That quote from Billy-Bob has nothing to do with advances
in design utilizing differing technologies. That only has
to do with capacity - he was basing his opinion because
of the current state of capacity. The technology hasnt
changed in computers, but the capacity of devices has,
such as faster CPUs (with increasing cache size), higher-
capacity drives, more RAM, and so on.
Higher capacity is required because of bloated operating
systems and the bloated software written by lazy programmers.
The basic design of the computer is still the same: to
move 0's and 1's around the bus to peripherals, all
controlled by various chipsets.
America, and indeed the world, pursue what is seen to be cutting edge
just like codfish rush to bite an unbaited hook. Have things REALLY
by quantum steps?
Software capabilities are not so greatly changed, and the chip technology -
though greatly evolved - has developed solely to service the software
which, indeed, has become bloated and glitchy.
You could run word processors, databases, spreadsheets, games, etc even on
black and white Z80 machines. One company where I used to work ran the
with two 10 megabyte harddrives and a Z80 network system.
Personal computers today do little that the old ones wouldn't do in some
the other. Nor do they always do the job so terribly much quicker or
although the microprocessors grunt along at multigigahertz speeds. We
mongers that feed the data into them are, oft as not, the limiting factor.
Mainframes had somewhat different requirements. They didnt have to cater to
executive gamer showoff computer-illiterate.
Having written programs for x86 machines since DOS 3 was the hot ticket, I
think you have a slanted view.
What is perceived as "bloat" by the public is a combination of two factors:
increased packaged data and the overhead required for proper structure. When
I started it was considered pretentious to refer to an accomplished
programmer as a "software engineer," whereas that is the minimum expected of
any modern programmer; the senior programmers are "software architects." (I
am neither, since it was only a sideline for me and I couldn't ride the
rocket. I am still a "cowboy coder" who can knock out small applications and
utilities without making a big mess of it.)
Did you ever see a DOS machine run on a network? It was ugly - surely you
recall the "share" TSR to make files multi-accessible. There were email
readers in the DOS days, but do you recall a web browser?
The good old days were good mainly because we know everything came out okay.
However, in this case, we can go back. You can still load DOS on any modern
Windows capable box. Go for it and let us know how it works out.
On Sat, 19 Nov 2005 07:24:47 -0500 Sparky Spartacus
So tell us what innovations have happened with processors
and hard drives? They've made processors speedier, and maybe
added more to the instructions set, or have increased capacity
from 32-bit to 64-bit, and have made hard drives with more
CAPACITY at lower cost to the consumer.
Yes, we have new drive interfaces, such as SATA, but that is
merely a higher rate interface that moves data at a HIGHER
My argument still stands - there has not been any true
innovation to computer hardware/peripheral components, they
have only gotten speedier moving those 0's/1's around and
they move MORE (re: CAPACITY) 0's/1's than predecessors.
We have been served up a lot of dumb ideas in the past...ideas
which were interesting, but not worth the cost and the risk.
I am sure we will continue to make firm advancements in
transportation science. If Honda wants to spend the money
to offer a solution to a problem that does not exist, go for it.
When someone posts a decent citation of whatever Honda is
proposing be flown-by-wire, then comment will be worthwhile.
To categorically reject change because the "current system
is good enough" is foolishness and demonstrates
obliviousness to the many points in automotive history when
of course the old way was "good enough," but the new way
yielded some advantage, so it predominated.
I give you the pick-up and the platform frame SUV built on chasis and
suspensions from 1950 that all the people in the country have flocked to
dealerships like sheep and plunked billions of dollars on and to which the
automobile companies have spent next to nothing on in technology.
and instead of investing that money on a DECENT small car design, they
meanwhile, the japanese took the money they made off selling excellent
small cars and trucks, and invested it in making bigger trucks. the
tundra is a really nice truck! course it should be, since the engine
design was based on the lexus LS series.
Do you think that car companies should produce what the
companies think is right for the American consumer, or what
These companies have obligations to shareholders and their
employees to turn a pretty profit, or else.
I agree that marketing and advertising and making a buck
play a huge role in design. I agree the outcome is most
certainly not always a better design, engineering-wise. I
could even stomach someone's argument that most design
changes are not engineering oriented at all.
But America is also a revoltingly consumer-ist society.
