Skip to content

Web Review, Week 2024-26

Friday, 28 June 2024 | Kevin Ottens


Let’s go for my web review for the week 2024-26.


Chat Control and the New Panopticon - by Masayuki Hatta

Tags: tech, surveillance, privacy, cryptography, law

Very neat piece, shows quite well the problems with Chat Control like laws. It’s been postponed this time, but expect it to comeback somehow.

https://mhatta.substack.com/p/chat-control-and-the-new-panopticon


Cleantech has an enshittification problem

Tags: tech, politics, law

This is becoming an important industry. Regulation is needed to avoid consumers to be in a mouse trap. This is necessary to reap the benefits of those technologies.

https://pluralistic.net/2024/06/26/unplanned-obsolescence/


Indirector

Tags: tech, cpu, security

A new type of attack targeting the CPU indirect branch predictor.

https://indirector.cpusec.org/


Polyfill supply chain attack hits 100K+ sites

Tags: tech, supply-chain, security, web

This is bad for two reasons: 1) people clearly put too much trust in random CDNs to distribute their dependencies and 2) people don’t track depencendies obsolescence properly.

https://sansec.io/research/polyfill-supply-chain-attack


The People’s AI – Doc Searls Weblog

Tags: tech, ai, machine-learning, gpt, foss, self-hosting

This is ignoring the energy consumption aspect. That said, it is spot on regarding the social and economics aspects of those transformer models. They have to be open and self hostable.

https://doc.searls.com/2024/05/28/the-peoples-ai/


On the Paradox of Learning to Reason from Data

Tags: tech, ai, machine-learning, gpt, research

Further clues that transformer models can’t learn logic from data.

https://arxiv.org/abs/2205.11502


Scalable MatMul-free Language Modeling

Tags: tech, ai, machine-learning, gpt, research

Interesting paper showing a promising path to reduce the memory and workload of transformer models. This is much more interesting than the race to the gigantic size.

https://arxiv.org/abs/2406.02528


Inside the tiny chip that powers Montreal subway tickets

Tags: tech, nfc, hardware

Nice reverse engineering of a NFC chip used in a disposable transportation ticket.

https://www.righto.com/2024/06/montreal-mifare-ultralight-nfc.html


Local, first, forever

Tags: tech, crdt, self-hosting, privacy

Interesting approach for using CRDT through a file sync application. Probably something to see somehow generalized on traditional desktop applications.

https://tonsky.me/blog/crdt-filesync/


Reladiff

Tags: tech, databases, tools, tests

Interesting tool for diffing database tables. Should come in handy for tests.

https://reladiff.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html


Performance tip: avoid unnecessary copies – Daniel Lemire’s blog

Tags: tech, performance

Interesting case, when everything else gets faster, memory copies might start to become the bottleneck.

https://lemire.me/blog/2024/06/22/performance-tip-avoid-unnecessary-copies/


How much memory does a call to ‘malloc’ allocates? – Daniel Lemire’s blog

Tags: tech, system, memory

If you needed to be reminded that allocating small blocks of memory is a bad idea… here is a paper explaining it.

https://lemire.me/blog/2024/06/27/how-much-memory-does-a-call-to-malloc-allocates/


How the STL uses explicit

Tags: tech, c++

Definitely not the rules you want to apply on your projects. Still it’s interesting to know how the STL uses explicit.

https://quuxplusone.github.io/blog/2024/06/25/most-stl-ctors-arent-explicit-but-yours-still-should-be/


Breaking out of nested loops with generators | mathspp

Tags: tech, python

This is a useful construct in Python which is often forgotten.

https://mathspp.com/blog/breaking-out-of-nested-loops-with-generators


The plan-execute pattern

Tags: tech, algorithm, pattern, design, architecture

A nice pattern to separate decision from actions in complex algorithms.

https://mmapped.blog/posts/29-plan-execute


Fighting Faults in Distributed Systems

Tags: tech, safety, distributed, failure

A nice zine introducing the topic of faults and failures in distributed systems.

https://decomposition.al/CSE138-2024-01/zines/zine-ali.pdf


From ZeroVer to SemVer: A Comprehensive List of Versioning Schemes in Open Source | Andrew Nesbitt

Tags: tech, project-management, version-control

A nice collection of versioning schemes. I definitely didn’t know them all.

https://nesbitt.io/2024/06/24/from-zerover-to-semver-a-comprehensive-list-of-versioning-schemes-in-open-source.html


Of Psion and Symbian - by Bradford Morgan White

Tags: tech, history

Another story of precursors in the tech space. They basically invented the palmtop and spawned Symbian which was very much dominant on mobile for a while. The end of the Nokia story is a bit oversimplified for my taste just glancing over Maemo, but it is forgivable since it wasn’t the focus of this piece.

https://www.abortretry.fail/p/of-psion-and-symbian


Neko: History of a Software Pet

Tags: tech, history, funny

I remember playing with this a long time again… but it’s actually even older than I suspected.

https://eliotakira.com/neko/



Bye for now!