Hacker News - Tuesday, January 16th 2024
From Hacker News
Lichee Console 4A – RISC-V mini laptop: Review, benchmarks and early issues
The Lichee Console 4A is a RISC-V mini laptop that offers a compact form factor and solid build quality. It features a small keyboard with laptop key travel and a trackpoint mouse. The laptop runs on the T-Head TH1520 quad-core RISC-V SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, with a maximum configuration of 16GB DDR4 RAM and 128GB eMMC storage. The display has a resolution of 1280x800 and is IPS. The laptop comes preinstalled with Debian 12 with Xfce and has WiFi and Ethernet connectivity. In terms of performance, the Lichee Console falls slightly behind the Raspberry Pi 4 due to its reduced clock speed. The laptop has high static power consumption, which leads to it running warm even at idle and provides a battery life of only about 2.5 hours. The laptop charges slowly when powered on. The WiFi and Ethernet speeds are adequate for regular use. There are some issues with the device, including a build quality issue where the aluminum bottom of the case squeezed the keyboard, and high static power consumption due to certain ICs. There are also missing or broken features such as Bluetooth pairing difficulties, no sleep function, and ineffective screen brightness adjustment. However, overall, the Lichee Console offers a positive experience for tinkering and requires software improvements to fully utilize its hardware capabilities.
Introduction to GPU Programming in Chapel
Chapel is a programming language that focuses on productive parallel computing. With the increasing popularity of GPU computing, the Chapel team has been working hard to add GPU support to the language. This tutorial provides an introduction to Chapel's GPU programming features, assuming no prior familiarity with GPU programming frameworks like CUDA and HIP. Chapel allows programmers to control where their code is executed through its notion of locales. A locale represents a unit of machine resources on which a program can run, such as a GPU or a CPU. By using the "on" statement with a specific locale, programmers can specify where a piece of code should be executed. Chapel's GPU support is specifically designed for order-independent loops, which are suitable for GPU execution. Chapel automatically converts order-independent loops into GPU code whenever possible. Loops that are order-dependent and need to be executed one after another are written using the "serial" keyword and are not considered for GPU execution. The tutorial provides examples of code that runs on the GPU, such as multiplying numbers, calling functions, and executing loops. Chapel's GPU support is vendor-neutral, meaning that GPU-enabled Chapel code can be executed on both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs without modifications. Chapel also supports a mode called "CPU-as-device," which allows GPU-targeted code to execute on the CPU. Overall, Chapel's GPU support allows programmers to write productive and performant GPU programs without having to delve into specific GPU programming frameworks.
Venice's Secret Service
In her book "Venice’s Secret Service," Ioanna Iordanou argues that organized intelligence was not a modern invention but rather existed in Renaissance Venice. Venice was a Great Power in the 1500s and early 1600s and had its own state security body, the Council of Ten. This council, comprising seventeen men, held immense power but also faced restrictions and inconveniences. Iordanou highlights the unique aspects of Venice's secret service compared to other European powers. While Spain, for example, had a highly centralized secret service under the direction of Philip II, Venice delegated tasks to inferior officers and managed information flows between several officials. The Council of Ten used secrecy to govern the city, shaping internal politics and even keeping important information from other city bodies. Venice also employed anonymous tip boxes for citizens to report on and denunciate each other. Additionally, Venice had a sophisticated system of cryptographic communication for its diplomats and military leaders. While Venice's cryptology department had a nepotic aspect to it, the leaders believed in the familial transfer of cryptologic talent. Overall, "Venice's Secret Service" offers insight into the early development of professional cryptology and the role of secrecy in governance.
Prison. Bankruptcy. Suicide. How a software glitch ruined lives
Between 1999 and 2015, the UK Post Office scandal resulted in the conviction and bankruptcy of hundreds of sub-postmasters. The Post Office's Horizon software, which was introduced in 1999 to replace paper-based accounting, incorrectly showed that money had gone missing from Post Office accounts. This faulty system caused financial distress to many sub-postmasters, some of whom were wrongfully accused of theft and false accounting. Over 700 sub-postmasters were convicted of criminal offenses, some of whom spent time in prison. The scandal has been the subject of legal cases and UK media reports for years, but public awareness and outrage have recently increased due to the broadcast of the TV drama "Mr Bates vs The Post Office." The UK government has expressed urgency in addressing the scandal and plans to pass legislation to overturn the convictions of hundreds of sub-postmasters. However, important questions remain unanswered, including who should be held criminally culpable for the wrongdoings and to what extent Fujitsu, the company that built the faulty software, should be held responsible for paying compensation to victims. The Post Office has already paid over £138 million ($176 million) in compensation. The scandal has taken a heavy toll on sub-postmasters, both financially and emotionally, with some resorting to suicide. While progress has been made in seeking justice and compensation, many sub-postmasters believe that more needs to be done to hold accountable those responsible for the wrongdoing.
