Sunday, November 30, 2008

Details are important (the devil is in them)

When contracted to do work the first thing to remember is listen. Often your client (or potential client) is upset or frustrated because they have been unable to resolve the issue. What they seek from you is assurance. So many make the mistake as I stated in an earlier post of not listening and instead of assuring them or belaying their fears trying to impress them with their technical knowledge – this is a mistake.  Details are not just technical they relate to how you interact. Your first job is to calm fears and concerns – to put people at ease not increase their anxiety. I could give you many steps to follow but I can give you the answer in one step – shut up and listen. Allow them to get their frustration of their chest and then once they have walk them through solving the problem. Telling them how stupid (technically) they are or the mistakes they made only serves to exaggerate the problem by making them feel even worst for not being able to figure things out and why should they be able to they do not have your specialized knowledge, if they did they would not need you – remember when they are coming to you it is because they know something is wrong and are vulnerable. They are admitting this vulnerability to you have a simple choice on a path forward. 

Being a technical person (detail oriented) I tend to see things and patterns that most people miss. Often even before people do things I can predict based in their behavior what they are going to do in general and yet I have to be careful because sometimes in doing that instead of predicting I can create an outcome. When you talk above people’s heads and down to them instead of listening and offering comfort and reassurance that is exactly what you are doing – creating an outcome and most likely not the one you were hoping for – focusing on your ego instead of the client’s need. An important detail is put your ego in check. 

Lets move on the next important detail – do not baffle your client with BS. You are impressing no one when you talk around things or over their head (alluded to this in another post). Remember it took you many years to learn the knowledge you have and they lack the benefit of it. Remember when you first started learning things you did not get it either guess what they are you. The greatest tool in your arsenal to handle this is again listening combined with asking questions. 

Some typical questions include: 

  • What do YOU want to accomplish?
  • What do YOU want me to do?
  • What do YOU think?
  • What were YOU doing when the problem occurred?
  • In YOUR own words tell me what you saw?
  • What do YOU think the problem is?
  • How can I help YOU? 

Are YOU seeing a pattern in the questions yet? 

Once you have gathered the information analyze it and now you must explain it in a way the client understands – let’s use audio equipment as the topic of interest. There are really only a few major components in any audio (sound) system

  1. Media Recording
  2. Media Playback
  3. Signal Amplification
  4. Sound Reproduction 

In each case in an ideal world you want a situation were the components do an accurate job of recreating the original sounds. Seems simple when I explain it like that right? It is and yet there is more detail – lets open the hood and look inside: 

  • Media Recording and Input
    1. CD
    2. Cassette
    3. Reel to Reel
    4. DVD
    5. Digital media
    6. Mixers
    7. Equalizers
    8. Mics (corded and cordless)
  • Media Playback
    1. CD
    2. Cassette
    3. Reel to Reel
    4. DVD
    5. Digital media
    6. Mixers
    7. Equalizers
  • Signal Amplification
    1. Digital amplifiers
    2. Analogue amplifiers
  • Sound Reproduction
    1. Tweeters
    2. Midrange
    3. Woofers
    4. Passive radiators
    5. Sub Woofers 

There is more that could be discussed – distortions, signal to noise, signal drop, decibel levels, noise reduction, fidelity, cross over frequencies, frequency response, signal clipping, gain, signal strength, and on and on – know what – the client really does not care about all of that an unless asked to explain do not (exception: if the client is technically inclined they do to some extent but even then not the how they mostly want to know why did you make the selection – root causes). 

Audio systems should be designed with the end use in mind and truthfully there are only three (3)

  1. Voice reproduction
  2. Instrumental reproduction
  3. Both Voice and Instrumental reproduction 

Once you have listened to your client the only thing they want to know is will it solve their problem and when can you have it done. So now that I have gone into these high level details the only thing that a client want to here is the answer the question they are asking. Let’s use an example – a client has a need for a PA system for a small school library. After following the steps outlined in the previous post your answer should be no more complicated or technical and no less concise than this: 

Here is a solution/system that you enable you to do what YOU want. In this case “Here is a system that will allow you to speak to a room full of people and we have 2 corded and cordless mics to allow you some flexibility.” 

Of course if you are good you have made allowances for future expansion and/or system augmentation. Details are important as technical people we appreciate that structure is required to make things work and we thrive on information and yet we must always focus on the audience – the client and speak with them at their level but mostly listen to what they are telling you. Provide the appropriate amount of detail based on who you are dealing with, be honest, be concise, take care of the details. 

