Issue 1278 - Thursday 7th January, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

The USA's insurrection and social media's role in it all

You've probably already seen all the cooked units storming the US Capitol building, what you also probably saw is a bizarre outcome of unfettered social media. There's many ingredients in the pot that made this gross stew, but social media has undeniably enabled all these like-minded people to easily create groups, meet up and manifest their warped world views into the physical world. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube might remove the odd video, or slap a warning on the President's messages, but the groups persist. Even if they're removed, new groups pop up and gain tens of thousands of members within hours. I don't know if we will look back on this era of social media like the humans in Planet of the Apes, damning all who came before to hell, but something's certainly rotten here.

Jim Keller joins AI chip startup Tenstorrent

6 months to the day he said he was leaving Intel, Jim Keller has joined AI chip designer Tenstorrent as its CTO and President. For those not familiar with the legendary Jim Keller, he is the guy who helped build the teams at Apple and AMD that built the wildly successful A-series and Zen CPUs, as well as working at Tesla to help build a team that made the custom silicon for "full self driving". Tenstorrent's current product is an SoC that focuses on "sparse tensor operations by optimizing matrix operations into compressed packets, enabling pipeline parallelization of the compute steps both through the graph compiler and the packet manager" - whatever the fuck that means. Jim joined Tenstorrent because according to him, they've "made impressive progress, and has the most promising architecture out there". Big words from the big man.

WhatsApp's new mandatory terms of service outline all the crap they share with Facebook

WhatsApp has a new terms of service that if users don't accept, will be blocked from using the service. The main change in there is that users will no longer have the choice to opt-out of having their WhatsApp data shared with Facebook. According to the ToS, the data WhatsApp plans to share with the wider Facebook group of businesses includes, "user phone numbers, other people's phone numbers stored in address books, profile names, profile pictures, status message including when a user was last online and diagnostic data collected from app logs". I reckon most of WhatsApp 2 billion users (holy shit) will just tap agree and carry on as normal, probably not even aware, or care, that WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

Something I Saw On The Internet

A passion project to recreate the ATM hacking program from Terminator 2

The scene in Terminator 2 where little John Connor rides his dirt bike to an ATM, plugs in a mini Atari palm-top computer to "hack" the PIN on his parents debit card and withdraw $300 is one of my earliest memories of "fuck that was a cool scene" in cinema. It had the same effect on Bertrand Fan, who made a full SVG homage of the Atari Portfolio, running John Connor's "code". Bertrand didn't stop there, he actually made the program in Turbo Pascal and ran it in DOS Box. It serves absolutely no purpose and I love it.

Bargains

The End

📻 Memory Lane - Eddy Current Suppression Ring

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