Friday roundup: A week in tech

CPUs.jpg

Intel’s attempts to fix its dodgy CPUs have caused further problems, as the company desperately tries to address the worst thing to happen to chips since McCain made those revolting microwaveable ones.

Patches released to address the Meltdown and Spectre security issues – which potentially allow shadowy types to access a machine’s private data via the CPU – have led to devices rebooting more than would be deemed normal.

And Intel’s own in-house tests found that the patches can lead to a device’s performance dropping by up to 25%.

Writing on the firm’s website, executive Navin Shenoy said that ‘while the firmware updates are effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues, customers have reported more frequent reboots on firmware updated systems’.

According to Mr Shenoy, Intel have ‘determined that similar behaviour occurs on other products in some configurations, including Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms. We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause. In parallel, we will be providing beta microcode to vendors for validation by next week.’

Here’s the article, which is quite informative, but I feel, in view of the ongoing debacle, Mr Shenoy may appear a little too cheerful in his pic for some.

Of course, all this might be very bad news for Intel if the CPUs of its competitors AMD and ARM weren’t also stricken with the same flaws.

Oh well. Perhaps the European Commission’s dream-like plans to build a new generation of chips will come to fruition.

***

A local authority has been quick to embrace the latest digital sensation sweeping the cyber-sphere: real time tracking of gritter lorries.

Conscious of the public purse, Doncaster Council has diligently opted to get a man to move small toy trucks around a map, demonstrating what the authority’s fleet of snow and ice destroyers are up to:

This is excellent stuff: Brad Grit. Usain Salt. Gritsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Anti-Slip Machinery. Regular readers of this blog will well know that this is exactly the sort of material I crave.

Ok, other councils – now let’s see what you’ve got.

***

The amount of uses for drones that don’t involve dropping bombs/spying/general warfare or bothering aircraft/delivering drugs to prisons/general mischief continues to rise, with the latest development leading to the saving of two young lives.

Australian lifeguards were still in the process of training to use their new airborne assistant when the teenagers were spotted struggling in choppy seas off the coast of New South Wales.

The kindly drone was dispatched and delivered the at-peril pair a flotation device, which they used to return to dry land.

Jai Sheridan, lifeguard and drone fan, enthused: ‘The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly.’

Back in December, New South Wales came up with £247,000 to buy a squadron of drones, some for rescue operations, and some to strengthen the war against humanity’s oldest enemy, the shark.

Fitted with shark repellent – which is apparently a thing – the devices will take the battle to the shark’s natural stalking ground, the sea. Stupid sharks. One day they’ll learn it was a bad idea to evolve in large bodies of saltwater.

Friday roundup: A week in tech

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