After looking over some of the material over the last few
weeks, I believe that a major step in the software part of the problem of
building an AGI has been done and the hardware needed to run an AGI needs to be
I termed this a ‘pre draft’ since this is a very general outline
of what is being planned.
I define an AGI as a machine that would have the abilities
of a typical person and test around 100 IQ. It would be able to pass the
Turning test with no problems and do anything else that a typical person could
do who was limited to interacting with the real world through a computer
interface or connections.
From what I can tell, the typical person has about 1,000
billion neurons with multiple connections between each and the hardware for an
AGI project should target the same. The simple form is one neuron would be like
a CPU with its own memory cache.
I see such a project where the hardware and software would
be improved in steps, where as the hardware expanded, the software would
perform better, which would then be improved with more or faster hardware; etc;
until at some point the combined hardware and software would be working as an
AGI. I also envision that by improvements in hardware and software beyond an
AGI is that eventually the system would improve to the point that it would
become a SGI (Super General Intelligence) ; a machine that would have the
capability of multiple people all in one system.
My ‘general feeling’ is that the first step for hardware
could be done for about $60 million to $70 million USD with about 10% of that
amount needed each year for operational issues; such as lease space for the equipment,
electricity and cooling, system administrators, repairs, etc. I expect the
costs of such a system to decline at least 10% per year minimum as the hardware
improves, becomes faster, takes less space and electricity to run and better
programming makes less hardware needed.
The end result of this expenditure of money would be a
system that would be an AGI and having the same abilities as one person with an
IQ of 100.
I expect such a project to have at least three major
iterations or changes as the project is going along. The end result of the capabilities
of one person for a cost of $60 million to $70 million is not very cost
effective but once one AGI was made, subsequent ones could be made at lower and
lower costs over time until they were very cost efficient and give people capabilities
that had never existed before in computing intelligence.
Good Luck and Take Care,
Louis J. Desy Jr. – Sunday, February 23, 2020 11:50am
Server upgrade. Going from godaddy.com Virtual Private
Server (VPS) GEN3 with CENTOS 6 to GEN4 with CENTOS 7.
For a while I had been trying to figure out how to do an
upgrade from a godaddy GEN3 to GEN4 VPS (Virtual Private Server). I had been
trying to use the upgrade tool within WHS on the server to move accounts. For
whatever reason, I could never get it to move properly BUT today I found that
if I went to the CPanel for the website and did a Backup on the old server of
all the files, and then used this to do a restore from the file under WHS, that
the account and everything else was there just as it was on the old server. The
last part seemed to be to just change the IP address on the A record to the new
sever and everything appears to be find.
The web site and domain name the-competent-man.com seems to
be working fine. The other domain name with any content, musicquest446.com
seems to be going to the old VPS so somewhere there I must need to change the A
record on the DNS for that domain name.
I think I got things working and we will see on the 15th when
I do not renew on the GEN3 server if everything keeps working, it was somewhat
confusing as to how to make the change but things seem ok and working.
I do miss past years, especially Thanksgiving Day 2011. On that day eight years ago, was one of the best Thanksgivings I was ever at; it was at my friend Roger’s new house and it just happened to be the one and only holiday that he had in that house since he passed away Nov 2012 before Thanksgiving that year.
However, as I listen to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program
I find it alarming that the first segment’s discussion is if people are going
to talk about politics or not for the holiday! Citizens of the most powerful
nation on the face of the Earth are now unable or unwilling to talk about
politics. I view this as a sign of decline since allegedly people who are
adults are unable, unwilling or prohibited from talking about politics because
most of the adult population are emotionally unable to handle such discussions
or simply do not want to talk about such things because, apparently, it distributes
their view of the reality.
The most recent caller, as I type this, suggested ‘just forget politics and enjoy the holiday’; I will remember that as I spend most of this holiday working as much as possible to finish a project that is late and remember that most of the people simply coasting along in life seem to think that everything is fine, which it is not.
In any case, after a pause in writing this, I just returned from a friends house, visiting before dinner with other friends, and we talked about politics for over an hour!
