The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!

A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group

Volume 19 Number 7

July 2001

 

 

 

 

 

Relief in Sight from Barrage Of Irksome TV Commercials?

AUGUST PROGRAM

EDITORíS CORNER

INTERNET TALK

AMD Announces the World's First HyperTransport

  

 

 

Relief in Sight from Barrage Of Irksome TV Commercials?

By Ken Fermoyle, Tug‑Net

 

Are you fed up with the seemingly endless barrage of commercials crammed into   your favorites TV shows and sports events? If so, join the club! But relief may be in sight, according to Electronic Digest (Sept. 5, 2000 issue).

 

The magazine reports that sophisticated new integrated circuit controllers will improve performance of Set‑Top Boxes and Personal Video Recorders (STBs/PVRs). The new ICs will make the devices less expensive and more versatile. This should  eventually change their status from novelties with appeal to a limited market of "early adopters" to appliances that gradually will take the place of today's VCRs.

 

Electronic Design also notes that the new controllers "can be used to manage arriving and departing data streams, into and out of set‑top boxes, storage devices, digital TVs. PVRs," from a variety of sources, including broadband cable, satellites, terrestrial and IP (Internet Protocol) networks.

 

What does this have to do with computers? PVR technology is digital, like  computers, not analog like VCRs, and data is stored on a hard drive, like  computers, not on magnetic tape. A PVR will do everything that a VCR can, but with significant improvements.

 

For example, I have about given up on watching a lot of TV when it is aired, especially movies. Instead, I record them on a VCR and play them back later, fast‑forwarding through commercial breaks. This scenario works even better with  a PVR. You can record a program in real time but pause it at any point, at a commercial break, for example.

 

The PVR keeps recording the program while you get fresh coffee, go to the bathroom or whatever. When you return and hit the Pause button again, the recorder picks up where it left off, playing the program back from the hard  drive. Now you can fast forward quickly through the commercials and enjoy what you really wanted to see.

 

You will also be able to do your own instant replays; just rewind, then replay segments you want to view again. You can also preprogram a PVR to record favorite program automatically, just as with a VCR.

 

(Ed. Note: If you currently use a PVR and service like TiVo, Ken Fermoyle would  love to hear about your experiences with these technologies for possible use in  a future article. E‑mail him at kfermoyle@earthlink.net.)

 

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AUGUST PROGRAM

By John Sellers 

 

 

For our August program presentation we will have the opportunity to hear from Dave Matsukawa, a representative of AMD who will talk about his company=s product line.

 

AMD, Ďthe other chip makerí, has emerged from simply an alternate processor chip source to an innovator in its own right. A press release from AMD appears on page 4 and should be very informative.

 

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EDITORíS CORNER

by Vernon Lym

 

 

Assistant Newsletter

Editor Urgently Needed

 

Alas, it has happened. Because of the press of other activities I was not available to do a proper job on your newsletter this month. Fortunately it was possible to do a short form this month. I must apologize  for the shortcoming.

 

If you would like to help out in this capacity please contact:

 

President G. Sexton at:

E-Mail - uags@aol.com

 

or Vernon Lym. Editor at:

E-Mail - vwlym@ aol.com

 

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INTERNET TALK

By Frank Chao

 

Welcome to the 35th article in the Internet Talk@ series.  In the current month, there is a lot to report about the Internet and our access to it.

 

JUNO AND NETZERO TO MERGE !!

 

Netzero and Juno decided to merge. Up until now, they have been litigiously suing each other.  After the merger, they will become subsidiaries of a new company called "United Online". 

See  http://www.juno.com/corp/news/united.html for details.

No one knows how this pending corporate merger will affect the 6 million users of these two free Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  In the near future, they will each continue as independent operations. Liz surmises that, in the longer term, the South Bay area of Los Angeles may eventually have only two free ISPs: United Online and Bluelight.  Only time will tell for sure.

