about to change."

Actually if you had a corporate account, you had a phone already with email, Apps, ability to read MS Office docs, web browser and even real Fax send/receive maybe 5 or 6 years before the iPhone. Apart from an easier touch interface, the pre-existing phones had more features like copy/paste, voice control and recording calls.

The revolution was ordinary consumers being able to have a smart phone AND afford the data. The actual HW was commodity stuff. I had the dev system for the SC6400 Samsung ARM cpu used it.

Why did other phones use resistive + stylus instead of capacitive finger touch?

The capacitive touch existed in the late 1980s, but "holy grail" was handwriting recognition, not gesture control, though Xerox and IIS both had worked on it and guestures were defined before the 1990s. So the UK guy didn't invent anything.

Also irrelevant.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38552241

Mines the one with a N9110 and later N9210 in the pocket. The first commercial smart phone was 1998 and crippled by high per MByte or per second (or both!) charging. Also in 2002, max speed was often 28K, but then in 2005 my landline was still 19.2K till I got Broadband, though I had 128K in 1990s in the city (ISDN) before I moved.

xeroks

Re: Invention of iPhone

The ground breaking elements of the iPhone were all to do with usability:

The fixed price data tariff was - to me - the biggest innovation. It may have been the hardest to do, as it involved entrenched network operators in a near monopoly. The hardware engineers only had to deal with the laws of physics.

The apple store made it easy to purchase and install apps and media. Suddenly you didn't have to be a geek or an innovator to make your phone do something useful or fun that the manufacturer didn't want to give to everyone.

The improved touch interface, the styling, and apple's cache all helped, and, I assume, fed into the efforts to persuade the network operators to give the average end user access to data without fear.

MrXavia

Re: Invention of iPhone

"Those were the days, by the way, when phones were for making calls but all that was about to change."

I remember having a motorola A920 way back in 2003/2004 maybe, and on that I made video calls, went online, had a touch interface, ran 'apps', watched videos.... in fact I could do everything the iPhone could do and more... BUT it was clunky and the screen was not large... the iPhone was a nice step forward in many ways but also a step back in functionality

imaginarynumber

Re: Invention of iPhone

"The fixed price data tariff was - to me - the biggest innovation".

In my experience, the iphone killed the "all you can eat" fixed price data tariffs

I purchased a HTC Athena (T-Mobile Ameo) on a T-Mobile-Web and Walk contract in Feb 2007. I had unlimited 3.5G access (including tethering) and fixed call minutes/texts.

When it was time to upgrade, I was told that iphone 3G users were using too much data and that T-Mobile were no longer offering unlimited internet access.

Robert Carnegie

"First smartphone"

For fun, I put "first smartphone" into Google. It wasn't Apple's. I think a BBC editor may have temporarily said that it was.

As for Apple inventing the first multitouch smartphone, though -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38552241 claims, with some credibility, that Apple's engineers wanted to put a keyboard on their phone. The Blackberry phone had a keyboard. But Steve Jobs wanted a phone that you could work with your finger (without a keyboard).

One finger.

If you're only using one finger, you're not actually using multi touch?

nedge2k

Apple invented everything... They may have invented the iPhone but they DID NOT invent the "smartphone category" as that article suggests.

Microsoft had Smartphone 2002 and Pocket PC 2000 which were eventually merged into Windows Mobile and, interface aside, were vastly superior to the iPhone's iOS.

Devices were manufactured in a similar fashion to how android devices are now - MS provided the OS and firms like HTC, HP, Acer, Asus, Eten, Motorola made the hardware.

People rarely know how long HTC has been going as they used to OEM stuff for the networks - like the original Orange SPV (HTC Canary), a candybar style device running Microsoft Smartphone 2002. Or the original O2 XDA (HTC Wallaby), one the first Pocket PC "phone edition" devices and, IIRC, the first touchscreen smartphone to be made by HTC.

GruntyMcPugh

Re: Apple invented everything...

Yup, I had Windows based smartphones made by Qtek and HTC, and my first smartphone was an Orange SPV M2000 (a Qtek 9090 ) three years before the first iPhone, and I had a O2 XDA after that, which in 2006, had GPS, MMS, and an SD card slot, which held music for my train commute.

Now I'm a fan of the Note series, I had one capacitive screen smartphone without a stylus (HTC HD2), and missed it too much.

nedge2k

Re: Apple invented everything...

Lotaresco, I used to review a lot of the devices back in the day, as well as using them daily and modifying them (my phone history for ref: http://mowned.com/nedge2k ). Not once did they ever fail to make a phone call. Maybe the journalist was biased and made it up (Symbian was massively under threat at the time and all sorts of bullshit stories were flying about), maybe he had dodgy hardware, who knows.

Either way, it doesn't mean that the OS as a whole wasn't superior to what Nokia and Apple produced - because in every other way, it was.

imaginarynumber

Re: Apple invented everything...

@Lotaresco

"The weak spot for Microsoft was that it decided to run telephony in the application layer. This meant that any problem with the OS would result in telephony being lost....

Symbian provided a telephone which could function as a computer. The telephony was a low-level service and even if the OS crashed completely you could still make and receive calls. Apple adopted the same architecture, interface and telephony are low level services which are difficult to kill."

Sorry, but if iOS (or symbian) crashes you cannot make calls. In what capacity were you evaluating phones in 2002? I cannot recall ever seeing a Windows Mobile blue screen. It would hang from time to time, but it never blue screened.

MR J

Seeing how much free advertising the BBC has given Apple over the years I doubt they will care.

And lets be honest here, the guy is kinda correct. We didn't just go from a dumb phone to a smart phone, there was a gradual move towards it as processing power was able to be increased and electronic packages made smaller. Had we gone from the old brick phones straight to an iPhone then I would agree that they owned something like TNT.

Did Apple design the iPhone - Yes, of course.

Did Apple invent the Smart Phone - Nope.

IBM had a touch screen "smart" phone in 1992 that had a square screen with rounded corners.

What Apple did was put it into a great package with a great store behind it and they made sure it worked - and worked well. I personally am not fond of Apple due to the huge price premium they demand and overly locked down ecosystems, but I will admit it was a wonderful product Design.

Peter2

Re: "opinion pieces don't need to be balanced"

"I am no fan of Apple, but to state that something was invented by the State because everyone involved went to state-funded school is a kindergarten-level of thinking that has no place in reasoned argument."

It's actually "Intellectual Yet Idiot" level thinking. Google it. Your right that arguments of this sort of calibre have no place in reasoned argument, but the presence of this sort of quality thinking being shoved down peoples throats by media is why a hell of a lot of people are "fed up with experts".

TonyJ

Hmmm....iPhone 1.0

I actually got one of these for my wife. It was awful. It almost felt like a beta product (and these are just a few of things I still remember):

I think it's reasonably fair to say that it was the app store that really allowed the iPhone to become so successful, combined with the then Apple aura and mystique that Jobs was bringing to their products.

As to who invented this bit or that bit - I suggest you could pull most products released in the last 10-20 years and have the same kind of arguments.

But poor show on the beeb for their lack of fact checking on this one.

TonyJ

Re: Hmmm....iPhone 1.0

"...The original iPhone definitely has a proximity sensor. It is possible that your wife's phone was faulty or there was a software issue...."

Have an upvote - hers definitely never worked (and at the time I didn't even know it was supposed to be there), so yeah, probably faulty. I'd just assumed it didn't have one.

Lotaresco

There is of course...

.. the fact that the iPhone wouldn't exist without its screen and all LCD displays owe their existence to (UK) government sponsored research. So whereas I agree that Mazzucato is guilty of rabidly promoting an incorrect hypothesis to the status of fact, there is this tiny kernel of truth.

The government was looking for a display technology for aircraft that was rugged, light, low powered and more reliable than CRTs. They also wanted to avoid the punitive royalties taken by RCA on CRTs. It was the work done in the 1960s by the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern and George William Gray and his team at the University of Hull that led to modern LCDs. QinetiQ, which inherited RSRE's intellectual property rights, is still taking royalties on each display sold.

anonymous boring coward

Re: There is of course...

I had a calculator in the late 1970s with an LCD display. It had no resemblance to my phone's display.

Not even my first LCD screened laptop had much resemblance with a phone's display. That laptop had a colour display, in theory. If looked at at the right angle, in the correct light.

Innovation is ongoing, and not defined by some initial stumbling attempts.

juice

Apple invented the iPhone...

... in the same way that Ford invented the Model T, Sony invented the Walkman or Nintendo invented the Wii. They took existing technologies, iterated and integrated them, and presented them in the right way in the right place at the right time.

And that's been true of pretty much every invention since someone discovered how to knap flint.

As to how much of a part the state had to play: a lot of things - especially in the IT and medical field - have been spun out of military research, though by the same token, much of this is done by private companies funded by government sources.

Equally, a lot of technology has been acquired through trade, acquisition or outright theft. In WW2, the United Kingdom gave the USA a lot of technology via the Tizard mission (and later, jet-engine technology was also licenced), and both Russia and the USA "acquired" a lot of rocket technology by picking over the bones of Germany's industrial infrastructure. Then, Russia spent the next 40 years stealing whatever nuclear/military technology it could from the USA - though I'm sure some things would have trickled the other way as well!

Anyway, if you trace any modern technology back far enough, there will have been state intervention. That shouldn't subtract in any way from the work done by companies and individuals who have produced something where the sum is greater than the parts...

Roland6

Re: Apple invented the iPhone...

... in the same way that Ford invented the Model T, Sony invented the Walkman or Nintendo invented the Wii. They took existing technologies, iterated and integrated them, and presented them in the right way in the right place at the right time.

And that's been true of pretty much every invention since someone discovered how to knap flint.

Not so sure, Singer did a little more with respect to the sewing machine - his was the forst that actually worked. Likewise Marconi was the first with a working wireless. Yes both made extensive use of existing technology, but both clearly made that final inventive step; something that isn't so clear in the case of the examples you cite.

Equally, a lot of technology has been acquired through trade, acquisition or outright theft.

Don't disagree, although your analysis omitted Japanese and Chinese acquisition of 'western' technology and know-how...

Anyway, if you trace any modern technology back far enough, there will have been state intervention.

Interesting point, particularly when you consider the case of John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer. Whilst the government did offer a financial reward it was very reluctant to actually pay anything out...

Aitor 1

Apple invented the iPhone, but not the smartphone.

The smartphone had been showed before inseveral incarnations, including the "all touch screen" several years before Apple decided to dabble in smartphones. So no invention here.

As for the experience, again, nothing new. Al thought of before, in good part even implemented.

The key here is that Steve Jobs had the guts to force the thought of a useful smartphone, gadget for the user first and phone second into the minds of the Telcos, and he was the one to get unlimited/big data bundles.

He identified correctly, as many had before but before the power to do anything about it, that the customers are the final users, not the telcos.

The rest of the smartphones were culled before birth by the Telecomm industry, as they demanded certain "features" that nobody wanted but lined their pockets nicely with minumum investment.

So I thank Steve Jobs for that and for being able to buy digital music.

[Jan 10, 2017] Soz fanbois, Apple DIDNT invent the smartphone after all by Simon Rockman

Apple pioneered the concept of the smartphone as a status symbol. As simple as that.
theregister.co.uk
iPhone at 10

Apple didn't invent the smartphone. The iPhone wasn't as good as many of the other phones the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola were selling to the mobile networks. The real breakthrough was that Apple circumvented the buying process.

There has always been a battle between the mobile phone networks and the handset manufacturers. The networks see phones as a necessary evil for selling airtime. Anything which sells more airtime or chargeable services is a good thing. Anything which reduces the customers likelihood to buy – such as a high handset price – is a bad thing.

And the network wants to own the customer. We'll get back to Apple in a moment but first a bit of a brief history lesson.

Back in the early 2000s, before 3G the mobile networks had the purchasing of handsets down to a fine art. They would look at the cost of the components, know what a handset cost to build and then offer the manufacturer a little less than the total. I saw this when I worked for both Motorola and Sony Ericsson. We'd propose a new handset to a network with a price of $80, and a cost to us of $60, and the network would offer us a huge promo, millions of units at $58. They'd argue that their volumes would let us get the cost down to under $50 and then when we sold to other people at $80 we'd make more money. Sometimes we took the deal, particularly if the order spanned a number of models and some of the other models were more lucrative.

For Motorola "more lucrative" meant clamshell phones such as the V60 and 3G phones such as the A830 (codenamed Talon) and the A920 smartphone (Paragon).

The important thing that was going on here is that 3G shifted the power balance. In 2003 the only manufacturers who could ship in quantity were Motorola and NEC. Vodafone was so desperate for 3G phones it had set up Orbitel, a joint venture with Ericsson to make 3G handsets. Unfortunately these were made by people used to building high spec military equipment so while the manufacturing was superb and they worked well, the production rate at the factory in Nottingham was relatively weak.

Suddenly the handset manufacturers could up the ante on what they sold phones for. They could play the volume game the other way. If a network wanted some A830s they would also have to buy some GSM phones at a sensible price.

It set the scene for Apple to make a move – even though I suspect Apple never realised this.

The incumbent manufacturers all worked within the framework the mobile network buyers laid out. They had a consumer segmentation model, which classified types of consumers – Stay-at-home-mom, smart businessman, blue collar worker and the like. They'd have snazzy names thought up at ideation sessions with lots of Powerpoint and post-it notes.

The segmentation model would then be translated into phone specs. The stay at home mom might be called "Ellie Ballet", and the specs would say she wanted better headphones, a 2MP camera, bar phone with a five day battery life, and a retail price of under $50.

The business phone could be $300 but it needed to be 3G and offer lots of services which would drive more revenue to the network.

All phones had to support the current obsession of the network: Vodafone Live, Orange Signature, T-Mobile My Faves. As ever all driven by usage and loyalty.

So when Motorola touted the ill-fated Odin, Ericsson offered Pamela and Nokia any one of a number of concepts, the networks demurred. They didn't fit in to the consumer segmentation planogram, were too expensive and most importantly moved the ownership of the customer from the network to the handset manufacturer.

Into this war came Apple, with a frankly inadequate phone. It was $300 and 2G, didn't have MMS and the Bluetooth was rubbish. It would never have made it past the handset buyers. Apple wanted customers to use side-loading of music from iTunes. The networks had rebelled against Nokia trying something similar with Ovi. Apple also wanted the networks to re-engineer their voice mail to support Visual Voicemail, something Motorola failed to do with the P1088.

But Apple didn't sell to the handset buyers. Apple had a secret weapon: Steve Jobs, and he met with Ralph de la Vega, the big cheese at AT&T. And de la Vega welcomed the new rival to the evil handset manufacturers he'd been doing battle with. It also had cool. So even though the iPhone had a commercial model which included revenue share and a dozen red flags that would have seen any of the established players shown the door, AT&T took the iPhone.

And Apple was right, customers didn't want Live, Signature or My Faves. Customers did want email, music and open internet access. So the iPhone became an nifty customer acquisition tool. Networks were faced with two options, take the iPhone and give all your portal revenue plus a chuck more cash to Apple or lose customers to a rival who did take the iPhone. The proposition was so powerful, O2 which had decided to go from 2G to 3G and bypass EDGE (kind of 2.5G) reversed the major engineering decision and rolled out EDGE just to support the iPhone.

Even though sales have started to dip, the iPhone still currently dominates, and history has been re-written to say that Apple invented the smartphone. Apple didn't, but the real irony is that when the networks went with Apple to defeat Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola they ended up handing the vast majority of the profits in the mobile phone business to Apple. ®

[Dec 26, 2016] The 'USB Killer' Has Been Mass Produced -- Available Online For About $50

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(arstechnica.com) 243 Posted by BeauHD on Friday December 02, 2016 @08:25PM from the snap-crackle-pop dept. New submitter npslider writes: The "USB Killer," a USB stick that fries almost everything that it is plugged into, has been mass produced -- available online for about $50. Ars Technica first wrote about this diabolical device that looks like a fairly humdrum memory stick a year ago. From the report: "The USB Killer is shockingly simple in its operation. As soon as you plug it in, a DC-to-DC converter starts drawing power from the host system and storing electricity in its bank of capacitors (the square-shaped components). When the capacitors reach a potential of -220V, the device dumps all of that electricity into the USB data lines, most likely frying whatever is on the other end. If the host doesn't just roll over and die, the USB stick does the charge-discharge process again and again until it sizzles. Since the USB Killer has gone on sale, it has been used to fry laptops (including an old ThinkPad and a brand new MacBook Pro), an Xbox One, the new Google Pixel phone, and some cars (infotainment units, rather than whole cars... for now). Notably, some devices fare better than others, and there's a range of possible outcomes -- the USB Killer doesn't just nuke everything completely." You can watch a video of EverythingApplePro using the USB Killer to fry a variety of electronic devices. It looks like the only real defense from the USB Killer is physically capping your ports.

[Dec 26, 2016] Seagate Introduces External Hard Drive That Automatically Backs Up To Amazon's Cloud

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(theverge.com) 106 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday November 30, 2016 @04:40PM from the devil-is-in-the-details dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Seagate and Amazon have partnered up on a $99 1TB external hard drive that automatically backs up everything stored on it to the cloud . The Seagate Duet drive's contents are cloned to Amazon Drive, so you can be pretty confident that your important stuff will be safe. Getting set up with the cloud backup process requires plugging in the drive, signing in with your Amazon account -- and that's pretty much it, from the sounds of it. Drag and drop files over, and you'll be able to access them from the web or Amazon's Drive app on smartphones and tablets. If you're new to the Drive service, Seagate claims you'll get a year of unlimited storage just for buying the hard drive, which normally costs $59.99 annually. Amazon's listing for the Duet (the only way to buy it right now) confirms as much, but there's some fine print: Offer is U.S.-only; Not valid for current Amazon Drive Unlimited Storage paid subscription customers; You've got to redeem the promo code within two months of buying the hard drive if you want the year's worth of unlimited cloud storage; If you return the Duet, Amazon says it will likely reduce your 12 months of unlimited Drive storage down to three, which beats taking it away altogether, I guess.

[Dec 26, 2016] Open-Source Hardware Makers Unite To Start Certifying Products

Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(infoworld.com) 57 Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday November 26, 2016 @03:34PM from the on-board-with-OSHWA dept. An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld on the new certifications from the Open Source Hardware Association : The goal of certification is to clearly identify open-source hardware separate from the mish-mash of other hardware products. The certification allows hardware designs to be replicated. For certification, OSHWA requires hardware creators to publish a bill-of-materials list, software, schematics, design files, and other documents required to make derivative products. Those requirements could apply to circuit boards, 3D printed cases, electronics, processors, and any other hardware that meets OSHWA's definition of open-source hardware...OSHWA will host a directory for all certified products, something that doesn't exist today because the community is so fragmented.
After signing a legally-binding agreement, hardware makers are allowed to use the Open Hardware mark, which one of their board members believes will help foster a stronger sense of community among hardware makers. "People want to be associated with open source."

[Dec 26, 2016] Own An Open Source RISC-V Microcontroller

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(crowdsupply.com) 101 Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday November 26, 2016 @06:34PM from the RISC-y-business dept. "Did you ever think it would be great if hardware was open to the transistor level, not just the chip level?" writes hamster_nz , pointing to a new Crowd Supply campaign for the OnChip Open-V microcontroller, "a completely free (as in freedom) and open source 32-bit microcontroller based on the RISC-V architecture." hamster_nz writes: With a completely open instruction-set architecture and no license fees for the CPU design, the RISC-V architecture is well positioned to take the crown as the 'go to' design for anybody needing a 32-bit in their silicon, and Open-V are crowd-sourcing their funding for an initial manufacturing run of 70,000 chips , offering options from a single chip to a seat in the design review process. This project is shaping up to be a milestone for the coming Open Source Silicon revolution, and they are literally offering a seat at the table. Even if you don't end up backing the project, it makes for very interesting reading.
Their crowdfunding page argues "If you love hacking on embedded controllers, breaking down closed-source barriers, having the freedom to learn how things work even down to the transistor level, or have dreamed of spinning your own silicon, then this campaign is for you."

