02/02/2001

Linksys revisited. Thanks for the corrections on the Linksys router. Yes indeed, with recent firmware you can change the MAC address. It’s buried, but that’s good–you shouldn’t routinely do that anyway.

Reviews of reviews again. Time to get back in the saddle. Yee-hah.

Pentium 4 systems (THG)

In this roundup, Tom Pabst complained bitterly about PC makers’ exploiting public ignorance, selling high-clock speed systems with shoddy peripherals in order to drive down the cost. So he built systems roughly equivalent to four PCs–a low-end P4 and similarly priced Athlon, and a high-end P4 and the top-of-the-line Athlon. Then he pitted them against each other. The P4s came up sorely lacking.

Performance of the real McCoy could vary significantly (no one thinks about the power supply in performance equations, but it plays a role), so this test is anything but conclusive, but it does finally and authoritatively point out the differences good components make. People who’ve read Computer Shopper (US) religiously and seen system shootouts know this–Shopper always printed system configurations, and occasionally an overachiever would show up, with great components, and blow away supposedly higher-end systems. This article on THG examines this phenomenon and does it well, I think.

Pabst does seem to forget that businesses aren’t in business to care about consumers though–they’re in business to make money. I’d like to think the marketplace rewards straight-shooters, but considering my book sales, I know that’s not always the case. As long as Dell thinks it’s good for profits to stay in bed with Intel, Dell will be in bed with Intel, no matter what it does to consumers.

MSI MS-6339 P4 motherboard (Sharky Extreme)

This is a good look at a fairly competitive P4 board, which explains the ins and outs of this board and why Intel changed the ATX standard. It points out this board’s quirks, and benchmarks it against an Intel and an Asus board. It does a good job of pointing out the reasons why you probably don’t want to buy a P4 at this time. I found it interesting that this benchmark didn’t mention Quake 3, which is one of the few things the P4 is really good at. Refreshing (I couldn’t care less about Quake scores, and I know I’m not alone on that) but ironic.

Congratulations to a fellow Missourian. I don’t like to talk politics much here, but… My fellow Missourian John Ashcroft is the new attorney general. Appropriately, the supposed racist was sworn in by Clarence Thomas.

As for the “Missouri fired him” rhetoric, here’s the truth on that: John Ashcroft and Mel Carnahan were the two most popular governors of recent memory. Were it not for term limits, Ashcroft would probably still be governor. Ashcroft and Carnahan were locked in a too-close-to-call race up until the point when Carnahan died in a plane crash. Carnahan then attained sainthood and won the election on a sympathy vote. Possible voter fraud in the city of St. Louis didn’t help matters any. But Ashcroft is a class act, so he didn’t contest the election, either on grounds of fraud or on grounds that a senator must be a citizen, and a dead man can’t be a citizen. Carnahan’s widow was then appointed to the Senate.

Teddy Kennedy threatened to filibuster Ashcroft, because he didn’t like Ashcroft’s conservatism. Never mind Ashcroft knows what the law is, and one of the tenets of his so-objectionable religion is that you obey and you uphold your government’s laws–no government exists without God’s allowing it to exist, according to John Ashcroft’s religion and mine. John Ashcroft is responsible to God to do his job, and to do it properly. His job is not to do Congress’ job. John Ashcroft knows this.

John Ashcroft, unlike most of his predecessors, has actually been an attorney general before. It was the post he held in Missouri before he was elected governor. John Ashcroft will do no less to uphold the law than his predecessor Janet Reno. If ever there was an honest and decent man, it’s John Ashcroft.

Jean Carnahan voted against Ashcroft. She said it was a matter of conscience. Really, what she was saying was John Ashcroft is too different politically from her dead husband.

John Ashcroft’s very different from her dead husband in another way too.

John Ashcroft suspended campaigning when his opponent, Mel Carnahan, was killed. It was a matter of conscience. It cost him the election. At the time he suspended campaigning, he said he didn’t care, whatever the cost–it was the right thing to do. That’s the kind of man John Ashcroft is. He does the right thing, whatever the cost.

John Ashcroft was good for Missouri. Now he’ll be good for the United States.

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