Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers I’m an Amazon Employee. My Company Shouldn’t Sell Facial Recognition Tech to Police.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers I’m an Amazon Employee. My Company Shouldn’t Sell Facial Recognition Tech to Police.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

The authenticity of the following anonymous op-ed has been verified by Medium’s editorial staff. Our columnist, Trevor Timm, has also interviewed the op-ed’s writer. You can read that here.

When a company puts new technologies into the world, it has a responsibility to think about the consequences. Amazon, where I work, is currently allowing police departments around the country to purchase its facial recognition product, Rekognition, and I and other employees demand that we stop immediately.

A couple weeks ago, my co-workers delivered a letter to this effect, signed by over 450 employees, to Jeff Bezos and other executives. The letter also contained demands to kick Palantir, the software firm that powers much of ICE’s deportation and tracking program, off Amazon Web Services and to institute employee oversight for ethical decisions.

We know Bezos is aware of these concerns and the industry-wide conversation happening right now. On stage, he acknowledged that big tech’s products might be misused, even exploited, by autocrats. But rather than meaningfully explain how Amazon will act to prevent the bad uses of its own technology, Bezos suggested we wait for society’s “immune response.”

If Amazon waits, we think the harm will be difficult to undo.

After all, our concern isn’t one about some future harm caused by some other company: Amazon is designing, marketing, and selling a system for dangerous mass surveillance right now. Amazon’s website brags of the system’s ability to store and search tens of millions of faces at a time. Law enforcement has already started using facial recognition with virtually no public oversight or debate or restrictions on use from Amazon. Orlando, Florida, is testing Rekognition with live video feeds from surveillance cameras around the city. A sheriff’s department in Oregon is currently using Rekognition to let officers in the field compare photos to a database of mugshots. This is not a hypothetical situation.

If we want to lead, we need to make a choice between people and profits.

We know from history that new and powerful surveillance tools left unchecked in the hands of the state have been used to target people who have done nothing wrong; in the United States, a lack of public accountability already results in outsized impacts and over-policing of communities of color, immigrants, and people exercising their First Amendment rights. Ignoring these urgent concerns while deploying powerful technologies to government and law enforcement agencies is dangerous and irresponsible.

That’s why we were disappointed when Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector of Amazon Web Services, recently said that Amazon “unwaveringly supports” law enforcement, defense, and intelligence customers, even if we don’t “know everything they’re actually utilizing the tool for.” Amazon has even recommended using Rekognition with officer body cameras, which would turn a tool intended for police accountability into mobile surveillance devices aimed at the public. Why are we building this?

We all have the right to go about our lives without being constantly monitored by the government. Companies like ours should not be in the business of facilitating authoritarian surveillance. Not now, not ever. But Rekognition supports just that by pulling dozens of facial IDs from a single frame of video and storing them for later use or instantly comparing them with databases of millions of pictures.

Selling this system runs counter to Amazon’s stated values. We tout ourselves as a customer-centric company, and Bezos has directly spoken out against unethical government policies that target immigrants, like the Muslim ban.

We cannot profit from a subset of powerful customers at the expense of our communities; we cannot avert our eyes from the human cost of our business. The product we’re selling is a flawed technology that reinforces existing bias. Studies have shown that facial recognition is more likely to misidentify people with darker skin. This was clearly demonstrated by a recent test of Rekognition that ran pictures of every member of Congress against a collection of mugshots. There were 28 false matches and the incorrect results were disproportionately higher for people of color. But even if these inaccuracies were fixed, it would still be irresponsible, dangerous, and unethical to allow government use of this software. The existing biases that produced this bias exist within wider society and our justice system. The use of facial recognition will only reproduce and amplify existing systems of oppression.

The current political environment makes the idea of selling facial recognition products to the government even more objectionable. Police have stepped up spying on black activists, and the Trump administration is continuing its all-out assault on immigrants. Supercharging surveillance is not something we want to contribute to in any way. For Amazon to say that we require our Rekognition customers to follow the law is no guarantee of civil liberties at all—it’s a way to avoid taking responsibility for the negative uses of this technology.

We follow in the steps of the Googlers who spoke out against the Maven contract and Microsoft employees who are speaking out against the JEDI contract. Regardless of our views on the military, no one should be profiting from “increasing the lethality” of the military. We will not silently build technology to oppress and kill people, whether in our country or in others.

Amazon talks a lot about values of leadership. If we want to lead, we need to make a choice between people and profits. We can sell dangerous surveillance systems to police or we can stand up for what’s right. We can’t do both.

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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers ‘Some of Us Have Got to Die’

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers ‘Some of Us Have Got to Die’

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

I am not old enough to have seen Twelve O’Clock High in its initial public theatrical release in 1950. The first time I saw this classic end to end was probably in the 1980s, on a scratchy cassette via my tape-eating VHS recorder. It wasn’t what I had expected. I’ve seen it five or six times since—remastered for DVD, through online streaming, and on the old-movie cable channel. It still isn’t what I expect.

It throws me because I grew up in the cinematic backwash of World War II, a period that produced dozens upon dozens of unmemorable war movies. But Twelve O’Clock High is different, even from the others that have endured on artistic merit. It isn’t a rousing patriotic adventure like Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo or a thoughtful examination of the return to civilian life like The Best Years of Our Lives. It isn’t a satire on the absurdity of war like the Vietnam-era release Catch-22. It’s about an Eighth Air Force B-17 bomb group based in England, but the viewer doesn’t go along on a raid until the last 25 minutes of the picture. There’s aerial combat (including actual footage from American and German gun cameras), but Twelve O’Clock High does not focus on tactics or strategy. Its subject is the brutal psychological cost of warfare.

The story is set during the early days of the American strategic bombing campaign in 1942 and ’43. Without long-range escort fighters and with little combat experience, U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bombers were suffering appalling losses. Based on the wartime experiences of Beirne Lay Jr., a former Eighth Air Force staff officer and bomb group commander, Twelve O’Clock High portrays the crushing weight of command in dire straits.

Most of the drama is on the ground, inside command offices, officers’ quarters, and briefing halls. The climax of the picture takes place in a desk chair, not a cockpit. It was shot in black and white with shadows so stark that it often resembles the noir detective films of the period more than it does other war movies. You can almost smell the tobacco smoke.

The film has lived on in part because of Gregory Peck’s riveting performance as Frank Savage, the pitiless general sent to whip a demoralized Eighth Air Force bomb group into shape. Peck is best remembered today for his role as Atticus Finch, the heroic lawyer (and single parent) of 1965’s To Kill a Mockingbird. When Twelve O’Clock High was in production 16 years earlier, he was just emerging as a major star, but you can see the flinty core of Atticus in General Savage.

The $2 million movie was a success in its day but not a blockbuster, grossing $3.2 million in its first release. It won two Academy Awards, although few would remember Twelve O’Clock High today for winning “Best Sound Recording” of 1950. Where it was a real hit was with the Air Force, which used it for years as a training film in leadership courses. (One of the few objections the Air Force raised with the screenplay was that there was too much drinking. 20th Century Fox agreed to sober it up. So when a shaken character needs steadying, his buddies offer him a smoke, not a brandy.)

