On an entirely different subject …
I just had a Revelation;
in the coming Apocalypse,
The first person to create more Toilet Paper
Will be King!
Note to self, the computer is not built to do anything other than execute instructions, hardware advances over the years have only advanced the ability of the CPU to gather instructions, it does not make decisions about what to execute, or in what order to execute them in. That is the organization of the basic boot loader, in combination with the operating system loaded.
There are no elements of artificial intelligence built into the hardware, it has no ability to reprogram itself or to change it’s wiring. External forces must be applied to force change either by altering microcode-code in the core of the CPU (should that be possible) or by execution of programs within the confines of the operating system, instructions provided by the boot loader or via operating systems loaded and executing programs. It is through those processes that constitute what a computer does, with what it ‘sees’ .
Any hope of producing the next generation of computing must therefore be a revolution in how the CPU is instructed to perform it’s instructions, what is done with the output, and any associated hardware connected to the system to perform ‘tasks’ assigned by that process. The argument that Windows, or Linux/Unix or any other operating system is better than another DOES create opportunities and restrictions uniquely to any new programming, computing Paradigm.
Anything like artificial intelligence will have to preceded by a new suite of hardware, with a new way of ‘booting’ the system and or an entirely new operating system tailored to artificial intelligence operations. Current hardware/software standardization is at once the primary blockage to any future advances to computing.
UPDATE #1: IBM Creates Custom-Made Brain-Like Chip
It is with sadness that I had to turn off the last Sybase Instance we had running. Our last ASE server quietly shutdown on an Amazon EC2 server on Tuesday the 20th of December, never to boot again.
In all truth both Sybase instances were developer installs operating as production systems. Our two instances, operating with the 25 user limit that each was restricted to, was barely able to operate the system. But the Sybase Licensing was too archaic and inflexible to continue operating it as a small business. Thus the economics forced us to convert to MySQL.
If it hadn’t been for the previous management, who in some delusion of saving money, refused to pay the datacenter bill, forcing us to move the Sybase instances out into the Amazon cloud (EC2) in the first place we would probably have been on MySQL sooner, as that was the plan.
But the sadness remains, Sybase as a technology proved again that it would run, and run reliably, on just about any hardware, even when it was virtual, and NOT meeting the specified certified, requirements of operation. Which can’t be said for the Amazon RDS version of MySQL, which crashed spontaneously while applying an index on our live production database without warning. This having happened after weeks of testing and trial runs at operating the system on it. The only defense, the RDS instance rebooted and was available without data loss, in less time than a Sybase HA switchover would have taken, a system this production system was developed from.
So we are up in MySQL and I am now a MySQL DBA exclusively, after spending the last 25 years as a Sybase DBA and evangelist. The decision now has to be rather to remain so, or find another place of employment where Sybase remains. Those are becoming more and more rare. Maybe I should takeup MongoDB to stay at the cutting edge.
Over the past week I found myself in a situation as follows, during a migration, conversion from a Sybase Production server to a MySQL based version, I was required to ‘expedite’ a Sybase 15 ASE installation into an Amazon (EC2) instance, The Cloud!
The company has been in the position of seeking less expensive IT infrastructure over the past few years, moving from Sun Enterprise servers with ASE clustering to commodity Intel based Redhat Sybase servers with poor mans replication. The final goal became a decision to convert the expensive Sybase ASE (read inflexible licensing), to MySQL, and generally into the Amazon RDS (cloud).
The move of a Sybase ASE into the Cloud was the result of an urgent desire to terminate a data-center contract early by management. The shrinking time line for the conversion of the Sybase schema to MySQL could not be guaranteed so a Plan B had to be created. Hence, the Cloud based Sybase production edition of a production server.
To my surprise, it works! after a bit of twisting, the Redhat ASE developer installation came off more or less just like any other Sybase install. There are irregularities from a normal Linux install, but functional. Being a bit of a spindle jockey, I was surprised (happily) at the overall performance of the storage systems of the EC2 instance. And the production server is now operating in the instance. (having previously moved the app and web servers into the EC2)
This post needing a point to make, is this, while working this issue, I did considerable Googling for anyone using Sybase ASE in the cloud, and nothing! or nearly nothing. What I did find first, a press release from Sybase corporate that they were now in the Amazon Cloud, dated in 2009, and not a peep since. Nothing, no product, no advertising, no options. What a missed opportunity, it’s now easy to see why Sybase has been loosing so much market to a ‘free’ RDBMS like MySQL.
At the Cork Open Coffee today there was discussion about how the University of Cork could be utilized to solve real world business problems, with a counterpoint that the University also was a resource for IP that was underutilized or not exploited at all. Answers without questions that had been explored and solved, but not yet marketed and deployed. And I thought of how that could happen.
I have always been boring, in most conversations I almost never initiate a subject, but I can always contribute (read; shoot my mouth off). This is true in my IT skills. I know many things, but I don’t create many new things, but I can solve most puzzles and resolve problems. And in reviewing them, I find it’s more to do with not having an agenda, or operating under a set of predefined solutions. I examine the issue, then produce an alternative resolution. I become creative in my solutions, I invent extraordinary resolutions. I remain empty, of any preconceived notion of a solution (not empty of ego mind you) but I exploit the Tao of the problem. Hence I don’t project a topic of conversation, or add a new project, or imagine anything extraordinary until I have a problem to solve.
This was my dilemma about the university folks, creating answers, where there were no questions (yet?). Applications, without anywhere to apply them. For me, IT problems ARE the mother of invention.
The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities.
Between the economy starting to tank, and terrorist threats, I’m guessing that the IT hiring and equipment purchasing will take a large hit. From talking with folks in the U.S. it seems like most people are holding their money close to their wallets, indicating that most business spending will follow this trend. With everyone being afraid, capitol spending plans goes out the window.