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  • Chinese hackers suspected of attacking global telecoms carriers

    People are so quick to forget what Snowden told us about the utterly pervasive US surveillance of EVERYONE!

    Only a fool would think China is behaving any differently to Western Governments but those stories don't make for great propaganda.
    dysamoriaavon b7mac_dogFileMakerFeller
  • Editorial: New Mac Pro highlights the gap Apple isn't filling

    Hmm, I work with Windows quite a bit, but that isn't the feeling I get. :) I do get how it can be liberating to just build what you want, but the actual UX/UI hasn't improved that much (the install and such has). I'd certainly say it is more doable now than it was back then, but it still isn't a good experience, 
    From my point of view when I'm using, Houdini, C4D, Davinci Resolve/Fusion, Affinity Photo etc the only difference is the file requester. There is no practical difference between the functionality or stability between platforms. I didn't have to change any part of my workflow when I moved to WIndows.

    Here is the reason why I moved to Windows. I had been a strong advocate of FCPX despite the appallingly handled introduction. I could see this was the future and was in for the long haul. Anyway I decided to get a fully loaded iMac just for video editing and it was fantastic, I could easily cut 4 streams of 4k from my FS7 and F5, it almost managed 5 streams with colour correction but would drop the odd frame. So a 2015 iMac had more than enough power for my promo short editing work, an absolute joy to use.

    Here's the real rub, Apple moved FCPX over to Metal from OpenCL in 2017 and the performance nosedived. This iMac that could handle nearly 5 streams of 4k could barely manage more than 2 streams and would stutter and drop frames with 3 streams. As of today with Mojave and the latest release of FCPX the performance has not improved a single bit. Apple could not be bothered to optimise their APIs and Apps so a 2 year old computer didn't have a significant performance regression. Imagine the GPU and CPU upgrades that would be necessary to redress that performance loss, that was several years of CPU/GPU development wiped away in one upgrade.

    The truth is, Apple is very happy to take your money but the don't have your back. There's a huge lie that Apple makes the OS so Apple Apps are more optimised, clearly the performance regression in FCPX supports the inconvenient truth. I reported the issue to Apple but they never got back, in the past I had worked with Apple support on numerous bugs in FCPX but they went silent.

    This was the straw that broke the camel's back and I moved my whole production to the PC, the trust between me and Apple had been broken. I replaced FCPX with Resolve and haven't looked back. Apple then subsequently announced the EOL of OpenGL and OpenCL key APIs to a lot of software I used on the Mac and I knew I'd made the right decision. I can live without massive performance regressions and arbitrary API culling on the PC platform just fine even if Windows 10 is rougher round the edges than MacOS. In the areas that matter MacOS and Apple fall down.
  • Apple investigating move of up to 30% of production out of China

    The ramifications of trade wars are just beginning to appear:   Apple moving production to less efficient / less reliable sources while China is doing the same by moving away from the U.S. and embracing other, more reliable entities.

    The potential winner of these things is in no way clear or obvious.
    The loser:   US!  We pay!

    The whole U.S. trade war philosophy is based on the assumption that the U.S. is irreplaceable in the world market -- that the U.S. is the center of the world.  unfortunately, that is no more true than the belief that the earth is the center of the solar system.  

    The truth is:  The U.S. comprises less than a third of the world's GDP and is very replaceable by the other 2/3's. 
    We maintain our strength by being the best -- not by being a bully.   The world won't fight us.   It will just smile and move on.
    An absolutely spot on take.

    The present US administration is throwing around sanctions (economic warfare) like confetti and sooner or later the US will start to get covered in the blowback. The indiscriminate use of sanctions has hurt an number of allies in the UK and Europe so where once the UK and Europe would be counted upon to be in lockstep with US policy many are asking what's the quid pro quo here?

    The Chinese genie is well and truly out of the bottle thanks to the Western neoliberals who shipped Western manufacturing jobs to China to maximise their  profits and shareholder value. The world, thanks to these profiteers, at a pivot point and the rise of China to the wealthiest nation on earth is set in stone. No amount of US protectionist sanctions will stop China becoming the dominant economic force in the world, the only question is how long with current US allies hang around especially if they're the ones getting damaged by US sanctions and unable to conduct their own free trade free from US interference.

    Ask small town America whose internet providers used a lot of Huawei infrastructure if they're better off when they're paying vastly higher internet fees because companies have to use 'approved' suppliers costing 5x times as much for less good equipment. This is a taste of what's to come especially if the trade war continues. China cutting off rare earths will be devastating to Western economies not just the US.

