This accidentally fell out of her pocket when I bumped into her. Took me four goes.

Wednesday, November 14


Daily News Stuff 14 November 2018

Tech News

  • HLRS, the High Performance Computing Center at the University of Stuttgart, is building a new PC based on AMD's new 64-core "Rome" CPU.  10,000 of them.  (AnandTech)

    640,000 cores, 665TB of RAM, and 26PB of disk.  Based on an HP Badger.  Which is not a computer I am overly familiar with.

  • QUIC stands for Quick UDP Internet Connections.  (PC Perspective)

    Just reading up on this, and I'm feeling more positive.  If you live in Australia, accessing any secure site hosted in another country is s-l-o-w because it requires multiple round trips back and forth across the globe before the first useful byte actually gets sent.  QUIC solves that.  Somehow.

  • AMD's Radeon RX 590 is out.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's essentially identical to the RX 580, which is essentially identical to the RX 480.  I have two RX 580s; they're by no means bad, but it's time AMD got something new out to market.

  • Speaking of supercomputers, the Department of Energy's new Perlmutter system will be based on AMD's third generation Milan EPYC processors and Nvidia's unnamed next-generation GPUs.  Based on the Cray Shasta architecture.  (Tom's Hardware)

    No announcement of the total number of cores, which is the ENTIRE POINT of supercomputer news articles.

  • No, Zen 2 does not have 29% better IPC than Zen 1.  (NotebookCheck)

    Of course it doesn't.  That sort of increase doesn't happen unless you're starting with a specifically low-end architecture, which Zen 1 certainly is not.

  • All of GitLab's staff work remotely.  (Inc.5000)

    Disclaimer: I like GitLab.

  • A wild Rome motherboard appeared!

    It has five PCIe 4.0 slots - four x16 and one x8 - and two PCIE 3.0 slots.  The PCIe 3.0 slots are the furthest from the CPU, so this might be the best that can be done without a repeater chip.  PCIe 5.0 will have even tighter timings.

    Rome will work in existing Naples motherboards (and vice versa) but then you don't get the improved I/O performance.

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Japanese museum foils cat burglars.

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Tuesday, November 13


Daily News Stuff 13 November 2018

Tech News

Video of the Day

Linus Dunking on Intel Video of the Day

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Post contains 234 words, total size 3 kb.

Monday, November 12


Daily News Stuff 12 November 2018

Tech News

  • Ian Cuttress talks to AMD CTO Mark Papermaster.  (AnandTech)

    Couple of points of interest:

    • Naples (Epyc 1) required four functional CPU dies to work.  Rome (Epyc 2) requires a functional I/O die, and any number of CPU dies from 1 to 8.

      If yields are good we're likely to see chiplet granularity in Rome's core count - and the same with Threadripper 3.  Threadripper 3 will be a beast; Intel will be dead in the single-socket workstation space.

    • Milan (Epyc 3) will have the same socket as Naples and Rome.  After that (Venice?  Genoa?  Florence?) we're looking towards DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 and "no comment" territory. 

    • Infinity Fabric on 7nm offers 100GB/s bandwidth, more than double the first generation.  This helps mitigate the smaller number of interconnects - Naples has 12 interconnects for 4 dies; Rome has 8 for 8 dies.

    • Chiplets mean you can mix and match - need an application-specific core?  FPGA?  GPU?  As long as it speaks Infinity Fabric and fits on the package, it can be done.

  • Another day, another side channel attack...  On Nvidia graphics cards?!  (Tom's Hardware)


  • Epyc clouds get benchmarkeded.  (Phoronix)

    AWS vs. Packet vs. SkySilk (who?)


    A SkySilk "small" node outperforms an EC2 m5a.large node.  That means less than it sounds like, though, because both are dual core 8GB nodes with similar pricing, and the naming conventions mean even less than they do at Starbucks.

  • Cloudflare's app competes with and  (Bleeping Computer)

    First, this is good, because your ISP's DNS probably sucks.  Second, IP routing is fucking weird.

  • HTTP/2, based on Google's SPDY, is set to be replaced by HTTP/3, based on Google's QUIC.  (ZDNet)

    Not sure how I feel about that.  They're not even using TCP any more.  They've smushed HTTP itself, TLS, and a rewrite of TCP into a protocol that runs over UDP.

    It's dead easy to write an HTTP server if you can talk TCP, and everything can talk TCP.  This does not make things simpler.  Very much the opposite.

Video of the Day

Other Linus buys weird CPUs on Taobao so you don't have to.

