Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vista Failure: A reason for celebration

Apple is selling record numbers of computers, it has gotten to 8% market share. Ubuntu launched "Gutsy Gibbon" with the cool 3D interface Compiz Fusion, Ubuntu also cracked Dell and is now a preinstalled O.S. in Dellland, users all over the world keep demanding XP in their computers rather than Vista, which still is plagued with incompatibilities, even 100% userland applications like Firefox are able to "blue screen of death" it, and I am still thinking of Jim Louderback, one of Vista's major media cheerleaders deserted it.

Despite all the media spin [ that I will speak about ], we can say that Vista is a failure and Microsoft's insistence in shoving it to users is creating so much frustration that many users are divorcing Microsoft to discover that Mac OS X is very cool and that Linux is actually usable.

Why is Vista so unsuccessful?

In the above link [ incompatibilities ], we begin to get an answer: Vista requires to do things differently, both for users and vendors.

It could be said that this is the price of any progress, but is Vista any better than, let's say, XP? There are many ways to compare how good (or bad!) Vista is relative to XP. Is it easier to use? faster? allows better hardware? is it at least less vulnerable to virii and worms and all kinds of nasty intrusions?

My wife uses computers 100% of her working time, although her work is not technical, she is just a user. Since her old laptop wasn't up to her demands, we bought an excellent HP Turion dual core with 2 Gb of Ram around February. Naturally, it came with Vista Premium preinstalled. Ever the techno-adventurer, I advised her to try to get used to the new way to do things in Vista that she may ultimately like it, because if she ran into trouble, I was volunteering to help her (so that I could have first hand Vista experience). Well, it didn't work for her, she got tired of not having the things were she was used to for no good reason. In the absence of any benefit, there was no reason to insist in Vista's, she asked me to install XP. Oh! amazing!, the speed jump was extraordinary, really! I had no idea how fast, smooth, responsive, this laptop could be.

Peter Guttman explains in full technical detail what's the matter with Vista's performance. The problem is that Vista spares no effort to control the user, it makes so much effort on enforcing the restrictions on usage that media companies demand, that it renders the Operating System, performance wise, defective by design [ I like the phrase very much, you may also go to the site ]. The computing power is spent distrusting the user, distrusting what he installs in the computer. That's why it is inherently slower and requires more resources (computing power, memory, disk space, etc), not to please the user, but to restrict him more effectively.

With all the distrust even among hardware devices in the computer, to the point that if Vista doesn't like a device then it sends "tilt bits" that command all other devices to cease to function; naturally the drivers are also harder to make; so, like [ incompatibilities ] tell us, companies that otherwise might offer drivers for the new Operating System for products just one year old, may not even bother, too hard. Others, less smart vendors, may think that since drivers for Vista and older Microsoft Windows are so different, and supposedly Vista is the future, then they shouldn't even bother to develop the drivers for the older Windows.

The same situation regarding hardware drivers apply to Vista applications, albeit in a not so acute way; but Microsoft insists at it: Microsoft refused to back port DirectX 10 to XP, and it argued many excuses, but in the end, it is all bullshit:

For instance, like "The Inquirer" reported in July, [ thanks sgrady @ investorvillage ], apparently good technical reasons like the incapability of XP to virtualize memory prevented XP from being able to run full specification of DirectX 10. But since nVidia sort of never really cared much about DirectX 10 [ opposed to ATI that bent over backwards and got out of its ways to be the prime partner of Microsoft with Vista and DirectX 10 ], never implemented this feature, so, what did Microsoft do?, it made memory virtualization optional [ tossing away ATI's extra effort ]. So, Microsoft compromises everything to get nVidia on board with DirectX 10, but XP compability? out of the question. This demonstrates that Microsoft routinely exercises its power over its users, treat them like pawns.

Microsoft promised that Vista was going to be a secure Operating System, and it really had it going to become a secure O.S., after all, the fundamental principle of its construction was distrust.

But just like repeated accounts report, Vista crashes very often. The dim-witted Fuad Abazovic generated news by blaming Firefox on Vista blue screens of death. The guy is a moron, because in no way it could be blamed an application that doesn't have any privileged driver code, totally "userland" like Firefox, for any Operating System crashing; on the other hand, if decidedly non-malicious userland applications may drag Vista into a blue screen of death, what is possible for malware?, that's the real news.

