You know when grown-ups tell you everything's going to be fine, and you think they're probably lying to make you feel better?
Everything's going to be fine.

Thursday, May 14


Daily News Stuff 13 May 2020

The Goats Are Loose Edition

Tech News

  • So the standard commands for managing disk space on LXD (which are overcomplicated but that's an issue for another day) actually do work to update the size of the virtual disk for virtual machines just as they do for containers BUT the virtual machine has a real (virtual) block device with real (virtual) partitions and a real (real) filesystem and the process isn't entirely automated even if you use lxc init and update the settings before first boot.

    It should just take a growpart followed by a resize2fs within the VM, once you've set your disk size the way you want it.  Update: Should and in fact does.

    The Ubuntu 20.04 image uses an ext4 root filesystem, and allocates only 2GB to the filesystem by default (within a 10GB default volume) so you might want to grow that to a reasonable size, then expand the volume itself and allocate the rest to ZFS.

    I'm fine with sticking to ext4 for root and boot volumes for now, but ZFS has so many advantages for everything else that I would never go back.

    Anyway, this means I have Ubuntu 20.04 running in an LXD container under Ubuntu 20.04 in an LXD virtual machine under Ubuntu 20.04.

    Nesting VMs didn't work, but I don't really want to do that anyway.  Containers inside VMs gives me everything I need.

    So, Kurumi is a female character in Ranma (in the OAV story Akane and Her Sisters) and a colour in Japanese and the lead character of another anime series (Steel Angel Kurumi) so that's the name of my first VM and maybe I should relax my naming conventions slightly or I'll have to start naming nested containers after characters from Dragon Pink and Kimikiss Pure Rouge.

  • A look at the dual Epyc motherboard.  (AnandTech)

    Well, not the only dual Epyc motherboard, but the only one available at retail as a separate item in a standard form factor.  All the others are vendor-specific and sold as a bundle with a server chassis.

    If you need to squeeze two huge CPUs, 32 memory slots, and up to seven PCIe x16 slots onto a board, standard board sizes aren't going to cut it.  This one only has 16 memory slots.

  • No place for old servers.  (Wandering Thoughts)

    If everything requires HTTPS then old web servers will, at best, keep going offline when their SSL certificates expire.

    That blog also has some interesting notes on ZFS and Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dell has launched their new XPS 15 and XPS 17 lineup with Intel 10th generation CPUs.  (ZDNet)

    Meanwhile the far superior Ryzen 4000 has been relegated to their cheaper (and also uglier) G3 and G5 ranges.

  • Caddy 2.0 is out.  (GitHub)

    Only problem is that it isn't quite compatible with Caddy 1.0 config files.  I installed it on one of the new servers at work and couldn't get it to behave in the time I had available, so I whacked it and installed 1.0 instead.

    I will return - I really, really want that API for managing live updates.

  • Can AI become conscious?  Yes.  (ACM)

    This question was answered decades ago, and this article doesn't advance the debate one iota.  While not terrible, it probably regresses it very slightly.

Disclaimer: The second cheapest department at any university is mathematics - all they need is paper, pencils, and wastepaper baskets.

The cheapest department is philosophy. They don't need the wastepaper baskets.

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Tuesday, May 12


Daily News Stuff 12 May 2020

Absolutely Nothing Edition

Tech News

  • Absolutely nothing.

  • The Ryzen 4700G has poked its nose above the waterline.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It looks like a fully-configured Ryzen 4000 APU - 8 cores, 8 CUs, 8MB cache.  With a desktop TDP and fast RAM it should be a pretty solid workhorse.  It probably only supports PCIe 3.0, but has the same lane configuration as existing dekstop Ryzens so that's not a huge drawback.

  • The 4900U has also been spotted in benchmark results unless that was swamp gas reflecting off the surface of Venus.  (WCCFTech)

    It's a very minor tweak to the 4800U, though.

  • Meanwhile the Core i9-10900K uses 235W at 4.8GHz and is hot enough to boil molasses in January, as the kids say.  (WCCFTech)

    Using a 240mm all-in-one water cooler it ran at an average temperature of 87C under load.  Higher clock speeds are temperature-controlled - it has to be running at 70C or lower to hit top speed - so that gives you an idea of what you'll need in the way of cooling.

