Saturday, January 23


Daily News Stuff 23 January 2021

We Have Always Been At War With The Fire Nation Edition

Tech News

  • More details of the ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI Threadripper Pro motherboard.  (AnandTech)

    This is the best desktop motherboard ever made, at least based on feature set.

    Eight DIMM slots supporting eight channels and up to 1TB of ECC registered DDR4-3200 RAM, seven PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, seven PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots (though four of these are via an included PCIe adaptor), eight SATA ports, two U.2 ports, dual 10GbE ports - one with remote management, integrated WiFi 6, ten UBS 3.2 ports including one at 20Gb, the usual block of six audio jacks, no RGB anything, and no chipset fan.

    Compared to the Supermicro and Gigabyte boards it lacks separate GbE ports and VGA and serial ports.  Those are only really needed if you want to put your Threadripper Pro in a server rack, but that's actually pretty common - we have a Threadripper cluster at my day job.  So it's good to have both options.

  • Desktop and server rack, sure, but I don't think Threadripper laptops are quite ready for prime time.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • The Sony NWS-1250, on the other hand, is good to go.  (Rare & Old Computers)

  • The useful idiots' Useful Card has expired.  (Socialist Workers Party)

    Facebook has shut down the page of the British Socialist Workers Party and removed the accounts of a number of activists.

    Meanwhile, Twitter is suspending Antifa accounts.  (New York Post)

  • Apple is planning to scrap the Lightning report in favour of...  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  (ZDNet)

    Stupid.  You're so stupid.

  • SpaceX is planning to lob 143 satellites into orbit with a single launch.  (UPI)

    This will include the first Starlink satellites in polar orbit.

  • The EU wants to drag the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google before a hearing Monday week.  (Reuters)

    Burn them to the ground and scatter the ashes to the wind.

  • I've used the MySQL / MariaDB INSERT INTO ... SET syntax for years, because it is objectively superior to the standard INSERT ... VALUES syntax from a code clarity point of view.

    Now I want to update Mana (my social platform) to also work with SQLite to make it as easy as possible to run your own small instance, but SQLite doesn't support that syntax.

    If I'd used an ORM like SQL Alchemy this would all be handled for me, but my testing showed that the performance was absolutely terrible - not because it produced bad queries, but because of the amount of messing around in the Python code.

    So I wrote my own very lightweight ORM, and now I have to deal with different SQL dialects myself.

    But it turns out that because everything is built around an API library, the entire platform has just 63 INSERT statements - rarely more than one for any given table.  I think I can cope.

    Update: That should automatically deal with most of the INSERTS, just a few specialised ones that need manual attention.

    Also need to automatically convert the %(name)s syntax for the MySQL library to the :name used by SQLite, and cast the SQLite named tuples to dicts.

    And then fire up the test suite and see what falls over.

  • PayPal's automatic payment system fucking sucks.

  • Gimme.

Garbage Anime Trailer of the Day

I've seen a few mentions recently of a new series called Redo of Healer, from sensible people saying it's not to their liking, and from crazy people proposing to nuke Japan a few more times.

I took a look at the trailer, and realised that this is Kaifuku Jutsushi No Yarinaoshi.

I've read more of the manga than I care to admit, hoping it would at some point redeem itself.  It does not.

I suppose you have to in some sense respect a character who, granted his wish to be able to relive his life, systematically makes everything worse.

Or on second thought, perhaps not.


Disclaimer: Blup.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:54 PM | Comments (19) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 666 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Hey, I'm definitely crazy.

This isn't the reason to nuke Japan a few more time.  Alternate/renewable energy, maybe, but not an offensive story.  Publishing everywhere is weird right now, so someone messing up and letting this get out of the pornography ghetto is almost expected.  Letting it out of the ghetto because it succeeds in also being a nihilistic artsy literary comment on all of the peggy sue and other flavors of wish fulfillment being done to nausea in mainstream LNs is less defensible.  Still, if Redo is cause to nuke Japan, Hollywood and NYC should be nuked first. 

Really sounds like something that isn't my taste.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Sunday, January 24 2021 03:34 AM (6y7dz)

2's all the things people were SAYING about Rising of the Shield Hero?

