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Modern Tools

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I tried to train an AI to repair my Python environment but it kept giving up and deleting itself.
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CblackFeed42
14 days ago
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If we follow this method, we could train the AI to use connect AT commands on 9600 baud N81 to connect to networks. That might buy us time before they take us over.
Portland, OR.
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2 public comments
Groxx
22 days ago
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If it's generating *valid* makefiles, it can't have been trained on random makefiles in the wild. Where are they keeping this veritable bounty of makefiles-that-don't-make-me-want-to-napalm-the-whole-industry-for-the-good-of-humanity?
Silicon Valley, CA
denubis
22 days ago
Private repositories, obviously. There's certainly nothing public that qualifies...
jlvanderzwan
21 days ago
Those are just to bootstrap the GAN process, obviously
alt_text_bot
22 days ago
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I tried to train an AI to repair my Python environment but it kept giving up and deleting itself.

Apple planning MacBook Pro with 16-core GPU, Mac Pro with 128 GPU cores

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Mac Pro

Enlarge / The most recent Mac Pro. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple plans to introduce significantly updated versions of the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro, according to a new report in Bloomberg citing people familiar with Apple's plans. The report shares much more detail about these machines than we've previously been privy to.

Each of the new computers will include a substantially faster successor to the M1 chip. Bloomberg's sources say the MacBook Pro, which is expected to come in 14-inch and 16-inch variants, could launch as soon as this summer. That suggests Apple may announce the computers at its annual developer conference in early June.

A totally redesigned MacBook Air will follow, as will an updated Mac mini, which still uses Intel processors. A new 30-inch iMac will replace the current 27-inch Intel model.

Finally, an Apple Silicon version of the Mac Pro desktop is planned for 2022.

The new machines appear tailor-made to address criticisms of recent Intel Macs and the initial volley of Apple Silicon machines. To wit, the maximum amount of RAM supported by these new chips will be 64GB (up from 16GB in the M1), more than two Thunderbolt ports will be supported, and the new laptops will feature HDMI and SD card slots. That last addition addresses a complaint many users have had about the MacBook Pro for some time now.

The MacBook Pro is expected to ship with a two-chip variant, codenamed Jade C-Chop and Jade C-Die. These chips' CPUs will include eight high-performance cores and two efficiency cores. The GPU in one variant will have 16 cores, while the GPU in the other will have 32.

That's a step up over the M1's four high-performance and four efficiency CPU cores and either seven or eight GPU cores (depending on configuration).

The Mac mini will use one of these chips as well, and it will double the number of ports seen in the M1 Mac mini. Meanwhile, the 30-inch iMac's immediate future seems unclear, as Bloomberg's sources say that work on the 30-inch model was temporarily paused in order to get the lower-end 24-inch iMac out the door.

The MacBook Air coming later this year will have a "direct successor" to the M1, codenamed Staten. The new chip will have the same number of CPU cores as the M1 but will still offer faster performance. It will also bump the GPU core count to 10. This chip is also planned to be included in a refresh of the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Finally, the Mac Pro slated for 2022 will come in 20- and 40-core CPU configurations, with 16 or 32 high-performance cores and four or eight high-efficiency cores. The GPU will be offered with either 64 or 128 cores. It is expected to "look like a smaller version of the current design."

Apple plans to replace its last Intel Mac with an Apple Silicon version as early as 2022. The MacBook Pros may come as soon as the summer, and the Mac Pro will almost certainly arrive next year. The timing of the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and 30-inch iMac updates is currently a little less clear.

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CblackFeed42
128 days ago
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Apple made one heck of a cheese grater.
Portland, OR.
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Say goodbye to Ajit Pai: FCC chair to leave on Biden’s inauguration day

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking at a press conference on October 1, 2018, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Mark Wilson )

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced today that he will leave the FCC on January 20, 2021, the day Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president. In his four years as FCC chief, Pai deregulated the broadband industry, eliminated net neutrality rules, and justified his deregulatory agenda by using faulty data and taking credit for broadband deployments that were planned before he became chairman.

