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Done My Arm In

Posted by | Posted in Geek Stuff, Gym, Tunes | Posted on 02-12-2008

Excellent use of the English language, there.

I think I overdid it at the gym last night. Although I was only there for 45 minutes, I’ve managed to pull a ligament (or a tendon, or whatever you call them) in my left arm, so now I’m unable to straighten my arm out fully. I guess I’ll just have to keep it active in the hopes that it doesn’t seize up completely, which can be difficult when you’re in a typical 9-to-5 office job. It always seems to be that particular tendon that I pull too. There must be something in my left arm that’s not quite as strong as it is in my right, as I don’t seem to have the same trouble in my right arm.

I came across a good diagram and article explaining why a computer runs as quickly (or as slowly) as it does. The article points out that various links between CPU components and other hardware vary massively in terms of how fast they can send and receive data, and it goes to show exactly where the bottlenecks in computers can appear. I myself have always used 7200rpm hard drives in my machines as they’ve been the standard for a long time, but if you use the analogies written in the article, it might be worth getting a 10000rpm drive to host your OS:

To put this into perspective, reading from L1 cache is like grabbing a piece of paper from your desk (3 seconds), L2 cache is picking up a book from a nearby shelf (14 seconds), and main system memory is taking a 4-minute walk down the hall to buy a Twix bar…

… waiting for a hard drive seek is like leaving the building to roam the earth for one year and three months…

I guess it shows how important read speeds and seek times are in hard drives these days. What it also goes to show is how unimportant processor speeds are in the grand scheme of things. The difference between a 2GHz processor and a 3GHz processor may sound like 50%, but it seems to me like hardware manufacturers could greatly increase the overall speed of a computer by concentrating on the areas that have room for the most improvement – hard drive speeds.

Of course, there are already plenty of alternatives to the standard hardware that’s available. Solid state hard drives are pretty darned fast, and making system RAM out of the same stuff that CPU cache is made from would be a godsend. but then the price would go up something chronic. I’ll probably be looking at getting a new PC in the new year anyway, so I’ll be sure to mention any differences I notice between the old and the new.

I forgot to mention that UKTA Radio went full steam ahead yesterday, with great sets from Mart, Nik, Tony and Ian. It seems to me like I forget about UKTA Radio every week these days. Thankfully there’s a link to it on the site anyway, so you lot have got no excuse to miss it! I was thinking last night – the radio has been going for a few years now, and even though it started off as a bunch of people just badly mixing some tnes together, after five years… it’s still a bunch of people badly mixing a bunch of tunes together. I think we could make something of it – perhaps commercialise it somewhat. If we can get more than 5 regular listeners, we could possibly make some money from it via advertising. I don’t think it’s something that anyone has thought of before.

Apparently, Facebook has launched a feature called Connect, which allows users to browse other websites directly from Facebook. The third party sites will need to sign up with Facebook in order to be included in the list of allowed sites, but it does mean that people will be visiting Facebook whenever they want to visit other sites as well. When I logged onto Facebook this morning I couldn’t seeanything of the sort, though. Still, many sites will be signing up because they know that Facebook currently has over 120 million active users, but to be honest, it’s just a ploy to drive more traffic to Facebook.

“That’s obvious”, you might say. And you’d be right. Adding extra features to a website is always done to attract more users. But the trouble is, people aren’t going to signup to Facebook and become a regular user simply to start browsing other sites from Facebook itself. They might just as well sign into the other sites directly, leaving out the stage where they go to Facebook. Similarly, the only people who will be browsing these sites via Connect will be people who are already members of those sites. So by signing up to Facebook Connect, these third party sites aren’t really going to attract any new users, as it’ll only be the ones who already use their site that actually use Connect to get to those sites.

It does serve to add  touch of convenience, though. If it just so happens that users of Facebook also use one of the third party sites, they’ve saved themselves about 10 seconds of precious time. Still, I appreciate the effort they’ve gone to, and we’ll see how effective the idea is later on. It’s just one step in the direction I mentioned in an earlier blog post – everything on the net (and off of it) will be connected to everything else at some point.

Major emergency – I’ve just realised that people can’t navigate through the ‘Ramblings’ page of this website any further back than page 1. Balls! How did I miss that?!? I’ll have to see what the hell is going on there. be back later. Or, as the interweb nerds would have me say it, BBL.

UPDATE: Crisis averted. Thanks to a thought by Jem (that for some reason I didn’t think to entertain when the thought crossed my own mind) the problem has been sent to Coventry.

UPDATE AGAIN: I want a Nokia N97. Immediately. There’s an article about it on the Telegraph website too, but I’ve not read it yet skimmed through it and caught the general jist. Sounds promising, but I wish they’d put an 8MP camera in. And fix the camera at the front.

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