Author Archives: shyam

About shyam

Network professional , Entrepreneur , technology enthusiast , still not a geek

Why no AM Radio in your Mobile Phone ?

Today I got a calls from a person who want to listen to AM station on his mobile and wondering why no companies are  incorporating the AM radio facility to their handsets.

It was the first time  I have heard somebody is demanding AM radio because most of the AM stations across the world  are government owned and broadcasting  discussions and government regulated news . Still it make sense to discuss why your Mobile devices are not incorporating an AM facility where as they are giving FM facility for even the  low end models .

If you ever opened an old AM radio , you have noticed a large antenna and tuning system inside it . The AM radio can tune in to radio stations that are far away and need heavy and  sensitive electronic circularity for the operation . The FM system itself is relatively new compared  to the AM technology and can tune in to a specific station even when the interference rate is high .

So making a mobile device with an integrated  AM receiver will make the device bulkier partially because of the antenna system needed and partly because of the shielding system that has to be incorporated for proper reception and all those efforts does not make much sense to a normal customer because they  rarely need to listen to an AM station  .

So the chance for any music player or mobile devices company  incorporating AM reception to their gadgets is less likely . If you feel nostalgic , turn on your good old radio and listen to it .     

S-ATA vs P-ATA why Serial is faster ?

Back in my early days of electronic studies  I have learned that parallel data transfer is faster than serial. It satisfies my commonsense too that an eight  lane highway can take more cars than a single lane . so eight bits at a time down the lane will indeed faster than one bit at a time



The parallel port that used to be part of your machine was faster than the serial port . We used to attach the devices that need fast response like the printer and scanner to the parallel port and serial port was used for devices that need much lower data through put ( the classic case was the serial mouse ) .

So I was little bit confused when almost 6 -7 years back when the Serial-ATA was introduced to the market and claimed more speed than the conventional parallel ATA ( IDE ) . Then I have to accept the fact that USB which is also a serial data transfer system is getting faster with USB-2 and then USB -3. Then the classic parallel SCSI which was used for the high performance server machines were  replaced by its new incarnation which is called Serial Attached SCSI ( SAS) .

So it is high time we have to re think about the data transfer systems using serial and parallel communication . Now we can think about our old high way analogy in a different perspective.

On oor first argument favoring parallel transfer , we said that  an eight lane highway is faster . But think it this way , if we have to control vehicles in such a way that all the  eight cars passing parallel though the highway has to reach a specific point at an exact moment , it will be hard to sync the speed and driving habits of each driver . If we keep in increasing the speed of the cars on the lane , it will be again difficult to maintain control and there are chances for collision between these vehicles . So just think about vehicles passing at 300 km /hour and still maintaining its distance and space accurately from each other , Hard to think .. is it ?   



Then how about a train with 20 compartments connected serially , perfectly coupled with each other  zooms through the track at 300 km/ hour , Yes it is quite possible , and it can carry more passengers too , is it ?



The same case applies to the parallel data transfer system .When the data transfer rate has to be increased beyond a certain limit, the data bits coming  through multiple lines is hard to synchronize and cross talk will occur between data bits of different line as the frequency of pulses are increased.  Naturally we have to  reduce the length of the data cable to maintain the data integrity  and more complicated circuits for synchronization increase the over all cost of the system. So that means beyond a certain speed limit , the parallel data transfer system is not practical .

Here comes the advantage of serial data transfer . Since to data is flowing one behind another bit , there is no issue of cross talk and since syncing between multiple bits are not an issue any more . So at giga bits level of data transfer , the serial data transfer system is more efficient than the parallel

Hope you got a basic idea on why your new generation serial devices are faster than the classic parallel devices . Please share this awareness to your tech savvy friends by sharing this article on your social media circles

Nero Burning ROM or Rome ?

During the training session in IT infrastructure , I normally  get irritated when some of my students and even my fellow trainers  pronounce the “Nero” as nuro, naro or something else .  It was back in 1998 that I come across this software  to  write data to the  CD-RW mediums .  What catches  my attention at the very first installation of the software is the creativity of the name  ” Nero Burning ROM ” 

I am just wondering how many of you have noticed the beauty behind naming a software which is used to “Burn” the compact Discs after the Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus  who allegedly burned Rome  in order to clear land for his planned palatial complex.

whether that allegation is true or not , our faith full software is burning the ROM for the past 15 years   . So take a moment to appreciate the beauty and creativity behind naming the software as Nero Burning Rom .

If you have  not  noticed this till date and wish to pass this little piece of knowledge  to your friends , share this post


SSD vs Flash

Deny it or not , we are storing our valuable data on the least reliable component inside your computer. The hard disk drive .  Yes , the arcane stone age computing technology that outlived its peers . We are no longer using audio cassettes and VHS tapes , still my system contains an electro- mechanical device  to store the bits and bytes.  My data is jam packed  in the form of millions of  tiny magnets with a razor sharp head mechanism flying so close to it . A single crash that happens due to my tapping of the desk will prove disastrous.


