Personal Computer Club
October 2005 Microtivities Newsletter
Where to find…
Executive Committee Directory 1
Meeting Dates 2
President’s Message 2
Executive Committee Meeting Minutes 2
Internet Users 3
In the Public Domain 4
Note: Due to different printer setups the page numbers may not be exactly right.
Executive Committee Directory
Club Function Name Phone E-mail address
President John Janes 651/483-1637 email@example.com
Vice-President Hank Kaszynski 612/822-8286 firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Jerry Paulson 952/888-2111 email@example.com
Treasurer Gary Hottman 651/493-1978 gary@Hottmancomputers.com
Newsletter Editor Al Lloyd 952/546-2651 firstname.lastname@example.org
Retirees Interface John Janes 952/546-2651 email@example.com
Printer Ribbon Re-inker John Hunkins 952/956-5203 firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership/Publicity PublicityJim Schlaeppi 612/327-0090 email@example.com
Bob Bogott 952/921-6298 robert. firstname.lastname@example.org
Maintenance Support Tuan Huynh 952/853-4050 email@example.com
Public Domain Writer Rich Radtke 952/854-6038 RERadtke@aol.com
Member At-large John Malakowsky 952/445-1425 JolaineWellness@att.net
Member At-large Vern Castle 952/881-4158 firstname.lastname@example.org
TCPC Interface Ross Held 952/835-3704 RHELD83745@AOL.COM
Monthly Club Meetings Executive Committee Meetings
Generally held the 4th Monday of each month from 4 - Generally held the 1st Tuesday of each month from
6 p.m. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. @ Denny’s Restaurant -
Watch for notice of meeting location 1200 W. 98th St., Bloomington, MN 55431
2005 Club Meeting 2005 Exec Comm
October 24 November 1
November 28 December 6
by John Janes
Microtivities Web Site:
This is a hard column to write at this time. If you look at the Executive Committee Meeting Minutes from October 4th
you will see that the Executive Committee has voted to recommend to the club members that the club be dissolved.
We will take a vote of the attendees at the October 24th main meeting to finalize the club future. I know many of you
would like to see the club continue but no one is willing to take on the leadership of running the club in the future.
It has been a lot of fun and a pleasure being president of the club for the past 15 years. The time has come for me to
retire from the position and as a result others on the board have decided to also retire. While the club membership
has continued to go down every year the attendance at the meeting has stayed pretty constant. If it wasn’t for your
attendance at the meetings we would have looked at ending the club years ago. As you may recall it was discussed
several years ago but it was decided to continue. In today’s world there are lots of alternatives for getting the
information that is provided to the club. The Internet has definitely changed the way people look at technology and
how they can find out information with a few keystrokes on one of the popular search engines. I would like to wish all
of you the best in the future and if you have a question don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail. I look forward to seeing
you at the next couple of monthly meetings.
This month we are going to have Mike from National Camera back for a presentation. Next month we
will have Ray Kleinow talking about Genealogy.
Executive Committee Meeting Minutes – October 4, 2005
By Hank Kaszynski
John Janes opened the meeting at approximately 11:45 A.M. CDT. Those in attendance were: Bob Bogott; Vern
Castle; Ross Held; Gary Hottman; Tuan Huynh; John Janes; Hank Kaszynski; Al Lloyd; John Malakowsky; and Jim
Schlaeppi. Meeting was held at DENNY”S Restaurant, 1200 W. 98th St., Bloomington, MN. Hank Kaszynski acted as
secretary in the absence of Jerry Paulson.
The minutes of the September meeting were approved. The Treasurer’s report was also approved.
Membership reported registration at approximately 61 Registered Members.
October session: National Camera; November session: Genealogy.
Jim Schlaeppi reported that in polling the membership the search committee could not find anyone to assume
leadership of the club. Consequently, the board will recommend, to the membership, that the club be dissolved as of
the end of the year 2005. And, that those club funds remaining at the end of the year be transferred to the Ceridian
Suggestion was made that the Retiree Club be approached to sponsor Computer Seminars periodically. Jim to
research this further.
