My new Clevo W240EUQ Laptop from PC Specialists

This is the Laptop I have moved to. No longer a Mac user, never more than a PC user and never a Windows fan. I’m now entirely into my custom built Clevo W244EUQ laptop, built to my configuration by PC Specialist in the UK. Having done a lot of research and agonizing over prices and parts, my system was constructed and sent to me in, call it 10 days including shipping and weekends. And yes I’m writing this post from it. and I’m doing it from Mint 13 with the Cinnamon interface. Everything works, with the single exception that the SD card reader is not picked up. It also has one ‘hot’ pixel which only shows up during boot time, and I can live with that. I was amused and gratified that the laptop was NOT an exact match to the photos on the PC Specialist site, but I don’t think it was their fault as the Clevo site have many different configurations of this model laptop. On the positive, the laptop is better looking, and has a better keyboard than shown in the Clevo or PC Specialist photos. Mine photos are included below, though the first one isn’t perfect, because the top cover is so black that the auto focus couldn’t lock in.

The Specs are not stunning, about the same as a MacBook Pro. A Intel i5-3210M processor, 8 GB of ram, a 500GB 7200rpm disk with 16MB cache, 14″ screen 1366/768 HDMI, 1000 base ethernet, A/G/N Wifi, 2 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port and a (currently) non-working SD Cardreader.


CPU Blowfish	    4.070
CPU CryptoHash   343.235
CPU Fibonacci	   1.819
CPU N-Queens	   5.411
FPU FFT		   0.972
FPU Raytracing	  3.688

The trouble with Microsoft Windows

While reading some postings about old CPU’s the subject on implementing calculations came up, and someone mentioned an issue with windows calculator. I assumed that this was an artifact from Windows 3.11 or something, but it still exists in Windows 7, and I assume will exist in Windows 8.

> 1. Start the Calculator accessory.
> 2. Write 4 on calculator.
> 3. Take its square root. It will show 2 (the right answer).
> 4. subtract 2 from the 2 result.
> 5. It will show -8.1648465955514287168521180122928e-39 instead of 0 (zero; the correct answer).

This is just unacceptable especially knowing that the same bad calculation is carried forward into other areas like Excel Spreadsheets and what not. How can this stand up to any kind of quality control within Microsoft … because it does! And THAT IS the Problem with Microsoft!

Benchmarking the Raspberry-Pi

This is a crude and simple PI test against the Raspberry-Pi and a Dell Pentuim-4 (3.0Ghz)

The Raspberry-Pi
Starting PI…
x= 0.38631 y= 0.89070 low= 939239 j=1200001
Pi = 3.130797 ztot= 801773.75 itot= 1200000

real 0m1.900s
user 0m1.720s
sys 0m0.000s

Starting PI…
x= 0.38631 y= 0.89070 low= 939239 j=1200001
Pi = 3.130797 ztot= 801773.75 itot= 1200000

real 0m0.099s
user 0m0.096s
sys 0m0.000s

This somewhere between 17x and 19x speed difference, but compairing a ARM RISC ALU with a Pentium’s CISC FPU is not a fair comparison either. In other testing I was doing, I only got a 5x difference in performance, roughtly the difference between the Raspberry-Pi’s 700Mhz and the Pentium’s 3.0Ghz clock frequency.

As I got this benchmark from an old site, I was amused to note that this benchmark only makes the Raspberry-Pi about 56x times FASTER than a MicroVAX-II, a system I cut my teeth on in my programming life.

Life’s relative, maybe I should write that down.

Note; the GPU was NOT part of the testing.

UPDATE: I managed to get this bencmark to run on a Arduino Uno (16Mhz) and the Pi is 126 times faster, So much for using an 8 bit processor as a number cruncher 🙂


The new Raspbian Distribution, (after a recompile) produced this benchmark.

Starting PI…
x= 0.38631 y= 0.89070 low= 939239 j=1200001
Pi = 3.130797 ztot= 801773.75 itot= 1200000

real 0m0.539s
user 0m0.520s

sys 0m0.010s

or between 3.52 and 3.30 TIMES faster that the original Debian Squeeze distro. That makes it only about 5.44 times slower than the Pentium 4 at 3.0Ghz which I was detecting before with non numeric benchmarking. An interesting side note, due to the ‘Hard Float’ the timings incured 1/100 second of SYS time on the benchmark.

Maemo vs Meego – round two

I have been spending way too much time in Quora but it has proved interesting. I have learned from some of the discussions that Meego is a bit of a ruse. It seems that there are actually two Meego’s one is the ‘netbook’ variety, more or less a rehashed Moblin (Intel’s contribution to the partnership) and the other is Meego/Harmattan which is really Maemo 6 with some compatibility with Meego/Moblin.

