Thursday, January 22, 2015

Windows 10, Microsoft HoloLens, wow

I gave a near 3-hour interactive talk at a local Science Café tonight which was fun. Well, the number of guys who followed it at the technical level was close to \(\pi\) but everything was relaxed, no one was tired, so the talk could have been made entertaining even for those ladies and gentlemen who didn't really follow all those things about escape speeds, special relativity, general relativity, quantum mechanics, Hawking and Bekenstein, second laws and black hole entropy, Strominger and Vafa, ER=EPR, quasinormal modes, landscape and swampland, LHC destructive black holes, and so on. I won't bother you with all the jokes because some of them were childish but enough to make people laugh. ;-)

But I think that if I were giving the talk now, five hours later, it could have been affected by the latest Microsoft press conference.

I am impressed by the number of nontrivial developments that were announced today. First, the Microsoft HoloLens reality above – is that real holograms (using the actual interference and Dennis Gábor) that is moving in the glasses? If that's so, and the pages really suggest that it is (it may even be faster to create the picture than for ordinary stereo vision), I can't imagine I would resist to have those things from the video above. If many people will have HoloLens at home, I think that the percentage of those who will understand the holographic principle next time will be higher than the 0%-2% today. ;-)

The reason why I think that this is using actual holograms with interference etc. is that e.g. Wired wrote
The field of view spans 120 degrees by 120 degrees, significantly bigger than that of the Kinect camera. A “light engine” above the lenses projects light into the glasses, where it hits the grating and then volleys between the layers of glass millions of times. That process, along with input from the device's myriad sensors, tricks the eye into perceiving the image as existing in the world beyond the lenses.
Also, read about the excited experiences of someone who was allowed to play the holographic Minecraft (in a super secret place you couldn't have guessed, a few meters beneath the Microsoft Visitor Center).

Microsoft will skip the name Microsoft Windows 9 because the number "9" looks like it is incomplete and it will go directly to Windows 10. It will be a platform that will unify the desktop Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox in some way, with numerous universal apps. Everything is better, mistakes are fixed (the Start button is back and the tiles were downgraded to something inside the start button), blue screens have been replaced by a friendly glitch report, blah blah blah, and the upgrade is supposed to be free of charge for Windows 8 and 8.1 desktop and Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 users, and even to Windows 7 users for one year!

And Windows 10 will be here forever – a permanent service with unlimited updates.

They also presented Cortana, the assistant, for tablets and notebooks, Office on all smartphones, reduced internet browser (competing with MSIE) called Spartan, giant Surface Hub on your wall, Microsoft's own new computers. Still, the holographic stuff seems most innovative and irresistible to me. I am looking forward to it.

Several Apple press conferences looked intriguing and cute to me but I don't think that they have been anywhere close to this press conference of Microsoft. Tell me whatever you want but the fact that the Apple market capitalization is significantly (60+ percent) higher than that of Microsoft is a testimony of tons of people's nearly unlimited irrationality and snobbery.


  1. I think that what you call Apple's brilliance and what I call Apple consumers' irrationality and snobbery is exactly the same thing, isn't it? ;-)

  2. cool - my mother was getting used to XP but "upgraded" , so now windows-8 has been a total DRAG. I hate it.

  3. Hi,

    Sure the cardboard glasses kit shown in the link below are not transparent so you can't see your actual surroundings at the same time, but the cheap app for the phone can give you the 3d experience in a virtual reality (the viewpoint moves with the head-movements)

    I could see the usefulness for the microsoft hololens for architects and such, they would no longer have to build models so much for their meetings, and they can all point and so. But I don't know, for skype and other interactions, it is nice not to have anything heavy on the head, and for games I want to be fully immersed; not still in my room. But then again, except for the phones I still prefer keyboard to touchscreen, so its maybe just me ;-)

  4. Apple has had an incredible success and this may continue or it may not.
    I do think the word brilliant is fitting at least in a business sense.
    I suppose I am one of those senile seniors; I’ll be 80 next year.

  5. Honestly, Gene, I can't understand how you may think about something as mundane, uninspiring, uninteresting, boring, off-topic, and old-fashioned as Apple on this day when HoloLens has been introduced. Have you watched at least one of the videos, e.g. the video below?

  6. Dear Michael, HoloLens completely eliminates any keyboards, touchscreen or physical, the controls are by gestures and voice.

    I think that your restriction down to Skype, typing on keyboard, and immersed game suggests you are still in the 1980s, without all the visions and imagination that the future will be full of.

  7. Hehe, yeah I know the controls are by gestures and voice. I am simply using the touchscreen as an example.

    Haha, yeah, maybe so. I just meant that a keyboard and mouse is quite efficient. I know several people who have tv's that can be controlled by voice and gesture, but no one ever use it. Perhaps its too unreliable.

    It is cool though.

    And of course the 3d printing is on the rise too. Like recently when they printed a car, but of course that is sort of a stunt, since of course you really only print a frame. A house i more fun haha.

  8. No worries Gene, we'll be soon playing first shooter and car racing games on HoloLens, until we are 100!

  9. That's entirely your problem. One never lets mom upgrade Windows OS without carefully judging what she is comfortable with, and if so, without being able to help her with a few, new mouse clicks.

    You failed your duty as a good, responsible son.

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  11. "... the fact that the Apple market
    capitalization is ... higher than that of
    Microsoft is a testimony of tons of people's nearly unlimited
    irrationality and snobbery."

    Or just capitalism at work.

  12. Windows 8 tries too hard to be a tablet/phone substitute, which makes it too different than XP for businesses to bother upgrading. Alas, reading about their new browser, Spartan, they still seem focused on integrating the GUI for phone/tablet/desktop, which is annoying for those of us adults who simply want to use a desktop on our desktop computer.

