Intel Xeon – the worse branding ever?

This is really frustrating if you didn’t knew. Intel likes to call many of their processors for “business class” systems “Xeon”. When they say Xeon it can mean anything from those dinosaurs based on Pentium II and the latest and greatest ones based on on Core i7. So when you see a system built with Xeon processor you really need to look up its exact subtle number and carefully study its specs to figure out what it really is.

For example, Xeon W3520 is same as latest Core i7-920, including the price. The only difference between two is Xeon supports ECC memory. So what’s the point in branding this processor as Xeon instead of Core 2 i7?

BTW, new Intel Core i7 series is definitely a winner and finally makes 2 year old Intel Core 2 series actually obsolete. This processor can execute 8 threads simultaneously and supports 3 channels for DDR3 access tripling the RAM bandwidth! Best of all, it costs more or less same as older Core 2 processors.

Oil Prices - Summary of 4 hours of news bits in past month

I did not knew oil prices had crossed $4 mark and got a huge surprise to see that last Thursday. I don't watch news generally because much of it is irrelevant but after we have set up PC to our TV it's much easier to see exactly what matters. So I was just watching series of MSNBC videos going all the way up to May on oil prices going up, people leaving their RVs behind, people trying to sell out their SUVs, GM planning to dump Hummer, people choosing to do home barbeque instead of traveling for memorial day... There is a new term called Staycation for people staying home for vacation (we heard another term "Junctober" to refer to colder windier October like weather in June at our visit to Vason island)! a big dose for me of all of that. However the most worrisome part was airlines cutting down 25% of the seats and tickets sky rocketing 2X to 4X. So I looked up SEA to SLC and fortunately Utah ticket is only gone up by $75 ($225 to $295). Yes, big increase but its not like $600 - yet. It would be painful to think of Utah drifting away from the reach. On the other note, gas prices in Europe and elsewhere is about $8 so it's not very unrealistic that US prices will match up to that in not very long term. However all indications are that if oil prices goes above $5 there will be a crash in economy because lot of businesses are currently trying to swallow this increase in one way or another and with continuous rise all of them will finally dump it on customers.

Dev OS Choice: Windows 2003 Server Or XP

Peter Provost is switching to Server 2003. I want to say: don't do it! I'd been using server version of operating system on my dev machines, even on laptops, since I can remember. But now I'm about to change my mind for the first time. Windows Server 2003 is not a cutting edge OS any longer. Infect it sucks!

1. You really have to spend lot of time to set it up right to reclaim memory and performance. For example, disabling several services, disabling option for higher performance for services, enabling DirectX manually and so on - it's always been on going job. Even than, I still find my dev box spinning way too much disk then equivalent XP box.

2. Even both OS shares lot many drivers, its sometime amazingly difficult to install some devices for Sever 2003. Infect just couple of years old hardware from Creative and ATI, the XP version of drivers just won't work.

3. Many new software from Microsoft itself just don't work on 2003. For example, Windows Media Player 10, Microsoft TimeZone etc.

4. Enhancements from XP SP2 like IE security and Wireless config etc aren't still available for 2003. It looks like users of 2003 are always one step behind in the line to get the new beef and its taking just too long.

5. Windows Peer-To-Peer SDK and Advanced Networking Pack does not work on 2003.

6. DVD playback and built-in CD burning is hard to get working (requires registry tricks and more).

7. There is no System Restore!! It might surprise you, but this is true. For this is so-called solid server OS, if file system corrupts, you lost the whole thing. This actually happened with my laptop which I just switched off while hard drives were still spinning and on next boot I was greeted with blue screen with a message that registry was corrupted. This could have been a legitimate power loss also. It was after-midnight and I really needed few things to get done. After an hour of reading docs all around Internet truth revealed: there was no way to bring 2003 back to life because there is no System Restore feature in this OS!

Overall, it just appears that Microsoft simply doesn't care if the new software/drivers they released on XP doesn't work on 2003. They just don't care. I really hate this line between server and home OS versions. Everybody knows that this lines have been drawn just to milk more money from fat corporates for so-called server versions. Few might know, XP and 2003 shares almost identical kernels (even OS version numbers are 5.01 and 5.02 respectively). Right now, you choose any flavor of OS, you not gonna get satisfied because something is missing. Its not because of technicality but pure politics of pricing. And thats a shame to Microsoft.

Anders Hejlsberg

Just watched MSDN TV's new episode on Managed Code. The topic is pretty trivial for me but what's exciting is to see one person talking and seating there. I remember my years as a rebellious programmer when followers were few and swimming opposite the popular currents wasn't easy. In all-Unix all-C++ organization I'd heavily pushed for tools and style I believed in - even if it meant taking over entire responsibility and work load on me. All those tools that I chose, used and appreciated for the vision it embedded, looked separate pieces of great ideas which just seem to happen to came on my way... until there was one day when I read a magazine article and came to know there was really only one person behind all of those and all these years: Anders Hejlsberg. Those separate pieces of vision now seems to make a complete picture and so you can imagine how I would have stand in awe of him. As far as world of programming is concerned, Anders is my hero.