History Repeats Itself. . .

Add Your Comments

“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”—George Santayana

One of the biggest history lessons, and apparently one of the hardest ones to learn, is that the truth eventually gets out. You can hold it down. You can repress it. You can’t ban it.

If this were true in the bad old days, when communications were restricted, how much more so is it in cyberspace?

We have seen, again and again, countries try to choke their peoples’ desire for the truth by choking the Internet.

But a system designed to survive global nuclear war just giggles at a few tinpot dictators.

Another truth, and one at least Americans should be quite familiar with, is that the coverup becomes the crime. Look at Watergate, look at Mr. Clinton and Ms. Lewinski.

If this is true in real-life, imagine how much more so must it be in cyberspace, where machines record what and when actions take place. The machines can record your actions just as well and as damningly as Nixon’s tape recorder.

There’s a few lessons here, and it looks like [H]ardOCP has learned none of them.

The Facts

[H]ardOCP posted a review of the PIV 3.06GHz processor. Part of the review was a graph showing performance using 3DMark2001 SE.

The name of the particular graphic was 1037179958VENtv10Wvo_4_3.gif.

Quite a few people have stated that the original graphic indicated a 3DMark 2001SE score for the 3.06GHz with hyperthreading enabled of 17829. They state that the graphic was later changed to the current graphic, which shows a benchmark of 17329.

At least recent versions of the Windows OS stores these kind of graphics temporarily in a folder called “Temporary Internet Files” so that it doesn’t have to retrieve them again each time someone goes back to the page.

A few have gone back to this folder and have come up with what Windows recorded at that time. You can see one example of this here (look at post 289).

You will see, among other things, a number of graphics listed all starting with 1037179958VENtv10Wvo_4 . These are the graphics on that particular page. Please note that all those graphics have the same time notated. This is what normally happens when you upload webpages and graphics to the website server.

That was then, this is now (now being 10:26 a.m, Eastern Standard Time, November 15, 2002), from my Temporary Internet Files after going through the article.


Look at the column “Last Modified.” Notice that all the graphics except 1037179958VENtv10Wvo_4_3.gif have times within a few minutes of each other, while graphic 1037179958VENtv10Wvo_4_3.gif is now dated sixteen hours later.

The most plausible explanation for this is that the graphic was changed sometime after initial posting. While there are other possible explanations, they are rather farfetched.

I very strongly suggest if you’re reading this that you do this, too. Just scroll through the article, then do a screenshot of your files just like I did. That way, a lot of people will have this documented against any possible “changes” to the record.

OK, So What’s The Big Deal?

Good question.

Apparently, after the initial graphic was posted, a number of people in the [H]ardOCP forum questioned several performance gaps between the 3.06 with hyperthreading turned on and off and between the 3.06 and the 2.80. Of those, some questioned the veracity and/or integrity of the reviewer and/or website.

From the evidence shown above, it looks like the website changed the graphic, then denied that the graphic was changed.

Now it starts getting weird.

In a scene reminiscent of 1984 (well, really more like Peter Pan after reading 1984), it appears that dozens of people were banned from that forum, and threads dealing with the subject were deleted. History by deletion, just like Orwell wrote about.

You can get a blow-by-blow account (primarily from the victims) here and here.

However, I do not agree at all with those who have assumed that this is some sort of Intel/[H]ardOCP conspiracy. I am of the opinion that the truth is much more banal than that.

Another lesson of history is that people will often do just about anything rather than admit they’ve made a mistake. I am of the opinion that it is far more likely any errant scores were due to sloppy benchmarking than anything else. Perhaps the high score was due to a processor or video card left overclocked.

It’s no big deal. These things happen. You may take a little heat for it, but three days later, no one but those few who hate you anyway will remember it.

We all make mistakes. All of us. You, I, and everyone I can think of except Jesus, and even that’s a matter argue about.

I don’t think anybody running this kind of website is Jesus, but I could be wrong on this. Jesus, if you’re out there running a computer hardware website, please enlighten me (and I know you can do better than email). 🙂

To pretend otherwise is just silly.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time this website has resorted to mass bannings. In the past, it seems like this happens for one of two reasons. Either a number of people disagree with the powers-that-be, or one or more people showed that the powers-that-be were wrong on something.

An Old Joke, An Old Truth

There was a Cold War joke that went something like this:

An American meets a Russian. The American says, “My country is better. I have freedom of speech. I can go to the White House and denounce my President.”

The Russian replies, “I also have freedom of speech. I can go to Red Square and denounce your President, too.”

Isn’t this the same thing?

My Approach To This

Writing for the public is a contact sport. It’s like football. If I walk onto the field, I’d better expect to get hit.

I have, do, and will make mistakes. When that happens, I deserve to get booed for it to at least some degree. I’ll never eliminate the whacking, but so long as I keep it down to a reasonable level, I’m satisfied with that.

If I’m a wide receiver and drop the ball, I deserve the boos. I don’t take every fan who booed me and throw them out of the stadium. I accept it and move on. I know almost of them will cheer me after my next catch.

Every Hall of Famer receiver has dropped hundreds of passes.

Sometimes I get booed, and I don’t think I quite deserve it the boo, or the degree of the booing. This is why God gave me fingers with which to type.

If someone disagrees with me, and I still think I’m right after hearing what they had to say, then I should be willing and able to defend my view and explain why I still think I’m right.

But I don’t take it personally. If I can be wrong occasionally, so can those who write me. I may whack the hell out of you on a particular subject, but then I forget about it. You may whack the hell out of me on a particular subject. Then I do something different. I correct it, thank you, then forget about it.

To me, that goes part and parcel with being a responsible adult. The idea is that if we catch each others’ mistakes, we all end up better off.

Besides, why would I want to give that up? Sometimes, I find duking it out a bit to be the most fun part of the job. Sometimes too much so. 🙂

Nobody gets anything out of being banned on contact, except maybe the impression that the banner can’t defend himself and answer the questions being raised, for whatever reason.

Answer the questions. Make the question go away, not the questioners.

All I can say is that this approach works for me.

These Are Forums, Not Fatherlands

I’ve always looked upon these website forums as the equivalent of bars. There are lots of bars out there. If you get comfortable with one and want to be a regular, fine. If you want to barhop, that’s fine, too. It’s not like John Lindh Walker going over to the Taliban.

If you’ve find yourself tossed out of a particular bar because the bartenders throw anyone out who complains about them, just find yourself a more friendly bar. You can stop at our place for a stay or just an occasional drink, or if you find another place more suitable, like many new refugees have found this place, good for you. I don’t mind stopping there for an occasional one, either.

You’re the customer; you’re the patron. Life is too short to tolerate hassles when you just want to relax.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *