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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2017 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Even CPUs need software updates

27 June 2017

The modern, ultra-fast, ultra-complex, highly integrated, all-singing, all-dancing CPUs we have in modern desktop, laptop and server-style computers are a far cry from the humble 8008 that started the whole microcomputer revolution.

Old-school CPUs were pretty simple affairs.

Their design was etched in silicon and once the die was struck, their basic functions were immutable. A bug in the design meant that the whole thing had to be re-spun and old (flawed) versions were destined for the scrapheap.

These days however, a fair bit of the operation of the CPU is actually controlled by firmware stored within the CPU itself.

This microcode is designed to control how many of the more advanced operations of the processor are performed. Think of it as being a bit like having a built in macro interpreter that allows a RISC processor to understand CISC instructions. That's not exactly what's going on here but it's near enough to give you the idea.

So what happens when this microcode has a bug?

Read more...

 

Forums are up!

Yes, people have been complaining about the lack of forums for months now so I finally got off my chuff and finished the transition to the new server and the commissioning of the new forums.

Unfortunately you will have to re-register, it just wasn't practical to transition the IDs from the old server -- although the old stuff will be maintained in a "read-only" capacity for some time to come.

So, if you want to "have your say" then register at the new forums using the magic word Aardvarkroxs when asked for it.

Take a moment to introduce yourself to the rest of the Aardvark community and pretty shortly I'll be expanding the number of forums to encompass a number of areas that are regularly discussed on this site.

The contact form is not yet working (got to rejig the CGI scripts) but if anyone wants to email me they can send their communications to editor at this domain or PM me via the forums.

Oh yes, if anyone wants a bit of a plug then the sponsorship space is now up for grabs. Until someone is prepared to offer a donation for the use of this space, I'm happy to offer a free plug to anyone who wants to send me a suitable 150x150 graphic and link.

Stay tuned!

Sorry, the headlines haven't been updated today

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

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