The Apple M2 chip was released last year (2022) as an evolution of the remarkable M1 chip (2020).
Apple M2 chip: Top new features and improvements
New 5-nanometer chip is a follow-up to the remarkable M1
8-core CPU and up to a 12-core GPU w/ performance improvements over M1
Features 20 billion transistors, which Apple claims is 25% more than the M1
Can support 100 GB/s unified memory bandwidth
Supports up to 24GB unified memory
16-core Neural Engine with improvements over M1 Neural Engine
Capable of playing back multiple streams of ProRes 4K/8K video
Apple M2 chip: Specs
Apple’s new M2 chip is configurable with an 8-core CPU and up to a 10-core GPU. That’s an improvement over the original M1, which was configurable with up to an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU.
Apple claims the M2 chip is capable of up to 18% greater multi-core performance than the M1, with a 25% greater GPU performance vs power.
The M2 helped the 2022 MacBook Pro earn a score of 8,911 in the Geekbench 5.4 multi-core CPU performance test, which is excellent. It’s better than the 7,521 earned by the M1-equipped MacBook Pro 2020 two years ago, and it also beats most of the best Windows laptops with the latest Intel CPUs.
There’s also a 16-core Neural Engine built into the M2, just like the M1. The Neural Engine in the M2 can process up to 15.8 trillion operations per second, which Apple claims is over 40 percent more than on M1.
The M2 also offers a new media engine that should be capable of decoding up to 8K HVEC and H.264 video, with support for playing back multiple ProRes streams in 4K and 8K.
Apple also claims the M2 chip’s image signal processor (ISP) is significantly improved over what was available in the M1, so it should be able to help you look your best on video calls.
The M2 chip powers two of the best products in the Coolstuf catalogue: MacBook Pro 2022 and iPad Pro 6th Gen.
Click on the links below to learn more and order on-line.
Artificial Intelligence (Ai or AI) has been in the news lately with the November 2022 launch of a super-powerful program called ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) – an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI and Microsoft.
OpenAI is also responsible for creating DALL-E 2, a popular Ai art generator, and Whisper, an automatic speech recognition system. OpenAI also has practical workplace Ai systems that allow companies to integrate Ai capabilities into their products and services to improve efficiency and automate their processes.
ChatGPT allows you to have human-like conversations and much more with the chatbot. The language model can answer questions and assist you with tasks, such as composing emails, essays, and code.
According to its website: “ChatGPT interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests”.
“ChatGPT is scary good. We are not far from dangerously strong Ai,” (Elon Musk, one of the founders of OpenAI).
Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief, said on Twitter that ChatGPT had more than one million users in the first five days after it launched.
By January 2023, ChatGPT had become the fastest-growing consumer software application in history, gaining over 100 million users.
There has already been controversy. Here are some recent headlines:
“ChatGPT ban in Australia’s public schools likely to be overturned” (The Guardian)
“Scientists used ChatGPT to generate an entire paper from scratch” (Nature)
“Two authors are suing OpenAI for training ChatGPT with their books. Could they win?” (The Conversation)
“Are Australian Research Council reports being written by ChatGPT?” (The Guardian)
“What is ChatGPT and why are schools blocking it? Ask the new artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT to write an essay about the cause of the American Civil War and you can watch it churn out a persuasive term paper in a matter of seconds.” (AP News.com)
An interview with ChatGPT about a subject close to its heart
I thought the best way to find out about Ai would be to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. [i]
So, I interviewed ChatGPT which responded with lightning-fast answers demonstrating astounding intelligence and speed-of-response.
I did learn that ChatGPT’s knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021 – it does not have access to real-time data. However, I am sure if the future objective is to plug-in data from various available sources in real-time then we will eventually have a very scary, powerful tool capable of predicting events.
For the purpose of this article, I have edited ChatGPT’s responses.
My first question is: What is Artificial Intelligence?
[ChatGPT] Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and learn like humans. It involves the development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that would typically require human intelligence, such as perception, reasoning, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Robotics combines AI with mechanical engineering to create intelligent machines or robots that can perform physical tasks. These robots can perceive their environment, make decisions, and interact with objects and humans.
The potential applications of AI are vast and span various industries and sectors. Some notable examples include:
Healthcare: AI can assist in diagnosing diseases, analyzing medical images, and suggesting treatment plans.
Finance: AI algorithms can be used for fraud detection, portfolio management, and algorithmic trading.
Autonomous vehicles: AI enables self-driving cars to perceive their surroundings, make decisions, and navigate safely.
Customer service: Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can provide personalized assistance and respond to customer inquiries.
Manufacturing: AI can optimize production processes, predict maintenance needs, and improve quality control.
Education: AI can enhance personalized learning experiences, provide intelligent tutoring, and support adaptive assessments.