At the time of the movie’s release, the newly independent Air Force was dominated by the “bomber generals” of Strategic Air Command—men like Carl Spaatz and Curtis LeMay, themselves commanders in the Mighty Eighth. The SAC top brass admired the film’s endorsement of hard-nosed leadership, which would be essential to Air Force commanders in waging future nuclear warfare, according to John T. Correll, writing in a 2011 issue of Air Force Magazine. As technology and strategies changed along with Air Force command doctrine, Correll wrote, the movie fell out of official use. Still, he declared, Twelve O’Clock High might be “the best movie ever made about the Air Force.”

It is something more than that. Twelve O’Clock High is a memory film that creates a sense of place and time so strong that viewers might believe that they’d been there before through the flashback memories of Harvey Stovall, a supporting character played by Dean Jagger, whose performance won the film’s second Oscar.

That feeling of déjà vu haunted me in 2006, when I went to England in search of the Mighty Eighth.

The Army Air Forces positioned most of its U.K. bomber bases in rural East Anglia, the dead flat, eastern bulge of England that sticks out into the North Sea like a cannon’s mouth aimed at Nazi Europe. My search for the Eighth Air Force had led me to Thorpe Abbotts, the wartime base of the 100th Bomb Group (Heavy). The airfield had been hastily built for the group’s B-17s on prime agricultural land near the town of Diss. Soon after the war ended, the runways, hard stands, and nearly all traces of its military past went back under the plow, but decades later, the local people got permission from the landowner and cooperation from the 100th Bomb Group Veterans Association to restore the still-standing 1942 control tower as a small museum. I’d arranged to meet the volunteer museum keepers there.

Arriving early, I waited at the padlocked gate, admiring the restored tower. Three stories of concrete with a flat roof, steel pipe railings, and a glass box on top for the control room, the tower had recently been repainted an authentic drab Army green.

Author Beirne Lay had been here, flying 10 missions from Thorpe Abbotts with the 100th as an observer for Eighth Air Force commanding officer Major General Ira Eaker. One of those missions was the August 17, 1943, raid on Regensburg. The 100th sent 21 B-17s. Lay flew on Piccadilly Lily, one of only 12 to make it home. (The 100th was one of 16 bomb groups that flew to Regensburg that day; 60 bombers were lost.) More than 50 years later, looking through the gate at the repainted Thorpe Abbotts control tower, I felt as though I’d been here before, not in person but with Jagger’s character, Harvey Stovall.

Though the memories that inspired Twelve O’Clock High belong to Beirne Lay, the movie begins and ends with Jagger, who plays a middle-age ground adjutant in Lay’s barely fictional 918th Bomb Group. The story opens in post-war London, where Stovall, now a civilian, is on business for his Columbus, Ohio law firm. In the window of an antique shop, he spots a Toby jug, a large ceramic mug in the shape of a face. The jug’s face is Robin Hood with a wicked smile and a black eye mask, and it throws Stovall into a swirl of memory. Turning the Robin Hood jug face-out on the mantelpiece in the officers’ club had been the silent signal that the 918th had a mission the following morning.

The Robin Hood jug, a steam train, and a wobbly bicycle take Stovall back to his East Anglia airfield, the base now swallowed up in tall grass. Stovall wanders through the weeds until, in a masterful bit of filmmaking that uses only a swelling music track, a wind machine, and the start-up cough of a B-17 Wright Cyclone engine, he is transported back to 1942. A blast of prop wash flattens the grass around him. A squadron of B-17s, returning from a mission, swoops low, firing flares to summon ambulances for the wounded. A crippled B-17 slides in for a belly landing right in front of the camera, skidding through tents and plowing to a stop in a cloud of dust.

Back in uniform and back in time, Major Stovall goes roaring after it with the rescue party.

I have to remind myself that Jagger was never in the Eighth Air Force or in early-1940s East Anglia. He shot his scenes four years after the war ended, filming on deserted airfields in Alabama and Florida and on sound stages in Hollywood. He’s an actor. Performing on a set. It’s illusion. It’s a movie.

I am not the first to conflate drama and history. Yet Twelve O’Clock High fascinates me precisely because it looks back at a World War II past that was scarcely past when the film was made. The strategic world of the Eighth Air Force that the movie recreates—massive formations of heavy bombers fighting their way to targets—was obsolete by 1949, but the filmmakers arrived in time to achieve authenticity on a budget. The Air Force put a dozen battered but still-flying B-17s (with U.S. Air Force crews) at the disposal of 20th Century Fox. The service also supplied World War II surplus flight gear (including many sought-after A-2 leather flying jackets later reported “lost” by the actors), a technical advisor at no fee, and several hundred airmen as volunteer extras. The studio acquired a surplus B-17 for the crash scene, paying stunt pilot Paul Mantz $2,500—about $26,000 in today’s money—to execute a wheels-up emergency landing for the cameras.

Today, we have computer-generated imagery that can crash realistic-looking B-17s (or spaceships or fire-breathing dragons) for films and video games. In Twelve O’Clock High, as in most war films of the era, those are real B-17s. (A few of them were slightly radioactive, having been used as drones in open-air A-bomb tests.) The filmmakers may be play-acting World War II, but the B-17s in the film are a last operational ghost squadron, a glimpse of a dying age, like a harbor filled with square-rigged sailing ships or a herd of wild buffalo.

Anyone involved in Twelve O’Clock High’s production would likely have been embarrassed by any sissy talk of Art with a capital “A.” Director Henry King is a prime example. Movie historian William Everson says that’s one reason traditional Hollywood studio directors like King have been overlooked by film buffs. “For directors of the past to be rediscovered by contemporary critics, they usually have to have been off-beat, ahead of their time, or even abysmally bad but, at the same time, interesting in a bizarre way,” Everson says. “But King fits into none of these categories. Far from being ahead of his time, he was exactly of his time.”

And this man of his time had little time for Art. “To me,” King told an interviewer in 1979, “motion pictures are less about art than about storytelling.” He’d caught the showbiz bug from theatrical companies barnstorming through rural Virginia at the turn of the 20th century. In 1906, he ran off with the Jolly American Tramp Show to play nine shows a week (six evenings and three matinées) while chugging from small town to small city via milk train.

In 1915, King landed in Los Angeles as a contract actor for the Lublin Manufacturing Company, one of dozens of Hollywood studios in those early frenzied days cranking out silent “three-reelers.” King the film actor soon volunteered to become King the film director even though directors weren’t highly valued. In 1916, King was paid $75 a week for acting and $25 a week for directing.

