[Rd] The case for freezing CRAN

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at me.com
Thu Mar 20 21:24:48 CET 2014

On Mar 20, 2014, at 1:02 PM, Marc Schwartz <marc_schwartz at me.com> wrote:

> On Mar 20, 2014, at 12:23 PM, Greg Snow <538280 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 7:32 AM, Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd at debian.org> wrote:
>> [snip]
>>>    (and some readers
>>>  may recall the infamous Pentium bug of two decades ago).
>> It was a "Flaw" not a "Bug".  At least I remember the Intel people
>> making a big deal about that distinction.
>> But I do remember the time well, I was a biostatistics Ph.D. student
>> at the time and bought one of the flawed pentiums.  My attempts at
>> getting the chip replaced resulted in a major run around and each
>> person that I talked to would first try to explain that I really did
>> not need the fix because the only people likely to be affected were
>> large corporations and research scientists.  I will admit that I was
>> not a large corporation, but if a Ph.D. student in biostatistics is
>> not a research scientist, then I did not know what they defined one
>> as.  When I pointed this out they would usually then say that it still
>> would not matter, unless I did a few thousand floating point
>> operations I was unlikely to encounter one of the problematic
>> divisions.  I would then point out that some days I did over 10,000
>> floating point operations before breakfast (I had checked after the
>> 1st person told me this and 10,000 was a low estimate of a lower bound
>> of one set of simulations) at which point they would admit that I had
>> a case and then send me to talk to someone else who would start the
>> process over.
> Further segue:
> That (1994) was a watershed moment for Intel as a company. A time during which Intel's future was quite literally at stake. Intel's internal response to that debacle, which fundamentally altered their own perception of just who their customer was (the OEM's like IBM, COMPAQ and Dell versus the end users like us), took time to be realized, as the impact of increasingly negative PR took hold. It was also a good example of the impact of public perception (a flawed product) versus the realities of how infrequently the flaw would be observed in "typical" computing. "Perception is reality", as some would observe.
> Intel ultimately spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million (in 1994 U.S. dollars), as I recall, to implement a large scale Pentium chip replacement infrastructure targeted to end users. The "Intel Inside" marketing campaign was also an outgrowth of that time period.

Quick correction, thanks to Peter, on my assertion that the "Intel Inside" campaign arose from the 1994 Pentium issue. It actually started in 1991.

I had a faulty recollection from my long ago reading of Andy Grove's 1996 book, "Only The Paranoid Survive", that the slogan arose from Intel's reaction to the Pentium fiasco. It actually pre-dated that time frame by a few years.

Thanks Peter!



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