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News Source Slashdot:Hardware

Will Tesla Do a Phone? Yes, Says Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley, in a note -- seen by Slashdot -- sent to its clients on Wednesday: From our continuing discussions with automotive management teams and industry experts, the car is an extension of the phone. The phone is an extension of the car. The lines between car and phone are truly blurring. For years, we have been writing about the potential for Tesla to expand into edge compute domains beyond the car, including last October where we described a mobile AI assistant as a 'heavy key.' Following Apple's WWDC, Tesla CEO Elon Musk re-ignited the topic by saying that making such a device is 'not out of the question.' As Mr. Musk continues to invest further into his own LLM/genAI efforts, such as 'Grok,' the potential strategic and userexperience overlap becomes more obvious. From an automotive perspective, the topic of supercomputing at both the datacenter level and at the edge are highly relevant given the incremental global unit sold is a car that can perform OTA updates of firmware, has a battery with a stored energy equivalent of approx. 2,000 iPhones, and a liquid cooled inference supercomputer as standard kit. What if your phone could tap into your vehicle's compute power and battery supply to run AI applications? Edge compute and AI have brought to light some of the challenges (battery life, thermal, latency, etc.) of marrying today's smartphones with ever more powerful AI-driven applications. Numerous media reports have discussed OpenAI potentially developing a consumer device specifically designed for AI. The phone as a (heavy) car key? Any Tesla owner will tell you how they use their smartphone as their primary key to unlock their car as well as running other remote applications while they interact with their vehicles. The 'action button' on the iPhone 15 potentially takes this to a different level of convenience.

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Finnish Startup 'Flow' Claims It Can 100x Any CPU's Power With Its Companion Chip
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: A Finnish startup called Flow Computing is making one of the wildest claims ever heard in silicon engineering: by adding its proprietary companion chip, any CPU can instantly double its performance, increasing to as much as 100x with software tweaks. If it works, it could help the industry keep up with the insatiable compute demand of AI makers. Flow is a spinout of VTT, a Finland state-backed research organization that's a bit like a national lab. The chip technology it's commercializing, which it has branded the Parallel Processing Unit, is the result of research performed at that lab (though VTT is an investor, the IP is owned by Flow). The claim, Flow is first to admit, is laughable on its face. You can't just magically squeeze extra performance out of CPUs across architectures and code bases. If so, Intel or AMD or whoever would have done it years ago. But Flow has been working on something that has been theoretically possible -- it's just that no one has been able to pull it off. Central Processing Units have come a long way since the early days of vacuum tubes and punch cards, but in some fundamental ways they're still the same. Their primary limitation is that as serial rather than parallel processors, they can only do one thing at a time. Of course, they switch that thing a billion times a second across multiple cores and pathways -- but these are all ways of accommodating the single-lane nature of the CPU. (A GPU, in contrast, does many related calculations at once but is specialized in certain operations.) "The CPU is the weakest link in computing," said Flow co-founder and CEO Timo Valtonen. "It's not up to its task, and this will need to change." CPUs have gotten very fast, but even with nanosecond-level responsiveness, there's a tremendous amount of waste in how instructions are carried out simply because of the basic limitation that one task needs to finish before the next one starts. (I'm simplifying here, not being a chip engineer myself.) What Flow claims to have done is remove this limitation, turning the CPU from a one-lane street into a multi-lane highway. The CPU is still limited to doing one task at a time, but Flow's Parallel Processing Unit (PPU), as they call it, essentially performs nanosecond-scale traffic management on-die to move tasks into and out of the processor faster than has previously been possible. [...] Flow is just now emerging from stealth, with [about $4.3 million] in pre-seed funding led by Butterfly Ventures, with participation from FOV Ventures, Sarsia, Stephen Industries, Superhero Capital and Business Finland. The primary challenge Flow faces is that for its technology to be integrated, it requires collaboration at the chip-design level. This means chipmakers need to redesign their products to include the PPU, which is a substantial investment. Given the industry's cautious nature and the existing roadmaps of major chip manufacturers, the uptake of this new technology might be slow. Companies are often reluctant to adopt unproven technologies that could disrupt their long-term plans. The white paper can be read here. A Flow Computing FAQ is also available here.

