Instant on Computers, When?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
It struck me how little basic computer architecture has changed in the last 30 some odd years.

I'd have thought by now we wouldn't have to deal with the BIOS/Firmware, with all of their inherent problems. Meanwhile we still have to wait for our computers to start up and shut down.



Why haven't OS designers put more work into creating an instant on computer? We never seem to hear any news that we are even remotely close to having a computer that would just be on at the touch of the button.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    thuh freakthuh freak Posts: 2,664member
    there are a lot of things the computer does on startup, delaying its boot time. it has to locate the hd, find the kernel, load the kernel into memory, the kernel then has to perform whatever checks it has for the system, there's also a point where all the various services are started, and more. i think the people, or market, generally prefer the computer to be more useable, than to be quicker.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    1980
  • Reply 3 of 12
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,131member
    My 'puter is always "Instant On" ....





    I never turn it off.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    You could just get an old compact Mac like a Plus and boot from a System 6.0 floppy. That only takes about 5-10 seconds.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    netromacnetromac Posts: 863member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    I never turn it off.



    "off" ? What's that?
  • Reply 6 of 12
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dygysy

    Why haven't OS designers put more work into creating an instant on computer?



    Because it isn't necessary.



    Deep sleep and near-instant wake is plenty good enough for me. Really, why would you need to shut down rather than sleep except for when you have to actually remove the power supply from the computer?
  • Reply 7 of 12
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brad

    Because it isn't necessary.



    Deep sleep and near-instant wake is plenty good enough for me. Really, why would you need to shut down rather than sleep except for when you have to actually remove the power supply from the computer?




    exactly! i can't be hassled with waiting up to 60 seconds ever time i move my computer!
  • Reply 8 of 12
    I guess I must be old school, because I shut mine down every night. That is partly because whenever there is a storm, my block likes to lose electricity for a minute.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Mac Man 020581

    I guess I must be old school, because I shut mine down every night. That is partly because whenever there is a storm, my block likes to lose electricity for a minute.



    nah i normally shut mine down at night, but it isn't as necessary with new macs, because of how efficiently they sleep...actually anythign with OS X sleeps rather nicely



    what is the point of shutting down for a storm, u can have ur computer automaticaly restart after a power outage, and its not like its less likely for ur computer to get fried if u have it off (things have to be unplugged to be safe)





    i would get a surge protector though, i love sitting online during storms knowing i'm safe
  • Reply 10 of 12
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    Heh, my TiBook can be a bit testy about sleeping/waking up, even with OS 10.2. It seems, even with the myriad updates we've gotten, unplugging my mouse or hub from the machine while closed/asleep (in preparations to case it) never fails to render the laptop frozen, requiring a restart. I have to make a habit of unplugging everything before sleeping now if I plan on taking it somewhere. And it does strange things (locks up but comes back eventually) when I put in my PC-card adapter for CF cards.



    Enough complaining about little things, though. Yeah, I usually sleep it. Instant on is nice, albeit that DHCP sometimes takes its sweet time. Oh, how much mail I could delete in those 5 or 6 seconds.



    And now that I found a free sleep timer for iTunes, everything is wonderful and almost perfect!
  • Reply 11 of 12
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dygysy

    It struck me how little basic computer architecture has changed in the last 30 some odd years.

    I'd have thought by now we wouldn't have to deal with the BIOS/Firmware, with all of their inherent problems. Meanwhile we still have to wait for our computers to start up and shut down.





    1) what's inherently wrong with firmware? If i go ahead and say the term "special purpose register" that's not going to mean anything to you. Anyway, memory does not keep it's value when the power is off. And there is internal memory on the chip (special purpose registers) that determine the control signals among other things. The chip (and the rest of the machine) need to be initialized. Firmware doesn't take long to run. You'll need this on an instant on computer, too.



    2) Computer architecture has changed a lot since 73, if you ask me. I can outline some advances.

    - Microprocessors. Before there was TTL

    - vector/parallel processing (Cray)

    - ALUs that don't suck

    - Pipelining & multicycle design

    - Caching

    - EEPROM, EPROM, Flash memory, NVRAM.

    - FPGA's



    Unless we move beyond binary and transistors, it's not going to change much from this.



    Quote:



    Why haven't OS designers put more work into creating an instant on computer? We never seem to hear any news that we are even remotely close to having a computer that would just be on at the touch of the button.





    Because there aren't a lot of OS designers who know shit from shit when it comes to computer design. The data on a slow hard disk needs to be moved to RAM. If you booted system 8.1 onto a G4 mac, it wouldn't take long. If you want an "Instant" on computer, you'll have to load the fimware and the OS into some sort of nonvolatile memory. And it will still take some amount of time to load, because the RAM needs to be checked.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    klinuxklinux Posts: 453member
    When? How about a few years back?



    Sharp Zaurus is literally a little linux machine that you can do many *nix stuff in. PocketPC is also instant-on. Sure, it can't run any native x86 apps but at least terminal service is built-in and I easily use it with my compact flash NIC card to connect to any Windows server (whether you can do any meaningful work at 320x240 that's another question). The new Palms, although still lacking a real FS, finally do use a real processor. I am not familiar with Newton but they are also StrongARM based.



    You may not argue that they are not real computers but seriously they can do what 90% of users do 90% of the time: e-mail, web, music/movie playback, etc.
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