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State of the GitHub: Chris Kelly Does the Numbers

dbc Yeah, so (32 comments)

Yeah, so, I start almost everything I say with "Yeah, so,..."

2 days ago

Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

dbc Re:If systemd is deemed going against unix philoso (809 comments)

Yes. launchd is a royal pain.

I got my original MacBook because it was a good BSD Unix that ran on a lap top and would sync to my PDA (as we called them back then) and everything worked well. OS X Mavericks is getting far enough away from Unix that it is a royal pain to get real work done. Also, Linux now runs quite well on nearly every laptop I throw it at, with minimal hackery. Which leaves only syncing -- but syncing is moving to "the cloud", and with the advent of things like owncloud, OS X is looking less and less compelling.

5 days ago

Netflix CEO On Net Neutrality: Large ISPs Are the Problem

dbc Re:Vote with your feet, literally (181 comments)

Oddly, my cabin in the mountains has a fiber going through my meadow where bears are regularly seen, yet here in the middle of Sili Valley I can get either indifferent DSL speeds or unreliable cable connectivity supplied by idiots. Of course, I admit that having "fiber to the bear turd" is largely a matter of have a lucky rural location positioned between wireless operators that will pay for a carrier-grade fiber connection.

Sadly, moving to where you can get decent internet connectivity is not an option for most people -- I believe economists call that an "externality".

about two weeks ago

Processors and the Limits of Physics

dbc can't cross chip in one clock. big deal. (168 comments)

"Even if signals in the chip were moving at the speed of light, a chip running above 5GHz wouldn't be able to transmit information from one side of the chip to the other." ... in a single clock.

So in the 1980's I was a CPU designer working on what I call "walk-in, refrigerated, mainframes". It was mostly 100K-family ECL in those days and compatible ECL gate arrays. Guess what -- it took most of a clock to get to a neighboring card, and certainly took a whole clock to get to another cabinet. So in the future it will take more than one clock to get across a chip. I don't see how that is anything other than a job posting for new college graduates.

That one statement in the article reminds of when I first moved to Silicon Valley. Everybody out here was outrageously proud of themselves because they were solving problems that had been solved in mainframes 20 years earlier. As the saying goes: "All the old timers stole all our best ideas years ago."

about two weeks ago

Samsung Buys Kickstarter-Funded Internet of Things Startup For $200MM

dbc Re:Hesitant about Kickstarter and hardware (107 comments)

Who modded this insightful? Geez.. here are some clues:

#1: Sorry, when you risk what amounts to lunch money, that is not the same as venture capital risk. Nobody cares about lunch money. Somebody still cares about the $2 million round A money going down the toilet. VC's are judged on performance across a portfolio.

#2: Kickstarter isn't venture capital. You are promised a product, not a piece of the company. Get over it.

#3: Startups don't wine and dine anybody. They shamelessly beg with their hand out. VC's buy the would-be founders cheap lunch, literally, while they listen to the pitch, if you get that far.

#4: You have no idea what the rules and regulations are around "qualified investors". Legally, having more than 30 or so investors is a nightmare that no start-up can manage and still get work done. No startup can afford enough lawyers to do the SEC work needed to have more than a few "qualified investors".

#5: Kickstarter money is not the same as VC money because VC money comes with advice and connections. A VC needs to bring more than "dumb money" to be useful to a startup. Your $20 is worse that VC "dumb money". It is clueless money with wildly distorted expectations.

Kickstarter has changed the VC model, but not the way you think. Kickstarter is the new test market. It is how you show the VCs that your idea has traction, and to get the idea out in front of people to get it noticed. A successful kickstarter is the way you get somebody on Sandhill Road to buy you a sandwich while you pitch.

So the fact that you are disappointed that you didn't get a piece of the company for your lunch money that you spent shows that you really, really, don't undertand Kickstarter's place in the world. Your $20 is just you at the mall taking the "Pepsi Challenge". Your $20 is a market research data point. Which I, personally, find very motivational and empowering. Kickstarter is filled with ideas that I find exciting, and that I would really like to see happen. By pitching in $20, it is a way to show the people with enough money to make it really happen that it is something that I would like to see happen. That is your role as a Kickstarter patron. You are cheering for your team. Anything else you get out of it (like a product delivered only a few months late) is entertainment.