 

LAFN AND FREE ISPs

 

We have been hearing a lot of complaints from Los Angeles Free-Net (LAFN) members:  Their members have been experiencing lots of undesired phone line disconnections.  Doug Hardie, the system administrator genius at LAFN, has been busy working on the problem. He states that this problem will probably be isolated to a telephone company malfunction. If LAFN is your only ISP, now is the time to get an account on one of the free dial-up Internet services. If you are already on LAFN, go to

http://www.netzero.net  or  http://www.bluelight.com  or  http://www.juno.com and avail yourself of an alternate path to the Internet.  You will be glad that you did.

 

MULTIPLE ISP ADVICE

 

Internet Explorer remains smarter at handling multiple dial-up ISPs than Netscape Communicator/Navigator. Neither browser has any problem at all with the three freebie ISPs (Netscape, Juno, and Bluelight). However, LAFN requires a "socks server" setting, which has to be set inside any Web browser that you use. See  http://www.lafn.org/faq/proxy.html  for details.

If you use Internet Explorer as your Web browser, using LAFN and one or more free ISPs will not be a problem. If you use Netscape Communicator, then you will have to do ONE of the following:

 

Strategy One:

Use Netscape for either LAFN or the freebie ISPs, but not for both.

 

Strategy Two:

Manually turn on the proxy server setting (in Netscape) before connecting with LAFN.

Manually turn off the proxy server setting (in Netscape) before connecting with any of the free ISPs.

 

Strategy Three:

Use Netscape's Profile Manager to set up one Netscape profile for LAFN and one Netscape profile for the free ISPs.

 

INTERNET SIG

 

Herman Krouse, our vice president and Internet SIG leader, continues to do a great job of helping club members with their Internet connections.  Internet access has a steep learning curve. For the past 8 years, Herman has generously assisted dozens of GSBUG members to surpass this challenge. 

 

"NO NAGS" WEB SITE

 

Liz Orban recommends that you go to the following Web site: http://www.nonags.com The name of this web site is pronounced as "No nags". This Web site contains hyperlinks to freeware and shareware that does not nag you to pay for the software. I have created hyperlinks to "No Nags" at my two personal Web sites:  http://www.elcamino.cc.ca.us/Faculty/fchao and  http://fchao.tripod.com 

 

"GREATEST PICTURES" WEB SITE

 

A great Web-based archive of famous photographs can be found at  http://www.greatestpictures.com/ This Web site was mentioned in a e-mail newsletter that was sent to me by Kim Komando. Ms. Komando is a syndicated radio commentator. Her nationwide radio show about computers is broadcast on Saturdays. Her Web site is located at http://www.komando.com The latest e-mail newsletter from Ms. Kommando states that You can now hear all three hours of the Kim Komando Show LIVE on KPLS  AM 830 on Saturdays from 7 AM to 10 AM.

 

RADIO TALK SHOWS ABOUT COMPUTERS

 

In addition to Kim Komando's radio show about computers, two other talk shows are available here in the greater Los Angeles area: Jeff Levy's "Jeff Levy on Computers" show airs on Sundays on KFI AM 640  radio. Details are available at

http://www.jefflevy.com

 

Marc and Mark's "The Computer and Technology" show airs on Saturdays on KABC AM 790. Details are available at

http://www.kabc.com/showdj.asp?DJID=3668

 

INTERNET PC CLUB

 

"Internet PC Club" has raised their prices for the use of their Internet-connected Windows 98 computers from $1 to $2 per hour for members. Memberships are absolutely free.  Just for be becoming a member, you get two hours of computer time for free. 

They are located in the extended strip mall at the Northwest corner of Artesia Blvd. and Normandie Ave. Their street addresss is:

1451 W. Artesia Blvd. #3

Gardena, CA 90248

Their voice phone number is (310)324-5525

The owner of this innovative business is Andy Ahn.

His E-mail address is

andy@sunnycom.com

Mr. Ahn's business card states that the Web site of his business is located at

http://www.internetpcclub.com

This Web site does not appear to be operational yet.

If you go in person to "Internet PC Club" to try them out, I recommend that you bring along some earplugs, since some of their computers are being used by kids playing extremely loud computer games. Also, if the noise from these gamers bothers you, you might find the computers in the quieter classroom area more to your liking, since gamers are apparently prevented from using the computers in the classroom area.

