Macintosh Computer Day Shortbread

Never used one of these, but I remember playing Odell Lake on an Apple II in what I think was kindergarten.

PC hardware and computing

  1. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 review part two: 1440p and OC @ PC Perspective
  2. AMD R9 290X in 2019: benchmark vs. RX 590, GTX, RTX, & more @ Gamers Nexus
  3. ECS Liva Q2 review @ Hexus
  4. Dell XPS 13 (9380) 2019 review @ HotHardware
  5. SilverStone Argon AR01 V3 air cooler review @ KitGuru
  6. Fractal Design Meshify S2 case review @ Legit Reviews
  7. Creative SXFI Amp review @ TechPowerUp
  8. Das Keyboard 4Q review @ TechSpot
  9. Double height DDR4: 32GB modules from G.Skill and ZADAK reviewed @ AnandTech

Games, culture, and VR

  1. There's serious money in competitive Farming Simulator @ Quarter To Three (come again?)
  2. Terabyte-using cable customers double, increasing risk of data cap fees @ Ars Technica (our household doesn't use nearly as much data as it used to, but we're still pushing 1TB a month, seems pretty normal to me)

Hacks, gadgets and crypto-jinks

  1. Rifle-mounted sensor shows what happens during shot @ HackADay
  2. Transparent trailer tech the highlight of GMC's camera-happy 2020 Sierra HD @ New Atlas (I've only driven with a trailer a couple times in my life, but I know I liked being able to see exactly where it was, I'm not sure I'd want it to be "cloaked")

Science, technology, and space news

  1. Sorry, Ajit: Comcast lowered cable investment despite net neutrality repeal @ Ars Technica
  2. A meteorite hit the Moon during total lunar eclipse @ Slashdot
  3. New Shepard makes 10th launch as Blue Origin aims to fly humans late in 2019 @ Ars Technica
  4. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says biometrics may defeat bots @ Slashdot (just what we need, incentive for bots to "procure" fingers and eye balls)

Cheese, memes, and shiny things

  1. A natural question: when is cheese not cheese? @ lakegenevanews.net (how grate is it that this is called the CURD Act?)
Colton Westrate

I post Shortbread, I host BBQs, I tell stories, and I strive to keep folks happy.

Comments closed
    • HERETIC
    • 11 months ago

    In other news-
    If you have the time,Ian over at Anand has a good deep dive on Intel 10nm.
    [url<]https://www.anandtech.com/show/13405/intel-10nm-cannon-lake-and-core-i3-8121u-deep-dive-review[/url<]

    • blastdoor
    • 11 months ago

    For all my complaining about Apple’s missteps with the Mac Pro over the last 6 years or so (to the point of getting a Linux Threadripper system), I do still really like Macs. Hopefully Apple gets its act together.

      • tipoo
      • 11 months ago

      Wondering how many holdovers will even be left by the time the new Mac Pro is out. If the 2013 didn’t float your boat, that was 9 years without the Pro tier hardware you needed, not the first I’ve heard of someone looking for that tier of hardware from Apple giving up and going with a Threadripper Linux box.

      And then the continued reliability issues three generations into the Butterfly keyboard…Almost feels like they’re just smurfing until the ARMbooks.

        • blastdoor
        • 11 months ago

        Yeah, it’s a good question.

        I know I’m not going to bite on their first effort. But if they stick with it, show that they are committed, and I become persuaded that they aren’t going to leave pro users high and dry again, then perhaps in a few years I’ll give them another try.

        I can imagine quite a few other people might take a similar attitude. That means Apple will need to be patient in rebuilding trust and demonstrating commitment to the market. The thing Apple should NOT do is look at Mac Pro sales over the first 12 months and conclude there’s no demand and give up. Apple needs to understand:

        1. this market is small, but very important
        2. they have seriously damaged their reputation with Mac Pro users
        3. they need to be very patient and make a long term commitment to rebuilding trust

        My worry is that Apple’s view is:

        1. the market is small.
        2. our products are the best, love it or leave it
        3. if we build it and you don’t come then we’re taking our marbles and going home

          • K-L-Waster
          • 11 months ago

          I think you missed number 4: The market is small and we don’t make any money at it.

          Sure, the margins may be good, but odds are they make more revenue selling AirBuds for a month than they do selling Mac Pros for a year….

