15 Sep

The Atlantic – If a MacBook Air Were as Inefficient as a 1991 Computer, the Battery Would Last 2.5 Seconds

Imagine you’ve got a shiny computer that is identical to a Macbook Air, except that it has the energy efficiency of a machine from 20 years ago. That computer would use so much power that you’d get a mere 2.5 seconds of battery life out of the Air’s 50 watt-hour battery instead of the seven hours that the Air actually gets. That is to say, you’d need 10,000 Air batteries to run our hypothetical machine for seven hours. There’s no way you’d fit a beast like that into a slim mailing envelope.

This is one fascinating consequence of a trend that Stanford consulting professor Jonathan Koomey has discovered in the history of computing. For the last 60 years, "the electrical efficiency of computation has doubled roughly every year and a half," according to Koomey’s latest paper in the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.

via The Atlantic – If a MacBook Air Were as Inefficient as a 1991 Computer, the Battery Would Last 2.5 Seconds. Moore’s law finds it way into another part of the computer industry.

01 Aug

Ars Technica – Ballmer (and Microsoft) still doesn’t get the iPad

The message was clear: Microsoft still doesn’t understand why its Tablet PC concept has repeatedly bombed over the best part of a decade. Apple sold more iPads in its first three months of availability than PC vendors sold Tablet PCs in the whole of last year; in fact, the number of iPads sold in that period is likely to eclipse the number of Tablet PCs sold both last year and this. But still the company is persevering: stick a regular PC operating system on a laptop, give it a touchscreen, and then take away the keyboard and pixel-perfect pointing device. Ballmer even reiterated the company’s position: slates are just another PC form factor.

via Ars Technica – Ballmer (and Microsoft) still doesn’t get the iPad. Yet another in the long story of why Apple wins in this market and Microsoft fails. The iPad isn’t just a computer scaled down. It’s not a scaled down version of Mac OSX either. The iPhone runs a flavor of Mac OSX that has been customized to fit the hardware. The iPad is more of a scaled up version of this rather than a scaled down version of the full Snow Leopard. This lends two things:

  1. Touch works beautifully since touch is a first class interface on the iPhone.
  2. Doing one thing at a time is already perfected, great for an overall slower and smaller machine than a normal laptop (ie. closer to a netbook or slate as Steve Ballmer calls them).