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[ The PC Guide | Site Guide | Version History and Old Site Updates ]

Old Site Updates - December 1998

December 16, 1998:

  • I'm Back: Thanks to all of you, my faithful readers, for your patience during my "slow time". As you will see below, there are many changes in this latest update: in fact, it may be the most changes I have ever made to the site in a single update. I am hopeful that I will now be able to stay in a pattern of site updates every one to two weeks.
  • Next! I have finished adding "next page" links to the content pages of the site. You can now read most of the site by moving from page to page, instead of having to strictly follow the hierarchical structure of the site. This was done at the request of several readers; I hope you find it useful.
  • Site Guide Revised: Since it tends to get stale frequently, I have revised and updated all of the information in the Site Guide..
  • Disk Edition and Related Information Revised: With this revision to the site, the new January 1999 version of the Disk Edition is released. I will be filling all accumulated orders over the next week or so, with the new version. I have also updated the web site pages describing the Disk Edition. Note that some Disk Edition prices have increased, effective today. However, to be fair, any orders that have already been  submitted to me will be filled at the old prices.
  • Credit Card Form Revised: I corrected some ambiguities on the secure credit card order form used for purchasing the Disk Edition.
  • New Feature: A new section has been added to The PC Guide: Articles and Editorials. Here you will find interesting articles relating to the world of PCs, presented in an informative and interesting way. In addition, you will find great articles written by guest writers. Our first guest writer is Dean Kent of Real World Technologies, someone who is very knowledgeable and well-connected in the PC industry. Dean and I worked together to detail the truth about the problems with long file names in Windows. I will be working with Real World Technologies on other projects in the future. (I also added a link to Real World Technologies in the Resource Guide.)
  • Xcopy Xposed: My first article in the new Articles and Editorials section is titled Xcopy Xposed. The topic discussed in this article is very important to anyone who copies hard disk partitions or does system backups (which should cover everyone). In conjunction with the problem described in this new article, I also updated the discussion of long file names, and added a warning to the main index page discussing Backups and Disaster Recovery.
  • Choosing Your SDRAM: Our first guest writer, Dean Kent, has written a great article titled Choosing Your SDRAM. There are so many different kinds of SDRAM on the market now, and so much hype and sales puffery about "what is best", that it can be almost impossible for the average person to understand what is going on. This article delves into the technical issues regarding SDRAM timing and is a must read for anyone who uses that type of RAM--or plans to in the future.
  • PCWatch Technology Headlines: I have added a section to the front page that automatically downloads the latest technology news from PCWatch. This will let you keep current with happenings in the world of technology every time you visit The PC Guide. Please let me know if you like this feature!
  • System Memory Section Overhauled: I have totally updated the System Memory section of the Reference Guide, to take into account current market realities, and new technologies. Amongst the dozens of changes in this area are partial rewrites to focus on the current prevalence of synchronous DRAM in modern systems, an enhanced description of the system memory access process, and coverage of several newer DRAM technologies. I also added a section to the page on Memory Errors that discusses the factors involved in mixing parity and non-parity memory.
  • Hard Drive Orientation Update: I made a small change to the Hard Drive Packaging and Mounting page to make more clear the proper orientation of an internal hard drive inside the PC system case.
  • Imprecise Use Of Terminology: I received email last month from a gentleman named Pedro, who pointed out an inconsistency on my site. I had been multiplying bus widths by bus speed to obtain bus bandwidth numbers. For example, for standard PCI, I said that the bus was 32 bits or 4 bytes wide and runs at 33.3 MHz, so the theoretical maximum bandwidth was 133.3 MBytes/second. Pedro pointed out that this is imprecise, because the "M" in "MHz" means 1,000,000 or 10^6, while the "M" in "MBytes" means 1,048,576 or 2^20. He's entirely correct, and despite the fact that almost everyone ignores this 5% discrepancy, I have made changes to many pages on the site that made reference to bus bandwidth figures to correct this, for example the System Bus Functions and Features page. I have also added explanatory notes to several tables containing bandwidth figures, and updated all the CPU pages, since they contained bandwidth figures as well.
  • Small Revisions Galore: I made several dozen small corrections and updates to the site. Thanks to Bill Jacobs for taking the time to mail me about many small gotchas in the text; it's very hard to find these small mistakes in one's own writing, so I depend on others to tell me about them for the mostpart.
  • Hyperlink Verification and Updates: I verified all the links on the site, correcting or removing many broken links on various pages.
  • PC Webopedia Search Engine Fixed: The form to do searches on the PC Webopedia, found in the footer of each contents page on the site, was apparently broken and is now fixed. Not sure how long this has been out of commission.
  • Accidental Deletion Gotcha: I had said in my page entitled The Risks To Your Data that if you accidentally copy multiple files using a wildcard to a file instead of a directory that the files are all wiped out except for the last one. Thanks to Richard for pointing out that in fact, this concatenates the files' contents into a single big file (still a problem, but a different problem.)
  • New Hard Disk Reference Link: I added a link to PC-Disk. This is a nice reference site containing jumpering, performance and other reference information for hundreds of different hard disk types.
  • New ATA Command Reference Link: I added a link to HDD Commands (ATA), a technical listing of ATA commands and registers.
  • New Driver Site Link: I added a link to Mr Driver, a very useful site containing drivers for hundreds of hardware devices.
  • New PC Help Page Link: I added a link to PC Improvements, a site providing free technical support by email, as well as some interesting articles.

Next: Old Site Updates - November 1998

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