This accidentally fell out of her pocket when I bumped into her. Took me four goes.

Sunday, December 13


Daily News Stuff 12 December 2020

Turtle Shambles Edition

Tech News

  • I've been running Stardock's Start8 and Start10 since two days after I first installed Windows 8, and Fences nearly as long.  Lately I've also been running Multiplicity to share my keyboard and mouse (and clipboard) across machines and Groupy to group windows together.

    All work well and are recommended.  If you do have multiple PCs and need a solution like Multiplicity, I suggest picking up Object Desktop which is a license for all of Stardock's utility software for five systems.

    In theory it's an annual license; in practice the way it works is pretty generous.  Anything you install in the first year not only keeps right on working but keeps getting updated, as far as I can tell, indefinitely.

  • The Corsair MP400: A zoom, followed by a splat.  (AnandTech)

    If you're looking for a cheap NVMe SSD, your choices are DRAMless TLC models or QLC models.  I don't think anyone makes DRAMless QLC drives for reasons that will become apparent in a moment.

    Both of these options work fine for reading data.  They typically have slower, cheaper controllers than high-end drives, but this is 2020 and a slow, cheap controller means speeds over a gigabyte per second.

    On writes, each design has its own problems.  DRAMless designs have inconsistent write latency, running just fine most of the time but occasionally spiking up into territory held by the fastest spinning disks.  QLC on the other hand depends on a large pseudo-SLC cache for write performance, and when that runs out, write speeds drop by as much as 95%.

    The upside is that if the drive is cheap you can buy a huge model with a ton of cache.  If you have a 4TB drive with 1TB of cache you're not likely to run out quickly.  Problem with the MP400 is the larger models cost as much per gigabyte as a high-end TLC drive.

  • An 8TB MP400 gives you about 2TB of high-performance space - about 1.75GB per second - at a cost of $1500.

    The 2TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus gives you 2TB of high-performance space at $400.  (Serve the Home)

    High-performance in this case meaning 7GB per second reads, 4.6GB per second writes.  So if you need serious performance and don't want to fuss around with NVMe RAID, that price is not bad at all.

  • The Hackboard 2 is a tiny Atom based single-board computer.  (Tom's Hardware)

    At $99 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage it's more expensive than the Raspberry Pi ($55 with 4GB RAM and no storage) but on the other hand it can run standard Linux distributions or even Windows.

    The Celeron N4020 is a low-end 6W dual-core part, but single-threaded performance is decent, about 60% of a Ryzen 1700, or 35% of a 5600X.

  • Oracle is following Tesla and HPE and abandoning California for Texas.  (Tech Crunch)

    Like ships leaving a sinking rat.

  • The FDA has given emergency authorisation for the first Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague vaccine.  (Tech Crunch)

    An independent review board unanimously recommended approval earlier this week, so the FDA only required several days and repeated kicking by the president to actually do their jobs.

  • What's four orders of magnitude here and there?  (The Register)

    Well, when it's a cloud hosting bill, that means your free plan costs you $72,000 per day.

  • A new species of whale has been discovered.  (The Vast)

    Whales notably being small and easy to miss.

    They took DNA samples to determine the new whales' place in the whale family tree, though they didn't discuss exactly how.

  • Hey Rocky, watch me pull a Linux distro out of my hat!  (ZDNet)

    Rocky Linux is a new fork of CentOS, created by one of the founders of the CentOS project, and named in memory of another project founder.  In the first 48 hours, 650 contributors have signed up to work on it.

  • Ryzen 5600X servers are starting to show up at hosting providers.  (Webhosting Talk)  Not many of the higher-end Ryzen 5000 models yet.

    The six core 5600X matches Intel's ten core W-1290 in both single and multi-threaded benchmarks.  (Passmark)

  • Risu (of HololiveID) - who I've been watching because my regulars Coco, Haachama, and Pikamee are all on holiday at the moment - streams Minecraft with subtitles enabled, so that she  can keep the audio turned down but still know when a creeper is creeping up on her.  The subtitles are mostly descriptions of sound effects, and produce some curious combinations.

Rabbit Hole Parade Video of the Day

They've added fifteen rabbits to the rabbit hole since this was posted in April.  (Not counting Hololive China, which came and went in that interval.)

Disclaimer: Bat takes off wolf pants.

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Saturday, December 12


Daily News Stuff 11 December 2020

Sow Their Fields With The Tears Of Game Journalists Edition

Tech News

  • A look at the Supermicro X12SAE and Intel's W-1200 workstation platform.  (AnandTech)

    The W-1200 range of CPUs are the workstation versions of Comet Lake - the 10th generation desktop range, with the top of the line W-1290P being a Core i9 10900K.