Image source

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Practicality in design

Allow me to tie the previous five (5) posts together – the process of securing assets albeit hard or soft is to restrict access thereby protecting them from thief. It is impossible to totally to make anything 100% secure because the more secure you make something the less user friendly it becomes. 

Wonder how all of this ties together - here is how:

The steps at a high level are

  1. You listen to what the client says they want
  2. You study their infrastructure
  3. You design system
  4. You negotiate the equipment cost
  5. You estimate the labor costs
  6. You make a recommendation to the client
  7. You get acceptance
  8. You schedule the shipment
  9. You schedule the install
  10. You arrange payment to vendor
  11. You instruct installation team
  12. You pay vendors
  13. You pay installers
  14. You get paid 

See how these for all tie together – sure there is more detail than what I am outlining but really it is this simple if you do not take the time to listen and understand, convey the benefits and risks, make a best recommendation and follow through in a timely manner not only will the client not get what they want or need you will most likely not get paid because they will not be satisfied nor will your people because you made a commitment to them and did not live up to it. 

Sure I could have done this as one post, actually considered 12 because each step is important but wanted to take the five (5) issues I considered key to Technology, Security and A/V to show how using each effectively allows you to service the client.

Effective Communication is the key to retaining clients and employees

As a business owners/supplier you are compensated for providing a timely and cost effective solution to your client it is really that simple. In order to do that first you must remain silent and listen to what the client is telling you they want understanding that there will be times they are unsure of what it is they want. Then you look and evaluate the situation to determine where their wants and need intersect.

The quickest way in many cases to loose business is to appear like you do not know, indecisive or give inconsistent responses to the same questions. Consistency also indicates predictability. Your success often depends on your ability to listen effectively, gather information based on facts, assess the stated want vs the desired need vs the current situation and make a single concise statement as to the path forward.

Lets take this a step further – when dealing with your staff a level of open honest communication and dialogue is also important. An open door policy is important and they should understand you value as well as incorprate (when possible) their knowledge and feedback. Just like your clients need to be assured you have some idea what your doing your employees and contractors need that same assurance – that they are valued and money does not accomplish this. Also it is important that you be consistent with your answers to your suppliers, contractor and employees. Being inconsistent and providing a different answer to the same question erodes your credibility with them.

The best example of this was my mentor in corporate Charlie Rodgers, he was the plant manager. I do not think there was a thing, a person, or a client he did not know by name. When in the plant he would do his dailt rounds and speak to the people he saw calling them by name and asking if there was anything they needed. Under his leadership the plant thrived.

Clear communication and transparency generates loyalty, good will and engenders trust. Letting your clients and employees know in advance what is going to happen increases their confidence in you as well as enhances the good will toward you and your company.

Do not leave your clients or your employees clueless.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Reputation and Credibility

  1. Ethics vs Principles
  2. Expedience vs Strategic
  3. Compromise vs Respect
  4. Betrayal vs Loyalty
  5. Excuses vs Performance
  6. Convenience vs Commitment 

The above are just some of the factors that go into your reputation as an employee, sales person, technical expert, business owner, or company. Ideally in each case you want to be on the right not the left. 

Let’s briefly take each word left first than right to see the difference in conduct and how that affects your reputation and character. This in turn affects trust and without trust there is no good will and without good will there is no business. 

Starting with the left: 

  1. Ethics – seem good but what if your basis revolved around money – this implies you would do anything to acquire it – lie, cheat, steal, sleep with a client to get a sale, you get the idea
  2. Expedience – this is consistently taking the easy way out
  3. Compromise – this is for many means taking shortcuts
  4. Betrayal – this is not holding in confidence what is share by a client
  5. Excuses – false reasons why you did not perform
  6. Convenience – thinking short term and doing what is easy now 

New lets go to the right: 

  1. Principles – these are hard standards of operation and conduct
  2. Strategy – making long term plans and goals and moving toward them
  3. Respect – being known for being a business and person of your word
  4. Loyalty – being true and faithful to your contract, agreements, mission and client
  5. Performance – providing tangible and documented results with respect to what you agreed
  6. Commitment – being able to be counted on to do exactly what you say when you promised to deliver 

So which business or business person do you want to work or associate with? Which would you like as a client, employee, vendor or contractor? Which would you trust with your businesses' well being?

