Is this how time normally passes? Really slowly, in the right order?

Friday, January 21


Saved For Tomorrow

Saving this because I'm gonna need it.

Also because that is some freaking awesome editing work.  There's a couple of transitions that aren't quite perfect, but damn.

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Daily News Stuff 21 January 2021

Antiredecentralisation R Us Edition

Top Story

  • A lot is made of how the blockchain is distributed and decentralised and fault-tolerant and no one person can control it and then a hamster in Hong Kong sneezes and all your NFTs disappear.  (ZDNet)

    OpenSea's site went down around 6AM and was restored by 8:30AM.  And the blockchains themselves - Ethereum, Klaytn, and Polygon are the ones OpenSea support - were working as usual, or in the case of Polygon, completely fucked - again - but still technically alive.  

    But NFTs were missing from users' wallets another seven hours.  What was going on?

    Well, you have to understand that blockchain APIs are basically garbage.  Writing a wallet that can actually display a user's NFTs on an Ethereum-compatible network using the standard APIs is nightmarishly difficult.  It's the mobile app equivalent of making a chicken sandwich from scratch.
    It ultimately took him six months and $1,500 to make the final product using a thorough 16-step process that required him to grow a garden (step 1), harvest wheat (step 10) and even, yes, slaughter a chicken (step 14).
    But OpenSea has an API that makes it much easier.  So, not wanting to spend six months only to end up choking a chicken, every wallet developer uses the OpenSea API.

    Every wallet developer.

    When OpenSea hiccups, every NFT wallet in the world breaks.

    Because decentralisation.

Tech News

Pixy Is Watching Video of the Day

I was scrolling through Amazon Prime (I cancelled Netflix long ago but keep Prime for the free deliveries) wondering if they had anything worth my time.  They have House but it doesn't have Teardrop as the opening theme so forget that.  And then I tripped over Iroduku.  And ended up watching it until around 2AM.

Rewatching it, because I've seen it already; it's just that good.

If you don't have Amazon Prime don't fret because somehow the whole thing is also on YouTube.

House Like It's 2022 Video of the Day

The three opening themes of House.  The first is Teardrop by Massive Attack, and is the only correct theme.  The second one is like when your favourite brand is out of stock and you have to buy store brand and you get it home and you find that it's actually not that bad but you go right back to your regular brand anyway.

The third is predigested crap.

So guess which one Amazon is giving me.

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

Disclaimer: The problem with making a chicken sandwich from scratch is you just can't get good scratch anymore.

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Thursday, January 20


Daily News Stuff 20 January 2022

Stop The Year I Want To Get Off Edition

Top Story

  • Disinformation is mostly bullshit.  (Harpers)

    If you read the article, note that much of it is biting satire.  The point is that most of the claims being made regarding disinformation are themselves disinformation - or more specifically, utterly baseless, pseudoscientific garbage.

  • Not that this is going to stop anyone, or even slow them down much.  (ZDNet)

    Australia is demanding to know why Google and Facebook aren't censoring "disinformation" faster.

    While our government is as shitty as America's in this respect and unconstrained by our constitution, I have no sympathy whatsoever for the Big Tech companies that gleefully dug this hole for themselves.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

Disclaimer: I will not mint this NFT.  I will not list on OpenSea.  I will not mine blocks on a boat.  I will not send ETH to a goat.  I think the blockchain is a scam.  I do not like it, Sam-I-am.

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Wednesday, January 19


Daily News Stuff 19 January 2022

Why Tho Edition

Top Story

  • Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.  (PC Perspective)

    In cash.

    Activision has been around since 1980 and is the publisher of classic titles such as Build-A-Bear Workshop: Welcome to Hugsville and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Jackal Assault VR Experience.  Blizzard was for years a license to print money with Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, then they got woke and went broke.

    I don't know if Microsoft can turn the beleaguered company around, but if anyone can do it, it's them, because they are still motivated by good old-fashioned greed - they don't even bother to pretend they are doing things for your own good.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

Did I mention that 1980s music videos were weird?