  13. The fact is that IT revolution has really been all due to Microsoft.

    Apple was always about Gray-Poupon-Dijon Americans in suburbia pretending to be French and Linux was always just about (not always particularly intelligent) geeks being (usually really mediocre but outspoken) geeks.

  14. I'm a guy who was hacking operating systems when they ran on room-sized computers, and I've been doing software and hardware ever since. I disagree with the characterization of Apple. I switched my desktop from Windows to Apple a couple of years ago, and I certainly don't plan to go back. Apple's technology is simply far superior - both hardware and software.

    Another way to say it is that, in my professional opinion, Windows is a horrible mess, a technological disaster, a kludge. It's security vulnerabilities are horrible - there are still hacks that use the kinds of exploits we did 45 years ago. It's internals are a mess. It's usability - not that different from Apple OS X. I switched my wife to OS X recently, because he Windows got a virus. No more of that on my LAN!

    Lest you think I'm an Apple fan-boi... I'm not. I am not that fond of the company, and I have an Android phone, not an iPhone. A lot of the post-modern hipster design and attitude turns me off.

    But, they are the best at the actual technology. Bar none.

  15. Amazing! Fantastatic! Hopefully Windows 11 will cook our food and tidy our house :)

  16. The most interesting thing about this is advances in motion control and body tracking technology, and the possibility of a holographic display being superior to OLEDs. The important question is, how does it compare with existing VR such as Oculus Rift? When it comes to field of view, latency, resolution, mass and cost. It is hard to judge it until we see some actual numbers.

  17. Dear Lubos,

    As far as I understand, the idea of the Dirac sea is no longer used in the form in which it was originally introduced. My question is, can we think the background spacetime, say the AdS vacuum |0> as a kind of modern Dirac Sea?

  18. Absolutely stunning. Additionally, as far as this technology will eliminate all auxiliary devices, gadgets and consumables, the carbon footprint should be almost zero and we, humans, will spare a few tenths of degree in temperature rise per century. The Earth is smiling happily now. ;-)

  19. Hi Michael, I can also hardly imagine that I will write something like books or blog posts using something totally different than a keyboard and so on.

    But I don't think this is really the goal here. What I can imagine is that I will want to go outside, on a trip, and just see lots of wonderful additions to the often boring cities, both for better information, aesthetics, and information.

    The weight of this gadget is probably low enough but having anything is annoying. This may change with better technology in the future.

    Possible applications seem numerous to me. But even without that, if that's real interference-based holography, and based on the comments about gratings etc., it seems to be, I am amazed it and I do think that this is bound to replace ordinary "displays on a panel" as well as 3D vision.

  20. Dear efalken, your comment is about the destop UI of Windows 10, but you have completely failed to learn the basic facts about this question.

    Windows 10 does work much like Windows 7, for example, the tiles are eliminated as the default framework/environment.

  21. I was definitely thinking how already Windows 10 with the HoloLens augments the experience in the bedroom - or anywhere. ;-)

  22. Of course... the visual is enough for men right? ;)

  23. Hi, every vacuum state in a (fixed gravitational) background with well-defined total energy including AdS may be claimed to be a Dirac sea when it comes to the treatment of fermions and fermionic fields. It's nothing else than switching the convention of creation and annihilation operator for solutions with negative energy.

    We may either say that the vacuum state is empty, free of particles, or we may say that it is a different state with excitations of fermions that fill all the negative-energy states. These descriptions are equivalent and it works in AdS just like in the flat space, and in AdS space, most people would work without the concepts of the Dirac sea today, too. Replacing the flat space with the AdS doesn't really change anything about the essence of the Dirac sea.

    I think that when asking your question, you are not thinking properly - mathemathically - about the meaning of the phrase "Dirac Sea", so the whole question ends up being a meaningless game with the words.

  24. My understanding, correct me if I am wrong, is that Oculus Rift isn't holographic, while HoloLens is holographic - with gratings and interference.

    So they are fundamentally completely different things.

    Holography allows you to have objects floating in space and they're at the proper distance even from the viewpoint of one eye - the lens of one eye will focus on the proper distance. This is not the case of Oculus Rift and conventional display technologies where the focusing problem will always exist. So if you look somewhere, at some distance, with your eye via VR like Oculus Rift, either the real objects or the augmented ones will be blurry.

  25. I didn't say that it was just about the visuals. It's of course primarily about the soul. Augmented soul. ;-)

  26. I was actually thinking from the point of view that the spacetime itself is a kind of coherent state of gravitons and perhaps other types degrees of freedom. So 'empty space' is also a kind of "sea" of particles. Do we include this type of description in the conventional vacuum state |0> or is that state taken as something above the background "sea"?

  27. Awh of course, Lubos, with the most honourable intentions ;-)

  28. Dear Dirac Sea, gravitons are bosons, not fermions, and the Dirac Sea description can't be used for bosons.

  29. I have no idea how this HoloLens would work but unless it is capable of infinitely sharp pictures then there is no doubt some variable describing its maximum angular resolution, as it appears to the user, or something similar.
    Some of the reviews do mention that field of view is lower than on the Rift. Which may not matter much if they are going primarily for AR applications instead of VR.

  30. Dear Dream Chaser, an "angular resolution" is an extremely subtle concept for holograms. There objects in a hologram are in no way composed of "pixels" of any sort.

    Even if you define such a quantity, it will generally depend on the angles of the faces how they are oriented in 3D and other things.

  31. Let's wait for Google's next big move ... hence now, Googleglass is getting in serious trouble!

  32. Google Glass will evolve towards Microsoft HoloLens, a pretty interesting race to see in the near future, and a classic sample of free competition and free market in real time. The worries should fall rather on the side of Apple, and maybe on the hardware manufacturers as HP, AMD, Samsung, LD...

  33. I tend to think that Google Glass has become a dysfunctional silly toy model that may in no way compare to HoloLens etc.

