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Slashback: Grids, Netscape, AMD 266

Slashback tonight (is this number 200 already?) brings a few updates and amplifications on grid computing and AMD's plans vis a vis Intel. Also, it seems that some of the best features of Mozilla have finally infiltrated the world of Netscape. Read on the for the details.

And Campbell's puts glass marbles in their soup pictures. Roland Piquepaille writes "We saw several grid computing announcements in the last couple of days.Of course, Gateway stole the show. In 'Gateway makes store PCs work overtime,' you can read that 'Gateway's network of 8,000 PCs can deliver 14 teraflops.' This is plain wrong. You all know that this number of 14 teraflops is meaningless. It's just the addition of the peak speed of all the PCs -- never reached anyway on individual PCs. You need specialized software to work efficiently with a grid. And two companies are releasing new products to power grids. Avaki rolled out what it believes is the first Java-based data grid software for enterprise-class IT environments. Kontiki, for its part, on Monday released a grid server that brings its content delivery system into the server realm, whereas previously it was only available for PCs. Check this column for a summary, or this article for more details."

Why aren't those things called 'stick-up' ads, anyhow? Internet Ninja writes "Netscape today released version 7.01 of Netscape based on Mozilla 1.0.2. Back in is popup blocking which they got a lashing for in 7.0 as well as tabs as home pages just like Mozilla. Release notes here and there's a couple articles on Netscape devedge which may be of interest to developers."

And they will continue to have produced my Athlon, too. schnoz writes "And you thought AMD was quitting the PC chip market? Then check out this article on Business Week. Not only are they releasing new chips and plan to continue to do so, they're also still very active research wise, working on new transistor making techniques such as the double gate design as well as metal-rather-than-silicon design. Keep going at it AMD!!"

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Slashback: Grids, Netscape, AMD

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  • with one pertaining to gateway, and this little lite relief at the bottom of the page:

    Two heads are better than one. -- John Heywood

  • by Anonymous Coward
    they built the beowulf cluster we have been talking about for YEARS on /.

    Crap, now that they did it, what next? A cluster of clusters, clustering?
  • by majordomo ( 111692 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @08:53PM (#4867175) Homepage
    It might interest some to know that physicists are thinking a lot about grid computing, especially those who use computation heavily, such as numerical relativists and fluid dynamicists. An interesting article appeared last year in Physics Today []. Let's hope that the academic community's tradition of openness takes root in the Grid.
    • by grid geek ( 532440 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:05PM (#4867276) Homepage

      Physicists are more than thinking about the Grid, I should know as they're funding my PhD in Data Grid Computing 8*).

      The main reason for this is the Large Hadron Collider, which is due to go into production at CERN [] in about 2007. For the younger members of the audience, CERN was where Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web in the early 1990's

      When it goes online it has 4 major experiments, each of which stores data at 100-400MB/sec, and I stress stores data at 100+ MB/sec, the first level is processing 40Terabytes a second. This equals a few petabytes a year (1PB = 1000TB = 1000000GB) which then has to be shipped to sites around Europe and the US.

      All this is going to have data, processing and network requirements which make most techies gasp, i.e. Google only has a 20TB database, current physics ones are at 650TB+. At this level 14TFlops is kinda a cute little toy.

      And yes, most of it's open source and based on the Globus [] Toolkit.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:16PM (#4867817)
        Agreed. The physicists are putting massive resources into grid computing... trying to get all the scientific equipment onto a common paradigm of network resource access. I should also know, as I was co-opted into testing grid resources and grid algorithms when I was working for the University.

        I think that there are a few more reasons than just the Hadron Collider, however.

        The astrophysicists have got their Hubble Telescope and the radio telescopes which the SETI@Home project gets it's data from. The nuclear medical technicians have their magnetic resonance imagers (nMRI) and their picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). The geologists have got their seismographs. And the geneticists have got their DNA databases.

        Surprisingly, a lot of scientific equipment is actually able to generate between 100MB to 1GB of data per second. Not just a collider or accelerator, although they are certainly known for generating alot of information.

        Information is cheap and free, if you understand how to generate digital content. MRI scanners, for instance, are able to generate that much information, and are nearly always underclocked because physicians generally aren't looking at the atomic or molecular level.

