Amazon EC2 有 Mac (M1) 機種可以租用了

2020 年年底的時候 AWS 推出用 Mac mini 配合搭建出 Mac (Intel) 機種:「Amazon EC2 推出 Mac Instance」,當初有計畫在 2021 年推出 M1 的版本:

Apple M1 Chip – EC2 Mac instances with the Apple M1 chip are already in the works, and planned for 2021.

不過就沒什麼意外的 delay 了,這次則是推出了 M1 的版本:「New – Amazon EC2 M1 Mac Instances」。

依照說明看起來還是 Mac mini,掛上 AWS Nitro System

EC2 Mac instances are dedicated Mac mini computers attached through Thunderbolt to the AWS Nitro System, which lets the Mac mini appear and behave like another EC2 instance.

然後跟 Intel 版本一樣,因為是掛進 Dedicated Hosts 的計價方式,雖然是以秒計費,但還是設定最低 24 小時的租用時間限制:

Amazon EC2 Mac instances are available as Dedicated Hosts through both On Demand and Savings Plans pricing models. The Dedicated Host is the unit of billing for EC2 Mac instances. Billing is per second, with a 24-hour minimum allocation period for the Dedicated Host to comply with the Apple macOS Software License Agreement. At the end of the 24-hour minimum allocation period, the host can be released at any time with no further commitment.

Intel 版本代號是 mac1,只有一種機種 mac1.metal,M1 版本代號是 mac2,也只有一種機種 mac2.metal

以最經典的美東一區 us-east-1 來看,mac1.metal 的 on-demand 價錢是 US$1.083/hour,mac2.metal 則是 US$0.65/hour,差不多是 60% 的價錢,便宜不少,大概是反應在硬體攤提與電費成本上了。

另外目前大家用 M1 的經驗來看,Rostta 2 未必會比原生的機器慢多少,雖然 mac1.metal 是 12 cores,mac2.metal 是 8 core,但以雲上面一定要用 Mac 跑的應用來說,馬上想的到的還是綁在 Apple 環境裡 CI 類的應用?

目前看起來主要的問題還是 24 小時的最小計費單位讓彈性低不少...

Framework 筆電也遇到缺料問題,換了音源晶片

Framework 的筆電最近在社群很紅,模組化設計讓維修變容易,而且也有許多規格上的客製化空間。在「Marketplace」這頁可以看到很多東西可以換,除了比較常見的無線網卡、SSD、記憶體以外,像是主機板、鍵盤甚至連 USB、HDMI 接口都是模組。

不過這邊要提到的是 audio chip 也在這波 supply chain 的供貨問題而中招了:「Solving for Silicon Shortages」,Hacker News 上的討論「Framework: Solving for Silicon Shortages (」也可以看一下。

從文章裡看起來是 Realtek ALC295 的交期爆炸了:

Chips that would normally have 16-20 week lead times (meaning we’d place typically binding orders that far ahead of needing parts in our hands) went up to 52 weeks. In one case, we even got notified of a 68 week lead time on a chip!

We were able to get enough Realtek ALC295 audio CODECs to develop the Framework Laptop and get through the first few months of production, but nowhere near enough to fulfill ongoing demand from the US and Canada, let alone the additional countries we’d like to ship to.

所以決定換到 Tempo 92HD95B

Luckily, we were able to find an alternative CODEC that lets us stay in production: the Tempo 92HD95B.

查了一下 datasheet,本來的 Realtek ALC295 是 QFN-48,而 Tempo 92HD95B 是 QFN-40,看起來得改不少東西... 應該是連 open market 上都翻不到而被迫換設計,跟我們家的情況也很像,看起來最近大家都哭到爆炸了 :o

把 SSH Key 放進 Secure Enclave 裡保護

看到 Secretive 這個專案,是利用蘋果的 Secure Enclave 機制,把 SSH private key 放進去在裡面進行運算,避免 private key 檔案被惡意程式讀取就洩漏出去了。

從 Secure Enclave 的介紹頁面可以看到這個需要有 T1 或是 T2 晶片才有 Secure Enclave 功能:

Mac computers that contain the T1 chip or the Apple T2 Security Chip

而從 Apple Silicon 這邊可以看到 Apple T1 chip 是 2016 年後的機種引入的:

The Apple T1 chip is an ARMv7 SoC (derived from the processor in S2 SiP) from Apple driving the System Management Controller (SMC) and Touch ID sensor of the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

然後對於沒有 Secure Enclave 的古董機,可以透過有支援 smart card 的硬體掛上去,像是 YubiKey

For Macs without Secure Enclaves, you can configure a Smart Card (such as a YubiKey) and use it for signing as well.

照著他講的建議去翻了「YubiKey Smart Card Deployment Guide」這邊的資料,看起來 YubiKey 在 4 系列之後就有產品支援 Smart Card 了,不過要注意純 U2F 的版本沒支援。

AWS 開始推自己的 Machine Learning Chip

除了常見的 GPU 類,以及之前公佈過的 FPGA 外,這次 AWS 推出的是自己做的晶片 AWS Inferentia,以及對應到 EC2 上的機種 inf1:「Amazon EC2 Update – Inf1 Instances with AWS Inferentia Chips for High Performance Cost-Effective Inferencing」。


Each AWS Inferentia chip supports up to 128 TOPS (trillions of operations per second) of performance at low power to enable multiple chips per EC2 instance. AWS Inferentia supports FP16, BF16, and INT8 data types. Furthermore, Inferentia can take a 32-bit trained model and run it at the speed of a 16-bit model using BFloat16.


AWS Inferentia comes with the AWS Neuron software development kit (SDK) that enables complex neural net models, created and trained in popular frameworks to be executed using AWS Inferentia based EC2 Inf1 instances. Neuron consists of a compiler, run-time, and profiling tools and is pre-integrated into popular machine learning frameworks including TensorFlow, Pytorch, and MXNet to deliver optimal performance of EC2 Inf1 instances.

現在看起來類似於 Google 弄的 TPU,專為 machine learning 搞出來的 ASIC,等一陣子應該就會有兩者的比較了...

Bitmain 推出 AI chip

BitmainBitcoin ASIC 市場上算是很有名的,就利用作 ASIC 的經驗推出自己的 AI chip 了:「Bitcoin’s Biggest Tech Player to Release AI Chips and Computers」。

這樣除了可以在雲端上租用 Google Cloud PlatformCloud TPU 以外,也可以自己買硬體來算了 (雖然軟體的支援應該還要再等):「Tensor Computing Processor BM1680」。

Love your country, but never trust its government

Hacker News Daily 上看到的,在 Sun-2 的 bootloader 裡可以看到「Love your country, but never trust its government」這樣的字串:「Why the Sun 2 has the message "Love your country, but never trust its government"」。

這段字串是由 John Gilmore 當時在 Sun 開發時所放入的,John Gilmore 同時也是後來 EFF 創辦人之一,不過當初放入這段字串的目的是為了抓到盜版:

Yes. Vinod Khosla, first President of Sun, came to me at one point and said to put something hidden, triggered in an unexpected way, into the ROM Monitor, so that if somebody cloned the Sun Workstation (violating our software’s copyright), we could do that unexpected thing to the competitor’s demo workstation at a trade show and thereby prove that they had cloned it.

過了三十年後 John Gilmore 被挖出來問的回應也是蠻有趣的... (可以參考原文附上的信件)

而這句話現在回頭看也很經典,尤其是最近各國政府想要在 crypto system 裡面放後門的各種反應。