    In other words, high clock speeds and high power consumption, but good single-threaded performance.  Unfortunately for Intel, the W-1290P barely beats a Ryzen 3700X on mult-threaded server workloads, and that's AMD's, what, seventh or eighth fastest mainstream desktop processor?  And available for half the price of the W-1290P.

  • A look at the Western Digital Black SN850.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The one I just got is the SN750.  The new model brings better latency and bandwidth numbers, support for PCIe 4.0, and about twice the price.

  • The Orange Pi R1 Plus is a simple, cheap single-board computer suitable for firewall / router tasks.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I'd prefer three Ethernet ports rather than just two, but at $20 and just 2" square, you can simply use two of them.  Well, and a DMZ switch.

    Compared to the original R1 it upgrades the RAM from 256M to 1G, and the CPU from a 32-bit A7 to a 64-bit A53.  That's plenty to route even gigabit internet.

  • We can have democracy or we can have Facebook.  (The Ink)

    Facebook doesn't cross my radar screen as much as Twitter and YouTube, but they too are a metastatic cancer and need to be burned out rather than broken up.

  • Need a single-chip 32-port 800Gb Ethernet switch?  (Serve the Home)

    Yes, 25.6Tbps of switching fabric can be yours for the low price of...  Hmm.  Wonder why they left that detail out?

  • Microsoft is planning to start forcing upgrades of Windows 10 1903 and 1909 versions.  (The Redmond Cloud)

    This has happened before, of course.  One of my older computers cannot succesfully upgrade and has bricked itself twice.  Soft-brick - being a PC, you can always reinstall from a current ISO.

    Unlike, say, a 2014 MacBook Pro meeting Bug Sir.

  • Wait, passwords?  (Tech Crunch)
    the music streaming giant said the data exposed "may have included email address, your preferred display name, password, gender, and date of birth only to certain business partners of Spotify.”
    That it was even possible to accidentally share passwords is an enormous red flag.

  • Then they came for Dilbert.

Robot Chicken Video of the Day

Two girls who barely speak each other's language attempt to debug an automated chicken fryer.

While being watched by a terrified sheep.

Disclaimer: There is no sign of intelligent life anywhere.

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Thursday, December 10


Daily News Stuff 10 December 2020

It's Et Tus All The Way Down

Tech News

  • My 11 PM finish last night turned into a 1:30 AM finish, so that was fun.

  • YouTube is banning any video questioning the processes or outcome of the 2020 US election.  (Victory Girls)

    Google's corporate motto: If you're going to be evil, be all the way evil.  No half measures.

  • Turns out every detail of the last story Big Tech buried was true.  (CNBC)

    CNBC now notes that Hunter Biden is being investigated over his taxes.  Because he didn't pay state income tax in Delaware on kickbacks from a Chinese company implicated in the Uyghur genocide.

    And even then spends most of the article whining about Trump's tax returns, when we already know everything that was in those as well.

    Burn them all to the ground.

  • Speaking of burning them all to the ground: The FTC - along with the attorneys generalses of 48 states and territories - is suing to break up Facebook. (Tech Crunch)

    Sow their fields with salt.  Just swing by video game journalists tweeting about Cyberpunk 2077 and you'll find all you could possibly need.

  • SpaceX ran a 95% successful test of their Starship prototype.  (

    That last 5% got a little bumpy though.

  • The CentOS project just committed suicide.  (FOSSPost)

    An opinion piece on yesterday's news of CentOS 8 being thrown in the woodchipper, but a correct opinion piece.

  • Ducks can swim.  (Quanta)
    Imagine a circular fence that encloses one acre of grass. If you tie a goat to the inside of the fence, how long a rope do you need to allow the animal access to exactly half an acre?
    The answer of course is that the goat will eat the rope, then eat all the grass, and then start in on the fence.

    (My brother got tired of mowing the lawn - he has an acre on the outskirts of Melbourne - and got a couple of goats.  Later he got tired of stepping in goat poop, but that's a story for another day.)

  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted that his company had made the correct call in the Timnit Gebru case and vowed to investigate and make sure it never happens again.  (Axios)

    Forget anything I said about "one healthy sign".  Google is fucked.

  • Speaking of which, YouTube will suspend your account, lie about notifiying you, and never once give you a reason.

    Reddit thread.  No love lost here.

    YouTube is working overtime to create an entire generation of antitrust litigators.

You Don't Seem To Understand - Being Broken Up Is The Easy Way

Disclaimer: I'll have you hung, and drawn and quartered, and whipped, and boiled, until...  Until you've had enough.  And then I'll take the little bits, and I'll jump on them.  And I'll carry on jumping on them until I get blisters.