The introduction of the Flash memory technology in the form of pen drives was a reliving factor for me initially . As the price slashed further and further , I thought that this technology will replace the hard disk  for the fraction of the cost of  the current hard disk technology and with improved efficiency .

It was just a dream and I learned that these slow performing flash devices are less reliable and slower than my good old hard disk . So I stick on to the hard disk drive for the  mass storage needs .

After that the SSD ( solid State Drives ) comes to scene  which offer a direct replacement to the  current hard disk technology . Initially I thought it is just another form of my  flash memory like SD or CF . But the price tag associated with these new SSD devices made me realize these are some thing else .  With costs that is approximately 10 times  as that of my conventional hard disk they were not an affordable option .

So why these new gen SSD have such an astronomical price tag  when other flash memory technologies prices are dropping day by day ?

First of all the normal flash drives are never expected to be direct replacement of  your hard disk . They are just used as an off line data  storage devices which serve as a backup drive in most of the cases .  The speed of the these flash devices are relatively low and will not compete with the data transfer rate of your hard disk .

Also the read write cycles are very restricted . In a typical hard disk drive there will be millions of read / write operations per day which a typical flash drive will never tolerate.

The SSD uses the advanced NAND technology with tremendous increase in data throughput and the ability to withstand millions of read write operations just like a normal hard disk drive   make it the ultimate choice for a drive which can hold your operating system and important applications  ie even if you can not afford a high capacity SSD which will hold all of your data , you can invest  on an SSD big enough to hold your operating system and your most important application  software and can use a conventional hard disk for your normal data storage ( sounds good only for a desktop as most of the laptops now a days will not permit you to put two hard disk on a single system.



Myths about Color of your mother board

Back  in  my early days of computing carrier , all the motherboards were green in color.  When other colors appeared on the motherboard , most of the brown , gray and black motherboards were cheap , good for nothing products. That set a strong believe about the greatness of green  motherboards. It is not just my case .  The whole computing industry guys has an affinity towards the green motherboards.  .It is just a myth about the color and quality .  We will look in to  the basic reasons behind the color of your motherboard .


Green ..The better  ?

The original PCB color is not green . The glass epoxy material used for the production of the new generation motherboards does not have a color of its own . After the process of  chemical etching to remove the copper from unwanted areas , the mother board will look like this



The solder Mask coating is applied to the PCB to protect the copper lines from oxidization. This coating is normally green in color . Green color was long been used as the normal industry standard and continued for the computer motherboard also .  Intel is one of the company which still stick on to the convention of using green solder mask for all the motherboard they are manufacturing . Since Intel boards were long been considered as quality range of motherboards , customers has a high affinity to green colored motherboards .This does not stop other manufactures from experimenting with their own choice of solder mask and now a days motherboards of all colors are available .



So we can conclude that  the colors of the motherboards does not indicate any kind of quality statements apart from the choice of solder mask color during the manufacturing process . 

Still I will go for the green one if you give me an option


Why North and South Bridges ?



Every student who goes through the IT infrastructure study will surly go though the theory of North  and South bridge chips on the motherboard . ever thought why theMemory Controller Hub and IO controller hub are named so ?

The  two chips are aptly called the bridge because it acts as a bridge between your microprocessor  and other components on your motherboard. The faster Components are like memory and display are connected to the North bridge ( also called Memory controller Hub or MCH )and slower components are connected to South bridgeIO controller ) as shown below



But our point of discussion is why the north bridge is called so ?. The reason behind the name is simple .  If you just think the above image as a good old map and place a compass on top of it , you know that the north will be on the top . So the first and faster MCH  is called north bridge because that bridge is on top of the map just below the CPU and the south bridge is on the bottom of the map .






Why you are calling your BIOS setup as CMOS setup and the Lithium battery on your computer motherboard as CMOS  battery ?

What is relation between these terms ? It calls for a detailed explanation  . Hope you will stick on

Back in the days of initial IBM PC and PC-XTs  your computer has  ICs made up of transistor-transistor Logic ( TTL ). The power consumption of a typical TTL circuit is high but back in those days we do not have much choice because the newly invented low power product named CMOS-FET ( complementary metal oxide semi conductor field effect transistors) where exorbitantly costly .


As we stated earlier the power consumption of a typical TTL circuit is not a big issue for early days of computing because they are operating from mains power and concepts of green computing is still to be invented.  So the motherbaord manufacturers  used TTL based ICs , but there was an area in your motherbaord where they are forced to insert the high cost CMOS technology chip. Your BIOS chip.

