Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you but... honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it's just an ordinary crack, but I know its not cause at night there's voices so... please please can you send someone to fix it? Or a policeman, or...
Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.

Saturday, September 15


Daily News Stuff 15 September 2018

Tech News

  • Index and Railgun have shipped, ETA Wednesday.  This makes for a lot of computers sitting around, so I'm also going to pick up a new 802.11ac router so that all my things can talk to each other.

  • Google fixed that stupid URL-mangling feature.  I updated to the latest Chrome yesterday, and it works properly again.

  • Google being Google, they're also cancelling Inbox and forcing people to switch to an updated version of Gmail instead.  The updated version of Gmail is not good.

  • Intel just fixed another security bug, making it number 1397 for 2018.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • If you're looking at buying a server, say the word "epic" three times in front of a mirror and an Intel sales rep will appear and offer big discounts.  (Serve the Home)

    Alternately, just go ahead and buy AMD and enjoy dealing with one third the number of bugs.

Video of the Day

Well, it is Caturday.

Picture of the Day

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Friday, September 14


Daily News Stuff 14 September 2018

Tech News

  • After waiting nine years for a connection date, then six months for the connection date to arrive, then ten weeks for any updates after the connection date passed unconnected, NBNCo now informs me that there is "work to be done" and it will take another six to twelve months to connect me.

    The connection point is so close that I could stand at my kitchen window and hit it with a medium-sized dog if the wind was right.  Six to twelve months my arse.

  • In happier news, I found the product page for the laptop HP upgraded me to because the one I ordered was out of stock.  (HP have an infinite number of different product codes and it's hard to find the exact details sometimes.  That's how infinity works.)

    It's the top-of-the-line maxed-out version with a 1TB SSD, and I'm getting two of them.  Whee!  And my order has passed out of processing and into production, so it looks like it's all happening this time.  Which is good, because that model is now also out of stock.

    Tomorrow, I'll get hit by a comet.  But that's tomorrow.

  • If you care more about CPU performance and battery life and actually being in stock than display resolution and price the Toshiba Portégé X30T might be just the ticket.  (AnandTech)

    It has a quad-core 8th generation Intel CPU, 13.3" FHD display, and a multiplicity of ports - not just USB-C but full-size USB-A, wired Ethernet, HDMI, and even VGA.  In tablet mode it offers 8 hours of battery life, but the keyboard has its own battery (partly just to balance the weight) giving a total of 14 to 15 hours.

    And it even has PgUp/PgDn/Home/End keys, though the arrangement is a bit haphazard, similar to Lenovo's smaller laptops.

  • Speaking of which, if you're in Australia and looking for a general-purpose laptop, Lenovo has been messing about with pricing on their ThinkPad E family again.  With a quad-core Ryzen 2700U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and 1TB disk drive, the E485 currently works out to A$1374, which is a great price.  If I hadn't just bought Index and Railgun I'd be strongly tempted.

    The closest Intel model is A$1846, which is less attractive.  By about A$472.

  • AMD's second-generation Raven Ridge Ryzen APUs may or may not appear this year, on 12nm or possibly 7nm unless something else happens.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • If someone steals your laptop, they might be able to access information in memory even if it's locked and the drive is encrypted.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is a known problem, and it can even be done with desktops and servers if you are very quick, but it's probably around #4718 on the list of security issues you should worry about.

  • This analysis of Global Foundries' retreat from 7nm says that yes, it's all doom and gloom from here.  (IEEE)

    To which I say: Meh, and double meh.  Dennard scaling failed fifteen years ago, but I'm not about to swap my Ryzen 1700 for a Pentium 4.

  • Glen Cook's latest Black Company novel, Port of Shadows - the first in some years - is out.  I'll just hop on over to Amazon and b-  Shit.

Social Media News

Graphs, You're Doing Them Wrong II

Today's entry comes from Bloomberg, who really should know better.  Look at that mess.  What is it even supposed to mean?

