Nike Is Killing the App for Its $350 Self-Tying Sneakers

Scharon Harding reports via Wired: In 2019, Nike got closer than ever to its dreams of popularizing self-tying sneakers by releasing the Adapt BB. Using Bluetooth, the sneakers paired to the Adapt app that let users do things like tighten or loosen the shoes’ laces and control its LED lights. However, Nike has announced that it’s “retiring” the app on August 6 (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source), when it will no longer be downloadable from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store; nor will it be updated.

In an announcement recently spotted by The Verge, Nike’s brief explanation for discontinuing the app is that Nike “is no longer creating new versions of Adapt shoes.” The company started informing owners about the app’s retirement about four months ago. Those who already bought the shoes can still use the app after August 6, but it’s expected that iOS or Android updates will eventually make the app unusable. Also, those who get a new device won’t be able to download Adapt after August 6.

Without the app, wearers are unable to change the color of the sneaker’s LED lights. The lights will either maintain the last color scheme selected via the app or, per Nike, “if you didn’t install the app, light will be the default color.” While owners will still be able to use on-shoe buttons to turn the shoes on or off, check its battery, adjust the lace’s tightness, and save fit settings, the ability to change lighting and control the shoes via mobile phone were big selling points of the $350 kicks.

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Plan for New Accounting Rules on Software Costs Moves Forward

U.S. companies may need to report cash amounts tied to their software expenditures, more of which would be moved off corporate balance sheets under a forthcoming proposal to update decades-old accounting rules. From a report: The Financial Accounting Standards Board voted Tuesday, 7-0, to propose requiring companies to report cash amounts tied to their software costs and help them determine when to expense or capitalize costs. The proposal is a scaled-back version of rule-making around these expenses. The standard setter wants to require U.S. public and private companies to provide a line item in their cash-flow statement to account for cash spending on software. Rules around software costs have gone largely unchanged since the 1980s and 1990s.

The proposal would cover use of software ranging from enterprise resource planning systems to hosting services and mobile banking applications, meaning it applies to almost every company. It would exclude development of software licensed to customers. Under the plan, companies would no longer have to evaluate the stage of their software project to determine whether to expense the costs on the income statement or to capitalize, or delay fully recognizing them, on the balance sheet. Companies are now required to expense their software costs as incurred on the income statement during the initial planning and post-implementation stages. When building the programs or applications, companies have to capitalize eligible costs. These current requirements involve significant judgment for companies, creating higher compliance costs. Instead, companies would only have to determine when to begin capitalizing software costs based on executives’ signoff for a project and the likelihood that the project will be completed and the software will carry out its intended use.

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Rickroll Meme Immortalized In Custom ASIC That Includes 164 Hardcoded Programs

Matthew Connatser reports via The Register: An ASIC designed to display the infamous Rickroll meme is here, alongside 164 other assorted functions. The project is a product of Matthew Venn’s Zero to ASIC Course, which offers prospective chip engineers the chance to “learn to design your own ASIC and get it fabricated.” Since 2020, Zero to ASIC has accepted several designs that are incorporated into a single chip called a multi-project wafer (MPW), a cost-saving measure as making one chip for one design would be prohibitively expensive. Zero to ASIC has two series of chips: MPW and Tiny Tapeout. The MPW series usually includes just a handful of designs, such as the four on MPW8 submitted in January 2023. By contrast, the original Tiny Tapeout chip included 152 designs, and Tiny Tapeout 2 (which arrived last October) had 165, though could bumped up to 250. Of the 165 designs, one in particular may strike a chord: Design 145, or the Secret File, made by engineer and YouTuber Bitluni. His Secret File design for the Tiny Tapeout ASIC is designed to play a small part of Rick Astley’s music video for Never Gonna Give You Up, also known as the Rickroll meme.

