This wouldn't have happened with Gainsborough or one of those proper painters.

Sunday, October 23


Daily News Stuff 23 October 2022

Petarded By Their Own Hoist Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Which used to be a lot.

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Saturday, October 22


Daily News Stuff 22 October 2022

It Puts The Thingy In The Box Edition

Tech News

  • The usual suspects can't work out whether a hypothetical US government intervention into Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter is a dream or a nightmare.  (Ars Technica)

    First, we should note, that this is an alleged "national security" issue - regarding a web forum where lunatics scream at each other all day - when Twitter is known to already be overrun with foreign spies.  (Washington Times)

    Not the site; the company itself.  They're on the payroll, and Twitter knows this.

    Second, of course, Twitter is likely to collapse entirely without a buyer.  Shares dropped 16% just on rumours that the government might be considering looking into it.

    Third, the reasons given are, basically, that the Biden Administration are fascist warmongers who will destroy anyone who disagrees with them:
    According to Bloomberg’s interviews with "people familiar with the matter," US officials were not comfortable with Musk's tweets that threatened to stop funding Starlink service in Ukraine and discussed solutions to the war that would be favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Concerns about Musk drawing Twitter finances from foreign investors reportedly began escalating within the Biden administration, which is trying to avoid national security threats surrounding Musk deals.
    Note also that before Musk, Twitter's largest shareholder was from Saudi Arabia, yet another country hostile to the Biden Administration.

  • As I mentioned in a late update on my own blog, I ordered an HP Pavilion Plus 14 to replace my Dell Inspiron 14 7000 from last year, which is slowly breaking down from being my primary computer throughout the house move.

    The new system has the Four Essential Keys in their proper place, a 2880x1800 90Hz OLED display at 100% DCI-P3 instead of a 2560x1600 60Hz IPS display at 100% sRGB*, and a drastically faster CPU - up from 4 cores / 8 threads to 14 cores / 20 threads.  If it had 32GB of RAM and a Ryzen 6800U it would be perfect, but there are no laptops with that configuration anywhere in the world.

    The one downside all the reviews mention is battery life - the high-end CPU and OLED display are pretty power hungry.  But again, my current laptop no longer has great battery life anyway.  Or reliable video out on the USB-C port.  Or a properly working trackpad.

    * Or was once 100% sRGB.  Was a great screen for the first nine months.  Something happened on the first flight back down from New House City and it's now kind of bleh.

Tech News

  • Stop fetishising pyschosis.



  • The CEO of Mailchimp was apparently ousted for daring to suggest that not everyone needs to be forced to state their pronouns before each meeting.  (Platformer)

    Mailchimp is a censorious woke shithole that he created, so no tears for him, doubly so because he just sold the company to Intuit for $12 billion.

    Which used to be a lot of money.

  • A VMWare bug with a rating of 9.8 on the open ended fuck me scale has been exploited to do exploity things by exploiters.  (Ars Technica)

    A patch has been out since April, so we can't really lay all the blame on VMWare for this one.

  • Oh, they're different speakers.  I'm not going mad.  Well, I am, but for different reasons.

    The Monoprice DT 3BT are (is?) a pretty good pair  of computer speakers for just shy of a hundred bucks.  (WCCFTech)

    Connect via Bluetooth or good old 1/8" audio jack, and enjoy.  It sounds like there were some corners cut, but not in ways that immediately affect the performance:
    I do have to say, though, that there are a few things that irk me about the way these speakers are designed. Maybe it's because Monoprice decided to shift their resources toward making the speakers sound good or something, but the covering material is a bit off-putting. Not to mention, the cables that connect the speakers to each other are way too thin, I feel like I could snap them in half if I stared at them hard enough.
    A few caveats aside:
    Not to mention, the device doesn’t even have a subwoofer. It’s literally just the two speakers. I am floored at how well these speakers performed better than my own home theater in specific scenarios. As such, I think the device will perform just fine for people looking for a great audio experience on a budget.
    Since I'm planning to rig seven* rooms of my house with computers and audio over the next year, I'm taking notes.

