Time: Wed Jul 16 13:49:09 1997
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Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 13:45:50 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Gun to the head! (fwd)

Yes, one "competitor" in particular surmised that
HP MUST be charging $800+ for their monitor.  Well,
he was WAY off, not just a little bit off.  HP is right
at market for their 17" SVGA monitor, with bargains
to be had from good comparison shopping.  I don't 
prefer the HP monitors, however, because there are
much better monitors for very little increase in price.

Now, here's the rub.  When I worked at a minicomputer
manufacturer about 15 years ago, we knew, even then,
that hardware was headed for zero, and the cost of
software development was going to continue grabbing
larger and larger shares of manufacturing costs.
This trend was painfully obvious to everyone I worked

So, in light of this trend, which shows no signs of
stopping, just how much integrated software do you
think HP, and others like them, are now loading onto
their base-level machines (e.g. Pavilion 8160)?

This is an honest, and straightforward question.

Now, ask yourself how much of that software is 
TRULY integrated?  By that, I mean that you can
run any program without having to worry if it is
going to clobber another executing program?

When Elizabeth Broderick's manager and I went
out to buy a new computer for her legal defense
team, I recommended a Pavilion.  When we opened
the box, everything was color-coded and went
together in a flash (for someone like me, who
has done this a hundred times).  The ONLY problem
I had, was configuring the fax/modem software,
because they did not have a "1" in their default
long-distance dialer.  That was IT for installation
trouble.  And the HP tech stayed on the phone with
me until it was solved, and working.

I am NOT advertising HP, because I get no financial
rewards, in any way, shape, or form.  But, after
26+ years in the industry, I know a good thing when
I see it, and I would want my friends and clients
to take advantage of my vast, cumulative knowledge.

But, even though I can build a machine that is
identical to the HP machine, right now, with my
eyes closed, I cannot load that quantity of
software onto the machine I would build, because
I cannot buy a bundle, and also discount it to the 
extent that HP does.  Moreover, they are supplying
factory CD-ROM's, from the original manufacturers,
so you are getting the very same software for which
you will pay 2 to 3 TIMES as much, over the counter.

So, discount the hardware price of the HP 8160
(or any comparable machine), by doing an honest
factoring of the software bundle which is included,
and I am going to bet the farm that this blazing
233 MHz hardware, oscillating at 2.5 TIMES the highest
FM station, is going to be less than $1,000, maybe
even less than $750, for the hardware alone (not counting

And, while I am on the subject of software, I do remember
a very key event in my professional career.  I was charged
with moving ALL air quality simulation programs from CDC
and IBM mainframes, onto a small, virtual super minicomputer.
This mini was about 20 TIMES slower than the CDC mainframe,
but it had virtual memory logic, and it was the first of
its kind to support truly virtual memory management.

When we began testing the simulation on the mini, quite by
chance I discovered some serious overhead in the binary
READ's and WRITE's which this program was doing, to save
intermediate matrix results.  These I/O statements were
crucial, because this simulation was even too large for
a CDC supercomputer ("super" for its day).  I went to work
re-writing the I/O portion of the model, and succeeded
in removing 30% of the run-time overhead that was attributable
directly to these statements.  We knew this, because we had
carefully instrumented the program, to determine where it
was spending all of its time. 

After developing a very successful first implementation,
which eliminated about 98% of this overhead, I then went
to work re-writing it again, to take advantage of the most
efficient operating system logic of which I was aware.

The final software routines which I developed and tested
were so extremely fast, that I found audiences sitting
there, totally incredulous, as I displayed charts which
showed how I had accelerated FORTRAN matrix simulations
by a factor of 20-to-1 in their binary input/output statements,
on the very same hardware.  Moreover, we took the opportunity
to invent a disk data structure which permitted transparent
forward- and backward-spacing on binary records, something
which the standard FORTRAN compiler did NOT support.

Anyway, the lesson here is this:  software software software!
Behind every successful computer is a software guru, either
at home, or at the factory.  

/s/ Paul Mitchell

At 03:09 PM 7/16/97 -0500, you wrote:
>C'mon Paul....you know you should not be holding a gun to the heads of the
>Put your gun away and let's play fair with the boys and girls...or they
>will have to tell the internet-monitor on duty and you will have to stay
>after school. If your not careful the government will want all of us to
>have a number and fingerprint so the cyber agents can track all you
>"forceful bully types" if you try to force others to buy something!!!
>Paul....do you recall the three day cooling-off law that government
>initiated because some "salespeople" forced a sheeple to buy a product!!!
>No one is responsible for their actions....but you!
>Shame on you, Paul
>Keep on Keepin on!
>[Anonymous] from the Bluegrass where people still take words for what they
>are: Creative.  If I were in the market for a computer...I'd give that one
>a peek.  Maybe a competitor got his/her feelings hurt.

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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