As we normally know BIOS contains a set of routines needed for the elementary functionality of your system and is a firmware stored on a Read only memory.

But part of your BIOS-ROM chip contains a RAM area which hold the variable parts of your system configuration such as time , date , hard disk , boot sequences and so on . Since RAMs are volatile , we need a battery to keep the contents when the power goes off.

So even if the CMOS technology was costly ,the manufactures were forced to use it for the BIOS chip because they need a low power consumption solution which will ensure longer battery life.

During course of time people begin to call the BIOS setup program as the CMOS setup program and the lithium battery that powers it as the CMOS battery. These terms does not hold any significance now a days because most your ICs on your motherboard uses the CMOS technology  and the term is not specifically applicable to your BIOS only .

Still we prefer to call the BIOS setup as CMOS setup . no issues , but be aware that the term CMOS has more to do with the manufacturing process than the  BIOS setup software.



Why PS/2 port is called so ?

When  we study about computing , there are so many terms which we take it for granted . I think  PS/2 is one of them . Every body is aware that the small six pin din connector where you plug the keyboard and mouse is called ps/2 connector. But why it is called by such a strange name ?


Well , the term PS/2 was the name of the ill fated micro computing project  from IBM. it is expanded as personal system -2 .


When IBM introduced the initial range of IBM-PCs back in 1981 , they never thought the PC will become a trend setter and does not care about  making it a propitiatory one . But when the PC become a success , the major beneficiary  were the clone makers like HP , Compaq ,AST and so on because of the non propitiatory nature of PC .

So IBM decided to create an advanced architecture machine which will pose a serious threat to the PC-Clone makers by its technology as well as looks . So in 1987 they produced the PS/2 range of micro computers .

The Personal System -2 standard was unique  one with advanced features like MCA slot , Micro floppy diskette , XGA graphics support  and the small form factor connector for the keyboard and mouse . But the proprietary nature of the machine made the computing industry against it and the product failed miserably to gain public attraction due to the high cost associated with it  .

The only thing that survived from the ill fated machine was the connectors for keyboard and  mouse and they were called after the original product . Thus the name ps/2 keyboard and ps/2 mouse 


Ultra Book , Is it for you ?

IT industry will always find new ways to attract its customers .

When netbooks comes to the market  some 4 years back , it was charming and affordable . I opted for a Asus eeePC  as my prime machine instead of my heavy Dell inspiron. Even though people said that Intel atom is under powered , I did not find any issue with  it and that net book is still with me running windows 7 ultimate and loaded with two virtual machines for my training division.

In today’s world of  tablets , a typical user who has enough money to invest on a typical net book will be lured away by the charming looks of tablets running on an ARM processor and android OS . So bad news for the win-tel platform .


If you have enough money to invest on a high end laptop , mac book air may lure you with the  size zero design and its charms and again bad news for the Intel range of micro processor .

So the final way for Intel is seen as the ultrabooks which combine the portability of a net book , with the looks of a Mac Book .

I personally think that investing on such a shiny thin piece of technology that cost like a hell is not a smart move for a person who really care about their hard earned  money . Does it really matter that my laptop is few more millimeter thick ? If you just want to show off your gadget and deep pockets to purchase it , then go for it . otherwise settle on a laptop that has a real DVD drive and full sized NIC interface .



From a coffee table to a slate — The surface story

re-branding is always confusing .  The idea of naming a new innovative concept with a name that was a decade  old is not that much appealing . I am talking about the new product from Microsoft that is trending in Google search .


It is the Microsoft Surface. 


The initial idea of  Microsoft Surface was dates back to 2001 and it was designed as an interactive coffee table like device with multi touch capabilities . It was officially launched in 2007 with a whooping $10,000 price tag .


The next version was announced back in 2011 and the novelty of the product was worn off because there are so many other multi touch devices out there . It was really a Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface  . it incorporated the Pixel Sense technology which give the new tablet ability to sense the touch with out using the infrared cameras as used in the first generation of  surface .It is priced at $8,500 and is more affordable than the original one , still not in the reach of a common man .

So when Microsoft announced the gadget that is believed to offer a stiff competition for apple , I guessed many names for it except the surface . Because the term Surface will bring to mind a device that I will surly place as my coffee table if I was a billionaire .

So taking it positively I can now afford to take a surface to my home , but a scaled version of the same.  May be it will take a while for me to re associate the term with this ipad killer Microsoft launched today ( 19th july 2012 )

I am not going to give detailed explanation of the same as the cyber space is already filled with the updates . Anyway I am really loving the idea of using the cover as a keyboard .

Hope you will visit the Microsoft website for more information than a blogger can provide   check it out , That saves my time of lifting the contents from there and pasting it here .

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