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DudeAsInCool

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Posts posted by DudeAsInCool

  1. An illustration of robots sitting on a logical block diagram.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

    It seems like AI large language models (LLMs) are everywhere these days due to the rise of ChatGPT. Now, a software developer named Ishan Anand has managed to cram a precursor to ChatGPT called GPT-2—originally released in 2019 after some trepidation from OpenAI—into a working Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It's freely available and is designed to educate people about how LLMs work.

    "By using a spreadsheet anyone (even non-developers) can explore and play directly with how a 'real' transformer works under the hood with minimal abstractions to get in the way," writes Anand on the official website for the sheet, which he calls "Spreadsheets-are-all-you-need." It's a nod to the 2017 research paper "Attention is All You Need" that first described the Transformer architecture that has been foundational to how LLMs work.

    Anand packed GPT-2 into an XLSB Microsoft Excel binary file format, and it requires the latest version of Excel to run (but won't work on the web version). It's completely local and doesn't do any API calls to cloud AI services.

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  2. Jason Kempin/Getty Images

    In 2018, the country star and American Idol judge Luke Bryan opened Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink, a six-level bar, restaurant and live music venue on Nashville’s Broadway Street. The Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission is now investigating the bar after 22-year-old University of Missouri student Riley Strain went missing last week. Strain hasn’t been seen since he was kicked out of Luke’s 32 Bridge on the evening of March 8, and Tennessee officials are reportedly probing the bar for potentially overserving Strain. Today, Bryan’s bar shared a statement, claiming that its employees only served Strain one alcoholic drink and two waters.

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  3. 431212151_18423038689032387_797985733810

    Canadian electronic duo Blue Hawaii have been teasing their Feeling Celebrated LP for a while, which will follow 2019’s Open Reduction Internal Fixation. Last year, they shared “Summer For The Loners” and “Boom.” Today, they’re back with what the band says is the LP’s first single. “Diamond Shovel” is a dance track that interpolates Soft Cell’s classic “Tainted Love.” Hear it below.

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  4. Google's safe browsing warning is not subtle.

    Enlarge / Google's safe browsing warning is not subtle. (credit: Google)

    Google Chrome's "Safe Browsing" feature—the thing that pops up a giant red screen when you try to visit a malicious website—is getting real-time updates for all users. Google announced the change on the Google Security Blog. Real-time protection naturally means sending URL data to some far-off server, but Google says it will use "privacy-preserving URL protection" so it won't get a list of your entire browsing history. (Not that Chrome doesn't already have features that log your history or track you.)

    Safe Browsing basically boils down to checking your current website against a list of known bad sites. Google's old implementation happened locally, which had the benefit of not sending your entire browsing history to Google, but that meant downloading the list of bad sites at 30- to 60-minute intervals. There are a few problems with local downloads. First, Google says the majority of bad sites exist for "less than 10 minutes," so a 30-minute update time isn't going to catch them. Second, the list of all bad websites on the entire Internet is going to be very large and constantly growing, and Google already says that "not all devices have the resources necessary to maintain this growing list."

    If you really want to shut down malicious sites, what you want is real-time checking against a remote server. There are a lot of bad ways you could do this. One way would be to just send every URL to the remote server, and you'd basically double Internet website traffic for all of Chrome's 5 billion users. To cut down on those server requests, Chrome is instead going to download a list of known good sites, and that will cover the vast majority of web traffic. Only the small, unheard-of sites will be subject to a server check, and even then, Chrome will keep a cache of your recent small site checks, so you'll only check against the server the first time.

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  5. The M1 MacBook Air returns as a Walmart budget laptop.

    Enlarge / The M1 MacBook Air returns as a Walmart budget laptop. (credit: Walmart)

    Apple no longer sells the M1 MacBook Air as of earlier this month, discontinuing it and offering the M2 version of the Air as its entry-level model instead. But it looks like the M1 Air may live on, at least for a while—US retailer Walmart made a point of announcing today that it would carry and sell the M1 Air in its online store and at “select” retail locations for a much-lowered price of $699.

    This is lower than the $999 that Apple was asking for the laptop just a few weeks ago, and it's lower than the $759 that the M1 Air goes for in Apple’s refurbished store. These prices are all for the base configuration of the M1 Air, with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage. Walmart offers all three color finishes for the M1 Air—silver, gold, and space gray—but doesn’t directly sell any versions with more RAM or storage.

    This isn’t the Air config we’d recommend to most enthusiasts—for them, an M3 Air or a refurbished M2 model with more RAM and storage come with enough benefits to be worth the extra cost. But it is a surprisingly low price for what remains a solid entry-level laptop, especially given that Walmart doesn’t offer any other Macs in its stores (other Macs on Walmart’s website are available from third-party sellers).