Henry King never looked back, eventually directing 108 features in a nearly 50-year career that went from “silents to CinemaScope,” as Everson put it. From silent films, King graduated to directing “talkies” at 20th Century Fox, where he became a fixture, knocking out feature after feature for studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck. (Zanuck had a controversial wartime tenure as a colonel in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, covering the U.S. invasion of North Africa before resigning his commission in 1944.)

In early 1949, Zanuck called in King to tell him he had been saving a sensational story just for King. If King didn’t like it, Zanuck said, he’d junk the whole thing. Well, maybe.

According to The 12 [sic] O’Clock High Logbook, a labor of love and a work of determined scholarship by Allan T. Duffin and Paul Matheis, Zanuck had already been working with another director on the project but had just fired him. Duffin and Matheis, who seem to have studied every script draft, every studio memo, and every Air Force directive about the project, said that Zanuck’s interest was genuine. He’d paid $100,000 for screen rights even before Beirne Lay and co-author Sy Bartlett had published Twelve O’Clock High, their novel, in 1948. That was big money then. With Zanuck breathing down their necks, Lay and Bartlett had been writing and rewriting a screenplay for nearly a year before King agreed to direct.

Whether or not King had been Zanuck’s first choice, he was the perfect choice. Known as the “flying director,” King, who’d earned his private pilot’s license in 1918 (and kept it current until a few months before his death at age 91 in 1982), was a tireless advocate of the airplane as an industrial tool for the movie business. For Twelve O’Clock High, King scouted locations in his own Beech Bonanza, moved the cast and crew from location to location in a chartered Douglas DC-4, and gave the ground operations scenes a no-nonsense authenticity.

But it was still a Darryl F. Zanuck production. To get the B-17s and other resources he needed, the hard-charging mogul went straight to Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg. When at the last minute Eglin Air Force Base refused to hand over a B-17 for the crash-landing scene, Zanuck phoned Vandenberg, who ordered the staff at Eglin to work something out. They delivered a B-17 for crashing but with an agreement that 20th Century Fox would return every scrap of wreckage and pay all transport costs.

Zanuck shaped the story too. The novel had featured an all-too-predictable romance between Savage and a beautiful Royal Air Force flight lieutenant. Zanuck insisted that the romance and anything else that didn’t ratchet up the tension had to go.

When the film was released in 1950, the Fox publicity department promoted it as “A story of twelve men as their women never knew them.” It was no wonder. There was only one female speaking part—a nurse. Lay and Bartlett had boiled down their novel into a screenplay so tightly focused on the internal struggles of the 918th Bomb Group that women and the Luftwaffe itself seem almost irrelevant to the narrative.

Peck, the leading man, was Zanuck’s choice. Though he dominates the film, it’s the character actors around him who give the 918th life. Jagger made a huge sacrifice to get the part of the steel-spectacled Major Stovall. Zanuck badgered him into appearing in the film without his toupee—a first in his career. The supporting cast is filled out with half-familiar Hollywood faces and half-forgotten Hollywood names like Gary Merrill, who is terrific as a stressed-out group commander, and Millard Mitchell, who stands in for the historical Ira Eaker—the lonely Old Man at the Top, ordering young men to fiery deaths.

Despite the caliber of its creators and cast, Twelve O’Clock High still might have been a dud. Good people make bad movies all the time.

The reason this one came together was Beirne Lay. Drawing on his own wartime experiences, he also took inspiration from historical Army Air Forces figures from General Eaker down to the real-life “stowaway” company clerk who became a crack aerial gunner. His model for General Savage was Colonel Frank A. Armstrong Jr., who in early 1943 was sent by Eaker to shake up the floundering 306th Bomb Group. (The fictional 918th is the real 306th times three.)

Lay had joined the Army Air Corps back in 1932, a year after graduating in English from Yale. In those lean Depression years, Lieutenant Lay was assigned to the Air Corps’ fledgling bomber command, which was flying obsolete two-engine biplanes like the Keystone B-6 and Curtiss B-2. The lieutenant soon took to his typewriter to champion the Air Corps in the press. Aviation editors clamored for Lay’s knowledgeable articles, and Air Corps brass took note of his byline. After finishing his Air Corps active-duty requirement in 1935, he left to edit The Sportsman Pilot. In 1937, his first novel, an account of his Air Corps training called I Wanted Wings, was optioned for the movies by Paramount Pictures but mangled beyond recognition into a 1941 release starring Ray Milland.

By then, Lay was back in the Army Air Corps as a captain seeking a combat assignment. Instead, he was snagged by Eaker, who had closely followed Lay’s writing career. Eaker carried him off to England in early 1942 as the Eighth Air Force communications officer.

Lay was torn. As a key member of Eaker’s inner circle, he had a ringside seat on the bombing war. But as a pilot, his desk taunted him. He begged for a transfer and was finally allowed to “familiarize” himself with the B-17s flown by the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts.

Now a major, Lay arrived in time for the raid on Regensburg. It was murder. More than 550 crewmen were listed as missing after the raid, most of them killed. Many of the bombers that made it back were damaged beyond repair. By the fall of 1943, the Mighty Eighth was close to collapse. Yet after reporting back to Eighth Air Force headquarters, Lay still itched for a combat command.

In 1944, Lay—now a lieutenant colonel—was sent back to the States to stand up a new B-24 bomber group, the 487th Bomb Group (Heavy). He found the job of group commander almost crushing: green pilots, under-trained crews, malfunctioning aircraft. Somehow he moved the group across the Atlantic and prepared them for combat from their base in East Anglia. The responsibility weighed on him. In his quarters at night, Lay stared at the ceiling, unable to forget that many of the young men under his command would soon be either dead or imprisoned across enemy lines. “For a few seconds, I lay there luxuriating in the feel of clean sheets staring at those cryptic letters above my bedroom door: C.O.’s Bedroom,” he wrote. “There were nearly 40 of these rooms on 40 American bomber stations in England and each room harbored a man who carried a heavy load. Many of them must have wondered as I did, if the human mechanism was designed to stand up long under such an ordeal.” That bedroom ceiling and that question would both feature prominently in Twelve O’Clock High.

Lay’s combat career was short. Determined to lead from the front, Lay was shot down in May 1944 on his fourth mission against French targets in preparation for D-Day. Five of his crew died in the crash. Another five bailed out, including Lay who managed to evade capture, take shelter with the French Resistance, and walk into the advancing American lines three months later.

Lay recounted this adventure in his 1945 book, I’ve Had It. (Republished in 1980 under the title Presumed Dead, it’s a great read no matter what you call it.) But by the time he got back to England, the 487th Bomb Group had a new, highly competent commander. Moreover, Lay now knew too much about the French underground for the Air Force to risk the possibility of his being shot down again. He was finished as a combat commander. “I knew that I was swallowing the bitterest disappointment of my life and I would never get over it,” he wrote.

By 1946, Lay was trying his hand again as a civilian screenwriter in Los Angeles when a figure from the recent past, Sy Bartlett, popped up.

