The ravens are looking a bit sluggish. Tell Malcolm they need new batteries.

Tuesday, March 19

Geek

Daily News Stuff 19 March 2019

Get Sh*t Done Edition


Tech News

  • 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.


  • 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.




Disclaimer: Orwell was an optimist.

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Monday, March 18

Geek

Daily News Stuff 18 March 2019

Yeah I've Fixed It Now Nobody Saw That Right Edition

Tech News

  • 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)

    Everything.

    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




Disclaimer: Use rsync you morons.

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Sunday, March 17

Geek

Daily News Stuff 17 March 2019

Break Time Is Over Edition

Tech News


Social Media News



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.



Disclaimer: No, snakes do NOT grow to 50 feet long.  That's a video shot vertically at a 9:16 aspect ratio that has been stretched out to 16:9.  It looks ridiculous.  Stop sharing it.

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Saturday, March 16

Geek

Daily News Stuff 16 March 2019

Fell Asleep, Posted Next Morning, Cheated And Changed The Timestamp Edition

Tech News

  • 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)

    Yes, Facebook.

  • 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.


Disclaimer: The internet is for porn.  All this trouble only started when we tried using it for other things.

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Friday, March 15

Geek

Daily News Stuff 15 March 2019

Nearly Almost Better Edition

Tech News


Pi Video of the Day



Yes, okay, slightly late.


Anime Op/Ed of the Day


The dub version of the Tank Police theme, which is basically two words and a preset Casio arpeggio, is infinitely superior to the weirdly inappropriate Japanese original.


Disclaimer: Pi is not encoded in hexadecimal after about 39 trillion digits.  The truth is far stranger.

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Thursday, March 14

Geek

Daily News Stuff 14 March 2019

Late Final Extra Edition

Tech News



Disclaimer: Very very late final extra.

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Wednesday, March 13

Geek

Daily News Stuff 13 March 2019

I Didn't Really Want That Steak Anyway Edition

Tech News

  • AMD launched the Radeon RX 560 XT - 75% faster than the existing Radeon RX 560.  (AnandTech)

    This is because it's a Radeon RX 570 with four compute units disabled.  Also, only available in China.

  • Dammit, where did my bookmarks go?

  • What are they doing all the way over there?

  • GoDaddy, Google, and Apple screwed up and mis-issued an estimated two million certificates.  (Ars Technica)

    They used - horrors - only positive 64-bit integers to assign serial numbers rather than the full range of positive and negative values.  This basically doesn't matter at all.  Unfortunately the reporting was carried out by a brain-damaged budgie:
    The 63 bits is far off the mark of the required 64 bits and, as such, poses a theoretically unacceptable risk to the entire ecosystem. (Practically speaking, there’s almost no chance of the certificates being maliciously exploited. More about that later.) Adam Caudill, the security researcher who blogged about the mass misissuance last weekend, pointed out that it’s easy to think that a difference of 1 single bit would be largely inconsequential when considering numbers this big. In fact, he said, the difference between 263 and 264 is more than 9 quintillion.
    This is complete and utter nonsense.  If it were 2127 vs. 2128 the difference would be 170 undecillion, and it would be even less relevant.

    The fault is actually in the spec, which requires (a) at least 64 bits of entropy and (b) that the most significant bit be 0, which means you need at least a 65 bit value, but while this problem was discussed when the spec was written no-one actually bothered to update the spec.

  • ASRock's X399 Phantom Gaming 6 is an only slightly cut down Threadripper motherboard for $250.  (AnandTech)

    Eight DIMM slots, three full PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, 2.5GbE and 1GbE ports, three M.2 slots (all PCIe 3.0 x4).

    Only real limitation is that its CPU power supply is limited to 180W and it can't run the recent 24 and 32 core Threadrippers.  But those are somewhat specialised - and expensive - parts and probably not a reason to be looking at low-cost motherboards anyway.

  • Firefox just released Send, an end-to-end encrypted file sharing service.  (Tom's Hardware)

    You can send files up to 1GB, or 2.5GB if you sign up (for free, I think).  If they use Backblaze and Cloudflare it's cheap enough that they can run this at a loss until/unless it takes off.

  • There is one law for left and right alike, which prevents them equally from saying "learn to code" and wearing red baseball caps.  (TechDirt gets this story egregiously wrong.)

  • The truth of that story about Liz Warren's anti-Facebook ads getting banned by Facebook is more nuanced.  Facebook is simply run by idiots.  (TechDirt)

  • She's wrong about everything anyway.  (Stratechery)
    Unfortunately, Senator Warren’s proposal helps highlight why I have not gone further with my own: hers would create massive new problems, have significant unintended consequences, and worst of all, not even address the issues Senator Warren is concerned about (with one possible exception I will get to in a moment). Worst, it would do so by running roughshod over the idea of judicial independence, invite endless lawsuits and bureaucratic meddling around subjective definitions, and effectively punish consumers for choosing the best option for them.
    But apart from that...

  • Twttr got disemvoweled.  (Tech Crunch)

  • Toyota is building a moon rover and it looks exactly like you would want a Toyota moon rover to look.  (Engadget)



  • Unicode is one big semantic sewage farm.

  • Charting the voracity of hyperscalers, and what it means for the future.  (The NExt Platform)

  • Boeing is planning a software patch for the 737 MAX.  (ZDNet)

    Guys...  Maybe do that before?

  • Google's Jigsaw division has rolled out a new Chrome extension that ensures you never learn anything.  (CNet)


Dirty Pair Music Video of the Day



Picture of the Day

https://ai.mee.nu/images/DPCasualties.jpg


Disclaimer: This disclaimer has been deemed toxic by your browser and replaced with an anodyne and perhaps even jejune message telling you that this disclaimer has been deemed toxic.  Remember to wipe your feet!

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Tuesday, March 12

Geek

Daily News Stuff 12 March 2019

Half Baked Apple Pie Edition

Tech News


Dirty Pair Music Video of the Day



Disclaimer: Behind you!

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Monday, March 11

Geek

Daily News Stuff 11 March 2019

Wrong Kind of Quacks Edition


Tech News


Kei Has Shoulders Like a Linebacker Music Video of the Day



Disclaimer: It's not our fault!

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Sunday, March 10

Geek

Daily News Stuff 10 March 2019

I Can Almost Get Out Of Bed Without Screaming Edition

Tech News


Dirty Pair Music Video of the Day



Disclaimer: There ain't no such thing as free wifi.

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