        Agreed on the Google point. It goes to show that high end computing is still order's of magnitude faster than home appliances (PCs). I was impressed at college with the virtual reality workstations we used to navigate the grid network (Internet2 connection, via the CERN group, Argonne National Laboratories, Enrico Fermi Institute, et al. I happend to have studied under one of the Globus Toolkit authors, working out of Argonne, for a very short while.).

        Anyhow, a moderate scientific/medical workstation nowdays has perhaps 4 to 32 GB of RAM. We would use that RAM to generate immersive 3D rendering of nucleic acids, genomes, proteins, biotech designs, astrometic simulations, and so forth. Now, considering a stereoscopic projection monitor, you've got anywhere between 2 and 16 GB of data streaming to you, per second, per eye, via the projection monitor. Stereoscopic photorealistic virtual environments, grid overlays, you name it. It can definately be information overload at times.

        The interesting thing, I found, was that at 2GB of information, per second, per eye, was the threshhold before I really and truly began to get mentally 'tricked' into being totally immersed, visually. That is, 20/20 vision, photorealistic, full spectrum color, stereoscopic, requires about 4 GB of memory to acurately and artificially calculate and project a pixel for each rod/cone in the human retina. A little bit of neurobiology for you, I suppose. Yep, them darn Turring machines are pretty neat, when they're hooked up to a grid network.

      • For the younger members of the audience, CERN was where Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web in the early 1990's


        It's a sad-sad day for Physics when CERN is reduced to 'the place where the Web was developed.'

        There's one HELL of a lot more interesting stuff done at CERN, and there has been for decades, than the WWW.

        This isn't meant to slight Berners-Lee or the web or anything, but mercy me. CERN is and has been coolness itself for longer than many people reading this have been alive.
  • by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @08:54PM (#4867189) Homepage
    i confirmed it on my 3.6 ghtz athlon system (dual 1.8 MPs)...
  • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @08:55PM (#4867199) Homepage
    Wow, the fastest netscape I've used to date is (IIRC) Netscape 3.x. All subsequent versions have been progressively slower.

    Except this one, apparently.

    I wonder how they got it so fast? They must have geavily modified the Mozilla 1.0.2 code because, compared to NS 3.x, it runs like a dog with no legs.

    • "Wow, the fastest netscape I've used to date is (IIRC) Netscape 3.x. All subsequent versions have been progressively slower."

      No no no, you see everybody had Pentiums running at 120 mhz when Netscape 3.0 was out. So technically they're right!
      • > No no no, you see everybody had Pentiums running at 120 mhz
        > when Netscape 3.0 was out.

        Err, no, Pentiums didn't run that fast until a year or two later --
        at least not the ones anyone could afford to actually buy. A
        486 DX4/100 was still considered competitive as a new system even
        when Netscape 4.0 came out. (Which, incidentally, tells you how
        *old* Netscape 4.x is. Considering that Netscape 6 was really
        ony of beta quality, we can be quite thankful that the long wait
        is over and Netscape has a decent browser out again (since 7.0PR1,
        which "Preview" or not made 6.2.anything look like junk).) This
        new Netscape release, from what I've seen of it so far (admittedly,
        not extensive use) seems to be quite solid, though of course it
        lacks the majority of the features added during the 1.1 and 1.2
        milestones. Which is fine; 1.1 lacked stability, and 1.2 is new
        enough that it's hard to say (though I'm using 1.2.1 and it seems
        very solid to me so far); Netscape is right to go with 1.0.2 for
        now. I'm thinking they'll stick with that 1.0.x branch through
        several minor releases and go back to the trunk for a new stable
        branch around 1.4 or 1.6 or so. (This is not inside information,
        just a prediction based on the pattern I've observed in their
        behavior over the last couple of years.) By then, the branch
        they are using will feel really obsolete to people who have been
        testing the Mozilla builds, but that means that when users upgrade
        to the next branch they'll notice a sudden influx of features.
        That branch could be 7.5, but I'm predicting it will be 8.0
        • Netscape 1.1 or 1.2 (whatever the final 1.x was) was the latest stable version when I got my Pentium 75. I remember downloading the 2.0 betas about 6 months after I got that system. 100mhz Pentiums had just come out then.

