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Old 11-16-2007, 10:08 AM   #16
nekokami
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I kind of fail to understand how higher resolution will help. I mean this is just 6.7" I would think that the size of screen would matter more then the resolution (when compared to the existing screen in the market..)
If you have grayscale images to display, it could make a huge difference. Those who can read small text at high enough resolution would also find it helpful.
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:22 AM   #17
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It's like the newer Windows Mobile 6.0 devices that use Flash memory to store programs and user data. This way they don't have to be powered when turned off without losing data.
That sounds more like Flash RAM. I was thinking of flash ROM, I don't know if it is possible at all? ROM does all the calculating realtime towards input, display and software. Flash ROM would do calculations relative to software ingrained to it. That would be a totally new way of computing. It might not exist for the simple reasons that you need to modify software once in a while and that displays have to be maintained by a refresh rate. If you didn't, then it could be in ROM, completely unified to the device's use. Being in flash it could be awakened at each command and go to sleep microseconds after. This is one benefit of eink that it does not need refreshing and could help optimize processing power use. To my knowlege it does not exist yet.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:07 PM   #18
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I think we have a semantic confusion going on here: ROM (or Read Only Memory), flash (and yes, it does exist, Palm, for example, has had it for years) or otherwise, is for storing information that doesn't change very often. It's not where you'd want to do calculations. In fact, since it's memory, all it can really do is store data.

What you're talking about sounds interesting, though, yvanleterrible, kind of like a distributed processor, with static rather than dynamic memory, so that its state is saved even without power, and it can pick right back up where it left off when the power comes back on.

Back when I was designing my own e-ink reader (totally dreamware, but I thought about it a lot), I envisioned a system that would use static ram to boot, run a single function, then shut down. If it doesn't have to load a full OS then it could be very fast booting indeed.

For instance, I saw the "next page button" booting the device, running a routine to display a page, and then calculating the next page for display and storing it in a static buffer before shutting back down. The idea I had was to have the current, previous and next pages all stored in static buffers all the time (when they weren't being generated, anyway), or to have the file processed upon loading so that a book would be pre-generated as "pages" and stored that way, so that all the Next button would have to do is turn on, load the next page, and shut back down. All the pages would effectively be memory spaces and would just have to be transfered to the display, which would also kinda be a memory space. I wanted to take advantage of that to capture handwritten notes.

I don't think I'm explaining it clearly, but hopefully the idea is coming through somehow.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:17 PM   #19
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Exactly! My, you have a way with words!

Just imagine the power consumption if every portable device functioned this way, with the aid of eink, most every display oriented device could function.

Let's start a company!
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:32 PM   #20
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I think the idea is to use static RAM for the working memory of the CPU... I am guessing it would be slower than dynamic RAM, but it would save the state when the CPU is not powered, so when power returns, one wouldn't have to load the OS again. Sort of. The CPU itself has registers, and they would lose their contents without power. Apart from the expense of creating a CPU that would use static memory for its registers (design, fabrication, etc.) it would probably be too slow to be workable. But the contents of the registers might be saved out to a special static memory module on power-off.

I only know enough about this level of hardware to be dangerous, though. Someone else will probably be able to point out why this wouldn't work.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:35 PM   #21
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I think we have a semantic confusion going on here: ROM (or Read Only Memory), flash (and yes, it does exist, Palm, for example, has had it for years) or otherwise, is for storing information that doesn't change very often. It's not where you'd want to do calculations. In fact, since it's memory, all it can really do is store data.
Actually it can store Programs as well as data (to be more precise) and with the technology pioneered by Palm it can even be used when a program is running. This technology is called 'run in place'. Without this technology the program had to be copied into RAM to run it.

True ROM could only be written into once and was then static. Later versions allowed the ROM to be re-written but only be erasing and re-writing the whole thing. A limited number or re-writes were permitted. The latest ROM is called Flash ROM and can be written by updating individual information without redoing the whole thing. However, as compared to RAM there is a speed penalty for this. This sort of ROM is used in Flash Drives such as CF cards and SD cards.

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What you're talking about sounds interesting, though, yvanleterrible, kind of like a distributed processor, with static rather than dynamic memory, so that its state is saved even without power, and it can pick right back up where it left off when the power comes back on.
This is done may several devices today, again most notably by Palm and more recently by Windows Mobile. Generally there is a scratch area in RAM for temporary calculations but it does appear to allow you to pick back up (almost) from where you left off. Again there is a performance penalty for this.

Quote:
Back when I was designing my own e-ink reader (totally dreamware, but I thought about it a lot), I envisioned a system that would use static ram to boot, run a single function, then shut down. If it doesn't have to load a full OS then it could be very fast booting indeed.
Static RAM is good but you really only need it for keeping temporary stuff. The boot can be done from ROM and the OS can run from ROM. This is generally the rule today. 'Run in place' with judicious use of discipline in programming can make this pretty fast. Unfortunately more Linux systems do not have this technology (but some do)

Quote:
For instance, I saw the "next page button" booting the device, running a routine to display a page, and then calculating the next page for display and storing it in a static buffer before shutting back down. The idea I had was to have the current, previous and next pages all stored in static buffers all the time (when they weren't being generated, anyway), or to have the file processed upon loading so that a book would be pre-generated as "pages" and stored that way, so that all the Next button would have to do is turn on, load the next page, and shut back down. All the pages would effectively be memory spaces and would just have to be transfered to the display, which would also kinda be a memory space. I wanted to take advantage of that to capture handwritten notes.

