Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Tribute To Don Waters

Michael Keller has written, in Exploiting the opportunities of the maturing digital age: the first twenty years of the Scholarly Communications Program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, what is effectively a richly deserved tribute to Don Waters as his retirement looms. Below the fold, some commentary and my two cents worth.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Wine on WIndows 10

David Gerard posts Wine on Windows 10. It works.
Windows 10 introduced Windows Subsystem for Linux — and the convenience of Ubuntu downloadable from the Microsoft Store. This makes this dumb idea pretty much Just Work out of the box, apart from having to set your DISPLAY environment variable by hand.

So far, it's mindbogglingly useless. It can only run 64-bit Windows apps, which doesn't even include all the apps that come with Windows 10 itself.

But I want to stress again: this now works trivially. I'm not some sort of mad genius to do this thing — I only appear to be the first person to admit to having done it publicly.
Gerard recounts the history of this "interesting" idea. Although he treats this as a "geek gotta do what a geek gotta do" thing, the interest for Emulation & Virtualization as Preservation Strategies is in the tail of the post:
TO DO: 32-bit support. This will have to wait for Microsoft to release WSL 2. I wonder if ancient Win16 programs will work then — they should do in Wine, even if they don't in Windows any more.
Of course, if they run in Wine on Ubuntu on Windows 10 on an x86, they should run on Wine on Ubuntu on an x86. But being able to run Wine in an official Microsoft environment might make deployment of preserved Win16 programs easier to get past an institution's risk-averse lawyers.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Emulation as a Service

I've written before about the valuable work of the Software Preservation Network (SPN). Now they have released their EaaSI Sandbox, in which you can explore the capabilities of "Emulation as a Service" (EaaS), a topic I discussed in my report Emulation and Virtualization as Preservation Strategies. Below the fold I try EaaSi for the first time.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Blockchain briefing for DoD

I was asked to deliver Blockchain: What's Not To Like? version 3.0 to a Department of Defense conference-call. I took the opportunity to update the talk, and expand it to include some of the "Additional Material" from the original, and from the podcast. Below the fold, the text of the talk with links to the sources. The yellow boxes contain material that was on the slides but was not spoken.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Boeing's Corporate Suicide

Boeing believed that development of the 787 Dreamliner was a "bet the company decision". As things turned out, after a rocky start, it was a bet that will probably pay off. But the company took another "bet the company" decision that looks like it may not pay off, and it may well take the company with it. Below the fold, the details.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Carl Malamud's Text Mining Project

For many years now it has been obvious that humans can no longer effectively process the enormous volume of academic publishing. The entire system is overloaded, and its signal-to-noise ratio is degrading. Journals are no longer effective gatekeepers, indeed many are simply fraudulent. Peer review is incapable of preventing fraud, gross errors, false authorship, and duplicative papers; reviewers cannot be expected to have read all the relevant literature.

On the other hand, there is now much research showing that computers can be effective at processing this flood of information. Below the fold I look at a couple of recent developments.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Not To Pick On Toyota

Just under five years ago Prof. Phil Koopman gave a talk entitled A Case Study of Toyota Unintended Acceleration and Software Safety (slides, video). I only just discovered it, and its an extraordinarily valuable resource for understanding the risks of embedded software. Especially the risks of embedded software in life-critical products, and the processes needed to avoid failures such as those that caused deaths from sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) of Toyota cars, and from unintended pitch-down of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. I doubt Toyota is an outlier in this respect, and I would expect that the multi-billion dollar costs of the problems Koopman describes have motivated much improvement in their processes. Follow me below the fold for the details.