Monthly Archives: December 2003


  • CNET NEWS.COMWriting an end to the bio of BIOS.

    Intel and Microsoft are gearing up to move toward the first major overhaul of the innermost workings of the personal computer–the boundary where software and hardware meet–during 2004.

    The companies will begin promoting a technology specification called EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) as a new system for starting up a PC's hardware before its operating system begins loading, a process that kicks in every time a PC is switched on or restarted.

    Intel and Microsoft say it's time to ditch the outmoded BIOS, or basic input/output system, which for 23 years has served to start a PC's hardware before the operating system takes over. The companies say the Extensible Firmware Interface, or EFI, makes it simpler to add improvements to PCs and speeds up the booting process.

    Although many agree that the BIOS is out of date, a new technology isn't likely to be adopted until it's declared an industry standard. Intel and Microsoft will push for that, but with PC makers historically resistant to change, EFI is, if anything, likely to exist alongside BIOS for some time.

    [ … ]

    Still, some companies might see EFI as a way for Intel and Microsoft to push their own ideas for the future of PC design, McCarron said. There are “some concerns that it's being used to enable features that customers don't want,” he said.

    Intel says such suspicions are unfounded–companies that decide to go with EFI will be able to use it any way they like, by picking and choosing different features. EFI users don't necessarily have to work directly with Intel, either. They can gain access to the technology by working with companies like Insyde, or eventually use technology developed by the forum, once it gets started.  [Privacy Digest]

  • Visiting Edinburgh by Train From London

    Visiting Edinburgh by Train From London

    Edinburgh, the “Athens of the North,” is probably the most dramatic-looking capital city in Europe. The castle glowers from over a black, volcanic cliff, watching over Princes Street and the gray, granite-block buildings that shine in the rain and brood in the sun. Carved, Greek columns give Edinburgh a justified air of education and culture. Every day at one the cannons from the ramparts fire to mark the time. The stoney streets of Edinburgh echo with the sounds and sights of sensible activity mixed with an enevitable demonstration of that mystical passion of the Scots (after dark, and fueled by a love of spirits and socializing, the mystical passions of the people of Edinburgh become more pronounced).

    To the traveler, Edinburgh looks and sounds forbiddingly far from the familiar sights of London. But high speed train service out of London trims the trip to Edinburgh's Waverley Station to about four hours. You also have the option of taking the nine-hour overnight sleeper train, which by US Amtrak standards offers an almost giddy level of charm, comfort and romance.

    A visit to Edinburgh can begin with a trip to Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. The hard past of the Scots, and their enduring spirit, is beautifully captured by Edinburgh Castle. Not only commanding a beautiful view of the city and region, the castle houses the history of the Scots for a thousand years ad the history of Scotland's Stuart kings. The Royal Mile is the main, history-packed thoroughfare of Edinburgh. A list of other touring points of Edinburgh, including the Edinburgh Zoo, the Royal Museum, the Scottish National Portait Gallery and Parliament House, is beyond the scope of this survey. But you will find yourself only slightly less busy than in London.

    Edinburgh boasts a variety of interesting accommodations, ranging from the grand and traditional Scotsman (in the building occupied by the newspaper of the same name), to the new and chic Malmaison, to individually operated inns full of local charm like the Stuart House. Here is Tripadvisors listing/rating of hotels in Edinburgh.  [cloudtravel]