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  6. Intel’s 6.2 GHz Core i9-14900KS is a reminder of why the MHz wars ended

    Enlarge (credit: Intel)

    PC enthusiasts who have been around the block a couple of times might remember the stretch from the '90s into the early 2000s when ever-increasing clock speeds were Intel's primary metric for increasing processor performance. AMD participated, too—it managed to beat Intel to 1 GHz in what was considered a major coup at the time—but Intel's Pentium 4 processors specifically prioritized boosting clock speeds at the cost of instructions-per-clock.

    Today, the company is ever so briefly revisiting those old days with the $689 Core i9-14900KS, its newest flagship desktop processor. The i9-14900KS can hit speeds of 6.2 GHz out of the box, a small push past the last-generation i9-13900KS and the i9-14900K that topped out at 6.0 GHz. Like other recent high-end Intel desktop chips, it also features Intel's "Adaptive Boost Technology," which will allow the chip to increase its power consumption and performance until it hits 100° Celsius.

    This kind of clock speed boosting is both impressive and impractical. On the one hand, Intel has managed to push clock speeds even higher without changing its architecture or manufacturing process, a culmination of years of iteration across the 12th-, 13th-, and 14th-generation processor families. On the impractical side, the i9-14900KS can use a ridiculous amount of power to achieve marginally faster performance, reminding us of the laws of physics that helped shut down the megahertz wars in the first place.

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  7. Asus' latest flagship is the Zenfone 11 Ultra. For lovers of small phones, this represents one of the stalwart small-phone manufacturers abandoning you. I'm sorry. The Zenfone 10 was a unique little 5.9-inch powerhouse, but the Zenfone 11 is just another big Android phone with the same 6.78-inch display as everyone else. Big displays are expensive, so of course, the price is bigger, too: $899 instead of the $699 price of the smaller phone.

    The whole phone looks a lot more generic than last year. Instead of the two big camera circles of the Zenfone 10, the back now has a square camera block that looks like every other phone. The front screen is flat, the sides are a flat metal band, and the only real identifying features are a few decorative lines on the rear panel.

    That big 6.78-inch display is a 2400×1080 OLED. Normally, it runs at 120 Hz, but Asus says it's capable of 144 Hz "for gaming only." It has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC, 12GB or 16GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of UFS4.0 storage. The 5500 mAh battery is a bit bigger than most phones, so that's something to cling to. The phone has 65 W wired charging and 15 W wireless charging, IP68 dust and water-resistance, and an in-screen fingerprint reader. There's a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the bottom of the phone.

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  8. This big, weathered box contains an oddball piece of PC history: one of the last builds of IBM's OS/2 that Microsoft worked on before pivoting all of its attention to Windows.

    Enlarge / This big, weathered box contains an oddball piece of PC history: one of the last builds of IBM's OS/2 that Microsoft worked on before pivoting all of its attention to Windows. (credit: Neozeed)

    In the annals of PC history, IBM’s OS/2 represents a road not taken. Developed in the waning days of IBM’s partnership with Microsoft—the same partnership that had given us a decade or so of MS-DOS and PC-DOS—OS/2 was meant to improve on areas where DOS was falling short on modern systems. Better memory management, multitasking capabilities, and a usable GUI were all among the features introduced in version 1.x.

    But Microsoft was frustrated with some of IBM’s goals and demands, and the company continued to develop an operating system called Windows on its own. Where IBM wanted OS/2 to be used mainly to boost IBM-made PCs and designed it around the limitations of Intel's 80286 CPU, Windows was being created with the booming market for PC-compatible clones in mind. Windows 1.x and 2.x failed to make much of a dent, but 1990’s Windows 3.0 was a hit, and it came preinstalled on many consumer PCs; Microsoft and IBM broke off their partnership shortly afterward, making OS/2 version 1.2 the last one publicly released and sold with Microsoft’s involvement.

    But Microsoft had done a lot of work on version 2.0 of OS/2 at the same time as it was developing Windows. It was far enough along that preview screenshots appeared in PC Magazine, and early builds were shipped to developers who could pay for them, but it was never formally released to the public.

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  9. The Google Gemini logo.

    Enlarge / The Google Gemini logo. (credit: Google)

    Like many of us, Google Gemini is tired of politics. Reuters reports that Google has restricted the chatbot from answering questions about the upcoming US election, and instead, it will direct users to Google Search.

    Google had planned to do this back when the Gemini chatbot was still called "Bard." In December, the company said, "Beginning early next year, in preparation for the 2024 elections and out of an abundance of caution on such an important topic, we’ll restrict the types of election-related queries for which Bard and [Google Search's Bard integration] will return responses." Tuesday, Google confirmed to Reuters that those restrictions have kicked in. Election queries now tend to come back with the refusal: "I'm still learning how to answer this question. In the meantime, try Google Search."

    Google's original plan in December was likely to disable election info so Gemini could avoid any political firestorms. Boy, did that not work out! When asked to generate images of people, Gemini quietly tacked diversity requirements onto the image request; this practice led to offensive and historically inaccurate images along with a general refusal to generate images of white people. Last month that earned Google wall-to-wall coverage in conservative news spheres along the lines of "Google's woke AI hates white people!" Google CEO Sundar Pichai called the AI's "biased" responses "completely unacceptable," and for now, creating images of people is disabled while Google works on it.