    If the HoloLens is what the presentation seems to suggest, and real moving holograms, this is a very difficult applied physics.

    Microsoft has been developing it for 5-7 years and it tries to keep the know-how secret. I have doubts that Google could suddenly get it much more quickly than those 5-7 years.

  34. Maybe, but Google is very powerful today, if Google is not able to create an alternative, who could? Ultimately advanced Applied Physics is just a wise mixture of science, technology and engineering, and therefore susceptible to being replicated. We'll see.

  35. Steve jobs was just there at the right time, consumerism fueled by expanding easy credit, not that he was anything special.

    Now the demise of Apple will be blamed on a gay guy and demise of US on a black gay.

  36. Apple is now building a giant Taj Mahal headquarters in San Jose. Whenever a company builds a giant HQ, it fails. Remember RCA?

  37. There is an article on Ars Technica which explains that the technology isn't really holograms: "They're not really holograms, in the purely technical sense—there are no lasers involved, and the display is not using diffraction or interference to create a holographic projection. Instead, they use a high definition stereographic display and fool the eye into seeing things laid atop the real world, placed in the same context as real-world objects as if they were projected holograms."

    Very interesting technology nevertheless.

  38. Dear Scooby, the same ArsTechnica article also writes

    Microsoft calls it holography. I'm not sure if it really is (Wired describes HoloLens's "light engine" has having a "grating," so perhaps it really is using interference patterns to reconstruct light fields rather than providing the same simple stereoscopic 3D found in VR systems), but this is a detail that only pedants will care about. (Though if it is true holography, it should solve the focus issue that many people find with existing 3D systems.)

    It's actually the Ars Technica article from which I got the main link that made me think that it probably *is* holography.

    I am not even sure about the claim that "lasers are not involved", or at least monochromatic light could be created there and important.

  39. Big companies may usually create alternatives but sufficiently big advances take many years to be developed.

  40. Jesus Christ. You've been present at physics blogs at least for a decade and suddenly you pour this incredible cesspool of anti-science feces? Do you understand why I feel the urge to vomit when I read your "work", Cynthia?

  41. There's 2 articles actually on Ars Technica. I was referring to this one:

  42. ISIS should hack into Microsoft, as they supposedly did the Pentagon, and fix Windows 8 first before Windows 11 is capable of cooking and cleaning for you.

    Then they should go after the huge flock the ignorant iSheep, fleecing them for their soft wooly coats and then butchering them into a delicious plate of grilled lamb chops.

  43. I think what they show on the demo is real but I believe that the environment is specially prepared. That is, to make hologram to look realistic, the gadget have to modify hologram considering all objects and light in the environment. I don't believe that hololens is "currently" able to do that while I am walking around house. If it can that is the most awesome thing I have ever seen.

  44. actually it is my sister's fault and I had nothing to do with it ! I would never recommend windows 8 because it sucks the big one.

  45. You can only fool so many people with glitter. There were real features too that attracted them to Apple products.

  46. "Completely failed": heh. If they got rid of tiles, me and my Luddite friends won this battle! But really that's superficial from an operating system perspective.

    Nonetheless, consistency, like anything else, is good in moderation, where an excess or deficit is a vice. If users on different platforms have predictable and sufficiently large differences in usage profiles (say, tablets for video, desktops for spreadsheets), the optimal operating systems shouldn't be identical.

  47. wait what do you mean. These aren't real holograms, right. I mean its an image on transparent glasses right. I mean other people can¨'t see it, and the extra image is on the glasses it just looks 3 dimensional to the viewer because of the slight difference between images on the two glasses. The holo thing is just the name right. If not this got infinitely more awesome

  48. well other people can see it if they wear glasses and you choose to see the same and information about its "location" is sent to the other viewer.
    I don't think it is related to holograms in any way, but I hope I am wrong

  49. After those 20 hours, I still think that they probably *are* real holograms.

  50. I "googled" and:

  51. hear Hear !!! Thank you. I want a check in the mail from Bill Gates for all the aggravation his overpaid knuckleheads have caused me over the past decades. Unix is a REAL operating system.

  52. rubbish - CPM started it. Microsoft stole the BASIC code from DEC.

  53. ok - but they would not be Billionaires unless they can rip you off for all the upgrading and whatnot.

  54. No holograms involved:

  55. Ireland being famous for their sheep wool and meat, and their strong Microsoft presence, they could therefore be a prime target foodwise and ITwise for the great religious shift.

  56. I can life in 10+1 dimensions with this?

  57. Yes, except V'ger is just trying to understand the universe, not rape it :)

  58. Hmmm, that is just Americans :)

  59. Sounds like a technical description as rendered by someone in marketing. It could mean almost anything, including that they are using FIXED holograms as lenses to project the images from a flat display. They would pretty much have to do that, since refractive/reflective optics would be very awkward. I can't make heads or tails of the "millions of times" bit at all, with or without holograms.

    The test for "real" holograms is focus. Can different parts if the scene be in focus at different distances simultaneously? Not blurred, but focused at different distances.

    I'm not convinced there are any advantages to goggles with real holograms. Humans only see using their flat retinas. If you can project arbitrary images on each retina (and there is no reason in principle that you can't), you can make the person see anything they are capable of seeing.

    If it's fixed to your head, you can't look at a hologram from any other angle. Nor can you focus your eyes at more than one distance at a time. Why would you ever care what the scene would look like if you could?

  60. Yes, but big advances are almost always developed elsewhere and acquired or copied by the behemoth.

  61. The only person outside court with full innsight, and with the right to full innsight in this case is the mother. Neither the Ambassador nor the King of Norway have access to any kind of information related to the case.
    The Mother can contact Barnevernet in the local community and request all documentation about the whole case. The only information she cannot see is information about 3rd parties.
    Has she requested this information about her case? If not she should do that ASAP either directly or via a lawyer.

