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Cloud

Video IT Analyst Dan Kusnetzky Talks about Cloud Computing and Cloud Hype (Video) 27

Dan Kusnetzky and I started out talking about cloud computing; what it is and isn't, how "cloud" is often more of a marketing term than a technical one, and then gradually drifted to the topic of how IT managers, CIOs, and their various bosses make decisions and how those decisions are not necessarily rational. What you have here is an 18-minute seminar about IT decision-making featuring one of the world's most experienced IT industry analysts, who also writes a blog, Virtually Speaking, for ZDnet.

Comment How will he do it? (Score 3, Insightful) 387

Word Star had more users than the population of Bangladesh, Word Perfect was loved by the secretaries and Lotus 1-2-3 was worshiped by the accountants. Still Microsoft won them all, by hook or crook. Even if it is mostly by crook, it won. It needed employees with intense competitive focus to achieve that. All the people in the early days who had the fire in the belly to make their company succeed have all either burnt out, cashed out, shut out.

People who are left behind all came of age when Microsoft had almost mythical powers. It could squelch competition by FUD, All it took was an announcement of vaporware and the funding for start-ups who could compete would just evaporate. These guys simply are not capable of competing on a level playing field. And the playing field is tilted against Microsoft now. The earlier era minions of Gates have earned the enmity of vast sections of the computer professionals. And so many of their partners fear them and do not trust them.

Unless it is something radical like splitting the company into an OS division, a consumer products division, corporate server products division and all competing at full throttle it is not going to work.

Comment Conflict of interest? (Score 1) 76

So this flaw affects mostly app stores competing with Google marketplace. Not fixing this bug would give an edge to Google's marketplace. Though it is orders of magnitude different, this was similar to a situation early in the days of IE-vs-Netscape fights in the early days.( IIS and IE would work around each other's bugs making other web servers and browsers appear to be broken). How is Google handling it?

In some strange way Google is having the cake (open and competing app stores, instead of the total lock down on the Apple-iOS side of things) and is eating it too (its app store is less vulnerable than its competition due to its own bugs).

In the long run, having reliable and competent competition is what going to create lasting value to the customers, keep Google on its toes and keep it nimble. So if Google is really not evil and if it is interested in long term success, it should not take short cuts to maintain an edge over competing app stores. Hope it does.

Comment Cost of fiunding bugs != cost of fixing them. (Score 5, Insightful) 95

Browsers have very large installed base. There are enough bug spotters even if a very small fraction of them actually hunt and report bugs. Even then, the bounty is for finding the bugs, not fixing the bugs that includes the cost of coming up with a fix, verifying it fixes the problem, testing to make sure it does not create new problems and rolling out the fix.

Comment I have seen something similar. (Score 3, Interesting) 323

Back in the day when I was with the ministry of defense we lost a vehicle due to an error like this. They had changed the vendor for the gyros of the roll sensor. The new gyros had the voltages in the reverse sense. It is possible one vendor was European and the other was American. They wired it according to the sense of the old vendor. So the control input to the ailerons would add to the roll instead of counteracting it. The RPV crashed 1.5 seconds after launch.

In the postmortem the flight director started with, "... we sadly lost the vehicle after a flight of 1.5 seconds ...". The mission director interrupted, "What flight? The damned thing had a 6000 Kg[sic][*] rocket booster. You can put it under a 3 ton rock and it will 'fly' for more than 2 seconds..."

[*]He should have said 6000 Kgf-sec, because that was the impulse delivered by the twin rocket boosters each 1500 Kgf thrust burning for 2 seconds.

Comment Not going to available in USA (Score 1) 353

Because it has a top speed of 99mph, it has to obey all the passenger car safety requirements. If they use some software to limit the speed to 25mph, they can sell it USA as a Lowspeed vehicle. But anyway they are only planning to make 250 vehicles for the European market.

I think in a decade or so, all the cars will get an electric motor as the zeroth gear.If the IC engine has work only above 5mph or 7mph they can tune it completely differently and improve fuel economy by 50% easily. Much of the fuel economy of the Prius comes from the engine that does not have to work below 10 mph. It would not be too expensive to store enough juice to pull the car up to 5 or 10mph a few times.

Comment Re:We need a new class of 'ultralight' cars (Score 4, Insightful) 353

That is the concept behind Tata Nano. It is very cheap and you could barely call it a car. But its CEO (at that time, not sure who is running the show now) Ratan Tata said "It is not an unsafe car. It is a safe motor cycle with four wheels and a roof" (I am paraphrasing). In India it is common to see an entire family, dad+mom+two+kids all piled up in one motor cycle or a scooter dodging potholes and weaving in out of traffic. Yes, such cars exist. But it is very unlikely to pass any safety test in USA/Europe/Japan/Korea.

Comment Re:Salt is NOT benign (Score 2) 120

Salt was not cheap for Romans. It was so rare Roman soldiers were actually paid in salt. The Latin word for salt, salar is the root of the word salary. They certainly did not have it at enough quantities to poison the land or people. They probably sprinkled the conquered cities with salt in some kind of symbolic ritual. Talking about symbolic military ceremonies involving salt, nothing beats the induction ceremony of the Gorkha soldiers. These tribals pledge fealty to anyone who has given them salt. At the induction ceremony they line up, the commanding officer in full dress uniform marches along the ranks, with another colorfully dressed sergeant bearing a tray of salt. NCOs bellow commands for the inductees to open their mouth and the CO sprinkles salt into their mouth. For all that pomp and circumstance it looks ridiculously funny.
Supercomputing

Video Meet the Stampede Supercomputing Cluster's Administrator (Video) 34

UT Austin tends not to do things by half measures, as illustrated by the Texas Advanced Computing Center, which has been home to an evolving family of supercomputing clusters. The latest of these, Stampede, was first mentioned here back in 2011, before it was actually constructed. In the time since, Stampede has been not only completed, but upgraded; it's just successfully completed a successful six months since its last major update — the labor-intensive installation of Xeon Phi processors throughout 106 densely packed racks. I visited TACC, camera in hand, to take a look at this megawatt-eating electronic hive (well, herd) and talk with director of high-performance computing Bill Barth, who has insight into what it's like both as an end-user (both commercial and academic projects get to use Stampede) and as an administrator on such a big system.

Comment If you need it you are doing it wrong. (Score 5, Insightful) 211

If your spreadsheet needs a gpu to speed up calculations, you are probably misusing spreadsheets. I know most accountants love the spreadsheet and they make insanely complicated things using spreadsheets pushing it far beyond what these are designed to do. But if you have a spreadsheet that needs this much of cpu time to recompute, you should probably be using a full fledged data base with multiple precomputed indexing.

Comment Re:RAM 1500 'Infotainment' system (Score 1) 317

The nav system uses the same display as their rear view camera. I actually ordered their top-view camera system in addition too. Just for fun. They use two cameras on the wing mirrors and the rear view camera to display a composite image as though you are floating above the car and looking down. Quite cool to look at and my wife liked it. But the damn wing cameras do not turn and look backwards to provide some blind spot protection. Their idea of blind spot protection is radar mounted in the rear bumper.

Comment Re:RAM 1500 'Infotainment' system (Score 1) 317

BMW sees such customers all the time. In most other luxury brands such customers will pick a car from a different badge (Toyota instead of Lexus, Chevy instead of Cadillac). BMW has only one badge. So they call these cars "driver cars". Enthusiastic customers who can't afford all the fancy stuff. BMW caters to them. And ithat takes care of those off-beat guys who could afford fancy but still obstinately refuse to buy it.

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