Well that's good. Fantastic. That gives us 20 minutes to save the world and I've got a post office. And it's shut!

Wednesday, September 19


Daily News Stuff 19 September 2018

Arr, me harpies, shiver me flim-flams and belabour me scuppers, it's that time of year again!

Pirate News

Video of the Day

Picture of the Day


Not very piratey, but striking.

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Tuesday, September 18


They're Here!

Index and Railgun just showed up a day early.  Will likely get them unpacked and start setting them up tomorrow.

Won't do a full review since they're being discontinued anyway, but will post my impressions and any technical notes I have.

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Daily News Stuff 18 September 2018

Tech News

  • The Contributor Covenant, just adopted by the Linux project, is pure cancer.

  • Intel's Xeon D-2141I is a worthy competitor to AMD's Epyc 3151.  (Serve the Home)

  • AMD meanwhile leaked two new Ryzen laptop APUs.  (Overclock3D)

    Again, just different versions of the existing chip.  The 2500U and 2700U are 15W parts for low-power laptops; the new 2600H and 2800H are 45W parts for desktop replacement systems.

    Top speeds are the same, but base speeds jump from 2.2GHz on the 2700U to 3.3GHz on the 2800H.

  • Extended validation certificates are dead.

    These work exactly the same as regular certificates, but the issuer is supposed to verify that you are who you say you are - checking your address, business registration, and other details.  And the status shows differently in your browser.

    Or...  It used to.  But none of the major companies bothered to use them, so the different status now shows as a weird exception to the rule.  So browsers have been updated to show all secure sites the same so as not to confuse users.  So there is now almost no reason to have an EV certificate, and they cost a fortune, where regular certificates can be set up for free (with some limitations).

  • The SR-60 packs sixty tiny servers into 2U of rack space.  (The Next Platform)

    They also have an SR-90.

    Each node is a dual core Intel i7 7600U - very close to the specs of my new laptops (i7 7560U) and not slow - and an upcoming refresh will substitute the newer quad core i7 8650.  Up to 16GB of RAM per node, and 128GB of flash.

    That's not a lot of storage, but it's intended that you'll use that for boot and then use network-attached storage.  Each node has 3 x 1Gb network links, and each cluster of ten nodes has 2 x 10Gb links, so there's a ton of bandwidth sloshing around.

  • David Patterson says it's time for new architectures and new programming languages  (IEEE Spectrum)

    He would know.  Hennessy and Patterson was one of my favourite textbooks.  Not only do I still have it, I went out and bought a newer edition later on.

Video of the Day

What's that you say?  I posted this yesterday?  Um...  You know, I really don't think I'm getting enough sleep.  I didn't notice that until just now. I'm not going crazy.  Chrome on my tablet switched the videos around.  But I am tired enough to believe that I had posted the same video twice.

Picture of the Day


Things sure have improved since we outsourced all our pollution to China.  But I kind of miss the smogodactyls that used to circle the Chrysler Building.

Bonus Video of the Day

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Monday, September 17


Daily News Stuff 17 September 2018

Tech News

  • USB-C audio is garbage.  (PCWorld)

    This is a problem with USB-C more generally; it does so many things that you can't tell from any given port what it does.

    My new laptops have two USB-C ports each.  Both do USB, but only at 5Gb, DisplayPort, and power in.  DisplayPort should mean they also support HDMI (and thus DVI at up to 1920x1200) though the exact spec determines if that requires one adaptor or two.  But no PCIe alt-mode, no 10Gb or USB 3.2 20Gb, no ThunderBolt, only one DP stream each, no MHL or VirtualLink.

  • Microsoft removed that sad little screen Edge pops up when you use it that one time to download Chrome or Firefox  (CNet)

  • Google just released a Basic interpreter for the web.

  • Tame Apple Press says "Bored now."  (Macworld)

    Jason Snell is one of the best of the Apple press and I respect him a lot, though he does his best here to paint a rosy face on the zombie.

  • Google has flopped its flip, will remove www again in Chrome 70 because they are idiots.  (Bleeping Computer)

  • Kobayashi just dropped dead.  Why did you drop dead, Kobayashi?  Was it because I was running 20 LXC containers in a VirtualBox VM running Ubuntu 18.04 desktop with just 2.5GB RAM?

    Yeah, that sounds like it.

  • Speaking of Linux and dropping dead...

    Pull a fork out of it, it's done: Linux adopts a code of conduct.  (Phoronix)

    A very specific and cancerous code of conduct.  Linux previously had the aptly and cheekily named Code of Conflict that prized quality of code above all else.  The new code doesn't mention code, or quality.  Not even once.

Video of the Day


Build the base.

Bonus (?) Video of the Day

This video has quickly become infamous.  The Verge builds a $2000 gaming PC and are so inept they are lucky the studio didn't burn down.  

Update: Aaand it's gone.  Heh.

They could have simply called Dell and ordered an Alienware Aurora with an 8700K, GTX 1080 Ti, and liquid cooling for that price, but the video would probably have been fairly short.

I'll let one of the 937 response videos speak for me here.

