Bill Gates backs Raspberry Pi in all but name?


 
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by ArborealSeer » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:00 am
Rather than a tablet, Gates envisages "a low-cost PC that's going to let them be highly interactive" as more effective in education.


source: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/27/31203 ... nRumors%29
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by JoeDaStudd » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:25 am
It wouldn't surprise me with all the aid work he pays for that he'd like to back the RasPi or a similar device.
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by Braqoon » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:20 pm
I will hardly call that a support from Bill. Low cost PC is not a R-PI in his mind, that's for sure.
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by Jim Manley » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:04 pm
Gates and Microsloth, along with partners-in-crime Intel, Windoze PC manufacturers, and software application companies, spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying desperately to kill the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. They spread as much fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) as possible, and flew to all of the Third World countries contemplating participating in the OLPC project, trying to bribe their decision-makers with all sorts of fancy Windoze-based computing toys (e.g., high-end laptops filled with all manner of commercial software at no cost).

When Bill Gates originally dreamed of "a computer on every desktop", he really meant a PC running Microsloth software, and he wanted to include the floor of every hut, tent, and cave occupied by anyone with a pulse (I'm sure that if they could figure out how to extract Windoze license fees from dead people's estates, they'd jump on that, too). It's pretty clear that Microsloth has been completely blind-sided by iOS and Android touchscreen devices, feels truly threatened over the long term, and is years late in responding.

The Windoze 8 Surface product is a fop for their buddies in IT departments around the world, whose very existence has been assured by the constant stream of "support" needed to keep MS-based systems running. They're absolutely livid that employees have usurped their decision authority as to what technology companies buy and that the user-preferred products don't require an army of IT weenies in trail to keep working, train users, update (vs. upgrade) continuously due to bugs and viruses/worms/Trojans, etc.

Gates' focus on kids using keyboards and primarily typing just goes to show how limited his imagination really is, and that Windoze never would have been developed if Apple hadn't introduced the Macintosh with a graphics-based user interface. He's obviously never watched kids enthusiastically interacting with touchscreen devices that would never occur with a text-based interface. Microsloth executives would have been perfectly happy continuing to sell MS-DOS to this day. ReadWriteWeb produced a hilarious video mashup showing how Microsloth tried to duplicate Steve Jobs' introduction of the iPad in 2010 during Ballmer's inept launch of the Surface devices: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSj8GUZDuac These guys really don't get "it".

Thankfully, the Pi exists and is finally making its way out into the Real World in significant numbers. People are trying all sorts of things that would never occur to Microsloth and its partners-in-grime, and that's all just fantastic. Let Gates stew in his lack of understanding of what people really want, vs. what he thinks we really want.
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by johnbeetem » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:15 pm
Jim Manley wrote:They spread as much fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) as possible..

I've heard that FUD should mean "fear, uncertainty, and deception", since "uncertainty" and "doubt" are pretty much synonyms. Unfortunately, the redundant version is more commonly used. I think substituting "deception" adds a bit of spice.
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by jamesh » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:26 pm
I've with Bill on the keyboard thing. I simple cannot see how a touch screen can be used to type fast. Esp. a small on screen keyboard when you need to use lots of special characters (i.e. when programming).

Touch screen is great for users, not so great for content producers.
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by W. H. Heydt » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:38 pm
Jim Manley wrote:The Windoze 8 Surface product is a fop for their buddies in IT departments around the world, whose very existence has been assured by the constant stream of "support" needed to keep MS-based systems running.


Yah...but the original issue was PCs (and not just MS-DOS PCs) displacing the need for IT depart support that was using....IBM mainframes. What goes around, comes around.

Gates' focus on kids using keyboards and primarily typing just goes to show how limited his imagination really is, and that Windoze never would have been developed if Apple hadn't introduced the Macintosh with a graphics-based user interface.


...which Apple rather blatantly stole from Xerox PARC.

When Apple sued MS over the "look and feel" of Windows, rumor had it that Xerox was waiting in the wings to sue Apple for stealing the whole WIMP interface if they won against MS.
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by johnbeetem » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:28 pm
W. H. Heydt wrote:When Apple sued MS over the "look and feel" of Windows, rumor had it that Xerox was waiting in the wings to sue Apple for stealing the whole WIMP interface if they won against MS.

