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technology

IVY and algorithmic suggestion engines

I let the Spotify Discover Weekly suggest it’s ass off every week to see what gems it mines. I then proceed to like things and ignore the rest. I don’t dislike things, but press “like” only to see what Spotify can discover.
And as a result I’ve found some things are coming up over and over again (some obscure, one hit wonder types like Syd Barrett, Wesley Willis, Silver Apples, etc.) But occasionally there’s a mainstream/underrated/under-promoted band I never heard of that bears a resemblance to a more well know band I really like.


Computers! They have the monopoly on the back catalog of every record producer and publisher no matter who they might be. So I got exposed last week to a guy named Vini Reilly (a longtime presence on the music scene in Manchester UK) and his band The Durutti Column. I got very distracted and short-term obsessed finding interviews on YouTube. I learned for the first time that Vini Reilly produced Morissey’s first solo effort Viva Hate, but got “0 credit” on the album or in the music press or in the awards shows over the years. Vini Reilly is by his own retelling the guy that saved this record project for Morissey and put his heart and soul into producing and actually writing a large number of tracks on that album. Had I only known that back in ’87/’88 I would have bought every Durutti Column record/CD I could lay my hands on. But too late, know I can just dabble/sample all day long on Spotify.


Which leads me to this week’s big rabbit hole discovery, and band from NYC called simply: IVY. And I found a whole live performance at a dive bar in Philly called Pontiac Grille (probably not unlike bug jar in Rochester for all I know): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ5-uOkZTEY
The singer, Dominique Durand, came to the U.S. met up with other found members of the band and started IVY around 1994, or so (similar in some ways to Stereolab give or take a year). So that’s not where the similarity ends, they have a kind of Euro-pop, minor chord wistfulness that is in a lot of Stereolab tracks, along with some harmonies and keyboards. Had I only known about IVY when I was at Art School. I would have bought their whole back catalog on CD. Instead I was fixated on listening to really old R.E.M. and deciphering Michael Stipe’s non-sense word salads from pre-Document days. I could have been listening to Stereolab and IVY that whole time instead.


I mention algorithmic recommendation engines in the subject line because I read down through ALL the comments from that YouTube performance at the Pontiac Grille in Philly. People were reminiscing how THEY discovered IVY. And one guy was saying GrooveShark recommended them back in 2013 or something. Another guy mentioned he got a Pandora recommendation in 2015. So the algorithm engines work, people really do like these bands they never heard about when they were active. Which is sad ‘cuz they coulda had a bigger audience back inna day and wouldn’t have struggled as much getting noticed. Makes me sad they were overlooked, but you can’t help it, that’s the brutality of the commercial music engine.

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technology

In Nagorno-Karabakh, drones gave Azerbaijan huge advantage and showed future of warfare – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/nagorno-karabkah-drones-azerbaijan-aremenia/2020/11/11/441bcbd2-193d-11eb-8bda-814ca56e138b_story.html

Here’s a metaphor for you. Drones are the new truck bombs. Hands down. In the realm of asymetric warfare, now all you need to defeat an enemy is take out their “spendy” weapons export licensed systems (sold to you courtesy of Vladimir Putin). Then what do you have? Sounds like nothing, you got nothing.

And that’s how asymetric warfar works. Whether it’s a protracted guerilla war of attrition or one of these drone strike extravaganza’s as described in WaPO, Azerbaijan gained the upperhand:

Their tally, which logs confirmed losses with photographs or videos, listed Armenian losses at 185 T-72 tanks; 90 armored fighting vehicles; 182 artillery pieces; 73 multiple rocket launchers; 26 surface-to-air missile systems, including a Tor system and five S-300s; 14 radars or jammers; one SU-25 war plane; four drones and 451 military vehicles.

Azerbaijan, the group concluded, had visually confirmed losses of 22 tanks, 41 armored forced vehicles, one helicopter, 25 drones and 24 vehicles

By Robyn Dixon
November 11, 2020 at 4:06 PM EST

So one does not need to have 1.)a space program, 2.)a missile program, 3.)an atomic bomb program, or 4.)a biological weapon program. You dictators, save your money. Just buy drones, lots of drones from Turkey, or Israel and suicide bomb every weapon system on your opponents battlefield. Then roll on in and start the real urban warfare, street by street, bullet by bullet, landmine by landmine.

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technology

The OBS Screen Timer Zoom Trick – CogDogBlog

https://cogdogblog.com/2020/11/obs-timer-zoom-trick/

Good ol’ Alan Levine has done it again. That man is more curious, patient, and adaptive than any other programmer, instructional technologist. Hands down he tries things, and sees if they stick. He was project managing an online educational conference and attempting to design a Zoom layout/scene source that would allow him to host a meeting, keep speakers on track for time remaining and help prompt attendees on the topic being presented (with a title slide) all contained in an OBS Studio virtual camera output to Zoom. And I have to say, I followed Alan’s notes and directions and it works! So that’s the true mark of an instructional technologist,… can you summarize and step-wise your process and get it out there in words so anyone else could duplicate what you did? If you can, you are well on your way to being a valuable asset in any Instructional Technology context in education (Higher Ed, K-12, doesn’t matter it applies everywhere).

