The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Monday, August 17, 2020

WANTED: better security => fewer updates => better reliability

 Wasted two hours this morning:  when I started, neither the builtin keyboard nor the trackpad of my Surface Book 3 were working.  Fortunately, the touchscreen was working,  but it is hard  to do real work without a real keyboard.

Fruitless fix recommendations from the web, eventually uninstalled recent  Windows updates,  and after a few reboot cycles keyboard and trackpad were working again.

Most recent updates were four days ago.  I remember wondering if I should delay the update.  but the desire to use recent security fixes won out.

 I do not know  with the certainty that the updates caused my problems this morning.  It might've been a coincidence,  a random disk error. 

But...  I feel pretty much sure that I wouldn't be applying updates anywhere near as frequently  if there were not security issues. Otherwise, why breaks things that are working?    and software updates are one of the biggest causes of computer problems, both for me and for other people.

This is one of the reasons why I work on security technologies like capabilities/checked pointers and  memory tagging:   not just security, but also to increase reliability.

 Of course security and reliability go together. The very concept of a denial of service attack means that security is reducing reliability and availability. But it's not just DOS attacks -  the very act of a software update, for security, reduces reliability.


 Unfortunately, I never really got to see my security projects to completion at Intel: MPX  is a piss poor version of what I wanted to do with respect to capabilities/checked pointers.  

I hope that I can such security technologies become real as part of RISC-V.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Spicy Food Cures Bad Allergy Attack !?!

 BRIEF: multi-day allergy attack seems to have been cured by spicy food !?!

A couple of days ago I went for  a run in the evening (OK,  more like a jog/walk),  and came back with a really horrible allergy attack. My left eye  almost completely swollen shut,  my right eye sore, my nose running. Inhaler helps with wheezing, but not  with the other symptoms.

I had been planning to work later that evening, at least read email, but I lost the rest of that evening, the entire next day, and into the day after that.  Not to mention  losing two nights of sleep,   propped up  for drainage. Using a CPAP is disgusting when the mask fills up with nasal drainage.  (Not mucous - that would be really disgusting - but still.)  Working when your eyes are swollen shut is also a challenge.

Things eased a bit by the second day, but still bad.  I consulted Dr Google. Home remedies recommended included

  1. Flush - e.g,. with a Neti Pot
  2. Spray - e.g. Afrin decongestant spray, or simple saline
  3. Hydrate
  4. Steam
  5. Spice
I did not have a Neti pot, nor distilled water, nor the slt-like packets that Neti pots come with.  I have tried Neti pots in the past, without much success, although many recommend them.

Spray - I used Afron fgrom the beginning.  Helped, but not enough.

Hydrate - here I just was wasn't thinking.  Apparently dehydration is often the cause of such nose/sinus/eye symptoms - "dehydration makes your nose and eyes water?"  At the moment, pretty much all that I drink is water, lemon juice, tea and occasional cola.   Lots of caffeine, especially when I am trying to work while sick.  I was probably making myself worse.

Steam: head over a bowl of hot water under a towel. And.or hot bath/shower.  Helps, but not enough.  (Even pre-covid taking a sauna at the gym with cold-like symptoms is frowned upon.)

But that last suggestion: SPICY HOT FOOD.  That I can do.

So I did: a package of vegetable korma, augmented by sriracha and other hot sauces. And, within an hour or so, I was much, much, better.

Next time, I try the hot sauce as soon as I feel  the allergy attack coming on!  I wish I had not waited so long.



I was desperate enough that I drove to the coast to try to escape the Willamette Valley's cloud of pollen and dist from haying, winnowing, and field burning.  Helped, but not enough.  BTW, it may not have been smart to drive with one eye swollen shut and nose running.  I was desperate!

During the attack one particular place in my nose BURNED - as if I had inhaled a prickle burr and it had stuck.  Even now, days later, I still feel this hot spot.


Posting this

a) As a sad commentary on my current lack of social life.  This is the sort of thing you might mention in the break room at the office.

b) As a reminder to myself for next time

c) In the hopes that it might help someone else...  My blog is unlikely to be high in Google searched by a fellow sufferer.   TBD: find a newsgroup or forum for allergy sufferers.