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Comment Re:Oh Really (Score 3, Informative) 357

Unfortunately, as you well know, this approach means goodbye to virtually very computing-type device most of us have become accustomed-to.

Maybe you haven't been following gate-array development. There are mobile ones now. They use FLASH to store the program bits. And the rest is CMOS which we know how to power-manage. The gate-arrays of yore were more power-thirsty because nobody cared back then.

Comment There is an alternative (Score 4, Insightful) 308

I have a paper on Open Cars, written with Lother Determann (a Boalt Hall [Berkeley Law] professor). One of the issues I go over is just how fast the hardware in your car goes obsolete, compared to your phone. Manufacturers want embedded net features because they can have a continuing income after you have purchased the car, from wireless fees (the cellular company kicks back fees to the auto manufacturer) and from advertising and content. But you will end up plugging in a phone less than 2 years old instead of the built-in device.

The problem is worse with self-driving computers. Who wants one more than 2 years old? Not even the state authorities who will license them.

Auto manufacturers would like to solve this by having everyone lease their car. An alternative is for the car to have plugs for self-driving and network features, allowing the user more control. The paper has more detail on the social and legal issues.

I have a 2007 Prius, a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a Trailmanor travel trailer. Obviously I commute in the Prius and save the big SUV for tasks that need it. When I bought the Jeep, I rejected the connected version and went for a model with a dumber radio. I doubt I'm alone in making that choice.

Comment Oh Really (Score 2, Funny) 357

Thank you for this vast work of erudition, anonymous moron.

Someday, perhaps, when you are a pre-adolescent, you may aquire somewhat more knowledge of computers, though probably not enough to make you top-heavy. At that time, you may hear of a miraculous device called a gate-array which makes it possible to craft a running CPU similarly to the way that programmers write software. With this device, someone of greater skill than you will put together a computer that might not be as fast as you like, and might not have as many transistors as you like, and might use more power than you like, but will be capable of running an Open Source CPU with a known-bitstream so that the chance of there being nasties that we're not told about that spy on us built into the CPU die is reduced from today's horrible state (gate-arrays can still have them, but the people who make these nasties don't know in advance where we put the CPU implementation).

The instruction set and currently-fixed hardware features like the MMU and the translation look-aside buffer (a feature implicated today) will be repairable by changing the bitstream.

This will never be as efficient as a fully-custom chip, but it can be good enough. Many of us will be happier using it. And for those of us who require algorithm acceleration (hopefully for better reasons than mining cryptocoins, but that is one example) it will be possible to code it into the system and get the advantages of a hardware implementation without it being so hard.

Comment Just one way to get everything you want (Score 4, Interesting) 357

If you really want an Open Source, after-market bug fixes, and security, the best way to do that is to use not a CPU at all but a programmable gate-array. This also gives you the ability to have evolution in purchased hardware, for example improvement of the instruction set. The problem is finding a gate-array that is fast enough, dense enough, and power-conserving enough.

It would be cool to code your own special-purpose algorithm accelerators in VHDL or Verilog, etc.

This is sort of on the edge of practical, if you have the money to spend. Not as fast, not as powerful, uses more electricity, infinitely flexible. Certainly there would be some good research papers, etc., in building one.

Comment Re:Why not hold climate 'science' to this standard (Score 0) 115

I'd rather question your religion. The main problem here is a view of the world based on the best method we know of understanding it, vs. a faith-based view of the world that denies any aspect of reality that is inconvenient to its beliefs.

Comment A Word from Bruce Perens (Score 5, Informative) 48

I apologize for not participating in this discussion, but it is obvious legal hygiene not to discuss the suit until it's all over. There are some things I can discuss: Here is the Court Order, and I would like to introduce you to my Wonderful Legal Team. Valerie, Stanley, and I are having a good time over the winter break and wish you all happy holidays. Don't worry about me, and I'll explain what costs I have, if any, when this is over.

Comment Re:Everyone Knows Why, Silly! (Score 1) 461

In a post-apocalypse society gold would probably revert to being the preferred metal for tooth fillings. It's soft and inert. In an industrial society there are lots of things done with gold every day. One is wiring integrated circuit dies to the package leads, another is plating connections (because it's conductive and does not corrode).

Comment Re:it is known why (Score 2) 461

Traditional stocks are coupled to actual assets (and debts) as well as speculation on the total value of the company. In some cases dismantling a company for its assets produces value.

Some companies have been rolled up because their owned real estate was worth more than the value of operating the company.

Comment Re:Everyone Knows Why, Silly! (Score 1) 461

At least you can do something with newly-found prime numbers. Perhaps there would be public benefit to a cryptocurrency where the computation results in the publication of some more useful datum, rather than just being a complete waste of power. While this might be useful work, it would not assign any particular value to the coin.

Comment Everyone Knows Why, Silly! (Score 5, Insightful) 461

Everyone knows why Bitcoin's value plummeted. It's because Bitcoin doesn't have any value other than the belief of people in Bitcoin. What I said about Bitcoin is generally true for the Dollar too, but in the case of the Dollar at least the U.S. Government will take it for your tax payments. Nobody has to take Bitcoin for anything.

People confuse creation of money with creation of value. Value is food, materials, information, useful work. Dollars/bitcoins are unreliable media for exchange of value, not the value itself. Creation of $300B in bitcoin won't help the world to feed one more mouth.

Speculators jumped on it as a get-rich-quick scheme to make money from other speculators who would - they hoped - not time the market as well as they did. But inherent in this strategy is that all speculators will cash in on their speculation, driving Bitcoin back to low values as they abscond.

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