Monday, March 25
Sing Along Edition
- Well, that should free up some time.
I've appealed the suspension, but a platform that suspends users over such things is a platform that is rapidly dying, probably of sepsis. Now I just need to get back to work and push the little daisies and make them come up.*
Currently not suspended on Facebook, YouTube, Reddit. Actually I am still suspended on YouTube but because I'm a paying Google Music subscriber and have bought a couple of videos on Google Play they accidentally gave me a new premium account and linked it to my Gmail. Shrug.
Twitter could offer a new feature where for a monthly fee they have potential suspensions reviewed by a human being who is slightly smarter than paint before they take effect, but they seem to be doubling down on the social media equivalent of necrotising fasciitis.
* I don't think I ever really listened to that song before, just heard snippets of it on the radio back in the day. I just looked on YouTube (status: not banned). First, that was a guy? Second, fuck, that is terrible.
- Apple's future is cable TV only worse. (Tech Crunch)
It's a bright sunshiny day for Cupertino.
- PyPy 7.1 is out.
This is mainly an update to its Unicode string handling, with improvements to bother performance and memory usage. Python 3.6 support is still beta, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.
- Telegram now lets you delete any message you sent in the last 48 hours from both your device and the recipient's. (Bleeping Computer)
There's no possible way that will be immediately and massively abused baby one more time.
- New Zealand is... (One Angry Gamer)
Seriously, their Prime Minister is a day tripper, possibly a one-way ticket.
New Zealand isn't just BANNING the shooter's manifesto.— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) March 25, 2019
They're SELLING it. https://t.co/987bzD6pfz
Click on "Exemption info form The Great Replacement"
A document will download.
It says "to proceed with a formal application, please note that this will incur a fee of $102.20. " pic.twitter.com/siQmtL6Lct
- A team of quantum mechanics working late at the local quantum garage has built a thing that does stuff. (Quanta)
But they don't have the wings and they wonder why.
Social Media News
- Discord also just banned oatmeal. These people are retarded.
And said "doctor, ain't there nothin' I can take?"
Video of the Day
The internet is now drowning in a sea of schadenfreude, possibly even auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont.
Sunday, March 24
- Moravec's Paradox: Thinking is easy. Moving is hard.
To put it another way, the "Hard Problem of Consciousness" is the easy part, and getting a motorised suitcase to navigate a busy airport terminal is the hard part.
- Apple wants to reinvent itself as a services company. (Bloomberg)
(Looks at iTunes.)
Social Media News
- New Zealand's Ministries of Peace and Truth have worked together to make the anti-Muslim terrorist's manifesto illegal to read. (One Angry Gamer)
Great. Wonderful. What could possibly go wrong?
- Matt Taibbi has a long and mostly solid piece on the massive media malfeasance of "Russiagate".
Worth reading. Bring snacks.
- Garth Nix has a fifth book out in the Old Kingdom trilogy.
Clariel (book 4) was a prequel. Goldenhand (book 5) is a sequel simultaneously to Abhorsen (book 3), and to Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case from the short story collection Across the Wall. You don't need to read that but it's worth it.
Saturday, March 23
- Need a 21" 4K OLED monitor? Got too much money? Asus can solve both your problems! (AnandTech)
Their shiny new ProART PQ22UC starts at a mere £4,799.
This is apparently one of those fancy new inkjet-printed panels. Whatever the advantages of that process, price does not seem to be among them.
- Which is the better high-end chipset, AMD's X399 or Intel's X299? (Tom's Hardware)
A lot of this will depend on which CPU you have, because the compatibility between the two is zero.
- The Nokia 7 Plus stole your personal data and shipped it off to China. (Ars Technica)
This came down to an error in software installation. Only models intended for sale within China were meant to have the violate-all-privacy feature enabled.
(The data only consisted of phone identifying details, not your email address or passwords, so this is a worrying sign rather than a huge problem in itself.)
- GitHub 11.9 is out with automatic secrets detection. (GitLab)
That is, it will tell you if you've put passwords and API keys into your project. Which, as we noted yesterday, is something that happens a lot.
