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1 996 shares, 1 trendiness, 1086 words and 8 minutes reading time

Building Your Color Palette

Adapted from our book and video se­ries, Refactoring UI.

Ever used one of those fancy color palette gen­er­a­tors? You know, the ones where you pick a start­ing color, tweak some op­tions that prob­a­bly in­clude some mu­si­cal jar­gon like triad” or major fourth”, and are then be­stowed the five per­fect color swatches you should use to build your web­site?

This cal­cu­lated and sci­en­tific ap­proach to pick­ing the per­fect color scheme is ex­tremely se­duc­tive, but not very use­ful.

Well, un­less you want your site to look like this:

You can’t build any­thing with five hex codes. To build some­thing real, you need a much more com­pre­hen­sive set of col­ors to choose from.

You can break a good color palette down into three cat­e­gories.

Text, back­grounds, pan­els, form con­trols — al­most every­thing in an in­ter­face is grey.

You’ll need more greys than you think, too — three or four shades might sound like plenty but it won’t be long be­fore you wish you had some­thing a lit­tle darker than shade #2 but a lit­tle lighter than shade #3.

In prac­tice, you want 8-10 shades to choose from (more on this later). Not so many that you waste time de­cid­ing be­tween shade #77 and shade #78, but enough to make sure you don’t have to com­pro­mise too much .

True black tends to look pretty un­nat­ural, so start with a re­ally dark grey and work your way up to white in steady in­cre­ments.

Most sites need one, maybe two col­ors that are used for pri­mary ac­tions, em­pha­siz­ing nav­i­ga­tion el­e­ments, etc. These are the col­ors that de­ter­mine the over­all look of a site — the ones that make you think of Facebook as blue”, even though it’s re­ally mostly grey.

Just like with greys, you need a va­ri­ety (5-10) of lighter and darker shades to choose from.

Ultra-light shades can be use­ful as a tinted back­ground for things like alerts, while darker shades work great for text.

On top of pri­mary col­ors, every site needs a few ac­cent col­ors for com­mu­ni­cat­ing dif­fer­ent things to the user.

For ex­am­ple, you might want to use an eye-grab­bing color like yel­low, pink, or teal to high­light a new fea­ture:

You might also need col­ors to em­pha­size dif­fer­ent se­man­tic states, like red for con­firm­ing a de­struc­tive ac­tion:

You’ll want mul­ti­ple shades for these col­ors too, even though they should be used pretty spar­ingly through­out the UI.

If you’re build­ing some­thing where you need to use color to dis­tin­guish or cat­e­go­rize sim­i­lar el­e­ments (like lines on graphs, events in a cal­en­dar, or tags on a pro­ject), you might need even more ac­cent col­ors.

All in, it’s not un­com­mon to need as many as ten dif­fer­ent col­ors with 5-10 shades each for a com­plex UI.

When you need to cre­ate a lighter or darker vari­a­tion of a color in your palette, don’t get clever us­ing CSS pre­proces­sor func­tions like lighten” or darken” to cre­ate shades on the fly. That’s how you end up with 35 slightly dif­fer­ent blues that all look the same.

Instead, de­fine a fixed set of shades up front that you can choose from as you work.

So how do you put to­gether a palette like this any­ways?

Start by pick­ing a base color for the scale you want to cre­ate — the color in the mid­dle that your lighter and darker shades are based on.

There’s no real sci­en­tific way to do this, but for pri­mary and ac­cent col­ors, a good rule of thumb is to pick a shade that would work well as a but­ton back­ground.

It’s im­por­tant to note that there are no real rules here like start at 50% light­ness” or any­thing — every color be­haves a bit dif­fer­ently, so you’ll have to rely on your eyes for this one.

Next, pick your dark­est shade and your light­est shade. There’s no real sci­ence to this ei­ther, but it helps to think about where they will be used and choose them us­ing that con­text.

The dark­est shade of a color is usu­ally re­served for text, while the light­est shade might be used to tint the back­ground of an el­e­ment.

A sim­ple alert com­po­nent is a good ex­am­ple that com­bines both of these use cases, so it can be a great place to pick these col­ors.

Start with a color that matches the hue of your base color, and ad­just the sat­u­ra­tion and light­ness un­til you’re sat­is­fied.

Once you’ve got your base, dark­est, and light­est shades, you just need to fill in the gaps in be­tween them.

For most pro­jects, you’ll need at least 5 shades per color, and prob­a­bly closer to 10 if you don’t want to feel too con­strained.

Nine is a great num­ber be­cause it’s easy to di­vide and makes fill­ing in the gaps a lit­tle more straight­for­ward. Let’s call our dark­est shade 900, our base shade 500, and our light­est shade 100.

Start by pick­ing shades 700 and 300, the ones right in the mid­dle of the gaps. You want these shades to feel like the per­fect com­pro­mise be­tween the shades on ei­ther side.

This cre­ates four more holes in the scale (800, 600, 400, and 200), which you can fill us­ing the same ap­proach.

You should end up with a pretty bal­anced set of col­ors that pro­vide just enough op­tions to ac­com­mo­date your de­sign ideas with­out feel­ing lim­it­ing.

