Category Archives: News

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Not just RavPower โ€” Amazon has yanked Vava and TaoTronics, too

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: Huh, TaoTronics, like RavPower has been a super reliable brand (I love their color-temperature-adjustable lamp heads), but they certainly do do the offer-to-get-compensated-for-reviews thing, so presumably Amazon is coming down on that behavior.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

In 2017, The New York Times profiled Sunvalley, a Chinese electronics manufacturer that obsessively monitored Amazon to build and maintain US-facing brands with a reputation for quality. They include phone charging specialist RavPower, home office and dash cam supplier Vava, and headphones and home appliance purveyor TaoTronics. Now, all three of them have disappeared from Amazon, seemingly for ignoring the platform’s rules.

On Wednesday, Amazon confirmed to The Verge that it had removed RavPower. (Amazon tells us it’s checking on Sunvalley’s other brands). But it’s clear from their empty Amazon storefronts that something’s going on — and the Chinese company has already issued a statement, spotted by The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole...

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A bare metal physical implementation of WASM. That’s right, a WebAssembly CPU

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I was really hoping for HDL code, but this appears to be several year old webshit in webshit that never actually moved toward hardware.
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DOJ inspector general to probe secret subpoenas of Democrats during Trump administration

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: This should be the _end_ of humoring 'lawful intercept' bullshit. Legally and technologically enable strong E2E encryption for everyone.

DOJ inspector general to probe secret subpoenas of Democrats during Trump administration

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Chrome abandons ‘simplified domain experiment’ in omnibar

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Good. At least they dropped it when it became clear it was not just obscuring and confusing, but also useless. "UX" "design" "innovations" like that are usually much harder to kill.
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‘Metal Slug Tactics’ resurrects a classic ’90s franchise

Source: Engadget

Article note: Metal Slug x Final Fantasy Tactics? This is intriguing.

Metal Slug, a mainstay SNK action franchise, is back... in tactical RPG form!

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The Surveilled Student

Source: Hacker News

Article note: So many thoughts. At least it's making students actively privacy-conscious. There is a real problem with blatant fucking cheating. Mandating spyware on student-owned devices and AI woo is not a valid solution, the tools are bad and side-effect laden enough to not actually solve the problem, tend to have detrimental effects on the good actors while still being easily cheated past, which is not acceptable. Some defensive exam design helps. Vary your exams from semester to semester, pull questions from pools so the students' forms are different, run short assessments on short windows to prevent closing the chegg loop... these things are _some_ work but usually not an enormous amount, though I realize a lot of tenure-track professors understand the whole "As long as the university doesn't lose a court case as a result of my teaching, no one cares" incentive structure and would like to avoid even that minimal work and run the same course for a decade and/or buy course packet from Mcgraw Hill that 8 other schools are using and the whole of is posted on the internet for students to cheat from). ... the classes I work on are planning to revert to paper exams ASAP, it's a much cleaner solution even though grading is more work.
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Utilities should be dumber

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: As much as I don't like agreeing with Hawley, "Battlestar Galactia rules" is really a pretty good model for essential infrastructure.

Utilities should be dumber

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Replit used legal threats to kill my open-source project

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Some startup dbags managed to raise $20 in VC money to put a thin proprietary web-frontend veneer over a bunch of open source programming tools and rentseek off of it (which is, frankly, a minor variation on how most of the tech start-up scene seems to work these days). Then one of their former interns built an all-open-source similar veneer in a couple afternoons. Then their CEO threatened him, and made passive aggressive social media posts about 'copycats' and 'innovation.' Looks like even the HN startup-douche circlejerk isn't buying this one.
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Aaron Swartz, Vindicated

Source: Hacker News

Article note: โœŠ
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FYI: Today’s computer chips are so advanced, they are more ‘mercurial’ than precise โ€“ and here’s the proof

Source: The Register

Article note: Written for a friend who asked and got more than they probably wanted: It's the latest in a series of the same observation. DRAM ECC has been getting more common because the statistics of bit-flip errors start to get unfavorable as memories get bigger; DDR5 will have some ECC in all parts. That's basically how all the rowhammer type attacks work. We're two generations in to filesystems that do error correction and integrity checking (first the journaling FSes, then the zfs/btrfs stuff that actually does at-rest integrity verification). And CPUs being incomprehensibly complicated is biting us in the ass everywhere with simple stuff like fdiv bugs in the 90s and now with constant microcode updates to cover up problems (see sandsifter, spectre, etc.) People were worried about it already in the late 70s, several mainframe designs supported processor concensus, and Intel's iAPX 432 parts (what was supposed to take over instead of the 486) were expressly designed to run in lockstep groups and eject outliers, they have a special pin to set that behavior (they also failed _hard_ for other reasons)

Rarely seen miscalculations now crop up frequently at cloud hyperscale

Computer chips have advanced to the point that they're no longer reliable: they've become "mercurial," as Google puts it, and may not perform their calculations in a predictable manner.…

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