Monday, 30 May 2011

Page's Law and the secret of super-fast computers.

Larry Page, of Google has pointed out the Emperor's true attire and coined a new  law - Page's Law - is the inverse of the Moore's Law: Software gets twice as slow every 18 months. 

Actually because of this there is a cool secret to having lightning fast computers that run faster than just about anyone elses that I've been using for about 15 years - always get the latest hardware but run an OS and software that is two generations or more old. The result - because of Page's Law your software (and so your computer) runs about 300% faster than anyone elses. If you can fix that to be 3 generations then that margin goes up to 700%. Windows XP anyone?

Sunday, 29 May 2011

A cure for cancer

I was talking to a very intelligent educated chap the other day about cancer research (a field that I used to work in) and it came up that he felt that we were not really approaching a cure as the number of new cases continues to increase. I expressed the view that this was demographic, related to the age profile in the population and that the cures are more effective than they used to be. Here is Cancer Research UK's summary figure that I should have had on a flash card in my pocket (thought - could be in my androids phones picture gallery couldn't it?)

Are Bezos and Omidyar too old to succeed in B2C internet markets?

Michael Arrington from TechCrunch reports that Internet Entrepreneurs Are Like Professional Athletes, They Peak Around 25 

“It’s not a guess, this is a data driven observation,” the anonymous VC is reported to have said. While keeping busy on the networking round it looks as though this expert has missed out hearing about the unusual stories of Jeffrey Preston "Jeff" Bezos or Pierre Morad Omidyar. Its well established that rather than looking at the specifics of particular start-ups some VCs effectively carrying out a process of pattern recognition - looking for companies that *look* like other successful start-ups - in name, demographic make-up or plan, rather than having a deep understanding of what is really going on.

In this case the VC is actually basing his investment model on his own selection criteria (e.g. "[we selected companies for] Y Combinator [and] the average age of their founders [we selected] is 26.") not on the actual success of the start-up.  If they looked beyond their own net-loss internal game to the big successes they'd notice that two of the largest revenue earning B2C Internet start-ups, Pierre Omidyar's EBay  and  Jeff Bezos's Amazon were founded by people in their thirties and forties. By following their own internal pet models and creating formulae to turn away founders like these they may be sealing the fate of  their own funds.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Hooray! Back to the Supersonic era and long range super cruise!

Wired tells us that Concorde may be back
Except wasn't the real problem the cracks in the rear spar web structure of Concorde's wing. The Olympus engines are still in production so there should not be a problem overhauling them. We also seem to be back to 1950s 707/Comet journey times and speeds - and there is more time since the 707 came out than between the first 707 and the Wright flier. I see that there are supposed to be a new generation of low boom, high efficiency small supersonic passenger planes like the Aerion SBJ but its difficult to tell if they are just pipe-dreams. Some people claim that we don't need SSTs because we have the internet - but the same applied over 100 years ago - we don't need aeroplanes at all because we had telegrams to transmit information.

Matt at the Hay Festival

Half the pleasure here is how much he looks like one of the characters in his cartoons!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Grrr Jaguar

Mark Eales tells me that we are still having injector problems with my Jaguar XJ - these really only showed up after the experiments with low molecular weight alternative fuel - could be the smaller van der waals forces or maybe just the lower temperatures allowing leakage past the o-rings? Where have we heard of that before?

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Anyone know about the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc? You seem to be able to get either a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 with an out of date OS (Android 1.6) and no keyboard (despite user complaints about the on screen data entry) or a slightly more up to date OS (Not 2.3 for some reason but Android 2.1) but less memory, no dual core processor and no keyboard. Still thicker than the Samsung Galaxy S too. The 8.1-megapixel camera looks promising.

“We don't know where you are. We don't know where you’ve been. We don't entirely know what we’re thinking about.”

Yes I know that Eric Schmidt tells us “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”. I can believe that for the big guys in Google but I just clicked on an ad in blogger for blogging gadgets which then came up with a window saying "sorry this video is private". Looks like some of Google's paying advertisers at least “Don't we know where you are. Don't know where you’ve been. Not sure what they are thinking about.” 1984 might not have been like 1984 (or so Steve Jobs told us) but 2011 isn't so very far off.

New Larry Niven book "Betrayer of Worlds" is out

Interesting - I didn't know that Niven was even writing still. I wonder if there is an eBook version that would work on the Android? Actually I see that it's a Known Space book so it's more than just interesting! These were some of the best 'hard science' speculative books in their early days - not escapist, thrill seeking or fantasy but more throwing open the questions - how should we be shaping things and what directions should we be going.

Stalker Adverts - Will no one rid me of this turbulent Beast?

Once again I've been looking at consumer products (crys of "shame, shame") and after I've taken the action that I intend taking (in this case form of Criteo and Struq). Worst still its not the laptops that I was looking at that I actually wanted that follow me - its the inadequate rejects - not the pretty and smart i7 Sony Vaio c-series (would you need a different one to match different clothes?) nor yet the elegant sylph-like S series - but for some reason lumpen-oafish generics with i3s and telephone directory profiles.

Where (or Which?) is the WENTWORTH PUB

A strange direct debit for WENTWORTH PUB is appearing on my bank statements. Probably something dull and mundane but Googling them I only see public houses (unlikely to have a subscription there!). I have a suspicion it might be the consumer association, but it seems strange that they should hide their light under a bushel so!

"PREMIUM CREDIT LIMITED" seem to be another strange one although I know that they are purveyors of white label services neither of the stets of Direct Debit option that they are drawing down seem to correspond to any expected services.

A Pooterish Passtime

Following the great tradition of George and Weedon Grossmith I'm creating this here mainly, in fact, to actually experience the mindset and micro-experiences of this medium first hand. One day day I'll be able to tell my grandchildren "I was there" (and they will answer "Why?").

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Wonder's of the Universe

I've bought Brian Cox's Wonder's of the Universe for my daughter Amber's birthday. Brilliant show - highly recommended. Particularly good bit is where he takes an T5 English Electric Lightning up to 18 km - to the top of earth's atmosphere to see the darkness of space above and the thin blue line of the atmosphere below.