· 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.]
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.
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