Hollywood had been good to Bartlett. Before the war, he had racked up credits, thrown lavish barbecues, and played on Zanuck’s polo team. Once the war began, Bartlett pulled strings to join an Army documentary unit and then more strings to get to England.

One of those strings led him to Beirne Lay. They clicked. Lay introduced Bartlett to Eighth Air Force commander Major General Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, Eaker’s boss at the time. Spaatz took Bartlett on as his personal intelligence assistant. From that lofty perch, Bartlett toured RAF and AAF bases at will, rode along on bombing missions, and nearly got himself court-martialed for calling a press conference at Claridge’s Hotel in London to describe his personal role in an RAF night raid on Berlin.

After the war, Bartlett found Lay in Hollywood, convinced that collaboration on an Eighth Air Force story would make for a dynamite novel and an even more lucrative screenplay.

Lay resisted. Bartlett persisted. Finally Lay retired to the basement of his overcrowded apartment building and, with a portable typewriter parked on an orange crate and a naked light bulb overhead, started writing. Bartlett would do his part, shaping the plot and honing the dialog, but the spine of Twelve O’Clock High sprang from Lay’s vivid recall of the weight of command.

That’s most clearly dramatized in the film when General Savage gives his first speech to the flight crews of the 918th assembled in the briefing hall. To a man, they hate his guts. He’s just pushed aside their old commander. He lands on them like a ton of bricks, dressing them down as slackers and whiners. “We’ve got to fight. And some of us have got to die,” he tells them. “Consider yourselves already dead. After that, it won’t be so tough.”

This is not an inspirational pep talk. It’s not chest beating. It’s not poetry. It isn’t pretty. But it’s what faced the Eighth Air Force in East Anglia in summer 1943. If you weren’t there, you don’t know. But watching Twelve O’Clock High, you can be, all over again.

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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Python’s New Package Landscape

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Python’s New Package Landscape

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

May 11th, 2018 | 15 min. reading time

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Dizzy Snake covered in colorful boxes.


On April 16, 2018, the Python Packaging Authority (PyPA) deployed a new version of PyPI (pronounced pie-pea-eye), the official online repository of Python projects. The domain https://pypi.org has hosted the new version in its alpha and beta forms; now, with the update, the original URL (https://pypi.python.org/pypi) redirects to the new, simpler URL.

The original, known informally as the cheese shop after the Monty Python skit, has not had a full refresh since its inception in 2003. PyPI 2.0, code-named Warehouse, features a more modern architecture using tools not available at the time the first version was built.

PyPI is not the only part of the packaging ecosystem to evolve: the methods for structuring Python projects, building Python distributions, and installing these distributions have improved in the last two to four years. In light of the new version of PyPI, here is a high-level look at the modifications to keep you up to speed.

Dependency Managers: Simplifying Isolation and Adding Resolution

The pip tool—created in 2008 and released in 2011—has acted as Python’s de facto installer for quite some time. It is a great tool, but using pip on its own comes with two key difficulties:

  1. Project isolation: if two different projects require two different versions of the same library, how does a developer ensure that a project is using the correct library version?
  2. Dependency synchronization: if a developer on a project adds a new dependency or upgrades an existing dependency, how does the developer ensure that other developers on the project sync their dependency graphs deterministically?

To solve the first pain point, Python developers have historically relied on virtual environments. Originally, this consisted of installing and configuring virtualenv or virtualenvwrapper. Starting with Python 3.3, Python ships the built-in venv module as well, providing developers with another option.

The second pain point has been largely unsolved in the Python world. Developers have relied on setup.py (discussed later in this article) and the convention of specifying a requirements.txt with a list of dependencies. Depending on the developer’s intentions, it’s generally recommended that the versions of the dependencies be specified exactly (pinned) or limited (e.g., Django>=2.0). The goal of pinning is to ensure consistent installations regardless of who installs, and when. However, properly pinning or limiting versions requires tricky manual work on the developer’s part. One of the central difficulties comes from managing the dependencies of dependencies (and so on). Ensuring repeatable installation of the same versions of dependencies using only pip is thus very difficult.

Pipenv—first announced in January 2017—mitigates both pain points. Pipenv acts as a wrapper around pip and virtual environments and provides a seamless experience for working with the two tools to address the first pain point. Pipenv lessens the second pain point by implementing dependency resolution and by automating behavior. For instance, Pipenv saves the names and versions of dependencies being installed so that developers may forgo manually updating requirements.txt. Rather than relying on a list of dependencies in requirements.txt, Pipenv defines and creates Pipfile and Pipfile.lock files to manage dependencies. The first file defines the direct dependencies for the project, while the second saves all of the dependencies installed, ensuring consistent installations over time. Developers on teams will still need to remember to sync their dependencies when switching branches or pulling from remotes, but Pipenv reduces that work to a single command: pipenv sync.

The benefits of using Pipenv in application development led PyPA to recommend it for dependency management of applications. PyPA first added a tutorial for managing application dependencies with Pipenv in November 2017 and then listed Pipenv as a formal recommendation in February 2018.

To be clear, PyPA recommends Pipenv for applications, but not for libraries. Library dependencies need to be defined flexibly, so Pipenv is not suited to the task, given the strict pinning in Pipfile.lock.

Pipenv has garnered much attention because of PyPA’s recommendation, but it is not the only new dependency manager. For instance, Poetry and Hatch both offer functionality that overlaps with Pipenv. All three tools wrap pip and virtualenv to handle the first pain point. However, this is where the tools begin to diverge in their feature sets.

Poetry and Pipenv both seek to resolve dependencies deterministically to solve the second pain point. Notably, Poetry seeks to make dependency resolution more reliable than Pipenv‘s implementation . What’s more, Poetry is intended to manage dependencies for both applications and libraries. We’ll discuss the reasons for this later in the article.

Hatch, which is still only version 0.20.0, does not currently focus on the second pain point for installing Python distributions; instead, it focuses on creating, managing, and testing libraries and applications with the aim of simplifying regular development tasks. Poetry and Hatch have some overlap here, but Hatch offers more features.

Another dependency manager—which predates Pipenv, Poetry, and Hatch—pip-tools focuses on the second pain point by ensuring consistent installations. It generates a requirements.txt based on the contents of another file: either requirements.in—a file format specified by pip-tools—or else setup.py (discussed later). Much like Pipenv, it defines a single command for syncing environments, making it easy for developers on teams to stay on the same page.

Not all tools focus on dependency management of codebases during development; some tools handle dependencies outside of development. For instance, pipsi allows for Python command line applications to be installed in separate virtual environments, making them appear global while isolating them from each other. For instance, if two command line scripts require two different versions of Click, pipsi enables the installation of both tools. Jacob Kaplan-Moss, one of Django’s original core contributors, uses pipsi in his setup to install Pipenv.

In conclusion, although pip remains the key tool for installing distributions, and virtual environments are still necessary for isolation, a host of new tools make installation and isolation a more seamless experience. Some of these tools introduce dependency resolution, ensuring consistent installations of dependency trees for different developers over time. Pipenv is the official new tool for managing application dependencies, but it is not your only choice, and the alternatives may better suit your needs.