Victorian Glass Fire Grenades
Glass Fire Grenades were introduced in the 19th century as decorative glass bottles filled with salt water or carbon tetrachloride to extinguish fires. The London Fire Brigade Museum has 21 examples of these grenades in its collection, the earliest dating to around 1880. The effectiveness of the grenades, however, was uncertain due to their small size. They were either placed in a rack at grab height for easy throwing or suspended from the ceiling in larger buildings. The grenades filled with salt water were used until 1900 when they switched to carbon tetrachloride. Carbon tetrachloride, though effective in smothering flames, was a dangerous substance. It was used as a de-greasing agent and had adverse health effects when inhaled or touched. It could also react with water to form phosgene gas, a chemical weapon used in World War One. Despite their shortcomings, these glass fire grenades were used for about forty years before they fell out of use. The London Fire Brigade Museum plans to feature these historical objects in its new museum, highlighting the importance of fire safety.
From Posts IndieHackers
What's New: Keeping your Stripe account healthy
In the latest issue of the Indie Hackers newsletter, the author discusses the issue of receiving a message from Stripe stating that "your business presents a higher level of risk than Stripe can currently support." This message means that you can no longer accept payments for your product via Stripe. To address this concern, the author suggests taking preventative measures such as being conservative with the payments you allow, adding some friction to the payment process, and being lenient with policies to avoid chargebacks. If the issue still persists, the author suggests reaching out to Stripe through official and unofficial channels for assistance. Additionally, the author provides alternatives to Stripe, such as Paddle, Lemon Squeezy, Square, and PayPal. In another section of the newsletter, the author highlights the story of Spencer Patterson, who built a SaaS product and achieved $140k in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) in four years. Spencer then sold the business for $3.5 million on Flippa and is now using the proceeds to build five new products. The author also mentions Spencer's approach to personal finance and investing, including diversification and the importance of safeguarding funds through FDIC-insured institutions.
Navigating the Ups and Downs of Motivation: Lessons Learned
In this podcast episode, the speaker talks about the struggles of getting motivated and shares five lessons that helped them overcome motivation slumps and launch their project emailemu.com. One of the key lessons is the importance of constantly talking with people about your project. Sharing it with others helps keep it at the forefront of your mind and increases the chances of staying consistent in your efforts. The speaker emphasizes the significance of finding a product-market fit, as it brings excitement and validation. Even small achievements, like gaining new subscribers or receiving mentions on LinkedIn, can boost motivation and confirm that you're on the right track. The speaker also discusses the need to start small and gradually increase effort, citing the idea of forming habits to reduce the need for discipline. Consistency is highlighted as a crucial factor in building momentum and driving change. The speaker concludes by inviting listeners to check out emailemu.com for email marketing strategies and to provide feedback and support.
Show IH: Stock Market Due Diligence App
The Company 360 app, available on the Apple App Store, offers a tool for investors to identify undervalued stocks using the Value Investing strategy. This app provides users with valuable insights and analysis to help make investment decisions. By utilizing this app, investors can tap into a strategy that focuses on identifying companies that are trading below their intrinsic value, potentially offering a good opportunity for long-term growth. Another app called Super Investor, also available on the Apple App Store, offers an analysis of what institutional investors own compared to retail sentiment and short positions. This app provides users with information on the holdings of institutional investors and compares it to the sentiment of individual retail investors and the presence of short positions in the market. Both of these apps provide unique features and tools that can benefit investors in different ways. The Company 360 app focuses on identifying undervalued stocks, while the Super Investor app offers insights into investor sentiment and institutional holdings. These apps can assist investors in making more informed investment decisions.