Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some Random Bits

Cybertool knife by Victorinox
Droid X
My Android based Droid X phone continues to be the swiss army knife of electronic gadgets.  I recently found that it makes a pretty serviceable book light.  Given the battery drain this particular use is best saved for situations where the phone can be plugged in.  My wife gets car sick and prefers to drive, so I often find myself in the passenger seat with little to do, particularly now that navigations systems are pretty much ubiquitous.  It is getting dark early these days so having an always available book light is a good thing.  Which leads me to my next topic.

I'll be getting my very own third generation 3G enabled Kindle soon.  It'll be accompanied by the nice leather case that Amazon sells with the integrated book light, so my Droid X likely won't be spending very much time in the future doing this duty.  The Kindle isn't cheap, but for E books it is a much better value than an IPad.  The IPad is of course a more flexible device.  I do have an urge to do a TCO (Total Cost Of Ownership) on both devices though and post it in the future.

I'll no doubt be talking more about the Kindle in the fut

China & High Performance Computing
This has been discussed a fair amount in the HPC community.  China now has the worlds fastest super computer.  This is a distinction that had been held by the US since 2003.  If China had simply used commodity parts this story wouldn't be that interesting. What is notable however is that they are using a "home brewed" interconnect.  The interconnect is really the heart of an HPC system.  Bandwidth is important, but for most applications latency is even more of an issue as no work is getting done while the parts of a massively parallel application are communicating.  This interconnect is twice as fast as quad data rate Infiniband which is the current state of the art in HPC applications.  I haven't been able to find a reference that quantifies that any more precisely.  Twice the bandwidth is nice, but if the latency is similar the speedup isn't going to be anywhere near as significant for many applications.

Image via Wikipedia
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