    Liquid nitrogen it is then.

  • I got LXD virtual machines (as opposed to containers) working on Akane III.  It's completely painless to start a virtual machine under LXD 4.0 - you just use the same launch command as you would with a container and add --vm.

    Few differences: By default containers give you full access to the system's resources - though not control over them - and you can set limits on CPU, memory, and disk for individual containers or create profiles to apply the same limits across multiple containers.  And you can change all the settings live.

    Virtual machines start by default with one core, 1GB RAM, and 2GB of disk.  And a very stripped down version of Linux with broken networking.  Which means that you can't install new packages because it can't reach the server where the packages live.

    What I found today was the right sequence of commands with what is available in the minimal install to get networking working:
    ip addr add dev enp5s0
    ip link set enp5s0 up
    ip route add default via dev enp5s0
    echo "nameserver" > /etc/resolv.conf
    None of which will survive a reboot, though you can just stick it in /etc/rc.local as a quick fix.

    I'm not sure which of the three or four network configuration tools is supposed to be active, but none of them actually are, so it probably doesn't matter a whole lot.

    I managed to reconfigure the memory and CPU settings; apart from requiring a reboot that works exactly the same as with containers.  Increasing the disk space, however, didn't work at all.  I suspect that has to be done when you create the VM.

    I plan to run a speed comparison with my Python benchmark to compare running directly on the OS with running in a container (which should perform basically the same) with running in a full virtual machine (which anecdotally can be significantly slower) with running in a container inside a virtual machine.

    That last because it would be the easiest way to migrate this server - the one hosting this blog.  In fact, it is how this server is running right now, though with older virtualisation and container software.

    The new CPU is about 70% faster, and I'd like to see if the new software is also faster.

Anime Music Video of the Day

Chaosprojects hits it out of the park again.

Disclaimer:1200 games in my Steam library and I'm playing Faerie Solitaire Remastered.  They did a pretty good job with the update though.

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Monday, May 11


Daily News Stuff 11 May 2020

Mark V. Chaney Edition

Tech News

Music Video of the Day

I regret nothing!

Disclaimer: Better than boiling carbonated coffee I guess.

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Sunday, May 10


Daily News Stuff 10 May 2020

Bigger Is Better Edition

Tech News

  • Meizu has released the 17 and 17 Pro, the company's first 17" smartphones.  (AnandTech)

    Snapdragon 865, 6.6" 2340x1080 90Hz AMOLED display...  Wait, I've been bamboozled.

    8GB or 12GB RAM, 128GB or 256GB storage, four rear cameras ranging from 5MP to 64MP, 5G, and no headphone jack or, as far as I can tell, microSD card slot.

  • Benchmarks for Intel's discrete graphics solution have leaked unless they haven't.  (WCCFTech)

    The DG1 is "faster than a PS4".

    That puts it at about 40% of a Radeon 5500XT - but about 30% faster than the integrated graphics in a Ryzen 4800U.

  • MIT Press has republished six of Stanislaw Lem's books.  (Medium)

    Lem is most famous for Solaris but in my opinion his best work is The Cyberiad, a whimsical tale of slightly - okay, not so slightly - insane robot inventors.  And by robot inventors I don't mean they invent robots.  Although I think at one point they did do that.

    I will pick up His Master's Voice and Highcastle, both of which were translated by Michael Kandel, who is a goddamn genius at his craft.  Read The Cyberiad, and then pause for a moment and reflect that it was written in Polish.

    Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,
    Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
    Their indices bedecked from one to n,
    Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

    Come, every frustum longs to be a cone,
    And every vector dreams of matrices.
    Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:
    It whispers of a more ergodic zone.

    In Riemann, Hilbert, or in Banach space
    Let superscripts and subscripts go their ways.
    Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,
    We shall encounter, counting, face to face.

  • Speaking of books, I just picked up Paladin's Grace by T. Kingfisher.  If that name seems slightly improbable, you're right.  It's the nom de plume of Ursula Vernon - author of the Hamster Princess series - used when she's writing for an older audience.