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Sunday, September 16


Don't Spend It All At Once - Oh

The money from that domain sale didn't last long.  Two notebooks, an external disk drive (those 8TB LaCie drives are really cheap now), a new ADSL/VDSL modem/router (since my router is old and my model is older), a bunch of cables (USB-C cables are bloody expensive) and other minor bits, and that new desk chair I'd been promising myself.  

And I think a week's worth of groceries got paid along the way because the money was sitting in my PayPal account at the time.

Well, it was nice while it lasted.  Anyone want to buy idiotpedia.com?  No, I think I let that one lapse.  Never mind.

Status Update

  • NBN: We'll get back to you in a year.  Maybe.
  • Domain sale: Unpaid.  Paid.  Spent.
  • Laptop: Out of stock.  In stock.  Out of stock.  ETA Wednesday.
  • Shiny wonderful all-singing server: Obtained! Currently testing RAID-6 RAID-10 RAID-5 RAIDZ.  Currently configuring for production with LXD 3.4 and RAIDZ1.

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Daily News Stuff 16 September 2018

Tech News

  • ADATA's new SSDs offer up to 1.2GB per second and sizes up to 256GB.  (AnandTech)

    So what, you ask. 

    So...  They're half an inch square.

  • Nvidia won't have the RTX 2080Ti out for Talk Like a Pirate Day  (Tom's Hardware)

    A week's delay probably just means it needed a flash update.

  • Chrome 70 (does anyone keep track of Chrome version numbers any more?)  can detect things like faces and barcodes within images in a web page.  (Tom's Hardware)

    If this actually runs in the browser, it's pretty impressive.  If it's using cloud services, it's a big bucket of warm frog vomit.

  • CSS can crash your iPhone.  (TechCrunch)

    Your A$2668 iPhone.*

    I never did like CSS.

    This applies to every iOS app that renders third-party HTML, because the only HTML renderer allowed on iOS is WebKit.

  • Amazon stopped selling physical goods to Australia through their US store at the end of July, but have now started selling items from their US store through their Australian store.  The only really odd thing about that is that they didn't do it from day one.

    I mention this because I'm not sure if the model of the HP notebooks I'm getting includes the pen - the one I ordered originally did not, but then they gave me a free upgrade to the top-of-the-line model which is shown with the pen in all photos.  If the pen is not included, it's about 40% cheaper on Amazon than from HP's own online store.

    In fact, buying from Amazon's US store via Amazon's AU store can be 25% cheaper than buying the identical product directly from Amazon Australia.

* Australian list price for iPhone XS Max 512GB including AppleCare.

Video of the Day

Dumping with Scrump is not for everyone - warning, may contain targeted profanity and illegal memes - but it regularly provides insightful comments on the idiotic social media kerfufflery du jour.   (Also, Scrump is one of the few people banned from Twitter more often than me.)  This weekend's episode is on the cancerous European copyright legislation. 

They focus here on Articles 11 and 13, which are the most widely cited for being utterly pathological, but the whole thing is a disaster and I'll be looking for good videos or articles taking on the rest of it.

Axel Voss, the lunatic-in-chief of this five-ring clown show has backed away from his earlier support, saying that the legislation contains rules he hadn't intended, after his bill had passed a vote in the EU Parliament.

Under Article 11 I would have to pay even to post these daily updates if I lived in the EU, or had a business there.   Which simply means I will never, ever do that.

About half-way in they get to Article 13, and an instance where a comic was banned in Germany.  You can't tell from the video but the comic has a character skirting Holocaust denial and being hushed by another character.  So it's not just that Holocaust denial is being suppressed, but that discussion of the suppression of Holocaust denial is being suppressed. 

Again it's not clear from the video, but the suppression of the comic would not be related to Article 13, but to existing German laws making Holocaust denial illegal.

Now, I fully understand modern German reactions to their appalling 20th century history.  But we can see that they are already careering down the slippery slope of censorship. And they just led the EU in radically expanding the scope of censorship laws, in ways that are entirely unprecedented in the so-called Free World.

Fuck these assholes.

Bonus Video of the Day

Picture of the Day


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Performance Glitches

I've noticed some performance hiccups on the site recently, and users might have as well.  I think it's tied to web spiders over-enthusiastically indexing our sites.  

I've updated our logging to try to trap the culprits; I'm not planning to throttle Google or Bing, but if it's Yandex or Baidu causing problems I will stomp on them.

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Saturday, September 15


Daily News Stuff 15 September 2018

Tech News

  • Index and Railgun have shipped, ETA Wednesday.  This makes for a lot of computers sitting around, so I'm also going to pick up a new 802.11ac router so that all my things can talk to each other.

  • Google fixed that stupid URL-mangling feature.  I updated to the latest Chrome yesterday, and it works properly again.

  • Google being Google, they're also cancelling Inbox and forcing people to switch to an updated version of Gmail instead.  The updated version of Gmail is not good.

  • Intel just fixed another security bug, making it number 1397 for 2018.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • If you're looking at buying a server, say the word "epic" three times in front of a mirror and an Intel sales rep will appear and offer big discounts.  (Serve the Home)

    Alternately, just go ahead and buy AMD and enjoy dealing with one third the number of bugs.