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One-Line Patch For Intel Meteor Lake Yields Up To 72% Better Performance
Michael Larabel reports via Phoronix: Covered last week on Phoronix was a new patch from Intel that with tuning to the P-State CPU frequency scaling driver was showing big wins for Intel Core Ultra "Meteor Lake" performance and power efficiency. I was curious with the Intel claims posted for a couple benchmarks and thus over the weekend set out to run many Intel Meteor Lake benchmarks on this one-line kernel patch... The results are great for boosting the Linux performance of Intel Core ultra laptops with as much as 72% better performance. [...] When looking at the CPU power consumption overall, for the wide variety of workloads tested it was just a slight uptick in power use and thus overall leading to slightly better power efficiency too. See all the data here. So this is quite a nice one-line Linux kernel patch for Meteor Lake and will hopefully be mainlined to the Linux kernel for Linux 6.11 if not squeezing it in as a "fix" for the current Linux 6.10 cycle. It's just too bad though that it took six months after launch for this tuned EPP value to be determined. Fresh benchmarks between Intel Core Ultra and AMD Ryzen on the latest Linux software will be coming up soon on Phoronix.

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Is the Uranium Fuel Proposed For Small Modular Nuclear Reactors a Weapons Risk?
Reuters reports:A special uranium fuel planned for next-generation U.S. nuclear reactors poses security risks because it could be used without further enrichment as fissile material in nuclear weapons, scientists said in an article published on Thursday. The fuel, called high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU, is enriched to levels of up to 20%, compared with about 5% for the fuel that powers most existing reactors. Until recently it was made in commercial amounts only in Russia, but the United States wants to produce it to fuel a new wave of reactors... "This material is directly usable for making nuclear weapons without any further enrichment or reprocessing," said Scott Kemp, one of five authors of the peer-reviewed article in the journal Science. "In other words, the new reactors pose an unprecedented nuclear-security risk," said Kemp, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former science adviser on arms control at the State Department. A bomb similar in power to the one the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945 could be made from 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg) or less of 19.75% enriched HALEU, the article said. "Designing such a weapon would not be without its challenges, but there do not appear to be any convincing reasons why it could not be done," it said. The authors said if enrichment is limited to 10% to 12%, the supply chain would be far safer with only modest costs... TerraPower, a company backed by Bill Gates that has received funding from the [U.S.] Energy Department, hopes to build its Natrium nuclear plant in Wyoming by 2030 to run on HALEU. TerraPower in late 2022 delayed Natrium's launch date by at least two years to 2030 due to a lack of HALEU. A TerraPower spokesperson said Natrium will use HALEU as it allows more efficient energy production and reduces nuclear waste volumes. "TerraPower has made reduction of weapons risks a foundational principle" the spokesperson said, adding that its fuel cycle eliminates the risk of proliferation. Reuters notes that America's 2022 climate legislation "included $700 million for a HALEU availability program including purchasing the fuel to create a supply chain for planned high-tech reactors." But the study's authors argue that if it becomes a standard reactor fuel, it could eliminate the distinction between peaceful and nonpeaceful nuclear programs — in countries around the world. Thanks to Slashdot reader locater16 for sharing the article.

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Dutch Police Test AI-Powered Robot Dog to Raid Drug Labs
"Police and search and rescue forces worldwide are increasingly using robots to assist in carrying out their operations," writes Interesting Engineering. "Now, the Dutch police are looking at employing AI-powered autonomous robot dogs in drug lab raids to protect officers from criminal risks, hazardous chemicals, and explosions." New Scientist's Matthew Sparkes (also a long-time Slashdot reader) shares this report:Dutch police are planning to use an autonomous robotic dog in drug lab raids to avoid placing officers at risk from criminals, dangerous chemicals and explosions. If tests in mocked-up scenarios go well, the artificial intelligence-powered robot will be deployed in real raids, say police. Simon Prins at Politie Nederland, the Dutch police force, has been testing and using robots in criminal investigations for more than two decades, but says they are only now growing capable enough to be practical for more... Some context from Interesting Engineering:The police force in the Netherlands carries out such raids at least three to four times a week... Since 2021, the force has already been using a Spot quadruped, fitted with a robotic arm, from Boston Dynamics to carry out drug raids and surveillance. However, the Spot is remotely controlled by a handler... [Significant technological advancements] have prompted the Dutch force to explore fully autonomous operations with Spot. Reportedly, such AI-enabled autonomous robots are expected to inspect drug labs, ensure no criminals are present, map the area, and identify dangerous chemicals... Initial tests by force suggest that Spot could explore and map a mock drug lab measuring 15 meters by 20 meters. It was able to find hazardous chemicals and put them away into a designated storage container. Their article notes that Spot "can do laser scans and visual, thermal, radiation, and acoustic inspections using add-on payloads and onboard cameras." (A video from Boston Dynamics — the company behind Spot — also seems to show the robot dog spraying something on a fire.) The video seems aimed at police departments, touting the robot dog's advantages for "safety and incident response": Enables safer investigation of suspicious packages Detection of hazardous chemicals De-escalation of tense or dangerous situations Get eyes on dangerous situationsIt also notes the robot "can be operated from a safe distance," suggesting customers "Use Spot® to place cameras, radios, and more for tactical reconnaissance."

