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.

Sunday, June 21


Daily News Stuff 20 June 2020

Well Fuck Edition

Tech News

  • Smilies and some scripts for were hosted on that server what just died.  So pages were taking 30 seconds to load not because this server was slow but because some elements were loading from a server that no longer existed.

    That is mostly fixed now.  I need to go back and poke it again to enable HTTPS.

  • Free Pascal 3.2 is out.  (Free Pascal)

    Okay, sure, Crystal is the hot new thing, but Free Pascal runs on not just Linux and Mac and Windows, but everything from the Game Boy Advance to AIX.

  • Having failed to create black holes and destroy the Earth, CERN wants $24 billion to try again.  (Nature)

    I say, go for it.

Disclaimer: Blah.

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Saturday, June 20


Daily Server Failure Stuff 20 June 2020

Ace of Spades is down - the boot drive seems to have suffered a sudden total existence failure.  All the data is intact, I just can't get to it.

Currently restoring yesterday's backup onto the new server.  Since that's (a) 4x faster, (b) has a huge enterprise SSD, and (c) is already set up with virtualisation, it's easier than fussing with the old server.

Once that's done I'll get tech support to swap that boot drive and recover the last 24 hours of content.

Update: And it's back.  Will leave the recovery of yesterday's stuff for tomorrow.

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Friday, June 19


Daily News Stuff 19 June 2020

Meet The New Normal Edition

Tech News

  • Went out to the shops this evening.  If I had slept through the last three months somehow, I mightn't have noticed anything amiss.  Restaurants are open, entire families are wandering around the shopping mall.  Very few people wearing masks, certainly no more than this time of year anyway, since we're into flu season.

    Everything I wanted to get was in stock, even Heinz Beanz in Ham Sauce, which disappeared off the face of the Earth three months ago.  They're made in New Zealand, which shut down pretty much completely.  I had a stockpile because they went on sale at half price just before the entire planet went to Hell.

  • A big roundup of AMD B550 motherboards.  (AnandTech)

    Some of these can be had for a pretty reasonable price - I noticed one Gigabyte board available locally for $169.  Adjusting for sales tax and our present abominable exchange rate, that would be under US$100, for a decent basic board.

    PCIe 4.0 x16, PCIe 3.0 x4 in a x16 slot, one M.2 4.0 x 4, one M.2 3.0 x2, four DIMM slots - up to 128GB of RAM with ECC support, four SATA ports.

    We've reached the point where a cheap - not budget, but cheap - motherboard's worst flaw is "oh no, my secondary SSD is capped at 2GB per second".

  • Content moderation at scale is impossible.  (TechDirt)

    Well, that's TechDirt's mantra, anyway.  In fact, it's not impossible at all; we've been doing just fine for most of the past five thousand years.

    It is impossible if you hire morons to do it.  But everything becomes impossible if you hire morons to do it.

  • Case in point.  (The Hill)

    It's a fucking triangle, you retards.

  • Twitter doesn't have a team dedicated to accessibility.  (Tech Crunch)

    No shit.  You just noticed that?  Their vaunted site redesign is an unmitigated clusterfuck and they aren't even attempting to fix it.  It will scroll your feed while you are typing.

  • Go+ is Go that sucks less.  (GitHub)

    It's still Go, so it still sucks, of course.

    And it's focused on data science rather than Google's day-to-day business needs, so it's basically hipster Fortran instead of hipster Cobol.

  • Remember those 106 Chrome extensions Google removed for stealing user data?

    Google done fucked up.  (Medium)

    Not only did they remove an accessiblity extension with paying customers, they are offering less than zero support for the developers' efforts to get it back on line.

  • Mozilla VPN is now not available.  (Phoronix)

    Servers in 30 countries.  Available only in the US.  Sign up for the waitlist now.

    Three of these things are not like the others...

  • Dammit guys you stole my line.  (ZDNet)

    Google has announced Keen, a Pinterest clone.
    Google has not yet announced when it plans to shut the service down.

  • Twitter thinks its users are morons.

    If you view that tweet on Twitter it will come with a Manipulated media warning, when the entire point of the video is to call out media manipulation.

Disclaimer: It's my website and I'll swear if I want to...

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Daily News Stuff 18 June 2020

Tanglefoot Burrbriar Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: The vodka is excellent but the steak has gone off.

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Thursday, June 18


Daily News Stuff 17 June 2020

Lyin' Eyes Edition

Tech News

  • Google threatened to wipe The Federalist off the map at the behest of NBC News' department of wiping conservative sites off the map, because they criticised NBS News for lying constantly about everything.

    Translation: And now there is no comments section, and they will be granted a short reprieve.

    This isn't a case of anti-conservative bias though.  (TechDirt)

    This is because there is no such thing as anti-conservative bias.  The wilful and deliberate destruction of conservative commenters and conservative websites is purely a coincidence, just a side-effect of what is really going on, which is a an Orwellian attack on freedom of thought.

    Once they've wiped out the conservatives they will come for the liberals.