Which came first--the advertising blitzes pushing "bigger;
more," or some sort of instinctual drive from Americans to
insist on bigger more--is debatable.
So Americans want pickup trucks and SUVs which rarely
satisfy any physical need and are merely to keep up with the
Joneses. What's an auto company executive to do to keep food
on his family's table? So to speak.
But safety, things like better fuel mileage or more Hp
performance, are not ignored. Many improvements do lengthen
the life of a car, etc.
Honda & Toyota? Hmmm.
Yes, I know. But I hesitate to say more without reading up
on why GM and Ford has been going down the proverbial can
the last several years. I thought it was more like labor
problems: GM and Ford can't build a car cheaply. I dunno.
Someone can post a citation on why they're failing while I
guess Honda and Toyota are doing fine. 'Cause America still
loves big, gas guzzling vehicles, from what I see.
Advertising first, check out the history of GM.
Didn't the Japanese carmakers answer this question in the 70's?
Which safety innovations (after the rear view mirror, which was a racing
innovation) were not mandated? The US automakers have fought every
change tooth & nail (emissions as well as safety - Ford famously tried
to sell safety in their '56 models & lost a bundle).
So, you don't want to comment until all the facts are in? (a famous
quote by Gen Turgidson in "Dr. Strangelove"). ;)
The Japanese carmakers seem to be able to crank out cars profitably from
their US plants, so I don't think it's primarily the cost of labor. Did
you have anything specific in mind with "labor problems"?
"These companies have obligations to shareholders and their employees to
turn a pretty profit, or else"
Leading to many very unhappy employees & shareholders as of late. ;)
One final observation - the price of every new GM car includes something
like $1,500 for health care costs (plus another chunk for retirement),
which foreign carmakers, Asian & European, don't incur because those
countries have universal health coverage & retirement. Wouldn't it be
ironic if it were the auto (and other) CEOs who lead the charge to
universal health coverage in the US? <this is an auto related
observation, not a political one, and I won't debate the politics of
such a move>
I don't know.
I think it's hard to compare the successes of two companies
satisfying the same basic need, but also many others,
operating in two different countries, with different
cultures and mores and different governmental philosophies.
which was a racing
I reckon you're mostly right.
I think also of reports (or the cinemization) of lawsuits
where car companies defend against making a certain design
change, because the cost of the 'wrongful death' yada
lawsuits is much lower than the cost of the design change.
Still, on a day to day basis with engineers, I don't buy
that they are idiots who never object to certain proposed
features as being inherently unsafe that will result in a
car with many problems, threatening life and property. And
so costing the company money, yada.
of labor. Did
After I posted, I did notice one of the lastest articles on
GM's problems said a major component was the cost of the
company's health care plans.
Some are saying that's GM management's screwup, though.
So, no, I don't have all the facts. Surely there's a site or
two that talks about why GM and Ford are doing so poorly,
and how Honda manages in comparison.
As you suggest below, my suspicion is that some large
companies are already starting to push somewhat for
universal care. (I may have read as much.) They won't be
gung-ho for it, I suppose, for some time (if ever), because
their business ties in with that of insurers.
I'm not talking about a conspiracy, but more about how
executives look out for each other; one hand washes the
their employees to
of late. ;)
Wouldn't it be
We'd then maybe have a two-pronged attack on current
American cultural mores: With the ailing American car
companies, more small cars would go on the road. With the
ailing health insurance system, Americans would be more
willing to accept catastrophic health insurance plans and
not accept every last procedure/drug (efficacies being not
clear) their doctor prescribed.
I think the screwup was that they didn't support the "socialized
medicine" push in the 1960s. Whether it was because they couldn't
screw over their buddies at the country club or because they thought
it was a communist plot to have *all* children vaccinated or it was
just apathy, they are paying the cost of a private health care system.
Of course, the ultimate cost will be paid by the GM employees and
retirees and all of the rest of us as we are gradually pushed out of
the health care insurance system.
It is the best kind of conspiracy because there is never more then a
wink or a nod between the conspirators.
Of course, they do incur those costs for their US factories. One
advantage to Honda and Toyota is that they have relatively few US
retirees and their workforce is younger (healthier) because the
factories have only been running for 10 - 20 years. If we project
current trends out another 20 - 40 years, Honda and Toyota US
operations will be broke. But then again, everyone will be broke.
Actually, I think this is an issue who's time is coming fast.
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