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1 940 shares, 61 trendiness

Reddit’s plan to kill third-party apps sparks widespread protests

Reddit is get­ting ready to slap third-party apps with mil­lions of dol­lars in API fees, and many Reddit users are un­happy about it. A wide­spread protest is planned for June 12, with hun­dreds of sub­red­dits plan­ning to go dark for 48 hours.

Reddit started life as a geeky site, but as it has aged, it has been try­ing to work more like a tra­di­tional so­cial net­work. Part of that push in­cluded the de­vel­op­ment of a first-party app for mo­bile de­vices, but the 17-year-old site only launched an of­fi­cial app in 2016. Before then, it was up to third-party apps to pick up the slack, and even now, the rev­enue-fo­cused of­fi­cial app is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered in­fe­rior to third-party op­tions.

Reasonable API pric­ing would not nec­es­sar­ily mean the death of third-party apps, but the pric­ing Reddit com­mu­ni­cated to some of its biggest de­vel­op­ers is far above what other sites charge. The pop­u­lar iOS client Apollo an­nounced it was fac­ing a $20 mil­lion-a-year bill. Apollo’s de­vel­oper, Christian Selig, has­n’t an­nounced a shut­down but ad­mit­ted, I don’t have that kind of money or would even know how to charge it to a credit card.”

Other third-party apps are in the same boat. The de­vel­oper of Reddit is Fun has said the API costs will likely kill” the app. Narwhal, an­other third-party app, will be dead in 30 days” when the pric­ing kicks in on July 1, ac­cord­ing to its de­vel­oper.

Selig broke the news of the new pric­ing scheme, say­ing, I don’t see how this pric­ing is any­thing based in re­al­ity or re­motely rea­son­able.” Selig said Reddit wants to charge $12,000 for 50 mil­lion re­quests, while Imgur, an im­age-fo­cused site that’s sim­i­lar to Reddit, charges $166 for 50 mil­lion API calls. A post pinned to the top of the new /r/Save3rdPartyApps sub­red­dit calls for a pric­ing de­crease by a fac­tor of 15 to 20,” say­ing that would put API calls in ter­ri­tory more closely com­pa­ra­ble to other sites, like Imgur.”

Reddit is Fun (RIF) de­vel­oper /u/talklittle said Reddit’s API terms also re­quire blocking ads in third-party apps, which make up the ma­jor­ity of RIFs rev­enue.” Talklittle says the pric­ing and ad re­stric­tion will force a paid sub­scrip­tion model” onto any sur­viv­ing apps. Reddit’s APIs also ex­clude adult con­tent, a ma­jor draw for the site.

While Reddit is a com­pany that makes hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars a year, the con­tent mod­er­a­tion and com­mu­nity build­ing is all done by vol­un­teer mod­er­a­tors. This means that you get fun civil wars, where the users and mods can take up arms against the site ad­min­is­tra­tors. The full list of sub­red­dits par­tic­i­pat­ing in the June 12 shut­down is cur­rently over a thou­sand sub­red­dits strong. Many of the site’s most pop­u­lar sub­red­dits, like r/​gam­ing, r/​Mu­sic, and r/​Pics, are par­tic­i­pat­ing, and each has over 30 mil­lion sub­scribers. The Reddit ad­min­is­tra­tors have yet to re­spond.

Advance Publications, which owns Ars Technica par­ent Condé Nast, is the largest share­holder in Reddit.


Read the original on arstechnica.com »

2 578 shares, 30 trendiness

Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness Contest

Check out the orig­i­nal con­test an­nounce­ment and rules here: https://​qri.org/​blog/​con­test

We strongly rec­om­mend view­ing the con­tent at its high­est

res­o­lu­tion on a large screen size to per­ceive the ef­fects in their


Judges: A panel made up of mem­bers of QRIs in­ter­na­tional phe­nom­e­nol­o­gist net­work rated from 0 to 10 each piece by these three cri­te­ria:

Effectiveness: Distinguishes be­tween sober and trip­ping peo­ple - is it just a lit­tle eas­ier to see trip­ping but you can kinda see it any­way? Or is it im­pos­si­ble to see sober and ef­fort­lessly avail­able above a cer­tain dose?

Specificity: How spe­cific and con­crete the in­for­ma­tion en­coded is - think how many bits per sec­ond can be trans­mit­ted with this piece”.

Aesthetic Value: Does this look like an art piece? Can it pass as a stan­dard work of art at a fes­ti­val that peo­ple would en­joy whether trip­ping or not? Note: smaller con­tri­bu­tion to over­all score.

The scores were weighted by the level of ex­pe­ri­ence of each par­tic­i­pant (based on a com­bi­na­tion of self-re­port and group con­sen­sus). And to get the fi­nal score, a weighted av­er­age of the three fea­tures was taken, where Effectiveness” was mul­ti­plied by 3, Specificity” by 2, and Aesthetic Value” by 1. As with the Replications con­test sub­mis­sions, the weighted av­er­age ex­cluded the rat­ings of one of the par­tic­i­pants for pieces that they them­selves sub­mit­ted (so that no­body would be eval­u­at­ing their own sub­mis­sions).

The main re­sult of this ex­er­cise was that only three sub­mis­sions seemed to have any promis­ing psy­che­delic cryp­tog­ra­phy ef­fects. The three pieces that win stood out head and shoul­ders (and trunk and even knees and an­kles) above the rest. It turns out that in or­der to de­code these pieces you do re­quire a sub­stan­tial level of trac­ers, so only mem­bers of the com­mit­tee who had a high enough level of vi­sual ef­fects were able to see the en­coded mes­sages. Some of the mem­bers of the panel re­ported that once you saw the mes­sages dur­ing the state you could then also see them sober as well by us­ing the right at­ten­tional tricks. But at least two mem­bers of the panel who re­ported see­ing the mes­sages while on mush­rooms or ayahuasca were un­able to then see them sober af­ter the fact no mat­ter how much they tried.

The three win­ners in­deed are us­ing the first clas­sic PsyCrypto encoding method” de­scribed in How

to se­cretly com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple on LSD. Namely, a method that takes ad­van­tage of tracer

ef­fects to write out” im­ages or text over time (see also the fic­tional Rainbow

God Burning Man theme camp where this idea is ex­plored in the con­text of fes­ti­vals). That is, the fact that bright col­ors last longer in your vi­sual field while on psy­che­delics can be used to slowly con­struct im­ages in the vi­sual field; sober in­di­vid­u­als see lines and squig­gles since the fea­tures of the hid­den mes­sage don’t linger long enough for them to com­bine into a co­her­ent mes­sage. All of the judges were stunned by the fact that the pieces ac­tu­ally worked. It works! PsyCrypto works!

At a the­o­ret­i­cal level, this con­fir­ma­tion is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause it is the first clear demon­stra­tion of a real per­cep­tual com­pu­ta­tional ad­van­tage of psy­che­delic states of con­scious­ness. We an­tic­i­pate a rather in­cred­i­ble wave of PsyCrypto emerg­ing within a year or two at fes­ti­vals, and then in movies (even main­stream ones) within five years. It will seep into the cul­ture at large in time. Just re­mem­ber… you saw it first here! :-)

It is worth point­ing out that there are pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tive PsyCrypto en­cod­ing meth­ods, and that there are two ways of iden­ti­fy­ing them. First, a strat­egy of cast­ing a very wide net of pos­si­ble stim­uli to ex­pe­ri­ence on psy­che­delics and in that way ar­rive at pat­terns only peo­ple can trip from the bot­tom up” is promis­ing. If this does work, it then opens up new av­enues for sci­en­tific re­search. Meaning that as we find PsyCrypto en­cod­ing schemes we demon­strate un­de­ni­able com­pu­ta­tional ad­van­tages for the psy­che­delic states of con­scious­ness, which in turn is sig­nif­i­cant for neu­ro­science and con­scious­ness re­search. And sec­ond, new ad­vance­ments in neu­ro­science can be used from the top down” to cre­ate PsyCrypto en­cod­ing meth­ods *from first prin­ci­ples*. Here, too, this will be syn­er­gis­tic with con­scious­ness re­search: as artists fig­ure out how to re­fine the tech­niques to make them work bet­ter, they will also be, in­ad­ver­tently, giv­ing neu­ro­sci­en­tists point­ers for fur­ther promis­ing work.

Title: Can You see us?

Description: Just a video loop of a bunch of weird wavy nooo­dles, noth­ing to see here, right?”

Encryption method: I can’t lin­guis­ti­cally de­scribe it be­cause it’s a lot of trial and er­ror, but so far, the mes­sage has been de­coded by a per­son who did­n’t even know that there was sup­posed to be a mes­sage on 150ug 1plsd. I be­lieve that any psy­che­delic/​dis­so­cia­tive sub­stance that causes heavy trac­ers could be help­ful in de­cod­ing the mes­sage. Also, a per­son needs to be trained to change their mode of fo­cus to see it. Once they see it, they can’t un­see it.”

One of the judges es­ti­mated that the LSD-equivalent” thresh­old of trac­ers needed for be­ing able to eas­ily de­code this piece was ap­prox­i­mately 150μg, whereas an­other one es­ti­mated it at roughly 100μg. What made this im­age stand out, and re­ceive the first prize rel­a­tive to the other two, was how rel­a­tively easy it was to de­code in the right state of mind. In other words, this piece eas­ily dis­tin­guishes peo­ple who are suf­fi­ciently af­fected by psy­che­delics and those who sim­ply aren’t high enough. More so, it does­n’t re­quire a lot of time, ded­i­ca­tion, or ef­fort. The en­coded in­for­ma­tion sim­ply, al­legedly, pops out” in the right state of con­scious­ness

Title: We Are Here. Lets talk

Description: Short video loop con­tain­ing a se­cret mes­sage from outer space. Can you see it?”

Encryption method: The mes­sage text is il­lu­mi­nated in scan­ner fash­ion. The speed of sweep is de­pen­dent on the video frame rate, so when­ever a per­son is in an al­tered state and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heavy trac­ers they would see a clear mes­sage in­stead of one that’s bro­ken apart. Entire mes­sage can be seen clearly by us­ing video edit­ing soft­ware and ap­ply­ing a tracer/​echo ef­fect and hav­ing 60 im­ages in a trail that each are 0.033 sec­onds af­ter the pre­vi­ous. This process can also be re­peated with code.