You want to be a VC? Do it the old fasioned way. Launch a successful startup, then take a few million of your own dollars and several million more dollars from some insurance companies, and use the expertise and contacts that you aquired doing your own start-up and help other people do the same thing. Oh... you haven't done a successful start up of your own yet? Luckily, you can still *drive* on Sand Hill Road, even if no one will give you an office there.

Actually, every VC I have ever met (and I've met a lot) has been very friendly, listens very well, and is extremely engaged in learning. But... they don't waste any time on the clueless. The best way to get a VC's interest and hold it is to teach them something they didn't know before. You need to learn the realities of the VC business before you start thinking you are ready to participate.

about two weeks ago

California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

dbc Re:Screwed... (327 comments)

Companies that have a small HQ staff within a short drive of Sand Hill Road, and manufacturing (if any) in China. Or maybe rack space in Washington state.

Startups just haven't yet reached the scale where moving out becomes a no-brainer.

Now, as for small companies that are *not* funded by VC's, they simply start in Nevada. You would have to be an idiot to do any kind of individual proprietorship business that doesn't have to be local in silicon valley. If you are a hardwood floor contractor, sure, some will still be here because some are needed. And when you have your floors done, you pay more than other places because his California contractor business license is 10X what it would be elsewhere. But the last machine shop moved out of California long ago, unless they are very specialized in a way where locality to a key customer makes a big difference.

about two weeks ago

Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

dbc Re:A Different Approach (421 comments)

Stupid argument? Why no honesty? Same answer to both questions: politics.

All I'm stating is why the tax cutters get political traction. Bringing logic and honesty to a debate about politics is like bringing a tuna casserole to a knife fight.

about three weeks ago

Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

dbc Re:A Different Approach (421 comments)

I was with you until you started blaming the tax-cutters for all our woes. I've seen many of the schools in the Silicon Valley area. Seen what they have that is new and well maintained (football fields, gyms, etc) and what is in deplorable conditions (science labs, teacher work preparation areas). And... I've seen the Santa Clara county department of education offices, and the large fountain they have in the spacious three story atrium and the nicely appointed giagantic meeting rooms. Sure, it takes money to run a school -- maybe the administrators should start spending it on education instead of fountains in atriums. When the science labs are well equiped and the county administrators are working out of the same size cubical that I had as a second-level engineering manager at a successful company just down the road, then we can talk about finding money to fill the real needs. Fountains in atriums for non-teaching administration offices are not a real need.

Yes, I resent that fountain, and that office building. I pay for it. When I walked into that building for the first time I was livid. That fountain is not doing anything at all toward getting my child educated. You want to know why the tax cutters are so strident? It is because they are so badly outnumbered by the tax squanderers. There needs to be a focus on results, and on what gets results, and then people will willingly pay their taxes.

about three weeks ago

Open Source Pioneer Michael Tiemann On Open Source Business Success

dbc Re:Still a hurtle (41 comments)

Cygnus approached that in part by being the party selling support on a contract basis. They came in wearing suits, asking for signatures on expensive contracts, and promised to fix the bugs and implement special requirements. You said it yourself, what the execs want is supported software, they really don't give a rat's butt where the software comes from, they just want to know that in the future they can get someone's undivided attention when it needs fixing, and that the party that will fix it has the resources to implement the fix. Cygnus sold attention.

Now, on the darker side, they were known to hold certain trivial ("two-line") patches in their back pocket rather than push them to the open source repository so that they could charge each of their customers $50K to apply the patch to each customer's version of the software. I'm aware of one case where they charged two different divisions of the same company (who clearly didn't talk very much) for the same fix. Cynus was good at the contract game, writing them, selling them, and strategic fulfillment of them.

about three weeks ago

How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

dbc 1974 (391 comments)

Which in those days, required many, many hours of soldering.

about a month ago

French Provider Free Could Buy US Branch of T-Mobile

dbc Re:Please NO (111 comments)

T-Mobile is not that bad here. In our family we've had two T-Mobile phones and one AT&T phone for a couple of years, after leaving Verizon. Verizon is bad news to deal with. AT&T doesn't care, they don't have to, but at least they have coverage where I need it and use GSM technology. T-Mobile is good to deal with, but the coverage is not so great. The problem with the USA, especially in the West, is that we have miles and miles of miles and miles. Building out and maintaing infrastructure is much harder here than in Germany or France simply because of the population density distribution. T-Mobile just has a hard time coming up with enough money to build enough infrastructure to grab enough customers to make enough money to build enough infrastructure.

about a month ago

Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

dbc Re:Sad (165 comments)

There used to be a time where you could politically disagree with some but still be great friends, or at the very least amicable colleagues. Nowadays, the other political side is just filled with inhuman enemies that need to be degraded and driven into oblivion.

Indeed. I recall when Hubert Humphrey retuned to the Senate floor after months of cancer treatment. He was terminal, in the last weeks of his life, but he found the energy to return one last time. Barry Goldwater, a man he had run against during a presidential election, a man who was always on the opposite side of any debate, crossed the aisle and embraced Humphrey in a bear hug that lasted a least two minutes, Senate decorum be damned. On national television. These two men, decade after decade, made the case for their beliefs, debated vigorously, but never lost each other's respect. Where has that gone?

about a month ago

Autonomous Sea-Robot Survives Massive Typhoon

dbc Re:Is this an achievement? (47 comments)

It is impressive. First off, most of the waveglider is on the surface. It has a passive submerged propusion unit on a cable. Secondly, it has a lot of sophisticated electronics and antennas in and on the surface unit. It survived a nasty test very, very well. Maybe the reason I am extremely impressed and you are not has to do with the fact that I actually build robots, and you don't have a clue about what it takes to build something that can live in an office for 6 months without breaking, much less on the ocean in a major storm. As we say in the local robot club when some newbie comes with a grand scheme of how to solve all of our challenges: "Talk is cheap. Show me your working robot."

about a month ago

Australian Electoral Commission Refuses To Release Vote Counting Source Code

dbc My perennial comment on this topic (112 comments)

Whenever the topic of whether or not the source code to voting machines should be inspected, I always point here: and ask: 1) What do you think would happen to your slot machine if you told those guys you weren't going to show them your source code? and 2) Why not let these guys look at the voting machines, too. Seems like a transferable skill.

about a month and a half ago

New Raspberry Pi Model B+

dbc Re:More power to the USB ports? (202 comments)

I assume you mean 4 x 500mA, or 500mA per port. So do you really have 500mA peripherals plugged into *every* USB port? Or are you expecting the Pi to support the USB charging spec? 'Cuz there are better ways to charge your phone...

about a month and a half ago

Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

dbc Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (415 comments)

I only wish python didn't have semantic whitespace. That's it. Otherwise i like it just fine.

I'll disagree on that. We use white space to communicate our programs' block structure to other humans. Why should we use a different syntax to tell the compiler the same information? Computers should conform to the needs of humans. Full. Stop. Python eliminates that source of bugs and redundancy by having the compiler's view of the significance of what space match a human's view of significance of white space. Please join us in the 21st century. I'm old enough that I did undergrand homeworks with punch cards, and just missed being taught intro to programming using FORTRAN. One thing I've learned over the years is to recognize progress when I see it.

about 2 months ago

On the Significance of Google's New Cardboard: An Idea Worth Recycling

dbc Re:What's old is new again. (42 comments)

Actually, you make me reflect on how advanced their code really was. I'm not sure where the code was from. It would process X-Ray scatter data, and plot stereo images of crystal structures showing lots of little pen-plotted circles for atoms. The 3D view was quite remarkable, although you only got one angle. Changing view angle required another plot. Considering Ivan Sutherland's line clipping algorithm dates from the 60's, the crystalography code was quite advanced for the time -- there was a lot of hidden line removal going on to render the atoms correctly.

The plots were really slow... but the plotter was mesmerizing. I used to watch it through the window while waiting for my homework to come back after handing the card deck across the counter. Now, pardon me while I find my walker, damn kids on the lawn again.....

about 2 months ago

On the Significance of Google's New Cardboard: An Idea Worth Recycling

dbc What's old is new again. (42 comments)

I remember back in the 1970's, the X-Ray crystalography researchers at my university would burn up lots of compute time (on an IBM 360/65, 1 MIPS, 4 mega-bytes of core) computing stereo images that were rendered by writing a mag tape that was then taken to a CalComp pen plotter. Two images, about 8 x 8 inches, were plotted, and then they would lay them on a table and use an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of cardboard from a used-up paper tablet to make a baffle between their eyes.

about 2 months ago


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