  62. Neither Apple nor the US is going down soon, Cynthia, but I am sure that the US will outlast Apple.

  63. That is exactly the issue in the Apple vs. Microsoft wars, Tony. It is a hell of a lot lot easier to upgrade MacOS than Windows.
    Techies generally like Windows and senile oldsters like me generally prefer our Macs.
    I will give Windows 10 a fair trial, however, and I really do not know which system I will prefer a year from now.
    I have a excellent Dell computer given to me by my wife, who could not stand Windows 8. It will be a fair contest.

  64. I’ve been looking for Apple to fail for some time, Cynthia, and it will, eventually. They all do.
    The new building is a $5.8 billion project and it will be one mile in circumference. Apple will employ 15,000 people in that one building.

  65. Hey there, Tony. I don’t play computer games now and I surely won’t two decades hence, even if they have them in heaven or that other place.

  66. That's too bad for the king doesn't have the access - several Czech lawmakers have already received (and, in some cases, read) every single document that all the Norwegian judges received before them.

    The mother has been doing everything possible and impossible for more than 3 years. Your questions whether she received some "information about her case" is absolutely unbelievable.

    First, she doesn't need the information because she knows more than anyone else what was happening and what hasn't happening. Second, she has really tried everything she could to get the boys. Third, in a civilized country, the accused person would be told about the accusations and all the other relevant information even without her asking!

    You're just so incredibly screwed that you no longer realize what's wrong with the "system" you are openly defending.

  67. They need to hire guys from MIT and speed up the research on those tactile-sense gloves as well.

  68. Robert SchmidhuberJan 22, 2015, 9:18:00 PM

    I doubt its really holograms. The information content on a holographic film is immense, it stores all the distance and angle information, and no surprise that holographic films have thousands of lines per millimeter. To store one typical still holographic image requires GB of data. It is hardly conceivable that they managed to achieve this, with motion and all colors, in such a little device. Machines for computer generated holograms have table size and more, and AFAIK they do still images.

    I suspect they use a technology which is used also in certain beamers, which involve chips which look like a grating but have zillions of small mirrors on them which can be electronically controlled. Or something like that. Why not even involving gratings.

    But I bet these are not true holograms, and if I am right, they deserve a big price for public desinformation as to what holograms really are. It's dumbing down of science, morally a bit like Garret Lisi claiming to have a theory of quantum gravity.

  69. A terabyte of RAM to load, 10 TB to run. 50 PB of flash hard drive. Bug fix Update every 40 minutes for the rest of your life. A TV advert of a 4-year old Asian girl tapping the keyboard. Nesting 3-spirallohedra suddenly appear in 3-D. "Microcrap today announced an interesting trade deal with the People's Republic of China concerning locally surplus juvenile populations."

    I have a DOS computer in my closet with a 200 MB hard drive. It was productive (because it used Compaq DOS not MSDOS). I have full faith and expectation little has changed aside from magnitude.

  70. She got now only 2x15 min/year to see her kids, no touching, hugging, speaking. I think even the worst immate in the beautiful Norway prisons has more rights than her . And this because of the media exposure.

  71. Sure they want to keep them, the receive huge amounts of money for this 2 beautiful blond hair with blue eyes

  72. Temporary, 3 years in this case.
    Is there a proof os sexual abuse?, Police and tests made by the hospital found nothing.

  73. “Difficult” is hardly the word for it but I am eager to see what it really is.

  74. Microsoft exploited the opportunity but the pieces came from elsewhere, many from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Windows, for instance, came from PARC via Apple.
    As a free-marketer at heart I admire both Microsoft and Apple (along with all the others and the show continues).

  75. Yes, I have but it has not yet been introduced, actually. I am a bit jaded regarding this sort of hype but it may be a real breakthrough (or it may not). It clearly depends on the user having stereoscopic vision (depth perception) which I do not have so it probably won’t work very well for me or for the millions of others with esotropia or other vision conditions preventing good depth perception.
    Anyway, it is just an accessory even if a wonderful one. I am still going to do a non-emotional comparison of Windows 10 and Apple’s Yosemite so as to determine what works best for what I actually do.

  76. This post and the associated comments are a remarkable document of the times we live in. A supposedly "democratic" state kidnaps children, ignoring elementary rights established more than 200 years ago that the accused have the right to hear the charges against them and confront their accusers. Collaborators in the crime then turn up to "justify" it according to the "Maritza defense": "It's OK because I truly, truly believe the Barnevernet people are really very nice," and the "Hovnousek defense": "Kidnapping is justified as long as the child victims agree it's OK." I find it truly shocking that so many of these "rescuers of children" really seem to believe that spanking is a worse form of child abuse and more traumatic for children than state kidnapping.

  77. There have never been any kidnapping, children are protected by law in Norway, and spanking is not allowed. Like it or not.
    Children born in Norway are always Norwegian citizens. If anything, this is about our legal system and not about Barnevernet. After several weeks in three different courts, with lawyers, witnesses, experts, psychologists, and three different judges with supported and documented statements, this case have been gone through in detail during the juridical processes.

  78. And Windows 10 will be here forever – a permanent service with unlimited updates.

    This statement is truly difficult to believe. But, of course, M$ could simply call whatever OS it is using in a given year Windows 10, and the statement would be correct. But the marketing folks would scream horribly.

  79. You simply keep on writing lies and nothing else.

    According to the Norwegian law, the boys are Czech citizens because the Norwegian system, like the Czech one, determines the citizenship of children according to the parents (jus sanguinis). In particular, as everyone may check at

    Birth in Norway: In general, birth in Norway does not, in itself, confer Norwegian citizenship.

    So even if it were determined after legitimate proceedings that she has done something wrong to the kids - and the investigation ended with the opposite answer - the kids would be under protection of the Czech Republic where further decisions would have to be be made.

    You have written so many comments here and the useful and relevant content has been exactly zero. So I just banned you because I won't legitimize something as abhorrent as your exhibitionism.

