Article note: ...because it didn't work for shit.
It turns out "series of grams statistically similar to what a human would write" and "A human trying to write like they think is expected of them" are nigh-indistinguishable. Especially if you have multiple weighting nets available and/or reseeding - which we do.
It spells doom for the "Write about nothing" paper as a non-cheesable assignment. I'm not entirely sure that's a problem, those usually didn't involve a lot of thinking anyway.
Article note: Majestic. 13 solenoids for output, photo-interrupters for input, all interacting with selector bails, a little micro between a bank of FETs and a level shifter to glue it together electrically and some 3D printed bits to glue it together mechanically. The anachronistic (and not hideously expensive) 2741 every good nerd thinks about when they look at a Selectric.
If there’s only lesson to be learned from [alnwlsn]’s conversion of an IBM Selectric typewriter into a serial terminal for Linux, it’s that we’ve been hanging around the wrong garbage cans. Because that’s where he found the donor machine for this project, and it wasn’t even the first one he’s come across in the trash. The best we’ve ever done is a nasty old microwave.
For being a dumpster find, the Selectric II was actually in pretty decent shape. The first couple of minutes of the video after the break show not only the minimal repairs needed to get the typewriter back on its feet, but also a whirlwind tour of the remarkably complex mechanisms that turn keypresses into characters on the page. As it turns out, knowing how the mechanical linkages work is the secret behind converting the Selectric into a teletype, entirely within the original enclosure and with as few modifications to the existing mechanism as possible.
Keypresses are mimicked with a mere thirteen solenoids — six for the “latch interposers” that interface with the famous whiffletree mechanism that converts binary input to a specific character on the typeball, and six more that control thinks like the cycle bail and control keys. The thirteenth solenoid controls an added bell, because every good teletype needs a bell. For sensing the keypresses — this is to be a duplex terminal, after all — [alnwlsn] pulled a page from the Soviet Cold War fieldcraft manual and used opto-interrupters to monitor the positions of the latch interposers as keys are pressed, plus more for the control keys.
The electronics are pretty straightforward — a bunch of MOSFETs to drive the solenoids, plus an AVR microcontroller. The terminal speaks RS-232, as one would expect, and within the limitations of keyboard and character set differences over the 50-odd years since the Selectric was introduced, it works fantastic as a Linux terminal. The back half of the video is loaded with demos, some of which aptly demonstrate why a lot of Unix commands look the way they do, but also some neat hybrid stuff, like a ChatGPT client.
Hats off to [alnwlsn] for tackling a difficult project while maintaining the integrity of the original hardware.
Article note: Free space optical networking is always nifty. This is a _drastically_ more sophisticated/complicated protocol stack than most of the other recent interesting ones (802.11bb implies a whole ass 802.11 stack!) and it sounds like all the compliant implementations are rather expensive right now, but it's neat.
So long as there's nothing blocking the space between your receiver and the lightbulb you've fashioned into a LiFi access point. Or you don't need to turn the bulb off entirely to sleep. And you're willing to add a dongle and keep it pointed the right way, at least for the moment.
But LiFi, or 802.11bb, isn't really meant to replace Wi-Fi, but complement it—a good thing for a technology theoretically nullified by a sheet of printer paper. In an announcement of the standard's certification by IEEE (spotted on PC Gamer) and on LiFiCO's FAQ page, the LED-based wireless standard is pitched as an alternative for certain use cases. LiFi could be useful when radio frequencies are inhibited or banned, when the security of the connection is paramount, or just whenever you want speed-of-light transfer at the cost of line-of-sight alignment.
Article note: All software preservation is under-managed, though games are particularly culturally relevant. And that is the point, copyright is to encourage things to enter and be available to the culture, and if the legal regime is not accomplishing that goal, it should be renegotiated.
Anyone with a passing interest in retro games knows the bulk of classic video game history is effectively "out of print," with legitimate copies limited to defunct hardware platforms and secondhand physical copies (if you're lucky). Now, in a first-of-its-kind study, the Video Game History Foundation has determined the full extent of this issue, finding that a full 87 percent of games released in the US before 2010 are no longer commercially available.
This vast expanse of out-of-print games isn't exactly "lost," of course; libraries, archives, and even software pirates have helped ensure the games will continue to be accessible in some form. But the VGHF argues persuasively that the poor market availability of reissued games highlights how the game industry is not doing a sufficient job of preserving access to its own history.
