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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Osseous has a bone to pick with you as t...
We recently quelled the immense threat brought about by Zemouregal and the giant dragon Vorkath in Runescape, and you might think that earnt adventurers a little break, but no. Instead, Jagex has decided it is time to face off against an equally... | Read more »
Seven Deadly Sins: Idle Adventure opens...
Netmarble has announced the opening of pre-registration for the upcoming idle RPG; The Seven Deadly Sins: IDLE Adventure. Expanding their suite or games for this IP after turn-based RPG Grand Cross, you can soon enjoy the adventures of Meliodas... | Read more »
Tower of God: New World goes all Agatha...
I love me a good mystery, stick Poirot or Colombo on the TV and I am a happy man, and yes I know Colombo is not your traditional sleuth setup, but I adore it. Tower of God: New World is taking a leaf from the whodunits in its latest campaign;... | Read more »
Monster Hunter Now introduces Driftsmelt...
One of the most fun parts of the Monster Hunter franchise, to me at least, is designing that perfect armour set to give you that optimal skill set you’ve been dreaming of. Unfortunately, you sometimes had to sacrifice fashion, but that won’t be a... | Read more »
A sorely overdue feature finally gets ad...
It’s a yo ho ho and the pirate's life and what have you, as Uncharted Waters Origin unveils its May update. This month we have the customary new mates including the historic Gentleman Pirate, a new entry to the Relationship Chronicle, and the... | Read more »
Brawl Stars veteran-backed Octopo Studio...
The 2024 PlayX4 B2B is kicking off tomorrow in Ilsan, lasting until the 26th in KINTEX Hall 1, and Octopo Studio has announced that they will be making an appearance. Shooting RPG Bounty Pang will be on show as the developers seek publishing... | Read more »
The Astral Express sets off to bring Hon...
After vanquishing yet another threat and adding a fine hat to their wardrobe, you’d think the crew of the Astral Express would be able to kick back after their adventures in Penacony. Clearly not though, as HoYo has announced the next leg of the... | Read more »
Dragons rein supreme in Pokemon Unite as...
If you were looking for the strongest type in Pokemon and asked the fanbase, I would wager most people's thoughts would turn to Dragon. They hit hard, are often powerful, and get used by some of the toughest trainers. Pokemon Unite is honouring... | Read more »
Players can take a peek into the design...
It doesn’t matter how much effort developers put into their classes, or how many special little mechanics there are; if there is one that wields two blades, I’m ignoring everything else. Diablo Immortal recently announced such a class in the shape... | Read more »
Android users have a new option in the c...
When you are in the thick of a firefight or trying to pull off a mid-combat parkour flip through a squad of foes, sometimes touchscreen control just won’t do it for you. For those intense sessions, you could benefit from a good mobile controller,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

16-inch M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pros on sal...
Amazon is offering a $200-$350 instant discount on 16″ M3 Pro and 16″ M3 Max MacBook Pros this week. Shipping is free: – 16″ M3 Pro MacBook Pros (18GB/512GB) Black: $2249.99, $250 off MSRP – 16″ M3... Read more
Apple WiFi iPads on sale for $50 off MSRP, pr...
Amazon has Apple’s 10th-generation WiFi iPads on sale for $50 off MSRP, starting at only $299. With the discount, Amazon’s prices are the lowest we’ve ever seen for these iPads: – 10″ 10th-generation... Read more
Amazon is offering the lowest prices we’ve se...
Amazon is now offering a $150-$200 discount on every configuration and color of Apple’s M3-powered 15″ MacBook Airs. Prices start at $1149 for models with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage: – 15″ M3... Read more
Apple is offering huge discounts on 16-inch M...
Apple has a full line of 16″ M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pros available, Certified Refurbished, starting at $2119 and ranging up to $600 off MSRP. Each model features a new outer case, shipping is free... Read more
Memorial Day Sale: Apple’s 24-inch M3 iMacs f...
Amazon is offering a $150 discount on Apple’s new M3-powered 24″ iMacs as part of their Memorial Day Sales. Prices start at $1149 for models with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage: – 24″ M3 iMac/8-core... Read more
Memorial Day Savings: 16-inch MacBook Pros on...
Apple 16″ MacBook Pros with M3 Pro and M3 Max CPUs are in stock and on Memorial Day Weekend sale for $200-$300 off MSRP at B&H Photo. Their prices are among the lowest currently available for... Read more
Amazon has 14-inch M3 MacBook Pros on sale fo...
Amazon has 14-inch M3 MacBook Pros in stock and on sale for $150-$200 off MSRP as part of their Memorial Day Weekend sales. Shipping is free. Note that Amazon’s stock tends to come and go: – 14″ M3... Read more
Apple retailers offer MacBook Airs starting a...
Our Apple award-winning MacBook Air Price Trackers are continually updated with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability for 13″ M3, M2, and M1 MacBook Airs and 15″ M3 and M2... Read more
Apple now selling iPhone 14 models starting a...
Apple has unlocked Certified Refurbished iPhone 14 models in stock starting at $619 and ranging up to $230 off original MSRP. Apple includes a standard one-year warranty and new outer shell with... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: Apple AirPods Max...
Apple retailers have AirPods Max headphones on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Memorial Day Weekend sales. The sale price is valid for all colors at the time of this post. Shipping is free... Read more

Jobs Board

Principal Systems Engineer - *Apple* System...
**28833BR** **Position Title:** Principal Systems Engineer - Apple Systems Engineering **Department:** Publix Technology **Location:** Lakeland, FL **Description:** Read more
*Apple* App Developer - Datrose (United Stat...
…year experiencein programming and have computer knowledge with SWIFT. Job Responsibilites: Apple App Developer is expected to support essential tasks for the RxASL Read more
Nursing Assistant - *Apple* Hill Surgical C...
Nursing Assistant - Apple Hill Surgical Center - Post Anesthesia Care Unit - Day Location: WellSpan Health, York, PA Schedule: Full Time Sign-On Bonus Eligible Read more
LPN-Physician Office Nurse - Orthopedics- *Ap...
LPN-Physician Office Nurse - Orthopedics- Apple Hill Location: WellSpan Medical Group, York, PA Schedule: Full Time Sign-On Bonus Eligible Remote/Hybrid Regular Apply Read more
DMR Technician - *Apple* /iOS Systems - Haml...
…relevant point-of-need technology self-help aids are available as appropriate. ** Apple Systems Administration** **:** Develops solutions for supporting, deploying, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.