Disclaimer: Because they were.

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Tuesday, January 18


Daily News Stuff 18 January 2022

Action Required Edition

Top Story

  • You have thirty seconds to comply with Google Play Policies.  (Sylvia van Os)

    This is a story that is repeated everywhere, every day, a story I am dealing with myself right now: Big Tech handing down ultimatums to independent developers demanding that they immediately fix their apps but not providing any way to actually comply.

    In this case it's an app originally in Dutch which Google itself mistranslated and then rejected from the Play Store on the basis of their own mistranslation.  The app itself has translations by native speakers but Google is using machine translation, getting it wrong, and banning the app on the basis of its own mistakes.

    They rejected the same app because the developer didn't provide a test login when the app doesn't have logins at all.

    I'm personally dealing with another Big Tech company that insists I investigate an incident but is unable to provide me with any information about the incident.

    Other people simply get their accounts locked with no recourse, even though they followed the rules every step of the way.  (Reddit)

    Or get told there's no recourse and their account is permanently deleted beyond any home of recovery and then two weeks later everything is back again and the explanation is Oh yes, that happens.

    As Lois McMaster Bujold wrote in Shards of Honor:
    Put all the rotten eggs in one basket - and then drop the basket.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Well that was all perfectly normal.

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Monday, January 17


Daily News Stuff 17 January 2022

Starting The Day With A Thud Edition

Top Story

  • We were down for a few hours overnight my time.  I blame volcanic activity in the server room.  Or possibly the server burped at 2AM and when I fixed it I forgot to restart the cache service and then it filled all its RAM with Sendmail instances trying to notify me of this failure.


  • The main internet link to Tonga went down for a very good reason - it got blown up by a volcano.  (ZDNet)

    The country's satellite links are also being blocked by the volcanic ash cloud meaning that communication with the rest of the world currently consists of SPEAKING VERY LOUDLY.

    Australia and New Zealand sent survey planes today to assess the damage and work out the best way to deliver aid - particularly tricky given that the volcano is still active. The first relief flight out of Australia is planned for tomorrow.

Tech News

  • Businesses have started to notice that Democrats are not their friends.  (Inside Track)

    The Big Tech of the 19th century has just now noticed that socialism has failed every time it was tried:
    "Criminals are caught and arrested, turned over to local authorities for booking, arraigned before the local courts, charges are reduced to a misdemeanor or petty offense, and the criminal is released after paying a nominal fine," said the letter. "These individuals are generally caught and released back onto the streets in less than 24 hours. Even with all the arrests made, the no-cash bail policy and extended timeframe for suspects to appear in court is causing re-victimization to Union Pacific by these same criminals."
    At some point, when a person or a state is utterly determined to self-destruct, you have to be prepared to walk away.

  • Don't buy Lenovo PCs.  (Serve the Home)

    This isn't an issue with laptops or tablets, but on their servers, workstations, an desktops, they are locking the CPUs so that they can't be used in anything but Lenovo hardware.

    Someone should sue them under California law for creating avoidable e-waste.

  • NPM dependency hell link of the day.  (Bleeping Computer)

    If you're using Node.js in the first place, you deserve this.

  • Emulating the Sega Genesis.  (Jabberywocky)

    This is the sort of thing we should be doing more of, and less of all the other nonsense.

  • Nvidia's RTX 3090 Ti could cost between $3500 and $4500 if you can find one at all.  (WCCFTech)

    And we complained when the 3090 was originally priced at $1499.

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

We don't need no indirection
We don't need no flow control
No data types or declarations
Hacker leave those lists alone.
Hey!  Hacker!  Leave those lists alone.
All in all, it's just a pure-LISP function call.

Disclaimer: This blog made with double certified 99% pure stuff.

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Well, Poop

The site has been fixed.

Redis failed to start after a server problem, and then the virtual server filled up with email alert attempts that weren't going out for some reason.

