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Comment: Ummmm.... no (Score 1) 120

by Sycraft-fu (#49495033) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

Sorry but you are having some selective memory. AMD actually was only a performance leader for a very brief period of time, that being the P4 days. That was also not because of anything great they did, but rather because the P4 ended up being a bad design because it did not scale as Intel thought it would. Outside of that they were competitive during the P3 days, but behind other than that.

They also had serious problems outside of any business practices from Intel. The three big ones that really screwed them today:

1) Their disastrous chipset situation. When the Athlons came out, their chipsets were garbage. The AMD made chipsets lacked any advanced features. The VIA chipsets were full featured, but poorly implemented. I bought an Athlon, excited at the performance upgrade I'd get from my P2 and drawn in by the price. I spent two weeks fighting and fighting to make it work, before finally finding out that GeForce graphics card were just incompatible with the boards because of VIA's out-of-spec AGP implementation. I sent it all back, got a P3 on an Intel chipset, and it all worked from the word go. Experiences like that really put many people and vendors off of AMD (combined with things like lacking a thermal halt on the chip so if a heatsink fell off the chip would bur out).

2) Their utter lack of innovation/resting on laurels. AMD took FOREVER to get out any kind of real new architecture, that being the Bulldozer, and it was poor when it happened. For too long they kept rehashing their same CPU architecture, while Intel kept moving theirs forward. This became particularly acute when the Sandy Bridge came out, which was a really good architecture improvement. Having nothing new and just trying to glom more cores on the server products was not a winning strategy long term.

3) Ignoring the software side of things. One of the things that makes Intel chips perform so well is their excellent compiler. It generates faster code than any other compiler, in every single test I've ever seen. That matters in the real world since people aren't going to waste time hand-optimizing assembly. Only recently did AMD get a compiler out (I haven't seen benchmarks on how good it is), for most of their life they just relied on other compilers and whined that the Intel compiler was mean to their chips. That has been a problem, particularly in research settings where people need high performance but are not primarily programmers and need something good at automatic code optimization.

AMD has done a lot to screw themselves over long periods and it has built up to a situation now where they are struggling in a big way. If you think Intel is all to blame you've your head in the sand.

Comment: ...and? (Score 1) 120

by Sycraft-fu (#49494845) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

What is your proposal, people should purchase AMD chips as a charity?

Nobody other than Intel zealots wants to see AMD go away. However if AMD's products are not competitive for what they want, why should they buy them? Trying to argue charity buying is a non-starter and a very bad strategy.

AMD has been really screwing up on their processors as of late. Their performance is not that good in most things and their performance per watt is even worse. So for a great many tasks, they are not a great choice. Their "APU" concept is an interesting one, but one who's time seems to be up as Intel's integrated graphics have been very good lately and getting better with each generation so "a CPU with good graphics" is likely to just be what we think of as a CPU.

If AMD wants more sales they have to make a product that is compelling in some way. As it stands, it isn't compelling in that many markets.

Comment: Sure (Score 2) 120

by Sycraft-fu (#49494789) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

Look up "Shadowplay" by nVidia. That is their software that uses the "nvenc" feature of their new GPUs. It has near zero CPU and GPU load, just load on the disk. All encoding is done by a special dedicated encoder on the chip. It's a fast encoder too, it can do 2560x1600@60fps.

The downside is it is not as good looking per bit as some of the software encoders (particularly X264) so if the target is something low bitrate you may wish to capture high bitrate and then reencode to a lower bitrate with other software later.

Bandicam also claims to support the hardware encoders of all the platform (Intel calls their QuickSync, AMD calls there's AMD APP).

Comment: Re: I thought we were trying to end sexism? (Score 1) 587

So the solution is to create an environment for girls where they can succeed, and will likely produce good jobs later in life. Whereas boys are sentenced to a frou-frou go nowhere education in the language arts which may or may not enable them to be a successful barista?

