Hi Athletics Nation,
Many of you have probably noticed in the comments that our AN leader for just about as long as I can remember, Alex Hall, has been laid off by Vox. Alex acted as the manager and editor of AN, providing guidance on posts and organizing the daily/weekly articles the rest of us would write. Without his presence, we, the other authors of AN, have been thrown in complete disarray.
This is a conflicting time for many of us. We would like to support Alex and don’t want to let Vox take advantage of the rest of us to simply pick up the slack, but we also don’t want to leave the AN community floundering.
We’re not yet sure how this will all evolve. We’ll try to get a skeleton set of articles up to keep the community engaged while we figure this out, but it isn’t going to be anything like normal for now.
This is a sad development, but hangs in there while we try to figure this out. If anyone else wants to step up to help keep our A’s fan community alive, please feel free to reach out to us — your ideas and efforts will be greatly appreciated.
Cody, Connor, Daniel, Nico & Wally
Just in time for summer, I gathered a handful of my favorite seasonal gadgets and took them on my favorite morning news show, CBS Mornings. Whenever I’m asked to pick tech products to recommend for a TV audience, I try to cover all the bases — expensive items and budget items, serious products and fun products.
You can watch the full segment above, and if you’re interested in any of the gadgets, I’ve gone into a little detail about each below. I thought the Ninja Creami ice cream maker would be the big hit, but the hosts (and everyone backstage) were surprisingly smitten with the light-up grill tools. My takeaway: You can almost never go wrong sticking a flashlight on something.
Especially during summer trips, everyone should bring a backup power bank along. There are thousands of choices, and frankly they’re mostly all fine. I happen to like this ambitious model that has a solar panel, wireless charging for phones, a flashlight and, most importantly, built-in USB-C, Lightning and Micro-USB cables.
I’ve tried old-fashioned ice cream makers, the kind with the big metal bowl you have to freeze beforehand and clean out after. It’s a pretty time-consuming process. The Ninja Creami flips the concept on its head — you mix your ingredients in little pint-size plastic containers, freeze those overnight (the Creami comes with three pint containers, extras are about $10), then the machine mixes up really excellent ice cream in 90 seconds. I was dubious, but now I’m a believer.
Read our full review of the Ninja Creami here.
This little box beams IR commands to your window unit AC, allowing you to control it via an app. That’s pretty basic, but I like that the Sensibo app can also set up schedules and target temperatures, plus geofencing to turn the AC off and on depending on if you’re in the house or not. For those of us living in apartments with window AC units, it’s a pretty clever upgrade. (Note that you need the AC’s remote to set it up. I couldn’t find mine, so I ordered this $8 knockoff from Amazon that worked fine.)
Read more about the Sensibo Sky here.
We didn’t get to this during the TV segment (but you can see it on the table). Still, my CNET Home colleagues highly recommended the new Ecobee as the smart thermostat to beat, especially because it has an air quality sensor, and it uses radar to detect human activity, instead of old-fashioned IR.
Read more about the Ecobee Smart Thermostat here.
Listen, you don’t actually need a smart thermometer for outdoor grilling. But, it’s kinda fun, and the companion app for this wireless unit offers easy color-coded warning lights — from green to yellow to orange to red — telling you when to take something off the grill.
The surprise hit of this TV segment, and frankly a pretty useful idea. I used to have a tiny patio behind my
DISH lit up a new 5G cellular network in more than 120 cities on June 14, including Grand Junction and Pueblo, meeting an early target federal regulators had set for the construction of the nation’s fourth wireless network.
Whether Project Genesis, as the network is called, succeeds or fails will determine the fate of one of Colorado’s largest public companies, and could weigh heavily on Denver’s future as a center of telecommunications innovation, a legacy that goes back decades to the early days of cable television.
“Through DISH’s efforts, Denver is becoming a wireless hub,” said John Swieringa, president and chief operating officer of DISH Wireless. “Our partners are coming here, too, and investing in people and resources in this market. We expect Denver to become a leader in 5G.”
