Recently in Geekdom Category

Zuckerberg's META - Confirmation bias

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From InfoGalactic:

Confirmation bias: also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

From Coindesk:

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg Still 'Long-Term Optimistic' on Metaverse
Meta Platforms (META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was still optimistic about the metaverse on a longer, “five-to-ten-year horizon” during the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York City on Wednesday.

"The way we communicate gets richer and more immersive,” Zuckerberg said via a virtual interview, doubling down on his company’s bet on a virtual and augmented reality-dominated future. The company has come under criticism for generating billions of dollars of losses as it builds out its version of the metaverse.

He is optimistic.  I wonder how his shareholders are feeling now...  Yeah - they are probably sitting on a very nice portfolio of patents which they will license out when the technology becomes widespread but this is a long-shot.

Europe frowns on Twitter

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Oh nooooo - a frown!!!!!111!!!eleventy
From Pixy Misa:

Europe is threatening to frown at Twitter if Elon Musk closes all the company's European offices and tells the tiny-minded fascists of the EU to take a hike (Tech Crunch)

For "appropriateness of the expertise and resources allocated" read: "Shuttering local offices and canning EU staff will be frowned upon - hard."

That idiocy is Tech Crunch's own wording, but it's understandable because EU officials actually said this:

For those platforms that the Commission will designate as very large online platforms, the risk management obligations also include a strong component on the appropriateness of the resources allocated to managing societal risks in the Union. Among other matters, the Commission will scrutinise the appropriateness of the expertise and resources allocated, as well as the way they organise their compliance function.

The appropriate thing to do is for Musk to close down all operations in Europe and direct users at a US-based portal to pay their $8.
It's not like Europe is going to create its own social network.


Well crap - RIP Fredric P. Brooks Jr.

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From the New York Times:

Frederick P. Brooks Jr., Computer Design Innovator, Dies at 91
Frederick P. Brooks Jr., whose innovative work in computer design and software engineering helped shape the field of computer science, died on Thursday at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by his son, Roger, who said Dr. Brooks had been in declining health since having a stroke two years ago.

Dr. Brooks had a wide-ranging career that included creating the computer science department at the University of North Carolina and leading influential research in computer graphics and virtual reality.

But he is best known for being one of the technical leaders of IBM’s 360 computer project in the 1960s. At a time when smaller rivals like Burroughs, Univac and NCR were making inroads, it was a hugely ambitious undertaking. Fortune magazine, in an article with the headline “IBM’s $5,000,000,000 Gamble,” described it as a “bet the company” venture.

And his book:

Dr. Brooks took the hard-earned lessons from grappling with the OS/360 software as grist for his book “The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering.” First published in 1975, it soon became recognized as a quirky classic, selling briskly year after year and routinely cited as gospel by computer scientists.

The tone is witty and self-deprecating, with pithy quotes from Shakespeare and Sophocles and chapter titles like “Ten Pounds in a Five-Pound Sack” and “Hatching a Catastrophe.” There are practical tips along the way. For example: Organize engineers on big software projects into small groups, which Dr. Brooks called “surgical teams.”

The most well known of his principles was what he called Brooks’s law: “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” Dr. Brooks himself acknowledged that he was “oversimplifying outrageously,” but he was exaggerating to make a point.

It is often smarter to rethink things, he suggested, than to add more people. And in software engineering, a profession with elements of artistry and creativity, workers are not interchangeable units of labor.

One of the titans of the industry.

In two parts:
Thesis (The Atlantic):

Why Everything in Tech Seems to Be Collapsing at Once
The tech industry seems to be in a recession. Although overall unemployment is still very low, just about every major tech company—including Amazon, Meta, Snap, Stripe, Coinbase, Twitter, Robinhood, and Intel—has announced double-digit percentage-point layoffs in the past few months. The stock valuations for many of these companies have fallen more than 50 percent in the past year.

Watching this surge of mass layoffs in big tech companies, plus the lurid chaos unfolding at Twitter over the past few weeks and the spectacular ongoing implosion of crypto, the big question on my mind is: Why is it all happening at once?

