You're Amelia!
You're late!
Amelia Pond! You're the little girl!
I'm Amelia, and you're late.

Saturday, May 22


Daily News Stuff 22 May 2021

There You Go Again Edition

Top Story

  • So we've been working very hard at my day job to land a major account, and at the last minute a second big account piggy-backed on that major account, and now both want to sign and I'm dealing with that kind of request:
    We know we bought a car, and we agreed that delivery isn't until August, but now we need it to fly.

    At Mach 2.

    Under water.

    By Friday.

  • Seagate is also doing dumb things: Dual-actuator disk drives.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Those existed once before but got killed deader than a trilobite by the rise of RAID, because just having two disk drives is both cheaper and faster than fussing around with fancy mechanical designs.  And more reliable too.

    And now if you need high performance you would always go for SSDs rather than struggling with large RAID arrays, so it's double pointless.

    They're doing it anyway.

Anime of the day is Hololive.

Well, specifically here Hololive Alternative, since Hololive itself is a virtual idol group COUGH* and not an anime series.  Hololive Alternative isn't an anime series either; at least not yet.  It's a media production and the first release will be a manga covering the adventures of pirate captain Marine.

However, if and when Hololive does announce an anime version, the inquest will find that they died by suffocation from the weight of all the money thrown at them.  The smallest of Hololive's more than forty channels has 300,000 subscribers.

* I just watch it for the Minecraft streams, honest.  Counting collab streams just once - even when they include the entirety of Gen 0 - they've played 17 hours of Minecraft already today.

Tech News

Handicapper General Public Service Announcement of the Day

All of Nvidia's upcoming video cards will have Ethereum mining artificially limited.  They did this already with the RTX 3060 but then accidentally released a debug driver that delimited the card, something that is highly likely to happen again.

Meanwhile the crypto market is down mostly because of efforts by totalitarian governments to restrict the free exchange of goods and services....  Which was the primary driver for the crypto bubble in the first place.  I'm not making any prediction except that video cards will remain hard to get for another year, at a minimum.

If It's Rocking Don't Bother Stopping Anime Music Video of the Day

This reminds me of a bunch of 90s anime series worth mentioning.  It also has a clip from the original Final Fantasy X, which really did look that good....  Except that part was pre-rendered.

Elvis vs. Photoshop Anime Music Video of the Day

Another classic from the early-ish AMV scene - it's so old it features a pre-rendered clip from Final Fantasy VIII.  Every frame of this video was composited individually in Photoshop, because there was no better tool available to hobbyists back then.  Go back much further and everything was done with a stopwatch and a 1 inch editing deck.  Or film and a sharp pair of scissors.

Though the days of film are actually something of a blessing.  Anime and TV shows old enough to have been shot on film have received some amazing Blu-Ray releases recently.  Check out some of the early Columbo episodes if you have a chance.

Disclaimer: Oh, just one more thing...

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Friday, May 21


Daily News Stuff 21 May 2021

Omens And Portents Edition

In Memoriam

  • Kentaro Miura, creator of the massively popular manga series Berserk, passed away earlier this month from an acute aortic dissection.  He was only 54.

    Berserk has sold over fifty million copies and is well known for its fantastically detailed artwork - at least in recent volumes - and its long delays between volumes.  It looks like the conclusion to the series has now gone to the great TBA in the sky.

    I haven't watched the Berserk anime - and the most recent series was roundly panned - but if you don't mind scenes of graphic graphicness and are willing to put in a couple of volumes while the illustrator's art evolves, I can highly recommend the manga.

    It sure as hell ain't for kids though.

Top Story

  • HP's Omen 16 and 17 have the Four Essential Keys.  (WCCFTech)

    In fact, they have the ten essential keys - the entire cursor area you'd find on a full desktop keyboard is present exactly as it should be.

    They also have eight-core CPUs from Intel or AMD, up to 64GB of RAM - user upgradeable - and 1TB of NVMe SSD - probably also user upgradeable, and a 2560x1440 165Hz display with 100% sRGB colour.

    The 16" model has AMD or Intel CPUs and Radeon 6000 family or Nvidia graphics up to the RTX 3070; the 17" model is Intel only with Nvidia graphics up to the RTX 3080.

    I/O includes one USB-C (Thunderbolt on Intel models), three USB-A, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, a full size SD card slot, a combo audio jack, and wired Ethernet.

    They don't specify dimensions or weight but this is a serious laptop for serious laps, not some disposable bit of thin-and-light frippery.