Video of the Day

Comments are disabled for this video.  Because of course they are.

Actually, the worst thing about the Left is their economic policies, which lead inexorably to genocide.  But this is a start.

Picture of the Day

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Post contains 676 words, total size 6 kb.

Thursday, September 13


Daily News Stuff 13 September 2018

Tech News

  • And it looks like HP cancelled my order.  Fuck.

  • HP just called and uncancelled my order and even offered a free upgrade because their online store was showing stock they didn't really have.  Unfuck.

    I'm not certain exactly what I'll be getting, but it will either be a slightly newer model with the same specs, or the 1TB model from the same range, depending on availability.

    So minus five points for inventory management, but plus twenty for customer service.

  • Apple announces the iPhone Max, Max Pro, Pro Max, and Max Max.  And a watch.  (AnandTech)

    "Which is which?  Even we don't know.  Just buy the most expensive one." said an unnamed Apple exec.

    Let me explain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up:

  • Apple also silently deletes movies you've purchased and offers you a free rental in exchange  (TechDirt)

    Trillion.  Dollar.  Company.

  • Someone went out and built a 6502.

    That looks really neat.  There are probably fewer LEDs inside the original.

  • The Ethernet guys are working on 1.6TbE.  

    Based on how long it's taking 10GbE to roll out, this will arrive on desktops shortly after the heat death of the next universe after our own.

  • Google doubled down on stupid but decided against tripling down.  The next patch release for Chrome no longer hides www. and m. in URLs.

  • Nvidia's Tesla T4 is a graphics card for doing anything except graphics.  (Serve the Home)

    It's very fast, and at just 75W, doesn't need a fan.  So if you want a graphics card for not doing graphics, and don't need to ask how much it costs, this is the not graphics card for you.

Social Media News

Busy day, news will follow. Meanwhile, this is particularly stupid.

Video of the Day

Ah yeah, that's the stuf - WAIT, LODOSS WAR TV?!?!  YOU HEATHEN!!!!

Picture of the Day

Hello, Amazon?  I'll take twelve dozen cases.  Thanks.

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Wednesday, September 12


Daily News Stuff 12 September 2018

Tech News

It's a good / bad / ugly kind of day, so let's get to it!

  • Good: That HP Spectre X2 sale for A$1275 (which works out to US$825 plus tax) is still on.  While I was waiting for some funds to arrive (I sold one of my domain names - not one of the mee.* flotilla, another one - for a quite useful amount of money) it came into stock for next-day delivery, went to "hurry, limited stock" and sold out.  But they have more on the way, I just need to wait a couple of weeks.
    Remember me?

    The specs again: Intel Core i7 7560U (2 core / 4 thread, 2.4GHz base, 3.8GHz peak); 16GB LPDDR3 1866MHz RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and a 3000x2000 12.3" display.  Two USB-C ports supporting charging and DisplayPort 1.2 output, but not Thunderbolt; MicroSD; and headphone jack.  Keyboard included in the price but not sure about the pen, though it works with any Windows Ink pen including HP's own and Wacom's Bamboo Ink.  The CPU includes Iris Plus graphics, so double the usual number of graphics cores and a 64MB L4 cache.

    This sale is Australia only, but given that the retail price of the next model down is over A$3000 it's a crazy bargain on a great computer.  It has a couple of limitations: It's dual core rather than quad core, and it doesn't have all-day battery life like, say, a MacBook.  But at about 70% off I don't care one iota.  And it has USB-C charging so you should be able to use an external battery pack.

    I bought two.  Because I'm an idiot.  And because I had some completely unexpected funds come in at exactly the right time.  (Well, almost exactly the right time.  If the funds had cleared two days earlier I would have had these for a week already.)

    And because at this price they're cheaper than buying an Intel NUC.  Or to put it another way, a single Microsoft Surface Pro with half the memory and half the storage costs within $100 of two of these.  And then the Surface keyboard costs extra.  So I was...  Slightly irked when they ran out, and I'm rather pleased that they came back into stock.

