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

Wednesday, August 15


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...

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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.

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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)
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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.

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Sunday, August 12


Daily News Stuff 12 August 2018

Tech News

  • Intel's 8 core i9 9900K may launch on October 1.  Speeds may range from 3.6GHz base clock to 5.0GHz boost on 1 or 2 cores, with a TDP possibly holding steady at 95 W.  Price may be more than recent top-of-the-line desktop chips at $450.  Or not.  (WCCFTech)

    If that's all true, it's a solid response from Intel to AMD's first two generations of Ryzen chips.  Of course, if you managed to snag a $249 12 core Threadripper in the Amazon sale, you'll be laughing at this.

    Comparing with Intel's own products, the 4 core 7700K had a base clock of 4.2GHz - 600MHz higher - but a peak boost clock of "only" 4.5GHz.  So in most cases the 9900K would be a solid win.

  • Electric scooters are largely illegal in Britan thanks to a remarkably prescient law from 1835.  (Buiness Insider)

  • 1/0 = 0

    There, that should raise some hackles.

    The usual position is that 1/0 is not defined, but that's actually a choice, not something required by the fundamental nature of all forms of arithmetic.  It is potentially a problem if one programming language strikes off on its own, though, and decides to adopt (say) ones' complement arithmetic (which includes a value for negative zero), but it is not locally inconsistent and may have domain-specific advantages.

  • Either we don't exist, or dark energy doesn't exist, or string theory is wrong.  (Quanta)

    I'm going for option A.  It's quieter that way.

    (Quanta is an interesting site for stories about scientists, though the actual science tends to take second place to personalities.)

  • The JPEG Committe is exploring using the blockchain to embed DRM in images and clearly needs to be strapped onto a rocket and launched into the Sun.  (via Reddit).
    This is great news for both DRM and Blockchain, because no work to implement DRM can ever be called first-rate — and Blockchain is the hype on top to really sell unusable rubbish that can’t possibly ever work.
    Fortunately, NASA is on the case.

  • Google's DNS service just turned

    It's worth giving this a try - either Google's, or Cloudflare's, or Quad9's  Your ISP's DNS probably sucks.  Yes, there are potential privacy concerns, but no actually it's all fine and there are no privacy issues at all.

    Update: Huh.  My ISP uses we are the best have you considered our IPTV packages wait what?

  • A jury in California brought in a $289 million verdict against Monsanto on the basis of...  Evidence?  Who needs evidence?  (Ars Technica) calculated that people would have to eat over 35 kilograms of agricultural products containing glyphosate a day just to reach the strictest safety limits.
    Based on the evidence, I think the facts are clear that California causes cancer.

Social Media News

  • So....  Seattle, yeah.  (Crosses Seattle off list of places.)

  • Twitter's suspension policies are largely bullshit.  As with the very best show trials, the charges are never actually stated, the fact that you are on trial is taken as proof of your guilt, and you will have every opportunity to defend yourself if and when you are found innocent.  (The Other McCain)

  • Feeling left out, YouTube shut down a popular podcast's live stream, revoked streaming permission, and issued a "community standards strike" (the vaguest term imaginable)...

    For mentioning Alex Jones.

Cryptocurrency News

  • The Ethereum borkage seems to be over with gas prices down to about double what they were a week ago - still not ideal, but a lot better than thirty times.  (Gitcoin)

    Now we can all go back to cursing every other aspect of Ethereum.

Podcast of the Day

Is Sean Carroll's Sean Carroll's Mindscape.

Video of the Day

Bonus Video of the Day

Sean Carroll (of Sean Carroll's Sean Carroll's Mindscape fame) explains why the Higgs Boson proves that ghosts don't exist.  (Spoiler: Noether's Theorem.  Also...  Ghosts don't exist.)

Picture of the Day


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Saturday, August 11


Daily News Stuff 11 August 2018

Tech News

  • Discord dips its toes into the game store market with Discord Nitro. Canada only right now. (PCPer)

    I wish them well, though I already have Steam and GOG and Humble Bundle, so I'm not exactly short of games or the opportunity to buy more games that I won't have time to play.

