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

Wednesday, October 21


Daily News Stuff 21 October 2020

Osiris Rex Edition

Tech News

  • TrueNAS 12 is out.  (Serve the Home)

    With this release there is no more FreeNAS; in its place is TrueNAS Core.  I'm not sure if there are any differences in the platform at all; I think it's just a branding change, because FreeNAS and TrueNAS sounded like two different and competing products.

Tom Lehrer Music Video - Well, Music Still Photo Anyway - of the Day

Disclaimer: Well, I thought so.

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Uh Oh

CBS News is now doing straight reporting on the totally not a story Russian disinformation I don't need to deny it smear campaign.

It's not much, but the dam has cracked.

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Tuesday, October 20


Daily News Stuff 20 October 2020

Advance Warning Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Well, poop.

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Monday, October 19


Daily News Stuff 19 October 2020

Why Can't They Both Lose Edition

Tech News

  • New Spare Laptop has been deployed and is currently installing six months worth of software updates.

    Update: Where did all my disk space go?  Wait, VirtualBox is using how much?  Well, those can all go for a start.

    Update 2: Oh joy, a Windows Update boot loop.

    Update 3: Okay, Windows is updated now.  But it turns out that this laptop won't charge either.  Runs fine plugged in until you do something that draws extra current like, oh, running Idle Champions, at which point it drops dead.

    Update 4: That might be a software issue.  (CNet)

    But I'll have to open up the laptop and disconnect the battery to fix it.  Ugh.

    Hmm.  At some point I reinstalled Windows on this system and scrubbed it of all the Dell-specific drivers and stuff.  Might be worth reinstalling those.

    Update 5: BIOS reports the battery is fine, so it is a driver issue.  Well, that can be fixed, one way or another.

    Update 6: "This battery charging is temporarily disable."

    Update 7: There's apparently a workaround using advanced charging schedules.  Why they even exist I don't know, but worth a shot.

    Update 8: Nope.  Time to buy a new battery from some random seller on Amazon, I guess.  I can choose from Ding brand or Binger, or Amanda, or....  The reviews say remove your battery, leave it for two minutes, then try again.  Well, worth a shot.

  • The Bolsheviks at Google and Facebook are engaged in a war with the Mensheviks at the ABC.  (The Guardian)

    (Australia's ABC, that is.)

    The ACCC has mandated that social networks pay news organisations for the right to link to them.  Google and Facebook have said they will simply disable the ability to link to news articles.

    The ABC says that hey, it could run a social network.

    The only upside to the nightmare that would be a government-run social network is that it would collapse instantly because the ABC couldn't manage a piss-up in a brewery.

  • Down the rabbit hole: I'm a paid member of Amelia Watson's channel now.  On the other hand, it works out to something like ten cents per hour of entertainment given how much she streams.

    I don't often get to catch the live streams because I'm usually working on something at the same time and need to be able to pause, and they don't allow that on their livestreams.

    I've watched a couple of dozen hours of Hololive and politics hasn't been mentioned even once.  It's infinitely better value than Netflix for that reason alone.

  • The Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module is a Raspberry Pi 4 compute module.  (Tom's Hardware)

    They've dropped the SO-DIMM form factor for some reason.  That's a shame - it breaks backwards compatibility with early compute modules and replaces a standard connector with a custom one.

    On the upside, it has one PCIe 2.0 lane.

  • Asus looks to be preparing an Intel laptop with Intel graphics.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Nobody knows why, but the answer is probably spelled "money".

  • AMD skipped Ryzen 4000 on the desktop because the numbering had become confusing.  And then: The Ryzen 5600U and 5800U will be Zen 3; the 5500U and 5700U will be Zen 2 unless they won't.  (WCCFTech)

    This will still be a significant upgrade, because the 5700U will be 8 cores / 16 threads, where the 4700U is 8 cores / 8 threads.  So each model should be 20-25% faster than its predecessor.

  • There will be four editions of the Radeon 6900 unless there are five, or three, or some other number.  (WCCFTech)

    Rumours suggest a 6900 XE (or XLE), a 6900 XL, a 6900 XT, and a 6900 XTX, ranging from 64 to 80 cores.

    We'll know soon - AMD's Radeon event is on the 28th.

  • The Arm64 memory architecture supports address tagging.  (LWN)

    I didn't know that.  Since nobody actually had 16 exabytes of RAM, the architecture only uses 48 bits for physical addresses, and four bits of the virtual address can be used as a data type field.

