It was a bad day. A lot of bad stuff happened. And I'd love to forget it all. But I don't. Not ever. Because this is what I do. Every time, every day, every second, this: On five, we're bringing down the government.

Sunday, February 20


Daily News Stuff 20 February 2022

Pack Your Bags Kids We're Going To Disneyland Edition

Top Story

  • I noticed this too.  Apart from the usual propaganda outlets like the CBC and the mainstream Canadian press, there's a huge amount of bot activity supporting police brutality against peaceful protestors.

    They're not even very good bots.  This really needs an investigation because if what I'm seeing is real, it's a massive scandal.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: "Well, that's good.  Fantastic, that is.  Twenty minutes to save the world and I've got a post office.  And it's shut."  The Doctor was basically a sysadmin having a bad day.

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Saturday, February 19


Daily News Stuff 19 February 2022

Curse You GOG Galaxy Edition

Top Story

  • New phone has arrived and joined the dozens of other boxes waiting to be opened.  Yay.  I'll do that on Monday when the SIM arrives as well.

  • New backup server has been deployed and data is trucking over from the old one with the failed drive.  The old server is RAID-Z1 so it can't survive losing another drive; the new one is RAID-Z3 so it takes four drive failures to put it out of action.

    Also enabled compression and dedup on the new server, which slows things down a bit but is probably going to be fine.  

  • Now that people - both workers and business owners - have discovered they mostly don't need to come in to the office anymore, don't need to fight traffic on the one hand and pay obscene rents on the other hand - cities such as New York are basically fucked.  (New York Post)

    New York's new mayor, who, against all probability, seems to be even dumber than the previous one, is telling people that it's time to leave their comfortable, functional home offices and venture once more into his foetid crime-ridden shithole of a city before his budget completely implodes.

    If you don't go into the office, your company will reduce or cancel its lease entirely, and the small businesses around it that depend on passing trade will go broke.

    Elections have consequences, and elections that put idiots into office doubly so.

  • Update: This is the way.

Tech News

  • Thanks GOG Galaxy.  Your unscheduled update just ate my entire mobile data cap.

    Fortunately I'll be moving to a much higher data cap on Monday.  I would have just upgraded the existing plan except I can't because my once-competent service provider was acquired by idiots.

  • Leaks suggest Motorola (Lenovo these days) is planning to launch a camera this year.  (Liliputing)

    The camera will have a 194MP primary sensor, 50MP wide angle, 12MP telephoto, and 60MP selfie.  Oh, and there's a phone attached to that as well.

    You might be saying that a small phone camera cannot possibly have a useful 194MP sensor, because the pixels would be smaller than the wavelength of light, and you'd be correct.  Motorola's engineers have worked around this by the clever trick of making the sensor freaking enormous - by phone standards anyway.

    You'd probably use it downsampled to 50MP, but that is still super-detailed.  If you want a decent take-anywhere camera this might be one to watch.  It won't rival a proper DSLR because of the limitations of its physical size, but you're not going to have a DSLR in your pocket everywhere you go.

  • A detailed look at AMD's new Ryzen 6000 mobile CPU.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is not a huge design change; it's based on existing Zen 3 cores and RDNA 2 graphics.  But this is the first time those have been put together on the same chip, and the chip itself is using TSMC's update 6nm node so it runs faster and cooler than the previous generation.

    If you want to play games on integrated graphics, it is a huge upgrade though, easily twice as fast as 5000-series chips.  It requires DDR5 (or LPDDR5) RAM because DDR4 doesn't have the bandwidth for that level of graphics performance, so that might push prices up a bit.

    It also has built-in support for USB4 at 40Gbps, essentially a store-brand Thunderbolt port.

  • Intel is preparing to launch its new line of Alder Lake NUCs, starting at - oh.  Starting at $1500.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Nice try, Intel.

  • Google Drive is flagging MacOS .DS_Store metadata files for copyright violation.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Google is the world leader in practical applications of artificial intelligence, so this could not possibly be a mistake, they will patiently explain after they delete all your files and terminate your account.

  • Samsung's Galaxy S22 lineup is here.  (ZDNet)

    I could get the S22 Ultra for only, let's see, four times the price of my newly acquired Galaxy A52s.  Given the panic that apparently arose after my abrupt disappearance from the Zoom meeting when I got hit by lightning, I could probably tell work I needed it and they'd pay for it - except that it won't be released for two weeks yet.

