CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?
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Sunday, April 07

Geek

Daily News Stuff 7 April 2024

Tonstant Weader Edition

Top Story



Tech News



Disclaimer: There's a breeding colony of Tasmanian devils in New South Wales now, established from individuals cleared of the disease.  So they're probably safe.

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Saturday, April 06

Geek

Daily News Stuff 6 April 2024

The Pain Edition

Top Story

  • To nobody's surprise the FCC has declined to intervene on California's plans to implement net neutrality.  (Ars Technica)

    The problem I always had with the FCC's push for net neutrality - which is back on the table for a vote later this month - is that the claim that the FCC even had the power to vote on such a rule is based on assumptions that would grant the agency massive control over all forms of communication in the US.

    If an individual state legislature wants to fuck up internet access for their own voters, on the other hand, they can do so, subject to the First Amendment.

    I'll have to read up on what California is proposing to do; it's probably bad, but probably legal.

Tech News

  • I've been trying to get the latest Hyte / Hololive limited edition PC cases for months without any luck.  There's only one Hyte distributor in Australia and they can't get them.

    I even looked into freight forwarding, but that worked out to cost as much as the cases themselves, and these are expensive cases.

    Now Hyte offers freight forwarding itself, and if I order both the cases it only costs 50% of the cost of the cases.  Which is still insane, but so am I.

    Then the cases will sit there for months because having spent that much money I won't have much to spare for new parts to fill them with.

    I did want to buy the new Lenovo Legion Tab, but Lenovo is assisting me with my budget because that is still not available anywhere.
     

  • NASA has found the exact problem with Voyager 1 and expects to have it fixed...  Eventually.  (Ars Technica)

    Yeah, I know that feeling, and I'm not even working with 46 year old hardware billions of miles away designed and built by people who have long since retired and aren't returning my emails.


  • Do not buy the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro 360.  (Hot Hardware)

    It has a very nice 120Hz 2880x1800 OLED display, but it costs $1900, and you can get an Asus Vivobook with an almost identical OLED display for half of that.

    And the Asus has upgradeable memory, while the Samsung has 16GB soldered in place.

    Which if you're running Windows 11 will be fully used by the time you've booted the system and started a browser.


  • Speaking of the Asus Vivobook and it's beautiful OLED display...  Yeah, it's still in its box.


  • The Maven is a $2000 e-bike -  (Ars Technica)

    Let me stop you there.

    First thought: $2000 for a bicycle?  So your only question is not if it gets stolen, but if it gets stolen before you get crushed by an SUV.

    Second thought: I mean, if you happened to live in a quiet country town with little traffic and lots of hills, it might be kind of nice.

    Third thought: And, it turns out, illegal where I live.  It has a 750W motor and the rules here set the limit at 500W.


  • Apple is laying off 700 workers, including the entire team working on the Apple Car, which Apple still denies ever working on.  (9to5Mac)

    What exactly do you put on you resume when you worked for a decade on a project that was never officially acknowledged and never produced any real-world results?


  • Testing out my modpack under 1.19.2.

    That enables several mods I wanted (Creatures and Beasts, Critters and Companions, Zoo Architect, and Oh the Biomes You'll Go) at the cost of a couple of smaller ones (Let's Do Brewery, Dye Depot, and Elytra Trims).

    I do also lose the 1.20 updates...  Which were kind of underwhelming.  I'll need find a mod that adds back the cherry tree biome; I've already reinstated camels and the bamboo upgrades.


Disclaimer: Which would be less damaging to my career prospects, putting down a decade in a Turkish prison or at the DMV?

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Friday, April 05

Geek

Daily News Stuff 5 April 2024

Frog Blink Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • The benchmark numbers being quoted by Qualcomm for its new laptop chips are actually...  Pretty accurate.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Looks like it should comfortably beat Intel and not embarrass itself against Apple and AMD.  That's a huge improvement against earlier attempts which were just about capable of running Notepad.