The mes­sage can be seen in any al­tered state that in­duces heavy vi­sual trac­ers, like medium-high doses of the most pop­u­lar psy­che­delics, it also de­pends on a per­son at which doses they would start see­ing heavy trac­ers. If ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heavy trac­ers and still un­able to see the mes­sage, try look­ing at the cen­ter of a video and re­lax­ing your eyes and de­fo­cus­ing them.”

As with the sub­mis­sion that got the 1st prize, the same judges es­ti­mated 150μg and 100μg of LSD, re­spec­tively, as the thresh­old needed to eas­ily de­code the se­cret mes­sages in this piece. That said, de­cod­ing this piece turned out to be more dif­fi­cult for the ma­jor­ity of the judges, and it was­n’t as im­me­di­ately read­able as the first one. It takes more time, ef­fort, and ded­i­ca­tion to put the mes­sage to­gether in one’s vi­sual field than the first one.

People also com­mented on the aes­thetic rich­ness of this piece, which gave it an ex­tra boost.

Description: Artwork de­picts the con­nec­tion be­tween the sub­con­scious and the uni­ver­sal en­ergy. The key of every­thing is de­fined by the ob­server of their own mind.”

Encryption method: Images edited in a way where only one go­ing through a psy­che­delic ex­pe­ri­ence and see­ing large amounts of trac­ers would see the en­crypted mes­sage fully. Based on”How To Secretly Communicate With People On LSD first ex­am­ple of tracer-based en­crypted mes­sage. I be­lieve that DMT or 150-200ug of LSD or any sub­stance de­liv­er­ing the tracer vi­sual ef­fect could be used to de­code the art­work.”

The judges who were able to see the mes­sage in this piece had very dif­fer­ent opin­ions on how in­tense the ef­fects of psy­che­delics needed to be in or­der to eas­ily de­code the in­for­ma­tion hid­den in it. One of the judges said that in or­der to read this eas­ily with ayahuasca you would need the dose equiv­a­lent to ap­prox­i­mately 40mg of va­por­ized DMT (i.e. a re­ally strong, break­through-level, trip). This seems to be in stark con­trast with the opin­ion of an­other judge, who es­ti­mated that the av­er­age per­son would need as lit­tle as 75ug of LSD to de­code it.

The judges spec­u­lated that see­ing the hid­den in­for­ma­tion in this piece was eas­ier to do on DMT than other psy­che­delics like mush­rooms (for in­ten­sity-ad­justed lev­els of al­ter­ation). When asked why they thought this was the case, it was spec­u­lated that this dif­fer­ence was likely due to the crisp­ness and char­ac­ter­is­tic spa­tiotem­po­ral fre­quen­cies of DMT rel­a­tive to mush­rooms. DMT sim­ply pro­duces more de­tailed and high-res­o­lu­tion trac­ers, which seem to be use­ful prop­er­ties for de­cod­ing this piece in par­tic­u­lar.

Alternatively, one of the judges pro­posed that, on the one hand, the ef­fects of mush­rooms on the vi­sual field seem to be less de­pen­dent on the color palette of the stim­uli. Therefore, whether the PsyCrypto uses col­ors or not does­n’t mat­ter very much if one is us­ing mush­rooms. DMT, on the other hand, makes sub­tle dif­fer­ences in col­ors look larger, as if the ef­fects were to expand the color gamut” and am­plify the per­cep­tion of sub­tle gra­di­ents of hues (cf. color

con­trol), which in this case is ben­e­fi­cial to de­code the psycrypted” in­for­ma­tion.

Additionally, all of the judges agreed that this piece had very sig­nif­i­cant aes­thetic value. It looks ex­tremely HD and har­mo­nious in such states of con­scious­ness, which is a sig­nif­i­cant boost and per­haps even a Psychedelic Cryptography of its own (meaning that the in­crease in aes­thetic value in such states is suf­fi­ciently sur­pris­ing that it’s a packet of in­for­ma­tion all by it­self).

Despite the very high aes­thetic value of this piece and that it did work as a PsyCrypto tool, the rea­son it got the third place was that (a) it is still dif­fi­cult to de­code on psy­che­delics, and (b) that it is not im­pos­si­ble to de­code sober. In other words, it is less se­cure and dis­crim­i­nat­ing than the other two, and there­fore not as good as the oth­ers in terms of its PsyCrypto prop­er­ties. It is, how­ever, still very im­pres­sive and ef­fec­tive in ab­solute terms.

Congratulations to the win­ners and to all of the par­tic­i­pants! We look for­ward to see­ing se­cret mes­sages at PsyTrance fes­ti­vals and Psychedelic Conferences in­spired by this work from now on ;-)

For at­tri­bu­tion, please cite this work as


Read the original on qri.org »

3 563 shares, 61 trendiness


ggml is a ten­sor li­brary for ma­chine learn­ing to en­able large mod­els and high per­for­mance on com­mod­ity hard­ware. It is used by llama.cpp and whis­per.cpp

Here are some sam­ple per­for­mance stats on Apple Silicon June 2023:


We like sim­plic­ity and aim to keep the code­base as small and as sim­ple as pos­si­ble

Open Core

The li­brary and re­lated pro­jects are freely avail­able un­der the MIT li­cense. The de­vel­op­ment process is open and every­one is wel­come to join. In the fu­ture we may choose to de­velop ex­ten­sions that are li­censed for com­mer­cial use

Explore and have fun!

We built ggml in the spirit of play. Contributors are en­cour­aged to try crazy ideas, build wild demos, and push the edge of what’s pos­si­ble


The pro­ject pro­vides a high-qual­ity speech-to-text so­lu­tion that runs on Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Raspberry Pi, and Web. Used by rewind.ai


The pro­ject demon­strates ef­fi­cient in­fer­ence on Apple Silicon hard­ware and ex­plores a va­ri­ety of op­ti­miza­tion tech­niques and ap­pli­ca­tions of LLMs

The best way to sup­port the pro­ject is by con­tribut­ing to the code­base

If you wish to fi­nan­cially sup­port the pro­ject, please con­sider be­com­ing a spon­sor to any of the con­trib­u­tors that are al­ready in­volved:

ggml.ai is a com­pany founded by Georgi Gerganov to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of ggml. Nat Friedman

and Daniel Gross pro­vided the pre-seed fund­ing.

We are cur­rently seek­ing to hire full-time de­vel­op­ers that share our vi­sion and would like to help ad­vance the idea of on-de­vice in­fer­ence. If you are in­ter­ested and if you have al­ready been a con­trib­u­tor to any of the re­lated pro­jects, please con­tact us at jobs@ggml.ai

For any busi­ness-re­lated top­ics, in­clud­ing sup­port or en­ter­prise de­ploy­ment, please con­tact us at sales@ggml.ai


Read the original on ggml.ai »

4 539 shares, 41 trendiness

US tightens crackdown on crypto with lawsuits against Coinbase, Binance

NEW YORK, June 6 (Reuters) - The top U. S. se­cu­ri­ties reg­u­la­tor sued cryp­tocur­rency plat­form Coinbase on Tuesday, the sec­ond law­suit in two days against a ma­jor crypto ex­change, in a dra­matic es­ca­la­tion of a crack­down on the in­dus­try and one that could dra­mat­i­cally trans­form a mar­ket that has largely op­er­ated out­side reg­u­la­tion.

The U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday took aim at Binance, the world’s largest cryp­tocur­rency ex­change. The SEC ac­cuses Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao of op­er­at­ing a web of de­cep­tion”.

If suc­cess­ful, the law­suits could trans­form the crypto mar­ket by suc­cess­fully as­sert­ing the SECs ju­ris­dic­tion over the in­dus­try which for years has ar­gued that to­kens do not con­sti­tute se­cu­ri­ties and should not be reg­u­lated by the SEC.

The two cases are dif­fer­ent, but over­lap and point in the same di­rec­tion: the SECs in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive cam­paign to bring cryp­tocur­ren­cies un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the fed­eral se­cu­ri­ties laws,” said Kevin O’Brien, a part­ner at Ford O’Brien Landy and a for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor, adding, how­ever, that the SEC has not pre­vi­ously taken on such ma­jor crypto play­ers.

If the SEC pre­vails in ei­ther case, the cryp­tocur­rency in­dus­try will be trans­formed.”

In its com­plaint filed in Manhattan fed­eral court, the SEC said Coinbase has since at least 2019 made bil­lions of dol­lars by op­er­at­ing as a mid­dle­man on crypto trans­ac­tions, while evad­ing dis­clo­sure re­quire­ments meant to pro­tect in­vestors.

The SEC said Coinbase traded at least 13 crypto as­sets that are se­cu­ri­ties that should have been reg­is­tered, in­clud­ing to­kens such as Solana, Cardano and Polygon.

Coinbase suf­fered about $1.28 bil­lion of net cus­tomer out­flows fol­low­ing the law­suit, ac­cord­ing to ini­tial es­ti­mates from data firm Nansen. Shares of Coinbase’s par­ent Coinbase Global Inc (COIN. O) closed down $7.10, or 12.1%, at $51.61 af­ter ear­lier falling as much as 20.9%. They are up 46% this year.

Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s gen­eral coun­sel, in a state­ment said the com­pany will con­tinue op­er­at­ing as usual and has demonstrated com­mit­ment to com­pli­ance.”

Oanda se­nior mar­ket an­a­lyst Ed Moya said the SEC looks like it’s play­ing Whac-A-Mole with crypto ex­changes,” and be­cause most ex­changes of­fer a range of to­kens that op­er­ate on blockchain pro­to­cols tar­geted by reg­u­la­tors, it seems like this is just the be­gin­ning.”

Leading cryp­tocur­rency bit­coin has been a para­dox­i­cal ben­e­fi­ciary of the crack­down.

After an ini­tial plunge to a nearly three-month low of $25,350 fol­low­ing the Binance suit, bit­coin re­bounded by more than $2,000, ex­ceed­ing the pre­vi­ous day’s high.

The SEC is mak­ing life nearly im­pos­si­ble for sev­eral alt­coins and that is ac­tu­ally dri­ving some crypto traders back into bit­coin,” ex­plained Oanda’s Moya.

Securities, as op­posed to other as­sets such as com­modi­ties, are strictly reg­u­lated and re­quire de­tailed dis­clo­sures to in­form in­vestors of po­ten­tial risks. The Securities Act of 1933 out­lined a de­f­i­n­i­tion of the term security,” yet many ex­perts rely on two U. S. Supreme Court cases to de­ter­mine if an in­vest­ment prod­uct con­sti­tutes a se­cu­rity.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has long said to­kens con­sti­tute se­cu­ri­ties and has steadily as­serted its au­thor­ity over the crypto mar­ket, fo­cus­ing ini­tially on the sale of to­kens and in­ter­est-bear­ing crypto prod­ucts. More re­cently, it has taken aim at un­reg­is­tered crypto bro­ker dealer, ex­change trad­ing and clear­ing ac­tiv­ity.

