2007 Q3 link clearance: Microsoft blogger edition


A few random links that I've collected from other Microsoft bloggers.

Comments (16)
  1. AndyB says:

    Now wait a minute. White pixels use less power on a CRT monitor than Black pixels do on a LCD monitor. I thought the drive to LCD was (partly) because they were so power efficient.

    Save the planet guys, dig out an old goldfish bowl monitor and refuse to go flat! (though I use a Dell P1160 – 1600×1200@85Hz)

  2. matthew says:

    i like "5 worst problems of home-grade routers"

    Unfortunately it doesn’t mention the biggest one – they suck.

    Mine crashes on certain Ajax postbacks, and I have to reset the entire router, otherwise HTTP traffic doesn’t work.

    Can’t cope with bittorrent traffic either.

    Other routers in the past have had similar problems.

    Is it really that hard to make reliable networking technology?

  3. J says:

    "Is it really that hard to make reliable networking technology?"

    No, it’s not really difficult.  But the context of that answer depends on whether you’re willing to spend over a thousand dollars on your router.  Once you start factoring in constraints, the problem becomes very difficult.

    It’s difficult to make feature-rich reliable networking technology on hardware that’s inexpensive enough to compete in such a highly competitive market.  You end up licensing all sorts of technology from various vendors, each of which has its own share of bugs that you or the vendor will never find until you deploy to a large customer base.  And then you realize that the cheap processor you bought to meet your target price point can barely keep up with the traffic and the hardware designer put in the slowest RAM possible because your target volume isn’t large enough to be able to negotiate a good price on good memory.  Oh, and maybe you’re trying to work at gigabit speeds leaving a window in the order of nanoseconds to completely process and route a single packet, so if your vendor’s library can’t keep up, there’s nothing you can do about it.  And you can’t write it all yourself because the extended time to market will kill the product.  And so on and so forth.

  4. Q says:

    "Now wait a minute. White pixels use less power on a CRT monitor than Black pixels do on a LCD monitor. I thought the drive to LCD was (partly) because they were so power efficient."

    "122 watts" can’t be accurate. The specs in the manual for the 204B show "Less than 50 W", which is fairly typical for a 21" LCD. I bet on that test he forgot to switch his Kill-A-Watt meter from the default Volts mode to Watts.

  5. BryanK says:

    matthew — Well, no, it’s not hard to make reliable networking technology.  The router that we use at work here has crashed all of twice in probably the last 5 years.  It *is*, however, hard to make reliable networking technology cheap, if most people are demanding "cheap" over "reliable" — the router that we use here (that doesn’t crash) costs a few hundred dollars or so.  (It came with our business-class service from our DSL company, so we didn’t pay for it.  But we’ve seen similar models elsewhere.)

    When most home users don’t have the knowledge or skill-set to narrow a given issue down to the fact that their router is crap, they won’t insist on reliable routers on future purchases.  And when most people just buy the cheapest router that they see in the ads the week they want to buy one, they won’t care nearly enough about quality to make it a priority for the manufacturer in the first place.

    (I’ve found that to get exactly what I need in a router, I need to set up the software side of it myself — but of course that doesn’t work for most people.  (Most people don’t even know what they need, let alone how to set it up.)  It works for me, but that’s just me.  I wish I had access to the configuration on the box we use at work, because there are a couple of slightly annoying issues with it, as well.  But nothing too problematic — it certainly doesn’t crash on an asynchronous postback.)

  6. Samsung owner says:

    I measured my Samsung 204B LCD panel uses and it averages 35W. It does not change depending on the image.

    LCD monitors are getting brighter and brighter every year… I turned down the brightness of my Samsung panel because the factory setting hurts my eyes! Out of the box this monitor draws about 45 W.

  7. Cheong says:

    [quote user="BryanK"]I wish I had access to the configuration on the box we use at work, because there are a couple of slightly annoying issues with it, as well.[/quote]

    That’s where I found Linux-based routers lovely. There’s plenty tutorials on the web telling you how to tweak some feature for your need or even add features by yourself. :)

  8. Worf says:

    Actually, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why dark pixels take less power than white pixels.

