The MBA Experience

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Air America

I can't believe that Air America, the new liberal talk radio station, is actually a viable business model. If there was a market for a station like this, it would already have been filled... oh wait; it has - it's called NPR.

I expect Air America Radio to go off the air after the election. Maybe the FEC should investigate it as an illegal campaign contribution to Kerry?

Funny how it's named after a CIA operation though.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Yahoo Groups

The FEMBA admit board won't be up till May so I started a Yahoo group for the UCLA FEMBA class of 2007. Here's a link to join:


Monday, March 29, 2004

Friggin' Clarke

I've been debating on the merits of Condi testifying before the 9-11 commission with my officemate. It seems that the more you hate Bush, the more you trust Clarke and vice versa. But the whole accusation rings false in my ears... you go from saying the administration went too far to saying they didn't go far enough?

Does anyone even remember what Bush was like pre-9-11? No one thought he was a foreign policy genius and if you think he chould have pulled the country into a life-or-death struggle with Al Qaeda, you don't know the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. We would have Berkeleyites (no offense Chunky) harping on the dangers of profiling and the International media scorning the cowboy from Texas trying to unilaterally make America the cop for the world. Bush didn't exactly have the mandate to make drastic changes in foreign policy. Lest you forget:

This administration came into office to discover that al Qaeda had been allowed to grow into a full-blown menace. It lost six precious weeks to the Florida recount – and then weeks after Inauguration Day to the go-slow confirmation procedures of a 50-50 Senate. As late as the summer of 2001, pitifully few of Bush’s own people had taken their jobs at State, Defense, and the NSC. Then it was hit by 9/11. And now, now the same people who allowed al Qaeda to grow up, who delayed the staffing of the administration, who did nothing when it was their turn to act, who said nothing when they could have spoken in advance of the attack – these same people accuse George Bush of doing too little? There’s a long answer to give folks like that – and also a short one. And the short one is: How dare you?

I think Bush should stop beating around the Bush and tell it like it is and as it was.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Congrats to FMG

A much belated but not forgotten congratulations to Future MBA Girl on the Wharton admit!

She's got a tough decision in front of her between paying for Wharton and a full fellowship to Michigan, but I'm sure she'll choose what's best for her. On the other hand, my little brother (from my frat) is starting at Michigan next year so I could kill two birds with one stone when I visit! See... it's all about me. :-) But something tells me she'll find the right numbers to make Wharton her choice.

Laptop Wars II

Another contender for my notebook is the Celeron M chip. Here's a comparison of the new chip on the block with the Pentium M (of Centrino fame)

The most important differences between the Pentium M and the Celeron M - besides the price of course - are the L2 cache, which at 512 KB is only half the size, and the lack of "Enhanced Speedstep" energy saving technology.

To what degree the lack of these two features will affect the battery time and performance is something that we look at in this review.

[jump to conclusion]

Conclusion

As the comparison tests of the Dell Latitude D505 based on the Celeron M, or alternatively the Pentium M have shown, a notebook with a Pentium M CPU is only advantageous with regard to the battery life. Regarding performance, the difference for day-to-day use of CPU models with a similar core clock speed is only marginal.

Price-wise, it can be argued that one hour more battery life for a cost of $100 isn't much to pay. However, if a long battery life is really the premise, then in the case of the D505, we would rather invest $130 in a spare battery for the Celeron M. That way you can easily achieve an additional two hours of battery time. And, it only costs $30 more than a Pentium M system with comparable performance. If on the other hand, the premise is to have long battery life including the lowest possible weight, or in other words, the greatest mobility, then there is almost no way of getting around the Pentium M. But also in this case, it still doesn't have to be a Centrino notebook. After all, other suppliers also provide competitive WLAN modules.


This is a good comparison and the conclusion makes sense for me... The only time I can think of when I would be away from an outlet for over 3 hours is on a plane, and I can choose to heft the extra pound for a battery if it really means that much to me. Since the Dell in the study started at 5.1 lbs, I think I could still come up with a package (notebook, power cords, accessories, case) that weighs 8-9 lbs.

My desktop is a 1.1 Ghz Athlon (512K L2 cache - same as the Celeron M) with 512 MB of RAM and I'm very happy with the performance I get from it... plus it looks cool (it has a little window and everything - even a blue light). A lot to be said for building your own machine. :-)

Plenty of time to decide... I still need to wait for Anderson's official laptop recommendations and see what pricing they have available. Company X has a program to purchase computers for employees at company prices, but they only have HP and IBM and they're not much of a deal... I'd be looking at a $1600 - $1800 machine.

Spyware

Once again, my life has been made much easier thanks to Ad-Aware. Some unfortunate click in the recent past let some a**hole hijack my browser and offer to let me save lots of money if I used their shopping system. So I ran Ad-Aware and it cleared out 99% of the recent crap that got put on my machine without my knowledge or permission. The only thing it didn't remove was the Lycos SideSearch. I did a quick Google search and realized it was safe to remove and not some Microsoft 'feature' that I just hadn't notice till now.

The following is found on the vendors website about the product. “Sidesearch is the quick and easy way to search the internet. Sidesearch displays a second opinion without the hassle of opening multiple browsers. With Sidesearch, you always get the best results and the best deals - with one click. It's the ultimate comparison companion! Web Search: Compare a second opinion from Lycos side-by-side with another search engine. Shopping: Find the best bargains from thousands of online stores.”

It comes likely bundled with other products. Many users don’t know from where they installed the software. During silent installs, it is reported to hang internet explorer for around 30 seconds.


It pisses me off that Lycos would let put any software on my machine without my express permission. Is this sort of enemity worth the occasional user you might pick up?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Allergies

Allergies suck... Maybe it was the mold from the drywall we tore down this weekend or maybe it's the cat, but I got some bad allergies going on. Maybe it's time to take that allergy test... having my arm used as a pin cushion doesn't seem too bad right about now.

Laptop Wars

So what the hell is Centrino? Why should we pay more for less? (the Centrino chip runs from 1.3 to 1.6 Ghz vs 2Ghz+ chips from the Pentium 4 - mobile line) I finally figured it out... not taking much credit here - it was a simple Google search.

Centrino is a brand. A laptop can have the Centrino brand if it has:

1. The Pentium M processor (different from the Pentium 4M processor)
2. The Intel 855 chipset
3. The Intel Pro/Wireless mini PCI card

What you really want is the Pentium-M chip. It runs 'slower' than the P4, but it saves a hell of a lot more power as long as you're not using it to play movies or other work where the processor is used heavily. For an MBA student taking notes, making presentations, or writing a spreadsheet, it'll save power when it's not used and get up 5 hours of battery life... your mileage may vary. Compared to a ~2 hour life with the P4, it's a sweet deal.

Takeaway: look for a Pentium-M laptop for extended battery life; Centrino is not required! Be careful of 'cheap' laptops with the P4 if what you really want is the extended battery life of the Pentium M. Don't be fooled by the speed of the chip - the Pentium M will run at 1.3-1.6 Ghz. If you see a 2Ghz machine, it's not a Pentium M.