Synthesis (Pixy Misa):

Because you locked people into their homes while pumping trillions of dollars into the economy, and then hiked interest rates to combat the inevitable inflation, creating and then bursting a massive bubble.

You idiots.

Not just Twitter - losing people

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Meta - Facebook's parent company is not doing that well these days.
From The Wall Street Journal:

Facebook Parent Meta Is Preparing to Notify Employees of Large-Scale Layoffs This Week
Meta Platforms Inc. is planning to begin large-scale layoffs this week, according to people familiar with the matter, in what could be the largest round in a recent spate of tech job cuts after the industry’s rapid growth during the pandemic.

The layoffs are expected to affect many thousands of employees and an announcement is planned to come as soon as Wednesday, according to the people. Meta reported more than 87,000 employees at the end of September. Company officials already told employees to cancel nonessential travel beginning this week, the people said.

Zuckerberg's fascination with alt.reality is costing the company big bucks.  If I were a substantial shareholder...  Maybe spin the AR side off to something that can sink or swim by itself and focus on the core competency.  Apple is doing this (core competency) and their stock prices show the results - they are worth more as a single corporation than all of Google (Alphabet), Amazon and Meta combined. What does META actually do???


This is curious - lightning

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No lightning storms in the Continental USA - from LightningMaps
Not unknown, just rare.


Going to be some interesting times in the next 60 days.  From FOX Business:

Elon Musk fires Twitter’s top brass after closing $44 billion deal
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has fired several top Twitter executives after officially taking control of the company Thursday evening.

A source with knowledge of the matter told FOX Business that Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust, and safety were fired. Musk had accused the three of misleading him and investors over the number of fake accounts on the platform.

And that was just the amuse-bouche:

Musk previously said he had plans to cut Twitter's staffing from about 7,500 to around 2,000 employees, a nearly 75% decrease.

The core application is already coded.  How many people do they need to maintain and upgrade it?  Not like there are going to be any new operating systems anytime soon - an app for iOS, an app for Android, Windows and Linux and you have 99.999% of the market (a few OS/2 stragglers out there).  Figure 100 coders.  Maybe another 30 test monkeys. 50 people part-time for localization (other languages).  100 admin.  100 ancillary (graphic design, marketing, accounting, legal)
Leaving it at 2,000 employees is more than generous.

UPDATE:  Found from another source that one of the three: Vijaya Gadde - was the person who permanently banned President Trump in 2020. She was also the one responsible for the censorship of the New York Post's Hunter Biden Laptop story when it broke in 2020. Stupid moves.  Don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya...

A while ago - MS Internet Explorer

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Remember when this was the normal startup screen for many people:


All the "helpers" and add-ins.  Blech...  Lean and clean for me...

Heh - Elon's new venture

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This is gonna be fun - I love his opening act:

Especially given that he said he is going to fire 75% of the staff.
I agree - how many people does a business like Twitter need to operate?

This would be fun to build - fence

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I sometimes make fences and railings for people.  This would be a fun one to do.
Have to adhere to the 4" rule but still...


And just how bad is it — Meta

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Earlier, it was reported that Zuck's Metaverse was falling very short on subscribers.
They were expecting 500,000 users and now have about 200,000.

Now this - excerpted from CNBC:

Meta initially aimed to reach 500,000 monthly active users in Horizon Worlds by the end of the year, but the current figure is less than 200,000, according to the report. Additionally, the documents showed that most users didn’t return to Horizon after the first month on the platform, and the number of users has steadily declined since spring, the Journal said.

Only 9% of worlds are visited by at least 50 people, and most are never visited at all, according to the report.

Wince 😝   Not only did they fall short on subscribers, most subscribers went there once to kick the tires and never returned.  Nice business model you have there.  Any connection with reality or did you just pull it from your nether regions.  Sheesh...

What a great idea

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Gonna have to make one here - certainly need it:


Minor nit - it is not a "tinfoil hat"  — it is an "aluminium foil deflector beanie"  Terminology please...