          I remember the 2.0 -> 3.0 timeframe being shorter than 3.0 -> 4.0 was. Even so, I really doubt 3.0 came out before Intel managed to get to 120mhz.
    • Wow, the fastest netscape I've used to date is (IIRC) Netscape 3.x. All subsequent versions have been progressively slower.

      Yes well I'm sure I could write a browser that really kicks ass, if, like NS3 it ignores all stylesheets, screws up tables and frames and only parses a handful of tags.

      Actually the slowest version of NS I've used was the first effort at V6 - I almost gave up on them when I saw just how bad it was. Mozilla has really come along though - it's very close to IE with dynamic content now - I'm sure it'll pass IE7 for speed, as IE has been getting bigger and slower since V5...
      • Yes well I'm sure I could write a browser that really kicks ass, if, like NS3 it ignores all stylesheets, screws up tables and frames and only parses a handful of tags.

        Don't bother, someone else already has. It's a GTK-based browser called Dillo [].
        And it does kick ass.

      • Yes well I'm sure I could write a browser that really kicks ass, if, like NS3 it ignores all stylesheets, screws up tables and frames and only parses a handful of tags.

        Not that I actually use or even like earlier versions of Netscape; I just thought it was a very bold claim. Modern browsers seem to be superior in every way, except for speed and memory footprint.

      • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:09PM (#4867779) Journal
        Netscape 6 was bad, bad, mindbogglingly amazingly bad, at least on a machine with only 24MB of RAM. 6.1 or 6.2 was much closer to usable, at least on my machines with 64MB, but by then Mozilla was working adequately. If Netscape 7.0 is fast, a large part of it is probably from using lots of memory to accelerate other functions.

        I'm now using Phoenix 0.5, which came out just recently, and it's quite toasty - I think it's ready to replace Mozilla as my main browser. The main plugins work (I'd had trouble getting them installed on 0.3 and 0.4) and it's very very fast, especially since I set the startup delay to 0 (default is 1200ms, which lets it recover from slow-loading graphics that would otherwise force redraws.) The Google-search-bar extension is really convenient, though I gather than newer Mozillas also have it. I'm normally no fan of themes (why clutter up the GUI at the cost of making it larger and slower?), but the "LittlePhoenix 1.3" theme has icons that are enough smaller that I can reclaim significant screen space, and the "Linky" extension has been a good way to handle pages with lots of links (e.g. letting you leech all the pictures into a separate window or tab, or examine a page by grabbing all the URLs on it into a tab, which can be cleaner than View Source for some ugly web pages.)

    • So I loaded up the new NS 7.1 on Mac OS X. It feels a lot like Mozilla now. Not as quick as Chimera/Navigator, but quite pleasant.

      The popup filter sounds a system alert when it blocks something. Takes some getting used to, since it's the same noise by default as the new mail sound.

      I was amused to see that popup blocking didn't work on Netscape's portal. The popup preferences warn that blocking might be defeated by sites using "other methods" to raise windows. Guess Netscape is using those Black Arts to do just that.

      With the mail spellcheck and all the default plugins, this is a great mom-and-pop browser. Will probably load it on the family's machines. Nice to see decent Netscape product again.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was starting to worry when I heard that AMD wasn't going to compete anymore in the CPU market. They are going to have to try very hard to keep up with the new hyperthreading technologies from Intel, but who really needs a 3 GHZ CPU. Poor college students like me want something that is the most bang for the buck, and I haven't had any problems playing my games (battlefield 1942, UT2003) on my Athlon 1700 yet!!!!
    Keep on chuggin' AMD. College students are behind you!
  • Heh.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @08:56PM (#4867208)
    "And you thought AMD was quittingthe PC chip market?"

    I didn't think they were quitting the PC Chip market. I actually read the article.
  • least not yet.

    Maybe you're thinking of the Mozilla derivative (soon to have a new name) Phoenix?
  • by dagg ( 153577 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @08:58PM (#4867227) Journal
    It makes sense that Netscape 7.01 has the pop-up-disabling feature in it. Once that ad came out on TV that showed that guy closing pop up windows (while some type of space invader music was playing in the background), it was only a matter of time. At this point... only non-web-savvy folks still have to deal with the popups. You don't want to look like the guy in that ad.

    I bet the next version of IE will have a popup blocking feature.