    Assuming they don't run out of stock again and I get both and they work as expected, they will be named Index and Railgun.

    Do I actually need two of these?  Nyaa....  Do I want two of these, though?  Hell yes.

    Update: Out of stock again already.  Double extra out of stock, in fact; the store page has been hidden and there's no buy button if you kept the link.  Hope I got my order in in time.

  • AMD announced four new CPUs.  (AnandTech)

    Not much excitement as these are all variants of Ryzen 2, not a new die.  But the 45W 8-core 2700E and 6-core 2600E are interesting.  The 2700E is barely slower than my Ryzen 1700 but at 45W rather than 65W.  Which means that (a) you could see 8 core laptops with sensible power budgets, and (b) AMD could turn out a 90W 16 core part any time they wanted to.  (In fact they have announced exactly that but for embedded servers rather than desktops.)

  • If you have an AMD Threadripper 2990WX Death Metal system and an Nvidia graphics card you probably haven't been too happy lately.  Fortunately, you don't.  Also fortunately Nvidia have fixed their drivers.  (PCPer)

  • Bad: No, Microsoft Edge.  Just no.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Though if Google continue to fuck Chrome up, maybe.

  • Intel's Whisky Lake runs dry.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Well, no surprise if you name it that.

  • Apple invited me to join their live stream.  At 3AM.  Hahahano.

  • Intel's 8 core Coffee Cups are coming.  The fastest chip is expected to beat AMD's 8 core Ryzen CPUs - but also to cost more than AMD's 12 core Threadripper CPUs.  (Reddit)

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Actual news will be along later.  Meanwhile, just run this on repeat.

Picture of the Day

So Nellie the elephant packed her trunk and said goodbyeeeee...

Yes, that's a photo of an elephant falling out of the Wuppertal monorail.  Amazingly, Tuffi (the elephant) survived the fall and lived nearly 40 more years, though she never spoke of this incident ever again.

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Tuesday, September 11


Daily News Stuff 11 September 2018

Tech News

  • Seagate's 14TB BarraCuda Pro disk drives are out.  (AnandTech)

    There's nothing particularly fancy about these, although they're filled with helium so they make amusing squeaky noises.  Oh, and peak transfer rate is over 260MB per second, which is pretty damn fast for a disk drive.

    I still have a couple of 14GB IBM disk drives in my Sun Ultra 5.  (The Ultra 5 only has one 3.5" bay, but it has an empty floppy bay, so...)

  • Nvidia's Jetson Xavier AI computer is available from Arrow Electronics.  (PCPer)

    Dev kit is $2500, so I think I'll stick with not buying Raspberry Pis instead.  (What is the plural of pi anyway?)

  • Intel issued a terse non-denial to rumours it is outsourcing some 14nm production to TSMC.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is a big deal.  TSMC is riding high on being the fab for Apple's iPhone chips, and has the funds to invest in new facilities.  Intel meanwhile is suffering through a four-year delay in getting their 10nm node into production.

  • AMD's Epyc 3000 is the Epyc 7000 series' unregarded little brother.  Serve the Home takes a look at the 8-core 3251.

    Fun fact: That Ryzen desktop chip you're using?  It contains four 10GbE network controllers.  Which you can't use because they're not wired up in Ryzen, but they are in Epyc.

  • Chrome is developed by idiots.  (Bleeping Computer)

    They decided to hide what they call "trivial subdomains" like www and m (for mobile).  But they fucked this up, so that if, for example, you owned, would show up as, with the green padlock SSL security indicator and everything.

    Google fixed that one, but they are doubling down on stupid on the rest of it.

  • Digital Ocean Spaces are now available in San Francisco.

    Too late DO, just got a new hardware server.