"The industry has done a great job re-commercializing a wide catalog of [popular] titles, but for the vast majority of games, we can't rely on the commercial market to solve this," VGHF Library Director and study author Phil Salvador told Ars in a recent interview. "We need to give libraries and archives more tools to get the job done."
Article note: I've been saying RHEL is only relevant because it's an agreed-upon standard with an adequately slow rate of change. Entities want to be able to easily use code and documentation from elsewhere, and easily hire experts to support it (1). Some of that is inertia driven, but nothing else about it really matters. Thinking they can generate their own network effects is a really classic IBM blunder (2).
Much of RH's historical relevance was basically "RedHat exists to launder Linux for the National Labs" and that basis is not a terribly deep moat - hell the big physics centers maintained their Scientific Linux fork for 16 years before fully shifting onto CentOS then getting rug-pulled... which is not the kind of relationship maintenance you want to do with the customers whose network effects create your value proposition.
The death condition for RH is if the Alma/Rocky CentOS community successors and the Oracle type commercial clones all agreed to a different reference point for "Standard Enterprise Linux"(3), and the big producers of code people want to use (your large Physics centers and and NIH scientific compute projects, and/or the shared infrastructure like OpenHPC) tracked that other reference point, suddenly RH brand EL is mostly irrelevant.
SuSE running their own EL fork is interesting because there was not an obvious successor reference point to coordinate the non-RH ELs and/or major users if they have trouble tracking RHEL, and now there kind of is - it'll be really interesting to see what happens if there is any divergence.
(1) The support point is "why not Debian," they've never had the commercial support partners, certs, etc. Having that was a huge part Ubuntu/Canonical's proposition, but they never really got the enterprise/scientific compute/HPC penetration that RH has.
(2) Ya'll remember PS/2 and MCA (Micro Channel Architecture)? IBM was gonna take back control of the PC industry by setting an new (much more license controlled) standard and... the PC cloner industry set up outside coordination points and end-ran them with EISA/VLB and eventually PCI.
(3) It might not get called SEL for SuSE or Standard because that would be confusing/trademark problems with the adjacent-industry Schneider Electric. I half jokingly translate the "Enterprise Linux" terminology into "Srs Bsns Linux" some of the time anyway, so the name game will surely be funny.
Back in early 2010 I posted about my home espresso setup at the time. I recently (finally) replaced it, and I have thoughts. Obnoxious, obsessive, thoughts.
The TL;DR is that I bought a Breville Bambino espresso machine and a Turin SK40 grinder, the former is good, the latter is really good, but there is plenty of rambling and pictures and such below the fold.
I’ve been playing some Tunic the last few days, because the Steam Summer Sale managed to poke me at just the right moment to get an impulse buy. I was interested enough that I paid $20 for a game that came out like a year ago instead of my usual “Wait until I can pick it up for a few dollars and run it on a contemporary potato” gaming strategy.
It’s very to my taste, and I’m enjoying it, but it is, in classic self-indulgent indie game fashion, “Video game tropes: the game.” Not that there’s anything wrong with making things for your own in-group, but it winks so hard you start to wonder about a palsy.
The visual style and gameplay nod to everything. Fez. The whole Zelda franchise. Soulsbornes. Some Monument Valley style geometry illusion/architectural environmental storytelling. Bunches of stereotypical Supergiant details. It’s never met a game trope it didn’t like. They executed and integrated pretty well though, and I am in the market segment that connects to the references. [Ed: Oh look. Some Half Life 2 Citadel and more explicit Chrono Trigger refs late(?) game!]
It’s not …quite… as self-indulgent as Lenna’s Inception (same kind of 2D Zeldalike vein, did it a few summers ago, had slightly more fun than irritation about how hard it was sniffing its own farts), and it’s far more modern and sophisticated than the various Solarus engine games. The visual style is both cuter and more spectacular than either.
It also has the classic indie game feature of being relatively graphically simple, built on a major engine, and still being kind of a resource hog … though I’m playing on Linux via Proton/DXVK, on a workstation-model Polaris12 GPU, so some of the “Barely holding 24fps at 720p on a system that can do way more visually impressive games” is probably my fault [Ed: performance issue suddenly fixed after update and reboot, must have been a driver/system state thing]. I will say, having not played many commercial game for the last few years, the progress with transparent, performant functionality out of the Proton ecosystem is really impressive.