Vision Zero is trash

May 14th, 2022 by harold

‘Vision Zero’ at a Crossroads as U.S. Traffic Death Rise – Bloomberg

They reduced my boulevard from two lanes to one lane+bike lane, and it’s been terrible.

I drive and use my bicycle everyday, it sucks in both cases. It’s such a dumb design on a straight line. It is now actually and honestly less safe, yay.

Imposing European things on top of West coast America is not only dumb, it’s bizarre.

Density is low in LA, it’s a feature called Quality of Life. But that means we need cars, yes. Accidents happen and there won’t ever be anything close to zero deaths. That’s idiotic and quite disrespectful considering how we’re dealing with 1 million dead in two years of plague.

I can’t find the source right now, but here are the city plan steps of failure:

– Look at a complex and confusing reality, such as the social dynamics of an old city

– Fail to understand all the subtleties of how the complex reality works

– Attribute that failure to the irrationality of what you are looking at, rather than your own limitations

– Come up with an idealized blank-slate vision of what that reality ought to look like

– Argue that the relative simplicity and platonic orderliness of the vision represents rationality

– Use authoritarian power to impose that vision, by demolishing the old reality if necessary

– Watch your rational Utopia fail horribly

Congratulations West Adams, you tick every single box here!

I vote to revert back to two lanes.

Journos, man

May 14th, 2022 by harold

“So what we have here is a bit of an urban mystery. If America’s biggest metros are shrinking, why are their housing markets on fire? And if rents are rising in almost all of these cities, how can they possibly be shrinking?” (the Atlantic)

Because the invisible hand of the market doesn’t exist. The housing market is on fire because landlords said “we want more”. That’s it. That’s the answer.

It’s the most frustrating thing to see journalists not understand for a second that economics and markets are completely man-made and thus, biased and gamed and not based on neutral laws of physics.

Investigate that “urban mystery” shit, please.

Single CPU

May 14th, 2022 by harold

“Surprisingly, because most CAD and computer graphics programs are still largely not optimized for multi-threaded processors, the fastest workstations are typically using whatever processor tops the single core compute performance category, not the multicore. They are then paired with as much ram as the chipset supports. Also, when you are talking about pro graphics cards like Radeon Pro and the RTX A (formerly called quadro) lines, it only pays to upgrade to the next gen graphics card once your software vendor has had a year or two to integrate with a new hardware gen’s capabilities. The pro gfx card market (at least when it pertains to OpenGL performance) is one area that will actually punish you for being too early an adopter, which is disappointing when cards go for several thousands of dollars new. The whole area of CG software has been stagnating for 5 years while OpenGL driver improvements have fallen out of favor for more bare metal processing approaches that are only now getting to feature parody and developer adoption like vulkan. Hopefully the next few years brings a positive trend in CG price to performance again as these new architectures actually start shipping in CG software products. As someone who works daily in CAD, the performance stagnation over the last 5-10 years has been depressing to say the least.”

CAD and CG programs are some of the most demanding programs out there. We’ve had multi-threaded processors for *checks notes* forty years! And CAD and CG programs for about the same time.

But it’s 2022 and those programs still work best with single core compute performance.

It fascinates me because I’ve often heard game programmers wanting to get away from multi-threaded programming; it is an absolute nightmare of optimization (but engineers like to tinker for 7 straight years on things like that, so).

It makes sense that a single core is better; just throw your code, all your code at it and let the machine do what it’s supposed to do, at maximum speed. With multi-core you have to organize and sync your code, which as you might guess, is really fun to do and not slowing things down at all. Multi-threaded processors were a mistake, in a way.

The reality is that our computers are so sophisticated these days, that there’s not a single team out there able to actually use those beasts as efficiently as possible.

We just keep on wasting. I wish we didn’t.

The tweet is a lie

May 14th, 2022 by harold

Twitter blocked my account for a tweet I did not make · Jacques Mattheij

“It certainly is worrisome, a lot of very powerful people use Twitter and I generally assume that what is written under their accounts really is written by them. Time to revisit that assumption, apparently.”

There’s just something about social media and smartphones hacking that is very worrisome: we do not know anything. Even very tech savvy folks don’t understand what’s going on.

I repeat: even programmers who know a computer far better than the average person, can’t control what apps are doing.

Pegasus is probably a lot bigger than what they try to tell us. There’s probably a Pegasus lite for “only” tracking and not having access to the whole phone. I can’t even imagine what Airtags and bluetooth hacks can bring up today. People share absolutely everything through everything (source: I do helpdesk in a public library).

Same with social media. We know social media companies are entirely ruthless when it comes to their users, stealing your account if they need to, for instance. And once again, those apps are on smartphones, have access to all kinds of personal stuff that they sell and make money off of.

