Links for 2009-06-30

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  1. Nix
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 00:21 | Permalink

    Hilariously offbeat is not the word. Some of those ideas are interesting but they were too optimistic (optical computing, holographic storage: not yet, but they did say “if we’re really lucky”; total voice computing: there for those who must for medical reasons, but too unpleasant for general use). Some are interesting but have unanticipated downsides and they obviously believed vendor hype (the ‘smart house’, which might work better if it wasn’t for crackers, and surely should remain smart even when you take your laptop to work with you, and might work better in the States where houses seem to be built to fall down after thirty years. But even then a time horizon of >10yrs seems necessary). Some are obviously utterly dumb (the desk becoming a screen: I don’t know about you but I put things on my desk, which would cover the screen; the desk growing a keyboard: return of the ZX81 flat keyboard, what joy!)

    (‘If your computer is stolen or destroyed, you might actually start wondering who you are.’ Charlie Stross, Tourist, 2002. I wonder if Charlie read this Forbes article? Of course that happened much later than 2010 and was explicitly happening in the middle of a technological singularity. A rather unpleasant one.)

    They really didn’t crunch the numbers, though. Their allegedly-fast cache was, um, physically separated from the CPU. At their postulated 100GHz the cache is going to have to be within 1mm of the CPU core to avoid stalls, assuming everything is operating at c, which it won’t be unless the CPU consists of a volume of hard vacuum. And, look, in the real world cache is integrated on the CPU die for exactly that reason. Hell, it was integrated on the CPU die in 2000: they couldn’t predict the present!

  2. Posted July 1, 2009 at 09:50 | Permalink

    I guess the lack of sensible practicality is what happens when you ask a design company, instead of a technology company ;)

  3. Nix
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 20:18 | Permalink

    I said:

    I wonder if Charlie read this Forbes article?

    No, he’s just read it. Lots of interesting comments.