    • by greechneb ( 574646 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:05PM (#4867279) Journal
      It sure wouldn't suprise me if they did include some form of popup blocking, or for that matter tabbed browsing. Microsoft will proclaim their wonderful "innovations" and how they will change the internet. Which is what they have done consistantly...

      I would imagine we will start to see a IE 6.5 beta hit the net shortly, possibly incorporating the popup blocking, but my guess is that IE 7 will be the version to really grab mozilla(and opera for that matter) innovations.

      Same old, same old
      • Actually Microsoft is great at leaving the value added innovations to their clients. Try looking at "Crazy Browzer". It only takes a few nights coding to add tabs to IE. If MS added tabs they'd be using their monopoly power to stomp the small value added companies, and if they don't include them , they are being dimwitted trogglodites. Well which is it?

        There are entire companies that make their living providing value added enhancements to windows that match and frequently beat the OSS offerings on Linux. (Object Desktop beats the hell out of any customizable desktop solution I've seen anywhere elase) They have to be careful about what gets included because any single feature at this point will have some segment of people FREAKING OUT about it.
        • > Actually Microsoft is great at leaving the value added innovations
          > to their clients. Try looking at "Crazy Browzer". It only takes a
          > few nights coding to add tabs to IE.

          This is right, but it is only half the story. Microsoft is great at
          leaving the innovations to ISVs and then buying or cloning the ones
          that prove to be successful or useful. Think back...

          DOSEDIT comes out, and people in-the-know declare that they can't
          live without it. Microsoft produces DOSKEY for 5.0. Stacker is
          successful. Microsoft produces DoubleSpace for the next version of
          DOS. Desqview gets rave reviews, and customers say they want
          windows like Macintosh has. Microsoft produces Windows. Central
          Point and Norton produce useful disk defragmentation utilities;
          Microsoft contracts for a defrag utility to include with DOS.
          Third-party full-screen editors are all the rage; Microsoft drops
          edlin and produces, leveraging the IDE editor that they
          already developed for QuickBasic (and, in the process, including
          a stripped-down QBasic to avoid the need to extract the editor
          from it; apparently it was too interwoven to separate before 5.0
          shipped; later they did separate it out (or rewrite it) for Win
          95). On and on the list goes.

          Will the next IE include tabbed browsing? Maybe, but if it
          doesn't, the version after will. Will the next IE include popup
          blocking? Maybe, but if it doesn't, more people will use Netscape
          than already do, and Microsoft knows it; which does Microsoft
          value more, strong dominance in the browser market (not mere
          majority, but the kind of overwhelming majority only achieved
          after IE5 came out), or the support of popup advertisers?

          Actually, Microsoft could weasel a way to get both: ship IE with
          popup blocking, but place "select partners" on a whitelist, and
          make it prohibitively difficult for casual users to remove sites
          from the whitelist. (HINT: involve regedit.) On the whole, this
          would be mostly good for user experience, since it would greatly
          reduce the sheer overwhelming quantity of popups. Microsoft could
          claim that "the competitive market" (Netscape) forced them to
          include popup blocking, elicit sympathy, use it as one more argument
          in any antitrust procedings (oh, you thought we'd seen the last of
          those?), and then turn around and tell strategic advertisers that
          it means less competition from nobody advertisers who didn't make
          the whitelist -- and use it as a negotiation point: doubleclick
          would probably bend over backwards and kiss strategic parts of
          Microsoft's corporate anatomy to be on the whitelist.

          I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft just _bought_ CrazyBrowser.
          OTOH, popup blocking is not the hardest thing in the universe to
          implement, and they could just do it from scratch. CrazyBrowser
          would then have to offer more innovations or become irrelevant.
      • I heard IE 7 will come with popup blocking but will be default to OFF for keeping relations with AD-Companies good.

        Keep this in mind, I guess they will somehow make it passport ... anyway, lets see :)

        I am a registered Opera 7 user, I'd care less ;-)

    • by bmwm3nut ( 556681 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:09PM (#4867308)
      i sure hope not. i don't want the average joe to be blocking pop-ups. once pop-up blocking becomes mainstream then the advertisers are going to switch to a format that is harder to deal with. i like using mozilla and blocking pop-ups, but if the advertisers change their format to a harder to block type, then i'll be seeing ads again.
      • by hermescom ( 624888 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @11:32PM (#4868257) Homepage
        IE 7 is planned to include Popup blocking support. The only big "IF" is wether or not it will be turned on by default. If not, about 80% of the population will keep browsing as they always had.