December 6th Executive meeting to be canceled.
November 1st Executive meeting to be held at Houlihan’s Restaurants (66th and Lyndale, Bloomington, MN).
November 28th meeting to include a $3.00 to $4.00 light luncheon, for those in attendance. Hank to make necessary
Future Meeting Topics:
No future meetings, after the November 28th meeting, anticipated!
Meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:55 P.M. CDT
Newsletter and Label Deadline: October 17, 2005
Microtivities Meeting: October 28, 2005
Microtivities Executive Committee Meeting: November 1, 2005
by John Janes
I didn’t have time to put anything together for this column
Note: Type the Web addresses exactly as shown. Not every Web address begins with “www”, and sometimes that
final “/” is crucial. The site addresses listed above were all correct at the time the newsletter was published. Some
links may get wrapped when you view them. I apologize if they don’t work when you try them.
In the Public Domain
By Rich Radtke
I know you haven’t heard from me for a few months. I’ve been busy… among other things.
One of the more notable things that happened to me in the recent past is a bout with a nasty bacterial infection,
Bartonella helsenae, which is officially known as Cat Scratch Disease (CSD), but which is better known as Cat
Scratch Fever (thanks to Ted Nugent’s song of the same name, back in 1977).
Yes, I got it from a cat. I was “cat-sitting” for my son while he was on vacation. He had just moved into a new
apartment before leaving on vacation, and had moved part of his stuff into the new apartment (on the second floor of
a big house in south Minneapolis), and the two women who had previously occupied the apartment were still in the
process of moving out and cleaning up. Someone left the back door of the apartment standing wide open, and one
of his two cats scooted down the back stairway into the basement. (The other one was still curled up comfortably in
its box in the apartment.) I looked in the basement for the runaway, but it was a big old basement, with four large
rooms used for storing the apartments’ occupants’ excess belongings and other paraphernalia. And in the entire
basement there were only 2 60-watt lights that I could get turned on. And I saw no sign of the cat. (You try finding a
black cat in a dark basement at night!) I left the back door to his apartment open, in case the wayward cat got
hungry or thirsty. (Anyone getting into the apartment would have had to first get through the locked outside door.) I
came back the next evening, and found that the missing cat had indeed returned to the apartment, but now the other
cat, which I had hoped would stay in the apartment, had disappeared into the basement. I made sure the back
apartment door was closed, making sure that the one cat that was in the apartment would have to stay here. I finally
spied the gray cat in the basement, crouched down behind the chimney. There was no way that I could reach the
cat, so I sat down on the floor, in sight of the cat, and proceeded to try to lure the cat out from his secure spot. I had
brought some things that I thought might entice him, including some “kitty treats”, a can of meaty (and, hopefully,
good-smelling) cat food, and a couple of his favorite toys. It was the scent of the cat food that finally drew him out,
and as he sat there nervously eating it, I was stroking his back, trying to get him to relax, and to accept me as not
being a danger to him. After about 15 minutes of this, I was finally reaching the point of getting my right hand
underneath him, to lift him up and let him get used to being in my arms. Just as I was lifting him up, someone
upstairs trompsed by overhead, wearing what must have been the biggest army boots he/she could find. Needless
to say, the cat “went ballistic”, clawing and biting me in his efforts to get out of my grasp. I had numerous scratches,
and one tooth puncture, on my right wrist, but I thought nothing of it. I had up grown up on a farm, and we always
had 1 or 2 dogs, and a varying number of adult cats, ranging from 6 to 12 or more. They were a necessity for
keeping the rodent population down on our grain farm (corn and soybeans). And I had been scratched or bitten by
the cats hundreds of times.
I left the cat in the basement and went home.
I didn’t go back the next night. By about noon of the day after that, one spot where I had gotten scratched was red, a
little bit swollen, and sensitive to the touch. By the next morning, the spot had grown to about 2”x3”, and was quite
puffy and tender. I made an appointment at our clinic, and a doctor took a look at it, gave me a tetanus shot and
another one of an antibiotic, and told me that if it got any larger, or sorer, or anything, to go into the emergency room.