With greys the base color is­n’t as im­por­tant, but oth­er­wise the process is the same. Start at the edges and fill in the gaps un­til you have what you need.

Pick your dark­est grey by choos­ing a color for the dark­est text in your pro­ject, and your light­est grey by choos­ing some­thing that works well for a sub­tle off-white back­ground.

As tempt­ing as it is, you can’t rely purely on math to craft the per­fect color palette.

A sys­tem­atic ap­proach like the one de­scribed above is great to get you started, but don’t be afraid to make lit­tle tweaks if you need to.

Once you ac­tu­ally start us­ing your col­ors in your de­signs, it’s al­most in­evitable that you’ll want to tweak the sat­u­ra­tion on a shade, or make a cou­ple of shades lighter or darker. Trust your eyes, not the num­bers.

Just try to avoid adding new shades too of­ten if you can avoid it. If you’re not dil­li­gent about lim­it­ing your palette, you might as well have no color sys­tem at all.


Read the original on refactoringui.com »

2 989 shares, 35 trendiness, 146 words and 1 minutes reading time

Email a dumpster fire



Send an email to with what­ever you want to torch. Use plain text or an im­age at­tach­ment. PG-13 rules ap­ply.

Watch on the live feed as your mes­sage is cre­ated, con­veyed, and then dropped into the rolling flames.


What’s this ex­per­i­ment all about?

Well, 2020′s been a rough year. An ab­solute dump­ster fire of a year for a lot of peo­ple.

That’s when it came to us. Can email be a con­duit for cathar­sis? If you could type out an email, press send, and see it be­ing con­sumed in an ac­tual dump­ster fire, would it help re­claim a lit­tle bit of what we’ve lost?

P. S. We’ll only use your email ad­dress to no­tify you about your burn. That’s it, the end.

P. P.S. We’re off­set­ting by 3x every bit of CO2 this cre­ates via Cool Effect.


Read the original on hey.science »

3 940 shares, 38 trendiness, 5199 words and 39 minutes reading time

Black. Magic. Fuckery.

Performance must suck when try­ing to em­u­late x86 on ARM, right?

Overwhelmingly pos­tive user-re­views

Silence is Golden or Cool as a Cucumber?

Is 8 GB RAM on x86 Intel/AMD the same as 8 GB on Apple Silicon M1?

Server ap­pli­ca­tions will see an up­take on ARM as well

A lot of old lap­tops that are still work­ing” are about to get re­placed

Hackintoshers are ready to say Yes”

Which brings us to: What have oth­ers been do­ing all this time?

These are the words used by the user holdagold on red­dit to de­scribe their ex­pe­ri­ence with the new Apple Silicon M1 Macbook Air. Rarely does a prod­uct leave peo­ple ef­fus­ing to the ex­tent Apple Silicon M1 has done this week. At best, you get the peo­ple who re­ally care about a sys­tem’s in­ter­nals very ex­cited like we saw with Zen 3’s launch re­cently. For every­day users who just want to browse the web, stream some Netflix, maybe edit some doc­u­ments, com­put­ers have been perfectly fine” for the last decade. We’ve seen in­cre­men­tal year over year im­prove­ments with slightly more per­for­mance, slightly more bat­tery life, mar­gin­ally faster SSD, some­what thin­ner de­sign, etc. But some­thing gen­uinely new, some­thing rev­o­lu­tion­ary, some­thing once in a gen­er­a­tion has been miss­ing. I be­lieve the Apple M1 rep­re­sents some­thing we can truly call revolutionary”.

Before we pro­ceed, it’s es­sen­tial to set the con­text that I’ve only used two Apple de­vices in my en­tire life - a per­sonal 2013 MacBook Air and a 2019 MacBook Pro that I got through work. Everything else has been ei­ther a cus­tom-built PC, Windows lap­top, or an Android/Windows Mobile smart­phone. Even for a PC/Android Guy”, I have to ad­mit what I saw this week is some­thing spe­cial. I be­lieve it’ll go down as a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in com­put­ing his­tory on par with some in­dus­try-defin­ing chips like Intel’s 8086, 386, 486, Pentium, Conroe or AMDs K8, Zen, etc. I hope for the re­turn of Moore’s law and awak­en­ing of the x86 man­u­fac­tur­ers from their slum­ber as this will be the slowest” CPU Apple will ever make. As Henry Clay once said,

Of all hu­man pow­ers op­er­at­ing on the af­fairs of mankind, none is greater than that of com­pe­ti­tion.

This blog is then my ob­ser­va­tion of the ex­cite­ment around this sig­nif­i­cant launch and cap­tures some of the user and re­viewer com­men­tary.

Apple launched its own M1 SoC that in­te­grates an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine, Media en­code and de­code en­gines, RAM - all on a sin­gle-chip. By in­clud­ing the RAM on the SoC, Apple is mar­ket­ing this as a Unified Memory Architecture (UMA), cen­tral to the per­for­mance im­prove­ments M1 brings.