I have to get us moved.

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Sunday, January 16


Daily News Stuff 16 January 2022

Oops Edition

Top Story

Questions and Answers

  • From Filthy Lurker:
    If I'm looking to purchase a desktop to be used primarily for playing the occasional game on the intertubes with intertube (nothing demanding on a system) friends in a different state, but need it to have the ability to do some serious video editing, and have a budget of less than $1000, what would you recommend?
    That's not an easy one.  If you build your own you're going to pay 50% to 150% over MSRP for a video card.  If you buy a prebuilt desktop system it's likely going to suck.  (Gamers Nexus / YouTube)

    I like my Dell Inspiron 16 Plus but that's a laptop and if you want one with dedicated Nvidia graphics you're looking at about $1280 which is rather more than $1000.

  • From Sam Adams:
    Pixy Misa, could you please give a few new browser recommendations, with a brief explanation why you like them? I would really love to get the hell away from Google, Microsoft, etc.
    Sure.  It's not a long list though.

    1. Brave.  It doesn't spy on you - much - and it's highly compatible with Chrome other than the spying parts, being built on the same open source Chromium project.  The built-in ad blocker seems to work fairly well.

    Downside is that it likes to inject little crypto buttons into certain websites.  You can turn that off easily enough, but it's turned on by default.  I understand that they want to present a way to keep independent websites alive while blocking ads, but a browser should never alter the contents of a website without you explicitly requesting that.

    2. Vivaldi.  Also based on the Chromium project, so you can switch over and expect sites to work as before.

    If you like choosing exactly how you want your browser to behave, this is the one to go for.  It has twenty tabs full of settings for you to play with.  I'm not sure if there's anything that's not customisable.

    Plus it has built-in email and RSS support.  Not news (Usenet / NNTP) alas, but a pleasant reminder that the internet didn't always consist largely of walled gardens controlled by communists.

  • From mong:
    You mentioned Lenovo today. My understanding is that the company is owned by the Chinese which, let's face it, means the CCP. Is there any indication that their computers come preloaded with viruses or other malware to make it easier for them to spy on you?
    Good question.

    It's worth noting that Huawei didn't get banned for putting spyware on their consumer devices.  They got banned for putting spyware on their high-end telecommunications equipment.

    Why spy on your own customers and risk getting caught because every security researcher with a couple of hundred bucks can get their hands on one of your phones, when you can put the spyware in a 5G cell tower and spy on an entire country?

    That said, Lenovo did get embroiled in a scandal back in 2014, not for spying on customers directly but for inadvertently sabotaging customer security in a deal that might have netted them all of  $1 per system sold.

    The other two companies involved, Superfish and Komodia, went out of business in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

    People have been keeping a close watch on Lenovo since then.

  • From Inquiring Minds:
    Why does it take 900 network requests and one minute for to load (using the Brave browser on Linux)?
    You know how there are lots of long articles posted here every day?  You know how you can click to instantly show the full content of any post?

    That's because all that content and the embedded content behind the posts is right there in the main page.  Once the visible content has loaded your browser continues to load all the invisible stuff.

    There's JavaScript that can be used to lazy load it all, but it's not entirely seamless.  We should look into doing that anyway.

  • From CppThis:
    I like my current PC but it's probably going to start giving trouble in a few years. If I start sourcing components for a new build this year, including a GPU, will they all become available and make it through the supply chain by 2026?
    Given that the RTX 2060 from 2018 is the hot new card for 2022, that sounds about right.

Tech News

  • AMD could be raising prices of Epyc server CPUs by as much as 30%, while the launch of Intel's new Sapphire Rapids server CPUs is delayed until Q3.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Sapphire Rapids is supposed to be competitive with AMD's 3rd generation Epyc CPUs.  4th generation Epyc will be out later this year and is expected to blow current chips out of the water, with 25% better performance core and 50% more cores.

