Mirror Magazine


Shattering sounds at 'Youth Live'
The sounds of ear-splitting guitar riffs, adrenaline pumping drum beats and pulse raising bass fill-ins are about to erupt in the city and cause all rock fanatics to simply... get rocking!

Mighty Gospel powerhouse 'Ezra' will take the stage, together with the raw talents of 'Mute' and 'Hi-Octane' to kick off an electrifying evening. Together with this line up of 'rock-greats', making their debut into the local rock scene is 'Reap', an amateur, energetic rock band who claim that they make the streets resound with their music.

All this happens at 'Youth Live 2003', the first of a string of annual rock concerts aimed at creating greater opportunity for youth rock bands. The organizers of 'Youth Live 2003', 'The Kollupitiya Methodist Church Youth Fellowship' say, "There's something we want to say and we want you to hear it!"

The show is scheduled to begin with the sounds of 'Hi-Octane'. The thunderous clashes of 'Mute' will follow as they rev it up, paving the way for 'Reap' to take the spotlight. Reap features Chrishantha (CC) on vocals, Pradeep and Rajind (TJ) on lead and rhythm, Nirmala on acoustic, Timothy (Timmy) on bass and Lahiru on drums. Bringing the evening to an earth shattering climax will be the winners of TNL Onstage 2002, Ezra with Billy on lead and vocals, Dale and Joshua on rhythm, Yohan on bass and Romesh on drums.

'Youth Live 2003' happens on Saturday, September 6, at the Methodist College Auditorium, Colombo 3, from 7.00 p.m. onwards. Tickets priced at Rs. 150/ are available at the entrance and at the KMC office, tel. 573280 (office hours). For more information call 071 2285653.

Gear up to be entertained. 'Youth Live 2003' is about to erupt in style!

Techno Page
By Harendra Alwis

Motherboard chipset - The traffic cops
The system chipset and controllers are the logic circuits that are the intelligence of the motherboard. They are the "traffic cops" of the computer, controlling data transfers between all the integrated parts within the computer. Since data flow is such a critical issue in the operation and performance of so many parts of the computer, even though the fact is rarely appreciated, the chipset is one of the few components that have a truly major impact on your PC's quality, features and speed. As one of the most important decisions made by anyone choosing or building a new PC is which processor is desired, the key to making the decision of what type, speed and even what number of processors to use is the motherboard, and in particular the chipset that controls it.

What exactly is a "chipset"? It sounds like something very complex but really is not, although many of the functions it performs are. A chipset is just a set of chips (duhh!). At one time, most of the functions of the chipset were performed by multiple, smaller controller chips. There was a separate chip (often more than one) for each function like controlling the cache memory, performing direct memory access (DMA), handling interrupts, transferring data over the I/0 bus, etc. Over time these chips were integrated to form a single set of chips, or a chipset, that implements the various control features on the motherboard. This went parallel with the evolution of the microprocessor itself because at one time many of the features on a Pentium for example were on separate chips.

There are several advantages to integration but the two primary ones are cost reduction and better compatibility because the more things that are done by a single chip or group of chips from one manufacturer, the simpler the design is and the less chance of a problem. Sometimes the chipset chips are referred to as ASICs (application-specific integration circuits), which I suppose they are, although there are many other types of ASICs as well.

The system chipset in most cases does not integrate all of the circuitry needed by the motherboard. Most motherboards have the following controllers on them:

* The system chipset itself.
* The keyboard controller, which manages not only the keyboard but also the integrated PS/2 mouse
* The Super I/0 chip, which handles input and output from the serial ports, parallel port, floppy disks, and in some cases, the IDE hard disks as well
* Additional built-in controllers that are normally found in expansion cards: video, sound, network and SCSI controllers being the most common.

System BIOS
BIOS stand for Basic Input/Output System, although the full term is used very infrequently. The system BIOS is the lowest-level software in the computer; it acts as an interface between the hardware (especially the chipset and processor) and the operating system. The BIOS provides access to the system hardware and enables the creation of the higher-level operating systems (DOS, Windows 95, etc.) that you use to run your applications. The BIOS is also responsible for allowing you to control your computer's hardware settings, for booting up the machine when you turn on the power or hit the reset button, and various other system functions.

Even though the BIOS plays many different and critical operations within your computer, it is most famous for the BIOS setup programme, the little built-in utility that lets you set the many functions that control how your computer works. Most people confuse the BIOS with the CMOS which of course is inaccurate. CMOS refers to the technology used to create the tiny memory where the BIOS settings are stored.

System cache
The system cache is responsible for a great deal of the system performance improvement of today's PCs. The cache is a buffer of sorts between the very fast processor and the relatively slow memory that serves it. (The memory is not really slow, it's just that the processor is much faster.) The presence of the cache allows the processor to do its work while waiting for memory far less often than it otherwise would.

There are in fact several different "layers" of cache in a modern PC, each acting as a buffer for recently-used information to improve performance, but when "the cache" is mentioned without qualifiers, it normally refers to the "secondary" or "level 2" cache that is placed between the processor and system RAM.

Here ends our discussion about the motherboard and its various components. Next week we will move onto the talk about secondary storage devices, but in the meantime, don't hesitate to write in with news, views, criticisms, ideas and questions at the usual e-mail address.

First game-playing DNA computer revealed!
The first game-playing DNA computer - an enzyme-powered tic-tac-toe machine - has been revealed. The human player makes his or her moves by dropping DNA into 3 by 3 square of wells that make up the board. The device then uses a complex mixture of DNA enzymes to determine where it should place its nought or cross, and signals its move with a green glow.

The device, dubbed MAYA, was developed by Milan Stojanovic, at Columbia University in New York, and Darko Stefanovic, at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Kobi Benenson, who works on other DNA approaches at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, says the work demonstrates the most complex use of molecules as logic gates to date, and "represents a significant advance in DNA computing."

The human player has nine types of DNA strand, each with a sequence specific to a particular square. To make a move, one type of strand is added to all the squares, as all must be aware of the choice.

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