Dithering Digest 24 - Weekly Tech News Roundup

Posted by Colin on Fri, Apr 26, 2024

Welcome to issue #24 of the Dithering Digest Weekly Tech News Roundup.

Microsoft show off a frightening AI video generator, the disruption from the Leicester council cyber incident continues, US government pass their TikTok bill and Apple announce event for iPads.

Plus Home Assistant are aiming for mass market consumers with their latest moves.

Enjoy the links!

Microsoft shows off scary new AI video generation tech

Microsoft have shown off their VASA-1 framework for generating lifelike video of people talking. Just by taking a single portrait photo of a person and supplying a short audio clip of them talking, the software can make “hyper-realistic talking face video with precise lip-audio sync, lifelike facial behavior, and naturalistic head movements, generated in real time.”

There are videos to demonstrate the output on the page. Microsoft have stated that they have no plans to release any code or web platforms to make use of this tool in the near future until they can be sure that it wont be used for evil.

It is only a matter of time before tools like this become open source or commonplace and we won’t be able to believe anything we see. It will be trivial to make deepfakes of celebrities and politicians saying outrageous things. Forget SkyNET, I think fake news is what is going to end it all.

๐Ÿ”— Microsoft

Why do LLM’s and AI work?

Fascinating video featuring Bertrand Serlet (formerly of Apple) on why LLMs (Large Language Models like ChatGPT) and AI work so well nowadays.

Worth a watch

Leicester council ransomware fallout continues

I am glad I am not on the team having to deal with this one! Two months after Leicester council were hit by a cyber attack by INC Ransom, and they are not able to turn off the street lights. The lights are going 24/7 at the moment as a system shutdown to help remediate the attack has left them unable to monitor faults on the street lights.

So many systems are connected these days that cyber attacks will become increasingly disruptive. Imagine this was the traffic light system on the roads!

๐Ÿ”— The Register

US Senate passes law to force sale of TikTok or else a ban

This one is big. The US Senate have passed a bill requiring that Chinese owned firm ByteDance must sell off TikTok or face the app being banned in the US.

Users are furious and many large businesses have expressed concern for the economy as so much advertising and sales are boosted by products and services going viral in TikTok videos.

๐Ÿ”— The Register

Apple announces May 7th event - Let Loose

Apple have announced an event for May 7th 2024. It is rumoured that they will refresh several models in the iPad lineup and perhaps a new Apple Pencil that will finally harmonise the range. The various Apple Pencils have a real issue with compatibility across the iPad range which makes it hard for users to know which one to get.

๐Ÿ”— Mac Stories

OctoPrint 1.10 released with performance boosts and achievements

The popular open source OctoPrint software has released version 1.10. OctoPrint is a little webserver that you can run on a Raspberry Pi and connects to and controls your 3D Printer. It allows you to monitor jobs remotely, make timelapse videos of your print and many other things.

According to the main developer Gina HรคuรŸge many parts have been rewritten to gain large performance improvements and an achievement system has been added.

If you have a 3d printer and are not using OctoPrint, you are missing out!

๐Ÿ”— Hackster.io

Home Assistant aiming for mainstream

Home Assistant have formed the new Open Home Foundation, a non-profit that will look after Home Assistant and its related parts.

The foundation has stated it’s aims as:

to fight against surveillance capitalism, and offer a counterbalance to Big Tech influence, in the smart home โ€” by focusing on privacy, choice, and sustainability for smart home users.

Home Assistant has largely been for geeks and enthusiasts but they are hoping to make the transition to mass market. I hope that they can do so without compromising the huge amount of customisation they currently offer to us nerds!

๐Ÿ”— The Verge

Computer Joke of the Week

Why can’t you send a Google Drive link to Bugs Bunny? He only accepts WhatsApp Docs! (Thanks to KP for that one!)

If you have any cool projects or tinkering you are doing, let us know and we will feature it in future issues of the digest. I would love to hear what you are all dithering on!

Until next week, happy dithering!

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