Hoovie's Garage is a YouTube channel with 1.42M Subscribers.
He tested the new Ford electric truck and it came up wanting:

The battery technology is simply not there. Great for running around town and buying groceries but useless for any real-world applications. How much does it cost?  How long does the battery pack last? How much does that cost to replace?  What is the estimated cost per mile to drive?  Funny that they do not release those numbers...

So true - computers

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One screen is bad enough - from Bored Panda:


The latest technology - Hyperencabulation

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10mm sockets

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This happens often enough that there have been a slew of memes about it.  The 10mm is a very common size for fastener or bolt and it always seems that the corresponding 10mm socket gets misplaced somewhere.

Harbor Freight to the rescue with their new product: 10mm Metric Essential Socket Set, 10 Piece


I will have to look for this when I am in there.  It's not anywhere near April 1st.

A new search engine - freespoke

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See how this goes - was using DuckDuckGo for a long time but they were assimilated recently.

Check out: freespoke

Electric cars - the reality

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Starlink V2 - some more information

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They are partnering with T-Mobile   I was with T-Mobile for many years, switching to Verizon when I could not get a reliable signal on Camano.  Cell service at the farm is still a joke for all carriers.

This press release from T-Mobile:

T‑Mobile Takes Coverage Above and Beyond With SpaceX
In a live event today, T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) CEO and President Mike Sievert and SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk announced Coverage Above and Beyond: a breakthrough new plan to bring cell phone connectivity everywhere. Leveraging Starlink, SpaceX’s constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit, and T-Mobile’s industry-leading wireless network, the Un-carrier plans to provide near complete coverage in most places in the U.S. – even in many of the most remote locations previously unreachable by traditional cell signals.

Today, despite powerful LTE and 5G wireless networks, well over half a million square miles of the U.S. in addition to vast stretches of ocean are untouched by cell signals … from ANY provider. And as anyone who has ever encountered a mobile dead zone knows, the wireless industry has struggled to cover these areas with traditional terrestrial cellular technology, most often due to land-use restrictions (e.g. National Parks), terrain limits (e.g. mountains, deserts and other topographical realities) and America’s sheer vastness. In those areas, people are either disconnected or pay exorbitant rates to lug around a sat phone. SpaceX and T-Mobile share a vision where these uncovered areas are a relic of the past, and today, the companies are taking a first step to make that vision a reality.

From the middle of Death Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains or even that persistent neighborhood dead zone, T-Mobile and SpaceX have a vision to give customers a crucial additional layer of connectivity in areas previously unreachable by cell signals from any provider. And the service aims to work with the phone already in your pocket. The vast majority of smartphones already on T-Mobile’s network will be compatible with the new service using the device’s existing radio. No extra equipment to buy. It just works.

Very cool - time to switch back to T-Mobile once this gets deployed.  I know several people with Starlink and they are beyond happy with it.  This will make Search and Rescue a lot easier too - Satellite phones (and compact messaging devices) are available but very expensive so a lot of hikers do not carry one.  I can see a market for similar small devices that plug into this network.  I would sell my Iridium stock if I had any.

Fun time to be alive - very clever application of existing technology. Musk has vision.

Wish we had more of him and fewer Bill Gates' - Gates is not that bright and he has morphed into genuinely evil person.  Not from intent, from stupidity and narcissism.

Wonderful news - Starlink V2

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Note, connectivity will be 2 to 4 Mbits per cell zone, so will work great for texting & voice calls, but not high bandwidth


And that is the A#1 unvarnished truth

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The lament of machinists and fabri-cobblers everywhere:


From BoingBoing:

Today may or may not be George Jetson's birthday
Meet George Jetson. No, I'm not signing the theme song. I mean, get ready to meet him, because he is supposed to be born today. Or, ya know, maybe not. Welcome to one of the weirdest debates on the internet. The whole conversation began when studious fans of The Jetsons noticed that the show was supposed to take place a hundred years from its original airdate. Since the show came out in 1962, fans have come to believe that The Jetsons takes place in 2062. So why is 2022 significant? In an episode of the original series, George confirms that he's 40 years old.