    All models ship next month with prices starting at $1050.

Anime of the day is Princess Tutu from 2002, the greatest story ever told about a duck saving the world through the power of ballet.

Tech News

Gratuitous Taylor Swift Anime Music Video of the Day

Gratuitous Bruno Mars Anime Music Video of the Day

Technically RWBY is a western animated series and not anime, but let it slide.

Disclaimer: SHUBA!

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Thursday, May 20


Daily News Stuff 20 May 2021

Quis Cancellare Ipsos Fuckbiscuits Edition

Top Story

  • They addressed the email to "Quis".

    I said I would hang around Twitter and poke the bear until they kicked me out, so I shouldn't be surprised if the bear occasionally takes a swipe at me, particularly when the bear is a terrorist-sympathising communist with a room-temperature IQ.

    Did I break the rules?  Obviously not.  But that doesn't matter; it's a seven-day suspension and their appeals process takes more than seven days and results in an automatic rejection anyway.  Been there.  Done that.

    To be accused is to be tried, convicted, and punished....  Punished by having a week off from patrolling the sewers of Plague City.

    Oh no.

Speaking of patrolling the sewers of Plague City, anime of the day is Black Lagoon from 2006.

It's great.

Tech News


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Twitter Also In The Apiary Also With A Lead Pipe

Looks like I'm on double secret probation.


Siding with terrorists: Absolutely fine.

Criticising people for siding with terrorists: 7 day suspension.

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Google In The Apiary With A Lead Pipe

The server was getting overloaded with crappy requests again, but I couldn't see any difference between the crappy requests overloading the server and the usual crappy requests that only take about 50 milliseconds and cause no problems at all.

Except that we were also getting indexed by Google and the Google bot was tracking links to RSS feeds in places where RSS feeds don't really belong but the server will do its best to fulfil anyway.

So I blocked a couple of those.  Not all of them, just a couple.

And the problem was resolved.

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Wednesday, May 19


Daily News Stuff 19 May 2021

Yes We Have No Minecraft Edition

Top Story

  • Which weird hybrid SSD should you buy?  (AnandTech)

    The short answer is no, but in fact both drives have particular strengths that produce convincing wins on certain benchmarks.

    The Enmotus FuzeDrive has 128GB of SLC cache to speed up its 1.4TB of QLC storage.  QLC flash is cheap but slow; SLC flash is, unsurprisingly, exactly four times as expensive, but can be more than four times as fast in certain cases.

    Where this drive shines is when it's full.  Consumer SSDs slow down significantly when they're full, because they have to spend more and more time erasing and remapping blocks to store new data.  Because the FuzeDrive always writes to its very fast SLC cache and only later flushes to the main QLC storage, it never really slows down at all, even when it's 99% full.

    The Intel H20 pairs up to 1TB of QLC flash with 32GB of Optane storage - another technology entirely.  The H20 doesn't excel at bandwidth tests because the flash and Optane halves of the drive are on separate PCIe lanes, each getting only half of the available bandwidth.

    But on latency tests - how long it takes to read a single, small chunk of data - it is up to five times faster than a regular SSD.

    On the third hand, this drive only works with an 11th gen Intel CPU, a 500-series chipset, and a special driver.  Lacking any of those what you have is - at best - a third rate and severely overpriced SSD.

Anime of the day is Patlabor, and here specifically the 7-episode OVA series from 1988.  This was followed up by a TV series, a second OVA series, three movies - I've only seen the second one, I think, but it is very good, albeit darker and more political than the OVA.

Tech News

  • movcc is a C compiler.  (GitHub)

    This one is slightly different to your typical C compiler, though: The code it produces consists exclusively of MOV instructions.  MOV on the x86 architecture  (and many other designs) is Turing complete, so although no-one sane would want to do so, you can write any program with just that one instruction.
    Q: Why did you make this? A: I thought it would be funny.

  • Chrome can now automatically fix stolen passwords.  (Tech Crunch)

    If Google detects that a password you've saved is out in the wild, Chrome will automatically log in to that site with the old passwords, generate a new password, replace the old with the new, and remember the new one for you.

    They're only doing this for certain specific whitelisted sites at the moment, but nowhere in the article does it mention opting in to the program.  That question doesn't even seem to occur to these people.

  • Ethereum's switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake will cut power consumption by more than 99%.   (Crypto Briefing)

    When this will happen is another question entirely.  There's good money right now in mining Ethereum, and this change will erase that.  The miners are not enthused at the prospect.

