Netflix has released the first full trailer for its new 3DCG anime series Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, the latest in multiple decades of media releases based on the beloved manga by Shirow Masamune.
The trailer was shared by the official Netflix Japan Twitter account and posted to the Netflix Japan YouTube channel. It's in Japanese, obviously, and so far Netflix has not made a version of the trailer with English subtitles available.
Among other things, the trailer reveals that many of the voice actors from the previously released Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime will reprise their roles in this new series. This trailer also gives a much more detailed look at the show's computer-generated art style, which has proven controversial with Ghost in the Shell and anime fans since the initial teaser trailer was released several months ago.
On the bright side for Ghost in the Shell fans, the series is the work of Kenji Kamiyama, the writer and director of the well-received Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime series, as well as Shinji Aramaki, who worked on a fairly popular adaptation of another manga by Ghost in the Shell creator Shirow Masamune.
A reasonable argument could be made that taking a radically different approach with this new series makes sense after more traditional anime offshoots from the manga have already been sufficiently successful that more of the same is not needed. But as was the case with the teaser trailer, it's not just a question of whether CGI was the right move at all: it's a question of whether the CGI actually makes the same kind of positive impression that other 3DCG shows like Amazon's Land of the Lustrous gave viewers. More than one Ars staffer felt that this trailer more closely resembles the early-'90s CGI kids' show Reboot than it does the striking Lustrous.
In other words, even if you make a strong case that 3DCG is an interesting avenue to explore with a new Ghost in the Shell series, the actual execution still matters. Viewers will be able to make their own judgments about the quality of the series when it hits Netflix in April of this year.
> the series is the work of Kenji Kamiyama, the writer and director of the well-received Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime series, as well as Shinji Aramaki, who worked on a fairly popular adaptation of another manga by Ghost in the Shell creator Shirow Masamune.
[Matteo] bought a new Raspberry Pi 4. Why not? You get a quad-core ARM processor, up to 4 GB of RAM, and a gigabit Ethernet port for $35 $35-55. However, the default operating system is still a 32-bit system and doesn’t take advantage of the Pi 4’s 64-bit capable CPU. So he installed a light version of 64-bit Debian and ran some benchmarks for the Raspberry Pi 4 running both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.
It really shouldn’t be surprising that the 64-bit OS did better in nearly every test. If anything is surprising, it may be that the difference is so pronounced. Some of the benchmarks, like Dhrystones, probably don’t relate much to real-life usage. But some things, like computing a hash, is something you probably do pretty often in normal usage, and the timing difference is pronounced.
A few things were limited by things other than the CPU. RAM speed was a little better, but not much. Dropping firewall packets was another big difference. The 32-bit system could drop 268 packets per second, while the 64-bit dropped 557. VPN is another case where other things limited performance so the difference between the operating system size didn’t matter much.
Benchmarks are always tricky, so your mileage — especially your real-life mileage — may vary. However, it does seem like there are some real advantages to dumping the 32-bit operating system.
wow both of those sound anemic, especially since the article states the dropped packets are the minimum possible size, 64 bytes. Even if they were the maximum ethernet packet size, that's on the order of 1/2 to 1 megabit/second, tops.
> The 32-bit system could drop 268 packets per second, while the 64-bit dropped 557.
I watch as little television as I can, and most of it by accident.
Whenever I do catch an eyeful, it usually consists of one of three things: a talking heads news channel, organized sportsball, or a Reality TV show. The first I try to ignore (they're usually triangulated on the tabloid newspapers with added eye candy, then dumbed down: as information sources this century, TV news channels are useless). The sportsball I leave to my spouse (who is prone to lecturing me interminably about Manchester City). But the latter phenomenon—Reality TV—has all the grisly attention-grabbing potential of a flaming school bus careening out of control into a public execution: I basically have to leave the room in a hurry to avoid having my eyeballs sucked right out of my head by the visual media equivalent of internet clickbait.
What makes Reality TV shows so addictive?
The sector is dominated by a couple of competing recipes. As in so many mature markets, there's an 80/20 split between a dominant incumbent and an insurgent that isn't quite successful enough to overturn a monopoly but is too tenacious to die. Think Android/iPhone, or car/pick-up truck (that latter died about a decade ago in the US).
In the case of rTV shows, the 20% insurgent is about people demonstrating competence. Mythbusters was the classic competence-porn show (although it deteriorated into the explosion-of-the-week club after a few seasons): using science!!! and workshop/lab work to evaluate the plausibility of urban legends. Other competence rTV shows include: a team of dudes acquire a car wreck and restore it to good-as-new condition, a former special forces soldier/scout troop leader is dumped on a desert island and demonstrates survival skills, and so on.