Xerox did sue Apple: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Comp ... orporation and look at reference [2]. I believe Xerox lost the suit on the basis that they waited too long to assert copyright. Apple lost against Microsoft except for a couple of sillyicons like the trash can, which is why Windows has a recycle bin.
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by Joe Schmoe » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:54 pm
johnbeetem wrote: Apple lost against Microsoft except for a couple of sillyicons like the trash can, which is why Windows has a recycle bin.


Well, that makes Windows more environmentally friendly - more "green".
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by Jim Manley » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:48 am
Well, we certainly don't want to detract from the effort to sully Microsloth by promoting Apple, do we? :lol:

johnbeetem: "deception", indeed! However, "doubt" isn't really a synonym for "uncertainty", especially in this context. Uncertainty can lead to doubt, but, they're not the same thing. It's kind of like saying that "root" is a synonym for "beer", whereas, in reality, the latter flows (literally, in that case) from the former. Fear can lead to doubt, too, so, think of a close synonym for doubt to be vacillation - aka indecision. Not knowing what's going on (uncertainty) has a different quality from not being able to decide what to do about what you don't know (doubt). The military has a neat little phrase where they describe the goal of any operation to be "maneuvering inside the decision loop of the enemy" - in other words, speed up the pace of battle to the point where you can shoot faster and more accurately at the enemy to cause material and personnel loss than they can respond by dodging, firing back, resupplying, and remanning. To your point, deception is certainly a critical element in establishing the FUD troika. That's precisely what WW-I was not, and WW-II was, with lessons learned such as the German aerial and artillery blitzkriegs, high-speed vehicular transportation of assault forces to and deep across fronts, the leap-frogging of Japanese-controlled islands in the Pacific to isolate and eliminate further contribution by forces there, etc.

I'm not against keyboards as one of a number of means of input, but, I do think that The People have voted overwhelmingly that a well-designed and executed graphics and touch-based user interface can be very effective for many tasks and, for some people, the only way that they can interact with computing devices. Look up how autistic kids have taken to tablet devices like ducks to ponds - they're positively enthralled and for many, it's the first time they've been able to focus on accomplishing any kind of communication. Ah-ah-ah ... don't try to lump GUI-likers as being autistic! ;) To be honest, I think there's strong evidence that we're all autistic to some degree.

People seem to forget that the Mac had a keyboard front-and-center, including command-key shortcuts - they immediately focus their attention on the mouse and the GUI (now who's autistic? :) ). In fact, the Mac's predecessor, the $10,000 Lisa, was erroneously thought by Steve Jobs to be the way that executives would perform their work, not realizing that few of them knew how to type, as they had legions of people to do that lowly sort of thing for them. My how times have changed - can you imagine an executive of a company of any size not being able to communicate via e-mail, if not text messages, today?

BTW, Apple didn't steal anything, since the courts decided that Microsloth hadn't stolen anything from Apple, save the icons, etc. If you're really interested in the history of GUIs and do some digging, you'll soon discover that Apple's software bears virtually no resemblance to PARC's in terms of source code, visual elements, or functionality. No one in their right mind with vision good enough to obtain a drivers license would ever confuse the Mac GUI with that of the Alto or Star (Xerox's R&D and production versions of their Smalltalk-based system, respectively). The courts use The Ten-Foot Rule when deciding about infringements (originally between trademarks, but, it has been expanded to include most visual works, including film and video) - if an average person can't readily distinguish between two exhibits from a distance of ten feet, then infringement has occurred.

Both the Apple v. Microsloth and Xerox v. Apple cases hinged upon this rule to a large degree, in addition to the fact that all of the GUIs were intentionally designed to mimic things in the real world. The ruling made it very clear that latter fact could not be used to establish infringement unless the items from the real world were being mimicked to a level of fidelity that they violated trademark based on, you guessed it, The Ten-Foot Rule. So, anyone could put a generic car on their virtual desktop, but, it had better not be sporting a Mercedes-Benz trademarked tri-sectored circle hood ornament, or any other such faithful reproduction, without being licensed from the trademark owner.

Xerox's systems displayed an entire virtual 8.5 x 11 inch page on the screen in portrait orientation, while the Macs couldn't show much more than 25% of that. The Mac mouse only had one button, vs. three on the Alto/Star, and Xerox used Doug Englebart's chorded keysets, while Apple did not. If you look at the details of a Xerox Smalltalk desktop, you'll discover that there are many elements that aren't present on the Mac at all, and there are many features in the Mac GUI that aren't present on Xerox's systems. There are even more differences when it comes to the meanings of actions on the respective systems.