[Dec 26, 2016] 70 Laptops Got Left Behind At An Airport Security Checkpoint In One Month

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(bravotv.com) 170 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday December 04, 2016 @04:39PM from the TSA-PSA's dept. America's Transportation Security Administration has been making some surprising announcements on social media. An anonymous reader writes: A TSA spokesperson says 70 laptops were left behind in just one month at an airport security checkpoint in Newark. "And yes, there are plenty of shiny MacBooks in that pile," reported BravoTV, "which can cost in the $2,000 range new." The TSA shared an image of the 70 laptops on their Instagram page and on Twitter , prompting at least one mobile project designer to reclaim his laptop . "The most common way laptops are forgotten is when traveler's stack a bin on top of the bin their laptop is in," the TSA warns. "Out of sight out of mind."
The TSA is also sharing pictures on social media of the 70 guns they confiscated at security checkpoints in one week in November, reporting they've also confiscated a blowtorch , batarangs , and a replica of that baseball bat from "The Walking Dead" . They're reporting they found 33 loaded firearms in carry-on luggage in one week, and remind readers that gun-carrying passengers "can face a penalty as high as $11,000. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home ."

[Dec 26, 2016] Millions In US Still Living Life In Internet Slow Lane

Dec 26, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org
(arstechnica.com) 209 Posted by BeauHD on Monday December 05, 2016 @04:20PM from the loading-bar dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Millions of Americans still have extremely slow Internet speeds , a new Federal Communications Commission report shows. While the FCC defines broadband as download speeds of 25Mbps, about 47.5 million home or business Internet connections provided speeds below that threshold. Out of 102.2 million residential and business Internet connections, 22.4 million offered download speeds less than 10Mbps, with 5.8 million of those offering less than 3Mbps. About 25.1 million connections offered at least 10Mbps but less than 25Mbps. 54.7 million households had speeds of at least 25Mbps, with 15.4 million of those at 100Mbps or higher. These are the advertised speeds, not the actual speeds consumers receive. Some customers will end up with slower speeds than what they pay for. Upload speeds are poor for many Americans as well. While the FCC uses 3Mbps as the upload broadband standard, 16 million households had packages with upload speeds less than 1Mbps. Another 27.2 million connections were between 1Mbps and 3Mbps, 30.1 million connections were between 3Mbps and 6Mbps, while 29 million were at least 6Mbps. The Internet Access Services report released last week contains data as of December 31, 2015. The 11-month gap is typical for these reports, which are based on information collected from Internet service providers. The latest data is nearly a year old, so things might look a bit better now, just as the December 2015 numbers are a little better than previous ones.

[Dec 26, 2016] Panasonic Announces 1,000,000:1 Contrast Ratio LCD Panel To Rival OLED

Dec 26, 2016 | hardware.slashdot.org
(androidauthority.com) 103 Posted by BeauHD on Monday December 05, 2016 @05:40PM from the high-dynamic-range dept. OLED panels have always been known to have higher contrast ratios than LCD panels, but that may be about to change with Panasonic's recently announced LCD IPS display. The display boasts a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio , which is up to 600 times more contrast than some of the company's conventional LCD panels that tend to offer around 1800:1 ratios, and rivals OLED specifications. Android Authority reports: Panasonic has accomplished this through the use of its new light modulating cell technology, which allows the company to switch off individual pixels in the display using a secondary control layer. Typically, LCD backlights mean that either the entire or only large parts of the display can be dimmed at any one time. OLED panels switch off lights entirely for a black pixel to offer very high contrast ratios, and this new LCD technology works on a very similar principle. This is particularly important for reproducing HDR video content, which is becoming increasingly popular. Furthermore, this new light modulating cell technology allows Panasonic to increase the peak brightness and stability of the display, which can reach 1,000 cd/m2 while also providing HDR colors. Many other HDR TV panels top out in the range of 700 to 800 cd/m2, so colors, highlights, and shadows should appear vivid and realistic. Panasonic plans to ship the new display starting in January 2017 with sizes ranging from 55 to 12 inches.

[Dec 26, 2016] Bluetooth 5 Is Here

Dec 26, 2016 | mobile.slashdot.org
(betanews.com) 114 Posted by msmash on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @04:20PM from the future-is-here dept. Reader BrianFagioli writes: Today, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group announces the official adoption of the previously-announced Bluetooth 5 . In other words, it is officially the next major version of the technology, which will eventually be found in many consumer devices. So, will you start to see Bluetooth 5 devices and dongles with faster speeds and longer range in stores tomorrow? Nope -- sorry, folks. Consumers will have to wait until 2017. The Bluetooth SIG says devices should become available between February and June next year. In a statement, Bluetooth SIG reminded the specifications of Bluetooth 5 -- "Key feature updates include four times range, two times speed, and eight times broadcast message capacity. Longer range powers whole home and building coverage, for more robust and reliable connections."

[Dec 26, 2016] T-Mobile's 'Digits' Solution Lets You Use One Phone Number Across All Your Devices

Dec 26, 2016 | apple.slashdot.org
(theverge.com) 46 Posted by BeauHD on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @05:00PM from the all-in-one dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: T-Mobile just revealed its answer to ATT's NumberSync technology, which lets customers use one phone number across all their connected devices . T-Mobile's version is called Digits and it will launch in a limited, opt-in customer beta beginning today before rolling out to everyone early next year. "You can make and take calls and texts on whatever device is most convenient," the company said in its press release. "Just log in and, bam, your call history, messages and even voicemail are all there. And it's always your same number, so when you call or text from another device, it shows up as you." When it leaves beta, Digits will cost an extra monthly fee, but T-Mobile isn't revealing pricing today. "This is not going to be treated as adding another line to your account," said COO Mike Sievert. "Expect us to be disruptive here." And while its main feature is one number for everything, Digits does offer T-Mobile customers another big perk: multiple numbers on the same device. This will let you swap between personal and work numbers without having to maintain separate lines and accounts. You can also give out an "extra set" of Digits in situations where you might be hesitant to give someone your primary number; this temporary number forwards to your devices like any other call. You can have multiple numbers for whatever purposes you want, based on T-Mobile's promotional video.

[Dec 26, 2016] Filmmaker Installed Security Software On a Decoy Phone To Spy On Smartphone Thieves

Dec 26, 2016 | apple.slashdot.org
(theverge.com) 118 Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @02:00AM from the very-particular-set-of-skills dept. An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Dutch film student Anthony van der Meer had the unfortunate pleasure of having his phone stolen while having lunch in Amsterdam. Unsatisfied with the response from the Amsterdam police, who register an average of 300 stolen phones per week , Meer decided to find out what kind of person steals a phone. He downloaded DIY security software on a decoy Android phone, intentionally got the phone stolen, and was able to spy on his thief for weeks . He recorded the ups and downs of his covert investigation and turned it into a 22-minute documentary called Find My Phone . Meer preloaded the decoy device with an anti-theft application called Cerberus , which allows the owner of the device to access any file on the phone remotely, as well as discretely activate the phone's camera and microphone. Meer and his friends were able to navigate the technicalities of surveilling the thief with relative ease. They even snapped a close-up of the guy's face. The hard part, it turns out, was getting the preloaded phone stolen in the first place. It took Meer four days to get his device pilfered in a city with high rates of theft because concerned citizens kept coming to his rescue.

[Dec 26, 2016] AT T Is Adding a Spam Filter For Phone Calls

Dec 26, 2016 | it.slashdot.org
(theverge.com) 66 Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @05:00PM from the access-denied dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Today , ATT introduced a new service for automated blocking of fraud or spam calls. Dubbed ATT Call Protect , the system identifies specific numbers believed to be sources of fraud, and will either deliver those calls with a warning or block them outright . Users can whitelist specific numbers, although temporary blocks require downloading a separate Call Protect app. The feature is only available on postpaid iOS and Android devices, and can be activated through the MyATT system. Phone companies have allowed for manual number blocking for years, and third-party apps like Whitepages and Privacystar use larger databases of untrustworthy numbers to preemptively block calls from the outside. But ATT's new system would build in those warnings at the network level, and give operators more comprehensive data when assembling suspected numbers. More broadly, marketing calls are subject to the national Do Not Call registry . Specific instances of fraud can still be reported through carriers or directly to police.

[Dec 23, 2016] Precision Tower 3000 Series Workstation Desktop Dell

You can put 4 video port card it in. Has a lot of USB 3.0 ports. Relatively inexpensive.
www.dell.com
Ports & Slots – Mini Tower

1. Headphone | 2. Microphone | 3. USB 3.0 | 4. USB 2.0| 5. Line-out connector | 6. Line-in/Microphone | 7. USB 3.0 | 8. HDMI | 9. Serial connector | 10. Display port | 11. USB 2.0| 12. Keyboard connector | 13. Mouse connector | 14. RJ45 port

[Nov 24, 2016] Amazon.com Krisr2005s review of Dell UltraSharp U2414H 23.8 Inch Screen L...

Nov 24, 2016 | www.amazon.com
DisplayPort 1.2 and Daisy Chaining- What you need to know , August 3, 2014 By Krisr2005 Verified Purchase ( What's this? ) This review is from: Dell UltraSharp U2414H 23.8" Inch Screen LED Monitor (Personal Computers) I bought three of these monitors at the same time, as well as 3 DisplayPort 1.2 cables (I TRIPLE checked this because of how I wanted to configure the system). My setup is somewhat unique, so this review is primarily for those that want to have a single displayport 1.2 cable driving all three monitors in a daisy chain setup. The idea is relatively simple: Your graphics card output going into monitor 1 input. Then you connect a cable on monitor 1's displayport OUTPUT to monitor 2's displayport input. Repeat for up to a total of FOUR monitors. Sounds like an easy way to rid yourself of wires and have a clean setup right? Well, here's my experience.

Some background. This monitors are revision A01, my graphics card is a Gigabyte 7870. It has two mini DPs, a DVI out and am HDMI out. I used the supplied adapter from the graphics card for a mini DP to full sized DP, then hooked in the Cables Matters Displayport 1.2 cable to my first monitor. I daisy chained the other two according to Dell's instructions. BY DEFAULT the Dell's DisplayPort 1.2 capability is OFF. With it off you will definitely get no signal in a daisy chain configuration, from any of the monitors. To fix this, on monitor 1 (the monitor with the direct input from the graphics card) touch the menu button directly to the left of the power button. Make sure the monitor registers your touch- you will know if it does because the monitor will display a message saying it has no signal and you can select a different input by clicking the menu button. Once the menu comes up with different inputs, make sure the DisplayPort option is selected and HOLD the green checkmark button for approximately 8 seconds. A menu will come up asking if you would like to switch to DisplayPort 1.2. Make sure enable is selected and click the green checkmark. Repeat these steps on each monitor EXCEPT the last monitor in your DisplayPort daisy chain configuration. This one should stay in DP 1.1a mode.

Alright! So now everything is set up correctly and it should be smooth sailing from here on out right? Well.. not in my case. I experience a plethora of issues: one of more of the monitors will flicker, one or more of the monitors not coming on at ALL, one of the monitors will randomly shut off while the other two work properly and wont reinitialize. Essentially what it feels like to me is that the monitors aren't able to adequately send the signals to each other. I can't tell if this is a throughput issue, some type of handshake issue, graphics card drivers issue, etc. It's somewhat confusing honestly; in my experience all three monitors will initialize and display (albeit in a mirror mode NOT an extended mode) before Windows loads. My theory is that post-Windows, the signal sent to the monitors is displayport 1.1. The monitors don't seem to have a problem sharing a displayport 1.1 signal and displaying in mirror mode, but what's the point of that? That's not why people are getting three monitors! We want monitor extension, eyefinity, etc. When Windows loads, I THINK that the graphics card switches to DP 1.2 mode. So it appears like its a Windows issue or drivers issue but I think its a DP 1.2 issue. This could be two things. A cable/throughput issues or a monitor issue. AMD software has a displayport troubleshooting program, and when I can get all three monitors to actually work and display, the displayport program shows a total bandwidth of 20gb/s and each monitor is taking approximately 4.5 gb/s. So that says to me that its not throughput.. which leads to the only thing left.. the monitors themselves.

I believe these monitors have a serious issue with DP, specifically 1.2. I think DP 1.1a works fine.. but if you want to daisy chain you are REQUIRED to use DP 1.2 because of the throughput limitation of 1.1a. In this monitor's current state, I would not recommend this type of configuration. You can still use the HDMI inputs or the mini or full-sized DP (make sure 1.2 is turned off) and everything should work fine.. but for the sake of this review, I wanted to speak directly to the issue of DP 1.2 and daisy chaining.

I will update my review after I get my setup hooked up via HDMI for all three monitors. My plan is to use two Mini DP to HDMI adapters and hook two monitors up using that configuration, and my third monitor will simply be an HDMI connection from my graphics card to monitor.

So should you be concerned that this monitor doesn't really function properly in DP 1.2 mode? Only if you MUST run a daisy chain configuration. The main difference between DP 1.1a and 1.2 is throughput. You need that extra throughput to send enough signal through the cable to allow all three monitors to get a "chunk" of data. 1.1a cant push enough data through the cable, so you can't daisy chain. DP1.2 is also needed for high resolutions, for the same throughput reasoning. More data, more throughput required. The dell is a 1080P monitor so that's not an issue. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse | Permalink
Dell UltraSharp U2414H 23.8" Inch Screen LED Monitor B00GTV05XG Dell Computers Dell UltraSharp U2414H 23.8" Inch Screen LED Monitor Computers & Accessories DisplayPort 1.2 and Daisy Chaining- What you need to know I bought three of these monitors at the same time, as well as 3 DisplayPort 1.2 cables (I TRIPLE checked this because of how I wanted to configure the system). My setup is somewhat unique, so this review is primarily for those that want to have a single displayport 1.2 cable driving all three monitors in a daisy chain setup. The idea is relatively simple: Your graphics card output going into monitor 1 input. Then you connect a cable on monitor 1's displayport OUTPUT to monitor 2's displayport input. Repeat for up to a total of FOUR monitors. Sounds like an easy way to rid yourself of wires and have a clean setup right? Well, here's my experience.

Some background. This monitors are revision A01, my graphics card is a Gigabyte 7870. It has two mini DPs, a DVI out and am HDMI out. I used the supplied adapter from the graphics card for a mini DP to full sized DP, then hooked in the Cables Matters Displayport 1.2 cable to my first monitor. I daisy chained the other two according to Dell's instructions. BY DEFAULT the Dell's DisplayPort 1.2 capability is OFF. With it off you will definitely get no signal in a daisy chain configuration, from any of the monitors. To fix this, on monitor 1 (the monitor with the direct input from the graphics card) touch the menu button directly to the left of the power button. Make sure the monitor registers your touch- you will know if it does because the monitor will display a message saying it has no signal and you can select a different input by clicking the menu button. Once the menu comes up with different inputs, make sure the DisplayPort option is selected and HOLD the green checkmark button for approximately 8 seconds. A menu will come up asking if you would like to switch to DisplayPort 1.2. Make sure enable is selected and click the green checkmark. Repeat these steps on each monitor EXCEPT the last monitor in your DisplayPort daisy chain configuration. This one should stay in DP 1.1a mode.

Alright! So now everything is set up correctly and it should be smooth sailing from here on out right? Well.. not in my case. I experience a plethora of issues: one of more of the monitors will flicker, one or more of the monitors not coming on at ALL, one of the monitors will randomly shut off while the other two work properly and wont reinitialize. Essentially what it feels like to me is that the monitors aren't able to adequately send the signals to each other. I can't tell if this is a throughput issue, some type of handshake issue, graphics card drivers issue, etc. It's somewhat confusing honestly; in my experience all three monitors will initialize and display (albeit in a mirror mode NOT an extended mode) before Windows loads. My theory is that post-Windows, the signal sent to the monitors is displayport 1.1. The monitors don't seem to have a problem sharing a displayport 1.1 signal and displaying in mirror mode, but what's the point of that? That's not why people are getting three monitors! We want monitor extension, eyefinity, etc. When Windows loads, I THINK that the graphics card switches to DP 1.2 mode. So it appears like its a Windows issue or drivers issue but I think its a DP 1.2 issue. This could be two things. A cable/throughput issues or a monitor issue. AMD software has a displayport troubleshooting program, and when I can get all three monitors to actually work and display, the displayport program shows a total bandwidth of 20gb/s and each monitor is taking approximately 4.5 gb/s. So that says to me that its not throughput.. which leads to the only thing left.. the monitors themselves.

I believe these monitors have a serious issue with DP, specifically 1.2. I think DP 1.1a works fine.. but if you want to daisy chain you are REQUIRED to use DP 1.2 because of the throughput limitation of 1.1a. In this monitor's current state, I would not recommend this type of configuration. You can still use the HDMI inputs or the mini or full-sized DP (make sure 1.2 is turned off) and everything should work fine.. but for the sake of this review, I wanted to speak directly to the issue of DP 1.2 and daisy chaining.

I will update my review after I get my setup hooked up via HDMI for all three monitors. My plan is to use two Mini DP to HDMI adapters and hook two monitors up using that configuration, and my third monitor will simply be an HDMI connection from my graphics card to monitor.

So should you be concerned that this monitor doesn't really function properly in DP 1.2 mode? Only if you MUST run a daisy chain configuration. The main difference between DP 1.1a and 1.2 is throughput. You need that extra throughput to send enough signal through the cable to allow all three monitors to get a &#34;chunk&#34; of data. 1.1a cant push enough data through the cable, so you can't daisy chain. DP1.2 is also needed for high resolutions, for the same throughput reasoning. More data, more throughput required. The dell is a 1080P monitor so that's not an issue. Krisr2005 August 3, 2014

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Sort: Oldest first | Newest first Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion Initial post : Aug 4, 2014 10:18:18 AM PDT Oz says: Are you running an Nvidia gpu? Because i heard that Nvidia gpu's recognize this monitor as an HDTV and thus compromise the S-RGB, i've been seriously considering these,
and that issue has been a bit of a fear, holding me back, apparently it works fine with AMD but not Nvidia. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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Posted on Aug 21, 2014 5:35:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 2, 2014 10:05:58 AM PDT m0vs3h8r says: UPDATE: 9/2/14

MST is now working for me, even after rebooting or powering up after a shutdown. The only thing I did was remove the Dell Display Manager program from my startup configuration. I don't know if it was conflicting with Intel's display manager or what, but it seems to be OK now.

This is a common issue with this monitor. If you do a google search on 'U2414H DP Issues' you should easily find the Dell forum expounding on the issue. It even quotes two professional reviews on the subject. From everything I've been able to find, daisy-chaining monitors in DP 1.2a is unreliable. I have a brand new Asus Z97-Plus motherboard with an Intel I7-4790K. I'm not using a graphics card, yet. I'm using the integrated Intel Graphics HD 4600. I constantly need to power off the monitors to recover them after I restart the computer. I also need to do this when my system simply puts the displays to sleep. Maybe I only need to cycle the power to the first in the chain, but I have all three on a power strip so I just do all three at the same time. The power button itself doesn't cut it.

The fit and finish of this monitor is very good in my opinion. It's perfect for a multi-monitor layout since the bezel edges are super thin. After a few minutes, you don't even really notice the line/gap between monitors. This is the very reason why I chose the monitor for a displayport chain. I bought one to see if I liked it, then bought the next two after verifying the monitor was decent. No problems until I started daisy-chaining.

