Charles’ Web Log Raves, rants & random rubbish
A web log, a test of my web design software, stories about the absurd, the dumb & interesting stuff.
The continued progress of ARM (and destruction of Intel) Six months ago I wrote about the incredible story of ARM (see below). We now have details of the first ‘desktop class’ ARM processor from Apple. They call it the Apple M1. And it’s absolutely stonking. I think Apple threw everything and the kitchen sink at this first Apple-designed CPU for their mainstream laptops and desktops. It’s a technical tour-de-force.  On top of that they have included another astonishing bit of software technology they call Rosetta 2. This enables the new Apple machines to run Intel x86 code, so these new computers can run software designed for older Intel machines. Unlike Microsoft’s attempt at doing this (for their ARM based Windows tablets), which does an interpreted emulation of x86 instruction set, the Apple does a one-time cross compile of x86 code into ARM code. This is brilliant and ‘just works’ to use that hackneyed phrase. Combined with the shear speed of the Apple ARM M1 chip, there are benchmarks showing the M1 is faster running some x86 code than actual x86 processors.  Truly astounding. For the hardcode geek there’s a great in-depth article - and I mean really in-depth at AnandTech. If you want to understand why Apple had no choice but to move to their own ARM CPU, there’s one graph from the AnandTech review that shows the progress of Apple’s ARM CPU over the last 6 generations, compared to Intel’s: I took the liberty of drawing the lines on AnandTech's chart.  Original here. The purple line is the increase in Apple CPU performance, and blue line is the increase in Intel CPUs over the last 5 years or so (and it doesn't include the new M1 in that either!) It’s simple: Intel is simply not progressing as fast as Apple’s CPU.  That’s utterly damning for Intel.  This marks the clearest indication yet, in my opinion, of the end-of-days for the Intel architecture. This is not just the ‘beginning of the end’ of Intel. That was the first iPhone ten years ago (Intel completely missed that one), but this is the near the end-of-the end for Intel. And the reason why this is so goes right back to the architecture. As my original article said - the ARM was designed from day one to be simple, but fast.  As anyone who has written assembly language for both processors will know the Intel (and AMD) x86 architecture is a nightmare of complexity. Less is more. Again. The incredible story of ARM A picture of the 1986 ARM evaluation circuit board. The story of how ARM took over the world without anyone realising, is an amazing tale. The fact that most people don’t even know who or what ARM is, is surprising, maybe a bit depressing. It’s a story of a tiny group of geeky engineers in a small company in Cambridge in the UK doing the impossible, taking on the largest silicon-valley computer chip designers, and over a period of 40 years, slowly, by stealth, becoming the world’s dominant microprocessor. More. Birds of Prey in the UK Twenty years ago there were no birds of prey around my house. Now I’m surrounded by them. Yesterday I counted 16 Red Kites in the sky above my house. Are they waiting for something? More. Electric Cars Ten years ago in this blog, I wrote that electric cars were the future. That in 10 years they would common, and in another 10 they’d be the only type of car you could get. That prediction seems to be working out pretty well. But, wow, look how far we have come. More here. Brexit - a dangerous topic to discuss A divided nation makes it risky for anyone to give an opinion. I guess the best that can be said is that it’s entertaining to watch this car-crash slowly unfold. But I wrote a short Medium article about it. Most of the rest of this blog is old. Very old. Like 10 years old. It’s interesting to see how my predictions panned out - most were pretty accurate it turns out. Dolphin Bubble Rings It would be a seriously difficult task to create a machine that made rings of bubbles, more accurately hoops of air, as you can see in these pictures. These are a continuous rolling cylinder of air that does not float to the surface. Presumably the rolling, moving nature overcomes the buoyancy. The physics of these things must be pretty complex. The fact that dolphins can produce these bubble hoops is just astounding. They seem to make them for fun, as a toy to play with. The fact they can teach other dolphins the trick is even more amazing. How do they do this? Check out the original video here. Google - the evil empire. Google’s - ‘Don’t be evil’ motto is B.S. according to Steve Jobs. He’s not wrong. Google are not only becoming ‘the evil empire’ abusing of their monopolistic dominant position (hey, everything they hated about Microsoft, Google are now being accused of, by someone or other), but they are hypocrites as well. Here’s why My lawn mower broke and so, in no time at all, my lawn has become a flower meadow. Very pretty it is too. Perhaps, like my princely namesake, I should leave it to become a wild flower meadow. Click to enlarge iPad I’ve owned an iPad since April 2010. I was one of the first owners in the UK, and had mine shipped from the US a couple of days after it was released. I believe this is a revolutionary device. It will change the computing landscape. It’s also fundamentally flawed, as many Apple devices are. Read here what I think is wrong with it and why you’re probably better of waiting for the clones. More... (OK, more than a year after I wrote this you’d still be waiting for any decent clones. I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and a Motorola Xoom. Bottom line: they are still not competitive.) Now 10 years later - the iPad did change the landscape - practically everyone has one, hundreds of millions have been shipped. But we are still waiting for realistic competitive alternatives 10 years later. That I did not expect. I use an iPad Pro with keyboard as a laptop replacement, and it’s better than any laptop I’ve ever used. But it still has some crazy, artificial limitations like not working with a mouse as an option - this is one area Android and ChromeOS tablets got right. Apparently the next iOS 13 will fix that. (Unfortunately it didn’t - they cocked it up.) Samsung meanwhile has a great, great DEX system which means you can plug your tablet into a screen and use it just like a desktop computer. (Why oh why didn’t Apple do this?) I want one Awesome looking electric car. Source: autoblog.com Read More...
From 1986 This chip would take over the world
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