Archive for January 6, 2023

Friday, January 6, 2023

ViewFinity S9

Michael Potuck:

Samsung announced its new lineup of monitors at CES this morning. Two of the most exciting models for Mac users include the company’s first 5K monitor, the ViewFinity S9 with a slick design not unlike Apple’s Studio Display but with even more features and a new 27-inch version of the popular Smart Monitor M8.


Pricing and launch details haven’t been shared yet.

It’s 27 inches, like the Studio Display.

Eric Slivka:

The ViewFinity S9 features a matte finish to minimize glare, is equipped with USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, and includes a 4K SlimFit camera.


Update (2023-01-12): Dan Seifert:

A weird thing has happened at CES this year: display manufacturers not named Apple have announced true 5K and 6K monitors designed for creative work and productivity. […] It’s hard to overstate how rare this actually is.

Update (2023-06-27): Joe Rossignol:

Samsung today announced that its ViewFinity S9 external monitor is now available to pre-order in South Korea, and will launch in the country on July 3. The monitor is priced at 1.7 million won, which is equivalent to approximately $1,300 USD. Samsung has yet to reveal pricing or availability details for the U.S. market.


If the ViewFinity S9 ends up being priced around $1,300 in the U.S., that would be around $300 cheaper than the Studio Display, which starts at $1,599. However, the ViewFinity S9 offers a matte finish and a height-adjustable stand as standard features, whereas the Studio Display costs $2,299 when configured with these options, so the savings could potentially be up to $1,000. Samsung’s monitor also comes with an attached 4K webcam that offers higher-resolution video than the Studio Display’s built-in webcam.

Update (2023-07-18): Jack Wellborn:

Speaking of price, I do expect this Samsung display will get more frequently and heavily discounted than the Studio Display. It also comes with a matte display and an adjustable height stand out of the box, two features Apple charges extra for. Furthermore, the Samsung entry features a DisplayPort in addition to Thunderbolt 4, which should make it ideal for anyone who uses both a Mac and a gaming PC.

Regardless, I hope these Samsung displays sell like gangbusters. 5K is way better than 4K at 27″, even on Windows, and I would love for this display to be the first of many new 5K options.

The price was announced as $1,599.

Update (2023-08-30): Eric Slivka:

After briefly going up for pre-order on Amazon last week, Samsung’s new ViewFinity S9 5K Display is now officially available to order from Samsung and Amazon in the United States.

Update (2023-09-11): Jason Snell:

First off, it doesn’t plug into a wall—instead, it plugs into a large, heavy black power brick. And while I’ve grown a little jaded about Apple’s boasting about the multi-speaker audio arrays in its laptops and displays, I was not prepared for the lousy, tinny sound that came out of the ViewFinity S9’s speakers.


It’s a perfectly fine webcam, but because it’s mounted on the back of the display, it barely peeks above the top of the display. While the camera can extend upward slightly and tilt down, my head was still at the very bottom of the frame—and there’s no real way to adjust it beyond that. With third-party software, I was able to zoom in and make it look a little better, but at that point, it looked worse than the Studio Display’s webcam.


If you’re not content with a non-adjustable stand (or using a VESA mount, since Apple doesn’t charge extra to not include a stand), or if you need an anti-glare screen, the Samsung display will cost appreciably less than Apple’s model. The question is, do the weird quirks of owning a Samsung display outweigh that price difference?

Update (2024-04-09): Mitchel Broussard:

As with previous sales, the highlight of the new event is the 27-inch ViewFinity S9 5K Smart Monitor for $899.99, down from $1,599.99. At $700 off this a match of the previous all-time low price on the 2023 display, which has a matte display, modular 4K SlimFit camera, and support for Thunderbolt 4.

Carl Hewitt, RIP

Stanford (via Hacker News):

We were saddened to learn of the death of Carl Hewitt, eminent AI researcher and visionary computer scientist.


Hewitt was best known for his work on the actor model of computation. For the last decade, his work had been in “inconsistency robustness”, which aims to provide practical rigorous foundations for systems dealing with pervasively inconsistent information. This work grew out of his doctoral dissertation focused on the procedural (as opposed to logical) embedding of knowledge, which was embodied in the Planner programming language.

See also: his blog.


Update (2023-01-12): Christine Lemmer-Webber:

RIP Carl Hewitt, founder of the actor model of computation. He could be a difficult person, but he listened to and was happy to talk to me and many others, and there are few people whose vision impacted so many areas of CS. He also was excited about Spritely (even though I would troll him by calling it “Lambda: the Ultimate Actor Model”). RIP.

Chris Lattner:

I’m v sad that Carl Hewitt passed recently. I was fortunate that Carl visited Apple many years ago and shared his ideas on actor models. It took many years, but his thinking had a big impact on the Swift concurrency manifesto.

Joe Duffy:

Carl was hugely influential on our work on safe concurrency at Microsoft. When he learned about us, he was flattered and wanted to help, like your experience. For such a titan, moved me.

Off to reread A Universal Modular ACTOR Formalism and celebrate an industry giant.

User Stylesheets

Nick Heer:

As Kyrnin writes, web designers usually do a better job these days, and most browsers no longer support user stylesheets by default. Google removed them from Chrome nine years ago and they were made optional in Firefox in 2019. But Safari, my browser of choice, still makes user stylesheets easily visible and, if you have the inclination, I recommend its use for a low-effort way of blocking irritations and overriding bad design choices.


But user stylesheets have drawbacks and are evidently from an earlier era of the web. The ways you might employ user styles today are often similar to browser extensions like StopTheMadness or any number of ad blockers. Modern extensions are far more powerful, too, as rules can be tailored to individual websites or run globally. The biggest advantage to the user stylesheet is also its Achilles’ heel: it only works globally, meaning the same rules are applied to all websites. That means your CSS selectors need to be highly specific.


Unlike browser extensions, there are no security or privacy questions to worry about, and it is entirely controlled by the user. I saved my stylesheet in my iCloud Drive so it syncs between my Macs; Safari for iOS does not support user styles.

Memory Safe Languages in Android 13

Jeffrey Vander Stoep:

For more than a decade, memory safety vulnerabilities have consistently represented more than 65% of vulnerabilities across products, and across the industry. On Android, we’re now seeing something different - a significant drop in memory safety vulnerabilities and an associated drop in the severity of our vulnerabilities.


This drop coincides with a shift in programming language usage away from memory unsafe languages. Android 13 is the first Android release where a majority of new code added to the release is in a memory safe language.


While correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, it’s interesting to note that the percent of vulnerabilities caused by memory safety issues seems to correlate rather closely with the development language that’s used for new code.


In Android 13, about 21% of all new native code (C/C++/Rust) is in Rust. There are approximately 1.5 million total lines of Rust code in AOSP across new functionality and components such as Keystore2, the new Ultra-wideband (UWB) stack, DNS-over-HTTP3, Android’s Virtualization framework (AVF), and various other components and their open source dependencies. […] To date, there have been zero memory safety vulnerabilities discovered in Android’s Rust code.