Apple paid in stock (worth millions) for their brief visit to PARC up-front. Apple wasn’t allowed to see how things were done in any detail and the programming environment Xerox was working in (Smalltalk 80) was so different from Apple’s development environment (MC68000 assembly and C) that it wouldn’t have mattered if they did see the details behind Xerox’s work. Microsloth wasn't just a competitor to Apple, they were also a developer for the Mac platform. They had intimate access to Apple’s APIs and frameworks to see how to create a GUI and, in fact, licensed them from Apple in a limited form for Windoze 1.x and 2.x (e.g., no overlapping windows were allowed).

Not only did Microsloth copy Apple’s work in concept, but as a developer for Apple, they had the blueprint from which to copy. Furthermore, there had been no significant GUI conventions that Apple was using which originated at Microsloth. With each release of Windoze, it became clear that Microsloth was not interested in innovation since it was easier just to copy. With the Windoze 3.1 release (where windows finally began overlapping, along with many more duplications), it was clear that Microsloth wasn’t even trying to hide their intentions of copying Apple.

Apple v. Microsloth was a copyright, trademark, and patent case all rolled into one, which made things very complicated for everyone. You can copyright source, intermediate, and executable code, but, that's not a patent for the code itself. You can patent a process, its detailed description, and implementations of that process (hence, software, being both a description and implementation, precisely fits the description of what is patentable, regardless of beliefs to the contrary), but, that has no effect on copyright. Trademarks are applied only to visual elements, and can't be applied to processes or their descriptions - only to the appearance (and the text itself, if any) of a trademarked element.

There's a decent discussion of the history and details on Steve Seidel's "Technical Considerations" blog at: http://technicalconclusions.wordpress.c ... ry-of-gui/

For those who believe in the infallibility of courts (e.g., the Apple v. Microsloth decision), may I direct you to the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision that corporations (and labor unions, many who oppose this decision conveniently forget) are imbued with the same free speech rights as individuals. Recall that this is the same organization (albeit under different management and operating personnel) that decided that slavery was Constitutional ... until they later reversed that decision. This too, as they say, shall pass.
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by obarthelemy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:22 am
I have a real hard time taking seriously anyone who uses Microsloth or M$ instead of MS, and other childish taunts. You do realize Apple is more locked-down and proprietary than MS ?

Plus reading in the details, your points are mainly bogus, ie contending the number of buttons on a mouse is a core element, or ditto for screen resolution/form factor, or that different languages of implementation means there can't be any cross-pollination between OSes, APIs, even concept/frameworks. We're not arguing about whether the corners were rounded or not, nor how many buttons mice had, but about the whole WIMP vs CLI thing.

"BTW, Apple didn't steal anything, since the courts decided that Microsloth hadn't stolen anything from Apple". Mmm, I'm having trouble with your logic.

Anyway, I've tried several times arguing logically with Apple fanbois... waste of time.
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by Jim Manley » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:01 am
obarthelemy wrote:Anyway, I've tried several times arguing logically with Apple fanbois... waste of time.

Only a waste of time if you're arguing (your word - using emotion) instead of reasoning with facts (my preference) with an independent view, not one warped toward any particular corporate PR perspective, as you clearly have.

Microsloth is an accurate term because their corporate history, their core "culture" if you can even use such a word with them, is to:

- Lag behind innovators (not just Apple, BTW, but everyone - just look at the debacle called Windoze Phone/Mobile/CE) and copy their ideas (please provide counterexamples in the form of genuine, significant, first-ever, pioneering advances in computing technology - look at even their copycat marketing in the ReadWriteWeb video mashup of Jobs 2010 v. Ballmer 2012 on tablets)

- Use judicially-defined tactics and strategy of illegally leveraging monopoly power to torque the open market away from unfettered customers' preferences (please provide counterexamples where they have consistently acted in the interests of end-users, rather than corporate partners)

- Purposely design and implement their software to ensure the need for IT support (the abomination of things like the registry come to mind - just try fixing that once when their overly-complex, 100 million lines of code OS trashes it)