    And also I don't need it.  There's that too.

  • (Some) Apple Store workers are planning to unionise.  (9to5Mac)


Party Like It's 1959-ish Video of the Day

Thomas Bender commented on this two days ago when my internet was dead.  My internet is still dead, but now I've had a chance to look it up, and it's, well, there it is, listen for yourselves.

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: It's definitely the voices in my head.

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Post contains 797 words, total size 7 kb.

Friday, February 18


Daily News Stuff 18 February 2022

Sethra Linode Edition

Top Story

  • So as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted...  No, never mind, can't remember.  

    I have a sneaking suspicion my wired internet might be down for a few days.

  • When I got my current phone - an Oppo A91 - I just went for something inexpensive, with decent specs and a great screen, and critically a headphone jack and microSD slot.  It's not 5G because I don't need 5G; I have high-speed internet and I'm not utterly dependent on my phone to get my job done...

    Well, crap.

    Ordered a Samsung A52s (5G model) today.  I can probably expense it because my 4G speeds won't even support a Zoom meeting.  Also a new SIM on a 120GB data plan for a surprisingly reasonable price.

    Phone arrives tomorrow, SIM card probably Monday.  Don't even have a response about internet repairs much less an ETA.

  • Second new backup server is being deployed now.  This will be named after (checks list) Mikan from Gakuen Alice.

Top Story

  • Despite all that I am online and none of my computers or appliances seem to have died.

    I was in the middle of a Zoom meeting with a dozen other people - and just about to deploy a critical patch that would allow a project to roll out to customers - when the lightning hit.  I had to SMS instructions for deployment and testing to the team because I couldn't even make a phone call right then.

  • How it started:

    How it's going:

  • Speaking of watching you do not trust otters.  (Politico) is a service for journalists that assists in transcribing interviews, stealing all your data, and selling it to the highest bidder.

  • All of Canada's major banks experienced unspecified technical issues just hours after the Nazi takeover.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  • S3 (and compatible services) are a great solution for storage if you don't care about your data and/or want to create a mess so bad that you'll happily spend $100,000 to click a button that makes it all go away.  (Cyclic)

    To use S3 effectively you have to maintain your own database of all the objects, and manage keeping the two in sync.  S3 does nothing to help you there.  Less than nothing, in fact, because it will simply lie about your metadata.

  • The Asus Zephyrus G14 gets several things right.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It has AMD's brand new Ryzen 6900HS CPU and Radeon 6800S graphics, with 32GB DDR5 RAM and 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, a 2560x1600 14" 120Hz display, 1TB of PCIe 4 SSD, two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI, microSD, and a headphone jack.

    It has a massive 240W power brick, but on the other hand lasts over 10 hours of constant use on battery power, so you might not need to lug that everywhere (maybe take a smaller USB-C charger to extend battery life).

    Unfortunately the Four Essential Keys are a no-show on this one.  Asus is hit-and-miss on the FEK.

  • Slow down to speed up: Intel is planning server CPUs with only slow cores.  (AnandTech)

    Intel's 12th generation Alder Lake desktop and laptop chips have a mix of fast and slow cores.  The slow ones are about half the speed of the fast cores - but one quarter the size.

    Desktop apps can't generally make use of a ton of slow cores (though you're going to get that anyway) but servers can, and if you have four times as many cores at half the speed, that means you double your throughput.

    Expected in 2024.

    AMD is doing something similar with their Zen 4c Bergamo chips, but that will be out a year before Intel.

  • Intel's Sapphire Rapids chips are twice as fast as AMD's Milan-X, says Intel.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Not only is that true only of a very specific subset of benchmarks, you can't and won't be able to buy Sapphire Rapids.  It's for supercomputers, and you don't count.

    Also by the time it arrives it will be competing with AMD's next-generation Genoa, which will truly be twice as fast as Milan.

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Thunderbolt and lightning, very very fri- OW FUCK OW.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:19 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 704 words, total size 6 kb.


Hippity Hoppity My Server's Still My Property

Something I reflexively do for any new server during setup is restrict public SSH access to my fixed home IP address.  Then if a particular server or user needs to access it over SSH, I add them to the firewall rules (and hosts.allow if applicable).