    * At least seven.

  • Meanwhile, also from Monoprice the MTM 100 offers all that and more.  (PC Perspective)

    These add RCA, USB-C, and optical inputs, a second woofer in each speaker housing, output for a subwoofer, and a remote control.  But they do cost $499.

    I recently picked up this Panasonic shelf stereo - this is the one that took a five-day tour of the countryside that Amazon thinks I've bought twice.  It has a similar feature set to those Monoprice speakers (including being able to act as a USB sound card), plus a CD player and digital radio, and delivers 60W RMS per channel instead of 50W, and cost about half as much.

    I plan to get a couple of other shelf hifi systems for other rooms, while they still make them.  Right now there are three good shelf hifi systems on the market in Australia - that one, a similarly priced Yamaha, and a Denon system that's about the price of these speakers.  Within ten years there'll be nothing between home theatre soundbars and $20k audiophile systems.

  • Russia's Institute of Applied Physics plans to have 7nm chip fabrication working by 2028.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Money quote, such as it is:
    The main objective of ASML in this case was to maintain the extremely high productivity that is needed only at the world's largest factories.  In Russia, no one needs such high productivity. In our work, we start from the needs and tasks faced by domestic microelectronics — and this is not so much about quantity, but about quality.
    In other words, this isn't about commercial production, but limited quantities for the military as the economy gurgles steadily down the drain.  Again

    And without commercial production, they simply won't be able to keep up.  TSMC's first 7nm sample chips appeared in 2016 - and those weren't trivial devices, but already had 1.5 billion transistors.

    Intel is planning commercial production on their 18A node - 1.8nm - by late 2024.  TSMC and Samsung expect 2nm in 2025.

  • Yes, West Virginia, there really are mosquito magnets.  (The Guardian)

    Probably not fair to pick on West Virginia like that, given that there are about twenty other states that show up in search results for "mosquito state bird" ahead of it, but the joke doesn't work if I pick, say, Minnesota.

    Anyway, scientists testing natural human scents in mosquito traps found that some people are consistently one hundred times better at attracting mosquitoes than others.

    A word of advice: Stay indoors, and away from me.

  • Ethics, like rules, are for the little people.  (WSJ / Slashdot)
    Mark Wu held more than $1 million of stock when President Biden tapped him to help craft a trade policy that would benefit U.S. technology companies and online retailers. Ethics officials at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said they gave Mr. Wu two options: Get rid of the stock or recuse himself from digital trade issues. He did neither.

    The U.S. has a law aimed at preventing the nation's thousands of obscure but powerful federal officials from using their influence on regulations, policies and investigations to benefit themselves. With penalties up to $50,000 and five years in prison, the law is supposed to ensure that officials in the executive branch don't work on any matter that could affect their personal finances. It doesn't.
    Never mind the legislative branch, who literally make their own rules, and don't even follow those.

Pixy Is Watching

The Aquatope on White Sand, which totally flew swam past me last year.  It's a pretty standard slice of fish story, but with top-notch artwork.  Just gorgeous.

Recommended so far, if you want to watch cute girls doing fish things against a stunning tropical landscape.

It's Happening Live Stream of the Tomorrow

International relations have been thawing of late, and the long-awaited PomuTori collab is finally here.  I'm not sure what the hangup was, but there's been a general increase in collabs between branches and between agencies lately.  HoloEN and NijiEN is the big one, and the male colleagues of Frogiara and Pomura had a Terraria collab just a few days ago.

Disclaimer: Doe, a deer, a female deer, or doe not, there is no ray.

