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Should I upgrade to a Core i3/i5/i7 processor? (2010)

Recently, a friend approached me with a short question that has a much longer answer.

"Do you think it's really worth it to upgrade to the i3 Core processor?"

The computing industry has really stabilized over the past 5-6 years. We (collectively, humanity-wide) have bumped up against some really hard-limits in computing recently with heat management and silicon manufacturing techniques, resulting in the push to parallelize processing more: more cores, lower clock speeds, bigger caches, extracting more per clock cycle with less waste, reducing heat output and power requirements, etc. It's been a boon for data centers, as the average cost of running these things has actually flattened out. Power requirements, while not going down, are not going up exponentially just like CPU speeds were for a while. And the power cost per GHz of CPU speed, and per GB of storage, is of course going down as we squeeze more performance per kilowatt-hour out of the systems.

So really, over the past four years, that has been the #1 improvement in CPU tech: extracting more performance for the same amount of power. Not extracting more performance as an absolute measure. Also there's been a push to integrate Graphics Processing Units into the CPU core to enhance performance. As a result, it's brought 3D gaming capabilities into the mainstream of computing, with lots of applications in real life that most of us rarely explored before. In addition, virtualization of operating systems has taken off like never before, as we can stuff more and more CPUs into the same form factor with similar power requirements. Even desktop users are very commonly virtualizing entire operating systems on their laptops these days. I know I do; I'm running a Solaris VM and a Linux VM on my Windows laptop at this very moment.

For the home user, though, if faster integrated graphics and extracting more work per clock cycle with better battery life tickles your fancy, then yes, an upgrade to a Core i3 (mobile), Core i5 (Desktop Mainstream), or Core i7 (high-end computing) processor is on your radar. Also, niche markets like audio-visual recording and real-time processing can take advantage of this sort of parallelized-power, if you will, driving innovation in the computing industry today. If power consumption isn't much of a concern and you prefer discrete graphics, or if you aren't running applications that can take advantage of symmetric multi-processing, then the i3 may not be worth the upgrade for you.

Keep smiling!

--Matt B.

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Women's memory and weight

Chanced across an article guaranteed to create some controversy: Women who are carrying more body fat have worse memory than those who carry less.

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Web Hosting Hub Review

2010-07-12-Web_Hosting_Hub

I received an invitation today (July 12, 2010) from Web Hosting Hub to try out their hosting service and compare it to my current web hosting provider (who shall remain nameless). There are a number of key features that I look for. Note that this list is from memory, and I didn't check their list of features before writing it.

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About Me

2010-07-12-About_Me

You know, I realized that, after over a decade of operation, I have never really written an "About Me" page on my web site. No time like the present!

I was born in 1973 in the state of West Virginia, United States of America,

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End Domestic Abuse

2010-07-0010-07-12-Domestic_Abuse

Recently, I've been conducting a great deal of research on blogging. Trying to understand what currently drives the blogosphere. After a great deal of "research" -- said research being mostly "reading random links from bloggers who stay current" -- I've come to the conclusion that, by and large, most bloggers are still doing what they've always done. Journaling their personal life, sometimes with hope of compensation, but more often than not simply so they have a place to express themselves, and more importantly, receive feedback that they are normal.

This morning I chanced across Pretty in Pink. I surfed through a number of recent posts to find something that interested me. Her blog details the usual day-to-day events and goings-on in her life, liberally mixed with product reviews and the paid endorsements and advertising links that are so common today. While perusing her recent entries, though, I happened across Pink's recent post on post on Domestic Violence that stood out to me. Excerpt:

I began to think if being a battered wife is also normal? is it? does that mean once you commit your self to the man legally, it also gives him the right to punch you as often as he likes, does that mean too that once your married it also follows of submitting your human rights to the one person you think who loves you completely. If that is the case, then eventually married life will turn out to be hell and i pity those women who becomes helpless because of the bind between them.

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Experimentation

"Whatever hatred saves the number."

This nonsense sentence has a meaning behind it. As many of you have probably guessed, I'm working on posting more content to my web site. Part of my reason for this, at heart, is an experiment with this hypothesis:

A reasonably-intelligent person can make enough money from blogging to support a somewhat-expensive hobby, and possibly much more.

My expensive hobby is radio-controlled aircraft. I totally have self-interest at stake here. Monetizing my blog combines two things I love: writing and getting paid!

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Positive Relationships for Employment Opportunities

When I was a kid, I often heard my parents tell me to think positive. It was a kind of declaration, much like "clean your room": easy to say, harder to do. I remember thinking to myself, "Really? I don't think I can change how I feel about this."

And you know what? It's true. I can't change how I feel.

I can only change how I act. I'll explain.

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How to REALLY consolidate your debt

Getting out of deep debt isn't easy. It's a process that takes time, diligence, and attention to detail. You can do it by yourself, or you can find a lot of people willing to do it for you... for a fee. I'm going to talk about building a successful strategy for your own debt relief, and then touch on available options for those who can't – or won't – do it by themselves. I plan to talk about some tools I've used to help with this in the past, and some simple strategies to help you achieve your financial goals without additional loans, grants, or commercial debt consolidation program.

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Retro Bard's Tale-style gaming returns in Underworld

Jay Barnson again brings us a new independent game review of a title called "Swords and Sorcery Underworld". Nice to hear about a game that revitalizes a genre while accounting for modern gaming sensibilities.

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How much will a .50 nitro heli REALLY cost me?

Well, here's a breakdown for you.

Typical setup for a Pantera 50 -- mine -- follows. Format is "retail/new & discounted/used" for prices. Leaving out the transmitter.

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