[meteorite-list] Interenational Asteroid Day:

From: E.P. Grondine <epgrondine_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2018 15:38:11 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <921906897.824328.1530373091666_at_mail.yahoo.com>


Why Hi Everyone -

As a historian, I want to take a few minutes to point out a few facts regarding Natham Myhrvold's
criticism of the NEOWISE team's work.


Fitst off, a few facts about Mr. Myhrvold's background as Chief Technology Officer
for Microsoft, facts which have immediate import for any analysis of Myhrvold's criticisms.


Going back in time, Steve Jobs hired Microsoft to produce a BASIC interpreter
and an early version of the Office productivity tools for his new Graphical User Interface operating system
for his McIntosh computer. Bill Gates immediately saw a good thing, and came up with his own
"Graphical User Interface", which we know today as Windows.


Jobs was furious, as he had bought and paid for the earlier work from Xerox' Palo Alto Research Center (PARC),
and then further developed and implemented that interface for the control of other programs, all of which work
Gates freely helped himself to.

Now besides Apple, Gates also faced competition from IBM, which was working on OS2, an operating system which
IBM itself, and not Microsoft, would own, along with their own data bus for the 286 chip, neither of which IBM thought
other computer manufacturers would have free use of.


Faced with these threats, Gates needed to buy another operating system, an operating system to succeed the CPM clone
which he had bought earlier.


"For Nathan Myhrvold, the life of Microsoft was changing nearly as rapidly as his own life had. Born in 1959 and reared in Santa Monica, California, he had been a boy without a boyhood. His brother, Cameron, who is twenty-two months his junior, recalled, 'He had to act the age of the other kids, who were older'?a result of his having skipped four grades of public school. Finishing high school at fourteen, Myhrvold went to Santa Monica Junior College, then transferred to U.C.L.A., where he majored in math and received a master?s degree. Then he went to Princeton and earned another master?s degree and his Ph.D. At Princeton, he met his future wife, Rosemarie Havranek, a Bronx-born graduate student in Romance languages.

"Stephen Hawking, of Cambridge University, offered Myhrvold a postdoctoral fellowship, and Myhrvold held it for a year, beginning a friendship that continues to this day. But in 1984, needing money for his family, and enticed by a venture capitalist who wanted to back a computer-software project that he had worked on as a graduate student, Myhrvold took a leave of absence and became, at the age of twenty-four, president of Dynamical Systems Research. With Cameron and three other people, he set up shop in the attic of a house in Berkeley, California, and developed a simple software system that in 1986 caught I.B.M.?s attention.

"Myhrvold also caught Microsoft?s attention: the company was desperate to keep I.B.M. from abandoning its commitment to Microsoft software. Bill Gates agreed to purchase Dynamical Systems Research for $1.5 million in Microsoft stock. (It is now worth two hundred and sixteen million dollars; Myhrvold?s current stock holdings and options are worth about two hundred million dollars.) Myhrvold relocated to Seattle and went to work for Microsoft as director of special projects. His first task was to write a memo. His colleagues got used to his ideas and to the memos, typed at a manic pace, as they did to his high-pitched giggle??somewhere between Santa Claus and an evil dwarf,? one colleague says." [I'd go with the "evil dwarf" part of this.]

Who actually first wrote that "initial software project" that Microsoft bought from Myhrvold is currently unknown.

At first, both Apple and Microsoft were both facing a real problem with font technologies owned with perfection by Adobe,
and jointly co-operated to come up with their own True Type Fonts as a work around substitute for Adobe's intellectual property. But then Scully managed to seize control of Apple from Jobs, and Jobs then went into the workstation market with NEXT, using the Graphical User Interface work of Apple, which further weakened Apple's legal position. [This was in addition to Scully et. al. milking the MacIntosh for all the money that they could.]

Under Myhrvold as Chief Technology Officer, (although courts ruled in Microsoft's favor, largely on technicalities and the lack of previously developed computer intellectual property laws {a direct result of IBM's antitrust problems),
Microsoft further infringed on Apple's intellectual property with its Window's 3.0 operating system.

[[1997 - "Microsoft invested 150 million dollars in 150,000 Apple stocks and, according to certain rumors, paid further 100 million dollars for copyright infringement during the past few years." [op.cit.]]

At about this point in time, both Gates and Jobs would go to Hollywood to work on video, music, and intellectual property.
Jobs set up PIXAR, his rendering company, while Gates pursued Computer Generated Imagery for special effects, focusing on workstations, workstation operating systems, anti-copying systems, and hobnobbing with Hollywood's artistic property owners. ?

Later, under Myrhvold, Microsft would bankrupt a disk compression utility company with their "doublspace" operating system extension, and then go on to give away their Internet Explorer world wide web browser for free, which bankrupted browser manufacturer Netscape.


Given his background in intellectual property law, it is not surprising that Myrvold would accuse the JPL team of "stealing" hard
data on asteroid sizes and reflectivity. The problem that Myhrvold has is that none of the scientists involved in obtaining that hard data has ever raised any objections to JPL's use of it, nor their method of using it.

And given his background in algorithms, it is not surprising that Myhrvold would also accuse JPL of using bad techniques in dealing with around 20 "fuzzy" datasets. The problem that Myhrvold has here is that he has not fully implemented any better method.


So why is Myrvold making such a stink?

Myhrvold got his start among cosmologists, and as we all know, the cosmologists are very reluctant to share their toys with
telescope users undertaking the low brow task of finding the next piece of $#!T from space headed our way well before it hits us. This is despite the fact that the cosmologists' toys are always paid for from out of the public purse.

That is one possible motivation. But an entirely more questionable matter is Myrvold's connections with Paul Allen, of the Stratolaunch rocket company. We have all heard rumors of trying to replace the NEOcam with a fleet of small telescopes. These rumors are often connected with speculations concerning asteroid mining.

It would be interesting to hear Myhrvold's analysis of NASA Langley's Comet and Asteroid Protection System, or an analysis examining Moon based impactor detection systems using the radar frequency range.

It would also be interesting to hear Myhrvold's analysis of the feasibility of mining asteroids after they have collided with
the Moon.

But then doing either of those would require Myrhvold to do original useful work, rather than examining the work of others.

And of course that is not what Nathan is really interested in.

In sum, it appears that what Myhrvold is really interested in, is simply screwing up JPL's NEOcam effort as well as he can.


As Steve Jobs put it way back when -

"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is ?
I don?t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way...

"In the sense that they don?t think of original ideas and they don?t bring much culture into their product, and you say 'Why is that important?' ?

"Well you know proportionally spaced fonts come from type setting and beautiful books, that?s where one gets the idea ?
if it weren?t for the Mac, they [Microsoft] would never have that in their products

"And so I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft?s success ? I have no problem with their success,
they?ve earned their success for the most part.

"I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate product."...

"'They just don?t get it.'? - That?s how Steve Jobs described his digital rivals Microsoft and Google in an interview with his biographer Walter Isaacson." [op. cit.]

So briefly summing up Steve Jobs' view of Nathan Myhrvold:
a man with no taste who just does not get it.

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Received on Sat 30 Jun 2018 11:38:11 AM PDT

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