Monday, June 30, 2003

Welcome to the Blog is Right!.

I just had a discussion tonight about the future of PCs. There are still many people who believe the PC is dead as a driver of innovation. That we've reached 2+ GHz and it's all over. Thanks for stopping by, but the PC revolution is old hat now. I don't believe it. I was one of those people who believed that a 500MHz PC processor was good enough. But still I use a 800MHz Crusoe and I know it's not fast enough. I have an Athlon XP model 3000+ PC at home for games, and I still could use more power. The dual 2GHz G5 processors in the new Apple G5 were so very great, I know I could use that power. It's not over just yet. There are applications waiting for more power, more address space, more memory. Real-time indexing of files and e-mails and pictures. That could be very useful and it requires a better PC system. I bet Microsoft's Longhorn will drive a LOT of PC sales. Security is another issue that could encourage corporations to invest in a new PC infrastructure. But yet, somehow my employer thinks I can still be productive with a 600MHz Pentium III and a very porous SPAM filter. Well not when we abopt Longhorn, say around 2006. Then I'll get an upgraded PC!

Of course, for our home viewers, there is Doom 3 from id software. But that will drive new graphics card primarily.

BTW, for those of you who ask. I suggest the following notebooks:
For corporate use and best overall performance:
Pentium M/Centrino notebooks

Best price/performance:
Athlon XP-M

Trusted manufacturers:

I don't recommend mobile P4, desktop replacement notebooks, or large notebooks. The heavy weight notebooks are a pain to carry around (unless you're Arnie), and usually the battery life sucks. If you really push those notebooks the CPU will heat up and will have to be throttled to keep from overheating. When the CPU gets throttled, your performance suffers. Try using one of those dig screen laptops on a plane with the small tray tables. The have the person in front of you put their seat all the way back. I know my Fujitsu P2010 works just fine in any circumstance.


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Bumper sticker: How am I Blogging? Call 1-800-get-blog

Wow, I had my second known reader: the ever bubbly, Michael Kanellos of C|Net. I have to me more careful with my spelling from now on.

So the Apple deal is winding down, but it certainly ruffled Intel's feathers. They don't like being called number two. The argument can be made for both sides. What if Apple used the same compilers IBM used to produce the Power4 SPEC numbers? A bet Apple's numbers would get a whole lot better. Anyway, I did confirm one interesting tidbit: Apple uses the AMD-8131 PCI-X HyperTransport Tunnel in the G5. The was reported by AMDZone, but only as a rumor. So AMD should be happy with that. AMD's embedded MIPS processor is also in the Airport Extreme.

Signing out for now. KK

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

MAC'f'sizzle! I've been in the reality distortion zone and back! Got to see Mr. Jobs in action at the Apple WWDC.

It's amazing to see Steve leading the faithful. It's all "cool" and wizzy stuff. Me, a die hard WinDoze user was impressed with the slick features in Panther. When switching between users, the screen does a 3D block rotate on the screen where the old screen looks like the surface on a block that then rotates to show the new screen/login. Check out the quicktime demos on Apple's site.

The most controversial issue was Apple's claim to be the world's fastest PC, which they could not really substantiate. But, to me, that really wasn't what was important. Looking over all the G5 spec's and you see that this is an impressive graphics workstation: with up to 8G of DDR DRAM, three PCI-X slots, gig ethernet, faster firewire, dual CPUs, intelligent power management, AGP 8xPro and on, and on. Who cares if it is or isn't the fastest at everything? It's fastest at MAC software and it is competitive with PC application performance. The SPEC benchmark is flawed, as are all benchmarks. It's just one measure among many to judge a PC or server.

I must still be feeling the effects...I may need an emergency DOS session. :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful Blog! (T-Heads)

The shows over. Some interesting processors. Innovation is alive! It's just seems that no one respects real innovations anymore. Some people have the opinion "Why bother, just slap another same-old processor and let Moore's Law take care of performance scaling." That would be very boring. But, then I also applaud Mazda for continuing to develop the totally different rotary engine.

Briefings and meetings tomorrow. The day maps out as: pain, cool, pain, cool (meeting, briefing, meeting, briefing)

L8tr KK

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

If you Blog it, they will come!