Userland applications crash Vista. It can't be any other way. I've spoken repeatedly about the architectural deficiencies of Windows [ you may read the articles indexed by this post ], so no point in repeating them here. While Vista can be very obnoxious in restricting the users, it is the same shit when it comes to protecting him from malware. So, I must amend my previous assertion that the fundamental principle of Vista is distrust to make it distrust of the user!

Media Spin

In our technical world, Microsoft is a giant. Naturally, media companies must bend their ethical principles of journalistic integrity to the practicalities of marketing dollars. I think no magazine as big as PcMagazine may be as big without Microsoft money. Since they can not outright lie regarding the true merits of Microsoft products, because they would lose credibility, then they do the next best thing: to sugar coat as much as possible the shortcomings, to emphasize the few advantages as essential, to discredit criticism.

I invite to read Jim Louderback's farewell editorial in PcMagazine, even though it dates to August:

I've been a big proponent of the new OS over the past few months, [ and very vocal, being the editor of PcMagazine, ] even going so far as loading it onto most of my computers and spending hours tweaking and optimizing it. So why, nine months after launch, am I so frustrated? The litany of what doesn't work and what still frustrates me stretches on endlessly.

Take sleep mode, for example. Vista promised a new low-power sleep mode that would save energy yet enable nearly instantaneous resume. Poppycock. The brand-new dual-core system I built a few months ago totters off to sleep but never returns. I have to cold-start it to bring it back. This after replacing virtually every driver inside. It's gotten so bad that I've actually nicknamed it Chip Van Winkle [ a mention to the fictional character "Rip Van Winkle"]. And I've nicknamed my primary Dell notebook Philip Marlowe [ the main character of "The Big Sleep" and "The Long Goodbye" ].

But it's not just the long sleep. My home notebook acts as if it comes from Starbucks rather than HP [ that is, very hot? ]. It used to snooze—but now, after a recent Vista update, it never goes to sleep at all. Its new nickname: Compuccino
I've never read such a devastating critique of a flagship Microsoft product by someone as encumbered as Jim Louderback while editor of PcMagazine, I find no coincidence on the fact that he was leaving, on the contrary, I think the very reason we could afford such "sincerity" was that he cut loose, at least temporarily, from Microsoft advertising budgets.

The [ incompatibilities ] article mentions something very worrysome: Products certified for Vista don't need to be full-featured in Vista, they merely must be able to offer any functionality. That is misleading, but both vendors and Microsoft are partners in this scam. In any case, this is more marketing spin, another example of how it is possible to bend the facts to make them fit into a description like 'Certified for Windows Vista'.

Please, dear visitor, do not fall into the media spin/marketing trap!


In any case, Microsoft wields a lot of power over us and we are in varying degree forced to use whatever it wants us to use while waiving rights in the process. This power stems from the mass of users, and that's where Vista helps, because it is forcing users to look for alternatives, and the users are actually finding them.

In a previous article I explained that Vista is Microsoft's gamble to become the de facto distribution channel of multimedia. The strategy is more or less as follows: There is a phenomenon of convergence in which people is increasingly enjoying multimedia through a computer, but the market hasn't saturated, thus there still are huge opportunities there. To become the primordial distribution channel of multimedia, Microsoft sells to the media companies the illusion that the usage of the content will be as restricted as the media provider wants, thus the emphasis on distrusting the user. Then, the media companies will buy the illusion, and Microsoft will become the primordial distributor. I will next explain that it is a given that Media companies are as stupid as to buy the illusion; the challenge in Microsoft's strategy is that the restrictions will necessarily alienate a large portion of its users; thus, Microsoft is risking its monopoly position to become the primordial media distribution channel.

The media companies are as stupid today as they were when the studios gave Macrovision the complete monopoly on DVDs, in fact, for the most part, they are fighting teeth and nails the technical changes that have obsoleted a great deal of their business practices, buying legislators left and right and promoting aberrant laws that are causing great harm wherever they are enacted; but that is not a problem for the rest of the world, because, as I explained before, this is a process of natural selection, those who are incompetent to live in a world in which bits move freely will be displaced by those who know how to profit from free movement of bits; to fight the free movement of bits is ultimately futile.