One last thing... I just bought my monitors in the last two weeks from Amazon. Two of them (maybe all of them) are A00, not the A01 KRIS2005 mentioned. I'd double-check, but I'll probably have to power-cycle them again :-)

Thanks for the review, KRIS2005! Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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Posted on Aug 21, 2014 9:52:28 AM PDT HJC says: Check out this post as a workaround:

http://en.community.dell.com/support-foru ms/peripherals/f/3529/t/19580375.aspx

Hopefully it may solve your problems with DP/MST. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2014 9:55:31 AM PDT HJC says: http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/?p=83

This file enables the full RGB range, but only when connected via HDMI.

Google "NVidia full range rgb" and you'll see many posts about this tool and the Dell U2414h. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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Posted on Aug 30, 2014 10:27:18 PM PDT T. Beranek says: [Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway . Show all unhelpful posts . ] [Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Hide post again . ( Show all unhelpful posts ) ] Any luck? I won't be using this setup personally but I feel that 3 stars is a little unfair considering the monitor works excellent with all other connection types available. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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Posted on Sep 12, 2014 9:28:44 AM PDT Chris says: I daisy chained a pair of these monitors out to a mini Displayport in a Lenovo with an HD4600 and GT 730M, worked out of the box after enabling 1.2 on the monitors through the onscreen menu. Not sure where you're getting any issues from. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2014 9:52:31 AM PDT HJC says: Chris,

What revision of the U2414H's do you have? Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2015 8:05:51 PM PST T. Wee says: Hi Beranek,

3 stars is extremely reasonable for a product that did not deliver according to it's specifications and marketing information.

Like so many others on the Dell forums I am one of those who bought 4 of these monitors precisely for the daisy chain and it doesn't work.

Would you buy a high end car, wind up getting a different car delivered and be convinced if the salesman explains that it's still an excellent car, it has 4 wheels and drives well?

The issue isn't whether the product is good as a standalone. The product was marketed to be able to daisy chain and a lot of us bought a few of them and it doesn't work. Dell isn't even acknowledging it's a problem. [When you have so many complaints any person with some sense would realise there's a problem going on.] Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

7 of 7 people think this post adds to the discussion. Do you?


In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2015 8:10:36 PM PST T. Wee says: Chris,

Daisy chain works initially and then the monitors start to exhibit what's known as the "Keeps going into power saving mode".

I understand it doesn't occur for you and I'm happy for you. If it was just one or two chaps in the forums maybe it's an isolated incident. There are TONNES of people complaining about the same issue.

On another note, how do you even enable 1.2 on the monitor if it keeps going into power saving? On top of that, your comment that you enabled 1.2 on both monitors goes AGAINST Dell insisting that you should disable 1.2 on the last monitor for daisy chain. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

5 of 5 people think this post adds to the discussion. Do you?


Posted on Aug 15, 2016 8:41:03 PM PDT The Squirrel says: I have 3 of these monitors in 1.2 dasy-chain mode. You must not have the last one in the chain with the 1.2 enabled. You must also download the driver for the monitor for windows. That will resolve the issue.

I'm an IT professional.

[Nov 24, 2016] Inateck Superspeed 7 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card - Interface USB 3.0 5-Port 2 Rear US

Notable quotes:
"... That said, once the driver was installed, it has been working perfectly and is VERY fast. ..."
www.amazon.com

nerdmarshallon December 1, 2014

Works great, but requires driver to be recognized by Windows
I like this product because it works great in my workstation and delivers blazing fast USB 3.0 performance.

My only complaint, and the reason I didn't give it five stars, is that it requires a driver. I definitely expected it to be plug-and-play - automatically detected and installed by my Windows 7 operating system. Maybe it works that way with Windows 8, but I had to download a driver from the manufacturer's website to get it work.

That said, once the driver was installed, it has been working perfectly and is VERY fast. I love that they didn't waste any space, packing as many ports into the rear panel as they could fit, and the two internal ports are an added bonus. You could connect them to your desktop tower's front-panel USB ports if you were so inclined (though I didn't - I'm using a desktop USB 3.0 hub instead).

My desktop machine didn't come with USB 3.0 ports, so this expansion card is a welcome upgrade. I *love* how fast USB 3.0 is, and have been upgrading all my devices to USB 3.0 since I got this product.

Overall, this is a good product for the money. Just be prepared to download and install a driver to get it working on your machine after you have it physically installed.

[Nov 18, 2016] New Apple laptops are close in design to iPhone and are designed to maximize Apples profit margins.

Notable quotes:
"... You can't fix them and you can't upgrade them. You're going to need a specialist. This is long way from something like the Cube that Apple brags about in their recently announced, grossly over-priced, hardware fetish book. This is like watching the Ds become the anti-populist, neolib party. ..."
"... A Mac now is almost like an iPhone. Just one step apart. The next move will be Apple processors (A12 or 20) in laptops, to avoid hackintoshes. So, they can charge 4 times the ordinary price of memory, battery, disk and anything else. Good business for them. All for Designed in California! ..."
"... The object is max profits not best or most user friendly tech. But I love my iPad, and as a retiree I don't need pros for anything. Still, I would have thought workers would be the targets ..."
"... Does this mean if the motherboard burns out, you'll lose all your data as well? ..."
"... The sad part about this is that Apple is perceived as 'high quality' hardware. More like hardware with planned obsolescence built right into it. On my laptop, a 5 year old Dell Precision M4600, the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, and ODD (which can be replaced by a 2nd 2.5" SSD) are all upgradeable. I guess you could replace the display, touchpad, and keyboard as well. ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

emporal November 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Part of News of the Wired

Both the 13 and 15 inch Touch Bar Mac Pros have the SSD (storage) soldered to the logic board. Looking for a repair or upgrade means replacing the logic board, if such a thing is available. I'll bet Apple might have saved upwards of 10 cents a machine on that design change. On the consistency side the same is true for the RAM and the processor. iFixit rates the 13 inch as a 1 out of 10 which means nearly no one has the skills and tools to fix them.

You can't fix them and you can't upgrade them. You're going to need a specialist. This is long way from something like the Cube that Apple brags about in their recently announced, grossly over-priced, hardware fetish book. This is like watching the Ds become the anti-populist, neolib party.

pricklyone November 17, 2016 at 3:26 pm

But..but.. Look how shiny and pretty!

auskalo November 17, 2016 at 7:28 pm

A Mac now is almost like an iPhone. Just one step apart. The next move will be Apple processors (A12 or 20) in laptops, to avoid hackintoshes. So, they can charge 4 times the ordinary price of memory, battery, disk and anything else. Good business for them. All for Designed in California!

John k November 17, 2016 at 8:35 pm

The object is max profits not best or most user friendly tech. But I love my iPad, and as a retiree I don't need pros for anything. Still, I would have thought workers would be the targets

c_heale November 17, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Does this mean if the motherboard burns out, you'll lose all your data as well?

human November 18, 2016 at 1:07 am

SSD = Solid State Disk

So Yes, but, you can always the NSA to get it back for you.

Altandmain November 18, 2016 at 11:21 am

The sad part about this is that Apple is perceived as 'high quality' hardware. More like hardware with planned obsolescence built right into it. On my laptop, a 5 year old Dell Precision M4600, the CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, and ODD (which can be replaced by a 2nd 2.5" SSD) are all upgradeable. I guess you could replace the display, touchpad, and keyboard as well.

These days, only Clevo laptops are that upgradeable. They just aren't "hip" or good looking. They also tend to be bulky, but that may be because they are oriented towards the workstation and gaming type of users as desktop replacements.

Yep, it is basically a iPhone designed to maximize Apple's profit margins.

[Nov 07, 2016] Inateck PCI-E to USB 3.0 5-Port PCI Express Card and 15-Pin Power Connector, Mini PCI-E USB 3.0 Hub Controller Adap

Nov 07, 2016 | www.amazon.com

[Nov 07, 2016] HooToo Ultra Slim 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub (5Gbps Transfer Speed, Anodized Alloy, Compact, Lightweight, For Mac and Windo

Nov 07, 2016 | www.amazon.com

[Nov 07, 2016] Amazon.com Inateck PCI-E to USB 3.0 5-Port PCI Express Card and 15-Pin Power Connector, Mini PCI-E USB 3.0 Hub Controller Adap

Nov 07, 2016 | www.amazon.com

[Nov 05, 2016] Affordable compact (FIT or bar form factor) 128 GB Flash drives

"FIT" form factor is the best as almost does not protrude from the USB port. There is a small (orange in case of SanDisk) indicator light and I kind of like it. When it is writing or reading, the light will blink. They are supposed to be plugged in and seldom pulled out, or pulled out fairly rarely. Perfect for local backup of OS.
Bar form factor protrude one inch or so. Which in many case is acceptable but still carry some risks.
Nov 05, 2016 | www.amazon.com

USB 3.0 FIT

USB 3.0 BAR

USB 2.0

[Nov 04, 2016] 512 Gb USB flash drives for local backu

Jan 01, 2003

USB 3.0

USB 2.0

[Sep 16, 2016] T-Mobile To Boost Its LTE Speeds To 400 Mbps

Sep 16, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(thenextweb.com) 73

Posted by BeauHD on Tuesday September 06, 2016 @07:30PM from the theory-of-relativity dept. An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Next Web: T-Mobile plans to boost its LTE speeds to up to 400 Mbps in the very near future. The Next Web reports: "The company is getting ready to boost its maximum theoretical internet speeds to become the faster carrier in the U.S. by a wide margin. The network will soon support theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps -- nearly half the speed of Google Fiber. There's a two-pronged approach to the upgrade. First is incorporating 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology, which will supposedly double the speed from the current 7-40 Mbps customers tend to experience with T-Mobile (about the same as Verizon with LTE-A). This upgrade is available now in 319 cities, although it's a moot point because only the S7 and S7 Edge will be able to use the tech via a software update "later this month." In October, the company will roll out 256 QAM support to the S7 and S7 Edge (and again, more phones later), which increases the amount of bits per transmission. T-Mobile says this will lead to theoretical maximum speeds of 400 Mbps." The Next Web followed-up with T-Mobile to ask about what the real-world speeds would be after the upgrade. The company says "customers can expect to see real world peak speeds of 190 Mbps," which is over four times current peaks speeds, but also far below the theoretical 400 Mbps.

[Aug 11, 2016] SanDisk CZ48 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Memory Drive

It is silly to expect USB 3.0 write speed at this price range. Good read speed USB 3.0 (over 100 MB/s, some more expensive drives have 400 MB/sec speed) the write speed 27.76 [MB/s] is adequate for most applications.
Amazon.com

R.Consumeron December 11, 2014

One-way USB 3.0 speeds only

Capacity: 16 GB

What's Good
(+) Well-built casing
(+) Activity indicator light present
(+) Design allows for a lanyard to be attached
(+) USB 3.0 read speeds...

What Raises the Eyebrow
(-) ...but USB 2.0 write speeds

Overall: Two stars. Ticks all the checkboxes on the hardware side, but poor write performance makes it an overall difficult proposition for a USB 3.0 flash drive recommendation

Note: This review is based on the 16GB version

If you've arrived here from my SanDisk Cruzer Blade (SanDisk Cruzer Blade 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive) review, the first thing that you'd want to note that this SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 fixes the most glaring hardware issues I had with the Cruzer Blade. The fit is more generous and it has a flashing orange activity indicator in the body of the flash drive, only visible when it is connected to the PC.

Similar to the Cruzer Blade, the SanDisk Ultra's design allows for a lanyard to be attached to it by means of an opening at one end of the flash drive. Unlike the one-piece design of the Cruzer Blade though, the SanDisk Ultra has a retracting mechanism for the metal USB header, housed in a well-built plastic casing. The SanDisk Ultra is slightly larger however, measuring at about 5cm (2") long compared to the Cruzer Blade's 4cm (1.6"); this may be an issue if you use a laptop with exceptionally low ground clearance for the USB ports though I have yet to encounter one.

At the end of my Cruzer Blade review, I mentioned that an extra few dollars for its price will buy you a USB 3.0 capable flash drive. This SanDisk Ultra is among one of them, but there's a huge catch; the USB 3.0 speeds are one-way only.

In my general use, the read speeds, copying files from the flash drive to the PC, are indeed USB 3.0 standards, averaging around 75 MB/s. However, the write speeds, copying files from the PC to the flash drive, are atrocious, averaging around 8 - 11 MB/s.

I expect those write speeds in a decent USB 2.0 flash drive, not one that advertises itself as USB 3.0 capable. I almost thought I had plugged the flash drive to the wrong port but nope, it's from the same port that achieved the 75 MB/s read speeds. For background information, if you Google search "USB 2.0 speed", the first entry states that the maximum theoretical speed for a USB 2.0 transfer is 60 megabytes per second (MB/s). So if I'm achieving 75 MB/s read speeds, the SanDisk Ultra is indeed connected via a USB 3.0 channel, but the write speeds are painfully limited at the USB 2.0 range.

SanDisk does make a distinction between read and write speeds and you may argue that I am indeed receiving USB 3.0 capabilities from this drive as promised in the description, where there is an explicit numerical rate attached only for the read speeds. However, I at least expect some sort of upgrade in all performance aspects, not just simply maintaining parity with existing standards; even only achieving a modest upgrade to 16 - 18 MB/s average write speeds, which is slow for USB 3.0 standards, would go a long way in my consumer satisfaction.

This SanDisk Ultra is indeed a better device in the context of a direct replacement for my Cruzer Blade, but I do not like the marketing doublespeak on the performance capabilities of this drive. If you're going to market your product as USB 3.0 capable, I don't want to have to second guess and read all the fine print on the specific, exact instances where the capability applies. All I ask for is a reasonable performance upgrade from existing USB 2.0 drives; I'd be more than satisfied with a drop in the read speeds to around 55 MB/s in exchange for an increase in write performance to 16 MB/s.

There is a faster USB 3.0 flash drive also by SanDisk (SanDisk Extreme CZ80 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Transfer Speeds Up To 245MB/s- SDCZ80-016G-GAM46 [Newest Version]), but again, it costs another additional few dollars and these dollars add up and will soon price itself out of my budget appetite for these type of flash drives.

I will continue using this SanDisk Ultra, but given its USB 2.0 write speeds, I may as well look for one of those USB 2.0 flash drives with the dual regular and micro-USB form factor for use with my smartphone. At the very least, this product redeems the SanDisk brand out of my avoid list.

Wolfixon March 18, 2015

4.0 out of 5 stars
Solid Flash Drive at a Pretty Competitive Price

Capacity: 64 GB

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 100.151 MB/s
Sequential Write : 46.751 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 91.121 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 1.400 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 7.069 MB/s [ 1725.9 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.213 MB/s [ 52.0 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 7.203 MB/s [ 1758.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.149 MB/s [ 36.3 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [D: 0.2% (0.1/58.9 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2015/03/18 20:45:02
OS : Windows 8.1 Pro [6.3 Build 9600] (x64)

Sequential Read : 86.288 MB/s
Sequential Write : 20.625 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 78.656 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 13.689 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 5.372 MB/s [ 1311.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.931 MB/s [ 227.3 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 5.564 MB/s [ 1358.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.938 MB/s [ 228.9 IOPS]

Test : 50 MB [D: 0.2% (0.1/58.9 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2015/03/18 20:55:27
OS : Windows 8.1 Pro [6.3 Build 9600] (x64)

-- NTFS FORMAT WAS USED --

Checked for bad sectors -- None Found.

You should look for sequential read/writes speeds for transferring large files such as movies, the middle between sequential R/W and 512KB for pictures, and look at 4K R/W for OSes. I ran Ubuntu 14.10 off the thumb drive, using Rufus to prep it as a bootable drive, and it worked absolutely fine on my Haswell i5 Intel NUC (teeny tiny bit slow sometimes, but not unusual for flash drives). Read speeds are solid, hovering around 90MB/s in real world video transfers. Write speeds are around 45MB/s on average, dropping significantly if there are many small files. I usually get about 20-25MB/s with 2-3MB files and 8-15MB/s with ~500KB files. These are pretty decent speeds for what you pay for. The 5 year warranty is excellent and is much, much better than what many of the competitors are offering (looking at you PNY!)

The case is made of a very nice, matte finger-print resistant black plastic. It is smooth to the touch and features a glossy plastic indentation where you press in and move forward to open the thumb drive's USB connection. The USB connection is housed within the device but is still vulnerable to getting dust and debris inside of it because there is no cover over the port. It features a small, orange LED indicator light right behind the thumb imprint when it is active, which is very useful.

Helpful Information: "up-to" speeds mean exactly that. They are achieved under the most optimum conditions possible. Due to the fickle nature of electronics and software, you should never expect maximum speeds (although you should expect close). Discrepancies from OS type/version, card reader (USB 2.0/3.0/PCIe and who makes it), natural variances in NAND (what makes up flash storage), and HDD (if you use one) limitations can all effect your card's performance. Flash drives of today are basically stuffed with the NAND that didn't cut it for SSD speeds (>300MB/s with no errors), and use a very basic controller in most cases (the SanDisk Extreme, Extreme Pro, and a few select others being exemptions, fitted with an actual SSD controller and high quality NAND for some fantastic speeds). This is very obvious when you start to see abysmal 4K R/W speeds, as the SSD controllers can handle those far better than the generic USB controllers. Flash drives also generally increase in speed as they increase in size. This happens because of what is called parallelism. The bigger the flash drive, the more NAND dies it has, and thus the more channels it can write to, thus usually increasing speed significantly. It always pays to buy the biggest you can afford if you want fast write speeds for this reason (read speeds are usually pretty uniform no matter what size you buy). Lastly, storage size is sold to you as Gigabytes (GB), but is actually read by your computer as Gibibytes (GiB) although it still tells you it is GB (which is wrong). (kilo/me/gi-ga)Bytes are in factors of 10 (1000KB in a MB, 1000MB in a GB, 1000GB in a TB, etc.) While (kilo/me/gi-bi)bytes are factors of 2 as in binary (1024 bytes in a kibibyte). This discrepancy of 24 bytes is why you see 16GB as 14.9GB in your computer, or 1TB as 931GB, the bigger the drive the bigger the discrepancy.

I would recommend this drive if you feel safer with a long warranty. However, I (knock on wood), have never had to use a warranty on any flash drive I've owned. If you want THE best bang for your buck, I recommend the 128GB or 256GB PNY Turbo USB 3.0. You get faster speeds, 2x the storage, and it goes on sale regularly for $34.99 or $69.95, respectively.

[Aug 08, 2016] Dell USB 3.0 Triple Display UltraHD Universal Dock (D3100) Computers Accessories

Amazon.com

Dell USB 3.0 Triple Display UltraHD Universal Dock (D3100)

List Price: $169.99
Price: $107.33 & FREE Shipping. Details
You Save: $62.66 (37%)

Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

The Dell Docking Station - USB 3.0 connects your laptop to up to three additional monitors, various external devices and the Internet with a single cable. It features a convenient way to expand the capabilities of your portable PC and customize your desktop computing environment. This sleek, compact dock unlocks enhanced productivity and entertainment options with highspeed connectivity and support for Ultra HD 4K displays. It also includes three USB 3.0 ports, as well as two USB 2.0 connections, ensuring compatibility with a vast array of peripherals, such as external hard drives, printers and scanners. Moreover, it is a great choice for corporate environments with Wake-On-LAN and PXE boot (on selected platforms).

By John C. Beane, IV on September 18, 2015 Style Name: USB 3.0 Size: Triple Display Verified Purchase
Some drawbacks, but otherwise a very nice piece of desktop computing awesomeness. Well, I have been using one of these docks for almost a year now, and I have been extremely impressed. The picture quality is great, and the functionality is very reliable. I do, however, have two complaints.

Firstly, the setup is not as simple as it should be. There is firmware available on the Dell website, as well as on the DisplayLink website, but no native software application for managing the displays once installed. You are forced to use the Windows display management software, which is absolutely not user friendly, especially if you are running triple monitors or more. It takes some time to get everything set up and working properly, but once you get it done, you should not have any further issues.

