Bush orders himself to stop torturing.

This Reuters article takes the cake Bush says U.S. seeks to eliminate torture worldwide , This is like the kettle calling the pot black. The man that authorized the torture at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo should be ashamed of himself.

Update: If George W. Bush is so much against Torturing, why is he campaigning against formalizing it? Senate Moves to Protect Military Prisoners It’s because he is the one who authorized it in the first place.

Update 2: The seems to be in stark contrast to the first commitment White House Is Seeking Exception in Detainee Abuse Ban. What a bunch of lies, has Bush no respect for the American people?

Microsoft and the Lifeboat test

There is a lot of discussion about Microsoft and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) call it publishing of content on the web. When I started out life on the world wide web…. never mind stick to the point. Whenever MS embraces a new technology, always one that it did not invent, and usually arriving late to the party. They bring to mind a life boat test I remembered long ago. Even before the web (makes me sound older and wiser doesn’t it).

The test goes something like this;

You are stranded on an Island, not even a bad island. You are stuck there with one other person. The only problem is that in order for you to survive on this island, and maybe escape, you need this other person, and he/she needs you also. You are dependent on each other for your survival.

The good thing is, you get to choose who you want to be stranded with!

The choices you have are these two.

A) A bitter, but rational, enemy?
or
B) A good, but irrational and untrustworthy, friend?

It comes up like a rock and a hard spot question. My answer has always been questioned by people I know. And is usually a great conversation starter in these days of survivor TV.

Where would you place Microsoft (A or B) and which would you choose?

The law of Blogging

I just found this, link EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers it was interesting but I wonder how this applies to a Blog operated outside the U.S. The world is a place of many laws. Witness the blocking of the word “Democracy” and other profanity by Microsoft on behalf of the Chinese government. Funny how Microsoft is a U.S. company, supporting censorship, they must like that idea. I’ll bet they don’t advertise that fact either

In Ireland I’m not sure if I’m covered, maybe I’d best look it up, and remain a bit anonymous till I do.

Politics the Press and the brown envelope

In Ireland there is a tradition, not a good tradition, and a saying of sorts about the ‘Brown Envelope”. This has very little to do with the postal services, but about public officials taking bribes. Bribes mostly from Lobbyist, land developers, private business and Large Corporations.

Most Irish EXPECT their politicians to be corrupt, hence their natural distrust of the government, and the Gardai which are very politically influenced as well. This is in stark contrast to the U.S. who believe that politicians are working for the benefit of the general population.

Politicians are the same there, as they are here, why would you think otherwise?

Mostly due to the press. There is an outstanding LACK of investigative research being done by the press in the U.S.. As an example, the lack of WMD’s in Iraq and the reasons for going to war. This is not surprising as most of the press is controlled by, guess what, Big Business. The same people who bribe the government are the same ones who publish the news.

The press here in Ireland, while somewhat controlled, are usually pretty vocal. This is as much Irish as you can get. The Irish will talk about everything, and anything. And nothing gets them going like a good scandal. They spend years in tribunals talking about it.

If the reasons for going to war in Iraq consist of George Bush’s desire to be seen as a “Great” president. Perhaps he will be remembered as the President that becomes famous for a second ‘Viet Nam’. And the respect his Father won for the U.S. internationally fighting Iraq will be LOST by his son in a fit of ego for fighting Iraq. How Ironic.

But it will be the loss of respect, for the truth of the press. That will be one of the greatest failures the U.S. will ever suffer.

The ICS and Crayons

I just received a bulletin from Irish Computer Society and it made me feel like it was addressed to first year students. I felt like I should get out my crayons and color in the pictures. It had to do with Software Licensing, and the protection of Intellectual Property issues

(You can read it here. )

The analogy is flawed and the knowledge of the legal mind behind it is indicative of the problem with the Pro vs Anti copyright arguments now going on in the EU. I’m afraid that if this is the kind of discussion going on in the EU Counsel chambers we are doom to repeat all the problems now plaguing the U.S. software industry.

(Update)
I forwarded the ICS bulletin To Richard M. Stallman and he replied. (He must have thought I was trying to subscribe him to this lame article.)