    Part fairytale romance, part police procedural, and part courtroom drama, with a dash of murder and palace intrigue.  And dead gods.  And zombie golems.  Worth a look.

    "Don’t mind me, ma’am, I’m a paladin. Just checking your dovecote for rogue perfume weasels, now that your neighbor’s been arrested on suspicion of poisoning a visiting head of state.”

  • C is supposedly the most popular programming language.

    This seems unlikely.

  • Elon Musk says he's leaving Hotel California.

    The crazies at Ars Technica are up in arms.

    Or would be if they believed in them.

Disclaimer: And all things considered it may be a good thing they don't.

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Saturday, May 09


Daily News Stuff 9 May 2020

Like The Monkey Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: And probably even then.

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Friday, May 08


Daily News Stuff 8 May 2020

Reopening Edition

Tech News

  • Went to the shops this evening.  More people around, and they're looking more relaxed.  Toilet paper aisle was fully stocked, albeit with just three selections.

    Got some more gluten-free lamingtons.  Baked beans in ham sauce were out of stock though.

    Apple stores are open again.  (9to5Mac)

    A sign of spring?

    Interesting that there are only 22 Apple Stores in Australia and one of them is within walking distance of my house.

  • Apple, Sonos, and Spotify have gotten into a fight over who offers the worst support to their developers.  (Fortune)

    Popcorn time.

  • Amazon is evil.  (The Guardian)

    I mean, it's The Guardian, so take it with a pinch of salt, but Amazon appears to have put it in writing, which is never a good idea.

  • USB 4 could make DisplayPort obsolete with its new alt mode which is, um, DisplayPort.  (Tech Report)

    So DisplayPort is obsolete, to be replaced by DisplayPort.

  • Thanks to AMD, $120 is the new $350.  (AnandTech)

    All the tech reviewers are gushing over the $120 Ryzen 3300X and to a lesser degree also the Ryzen 3100.

    They're both 4 core / 8 thread Zen 2 parts with 16MB of L3 cache.  The 3300X is clocked a little higher, but the real distinction is that the 3100 has two active CCXs with two cores each, where the 3300X has one CCX with four cores.

    On some tasks this makes the 3300X 26% faster than the 3100, much more than can be explained by the clock speed difference.  Having all the cores together in one CCS significantly reduces cache latency.

    And the reason that matters is that Zen 3 will increase the CCX to 8 cores, so mainstream 6 and 8 core desktops could see a similar performance jump.

  • You'll need a new motherboard though unless you won't.  (WCCFTech)

    Not because older chipsets won't be compatible with the new CPUs, but because older motherboards don't have enough room in their ROMs for the necessary BIOS updates.

    X570 and B550 will officially support Zen 3, and there will be 600-series chipsets.  Anything older and you're probably on your own.

  • The original cookie specification was GDRP compliant.  (Baekdal)

    Third-party cookies were simply forbidden.  That....  Changed.

Video of the Day

This is a very satisfying video.  Louis repairs a MacBook that has had a capacitor literally explode, damaging the motherboard and causing a short circuit.  Because of the way MacBooks are made, this meant that it was impossible to recover the data from it.

Was.  Past tense.

Disclaimer: Changed quite a lot.

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Thursday, May 07


Daily News Stuff 7 May 2020

Weebles Do Fall Down If You Get Them Drunk Enough Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Or just stop funding NASA and hand it over to Elon Musk.  That works too.

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Wednesday, May 06


Daily News Stuff 6 May 2020

Good Morning Shoppers Edition

Tech News

  • IOFlood also has a great server deal.  You'd think a dual 10-core Xeon system would have better performance than a single 8-core Ryzen...  Oh, it does?  Not by a lot though. 

    (That second link compares a single CPU, where the IOFlood system has two.  For good measure I threw in the Ryzen 4700U as found in that $649 Acer laptop.  That's also faster than a 10-core Xeon from seven years ago.  It keeps up fairly well with the 3700X given that it has a quarter of the power budget and also a quarter of the cache.)

    If I hadn't already got the Ryzen I would have been quite happy with that Xeon system.

  • Adult site CAM4 leaked 7tb of user data.  (Wired)

    Can you spell Elasticsearch?