Thanks for the first response, Michael. Got the spelling right. Its weird, my middle name is Michael, but I can never seem to remember -ael or -eal. EPF is winding down, but a lot more work remains to make the next show (Microprocessor Forum in October) an audience draw. I'm tired tonight. See you all soon.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Hi Micheal! I have my first reader! Live long and prosper.
[Our IS maven has been creating a web diary longer than the word blogger has been around.] Welcome to my humbly blog.

Tomorrow is the first day of Embedded Processor Forum and it has some interesting material. Stay tuned for the interesting parts. I had a long discussion with IBM on their latest developments and its very interesting. I'm trying to get them to talk about the Cell technology, but they have a partner who doesn't want too much released too soon. It would be sooooo cool to have IBM talk Cell in MPF. Oh well, I can dream.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Arr, me bloggers, hoist the mizzenmast. (done with a pirate voice)

What would the PC industry be like if AMD, Transmeta and VIA all went away? Without compeition, Intel could slow processor developments and innovation and keep prices high. Intel already gets amazing prices for its PC and server chips, generating more cash than it can spend (Hello Intel, I have one word for you: dividends). And yet at the same time, Intel is also know as a cheapskate at heart. Yes. it will spend 100's of millions on Centrino, but I swear it couldn't throw a decent party if it tried. (It's also is a lot cheaper on evaluation units than AMD.)

Oh one last thing. If anyone finds this Blog, please send me an e-mail at and let me know how you discovered it. Thanks. KK
Suddenly, he was back, blogging again.
Welcome back to the blog that never ends. OK, who remembers Emerson, Lake, and Powell (ELP)?
Someday, someone might read this. In the meantime, this is good practice for, like, when someone actually reads it.

I watched NBC's Last Comic Standing. I would have loved to compete in that, well if, you know, I was really funny or something.
Actually, I have some engineer/tech humor, but I don't think it would translate outside the valley. Most of my humor is based on puns, corny word play, or my New York sarcasm. Not quite primetime stuff. When I have more time, I'll share some of it. OK, don't go, I won't share it. I promise. :-)

I may have lost my only reader.

The rumors of a PowerPC970 Apple computer are making the rounds. But I can't say anything. Well, except Duh. Apple would be just plain nuts to pass up on the 970. Case closed. Oh, and those analysts that said Apple would switch to x86--did you all forget who Apple's customers were and their almost fanatical devotion to the Pope? I'm sorry, that's the Spanish Inquisition. Did you forget that it would be a massive project to convert all that PowerPC sofware to x86? Did you think Apple wants to compete directly with Microsoft and Dell? John Dvorak had the best one. Apple will convert to Itanium. That WAS a joke, John, RIGHT?

I have an idea. Perhaps Transmeta would create a PowerPC code-morphing processor and replace the last of Motorola's business in Apple. Just kidding.

Speaking of Transmeta--who thinks they will be around next year? With Intel's ULV Pentium M providing better performance and power savings very close to Crusoe, their niche is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. This blog is being written on a Crusoe (Fujitsu P2000), so it works, just slowly at times. In fact, the PC just seems to stall for a second or two before launching an application. This likely a mix of the LongRun kicking up the clock speeds and the first code morphing translation time. But it does work and that's actually a pretty amazing job. Unfortunately, it doesn't work fast enough, and while Transmeta is building a wider VLIW engine (Astro) to try to do more in parallel, the real trend in performance is multicore and multithreading (A.K.A. Hyper-Threading) processors.

So, there's some meat for you to chew on; if there was a real "you." Back to the report I was escaping from while I was writing this.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Later that same day....
It getting late, but I wanted to add some more to EntroPC. First, I know the name only amuses me, but a Google search does provide a reference to an English lab with the same name.

I find Blogger easy to us, but will likely upgrade to a better level of service when its available. I want to add graphics and pictures. So I consider this "my first Blog" type of site for now. Until I get some inspirations, its will probably be more an execise for me, than something that will get much interest.

How sad :-( I'm getting choked up. I'm feeling very veclempt. Sniff. Intel invested billions into Itanium, but did not produce a clearly superior server processor. Discuss.

