Two Monitors for Productivity Increases

According to the New York Times, two monitors on your desk results in a huge (44%) increase in productivity.

Unfortunately, the article starts off badly, "...using two 20-inch monitors instead of a single 18-inch screen..." Umm, yeah.

Two monitors = 44 percent increase in productivity : Christopher Null : Yahoo! Tech.

I'm currently rocking a single 24" screen and I'm pretty happy with that.

[Edit: here's the original article. ]


Hard Drives

Hard drives are both amazingly advanced things and things that are falling behind the curve in computer technology. On one hand, for $104 you can now buy a drive that only burns 4 W and holds 1 TB of data. The down side though is that speed/size hasn't held up with hard drives. 15 years ago, an average hard drive (admittedly, only 40 MB) could duplicate itself in just a few minutes. Now... well, not so much.

I'm actually doing that exact experiment with dactyl right now. Dactyl has two hard drives. One of them doing all the linuxy goodness and one that was originally backup storage for my thesis. The backup drive has developed some problems over the last 5 years, but I'm currently trying to see if I can repair it by writing zeros to it. (Interesting note, writing one pass of zeros is pretty good for data security... you suddenly jump from instantly recoverable to recoverable for $10K.)

Getting back to speed/size, it takes one of dactyl's drives 9608.81s to completely rewrite itself. That's 3 hours roughly to write 80 GB of data. Admittedly, newer drives have faster access rates by a factor of 4, but they're also 10 times larger.

So I guess I'm happy for the moment that dactyl doesn't have any TB drives.


Sweet Tech Advances

Infoworld has put together a list of 12 crackpot tech ideas that could transform the enterprise - some pretty revolutionary, some not so much.

Among the intriguing ideas are:
#3: Autonomic computing, where the cluster has a brain stem of its own, allowing for self-regulation of system processes to managed maintenance costs and optimize datacenter utilization. These days people are saying that autonomic computing lost out to virtualization, but I think it's cyclical and will come back up again in some format;

#4: Direct delivery of DC power to servers/clusters - given that the several cycles of converting from AC to DC and back can result in ~50% power loss, IBM is looking to provide servers that run directly on 480 VDC... which is fine as long as the AC-HighDC transformer is close to the servers, i.e. within 50-100 feet I'd guess;

and of course given this crowd, #10: Quantum computing. Actually I could very well have ended up working on building a trapped-atom quantum computer if we'd stayed on the East Coast - I'd have gone for an MIT postdoc on this instead of going west. Neat stuff, even if large-scale implementation is a good ways off.


The REAL rules of Idol

I confess (brag?) that I am not familiar enough with American Idol to really judge the accuracy of this list of the 20 Real Rules of Idol, but a few of them elicited chuckles and meshed with my impressions of the show.

I particularly like #11: Contestants should at all times exhibit deep religious beliefs but be careful not to name the religion that they feel deeply about, and the pairing of 18 & 19: In pre-interviews, it is important to emphasize that you are grounded, family-oriented and a down-to-earth wholesome young American and also, make it clear that your life will be ruined if you are not on the show.

It also entertains me that there are a whopping 6 comments, when I expected hundreds.