Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Chummy! BT and AT&T club together! How nice for them.

Chummy! BT and AT&T club together! How nice for them. Everyone's getting a friend overseas these days -- it's almost as if they'd woken up to the gradual dissolution of the nation state. And, for the first time, a survey shows that slightly more than half of the UK population is sanguine about the pound going away in favour of the Euro.

In other news: Bill Gates is now worth about the same as the poorest 40% of the US population. That's, what, around a hundred million people? Talk about top-heavy distribution: if you can have that level of inequality within a country, the arguments about borders being necessary to keep the poor people out don't really seem that cogent.

Tuesday

Naughty! Someone from a network operating systems company (which shall remain nameless) proves himself no latter-day saint when he flys a kite over Peter Judge, our Networks section editor. Blokey claims that the next generation of IP, IPv6, couldn't run on Windows NT 5.0. "Go on..." said Peter. "Well," said the man, "you can't resize buffers within the kernel of NT 5.0, and the IPv6 specification demands that you do."

Alas for our would-be mole, some of us have spent large portions of their lives writing network stacks and know one end of a transport layer packetisation algorithm from another. What's more, not only can IPv6 run perfectly well on NT 4.0 and NT 5.0 beta 2 but MS has published the source code on its research Web site. And a design white paper. We looked at the source code. We read the white paper. We have one word for our naughty pal -- but this is a family Web site, so we won't use it.

Try harder next time!

Wednesday

Amazing! Delightful news from Intel. As part of the convoluted, byzantine dealings whereby it agreed to build stuff for Digital (before Digital became part of Compaq and Compaq decided it hated the name Digital so much it spent $5.5 million dollars on buying the www.altavista.com domain name from the Altavista software consultancy... but I digress), Intel gets its paws on the StrongARM. That's Digital's development of the Acorn Risc Machine, the Cambridge-designed RISC processor built by people who thought the 6502 was really cool but a little underpowered.

And Intel love it. Intel is going to sell it for use in handhelds and portables and things that go `whoosh' in the night. Triumph for the BBC Micro ubernerds!

Thursday

Bitter! "It's really unfair..." This uttered by a good friend who works for the National Consumer Council (no, that's nothing to do with Which?).

"What's that, then?" I reply. The NCC spends most of its time saying `It's really unfair...', and then making sure something gets done about it.

"The Security Service. It's not that they've got a budget a hundred times ours, or nearly a hundred times as many people... oh, the shame of it..."

"But what? But what?" I have a horrible vision of some internal putsch rendering their Fair Banking policy directly under the control of 007...

"Who'dve thought it? Their Web site's up before ours!"

And it's true. I never thought I'd see the day, but here it is -- www.mi5.gov.uk -- in case you fancy a change in career.

As for the NCC: watch this space.

Friday

Early! Staggering around the flat in an early morning fug, my concentration on getting the coffee machine working before my eyelids glue themselves shut is shattered by the shrill trilling of the mobile.

"It's the BBC haar," says an authoritative voice, "Want to pop over and talk about this semiconductor stuff?"

Of course I do, being a meeja tart and shameless with it. Some time later, a car appears and I womble off to Bvsh Hovse (it claims to be Bush House, but they ran out of Us when naming it). This is the home of the World Service (all stand, respectfully) and a small cupboard containing a camera, a bright light on a big red button, and a line to Television Centre. This is my destination: World Service TV.

What they didn't tell me on the phone was that `this semiconductor stuff' was the closure of Siemen's Newcastle factory, and thus the lead story. The whole thing ended up with what felt like two hours of live interview on the macroeconomics of the global semiconductor market, with special attention to the Far Eastern economic collywobbles. In front of `around ten million people', according to the laconic person who took me to the cupboard and locked me in. "You can see yourself out afterwards, OK?".

I'm just a technical editor. I know TCP/IP, RAM bandwidth and how many bits make eight. Intrinsic chaotic instabilities in the capitalist demand/supply/investment feed-forward model weren't mentioned in my teenage copies of Practical Wireless. Fortunately, the Web had disgorged a few choice stats when I'd checked before leaving, so I think I got away with it.

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