While a few crypto com­pa­nies are li­censed as al­ter­na­tive sys­tem trad­ing sys­tems, a type of trad­ing plat­form used by bro­kers to trade listed se­cu­ri­ties, no crypto plat­form op­er­ates as a full-blown stock ex­change. The SEC also this year sued Beaxy Digital and Bittrex Global for fail­ing to reg­is­ter as an ex­change, clear­ing house and bro­ker.

The whole busi­ness model is built on a non­com­pli­ance with the U. S. se­cu­ri­ties laws and we’re ask­ing them to come into com­pli­ance,” Gensler told CNBC.

Crypto com­pa­nies re­fute that to­kens meet the de­f­i­n­i­tion of a se­cu­rity, say the SECs rules are am­bigu­ous, and that the SEC is over­step­ping its au­thor­ity in try­ing to reg­u­late them. Still, many com­pa­nies have boosted com­pli­ance, shelved prod­ucts and ex­panded out­side the coun­try in re­sponse to the crack­down.

Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association trade group, re­jected Gensler’s ef­forts to over­see the in­dus­try.

We’re con­fi­dent the courts will prove Chair Gensler wrong in due time,” she said.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase re­cently served more than 108 mil­lion cus­tomers and ended March with $130 bil­lion of cus­tomer crypto as­sets and funds on its bal­ance sheet. Transactions gen­er­ated 75% of its $3.15 bil­lion of net rev­enue last year.

Tuesday’s SEC law­suit seeks civil fines, the re­coup­ing of ill-got­ten gains and in­junc­tive re­lief.

On Monday, the SEC ac­cused Binance of in­flat­ing trad­ing vol­umes, di­vert­ing cus­tomer funds, im­prop­erly com­min­gling as­sets, fail­ing to re­strict U. S. cus­tomers from its plat­form, and mis­lead­ing cus­tomers about its con­trols.

Binance pledged to vig­or­ously de­fend it­self against the law­suit, which it said re­flected the SECs misguided and con­scious re­fusal” to pro­vide clar­ity to the crypto in­dus­try.

Customers pulled around $790 mil­lion from Binance and its U. S. af­fil­i­ate fol­low­ing the law­suit, Nansen said.

On Tuesday, the SEC filed a mo­tion to freeze as­sets be­long­ing to Binance. US, Binance’s U.S. af­fil­i­ate. The hold­ing com­pany of Binance is based in the Cayman Islands.


Read the original on www.reuters.com »

5 427 shares, 32 trendiness

OpenGL 3.1 on Asahi Linux

Upgrade your Asahi Linux sys­tems, be­cause your graph­ics dri­vers are get­ting a big boost: leapfrog­ging from OpenGL 2.1 over OpenGL 3.0 up to OpenGL 3.1! Similarly, the OpenGL ES 2.0 sup­port is bump­ing up to OpenGL ES 3.0. That means more playable games and more func­tion­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

Back in December, I teased an early screen­shot of SuperTuxKart’s de­ferred ren­derer work­ing on Asahi, us­ing OpenGL ES 3.0 fea­tures like mul­ti­ple ren­der tar­gets and in­stanc­ing. Now you too can en­joy SuperTuxKart with ad­vanced light­ing the way it’s meant to be:

As be­fore, these dri­vers are ex­per­i­men­tal and not yet con­for­mant to the OpenGL or OpenGL ES spec­i­fi­ca­tions. For now, you’ll need to run our -edge pack­ages to opt-in to the work-in-progress dri­vers, un­der­stand­ing that there may be bugs. Please re­fer to our pre­vi­ous


ex­plain­ing how to in­stall the dri­vers and how to re­port bugs to help us im­prove.

With that dis­claimer out of the way, there’s a LOT of new func­tion­al­ity packed into OpenGL 3.0, 3.1, and OpenGL ES 3.0 to make this re­lease. Highlights in­clude:

Vulkan and OpenGL sup­port mul­ti­sam­pling, short for mul­ti­sam­pled anti-alias­ing. In graph­ics, alias­ing causes jagged di­ag­o­nal edges due to ren­der­ing at in­suf­fi­cient res­o­lu­tion. One so­lu­tion to alias­ing is ren­der­ing at higher res­o­lu­tions and scal­ing down. Edges will be blurred, not jagged, which looks bet­ter. Multisampling is an ef­fi­cient im­ple­men­ta­tion of that idea.

A mul­ti­sam­pled im­age con­tains mul­ti­ple sam­ples for every pixel. After ren­der­ing, a mul­ti­sam­pled im­age is re­solved to a reg­u­lar im­age with one sam­ple per pixel, typ­i­cally by av­er­ag­ing the sam­ples within a pixel.

Apple GPUs sup­port mul­ti­sam­pled im­ages and frame­buffers. There’s quite a bit of typ­ing to plumb the pro­gram­mer’s view of mul­ti­sam­pling into the form un­der­stood by the hard­ware, but there’s no fun­da­men­tal in­com­pat­i­bil­ity.

The trou­ble comes with sam­ple shad­ing. Recall that in mod­ern graph­ics, the colour of each frag­ment is de­ter­mined by run­ning a frag­ment shader given by the pro­gram­mer. If the frag­ments are pix­els, then each sam­ple within that pixel gets the same colour. Running the frag­ment shader once per pixel still ben­e­fits from mul­ti­sam­pling thanks to higher qual­ity ras­ter­i­za­tion, but it’s not as good as ac­tu­ally ren­der­ing at a higher res­o­lu­tion. If in­stead the frag­ments are sam­ples, each sam­ple gets a unique colour, equiv­a­lent to ren­der­ing at a higher res­o­lu­tion (supersampling). In Vulkan and OpenGL, frag­ment shaders gen­er­ally run per-pixel, but with sample shad­ing”, the ap­pli­ca­tion can force the frag­ment shader to run per-sam­ple.

How does sam­ple shad­ing work from the dri­vers’ per­spec­tive? On a typ­i­cal GPU, it is sim­ple: the dri­ver com­piles a frag­ment shader that cal­cu­lates the colour of a sin­gle sam­ple, and sets a hard­ware bit to ex­e­cute it per-sam­ple in­stead of per-pixel. There is only one bit of state as­so­ci­ated with sam­ple shad­ing. The hard­ware will ex­e­cute the frag­ment shader mul­ti­ple times per pixel, writ­ing out pixel colours in­de­pen­dently.

AGX al­ways ex­e­cutes the shader once per pixel, not once per sam­ple, like older GPUs that did not sup­port sam­ple shad­ing. AGX does sup­port it, though.

How? The AGX in­struc­tion set al­lows pixel shaders to out­put dif­fer­ent colours to each sam­ple. The in­struc­tion used to out­put a colour takes a set of sam­ples to mod­ify, en­coded as a bit mask. The de­fault all-1’s mask writes the same value to all sam­ples in a pixel, but a mask set­ting a sin­gle bit will write only the sin­gle cor­re­spond­ing sam­ple.

This de­sign is un­usual, and it re­quires dri­ver back­flips to trans­late fragment shaders” into hard­ware pixel shaders. How do we do it?

Physically, the hard­ware ex­e­cutes our shader once per pixel. Logically, we’re sup­posed to ex­e­cute the ap­pli­ca­tion’s frag­ment shader once per sam­ple. If we know the num­ber of sam­ples per pixel, then we can wrap the ap­pli­ca­tion’s shader in a loop over each sam­ple. So, if the orig­i­nal frag­ment shader is:

in­ter­po­lated colour = in­ter­po­late at cur­rent sam­ple(in­put colour);

out­put cur­rent sam­ple(in­ter­po­lated colour);

then we will trans­form the pro­gram to the pixel shader:

for (sample = 0; sam­ple < num­ber of sam­ples; ++sample) {

sam­ple mask = (1 << sam­ple);

in­ter­po­lated colour = in­ter­po­late at sam­ple(in­put colour, sam­ple);

out­put sam­ples(sam­ple mask, in­ter­po­lated colour);

The orig­i­nal frag­ment shader runs in­side the loop, once per sam­ple. Whenever it in­ter­po­lates in­puts at the cur­rent sam­ple po­si­tion, we change it to in­stead in­ter­po­late at a spe­cific sam­ple given by the loop counter sam­ple. Likewise, when it out­puts a colour for a sam­ple, we change it to out­put the colour to the sin­gle sam­ple given by the loop counter.

If the story ended here, this mech­a­nism would be silly. Adding sam­ple masks to the in­struc­tion set is more com­pli­cated than a sin­gle bit to in­voke the shader mul­ti­ple times, as other GPUs do. Even Apple’s own Metal dri­ver has to im­ple­ment this dance, be­cause Metal has a sim­i­lar ap­proach to sam­ple shad­ing as OpenGL and Vulkan. With all this ex­tra com­plex­ity, is there a ben­e­fit?

If we gen­er­ated that loop at the end, maybe not. But if we know at com­pile-time that sam­ple shad­ing is used, we can run our full op­ti­mizer on this sam­ple loop. If there is an ex­pres­sion that is the same for all sam­ples in a pixel, it can be hoisted out of the loop. Instead of cal­cu­lat­ing the same value mul­ti­ple times, as other GPUs do, the value can be cal­cu­lated just once and reused for each sam­ple. Although it com­pli­cates the dri­ver, this ap­proach to sam­ple shad­ing is­n’t Apple cut­ting cor­ners. If we slapped on the loop at the end and did no op­ti­miza­tions, the re­sult­ing code would be com­pa­ra­ble to what other GPUs ex­e­cute in hard­ware. There might be slight dif­fer­ences from spawn­ing fewer threads but ex­e­cut­ing more con­trol flow in­struc­tions, but that’s mi­nor. Generating the loop early and run­ning the op­ti­mizer en­ables bet­ter per­for­mance than pos­si­ble on other GPUs.

So is the mech­a­nism only an op­ti­miza­tion? Did Apple stum­ble on a bet­ter ap­proach to sam­ple shad­ing that other GPUs should adopt? I would­n’t be so sure.

Let’s pull the cur­tain back. AGX has its roots as a mo­bile GPU in­tended for iPhones, with sig­nif­i­cant PowerVR her­itage. Even if it pow­ers Mac Pros to­day, the mo­bile legacy means AGX prefers soft­ware im­ple­men­ta­tions of many fea­tures that desk­top GPUs im­ple­ment with ded­i­cated hard­ware.