- Do nothing to fix their OS and applications for decades, much less design and implement it properly in the first place, to ensure a reasonable level of security against viruses/worms/Trojans (no company is perfect, but, they're simply the worst in this regard, all in the name of maximizing illegally-acquired profits)

- Introduce product after product based on a bloated, buggy Windoze code core where it was clearly inappropriate to ever have a Blue Screen of Death (well, I suppose the BSOD is one innovation), such as:

-- UltimateTV (a TiVo-copying digital video recorder that routinely crashed and lost recordings)

-- Early DishTV (satellite set-top box and later, combo DVR, software that was so bad in crashing and losing recordings that Dish sued Microsloth and won, plus ample damages)

-- The abortive Windoze CE/Mobile/Phone/Whatever-It's-Called-Next-Week product line with scads of confusing menus and dialogs that in no way belong on any mobile device, much less something like a phone with a miniscule display

-- and many others I'm sure you can also recall

- Relentlessly encouraged reduction of prices of partners' hardware products to below their actual cost via back-door payola schemes to the partners through various shady "promotional" and "marketing-sharing" schemes, contributing to the exit of consumer electronics manufacturing to slave labor wage gulags in Asia (Apple was committed to U.S. manufacturing until this happened, BTW - Foxconn, et al, are a consequence of Microsloth's actions, not Apple's)

- Continue trying to market products to consumers that routinely contain at least four or five words ("Microsoft Surface for Windows RT - or Windows 8", "Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium - or Ultimate for Business" - or one of half a dozen other names for essentially the same thing)

- Pursue their monopolistic and IT-expanding focused strategies in the high-performance and large-scale symmetric multi-processor systems markets via attempts to buy influence with business managers, despite technical users' very specific identification of major flaws and underwhelming lack of performance compared with vastly superior and secure Unix/Linux software that had been performing and evolving at very low cost just fine for decades


I could go on for dozens of pages, perhaps even hundreds of them. However, in the spirit of equal time, let's review some of Apple's boner moves (feel free to call them BAbble, just for fun, if you'd like) and their effect on computing for the public:

- Introduced the Lisa for $10,000, aimed at executives who could neither type nor do anything else virtually all of their employees could do (as I'd already cited - so much for your fanbois charge)

- Introduced the Newton, the first commercial mobile device to ship in volume that incorporated handwriting recognition ... assuming that your handwriting precisely matched whatever alien scrawling upon which its algorithms were based

- Mismanaged licensing of the MacOS to whatever clowns happened to meet with Apple executives (apparently over too-many-Martooni lunches and dinners), nearly driving the company bankrupt that had purged itself of all of its innovators, including the founders, through typical marketing-driven business school corporate executive idiocy we see on a continuing basis from Microsloth

- Failed to implement the original MacOS on the MC68000 microprocessor using both supervisor and user modes - everything ran in supervisor mode, allowing any code to access any address in the system, a major security and reliability flaw (any process could crash the entire system) that would persist until OS X was developed

- Introduced the Macintosh 128 at $2,499 ... for a small, impossible-to-open-without-special-tools box containing a 9-inch black-and-white (not even gray-scale) monitor, 128K of RAM, one 400K floppy disk drive ... and no internal or external high-speed interface faster than the RS-422 serial interface only capable of a maximum of about 500 Kbps without a dedicated synchronizing clock (which Centram and Dayna did with FlashTalk and DaynaTalk to achieve 768 Kbps and 850 Kbps, respectively, and 1.7 Mbps with a Dayna PC interface card)

- Continued a reversal of the openness they pioneered with the Apple I (how many still-operating original IBM PCs have sold for more than $374,500 recently?), Apple ][ series (for 16 years!), and Apple ///, with the closed hardware of the Macs and most iOS devices - to the point where the latest MacBook Pro Retina contains no user-replaceable or upgradable parts and is glued together, as is the latest iPad - albeit to minimize thickness and weight as a highly desirable trade-off

I could go on for many more pages on the subject of BAbble's faux pas, too, but, a major difference is that they have generally focused their products' features on what users want and need, rather than what some IT manager or clueless executive arbitrarily decides will be provided. The reason why the iPhone and other iOS devices have overwhelmed Microsloth's feeble offerings is precisely because they're designed to do what users need to do extremely well - nothing more, and nothing less. Microsloth had been fumbling around with clumsy attempts at tablet computers since 1999 when the iPad was launched and suddenly, 11 years (plus however much time Microsloth had spent building up to the launch of the tablet version of XP) of once again trying to force-fit Windoze into a domain for which it was not at all suited was shown to be the colossal folly it was.

