What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Monday, July 13


Daily News Stuff 12 July 2020

Slow News You Lose Edition

Tech News

  • AMD shipped out some Ryzen 5 3600 CPUs in Ryzen 3 APU boxes.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The stickers on the boxes said they contained Ryzen 5 3600 CPUs, and they did in fact contain Ryzen 5 3600 CPUs, so no harm done except a bit of confusion.

  • Threadripperbirds are Pro!  Unless they're not.  (WCCFTech)

    Looks like the new 8-channel parts are named Threadripper Pro and will range from 12 to 64 cores - and will indeed carry the full complement of 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes.

    These things will be beasts.

    If the specs are accurate, they will have slightly lower base and boost clocks than the existing models - for example, the 3995WX is 2.7/4.2 vs 2.9/4.3 for the current 3990X - because they have the same TDP but need to allocate power to those extra memory and PCIe channels.  But for those who need the memory or I/O capacity, a couple of hundred MHz is a small price to pay.

  • I was not aware of that.  That is extremely useful.  (MariaDB)

    MariaDB temporal tables are versioned - records remember their own history.  You can query the state of records at a particular point in time, or query the history of a given record or set of records.

    I'll have to look into this.  The new system - which is mostly ready but which has been set aside since March due to pressures of my day job - tracks edit / version history in separate tables.  It's built to use MySQL so moving across to MariaDB should be a breeze.

    Update: There are, well, one or two complications, such as not being able to alter the table once it's created, and not being able to restore the version history from backup.  Database snapshots work fine, of course.

    It does have a nice feature that lets you exclude columns from versioning, so if you have comment and like counts on your posts table, it won't create thousands of versions when a post goes viral.

  • The WD Blue SN550 is a DRAMless TLC NVMe M.2 SSD.  How does it perform?  (Serve the Home)

    It perform good.  

    I checked my usual supplier and it's one of the cheapest M.2 NVMe drives at the 1TB size - currently A$10 cheaper than the Intel 660p ,which has DRAM but uses QLC flash.  In terms of price/performance, the SN550 looks like a winner.

  • Priorities.

  • Think outside the box.

Not Tech News

  • I can't express what I feel on Twitter since it would get me banned, so here goes.

    Journalists in the American news media are, with a few exceptions, completely fucking retarded and working for the enemy.  If the entire industry burns to the ground tomorrow I will dance for joy.  Learn to dig ditches, you miserable cretins.

Disclaimer: You there.  Stop that.  Stop that this minute.

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Sunday, July 12


Daily News Stuff 11 July 2020

Slytherin' Along Edition

Tech News

  • The crowdfunding campaign for the Chuwi Larkbox has succeeded.  (Indiegogo)

    And by succeeded, I mean passed the 2000% mark.  Though the target was pretty low, since Chuwi already manufactures devices like this and was really just using this for marketing.

    The CPU is the quad-core Atom Celeron J4115 which should be acceptably fast for basic tasks.  It has 6GB RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage, an M.2 2242 slot for a SATA SSD such as this, HDMI, two USB ports, micro-SD, WiFi 5, and a headphone jack.  It also has a USB-C port but that seems to be just for power input.

    The main selling point is that it is seriously tiny - just 61x61x43mm and weighing 127g, a fraction of the size of a NUC.  And pretty cheap at $155 without operating system.

  • Milan has broken cover unless it hasn't.  (WCCFTech)

    Three engineering samples of AMD's Zen 3 Epyc range have been spotted.  On the surface they look a lot like the current generation - still maxing out at 64 cores and 256MB of cache.  The difference is that instead of two 4-core CCXes per chiplet, a chiplet now contains eight cores and a 32MB L3 cache in a single unified design.  We've already seen from the low-end Ryzen parts that having all the cores unified this way produces significantly better performance - but there's a limit to how many cores you can connect to a single bus.

    Zen 3 is also expected to bring major IPC gains, though I don't think AMD has mentioned any numbers.

    Of course, the exact same chiplets will be going into the next generation of Ryzen desktop parts, also expected before the end of the year.

