eXtensions - Thursday 4 January 2018
Cassandra: Thursday Review - Overflowing New Year
By Graham K. Rogers
As a note, last time I checked, the Bangkok Post was languishing around 80 in the top 100 sites in Thailand: now it is not even in the top 100 (Truehits). I confidently predict that the Bangkok Post will continue its decline.
Truehits shows that, while Windows 7 has 14.91% of the market and Windows XP (still) 1.54%, macOS is showing 22.34% for a platform that apparently is smaller than PCs. In addition, Chrome (77.39%), Safari (16.39%) and Firefox (2.76%) are shown as the top browsers.
Buddybuild is a mobile iteration platform company and its existing customers will continue to be supported, while Apple will incorporate the tools into XCode. Reading the homepage text I wonder if this could be used for part of Apple's anticipated Project Marzipan
The major players have been working on this for a while in secret - sometimes this is necessary - and Apple is known already to have released a fix in the 10.13.2 update for one of what now is known to be 2 problems, with the second named Spectre. The interest increased somewhat when it was found that these insecurities were also found in AMD and ARM chips, although just how damaging they are is unclear. This is all being investigated currently and Rene Ritchie (iMore) has a wide-ranging examination of problems facing all chips, with special reference to Mac and iOS.
One side note that could lead to criminal proceedings if proved, was the news that the CEO of Intel unloaded $24 million Intel shares in June (Troy Wolverton, Business Insider), although he insists that this is not related. Well, he would, wouldn't he?
I teach Ethics and Morals to computer engineers and a couple of years ago took a long look at benchmarking. This started with VW and AUDI whose engineers developed software that detected when emissions testing was taking place and changed outputs to fool the testing software. Several arrests have subsequently been made, other companies were also found to be doing this and fines of several billion dollars have been levied. As a knock-on effect, the days of diesel-powered vehicles apear numbered (at least in Europe) and those same companies are making an effort to develop technology for electrical cars.
Not long after, AnandTech (Anand Lal Shimpi & Brian Klug) found that certain handset makers were taking a similar path: software detected the use of benchmarking tests and altered CPU or GPU output to produce false statistics. The full table that is shown in the article is worth looking at. They did a considerable amount of research and checked with the manufacturers. Part of the table (screenshot) is shown here
Part of Benchmarking Report Table from AnandTech Article
If anything, this false reporting on new devices (just like VW) is worse than what Apple has done: limit output to preserve the battery, after a period of use at a time when batteries are expected to deteriorate (Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech). The particular manifestation was worse than normal with Apple's devices as the CPU is unique to Apple and the batteries have smaller capacities. This may be why the iPads are not affected and the iPhone Plus models were less affected. There have been reports that some Pro models did shut down, although this was not widespread.
The Final Words from AnandTech are quite damning and the whole section reads as a shocking indictment of the dishonest approach of several handset makers, particularly Samsung. The closing words from that section need to be repeated: "all this has happened before, and all of it will happen again."
iMac Pro - Image courtesy of Apple
Their conclusions indicate that "RAM and CPU are both modular, meaning repairs and upgrades are a go - despite what Apple tells you", but that some of the modular components will make certain upgrades difficult. iFixit gives the iMac Pro a repairability score of 3 out of 10.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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