AMD on the move

Intel is finally going to face some heat after a decade of domination:

AMD also announced its Threadripper CPUs for the high-end desktop segment. These 16-core/32-thread processors will debut this summer, but the company didn't provide any further details. Pricing will play an important role, but frankly, 16 cores is plenty exciting. Intel's 10-core/20-thread i7-6950X Broadwell-E weighs in at $1,700, and considering AMD's Ryzen pricing history, we can expect a much lower price point than that to get more cores.

Software firms have to be able to take advantage of the cores for this to be a success. I've noticed that with multi-core processors that sell for over $300, the performance delta is simply too minuscule.


Online sharia

Yesterday, Facebook restricted and then shut down the public pages of Ex-Muslims of North America (24k followers) and Atheist Republic (1,6 million followers) –groups that advocate secularism and provide support to “apostates” (people who leave Islam and who often face persecution).

The Zuck is perfectly okay with sanitizing content to appease Muslims:

In the meantime, as Heat Street reported, in March Facebook kowtowed to officials in Pakistan and removed “blasphemous” content insulting Islam within the country. In this instance, Facebook had no problem with censoring freedom of speech on its platform.

Twitter and Facebook are sowing the seeds of their own destruction. The Alt-Tech will, in due time, overtake them.


Sanitizing the past

Return of Kings: The Digitization Of Classic Books May Lead To A Dangerous Form Of Censorship.

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that they actually do what they say they will do. Suppose they do scan or digitize entire libraries. What then? Will it not be far, far easier for systems of authority to control or manipulate access to historical information? How can we be sure that the University of California will not one day decide to prevent access to all works written before 1950 as being “offensive” or not in tune with political correctness? You may laugh at this, or call me an alarmist, but I am not so sure. When it comes to our precious cultural heritage, we cannot place our faith in the same institutions that have been betraying that same heritage for the past forty years.

What's the most incredible novel written by Agatha Christie?

It's original title: Ten Little Niggers. Oops.

New title: Ten Little Indians. Uh oh.

Newer title: Ten Little Soldiers. What?

Modern title: And Then There Were None.

Christie was very blunt in her writing. For example, her descriptions and opinions of Jews were considered uncouth. So, her words within the novel were modified to fit present-day sensibilities. I know this because I've listened to part of an audiobook and then soon read the book to realize that her writing in the novel was altered.

The insidious part is that I would have been utterly ignorant of this fact if I had only read the book. One can assume that many other books of the past have been distorted without us even being aware of it. Of course, with digital-only books, it would be almost effortless to mold history.


The new king

Nikon Rumors: New set of rumored Nikon D820 camera specifications.

It has been four years since Nikon bumped up the MP with the epic D800. Though, this time the jump is mild; from 36MP to 46MP. It'll likely rock the focusing system from the D5 which should make it the DSLR camera of the year.

The big question now is price. My guess would be a significant jump from the MSRP of a D800. So, $3,600. I would be shocked if it's cheaper than $3,300.


Counter-Strike master

I used to play CS many years ago. It was rough at first. My first game I got 1 kill and died ... 17 times. Eventually, I managed to bring that ratio up to 3:1.

Once, there was a random server on which the ping was incredibly low and the opposition was predictable and mediocre. Each round was a massacre. They started crying "cheater" and "haxor". It was amusing. A few minutes later, the admin banned me from the server! There were conflicting emotions: annoyance and pride.

But this is on a totally different level:

Only one tiny 'flaw': buy a defuse kit!


In the Antarctic

With the on-going discussion about the future of Nikon, let’s not forget that the current cameras and lenses are great tools. I surely hope Nikon gets back on the right track, and in the meantime I spend my time out in the field with my fantastic Nikon gear, you should too! Anyhow, long story short.

Over the past three years I have been to Antarctica two times. One time as a photography tourist, on board the smallest vessel operating in Antarctica, and one time as an expedition guide and photographer, on board the biggest vessel operating in Antarctica.

