I HATE Hardware

The last thing I saw last night was something about “Do not turn off or remove the power cord from your computer” for some no-doubt-critical update. This morning, my desktop doesn’t POST. It hangs right at the point the RAM count happens.

Now, I don’t think an OS upgrade can effect POST, so perhaps it’s a bad RAM chip. But I pulled all but one chip this morning and it still didn’t boot. Then I replaced that chip and it still failed. So the odds against it being the RAM seem high.

Meanwhile, on my new system that I’m building to replace the motherboard whose hard-drive controller blew 6 weeks ago, the replacement motherboard doesn’t POST at all: no BIOS announcement, no nothing.

Power’s coming through a UPS, which should condition it adequately.

At the moment, I have no desktop. I _so_ don’t need this.

Oh, and you have to be nuts to buy new chips and motherboards before next Thursday, when Intel launches their new chips and AMD will undoubtedly respond with huge price cuts.

Dr. Dobb’s Changes

When Software Development was killed, I predicted that Dr. Dobb’s wouldn’t change markedly. Boy, was I wrong. Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Erickson and Publisher Stan Barnes clearly decided that the time had come to create what is essentially a new magazine: I don’t think Dobb’s has changed this much since at least the late 80s.

The “new” Dobb’s really has taken a page from SD‘s playbook and dramatically increased the amount of technical-management-focused editorial. There’s a fraction of the source code that used to be Dobb’s signature.

They’ve dramatically changed the column lineups, which is a real surprise given Erickson’s loyalty to his long-term writers. Mike Swaine is still there, Scott Ambler and Rick Wayne came over from SD, and Pete Becker is writing the C++ column. This was a bold move must have been a hard one, both for the columnists and for Erickson. But  think it was a good choice.

They also redesigned the pages. Note to publishers: Do we really need to go through the whole “the new font is too small,” “you’re right: we’ve changed it back!” charade every time? It looks like the new page layouts are more flexible, although at least initially, I think the readability has gone down.

As an old-time competitor to the “old” Dr. Dobb’s, they’ve walked away from some of the things that made them hard to compete against: the “signifiers” of technical depth that came from their source-code and low-level articles. Pages of source code cue programmers “there is immediate value here.” When flipping through a magazine, an article on, say, computer security, will be much more eye-catching if there is accompanying source code: the programming reader stops and “checks out” the source code to see what’s going on. “Soft” articles, on the other hand, have a harder time catching the eye and coming to mind when the renew / resubscribe decision comes about.

It’s gotta’ be tough managing the editorial of a programmer’s magazine nowadays.