Author Archives: pappp

Reddit alternative Ruqqus shutting down

Source: Hacker News

Article note: New platforms get picked up by the people least served by the existing platforms. That used to mean all kinds of weird and wonderful niches. Now that social platforms are so thoroughly penetrated, it means stupid Nazis. Not the smarter, well-heeled maybe-Nazis who pay for narrative adjusting ads and sock-puppet armies on the existing platforms and speak in dogwhistles. Not the random cancel victim of the week who failed to adequately supplicate themselves to the niche populist "progressive" issue of the week getting called a Nazi. The deep human failure "my identity is racial animus because I have nothing else going for me" actual self-identified Nazis. It's a real problem because that situation has made it hard to try new formats, and allowed a greater degree of censorship of things that probably shouldn't be, platform manipulation, and general shittyness by the incumbents than would be tolerated if it were still easy to jump ship.
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An enormous thread on alleged Google Facebook collusion

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I hate linking Twitter threads that would be more legible in any other format, but damn that's guilty. I'd lost track of the degree to which Google is pulling a large cut of even other middle men's advertising by controlling and rentseeking the brokering process.
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Stardew Valley’s creator announces pixel-art followup Haunted Chocolatier

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Oooh. I have an unspeakable number of hours in Stardew Valley, and (for better or worse) this look like the same game with a slightly different premise.
  • Emphasis on "in development." There's no release date for this Stardew Valley successor just yet. [credit: ConcernedApe LLC ]

On Thursday, Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone dropped a two-minute teaser video for an entirely new game pretty much out of nowhere. The new game, titled Haunted Chocolatier, looks a lot like Stardew Valley, which means it's a refreshingly lovely homage to all things SNES and Squaresoft.

As Barone's first new video game since SV's 2016 launch, Haunted Chocolatier currently doesn't have a release date estimate of any kind. To avoid being "tied down to any particular concept of what the game is" before its eventual launch, Barone has not yet finalized Haunted Chocolatier's gameplay systems, either. HC's reveal came alongside a lengthy FAQ, whose site has been pounded by fans' immediate interest in the new game, and it clarifies that the game revolves around "a chocolatier living in a haunted castle" who must "gather rare ingredients, make delicious chocolates, and sell them in a chocolate shop."

If that sounds pedestrian to you, you clearly haven't gotten sucked into the addictive Harvest Moon homage that is Stardew Valley, which has sold millions of copies in its six years on PC and most console families. (There's also a board game version.) Like that game, Barone suggests that HC will be an entirely self-made project (programming, art, music, and more), with outside help only coming once the game is finalized and needs help with language translations and ports to other platforms. (As of press time, Barone is only committing to a launch on PC, with other platform announcements to come later.)

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Roku tells customers it is unable to strike a deal with YouTube

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Well, that's gross on Google's part, even as compared to Roku's "Customer buys the hardware, Customer watches the screen full of ads, Services pay ~~bribes~~ to be supported/listed/promoted" triple dip behavior. At least it's YouTubeTV not YouTube. This is why (IMO) the general purpose computer behind the TV is a superior solution, the "appliances that interface with services" model is primarily a thing to support abusive rentseeking.
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FDA OKs Moderna and J&J boosters, plus ‘mix and match’ approach

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: Because I spend so much time helping students in instructional labs, I've been eligible for a booster for a while, but have been holding off hoping this would happen because the early mix study results looked so promising. Now to see if I can coax UK to let me mix.

FDA OKs Moderna and J&J boosters, plus 'mix and match' approach

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KiCad Team Releases Warning Regarding Domain Name

Source: Hack a Day

Article note: Oof. An early member defecting with IP that never made it to the larger organization is a pretty regular problem for projects that make it, but it's always ugly. Really good on DigiKey for procuring and donating kicad.org. I'm always sort of surprised by how well-behaved and community-aware the big electronics distributors are. And, since we're talking about EDA tools, I re-taught myself basic board design a couple years ago and was _really_ happy with KiCAD, and highly recommend it.
an image of kicad's homepage

On October 19th, [Seth_h] from the KiCad Project posted on the KiCad forums that the project’s original domain name kicad-pcb.org has been unexpectedly sold to a third party, and urged members of the community to avoid any links to this old website.