Which is fine and great except when I take a direct lightning strike to the nets and my NBN box explodes.

I had a bastion host set up for exactly this situation - you just need to know where the bastion host is, and have a key, and have the password for the web-based firewall, and have the passphrase for the SSH key on the server and oops.

Since I haven't really left home during the pandemic I haven't needed to use the bastion host for two years and I can't remember what that passphrase is.

But, since I have the password and key to log in to the bastion host, and since the bastion host is already allowed access to all the other servers at the firewall level, and since I knew that at least one of them was configured to allow password logins, and I knew the password, and that server's SSH key was good to access one of the other servers, and that server could access two more, I was able to hopscotch around the network and regain access to everything.

Also discovered during this effort that one of the backup servers has a failed hard drive (in a RAID-Z array, so it's still chugging along) and the other (much smaller) one is full, so I'm setting up two new backup servers now.  RAID-Z3 time, maybe...

Update: Welcome to the server farm, Sethra Linode.*

* May not actually be hosted at Linode.

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Thursday, February 17


Daily News Stuff 17 February 2022

Lightning Doesn't Strike Twice Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Apple's solid-state drives are non-standard, encrypted, and soldered in place, but at least they're fast.

    They're fast, right?

    Not a huge problem for laptop users, and probably not for the average desktop user, but don't run an important database on a Mac.  Just don't.

Disclaimer: I'm sure there's more news out there, but I have this whole no internet thing going on right now.

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Wednesday, February 16


Daily News Stuff 16 February 2022

Down Is The New Up Edition

Top Story

  • Not naming any names, but if your blockchain can go down - not just congested with high gas prices but entirely offline - then you're blockchaining wrong.

  • AMD's market cap now exceeds Intel's.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is a far cry indeed from the dark days of 2015 when their share price was in the toilet and it was looking like someone was about to flush.  

    To be fair, Intel is likely undervalued here, based not on sales figures but on a decade of underwhelming R&D effort.  AMD's revenues have been soaring but are still only 20% of Intels.

    And for whatever reason, Nvidia is currently valued at more than Intel and AMD combined.

Tech News

  • Akamai has bought cloud server provider Linode for $900 million.

    For once, genuinely not a bubble.  There's a story I could link, but 95% of it is statutory investor warnings.

  • Google is dying.  (DKB)

    Google earned its early success by doing something hard, well: Indexing the entire damn internet in a way that was actually useful.

    In doing that they unleashed the plague that is comment spam that persists unto this day, but their search was still useful.  Now it's becoming useless, not because search has changed, but because the internet is absolutely flooded with shit.

    The article notes that Reddit is much better at handling this, not because Reddit isn't flooded with shit, but because Reddit is divided into tens of thousands of small communities and if you search for a Hololive-related question in /r/hololive you know you are going to get a Hololive-related answer.

  • Writing a Minecraft server from scratch in Bash.  (sdomi)

    If you know what that means, you know what it means.

    If you don't, well, it's like constructing your own fully functional fire engine entirely by hand - out of cheese.

  • Google is bringing Chrome OS to computers.  (

    Actually not a bad way for the average user to revive an old PC or Mac with low-end specs.  4GB of RAM is not a fun experience on Windows or MacOS but works relatively well on ChromeOS.

  • The Australian Electoral Commission is fighting conspiracy theories online by seeking out spreaders of misinformation and turning them into toads.  (ZDNet)

    Reports are that the toads are either used in vaccine research or forced to assist in the branch-stacking efforts of the Victorian ALP.

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Not naming any names, but if your blockchain goes offline six times in twenty-four hours, you're definitely blockchaining it wrong.

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Post contains 433 words, total size 4 kb.

Tuesday, February 15


Daily News Stuff 15 February 2022

Spare Laptop Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • No low-power cores to to complicate things, reasonable clock speeds (4.3GHz), modest power requirements (60W base, 89W turbo), good single-threaded performance, and decent multi-threaded performance. With "only" four cores it's not a 3D rendering powerhouse, but for the average user it should cope quite well. It's slower on multi-threaded tasks than my spare new laptop, which has a 15W 6-core AMD Ryzen 5600U, but only by about 10%, and it's 15% faster single-threaded.

