Author Archives: pappp

The US Navy Will Replace Its Touchscreen Controls With Mechanical Ones On Its Destroyers

Source: Slashdot

Article note: A decade ago I made PhD applications about doing interface tactility and memorability work with some UX groups and got very negative responses because ubiquitous touchscreens were the future. The backlash in Auto and mil applications recently are very validating.

The US Navy will replace the touchscreen throttle and helm controls currently installed in its destroyers with mechanical ones starting in 2020. From a report: The move comes after the National Transportation Safety Board released an accident report from a 2017 collision, which cites the design of the ship's controls as a factor in the accident. On August 21st, 2017, the USS John S. McCain collided with the Alnic MC, a Liberian oil tanker, off the coast of Singapore. The report provides a detailed overview of the actions that led to the collision: when crew members tried to split throttle and steering control between consoles, they lost control of the ship, putting it into the path of the tanker. The crash killed 10 sailors and injured 48 aboard the McCain. The report says that while fatigue and lack of training played a role in the accident, the design of the ship's control console were also contributing factors. Located in the middle of the McCain's bridge, the Ship's Control Console (SCC) features a pair of touch-screens on both the Helm and Lee Helm stations, through which the crew could steer and propel the ship. Investigators found that the crew had placed it in "backup manual mode," which removed computer-assisted help, because it allowed for "more direct form of communication between steering and the SSC."

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Xfce 4.14

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I'm split between KDE and XFCE on my various systems right now, but XFCE is possibly the single most dependable no-capricious-changes piece of software I've ever worked with, and I love it for that. I hope they continue as they have.
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Will allowing granny flats and tiny houses help solve Lexington’s housing crunch?

Source: -- Fayette County

Article note: Yes please. I don't know if it will be overwhelmingly helpful to housing prices, but we could really use some small infill housing (the opposite of the long trend of turning reasonable houses into pseudo-mcmansions by attaching ginormous vinyl boxes attached like cancerous growths).

When Marie Allison’s autistic son Chris Riddell was about to graduate high school, Allison was faced with a common problem for parents of children with disabilities: Where should her son … Click to Continue »

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AMD Rome Second Generation EPYC Review: 2x 64-core Benchmarked

Source: AnandTech Articles

Article note: Fuckin' shit. They're even flexing, basically, that they expected Intel's Ice Lake to deliver so they overshot their competitive position. I'm just going to gratuitously quote the tl;dr from the end of the article: "For those with little time: at the high end with socketed x86 CPUs, AMD offers you up to 50 to 100% higher performance while offering at a 40% lower price. Unless you go for the low end server CPUs, there is no contest: AMD offers much better performance for a much lower price than Intel, with more memory channels and over 2x the number of PCIe lanes. These are also PCIe 4.0 lanes. What if you want to more than 2 TB of RAM in your dual socket server? The discount in favor of AMD just became 50%"

If you examine the CPU industry and ask where the big money is, you have to look at the server and datacenter market. Ever since the Opteron days, AMD's marketshare has been rounded to zero percent, and with its first generation of EPYC processors using its new Zen microarchitecture, that number skipped up a small handful of points, but everyone has been waiting with bated breath for the second swing at the ball. AMD's Rome platform solves the concerns that first gen Naples had, plus this CPU family is designed to do many things: a new CPU microarchitecture on 7nm, offer up to 64 cores, offer 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0, offer 8 memory channels, and offer a unified memory architecture based on chiplets. Today marks the launch of Rome, and we have some of our own data to share on its performance.

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Apple subsidiary FileMaker returns to its original name from the ’80s

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: It's wrong unless they also go back to the old dogcow logo. Moof!

After two decades of operating under the name FileMaker, the Apple-owned software company has decided to return to its original name: Claris.

Apple first created Claris in 1986 when it was under the leadership of John Sculley. Claris was meant to become an independent company focused on making software for the Mac, but three years later, Sculley changed course and bought back a minority ownership that had been sold off. Claris originally worked on programs like MacDraw, MacWrite, and MacPaint, but FileMaker became its leading product in the ’90s, selling 3 million copies a year across Mac and Windows.

In 1998, Apple gutted Claris and renamed it FileMaker, laying off...

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We shouldn’t take peer review as the ‘gold standard’

Source: Hacker News

Article note: The publication process is largely garbage about profit-generation for parasitic publishers, and valueless prestige games for faculty. All peer review does is ensure it is cogently written, properly formatted, and doesn't offend the career interests of the entrenched players in an area. There is too much inertia, too much entrenched interest, and not enough agreement on alternative methods and metrics to kill it.
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What you may have heard about the dispute between UC and Elsevier

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Ha. "The UC Libraries do not endorse the use of Sci-Hub for article access." is the modern equivalent of “After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it would turn into wine.” I appreciate it.
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Students in the wealthiest districts are obtaining disability accommodations at much higher rates, report finds

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: I could easily see this. You build tools that can be used to give an advantage, and those with the means to do so will use them in technically-inside-the-rules for advantage, whether it's prescription stimulants as performance drugs, sleazy financial deals, or disability accommodations. At the university level there is a visible mix of "reasonable accommodations allowing students to succeed" and "taking advantage," it's sometimes egregious enough to be easy to call, but we can't.

Disability accommodations for schoolwork and testing are not distributed equally across the socioeconomic spectrum, The New York Times reports.

More students than ever in the United States are reportedly securing disability diagnoses, which often allow them to receive extra time for class work and tests, including standardized tests like the ACT and SAT which have bearing on college acceptance. The Times reports that in the country's wealthiest school districts students are obtaining 504 plans — a federal disability designation — at higher rates.

For example, while analyzing Department of Education data, the Times found that in the top 1 percent of wealthiest districts, 5.8 percent of students held a 504 plan, which is twice the national average. In some communities, like Weston, Connecticut, where the average annual income is $220,000, the rate was as high as 18 percent. Meanwhile, in the Cleveland Metropolitan School district, less than 1 percent of students had obtained a 504 plan. Further, a larger percentage of white students held a 504 plan than any other race.

1. New investigation from @jugalpatelNYT and me: In the top 1 percent of richest school districts, teens are 2x as likely to hold a disability plan that qualifies them for extended time on SAT/ACT and schoolwork. In some places, it's 7x the national rate.

— Dana Goldstein (@DanaGoldstein) July 30, 2019

The data does not include private schools, but in some areas, private school students reportedly are even more likely to qualify for accommodations.

The Times reports that while cases of outright fraud are rare, the system is vulnerable to abuse, in part because private mental health practitioners can operate with limited oversight. But speculation about gaming the system aside, the Times reports that the disparity more broadly represents unequal access to resources.

3. It starts in early childhood, when some parents are more able than others to have children evaluated for speech and motor-skill delays. By high school, some have spent tens of thousands on repeated psychological evaluations, which are rarely fully covered by insurance.

— Dana Goldstein (@DanaGoldstein) July 30, 2019

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A Big Blue landmark restaurant is gone as more changes come to campus-area corridor

Source: -- Fayette County

Article note: On one hand, watching UK's expanded privatized food offerings kill the local restaurant scene is sad. On the other hand, food poisoning Arbys needed to go.

Another University of Kentucky landmark apparently is gone: The Arby’s at 507 South Limestone apparently has closed. The building, distinctive from other Arby’s because it had blue trim instead of … Click to Continue »

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200 million devices—some mission-critical—vulnerable to remote takeover

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: VXWorks is one of those invisibly-everywhere things, from electrical appliances to Mars rovers. It's generally pretty trustworthy, but this is ...low hanging. It would likely be difficult to get something generally-wormable because of platform diversity due to customization, but it would be easy to do a lot of damage by worming something prolific and connected (like the many modems that run it) or attacking something life-critical (think medical devices).
A repairman with

Enlarge (credit: Lisa Brewster / Flickr)

About 200 million Internet-connected devices—some that may be controlling elevators, medical equipment, and other mission-critical systems—are vulnerable to attacks that give attackers complete control, researchers warned on Monday.

In all, researchers with security firm Armis identified 11 vulnerabilities in various versions of VxWorks, a slimmed-down operating system that runs on more than 2 billion devices worldwide (this section of Wikipedia's article on the OS lists some of its more notable uses). Billed collectively as Urgent 11, the vulnerabilities consist of six remote code flaws and five less-severe issues that allow things like information leaks and denial-of-service attacks. None of the vulnerabilities affects the most recent version of VxWorks—which was released last week—or any of the certified versions of the OS, including VxWorks 653 or VxWorks Cert Edition.

High stakes

For the 200 million devices Armis estimated are running a version that’s susceptible to a serious attack, however, the stakes may be high. Because many of the vulnerabilities reside in the networking stack known as IPnet, they can often be exploited by little more than boobytrapped packets sent from the Internet. Depending on the vulnerability, exploits may also be able to penetrate firewalls and other types of network defenses. The most dire scenarios are attacks that chain together multiple exploits that trigger the remote takeover of multiple devices.

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