Nerdism at its best

August 25, 2014

Macs are PCs

PCFor many years I have been an anti-apple advocate in some ways I still am because I feel Apple PCs are just a status symbol. When someone tries to tell me that their Mac is superior than the pc I know and love that’s when I get upset. It is that elitest mind set that sometimes comes with that apple. Now I can not say that that same attitude doesn’t come from windows fans, it does. I use to be that way, but in the last year or so I have changed from that. Today’s Macs are no different than the windows laptop I carry with me each and everyday. Albeit a very expensive brand name that you are paying for. They are no different.

The time for dividing computers into “PCs” and “Macs” is over. With more and more people are using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, Mac OS X is just another PC operating system alongside Windows and Linux.

The Historical Meaning of “PC”

“PC” has several different meanings. On one extreme, PC just means “personal computer,” and smartphones and tablets are just as much PCs as laptops and desktops. On the other extreme, “PC” originally meant “IBM PC-compatible.” These were computers that were compatible with IBM’s PC architecture. They had a BIOS and could run all the same operating systems, like IBM’s PC-DOS and Microsoft’s MS-DOS. This was a standard architecture computers could conform to so they’d be compatible with the software that ran on other IBM PCs or IBM PC-compatible PCs. IBM no longer makes PCs, so this description isn’t accurate.

IBM PCs became less common and eventually vanished, so the term”IBM PC-compatible” fell out of favor. “Wintel” PCs replaced them — Windows-compatible PCs with an Intel x86 chip inside.

People continued to use the term “PC” for those Windows-on-Intel-x86 machines. But there was nothing intrinsically Windows-only about a PC. PCs originally ran DOS, and today many PCs run Linux. There have been other PC operating systems like IBM OS/2 and BeOS, too. “PC” may be synonymous with Windows to many people, but it shouldn’t be — Linux is also a PC operating system.

Macs Moved From PowerPC to Intel

In the past, a Macintosh’s hardware was very different from a PC’s. Where those Wintel PCs had Intel x86-compatible chips inside, Macs had PowerPC chips. PowerPC was a completely different architecture, so Windows just couldn’t install on a Mac, and Mac OS just couldn’t install on a PC. The difference wasn’t just the operating system, it was the architecture. That’s why a computer that came with OS/2 or BeOS could be considered a PC, but a Mac wasn’t a PC — it wasn’t “PC-compatible.”

In 2006, Apple began transitioning Macs to run on Intel’s x86 chips instead of the PowerPC architecture. This wasn’t just swapping out a chip manufacturer — Mac OS transitioned from being a PowerPC operating system to being an x86 operating system. Macs now use the same Intel chips found in “PCs.” The last version of Mac OS X to even run on PowerPCs at all was Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard back in 2009.

Macs and PCs Have the Same Hardware

Some people seem to think that the hardware in a Mac is very different from the hardware in a PC, but this isn’t true.

The CPU in a Mac is the same Intel CPU you’ll find in Windows based machines. Companies like Samsung, Toshiba, and SanDisk provide the solid-state drives used in a Mac — these are the same SSDs you would buy off the shelves to put in a “PC”, too. LG and Samsung make the displays for the majority of the worlds computers.

Windows, Linux, and Mac Are All PC Operating Systems

In the past, you couldn’t run Windows on a Mac without an emulator. Now, Windows can be easily installed on a Mac. You can install the standard version of your Linux distribution of choice on a Mac, too.

Mac OS X can even be installed on PC hardware — this is what’s known as a “hackintosh.” It isn’t officially supported by Apple. However, it’s possible because you can get PCs with the same hardware as to what you’d find in a Mac. Those hardware drivers Apple writes specifically for its Mac hardware can work just as well on that PC with the same hardware.

Macs are PCs — nice and expensive ones, but PCs nonetheless.

August 20, 2014

Weekend Antics

This last weekend was a well-deserved break from the craziness that was work. Though this week has been slower; still crazy. With classes starting this week and most of last week spent lone wolfing it at work. Dealing with all the pre class roundup can make for a very stressful week. People for some reason forget how things work. Then they panic and freak out to the point where sometimes they can be downright rude and condescending. When I got home Friday the repairmen installing the new AC/furnace was there and did not leave until 10:30pm I didn’t mind so much because we had cool air running through the house once again.

Saturday was spent mostly gaming or watching YouTube. Saturday evening we went to speakeasy and had crazy hot dogs. Now when you think hotdog most of us think of the 99 cent pack of hotdogs you get from the store so paying 8 bucks for one seems very ridiculous. We were in for a surprise. I had a bacon wrapped hotdog and steak fries.


The hotdog was HUGE a footlong and close to an inch in diameter and it was delicious. Matt and Steve had the junkyard dog it was the same hotdog covered in philly cheesesteak goodness.


It was a good time and a needed get away from all things life.

Sunday I slept in way too late because I was up till 3 am the previous night.  I was gaming with some friends online playing Firefall is a science fiction free-to-play massive multiplayer online open world shooter.