In some of the harshest climates, one finds beautiful creatures.


Nikon in decline

A rude end to a hundred years:

I warned way back in 2011 that the push in the consumer models was a distraction that was going to slam you against the wall at the end of the straightaway. And now that the concussion you received is starting to fade, you appear to be abandoning that type of car.

We’ll see the results in Nikon financials tomorrow, though they’ve already warned of an extraordinary loss. Here’s the thing, though: there’s nothing in anything Nikon has announced that will tell us the pain is over. Nikon is about to become a smaller company. Possibly far smaller.

Nikon's top cameras -- D5, D500, D810 -- are superb. The rest of their line up? It's a mess. Also, the quality control in the last decade has been dismal.

I haven’t been impressed with Nikon’s product management for at least six years, maybe more. There’s no “core philosophy” to what Nikon is doing. It’s all about cost management, for the most part. Yes, you have to manage costs, but that’s a lot easier to do if you produce the right products.

If Nikon had any sense, then they would hire Thom Hogan to be an advisor to the CEO to implement changes and make products that customers want.


Diminishing power gains

Almost ten year ago, I read about an amazing HD video -- a trailer about Terminator 2. Nearly 100MB per 1 minute of video. I downloaded it and started to play it.

It was all choppy and the audio and video was out of sync. I made sure that the latest media players were installed but it didn't help. Then, to my shock, I figured out that my CPU was too slow! It simply couldn't play such videos regardless of what software I used. 

At the time, my computer wasn't even two years old! Yet, it had reached its limit. My computer today is almost five years old and I still don't see any major reason to upgrade.


Overpriced and overdone

Vox Day:

It is rather ironic that the company whose fortune was made by its superior user interface is now heading downhill due to the worst UI experience in technology. But that's the way of the world; it turns out that Steve Jobs was irreplaceable after all.

Apple's main concern is now keeping people imprisoned in its walled garden, not luring them in any longer.

When Apple released an $800 accessory (iWatch) to the iPhone, I knew then that it was running on fumes. They'll still make billions of dollars of profit going forward but that staggering run from 2002 onward won't be repeated.

Oh, and I loath their walled garden. I've never bought an Apple product for that reason.


Google protects us from gruesome truth

The truth is unsettling, hurtful and deeply, truly racist:

Under the guise of tackling “fake news,” Google is removing search results that pertain to crime statistics that show black people commit more crimes, despite the fact that this is widely documented to be true.

An article in the Guardian entitled Google ‘must review its search rankings because of rightwing manipulation’ details how “leading academics” are pressuring Google to artificially edit its search algorithm to prevent certain subjects from appearing at the top of its search rankings.

In response, the piece notes that Google has removed search results that suggest “black people commit more crimes”. Negative results about the religion of Islam were also removed.

Vox Day:

This dedication to falsehood and deception will only make it all the easier to disrupt them when the time comes.


The myth of equality

First world "problems":

Why can't Silicon Valley solve its diversity problem? Maybe it's the same reason the coal mining industry can't solve its 99.9% male problem and why nine out of ten registered nurses are female. I think we need to just start forcing people into careers they don't want to satisfy the pie chart people.

Also, nobody mentions the structurally racist NBA that is 75% black. Where are you SJWs?


Represent!

What really matters:

Among young adults, emojis have even become a distinct and separate language, far removed from the limiting constraints of letters that some just can’t be bothered to type out.

However, as wonderful and beneficial as emojis have become in our communication with one another, they don’t always lend themselves to the diversity and beautiful cultural variety that exists in the real world — this has started to change.

It was a more than a year ago that Apple added different skin tones to its emoji app, an important add-on that that allowed those who use emojis in their texts to represent themselves in a more accurate manner.

Oh, I laughed out loud so much at this image:

Sharia emoji

I like this die-versity. I'm looking forward to these emojis:

  1. Bacha baazi.
  2. Guy killing a dog.
  3. Acid-burned face.
  4. A woman holding a child's head.
  5. An exquisite, floating, black garbage bag.

