Category Archives: News

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We need to talk about systematic fraud

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Academia has a serious Goodhart's law problem - and academia itself has demonstrated it https://arxiv.org/abs/1809.07841 . We are, however, so overrun with bureaucrats that it's not clear we'll be able to do anything about it.
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Saying Goodbye to Louisville

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Google is not trustworthy. If they accidentally make something good (as in not exploitative) they'll kill it.
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Patreon is about to eat itself

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Attn silicon valley: Infinite growth is _not_ required for something to be useful or successful. In fact, infinite growth trajectory usually spells doom.
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Studies Shoot Down Tech’s Harmful Effects on Kids – So Now What?

Source: Hacker News

Article note: My usual argument, made from Piagetian roots. Most adults should be more worried about their relationships with how they use technology to impose on people and let others impose on them than the less-structured ways their kids are using it. "Ultimately, what matters most is that we provide our children with a sense of agency and autonomy by teaching them that tools don’t use us, we use them."
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Itanium’s demise approaches: Intel to stop shipments in mid-2021

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: The Itanic finally sinking below the waves. Starting over a decade and billions of dollars (and another half-decade before there were vaguely-competent compilers) late, then never being more than expensive and decent, no one is shocked. The real tragedy is that the massive cash sink and wave of bullshit killed all the interesting architectures of the 90s (Alpha and PA-RISC directly, some of the others by the vacuum it created). Any architecture whose performance is premised on "a sufficiently clever compiler" is doomed. I say this as someone who has done a lot of work in compilers. Transmeta's VLIW was the only one that had a hope, and it's _because_ they did runtime JIT shit to hide it from the software.
Itanium 9500 dies.

Enlarge / Itanium 9500 dies. (credit: Intel Germany)

If you're still using Intel's Itanium processors, you'd better get your orders in soon. Intel has announced that it will fulfill the final shipment of Itanium 9700 processors on July 29, 2021. The company says orders must be placed no later than January 30, 2020 (spotted by Anandtech).

The Itanium 9700 line of four- and eight-core processors represents the last vestiges of Intel's attempt to switch the world to an entirely new processor architecture: IA-64. Instead of being a 64-bit extension to IA-32 ("Intel Architecture-32," Intel's preferred name for x86-compatible designs), IA-64 was an entirely new design built around what Intel and HP called "Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing" (EPIC).

High performance processors of the late 1990s—both the RISC processors in the Unix world and Intel's IA-32 Pentium Pros—were becoming increasingly complicated pieces of hardware. The instruction sets the processors used were essentially serial, describing a sequence of operations to be performed one after the other. Executing instructions in that exact serial order limits performance (because each instruction must wait for its predecessor to be finished), and it turns out isn't actually necessary.

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Nintendo Makes It Clear That Piracy Is Only Way to Preserve Video Game History

Source: Hacker News

Article note: We're designing technology to pull up the ladder after itself, and that is destructive to culture - though it is starting to teach people to defend themselves against the behavior. Also, on the same day as Microsoft had a widespread xbox one local-function outage because of a network problem, a la "A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn't even know existed can render your own computer unusable."
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Add limits to amount of JavaScript that can be loaded by a website

Source: Hacker News

Article note: This proposal is one of those "insane proposal to start discussion" things, but the basic idea of "resource-limit web pages by default" is actually really interesting, and sort of appealing.
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Intel bidding 6 billion bucks for networking firm Mellanox – reports

Source: The Register

Article note: That buy would stir shit up. Mellanox-sourced Infiniband is the default "I have more money than sense" option (and hence the dominant species at the high end), and Intel's OmniPath is the credible-est competitor, so this would put Intel in posession of all the conservative-but-expensive semi-COTS networking. I wonder if they'd get into antitrust trouble?

Ethernet and InfiniBand kit would be tempting for Chipzilla

Intel has offered up to $6bn to buy Israeli InfiniBand and Ethernet networking manufacturer Mellanox, according to local reports.…

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Google revamps Gmail for Android and iOS

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Expanses of eye-searing whiteness, with no visual cues for what is interactive. Your design language is bad and you should feel bad.
  • The new Gmail. Also, wow, Google remembered that Android tablets exist. [credit: Google ]
Since the launch of Android P, Google has been hard at work rolling out its new "Google Material Theme" design language across all of its products. Desktop Gmail got its big redesign early in 2018, and this week is mobile Gmail's turn. On its official blog today, Google announced the new Gmail mobile design for Android and iOS. We only have a few basic pictures to go on right now, but like every other Google Material redesign, the new Gmail app is best described as "white and round." Google's new design language uses the stark white Google.com homepage as inspiration, so its new apps are almost entirely devoid of color. The big red header from the old Gmail app has been swapped out for a white search bar, so the only touches of color are from contact pictures, labels, and attachments. Besides the new color scheme, Google says you'll be able to "quickly view attachments—like photos—without opening or scrolling through the conversation." The top search bar promotes search more, and it also houses your profile icon on the right side, which lets you change accounts faster.
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“Learn to Code”: The Meme Attacking Media

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I have to say, I think this one is pretty funny, in a "turnabout is fair play" sort of way. Media outlets have been doing the "Your career is obsolete, find a new one, learn to code, that won't collapse like the rust belt" thing to the various blue-collar bases they find to condescend to, being told it as their industry collapses from at least a decade of management decisions and cultural drift ('member "pivot to video"? 'member the 3mb of ads and spyware the average news pageload tries to download? ) seems in keeping.
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