Archive for March 12th, 2011

Where can I get good news?

I turned on CNN looking for coverage of the Tohoku earthquake. I’m not sure I’m allowed to watch CNN anymore.

The first story I saw was about a YouTube video made by a New York senator that “teaches parents to spy on their kids”. The idea is that the parents learn how kids hide thing and where to look for drugs, weapons, or other dangerous items. I’m not sure this is news, but it seems okay if CNN spends a bit of time on human interest stories.

Thing was, though, CNN made this the “Your Views Question of the Day”. They solicited input on the Internet, then read comments users made on the air. Who care what Ricky from Indiana thinks about this story? Why is spending 90 seconds on reading reader comments, without analyzing them, at all useful?

Coverage moved to Hawaii, where some effects of the tsunami were felt. At 20 seconds, the segment was incredibly short and conveyed zero information. Why not show a map of Hawaii, drawing lines on the coast where green, yellow, and red indicate the severity of the damage? No damage reported? No line, then.

The description of the damage was hopelessly vague and un-insightful. Why dumb down such a simple report so severely?

The next story was about Rhode Island requiring high school students “to score at least partially proficient” on a standardized test in order to graduate. The coverage involved an interview with a representative with the ACLU, an organization with amiable goals but — as far as I can tell — zero influence or experience in the area of education or child development. What about the other side of the coin? Why not interview students who are bored because their classes cover material at the pace of the slowest student? Why not interview colleges or employers who are tired of teaching recent graduates things that they should have learned earlier in school?

The shallow depth of coverage, one-sided reporting, and shameless self-promotion leave me cold. Is there a news outlet that is acceptable?

The Windows Server Standard memory limit on newer machines

The newest Xeon processors use tri-channel memory, which means you’ll configure memory in increments of 3*2^n, rather than 2^n.  That is, for the newest servers, you might get a machine with 12, 24, 48, or 96 gigs. You could make one with 36 gigs, if you wanted to, by using six 4 gig parts and six 2 gig parts. Anything else gives away performance by running unbalanced channels.

This means the Windows Server Standard memory limit of 32 gigs makes even less sense than it did before. Do I configure my server with 24 gigs of memory and waste some software capability? Or do I configure my machine with 36 or 48 gigs of memory, and waste the hardware capacity?  Jumping to an OS that costs more than three times the price ($800 street for Windows Server Standard compared to about $2800 street for Windows Server Enterprise) is hard to justify compared to “wasting” $200 worth of DIMMs, I guess.

But with the changing hardware platform, will Microsoft relax the memory limitations on Windows Server boxes and allow up to 48 gigs of memory, a more natural boundary for the new processors, and an attainable limit for the older processors?