Code compiler pioneer Frances Allen dies at 88


It’s a sad week for the computing industry. IBM reports that computing pioneer and company fellow Frances Allen died of Alzheimer’s on her birthday, August 4th, at the age of 88. She’s best known for making vital contributions to compilers, or the software that turns raw code into fast-running executables. From 1966 onward, she and scientist John Cocke wrote papers detailing algorithms and frameworks that helped compilers become much more efficient — if you’ve ever built an app, you likely owe something to Allen’s work.

She and her peers also made progress on parallel computing, where tasks are shared across systems to speed up their completion.


Real Genius turns 35—celebrating this cult classic is a moral imperative


The article was pretty good and it brought back a lot of memories of the movie, many of which would likely have remained lost had it not been for the trip down memory lane. This sentence from the final paragraph stood out, though:

And it goes without saying that the sexually frustrated virgin nerds ogling hot cosmetology students in bikinis during the pool party reflects hopelessly outdated stereotypes on several fronts.

Hopelessly outdated? Do young men no longer ogle young women? Or do cosmetology students no longer go swimming with friends? 🤔

Red Hat and CentOS systems aren’t booting due to BootHole patches


Patches were intended to close a newly discovered vulnerability in the GRUB2 boot manager called BootHole. The vulnerability itself left a method for system attackers to potentially install "bootkit" malware on a Linux system despite that system being protected with UEFI Secure Boot.

Unfortunately, Red Hat's patch to GRUB2 and the kernel, once applied, are leaving patched systems unbootable. The issue is confirmed to affect RHEL 7.8 and RHEL 8.2, and it may affect RHEL 8.1 and 7.9 as well. RHEL-derivative distribution CentOS is also affected.

Oops. Also, the statement “the vulnerability itself left a method for system attackers to potentially install "bootkit" malware on a Linux system despite that system being protected with UEFI Secure Boot” is incomplete. You don’t need to have Linux on the system to install bootkit. Any Windows-powered machine with the option to boot from an optical disc or USB device would also be susceptible. This is why Microsoft also has patches in place for this issue, as a bunch of boot certificates need to be invalidated …

A 13th-Century Persian poet's lessons for today


Despite being an acclaimed poet in the region, Sa’di felt he’d wasted his life so far and had said nothing of consequence, and so resolved to spend the rest of it in silence. At the insistence of a friend, however, he broke his vow, and, it being springtime in Shiraz, the two went for a stroll in a paradise garden. Surprised that his friend should choose to gather flowers and herbs in his robes, Sa’di remarked in Khayyam-esque fashion on the ephemerality of such things, and promised his friend that, instead, he would write a book both enjoyable and educational called the Golestan (Flower Garden), whose pages would last forever.

Almost 800 years is certainly "forever" for most people.

Seven Hong Kong VPN providers accused of exposing private user data


VPNMentor reports (via The Register) that sensitive user data from seven free Hong Kong VPN services, ostensibly with no-log policies, was exposed online. The leak reportedly included connection logs, addresses, payment info, plain text passwords and website activity.

I have found no reason to trust any VPN provider — paid or otherwise — when it comes to moving sensitive information. I assume I’m being monitored at all times. If a VPN is necessary, I spin up my own on a virtual server somewhere and have it play a relay dance to move data in a difficult — but not impossible — to track manner.

Rarely have I ever needed to do this.

'Star Trek: Lower Decks' shows what happens far below the bridge


On top of the “scrappy, underdog” ensign crew, it’ll also feature a Riker-like first officer (“if he was on speed and had less shame,” said Kurtzmann) voiced by Jerry O’Connell, with Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman. Star Trek: Lower Decks debuts on August 6th, 2020 on CBS All Access.

Hopefully this will make its way to Netflix so that I can watch a bunch of episodes in November when I subscribe for a month 🤐

NEC gunning for bigger share of global 5G market | The Japan Times


NEC Corp. President Takashi Niino on Thursday voiced his resolve to expand the Japanese electronics giant’s share in the global 5G infrastructure market. […] The firm wants to be a “game-changer through Japan-made” technologies in the market of base stations for next-generation 5G and later-generation networks.

Like most Japanese companies, NEC is operating like its 2010 rather than 2020. They’ve completely missed the boat and can’t compete with Huawei, Ericsson, or Nokia. To invest now isn’t pointless, but the hill they need to mount is insanely steep. The big three infrastructure providers can offer the entire 5G stack. NEC is talking about developing and selling base stations … 🙄

5-year-old Stoney Creek boy peddles 72 km to CN Tower


Ben, 5, not only quickly mastered getting around on two wheels, but two days later took her up on her suggestion he use the COVID school shutdown to do something to better himself by joining her for a longer ride.

Taking waterfront trails, they ultimately pedalled to Spencer Smith Park in Burlington and back to their Teal Avenue home by the lakeshore in Stoney Creek, a 20-kilometre trip.

Yet the junior kindergarten student at St. Agnes Catholic Elementary School had a more distant target in mind: Toronto’s CN Tower.

Go Ben, go!

Ben realized his goal on June 17, cycling the 72 kilometres to the CN Tower in six and a half hours.

That’s awesome!

“His big grandiose plan — and this is going to sound absolutely insane — is to bike ride across Canada,” says Anna, on maternity leave with her third child.

“I have no idea where he’s getting it from. I don’t know what he sees, and obviously he’s 5 and not able to articulate himself yet and express where that drive comes from,” she says. “I keep asking him and he keeps saying, ‘Because I can.’”

Darn right.

New Ontario elementary math curriculum to include coding starting in Grade 1


Ontario’s math curriculum is getting a makeover — with students learning coding and financial literacy in Grade 1, and a new focus on dealing with kids’ stress on the subject.

Okay …

[…] There are a total of 465 “expectations” of learning for students from Grades 1 through to 8, about 150 fewer than the current curriculum.

So they’re adding things like “coding”, but taking enough other stuff out to result in kids learning less overall? 🤔

[…] In Grade 1, students will look at sequential coding, possibly programming the image of a caterpillar that they can move a few steps forward or backwards using arrows. […] The new curriculum also moves some concepts and lessons, including telling time on a clock from Grades 1 to 3, when students have a better grasp of patterns.

Wait … so kids will get a primer on what is essentially robotics, before actual life skills like reading a clock?

Yeah, my kid won’t go to any Canadian school. I went through the system and came out stupid. Goodness knows what 16 years in an Ontario classroom does to a person’s brain now 😑

GIGABYTE's 4U 10x NVIDIA A100 New G492 Servers Announced


One of the interesting elements about NVIDIA's A100 card is the potential compute density offered, especially for AI applications. There is set to be a strong rush to enable high-density AI platforms that can take advantage of all the new features that A100 offers in the PCIe form factor, and GIGABYTE was the first in my inbox with news of its new G492 server systems, built to take up to 10 new A100 accelerators. These machines are built on AMD EPYC, which allows for PCIe Gen4 support, as well as offering GPU-to-GPU direct access, direct transfers, and GPUDirect RDMA.

One of these would likely start at somewhere around $60K USD, but you could mine all the BitCoin with the raw compute offered here … 😮