  • Do not drink the cursed Elixir.  (GitHub)

  • Unlocking God Mode in Windows 10.  (Bleeping Computer)

    You just need 64 blocks of Crying Obsidian and two Diamond Anvils.

    Or, alternately, log in with admin privileges and create a folder named GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}.

    It will give you a version of the Control Panel with every single configuration and management option available.

Google Supports Pedophiles Video of the Day

The appeals system at YouTube, as multiple YouTubers have demonstrated, and at Twitter, as I know from personal experience, are designed solely to prevent lawsuits and not to provide any actual channel of communication.

Oh, look, I need to unlock my Twitter account again.  For...  Pushing back against QAnon?

Disclaimer: Some men just want to watch the world burn, and when it comes to social media I'm increasingly in agreement.

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Sunday, October 18


Daily News Stuff 18 October 2020

Waker, Sleep Edition

Tech News

  • It's definitely a loose connection.  Spare Laptop charged to 57% after being left alone for a while.  I used it for half an hour, then switched the settings so that closing the lid would put it into sleep mode, and left to do other things.

    Came back and it was dead as a doornail.

    Three hours later I poked it again, and it booted up and showed that it was at 86%, but not charging.  Fiddled with the power connecter and it started charging again.

    Okay.  Still replacing you, though, Spare Laptop.

  • My 1.2TB of microSD cards arrived, so I can populate my mobile devices, for when I go out, which I don't do, or into the office, which I also don't do.

    Update: Old Spare Laptop and New Spare Laptop both already have 200GB cards as it turns out.  So one of these goes in Index, one in Railgun, and the other one I'll keep for my next phone - I'll probably get an Oppo A52 or A91.

  • The New York Post's Twitter account is still locked.  (Fox Business)

    Twitter is apparently insisting that the Post delete several tweets.  The Post is, understandingly, telling Twitter to go fuck itself with a piledriver and twelve feet of curare-tipped wrought-iron fence and no lubricant.

  • I am shocked, shocked, to find partisan corruption going on in this social network.

  • Nobody knows what this is.  (AliExpress)

    Well, everyone knows what it says it is - a small motherboard with an embedded AMD A9-9820 CPU.  Only problem is that AMD never produced an A9-9820.  (ExtremeTech)

    Speculation is that these are failed Xbox One S dies.  At $125 just for the board, most people would be better off getting the new and far more powerful Xbox Series S, but it is a curiosity.  Other Linus mentioned that he had already ordered one for testing.

  • The Argon One M.2 gets more out of your Raspberry Pi 4.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's a bit larger than the average Raspberry Pi case, but it does add a fan, full size HDMI ports, and a (SATA) M.2 slot.

  • Building a new PC and want something faster than Gigabit Ethernet?  The Inventec SmartNIC C5020X has dual 50GbE ports.  (Serve the Home)

    And an FPGA, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Xeon-D processor.

    That should do the trick.

  • There are no signs at all that this will become a gigantic clusterfuck.  (

    Twenty-five European governments have pledged a total of €10 billion to build an alternative to AWS.

    I'll get the popcorn.

  • Friends don't let friends use Node.  (ZDNet)

    Just the latest list of malware that had been sitting in NPM undetected for (checks notes) two years.

  • Bay Area politicians are panicking over a recent suggestion that tech workers be required to work from home three days a week.  (MSN)

    The problem, they suggest, is that if required to work from home, the workers could just as easily work from home somewhere that isn't an overpriced overtaxed socialist shithole.

    They are right.

Disclaimer: For once.

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Saturday, October 17


Daily News Stuff 17 October 2020

October Surprise Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: If you type <?a> instead of </a> your entire blog might disappear.  Not here, though.  A certain other blog.

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Daily News Stuff 16 October 2020

Party Like It's 1985 Edition

Tech News

  • Twitter fell down.  (Tech Crunch)

  • So did Slack.  (Slack)

    Slack is still a thing, right?

  • Twitter and Facebook crossed a line.  (The Intercept)

    Glenn Greenwald - yes, that Glenn Greenwald - writes a thorough, incisive, and scathing analysis of the Orwellian events of the last 48 hours.

    Also this:

  • Matt Taibbi - another lefty journalist who can actually report straight news some of the time - shuts down a Huntergate Truther:

  • Twitter announced changes to its "hacked materials" policy after realising they'd just banned journalism.

  • Nim 1.4 is out.  (Nim-lang)

    Looks like mostly improvements to the standard library, plus a new garbage collector that handles circular references properly.

