Powers of Ten (so to speak)

June 29, 2009

I am not sure if you are old enough to remember the 1977 IBM movie Powers of Ten (trippy version, without narration) [also at the IMDB and wikipedia], but that’s a movie that sure put things in perspective. Thinking in terms of powers of ten helps me sort things out when I am considering a design problem. Thinking of the scale of a problem in terms of physical scale is a good way to assess its true importance for a project. Sometimes the problem is the one to solve, sometimes, it is not. It’s not because a problem is fun, enticing, or challenging, that it has to be solved optimally right away because, in the correct context, considering its true scale, it may not be as important as first thought.

atomic-cycle

Maybe comparing problems’ scales to powers of ten in the physical realm helps understanding where to put your efforts. So here are the different scales and what I think they should contain:

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Suggested Reading: The Race for a New Game Machine

April 4, 2009

David Shippy, Mickie Phipps — The Race for a New Game Machine — Citadel Press, 2009, 256 pp. ISBN 978-080653101-4

(buy at Amazon.com)

(buy at Amazon.com)

This book, strongly reminescent of Tracy Kidder’s Pulitzer-winning Soul of a New Machine, relates the history of the development of the Cell, Xenon, and Broadway processors, the hearts of Sony’s PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and Nintendo’s Wii game machines, respectively.

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