Please remove me from your list. It is not useful for me
to receive notice about speeches that will confuse the public
by speaking of “intellectual property”

Warfare and MAD Poker

Talking with my friend Raj, we got onto the subject of nuclear weapons and the problems with North Korea and Iran. He gave me a uniquely Indian opinion, he liked them! Before India and Pakistan had atomic weapons there was often bitter warfare between the two countries. But now there is none, because neither party wants the bickering to escalate to the point where either has to use their nuke’s. Sure there are disputes, just no serious warfare.

This is one of those ‘remember your history’ issues, this is MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) on a small scale. You want to control the North Korean nuclear threat, arm the South Koreans with nuclear missiles also.

In the case of Iran, they have stated as much, they are uncomfortable with Israel having Nuke’s, so they are trying to ‘protect’ themselves. This isn’t new, the Israelis have had nuke’s for years, and the U.S. has made no fuss about it. But what floors me is the fact that when the Shah was still in power in Iran, He was attempting to build Nuke’s, as far back as 1974 and the U.S. didn’t mention a word. The Iranians have had the technology and the materials to build one for years. (Building Nuke’s is easy if you have a bit of Plutonium or some pure Uranium)

Why the big stink now. The only thing I can think of is to continue to make the citizens of the U.S. (maybe the world) feel insecure. Neither of the two countries has the missile technology to strike anyone other than their neighbors. The threat of a suitcase nuke has not gotten any worse, the threat has always been more because the U.S. and the Former Soviet Union together have lost more nuclear materials than either Iran or North Korea could produce in a century.

I’m reminded of the Sting song ‘Russians’ I hope the Russians love their children too!. I hope he writes another song I hope the Muslim’s (and Americans and Koreans) love their children too!. It would be downright un-neighborly, to do otherwise.

The Future of Technology

I recently watched the latest Star Wars movie and while the plot was well known to me, I was very happy that the threads in the movie did a fair job of connecting the movie to the original three episodes. I have observed that the technology displayed in the movies is also interesting in that it does two very interesting and different things. The first is something that should be in everyone’s requirements documents during any IT project, or for that matter any software or technology project.

First in the movies there is a common use of technology, very high tech, but not intrusive in that the technology is what used to be called ‘Appropriate Technology’. Often this has been used in third world countries to describe technology that fits the situation. As in use of solar electronic devices in an area where distributed power is not common, or skipping the ‘Industrial Age’ in favor of the Digital Age. In any case the technology is enough to help, but not enough to intrude. Making the technology a comfortable chair rather than a large lounger/vibrator/bar/desk object that takes up half a room. This could explain the iPod fad, it’s not intrusive, and does only what it was designed to do. The technology should just work for you, you shouldn’t have to work at the technology. This could apply to most things, Operating Systems, entertainment systems, IT information systems. Always available, doing just as needed, and not intrusive.

The other point gleaned from the movies is related but different and that is culture, the technology reflected the various cultural differences, but still provided similar benefits. The spaceships reflected the culture of the planet that operated them. In Ireland, and Europe in general, that is reflected today in automobiles. The cars here are smaller, shaped differently and in some cases are dead ugly functional. Even the heavy equipment here has identifiable differences to those in the U.S. Some of this is due to the environment in which they operate, smaller streets, more expensive fuel, ect. Even McDonalds has adapted their menus here. The one size fits all is not, and should not be a requirement of the technology. It should recognize that there are different cultural and environmental elements to accommodate in the development of technology. I cannot count the number of E-Commerce systems that attempt to sell in Ireland and require an area code or a street number. Here a house address could be a proper name, associated with a village or an estate name, no zip code and no street address. The mapping sites operating on the Internet are going to go crazy here, where the only real way to find some houses are GPS coordinates and the help of the local postman.

Anyway, the point is this, development of technology is as much an element of culture and lifestyle as any other object in use today, and should be incorporated into any requirements analysis for future development. The shape of a computer case, the color of a keyboard, the data entry screen, the controls on an MP3 player must all be taken into consideration. Apple more or less knew this with the creation of colored iMacs and iPods. And the PC industry has often copied this with no real understanding as to why one should do this. This is why! Discrete useful, culturally integrated technology is the goal.

Plumbing supplies, Apple, Linux and Windows

Living in another country has been a learning experience. Coming from the U.S. I had been spoiled with choices. My house in Seattle had different faucets in almost every bathroom and in the kitchen. The fixtures were even from different venders, some very good venders. The kitchen faucet broke once, it was from a vendor that had a lifetime warrant. And they honored it, after I called the support number, told them the problem and the part number. They sent me the replacement part, twice! The first kit they sent was for a newer version of the same faucet, not the older version I had. (Some of you know where this is going, I’ll bet.)