  80. I see. If children are Norwegian rather than Czech citizens, they have the right to be kidnapped by the Norwegian state.

  81. According to both the Czech and Norwegian law, the boys are Czech citizens.

    Birth in Norway[edit] In general, birth in Norway does not, in itself, confer Norwegian citizenship.

    But I agree that even in the case of kids who are Norwegian citizens, the citizenship should in no way imply the right of authorities to take the kid from their family.

  82. I still don't get it why people are so against Windows 8. Yes, breaking the Start Menu habit was not a good idea.

    But most apps that you really use all the time would be on the Taskbar anyway, just like in OS X. Beyond that it was just like Windows 7 with extra features (tiled apps) that seasoned Windows desktop users hardly ever used.

    I understand the disappointment if you expected that you are getting a bunch of exciting new stuff with tiled apps, but if you use PC with its set of standard apps that you run on a daily basis, ( which iscalso the case for most Mac users) all you got was some less bugs than in Windows 7.

  83. Windows CE had full multithreading 10 years before Apple came out with single threaded IPhone.

    All that Microsoft missed was big icons main screen to launch the apps and little glitz and color with emails and text messages. Also zooming photos via touch gestures, which is what probably did it for most people who were not already Apple diehards.

  84. I totally disagree with you and I developed for Windows, since it was Windows 286, Mac 8 and 9 and OS X, and Linux, some UNIX long time ago.

    I used to complain how Microsoft documentation is horrible until I started developing for Mac. Then I understood that I was in heaven before.

    NT kernel is rock solid and, when its source code was leaked there were many reports on how well written it is.

    Clearly hackers would target more an OS that 95% of people use, rather than 5%.

    To use Lubo's famous phrases, you are probably dishonest low-level Webbie who tweaks few lines of JavaScript, now and then, and imagines himself a professional >-(

  85. When you have to stoop to ad hominem attacks to make your point, it's pretty clear your argument is weak.

    I was doing operating systems internals when Bill Gates was in junior high school. I have had the unfortunate experience developing for Windows, fortunately not for long. I've also done a lot on Unix (the basis for Linux and OS X). My work has mostly been as a systems programmer - you know, the sort of guy that develops the frameworks and tools and operating systems that developers like you use.

    So on to substance.

    Nothing you say contradicts my assertions. Windows is a mess. I will take you at your word that Microsoft documentation is better. That is irrelevant.

    The NT kernel and successors is, in fact, a lot more solid than previous Microsoft efforts. It was developed by the same guy who wrote the DEC VAC OS, and suffered the same multi-processing weakness. It has never, in all these years, been able to efficiently handle multi-processing, which is why nobody serious considers SQL Server for high performance.

    I once had a meeting with the product owner for SQL Server and his top engineers. They were super-sharp folks, but their product was stuck (then) on Windows NT, so their performance sucked no matter what they did. One of their least favorite NT kernel features was how their database would suffer from priority inversion when it was doing locking, wrecking its multi-processor/multi-core performance.

    Note, also, how often Windows systems crash due to the device driver nightmare (yeah, I know Microsoft fan bois like yourself will blame it on the device makers). Try disconnecting a virtual serial USB device and reconnection it, and notice that it more or less randomly chooses which COM port it will emulate - usually not the one it was before it was unplugged. Note how many times you have to install a device driver on Windows to use a device, and how you only very rarely need to do so on OS X.

    Why don't you ask Microsoft why their OS, by default, will execute code from anything you plug into it that has a an autorun - one of the longest running virus attack vectors in computing history, one that has cost the world's economy billions of dollars? Look at how badly installed apps get intertwined with WIndows stuff, so you have to buy third party utilities like Norton just to clean things up. Oh, and consider the technological wonder of the Windows registry. Yeah, that's a great one!

    Beyond that, the kernel is just a little piece of that gigantic kludge. Most hacks do not need root privilege to do their damage, which needs they don't need to crack the kernel. Microsoft's ill advised (but clever for its time) way of letting apps or scripts control other apps or scripts is a main vector for email attacks.

    I'm not saying that everything Microsoft does is bad. C# is a really good OO language. Microsoft labs has world class computer scientists doing world class things in areas like AI.

    But... get outside the Windows bubble, and you'll find a whole lot of developers and architects, including most of the best in the industry, who echo what I say: Windows is junk. Many of these people are recovering Windows developers.

  86. All you are saying are is the rehash of the same old complaints against the Windows.

    Yes, having proprietary hardware will lessen your exposure to failures of 3-rd party device drivers.

    Yes, if all you do is Web browsing and emailing, you are probably safer with Mac when it comes to viruses.

    In last 20 years the only time I got infected by the virus was when I was going to some russian websites and using IE. I got smarter and use Chrome with few extensions, that much I would give you when it comes to better technology.

    IE is bloated with legacy support for ActiveX, Java applets and God knows what not. I'll give you that.

    I don't have any issues with USB devices. Try buying quality stuff. With Apple you have limited choices so you may try be less cheap when buying external devices for Windows as well.

    Other than that, I don't see anything related to the quality of the actual technology, which you claim superior on Apple side.

    Ever struggled with Cocoa UI responsiveness, an old crap that Jobs brought from NEXT because he was too cheap to develop something new beyond that crap of Objective C?

  87. Traditional 3D displays and VR headsets are always focused at a fixed distance, usualy infinity. It is not true that you can make the person see anything, it is not possible to simulate accurate depth of field. There are attempts to solve this by using eye tracking and selectively blurring parts of the scene depending on scene depth and where the user is looking. But while this is better than nothing, it is not like a real world depth of field because there is no actual accomodation.
    You need something like holographic display or optical phased array to truly simulate human vision with all its subtlety.

  88. I don't know why you think so, Gene.

    Most of the truly nontrivial breakthroughs in IT that are offered by Google or Microsoft or others were developed directly there.