    Without this change, though, Ethereum is dead.  Recent spikes in the price of ETH and load on the blockchain have pushed the cost of even the simplest transactions over $20.

  • Twitter is now co-operating with Russia.  (TorrentFreak)

    The Russian authorities have already been spying on Twitter traffic and throttling the bandwidth to force the company to comply.

    I'd be far more sympathetic with Russia if they'd just banned Twitter for causing rats in laboratory cancer, or with Twitter if they just told Russia to go fuck themselves with a railroad spike, but neither of those much desired outcomes actually eventuated.

Bonus Anime Opening Video of the Day

It's Luna Varga, a four-episode OVA from 1991.  

Yes, Luna is sitting on the forehead of an enormous rampaging dinosaur.  Let's go with that.  This is Japan, there certainly wouldn't be anything weird going on.

Dude, Don't Get A Dell Video of the Dell

With video cards in desperately short supply, it's tempting to buy a pre-built system from a major OEM rather than build your own.

But don't buy a Dell G5 5000, because it's such a piece of poop they had to break the review into two episodes to cover all the problems.

Disclaimer: Yes we have no Minecraft, we have no Minecraft streams today.  And someone please tell Ollie she was logging in to a ghost server.

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Waiting For Inadot

Ina (of Hololive EN) slept in and missed her scheduled Minecraft stream - by two hours - and Kiara (also of Hololive EN) started her own stream and spent two hours roasting her.

With a cup of coffee in hand her virtual legs up on her virtual desk.  Only Live2D doesn't actually do that so the legs don't move when her body does - though they do move independently which is just slightly disconcerting.

Ina still has 15,000 people waiting after now two and a half hours, and Kiara's roast got over 30,000 live viewers.

I checked The Hololive Minecraft stream index, saw Ina had streamed, clicked on the link, and thought YouTube was broken because it was showing me the "waiting for livestream" message rather than replaying it.

Then I checked my YouTube subscriptions and saw Kiara had an ongoing livestream titled "waiting for ina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and guessed something was up.

Normally Ina's Minecraft streams start around 6AM Sydney time and are over by the time I'm free of morning meetings and have time to listen to something while I work, so this actually worked out well for me.

And Ollie is scheduled to invade the EN Minecraft server at lunch time.

Update: And now YouTube is broken at least in this part of the world, from Australia to Indonesia, and Ollie had to reschedule her invasion of the EN server for the second time.  Which wouldn't have gone entirely to plan anyway because she was logging into their old realms account and they've moved to a dedicated server now.

Also, this server - blogs, not Minecraft - is undergoing that weird distributed malformed requests attack again.  Seems to have recovered but the load average spiked to about 50 for a while.

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Tuesday, May 18


Daily News Stuff 18 May 2021

The Way We Weren't Edition

Top Story

Anime of the day is Galaxy Fraulein Yuna.  It's not a classic, it didn't change the course of the industry, and it didn't spark nineteen alternate universes, though the original 1995 two-part OVA did get a three-episode sequel in 1997.

I just happen to like it.

Tech News

  • Intel's Tiger Lake-H high-end laptop parts are here-ish. So how do they perform? (AnandTech)

    That's kind of complicated. They're not bad, performance-wise, but they sure are power-hungry. Configured with a 65W TDP they compete evenly with a 35W AMD part.

    On the one hand, they seem to be held back from their full potential because the reference laptop design overheats when running at 65W.

    On the other hand, the reference laptop design overheats when running at 65W.

  • Ah, Amazon S3 access policies, you're just as fucked up as the day we met, about two trillion dollars ago.

  • There may be a very minor Ryzen 5000 refresh on the way.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Similar to the 3000XT models. The advantage this refresh would have is that it could bump AMD over the 5GHz line, which they haven't crossed since the FX-9590, a 220W monster that despite its power draw was only just competitive with Intel's chips of the day.

  • Breakthrough research has finally linked Linear A to Linear B.  (Greek Reporter)

    Linear B was used in Mycenaean Greece, and is the oldest form of written Greek.  Once it was determined that the language was in fact Greek, scholars in the 1950s - well, actually it was initially one English architect - were able to map certain words to place names that persist today and from there decipher the entire script.

    Linear B is adapted from Linear A, the script used to write inscriptions in Minoan Crete.  We have over 1400 such inscriptions and clay tablets, but no-one knows how to read any of them.  