        As far as new ad formats, right on devedge page linked from the artice, you are seeing the future of web advertising.

        Instead of popup windows (which are *SO* 90's), we will have popup div layers, positioned to cover the page. Look at Netscape's own popup detection example. They show you how to detect a popup blocker, and open up a fixed position DIV to give visitor a "warning". How long do you think it will take an ad network programmer to figure out that instead of the warning, this DIV can actually be used to show the ad itself?

        Better yet, if the window failed to open, you can open the div with an IFRAME in it that points to the same URL. And no popups. :)

        Welcome to the future. Doesn't it look a lot like the past?

        • You should have kept quite and popped down the patent office, either you'd be rich or have the power to stop advertisers using this method.
        • I said this in another discussion, but here goes....

          It seems inevitable that this will lead to a technology arms race.

          The advertisers get more obnoxious. Browsers and proxies get better at screening out ads. More features will appear to help the end user. And those features will become more sophisticated.

          Here is a hypothetical example. [Disclaimer: this example is purely hypothetical. I have not done this myself, and am not trying to induce browser authors to commit a crime. Remember, a web site has to make money, and not watching ads is stealing!] Anyway, that said, suppose a browser (or proxy?) went through all the motions of running the ad. Executed the ad code, scripts, flash animations, etc. Dutifully simulated the popup windows, and executed their code. Dutifully requested all of the graphics, flash animations, and other inline content for the popup windows. This way the server really thinks that you see the ad. After all, your browser requested a flash that is only embedded in the popup. So you must not be a thief, because you are seeing the ad. The problem is, the authors of this browser or proxy have induced their users into stealing because the browser or proxy doesn't actually display the ads or popup windows. It still consumes the bandwidth, but these evil crooks (i.e. users) don't care.

          This technique will prevent the advertisers from knowing that you've seen the ad. From their perspective, your browser has executed all the right code and requested all the right content from the server that should be associated with viewing this page.

          Seen from the perspective I've described it here (advertiser friendly, and users as thieves) could the above hypothetical example be construed as a circumvention device? "Our content is protected by Anti-Leech, and these evil hackers have circumvented it. That's as bad as spray painting ad billboards!"

          In the end, we'll have heads up displays in cars, with ad billboards constantly popping up in our face while driving. This will be seen as enormously beneficial in eliminating the visual clutter of billboards on buildings and roadways.
      • I don't mind advertisements in general; I do mind popups. If popup
        blocking goes mainstream, all it means to me is legacy sites that
        require it for obscure reasons will be forced to be fixed or become
        irrelevant. Then I can happily leave popups disabled *all* the time
        and browse totally in one window (with multiple tabs if desired).
        If advertisers load banners into pages to compensate for the lost
        popups, that's fine with me.

        So yes, I _do_ want IE to ship with popup blocking. On by default,
        if possible. Not because I use IE, but because IE exerts pressure
        on website authors.
    • At this point... only non-web-savvy folks still have to deal with the popups. You don't want to look like the guy in that ad.

      Or this guy []. (Warning: many megs, but worth it if you have the bandwidth.)

    • I had forgotten how annoying popups were until I went home to my parents over Thanksgiving. They have Microsoft and IE installed (Dad's choice as he uses those at work). So when I started to surf, I was back to fighting popups everywhere I went. I didn't even want to think about cookies.

      I took a long shower when I got home and scrubbed vigorously.

    • I'm not so sure how good it's gonna be once ad-blocking browsers become popular with mainstream internet users. Marketing companies are just gonna end up replacing pop-ups with some other more invasive, more annoying, and more ridiculous ads.
    • "I bet the next version of IE will have a popup blocking feature."

