When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · November
· · · · 30 (2 entries)

Intel Java Voodoo Huh? · Check out Intel's new in­struc­tions to Rock­ton round the clock from the In­quir­er. This is con­sis­tent with what Geir Mag­nus­son said in his (very good) OSCON pre­sen­ta­tion; that In­tel might like to load a cus­tom JVM with se­cret code that took ad­van­tage of their in­side knowl­edge of the sil­i­con, so Ja­va would run bet­ter on In­tel; one rea­son they might have pre­ferred Apache to GPL li­cens­ing for the Sun Ja­va code. Me, I’m puz­zled. If there are spe­cial in­struc­tions to make Ja­va byte­codes (or .NET CLR code) run fast, uh, how are they go­ing to keep them se­cret, and why wouldn’t they end up in ev­ery JVM and CLR im­ple­men­ta­tion? And why wouldn’t this be good for In­tel? There are dis­as­sem­blers and so on, you know, and plen­ty of hack­ers who are ac­com­plished at pick­ing apart x86 bi­na­ries. Maybe there’s some­thing else we don’t know. [Up­date: Check the com­ments. That In­quir­er ar­ti­cle is from way last year, and Geir Mag­nus­son says I’m all wrong about In­tel. So maybe there’s no sto­ry here.]
[19 comments]  
Pray · The news is not all bad. Take a minute-really, even if you’re busy—and watch Iraqi Kur­dis­tan, built around pho­tographs by Ed Kashi; it’s beau­ti­ful. There’s at least one part of Iraq where peo­ple are get­ting on with liv­ing their lives. One of the first pieces I ev­er wrote here was called Kurds; it’s come out bet­ter than I pre­dict­ed. Enough good news. I think Fa­reed Zakaria has it about right in The Next Step? Think Viet­nam; Iraq is slip­ping in­to sec­tar­i­an war, and the mur­der­ers on both sides would like the US to leave be­cause they think they can win the blood­bath that comes nex­t. Even The Economist (in their ex­cel­lent new Democ­ra­cy in Amer­i­ca blog) says “In the end we’re go­ing to have to ac­cept the frag­men­ta­tion of Iraq”. If I were re­li­gious I’d be pray­ing for the Iraqis; no­body de­serves this. Those, like me, who thought the war wasn’t in­sane were guilty of fail­ing to ap­ply Occam’s ra­zor. The sim­plest ex­pla­na­tion in 2003 was that the war-starters were in­com­pe­tent ly­ing scum and that no good re­sult could be ex­pect­ed from their ac­tion­s. And the sim­plest ex­pla­na­tion was true. Oh well, it doesn’t help the peo­ple in the Mid­dle East, but for those of us who re­al­ly want to know what’s go­ing on, both Ha’aretz and Al-Jazeera now have de­cent feed­s; Al-Jazeera’s is here and Ha’aretz lists a bunch. Thanks to Dave Win­er for the Al-Jazeera link; I wasn’t sure what to ex­pect from them, but they’re use­ful. So far noth­ing has been of­fen­sive and oc­ca­sion­al­ly there’s a sur­pris­ing out­burst of hu­mor: they were the first with the no iPod for Kim Jong-Il sto­ry. It’s TV-depth rather than Ha’aretz’s newspaper-depth, but stil­l, the more voic­es the bet­ter. Hm­m, maybe pray­ing works even if you don’t be­lieve? Let’s hope.
[4 comments]  
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