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Comment: Re:Don't blame Oracle (Score 1) 128

by Skeptic Al (#37549738) Attached to: Is the Sparc T4 Too Little Too Late?

As an ex-Sun/now-Oracle CPU designer, I find your comment offensive. Although the focus of what we design has changed (from "innovative yet commercially unsuccessful" processors, to "steadily, incrementally better" processors), there are still a lot of smart people working here, both from "the old days" (the traditional UltraSPARC lines) and more recently brought in (from the Afara/Niagara lines).

Just like the Oracle software, the hardware (chips + systems) is expected to make money, not necessarily having the most forward looking features. I have to say that Oracle as a business is a lot better run than Sun ever was, and that's the key to its continued success.

Robotics

Turn Your Roomba Into a Household Google Bot 79

Posted by timothy
from the check-the-pantry-from-the-store dept.
Wael Chatila writes "By adding an on-board computer and a camera on a Roomba, the Roomba can be used to index your home. As a bonus, you can also control the Roomba across an internet connection, and see the images from the camera — a spybot for you to check on your own home while you are out."

Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 1) 124

by Skeptic Al (#30126064) Attached to: Intel Allows Release of Full 4004 Chip-Set Details

That is way oversimplifying what is needed to make a competitive chip. If it was that easy, there would be a lot of people doing it, giving Intel a lot more competition than they have. And it wouldn't take ~2-3 years per generation.

In order to get high performance (== high frequency, and == reasonable die size), you cannot rely completely on automated tools.

Comment: Re:It's a weapon. (Score 1) 626

by Skeptic Al (#29935765) Attached to: Why Computers Suck At Math

... perhaps the problem is that 10 hours and reboot is a ridiculous requirement from the get go.

Or, it could have been a lack of requirement. If there was no spec about the tolerable down time (5 nines? 4 nines? less?), it simply would not have been designed in. The "reboot every 10 hours" could be a workaround added after the design was completed.

Comment: Re:Poor QA (Score 1) 626

by Skeptic Al (#29935253) Attached to: Why Computers Suck At Math

Sorry, that's idealistic crap. Engineering is all about making tradeoffs based on the intended usage. Over-engineering costs time and money. Most of the time, there is no way to design for every IMAGINABLE use case.

For example, there is no way to build a completely earthquake-proof building. You might be able to design one (if you knew for certain that there is an upper bound for the magnitude of an earthquake), but no one would have enough money to build it.

By taking your comment to the extreme, one should be able to use pebbles fired from slingshots to shoot down ballistic missiles. Why hasn't anyone IMAGINED doing that?

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