The first prod­ucts and price points the M1 will be go­ing into are:

Apple promises its new chip is much more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient than its Intel coun­ter­parts, so the bat­tery life promises have gone up across the board:

On the MacBook Air - up to 18 hours of video on a sin­gle charge (up from 12 hours on this year’s Intel-powered MacBook Air) and of­fers up to 15 hours of wire­less web brows­ing per charge (up from 11 hours pre­vi­ously)

On the MacBook Pro - up to 17 hours of wire­less web brows­ing (up from 10 hours with this year’s Intel-powered MacBook Pro), and 20 hours of video play­back (up from 10 hours be­fore).

To show­case that en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, Apple is ship­ping the Macbook Air with­out any fan! It will be pas­sively cooled like all iPhones and iPads.

Performance must suck when try­ing to em­u­late x86 on ARM, right?#

Surprisingly no! Apple in­cluded Rosetta 2 ahead-of-time bi­nary trans­la­tion tech­nol­ogy that trans­lates code de­signed to run on Intel/x86 CPUs for the Apple Silicon CPUs. The per­for­mance is much bet­ter than ex­pected and ranges be­tween 70-80% of na­tive code, which is sur­pris­ing com­pared to Microsoft’s strug­gles in em­u­lat­ing x86 Windows apps on ARM CPUs. Apple’s an­swer might lie in some­thing called TSO, aka. to­tal store or­der­ing as ex­plained by u/​Vee­drac and and u/​ShaidarHa­ran2 on red­dit:

TSO, aka. to­tal store or­der­ing, is a type of mem­ory or­der­ing, and af­fects how cores see the op­er­a­tions per­formed in other cores. Total store or­der­ing is a strong guar­an­tee pro­vided by x86, that very roughtly means that all stores from other proces­sors are or­dered the same way for every proces­sor, and in a rea­son­ably con­sis­tent or­der, with ex­cep­tions for lo­cal mem­ory.

In con­trast, Arm ar­chi­tec­tures favour weaker mem­ory mod­els, that al­lows a lot of re­order­ing of loads and stores. This has the ad­van­tage that in gen­eral there is less over­head where these guar­an­tees are not needed, but it means that when or­der­ing is re­quired for cor­rect­ness, you need to ex­plic­itly run in­struc­tions to en­sure it. Emulating x86 would re­quire this on prac­ti­cally every store in­struc­tion, which would slow em­u­la­tion down a lot. That’s what the hard­ware tog­gle is for.

In other words, Apple has, of course, been play­ing the very long game. TSO is quite a large ben­e­fit to em­u­lat­ing x86, hence why Rosetta 2 ap­pears to put out a very de­cent 70% of na­tive chip per­for­mance, that and in­stall time trans­la­tion for every­thing but JIT fea­tures. That’s on a chip not even meant to be a mac chip, so with fur­ther ex­panded caches, a wider, faster en­gine, per­haps ap­ply­ing the lit­tle cores to em­u­la­tion which they’re not cur­rently, and so on, x86_64 per­for­mance should be very very de­cent. I’m go­ing to dare up­set some folks and say per­haps even be faster in em­u­la­tion than most con­tem­po­rary x86 chips of the time, if you only lose 20% of na­tive per­for­mance when it’s all said and done, it does­n’t take much work­ing back­wards to fig­ure where they’d need to be, and Gurman said they were aim­ing for over 50% faster than Intel.

There have been nu­mer­ous pro­fes­sional re­views and YouTube videos enu­mer­at­ing how Apple’s new prod­ucts are bet­ter than their pre­vi­ous Intel coun­ter­parts. In the end, though, it comes down to how these prod­ucts fit into the core work­flows of the con­sumer who’s spend­ing their money on them. There have been plenty of real-world ex­pe­ri­ences that I’ve seen in my fil­ter bub­ble, mostly Reddit and Twitter. I will share some of these through­out this blog.

I pray that Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm is let­ting the M1 give them ideas, take them in new di­rec­tions. Because this level of sor­cery is too damn pow­er­ful to be held by a sin­gle com­pany. Especially a mo­nop­o­liz­ing con­glom­er­ate like Apple. But fuck­ing ku­dos to those chip wiz­ards 👏

DHH (@dhh) November 23, 2020

Purchased a new MacBook Air w/ Apple’s M1 chip.

Holy crap.

Everything is WICKED fast.

Windows and prompts pop up in­stantly. Slowdown NEVER hap­pens — even w/ nu­mer­ous apps go­ing.

Evernote, al­ways a re­sources hog for me, is now a non-is­sue.

Huge props, Apple. 👍

JP Mangalindan (@JPManga) November 19, 2020

Have had my M1 MacBook for about a week now… and have been blown away by the per­for­mance. Battery just last and lasts, and ei­ther the fan never runs or is in­audi­ble. Everything seems faster, even the stuff not yet com­piled for Apple Silicon.

— Blake Scholl 🛫 (@bscholl) November 24, 2020

Definitely don’t get near one! I have the 12.9” iPad Pro, new Max iPhone, older 13”MBP, and a beastly gam­ing PC. Our IT guy got the new MacBook Pro to­day and af­ter play­ing with it for 10 min­utes I was al­ready re­ar­rang­ing my fi­nances in my head.

