MicroSoft Weasel Words

The boys at the office have been experimenting with Redis at the office however the server they were using was a Windows Server, and therefore the Redis database was running on Windows. So I took a look at the ‘release notes’ from Microsoft and their ‘Lawyer Speak’ was all over it.

MSOpenTechâ„¢ Redis on Windows

We strive to have a stable, functionally equivalent and comparably performing version of Redis on Windows. We have achieved performance nearly identical to the POSIX version running head-to-head on identical hardware across the network. Aside from feature differences that help Redis take advantage of the Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis should work in most situations with the identical setup and configuration that one would use on a POSIX operating system.

Having seen this type of language from Microsoft before, in ‘Open’ products like LDAP and ODBC where Microsoft would alter the implementation specification standards to suit themselves, I am wholly obliged to translate their opening paragraph into English for those who don’t ‘get it’. The paragraph should read as follows:

Microsoft’s Proprietary version of Redis for Windows
We have not managed to achieve a stable, functional equivalent or comparably performing version of Redis on Windows yet. We have managed to produce performance almost as good as a POSIX version running head-to-head on identically throttled networks connections. Aside from the changes we had to make to enable it to work within a Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis (using a Microsoft infrastructure) could almost perform using a setup and configuration that looks like a Posix operating system.

Reads a bit differently doesn’t it.

I have warned the developers here not to implement a production system based upon Microsoft’s version of Redis. I do not have anything against Redis, just the dark hole MS expects developers to jump into again.

Economics of computing devices

I have been observing that as smartphones are becoming smarter, they are also becoming more expensive, there have been a segment that have also entered the market once fill by feature, or dumb phones, but they are almost designed to entice you upgrade to the more expensive and glamorious models.

At the same time, laptops, particularly ChromeBooks are now dropping below the price of the average smart phone. Add in the increasing use of pads, especially Android pads and you have to imagine that MicroSoft should be getting very worried.

Desktop computers, PC’s, are almost non-exsistent these days, traditional laptops are in decline and the base for an exclusive Microsoft Windows empire is crumbling before our eyes.

Aren’t we glad that Bill Gates is still the richest (published) man in the world.

And to put another nail in the bed Microsoft sleeps in, no one wants Windows 8.0 or 8.1! Why not just rename Windows 7 to Windows 9 and go on from there? Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

IT’s not always a boy’s game, by choice.

I’ve been having a few twitter conversations about Internet startups, IT development and the ‘Boys Club’ it always appears to be. I’ve been working at a Internet Company, more than a startup, less than a powerhouse. And what was once called TeamworkPM.net is now called Teamwork.COM with the recent purchase of that very domain name.

Several Ladies have commented, one in Australia and another in California, particularly on the photos we had up for the ‘re-branding’ event.

However this is NOT the whole story, we have tried to hire NON-WHITE-NON-MALE personnel, We have held ‘Open Houses’, posted all over Cork (Home base) out of 10 (very disappointing) no persons of color, and only one woman. No one really qualified, as even the universities aren’t teaching what students need to get into the computing environment. We weren’t even trying just for ‘programmers’ none of the people bothered to even find out what we did on the Internet.

We have had interns (1 Male 1 female) in, and while useful, they were more interested in finishing school than working for us. Last year Teamwork.com set out to hire 10 people, more than doubling the staff, and we managed only 4, not all developers, from Lithuania, the Netherlands, Australia
and Bulgaria. All male, all white. And it’s not our choice, it’s all that we are presented with that are educated and/or interested in working with us.

In Catholic Ireland, the Nuns still teach that Math and Science (and technology) are for the ‘boys’ and tell the girls to choose something else. Only since things like Coder Dojo’s have girls been learning coding and web development. And even there, the female component constitutes only a minority.

Until such time as females are educated, and qualified to develop code, or web working. The all-white-all-male club will be more the norm than than in the general populations. And you can’t enforce a gender balance on startups and lean companies, it would crush them. Only educations will change this imbalance. So please stop complaining about us, and others, and start sending your daughters, wives and girlfriends to school.

So if you are qualified and motivated send a CV or drop an email at Teamwork.COM

Eircom eFibre Lies

Again Eircom can’t tell the truth even if that had to the ‘So Called’ up to 70 Mbps download speeds are currently only 26 Mbps about 1/3 what they are claiming, but what the hell it’s better than the ADSL they had, claiming 8 Mbps and delievering 4 Mbps.