The next morning it looked about the same as the day before, but during the morning I watched the red area expand
beyond the marked lines of the preceding day. By noon the area had reached about 4”x6”, so I left work and stopped
at the clinic again. The triage nurse took a look at it and said “Emergency Room. Now.”
So I drove to Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and went to the Emergency Room. I was given an IV of antibiotics, and
my arm was splinted to limit its movement and the spread of the infection, and I was told to try to keep it above my
heart as much as I could to keep the blood flowing as freely as possible through it. (I had an interesting time driving
home from the hospital, trying to shift my 5-speed manual transmission with my right arm splinted from hand to
upper arm.) Even with the beginning of treatment, the infection spread, down to my fingertips and up my arm nearly
to my shoulder. During the following week I went to Urgent Care 3 times for more IVs, and paid 3 other visits to my
doctor so he could check on the progress of things.
In reading up on the condition, I found that if left untreated, it goes away by itself (in 3-5 months), during which time
you maintain a low-grade fever and swollen, sensitive skin in the affected areas (my entire right arm). 38-40% of all
cats carry the bacterium at some point in their lives, usually just a span of a month or two, and the disease is spread
from cat to cat by fleas. The cats don’t get ill from it; they just pass it on.
I missed that entire week of work, but I couldn’t really accomplish much on the 3 PCs that I was in the process of
building or upgrading at home. I found that the easiest way to keep my arm above my heart was to sit on our couch,
and rest my arm on the seatback. The one thing that I did accomplish that week was a lot of reading, finishing 3
novels totaling over 1000 pages.
Then I had to go back to work and make up for having missed an entire week on 3 different projects.
The Top 500 Supercomputer List (www.top500.org)
The list hasn’t changed since June 24, 2005, but I found a few things that I thought you might be interested in. I had
downloaded a list of all 500 entries on the list, but after a while, they all start looking the same. I’m a statistics freak,
and I like to take a mass of data and derive all the pertinent information that I can from it. You know, things like
summaries by CPU type, by manufacturer, by country, by anything you can think of. Lo and behold, there is a spot
on the website (www.top500.org/sublist/stats) where you can get all of that information, and more. It lets you
summarize the top 500 supercomputer installations by any of the following fields:
Architecture Type (Cluster, Constellation, or Massively Parallel Processing)
Processor Generation (Pentium Pro, Pentium 4, Pentium 4 Xeon, Xeon EM64T, Opteron, PowerPC,
PowerPC 440, etc.)
Interconnect Family (Gigabit Ethernet, Myrinet, NUMA Link, etc.)
Processor Family (Intel, AMD, Power, PowerPC, Cray, NEC, Alpha, etc.)
Processor Architecture (Scalar or Vector)
Manufacturer (23 manufacturers, from Angstrom to Visual Technology)
Installation Type (Academic, Government, Industry, etc.)
Producer Regions (North America, East Asia, Global – rest of the world)
Geographical Regions (Sub-continent where system is located – 14 areas)
Countries (Country where system is located – 30 of them)
Continents (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania)
System Family (Manufacturer and line of computer – 29 different)
System Model (Manufacturer, line, and model – 69 different)
You may assume that the U.S. has the largest number of supercomputer installations, but what country comes in
second? (Germany) What manufacturer has the largest number of installations? (IBM, with 259) And so on.
The fastest supercomputer in the world is still the IBM BlueGene/L system at Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory in Livermore, CA. It is run by the University of California for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear
Security Administration (NNSA). It is composed of 65,536 PowerPC 440 CPUs, each running at a lowly 700 MHz. It
can process data at 136.8 teraflops (136.8 trillion floating point operations per second). It is currently being
expanded, and is expected to hit double that number by the end of the year.
If you enjoy statistics as much as I do, you’ll enjoy wading through all of the data available at your fingertips.
What’s Next in the World of Supercomputers?
