It was inevitable that someone would try to capitalize on the interest in the $100 XO laptop from the One Laptop per Child project. I'm sure we all remember the brief craze for free PCs in 1999, where a cheap PC was given away with a relatively expensive or ad-sponsored Internet service agreement. When I started hearing about the $100 laptop, I expected it would spur a resurgence in such deals.
Brad Stone and Matt Richtel of the New York Times recently wrote a piece (here) about the risks of unscrupulous use of Internet blogs and message boards.
According to the article, the FTC says John Mackey, chief executive of Whole Foods Market, masqueraded as a third party to promote his company on Yahoo!. The story also describes how various politicians and reporters have also gotten into trouble by using assumed identities on the net. This practice is called "sock puppeting".
Blogging under your own name can be a problem too, as Google discovered when Google's Lauren Turner … Read more
My friend Jerry Pournelle calls Unix the full-employment act for computer wizards (presumably a reference to the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act of 1978).
One of the duties of any publication in the computer industry is to cast periodic doubt on the future reliability of Moore's Law, thus keeping the phrase prominent in the public perception. EDN Magazine discharged its duty for this year with … Read more
(Sorry for the brief hiatus... I had an important deadline to deal with at the office.)
On July 5, Microsoft announced that it was offering three years of warranty coverage for the "three red flashing lights" problem on the Xbox 360 (press release here).
This announcement began an interesting series of statements, interpretations and outright false conclusions from a variety of sources.
The press release… Read more
It wasn't what I expected-- in a good way.
If elected, Dr. Paul would withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, abolish the IRS and the Federal Reserve system, and return the country to the gold standard.
There were other speakers addressing these topics, and many of the people attending the event were apparently there to hear about these things-- anti-war activists, gold bugs, even a contingent of conspiracy theorists. I expected these people to dominate the rally, and I was prepared to … Read more
According to the US Census Bureau, there are over 1.8 billion children in the world under the age of 14.
Intel would like to sell them all a processor. And, ideally, a chipset with graphics, some flash memory, and networking.
If there are going to be 1.8 billion $100 laptops, Intel might be able to earn $25 each, or $45 billion for the chips inside them.
Of course, AMD would also like to earn that revenue. Before this week, it looked like AMD had the inside track. AMD was in the right place at the right time when … Read more
Although this machine has apparently been around for over a month, this was the first I'd heard of it. The occasion for the Times' mention was that the Everun is now available from Dynamism, a company that has become a hero to the early-adopter crowd by importing all kinds of gizmos that aren't officially for sale in the US market. If you haven't been to Dynamism, go check it out, it's great.
The … Read more
Boeing rolls out the 787 Dreamliner (here). Yup, that's the airplane I want.
Often missed in the news coverage is that Boeing has yet to announce exactly how the 787's composite structures-- skin, wings, tail, etc.-- are made. Early in the project there were some very definite rumors that Boeing had decided to go with a new kind of carbon-titanium composite made from layers of carbon fibers alternating with layers of titanium foil. The combination was said to have more fatigue resistance and a longer service life.
But as far as I know, Boeing has never addressed … Read more
Today the iPhone is the alpha gizmo, the one item of consumer electronics that dominates all the others.
But in 1993, the hot new gizmo was Apple's Newton, and it was a whole different thing.
Not very many people had Newtons. Apple sold fewer Newtons over the whole life of the product than it sold iPhones the evening of June 29.
Also unlike the iPhone, the first Newtons weren't even very useful. Although called "personal digital assistants" (PDAs), using a Newton was significantly more difficult than using a Day-Timer. The original MessagePad had very poor handwriting … Read more
I really enjoyed going through this image collection over on CNET's News.com. It lists ten influences from the world of science fiction on today's high-tech industries:Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Minority Report William Gibson's Neuromancer Bruce Sterling's Distraction Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Arthur C. Clarke's 1945 invention of the geosynchronous communication satellite Isaac Asimov's I, Robot Star Trek Karel Capek's R.U.R.
I'll go along with the Heinlein and Star Trek references, … Read more