Wednesday, August 14


Daily News Stuff 14 August 2019

Imagine Animal Farm Only It's The Chickens Who Take Over Edition

Tech News

  • Google is run by idiots.  (Wired)

    And staffed by lunatics.

    The Wired article repeatedly tries to suggest that some of the problems faced by Google over the past four years stem from outside causes, but the content makes it clear that it is all of their own doing.  One name in particular appears twenty-five times and in any competently run company would appear once followed by a note that that individual's contract was terminated for cause.

    The silver lining is that many of the worst of the lunatics resigned in protest over their idiotic tantrums being given due consideration i.e. ignored.  But the CEO of YouTube is one of the chief offenders, and she's still firmly in place and destroying shareholder value at a truly impressive rate.

  • A 3000-series Threadripper might have leaked out via Geekbench.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's a 32-core CPU with a base clock of 3.6GHz and 128MB of L3 cache, and there's only one company in the world producing chips like that.  The multi-core score is 15% faster than a 2990WX which is exactly where you'd expect it to be.

  • TechDirt is talking nonsense today.

  • Twitter says fuck you and your fucking edit button you fucking fucks.  (Paraphrased.)  (Tech Crunch)

    Meanwhile, Twitter announced a new feature that would sing users' timelines to them in three, four, or five-part harmony.

  • Why Medium sucks for programming articles.  (Medium)

  • Netflix is fucked.  (The Hollywood Reporter)

    That's what "inflection point" means, right?

  • Ethereum lagged in dapp users in Q2 but its price doubled.  (The Next Web)
    Despite price increase, it wasn't all plain sailing for Ethereum in Q2.
    No, you idiots, the problems were caused by the price increase.  If the price of Ethereum doubles, the cost of running a distributed app on the Ethereum blockchain also doubles.  How the hell is anyone supposed to absorb that?

  • Inside the world of "terrible" 3 cent microcontrollers.

    Which are actually pretty good.

Retrocomputing Journal

Microchip's A5 range, which is available for A$15 with 16MB of built-in RAM, has a rather nice display controller.  It supports a base layer, which is not just a fixed colour but a full frame buffer with up to 32-bit RGBA pixels, two overlays also with up to 32-bit RGBA, a high-end overlay with up to 32-bit RGBA or 4:4:4 YCrCb and colour space conversion, and a hardware cursor. 

The hardware cursor, it turns out, can be the full size of the screen and supports 32-bit RGBA.

All layers support alpha blending and chromakey, and the three overlays can be rotated, upscaled, and downscaled as needed.  And there's a post-processing unit that can take the resulting blended output and write it back into RAM for you - although the video output is turned off for one frame while it does that, so it's fine for screenshots but terrible for streaming gameplay sessions.

It also has a built-in Class-D amplifier for 16-bit audio.

What it lacks, though, is a blitter (the H750 and RZ/A1 have that), a JPEG encoder (which both the others also have), or a 2D GPU (which the A1M and A1H have, though not the A1L).

Also it's only available in BGA which makes prototyping extremely painful.

So the chip of choice to build a New Amiga remains the RZ/A1M (or A1H), except that it's rather expensive at around A$45.  The only reasonably priced source is Avnet (under A$30) and they're out of stock most of the time because they're the only reasonably priced source.  Update: Oh, yeah.  A$39.  The A$45 version is the automotive grade; I only really need that if I'm planning to run at an ambient temperature of 125C, in which case all my users would be dead.

The development kit is also pretty expensive.  It's aimed at building automation and automotive use, not hobbyists.  The H750 developer board was the price of a nice lunch; the RZ/A1 kit is the price of a month's worth of groceries.  Update: Found a developer board that's the price of a week's worth of groceries.

I'll be continuing with the H750 as a first project - it's much cheaper and much simpler - and if that succeeds will look at the RZ/A1M as a second system.  Which means it's doomed.

Disclaimer: Two legs good, four legs bad.

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

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