People keep say­ing this but it’s eerily fast and silent, like alien tech­nol­ogy. I ex­ported a 5 minute clip in un­op­ti­mized Premiere Pro and I swear it did it faster than my PC with a 2070 ever has. The MBP was­n’t even warm to the touch af­ter­wards ei­ther.

> It’s hon­estly the best pur­chase I’ve made in the last 10 years.

This is ex­actly how I feel. Feels like I’m hold­ing a mag­i­cal de­vice that should­n’t ex­ist. Haven’t felt that in a long long time

I have a 2018 15” MacBook Pro which is used al­most ex­clu­sively in clamshell mode these days and at­tached to an ul­tra­w­ide mon­i­tor. I use it mainly for pho­to­shop and Lightroom for my pho­tog­ra­phy work, and it’s been painful to say the least. It’s quick for all of two min­utes un­til the fan kicks in with the ther­mal throt­tling, at which point the ma­chine chugs to a crawl. I’ve been want­ing to get a desk­top in re­place­ment, eye­ing the pre­vi­ous gen Mac Minis but un­able to make the move due to the lack of dis­crete GPU and an in­abil­ity to push my mon­i­tor’s res­o­lu­tion.

In comes the M1 Mac Mini - I or­dered right away and re­ceived it Tuesday, and my god has it been a breath of fresh air. First im­pres­sions were in­sanely pos­i­tive, even hooked to my 5120x1440 dis­play it was light­ning fast. But yes­ter­day I put it through the paces with ed­its from a re­cent shoot, and it was be­yond stel­lar. More pho­to­shop tabs open than ever be­fore, Lightroom CC and clas­sic open to­gether, noth­ing could slow it down.

To say I’m im­pressed with this first gen is a mas­sive un­der­state­ment, this is shap­ing up to be one of the most en­joy­able de­vices I’ve ever owned. First com­puter that has­n’t had some feel­ing of com­pro­mise in a long time.

I feel so fuck­ing stu­pid for or­der­ing a Macbook Air in April this year.

Same. I’m mad at my­self. I or­dered a MacBook Pro around the same time and of course this comes out. Trade in value is a joke too.

I was stu­pid to by [sic] the early 2020 model. Sent it back to­day in ex­change for this one. The per­for­mance on the M1 is far more than what I ex­pected

As some­one who got an en­try level 2020 MBP in June… fuck.

Ha my dad is 5 months into his MBP gut­ted

Sucks cause i just bought a MacBook 3 years ago. And that bat­tery is su­per su­per ap­peal­ing.

I haven’t plugged in this M1 Mac in al­most 2 days. It’s only half dead. lol. What is this sor­cery? 🔋

Apple Silicon Macs are the fu­ture, man. Competing lap­tops are gonna have a hard time catch­ing up. pic.twit­ter.com/​FmX5u­VKkFd

— Computer Clan (📌M1) (@thecomputerclan) November 20, 2020

The bat­tery life on the new MacBook Pro with M1 chip is INSANE

I’ve been do­ing work on this for sev­eral hours, and it’s still at 87% 🤯🤯🤯

I guess it was a good thing I got my 3 week old lap­top stolen? Lol#AppleM1 pic.twit­ter.com/​fENYD­S235O

— William Lex Ham ✊🏽🧢 #TheyCantBurnUsAll (@WillLexHam) November 20, 2020

I un­plugged mine yes­ter­day morn­ing at 5:30am. Worked heav­ily on it through­out the day (lots of tabs open in chrome, video edit­ing in FCPX, watch­ing videos, photo edit­ing in LrC, and test­ing lots of apps). When I fi­nally shut it down at 10pm last night, I was at 60%. Yesterday was my heav­i­est use day in a LONG time, and I just could­n’t kill it. My 2015 13″ MBP would have died around 10am.

My 2015 still works fine, so I thought the switch would be lack­lus­ter. But the M1 is every­thing peo­ple are say­ing it is. It is just so damn fast and smooth. I’ve had a few very mi­nor things hap­pen like Preview lock­ing up once, and Chrome freez­ing once, but other than that, this thing just flies. I fired up my 2015 this morn­ing to trans­fer a few files, and it felt painfully slow. It’s hon­estly the best pur­chase I’ve made in the last 10 years. I’ve been on it non-stop this morn­ing for 4 hours and my bat­tery is at 94%. It’s in­sane. And in my two days of try­ing to kill this thing, the fan has­n’t turned on once, and it’s never got­ten warmer than cool to the touch.”

I’ve said it be­fore and I’ll say it again. Owned soooo many lap­tops over the years, both Mac and Windows. Never have I ever had some­thing like this. I would say the clos­est would be an iPad but as we all know, cer­tain tasks can be very lim­ited on an iPad.

This thing han­dles every­thing like a freak­ing beast and the bat­tery is quite lit­er­ally an in­fin­ity stone at this point. It just blows every­thing else out of the wa­ter. I’m on day 3/4 right now. Countless hours of brows­ing, videos, videos in the back­ground, light gam­ing for about an hour. The dang thing is still at 40%.