Blending is an op­er­a­tion in graph­ics APIs to com­bine the frag­ment shader out­put colour with the ex­ist­ing colour in the frame­buffer. It is usu­ally used to im­ple­ment al­pha blend­ing, to let the back­ground poke through translu­cent ob­jects.

When mul­ti­sam­pling is used with­out sam­ple shad­ing, al­though the frag­ment shader only runs once per pixel, blend­ing hap­pens per-sam­ple. Even if the frag­ment shader out­puts the same colour to each sam­ple, if the frame­buffer al­ready had dif­fer­ent colours in dif­fer­ent sam­ples, blend­ing needs to hap­pen per-sam­ple to avoid los­ing that in­for­ma­tion al­ready in the frame­buffer.

A tra­di­tional desk­top GPU blends with ded­i­cated hard­ware. In the mo­bile space, there’s a mix of ded­i­cated hard­ware and soft­ware. On AGX, blend­ing is purely soft­ware. Rather than con­fig­ure blend­ing hard­ware, the dri­ver must pro­duce vari­ants of the frag­ment shader that in­clude in­struc­tions to im­ple­ment the de­sired blend mode. With al­pha blend­ing, a frag­ment shader like:

colour = cal­cu­late light­ing();


colour = cal­cu­late light­ing();

dest = load des­ti­na­tion colour;

al­pha = colour.al­pha;

blended = (alpha * colour) + ((1 - al­pha) * dest));


Blending hap­pens per sam­ple. Even if the ap­pli­ca­tion in­tends to run the frag­ment shader per pixel, the shader must run per sam­ple for cor­rect blend­ing. Compared to other GPUs, this ap­proach to blend­ing would regress per­for­mance when blend­ing and mul­ti­sam­pling are en­abled but sam­ple shad­ing is not.

On the other hand, ex­pos­ing mul­ti­sam­ple pixel shaders to the dri­ver solves the prob­lem neatly. If both the blend­ing and the mul­ti­sam­ple state are known, we can first in­sert in­struc­tions for blend­ing, and then wrap with the sam­ple loop. The above pro­gram would then be­come:

for (sample = 0; sam­ple < num­ber of sam­ples; ++sample_id) {

colour = cal­cu­late light­ing();

dest = load des­ti­na­tion colour at sam­ple (sample);

al­pha = colour.al­pha;

blended = (alpha * colour) + ((1 - al­pha) * dest);

sam­ple mask = (1 << sam­ple);

out­put sam­ples(sam­ple_­mask, blended);

In this form, the frag­ment shader is as­ymp­tot­i­cally worse than the ap­pli­ca­tion wanted: the frag­ment shader is ex­e­cuted in­side the loop, run­ning per-sam­ple un­nec­es­sar­ily.

Have no fear, the op­ti­mizer is here. Since colour is the same for each sam­ple in the pixel, it does not de­pend on the sam­ple ID. The com­piler can move the en­tire orig­i­nal frag­ment shader (and re­lated ex­pres­sions) out of the per-sam­ple loop:

colour = cal­cu­late light­ing();

al­pha = colour.al­pha;

in­v_al­pha = 1 - al­pha;

colour_al­pha = al­pha * colour;

for (sample = 0; sam­ple < num­ber of sam­ples; ++sample_id) {

dest = load des­ti­na­tion colour at sam­ple (sample);

blended = colour_al­pha + (inv_alpha * dest);

sam­ple mask = (1 << sam­ple);

out­put sam­ples(sam­ple_­mask, blended);

Now blend­ing hap­pens per sam­ple but the ap­pli­ca­tion’s frag­ment shader runs just once, match­ing the per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics of tra­di­tional GPUs. Even bet­ter, all of this hap­pens with­out any spe­cial work from the com­piler. There’s no magic mul­ti­sam­pling op­ti­miza­tion hap­pen­ing here: it’s just a loop.

By the way, what do we do if we don’t know the blend­ing and mul­ti­sam­ple state at com­pile-time? Hope is not lost…

While OpenGL ES 3.0 is an im­prove­ment over ES 2.0, we’re not done. In my work-in-progress branch, OpenGL ES 3.1 sup­port is nearly fin­ished, which will un­lock com­pute shaders.

The fi­nal goal is a Vulkan dri­ver run­ning mod­ern games. We’re a while away, but the base­line Vulkan 1.0 re­quire­ments par­al­lel OpenGL ES 3.1, so our work trans­lates to Vulkan. For ex­am­ple, the mul­ti­sam­pling com­piler passes de­scribed above are com­mon code be­tween the dri­vers. We’ve tested them against OpenGL, and now they’re ready to go for Vulkan.

And yes, the team is al­ready work­ing on Vulkan.

Until then, you’re one pac­man -Syu away from en­joy­ing OpenGL 3.1!


Read the original on asahilinux.org »

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Apple Vision

On the busi­ness, strat­egy, and im­pact of tech­nol­ogy.

It re­ally is one of the best prod­uct names in Apple his­tory: Vision is a de­scrip­tion of a prod­uct, it is an as­pi­ra­tion for a use case, and it is a cri­tique on the sort of so­ci­ety we are build­ing, be­hind Apple’s lead­er­ship more than any­one else.

I am speak­ing, of course, about Apple’s new mixed re­al­ity head­set that was an­nounced at yes­ter­day’s WWDC, with a planned ship date of early 2024, and a price of $3,499. I had the good for­tune of us­ing an Apple Vision in the con­text of a con­trolled demo — which is an im­por­tant grain of salt, to be sure — and I found the ex­pe­ri­ence ex­tra­or­di­nary.

It’s far bet­ter than I ex­pected, and I had high ex­pec­ta­tions.

The high ex­pec­ta­tions came from the fact that not only was this prod­uct be­ing built by Apple, the undis­puted best hard­ware maker in the world, but also be­cause I am, un­like many, rel­a­tively op­ti­mistic about VR. What sur­prised me is that Apple ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions on both counts: the hard­ware and ex­pe­ri­ence were bet­ter than I thought pos­si­ble, and the po­ten­tial for Vision is larger than I an­tic­i­pated. The so­ci­etal im­pacts, though, are much more com­pli­cated.

I have, for as long as I have writ­ten about the space, high­lighted the dif­fer­ences be­tween VR (virtual re­al­ity) and AR (augmented re­al­ity). From a 2016 Update:

I think it’s use­ful to make a dis­tinc­tion be­tween vir­tual and aug­mented re­al­ity. Just look at the names: virtual” re­al­ity is about an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence com­pletely dis­con­nected from one’s cur­rent re­al­ity, while augmented” re­al­ity is about, well, aug­ment­ing the re­al­ity in which one is al­ready pre­sent. This is more than a se­man­tic dis­tinc­tion about dif­fer­ent types of head­sets: you can di­vide nearly all of con­sumer tech­nol­ogy along this axis. Movies and videogames are about dif­fer­ent re­al­i­ties; pro­duc­tiv­ity soft­ware and de­vices like smart­phones are about aug­ment­ing the pre­sent. Small won­der, then, that all of the big vir­tual re­al­ity an­nounce­ments are ex­pected to be video game and movie re­lated.

Augmentation is more in­ter­est­ing: for the most part it seems that aug­men­ta­tion prod­ucts are best suited as spokes around a hub; a car’s in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, for ex­am­ple, is very much a de­vice that is fo­cused on the cur­rent re­al­ity of the car’s oc­cu­pants, and as evinced by Ford’s an­nounce­ment, the fu­ture here is to ac­com­mo­date the smart­phone. It’s the same story with watches and wear­ables gen­er­ally, at least for now.

I high­light that tim­ing ref­er­ence be­cause it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that smart­phones were orig­i­nally con­ceived of as a spoke around the PC hub; it turned out, though, that by virtue of their mo­bil­ity — by be­ing use­ful in more places, and thus ca­pa­ble of aug­ment­ing more ex­pe­ri­ences — smart­phones dis­placed the PC as the hub. Thus, when think­ing about the ques­tion of what might dis­place the smart­phone, I sus­pect what we to­day think of a spoke” will be a good place to start. And, I’d add, it’s why plat­form com­pa­nies like Microsoft and Google have fo­cused on aug­mented, not vir­tual, re­al­ity, and why the mys­te­ri­ous Magic Leap has raised well over a bil­lion dol­lars to-date; al­ways in your vi­sion is even more com­pelling than al­ways in your pocket (as is al­ways on your wrist).

I’ll come back to that last para­graph later on; I don’t think it’s quite right, in part be­cause Apple Vision shows that the first part of the ex­cerpt was­n’t right ei­ther. Apple Vision is tech­ni­cally a VR de­vice that ex­pe­ri­en­tially is an AR de­vice, and it’s one of those so­lu­tions that, once you have ex­pe­ri­enced it, is so ob­vi­ously the cor­rect im­ple­men­ta­tion that it’s hard to be­lieve there was ever any other pos­si­ble ap­proach to the gen­eral con­cept of com­put­er­ized glasses.

This re­al­ity — pun in­tended — hits you the mo­ment you fin­ish set­ting up the de­vice, which in­cludes not only fit­ting the head­set to your head and adding a pre­scrip­tion set of lenses, if nec­es­sary, but also set­ting up eye track­ing (which I will get to in a mo­ment). Once you have jumped through those hoops you are sud­denly back where you started: look­ing at the room you are in with shock­ingly full fi­delity.

What is hap­pen­ing is that Apple Vision is uti­liz­ing some num­ber of its 12 cam­eras to cap­ture the out­side world, and dis­play­ing them to the postage-stamp sized screens in front of your eyes in a way that makes you feel like you are wear­ing safety gog­gles: you’re look­ing through some­thing, that is­n’t ex­actly like to­tal clar­ity but is of suf­fi­ciently high res­o­lu­tion and speed that there is no rea­son to think it’s not real.

The speed is es­sen­tial: Apple claims that the thresh­old for your brain to no­tice any sort of de­lay in what you see and what your body ex­pects you to see (which is what causes known VR is­sues like mo­tion sick­ness) is 12 mil­lisec­onds, and that the Vision vi­sual pipeline dis­plays what it sees to your eyes in 12 mil­lisec­onds or less. This is par­tic­u­larly re­mark­able given that the time for the im­age sen­sor to cap­ture and process what it is see­ing is along the lines of 7~8 mil­lisec­onds, which is to say that the Vision is tak­ing that cap­tured im­age, pro­cess­ing it, and dis­play­ing it in front of your eyes in around 4 mil­lisec­onds.

