Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Require Licenses for Virtual Windows Installs?

At work I'm trying to do more testing on virtual machines, and I've run into the thing where you have to "activate" a virtual Windows install, but you can't just use the key you used for your real system because Microsoft will think you upgraded or replaced your system and stop recognizing the real one (or something: I'm not exactly sure how it plays out).

It appears that technically you need a separate Windows license for each virtual machine you run. Which I totally understand from a technical perspective—if your OS's licensing is linked to the hardware it runs on and you run it on virtual hardware then you need to license it for the virtual hardware—but not at all from a business standpoint.

So it would all make sense, except that apparently newer versions of the OS allow you to run some fixed number of virtual installs (like ten or something) on the same license as the host OS. Whatever effort was required to implement that feature presumably exceeded the effort it would have taken to allow any number of virtual machines to run on a machine under a single host's license.

I literally cannot imagine a single reason for limiting the number of virtual installations of an OS under a single host's license. How is running a zillion copies of Windows on the same hardware going to cheat Microsoft out of anything?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Car Handling and Human Intelligence

I had this idea that measuring an automobile's "handling" ability is sort of like measuring a person's intelligence. It's a kind of nebulous concept that summarizes stuff like turning radius, brake sensitivity, center of mass, and a whole bunch of other known and unknown characteristics.

Car experts could probably create a strict ordering for the handling of different models just by driving them, and from that you could fit the results to a curve and come up with a single metric for how well a car handles, a "general handling factor," h.

In talking about intelligence I've had a lot of debates break down to something along the lines of "g (or IQ) is real" vs. "g is not real," and I think this analogy reveals how those sides are talking past each other: h is pretty clearly "real" in that it represents a real property of a car and it would be useful to us in talking about cars and comparing different cars to one another.

On the other hand, h doesn't correspond to any single physical component of the car's construction: you can't just pop out one "handling mechanism" and replace it with a new one. And a statement like "this car corners well because it has a high h factor" ends up sounding kind of incoherent: it's probably sort of true, because cornering ability and handling are going to correlate very highly, but it implies a causal mechanism that isn't there. I think that's the problem of "reification" that people complain about when it comes to g.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not Buying It

Via digby, Andrew Sullivan wonders whether Sarah Palin's son Trig is named for the medical shorthand for the technical name for Down Syndrome, Trisomy-g. I would like to see a citation for "Tri-g" used in such a manner. Google hasn't provided anything except other bloggers repeating Sullivan's musings.

It's also weird that he's still pushing the "Trig isn't Sarah's" theory. I don't understand how both rumors could be true.

Update: Yeah, I'm calling this a hoax. The only thing I found with "Trisomy-g" and "Tri-g" on the same page that didn't refer directly to Palin was at, basically a medical Urban Dictionary clone. I didn't see a way to tell how recently the "tri-g" tag was added to the entry, but I'm going to chalk it up to Jukt Micronics style hi-jinx.

Andrew Sullivan['s ghostblogger] either got played by a right-wing agent-provocateur, or is acting as one on his own behalf. At best it's a distraction, at worst it can function as a your-side's-just-as-bad rejoinder to criticism of "birther" conspiracies on the right.