    So Intel's delay puts their new 56-core parts squarely in front of the bulldozer, since AMD has three server updates in the pipeline: Milan-X with up to 64 cores and 768MB of cache, Genoa with 96 cores, and Bergamo with 128 cores.

  • The RTX 3050 showed up early in Japan and sold out instantly.  (Tom's Hardware)

    At 60% over MSRP.

  • Intel's Celeron C6900 struggles with the latest AAA games.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That's hardly surprising since it costs less than a single current game title and runs at a modest 46W.  If you want to play current games you should be looking at the i3-12100 at least.  It's more expensive, still just 60W, and will run much faster.

  • Yikes: Safari 15 is leaking your browser activity.  (FingerprintJS)

    If a site uses the IndexedDB API to store local data in your browser, every other site you visit can see that you visited the first site.  Every embedded frame can see that you visited the first site.  If you're using private mode, it doesn't matter, every site can still see it.  If you're on an iPhone or iPad and using a different browser it doesn't matter, every site can see your browser activity.

    That's because there aren't really any other browsers on iOS, just Safari in drag.

  • Intel has launched its new Atom-based Atlas Canyon NUCs.  (Serve the Home)

    These don't entirely suck.  Over time Atom has reached the point where it's fine for basic tasks.  You'd still want the quad core and not the dual core, but single-threaded performance is actually better than the i7-5500U that I still use as a spare laptop, and multi-threaded performance with the quad core Atom is a lot better.

  • QNAP devices are under attack again.  (Bleeping Computer)

    This seems to be existing vulnerabilities and not new ones, but there are a lot of existing vulnerabilities.

  • A year with a crappy MacBook.  (ZDNet)

    As always, what a journalist considers a heavy workload is laughable, so take the comments on 8GB being adequate with a a kiloton of salt.  More importantly:
    This is something that pros especially should be aware of: bootable backups are possible, but if your internal SSD completely dies, that bootable backup will fail too.
    So...  Your backups work a long as you don't need them, and die the instant you do?

    How very Apple.

  • Is open source really free if we aren't allowed to break it?  (The New Stack)


    Fortunately GitHub has restored the account of the developer who most recently blew up the entire Node.js ecosystem and allowed him once again to access the code that he created.  With any luck this whole drama will soon be forgotten and then immediately repeated.

War Criminal Comedian Idol Rabbit Spitting Facts Video of the Day

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Geneva community guidelines, really.

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Saturday, January 15


Daily News Stuff 15 January 2022

Here Comes The Rain Again Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Lenovo Tab M8 FHD 4/5

    I basically chose the M8 FHD for its 1920x1200 screen, with everything else being secondary.  Fortunately it turns out the the screen is genuinely good - bright, sharp, and colourful without being oversaturated - with everything else being adequate.

    The CPU (a Mediatek P22T with eight A53 cores) is fast enough for most things - I opened up Final Fantasy III and there was no noticeable delay and the opening video was glitch-free even when I rotated the tablet by 180 degrees to make it rotate the video as well.  The Kindle and Audible apps bog down when installing lots of content, but I think that's just because those apps are garbage.  The tablet is otherwise responsive when those apps are glitching.

    Almost everything is installing neatly to the microSD card, with the exceptions being Google stuff and browsers, which are probably tied to internal storage for security reasons.

    Sound is, well, it's there.  There's only one speaker and it's adequate, but no more than that.  There's a headphone jack though if you want something better - no awkward USB dongles needed.

    Software is Android 10 with the November 2021 updates.  Given the limited improvements in Android in recent years that's fine.  I installed Nova Launcher as always so I'm not sure what Lenovo might have done with the default UI.  Nova Launcher erases such nonsense.

    Note sure of battery life under normal use yet, since I've been busy installing about 200GB of content.  That drains the battery pretty fast, but I have fibre internet now (well, FTTC), so it's installing the content pretty fast too.  If it's draining the battery 3x faster than my old tablet but installing content 6x faster - which is my guess - that's not really a problem.