Whenever the IT and corporate executives have been taken out of the loop, users have finally gotten to vote with their fingers, feet, and wallets (this has been the case for BAbble's products since 1976) and they routinely find BAbble's products preferable. BAbble has rarely marketed megabytes and megahertz because users really couldn't care less about such overly simplistic numbers, while Microsloth has always taken the nerd's view of the world. That's why most people (and the vast majority of people are not nerds, surprise, surprise, if you hadn't noticed) have gravitated to pretty much anything except Microsloth's products wherever possible.

Real people don't care about what it takes to open a consumer device that they're going to replace before the battery fails to charge (for 99% of them). Real people don't care whether there are one or two or four cores at multiple GHz in a mobile device, unless it causes battery life to suffer (and most BAbble competitors' mobile devices can't even use more than one core for the vast majority of the software that runs on them). Real people couldn't care less about arbitrary marketing numbers and PR-driven specs - they just want to get on with their lives and get things done without having to worry about viruses, BSODs, an endless stream of bug fixes, bloatware out the yin-yang, etc. Even Microsloth has had to offer their Signature service to strip out crapware. BAbble has never had that problem - and Microsloth is copying BAbble once again with their stores - the only place you can get Signature service and, someday, the Surface devices at some undefined point in the future for an unannounced price. No one can even try typing on a Surface, they're so not-ready-for-market.

This is all very important and apropos to the Pi because the big gun PR machines of the heavy hitters have started revving up (even Bill Gates has taken notice and started to respond). This can only get ugly, and it's only going to get faster and hotter. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "We must hang together, or we will surely hang separately."

I eagerly look forward to your reasoned and logical discourse on this or any other topic. Failure is not an option - you're not trying to copy Microsloth, are you? Watch out, they might sue you! ;)
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by johnbeetem » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:34 pm
While I'm neither a fan of Microsoft nor Apple, since both hurt FLOSS, I would like to address Jim's request:
Jim Manley wrote:...please provide counterexamples in the form of genuine, significant, first-ever, pioneering advances in computing technology

The Mouse Wheel or Scroll Wheel, something I use many times every day: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_wheel

... it was clearly inappropriate to ever have a Blue Screen of Death (well, I suppose the BSOD is one innovation)...


Well, every non-trivial program can crash and while I suppose Apple's "Bomb" icon is a lot cuter than Microsoft's BSOD, the latter generally provides more debugging information. I remember an old screen-saver which cycled through images of the post-mortem screens of the popular machines of the day :-)
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by Jim Manley » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:42 pm
johnbeetem wrote:The Mouse Wheel or Scroll Wheel, something I use many times every day: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_wheel

Point well taken. That's one, and it's hardware ... for a mouse ... which SRI (Doug Englebart invented), PARC, and Apple championed ... and the scroll wheel was invented nine years after the Mac launched what would eventually be hundreds of millions of mice across the industry.

Well, every non-trivial program can crash and while I suppose Apple's "Bomb" icon is a lot cuter than Microsoft's BSOD, the latter generally provides more debugging information. I remember an old screen-saver which cycled through images of the post-mortem screens of the popular machines of the day :-)

Yes, the bomb was for users and was usually seen because of the MC68000 supervisor-only mode defect I noted. Macs have always had debug info logged at various levels of granularity (it's now available under OS X, Windoze NT and beyond, Linux, etc., through the standard Unix-style logging facilities). There was a two-button plastic doohickey that came with the earlier Macs that could be clipped into the ventilation grill at the back right corner of a Mac and that extended to activate interrupt and reset buttons on the motherboard. That's how the debug information could be brought up on-screen (pointer counter address, register values, calling function addresses, other backtrace info, etc.).