Bitluni was a late inclusion on the Tiny Tapeout 2 project, having been invited just three days before the submission deadline. He initially just made a persistence-of-vision controller, which was revised twice for a total of three designs. “At the end, I still had a few hours left, and I thought maybe I should also upload a meme project,” Bitluni says in his video documenting his ASIC journey. His meme of choice was of course the Rickroll. One might even call it an Easter egg. However, given that there were 250 total plots for each design, there wasn’t a ton of room for both the graphics processor and the file it was supposed to render, a short GIF of the music video. Ultimately, this had to be shrunk from 217 kilobytes to less than half a kilobyte, making its output look similar to games on the Atari 2600 from 1977. Accessing the Rickroll rendering processor and other designs isn’t simple. Bitluni created a custom circuit board to mount the Tiny Tapeout 2 chip, creating a device that could then be plugged into a motherboard capable of selecting specific designs on the ASIC. Unfortunately for Bitluni, his first PCB had a design error on it that he had to correct, but the revised version worked and was able to display the Rickroll GIF in hardware via a VGA port.

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Court Orders Maker of Pegasus Spyware To Hand Over Code To WhatsApp

Stephanie Kirchgaessner reports via The Guardian: NSO Group, the maker of one the world’s most sophisticated cyber weapons, has been ordered by a US court to hand its code for Pegasus and other spyware products to WhatsApp as part of the company’s ongoing litigation. The decision by Judge Phyllis Hamilton is a major legal victory for WhatsApp, the Meta-owned communication app which has been embroiled in a lawsuit against NSO since 2019, when it alleged that the Israeli company’s spyware had been used against 1,400 WhatsApp users over a two-week period.

NSO’s Pegasus code, and code for other surveillance products it sells, is seen as a closely and highly sought state secret. NSO is closely regulated by the Israeli ministry of defense, which must review and approve the sale of all licences to foreign governments. In reaching her decision, Hamilton considered a plea by NSO to excuse it of all its discovery obligations in the case due to “various US and Israeli restrictions.”

Ultimately, however, she sided with WhatsApp in ordering the company to produce”all relevant spyware” for a period of one year before and after the two weeks in which WhatsApp users were allegedly attacked: from 29 April 2018 to 10 May 2020. NSO must also give WhatsApp information “concerning the full functionality of the relevant spyware.” Hamilton did, however, decide in NSO’s favor on a different matter: the company will not be forced at this time to divulge the names of its clients or information regarding its server architecture.

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John Walker, Founder of Autodesk, Dies At 74

John Walker, the founder of computer-aided design software company Autodesk and co-author of AutoCAD, passed away on February 2nd. He was 74. Consultant and programmer Owen Wengerd shared the news on behalf of John’s family (via Scanalyst, a website created by John): It is with great sadness that we announce John’s death on Friday, February 2, 2024. He was born in Maryland, USA to William and Bertha Walker, who preceded him in death. John is survived by his wife Roxie Walker and a brother, Bill Walker of West Virginia. Declining to follow in his family tradition of becoming a medical doctor, John attended Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to pursue a future in astronomy. However, after he discovered the brave new world of computers, he never looked back. John worked at the university’s Project Chi (X) computing center where he studied computer science and earned a degree in electrical engineering.

John met Roxie on Thanksgiving Day in 1972, and they married the following year. Roxie and John drove cross-country a few months later for John’s new job in California. Eventually he left that first job and worked at various others in the bay area. In late 1976, John designed his own circuit board based on the then-new Texas Instruments TMS9900 microprocessor. This venture became Marinchip Systems, and eventually led to Autodesk. The beginnings of Autodesk are well documented by John himself in The Autodesk File 2.0k and from there John’s story is best told by John himself in his prodigious work, which is all methodically organized and available to the public at his website Fourmilab 1.4k.

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After 32 Years, One of the Net’s Oldest Software Archives Is Shutting Down

Benj Edwards reports via Ars Technica: In a move that marks the end of an era, New Mexico State University (NMSU) recently announced the impending closure of its Hobbes OS/2 Archive on April 15, 2024. For over three decades, the archive has been a key resource for users of the IBM OS/2 operating system and its successors, which once competed fiercely with Microsoft Windows. In a statement made to The Register, a representative of NMSU wrote, “We have made the difficult decision to no longer host these files on Although I am unable to go into specifics, we had to evaluate our priorities and had to make the difficult decision to discontinue the service.”