Use laptops, get shit done and close all that. Yes, close your eyes too.

In 22

May 13th, 2022 by harold

Older Customer: “thank you so much! Can I buy you some lunch?”

Me: “I’d appreciate that, thank you!”

*hands me $5*

Me:

Americanah

May 13th, 2022 by harold

“The exaggerated gratitude that came with immigration insecurity.”

“And she had the sudden sensation of fogginess, of a milky web through which she tried to claw. Her autumn of half blindness had begun, the autumn of puzzlements, of experiences she had knowing there were slippery layers of meaning that eluded her.”

“It seemed to me that in America blacks and whites work together but don’t play together, and here (UK) blacks and white play together but don’t work together,”

I enjoyed Americanah from Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. Immigration stories, iykyk.

A bit long, though.

The other day I L

May 13th, 2022 by harold

“The world’s first digital network made its debut in September of 1940, at a meeting of the American Mathematical Society that was held at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.” (source)

82 years ago, bro.

And now our digital network is absolutely everywhere. Even in the air. Wild.

Patent thirst

May 12th, 2022 by harold

“HEVC has a long and complicated history.

With H.264, it was easy – one patent pool. Any questions? Contact MPEG LA. How much did it cost? About $2 or so per device, no problem. Did you spend more than (IIRC) $14 million on licensing each year? It’s free past that point. As for open-source software like Firefox, Cisco actually struck a deal to pay all the royalties if you used their OpenH264 decoder (they needed H.264 to be widely supported for WebRTC), so Firefox and other software was able to use the binary of that and have Cisco covering the royalties for them.

With H.265, everything splintered. There are three patent pools: MPEG LA, Access Advance (formerly known as HEVC Advance), and Velos Media. Between them, you have to pay royalties on the hardware, the software, and a royalty per-item created past a certain point. Some had royalty caps, others did not and would rack up royalties indefinitely and unpredictably high. Some patent pools had you licensing patents available in other pools, so you were paying twice for the same patents. And some major patent holders (such as Technicolor) weren’t in any pools, so you needed to approach them manually and hash out a deal on your own which could have as favorable or unfavorable terms as they pleased. Also, Cisco (not surprisingly) said they weren’t paying the royalties for an OpenH265, as it was only a ~30% improvement for a exponential increase in royalties, easily several times or more as much as H264. Bloody hell.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Windows decided, screw it, you’re paying $0.99 if you want HEVC, but we’re not supporting it with every Windows license because that could easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars because of the lack of caps. Apple used their sheer market power to get HEVC on all their devices mainly for HEIC (HEVC for images), which reduces storage space needed for photos and iCloud costs, and once you have it on every iPhone, adding macOS is cheap. Presumably this is because Apple struck a deal with the patent holders individually and didn’t need to accept the ludicrous patent pool terms. Did I mention that Access Advance alone operates their patent pool at an absurd 40% margin for its directors? (Yes, 40% of Access Advance’s pool royalty, which is already the highest of any pool by far, is pure profit for the pool itself rather than going to patent holders. It’s asinine!)

You might wonder why in the world H.265 licensing fell apart so badly. The answer is, well, streaming. H.264 got its first release in 2003, before YouTube or internet video was really a thing. HEVC was released in 2013 and patent holders were eager to extract rent from Netflix (distribution royalties), PC Makers (hardware royalties), Microsoft and Apple (software royalties), content producers (per-title royalties), basically everyone involved had a royalty somewhere because they thought HEVC was going to be the best thing ever for reducing streaming costs and people would pay for it. They didn’t.”

It’s always interesting to read some TL;DR of something immensely complicated that we don’t care about yet, that is central in our digital lives. Video codecs in today’s case.

Patent greed is hilarious and sad though. Guys, leave it!

Note to normal people who don’t know anything about tech: H.264 is good enough, we could stop there. Or probably before.

Roy Glasses

May 11th, 2022 by harold

It’s called burning out. He burned out before being 25. He sure was everywhere online.

Fame is quite unhealthy, no matter what you get from it. Incredibly fast fame is probably way worse.

Keep skating, bro. Open books, don’t unlock your phone. Be good. And b r e a t h e.

Everything goes so fast right now

May 10th, 2022 by harold

New World, an Amazon game that came out last year in September, had very quickly 700,000 players; that’s huge. We only hear about Elden Ring these days.

A new Matrix movie came out, no gifs, no memes, no conversations. It’s already dusty and old.

Kendrick just dropped a video after years of silence! It’s already a vague memory two days later.

Atlanta had an interesting episode last week. There’s no conversations anywhere.

I’ve never seen entertainment being as insignificant as it is now. And yet we drown in it.