All of that being said, we both know that such debug info was rarely ever used for either platform outside of development, and certainly not by the customers who weren't developers. At least now there's options for allowing the system to report back to the mothership when something has gone wrong (and without permission in the not-too-distant past ... grrrRRR), and it's rare that a system gets completely hung up these days. I can still force any Windows machine into lockup at will - it just happened on a Windoze 7 system here, although not due to anything I was doing to intentionally kill it. Fortunately, I also have Linux and Mac systems running here with uptimes of months where I can type this stuff ;)

I should probably acknowledge that I have an advantage over most folks, even developers, as I have access to proprietary source for all commercial OSes as part of my work. So, I've seen what Windoze code looks like under the hood, as well as OS X, and Google internals. Let's just say that not all source is created equal, some is created much less equal than others, and leave it at that. For a taste, go look at just the specification for Word files that were made public a few years ago, that are used to maintain compatibility all the way back to Word 1.0. A mess doesn't even begin to describe the contortions that have been performed over the years - it's something like 80 MBs for just the spec. IIRC, it's around 400 pages when printed out single-spaced, without descriptive comments ... those add several times that size!
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by gritz » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:05 pm
Great rant Jim - I was going to write a long (and winding) piece about Microsoft's shortcomings vs the other guys and where it might all head etc, but instead I'm minded of Henry Ford. What he wrote in the introduction to his autobiography could almost have been written with the most vocal of the open source / anti corporate / pro Linux idealists in mind:

Henry Ford wrote:We have passed through a period of fireworks of every description, and
the making of a great many idealistic maps of progress. We did not get
anywhere. It was a convention, not a march. Lovely things were said,
but when we got home we found the furnace out.


All the railing against the "bad guys", it's a bit too easy, isn't it? It has all the stink of a convention: Repeat the old dogma? Check. Decry anyone who asks awkward questions as having a hidden agenda or not being smart enough to understand? Check. Finish off with a group hug and try not to think about the state of the furnace back home? Check...

Bill's software (for better or worse) has found it's way on to most of the pcs on the planet. I'm interested in what he has to say (even if it's not "Yeah, sorry about that...")

And if an idiot like me can keep a Windows based digital audio workstation up for months at a time it can't be that hard. :lol:
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by Jim Manley » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:10 am
gritz wrote:Bill's software (for better or worse) has found it's way on to most of the pcs on the planet. I'm interested in what he has to say (even if it's not "Yeah, sorry about that...")

And if an idiot like me can keep a Windows based digital audio workstation up for months at a time it can't be that hard. :lol:

If it were actually Bill's software (as in written by him), he could be personally blamed for its shortcomings and would probably wholeheartedly agree. However, he hasn't really touched any Microsloth code at a detailed level since MS BASIC for the Altair (recall that I have access to all of their source going back to 1975). There's no doubt he's a sharp cookie, as his bridge partner Warren Buffett has often acknowledged. However, he didn't have to be very sharp to hoodwink the teeming masses into contributing to his more-than-ample retirement fund at an early age, save those of us in the know who have actively participated in open source for decades.

I have similar feelings for Steve Jobs who, of course, had even less contact with code after he left Atari (and that was closer to bit-mapped game graphics design than anything else, albeit at the respectable TTL gate level). He was often right, but, also spectacularly wrong occasionally, and anyone who complains about Apple having the largest market capital value and cash on-hand bigger than the federal government needs to enter the Wayback Machine and set the dial to November 1996, when the company was within months of bankruptcy (not directly due to his actions 11 years after being forced out by corporate mismanagers, but, then he did bring in Sculley). The memory of that period is probably still seared in the atoms that made up his brain. It's instructive that Microsloth felt it necessary to invest ~$400,000,000 in BAbble (which allowed temporary cross-licensing of patents between the companies, and Microsloth gained far more than BAbble did in that regard) because they knew that their real source of R&D would have evaporated if BAbble were to dissipate into the four winds (key players would have never gone to Microsloth and, indeed, some had left to create other successful companies).

This isn't ranting - no one has challenged anything I've said with cogent, unemotional counterexamples beyond the scroll wheel (and I appreciate that). When a company dominates and then horrendously stagnates a significant fraction of the world economy, it needs to be acknowledged in clear terms, because the champions and defenders of such behavior were beneficiaries of it. Windoze software insecurity alone has cost hundreds of billions in lost productivity, diverted capital, and other distractions from real computing advances. The very fact that Microsloth was found guilty of abuse of monopoly power, among other illegal actions, is ignored by the supporters in the hope that it will be forgotten. Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them, and the computing industry has the shortest period of recollection of just about any other, beyond maybe the entertainment "industry" (talk about a crock of a term!).

