Memory Leak Bug Is Killing MacOS Monterey Performance

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Apple’s newest desktop operating system, MacOS Monterey, brings a handful of useful new features, but an assortment of issues as well. Some people are reporting memory leaks after upgrading to MacOS Monterey — some of which have even included warnings that the entire system has run out of memory.

While new operating system rollouts tend to have a few bugs, this one seems particularly bothersome. Memory leaks occur when an application uses more memory, or RAM, than is necessary. This happens because the process in question doesn’t release the memory that’s allocated to it after it’s closed and continues to use more memory, sometimes until there’s none left.

There have been a number of complaints across multiple forums, including Apple’s own support forums, Reddit, and Twitter. YouTuber Gregory McFadden tweeted a picture in which Control Center was using a whopping 26GB of RAM. By comparison, Final Cut Pro was only using 6GB of RAM,  and that’s a full-fledged professional video editing program. Control Center normally only uses a couple of megabytes of RAM.

The issue doesn’t seem to be limited to a particular Mac model either. Users with M1, M1 Pro/Max, and Intel versions have all reported memory leaks. One Firefox user with an Intel Mac reported Firefox usage of almost 80GB of RAM. While some users like Gregory McFadden had upwards of 64GB of RAM installed, a lot of others will likely have much lower RAM and will feel the pinch of a memory leak more acutely.

So glad I got 64GB of memory on my new Mac so I can use 26GB of it for control center… Wait… what.

— Gregory McFadden (@GregoryMcFadden) October 28, 2021

This isn’t the only major issue with MacOS Monterey. Those with older Macs who install the new operating system are at risk of bricking their computer. Many of the users reported Macs that simply wouldn’t turn on at all after upgrading. While there does seem to be a temporary fix, that requires access to another Mac.

Lest the Windows faithful get cocky, Windows 11 users have also reported memory issues. Windows Insiders found that File Explorer consumes memory even after being closed. We were able to reproduce the leak on both Windows 11 and Windows 10. Fortunately, it seems this is limited to just the File Explorer and not random programs like MacOS’ issue.

Regardless, the memory leak on MacOS Monterey could just be the teething signs of a new operating system. Apple will hopefully issue a patch to fix the leak, although MacOS memory leaks seem to be a common occurrence. At any rate, it may be worth holding off upgrading your Mac for now.

Editors’ Choice

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Have autonomous robots started killing in war? The reality is messier than it appears

It’s the sort of thing that can almost pass for background noise these days: over the past week, a number of publications tentatively declared, based on a UN report from the Libyan civil war, that killer robots may have hunted down humans autonomously for the first time. As one headline put it: “The Age of Autonomous Killer Robots May Already Be Here.”

But is it? As you might guess, it’s a hard question to answer.

The new coverage has sparked a debate among experts that goes to the heart of our problems confronting the rise of autonomous robots in war. Some said the stories were wrongheaded and sensational, while others suggested there was a nugget of truth to the discussion. Diving into the topic doesn’t reveal that the world quietly experienced the opening salvos of the Terminator timeline in 2020. But it does point to a more prosaic and perhaps much more depressing truth: that no one can agree on what a killer robot is, and if we wait for this to happen, their presence in war will have long been normalized.

It’s cheery stuff, isn’t it? It’ll take your mind off the global pandemic at least. Let’s jump in:

The source of all these stories is a 548-page report from the United Nations Security Council that details the tail end of the Second Libyan Civil War, covering a period from October 2019 to January 2021. The report was published in March, and you can read it in full here. To save you time: it is an extremely thorough account of an extremely complex conflict, detailing various troop movements, weapon transfers, raids and skirmishes that took place among the war’s various factions, both foreign and domestic.

The paragraph we’re interested in, though, describes an offensive near Tripoli in March 2020, in which forces supporting the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) routed troops loyal to the Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar (referred to in the report as the Haftar Affiliated Forces or HAF). Here’s the relevant passage in full:

Logistics convoys and retreating HAF were subsequently hunted down and remotely engaged by the unmanned combat aerial vehicles or the lethal autonomous weapons systems such as the STM Kargu-2 (see annex 30) and other loitering munitions. The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true “fire, forget and find” capability.”

The Kargu-2 system that’s mentioned here is a quadcopter built in Turkey: it’s essentially a consumer drone that’s used to dive-bomb targets. It can be manually operated or steer itself using machine vision. A second paragraph in the report notes that retreating forces were “subject to continual harassment from the unmanned combat aerial vehicles and lethal autonomous weapons systems” and that the HAF “suffered significant casualties” as a result.

The Kargu-2 drone is essentially a quadcopter that dive-bombs enemies.
Image: STM

But that’s it. That’s all we have. What the report doesn’t say — at least not outright — is that human beings were killed by autonomous robots acting without human supervision. It says humans and vehicles were attacked by a mix of drones, quadcopters, and “loitering munitions” (we’ll get to those later), and that the quadcopters had been programmed to work offline. But whether the attacks took place without connectivity is unclear.

These two paragraphs made their way into the mainstream press via a story in the New Scientist, which ran a piece with the headline: “Drones may have attacked humans fully autonomously for the first time.” The NS is very careful to caveat that military drones might have acted autonomously and that humans might have been killed, but later reports lost this nuance. “Autonomous drone attacked soldiers in Libya all on its own,” read one headline. “For the First Time, Drones Autonomously Attacked Humans,” said another.

Let’s be clear: by itself, the UN does not say for certain whether drones autonomously attacked humans in Libya last year, though it certainly suggests this could have happened. The problem is that even if it did happen, for many experts, it’s just not news.

The reason why some experts took issue with these stories was because they followed the UN’s wording, which doesn’t distinguish clearly between loitering munitions and lethal autonomous weapons systems or LAWS (that’s policy jargon for killer robots).

Loitering munitions, for the uninitiated, are the weapon equivalent of seagulls at the beachfront. They hang around a specific area, float above the masses, and wait to strike their target — usually military hardware of one sort or another (though it’s not impossible that they could be used to target individuals).

The classic example is Israel’s IAI Harpy, which was developed in the 1980s to target anti-air defenses. The Harpy looks like a cross between a missile and a fixed-wing drone, and is fired from the ground into a target area where it can linger for up to nine hours. It scans for telltale radar emissions from anti-air systems and drops onto any it finds. The loitering aspect is crucial as troops will often turn these radars off, given they act like homing beacons.

The IAI Harpy is launched from the ground and can linger for hours over a target area.
Image: IAI

“The thing is, how is this the first time of anything?” tweeted Ulrike Franke, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Loitering munition have been on the battlefield for a while – most notably in Nagorno-Karaback. It seems to me that what’s new here isn’t the event, but that the UN report calls them lethal autonomous weapon systems.”

Jack McDonald, a lecturer at the department of war studies at King’s College London, says the distinction between the two terms is controversial and constitutes an unsolved problem in the world of arms regulation. “There are people who call ‘loitering munitions’ ‘lethal autonomous weapon systems’ and people who just call them ‘loitering munitions,’” he tells The Verge. “This is a huge, long-running thing. And it’s because the line between something being autonomous and being automated has shifted over the decades.”

So is the Harpy a lethal autonomous weapons system? A killer robot? It depends on who you ask. IAI’s own website describes it as such, calling it “an autonomous weapon for all weather,” and the Harpy certainly fits a makeshift definition of LAWS as “machines that target combatants without human oversight.” But if this is your definition, then you’ve created a very broad church for killer robots. Indeed, under this definition a land mine is a killer robot, as it, too, autonomously targets combatants in war without human oversight.

If killer robots have been around for decades, why has there been so much discussion about them in recent years, with groups like the Campaign To Stop Killer Robots pushing for regulation of this technology in the UN? And why is this incident in Libya special?

The rise of artificial intelligence plays a big role, says Zak Kallenborn, a policy fellow at the Schar School of Policy and Government. Advances in AI over the past decade have given weapon-makers access to cheap vision systems that can select targets as quickly as your phone identifies pets, plants, and familiar faces in your camera roll. These systems promise nuanced and precise identification of targets but are also much more prone to mistakes.

“Loitering munitions typically respond to radar emissions, [and] a kid walking down the street isn’t going to have a high-powered radar in their backpack,” Kallenborn tells The Verge. “But AI targeting systems might misclassify the kid as a soldier, because current AI systems are highly brittle — one study showed a change in a single pixel is sufficient to cause machine vision systems to draw radically different conclusions about what it sees. An open question is how often those errors occur during real-world use.”

This is why the incident in Libya is interesting, says Kallenborn, as the Kargu-2 system mentioned in the UN report does seem to use AI to identify targets. According to the quadcopter’s manufacturer, STM, it uses “machine learning algorithms embedded on the platform” to “effectively respond against stationary or mobile targets (i.e. vehicle, person etc.)” Demo videos appear to show it doing exactly that. In the clip below, the quadcopter hones in on a mannequin in a stationary group.

But should we trust a manufacturers’ demo reel or brochure? And does the UN report make it clear that machine learning systems were used in the attack?

Kallenborn’s reading of the report is that it “heavily implies” that this was the case, but McDonald is more skeptical. “I think it’s sensible to say that the Kargu-2 as a platform is open to being used in an autonomous way,” he says. “But we don’t necessarily know if it was.” In a tweet, he also pointed out that this particular skirmish involved long-range missiles and howitzers, making it even harder to attribute casualties to any one system.

What we’re left with is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the fog of war. Or more accurately: the fog of LAWS. We can’t say for certain what happened in Libya and our definitions of what is and isn’t a killer robot are so fluid that even if we knew, there would be disagreement.

For Kallenborn, this is sort of the point: it underscores the difficulties we face trying to create meaningful oversight in the AI-assisted battles of the future. Of course the first use of autonomous weapons on the battlefield won’t announce itself with a press release, he says, because if the weapons work as they’re supposed to, they won’t look at all out of the ordinary. “The problem is autonomy is, at core, a matter of programming,” he says. “The Kargu-2 used autonomously will look exactly like a Kargu-2 used manually.”

Elke Schwarz, a senior lecturer in political theory at Queen Mary University London who’s affiliated with the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, tells The Verge that discussions like this show we need to move beyond “slippery and political” debates about definitions and focus on the specific functionality of these systems. What do they do and how do they do it?

“I think we really have to think about the bigger picture […] which is why I focus on the practice, as well as functionality,” says Schwarz. “In my work I try and show that the use of these types of systems is very likely to exacerbate violent action as an ‘easier’ choice. And, as you rightly point out, errors will very likely prevail […] which will likely be addressed only post hoc.”

Schwarz says that despite the myriad difficulties, in terms of both drafting regulation and pushing back against the enthusiasm of militaries around the world to integrate AI into weaponry, “there is critical mass building amongst nations and international organizations to push for a ban for systems that have the capacity to autonomously identify, select and attack targets.”

Indeed, the UN is still conducting a review into possible regulations for LAWS, with results due to be reported later this year. As Schwarz says: “With this news story having made the rounds, now is a great time to mobilize the international community toward awareness and action.”

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Why Intel Killing the Nanometer Is a Good Thing

Intel unveiled a road map through 2025 at its Intel Accelerated event on Monday. Beyond showing what’s coming down the pike, Intel announced that it would overhaul its naming scheme to move past the nanometer (nm) measurement used by the rest of the industry. Going forward, Intel will classify each improvement in process technology with a simple name.

Previously, Intel abided by the industry naming scheme of process node advancements. Measured in nanometers, each new generation marked an uptick in the density of transistors on the chip, not its physical size. The name is largely irrelevant at this point and has morphed into a marketing ploy by chipmakers like Samsung and TSMC.

As advancements were made in density, the rest of the industry simply brought the number down. So, 10nm moved to 7nm, and so on. Intel didn’t. Instead, Intel kept with its 14nm name for quite some time, as the company experienced issues moving on to a 10nm process node.

Now, Intel has brought the scales back in balance. Starting with Alder Lake processors, which are set to launch later this year, Intel will use a number that more accurately represents its transistor density compared to the rest of the industry. That starts with Intel 7 on Alder Lake, which was previously known as 10nm Enhanced.

Following up Intel 7 is Intel 4, which was previously referred to as Intel 7nm and will show up on Meteor Lake processors in 2023. After that is Intel 3, and after that is Intel 20A, where the company will break the naming scheme and usher in the “angstrom era,” where manufacturing processes will move beyond 1nm.

Here’s what you can expect from each process improvement:

  • Intel 7 (previously 10nm Enhanced) – “Delivering an approximately 10% to 15% performance-per-watt1 increase over Intel 10nm SuperFin through FinFET transistor optimizations, including increased strain, more low-resistance materials, novel high-density patterning techniques, streamlined structures, and better routing with a higher metal stack.”
  • Intel 4 (previously Intel 7nm) – “Providing an approximately 20% performance-per-watt1 increase over Intel 7, Intel 4 is the first Intel FinFET node to fully embrace extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV). Intel 4 will be ready for production in the second half of 2022 for products shipping in 2023, including Meteor Lake for client and Granite Rapids for the data center.”
  • Intel 3 – “Continuing to reap the benefits of FinFET, Intel 3 is expected to deliver around an 18% performance-perwatt1 increase over Intel 4. Intel 3 will be ready to begin manufacturing products in the second half of 2023.”
  • Intel 20A – “Ushering in the angstrom era with two breakthrough technologies, PowerVia and RibbonFET. Intel 20A is expected to ramp in 2024.”

After Intel 20A, the company will move to Intel 18A as it continues the downward trek once again. Intel 18A is already in development for early 2025, featuring refinements to RibbonFET.

How Intel will go beyond 1nm

The “angstrom era” will begin with Intel 20A, which utilizes two new technologies that the company announced at the Intel Accelerated event. The first is PowerVia, which is an “industry-first implementation of backside power delivery.” Instead of routing power through the front of the wafer, PowerVia routes it through the back, optimizing the signal routing and improving efficiency.

RibbonFET is the name Intel is using for its gate-all-around (GAA) transistor design. It’s the first new design the company has unveiled since it introduced FinFET in 2011, and it will further improve transistor switching to deliver faster, more efficient processors. This design essentially utilizes multiple gates on the transistor, allowing it to switch faster compared to a single gate.

Intel RibbonFET technology as will appear in 20A.

Intel 20A would have otherwise been known as Intel 1, but the company changed the name to “better evoke the next era of innovation.” This is where Intel will move beyond 1nm while continuing to keep with the idea of Moore’s Law, where transistor density doubles every two years.

“Moore’s Law is alive and well. We have a clear path for the next decade of innovation to go to ‘1’ and well beyond. I like to say that, until the periodic table is exhausted, Moore’s Law isn’t over and we will be relentless in our path to innovate with the magic of silicon,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said.

Pushing beyond the nanometer

An Intel wafer on a blue background.

Intel’s shift to a new naming convention may not seem like much — and for many, it doesn’t mean anything. At best, the move shows just how meaningless process naming conventions are, as they mark generational shifts more than where different chipmakers are at in terms of innovation.

But it means a lot for Intel Foundry Services (IFS). IFS is Intel’s plan to provide manufacturing capacity to other businesses. At the Intel Accelerated event, the company announced its first partnership with Amazon Web Services, as well as a partnership with Qualcomm with Intel 20A.

As Intel tries to grab customers from rival chipmakers Samsung and TSMC, the change in naming reflects what the company is able to deliver in terms of transistor density. It highlights how arbitrary the measurement has been over the past several years and tips the scales back in Intel’s favor, if only by a bit.

Although Intel’s shift in naming is the biggest news to come out of the event, the company also touched on the Foveros Omni and Direct packaging technologies, which will build on the Foveros packaging technology featured in Alder Lake and Meteor Lake. Intel still has a long road back to the top, but the change shows that it’s willing to take the steps.

Editors’ Choice

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Tech News

Google is killing off Play Movies and TV, but your purchases will live on YouTube

If you’re one of the few people who frequently purchased movies through Google Play Movies and TV, I have some bad news and some good news.

The bad news is that Google appears to be killing off the Play Movies & TV app on a bunch of smart TV devices, including Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio Smart TVs. Google appears to be slowly trying to retire the app, much like Google Play Music, perhaps because its name is terrible.

But the good news is that your purchases will live on in the YouTube app instead. According to a Google support page:

Starting 6/15/2021, the Google Play Movies & TV app will no longer be available on Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs. The YouTube app will be your new home for movies and shows. Just log in with your Google account in the YouTube app today, you’ll have access to all of your past purchases, and will be able to browse, purchase, and rent new content.

Your purchase credits will also transfer over, but keep in mind your watchlist will not be available on YouTube; you’ll have to make a new playlist instead.

I’m sure there are five of you out there who will be upset about the change. It might be nice to keep your movies and shows separate from your YouTube account, or maybe you just are too lazy to change up your TV’s app layout. But considering how Google has been doubling down on the YouTube brand, the change was only a matter of time.

And really now, ‘Google Play Movies and TV’ is an awful name.

Via Android Central

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HP’s Spectre x360 15t offers 4K resolution without killing battery, and it’s smaller too

HP’s Spectre x360 15t gives you a bigger screen in a smaller laptop, and it somehow manages to make that screen 4K without killing your battery. Announced Sunday at CES in Las Vegas, this powerhouse system will be available in the spring, with prices yet to be specified.

Featuring a 15.6-inch 4K screen, the newest Spectre x360 15t saws off so much bezel that HP said it’s now about the size of previous laptops with 14-inch screens. This side shot of the new Spectre x360 15t next to the older version shows the difference.

HP Spectre x360 15t HP

The new Spectre x360 15t gets significantly smaller thanks to a smaller bezel.

HP kept fairly thick top and bottom bezels on the previous generation because it didn’t want to shed the infrared camera support that enables Window 10’s cool biometric login feature. A new generation of IR camera module shrinks from 6mm to 2mm and allows HP to keep the IR module while making the bezel smaller. You can see just how much smaller the module is in the picture below.

HP Spectre x360 15t IR cam Gordon Mah Ung

The significantly smaller IR module allows HP to shrink the heck out of the bezel.

The other stand-out feature of the Spectre x360 is its battery life. HP claims the the Spectre can last up to 17 hours of run time on a charge. That may not impress you until you learn the number is produced with a 4K-resolution panel. 4K panels, whether OLED, IPS or VA-based, all typically kill battery life due to the power required to push light through many more, tinier points.

HP said it has a 4K panel option that sips a mere two watts in normal operation, allowing battery life to hit that 17-hour mark. If you just don’t care about battery life and prefer jaw-dropping contrast ratios, HP still offers a good ol’ battery-sucking 4K OLED with a rated 100,000:1 (that’s not a typo) contrast ratio.

HP Spectre x360 15t HP

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Tech News

Samsung accused of aggressive background app killing in Android 11

Samsung and Android seem to have a love-hate relationship. It has certainly gotten better at keeping in line with Android standards, best practices, and updates even while it continues to form its unique identity with its One UI user experience. It’s by no means as bad as the TouchWiz days but there are still some cases where Samsung prefers to do things its way. Those don’t always end up well, as illustrated by the case where, at least starting Android 11, Samsung’s divergence from stock Android has been observed to be too aggressive and too excessive in killing background apps.

Apple’s iOS was actually more notorious for its stingy policy when it comes to apps running in the background. While Android remains a bit more relaxed in that area, it still has to be careful that background apps don’t run a smartphone dry without you noticing it. Killing those background apps is a fact of mobile life but some seem to do it worse than others.

The “Don’t Kill My App!” site compares OEM phones against stock Android and Pixel phones to rank which ones are too aggressive compared to the standard set by Google. For years, OnePlus and Huawei held the crown of shame with Samsung just a third. Now, however, the world’s biggest Android vendor has risen to the top, and not for good reasons.

According to the site, Samsung’s Android 11 update, starting with One UI 3.0, has become even more aggressive in killing background apps to the point even some alarm apps stop working after 3 days. This also affects health and fitness apps that gather sensor data while running in the background. Not only is this more aggressive than stock Android, it also goes against Google’s stated policy for OEMs to be more transparent about things like these.

The slightly good news is that it’s possible to turn off this behavior or at least set it to your specifications. The bad news is that the process is lengthy and cumbersome. The worse news is that some report that a simple firmware update will reset everything back to the default behavior of being an aggressive background app killer.

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Tech News

No joke, Google is killing off the Pixel 2, Inbox, URL shortener, and Google+ this week

If there’s one thing Google doesn’t joke about, it’s killing off its products. Google may be celebrating 15 years of Gmail, but it has an equally long history of suddenly paring down its catalog of products and services, both loved and forgotten, and it’s at it again. This time Google is taking the axe to several popular apps and devices as it moves on to bigger and better things.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

While Google has been selling the Pixel 3 and 3XL for about six months now, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL are still very good phones, especially at discounted prices. But if you want one, you’ll have to act fast. Google has stopped selling the Pixel 2 and 2XL through its online store, which means whatever remaining stock at store like Best Buy and B&H Photo are sure to be extremely limited.

Inbox by Gmail

When the Inbox by Gmail app launched in 2015, it was a revelation. A completely new way to view and organize your messages, Inbox boiled your emails down to a smart task manager, with bundles, pins, scheduling, and shortcuts that made managing your inbox a breeze. But over the years, Google’s interest in Inbox faded, and it never really got the attention it deserved. Most of its unique features are now part of the Gmail app (though we’re still waiting for bundles), and several third-party apps have adopted Inbox’s style. Apparently that’s good enough for Google, because as of this week you won’t be able to use it anymore.

Google URL Shortener (

Back in 2009, link shortening was still a novel idea, and Google was one of the first to bring the concept to the masses with the Google URL Shortener. It was a simple way to turn a lengthy web address into a short one that consisted of and a short string of letter and numbers. With the rise of and similar services, Google’s own URL shortener became less important to people’s work flow and now, nearly 10 years later, it’s gone for good.


Google+ was once supposed to be the one-stop shop for social and support among Google users, but it never really caught on. And then it was revealed that some 50 million users may have had their name, email address, occupation, and age exposed to third-party developers, which accelerated its demise. Now it’s going away for good, but we can’t imagine that anyone will actually notice.

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