Google will soon worth more than Apple

Google now worth more than Microsoft and will soon worth more than Apple

GOOG:US  858.800 USD13.080 1.55%

Google glass is getting hyped and trashed all at the same time and it’s not even here yet. Meanwhile, Android’s marketplace dominance and Google’s nicely executed moves to mobile ads are contributing to the valuation. And of course, Microsoft is suffering as their tablet/smartphone offerings flounder and the PC business that they dominate shrinks.

It’s an interesting thought, thinking through what company could be the next one to reach the quarter-trillion valuation mark, which is the valuation that both Google and Microsoft just recently shot past. In the far future, could (or perhaps not too far into the future, as in later this year?), Oracle and Cisco and Intel reach that plateau? They each have been worth that much before.

Most of you steal your software wrote Bill Gates

On February 3rd of 1976, almost 10 years before unveiling Windows 1.0, an irate young Bill Gates wrote the following open letter in response to piracy ofAltair BASIC, a piece of software Gates had produced with Paul Allen andMonte Davidoff, and which was essentially the first such release from Microsoft (then named Micro-Soft). The letter was published in a number of leading computer publications and caused quite a stir.

Interestingly, initial versions of the software itself pre-dated the widespread introduction of floppy disks, and as such it was released on paper tape — hence this photo of Altair BASIC 8K.

Transcript follows.

(Source: DigiBarn; Image: Bill Gates, via.)





February 3, 1976

An Open Letter to Hobbyists

To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself. Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted. Will quality software be written for the hobby market?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these “users” never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don’t do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn’t make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren’t they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.


Bill Gates
General Partner, Micro-Soft


Microsoft Certificate used in "Flame"

Following our recent article on Flame, it appears that “Flame” components were sign using Microsoft Certificate.

Microsoft just released an emergency bulletin, and an associated patch, notifying users of Windows that a “unauthorized digital certificates derived from a Microsoft Certificate Authority” was used to sign components of the “Flame” malware.

The update revokes a total of 3 intermediate certificate authorities:


  • Microsoft Enforced Licensing Intermediate PCA (2 certificates)
  • Microsoft Enforced Licensing Registration Authority CA (SHA1)

It is not clear from the bulletin, who had access to these intermediate certificates, and if they were abused by an authorized user, or if they were compromised and used by an unauthorized user. Either way: Apply the patch.

The bulletin also doesn’t state if this intermediate certificate authority or certificates derived from it could be used to fake the patch. Microsoft Certificates are used to sign patches, and a compromise could lead to a sever break in the trust chain. The use of a “real” Microsoft certificate is surely going to increase the speculations as to the origin of Flame.



MS Research crush the world record for data sorting in 60 second

A new approach to managing data over a network has enabled a Microsoft Research team to set a speed record for sifting through, or “sorting,” a huge amount of data in one minute.

The team conquered what is known as the MinuteSort benchmark—a measure of data-crunching speed devised by the late Jim Gray, a renowned Microsoft Research scientist, and deemed the “World Cup” of data sorting. The MinuteSort benchmark measures how quickly data can be sorted starting and ending on disks. Sorting is a basic function in computing, demonstrating the ability of a network to move and organize data so it can be analyzed and used.

The team, led by Jeremy Elson in the Distributed Systems group at Microsoft Research Redmond, set the new sort benchmark by using a radically different approach to sorting called Flat Datacenter Storage (FDS). The team’s system sorted almost three times the amount of data (1,401 gigabytes vs. 500 gigabytes) with about one-sixth the hardware resources (1,033 disks across 250 machines vs. 5,624 disks across 1,406 machines) used by the previous record holder, a team from Yahoo! that set the mark in 2009.

Two Hundred Bytes for Everybody

To put things in perspective, in one minute, the Microsoft Research team sorted the equivalent of two 100-byte data records for every human being on the planet.

The record is significant because it points toward a new method for crunching huge amounts of data using inexpensive servers. In an age when information is increasing in enormous quantities, the ability to move and deploy it is important for everything from web searches to business analytics to understanding climate change.

In practice, heavy-duty sorting can be used by enterprises looking through huge data sets for a competitive advantage. The Internet also has made data sorting critical. Advertisements on Facebook pages, custom recommendations on Amazon, and up-to-the-second search results on Bing all result from sorting.

The award for the team’s achievement will be presented during the 2012SIGMOD/PODS Conference, an international forum for database researchers, practitioners, developers, and users to explore cutting-edge ideas and results. This year’s conference occurs in Scottsdale, Ariz., from May 20 to 24.

The record-setting MinuteSort team
The record-setting MinuteSort team: (from left) Jon Howell, Jeremy Elson, Ed Nightingale, Yutaka Suzue, Jinliang Fan, Johnson Apacible, and Rich Draves.

The team, formed and led by Elson, included Johnson ApacibleRich DravesJinliang Fan,Owen HofmannJon HowellEd NightingaleReuben Olinsky, and Yutaka Suzue.

Their approach was to take a fresh look at a relatively old model for sorting data. More than a decade ago, a network of computers would access data on a single file server, and each computer saw all of the data.

But that model didn’t scale up as data centers became larger. Researchers at Google tackled that problem in 2004, creating a data-management scheme called MapReduce. It worked by essentially sending computation to the data, rather than dragging data to a computer. It made possible computation across huge data sets using large numbers of cheap computers. In recent years, the Apache Software Foundation developed an open-source version of MapReduce dubbed Hadoop.

MapReduce and Hadoop greatly advanced the state of data sorting. But, Elson says, they still weren’t perfect.

“Some kinds of computations just can’t be expressed that way,” he says of the drag-computation-to-the-data model. “If you have two big data sets and you want to join them, you have to move the data somehow.”

Three years ago, Elson, Nightingale, and Howell had an insight into how new advances in network bandwidth could lead to a simpler model of data sorting—one in which every computer saw all of the data—while also scaling to handle massive data sets.

The solution was dubbed Flat Datacenter Storage. Elson compares FDS to an organizational chart. In a hierarchical company, employees report to a superior, then to another superior, and so on. In a “flat” organization, they basically report to everyone, and vice versa.

FDS takes advantage of another technology Microsoft Research helped develop, called full bisection bandwidth networks. If you were to draw an imaginary line through a collection of computers connected by a full bisection bandwidth network, every computer on one side of the line could send data at full speed to every computer on the other side of the line, and vice versa, no matter where the line is drawn.

Using full bisection networks, the FDS team built a system that could transfer data at two gigabytes per second on each computer for input, with another two gigabytes for output.

New Techniques Needed

“That’s 20 times as much bandwidth as most computers in data centers have today,” Elson says, “and harnessing it required novel techniques.”

With that, the team was ready to take on the MinuteSort challenge. The contest actually has two parts: an “Indy” category, in which systems can be customized for the task of sorting, and a “Daytona” category, in which systems must meet requirements for general-purpose computing—think super-sleek, open-wheel Indianapolis 500 cars versus Daytona 500 stock cars that look a little like what you see on the street.

In 2011, a team from the University of California, San Diego set a record in the Indy category, sorting 1,353 gigabytes of data in a minute. In the Daytona category, the record had been held by a team from Yahoo!, which sorted 500 gigabytes of data in a minute.

The Microsoft Research team blew past both marks. Moreover, the team beat the standing Indy-sort record using a Daytona-class system. This isn’t the first time that has happened, Elson says, but it is rare.

The record represents a total efficiency improvement of almost 16 times. Interestingly, Microsoft Research set the record using a remote file system, which is an unusual choice of architecture for sorting because it commonly is perceived to be slow. Whereas most sorting systems read data locally from disk, exchange data once over the network, and write data locally to disk, in a remote file system, data is read, exchanged, and written over the network, so each data record crosses the network three times. The team deliberately handicapped the system to demonstrate the phenomenal performance of the new FDS file-system architecture.

Thus far, the Microsoft Research team has worked with the Bing team to help Bing accelerate its search results. The Microsoft Research engineering team is partially funded by Bing and has been actively supported by Harry Shum, the Microsoft corporate vice president who leads Core Search Development.

Exciting Breakthrough

“We are very excited about the MinuteSort breakthroughs made by our Microsoft Research colleagues,” Shum says. ”I look forward to taking advantage of the FDS technology to further online infrastructure for Bing and for Microsoft—and delivering even faster results to our users.”

Nightingale, co-leader of the FDS project with Elson, is working with Bing to integrate FDS to improve Bing’s efficiency and speed.