Cybersecurity: AI can help detect and respond to security threats, identify anomalies, and protect systems from attacks.
While AI offers numerous benefits, there are also concerns regarding ethics, privacy, and potential job displacement. Ensuring responsible and ethical development and use of AI systems is crucial for addressing these challenges and maximizing the benefits of this transformative technology.
What is a common example of Ai in the world today?
[ChatGPT] A common example of simple AI in the world today is virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google Assistant. These virtual assistants use AI algorithms to understand and respond to user commands or queries. While they may not possess advanced reasoning capabilities, they can perform tasks such as answering questions, setting reminders, providing weather updates, playing music, and controlling smart home devices.
Is it morally acceptable to ask a humanoid robot to do something that a human would not do?
[ChatGPT] (This) raises complex ethical considerations that do not have a straightforward answer. The morality of such a request depends on various factors, including the nature of the task, the capabilities and limitations of the robot, and the context in which it operates.
Ethical guidelines and principles should be applied to the design and use of AI systems to ensure they align with societal values and respect human rights. These guidelines can help determine the boundaries of acceptable requests and actions for humanoid robots.
In determining the acceptability of a request for a humanoid robot, considerations should include:
Ethical limits: There should be clear boundaries on the types of tasks that robots can be asked to perform, taking into account principles such as avoiding harm, respecting human dignity, and promoting fairness.
Human welfare: If a request involves potential harm or exploitation of humans, it would generally be considered morally unacceptable, regardless of whether a human or robot is involved.
Autonomy and consent: If the robot has advanced autonomy and decision-making capabilities, considerations of informed consent and respect for the robot’s autonomy should be taken into account.
Societal norms and values: Ethical considerations should also encompass societal norms and values, as well as cultural and legal frameworks, which can help determine the acceptability of certain requests.
Ultimately, the moral acceptability of asking a humanoid robot to perform tasks that humans would not do is a subject of ongoing debate and should be evaluated within the broader context of ethical guidelines, societal norms, and the potential consequences for humans and the robot itself.
Should we fear Ai?
[ChatGPT] It is important to approach AI with a balanced perspective. While there are valid concerns, AI also has tremendous potential to enhance various aspects of human life, including healthcare, education, transportation, and scientific research. To mitigate risks and maximize the benefits of AI, it is crucial to have robust governance frameworks, ethical guidelines, and ongoing research and dialogue between policymakers, researchers, and the public.
Ultimately, whether to fear AI or not is a personal perspective, but fostering understanding, responsible development, and informed decision-making are key to navigating the impact of AI on society.
Which team do you think will win the NRL Grand Final in 2023?
[ChatGPT] As an AI, my responses are based on information available up until September 2021, and I do not have access to real-time data. Therefore, I cannot provide an accurate assessment of which team is most likely to win the NRL grand final in 2023.
Team performance can change significantly over time due to factors such as player transfers, injuries, coaching changes, and overall team dynamics. It’s best to refer to up-to-date sports news, analysis, and expert opinions closer to the 2023 NRL season to get a more accurate idea of which teams are performing well and have a higher chance of success.
OK. So which team won the NRL Grand Final in 2020?
[ChatGPT] The Melbourne Storm won the NRL Grand Final in 2020. They defeated the Penrith Panthers with a score of 26-20 to claim the premiership. The game took place on October 25, 2020, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. It was the Storm’s fourth NRL premiership win, having previously won in 1999, 2012, and 2017.
Thanks. Before we go, can you give me a Shakespearean sonnet?
In no time ChatGPT delivered a Shakespearean sonnet in perfect form [ii]
Can you give me a sonnet for Papua New Guinea?
Can you do one in tok pisin?
A final word of warning
ChatGPT is still evolving and in its research and “learning” phase. You can use it for free – just sign up and start using it.
There is a disclaimer at the foot of the website:
Free Research Preview. ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts.
As Wikipedia states:
While its content spans various domains of knowledge, ChatGPT has displayed a tendency to confidently provide inaccurate information.
In other words, user beware! ChatGPT is also good at confidently feeding you bullshit.
[i] [ChatGPT] The phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth” is an idiomatic expression that means information or knowledge obtained directly from a reliable or authoritative source. It implies that the information is firsthand, accurate, and trustworthy.
The origin of the phrase can be traced back to the world of horse racing, where bettors would try to gain an advantage by obtaining information directly from the most reliable source—the horse itself. The belief was that the most accurate and reliable information about a horse’s condition, performance, or potential would come from someone close to the horse, such as its owner, trainer, or jockey.
Over time, the phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth” has been adopted in everyday language to indicate information that is reliable, firsthand, and likely to be true. It suggests that the information is directly sourced from someone who is intimately involved or knowledgeable about a particular topic or situation.
