Category Archives: News

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RISC-V: The Last ISA?

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I went to the RISC-V BoF at SC22 this week and ... lost most of my interest in RISC-V. Aside from the unusual vector extension style they chose being ...likely not an effective choice for efficiently extracting parallelism... quite some time ago now, the big problem I (and apparently half the room there) see coming is the _enormous_ enthusiasm for a combinitoric explosion of bespoke ISA extensions with no coherent plan for compiler and library support. If every RISC-V "HPC" feature is gated behind some mutually-exclusive bullshit proprietary LLVM fork or spray of pragmas, no one is going to use them, because the compiler and library writers won't use them, and all software will be compiled against the not-very-inspiring base profile, making it more-or-less interchangeable with any other general purpose CPU design, but less mature.
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Slingboxes, streaming video way before it was cool, go dark tomorrow

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: As proven by the fact that the FOSS "Slinger" client works independent of the servers as long as you extract your device ID before the cloud bullshit shuts down, there is a more graceful solution than "lock in to brick." I assume someone will find a hardware method after, but not many folks will be willing to screw around with that. Sling did, to their credit, give years of advance warning, but did not push an update to tether devices so it's in the middle of the "Internet of shit shutdown assholery" scale.
The original Slingbox, on display at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show. Key indicators this was a long time ago include the Toshiba Satellite laptop used for the demonstration (and the giant glossy UI buttons).

Enlarge / The original Slingbox, on display at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show. Key indicators this was a long time ago include the Toshiba Satellite laptop used for the demonstration (and the giant glossy UI buttons). (credit: Getty Images)

Slingbox, the device and service that was into streaming digital television long before the world was ready for it, will die a cloud-based server death Wednesday, November 9. The service was nearly 17 years old.

Sling Media announced two years ago that the Slingbox would be discontinued, noting that "all Slingbox devices and services will become inoperable." The reason given was decreased demand. Being able to watch the video that would normally be on your television on a non-television screen was a novel—and legally contentious—thing back when Sling started in 2005. Today, there is more content than you can possibly watch in a lifetime, available on devices that can connect from almost anywhere, willingly offered by every major media company and sports league.

Sling was born out of two rich fields: General Magic, the Apple spinoff company where founder Blake Krikorian worked in the early 1990s, and San Francisco Giants baseball in 2002. Krikorian and his brother, Jason, traveled frequently back then while building their own consulting firm. The Giants were headed to the World Series that year, and the Krikorian brothers wanted to watch, or at least listen. They found that they were either blacked out by local broadcast agreements or asked to pay additional fees to stream the games on top of the cable and Internet they already paid for at home.

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Microsoft is Showing Ads in the Windows 11 Sign-Out Menu

Source: Slashdot

Article note: Microsoft has been experimenting with turning their OS into an ad delivery platform for years, I think they're just trying to wear everyone down with little incursions until the fatigue suppresses the outrage.

Microsoft is now promoting some of its products in the sign-out flyout menu that shows up when clicking the user icon in the Windows 11 start menu. BleepingComputer: This new Windows 11 "feature" was discovered by Windows enthusiast Albacore, who shared several screenshots of advertisement notifications in the Accounts flyout. The screenshots show that Microsoft promotes the OneDrive file hosting service and prods users to create or complete their Microsoft accounts. Those reacting to this on social media had an adverse reaction to Redmond's decision to display promotional messages in the start menu. Some said that Windows 11 is "getting worse in each and every update it gets," while others added that this is a weird choice given that "half of the Start Menu is for recommendations" anyway. BleepingComputer has also tried replicating this on multiple Windows 11 systems, but we didn't get any ads. This hints at an A/B testing experiment trying to gauge the success of such a "feature" on devices running Windows Insider builds or the company pushing such ads to a limited set of customers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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LGP-30 found in basement, the same model of drum computer programmed by “Mel”

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Holy _shit_ what a find. An LGP30 with the matching terminal. TWO PDP8e s.
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Windows 11 PowerToy now lets you find out which processes are using the file