This whole Meego thing is really just a marketing thing. It’s no wonder that more vendors haven’t jumped onto the open source Meego train, they don’t know which one to get on. Meego/Moblin is Atom based and the Meego/Maemo is ARM.

I wonder how far this bait and switch will last?

Here’s hoping PR 1.4 for my Nokia N900 really will allow a dual boot into Meego/Harmattan where Maemo 6 was headed. And that it does wonderful things.

NOTE: and the BS continues, with Intel killing off MeeGo for Tizen to further delay or destroy Open Source for mobile devices.

MeeGo is now Dead, as a Mobile OS.

This article MeeGo will not displace Symbian as enterprise OS has now demonstrated that Meego is no longer supported by Nokia, and it will be left to die with Maemo as a ‘Non-Runner’ in the Mobile-OS arena. It also indicates that Nokia Management has gone down the MicroSoft path to complete irrelevance in the Mobile Phone market. It’s no wonder the Maemo/Meego managers and developers at Nokia are leaving. Most are heading to the surviving Mobile OS’s Android, Web-OS, iOS and Blackberry.

NOTE: and the BS continues, with Intel killing off MeeGo for Tizen to further delay or destroy Open Source for mobile devices.

Apple control of iPhone applications

I think there is a good reason for Apple wanting to control the applications being created and distributed on iPhone and iPod touch systems. Rubbish! In the last week or so, since I have been using my Palm T/X I have been singularly impressed with good applications, and shocked at the pure Rubbish applications that are available to load into my Palm. Mind you, and remember, that many of these applications are legacy from the Palm’s transition from the Motorola Dragonball processors to ARM/XScale CPU’s. And hence face a hardware hurtle that Apple MAY not have to face. Should Apple transition the current ARM iPhone/iPod’s to Intel, they too will face similar troubles. But returning to the control issue, there would be a bit of control over the quality of application development and a maintenance to well defined API that could mitigate future issues. So Apple can maintain a high level ‘feel good’ factor of the iPhone/iPod experience by requiring quality software development. and I believe that the current ‘jailbreaking’ of the platforms will diminish as more and more applications get deployed.

On a separate note, as I mentioned prior, I am impressed with the broad swath, and functionality of the Palm, and also saddened that Palm has, for all intents and purposes abandoned a platform that was so ahead of it’s time.

Palm and the mysterious nosedive

I am seeing all sorts of articles about Palm and handheld devices in general being in a nosedive. Handheld Sales Nosedive and Handheld sales continue to slide and it represents what is wrong in market research. Market Research!

The primary reason that Handheld sales, and most notably Palm, it this. While most companies are in the replacement/upgrade mode of operation, Microsoft/Intel mindset. Where every time a software release is, well, released. You must buy a new computer. Palm has had a serious problem with their systems, they don’t need replacement. At least not very often. And while they are not perfect, they have bugs, and issues, they do something that other machines don’t do. They are consistent, focused products. Once a bug becomes a known bug, there is a known work around by the owner. And once learned, it’s not a problem. They don’t break often, I still have my Palm Vx, the battery still holds a charge for weeks, it’s reliable and still syncs with my Mac. The only upgrade I ever had for the palm was from a V to the Vx and that’s only because I crushed the screen on the V. Mind you the crushed V still works, but the screen is a bit unusable. And that is the problem. Lots of people have Palms, almost no one needs an upgrade. So the appearance of a ‘slide’ is sales is more about saturation than about lack of interest. I still use mine, and I’ll bet many people still do. But an upgrade, not really. Though the Palm T/X has been tempting with it’s WiFi abilities.

So get over the ‘sales’ figures, if you need a Palm, go buy one. It’ll last for years, and you probability won’t need another. And forget about this UMPC thing, it won’t keep up with a Palm.

The Stockmarket as Reality

I always love this Microsoft delays launch of Vista and Apple Stock price drops. With this kind of reality, it doesn’t matter how good Mac’s are or how much better OS-X is (now and in the Future) than Vista. If Vista fails to ship, Apple loses.

It’s like if the sun does not rise, neither will the moon. What kind of people trade stocks anyway. Apple will be making a killing on the Vista delay, heck, with Vista out of the running for the fall Christmas season, there will be only one computer to buy for the back to school crowd?

