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Ray Kurzweil's Vision of the Singularity, In Movie Form

Jon Kay Re:All about dates now. (366 comments)

Even AMD realizes the jig is up; they dumped their fabs because they realized they didn't need them anymore. It's not about having the best damned process available anymore. It's about having the lowest power design, the smallest design, the widest/most-parallel design.

That'd be likelier to be because AMD's past history fabbing things is so miserable they couldn't get their hands on the $10s of Bs needed. Intel'd disagree with you - they keep their mastery and the process tech lead they've commanded through most of the microchip's existence. They've done so well because that's always been their first priority, and they put a ton of leading engineers into it, unlike other chip companies.

Fab investment and construction stay strong, just concentrated into fewer and changing actors, like every other industry. Chip density, which's what Moore's law predicts, rather than clock speed, still continues strong. Intel's new chip efforts are about using that density to put more and more stuff into the same chip, and about putting more cores per chip. And, it's about a bigger share of PC costs going to Intel instead of overall PCs getting more expensive.

Now, these multicore chips are a pain for getting gains from our traditional programming models, but neural simulations are the most trivially parallelizable thing out there.

more than 5 years ago

A Real Bill Gates Rant

Jon Kay Re:I know it's a dupe, but... (293 comments)

I don't think Bill Gates is really responsible for the problems with Windows. In fact, I think it's probably one reason why he left when he did. The company just got too big for him to manage day-to-day - he wasn't the one making relatively minor decisions like where Windows Movie Maker sits on the Microsoft web site or how to install it, somebody else was making those decisions. And little decisions like that, all added up together, are 95% of what makes Windows as maddening to use as it is. And he was as annoyed by that stuff as everybody else.

Don't we wish. The fact about Windows is that MS OS' have always been bad. And it's not because knows no better - he's used Unix and other 'real' OS' plenty in his life. No, I'll leave you with a choice between "doesn't care because he's puts lots of successful effort into not having to" and "likes it that way." Clearly Ballmer DOOES like it that, because his watch shows aBD-style security system.

Life even as an Evil Imperial CEO does get old. You have all the power, which is great stuff, especially if you're like Gates, but it's also tons of work and especially stress. The stress gets too much for everybody, in fact, especially if you're in the same CEO slot long.

more than 5 years ago

You Are Not a Lawyer

Jon Kay Re:Pfft, lawyers (693 comments)

So, if you want to effectively vandalize somebody, file a lawsuit. It'll likely cost them more than just bashing up their car or shorting out their wiring, and it's legal. Sure, it's an abuse of the legal system, but that doesn't seem to matter all that much. As a wise person once said on Slashdot (ignoring the oxymoron potential in the first phrase), I can't just require you to write or commission a device driver for me, and take your house if I find a significant bug.

All so true - the court REGULARLY requires you to spend money on your lawyer doing device-driver-like long, technical labor, and for you or companies to be enslaved answering questions and helping that lawyer, whether you like it or can afford it or not.

And, as I explain at length in the article, with examples including the SCO case and Berkeley's Professor Ousterhout, IMHO that that's come to be as corrupt as the original slavery.

If discovery or deposition is required for a case you're in, be sure to ask for the cost recovery request that somehow few lawyers remember to tell you

more than 5 years ago

OLPC 2.0 — One Laptop Foundation Reboots

Jon Kay Re:There was no hijacking (187 comments)

OLPC was the product of the western media lab and the geek mind-set.

OLPC's market was the third world education minister - who was expected to sign the purchase order for 100,000 units --- but otherwise keep his big mouth shut.

HEY!! Negropontes' hardly a typical geek mindset. Not so many of us geeks think the right way to run a big research lab is to keep your goals largely to demos rather than that annoying and hard research stuff. Not so many media labs were run that way, either. His Wired column was just plain weird by geek standards. Most of are also less colonialistic, I think.

Plenty of geek startups have been better-run than OLPC, too.