Hobbes is hosted by the Department of Information & Communication Technologies at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In the official announcement, the site reads, “After many years of service, will be decommissioned and will no longer be available. As of April 15th, 2024, this site will no longer exist.” The earliest record we’ve found of the Hobbes archive online is this 1992 Walnut Creek CD-ROM collection that gathered up the contents of the archive for offline distribution. At around 32 years old, minimum, that makes Hobbes one of the oldest software archives on the Internet, akin to the University of Michigan’s archives and ibiblio at UNC.

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The Lights Have Been On At a Massachusetts School For Over a Year Because No One Can Turn Them Off

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: For nearly a year and a half, a Massachusetts high school has been lit up around the clock because the district can’t turn off the roughly 7,000 lights in the sprawling building. The lighting system was installed at Minnechaug Regional High School when it was built over a decade ago and was intended to save money and energy. But ever since the software that runs it failed on Aug. 24, 2021, the lights in the Springfield suburbs school have been on continuously, costing taxpayers a small fortune.

“We are very much aware this is costing taxpayers a significant amount of money,” Aaron Osborne, the assistant superintendent of finance at the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District, told NBC News. “And we have been doing everything we can to get this problem solved.” Osborne said it’s difficult to say how much money it’s costing because during the pandemic and in its aftermath, energy costs have fluctuated wildly. “I would say the net impact is in the thousands of dollars per month on average, but not in the tens of thousands,” Osborne said. That, in part, is because the high school uses highly efficient fluorescent and LED bulbs, he said. And, when possible, teachers have manually removed bulbs from fixtures in classrooms while staffers have shut off breakers not connected to the main system to douse some of the exterior lights.

But there’s hope on the horizon that the lights at Minnechaug will soon be dimmed. Paul Mustone, president of the Reflex Lighting Group, said the parts they need to replace the system at the school have finally arrived from the factory in China and they expect to do the installation over the February break. “And yes, there will be a remote override switch so this won’t happen again,” said Mustone, whose company has been in business for more than 40 years.

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MSI Intends ‘To Continue With Afterburner’ Overclocking App Despite Not Paying Its Russian Dev

Jacob Ridley writes via PC Gamer: MSI Afterburner is an app used the world over for graphics card monitoring, overclocking, and undervolting. It’s become pretty synonymous with general GPU tinkering, yet the app’s developer has suggested it might not have long left to live in a forum post earlier this month. MSI disagrees, telling us “we fully intend to continue with MSI Afterburner.” MSI Afterburner is developed by Alexey ‘Unwinder’ Nicolaychuk, a Russian national who has kept the overclocking app functioning over many years. Nicolaychuk is also responsible for the development of RivaTuner Statistics Server, which is part of the foundational software layer powering Afterburner. In a post on the Guru3D forums (via TechPowerUp), Nicolaychuk suggests that Afterburner’s development has been “semi-abandoned.” “…MSI afterburner project is probably dead,” Nicolaychuk says.

“War and politics are the reasons. I didn’t mention it in MSI Afterburner development news thread, but the project is semi abandoned by company during quite a long time already. Actually we’re approaching the one year mark since the day when MSI stopped performing their obligations under Afterburner license agreement due to ‘politic [sic] situation’.” Nicolaychuk says development of the app has continued over the past 11 months, but that may also be ending soon. “I tried to continue performing my obligations and worked on the project on my own during the last 11 months, but it resulted in nothing but disappointment; I have a feeling that I’m just beating a dead horse and waste energy on something that is no longer needed by company. “Anyway I’ll try to continue supporting it myself while I have some free time, but will probably need to drop it and switch to something else, allowing me to pay my bills.”

Development of the RivaTuner Statistics Server — software is pivotal to many of the functions of Afterburner — is materially separate from Afterburner and will continue, Nicolaychuk notes. Nicolaychuk suggests the issue comes down to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and we’ve since confirmed with MSI that this is the case. MSI has stated to PC Gamer that the payments were halted due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, saying: “payments had been put on hold due to the RU/UA war and the economic regulations that entailed.” […] On this being the end for Afterburner, MSI disagrees. “We fully intend to continue with MSI Afterburner,” MSI tells PC Gamer. “MSI have been working on a solution and expect it to be resolved soon.”

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