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Sunday, November 11


Daily News Stuff 11 November 2018

Tech News

  • Microsoft, rumoured to be looking at acquiring another independent game studio like InXile or Obsidian, has acquired independent game studios InXile and Obsidian.  (

    This means that two of few the companies still producing games I like (InXile made Torment and Wasteland 2; Obsidian most recently Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity I and II) now have solid financial backing and distribution and don't have to scrabble around on Kickstarter.

    And it's a hell of a lot better than Electronic Arts.  Or Ubisoft.  Or Activision.

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Bee and PuppyCat of the Day

This is the final episode of series one and the conclusion of a story arc.  It's great, but definitely not the place to start watching.

Map of the Day

Picture of the Day

A story in three parts.

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Saturday, November 10


Daily News Stuff 10 November 2018

Tech News

Social Media News

Video of the Day

What?  It's just someone in noisy shoes walking through some kind of plaza in China.

Click on the video and drag it around.

This is the camera Naomi (the young lady in the video) is using.  It doesn't look that impressive, but it contains two super wide angle - 190° field of view - cameras back to back.  Some clever software stitches the two images together and removes most of the distortion.

Disarming Ancient Practical Jokes with Toxic Heavy Metals Video of the Day

Cat Picture of the Day

I have a cat that sits by my front door as well.  I'll take a photo of it one day.

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Friday, November 09


Daily News Stuff 9 November 2018

Tech News
  • Sony has released the first 128GB writable Blu-Ray disks.  (AnandTech)

    These have been largely bypassed in favour of flash storage and direct downloads; the cost per byte isn't much better than SSDs and markedly worse than hard drives.  Still, that's 200x as much as a CD, which is no small feat.

  • Why Intel processors draw more power than expected.  (AnandTech)

    Intel's power numbers are lies.

  • Samsung pre-announced their upcoming 7.3" tablet.  (Wired)

    This one folds.  Not with two screens and a hinge, but it doesn't look like the whole thing is a bendy banana either.  We shall see.  This is potentially awesome but hard to pull off.

  • Brython is a dumb name but a great idea: Python for your browser.

    Currently it's a bit fiddly to use because HTML is still bound to JavaScript, but anything that hastens JavaScript's demise is welcome.

  • How does IBM's Power9 stack up against Intel and AMD?  (Phoronix)

    Meh.  Looking at the benchmarks, I thought, wow, that's pretty good for a 22 core CPU...  Dual 22 core?  Well, that's rather less inspiring then.

  • HP's Elite x2 1013 G3 is a successor to their 2017 Envy x2.  (ZDNet)

    It has the same detachable design, a slightly larger 13.3" screen still with the 3000x2000 resolution, and two Thunderbolt ports as well as a regular USB-C.  (The Envy x2  that I have does not have Thunderbolt.)

    It has a quad core 8th generation Intel CPU, a nice upgrade, but not the high-end Iris Plus or Iris Pro graphics of last year's models, because Intel don't yet have a chip that combines those two features.

    Elite is HP's high-end business line; there will likely be a consumer-oriented Envy model of this along shortly.

Video of the Day


Picture of the Day

Tree fort!  Click to embiggen.

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Thursday, November 08


Daily News Stuff 8 November 2018

Tech News

  • Gigabyte announced two new EPYC motherboards. (AnandTech)

    What's different about these is they are standard ATX boards.

    With the EPYC 2 update, they'll support 64 cores, 2TB of RAM, 16 disk drives, four full PCIe x16 slots, and dual 10Gb Ethernet - all in a regular desktop PC. For the price of a low-end BMW.

  • Apple's 2018 iPad Pro is the company's most powerful tablet ever. Is it finally ready to replace your laptop?

    No. (Ars Technica)

Social Media News

  • A prominent YouTube channel with nearly half a million subscribers was deleted after shocking video surfaced of a women's rights activist being violently assaulted...

    ...Tied behind a horse, dragged across country, and fed to an alligator. The game is Red Dead Redemption 2, which is basically doing this stuff to men, but doesn't actually prevent you doing it to female NPCs.

    It looks like there are still people who are not entirely insane working at Google, because his channel has been reinstated.

Video of the Day

More analysis of AMD's Next Horizons event and their new chiplet-oriented architecture and what it means for servers.  I'm  hoping to find some analysis of the implications for desktops and laptops, but not yet.

Travel Video of the Day

Just heading off the Point Nemo.   [Video continues.]  Wait.  Strike that.  Reverse it.

Picture of the Day

The wizard rolled a natural 20 that day.

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Post contains 285 words, total size 4 kb.

Wednesday, November 07


Readers Ask Questions

Mauser asks, regarding the article on The Superpermutation of Haruhi Suzumiya:
Why would you need to watch all the episodes in every possible order?
Well, true, perhaps you wouldn't.  We've seen Endless Eight.