But the other 80% of rTV shows are incompetence porn.
Incompetence porn Reality TV, as pioneered by Big Brother, usually aims to get the audience to laugh at or mock the participants in a contest designed to plumb the depths of humiliation. Instead of dropping a fit expedition leader on a desert island, the show dumps a bunch of washed-up B-list celebs in a wilderness of mosquitos and no soft toilet paper. Or perhaps it's a bunch of Armani-suited sociopaths in a boardroom where they're expected to pitch business start-up proposals at a washed-up B-list business celeb like Alan Sugar (or, in the American version of "The Apprentice", a certain mobbed-up New York property speculator with shady Russian banking connections). Back-stabbing is a given in the celebrity/sociopath driven variant of rTV, as incompetent contestants are shoved out of the show at every episode until only the most obliviously egocentric remains.
(Note that the survivor selection criterion isn't "competence", be it at wilderness survival or boardroom brown-nosing: it's entertainment value. Because these shows, despite the name, aren't about reality, they're showbiz.)
But these aren't the worst.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is a depraved abyss of egocentricity skull-fucking the dessicated remains of bad taste, featuring the family of child beauty pageant contestant Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, a participant in another rTV show titled *Toddlers and Tiaras". Wikipedia goes on to note, "On October 24, 2014, TLC cancelled the series after four seasons after cast member June 'Mama June' Shannon was seen with the man who molested her oldest child and is father to another of her children, prompting Shannon to admit to Entertainment Tonight that the two men are both registered sex offenders." It was followed on TLC by Mamma June: From Not to Hot, which "documents June "Mama June" Shannon's weight loss transformation from 460 to 160 pounds (209 to 73 kg)."
(I think you can see where this is going.)
On the UK side of the abyss we still have some pretense at documentary film-making, but it's hard to pretend that such delights as Big Fat Gypsy Weddings (which, by the way, is racist as fuck) and Benefits Street (TLDR: poverty porn) are anything other than an attempt to spray-tan the hellish prurience of American cable rTV with a thin pretense at learned enquiry.
And I've barely scratched the surface. Reader, I have not watched these shows: but for every Say Yes to the Dress—which serves at least some social utility function, even if it's to encourage the conspicuous consumption of couture products—there's a Three Fat Brides One Thin Dress (presented by the odious lifestyle/diet grifter Gilian McKeith).
So, where am I going with this?
I present, for your delectation, my pitch for the ultimate rTV show:
Basically it's "The Apprentice" for sociopathic Reality TV producers.
In "Pitch Me", five deranged low-rent cable TV showrunners compete for network funding to make their show.
The show itself follows the tried and tested reality TV format of targeting a despised demographic, whose humiliation the audience can delight in —television producers. In a straight-up rip-off of the format of "The Apprentice", six showrunners are are forced to compete for the approval of a successful producer. (Jamie Hyneman would be a perfect choice to act the role of "successful producer"—his sardonic wit would be perfect for savaging the contestants and his track record in co-fronting "Mythbusters" through an epic 17 seasons gives him the necessary profile). The contestants are required to jump through increasingly humiliating hoops as they select showrunners and would-be stars, arrange studio and location shoots, deal with the inevitable messy melt-downs of industry outsiders who are frankly not bright enough to see pat the temptation of being on TV and realize they're basically being mocked, and to willingly subjugate themselves in pursuit of a prize—backing for the first season of their reality TV show.
Yes, the ultimate rTV show is about the producers. Only one of them can win! Their career in TV is at stake! Roll up, roll up, to see the Hollywood sharks tear into one another at full throttle! It's going to be brutal.
I have some example pitches to share with you:
On Incel Bride Hunt, six demented incels—two anti-feminist fans of Jordan Peterson, two misogynistic homophobes in total denial of their own Tom of Finland fantasy lives, and a pair of plain old-fashioned quiverful alt-right white supremacists—compete to marry a real live woman: the losers get blow-up dolls.
So You Want To Be President is simply a re-cut (with sarcastic commentary and jokes about breeding a bulletproof Kennedy) of the US presidential primaries for whichever party doesn't currently have custody of the nuclear football.
My Big Fat Gastric Bypass can usefully repurpose the Gillian McKeith formula, but generalize it by not requiring the contestants to want to look good in a posh frock: the winner gets a bypass, the runners-up get tapeworm eggs.