      HAH! More like "The next version of MSN will have a pop-up blocking feature." Why put it in for free when Microsoft can get away with selling it to you instead?
    • Well, ever since the new version of AOL did away with pop-up ads, it only makes sense. I don't know if AOL/TW properties have popups (I use Mozilla myself so I never see them), but if they do now, that will change soon as well. If AOL doesn't derive any revenus from popup advertising, why would it support it?
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at.> on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:00PM (#4867240) Journal
    ripped from usenet somewhere -

    Like, there's one where the mom is home alone with her little kid, and everyone knows that women are only motivated to actually cook when there's a hunky man around. So she's about to make the kid a FROZEN PIZZA when the kid holds up a drawing from school and says "Look, Mommy, I drawded you a pitcher!" and Mom oohs over it and to reward the kid she puts away the frozen pizza and instead the kid gets A BOWL OF CAMPBELL'S SOLID PINK "TOMATO" SOUP for lunch. This is love in the same sense that this is nutrition. Lumpless flesh-colored soup. Remember how Campbell's tried to use the slogan "Soup Is Good Food" for a few months until enough dieticians complained that that was an outright lie in the case of Campbell's watery slime? Remember how they got busted for always showing pictures of soup with the few measly pathetic little veggie bits standing on the surface of the soup because the bowls were always filled with GLASS MARBLES to hold up the little fragments of orange-gray carrots and caved-in peas?

    • Your post is the most angry prose regarding soup I've ever read. Congratulations. I prefer soup in a box, or sometimes soup in a foil wrapper. Foods in cans scare me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What do you think is going to happen once everyone starts using a pop-up blocking web browser? Something even more annoying like those fullscreen flash ads that appear from nowhere...soon they will be everywhere! I say keep pop-up blocking in Mozilla only, so that the niche that uses it benefits while the mainstream continues to get screwed...
  • Err... prices? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:03PM (#4867261) Homepage
    Gateway plans to charge 15 cents per PC per hour to companies that want to marshal the computational resources of the latest Gateway desktops.

    $0.15/hour = $3.6/day = $1314/year

    Curiously, right next to this was a Gateway advert:
    Holiday Savings!
    Flat Panel PC
    Free Shipping (for a limited time)
    Starting at $699

    At those prices, what sane person would lease the systems instead of simply buying them?
    • Re:Err... prices? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grid geek ( 532440 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:10PM (#4867316) Homepage

      Someone who didn't want them for a full year? Didn't want to have to sys admin them themselves? Start-up trying to save costs? Need it done now? I think they are really aiming at things like time critical apps rather than long term general computing.

      I'd assume Gateway are using some kind of sandbox to run software in, so its a fixed platform to develop in and in fairness I prefer to have a some jobs run on 1000 machines overnight than on a single machine 24/7 for a year.

      Anyway, corporations don't work in the same way as individuals and a $700 system doesn't cover the full TCO

      • Need it done now? I think they are really aiming at things like time critical apps rather than long term general computing.

        Yeah, right. Running time critical apps on unreliable and insecure hardware with a crappy interconnect?

        Hey, you're at Hello from; are you coming down for the Grid/e-Science colloquium on Friday?
    • Re:Err... prices? (Score:3, Informative)

      by penguinboy ( 35085 )
      Running PCs isn't free. You have to factor in power, cooling, floor space, and staff to take care of the hardware. With a "service" like that which Gateway is offering, all of those extra costs are obviated (staff is still needed to administer the application that's being run, but that would be the case with either arrangement).

      Still, it's hard to say exactly which is the cheaper or better option without knowing all of the various costs involved.
    • $0.15/hour = $3.6/day = $1314/year

      Curiously, right next to this was a Gateway advert:

      Starting at $699

      At those prices, what sane person would lease the systems instead of simply buying them?

      Yeah, but electronics these days are so low quality []... who knows if that new computer will last a full year?
  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:06PM (#4867284) Homepage Journal
    It's interesting that AMD is talking about moving back to metal gate technology. The earliest MOS devices (including the RCA CD4000 series CMOS logic, second-sourced by nearly all semi vendors) used metal gate technology. It was considered a major advance when silicon gate technology became available, because it was faster.

    Of course, the metal they were using back then was aluminum, not nickel. I'm surprised that nickel is a good choice since it's only about 1/4 as conductive as aluminum, but I don't know much about solid state physics so I'm sure it must have other properties that make it desirable.

