Wednesday, November 06


Daily News Stuff 6 November 2019

Duck Fat Edition

Tech News

  • Intel goes chiplets.  (AnandTech)

    Not with CPUs, at least not yet, but with their new high-end FPGA, which has two logic dies and four I/O dies.

  • Dell has a professional 4K monitor too.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's a little dull compared with the Asus ProArt - literally so, with a narrower colour gamut and lower brightness.  But it does include two ThunderBolt ports and six USB 3.2 ports, and an integrated colorimeter.  Plus at $1999 it's half the price.

  • Intel's Cascade Lake AP CPU - the one you can't buy - is 84% faster than AMD's Epyc unless it isn't.  (WCCFTech)

    And in this case, it definitely isn't.  (Serve the Home)

    The key benchmark highlighted here is an old version that treated Epyc 2 the same as Epyc 1.  But Epyc 2 - and Zen 2 generally - in fact has double the floating point performance of Epyc 1.  An updated version of the benchmark that is aware of Zen 2 is already available, but Intel didn't use it.

  •  Xerox is looking at buying HP.  (WSJ)

    Since the former HP has now fissioned into three at least four separate companies - the consumer and printer company HP, the enterprise company HPE, the biomedical lab equipment company Agilent, and the test and measurement company Keysight - we need to be specific, and Xerox is just looking to buy the first of these.

  • Libra is poo, argues one engineer.

    The first point, about the uselessness of BFT on a permissioned network, is granted, but Facebook have argued that they want to be able to transition Libra to a permissionless model, which would necessitate BFT.  Now that transition may never happen, but without supporting BFT from the beginning, that's guaranteed.

    The second point on transaction privacy is also granted, because how the hell else can it work?  Well, I suppose you could have regional shards so that at least any single transaction is only subject to one set of banking privacy laws and not all the laws in the world.  In fact, that would make sense.  It would also help with scaling.  It would also be really complicated.

    Third is that it can't scale to the size of existing payment processing backbones.  Indeed Facebook haven't claimed that it can, promising peak transaction rates about half the average rate handled by Visa alone.  But that is still two orders of magnitude more than Ethereum can handle, so Libra still has value even if it falls far short of the ideal.

    Fourth is that the Move language - at least as it is currently implemented - is unsound.  Here he seems to be on much firmer ground, and unless he is factually wrong the language is currently not even a true proof of concept.  Given what he says about Solidity, the Ethereum programming language, which I have worked with:
    These are typically done in a shockingly badly designed language called Solidity, which from an academic PL perspective, makes PHP look like a work of genius.
    I am inclined to believe that he has the facts straight here and Move, at present, is inadequate for the task.

    Fifth is that the cryptography stack used by Libra has not bee audited, and very much needs to be, given that it uses several novel techniques.  It may be fine, but a detailed audit is essential.

    And sixth and last, it has no capacity for reversing payments.  This one is a little odd for a permissioned system, since by its very nature Libra embodies arbiters, unlike Ethereum where nobody trusts anyone else because nobody knows anyone else.

  • The problem with Apple TV+ is Apple TV.  (9To5Mac)

    Apple TV+ is only available via Apple's TV app, and Apple's TV app is...  Bad.

    It also doesn't work at all on Windows, Linux, ChromeOS, or Android, locking Apple out of about three billion devices.

    Also, it has a total of 8 shows available.  Seriously.  8.

  • Alexa, Siri, and Google smart speakers are open to attack from lasers.  (ZDNet)

    Is that burning plastic I smell?

    Basically, an attacker can zap the microphone with a modulated laser, and the microphone will interpret it as voice commands, without anything being audible.  You need line of sight to the device, and a steady hand, but otherwise it's open season.

  • Samsung is shutting down its Arm CPU design operation.  (Android Authority)

    They just recently announced their M5 core, but it seems it will be the last of its line.  Samsung will still make Arm chips, but it will license the cores from Arm rather than designing them itself.

Disclaimer: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:00 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 " An updated version of the benchmark that is aware of Zen 2 is already available, but Intel didn't use it."
Heh.  Hands up, everyone who didn't see that coming.

Posted by: Rick C at Wednesday, November 06 2019 11:25 PM (eHWT1)

2 Duck Fat Edition
We're just big boned.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Thursday, November 07 2019 07:46 PM (EXhwA)

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

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