But let's try another scenario: You're Intel, and your brand new CPU turns out to crash apparently randomly.  You call in your entire test team and they can reproduce the crash, about once per chip per week on average.

And some bright spark figures out that it happens seventeen cycles after you do an integer add, then an integer divide, then issue an AVX256 MADD, then a relative conditional branch, because if you do that exact sequence a register file port gets left in a stuck state and when the branch prediction finally gets resolved, BANG.

Only...  What about other sequences?  Is this the only problem?  If you patch it with a microcode update and systems keep right on crashing, you're not going to set sales records this quarter.

You want to test all possible sequences of instructions, one by one, as quickly as possible.  This theorem lets you do it an order of magnitude faster than a naive approach, and provides rules for generating the optimal sequence of instructions.

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Daily News Stuff 7 November 2018

Tech News

  • AMD had their big Next Horizon party, and it looks like the leaks had things pretty much correct.   (AnandTech)

    • Zen 2 has twice the floating point performance of Zen 1 (2 x 256-bit vector units, the same as Intel).

    • Updated from PCIe 3.0 to 4.0 for double the I/O bandwidth.

    • Infinity Fabric has been given a boost too, though not clear exactly how much.  If the Zen 2 chips have PCIe 4.0 then they already support at least 16 Gbps serdes where Zen 1 only goes up to 12 Gbps.

    • EPYC 2 (a.k.a Rome) has 8 CPU chiplets surrounding a memory and I/O controller core.  64 cores total.

      EPYC 1 (a.k.a Naples) has 4 Ryzen chips with Infinity Fabric links between them, but that would have gotten complex with 8 chiplets on the package.  Naples has 12 IF links on board to cross-connect everything; Rome needs only 8 links for twice the number of cores.
      Naples (left) and Rome (right).  Fingers on the right hand side probably belong to AMD CEO Lisa Su.

      The big chips on the left each contain 8 cores, 16MB cache, and Infinity Fabric, DDR4, and PCIe controllers.

      The little chips on the right each contain 8 cores, 32MB of cache, and Infinity Fabric, but all the DDR4 and PCIe channels have been moved to the big chip in the middle.

      [Had some stuff on die sizes here before, but the information I have is unofficial and contradictory, so I snipped it.]

    • Single-socket Rome server can outperform a top-of-the-line dual-socket Intel Xeon Platinum system.

    • No announcement yet of how this affects the Ryzen 3000 series, but this is a clear upgrade for third-generation Threadripper.

    • Zen 2 is sampling now and will be available next year.  Zen 3 is on track for delivery in 2020, and design for Zen 4 is under way. 

  • AMD also announced their new Radeon Instinct server GPUs.  (Anandtech)

  • AWS now offers AMD-based instances.  (AnandTech)

    Another significant win for AMD.

  • Want to run Linux on your shiny new Mac?  Haha fuck you.  (Phoronix)

  • VirtualBox turns out not to be leakproof.  (Bleeping Computer)

    It's not used much in server environments, but if you use it for testing untrusted code in secure sandboxes, you might want to not do that for a little while.  Like, knowing Oracle, eighteen months or so.

Video of the Day

Picture of the Day

Photochrom of Mulberry St, New York, 1900

Click to embiggen.

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Tuesday, November 06


Daily News Stuff 6 November 2018

Tech News

  • What do the original Japanese broadcast of Haruhi Suzumiya, Australian science fiction author Greg Egan, troll haven 4chan, and travelling salesmen have in common?

    More than you might think.  (Quanta)
    If a television series has just three episodes, there are six possible orders in which to view them: 123, 132, 213, 231, 312 and 321. You could string these six sequences together to give a list of 18 episodes that includes every ordering, but there’s a much more efficient way to do it: 123121321. A sequence like this one that contains every possible rearrangement (or permutation) of a collection of symbols is called a "superpermutation.”


    For Haruhi fans, Egan’s construction gives explicit instructions for how to watch all possible orderings of season one in just 93,924,230,411 episodes.
    It's Endless Eight all over again.

  • Intel's eight core desktop processors are out so they finally decided to release the six core Xeon E family.  (AnandTech)

    Good work, Intel.

  • Full-disk encryption on SSDs from Crucial and Samsung may be basically useless.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Bypass techniques have been confirmed on several older models and some current ones.

  • Leading advertising company Google announced that Chrome 71 will block ads on sites with "abusive experiences" - as determined by Google.  (Ars Technica)

    Blocking problem ads is good.  An ad company determining which ads present a problem, maybe not so good.

Social Media News

Haruhi Video of the Day

Haruhi Picture of the Day

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