Technology

Let’s build an MP3 decoder (2008)

Even though MP3 is probably the single most well known file format and codec on Earth, it’s not very well understood by most programmers – for many encoders/decoders is in the class of software “other people” write, like standard libraries or operating system kernels. This article will attempt to demystify the decoder, with short top-down primers on signal processing and information theory when necessary. Additionally, a small but not full-featured

The Power of a Nintendo Handheld

The Nintendo Switch was the hottest selling “console” in December of last year and there shouldn’t be any questions as to why. While it quickly outpaced it’s predecessor, the Wii U, the similarities of the two diverge just as quickly. Where the Wii U had to remain nearly within sight of its base station, the Switch can be carried outside the home. Its dock only acts as a hub for

Inside Amazon’s quest to make a different kind of Echo

Of all the devices Amazon announced last fall, the one that got the most attention was the Echo Spot. A smaller, spherical version of the Echo Show, the Spot exuded an adorable style that was distinct from the rest of the Echo lineup. And judging by the reviews it received, it’s clear that the Spot’s form factor helped make it something of a surprise hit. In an exclusive behind-the-scenes look, Engadget had a

A Brief Introduction to Machine Learning for Engineers

This monograph aims at providing an introduction to key concepts, algorithms, and theoretical frameworks in machine learning, including supervised and unsupervised learning, statistical learning theory, probabilistic graphical models and approximate inference. The intended readership consists of electrical engineers with a background in probability and linear algebra. The treatment builds on first principles, and organizes the main ideas according to clearly defined categories, such as discriminative and generative models, frequentist and

‘Memtransistor’ Brings World Closer To Brain-Like Computing

 Lead researcher Mark C. Hersam clarified the brain-like efficacy of the memtransistor: “…in the brain, we don’t usually have one neuron connected to only one other neuron. Instead, one neuron is connected to multiple other neurons to form a network. Our device structure allows multiple contacts, which is similar to the multiple synapses in neurons… [but] making dozens of devices, as we have done in our paper, is different than

FCC hopes opening up communication airwaves will boost innovation

Today, the FCC voted to move forward with a proposal to open up communications spectrum beyond 95 GHz. In a statement, it said that spectrum above this range has been thought to be at the edge of what’s usable, but now it wants to provide different levels of authorization to use the spectrum to, as Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement, “promote innovation and help put this spectrum to

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick

If you haven’t heard of Philip K. Dick’s exegesis, it was a self-reported religious experience that inspired Philip K. Dick to write his “VALIS” series, as well as his remaining novels. Which is, arguably, of a much more spiritual quality than his previous works, and albeit a bit more out there I think they’re some of his most profound writing. In summation, when Dick was at home sick, he was

Chrome now automatically cleans up messy URLs when you share them

As you traverse the internet, you will often encounter URLs that have tracking or referral junk tacked on the end. You probably don’t want all that garbage included when you share a link, and Chrome recently started taking care of that for you. As of v64, the browser trims off unnecessary strings at the end of URLs. The URL streamlining happens automatically when you use the Share menu in Chrome

John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018

With a broken heart I have to announce that EFF’s founder, visionary, and our ongoing inspiration, John Perry Barlow, passed away quietly in his sleep this morning. We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF. It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and

Why You Should Switch From Google Chrome to Firefox

Image credit: Mozilla in Europe/ Flickr Since its debut, Chrome has grown in popularity, though its once-stellar reputation has taken a bit of a hit as of late. Examples of Chrome-only sites are more and more common, reminiscent of the days when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominated the web browser market. It’s been shown to be a massive memory hog as well, slowing down machines as users create more and more tabs. If you’re