Google: A Peek Under the Skirt of my Favorite Search Engine

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2005, 23:55
Category: Software

Google Query Serving ArchitectureI recently caught up with a friend who works for Google. I was curious and asked him what servers and storage Google uses in their data center, the answer is interesting and against my expectation: they use thousands of commodity PCs and cheap, off-the-shelf hard drives and rely on Google’s in-house fault-tolerant software. Here’s some of the juice…


Intel's Dual-Core Yonah Roadmap

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2005, 19:33
Category: Hardware

Intel Yonah RoadmapLaptop Logic has posted Intel’s roadmap for their forthcoming ‘Yonah’ processor. Yonah is the low-power CPU that is presumed to ship in the first Intel-based PowerBook in early 2006:

Intel’s dual-core Pentium M successor “Yonah” will ship at 1.67GHz, 1.84GHz, and 2.17GHz when it debuts early next year in 2006. The dual-core Yonahs will take on a new model number series. In Quarter 1 2006, the dual-core low voltage clocked at 1.50 and 1.67GHz will be released with the model numbers x38 and x48. In Quarter 2 Intel will debut dual-core ultra-low voltage Yonahs clocked at 1.06 and 1.20GHz.

Click through to Laptop Logic for the rest of the story and to see the whole road map.


Charge Different: Griffin PowerJolt Charges iPod, shuffle in Your Car

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2005, 19:41
Category: Accessory

Griffin Technology PowerJolt.Griffin Technology‘s PowerJolt Auto Charger is a US$25 charger for the iPod or iPod shuffle that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. What makes the PowerJolt different than most iPod car chargers is that it replaces the fixed cable the connects to your iPod’s docking connector with a removable USB charging cable. This way you can remove the USB cable and plug an iPod shuffle directly into the the PowerJolt for a quick charge. The included 48-inch USB Dock Connector cable can be used with the PowerJolt or with your Mac. The PowerJolt is now shipping.
Despite my thoughts to the contrary, I especially like the name 🙂


PowerBooks and iBooks in Iraq

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2005, 19:40
Category: Archive

PowerBooks in IraqIn Back from the Sand: A Mac in Iraq Lawrence I. Charters talks about PowerBooks in Iraq:

In early May a friend in the Pentagon sent me a photo of a Mac sitting on the hood of a Humvee, with a comment that ?Marines use only the best.? A few days later an Apple employee sent me another copy of this picture, plus a second, with a short note that said the photos were taken in Iraq.
I now had a mystery: where did these photos come from? Using clues found in the images as a guide, the photos were eventually traced back to Andrew Cutraro, a photographer with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Along with Post-Dispatch reporter Ron Harris, Cutraro was sent to cover the war in Iraq. ?Embedded,? as the Pentagon phrased it, with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (part of the First Marine Division), Harris and Cutraro crossed into Iraq from Kuwait, and chronicled the war all the way into Baghdad. Their stories and photos appeared in both the paper and on the paper?s Web site, St. Louis Today.

A related article Evaluating an iBook Under Field Conditions Steven Truax relays his experiences of bringing a brand new iBook to Qatar for a month when he was was activated and deployed in the war on terrorism.

Three days and 7400 nautical miles later I unpacked my footlocker. In my first free moments I began to listen to the music that I had loaded onto iTunes before I had left. The built-in speakers were small and weak, which was not too surprising considering the size limitations of the iBook. These would never do by themselves, but I had brought headphones and under stereo headphones the MP3 music was outstanding. I soon began to make regular trips to our tiny Base Exchange store (BX) to look for more music. After a few weeks I was surprised to realize that I had bought and encoded forty CD?s of music. At first I bought some old CD?s that I had meant to buy for some time but had not gotten around to. After that I bought several contemporary CD?s, ranging from Counting Crows to Garth Brooks, that I would not have gotten around to buying if I had stayed home. Now, I thought with some satisfaction, my wife can no longer tell me that I have never owned a vehicle or CD that had been produced in the current decade. My new iBook and I were off to the races. Let the thunder roll…


Avoid High kernel_task Utilization on 2005 PowerBooks

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2005, 12:05
Category: Software Like many 2005 PowerBook owners, I have been frustrated with the apparent bug in Apple’s new USB trackpad driver on these machines which forces idle kernel_task utilization upwards of 7% at all times, dramatically reducing battery life, lowering system performance, and preventing the machine from cooling down while relatively idle. Well, after several months living with this frustrating bug, I was further frustrated to see that there were still no widely-publicized solutions. I decided to stop waiting and try to address the bug myself by simply removing Apple’s trackpad driver from the equation.
Click through for the juice.


IBM PowerPC 970 Goes Dual-Core and Low-Power

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2005, 08:22
Category: Archive

IBMIBM announced two new PowerPC chips designed for entry-level servers and PCs at a company event in Tokyo on Thursday.The ironic part is that the the 970FX would have been perfect for the PowerBook G5. According to CNet:

The PowerPC 970MP is a dual-core version of the PowerPC 970FX, which is commonly found in Macintosh computers running G5 processors. IBM also said it will release a low-power version of the PowerPC 970FX.
What’s novel about the PowerPC 970MP’s design is that each of the two 64-bit cores has its own dedicated 1MB of level-two cache memory. That means that either side of the chip can be powered down to a state IBM calls “doze” while the other core continues to work. The technique helps save power and extends the life of the computer, IBM said.

AppleInsider goes into more detail:

Two variants of the chip — a 1.2GHz version and a 1.4GHz version — consume an approximately 13 watts of power, believed to be cool enough to operate inside a PowerBook enclosure with an advanced cooling system. A high-end 1.6GHz version consumes 16 watts.
By comparison, Freescale’s recently introduced MPC7448 PowerPC G4, the successor to the chip used in Apple’s current PowerBook G4 systems, will consume about 10 watts of power running at 1.4GHz, and just under 15 watts of power at its top speed of 1.7GHz.


Inside the big Switch: the iPod and the Future of Apple

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Date: Monday, July 11th, 2005, 00:06
Category: Opinion

ArsTechnica’s Jon Stokes shares some insight on Apple’s switch to Intel processors and the company’s dysfunctional relationship with IBM and Motorola:

As I said in my previous post on the 970MP and FX unveiling, the new PowerPC processor announcements from IBM raise a number of questions about timing, like, when will these parts be available? how long has IBM been sitting on them? why the apparently sudden leap in performance per watt on the same process after a year with so little improvement?
The announcements also raise serious questions about why, if these great parts were just around the bend, did Apple really jump ship for Intel? Was it performance, or performance per watt, as Jobs claimed in his keynote speech, or were there other, unmentioned factors at work?
I have some answers to those questions, and I’ll pass them along below. However, those answers come complete with their own vested interests, so feel free to interpret them as you will.

Read More…