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Meltdown and Spectre

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Meltdown and Spectre

Postby RogerS » 06 Jan 2018, 12:24

I'm sure you've all heard about these two. From our perspective, LOML and I are both running an older version of OSX and so no patches will be forthcoming. TBH I'm not that worried..I see the risk of this being exploited on our Macs has about as much chance as a non-argumentative thread on sharpening over on UKW ! And, of course, we'll not see any potential performance hit after any fixes.

Intel do have form in this area. Light years ago when the 80286 chip came out I had put in two Comart S-100 based computers in at a client. We found that under some circumstances the program was behaving erratically and I eventually worked out it was something to do with the way interrupts were handled. A call to Comart resulted in an engineer onsite to fix the problem. As ever, I was curious to know what the fix was. The engineer was very uncommunicative and not very forthcoming. He got out all his tools, soldering iron etc and asked if he could have a coffee. I toddled off to get him one and on my return, he said 'All done'.

Curiosity piqued. I felt the soldering iron...stone cold. I asked what had he done to fix it and met with a 'No comment' ! I then said 'OK..fine..now can you also fix the second one' which he wasn't expecting and had no second 'fix' available. 'We'll send you out a new board', he replied.

The board duly arrived and I compared it with the old one. No tracks cut on the board. No extra wires. Nothing. Until I took out the CPU and discovered a different mask number between the two and that was it. Intel had screwed up on their chip design and, as I'd discovered, the flaw manifested itself but only under certain circumstances. Intel needed to keep this quiet otherwise everyone would have been asking to have their chips replaced.

Now where's that Class Action ?
Fewer Smart things. More smart people.
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