Author Archives: pappp

Printed electronics open way for electrified tattoos and personalized biosensors

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Typical academic PR behavior. Bombastic largely-irrelevant headline, dumb demo video of a parlor trick that could be accomplished with a $10 trace pen, then wayyy buried, a method for printing three jettable materials that don't require high-temperature or caustic post-processing to make printable functioning (albeit shitty) transistors. Because the hype is much more important than the meaningful research.
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Microsoft announces Windows 10X, Android-powered Surface Duo, and more

Source: OSNews

Article note: Interesting on several counts. It looks like Windows 10X is real Windows 10 with a slightly different shell and containerized Win32 rather than crippled Windows (Like RT was), which has a chance of being relevant. It's an interesting crook in the path of the ongoing status of Win32. Also looks like Microsoft is committing to the "The market won't bear a third mobile platform, co-opt Android" scheme they've been telegraphing.

Microsoft held its Surface hardware event today, and there’s quite a few surprising things they announced. Let’s start with the least interesting, which are updates all across its Surface Pro and Surface Laptop lines. You know, newer processors, design changes, that sort of stuff. Most interesting is probably that the new 15″ Surface Laptop model comes not with an Intel processor, but an AMD Ryzen chip AMD and Microsoft worked on together. But the real new thing with the Laptop 3 is the 15-inch model. Not only is it larger — it has a 15-inch screen and weighs 3.4 pounds — but it also has a brand-new processor for Microsoft’s Surface computers. The new chip is an AMD-based Surface Edition of the Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7, with an extra core on the graphics processor over the standard Ryzen chips. It can be paired with up to 32GB of RAM, which is 16 more than the maximum you can get in the 13-inch model. Oddly, the storage options top out at 512GB. (The 13-inch model can be equipped with up to 1TB of storage.) Microsoft opted for AMD’s Ryzen processors because the company rightfully assumed that on 15″ laptops, people are more likely to do graphics-intensive work than on a smaller 13″ display. It’s also, of course, a huge boost for AMD, and a deserved one for all the amazing progress the company has achieved these past few years. As a very important and interesting sidenote – Microsoft highlighted the serviceability of its new Surface Laptops, but showing on-stage how by removing four screws, you can remove the entire top cover (where the keyboard rests) to access every internal component of the laptop. This is normal for larger, bulkier, and thicker laptops, but it’s quite rare to see it touted as a selling point for such a thin and light laptop. The processor inside the 15″ Surface Laptop is not the only processor Microsoft co-engineered with a partner. Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro X, an ARM-based Surface Pro that runs on a processor Microsoft worked on together with Qualcomm. The new SQ1 processor is a custom Qualcomm processor that runs at 7W to offer great performance. The new Microsoft SQ1 processor pushes 2 teraflops of graphics processing power, and is the fastest Qualcomm processor ever created for a PC. There is also a new AI engine that can enable new class of Windows applications on the new Surface Pro X. On the connectivity front, you have got two USB-C ports and Surface Connect port. Microsoft also mentioned that the new Surface X has removable hard drive. Moving on, we get to the two most interesting announcements. Before we get into these, I want to stress that these two devices won’t ship until the 2020 holiday season, so we’re talking about early announcements here. The reason for these early announcements will become clear – these are devices that would greatly benefit from 3rd party developer support. First, the Surface Neo is a dual-screen device that looks very similar to Microsoft’s older Courier concept. It has two 9″ screen connected by a hinge, and it’s running on an as-of-yet unreleased Intel processor. Like most Surface devices, there’s an intricate hinge that allows the Surface Neo to switch into a variety of modes and the typical high build quality you’d expect from Microsoft’s hardware. There’s also a clever Bluetooth keyboard that flips, slides, and locks into place with magnets, which can be stowed and secured to the rear of the device. There’s even a new Surface Slim Pen that attaches magnetically, and it’s the same stylus Microsoft is using on the new Surface Pro X. To make the magic between two displays work, the Neo runs on Windows 10X, which is the same as any other Windows 10 version except for the shell – desktop environment, if you will, in Windows parlance – which is designed specifically for dual-screen use. The UI automatically morphs and adapts to various ways of using and holding the device, including showing a trackpad above of beloew the Bluetooth hardware keyboard when it’s magnetically attached on top of the ‘bottom’ display when in laptop mode. Windows 10X allows you to run classic Win32 applications, but they will be run inside containers, and the operating system will update seamlessly in the background. It seems like Windows 10X might be the containerise-Win32-version of Windows we’ve been talking about for more than a decade now. Developers who want to make more optimal use of the dual-screen configuration will need to developer specifically for the form factor, which explains why they’re announcing it and Windows 10X ahead of time. As my girlfriend and I were watching the Surface event, I walked into my office, opened a drawer, and took out my pristine day-one purchase Surface RT, in its original box and wrapping, and showed it to her, just to illustrate that any time Microsoft makes hardware with versions of Windows that aren’t real Windows, I get a little apprehensive. Second, there’s the long-awaited Surface phone, which you’re not supposed to call a phone. It’s the Surface Duo, and at first glance, it looks exactly like a smaller version of the Surface Neo. However, upon closer inspection of the software, you quickly realise the Duo isn’t running Windows – it’s running Android. Yes, Microsoft worked together with Google to develop a unique Android phone, complete with Google Play Services and everything else you come to expect from an Android phone, albeit with the software is heavily skinned to look like Windows 10X. This means that a year from now, Microsoft will be selling a device running Google Android, powered by a Linux kernel – a consumer hardware device from Microsoft based on Linux. I know the world has changed, but this realisation still blew my mind. These are some solid device announcements from Microsoft, and throughout the event, the sense of confidence from the presenters was palpable. There was subtle jab after jab

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Hate Verilog? Detest VHDL? You’re not the only one. Xilinx rolls out easier-to-use free FPGA programming tools after developer outcry

Source: The Register

Article note: High-level programming FPGAs never really pans out. Reliably synthesizing arbitrary structures HDLs is hard and unpredictable enough, higher level not-designed-to-force-you-to-think-about-hardware languages ends up being intractable or random behavior. I suspect this will realistically be restricted to stringing together IP cores with some options - but I also suspect that's more-than-fine with Xilinx.