  • Microsoft is planning a sandbox mode called InPrivate that will let you run questionable software in a throwaway virtual machine.  Plan is to limit this to the Windows 10 Enterprise Edition edition, which is more than a little annoying, because this is really useful for developers and other techies.  Also, it probably won't coexist with other virtualisation products like VMWare or VirtualBox.  (Windows Central)

    I have a separate machine just for running VirtualBox now, so that last bit doesn't worry me as much as it did a month ago.  But I expect most people don't want to splash out an extra $1400 just to separate their VirtualBox VMs from their InPrivate VMs.

  • 390 years ago today, the Swedish flagship Vasa sank in Stockholm harbour in clam* conditions just minutes into its maiden voyage. The reasons will be familiar to anyone who has ever worked in software development.

  • Microsoft has an underwater data center complete with fish cam. Honestly, why not? I mean, apart from the whole water/computers thing... (The Verge)

  • Qualcomm has announced their mid-range Snapdragon 670 SoC (system-on-a-chip). It doesn't look like much at first glance, but SemiAccurate points out that the improvements aren't so much in the CPU cores, as in the image processing (better photos) and digital signal processing (better video and AI), pushing high-end features into the mid-range. Which is great if you don't want to spend $1500 on your next phone. (SemiAccurate)

  • Python PEP 505 proposes adding None (null) aware operators. I'm mostly against adding operators (as opposed to new syntax) but these ones I like; they remove the necessity for a lot of explicit conditional code.

  • MongoDB 4.0 now has a package for Ubuntu 18.04.  That sounds like a minor thing, because packages for Ubuntu 16.04 should work fine on 18.04, right?

    In this case, not so much.  MongoDB would work, but other things would break, and fixing them would cause MongoDB to uninstall itself.

    This is how I spend my weekends.

  • C's Biggest Mistake.  When you see that sort of thing, you say to yourself "Does this article discuss null-terminated strings, or is it wrong?"

    This article discusses null-terminated strings.  (via Hacker News)

Social Media News

  • The board of Stark Enterprises has some questions for Tony concerning his recent tweet about going private.

    Mr. Stark said "funding secured" on Twitter without actually telling the board of directors, an act which is deemed somewhat outré in financial circles. On the other hand, Tesla got a $2 billion investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund that same day, a fund which easily has the capital to take Tesla private (one of the few plausible sources of such capital), so Iron Man may not be blowing smoke here.

  • Twitter shut down the accounts of Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys, people of whom I have only the most distant awareness, allegedly for inciting violence, but seemingly as a preemptive move ahead of the coming 2018 Unite the Right rally.

    Which... Well, last year's Unite the Right rally was in Charlottesville, and we all know how that turned out. So I don't exactly blame Twitter for wanting to stay well clear of the shit-tornado forming on the horizon, but we need also to be clear on what is happening here.

  • Microsoft threatened to send Gab to sleep with the fishes in its new datacenter. (Ars Technica)

    This has to be placed in context. I get these notices from our hosting providers a couple of times a year, usually over offensive comments. (Copyright being a different issue.) And got banned entirely by the Indian government a few years back. But we're barely a blip on the web radar; Gab is far more public at the moment and Microsoft should know who they are, and what the issues are, and should have dealt with it a lot better.

    And Microsoft is one of the sane companies among the major players in the current tech scene (the other being Amazon). I'd expect this from Google or any of the other Bay Area tech hives where the drones have taken over; less so from Microsoft.

    "We are going to shut down your entire business over a couple of user comments" is not a good look when you're trying to grow your cloud computing division into a $100 billion a year business.

  • Gizmodo's reporting on the Gab story is some of the worst I've seen on any topic ever. The site is a swamp. (Gizmodo)

    Gizmodo, not Gab. Well, sometimes Gab too. But definitely Gizmodo.

    When asked to comment, Gab replied to Gizmodo with commendable precision.

  • Mashable sneers at Gizmodo, says "Hold my beer!" with these two posts: One.  Two.

  • Meanwhile CNN is on a witch hunt to get Alex Jones and Infowars banned from Twitter, the only social media platform that is still hosting him. When Twitter is the last bastion of free speech, you may have a problem.

    In fairness, he is a witch.