  • How we saved 98% in cloud costs by writing our own database.  (Hivekit)

    Turns out you can make databases run much, much faster if you don't care about the data.

    In this specific case, Hivekit can lose a second of data and not worry about it too much.  Conventional databases have to assume you want every single record to be saved, which is complicated and (relatively) slow.

    It's like...  If you don't care if the eggs arrive intact, you can speed up delivery by a lot.


  • The new Razer Blade 18 has everything you could want in a laptop except the Four Essential Keys and an affordable price tag.  (Notebook Check)

    Though to be precise you could probably afford to buy the price tag, just not the laptop.

    A 24 core Intel 14900HX, an RTX 4090 (laptop version, so basically an RTX 4080), up to 64GB of RAM (probably upgradeable to 96GB), 4TB of storage in two M.2 slots, a 3840x2400 200Hz screen, a Thunderbolt 5 port - the brand new 80Gbps version, four 10Gbps USB ports, HDMI, a full size SD card reader, a headphone jack, and a 2.5Gb Ethernet port.  

    Fully configured it's just $4800.

    Which is a lot of money, yes, but that's a lot of laptop.


Disclaimer: Looks like we're gonna need a bigger lap.

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Thursday, April 04

Geek

Daily News Stuff 4 April 2024

Let A Hundred Thousand Mintomos Bloom Edition

Top News


Tech News

  • If you comply with the rules, we'll change the rules: The US Commerce Department has banned Nvidia's RTX 4090D from sale in China.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The 4090D was designed specifically to comply with the ruling that banned the 4090.

    A little too specifically, perhaps.  But maybe Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo should post the rules she wants companies to actually follow rather than expecting them to play some psychotic game of red light green light.


  • The LSST camera did not cost $350 billion dollars.  (Gizmodo)
    To do this, the team needed a Rolls Royce of a digital camera. Mind you, the camera actually cost many million times that of an actual Royce Royce, and at 6,200 pounds (2,812 kilograms), it weighs a lot more than a fancy car.
    It's an amazing camera - the largest digital camera ever built, with a resolution of 3.2 gigapixels - but the entire LSST project - the buildings, the telescope assembly, the massive mirrors - the primary mirror is 28 feet across - and this camera is less than 0.2% of that.

    (A basic Rolls Royce Ghost costs around $350,000, and weighs 5700 pounds, so they're off on the weight too; just not by three orders of magnitude.)


  • Can AMD's 3D Vcache improve game performance for low-end graphics cards?  (Hot Hardware)

    I was fully expecting the answer to be no, but if you're doing a budget build with a previous generation AMD chip and a card like AMD's own 7600, Intel's 750, or Nvidia's 3060, it might actually be worth the extra money for a 5000-series X3D chip.

    The biggest difference was Cyberpunk 2077 with an Intel Arc 750, where average frame rates jumped 30% from 46 to 60 fps just by upgrading from a 5800X to a 5800X3D.  About half the games tests showed negligible difference though.

    Which makes the newer 5700X3D an interesting proposition.  It's 10% slower than the 5800X3D but 25% cheaper, and if you're on a budget might just hit the sweet spot.


  • Cannot remove files, disk is full.  Please remove file to free up space and try again.  Lol.  (Six Colors)

    Okay, Apple, I can understand that you were trying to make everything user-friendly so that you can un-delete files that were removed by accident, but what you actually achieved was users having to wipe and reinstall the entire system because you ran out of space.

    And these are experienced tech journalists we're talking about, who...  Yeah, off by three orders of magnitude.  Never mind.


  • Ubuntu 24.04 might become Ubuntu 24.05.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The unreleased beta version had the xz unpleasantness, and Ubuntu wants to be super-duper sure that it's been expunged with utmost prejudice.  So the planned release data of April 25 could slip into next month.