Answer the question honestly

Principles are universal – rules apply in only certain situations – best to stick to principles.  A simple example - put me in an academic environment and I will thrive yet you take a person with the same aptitudes and intelligence but who hates to read they will not. Also take a good leader what makes them good is their desire to digest and share their knowledge to share it with others to inspire them people who like to mange and control make very bad leaders.

That said lets talk above the subject at hand – questions and answers. A valuable principle to internalize is that you should always answer the question asked directly, concisely, and honestly. If a client asks you if you can do something you should answer

  • Yes, I can
  • No, I cannot
  • I do not know I will get back to you by ____ date with an answer. 

In employees you should look for the same quality. If you find someone who is ambiguous, avoids answering questions, makes excuses, evades, talks around or gets angry when you seek clarity and/or changes the subject chances are this person will not be a good fit for you or your company depending on your company’s culture regarding behavior because you will not be able to depend on this person to help you find a solution.  Also be leary of people not willing to put anything in writing it is an indicator they have no desire to be held accountable. As a potential employee seeking work, contractor seeking work or supplier seeking a vendor avoid these type of companies and this major red flag

In answering a question the focus is not and should never be on yourself but on your client, your employee or the person you are talking to – outward not inward focus is what is important. It is important to have an attitude of service and humility. 

Just a thought to ponder on one of the many ways to help you succeed in business!

Do no wrong

Even if you think you got away with it and the person you deceived does not know because no one saw you or you did not get caught – you know, the Creator knows, the Universe knows and your Ancestors know as a result at some point you will be held accountable – it is not a matter of if, it is only a matter of when and by whom!

Are a few extra dollars or a quick fix worth your client base or your reputation?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Clear and concise communication

As a business this is important. So often business owners are obtuse and confused when people do not act or react in a way that makes sense to them and often the client or recipient of the information is not the one at fault (it is not their responsibility to interpret) rather it is yours to ensure you conveyed the information in a form and format the intended recipient can understand clearly and decisively.

I will be the first to admit that while my written, business and public communication skills are outstanding I have mush work to do in the personal arena and part of improving is first admitting there is an area that needs enhancement or augmentation. There are basically two approaches you can take to solve this
  1. Get someone who understands what you mean and is able to properly convey the idea
  2. Enhance your ability
Both work and are equally effective

Allow me to elaborate – the other day I was at a client site and was observing a contractor. He was explaining how tight money was and how it would be nice to have some extra change. The problem was at no point did he clearly state – I would like (if possible) for you to pay me the money owed for my work now.

Imagine doing a sales pitch and never asking for the business?

Can you imagine how effective I would be if I explained a technical problem like this:

  • “I have diagnosed your computer I have determined the problem lies in its ability to communicate with the external peripheral namely your printer which uses the IEEE1394 protocol and I fixed it.” 
I know your not impressed either right. Now what if I said:
  • “The reason your printer was not working is it was not plugged into the fire wire port here – once I plugged it in it worked.”

Better right – why – because I made an effort to explain things on a level the person could understand and built a common reference point by showing them the connection and port – get it!

Now lets take this internal to your business. Imagine you as am employer telling your employees things are tight now. In your mind you said where – that was easy I let them know the situation – truth is you did not – at no point did you clearly state definitively – payroll may be a little late but I promise as soon as I have the money you will be paid.

This is why developing your communication skills is important – it affects how effective you are in business.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

My partial list:

  • Thankful for the liars – they taught me the value of integrity
  • Thankful for the disloyal – they taught the rarity of true friendship and family and appreciate those who stood by me and sacrificed for me even at times when I did not deserve it
  • Thankful for the manipulators – they taught me the importance of leadership
  • Thankful for the people who let me down – they taught me how resourceful and resilient I can be
  • Thankful for the failure – they taught me humility and gave the chance to learn about myself and new ways to do things
  • Thankful for the people too busy for me – they taught me to appreciate the people who think highly enough to invest their knowledge time in helping me
  • Thankful for my shortcomings – they provided me the chance to reflect on how far I had come and provide me a chance to improve
  • Thankful for the pain – it taught me to appreciate the joy
  • Thankful for what I lost – it taught me the value of what is really important
  • Thankful for my mistakes – they gave me a chance to grow
  • Thankful for the people who talk about me behind my back – they remind me that I must be on close to the right path because I do not conform to them
  • Thankful for the people who do not get or understand me or tried to change me – they taught me that we are all unique and to appreciate the unique gifts we each have and the importance of not using the copout of if you only observed because it is not their job to try to understand me, it is mine to make sure to the best of my ability the get what I mean so I must build common reference points

Bottom line I am thankful to be alive to have a chance to learn, grow, and become more than I was the day before and to move closer to my life goals with my friends, family, those that love, respect and accept me for who I am!