Everything from here on might as well be posted un­der r/​Black­Mag­ic­Fuck­ery be­cause it just does­n’t make sense.

I got my M1 MacBook Pro yes­ter­day. I spent the af­ter­noon set­ting it up, down­load­ing tons of apps, in­stalling Xcode, do­ing a cou­ple of test builds, sync­ing all my photo li­brary and let­ting Photos do its in­dex­ing. At no point did the lap­top get warm, and was silent through­out. I prob­a­bly should have got the Air, be­cause it’s clear I’m not go­ing to stress this enough to get the fans to even kick in.

At no point did I plug the lap­top in. I did all this on the charge it had from the fac­tory - about 75% when I re­ceived it. By the time I was done for the day, it still had about 40% left.

It’s ab­solutely mag­i­cal. It’s not iPad level bat­tery, it’s way bet­ter than even that!

I’m on day 3 with 6+ hours of use. Code com­pi­la­tions, npm in­stalling bench­marks. Still have 63%

I bought a base pro and the bat­tery is just ba­nanas. I was work­ing on sub­or­di­nate per­for­mance re­ports in Adobe reader and lis­ten­ing to mu­sic with my AirPods to­day. From 8am to noon I used 14% bat­tery.

It’s outta the park. For what I use it for, web brows­ing and videos, it lit­er­ally will go a week with­out a charge. I look at the per­cent­age some­times just to be like, meh, of course it lost 25%, only to see it’s down 5% af­ter an hour! LMAO it’s stu­pid how amaz­ing it is. I thought my iPad Air bat­tery was great be­fore this.

Silence is Golden or Cool as a Cucumber?#

My base MacBook Air M1 ba­si­cally de­stroys it at every­thing ex­cept gam­ing. But I don’t re­ally game on mac any­ways. Everything in the ui just feels im­me­di­ate. Photo edit­ing has worked great. I had it play­ing 4 4K videos at once and they were all just fine. It got a bit warm but never hot. And it’s silent un­like my hack­in­tosh that sounds like a jet en­gine and keeps my of­fice 15° warmer than the rest of the house.

I had a new in­tel MacBook Air in my hands just a month ago that was burn­ing my lap just try­ing to watch 4K Netflix. I was get­ting antsy wait­ing for ap­ple sil­i­con and needed a new lap­top. I de­cided to send it back and just wait and I’m glad I did. This is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence.

Contrast this to a 2018 i7 Mac mini that I copied 60gb of files from an ex­ter­nal hard drive last night. Sounded like a jet en­gine and was just as warm.

I’ve been us­ing an M1 MacBook Air and it re­fuses to get warm…you don’t re­al­ize what a jump this is un­til you’ve used an M1 in per­son.

Transferring data from my 2020 Intel MacBook Pro, to the 2020 M1 MacBook Pro.

The Intel is burn­ing hot and the fans are maxed out.

M1 is cool and fans don’t even seem to be run­ning.


— Daniel (@ZONEofTECH) November 20, 2020

Is 8 GB RAM on x86 Intel/AMD the same as 8 GB on Apple Silicon M1?#

I can’t be­lieve I’m ask­ing this. All my ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence with tech­nol­ogy has taught me that mem­ory is mem­ory. If you run a lot of pro­grams, you need more of it. 16 GB min­i­mum seems to be the de­fault ad­vice these days, with more if you’re do­ing spe­cial­ist tasks like video edit­ing, com­pil­ing code. However, early M1 users’ ex­pe­ri­ence like be­low test­ing out with 8 GB seems to in­di­cate oth­er­wise.

How can this be so? PC usu­ally dies with just 8 GB of RAM try­ing to use so many apps. There has­n’t been much ex­pla­na­tion of this, but a cou­ple of posts might of­fer hints.

First, David Smith, an en­gi­neer at Apple, might have some in­sight into this.

…and ~14 nanosec­onds on an M1 em­u­lat­ing an Intel 😇

— David Smith (@Catfish_Man) November 10, 2020

Second, John Gruber on Daring Fireball ex­plains how this helps ex­plain iPhone like RAM man­age­ment that seems to be now pos­si­ble on Macs.

Retain and re­lease are tiny ac­tions that al­most all soft­ware, on all Apple plat­forms, does all the time. ….. The Apple Silicon sys­tem ar­chi­tec­ture is de­signed to make these op­er­a­tions as fast as pos­si­ble. It’s not so much that Intel’s x86 ar­chi­tec­ture is a bad fit for Apple’s soft­ware frame­works, as that Apple Silicon is de­signed to be a be­spoke fit for it …. re­tain­ing and re­leas­ing NSObjects is so com­mon on MacOS (and iOS), that mak­ing it 5 times faster on Apple Silicon than on Intel has pro­found im­pli­ca­tions on every­thing from per­for­mance to bat­tery life.