In Ireland I was struck by the ‘primitive’ nature of the plumbing fixtures. But when I was trying to fix a faucet in the bathroom recently, the primitive part was an easy fix, and every DIY (Do It Yourself) store in town had the part. And it fit, and was cheap. This was not a small part, bits and bobs of brass, washers and seals. Fairly complete piece, but the broken piece just screwed out and back in with the new. Even the old handle worked.

Now some of you who skipped ahead saw this coming. Linux, Apple, and Windows have been selling to the U.S. market. A market where everyone expects choice, and products all try to differentiate them selves to provide value. And this has lead to hundreds of different Desktops (GUI) in Linux Distros. The Linux advocates call this freedom to choose. but a vast majority of the population just want things to work. Like the plumbing, choice is good, when you have a support infrastructure and lifetime warrantees from the vendor. But if the plumbing is available at the corner hardware store and can be replaced by anyone, why can’t Linux’s parts do the same? Any Geek could I’m sure, but if we talk about Ma and Paw user, not a prayer.

Looking at Windows, it takes a different tack. It puts every part into the kit, to fit every possible plumbing issue. And that’s a lot of parts. Apple on the other hand, builds the parts and puts in only the parts it makes into the kit. Clean and simple. It’s no wonder that OS-X is so much more stable. No second hand, third party parts in the plumbing. But then you can’t get the plumbing parts from anyone but them. Heck, you can barely find the whole system for sale here in Cork, and they have a factory in town!

This is not a new concept, everyone knows the story of interchangeable parts. I always like the flintlock part. Instead of custom flintlocks with custom parts the parts were all the same. Not as pretty, maybe not as good, but faster to make and easier to fix when broken. And yes, even custom parts do break, even it they are better made. But replacing is not so simple. Interchangeable parts made weapon (read product) production easy.

Operating systems have become this way. Windows trying to fit everything, and locking the customer into their custom parts. Linux providing so may parts, it’s hard to choose, and then some of them don’t fit without rebuilding the house (kernel). And trying to use Windows parts in Linux (read drivers) don’t fit either.

Now everyone will state the obvious Standards (there is even a plumbing supplier called Standard, but do you have one?) but then that’s the nice thing about standards, there are so many to choose from.

The point I’ve been trying to reach is Linux will have to start standardizing it’s plumbing parts. These Distro ‘choices’ are going to have to be dropped to save Linux. The FUD about Linux fragmenting isn’t FUD, Linux IS fragmented! It will never be a desktop replacement until it becomes as common and familiar as DIY faucets. Microsoft will have to drop all the legacy plumbing parts in the Longhorn release (or fail). Apple will have to open DIY shops (and stores) everywhere. And I have to get this bit of a drip from the faucet stopped, and clean up the floor.

Apple’s Piracy Marketing

There is an article and an idea Mac OS X on Intel: Try before you buy?. That just tickles my fancy. This would be a great marketing idea, Piracy as a marketing tool. Apple releasing OS-X for Intel to the Pirate world without having to support it. But still alluding to it as the future of Mac’s.

Getting everyone a try at OS-X then requiring them to buy a Mac for future versions of the OS. It converts PC users, clobbers Longhorn, promotes the Mac on Intel idea sooner, and opens up a new platform to developers not currently signed up as Apple developers.

Lots of goodness here. I hope the leaked software gets a wide spread, maybe I can get it installed on my wife’s broken Sony.

On Microsoft Longhorn

Just a thought, all this talk about Intel and hardware. The question comes to mind, is the long delay to the release of Longhorn really due to software development?

Or is it to stretch the current hardware platforms running XP at customer sites and homes to the breaking point where everyone will have to upgrade hardware just to get Longhorn, without it looking like Microsoft is requiring the hardware upgrade to get Longhorn to run?

Makes sense, Microsoft sense.

More Mactel things

I received an email with a good point about my rant on MacIntel’s

We’ll see, I guess. I think the CPUs themselves will be standard,
but that the motherboard designs will not.

Why use standard CPUs? Because they’d be cheaper than custom fabs.

