MaisonBisson

a bunch of stuff I would have emailed you about

The legal case for emoji

Emoji are showing up as evidence in court more frequently with each passing year. Between 2004 and 2019, there was an exponential rise in emoji and emoticon references in US court opinions, with over 30 percent of all cases appearing in 2018, according to Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, who has been tracking all of the references to “emoji” and “emoticon” that show up in US court opinions. So far, the emoji and emoticons have rarely been important enough to sway the direction of a case, but as they become more common, the ambiguity in how emoji are displayed and what we interpret emoji to mean could become a larger issue for courts to contend with.

From Dami Lee, amplifying Santa Clara University School of Law professor Eric Goldman’s ongoing research into the role of Emoji in legal proceedings. Lee tells us emoji have “shown up in all types of cases, from murder to robbery,” and the examples in the story include solicitation and a civil complaint. Goldman is especially concerned about how the courts will handle the different rendering of emoji on on different devices.

Inter-AZ cloud network performance

Archana Kesavan of ThousandEyes speaking at NANOG75 reports that network traffic between AZs within a single region is generally “reliable and consistent,” and that tested cloud providers offer a “robust regional backbone for [suitable for] redundant, multi-AZ architectures.”

ThousandEyes ran tests at ten minute intervals over 30 days, testing bidirectional loss, latency, and jitter. Kesavan reported the average inter-AZ latency for each tested cloud:

AWSAzureGCP
.82ms1.05ms0.79ms

Within the four tested regions in AWS, they found:

RegionLatency
us-east-10.92ms
ap-south-10.72ms
eu-west-20.61ms
sa-east-11.13ms

Kesavan’s slides and video are online.

Default fonts that could have been

I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

From Steve Jobs in Stanford Graduation Address, explaining how he fell in love with typography during his time at Reed College. He studied calligraphy like a monk, but….

» about 600 words

Spectre is here to stay

As a result of our work on Spectre, we now know that information leaks may affect all processors that perform speculation…. Since the initial disclosure of three classes of speculative vulnerabilities, all major [CPU] vendors have reported affected products…. This class of flaws are deeper and more widely distributed than perhaps any security flaw in history, affecting billions of CPUs in production across all device classes.

From Ross Mcilroy, Jaroslav Sevcik, Tobias Tebbi, Ben L. Titzer, and Toon Verwaest (all of Google) in Spectre is here to stay; An analysis of side-channels and speculative execution. They continue:

» about 300 words

Bare metal clouds are hard

The problem, explains Eclypsium, is that a miscreant could rent a bare-metal server instance from a provider, then exploit a firmware-level vulnerability, such as one in UEFI or BMC code, to gain persistence on the machine, and the ability to covertly monitor every subsequent use of that server. In other words, injecting spyware into the server’s motherboard software, which runs below and out of sight of the host operating system and antivirus, so that future renters of the box will be secretly snooped on.

» about 500 words

Helvetica vs. Univers

Univers was intrinsically superior to Helvetica. It had a much larger family at the outset, with 21 members compared to four in 1960. More importantly, its family was logically designed with consistent weights and widths, something that Helvetica never achieved until its redesign as Neue Helvetica in 1982. Univers’ characters, stripped of “unnecessary” elements such as the beard on ‘G’ or the curve on the tail of ‘y,’ were also more rationally designed.

From Paul Shaw in Print, explaining how Helvetica and Univers competed in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite its many flaws, Helvetica eventually became one of the most ubiquitous typefaces in the world. Paul claims:

Helvetica’s current ubiquity is not due to its widespread adoption by Modernist-inclined graphic designers in the 1970s but rather by its availability as a free font on personal computers.

Spielberg on the theater experience

There’s nothing like going to a big dark theater with people you’ve never met before, and having the experience wash over you.

Steven Spielberg, quoted in Chaim Gartenberg’s coverage of his speech at the Cinema Audio Society’s CAS Awards. Amusingly, according to Gartenberg, Spielberg has nothing against the streaming industry, he just really loves the theater experience and worries about what might happen to it. Still, it’s hard not to imagine the filmmaker being a little bit swayed by the talk of Hollywood irrelevance in the face of Netflix.

How Pixar dominated the last three decades of special effects

Pixar’s Renderman is the visual effects software Hollywood didn’t think they needed (seriously, George Lucas sold off the Lucasfilm Computer Division in 1986). Years later, after producing landmark visual effects for films such as Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park and many more, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Pixar and the creators of Renderman with an Award of Merit in 2001 “For their significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar’s ‘Renderman.’”

The first commercial version of Renderman was released 30 years ago this year. This video from Wired looks back at how the software changed the industry, and contributed to 27 of the last 30 Visual Effects Oscar winning films:

Video from Wired via Uncrate.