    Google have just had a eureka moment when they realised Huawei were much further along the path with their own OS which is going to be made Open Source and are now questioning the Huawei ban. Customers use Google because they have to not because they want to, Google is a horrible company and everyone with a braincell knows it. Google can't rely upon customer loyalty so there's every chance the Huawei OS will be a player in the market and what happens if Samsung gets on board with the OS? There could be some interesting times ahead.

    The Huawei CEO is a smart chap, he openly says the sanctions have hurt but they will alter their business model and come again. Huawei will concentrate more on new markets where they'll out compete US companies that can't be protected by sanctions and a de facto 2 speed world, the fast lane constructed by China and the slow lane with expensive for the rest.

    The US's huge nuclear stock pile and fleets of warships floating round the globe cannot be used to make consumers buy inferior products so this Trump strategy is a moment of national self harm.
    avon b7macplusplusGeorgeBMacmacky the macky
  • Apple loses $500 million bidding war for J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot

    Apple is a premium brand, Abrams is a middlebrow schlock merchant, albeit a successful one. Prefer Apple pursue BBC and Masterpiece Theatre talent rather than visual junk food. 
    Absolutely, Apple should build on the successes of the premium strands Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. 
  • High-end users on 'Why I'm buying the new Mac Pro'

    s.metcalf said:
    The new Mac Pro was an important move for Apple.  Hopefully it hasn’t come too late.  It still baffles me why they never bothered to update the previous Mac Pro to Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, which a form-factor like that desperately needed, considering its reliance (by design) on external expansion.  Perhaps they knew it had failed and already given up on it by the time TB3 rolled around.  But that doesn’t explain why they kept the price on it so high for so long despite its significantly outdated hardware either, so go figure.

    My only concern about the new Mac Pro (apart from its price, or more specifically: that I’ll never be able to afford one) is, like the previous version, its limitation to a single CPU socket.  Granted they’re up to 28 cores now, but my understanding is there are still many applications (particularly in science) for which traditional CPU power is used and required as opposed to graphics architectures.  Wouldn’t 2 x 28 cores be even better for this segment of pros?  You could do some crazily advanced fluid dynamics modelling and research with that kind of horsepower sitting on your desk.

    So I feel like Apple mainly liaised and targeted graphics and media professionals (like studios) with this update.  Granted there are plenty of scientists using GPU compute, but many of those have CUDA code, so Apple is still shutting the gate on them (for now) also.

    In the end I think it was too difficult to find the space for another CPU with all that PCI and RAM expansion.  I still think it’s an awesome looking machine, and that XDR screen is even more impressive.
    They didn't update the previous Mac Pro because internally they had EOLed the Mac Pro and believed the iMac Pro was the Mac Pro that everyone wanted. They got heaps of 'feedback' and did their grovelling apology, the rest is history. Apple designed themselves into a corner with the trashcan which meant a fundamental redesigned would be necessary to update it, they obviously looked at the sales figures and didn't think it made commercial sense. It the Trashcan has been a roaring success they'd would've updated it, no question.

    Think about who the target user is for a Mac Pro ask yourself whether they'd have deep enough pockets for dual processors up to $19k each. (Figure taken from HP Z8 configurator). There's obviously a market for these processor but it'll be small even for the Win/Linux market and nil for MacOS.

    So the Single socket Xeon is a reasonable choice. Crazy advanced fluid sims (hollywood vfx and weather) are done on render farms or super computers not 56 core or 28 core workstations. The sort of fluid sim or physics sim I'd do in Houdini will be most likely be able to be done on the GPU so only when your sim gets so large not to fit on the GPU you'd fall back to CPU. Many of my compatriots on ODForce Houdini forum use 32 core Threadrippers with a good chunk of RAM. Anything bigger then you're in the ILM bracket and that's a completely different game of render farms, cloud (e.g. gridmarkets) or super computing.

    Maybe studios were liaised with but where the Mac Pro fits into a Studio I do not know. As far as 3D rendering is concerned Redshift and Octane have announced Metal support by the end of year but the success will be absolutely dependent on performance. If the VEGA II GPUs prove to be on par with nVidia in 3D rendering then the huge 32 GB VRAM will be a huge positive (if they don't cost silly money) but if the performance is, as I fear it will be, way lower than the current CUDA performance then absolutely no one will care. It's obvious Apple is throwing money and resources at Redshift and Octane because for years both companies have been researching how to get their renderer compatible with the MacOS. Neither company got very far to date for want of trying. Maybe Apple has some secret sauce, it'll be interesting to see what the real story is later in the year.