Secondly, this dock has a DisplayPort output. If, however, you own or intend to purchase monitors, like my three Dell U2414H flat panels, with MST (Multi-Stream Transport) capability (aka Daisy Chaining) you will be disappointed to learn that this dock does NOT support MST. Rather than connecting multiple monitors to one display output, you have to run a separate video cable for every single monitor. What's worse, the dock only has one DisplayPort output, the other two outputs are HDMI, so if your monitors came with DisplayPort cables like mine did, you will have to buy additional HDMI cables as well...

None of these issues is a deal breaker, and now that I am set up, I am EXTREMELY happy with the end result, but just a little bit of info I wish I had known prior to making my purchases.

Tyler Youngblood on November 29, 2014 Style Name: USB 3.0 Size: Triple Display Verified Purchase I am so glad I got this!

I have a Dell laptop for work that clicks into a (Dell PR03X) docking station. I hate the docking station. It's just difficult to get the laptop connected to it and the docking station only allows for 2 extra monitors, not 3. So I had to buy an external USB video card for my 3rd monitor.

I purchased this as a replacement for my PR03X dock and it's an EXCELLENT replacement. For one thing, I can use it with all my laptops, not just my Dell. I have a Lenovo Yoga (my wife's), a Macbook Air (2011 with OS 10.9 - which required the software from http://www.displaylink.com/support/mac_downloads.php), and my work Dell laptop. All 3 work great with this little hub. And it is pretty small and lightweight.

Note: I wasn't really sure how this was going to connect to my laptop(s). It turns out it connects via a typical USB (2 or 3) port. My Macbook Air has USB 2, while my Lenovo Yoga has USB 3.0. Both work flawlessly. However, obviously the extra USB ports the device provides won't operate at USB 3 speeds if you're connected to your laptop via a USB 2 port.

Anyway, once you've connected the doc to your laptop (or desktop) via a USB 2 or 3 port, its ready for up to 3 monitors to be connected to it. Two via HDMI and a third via Dell's DisplayPort (which you can get a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter if needed). So with the laptop screen this gives you a total of up to 4 displays!

The One Con:

It seems like video playback might be a little choppy when watching a 1080p video clip on YouTube while connected to a USB 2 port. I'm not sure if this was the internet or a FPS limitation of the USB video throughput. However, it seems to playback video flawlessly using a USB 3 port.

So if you're considering this for video work or for gaming and you don't have a USB 3 port to plug it onto, you may find it slightly laggy and you may want to do a little more research. But again, I see no lag using USB 3.

But if you want to use typical applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, ect. - or in my case a text editor like Sublime Text, this little dock will work great, even when using the slower USB 2.

TheOriginalgiga on August 6, 2015 Style Name: USB 3.0 Size: Triple Display Verified Purchase
Great for business, probably not for gaming So I read the reviews saying this unit ate up come CPU cycles while attached and it is true. I've tested this using a Youtube video, an actual video and general spreadsheet sort of things and here's my findings. First I'm using a new Surface pro 3 i7 (1.9, turboclock to 3.3 dual core with hyperthreading) 8GB RAM with an HP monitor at 1680x1050 of so you can compare the utilization for other devices. Watching youtube, I average about 7.3% utilization full screen on the one monitor. While watching a video capable of 1080p using VLC I averaged about 8%. to note, VLC player spiked to 10% during playback so the actual player is still utilizaing more cycles. Lastly what seems to take up the most CPU utilization was moving the mouse around wildly peaking at 30%, sustaining around 26% and droping as low as 6%. As for networking, I pulled a file steady through the Ethernet adapter at 20MBps (approx 160mbps). I tested with my hootoo usb dongle as well and got the same results so this is more than likely a limitation on my network (guess what I need to track down and fix). Lastly I tested USB using a Lexar USB 3.0 drive (older) and maintained a consistant 34MBps write (approx 272mbps) and 42.9MBps read (343.2 mbps). I didn't list any CPU utilization for these as they used less than 3% at any given time. Overall I'm very happy with the dock though I've only had it for a short while I think it was well worth the money. Also you might be asking why I picked this dock over the one built for the surface. 2 reasons, first this is capable of up to 3 monitors, the surface dock isn't. ALso I have a giant protecting case on the surface which doesn't fit within the dock and I'm not the type to take it on and off.

[Aug 07, 2016] Avoid WD USB drives like plague

Notable quotes:
"... If you see ""a USB device has malfunctioned" message you installed need to copy all the data off the WD enclosure -- the next time might be too late (if it is not too late already). ..."
"... Avoid WD external drives at all cost. If the data on the drive are valuable you are playing with fire. ..."
"... Reliability of WD enclosures leaves much to be desired and after a couple of years some dual drive enclosures develop the problem when a customer starts getting system tray messages that "a USB device has malfunctioned". ..."
"... If I understand correctly WD practice what can be called a vendor lock-in. For RAID 1 (mirroring) there is no need to modify the hard drive structure and disks should be perfectly readable if taken from enclosure and connected to the computer SATA controller directly. Of course this is not the case with RAID 0, where striping is used and this information about it needs to be stored somehow. ..."
"... I have spoken with a data recovery company, they have said that if your WD My Book Duo which has the "AES 256 Hardware encryption" feature, if the drive enclosure dies that your data will NOT be accessible even if your hard drives are in perfect working order. ..."
"... I have tested (Raid 1, no encryption, copied files, turn off, extract a disk, connect to Windows 7 with an external device) and Windows do not map the unite, although the disk administrator is able to see the Disk. That means that there is no way to access your data. Incredible how Western Digital really cheats us. They told me that there were no problem to access the disk outside the unite... I have it written. ..."
"... What a firm!! They are not even able to properly inform buyers.... This is really annoying. ..."
"... However, upon fixing the WD Green into an internal mount, the drive was marked as unreadable and requiring a format. This suggests the presence of hardware encryption regardless of user preference set on the My Book. ..."
"... Enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge in the enclosure ..."
"... Overall: Two stars. A good value package soured by enforced hardware encryption ..."
"... If you Google search "WD My Book Disable Encryption", you'll find a number of threads and posts on various sites that suggest that there exists enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge on WD My Book devices. What this means is that as your data is copied over to the My Book, the USB port on the enclosure encrypts your data on the way in and decryption also occurs at the USB port as the files are accessed. All these occur even if you do not have a password set up to lock the WD My Book. ..."
"... A thread on the WD Community forums titled "NOT using hardware encryption on "My Book Essential"" suggests that this hardware encryption function cannot be disabled. What this implies is that for you to access the files stored on the My Book, you need all parts of the device to be in working order; if the USB-SATA bridge ever fails, there's no way to do an enclosure replacement like you can with a standard external desktop HDD as the encryption keys reside in the original enclosure. Why introduce another point of catastrophic failure is really beyond me. ..."
"... If there is official confirmation that the enforced hardware encryption has been scrapped for this particular WD My Book model, I'll be more than happy to revise this review and up the rating correspondingly. ..."
"... At this point, the only reason it receives more than a single star is because it's still fundamentally functional. I am going to continue using it, but I am going to have to do more shopping research for WD products in general and be on the lookout for replacements for this device. Such a shame really. ..."
"... My belief is that hardware encryption is useless in a device like this because the only way it really would be helpful is if someone, while stealing your hard drive, decides to take the actual drive out of the enclosure ..."
"... My belief is that in boxes like this, AES hardware encryption probably is just something which adds to the cost of the entire package and in most circumstances probably does not really protect your data from being stolen. And, it seems to me that AES hardware encryption, if I am understanding it correctly, adds another point of failure which might actually cause you to lose all of the data on that drive. ..."
www.amazon.com

kievite Permalink

1.0 out of 5 stars When you have dual drives your priority is reliability. ..., August 5, 2016

This review is from: WD 4TB My Book Duo Desktop RAID External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBLWE0040JCH-NESN (Personal Computers)

When you have dual drives your priority is reliability and using RAID 1 (mirroring) provided by this WD enclosure looks like a reasonable option. But in reality it is not.

Electronics of WD enclosures is not very reliable and you can lose all your data if it fails. In this case you can't just put a drive in a new enclosure or connect one of the drives to SATA interface on the computer and read the data (which are intact) and, essentially, lose all your data despite extra expense to preserve them. Paradoxically you added another "weak point" in addition to the possibility of hard drive failure -- the failure of the electronics of WD enclosure with its "hidden" encryption of the drive content.

See other reviews on the topic that cover difficulties of recovering data in case of enclosure electronics failure. If you see ""a USB device has malfunctioned" message you installed need to copy all the data off the WD enclosure -- the next time might be too late (if it is not too late already).

I consider the encryption the hard drives uses by default by WD to be a Trojan horse because this is not a requirement for this type of consumer products. They want to cater to enterprise promising fake security via encryption and you are the victim.

Avoid WD external drives at all cost. If the data on the drive are valuable you are playing with fire.

The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)

Posted on Aug 5, 2016 3:34:19 PM PDT

Western Digital Support says:

Hey There kievite,

Western Digital takes data storage and security very seriously. We regret hearing this encryption/Hardware Raid misinformation continues to live on these forums, however our customer's feedback is always appreciated. In the unfortunate event a My Book Duo enclosure should suffer from a malfunction, the existing data stored in the RAID set can readily be accessed via a replacement enclosure. Additionally, if security were set on the original enclosure/Raid set, and the user remembers the password, integration with the replacement enclosure can be accomplished by entering that password within the prompt upon adding the original drives into the replacement enclosure.

The My Book Duo utilizes Hardware Raid. It's important to understand the difference between Hardware and Software Raid, it that each individual hard drive can only be read from the Hardware Raid controller. Which differs from software Raid, assuming the array were utilizing redundancy, such as Raid1 (Mirror) or JBOD; a single drive can be read from another computer capable of reading the file system configured on that drive.

If you have further concerns not addressed above, or you need help with your My Book Duo, we would appreciate the opportunity to provide a positive solution. We can be reached via phone or Email below. Please be sure to mention this Amazon review within your initial contact as a point of reference.

Need Help? Please follow the link below for further assistance or contact us at 1(800) 275-4932.

https://wdsupport.wdc.com/sfdc/case.aspx

kievite

It is unclear from your reply whether you need exactly the same model of enclosure or not. For example if a customer like me has WD My Book Studio II - 2 TB (2 x 1 TB) USB 2.0/FireWire 800/eSATA Desktop External Hard Drive with failed electronics (out of warranty) configured as RAID 1 what are options to recover the information on the drives ?

Reliability of WD enclosures leaves much to be desired and after a couple of years some dual drive enclosures develop the problem when a customer starts getting system tray messages that "a USB device has malfunctioned".

If I understand correctly WD practice what can be called a vendor lock-in. For RAID 1 (mirroring) there is no need to modify the hard drive structure and disks should be perfectly readable if taken from enclosure and connected to the computer SATA controller directly. Of course this is not the case with RAID 0, where striping is used and this information about it needs to be stored somehow.

If RAID 1 does not work this way this is not a consumer friendly product and it should be avoided at all costs. You are better off using two generic USB enclosures and using rsync or similar utility for resynchronization of the content of those drives. WD should be avoided like plague. End of the story.

See also https://community.wd.com/t/wd-my-book-duo-data-forever-lost-if-drive-enclosure-dies/6496

== quote ==

This is a huge issue and needs to be addressed.

I have spoken with a data recovery company, they have said that if your WD My Book Duo which has the "AES 256 Hardware encryption" feature, if the drive enclosure dies that your data will NOT be accessible even if your hard drives are in perfect working order.

Your data may be fine and dandy on your hard drives but you can not access it. Even if you are able to find and purchase another exact WD My Book Duo and put the drives in that, it will NOT work. This is because the hardware encryption is ALWAYS used, even if you never attempt to use the WD Security app to enable "password" protection. This fact is NEVER made clear in ANY WD documentation anywhere!

I hope Western Digital can provide a way in firmware updates to either DISABLE the always on hardware encryption, or to at least give us the ability to EXPORT/SAVE the encryption KEY that the device is using to encrypt the data, and provide for us a SOFTWARE utility which will enable us to use that KEY to read our hard drives even if the "Enclosure" stops working.

Here is a similar related post that has not been responded to:

http://community.wd.com/t5/External-Drives-for-PC/MY-Book-Duo-Hardware-Encryption/td-p/795949

It does not help that some well respected "REVIEW" sites have done really pathetic reviews of this product which are more like infomercials saying that they observed no performance drop with encryption enabled or disabled, and of course they did not because they did not know that "encryption" was/is ALWAYS on regardless of whether they enable "security password key" or not. They assumed like most reasonable users would that encryption is enabled only when a password/key is set not that its ALWAYS encrypted whether you enable password or not.

Apparently the "password" you set has nothing to do with the encryption, it is not used for anything other than some firmware locking. This means in reality that Western Digital will be perfectly capable to decrypt ANY WD My Book and access your data even when YOU yourself will not be able to. Yes you can be locked out of your own data but the manufacturer and whoever else they may share their "Decryption KEY/s" with can access your data.
So the whole thing about if you forget your password your data can't be accessed is a joke, its not true. Well its true that "YOU" can't access your data but they easily could. They just won't do it for you but if they needed/wanted they can easily bypass the firmware password and also decrypt the hardware encryption. In fact some data recovery firms can do that for you, apparently WD even officially "endorses" some of them, makes you wonder if there's any profit sharing. It seems that perhaps WD has shared certain "knowledge" with these firms that enables them to supposedly retrieve the "Encryption Key" from the WD My Book Duo and give you back access to your data for some BIG $$$.

So again, I am asking for WD to please be upfront about these very IMPORTANT issues since there is no clear information anywhere, in fact all the documentation seems to imply that your data is only locked once you've set a password not all the time and with an Encryption Key that only WD has access to instead of us the users.

There is a solution to all this as I have already mentioned, either allow through a firmware update the possibility to DISABLE the hardware encryption, and/or provide us a way to Export/Save the encryption pass/key so that we can access our data even if the WD My Book enclosure dies for any reason.
Encryption is great and even better when Hardware accelerated for higher performance, but we should be the owners of the decryption Pass/Key for "our" data.

== end of quote ===

BTW this post never got a reasonable reply from WD customer support. That's tells you something. All WD customer support stated was

== quote ==
We appreciate your feedback on this matter. Note that there are WD external hard drives that do not have hardware encryption like the WD elements, the My Book is for customers that want to have the added security to their data and this is why it has the hardware encryption enabled.
== end of quote ==

But the problem is that customers like me never wanted to have added security. We were just taken for a ride by the manufacturer.

== quote ===

Patricio_Saiz

Mar 23

Dear all:

I have just bought a MY BOOK DUO 12 TB. Previously I have opened a case asking this issue. This is incredible but WD also told me that there is no encryption and that you can take a disk (RAID 1) and directly connect it to the computer.

I have tested (Raid 1, no encryption, copied files, turn off, extract a disk, connect to Windows 7 with an external device) and Windows do not map the unite, although the disk administrator is able to see the Disk. That means that there is no way to access your data. Incredible how Western Digital really cheats us. They told me that there were no problem to access the disk outside the unite... I have it written.

Well I can send back the unite, but I have loose my time.

What a firm!! They are not even able to properly inform buyers.... This is really annoying.
== end of quote ==

R.Consumer

WD enclosure spoiled by enforced hardware encryption. December 8, 2014

Capacity: 4TB | Style Name: Single Drive | Verified Purchase

UPDATE - 01/06/2015
------
This is an update on my impressions of the extracted WD Green HDD from the My Book. Even in my internal mount, the WD Green still exhibits the 5-second spin-up routine if left idle for too long. At this point, I can only conclude that this characteristic is the default for the WD Green and by extension, the My Book. Other external desktop hard drives I've used don't show this trait.

Hence, even if I can accept the automatic hardware encryption by the My Book, the default idling behavior of the HDD is not one I find desirable. I have thus written an addendum to the original review below to reflect my further thoughts post-review.

UPDATE - 01/01/2015
------
This is an update on my impressions of the WD My Book after performing a disassembly. Keep in mind however that any attempted disassembly will void the warranty on the product.

The build of the My Book enclosure is solid. The casing clips tightly to the mounting bracket while the internal HDD within is securely fitted to the bracket by rubber stoppers. Watching other YouTube videos on the My Book disassembly, it seems that different models of the My Book use slightly different mounting setups of the HDD to the bracket, though all of the setups appear to be equally secure.

Like many of the YouTube disassembly video uploaders, the HDD in my unit was a WD Green . I've no prior experience with the bare Greens, so I cannot comment much about its reliability nor speeds at this point.

However, upon fixing the WD Green into an internal mount, the drive was marked as unreadable and requiring a format. This suggests the presence of hardware encryption regardless of user preference set on the My Book. Due to this reason, HDD extraction from the My Book is definitely not recommended, especially if the unit still contains data desired to be retrieved. My opinion on this feature still stands; good security practices are fine, but make it explicitly known and make it optional.

Finally, is it worthwhile to purchase a My Book just for the HDD inside if the unit is cheaper than the price of the bare HDD itself? Unless the My Book at your desired capacity is significantly cheaper, I would have to say no. First, it takes considerable effort to extract the HDD from the enclosure. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to reassemble the enclosure after even after a partial disassembly of the unit. Coupled with the enforced hardware encryption mentioned above, any data stored will likely be forever lost should an extraction attempt fail. Moreover, the warranty of the My Book will be voided if disassembly is attempted; it is probably more worthwhile to just pay a little extra for the warranty coverage on the bare HDD itself.

Overall, my rating of the WD My Book remains unchanged and the original review can be viewed below.

ORIGINAL REVIEW
------
What's Good
(+) Reasonably priced for 4TB of external storage
(+) Well-ventilated enclosure design
(+) Rubber feet at bottom of enclosure for grip
(+) USB 3.0 capable

What's Quirky
(-) Goes to standby if left idle after a while
(-) PC being unable to recognize the drive at times
(-) PC being unable to eject the drive at times

What's Downright Bizarre
(x) Enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge in the enclosure

Caveats for International Consumers
(/) The included AC adapter I received is a US-style 2 pin type, a physical adapter may be needed for overseas use. A quick check on Amazon's page does not tell whether the drive can accept international voltages. Check with WD to ensure that the drive can be used in your country

Overall: Two stars. A good value package soured by enforced hardware encryption

Note: The review is based on the 4TB version

The WD My Book ticks most checkboxes of a standard desktop external HDD. Its size is comparable to other external desktop HDDs and depending on your setup, its design means you can place it vertically standing as in the illustrations or leave it lying horizontally with not much issue. The enclosure is also well ventilated with grilles on the upper and underside, allowing for effective cooling of the hard disk inside. I could not locate any dedicated on/off switch on the drive; the drive simply starts up when electricity is supplied. Very efficient I must say.

The WD My Book does come with a variety of backup software on the drive, including the SmartWare Pro software. I personally do not use any of the supplied software, preferring to drag and sort my backups manually. This drive is USB 3.0 capable and I usually get 60 - 80 MB/s for file transfers. The included USB 3.0 cable is of reasonable length for an external desktop HDD.

One minor annoyance that I've experienced with the My Book is that the drive will enter a standby mode if left idle after a while. The drive is still listed in the file explorer, but accessing it takes about 5 seconds as the drive spins up again. Fortunately, I have yet to experience the drive entering into standby while it's being actively used.

Other annoyances I have encountered include the PC not being able to recognize or eject the drive. Usually, cycling the power for the My Book solves the recognition problem, but it's a little unsettling considering that large amounts of your data are stored on it and high reliability is definitely an important aspect. For the latter quirk, sometimes the PC will refuse to eject the drive even when there are no files being accessed from it and I have to resort to shutting down the computer so I can safely turn the drive off.