With the aforementioned information in mind, Jetsons fans began to pore over every episode hoping to find a specific date for George's birthday. Why spend time on such an inane pursuit, you ask? There are few things more exciting to pedantic fans like myself than watching a piece of media that takes place in the future slowly become anachronistic. It ain't much, but it's honest work.

Used to love the show as a kid.  But...  They promised me a jetpack.  I want my jetpack!!!

From Creative Destruction:

Court Rejects Google’s Attempt To Dismiss Rumble’s Antitrust Lawsuit, Ensuring Vast Discovery
A federal district court in California on Friday denied Google’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Silicon Valley giant is violating federal antitrust laws by preventing fair competition against its YouTube video platform. The lawsuit against the search engine giant, which has owned YouTube since its 2006 purchase for $1.65 billion, was brought in early 2021 by Rumble, the free speech competitor to YouTube. Its central claim is that Google’s abuse of its monopolistic stranglehold on search engines to destroy all competitors to its various other platforms is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which makes it unlawful to “monopolize, or attempt to monopolize…any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations.”

It is rare for antitrust suits against the four Big Tech corporate giants (Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon) to avoid early motions to dismiss. Friday’s decision against Google ensures that the suit now proceeds to the discovery stage, where Rumble will have the right to obtain from Google a broad and sweeping range of information about its practices, including internal documents on Google’s algorithmic manipulation of its search engine and the onerous requirements it imposes on companies dependent upon its infrastructure to all but force customers to use YouTube. 

Founded in 2013, Rumble began experiencing explosive growth in the run-up to the 2020 election. Americans were encountering escalating and aggressive Big Tech censorship of political content as the election approached. Conservative politicians, followed by a wide range of heterodox voices on the right and left, began migrating by the millions away from Google’s YouTube to Rumble, which has promised and thus provided far more permissive free speech rights. That was at the time when Google and other Big Tech platforms — at the urging of the Democratic-controlled Congress, began aggressively increasing its censorship of political video content on YouTube on the grounds of “disinformation” and “hate speech…”

It will be fun watching Google squirm - discovery requires them to produce internal documents. Everything.
Don't be Evil? That motto is going to be shown for what it is worth...

Facebook in case you were wondering - three headlines:

Heh - pride goeth before the fall.
They have had their bubble, hope the employees were prudent in their savings...

Some people at Google are trying to push a new programming language as the sucessor to C & C++
Rotsa ruck...  From TechRadar:

Google thinks its new programming language can topple C++
Google has revealed more on Carbon, a new programming language that the company believes could be the successor to C++.

Programming languages are constantly improving and developing, and have been replaced in recent years with models that are even easier to use. Apple’s own Swift language has opened up several possibilities to the less experienced that its predecessor, Objective-C, for example.

Many have dubbed Rust a C++ successor, however speaking at a recent event, Google Principal Software Engineer Chandler Carruth explained how the programming language that was initially a Mozilla product doesn’t have the same “bi-directional interoperability” as other tools, which introduces a type of ‘language barrier’ when ‘translating’ between different programming language.

And on and on and on...  And then, there is this little tidbit:

There are further benefits that extend beyond Carbon’s language, including ethical motives like the accessibility and inclusivity of the project’s culture.

They did not out and out say it but it sounds like Carbon is the first "WOKE" programming language.

I do have a fondness for "interesting" programming languages - learned TurboPascal for MS-DOS when it came out on the IBM-PC.  Been a fan of FORTH for a long time. Perl, LUA.  Recently, getting pretty good at Python - lots of 3rd-party libraries out there and it runs well on the Pi.

Betting that Carbon never really takes off outside of the Google WOKEery.

How to make them all go away - from AskVG:

How to Uninstall and Remove All Built-in Apps in Windows 10
In previous tutorial, we told you about different ways to uninstall modern apps in Windows 10 operating system:

The methods given in above mentioned tutorial can’t uninstall all built-in apps. There are many built-in apps such as Photos, Music, OneNote, Xbox, People, Camera, etc which come preinstalled with Windows 10 and you can’t uninstall them.

But there is an advanced method which can be used to get rid of all or specific built-in apps in Windows 10. You can remove any desired bundled app in Windows 10 with the help of this method.

