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Saturday Overnight Open Thread (7/1/23) | Main | 7/2/23 EMT
July 02, 2023

Daily Tech News 2 July 2023

Top Story

  • So Twitter is having a partly self-inflicted hissy fit this weekend. (The Verge)

    Allegedly because of site-scraping by the current plague of AI startups - which in my experience is entirely plausible - Twitter temporarily requires you to have an account to read the site, and has even put in place limits on how much you can read, post, reply, and like. Which I've run into even though I have a paid account.

    The site scraping thing is a plague. It is much cheaper and easier to grab content from a site than it is to deliver it: For one thing, if you are using a service like AWS or Google Cloud, inbound traffic is free while outbound traffic is very expensive.

    Multiple times I've been in a situation where 100 servers were all queueing up to steal content from a single server I've been running. (In one case, it was over 2000 servers.) I blocked them, but it takes time and there's often a site outage before I can do that.

    That said, the temporary rate limits have not been well thought out and if you use Twitter a lot today would be a good day to clean your house.

Tech News

  • Apropos of nothing, I just went on to Amazon and bought the cheapest robot vacuum cleaner that had at least a four star rating. Which turned out to be an "Advwin" model - the usual Chinese no-name jumble of letters - for A$185. Call it $120.

    It's too dumb and cheap to spy on you - it navigates by bumping into things - but if you plop it down on an expanse of carpet it will reportedly vacuum it pretty well, and if you plop it down on an expanse of tile it will have a go at mopping that. And it can find its way back to the charging station most of the time.

    Seems worth a try given that the fancy models cost anything up to A$2500. I mean, sure, those can not only mop your floor, but empty the dirty water into the base station and then rinse out the mop, but I could just buy a dozen of these things and throw them out when they get too mucky.

  • After the Netherlands announced it would stop selling even second-tier chipmaking tools to China, the Chinese embassy sent them a frowny face emoji. (Tom's Hardware)

    There is only one company in the world - Dutch company ASML - that makes the most advanced equipment for producing silicon chips, and they're also a key supplier even for less-advanced devices. So this not only prevents China from making chips on advanced processes of 7nm and below, it will over time cripple the country's ability to produce chips at 14nm. It already has machines for that, since they were not previously restricted, but now it can no longer buy more, or procure replacement parts.

    That pushes them back to 28nm (the 20nm node sucked except for Intel's proprietary version) and 28nm when TSMC is ramping up 3nm is just not going to get you anywhere.

    The restrictions also hit flash memory and DRAM production as well as logic chips like microprocessors.

    Can China build its own chipmaking tools? Sure. In a decade or two. Even if they steal the designs, which they probably already have, they don't currently have the factories to make the parts to make the machines to make these machines.

  • Asus has shown off a variant of Nvidia's 4060 Ti graphics card with two M.2 slots. (Tom's Hardware)

    This actually makes some sense because the 4060 Ti is a PCIe 4 x8 device, so it will leave half the lanes of your standard x16 motherboard slot unused. So long as your CPU can handle the bifurcation (the term used for this) it doesn't require any extra logic, just running out the traces on the board to a pair of M.2 connectors.

    If your motherboard has a second slot and automatically splits the bandwidth into x8 for each, though, those M.2 slots will not work at all.

  • When 2 is less than 1: AMD's Phoenix 2 mobile CPU is a smaller, cheaper, slower version of the Phoenix / 7840 chip shipping now. (WCCFTech)

    It's about 25% smaller than the existing 8 core chip, and has two Zen 4 cores and four smaller Zen 4C cores.

    This is similar to Intel's P (performance) and E (efficiency) cores, except where Intel's E cores are half the speed of the P cores, AMD's Zen 4C is about 80% as fast as Zen 4 - or about as fast as Zen 3.

    And Zen 3 is not slow.

    This chip is probably aimed at devices like the Steam Deck, but there's a good chance we'll see it in budget laptops as well. It should do just fine.

  • Taking a break from messing up Twitter, Elon Musk personally launched the ESA's Euclid space telescope on its way to the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point a million miles away. (CNN)

    Dude has more launch capacity than most continents.

  • The Liberty Phone from Purism is a fairly decent $199 budget model running stock Linux rather than Google's increasingly locked-down Android. (Liliputing)

    Only problem is it costs $2199.

    Exactly who they expect to buy this I do not know. I can see people concerned with security and open standards spending $399 on a device like this - twice what an equivalent Android model would cost but worth it to some people because they can control exactly what their phone is doing.

    At this price though, it's toast.

  • OLED panels can last more than 100 years - so long as you have blue-yellow colour blindness. (Notebook Check)

    Blue is a bastard.

Disclaimer: Any chemist will tell you that it's yellow that is the problem, but in solids-state physics, it all comes down to blue.
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