KiCad has used the domain kicad-pcb.org since 2012 as the official source for information on and downloads of their popular open-source electronics design software. Unfortunately, the original domain name was purchased before KiCad was formalized as an organization, so it was not directly under their control. This all came to head when the old domain name was unexpectedly sold to an unnamed third party that was not affiliated with the project. Currently, the old domain is just a website covered in ads, but the KiCad team fears that it may be used maliciously in the future.

With KiCad’s popularity, thousands of tutorials, articles, and project guides over the years have included links to the old KiCad domain. A Google search in October 2021 found more than 19,000 instances of the old domain spread across the internet. [Seth_h] has called upon the community to make every effort possible to update old links, reducing the chance that people stumble across the wrong website.

[Editor’s Note: We think we got ’em all, let us know if we missed any.]

Luckily, Digikey has swooped in to help save the day. They purchased a new domain, kicad.org, from squatters and donated it to the KiCad Project. [Seth_h] explains in his post that a number of safeguards have been put in place to prevent this from happening in the future, including not having the domain name owned by a single person, and having all KiCad trademarks registered to the Linux Foundation.

There’s a good reason why KiCad has gotten so popular, it is packed full of great features for PCB design. Check out our coverage of some of the new features we are most excited for in KiCad 6.0 here.

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Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began

Source: Hacker News

Article note: NAEP data is always interesting because it tends to cut through the carpetbagger bullshit. Note that these tests were taken just _before_ the pandemic - and we're missing the 2016 data because the US federal government was imploding at the time - so these are more useful as baseline than comparison.
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Transplanting the Mac’s Central Processor: Gary Davidian’s 68000 Emulator (2020)

Source: Hacker News

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Apple intros 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros with display notches, M1 Pro, and M1 Max

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Damn. Apple made an interesting laptop, partly by building interesting SOCs, and partly by listening to their customer base (return of long-travel keyboard, magsafe, etc.). It's a closed system full of proprietary bullshit, soldered-in components, and vendor lock-in, but it's seriously compelling hardware.
The new MacBook Pro.

Enlarge / The new MacBook Pro. (credit: Apple)

Nearly a year after announcing the first low-end M1 Macs last November, Apple has finally unveiled an update for its higher-end laptops. New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will include the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, faster successors that build upon the foundation of the original M1, as well as more ports and a slight redesign. This marks the most significant change to the MacBook Pro since the Touch Bar was introduced back in 2016.

Both MacBook Pro models will be available for order today, and they'll begin shipping next week. The 14-inch model starts at $1,999, which will get you a version of the M1 Pro with an eight-core CPU and 14-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The 16-inch model will start at $2,499, which includes the full version of the M1 Pro, with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Color options remain relatively staid: you can get silver or space gray, but not the rainbow of color options you get with the 24-inch iMac.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro uses a 16.2-inch display with a 3456×2234 pixel resolution, while the 14-inch model uses a 14.2-inch display with a 3024×1964 resolution. Both screens use mini LED backlighting and slimmer bezels almost all the way around the screen, albeit at the expense of an iPhone-style display notch at the top of the screen for the improved 1080p webcam. Both screens also support Apple's ProMotion feature, increasing the typical 60 Hz refresh rate up to a smoother 120 Hz.

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Arduino Nano Floppy Emulator For When Your Disk Is Not Accessible

Source: Hack a Day

Article note: Huh, I assumed a 328p was a little too feeble to do a Shugart/IBM style floppy emulator (most of the similar devices are faster little ARMs, and the ones for weird drives like the Mac FloppyEmu are CPLDs on the signaling end). Very cool, ever more accessible because we live in an era of ridiculously cheap and easy compute.

Among the plethora of obsolete removable media there are some which are lamented, but it can be difficult to find those who regret the passing of the floppy disk. These flexible magnetic disks in hard plastic covers were a staple of computing until some time in the early 2000s, and their drives could be found by the crateload in any spares box. But what about today, when there’s a need for a real floppy drive and none is to be found? Enter [Acemi Elektronikci], with an Arduino Nano based floppy emulator, that plugs into the floppy port of a PC old enough to have one, and allows the easy use of virtual floppy disks.

Aside from the Nano it has an SD card and associated level shifter, and an SSD1306 i2c screen. Most of the Arduino’s lines drive the floppy interface, so the five-button control comes to a single ADC pin via a resistor ladder. He freely admits that it’s not a perfect cycle-exact emulator of original hardware and there may be machines or even operating systems that complain when faced with it, but for all that it is a useful tool. One of the machines that may have issues is the Amiga, but fortunately there’s a fix for that with a Raspberry Pi.

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