The method we are talking about, includes use of PowerShell program present in Windows 10. You can use some commands in PowerShell to remove all or some modern apps which came bundled with Windows 10.

Handy stuff - granted, they are there but you do not have to use them.  Still, nice to remove what you do not need.

From British tech journal The Register:

Electrical engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems
Intel has produced some unbelievable graphs in its time: projected Itanium market share, next node power consumption, multicore performance boosts.

The graph the company showed at the latest VLSI Symposium, however, was a real shocker.

While computer science course take-up had gone up by over 90 percent in the past 50 years, electrical engineering (EE) had declined by the same amount. The electronics graduate has become rarer than an Intel-based smartphone.

That part of the technology industry which makes actual things has always been divided between hardies and softies, soldering iron versus compiler, oscilloscope versus debugger. But the balance is lost. Something is very wrong at the heart of our technology creation supply chain. Where have all the hardies gone?

They talk about the history of electronics - how kids started getting interested:

For most of the history of electronics, there was a clear on-ramp for this, and an industry that didn't need to sell itself because it was inherently cool for geeks. Look at the biographies of the great names in electronics, such as Intel co-founder Robert Noyce or the father of the information age Claude Shannon, and you find them as teenage geeks pulling apart, then rebuilding, then designing radios and guitar amplifiers. The post-war generation tore down military surplus gear to teach themselves how it worked and mine components to build their own inventions.

This was practical magic, and you could start your apprenticeship by taking the back off a broken wireless. If you had the urge, it was easy to ignite the fascination. Then came the pull of working on the front line of the Cold War, the space age, the era of technological innovation. The industry had its supply of fresh creativity guaranteed.

This remained broadly true until the turn of the 21st century. A reasonably bright kid would realize that the family CRT television was in fact a particle accelerator with its own multi-kilovolt high-voltage generator, plus any amount of repurposable bits and pieces. You can have a lot of fun with that. There were old analog gadgets all over the place. You could peer inside Granny's radio and follow the signal path, component by component. That's all gone now.

That was certainly my beginning - my Dad taught me how to solder at six years old and we were always working on some project or another.  The article posits part of the decline on the layering of firmware on top of the hardware - and a wonderful turn of phrase:

By one measure we're surrounded by more electronics in our homes than entire nations had years back. Your granny's radio had maybe 10 transistors; a smart speaker, billions. But it's a computer, like your flat-screen television is a computer, like your phone and your audio system and even your light bulbs are computers. The electronics have sunk out of sight, beneath thick alluvial layers of software, and it will do nothing without that software. Any budding geek will expend their youthful vigor on that software first, because it's where the animating genius of technology now resides. We have literally cut ourselves off from a primary wellspring of fascination.

Emphasis mine - a wonderful description.  More at the site and yes, there is hope in the Maker culture but a thoughtful article and something worth considering.

The joys of working in "the cloud"

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Something to be avoided at all costs.  I use gmail out of convenience but have a POP3 email account on a server that I pay for (this website and a couple others that I host). Likewise, software subscription - if I buy some application, I want to be able to own it and to use it ten years from now if I need to.  If I want additional features, I will pay to update.

I am specifically not using Adobe software for this very reason. Darktable is an excellent free alternative to Lightroom and the Afinity suite (under $200 for all three) is perfect for photo editing and desktop publishing. Inkscape (free) for vector editing and DaVinci Resolve for video/audio editing and processing - I ponied up for the commercial version of that for $300 but used the free version for a couple years.

This is just a taste of what big tech working with big government has in store for us
From the MIT Technology Review:

A million-word novel got censored before it was even shared. Now Chinese users want answers.
Imagine you are working on your novel on your home computer. It’s nearly finished; you have already written approximately one million words. All of a sudden, the online word processing software tells you that you can no longer open the draft because it contains illegal information. Within an instant, all your words are lost.

This is what happened in June to a Chinese novelist writing under the alias Mitu. She had been working with WPS, a domestic version of cloud-based word processing software such as Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365. In the Chinese literature forum Lkong on June 25, Mitu accused WPS of “spying on and locking my draft,” citing the presence of illegal content.