Anyway, I'm just happy to have a mostly open-source Pi in the oven ... it sure smells better than the alternatives! ;)
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
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In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!
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by gritz » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:11 am
Sorry Jim, but it's still coming across as a rant (your use of the term "Microsloth", etc). The whole "legacy support" thing is one of the keys here. Industry is about far more than just offices with rows of pcs that can be upgraded with impunity every couple of years. Industrial hardware is expected to have a lifespan of a decade or more and with it the pcs that are plumbed into it via (most likely) a custom interface board and application specific software. Those pcs are inevitably networked into a larger whole. It all has to work day in, day out and not be broken by (eg) a seemingly trivial software update. Similarly, the nice folks that make your interface boards (and the $1.000.000 hydraulic presses that they control) may not have conjoured up a Windows 7 driver yet (in fact they may not even exist any more), so you have to persevere with a legacy O.S. Microsoft grudgingly acknowledge this - even though it makes for a sprawl of code. Such is the forked stick of legacy support. On the other hand, consumer grade piffle is easy - just render it obsolete and move on to the next bleeding edge. Open source is easier still - just release the source and hope that someone will do the heavy lifting for you. For free. In their spare time.

The patent situation is interesting (see Apple's most recent action against Samsung in the USA) but it's only a symptom of an unwillingness by the legislature to bring the hammer down on businesses that counter with blackmail by e.g. threatening to move operations overseas. Instead of injunctions and the occasional fine they should just chuck all of 'em in jail. But that's probably for another thread... :)

Regarding software: I don't care how it's done, or by whom. I don't even mind paying. I just want it to work, because it has to earn it's keep.
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by ArborealSeer » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:14 pm
and whats been in the headlines lately? BSODs? not for a while..

but there have been several Mac OS X "kernel panics"

including this one. http://gizmo.do/OlO5

i'm noticing more and more that mac's aren't as bulletproof as people claim, and updates to software, let along the OS do kill them.
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by gritz » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:35 pm
ArborealSeer wrote:and whats been in the headlines lately? BSODs? not for a while..

but there have been several Mac OS X "kernel panics"

including this one. http://gizmo.do/OlO5

i'm noticing more and more that mac's aren't as bulletproof as people claim, and updates to software, let along the OS do kill them.


Which is why *all* updates to a mission critical system (of any flavour) have to be viewed with extreme suspicion! If a particular computer is essential to you, your work (or even your playtime) then let someone else be an unpaid beta tester. Read the release notes and trawl the forums before going there. No, really.

We all know people who just *have to* install the latest driver / OS update on the day of release. They're the same people who install buggy software on a daily basis, dick around with hopeless "tune up" applications and click on email attachments from unknown sources. They're the same people who don't ever back up anything too.

Apple's rather cavalier attitude towards backward compatibility causes some consternation amongst my software developer friends. An OS.X update always seems to break something. But when a developer throws in the towel and e.g. announces the withdrawl of support for ppc then he'll get hoots of derision from the three customers still using that platform. You can't win. :lol:

It's easy to blame {insert name of your un-favourite operating system] for a system instability when the fault is actually a buggy third-party driver, flaky hardware, configuration error, or just "a random combination of unlikely stuff". Railing won't fix it.

Finally, sometimes you have to ask yourself "Does this box that's doing a very important job for me really need an internet / network connection?" If the answer is "No" then you can forget the horrors of "Patch Tuesday" or it's equivalents completely.
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by Jim Manley » Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:49 pm
One of my many skill sets is in embedded industrial control as I started out doing submersible engineering for the Navy, and I've worked on other embedded systems, e.g., digital video recorders and set-top boxes. You haven't lived (or, almost as likely, died) until you take very large batteries, high-power motors, dozens of electronics systems, etc., down into tens of thousands of feet of salt water! :shock: Anyone who's stupid enough to run any hardware with consumer-grade software in an environment where people could wind up with more than a hangnail won't last very long in that line of work. Talk about going to jail - that's a distinct possibility when you're a licensed Professional Engineer (a highly-regulated certification) and people can be injured/killed by mistakes.