Incidentally, all of these topics are important regarding ATI/AMD, Intel and investment in other technology companies. Regarding ATI/AMD in particular, I have written in several occasions: 1, 2, 3

I must thank Jonathan Schwartz [ CEO of Sun Microsystems ] from convincing me that the future is not as gloomy as I though it was, with Media companies purchasing legislators to take essential freedoms away from people. The following words awakened me to the realization that those who fight technical developments will just be displaced, from his blog, "Better Honest Than Polite":
I found myself talking to a group of media company CEO's. I asked a simple question, "do you have a general [legal] counsel reporting to you?" The answer was universally, yes.
But then I asked a harder question: "Do you have a chief technology officer reporting to you?"
[...M] ost did not[, w]hich seems backward for a media company. Why?
Because convergence isn't a legal phenomenon. It's a technical and social phenomena first and foremost - that's why you can't talk about media without talking about software (what is an MP3? AAC? Java? Flash?). You can't talk about distribution without talking about free media, social networking or mobile devices (technical assets that reach more of the planet than all other network outlets). Ask Eric [Schmidt, CEO of Google] or Terry [Semel, Yahoo] (or Steve [Jobs, Apple?] or Mark [there is another Mark, Shuttleworth, Ubuntu] if they have CTO's reporting to them. Of course they do, they're media companies using technology to win. Or vice versa. It doesn't matter, they've converged.
Which brings me to a simple, and heretical conclusion - for which I'm sure I'll be apologizing for years to come. But I'd rather be honest than polite.

Media company CEO's without a CTO on their staff should prepare to be acquired or broken up - they are fighting the future rather than monetizing it. [ My emphasis ]

Everybody wants to use computers to enjoy multimedia, audio, video, games, and they are the natural device to enjoy content: Play it whenever you want, the fragment you want, with whoever you want, etc. that can only be accomplished by programmable, configurable, general purpose computers. Nevertheless, media companies think that people is going to use computers for purposes at which mono-application devices such as a TV set are better suited...

Really, there are reasons to think that enough users are discovering that Windows just doesn't work. Windows is a phenomenon of mass-conditioning of people. People has been conditioned by Microsoft to accept that computers crash every once in a while. That they must protect from Virus. That they are cranky and complicated.

Mac OS X dispels all of those assumptions, so, I guess that other than being locked by an abusive vendor as Apple into a non-mainstream Operating System and its lack of choice, Apple computers are superior to Microsoft. And there is yet another option, to roll up the technical sleeves and go Linux.

Under the hood, both Mac OS X and Linux are Unix. I have been trying to track a phrase that I attributed to Ken Thompson, that in the early eighties was asked what the Operating System of the new millenium was going to be, and he replied that he didn't know what the name was going to be, but that for sure it was going to be Unix. Operating Systems is something that was figured out over three decades ago, it is Unix. Just like Henry Spencer said, "Those who do not understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it, poorly", but of course, Unix has a catch: It appeals to the technically oriented people, because it is them who can make the most of it and that makes it disagreeable for the less technically oriented. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, because the technically oriented people, thanks to the innovation of the Free/Open Source model for Software Engineering, end up developing Operating Systems and applications so good that they inexorably displace the applications developed through less efficient models [ Note: Mac OS X has roots both in the classical Unix tradition that in modern language would be called Free/Open Source; is itself a derivative of Free/Open Source Operating Systems. ].

With users increasingly aware that computers may "just work", a small migration of users to Unix/Linux may empower the developers of Free/Open Source software with more market awareness, and more money. Those extra resources may express in increased migrations; that is, a virtuous cycle that may turn into a runaway growth of software and freedom development. To be able to see the dawn of a better era is a privilege worthy of celebration.