  • A key component I needed for my own social networky thing is being released on Tuesday (Wednesday future time), which should save me weeks of work.  I'll add it to the daily update when it comes out and I can confirm it will work for us.


Cryptocurrency News 

  • On the subject of stupid tricks with package managers, if you installed the Ethereum Geth package on Ubuntu or Mint, haha, fuck you, now you can't upgrade your system and no, they're not going to fix it.

    Because they are idiots.

    To solve the problem, first uninstall Ethereum. Yes, the one you are running. As a server. 24/7. Uninstall that.

    Oh, were you trying to use it?  Well, who's the idiot now?


Video of the Day

The beat will continue until morale improves.

Picture of the Day

Just sitting here on the back step...  (@amelicart)

* Also, calm. But definitely clam. I AM NOT REMOVING THAT TYPO FOR ANYTHING.

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Maintenance (Just A Bit)

Had to restart the application container due to a memory leak.  

It looked like an I/O error at first, because the first sign of problems was images refusing to load.  But that was because of the on-demand resizing Minx does, which is fairly memory-intensive.  There are no I/O errors in the server logs or the backup logs, so after a quick restart and some parameter tweaks (and an extra backup, but that's still running) we're back on the air.

Right now the application container  is using 400MB out of the assigned 24GB, so we should be fine while I poke around and find out what happened.  There is only one code change I've made since we moved, but that should use less memory, not more.  Hmm.  Maybe not...

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Friday, August 10


Daily News Stuff 10 August 2018

Tech News

  • A security researcher has found a direct user mode to hypervisor security flaw that gives anyone complete access to the entire system...

    ... If you are running a 2003 Via C3 chip.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Update: Looks like this was an explicitly documented debugging interface that should have been disabled at boot time in any production hardware.  Not a bug on the part of Via, but in some specific BIOS implementations.

  • Samsung has announced the Galaxy Note 9 with bonus "doesn't catch fire" technology.

    It has a Snapdragon 845 running at 2.8GHz, 6GB or 8GB RAM, and 128GB or 512GB of storage.  Screen is 2960x1440 OLED with those annoying curved edges.  (AnandTech)

    My local office doodads store is offering the overpriced 512GB model for the price of the overpriced 128GB model.  The specs are terrific - it's more powerful and has more memory and storage than the older of my two notebooks - but I don't need that in a phone.

    Still, Android Central called it "near-perfect in materials and execution".

    And...  I could get it on a monthly plan with unlimited 4G LTE, potentially faster than my existing ADSL.  Not cheap, but less than I pay for the ADSL plus fixed line phone plus existing mobile.

  • Seagate is playing with multi-actuator disk drives again setting a speed record of 480MB/s, about the same as a budget SATA SSD.  (WCCFTech)

  • GoDaddy accidentally exposed details of 30,000 serviers in a public S3 bucket.  Details like...  Host names and pricing.  If you're going to accidentally leak server details, this is the way to do it.  (Engadget)

  • Julia 1.0 is out.

    But wait, you say, didn't 0.7 come out, like, yesterday?  Indeed it did.  1.0 has some changes that break backward compatibility, so 0.7 was released as a final version with backward compatibility to help developers move forward, and 1.0 is the production version recommended for new code.

  • An interesting paper discusses the features likely to be seen in the next 700 programming languages - from the perspective of 1965.  PDF  (Hacker News)

  • Don't look at that, you'll go blind.

Social Media News

  • I'm back on Twitter after a week-long suspension over the Retarded Goldfish Incident.  Twitter is still full of idiots.

  • Dataturks rates image moderation APIs from Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Clarifai (who?) for false-positive and false-negative results.

    Google got the best results overall, but falsely rated this image of Denise Milani as NSFW.

    Yes, well.  Ms. Milani could be in another room in the dark with the door closed and still trigger a NSFW filter.

  • The Atlantic discusses why the left is so afraid of Jordan Peterson.  A large part of the answer is that social media allowed him to simply bypass all the gatekeepers of culture and information - who are almost exclusively on the left themselves.  (The Atlantic)

Cryptocurrency News

  • That Chinese distributed cancer is still killing the Ethereum network.  (Cryptovest)

    The advantage of a distributed network is that no-one has control.  The disadvantage of a distributed network is that no, seriously, no-one has control.