- FEMA leaked the personal details of 2.3M disaster survivors and the Oregon Department of Human Services (do they have a department of inhuman services?) leaked 2 million emails. (Bleeping Computer)
- The latest version of Chrome is bloody annoying.
- Apple is phasing out support of 32 bit apps and with it a whole bunch of video codecs and other QuickTime functionality that they haven't bothered to port to 64 bit. (Six Colors)
Which means that some older video files will simply become unplayable on new Macs.
- Security researchers have found 36 new flaws in the LTE protocol. (ZDNet)
LTE is the new secure mobile protocol that replaced the old insecure protocols.
- Google's Stadia streaming game platform will be dead within 3 years because Google is run by idiots. (One Angry Gamer)
That's a scary thumbnail but it's a cool video.
Friday, March 22
Beep Beep I'm A Sheep Edition
- Ryzen motherboards are getting BIOS updates to support the upcoming Ryzen 3000 series chips and as a result new details of the design and configuration are leaking. (TechPowerup)
- Infinity Fabric 2 at 100GB/s is twice as fast as Infinity Fabric 1, and that's apparently down to increased clocks and not wider channels. And that means the latency is potentially halved, which will help mitigate the off-die memory controller.
- The AM4 dual-die parts will have an IF link between the two dies as well as the necessary link from CPU die to I/O die. That means 100GB/s between the CPUs in addition to the 100GB/s to the system.
It's not entirely clear how this will work for Epyc and Threadripper, which can have up to 8 CPU chiplets. Certainly there won't be 56 separate IF interconnects. AMD are supporting additional NUMA layouts, so some chiplets will be directly connected, and others will need to hop via the I/O die. (And in a two-socket system potentially CPU<->I/O<->I/O<->CPU, which is one more hop than the current Naples platform.)
- Over 100,000 GitHub repos have security keys in them. (ZDNet)
This is disturbingly easy to do if you don't follow safe practices at all times. Git will happily hoover up every single file in your project directory, and many IDEs will do so by default.
- Julia, a rather nice language for scientific computing, now comes in interpreter flavour.
This is mainly for interactive development and debugging, but might also make Julia attractive as an alternative to languages like Python and Ruby, sine a fully-supported JIT compiler is just a config flag away.
There is also a static compiler, though it's an optional package. If they can get that better supported and integrated it will make the Julia option that much more enticing.
- Got a bunch of laptops and/or all-in-one dekstops with 5Gbps USB but only 1Gbps Ethernet? Club 3D has you covered. (AnandTech)
They offer Type A and Type C versions delivering 2.5GBASE-T. The effective throughput of USB 3.0 is only 3.2Gbps, so there's not much reason for going faster. Also, 2.5GBASE-T works over standard Cat 5e and will probably work over short runs of older Cat 5, so it's a drop-in replacement for gigabit Ethernet.
Now you just need a switch. MicroTik, how's that pricing coming along?
- Google's Stadia game streaming service may run aground on the rocks of reality. (TechDirt)
- Intel announced their 9th generation Core i9 H-series chips only they somehow managed to do it without saying what they were. (Tom's Hardware)
45W parts with 8 cores, actual specs to arrive eventually. The Ryzen 2700E is also an 8 core 45W part and came out last September, so Intel is play catch up again.
- Need 1TB of RAM in your iMac Pro? Samsung has you covered. (Serve the Home)
Not sure if that configuration will actually work, but 256GB LRDIMMs are here.
- VirtualBox and VMWare have new exploits. (Bleeping Computer)
Also Safari. Updates inbound.
- If a 1TB NVMe SSD for $100 doesn't do it for you how about 2TB for $200? (Tech Report)
Social Media News
- Facebook stored hundreds of millions of passwords in plain text. (Krebs on Security)
Don't worry though. They were only accessible by 20,000 Facebook employees for 7 years who only accessed the data 9 million times.
The article mentions that GitHub and Twitter have had the same problem: Passwords are stored securely in the authentication database, and encrypted over HTTPS, but if you keep a full log of the request stream on internal servers for operations or debugging, and you don't employ a secure password protocol like SRP then a minor log configuration error can store handily decrypted passwords all over your proxy servers.
