Will technology ever catch up?

Archive for January 22nd, 2007

Vista: Please don’t buy it online

Posted by cascadehush on January 22, 2007

Microsoft to offer Windows Vista online – Yahoo! News:

The download program, being announced late Wednesday by the Redmond, Wash.-based software maker, will also include the Office 2007 line of software when both are released for consumers Jan. 30. At least initially, the huge downloads will be available in North America only.

Not just Vista but Office available for download.

Actually this is not as surprising as it seems. For the last 5 years or so, Microsoft has been moving the emphasis away from Boxes and Disks and towards Keys and Activation as the primary factor in software license ownership. Microsoft have a tried and tested anti-piracy system which involves tying software to hardware to prevent a single copy of their software being installed on multiple machines.

Of course this will be a nightmare for local PC Technicians, who have a hard enough time keeping track of who has a legitimate license for what. At the moment we can trust that a PC with an OEM windows license sticker probably has a legitimate license, but how are we to be sure when someone simply tells us that they bought their copy online.

Add to that the tech support nightmare of failed or partial downloads and lost keys.

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links for 2007-01-22

Posted by cascadehush on January 22, 2007

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Hardware: Intel Builds 80-Core Chip

Posted by cascadehush on January 22, 2007

Intel Builds 80-Core Chip That Uses Less Power Than A Quad-Core – News by InformationWeek:

Researchers have built the prototype to study how best to make that many cores communicate with each other. They’re also studying new designs for cores and new architectural techniques

This is the crux of the matter. How do you get a bunch of cores talking to each other when the number of possible communications paths increases somewhat exponentially to the number of cores. This creates a diminishing return, with each additional core providing less of a performance benefit than the previous one. And how does one design operating systems and software to take advantage of them.

I simply don’t think that the software will be there in the timeframe that Intel are projecting for their hardware releases.

The Superscalar architecture of the Prescott Pentium 4 CPUs was somewhat a failure because software was simply not built the way Intel had hoped. Likewise I suspect that Intel is going to have to stop creating more and more cores per chip, because the operating systems will not exist that can manage them.

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