If the review were to end here, on balance, the WD My Book would earn a solid 4-star* rating, so why the measly 2-star score?

Enforced hardware encryption.

If you Google search "WD My Book Disable Encryption", you'll find a number of threads and posts on various sites that suggest that there exists enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge on WD My Book devices. What this means is that as your data is copied over to the My Book, the USB port on the enclosure encrypts your data on the way in and decryption also occurs at the USB port as the files are accessed. All these occur even if you do not have a password set up to lock the WD My Book.

A thread on the WD Community forums titled "NOT using hardware encryption on "My Book Essential"" suggests that this hardware encryption function cannot be disabled. What this implies is that for you to access the files stored on the My Book, you need all parts of the device to be in working order; if the USB-SATA bridge ever fails, there's no way to do an enclosure replacement like you can with a standard external desktop HDD as the encryption keys reside in the original enclosure. Why introduce another point of catastrophic failure is really beyond me.

Good security practices are always welcomed, but it has to be made known explicitly to the end user with the option to disable it if so desired. The WD My Book already comes with software encryption tools on the drive for the security conscious, the enforced hardware encryption really does nothing of value for those who just want a plain desktop storage expansion solution.

Granted, some of the threads and posts on the enforced hardware encryption pertain to older My Book models and I have no way of finding out whether if this is still true for this particular My Book.

However, this is not the first instance I've discovered some sort of hardware lock on WD products; the WD My Passport Ultra ( WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Auto Backup - Black ), which I had also purchased and reviewed, also has similar hardware restrictions.

If there is official confirmation that the enforced hardware encryption has been scrapped for this particular WD My Book model, I'll be more than happy to revise this review and up the rating correspondingly.

Overall, if were it not for the enforced hardware encryption, this WD My Book will definitely be on my recommended purchase list, but the fact that there's no way to disable the hardware encryption means I cannot put my data in the drive with a peace of mind.

At this point, the only reason it receives more than a single star is because it's still fundamentally functional. I am going to continue using it, but I am going to have to do more shopping research for WD products in general and be on the lookout for replacements for this device. Such a shame really.

ADDENDUM - 01/06/2015
------
* I've since extracted the WD Green HDD from the My Book and fixed it into an internal mount. The 5-second spin-up behavior still persists. From my experience, it appears that this idling characteristic is the default for the HDD. Other external desktop hard drives I've used do not exhibit this behavior. Hence, even if I can accept the mandatory hardware encryption, I can no longer rate it at 4-stars; it'll probably earn a solid 3-stars at the very best.

A. Grussion August 30, 2014

Beware USB AES Encryption on these WD Drives!!!

Capacity: 3TB|Style Name: Single Drive

Be advised, these Western Digital drives use AES HARDWARE encryption. If the USB fails on the device - you CANNOT recover your data. Of course, mine died on the fourth day I had it - and even Western Digital cannot recover the data for you (as the encryption key is IN the hardware of the USB. Had to take the drive out and format it (lost all data). I suggest getting a drive which has AES password encryption not on the hardware - this feature not only does not provide you with any more security - it provides a second point of failure for your device. Don't learn the hard way like I did...

25 comments| 260 people found this helpful.

The Judge

John Ebbert, I asked the guy at Microcenter today that same question. What he told me is that because this drive uses AES hardware encryption, it still encrypts the data, even if you do not use a password. I don't know 100% if he was correct in what he told me, but he sounded as if he knew what he was talking about; he sounded very confident of his answer. So, his answer implies that if you do not use a password, that does not make any difference, and if the AES hardware encryption fails, it will be almost impossible to recover data on the hard drive itself. What I understand is that it is not the actual hard drive itself which has the device (chip) to encrypt the data; it sounds as if that device is in the USB port in the drive enclosure. So, the only way that AES hardware encryption would really be effective is if a thief took the time to remove the drive itself from the enclosure, leaving that USB port and AES encryption behind....the data on that drive would be encrypted, but you would not have the AES hardware to decrypt it. That's the way I understand it.


The Judge

I have been looking at a new hard drive system to upgrade my current system...I currently use 2 separate external Seagate 4 TB drives. One is the main drive, and the 2nd is a backup of the main drive....I manually copy files from the first to the 2nd, whenever I put new ones on the first. But, I'm running out of space, so I'm looking for something to upgrade to. I have been trying to figure out what this AES hardware and password protection really mean in terms of practicality. I am absolutely no expert, but from what I am gathering, from reading different things and talking with various people who seem to know what they are talking about, AES hardware encryption is kind of useless and actually works against the user rather than actually protecting his data. The reason for this is as follows: if you have one of these drives, with AES hardware encryption, if that entire drive is stolen (including the enclosure), even though that drive uses encryption, that drive can be hooked up to another computer, and the data on it can easily be read. The hardware that encrypts the data going into the box also decrypts it when the data comes out. It is decrypted in the drive itself before being read by the PC. I think, though, if you actually use a password, someone will not be able to access that data unless they determine the password (although I'm not 100% certain of that).

My belief is that hardware encryption is useless in a device like this because the only way it really would be helpful is if someone, while stealing your hard drive, decides to take the actual drive out of the enclosure, bypassing that AES hardware encryption, which sounds as if it is separate from the hard drive itself....sounds like it is in the hardware of the USB port in the enclosure. But why would a thief take the time to remove the hard drive from the enclosure? I hope this makes sense.

I've seen credible sources on various web sites say this; today I talked to someone at MicroCenter who seemed like he knew what he was talking about, and he told me the same thing. My belief is that in boxes like this, AES hardware encryption probably is just something which adds to the cost of the entire package and in most circumstances probably does not really protect your data from being stolen. And, it seems to me that AES hardware encryption, if I am understanding it correctly, adds another point of failure which might actually cause you to lose all of the data on that drive....

it would still be there, but if the hardware encryption part goes bad, then you could not decrypt that data. I might be wrong, but this is causing me to look at a different setup, maybe the internal WD red drives which I do not think use AES hardware encryption. They cost more, but I think the actual hard drive itself is better than what might be in these external drives. Any comments would be appreciated.

[Jul 17, 2016] USB Type C is supposed to be the one cable to rule them all, but there's going to be confusion first

CNET
One thing is not in doubt: USB Type-C's arrival. While older ports will persist for years, eventually Type-C's smaller size and greater abilities will prevail.

"I expect it will ultimately subsume other cords, notably the power cable," said Endpoint Technologies Associates analyst Roger Kay.

USB-IF's Ravencraft said the Type-C transition is moving faster than any tech standard shift he's seen.

"For the MacBook to come with only one connector, and it's Type-C, is about as aggressive as you could get," Ravencraft said. "The adoption is happening faster than we ever dreamed it would."

[Jun 06, 2016] StarTech TB32DP2 Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort Adapter

www.amazon.com
by StarTech 4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
Price: $92.69 & FREE Shipping . Details

[Jun 06, 2016] Asus unveils Zenbo, a cute little companion robot with a touchscreen face PCWorld

www.pcworld.com

Asus unveils Zenbo, a cute little companion robot with a touchscreen face

The Zenfone maker said it wants to enable 'robotic computing for every household'

zenbo side 2

The new Zenbo robot from Asus, unveiled at the Computex trade show on May 29, 2016

Credit: Asua
Comments James Niccolai James Niccolai IDG News Service

Asus has just unveiled what's likely to be the most talked about product at this week's Computex trade show in Taipei, a cute talking robot for the home priced at $599.

Called Zenbo, Asus pitched it as a personal assistant that can help look after elderly relatives or read stories to the kids, but that might be selling it a bit short.

The robot is about two feet high and rolls around on wheels, with a display that can show its animated face or be used for other things like making video calls and streaming movies.

Asus Chairman Jonney Shih demonstrated Zenbo at a press conference in Taipei Monday, giving it voice commands and asking it questions is it rolled around the stage.

"Hey Zenbo, is it true you can take pictures"? he asked.

"Yes, I can take photographs," the robot replied.

He told Zenbo to take his photo with the audience in the background. Shih positioned himself on stage and Zenbo trundled over and took his picture. It was an impressive demonstration, assuming the Zenbo wasn't being remotely controlled somehow from backstage.

Zenbo James Niccolai

There was no word when Zenbo will go on sale and a spokesman said Asus doesn't yet have a ship date. It wants developers to sign up for a software kit that will let them build applications for it.

But Zenbo appears to be able to do quite a lot already.

A big part of the pitch is caring for the elderly, which could be especially popular in nearby Japan, which is struggling with an aging population. Zenbo "helps to bridge the digital divide between generations" by allowing seniors to make video calls and use social networking with simple voice commands, Asus said.

It can also connect to a smart bracelet and alert relatives via smartphone app if their elderly relative has a fall.

[Jun 06, 2016] Dell's 4-screen multimonitor setup looks like one enormous 43-inch display

www.pcworld.com

Dell's massive 43 Ultra HD 4K Multi-Client Monitor does something special: it combines inputs from four independent devices into one massive 43-inch 4K display, with no ugly bezels getting in the way.

[Jun 04, 2016] How Intel turned Thunderbolt from a failure into a success by Gordon Mah Ung

Notable quotes:
"... HP's Mike Nash, for example, said he sees Thunderbolt 3's main appeal in corporate laptops that will let users plug in a single cable to charge and dock it at the same time. Plus the tiny USB-C port allows for a thinner device profile. ..."
Jun 2, 2016 | PCWorld

The third time could be the charm for Intel and its Thunderbolt technology. A year after introducing Thunderbolt 3 at Computex 2015, Intel is finally starting to see success with its high-speed external I/O-enough that even doubters might agree it's winning.

You needn't look far for signs that Thunderbolt 3 will succeed where its two predecessors failed dismally on the PC. This year's top-tier laptops from HP and Dell, as well models from MSI, Asus, Razer, and Acer, all prominently feature Thunderbolt 3 ports.

... ... ...

USB, meanwhile, didn't stand still. Two years after Thunderbolt first appeared at 10Gbps, USB's spec doubled to 10Gbps. It also became capable of charging high-powered devices. Here's the cherry on top: It adopted a tiny reversible plug called USB Type C. USB was even updated to allow the carrying of "alternate mode" signals, so a vendor could plumb DisplayPort through a USB C cable.

With all that going for USB 3.1, many wondered why anyone would even bother with Thunderbolt 2 and its funky Mini DisplayPort connector and costly cables? Indeed, by 2015, most had written off Thunderbolt as another failure.

USB Type C to the rescue

With Thunderbolt seemingly on the ropes, Intel had one last move-one that likely put the technology on a winning path at last. At last year's Computex, to the surprise of many, the company announced a faster version of the spec called Thunderbolt 3, with speeds up to 40Gbps-and it could do it over the new USB Type-C connector, instead of the funky MDP cable.

Intel essentially uses the same alternate mode that DisplayPort does to pass Thunderbolt signalling over PCIe. And by integrating a USB 3.1 10Gbps controller into the Thunderbolt 3 controller, it could fully support USB 3.1 too.

What Thunderbolt 1 and 2 couldn't do, Thunderbolt 3 has finally achieved in its vision of "one cable to rule them all."

A single USB Type C connector could support: DisplayPort, PCIe, high-wattage charging, and USB's fastest spec.

Even pricing, which was always a controversial topic with Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2, seems to have been nullified. Intel's public price for its Thunderbolt 3 chips is about $8, with volume pricing closer to $5, according to customers I've interviewed. That low pricing has driven down the cost of the primary competitor, the Asmedia USB 3.1 controller, with one report putting it well under $3.

Numerous OEMs, though, told me it's not just the price that's changed their mind on Thunderbolt 3; it's the move to USB-C and giving consumers a port that can do it all.

While consumers just didn't give two damns about Thunderbolt 2, vendors are seeing increasing consumer interest in Thunderbolt 3, and the feature gives them an easy way to differentiate their products.

HP's Mike Nash, for example, said he sees Thunderbolt 3's main appeal in corporate laptops that will let users plug in a single cable to charge and dock it at the same time. Plus the tiny USB-C port allows for a thinner device profile.

An even bigger achievement might be Thunderbolt 3's ability to let a laptop run external graphics. In theory (as no one has shipped an external graphics cabinet yet), this would give a super-thin laptop real gaming chops.

... ... ...

Not every PC vendor I spoke with thought Thunderbolt 3 was a slam dunk, though. One vendor, who asked not to be identified, said it makes sense on laptops but most desktops simply have no use for it because they already exceed its capabilities. On desktops, use of the Thunderbolt 3 chip is rare. Surveying the motherboard scene, I've seen Thunderbolt 3 on only one or two models. More cost-conscious vendors, such as Asrock, don't seem to have any Thunderbolt models.

... ... ...

"(The USB C port) was kind of a game changer, and we're seeing a complete shift in the PC industry on their view of that port," Ziller said.

[Jun 04, 2016] Rapid Review Phillips QD Monitor

Jun 2, 2016 | PCWorld

Philips says its 276E6 display is the world's first 'quantum dot' monitor, and it's designed to deliver pro-quality colors at a consumer price point. This short video review shows how the E6 shines - and where it falls short.

[Sep 14, 2015] Thinner devices with longer battery life

"... Who keeps demanding thinner and thinner computers? Is it just some bizarre reverse penis-envy thing among manufacturers? Laptop anorexia? ..."

User McUser

Who keeps demanding thinner and thinner computers? Is it just some bizarre reverse penis-envy thing among manufacturers? Laptop anorexia?

How about instead, they build a regular thickness laptop with 4x the battery capacity of the thin ones?

Nudge Away

Re: Thinner devices with longer battery life

How about lighter < 1Kg easily achievable.

13" to 14" Matt Display, Full HD and < 1Kg with 4+ hour battery life at < £400 == a purchase for me.

Not a lot to ask for really but the manufacturers simply don't get it (low res glossy tat is mostly all they can be bothered to produce).

Tom 7

Re: Thinner devices with longer battery life

How about lighter???The thing is making them thinner makes them heavier - or much more fragile. That extra 1/2 inch means another metre of dropping resistance and makes fuck all difference once its in that designer backpack,

Oh and means less RSI when typing on the kitchen table too...

Shadow Systems

Re: Thinner devices with longer battery life

Exactly!

I don't want some "Thin & Light" that got that way by depriving me of all the useful ports I need to Get Shit Done, I want a thick n' chunky machine that has it all where it counts. (Can I say that I like my women this way as well? *Cough*)

Anyway, I went looking for a 6th gen I5 with 8Gb RAM or more, a 120Gb SSD or larger, with all the ports I need (multiple USB, RJ45 Gigabit LAN, SD reader, DVD DL writer, etc) and the only way I could GET it that way was to go for the "Workstation" class machines starting at ~2K dollars. And that *still* didn't guarantee me the ports, merely the ability to pay for a chassis that supported adding them BACK IN at additional cost.

What the hell? I'm willing to carry a heavier laptop for a larger battery & all the ports, but if I have to buy a bag load of dongles to add back the functions it lost in the "thin & light diet" then that's a machine I won't be buying.

So I picked up an Off Lease Dell Latitude E64xx with 4Gigs RAM & 60Gig HDD for less than the cost of *shipping* on a brand new machine, and even after paying to improve the RAM to max & swap to a 120Gig SSD, I'll have paid less than the base, crappy, "new & improved!" model that doesn't have even HALF the ports of the "old n' crappy" model.

Do you hear that Intel & Manufacturers? You just lost a sale because you can't be arsed to build a machine with a decent battery, the ports I need to Get Shit Done, at a price that doesn't make me wonder if you've packed your crack pipe with extra-potent toxic waste.

Sure it's a 2010 era used laptop for $300 (after all the upgrades), but if that doesn't require me to buy a pack full of dongles to replace the ports your "new n' shiny!" machine lacks, then the new n shiny will gather dust until you Get A Fekkin Clue.

I've got too much work to do to waste all my time hunting down dongles to add this or that, or setting up a Docking Station at every desk I might visit, just so I can plug in the DVD burner, the external NAS, a real keyboard, a Gigabit LAN cable, blah blah blah...

Oh look! My "new" laptop has all the ports! 4x USB, RJ45, SD card reader, DVD burner, and if I need more the seller threw in a docking station for free, which added another EIGHT USB ports, two RJ45, video ports out the wazoo, and the ability to charge a second battery...

It's like someone at Dell Knew What The Hell They Were Doing!

*Pretends to faint in shock*

Get a clue. I want a 6th gen super duper laptop, but damned if I want to pay premium prices for a machine that doesn't bother to include the stuff I need, and tries to charge me even MORE to put those functions back in.

*Rude thumbs in ears, spittle blowing, disgusting raspberry gesture*

P.B. Lecavalier

WTF?

New machine for a new CPU? What a waste of $! From the salesrep, on older machines: "They are slow to wake, their batteries don't last long, and they can't take advantage of all the new experiences available today," Please...

My main machine: first or second i3 generation on an HP laptop bought in 2011. Time to boot Linux (Gentoo) on SSD? Within 12 seconds. Time to wake from sleep? 1 or 2 seconds, not long enough to notice.

I'm sorry, but why would I ever pay to improve upon that? Maybe this: Time to boot Windows 7 on the mechanical drive: more than 90 seconds (on the same drive, booting Linux is less than half this). And don't say "it's because it's an old install", I use it very rarely. Lusers do not see the difference between adequate hardware and failed software, and will ditch that serviceable hardware just because of the M$ junk.

And what about gamers? With the video card(s) doing most of the work there, just upgrade that component. Or is it that you use a laptop, and you are a gamer? Not a smart move.

You wanna sell me a product worth my time, money and interest, Intel? Come back with a modern instruction set architecture.

Anonymous Coward

Re: New machine for a new CPU? What a waste of $!

" With the video card(s) doing most of the work there, just upgrade that component."

Unfortunately PCIe 2.0 can be a limiting factor for upgrading otherwise perfectly capable Core i7 870 or 920 systems. The latest GPU boards need PCIe 3.0 if they are to perform at their best.

Anonymous Coward

Intel 6th gen nothing special

Intel's 6th gen is a minor performance improvement but nothing anyone would pay for unless they need a need PC for some reason. Win10 is a loser and most people simply don't need a new PC so sales will be sluggish.

In addition with more portable electronic toys fewer people are actually buying laptops or desktops because the market has plateaued and isn't going to ever see the huge growth every time another defective version of Windoze is released or a new CPU series is available.

AMD's new Zen based CPUs and APUs will increase PC sales for a year or two but not by monumental numbers.

Intel Wifi card reliability on 'Tier 1 laptops'

Any chance that Intel could work with dell/ hp / lenovo on the Skylake prototypes to make their wifi cards more reliable?

There's little value in a faster processor if the wireless card keeps becoming an intermittent worker on modern latitude and elitebooks; whatever combination of bios / firmware / wifi standards or laptop heat is causing issues where older batches of laptops are rock solid reliable.

49xx, 5100, 5300 in particular developing problems over a couple of years.

keithpeter

Old laptops

"There are over 500 million computers in use today that are four to five years old or older. They are slow to wake, their batteries don't last long, and they can't take advantage of all the new experiences available today,"

...and had tolerable keyboards.

Slow to wake: about 3 seconds on a core duo X200 Thinkpad

Batteries don't last long: true around 3 hours. But then it is the original battery and is down to 50% of capacity on a full charge. But 3h gets me to work easily and allows me to triage the email in the canteen before I plug in to the PSU under my desk.

New experiences: Noscript, Privacy Badger and careful choice of defaults ensure that I don't have anything to do with such malarkey thank you very much.

Seriously: laptop with a decent keyboard, clear screen, good battery, less than 1.5 Kg, don't care how thick, designed to last 5 to 10 years. Take my money.

[Sep 14, 2015] Intel's 6th gen processors rock – but won't revive PC markets

The Register Forums

Anonymous Coward

I'd be happy to upgrade

For nothing else but the capability to run 3 screens instead of just 2 because Intel had this artificially limited. Why can't they offer 4 screen capability with the newest CPUs?

