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.....technobabble .....for the week of March 5, 2001

.....technobabble.....one of the biggest problems I face in running this site is dealing with web robots. If you don't know what these things are, here's a brief explanation. In a nutshell, they are software programs that automatically download web sites. When used in moderation they are perfectly fine and cause no problems. The difficulties arise because some people use them to try to download an entire site very quickly, and with a site like this one and its several thousand pages, such behavior creates a huge load on the server. Worse, some of these programs are really stupid and spawn thousands of requests for scripts and other dynamic content, each of which has links to more dynamic content, which can bring a site to its knees very quickly. This is one reason why I request that people not use such robots on the site. Well, it seems I'm not the only one who has an issue with web bots. eBay recently settled a lawsuit with rival Bidder's Edge, which was using such technology to parse eBay's site thousands of times a day. The inefficiency of the Bidder's Edge software was cited as a primary reason for the dispute.....

.....it seems that Intel, seeing rather poor results for its new Pentium IV chip, has decided to resort to its usual marketing trick: "If you don't like our new technology, we'll just stop making the older stuff so you have no choice". In this case, they have decided to discontinue the Pentium III as of the end of the year, to try to get everyone to move to the Pentium IV. Frankly, with the big Rambus fiasco hanging over the Pentium IV, combined with the real competition from AMD, this could be a bad move on Intel's part. I wouldn't be surprised if they have a change of heart before the year is up; it's happened before.....

.....speaking of which, I'm obviously not the only one thinking along these lines regarding the Pentium IV and Rambus. While Intel tries to get Rambus more widely accepted and supply ramped up, other companies are developing different chipsets to let the Pentium IV work with Rambus's technological rivals, such as DDR SDRAM. In particular, Serverworks, a company that specializes in high-end chipsets for Intel-based server computers, intends to ship a chipset by the end of the year that marries the Pentium IV to DDR SDRAM.....

.....as I write this, the entire Northeast of the United States is bracing for a possibly historic winter storm. I am kind of a weather weenie (yes, it's bad, not just a PC weenie but a weenie with multiple dimensions of weeniedom) so I'm pretty excited, but at the same time I am also kind of fed up with this weather, as I already have several feet of the stuff on the ground here in southern Vermont. I realize this has nothing to do with PCs, but it's on my mind, so I shared it with you. Sorry..... ^)

.....very interesting cryptographic technology story. A Harvard professor, along with one of his PhD students, is on the way to creating what he calls an "unbreakable" code system. Not everyone believes the theory of course, and it will be some time before it even has the chance of becoming a commercially viable product. Furthermore, expect there to be a great deal of controversy about such technology if it were ever demonstrated as a real product, since there are many people who believe that it's not necessarily a good thing to have a code capability that cannot be cracked.....

.....the term wide area networking is generally used to refer to networks that span a significant distance; for example, networks between offices in different cities, countries, or even continents. However, it seems that NASA has taken the idea to a new level--how does 40 million miles sound for "wide"? :^) NASA is indeed working on creating a network that will link the Earth with Mars. This story is a fascinating read.....

.....finally, here's a real news flash: the revenues--and hence the value--of Web sites and Web-related companies, is falling faster than a block of uranium in the atmosphere of Jupiter. No kidding, guys..... ;^)

.....well, I need to go get ready for some major snow-blowing, so that's all this edition. See something you liked? Disliked? Give me your feedback, please!

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