    For some of the advances, the product is what turned a small company to a behemoth, right? Like Google search.

    One may say that the Google search wasn't conceptually new except its usage of some maths was a real progress. Moreover, this example of HoloLens, if it's real holography, is much more revolutionary and qualitative than anything that Apple has ever developed or became an early adopter of.

  89. Dear Gene, no. It is a well-known fact that non-techies - ordinary enough people, including seniors etc. - statistically tend to pick Windows. That's really where the higher market share of Windows comes from. Isn't it obvious? Let me just replay the "I am PC" ad for you:

  90. Dear Robert, I am not 100% certain (just about 80%) that they have developed a moving holography technology but I am confident that your arguments that they are not are extremely shaky.

    When reasonably parameterized, what the eyes can see at a given level of subjective quality contains a comparable amount of information regardless of the paradigm.

    The distance between the lines in the hologram's interference patterns is comparable to the wavelength, half a micron. However, because the hologram is close to the eye, its size is comparable to a centimeter which is just 20,000 times the wavelength.

    So the required effective resolution of the hologram may be just comparable to 20k x 20k which is a lot but Nature doesn't demand that the bit map is actually being remembered as a bitmap. It is totally plausible that the new hyper-GPU, the HPU - holographic processing unit - is simply calculating the right image for the interference pattern in real time from a much smaller amount of information (about the shapes of the objects that one wants to visualize). The hologram is developed somewhere, it's greater than 1 cm, perhaps, and by lens, its size is being reduced and the light is transmitted to the place very close to the eyes.

    I don't think that it's impossible and if HoloLens turns out to be non-holography, after all, I will try to convince someone to develop the real holographic technology because by now, I find it plausible.

  91. Clearly Mother Nature has selected brains for a reason.
    There are brains everywhere and the difference between an ant's brain and a human brain is one of quantity, not quality.
    Nature didn't select crystal networks neither gaz clouds even if there is à priori no fundamental reason why she shouldn't.
    Self consciousness is certainly an emergent feature that needs probably to go beyond some threshold of the brain's complexity - after all it is proven that apes are self conscious and given a few millions years of evolution, there is no reason that they won't attain a development stage similar to humans today.
    Homo Sapiens was just luckier so that we were able to sprint faster than our chimp cousins in the final line towards higher intelligence.
    I am convinced that as soon as some sort of matter agglomerate which exchanges matter and energy with the environment starts to self replicate with a minimum of random variability, there is an almost certainty that the apparition of intelligence is just a matter of time.
    The problem with silicium and with computers is that they don't self replicate and can't do so spontaneously.
    For that simple reason AI is something that is necessarily controlled and designed by a man (or a gorilla or a dolphin).
    Even if one writes a program asking the computers to freely construct quasi copies of themselves, provides them with neural networks and waits a few millions of years, if the result doesn't satisfy, one can always erase the replication program and the experiment is over.
    Equivalent to a life extinguishing event.
    I am sure that AI will be able to do more and more things and many of them better than a human but this most basic requirement for evolution which is self replication will always have to be imposed by man.
    And what God gives, God can take away ;)

  92. Right, Tom. Well, I partly disagree with the positive bias of Nature's choice of brains. Nature didn't create humans with microprocessor-like chips because to design them, one needs intelligent design - an accumulated huge amount of intelligence, and Nature just didn't have that. ;-)

    So you're making "z nouze ctnost" - presenting a vice as a virtue, whatever is the English translation of the idiom.

    "A priori" is actually spelled without accents! ;-)

  93. Wisdom has been banned on this forum...

  94. Fair enough, Lubos, but I guess I just don't get the whole cyborg thingy. There's plenty of cool stuff to see out here in the real world, at least, where I live. The 21st century idea of 'productivity' is way overrated, IMO. Electronic mass distraction is getting us into trouble in a lot of ways.

    Tails, wagging dogs.

  95. Regardless of the place of birth, a child acquires Norwegian citizenship at birth if either parent is a Norwegian citizen.
    Originally, citizenship was only passed on to the children of Norwegian
    mothers, as they were the only provable parents, but over time a
    presumption of paternal parentage created citizenship for the child, and
    eventually even excluded the maternal jus sanguinis. In more recent
    times, as of 1 January 1979, mothers rights to automatically pass on
    their Norwegian citizenship has been reestablished.[citation needed] The requirement that the mother and father be married to one another was abolished on 1 September 2006

    WHY $#@$#@ YOU DO NOT GET IT

  96. Don't know if Microsoft's HoloLens will be a success or not, N'Cracker, but I do think it has the best chance of being successful of any of the similar products that have come before. BTW -- the thing that killed Google Glass wasn't that it was a wearable piece of tech, or a browser, it was that it contained a camera (and cameras can record). That's what killed Google Glass. If Google Glass had been a combination, visual display/bluetooth, (or better yet, contained some additional computer-like functions), it would have been a smash hit. But the privacy issues that come from wearing a camera everywhere you go -- killed it.

  97. I know it's traditional to focus at a fixed distance (infinity +-adjustment for near/far sightedness), but it doesn't *have* to be that way, it's just easier.

    To simulate depth of field, keep the image in focus on the retina by varying the display's focal distance to match the eye's, which must be measured. Generate the image by ray tracing with a simulation of the eye's current state (focal distance, pupil size, gaze direction, etc). The user cannot catch the lie by changing his accommodation, because you are tracking that and adjusting each image to match what he should see.

    You do not need a "holographic display or optical phased array", because the retina cannot detect phase. It might be a lot of work to track accommodation, but it is possible, and probably much cheaper than a hologram.

    In some ways faking it might actually be better than a hologram. Consider a user with presbyopia (needs bifocals, as almost everyone over 45, including myself, do). I don't want to see how I would actually see the scene, but what I would see if my eyes worked the way they did when I was younger. A hologram wouldn't make that any easier (though any method that works with a flat image can also be used with a hologram).