New Recommendations for a Robust Project Structure

Previously, how a developer decided to organize modules and packages in a source code repository was up to her, and was largely viewed as preference. However, the consensus has been growing for how Python libraries—code intended to be shared—should be organized based on known pitfalls in Python.

Ionel Cristian Mărieș first discussed using a src/ directory to protect Python code from specific pitfalls in 2014, but the reception was mixed. Hynek Schlawack noted in 2016 how he first disregarded this method only to be bitten by the problems Ionel had described after his initial post. Finally, tools like PyTest now recommend using this structure, and (as Hynek notes in his article) it makes getting testing right with Tox much easier.

I call it a growing consensus because PyPA’s instructions for creating a sample project notably do not follow the src/ structure. With that said, the project also states in the Read Me that it “does not aim to cover best practices for Python project development as a whole.”

Regardless, if you’re starting a new Python project or running into the problems described in the aforementioned articles, it may be in your interest to switch the directory structure of your project for all of the reasons Ionel laid out.

The evolution of build tools for Python source code is perhaps the most important set of changes discussed in this article. These changes necessitate a closer look than the other topics covered (refill your tea/coffee!).

Packages or bundles of Python source code meant to be shared and installed by others are formally called distributions. They are so named to avoid confusion with the concept of a Python package, which is a collection of Python modules.

Distributions can be source distributions or built distributions. If someone is installing a source distribution—for example, installing directly from GitHub—their installer must perform a build step during the process. In contrast, an installer can simply place a built distribution in the right location. The term installation is used casually to refer to either the placement of a built distribution or the combined build process and placement.

Built distributions come in many formats, but we will focus on the two Python-only formats: eggs and wheels. Eggs were first available in Python 2.3 but have been effectively replaced by wheels, which were first proposed in PEP 427 in 2012. You can read more about their differences in PyPA’s packaging guide or in the documentation for the wheels package.

Today, two tools are used to build and distribute Python code in these formats: distutils and setuptools.

Python’s distutils has been used to bundle Python code since Python 1.6, which was released in parallel with Python 2.0 in late 2000. PEP 229, written in November 2000, first outlined the intent to use distutils to distribute Python code with Python itself.

Originating in 2004 and built on top of distutils, the setuptools project exists to overcome limitations in distutils and includes a tool called easy_install; setuptools was the tool that introduced the eggs format.

Python distributions follow basic rules imposed by distutils. In particular, all Python packaging and distribution tools—including pip and Pipenv—expect the existence of a file named setup.py in the root of a source distribution. This file is how distutils and setuptools create built distributions from source code.

PEP 517 and PEP 518—accepted in September 2017 and May 2016, respectively—changed this status quo by enabling package authors to select different build systems. Said differently, for the first time in Python, developers may opt to use a distribution build tool other than distutils or setuptools. The ubiquitous setup.py file is no longer mandatory in Python libraries.

As PEP 518 describes, developers may now include a TOML file named pyproject.toml in their codebases to specify what tools they want to use to build a distribution. The TOML file may additionally configure these build tools, and can provide settings for other tools. You can use these files today: pip has known to look for these files in repositories and source distributions since PR 4144 was merged in May 2017.

The Github respository for pip provides an example of how to write a pyproject.toml file. In this case, pip defines the use of setuptools and wheels for building distributions and further configures Amber Brown’s towncrier project for generating news. However, Python package authors could eventually opt to build distributions with tools like Flit or the aforementioned Poetry. That’s right: Poetry is not only a dependency manager but also a distribution builder and publisher that uses pyproject.toml. Although Python core contributor Brett Cannon recommends using Flit, and core contributor Mariatta Wijaya appears to agree, Poetry has also begun to draw attention from people like Jannis Leidel—one of the original authors of pip—likely because of its scope.

I suspect that we still have some time before the dust settles and the tools find their groove. Notably, Flit does not support the src/ project structure discussed earlier in this article, and Poetry is still pre-1.0, having had its first commit in February 2018.

All in all, making distribution building more modular and allowing for new tools are enormous changes.


Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers XKCD Comic Mocking Python Environment

The ecosystem of dependency managers is improving rapidly, but with change comes confusion. Pipenv, Poetry, and Hatch wrap pip and virtual environments, but none of them replaces pip or virtual environments. Each one offers different features, solving different problems. As Thea Flowers, PyPA member, has noted, no single tool fulfills all requirements.

Build tools are also evolving rapidly, and I expect we will see more in the future, while the existing tools mature.

If you are wondering which tools to use, first ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Do you need a dependency manager or a distribution builder? Are you programming a library or an application? Do you need to support older setups, which may still require the use of setup.py, or can your new distribution be geared toward the future? The answers to questions like these will inform the choices you make. The only place I find myself being prescriptive is in the use of the src/ project structure, as it avoids implicit errors and makes life easier for developers new to your project—but even then, not everyone agrees.

Packaging Python has long been a pain point for the language and the community (see Nick Coghlan’s 2013 notes about packaging in Python for fun). The aforementioned changes are very positive, and we owe the individuals involved an enormous thank-you for all their hard work. Take a moment to thank them on Twitter, on GitHub, or in person!

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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Get Lost in Mega-Tunnels Dug by South American Megafauna – The Crux

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Get Lost in Mega-Tunnels Dug by South American Megafauna – The Crux

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers paleoburrow1

Looking into a large paleoburrow in Brazil. (Courtesy: Heinrich Frank)

It was in 2010 that Amilcar Adamy first investigated rumors of an impressive cave in southern Brazil.

A geologist with the Brazilian Geological Survey (known by its Portuguese acronym, CPRM) Adamy was at the time working on a general survey of the Amazonian state of Rondonia. After asking around, he eventually found his way to a gaping hole on a wooded slope a few miles north of the Bolivian border.

Unable to contact the landowner, Adamy couldn’t study the cave in detail during that first encounter. But a preliminary inspection revealed it wasn’t the work of any natural geological process. He’d been in other caves nearby, formed by water within the same geology underlying this particular hillside. Those caves looked nothing like this large, round passage with a smooth floor.

“I’d never seen anything like it before,” said Adamy, who resolved to return for a closer look some day. “It really grabbed my attention. It didn’t look natural.”

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Galerias-paleotoca

Inside the first paleoburrow discovered in the Amazon. It’s nearly twice as large as the second-largest known burrow, located elsewhere in Brazil. (Credit: Amilcar Adamy/CPRM)

A few years earlier, and about 1,700 miles to the southeast, another Brazilian geologist happened upon a different, equally peculiar cave. Heinrich Frank, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, was zipping down the highway on a Friday afternoon when he passed a construction site in the town of Novo Hamburgo. There, in a bank where excavators had eaten away half of a hill, he saw a peculiar hole.

