Cray XD1 + AMD = Progress

If you remember back a couple of days, I was excited about
the innovations over at AMD. Well my predictions about the potential of scalable
core processors are starting to come true. Cray, Inc “The
Supercomputer Company
” is working on a great new design that allows the
connection of 12 processors to one massive computer board. In fact, “Highly modular,
the Cray XD1 base unit
is a chassis. Up to 12 chassis can be installed in a rack. Multirack
configurations integrate hundreds of processors into a single system.” That is
right if you are keeping track the new a
Cray XD1
architecture
can support 12

AMD
chips, which means that with a

duel core
upgrade your chassis can be running processes on 24 separate
computing cores on the same
machine, before you build a distributed computing network! The Cray Webpage says
it best, “Designed to meet the requirements of highly demanding HPC applications in
fields ranging from product design to weather prediction to scientific research,
the Cray XD1 system is an indispensable tool for engineers and scientists to simulate and
analyze faster, solve more complex problems, and bring solutions to market
sooner.” The technology curve is about to seriously shift ahead of the schedule
predicted by Moore’s
Law
.

Technology Guide: How to install XP64 on a SATA hard drive

This is an explanation of how to install Windows XP64 to a Serial ATA hard drive. The computer configuration I am discussing involves the following hardware and software.

1) I have one 200 Gigabyte, Maxtor 6Y200MO Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives.
2) The Maxtor SATA drives connection is through the onboard Silcon Image Sil3512 controller located on a Gigabyte GA-K8N Pro nForce3 150 chipset (Also known as the GAK8NP, GAK8N Pro, GA-K8NP, or sometimes simply called the Gigabyte board with the Sil3512 driver problems.)
3) One copy of Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (Pre-Release Software) generously donated to me by Uncle Bill for 360 days per evaluation kit license key!

Being a Beta tester means posting things like this to the interent to help build a knowledge base of solutions to very real and sometimes frustrating problems.

Find the driver for the SATA controller, which is the device that is going to talk to the Serial ATA hard drive. Here is what you need to do (I will try to keep this as short and concise as possible). Go visit the www.siliconimage.com webpage and find the storage products section then locate the Serial ATA section find the Sil3512 (SATALink 2-Port PCI Host Controller). You need to navigate though all of the links until you get to the support section and then you need to find downloads for the Sil3512 Serial ATA controller. Download the SiI3x12: Serial ATA (SATA) 64-bit Windows RAID Driver the release version I ran into was 11/26/2003.

Extract/Unzip the driver and put it onto a floppy disk, all files are important and should be placed on the floppy. Make sure all hardware is correctly plugged into the motherboard and that the motherboard has power! Place the Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition disc into the correct drive on the computer, at the same time place the floppy you just created into the correct drive on the computer. When the computer starts make sure you hit delete or whatever combination of keys that allow you to change the bios settings. Make sure RAID is enabled not IDE in the motherboard setting for the Serial ATA controller (Even if you only have one hard drive like my installation use the RAID settings). Check your boot order settings to make sure they are disc drive first, then other devices.

After you save and exit boot from the disc drive so that the Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition installation begins. Be ready to press F6 quickly so that you can load that wild and exciting controller driver that is on the floppy! Your computer will now magically be able to detect your Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives. Life is now good, world peace should suddenly be around the corner, and the computer will have a slow operating system on a very fast hard drive, congratulations!

I would like to take a moment and talk about other things to consider before beginning the formatting process. Make sure you have the Ethernet controller drive, multimedia audio controller driver, PCI simple communications controller, IDE RAID controller, and if you are truly a computer guru you will probably need your UPS driver. The drivers on your motherboard disc are useless! Make sure you connect to the internet and download Windows 64bit drivers for all of the devices you plan on using.

I will update this later today…

Multigalactic Corporations

These people from

Virgin Galactic
are going to keep trying to send people into space. My
estimation is that this is only the beginning of people starting to fling things
into space. Now that it is acceptable for private corporations to fling things
into space, it is only a matter of time before somebody decides to fling things
to Mars or the Moon. Science fiction writers have suggested for years that
multinational corporations will become multigalactic corporations. The future of
real power is space power. Corporations that corner the ability to reach space
are about to find a galactic piggy bank of commerce potential.   

Continue reading “Multigalactic Corporations”

How do you stop a hurricane?

