Saturday, January 23, 2021

books and computers

Saturdays are interesting, especially working for a multinational company with colleagues across the globe. I may have shared this sentiment before, but I still recall the tale that resonated with me from a currency arbitrage trader The person mentioned that he was working whenever a market was open. Luckily Saturday is the one day without any market open so he would use that day to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and follow-up on other chores. Feels like the work life of many in Friedman's flat world :).  Thus stealing a few moments on the Saturday nadir of activity for a quick blog.....

I'll commence this blog with observations about books, starting with my most recent

Ir is not quite small, weighing in at 930 pp.

It's the 7th physical book / printing I have in hand. It culminates a stack of dead trees spanning 3 editions of Beyond BIOS, two of the Shell, security, and embedded. Publishers of this stack range from Intel Press (shuttered 5 years ago) through De Gruyter and into Apress. And I also had 8 different co-authors spanning employers past or present including Intel, Phoenix, Insyde, Google, ARM, retirement, Sage, and Amazon. I've been at Intel the whole course of the book runs, though. The mountain of paper is shown below.

[from top down]

Now for a bit of history of Intel and tech books, at least as far as I'm aware. Prior to Intel Press, Intel technical books were done through McGraw Hill in the 1980's. Below is one example from my nearby shelf.

Then in the 1990's there were McGraw Hill / Intel joint imprints, such as the RMX and 486SL books below.

I especially like the the drop-e in the logo of those books which was removed in 2006 by Intel.

And in the 2000's Intel Press published both books and the Intel Technology Journal (ITJ). I still recall reading the first IT issue when I joined the company in 1997. I was happy to have the opportunity to lead the creation of the only printing in 2011 It made me feel like a small part of the technology history of the company.

In that 2011 issue I co-authored 3 of the papers, including networking and security

which was referenced in the Apress firmware security book, as shown below.
And luckily the Intel Technology Journal PDF's were all archived on after and Intel Press were closed down.

Another notable reference in the Apress security book was

which excerpted some of the principles of cryptography

and had the citation

I regret that only this final Apress book had rich citations. The other books were a bit light on the references. I'm still amazed by the longevity of Shannon's work on information theory and security.

Speaking of Apress, the publisher is actually an imprint of Springer Verlag  In 2009 I wrote a chapter for Springer

with original Beyond BIOS co-authors.

Outside of Intel presentations or patents, the 2004 "Update at Intel" article is the first of prose describing firmware. This was part of a series of articles posted on the Intel website about recent technology evolution. I still like the fact that it described the XScale ARM port I did in 2001 and had a Pentium 4 in the block diagram. This same XScale work was elaborated upon the 2006 Beyond BIOS book code fragment, being placed by a mobile internet device (MID) in the 2010 2nd edition of Beyond BIOS, and finally turning into a Intel FSP example in the 2017 3rd printing of the book. Interesting evolution of the platform across the decade and a half.

It's also the only publication with a 'drop-e' that I created, too.

I still fondly recall the CDSA and ACSFL update articles, but unlike the ITJ, these pages have not been archived on, the wayback machine of, or other computer history repositories of lore such as For work that never made it to open source, I wonder how much interesting technology history is lost every year? 

In the spirit of the written word, and despite questions of the demise of print, it's nice to see that Grove, CEO when I joined in 1997, and Gelsinger, upcoming CEO this year, expressed both their technology and business insights via writing. 

[from top down]

Writing books is one way to scale one's knowledge that transcends the utility of (cough cough) blogs, streaming video and podcasts IMHO.

Regarding the writing process, I am not sure about how easy of a time either my co-authors or luminaies like Grove and Gelsinger had in writing their tech and business books, but I feel like the following when trying to get the pages out.

So much for this Saturday typing. Here's looking forward to market openings and meetings commencing tomorrow. 

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