Vitis toolkit for the rest of us, coming soon, allegedly

If you hate writing Verilog, VHDL, and other hardware design languages, used to craft computer chips and configure FPGAs, you're far from the only one.…

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Microsoft is making it difficult to create local accounts in Windows 10

Source: OSNews

Article note: Dark pattern is dark. Microsoft, like every other neo-feudal tech landholder, really wants you in their roach motel.

Windows admins have options to create local or Microsoft Accounts when it comes to the operating system. The initial setup after installation pushes the Microsoft Account option but it was possible up until now to create to a local account instead. Microsoft has made it more and more difficult to create local accounts during initial setup and discouraged users to do so. A report on Reddit suggests that Microsoft has made it more difficult to create local accounts during first run. The user reported that no option to create a local user account was presented during first run on the system Windows 10 was set up on. While there’s nebulous ways to make the local account option reappear, this is clearly designed to push people to online Microsoft account. I personally use an online Microsoft account since I find it easier to manage my various machines, but removing or hiding the option to use a local account is just a user-hostile dick move.

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A student at Karen Pence’s school alleged students cut her dreadlocks. She just took it back.

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: Didn't we _just_ finish with an episode of "bias-confirming but improbable sounding hate crime creates national outcry, only to turn out to be fictional?"

The Virginia private school student who claimed three classmates pinned her down and forcibly cut off her dreadlocks has now retracted the story.

Reports emerged last week about an allegation from 12-year-old Amari Allen, who is black, that three white sixth-grade boys pinned her down during recess at Immanuel Christian School and cut her dreadlocks while saying "my hair was nappy and I was ugly and I shouldn't have been born," as she told The Washington Post. The story quickly went viral online in part because second lady Karen Pence teaches art part time at the school.

But the Post now reports Allen has told the school that this incident, which was being investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department, did not happen, with her family apologizing in a statement.

"To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school," Allen's grandparents said in a statement. "To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust."

The principal of the school, Stephen Danish, confirmed that Allen now says the allegations are false, saying, "We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing."

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CA Governor Signs Bill Allowing College Athletes to Profit from Endorsements

Source: Hacker News

Article note: My desire to eat popcorn and watch this legal battle is still up like D1 pregame hype. The NCAA's position that they are an amateur league is so obviously contradicted by the vast sums of money circulating among everyone but the actual athletes it's funny watching them try to defend it.
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Goodhart’s Law: Are Academic Metrics Being Gamed?

Source: Hacker News

Article note: A very nice presentation of the drum I'm constantly beating, with much clearer data than most. My life would be much easier if I believed the academic publication process was still, on average, producing value, but no, I really just want everyone to shut up and let me spend my time teaching and building experimental apparatus for other people's research.
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Lawsuit: Troubled CenterCourt development defaulted on loans, should be sold

Source: Kentucky.com -- Fayette County

Article note: That building's construction quality was (and still is) a clearly visible garbage fire. Apparently their financial practices were just as bad as their construction practices. I'm not sure that anyone sane would buy the building for anything like the apparent debt.

A troubled mixed-use development near the University of Kentucky campus allegedly has defaulted on more than $8 million in past-due loans. Now, the investor group owed that money wants a … Click to Continue »

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Restaurant in iconic Lexington location has closed after less than a year

Source: Kentucky.com -- Fayette County

Article note: I bet the Herald Leader has this article saved madlibs-style, because nothing will ever be able to make that building economically viable.

One of Lexington’s most unique and largest restaurant buildings is empty again after less than a year. Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse, which opened last fall, is gone. It’s unclear exactly when … Click to Continue »

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Richard Stallman Resigns from CSAIL and FSF

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Stallman has a lot of ideas that are ...far outside the mainstream... and make him unpleasant, and I'm sympathetic to people who don't want to deal with him as a result. He certainly deserves credit that a bunch of his seeming paranoid ramblings have been proven very right over time, and he probably would be better served being less of a public figure because his eccentricities dilute his ideas. HOWEVER, the specific old 2006-era remark "I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren’t voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing." being used as proof he's irredeemably horrible makes a lot a sense in the context that it was addressing issues like "Probably we shouldn't paint a couple whose ages are (e.g.) 18 months apart and happen to be 16 and 18 with the same brush as an adult trying to fuck prepubescent kids." "Probably we shouldn't treat a 15 year old who sends their friend a racy picture the same as someone filming kids getting raped and selling it to paying customers." Which are _technically_ defending pedophilia within the current legal framework, and also things most of the "woke" people using it as ammunition would agree with. Likewise, his attempt to differentiate Minsky (possibly) doing something unacceptable inadvertently from Epstein doing something unacceptable intentionally and systematically that sparked off the cancel ritual ... though the fact that he stated it so carelessly is why he probably shouldn't be such a public figure.
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