Source: OSNews

Article note: Oh cool, "fuser" for NT. That's... actually surprising there wasn't a good integrated tool. The NT process/file tooling is generally quite nice, if historically hard to script. It made me look at the history of fuser, and that resulted in an hour digging down a dumb rabbit hole to conclude: fuser's history is ...special. Thread that got me started looking: https://www.mail-archive.com/austin-group-l%40opengroup.org/msg08606.html It is present in POSIX.1 (IEEE Std 1003.1-2001) ... but the POSIX compliant output is a ludicrous fucking disaster of intermixed stderr and stdout. https://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799.2013edition/utilities/fuser.html : "The fuser utility shall write to standard output the process IDs of processes running on the local system that have one or more named files open. For block special devices, all processes using any file on that device are listed. The fuser utility shall write to standard error additional information about the named files indicating how the file is being used." It is not in IEEE Std 1003.2-1992. It was added to the single UNIX specification in SUSv2 Issue 5 (1997) which is how it ended up in POSIX. It was in the SVID from the beginning in 1985 ( http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/att/unix/System_V_Release_1/301-926_UNIX_System_V_Release_1_Administators_Manual_Jun82.pdf ). The BSD lineage mostly seems to have declared it fugly and ignored it, FreeBSD didn't spring it until 9.0 in 2012 and NetBSD still doesn't have one - they suggest the "fstat" utility instead. MacOS sprung one in ~2007 to get UNIX03 certified. And the one shipped with most Linux systems is from psmisc not part of coreutils.

Microsoft’s PowerToys for Windows 11 and Windows 10 has been updated with a new feature called ‘File LockSmith’. So what exactly is File Locksmith? In technical terms, it is a Windows shell extension that lets you check which files are in use and by which processes.

Up until today, it was not possible to find out which particular process is using the file on Windows. While Task Manager lets you eliminate processes, it cannot tell you what’s using your files or preventing file transfer. In fact, File Explorer will block your attempts to delete a file or folder in use by a process or app.

I lost count of how many times Windows would just stubbornly refuse to delete a file or directory because it was in use by some process, while not telling me which damn process we’re dealing with. Isn’t it absolutely bananas that it’s 2022 and you have to download some shell extension to get this basic functionality?

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The most unethical thing I was asked to build while working at Twitter in 2015

Source: Hacker News

Article note: The real kick is "We should know when users leave their house, their commute to work, and everywhere they go throughout the day. Anything less is useless. We get a lot more than that from other tech companies." That is _vile_, and was apparently accepted practice already in 2015. The rise of the Consumer Computer has been a disaster.
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C isn’t a programming language anymore

Source: Hacker News

Article note: The language-agnostic platform bindings problem is a _huge problem_. C is a horrible tool for it, but no one has ever really come up with something better, in large part because the higher-level langues that have a hard time with it...just punt the details to the platform, who has (in almost all modern OSes) defined them in C. It _is_ fun to think about what else we could do. The interfaces could be a declarative description language with a easier to deal with parser (if a thousand legacy systems and all new ones agreed to do a bunch of extra work to make that happen). The interfaces (at a cost of massive implementation complication and performance penalty) could be an interrogatable message-passing interface (think dbus). Etc.
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Quantum winter is coming

Source: Hacker News

Article note: It's one of several hype-cycles overdue for breaking.
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Microsoft Mulls Cheap PCs Supported by Ads, Subs

Source: Slashdot

Article note: Anyone remember the i-Opener? One of the horseman of the dotcom crash? There it is again.

The Register: A number of job postings -- including this now-closed ad from late September for a principal software engineering manager -- are looking for engineers and others to become part of the "newly formed Windows Incubation team" whose mission is to "build a new direction for Windows in a cloud first world." The lofty goal is to "move Windows to a place that combines the benefits of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to offer more compute resources on demand and creates a hybrid app model that spans from on-premises to the cloud." According to the ad, it also includes "building a Web-based shell with direct integration with Windows 365." Included in the possible models are low-cost PCs available via subscriptions, with advertising helping to offset some of the costs. (Also mentioned in the job are direct-to-cloud devices.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Linux Boot Partitions

Source: Hacker News

Article note: The ESP will be a feeble vfat partition, which is typically too small to realistically use for storing kernel images... so you should use it, or a second, also vfat partition, to store our even-bigger UKI kernel images. What?
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