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  10. Copilot mounted to the rear of a road bike

    (credit: Velo AI)

    Whether or not autonomous vehicles ever work out, the effort put into using small cameras and machine-learning algorithms to detect cars could pay off big for an unexpected group: cyclists.

    Velo AI is a firm cofounded by Clark Haynes and Micol Marchetti-Bowick, both PhDs with backgrounds in robotics, movement prediction, and Uber's (since sold-off) autonomous vehicle work. Copilot, which started as a "pandemic passion project" for Haynes, is essentially car-focused artificial intelligence and machine learning stuffed into a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and boxed up in a bike-friendly size and shape.

    A look into the computer vision of the Copilot.

    While car-detecting devices exist for bikes, including the Garmin Varia, they're largely radar-based. That means they can't distinguish between vehicles of different sizes and only know that something is approaching you, not, for example, how much space it will allow when passing.

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  11. Screenshot of App Store icon.

    Enlarge / Apple's App Store. (credit: Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)

    Mobile app developers are expected to push subscriptions more aggressively over the next year. Numbers that RevenueCat recently shared examining over 30,000 apps suggest why: Most apps struggle to reach $1,000 per month in revenue.

    RevenueCat makes a subscription toolkit for mobile apps. The 7-year-old company's study shared today, as spotted by TechCrunch, said the firm examined apps using its in-app subscription SDKs. RevenueCat's report didn't list all apps studied but claims Reuters, Buffer, Goodnotes, PhotoRoom, and Notion as customers. The report claims that 90 percent of apps with an in-app-subscription platform use RevenueCat. The San Francisco-based company also claims to support "everything from niche indie apps to several of the top 100 subscription apps," which notably suggests that most of the top-100 subscription apps aren't included in this study.

    With these caveats in mind, the 120-page report still provides unique details about a claimed $6.7 billion in subscription revenue touching over 18,000 developers and 290 million subscribers using the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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  12. Motorola is launching the 2024 version of its "Moto G" budget phone. Today we've got two versions, the "Moto G 5G 2024" and the "Moto G Power 5G 2024" to pick from. The base Moto G 2024 is $199.99, while the Power version is $299.99.

    The specs on the base model Moto G are all over the place. We've got a low-resolution, high refresh rate 6.6-inch, 120 Hz, 1612×720 LCD and a Snapdragon 4 Gen 1. The phone has a whopping 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 5000 mAh battery with 18 W wired charging. You get a lot of extras: a 3.5 mm headphone jack, NFC (!), a side fingerprint reader, and a microSD slot. The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 is about as cheap of a chip as you can get from Qualcomm, a 6 nm chip with two Cortex A78 CPUs and six A55 CPUs. It seems criminal that these budget Qualcomm chips prioritize barely there 5G bands yet only support 802.11ac, AKA "Wi-Fi 5," which first hit smartphones in 2013.

    On the back of the base-model Moto G is one real camera, a 50MP rear sensor, and a just-for-looks 2MP "macro" sensor. The front camera is 8MP.

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  13. Tahmid Ladstreet

    Joel Martorana and Thomas Elliott, the two members of the Melbourne duo Peace Ritual, are products of the Australian punk universe, but that’s not the kind of music they make. Instead, Peace Ritual’s sound goes for dreamy, pretty skyward jangle. Peace Ritual made a name for themselves with their self-titled 2022 EP, and now they’ve got a new single that they made with a likeminded collaborator.

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  14. Carter B. Smith

    Historically, Sting has done pretty well as the singer for a three-piece band. Sting, who just joined Billy Joel onstage in Tampa, can certainly afford to hire more musicians if he wants, but for his next American tour, he’ll go back to his roots, fronting a newly formed power trio. On the Sting 3.0 tour, Sting and his bandmates will play relatively small venues, and maybe they’ll flex some of the anxious, urgent intensity that Sting had with the Police.

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  15. Justin-Timberlake-on-Kimmel-1710246145.j

    It appears that Justin Timberlake would very much like to recreate the circa-2007 moment when it seemed like he would become king of all media. In fact, Timberlake seems to be making a running joke out of his inability to recapture that old mojo. Timberlake has a new album and a tour to promote, and when he was on Dakota Johnson’s Saturday Night Live episode in January, the central monologue joke was all about how Timberlake was available for sketches if anyone needed him. Last night, Timberlake pulled something similar on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

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  16. Boss-Born-Gangstaz-1710243783.jpg

    The Detroit-born rapper Boss, the first woman ever signed to Def Jam Records, has died. As HipHopDX reports, Boss’ ’90s rap peers like Bun B and DJ Premier shared the news on social media last night. No cause of death has been reported, but Boss, whose name was sometimes stylized as Bo$$, suffered a stroke in 2017. In 2021, a GoFundMe campaign raised money to help her get a kidney transplant. Boss was 54.

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