Sunday, April 18


Daily News Stuff 18 April 2021

LXC Export Considered Harmful Edition

Top Story

  • The main server is up and running again, but not live yet because I'm taking the opportunity to do software maintenance while no-one is using it.

    One of the things that worried me was that I didn't have a recent, complete off-site backup of the system; the most recent one was over a month old.  That's because the server is configured with LXD virtualisation, which has two backup methods

    • Snapshots which are fast and efficient and generally wonderful, but are stored on the main system disk (in our case, a large SSD).
    • Exports which are none of that, but turn your virtual server into a single portable backup file that you can restore onto any other LXD system.

    So we had plenty of on-site snapshots, and manual off-site backups, but not automated exports because it's something of a pain.

    With the server back but not in use I have configured exports, and discovered they are much more of a pain than I had ever suspected.  If you have a container with mixed applications and databases and a bunch of snapshots and you try to export it, expect it to flatten the system for hours and use massive amounts of storage.

    And there's no progress bar, not even a Microsoft one that sometimes goes into reverse.

    And you can't cancel it.

    So back to the drawing board on that one; I'll need to write a custom backup script.

    Update: If you value your sanity, use --instance-only and do something else to hang on to snapshots if you must.  19 minutes with that option, three hours and counting without it, before I found a sneaky way to cancel it.  (Pro tip: Kill the compression process, and the backup process will abort and clean up properly.)

    Update to the above update: Or use --optimized-storage.  Nowhere is it documented what this option actually does.  What it does is prevent the snapshot explosion.  I'm not sure yet if it does it at the file level or the block level; with database containers the file level would be rather less useful.  Using this does mean that you can only restore from a ZFS backed LXD node to a another ZFS backed node, but you'd be crazy not to use ZFS with LXD anyway.

    What idiot decided that hyphens were a useful character to include in YouTube video IDs?

Tech News

  • Thanks for the bonus, I quit.  (Substack)

    Ill-considered incentive schemes can be more destructive than not having any incentives at all.  In this case causing delays and bugs and increasing stress to the point that engineers resigned despite being paid a bonus.

    Engineers care about making good products.  They'll work unpaid overtime to make good products.  But they'll quit en mass if you ask them to come in on weekends to help meet the quarterly target.

  • Twitter was suffering from a worldwide outage.  (Bleeping Computer)

    I missed this, apparently.  I was busy teaching anteaters to play Bach.

  • Microsoft has fixed that bug that would irreparably trash your entire filesystem if you simply opened a certain magic folder.  (Bleeping Computer)

    And 107 other bugs.  Update time!

  • There's a tiny problem lurking in Sony's PlayStation 5.  And PlayStation 4.  And PlayStation 3.

    If the CMOS battery goes flat, all your games stop working.  Including the ones you own on physical media.

    If you have a PlayStation 5, you can replace the battery, connect it to the internet, resync to the PlayStation Network, and your games start working again.

    But Sony is going to stop supporting the PlayStation 3 on PSN, and then the PlayStation 4, and eventually the PlayStation 5.  And then it's only a matter of time before all your games including the ones you own on physical media can no longer be played.

  • Compressed backup has just passed 600GB - for a 70GB container.  Ugh.

  • Comparing Intel's 11600K with AMD's 5600X.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Intel's high-end 11th generation parts are, in the words of Hardware Unboxed, shit, and in the words of Gamer's Nexus, a waste of sand.  And AMD's high-end 5th generation parts are simply out of stock.

    But what about their mid-range six-core parts?

    They're readily available and relatively affordable.  Intel is actually cheaper than AMD, and although not quite as fast, it's a matter of percentage points.  In single-threaded tasks the Intel chip can actually pull ahead.

    The big difference is in power consumption.  The AMD part is rated at 65W and sticks to that pretty closely; the Intel part is rated at 125W but can go well above that.  That means more noise and heat; you might want to spend the money you save on an after-market cooler.

    On the third hand, the Intel chip has an integrated GPU - not a very fast one, but it's there - so if you can't get your hands on a graphics card you can at least use your system to watch YouTube videos of other people playing games.  None of the AMD 5000-series parts currently available at retail have built-in graphics.

    Intel also offers the 11400 and 11500 if you want to shave off a few more dollars; in fact, the 11500 looks like the best price-performance point out of the three.  The 11400 CPU is only slightly slower, but the on-chip GPU is cut down by 25%.

  • Nvidia's RTX 3080 Ti is headed to a retailer near you.  (Tom's Hardware)

    We don't mean the product range here.  We mean one card.  Which will mysteriously disappear in shipping.

  • Hard drives and SSDs are next.  (Tom's Hardware)

    There's a new cryptocurrency called Chia whose sole aim is apparently to prevent you from buying storage.  GPUs are gone, CPUs are in short supply, so they needed to figure out what to target next to ruin everyone else's lives.

  • On the other hand, Bitcoin mining rates have crashed due to rolling blackouts in China for a "comprehensive power outage safety inspection" in Xinjiang province.  (Nasdaq)

    Xinjiang is where the Uyghurs live, so "comprehensive power outage safety inspection" is quite possibly code for something unspeakable.

  • Lenovo also offers a tiny 10 core 35W system.  (Serve the Home)

    Or rather, a Tiny 10 core 35W system - the ThinkCenter M90q Tiny.