    It looks like a combination of a Ponzi scheme and a Three-card Monte hustle: Not only is the payout supported by continued payments in rather than intrinsic value, but the payments in and the payments out are mostly shills - bots maintained by the operator of the scam.

    Also, it looks like the code behind it is a copy of a game called FOMO3D, which simulates a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.  Only they've taken the game and made it real.

    One estimate put the running costs of the scam at nearly $300,000 per day, because it has driven up transaction fees for all Ethereum apps, including itself.  This seems...  Dumb.

Glyph of the Day

Is U+2368, APL functional symbol tilde diaresis, also known as the "I think that milk was a bit off this morning" symbol: â¨

Video of the Day

Made in Abyss is strange and lyrically beautiful and sometimes fucking creepy as all hell.

Picture of the Day


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Thursday, August 09


Daily News Stuff 9 August 2018

Tech News

  • Intel's Crimson Cannon Canyon Lake NUCs are available for pre-order.  Wait, no, that's Crimson Canyon Cannon Lake.

    Yeah, pretty sure it's Crimson Canyon Cannon Lake.  Let's go with that.

    Anyway, they come with AMD graphics, which is great, but with only two CPU cores.  Ugh.

    Oh, and the reason they have AMD graphics is the built-in graphics unit on the Cannon Lake chips...  Doesn't work.  (AnandTech)

  • Intel has announced its new server CPU lineup through 2020: Cascade Lake this year, Cooper Lake next year, and Ice Lake in 2020.

    Changes include fixes - Intel just says "mitigations" but AnandTech reports these are hardware fixes - to all those Spectre and Meltdown bugs, support for 16-bit floating point, and a new socket so you have to replace all your servers.  (AnandTech)

    Intel gives you 16-bit floats and bug fixes; AMD is expected to deliver 64 core CPUs.

  • TechCrunch should just get a dog.  (TechCrunch)

  • AMD's 12 core Threadripper 1920X got a price cut to just $249 on Amazon and immediately sold out.  The sold out part is not suprising, since it launched only a year ago at $799.  (WCCFTech)

  • SK Hynix moves from 3D to 4D for its new flash memory chips.  The fourth dimension is, as everyone knows, marketing.  (Tom's Hardware)

    What they're actually doing is stacking the logic parts in 3D as well as the memory cells, which gives a more compact device.  But Intel and Micron have already started doing that, and Samsung is planning the same.

  • Julia 0.7 is out along with a release candidate for 1.0.  Julia is a dynamically compiled language for scientific computation based on multiple dispatch rather than using classes.  The result is very fast and very easy to work with.  I need to see if they have static compilation working yet, because that would be a killer feature for me.  (via Reddit)

Social Media News

  • The Weekly Standard weighs in on the Silencing of Alex Jones with a piece that is self-serving, dishonest, and deeply stupid.  (The Weekly Standard)

  • The Federalist has a slightly different take, realising that free speech doesn't start and end with the First Amendment.  (The Federalist)

  • Democrats really, really want to destroy the internet.  (Axios, hat tip Brickmuppet)
    Much like today, their aim was to undermine Americans' faith in democratic government.
    In order to restore that faith, Senator Mark Warner proposes to massively expand government control over constitutionally protected speech, and bring in a new era of hyper-regulation of social media.

    That will fix the problem right up, just like cremating a patient cures their cancer.

CryptoCurrency News

  • The Ethereum network is being spammed or scammed or something.  Transaction fees are up between 15 and 30 times over typical levels, and the questionable account at the center of it has raked in about $10 million.

    Amateur detectives have pointed their fingers at a Chinese Ponzi scheme online game that is using up half the bandwidth of the Ethereum network and squeezing everyone else out.

    Here's a good chart of what happened to transaction fees.

    It looks like there's a bug in their site, but that's the real story.

    Source: I was preparing to do a demo of our Ethereum integration for our CEO, and the code that was working perfectly on Monday coughed up its spleen and died.

Glyph of the Day

Is U+A66E, the Cyrillic multiocular O: ê™®

Video of the Day

Little Witch Academia TV is very, very good.

Picture of the Day

Just sitting here on the back step...

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