    • by sarpedon77 ( 159241 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @01:38AM (#4868532) Homepage
      There are 2 main reasons people are moving back to metal gates. The first (and probably more important) one is to avoid the so-called "poly-depletion effect" - where the relatively lower conductivity of polysilicon gates causes a thin layer at the interface with the gate dielectric to be depleted. This adds to the effective gate dielectric thickness and reduces the gate capacitance - opposite to where we want to go (remember high-K gate dielectrics are used to boost the gate capacitance and improve electrostatic control).
      The other motivation for using metal gates is to reduce the R-C charging delay when high speed signals are applied at the gate terminal of the transistor. This allows for higher clock speeds (or lower signal latency).
      Of course, there are a lot of process integration and manufacturing issues when introducing metal gates. A lot of these metals cannot withstand the high-temperatures the wafer is subjected to in processing (this was actually the reason for moving to polysilicon gates in the early MOS devices). Moreover, there are other thermodynamic stability and etching issues in metal gate transistors.
      To end on a pedantic note, AMD used nickel-silicide (strictly not a metal, but a high-conductivity compound formed when nickel reacts with silicon) and not nickel as the gate electrode. Silicides have been used for a while now to strap the source/drain and gates in today's chips to reduce parasitic resistances. What AMD did was to silicide all the way through the gate.
  • Sounds like Gateway is running'esque (new word?) computing clients on it's store computers.

    Where are the open source, general purpose distributed clients (and servers)???

    This sounds like a great business idea. And I don't mean: 1. distributed computing 2. ??? 3. profit!

    Seems like more corporations should be doing this sort of this. Even if not for their own computing benefit, but they could sell the CPU cycles to others in need of them. Of course I'm sure there are security implications in there somewhere.
  • by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:26PM (#4867443)

    working on new transistor making techniques such as the double gate design as well as metal-rather-than-silicon design.

    This reminds me of one of my favorite IBM stories told to me by an ex-IBMer professor a few years back.

    It would appear that some time in the 70s (it's been a few years since I heard this story), IBM was having problems with boules* falling over and breaking, costing a great deal of money. IBM being what it was, put out a solicitation for employee suggestions on how to remedy the problem.

    One technician was very disappointed to hear that the boules were made of silicon and suggested using a stronger material. It was his wager that a stainless steel boule would be much more resistant to breaking. So, he suggested replacing all the silicon boules with stainless steel.

    True story.

    * Boules are very tall cylinders of monocrystalline silicon. They are sliced up into fairly thin, circular wafers. These wafers are then processed through the steps that make chips and lastly diced into the silicon chips we commonly see put on plastic or ceramic packages.

  • by molo ( 94384 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:31PM (#4867495) Journal
    Note that it was just announced that Netscape is laying off people: ol _layoffs/

    Was this release of 7.01 just for spin, to try and keep the positve in the news more than the negative?

    I hate marketing.
  • by emptybody ( 12341 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:33PM (#4867507) Homepage Journal
    The SRV record [] can be used to tell a client what server and port to go to for a named service.

    Rather than using hostnames (
    use a SRV record to send http traffic to a host:port pair, frp traffic to a different host:port pair, and on and on::

    ; SRV priority weight port target
    _http._tcp IN SRV 0 0 8080
    _http._tcp IN SRV 0 0 8080
    _ftp._tcp.ftp IN SRV 0 0 21

    No more do you need to include non-standard ports for http. (8080, 81, etc) just make the app SRV aware and update DNS. done.

    This would allow for much simpler Server configs too!!
  • Pop-up Blocking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Professor_Quail ( 610443 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:34PM (#4867520) Homepage
    Now that Netscape has re-introduced popup blocking, Microsoft may soon follow suit. However, I did see an article [] on /. a while back about a group of advertisers that claimed any kind of blockage on their advertisements was theft (they claimed being able to see a site without having to see the ads constituted theft of bandwidth). If all future browsers incorporate popup blocking, where is the future of online advertising headed?
    • Is something other than pop-up ads.

      We all know the "If we can't do it the way we're doing it now, it won't get done at all" argument, and we all know that it's BS. If a product or service has value, people will find a way to deliver it.

      Outlawing supermarkets wouldn't stop people from eating.
  • by rlk ( 1089 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @09:40PM (#4867564)
    Rather than having return a null handle, have it return a real handle, but simply don't create the window. Better yet, have it optionally load the contents of the window, so the remote site never even knows that the window simply was never popped up.
    • by distributed.karma ( 566687 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:23PM (#4867864)
      Downloading the contents, even in the background, goes against one basic reason for ad blocking: I pay for the bandwidth, so I decide what goes through.
      • by autechre ( 121980 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:58PM (#4868076) Homepage

        True. So make it an option. Popup blocking will return a real handle but not actually draw the window. You can decide whether or not you want it to actually download the content (via an option which is off by default). This might not even have to be in the GUI (the dev team already complains about how complex it's become), but just in prefs.js.