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Is Nuclear Power in America Reviving - or Flailing?
Last week America's energy secretary cheered the startup of a fourth nuclear reactor at a Georgia power plant, calling it "the largest producer of clean energy, and the largest producer of electricity in the United States" after a third reactor was started up there in December. From the U.S. Energy Department's transcript of the speech: Each year, Units 3 and 4 are going to produce enough clean power to power 1 million homes and businesses, enough energy to power roughly 1 in 4 homes in Georgia. Preventing 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually. That, by the way, is like planting more than 165 million trees every year! And that's not to mention the historic investments that [electric utility] Southern has made on the safety front, to ensure this facility meets — and exceeds — the highest operating standards in the world.... To reach our goal of net zero by 2050, we have to at least triple our current nuclear capacity in this country. That means we've got to add 200 more gigawatts by 2050. Okay, two down, 198 to go! In building [Unit] 4, we've solved our greatest design challenges. We've stood up entire supply chains.... And so it's time to cash in on our investments by building more. More of these facilities. The Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office stands ready to help, with hundreds of billions of dollars in what we call Title 17 loans... Since the President signed the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, companies across the nation have announced 29 new or expanded nuclear facilities — across 16 states — representing about 1,600 potential new jobs. And the majority of those projects will expand the domestic uranium production and fuel fabrication, strengthening these critical supply chains... Bottom line is, in short, we are determined to build a world-class nuclear industry in the United States, and we're putting our money where our mouth is. America's Energy Secretary told the Washington Post that "Whether it happens through small modular reactors, or AP1000s, or maybe another design out there worthy of consideration, we want to see nuclear built." The Post notes the Energy department gave a $1.5 billion loan to restart a Michigan power plant which was decommissioned in 2022. "It would mark the first time a shuttered U.S. nuclear plant has been reactivated." "But in this country with 54 nuclear plants across 28 states, restarting existing reactors and delaying their closure is a lot less complicated than building new ones."When the final [Georgia] reactor went online at the end of April, the expansion was seven years behind schedule and nearly $20 billion over budget. It ultimately cost more than twice as much as promised, with ratepayers footing much of the bill through surcharges and rate hikes... Administration officials say the country has no choice but to make nuclear power a workable option again. The country is fast running short on electricity, demand for power is surging amid a boom in construction of data centers and manufacturing plants, and a neglected power grid is struggling to accommodate enough new wind and solar power to meet the nation's needs... As the administration frames the narrative of the plant as one of perseverance and innovation that clears a path for restoring U.S. nuclear energy dominance, even some longtime boosters of the industry question whether this country will ever again have a vibrant nuclear energy sector. "It is hard for me to envision state energy regulators signing off on another one of these, given how badly the last ones went," said Matt Bowen, a nuclear scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, who was an adviser on nuclear energy issues in the Obama administration. The article notes there are 19 AP1000 reactors (the design used at the Georgia plant) in development around the world. "None of them are being built in the United States."