  • A look a the Crucial P5 SSD.  (Serve the Home)

    This is a mid-range TLC PCIe 3.0 device, which in 2020 means that it can transfer 3.4GB per second.  That puts it about 40% ahead of the WD Blue SN550, but on the other hand it's 50% more expensive.

  • Looks like Spare Laptop has a loose connection somewhere in the power circuit; it charges about 1% per hour if I'm lucky.

    Everything is backed up now, since it has soldered-in storage and if it stops charging completely there is no way for me to recover it.  Not that it had much on it - it has just 64GB of internal storage and I have a 64TB Synology farm in the spare bedroom.

    Looks like it will be getting an upgrade this weekend - from an old-model Atom with 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 1366x768 TN display, to a Core i5, dedicated Radeon graphics, 16GB RAM, 4GB VRAM, 1TB of SSD, and a 4k IPS touchscreen.

    Which just happen to be the precise specs of my work laptop.  Since I work entirely from home now, and I have the HP Spectre for when we do start having in-person sessions again, I might as well use the hardware I already have.

    I did have other laptops still working, and with better specs than Spare Laptop, but I handed them down to my nephews.

    Only catch - Spare Laptop had the Four Essential keys.  Work Laptop, which cost me roughly six times as much, does not.

  • Networking is the one odd corner of computing where you can simply plunk down cash and buy speed.  (Serve the Home)

    Gigabit Ethernet is still the standard for end users, but if you want a four port 100GbE card, they are readily available.

    This Silcom SnartNIC is probably not the cheapest option, since it also includes a high-end Stratix 10 DX FPGA, 8GB of HBM RAM, and 32GB of DDR4.

  • Amazon Women With iPhones on the Moon.  (UPI)

    NASA has awarded Nokia a contract to provide cell phone service on the Moon.

  • It is, after all, the 21st century.  (BBC News)

    This is the second time recently that a person has been spotted flying a jetpack at an altitude of a mile over Los Angeles.

Disclaimer: Which seems like a safe minimum distance.

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Thursday, October 15


Daily News Stuff 15 October 2020

Bright Cold Day In April Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: This one goes up to 1985.  It's one oppressiver.

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Wednesday, October 14


Daily News Stuff 14 October 2020

Prime Time Edition

Tech News

  • Well, I guess I have Amazon Prime now.  The only thing I bought was three of those 400GB Sandisk microSD cards.  Come to think of it, that's basically all I ever buy during these big Amazon sales.

    I would still like to get some of Sandisk's 1TB microSD cards, to pair with the 1TB SSDs in my two laptops, but they still cost a fortune. The 400GB model at $60 is far better value.

    They did have a sale on the Western Digital Blue SN550 1TB model, but it was only about 10% off and shipped from Amazon UK, so I passed on that.

  • I really wanted the 2TB model, but I couldn't find any sales on that one.

    Turns out that's because there is no Western Digital Blue SN550 2TB model.  What I was looking at before was the older Western Digital Blue, which was an M.2 SATA drive.  Which would probably work fine but I'm going to pass on that too.

  • I looked at some phones as well, but there weren't any amazing specials to be had.  The Oppo A52 looked good, but when I checked it was basically at retail price.

  • Apple announced the iPhone 12, now available in sizes.  (AnandTech)

    All four of the new models now has at least a 1080p screen.  Since Apple has been retinising everything for years, it surprised me that this was supposed to be new, but I checked and the regular iPhone 11 had a display resolution of 1792x828.

  • A full review of the Surface Laptop Go.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Quick precis: Meh.

  • Krita 4.4 is out.  (Krita)

    I saw the announcement and realised that I once knew what Krita was but that knowledge had gone to Tumbolia.  So I checked and it's an open source paint program for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

  • PC sales rose 8% in Q3.  (

    People keep saying that you can do everything you need on an iPad or even a phone, but those people don't have jobs.  When work-from-home kicked in and people needed to work from home, they bought PCs.

  • Speaking of imaginary early 80's computers, I previously said that there was no way to feed pixel data from the cartridge port to the video processor fast enough to put a graphics upgrade into a cartridge.

    I was wrong.

    I was looking at this because some NES and SNES cartridges had hardware on them - not just ROM chips - to provide new game features, and wanted to make that possible in the emulator.

    Now, the hardware as specified can't write a video stream to RAM in real time, but if we allow for the shared memory bus to be configured as a streaming pixel input, it can work as just another playfield that appears out of nowhere, and the graphics from the regular video controller can be an overlay or a backdrop to whatever the cartridge is doing.