Given the ubiquity of interest in managing “big data,” the Microsoft Research work is apt to find a home in several computing fields. It could be used in the biological sciences, managing gene sequencing or helping to create new classes of drugs, or it might help in stitching together aerial photographs to give people better imagery of the planet.

The ability to sort data rapidly also will aid machine learning—the design and development of algorithms that enable computers to create predictions based on data, such as sensor data or information from databases. Microsoft Research has a big stake in machine learning, in work ranging from language processing to security applications.

“Improving big-data performance has a wide range of implications across a huge number of businesses,” Elson says. “Almost any big-data problem now becomes more efficient, which, in many cases, will be the difference between the work being economically feasible or not.”

For now, there’s also a lot of celebrating going on.

“Our hands,” Howell laughs, “are bruised from high-fiving.”


By Douglas Gantenbein

May 21, 2012 9:00 AM PT

Hadoop in a Microsoft environment

Microsoft announced a partnership with Hortonworks last year to bring Hadoop to Windows Server and Windows Azure. Microsoft’s vision revolves around making Hadoop and related Big Data tools trivially accessible to the regular IT end-user and to this end it integrates with SQL Server Analysis and Reporting Services as well as Excel PowerPivot.

Here are some resources to use Hadoop in a Microsoft environment


Microsoft Open Technologies released Redis on Windows

Microsoft Open Technologies released Redis on Windows


Microsoft has announced the release of an updated version of the Redis on Windows, the first deliverable from the company’s Microsoft Open Technologies subsidiary.

Redis is an open-source, networked, in-memory, key-value data store with optional durability. It is written in ANSI C. The development of Redis is sponsored by VMware. In a blog post, Claudio Caldato, principal program manager for Microsoft Open Technologies, said the unit’s first deliverable is “a new and significant iteration” of Redis on Windows.

“The major improvements in this latest version involve the process of saving data on disk,” Caldato said. “Redis on Linux uses an OS feature called Fork/Copy On Write. This feature is not available on Windows, so we had to find a way to be able to mimic the same behavior without changing completely the save-on-disk process so as to avoid any future integration issues with the Redis code.”

Thus, the new version of Redis on Windows implements the Copy On Write process at the application level: Instead of relying on the OS, Microsoft added code to Redis so that some data structures are duplicated in such a way that Redis can still serve requests from clients while saving data on disk (thus achieving the same effect that Fork/Copy On Write does automatically on Linux), Caldato said.

Developers can find the code for this new version on the new MS Open Techrepository in GitHub, which is currently the place to work on the Windows version of Redis as per guidance from Salvatore Sanfilippo, the original author of the project, Caldato said.

“We will also continue working with the community to create a solid Windows port,” he said. “We consider this not to be production-ready code, but a solid code base to be shared with the community to solicit feedback: as such, while we pursue stabilization, we are keeping the older version as default/stable on the GitHub repository. To try out the new code, please go to the bksavecow branch.”

Meanwhile, in the next few weeks, Microsoft plans to test the code extensively so that developers can use it for more serious testing, Caldato said.

1984 Microsoft job posting

For fun, a 1984 Microsoft job posting
From: gordonl@microsoft.uucp (Gordon Letwin)
Date: Tue, 21-Feb-84 14:27:14 EST
Subject: Microsoft needs Wizards
This is a “solicitation” letter from the Microsoft Corp.  It’s written
by a software engineer, rather than the personnel dept:
I consider Microsoft an excellent home for the software wizard because:

1) its a great place to work.  The company is owned (a key issue) 
           and operated by software wizards: Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
This means :
– private offices (as many with windows as topology permits)
– informal lounges for design/discussion/rap sessions
– whatever hardware facilities are needed for the job
– Microwave ovens, refrigerators, free soda, etc.
throughout the buildings

But, most importantly, you’re working for and with other
systems programmers that understand both the job and the
people.  The technical hierarchy is kept very simple and
“shallow” so that there is minimal bullshit and over-

Since the development people report strictly to software
engineers, who report directly to chairman/CEO Gates, we
never do anything stupid because some manager/MBA/suit-type
has power without knowledge.  (When we do something stupid,
its our own fault!) Likewise, there are no “politics”, just

2) The work that you do here at Microsoft MATTERS.  Your work
won’t be canceled due to some political/financial upheaval,
nor just used in-house; your work will be used by millions
of people.  Most sharp software people have seen endless
amounts of software that “missed the boat”.  If you’ve felt
this way, here’s your chance to show the world (and yourself)
just how good you are.