    The breakthrough shows the mapping between the older Linear A and Linear B, and it turns out to be closer than expected.  This means that the the place name trick can be used again - once we recognise a place name in a Linear B script, we can map it to Linear A and find it in the older tablets.

    Essentially we can now read Linear A.  We just don't know what it means, because the Minoans didn't speak Greek.

  • Apple is devoted to inclusivity, privacy, and civil liberties unless there's money involved in which case they will happily climb in bed with a genocidal fascist dictatorship.  (New York Times)

    And worse, they will do this even when it costs them money.

    And still lecture you endlessly on how much more enlightened they are.

  • LinkedIn - owned by Microsoft - also appears to be censoring critics of the Chinese regime.  (Bloomberg)

    Microsoft is generally the least worst of Big Tech, but that's all relative.  In absolute terms, they are - most of the time - an uncaring behemoth that will squash you like a bug if you get in the way.

  • Android 12 is on its way.  (ZDNet)

    Generally between versions 4 and 8 of any software, users switch from "can't wait" to "oh fuck, not another one".

    With Android, I think it was 7.  6 introduced some critical missing capabilities, though OEMs - including Sony and Samsung - fucked it up anyway.

  • Apple announced in court that it didn't take a cut of $400 billion of goods it didn't sell.  (The Verge)

    People are acting as if Apple made a coherent point.

  • Parler is back on the App Store.  (Reuters)

    At this point the glow can probably be seen from Alpha Centauri.

Haba Haba Zot Zot Video of the Day

Warning: If you're currently watching El Hazard but have only seen the first couple of episodes, the videos below contain hilarious spoilers.

This is a scene-for-scene remake of the redo version of the classic AMV by Nic Neidenbach from 2001, using the recent Blu-Ray release of El Hazard.

This is the redo version, and you can see that whoever was in charge of the Blu-Ray release did an absolutely stellar job.

Disclaimer: Haba haba mori mori.

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Monday, May 17


Daily News Stuff 17 May 2021

Sand On Zanzibar Edition

Top Story

  • The secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.  (Bloomberg)

    Or in this case, buy up the small companies working as sub-contractors in your field, pay everyone more to keep the staff happy, and squeeze out the middlemen who were taking all the profits.
    Software engineers are underpaid in Japan compared to the U.S. and there’s a shortage of them, according to Saito.
    Funny how that correlation escapes so many people.  Mind you, the shortage of good engineers is universal.

Anime of the day is Iria: Zeiram the Animation, a six-episode OVA series from 1994.  At the time all I knew about this was that it was awesome; it came out about the same time as the world wide web so there was limited information about who or what Zeiram was or why they needed to qualify this as "the animation".

Zeiram was the titular monster of a 1991 Japanese live action sci-fi / horror film - also featuring Iria - and this anime series acts as a prequel.  Apparently the live action film (and its sequel) are not particularly well-regarded, but the anime series is a minor classic.

Update: Apparently that clip is blocked in certain less enlightened countries.  Here's an alternative.

Tech News

Hololive Clip of the Day

You might wonder why anyone would watch an anime girl play Minecraft when they could just play the game themselves, and this is why.

Disclaimer: You might wonder if all of Hololive is like that, and the answer is no, some of it is a little strange.

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Sunday, May 16


Daily News Stuff 16 May 2021

Essential Means Essential Edition

Top Story

  • Framework's modular laptop is now available for pre-order starting at $999.  (ZDNet)

    Or $749 for a DIY kit.  (Framework)

    Yes, a DIY kit for a modern laptop, when these things are quite commonly glued together and unrepairable.

    It comes standard with a 13.5" 3:2 display with a resolution of 2256x1504 covering 100% of sRGB colour, an eleventh-gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, a headphone jack, and a screwdriver.

    You can then select up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage, and it has four tiny expansion modules each of which can be USB-A, USB-C, DisplayPort, HDMI, a microSD slot, or an extra storage module with a capacity of up to 1TB.

    The company is opening the spec for these modules to allow third-party options, and looking at the design it could even support multi-gigabit wired Ethernet using one of those clever hinged ports.  The modules are too small for a full-size RJ-45 port, but they aren't enclosed at the bottom, so the rear slots probably would give just enough clearance.  You could probably fit dual USB-C ports in one module as well.

    It doesn't have the Four Essential Keys, and while the keyboard is designed to be easily swapped out there's currently only the one option so that's only useful if you need to fix it.  When they correct that, this could become the laptop of choice for a wide variety of tasks.