Three EU Citizens, one Permanent Right to Remain features sensible, young, well-educated and personable foreigners who are forced to spend lots of money and squirm through the napalm-coated burning tunnel of Kafkaesque Home Office paperwork required of every successful consultant neurosurgeon or professor of international relations wishing to live in the UK for more than five microseconds after Brexit. Thrilling reality TV as a 5am raid by Border Force agents grabs an eminent Canadian law professor, who failed to punctuate a submission using the Oxford comma rule, and packages him for deportation to Nicaragua via cruise missile! Enough said.
On My Fur Baby's Wedding, contestant's cats and dogs get the full Bridezilla treatment—especially thrilling when we match a Leonberger with a barely-housetrained Cheetah.
And then there's Pitch Me Again, a pleasingly recursive entrant to the competition which serves as a benchmark for the other contestants—if you can't beat the show you're appearing on, then obviously what you're pitching lacks mass audience appeal!
What's your submission for a slot on Pitch Me?
(Please leave your entry in the comments below. Maximum length 50 words—this is your attempt to get a toe in the door, not a detailed submission—we want the sizzle, not the steak. Submissions welcome from everyone regardless of prior lack of TV production experience: in fact, contestants with prior experience will be handicapped).
Lead-free solder alloys have been around for as long as people have done soldering, with sources dating back about 5,000 years. Most of these alloys were combinations like copper-silver or silver-gold and used with so-called hard soldering. That’s a technique still used today to join precious and semi-precious metals together. A much more recent development is that of soldering electronic components together, using ‘soft soldering’, which entails much lower temperatures.
Early soft soldering used pure tin (Sn), yet gradually alloys were sought that would fix issues like thermal cycling, shock resistance, electron migration, and the development of whiskers in tin-based alloys. While lead (Pb) managed to fill this role for most soldering applications, the phasing out of lead from products, as well as new requirements for increasingly more fine-pitched components have required the development of new solder alloys that can fill this role.
In this article we’ll be looking at the commonly used lead-free solder types for both hobby and industrial use, and the dopants that are used to improve their properties.
In the Tin of Things
There is a good reason why tin (Sn) is so commonly used in soft solder and solder alloys: it melts at low temperatures (232°C) and offers good wetting (ability to flow on the pad) properties in addition to its ability to dissolve well with most metals. This last property is crucial in forming a good intermetallic compound (IMC). The quality of this IMC boundary determines how durable the joint will be. Both the granularity and number (and size of) any voids in the IMC will affect this durability.
The two most commonly used types of lead-free solder are SnAgCu (tin-silver-copper, also called SAC) and SnCu (tin-copper). SnAgCu alloy with 3% silver and 0.5% copper (SAC305) was initially endorsed for use in SMT assembly, along with a number of other SAC alloys. These other alloys are types with higher silver content, such as SAC387 (3.8% Ag), and SAC405 (4% Ag). These higher silver alloys are true eutectic alloys — completely changing form a solid to a liquid at the melting point of 217°C. In contrast, SAC305 has a range between 217–219°C.
Although SAC is an acceptable solder alloy, the addition of silver does raise its cost. This has driven the industry to use low-silver alloys (e.g. SAC0307) or silver-free alternatives, such as SnCuNi.
Back in the IMC
The key to a reliable joint lies in the quality of the IMC that is forced. It cannot be too thick or too granular, and preferably should not have any Kirkendall voids.
The IMC of each joint is subjected to various types of aging and damage:
Of these, thermal cycling and thermal shock are related, in that both are caused by environmental temperatures. As a joint is exposed to changing temperatures, its individual components will be subject to thermal expansion, which is likely to be dissimilar between different materials. The tensile strength of the joint then determines at which point the resulting strain will cause a crack to form.
Usually, under thermal cycling, the IMC will be subject to recrystallization, which causes a roughening of the IMC that allows for the formation of cracks. Studies have shown that adding La2O3 nanoparticles improves the thermal reliability, mostly by inhibiting the growth of the IMC. High-silver alloys also show better thermal reliability. The addition of 0.1% aluminium (Al) to low-silver alloys also had such an effect, as did the addition of Ni, Mn and Bi to SnAgCu alloys.
Drop impact and vibration are similarly related, in that some type of mechanical deformation is applied, which can affect the PCB, the joint, and the component. Especially with large pin count BGA chips, a drop impact can cause significant damage, testing properties such as the shear strength of the joints. The failure modes from mechanical vibration are similar to those from thermal cycling, caused by the gradual development of cracks.
Finally, electromigration is the most insidious of all, as it does not require any external influences. The ultimate effect of electromigration is the transport of material within the joint and IMC, caused by the gradual movement of ions, as momentum is transferred by electrons and diffusing metal atoms. The current within the joint between the anode and cathode causes cavities to form. Over time, these voids become large enough that cracks can form in the joint and IMC until ultimately the joint fails. At higher temperatures and currents, this process accelerates.