    I doubt that anyone would be upset about Ubuntu taking that precaution.  Except perhaps for North Korea.


Disclaimer: "I am going to work", says Father.  "May I have a dollar to put in my pocket?"  "I do not have a dollar", says Mother.  "Ask the children.  The children have many dollars."

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Wednesday, April 03

Geek

Daily News Stuff 3 April 2024

The Telescreen Was Behind The Potatoes Edition

Top Story



Tech News

  • Dell's new Inspiron 14 Plus is HP's Pavilion 14 Plus only worse.  (Liliputing)

    The Dell has a 2880x1800 display but it's half as bright as the HP's OLED panel, and the Four Essential Keys are absent as they are on all of Dell's current laptops.  Since it's the same price as the HP I see no reason for anyone to buy it.


  • How to hack any AI.  (Tech Crunch)

    Be very annoying.


  • Wait, is Qualcomm's new laptop CPU actually good?  (Tom's Hardware)

    Maybe so.  It's only one benchmark, but it beat AMD and Intel chips on both single-threaded scores (narrowly) and multi-threaded scores (by a substantial margin).

    Qualcomm's previous efforts in this space have been underwhelming, but all reports on this venture have been positive so far.


  • Google Podcasts was an opportunity to do something innovative and genuinely useful.  (The Verge)

    But instead Google killed it and put all their efforts into generating racially diverse Nazis.


  • The highest-rating vtuber debut of all time is Hololive's Usada Pekora's mother.

    Her April 1 stream pulled in more than 180,000 concurrent viewers.


  • Frieren, Maomao, and Tanya are all the same person.


Disclaimer: Don't let Pekora's mother having the highest rating vtuber debut of all time distract you from the fact that Pekora bought a faqing monkey.

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Tuesday, April 02

Geek

Daily News Stuff 2 April 2024

Return Of The Pomen Edition

Top Story

  • How Vice Media fell down a hole and died.  (The Verge)

    By taking a formerly interesting news site and infecting it with woke nonsense written by lazy, greedy, stupid illiterates.

    Kind of like The Verge.

Tech News

Not Even Remotely Tech News



They are back.

Top: Dokibird, latterly Selen Tatsuki of Nijisanji until they forced her out, recreating her iconic opening theme now that she's returned to her original character.

Bottom: Mint Fantome, a.k.a. Maid Mint, formerly Pomu Rainpuff of Nijisanji until she got while the going was good, is returning to streaming also as her original character.


Disclaimer: Are we not men?  We are Pomu.

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Monday, April 01

Geek

Daily News Stuff 1 April 2024

No Shit There I Was Edition

Top Story

  • New York city is installing expensive security scanners to protect passengers on its plague-ridden subway system.  Scanners that may not actually work.  (MSN)

    The "AI enabled" (because of course) scanners cost around $3000...  Per month.  Each.

    And the company behind them, Evolv, is currently under investigation by the SEC and FTC and being sued by its own shareholders.

    The BBC had its own article on Evolv two years ago.
    "Metallic composition, shape, fragmentation - we have tens of thousands of these signatures, for all the weapons that are out there," chief executive Peter George said last year, "all the guns, all the bombs and all the large tactical knives."

    "Can we test it?" asked research firm IPVM.

    "No way, get fucked, fuck off" came the reply.
    Further:
    Asked why Evolv had been able to edit what was labelled an independent report, NCS4 told BBC News it "did not allow Evolv to directly edit the report".
     

    "The 'track changes' feature was used as a means to collect feedback," an official said.  "And to change inconvenient findings.  Don't print that."



Tech News



Disclaimer: You will be required to want AI.

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Sunday, March 31

Geek

Daily News Stuff 31 March 2024

Postprismatic Stress Edition

Top Story

  • A little more background on that security disaster that almost was.  (Substack)

    It looks like it started with "social engineering" - a confidence scam - two years ago, with one person attacking the maintainer of the xz utility and another one offering to help, and then actually helping.  That warped over time into slipping more and more suspect code into the package, until they got caught.