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Friday, October 21


Daily News Stuff 21 October 2022

A Good Start Edition

Top Story

  • Elon Musk is planning to fire 75% of Twitter's workforce out of an enormous trebuchet directly into the Sun.  (The Guardian)
    "It's inefficient in terms of orbital velocities," said Musk.  "But I think they've earned it."
    Current Twitter management are busy hiding their own plans:
    On Thursday night, Bloomberg reported that an internal memo circulated by Twitter said there were "no plans for any company-wide layoffs, and definitely not 25%, and no, Patrice, your name is not at the top of the list, not that there is a list."
    Twitter currently has 7500 employees, mostly in the Trust and Safety, Safety and Trust, Trust in Safety, and It's Not Censorship When We Do It departments, all of which Musk plans to axe.
    But while Twitter’s current management planned to lay off 25% of the staff by the end of next year, the new report revealed Musk wants to reduce Twitter’s 7,500 employees down to a "skeleton staff” of around 2,000 people.
    The Golgafrinchans only needed to rid themselves of one third of their population.  Douglas Adams was an optimist.

  • Musk gutting Twitter would be a threat to us all - and by "us all" we mean the self-appointed gatekeepers of Truth whose salaries depend on keeping you miserable peasants in your place.  (Bloomberg)
    That said, slashing 75% of staff isn’t the kind of surgical strike aimed at tidying up a bloated workforce and getting a company through a few quarters of rough weather.
    Correct.  This isn't short-term thinking.  Twitter is completely dysfunctional, and jettisoning the majority of the staff and all of senior management is the first step toward fixing that.
    Such an attitude is bewildering. Musk, who will take the company private and own it outright, has a net worth of almost $200 billion. While only a fraction of that is liquid —most being tied up in shares of his companies —Twitter’s $3.8 billion annual operating budget is something he could afford to bolster, not reduce. ... With Twitter, though, Musk moves from being a high-profile, extremely talkative leader of a couple of transportation companies to the overlord of an extremely powerful and highly effective tool for disseminating both facts and disinformation.
    The thesis here is that (a) Musk should spend billions of dollars of his own money keeping Twitter afloat and (b) keep on censoring the only people who could ever make the platform profitable.

    I suspect he'll pass on that offer.

  • I ordered myself a top-of-the-line HP Pavilion Plus 14 to replace my ailing Dell Inspiron 14 7000.  In theory it should be much, much faster.

    Apart from the huge CPU upgrade it also has a 2880x1800 OLED display and the Four Essential Keys in their proper place.  RAM and SSD are the same as the Dell at 16GB and 1TB respectively.  1TB of SSD is fine (and it can be replaced) but I really wanted 32GB of RAM.  I couldn't find anything like that except for the Asus Zenbook 14X Space Edition at twice the price of the HP.

    (I woke up this morning to find that the trackpad on the Dell could no longer click, which makes things like drag-and-drop rather tricky.  It was working last night; somehow it failed physically while it was just sitting there.  Presumably delayed effects of the abuse it's suffered over the last five months.)

Tech News

Disclaimer: Final call for passengers for the B Ark.  Please make your way immediately to gate 19.  Please have your boarding pass ready.  The boarding pass is the piece of cardboard that says "boarding pass" on it.

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Thursday, October 20


Daily News Stuff 20 October 2022

Hot Boiled Bunnies Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: There's a hole in the bucket with your name on it.

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Wednesday, October 19


Daily News Stuff 19 October 2022

Fluffy Bunny Edition

Top Story

  • Indian independent tech news site The Wire broke the story that Meta (i.e. Facebook) had handed the ability to censor posts to officials within the Indian government.  (Washington Post)

    Meta responded:
    That never happened, and the documents you cite appear to be written in crayon.
    The Wire in turn responded:
    That's merely Meta's corporate style and we stand by our report...  Never mind.
    Did they hire ex-Bloomberg staff or what?

  • I'm going to buy that HP Pavilion Plus 14.  The only real difference between it and the Asus Zenbook 14X Space Edition is that the Asus has 32GB of RAM rather than 16GB - but HP's current sale puts it at half the price.