Broadly speak­ing, this is a sig­nif­i­cant rea­son why M1 Macs are more ef­fi­cient with less RAM than Intel Macs. This, in a nut­shell, helps ex­plain why iPhones run rings around even flag­ship Android phones, even though iPhones have sig­nif­i­cantly less RAM. iOS soft­ware uses ref­er­ence count­ing for mem­ory man­age­ment, run­ning on sil­i­con op­ti­mized to make ref­er­ence count­ing as ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble; Android soft­ware uses garbage col­lec­tion for mem­ory man­age­ment, a tech­nique that re­quires more RAM to achieve equiv­a­lent per­for­mance.

Third, Marcel Weiher ex­plains Apple’s ob­ses­sion about keep­ing mem­ory con­sump­tion un­der con­trol from his time at Apple as well as the ben­e­fits of ref­er­ence count­ing:

where Apple might have been focused” on per­for­mance for the last 15 years or so, they have been com­pletely anal about mem­ory con­sump­tion. When I was there, we were fix­ing 32 byte mem­ory leaks. Leaks that hap­pened once. So not an on­go­ing con­sump­tion of 32 bytes again and again, but a one-time leak of 32 bytes.

The ben­e­fit of stick­ing to RC is much-re­duced mem­ory con­sump­tion. It turns out that for a trac­ing GC to achieve per­for­mance com­pa­ra­ble with man­ual al­lo­ca­tion, it needs sev­eral times the mem­ory (different stud­ies find dif­fer­ent over­heads, but at least 4x is a con­ser­v­a­tive lower bound). While I haven’t seen a study com­par­ing RC, my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence is that the over­head is much lower, much more pre­dictable, and can usu­ally be dri­ven down with lit­tle ad­di­tional ef­fort if needed.

Fourth, the mem­ory band­width might have a role to play in en­abling that multi-task­ing

The mem­ory band­width on the new Macs is im­pres­sive. Benchmarks peg it at around 60GB/sec–about 3x faster than a 16” MBP. Since the M1 CPU only has 16GB of RAM, it can re­place the en­tire con­tents of RAM 4 times every sec­ond. Think about that…

Perhaps the most strik­ing fea­ture of these M1 Macs is the value they bring at the sub-$1000 price point (base mod­els). A task like edit­ing 8K RAW RED video file that might have taken a $5000 ma­chine be­fore can now be done on a $699 Mac Mini M1 or a fan-less MacBook Air that costs $999 🤯

To those who are still doubt­ing the M1 Macs, imag­ine if Apple launched a new MacBook Air at the same $999 start­ing price that came with a Core i7 10750H and RX 560 graph­ics, but they did it with­out a fan and added 6 hours more bat­tery life. That’s ba­si­cally what they did 🤯— Luke Miani (@LukeMiani) November 21, 2020

Apple M1 perf pr0n:

I com­piled all the @libretro cores for com­par­i­son:

My 2019 12-core Mac Pro with 32GB RAM took 6095.13 sec­onds.

My 13” M1 MacBook Pro with 16GB ram took…. Wait for it…. 4570.09.

If you build code, there is noth­ing to think about. Get one of these Now!— Lemont (@cocoalabs) November 21, 2020

I tried to build a fresh React Native on the new Apple MBA with M1 / 16GB ram. Cache cleaned.

It took 25s.

To com­pare, the same task, ex­e­cuted in ex­actly the same con­di­tions, on my MBP (13″, 2018, Core i5 2,3GHz, 16GB ram) took… 1min21s.


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5 888 shares, 36 trendiness, 101 words and 1 minutes reading time

1MB Club

The in­ter­net has be­come a bloated mess. Massive javascript li­braries. Countless client-side queries. Overly com­plex fron­tend frame­works.

These things are a can­cer­ous growth on the web.

But we can make a dif­fer­ence - no mat­ter how small it may seem. 1MB Club is a grow­ing col­lec­tion of per­for­mance-fo­cused web pages found across the in­ter­net. The one and only rule for a web page to qual­ify as a mem­ber:

Due to the huge num­ber of sub­mis­sions on ini­tial launch, re­quest­ing new sites to be added is tem­porar­ily paused. Once the back­log has been worked through, sub­mis­sions will open up again. Thanks!


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Metal monolith found by helicopter crew in Utah desert

The de­part­ment has not dis­closed the ex­act lo­ca­tion of the mono­lith, fear­ing ex­plor­ers may try to seek it out and become stranded”. The big horn sheep wildlife of­fi­cials were count­ing are na­tive to many parts of south­ern Utah, where the ter­rain is rugged.


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7 849 shares, 2 trendiness, 0 words and 0 minutes reading time


Use the up and down ar­row keys to nav­i­gate.


