I didn’t want to click through to this. I was like, “No. A Kindle?” But, the opening image got me. That’s why all I’m sharing is this note and that image.
It’s been a while since we’ve touched on quantum computing. It’s time for an update! This week we talk with Yonatan from Quantum Machines about real progress being made in the practical construction of hybrid computing centers with a mix of classical processors, GPUs, and quantum processors. Quantum Machines is building both hardware and software to help control, program, and integrate quantum processors within a hybrid computing environment.
The speed record for data transmission using a single light source and optical chip has been shattered once again. Engineers have transmitted data at a blistering rate of 1.84 petabits per second (Pbit/s), almost twice the global internet traffic per second.
For context, if you’re fortunate enough to be living the “gig-life” (as my local carrier markets it) with a 1-gigabit connection at your house… a petabit is a million times faster than that. And that record-setting 1.84 petabit speed is just the start:
But the new chip is far from finished breaking records, according to the team behind it. Using a computational model to scale the data transmission potential of the system, the researchers claim that it could eventually reach eye-watering speeds of up to 100 Pbit/s.
Shut up and take my money?!
MNT Research… is going small for its next project. The MNT Pocket Reform has a seven-inch screen with a clamshell design that, when closed, will be less than five centimeters thick. If its perky purple facade looks a bit retro, that’s no surprise; the Pocket’s inspirations read like a ‘greatest hits’ list of pocketable computers.
They’re taking open source seriously:
MNT’s open-source promise is not limited to an open source operating system or select internal components The Pocket Reform, as with MNT’s full-size Reform laptop, will provide mainboard schematics, 3D models for physical components, and open source drivers, among other things.
Coming soon to a crowd fund near you.
Well, the end of Moore’s law has forced YouTube to make its own video chip. General purpose processors weren’t cutting it for specialized tasks like video transcoding, and after a 10 minute meeting with YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki, the company’s first video chip project was approved.
The obvious motive for building your own chip for a specific purpose is cost savings, but that’s not always the case. In many instances, big tech companies are simply looking to create a strategic advantage with custom chips. Consolidation in the chip industry also plays into the equation, as there are now only a couple of custom chipmakers to choose from in a given category making general-purpose processors that aren’t great at specialized tasks.
Google said the Argos VCUs delivered a performance boost of anywhere between 20 to 33 times compared to traditional server hardware running well-tuned transcoding software.
The screens in modern cars keep getting bigger. Design teams at most car manufacturers love to ditch physical buttons and switches, although they are far superior safety-wise.
That is the conclusion when Swedish car magazine Vi Bilägare performed a thorough test of the HMI system (Human-Machine Interface) in a total of twelve cars this summer.
Hopefully studies like this will convince car makers to install both a big, sexy touchscreen display and physical buttons for key functions that need to be performed quickly and often. Unfortunately, right now it seems most manufacturers are following Tesla’s lead to a buttonless future. And they pair that move with worse software, too. I’m looking at you, Ford. 👀
Today we have a special treat: Bryan Cantrill, co-founder and CTO of Oxide Computer! You may know Bryan from his work on DTrace. He worked at Sun for many years, then Oracle, and finally Joyent before starting Oxide.
We dig deep into their company’s mission/principles/values, hear how it it all started with a VC’s blank check that turned out to be anything but, and learn how Oxide’s integrated approach to hardware & software sets them up to compete with the established players by building servers as they should be.
Built using second-generation 5-nanometer technology, M2 takes the industry-leading performance per watt of M1 even further with an 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent more powerful GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine.1 It also delivers 50 percent more memory bandwidth compared to M1, and up to 24GB of fast unified memory.
I pity the fool who upgraded last Fall and can think of zero good reasons to spend another pile of cash at the Apple Store right now no matter how hard he tries to drum up literally any valid reason why that would be a wise decision but if he could think of one he totally would do it and now maybe he’s just waiting for someone else to come up with some sort of justification for doing exactly that. I pity that fool 😉
TIL that Pong was built using hardware circuitry. Fascinating! Here’s the original schematics from Atari 👇
Framework has created a really slick, fully user serviceable, laptop and have recently started selling the mainboard as a SBC for general use. To better support folks who may want to integrate it into their projects, they are also releasing technical documentation including pinouts, cad models and other resources.
When they reached out and explained their plans and offered to let me play with one, I jumped at the chance and this is what I came up with after some experimentation.