 

TRAINING FOR INTERNET BEGINNERS

 

A great training guide for new users of the Internet can be found at

http://netforbeginners.about.com/internet/netforbeginners/library/blcompspecial.htm

 

PREDICTING ELECTRICAL POWER OUTAGES

 

Near the top of your latest Southern California Edison bill, you will find a "rotating outage group" code. Using this code, you can predict pending power outages in your neighborhood by checking for this code at  

http://www.outagewatch.com/003_safety_first/003e_rotating_outages_info.shtml

Using these predictions, you can plan your usage of electricity to avoid periods of time when your home will lack electrical power. For example, if you have a laptop computer, you might make sure that your battery is charged, prior to the start of a scheduled outage.

 

POWER OUTAGES AND FAST INTERNET ACCESS

 

In addition to the challenge of having a computer that works during a power outage, computer users with DSL and cable modems have the additional challenge of keeping their respective modem and network devices powered up during power outages. If you connect to the Internet by means of a DSL modem or a cable modem and you wish to access the Internet during a power outage, you can follow one of two strategies:

 

Strategy One:

Use a dial-up connection instead, for the duration of the power outage.

 

Strategy Two:

Use an Uninterruptible Power System (UPS) to keep your DSL modem or cable modem AND other interconnected network devices, such as routers, hardware firewalls, and 10Base-T Ethernet hubs, if any, operational, during a power outage.

 

"Strategy One" is simpler and cheaper. The disadvantage of this strategy is that during a power outage, you will experience the slow Web access, also known as the "World Wide Wait" that us common folk, who use dial-up access, have to put up with all the time. If you implement Strategy One, I you probably should use one or more of the freebie dial-up Internet Service Providers, instead of incurring the additional expense of signing up for a more expensive dial-up option, such as AOL or Earthlink.

 

Strategy Two requires that you build or buy a UPS system. If you do so, please be careful with the handling of the batteries since they are full of corrosive chemicals. Also, it is deleterious for your health for you to drop the batteries on any part of your anatomy.

 

Please let me know, via E-mail, about your trials and tribulations with staying on-line during power outages, so that I can discuss the options in more detail in future articles.

 

WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS

 

One of my employers has just provided me with an Internet-enabled cellular phone. This device has limited e-mail and Web browsing capabilities. I am still getting myself familiarized with the tiny keyboard and miniscule text display.  I will tell you more about my experiences with this new-fangled contraption in upcoming articles.

 

 

HOAX ENCYCLOPEDIA

 

Charlie Semple recommends that you go to† http://antivirus.about.com/compute/antivirus/library/blenhoax.htm†if you get e-mail messages that contain dire warnings about viruses and other computer security hazards.  This Web site contains a fairly comprehensive list of hoaxes that are circulating around the Internet. Mr. Semple is the vice president of the Los Angeles Computer Society (LACS).

 

As most of you know, I also belong to this fine organization. I (and Liz) continue to be "meeting-challenged" for both LACS and GSBUG, so please tell us about what transpires at any club meetings that you attend. Many thanks to Kostek Haussman for bringing us some of the freebie items that were passed out at the General Meeting in May.

 

WAYS TO CONTACT ME:

 

If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:

1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-3896.

2. Send me e-mail at: fchao@elcamino.cc.ca.us

3. Send "snail" U.S. Postal Service mail to

      Frank Chao

      PO Box 6930

     Torrance, CA 90504-0030.

Or sell your computer and take up fishing instead !

 

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AMD Announces the World's First HyperTransport

Implementation - NVIDIA's nForce Chipset

 

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 4, 2001--AMD (NYSE:AMD <http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=amd&d=t> - news <http://biz.yahoo.com/n/a/amd.html>) today announced that NVIDIA has incorporated AMD's HyperTransport(TM) data bus technology into its new nForce platform processing architecture, becoming the first chipset to incorporate AMD's innovative data bus technology.

 

More than 150 companies are working with AMD to drive the development of HyperTransport technology. NVIDIA is yet another example of an industry heavyweight implementing AMD's HyperTransport technology to help increase the performance of its products.