The next milestone in supercomputers is the magical 1,000 teraflops mark (or 1 petaflop; 1 quadrillion floating point
operations per second). There are plenty of countries (and companies) that would like to achieve this goal, but you
might be surprised at the most outspoken of them: China. Earlier this year the Chinese company Lenovo purchased
IBM’s personal computing division, making it the third largest PC manufacturer in the world (after HP/Compaq and
Dell). And now China has declared that it will have the fastest computer in the world, one running at 1,000 teraflops,
by the year 2010. Lenovo had previously built the DeepComp 3800 supercomputer, which was briefly the fastest
supercomputer in China, with a performance of 4 TFlops. This was followed up by the DeepComp 6800, performing
at 4.193 TFlops, and which is still ranked as #72 on the Top500 list. (It was #14 when it was first built, in 2003.)
DeepComp 3800 is now being used for complex weather and environmental modeling in support of the Beijing
Olympics in 2008.
Sun / Google “Strategic Relationship”
Earlier this month (10/4/05) Sun and Google announced a collaborative alliance between the two companies. Sun’s
Java is one of the most important facets of the Internet, being used in thousands and thousands of websites and
applications and everything else on the ‘net. Downloads of Java (runtime packages and development packages)
have reached 20 million per month, double what it was a year ago. Google, as well, is pioneering new applications
and services, and I think the two companies complement each other very well. They each can use what the other
company offers. Google has recently announced the new Google Toolbar, which when downloaded and installed,
integrates its toolbar into Internet Explorer, and offers the powers of the Google search engine right from the
browser, as well as an integrated spell checker, text translator (in 34 languages), and an Autolink function which
turns a street address into a link to an online map. As part of the collaboration between the two companies, the
Google Toolbar is now bundled with Java, so they can be downloaded together.
Another expected, but as yet unannounced, cooperative effort has been nicknamed “GoogleOffice”, and is thought to
be light-weight, fast, cheap, web-based version of Sun’s StarOffice. Its target is not necessarily Microsoft Office, but
rather the growing collection of MSN services, which will soon be adding a “Kahuna” upgrade to Hotmail and an as-
yet-unannounced SMB (small to medium business) collaboration bundle.
Keep an eye on these two… they might surprise you.
AMD Files Antitrust Suit Against Intel
Back in June, AMD filed an antitrust suit against chipmaker giant Intel, accusing it of maintaining its monopoly in the
PC processor market by illegally coercing customers around the world into using its products.
The suit identifies 38 companies on 3 continents that were allegedly coerced by Intel, ranging from large-scale
computer makers to small system builders, wholesale distributors, and retailers. The suit alleges that Intel used
illegal subsidies to win sales, and at times threatened companies with “severe consequences” if they used or sold
In March of this year, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission found Intel guilty of abusing its monopoly power to
exclude fair and open competition in the Japanese microprocessor market. Intel’s Japanese subsidiary, though
disagreeing with the finding, agreed to refrain from several types of business practices. The European Commission
is also investigating Intel for possible antitrust violations, and has been in communication with Japanese authorities.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Intel in 1998, though the charges were a bit different. The
FTC accused Intel of using its market dominance to coerce trade secrets from some of its customers. The FTC said
that Intel threatened to withhold information about future chip from three vendors: Digital Equipment, Compaq
Computer (now part of HP), and Intergraph, unless those companies agreed not to sue Intel over any potential patent
violations. The FTC said that such strong-arm tactics were illegal when used by a company as dominant as Intel
AMD’s suit lists several examples of Intel’s abuse of its dominant market position:
One example claims that Intel forced several major customers, such as Dell, Gateway, Sony, and Hitachi,
into exclusive deals in return for outright cash payments, discriminatory pricing, or marketing subsidies.
Another example details the situation with the European joint venture of Fujitsu Siemens Computers, which
had been a major customer of AMD’s components, which powered over 30 percent of Fujitsu Siemens’ PCs
produced. In early 2003, Intel offered Fujitsu Siemens a “special discount” on its Celeron processors.