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8 791 shares, 31 trendiness, 660 words and 7 minutes reading time

Famed Arecibo telescope, on the brink of collapse, will be dismantled

The Arecibo tele­scope’s long and pro­duc­tive life has come to an end. The National Science Foundation (NSF) an­nounced to­day it will de­com­mis­sion the iconic ra­dio tele­scope in Puerto Rico fol­low­ing two ca­ble breaks in re­cent months that have brought the struc­ture to near col­lapse. The 57-year-old ob­ser­va­tory, a sur­vivor of nu­mer­ous hur­ri­canes and earth­quakes, is now in such a frag­ile state that at­tempt­ing re­pairs would put staff and work­ers in dan­ger. This de­ci­sion was not an easy one to make,” Sean Jones, NSFs as­sis­tant di­rec­tor for math­e­mat­i­cal and phys­i­cal sci­ences, said at a news brief­ing to­day. We un­der­stand how much Arecibo means to [the re­search] com­mu­nity and to Puerto Rico.”

Ralph Gaume, di­rec­tor of NSFs as­tron­omy di­vi­sion, said at the brief­ing the agency wants to pre­serve other in­stru­ments at the site, as well as the vis­i­tor and out­reach cen­ter. But they are un­der threat if the tele­scope struc­ture col­lapses. That would bring the 900-ton in­stru­ment plat­form, sus­pended 137 me­ters above the 305-meter-wide dish, crash­ing down. Flailing ca­bles could dam­age other build­ings on the site, as could the three sup­port tow­ers if they fell, too. There is a se­ri­ous risk of an un­ex­pected and un­con­trolled col­lapse,” Gaume said. A con­trolled de­com­mis­sion­ing gives us the op­por­tu­nity to pre­serve valu­able as­sets that the ob­ser­va­tory has.”

Over the next few weeks, en­gi­neer­ing firms will de­velop a plan for a con­trolled dis­man­tling. It may in­volve re­leas­ing the plat­form from its ca­bles ex­plo­sively and let­ting it fall.

The Arecibo tele­scope has been widely used by as­tro­physi­cists as well as at­mos­pheric and plan­e­tary sci­en­tists since the early 1960s. For many years it was the main in­stru­ment in­volved in lis­ten­ing for mes­sages from ex­trater­res­trial civ­i­liza­tions, and its strik­ing looks won it a sup­port­ing role in fea­ture films.

The ob­ser­va­tory has been bat­tered by the el­e­ments over the years, most re­cently by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and an earth­quake and af­ter­shocks in December 2019. It’s un­known whether those stresses con­tributed to the ca­ble fail­ures, the first of which oc­curred on 10 August. An aux­il­iary ca­ble, in­stalled in the 1990s when 300 tons of new in­stru­ments were added to the sus­pended plat­form, broke away from its socket at one end, dam­ag­ing some in­stru­ments and gash­ing the sur­face of the dish be­low.

Engineers in­ves­ti­gat­ing the break or­dered a re­place­ment ca­ble and oth­ers to lend sup­port. During their stud­ies, they no­ticed that one of the 12 main sus­pen­sion ca­bles—one con­nected to the same tower as the failed aux­il­iary ca­ble—had a dozen bro­ken wires around its ex­te­rior. Because these 9-centimeter-thick ca­bles are made up of 160 wires, they thought it had enough ca­pac­ity to shoul­der the ex­tra load.

But on 7 November, that ca­ble broke. The University of Central Florida (UCF), which leads the con­sor­tium man­ag­ing the fa­cil­ity for NSF, al­ready had three en­gi­neer­ing firms on-site as­sess­ing the first break. They quickly set about an­a­lyz­ing the safety of the whole struc­ture. NSF sent an­other firm and the Army Corps of Engineers. Of the five, three said the only way for­ward was a con­trolled de­com­mis­sion­ing. If one main ca­ble was op­er­at­ing be­low its de­sign ca­pac­ity, now all the ca­bles are sus­pect,” said Ashley Zauderer, NSFs pro­gram di­rec­tor for the Arecibo Observatory. If one of three re­main­ing main ca­bles con­nected to the im­paired tower also failed, the en­gi­neers con­cluded, the plat­form would col­lapse.

NSF has, in re­cent years, been seek­ing to re­duce its com­mit­ment to the Arecibo Observatory and, in tak­ing over its man­age­ment, UCF has shoul­dered more of the fi­nan­cial bur­den. But Gaume stated: This de­ci­sion has noth­ing to do with the sci­en­tific mer­its of Arecibo Observatory. It is all about safety.” The fa­cil­ity still has pow­er­ful and unique ca­pa­bil­i­ties that re­searchers rely on, he said. I’m con­fi­dent of the re­silience of the as­tro­physics com­mu­nity,” he added, and NSF is work­ing with some of its other fa­cil­i­ties to take up some of the stud­ies that have been halted.


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WTF Happened In 1971?

I don’t be­lieve we shall ever have a good money again be­fore we take the thing out of the hands of gov­ern­ment, that is, we can’t take it vi­o­lently out of the hands of gov­ern­ment, all we can do is by some sly round­about way in­tro­duce some­thing that they can’t stop.” — F. A. Hayek 1984

Discussions — More info on WTF Happened in 1971


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I Spent 11 Years Working on This Line Rider Track

I was stuck on scen­ing the chaos/​warped space sec­tion. Every other sec­tion had clear rules, e.g. I could only use cer­tain el­e­ments, whereas this sec­tion is sup­posed to have no rules. So I had to em­ploy a dif­fer­ent mind­set to move for­ward: Don’t think too much about it”. I did­n’t think too much and doo­dled away and a beau­ti­ful mess came out.

