Episode 139 – US Debates

Charles dresses up

In this episode (click play above to listen to it right here), Charles and I talk about this week’s, US presidential debates.

Also, in response to last week’s 64 bit talk, Roger V. sent this in:

A 64-bit OS can access more memory because it’s using 64-bit address pointers. In C, C++, and assembly language, one deals directly with address pointers.

Whereas in Java, C#, or the myriad of various scripting languages, one is shielded from raw pointers and one doesn’t make direct calls to the OS from these mangaged languages – unless done through a special mapping or adapting mechanism.

So in Java one passes references to objects around and has no idea how big the reference is. Unlike address pointers in C, a Java reference is not directly manipulated. Now from Java, if you want to interact with the native OS, where address pointer types do matter, you have to use the JNI and write that code in C. Java interacts via JNI conventions with the C code, and the C code can interact with any native OS APIs. The C code can then deal with any 32-bit vs 64-bit conversion issues (perhaps by even dropping into some inline assembly language if necessary).

When you pass an address (like a pointer to a string buffer) to an OS API, the language signature for calling the API will make the type of address pointer (32-bit or 64-bit) very, very explicit indeed. You have to pass it the kind of address pointer that the API expects.

So 32-bit code running on a 64-bit OS has to make any system call interactions via some sort of thunk layer. Hence when I run 64-bit Firefox on 64-bit Ubuntu and attempt to use the Adobe Flash player (which to this day is still only available in 32-bit versions no matter what OS), I have to use a special adapter plugin that provides for this thunking. (Same goes for any C/C++ shared libraries – the 32-bit app will have to have 32-bit versions of its shared libraries.)

Now with Apple’s latest version of the Mac OS X, the thunking is essentially the other direction. Apple is still using an essentially 32-bit OS, but wants to provide the ability to run 64-bit software applications (Photoshop) that can address beyond 4 GB of memory. So they have a special 64-bit compatible thunking layer for such 64-bit programs that adapts OS calls down to the actual 32-bit native OS API calls. If there is a comprehensive 64-bit thunking layer for all OS APIs, then 64-bit software, including their shared libraries, can be ported to run.

If you young whipper snappers had been around programming in C or assembly back in the days of the 8088/8086/80286 and then dealt with the transition from 16-bit code (MS-DOS, Win3.0) to 32-bit architecture (Win32), this 32-bit to 64-bit thing would all be old hat. Also, if you recall, Win95 was a 32-bit API programming model that thunked down to an underlying 16-bit MS-DOS underpinning.

Hopefully 64-bit will last us longer than 32-bit has – before we have to deal with the 64-bit to 128-bit transition.


Episode 138 – Re: WTF on this Financial Thing, 64bit Java


This week – episode here, man!Charles and I have John Willis on as a guest (you may know him from one of my other podcasts, The IT Management Podcast). John explains the business owner side of all this financial stuff that we ranted about last week. Also, as we mention several times, this last week’s This American Life episode explains it all very clearly.

We also spend a long time on Charles ranting about the lack of full 64 bit support in Java’s Firefox plugin, esp. on the Mac. And then we do the usual noodling around on anything in particular, like how Charles and I met, “5,000 boots a day,” ShopUS (seen above), and my neighbor-lady hanging out on her front-porch in her skivvies.

And, actually, it turns out they’re not IBM clocks in the Detroit airport.

Episode 137 – "Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs. And take them down."

You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up. But I send my kids here. Because, the fact is, whether you deserve it or not: you go to one of the best schools in the country.

Rushmore. You lucked out.

Now, for some of you it doesn’t matter. You were born rich, and you’re going to stay rich. But here’s my advice to the rest of you: take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs. And take them down.

Just remember: they can buy anything. But they can’t buy backbone. Don’t let them forget that. Thank you.

Mr. Blume, Rushmore

In this episode, I welcome Charles back State-side by bombarding him with questions about what the hell is happening with this financial stuff. I think we get to 2 or 3 good theories, but as Charles says, it’s off course all ass Talk. We’re not SmartAndFinancial.com, afterall.

We then sort out when Charles and Silva are going to finally move to Austin (March, 09, it seems), and then I get off on a tear on how Texas needs to best California.

Overall, I’d say this is a damn fine episode.