Something Well Worth Watching . . . .

The Inquirer points out that you can see a extremely interesting lecture by Bob Colwell, who was Intel’s IA-32 Chief Architect from 1992-2000.

I’m not in the habit of watching anything for an hour and a half, but I started watching, watched the whole thing, and probably will watch it again.

If you want to get a feel for what its really like to put a CPU together, and what kind of person does such a thing, I very strongly recommend watching this.

The substantial item that will probably strike you most is why Mr. Colwell ended up leaving Intel. Essentially, he believes that we’re coming to the end of the road of “more, more, faster, faster,” partly because of the escalating problems associated with that, more because the average person just has enough power and won’t keep paying for something he or she doesn’t need.

He thinks that CPU development needs to start taking a different road, and when the folks running Intel begged to differ, it was time for him to go.

I’ve said much the same thing, but it’s a strange feeling to have someone who without question has permanent übergeek status saying the same things you’ve been saying (for infinitely better reason), and concluding, “Enough, let’s find new things to do.”

What struck me more, though, was the type of person giving the lecture. You might think somebody like this would have an attitude miles thick, and might need equipment to form an interface with actual human beings, but he proved to be quite the opposite.

It’s a pretty entertaining lecture, interspersed with a lot of humor and jokes. Mr. Colwell exudes the calm self-confidence of someone secure in the knowledge that he knows what he is talking about.

Seeing that may be the most valuable lesson of all for some. When you’re good, there’s no need to tell people you’re good, or otherwise try to impress or intimidate them. You just do your thing, and it just comes out naturally.

Most displays of what people call attitude or conceit are really displays of insecurity from people who aren’t so sure of themselves, and are afraid of being caught out as a reault.

I have found that those who are truly good as what they do never dwell on their qualifications, or hide behind a wall of jargon, or say things like “Because I said so.”

That’s because they don’t have to. They know they know, and they know that will come out without any extra effort on their part. If you ask them “Why,” they’ll tell you exactly why. Knowing that you know also means you know when you don’t know, and the truly secure person will never pretend that he does when he doesn’t. Knowing that you know doesn’t mean you think you know everything.

This lecture is a nice demonstration of all this.

Again, I heartily recommend watching this.


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