I’ve been here over 5 years; thats the most sincere recommendation I
can give.  This is a place where I can literally explore the limits of
my capabilities as a software engineer.  The company that did the
first microcomputer system software (BASIC), the first plug-in
processor (the Softcard), the first lap-held computer (we conceived
and designed the Tandy Model 100) and many other “firsts” lacks no
boldness of vision.  Since we’re “owned and operated” by these same
bold people, having no venture capital owners or cash crunches to
limit us, the company’s limits are set only by the ability of our
engineers to envision great things and then to (the tough part) make
them fly.

Like the variety of small startups, Microsoft offers its key technical
people stock options.  We can offer technical challenges as good as
or better than startups, financial packages ditto, and, since we’re

> 90% owned by ourselves, we have no outside investors to restrict or

direct our development efforts.
If you’re interested in the possibilities, please send your resume or
request additional information from:

Joann Rahal
Microsoft Corp.
10700 Northup Way
Bellevue, WA  98004

IBM answering to Oracle NoSQL database

Following the recent Oracle attack on the NoSQL market ,with the announcement of its Orcale NoSQL solution,  IBM ‘s response didn’t last and unveil its plans to roll out NoSQL technology inside the DB2 product line.


According to Curt Cotner, the company’s vice president and chief technology officer for database servers, who spoke yesterday during a keynote address at IBM’s Information On Demand 2011 conference:

 “All of the DB2 and IBM Informix customers will have access to that and it will be part of your existing stack and you won’t have to pay extra for it,” Cotner said. “We’ll put that into our database products because we think that this is [something] that people want from their application programming experience, and it makes sense to put it natively inside of DB2.”

IBM’s plan to roll out NoSQL technology inside of DB2 made sense to conference attendee Gerard Ruppert, an IT consultant with John Daniel Associates in McKees Rocks, Pa.

“I think ultimately [IBM has] to go there because of the size of the data that’s moving around nowadays,” Ruppert said. “But it’s going to be a learning curve for a lot of the midmarket people because they just don’t have that expertise yet.”

The appeal of NoSQL lies in its ability to handle large volumes of data faster and more efficiently than traditional relational database management systems, according to Ruppert. He advised that before taking advantage of the new technology, organizations should make sure they have the right skills in-house. Those that don’t should consider bringing in some outside expertise before things get messed up, he added.

“In our own practice, we often go in and clean up after other people who don’t know what they’re doing,” he said.

NoSQL database management systems have a reputation for helping organizations analyze so-called big data stores. But “the jury is still out” on whether the technology is right for handling transactional systems, such as those used by banks and other institutions to process things like credit card orders, online purchases and stock trades.

“I think that if you asked our database guys, they would say that they’re generally not seeing deployments of technology like that for OLTP [online transaction processing] purposes,” said Ted Friedman, a data management analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based IT research firm Gartner Inc. “The vast majority of the usage is going in the analytics direction.”

Friedman added that IBM’s decision to offer NoSQL capabilities is in line with other industry giants who have made Hadoop, NoSQL and big data announcements of late. For example, Oracle yesterday announced the general availability of its new NoSQL database.

“It’s consistent with how we see the relational database model evolving over time.” he said. “IBM is doing it and others are as well. You saw Oracle at OpenWorld the other week making announcements around Hadoop and NoSQL capabilities and you see Microsoft doing some other things, so it’s a really big deal.”


Scala comes to .Net

Miguel Garcia, part of the Scala group at EPFL, has been striving to make the Scala productivity available to .Net developers too. In a project funded by Microsoft, he has now reached a major milestone in delivering that capability. In this interview Miguel tells you how you can now use Scala on .Net and gives an insight into the way this challenging project has been achieved and the future direction.


Official announce 

Making mistakes: Did Gates Really Say 640K is Enough For Anyone?

Making mistakes,saying mistakes and admitting mistakes might sounds like a philosophical topics.

But well, in the new era of the NoSQL we may need to remember the data processing paradigm, and keep questionning on what is good(and why it is) and what is not great anymore (and still seeking for the reasons it has change).

