Monday, October 04


Daily News Stuff 4 October 2021

Bite Me Edition

Top Story

  • New research suggest that the Wuhan Bat Flu may have come from the Wuhan Bat Market and not from the Wuhan Bat Virus Factory across the road according to a paper published by the Wuhan Bat Virus Factory.  (LA Times / Yahoo News)

    A second paper from France that - the article kind of slides past this - has not actually been published anywhere concurs.

    The article is 90% just the LA Times sniping at CNN, but that has a certain charm in itself.

Tech News

Disclaimer: They said it was mad to build a space station in the middle of nowhere, but they did! And it sank into the swamp! (actually, it blew up) So, they took the debris and built Babylon 2 and that sank into the swamp too. SO, they started again and built Babylon 3! It blew up, caught on fire and sank into the swamp. Babylon 4, though – it held! Didn’t blow up, didn’t burn up and it did NOT sink into the swamp. It did, however, disappear without a trace but Babylon 5 â€“ now there was a space station!!!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:35 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 347 words, total size 3 kb.

1 It feels like the author of that Jalopnik article doesn't really believe the automakers, but what I really like is the semi-implied claim that bigger nodes are more expensive, when we've been hearing for the last several years how the new smaller nodes that are starting to need EUV just so they can pattern the chips, cost far, far more than the old ones.  They can't *both* be more expensive.

And I do like the nearly-requiring-a-fainting-couch assertion that power window chips (?) are on the decrepit 45- or even 90-nm nodes.  Nobody tell them that there are plenty of chips still made on 130nm and larger.  I've been looking to see what the most recent generation of Arm Cortex-M microcontrollers use and I haven't found any, but commonly-used ones like STM32F4s and the SAMD21 and '51 used in Arduinos and Adafruit boards and the like seem to be 130nm or even larger.  (There's a Wikipedia article that purports to list all the active foundries in the world, and none of the Microchip foundries (that make the SAMDs) are smaller than 130nm, according to that article.  (I use the Cortex-Ms as sort of a proxy for things like ECUs based on an article I read a few months ago, that I can't find any more, that gave an approximation of node, transistor counts, and clock speed, that were in the ballpark of those ARM controllers.)

Posted by: Rick C at Tuesday, October 05 2021 12:06 AM (Z0GF0)

2 I heard speculation a while back that there's no way Apple will call the next desktop chip "M1X", because that would imply it's just an upgrade to the M1, when it's widely expected to have twice as many CPU cores, and maybe a lot more GPU cores as well, so they're more likely to position it as a generational leap.  That seems reasonable to me, but WTFTech does love calling it the M1X as if Tim Cook personally told them that's what it's called.

Posted by: Rick C at Tuesday, October 05 2021 12:10 AM (Z0GF0)

3 In fairness to jalopnik, they're part of the same family of vicious retards as jezebel and deadspin, so the author of the piece was probably simply given a subject and tone by someone even stupider than "theyself".  "Just try to like literally scare people about this issue, okay?  Like make it seem like really important and like really bad at like literally the same time, can you like do that?"

Posted by: normal at Tuesday, October 05 2021 04:01 AM (LADmw)

4 I am wary of a Babylon 5 reboot, because it might be where JMS' inherent leftism turns into full-blown SJW.

Of course, given the relative lack of success of his foray into writing comics, perhaps this is for the best.

Posted by: cxt217 at Tuesday, October 05 2021 11:36 AM (MuaLM)

5 I /am/ going to watch the original B5 before I even think of touching the reboot.

And, I find myself wanting to rave at the 'update the chips in the cars' folks.  Do they get how complicated cars are?  Do they understand what that means for design projects?  How awful that makes part inventories and logistics at the volumes they work at?  Do they understand data on service life, mechanical reliability, or quality control in manufacturing?  Do they even understand the significance of the wiring harness, and how terrible they are?

It is the 21st century, and it is fine if we still use analog circuits for some things.  It is fine if we still use vacuum tubes for some things.  If we have a lot of old equipment, parts are still cheap, and we have a lot of people who can maintain it, we do not necessarily have to upgrade to something 'better'.  We do not need for everything to have a network connection all the way to H3ll and back, so that the gremlins can work from the comfort of home.

Okay, that is a bit hypocritical coming from me.  I do hang around some people who are into some digital and solid state stuff, and they have a point about it being cool. 

Posted by: PatBuckman at Tuesday, October 05 2021 01:28 PM (r9O5h)

6 "And, I find myself wanting to rave at the 'update the chips in the cars' folks. Do they get how complicated cars are?"

No.  Or, rather, they don't realize the amount of testing and validation necessary to be sure that putative new designs work and are safe and reliable.  The article, to its credit, touches on this.

As proof of my claim, I submit the Intel idiot's comment about selling them all the 16nm chips they want.  Intel, you will recall, is the company that was stuck at 14 for like 5 years, and it took 3 generations on 10nm--laptop only, and the first generation sucked (and consisted of one single chip, which was only ever sold in cheap laptops in China), and the second wasn't very good--before they are finally, this fall, ready to release (hopefully) good desktop chips at that node.  They have no excuse for not realizing how hard it is.

Disclaimer:  final.stats

Posted by: Rick C at Tuesday, October 05 2021 02:10 PM (Z0GF0)

7 BTW, here's something funny about the chip shortages:  Microchip's atsamd21 line, the Cortex M0+ used in the ARM Arduino lines, as well as Adafruit's Arduinoalikes (and Sparkfun and lots of other people) had...interesting...shortages.  The first ones to disappear were the models Adafruit uses.  The ones with less flash & RAM were around for a lot longer, as were the ones with a slightly different pinout--I got a small pile of them.  Also, QFN is slightly harder to work with for the hobbyist than QFP, and were available by the thousands long after the QFP ones disappeared.  (I got a bunch of QFNs by virtue of seeing a handful of videos of people using things like electric skillets to, essentially, wave-solder QFN, which is a lot easier than trying to do it by hand.)  Pro tip:  if you have approximately normal human dexterity, don't be afraid of QFN, although practice first with QFP.  (The difference, to save people having to look it up, is that  QFP has pins around the outside, like you're used to seeing, and QFN doesn't; the "pins" are just tiny pads on the underside, so it's hard to get to them with a soldering iron.  The trick is to use solder in paste form and then heat it with hot air or something like a skillet.)

Posted by: Rick C at Tuesday, October 05 2021 02:16 PM (Z0GF0)

8 Also, Pixy, is the site code supposed to process s fleeb stuff even without the square brackets?  Because "final.stats" isn't what I typed.

Posted by: Rick C at Tuesday, October 05 2021 02:17 PM (Z0GF0)

9 Serves you right for sfleebing all over the place.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, October 05 2021 04:51 PM (PiXy!)

10 "Do they understand data on service life, mechanical reliability, or quality control in manufacturing?" Remember, Intel is the company that had a serious hardware based security flaw (Meltdown) that impacted over 25 years worth of product, billions of processors. There were some pretty widespread suspicions that it was intentional to drive up performance metrics to improve sales and make competition look worse.

Posted by: StargazerA5 at Wednesday, October 06 2021 02:56 AM (uii8N)

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

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