Local geology doesn’t yield such a sight, so Frank went back a few weeks later and crawled inside. It was a single shaft, about 15 feet long; at its end, while on his back, he found what looked like claw marks all over the ceiling. Unable to identify any natural geological explanation for the cave’s existence, he eventually concluded that it was a “paleoburrow,” dug, he believes, by an extinct species of giant ground sloth.

“I didn’t know there was such a thing as paleoburrows,” says Frank. “I’m a geologist, a professor, and I’d never even heard of them.”

Rise of the Burrow

Until the early 2000s, in fact, hardly any burrows attributed to extinct megafauna had been described in the scientific literature. That’s especially curious because, after his chance discovery in Novo Hamburgo, Frank caught the burrow bug and began finding them in droves.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers paleoburrow-3

Claw marks are clear signs from the engineers who dug the tunnel. (Courtesy: Heinrich Frank)

Surveying a 45-mile stretch of highway construction near the city of Porto Alegre, for example, Frank and his students identified paleoburrows in more than 70 percent of road cuts. Although many are completely filled with sediment, they remain readily apparent, standing out like dark, round knots in a dirt bank. Others are still open, like the one that first attracted Frank’s attention.

When Frank found a suitable passage, he squeezed through an elliptical shaft roughly four-feet wide, 65-feet long and lined with claw marks. Extrapolating from the original size of the hill sliced away for the highway, he calculated that the original burrow was about 250 feet long, not counting for twists and turns that it surely once included.

“There’s no geological process in the world that produces long tunnels with a circular or elliptical cross-section, which branch and rise and fall, with claw marks on the walls,” says Frank. “I’ve [also] seen dozens of caves that have inorganic origins, and in these cases, it’s very clear that digging animals had no role in their creation.”

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers paleoburrow-4

Outside the entrance to a paleoburrow. (Courtesy: Heinrich Frank)

In his home state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the far south of Brazil, Frank has documented at least 1,500 paleoburrows so far. In Santa Catarina, just to the north, he’s found hundreds more and counting.

“In these burrows, sometimes you get the feeling that there’s some creature waiting around the next curve – that’s how much it feels like a prehistoric animal den,” he says.

The First in the Amazon

It wasn’t until 2015 that Amilcar Adamy of the CPRM had an opportunity to return to that strange cave in Rondonia. It turned out to be the first paleoburrow discovered in the Amazon, which is notable, but not the coolest part. It also turned out to be one of the largest ever measured, with branching tunnels altogether tallying about 2,000 feet in length. The main shafts – since enlarged by erosion – were originally more than six feet tall and three to five feet wide; an estimated 4,000 metric tons of dirt and rock were dug out of the hillside to create the burrow.

“This wasn’t made by one or two individuals,” says Adamy. “It was made by many, over generations.” Frank describes it as an exciting, though not particularly surprising, discovery.

“We knew that there could be burrows this big,” he says. “This huge one in Rondonia simply confirms that they do exist.”

In Rio Grande do Sul, Frank has found burrows that were originally several hundred feet long. More than 1,000 total feet of tunnel have been measured in another burrow in the Gandarela Mountains, far to the north in the state of Minas Gerais. Though he has yet to investigate, Frank’s received reports of one burrow more than 3,000 feet long in Santa Catarina.

Prehistoric Engineers

Frank believes the biggest burrows – measuring up to five feet in diameter – were dug by ground sloths. He and his colleagues consider as possibilities several genera that once lived in South America and whose fossil remains suggest adaptation for serious digging: Catonyx, Glossotherium and the massive, several-ton Lestodon. Others believe that extinct armadillos such as Pampatherium, Holmesina or Propraopus, though smaller than the sloths, were responsible for even the largest burrows.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers paleoburrow-digging

Regardless, the sheer size of the burrows is something that Frank and his colleagues are still trying to explain. Whether prehistoric sloths or armadillos were responsible, the burrows are far larger than would be necessary to shelter the animals that dug them from predators or the elements.

The giant armadillo, the largest living member of the family, weighs between 65 and 90 pounds and is found throughout much of South America. Its burrows are only about 16 inches in diameter and up to about 20 feet long.

“So if a 90-pound animal living today digs a 16-inch by 20-foot borrow, what would dig one five feet wide and 250 feet long?” asks Frank. “There’s no explanation – not predators, not climate, not humidity. I really don’t know.”

Dating the burrows also remains guesswork at best—animals don’t dig holes after they go extinct. However, they had to have been dug at least 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, when South America’s giant ground sloths and armadillos vanished. Dating organic material found in burrow sediments – which has yet to be done – would reveal when sediments washed in, but not necessarily when the burrow was dug. Frank says that speleothems, or mineral deposits, growing on burrow walls could be used to calculate an age, although that hasn’t been tried yet either.

Another head-scratcher is the strange geographic distribution of paleoburrows. While common in the southern Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, they are, so far, almost unknown just to the south in Uruguay (though some of the first ever described were found even further south in Argentina). Likewise, very few have been found farther north in Brazil, and Frank is aware of just a tiny handful of possible burrows in other South American countries.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers scratch-marks

A closer look at those claw marks. (Courtesy: Heinrich Frank)

He doesn’t think he’s biased because he happens to live and work in the heart of burrow country. Frank has colleagues who have searched extensively elsewhere in Brazil and come up mostly empty. He’s also done sleuthing using Google, searching for images of caves posted by others. In the south of Brazil, he frequently identifies paleoburrows by details unwittingly captured in photos, like one of a smiling troop of Brazilian boy scouts posing in front of a cave wall covered with claw marks. In other parts of the country and continent, people post pictures of caves that they visit, but practically none of them look like they were originally dug by animals.

A South American Thing

Though North America was also once home to giant ground sloths and giant armadillos, you won’t find paleoburrows here.

“The fact that we don’t have them here could simply be that we’ve overlooked them,” says Greg McDonald, a Bureau of Land Management paleontologist who studies extinct South American sloths. “[Or] it may be that we had them up here but didn’t have the right types of soils that allowed them to survive for a long time.”

Here, too, unanswered questions are raised by absence of paleoburrows. The beautiful armadillo, Dasypus bellus, an extinct creature about twice the size of today’s nine-banded armadillo, was widespread in Pleistocene North America and had forelimb morphology very similar to that of modern armadillos, which are enthusiastic burrowers. Beautiful amardillo remains are frequently found in caves, but not ones scientists have ever thought were actually dug by the animal.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Megatherium_americanum

In South America, giant sloths—some the size of elephants—roamed the surface, and were, perhaps, expert tunnel diggers. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Another possibility, McDonald allows, is that paleoburrows are found in North America, but no one has paid them any attention, as was the case in South America until quite recently.

“Something can be out there and they’re so common and people just take them for granted,” he says. “And [no one knows] till somebody with a little bit of curiosity takes a closer look and says, ‘What’s forming these?’”

For the handful of scientists in South America studying paleoburrows, there’s a long list of research projects to design, all revolving around the same basic questions: who, why, what, where and when?