The Firefall is an event that takes place in 2178 after an asteroid predicted to be a near miss gets caught in the Moon’s gravity well and crashes into Earth. Before impact, the asteroid shatters, resulting in thousands of impact events. The Firefall plummets mankind into a dark age known as the Nine Year Winter and many large governments collapse. During the new dark age, scientists discover a new substance called Crystite from the fallen asteroid fragments. Found to be a powerful energy source, Crystite fuels the reconstruction and a new golden age of mankind. Despite the seemingly unlimited potential of Crystite, mankind wanted more and followed the trajectory of the Asteroid to Alpha Prime. With the first massive loads of Crystite arriving from Alpha Prime, the governments of Earth, unified under the banner of The Accord, began construction of the Arclight, a warship that achieves faster-than-light travel by folding space in a process known as Arcfolding. The purpose of the Arclight was to prevent a potential revolt on Alpha Prime that would bring Earth to its knees due to mankind’s reliance on Crystite. As the Arclight began its first attempt at faster-than-light travel in 2233, its large engines rips a hole in space that allows the Melding, an extra-dimensional energy storm, to emerge. Unable to complete the Arcfold, the Arclight crashes outside of Fortaleza, Brazil. The Melding engulfs most of Earth with the exception of the area surrounding the still running wreckage of the Arclight. The playable story takes place four years after the Arclight’s attempt to fold space.

Back to Sunday well I didn’t actually wake up until 1 pm I didn’t mean to sleep in that late but it happened and I had nowhere to be. I gamed then went to bed at a more normal time. Now it is Wednesday and the week is almost over.

August 8, 2014

How much is too much memory?


TL;DR you can never have too much memory unless you have a 32bit OS then you are limited to 3.5 GB of memory

Memory is a very important part of a PC. the best way to describe RAM I have found is using a table and open books where the open books represent programs. The amount of RAM you have is the size of said table. The larger the table the more books you can have open at one time. The more RAM you have the more programs you can have running. The only time you would ever be limited is if your are running a 32 bit OS, because you can not use more than 3.5 GB of ram with a 32bit OS. with a 64 bit OS you can use a lot more. Theoretically 16 exabytes or 17.2 billion gigabytes is the limit. however the operating system(in this case windows) will limit your amount of RAM as follows.

  • Windows 8 Enterprise 512 GB
  • Windows 8 Professional 512 GB
  • Windows 8 128 GB
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 192 GB
  • Windows 7 Enterprise 192 GB
  • Windows 7 Professional 192 GB
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 16 GB
  • Windows 7 Home Basic 8 GB

Suppose you have a computer with 16 GB of memory. If the computer is usually using about 4 GB of memory and never reaches 8 GB. You may end up asking would the computer run as equally fast by removing half of the 16 GB and working with only 8 GB or memory.

The quick and dirty answer is no, because the operating system can use the extra RAM as disk cache, which speeds up access to data on the disk. Extra RAM will not make CPU-bound computations (not involving much disk I/O) faster though.

The more precise answer is as follows:

Below is an example from a computer with 24 GB of RAM. Even though only 7 GB is currently allocated as “In Use” memory, another 10 GB is allocated as “Standby” memory and contains data that may or may not be read again. If it is read, it will make your computer faster. The “Free” memory is not being utilized whatsoever at the moment.

Hardware Reserved

Beginning on the left, in gray, is the Hardware Reserved list, which shows the amount of memory reserved for hardware. This list represents the amount of memory that the various hardware devices installed in your system have reserved so that they can communicate with the operating system. Of course, memory reserved for hardware is essentially locked and as such is not available to the memory manager.

Typically, the amount of Hardware Reserved memory ranges from 10MB to 70MB but can vary depending on the system’s hardware configuration and might be several hundred MB. Examples of components that can affect the amount of memory reserved include:

  • System BIOS
  • Motherboard resources, such as I/O advanced programmable interrupt controller (APIC)
  • Sound cards or any other devices that require memory-mapped I/O
  • PCI Express (PCIe) bus
  • Video card
  • Various chipsets
  • Flash devices

In Use

The In Use list, shown in green in Figure C, represents the amount of memory being used by the operating system, drivers, and the various running processes. In Use memory is calculated by adding the sizes of the Modified, Standby, and Free values and subtracting this from the amount of recognized memory, which is listed as Total in the section just below the graph. The Total memory is calculated by subtracting any Hardware Reserved memory from the Installed RAM.


Shown in orange, the Modified list represents the pages of memory that contain data that has been modified but not been accessed for a while. As such it is not technically in use but can still be pulled into service quickly if needed. If memory in the Modified list has not been accessed in a long time, the memory manager will write the page to disk and then move it to the Standby list.


The Standby list, which is shown in blue, contains pages that have been removed from process working sets but are still linked to their respective working sets. As such, Standby list is essentially a cache. However, memory pages in the Standby list are prioritized in a range of 0-7, with 7 being the highest. Essentially, a page related to a high-priority process will receive a high-priority level in the Standby list.

For example, processes that are Shareable will be a high priority and pages associated with these Shareable processes will have the highest priority in the Standby list.

Now, if a process needs a page that is associated with the process and that page is now in the Standby list, the memory manager immediately returns the page to that process’ working set. However, all pages on the Standby list are available for memory allocation requests from any process. When a process requests additional memory and there is not enough memory in the Free list, the memory manager checks the page’s priority and will take a page with a low priority from the Standby list, initialize it, and allocate it to that process.


The Free list, shown in light blue, contains pages of memory that have not yet been allocated to a process or were previously allocated but returned to the memory manager when the process ended. (While “not yet been allocated” and “previously allocated” memory both show in the Free part of this bar graph, the “not yet been allocated” pages are actually part of another list called the Zero Page list. These are so-called because they have been initialized to zero and are ready for use when the memory manager needs a new page.)