Even then, my employer won't replace my 4 year old laptop until it's broken, and I have colleagues with 5-6 year old PCs with the same situation. And the new laptop would be a downgrade because every damn manufacturer drank Intel's Kool-Aid and thinks that a business machine must be an ultrabook, meaning a throttled down CPU, shoddy SSD, no ability to add a hard drive for bulk storage and no possibility to upgrade memory other than ordering it upgraded from factory.

While the extra screen would come in handy, I'm not desperate to upgrade.

Anonymous because breaking a laptop and getting a vacation while the new one is being delivered is way too easy...

jglathe

Re: I'd be happy to upgrade

There are workstation laptop options for sale, though. If you get an ultrabook, then yes, you'd better throttle it for the noise of the fan, and you're limited to the two screens. However, one 1TB SSD is not bad and an i7-5600U at 90% clock is noticeably faster and way more silent than my T420s (i7-2640M).

[Sep 01, 2014] Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79

The last technically competent CEO, before Lou Gerstner with his financial machinations and excessive greed destroyed IBM as we used to know.
25 Aug 2014 | The Register

Obituary Former IBM CEO John Akers has died in Boston aged 79.

Big Blue announced Akers' passing here, due to a stroke according to Bloomberg.After a stint as a US Navy pilot, the IBM obit states, Akers joined the company in 1960. His 33-year stint with IBM culminated in his appointment as its sixth CEO in 1985, following three years as president.

The top job became something of a poisoned chalice for Akers: the IBM PC project was green-lit during his tenure, and the industry spawned by this computer would cannibalize Big Blue's mainframe revenue, which was already under attack from minicomputers.

His career was founded on the success of the iconic System/360 and System/370 iron, but eventually fell victim to one of the first big disruptions the industry experienced.

He was eventually replaced by Lou Gerstner (as Bloomberg notes, the first CEO to be appointed from outside IBM).

To Gerstner fell the task of reversing the losses IBM was racking up – US$7.8 billion over two years – by embarking on a top-down restructure to shave US$7 billion in costs.

According to retired IBM executive Nicholas Donofrio, Akers took a strong interest in nursing the behind-schedule RS6000 Unix workstation project through to fruition in the late 1980s: "he asked what additional resources I needed and agreed to meet with me monthly to ensure we made the new schedule".

[Aug 27, 2013] Steve Ballmer, Meet Ibn Khaldun

I believe Professor Krugman is clearly incompetent and should not discuss a very complex market he does not understand. That actually cast a huge shadow on his other posts. Wheat he wrote is a rant of a dilettante

It is really funny to read that "By all accounts, Apple computers were better than PCs... Yet the vast majority of desktop and laptop computers ran Windows. Why? "

In reality Apple computers are in essence the same Intel-based computers as PCs using the same CPU and motherboards. Only OS is different but they can run Windows or Linux as well. And Windows PC can run Mac OS (and some Apple enthusiasts do run OS X on Windows PCs) although there are legal questions here.

Too broad statements like "Microsoft was a monopolist, it did extract a lot of monopoly rents, and it did inhibit innovation." are simply silly. In a way Apple is much more monopolist then Microsoft as its business model is of "closed ecosystem". So IMHO Apple dominance would be much more damaging. It is also unclear if Microsoft monopoly inhibits innovation. Linux ecosystem, Apple and Android are clear counterexamples.

Linus is running on Microsoft designed computers (and Microsoft is the key designer of each of PC generations specs which it for free bestows on PC vendors). So here is have complex interaction of a dominant CPU producer (Intel) and Microsoft not a simple monopoly. BTW Intel is closer to a real monopolist then Microsoft as it squeezed all other major server and desktop CPU manufactures almost to the point of irrelevance. Sun was the latest victim.

Aug 27, 2013 | NYTimes.com

Petros

In the early 90s another big company, DEC, missed out when it decided that the PC is only for game-playing and is not going to matter when it comes to serious work.

It seems that another factor that plays into the demise of big companies is that, innovation is a product of a certain frame of mind and addresses specific needs.

Remember the days the cell phone was not there? To notify a friend that you were running late, you would call to their answering machine, expecting that they would check into it and get back to you in a similar fashion. Then came the "brick" devices and later
an acceptable answer the current mobile phone.

Because I belong to a different time, I see no need ( and have no patience ) for all the little apps that, to my mind, cater to whims than real needs. But, that's me and a lot of other people, most of them younger, think differently, I believe because of their different starting point.

One final note: Microsoft got a bad name for its products in the 90s.In the last decade, after Windows NT, they have very good products to offer, very friendly and at a very reasonable price.
Most people don't now, for example, that MSWord has won first price as a word processor on purely technical standards. And it always came at a much more reasonable price than the Apple products.

[Aug 10, 2013] Hybrid Hard Drives Just Need 8GB of NAND

August 08, 2013
judgecorp writes "Research from Seagate suggests that hybrid hard drives in general use are virtually as good as solid state drives if they have just 8GB of solid state memory. The research found that normal office computers, not running data-centric applications, access just 9.58GB of unique data per day. 8GB is enough to store most of that, and results in a drive which is far cheaper than an all-Flash device. Seagate is confident enough to ease off on efforts to get data off hard drives quickly, and rely on cacheing instead. It will cease production of 7200 RPM laptop drives at the end of 2013, and just make models running at 5400 RPM."

[Apr 18, 2013] Outgoing Intel CEO knocks Windows 8, predicts $200 touch PCs this year By Gregg Keizer

April 17, 2013 | Computerworld

The soon-to-be-gone CEO also predicted prices for future Windows 8 devices that should reach market later this year as Intel rolls out new processors.

Touch-enabled ultrabooks, Intel's brand name for thinner, lighter Windows laptops, should sell for $499 to $599 in the fourth quarter, said Otellini, with the latter more common. Those machines will be equipped with chips out of the new Haswell architecture, which will replace the current Ivy Bridge line of CPUs.

Other, even less-expensive systems, will be fitted with Bay Trail chips, the next-generation in the Atom line; the latter compete, in many cases poorly, with the ARM architecture that powers most smartphones and tablets. Stacy Smith, Intel's CFO, pegged prices of those Bay Trail-powered touch devices -- which could include keyboard-equipped tablets and so-called "convertibles" that transform from tablet into notebook -- at around the $300 mark.

A few minutes later in the earnings call, Otellini went even lower. "If you look at touch-enabled Intel-based notebooks that are ultrathin and light using non-core processors, those prices are going to be down to as low as $200 probably," he said.

... ... ...

According to rival research firm IDC, PC shipments were down 14% in the first quarter of 2013 from the same period the year before. Its analysts largely blamed Windows 8 for the decline, claiming that consumers, confused by the new OS, had delayed purchases of new PCs or simply moved on to tablets.

Other analysts have countered IDC, instead pegging high touch system prices as the culprit.

[Apr 17, 2013] Windows It's over ZDNet

While Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols articles are generally useless, some comments to them are really insightful
Apr 17, 2013 | ZDNet

bccasteel

clickbait

Sorry, this article is nothing but clickbait. This sort of prediction is way too premature, and the author doesn't even pretend to be balanced. Nothing to see here, move along.

Rob.sharp

ZDNET should be renamed to ZDANTIPC

Most of the bloggers here bash the PC on a daily basis avoiding the reality that Tablets and Smart-phones are not equal to the power of a PC. Hybrids like Surface Pro yes but not the crap from the other guys. Reading these articles on a daily basis has me leaning towards other news outlets because this site has a tainted and dirty feel...

It's as if Google and Apple has their hands up ZDnets ass working them over like a sweaty old puppeteer.

DadMagnum

Sunsetted Products

Man, I miss MS money too it was a great product. I miss Visual FoxPro also I loved that database development system.

slaskoske

I doubt it.

Windows isn't going anywhere. The various versions of Windows still hold on to around 90% of the market. Win 8 might not be lighting up the shelves but no new product is going phenomenally right now. The iPad Mini is canaballizing sales of the full-sized iPad. Does that mean that the iPad is going away? Of course not (or, at least, not in the near future).

[Apr 24, 2012] Asus G55VW-DS71

The upcoming Asus G55VW-DS71, featuring the new Ivy Bridge mobile CPUs, set for release on April 29. The G55VW-DS71 will be powered by the new Intel Core i7 3610QM (@ 2.3 GHz). It will feature a 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) FullHD display with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M - 2 GB GDDR5 SDRAM. As for memory, the G55VW-DS71 will offer 12 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz and is expandable to 16 GB via 4 SO DIMM slots. It comes standard with a 750 GB HDD / 7200 rpm with an available hard drive bay. Users have the options to add an additional hard drive or SSD to improve the speed and storage of the laptop.

In addition, the G55VW-DS71 features Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, an 3-in-1 card reader, a 2.0 megapixel webcam, an HDMI output, a Thunderbolt port, one USB 3.0 connector, and an 8-cell battery. The G55VW-DS71 weights in at 8.4 lbs with a starting price of around $1,450.

[Dec 28, 2011] Intel working to keep the netbook alive with "Cedar Trail" Atom platform

"...reduced power consumption in spite of the faster GPU - 5 W for the 1.6 GHz N2600, 8 W for the 1.86 GHz N2800, compared to 10 W for the 1.66 GHz Pineview N570"

The new chips are the Atom N2600 and N2800, based on the Intel's third-generation Atom architecture, codenamed Cedarview. The Cedar Trail-M platform pairs one of these processors with company's pre-existing NM10 chipset. As with the previous generation Pineview processor, each dual core, four thread chip integrates a GPU. For Cedarwood, the processor is based on a PowerVR design. Cedarview's GPU offers twice the performance of Pineview's. Cedarview adds to this a dedicated media engine for hardware-accelerated decoding of motion video, including support for 1080p H.264.

Cedarview is built on Intel's 32 nm process, compared to the 45 nm process used in Pineview. This allows for reduced power consumption in spite of the faster GPU - 5 W for the 1.6 GHz N2600, 8 W for the 1.86 GHz N2800, compared to 10 W for the 1.66 GHz Pineview N570. The new processors also include more aggressive power-saving features than their predecessors. Intel is targeting system runtimes of up to 10 hours, with standby times measured in weeks. The company also claims that systems using the slower N2600 part will draw so little power that they can be passively cooled-no need for fans.

Desktop-oriented Cedarview parts, D2500 and D2700, started shipping in the third quarter of 2011

ScifiGeek

I remember a large swath that were writing off Intel. This is only the beginning.

Intel is actually waking up and taking this segment seriously, they have massive resources and are the process kings.

Anyone who wrote Intel off was an idiot.

I am not writing off ARM, but I expect that by the time Win8 is shipping for ARM, it will be largely pointless, when you can get similar perf/watt AND backward compatibility.

ARM will largely keep Android, Intel will even more largely keep Windows.

Frenetic Pony

Looking at the performance numbers* makes me wonder if ARM is in trouble. Intel might not historically have the most "ethical" business practices, but they can engineer things DAMN well and if the power envelope is good ARM may be in a world of hurt.

Especially considering a single core Intel CPU looks to be not too distant from what ARM probably hopes a dual core Cortext A15 will be capable of (in a little less than a year versus now). With multi-core architectures you have to consider that scaling up the # of cores will give progressively less return on investment, yay Ahmdal's law! The point is, if a single core Intel can already beat a next gen ARM core, then Intel's advantage is actually wider than it appears. Medfield, as far as I know, is based on 32nm manufacturing. While Intel already has 22nm up and running, already a step ahead of a Cortex a15's expected 28nm.

If Intel can deliver on what it's promised ARM may be relegated to a (relatively) niche industry just like PowerPC and Spark. Which is a shame, more competition is always good. Just as the below shows.

*http://www.anandtech.com/show/5365/intels-medfield-atom-z2460-arrive-for-smartphones

[Dec 12, 2011] Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1 TB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive STAA1000100 (Black)

The drive, especially piano black, looks very attractively. But, the construction feels cheap when compared to the metal of the standard Go series. It creaks a little just when holding it in your hands the plastic enclosure slightly bending under your fingers. Not a big deal.
I think the idea of detachable adapters is a good one. The other side of adapter that connected to the drive is just a regular SATA connection. And the adapter can be used for cloning of SATA drive or other similar purposes. I tried several drives and adapter behaves like regular SATA to USB adapter. Of course this is not approved by Seagate usage. With powered USB hub it might even be used for cloning 3.5" drives in case there is no other solution, but I did not tested that.
In my experience the drive provides sustained write speed of 25 MB/sec, slightly less then half of top USB 2.0 speed.
Also I think there are two problems with the drive that Seagate needs to address ASAP.
One problem that I experienced with this drive after a week of use is that it is not recognized on Dell D620 laptop running windows XP SP4. Neither laptop "native ports" recognize the drive, nor additional powered from separate source ports on the docking station. If I connect it to the D620 docking station USB 2.0 port the Windows XP reports power surge and disables the port. But it was recognized OK on newer Dell E6320 laptop with Windows 7 SP1 both on laptop internal and docking station ports. It might well be that the drive needs an additional, second cable with dual USB connections as it looks like one USB port sometimes is unable to power the drive on startup (see below). I used to have old 100 GB Seagate drive and it was shipped with such a cable.
The second problem with the drive is that it is supplied without a regular eSata adapter. such an adapter costs peanuts to produce and should be included with the drive making it more attractive for those who have two types of ports. This way Seagate can distinguish itself from the crowd. Otherwise the idea of changeable adapter which makes the drive technologically more flexible then, say, similar WD 2.5" external USB drives is hidden so deep that many people just do not suspect about existence of this feature. Most of them will never buy another adapter (and they cost $20 each). And any enclosure the provide bother eSATA and USB beats this drive for advanced users.
Currently Seagate provides only Powered eSata ("FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable Powered eSATA - STAE103") which is a pretty rare type of port. It costs $20 on Amazon. Most laptop have a regular eSata (without power) connection. So you are out of luck unless you want to go through the hoops.
Until those shortcomings are rectified I think that previous reviewer is right when he stated that this drive probably makes sense only for those who have USB 3.0 ports. Everybody else might be better served with other 2.5" USB 2.0 external drive models or buy enclosure and a drive (it's not big deal to assemple them).
One other thought. Several reviewers complained about reliability of the drive. Seagate generally has a reputation of rock-solid drives (it produced lion share of drives for servers, although definitely components used are not the same). One generic recommendation is reformat the drive that you get. It often make sense to create two or more smaller partitions instead of one large. In view of my experience with D620 laptop, I think some complains might be related to the fact that their USB ports do not have sufficient power for the drive. If this is true, then running drive via USB hub with a separate power supply can help to improve stability.
Amazon

Roy Wiegmann (Dallas, TX) - See all my reviews

Seagate STAA500102 is compact but with some shortcomings, June 10, 2010

One advantage with the Seagate STAA500102 FreeAgent GoFlex is that it can be upgraded to USB 3, Firewire 800 or eSATA. This option to customize my hard drive is appreciable. I have a MacBook Pro so bought a Firewire 800 adapter for it. Though it is USB 3 compatible, the adapter is not included in the package and the USB 2.0 cable that is included is really too short.

I guess the software is pre-configured for Windows machines. Being a Mac user, I had some problems with the software installation, which was solved after customer support.

The design is good and being a portable device is a benefit.

Being compact it is really nice.

1.0 out of 5 stars February 1, 2011

IT Man - See all my reviews

Does not work for E-Sata connection and Seagate is not going to fix that,

I like most have a Laptop/Workstation these expensive laptops come with E-Sata much faster than USB 2.0 connections. I bought the drive with the intent of using the E-Sata connection. I continues to drop this connection after 15 minutes of connect time which makes it worthless. Visit Seagate website support to see the POSTS. I read some of these reviews on this website and decided to buy the drive, Just wish someone would have made this defect known.

David Felder - See all my reviews

eSata users - Read the fine print, June 22, 2011

First of all, the drive mounted and performs perfectly out of the box. This is not intended as a negative review of the product, but more as a warning to read the fine print.

I bought this with the intention of bringing video editing work home from the office to work on. For that task, eSata speed is a requirement. I use an HP desktop in the office and a Dell XPS laptop at home.

It turns out that the eSata adapter cable, which is an additional item to purchase, does not work from my PC. It requires a powered eSata port. Now, if I had carefully read the description I would have seen that. Unfortunately, I saw eSata adapter for 10X speed and bought it. Now it turns out I can only use the drive at USB 2.0 speeds on the desktop which definitely puts a damper on my plan.

It's not Seagate's fault - I'm just putting this in as a warning to other users that might have the same idea in mind.

lasfk - See all my reviews

Format this drive first to avoid issues with this drive!!, March 4, 2011

I was expecting this drive to be like a spare drive to back up files and store data on and allow me to edit some files as I wanted. I really was expecting it to work just like a jump drive does, but have a lot more storage space. I didn't want to have to plug it into a wall, you know, portable. I wanted to be able to take it to several computers I have at home and at work. What I found out after I placed my order was that these drives by Seagate have pre-installed software on them that once connected to your computer will ask you to load, after a two minute wait. If you install this software "Dashboard" and whatever else is there, you may have some of the issues like all of the other negative ones I read. YOU DON'T NEED THIS SOFTWARE, SO DO NOT INSTALL IT!!! Seagate must think that the only purpose to buy this drive is to do a back-up on one computer and to have it auto run every so often, hence their software. I personnaly am not interested in their software, especially everything I have read to date on it.

So I started by removing the software from the drive, then just using the drive as a back up and to copy some work files to. All seemed fine, then took to work and tried to update a file and found out the the whole drive is read only format, no update capabilities allowed from another machine. Did some more reading and discovered that if I Format the drive completly, (don't do the quick format) do a full format which will take about 1 hour per 100 Gig, so make sure you have plenty of time to do this. When your done the drive will be free of Seagate's software and read only formats for file updates. The drive will work just like a jump drive allowing you to take it from one computer to another, update files as you see fit, back up files and so on...you get the picture.

I think if Seagate wants to keep their good name, they need to offer better instructions on their products and they should not pre-load this software on their drives. All of the issue, at least most of them, appear to be with this software and not really the drive itself. At least this is my finding after I performed this format, the drive is now what I expected to use it for.

So for a rating, out of the box, I give it a 1 STAR, because I had to figure this out, and spend 5+ hours to format the drive.

Rating after the format, I give it 5 STARS!

I hope others find this review helpful, as I am a little tech savy, but no comparison to most of you smart people out there.

Richard Schor "Sorry I bought it!" (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Amazon has old stock!, January 5, 2011

A USB 3.0 package is available that is backward compatible with USB 2.0. If you are going to buy this drive... make sure that you buy the USB 3.0 version. Amazon does not carry it but most all other sources do. USB 3.0 will become the standard and getting the 3.0 version (really just a difference in the cable and attachment) will save money in the future... Amazon got me on this one... they won't get me again!

M. Green (Tucson, AZ) - See all my reviews

Liked old model (freeagent go) better, December 27, 2010

I ordered this as a replacement for my 500GB freeagent go that was stolen. I prefer the old version (freeagent go) over this newer model (freeagent go flex). While the go flex allows you to purchase different cables, this also means that there is an additional large plug-in piece on the drive that is not shown in the pictures and adds to the length. It is also not compatible with the docking station for the freeagent go because of this connector change.

I wish companies would take a lesson from Apple and retain consistent connectors for universal compatibility. My use of this drive is only for photo backup during travel so I have no need for the eSATA or USB 3.0 options, especially when you have to pay for additional connectors.

The case is also a shiny glossy plastic that attracts dust, finger prints and scratches. The old model had a matte metallic cover and was a 1/2" shorter from not having an additional connector. I would have bought the old model but it cost more even on the Seagate website.

[Dec 12, 2011] New HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 32 GB 9.7-Inch Tablet Computer - Glossy Black...

