[conspire] HP Melt Down

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Thu Aug 25 18:10:24 PDT 2011

On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 17:00, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):
[amusing anecdote snipped]
>> What upsets me is that it isn't either/or.  these guys JUST DON'T WANT
> They don't want to compete in the market where you'd like them to.  Some
> folks call that 'capitalism', though Views Differ<tm>.

One of the most important definitions of competition given by
economists includes as an essential component getting out of
unprofitable markets, and leaving them or selling that part of the
business to those who develop a comparative advantage. As in
IBM/Lenovo, and presumably HP and its so-far-nonexistent buyer (oops).
No zombie corporations, as in Japan, no other forms of
anti-competitive subsidy, etc.

> Anyway, speaking of capitalism and Our Lords on Wall Street, _The Wall
> Street Journal_ just ran an opinion essay by the now startlingly hairless
> Marc Andreessen

Aha, a counterexample to my hypothesis. I was trying to explain to a
former classmate earlier this week that the WSJ editorial page is
wrong _by definition_ as the mouthpiece of the Masters of the Universe
against everybody else.

Everything for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in
every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of
mankind.--Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776

Oh, well. A mathematician excitedly told a fellow mathematician that
he had discovered a marvelous proof of an important conjecture, but
his friend replied that he had just found a counterexample. "Oh,
that's all right," said the mathematician. "I have a second proof."

> (who has lately emerged as a venture capitalist) in
> which he makes the point that _software_ is ultimately what matters and
> is generating capital value, and that it's gradually eating up many
> former hardware markets.  Worth time reading, IMVAO:
> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460.html

One of the most basic ideas in computer science, going back to the
Universal Turing Machine.

OT: I implemented a Turing Machine in Turtle Art recently, Just
Because I Could [TM].


Back on topic. Hardware increasingly consists of jellybean parts such
as FPGAs and ARM microprocessors, which are about to eat Intel's lunch
due to astonishingly low power requirements, highly scalable
multiprocessor architectures (not ARM-specific) and relative openness
of architecture and licensing. Among the narrow exceptions are ATI and
Nvidia 3D graphics hardware and some kinds of hybrid analog/digital
wireless chips.

> Elsewhere in this thread -- and relevant, so bear with me -- Paul Zander
> expressed an understandable lack of comfort about the prospect of
> Internet-connected refrigerators with RFID readers and automatic
> shopping list generators (as an example of 'smart' appliances not
> necesssarily being your friend).  Yes, quite, _but_ the problem is much
> less that of 1950s hardware suddenly sprouting CPUs and network
> capability than it is of those functions not being under _your_ control.
> That ties in with Andreessen's point:
> I _want_ properly selected and configured embedded appliances.  I don't
> need them to be manufactured by HP.  In the final analysis, it matters
> less to me who makes the hardware than whether I have full control of
> what's in the firmware.  Smartphones?  Tablets?

When there are prototypes of the XO-3 tablet, I will take up this
topic again. It will have user-modifiable Open Firmware, and will come
with Fedora installed. It will, to the best of my knowledge, never run
Windows. Whether any of us will be able to get one outside of a
developer's program has not been determined.

>  DVRs?  Sure, but they'd
> better be capable of being reflashed with CyanogenMod, or Meego, or
> Debian, or something of that class.

Just so. Let me recommend to everybody's attention Open Firmware by
Mitch Bradley, now used in Sun, Apple, and OLPC computers under GPL.
If anybody would like to start a BIOS-replacement company for
computers, mobile devices, etc., feel free to contact me, and I can
put you on to Mitch. Of course, the legacy PC BIOS should not matter
in the ARM world.

If anybody is interested in ROM-level jailbreaking with OFW, remember
that you didn't hear about this from Mitch. ^_^

Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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