  • As in, you can run complete standalone Linux and Windows instances on your phone. Right now just the Pixel 6, but in the future all up-to-date mobile devices. Why you would want to do this is another question, but my A$300 phone came with 8GB of RAM, so if there's a use for it there's no reason not to do it.

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: I hate sausage rolls, put another pie in the oven baby.

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Post contains 235 words, total size 2 kb.

Monday, February 14


Daily News Stuff 14 February 2022

Hadda Bought Two Edition

Top Story

  • Not up on the news sites yet but GiveSendGo was briefly taken offline by a redirection attack that sent visitors to GiveSendGone.

    Also GiveSendGo information apparently sourced from a misconfigured S3 bucket - or not, I'll get to that in a moment - with details of campaigns and contributions is circulating on the internet.  Supposedly 200GB of data was leaked.  99% of that is going to be videos and images from campaigns.  If they had 200GB of payment data they'd have enough money from their processing fees to buy Nova Scotia.

  • Anyway, that misconfigured S3 bucket.  First, almost all S3 buckets are misconfigured because the S3 bucket configuration panel in AWS is a screaming toxic dumpster fire.  Absolutely unbelievable how bad it is.  IBM has an S3 compatible storage service and even they do it better.

    And the data I've seen circulating...  Was public on the website in the first place.  So it might not have been misconfigured at all, just open to public view because it was public data.

    Not seeing any email addresses, phone numbers, or home addresses, but I haven't gone and downloaded the file myself, and don't plan to.

    Update: Apparently the leaked data includes ID of campaign organisers, but not of contributors.

  • In slightly brighter news, that 4TB SSD that suddenly got an massive unexplained discount right when I was looking for a 4TB SSD - and went up by 50% right after I bought it - suddenly got a massive unexplained discount when I was back on Amazon checking my order statuses.  (Everything has been delivered except some gravy.  Long story.)

    It's A$1500 if I buy it through Amazon US; that seems to be the MSRP.  I don't know what Amazon's pricing algorithm is playing at; yesterday on Amazon AU it was A$1307, this morning it was A$873, and after I bought one, it went straight up to A$1147.

    Anyway, where I said I shoulda bought two, now I didda bought two.  Also I'm $200 over budget for my lab buildout, but I think I'll cope.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: I aten't dead, I just smell that way.

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Post contains 753 words, total size 7 kb.


Shoulda Coulda Woulda Didda

So, that high-end 4TB NVMe drive that I managed to grab on Amazon at somewhere between 30% and 40% below retail price?  (Around A$860 on Amazon Australia; ordering it through Amazon US works out to A$1500.)

The one where the price immediately jumped by 50% right after I bought it?

The one where I said I shoulda bought two.

They did it all again.

Should have the second one on Wednesday.  That puts me $200 over budget on stage 2 of my lab buildout but I think I can cope with that.  And I now have enough SSDs to upgrade all my laptops, even the work laptop that already has 1TB and didn't really need the upgrade.

I don't know what Amazon's algorithm is doing, but I'm not complaining.

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Sunday, February 13


Daily News Stuff 13 February 2022

You Shall Not Pass Edition

Top Story

  • One final* purchase, a 2TB NVMe drive from Amazon for the new spare laptop.  Specifically the Samsung 970 EVO Plus, which is what I recommend to people who need a good M.2 drive and are wondering what to get.

    It's "only" PCIe 3 and "only" does about 3.5GB per second and 620,000 IOPS, with a read latency around 50 microseconds, an only costs about 20% than garbage like the Kingston NV1.  The reason I didn't get it for my larger laptops is it "only" goes up to 2TB.

    And the reason for the purchase is that HP Australia doesn't do build-to-order; there's exactly two models available of the Aero 13, and since the 512GB model is on sale and the 1TB model is not, buying my own SSD and installing it saves me about A$550 - and gives me twice the storage capacity.

    My old spare laptop has a 5500U processor; this new one has a 5600U. It's six times faster.

    * Update: Oops I bought it again...

  • So the IRS cancelled their plans to force people to audition for a movie role before they could file their taxes online only after seven million people had handed over all their details to a private contractor.  (Washington Post / MSN)

    So, what happens to all your private data now?  According the IRS, the answer is that individual users can log in and delete their data...  Maybe.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Vide of the Day

Disclaimer: Time to explode the wall ferrets.

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Post contains 377 words, total size 4 kb.

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