    Elasticsearch has what is known as the "ELK" stack - Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana - for ingesting and analysing all of your application logs.

    Application logs usually contain private user details from debugging messages that escaped to production.

    Elasticsearch has, by default, no password protection, so if you connect it to the internet everyone has access to everything.

    Not a good combination.  But at least now it has the option of adding a password. Another ten years and it might insist on it.

  • Microprose is back!  (Hot Hardware)

    Yes, they're planning on remastering some of their classic games, but they're kicking things off with three new ones: Task Force Admiral and Sea Power, two modern naval combat games with realistic 3D graphics, and Second Front, a WWII boardgame brought to life.

  • Twitter says, and I quote, fuck all you fucking fucks and the fucking horse you fucking rode in on.  (Tech Crunch)

    This will go down as history's worst idea after Bill de Blasio's Stasi Hotline.

  • Wait 30 seconds then delete all my files.

    Or, do not edit a running shell script.  Not ever.

    I knew this, but because long ago I guessed what would happen and tried it out.  Never been burned by this particular gotcha.

  • Text rendering hates you.  (GitHub)

    Sixbit or bust.

  • Text editing hates you too.  (

    Sixbit 80x24.

  • WinUI is Microsoft's new new new new new new new new new universal UI toolkit for Windows.  (GitHub)

    Just ignore all the burned out tanks littering the last hundred miles of highway.  This is the one.

  • Intel has a new Xeon W 1200 family.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This looks like the workstation versions of the recently announced Comet Lake chips - that is, the exact same chips with ECC enabled and desktop chipset compatibility disabled.

    Or there's Ryzen, which is cheaper, uses less power, has more cache, and just works.

Disclaimer: Gentlemen, start your bunnies.

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Social Progress

Me: Fails to launch competing social network on time, yet again.

Twitter: Reloads, aims at feet, empties magazine.

Me: Okay then.  I have a new server and have licensed a new design.  See below for some sample screenshots.  July, maybe?


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Tuesday, May 05


Daily News Stuff 5 May 2020

Celebrating The Mexican Victory Over French Forces At Puebla Edition

Tech News

  • Why is there no man page for LXD?  The lxc and lxd commands have help options, but that's it.  Want to know the valid options for --compression on lxc export?  Haha fuck you.  Want to know anything at all about lxc network?  See above.

  • The Acer Swift 3 SF314 is a Ryzen 4000U laptop.  (AnandTech)

    Specifically the 4500U and 4700U, though if the pricing given in the review is correct you'd have to be nuts to buy the 4500U.  Update: The pricing matches that on Acer's online store.  Don't buy the 4500U model.

    For $649 you get an eight-core CPU, Vega 7 graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 14" 1080p IPS screen, weighing 1.2kg.  No Thunderbolt but it does have USB-C with power delivery and DisplayPort out, and separate USB-A and HDMI, and a traditional charging port.

    It has dedicated PgUp and PgDn keys but not Home and End.

  • Oh and there's a new 13" MacBook Pro.  (AnandTech)

  • Why does the 2TB model cost three times as much as the 1TB model?  (Tom's Hardware)

    Oh, right.  Patriot P300, budget M.2 NVMe SSD.

  • Backblaze B2 is now S3 compatible.  (Backblaze)

    It originally had a more complicated API that was harder to use but cheaper for Backblaze to deploy.  Now it's directly compatible with S3 and thus with everything else.

    For $5 per terabyte per month, and $10 per terabyte for transfers out.  The competition charges up to 12 times as much for bandwidth.  (Though transfers in are free for all of them.)

  • Julia 1.5 can capture Heisenbugs.  (JuliaLang)

    But not recursive Heisenbugs.  The new bug reporter can capture bugs on a user's system and reproduce them on the developer's machine, no matter what the underlying cause of the bug is, unless the bug stops happening when you turn on the bug reporter.

  • It may now be cheaper to shoot space scenes in space than to do them in CGI.  (Deadline)

  • Apple's T2 security chip prevents MacBooks from being refurbished.  (Vice)

    Without the password, you're left with $12 worth of scrap.

Disclaimer: Okay, $12 and a dead raccoon, but that's my best offer.

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