UPDATE: just tested this, so maybe there is hope 43/11 not too bad.

Language of computing

I was reminded this Christmas Holiday season that computers do not ‘know‘ any human language, only binary, and that it takes humans to provide the translation from the machine to something human readable. And while most computer programing languages are ‘English’ like, they need not have to be in the English Language. It’s just what’s what happened first, and could be changed into another language at anytime.

This came to me in an inspired way, by listening to Carols, where non-native speakers were singing in latin, and other non-english speakers were singing in English, or German, or French. That you can sing in a language, and not know how to speak in it.

I suspect that is the same method that most non-english speakers program computers in ‘english like’ programing languages. By layering another translation over the programming, or like in singing, which uses another part of the brain, different from the part that provides language skills, another part of the brain is used to converse with computers. Thus making the point that people who program, do think with altered brains.

Prediction: Surface RT slab Fails

This one is the first prediction I’ll make for the new year. The Surface RT slab will fail in 2013. (as in period) Windows 8 on Surface Intel processors will be unstable, but the ARM RT will vanish entirely.

microsoft-surface-rt-014

UPDATE: Told You!!! Samsung to stop sale of Windows RT tablets

UPDATE 2: Somebody agrees? Microsoft’s Partners Refusing Windows RT OS

If it moves, it breaks!

Having been in IT for the better part of 30 years, I still sometimes forget, so when the New 500GB disk in my new laptop threw an error, I thought it was my fault. It wasn’t, it was, what is often refered to as ‘Infant Mortality’ a physical failure of the disk. The ‘Smart Disk’ technology on the drive controller built into the diskdrive identified the drive as ‘Failing’ and the Mint OS marked the drive read-only.

This allowed me to backup most of the the stuff I’d put on the drive to an external drive, but then it was useless. The drive has been sent back to PC Specialists for a replacement. The only good thing about this was the ease of repair of my new Clevo Laptop The disk removal took less than 5 minutes, two screws to open and remove the disk.

I am now using the laptop, booted from a new Mint installation on a 16GB SanDisk Cruser thumb drive. There isn’t much space left, and I get an occasional I/O pause with this setup, but try this with Windows, or a Mac and see how far you get.

But remember: ‘If it moves, it breaks!‘ backup often and more often!

My new Clevo W240EUQ Laptop from PC Specialists

This is the Laptop I have moved to. No longer a Mac user, never more than a PC user and never a Windows fan. I’m now entirely into my custom built Clevo W244EUQ laptop, built to my configuration by PC Specialist in the UK. Having done a lot of research and agonizing over prices and parts, my system was constructed and sent to me in, call it 10 days including shipping and weekends. And yes I’m writing this post from it. and I’m doing it from Mint 13 with the Cinnamon interface. Everything works, with the single exception that the SD card reader is not picked up. It also has one ‘hot’ pixel which only shows up during boot time, and I can live with that. I was amused and gratified that the laptop was NOT an exact match to the photos on the PC Specialist site, but I don’t think it was their fault as the Clevo site have many different configurations of this model laptop. On the positive, the laptop is better looking, and has a better keyboard than shown in the Clevo or PC Specialist photos. Mine photos are included below, though the first one isn’t perfect, because the top cover is so black that the auto focus couldn’t lock in.

The Specs are not stunning, about the same as a MacBook Pro. A Intel i5-3210M processor, 8 GB of ram, a 500GB 7200rpm disk with 16MB cache, 14″ screen 1366/768 HDMI, 1000 base ethernet, A/G/N Wifi, 2 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port and a (currently) non-working SD Cardreader.

UPDATE:

      Benchmarks
-------------------------------------
CPU Blowfish	    4.070
-------------------------------------
CPU CryptoHash   343.235
------------------------------------
CPU Fibonacci	   1.819
------------------------------------
CPU N-Queens	   5.411
------------------------------------
FPU FFT		   0.972
------------------------------------
FPU Raytracing	  3.688
-----------------------------------

The trouble with Microsoft Windows

While reading some postings about old CPU’s the subject on implementing calculations came up, and someone mentioned an issue with windows calculator. I assumed that this was an artifact from Windows 3.11 or something, but it still exists in Windows 7, and I assume will exist in Windows 8.