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sunday, January 24 2021 04:20 AM (5iiQK)

3 Burn them to the ground and scatter the ashes to the wind.

It is only worthwhile if said CEOs were attained in the process and followed by seizure of corporate and personal assets.

I do believe Big Tech made a terrible miscalculation in considering who else might be watching them conspire with No-Legal Joe and his cronies take control.  Big Tech does not have enough money in the world to save them from power-hungry governments who just got a brilliant excuse to explain robbing the oligopoly of everything they have.  And those company like Alphabet that still have their billions stashed overseas are about to get a big surprise.

On the other hand, this is an excellent time for all sort of alternate communications, payment, and data sharing networks to come up.  I am also increasingly convinced that there needs to be real, physical infrastructure built to provide alternate channels and sources for 'The Others.'

Posted by: cxt217 at Sunday, January 24 2021 04:54 AM (4i7w0)

4 "real, physical infrastructure"
In the near term, encrypting _all_ of your traffic allows you to use their space undetected.  This is incovenient at times, but possible. TOR and TOR-like networks can do some of the work. There are already underground malware networks pushing packets, mining cryptocurrencies, and such.  Creating a less-destructive version wouldn't be impossible. There's also

Posted by: normal at Sunday, January 24 2021 05:34 AM (obo9H)

5 Saw the video, thought "what a waste of cute female character designs." Then realized, oh, there probably is a way to do a fixit 'Redo of Hero' fanfic. Transmigrate the soul of some saner raving lunatic into the protagonist before the time travel, and after the time travel find a way to just get away from everyone and chill. I'm short of fanfic projects that fit my level of writing skill, and this is one, but the source material sounds so much not to my taste that I would rather not.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Sunday, January 24 2021 07:35 AM (6y7dz)

6 Yeah, to subvert it in fan-fic, you'd have to read a fair amount of it first. According to a review I found of the uncensored version of episode 2, there's a lovingly-detailed montage of the lowtagonist being tortured and gang-raped every night for six months to justify the night he turns the tables and starts his "career". And things go downhill from there.

And, yes, he has full command of his powers and full knowledge of the future, with enough time to have avoided going through all of that again, so if he were even slightly less insane, it could have been plenty dark without being torture porn. You could tweak the direction by having some of his earlier self's basic decency survive the memory implant, leading him to run off before he's marked as a hero and located by the villains. Then they wouldn't know his name, face, powers, or home village, and he could act freely from the shadows.


Posted by: J Greely at Sunday, January 24 2021 01:06 PM (ZlYZd)

7 So...You are saying that is basically at the level of Sword Art Online?

Good to know.  Unfortunately, given the popularity of SAO (Which, to my regret, I was one of those who greatly enjoyed it when I first started reading it - before I realized how terrible Reki Kawahara is as a writer.), it will probably enjoy much greater popularity than it deserves.  Seriously, if I wanted to read dark tales of another world, I would read the New York Times.

Posted by: cxt217 at Sunday, January 24 2021 01:51 PM (4i7w0)

8 Brickmuppet: "'s all the things people were SAYING about Rising of the Shield Hero?"
My comment over at dotclue that kicked this discussion off was: I'm just waiting to see what the uranium-laced thermite meltdown with ClF3 kicker the internet will be like once people start getting wind of Redo of Healer. It's basically everything Goblin Slayer and Shield Hero were falsely accused of being... ramped up to 12.

PatBuckman:"oh, there probably is a way to do a fixit 'Redo of Hero' fanfic."
Apparently, according to TVTropes there is a "a spin-off manga named Kaifuku Jutsushi no Omotenashi(Hospitality of Healer) which is an alternate take on the story where after traveling back in time, Keyaru decided to abandon his plans for revenge after realizing everyone is good and peaceful and instead opens up a cafe."  I've no idea of anything else about it.

Posted by: StargazerA5 at Sunday, January 24 2021 02:09 PM (WY0BG)

9 Okay, having the author replace bitter revenge porn with a light-and-fluffy cafe really highlights the OH JOHN RINGO NO nature of the original story.