 

AMD's HyperTransport is an innovative technology that enables the computer chips inside a vast range of different types of systems to communicate with each other faster compared with existing technologies. In NVIDIA's case, the HyperTransport technology is designed to deliver up to a six-fold increase in bandwidth between the nForce Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) and nForce Media and Communications Processor (MCP).

 

The NVIDIA nForce platform processing architecture combines NVIDIA's award winning graphics with the industry's first implementation of the new Dolby Digital Interactive Content Encoder, a breakthrough technology built in the MCP that dynamically encodes multi-channel audio into Dolby Digital 5.1 in real-time.

 

``NVIDIA's incorporation of AMD's HyperTransport technology is critical in our quest to deliver unmatched system performance,'' said Dan Vivoli, vice president of marketing at NVIDIA.

 

``Today's PC applications are increasingly complex with advanced 3D graphics, high-speed networking, streaming video, and cinematic 3D audio. In fact, the bandwidth supplied by HyperTransport allowed us to implement full Dolby Digital 5.1 3D audio processing and broadband networking in the MCP, something no other current technology allowed us to do.''

Both AMD and NVIDIA have supported Double Data Rate (DDR) memory for PCs and video cards. The NVIDIA nForce platform processing architecture includes a 128-bit memory interface that is designed to double the peak data throughput over today's PC2100 DDR systems to 4.2GBytes per second, which is 33% more than dual channel RAMBUS Pentium7 4 systems.

 

``Coupled with the AMD Athlon processor and DDR memory, NVIDIA's newest chipset solution provides performance, mainstream and entry solutions for x86 PCs that will continue to deliver on the AMD Athlon promise to give you the ultimate computing experience,'' said Richard Heye, Vice President, Platform Engineering & Infrastructure of AMD's Computation Products Group.

 

``This is yet another example of AMD pushing new and customer beneficial technologies into the market.''

 

About HyperTransport(TM) Technology

 

HyperTransport technology is a new high-speed, high-performance, point-to-point link for integrated circuits. HyperTransport provides a universal connection that is designed to reduce the number of buses within the system, provide a high-performance link for embedded applications, and enable highly scalable multiprocessing systems. It was designed to enable the chips inside of PCs, networking and communications devices to communicate with each other up to 48 times faster than with existing technologies.

 

Compared with existing system interconnects that provide bandwidth up to 266MB/sec, HyperTransport technology's potential peak bandwidth of 12.8GB/sec represents better than a 40-fold increase in data throughput. HyperTransport technology provides an extremely fast connection that complements externally visible bus standards like the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), as well as emerging technologies like InfiniBand. HyperTransport technology is designed to provide the bandwidth that the new InfiniBand standard requires to communicate with memory and system components inside of next-generation servers and devices that may power the backbone infrastructure of the telecom industry. HyperTransport technology is targeted primarily at the information technology and telecom industries, but any application in which high speed, low latency and scalability is necessary can potentially take advantage of HyperTransport technology.

 

HyperTransport technology also has a unique daisy-chainable feature, giving the opportunity to connect multiple HyperTransport input/output bridges to a single channel. HyperTransport technology is designed to support up to 32 devices per channel and can mix and match components with different bus widths and speeds.

 

About AMD

 

AMD is a global supplier of integrated circuits for the personal and networked computer and communications markets with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Asia. AMD, a Fortune 500 and Standard & Poor's 500 company, produces microprocessors, flash memory devices, and support circuitry for communications and networking applications. Founded in 1969 and based in Sunnyvale, California, AMD had revenues of $4.6 billion in 2000. (NYSE:AMD <http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=amd&d=t> - news <http://biz.yahoo.com/n/a/amd.html>).

 

Visit AMD on the Web

 

For more information about today's announcement, please visit our virtual pressroom at <http://www.amd.com/news/virtualpress/index.html>. Additional press releases and information about AMD and its products are available at: <http://www.amd.com/news/news.html>.

AMD, the AMD logo, AMD Athlon, and combinations thereof, and HyperTransport are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Pentium is a trademark of Intel Corporation. All other product names are used for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective companies.

 

Contact:

     AMD Public Relations

     Sean Cleveland, 408/749-5980

     sean.cleveland@amd.com <mailto:sean.cleveland@amd.com>

 

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