09 October 2015

Captain Obvious, part the second

This endeavor's been bleating about the need to use SSD as a matter of course from the beginning. More than half a decade. It is with some amusement that I read this quant/R related post. He who laughs last doesn't get it. Gad. Quants are just as bad as "database developers" who continue to dump flat files in SQL databases. Gad.
a huge increase in performance to the application overall

Well, yeah.

06 October 2015

The Tyranny of Average Cost, part the third

Another tidbit, this time from AnandTech.
Yet more worrying for manufacturers, the costs of preparing chips for new nodes isn't just rising but rising quickly, with mask sets already over a million dollars and expected to grow even further thanks to the high costs of developing masks for current multi-patterning technologies.

The Apple paradigm, selling only to the top X% (thought to be 20-ish), can only work for a slim minority of vendors. Moreover, it won't even work for that slim minority if they become the *sole* vendors from some external production process. In simpler words: the Apple paradigm only works, for Apple, iff there are other vendors to support the capex of said external production process. "We lose money on each widget, but make up for it with volume." Without all those, alleged, money losing smartphone vendors, Apple wouldn't have suppliers to eviscerate.
By splitting up a chip in this fashion, the number of transistors laid down on the leading-edge node would be held to a minimum, resulting in a smaller module that would be cheaper to design and cheaper to produce than a full SoC, all the while the other modules would be relatively cheap to produce and cheap to design (if not largely held over from existing designs to begin with).

There was a time, back in the late 70s and early 80s, when IBM held a massive tech lead on the seven dwarves (may have shrunk by one or two, don't recall exactly) with their "thermal conduction module". This was before VLSI and chips as we know them today. It appears that Marvell has discovered old wine and fashioned a new bottle. Smaller, yes, but exactly the same idea.

There will always be some new way to spread total cost, esp. capex. But, the bottom line, so to speak, is finding expanding demand for cycles. WinTel did that for decades. Now, it's the smartphone vendors and telecoms making the yin-yang of sink and supply. Life changes not so much as it appears.

04 October 2015


Volkswagen demonstrated, once again, that The Masters of Universe make money the old fashioned way, they steal it. So, what does the Angela of death have to say?
"I believe the reputation of the German economy and the trust in the German economy has not been shaken by this to the extent that we are no longer considered a good business location," she told Deutschlandfunk, according to the text of an interview due to be broadcast later on Sunday.

Of course, Germany is a good place to do business. Government is the lap dog of business. Germany didn't define fascism, Mussolini did, but they perfected it. Government for, and by, capital. So long as Germany can export, particularly in the fixed rate Euro, it can sit fat and happy. Without export, the German economy collapses. Much like China.

02 October 2015

No Soup For You

Out of curiosity, I went looking at the MS/SQL Server site to check up on the state of the R-in-SS implementation. Not there, yet.
...still work in progress, not available yet.


01 October 2015

Told Ya So, part the second

Gentle reader may remember my musings that the ad blocker spewing was so much baloney. The cure is simple: price based on actual views. Seems Sergei and Larry are regular readers. Google henceforth will do so.

Now, was that so hard?

30 September 2015

I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good

There's an article on SA, that starts with Abraham Wald, a Brit stat who, during WWII defied the generals. Not a team player, he. The issue was how to re-armor aircraft in order to save them and, more importantly, the flyers. The generals looked at the bullet holes, pointed, and said, "there". Wald also looked and said, "not so much".

What's of interest, beyond the article, is the comments. The gist of which is that, following Wald's thesis, stock picking is foolish, and that inordinant gains are, mostly, just plain luck. You get the market rate of return, period. Unless dumb luck smiles on you.

Which, in turn, raises a question not addressed by either the article or the comments.
Something similar occurs in the investment industry. It claims that some people are extremely skilled, since year after year they've outperformed the market. They'll identify these "investment gurus" and convince you of their abilities. But a simple thought experiment can show that it would be impossible to not have these gurus produced just by luck.

If one goes to the track, and bets on FlapperFluzzy in the seventh, at 40 to 1, and she wins, you get taxed at median income rates, not some capital gains slap on the wrist rate. You got lucky at the track. You don't get an additional tax break.

So, if luck is so much a part of inordinant investment gains, and has even less benefit than playing the ponies, why not revert to the 91% rates of Eisenhower? He of the "fear the military industrial complex"? After all, what else are they going to do with the moolah? Stuff it in a mattress?

29 September 2015

Structured Relations

The McArthur grants hit the news today. Always expecting to see my name. Alas, not this time. Again.

But there was this entry:
Christopher Re, 36, Stanford, California. Stanford University computer scientist, who has created an inference engine, DeepDive, that can analyze data in a way that is beyond the capabilities of traditional databases.

Of course, my first reaction was along the lines of the McArthur folks are pretty stupid, if they think some NoSql mumbo jumbo is stronger than the RM. So off to find DeepDive. This is what I found:
DeepDive helps bring dark data to light by creating structured data (SQL tables) from unstructured information (text documents) and integrate such data with an existing structured database. DeepDive is used to extract sophisticated relationships between entities and make inferences about facts involving those entities.

I didn't get the grant, alas. But the RM won the war. There's satisfaction in that. So, in the end, Codd and Date are right. So, may be, the NoSql folks with all jump off the Golden Gate Bridge; holding hands in failed solidarity.