Now, most companies don't employ SRP, but most companies aren't running the single largest website in the world with billions in profits, and most companies don't have this sort of problem sitting undetected for seven years.
NSFW Sheeps of the Day
Complete Goddamn Movie of the Day
(Dirty Pair: Project Eden is on YouTube; unsurprisingly it's blocked in the US and Canada.)
Thursday, March 21
Will You Look At The Time Edition
- Samsung has announced its 3rd generation HBM2 lineup, Flashbolt (ah-ah). (AnandTech)
This version increases die capacities to 16Gb and speeds to 3.2Gb/s, so just over 400GB/s per module, and a total of 64GB capacity and 1.6TB/s of bandwidth for a four-module graphics card.
That's quite a lot.
- Intel has released more details of their 11th generation graphics architecture. (Tom's Hardware)
This, they say, will be the one that doesn't suck. We'll see. It increases the graphics core count from 24 to 64, though some versions of the current generation already have 48 graphics cores and an external L4 cache. (In the HP Spectre x2 for example.)
- California does something right for a change and backs the "right to repair". (TechDirt)
This is the radical notion that you are allowed to repair things you own if they break.
- A Lithuanian man has pleaded guilty to stealing $122 million from Google and Facebook. (Bleeping Computer)
An age-old scam using fake companies and letterheads and invoices.
- He should have worked for the EU. They just stole $1.7 billion from Google and it's totally legal. (Bleeping Computer)
Actually in this case I'm with the EU. What's in question here is Google's use of advertising exclusivity clauses - if you used Google ads on your website you were prohibited from also having ads from other networks. That's blatantly anti-competitive and Google deserves to be nailed to the wall.
- The Outer Worlds is the first big-budget game I've been looking forward to for quite a while. Remember this?
Well, Obsidian - or more likely, their publisher, Take Two - saw that they had a good thing going and decided that they needed to fuck it up. (One Angry Gamer)
The Outer Worlds will release as an Epic game store exclusive. And remain so for a year.
- Meanwhile New Zealand continues to block everyone and everything and arrest anyone who somehow evades their blocks. (One Angry Gamer)
Complete Goddamn Movie of the Day
Wednesday, March 20
- Apple upgraded the iMac, for the first time offering more than four cores. (AnandTech)
The 21" model now offers up to a 6 core / 12 thread i7 CPU and Vega 20 graphics. The 27" model goes up to an 8 core / 16 thread i9 and Vega 48. I wonder how badly that config is going to be thermally constrained, because that's a lot of heat to dump into an all-in-one. My 2015 iMac is basically silent, but the i9 parts run notoriously hot. Assuming the internals don't cook themselves, though, the high-end iMac is now faster than the entry model iMac Pro.
The rest of the configuration is unchanged, but was already mostly very good.
Pricing however is... Not cheap.
Despite the steep pricing, the 21" base model comes with a 5400 RPM hard disk drive. (Six Colors)
Not an SSD, not even a Fusion Drive.
They also don't have the T2 chip found in Apples recent laptops and in the iMac Pro, but given that chip's history of issues this might not be such a bad thing.
- SilverStone's EP14 is a USB-C hub with 100W power pass-through. (AnandTech)
I noticed while ordering my groceries yesterday that my local supermarket sells USB-C hubs. They're next to the frozen cauliflower.
- Google announced Stadia, their game streaming service. (AnandTech)
Whatever the opposite of caring about this is, I'm that. I would be perfectly happy if it failed so hard it took the rest of the company down with it.
- Opera's built-in VPN is back. (Tech Crunch)
Opera is now owned by a Chinese company. You do the math.
- Intel hired Kyle from HardOCP after running out of people to steal away from PC Perspective. (HardOCP)
Is this the new getting acquired by Facebook? To be fair, a lot of these guys have been doing it for ten years or more and really know the technology and the community. It's a good move from Intel's perspective.