No, this is just about Negroponte; please don't generalize beyond that.

more than 5 years ago

Texas Board of Education Supports Evolution

Jon Kay Re:common sense (344 comments)

...actually, it's not quite that simple. Although the change they were trying for was disallowed, they did get one victory in by confusion - they are allowed to call into question common descent, Although, there'll be another vote in another few months, at which point the board will have grown much more skeptical of evolutionists' moves, and I expect even that's likely to go away.

You know, even in Texas, to get a near-majority on a school board, anti-evolutionists have to basically lie by omission when running for office and not say anything about it. Very Christian, eh?

Even many Texans who don't believe in evolution themselves understand that there are going to be bad consequences for their kids' educations and the ability to attract biotech.

more than 5 years ago

Obama Edicts Boost FOIA and .gov Websites

Jon Kay Re:can we request the torture vids? (400 comments)

If the orders are technically legal but immoral, then it's up to the soldier's conscience as to whether to follow them or to respectfully refuse to. . . . If it's any consolation, the officer or NCO will probably face court martial.)

...except, that didn't happen here, did it? NONE of the chain of command was held responsible except one scapegoat who tried to resist the torturing at least a little bit.

Trials were strictly for the little man under Bush. To give the military credit, we know from the many leaks that plenty didn't like it, but that was the way it was.

It's scary how effective a President can be when he aims for unaccountability, isn't it? Except, there's no unaccountability to history, Bushie boy.

more than 5 years ago

Can the Auto Industry Retool Itself To Build Rails?

Jon Kay Another often-missed angle on public transit (897 comments)

There's an often-missed angle on public transit: total transit time. has to go up with public transit, including trains, That means you're asking everybody taking them to spend possibly alot more time to go anywhere. My wife doesn't mind, but I do.

Money quote: "In NYC, it seems to take roughly 50 minutes to get anywhere by public transit, more like an hour by car, and the car costs more. Thus, in NYC, it makes sense to take transit. In the medium-size city where I live, it takes 20-30 minutes to drive places. Even if we had NYC-level transit, it'd take a lot longer to go that way."

I'm all in favor of public transit - I figured this stuff out by, well, taking alot of every kind of public transit, and it served me well within its limits. I just want to get one of those limits out in public a bit.

Like Paladin, that's made me also feel like transit rail has some realistic low-end density requirements to be of much help.

While I'm at it, notice that having 15-minute busses is alot cheaper than rail, because you already have lanes in place. And it'd prolly be easier to adapt Detroit to changing to. But you still need reasonable density or you just get lots of empty busses.

more than 5 years ago

The Gamer's Bill of Rights

Jon Kay Oh, Yes, There IS Money In Open Source (272 comments)

...you have failed to notice that no-one would be producing top class games in that environment. The GPL and commercial reality are fundamentally incompatible without some sort of mitigating factor, and high qua6lity games are probably the single best example of this.

Yep, there's no money in Open Source. Red Hat and Canonical are figments of the imagination, as are the over $100 I've sent each way to support my Linux usage. So maybe it's a question of bizplan rather than impracticality.

The reason you should pay attention is because it'll let your industry have fun again.

We operating system geeks used to live in the shadow of operating system vendor concentration as well, especially with respect to Microsoft. and had to sign away our souls and belong to a big institution to play with operating systems. It was getting harder and harder to innovate or have fun. Then one day a man named Linux Torvalds came along with a release of some interest. And FreeBSD was released. And we were all free to have fun and innovate. Yeah, Open Source work's less profitable because it's more efficient and more competitive, but much more fun because billg can't call the tune on it and we can start any new startup any time we choose.

You're where we were. Spore, a great innovation, will be terrible when released because it's under the EA cloud. All the surviving companies are getting bigger and more bureaucratic.

And it's not just OSs with serious free alternatives, but also databases, web caches, languages, office software, and other serious work apps. You have nothing to lose but your chains! ;-)

more than 6 years ago


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