LAB NOTES

LAB NOTES

A printer with teeth. Last month at the PC Expo trade show in New York, Epson America Inc. demonstrated Bluetooth wireless radio connectivity between an Epson color printer and an IBM ThinkPad T20 notebook computer.

A Bluetooth chip makes a 2.4-GHz wireless connection to other Bluetooth-enabled digital devices within 10 meters. It automatically includes the devices in a so-called personal area network.

Epson officials predicted Bluetooth technology would replace not only printer cable connections but also the IrDA type of infrared connection, which operates only over a line of sight.

Epson expects to make Bluetooth connectivity an option for its full line of printers by year's end. For availability, check on the Web at www.epson.com.

Processors and paint. There are no chips except paint chips at www.duron.com. Don't hit Duron Inc.'s paint and wall covering Web site by mistake when you want to learn about Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s low-cost processor named'guess what'the Duron. AMD of Sunnyvale, Calif., is aiming the Duron head-to-head against Intel's Celeron.

The Duron made its debut at 700-, 650- and 600-MHz clock rates. AMD said it scored up to 32 percent faster on some benchmarks than the same-speed Celeron. Some of the performance gain comes from the Duron's 200-MHz internal bus; the Celeron has a 66-MHz bus.

IBM Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. plan to put the Duron into low-cost home PCs, at least initially.

Speedy road warriors. Speaking of processors, Intel's newest 750-MHz Pentium III for notebooks nearly doubles the performance of its year-old 400-MHz mobile Pentium II. That just about beats Intel founder Gordon Moore's 1965 prediction that microchip capacity would double about every 18 months. And the 750-MHz Pentium III consumes less than 2 watts of power. See the graph of Moore's law in action at www.intel.com/intel/museum/25anniv/hof/moore.htm.

Internet newbie. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the key that opens up the Web. Now Marshall T. Rose, who invented the Post Office Protocol 3 and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, has a new protocol under review by the Internet Engineering Task Force that might replace HTTP and revolutionize how applications communicate with each other over the Internet.

The Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol, or BXXP, lets two computers that are executing file transfers and instant messaging maintain a connection without having to start from scratch each time, as they do with HTTP. See xml.resource.org/profiles/BXXP/bxxp.html.

-Carlos A. Soto, csoto@gcnlab.com,
and Michael Cheek, mcheek@gcnlab.com

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