Critical Section


Tuesday,  05/06/03  11:47 PM

David Burbridge is on a roll; his latest: Altruism and Group Selection.  There is really no such thing as either altruism or group selection, as David shows...  Basically you have selfish genes and they are the units of selection; if this results in apparently altruistic behaviour at the group level, so be it.

Paul Graham has another great article up: Hackers and Painters.  [ thanks Tim Bray ]  An interesting look at the sociology of computer engineering.  I don't agree with all of it - I can't draw the sharp distinction between "architecture" and "engineering" that Paul does - but it is an interesting read.

Will the last person/company to leave Silicon Valley turn out the lights?  Now it is 3Com which is moving; continuing the string of companies which have fallen on hard times after buying the rights to name a stadium.  (Candlestick Park it will always be...)  The key fact: "[3Com CEO Bruce] Claflin has roots in Massachusetts."

Hilary Rosen, the outgoing head of the RIAA, has written a column for Business 2.0: Why the Recording Industry Loves Tech.  This is a reasonable and well-balanced article, but it is at odds with the RIAAs completely unreasonable and unbalanced response to applications of technology such as Internet file sharing.  I think they only love tech when they can control it, and that is impossible.

With eight days to go until the Matrix Reloaded is released (yeah, but who's counting), Salon ponders 'Matrix Nostalgia'.  "We've gone down the rabbit hole, and not in the way many of us expected."

Xbit labs has a cool article about Chess Championships: Humans vs. Computers.  There's some good history and analysis of the progression of computer skills in playing chess, including the recent Gary Kasparov / Deep Junior match, as well as technical detail about how computers play chess well.  Check it out.

Russell Beattie compares the iPod UI to a typical cell phone; guess which he prefers?

Here's some cool art - Gridcosm.  [ via Matt Webb ]  "The way it works is that each level of Gridcosm is made up of nine square images arranged into a 3x3 grid of images.  The middle image is a one-third size version of the previous level."  Watch the video flythough of over 1000 levels! (5MB)

Some information is starting to leak out about Longhorn, Microsoft's next Windows version, currently planned for late 2004 or early 2005 (set your calendars).  Apparently the window rendering will be quite different, see this WinInfo article for a taste...

Here's an interesting review of a recent Gartner study: Linux Desktop Myths.  Some of the myths (with my take in green):

  • Linux will be less expensive.  (false: Linux is less expensive)
  • Linux is free.  (true: Linux is not free)
  • Linux means no forced upgrades.  (sort of false: Linux means fewer forced upgrades)
  • Linux management is easier.  (false: Linux management is way easier)
  • Linux has a lower TCO.  (false: most studies show Linux has a lower TCO)
  • Linux means longer hardware life.  (false: Linux requires far less hardware)
  • Linux skills are transferable.  (false: Linux and Unix are very similar)

It is actually not a very good article, but perhaps the Gartner study is to blame.  This goes back to the same old problem; these studies are written by junior people, and are not very reliable.

Finally - this file has been shamed :)

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