Monthly Archives: June 2021

Kubernetes a black hole of unpredictable spend, according to new report

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Cloud container orchestration is where complexity fetishism meets rent-seeking as a service.
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Intel to disable TSX by default on more CPUs with new microcode

Source: Hacker News

Article note: ...Wow, that's a hard abandon. Transactional Memory has always been supremely difficult to get right, so it's not super shocking, but it's still a wild ride. They retroactively microcode-removed the "earlier buggy" implementation from most Haswell through Broadwell parts in 2014, they stopped including it in new parts from Comet Lake (2019) on, and now they're removing it for a bunch of products from the Skylake through Coffee Lake era in between with microcode updates... which is basically going back and erasing it.
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Source: Hacker News

Article note: Sad. Near (Byuu for most of the time they were notable, author of bsnes, higan, etc.) was ...super weird and uncomfortable in themselves in ways obvious to even a casual observer... but they were the kind of weird that drove them to be insanely productive at valuable things very few people are suited to tackle.
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Mike Gravel, former Alaska senator and dark horse presidential candidate, has died at 91

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: Bummer. He was one of the only high-profile approximate left libertarians in the US, his 2008 Democratic presidential primary run was the last time someone [vaguely credibly] ran for president without any major issue I had to had to hold my nose on.

Mike Gravel, former Alaska senator and dark horse presidential candidate, has died at 91

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Dell SecureAssist contained RCE flaw allowing miscreants to remotely reflash your BIOS with code of their creation

Source: The Register

Article note: FFS Dell. Your remote support tools work as RCEs more often than they actually work for their intended purpose.

And it affects 129 models of PC and laptop... or about 30 million computers

A chain of four vulnerabilities in Dell's SupportAssist remote firmware update utility could let malicious people run arbitrary code in no fewer than 129 different PCs and laptops models – while impersonating Dell to remotely upload a tampered BIOS.…

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MS Teams Switches from AngularJS to React, Ditches Electron.

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Oh shit yes (as long as it doesn't crap up the cross-platform-ness). Maybe it won't take more resources to be on teams than the _entire goddamn development VM_ I'm usually running at the same times.
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Windows 11 is much more than a new theme slapped onto Windows 10

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: - Joined the teams of "UX professionals" who don't appear know Fitt's law and don't appreciate muscle memory with that centered re-flowing mess of a dock-like-task-bar. At least that looks fixable with settings. + Android apps as a supported software source?! (and not using Google's infrastructure) - Bottom-only taskbar (I'm a weirdo and kind of prefer that stuff at the top) ~ 11th mismatched set of UI styling. + Better snap tiling + Got rid of a bunch of unwanted Cortana integration + Got rid of a bunch of unwanted live tiles ~ Switched the integrated communication app to Teams - 64-bit only, probably requires a TPM2.0 for some feature I probably won't be happy about + Free Upgrade
The latest Windows focuses heavily on improved task management, prettier UI, and a much more ambitious Microsoft Store.

Enlarge / The latest Windows focuses heavily on improved task management, prettier UI, and a much more ambitious Microsoft Store. (credit: Microsoft)

Earlier this morning, we got our first official look at Windows 11 by way of Microsoft's What's New For Windows event. The new OS offers several significant, functional changes to what we've become accustomed to in Windows 10—this isn't just the same old operating system with a fresh coat of paint.

However, Windows 11 absolutely does get that fresh coat of paint. Its new desktop environment makes heavy use of translucent window dressing with rounded corners, an effect that brings to mind panes of frosted glass. In many ways, the new look is reminiscent of compiz-based Linux desktop environments circa 2010—but with significantly higher resolution and a more coherent overall theme.

Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay ties the new look to eyebrow-raising statements about emotion: "We understand the responsibility of [functionality and practicality] more than ever before, but it must also be personal—and maybe most importantly, it must feel emotional."

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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What the Supreme Court’s ‘cursing cheerleader’ decision means for students’ free speech rights

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: I wish they'd made a broader ruling like the earlier decision, or at least clearly parameterized when schools are allowed to police off-campus speech, but at least they did establish that schools have to come up with a compelling reason for policing of off-campus speech.

What the Supreme Court's 'cursing cheerleader' decision means for students' free speech rights

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PipeWire Under the Hood

Source: Hacker News

Article note: This is a lovely bit of documentation. PipeWire gives such a nice clean, uniform, UNIX-y abstraction over things that used to be handled by a variety of incompatible unsuitable abstractions, and is coming along startlingly quickly compared to most of the hacky things that preceded it.
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Supreme Court upholds payments to athletes

Source: Inside Higher Ed (news)

Article note: Student athletics is such bogus and exploitative arrangement, anything that helps break down the BS is a good thing.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled unanimously that the National Collegiate Athletic Association may not bar modest payments to athletes.

The court upheld a 2019 ruling by a federal district court judge, which in turn was endorsed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last year. The rulings all concern the Sherman Act, which bars monopolies by organizations in the United States.