            • blastdoor
            • 11 months ago

            If you literally mean that they don’t make *any* money at it, then you’re wrong about that — of course they can make money at it. If you mean that they do make money, but that amount of money is very small compared to other products (like AirPods), then I agree, but then you’re wrong that I didn’t say that — that’s #1 under the Apple list.,

            The Mac Pro market might be small taken by itself, but I’ll bet the Mac Pro *users* are far from small, both in terms of the totality of all hardware+services they buy from Apple and also in terms of their influence on others. If those users have to give up the Mac as their main work computer, it opens the door to exploring options outside of Apple’s ecosystem for other products too — Apple does not want that to happen. It also could (almost certainly will, actually) lead these Pro users to influence others to move away from Apple.

          • shaq_mobile
          • 11 months ago

          Have you guys noticed a drop in build quality lately? I solo support about 130 users, 5 of which are Mac users, all of which have had to warranty at least once, two of them twice.

          Comparison, I’ve had to return one HP and one Dell (excluding users spilling/dropping, which would double this). I manage labs with about 550 hp machines and we have had to replace about 5 of them.

          We are on a 3 year rotation cycle, so I’ve looked after about 1500 machines, so not a huge sample, but a fair one. 1500-7 vs 20-7. The newer Macs have been very problematic in comparison, though maybe it’s just bad luck… Hence me asking

            • blastdoor
            • 10 months ago

            What were the issues?

            I think the keyboard design for MBPs has been problematic. I’d say it’s more of a design issue than a build quality issue , but that distinction doesn’t matter too much from a UX perspective

            • shaq_mobile
            • 10 months ago

            The most recent ones were keyboard, monitor, battery (couldn’t hold charge after just a few months), and I think a hard drive issue but I was out of the office. Also one botched an OS upgrade but we fixed that, not really hardware but still significant.

            I’ve had good luck with them personally. Just seems like that last year or two they’ve had way more than their share of issues. my sample size for them is small so I figured I’d reach out and see what you guys have seen.

    • davidbowser
    • 11 months ago

    [quote<]Sorry, Ajit: Comcast lowered cable investment despite net neutrality repeal @ Ars Technica[/quote<] Show of hands by people that were surprised by this? Nobody? Put your hand down Ajit.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 11 months ago

      Ajit is only pretending to be surprised.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 11 months ago

    That Super X-Fi amp is really interesting–I’ve been following it for a couple of months. Creative starts selling it on their site starting tomorrow, and if you buy now they throw in a pair of Creative Aurvana SE headphones. The reviews have been impressive (well, maybe not for Krogoth, but still).

    • tay
    • 11 months ago

    I played my first multi player game on a mac on lan, Net Trek. [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z40VMsXtl0Y[/url<]

      • davidbowser
      • 11 months ago

      You have my thumbs for that! Although I played a DOS BBS MUD with a friend a few times, Net Trek was the first LAN party game I played. We were on multiple Mac+ with phoneNet between them in a lab at school.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 11 months ago

    My first computer. Wrote my master’s thesis on the original 128k Mac–a hand-me-down from my Dad, who upgraded to the 512k model. In his “spare time” he wrote books on psychology, and getting the computer (at my insistence) doubled his output. Damn, I’m old…nostalgia’s not what it used to be.

      • Physicist59
      • 11 months ago

      I wrote my PhD thesis using Word 2 on the Mac+ (512k model). We were using the Macs as terminals for our PDP-11/23 embedded data acquisition computers. I remember a lot of pain associated with graphics placement – you could not lock a graphic to a page, it had to be a paragraph. Sadly, that pain did not get resolved in Word until the early 2000s (OpenOffice, now LibreOffice, solved the issue much earlier).

      We used the Macs for gaming after hours. My thesis advisor surprised my about 5:30PM one day playing Dark Castle. He was showing a visitor through the lab…

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 months ago

      The “1984” commercial came out while I was in college, and being an Apple ][ + owner I had to go down and check it out at the computer store (no such thing as Apple stores then, of course). I had seen the Lisa in magazines but it was like $5K so….