Video of the Day

Well, it is Caturday.

Picture of the Day


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Friday, September 14


Daily News Stuff 14 September 2018

Tech News

  • After waiting nine years for a connection date, then six months for the connection date to arrive, then ten weeks for any updates after the connection date passed unconnected, NBNCo now informs me that there is "work to be done" and it will take another six to twelve months to connect me.

    The connection point is so close that I could stand at my kitchen window and hit it with a medium-sized dog if the wind was right.  Six to twelve months my arse.

  • In happier news, I found the product page for the laptop HP upgraded me to because the one I ordered was out of stock.  (HP have an infinite number of different product codes and it's hard to find the exact details sometimes.  That's how infinity works.)

    It's the top-of-the-line maxed-out version with a 1TB SSD, and I'm getting two of them.  Whee!  And my order has passed out of processing and into production, so it looks like it's all happening this time.  Which is good, because that model is now also out of stock.

    Tomorrow, I'll get hit by a comet.  But that's tomorrow.

  • If you care more about CPU performance and battery life and actually being in stock than display resolution and price the Toshiba Portégé X30T might be just the ticket.  (AnandTech)

    It has a quad-core 8th generation Intel CPU, 13.3" FHD display, and a multiplicity of ports - not just USB-C but full-size USB-A, wired Ethernet, HDMI, and even VGA.  In tablet mode it offers 8 hours of battery life, but the keyboard has its own battery (partly just to balance the weight) giving a total of 14 to 15 hours.

    And it even has PgUp/PgDn/Home/End keys, though the arrangement is a bit haphazard, similar to Lenovo's smaller laptops.

  • Speaking of which, if you're in Australia and looking for a general-purpose laptop, Lenovo has been messing about with pricing on their ThinkPad E family again.  With a quad-core Ryzen 2700U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and 1TB disk drive, the E485 currently works out to A$1374, which is a great price.  If I hadn't just bought Index and Railgun I'd be strongly tempted.

    The closest Intel model is A$1846, which is less attractive.  By about A$472.

  • AMD's second-generation Raven Ridge Ryzen APUs may or may not appear this year, on 12nm or possibly 7nm unless something else happens.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • If someone steals your laptop, they might be able to access information in memory even if it's locked and the drive is encrypted.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is a known problem, and it can even be done with desktops and servers if you are very quick, but it's probably around #4718 on the list of security issues you should worry about.

  • This analysis of Global Foundries' retreat from 7nm says that yes, it's all doom and gloom from here.  (IEEE)

    To which I say: Meh, and double meh.  Dennard scaling failed fifteen years ago, but I'm not about to swap my Ryzen 1700 for a Pentium 4.

  • Glen Cook's latest Black Company novel, Port of Shadows - the first in some years - is out.  I'll just hop on over to Amazon and b-  Shit.


Social Media News

Graphs, You're Doing Them Wrong II


Today's entry comes from Bloomberg, who really should know better.  Look at that mess.  What is it even supposed to mean?

Video of the Day

Comments are disabled for this video.  Because of course they are.

Actually, the worst thing about the Left is their economic policies, which lead inexorably to genocide.  But this is a start.

Picture of the Day


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Thursday, September 13


Daily News Stuff 13 September 2018

Tech News

  • And it looks like HP cancelled my order.  Fuck.

  • HP just called and uncancelled my order and even offered a free upgrade because their online store was showing stock they didn't really have.  Unfuck.

    I'm not certain exactly what I'll be getting, but it will either be a slightly newer model with the same specs, or the 1TB model from the same range, depending on availability.

    So minus five points for inventory management, but plus twenty for customer service.

  • Apple announces the iPhone Max, Max Pro, Pro Max, and Max Max.  And a watch.  (AnandTech)

    "Which is which?  Even we don't know.  Just buy the most expensive one." said an unnamed Apple exec.

    Let me explain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up:

  • Apple also silently deletes movies you've purchased and offers you a free rental in exchange  (TechDirt)

    Trillion.  Dollar.  Company.

  • Someone went out and built a 6502.

    That looks really neat.  There are probably fewer LEDs inside the original.

  • The Ethernet guys are working on 1.6TbE.  

    Based on how long it's taking 10GbE to roll out, this will arrive on desktops shortly after the heat death of the next universe after our own.

  • Google doubled down on stupid but decided against tripling down.  The next patch release for Chrome no longer hides www. and m. in URLs.

  • Nvidia's Tesla T4 is a graphics card for doing anything except graphics.  (Serve the Home)

    It's very fast, and at just 75W, doesn't need a fan.  So if you want a graphics card for not doing graphics, and don't need to ask how much it costs, this is the not graphics card for you.

Social Media News

Busy day, news will follow. Meanwhile, this is particularly stupid.

Video of the Day

Ah yeah, that's the stuf - WAIT, LODOSS WAR TV?!?!  YOU HEATHEN!!!!

Picture of the Day


Hello, Amazon?  I'll take twelve dozen cases.  Thanks.

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