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As America's Solar Power Surges, Wind Power is Struggling
America "is now adding less wind capacity each year" than it was before the passage of a climate-protecting bill in 2022, according to the New York Times. Since then "solar panel installations are indeed soaring to record highs in the U.S., as are batteries that can store energy for later. But wind power has struggled, both on land and in the ocean."Some factors behind the wind industry's recent slowdown may be temporary, such as snarled supply chains. But wind power is also more vulnerable than solar power to many of the biggest logistical hurdles that hinder energy projects today: a lack of transmission lines, a lengthy permitting process and a growing backlash against new projects in many communities... [M]any areas are now crowded with turbines and existing electric grids are clogged, making it difficult to add more projects. Energy companies want to expand the grid's capacity to transport even more wind power to population centers, but getting permits for transmission lines and building them has become a brutal slog that can take more than a decade... Because they can reach the height of skyscrapers, wind turbines are more noticeable than solar farms and often attract more intense opposition from local communities. The wind industry has also been hampered by soaring equipment costs after the pandemic wrecked supply chains and inflation spiked. While those factors initially hurt solar, too, the solar industry has adjusted much faster, with China nearly doubling its manufacturing capacity for panels over the past two years. Wind supply chains, which are dominated by a few manufacturers in China, Europe and the United States, have yet to fully recover. The cost increases have been devastating for offshore wind projects in the Northeast, where developers have canceled more than half the projects they planned to build this decade. Wind isn't languishing only in the United States. While a record 117 gigawatts of new wind capacity came online last year globally, virtually all of that growth was in China. In the rest of the world, developers weren't installing wind turbines any faster than they were in 2020... It's still possible that wind power could rebound. In fact, some experts argue that the recent slowdown is only a temporary artifact of tax policy... [John Hensley, vice president for markets and policy analysis at the American Clean Power Association, a renewable industry trade group] said that U.S. wind manufacturing was beginning to ramp up thanks to new tax incentives, while costs were starting to come down. Last year, orders for new turbines increased by 130%, although many of them won't be delivered until 2025 or later. Some states are now trying to make it easier to build renewable energy: Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota have all passed laws making it harder for local governments to restrict wind and solar. The federal government has issued new rules to accelerate the planning of transmission lines. Demand for wind could also rise as a growing number of states, tech companies and hydrogen producers are trying to secure clean electricity around the clock, rather than just a burst of solar power in the daytime. Many plans for moving America off fossil fuels "envision a large expansion of both solar and wind," the article points out, "because the two sources generate electricity at different hours and can complement each other. A boom in solar power alone, which runs only in daytime, isn't enough."

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HP CEO: Printed Pages Are Down 20% Since Pandemic
HP is facing something of a challenge as the number of printed pages has decreased by 20% since the pandemic. "On the office space, clearly, the amount of pages that is being printed is lower than before the pandemic," HP boss Enrique Lores told tech investors at Bernstein's 40th Annual Strategic Decision Conference last week. "And this is really driven by what we call hybrid work. There are less people in the office every day, and this has driven the amount of pages down." The Register reports: "I use pages as a proxy because, depending on what happens with pages, happens eventually with devices. Before the pandemic, our estimates were that we were expecting to see a 20 percent reduction of printing. And actually, we were looking at the numbers ... and this is more or less where we are." In terms of users printing at home, "during the pandemic, we saw a spike of pages printed, and since then, the number of pages has been declining," Lores added. The levels are not unexpected, though, he said. The industrial customer base was "impacted during the last two or three years by a reduction of capital investments," but recovery is showing up, with those customers printing more labels and packaging. Previous research by IDC showed around 450 billion fewer pages were printed in homes and office worldwide in 2020 versus the year before the pandemic, equating to a 19 percent plunge. It merely accelerated the long-term trend. [...]

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World's Largest Solar Farm Goes Online In China
Michelle Lewis reports via Electrek: The world's largest solar farm, in the desert in northwestern Xinjiang, is now connected to China's grid. The 3.5-gigawatt (GW), 33,000-acre solar farm is outside Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital. The state asset regulator's website cited the Power Construction Corp of China and said it came online on Monday. The solar farm will generate about 6.09 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually. Assuming an EV consumes about 3,000 kWh per year, 6.09 billion kWh could power 2.03 million EVs annually. The world's largest solar farm in Xinjiang is part of China's megabase project, a plan to install 455 GW of wind and solar. The megabase projects are sited in sparsely populated, resource-rich areas and send their generated energy to major urban centers, such as on China's eastern seaboard. China now boasts the three largest solar farms in the world by capacity. The Ningxia Tenggeli and Golmud Wutumeiren solar farms, each with a capacity of 3 MW, are already online.

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Apple Is Working On LLM-Powered Robots, Report Says
Apple is secretly developing robotic devices powered by generative AI, including a table-top robotic arm with an iPad-like display and a mobile robot for household chores, Bloomberg News is reporting, citing people familiar with the matter.