  • Google put The Federalist on notice for racist content.  (Tech Crunch)

    What racist content?

    The article doesn't say, but cites an NBC News report that also doesn't say, but which cites a British group calling itself the Center for Countering Digital Hate...  Which appears to be one person on Twitter.

  • 80% of Americans don't trust social networks to moderate content.  (CNet)

    The only thing they trust even less is the government.

    So far, so good.  The study on which the article is based (PDF) is titled Free Expression, Harmful Speech and Censorship in a Digital World which is a warning sign in itself.

    Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) favor allowing people to express their views on social media, including views that are offensive, over restricting what people can say on social media based on societal norms or standards of what is fair or appropriate (35%).
    All of the major social networks restrict speech even beyond societal norms.  All of them.  And restrict speech on other sites too.

    Only 47% of Democrats and 24% of Republicans support restricting speech online, partly perhaps out of principle, but mostly because people known damn well whose speech is being restricted.

    Not surprisingly:
    Levels of trust in social media companies to make the right decisions about what people can say or post on their websites and apps are low, with more than 8 in 10 Americans saying they trust the companies "not much” (44%) or "not at all” (40%).

  • GitHub was never fun.  (Jared Palmer)

    And any JavaScript project that is trending is a warning sign.

  • Bootstrap 5 is on its way to break everything.  (Get Bootstrap)


  • Russia has been engaging in propaganda, says shocking new report.  (ZDNet)

    This has been going on as far back as 2014.

  • Parallels is coming to ChromeOS and bringing Windows apps with it.  (

    That's probably a good thing.

Disclaimer: Burn it down, burn it all down, and sow the fields with chlorine trifluoride and thioacetone.

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Wednesday, June 17


Don't Be Evil

Update: With Glenn Greenwald appearing as The Voice of Reason.

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Daily News Stuff 16 June 2020

Kosher For Passover Edition

Tech News

  • Ryzen 3000XT is here.  (AnandTech)

    3600XT and 3900XT get a 100MHz boost; 3800XT gets 200MHz.  Price and all other specs are the same as before.  This makes that top boost clock - previously only found on the 3950X - a lot more affordable.

  • Kioxia - that is, Toshiba - has a new range of enterprise SSDs out.  (AnandTech)

    These are available in both PCIe 4.0 NVMe and SAS 24G.  The SAS models are actually faster than PCIe 3.0 drives; if you're saying those numbers don't work, that's because they have dual SAS ports and can combine the bandwidth.

    Speaking of bandwidth, SATA hasn't seen an upgrade in ages; it should be replaced with USB-C.  USB 3.1 Gen 2 is already twice as fast as 6Gbps SATA, thanks to more efficient encoding, and USB 3.2 and USB 4 use the exact same connector and could also run NVMe drives.

    Also, if "wuxia" is pronounced wu-sha, wouldn't Kioxia be pronounced...

  • AMD also released a new Navi mobile part, the 5600 Pro.  (AnandTech)

    Found only in the MacBook Pro for now, where it will add $700 to the price, it's essentially an undervolted 5700XT with HMB2 RAM.  Way undervolted; it has a TDP of just 50W.

  • With up to 8 cores and 8 Vega compute units at 15W, the Ryzen 4000 APUs would be perfect for NUC-like systems.  So where are they?

    Oh, here they are.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Price (based on one European listing, so may vary) ranges from $325 with a 4300U to $500 with a 4800U.  It supports two SO-DIMMs for up to 64GB of DDR4-3200, one M.2 slot, one 2.5" drive, HDMI and DisplayPort, gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 6.  The two USB-C ports also support DisplayPort mode so you can connect a total of four monitors - though one will be plugged into the front because that's where the second USB-C is found.

  • A private company plans to launch a communications satellite.  (Tech Crunch)

    For the Moon.

    Whether that means lunar orbit is unclear.  The article says it will be placed between the Earth and the Moon, which from an orbital dynamics perspective makes zero sense unless you only want to chat on alternate Thursdays.

    Update: L1 point, maybe?  Thanks to the commenters.

  • Apple, Arm, and Intel.  (Stratechery)

    This article is full of dumb.  It contains some valid insights and hard numbers, but also some total bullshit.  Tame Apple press gonna tame Apple press.

  • The Netgear M4300 8X8F is the perfect switch for hub site admins cursing their purchasing officer.  (Serve the Home)

    By which I mean it has 16 10GbE ports - eight RJ45 and eight SFP+.  Also it's half-width so you can squeeze it in beside something else.

  • Can a packet with an inconsistent length field traverse a router?  (ZDNet)

    I mean, a switch, sure.  But a router?  And if bad packets aren't sanitised by default, is that at least configurable?

  • Apple's Apple Developer App app now runs on Apple.  (Tech Crunch)

    And includes stickers.

Disclaimer: Some men see things as they are and ask, why?  Software developers see things as they are, and say, no, don't tell me, I don't want to know.