November 09, 2019, it will be seven years since I got word that Roger Anderson
had passed away at 1:47pm and what I expect will be a sad day for everyone that
I got the call from a friend of the family, Ing, and was told “Roger
died”. It was a Friday. I was at a customer site at that moment and not
sure what was going on. The person delivering the message was not a native
English speaker, so I was hoping that I had misheard her or somehow it was a
miss translation. (Of course, how much off could two simple words be?) So I
rushed around my customer site telling the controller and human resources
person that ‘everything was fine, but I had to go immediately to Shrewsbury to check on
something.’ On the way their I called one of my classmates, who was an attorney
in Massachusetts at the time, and put him on standby in case a lawyer would be
When I got
to his house at about 2:30pm, it turned out, Roger really had died. Roger did
not get up for the day, like he normally would, even in the worst of neck or
back pain to at least have a coffee and talk with his family in the morning
like he normally would. So they went to check on him around 11am, found they
couldn’t get him up, and ‘he was gone’. We had always feared that in Roger’s
declining health days that he was going to end up in a nursing home that would
take up all of his assets but never, ever expected that when the end came, he
would just simply ‘be gone’ and nothing possible to be done. The day before
Roger seemed fine. While he was recovering from something like the flu, he was
generally ok. I even spent time helping to get his van running with the
expectation that Roger would go to the store for several hours and be open for
customers getting their comics from the weekly shipment. I remember leaving
Roger’s house at 10:15pm the evening prior to Roger passing away, and outside
of his family, I was the last person to see Roger.
problem with the van was somewhat amusing. Roger, for whatever reason, had a habit
of letting the gas run down in any vehicle he was driving. Normally, this was
not a problem but in the one he had at the time, a GMC suburban I think, if you
let the gas run down to about 1/8 of a tank or less, and the weather got cold,
I think frost would form on the gas filter in the tank, and then you would have
trouble starting the van. The same thing happened about a year earlier where I
helped Roger with the exact same problem, until I realized what was probably
wrong and fixed it (get more gas, then jump the battery and then the van was
fine). The problem is that by the time I figured out what was wrong we would
have spent so much time trying to start the van that the battery would need to
be jumped, after a few more gallons were put into the gas tank. So on this
evening, just like months prior, after trying to start the van for a while,
with it seeming it was going to start, I ran the battery down. Then I realized
what the problem was, had to make a few trips to the gas station to put in a
few gallons, jump the van battery from my car, and then finally could get the
van started, recharge its battery. Since I had to run the van for a while, I took
it over to a car wash and cleaned it up a little. That all took about 90
minutes or so, but at least then the van was ok for the next day.
It is hard to believe that so much time has passed and how things have changed. While everyone had some hope that maybe Roger’s comic book store, Musicquest, would somehow be able to stay open, that was not be to and now the space is currently vacant. I have thought about maybe trying to reopen the store, once I was in retirement, but realize that without Roger there can be no Musicquest and is something that I mentioned about the whole comic book store thing. As long as the owner is still around, it is possible for a store to keep going. Even if all of the inventory is gone, the owner can just setup with a stack of comics, a table, chair and phone and ‘he is in business and the store still alive’; but if the owner is not around anymore, then even with a mountain of inventory is it not possible for the store to keep going. While there maybe some kind of business there, it will not be the old store plus after a period of time many of the old customers will have gone elsewhere.
I have been
fortunate in that I have been able to stay in contact with a few of Roger’s
friends and customers, even after all of these years, and hope to continue to
do so in the future.
first few years after Roger was gone, I had keys to the store space and would
go there for a few minutes on November 09 every year, get some Chinese food
from the restaurant next door and read some of the latest issue of Knights of
The Diner Table comic. (I was even able to do this one last time after the
building was sold in 2014 since nothing was being done with the space with the
new owners.) In recent years, I will stop over and take a few pictures of the
building front, even if it is just from the window of my car, like I did one
year since it was night out and raining and wanted to get ‘my memorial’ of this
knew back then, that things eventually change, somehow I always felt that ‘the
fun would never end’ and that somehow Roger would always be around. Now it is
the later, am not really sure what to expect in the future, do miss how things
use to be and know that it is all an era gone by forever. Once in a while when
I am at the laundry mat or Chinese food take out place, that are still open next
to what was Roger’s store, I run into someone that remembers the store and
maybe even Roger, so at least I know that people still remember Roger and the
Link to uploaded video of Roger on the Worcester Community
Cable channel in 1984. Roger Anderson appearing on Greater Media
Cable in Worcester,
MA WCCTV-13 show Entertainment Showcase in 1984. This digital copy is from a
VHS tape that was found as part of the Roger Anderson estate and saved by his
Recently, I have noticed that comic book stores seem to have
somewhat lower gross margins than they use to have in the past. In the past,
the typical gross margin for items was on the order of 50% but recently I have
seen some items being sold with margins as low as 15%. While 15% may ‘sound’ ok
to anyone not running a store, it becomes almost impossible to keep a retail
store open on margins that low.