Posted by: J Greely at Sunday, January 24 2021 03:07 PM (ZlYZd)

10 I think the opening quote you were looking for was "There is no war within the walls of Ba Sing Se..." but I dunno, the streams have been crossed way too many times.

Posted by: Philip Fraering at Monday, January 25 2021 02:47 AM (gRZQq)

11 I'm not impressed with RK as an author, but I feel I should be able to defend SAO as being better than Worm or Redo. Not quite sure what argument I would make. Strongest one I can think of is that RK's Americans were clearly also something he borrowed from James Hogan, and James Hogan was also clueless about Americans as far as I can tell. Of course, I quit following it mid-Alicization after finding out how Alicization ended. I've gotten a lot more charitable towards some of the insanely crazy depictions I've seen of the CIA after recent events. For example, in Index/Railgun, the LN where Ruiko Saten has an adventure on the island of Liberal Arts City? I still think the station Chief isn't terribly plausible, but it no longer feels impossible. There are SAO fanfics I'm significantly a fan of, that mostly address my major problems with the canon. I've seen two or three things on Amazon that sound like that official fixit AU of Redo. There is no war within the walls of Air Strip One.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Monday, January 25 2021 03:31 AM (6y7dz)

12 cxt217, I think it's quite a stretch to say that any aspect of SAO is even remotely comparable to Redo. My interest in SAO was based around the interesting female characters, whose participation in the story steadily declined until they were basically missing for the Alicization arc (which was also quite tedious). My interest in Redo ended before the lowtagonist (aka "Low-T Agonist") was repeatedly drugged, tortured, and gang-raped on-screen, leading him to triumphantly torture, brutally rape, and brainwash (in that order) the first member of his harem.

Kind of curious what aspect of SAO came to mind for you as similar.


Posted by: J Greely at Monday, January 25 2021 04:57 AM (ZlYZd)

13 Kayaba, Kikuouka, Sugou, and the Alicization dude are basically RK resorting to increasingly absurd contrivance because he isn't good at designing villains and antagonists that can carry a plot. 

He pulls it off for Aincrad, Fairy Dance has design cruft built in with the first version, when he didn't know how do an 'evil fiance' arc without making the guy over the top evil.  (Though, Fairy Dance makes sense of why Asuna starts Aincrad suicidal.)  Then he has a bunch more shorter bits before he tries to pull off Alicization.

Grimderp can be defined in terms of  'Look at the choices the author can make independently.  If at every design choice, the evilest or edgiest alternative is chosen, you have grimderp.'

There is a bunch of choices that line up that way with Redo.  The author clearly mined Rance, Shield Hero, etc., for inspiration, but relentlessly only lightened things to give a little contrast to the peaks of evil.  The character design implies a mechanism that makes powerful people tend towards being insane sexual sadists.  Such mechanism does not appear to have been established, so I would rate it as more grim derp than a story that does establish such a mechanism, and also has powerful characters that approximate decent and sane.

Worm?  Also probably an example of grim derp.  It is a super-hero/crime setting where wildbow decided that the biggest and most powerful gangs in Brockton Bay were the white gang and the asian gang.  Those decisions increase in scale to humanity being doomed because of the power behind the local superman, and the only people who know are a criminal conspiracy with a morality license from the author.  So, I would be comfortable classifying Worm as grimderp.  But some of maybe conservatism, and thinking Wildbow is a bit too strongly SJW.  (Full disclosure, I liked Twig until I quit reading and didn't go back.  Wildbow has some persistent habits of storytelling.)

SAO?  You can point to the choices for the villains.  And Asuna, Sinon, Yuuki, and Alice have backstories that pile edgy on top of edgy.  But there are some choices that aren't edgy/unpleasant, that could have been made edgy and unpleasant.  Agil and Klein for one, even if Agil was a plot mechanism in Fairy Dance, and Klein a joke after Aincrad.  Anyway, I think SAO Progressive is a sign RK knows some of SAO's flaws, and Accel World is a sign that he can do better writing.  I also think RK is not the top tier of writing ability, and that some of SAO's design is harmed because he wrote the web novel at a lower level of competence. 