So, I'm one of the few software engineers who's actually completed mathematical verification of algorithms and implementations to ensure the software will only do what it's designed to do, and not one iota more or less. That's one of the reasons I probably seem like such a crank - decades of actually caring about and being responsible for what you're working on will do that to you (former Intel CEO Andy Grove's book "Only the Paranoid Survive" is aptly titled). People who just blindly align themselves behind any particular platform are only fooling themselves, especially if they don't really know anything about the low-level internals. I'm only pointing out the relative differences between Microsloth and bAbble in the consumer market (how come every single apologist cites my use of the former and not the latter?).

I wouldn't trust avoiding a hangnail with any bAbble product more than I would with one from Microsloth. I do really mind all of the nearly-continuous dire requests for help I get from family, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers when they have inevitable problems with Microsloth stuff. I rarely get more than occasional questions about how to do some pretty arcane tasks with bAbble products, and if you took statistical samples of troubleshooting forums (fora?) I'll bet that's pretty typical across the entire market. Both companies have their warts and I think I did a pretty fair job of pointing out examples (far from a complete list, as I noted) where bAbble has screwed up, but, Microsloth apologists conveniently ignore that. There are a lot more of the latter, so, I have to keep the volume up in order to keep them from rewriting the sordid history. BTW, Happy 5th Birthday to the iPhone, and you're welcome other smart-a$$ phone afficionados.

For those who will eventually call me a Pi partisan, they need to go look up my posts on what I think about using a Pi to control just a model aircraft (yes, some have even thought about controlling aircraft with people aboard with a Pi!). At least I use my real name here and don't hide behind some foofy handle - cowards 8-)
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
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by johnbeetem » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:58 pm
Jim Manley wrote:I'm only pointing out the relative differences between Microsloth and bAbble in the consumer market (how come every single apologist cites my use of the former and not the latter?).

Perhaps they -- like me -- have never seen anyone use "bAbble" before and have no idea whom you're talking about :-)
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by obarthelemy » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:14 pm
I like the French saying "La critique est aisée, mais l'art est difficile" (criticizing others' work is easy, doing/making something is hard)
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by gritz » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:23 pm
Agreed 100% on the need to be intimately aware of the safety aspects of the consequences of all our actions. And not just the obvious / dumb stuff like messing around with mains voltages, or deciding to build a guidance system for a flying machine, but e.g. something as seemingly mundane as a homebrew in car media player could create a catastrophic accident by causing a simple distraction by letting out the magic smoke - or even by locking up. For me the term "mission critical" may not necessarily refer to anything with such high stakes - speaking personally it would be any application that I want to do useful work with, not coax/ cajole / keep on life support.

I get tired by apologists too. And fanboys. And trolls. Fanboys mainly though - denying that something's broke is the absolute best way of ensuring that it never gets fixed. Still, no room for pragmatism in anything political / religious! ;)

Jim Manley wrote:...former Intel CEO Andy Grove's book "Only the Paranoid Survive" is aptly titled...

At least I use my real name here and don't hide behind some foofy handle - cowards 8-)


I'm sure that the Googlebot (and all the other spamdrivers and autosnoopers) will have already noted your presence and lack of paranoia!

Happy 500th post btw Jim.

Jonathan
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by johnbeetem » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:12 pm
Here's an interesting article on the recently-announced MS Surface: http://www.tgdaily.com/mobility-features/64400-report-vendors-ditch-windows-arm-devices-over-surface

A new report claims that PC vendors - including Hewlett Packard (HP) - are up in arms over Microsoft's recent decision to enter the lucrative tablet market with its Surface device.



"Most were debating whether or not to bother with WART (Windows on ARM RT) devices, and struggling to find a reason to do so," says Charlie Demerjian of SemiAccurate.


The article makes some interesting accusations. I am looking forward to watching how this all plays out. I'm very amused by the WART acronym. My favorite comment to the article: "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."
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by gritz » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:28 pm
johnbeetem wrote:Here's an interesting article on the recently-announced MS Surface: http://www.tgdaily.com/mobility-features/64400-report-vendors-ditch-windows-arm-devices-over-surface


:lol: Oh dear! If this is true then how could anyone at MS think that this strategy would end well? Android will be bracing themslves for a rash of enquiries from OEMs. MS must think that the Surface will sell by the truckload - there's no other explanation for dumping on longtime partners like this.

Kids - if you want to get rich, don't bother with programming - become a corporate lawyer instead. Gravy for everyone (except the end user, who will be picking up the tab, as usual).
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