- Nvidia showed off a photorealistic AI paint-by-numbers app. (Tech Crunch)
You do a little doodle and it takes it as a cue for a 3d-rendered landscape. You have 20 different materials to paint with - trees, water, rock, and so on - and the computer does the magic for you. Your doodle has to make some kind of sense, though, or you get back garbage.
- ASRock Rack's UCPE-EPYC3000 is an Epyc 3000 server appliance. (Serve the Home)
It's a mini-ITX based 1U platform - very shallow depth, though - with room for four half-height / half-length PCIe cards on two risers.
There are two SATA ports and an M.2 slot, but no actual drive bays as far as I can see, so this is designed for networking rather than storage. The config shown has two built-in 10GbE ports, another 12 Ethernet ports on added cards (which can be whatever you want), and a WiFi adaptor, which is great for customer premises but less useful in the server room.
Complete Goddamn Movie of the Day
Tuesday, March 19
Get Sh*t Done Edition
- Apple announced a new iPad Air and iPad mini bumping the CPU up from the A8 to the A12. (AnandTech)
Apart from that, both models come with 64GB or 256GB of storage, an unquantified amount of RAM, an improved display with DCI-P3 colour gamut (and in the case of the Air, an upgrade from 9.7" to 10.5"). Lightning port rather than USB-C, which is bad, but they retain the headphone jack, which is good. They have pen support, but the new version of the Apple Pencil is USB-C, so they can only use the old version.
US prices start at $399 for the 64GB mini and $499 for the Air.
- Nvidia has a new Jetson developer kit out. (AnandTech)
With 128 CUDA cores and a pretty underwhelming quad-core Arm A57 CPU, the bare board is $99 and the full kit is $129.
The dev kit offers HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, 4 USB ports (only one USB 3.0 though), Ethernet of an unspecified speed, 4GB RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage. And a PCIe M.2 slot for either storage or a wifi adaptor.
The GPU is intended for AI more than graphics, but is perfectly capable of both.
- Nvidia is adding real-time ray-tracing to 10- and 16-series GTX graphics cards in a driver update expected next month. (PC Perspective)
It will be slower than RTX, of course, but does raise the question of whether Nv's users would have been better off had the company simply added a ton more CUDA cores.
- Nvidia's (yes, them again) RTX server holds up to 80 Tesla RTX GPUs. (Serve the Home)
The RTX Server Pod holds 1280 GPUs in ten racks. Apart from delivering petaflops of compute performance for AI, graphics rendering, or simulations, the heat produced can flash-broil a blue whale.
- A hands-on session with the probably quantum D-Wave 2000Q. (Ars Technica)
Social Media News
- US Congressman Devin Nunes has sued Twitter and specific Twitter users for $250 million alleging that (a) the users deliberately defamed him for money, (b) Twitter did nothing to stop this, and (c) Twitter actually shadowbanned him to shut him up. Oh, that and (d) Twitter then lied about that. (One Angry Gamer)
This type of suit is normally hard for a public figure to win in the US, but in this case one of the named parties ran an online business that offered to "anonymously smear our clients' opposition on the internet". Which knocks the actual malice hurdle flat before the case even begins.
Liz Mair was pretty brazen about this. pic.twitter.com/171MhJfJFO— The_War_Economy (@The_War_Economy) March 19, 2019
- New Zealand continues with its brilliant plan to block absolutely everything. (TechDirt)
- The insanity has spread to Australia too, with Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and possibly even TPG blocking multiple sites. (Kotaku)
"We understand this may inconvenience some legitimate users of these sites, but these are extreme circumstances and we feel this is the right thing to do," a Telstra spokesperson said.Well, that makes everything alright then, doesn't it, what with "extreme circumstances" and all.
Don't know about TPG; I tried ZeroHedge, Voat, and Kiwi Farms just now and I'm not blocked, but I'm with a subsidiary, not TPG itself; I'm not using my ISP's DNS servers; and I have a business account, all of which are reasons any such blocks might not apply to me.
- Everyone's favourite boogeyman Vladimir Putin has signed sweeping internet censorship legislation bringing Russian internet access into line with the so-called free world. (Ars Technica)
- Oh, and while we're talking about AI and censorship, there's this gem.