As they often do, the justices took a measured approach. They chose not to seize a potential opportunity to challenge the NCAA's overall regulations limiting the value of scholarships and other compensation tied to athletic performance, which could have undermined the entire business model of college athletics.

But a concurring opinion by Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that such a reckoning for the NCAA and its financial model is likely ahead -- and that at least he eagerly wants it to be so.

The many rich traditions of college sports "cannot justify the NCAA’s decision to build a massive money-raising enterprise on the backs of student athletes who are not fairly compensated," Kavanaugh wrote. "Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law."

Kavanaugh's line of reasoning may suggest where the court might be heading, but it did not prevail Monday. Instead, Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, writing for the unanimous court, focused his analysis largely on reinforcing the district court's ruling in 2019 and the Ninth Circuit decision last year.

"Some will think the district court did not go far enough," Gorsuch wrote. "By permitting colleges and universities to offer enhanced education-related benefits, its decision may encourage scholastic achievement and allow student-athletes a measure of compensation more consistent with the value they bring to their schools. Still, some will see this as a poor substitute for fuller relief.

"At the same time," the decision added, "others will think the district court went too far by undervaluing the social benefits associated with amateur athletics. For our part, though, we can only agree with the Ninth Circuit: 'The national debate about amateurism in college sports is important. But our task as appellate judges is not to resolve it. Nor could we. Our task is simply to review the district court judgment through the appropriate lens of antitrust law.' That review persuades us the district court acted within the law’s bounds."

The Landscape for Athlete Compensation

The Supreme Court's ruling Monday represents the latest step in a long-standing effort by college athletes to challenge what they believe are unconstitutional (and immoral) restrictions on giving players a bigger share of an enterprise that produces many billions of dollars for colleges, conferences, coaches and the NCAA.

The case considered Monday, National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Shayne Alston, differs from (but is a relative to) the highly publicized lawsuits over whether athletes should be compensated for use of their name, image and likeness, an issue that is now playing out in state legislatures and potentially Congress.

The Alston case flows from a 2014 class action challenge by a group of college athletes to the association’s scholarship limits. That case sought to have the courts declare NCAA athletes to be employees whose compensation was being illegally constrained.

As that case and others wended their way through the courts, judges have both given the athletes meaningful victories and reined in their scope and seismic impact.

The 2019 federal court decision, for instance, ruled that the association could legitimately restrict the sports-related compensation that is part of the typical package allowed by the NCAA, including the scholarship, but deemed it an antitrust violation to limit academic-related expenses such as postgraduate scholarships, scientific or technology equipment, academic awards and internships, or study abroad.

The rulings in the lower courts chipped away at the NCAA’s decades-long history of amateurism without blowing it up, in ways that satisfied neither the NCAA nor many advocates for athletes’ rights.

Yet when the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling, the athletes chose not to appeal it to the Supreme Court, while the association did -- as Gorsuch describes it, “seeking immunity from the normal operations of the antitrust laws.”

Gorsuch writes that the athletes’ decision not to appeal the association’s other compensation rules gave the Supreme Court the option (which it embraced) to review only the limits on educational benefits.

The early part of Gorsuch’s ruling is a college sports history lesson that makes it clear that money has always been a core element of intercollegiate sports and that “those who run this enterprise profit in a different way than the student-athletes whose activities they oversee.”

The bulk of the decision features Gorsuch, one by one, slapping aside the NCAA’s many objections to the lower courts’ rulings as unfounded, and listing the ways in which the lower courts judiciously balanced the parties’ interests.

The NCAA, for instance, argues that it should have leeway to avoid antitrust scrutiny because the association and its members are not “commercial enterprises” and are engaged in the “societally important non-commercial objective” of providing higher education.

Gorsuch writes, “To the extent it means to propose a sort of judicially ordained immunity from the terms of the Sherman Act for its restraints of trade -- that we should overlook its restrictions because they happen to fall at the intersection of higher education, sports, and money -- we cannot agree. This Court has regularly refused materially identical requests from litigants seeking special dispensation from the Sherman Act on the ground that their restraints of trade serve uniquely important social objectives beyond enhancing competition.”

If Gorsuch’s overall message on behalf of the court was that the lower courts had struck a fair balance between the NCAA’s interests and those of the athletes in service of upholding federal antitrust law, Kavanaugh in his concurrence issued more of a threat to the powers that be in big-time college sports.

Kavanaugh notes that while the high court chose in the current case to limit its review to a narrow set of the NCAA’s compensation rules, Monday’s decision tees up a future challenge in which the association would have to “supply a legally valid procompetitive justification for its remaining compensation rules. As I see it, the NCAA may lack such a justification.”

He describes the NCAA’s amateurism argument as “circular and unpersuasive.”

“Specifically, the NCAA says that colleges may decline to pay student athletes because the defining feature of college sports, according to the NCAA, is that the student athletes are not paid,” Kavanaugh writes.

He adds, “Businesses like the NCAA cannot avoid the consequences of price-fixing labor by incorporating price-fixed labor into the definition of the product.”

Those issues may need to wait for another day, Kavanaugh suggests, but that day is coming.

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