At the top of Frank’s list is to better describe patterns emerging from observations he’s collected studying paleoburrows for the past decade. Some are simple shafts; others are complicated works of underground engineering, with branching tunnels that twist and turn and rise and fall to form a network with more than one entrance. Some occasionally open up into much larger chambers. There are relatively small ones. Then there are the enormous ones.

“We need to figure out the patterns. We’re starting to understand this better,” Frank says. “And from there, we’ll be better able to infer what kinds of different animals were digging them.”

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | New study argues against some of the oldest evidence for life

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | New study argues against some of the oldest evidence for life

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

The struggle is real —

Are these 3.7 billion-year-old fossils or just messed-up bedrock?

Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | Superimposed arrows point out places on a rock face.
Enlarge /

The triangular shapes had been described as possible relics of 3.7 billion-year-old microbial life. The rock has been flipped upside down since then, but the red arrow highlights that one of these triangles is not like the others.

Few things in science seem to be as controversial as claims to the oldest evidence of life on Earth. As researchers strive to push life’s origins back further into the history of the early Earth, the evidence they have is never completely unambiguous. (If you were over three billion years old, you wouldn’t look so great, either.) Other scientists inevitably question any new evidence, and arguments ensue.

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Microbes in Greenland?

Two years ago, a group working in the ancient rocks of Greenland stumbled on some tantalizing cone-shaped distortions of rock layers. Based on several lines of evidence, the researchers concluded that they had found stromatolites, which are layered mounds built by communities of microbes in shallow water. Modern stromatolites are mainly known from Australia’s Shark Bay, but they were much more common when microbes ruled the Earth so are therefore one of the most obvious relics of life in the rock record. The Greenland find would push the age of the oldest-known stromatolite from about 3.45 billion years to 3.7 billion years.

But other researchers wanted to see these Greenland rocks for themselves. And in a newly published study led by Abigail Allwood, she and her team explain why they aren’t buying it.

Their first observation is the simplest—there’s a problem with the shape of the purported stromatolites. The original team worked with the face of the rock outcrop, but the new group managed to saw out a block of rock for a three-dimensional view. What looked like a cone from the front turned out to be more ridge-shaped—like thinking you’ve spotted a square chocolate and finding it’s actually one end of a long candy bar (except not quite so joy-inducing). What’s more, Allwood’s group found some tha

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Dealmaster: Hot deals on an Asus ROG gaming laptop and more

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Dealmaster: Hot deals on an Asus ROG gaming laptop and more

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Gaming gear for cheap —

Plus deals for Tiles, the new Intel i9-9900K CPU, and Audible.

Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | Dealmaster: Hot deals on an Asus ROG gaming laptop and more

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, the dealmaster is back with a big bunch of deals for your consideration. The top featured item today is a ASUS ROG Strix gaming laptop. This 15.6-inch behemoth has an Intel Core i5-8300H, 8GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, and a 128GB SSD plus a 1TB hard drive. Normally this is $1,039.99, but today you can get it for $879.99. Did we mention it has a super cool RGB keyboard?

If you’re more of a desktop gamer, we also have a deal on the new Intel Core i9 9900k CPU, which releases tomorrow.

You can find those and tons of other deals below. Happy bargain hunting!

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

Featured Deals

  • ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition GL503GE-ES52 Intel Core i5-8300H Quad 15.6″ with 120Hz 1080p Display, GTX 1050 Ti GPU, Aura FX Lighting and Dual Storage for $879.99 at Walmart (list price $1039.99).
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Intel Core i7-7500U 15.6″ 1080p Laptop with 12GB RAM, 2TB HDD for $519.99 at Dell (use code: INSP569 – list price $829.99).
  • New Tile Mate 4-Pack Bluetooth Tracker with Replaceable Battery for $59.99 at Tile (list price $100).
  • New Tile Pro 2-Pack Bluetooth Tracker 2-Pack with Expanded 300ft Range and Replaceable Battery for $59.99 at Tile (list price $70).
  • Releases Tomorrow: Intel Core i9-9900K 8-Core/16 Thread LGA1151 95W Processor for $529.99 at Amazon.
  • SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive for $22.49 at Amazon (list price $37.99).
  • Anker Roav VIVA 2-Port USB Car Charger (Alexa Enabled) for $33.99 at Amazon (use code: ROAVFF44 – list price $48.51).
  • Bluedio T6 Active Noise Canceling Headphones with Voice Control for $34.99 at Amazon (use code: BLUEDIOT6 – list price $69.99).
  • PAXCESS 250Wh 67,500mAh 280W Portable Power Station with AC, DC, USB ports for $155.99 at Amazon (use code: SV5I2MPA – list price $249.99).
  • 1-Month Audible Gold + Bonus $6 Amazon Credit + Two Free Audiobooks + Two Audible Originals (New Members Only) for $5.95 at PCMag Shop (list price $14.95).
  • NBA 2K19 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch) for $39.88 at Walmart (list price $59.99).

Laptop & Desktop Computers

  • ASUS ROG Strix Hero Edition GL503GE-ES52 Intel Core i5-8300H Quad 15.6″ with 120Hz 1080p Display, GTX 1050 Ti GPU, Aura FX Lighting and Dual Storage for $879.99 at Walmart (list price $1039.99).
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Intel Core i7-7500U 15.6″ 1080p Laptop with 12GB RAM, 2TB HDD for $519.99 at Dell (use code: INSP569 – list price $829.99).
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Intel Core i7-7500U 15.6″ 1366×768 Laptop (8GB/1TB) for $499.99 at Dell (use code: INSPSAVE300 – list price $809.99).
  • MSI GP73 Leopard 636 Intel Core i7-8750H Six-Core 17.3″ 1080p Gaming Laptop with GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD for $1699.99 at Walmart (list price $1799.99).
  • Dell G3 17 Intel Core i5-8300H Quad-Core 17.3″ 1920×1080 Gaming Laptop with GTX 1050, 1TB HDD + 16GB Intel Optane Memory for $789.99 at Walmart (list price $849.99).
  • Acer Aspire 3 AMD A9-9420 Dual-core 15.6″ 1920×1080 Laptop (8GB/1TB) for $309 at Walmart (list price $349).

More Laptops & Desktop PC Deals here.

HDTVs & Home Entertainment

More TV Deals here.

Electronics & Components

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Samsung launches Snapdragon 850-powered Windows 2-in-1

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Samsung launches Snapdragon 850-powered Windows 2-in-1

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Surface RT lives on —

Snapdragon 850 is Qualcomm’s first chip explicitly for PC form factors.

  • Samsung Galaxy Book2 from the front.


  • Samsung Galaxy Book2 from the side.


  • Samsung Galaxy Book2 from the side, without the keyboard.


  • Samsung Galaxy Book2 keyboard and pen close-up.


Samsung today announced the Galaxy Book2 (sic; the company has not put a space between the word and the number), a 2-in-1 tablet running Windows 10, powered by a Snapdragon 850 processor.