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technology

M1 MacBook Pro versus Intel MacBook Pro

https://barefeats.com/m1-macbook-pro-versus-intel-version.html

Some actual benchmarks against Intel MacBook Pro proving the speed difference is real. I give great credit to Bare Feats, going back years and years to the G3 era and G4 era Mac Towers. They have always measured performance head to head so one could KNOW whether or not their computer was more capable than another stock Apple computer. It’s one reason why I used to occasionally buy upgrades back in the day (swapping out CPUs or adding RAM or adding a new PCI graphics card). These days, you can’t swap things in and out, but you can at least know which of the Macs you should buy. Looks like an M1 MacBook is a wise choice right about now.

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technology

Cerebras’ wafer-size chip is 10,000 times faster than a GPU | VentureBeat

https://venturebeat.com/2020/11/17/cerebras-wafer-size-chip-is-10000-times-faster-than-a-gpu/amp/

Cerebras is finally hitting the racks in some locations and doing benchmarks to see how well it performs. And as compared to custom made/bespoke computer clusters with a mix of CPU/GPU, it’s performing very well. One benchmark has shown it is a significant improvement over the #82 ranked supercomputer (200x faster on certain benchmarks) and performs those calculations at a reduced power consumption 20KW versus 450KW (for #82 ranked super computer). So as a first time out, it seems like some of the promises and hand-waving made by the company are being proved out. The question still remains as Venture Beat points out, is how applicable Cerebras CS-1 is to a range of compute problems. The value of any of these multi-million dollar specialty compute machines is only as good as the range of problems you can solve with them. Thinking back to the 1970s, Control Data Corporation spent a fortune optimizing for vector math with their first vector-based super computer. But that was all for naught when scalar type calculations were mixed in. Seymour Cray saw this and addressed it with the Cray-1 by allowing a performant mix of scalar, with much better performance vector calculations. So having a good enough performance on scalar, was so far ahead of the CDC vector-optimized that people gravitated to the Cray-1 instead. We’ll see how closely the Cerebras CS-1 hews to this pattern over the next year or so as people figure out what it is good at and whether or not it’s good value for the money.

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technology

25 different Japanese convenience store sandwiches – What’s inside them?【Photos】 — SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Following Japan’s “paper tiger sandwich” incident, we went out and bought every sandwich we could find to investigate. It’s impossible not to feel the draw of the snack food and pastry aisles on a trip into a Japanese convenience store, but they also have plenty of tasty, sensible meal options too. Any convenience store in…

25 different Japanese convenience store sandwiches – What’s inside them?【Photos】 — SoraNews24 -Japan News-
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technology

World-first confirmation that masks can protect you from coronavirus【Video】

Japanese researchers use mannequin heads to prove that face coverings really do work against COVID-19. After over half a year of flip-flopping from the international medical community and the World Health Organisation on the efficacy of masks, Japanese researchers have now proven that face coverings help to reduce coronavirus transmission.  Professors at the University of Tokyo’s Institute […]

World-first confirmation that masks can protect you from coronavirus【Video】
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technology

Michael Niehaus – Windows 10 and a PC’s real-time clock

I’ve written enough about the challenges of Windows devices and the real-time clock that you’ve probably heard this one before:  Windows stores the time in the real-time clock in the local time zone, which causes problems if you install a new OS on the device and it boots up in a different default time zone […]

Windows 10 and a PC’s real-time clock — Out of Office Hours

Mike makes a good point here. So much behavior today in setup/deployment/config of PCs and updates to PCs is guided by practice set back in IBM PC/AT Bios days. Real-time clocks should all be UTC with the offset calculated by location, or sync based NTP settings. That way you’re always at least “correct” to UTC, you just need to refine the display of that UTC counter to the human being running the computer. By now, one would have thought this was solved or coordinated. But it’s all just random, with set workflows, and production steps for each and every computer manufacturer. Me personally, I’m going to follow Mike’s sterling example. I’m going to set my Win10 Registry setting to use the UEFI UTC real clock for my system clock and be done with it.

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technology

This downtown Tokyo video rental shop still has 6,000 VHS tapes, will rent you a VCR too【Photos】 | SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Now this is what I call “Reclaim Video” but Japanese Style (shout out Tim and Jim). Seems like there’s more than one person on this planet that also wants to hold onto those tapes.

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technology

Next up, on my reading list,…

Given how scant the info is on Wikipedia for Simulmatics, very little on it’s owners and their clients, and their assignments by various governmental and pseudo-governmental agencies, I HAD to buy and read this book.