    I was wondering why the i7 model was so much more expensive than the i5.  Turns out it's a completely different i7.  The i5 model sold in Australia is the i5-1240P, and I thought that the i7 was the only marginally faster 1260P.  Instead it's the 12700H, and between 50% and 60% faster.

    Also, I thought that the H series had a serious flaw compared to the P series with regards to integrated graphics.  This was true with the 11th gen counterparts: The eight core 11800H has 32 graphics cores compared to 96 on the quad core 1165G7.

    But the 12th gen parts all have 96 graphics cores, so there's no downside...  Except the reduced battery life if you actually use all that power.

    Instead of being 60% faster than my current travel laptop, it's about 160% faster.  And costs 10% more.  And has a higher resolution OLED screen.  And a better keyboard layout.  And - there's always something - all the ports are on the other side compared with my current laptop.

Tech News

  • Speaking of ex-staff, Amazon's high turnover costs the company nearly $8 billion a year.  (Engadget)

    To put that into perspective, that's nearly twice what they spend shipping all my packages up to me here in New House City.

  • Missing some neat computer file from the good old days?  Discmaster has it.  (Ars Technica)

    The volunteer-run site contains 113 million files totaling 11.4TB, and a handy search engine to find exactly what you....  Oh.
    Oct 10 8:04PM EST

    Sorry, but search is currently DOWN. We are super bummed about it.
    We are ACTIVELY working on it.

    No ETA at this time.
    Well then.  Time to fire up wget -r -np.

  • Apple has new iPads.  (Six Colors)

    They support the Apple Pencil for drawing.  Except that the Pencil can charge wirelessly by clipping it to the iPad's magnetic docking thingy, or via the iPad's Lightning port, and these iPads don't have either of those.

  • Cut off from western chip suppliers, Russia has turned to China and is seriously regretting it.  (The Register)

    They're reporting component failure rates of 40%.  Which makes for an assembled product failure rate of somewhat more than 100%.

  • Kanye West has announced he is buying Parler, and Journalists for Censorship is up in arms.  (Tech Crunch)

    The article is paywalled but all you're missing out on is Stasi wannabees crying into their soup, and you can get that for free on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I mean, if you want to.  No kink-shaming here.  Except furries.  Flammenwerfer.

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Tuesday, October 18


Daily News Stuff 18 October 2022

Quantum Time Stereos And Other Strangeness Edition

Top Story

  • A fire at a major datacenter in Korea wreaked havoc on the country's online infrastructure on Saturday.  (Korea Times)

    The fire at the fifteen acre datacenter just south of Seoul caught burned for eight hours before being fully extinguished, which is a long time for this sort of thing.  The fire at OVH in Strasbourg didn't last much longer than that, and the building burned to the ground.

    The disastrous effects were felt throughout the community:
    "I needed to receive a photo from my business partner through KakaoTalk. But I had to go through an inconvenient process to get the photo through email because of the KakaoTalk disruption," said a KakaoTalk user, asking for anonymity. "I should've used Telegram."
    Well, okay, that's a minor thing, but:
    "I send some money to my parents every month automatically through Kakao Pay, but I can't verify it," said a user of the platform.
    Well, I can see how that would be temporarily vexing.  One more try?
    "After dinner last night, I tapped on the Kakao T app to call a cab, but it didn't work," said another user. "So I took the subway home."
    It's almost as if these platforms aren't really that critical and people can cope fine without them.

  • Apparently I ordered the new hifi system that was delivered by Amazon tomorrow, yesterday, twice.  Except that I only paid for one and they only delivered one.

    I think there's a time rift somewhere between Sydney and New House City.

Tech News

  • Stability AI, the company behind the Stable Diffusion algorithm for generating AI art, has raised $100 million in funding.  (Tech Crunch)

    At a valuation of $1 billion, which used to be a lot of money, but given that I ordered $100 worth of groceries on the weekend and it came in two bags, isn't anymore.  (Though the paper towels and soda were out of stock, otherwise it would have been three bags.)