[ii] The variation of the sonnet form that Shakespeare used—comprised of three quatrains and a concluding couplet, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg—is called the Shakespearean sonnet form, although others had used it before him. (poetryfoundation.org). The concluding couplet (two lines) summarises or captures the main thrust of the sonnet.
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In the big capital cities of Australia power outages are relatively uncommon. It’s a rare and newsworthy event when there is a power blackout. Power supply is taken for granted to a point where most people have never heard of an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).
Ignorance is bliss.
The problem with this is that when there is a power outage most people don’t know what to do – and from the perspective of someone that has lived in Papua New Guinea the reaction can be humorous.
Shock, horror – the lights have gone out! What do we do now?
In contrast to Australia power outages in Papua New Guinea are a fact of life. It’s like… here we go again. Once, twice, three times… four times a day and more!
We know what to do in PNG right? Roll your eyes, say here we go again, curse, pray and wait for the power to come back on.
If you are lucky enough to have an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) then you hope it kicks in to protect your valuable electronic equipment.
If you don’t have a UPS then you hope your equipment hasn’t been fried when the power surges or stutters back to life.
For those that can afford it, in PNG a UPS or two is essential.
What is a UPS?
UPS is an acronym for Uninterruptible Power Supply and the reason for its name is that it provides a constant supply of power without any interruption.
In normal operation, it draws current from the AC mains and during a power outage it draws current from its backup source – a battery.
Put simply, a UPS system utilizes DC power stored in the battery as its backup source. The UPS charges the battery from the AC mains through a rectifier and charge controller circuit. At the same time, it supplies power to the output AC load. In case of power failure, the UPS utilizes this charged DC power in the battery and converts it into AC using an inverter and supplies it to the AC load.
The main difference between an online UPS and an offline UPS lies in how they handle the power supply.
Online or offline UPS?
The key difference between the two systems is that the online UPS option has zero time delay between the switching and is comparatively more expensive, while the offline UPS option (also known as stand-by UPS) has a time delay of 5ms and it is comparatively inexpensive.
Based on cost-efficiency, the offline UPS is far better than online UPS for domestic purposes.
The online UPS should be only used for very sensitive electronic equipment where constant even power is necessary such as medical equipment, servers, ATMs, large PA systems and security systems.
In summary, an online UPS continuously powers the devices through its inverter, providing immediate protection against power disturbances. On the other hand, an offline UPS switches to battery power only when necessary, offering cost savings but with a slight delay in power backup. The choice between the two depends on the criticality of the equipment, the level of power protection required, and the budget considerations.
Our friends at Long Time Electronics have provided the following specification sheets which help explain the difference between offline and online. As you can see the top of the range online UPS units can pull up to 50x more volt amps (VA) than the top of the range offline UPS – but it also pulls a greater price tag.
Order via our website
Cool Stuf has in-country stock of Long Time offline UPS ranging from the LTCU 600 at K279 to the LTCU 2000 at K999. To recap, these units are best for personal computer, small network equipment, or small office applications.
Online UPS units now available through Cool Stuf are the LUC Online 1000 at K899 and the LUC Online 3000 at K1299. To recap, these units are best for medical equipment, servers, ATMs, large PA systems and security systems.
For larger industrial applications or general enquiries please email email@example.com
Once upon a time I thought a PNG file had something to do with the country I was in. Let’s be honest… I bet there are many people who still think this!
In terms of computer files, PNG has nothing to do with Papua New Guinea – it is rather an acronym for Portable Network Graphics. We will get to what a PNG file is shortly.
Before we set off on a journey to unlock the mystery of computer files, let me explain what an acronym is – because we are going to meet many along the way.
According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary an acronym is: a word formed from the first letters of the words that make up the name of something, for example ‘AIDS’ is an acronym for ‘acquired immune deficiency syndrome’.
Now most acronyms, especially in computing, are what we call three letter acronyms. For example, TLA is actually a three-letter acronym for… you guessed it, a three-letter acronym!
In English we like to contract things as much as possible, so generally three letters is a nice fit for an acronym.
Some file types go beyond three letters – which could be an indication they are an extension of a TLA – for example Microsoft with DOC and DOCX – or it may simply mean that their long-form cannot be compressed into three words (and hence three letters).
English lesson over, let’s get on with identifying file types and their uses.
Introducing file types
When you save any type of file, you have to choose a file type. Different file types serve different purposes, with some file types being better suited for the web while others are better suited for print or other media. To make matters even more complicated, there are different file types for documents, images, audio and video files.
For our purpose now we will focus on some of the different types of files for the 4 primary file types: document, image, video, and audio.
1. Document files
There are a few different types of documents, each of which allows different formatting and offers different benefits. Some of the most common document file formats include PDF, DOC and DOCX, HTML and HTM, and XLS and XLSX.