  • 1TBVPS is your one-stop shop for 1TB VPSes.  (1TBVPS)

    In fact, that's the only thing they offer.  One configuration, one price.  It's not a bad configuration or a bad price - VPSes with large storage capacities aren't easy to find.  The storage is disk-based with an SSD cache, so great for file storage and probably adequate for light database use.

    For $25 per month you get 8GB RAM, 8 threads, the aforementioned 1TB of storage, and 20TB of bandwidth.  For comparison, a $20 DigitalOcean VPS has 2 threads, 4GB of RAM, 80GB of storage, and 4TB of bandwidth.

    It's run by IOFlood who I've looked at before for dedicated servers.  They actually have a nice offer right now - older 20-core Xeon systems with up to 256GB of RAM and brand new NVMe SSDs - but I need to finish retiring the old servers first.

  • Ooh, they've even done a custom keyboard.  (CommanderX16)

    Well, custom key labels, at least.

    This is the next-generation Commodore 64 that the 8-bit Guy is involved with.  It uses an 8MHz 6502 (actually the W65C02S) and has 512K flash and up to 2MB of RAM, plus another 128K of graphics RAM.  And four expansion slots, all in a mini-ITX form factor.

    I still think they should have used the W65C265S, which has an unmultiplexed  24-bit address bus and wouldn't need bank switching or external logic, but they didn't listen to me.

    PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports and VGA video.

    I like that keyboard.  It's the layout I was looking for when playing with my own design, but never managed to find.  Full set of function keys and the essential PgUp/PgDn/Home/End.

Disclaimer: Blup.

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Saturday, July 11


Daily News Stuff 10 July 2020

Internal Organ Edition

Tech News

  • Still ow.  Been in bed reading manhwa all day - A Stepmother's Märchen and Dungeon Reset.

    I particularly liked the dark fairytale style of the first chapter of A Stepmother's Märchen - though I wouldn't want to read an entire book like that.

    Both of them are quite good, and although presented in the vertical scrolling style rather than traditional pages, they show that Korean artists are really getting a handle on telling stories like this.

    China less so; the output is there and the art is often good but the writing is barely grade-school level.  Haven't found any...  Manhua is the Chinese one, right?  Any manhua I'd recommend so far.

    I already had today off, but had planned to spend it a bit more actively than that.

    My Mangadex reading list is here but a few of those you'll need to find on another site because they've been taken down.

  • A wild Threadripper 3995WX appeared!  (Guru3D)

    When third-generation Threadripper was first discussed, there were rumours of multiple chipsets, including TRX40 (which is what we have now) and TRX80 (which has been conspicuously absent).

    This looks like the TRX80 version: It supports eight channel memory and registered DIMMs, up to 2TB in total.  This makes perfect sense, because it's just an Epyc part binned for clock speed rather than power efficiency.  In effect they are already selling these CPUs; they just need to convince a partner to make a suitable workstation motherboard.

    It also fills a gap in AMD's lineup.  Intel already has workstation parts that support 1.5TB of RAM, but they max out at 28 cores.  AMD has 64-core workstation CPUs, but they max out at 256GB of RAM.  And people who need 64 cores often need more than 256GB of RAM.

    Update: An afterthought - I wonder if they will unlock all 128 PCIe lanes?  Current Threadripper parts only have 64 lanes in total.  8 connect to the TRX40 chipset, which provides another 16 lanes.

    Epyc motherboards don't (as far as I know) have chipsets, because all Ryzen family CPUs have built-in SATA and USB controllers anyway.  So this might be a chipsetless design aimed at high-end workstations with all or mostly NVMe storage.

  • Who said irony was dead?

  • Chinese telecommunications equipment is riddled with vulnerabilities.  (ZDNet)

    They have Telnet active on the WAN port.  You can log in as guest with no password.  And there are local privilege escalation vulnerabilities so you can jump from there to root - including the ability to list account passwords, which are apparently not even hashed.

    This surprises absolutely no-one except TechDirt who are drunk again.

  • That's so obvious I never even thought of it.  (The Verge)

    The upcoming Arm-based Macs will support Thunderbolt.  This is an obvious minimal requirement since Thunderbolt is the only port most Macs have these days.