Pai called being chairman "the honor of a lifetime."

"I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America," Pai said in his statement today.

As per tradition in which presidents nominate commissioners from both parties, Obama nominated Pai in 2012 at the request of Senate Republicans. When Democrats were in power, Pai fought against the Obama-era FCC's decisions to adopt consumer-protection rules such as net neutrality and broadband-privacy regulations. When Trump became president and promoted Pai to the chairmanship, he set out to overturn some of the biggest decisions made by his predecessor, Democrat Tom Wheeler.

Democrats to have 2-1 majority in January

Pai's departure from the FCC would give the Biden administration a 2-1 Democratic majority immediately upon the new president's inauguration. The FCC is currently 3-2 in Republicans' favor, but Republican Michael O'Rielly is leaving at the end of 2020 because Trump pulled O'Rielly's renomination. Trump's choice to replace O'Rielly has not been confirmed by the Senate.

It's likely that Biden and the Senate will work out a deal to add one Democrat and one Republican to fill the commission's two empty seats sometime in 2021, eventually giving Democrats a 3-2 majority. But a Democratic-majority FCC could get moving on restoring net neutrality rules and other regulatory matters with a three-member group consisting of Democrats Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks, and Republican Brendan Carr.

Rosenworcel, who has been an FCC commissioner since 2012 and is widely respected by lawmakers and consumer advocates, could be promoted to FCC chair by Biden on either an interim or permanent basis. Starks has been on the FCC less than two years and is not seen as a leading candidate for the chair spot. If Biden doesn't want to make either Rosenworcel or Starks the chair, he could bring in a new Democrat for the role as Obama did with Wheeler in 2013. One possible chair candidate is former commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who has already been appointed to a Biden transition team that will review the FCC.

Social-media crackdown likely dead

Biden's election victory likely spelled doom for Trump's plan to impose a crackdown on social-media companies like Twitter and Facebook, which have been trying to counter Trump's attempts to spread misinformation on their platforms. A few weeks before the election, Pai announced a proposal to implement Trump's request, which would limit legal protections for social media websites that block or modify content posted by users.

After the election, Congressional Democrats called on Pai to "immediately stop work on all partisan, controversial items" during the presidential transition period. Pai did not immediately respond to that request, and in today's statement Pai did not say anything about policy plans for the remainder of his term.

Democrats' upcoming 2-1 majority was made possible by Trump's decision to pull O'Rielly's renomination, which came shortly after O'Rielly refused to back the social-media crackdown. If Trump hadn't pulled the renomination, the Senate could have voted to give O'Rielly another term, deadlocking the FCC at 2-2 in the early part of the Biden administration.

In his statement today, Pai said the FCC has "delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices. As a result, our nation's communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before." O'Rielly issued a statement applauding Pai for deregulating the broadband industry and for moves that "open[ed] up more spectrum bands for commercial use, and expand[ed] broadband access to unserved Americans."

Rosenworcel, who consistently opposed Pai's deregulatory moves and criticized the FCC majority for not doing more to help Americans access broadband during the pandemic, issued a statement about Pai's departure today. "While we did not always agree on policy matters, I always valued our shared commitment to public service," Rosenworcel said. "Serving the American people is a tremendous honor and I wish him the best in the future.

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CblackFeed42
297 days ago
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I hope whomever replaces Ajit Pai can restore net neutrality.
Portland, OR.
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The Power of a South Pole Sunrise After Six Months of Darkness

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In Antartica, sunset takes a long time, and night lasts for half the year. Most of the workers leave, and those who are left behind get no supplies for nine months. Astrophysicist Robert Schwarz has "wintered over" in Antarctica 15 times, more than anyone else on earth. Now that he's retired from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, he misses those winters and the sunrise that comes in September.