        Maybe there could also be an option for popups to open in a tab in the background; I seem to remember someone mentioning this, but I haven't been able to find it.

      • No, it doesn't!

        The ad provider pays for bandwidth as well. If you started loading banners without showing them you'd really annoy advertisers. Now bandwidth is being used, the servers are under load, but they can't be certain the ad actually appeared anywhere.

        If you have a connection like mine and don't pay for the bandwidth you use, this costs you nothing. The browser could delay loading ads until your connection is idle.

        The result: you don't see ads, advertisers pay for the server bandwidth, but get to results. If you want them to go away, nothing better than costing them some money.
  • Hmmmm.
    Double click on a mail message no longer opens the message in a separate window
    right click - "open message in new window" no longer opens the message in a separate window

    Don't tell me to get another mail client - Netscape has done the job for me so far.
  • by DeadBugs ( 546475 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @10:11PM (#4867784) Homepage
    AMD is also not quiting it's "True Performance Initiative" Read an update [] at the Tech Report.
  • Grid schmid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enry ( 630 ) <enry@wayga.QUOTEnet minus punct> on Wednesday December 11, 2002 @11:19PM (#4868188) Journal
    I went to a presentation yesterday by Platform (the guys that make LSF) who talked about grid computing. Each person that spoke gave a different definition of what 'grid computing' is: It's clusters of clusters, it's clusters plus processing on individual machines, etc.

    The upside is that such processing using PCs is already taking place, in the form of, folding@home and seti@home among many others. If gateway wants to use its spare cycles to create a supercomputer capable of many teraflops, then go for it.

    On the other hand, apps that are well suited to such distributed computing are those that require little I/O and more number crunching. That is, you don't want to use BLAST (comparing gene sequences) as the data sets are on the order of GB. But simple number crunching, like the examples already given, do not require sending much data to the clients for processing.

    BTW, LSF has software to do the same thing with desktop boxes.
  • well, which is it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 192_kbps ( 601500 ) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @01:30AM (#4868487)
    In an article [] cited just a few stories ("Andy Grove Says End Of Moore's Law At Hand") back, the author writes:
    "Current is becoming a major factor and a limiter on how complex we can build chips," said Grove. He said the company' engineers "just can't get rid of" power leakage...
    The problem of leakage threatens the future validity of Moores Law. As chips become more powerful and draw more power, leakage tends to increase. The industry is used to power leakage rates of up to fifteen per cent, but chips constructed of increasing numbers of transistors can suffer power leakage of up to 40 per cent said Grove. In chips made up of a billion transistors may leak between 60 and 70 Watts of power, he warned. The power is largely dissipated as heat causing cooling problems for powerful chips.
    Now we have this story about AMD, where in the cited article [], the author writes about AMD:
    It's also working on new transistors and new chipmaking techniques that will let it
    continue to boost chip performance through 2005 and beyond, company representatives said Monday... Two additional papers will discuss AMD's ideas on building transistors that use metal, rather than silicon gates. Using nickel for the gate improves electrical current flow through the transistor, AMD said...
    So Intel wants us to believe chip speeds are nearing a plateau, while AMD wants us to believe everything is rosy. I suspect Grove is talking about a longer time period than AMD. But then, maybe it's time for AMD to eat Intel's lunch.
    • Intel's raw fabrication technology is still several years ahead of AMD. Grove might be pessimistic about the long-term future of Moore's law, but Intel still has a couple of year's headstart and about 5 times the R&D budget. And somehow I think he was looking further than three years into the future with that statement.

      Rumours of Intel's demise have been exagerated, I believe.

  • AMD stopping competition with Intel was utter BS in the first place. If you've followed their roadmap at all, they've got the Barton core comming out in a couple of months closely followed by ClawHammer and SledgeHammer. They have new cores on the horizon and are researching new technologies. They aren't going anywhere. Forbes is going on my "Company with Idiot Writers List." They're there along with CNet and some other ZD Net and companies.

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.