    That would even (in theory) extend to a second-generation graphics card with faster nibble-mode memory.

    All it needs is one or two more of those 74LS861 bus transceivers to isolate the CPU with shared memory, where before I had only specified them to isolate the CPU from shared memory.  (One or two depending on whether we need the cartridge hardware to be able to drive the address bus as well.)

    I originally considered adding a dedicated pixel port to the imaginary video chip, but that felt like I was adding too much stuff in.  This version has appropriate tradeoffs; while the video controller is receiving the pixel stream from the cartridge, it is unable to access shared memory at all.

  • Let's see what's on Prime Video.  Movies we think you'll like....  Those are all garbage, Amazon.  TV....  Well, you have all twelve seasons of Bones.  That might be worth a look.  And all one season of The Dresden Files.

    How about anime?  Uh.  Okay, that's clearly a question I should not have asked.  The list is short and mostly third-rate, though they have The Great Passage which I rather like and no-one watched.

  • Netflix is run by morons.  (Wired)

    "Second-order effects?  What are those?"

    It's the Google Graveyard of television.

  • There are basically no good laptops under A$1000.  There are plenty of laptops under A$1000, but they all have major issues - either they're crippled with Atom processors and soldered-in memory and storage, or they have 720p TN displays.

    My current spare laptop ticks all those boxes with regards to flaws, but I paid about A$230 for it so I don't care too much.  Except when I want to run Idle Champions on it and it gets overloaded to a point that the trackpad stops working.  (It's an Atom, and not one of the good Atoms.  Technetium or something problematic like that.)

    This Acer Aspire A5 appears to be an exception.  (AmazonAU)

    It's not all that cheap, and it's last year's Ryzen and the low-end model at that, but it is still a Ryzen.  1080p IPS display, check.  Upgradeable memory and storage, check.  It includes 128GB of NVMe storage and an empty 2.5" bay, and one 4GB DIMM installed, meaning you can upgrade it without throwing anything away, which is great when you already have spare memory modules and 2.5" drives just lying around.

    HDMI, USB 3, wired Ethernet, micro....  No microSD?  Poo.

    The current model is better in almost every way - it has a Ryzen 4700U, close to the top of the line, 8GB RAM, 512GB of NVMe SSD - but it also costs twice as much.  Which isn't ideal when your list of requirements is basically "1080p and can run Idle Champions without freezing up".

  • Apropos of nothing, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is really, really badly optimised.  The gameplay shouldn't overstress a C64.

Torchlight 3 Trailer Videos of the Day

This one had fallen off my radar.  After the runaway success of Torchlight 1 and 2, the creators decided to build an MMO and a mobile game rather than enjoy rolling in the cash that Torchlight 3 was guaranteed to bring.

Their plans for those games....  Did not go according to, um, plan.

So they took what they'd built and reworked it and now it's Torchlight 3.  While this is not unwelcome, the reviews are - let's just say mixed - and the price is higher than the previous instalments too.

Disclaimer: 1.2TB of microSD storage should be enough for anybody.

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Tuesday, October 13


Daily News Stuff 13 October 2020

Hanlon's Razor Edition

Tech News

  • Clarke's Corollary to Hanlon's Razor: Any sufficiently profound stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

  • Affordable faster-than-1Gb-networking.  (Tom's Hardware)

    And by faster than 1Gb I mean a five-port 2.5Gb switch from Qnap for $109.

    10GBASE-T came out in 2006 and we're still waiting for it to become afordable.

  • There's a Ryzen 5600 on its way unless there isn't but I think this one's a pretty safe bet.  (WCCFTech)

    The Ryzen 5000 launch focused on the mid-range and high end, from the 5600X at $299 to the 5950X at $799.    The six-core 5600 non-X is expected early next year at around $220.

  • Benchmarking the Xeon W-1290P.  (Serve the Home)

    This is the exact one I was looking at, that turned out not much faster - at least on multi-threaded workloads - than a 3700X.

  • A new Amiga for 2021?  (Vintage is the New Old)

    If it supports the AGA chipset an HDMI, I'll buy one.

  • The serverless revolution has stalled.  (InfoQ)

    Because it was only ever a niche platform, marketed mostly by complete bullshit.

    "I don't need a server!  I can just run functions on demand and store data in a managed database."

    (Checks managed database pricing.)


Disclaimer: When in trouble or doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

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