Hacker News - Wednesday, December 27th 2023
From Hacker News
Apollo 11 vs. USB-C Chargers (2020)
The THUMB2 instruction set used by the Cortex-M0 microcontroller is known for its compactness. Compared to the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer, which only had a single accumulator, the Cortex-M0 offers 12 general purpose registers capable of holding arithmetic results. However, the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer has the advantage of being able to perform arithmetic operations and directly store the results in memory, while the Cortex-M0 requires a separate instruction to store the result. Another distinction lies in the memory architecture. The Cortex-M0 utilizes a simpler memory structure that does not require bank switching, whereas the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer can encode more memory addresses directly into arithmetic instructions due to bank switching. While it's not a straightforward comparison, taking into account that the CYPD4225 microcontroller can hold 1.19x to 1.78x more instructions than the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer, it can be argued that the CYPD4225 should be capable of accommodating an equivalent program.
2nd City Zoning
2nd City Zoning is an interactive map that aims to make Chicago's zoning code more easily understandable. Taking inspiration from the popular game SimCity 2000, the map uses a color scheme to represent different zones: green for residential, blue for commercial, and yellow for industrial. From there, the creators of the map went all out, adding graphics, sounds, and music to enhance the experience. The map allows users to find out how a specific building is zoned, discover where to locate their business, and explore zoning patterns throughout the city. With the intention of making the complex world of zoning more accessible, 2nd City Zoning provides an engaging and enjoyable way to navigate Chicago's zoning code. So, if you're interested, dive in and start exploring!
Donald Knuth’s 2023 Christmas Lecture: Making the Cells Dance
Donald Knuth, the esteemed computer science professor at Stanford University, recently gave his annual "Christmas lecture," a tradition he has upheld for 30 years. Knuth, who is approaching his 86th birthday, discussed the concept of "dancing cells," an improvement on the popular "dancing links" algorithm that he talked about in a previous lecture. The dancing links algorithm involves navigating linked lists, while dancing cells is a method for efficient data handling, specifically for deletion operations in a list of numbers. Knuth demonstrated how to delete a value by swapping it with the number in the last position of the list and shortening the list by one. The deleted values form a cluster that are conveniently ordered based on when they were deleted. Knuth also explained how dancing cells algorithms can be used to solve constraint satisfaction problems and map coloring problems. These algorithms are often faster and more efficient than the older dancing links algorithm. Knuth's lecture shed light on the ongoing surprises and advancements in computer science, proving that there is always more to learn and explore.
Nintendo Switch's iGPU: Maxwell Nerfed Edition
The article discusses the graphics performance of Nvidia's Tegra X1 chip, as implemented in the Nintendo Switch handheld console. The Tegra X1 chip is based on Nvidia's Maxwell architecture, which is known for its excellent performance and power efficiency in discrete GPUs. However, the Tegra X1 had to be adapted to fit into the Switch's low power requirements, resulting in some performance compromises. The Tegra X1's SMs (Streaming Multiprocessors) feature a four-scheduler partition and a 32-wide vector execution per cycle. The chip's shared memory and L1 cache size are both reduced compared to the desktop variant of Maxwell. The iGPU clock of the Switch's Tegra X1 is lower compared to desktop GPUs, resulting in higher latency throughout its memory hierarchy. In benchmark tests, the Switch's Tegra X1 performs comparably to Intel's HD 530 integrated graphics for most basic operations, but falls behind in terms of memory bandwidth and compute performance. Nonetheless, the Switch's graphics performance is considered impressive, especially considering the low power envelope it operates within. The article suggests that this highlights the potential for developers to optimize game performance for integrated graphics chips like Intel's HD 530, making PC gaming more accessible to a wider audience.
Game Boy / Color Architecture
The Game Boy, a portable version of the NES, was a hugely popular console that went through several revisions before eventually evolving into the Game Boy Color. The console features a single-chip design called the System On Chip (SoC), specifically crafted by Sharp Corporation for Nintendo. The main processor within this chip is a mix between the Z80 and the Intel 8080, running at a speed of approximately 4.19 MHz. The Game Boy Color, released nearly a decade later, featured a new SoC named CPU CGB with a doubled clock speed. The SM83 CPU core remained the same in both versions, allowing for backwards compatibility and cost savings for developers. The Game Boy's PPU (Picture Processing Unit) rendered graphics on its integrated LCD screen, using tiles stored in VRAM to construct the images. Both the Background and Window layers were used to build the frame, while sprites could independently move around the screen. The PPU also provided interrupts for developers to modify the graphics during the rendering process. Overall, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color offered unique and innovative gaming experiences, despite their limitations in terms of processing power and color capabilities.
From Posts IndieHackers
The Twitter secret to getting your first customers, for free
In this episode, the speaker shares their experience running business development for a startup and generating $645,000 in the last 8 months. Surprisingly, they achieved this success solely through Twitter, without even having a LinkedIn presence. The strategy involves searching for threads related to a specific keyword and identifying users who have shown interest and engagement. The next step is to directly message these users with an offer they can't refuse, leveraging their expertise in AI SEO as an example. The speaker explains that these leads are warmer than traditional cold outreach, making it more likely to convert them into customers. They have even developed an app to automate this process, allowing users to save time and effort. The app currently offers features such as exporting lead information into a CSV file and scraping email addresses from users' websites. The speaker plans to add more features, such as trending keywords and notifications for new tweets related to keywords. Overall, they are pleased to contribute to the community and hope this approach proves helpful to others.
Posting on X as a productized service?
The cost of a monthly subscription for a service that offers posting on X to help startups find users and build their brand can vary. However, it would depend on several factors such as the platform, the expertise of the human posting, and the volume of content being produced. Considering that the service includes three posts per day, it suggests a significant commitment in terms of time and effort. The pricing could range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per month. This would depend on the level of expertise, the reputation of the service provider, and the results they can deliver. Additionally, there may be options to pause or cancel the subscription at any time, which adds flexibility for startups. Ultimately, the value of the service would be determined by the impact it has on the startup's growth and brand building. It's important to evaluate the potential ROI (return on investment) and consider the budget available for marketing and promotion when determining what price would be reasonable for such a subscription.
...a pill against developer’s disease?
The author of this post reflects on their struggle with "developer's disease" and the tendency to prioritize product development over marketing and customer acquisition. Despite needing to focus on getting people aware of their product, they couldn't resist the temptation to release new features. The latest release includes auto-zoom-jump-cuts, post-processing voice audio quality enhancement, and better B-Roll images. However, with zero paying customers, the author acknowledges that they should have prioritized building a user base and gathering feedback first before adding more features. They realize the importance of taking their "pills" against developer's disease, which in this context means avoiding the trap of constantly writing code and instead focusing on marketing and addressing the real source of business problems. The author shares a reminder to others in a similar situation to stay disciplined and not forget to prioritize marketing efforts along with code development.