Saturday, August 2, 2008

Unbelievable I's

I was working halfway on one fine Friday (yesterday lar), when my colleague sent me a hyperlink to one of TheStar news, which stated that MIMOS will be launching the Bolehland's basement priced laptop and PC, named i-Dola and Jean-i respectively. I read and re-read the news, and ended up having stomach muscle cramp laughing!

For those lazy to click, let me quote the news here. I hope I won't get charged for copyright, the website is FREE anyway!!


LUSAKA (Zambia): Three months from now, Malaysians will be able to buy the i-Dola laptop and Jean-i personal computer (PC) at basement prices.

Mimos is now ready to licence the production of the Malaysian computer codenamed Mak Cik, which it took two years to develop. The laptop and PC are named after the Prime Minister and his wife.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said the laptop would cost RM1,000, and the PC RM500.

“I have tested the computers and am happy with their performance,” said Dr Ongkili, who was here to attend the Global Southern Africa International Dialogue.

“They are wireless, Internet-based designs and need not be connected to fixed lines. To reduce costs, they do not have hard discs. You use a thumb drive instead.”

It is understood that the i-Dola and Jean-i will be as fast as computers using Intel Pentium 4 processors.

Dr Ongkili said that the King and Queen have already been presented with a pair of i-Dola laptops, which were previewed at the WCIT in Kuala Lumpur recently.

He added that several manufacturers were keen to make the computers, and were targeting selling about a million of them.

“The computers require broadband access and I have told the relevant bodies to speed up the roll-out of broadband coverage,” Dr Ongkili said.

He said the computers are targeted at students, businesses and housewives.

He revealed that Zambia and five other African nations have expressed interest in making the computer. In Zambia, laptops cost as much as US$3,000 (RM9,600).


Here, I just want to talk about the thumb drive thing. Since there are many blog posts 'hantaming' the notion on some other aspects, I won't be embarking on their same aspects of other bloggers in due respect. Let me elaborate how stupid is the thumb drive idea. The next four paragraphs would be an elaboration on my 4-fold points of the stupidity of the above idea.

I am working in a semiconductor company - although the product I am working on is not of Flash technology, I know a bit here and there from my other fellow colleagues on how a Flash write-read operates. Also, I had obtained a Certificate degree in a computer systems and programming course when I was in my high school, so I can still remember how fast a RAM, magnetic storage devices and EEPROM/Flash can store data. From what I learnt, Flash is super slow as compared to magnetic storage device. Which means, thumb drive is a snail as compared to a HDD. If you don't believe me, try copying a video, say 20MB of size from a your HDD to a thumb drive, and then copying the same video from your HDD back to your HDD. See which one is faster!!

Also, a HDD in a system (PC or laptop) uses the IDE transmission cable (or rather, ATA cable if you feel that the term S-ATA is more familiar). An IDE cable is made of 40 parallel cables. So, naturally I would assume that the IDE transmission bus would consist of >1 data lines... which means 8 at least, perhaps 16 or 32. I know, I should have done more research on this before I compose, but I just want to make a quick comparison. Meanwhile, a USB (short for Universal Serial Bus) is a 4-connection bus. And guess how many data lines are there? Make a wild guess. See, it is named serial for a purpose - all data is serialized. So, the answer is one. One data line. So, in comparison, IDE is faster than USB.

Third, we are talking about a gigabyte or even terabyte storage device. In current market, it is easy to find a 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB thumb drives. 16GB is rare, yet it is possible that we start to hear people talking about it in near future. On the other hand, HDD capacity ranges from 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, or even 750GB. Well, it sounds like in terms of capacity, thumb drive is out of the question. However, people do use thumb drive for two reasons - portability and convenience. If you want to store a PDF, or even a couple of folders of audio files, you would choose a thumb drive rather than a black box of mounted magnetic disks. On the other hand, if you want to install a software or game, say Warcraft III - do you use a 16GB thumb drive? No... You would no doubt install it in your C drive (HDD lar).

Lastly, price comparison. Just a quick assumption on local computer market (no research done). An 8GB thumb drive would cost, say, RM80. A 250GB HDD would cost, say, RM250. Well, these figures appear reasonable at this point of time, right? No? C'mon, just a few bucks difference. Now, let's do a simple calculation. RM80/8GB thumb drive, so, RM10/GB for a thumb drive. RM250/250GB HDD, so, RM1/GB for a HDD. Wow!!! See what I got? The storage of a thumb drive is relatively 10x more expensive than that of a HDD!!! Why? Simple - thumb drive storage is made of Flash, which is a semiconductor (you know, p-doped and n-doped silicon); while HDD is made of magnetic disks, which requires the technology of magnetic coating, and magnetic head reader. The latter technology is, no doubt, cheaper to-date.

And now what - the i-Dola and Jean-i are not using HDD, and instead we use thumb drive (Flash). Imagine, having our Operating System and all other necessary software in a Flash!! The system takes forever to boot up man!!! Also, do you really think that a Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 could fit into a 16GB thumb drive? Yes, in Dreamland, perhaps. Or, perhaps students, businesses, and housewives, which comprises of the market, would be advised to only use MSDOS and WordPerfect - oh my... you are asking people to time-travel back to 20 years ago!!! Sorry, doc, you are 20 years behind time!!! No wonder the code name Mak Cik (means auntie) came out.

And, what a bullshxt to say that thumb drive is used in order to save cost. Read above once again and find out yourself!

I don't want to talk about the Intel Pentium 4 microprocessor. Okay la, talk a bit. People are now talking about Intel Core 2 Duo, moron. And you are still comparing with Pentium 4. What la...

What a disgrace to our 'beloved' PM and First Lady, by naming a cheap and lame system after them! And what a dishonor to our late First Lady, as if those who are dead should be forgotten!!!

And oh, I forgot that I did mention that, to some Bolehlanders, Bolehland is Dreamland. Anyway, sorry la brader, this is not Dreamland. So wake up! As an ultimatum, I will not buy i-Dola or Jean-i. Try imposing difficulties in sales of ASUS, HP, Compaq, Dell and Acer - Malaysians will end up hogging Sim Lim Square!

Some other blog links:


Gnu said...

Are they talking about a national "CALCULATOR":p

~~wilson~~ said...

Just pieces of junk ... lol...