Mainboard Terminal is not just any cyberdeck, it’s a full-feature PC powered by Framework’s Mainboard. It has a 5” (1080x1080) round LCD, a fully 3D printable case, and is compatible with OLKB Preonic mechanical keyboard.
This week we’re joined by Mike Riley and we’re talking about his book Portable Python Projects (Running your home on a Raspberry Pi). We breakdown the details of the latest Raspberry Pi hardware, various automation ideas from the book, why Mike prefers Python for scripting on a Raspberry Pi, and of course why the Raspberry Pi makes sense for home labs concerned about data security.
Use the code
PYPROJECTS to get a 35% discount on the book. That code is valid for approximately 60 days after the episode’s publish date.
Let’s be honest: The current generation of robotic lawn mowers sucks. Basically all of these bots drive in a random direction until they hit the border of the lawn, rotate for a randomized duration and repeat. I think we can do better!
Therefore, we have disassembled the cheapest off-the-shelf robotic mower we could find (YardForce Classic 500) and were surprised that the hardware itself is actually quite decent.
The bot itself is surprisingly high quality and doesn’t need to be changed at all. We just need some better software in there.
Here’s an overview video that explains the entire idea.
There’s a lot going on in that picture. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what computers and gear they were using to do the 3D animation for this game.
Why? Because, Final Fantasy 7 is a true classic. When the game was first released in early 1997, for the Sony PlayStation, it took the RPG gaming world by storm. To this day, many consider it the greatest entry in the franchise.
I remember getting this game for Christmas and playing it nearly non-stop until school started again after the new year. Greatest entry in the franchise? Easily!
This looks so freakin’ cool! Watch the demo (16:09) then head to pockit.ai to learn more.
With a detailed instructions video, anyone can build it at home - you just need access to a 3D printer and have to buy a Raspberry Pi computer and an 8MP Raspberry Pi camera.
The full set of instructions are on their GitHub org.
Ars Technica takes an epic stroll down memory lane:
In their moment, minicomputers were used in a variety of applications. They served as communications controllers, instrument controllers, large system pre-processors, desk calculators, and real-time data acquisition handlers. But they also laid the foundation for significant hardware architecture advances and contributed greatly to modern operating systems, programming languages, and interactive computing as we know them today.
We were just discussing this machine on our upcoming episode with Brian Kernighan.
This is a ‘Linux Swiss Army Knife’, offering maximum utility while still being able to fit in your pocket. Is it fast? No. Can it run a GUI? Also no. But it can run scripts, ping a server, toggle a few GPIOs, and interact with a USB device.
I built my own laptop over the holiday break and it’s a developer’s dream come true. I took a chance and ordered a Framework Laptop DIY Edition. I’m so glad I did. The Framework is an excellent platform to customize and build a very capable and stable Linux machine for development. Here’s what I love about it and things that could be better.
This is super interesting to see bare metal Mac mini’s attached through Thunderbolt to the Amazon EC2 infrastructure. Really makes me wish I had a reason to use them. 😂
We upgraded to the new MacBook Pro M1 Max and decided to share our first impressions of the new hardware, how we migrate data and settings from our old machines (or don’t), which apps were “instant installs” for each of us, which apps we’re trying to live without, and how we get our new machines set up for work and play. Nerd out with us!
Zac Smith, managing director Equinix Metal, is sharing how Equinix Metal runs the best hardware and networking in the industry, why pairing magical software with the right hardware is the future, and what Open19 means for sustainability in the data centre. Think modular components that slot in (including CPUs), liquid cooling that converts heat into energy, and a few other solutions that minimise the impact on the environment.
But first, Zac tells us about the transition from Packet to Equinix Metal, his reasons for doing what he does, as well as the things that he is really passionate about, such as the most efficient data centres in the world and building for the love of it.
This is a great follow-up to episode 18 because it goes deeper into the reasons that make Gerhard excited about the work that Equinix Metal is doing. This conversation with Zac puts it all into perspective.
By the way, did you know that Equinix stands for Equality in the Internet Exchange?
These teardowns are always an enjoyable read. This one is particular interesting because of the large upgrade this year’s line of pro laptops is and how Apple appears to be returning to form with their design decisions. Here’s the lede:
We’ve still got a long way to go with disassembly, but this new MacBook Pro has, at the very least, the first reasonably DIY-friendly battery replacement procedure since 2012.
Alan Smithee on why Rust’s high performance, reliability, and productivity make it a good fit for embedded systems.