DISH Wireless has hired more than 1,600 workers in the past 18 months and is looking to add 500 more, Swieringa said. DISH, the parent company, already employs 6,000 people along the Front Range. A successful launch of the new network could provide a big boost to the region economically for years to come. Failure could cost thousands of jobs.
5G stands for fifth-generation mobile network. The technology can move larger bundles of data at much faster speeds and lower lag times than 4G. That added capacity promises to open up a host of uses such as self-driving cars, smart cities, remote surgery, and enhanced virtual reality. It also allows wireless carriers to better compete in providing home and business broadband service and makes possible multiple new commercial applications.
The big three carriers — AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile — have built their 5G networks on top of existing and proprietary 4G networks, which in turn were built on top of 3G networks. DISH, by contrast, is building a 5G network from scratch, using something called Open Radio Access Networks or OPEN-RAN. That approach is software-focused, cloud-based and flexible in terms of using technologies from outside partners.
“One of the biggest advantages is that the cost of upgrading and maintaining the network is far lower. We will more readily adapt to evolving technologies and standards. We are relying heavily on automation. Our network is forward-looking,” Swieringa said.
Genesis cell sites have a much smaller footprint than those of older carriers, and much of the signal processing is pushed out to centralized server centers.
Favoring software over hardware lowers overall costs, provides more flexibility and allows for a more open and automated network. Established technology players such as Amazon Web Services, Dell and VMware, to name a few, are actively involved in Project Genesis, contributing resources and development expertise to ensure its success.
“They (DISH) are leveraging the desire of multiple vendors to participate in the only new national wireless network being built. Their vendors are contributing in the form of development and assets,” said Roy Chua, principal at AvidThink, an independent telecom and technology research firm in San Jose, Calif.
DISH has invested more than $30 billion in wireless spectrum and
Moore’s Law needs a hug. The days of stuffing transistors on little silicon computer chips are numbered, and their life rafts — hardware accelerators — come with a price.
When programming an accelerator — a process where applications offload certain tasks to system hardware especially to accelerate that task — you have to build a whole new software support. Hardware accelerators can run certain tasks orders of magnitude faster than CPUs, but they cannot be used out of the box. Software needs to efficiently use accelerators’ instructions to make it compatible with the entire application system. This translates to a lot of engineering work that then would have to be maintained for a new chip that you’re compiling code to, with any programming language.
Now, scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) created a new programming language called “Exo” for writing high-performance code on hardware accelerators. Exo helps low-level performance engineers transform very simple programs that specify what they want to compute, into very complex programs that do the same thing as the specification, but much, much faster by using these special accelerator chips. Engineers, for example, can use Exo to turn a simple matrix multiplication into a more complex program, which runs orders of magnitude faster by using these special accelerators.
Unlike other programming languages and compilers, Exo is built around a concept called “Exocompilation.” “Traditionally, a lot of research has focused on automating the optimization process for the specific hardware,” says Yuka Ikarashi, a PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science and CSAIL affiliate who is a lead author on a new paper about Exo. “This is great for most programmers, but for performance engineers, the compiler gets in the way as often as it helps. Because the compiler’s optimizations are automatic, there’s no good way to fix it when it does the wrong thing and gives you 45 percent efficiency instead of 90 percent.”
With Exocompilation, the performance engineer is back in the driver’s seat. Responsibility for choosing which optimizations to apply, when, and in what order is externalized from the compiler, back to the performance engineer. This way, they don’t have to waste time fighting the compiler on the one hand, or doing everything manually on the other. At the same time, Exo takes responsibility to ensure that all of these optimizations are correct. As a result, the performance engineer can spend their time improving performance, rather than debugging the complex, optimized code.
“Exo language is a compiler that’s parameterized over the hardware it targets; the same compiler can adapt to many different hardware accelerators,” says Adrian Sampson, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University. “ Instead of writing a bunch of messy C++ code to compile for a new accelerator, Exo gives you an abstract, uniform way to write down the ‘shape’ of the hardware you want to target. Then you can reuse the existing Exo compiler to adapt to that new description instead of writing something