I was briefed last Monday on SUN's throughput computing and was interviewed by C|Net about it and UltraSPARC schedules. I think SUN has a chance to make a big difference in web services with throughput. Les Kohn is the insider who had to outside SUN to design it. But SUN was smart enough to get him back, it just cost SUN somthing like 28 million to buy his startup Afara. Les in one of those quiet, thin guys who looks like he continually forgets to eat.

There are some very interesting people who buildmicroprocessors. I'd like to build a site that interviews key processor designers: past , present, and maybe future. I find these people facinating and the whole processo of building a chip. The book Soul of the New Machine, by Tracy Kidder is still one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, I loaned it to someone who never returned it. Maybe a compilation of mini stories on various designers would work?

I need to get some sleep. Its a long week ahead.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

OK, It's day 2 of the unknown Blog. If you write it and no one reads it, did you really blog?

Last week I went to the opening of the new Computer History Museum and it was very cool. They just moved into a new building at 101 and Shoreline in Mountainview, CA. It was great to see the old hardware in the visible storage exhibit. Go check it out!

This week will be busy: I have graduations and last minute preparations for the Embedded Processor Forum. I' expecting some interesting announcements before the end of June. Stay tuned. Can't say more. NDAs choking me...can't breath. Cough. PowerPC970. gurgle.

Anyway, I've set up my e-mail account for the site, so you can reach me at:

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Welcome to the start of my Blog. EntroPC is all about the evolution of personal computing, including, but certainly not limited to the Wintel-compatible PC (which we used to call the IBM-compatible PC).

My name is Kevin Krewell. I'm an analyst, editor, and general manager at this company. But that publication only covers a portion of my interests. I'm looking at this site as an outlet for other interesting "things" that I don't have the opportunity to write about.

If you google me, you see that I do get into a lot of computer publications. With this site I'd like to express my thoughts directly to the reader, not through another writer and without the polish of our copy editor. I hope you will find it interesting.

I have to admit that the Forbes article on Blogging and the Business 2.0 story on Drudge were my main inspirations. I enjoy slashdot (although I wouldn't call it a Blog, Arik), techdirt, gizmodo, and wilwheaton.

I consider myself a life-long geek, but mostly a hardware/science geek. I couldn't grok software very well and still have trouble with it. I only overcame my mental block on writing in the last five years. I'm a bad speller (but getting better) and get dixlectic (see how bad my spelling is) swap letters at times when typing. This makes writing slower and less intuitive for me, but it's getting better as I wrtie (there's that letter swapping thingie) more. Maybe it's from being left-handed; and maybe not.

My main tool for writing is a Fujitsu P2000 notebook. It's small, light, has an acceptable keyboard for a mininotebook, has an integrated CD-ROM drive (W/RW and good DVD playback), 1394, and has great battery life with the optional extended battery. The display is only 10.4in, but bright and wide-screen (1280x768). I just need to use my glasses to read it. My home has had DSL since 1999 and 802.11b since 2001. I'm a big believer in wireless in the home. I'm writing this from the kitchen table, but I also access the internet while in bed, in the backyard, and in the garage. Untethered is the life for me :-)

My gaming/video editing machine is home build, with an Athlon 3000+ and motherboard with an nForce2 chip set. I'm about to upgrade the video card to a Ti4600 from the GeForce 3 card I've had for a while.

Our household has 4 working WinTel PCs, one working Linux PC (to be used as my Samba server), a older Athlon MP Linux server in progress (to be used as my Apache/MySQL server), three Windows notebooks, three old-ish Palm PDAs, and one Linux PDA (Sharp Zaurus SL5500). Did I mention I really like to play with PCs?

I have no Apple Computers. Not that there's anything wrong with Apple (channeling Seinfeld), but I have a long history with and investment in Microsoft and Intel-compatible hardware. Besides, I can't buy the pieces to build my own MAC at Fry's. I am exploring Linux. Presently, I'm using SuSE 8.1. I was never a Unix user, but as an old DOS user, I can adapt. I came up through the CP/M, Concurrent DOS, GEM, PC-DOS, Windows experience.

OK, 'huf about me. Bye for now, I'll be back later. I have to get back to my life off-line.

Kevin Krewell