The first generation of Windows 10-on-ARM machines were roundly criticized for the performance of their Snapdragon 835 processors. The second generation of machines, however, uses the Snapdragon 850, a variant of the Snapdragon 845 that’s designed for the bigger batteries and higher power dissipation of laptops and tablets. This is widely hoped and expected to bring performance up to respectable levels.

This new tablet follows Microsoft’s Surface Pro design: a tablet with a kickstand, a detachable keyboard, an

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | “There’s more in the making”—Apple announces October 30 event

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | “There’s more in the making”—Apple announces October 30 event

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Apple —

Reports suggest iPad Pros will headline, and new Macs are possible, too.

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • Another one of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • You may sense a theme coming in this gallery…

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

  • One of several styled Apple logos associated with the October 30 event.

Apple will host another product announcement event on October 30 at 10am Eastern time, according to invitations that have gone out to members of the press and an update to Apple’s live events page.

The invitation for the event carries the copy, “There’s more in the making,” and it’s accompanied by artistic renditions of Apple’s logo. This combo suggests the products discussed at this event might be targeted at creative professionals and hobbyists—a common theme for Apple’s products of late. In fact, there appear to be several versions of the logo, and different members of the press received different ones. You can see many of them above or by refreshing the Apple live events page.

The creative focus lines up closely with previous rumors about Apple’s hardware plans for the rest of the year. Multiple reports from Bloomberg and others have said that Apple plans to introduce new iPad Pro models this fall. According to sources close to Apple as well as data found

in the latest iOS builds

, the new iPad Pros would have near-edge-to-edge displays like the iPhone XS, as well as the TrueDepth camera array for Face ID and other applications. More surprisingly, some sources have said that t

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | The Petit Le Mans: More proof we’re in a golden age for sportscar racing

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | The Petit Le Mans: More proof we’re in a golden age for sportscar racing

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

dee pee aye —

This year’s IMSA championships were sealed over a nail-biting 10-hour finale.

  • Pipo Derani qualified his Nissan DPi in pole position. It would be an exciting race for Derani and his teammates.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • The pre-race grid walk was as packed as I’ve ever seen one.

    Jonathan Gitlin

  • This would be our vantage point for much of the race: thanks for hosting us, Cadillac!

    Elle Cayabyab Gitlin

  • Pre-race fireworks.

    Elle Cayabyab Gitlin

  • Both Mazda RT24-Ps put in a strong performance during the race.

    Al Arena/Ignite Media

  • Cadillac has been the brand to beat since the creation of DPi.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • I asked Cadillac’s Matt Russell about the brand’s success with the DPi format. “It hasn’t been easy. There are moments where we were really afraid that we could not keep an edge necessarily, and I feel like our teams, our drivers, our strategists, our engineers have earned it everywhere along the way. Our engineers and designers did a lot of early work to make the car fast and efficient,” he told me.

    Elle Cayabyab Gitlin

  • Porsche’s throwback livery was a big hit with the fans.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • What a wonderful place to sit for a while and watch racing. This was actually our second visit to the Petit Le Mans; along with a group of friends that would become a race team, we went along in 2009. That year the race was stopped after five hours because of torrential rain. This time, the weather was perfect.

    Jonathan Gitlin

  • Part of the charm of this event is seeing the cars race into dusk.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • The cars at night are a multicolored light show of LED flashes, reflective graphics, and electroluminescent panels. Plus the occasional burst of sparks when a car bottoms out—the Mercedes AMG GTs were most often responsible, as here.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • Perhaps the 911 RSR wasn’t the loudest car in the race, but its flat-six scream was more distinctive than most.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • The #86 Acura NSX had a slightly different paint job for Petit.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • The #3 Corvette carries out a driver change at a pit stop. Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia have the odd distinction of having won the championship without actually winning a single race during the season.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • Ford did its best to keep Corvette from the crown, and the Blue Oval took the manufacturer’s trophy in GTLM.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

  • I am pretty sure this wrapped Panamera was being used by Radio Le Mans’ John Hindaugh during the race week.

    Jonathan Gitlin

  • Renger van der Zande (L) has one of the best names in racing. Jordan Taylor (M) is easily the most irrepressible person in racing. Together with IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, they won the 21st Petit Le Mans.

    Brian Cleary/Getty Images

BRASELTON, Ga.—The Petit Le Mans is a 10-hour endurance race held each fall at Road Atlanta in Georgia. As the name suggests, it’s run with similar rules as the French race that runs for 24 hours each June, which means a mix of prototype and production-based sports cars take to the track at the same time. And although Petit Le Mans was first held just 21 years ago, it quickly established itself alongside events with decades-more history. In fact, it helped revitalize endurance racing, particularly in the US where it gave rise to the series we now know as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

This year’s Petit Le Mans was possibly the best in a decade. In each of the three classes (Prototype, GTLM, and GTD), there were championships to decide. On top of that, the North American Endurance Cup was up for grabs (it’s a separate trophy, again for all three classes, scored just at the longer races of the year). And those out of title contention were just going for the win.

Jonathan Gitlin

Qualifying is a bit meaningless with such a long race to run, but the field was led to the green flag by Pipo Derani in #22, one of the two black-and-green Nissan DPis. Derani’s car was very fast at the start of the race but ran into trouble less than half an hour in with a puncture. The two Mazdas were similarly strong; the team was fresh off a very good race at Laguna Seca that should have ended in its first win, and both Oliver Jarvis (#77) and Jonathan Bomarito (#55) set some blisteringly fast laps.

For a while the prototype race was between the Mazdas and the Penske Acuras, but each ran into problems. The #55 Mazda went from the lead to a lap down after contact with another car. Juan Pablo Montoya had something fail in the #6 Acura as he went through turn 3; the contact with the tire barrier was fixable but only after three hours in the pits. Luckily things were a little less dram

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Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Microsoft making more of the Windows 10 built-in apps removable

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Microsoft making more of the Windows 10 built-in apps removable

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

The decrapping continues —

Sadly, Candy Crush looks set to remain.

It will soon be possible to discard more of the in-box apps that ship with Windows 10.

Currently, a handful of pre-installed apps can be removed, including OneNote, Skype, and Weather, but most of the other built-in apps are permanent fixtures. Windows 10 has also promoted a number of third-party applications such as Candy Crush Saga to the chagrin of many. These don’t appear to be going away, but such apps have always been uninstallable if you don’t want them. However, the latest preview build of Windows 10, build 18262, enables the removal of apps such as Mail, Calendar, Movies & TV, and the Groove Music app.

The ability to remove these apps doesn’t really mean much in terms of disk space or convenience, as none of them are very big. The move may be of more interest to corporate deployments; an organization that has standardized on Outlook, for example, might want to remove the Mail and Calendar apps to reduce user confusion.

Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | Task Manager's new DPI column.
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Task Manager’s new DPI column.

Elsewhere, the new build also updates Task Manager; an optional column in the Details tab will show wh

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