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Comment Re:SGI Rumour vs. Facts (Score 1) 154


Intergraph's workstation business died before SGI was in real trouble. Intergraph had spent $1B on their workstations and wound up with a buggy (due to Intel) machine that went for $20k, while at the time most people could get an Octane for that same price. The only people who bought Intergraph workstations were people who bought Intergraph software, so there wasn't any overlap in markets through the 90s. In fact, we often used the Intergraph example as why you should buy an SGI workstation.

3dfx didn't run OpenGL at all. 3dfx ran Glide. At the time, Glide was far superior to OpenGL because it was almost direct to hardware, vs. OpenGL's abstraction layers, which further complicated things since game developers often assumed that a rendering feature was supported by hardware, when it wasn't. Games were written for Glide. 3dfx had 80-85% of the 3d accelerator market from 1995-2000. It was 3dfx's capabilities that opened the eyes of our team and all of our customers that PCs were ready for a lot of what O2, Octane, and even Onyx computers could do. (Search on the Voodoo and the Voodoo2.)

Windows NT, launched in 1993 while SGI sales were still rising. If anything, the work in porting from Irix to WindowsNT caused people to stay with Irix. You could list NuTCRACKER, released in 1998(?), was a catalyst, but NT itself was not.

Pentium Pro was a good chip - that's why SGI used it in some of their low end server offerings. However, the Pentium Pro suffered from a hobbled floating point pipeline - running about half as fast as MIPS and SPARC risc cpus. So, the Pentium Pro did not encroach at all on SGI's core business.

NVidia was there to pick up the pieces, but at the time it was one of many PC graphics card manufacturers. NVidia didn't have a market leading card until the TNT/GeForce releases in 1999/2000.

Comment SGI Rumour vs. Facts (Score 1) 154

The SGI story above just isn't true. In fact, SGI bosses there typically said "yes," costing the company billions, and in my opinion, causing it's ultimate (1st) downfall. NVidia: First off, NVidia was founded in 1993 by Jen-Hsun Huang (from LSI and AMD), Chris Malachowsky (from Sun), and Curtis Priem (from Sun). None of these guys worked at SGI. Yes, there were trickles of engineers who left SGI to go to NVidia - and 3dfx, Quantum3d, ATI, and E&S. The mass exodus of SGI engineers to NVidia did not happen until 1999, and that was a byproduct of SGI imploding. You might be thinking of 1997 and Quantum3d, but that was SGI execs not developers who helped that spinoff. SGI Did Build PC Graphics Cards and PC Graphics Workstations: Throughout the 1990s, engineers at SGI kept pushing the PC-graphics solution. Probably the first one, IrisVision, was introduced in 1991 as an offshoot of IBM licensing the Personal Iris tech for their PowerStation. The really important byproduct of this effort was converting IRIS GL into OpenGL. SGI knew OpenGL could cost them workstations but saw the future of PC graphics. IrisVision wasn't successful, mainly because of the PCI port speed. So, SGI engineers sold management on making their own motherboard. Which they did, and the SGI 320 and 540 Visual Workstations were begun and finally launched in 1999 to a cost of approx. $300million. These were great machines with tremendous capabilities, and were met with strong initial demand. However, each rev to CPU or memory or PCI required an incredible amount of work and SGI's advantages were quickly surpassed by AGP 2.0. So, SGI scrambled to find a more sustainable solution. Intergraph, who had made similar blunders (building their own motherboard in the 1990s, for an estimated engineering cost of $1billion), sold their workstation business to SGI in 2000 for $100m. SGI - The company where Bosses never said "no" I worked there for a short time, and worked closely with them through the 1990s. I use them as an example of the value of middle management. Engineers were constantly coming up with ideas, and frequently those ideas would go right to the top. "Instead of releasing Performer, let's add new features" "Let's build rides for DisneyQuest" "Let's try a completely new process to build the next InfiniteReality cards" "I know, let's make a whole new kernel and include every feature we can think of" "Let's compete against the WinIntel machine and build our own motherboard." There were tons of great engineers who tried in vain to throttle some of this, but the execs would treat any idea as gold - especially those that had nothing to do with the core business. Some were just ahead of their time, like IrisVision and Infrastructure As A Service so I don't fault them on that, but when you spend 80% of your attention on new ideas, your core business just goes away. By the way, the real boom in 3d graphics was the Voodoo cards from 3dfx and then the spinoff tech in Quantum3d. Those cards were the reason why game developers built 3d games. But, they, and the majority of the other PC graphic card manufacturers, eventually ceded the market to NVidia and ATI.

Submission + - It's not you, Slashdot, it's me. 5

BuckB writes: When I was a young man, I read Slashdot in order to amaze my friends with useful facts. It was even my homepage for awhile. Sure, there was time when I cheated and went to cnet or wired. With Slashdot, I could count on high quality debate on controversial topics, even though I knew in my heart that most of the readers were Apple fans, while I am a closeted Microsofterian. Now the stories are mainly non-tech — no, that's the real reason — the stories are now mainly fake or click-bait or alarmist, and the discussions are completely uninformed, insulting, to the point of being indistinguishable from an MSNBC forum.

