They are my oldest and deadliest enemy. You cannot trust them.
If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give a favourable reference to the Devil.

Saturday, August 18


Daily News Stuff 18 August 2018

Tech News

  • RAM prices may drop 25% next year. (Tom's Hardware)

    Well, it's a start, but it would still leave prices at more than twice their low point five years ago.

  • ARM unveiled their client CPU roadmap and intentions to challenge Intel. (AnandTech)

    Ooh! New architecture?


    Well, new cores then?


    So... Marketing?


  • MSI's PS42 laptop is a 14" model with 1080p screen (adequate), quad core CPU (good), optional discrete GPU (great - oh, it's a crappy MX150, never mind) and A SENSIBLE KEYBOARD LAYOUT. (AnandTech)
    Wait, why is the trackpad all the way over there? And... Is that the webcam? DAMMIT MSI!

  • New Jersey's court IT is run by idiots. Claiming changes done in order to comply with NIST recommendations, they have done exactly what NIST recommends against - maximum (not minimum!) password lengths, mandatory expiry, and security questions. (TechDirt)

  • FASTER is a fast open source key-value store (the core of a database) from Microsoft. How fast? Up to 160 million operations per second fast.

    Ooh! It supports some sort of binary tree for sorting?

    No, only hashes. (PDF)

    Well fuck.

    (You can build any data structure on top of a binary tree. You can only build unordered structures on top of a hash, which is far more constraining.)

  • 24 cores and I can't type an email.

    A day in the life of a Chrome developer at Google gives you great insight into why everything sucks so much on modern computers.

  • The Protectli FW4A is a four-port firewall appliance for small(ish) offices. Install your own OS - there are various BSD and Linux distributions designed for exactly this. All the network controllers are Intel, so it should be compatible with anything and everything. (ServeTheHome)

    The thing I noted is that it has a VGA port. That's pretty much essential because the alternative is rigging a serial connection somehow. But I don't have anything on my desk that takes VGA in - I'd have to dig an old monitor out of the spare room.

    Its big brother (sister?) the FW6A has six ports (fairly obvious) and includes HDMI. It's not much more expensive - $419 vs $349 including memory and storage, and includes a lot more USB ports - and you don't need to dumpster dive for a monitor to set it up. Go for that one. Or just air gap your coworkers, that's pretty good too.

  • Princess Evolution RaaS is not a poorly translated FM Towns game from 1993. Well, it might be that too, who knows. But the gameplay in the 2018 version sucks. (Bleeping Computer)

  • AMD is now shipping their 35W low-power desktop APUs, the 2200GE and 2400GE. These have the same specs as the 2200G and 2400G except for clock speed. Capped at 35W instead of 65W they will throttle under load much sooner. (FanlessTech)

    AMD is also believed to be planning a 45W high-power laptop chip to complement their existing 25W laptop parts. And when I say "believed to be planning" I mean "everything except the price and ship date has been leaked".

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Intel is run by poopy heads.

Music Video of the Day

Picture of the Day

Pixel pirates from PixelJoint. This was cut into tiles and created by 33 different artists, but works very well on the whole.

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Post contains 888 words, total size 9 kb.


Found A New Editor!

I'll see if I can deploy it here for some live testing.  I will definitely use it for the new system.

It's called Redactor.  The other one I'm looking at is called Froala.  Froala has some neat tricks, but it's a bit on the expensive side.  Redactor is 60% cheaper, plus I bought a license for an earlier version years ago, so I can upgrade to the latest version for half price.

Redactor has fewer tricks but has a nice API for adding extensions, so I can tie it into my new API.  

For example, if you start typing an @name, I can look up your friends list and show you the matching names and when you select one, automatically turn it into a link.

Also: Autosave.

Update: Bought a Pro license for Redactor.  I got a Basic license all the way back in 2012 to try it out, but didn't switch at the time.  They've done a whole bunch of updates since then.

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Friday, August 17


Daily News Stuff 17 August 2018

Tech News

  • RetroManCave reviews the Sharp X68000 Pro.

    The original X68000 with its distinctive dual vertical slices pops up in manga from time to time.

    Art by @xiao_woo.  Frequently NSFW.

  • Google says "We don't collect your location if you turn location tracking off.  We don't do that.  We don't.  Okay, we collect a little bit.  Rather a lot, really."  (Tom's Hardware)

  • Microsoft's Cortana exposed as double-agent.  (Tom's Hardware)

    If you had certain "skills" enabled, locking your computer didn't really do much, because Cortana is still active.  This is fixed in the most recent Windows 10 update, which is why it's being publicly announced now.

  • As any D&D player knows, you need to use fire to properly kill a troll.  Works on patent trolls too.  (TechDirt)

  • NVIDIA's 2080 Ti might have 4352 shaders and 14Gbps GDDR6 RAM up from 3584 shaders and 11Gbps GDDR5X RAM on the 1080 Ti.  (WCCFTech)

    Normally I suggest taking anything from WCCFTech with a pound of salt, but this is so unexciting that it's probably entirely accurate.

  • TinyWL is a Wayland compositor in 500 lines of C.  That's more than 39 lines of Python, but these things are commonly enormous masses of unreadable code, so it's nice to see.

  • If you need a 56 core dual Xeon workstation with 768GB RAM and 7.1 audio the Supermicro X11DAC might be the motherboard for you.  (ServeTheHome)

    One caveat: It has 16 DIMM slots.  It has 12 memory channels.  16 is not divisible by 12.  (Apple shipped a Mac Pro with a similar arrangement, years ago.)

  • After noting that AMD's 32 core 2990WX runs dramatically faster on Linux than on Windows 10, Phoronix went back and ran those tests under Windows Server as well, both 2016 and the 2019 preview.

    Windows Server was generally no better and sometimes significantly worse.  (Phoronix)

    Linux has the benefit here of having been ported to hundreds of weird architectures over the years.  The unbalanced memory paths of the 2990WX are nothing compared to some of the crazy shit out there.

  • Mozilla has stomped on another 23 nosy browser extensions.  Which means they will be automatically disabled in your browser, so no particular need to worry.  (Bleeping Computer)

Social Media News

Chip Diagram of the Day

AMD's Zeppelin die has 32 lanes of PCIe, but only 24 are available in Ryzen CPUs.  Where did the rest go?  This diagram from Wikichip explains it.

If you look at this diagram, the chip doesn't just have 8 cores, 20MB cache, and 32 PCIe lanes.  It also has four ethernet ports, four USB 3 ports, and eight SATA ports.  All of those - a total of 48 potential connectors - go into a switch and then are routed out to 32 multi-function I/O lanes.  

AMD offers chipsetless chipsets for Ryzen - the A300, B300, and X300.  These low-cost parts have no I/O features at all, and instead rely on the USB and SATA ports built in to the CPU.  That ties up pins that would otherwise be available for PCIe, leaving a maximum of 24 total PCIe lanes available.  All the functionality is there, but you run out of CPU pins trying to connect to it all at the same time.

(Those 12G PHYs are just what you think - they run at up to 12Gbps, 50% faster than PCIe 3.0 and twice as fast as SATA.  This speed is used for socket interconnect on dual CPU EPYC servers, but not on desktop Ryzen parts.)

Picture of the Day

Bake-o-Mat, the better bread boffins!  Fresh baked in 9 seconds using ATOMIC ENERGY!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:39 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 740 words, total size 7 kb.

Thursday, August 16


Daily News Stuff 16 August 2018

Tech News

  • SemiEngineering offers a roundup of new memory technologies including Intel's 3D XPoint / Optane, how each works, and what we can expect. Some of these are already shipping in products, though not even Optane has made it to the mainstream yet. (SemiEngineering)

  • Istio is a thing what does stuff with bits. If you read that article and end up crosseyed, don't worry, I do this for a living and it had the same effect on me. (The Next Platform)

  • TinyWM is a window manager in 50 lines of C.  Or 39 lines of Python if you prefer.

  • Badly behaved MacOS apps can click on security alerts to grant themselves access to your computer.

    This is not good. (Bleeping Computer)

  • The Australian government is run by idiots. And this is the good bunch, of the two choices of idiots.  They are proposing to force back doors into all cryptographic security, without, they claim, weakening the security.  Which is a mathematical impossibility, but there you have it.

Social Media News

  • Twitter is run by idiots.
  • Twitter's app ecosystem is imploding with API features being cut with no clear guidelines for how the replacement methods will work or what they will cost developers. Some apps have cut functionality, others have shut down entirely.

    Twitter did offer some sample pricing for very small numbers of users. Only problem is, it's insane:
    Pricing for Premium access is $2,899 per month for 250 users. To cover this cost, a third-party app would need to charge over $16 per month to break even.

Video of the Day

I've posted this one before but I really like it so here it is again.  Also, I now know what the expression "crab bucket" means, having recently re-read Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals.

Bonus Video of the Day

I was looking for the opening credits.  Couldn't find a good version, but the entire series is on YouTube, so whatevs.

Picture of the Day

Still no NBN.  Art by Li Chen of Exocomics.

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Post contains 412 words, total size 5 kb.

