Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

  Cell hype

I'm really tired of the Cell hype. It's just a new chip with a lightning fast memory interface, with a whole bunch of weird DSP-like interfaces that are going to be a bitch to program for. Yawn. I'm much more excited about the Cirrus Logic EP9302, which eats half a watt, costs 9 bucks, and has an honest to god FPU on it.

It will take years more for a Cell workstation to be more useful than a space heater.

However, when these babies ship - if IBM/Sony were to give one to each of the top 500 kernel and compiler developers in the world... along with a lifetime supply of pizza and beer... they might cut that time down considerably. I fully expect them to set up a public cluster much like they do now for people porting to their mainframes...
 
Monday, February 21, 2005

  Eloquent commentary on the Central Park Gates

I just didn't "get" the Cristo-gates project in NYC's Central Park. Maybe it's because I'm from the left coast, and anything short of a cross floating in urine fails to move me.

Now - satire - I get. See the Anti-cristo gates project at:

 
Sunday, February 20, 2005

  Social security fixes

Changes I'd make to social security:

1) Stop calculating it as an employer's share and an employee's share. If we eliminate the distinction between employment tax and the Self Employment tax - require that we give everyone a raise to match the change - we'd have a lot more rational discussion on this topic if everyone realized that the effective tax rate was, really, and truly, 12+% already - higher than what most people pay in income taxes.

2) Eliminate the cap at 90k. No, don't just raise it - eliminate it. I can hear the howls from the Republican administration now - and I would love to hear some enterprising Democrat run the calculation on this scenario - as merely raising the cap to 150k isn't effective enough and unfairly burdens those in the 90k-150k tax brackets.

3) Raise the retirement age to 70. Or higher. I note that in part, originally, Social security was intended to take people OUT of the job market at a certain age, leaving more room for more of the young to be employed. I'm not sure if raising the retirement age is such a good idea after all, maybe lowering the age is a better idea.

4) Re-institute the inheritance tax - direct some of the proceeds towards social security. Social Security currently steals from the young to give to the old - Stealing from the old to give to the old has a nice symmetry to it. Let the baby boomers pay for their own mistakes. I really like the idea of pitting the largest voting block against itself - instead of it's children.

5) Let kids below that age of 18 opt out entirely until they are 18. Why should a 16 year old with his Mcjob in danger of being outsourced to India have to pay into a system to retire an infinite number of years hence?

6) To balance out the "baby boom bulge", increase and enhance immigration of the young and qualified - along the way, eliminate the H1B program and make it easier for immigrants to get citizenship.

While much of the recent debate has been about the privatization of a portion of Social Security, few have pointed out that private investment is not a panacea -

Banks fail. Economies collapse. People make bad investments. Pension funds can be plundered. Having the government back some level of retirement support for elderly is a good thing. Mandating what is effectively a portable extension of the 401k programs is also a good thing, but private investment is no assurance against financial disaster.
 

  Blogging malaise - Tired of always finding what I want

Gradually I've been feeling my news sources growing calcified - the web has shrunk itself to my daily dose of Doc, of Slashdot, of LWN, and Google News. Lately I get my most inspiring material via a private mailing list - via talented people that are throughly filtering comp.risks and the Interesting People mailing list for the best stuff.

The lack of essential randomness in my web experience has been dragging at me - I have been reminiscing about the Good Ole Days - where clicking on a "Random Link" was inherent in the first central search engines; it's gone now. Google is so good at giving me what I think I want (and I in turn have been trained by google to ask questions that get me what I want) that sometimes I find myself fishing down in the Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle zone just to see what I'm missing - what's not being tracked anymore (or yet!), or typing random combinations of words into the search engine in search of distraction - to get what I need - essential stimulation, essential distraction.

I find myself yearning for the facts - for in-depth journalism - for something other than the surface of things - something better than both a PR driven "Get the Facts" campaign and endless commentary about the facts - or lack thereof - on blogs. I'm looking for the antithesis more than the thesis - for every coherent argument by everyone I agree with I'm looking for a coherent argument by someone with whom I disagree.

So, I've returned to reading books, and going to the library, and digging towards the roots of things. I'm thinking hard about integrating both sides of Boyd's OODA loop into my personal and business behavior - trying both to encapsulate and understand the usefulness of the "hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle" approach, with my own concepts of manuever warfare -

On my reading list: Chet Richards.

So - of course - the long term answer is that more books need to get online - and I love that google is doing that - but in the interim, you'll find me at the library.

Yesterday, realizing that I've been filtering out too much of the information I get every day, in search of stimulation I turned off privoxy, the banner ad busting web filter. My god, it's a different web with that off! Every page seemed busier, every page filled with banner ads pushing products I'd never heard of - I felt out of touch - I even clicked on a few of them, discovering in the process a pair of interesting products.

I went and surfed as many sites as I could, looking for stimulation.

After an hour, the repetition of the ads, and the damnable gif and flash animations all got to me and so I turned Privoxy back on again.

Resolved:

Paying attention to advertising is something that should only be done with a concious mind, with your shields up, and your checkbook safely hidden away.

And still I hunger for substancial information - or to create it myself - I long for the barriers between acadamia's data and our own to be broken down.

I think I need to go to a conference soon - this malaise shall not pass without getting off the web and into F2F.
 
David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


Resume,Songs,
My new blog, NeX-6, My facebook page
Orgs I like
The EFF - keeping free speech in the world
Musical stuff I like
Jeff, Rick, Ardour, Jack
Prior Rants - Wireless and Wifi in 2015 - not what I dreamed of Saving wifi! Fixing Bufferbloat! Fighting the vend... Virgin Media - Fixing the epidemic of bufferbloat ... 49... and trying to find my navel Wheels down on mars! Tracking the landing of Curiosity, from Seattle spotting NEOs from around venus's orbit Asteroids as lunar orbit resources SOPA is bad news Departing France for England, then 'home'.
Best of the blog:
Uncle Bill's Helicopter - A speech I gave to ITT Tech - Chicken soup for engineers
Beating the Brand - A pathological exploration of how branding makes it hard to think straight
Inside the Internet Mind - trying to map the weather within the global supercomputer that consists of humans and google
Sex In Politics - If politicians spent more time pounding the flesh rather than pressing it, it would be a better world
Getting resources from space - An alternative to blowing money on mars using NEAs.
On the Columbia - Why I care about space
Authors I like:
Doc Searls
Where's Cherie?
UrbanAgora
Jerry Pournelle
The Cubic Dog
Evan Hunt
The Bay Area is talking
Brizzled
Zimnoiac Emanations
Eric Raymond
Unlocking The Air
Bob Mage
BroadBand & Me
SpaceCraft
Selenian Boondocks
My Pencil
Transterrestial Musings
Bear Waller Hollar
Callahans
Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member

If you really want to, you can poke through the below links as well.

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