Like any place in Reality, the Street is subject to development. Developers can build their own small streets feeding off of the main one. They can build buildings, parks, signs, as well as things that do not exist in Reality, such as vast hovering overhead light shows, special neighborhoods where the rules of three-dimensional spacetime are ignored, and free-combat zones where people can go to hunt and kill each other.
The only difference is that since the Street does not really exist—it's just a computer-graphics protocol written down on a piece of paper somewhere—none of these things is being physically built. They are, rather, pieces of software, made available to the public over the world-wide fiber-optics network. When Hiro goes into the Metaverse and looks down the Street and sees buildings and electric signs stretching off into the darkness, disappearing over the curve of the globe, he is actually staring at the graphic representations—the user interfaces—of a myriad different pieces of software that have been engineered by major corporations. In order to place these things on the Street, they have had to get approval from the Global Multimedia Protocol Group, have had to buy frontage on the Street, get zoning approval, obtain permits, bribe inspectors, the whole bit. The money these corporations pay to build things on the Street all goes into a trust fund owned and operated by the GMPG, which pays for developing and expanding the machinery that enables the Street to exist.
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
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What CPU does Ash run on?
A little bit late to the party - I just watched the Ashes to Ash cinematic and something very familiar caught my eye:
It’s an Intel CPU! I’m guessing the animators looked up “CPU” in the model library and pulled the first cool-looking one, rather than this being really bizarre product placement. For reference, here’s a Intel Celeron G550 from my desk:
The gold triangle in the left corner and the wings on the metal heat spreader are a dead tell... but this isn’t the exact CPU in the cinematic, as mine has a notch at the bottom of the heat spreader. Time to figure out which one is the exact match!
The shape of heat spreader in the cinematic without the notch and without other protrusions is used in Intel’s 4th and 6th generation CPUs. (Why not 5th? That generation sorta doesn’t exist.)
(photos from ebay.com)
That narrows things down significantly. To pick out the exact CPU though, it’s time to look at the underside:
There are notches on either side without gold contacts, and counting from the notch to the inside there are exactly 6 gold contacts inbetween. This matches with Socket LGA1150 on motherboards for 4th generation CPUs (left), and not Socket LGA1151 for 6th-9th generation (right):
(photo from 3dnews.ru)
Aaaaaaand now for matching the capacitor layout in the centre of the CPU... I don’t have a special way of doing this, so it’s just looking at the bottom of all the CPUs until I find the right one. It wasn’t any of these...
(photos from bit-tech.net)
...but it was this! An Intel i7-4770K!
(photo from techpowerup.com)
A side-by-side for easy comparison:
So in conclusion, Intel exists in the Apex/Titanfall universe and they’ve gone and installed people into bodies running a CPU from 2013. Unholy hell.
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The whole “capitalism gave you the Internet” thing is especially funny if you actually work in network infrastructure, since one of the first things you’ll learn is that many software technologies that are absolutely critical to the day to day functioning of the Internet are being maintained on a volunteer basis by small, decentralised teams working in whatever free time their day jobs leave them, and that we’d have a crisis on our hands within thirty days if any one of those maintainers were to get hit by a bus and nobody stepped up to replace them. Like, the whole commercial edifice of the Internet rests on the continuous unpaid labour of a relative handful of people who are essentially just doing it for fun.
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