Friday, October 19, 2007


[ UPDATE 10/23 ]
A friend told me about the command line option -no-remote documented in that does the same thing the environment variable does. This is much more practical because it doesn't mess with the default configuration. I am still investigating why this option is called the way it is called and official and complete documentation

There is a wonderful feature for Firefox that allows to run several firefox processes, each with its own User Profile, in the same Windows/Linux. The keys to the multi-process/multi-profile firefox heaven is the environment variable 'MOZ_NO_REMOTE'.

Firefox (Mozilla) is capable of managing several user profiles. The same user may want to have several user profiles or may want to run simultaneously several Firefox processes:

  • Someone interested in testing different versions of Firefox may want to run them all at once to better compare.
  • Someone that uses a firefox profile stored in a flash thumb drive, so that he can have his same bookmarks, cookies, passords, etc, with him everywhere he goes, in any computer he uses.
  • Sometimes, he may not want to use a profile that contains cookies or passwords to visit other sites for security reasons.
So, it may be cool to have more than one user profile. And if it is possible to run several user profiles at once, then you can customize them in very interesting ways.

For instance, I have a user profile with numerous plugins installed, that I use when I want one of the features of the plugins, but I seldom use it because it is slow and clunky (too many plugins), so, I have a 'light' profile for most of my usage.

You may run several processes of Firefox simultaneously by setting the environment variable 'MOZ_NO_REMOTE' to one. In a DOS/Windows command line '.bat' file, you can do something like this:
*path to firefox*\firefox -ProfileManager

The '-ProfileManager' is necessary because every simultaneous Firefox process needs its own profile, so, this will display the profile list to create/delete/select a firefox profile.

Note that there is no assigned value to 'MOZ_NO_REMOTE', this deletes the variable from the environment.

But nobody I know likes the ugly black command line window to be opened while firefox is running. There is an option, but it is more complicated:

You can use Windows Scripting to set the environment value before running 'firefox -ProfileManager' in a simple Javascript file:

var shell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell");
var env = shell.Environment("User");
env("MOZ_NO_REMOTE") = 1;
shell.Popup('Enabling MOZ_NO_REMOTE');
shell.Exec('C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Mozilla Firefox\\firefox.exe -ProfileManager');


And save this as a file 'ON.js'. To use this script, just doubleclick on the file.

From that point on, every time you double click on 'firefox.exe' or any of the shortcuts to it you will open a new Firefox process. If you want to open more windows from a particular Firefox process, do Control-N or the equivalent, all the windows and tabs opened from a Firefox window will run within the same process.

If any other application wants to open a firefox, it will be another process, but it will fail. It will fail because firefox tries to open the last profile used, but since the last process is still using it, the profile is locked. But remember, you may still open as many windows and tabs from within every process.

To allow other applications to open firefox windows, you have to delete the MOZ_NO_REMOTE variable:

var shell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell");
var env = shell.Environment("User");
env("MOZ_NO_REMOTE") = '';
shell.Popup('MOZ_NO_REMOTE cleared');
shell.Exec('C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Mozilla Firefox\\firefox.exe -ProfileManager');

That would be 'OFF.js'

It is necessary to open a new profile because the firefox window that other applications may want to open will try to use the last profile, that is locked by the last firefox process, but even if you close this final Firefox process, from then on the default will work without trouble.

This may be a little complicated to grasp the first time, so, feel free to ask questions.

COMCAST is the end of the Interregnum


#2: a period during which the normal functions of government or control are suspended
There is important news today that it has been proven that COMCAST disrupts on purpose Bittorrent and P2P connections. The way it does it is to impersonate P2P hosts and send close connection messages.

We are getting to the point in which the Internet Service Providers assume the right to profile the kind of network traffic they allow to their subscribers, and this is the end of the internet. From then on, it will be intercompany.

Let us recapitulate: The internet became the phenomenon it is today because it just moved bits from one end of the net to another without restrictions, which unleashed a gigantic creative wave on how to make the moving of bits useful. Now there are so many applications that make it so useful to move bits, that governments and companies feel that there is no need for neither more creativity nor more usefulness, but more control and more profits.

In the times pre-internet, everything the citizen could use to be informed was mediated by governments and publishing/media companies. The advent of the internet gave a real chance for the communication of subjects and ideas that were not considered important by governments or companies, or even worse, communication of subjects and ideas that governments and companies actively wanted to prevent.