Wednesday, August 15


Daily News Stuff 15 August 2018

Tech News

  • For Intel, it's a new day so there's a new speculative execution vulnerability. This one is called Foreshadow by researchers and L1TF by Intel - Level 1 Terminal Fault because it relates to the level 1 cache permission checking termination logic. (Ars Technica)

    Fortunately I didn't get around to migrating to Digital Ocean just yet. We run VMs for - half a dozen of them with more on the way - but on dedicated rather than shared hardware, so this exploit mostly doesn't apply. (Digital Ocean)

    An interesting point is that Intel has already provided a patch that largely resolves the problem, unless you are running hyperthreading. I'm not sure about other cloud providers, but my understanding is that Amazon run customer-specific CPUs with hyperthreading disabled, and have done for years. As core counts increase we may start seeing a trend towards disabling hyperthreading by default - as seen in the upcoming eight core i7 chips. (Or so rumour has it.)

  • Google still tracks your location when you turn off location tracking. Because "don't be evil" got too complicated. (Fudzilla)

  • NVIDIA's new high-end graphics cards are using Samsung's new 16Gb GDDR6 memory. This is another thing that will trickle down to consumer parts fairly quickly. It's 40% faster than the fastest commonly-used GDDR5 memory (14Gbps vs. 10Gbps).

  • Faxes are now haxes. Network-attached multi-function printers too. (The Register)

    If you have an HP multi-function printer on your network, the time to update the firmware is right now. Some of the more recent models apparently update themselves automatically, but it's definitely something to check. You may have a wonderful high-tech firewall that blocks every single thing, but hackers can just dial straight in to your fax machine.

    This sort of thing has been going on for some time, really. There was a story years ago about a company that kept having outbreaks of computer viruses even after patching every single PC and server on the network.

    Turned out the source of the infection was a colour laser printer, which had an internal hard drive for storing fonts and print jobs.... And viruses.

  • PCWorld tested the Threadripper 2990WX just like everyone else (not me) and found something interesting.  Though it trails behind the fastest Intel chips on some tests (because of memory latency, OS scheduling, or something else) that's when you are testing one application at a time.

    They tried running Blender and Cinebench at the same time - and it ran Cinebench as fast as the 18 core Intel i9-7980X running Cinebench alone.  (PCWorld)

Social Media News

  • Twitter have apparently Level Two Restricted Alex Jones' account. Not suspended, but restricted, so his account is still active and his tweets are still up, he just can't tweet any more for a few days. (CNet)

    I have had two Level 2 restrictions and seventy-one Level One restrictions so far this year. The most recent was this:
    Alex Jones is like tiny baby.

  • TechDirt has some nice You CAN yell FIRE! in a crowded theatre t-shirts.

  • TwitterSafety says: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Video of the Day

Cat Video of the Day

Wait for it...

Picture of the Day

This is the component I mentioned I was waiting for to build the new social blogging system. I already had a couple of designs I'd licensed, but this is the one I really wanted. I already have version 1 & 2, but those were just designs (PSD / Sketch), not web pages (HTML / CSS). This has some actual web pages as well as the design files so I can jump in right away.

Cat Picture of the Day

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New Server? New Server!

May have just snagged a deal on a 12-core server with 128GB RAM and 8x1TB SSDs in hardware RAID.  Older CPUs (E5-2620) but new SSDs.  And 200TB monthly bandwidth included.

Update: Yes, confirmed, deploying now.  When I'll have time to migrate everything I don't know, but that will kick some pretty serious ass.  And they give a 75% discount on these older servers for the first month so you can plan your migration without doubling your server bill.

My original plan for deploying the new system involved a server with 1TB of SSD for the databases and another with 6TB of RAID-1 disk for file storage, but this means everything can go on one server with pure SSD storage.  (There's yet another server for all the backups.)  Costs a little more, but zero worries about database growth or memory footprint.

Update Too: I looked up the specs of the E5620 CPU to check that it was what I expected, and the benchmarks were about half of what I thought they'd be.  So I was wondering if I'd bought the wrong server, then looked again, and entered E5-2620 properly and was much happier.

Update Free: I can't read.  Server has regular disks, not SSDs.  Well, good thing it's 75% off the first month.  I thought it was an awfully good deal...

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Tuesday, August 14


Daily News Stuff 14 August 2018

Tech News

  • Chuwi announced their Lapbook SE, a $299 Gemini Lake Atom laptop. 4GB RAM, 32GB + 128GB storage (eMMC and SSD), 13" 1080p IPS screen, and it has separate PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End keys. (AnandTech)

    Intel doesn't use the Atom name any more - this is publicly a Celeron N4100 - because the first seven generations of Atom chips sucked. This one is a lot better, at least for single-threaded workloads, about twice the performance of the previous generation. On multi-threaded workloads this specific chip underperforms because it's limited to 6W of power.