In the past Apple boards utilized fewer chips than PC’s instead relying on software and CPUs and ASIC’s. This would make a Pentium unable to perform as fast running windows as a PC type board would. While this would still work, no one would want to install and run Windows on an Apple Intel system. Running Windows Applications, Yes, Windows OS NO! Custom ASICs are more expensive than dedicated chips for I/O etc. So Apple is going to go cheap, then a generic PC mother board via Intel. And we are back into what distinguishes Apple from Dell. Something in hardware is got to give.

But from the Rosette emulation only translating G3 code currently on the Pentium 4 that makes the P4 a third class citizen to the PowerPC G5. The Pentium 4 will need to take two steps forward to put Apple back into the same place it’s at. Again making the idea of a different Pentium being in the works. Not custom, but a new Pentium that doesn’t comply with generic Windows design.

One other note, Why not a new Pentium customized for Linux, It’s the Hear no evil, See no evil, Do no evil. I don’ hear any manufacture asking for a Pentium for Linux, I don’t see anyone building a system for Linux, and I don’t do custom CPU’s without a customer.

Pentium M, Yohan and beyond

Every one is talking about Chips, Apple will use the same chips as PC’s. What will Apple do to distinguish it’s product from other Dell PC’s using the same chips. What will prevent OS-X from being put on generic PC’s?

The first question one should ask is, will the chip be the same as one available to Dell?

Thinking back to the days of the PowerPC, were the G3, G4 and G5 the same as other chips that IBM manufactured? Answer: No, they all had been created or modified from generic PowerX architecture. The G5, the last, was NOT a Power4 or a Power5 CPU like the ones IBM uses in it’s servers.

Why would you think that the CPU’s from Intel made for the Mactel’s be any different, or rather the same as the CPU’s available for Dell? They won’t be, trust me they will be made to order, and released on Apple’s release schedule, not Intel’s normal method. Do you believe that any discussion with Intel would not include Core designs, release schedule’s and confidentiality?

Intel’s Pentium designs have been to keep up with Microsoft designs. The core, instruction sets and architecture have been compliant with Microsoft’s Windows compatibility in mind. There is no such requirement for a chip designed for Apple. An Intel chip designed FOR Apple does not even have to be compatible with Microsoft. (note this is also the easiest way to prevent OS-X migration (hacks) into the PC world, implement special instruction set extensions, Altivec on Pentium anyone?)

Intel engineer’s are probably dancing in cubicle space with the news that the new chips do not have to be backward compatible with windows. There is freedom in Intel land today. And now you will see innovation in chip design.

And now comes AMD, why not include AMD. The only reason I can think of is AMD is tied to Microsoft designs. And while they have pushed the architecture into 64 Bit instructions better than Intel, it’s still a windows roadmap. AMD is a creative imitator, not a creative innovator.

Think Different

OS-X Intel Development Platform

I’m wondering if anyone has had a chance to compile a Intel Binary and tried to execute it on a Darwin installation running on a generic PC platform?

This seems like a logical step. Darwin is OS-X ported to PC’s it would make sense that the binaries would work. The only question is rather, does Darwin have all the API’s necessary to operate the Interfaces?

Mactel questions and speculation

I have been reading all of the pro’s and con’s for this CPU change, and I smell a ulterior motive.

A) The Pentium CPU is nearly at it’s end of life. Hence the Itatium story.
B) The Pentium 4 is maxing out at sub 4Ghz
C) The Pentium 4 is very hot.

The Pentium M is would make a better choice. But a better question is this, is the Pentium D (double) a dual core Pentium 4 or Pentium M?

So the future is Yonah? Some at the presentation were calling it a Xeon?

Is the future dual core and quad core? Are we going wide instead of fast?

Seems like a mixed future. I can only believe Apple is in possession of more interesting information than is currently available to the rest of us. Leading me to believe that there are unspoken words here, like DRM. The Hollywood connection. Lots of good conspiracy here in these unspoken words.

Another note, some of the ‘Experts’ have been claiming that there are serious Kernel problems porting over to Intel. What are they thinking, they saw a demo on stage of a Pentium 4 (so they say) that means the kernel has been ported. And what the heck, Darwin IS the kernel and it’s been on Intel, in parallel for ages.

Just a speculation, I have always been grateful that my old iBook G3 has gotten faster with each release of OS-X. And I could hardly expect this as the G3 does not have Altivec in it. Could it be, that Apple has been pulling Altivec code out of the kernel all along in anticipation of this change? This would make a lot of sense.