The news blew up on social media on July 11 after a few prominent influencer accounts belatedly picked it up. It became the top trending topic on Weibo that day, with users questioning whether WPS is infringing on their privacy. Since then, The Economic Observer, a Chinese publication, has reported that several other online novelists have had their drafts locked for unclear reasons in the past.

Mitu’s complaint triggered a social media discussion in China about censorship and tech platform responsibility. It has also highlighted the tension between Chinese users’ increasing awareness of privacy and tech companies’ obligation to censor on behalf of the government. “This is a case where perhaps we are seeing that these two things indeed might collide,” says Tom Nunlist, an analyst on China’s cyber and data policy at the Beijing-based research group Trivium China

Just say no.  These "elites" want to "nudge" us into what they think is best for us.
They are idiots. Out of touch. Solipsists. Sociopaths.

Always back up locally.  Also, have one portable hard drive that you keep somewhere else - a friends house - something.  If your house or office burns down, you want to be able to recover your data.  Do not leave the portable hard drive connected to your computer - too many instances of ransomware out there.  They encrypt your data and require payment to restore them.

166 years ago today - Nikola Tesla

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He invented a few things that you might be familiar with.  Radio. The Fluorescent Light.  The system of power generation and distribution (the power grid) that we use in the world today. Quite a few more too.

Nice biography at the Tesla Science Center built on the grounds of one of his labs.

Tesla’s Life of Discovery
By the time Nikola Tesla was six years old, he had already started experimenting and inventing. His keen interest in nature and the way things work, combined with intelligence and curiosity, led to childhood inventions such as a motor powered by June bugs, air piston gun, and frog catching device. In elementary school he built water turbines and dreamed of using Niagara Falls to generate power, a dream that he saw come to life in 1896. As a young man, Tesla excelled in his studies of math, physics, engineering, and science. At one of his first jobs at the Budapest Telephone Exchange, Tesla improved the equipment and developed an amplifier; soon after, while working at another job installing lights in Paris, Tesla made improvements to Edison’s dynamos and created an automatic regulator.

Upon reaching America in 1884 at the age of 28, Tesla continued developing his concepts and applied for his first patent in 1888. He continued inventing and by the time of his death in 1943, Nikola Tesla held almost 300 patents. Tesla’s lifelong dedication to harnessing the forces of nature for the benefit of humanity is a legacy that continues to benefit the world today.

One of my major personal heroes.

Brilliant idea - Million Short

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A search engine but one that lets you filter your results.  From their website:

At Million Short, we are committed to designing innovative technology to redefine internet search. In creating a differentiated search, we aim to provide alternative methods for organizing, accessing, and discovering the vast web of information on the Internet.

Million Short started out as an experimental web search engine that allows you to filter and refine your search results set. The thinking was that web searches yield the same popular sites. Million Short makes it easy to discover sites that just don't make it to the top of the search engine results for whatever reason – whether it be poor SEO, new site, small marketing budget, or competitive keywords. The Million Short technology gives users access to the wealth of untapped information on the web.

The core is that you search for something and use Million Short to eliminate the top 100 sites from your results.  Or top 1000.  Or top 10K  The result is that you avoid those sites with a good "social credit" standing.  Those sites that have spent lots of money fine tuning their SEO  There is a lot of really interesting information to be found in the litter at the bottom of any search.

Try it yourself:  Million Short

Cool idea for a photo - bees

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No attribution given but a great photo. I want to learn beekeeping when we move to NC
This would be fun to try - thinking a video might be spectacular - 2nd camera in the hive of course...



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A fun Engineer story

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I love engineers but sometimes they can be a little too literal.
One such story from the wonderful Not Always Right:

And He’s An Engineer?!
I developed both a website and an intranet solution that approximately fifty civil engineers log into in order to submit files, reports, and other internal reports.

One of the engineers called me.

Engineer: “The solution you developed is absolutely worthless! I can’t even log in!”

I had sent a very detailed set of instructions in a PDF file, something I thought was absolutely idiot-proof.

After a step-by-step set of instructions over the phone, he resorted to calling one of the secretaries to see if she could log herself in.