I don't think I'm explaining it clearly, but hopefully the idea is coming through somehow.
There is room for this sort of thing and it is being done on eBook reading devices. If the book format is page oriented and can be pre-paged this is fairly simple. Not all book formats are pre-paged.

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:38 PM   #22
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I think the idea is to use static RAM for the working memory of the CPU... I am guessing it would be slower than dynamic RAM, but it would save the state when the CPU is not powered, so when power returns, one wouldn't have to load the OS again. Sort of. The CPU itself has registers, and they would lose their contents without power. Apart from the expense of creating a CPU that would use static memory for its registers (design, fabrication, etc.) it would probably be too slow to be workable. But the contents of the registers might be saved out to a special static memory module on power-off.

I only know enough about this level of hardware to be dangerous, though. Someone else will probably be able to point out why this wouldn't work.
Sounds like exactly the right track to me, nekokami, I don't have any background in CPU design though, and my semiconductor days are well behind me, but I still think you've got it pretty close. The only thing I'd point out is that Flash Memory response times are pretty quick these days, perhaps not yet quick enough but ....
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:42 PM   #23
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This is done may several devices today, again most notably by Palm and more recently by Windows Mobile. Generally there is a scratch area in RAM for temporary calculations but it does appear to allow you to pick back up (almost) from where you left off. Again there is a performance penalty for this.
My Palm IIIxe loses power even when "off", going through a set of batteries every two weeks or so. Is the situation better with more recent Palm hardware? I like being able to sync my portable calendar with the one my co-workers can see online, but I'm tired of changing batteries all the time.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:43 PM   #24
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There is room for this sort of thing and it is being done on eBook reading devices. If the book format is page oriented and can be pre-paged this is fairly simple. Not all book formats are pre-paged.
At the time I was looking for the xfer software to do the pagination, rather like the Sony PC-side software does if you use it.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:46 PM   #25
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My Palm IIIxe loses power even when "off", going through a set of batteries every two weeks or so. Is the situation better with more recent Palm hardware? I like being able to sync my portable calendar with the one my co-workers can see online, but I'm tired of changing batteries all the time.
Your IIIxe keeps its OS in the Flash ROM, but not your actual data and apps.

Most (all?) of the newest crop of palms have non-dynamic memory so that everything doesn't go bye-bye (that's the industry technical term ) when the power completely dies, but the power will still completely die even when "off" eventually -- it's always running enough to keep the time and watch for your alarms, etc.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:51 PM   #26
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My Palm IIIxe loses power even when "off", going through a set of batteries every two weeks or so. Is the situation better with more recent Palm hardware? I like being able to sync my portable calendar with the one my co-workers can see online, but I'm tired of changing batteries all the time.
Newer Palm hardware does have much better battery life. It is now subject to self-discharge rechargeables rather than easily replaceable AAA batteries so you still need to charge it every once in a while so you still can't toss it in a drawer. When it is on it consumes much more than the PalmIII due to the color screen and full time backlight. Some of the Palms can now fully run down without losing any data so they could be tossed in a drawer but would need hours of recharge time before use. I just keep mine in the cradle on a charger.

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:57 PM   #27
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I'm afraid if I kept it in the cradle, I'd always forget to pick it up when I left the office. It doesn't do me much good at the dentist if it's still sitting on the desk at work.

The backlit color screens are one of the main reasons I haven't upgraded. (Well, that and not wanting to spend money when the current model is still working just fine.) I really don't understand this fascination people have with color on a PDA.
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:06 PM   #28
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I really don't understand this fascination people have with color on a PDA.
Color is pretty much bragware to me too, I only really like or notice it when I'm showing folks pictures of the dogs.
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:17 PM   #29
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I'm afraid if I kept it in the cradle, I'd always forget to pick it up when I left the office. It doesn't do me much good at the dentist if it's still sitting on the desk at work.

The backlit color screens are one of the main reasons I haven't upgraded. (Well, that and not wanting to spend money when the current model is still working just fine.) I really don't understand this fascination people have with color on a PDA.
Chain your keys to it. Of course it will bang your knees in the car but it's worth it.
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:05 PM   #30
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Nah, wouldn't work. I leave my keys in my trouser-pockets - otherwise I would close my door, try to lock the door and realize I forgot my keys inside.
So either the PDA wouldn't get loaded (I don't have a PDA but use a Smartphone - same problem) or I would stay outside the door - and the phone inside.
Better to just have an empty pda/smartphone, especially now that winter is coming
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