Actually, Publishing and Media companies can not exist in opposition to governments[1], and the politicians that get to become the governments can't get there without media endorsement, so both Publishing/Media companies and the government are the same for the purposes of this article.

Since the internet, because it is a space of freedom, is full of ideas that governments/media don't want to circulate, the freedom of the internet is their enemy.

Up until now, the internet was resilient, because in the words of John Gilmore, the internet interpreted censorship as damage and routed around it. But what if the censorship entity is so big that it can actually impede the re-routing?

I think that when COMCAST decides to disrupt bittorrent, it does it as a result of a calculation: Is COMCAST big enough to impede the internet to route around it when it tries to control what their subscribers may or may not do with their connections? and their calculation is that COMCAST is big enough. Perhaps not COMCAST alone, but together with other internet carriers and government laws that won't defend the freedom but instead to enshrine the principle that the owners of communication channels may filter the communication that takes place through their channels any way they please. That would be ok if at the same time there was legal protection for the creation of independent internet carriers, but there is not. Remember that AT&T was the archetypical example of monopoly. It was broken up in pieces, and guess what? the pieces reassembled themselves into pretty much the same monopoly... So, what freedoms are the governments to protect: Those of the channel owners to do as they please with their channels, or those of the citizens to have communication freedom?

Since there was a period of internet flourishing when governments couldn't control what people communicated, there was an interregnum of creativity, that sadly, is on its last legs.

It may be interesting if a big player such as Google decides to leverage the existing resilience of the network by, let's say, becoming the last freedom internet carrier itself. That may happen, and since the principle that dictates that in the internet damage is routed around is still very strong, it could lead to huge profits. But do not misunderstand the possibility of Google taking on the defense of freedoms as evidence of their resilience, in the end, it will make more economic sense for Google to capitalize by exploiting the network rather than to allow it to keep growing. The only possibility to save freedoms is to defend them directly the same way other freedoms have been defended, that requires understanding of their value. Remember the words of Judge Dalzell writing the three-judge panel decision on the subject of the CDA in 1996 [next to last page]:
The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation. [...] As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from governmental intrusion.
[1]: Take the example of television: The radio frequencies for Television are property of the nations, that is, the governments. It frequently happens that governments use their ownership of radio frequencies to blackmail companies into editorial lines of their liking. The process doesn't have to be as clumsy as in third world countries, it can be very subtle as it happens in the industrialized nations. There are degrees, though, it may actually happen that some publishing media can really work independently of government, fortunately.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

AMD reported, I don't have much to report

AMD did better than expected, losses not as terrifying as expected, 7% improvement in Gross Margins, a bit of market share gained in both mobiles and desktops, lost market share in servers.

The market was indeed strong.

What's happening?

The market wanted lots of computers and people is not caring about the Intel brand, since AMD processors are cheaper, but perceived as perfectly comparable to Intel, they have some demand strength.

Does this mean that AMD is on its way to survive? -- No. Let me explain why:

For Intel is very expensive to asphyxiate AMD in a price war that needs to be fought in all segments, and Intel's management may feel the pressure to just increase short term profits. This is a reasonable moment to dedicate to profits, because AMD is lagging behind in competitiveness in a definitive way. The strategy for Intel is very simple: To grind AMD with the economies of scale. They are about to launch 45nm high-k/metal gate, and then 32nm in immersion process. AMD flunked the 65nm process and only will have immersion for 45nm... not significantly better transistors. Like I've said many times before, Intel then will get rid of the FSB/MCM disadvantages, and AMD will be a sitting competitive target.

AMD is losing money at a terrifying rate, and there is no plan to return to profitability. There are no competitive products in the roadmaps. This company is still as inviable as it was yesterday, despite a good quarter.

The stock price? -- good to take bearish positions little by little.

Nothing to new to say.

Going to AMD's Q3 Earnings Report

AMD's Management promised a radical transformation of the company in Q1's CC. Did it happen? -- No.

Management also talked and talked about 'Asset Light'. Is any of that talk materialized in policies or strategies? -- No.