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Wednesday, December 09


Daily News Stuff 9 December 2020

Et Tu Woolworths Edition

Tech News

  • Somehow work managed to schedule my day starting with an 8:30 AM meeting and running right through to a 9 PM site deployment with an 11 PM finish.  So a quick News Stuff tonight, and I'll check on any comments tomorrow.

    Fortunately the deployment actually seems to have worked, because I ain't gonna try to fix it.  (I do have a switch to roll the whole thing back in three seconds flat.)

    Update: Mostly worked.  "Thank you for your feedback.  Please try pressing Shift-F5, or on a Mac, Command-Shift-R, and let us know if that helps."

  • On the other hand, Woolworths lost half my frozen stuff for the third time in four weeks.  The one time there wasn't a bunch of stuff missing, there was a bunch of stuff out of stock, but at least that time they gave me substitutes for most of it.

    On the third hand, these new gluten-free chocolate/chocolate-chip mini muffins are going to be my doom.

  • ASRock has two new graphics cards: One that fits in an M.2 slot (with a cable to the backplate) and one that definitely does not  (Tom's Hardware)

    Whether you want the tiny VGA-only card with 16MB of RAM or the 6900XT with 16GB, pricing is not available at this time.

  • Shuttle has a new barebone system that looks like - and is exactly the size of - a half-height optical drive.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Up to a 10 core Intel CPU, 64GB RAM, one M.2 and one 2.5" drive, HDMI, dual DisplayPort, dual GbE, eight USB ports, and two serial ports.

  • Do not use a message queue as your transactional database.  (Materialize)

    You can get away with the converse, at least on a small scale.  I've done that with Mana - everything - database, cache, message queue, search engine - gets shoved into MySQL, or rather MariaDB, because I don't have time to manage multiple databases for a side project.  Maybe I could put the cache into a memory table.  I should check on that.

  • CentOS 8 is EOL effective December 2021.  (Phoronix)

    CentOS 7 will continue to be supported through 2024.

    I already jumped ship to Ubuntu because CentOS 8 took so damn long to ship, and they're not giving me any reason to regret that decision.

  • Apple's new AirPods Max are...  Headphones.  (

    $549 headphones.

    Available in grey, also grey, blue, green, and pink.

    Includes a volume knob with approximately 97 functions jammed into it.

  • Phoenix Down: YouTube just banned Kiara, one of the HololiveEN girls.  (Reddit)

    750,000 570,000 subscribers?  Don't care.

    Pulling in close to $100k a month in superchats?  Don't care.

    Never had a single strike?  Don't care.

    Nicest person you could imagine short of Ina, who is so sweet she might be made entirely of sugar?  Don't care.

    The Algorithm has spoken.

    She'll most likely be back in a day or two, but honestly, what the fuck are those idiots at Google doing?  FLAG MAJOR CHANNELS FOR HUMAN REVIEW.  YOUR ALGORITHMS ARE SHIT.

    Update: When life gives you chickens, make a fast food franchise.

It Was A Vegan Meatlovers Tweet / Animated GIF With Sound of the Day

Disclaimer: Yes, we have no bananas.  We have no bananas...  Well, actually, we do have bananas, but we left them on the truck.  Again.

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Tuesday, December 08


Daily News Stuff 8 December 2020

Wide Mouthed Frog Edition

Tech News

  • Hynix is launching 176-layer NAND. (AnandTech)

    No indication yet as to whether this is one layer of 176 layers or two layers of 88 layers like Micron. Either way, they will be producing 512Gb TLC flash chips.

  • It's not just you. Nvidia also can't produce enough datacenter GPUs - even at $15,000 each. (Tom's Hardware)

    These are produced at TSMC, so they have problems with both their foundry partners.

  • Microsoft Teams also had a wormable remote execution bug. (GitHub)

    Fixed now, but a single message could invisibly run arbitrary code on the computers of everyone following a given channel - and also send out additional messages to cause further havoc. Escaping from two, possibly three sandboxes in the process.

  • More desktop. (Serve the Home)

    Gigabyte's MZ72-HB0 is a dual Epyc EATX motherboard. Up to 128 cores and 4TB of RAM, five PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, two USB 3 ports, one M.2 slot, and 24 SATA ports - all directly from the CPUs; there's no chipset.

  • My ISP seems to have finally fixed routing to Singapore, bringing ping times down from around 240ms to under 100ms. I'm going to see what that's like with a VPS, because SSDNodes have a datecenter in Singapore but not yet in Sydney, and a larger dev server would be nice.

Walfie GIF of the Day

Let's see if this works...