Fujitsu Siemens accepted the offer, and in exchange hid its AMD computers on its website and removed all
references to the systems from its retail catalog. Fujitsu Siemens is also among the companies that reported
being intimidated from participating in the Opteron 64 launch in 2003. (Others include the Taiwanese
companies Micro-Star International, Atipa Technologies, and Solectron.) Intel representatives told Fujitsu
Siemens’ executives in the weeks preceding the Opteron launch that if they attended, they would be the only
tier-one computer maker there, because all of the others would back out. (IBM was the only tier-one
manufacturer to attend the launch.)
IBM was an ongoing target of “Intel’s relentless campaign to undermine marketing efforts by its one
remaining competitor.” Big Blue had to pull its AMD-powered computers from the 2004 Palisades eServer
and PC Show, citing a contractual agreement with Intel prohibiting IBM from endorsing products from
At the 2004 Super Computing Show, annual conference devoted to high-performance computers, Intel
offered two computer makers money to remove the AMD systems from their booths.
AMD has been completely locked out of MediaMarkt, Europe’s largest computer retailer, which accounts for
35 percent of computer sales in Germany. Intel provides MediaMarkt from $15 to $20 million annually in
“market development funds”. With such incentive, MediaMarkt has sold Intel computers exclusively since
Want to see more? Check the full text of AMD’s complaint at:
Just a couple of weeks ago (Oct. 6) AMD subpoenaed 15 computer makers and 12 distributors and retailers that
AMD believes may possess information that would give evidence of Intel’s unethical business practices. The
companies include: Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Gateway, Sun, Fujitsu, NEC, Tech Data, and Best Buy. There are no
charges being brought against any of these companies. They are just being asked to show they, too, are victims of
Intel has responded that the discounts it offers to PC makers were designed to lock out AMD from top PC makers,
and that such price cutting is “the essence of competition”, and not a violation of law.
The lawsuit is not expected to come to trial until 2007.
Microsoft Changes Its Tune
For years now, Microsoft has steadfastly insisted that Microsoft Office will use only Microsoft’s proprietary document
formats: .DOC for text documents, .XLS for spreadsheet files, etc. Microsoft has now disclosed that the next
version Microsoft Office, version 12, which will be out sometime next year, will include the capability of creating .PDF
files, the ubiquitous file format introduced by Adobe Systems as a part of its Adobe Acrobat program and its
associated file reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader. Office 12 will create .PDF files that are compatible with version 1.4 of
the public Adobe PDF specification. This is quite a turnaround for Microsoft, which has adamantly stated that it
would never use a public or open-source data format. But Office’s competitors, such as Corel WordPerfect, Sun’s
StarOffice, and the open-source OpenOffice, all provide the .PDF file capability, and Microsoft doesn’t want too
many defections to other products simply to gain .PDF capability.
Rob Helm, director of research at Directions on Microsoft, offered his evaluation of the unexpected move. “I am
surprised by this move. It seems to strengthen the role of PDF as a neutral document format, and weaken the role of
the binary Office formats. The Office team must have concluded that the binary Office formats have already been
StarOffice 8 from Sun is considered to be the biggest threat to Office’s hegemony. In a business or corporate
environment it can be installed for $70 per single copy, or $100 per system in the enterprise edition, which includes
document and macro migration tools. Either price compares very favorably with Office’s Professional Edition, which
retails for nearly $500. For companies wanting to save even more money, the open-source version of StarOffice,
OpenOffice, can be downloaded and installed for free. (See notice below on the latest version of OpenOffice.)
New Improved OpenOffice
While previous versions of the free, open-source office suite used a database component that was compatible with
dBase 2 and 3 databases, and the .DBF data format, the latest revision of OpenOffice, version 2.0, will have a
database manager that is compatible with Microsoft Access, making the entire suite compatible with Microsoft
products: word processor, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, and now database. An OpenOffice manager said
that the biggest complaint they had received about previous OpenOffice versions was that the database component
was not Microsoft-compatible, and so the office suite was not completely Microsoft-compatible. That’s been
remedied, and the newly-released OpenOffice v. 2.0 is ready to take on Microsoft Office.
