Using the kitchen as an analogy for computers

I recently had to explain to someone the importance of, difference between and affect on performance of: CPU, RAM and memory and this seemed helpful:

  • The CPU are the machines that process the food, basically the hob, the oven, the knives, food processor etc.
  • The RAM is the amount of working top space you have to put things temporarily while you are chopping, mixing, stirring and cooking. If you have very little, no matter how sharp your knives are or how good the oven is, your preparation of the food will be slower.
  • Memory is your cupboards, fridge and drawers

This seemed to help and my pupil then asked if the deep freeze was like an external hard disk, where you put things you don’t need all the time – I agreed.

And without stretching it too much, I guess the amount of physical space to move around is your FSB speed?

Any thoughts on this analogy?

Tablet sales begin to fall

This makes a lot of sense. The tablet is great as a leisure device but doesn’t really replace a ‘proper’ keyboard device. Bigger phones make leisure consumption possible and ‘the tablet filled a gap in the market between the laptop and the mobile phone. Nowadays, with notebooks being lighter, thinner and more portable, and also with smartphones having larger screens – the phablet market – there’s less need for the traditional tablet.’ (ZDNet)

If I were going to spend $600 – $700 now I’d be looking at something like Dell’s Intel 14nm technology Broadwell-powered 13″ ultrabook with SSD. Briliant machine!

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 brings real possibility of a useable docking mobile device

Remember the last laptop dock? Well, the last serious one was the Atrix, back in 2011. Problem then was that you changed OS when you docked and got the rather uncompelling webtop interface. So uncompelling in fact that it’s now dead.

So Motorola’s announcement of the Snapdragon 810 quad core 64-bit chip is very interesting. If you fork out 500 – 600 pounds, Euros, or dollars for a phone with the same specs as an i5, why buy a separate desktop machine?

Until now, the lack of a uniform cross-platform OS has been the problem, as well as storage. Mobile OSs just don’t work on a desktop. So the big winners here are going to be Microsoft and Google with Windows Mobile morphing to Windows 8, and 10 when you dock, and a seamless transition between Android, or something else Googly and Chrome OS would certainly have me looking very hard at a high spec phone.

One device to rule them all, in my pocket or plugged into a screen, keyboard and mouse. The power is there.

Storage is another matter, I won’t be happy with cloud storage for a few years yet, at least not for stuff I use every day. bandwidth, especially on the upstream is simply not up to it yet although I might keep my legacy or rarely-used content in the cloud, I am going to want instant access to my large collection of every day stuff. But with solid state storage now at the same price as magnetic disks a few years ago, if I can have a small dock with built in 256GB or 512GB of solid state disk for my ‘big’ content, and carry what I need on the hoof in the 64 GB I have in my pocket, with the processing power in my mobile device I can live with that. Especially if that mobile device is running an MS OS, which is supported by my pro programs (Adobe Suite, etc.)

Methinks Intel ought to be very very scared.

Both Intel and Samsung in 14nm chip race

This sounds boring but will have huge impacts on positioning of these two giants. Getting chips smaller, more powerful, less power-hungry and cooler, is at the core (no pun intended) of much of the tech change we are seeing. Wearables particularly need small cool, frugal chips. One to watch, well …. two

Tablets? Really?

I love my iPad. It’s old and I want a new one. It’s a magazine, a notepad, an encyclopedia, a media center and many other things. It’s also frustrating, I can’t plug in external storage and to get lots of things onto it I have to side load via FTP. What is is not, I believe, is a good tool for the classroom. The reasons are simple:

  • Cost: iPads are expensive
  • Productivity: computers┬áhave a keyboard
  • Ease of use: you can use USB, cards and other storage peripherals with a computer

I think this explains why ‘Chromebooks leapfrog iPads in US education‘.