  • Speaking of which, our new server naturally has the L1FT bug.  You'd either need a very old server, or an AMD Epyc system, to be free from that on X86.  It means if I want to play it safe I'll either need to disable hyperthreading (losing about 20% performance) or leave the remaining CPanel instances on their own server.  Though KVM might work too, I should check that.

    Also looking at going with native ZFS and RAIDZ rather than the RAID-5 / LVM lashup I have at the moment.

    Also, ZFS offers native comprssion (LZ4 by default) and optional deduplication, as well as the neat snapshots and filesystem replication and such.  InnoDB also supports compression, but last I checked it had a single compression thread making it a bottleneck on write-intensive workloads; on ZFS it's multi-threaded.

    This article examines some ZFS features, comparing performance of RAIDZ, RAIDZ2, and RAIDZ3 (equivalent to RAID-5, RAID-6, and RAID-7) with and without compression.  It's mostly concerned with disk drives but SSDs are also examined.

    I've picked up a couple of books on ZFS as bedtime reading.

    Also want to reinstall so I can do a clean install of LXD 3.4 in place of 3.0.  The ability to do local backups of containers (as opposed to snapshots or migrations) was introduced in 3.1 with the export command; Ubuntu 18.04 ships with 3.0.  I really want to be able to easily take local backups.  The export command is doubly nice because you can export a container complete with snapshots, so you can snapshot hourly and do an off-site backup daily, and if you have a disaster and need to pull the off-site backup and restore to an earlier point in time, you can.

    Update: Now getting 40K random write IOPS with queue depth 16.  I was getting around 18K on RAID-5, so this is a very clear win.  The secret is to tune the record size on each dataset - 4K or 16K for databases, 128K for file and application servers.  The default is 128K, which is fine for most workloads on spinning disks but is much too large for databases on SSDs.

Social Media News

Picture of the Day

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Monday, September 10


Daily News Stuff 10 September 2018

Tech News

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Picture of the Day

* Contents may settle in shipping.  Do not taunt happy fun apple.

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Post contains 194 words, total size 2 kb.

Sunday, September 09


Daily News Stuff 9 September 2018

Tech News

  • I was writing up an introduction to LXC / LXD and ZFS but the formatting got messed up so I've hidden it for the moment.  It will show up later in the week.

  • There is no news.

  • Seriously.  Nothing.

  • Hmm.

  • Stack Exchange does 55TB of traffic a month, has 6.7TB of total data using 23 servers.  That's not all that impressive.  I've managed a 1.5PB search engine.  (Don't ask.)

    But they also note that they maintain 600,000 concurrent websocket connections.  That is significant, and not something I'd want to do on my usual nice clean threaded architecture.

  • This article about web bloat is three years old but things haven't improved.  It points to a news article about web bloat that was 18MB for a single page.  I clocked it at 1.2MB with Adblock enabled, and 22MB without - and page elements were still loading after two minutes.

    Don't go there without Adblock.  Seriously.

  • When Eric S. Raymond says non-discrimination he means non-discrimination, not today's trendy interpretation of discrimination, but only against people I don't like.

    He discusses an open-source project that had changed its license to block use by fifteen major companies.  The project is hosted for free on GitHub because it is open source.  The license change would mean it no longer qualified as such.

    And one of the companies they banned was Microsoft....  Which owns GitHub.

    It looks like the change was reverted after it blew up in their faces.

    It is, incidentally, a project for managing JavaScript projects.  JavaScript is a head injury disguised as a programming language; everyone who works with it for any length of time either starts out or ends up with brain damage.

  • Have a relaxing Sunday and see you all tomorrow.

Picture of the Day

Jane, stop this crazy thing!

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Saturday, September 08


Daily News Stuff 8 September 2018

Tech News

Social Media News

  • "I'm not biased, and I have no agenda" says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to a congressional enquiry and then immediately bans the accounts of Alex Jones and InfoWars for confronting CNN operative Oliver Darcy who has been working tirelessly to get their accounts banned.  (Mashable)

    Franz Kafka eat your heart out.