I'll still remember you fondly. And I'll check back now and then. You'll do fine without me, find more people who enjoy insulting contributions and upvoting rumors and gossip. But maybe, just maybe, you'll think back to when you were a leader and attracted the kinds of people like me.

Comment When Does Life Begin? (Score 1) 680

Liberals, put the shoe on the other foot. Why do you deny when life begins? Scientists point to conception. No scientist says that the third trimester has any event as significant. Abortion is (scientifically and semantically) murder, but we choose a non-scientific event to say what is morally and legally acceptable.

When I "deny" Global Warming (oops - I mean Global Climate Change), I am simply asserting that it isn't "settled science." Sure, CO2 levels rising is scary, but is it as scary as the 1970 fuel shortage or the 2008 housing crisis? Why don't the predictions hold true? Why are the headlines false? For example, you all know the ice caps are melting. But in fact, that's only the Arctic. 2014 saw record Antarctic ice, and 2016 is running just a bit above average. Islands going under? Sure, some are going away. But a recent study says that while 20% have eroded, 40% have stayed the same size while 40% have gained.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is anyone concerned that Men Die 5 Years earlier than Women? ( 1

BuckB writes: So many stories lately about Women's Equality Day, Breast Cancer, and even the best places to live (for women — answer, Hawaii). However, there really are no headlines, stories, or even articles about men's mortality rates. Do people not know, not care, or just accept it as a fact that men, for example, die seven years before women in the idolized Hawaii or ridiculed DC?

Comment Re:you people are idiots (Score 1) 389

No, it's like going to a safe company and saying "hey - disable that mechanism for this safe that causes it to self destruct."

"That's just like what we make other safe manufacturers do, and what we have safe deposit boxes do, and what we have for all telecom equipment. I know you're the best safe company in the world and we just have this little old court order and it's part of your responsibility for being an American company (and by the way, can you onshore some of those profits you've been squirreling away in China and perhaps think about hiring some Americans to build the safes)"

Or, I suppose for the members of the Slashdot community, it's like saying "hey, Apple sucks and you're all a bunch of losers and we want to control your lives by screening every pixel on your monitor and we want to kick your dog while we go through your desk which will cause the end of civilization"

Comment End of Slashdot (Score 1) 389

Clearly, the people on Slashdot are on the side of privacy over all else.

But how does illogical, hyperbolic reasoning like this (and other similar alarmist posts) keep getting modded up?

Tim Cook is now protecting the gays? And somehow if you're for the FBI being able to access a phone, with the owner's permission and under a warrant and followed up by a court order, then why would you want a PIN anyway?

As Tim Cook said recently, "You probably have as much private information on your phone as you do in your house." Maybe - and the police have full, legal, and acceptable procedures for going into someone's house and looking for evidence.

The idea that something that's been created in the past 1 or 2 years is now the one and only thing that is protecting civilization is an argument only the very young can make. It's a phone. If being caught being gay is a threat to your life, don't put it on instagram.

Comment Change of Argument (Score 1) 389

Yes, the government can compel Apple to write code. The government can compel Ford to make a truck that gets 30MPG, compel a mining company to dig another shaft to let air into a mine, and make me pay for health insurance I do not want. If you think the direction the country is going in is to have more freedom than the past, you are sorely wrong.

Case in point - the government's suit against Microsoft and their inclusion of Internet Explorer bundled tightly with Windows. The terms of the settlement included Microsoft having to divulge all internal APIs and allow 3 people to have access to all their code. Microsoft wrote a ton of software to isolate IE from the OS in order to minimize exposed APIs.

In many other cases, companies have had to write scripts, etc. in order to search their systems for data.

What is the extent of the government's power? Well, we have three branches of government that figure all of that out for us. Currently, all three agree with the FBI. When the abuse is too much, we have the right to petition and make changes. But Apple, in this case, is on the wrong side of history.

Comment Conspiracy and Conjecture (Score 1) 389

From Apple's Open Letter:

"Second, the order would set a legal precedent that would expand the powers of the government and we simply don’t know where that would lead us. Should the government be allowed to order us to create other capabilities for surveillance purposes, such as recording conversations or location tracking? "

That's what I'm referring to - breaking into an iPhone leads us to recording conversations. No judge in the US would ever use this case as precedence to tracking locations.

Comment It's not Tech v. Main Street (Score 1) 389

It's old vs. young. The youth in America trust for-profit companies more than the government and the young have some fantastic association of themselves with the devices they bought from a store.

Apple's main argument is one of conspiracy and conjecture - if we do it this one time (with a Judge's order) then we'll have to do it whenever the police ask, and the keys will fall into the wrong hands and anyone can break into an iPhone.

It's an iPhone. It's not your soul. It's not even your DNA or your fingerprints. Breaking open one phone does not cause the end of civilization because you know what?

The iPhone 7 is coming out soon.

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