    Overall it gets a 4/5.  It was on sale as low as $89 over the holidays, so keep that in mind if you're looking to buy one - the regular price is $159.

  • If you want something a little upmarket and don't mind waiting Lenovo is also bringing their Legion Y700 gaming tablet to market.  (Liliputing)

    This is a little larger - 8.8" rather than 8" - with a 120Hz 2560x1600 screen and 100% of DCI-P3 colour.  The CPU is a Snapdragon 870 (A77 core) which is much faster than the P22T - on GeekBench single-threaded test it's between four and five times faster.

    If this is made available in Australia and the price isn't insane I'll consider it, but it's certainly going to cost a lot more than the M8 FHD.

  • Lenovo's P12 Pro also has a 120Hz 2560x1600 display and a Snapdragon 870 CPU, and costs $630.  (Liliputing)

    Well, it did but it's out of stock right now.  

    That's a 12.6" model and includes a pen, so I'm hoping the Y700 comes in a bit cheaper.

  • If you want a mid-size Android tablet Samsung's new Tab A8 is one.  (Liliputing)

    Priced starting at $230 (3/32GB) up to $330 (4/128GB).  The CPU on this one has A75 cores so it's more than twice as fast as cheaper A53-based tablets, and the 1920x1200 display should be fine.

  • Blockchains suck.  (Molly White)

    True, but the alternative also sucks.

  • A former official in the DHS OIG has pleaded guilty to stealing personal information on government employees.  (Bleeping Computer)

    It sounds like this was for commercial gain and not sold to Russia or China, so that's fine I guess.

  • FedEx wants to deploy laser missile-defense systems on its planes.  (Gizmodo)

    Everything is going swimmingly.

  • John Deere has been hit with a class action lawsuit over right-to-repair.  (Motherboard)

    John Deere absolutely sucks in this area.  Everything on their modern equipment is locked down and impossible to repair independently.  They're the Apple of tractors.  The only upside is a booming market for second-hand farm equipment.

  • Newly released documents from the Google antitrust lawsuit allege that the company engaged in outright fraud in setting ad prices.  (Wired)

    Google denies the allegations.  And Google wouldn't lie, would they?  Their corporate motto after all is "...".

  • Asus has some new portable display / drawing tablets that look interesting.  (Liliputing)

    At the high end this includes a 15.6" 4K screen that includes a pressure-sensitive pen.  At $799 it's not exactly cheap, but there are also three 1080p models, including one with WiFi and an internal battery that are likely more budget-friendly.

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

Disclaimer: The walls were shaking, the earth was quaking, the water was receding from the bay...  Oh shit.

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Friday, January 14


Daily News Stuff 14 January 2022

And The Other Guy Was Dead Edition

Top Story

  • Pixy's First Law of Personal Responsibility: Once you choose Node.js, everything that happens subsequently is your own damn fault.

    When open source developers tell you to go fuck yourself go bad.  (ZDNet)
    While open-source developers should be fairly compensated for their work, wrecking your code isn't the way to persuade others to pay you.
    Yes it is.

  • My new tablet is set up and installing stuff.  The one significant quirk is that it thinks the 400GB Sandisk microSD card is a 512GB card with a bunch of space already used.

    I'm not sure why; I think they've monkeyed with Android's adoptable storage mechanism and screwed it up.  I don't have a recent stock Android device with expandable storage to compare it with, but I don't think Google is that dumb, even now.

    I wondered if it was a fake card, but I've bought a dozen Sandisk microSD cards in recent years and the packaging and card looked genuine, and I've installed 54GB to it so far without a hiccup.*  I think Lenovo just messed this up.

    * Mostly my Audible library.  Being a member for 10 years times two books a month equals about 400 audiobooks.  Somehow.

  • Our hosting company found the payment - it fell down behind the sofa cushion.  So we're safe for another month unless the IP address falls off the proxy server and how likely is it for that to happO*_$%#*#@ NO CARRIER

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980 Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Turning animu I think I'm turning animu uwu.

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