StarOffice and OpenOffice have been readied to tackle the corporate giant, Microsoft, whose office package runs on
one platform: Windows. But as companies, schools, and countries move away from Windows as an operating
system, StarOffice and OpenOffice will be ready and waiting, able to run on 8 different OSes, including Windows,
Mac OS X, and a variety of Linux- and Solaris-based systems.
Intel Announces Dual-Core Xeon
To compete with AMD’s dual-core Opteron server CPUs, Intel worked overtime to develop the dual-core version of
its powerhouse Xeon CPU, codenamed “Paxville”. The AMD dual-core Opteron was released last April, and since
that time AMD has nearly doubled its share of the multi-processor server market. Intel had originally said that the
dual-core Xeon wouldn’t be available until 2006. But past experience has shown that just because Intel announces a
new CPU, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be available in any significant quantities.
Intel Producing Cheap Pentium 4s
Intel is quietly offering a low-end Pentium 4 model to a number of large PC manufacturers. The chip, model 516, is
actually closer to the Celeron processor, in that it lacks Hyper-Threading and has half as much Level 2 (L2) cache as
the regular Pentium 4 chips. The Intel website has added a new CPU category to its list of available processors. It
used to list Pentium 4 and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. It has now moved the previous Pentium 4 models into a
category named “Pentium 4 Processor supporting Hyper-Threading Technology” and now has a category for
“Pentium 4 Processor”, containing the neutered Pentium 4 models. And this is not the first such “dumbed-down”
Pentium 4 that they’ve offered. So when a PC manufacturer boasts that its PCs have Pentium 4 processors, that
won’t mean as much as it used to. Intel is just hoping that people won’t find out.
AMD Opens New Fabrication Plant in Dresden, Germany
AMD has opened the doors to a new semiconductor fabrication facility, dubbed Fab 36, in Dresden, Germany, right
next to its Fab 30, which was built 6 years ago. The Fab number comes from the number of years of AMD’s
existence: AMD has been around for 36 years, whereas 6 years ago it had only been around for 30 years. (Trust
me on the math…) The announcement of the fab came in November of 2003, and ground was broken for it at the
end of that month. After 12 months the structure was ready for equipment, and 12 months after that it is now ready
to begin mass production. It is currently equipped to create 90nm chips (where the traces used to create the circuitry
measure 90 nanometers, or 90 billionths of a meter; over 25,000,000 traces could fit in 1 inch), and during the early
part of 2006 part of its production facility will be updated to handle 65nm chip creation. At that time, the total facility
development cost will have reached $2.5 billion. By the end of next year, the production capacity will have doubled
that of Fab 30, or potentially 100 million chips per year. (Future improvements could allow the Fab to produce chips
using 42nm technology, progressing down to 32nm.) The dies that are the core of a CPU are created on solid-state
“wafers” measuring 300 mm in diameter. A single wafer can produce hundreds of CPU dies.
When asked what the future of Fab 30 was, AMD officials said that it would continue to be used to create x86 chip
dies, but in the future may be used to produce AMD chipsets, a market that the company had left to others (SiS, VIA,
nVidia, et al.).
AMD chose to locate this new facility in Dresden next to an existing facility to capitalize on the skilled workforce in
the area, and also because the German government pledged subsidies totaling up to $500 million. At the grand
opening of the plant, numerous dignitaries spoke, including German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who praised
AMD for making such a large investment in this city located in the former East Germany.
Dr. Hector Ruiz, the AMD CEO, said that the next production facility is targeted to begin construction in a 2008
AMD, and much of the industry, feels that AMD is in an enviable position, having set the pace by creating the first 64-
bit CPUs, as well as the first dual-core 64-bit CPUs. Everything Intel is doing is being done in “catch-up mode”.
AMD / Intel CPU Power Usage Comparison
Just about a year ago (October 14, 2004), Intel announced that it was abandoning its quest to produce a Pentium 4
CPU that would run at the magic speed of 4.0 GHz. The reason? The chip would be so hot that it would be very
unstable (and probably wouldn’t last very long).
