Monday, July 22


Daily News Stuff 22 July 2019

1,702,001,293 And Counting Edition

Tech News

  • More new websites are created every hour than existed in 1994.  (Internet Live Stats)

    Stop that.  Stop that right now.

    Half of all the websites in the world were created in 2016.

  • Dietary supplements are the new micro SD card.  (Ars Technica)

    Look for the "ships from and sold by" tagline, and even then double-check what you actually receive.

  • No.  No they can't.  Stop asking.  (Ars Technica)

    Even in 1994 they couldn't do that, not with a complete printed list of every website in the world.

  • The hackers hacked.  (ZDNet)

    A contractor for the Russian FSB got hacked and 7.5TB of hacking tools and related data exfiltrated and uploaded to PornHub.  I may have added that last part.

  • George sold his face for five lousy bucks and all he got was...  Wait, that doesn't work.  (ZDNet)

    "Truthfully, I didn't read the full waiver thing."

    Don't be George.

  • The C256 Foenix is an interesting project.

    It takes a 14MHz 65C816 - the same chip used (at a rather lower clock speed) in the Apple IIGS, adds three Altera MAX10 FPGAs for video, sound, and system control, and 6MB of static RAM.

    It is not, despite the choice of CPU, compatible with the C64 or C128.  It's not directly compatible with anything.

    The motherboard - the product of a single engineer - is a work of art that I'd like to frame and hang on my wall.  But it costs $299, so that probably won't happen.

    I can understand why it costs that much.  Not only is doing this a lot of work, there's quite the bill of materials there.  Apart from the CPU and the three FPGAs (each about A$11) there's three 2MB SRAM chips which could run to $15 a piece.

    You can see the DVI encoder chip too, though I can't tell the part number.

    Then there's a whole bunch of connectors - DVI-I (avoiding the HDMI tax), serial, parallel, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, MIDI in and out, a floppy connector, an MMC card slot, four joystick ports, and stereo RCA jacks for audio in and out.  Every one of those adds cost.

    The weak part is the 65C816 CPU, which is actually reasonable fast compared to, say, the 8MHz 68000 found in the original Macintosh (let alone a 4.77MHz 8088), but a pain in the bum to program.

    The MAX10 FPGAs are quite nice.  They cost a bit more than the Lattice iCE40 ($11.06 for the cheapest useful part vs. $5.51) , but they are much faster (450MHz vs. 125MHz) and have much more internal RAM.  The cheapest iCE40 parts have none, but above that they have between 64 and 128 kbits.  Which is enough (for example) for colour lookup tables and video FIFOs.

    The cheapest MAX10 has 96 kbits, so it's in the same ballpark.  The next model MAX10 up, costing $17.12, has 1248 kbits, nearly 10 times the largest iCE40 model.  Also, the MAX10 is configured in internal flash, so you don't need an external SPI ROM or to configure it from the CPU.

    I'm not keen on using an FPGA if I don't have to.  They're neat, no question, and can do things that would otherwise soak up a ton of CPU time, but it takes a lot of effort to get even a modestly complex design working right.

  • The cheapest and easiest way to add HDMI output to a device might well be a Raspberry Pi Zero...  But the HDMI association would probably insist you pay for a license anyway.

    The Pi Compute module, though, is interesting.

Video of the Day

Watching experts struggle with things that should be simple is a whole new under-explored genre.  This time other Linus doesn't drop a $10,000 CPU though.

Picture of the Day

Well, it's a design for a possible prototype.  Fully routed, but it doesn't let me directly get at the CPU's video and networking capabilities.

Disclaimer: F the PGA.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:39 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Posted by: Mauser at Monday, July 22 2019 09:49 PM (Ix1l6)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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