> 1. Start the Calculator accessory.
> 2. Write 4 on calculator.
> 3. Take its square root. It will show 2 (the right answer).
> 4. subtract 2 from the 2 result.
> 5. It will show -8.1648465955514287168521180122928e-39 instead of 0 (zero; the correct answer).

This is just unacceptable especially knowing that the same bad calculation is carried forward into other areas like Excel Spreadsheets and what not. How can this stand up to any kind of quality control within Microsoft … because it does! And THAT IS the Problem with Microsoft!

Skype security, and privacy

Communications and privacy will always be a concern, any protocol a computer can generate can be broken, the question is how long, and how important.

If your ego about your importance in the world is justified by others, then expect them to be listening. You can only slow them down.

For the rest of us, who are meaningless, no one will take the time to break through tissue paper to listen in on us. And we are safe enough.

If you seek real security, don’t use a computer to encrypt your message, find a better way.

The real problem with a ‘Silicon Republic’ for Ireland

If Cork, and probably Ireland in general, ever wants to get a leg up on Silicon Valley, or ANY tech center, they will have to get the local booksellers to start carrying books on the subject. YES! I do know the subject is a moving target, and that good books are hard to find, but keeping NOTHING on the shelves doesn’t help at all!.

At Eason’s Books it looks like this, while having 5 full cases of food books, and two full ones on ‘spirituality’ :

Computer books in Eason's

Waterstones Looks like this, not any better:

Computer books at Waterstones

It would almost be better not to have ANY computer selection than to have these pathetic examples for selection.

Benchmarking the Raspberry-Pi

This is a crude and simple PI test against the Raspberry-Pi and a Dell Pentuim-4 (3.0Ghz)

The Raspberry-Pi
Starting PI…
x= 0.38631 y= 0.89070 low= 939239 j=1200001
Pi = 3.130797 ztot= 801773.75 itot= 1200000

real 0m1.900s
user 0m1.720s
sys 0m0.000s

Pentium-4
Starting PI…
x= 0.38631 y= 0.89070 low= 939239 j=1200001
Pi = 3.130797 ztot= 801773.75 itot= 1200000

real 0m0.099s
user 0m0.096s
sys 0m0.000s

This somewhere between 17x and 19x speed difference, but compairing a ARM RISC ALU with a Pentium’s CISC FPU is not a fair comparison either. In other testing I was doing, I only got a 5x difference in performance, roughtly the difference between the Raspberry-Pi’s 700Mhz and the Pentium’s 3.0Ghz clock frequency.

As I got this benchmark from an old site, I was amused to note that this benchmark only makes the Raspberry-Pi about 56x times FASTER than a MicroVAX-II, a system I cut my teeth on in my programming life.

Life’s relative, maybe I should write that down.

Note; the GPU was NOT part of the testing.

UPDATE: I managed to get this bencmark to run on a Arduino Uno (16Mhz) and the Pi is 126 times faster, So much for using an 8 bit processor as a number cruncher :-)

UPDATE 2:

The new Raspbian Distribution, (after a recompile) produced this benchmark.

Starting PI…
x= 0.38631 y= 0.89070 low= 939239 j=1200001
Pi = 3.130797 ztot= 801773.75 itot= 1200000

real 0m0.539s
user 0m0.520s

sys 0m0.010s

or between 3.52 and 3.30 TIMES faster that the original Debian Squeeze distro. That makes it only about 5.44 times slower than the Pentium 4 at 3.0Ghz which I was detecting before with non numeric benchmarking. An interesting side note, due to the ‘Hard Float’ the timings incured 1/100 second of SYS time on the benchmark.

They both blink

This is my ELF Membership card (in the black box) running a 12 byte program that adds up to 255 then turns off the light, normally this would be about 1 per second, but I’ve been tweeking the speed dial as it has no ‘realtime’ clock. Using this in comparsion to the new Arduino Uno running it’s ‘Blink’ program. It is blinking to a realtime clock timed to the 1000 of a second and matches the ajacent clock. The Arduino (aside from the 1024 byte boot loader) required 998 Bytes to perfom it’s feat.

Both the RCA 1802 CPU in the ELF and the Arduino Uno CPU (ATmega328) are both 8bit processors with 32Kbytes of memory, the 1802 is (mostly) clocked to 2Mhz, and the Uno is running at 16Mhz.