    This one is not passively cooled though.

  • Maybe Instagram for kids is not such a great idea.  (CCFC)

    And maybe hippos make poor housepets.

    Buzzfeed had an earlier, idiocy-filled announcement of the project.

  • Facebook, bucking five thousand years of human history, is letting governments lie to and manipulate their citizens.  (The Guardian)

    This has never happened before and something must be done.

  • A 21-year-old Australian physics student accidentally solved a key problem in quantum computing.  (ABC - the Australian one)

    This happens from time to time.  A student in mathematics or physics is assigned a tough homework question and answers it, not knowing that people have been trying and failing to solve the problem for twenty years.

    I suspect this is being oversold, though; I'll have to read the paper and see if it's really all that groundbreaking.

  • Nobody ever got fined for filing bullshit DMCA takedowns.  (TorrentFreak)

    It is technically a felony* but I don't think it has ever been pursued as such, and rarely even followed up in civil action.  In this case, RightsHero (who?) filed the bullshit notices on behalf of VuClip (who?) and targeted pages owned by actual real organisations including NASA and the BBC.

    Thousands of pages and even entire websites were listed in the notice.  Google rejected many of the takedowns but even so list of affected sites from this one takedown notice runs to twelve pages.

    * After feedback in the comments I looked this up, and it's only potentially a felony if you send a takedown notice for somebody else's work, not if your notice is just plain bullshit.

  • Compressed backup has passed 720GB of temporary storage.  If it goes much further it won't have room to copy to the backup directory.  I can't cancel it, but I'm going to anyway.

What Google Did Video of the Day

In short: Illegally spied on your children.

O Canada Video of the Day

Viva Frei - David Freiheit - lives in Montreal and has been posting regularly about the utter insanity of the police state there.  Now he's turning his attention to Ontario, which is, if anything, worse.

Disclaimer: Melbourne.  It's not just a place, it's a pathology.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:20 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 1408 words, total size 12 kb.

1 It's not a felony, which is a criminal offense. Instead, they are "liable for damages" - i.e. it's a tort.
The problem with it being a tort is pretty simple - to recover damages that way, you have to win a case in court (and in federal court, since the DMCA is federal law). That ain't cheap. You need to be able to spend thousands (if it's only thousands!) of dollars in legal expenses to get to the point where a judge can rule on the case.
And it's not a pure judgement of fact. To be liable, you have to "knowingly materially misrepresent" that the material is infringing. If you can say "nope, we just made a mistake", you aren't liable. This means there's kind of a grotesque incentive - if your company is very careful about only sending out infringement notices, you're more likely to be liable than if you just send out slapdash crap that no human is reviewing.
And if you win, what do you get? Your damages! Which are difficult to quantify. For the vast majority of instances, there will be effectively no damages beyond your attorney's fees (which you still have to pay if you lose...)
More accurately, you get a judgement for your damages. You'll note that very few big entertainment companies are sending out their own notices. No, you'll get a judgement against a fly-by-night company with a half-dozen employees that probably ceased to exist the moment they lost the case, or more likely, against an individual who isn't present in the US to begin with; good luck actually getting your money. You still gotta pay your lawyer out of your own pocket, though.
The whole reason that we have a DMCA to begin with is simple - going to federal court for copyright offenses is like killing roaches with a howitzer. But it basically made it so that getting resolution for abuse of the process has the same problems that the law fixed with the original process.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Sunday, April 18 2021 08:58 PM (v29Tn)

2 Depending on the details, it could be perjury, though that is never persued.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, April 18 2021 09:11 PM (PiXy!)

3 But as you say, in general it flips the burden from proving infringement has occurred to proving it hasn't.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, April 18 2021 09:12 PM (PiXy!)

4 Ah.  I looked it up.  The perjury clause only applies if you misrepresent yourself as the copyright holder or agent, not if you send out a completely bullshit takedown notice for copyrighted material that you actually own or represent.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, April 18 2021 11:52 PM (PiXy!)

5 You would think Sony'd use a replaceable battery.  I haven't seen any mention about whether replacing the battery would eliminate the problem.

Posted by: Rick C at Monday, April 19 2021 02:54 AM (eqaFC)

6 Replacing the battery is what triggers the mandatory connection to the server that no longer exists.


Posted by: J Greely at Monday, April 19 2021 03:29 AM (ZlYZd)

7 Ahh, that was a nuance I hadn't heard.  Must be the RTC getting reset.
That probably means you could parallel another battery in while you replaced the original one, if you did it before it died, but it shouldn't be that hard.  (For that matter, if the RTC's on a separate chip (e.g., a DS1307) as opposed to being built into the CPU, you could probably reprogram it while the system's otherwise powered off, but again, it shouldn't be that hard.)

Posted by: Rick C at Monday, April 19 2021 05:50 AM (eqaFC)

8 Sound like a "happy accident".  Problem Report closed: won't fix.  Thx for buying our crap, kiddos!

Love, Sony et al.

Posted by: normal at Monday, April 19 2021 02:01 PM (obo9H)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

63kb generated in CPU 0.0181, elapsed 0.1942 seconds.
58 queries taking 0.1005 seconds, 349 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.