So CXT's position makes a little bit of sense to me.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Monday, January 25 2021 06:00 AM (6y7dz)

14 So, they both have badly-written villains, but only Redo makes the "hero" just as evil and sadistic as the rest, with all of his "allies" reduced to sex slaves? Kinda big differences, IMHO. I mean, even in the non-canon story where all the girls marry Kirito inside Alice's universe and bang him, it's all enthusiastically consensual.


Posted by: J Greely at Monday, January 25 2021 08:22 AM (ZlYZd)

15 For your horrified amusement, here's how Novel Updates describes Redo: "This is a heroic tale of one healing magician who became the strongest by using knowledge from his past life and healing magic."


Posted by: J Greely at Monday, January 25 2021 01:15 PM (ZlYZd)

16 Getting Sugou (Actual kidnap, attempted rape, attempted mind break, attempted murder, et al.) and the Alicization (Oh, look, I want to make an American look like the worst scum I can possibly think of!)...They irritate and annoy me due to how cliched they are and also that Kawahara does not know how to freakin' Google/Wiki literally anything.  Or ask - there have been times when I was writing and needed something for my stories that I just asked with someone who worked in that field or knew a lot about that (And that is just the friends and family!) but apparently Kawahara could not do something like wondering about bandwidth requirements - which would had made the Alicization arc end much sooner.  That is not even the 'Hahaha, us Japanese good!  Americans and Koreans BAD!' which he could even make entertainingly awful...

Kawahara made a mass murderer (Not just of innocents, but of children.) psychopath into both a great god of good AND the reason why Kirito manages to pull off a win in at least one major plot point!  He made Kayaba, the freakin' villain of the entire first arc, into the greater good of the rest of the series.  After all, he brought a whole new world into being and helped our main characters, so committing kidnapping and mass murder with any problem or pangs of conscience is just the sort of thing we want our greater good to be.  You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs amirite?  Heck, I get the feeling reading the later parts of SAO (Yes, I pay for the books to read a series I dislike - which is probably my penance for a mispent youth.) that we are suppose to respect and admire Kayaba!

Note that while I do not think Reki Kawahara is a good writer, he has done better work than SAO ever was.  I find Accel World to be a much better story, even if the premise was not nearly as exciting and Kawahara still retains most of his bad habits.  I have not read The Isolator, so I can not say how good his writing has become.

Now, I admit to liking stuff that people find trashy or low quality, even if they are isekai.  I enjoyed, to name three, In Another World With My Smartphone, Death March to Another World Rhapsody, and The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar, especially the latter two - and those are titles in my backlog that people will recognize.  I also like some dark stuff like Record of Wortenia War - but in all cases, the the work was either damn entertaining enough to suspend my disbelief, or I can appreciate them doing a good job with the background work (Log Horizon actually hit both areas, and Gate did it enough.).  But if a title can not offer either, like How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom singularly failed to impress, then I might as well go back to reading New York Times if I want to be depressed.

Posted by: cxt217 at Monday, January 25 2021 03:17 PM (4i7w0)

17 ...does Mana have somewhere I can watch or subscribe to for updates and release announcements?

Posted by: ahd at Monday, January 25 2021 05:13 PM (p41ME)

18 Not yet, but soon.  I hadn't decided whether or what I was going to make open source, but recent events have convinced me that it has to be open source, and distributed.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, January 25 2021 10:28 PM (PiXy!)

19 Yeah, that issue with Kayaba's ghost in the machine being somehow an ally is one of the many things that makes SAO call out for fanfic. It could be justified with the claim that the characters are recognizing that there isn't all that much continuity of personality between Kayaba and Kayaba's ghost, but... I would need to reread phantom bullet 2 to be sure, but the end in the anime shows Shinon very much not recognizing that her attempted groomer was warped, and evil, and that she really ought to sever the relationship to prevent further mind games. Add on the lack of narrative recognition of her mother being abusive, and it seems pretty clear that RK has really bad moral judgement. Possibly Unital Ring will show that current RK can design a plot now that he is no longer constrained by the plotting choices of the webnovel, but I am not hopeful. I can't speak to The Isolator either.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Tuesday, January 26 2021 12:25 AM (6y7dz)

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

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