This is, truly, some­thing that only Apple could do, be­cause this speed is func­tion of two things: first, the Apple-designed R1 proces­sor (Apple also de­signed part of the im­age sen­sor), and sec­ond, the in­te­gra­tion with Apple’s soft­ware. Here is Mike Rockwell, who led the cre­ation of the head­set, ex­plain­ing visionOS”:

None of this ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy could come to life with­out a pow­er­ful op­er­at­ing sys­tem called visionOS”. It’s built on the foun­da­tion of the decades of en­gi­neer­ing in­no­va­tion in ma­cOS, iOS, and iPad OS. To that foun­da­tion we added a host of new ca­pa­bil­i­ties to sup­port the low la­tency re­quire­ments of spa­tial com­put­ing, such as a new real-time ex­e­cu­tion en­gine that guar­an­tees per­for­mance-crit­i­cal work­loads, a dy­nam­i­cally foveated ren­der­ing pipeline that de­liv­ers max­i­mum im­age qual­ity to ex­actly where your eyes are look­ing for every sin­gle frame, a first-of-its-kind multi-app 3D en­gine that al­lows dif­fer­ent apps to run si­mul­ta­ne­ously in the same sim­u­la­tion, and im­por­tantly, the ex­ist­ing ap­pli­ca­tion frame­works we’ve ex­tended to na­tively sup­port spa­tial ex­pe­ri­ences. vi­sionOS is the first op­er­at­ing sys­tem de­signed from the ground up for spa­tial com­put­ing.

The key part here is the real-time ex­e­cu­tion en­gine”; real time” is­n’t just a de­scrip­tor of the ex­pe­ri­ence of us­ing Vision Pro: it’s a term-of-art for a dif­fer­ent kind of com­put­ing. Here’s how Wikipedia de­fines a real-time op­er­at­ing sys­tem:

A real-time op­er­at­ing sys­tem (RTOS) is an op­er­at­ing sys­tem (OS) for real-time com­put­ing ap­pli­ca­tions that processes data and events that have crit­i­cally de­fined time con­straints. An RTOS is dis­tinct from a time-shar­ing op­er­at­ing sys­tem, such as Unix, which man­ages the shar­ing of sys­tem re­sources with a sched­uler, data buffers, or fixed task pri­or­i­ti­za­tion in a mul­ti­task­ing or mul­ti­pro­gram­ming en­vi­ron­ment. Processing time re­quire­ments need to be fully un­der­stood and bound rather than just kept as a min­i­mum. All pro­cess­ing must oc­cur within the de­fined con­straints. Real-time op­er­at­ing sys­tems are event-dri­ven and pre­emp­tive, mean­ing the OS can mon­i­tor the rel­e­vant pri­or­ity of com­pet­ing tasks, and make changes to the task pri­or­ity. Event-driven sys­tems switch be­tween tasks based on their pri­or­i­ties, while time-shar­ing sys­tems switch the task based on clock in­ter­rupts.

Real-time op­er­at­ing sys­tems are used in em­bed­ded sys­tems for ap­pli­ca­tions with crit­i­cal func­tion­al­ity, like a car, for ex­am­ple: it’s ok to have an in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem that some­times hangs or even crashes, in ex­change for more flex­i­bil­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity, but the soft­ware that ac­tu­ally op­er­ates the ve­hi­cle has to be re­li­able and un­fail­ingly fast. This is, in broad strokes, one way to think about how vi­sionOS works: while the user ex­pe­ri­ence is a time-shar­ing op­er­at­ing sys­tem that is in­deed a vari­a­tion of iOS, and runs on the M2 chip, there is a sub­sys­tem that pri­mar­ily op­er­ates the R1 chip that is real-time; this means that even if vi­sionOS hangs or crashes, the out­side world is still ren­dered un­der that magic 12 mil­lisec­onds.

This is, need­less to say, the most mean­ing­ful man­i­fes­ta­tion yet of Apple’s abil­ity to in­te­grate hard­ware and soft­ware: while pre­vi­ously that in­te­gra­tion man­i­fested it­self in a bet­ter user ex­pe­ri­ence in the case of a smart­phone, or a seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble com­bi­na­tion of power and ef­fi­ciency in the case of Apple Silicon lap­tops, in this case that in­te­gra­tion makes pos­si­ble the meld­ing of VR and AR into a sin­gle Vision.

In the early years of dig­i­tal cam­eras there was bi­fur­ca­tion be­tween con­sumer cam­eras that were fully dig­i­tal, and high-end cam­eras that had a dig­i­tal sen­sor be­hind a tra­di­tional re­flex mir­ror that pushed ac­tual light to an op­ti­cal viewfinder. Then, in 2008, Panasonic re­leased the G1, the first-ever mir­ror­less cam­era with an in­ter­change­able lens sys­tem. The G1 had a viewfinder, but the viewfinder was in fact a screen.

This sys­tem was, at the be­gin­ning, dis­missed by most high-end cam­era users: sure, a mir­ror­less sys­tem al­lowed for a sim­pler and smaller de­sign, but there was no way a screen could ever com­pare to ac­tu­ally look­ing through the lens of the cam­era like you could with a re­flex mir­ror. Fast for­ward to to­day, though, and nearly every cam­era on the mar­ket, in­clud­ing pro­fes­sional ones, are mir­ror­less: not only did those tiny screens get a lot bet­ter, brighter, and faster, but they also brought many ad­van­tages of their own, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to see ex­actly what a photo would look like be­fore you took it.

Mirrorless cam­eras were ex­actly what popped into my mind when the Vision Pro launched into that de­fault screen I noted above, where I could ef­fort­lessly see my sur­round­ings. The field of view was a bit lim­ited on the edges, but when I ac­tu­ally brought up the ap­pli­ca­tion launcher, or was us­ing an app or watch­ing a video, the field of vi­sion rel­a­tive to an AR ex­pe­ri­ence like a Hololens was pos­i­tively as­tro­nom­i­cal. In other words, by mak­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence all dig­i­tal, the Vision Pro de­liv­ers an ac­tu­ally use­ful AR ex­pe­ri­ence that makes the still mas­sive tech­ni­cal chal­lenges fac­ing true AR seem ir­rel­e­vant.

The pay­off is the abil­ity to then layer in dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ences into your real-life en­vi­ron­ment: this can in­clude pro­duc­tiv­ity ap­pli­ca­tions, pho­tos and movies, con­fer­ence calls, and what­ever else de­vel­op­ers might come up with, all of which can be used with­out los­ing your sense of place in the real world. To just take one small ex­am­ple, while us­ing the Vision Pro, my phone kept buzzing with no­ti­fi­ca­tions; I sim­ply took the phone out of my pocket, opened con­trol cen­ter, and turned on do-not-dis­turb. What was re­mark­able only in ret­ro­spect is that I did all of that while tech­ni­cally be­ing closed off to the world in vir­tual re­al­ity, but my ex­pe­ri­ence was of sim­ply glanc­ing at the phone in my hand with­out even think­ing about it.

Making every­thing dig­i­tal pays off in other ways, as well; the demo in­cluded this di­nosaur ex­pe­ri­ence, where the di­nosaur seems to en­ter the room:

The whole rea­son this works is be­cause while the room feels real, it is in fact ren­dered dig­i­tally.

It re­mains to be seen how well this ex­pe­ri­ence works in re­verse: the Vision Pro in­cludes EyeSight”, which is Apple’s name for the front-fac­ing dis­play that shows your eyes to those around you. EyeSight was­n’t a part of the demo, so it re­mains to be seen if it is as creepy as it seems it might be: the goal, though, is the same: main­tain a sense of place in the real world not by solv­ing seem­ingly-im­pos­si­ble physics prob­lems, but by sim­ply mak­ing every­thing dig­i­tal.

That the user’s eyes can be dis­played on the out­side of the Vision Pro is ar­guably a by-prod­uct of the tech­nol­ogy that un­der­girds the Vision Pro’s user in­ter­face: what you are look­ing at is tracked by the Vision Pro, and when you want to take ac­tion on what­ever you are look­ing at you sim­ply touch your fin­gers to­gether. Notably, your fin­gers don’t need to be ex­tended into space: the en­tire time I used the Vision Pro my hands were sim­ply rest­ing in my lap, their move­ment tracked by the Vision Pro’s cam­eras.

It’s as­tound­ing how well this works, and how nat­ural it feels. What is par­tic­u­larly sur­pris­ing is how high-res­o­lu­tion this UI is; look at this crop of a still from Apple’s pre­sen­ta­tion:

The bar at the bot­tom of Photos is how you grab” Photos to move it any­where (literally); the small cir­cle next to the bar is to close the app. On the left are var­i­ous menu items unique to Photos. What is no­table about these is how small they are: this is­n’t a user in­ter­face like iOS or iPa­dOS that has to ac­com­mo­date big blunt fin­gers; rather, vi­sionOS’s eye track­ing is so ac­cu­rate that it can eas­ily de­lin­eate the ex­act user in­ter­face el­e­ment you are look­ing at, which again, you trig­ger by sim­ply touch­ing your fin­gers to­gether. It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary, and works ex­tra­or­di­nar­ily well.

Of course you can also use a key­board and track­pad, con­nected via Bluetooth, and you can also pro­ject a Mac into the Vision Pro; the full ver­sion of the above screen­shot has a Mac run­ning Final Cut Pro to the left of Photos:

I did­n’t get the chance to try the Mac pro­jec­tion, but truth­fully, while I went into this keynote the most ex­cited about this ca­pa­bil­ity, the na­tive in­ter­face worked so well that I sus­pect I am go­ing to pre­fer us­ing na­tive apps, even if those apps are also avail­able for the Mac.

An in­cred­i­ble prod­uct is one thing; the ques­tion on every­one’s mind, though, is what ex­actly is this use­ful for? Who has room for an­other de­vice in their life, par­tic­u­larly one that costs $3,499?

This ques­tion is, more of­ten than not, more im­por­tant to the suc­cess of a prod­uct than the qual­ity of the prod­uct it­self. Apple’s own his­tory of new prod­ucts is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple:

The PC (including the Mac) brought com­put­ing to the masses for the first time; there was a mas­sive amount of green­field in peo­ple’s lives, and the prod­uct cat­e­gory was a mas­sive suc­cess.

