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Saturday, December 31


Six* Easy Pieces

Courtesy of Google. These are things I wrote at various points in the past, back in the days before blogs and munu. I didn't take any particular care to record them (for reasons that will become obvious), but others have done so.

Piece The First: The Great Microprocessor Conspiracy

Uwe Sattelkow wrote:

I need general information about CPUs, about architectures, etc. Anything relating to the topic "What makes a CPU fast?", nothing on specific CPUs. Could anyone tell me, where I can get information from? (webpages, ...)

The critical thing is to use fresh CPUs. It's well known that CPUs slow down over time; for example, my SGI O2 was quite zippy when I bought it back in 1997, today it's rather slow, and I expect within another year or two it will be almost unuseable.

This has given rise to a tremendous scam that has netted major computer vendors billions of dollars over the years. This is how it works:

New CPUs are fresh and clean, with wide-open pathways that allow electrons to zoom freely from pin to pin. As time passes, the occasional electron will get stuck in a tight corner, or overshoot an output buffer and hit the insulator and shatter. These particles - electrons and fragments of electrons such as deutrinos and kleptons - are known in the business as "cruft".

The "cruft" gradually builds up and clogs the once-wide paths, so that the problem starts to accelerate. Soon the once-fast system is getting old and slow, and at this point the vendor steps in and offers an "upgrade".

In fact, this "upgrade" is nothing more than a fresh, clean CPU. Even worse, the vendor will then take your old CPU, clean out the "cruft" with compressed air (they used to use freon, but this has since been banned), and - get this - re-sell the refurbished CPU as an "upgrade" to another customer!

What's more, vendors have over time been *deliberately* making the pathways on chips ever-narrower! The broad 3-micron boulevardes of the old days have been replaced by twisty 0.18 micron alleys, and if they're not stopped, we'll soon be trapped within goat tracks just 0.1 micron wide, forcing the electrons to move sideways!

I encourage everyone to write to their local media outlet or political representative to protest this outrageous behaviour!

(Originally posted to alt.test.wombat , Feb 24 2001)

* Plus or minus five.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:41 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, December 23


The Death Of Productivity

Pixy Misa, you have risen to become leader of the Americans. May your reign be long and prosperous. The Americans have knowledge of Irrigation, Mining, Ceremonial Burial, Pottery, and Roads.
That last sentence is true enough.

Size...................Very Small
Altitude...............Very Low

And if Pixy can't go to the movies, the movies will have to come to Pixy. I was pleasantly surprised at how well that runs on my notebook, which only has Intel chipset graphics and is, according to the box, not supported at all. In fact it runs pretty well (scrolling is not as smooth as one might wish, but it's not bad either), and even adapts to the wide-screen 1280x768 format.

So if you don't hear from me for a week or two, it's because I'm busy making movies about alien empires on Mars.

Update: My new film, Dead Men Don't Die Twice II, seems to be a hit! Well, it's complete rubbish, but it's making money for the studio...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:34 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, December 06


No Pajamas For You!

Pajamas Media has a Blogjam (that is, a chat or web forum thread) on who should control the internet, featuring none other than moonbat wannabe internet thief, Peng Hwa Ang:
Professor Dr. Peng Hwa Ang is specialised in censorship and regulation of the Internet.

In his capacity of internet expert, Professor Peng Hwa Ang has consulted for the Singapore government and the UN's Development Programme - concerning the Digital Opportunities Taskforce Report in 2001.

Peng Hwa Ang has been involved with the Bertelsmann Foundation in a series of projects looking at Internet self-regulation, self-rating and filtering. He was part of an "expert group", that met several times to develop internationally-accepted seal of self-ration that was robust to criticisms by civil libertarians.

Peng Hwa Ang has published more than two dozen academic papers and book chapters and edited three books in the area of media law and policy with a special focus on the internet.

He is especially known for his work on content regulation and censorship of the internet. He has presented his work in that area before more than a dozen countries.

Given that background, it is little surprise that Dr Ang sees the UN as the best organisation to control the Internet. Never mind the fact that it is working just fine as it is - as far as the people who use it are concerned.

Dr Ang:

Control is probably not the best word for this given how loaded that term is. Governance is the better word. The internet needs governance in the same way that the most critical things in our lives need governance--air, water, traffic, education, healthcare, etc. Look at how we are communicating. We have to coordinate our time, how we type, what we type. If there is no coordination--a form of governance--we cannot get this blogjam going. All we would have is a jam.
All of which is complete nonsense. The Internet is not a system that needs governance, much less control. It is a system of independent networks connected by mutual agreement. And that's all that's necessary.

The Internet works not because of some governing body, but because the component parts of it have come tovarious arrangements. Huge numbers of individual arrangements. There are standards, but the way the Internet works is highlighted by the name of those standards: They are called RFCs, or "Requests for Comments". They are not handed down by a governing body; rather they are passed around by the users of the Internet who think they may have a good idea. And they become de facto standards because the more people follow them, the more useful they become.