Disclaimer: Please keep your arms, legs, heads, handbags, ukeleles, and other personal belongings inside the vehicle at all times.

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Monday, December 07


Daily News Stuff 7 December 2020

Timnit Gebru Has Been Surprise Removed Edition

Tech News

  • I mentioned yesterday that one of Google's AI ethicists - a far-left ratbag by the name of Timnit Gebru - had threatened to resign if her demands weren't met, upon which Google said Your proposal is acceptable.

    Ars Technica has an article up on this and while the article itself  tries to paint her in a flattering light the comments come down pretty firmly on the side of If you threaten to quit, expect to be taken at your word.

    Which is a little surprising given the echo chamber nature of Ars Technica's comments.  They're still downvoting en masse anyone who points out that these attitudes are rampant in academia, though.

    Meanwhile Reddit's opinion is that she sounds exhausting to work with.  And that Twitter sucks.

  • The Ryzen 5800X is a great CPU that costs about $50 too much.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Also, you probably won't find one anywhere, though it has been easier to find than the 5900X or 5950X.

  • Elon Musk's grocery delivery service now has more room for refrigerated goods.  (WCCFTech)

    Specifically, Cargo Dragon 2 - which just launched for the first time - is 20% larger overall and has twice the capacity for supplies and equipment that need to maintain a consistent temperature during flight.

  • Broadcast TV via ESP.  (GitHub)

    More specifically, broadcast NTSC colour TV using the serial port on an ESP8266 and a simple length of wire as an antenna.

    This is not just generating the video signal but the carrier in software.  On an embedded controller the size of a grain of rice.

  • The monoliths are multiplying.  (Insider)

    I've read this one.  It doesn't turn out well.

Barlowe's Guide to Hololive
Click the image for the full-size version.  Fair warning, the full-size version is 36 million pixels.

I've been watching Hololive most days for the past two months - I often have it on when I'm working late - and so far I've managed to watch at least part of one stream of about, oh, a third of them.

Right now the two HoloJP girls I watch most - Coco and Haachama, since they speak English in a lot of their streams - are on holiday, so I've been catching up on Risu, who also speaks English most of the time.

And they just added three new HoloID girls that aren't on the list yet, all multilingual.

Disclaimer: To be honest, none of them turn out well.

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Sunday, December 06


Daily News Stuff 6 December 2020

Do Not Eat If Contents Are Pulsating Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Disk 1 has been surprise removed.

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Saturday, December 05


Daily News Stuff 5 December 2020

Lost Squirrel Edition

Tech News

  • New washing machine works great.  Yeah, it can take five hours to wash and dry a full load, so I wouldn't recommend it for a household of more than two people.  But they do have a bigger model - mine is 9kg, and they have a 15kg model that costs around 40% more - if you need to wash a lot of clothes at once.

  • SSDs arrive Monday, yay!

  • Rally - the second of my two Dell Inspiron 27 all-in-ones - dropped dead today with an invalid firmware error.  A very very small invalid firmware error since it was designed to display in VGA and instead it was being shown in 4K without any scaling.

    But a reboot fixed everything, so while I don't know what happened it's all fine now.

  • 8TB consumer SSDs in NVMe and SATA.  (AnandTech)

    These are both QLC models.

    The sequential transfer rates for the SATA drive - Samsung's 870 QVO - are mid-range for a hard drive and just plain bad for an SSD.  The NVMe model, though - a Sabrent Rocket Q - does extremely well, around 2.7GB per second, until it fills up its pseudo-SLC cache.

    Since it has up to 2TB of pseudo-SLC cache, it can take quite a while to see the performance drop off.  If you want 8TB of data in an M.2 slot - like my entire Steam and GOG libraries combined - this would do a good job.

  • My washing machine also plays music.

    The one thing I miss from the old model is a button to remember your favourite wash cycle.  Maybe the mobile app does that.

  • AMD has some interesting mobile stuff coming up, including the overclockable Ryen 5900HX APU and a range of Radeon RX 6000M mobile graphics solutions unless they don't.  (WCCFTech)

    The graphics parts range from 25W to 90W, so they're not just for high-end gaming laptops.

  • Apple has released the second beta of the 11.1 update of MacOS Big Sur to developers probably because they really hate developers.  (Mr Macintosh)

    It's still not available for 2013-2014 MacBook Pros if any of them survived the first release.

Tale of the Tennis Racket Video of the Day

Minecraft is the perfect game for these girls.  Except for the ones who have no sense of direction, which come to think of it is almost all of them.