And once again, AMD got the jump on Intel in producing more power-efficient chips. A look at the following charts
(from www.anandtech.com) shows that the AMD 64-bit CPUs consume less energy (with a corresponding lower
heat output) than do Intel 64-bit CPUs. At idle, the AMD CPUs use 12.54% less energy on average than the Intel
CPUs do (104 watts vs. 119 watts), while at full load, AMD CPUs use 29.29% less energy than the Intel CPUs (148
watts vs. 210 watts).
These numbers show 2 things:
1) at idle, the AMD CPUs consume less energy (and generate less heat)
2) at load, the AMD CPUs consume an even smaller percentage of energy (and generate even less heat)
In other words, the AMD CPUs are more energy-efficient than Intel CPUs at idle speeds, and at full-load
speeds, they’re even more energy-efficient
Also, bear in mind, that while consuming less power than their Intel counterparts, AMD CPUs produce more
computing power. I’d call that a pretty good one-two punch! And on top of that, they cost less! (A one-two-three
punch! I can see why Intel might be concerned about AMD!)
Here’s a summary of the charts:
CPU wattage comparison Power Load Power Idle to
(watts) (watts) Increase
Intel Changing Design Emphasis to Power Efficiency
In August, Intel announced that it is changing to a new processor architecture, as well as to a new measure of
processor performance: performance per watt. Intel told of its plans to begin building multicore chips with a
modified version of the circuitry used in the Pentium M (for Mobile) processor, sometime in 2006. The Pentium M
processor was developed for use in notebook systems, and has a lower power usage to maximize a notebook’s
battery power. (A Pentium M uses about ¼ as much power as a comparable Pentium 4 chip.) Intel’s first dual-core
Pentium M, codenamed Yonah, will be used in Intel’s upcoming Napa notebook platform, due out in early 2006.
Take a Yonah chip, add 64-bit addressing and Hyperthreading, and you’ll have Yonah’s successor, codenamed
Merom, which will succeed Yonah in late 2006. Merom will arrive in notebooks in early 2007. Similar low-power
chips, codenamed Conroe and Woodcrest, will later arrive for use in desktops and servers, respectively.
In response to Intel’s announcement, Brent Kirby, product marketing manager for the Opteron chip at AMD, said,
“We’ve got the best performance-per-watt story today.” The Opteron consumes a maximum of 95 watts, while the
Intel Xeon consumes from 110 to 130 watts, depending on the exact model being used. Another feature of the
Opteron is the built-in memory controller, which is built into the north bridge for Intel systems, and which is
documented as consuming 22 watts. Thus a typical dual-processor Opteron server would use 52 to 92 fewer watts
than a comparable dual-processor Xeon server. If the difference were 52 watts, AMD estimated that a data center
with 500 AMD servers would spend $50,000 less per year in electricity costs (at $.10 per kilowatt-hour) and cooling
costs (unspecified amounts) compared to 500 comparable servers using Intel components. If the difference were 92
watts, the savings would be even more significant.
DARPA Grand Challenge
Last year was the first year for the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand Challenge. The
challenge was to create an autonomous (self-driven) unmanned vehicle that could finish a course of 125-150 miles
via roads and cross-country. The prize? $1,000,000!
Last year the event was held in March, and the course consisted of a 142-mile route starting in Barstow, California,
and ending in Primm, Nevada. There were initially 86 entrants for the competition, which was narrowed down to 25
teams for the initial qualification stage. The top 15 vehicles were selected to compete in the grand finale, the 142-
mile trip. But there was no winner. The farthest any of the teams was able to go was 7.4 miles.
