Performance laptop drama 2018: Intel Core i9-8950HK

Submitted by luxian on Mon, 07/23/2018 - 23:15

Top of the line laptops released this year are all relying on Intel's Core i9-8950HK CPU which is know to run very hot.

The first laptop released with this CPU that got my attention and I eventually bought, was the Dell XPS 9570. This laptop is know to have thermal issues since the last generation - 9560. This year gen didn't change much, it also throttles, but everything else about it is great.

The second laptop, the Macbook Pro 2018 with i9 is not only late to the party, but also severely throttling under heavy use. It's throttling so much that it under-performs when compared to last generation i7.

You will probably be right to blame Intel and their failure to innovate. Their last 3-4 generation of CPU are just iterations of the old design with almost non-existing performance improvements but better efficiency. The desktop version of the i9 was running so hot that I gave up buying an new a PC. I didn't want to buy a CPU that required the best cooling you can buy just to run it without any overclocking. I continued to do all my work for almost a year on a mid 2014 Macbook Pro with a 4th generation i7-4980HQ CPU. This CPU is so good that any upgrade to the new Macbook seemed a complete waste of money when you consider the performance gains.

To add insult to the injury in Apple's case with the Macbook Pro, the problems seems to be the voltage regulator, not even the CPU getting hot. Watch this video from Louis Rossmann to understand why this is bad. The original post on this also comes instructions how to work around this issue, if you happen to own one: Optimal CPU Tuning settings for i9 MBP to stop VRM throttling / Explanation of Apple's Engineering Failure.

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Software 2.0 or how to train AI in 2018

Submitted by luxian on Tue, 06/12/2018 - 09:23

Yesterday I stumbled upon this talk from Andrej Karpathy which explains his vision regarding the current status of software engineering in his talk: TRAIN AI 2018 - Building the Software 2.0 Stack.

The talk is half an hour long and it's not technical at all. It explains how AI is now facing a tooling scarcity rather than a lack of algorithms. He says that at Tesla they try to automate the algorithm tweaking and because of that they are now spending more time developing tools and training data sets. This sounds similar to Google's approach to AI and ML.

Hopefully this approach will allow Tesla to provide a autonomous Autopilot faster.

How to replace multi controller button on Canon EOS 6D

Submitted by luxian on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 22:03
My multi controller stopped working after some humidity got into it (snow). The right arrow stopped working, but the rest was working fine. After a few weeks of researching I decided to take the risk and try to fix it myself. Here's how I did it and a few tips for those who want to try the same.

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How to fix terminal prompt not wrapping correctly

Submitted by luxian on Tue, 04/03/2018 - 13:23

On all the servers I manage I tend to change PS1 (Prompt String One) to add a memo of the environment you are on. For example I will display a red [ PROD ] in front of command prompt on production servers to remind ssh users they are on a production server. Development servers get the same treatment, with a [ DEV ] prefix and a blue background. Example with the value used on Ubuntu dev server:

PS1="\e[104m\e[30m[DEV]\e[0m "'${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;34m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$ '

Unfortunately, after doing this, the command prompt didn't wrap correctly at the end of the line. This wasn't noticed in the beginning and then I was too lazy to fix it until today, when I found the fix quite fast on Unix Stackexchange: Terminal prompt not wrapping correctly. The problem is caused by the color sequenced I used:

Non-printable sequences should be enclosed in \[ and \].

And the explanation why this happens:

The reason for the behavior is because bash believes the prompt is longer then it actually is.

Basically, the line will wrap later than expected because bash thinks the line is longer.

The correct version of command prompt above is:

PS1="\[\e[104m\e[30m\][DEV]\[\e[0m\] "'${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;34m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$ '

 

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Upgrading to Canon 5D Mark IV from Canon 6D

Submitted by luxian on Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:15

I'm a first generation Canon 6D owner and user for about 4 years now. I did a fair bunch of photos with it, but I started looking for upgrades.

Few weeks ago the opportunity arose when my multi-control button stopped working after being exposed to light snow. Before jumping to buy a  $3000+ camera body I decided to rent one for the weekend and weight the pros and cons between upgrading and repairing my camera.  So these are my thoughts on the 5D Mark IV coming from a 6D user perspective:

I don't like Asus anymore

Submitted by luxian on Wed, 02/28/2018 - 12:04

Some time ago I bought a tablet for my mom. Since she regularly needs support, TeamViewer QuickSupport it's a must. It works very well with all Android devices I own so far, except that Asus tablet. Because they are greedy and they only offer it for business customers! So I returned the tablet the next day.

After this bitter experience I remembered that I have another Asus product: AC-RT66U router. Which works great on specs and in benchmarks, but in real-life usage it sucks. Has compatibility issues with most Apple products and any other products that copy them (like LG smartphones). Signal is weak and throttles a lot because it gets hot. It is set up to restart weekly in order to make it work.

It's pretty clear that for me, Asus is a brand I will avoid.

 

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I really considered an LG phone, but...

Submitted by luxian on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 22:56

As a owner of an LG G4 (retired phone), it was disappointing to see company evolution in the recent years.

First, they didn't want to release Android 7 update for G4 and V10. That means the phones got only one year of software updates. Half of what you usually expect from every other big player. To make matters worse, they change their mind and said they will bring Android 7 (Nougat) update, but phone performance will probably degrade. It's almost a year since they promised the upgrade and they haven't release anything. So probably it's never gonna happen.

Then, they failed with the G5, which had a very bad display and a modular design that made the whole phone to look cheap. G6 was better, but still didn't manage to make a difference and now the LG V30 almost got phone of the year award, if it wasn't for the display issue which affected even Google Pixel phones.

I don't know what's happening - but they are definitely doing something wrong. Until they fix this I will not buy any phone from them, nor do I recommend them to friends.

 

How to use git as root with your SSH keys and Git name and email.

Submitted by luxian on Sun, 01/14/2018 - 01:56

This is definitely not best practice, but on some servers I have some server configuration in Git and I deploy and update them manually. Git is used only as versioning system for configuration and not automatic provisioning.

In theory things should be pretty straight forward, but there are two main issue with this approach, both caused by the fact that you have to use git  after you switch to root account (sudo su). 

  1. you loose you ssh key chain and you can not pull/push changes
  2. if you commit changes, your Git name and email are empty and using git config it's not OK since multiple users might do the same thing

It's possible to fix this using sudo by using something like this:

sudo -Es GIT_AUTHOR_NAME=Your\ Name GIT_COMMITTER_NAME=Your\ Name GIT_COMMITTER_EMAIL=your.email@example.com GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL=your.email@example.com su

I added an alias for this and whenever you use the alias, you will forward your ssh key chain and set Git username and password by setting temporary environment variables. It's multi user friendly, so multiple admins can use this to do changes as root and commits author name and ssh keys will be set for each individual.