Bob Schwartz

Why O.J. Matters

National Enquirer - O.J.

The National Enquirer has dropped an O Bomb:

Shocking bombshell evidence that proves OJ committed double homicide and  where he may have hidden the murder weapon REVEALED!

O.J. SIMPSON is shaken to the core because bombshell evidence that proves he murdered his ex-wife and her friend is hidden in his $500,000 Florida home – and it’s all about to be discovered because the house is headed for the auction block on Oct. 29.

The home has been in foreclosure, and the disgraced football star, now impris­oned in Nevada, is terrified that the new owner will discover the items – the knife used in the gruesome murders and the de­signer shoes that left bloody tracks around his former wife’s lifeless body.

Should anyone care? The families of the murder victims Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman might. O.J.’s own family might.

Nobody else should, but that doesn’t mean that O.J. doesn’t matter. His sensational and ridiculous 1995 murder trial is as culturally significant as any event of the generation—including Watergate and 9/11. Saying that does not invest it with any substantive importance, the kind that those and other profound events have. The O.J. trial is the birthplace of the modern media era, and practically everything that rational people don’t like about the current environment owes its origins to that.

Half of America watched some part of the trial. The “shocking” acquittal was by the end beside the point. The fact is that tens of millions of Americans, an unforgettable cast of characters (most of whom are now forgotten) and a mammoth of media conspired to make something colossal out of something not nearly as big. (Not entirely forgotten characters though: In an irony-defining development, the late Robert Kardashian was integrally involved in the events and helped defend O.J. In the spirit of making something out of nothing, Kardashian is now best known as the father of Kourtney, Khloe and Kim.)

We have never recovered from the O.J. trial. It represented an unprecedented gap in scale between actuality and the intensity of the coverage received and interest engendered. It was part, maybe the greatest part, of proportion going out the window. And now, no detail is too small or relatively unimportant, no story adequately covered, that more isn’t offered. Much more. Much much more, most of the time to the point of diminishing returns and dying brain cells. Too much is never enough.

And to think it call began with one man’s certain heartless brutality, and a missing weapon and pair of shoes that may now see the light of day.

Laptop Overheating and the State of the World

Laptop Overheating
Overheating is the single greatest source of problems with laptop computers. And before you run away from unwanted geek talk, be aware that it is also a lesson on the state of the world.

If you don’t know about overheating, that probably means that when things go wrong with your laptop, you leave it up to somebody else to make it better, maybe even having an IT department to take care of it, or you replace your laptops once a year, or you chalk up terrible performance and failure to bad luck, or you just throw the damn thing out.

Those of us working on our nth generation of laptops know better: they are frequently baking, and that can’t be good.

To understand overheating, we go back to the prehistoric days of computing, with cavemen searching for wall plugs. Before there were minicomputers or microcomputers (PCs), there was big iron. Giant rooms filled with big boxes, that compared to your smartphone had pretty tiny brains. But it was a wonder at the time. One of the upshots was that these big computers generated a lot of heat; processing is a hot business. So the rooms were equipped with powerful air conditioning to keep the machines cool and healthy.

As computers shrank, new solutions to heating were devised. They had to be. Even as microprocessors got smaller, the heat problems didn’t go away. The more powerful the processor, the hotter it got. Desktop computers solved this with space around the processors—the heat sink—and a fan to blow that heat out of the box. Desktops were usually placed in a space with some air around it, and for the most part (except, for example, with ultra-powerful gaming computers), this worked pretty well.

Laptops changed all this. The laptops didn’t offer much space around the processors. There was a fan, but the vent from it was frequently blocked by the way laptops were used and placed. The final compounding element was the development of very powerful laptop processors. If you had shown a 3rd generation Intel i7 processor to a computer engineer fifty years ago and told them the specs, when they picked themselves off the floor, the first thing they would say is “yeah, but I bet it gets plenty hot!” And they would be right.

This level of heat destroys components, especially processors themselves. An entire cooling pad industry has grown up around the problem, though that is far from a complete solution—even if you stick your pad in the freezer. When you search for suggestions on which laptops are the least likely to overheat, you find that the simple answer is: none of them.

(Funny personal anecdote about overheating—and all true. A very powerful laptop was showing increasing signs of overheating; besides getting blisteringly hot, crashes were more and more frequent, and cool down periods were getting less effective. One morning it simply refused to start up. Putting the whole laptop in the freezer was not an option. Fortunately, it was below freezing outdoors, where it was placed on the deck for an hour and then started there. The damaged components were soon replaced.)

So what, as promised, does this have to do with the state of the world? Technology—maybe progress in general—can take us down some very beneficial roads. But some chronic endemic problems come along for the ride. Our confidence that we can “solve anything” is misplaced. We can create situations with built-in disabilities that leave us helpless, just as we can build millions of genius laptops that can do anything but stay cool.