      I may be one of the only people who was confused by the way the Mac UI worked — not because it was unintuitive, but because I’d already been using a GUI on Xerox Star workstations at school, and the Mac GUI worked differently. It took me several tries to figure out how to pull down a menu on the Mac, because on the Xerox you just had to click on the menu bar and the appropriate menu dropped [i<]and stayed dropped[/i<] -- you didn't have to [i<]hold the damn mouse button down to keep the menu open[/i<] while you found the item you wanted (Windows adopted the Xerox mechanic, notably, for all the [i<]Sturm und Drang[/i<] about who copied who). So I was also probably among the only people who found the Mac UI annoying and less user-friendly than what I was already used to. Edit (++ to add more details): our Star (technically "Daisy" models IIRC) workstations were networked with a very early laser printer (the size of a small washing machine) and man was that thing fun -- beyond turning out printed stuff at a quality that blew people's minds (I was taking a Japanese Lit course and turned in a laser-printed paper complete with poems in Kanji, which caused the professor to demand an immediate tour of the lab so he could see how I had done it), it also had a tendency to jam and catch fire (well, the paper inside would smolder anyway, which was... exciting). Other fun aspects: the network filesystem was so distributed you had no idea where your files were actually stored, so sometimes if you were doing something read-write intensive you'd make somebody else's workstation slow to a crawl. The three-button mouse (complete with multi-button clicks Xerox called "chords") was optical but it required a special bitfield-printed mouse surface to operate -- but you could just print that out on the laser printer whenever you needed a new one (though one of the guys discovered his 5-O'Clock shadow also worked if he ran the mouse over his face). And the best bit: user-loadable microcode on [url=https://i.imgur.com/7T1iWnl.jpg<]8-inch floppies[/url<]. (Yes, they were [url=https://i.imgur.com/ealWYtK.jpg<]a thing[/url<] -- I still have a couple somewhere). You could put a different floppy into the machine at power-up and it would boot up as a hardware LISP machine, running a crazy object-oriented version of LISP (called LOOPS I believe)

        • blastdoor
        • 11 months ago

        Wow, that’s one of the more interesting/cool anecdotes I’ve read in a while — thanks!

        That was kind of odd behavior for the dropdown menus — I remember that now that you mention it. I found this somewhat interesting link on the subject, apparently from the time Apple introduced “sticky menus”:

        [url<]https://tech-insider.org/mac/research/1996/0726.html[/url<] It sounds like perhaps the perceived advantage of the Mac's original behavior is that the menu gets out of your way quickly after the item has been selected.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 months ago

          Sticky menus are first and foremost an accessibility thing. You’d never get away with that today because we’re more aware of users with disabilities, but holding the mouse button while moving the mouse took a bit of practice.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 months ago

        FWIW, the “hold mouse to keep menu open” thing is the least intuitive thing about the classic Mac system software. When I was in college was a bit later, but the Power Macintosh 7300’s in the music lab confused the crap out of me. “Why won’t this dang thing stay open?” because I was used to Windows 3.x.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 11 months ago

        Didn’t Windows (at least by 3.1) do both menu styles? If could hold down and release on the option or click and click?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 months ago

      That bit of nostalgia is pretty cool.

    • NTMBK
    • 11 months ago

    The 290X holds up surprisingly well after 5 years.

      • auxy
      • 11 months ago

      I have always said that the Hawaii/Grenada GPU is the last true gaming GPU that AMD ever made. Could you imagine that thing on 7nm and hooked up to HBM2? It’d be a hell of a lot faster than that crappy Radeon VII! (*´∀`*)

      People never took me seriously when I said the 290X/390X was perfectly capable of 4K gaming and yet it runs the very latest titles on high settings at 30+ FPS. Older and less demanding games easily hit 60+.

      People also laughed when I said the 390X was a better buy at bargain-basement prices compared to its Maxwell competition but now with the benefit of hindsight it’s clear that I was right.

      Of course, lots of 390X boards were really cheap and prone to failure… so maybe not. But still, that GPU is amazing for its age.

        • Krogoth
        • 11 months ago

        You know that Vega/Fiji are a sup-up Hawaii with minor pipeline tweaks here and there. Hawaii was fast and ahead of its time, but a 7nm version would be no faster then Polaris and be less power efficient. Navi will most likely completely outclass it.

          • auxy
          • 11 months ago

          Simply false! Compare:

          Hawaii XT: 2816 shaders, 176 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 438 mm²
          Fiji XT: 4096 shaders, 256 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 596 mm²
          Tonga XT: 2048 shaders, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 359 mm²
          Polaris 20 XT: 2304 shaders, 144 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 232 mm² (on 14nm)
          Vega 10 XT: 4096 shaders, 256 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 486 mm² (on 14nm)
          Vega 20 XT: 4096 shaders, 256 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 331 mm² (on 7nm)

          So yeah, I maintain that if you could get Hawaii to the same or similar clock rates as Polaris 20 (RX 590), which would be feasible, you’d see vastly better gaming performance. Even more if you could sprinkle the Polaris architecture upgrades on it.

