Nils' Notes

By Nils Dahl

Date: April 9, 2002

I do recall making a statement about the anthrax letters - basically that the stuff was smuggled into the US by some terrorist and mailed here by one person. Well, it takes a bit of time for the official wheels to turn and reach the same conclusion. http://www.msnbc.com/news/735231.asp#investigations

Makes for an educational read. So somewhere in the world there is a laboratory and staff of people who have surpassed all others in making a terrible weapon of destruction. Do we need this? Or should we stop debating processor performance and turn to debating the existence of a rational civilization in this world? And just what does confiscating tweezers and nail clippers do to combat such infernal behavior?

Now I was going to write a position piece on the computer world debates over this and that. I decided to put that off. Frankly, almost everyone gets it wrong. Even Darek, sad to say. Limited perspectives tend to cause such overly narrow viewpoints.

Consider, just for a change, the Amiga project. Beginning with a fairly standard distributed processing minicomputer design, the team developed an os that did a great job of handling sound and video media. Analyzing the intelligent subsystems and the code driving them, the team then reduced the technologies to a group of single chip solutions that got the job done superbly. That old, slow Amiga computer does things that even a 2.4 gHz P4 would be struggling to handle. So what can we conclude about computer architectures, operating system architectures, and marketing plans that keep failing over and over and over? Each interest group has its own agenda that is somehow preventing advancement in one or more critical aspects of the overall design - although I must say that the Apple designers have demonstrated greater advances far more often than any other group has.

But when it comes to delivering a generally useful system of tools to mass market users and educating all those users about the potential uses of such systems, nobody has even come close to doing much of anything correctly. Not one system that I know of has offered interesting and useful home-oriented software to the mass market - although, once again, Apple has provided samples of such products in the past (Go Hello Kitty!).

Anyone interested in learning what it would take? And remember that spelling out the needs of the mass market could open the eyes of the major players, allowing them to advance even faster.




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