  • Feeling left out Apple banned the InfoWars app from their App Store after their earlier ban of the InfoWars podcast sent the app rocketing up the charts.  (Axios)

    I smell a lawsuit in the wind, because the App Store is the only way to get apps on to iPhones and iPads, which account for half of all mobile devices in the US.  (Far less overseas, where we're not all rich idiots.)

Picture of the Day

* If you don't adjust for inflation, see article from whenever.

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Friday, September 07


Daily News Stuff 7 September 2018

Tech News

  • Samsung is aiming to have its 3nm process in risk production by 2020Risk production is the first runs of commercially useful chips to come off a new fabrication process; they have more variability and defects than later chips.  (Anandtech)

    Samsung also announced that their ultra-low-power 8nm process will come on line later this year.

  • AMD's beloved Athlon CPUs are back in the form of the Ryzen-based Athlon 200GE.  (PCPer)

    The $55 chip is a 2 core / 4 thread part running at 3.2GHz, with 3 Vega CUs (192 shaders) and a 35W TDP.  That's great for a media center system, but for desktop use (and certainly for gaming) you're better off spending $99 for a 4 core / 8 CU Ryzen 2200G.

  • QNAP's TS-332X NAS is a weird beast.  It has three 3.5" drive bays, three M.2 slots - but SATA only - and three ethernet ports, two 1GBase-T and one 10Gbit SFP+.  (Serve the Home)

    I don't know who it's for, exactly.  The home market isn't running SFP+ cables and the device is far too small for businesses that would.  And it can't use NVMe drives at all - though three SATA SSDs are enough to saturate a 10Gbit link anyway.

  • Chrome 69 is screwing with URLs.  (ZDNet - warning, autoplays video with fucking audio.  Quit that shit, ZDNet.)

    This was a stupid idea when Safari did it, and it's a stupid idea now.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:43 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 244 words, total size 2 kb.


Speaking Of Servers

I cancelled the server I ordered by mistake and the new server is up and running.  It has the same basic specs with two differences: Instead of 8 x 1TB disk drives on the old server (I misread the specs and thought it was SSDs) it has 6 x 2TB SSDs.  Really real SSDs this time; I've tested the array at 300,000 IOPS, the equivalent of 2500 regular 7200 RPM disk drives.

And instead of 200TB of monthly bandwidth, it's 1Gbit unmetered.  Which doesn't actually make much difference, because 200TB is close to saturating 1Gbit outbound and I don't do much inbound traffic.

Oh, and it's software RAID rather than hardware.

Reinstalling it now, configuring RAID-5 and LVM, so I can take consistent snapshots of the entire server without having to worry about managing clean database dumps of MySQL and MongoDB and Elasticsearch and and and...

Then I install KVM and LXC, then I start migrating systems across into their own neat little virtualised containers.

Update 1: Manually configured RAID-1 for boot and RAID-5 for LVM, splotted swap volumes everywhere, and installing Ubuntu 18.04.1 right now.  The auto-install script unhelpfully assigns 100% of the default volume group to / meaning you have no room left to take snapshots.  I hope I got it right, but at least the partitioning is right so it will be a lot easier if I have to reinstall again.

Update 2: The secret is to use the autoinstall to bring up the server quickly, then use fdisk to create your custom partitioning scheme, then use the Ubuntu expert install mode to install on those partitions.  Much much quicker than fiddling about with the partitioning tool in the installer.

Also, don't install to a huge software RAID-5 or 6 array, even on fast SSDs.  It takes at least five times longer than normal because the sync will be running the entire time.  Create a RAID-1 array for the OS and you'll be done that much faster.

Update 3: Whee!  That was so much faster.  Let's see if the network config works this time...

Update 4: Yep, that worked perfectly.

Update 5: Well, I messed that up slightly.  I think I'll just go with LXC here, and leave KVM alone.

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