Programmers like me fre­quently have this dilemma: Should I man­u­ally do this te­dious thing, or cre­ate au­toma­tion to do it for me? In my case, I’m build­ing tools that could be use­ful for every­one, so I do have in­cen­tive to au­to­mate as much as I can. But I had a quickly ap­proach­ing dead­line. I de­ter­mined that it would be faster to man­u­ally draw rib­bons than to fig­ure out how to ex­tend the curve tool to cre­ate them for me.

Then, af­ter I fin­ished draw­ing the rib­bons, I found out it took less time than ex­pected to ex­tend the curve tool to make rib­bons. I’m not sure what les­son I learned here. Maybe I tend to err on the side of pes­simism as a re­ac­tion from be­ing too op­ti­mistic in the past? Predicting the re­quired amount of work is a gen­er­ally hard prob­lem in soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing.

There are times we get too at­tached to what we made and are un­will­ing to it­er­ate upon it. There are times we keep re­do­ing some­thing with­out mak­ing progress. There are times we ac­ci­den­tally lose progress, but af­ter re­do­ing it, we re­al­ize we did it bet­ter the sec­ond time around. If you ac­ci­den­tally lose progress, re­as­sure your­self you’ll do it bet­ter the sec­ond time.

When you work out­side your com­fort zone, you be­come a lot more aware of your cre­ative process. I’m not an il­lus­tra­tor or story teller, but I forced my­self to work in those medi­ums and be­came hy­per­aware of the na­ture of those medi­ums and my own processes. This is how I’m bring­ing you all these lessons I’ve learned. This ex­pe­ri­ence will help me with my fu­ture am­bi­tions.

When we get en­grossed in a pro­ject, it’s very easy to zoom in on de­tails and lose sight of the big­ger pic­ture and we tend to get de­sen­si­tized to other de­tails. If you’re look­ing to achieve a spe­cific ef­fect with your pro­ject, or just want to un­der­stand how oth­ers per­ceive it in gen­eral, the best thing you can do is to ask for crit­i­cal feed­back from other peo­ple who work in the same or sim­i­lar medium. Their per­spec­tive is un­col­ored by how much you’ve al­ready stared at your pro­ject, and their dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences, back­grounds, and tastes can bring you re­ally valu­able in­sight that you may not have been able to see oth­er­wise.

I al­ready planned out most of Omniverse II, but right when I was fin­ish­ing up the pro­ject, I knew I should ver­ify if what I planned ac­tu­ally had the ef­fect I wanted. So I so­licited feed­back from Rabid Squirrel, and they gave me re­ally help­ful sug­ges­tions like tweak­ing the cam­era work and adding the danger spikes”.

Note: As I wrote this out, I re­al­ized these may be more suit­able as stand­alone pieces with po­ten­tial for way more depth. Consider these rough drafts.

The biggest les­son is how to tell a story. From that fol­lows world build­ing, lore, set cre­ation (spatial struc­ture), pac­ing, and gen­er­ally be­ing crit­i­cal of every­thing with re­spect to fit­ting into the nar­ra­tive. You may have a lot of cool ideas, but if you want to tell a co­her­ent story, you need to make it co­he­sive and you’ll prob­a­bly have to throw away the ir­rel­e­vant parts, even if they are cool.

Unique to Line Rider is struc­tural co­he­sion, how the track is spa­tially arranged. Consider the struc­ture of the world you build and how Bosh’s tra­ver­sal dri­ves the nar­ra­tive. Is Bosh en­ter­ing a new area? Is he re­turn­ing to a pre­vi­ous area? Did he fall and need to get back up?

I wanted to demon­strate how we can use move­ment tech­niques as a means to­wards some­thing greater rather than for its own sake. And the clear­est way to do that is to re­claim such a feat of olympic pup­petry as a com­pelling story, retro­fitting a nar­ra­tive in its place where the move­ment seems to emerge from how Bosh in­ter­acts with the en­vi­ron­ment he is in.

Recycling was an­other one of those move­ment tech­niques done for the sake of over­com­ing the chal­lenge. But it can be used for nar­ra­tive pur­poses, like be­ing stuck in a loop or trav­el­ing through a past part of the track in the op­po­site di­rec­tion to turn back”. I think there’s more nar­ra­tive depth that could be done with re­vis­it­ing, much more than in Omniverse II, per­haps in a track fea­tur­ing a more in­tri­cate story.

In a com­po­si­tion, neg­a­tive space is the ab­sence of con­tent, con­trast­ing with the con­tent that’s there. While neg­a­tive space is al­ready com­monly used in Line Rider tracks, I think it’s still worth dis­cussing. Negative space in Line Rider can be in the form of the white void (absence of lines) or as air­time (absence of move­ment). There are ob­vi­ous uses like dra­matic mo­ments in the mu­sic, but we should also con­sider more sub­tle less is more” cases, like bring­ing at­ten­tion to an ob­ject by re­mov­ing de­tails around the ob­ject.


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