    Unfortunately, comments on AnandTech say that Chuwi's customer support and product consistency are iffy at best.

    But you can't say it doesn't come with a decent selection of ports.

  • AMD's Threadripper 2950X and 2990WX are out and the benchmarks are coming in and they're... A bit all over the place. The $899 2950X is a consistently solid performer, but the $1799 2990WX appears to suffer from architectural or software limitations, with many benchmarks coming in slower than the cheaper version. This is specifically a chip for people doing 3D rendering and a few other tasks. If you want to run lots of virtual machines for development, the 2950X or an EPYC 7401P is a better bet. (AnandTech)

    Next year with the introduction of 7nm parts, we'll likely see 24 or 32 core Threadrippers without the limitations of the current generation.

    Update: Thanks to StargazerA5 for pointing me to Phoronix, who compared performance between Windows 10 and four flavours of Linux.

    A notable case of poor performance in the benchmarks on other sites was 7zip compression.  Phoronix ran the same test on Linux, with, well, see for yourself.

    Yes, it's 140% faster.

  • NVIDIA announced their new Turing architecture, which adds AI and ray-tracing to a conventional graphics core. Due out in Q4 2018. Priced about the level of a good used car. (PCPer)

    But mainstream versions will follow and prices will come down. A lot, with the cryptocurrency mining bubble well and truly popped at this point.

  • If you're using Dropbox on Linux, time to reformat your computer. They're dropping support for any filesystem but Ext4. (Bleeping Computer)

  • IBM has you covered if you need PCIe 4.0 support today. You also get up to 192 CPU cores and 64TB of RAM. Which is a lot. (The Next Platform)

  • A group of mathematicians seeking to prove that the was no general solution to the "nearest neighbour" problem instead found a general solution for the "nearest neighbour" problem which I suppose is almost as good. (Quanta)

    I'm going to need to read up on this one, because this is something that I might actually be able to apply in my day job. Unlike, say, a proof that dark energy is incompatible with string theory, which only really applies to my side projects.

  • Get your Humble Data Science Bundle today!

    If you like that sort of thing...

Social Media News

  • The Unblocker is a Twitter bot that will tell you what blocklists you are on.

    It's been silenced by Twitter.

Video of the Day

K-On! for penguins.

Meta Video of the Day

Deconstructing K-on! for penguins.

Picture of the Day

Panda Ant, Panda Ant, friendly neighbourhood Panda Ant...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:31 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 602 words, total size 6 kb.

Monday, August 13


A Place Further Than The Universe

Ah, now that's what I was looking for.  It's K-On for penguins.  It even has its own Nodoka and Ui.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:59 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Girls' Last Tour

If you're looking for an offbeat, quirky show that will lift your spirits and leave you feeling good, watch A Place Further than the Universe.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:23 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 28 words, total size 1 kb.


Daily News Stuff 13 August 2018

Tech News
  • AMD announced the Radeon PRO WX 8200, a workstation Vega 56 card with 8GB HBM and four mini-DP outputs.  At $999 it's less than half the price of the WX 9100 while delivering 80% of the performance - but it does have half the memory, so if you need 16GB the 9100 is your only option.  (AnandTech)

  • Lenovo announced the ThinkPad P1, a workstation version of their popular X1 Carbon.  With a 15.6" 4K screen, six core CPU, up to 64GB ECC RAM, 4TB of SSD, and NVIDIA Quadro graphics squooshed into a 1.7kg frame, this is an impressive system.  (AnandTech)

    Unfortunately it has a numeric keypad, which I hate on laptops because it pushes the keyboard and trackpad off center.  Fortunately, there's no way I can afford one so it doesn't matter a whole lot.

    Correction: The P1 does not have a numeric keypad; I was looking at a comparison photo with the larger P72 and misidentified what was being shown.

    Rather, it has a similar key layout to the ThinkPad E, with PgUp / PgDn by the arrow keys and Home / End by the function keys.  Not my ideal layout, but workable.
    So if anyone wants to drop one off at my door, I'm now interested.

  • Birds eating your blueberries?  Maybe a laser cannon array is the answer.  (NPR)

    To be fair, a laser cannon array can answer most questions.

  • On average, programmers and writers create 10 lines for each line that reaches their audience.  The reasons why this happens are complex and hard to eliminate, but the ratio is pretty consistent.

Video of the Day

Ducks explain wormholes.

Bonus Video of the Day

Red panda = best panda.

Picture of the Day

Toothless, from How to Train Your Dragon, re-imagined by @LittleJem4.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:47 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 304 words, total size 3 kb.

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