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Monday, June 15


Daily News Stuff 15 June 2020

On The Fourth Hand Edition

Tech News

  • So how's the new Surface Book 15?  (Tom's Hardware)

    On the one hand, it is rather expensive.  On he other hand, it is much slower than the Asus G14.  On the third hand, it has great battery life.  On the fourth hand, the Asus G14 has even better battery life.

  • Well, that's torn it.  (Tech Crunch)

    The Scots are in space.

  • Now that's just mean.

    Hard to tell from the video, but that is a Ryzen 4300U APU running Crysis without a fan, or even a passive heatsink.  This is definitely not recommended, but it's comforting to know that it will survive and keep on ticking if your fan seizes up.

  • Even Reddit thinks GitHub is stupid.  (Reddit)

    And when you've lost Reddit, what's left?  Trolling Tumblr for pity upvotes?

  • What Western Digital knew and when they knew it.  (Serve the Home)

    Western Digital said in 2015 that SMR drives are not suitable for ZFS.  Then they shipped SMR drives for use in RAID arrays without telling anybody.

    Yeah, I'd be pissed too if I had any of these.

  • As Louis Rossman would say, what, are you crazy?  (ZDNet)

    I understand why it's tempting to buy a Mac when you're dealing with Microsoft's latest stupidity.  But the one real advantage the Mac has is that you can indefinitely pause OS updates.  I'm still running Mojave.  I think I updated to Mojave.  Pretty sure.

Disclaimer: The script for the Odia language looks like a herd of elephants heading down to the river.

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Daily News Stuff 14 June 2020

Virus Nazi Edition

Tech News

  • Only 40 hours to grab your $5 bundle of goodies.  (

    Latest things I've found in the bundle are Pyre, a party-based RPG from the creators of Bastion and Transistor, and Kenney Game Assets, a collection of 20,000 art assets for games under a CC0 license.  (Which means you can use the art in any project, distributed however you want - you just can't prevent other people from using it in their own projects.)

    That 20,000 isn't an overcount either - while the assets are presented in multiple formats (PNG, SVG, and spritesheets) the SVG and spritesheet files each collect dozens of individual assets, so there really are close to 20,000 individual tiles, sprites, icons, and so on.
    One example of the icon sets in Kenney Pack One.

    There are two more asset packs: Two and Three, containing 15,000 and 18,000 items respectively, and which I just bought at full price.

    Full price being $9.95 each, which is a crazy bargain anyway.

    The only problem - if you want to call it that - is that each collection contains dozens of sets of sprites, each with its own theme and art style.  If the whole collection of 50,000+ items was all one unified theme it would be amazing - for the one particular style of game it was aimed at.

    You could produce a single game using all the art assets in these three sets, but it would be rather eclectic.

  • Another cool item in the bundle is Pico-8, described as a "fantasy console".  (Lexaloffle)

    That is, it's an emulator for an imaginary 8-bit console.  128x128 graphics in 16 colours, 32KB cartridges, and a programming language that...  Looks much better than pretty much anything that's available in the real world.

    Oh, it's Lua.  It is much better than pretty much anything that's available in the real world.

    The creator is now working on a second imaginary console called Voxatron

    This is in alpha right now and isn't included in the bundle.  It renders games as 128x128x64 voxels, so the same resolution as the Pico-8 but 3D.

    It really works too.

  • No Computex for you!  (AnandTech)

    Well, there will be Computex.  June 1.  Next year.

  • Windows networking has decided to go stupid on me.  No idea why.  Rebooting seemed to have resolved it but it came back again.  Yes, I got an update recently, but it started happening before the update, and persisted after it.

  • Filed under No Shit, Sherlock.  (Tom's Hardware)

    You can't sell Hackintoshes.  Apple doesn't seem to go after people who build them, though they don't make it easy.  But you can't sell them.

  • Just because.

  • How to grow your project from 0 to 13,000 dependencies.  (Pragmatic Pineapple)

    Step One: Use React.
    Step Two: No, that's basically it.

  • Google is removing URLs from the URL bar.  (Android Police)

    Apparently they confuse users and make the browser look "untidy".

  • GitHub has adopted 1984 as an in-house style guide.  (ZDNet)

    Maybe you don't need to use the terms master and slave, particularly since replication has largely given way to clusters with more complicated architectures.  But people are now going after the use of male and female for connectors - people who have apparently never seen a 1/4" phone jack.

  • Filed under Well, No-one's Stopping You.  (Wired)

    The internet needs a more decentralised, user-focused architecture?  I agree.  Go ahead.

Disclaimer: If you were to build a little game using 53,000 CC0 art assets, what would you build it in?  I looked up Blitz Basic, and that's been replaced by Monkey X, which has been replaced by Monkey 2, which has been open-sourced (great!) but hasn't been updated for two years (less great).  Crystal + SFML?  Oh, wait, someone has picked up Monkey X, forked it, and is actively maintaining it.  Last release was a month ago.  Worth a look.

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Saturday, June 13


Daily News Stuff 13 June 2020

Glittermitten Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: CNN also hardest hit.  And The New York Times, they're hardest hit too.

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