Dr Ang:

The key concern, not mentioned at all in the piece, is this: the US had and technically still has oversight of the internet’s root zone system. What does it mean in practice? Well, just before the US went to war in Iraq, the domain name of Iraq—.IQ (or country code Top Level Domain ccTLD) disappeared from cyberspace. In other words, if Yahoo then had wanted to register its domain name in Iraq, it could not register This was the unspoken fear of MRW at WSIS: that critical infrastructure and services for an information age laid on the internet could be shut off if the US, for any reason, decided to do so.

The story of why that happened belongs to the X-Files unless someone like Seymour Hersh digs it out. The official and public version is that the person who managed the .IQ ccTLD was jailed for unauthorised sale of computer parts to Syria and Libya. In other words, the US Government did not shut off the .IQ. It’s just that the person in charge could not go to office to turn it on. Will we ever know the real reason?

You just gave us the real reason. The story of the .iq domain is well documented (Warning: Contains facts, but also absurd levels of anti-American bias) and none of it reflects on the US at all.
It is therefore disingenuous to describe what was done at the Summit as an “internet grab”. The US did not have to do an “internet grab” because it already had the internet in its hands.
The US built the Internet.
It is important to note that the United Nations is not Kofi Annan. Neither is it 10, 20 or 30 countries. It is an institution made up of almost all the countries on the planet that has done good work on healthcare, education, development etc. I speak not from the experience of someone in Singapore because the UN is invisible to many in Singapore, but from talking to others in the region. The oil-for-food programme, as Mr Annan admits, should not have come under the UN. But I can understand why it did. Only the UN has the credibility as a third-party to be acceptable by Most of the Rest of the World (MRW).
As a citizen of the rest of the world, Dr Ang, I can tell you that you are hopelessly misguided. The UN is completely corrupt from top to bottom; the Oil for Food debacle, and the even worse debacle of the investigation into Oil for Food, has proved this beyond doubt. The fact that there are organisations that would be even worse as Internet governors - the governments of China, Cuba, and Iran come to mind - does not mean that the UN would be anything short of disastrous in that role.
I've had some people email me that they would (a) not trust the UN to watch over $5 much less my/our internet and (b) if they want their internet go build "their own damn internet".
You should listen to them.
I happened to meet Bob Kahn walking about the resort town of Sidi Bou Said near Tunis and he said that it is quite easy to set up a parallel internet universe aka "their own damn internet".
Indeed it would.
My replies have been that (a) the UN is made up of governments and forced to make a choice most people trust their own governments--and therefore the UN--than the USA and (b) building "their own damn internet" is the worst possible outcome for everyone because everyone loses, with the USA being the biggest loser should that happen.
That's an interesting assertion, Dr Ang. Would you care to back it up?
To sum up where I'm coming from:

1. The internet needs governance for its next stage of development. That is, it needs coordination, exchange of best practices, laws and policies (and other expressions that substitute for control if one does not like it) to bring it to the next level. There are mischiefs to be cured. Hence a need for a forum.

No it doesn't.
2. The process, especially at the international level, has to be open and inclusive. That is transparent. And inclusive of countries (multilateral) and inclusive of diverse groups (multistakeholder).
Since your proposal is unnecessary, and indeed actively harmful, the way you go about the process is of little interest.
3. Developing countries also need help and some serious money into the Digital Solidarity Fund--managed in a transparent way--is essential
When said developing countries have representative governments with universal suffrage and are actively working to stamp out corruption, then it will be worthwhile giving them aid to build up their Internet infrastructure. Until that day, not a penny.

Dr Ang, you seem not to have the faintest idea of what the Internet is and how it works, which one would think would be a drawback given the role you have assigned yourself.

The Internet is the network of networks. Individual networks, owned and controlled by individuals, corporations, governments and other groups, are interconnected by mutual agreement. There is no central body controlling the Internet. There is ICANN, which plays a central role in managing certain mechanisms, such as the allocation of IP addresses and the management of the top level of the domain name system.

But IP address allocation is decentralised. ICANN assigns blocks of addresses to internet providers, who then subdivide those blocks and hand out smaller blocks to their customers, who can then subdivide them further. And the routing of IP addresses is not controlled by ICANN, but by mutual agreement.

The situation with domain names is even further from what Dr Ang claims it to be. Anyone - anyone - can set up their own domain name system. I have. It's great. Anything under my domain resolves directly without me having to type in the "" part. I have created my very own nigh-inexhaustible supply of TLDs. Of course, no-one else uses them, because the mutual agreement is missing, so their utility is limited to saving me some typing. Most people who set up a network do basically the same thing, creating their own little set of TLDs. That's how DNS works, that's how it was designed to work. If you don't like it, you can set up your own. What you can't do is steal the existing one.

There's a dicussion going on at Protein Wisdom which has a better signal-to-noise ratio than such things often do. How long that state lasts now that Jeff's resident moonbat troll has arrived is an open question.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:48 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, December 04



While waiting for the bleeding to slow, I implemented subdomain elimination in Snark. We hadn't really needed it until now, but today we're getting small amounts of spam from dozens of different subdomains. They were still getting blocked fairly effectively, but the blacklist was getting longer and Snark was slowing down - it had used nearly 20 seconds of CPU time over the past week.

Fixed now.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:42 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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