On of the problems several members of my family are working on solving is how do you stop a hurricane before it forms. After the recent events in Florida, the family has decided to expend mental energy on this topic. BBC Weather Central says, “Hurricanes are one of the most dangerous natural hazards to people and the environment. They are essential features of the Earth’s atmosphere, as they transfer heat and energy between the equator and the cooler regions towards the poles.” The real question is how to prevent this dangerous phenomenon. I am currently thinking about that topic, and suggest that maybe you give it a couple moments thought. The more people who attempt to solve the problem the faster we will find a solution.

The first thing you have to do to begin the process of building a guide on how to stop a hurricane is build a logic framework and devise a plan. I use a simple logic system that sounds something like this, “Reason is the power to observe at least three categories of assumptions including form, function, and structure.” Appling this logic framework to stopping a hurricane involves thinking about how a hurricane actually forms.

1) What assumptions do we need to observe to questions the structure of a hurricane?

The first question of structure is about what makes up the recipe to form a hurricane. A hurricane must have a warm source of very moist air, which oceans tend to provide from time to time. Once the ocean provides enough warm moist air the next element in the recipe is rotation sometimes provided form the earths rotation itself and sometimes provided from the jet stream. To make a long story short the warm moist air rises and begins to rotate and if the process continues for long enough, a hurricane develops. The structure of a hurricane is fairly simple, which hopefully will provide us with a chance to figure out how to destabilize, breakdown, or even reverse the formation of a hurricane.

You do not have to trust my explanation, according to the BBC Weather Center, “As the warm sea heats the air above it, a current of very warm moist air rises up quickly, creating a center of low pressure at the surface. Trade winds rush in towards this low pressure and the inward spiraling winds whirl upwards releasing heat and moisture before descending.” The BBC Weather center does a great job at explaining exactly how the formation of a Hurricane occurs, “The rotation of the Earth causes the rising column to twist, gradually taking on the form of a cylinder whirling around an eye of relatively still air, free from clouds.” The final idea I would like to examine from the BBC Weather Center explanation explains the height of a hurricane. “Further aloft at 6 miles the cloud tops are carried outwards to give thick layer clouds due to the outward spiraling winds leaving the hurricane core.” This explanation might create some of the clues necessary to breakdown a hurricane.

2) Questions of how a hurricane functions involve looking at what makes them sustainable.

Heat energy is stored in the moist water vapor, after all heat is a form of energy! The water evaporates and transfers heat into the rotating hurricane. This produces the huge clouds you see on radar images of a hurricane. Since the ocean has an abundant supply of warm moist water vapor, the hurricane has a near infinite supply of energy if it stays over the ocean. Starting to think about the various problems associated with how a hurricane functions begins the process of gathering the necessary knowledge. In my estimation, figuring out how specific hurricane functions interact with the environment will be the key to asking the right questions.

3) Questions of form we know that satellites can detect hurricanes.

According to the BBC Weather Center, “Satellites detect hurricanes in their early stages of development and can help to provide early warning of imminent hurricanes. Reinforced aircraft fitted with instruments fly through and over hurricanes, and weather radar can locate storms within 200 miles of the radar station.” It is reasonable to suggest from the technology we have available that we can locate a hurricane before it becomes dangerous. Now we just need to figure out all the assumptions we need to isolate to begin to figure out how to use technology to stop a hurricane.

This is only the beginning of this thread of discussion. This is a problem I will be working on and the next step is to start thinking about possible solutions. That will be the next part of this guide.

Formatting Computers

Nothing is more fun in the world that formatting a computer. What a bold face lie! Formatting computers sucks, you always have driver problems, missing documentation, and every once in awhile hardware
failures. What you also find is that on occasion you have accidentally stumbled into a hardware conflict that only has a solution from a software patch that did not come with the original operating system. What can you possibly do to fix a software installation problem that requires a post installation software
modification in the form of a patch?

What should you know before you format your computer?

  • Know if you have a complete backup of all of your system
    data. You should have a backup copy of specialized hardware drivers and
    software that is necessary to allow your specific hardware to function with
    the operating system of your choice.
  • Make sure that you have the time for proper instillation
    of administrative service packs to the computer before establishing an
    internet connection. The internet is a wonderful tool. The internet is not a
    safe place for a computer that is not up to date. What I am trying to calmly
    suggest, “Do not connect to the internet, until you have properly configured the computer!”
  • You need to have the following software components a
    firewall, virus scanner, and some form of office products. I make sure to keep
    a survival pack next to the computer of these things.