What are you thankful for?

Be well and remain blessed!

A little information about recovering lost data

Windows uses a FAT (File Allocation Tables) or NTFS (NT File System) to allow the Widows O/S to know what it is looking for and where it resides. There are times that these indexes (just like you would use in a tabbed file system) get messed up. When you file the tabs off of file folders the data is still there it just takes extra effort to find it – same holds true for hard drives.

Now if a situation happens were a patter fails or say in a real life situation a fire burns and damages the folder – the data may still be there in parts but need to be reconstructed and yes there may be times when the data is just gone. Typically though to totally delete data you have to over write it multiple times and magnetically wipe the drive clean.. Currently drives are mechanical and with all mechanical devices failures do occur but services exists to recover your data especially if it has sentimental value or it is business critical.

Image care of wikimedia

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What is a network?

Basically a network is a method of allowing computers to talk to each other using wires (category cable) and wireless (Wi-Fi). Depending on the wiring and switch (network controller) a wired network can reach speeds of up to 1000Mbps while a wireless up to 54Mbps.

I know wireless sees slow but for browsing internet is plenty because even on fiber often the cap is 10 Mbps.

The best way to think about is is use your phone system – in a wireless you have the phone and the base unit (the wireless card and wireless router). In a regular phone you have a chorded with plugs into the wall (network card to wired router). The router regardless of type speaks to the modem (if it is not built in) and then connects to the internet.

That was a slightly less technical answer – simply worked A computer network is a group of interconnected computers

Thinking outside the box

Typically when a PC has major problems and becomes too expensive and time consuming many would give up because typically there are 3 choices

1. Leave it alone
2. Wipe it clean and start over from scratch
3. Get rid of it and buy a new one

This was going to be the case here because the system lost the ability to function in a normal environment – in controlled situations with no other interference it functioned fine.

Sometimes despite your knowledge, intentions and best efforts you cannot some things cannot be fixed. It does not mean you are bad at what you do just that the operating system or hardware is so corrupted that it is not worth trying to save any parts of it, the effort and price exceeds any possible return.

However there is a forth answer that requires a new and creative approach = separating the problems and dealing with each seperately. Once it was determined that the legacy protocol (TCP/IP) worked the solution became obvious and option number 4 presented itself – give the computer a translator so to speak – enable it to communicate the way it wanted and allow the smart device to connect to the

The Solution: Essentially installed a device that connected to network port. The network port talks to the smart device and the smart device connects to the wireless network. Basically what was done is the computer was given a built-in translator because it forgot how to speak French. So this device speaks French 9talks to the wireless) translates the information and in turn tells the computer in English. Another way of thinking about it the computer is unable to learn a new way of dong things so connected a device that would do and tell it in a way is understands. In short the computer thinks it is connected to a wired network.

When you look at the above picture the two devices on the right are those that rely on the hard ware/software and software respectively and the one on the far left is the one that is a smart device that solved the problem because it does not depend on the newer technology.

The moral of the story – often the best answer is the last answer one you never would have considered and often it requires a non traditional approach instead of relying on the same old patterns of troubleshooting – as the saying goes to get something you never had you must do something you have never done – leave the familiar and risk trying something new – in this case taking the solution out of the case and making it independent allowing each issue to be resolved separate from the other.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What is Bluetooth?

Short answer – Bluetooth (IEEE Standard 802.15.1-2002) is a short range communication using a device’s internal radio to grant two way communication between enabled devices using Gaussian frequency shift keying (GFSK) AKA short burst frequency hoping.

Bluetooth typically requires you to enter an authorization key to connect it to the wireless network. The average range of most Bluetooth devices is 30 feet (thought some can work almost as far away as Wi-Fi) yet the speed of transfer is much slower version 1 = 1 Mbit/s and version 2 = 3 Mbit/s. It should be noted that there is an expectation to enable Bluetooth to handle broadband (WiMedia Alliance - 53 - 480 Mbit/s)

With Bluetooth you can transfer data (address books and pictures) and device control information (keyboards and mice)

Some of the devices that may have Bluetooth enabled transmitters and receivers are:

• Keyboards
• Nice
• Speakers
• Printers
• Game station consoles
• Headphones
• Cellular phones
• Cameras
• GPS Receivers

Note: There are 79 bands (seperated by 1 MHz)in Bluetooth starting at 2.402 GHz (look familiar)?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What is Wi-Fi?

