News Schmooze: Gigahertz gigabattle

AMD and Intel socked it out, Microsoft and Unisys crashed, and Kazaa skulked

Should the world care whether the clock speed on your computer processor is an accurate representation of its performance? AMD seems to think so, and last year started explaining to consumers, via lots of large, glossy advertisements, that it had come up with a way to use product numbers like Athlon XP 2100+ to give a more accurate idea of what you could expect from the chip (which actually runs at a mere 1,733MHz or 1.7GHz). Over the past week or so Intel started striking back, "re-educating" its resellers and the media with the message that AMD's model numbers are nothing but hot air. Clock speed might not be a perfect measure of performance, but at least it's a fact, and you can't argue with facts. Particularly, the Schmoozer imagines, with the fact that a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 only narrowly beats an Athlon XP 1.7GHz in benchmark tests, and only in some of them. Interesting, too, that this sudden interest in hard facts was timed to correspond with the launch of the new P4.
AMD and Intel war over benchmarks
Intel shrinks Pentium 4 Northwood Microsoft and Unisys launched a PR raid of their own, this one against Sun and all the other Unix vendors. "We have the way out," the site promised, offering a plethora of white papers on how companies could free themselves from the evils of Unix and follow the Microsoft Way. Except that the site turned out to be powered by FreeBSD, a version of Unix. And then when it was hurriedly switched to Microsoft software, it mysteriously crashed for a day or so.
Anti-Unix site drawing a blank Coincidentally, Network Solutions shifted hundreds of thousands of sites over to Microsoft servers over the past month, according to a new survey, and shortly afterwards several thousand of them were defaced by hackers. Is there a pattern? You might say that, but the Schmoozer could not possibly comment.
Microsoft Web servers gain market share This is turning into a regular Microsoft newswire, but it did seem unfortunate that users of an Australian an online bank suddenly found that they couldn't get access to the service without downloading Java separately, since Microsoft removed Java from Windows XP and the new Internet Explorer. In a different report, the Schmoozer is told that a recent IE patch disabled another online banking site because it changed the way object tags were handled. Go stand in the corner, Microsoft!
Online bank hit by MS-Java feud Of course, Microsoft isn't the only one that is occasionally compelled to behave in a furtive way to protect its interests. A few weeks ago it was Morpheus, with its shady software for secretly routing your Web traffic through the sites of its e-commerce partners. This week it was Kazaa, which secretly distributed a second peer-to-peer client with millions of copies of its software, and worded its terms and conditions so that people unwittingly agreed to donate their spare computing power and bandwidth to a business partner, Brilliant Digital Entertainment. Both companies said that it was no big deal, and they had been planning to tell people about it later on. This strikes the Schmoozer as about as honest and straightforward as a game of three-card monty, but people still seem to be downloading this stuff by the truckload, so maybe the bet paid off. On Friday, Sharman Networks released a new version of Kazaa but didn't feel the need to remove the peer-to-peer software. The story took a while to spread through the media because, the Schmoozer suspects, it was at first thought to be an April Fool's prank.
Kazaa exec defends sleeper software
Something that started off as a bit of a lark a couple of weeks ago seemed to touch a chord, so to speak. ZDNet UK took over hosting IT Anthems recently, and this week the mainstream media found out about it, and seemed to like what they saw. Between Tuesday and Thursday there was a full-page article about IT Anthems in The Times, followed by appearances on Radio 5 and Radio 4, the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, Metro, the BBC, CNN and several other outlets. Well, nothing else important was going on -- just escalation of destruction in the Middle East, preparation for the Queen Mother's funeral, the anniversary of the Falklands conflict, the collapse of ITV Digital, oh, and the HP/Compaq merger...
Top 20 IT Anthems The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.


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