Sunday, October 04, 2009

Good news on the tech front...

Two developments that promise to soothe some of my long-standing irritations.

Boot-up time.

I agree that having electronics "sleep" or an instant-on feature are energy wasting.  So while I have adjusted to the CFL light delay and the ten-second TV startup, I think 2 minutes to boot a computer is past its time.
Mindful of how frustrating the wait is, makers of PCs’ basic input/output systems (BIOS) are working on bringing instant-on computing closer to reality with promises of significantly faster boot time.
“People want PCs to be like their toaster. Push a button and it is ready,” says Steve Jones, vice-president and chief scientist of core systems at Phoenix Technologies, one of the biggest BIOS makers.
The BIOS is the first piece of code that a computer runs when it is powered on. Before Windows or Linux can start, the BIOS identifies, tests and gets system devices such as the video display card, the hard disk and other hardware up and running. But running the tests every time the machine powers on can be time consuming.
At Intel’s developer conference last week, Phoenix announced that the latest version of its BIOS could boot in just about a second by cutting out redundant checks and creating a smarter version of the firmware . Of course, that still leaves the time that it takes Windows to start up, but Microsoft has been working on that, too, and claims that Windows 7 starts up in about 20 seconds, compared to the 50 seconds or so for Vista.
The faster boot time will help users, says Nathan Brookwood, a research fellow at market research and consulting company Insight 64. But even with Microsoft’s improvements, he says, it is still nearly a minute before the user is completely up and running. “Every software application today wants to go out there and check for the latest version on boot up, which just gets in the way of what you really want to do And that is check e-mail,” he says.
Shrinking this digital annoyance is the new quest for PC makers. For most people, computers today have become as much a consumer electronics product as TVs, cellphones and DVD players. That means, consumers expect the same kind of instant response from their computers are they get from other electronics devices.
“If you pick up a phone, you expect to instantly hear a tone,” says Jones. “That’s the future for computers, too.” [More]

iPhone freedom

Man, would I drop my Blackberry like a hot rock if Verizon allowed iPhones.  To be fair, that's mostly because everything else in out computer system is Apple.  Apparently, I'm not the only one.

A Morgan Stanley analyst is hinting that Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) should drop its exclusive iPhone contract with AT&T (NYSE:T), saying such a move could lead to a significant increase in the iPhone's market share. The online publication Business Insider reported on Friday that an analyst at Morgan Stanley, Kathryn Huberty, wrote in a research note that the Apple iPhone could more than double its share of the mobile market if Apple moved from exclusive carrier contracts and opened up to selling the iPhone through more carriers per country.
AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S.
The Business Insider, quoting from Huberty's report, said that Apple's iPhone market share could rise to an average of 10 percent in the top six iPhone markets if it signed with multiple carriers compared to its present 4 percent.

In the U.S., for instance, opening the iPhone to more carriers, including Verizon (NYSE:VZ), could increase the iPhone's share of the mobile market to 12.2 percent, compared to the current 4.9 percent, Business Insider wrote. [More]

Reading over this post, even I can admit how high my expectations are for technology: better, faster, cheaper.  Those expectations are usually surpassed in time.

At the same time, much of the rest of my world is stumbling to progress.  Small wonder so many of us find immense reward in new technology, and a lingering disappointment with many social and economic aspects of our lives.

No comments: