* Posts by Merrill

65 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Nov 2008


Arm's lawyers want to check assembly expert's book for trademark missteps


$64 billion for a company with about 6000 employees?

The grow the business phase is over.

Expect them to extract the maximum in royalties going forward.

Tesla's Dojo supercomputer is a billion-dollar bet to make AI better at driving than humans


Re: "But then, you get to, like, 10 million training examples, it becomes incredible"

>>and stops driving itself into the back of stopped fire engines and such at speed.

These would seem to be the very negative examples needed to train the AI what not to do...

10 million crash records are what is likely needed in order to avoid crashes, not 10 million examples of uneventful trips.

China admits local semiconductor industry can't match world class reliability


Re: Step it up!

Japan learned quality control processes from W. Edwards Deming in the late '40s, early '50s. He is revered in Japan. Not so much in the US, although he tried there as well.


Alibaba and Huawei set to debut generative AI chatbots


Wouldn't a global AI model have to be trained in both English and Chinese?

Chinese has the largest number of native speakers.

English has the largest total number of speakers, native and second-language.

Or to be even more unbiased, a European language model combined with an HKN model.

Global network outage hits Microsoft: Azure, Teams, Outlook all down


"A distributed system...

"A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable."

Leslie Lamport

Microsoft axes 10,000, already breaking bad news to staff


Goggles not selling well

Microsoft Job Cuts Hit HoloLens Unit After Setback on Army Goggles

Microsoft won’t be getting more orders for its combat goggles anytime soon after Congress earlier this month rejected the US Army’s request for $400 million to buy as many as 6,900 of them in the current fiscal year.


Southwest Airlines blames IT breakdown for stranding holiday travelers


Re: Blame the Computer

I wonder whether Southwest, with their point-to-point route structure, depends more on the spare capacity of the other hub and spoke airlines to move their crews from home to base and base to flight? In the widespread storm conditions, the other airlines have no spare seats for Southwest crews traveling on standby.

Micron wants tax breaks for '$160b' Texas chip fab plant


How much investment will digital services support?

Ultimately, this all has to be supported by revenues from advertising, gaming, social media, bitcoin mining, etc.

Cheap cellular data list is out: And US doesn't make top 200


The US Carriers just paid $90 billion to the government for 5G spectrum

The $90 B is capitalized and becomes equity on which a return has to be made or debt which must be amortized and on which interest must be paid.

So the spectrum license fees are in effect a hidden tax which raises prices to the cellular users.

ZTE intros 'cloud laptop' that draws just five watts of power


Re: Yay, we have finally reinvented the terminal

Had IBM not been forced by DoJ to divest itself of Service Bureau Corporation, and had not the FCC in Computer Inquiry I & II forced the Bell System not to provide integrated data processing services, computing would have always been done by dumbish terminals connected to time-sharing servers, and the detour through on-premises computing would have been avoided.


No video?

Most non-entertainment applications can be implemented without video.

I'd include videos of the participants in meetings or classrooms as entertainment. The meaningful communication can be done using text, audio, graphics and photos.

Top Chinese Uni fears Middle Kingdom way behind on tech – and US sanctions make catching up hard


Re: Cliffnotes

It sounds a lot like a pitch for more university and academic research funding.

Compared with the US, more Chinese basic research is probably done in government labs and in government controlled industrial labs with universities more dedicated to turning out the manpower and staff them. I'm sure that their academics would like funding to be more like the US, where we fund a myriad of small grants to a multitude of academic principle investigators who actually produce very little.

Europe completes first phase of silicon independence project


Re: Is this an EU or Europe thing ?

The two party system allows the smallest number of people to control an elected government.

You only need 26% to win the primary elections of the party in control. Or even less if candidates are selected by caucuses or other intraparty mechanisms.

AWS wobbles in US East region causing widespread outages


"A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable"

Leslie Lamport, 1987

Another Windows 10 patch that breaks printers ups ante to full-on Blue Screen of Death


Re: Printers are the bain of MS's world

Once upon a time printers were one of MS's competitive advantages. In the early days of word processing, one of MS Word's few advantages was the length of the list of printers supported. The complexity of PC brands, interface boards, and peripheral makers and models eventually became a "competitive moat" for Microsoft.

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns


Re: Deadly platform

The Lockheed Starfighter was the F-104. The F-101 was the McDonnell Voodoo.


Re: Why

60 turns?

They need Brodie knobs and upper-body strength training. No female pilots need apply.

British Army does not Excel at spreadsheets: Soldiers' newly announced promotions are revoked after sorting snafu


Matthew 20:16

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Class move, Java. Coding language slips to third place behind Python in latest popularity contest


Stack Overflow versus Github?

There are a number of languages which moved down and right when flipping between the Q1 and Q3 graphs, i.e. they declined in Stack Overflow and increased in Github rank. So maybe rather than a story of no movement in overall rank, there is a story regarding Stack Overflow versus Github. Possibly these languages have other support communities which makes Stack Overflow less important to their users?

Mainframe madness as the snowflakes take control – and the on-duty operator hasn't a clue how to stop the blizzard


Re: Xerox mainframe

The SDS were more like minicomputers than mainframes. I think of mainframes as designs that began as discrete transistor logic (including through IBM SLT), while minicomputers used early integrated circuit logic (TTL through bit-slice).

Chips for Huawei are fried: TSMC stops shipping parts to Middle Kingdom mega-maker this September


Re: becoming more and more like the old USSR

Around 1990, the US could have tried to become Greece and bequeath its culture and values to the world.

Instead, it went for becoming Rome.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response


I wouldn't necessarily assume it is an IBM mainframe

Until at least a few years ago, the local county's payroll ran on Unisys. And I don't know why it would have changed.

Gospel according to HPE: And lo, on the 32,768th hour did thy SSD give up the ghost


Re: you never know when your SSD might be used in a time machine.

The IBM System 360 Model 20 in the story about the recent move could only do 16-bit integer add, subtract and compares, but it could do the full set of arithmetic instructions on packed decimal of up to 31 digits plus sign.

It woz The Reg wot won it! Big Blue iron relics make it back to Blighty


The were discontinued for System 370 and replaced by the System 3s. The /20 was sometimes used to drive card readers, card punches and line printers so as not to tie up the bigger models which could then do their I/O with tape and disk.

Surveillance kit slinger accused of slapping 'Made in America' on Chinese gear, selling it to the US government


Re: I'll bet this happens a lot

Most likely they were not a prime contractor, but a subcontractor to a prime that needed them to fulfill their obligation to throw a percentage of the contract to a "woman or minority owned business". I wonder who they were actually supplying the equipment to.

COBOL: Five little letters that if put on a CV would ensure stable income for many a greybeard coder


Re: About 10 years ago...

But of course columns 73-80 contain a sequence number so you can resort your card deck after you drop it.

Incoming... Trump! Notebook makers ramp production to avoid next tidal wave of US trade tariffs


Re: Aren't you forgetting...

Good point. At these rates, it appears to be about equal to the taxes that would have been paid by the manufacturers if they had produced the laptops in the United States. So it obviates the tax advantages of manufacturing offshore.

Plus, it is paid on the value at the border, so it isn't actually 25% (or whatever) of the retail price as the MSM reporting would leave you to believe. Depending on the product and how it is distributed, it is more in the range of half that at retail, given the distribution, marketing, retailing, and general and administrative expenses loaded onto the price within the US.

'Not productive for our business'... Michael Dell urges end to US-China tariff tit-for-tat spat


It was US politicians that encouraged businesses to move production to China for geopolitical purposes to counter Russia and to nobble the Asian Tigers who had become too successful and uppity. Of course we had previously moved business to the Asian Tigers after the Japanese had become too successful and uppity. Now the geopolitical mandate is to move businesses to the rest of SE Asia and South Asia, since the Chinese are too successful and uppity.

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, where to go? Navigation satellite signals flip from degraded to full TITSUP* over span of four days


Failures of these sorts are vital since they cause providers to exercise their recovery procedures and they cause users to exercise their mitigation, fallback and recovery procedures. Absent randomly occurring failures at some reasonable frequency society would build itself up for real catastrophic failures.


Re: Huzzah!

Unfortunately the Board of Longitude was abolished by Act of Parliament in 1828. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_Longitude

No Huawei out: Prez Trump's game of chicken with China has serious consequences


Different CRC-32 Polynomials

It has never been clear to me why different countries don't require the use of different CRC-32 polynomials on the IP packets?

International gateways would then recalculate the CRCs only for permitted traffic.


Re: Techno-balkanisation - PCM Standards

Back in the day of circuit switched digital telephony, the US used mu-Law non-linear Pulse Code Modulation and Europe used A-law non-linear PCM. I was told by a US member of the CCITT (now ITU) standards group that the US had offered to agree to and change to match the Europeans. He was told that regardless of what the US would agree to, Europe would be different.

Twist my Arm why don't you: Brit CPU behemoth latest biz to cease work with Huawei – report


The Softbank Sprint-ARM relationship

Softbank owns 80% of Sprint, a US mobile carrier. Sprint is now the smallest, weakest and least profitable of the 4 major carriers, and is thought to be circling the drain. Softbank is attempting to get a merger with T-Mobile approved by the US Department of Justice in order to salvage its investment.

Softbank also owns ARM.

Boeing admits 737 Max sims didn't accurately reproduce what flying without MCAS was like


Re: Work out required

I would think that most females and slightly built Asians and East Africans should not pilot MAXs. Pilots should resemble NFL defensive linemen.

A backup system of mechanically operating the tail surfaces may have been OK on the early, small 737s, but that is a strategy that fails on later, bigger models unless you impose severe physical strength requirements on the pilots.

Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy: Run Huawei, Google Play, turns away, from Huawei... turns away


Re: Over Due

They have Kylin, a version of Linux, and they have COS for mobiles. These find application in the government and military for obvious reasons.

For widespread use, there needs to be a commercial reason to more widely deploy them. This move by the US may be the trigger that is needed.


Will Apps be Thing in 5G?

Apps, essentially special purpose client software running on the phone, were needed with early generations of mobile data, since they could conserve bandwidth while providing a rich user experience.

With 5G, bandwidth would no longer seem to be a problem, and most functionality could be delivered with a modern mobile browser.

The other purpose of apps seems to be to nickle and dime the user for this and that. However, most useful services can be had for free.

Finally, how many apps does the average smartphone user need? Clearly not the hundreds of thousands that are available in the stores. The vast majority must be downloaded only by the creator, his family and friends. Probably the top thousand apps account for almost all of app usage.

Hands up who isn't p!*$ed off about Amazon's new HQ in New York and Virginia?


I don't see Long island City being attractive for employees

I've been to the building where Citi Corp is giving up 1 million square feet that Amazon will move into.

I guess it is part of the attempt to redevelop the Queens and Brooklyn bank of the East River.

Oracle cloud supremo Thomas Kurian extends temp leave to the heat death of the universe


Re: Nothing new

If not for the IBM Service Bureau Consent Decree and the FCC Computer Inquiry II, we would have been doing cloud computing all along.

However, government distortion of technical rationality doesn't last forever.

Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price


Re: Be careful what you wish for...

This seems to be a Qualcomm Snapdragon Windows and not compatible with other ARM processors.

The chance that it isn't dependent on a Qualcomm patent somehow is essentially zero.

Detroit sh*t shifter's operating costs waste away with Oracle's cloud


But can they collect bills?

DWSD has a lot of trouble collecting the money owed for services provided.


Julia 0.7 arrives but let's call it 1.0: Data science code language hits milestone on birthday


Julia Computing

See https://juliacomputing.com/ for Julia products including Julia BOX, an online environment for coding in a browser using Jupyter Notebooks, and Julia Pro, an environment for science and engineering on the desktop including many packages. Note that it is still at 6.4.1, presumably until the package ecosystem is upgraded to 1.0 and fully tested.

Julia BOX is free, and it is the best way to get a feel for the language, especially if you are already using Python Notbooks.

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs


What will be the data retention lifetime?

When you access that file that hasn't been rewritten since the OS was first installed ten years ago, will it still be there?

Broadcom, you've been punk'd: Qualcomm puts stockholder vote on hold for US security probe


Qualcomm didn't need to tip CFIUS

Qualcomm started life as a supplier of secure comms to the DoD.

US govt staffers use personal gear on work networks, handle biz docs on the reg – study


People are fundamental to security

Security depends on the trustworthiness, expertise, and diligence of people.

But any reasonably large group of people will include one who is a defector, stupid, or lazy. That is why secure organizations are organized in small cells.

Here's why online social networks are bad for humanity, the nerds who helped build them tut-tut


Put them on the flat screen and they are just wallpaper

When my grandson watches youtube on a tablet or smartphone, he attends to it constantly.

When youtube is on the flatscreen, he plays with his toys, colors, talks, runs around like a madman, and generally behaves like a kid. He occasionally looks at the flatscreen.

We translated Intel's crap attempt to spin its way out of CPU security bug PR nightmare


Re: Other CPU architectures affected by Spectre...

Interesting. I wonder whether SPARC, MIPS, Loongson, Sunway, etc. are vulnerable to Spectre?

We keep forgetting that 1) all scripts and executables shall be executed without modification only from read-only storage, and 2) the read-only storage shall be modified only by a trusted configuration management process.


From Red Hat --

There are 3 known CVEs related to this issue in combination with Intel, AMD, and ARM architectures. Additional exploits for other architectures are also known to exist. These include IBM System Z, POWER8 (Big Endian and Little Endian), and POWER9 (Little Endian).


Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief


Europe - Far East communications transit North America

Due to non-coincident busy hours, Europe to Far East cables via Eurasia are not needed. Instead, the Atlantic and Pacific cables are connected via North America taking advantage of the fact that the three continental pairs do not generate peak traffic at the same times.

(It also makes it easier for Five Eyes to keep tabs on things.)

Qualcomm sues Apple for allegedly blabbing smartphone chip secrets in emails CC'd to Intel


Re: re: "We were told to ignore intellectual property rights when designing the modem."

If engineers/developers conduct IPR analysis, they open themselves up to willful infringement and treble damages.

It is best to ignore intellectual property and then have legal staff conduct a right to use study under client-lawyer confidentiality.

Or so I was told.

The developers vs enterprise architects showdown: You shall know us by our trail of diagrams


There is also the matter of consistency


- what the business needs to run

- what is installed

- what is running

- what operations is charging the organization to run

- what finance is charging the organization for depreciation

- what vendors are billing the organization for licensing

and now what various cloud vendors are billing the organization for.

These can be amazingly far apart in an corporation with a complex organizational structure and a few thousand developers.