According to the numbers in Google Finance, AMD gained in equally spaced periods of 13 weeks, 89 millions in Q2 '06 (net income), when Athlon X2 was king and Intel didn't have but pitiful Netbursts and 32-bit Yonahs to compete. The inertia helped yet another quarter, 136 millions in Q3. By that time, ATI was already acquired, and then it followed losses of 574 millions in Q4 ($1.08 per share), 611 millions ($1.11 per share) in Q1 '07, and $600 millions ($1.09 p/share) in Q2. According to AMD's investor relations numbers, the losses in Graphics and Consumer Electronics accelerated in the same period.

Just like it was predicted in this blog, Barcelona was launched and disappointed in many ways: Late to launch, small numbers, slow clocks; even having the single die/Processor to Processor interconnect advantages it is barely at par in instructions per clock to Multi Chip Modules/Front Side Bus-choked Core processors. These products are so mediocre that in fact the top of the line dual core Opterons have far higher absolute and relative prices, according to AMD's own price lists. Furthermore, there is no high speed 65nm processor model in AMD's entire lineup, the consumer quadcore products are being pushed to 2008, and AMD dared to market triple-cores. That is, there is a mountain of indications that AMDs 65nm process sucks big time. And there doesn't seem to be any enthusiasm for Barcelonas among OEMs, so much for the often repeated talk of eagerness of customers. I invite the dedicated researcher to read the transcript of Q2's Conference Call, there you would see the 'alternative reality' of Mr. Meyer, President, and Dr. Ruiz, Chairman and CEO, who reiterated how wonderful the yields at 65nm are, and how extraordinarily good the 65nm process is that it allows the company to close Fab30 (that is, to cut the necessary expenses to convert Fab30 into Fab38).

On the other side, Intel has leaped forward in semiconductors with the double-punch advancements of High-K (dielectric constant) gate insulators (that allow thicker gate insulators than 5 molecules of Silicon dioxide while allowing the same electric field effect [insulator thickness is important because at these quantum physics scales the electrons are probabilistically simultaneously at both sides of the insulator, so there are leakage currents that grow very fast the thinner the insulator is ]) and metal gates, that increase the density of electrons in the gate and favors faster switching [ see IEEE Spectrum article ]. Also, Intel already announced products that will eliminate the disadvantages of the Front Side Bus. Since AMD's Direct Connect Architecture never was taken full advantage of, I think it doesn't take a very sophisticated P2P/Integrated Memory Controller architecture for a performance jump, that is, just a reasonable implementation of Processor to Processor interconnects will be enough to significantly improve the competitiveness of Intel's processors.

In the graphics department, AMD has lost more where it hurts most, in the mobile segment, and elsewhere, giving nVidia a feast of profits and market share gains.

AMD won't bring competitive products in the foreseeable future, and this is not speculation, just plain official roadmaps. Intel is zooming, with 45nm, high-k/metal gate, processor to processor interconnects, integrated memory controller.

Thus, AMD is conceding territory at everything high-end and going back to its unprofitable existence of value/volume player, the only difference being that now it is a supplier of all the major OEMs, and thus its market is less flexible and the losses are larger. The only way to hold on to market share is by selling cheap, but since the processor is turning less and less a cost component of a computer and as much a determinant of performance, at the low end of the performance spectrum it is less and less attractive to save a few dollars in a processor, that is, the low end of the market is becoming more price inelastic, and that means that price cuts to stimulate demand hurt more total revenues.

I am very eager to see how the losses of AMD have decelerated in this quarter, but what we are seeing is an inviable company: It can not produce more because it just doesn't have the products to drive market share expansion, it can not produce less because then it worsens its competitive position being weaker at silicon process development and manufacturing because less production heightens the economies of scale disadvantage in R&D; the company has rotated not just once, but TWICE! the debt it took to acquire ATI: 2.2 giga dollars in April and 1.5 giga dollars in August, that is, about half its present market capitalization value. It is important to notice that in this milenium, AMD has never earned more than $0.37 per share in a year, and lost ten times that, $3 per share, this year. I treated these themes in many posts, including 'Long year', January, 'Disaster', 'Catastrophe', and 'The ATI acquisition' back in April, and especially 'Does AMD know what it is doing?' in June, the historical perspective is particularly hilarious -- I am getting back on track, making predictions that actually turn true!.