The iPhone ex­panded com­put­ing from the desk­top to every other part of a per­son’s life. It turns out that was an even larger op­por­tu­nity than the desk­top, and the prod­uct cat­e­gory was an even larger suc­cess.

The iPad, in con­trast to the Mac and iPhone, sort of sat in the mid­dle, a fact that Steve Jobs noted when he in­tro­duced the prod­uct in 2010:

All of us use lap­tops and smart­phones now. Everybody uses a lap­top and/​or a smart­phone. And the ques­tion has arisen lately, is there room for a third cat­e­gory of de­vice in the mid­dle? Something that’s be­tween a lap­top and a smart­phone. And of course we’ve pon­dered this ques­tion for years as well. The bar is pretty high. In or­der to cre­ate a new cat­e­gory of de­vices those de­vices are go­ing to have to be far bet­ter at do­ing some key tasks. They’re go­ing to have to be far bet­ter at do­ing some re­ally im­por­tant things, bet­ter than lap­top, bet­ter than the smart­phone.

Jobs went on to list a num­ber of things he thought the iPad might be bet­ter at, in­clud­ing web brows­ing, email, view­ing pho­tos, watch­ing videos, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, play­ing games, and read­ing eBooks.

In truth, the only one of those cat­e­gories that has truly taken off is watch­ing video, par­tic­u­larly stream­ing ser­vices. That’s a pretty sig­nif­i­cant use case, to be sure, and the iPad is a suc­cess­ful prod­uct (and one whose po­ten­tial use cases has been dra­mat­i­cally ex­panded by the Apple Pencil) that makes nearly as much rev­enue as the Mac, even though it dom­i­nates the tablet mar­ket to a much greater ex­tent than the Mac does the PC mar­ket. At the same time, it’s not close to the iPhone, which makes sense: the iPad is a nice ad­di­tion to one’s de­vice col­lec­tion, whereas an iPhone is es­sen­tial.

The crit­ics are right that this will be Apple Vision’s chal­lenge at the be­gin­ning: a lot of early buy­ers will prob­a­bly be in­ter­ested in the nov­elty value, or will be Apple su­per fans, and it’s rea­son­able to won­der if the Vision Pro might be­comes the world’s most ex­pen­sive pa­per weight. To use an up­dated ver­sion of Jobs’ slide:

Small won­der that Apple has re­port­edly pared its sales es­ti­mates to less than a mil­lion de­vices.

As I noted above, I have been rel­a­tively op­ti­mistic about VR, in part be­cause I be­lieve the most com­pelling use case is for work. First, if a de­vice ac­tu­ally makes some­one more pro­duc­tive, it is far eas­ier to jus­tify the cost. Second, while it is a bar­rier to ac­tu­ally put on a head­set — to go back to my VR/AR fram­ing above, a head­set is a des­ti­na­tion de­vice — work is a des­ti­na­tion. I wrote in an­other Update in the con­text of Meta’s Horizon Workrooms:

The point of in­vok­ing the changes wrought by COVID, though, was to note that work is a des­ti­na­tion, and its a des­ti­na­tion that oc­cu­pies a huge amount of our time. Of course when I wrote that skep­ti­cal ar­ti­cle in 2018 a work des­ti­na­tion was, for the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple, a phys­i­cal space; sud­denly, though, for mil­lions of white col­lar work­ers in par­tic­u­lar, it’s a vir­tual space. And, if work is al­ready a vir­tual space, then sud­denly vir­tual re­al­ity seems far more com­pelling. In other words, vir­tual re­al­ity may be much more im­por­tant than pre­vi­ously thought be­cause the vec­tor by which it will be­come per­va­sive is not the con­sumer space (and gam­ing), but rather the en­ter­prise space, par­tic­u­larly meet­ings.

Apple did dis­cuss meet­ings in the Vision Pro, in­clud­ing a frame­work for per­sonas — their word for avatars — that is used for Facetime and will be in­cor­po­rated into up­com­ing Zoom, Teams, and Webex apps. What is much more com­pelling to me, though, is sim­ply us­ing a Vision Pro in­stead of a Mac (or in con­junc­tion with one, by pro­ject­ing the screen).

At the risk of over-in­dex­ing on my own ex­pe­ri­ence, I am a huge fan of mul­ti­ple mon­i­tors: I have four at my desk, and it is frus­trat­ing to be on the road right now typ­ing this on a lap­top screen. I would ab­solutely pay for a de­vice to have a huge work­space with me any­where I go, and while I will re­serve judg­ment un­til I ac­tu­ally use a Vision Pro, I could see it be­ing bet­ter at my desk as well.

I have tried this with the Quest, but the screen is too low of res­o­lu­tion to work com­fort­ably, the user in­ter­face is a bit clunky, and the im­mer­sion is too com­plete: it’s hard to even drink cof­fee with it on. Oh, and the bat­tery life is­n’t nearly good enough. Vision Pro, though, solves all of these prob­lems: the res­o­lu­tion is ex­cel­lent, I al­ready raved about the user in­ter­face, and crit­i­cally, you can still see around you and in­ter­act with ob­jects and peo­ple. Moreover, this is where the ex­ter­nal bat­tery so­lu­tion is an ad­van­tage, given that you can eas­ily plug the bat­tery pack into a charger and use the head­set all day (and, as­sum­ing Apple’s real-time ren­der­ing holds up, you won’t get mo­tion sick­ness).1

Again, I’m al­ready bi­ased on this point, given both my pre­dic­tion and per­sonal work­flow, but if the Vision Pro is a suc­cess, I think that an im­por­tant part of its mar­ket will to at first be used along­side a Mac, and as the na­tive app ecosys­tem de­vel­ops, to be used in place of one.

To put it even more strongly, the Vision Pro is, I sus­pect, the fu­ture of the Mac.

The larger Vision Pro op­por­tu­nity is to move in on the iPad and to be­come the ul­ti­mate con­sump­tion de­vice:

The keynote high­lighted the movie watch­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of the Vision Pro, and it is ex­cel­lent and im­mer­sive. Of course it is­n’t, in the end, that much dif­fer­ent than hav­ing an ex­cel­lent TV in a dark room.

What was much more com­pelling were a se­ries of im­mer­sive video ex­pe­ri­ences that Apple did not show in the keynote. The most strik­ing to me were, un­sur­pris­ingly, sports. There was one clip of an NBA bas­ket­ball game that was in­cred­i­bly re­al­is­tic: the game clip was shot from the base­line, and as some­one who has had the good for­tune to sit court­side, it felt ex­actly the same, and, it must be said, much more im­mer­sive than sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences on the Quest.

It turns out that one rea­son for the im­mer­sion is that Apple ac­tu­ally cre­ated its own cam­eras to cap­ture the game us­ing its new Apple Immersive Video Format. The com­pany was fairly mum about how it planned to make those cam­eras and its for­mat more widely avail­able, but I am com­pletely se­ri­ous when I say that I would pay the NBA thou­sands of dol­lars to get a sea­son pass to watch games cap­tured in this way. Yes, that’s a crazy state­ment to make, but court­side seats cost that much or more, and that 10-second clip was shock­ingly close to the real thing.

What is fas­ci­nat­ing is that such a sea­son pass should, in my es­ti­ma­tion, look very dif­fer­ent from a tra­di­tional TV broad­cast, what with its mul­ti­ple cam­era an­gles, an­nounc­ers, score­board slug, etc. I would­n’t want any of that: if I want to see the score, I can sim­ply look up at the score­board as if I’m in the sta­dium; the sounds are pro­vided by the crowd and PA an­nouncer. To put it an­other way, the Apple Immersive Video Format, to a far greater ex­tent than I thought pos­si­ble, truly makes you feel like you are in a dif­fer­ent place.

Again, though, this was a 10 sec­ond clip (there was an­other one for a base­ball game, shot from the home team’s dugout, that was equally com­pelling). There is a ma­jor chicken-and-egg is­sue in terms of pro­duc­ing con­tent that ac­tu­ally de­liv­ers this ex­pe­ri­ence, which is prob­a­bly why the keynote most fo­cused on 2D video. That, by ex­ten­sion, means it is harder to jus­tify buy­ing a Vision Pro for con­sump­tion pur­poses. The ex­pe­ri­ence is so com­pelling though, that I sus­pect this prob­lem will be solved even­tu­ally, at which point the ad­dress­able mar­ket is­n’t just the Mac, but also the iPad.

What is left in place in this vi­sion is the iPhone: I think that smart­phones are the pin­na­cle in terms of com­put­ing, which is to say that the Vision Pro makes sense every­where the iPhone does­n’t.

I rec­og­nize how ab­surdly pos­i­tive and op­ti­mistic this Article is about the Vision Pro, but it re­ally does feel like the fu­ture. That fu­ture, though, is go­ing to take time: I sus­pect there will be a slow burn, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to re­plac­ing prod­uct cat­e­gories like the Mac or es­pe­cially the iPad.

Moreover, I did­n’t even get into one of the fea­tures Apple is tout­ing most highly, which is the abil­ity of the Vision Pro to take pictures” — mem­o­ries, re­ally — of mo­ments in time and ren­der them in a way that feels in­cred­i­bly in­ti­mate and vivid.

One of the is­sues is the fact that record­ing those mem­o­ries does, for now, en­tail wear­ing the Vision Pro in the first place, which is go­ing to be re­ally awk­ward! Consider this video of a girl’s birth­day party:

It’s go­ing to seem pretty weird when dad is wear­ing a head­set as his daugh­ter blows out birth­day can­dles; per­haps this prob­lem will be fixed by a sep­a­rate line of stand­alone cam­eras that cap­ture pho­tos in the Apple Immersive Video Format, which is an­other way to say that this is a bit of a chicken-and-egg prob­lem.

What was far more strik­ing, though, was how the con­sump­tion of this video was pre­sented in the keynote:

Note the empty house: what hap­pened to the kids? Indeed, Apple ac­tu­ally went back to this clip while sum­ma­riz­ing the keynote, and the line for re­liv­ing mem­o­ries” struck me as in­cred­i­bly sad:

I’ll be hon­est: what this looked like to me was a di­vorced dad, alone at home with his Vision Pro, per­haps be­cause his wife was ir­ri­tated at the ex­tent to which he got lost in his own vir­tual ex­pe­ri­ence. That cer­tainly puts a dif­fer­ent spin on Apple’s proud de­c­la­ra­tion that the Vision Pro is The Most Advanced Personal Electronics Device Ever”.

