TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Feb 95 Viewpoint
Volume Number:11
Issue Number:2
Column Tag:The Editor’s Page

The Editor’s Page

By Scott T Boyd, Editor

Learning From Others’ Mistakes

If the world didn’t know about Intel’s Pentium processor before, they sure do now. Intel spent millions last year flying their logo around TV sets to establish their brand image. If only they’d known how much cheaper it would be to have Andrew Grove, Intel President and CEO, apologize on the Internet. Never mind that many on the net took offense that Intel would choose when and whether to replace a customer’s chip. Intel not only seemed reluctant to own up to their problem (they did, after all, wait several months until someone else discovered it independently, to mention it), but much of what they said sounded more like they were upset that they got caught.

Those of us Macintosh supporters smugly rubbing our hands together with glee and thinking, “Goody, goody! Intel’s in trouble,” may have another thing coming. Intel hurt their reputation, right? Was it just my imagination, or was that a full-length Pentium ad shown on MacNeil/Lehrer, Night Line, and every other major news program? Will the market remember Intel’s mistake? Or will they remember over a full week of coverage? Will they remember the names Intel and Pentium? and that Intel eventually took care of their customers? Even with a chargeback of tens of millions of dollars to pay for the chip replacements, Intel may have scored an advertising coup like we’ve never seen before.

For the Morbidly Curious

After reading Intel’s white paper (http://www.intel.com), IBM’s position paper (http://www.ibm.com), and Intel’s rebuttal to IBM’s paper, there seems to be no disagreement about the source of the bug (missing entries in a lookup table caused by a flawed script written to download entries into a hardware PLA (Programmable Lookup Array)). They also seem to agree about the worst-case impact on any single operation (inaccuracies can occur starting with the 4th significant decimal digit).

How politics affected the presentation of the data shows in the assumptions each party made. Intel assumed that the average spreadsheet user about 1000 floating point divides on any given day, and that numbers are uniformly distributed. They also used spreadsheets from all around Intel to determine the probability of occurrence for bad number combinations.

IBM, on the other hand, figured that the average spreadsheet user would spend about 15 minutes a day recalculating, and would get one divide per 16,000 instructions when recalculating. At 90MHz, that’s about 4687 divides/second, or 4.2M per day. They also assert that all bit patterns are not equally probable. They created random numbers in a variety of common decimal patterns, and used them to create numerators and denominators. Their observations led them to believe that one out of every 100 million divisions might lead to bad results.

Intel says one error every 27,000 years. IBM says every 24 days. Do you hear the axes grinding? Bottom line? Intel takes a $35M-$70M charge against earnings to give customers what they want (and now they know what’s inside and that they want one).

Hungry and Sleepy?

I recently got a Connectix QuickCam (the $99 all-seeing eyeball that plugs into a Mac’s serial port). I plugged it in, installed some software, and all of a sudden my modem was a problem. Not that there’s anything technically wrong with the modem or their software - perhaps I should back up and explain a bit.

The camera works with pretty much any QuickTime software. One particularly interesting application is CU-SeeMe, a free application from Cornell University which supports real-time multi-party videoconferencing on the Internet. Even a 14.4 connection will get you video, but it’ll leave you hungry for more - much more bandwidth, that is. Four of us in three different parts of the country got online with three different cameras and a VCR. Even though we didn’t do much more than watch each other smile at the camera, we had so much fun that we were all wondering how to beg, borrow, or steal more bandwidth (know any internet providers who want to trade Macintosh code for a frame relay connection?). We don’t know whether it will help our virtual businesses (it sure didn’t help our sleep patterns), but we have little doubt that videoconferencing will one day look no more surprising in a home office than a copier, fax machine, or a Macintosh.

Quotable

“We’re certainly not going to replace your Pentium chip just so you can play Doom!”

- Intel Pentium hotline staffer

“Maybe you ought to consider a Macintosh this Christmas.”

- Wall Street Journal 15 Dec 1994

“I suppose it is the corrected chip that will be called RePentium.”

- Peter G. Neumann

“Intel - changing the way people think about floating point.”