I hope you find this to be a useful warning of what to have
on hand if you need to format a computer. Right now, I am working on an
introduction to operating a computer for free in both Linux and Windows
operating systems. I might have this guide finished in the near future.

When to Backup Data

Here is some helpful computer knowledge from years of my personal and business experience. On my calendar, I make a special note about the first Sunday of every month. That Sunday is computer backup day. (You can pick any day during the month for that matter.) I do not recommend a random file backup of things you are working on at the time of this special monthly backup. You should backup everything on the computer once a month. I do this because sometimes specialized backup disks go bad, or get destroyed. Sometimes you might simply misplace a backup disk.

Of course you should backup important files that have value once a week. Some people even backup critical files whenever they make major changes to them. Like a thesis, term paper, dissertation, novel, or major work document. What I am talking about today, is the major once a month backup that can restore your system if you get a nasty virus, worm, spy ware, power surge, or even system failure. Hard drives are great devices to keep data, but not everybody is using a redundant backup system (RAID) so be aware that sometimes hardware does fail. I have even been known to go back and get files off of a backup disk, because I have accidentally edited something improperly, deleted an important file, or even just wanted to see what a previous draft of something looked like.

I hope that right now you are marking your calendar with days to backup your computer. This is serious stuff that really does matter. It might not matter to you at the moment, but when you are having computer failure and really wish you had a certain file, you might just send thanks my way. Think about it this way. You never really know when you computer is going to stop working. Since this is occurrence is sometimes chaotic you should anticipate problems, learn from my mistakes and backup your data.

Now I never make mirror images of my computer. I do not make complete system restore disks. I keep everything in a central directory and simply backup my data according to content. I keep my music, pictures, and directories separate. I also make one general backup disk with software, drivers, installation manuals, and of course critical files. You might think that I am paranoid, but when you have a computer problem it is better to be safe than sorry.

Newbie XP64 Information

Uncle Bill has generously decided to allow us to download a beta version of the new XP64 which is designed for implementation with the AMD 64 bit chip. Honestly I was a little skeptical about the whole process, but I liked the idea of being able to run my x86 32 bit applications and be able to run some 64 bit applications at the same time. Being able to do both at the same time is a huge advantage. The only practical reason to use a 64 bit operating system is for mathematically oriented solution implementation I use it for working on some large math problems and of course the Captain Fractal Project.

Why would Uncle Bill be giving away 365 days of free XP64 product registration? I know the answer it is rather simple it has to do with the fact that the operating system for Windows XP64 requires drivers that are 64 bit while it will run most software that is 32 bit x86 driver compatibility is a huge issue. So basically if you are not running a standard rig with an AMD 64 chip and a Gigabyte GA-K8N Pro nForce3 150 chipset you are going to have a hard time getting drivers. In fact the good people at Gigabyte don?t even bother to ship the 64 bit drivers with the motherboard. I actually had to force the driver installation on my Realteck TRL8169/8110 Family Gigabit Ethernet NIC so that I could download other drivers from the internet.

The good people at http://www.planetamd64.com have some helpful information that allowed me to get through the instillation process. I will be putting together a full account of what I had to do to get the Operating System up and running with a complete list of links that were used here in the next couple days. Right now I am going back to the coding and recoding.

First Quarter Desktop Computer Update

Computer technology has changed and will continue changing. When I think of buying computer technology, I think of the world of computers in terms of three tiers the current behind the technology lag computer, the former behind the technology lag computer, and of course the computer that is setting the technology standard. Understanding that rapid change will always be a part of buying a computer you need to protect your investment by being aware of how long it will take for the computer that you just bought to be behind the technology lag. It is also important to note at this moment that when technology falls behind the technology lag curve the price drops substantially then that technology disappears being replaced with the next big thing. The technology mantra is out with the old in with the new, early and often.