Wireless is here to stay it seems so what is it. Think of it as a telephone for the computer. A network cable is a chorded phone line and wireless is a cordless signal the card the antennae. For those of you old enough to remember there were and still are walkie-talkies (radios).

Wi-Fi is indeed a radio signal in the 2.4 MHz band width range. In the early days there was a problem because this was also a frequency shared with some cordless phones which in term caused the signals to be cancelled out. I could ist the actual frequency of the 11 US channels but you can search for them easily on the internet.

Due to the amount of wireless routers many are starting to use encryption to protect their network from intrusion. Think of encryption as a key to a door – WEP would be like a combination lock without which you could not open the door and some of the other more like keys. I tend to prefer n some cases leaving the network open and restricting access by MAC address – this is like a biometric reader – if your laptop does not have the right unique finger print no access. Can it be clones – sure if you know how which many do not and have even done some installs where I have done both.

There are many standards to Wi-Fi under 802.11 though there are 4 people know about and three most people see in the store, each has its advantages:

  • A - 5.25, 5.6 and 5.8 GHz - 54 Mbps - fast speed/greater range
  • B – 2.4 GHz - 11 Mbps - slower speed/ greater range
  • G – 2.4 GHz - 54 Mbps - faster speed/greater range/less interference
  • N – 2.4 GHz - 54 Mbps - MIMO – multiple input multiple output uses two antennae (one to send and the other to receive) – faster speed/greater range/less interference

In another post Bluetooth will be discussed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hard Drive Failure

The hard drive on my main PC needs to be replaced, there are bad sectors on it corrupting the data. Simply worded it is becoming incapable of accurately storing information. Imagine for a second if you saw the color green and thought it was blue or for that matter could not remember seeing it at all?

The hard drive is the device in the computer that stores your data and your operating system. Think of it much like your brain. If anything happens to your brain some functions will be possible, the lights will light up and the keys will work be dependingon the extent of the damage either no one will be home, you will be non-responsive or you may start to do crazy random things like forget what happened, imagine things, or just remember incorrectly.

Unlike a human though a computer can have a brain transplant trick is making sure the technology is compatable with your PC depending on age.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lessons from the military (as taught by my dad the tech sergeant)

army marines air force navy
As some of you know I am an Air force brat. My father was a tech sergeant in SAC before the reorganization. As I get older it is funny how much we are like our parents and yet why should we be surprised – they raised us. Here are some of the lessons I learned growing up:

  • Service before self
  • Unit before self
  • It is about the mission not the individual
  • Remove people who are not helping you accomplish the mission at head
  • Swiftly and decisively deal with people of questionable ethics
  • Honor before all else
  • Understand your assignment
  • Follow all orders except bad one
  • Plan your work and work your plan
  • Think strategically
  • Protect your family at all costs
  • Give respect to receive respect
  • Respect the person not the rank
  • Avoid a fight is you can
  • If the enemy will not let you avoid a fight decimate the enemy leaving them no grown to stand on and no quarter to retreat
  • The best way to win a war is never to fight one but if you are left no choice to win commit all, decimate your enemy, scorch the earth leaving them no quarter to retreat, and be willing to die for your beliefs
  • Losing a battle does not mean the war is lost
  • Set a clear objective
  • Eliminate things and people who do not assist you in achieving the objective
  • Eliminate people who cannot carry their own weight or make the minimum cut
  • Know politics enough to know when they are coming so you can avoid them
  • It is not what people say that matters but what they do in times of pressure and crisis
  • Reward loyalty
  • Reward respect
  • Reward honesty and character
  • Reward performance
  • Tolerate no disrespect
  • Do not argue with a fool or waste time with people
  • Never BS
  • Never tolerate BS
  • Respect is not given freely it is earned
  • Communicate clearly and concisely
  • Say what you mean, mean what you say and then do it
  • Know your job and do it well
  • Be a person of impeccable integrity
  • Lead not by words but by example
  • Expect nothing less than the best
  • Let your work speak for you
  • Hold people accountable to their words
  • Help those you can and who are willing to learn
  • Openly share your knowledge with others
  • Do not ask for or demand respect conduct yourself such that people have no choice but to respect you

Granted not many sergeants get promoted to the commissioned officer ranks and yet those who spent time in the military know the Sergeants are actually the people who run the military not the commissioned officers and consider the Sergeants are often the ones training the officers.