- excerpt from a speech, originally intended as a compliment,
as reported by Jörg Brown

Food For Thought

Right in the middle of a MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour montage of Pentium clips, I saw Apple’s Graphing Calculator spinning a 3D parabolic equation. They didn’t realize they were showing Apple’s Power Macintosh, not a Pentium box. Do you think they might have been able to see the bugs had it really been running on a Pentium?

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Dr. Panda Racers (Education)
Dr. Panda Racers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: STEP ON THE GAS, RACE AND WIN!Fasten your seat belts and get ready to race! Speed your way to the finish line while doing... | Read more »
ROMANCING SAGA 2 (Games)
ROMANCING SAGA 2 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $17.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Romancing SaGa 2, originally released only in Japan in 1993, has been completely remastered and now receives its first... | Read more »
WRIO Keyboard (Utilities)
WRIO Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 40% OFF DURING LIMITED INTRODUCTORY OFFER | Read more »
Hatoful Boyfriend (Games)
Hatoful Boyfriend 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The hit PC game that everybirdie loves has now migrated to your mobile device! Now you are free to explore the wonders of St... | Read more »
Warp Shift (Games)
Warp Shift 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: [ CHECK YOUR HARDWARE: Warp Shift does NOT run on iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPod touch 4G or older devices! It requires at least iOS8... | Read more »
Lifeline: Whiteout (Games)
Lifeline: Whiteout 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: Alone in a frozen wasteland with no memory of how he got there, a lost adventurer’s only hope is his last line of... | Read more »
Castles of Mad King Ludwig (Games)
Castles of Mad King Ludwig 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
How to command and conquer in Raid HQ
Raid HQ is a satisfyingly deep base building game with over-the-top macho action and explosions. This little free to play bundle gives you a lot to do from managing a squad to building the most powerful base you possibly can. [Read more] | Read more »
How to build a successful civilisation i...
GodFinger 2 grants you godlike powers, leaving you to raise a civilization of followers. In the spirit of games like Black & White, the GodFinger games will see you building bigger and better villages, developing more advanced technology and... | Read more »
How to get all the crabs in Mr Crab 2
Mr. Crab 2 may look like a cutesy platformer for kids, but if you're the kind of person who likes to complete a game 100%, you'll soon realise that it's a tougher than a crustacean's shell. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Kanex Introduces GoPower USB-C Rechargeable B...
Kanex has announced its GoPower USB-C portable battery for the USB-C MacBook, featuring the new industry standard connector and cable used for connectivity and power. Providing users with a new... Read more
Convertible and Detachable Devices Winning Ov...
According to the latest figures published by International Data Corporation (IDC), Western European shipments of ultraslim convertibles and detachables posted positive growth (44.7%) to account for... Read more
New MacBook Pros And Will MacBook Air Be Upgr...
With my mid-2013 13-inch MacBook Air closing on its third anniversary come November, I’m in system upgrade mode. Actually the Haswell CPU equipped Air is still doing a fine job, but my good wife is... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Textkraft Professional Becomes A Mobile Produ...
The new update 4.1 of Textkraft Professional for the iPad comes with many new and updated features that will be particularly of interest to self-publishers of e-books. Highlights include import and... Read more
SnipNotes 2.0 – Intelligent note-taking for i...
Indie software developer Felix Lisczyk has announced the release and immediate availability of SnipNotes 2.0, the next major version of his productivity app for iOS devices and Apple Watch.... Read more
Pitch Clock – The Entrepreneur’s Wingman Laun...
Grand Rapids, Michigan based Skunk Tank has announced the release and immediate availability of Pitch Clock – The Entrepreneur’s Wingman 1.1, the company’s new business app available exclusively on... Read more
13-inch 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro (model #MF841LL/A) on sale for $1599 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP. Amazon also has the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina... Read more

Jobs Board

Editor, *Apple* News - APPLE (United States...
Job Summary The Apple News team is looking for a passionate and knowledgeable editor with experience covering entertainment/pop culture and experience running social Read more
*Apple* Nissan Service Technicians - Apple A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer...and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
ISCS *Apple* ID Site Support Engineer - APP...
…position, we are looking for an individual who has experience supporting customers with Apple ID issues and enjoys this area of support. This person should be Read more
Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
*Apple* Support Technician II - Worldventure...
…global, fast growing member based travel company, is currently sourcing for an Apple Support Technician II to be based in our Plano headquarters. WorldVentures is Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.