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Showing posts from November, 2009

Slow and Steady: Undervolting your CPU

The following only applies to Windows machines. There may be something similar for Mac and Linux, but I didn't look into it.

Why: It makes the CPU last longer, extends battery life, and makes the laptop quieter (the fan runs a lot less).

Risks: None - just the time it takes to do it.

Why it works: A standard voltage range is applied to all chips of a given type that a manufacturer makes. Each chip may have a different tolerance where it is stable, but by setting the voltage high, all of the chips in a given run will remain stable. Your chip may only be able to handle the max voltage, or it may be like mine - the min voltage for all clock speeds.

I followed this guide's advice for a while (drop the voltage by 0.025 & test for 45 minutes), then read down a ways the following comment:
I just keep the CPU stress test running and drop the voltage at the maximum multiplier at about 1 step every 15 seconds starting at 1.10V (for Intel Core / Core Duo). This very quickly finds the v…

Detroit Tech: The 1DevDay Event

The 1DevDay event was organized by the Detroit Java User's Group, and held at ePrize in Pleasant Ridge, MI. The event was more like an expanded version of the monthly JUG meetings than something completely new. Since the monthly meetings are both valuable and interesting, this is not a criticism.

Here is a pared-down blow-by-blow of the events that I attended & what I took away from them, straight from what I hammered into OneNote at the time:

9:00 AM - Venkat Subramaniam's Keynote:
"Best practices" is often a fallacy.
75% of the features in most systems is used only occasionally. 45% is never used at all. A good argument for Agile?
Interesting - Venkat is also making the point that we should pay attention to how we contribute to revenue. (Same as "Passionate Programmer" & other books.) Not sure that I agree that this should be an area of focus - worth some thought to articulate.
Don't create a new EJB standard:
Innovate first
Find real multiple u…

First Impressions of Windows 7

My first impression of the OS is overwhelmingly positive. I have been using it for a full day (just installed it last night), and I haven't seen a glitch or a slowdown yet. After using Vista for a couple of years, it's a welcome change.

I used the machine all day for software development at work. This was something of a pain, since I did a clean install and had to add a lot of my tools back in. The upshot to this is that I installed a pile of software and found that it all worked without a lot of tweaking required.

A few of the things that stood out as positives:
The redesigned taskbar. I like the fact that it consists of both running and "favorite" applications. The window management it drives simply rocks (see the link for a more detailed review & comparison to the Mac Dock).Everything has been cleaned up in the interface. From the taskbar to the start button to control panel and all of the little utilities I have tried, everything is easy to grok and use.…