Weekly Tech Roundup #10
"The Internet is a telephone system that's gotten uppity." - Clifford Stoll
Is Dark Mode Such A Good Idea?
I’ve decided to stop using dark mode across all of my devices, because research suggests that going to the dark side ain’t all that.
The darkness is everywhere. In fact, this very site that you’re on right now automagically flips to dark mode if you’re that way inclined. There’s lots of hyperbole flying around about why the darkness is better than basking in the warm glow of light mode.
Everything We Know About The PlayStation 5
Yesterday, in an 85-minute event called “The Future of Gaming,” Sony finally revealed the PlayStation 5. Between the presenters who may not have been human, we got a thorough look at plenty of video games (and some technical stuff, too). The info feed surrounding the PS5 has been a slow drip, but, several months ahead of its “holiday 2020” launch, a clear picture is starting to shape up. Here’s everything we know about the PlayStation 5.
The key differences between rule-based AI and machine learning
Companies across industries are exploring and implementing artificial intelligence (AI) projects, from big data to robotics, to automate business processes, improve customer experience, and innovate product development. According to McKinsey, “embracing AI promises considerable benefits for businesses and economies through its contributions to productivity and growth.” But with that promise comes challenges.
SpaceX launches 58 more Starlink satellites and 3 Planet Skysats for first rideshare launch
SpaceX has launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites, growing the constellation by another 58 spacecraft just 10 days after its most recent Starlink launch. That brings the total number of operational Starlink broadband internet satellites on orbit to 538. SpaceX also split the payload for this Starlink mission for the first time, giving up two of its usual Starlink payload complement in order to also carry three Planet Skysat spacecraft on behalf of that client.
SpaceX’s latest Starlink launch was significant not only because it brings the company closer to its goal of actually operating a consumer-facing broadband internet service, which it hopes to begin doing for a limited pool of customers in the U.S. and Canada by later this year, but also because these Starlink satellites carried new modifications designed to make them more astronomer-friendly.
The PS5 reveal was huge: Here’s what mattered
Yesterday, Sony gave the fans what they wanted and revealed some of the games that are currently in development for the PlayStation 5. It was a big event that stretched on for more than an hour, and much of that time was taken up by trailers for upcoming games. There were a lot of reveals both big and (relatively) small, so if you missed the show yesterday, he’s a recap of all the major announcements.
The Internet Needs a New Architecture that Puts Users First
Quarantine has changed the way we connect, online and off. As we rely on the internet more and more for work, social connections, and basic needs, it is time to talk about the future of meaningful online experiences, and the need for a new internet architecture. We need a user-focused, localized internet. This competitive architecture would deliver an experience that values real-time connectivity over one-way advertising and puts control with the user, not with big tech platforms.
ESP32 Becomes Music Player In Under 40 Lines Of Code
The demo code for [XTronical]’s ESP32-based SD card music player is not even 40 lines long, though it will also require a few economical parts before it all works. Nevertheless, making a microcontroller play MP3s (and other formats) from an SD card is considerably simpler today than it was years ago.
Part of what makes this all work is I2S (Inter-IC Sound), a format for communicating PCM audio data between devices. Besides the ESP32, at the heart of it all is an SD card reader breakout board and the MAX98357A, which can be thought of as a combination I2S decoder and Class D amplifier. The ESP32 reads audio files from the SD card and uses an I2S audio library to send the I2S data stream to the MAX98357A (or two of them for stereo.) From there it is decoded automatically and audio gets pumped though attached speakers.
A Facebook crawler was making 7M requests per day to my stupid website
I own a little website I use for some SEO experiments. Of course there’s some content and a facebook sharing button for every post.
The website is so little it runs on a "single controller" PHP app + a 400kb SQLite db, but can generate thousands of different pages.
Everything is hosted (together with a bunch of other websites) on a cheap DigitalOcean machine + free cloudflare plan for some caching. One of those websites has some alerting and it started to alert me about being down.
After some investigations I’ve found out the problem… the Facebook Crawler
The Hunt Is On for Elusive Ghost Particles in Antarctica
It was a crisp December morning in 2016 at the icy airfield near McMurdo Station in Antarctica, and Peter Gorham was watching a massive balloon fill with helium. Attached to the balloon was a gondola the size of a semitruck cab that was designed to turn the entire frozen continent into the world’s largest radio dish. The experiment was known as Anita—short for the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna—and its hulking frame was a checkerboard of square white antennas and black solar panels. When the balloon was full, it carried Anita 20 miles into the atmosphere, where it spent the next month riding the polar vortex in circles over Antarctica.