Prices are around $275 for discontinued product HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 32GB Refurbished. Dell Duo and EXOPC with better screens and Windows OS are around $400.

[Dec 12, 2011] EXOPC Slate

For $399 this is essentially the same specs as Dell Duo. There is also a community installing alternate OSes on it - including Ubuntu and Meego. http://exocommunity.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=107 [exocommunity.com]
Microsoft Store Online

PROCESSOR : Intel Atom Pineview-M N450 1.66 GHz, L2 cache 512 KB/1.66 GHz

MEMORY : 2 GB DDR2 667 MHz

HARD DRIVE SIZE : 64 GB SSD P4

OPERATING SYSTEM : Windows 7 Home Premium

PC TYPE : Slate

OPTICAL DRIVE : None

MEDIA DRIVE : Memory card reader (SDHC), supports up to 32 GB cards

AUDIO : 2 built-in 1.5-watt speakers, Realtek High Definition Audio

VIDEO : Intel GMA 3150 with shared graphics memory

PORTS : 2 USB 2.0 • Headphone output • Microphone input • Mini-HDMI

BATTERY : Lithium-ion (4 hours)*

CAMERA : Integrated 1.3-megaixel webcam (fixed focus)

WIRELESS : 802.11b/g/n

BLUETOOTH : Yes (2.1 + EDR)

DIMENSIONS : 11.6 x 7.7 x 0.55 in (294.64 x 195.58 x 13.97 mm)

WEIGHT : 2.09 lbs (0.94 kg)

COLOR : Black

OTHER : Model number: 58318/SLATE SSD64GB For more technical specifications, please see manufacturer's website.

[Nov 28, 2011] Inspiron duo Dell

Limited time offer $479 includes dock. Unfortunatly Duo does not include SD card slot. Sluggish . Ethernet jack and video output are missing two (but are present on the dock). unimpressive battery life of 3 hours

With the touch-sensitive, flash-capable Inspiron duo convertible tablet, you can switch from touch to type in seconds. Color options include black and red. Add an Audio Station dock and listen to music, view photos, even use it as an alarm clock!

[Nov 25, 2011] HP Pavilion p6-2026 Desktop PC

$399.99 beats the price of iBUYPOWER Gamer Power 913i Desktop PC Intel Core i3 2120(3.30GHz) 8GB DDR3 500GB HDD Capacity Intel HD Graphics 2000 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

[Nov 24, 2011] Lenovo ThinkPad X120e

$359 direct. Gigabit Ethernet port.

[Nov 24, 2011] Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 claims title of world's smallest desktop PC By Pawel Piejko

"...While it's hard to tell whether it's really the "world's smallest," the Q180 is certainly a very compact device. Its chassis' dimensions are 155 x 192 x 22 mm (6.1 x 7.55 x 0.8 in)"
gizmag

The base model of the Q180 is powered by a 2.13 GHz dual-core Intel Atom D2500 CPU, AMD Radeon HD 6450A discrete GPU and 2GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1066MHz.

...While it's hard to tell whether it's really the "world's smallest," the Q180 is certainly a very compact device. Its chassis' dimensions are 155 x 192 x 22 mm (6.1 x 7.55 x 0.8 in)

[Nov 20, 2011] Some real deals

See specs Essential G470 14 laptop

[Nov 20, 2011] Lenovo Z370 10252EU 13.3-Inch Laptop (Black)

[Nov 20, 2011] ASUS UL20FT-B1 12-Inch Laptop (Silver)

I bought this as a replacement for a Sony Viao 13.3"(severe overheating issues) laptop for my fiancée to write her thesis. At first I was going to buy her a netbook because they are cheaper but after some intense searching I stumbled upon this model on newegg and it happened to be sold out, so I clicked on it looked at the specs and was immediately impressed for the advertized price. It happened to be sold out because of the combination of a rebate and a super low price on newegg but even for $75 more on Amazon, it couldn't be beat.

In use now, I got TONS of bonus points for this surprise.

Pros:

Cons:

[Nov 20, 2011] Acer ICONIA Tab W500-BZ467 32 GB - Win 7 Home Premium 1 GHz - Gray

$490 online. Probably too early for tablets. We may be looking at a mid-2012 release of Windows 8. See also ACER ICONIA W500-BZ467 TABLET - YouTube

...The screen is beautiful, on par with ipad 2. Speaker is much better. The SD slot & Hdmi/usb ports are definitely great.

... Download the new touch firmware from Acer and that should fix the problem. A stylus will also help with using touch on Win7. make clicking on the small click box and such much easier.

... I've had my W500 for about a month, done all the clean-outs (have you?), installed all the updates, etc. & use this extensively with W7 & full Office products & have absolutely NO issues with Windows 7 touch capabilities. I get 6+ hours between recharges on the W500 which is enough for me on any given day.

...With the full-size dockable keyboard complete with Ethernet port for fast Internet connections, a USB port for external devices, and the integrated Acer FineTrack pointing device with two buttons for effortless navigation

[Nov 20, 2011] Acer ICONIA Tab W500-BZ467 32 GB - Win 7 Home Premium 1 GHz - Gray

$490 online. Probably too early for tablets. We may be looking at a mid-2012 release of Windows 8. See also ACER ICONIA W500-BZ467 TABLET - YouTube

...The screen is beautiful, on par with ipad 2. Speaker is much better. The SD slot & Hdmi/usb ports are definitely great.

... Download the new touch firmware from Acer and that should fix the problem.A stylus will also help with using touch on Win7. make clicking on the small click box and such much easier.

... I've had my W500 for about a month, done all the clean-outs (have you?), installed all the updates, etc. & use this extensively with W7 & full Office products & have absolutely NO issues with Windows 7 touch capabilities. I get 6+ hours between recharges on the W500 which is enough for me on any given day.

...With the full-size dockable keyboard complete with Ethernet port for fast Internet connections, a USB port for external devices, and the integrated Acer FineTrack pointing device with two buttons for effortless navigation

[Nov 20, 2011] ASUS Eee PC 1015PX-SU17-BK 10.1-Inch Netbook Electronics

This is a Linux compatible notebook. $379.36 (Amazon price as of Nov 20, 2011)
Amazon.com
  • Intel ATOM N570 CPU;56W/h Lithium Polymer Battery (Up 11 Hrs)
  • 2GB DDR3 1066 1 x SODIMM slot;up to 2G;320GB HDD;No Optical Drive
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit) Operating System;2-in-1 Card Reader (SD/SDHC/MMC)
  • 10.1-Inch WSVGA Display (1024x600);0.3MP Webcam;VGA Port;Wireless 802.11bgn;Bluetooth 3.0;3 USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1 Year Standard Global Warranty Included (6 months for the battery)

[Nov 17, 2011] How smaller higher RPM hard drives can rip you off by George Ou

September 19, 2006 | ZDNet

Now let's take a look at a 300 GB 10000 RPM hard drive that costs slightly more than the 147 GB 15000 RPM hard drive. This 10K RPM drive has an average rotational latency of 3 milliseconds which is 50% higher than the 15K RPM drive. It has an average seek time of 4.3 ms which is half a millisecond slower than the 15K RPM drive. Therefore the 10K RPM drive has an average access time of 7.3 milliseconds which means it can do a maximum of 137 IOPS for zero-size files. For 36 KB files, it would take up roughly 10% of the IOPS performance which means we should expect to see around 124 IOPS. Looking at the Storage Review performance database again, we see the actual benchmarked value is 124 IOPS.

So we have an obvious performance winner right since 159 IOPS is better than 124 IOPS? Not so fast! Remember that the 15K RPM drive is less than 1/2 the size of the 10K RPM drive. This means we could partial stroke the hard drive (this is official storage terminology) and get much better performance levels at the same storage capacity. The top 150 GB portion of the 10K drive could be used for performance while the second 150 GB portion of the 10K drive could be used for off-peak archival and data mirroring. Because we're partial stroking the drive using data partitions, we can effectively cut the average seek time in half to 2.15 ms. This means the average access time of the hard drive is cut to 5.15 ms which is actually better than the 15K RPM hard drive! The partial stroked 10K RPM drive would produce a maximum of 194 IOPS which is much better than 175 IOPS of the 15K RPM drive. So not only do we get an extra 150 GB archival drive for slightly more money, the active 150 GB portion of the drive is actually a better performer than the entire 147 GB 15K RPM drive.

But this is a comparison on server drive components and we can actually see a more dramatic effect when we're talking about the desktop storage market. In that market, you will actually pay DOUBLE for 1/4th the capacity on 73 GB 10K SATA RPM drives than typical 300 GB 7200 RPM SATA hard drives. Now the speed difference is more significant since the 7200 RPM drives have typical average seek times in the 8.9 millisecond range and you have to add 4.17 milliseconds average rotational latency for a relatively pathetic access time of 13.07 milliseconds. The 10K RPM SATA drive designed for the enthusiast performance desktop market has an average access time of 7.7 milliseconds. But since the 300 GB 7200 RPM drive is 4 times bigger than the 73 GB 10K drive, we can actually use quarter stroking and end up with a high-performance 75 GB partition along with a 225 GB partition we can use for large file archival such as a DVD collection.

By quarter stroking the 300 GB drive, we can actually shave 6.68 ms off the seek time which means we'll actually end up with an average access time of 6.4 milliseconds which is significantly faster than the 10K RPM "performance" drive. This means that PC enthusiasts are paying twice the money for a slower hard drive with a quarter of the storage capacity!

[Nov 16, 2011] iBUYPOWER Gamer Power 913i Desktop PC Intel Core i3 2120(3.30GHz) 8GB DDR3 500GB HDD Capacity Intel HD Graphics 2000 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

Pretty amazing price that can't be replicated if you assemble the same desktop from parts.
Newegg.com

iBUYPOWER Gamer Power 913i Desktop PC Intel Core i3 2120(3.30GHz) 8GB DDR3 500GB HDD Capacity Intel HD Graphics 2000 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

[Aug 14, 2011] The IBM PC is 30 today

reghardware

IBM announced its new machine, the 5150, on 12 August 1981. It was no ordinary launch: the 5150 wasn't the 'big iron' typical of Big Blue - it was a personal computer.

Here's the original 1981 announcement (PDF).

A 12-strong team was assembled under Don Estridge, the Development Director of the project, codenamed 'Chess'. Lewis Eggebrecht was brought on board as Chief Designer.

Rather than create the 5150 from scratch, Estridge's engineers used existing parts from a variety of other companies, seemingly in marked contrast with IBM tradition. The company made a virtue out of the fact that it made the components used in its machines. When you bought an IBM computer, it had IBM's imprimatur of quality through and through.

IBM PC Specs

[May 30, 2010] Portable Dual Drive Raid Enclosure by Addonics

Frontier Photo "Ingerham" (New Mexico)

The Addonics portable RAID enclosure is an elegant solution for laptop users. I purchased it for use as a RAID 1 (mirrored storage) with my current model MacBook Pro while photographing in the field for long periods. The enclosure provides settings for several RAID levels (O-5) as well as JBOD. That said it's very difficult to set up and the documentation is minimal. I can't speak for PC users but with a Mac it's not currently possible to initialize drives according to the manufacturer instructions via a USB connection. That leaves users with two work around possibilities that I was able to figure out. 1. Initialize drives in a separate enclosure and install them into the Addonics enclosure. Drives will then mount and RAID selections will work properly. 2. Format with one drive installed at a time in the Addonics enclosure via eSATA connection (this was the work around I used). Once the drives are formatted the unit works as advertised. The formatting difficulty on Mac has to do with some incompatibility between the Addonics enclosure and the Apple Disk Utility. When attempting to initialize drives as per the instructions the Apple Disk Utility delivers an error message stating "resource busy" and aborts the initialization. To complicate matters further the utility (Steel Vine) that Addonics provides for setup will not install on a Mac ( I downloaded and installed successfully from the Silicon Image website). If you are willing to go to the trouble to set it up -it's worth it. If not wait a bit for Addonics to work out the bugs for Mac users. All that said it's the only portable solution that allows RAID 1 redundant storage which is very useful for people generating valuable data in the field.

[Nov 25, 2009] Intel X-25M SATA Solid-State Drive Review

It definitely improves speed of laptops. Price is still an issue...
ComputerShopper.com

One concern with SSDs is longevity, since flash memory can only be written to a limited number of times. Intel's wear-leveling technology spreads these writes out to aid longevity. The X-25M's mean time-before-failure rating of 1.2 million hours is double that of many consumer laptop drives. Intel says the drive can handle a workload of more than 100GB per day for five years. Since it's unlikely that you'll still be using an 80GB drive in late 2013, longevity isn't likely to be a concern.

The drive's speed is rated at up to 250MB per second at sequential reads and 70MB per second for sequential writes. We found performance exemplary, with HDTach sequential read results of 121MB per second, compared to 40MB per second for a typical laptop hard drive. We copied the same drive image to a Seagate Momentus 5400.3 5,400rpm drive and to the 80GB X-25M, and saw dramatically higher speeds in every operation that used the SSD.

...Windows boot time decreased from 36.6 seconds to 25 seconds when we swapped in the SSD. Putting the laptop in Hibernate mode-saving memory to disk but without using power like you do when you put the laptop to sleep-dropped from 16.4 seconds to 12.3. The time it took to load Word for the first time after booting dropped from 9.2 seconds to just 2.8 seconds. The system also feels more responsive in general; you never have to wait for the drive to spin up, so seek time is almost infinitesimal, and multiple tasks accessing the drive at the same time (copying files while a virus check is in progress, for instance) don't bog down the system like they do on a traditional drive.

Though its power consumption of 0.06 watts while idle is similar to that of a traditional laptop drive, to 1.8 to 2 watts for the Seagate Momentus drive we replaced) can result in up to a half-hour of additional battery life, depending on how much you access the drive.

... ... ...

Performance-wise, the X-25M noticeably improved responsiveness in both the budget netbook and the fast gaming notebook in which we tested it. It's so fast, in fact, that you might consider using it with a mounting adapter as the boot drive in a desktop PC.

[Nov 23, 2009] A Recession-Friendly Email Device - WSJ.com

For $20 a month, you can email and text to your heart's content with no limit and no contract. If you're willing to sign on for three months at a time, it's $50, or $16.67 a month, and for a full year, it's $180, or $15 a month. Unlimited lifetime usage of the device is $250 up front.

[June 6, 2007] Asus stuns Computex with £100 laptop

Asus chairman Jonney Shih sprang a surprise during Intel's Computex keynote today with the announcement of a $189 laptop.

The notebook measures roughly 120 x 100 x 30mm (WDH) and weighs only 900g. We saw the notebook boot in 15 seconds from its solid-state hard disk. The huge auditorium then burst into applause as Shih revealed the astounding price tag. Dubbed the 3ePC, Shih claimed the notebook is the 'lowest cost and easiest PC to use'. As the crowds rushed the stage, we sneaked off to the Asus stand to take a closer look.

The notebook uses a custom-written Linux operating system, much like the OLPC, though unlike the OLPC, Asus has chosen a more conventional interface. The desktop looked fairly similar to Windows and we saw Firefox running on one 3ePC. A spokesperson from Asus told us that the notebook would come with "an office suite that's compatible with MS Office", though he refused to confirm or deny whether that meant OpenOffice.

He claimed the 3ePC would be available in all areas of the world, not only developing nations.

The low price comes from some interesting design choices, primarily the flash-based hard disk. A disk of today's standard capacity would cost more than notebook itself as we saw with the 32GB Samsung disk, but Asus uses a 2GB disk. We were not allowed to touch the 3ePC so couldn't tell how much of this is left after the bespoke OS is installed.

The CPU also remains a mystery, though Shih said the version on show did have 512MB of RAM. Another version will be available for $299, but nobody could tell us what the difference between the two models is.

For all the latest news and developments from Computex 2007 see: www.pcpro.co.uk/html/computex2007

[Jan 1, 2005] The year in microprocessors

64-bit Futures Part III - IBM and Sun
Well, Power architecture is increasingly going head-on against Itanium in many large deals, even sinking the good ship Itanic in some situations with - believe or not - lower prices!

And improved performance with better compilers, more superdense high-bandwidth machine like the superb p655+, where two 8-way single MCM systems with 1.7+ GHz POWER4+ processors fit within a 4U space! So, 16 systems and some 880+ GFLOPs of peak 64-bit power get squeezed into a single rack - 4 times the density of HP Itanium2! Put a nice shared-memory interconnect like the increasingly popular Bristol product, Quadrics QsNet, and you got a nasty supercomputing monster.

And, these can run 64-bit Linux (almost) as well as their home OS, AIX.

The memory bandwidth of each eight-way box is 51.2 GB/s, or eight times that of a four-way Intel Itanium2, or 11 times that of a four-way Sun USIII box. Of course, Rmax (the obtainable percentage of FLOPS in Linpack FP bench) is right now far less on Power4 than on Itanium2 - 60% vs almost 90% - but the extra frequency and greater memory bandwidth more than make up for that in many apps.

Towards the end of the year, the multithreaded POWER5 will also dramatically improve the FP benchmark scores, not to mention twice the CPU density, a quarter larger cache, even higher memory bandwidth and lower latency. But don't expect major clock speed improvements, the focus was on real performance and reliability benefits - as if chip-kill memory, eLiza self-healing, and per-CPU logical partitioning was not enough...

Finally, the existing SuSE and coming RedHat Linux on POWER4 and its follow-ons, natively 64-bit of course, aim to give extra legitimacy to it being "an open platform" at least as much as Itanium is.

On the low-end, the PowerPC 970 - or POWER4 Lite, might (or pretty much will be now that Motorola G5 is down the drain) the basis of Apple's next generation Mac platform - it's 64-bit ticket to the future. With its low power - down to less than 16W in low-power mobile 1.2 GHz mode, it will also enable very dense server blades and of course POWERful 64-bit ThinkPads or PowerBooks running AIX size="2" face="Arial">For IBM then, Opteron makes sense as an excellent tool to corner Intel, with POWER on high end and Opteron on low-end, both 64-bit and both soon manufactured by IBM Microelectronics? No, I didn't say both owned by IBM, even though that is a possibility: AMD does need a sugar daddy, not a sugar mommy. Got my hint who the feisty "sugar mommy" could be?

What about the other major vendor, from SUN-ny California? Well, UltraSPARCIIIi is finally out, no surprise there, it helps a bit but is still far behind all other major CPUs (except MIPS) in most benchmarks. Yes, Sun's mantra of something like "we don't care about speed, we focus on our brand etc" can continue, but what is computing if not about speed and performance?

Still no sign of US IV anyway, and even when it comes, don't expect much of extra per-thread performance over US III - When (and if) it really rolls out in volumes towards yearend, it will have to fight both POWER5 and Madison2, both very powerful beasts on the rise, backed by humungous ruthless megacompanies - each of which can eat Sun as an appetiser.

You can read hundreds of pages of Net discussions about the particular merits and demerits of SPARC vs other architectures, from all sides and viewpoints, but the fact remains - SPARC is the turtle of the 64-bit world, slow and maybe long-lived compared to, say, Alpha, but even turtles have to die at some point... and before they die, they become extremely slow...

64-bit Opteron is fast in some things compared to the rest of the gang, and not so fast in others, but whatever the case, current and future Opterons are vastly superior performance and feature wise to low-end and midrange SPARC offerings at umpteen times lower cost. Plus, they are as 64-bit as SPARC (or any other 64-bit CPU) is... so Sun taking Opteron would be simply common sense...

WD said it will end production of air-filled hard drives for the data center by Lucas Mearian

Sep 9, 2014 | computerworld.com

HGST's new He10 10TB hard drive seals in helium and users singled magnetic recording to pack its capacity into a 3.5-in form factor.

Computerworld | 12:05 PM PT Western Digital's (WD) HGST subsidiary today announced it has added 8TB and 10TB hard drives to its HelioSeal product line, which hermetically seals in helium in order to reduce internal drive friction and power use.