Me: There's no way Twitter would ban someone for a harmless meme!— Mason Sartin (@sykotiksonik) March 19, 2019
Twitter: Locks my account after posting the Shocked Pikachu meme for "gratuitous gore"
Monday, March 18
Yeah I've Fixed It Now Nobody Saw That Right Edition
- AMD's CES Ryzen 3000 demo was reportedly power constrained and not performance constrained. (OC3D)
That is, AMD specifically chose to show off equal performance at half the power, rather than better performance at equal power. Exactly how much better performance you'd get at equal power is an open question, because we don't yet know the power/performance curve of these CPUs. Up to a certain point performance tends to scale linearly with power, but there's always an inflection point where it goes geometric, with power requirements scaling to the cube of the performance increment - or more.
So if AMD undervolted and underclocked their CPU to reduce power consumption by 30-40% for the demo, they might only gain another 10% when they go to full power.
Or they could just add another 8 cores.
- AMD is planning to stack DRAM and SRAM on their CPUs. (Tom's Hardware)
A single HBM2 package can now be up to 24GB with 300GB per second of bandwidth, which would be great for CPUs and amazing for APUs.
- Archive.org is frantically backing up Google+ before it becomes our generation's GeoCities. (Engadget)
Um. Okay, don't know about you, but let's face it, GeoCities was my generation's GeoCities. Ow, my back.
- MySpace meanwhile has lost everything uploaded between 2003 and 2015. (BBC News)
They blame this on file corruption during a server migration.
Reached for comment, MySpace said "We apologize for the inconvenience."
- New Zealand is busy blocking most of the internet including BitChute, Archive.is, Liveleak, Dissenter, and Kiwfarms, which does not, in fact, farm kiwis. (One Angry Gamer)
I've Run Out of Good Dirty Pair AMVs So You Get This Instead of the Day
Sunday, March 17
- A nice Sunday gallery of classic computer photos. (Pingdom)
Seriously old-school and well worth a look.
- TCL is working on a combined QD (quantum dot) / OLED display that can be printed out using an inkjet printer. (OLED-info)
They have already shown off prototype printed displays, so this one might be real and spectacular.
- Teach yourself programming in 10 years.
Sounds about right.
- More information about the site blockings in New Zealand following the anti-Muslim terrorist attack. (Bleeping Computer)
It's not a good article - I'll see if I can find something better - but it does present the basic facts and includes some links and tweets for further information.
Another article I found is biased in the other direction. (One Angry Gamer)
If you read alternate paragraphs from each that may present some balance. Or give you indigestion. Possibly both.
- Crytek has showed off real-time ray tracing running on previous generation graphics cards. (Tom's Hardware)
I'm sure they're cheating, the entire point of graphics programming is knowing when you can get away with that. If it looks the same as ray tracing but takes 1/5th the processing power, you might as well call it ray tracing.
Social Media News
- The Intercept, a "billionaire-funded public charity" posing as a news organisation, has laid off 4% of its staff. (CJR)
"I am sickened" said CommentBot 1404, a.k.a. Laura Poitras, "the beeping heart of the newsroom has been torn out". She then leaked a small amount of oil.
- Don't pour cold water into hot glass cookware you idiots. (Gizmodo)
My mother had that lesson drummed into me by the time I was ten.
Dirty Pair Music Video of the Day
I've finished watching Dirty Pair TV all the way through for the first time, and while I certainly enjoyed it I can see why the OVAs got a prompt release in the West back in the day but the TV series took a couple of decades. The stories are mostly a lot simpler and the animation budget is clearly meagre. There's some great background art, but lots of panning shots because they need to make the most of it.
As it progresses the writing gets stronger and the animation improves, and the balance between action and comedy also improves. If you've seen scenes in AMVs where Kei flashes the guards to distract them, or the girls are dressed up as theme park mascots, those both come from episode 26, which was a great ending.
