[warning: long, didactic and tangential.]

| From: Giles Orr via talk <talk@gtalug.org>

| There's this assumption among many computer geeks (until today I was among
| them) that Intel is the chip "gold standard."

The prime aesthetic in the computer world is simplicity.  Every bit of
complexity increases the chance of bug bites.  (I admit that there is
significant complexity inherent in many problems.)

Complexity has an unrelated advantage for enterprises: it creates the
proberbial moat around their business.  This is in no way good for
customers.

In the computer world, all big businesses seem to depend on this kind
of moat.

Perhaps the only way to attack a business behind a moat is by
disruptive innovation.  (I know that term has been worn out; go read
Christensen's "The innovator's Dilemma" from 21 years ago.)  RISC
architectures were disruptive but mostly lost anyway.

Successful businesses are constantly trying to re-enforce their moat,
but often the complexity gets beyond even them.

Examples of complexity as moat:

- x86

- MS Windows

- MS Office

- IBM mainframes

Of course there are other kinds of moats: "intellectual property",
domination of distribution channels, scale requirements, regulatory
capture, bundling, cross subsidization,...  They are often complementary.

Intel has been very good at some things -- they had to be.  I guess
they haven't focussed on being good at things they don't have to be.

================

Speaking of Windows...

I bought a couple of little computers last week and they arrived when
I was out for TLUG last night.  Today I decided to initialize Wondows
before I wipe it.

I tuned the first one on.  Windows booted and we went through
introductions.

It decided unilaterally to apply updates.  Luckilly, it didn't apply
them all since I'm sure that would have taken a day.

(There seemed to be no way to avoid setting up PIN
security, which I did not want, but eventually I could cancell out of
that process.)

Then, before I get a desktop, it asks to apply updates (again).  What
could go wrong -- I'd hardly done anything to the box.  Well,
something did go wrong.  But neither it nor I know what:

        Something wet wrong
        Windows can't be updated right no.  We will attempt to update
        again later.
        You can contact Microsoft support for help with thie error.
        Here is the error code 0xc1900203e

                [OK]

The "Microsoft support" is a button that fires up Edge browser on a
page with a FAQ about upgrading to Win 10, which I was not doing.
Sheesh.

All my recent experience with Windows has been updating it and all has
been bad.  You would think that this would be something to get right.

(Giles: the Windows experience I whined about last week is a
completely different incident.)
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