          You could make the argument that Hawaii and even Tahiti were compute cards first and foremost, because they spent a lot of silicon (relatively speaking) on FP64 hardware. However, when AMD started ripping out that hardware, instead of replacing it with more graphics hardware, they just kept stapling on more and more FP32 shaders. That’s NOT helpful to a graphics workload; in absolutely no normal gaming workload is Hawaii shader-bound.

          So either AMD didn’t know what the hell it was doing (plausible), or they were chasing after some compute market — likely the mining market, which doesn’t care about FP64. If that’s the case, it was a terrible long-term decision, but maybe at the time the company didn’t have the money to think about long-term decisions. It’s hell to be poor.

          As a sidenote, look at those massive dies on Vega! I wonder how much dark silicon there is in those chips because they never got all those vaunted Vega features working. (‘ω’)

          Like everyone else, I hope AMD RTG has something good in the works…

            • Krogoth
            • 11 months ago

            The problem with GCN is that bottle-necked on the front-end. It can only do four triangles in the pipeline which has been limiting its geometric performance. That’s primarily why gaming performance on the platform has plateaued since Hawaii. Fiji/Vega behave like a Hawaii on overclocking steroids for majority of games out there. Polaris is basically a cut-down version(removed FP64 logic from the pipeline) and energy-efficient version of Hawaii (still loses out to Pascal/Maxwell in energy efficiency).

            Vega doesn’t have dark silicon either. AMD RTG’s Vega team were originally trying to use software (NGG+ and Primitive shaders) to exploit its excessive shading power to make-up for its 4-triangle-per pass limitation on the pipeline. That plan fell through as R&D budget shifted towards AMD’s CPU division and game developers were already massively entrenched in the Nvidia ecology.

            • DoomGuy64
            • 11 months ago

            Eh, I think GCN is more bottlenecked on the driver end, from dx12/vulkan comparisons. They’ve gotten a LOT better from their windows 7 days, which is why Hawaii still holds up, but not quite nvidia level of optimization, especially on older APIs.

        • NTMBK
        • 11 months ago

        I think Polaris was pretty great as a midrange gamer card- it was an excellent replacement for the old 7870 (and all its rebrands), giving a really great generation on generation improvement. It all kind of fell apart after that though.

          • auxy
          • 11 months ago

          Polaris, like Fiji and Tonga before it, and ESPECIALLY Vega after it, is a compute card first and foremost. Its big shader array is useless for games, and it’s woefully under-equipped for graphics workloads compared to the size of the die.

            • Krogoth
            • 11 months ago

            Acutally, almost every post-G80/Tetascale chip was designed to be general compute first and graphical second.

            Maxwell is the only notable outlier (which is why its Kepler predecessors were better at general compute until Pascal)

      • tipoo
      • 11 months ago

      Five…That can’t be right.
      *mathmathmath*
      Well damn. If time could just slow down for a bit, that would be great.

    • highlandr
    • 11 months ago

    Why just remember playing the game, when you can actually play it? [url<]http://www.virtualapple.org/odelllake.html[/url<] (Except their browser-based emulator doesn't seem to be working anymore - blast browsers and their inexorable march forward in the name of progress!)

      • Voldenuit
      • 11 months ago

      Why play Oregon Trail, when you can play [url=https://store.steampowered.com/app/233740/Organ_Trail_Directors_Cut/<]Oregon Trail with zombies[/url<]?

    • Krogoth
    • 11 months ago

    No Oregon Trail?

    Disappointment.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 months ago

      The version we all know and love didn’t come out for another year or so after the first Mac:

      [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oregon_Trail_(1985_video_game)[/url<]

      • chuckula
      • 11 months ago

      I don’t always die of dyptheria in Oregon Trail.

      But when I do it’s on an Apple ][c

        • enixenigma
        • 11 months ago

        What’s a little dysentery among friends?

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 months ago

      [quote<][s<]Disappointment.[/s<][/quote<] [url=https://i.imgur.com/NE7Ii0O.jpg<]Dysentery[/url<]

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