Denis Barkats, a senior scientist who wintered with Schwarz in 2006, recalls an old Antarctic joke: “The first time you winter, it’s for the adventure. The second time, it’s for the money. The third time, it’s because you don’t fit anywhere else.” But that doesn’t seem true of Schwarz, who is cheerful and easygoing, Barkats says. “He has something I don’t have,” he goes on. To return 15 times, one must effectively treat the rigors of winter as one’s job. “You might say, ‘Oh boy, I really want a watermelon!,’” Barkats says with a smile. “Well, you can’t have it for nine months.”

Schwarz doesn’t regard himself as unusual. Still, at the start of each winter, as Pole’s summer population fell from around 150 to under 50, he usually felt relief. “Suddenly everything is quiet, you only hear the wind, and there are only a few people left,” he says. “It’s a great feeling.”

Read about the people who spend winters at the South Pole and how they cope at Atlas Obscura.

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CblackFeed42
309 days ago
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“Suddenly everything is quiet, you only hear the wind, and there are only a few people left,” he says. “It’s a great feeling.”

I'm gonna be honest. That sounds amazing right now.
Portland, OR.
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T-Mobile pays $200 million fine over Sprint defrauding FCC Lifeline program

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A man holding a briefcase full of money.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | aluxum)

T-Mobile has agreed to pay a $200 million fine to resolve an investigation into subsidiary Sprint, which was caught taking millions of dollars in government subsidies for "serving" 885,000 low-income Americans who weren't using Sprint service.

Sprint admitted the violations in September 2019, about six months before T-Mobile completed its purchase of Sprint. Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced the $200 million settlement, which T-Mobile will pay to the US Treasury.

The $200 million is in addition to money that Sprint previously agreed to pay back to the FCC's Lifeline program, which provides $9.25-per-household monthly subsidies to companies that offer discounted telecom service to people with low incomes. Sprint had taken the money from Lifeline in violation of the "non-usage rule" that requires providers of free, subsidized plans to de-enroll subscribers who haven't used their phones recently. When the FCC investigation was announced last year, the commission said that the "885,000 subscribers represent nearly 30 percent of Sprint's Lifeline subscriber base and nearly 10 percent of the entire Lifeline program's subscriber base."

The FCC said today:

Under this rule, providers of "free" service may only be reimbursed for a Lifeline subscriber if that subscriber has used the service at least once in the past 30 days, and such providers must de-enroll subscribers who don't use their phones after giving them 15 days' notice. The rule is meant to protect Lifeline from wasting taxpayer funds on service that isn't used to benefit individual consumers. The FCC developed this and other rules after investigations showed that companies were aggressively selling free Lifeline service, knowing that they would get paid each month even if consumers didn't use their phones. Since there was no bill, consumers had no incentive to relinquish the subscription.

The FCC said that the $200 million "is the largest fixed-amount settlement the Commission has ever secured to resolve an investigation." Sprint also "agreed to enter into a compliance plan to help ensure future adherence to the Commission's rules for the Lifeline program," the FCC said.

Officially, the settlement closes the FCC investigation without a finding, even though Sprint admitted taking FCC reimbursements for lapsed subscribers. Sprint's violations were initially found by an investigation by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Violations in more states were uncovered when the FCC investigated. According to the FCC, Sprint told the commission that a software problem led to its "systems fail[ing] to detect that over a million Lifeline subscribers nationwide lacked usage over an extended period of time."

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CblackFeed42
323 days ago
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What did we learn? Never trust big business.
Portland, OR.
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Messaging Systems

2 Comments and 9 Shares
SMS is just the worst, but I'm having trouble convincing people to adopt my preferred system, TLS IRC with a local server and a patched DOSBox gateway running in my mobile browser.
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CblackFeed42
357 days ago
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So much of my job is this.
Portland, OR.
popular
358 days ago
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alt_text_bot
360 days ago
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SMS is just the worst, but I'm having trouble convincing people to adopt my preferred system, TLS IRC with a local server and a patched DOSBox gateway running in my mobile browser.
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