  98. Windows 10 is just Windows 8 with some minor changes. The move to make the same OS for phone and PC was and is stupid. Having 3rd party apps that restore the start bar was very helpful, but MS should have done that out of the box.

  99. Men have two brains but only enough blood to supply one at a time.... Old joke with second organ being one below the stomach.

  100. At the risk of wasting your time with super-old "news" I find this

    interesting, as it gets 15 frames a second these years ago and ["The processors compute how light waves interfere with each other to form patterns of light and dark fringes. Light bouncing off these fringe patterns reconstructs the original image." ]because it uses computer power to compute the interference patterns.

    But if it really is holograms in hololens its so super amazing and they not only have many more frames, they have different colors too. (Colors must be difficult I think because the pattern is really optimized for one wavelength, but maybe that does not make it too blurry, or maybe you just do one color at a time if your "refresh rate" is fast enough)

  101. It's a rehash of common complaints because lots and lots of people experience the problems. Those complaints are because the technology is low quality. Apple, for all its faults, has a deserved reputation for delivering quality, and it has a company ethos that keeps it going in that direction. Microsoft has a well deserved reputation for delivering crap. The easiest way to get laughed at among professionals is to use Windows when you don't have to - unless you are in a den of Microsoft developers.

    I note how you switched to a non-Microsoft browser. That's because IE was built with the same philosophy as windows: rush it out, low quality because you have a monopoly.

    At one time, I made the mistake of making a professional bet on IE - back when it was leading edge technology in Javascript - it had a good DOM model and other stuff, and Mozilla hadn't gotten there yet. My mistake: the beautiful API was underlayed by broken event code - so you couldn't trust it to notify you of what was happening. In other words, what was beautiful in Microsoft's documentation simply did not work. It was a typical Microsoft mess.

    If Silverberg had won the internal battles in Microsoft - the ones where IE would become an app platform - things might have been a lot better. But he didn't - they crushed his initiative because it might have threatened Windows.

    I still have one wINDOWS on a VM, because there is too much legacy stuff that only runs on it. That isn't any sort of vote for windows technology - it's just the nature of the market. For too long, Microsoft had a monopoly, which is why they were able to get away with delivering crap.

    As for choices in peripherals... if it's USB, it seems to work with my Mac, and with no drivers, and without crashing or acting weird.

    No, I haven't struggled with Cocoa UI responsiveness. I've been on the Mac about 2.5 years and it has been beyond fast.

    I agree that Objective C is a drawback. Objective C is not crap, it's just not widely used. It doesn't make the technology low quality, but it does make it unnecessarily proprietary.

    Of course, Microsoft would never do anything like using proprietary tools, you know, like .NET or C# or VB or something.

  102. I have an original XT and much has changed in hardware and software but not as much in people. We still want more, faster and better. If Microsoft accomplishes both creating and filling that great. I remain skeptical until I see these goggles on sale. On the other hand AI, for a while I thought you were someone's AI experiment.

  103. Bet a lazy eye really messes these up, Lubos. ;~)

    Seriously though, some people are going to be talking to thin air instead of a screen, I'd imagine. I look at it this way, if HoloLens can seamlessly interface with most programs and replace the mouse and commonly used keyboard functions out of the box, it's an instant win.

    If they impose additional development cost on the developers of commonly used software, then it will depend on how they compete with other 3d sets. I'm crossing my fingers for the former, but Microsoft has a sort of poor track record when it comes to unique interfaces.

  104. I think she is being paid to do this. Perhaps she gets so much per comment.

  105. I actually worked very closely with Bell Labs, Lubos and even turned down a job offer at BTL, as it was then called. At Varian Associates in Palo alto I hired one of their best engineers who succeeded in developing the YIG-tuned Gunn oscillator. This device reduced the cost of frequency-agile radars (frequency domain multiplexing) by more than two orders of magnitude and improved its signal-to-noise performance by three orders of magnitude. It was marketed and productized elsewhere but it was the technical reason that we obliterated Saddam’s air defenses without a single loss. They just could not lock on to our planes.
    I also worked at Xerox PARC where most of the big IT inventions, including Windows, were made in the 70s. All of these were productized elsewhere. Ford’s mass production was actually not an invention but rather an internal evolution necessitated by increasing production requirements.
    Big companies make lots of great inventions but they almost never market and produce the resulting products. More often they get substantial income from licensing their inventions. Xerox, sadly, did not even do that. Google search was invented by two guys at Stanford, of course.
    The developments made by big companies are supportive of existing product lines rather than something really new. Having been there throughout my career I assure you that it is almost impossible to change the direction of a large company from the inside and that’s what real breakthroughs do.
    Xerography was not invented by Xerox, either.
    I challenge you to give a single example of a real technical breakthrough that was initiated within a very large company and exploited by that company. There may be a few but i can’t think of any.

  106. In technical fields there are professionals and there are hacks (pretenders). Doesn’t mesocyclone admit to being a hack in his very first sentence?

  107. No he admits to being a hacker.

  108. This 2011 news is very strong evidence that HoloLens actually *is* a moving hologram, isn't it?

    Some of the reports explicitly said that they combine the colors from 3 layers (R,G,B), so if it is holographic, it almost certainly uses three independent holograms and three wavelengths at the same moment.

    The monochromatic light may be gotten by some lasers and perhaps just by some monochromatic LEDs.

  109. Yes, that's pretty much what I felt too and why i thought it would be okay with the old news. I really hope for the holograms to be real more and more. What keeps me "seated" right now is this article

    but it doesn't clarify either, he just seem to suggest being careful, he is skeptical. But he only tried it years ago in a more primitive state apparently.
    Quote from him:
    "I did see the early versions of HoloLens and played around with a few things on it. It was very, very early days in the technology. It is, I have to say a magical experience, seeing these objects in the real world. The problem I think is to make it feel like it is in the real world and not projected into your eye." Actual holograms "should" feel pretty real, so that subtracts a bit in the probability I think.