Anime of the day is Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, created by AIC - who earlier animated Bubblegum Crisis together with Artmic - and released by Pioneer in 1992.  

The series consists of two six-episode OVA series plus four special episodes, plus three later sequel series each delivering six more episodes - the last of them just airing now, three theatrical films, five sequel and/or alternate universe series, and at least seven spin-offs.  Also dozens of novels and volumes of manga, video games, a table-top roleplaying game, a radio drama, and a stage play.

So it had something of an impact.  In the mid-to-late 90s, AIC's art style was as recognisable as Kyoto Animation's in the mid-to-late 2000s.

And somewhere in all of that, the series created the most enduring villain in anime, Misao Amano, better known by the name of her alter ego, Pixy Misa.

Tech News

  • Zen 4 powered Epyc server processors will be shipping in 2022.  (WCCFTech)

    We kind of knew that; this is just a leaked slide deck confirming additional details.  The chips will include up to 96 cores, 12 channels of DDR5 memory, and 29% better IPC (instructions per cycle - performance at a given clock speed), plus they're expected to run at higher clock speeds.

    This will all come on a massive new socket with 6096 pins, and deliver 128 lanes of PCIe 5.0 for 512GB/s of I/O bandwidth.

    I don't know how big a motherboard you'd need to have a fully-populated dual-socket system - there would be 48 memory modules, and boards with 32 modules barely fit in a standard server rack.  (Supermicro)

    But since one of these new chips should deliver as much performance as two of the current generation, which are already incredibly fast, there might not be as many customers demanding dual-socket systems.

  • We waste 500 years each day on CAPTCHAs.  (Cloudflare)

    It's time to end this madness, says Cloudflare, and instead use Cloudflare.

    With all due respect, Cloudflare, get fucked.

  • Things you can't do in Rust.  (LogRocket)

    Rust is a systems programming language that prevents you from doing bad things.  Lots of bad things.  Many of them incredibly useful things, like taking the first N characters from a string.  Nope, can't do that, because Unicode is a semantic superfund site.  Go write your own custom code that is guaranteed to have its own unique bugs.

    I appreciate what Rust is trying to do, but it's not a language I can recommend to most independent developers.  If you have enough engineering staff that there are entire teams doing nothing but create and maintain libraries for the other programmers to use, then yes, you probably should be using Rust and likely already are.

    But for the typical application, no.

  • Apple rejected 215,000 apps last year for privacy reasons, and another 150,000 for spam or misleading behaviour.  (Bleeping Computer)

    How many of them actually committed the sins of which they stand accused is another question entirely, and one that will likely never be answered.  Apple's app submission process is infamously Kafkaesque.

  • A new spaceport is under construction in Nova Scotia, with the first launch expected next year.  (CBC)

    Meanwhile, a Rocket Lab* launch from New Zealand lost two satellites after the second stage failed shortly after ignition.  (CNet)

    I guess the assist you get from an equatorial launch just doesn't matter as much for smaller rockets like these.  You wouldn't want to launch a Saturn V from Finland, though.

    * Not LogRocket.  Different company.  Probably.

Tenchi and Beyond Videos of the Day

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure is what Evangelion would have been if it had been good, instead of being desperate to convince people it was good.  Dual is dumb, but it's fun.  It fits somewhere in the Tenchi Muyo universe despite having no direct reference to the earlier series; there are too many indirect references to be anything but an intentional spinoff.

El Hazard: The Magnificent World is probably the best of all of the 90s series produced by AIC and Pioneer.  It's not a spinoff or related to Tenchi at all, except for the art style, the production company's fondness for multi-part titles, and a strange fascination with cross-dressing.

Phantom Quest Corp is one of the less well known AIC releases from that era.  It only ran to four episodes, but not only did it have a kick-ass opening theme, it had a kick-ass dub of the kick-ass opening theme.  In fact, most of these series got English translations of their theme songs, many of them genuinely good.

Unsurprisingly they eventually ran out of money and stopped doing that; though AIC is still around today, it's a licensing company for its older projects and hasn't done any significant work since...  Well, Pupipō! (2013) was remarkably deep for a series of 15 short episodes and I highly recommend it, but I don't know if it counts as significant.  What the hell, I'll give them that.  Hasn't done any significant work since 2013.

Disclaimer: And no, Ai Tenchi Muyo doesn't count.

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