Lost Squirrel Tour Guide Video of the Day

Risu spends about an hour searching the HoloJP server for brown wool - which is something that occurs naturally - and found every colour except brown, even including Jeb_ the RGB sheep.  But in the process we got a fun tour of the server including a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before.

Disclaimer: Oh, risuners.  I didn't catch that until I heard her say it.  Very clever.

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Friday, December 04


Daily News Stuff 4 December 2020

Hush Edition

Tech News

  • New washing machine arrived safely and has been installed.  It's running the recommended quick-wash-before-use cycle right now.

    It's quieter than my computer.

  • Speaking of which, my SSDs are in Hawaii.  Oops, no they're not, that was this morning.  Now they're in Sydney.

  • One of Micron's fabs in Taiwan experienced a power outage.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The power outage lasted an hour.  The factory should be back online in a couple of days.  But because it takes weeks for a chip to pass through all stages of production, some of them will have been in the middle of a critical stage and will have to be discarded.

  • Intel's upcoming Core i9-11900K is nearly as fast as AMD's sixth-fastest mainstream desktop CPU.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's behind only the 5800X, 3900X and XT, 5900X, 3950X, and 5950X.

  • A Google security researcher created a worm that can steal the contents of any iOS device within WiFi range even if the device's WiFi was turned off.  (ZDNet)

    And then hop from there to any other iOS device in range of the first.  And so on.

    This illustrates the problem with Apple's corporate motto of We know better than you.  You can't actually turn the WiFi off on an iOS device.  You can only humbly suggest to iOS that maybe it would be nice if it didn't use WiFi quite so much.

  • Google has accepted the resignation of one of their AI ethicists.  (VentureBeat)

    Since ethicists generally have as much functional value as a football made of yogurt, they would be well advised not to issue ultimatums (ultimata?) to their employers.

    And if you guessed she was a painfully annoying elitist holier-than-thou CRT-spouting nutcase, you win a Kewpie doll.

    That they seized the opportunity to cut her loose is the first healthy sign I've seen from Google in at least two years.

  • 95 books on retro computer games for $30.  (StoryBundle)

    These aren't books on how to write games, though many of them are books on how games were written, so still of value to a developer.

HoloEN March Video of the Day

One of the HoloEN members recently had the top album on iTunes and Spotify worldwide.  Not this one, though.  But I watched the karaoke stream this was taken from and it was a lot of fun, even if she's not a great singer.

Speaking of which, Calliope just started a Minecraft stream.  I'd just caught up on the English-language Minecraft streams from HoloEN and Pikamee, so this is perfect timing.  Can watch it while I do the laundry.

Disclaimer: There is no escape, not that you'd want to.

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Thursday, December 03


Daily News Stuff 3 December 2020

Botangelion Edition

Tech News

  • Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 888, with the new high-end Arm X1 core.  (AnandTech)

    But it only has one of those cores, supported by three A78 cores and four rather decrepit A55 low-power cores.  It does have an integrated 5G modem, so it looks like that's where they spent the engineering effort.

    Manufactured on Samsung's 5nm process, which is good to see because TSMC's 5nm capacity is sold out.

  • When 10GbE doesn't cut it anymore: The Supermicro AOC-S100GC-i2C.  (Serve the Home)

    This is a basic dual-port 100GbE card.  No on-board FPGA or CPU, no 64GB of embedded RAM, though it does have packet processing to offload some of the work from the CPU.

    Networking is at an odd place in computer hardware.  You can simply plunk down a thousand bucks and get a network card ten (or a hundred) times faster than what you already have.  A card like this maxes out a PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, though, so you can't get that much faster with standard server motherboards.

  • α = 1/137.03599920611  (Quanta)

    But we have no idea why.  It just does.

  • Nvidia cards are in short supply because everything that goes into them is in short supply.  (Tom's Hardware)

    And even if they ordered an increase in wafer production three months ago, and Samsung started work immediately, and the other components are available, it will be another two months before the increased volume reaches store shelves.

  • A teardown of five PS5s found five different fans.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Some people have complained about the noise of the PS5, while others are happy.  Turns out to be something of a lottery.

    There are reports of noisy Xbox Series Xs as well, but those seem to be specifically due to a cable escaping slightly from a clip and hitting the fan blade.  Poking it back into the clip with a screwdriver - which you can do without opening the case - fixes that.  (Microsoft)

    Also in that thread: "My Xbox runs hot when running Call of Duty at 4K 120Hz."

I Don't Really Play Minecraft Video of the Day

The Hololive JP Minecraft server is half Disneyland and half World War III.  I do love how in the second video they're looking for a friend and see a cute doggy in the park - well, a giant lion-sniper anyway - and totally forget what they came there for.

Disclaimer: At night, the ice weasels come.

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