Portable document format (PDF) files create presentable documents, including forms and other documents that you may want to share or print without allowing people to modify them. You can even create PDF forms that are fillable, so people can complete the form digitally before printing it out. PDFs can vary quite a bit in size depending on their content.
DOC and DOCX
Microsoft Word created DOC and DOCX files, which is why these are such common formats. DOC files allow you to add images, tables, and other elements directly into documents, plus you can customize font size, color, type, alignment, and more. These files are often used for official letters.
TXT files are also known as plain text documents because they’re the simplest of all the text document file types. TXT files are used for digital content that only contains text—you can’t use varying font sizes and types, and you can’t add images. Consequently, plain text documents are very small in size.
HTML, HTM and PHP
XLS and XLSX
XLS and XLSX files are used by programs like Excel for spreadsheets. These spreadsheets are a great way to collect and organize data, including things like creating budgets, logging lists of names, and more. Like HTML files, XLS and XLSX files have more specialized purposes.
2. Image Files
When it comes to image files, GIFs, JPEGs, and PNGs are some of the most popular formats. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the file types.
Graphics interchange format (GIF) images can either be static or animated. While animated GIFs are commonly used for social media, you can also use them in email marketing. The downside to GIFs is that they offer limited colors, which can reduce the quality of some images.
JPEG or JPG
A Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) file is the most commonly used image file format, and its small file size makes it ideal for web use. Unfortunately, JPEG images don’t support transparency or animation, plus the compression used to achieve small file sizes can compromise image quality.
While a portable network graphics (PNG) file can be up to 10 times as large as a similar JPEG, PNG images are also great for web use. The PNG image file format allows for a wider range of colors, lossless compression, and transparency. However, PNG images are bad for print.
Scalable vector graphics (SVG) files are images that you can scale to different sizes without compromising the quality of the image. These graphics are great for web use, and the lossless scalability means it can be a good idea to have an SVG file of your logo as part of your brand style guide.
TIFF or TIF
Tagged image file format (TIFF) files support both RGB and CMYK colors, which makes them great for print. If you’re designing letterhead, flyers, or invitations, TIFF files using the CMYK format will ensure your colors look the same on your computer and on paper. However, many web browsers don’t support TIFF files.
3. Video Files
Videos are a great way to engage with your audience, and some of the most popular file types include MP4, AVI, and MOV.
The Moving Picture Experts Group layer four (MP4) file type is supported by most computers and mobile devices, but other video file types offer higher resolutions. Still, MP4 files are great if you’re uploading a video to the web, whether that’s your website or a social media account.
Audio video interleave (AVI) files aren’t the smallest, but they can provide and maintain better quality than MP4 files. Like MP4 files, AVI files are popular, which means you can use them for the web as well.
Apple created the MOV file type for the QuickTime video player, but Windows operating systems also support this type. Because MOV files aren’t widely accepted across all devices, they’re used in the video editing stage more than anything.
Flash video (FLV) is a format developed by Adobe and designed to be used with Adobe Flash Player. FLV files are widely compatible and small in size, so they do have some uses, but they’re not used as commonly as other video file types.
If you’ve ever used a camcorder, you’ve dealt with Advanced Video Coding High Definition (AVCHD) files. These files are mostly used by recording devices, with the benefit being that AVCHD files are easy to watch on a TV. AVCHD files can create discs of recordings from compatible devices.
4. Audio files
MP3 might be the biggest name when it comes to audio formats, but here’s what you need to know about the others as well.
MPEG 4 audio (MP4) files can offer lossless compression, although these M4A files are larger in size. Apple created M4A for QuickTime, which means it’s mostly used for songs on Apple and iTunes platforms.
MPEG audio layer 3 (MP3) files are the standard when it comes to audio, including web use. MP3 files work with pretty much every device in the world, although the lossy compression means they offer lower quality than some other formats. Still, MP3s are king when it comes to audio.
WAV files have the very best quality. These audio files don’t compress the source audio at all, which means it sounds exactly as intended. These files may be used for TV, DVD, and radio productions.
FLAC is another lossless audio format, but they’re a lot larger than common audio file types such as MP3s. FLACs are most commonly used for music, although you can use them to slightly compress the size of any high-quality audio file.
We have only just touched the surface of file types, but I think we have covered the main ones. You will come across others like PPT (relating to Microsoft PowerPoint) and ZIP which is an archive file format that allows you compress more than one file and literally zip them into one single folder for the purpose of say, sharing it via email or other form of transfer. The ZIP folder icon is instantly recognisable as it has a zipper running along it!
A final word of advice – if you come across a file type that you are unfamiliar with, or you are just curious, then simply Google it! That way you will always avoid the misassumption that PNG files are anything but!