    It's a bit of an odd one because it took a lot of care and planning but was guaranteed to get caught and removed if it ever went mainstream.  So it's not a targeted attack on particular groups, and not subtle enough to pass unnoticed long-term.

    If you infect one server you're likely to get away with it, but if you infect every server in the world, there are literally hundreds of honeypot servers set up by security researchers specifically to detect weird stuff like this.

    Purely speculation but I'm wondering if this was North Korea rather than China or Russia.  It looks like the kind of miscalculation they would make.

Tech News



Sasaki and Peeps Opening Credits Video of the Day


Not sure what I expected going into this, but this show goes in every direction at once.  It's no Frieren but it's not objectionable either, and it just got a second season so we won't be left hanging for too long.

I really like the quiet competence of the main character.  He's not out to save the world; he's just trying to do his job, no matter how weird things get.



Disclaimer: I think "Don't care, didn't ask" would make a great state motto.

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Saturday, March 30

Anime

A Farewell to Prisms

Prism Project - under the Sony Music umbrella for the past 18 months - will be closing its doors tomorrow, and today is the last day any of the Prism talents will be streaming.

It's been a huge day.  Prism is focused on music which is why Sony was interested in them in the first place, but they don't normally deliver eight new original songs and covers per day.

Here's...  Here's Jinn, the mascot of Sara Nagare, and his kids Shane, Bazza, Dave-O, and Jules, covering The Angels' Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.



Best version of the song.  Sara along with her colleagues Non Anon and Naki Kamizuki are providing the traditional crowd response.

Really.


I'm a major fan of Prism - and not just because they have a dangerous concentration of Aussies for such a small agency, though that helps - and I'm sorry to see it go.  Thankfully the talents are almost all staying with it; Sony has handed them their designs and all online accounts, so there's just a short break while payment accounts get sorted out and then they'll be back online.

The exceptions are Kou Tsubame from Gen 5 who will be stepping back from streaming, although her channel will stay up and she'll still be in contact with the rest of the talents, and Naki Kamizuki from Gen 4 who will move away from regular vtubing and pursue other creative forms instead.

From now on if you need to find them, Gen 1 is Cosmia, Gen 3 is Requiem, and Gen 4 is Ever After.  They're working on a new name for the whole group since they can't use "Prism" and they are all planning to continue working together.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 30 March 2024

Almost Oops Edition

Tech News

  • The man who saved the world:  Andres Freund noticed that SSH logins - used by every server in the world - were taking half a second longer than they should.  (Ars Technica)

    He was curious so he poked at it a bit and found the equivalent of the demon core being added for free to every school lunch in the world.

    In essence, had this been done with more care and not caught before it was added to production releases of Linux, a state actor - this is almost certainly the work of some place like China or North Korea - could have had access to everything, everywhere.

    You might be at AWS and have all your services behind a VPN, but that wouldn't help you at all because they'd just need to hack AWS first.

    All the development for this hack was done in public, either by a developer who spent a lot of time building up trust by writing useful code, or by hacking that developer's GitHub account.

    Expect GitHub to force 2FA on all users in short order, even if that wouldn't have prevented this incident.  Every warning sign has a story behind it, and Andres is the Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin of the age, except that he didn't die of radiation poisoning.


  • However, some not-really-production releases of Linux were impacted.  (CyberKendra)

    Fedora Rawhide and Kali Linux were affected for the past three days.  Arch Linux has been affected for five weeks, and Debian's unstable release seems to be the worst hit, with the new packages added eight weeks ago.

    Fedora 40 Beta might be affected if you set up the test library versions as well as the regular beta libraries.

    AWS Linux is not affected, nor are stable releases like Ubuntu LTS or RedHat Enterprise Linux.



Tech News



Disclaimer: Danger, may contain electrons.

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