All in the name of cultural variety, of course.


Building a nightmare

I buy the components for my computer and then build the whole system. One time, after putting everything together, the system wouldn't boot. After about twenty minutes, I realized that the SATA cable to the hard drive wasn't properly plugged in. 

The unfortunate mistakes mentioned here were more costly.

“This took place when I was about 22 I think which would be roughly 13 years ago. I can't remember the CPU socket type of model but it was a top of the line intel. I was building a new PC and based on the recommendation of my brother, who was great with PCs, I ordered some arctic silver along with my gear. He had sent me the Newegg link. Unfortunately, I never reviewed the one he chose. So after I got the parts and was building it, for some reason I had to remove the CPU. Well, it wouldn't come off. Turns out he had unknowingly picked out the adhesive cement version of the arctic silver.

Damn.


Window 8 annoys

Windows 8 and its flaws:

The Windows 8 UI is completely flat in what used to be called the "Metro" style and is now called the "Modern UI." There's no pseudo-3D or lighting model to cast subtle shadows that indicate what's clickable (because it looks raised above the rest) or where you can type (because it looks indented below the page surface).

I haven't used the new OS but I've noticed this glaring flaw of Windows 8 in review videos. When users open a screen, everything looks flat and similar; it's impossible to see what is clickable and what is not.

I usually have to do some of my work at home. I prefer doing that on my desktop PC. The screen real estate is such a nice luxury. Unfortunately, Microsoft redesigned Windows for tablets and sacrificed the advantages inherent with large monitors.

The situation is much worse on regular PCs, particularly for knowledge workers doing productivity tasks in the office. This used to be Microsoft's core audience, and it has now thrown the old customer base under the bus by designing an operating system that removes a powerful PC's benefits in order to work better on smaller devices.

Why did Microsoft even have to subtract the ability to open and view multiple windows at once? They could have given the users the option of using the classic (Windows 7) way of dealing with windows.


Super, ultra, mega, super, ...

The ear pads on my over-the-ear headphones are falling apart. So, I checked online for the proper replacements and they cost $20 or more! Damn, that's some sweet margin on foam. 

Anyway, as I was wasting time trying to save a few bucks, I came across this epic, mammoth, giant, great, did I say epic?, comparison of 56 headphones!

Unfortunately, my relatively modest headphones weren't tested in the comparison. Still, I've bookmarked the E-P-I-C battle for future reference.


WTF Nikon?

Stuck in Customs:

I joined NPS (Nikon Professional Services) a few years ago. It’s easy to join — you just have to be signed up by an existing member. I didn’t really know what NPS did, but I figured it would be handy in case anything ever went wrong with my equipment.

A very sensible decision by a pro.

I’ve had three negative experiences and zero positive experiences with NPS. I’ll go through them here.

Uh oh. Nikon's market share in the camera market has been increasing since they released the D3 and D300 in 2007. Unfortunately, their customer service has become just plain idiotic. What they're doing, likely, saves them money but makes life miserable for their customers.

More on this later.


Flavor chaos

Thom Hogan on August 23:

What sticks in your head is the scream you hear from your local dealer as they realize that they have to stock 75 different cameras just to stock what's in Nikon's coop advertising flyers that you'll find in your local paper most weeks. And that's not counting special lens or other kits. As I noted in a story earlier this week, Nikon now has Coolpix cameras priced every US$15. There's gotta be something in there for you, right?

I feel sorry for the retailers. How can they explain the pros and cons of the different cameras to their customers?

Thom is right. This level of headache is not present in the DSLR range but still there's one big issue: sometimes older generation cameras are sold at higher prices than better, newer generation cameras. Example? D3X vs. D800.

Intel has had the same issues. They sell close to a hundred flavors of CPUs in the market. How do average folks decide on a CPU for their new computers?