    It’s how the LCD monitor manufacturers get those plasma-like huge contrast ratios. You see, contrast is measured as the ratio between the brightest and the darkest that a screen can produce. There is no standard way to measure this, so why not display a black image and tweak the backlight as dim as it goes (blacker black). Then when doing the brightest, crank the backlight to "sun" mode. The darkest is darker, and the brightest is brightest, makes for big contrast ratios. Newer monitors will adjust the brightness based on whether the scene shown is light or dark (crappy feature).

    So a white webpage will cause the backlight to be brighter, while a black one will cause it to be dimmer. Anyone who has dealt with battery life knows that the backlight is one of the things that draws a lot of power, and battery life can be extended by dimming the backlight.

  9. Leo Davidson says:

    The post about Home/Work/Public networks in Vista, as well as the post it links to with more details, does not actually explain the difference between Home and Work.

    It describes Domain, Private and Pubic networks and states that both Home and Work fall under the Private category. So what’s the difference between the two? Or are they two different names and icons for the same thing?


    The idea of finally having a multimonitor remote desktop client excited me until I read about how it works. It’s not true multi-monitor, it just gives you one big monitor that spans multiple monitors on the local machine, which is quite different (especially if you maximize a window). Definitely a step in the right direction but I hope the team keeps going towards doing it properly.

    I hope we also see multiple monitor support in Virtual PC and similar programs one day, too. I use a combination of Virtual PC and remote desktop to access my machine a work (as I had issues using their remote desktop ActiveX directly) so I think I’ll be stuck only using one monitor at home for a while.

  10. Jim says:

    [quote user="BryanK"]I wish I had access to the configuration on the box we use at work, because there are a couple of slightly annoying issues with it, as well.[/quote]

    Cheong: That’s where I found Linux-based routers lovely. There’s plenty tutorials on the web telling you how to tweak some feature for your need or even add features by yourself. :)

    Erm, I think BryanK’s problem here is not that the OS/interface to the router isn’t as open/configurable as it could be, but more that as the box is at work, and someone else controls it.

  11. N. Velope says:

      One thing to try with routers is to get one whose firmware has been out for 6 months to a year to get bugs worked out.  I got one with "super-VPN" and "speedboost" and several other buzzwords and it had to be restarted every 1-2 days.  After trying the latest firmware patches with no luck, I finally went to an older plain model of the same brand and it works for months at a time.  Also, make sure they are in a place with good airflow and not sitting on a carpet so that they don’t get too hot.

  12. I’ve always used an old Windows PC for my home router, for precisely the reasons outlined in this comment thread and the linked article: (Cheap) routers suck. An old PC with Windows 2000 does a much better job, and I can run whatever services I like on it. The only real downside is that it requires occasional rebooting for security updates, but that happens every two weeks at most, and is completely automated, at about 2 in the morning, so there’s no real downtime.

  13. BryanK says:

    The issue with our router is that the ISP configures it (our contract with them specifies that they handle the router configuration), not us.  We don’t even have any valid credentials, although I think we had to reset it at one point when it wasn’t on any network, so they may have given us credentials then (which worked over the serial connection, at least).

    Any setting that we want changed has to go through their support people.  The stuff that I’d like to change isn’t a big-enough deal for us to deal with that, it’d just be nice once in a while.

  14. James Schend says:

    You might consider this sucking up, but the best router I’ve ever owned by far has been a Microsoft MN-700. I had a Netgear router which died unexpectedly, I had a Siemens router (mistake!!) which simply refused to maintain a connection longer than about 15 minutes, and I have a Linksys that crashed under load. (Playing Unreal Tourney 2004 would crash it every time– I didn’t even try bittorrent.)

    My only gripe about the Microsoft MN-700 is that it degrades (but does not crash!) under crazy bittorrent load, but the new bittorrent client has fixed that by limiting itself to 200 connections. Also, they don’t make it anymore, so if it ever dies, or if i want to move to a new wireless standard, I don’t know what I’ll do! Get back into the router business, Microsoft Hardware!

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