MacTel FireWire

I’m constantly amazed about all the fuss about only one FireWire connector on a Laptop, iBook, or PowerBook. It just speaks to the ignorance about the difference between USB 2.0 and FireWire 400/800. USB is a one to one serial connector, Firewire is a Bus connection much like SCSI only serial. Therefor you can connect up to 72 devices on a daisy chain. And in fact most FireWire devices are built Daisy chained. USB must be hubed together. FireWire 800 supports Firewire 400 devices, and can do so at the same time. USB when connecting 1.1 and 2.0 on the same port, slows down to the slowest device on the link.

So having only one FireWire port on a Laptop is NOT the same as having only one USB port.

Apple DRM

Again I agree with Daring Fireball about the TPM chip in the Mactel developer systems. And I’ll say again, what makes you think that the CPU or any other part of the Mactel production systems will be like a generic Dell PC?

Not going to happen!

Mactel points for Yohan/Pentium/Alpha

  • Jobs did not say Pentium, he said Intel
  • Apple said coding should work for Intel if the code worked for the G3 PowerPC. This places the Pentium 4 used in the devloper boxes in the same class as a G3 PowerMac. Making the Pentium a third class citizan in the Mac world. This could roughly be equated as a baseline for the Mactel.
  • Coding for the Pentium instruction set is not the same as coding for the Pentium CPU. The instruction set can be emulated by the alpha for instance.
  • The Pentium, by ALL accounts is out-of-gas at 4Ghz, this isn’t a future, it the past. any new procesor will have to have either a faster, or a much wider future. 128bit anyone?
  • And what of the Altivec thing, such a good idea should not go to waste

The Future of Technology

I recently watched the latest Star Wars movie and while the plot was well known to me, I was very happy that the threads in the movie did a fair job of connecting the movie to the original three episodes. I have observed that the technology displayed in the movies is also interesting in that it does two very interesting and different things. The first is something that should be in everyone’s requirements documents during any IT project, or for that matter any software or technology project.

First in the movies there is a common use of technology, very high tech, but not intrusive in that the technology is what used to be called ‘Appropriate Technology’. Often this has been used in third world countries to describe technology that fits the situation. As in use of solar electronic devices in an area where distributed power is not common, or skipping the ‘Industrial Age’ in favor of the Digital Age. In any case the technology is enough to help, but not enough to intrude. Making the technology a comfortable chair rather than a large lounger/vibrator/bar/desk object that takes up half a room. This could explain the iPod fad, it’s not intrusive, and does only what it was designed to do. The technology should just work for you, you shouldn’t have to work at the technology. This could apply to most things, Operating Systems, entertainment systems, IT information systems. Always available, doing just as needed, and not intrusive.

The other point gleaned from the movies is related but different and that is culture, the technology reflected the various cultural differences, but still provided similar benefits. The spaceships reflected the culture of the planet that operated them. In Ireland, and Europe in general, that is reflected today in automobiles. The cars here are smaller, shaped differently and in some cases are dead ugly functional. Even the heavy equipment here has identifiable differences to those in the U.S. Some of this is due to the environment in which they operate, smaller streets, more expensive fuel, ect. Even McDonalds has adapted their menus here. The one size fits all is not, and should not be a requirement of the technology. It should recognize that there are different cultural and environmental elements to accommodate in the development of technology. I cannot count the number of E-Commerce systems that attempt to sell in Ireland and require an area code or a street number. Here a house address could be a proper name, associated with a village or an estate name, no zip code and no street address. The mapping sites operating on the Internet are going to go crazy here, where the only real way to find some houses are GPS coordinates and the help of the local postman.

Anyway, the point is this, development of technology is as much an element of culture and lifestyle as any other object in use today, and should be incorporated into any requirements analysis for future development. The shape of a computer case, the color of a keyboard, the data entry screen, the controls on an MP3 player must all be taken into consideration. Apple more or less knew this with the creation of colored iMacs and iPods. And the PC industry has often copied this with no real understanding as to why one should do this. This is why! Discrete useful, culturally integrated technology is the goal.

Apple’s Piracy Marketing

There is an article and an idea Mac OS X on Intel: Try before you buy?. That just tickles my fancy. This would be a great marketing idea, Piracy as a marketing tool. Apple releasing OS-X for Intel to the Pirate world without having to support it. But still alluding to it as the future of Mac’s.

Getting everyone a try at OS-X then requiring them to buy a Mac for future versions of the OS. It converts PC users, clobbers Longhorn, promotes the Mac on Intel idea sooner, and opens up a new platform to developers not currently signed up as Apple developers.

Lots of goodness here. I hope the leaked software gets a wide spread, maybe I can get it installed on my wife’s broken Sony.