The first OVA, though, really kicks things into gear. For anyone not a completist, I'd recommend just the movies and then the OVAs. There's no origin episode - in TV episode 1 they're established 3WA trouble consultants - so starting a bit later doesn't leave you adrift.
Saturday, March 16
- Looking for an 86" computer monitor? (AnandTech)
Yes? Why? Also, it costs over $4000.
Actually, there is a good reason I can think of to have a huge computer monitor - to use as the surface of your desk. But you'd need a fairly thick layer of glass to make it strong enough to use without risk of cracking, and then you'd have parallax problems.
Maybe with suitably tough plastic, if it's cheap enough that you can replace it, and designed so that a single point of damage doesn't ruin the rest of the display.
- If you bought a Jibo robot, congratulations, now it's dead. (TechDirt)
Most smart devices are really as dumb as a box of rocks, relying on external servers to actually function. When those servers inevitably shut down, you're left with a $900 statue. This is why I'm so keen to see more powerful and lower cost embedded CPUs. Get the compute power where you need it, with the ability to switch between data services on the fly.
- Hello, Goodbye is an open source browser extension that blocks customer service chat widgets.
I've had these little blights on humanity pop up about 90,000 times. I've actually needed them only twice.
On the other hand, the two times I needed them, they worked.
- There's a bunch of Intel news from the Open Compute Summit. (Serve the Home)
This is aimed directly at cloud providers, but many elements have broader interest: Cascade Lake and Cooper Lake CPUs, 100 gigabit networking, AI accelerators, new server form factors (1U servers are a terrible shape for cooling).
- Also at the Summit Facebook showed off a 400 gigabit ethernet switch. (Serve the Home)
- An unsecured Elasticsearch server leaked a quarter of a million legal documents. (Bleeping Computer)
It's easy to secure Elasticsearch so that it cannot be accessed over the internet, but the open source release has no password protection. It's not just that it defaults to unprotected like MongoDB or Redis, it doesn't have it at all.
I blame Elasticsearch for that.
- NVMe over TCP/IP? (The Next Platform)
Sure, why not? They're achieving average write latencies as low as 30 microseconds and 99 percentile at 60 microseconds, which is barely slower than a direct attached device (except for Optane).
- Apparently the new version of Pocket Casts sucks or something. (Thurrott.com)
I use their web app every day and have no problem with it at all, but haven't used their Android app for a while. Before switching to Pocket Casts I used... BeyondPod, that was it. Which was absolutely wonderful and loved by all until they released a new version that everyone hated.
- Twitter is blocking reporting on the New Zealand anti-Muslim terrorist attack that left 49 people dead. (One Angry Gamer)
And New Zealand ISPs are blocking the video of the event and the manifesto published by the terrorist. They are even blocking the whole of 4chan, 8chan, and other sites. (Hacker News*)
Now, I have no problem at all with social media sites deciding not to host the video. But I do have a problem with governments deciding what their citizens are allowed to know. And I have a massive problem with citizens congratulating their own governments for keeping information from them, which is what I found when I looked into one of these threads on Twitter.
Appalling as this attack is, I don't see how hiding the truth of it serves anyone at all.
* As a rule, I link to the original story where possible rather than to other news aggregators. But in this case the original story is a post on Reddit's /r/4chan, which is a disaster area with all the worst elements of both of those sites. Well, not all the worst elements, perhaps, but enough of them that no-one should ever go there, right down to customised mouse pointers.
- On a lighter note, when Tumblr banned all porn from their site (the infamous "female-presenting nipples" incident) after their app was banned from Apple's App Store (the infamous "fuck you we're Apple" incident) their traffic dropped by 20% in the space of a month. (One Angry Gamer)
Which highlights several points:
First, Apple has made themselves a legitimate target for an antitrust investigation. Nice going, morons.
Second, Tumblr has content besides porn.
Third, 437 million pageviews a month is not that much. I mean, it's more than I do, by a lot, but it's something I could conceivably do while still paying for it all out of my own pocket. (By using a budget hosting provider and old server hardware bought second or third-hand.) mee.nu has served nearly 1.5 billion pages since launch, and it's unfortunately been on a back burner with too little support for most of that time.
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