  • Want an 8k resin-based 3D printer?  The Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8k is one.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Seems to produce good results as you'd hope with a 28 micron resolution, but resin printers are kind of fussy.  I'll likely get one once I've got some furniture in the place, but not a fancy model like this to start with.

  • Intel's 13th gen CPUs and AMD's Ryzen 7000 range are power hungry beasts - unless you tell them not to be.  (WCCFTech)

    The 13900K restricted to 80W is as fast as a 12900K running unlimited, and the 7950X running in 65W Eco mode is faster than a 5950X running at full throttle.

    Again, this looks good for next-generation laptops.

  • Shame then that I'm having trouble with my laptop right now.  The best replacement is HP's Pavilion Plus 14, but I missed the sale last month.  

    The sale is back on...  But there are only two models available in Australia (no build-to-order buffet for us) and only the most expensive one is in stock.

    Update: Having checked the specs - it's an i7 12700H (6 P cores) rather than an i7 1260P (4 P cores), and the 12700H has Xe graphics unlike the 11th gen H models - and compared pricing with the US store - the Aussie dollar is in the toilet right now so that it's actually cheaper to buy it here with the current 20% discount - I'm going to order the more expensive model with the OLED screen.

    It's much faster than my current laptop, has a better screen, and the four essential keys, and hasn't sustained damage during a protracted house move.  The only problem is it still has 16GB of RAM, which isn't really enough.  The Asus Zenbook 14X Space Edition has 32GB, but the specs are otherwise the same and it's twice the price.

  • In a sign that supply chain shortages are finally easing lead times for chip delivery shrank in September from an average of 27 weeks, to just 26 weeks and 3 days.  (Bloomberg)

    That's much better.

  • Last week, the Bitcoin blockchain did absolutely nothing for 85 minutes.  (CoinDesk)

    It is set to average one block every ten minutes, which is pretty terrible given that right now I am cursing the slowness of another blockchain that process a block every three seconds.  Given the distribution, hour-long processing delays can be expected roughly once a month.  Slightly more often if someone sets the datacenter on fire.

Disclaimer: In case of fire, panic.

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Monday, October 17


Daily News Stuff 17 October 2022

Return To The Future Edition

Top Story

  • Who is truly responsible for the $110 million loss at decentralised finance (DeFi) platform Mango Markets? Arguably, everyone except the guy who caused it. (Milky Eggs)

    The attack, such as it was, was basically just everyday arbitrage. The problem was more than Mango Markets is an unlicensed and untested securities exchange that could be wiped out by things that happen in the normal course of market transactions, because it is built and run by idiots.

    Or not necessarily idiots, because it's not the people running Mango Markets who lost money.

  • After a five-day tour of the New South Wales countryside, my Amazon shipment arrived. I'll unpack it at some point; my new tablet is in there.

    Also, it's listed on Amazon as having being delivered tomorrow, which is just slightly odd.

Tech News

  • A dumb article on a dumb problem. (Substack)

    Don't read that unless you want to be enraged by idiots building idiotic applications on top of idiotic frameworks built by other idiots.

  • A smart article on the same dumb problem. (Luke Plant)

    Money quote:
    Are the Etsy devs stupid? I suspect not. Etsy is clearly doing well, and I imagine they have enough money to hire top-notch developers. Some of their careers pages show they are happy using a variety of languages and technologies, and their engineering blog seems to be sane and competent. Even their security presentation showed considerable ingenuity and technical ability in dealing with security problems (in entirely the wrong way, unfortunately, but still impressive).
    I doubt they are low quality developers. Rather, I suspect that use of PHP has addled their brains. They have become far too accustomed to working in an environment in which insanity reigns...
    One bad decision made to get a product out the door can lead to years of mental - and financial - bleeding.

  • Why are rents going up? An app named YieldStar. (Pro Publica)

    It turns out if you increase your rents faster than the overall market, you make more money. Right up until it turns out that all your properties are mysteriously sitting vacant.