Indeed, this, even more than the iPhone, is the true per­sonal com­puter. Yes, there are af­for­dances like mixed re­al­ity and EyeSight to in­ter­act with those around you, but at the end of the day the Vision Pro is a soli­tary ex­pe­ri­ence.

That, though, is the trend: long-time read­ers know that I have long be­moaned that it was the desk­top com­puter that was chris­tened the personal” com­puter, given that the iPhone is much more per­sonal, but now even the iPhone has been eclipsed. The arc of tech­nol­ogy, in large part led by Apple, is for ever more per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, and I’m not sure it’s an ac­ci­dent that that trend is hap­pen­ing at the same time as a so­ci­ety-wide trend away from fam­ily for­ma­tion and to­wards an in­crease in lone­li­ness.

This, I would note, is where the most in­ter­est­ing com­par­isons to Meta’s Quest ef­forts lie. The un­for­tu­nate re­al­ity for Meta is that they seem com­pletely out-classed on the hard­ware front. Yes, Apple is work­ing with a 7x ad­van­tage in price, which cer­tainly con­tributes to things like su­pe­rior res­o­lu­tion, but that bit about the deep in­te­gra­tion be­tween Apple’s own sil­i­con and its cus­tom-made op­er­at­ing sys­tem are go­ing to very dif­fi­cult to repli­cate for a com­pany that has (correctly) com­mit­ted to an Android-based OS and a Qualcomm-designed chip.

What is more strik­ing, though, is the ex­tent to which Apple is lean­ing into a per­sonal com­put­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, whereas Meta, as you would ex­pect, is fo­cused on so­cial. I do think that pres­ence is a real thing, and in­cred­i­bly com­pelling, but achiev­ing pres­ence de­pends on your net­work also hav­ing VR de­vices, which makes Meta’s goals that much more dif­fi­cult to achieve. Apple, mean­while, is­n’t even both­er­ing with pres­ence: even its Facetime in­te­gra­tion was with an avatar in a win­dow, lean­ing into the fact you are apart, whereas Meta wants you to feel like you are to­gether.

In other words, there is ac­tu­ally a rea­son to hope that Meta might win: it seems like we could all do with more con­nect­ed­ness, and less iso­la­tion with in­cred­i­ble im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences to dull the pain of lone­li­ness. One won­ders, though, if Meta is in fact fight­ing Apple not just on hard­ware, but on the over­all trend of so­ci­ety; to put it an­other way, bull­ish­ness about the Vision Pro may in fact be a func­tion of be­ing bear­ish about our ca­pa­bil­ity to mean­ing­fully con­nect.


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7 336 shares, 21 trendiness

NVIDIA Grace Hopper Superchip

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The NVIDIA GH200 Grace™ Hopper™ Superchip is a break­through ac­cel­er­ated CPU de­signed from the ground up for gi­ant-scale AI and high-per­for­mance com­put­ing (HPC) ap­pli­ca­tions. The su­per­chip de­liv­ers up to 10X higher per­for­mance for ap­pli­ca­tions run­ning ter­abytes of data, en­abling sci­en­tists and re­searchers to reach un­prece­dented so­lu­tions for the world’s most com­plex prob­lems.

Take a Closer Look at the Superchip

The NVIDIA GH200 Grace Hopper Superchip combines the Grace and Hopper ar­chi­tec­tures us­ing NVIDIA® NVLink®-C2C to de­liver a CPU+GPU co­her­ent mem­ory model for ac­cel­er­ated AI and HPC ap­pli­ca­tions.

New 900 gi­ga­bytes per sec­ond (GB/s) co­her­ent in­ter­face, 7X faster than PCIe Gen5

Runs all NVIDIA soft­ware stacks and plat­forms, in­clud­ing the NVIDIA HPC SDK, NVIDIA AI, and NVIDIA Omniverse™

GH200-powered sys­tems join 400+ con­fig­u­ra­tions—based on the lat­est NVIDIA ar­chi­tec­tures—that are be­ing rolled out to meet the surg­ing de­mand for gen­er­a­tive AI.


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8 278 shares, 41 trendiness

US urged to reveal UFO evidence after claim that it has intact alien vehicles

The US has been urged to dis­close ev­i­dence of UFOs af­ter a whistle­blower for­mer in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial said the gov­ern­ment has pos­ses­sion of intact and par­tially in­tact” alien ve­hi­cles.

The for­mer in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial David Grusch, who led analy­sis of un­ex­plained anom­alous phe­nom­ena (UAP) within a US Department of Defense agency, has al­leged that the US has craft of non-hu­man ori­gin.

Information on these ve­hi­cles is be­ing il­le­gally with­held from Congress, Grusch told the Debrief. Grusch said when he turned over clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion about the ve­hi­cles to Congress he suf­fered re­tal­i­a­tion from gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. He left the gov­ern­ment in April af­ter a 14-year ca­reer in US in­tel­li­gence.

Jonathan Grey, a cur­rent US in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (Nasic), con­firmed the ex­is­tence of exotic ma­te­ri­als” to the Debrief, adding: We are not alone.”

The dis­clo­sures come af­ter a swell of cred­i­ble sight­ings and re­ports have re­vived at­ten­tion in alien ships, and po­ten­tially vis­its, in re­cent years.

In 2021, the Pentagon re­leased a re­port on UAP — the term is pre­ferred to UFO by much of the ex­trater­res­trial com­mu­nity — which found more than 140 in­stances of UAP en­coun­ters that could not be ex­plained.

The re­port fol­lowed a leak of mil­i­tary footage that showed ap­par­ently in­ex­plic­a­ble hap­pen­ings in the sky, while navy pi­lots tes­ti­fied that they had fre­quently had en­coun­ters with strange craft off the US coast.

In an in­ter­view with the Debrief jour­nal­ists Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal, who pre­vi­ously ex­posed the ex­is­tence of a se­cret Pentagon pro­gram that in­ves­ti­gated UFOs, Grusch said the US gov­ern­ment and de­fense con­trac­tors had been re­cov­er­ing frag­ments of non-hu­man craft, and in some cases en­tire craft, for decades.

We are not talk­ing about pro­saic ori­gins or iden­ti­ties,” Grusch said. The ma­te­r­ial in­cludes in­tact and par­tially in­tact ve­hi­cles.”

Grusch told the Debrief that analy­sis de­ter­mined that this ma­te­r­ial is of ex­otic ori­gin” — mean­ing non-human in­tel­li­gence, whether ex­trater­res­trial or un­known ori­gin”.

[This as­sess­ment is] based on the ve­hi­cle mor­pholo­gies and ma­te­r­ial sci­ence test­ing and the pos­ses­sion of unique atomic arrange­ments and ra­di­o­log­i­cal sig­na­tures,” Grusch said.

Grey, who, ac­cord­ing to the Debrief, an­a­lyzes un­ex­plained anom­alous phe­nom­ena within the Nasic, con­firmed Grusch’s ac­count.

The non-hu­man in­tel­li­gence phe­nom­e­non is real. We are not alone,” Grey said. Retrievals of this kind are not lim­ited to the United States. This is a global phe­nom­e­non, and yet a global so­lu­tion con­tin­ues to elude us.”

The Debrief spoke to sev­eral of Grusch’s for­mer col­leagues, each of whom vouched for his char­ac­ter. Karl E Nell, a re­tired army colonel, said Grusch was beyond re­proach”. In a 2022 per­for­mance re­view seen by the Debrief, Grusch was de­scribed as an of­fi­cer with the strongest pos­si­ble moral com­pass”.

Nick Pope, who spent the early 1990s in­ves­ti­gat­ing UFOs for the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), said Grusch and Grey’s ac­count of alien ma­te­ri­als was very sig­nif­i­cant”.

It’s one thing to have sto­ries on the con­spir­acy blogs, but this takes it to the next level, with gen­uine in­sid­ers com­ing for­ward,” Pope said.

When these peo­ple make these for­mal com­plaints, they do so on the un­der­stand­ing that if they’ve know­ingly made a false state­ment, they are li­able to a fairly hefty fine, and/​or prison.

People say: Oh, peo­ple make up sto­ries all the time.’ But I think it’s very dif­fer­ent to go be­fore Congress and go to the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity in­spec­tor gen­eral and do that. Because there will be con­se­quences if it emerges that this is not true.”

The Debrief re­ported that Grusch’s knowl­edge of non-hu­man ma­te­ri­als and ve­hi­cles was based on extensive in­ter­views with high-level in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials”. He said he had re­ported the ex­is­tence of a UFO ma­te­r­ial recovery pro­gram” to Congress.

Grusch said that the craft re­cov­ery op­er­a­tions are on­go­ing at var­i­ous lev­els of ac­tiv­ity and that he knows the spe­cific in­di­vid­u­als, cur­rent and for­mer, who are in­volved,” the Debrief re­ported.

In the Debrief ar­ti­cle, Grusch does not say he has per­son­ally seen alien ve­hi­cles, nor does he say where they may be be­ing stored. He asked the Debrief to with­hold de­tails of re­tal­i­a­tion by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials due to an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He also does not spec­ify how he be­lieves the gov­ern­ment re­tal­i­ated against him.

In June 2021, a re­port from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that from 2004 to 2021 there were 144 en­coun­ters be­tween mil­i­tary pi­lots and UAP, 80 of which were cap­tured on mul­ti­ple sen­sors. Only one of the 144 en­coun­ters could be ex­plained with high con­fi­dence” — it was a large, de­flat­ing bal­loon.

Following in­creased in­ter­est from the pub­lic and some US sen­a­tors, the Pentagon es­tab­lished the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, charged with track­ing UAP, in July 2022.

In December last year, the of­fice said it had re­ceived several hun­dred” new re­ports, but no ev­i­dence so far of alien life.

The pub­li­ca­tion of Grusch and Grey’s claims comes af­ter a panel that the US space agency Nasa charged with in­ves­ti­gat­ing un­ex­plained anom­alous phe­nom­ena said stigma around re­port­ing en­coun­ters — and ha­rass­ment of those who do re­port en­coun­ters — was hin­der­ing its work.

The navy pi­lots who in 2021 shared their ex­pe­ri­ences of en­coun­ter­ing un­ex­plained ob­jects while con­duct­ing mil­i­tary flights said they, and oth­ers, had de­cided against re­port­ing the en­coun­ters in­ter­nally, be­cause of fears it could hin­der their ca­reers.

Harassment only leads to fur­ther stigma­ti­za­tion of the UAP field, sig­nif­i­cantly hin­der­ing the sci­en­tific progress and dis­cour­ag­ing oth­ers to study this im­por­tant sub­ject mat­ter,” Nasa’s sci­ence chief, Nicola Fox, said in a pub­lic meet­ing on 31 May.