Maybe the solution is to have separate boys and girls schools in general, that may be something we need to figure out. But, to use a horrible term from our past, we should at least TRY to make them separate but equal. Encouraging boys to hop on the short bus strikes me as terrible, the entire purpose behind this effort is to enable girls to get the better paying jobs by increasing their achievement potential, we should not encourage boys into the crappy (or non-existent) ones and remove potential achievers from the STEM field in a bizarre attempt at equality. Boys already screw up enough trying to pursue pro sports careers that will never amount to anything.

Comment: Also what kind of idiot buys at retail price? (Score 1) 320

by Sycraft-fu (#49491339) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan

When you are big, you get to get stuff for a discount. At work we are a Dell partner and it means, at a minimum, that we get a 3 year basic warranty on their stuff for no charge, even for one off orders. If we are doing a big order, like a few hundred computers, you get additional discounts.

I realize Apple doesn't like to offer this kind of thing which is a reason NOT TO GO WITH APPLE. If they aren't willing to give you a price break when you are ordering tens of thousands of units then they aren't worth being a vendor.

This reeks of someone who is a complete fanboy deciding everyone has to have a shiny toy rather than any kind of consideration about what product might work well.

Comment: Have a friend who had a similar experience (Score 1) 292

by Sycraft-fu (#49491291) Attached to: IT Worker's Lawsuit Accuses Tata of Discrimination

He decided to become an independent contractor, mostly because he was having so much trouble finding a job during the last big recession. He finally got a job as a contractor to a contractor basically. This firm is your typical contract programming shop, and they would contract to him, didn't bring him on full time. He's American, of Pacific Islander descent (native Hawaiian) the company is mostly Indian.

He continually faced a culture of "You can't know very much, you aren't Indian." Not stated outright, of course, but that attitude. He'd have Indian guys glommed on to a project he was doing who were utterly unhelpful, he'd consistently be the second or third choice, after Indian programmers had failed to be able to solve a problem, and so on. All the while he was kept contract.

Well, he's actually a really talented guy and got a really good reputation with the clients since he would deliver work on time, and as promised, and the rest of the consulting company was not so good at that. He ended up just getting more and more contracts on his own. Finally they realized what they were losing and tried to hire him full time, for an insultingly low figure, and he said no. Now they still bother him with jobs they want him to do from time to time, but he's booked solid, and not very interested in them.

Comment: They have been, but there's a snag (Score 2) 309

by Sycraft-fu (#49481157) Attached to: NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly

That being their drivers suck. Also that writing GPU drivers is hard and the OSS community hasn't done a good job.

AMD released a bunch of hardware info, and what code they could (they can't just open up all of their proprietary driver, there are things in it they legally can't release). There were claims of an absolutely amazin' driver that would be made, better than Windows, that there were thousands of skilled OSS programmers who were chomping at the bit to work on it.

Well that was mostly just people bragging on places like /. who didn't know what they were talking about, someone who'd fooled around writing a NIC or SATA driver and thought it was easy. Turns out graphics drivers are REALLY COMPLEX and each generation of hardware needs a new one. So the AMD OSS driver has been pretty poor quality. I mean it works, and supports some features, but it has some stability issues and is nowhere near the full feature set.

So ya, not really helping them. What the OSS community wants is for someone to write an nVidia quality driver, and open it up. Do all the work and then hand it out. Doesn't seem like anyone is interested in doing that. In part that is because some of what makes those closed drivers good is IP that gets licensed that can't be open sourced.

Comment: And what's more (Score 2) 309

by Sycraft-fu (#49480783) Attached to: NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly

Valve has little to no Linux gaming clout. Ya they released a rebadge of Ubtunu with Steam on it. Yay. So far it has had very little influence. Most people continue to game on Windows (and to a lesser extent OS-X). They are not migrating in droves, nor are there droves of people who used Linux but didn't game that are now. Valve has changed very little in the Linux gaming space, as of yet,

The Unity engine and Kickstarter have done a lot more for driving any sort of Linux gaming than Valve.

