Sunday, November 18, 2007

Whats the RISC? Go Minimal...

The new Intel Penryn Core 2 Duos are out now incoporating SSE4 that adds another 50 or so instructions heavily targeted at video codecs.

Whatever happened to RISC? Often touted as the next big thing it seems to have disappeared with the advent of ever more complicated systems.

The nice thing about the approach of risc was the finesse... rather than the sledge hammer approach we seem to take to problems these days (just throw some more code, ram, transistors, power, cooling at it).

Anyway, it's nice to see a couple of technologies around that show all is not lost. You may have read recently of Microsofts internal re-factoring of the Windows kernel into a minimal core:

We've also seen Sun working on ways to reduce the foot print of the JRE to that which is actually relevant to the user in the Java Kernel project.
Maybe I'm old fashioned; but I still like to think that efficient clever solutions can triumph over brute force.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Formula Ford Looses a Great Asset

I've always had a passion for motorsport; the trouble is it's a rich mans sport!

Having said that after I left university, for several years I competed in Formula Ford Zetec races here in the UK scraping and blagging what cash I could here and there. I was lucky enough to hook up with Steve Mole Motorsport and eventually cobble together enough bank loans to buy my own car.. a 1999 Ray GRS99 Formula Ford Zetec.

Over the years I upgraded the car to full works spec (GRS2004) at the same time watching a truly great battle for the UK National Championship as the Rays became the class of the field with drivers such as Alx Danielson and now Nick Tandy.

I'd never have had a chance to go motor racing at that kind of level without the help of several key people especially Burt and Gavin from Ray race cars. Always eager to chat, give advice and generally accommodate my dodgy finances Burt was a true gent and hugely knowledgeable. You would struggle to get such a relationship with any other race car manufacturer unless you were on your way to F1.

So I was saddened to open this weeks Autosport magazine and read that Bert Ray passed away last week shortly after finally winning the UK Formula Ford Festival. I'd like to wish his family and friends well and hopefully the marque will continue to exist at the pinnacle of FFord for years to come.