Here is a description of this year’s event, taken from the website at http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/:
DARPA Grand Challenge
Created in response to a Congressional and DoD mandate, DARPA Grand Challenge is a field
test intended to accelerate research and development in autonomous ground vehicles that will
help save American lives on the battlefield. The Grand Challenge brings together individuals and
organizations from industry, the R&D community, government, the armed services, academia,
students, backyard inventors, and automotive enthusiasts in the pursuit of a technological
This year the prize was increased to $2 million. The first round of qualification ran from Sept. 28 until Oct. 6, with
the final competition starting on Oct. 8 and continuing through Oct, 10. Forty-three teams went into the qualification
round, and 23 of them were selected for the final competition. The final course, announced just before the start of
the race, was a 131.2-mile loop in the Mojave Desert, starting and ending in Primm, Nevada. Last year the
competition was spread out over several days, as none of the vehicles was able to make much progress on the
course. This year, the contest spanned 3 days, to be able to give a comfortable time margin between each vehicle’s
start, so that the vehicles would be trying to cross the same terrain, though at different times, rather than having
them get in each other’s way. The winning vehicle crossed the finish line in 6 hours and 53 minutes. There were 5
teams that completed the course, 4 of them under the 10-hour limit. The Stanford Racing Team and its vehicle,
Stanley, a diesel-powered Volkswagen Touareg with full skid plates and a reinforced front bumper, took home the $2
million check to help them on their way for the next competition. The five vehicles that completed the course were:
Stanford Racing Team “Stanley” Stanford University 6 hours 53 minutes
San Francisco, CA
Red Team “Sandstorm” Carnegie-Mellon Univ. 7 hours 4 minutes
Red Team Too “H1ghlander” Carnegie-Mellon 7 hours 14 minutes
Gray Team “KAT-5” Gray Insurance Co. 7 hours 30 minutes
Team Terramax “Terramax” Oshkosh Truck Co. 12 hours 51 minutes
The winning vehicle’s speed was 19.06 mph.
Stanley’s “brain” consisted of 7 Pentium M computers, guided by GPS, a 6D0F inertial measurement unit, and wheel
speed sensors. It is controlled by a Drive-by-Wire system developed by Volkswagen’s Electronic Research Lab.
The team consisted of faculty and students from the Stanford School of Engineering, based in San Francisco,
California. Sponsors of the team included:
-- Volkswagen of America Electronic Research Lab
-- Mohr Davidow Ventures
-- Red Bull
-- Tyzx, Inc.
-- Coverity, Inc.
The winning “Stanley” of Stanford University – Volkswagen Touareg
Red Team “Sandstorm” – 2nd place Red Team Too “H1ghlander” – 3rd place
1986 HHMWV Model 998 1991 Hummer H1
Gray Team “KAT-5” – 4th place Team Terramax “Terramax” – 5th place
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle
Replacement (MTVR) Defense Truck
For more information on the competition, you can go to:
Everybody Wants a Piece of AOL
Search giant Google and cable operator Comcast have teamed up and have approached Time-Warner, owner of
America Online (AOL), wanting to buy a small stake in the Internet service. Of interest to them is AOL’s free web
portal, and the services available there, that the two companies want to be able to provide to their users. AOL has in
the past year added McAfee Viruscan availability and a spyware-scanning function. Of special interest to the
Google/Comcast duo, though, is AOL’s video-on-demand service. The negotiations started last summer between
Google and Time-Warner, and around the beginning of October Google approached Comcast to see if they would
interested in joining in.
Not to be outdone, Yahoo has also expressed interest in buying a stake in AOL. Yahoo feels the need to keep up
with Google. Yahoo has already joined up with MSN, integrating their IM (instant messaging) functions, which had
previously been comparable in capabilities, but which didn’t work together. Now, together they’re working to build
the world’s large instant messaging community, comprising 275 million users. The only cloud over their cooperative
effort is that fact that none of their members would still be able to send instant messages to the millions of AOL
customers. Now if Yahoo could link up with AOL’s IM service, that would create a nearly-universal IM capability.
Google and Froogle
Google is up in arms over Richard Wolfe’s internet shopping site, Froogles.com, which he began in March of 2001.
Google claims that Wolfe’s website name is too close to the name of their own online shopping service, named
Froogle.com. An arbitration panel rejected Google’s challenge, stating that Wolfe’s Froogles.com started in March of
2001, while Froogle.com didn’t start until December of 2002. (It sounds like Wolfe could challenge Google’s use of
the Froogle.com name. But he won’t, because he’s just a small businessman, and he’s already spent a lot of money
on legal defense fees.)