AMD, the long neglected stepsister to Intel, has done marvelously well in recent years, primarily due to Intel’s “meltdown” of trust in their flagship processor products and Intel’s delays in shipping new competitive 10nm chips. Coupled with ineffectual senior management and poor board control, Intel, the darling of the Wall Street set, sat wallowing in management paralysis and a moribund stock price until recently.
Meanwhile AMD’s CEO Dr. Lisa Su has been instrumental in moving AMD from its Eeyore approach to life to that of a first-rate competitor in the chip space with its Ryzen, Radeon and Epyc product lines. Dr. Su has not only changed AMD’s attitude – she’s also changed the entire competitive landscape with bold technology moves and strategic partnerships with companies such as Microsoft. Having dealt with the earlier AMD in the 1990’s, where no one would make a decision and the C-suite was filled with ineffectual do-nothings, it has been refreshing to see capable management drive good engineering and product management.
In the last few years, AMD and Intel have swapped places. AMD, the driver in specialist processors, has gone full-bore into the vacuum left by Intel’s strategic blunders and broadened into general processors . Intel, in contrast, has made an old Intel revenue-enhancement approach “new again”, by taking their general processors and specializing them for specific markets.
The challenge of creating seamless video experiences on demand has been a long-sought and long-fought dream. FaceBook video@scale brings specialists together to wrestle with the complexity of end-to-end technical tricks and user level satisfaction often at odds.
The morning was a blitz of corner cases and tightly wound insights. Minutia of transmission of video and complexity, issues of detection of dropped frames in various browser decode, up/down scaling of video quality on-the-fly, issues in CODEC switching, video stream sizing, I-frame synchronization between different video codecs, which codec to use, network versus browser issues (often appear the same), and getting around browser video correction.
But the two items I am going to focus on are the old hard chestnuts: power and packet drops.
Many years ago, Jim Gray was conducting a talk at Stanford I attended, whereby he outlined the challenges in processing the huge datasets accumulated in scientific fields like astronomy, cosmology and medicine.
In those days, the greatest concerns were: 1) cleaning the data sets and 2) transporting the data sets. The processing of these data sets, surprisingly, was of little concern. Data manipulation was processor-limited and modeling tools were few. Hence, success was dependent on the skill of the researchers to delve through the results for meaning.
Jim lived in a world of specialized expensive hardware platforms for stylized processing, painstaking manual cleaning of data, and elaborate databases to manipulate and store information. As such, large academic projects were beholden to the generosity of a few large corporations. This, to say the least, meant that any research project requiring large resources would likely languish.
In the decades since Jim first broached the huge data set problem (and twelve years after his passing), the open source disruption that started with operating systems (of which I was a part) and new languages spawned in turn the creation of data tools, processing technologies and methods that Jim, a corporate enterprise technologist, could not have imagined. Beginning with open source projects like Hadoop and Spark (originally from UC Berkeley, just like 386BSD), on demand databases and tools can provide (relatively speaking) economical and efficient capabilities. And one of the biggest of big data projects ever recently demonstrated that success.
Today the US Patent and Trademark Office issued its ten millionth patent! The extraordinary Patent No. US 10,000,000 entitled “Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection” was assigned to Raytheon Company by inventor Joseph Marron of Manhattan Beach, California.
As the winner of this sweepstakes, Raytheon has been granted a lovely 20 year monopoly from the filing date (10 March 2015) for a new and unique invention that uses comparisons between a target and sample frequencies in a clocked processor to determine the phase difference for navigation. You can also, it notes, use it for holography assuming your target and you are both stationary, but that’s unlikely to happen unless you’re driving a Chevy Malibu.
As a token of esteem, Raytheon has been provided this lovely new patent cover page to swaddle their new baby patent Figures and Claims. We have no doubt Raytheon’s patent counsel shall commence to commit it to the deep, to be turned into corruption, looking for the resurrection of the body when the sea shall give up her dead.
I congratulate Raytheon for winning the 10 Million US Patent Sweepstakes, beating out ever-industrious rivals IBM, Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, Toshiba, Sony, LG, Intel, Microsoft and most particularly, Google, which has missed out on yet another self-driving navigation patent.
The next milestone sweepstakes, the 20 Million US Patent Sweepstakes, should be starting right about…now. Inventors: Start your engines.
Jon Swartz’s recent piece in Barrons asks “Is This the Year Tech IPOs Stage a Comeback?” Prior year IPOs did not meet expectations, with consumer companies like Snap and Blue Apron the poster children for a miserable performance.
But the speculation among the smart money is that 2018 tech IPOs will surge, and they’ll be driven by enterprise companies.
So, is enterprise the game changer for tech IPOs in 2018?
Recently, a FaceBook friend lamented that he could not access his icloud mail from a device bound to his wife’s icloud access. He also expressed frustration with the security mechanism Apple uses to control access to devices – in particular, two-factor authentication. His annoyance was honest and palpable, but the path to redemption unclear.
Tech people are often blind to the blockers that non-technical people face because we’re used to getting around the problem. Some of these blockers are poorly architected solutions. Others are poorly communicated solutions. All in all, the security frustrations of Apple’s “personal” personal computer are compelling, real and significant. And do merit discussion.
Beware the Apple Store “bait and switch” iPhone battery gambit. We faced this yesterday in Los Gatos, CA where they tried to claim a working iPhone 6s with a good screen / original owner was not eligible for their $29 battery replacement at the appointment because it had a slight bow in the frame.
Now, by this point everyone likely has some flaw in their old iPhone, whether it is a slightly dinged frame from being dropped to a minute crack or scratch under the frame. It’s normal wear and tear. And they likely didn’t have a problem replacing the battery before the discount was announced and replacements were more costly and infrequent. But now, it’s an issue.
They did offer to sell an iPhone 6s for close to $300! This is a terrible price. Don’t go for it. This is what they mean by bait and switch.
Brian, Brian, Brian. Really, do you have to lie to cover your ass? Variations on this “exploit” have been known since Intel derived the X86 architecture from Honeywell and didn’t bother to do the elaborate MMU fix that Multics used to elide it.
We are talking decades, sir. Decades. And it was covered by Intel patents as a feature. We all knew about it. Intel was proud of it.
Heck, we even saw this flaw manifest in 386BSD testing, so we wrote our own virtual-to-physical memory mapping mechanism in software and wrote about it in Dr. Dobbs Journal in 1991.
You could have dealt with this a long time ago. But it was a hard problem, and you probably thought “Why bother? Nobody’s gonna care about referential integrity“. And it didn’t matter – until now.
People often fixate on the Home Run Deals: the Googles, the FaceBooks and the like. A home run deal is a 50x-100x return on a deal where you get in 1) really early, 2) really cheaply, and 3) an astronomical valuation that you 4) stay with the entire ride without being diluted. It is the stuff of movie magic and business books. But it’s also extremely rare and risky.
The most recent attack on women and minorities in Silicon Valley has arisen unexpectedly from Google. Mounted by an anonymous Google engineer as a “manifesto”, it presents no facts, regurgitates disproven theories on the “biology” of men and women and, most tellingly, blames diversity for upper management’s cancellation of underperforming products at Google.
There are a lot of women who have worked on technology projects in SV over the years (me included), but you wouldn’t know it because no one writes about it, so no one believes that it happened even though this is a young industry and most of us are still alive. That missing piece of the story leads to the notion that women have not had any involvement in any technology and it’s a man’s world. It’s an absurd notion.