Preventing electromigration involves regulating temperature and current density, as well as tweaking the composition and structure of the solder joint to increase their electromigration resistance. Adding cobolt (Co) was shown to improve electromigration resistance, as did the addition of nickel (Ni) and bismuth (Bi), with the latter also decreasing the melting point of the alloy. Both seem to improve the electromigration resistance through the inhibiting of the growth of the IMC, which appears to be a key element.
More alloy with less
During the 70s, 80s, and much of the 90s, virtually all soldering was done on relatively large pads. Most if not everything involving through-hole soldering using DIP packages or similar. As surface-mounted soldering and the use of smaller packages such as SOIC, TSSOP, QFN and BGAs became commonplace, the strength of the IMC and its durability became much more of an issue as pads became smaller and smaller.
As we saw earlier, electromigration is a major issue which along with those of thermal and mechanical resilience will play major roles now and in the future. Solutions to those issues will determine much of the lifespan of our devices, as well as whether dropping that new smartphone will be a mere annoyance, or fracture half a dozen minuscule solder balls on the main, 0.2 mm pitch BGA package.
Although SnCu as alloy is not preferred for soldering as the copper tends to form a rather coarse and brittle IMC, a micro-alloy variation on this that can compete with, or outperform SnPb and SAC alloys has been around since the 90s, when Nihon Superior developed SN100C, which is SnCuNiGe. Unfortunately, this alloy has been encumbered by patents until quite recently. It has its melting point at 227°C, with the 0.05% of Ni promoting a shiny joint while lowering copper pad erosion. The 0.009% of Ge promotes wetting and prevents the formation of dross.
With this eutectic alloy being cheaper than SnCuAg alloys, and its better propertieswith for example reworking, it appears to be an interesting choice for both professionals and hobbyists. With the patent having expired (yet ‘SN100C’ still trademarked), many manufacturers have now added this alloy to their catalog, including Stannol and Felder (Sn100Ni+), making it much easier to procure.
Materials Science is About Compromises
At the core of soldering alloys lies the realm of materials science, which is by definition one of compromises. Enhance one quality in one area, and degrade a quality in another. We can see this when we look at using micro-alloying to improve the mechanical stability of the IMC, resulting in worse electromigration resistance, and so on.
Sometimes the statement is made that we had found the perfect soldering alloy with 63/37 SnPb solder, but as electronics miniaturizes ever more and research on soft soldering alloys progresses, we can see a number of requirements appear that were not even remotely an issue back in the 1990s, yet where we can now apply new knowledge to solve them. Reading through scientific papers from 2005 on the topic versus today really shows how far we have come already.
One of the most annoying properties of tin — tin whiskers — still remain one of the hardest to fully solve. Although lead (Pb) did inhibit the development and growth of tin whiskers, it was not a perfect solution. Alloys like SnCuNiGe at this point appear to offer comparable performance in this regard and have been recommended as a drop-in solution.
Building a Better Alloy
With issues like the thermal cycling and shear strength of ever-shrinking solder joints becoming an issue, the refining of the alloys we use for assembling PCBs is something that is worth tackling. If we can make the assembly of 500+ lead BGA packages and their reliability over 10+ years of daily use into a near-certainty, then that means less electronic waste that needs to be recycled, or which ends up in landfills.
Similarly, having easier to use and more reliable alloys for hobbyists is also becoming more of a topic. Hobbyists are no longer merely jamming a couple of 74-series DIP ICs into a through-hole board. More often we see QFN, TSSOP, and similar packages are being used. With improved wetting and decreased bridging potential of new alloys, it should make life better for everyone.
Caplan is the subject of the documentary "Fear No Fruit" (available here, on YT), which chronicles Caplan's professional life, from her stint as a young mother keeping the books for relatives at a produce house to the founder of Frieda's Specialty Produce, now a $50-million-plus business whose customers have included Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. She died January 18, 2020 at age 96.
My favorite tribute to Caplan comes from The Perishable Pundit: Frieda Caplan: So Good At Lifting Us Up. The Pundit reviews their friendship and professional relationship over the years, and concludes with this:
[T]he Pundit learned more from Frieda than she from me, so she was no mentee. But we think it explains something. How can you not love someone who, through decades and decades, was so good at lifting you up?
And isn't that what her presence did for the whole industry? Remind us that we can be more inclusive, more successful and generous of heart. We shall not see her kind again.