WD also announced its first NVMe (non volatile memory express) product with a PCIe-attached flash drive; the company also announced a new 2.5-in solid-state drive (SSD).

Additionally, WD unveiled a new "flash fabric" software and hardware platform that acts as a multi-server volume manager, linking up to 128 servers and 16 PCIe drives for up to 38TB of pooled flash storage. HGST is rebranding Virident Solutions 2.0 software.

HGST's Active Archive platform can link up to 128 servers and 16 PCIe drives for up to 38TB of pooled flash storage.

The HGST Virident Solutions 2.0 software can create a high availability, mirrored cluster that can be managed through a graphical user interface for shared storage applications like Oracle RAC and Red Hat Global File System that traditionally rely on dedicated SANs.

... ... ...

Massive hard drive upgrade

Last November, HGST announced its first helium-filled hard drive, the 6TB (He6) model that broke all previous records for hard drive areal density.

Today, HGST said that by 2017, it plans to end production of air-filled hard drives for use in corporate data centers, replacing all of its models with helium filled products.

HGST's first 10TB hard drive uses shingled magnetic recording, which overlaps data tracks in order to achieve a higher areal density.

Along with the thinner gas's ability to reduce power use, the helium-drives run at four to five degrees cooler than today's 7200rpm drives, HGST stated. Sealing air out of the drive also keeps humidity and other contaminates from getting in.

HGST's announcement comes less than two weeks after Seagate announced its highest capacity enterprise hard drive, an 8TB model that bypassed helium for air.

Instead of helium, Seagate uses a technology called shingled magnetic recording (SMR) to increase the capacity of its drives beyond 4TB. Seagate has said SMR holds the promise of creating 20TB drives by 2020.

With SMR technology, Seagate has been able to increase bit density on its platters by 25% or more. Unlike standard perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR), where data tracks rest side by side, SMR overlaps the tracks on a platter like shingles on a roof, thereby allowing Seagate to squeeze more tracks together on a hard drive platter.

HGST's new 3.5-in 8TB drive uses traditional PMR technology, but the new 10TB hard drive marks WD's foray into SMR in conjunction with the helium gas. Both drives use a 12Gbps SAS interface. By using helium instead of air, HGST said it was able to stack 7 platters and reduce power usage at idle by 23% and watts per terabyte of capacity by 44% over its 6TB drive.

HGST's He8 8TB hard drive uses standard perpendicular magnetic recording surrounded by helium gas to reduce friction.

The 8TB drive is being marketed as nearline storage for faster access. Both new drives come with a 128MB cache buffer, a five year warranty and a two million hour meantime between failures (MTBF) rating.

The new hard drives also come with WD's "Instant Secure Erase" feature, which overwrites data multiple times to ensure deletion.

Both 8TB and 10TB drives are shipping or sampling today.

PCIe SSDs

HGST's new series of NVMe-compliant Ultrastar SN100 PCIe SSDs, integrate Toshiba's current MLC NAND flash chips. The SSDs come in 800GB, 1.6TB and 3.2TB capacities.

HGST's new Ultrastar SN150 PCIe flash module comes in a half-height/half-length form factor add-in card with 1.6TB and 3.2TB capacities.

"We expect to see significant growth in PCIe-based SSD demand, especially as businesses implement server-side flash in conjunction with Flash-optimized software and applications," Gustafson said.

The Ultrastar SN100 Series PCIe SSDs will offer 2X the performance and endurance over HGST's current family of FlashMAX PCIe SSDs.

More info:

Microsoft's Windows 8 Plan B(lue) Bring back the Start button, boot to desktop By Mary Jo Foley

April 16, 2013 | ZDNet

Reports from a couple of different forums from this past weekend raised the possibility that Microsoft might be moving toward allowing users to skip booting into the Metro-Style Start menu and instead start their PCs in desktop mode. (Winbeta.org noted the thread about this on April 14.)

BCF1968

perhaps 'puters aint your thing

have been using Windows 8 since the beta in February 2012. I don't have a laptop nor a touch screen. Works just fine. pretty simple? But heck maybe I'm just a super genius since so many seem to have so much difficulty. Perhaps a Mensa test should be required.

trumanp@...

Condecension is not a good way to get your point across

I really dislike how many people assume they are smarter, or just simply superior to their fellow computer users because they like the newest idea to come from a software company.

Did it ever occur to you that some people just don't like the new layout? I've also used Windows 8 since the developer preview, and I know it pretty much inside and out, but it only resides on one of my computers at home so I am conversant on the system. The rest of my computers remain windows 7, or linux of some flavor, (just for reference, that totals about 7 boxes among family, and media servers.)

Windows 8 as it stands is just not something I prefer on a personal level, either as touch or non-touch. A hybrid style ends up being maligned due to it's inability to capitalize on any of it's strengths. Tablets and touch centric devises have different needs than do desktops.

Tablets and touch devices are going to cut into desktop sales as many people bought desktops just to consume media. It was overkill. The desktop was too much muscle for what many people really needed or wanted. The desktop is not going away, but it's market is going to shrink for a while until tablets have replaced all the redundant PC's out there.

I personally think that the PC market will shrink to at least a third of what it is now in the consumer space, and that in certain areas a tablet will work great for many business uses as well.

I don't think this is the end of Microsoft any time soon, far too many systems used in education and business were written specifically for MS platforms. The expenses of switching are always prohibitive. But I do think that Microsoft's role as the dominant force in computing as a whole is done.

Tojuro

Separate but Obsolete

So, you see the world as silo's, with PC's and Tablets divided in inseparable containers.

Microsoft doesn't see it this way, obviously. When Google merges Chrome with Android, you'll see they agree with Microsoft (which sucks for both of the Chrome fans). When Apple merges IOS with Mac OS, you'll see it there (and all those obsolete Intel Mac owners will feel the pain). And, yes, those both of those days are coming.

Microsoft could go on making people happy......and we'd still be starting apps in the Program Manager and using a complex menu system in Office. Well, actually, Microsoft wouldn't exist if they did that. Windows 8 isn't perfect, but it's doing the right things to keep the company relevant in 5 years and in 20, and it takes guts to do that when it ticks off people here and now.

Look -- the OS will merge. The first version is never easy. I don't agree with Ad Hominem arguments, but this is a case where a lot of people just don't get it......yet.

CobraA1

thoughts

"Microsoft could go on making people happy......and we'd still be starting apps in the Program Manager and using a complex menu system in Office. "

Making people happy is part of the business. They should exist to serve their customers - what good is creating a beautiful looking UI if nobody buys it?

I seriously don't want to live in a world where businesses ignore their customers.

"and we'd still be starting apps in the Program Manager"

You actually could until Windows XP Service Pack 2. Microsoft actually included a configuration switch to allow you to do so for quite some time.

And it should be noted that neither Windows 9x nor Microsoft Office had discoverability issues - in fact, the ribbon was designed to make it easier to discover new things, not harder. Windows 8 is actually the opposite of Office 2007 in this regard.

jrbales@

Start button programs show how easy it is to add options back to Win 8

I have Windows 8 on my laptop (since the early previews in 2011/2012 and now the release version). After all that time I was not happy with the UI changes and how they affected the way I use my computer to accomplish work. Then I read up on the different apps that add the Start Button and boot to desktop options back to Win 8. I ended up with 'Start8' which was worth the $4.99 it cost me. Turns out it was really easy to add the Start button back to the desktop, to boot directly into the desktop, to get rid of the hot edges, and program keys to use IF & WHEN I want to use the Metro/Modern UI (which is rare).

I don't notice any performance hit and so far (after 6 months or more using it) I haven't experienced any problems. So if MS claims that it's not feasible to add switches to Win 8 that give the end user the option to decide how THEY want to use their computer, then they're lying to you.

bitcrazed

"nearly unusable Windows 8"

So, assuming you choose to ignore the Win8 Metro/Modern UI & apps and just use traditional desktop apps, how is Win8 "unusable"?

Since on your desktop, you no doubt pin your most frequently used apps to the taskbar and/or pin shortcuts to the desktop itself, you'll most likely rarely ever use the start screen.

So, again, how does this make Win8 "unusable"?

I'll grant you that on the desktop/laptop, especially non-touch-sensitive screens, the Win8 Metro/Modern apps aren't yet a slam-dunk home-run, but on touch-screen devices, Metro/Modern apps are fabulously usable compared to desktop apps.

Nobody is saying you have to stop using your desktop apps when you use Win8 (especially on your desktop/laptop) but if you're saying that MS should abandon/remove Metro, then you're eliminating Windows' utility on tablets and that is something that is unreasonable and unrealistic.

Intel's dream of x86 CPUs inside smartphones closer to reality

Intel's dream of getting x86 processors into smartphones is almost a reality. At Intel's keynote presentation at CES, Liu Jun, president of Lenovo's mobile Internet division, announced the Lenovo K800 smartphone built on Intel's "Medfield" Atom platform. Boasting a 4.5" 720p screen, HSPA+ support, and running Android 4.0, the phone will be available in China from the second quarter of 2012. Inside, the processor is the Intel Atom Z2460 with 21Mbps HSPA+ connectivity on the China Unicom network from Intel's XMM 6260 chipset.

Lenovo has also been showing off its IdeaPad K2110, a 10" Android 4.0 tablet again powered by Medfield.

The K800 isn't the only Medfield design win. Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha announced that Motorola and Intel had entered into a "multiyear, multidevice strategic partnership," with Motorola's first Atom-powered phones due to ship in the second half of this year.

Intel claimed that its single core, two-thread 1.6 GHz "Medfield" Atom processors offered better performance and lower power consumption than unspecified ARM processors in unspecified popular Android phones. The company says that it has both tuned Android to work optimally on its hardware, and worked with third-party developers to ensure that their applications are optimized.

Staples

CompUSA.com 059624U Lenovo ThinkPad X120e 11.6 Black Notebook

$379.99

Lenovo ThinkPad X120e 0596-24U Notebook PC - AMD Fusion E-240 1.5GHz, 2GB DDR3, 320GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 6310, 11.6" Display, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, Black

Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition and Core i7-3930K processors for LGA 2011 Platform - X-bit labs

Throughout the entire test session we had a hard time getting rid of the feeling that we are getting acquainted not with a new enthusiast platform, but with a new server and workstation solution. The server roots of the LGA 2011 platform show themselves way too obviously. The server origin is noticeable in the design of the semiconductor die with eight computational cores, in the processor characteristics including enormous l3 cache, in the support of quad-channel but relatively slow memory controller.

The results of the performance tests can also be interpreted accordingly. LGA 2011 processors have more computational cores than their LGA 1155 counterparts, but they work at lower clock speeds. Therefore the ideal application for the Sandy Bridge-E based newcomers will be multi-threaded tasks, such as digital content creation and processing, for example. In other words, these are the tasks typical of high-performance workstations in the first place.

As for the role of a general-purpose platform, LGA 2011 doesn't fit in too seamlessly. Mainboards and processors that are part of the platform are very expensive, but in reality they don't deliver too many advantages. Moreover, the flagship platform doesn't really do better than LGA 1155 in a number of usage models that could be of interest to regular users, such as gaming, for example. Also the new platform doesn't support Quick Sync technology. Moreover, its power consumption is through the roof and overclocking poses additional challenges and requires super-efficient cooling.

In other words, there are not so many real advantages that could make the new LGA 2011 platform a dream come true for advanced users. In fact, there can be only two significant arguments in favor of this platform. They are unprecedented multi-threaded performance and support of the fastest implementation of multi-GPU configurations. However, these arguments will be convincing enough only for a small number of enthusiasts, while the majority of users will still prefer LGA 1155 processors and mainboards. Especially since Core i7 family in LGA 1155 form-factor has recently been refreshed again and its performance rose to a higher level.

However, it will be psychologically difficult for the owners of LGA 1366 based systems to migrate to LGA 1155, and this is when LGA 2011 may come in very handy. The introduction of progressive Sandy Bridge microarchitecture in six-core processors turned out very fruitful: Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K outperform Core i7-990X by about 10% on average, but in some cases this advantage reaches as far as 30%. The new platform has become more interesting due to a fourth memory channel, PCI Express 3.0 controller integrated into the processor and simpler single-chip core logic set.

But even if you are determined to upgrade to LGA 2011, you should keep in mind the downsides of this decision, which result primarily from the rushed platform launch. By releasing desktop Sandy Bridge-E processors ahead of their server modifications Intel accepted a number of compromises. They used an old chipset under the new "X79 Express" name as an LGA 2011 core logic set, which not only has limited functionality in terms of interfaces support, but differs significantly and in a negative way from what has been initially promised. Today's Core i7 from the new 3000-series are based on Revision C core with significant power consumption and not very high overclocking potential. Intel is planning to eliminate these issues, but only after the launch, so we are in for some processor line-up refresh and maybe even a chipset upgrade. Therefore, until things get figured out it is better to hold off the purchase even if you are certain the LGA 2011 platform is for you.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5 TB SATA 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Hard Drive ST31500341AS By John Smiley (Seattle, WA)

November 2, 2008 | Amazon

Update: I wrote this review before a firmware update was made available and my comments reflect the situation at the time. When the updates were made available, I flashed my 5 drives and they've been working fine ever since. I'd change the rating to a 4 star if the editor allowed.

I and many others have been experiencing serious problems with these drives including:

* dropping out of RAID configurations for no apparent reason
* being ejected from a RAID configuration due to read / write errors
* freezing for up to 30 seconds

These problems have been reported on Linux, Vista, XP, and OS X and appear to be related to how the drives flush their write cache. In many cases, the drives work fine for days or weeks before problems appear. In my case, I bought five of these for my Qnap TS-509 Pro and they worked great for about two weeks under various read / write loads. Since then, I've had all three of the problems mentioned above on different drives and they are growing progressively worse. The latest problem was three of the five drives disappearing from the RAID5 volume while I was attempting to copy the files to a different NAS.

A work-around that has been successful for some is to disable the disk write cache. Other than the obvious performance penalty and reduced lifespan this causes, some systems do not provide a means of disabling disk write cache (such as the Qnap).

References to these problems can be found on many forum threads:

Qnap: http://forum.qnap.com/viewtopic.php?f=142&t=8826
Netgear: http://www.readynas.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=20435&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a
Synology: http://www.synology.com/enu/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&p=47101
AVSForum: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1080005
macrumors: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=571843
Ubuntu: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=933053
Slashdot: http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1003109&cid=25458241
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B00066IJPQ

The most informative thread may be found on Seagate's own support forum, where it appears Seagate is blaming everyone but themselves for the problem:

http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=ata_drives&thread.id=2390&view=by_date_ascending&page=1

Why 64-bits are good, and why they're not

THIS ARTICLE hopes to cast some light on why 64-bit addressing, that is, the native mode of the Opteron or Itanium versus that of the Athlon or Pentium is important in 2003. It also attempts to address what the requirements are and - equally importantly - are not.

Before we start, an easy one. Why 64-bit and not 48-bit? Because it costs little more to extend a 32-bit ISA to 64-bit than to only 48-bit, and most people like powers of two. In practice, many of the hardware and operating system interfaces will be less than 64 bits, sometimes as few as 40 bits, but the application interfaces (i.e. the ones the programmers and users will see) will all be 64-bit.

There are several non-reasons quoted on the Internet; one is as arithmetic performance. 64-bit addressing does not change floating-point, and is associated with 64-bit integer arithmetic; while it is easy to implement 32-bit addressing with 64-bit arithmetic or vice versa, current designs don't. Obviously 64-bit makes arithmetic on large integers faster, but who cares? Well, the answer turns out to be anyone who uses RSA-style public key cryptography, such as SSH/SSL, and almost nobody else.

On closer inspection, such use is dominated by one operation (NxN->2N multiplication), and that is embedded in a very small number of places, usually specialist library functions. While moving from 32 to 64 bits does speed this up, it doesn't help any more than adding a special instruction to SSE2 would. Or any less, for that matter. So faster arithmetic is a nice bonus, but not a reason for the change.

File pointers are integers, so you can access only 4GB files with 32 bits, right? Wrong. File pointers are structures on many systems, and files of more than than 4GB have been supported for years on a good many 32-bit systems. Operations on file pointers are usually well localized and are normally just addition, subtraction and comparison anyway. Yes, going to 64-bits makes handling large files in some programs a bit easier, but it isn't critical.

Let's consider the most common argument against 64-bit: compatibility.

Almost all RISC/Unix systems support old 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems, as did IBM on MVS/ESA, and there is a lot of experience on how to do it almost painlessly for users and even programmers.

Microsoft has a slightly harder time because of its less clean interfaces, but it is a solved problem and has been for several decades.

Now let's get onto some better arguments for 64-bit. One is that more than 4GB of physical memory is needed to support many active, large processes and memory map many, large files - without paging the system to death. This is true, but it is not a good argument for 64-bit addressing. The technique that Intel and Microsoft call PAE (Physical Address Extension) allows 64 GB of physical memory but each process can address only 4GB. For most sites in 2003, 64GB is enough to be getting on with.

IBM used this technique in MVS, and it worked very well indeed for transaction servers, interactive workloads, databases, file servers and so on. Most memory mapped file interfaces have the concept of a window on the file that is mapped into the process's address space - PAE can reduce the cost of a window remapping from that of a disk transfer (milliseconds) to that of a simple system call (microseconds). So this is a rather weak reason for going to 64-bit addressing, though it is a good one for getting away from simple 32-bit.

Now, let's consider the second most common argument against 64-bit: efficiency. Doubling the space needed for pointers increases the cache size and bandwidth requirements, but misses the point that efficiency is nowadays limited far more by latency than bandwidth, and the latency is the same. Yes, there was a time when the extra space needed for 64-bit addresses was a major matter, but that time is past, except perhaps for embedded systems.

So 64-bit addressing is unnecessary but harmless except on supercomputers? Well, not quite. There are some good reasons, but they are not the ones usually quoted on the Internet or in marketing blurb.

The first requirement is for supporting shared memory applications (using, say, OpenMP or POSIX threads) on medium or large shared memory systems. For example, a Web or database server might run 256 threads on 16 CPUs and 32GB. This wouldn't be a problem if each thread had its own memory, but the whole point of the shared memory programming model is that every thread can access all of the program's global data. So each thread needs to be able to access, say, 16GB - which means that 32-bit is just not enough.

A more subtle point concerns memory layout. An application that needs 3GB of workspace might need it on the stack, on the main heap (data segment), in a shared memory segment or in memory set aside for I/O buffers. The problem is that the location of those various areas is often fixed when the program is loaded, so the user will have to specify them carefully in 32-bit systems to ensure that there is enough free space in the right segment for when the program needs its 3GB.

Unfortunately, this choice of where to put the data is often made by the compiler or library, and it is not always easy to find out what they do. Also, consider the problem of an administrator tuning a system for multiple programs with different characteristics. Perhaps worst is the case of a large application that works in phases, each of which may want 2GB in a different place, though it never needs more than 3 GB at any one time. 64-bit eliminates this problem.

To put the above into a commercial perspective, almost all general purpose computer vendors make most of their profit (as distinct from turnover) by selling servers and not workstations. 64-bit addressing has been critical for some users of large servers for several years now, and has been beneficial to most of them. In 2003, 64-bit is needed by some users of medium sized servers and useful to most; by 2005, that statement could be changed to say `small' instead of 'medium sized'. That is why all of the mainframe and RISC/Unix vendors moved to 64-bit addressing some time ago, and that is why Intel and AMD are following.

On the other hand, if you are interested primarily in ordinary, single user workstations, what does 64-bit addressing give you today? The answer is precious little. The needs of workstations have nothing to do with the matter, and the move to 64-bit is being driven by server requirements. µ

Nick Maclaren has extensive experience of computing platforms

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