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Google Can Keep Your Phone If You Send It In For Repair With Non-OEM Parts [UPDATE: Changing Policy]
UPDATE 6/4/2024: Google has changed its repair policy in response to the controversial clause that was brought to light. Google says it will not keep phones sent in for repair and that it's changing the wording of its ToS agreement to reflect this. Here's a statement from a Google spokesperson: "If a customer sends their Pixel to Google for repair, we would not keep it regardless of whether it has non-OEM parts or not. In certain situations, we won't be able to complete a repair if there are safety concerns. In that case, we will either send it back to the customer or work with them to determine next steps. Customers are also free to seek the repair options that work best for them. We are updating our Terms and Conditions to clarify this." An anonymous reader quotes a report from Android Authority: Like many other phone makers, Google has a self-repair program for servicing your damaged or malfunctioning Pixel device. As its support site explains, there are options to get repair tools, manuals, and certified parts so you can fix up your Pixel like new. Owners can also choose to simply send their device in to have it repaired professionally. As replacement parts can be expensive, some DIYers choose to use parts from third-party suppliers. But if you go down this route, you may want to avoid sending your device to Google if there's a problem you don't have the skills to fix on your own. As YouTuber Louis Rossmann discovered, Google's service and repair terms and conditions contain a concerning stipulation. The document states that Google will keep your device if a non-OEM part is found. Apparently, this rule has been in effect since July 19, 2023, as marked on the page. Last week, iFixit said they are parting ways with Samsung because the company "does not seem interested in enabling repair at scale." A separate report from 404 Media found that Samsung requires independent repair shops to give them the name, contact information, phone identifier, and customer complaint details of everyone who gets their phone repaired at these shops. "Stunningly, it also requires these nominally independent shops to 'immediately disassemble' any phones that customers have brought them that have been previously repaired with aftermarket or third-party parts and to 'immediately notify' Samsung that the customer has used third-party parts," reports 404 Media.

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Solar Passes 100% of Power Demand In California
Solar power in California has reached a new record output, briefly surpassing 100% of power demand. It comes just days after the state exceeded 100% of energy demand with renewables (wind, solar and hydro) over a record 45 days straight, and 69 out of 75. CleanTechnica reports: As you can see [here], at its peak, solar power was providing 102.1% of electricity demand in California. Together, wind, water, and solar peaked at 136.4% of electricity demand! [...] The best news is that California seems to quickly be chopping the duck curve down to size. [...] The solution for the duck curve is clear: energy storage. Store that bursting solar energy produced in the middle of the day and gradually use it in the evening as the sun goes down and electricity demand rises. The good news is that California has been making progress on this very fast! Look at the graph [here] regarding electricity generation from natural gas and note the line for 2023 versus the line for 2024. [...] The overall story is that California renewable energy continues to lead the way forward. Solar power is now peaking at more than 100% of electricity demand, renewables as a whole are peaking at 134% electricity demand, the duck curve has been shaved down to basically no duck curve at all (but you could now call the battery charge/discharge curve a duck curve), and the whole state (and world) is benefitting. Get ready for more records in the days to come. We're still a few weeks away from the summer solstice. Further reading: Battery-Powered California Faces Lower Blackout Risk This Summer

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The Raspberry Pi 5 Gets an AI Upgrade
Today, Raspberry Pi introduced a new kit that adds AI functionality to the Raspberry Pi 5. ZDNet reports: The Raspberry Pi AI kit combines an M.2-format Hailo 8L AI accelerator with the Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+ to create a powerful yet power-efficient solution. The Hailo-8L NPU (Neural Processing Unit) chip, capable of 13 trillion operations per second (TOPS), is built into an M.2 2242 form factor module that attaches to the M.2 HAT+. When connected to a Raspberry Pi 5 board running the latest Raspberry Pi OS, the NPU is automatically available for AI computing tasks. The AI module also has direct access to the Raspberry Pi's camera software stack and works with both first-party and third-party cameras. The NPU allows the Raspberry Pi 5 to perform AI tasks such as object and facial recognition, human pose analysis, and more. Using an NPU frees up the Raspberry Pi 5's CPU, allowing it to focus on other tasks, making your projects more efficient and powerful. The Raspberry Pi AI kit is also compatible with the Raspberry Pi Active Cooler, ensuring optimal performance without overheating. Additionally, you can purchase a clear protective layer to prevent damage to the board, giving you peace of mind while working on your projects. The AI kit is priced at $70. It's available from Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers, including PiHut, PiShop.us, and CanaKit.