There are other lessons, but these were the lessons taught by my father growing up in both word and example

Change or die

See this tribute 

  • How many people remember when phone numbers were just 7 digits – actually 2 letter and 5 numbers
  • How many people remember the phone booth
  • How many people remember the rotary phone
  • How many people remember the pay phone 

So do you use a pay or a cell phone now? 

Ok, now for the question – what lessons can we learn from this that can be applied to business and should be applied to business (say a small business) or for that matter the automobile industry?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ask the right question to get the right answer

Art Comments

With so much talk about the economy, big banks and large corporations I just thought it was time to ask the simple questions that are relevant

  • How is this economy affecting you?
  • How is it affecting your job?
  • How is it affecting the company where you work?
  • How is it affecting your family (parents, aunts, uncles, etc)?
  • How is it affecting your friends?
  • How is it affecting your neighborhood and community?

Too often people do what is not in their best interest or do the opposite of what is in their best interest long term. Traditional thinking would say money is tight cut back and yet an inspired person would say - now is the time to position myself in the market. The common person would pay more for food and entertainment to numb the pain of what is going on, an inspired person would look at how they can embrace technology and change to improve their processes and streamline what they are doing. Now is not the time to cut back or stop purchases, especially of technology now is the time to look at how you can best invest your money to allow you to work more effeciently and give yourself more time to service your clients or spend time with family or do the things that you find important in life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Computers and processors

Let us start off with the basics of a computer. A computer is a device that allows you to do computations faster than you could by hand. It is a tool to make your life more convenient and productive. It has many uses from the simple enhanced word processor to a storage device for information to a controller device for machinery to device to model and chart music to a device to perform mathematical calculations. Further there are software programs that exist that allow your computer’s CPU to be networked with others to create large virtual processors of immense power. 

The type main Operating system are Windows – Microsoft and Mac – Apple. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and each essentially for a while had a niche – MACs were more for graphic design and music while Windows became the business platform of choice. Of course there are operating systems out there Unix, Linux, Java, O/S 2 warp, DOS. Instead of listing all of the systems this link will provide a list of many most of which you may not know due to their age or the fact they pertain to a niche market. Most modern operating systems (O/S) make use of a GUI (Graphical user interfaces) which allows the user to interact with a computer more easily. GUIs have their respective strengths and weaknesses also. While they make it easier for the average user to interact with the system in some cases the limit the functionality of the machine limited it to certain tasks. 

What is common in all computers is they each contain a processor that routes and handles the information – think of a processor like your brain – remove it and the PC does not work. There are two main (well known) companies by brand:

  • AMD – more popular with business applications
  • Intel – more popular with gamers or people wanting advanced graphics also a little more pricy

If you open a case often you will see the processor (CPU – central processing unit) under a heat sink. The faster a processor is the more heat is creates thus the more robust and greater surface area needed to cool it despite its reduced size – think of it this way the faster you run the more you sweat. 

Processor technology has also advanced – the earlier processors were often custom designed and though Intel is the more recognized brand many of the earlier and other processors (the power of marketing). 

There are many CPU manufactures though – got this list from Wikipedia

Here is where it gets fun and why knowing and understanding specification is important – RAM, Processor and Bus speed all interact to determine how fast your computer is and that is before we get into the speed and capacity of the peripheral devices like memory sticks, hard drives, serial, P/S 2 and USB port but lets just deal with CPUs. CPU technology has advanced much in the previous years – from single to dual to quad core processors. As many of you know on the surface they are rated by clock speed and denoted by GHz. Yet, if we hold all things other factors constant many do not realize a 3 GHz single core has less processing speed than a 2.5 GHz dual core which has less than a 2 GHz quad core. Lets doe the math – 3x1 = 3, 2.5 x 2 = 5, 2 x 4 = 8. It is more complicate then that because you do have to factor in core clock rate, FSB (Front Side Bus) speed, RAM (Random Access Memory (volatile)) speed and other things to make sure you are comparing apples to apples (no pun intended) yet not understanding this is what causes many to get a lesser system and pay greater amounts of money. The ability to read and understand the detailed specifications of a system are key to assuring and insuring you get the best value for your money.

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