Friday, August 31, 2012

Central Bankers at Jackson Hole

Well, the much anticipated Jackson Hole Bernanke speech has come and gone. Everyone from bloggers to the big fund managers have taken drastically different interpretations of the speech. Some argue that the speech was even more bullish than announcing a definite QE3 right then and there. Others interpret this as definitely indicating that there will be no QE3 soon and definitely not before the election. On Twitter, PIMCO's Bill Gross claims

"#Bernanke to go out with his guns blazing. #QE3 a near certainty. It will be open-ended but increasingly impotent."
Most of the I-bank analysts interpret the speech as calling for more easing and on fairly quick order.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Race to Zero: The Real Niche for the Realtime Web

A recent Hacker News discussion centered around whether realtime is detrimental or at least unnecessary. Many of the commenters were quite disparaging of the realtime web, claiming that slow web is the way to go. They go on to make an arguable claim that HFT is an example of where "realtime" leads to more trouble than its worth. The arguments against the realtime web aren't all that new. The same arguments have been recycled from the contention that the Internet itself with its constant barrage of communication through emails, IMs, and Google queries have negatively affected our lives and compromised our concentration. In fact, at least two celebrity authors have come down on opposite sides of a related issue: Tim Ferris in The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) argues that elements of technology such as email detract from life and really ought to be outsourced if possible whereas Doug Merrill in Getting Organized in the Google Era: How to Get Stuff out of Your Head, Find It When You Need It, and Get It Done Right argues that tech becomes an extended brain enhancing our abilities and increasing our capacity. Another more nuance take in Is Google Making Us Stupid? comes from Nicholas Carr, a Pulitzer-winning writer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

High-Level Programming Languages for Embedded Systems: Garbage Collection and FPGAs

Just when it looked like the big guys (well, basically Apple, that big chunk of the NASDAQ) were moving away from tracing garbage collectors, researchers from IBM Research has taken the leap to bring garbage collection to FPGAs [PDF]. Though hardware-assisted garbage collection isn't new, this degree of implementation of a complete concurrent garbage collector on an FPGA is. The authors consider this a first step in bringing high-level languages to the FPGA and embedded computing realm. It should be interesting to see where this goes.