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AMD Blows Up Its Laptop CPU Numbering System
AMD is reverting to a simpler, more traditional numbering scheme for its laptop processors, abandoning its recent complex "decoder ring" system. The new system for Ryzen AI laptop processors will use a three-digit model number to denote generation and SKU, aligning more closely with industry norms. Ars Technica reports: For its new Ryzen AI laptop processors, codenamed "Strix Point," AMD is still using the same broad Ryzen 3/5/7/9 number to communicate general performance level plus a one- or two-letter suffix to denote general performance and power level (U for ultraportables, HX for higher-performance chips, and so on). A new three-digit processor number will inform buyers of the chip's generation in the first digit and denote the specific SKU using the last two digits. In other words, the company is essentially hitting the undo button. Like Intel, AMD is shifting from four-digit numbers to three digits. The Strix Point processor numbers will start with the 300 series, which AMD says is because this is the third generation of Ryzen laptop processors with a neural processing unit (NPU) included. Current 7040-series and 8040-series processors with NPUs are not being renamed retroactively, and AMD plans to stop using the 7000- and 8000-series numbering for processor introductions going forward. AMD wouldn't describe exactly how it would approach CPU model numbers for new products that used older architectures but did say that new processors that didn't meet the 40+ TOPS requirement for Microsoft's Copilot+ program would simply use the "Ryzen" name instead of the new "Ryzen AI" branding. That would include older architectures with slower NPUs, like the current 7040 and 8040-series chips. Desktop CPUs are, once again, totally unaffected by this change. Desktop processors' four-digit model numbers and alphabetic suffixes generally tell you all you need to know about their underlying architecture; the new Ryzen 9000 desktop CPUs and the Zen 5 architecture were also announced today. It seems like a lot of work to do to end up basically where we started, especially when the people at AMD who make and market the desktop chips have been getting by just fine with older model numbers for newly released products when appropriate. But to be fair to AMD, there just isn't a great way to do processor model numbers in a simple and consistent way, at least not given current market realities [...].

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8BitDo's Reimagining of IBM's Model-M Keyboard Draws Reactions Online
"Few computer keyboards are as iconic, as influential, or as beige as the IBM Model-M," writes the blog OMG Ubuntu adding that it's "no surprise then that it's been given a modern reimagining by 8BitDo."Following on from their Nintendo NES and Famicom and Commodore 64 homages, 8BitDo has unveiled its latest retro-inspired mechanical keyboard. This one pays tribute to a true computing classic: the IBM Model-M keyboard. Lest anyone familiar with the real thing get too excited I'll mention up front that 8BitDo's Keyboard-M is a mechanical keyboard, using Kailh Box V2 white switches (swappable, of course) and not the buckling spring mechanism synonymous with the original. On Linux you can enable a buckling spring sound effect for every key press though, should you buy this and want the clatter to accompany it...! Like 8BitDo's other retro keyboards you can use this over Bluetooth, 2.4G wireless (USB adapter sits underneath), or wired. It has a built-in rechargeable 2000mAh Li-on battery that's good for 200 hours between charges. "It certainly looks the business," writes the Verge, "especially with the slick new wireless numpad / calculator combo pad 8BitDo will sell alongside it for another $44.99." And Ars Technica adds that "The M Edition's color scheme, chunkier build, and typeface selection, including on the Tab key with arrows and elsewhere, are nods to IBM's Model M," (noting that the Model M first succeeded the Model F keyboard in 1985). "Of course, the keyboard's naming, and the IBM behemoth and floppy disks strategically placed in marketing images, are notes of that, too..." "The M Edition also comes with the detachable A and B "Super Buttons" that connect to the keyboard via a 3.5 mm jack and are programmable without software." "The paint job is pretty faithful to the original," notes Windows Central, "with a combination of gray and white throughout, right down to the accurately recreated LED status panel in the right-hand corner. There are even two key caps with an IBM-inspired blue font on them. It's just tremendous." Ars Technica offers this advice to unconvinced purists:If you want a real Model M, there's a market of found and restored models available online and in thrift stores and electronics stores. For a modern spin, like USB ports and Mac support, Unicomp also makes new Model M keyboards that are truer to the original IBM design, particularly in their use of buckling spring switches.

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