Fortunately, the market for computers is strong, so, AMD may have experienced a break this quarter. How good would that have been? I can not say what is going to happen with the stock price from tomorrow on, not even if I knew exactly how much AMD is losing; what I know is that with patience, increasing bearish positions on AMD, the reality that this company is not viable long term will impose over any temporary stock price strength. And this may be the only way, patient and bearish, because Wall Street has every chance to know intimate financial details of AMD given that AMD will have to go cap in hand to Wall Street to borrow money to finance its inviable existence, and that will confer lots of opportunities to Wall Street to manipulate this stock price with obscenity and impunity; and on the other hand Intel will hold the keys for AMD's annihilation in the form of pricing and roadmaps; thus, there is no way the non-informed of privileged insider data could successfully day trade this stock.

Although not financial and not technical, there are very positive news coming from AMD, though. AMD decided to release specifications to enable Open Source drivers for its video cards. I celebrate this decision, but beyond my personal preferences, I think this is the correct strategy: Ally with entities with stakes in innovation, and not with status-quo maintainers like Microsoft and DRM, but that would require another post.


In case you are wondering about this blog, it is still alive and I will keep posting, just that I haven't devised a plan for it: mission, audience, editorial line, content and resources.

I started this blog in January 2006 as an experiment. In November '05 I decided to invest my savings in the stock market because there was what I thought the opportunity of a lifetime, to invest in AMD bull-side before the whole world discovered and understood the technical superiority of its products, that was so great, that it will lead to an historical role inversion between AMD and Intel. By January I was inspired by Sharikou's blog, as an opportunity to express authentic opinions, not toned down by 'political correctedness' or other considerations, I got to see that regardless of how complex a subject may be, like comparing architectures of processors, it was in principle possible to gather together an audience/community to circulate ideas and to develop them.

Early enough I realized that the blog that inspired me for my own effort wasn't just a free expression of opinion, but that it gravely suffered from lack of intellectual honesty. Then it came the great dissapointment of losing money and credibility by the disastrous turn of events after the announcement of Intel's Core architecture; and once I realized that the same reasons that led me to invest in AMD-bull side, an exponential growth, could lead me to the opposite if the crucial parameters were slightly lower, indicating an exponential implosion. Thus, I 'flipped', and allienated beyond the point of reconciliation the core of the audience of this blog. Then, I got interested in the subject of volatility management through equity options, and that further allienated the audience. It gets even worse: the community I was participating in, that fed traffic to this blog, the Yahoo message board, underwent a fork after the change of format, and my faction, the more educated and seasoned participants, successively moved a second time to Investor Village; but that is not all, since the more educated and seasoned participants of the AMD Yahoo message board were naturally very entrenched die-hard supporters of AMD, they gave a very optimistic bias to the board, and after the successive rounds of AMD crashing and burning, the bias depopulated it.

For those reasons, this blog, that began as a project to complement a community to develop ideas around the topic of technology investment, turned into a personal project, even intimate, without a clear content orientation; and this evolution highlighted several issues: If I am going to have a low-traffic blog, there is no reason to put up with the very annoying inconsistencies of blogger/blogspot or any other free blog service, I could mount my own domain and use the tools that better suit my purposes. Another thing is the issue of privacy: A more personal project may require to lose privacy, but since I am a professional that has been called and may be called in the future by Intel, AMD and other companies, being publicly associated with very controversial or critical opinions hurt my possibilities to work, and hurt more where I am more knowledgeable/skilled and thus more opinionated... Finally there is the issue of content: What's the community of ideas that this project will concern itself with?

I have been meditating about these issues for a while and chose to slow things down to a 'hybernation rythm' while I am undergoing important personal and professional changes to see where are the strengths of this project and where they may go. Fortunately, I am at an advanced stage on these transitions and the panorama is becoming clearer. The visit statistics tells me that there is still a worldwide audience for this project, I am still participating in fora, and there are mountains of good content to publish, so, I can say that for the time being this project will continue to be alive and developing links.