Weekly Tech Recap - № 158 - Tesla Semi, Rubik’s Cube, AMP, Windows 10 S, Chrome uses Clang
First production cargo trip a milestone for Tesla Semi
Tesla Semis spotted en route to Fremont. © My Tesla Adventure.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has just announced a milestone for the company’s heavy-duty electric trucks: the first production cargo trip for the Tesla Semi is now underway, with two trucks en route from the Sparks, Nevada Gigafactory, to the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. They are filled with heavy battery packs, and will be climbing from 4,400 to 7,200 feet in altitude, descending down to sea level, and climbing back up 7,200 feet, on their 480-mile round-trip journey. Elon Musk has said that the trucks would have a 500-mile range and 80,000 lb. maximum load. Tesla declined to comment when asked if the trucks would make the trip on one battery charge. Obviously not, since people have seen them stop at a Supercharger station in Rocklin, on the outskirts of Sacramento, only 215 kilometres from the Sparks Gigafactory.
⇨ Ars Technica, “First Tesla Semis leave Nevada Gigafactory, filled with batteries.”
New Rubik’s Cube record: 0.38 seconds
The Rubik’s contraption. © Ben Katz.
Two hardware hackers have created a robot that has broken the records for fastest solving of a Rubik’s cube — in 0.38 seconds, which is 40 percent faster than the previous record of 0.637 seconds. In contrast to a human player, who would use a looser cube, the robot works best when the cube was tightened way beyond what is intuitive. The creators used a pair of Playstation 3 Eye webcams to observe the faces of the cube, but they had trouble distinguishing the red and orange faces. So they painted them black for the cameras to recognize properly. The custom-built motor controller takes only 10 milliseconds to perform a single turn of the Rubik’s Cube. At speeds like that, if I had to bet, my money would be on the robot…
⇨ Ars Technica, “Robot smashes Rubik’s Cube record with 0.38-second solve.”
⇨ Ben Katz, “The Rubik’s Contraption.”
Opening up AMP
Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology enables websites to load quickly on mobile devices. Today, the company announced that it is working to do away with the shortcomings of this technology by creating a standard that everyone can use. The main criticism levelled at AMP is that it uses non-standard web technology, with pages that are housed on Google’s servers. These pages’ URL addresses link to Google, rather than to the original publishers of the content. “We are taking what we learned from AMP and are working on web standards that will allow instant loading for non-AMP web content”, wrote AMP project leader Malte Ubl in a post published on Thursday.
⇨ Accelerated Mobile Pages, “Standardizing lessons learned from AMP.”
The end of Windows 10 S
Windows 10 S. © Microsoft.
Or, to be precise, Microsoft is putting an end to Windows 10 S as a full-fledged operating system, and replacing it with a Windows 10 setting. Windows 10 S, which was launched last year, is a pared-down operating system primarily targeted towards schools, and likely created as competition for Chrome OS. Its main drawbacks are that users can only install applications from the Windows Store, web browsing can only be done on Edge, and Bing is the only integrated search engine. The new “S” mode will be available on the remaining versions of Windows: Home, Pro, Enterprise.
Chrome moves ahead with Clang
LLVM dragon logo.
Google’s Chrome browser is now compiled with Clang on Windows. It replaces the Microsoft Visual C ++ compiler; the same compiler will be used by Google going forward for Windows, macOS, Linux and Android. No doubt this makes Chrome the first major software project to use Clang on Windows. For a long time, Chrome on macOS and Linux has been built using the Clang compiler and the LLVM toolchain. Using the same compiler everywhere makes multiplatform development much easier — you have the same bunch of bugs to fix on each platform — and Clang especially has diagnostic tools like ASan and UBSan, which Google has wanted to be able to use. Google has been heavily involved in the Clang project for several years, with the goal of achieving just such an outcome. Microsoft has worked to ensure that Windows headers and C ++ libraries work with Clang just as smoothly as with its own compiler, and by publishing documentation on the PDB format.
⇨ The Verge, “Chrome on Windows ditches Microsoft’s compiler, now uses Clang.”