As soon as she sat down in front of his computer, I heard her giggling, followed by bursts of laughter by several people surrounding his station. It was minutes before I could get someone to reply on the phone.

Turns out he was trying to log in on the PDF file’s screenshot.

I worked for an ocean engineering company for a couple of years.  I can so see this happening.

Turing test anyone?

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Plausible.  It is going to happen one of these days.  From the London Daily Mail:

Google engineer warn the firm's AI is sentient: Suspended employee claims computer programme acts 'like a 7 or 8-year-old' and reveals it told him shutting it off 'would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot'

    • Blake Lemoine, 41, a senior software engineer at Google has been testing Google's artificial intelligence tool called LaMDA
    • Following hours of conversations with the AI, Lemoine came away with the perception that LaMDA was sentient
    • After presenting his findings to company bosses, Google disagreed with him
    • Lemoine then decided to share his conversations with the tool online
    • He was put on paid leave by Google on Monday for violating confidentiality

The fact that he was put on paid leave speaks volumes.

Somewhere, Skynet is smiling...

UPDATE: Slashdot covered the story and there is a good and robust conversation going on

Eyes on the prize - China and TSMC

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Biggest and best chip maker in the world is in Taiwan.  China wantsses its preciousssss...
From Tom's Hardware:

"We Must Seize TSMC" Urges Senior Chinese Economist
China's government has an intense craving to take control of TSMC, reveals a report shared by Bloomberg today. The financial news organization has published some alarming quotes from Chen Wenling, chief economist at the government-run China Center for International Economic Exchanges. In brief, Chen called on Chinese authorities to "seize TSMC" if the US and the West begin to implement Russia-war style sanctions on China. She was speaking at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University at the end of May.

On the university stage, Chen told attendees, "If the US and the West impose destructive sanctions on China like sanctions against Russia, we must recover Taiwan." However, the reasoning contained within this sentence is clearly topsy-turvy. The US and other democratic powers only imposed severe sanctions on Russia after it invaded neighboring Ukraine and refused to withdraw. It is expected very similar sanctions would be applied on Chinese interests worldwide if China invades Taiwan, but not if it maintains the status quo. It is curious why Ms. Chen has put the cart before the horse.

Wishful thinking.  Nice source of hard revenue.  Unfortunately, the infrastructure is so sensitive, the requirements for the clean room are so demanding that someone walking through with a burning highway flare would shut down their lines for at least six months if they could be brought back online at all.

China's homegrown efforts are where we were in about 2010 or so.  Not bad but not good - we have come a long way.

There is a wonderful convergence of technology for making virtual film sets using a combination of cheap hardware and free and/or open source software.  Here is just one example of what is being done:

From Cliff Mass:

Bad News. Clouds will Obscure the Meteors for Most of Washington State
I am disappointed. It looks like clouds will make viewing of the meteor shower tonight impossible for most residents in Washington State.

The lastest visible satellite image shows lots of clouds over the region. But the real threats are the clouds stretching from the WA Cascade to the east. High clouds that are moving westward over towards western WA. There are lower clouds over NW Oregon...they will evaporate around sunset.

The very latest NOAA/NWS HRRR forecast of clouds at 10 PM tonight (the time of max meteors) shows 100% clouds (blue colors) over much of Washington.

Oh well...  I'll be up anyway - got the camera charged up and tripod out and ready.  See what happens.

Supply-chain woes

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And things just get crazier and crazier - from Freight Waves:

Rash of parts thefts is leaving Freightliner trucks inoperable
A rash of thefts of semiconductor-loaded powertrain control modules from parked Freightliner and Western Star trucks is turning the tractors into oversize paperweights. Daimler Truck North America is going after the bad guys but has few leads.

The rip-offs of common powertrain control module 4 units relate to the ongoing shortage of microchips. Harvesting and reprogramming the modules allow them to work in other trucks, Daimler said.

List for these modules is about $1,400. Black market is about $8K It bricks the truck when stolen.

The older designs are looking more and more desirable...  Maybe we will return to sanity. One of these days...

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