Most of nVidia's gaming customers play on Windows, and they don't care about closed source drivers. Indeed, binary drivers are the way of things, the users would be extremely mad if you gave them source packages and told them to download a compiler. On OS-X it is all Apple's way, all the time. You gets the drivers you gets from Apple and live with it. Only in the Linux arena is there any wish for OSS drivers, and then only form a minority of their customers. Most of nVidia's Linux customers are high end enterprises, doing simulations or CAD work. They want certified binary drivers, because they want everything to be verified to work.

Valve really doesn't have much they can do to change nVidia's mind. I mean maybe if Valve themselves made Steam Machines and they could threaten to change vendors, but they don't, all kinds of hardware companies make them and they all do business with nVidia.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 698

I understand your fear of Scientology's litigious nature. Perhaps the Christians, Muslims and Mormons should sue me for this: but I know a number of gay people whose lives have been ruined by their religions, and a number of women who have hurt or severely injured themselves in the pursuit of abortions denied to them by religious people. How many muslim girls have been killed because they had the temerity to be raped? How many men were killed for being gay? All these religions are bad when the worst elements of them are allowed to run free. But they are not all wholly bad, all the time. Even the damn Church of Satan, whose existence is defined by worshiping evil, does quite a bit of good at times.

So it seems like you're still just picking on Scientology.

Comment: Re:Turkey (Score 1) 245

I'm not saying the sins of the father should be held against us. I'm saying that we should study our history and learn what we did wrong, or else what's the point in studying history at all?

There's internally derived guilt from recognizing all you have may be ill-gotten, and there's externally derived guilt seeking reparations and apologies. The latter I have no empathy for in this case, everyone involved is dead. But there's no reason we shouldn't understand that we came from a real bad scene, and we should try not to do it again.

Off topic, but Chinese were probably our country's very first "H1B'"s. We brought them here, had em build some railroads, and sent the ones who lived back. We focus a lot of black slaves, and we're committed to not making that mistake again, but we forget the other abuses we've perpetrated and absolutely ARE reliving them.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 698

In historical context it makes sense. If one were to believe a King derived the power to rule from Divine Right, then the King would be the man to trust, as God's direct interpreter. However, if one thinks that no man has been given such a Right, then one way of slapping that man in the face is to say "In God We Trust". Not literally God, he can't be reached for comment, or any particular one.

That the G word is mentioned is offensive only to people interested in politics. Besides, in practice it should read "In The Invisible Hand We Trust", which if written on paper would collapse our economy immediately due to overwhelming hilarity.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 2) 698

I have no issue with religion, as long as it stays in its place (outside of government) and we don't favor one over the other. I don't understand why any religion gets a tax exempt status, and I know people who operate "churches" of very dubious merit for the tax benefits. The notion seems dumb, let's can it. But perhaps there are good reasons that I don't understand.

My issue is that I don't really like playing favorites, If we can't universalize this to all religions, we shouldn't do it at all.

Comment: Re:A first: We should follow Germany's lead (Score 1) 698

Then why can't the government use that same weapon on Scientology? It picks up the dregs and misfits from other religions and gives them purpose. It has "science" in its name, which for people who don't know much about science may imply some relationship. That can be useful?

I see no reason why it is any better or worse than any other "religion". It may be more effectively activist than most evangelicals, but remains significantly less powerful than the Roman Catholic Church, which has definitely pegged most meters of malignant evil at points in history. It just seems like we're playing favorites. I don't like that when it's the Christians shitting on the Muslims, and I don't like it when it's pretty much everyone shitting on Scientologists.

The reason we hate them is they are so litigious, the problem is in the laws they use to silence people. Those same laws are used by "legitimate" entities to silence dissent as well, more effectively than governments ever have. This is a different problem, not solved by picking on their tax status.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse