What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Sunday, June 17


Daily News Stuff 17 June 2018

Computer of the week is the Sharp X68000.

Art by the talented @xiao_woo

* Don't buy gold.

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Saturday, June 16


Daily News Stuff 16 June 2018

Winter edition.  I'm sure people who live in stupid places will insist Sydney doesn't have a winter, but pfft to them.
  • Huawei's P20 and P20 Pro seem to be good modern smartphones.  They use Huawei's own Kirin 970, which is not quite the latest hardware compared to Qualcomm and Apple, but couple it with 4GB or 6GB of LPDDR4X.  Two unfortunate design features - the dreaded notch and the lamented absent headphone socket - but you can turn off the notch if you like.

    LPDDR4X is very interesting, a lower-power and faster version of LPDDR4 with speeds up to 4266MHz.  I'd love to see it attached to AMD's next-gen Ryzen APU, which will have its performance constrained by bandwidth more than by core and shader count.

  • The New York senate is full of idiots.

  • GitLab now includes an IDE.  No, I don't know why either.

  • Apple has forgotten it's a computer company and people are starting to notice.

  • Crystal 0.25 is out.



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Friday, June 15


Daily News Stuff 15 June 2018

  • Intel bitten by yet another speculative execution bug along the lines of Spectre and Meltdown. This one is called LazyFP. Looks like a good time to be an AMD investor.*

  • If you work with MongoDB, dbKoda offers an administration and development front end similar to those available for SQL databases. Now in 1.0 release.

  • PCIe 4.0 doesn't come without costs, mostly in terms of, um, costs. A single PCIe 4.0 x16 slot could add $25 in materials to a motherboard. PCIe 5.0 is even more expensive.

    On the other hand, Megtron-6 sounds like a Go Nagai series.

  • 802.11ax is here, more or less. This is the successor to 802.11ac, with major speed advantages for crowded spaces with many wifi users. (Less so for single users.)

    Note that this is a separate and distinct standard from 802.11ad (60 GHz ultra-fast line-of-sight), 802.11ay (60 GHz medium-range), and 802.11ah (ultra low power networking for IoT).


* I lost all my money in the dotcom bubble. If you take anything I say as investment advice you are an idiot.

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Thursday, June 14


Daily News Stuff 14 June 2018

  • Intel announces graphics cards coming in 2020. Larrabee says "What am I, chopped liver?" The answer is yes, Larrabee, chopped liver is what you are.

  • If you need 5-10 GB per second of I/O, Gigabyte and Plextor have you covered.

  • AMD reportedly has been busy co-creating their next-gen Navi graphics with Sony for the PlayStation 5 and future PCs. Apparently two thirds of their graphics engineers have been working on the project, leaving last year's Vega release short staffed and somewhat underwhelming. The same reports say the PS5 will run on Zen CPU cores, which will be a big improvement over the <random cat name> cores used by both the PS4 and Xbox One.

  • Intel may not sell six-core Xeons for low-end servers, but they'll happily sell you the exact same part for your laptop workstation. Lenovo built one. Six cores, as we said, 128GB RAM, Quadro P3200 graphics, 4K 15" screen, up to 6TB of storage, Thunderbolt 3, and built-in LTE. With all that it still weighs in at a fairly reasonable 2.45 kg (5.4 lbs). Price TBA, but for comparison the smaller P52s with 4 cores, Quadro P500, 4k screen, 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD runs $2090 right now.

  • Elasticsearch the full-text search engine that sucks less than any of the alternatives now supports... SQL? NoSQL is now YeSQL I guess.



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Wednesday, June 13


Daily News Stuff 13 June 2018

  • Intel set to release 8 core mainstream and 22 core high end chips this year?  To respond to AMD's 8 core mainstrem chips from last year and their just announced 32 core high end chips.

  • SD cards go PCIe.  Finally.  Either make them USB or PCIe and be done with it.  SATA goes next.  In the future there will be one cable for everything.  It may fall back to USB 2.0 speeds half the time because the devices can't work out anything better, but there will only be one cable.

  • Speaking of PCIe get set for PCIe 4.0.  And PCIe 5.0 soon after.

  • Vue Native is here to compete with React Native for building mobile apps with tools that are slightly less horrible than the other options.


  • Python 3.7rc1 12 Jun 2018  (first release candidate for Python 3.7)

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Tuesday, June 12


Daily News Stuff 12 June 2018


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Monday, June 11


Daily News Stuff 11 June 2018

Queen's Birthday long weekend edition.  I got nothing.  Not even fireworks, thanks to the NSW State Government.  So here's a few random bits.
  • E3 is here, but it looks like an off year; no hardware announcements, just an outbreak of sequelitis.  Elder Scrolls LXXVI and such.

  • I'm reminded by that Tyan Ryzen server motherboard that you can get Ryzen servers right now if you look around a bit.  It's good value and I might be tempted if Europe weren't so preoccupied with packing the internet with explosives and lighting the fuse.

  • Someone wants to build the C256 that Commodore designed in the 1980s but never released.

  • Udoo is Kickstarting a Ryzen embedded development board.  For those who need just a little more horsepower than the Raspberry Pi.  (For example, those taking the sensible approach and emulating that C256.)  It's less than 5" square, yet supports up to 32GB of RAM and four 4K displays.  Oh, and it has an Arduino chip in one corner.  Starts at $229 with two CPU cores and Vega 3 graphics, and $309 with four cores and Vega 8.

  • Huawei have released the MediaPad M5.  If you play 3D games on Android, it's a big advance over the M3, with twice the GPU performance.  Otherwise it's basically the same device, except that the headphone socket has vanished.  In a shrinking market for small tablets, though, it's worth a look.



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Sunday, June 10


Daily News Stuff 10 June 2018

Weekend edition, where we pick up minor items that we didn't get to during the week.  (Because nothing happens on the weekend.)
  • Vultr upgrades their cloud servers with faster Skylake Xeons.  Up to 50% faster, in fact.  (I use Vultr for development and testing because they have a datacenter right here in Sydney.  So does Amazon, but (a) they cost at least twice as much, often more, and (b) AWS has the worst administration interface in the known universe.)

  • MongoDB is about to support transactions just like a real database.  Also like the TokuMX fork did five years ago.  MongoDB 4.0 is available as a release candidate now.

  • Microsoft buys GitHub.  Despite the squeals from the hacker fringe, this is probably good news for everyone - for Microsoft, for GitHub, for their competitors GitLab (I use GitLab myself), and for developers.  Techdirt rounds up some takes, including an embarrassing mess from the Guardian.

  • Tyan showed off the first standard Ryzen server motherboard at Computex.  This has been a noticeable hole in AMD's server offerings - they have the high-end Epyc chips (two sockets and up to 64 total cores), and embedded chips, but no low-end server offering.  And Intel have been ignoring low-end servers entirely - they have 6-core laptop parts, but their low-end server CPUs are still limited to 4 cores.  (Just to rub it in, they have six-core mobile Xeons for pro laptops, but not a server version.)


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Saturday, June 09


Daily News Stuff 9 June 2018

  • Europe realises GDPR hasn't quite destroyed the Internet, vows to try harder.  (Seriously, this proposed new law is screwed up beyond belief.)

  • TSMC ramps up 7nm production.  This is good news for everyone in the industry except Intel, whose 10nm process has been stuck in beta for longer than Gmail.

  • ARM announces the Cortex-A76 mobile CPU which is faster than the A75, which is faster than the A73, which is faster than the A72, which is faster than the A57, which is faster than the A53, which is what I have in my phone.


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Friday, June 08


Daily News Stuff 8 June 2018

  • ASMedia shows off USB 3.2.  That's 20Gb per second, using the same USB-C socket and cable as USB 3.1.

  • Intel announces the 8086.  40th Anniversary Limited Edition, that is; a 6-core 4.0-5.0 GHz Coffee Lake chip.

  • Facebook run by idiots, massive privacy violations ensue.

  • Amazon has been watching too much Doctor Who, decides to conquer Earth apparently forgetting they already have.

  • Europe run by idiots, massive privacy violations ensue.


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