Why go tiny when you can go BIG!


Computer chip the size of a dinner plate

…A network spread across a cluster is like a brain that’s been scattered around a room and wired together. Electrons move fast, but, even so, cross-chip communication is slow, and uses extravagant amounts of energy.

Eric Vishria, a general partner at Benchmark, a venture-capital firm in San Francisco, first came to understand this problem in the spring of 2016, while listening to a presentation from a new computer-chip company called Cerebras Systems…

…“Slide 3 was something along the lines of, ‘G.P.U.s actually suck for deep learning—they just happen to be a hundred times better than C.P.U.s,’ ” Vishria recalled. “And, as soon as he said it, I was, like, facepalm. Of course! Of course!” Cerebras was proposing a new kind of chip—one built not for graphics but for A.I. specifically…

…Cerebras’s approach is unique. Instead of making chips in the usual way—by printing dozens of them onto a large wafer of silicon, cutting them out of the wafer, and then wiring them to one another—the company has made one giant “wafer-scale” chip. A typical computer chip is the size of a fingernail. Cerebras’s is the size of a dinner plate. It is the largest computer chip in the world…

What a delightful article…process…approach! Honestly, I haven’t digested all of this, yet. But, I wanted to get it up and posted so other folks who wander through here might check this out,

VW to add Electric Vehicle engineering, development, production to US operations

Volkswagen announced plans to add electric vehicle engineering at its factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The German automaker mentioned plans to develop cells and battery packs at the US plant.

The German automaker has been hard at work developing its next-generation electric cars based on its MEB platform. Much of the work happened in Germany, where VW already converted a factory to electric vehicle production.

By 2022, they plan to bring their MEB electric vehicles to the US and produce them there. Now they are also building a new electric vehicle factory next to their existing plant in Chattanooga. The German company is now announcing that it will also engineer EVs in the country.

Makes logistical sense. Means more employment for all levels, all classes of workers in the new automative and transport industry in the United States. They join the ranks of foreign and domestic manufacturers who see a global future in renewable-fuel vehicles.

Our politicians continue their Maypole dance around the White House dunce.

Ford’s leading the way to modern instrument panels

I want to give Ford credit for its instrument cluster design for the new F-150, which is boldly non-skeuomorphic.

On the off-chance you’re not a pedantic little numbnuts like myself, you may want a quick definition of skeuomorphic. Usually, this word just refers to digital interfaces that look like real-world things, often needlessly.

Now, some skeuomorphism really isn’t bad, as it helps us understand how to use things via analogies we understand in the real world, but it can also become a crutch that actually restricts the potential of what new technologies can offer.

Some car instrument panels are excellent examples of this. Screen-based displays instead of conventional mechanical instruments could have meant that entirely new and better methods for displaying information could have been developed, yet nearly every carmaker has so far insisted on just re-creating the look and behavior of physical gauges…

Bravo. Guaranteed plenty of folks will whine about being dragged into modern tech. Buy a used car! Keep buying older. Claim to be a collector. Get a second job!

Wall St worries about broken glass, BladeRunner Tesla pickup truck

❝ Tesla’s…launch of its futuristic Cybertruck pickup suffered a setback when its “armored glass” windows shattered, but it was the overall look of the electric vehicle that worried Wall Street on Friday, driving the automaker’s shares down 6%.

In the much-anticipated unveiling to cheering fans late on Thursday, Tesla boss Elon Musk had taken aim at the design, power and durability of mainstream trucks, only to be shaken when his boast about his new vehicle’s windows backfired…

❝ Some Wall Street analysts praised the launch on Friday, but others doubted the futuristic design’s mass appeal…“Musk has been enthusiastic about his Blade Runner-inspired design for months, but we were still surprised how futuristic he went with this one and believe it may shatter his dreams,” Cowen analysts wrote…

“While we are pleased to see Tesla enter the most profitable segment of the North American passenger car market, we do not see this vehicle in its current form being a success.”

The comparison to Blade Runner is apt, appropriately futuristic. Our household liked Blade Runner for more than the cultural politics. Same goes for the Tesla pickup. Quoting “car guys” who hate the look is like Road & Track mag’s hatred of modern racing-level automatic transmissions. Which keep on winning all the important races on traditional courses.

The comparison with Fords is also appropriate. They usually lead the pack though Rams received the same rap when introduced in 1994…and ended up often challenging and beating Ford sales. My ’94 Ram has had only 1 major repair in 25 years – tranny replacement – and the speedo quit several years ago at 211,000 miles.

Most interesting engineering comment came from an engineer with specialized glass qualifications…who learned Tesla bounced the 1kg steel ball off the windows 5 times the day before. He felt they never considered cumulative microfractures and should have done the demo with unimpacted glass.

Estimate of pre-orders by the end of the evening was 200,000.

APPLE, INFLUENCE, AND IVE

❝ Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple, Inc., is sitting across from me at a seamless white oak table. We’ve met a few times before, and I know he cares about watches. He must, right? But I’ve never actually asked him. So I do. And thank God, he does – he recounts a tale of buying an Omega Speedmaster Professional in the early ’90s. I exhale, because the hypothesis of this interview, at least in my mind (likely not in Apple’s), is that the watch industry and its all-too-vocal supporters have got it all wrong. Jony, the creator of what is, by at least one definition, the number one watch on Earth, is a friend, not a foe. But, like any great question of power and influence, it’s not so simple.

Read the article through from the beginning. I’ve always found Jony Ive fascinating. I’ve been fortunate enough to know, casually or well and deeply, a fair number of creative talents in my journey through this life of mine. So, no surprises. But, the eloquence of curiosity, perception coupled with high standards, makes this an interesting read. One worth reflecting upon. And reading, again.

Thanks, Om Malik – no surprise finding a great read via Om’s blog

Minimalissimo Meets Karim Rashid


Click to enlarge

❝ Humans touch an average of 600 objects a day and the potential for them to help us or bring us joy is huge! The big challenge of design is to create something that, although accessible to all consumers, touches people’s lives and gives them some sense of elevated experience and pleasure and is original. Designers have the power to shape a better, smarter world, to simplify yet inspire every individual, to make well-made and beautiful products accessible to all.

Reblogged from om malik’s fine blog

Pokémon Go got you to walk 25 percent more than you used to


Ina Fried/ReCode

Pokémon Go’s creators want the hit mobile game to get people out of the house and exploring their neighborhoods. A new study confirms that’s really happening.

In “Influence of Pokémon Go on Physical Activity,” researchers from Microsoft Research and Stanford University studied, over the course of a month, how many steps were recorded by the Microsoft Bands — wearable activity trackers — belonging to Pokémon Go fans. The most engaged fans of the game walked 25 percent more than they did before Pokémon Go’s release…

All told, the study estimates that Pokémon Go players across the U.S. walked an additional 144 billion steps in the game’s first month in the wild. It says that if those players were to keep up the same level of increased activity over a longer period of time, they could add nearly three billion years, collectively, to their lifespans.

I’m a lifetime walking addict. Count in miles spent backpacking, hillwalking, hiking, walking because because I found an interesting place to walk, etc…I’ve spent a good piece of my waking hours walking. It all helps.