Current behind the technology lag computer system is running a Pentium? 4 Processor at 2.66GHz with 533MHz front side bus, 256 megabytes of Ram, 20 gigabyte hard drive, and a DVD player, maybe even a built in network card. A desktop system at this range is probably going to be offered with a 17 inch monitor. Deficits of this technology package are lack of a Compact Disc Writer (CDRW/CDR) or a Digital Video Disk Writer (DVDR/DVDRW), a smaller monitor at 17 inches, a smaller hard drive when hard drive size is exploding some of them are now over 200 gigabytes, and the biggest drawback in my mind the lack of 512 megabytes of ram. (Estimated total cost for this system $600-$900)

  • Pentium 4 Processor at 2.66GHz with 533MHz front side bus
  • Microsoft? Windows? XP Home Edition
  • 128MB Shared DDR SDRAM at 333MHz (Performs at 266MHz for 400FSB systems)
  • 40GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
  • 17 in (16.0 in v.i.s., .27dp)E773c Monitor
  • 48x CD-RW Drive

Now that we know what technology is currently behind the technology lag we can look at the computer that pushed the curve and could be charting the course for the future? We are talking about the new AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 Processor, 1GB Registered DDR SDRAM PC-3200, 120GB Seagate Serial ATA 8MB Cache, and the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB. This is a less than learn, mean gaming machine, that is going to carry the field in every category that the current behind the technology lag computer has with a 8x DVDRW and the 30? NEC LCD3000 monitor. What sets this computer configuration apart is the ultimate graphics card with 256 megabytes of graphics memory which is equal to the Ram in the previous computer, the 64 bit processor which is a infinitely better than the 32 bit processors of old thing about it this way if you were drinking soda from a can with a straw and all of a sudden your straw doubled in size you would be able to drink twice as fast! In this case the computer is able to process functionally twice as fast because the processor space as doubled allowing for way more space to crunch the big numbers. (Estimated total cost for this system $3000-$4000)

  • 1-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support with Onsite Service
  • Alienware Full-Tower Case (420-Watt PS) – Cyborg Green
  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 Processor with HyperTransport Technology
  • Ajigo High Performance Heatsink / Fan Unit for Athlon 64 Processors
  • ASUS SK8V – VIA K8T800 Motherboard
  • 1GB Corsair XMS DDR SDRAM PC-3200 Registered ECC – 2 x 512MB Module
  • GeForce? FX 5950 Ultra 256MB 8x AGP w/DVI & S-Video
  • AlienIce? Video Cooling System – Terra Green
  • 120GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Serial ATA 7,200 RPM 8MB Cache
  • 16x DVD-ROM – Black w/Software MPEG-2 Decoder
  • Lite-On 52x32x52x CD-RW – Black
  • 3.5″ 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive – Black
  • Creative Sound Blaster? Audigy 2 ZS – 7.1
  • Integrated 3com Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
  • Microsoft? Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard – Space Black
  • Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 – USB – Space Black
  • Microsoft Works Suite 2004
  • Free Alienware T-Shirt – Black
  • AlienAutopsy: Automated Technical Support Request System

Now that I have seen the future and it looks bright I have to take a step back to the bargain basement and show you all what computers are on the soon to be deceased list and are basically dead on arrival (DOA) to the computer stores, because all the profits have evaporated into the ether as the new technology brought down the price of the old. We turn to my favorite bargain basement computer dealer the one the only E-Machine, if you are not familiar with E-Machine they are a warehouse shipping model company think of a leaner meaner cheaper no frills Dell. E-Machine says that they have a computer for sale that only costs $399 so what could they offer.

  • CPU: Intel Celeron 2.60 GHz Processor 128KB L2 cache & 400 MHz FSB
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Chipset: Intel 845GV Chipset
  • Memory: 256 MB DDR (PC 2100)
  • Hard Drive: 40 GB HDD
  • Optical Drives: 48x Max. CD-RW Drive; 3.5″ 1.44MB FDD
  • Video: Intel Extreme Graphics 3D 64 MB Shared Memory
  • Sound: AC ’97 Audio
  • Modem: 56K* ITU v.92 ready Fax/Modem
  • Network: 10/100Mbps built-in Ethernet

The only thing missing from this cut down bargain basement cutie is a monitor which can be purchased for around $99 at any major technology retailer. Making this E-Machine bad boy a $500 before tax bargain this is a working computer that will not jump through hoops or do anything exceptionally cool other than desktop processing and maybe a boring game like golf or something similar.

In conclusion, buying a computer is all about price! I recommend trying to buy just behind the edge of the technology curve in the technology lag. In case you have missed what exactly that means here is a simple example that will clarify the meaning of this mysterious term. Go to a technology store that sells computers like Best Buy, Office Deport, Computer Depot, or any of the other dime a dozen retailers. They get the best computers shipped to them and before they can sell the entire stock of what was the best technology changes and a new shipment comes in and now the retailer has both the new and the old. At this point a technology lag is being expressed between the best and rest so the retailer has to lower the price to make the inferior goods seem more attractive.