    But no Arm products - including Apple's, even their new developer kit - currently support Thunderbolt, so it's not clear exactly what they are doing or how.

  • MongoDB 4.4 is at RC12 - that is, their twelfth release candidate.

    That's probably a longer shakedown cruise than they had planned, but I'm not waiting on any specific features in this release and 4.2 is working well, so I'd much rather they take the time and knock out the remaining bugs.

  • Facebook updated their API and broke everything.  (9to5Mac)

    We have a Facebook integration with our software platform at our day job, and every time I log in to Facebook I get a notification that their API has changed and we need to update to the new version.

    It's kind of annoying.

    Elasticsearch does this bullshit too.  Oh, sorry, we deprecated that.  You'll just have to rewrite every single search query.

Disclaimer: It's actually a lot annoying.

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Friday, July 10


Daily News Stuff 9 July 2020

Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Slash Star Max Heart Dot Exe Edition

Tech News

  • If you slip on some wet tiles and fall and hurt your back and not the next day but the day after that you call in sick because your back has seized up and you find you can no longer bend - or rather, unbend - and you are lying there in bed with a bag of peanuts and a bottle of iced tea and another bottle of ibuprofen and feeling slightly guilty about malingering because when you're just lying there it's not so bad and it only hurts when you move and then you move and it hurts so yeah not malingering at all and watching Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya because why not even though it's no Magical Girl Pretty Sammy but then what is and even though you have avoided contact with the entire Fate ecosystem since its foundation and you get to the end and move on to Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz and the suddenly wonder if you missed an OVA or they're pulling a Dawn then the answer is you skipped an entire season.



  • RediSearch is a search engine implemented on Redis.  (Redis Labs)

    I don't know why it is, but it is.

  • Reddit is spying on you.  (Smitop)

    The new site redesign just happens to include a barrage of digital fingerprinting techniques to work around people blocking ads and cookies.  It's sad because there are a number of subreddits I quite like.

  • The Fraunhofer Institute ran security scans on 117 current-model home wifi routers.  (Tom's Guide)

    117 of them failed the test.

Disclaimer: Still ow.

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Thursday, July 09


Daily News Stuff 8 July 2020

Aftereffects Edition

Tech News

  • Ow.

  • Hivelocity - the hosting company where this blog is presently located - just opened sixteen new datacenters.  Though I expect many of them are actually a couple of locked cabinets in someone else's datacenter.

    I looked at the map, and noticed that it covered basically the whole world except Australia.  Well, and also except South America and Africa, which kind of shows my bias, and nothing in central or southern Asia either.

    Anyway, I scrolled down the page and yeah, I always forget how far south Sydney is.  They only have two configurations available in their smaller "datecenters" and they're not exceptionally cheap, but they're priced comparably to a fast virtual server from Vultr (who also have a Sydney datacenter that is probably a couple of locked cabinets).

  • Thunderbolt 4 is coming this year.  (AnandTech)

    It's no faster than Thunderbolt 3 - the cables and transceivers don't really allow for that yet - but it cleans things up a bit.

    And it looks like USB 4 ports will be labelled 20 and 40 rather than with some arcane sigil or USB 4.0 gen 3x2 or whatever.

    Now they just need to retroactively rename all the existing ports.  In theory, there's two different 10Gb modes that are actually different speeds, but no-one implements USB 3.2 gen 1x2 without also implementing 2x2 so that probably doesn't matter.

  • Hot Chips 2020 is...  Wait, this looks awfully familiar.  (AnandTech)

    I'm not going crazy, they bumped the story from May since the date is now approaching.  I also note this time around that since it's virtual, the price for attending the whole thing is just $125.  I don't think I will since (a) no time and (b) my dryer just dropped dead but that's a pretty good deal for any industry people.

  • The Phanteks P500A is kind of large, kind of cheap, kind of absurd, and kind of going into my next PC build.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's a full-size ATX case with 10 3.5" drive bays, so you can just shovel it full of disks.  The basic model without RGB nonsense is $99, which seems pretty reasonable.

    Oh, and it has room for a second ITX motherboard just in case you need both Windows and Linux running on bare metal - which I do.

    This won't be happening this year, but my newest desktop is now two years old and my iMac is approaching five, so next year looks like an upgrade year.  Zen 4 here I come!

    Come to think of it....  If I contine to use my two Dell all-in-ones as 4K monitors (they have HDMI input) they can run Linux and the new system just needs to run Windows.  Maybe.

  • The World Health Organisation has concluded that Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing and not just Chinese restaurants.  (New York Times)

    Actually, no.  The debate is over whether the virus itself can be airborne rather than carried in tiny droplets from coughs and sneezes.  The answer is, maybe.

Disclaimer: Which would be bad.

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Wednesday, July 08


Daily News Stuff 7 July 2020

Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Edition

Tech News

  • Slack and the terrible horrible no good very bad day.  (Slack)

    As terrible horrible no good very bad days go, this wasn't all that.  They had a problem with an autoscaling script, and didn't notice because they had a problem with their autoscaling monitoring.  When users screamed, they found it and fixed it.

    They did not, for example, take down all their datacentres across the entire planet with a single rogue BGP packet.

  • Ryzen XT is real and it's meh.  (Tom's Hardware)

    We expected a small clock speed bump, and that's what we got.  The 3600XT benefits most, and the 3900XT least, because the TDP remains the same and the 3900XT didn't have much headroom.

    The benchmarks here show the 10900K in a rather more positive light than PassMark.  It is, after all, a desktop processor with a gaming emphasis, where a Ryzen 3700X is a server chiplet that didn't pass muster and was passed down to the desktop market.  Still, my ardor for that W-1290P server has substantially cooled.

  • Pricing for Ryzen Pro 4000 desktop APUs has leaked and appears to top out at around $300.  (Tom's Hardware)

    A Ryzen Pro 4750G is cheaper than a Ryzen Pro 3700X - assuming the leak is correct - and has integrated graphics.

  • Amorphous boron nitride could be the next big thing in semiconductors unless it isn't.  (WCCFTech)

    Crystalline boron nitride (Borazon) has similar properties to diamond, combining elements 5 and 7 in an array so that the result looks and acts rather like a crystal of element 6 - carbon.  Amorphous boron nitride similarly acts rather like graphene, also a substance of interest in semiconductor research.

  • Free chips!  (FOSSi Foundation)

    Okay, so you need to design them yourself.  And they're produced at 130nm, which is paleolithic at this point.

    But for, say, the retrocomputing hobby market, where certain chips are becoming unavailable even second hand, this could be a godsend.  The original 6502 was manufactured on an 8 micron process node; this offers thousands of times the areal density.

    And you can't beat free.

  • I slipped on a wet floor and hurt pretty much everything.  Not recommended.

    Had a remarkable moment of clarity in what couldn't have taken even one second: Uh-oh, falling, going to land hard, make sure arms are clear and don't let your head hit anything thump oof well that went about as well as could be expected.

  • Chrome is going to strangle JavaScript.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Oh, throttle as in slow down.  Much less exciting.  But if you leave a bunch of tabs open on your laptop, this simple change could add a couple of hours to your battery life.

    Which tells us that websites are garbage.

Disclaimer: Ow.

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Monday, July 06


Daily News Stuff 6 July 2020

Are There Any News Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Not a new.

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Sunday, July 05


Daily News Stuff 5 July 2020

Konya Wa Hairspray Hurricane Edition

Tech News

Anime Music Video of the Day

I prefer the Dirty Pair AMV to this version, but I can't make the same pun.

Disclaimer: Sorry folks, city's closed.  The elk out front shoulda told ya.

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Daily News Stuff 4 July 2020

Space Force Anthem Edition

Tech News

Anime Music Video of the Day

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Update: Via Brickmuppet, this:

Did I disable videos in the comments or is it broken just for that one?

Disclaimer: Needs an update, but I don't think the Space Force even has an anthem yet.

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Saturday, July 04


Daily News Stuff 3 July 2020

End Of End Of Financial Year Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: So that's it for today and as always, I hope you've learned something.

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