Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ivy Bridge and other news

I had the opportunity (if you call it that) to spend some time in a hospital. It seems my fate over the years to spend time in hospitals, mostly for others but sometimes for myself. This post hasn't got anything much to do with hospitals, it does have a lot to do with computers. It is just that hospitals are loaded with computers. Everywhere. In the halls, in the rooms, on the patients, hanging from the ceilings. This was a brand new hospital and had eye-in-the-sky (like Big Brother) kind of technology. If the patient's vital signs changed there was a big beep and a monitor came on and asked permission to view the room. Then a nurse came on the monitor and discussed the vital signs of the patient. So much for the old call button or yelling down the hall for a nurse.

In everything from our phones to our cars to our watches, computers are so pervasive, we usually do not even think about them (unless they break like the one we are working with right now at my house). So news about updated computer chips is NEWS. None of this who is shooting whom or whatever. This is the real news of the day.

So here it goes. Intel is releasing a whole new set of computer (CPU) chips referred to by the name of Ivy Bridge. The first release of the new chips are "Quad Cores" according to news accounts. Quoting from the news release and will take place within the week, probably 23 April 2012,
Ivy Bridge is the first in a series of upcoming Intel mainstream chips that emphasize graphics and multimedia processing over more traditional compute tasks. And most importantly for consumers, Ivy Bridge chips will power the wave of Windows 8 ultrabooks that will break later in the year. Those systems are expected to have touch screens and include hybrid designs that straddle the laptop and tablet markets.
Ultrabooks, for the uninitiated, are what the media calls computers that copy the Apple MacBook Air. If you can imagine, every new laptop released with the new chips will get thinner and lighter. There are supposed to be over 100 different models of new laptops waiting to be introduced from different manufacturers.

Does this really affect the stodgy old world of genealogy? (Hmm. did I really say that? Does that mean I am stodgy too? Maybe that's why no one will talk to me anymore?) Hey, wait a minute! I am anything but stodgy and most of genealogy today isn't either. Yes, it will affect genealogy. Basically, it means that all of us are once again one whole computer chip behind in our technology. Those of you still clinging to Intel 8086 chip sets have moved from the Jurassic to the Triassic.

So what else is going on in the world of high tech? Plenty. Intel is also releasing the first Intel chip powered smartphone this week. You probably didn't realize that the smartphone world was built on specialized computer chips that were different than those in most laptop and desktop computers.

As long as we are talking about Intel, they also announced a 60GB solid state drive (flash drive) for a retail price of $89.  This may not seem like big news but overall, solid state drives (or SSDs) are well on their way to replace hard disk drives as the main storage media. Once the storage capacity of the drives and the price comes fairly close to a hard drive, there will be a point at which they will suddenly become the only drives available and hard drives will disappear. This may happen this year or next.

Oh, well. It only takes money and time to keep up to date with technology. Oh, and I forgot, a lot of new learning.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. "It only takes money and time to keep up to date with technology. Oh, and I forgot, a lot of new learning."

    And reliable, super-fast internet access, which many of us do not have. Many genealogy-related website developers are changing in such ways that leave many unable to access their wares. And "only . . . money . . ."? How many of these developers have any personal contact with folks who live in areas where unemployment is around 20% or more?

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