  • Intel's other 4-bit CPU. (Substack)

    There was the original 4004, built for desktop calculators, and the subsequent 4040, before Intel moved on to 8-bit chips and never looked back.

    But there was also the 4005. You wouldn't know it, it lived in Canada.

Disclaimer: Bees and custard? Who ordered the bees and custard?

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Sunday, October 16


Daily News Stuff 16 October 2022

Shaggy Dog Edition

Top Story

  • If you can't beat them, beat someone else: How Intel plans to take on AMD, Nvidia, Apple, and Qualcomm...  As customers.  (WCCFTech)

    You know who has fabs?  Intel.

    You know who doesn't have fabs?  AMD, Nvidia, Apple, and Qualcomm.

    Currently they use mostly TSMC and Samsung, and Intel is seeking to lure them away.  Intel's semiconductor technology was lagging behind in recent years, but they seem to be catching up again.

    Intel did have one major foundry customer previously - leading FPGA designer Altera - but then they bought them so it doesn't count anymore.

Tech News

Disclaimer: No, that's too shaggy.

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Saturday, October 15


Daily News Stuff 15 October 2022

Scratch Monkey Edition

Top Story

  • Everyone going to the World Cup (a soccer thing) needs a burner phone.  (NRK)

    The apps you are required to install to enter the country and attend soccer games are, well, problematic, in the traditional sense that they have and/or cause problems:
    When you download these two apps, you accept the terms stated in the contract, and those terms are very generous. You essentially hand over all the information in your phone. You give the people who control the apps the ability to read and change things, and tweak it. They also get the opportunity to retrieve information from other apps if they have the capacity to do so, and we believe they do.
    Always carry a burner phone when entering an authoritarian country, which is to say, a country, and always mount a scratch monkey.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Here's to Mabel and all the other possibly apocryphal monkeys who gave their lives in the name of poorly planned hardware upgrades.

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Friday, October 14


Daily News Stuff 14 October 2022

Post-Soviet Russia Edition

Top Story

  • In Amazon dream home, appliance tours you.  (Washington Post / MSN)

    Two thirds of American Amazon customers also own a telescreen, though some of them hide it behind the painting.  "I never thought of having people pay for the privilege of being spied upon", said George Orwell, sitting bolt upright in his grave and feverishly hunting for a pencil and notepaper.

    The most complicated Amazon-branded device I own is a pillowcase.

Tech News

  • PostgreSQL 15 is here.  It has stuff.  (PostgreSQL)

    Postgres was already a thing when I was studying databases at university, back in the chalcolithic era.  They added the "SQL" sometime later.

  • Take two, they're small: The Falcon Northwest Talon 7950X edition.  (Serve the Home)

    Small but shiny.  This is very close in spec to the system I want to build in my Bae case.  They note as I did that the Asus ROG X670E Crosshair Hero motherboard has every feature you could possibly want - except 10Gb Ethernet.  Given its stratospheric price, that's a bit of a let down, particularly with the Bae case where there is only one full-height PCIe slot available.

  • Want to squeeze an RTX 4090 into two slots?  Water cooling is the way.  (Hot Hardware)

    Of course it's even more expensive than the regular models.

  • Want to build a latter-day Cobalt Qube?  Topton's NAS MOBO has everything you need.  (Liliputing)

    On a standard ITX motherboard it includes a quad core Intel Atom CPU (one of the good recent Atoms, not a crappy old one), up to 32GB of RAM in two SO-DIMM slots, two M.2 NVMe slots, six SATA ports, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, four USB ports, four 2.5Gb Ethernet ports, and a meker buruner.

    No, I don't know either.

  • Want a Linux tablet?  Plain Linux rather than Android?  Juno has one of those.  (Liliputing)

    Also with an Intel Atom CPU so it should be easy to run any standard Linux distro on it.

Disclaimer: Meker?  I hardly buruner!

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