Lúthien wrote:here's one thing that I never understood: what's the function / point / advantage of having something like a "video server" over just using an extra disk drive?
I have a cheap 1 TB disk hooked up to my wifi access point so that it is accessible from everything on the LAN. I can simply copy a video file on that drive and watch it.
What does a "video server" do that I can't do with my setup?
Well, for one thing, a disk drive in itself will do you no good regardless of capacity if you don't have a PC to connect it to. We have no
spare PC's. To explain the situation better, I shall gives you a techy explanation that some geek has helpfully already presented for me:
The "RSX" GPU in the PS3 is literally a 7900GT at 550MHz with 8 ROPs disabled, and only 256MB of DDR3 1400MHz on a 128-bit memory bus. The Cell Processor is a custom IBM Power PC CPU and it's completely unlike anything we've ever seen, or likely will ever see in a desktop PC. It's not necessarily faster or slower than what you could put in your desktop, just different. It uses the Power PC instruction set, and is an in order processor, and is asymmetrical. The main core known as the PPU in the Cell is basically the same as one of the cores in the Xbox360's Xenos CPU; the Cell in the PS3 also has 7 SPEs (originally 8 but 1 was disabled to improve yields) and 1 of the SPEs is reserved to the PS3's OS, so developers really only have access to 6 of them. If you were doing something that required a lot of branch prediction, any semi-current desktop CPU would beat the Cell. Where the Cell shows its power is with scientific applications due to its massive FP performance, which would outperform even the QX9770 because that's all it was designed to do. If you take a look at the folding@home statistics, there are roughly 6 times as many active donors on Windows than there are PS3 donors, yet the PS3 group has a total performance rating a little over 5x higher than the Windows group.
In a level playing environment both the Xbox360 and PS3 would get pounded by the current highest end hardware on the market, but it isn't a level playing field. In fact, PC games are so poorly optimized in comparison to something you will get on the Xbox360 or PS3, you have to rely on the brute strength of your hardware to compensate for the lazy coding. When we get towards the end of the Xbox360 and PS3 life cycle the gap between the PC and consoles will be huge, but that's what happens when you keep the same hardware for half a decade. [link
In short, I want access to those 6 PowerPC processors. 'De-crippling' their later firmware version (and I think I found a modified one that will let me do that last night, but I have not tried it yet because in the immortal words of Tom Petty "I was too drunk to follow" [link
]). You can do a lot more with this thing than to serve videos -- for example, I could install SugarOS
on a small partition for Elanor. This sort of customization is also why the US. Military uses them (in their case, as a massively parallel processor) [link
]. One of the things this setup does very well is massively fast video format conversion (say, from that antiquated AVI format to the new Matroska (.mkv) format, thus saving a significant amount of space) as the person who wrote the converter (in Java, interestingly) is using all six cores in parallel.
So you see. although the things I do may seem nonsensical on the surface, there is almost always a Cylonic purpose hehind them.
I also wonder .. why would you need a "Boot Other OS" option for a device that does nothing other than give you access to movies?
Because it first boots and runs from its firmware, which they called XMB. Their earlier versions allowed to to exit that and run another customized OS, the later versions don't. Hence, the hacking. Added later:
Also, I am using it for things it was never intended to do, so I have to force it to do them. Of course Sony doesn't want people to use it for anything than playing their Jacassian games & such. But I'm an Anarchist -- what else can I say: defeating a corporation's "intended use" is not quite
as intense as an orgasm, but it's not bad, and sure lasts a lot longer.
On second thoughts, there are a couple of other things that have never made any sense to me at all.
Take Twitter. I have had at least six people explain to me what Twitter is about in the past years, but the explanation doesn't arrive home. As far as I see it, it's' a technology that enables people to send completely meaningless information, to which you have to subscribe. If you have done so, you can then get some Twitter receiver application, which you have to turn on in order to watch what those people are "twittering".
My point is: why would anyone in their right mind be interested in that? If I want to send a message to people, I can send them an email. OK, fair enough. But why would I want to send them a Twit?
No argument there. The only thing I could think of doing with Twittter given its 140 character limit is to send Tweets like "I'm taking a piss!!!" or "Dammit! I'm constipated!"
No, sorry: I'm not into that whole potty sexual fetish thing.
Tsk. People are weird.
"Sukat, her eyes uncovered!"