  110. Hi Luboš,

    tl;dr; all the comments, but I suppose that the holo part is just a static grating engineered in a way that acts as a focusing lens, projecting a regular microdisplay image into the eye. It may just act as a beamsplitter that has "in built" optical power of say 50 diopters in one of the branches, making the regular microdisplay appear floating 1.5 m from the eye.

  111. Pardon the interruption Lubos, but who had the better costume? Miss Canada or Miss Czech Republic?

  112. A couple of comments regarding Apple. There is a snobbery component to using Apple products, but many of these products actually have certain unique design properties that may make them a totally rational choice for certain users.

    I decided to buy a very portable laptop a year ago and considered several alternatives. I demanded m = 1 kg, a very robust chassis, at least 8 hours of work on a single charge, a great keyboard, a great touchpad and a fast SSD disk.

    I determined the set of acceptable laptops by physically trying them in the shop and bought the cheapest one of them, which turned out to be a MacBook Air.

    Installed Windows 8 alongside with OSX and am very happy with the result.

    Would never buy a MacBook Pro, though -- would go for a ThinkPad, instead.

  113. I said "Apple products", not "Apple OS". Apple's being both a hardware and a software company further complicates any comparisons between the two companies, but it is certainly relevant to the issue of the Apple's higher market capitalization, which was the starting point of our exchange.

    As a user, I honestly don't know if OSX itself is better or worse than Windows 7. Both seem like usable modern operating systems to me, but I spend more time on Linux than either of those, so I likely don't know even the major quirks of either. We have all three of the above, plus Windows 8, in our household, so at some level we are OK with all of them. I will repeat though, that as a hardware and software package, Apple products clearly appeal to a number of buyers who are not just looking at the chic factor.

  114. Frogs and snails, and ballistic nails,
    Sighs and leers, and crocodile tears,
    Rage and spite, and citations' might,
    Plus 0.1% sodium benzoate added as preservative. "8^>)

  115. You should stop lying. These children are citizens of the Czech Republic,
    having Czech passports and their birth certificates are registered in the district
    of Hodonin. This information is even available on the web site of the Norwegian
    embassy as of 1/23/2015. The children are Czech citizen; such as under the protection
    of the Czech government. Therefore, your government had indeed kidnapped foreigner
    nationals. You are either deliberately lying or you are deeply misinformed due
    laziness to search these information online. Czech government submitted second diplomatic note and is ready to
    escalate this problem internationally, which can cause breaking up the
    diplomatic relationship with Norway. Hopefully all world will see that Norway is not
    democracy, but fascist state that should be expelled from community of the civilized
    countries and NATO. What to expect from
    country that used racial purity before Hitler and continued on these polices
    decades after WWII.

  116. Of course Norway is banana republic, which does not even bothered to response to two diplomatic notes from the Czech Republic and similar problems are brewing with Poland and Latvia. Norway should be treated as Putin's Russia, where country does not respect rights of the foreigner nationals under the protection of the passport holder, in this case the Czech Republic

  117. Your approach would almost certainly be cheaper than a real hologram. Alternatively, employ a sufficiently high (say 25) fixed number of focal distances and combine the images. 25 levels (with equidistant 1/depth) will look smooth to the eye.

  118. First, Europe is not one country, but a
    continent with different nations; therefore, they do not have common heritage,
    language or even religion. No failed expectation, but reality. There is a huge
    difference between Scandinavia and rest of Europe. Scandinavians
    consider themselves as a superior white men and everyone south of them is
    racially inferior. They used racial purity laws well before Hitler and had them
    on the books many years after the WWII. The same issue that we see with
    the Czech Republic had
    flared also with Poland and Lithuania. Norway defy these countries because
    its still consider this region to be inferior and does not see them as NATO and
    EU members. They will not dare Germans
    or French, but ask any Scandinavians them what they think of Slavic or Romance
    nationalities or even about Americans and Canadians. Additional problem with Norway lies in
    its political isolation. It is not an EU member; therefore, it does respect EU
    citizenship rights. This case should expose Norwegian fascism internationally.

  119. No, Norway is worse than a banana-republic.

  120. All members of barnevenet should be denied visa entry by default.

  121. I have a MacBook Pro and I love it. It has a SSD and retina display and will serve as my Mac after I have trashed my old IMac. My desktop for the future is apt to be a Windows 10 machine, however.

  122. We have discussed a lot, now, what are the next steps for the poor woman.
    A system to protect the kids, I can agree with, there are cases were the state have to take quick decisions.
    Power is corrupting people, it has no boundaries, Norway is not an exception.
    The facts are that 2 kids, with Czech citizenship, are keeped by Norway, and there is no vizibility on the charges against the mother.
    In my humble opinion Czech state should protect his citizens regardless of the circumstances, and as usual, politics are involved.
    I really do not understand why the international community didn't started to question the excesses of this Nordic countries. They have laws, I agree with, stupid or not you have to respect them when there, if not do not go there.

  123. Prague - The Czech Foreign Ministry is preparing a second note, related to the case of two sons taken from their Czech parents in 2011, that would be handed to Norway, Deputy Foreign Minister Rudolf Jindrak told journalists today.

  124. There is pb with comments, they are disappearing

  125. Meanwhile, people in these countries have a tendency to complain about how horrible blacks are treated in America.

  126. Frankly if I saw you in the street taking the children's side against the parents when the parents were beating their child, I would think you should be ashamed of yourself for intervening, and would probably beat you.

  127. I have got only one question: When that czech mother broke the Norwegian law (the sexual abuse is a serious accusation) , why is she not arrested or punished in different way? Why are punished only kids?