The database community has learned the following lessons from the 40 years that have unfolded since IBM first released IMS in 1968.

  • Having schemas as logical data description is a good thing.
  • And yes, having a separation of the schema from the application is good.
  • The SQL as an high-level language is a good thing

Even if all of this get us back to the 1960s, even before DBMSs were created, it still hot.


This is just another post title meant to draw readers into the article, so here is a  there is not any statement to be made but just a taught, a reminder, to keep questioning about everything, all the time.


In order to not, entirely, lie to the readers, and continue remembering the old days, please find hereafter the original article from 1997: “Did Gates Really Say 640K is Enough For Anyone?”


Jon Katz Email 01.16.97

Earlier this week, in a column on Bill Gates, fellatio and media, and how all three relate to a profile of Gates in last week’s Time magazine, this column daringly offered free software into the millennium to anyone who remembers one thing Bill Gates ever said. We were taking issue with the notion advanced in the magazine that Mr. Gates is shaping this or the next century as a visionary leader, as opposed to just selling lots of software.Within minutes of the column’s postings, the first challengers had emailed, all offering the same quote. 

“I’ve got one for you,” messaged a hacker from Cambridge. “Some years back, Gates said ‘640K is more memory than anyone will ever need.’ Where do I pick up my software?”

Dan emailed: “I win! Gates said once that ‘640K software is all the memory anybody would ever need on a computer.’ What do I get?” Susannah wrote from San Francisco: “Ha, Katz. You’ve finally stepped in it. Gates said that 640K of memory is all that anybody with a computer would ever need. Where’s the stuff?”

Several dozen versions of the same quote appeared, all claiming victory and wanting the free software promised in the column.

We gulped. Were we caught in our own ruse? And could Bill Gates, the man journalism tells us almost daily is a profound visionary, have been so short-sighted?

We might be insufferable, pompous, Marxist, degenerate and all the other things people accuse us of, but that doesn’t make us stupid. Do you honestly think we would offer anything free if we weren’t 100 percent certain there was no chance we could lose? Claiming Gates has never uttered a memorable thought is as good and solid as gold. Take that to the bank, losers.

Check out this feature on the Huntsville Times (Tennessee) Web site, where you can read Bill Gates’ impassioned denial that he ever said anything as potentially unprofitable as the quote attributed to him, and where you can also see just how safe our bet really is.

On the site, Gates takes questions from kids.

QUESTION: “I read in a newspaper that in l981 you said ‘640K of memory should be enough for anybody.’ What did you mean when you said this?”

ANSWER: “I’ve said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time.”

Gates goes on a bit about 16-bit computers and megabytes of logical address space, but the kid’s question (will this boy never work at Microsoft?) clearly rankled the billionaire visionary.

“Meanwhile, I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed to me that says 640K of memory is enough. There’s never a citation; the quotation just floats like a rumor, repeated again and again.”

Silly quotations do have a way of floating like rumors.

Well, the truth starts here.

He never said it. No free software.

Mr. Gates, on behalf of the Web community, we’re setting the record straight. Although we never said it ourselves, we apologize for this outrageous slander, and regret even inhabiting a medium that would think for one second of a world bounded by memory too small to encompass Windows 95 or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

An aside – did you know you can ask him anything you want at:

But, don’t fret, software scroungers. As a consolation prize, Wired Ventures has decided to give free Power Macs to five million webheads. To qualify, you have to be 13, born at the precise moment Saturn crossed the Jupiter moons, and be willing to walk naked around the world without food or drink, and with a laptop hanging around your neck. Other details are being worked out. We’ll be in touch.

Reading through Gates’ Q&A with America’s youth, we feel pretty good about our bet. A 14-year-old female asked him about probable career opportunities.

His answer: “There will be a wealth of opportunities relating to software.”

Talk about vision. No wonder Time said this man is shaping our world.


We also heard from the author of the Bill Gates piece in Time, the magazine’s managing editor, Walter Isaacson. He suggested we read the piece again and rethink whether it was an act of fellatio or not. We did and we do.

But he gets points for being perhaps the only high-ranking editor in journalism who would respond personally and directly to criticism. For embracing interactivity, he gets the Media Rant 640K award.