Dr David Spergel, the in­de­pen­dent chair of Nasa’s UAP in­de­pen­dent study team, told the Guardian he did not know Grusch and had no knowl­edge of his claims.

The Department of Defense did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

In a state­ment, a Nasa spokesper­son said: One of Nasa’s key pri­or­i­ties is the search for life else­where in the uni­verse, but so far, NASA has not found any cred­i­ble ev­i­dence of ex­trater­res­trial life and there is no ev­i­dence that UAPs are ex­trater­res­trial. However, Nasa is ex­plor­ing the so­lar sys­tem and be­yond to help us an­swer fun­da­men­tal ques­tions, in­clud­ing whether we are alone in the uni­verse.”

Pope said in his work in­ves­ti­gat­ing UFOs for the MoD he had seen no hard ev­i­dence of non-hu­man craft or ma­te­ri­als.

Some of our cases were in­trigu­ing,” Pope said. But we did­n’t have a space­ship in a hangar any­where. And if we did, they did­n’t tell me.”

Still, Pope said, Grusch’s claims should be seen as part of an in­creas­ing flow of in­for­ma­tion — and hope­fully dis­clo­sures — about UFOs.

He said: It’s part of a wider puz­zle. And I think, as­sum­ing this is all true, it takes us closer than we’ve ever been be­fore to the very heart of all this.”


Read the original on www.theguardian.com »

9 272 shares, 12 trendiness

Yes, Apple Vision Pro works and yes, it’s good

After a roughly 30 minute demo that ran through the ma­jor fea­tures that are yet ready to test I came away con­vinced that Apple has de­liv­ered noth­ing less than a gen­uine leapfrog in ca­pa­bil­ity and ex­e­cu­tion of XR — or mixed re­al­ity with its new Apple Vision Pro.

To be su­per clear, I’m not say­ing it de­liv­ers on all promises, is a gen­uinely new par­a­digm in com­put­ing or any other high-pow­ered claim that Apple hopes to de­liver on once it ships. I will need a lot more time with the de­vice than a guided demo.

But, I’ve used es­sen­tially every ma­jor VR head­set and AR de­vice since 2013’s Oculus DK1 right up through the lat­est gen­er­a­tions of Quest and Vive head­sets. I’ve tried all of the ex­pe­ri­ences and stabs at mak­ing fetch hap­pen when it comes to XR. I’ve been awed and re-awed as de­vel­op­ers of the hard­ware and soft­ware of those de­vices and their mar­quee apps have con­tin­ued to chew away at the conundrum of the killer app” — try­ing to find some­thing that would get real pur­chase with the broader pub­lic.

There are some gen­uine so­cial, nar­ra­tive or gam­ing suc­cesses like Gorilla Tag, VRChat or Cosmonius. I’ve also been moved by first-per­son ex­pe­ri­ences by Sundance film­mak­ers high­light­ing the hu­man (or an­i­mal) con­di­tion.

But none of them had the ad­van­tages that Apple brings to the table with Apple Vision Pro. Namely, 5,000 patents filed over the past few years and an enor­mous base of tal­ent and cap­i­tal to work with. Every bit of this thing shows Apple-level am­bi­tion. I don’t know whether it will be the next com­put­ing mode,” but you can see the con­vic­tion be­hind each of the choices made here. No cor­ners cut. Full-tilt en­gi­neer­ing on dis­play.

The hard­ware is good — very good — with 24 mil­lion pix­els across the two pan­els, or­ders of mag­ni­tude more than any head­sets most con­sumers have come into con­tact with. The op­tics are bet­ter, the head­band is com­fort­able and quickly ad­justable and there is a top strap for weight re­lief. Apple says it is still work­ing on which light seal (the cloth shroud) op­tions to ship with it when it re­leases of­fi­cially but the de­fault one was com­fort­able for me. They aim to ship them with vary­ing sizes and shapes to fit dif­fer­ent faces. The power con­nec­tor has a great lit­tle de­sign, as well, that in­ter­con­nects us­ing in­ter­nal pin-type power link­ages with an ex­ter­nal twist lock.

There is also a mag­netic so­lu­tion for some (but not all) op­ti­cal ad­just­ments peo­ple with dif­fer­ences in vi­sion may need. The on­board­ing ex­pe­ri­ence fea­tures an au­to­matic eye-re­lief cal­i­bra­tion match­ing the lenses to the cen­ter of your eyes. No man­ual wheels ad­just­ing that here.

The main frame and glass piece look fine, though it’s worth men­tion­ing that they are very sub­stan­tial in size. Not heavy, per se, but def­i­nitely pre­sent.

If you have ex­pe­ri­ence with VR at all then you know that the two big bar­ri­ers most peo­ple hit are ei­ther la­tency-dri­ven nau­sea or the iso­la­tion that long ses­sions wear­ing some­thing over your eyes can de­liver.

Apple has mit­i­gated both of those head on. The R1 chip that sits along­side the M2 chip has a sys­tem-wide polling rate of 12ms, and I no­ticed no jud­der or frame­drops. There was a slight mo­tion blur ef­fect used in the passthrough mode but it was­n’t dis­tract­ing. The win­dows them­selves ren­dered crisply and moved around snap­pily.

Of course, Apple was able to mit­i­gate those is­sues due to a lot of com­pletely new and orig­i­nal hard­ware. Everywhere you look here there’s a new idea, a new tech­nol­ogy or a new im­ple­men­ta­tion. All of that new comes at a price: $3,500 is on the high end of ex­pec­ta­tions and firmly places the de­vice in the power user cat­e­gory for early adopters.

Here’s what Apple got right that other head­sets just could­n’t nail down:

The eye track­ing and ges­ture con­trol is near per­fect. The hand ges­tures are picked up any­where around the head­set. That in­cludes on your lap or low and away rest­ing on a chair or couch. Many other hand-track­ing in­ter­faces force you to keep your hands up in front of you, which is tir­ing. Apple has high-res­o­lu­tion cam­eras ded­i­cated to the bot­tom of the de­vice just to keep track of your hands. Similarly, an eye-track­ing ar­ray in­side means that, af­ter cal­i­bra­tion, nearly every­thing you look at is pre­cisely high­lighted. A sim­ple low-ef­fort tap of your fin­gers and boom, it works.

Passthrough is a ma­jor key. Having a real-time 4k view of the world around you that in­cludes any hu­mans in your per­sonal space is so im­por­tant for long-ses­sion VR or AR wear. There is a deep an­i­mal brain thing in most hu­mans that makes us re­ally, re­ally un­com­fort­able if we can’t see our sur­round­ings for a length of time. Eliminating that worry by pass­ing through an im­age should im­prove the chance of long use times. There’s also a clever breakthrough” mech­a­nism that au­to­mat­i­cally passes a per­son who comes near you through your con­tent, alert­ing you to the fact that they’re ap­proach­ing. The eyes on the out­side, which change ap­pear­ance de­pend­ing on what you’re do­ing, also pro­vide a nice con­text cue for those out­side.

The res­o­lu­tion means that text is ac­tu­ally read­able. Apple’s po­si­tion­ing of this as a full on com­put­ing de­vice only makes sense if you can ac­tu­ally read text in it. All of the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tions of virtual desk­top” se­tups have re­lied on pan­els and lenses that pre­sent too blurry a view to re­li­ably read fine text at length. In many cases it lit­er­ally hurt to do so. Not with the Apple Vision Pro — text is su­per crisp and leg­i­ble at all sizes and at far distances” within your space.

There were a hand­ful of re­ally sur­pris­ing mo­ments from my short time with the head­set, as well. Aside from the sharp­ness of the dis­play and the snappy re­spon­sive­ness of the in­ter­face, the en­tire suite of sam­ples oozed at­ten­tion to de­tail.

The Personas Play. I was HIGHLY doubt­ful that Apple could pull off a work­able dig­i­tal avatar based off of just a scan of your face us­ing the Vision Pro head­set it­self. Doubt crushed. I’d say that if you’re mea­sur­ing the dig­i­tal ver­sion of you that it cre­ates to be your avatar in FaceTime calls and other ar­eas, it has a solid set of toes on the other side of the un­canny val­ley. It’s not to­tally per­fect, but they got skin ten­sion and mus­cle work right, the ex­pres­sions they have you make are used to in­ter­po­late out a full range of fa­cial con­tor­tions us­ing ma­chine learn­ing mod­els, and the brief in­ter­ac­tions I had with a live per­son on a call (and it was live, I checked by ask­ing off-script stuff) did not feel creepy or odd. It worked.

It’s crisp. I’m sort of stat­ing this again but, re­ally, it’s crisp as hell. Running right up to demos like the 3D di­nosaur you got right down to the tex­ture level and be­yond.

3D Movies are ac­tu­ally good in it. Jim Cameron prob­a­bly had a mo­ment when he saw Avatar: Way of Water on the Apple Vision Pro. This thing was ab­solutely born to make the 3D for­mat sing — and it can dis­play them pretty much right away, so there’s go­ing to be a de­cent li­brary of shot-on-3D movies that will bring new life to them all. The 3D pho­tos and videos you can take with Apple Vision Pro di­rectly also look su­per great, but I was­n’t able to test cap­tur­ing any my­self so I don’t know how that will feel yet. Awkward? Hard to say.

The setup is smooth and sim­ple. A cou­ple of min­utes and you’re good to go. Very Apple.

Yes, it does look that good. The out­put of the in­ter­face and the var­i­ous apps are so good that Apple just used them di­rectly off of the de­vice in its keynote. The in­ter­face is bright and bold and feels pre­sent be­cause of the way it in­ter­acts with other win­dows, casts shad­ows on the ground and re­acts to light­ing con­di­tions.

Overall, I’m hes­i­tant to make any broad claims about whether Apple Vision Pro is go­ing to ful­fill Apple’s claims about the on­set of spa­tial com­put­ing. I’ve had far too lit­tle time with it and it’s not even com­pleted — Apple is still work­ing on things like the light shroud and def­i­nitely on many soft­ware as­pects.

It is, how­ever, re­ally, re­ally well done. The pla­tonic ideal of an XR head­set. Now, we wait to see what de­vel­op­ers and Apple ac­com­plish over the next few months and how the pub­lic re­acts.


Read the original on techcrunch.com »

10 263 shares, 15 trendiness

chromium - An open-source project to help move the web forward.


Read the original on bugs.chromium.org »

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