While there was always a problem of inventory build up for
all stores when the owner made a mistake on what they thought would sell and
orders things that no one wanted, the low gross margins adds to this problem.
As an example; in a podcast episode of ‘My Comic Shop History’ they recount how
they thought the Ape series of comics would be a good seller so the store
orders 150 copies. As it turned out, no one wanted it at all, and none of the
copies sold. While an extreme case, it shows how hard it is to get ordering
exactly right, and how bad things can go when that happens. While there is not
much one can do about problems like that; since how can anyone always be right
about all ordering, there is the additional problem of gross margins going down
over time. The result of this seems to be that a lot of the reported profit
(for those stores that are reporting any profit) from a store is getting
‘stuck’ in inventory; inventory that will not sell at any price and ends up
sitting in stores for years or even decades.
One example of an item where there were lots of inventory
all over the place, and this was a very successful item, was the 1976 pinup
poster of Farrah Fawcett. I remember the first time I saw that poster in years
was as part of the background on the TV sitcom, “The 70s Show”. I remember thinking,
“wow, I can’t believe they (show creators) were able to find something like
that”. I thought there was no way it could be an original from those original print
runs and had to be a copy of the poster created special (printed up) just for
their use within the show. As it turns out, there are still lots of these
posters still around and the price is only around for $15 to $20 per poster. As
an example of how many of these posters are still around, one ebay seller
listed a few hundred of these posters for sale recently, still in the original
shipping tubes with a note that they got them from a failed distributor. My
impression is that there still thousands of these poster from the 1970s print
runs of them. Another interesting fact surrounding this poster is that the
company that originally put this poster out, Pro Arts Inc, went bankrupt. This
happened even though they sold something like several million of these posters
along with their other posters. My impression is that for some reason they
printed millions of extra of these posters that did not sell, which are still
turning up in inventories of various distributors and shops as they liquidate
after all of these years. Pro Arts Inc itself has a somewhat interesting
history since they had some kind of lawsuit on another poster and won, but
spent more on legal fees than they won, and eventually went bankrupt with the
two owners’ homes as part of the bankruptcy. There was also a book written by
one of the owners where he basically accuses everyone, including judges, of
‘being in on the fix’ to take the company apart. I have not been able to find a
copy of that book in any form but expect it will be an interesting read of how the
company failed even though they put out what was the best selling poster of all
Now, comics and games are not the only thins that this
problem happens to, but it is an industry where there are stores all over the
place in the same industry, across the county, and we see this inventory
buildup everywhere. Stuff does not sell, and seems to sit there forever, taking
up space and costing money in rent, inventory taxes, etc to keep stored. Plus
the money, or profit, of the store is tied up in these items, which may never
While better ordering can fix part of this problem, it is
impossible for any store to just order what will sell, since inevitable that
owners will order things that will not sell and get stuck with them.
What would help this problem is if the gross margin on items
was better, something like on the items of 10% or 20% improvement. That would
help all stores so that even though items may not sell, at least the store will
make more on what does and it will help to cover the losses on the inevitable
mistakes made on ordering.
Today, August 05, 2019, is the third anniversary of Steve Wentzell passing away. It is hard to believe that it has been three years since he passed away. I remember one time that I mentioned to him that I was a fan of the Avalon Hill Game Rail Barron. A few months later I was over his house and Steve presented me with a copy of the game that he had bought at a yard sale. I was glad he had found a copy and started to ask how much he wanted for it, but he told me that it was a gift for me. I was always glad that he had been able to find a copy of that game for me and do miss going over to talk with him from time to time about the comic and game industry, especially since Steve ran a comic store from 1985 to 2003 in Milford, MA.
Steve was a friend of Roger Anderson and both were part of a long running role playing group in the Worcester, with Roger passing away November 09, 2012. With both of them now gone a large part of the memory or history of that group was now gone.