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Sunday, May 22


Daily News Stuff 22 May 2022

On Beyond Zebra Edition

Top Story

  • Semiconductor research group IMEC has published a roadmap taking the industry far beyond 1nm.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The most advanced process currently in production (at TSMC and Samsung) is a nominal 4nm.  Nothing about the process is truly 4nm, but it's as much 4nm as the old 14nm process was 14nm, so it's useful for comparison.

    The roadmap looks forward to the 3nm and 2nm nodes that are already under development at TSMC, Samsung, and Intel - and then beyond all the way to what they call A2 - a nominal 0.2nm - sometime around 2036.

    By which time I hope to be less concerned about annual increments in CPU performance, but faster computers let us solve problems that are too expensive to be practical at the moment, so this is a win even if you don't plan to put together a 26th generation Intel gaming rig with dual RTX 18080 Ti cards to play Minecraft 1.37.

    There's not a lot of detail about the sub-1nm nodes, but at 2nm they expect a billion transistors per square millimetre - about 6 times the current 5nm process.

Tech News

  • Some next-gen AMD motherboards appear to have two chipsets.  (Tom's Hardware)

    There will be two chipsets available for Ryzen 7000 when it shows up later this year - the mainstream B650 and the high-end X670.  But it seems that they might be the same chip, only the X670 is two B650s.

    Which would make complete sense and fits in with AMD's design strategy for the past several years - design one really good chip and then glue a bunch of them together for bigger systems.

    A Ryzen desktop CPU consists of one or two CPU chiplets (up to 8 cores each) and an I/O chiplet.  The current motherboard chipset is the exact same chip as the I/O chiplet on the CPU itself, just rotated 180 degrees so the two can face each other.

    They're probably not going to do that with this generation because the new CPUs will have embedded graphics on the I/O chiplet, so it makes sense to have a generic motherboard chipset and use one on mainstream boards and two on high-end ones.

    Or the leaks might all be wrong.  One or the other.

  • But they're going to show off these motherboards tomorrow so we don't have to wait long to find out.

  • Apple is planning to expand manufacturing outside China.  (9to5Mac)

    The company is looking toward India (where labour relations have been somewhat fraught) and Vietnam.

  • Apple is also dumping a Chinese display manufacturer and sourcing from South Korea instead.  (WCCFTech)

    BOE reportedly decided to adjust the designs for their iPhone 13 screens to cut costs - without bothering to tell Apple.

Disclaimer: Oops.

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Saturday, May 21


Daily News Stuff 21 May 2022

Ratception Edition

Top Story

  • One thing I hadn't considered closely with this move was Amazon deliveries.  Turns out my free one day delivery now becomes free one week delivery.  So if I need something right away I'm just out of luck.

    Fortunately the new house is much, much bigger than my current place and I can just stockpile consumables, which hasn't been practical here.  (Which is why I went for a much, much larger place.)

  • Cut off from Western* technology due to its ill-advised military adventure, Russia is turning to China for CPUs.  (The Register)

    Unfortunately for Russia, China's CPUs are dogshit.

    On PassMark, the ZHAOXIN KaiXian KX-6640MA scores 1566.  

    That's just ahead of AMD's Phenom II X3 B75 from 2009 at 1560.

    It doesn't compare so well with current AMD chips, like the 5700X which scores 26,384.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Or p'raps not.

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Friday, May 20


Daily News Stuff 20 May 2022

Blorkchain Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Tomorrow.

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Thursday, May 19


Daily News Stuff 19 May 2022

I Can Has Houseburger Edition

Top Story

  • I have a house.

  • I ended up working until 2AM yesterday tracking down a difficult performance issue, then was doing house-related stuff until 4AM, then got up again at 7AM for a meeting, which was lots of fun.

  • A new plastic-eating enzyme could eliminate billions of tons of landfill waste.  (UT News)

    Normally this is a what could possibly go wrong item, but they're talking about an enzyme here, not bacteria or anything that can reproduce itself.  Enzymes are catalysts - a small amount of an enzyme can process a large amount of raw material - but still finite and will break down fairly quickly.

    So...  Good?

Tech News

Disclaimer: 429 Too Many Disclaimers.

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Wednesday, May 18


Daily News Stuff 18 May 2022

Five Things After Another

Top Story

  • More running around in outside land today.  Now I have matching blisters on both heels because my comfy shoes had a sudden total existence failure and I had to grab the last spare pair that I never wore because they don't fit.


    Had to get one more document certified for the new house before settlement which is fine except that -

  • My mobile phone was set to be cancelled on the day of settlement for the new house - tomorrow - because my provider is changing networks and hates having customers, and I couldn't log in to the portal to activate the new SIM because the SMS confirmation was disappearing into the ether and they have no way to confirm anything except sending you an SMS.

    So that was fun.

  • Also still working 14 hours a day.

  • And while I was out in the outside without a laptop one of my servers fell over. 

  • While I was out I passed two random guys in the street discussing the Luna / Terra collapse - and actually getting the facts right.

  • Twitter's unspoken corporate motto: Commie as fuck. (Daily Mail)

    Project Veritas doing the dirty work of actually reporting the news again.
    'You know, our jobs are at stake,' he said. 'He's a capitalist and we weren't really operating as capitalists, more like very socialist. Like we're all commie as f***.'
    Yes, we know.

Tech News

  • Need a desktop cluster of ARM compute modules?  Yes?  Why?

    Anyway, here you go.  (Kickstarter)

    You can plug in a variety of modules via adaptors, including the Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module and Nvidia's Jetson AI boards, and you get shared HDMI, USB, Ethernet, SATA, USB, and two mini PCIe slots.

    Obviously someone wants this thing because the project funded in three minutes.

  • Which Linux desktop is the easiest for new users?  (ZDNet)

    It doesn't matter because there's 21 to choose from and they're all the same.  (The Register)

    Actually not quite; the first article talks about desktop distributions - they recommend Mint and Kubuntu - and the second is talking about individual desktop environments.

    Just use Mint, probably.

  • Hong Kong is planning to block messaging app Telegram as part of a broader plan to block messenger app Telegram.  (IBTimes)

    I guess if you want to block messenger app Telegram, that's the way to go about it.

  • Demand has dropped like a rock says Chinese chipmaker SMIC.  (Nikkei)
    "Many smartphone, PC and home appliance companies had exposure in Russia and Ukraine, and their revenues [from those markets] are now gone. Sales in their home market [of China] have also fallen due to the COVID situation domestically," Zhao said.

    Demand for consumer electronics "dropped like a rock, very seriously," the executive said. "Some of our customers are holding more than five months of that type of inventory."
    SMIC's own factories are still running at 100%, producing chips for other markets that are still in short supply - unglamorous but essential stuff like power management chips and embedded microcontrollers.

    The cause of the sudden market collapse is easy to identify, and since the CCP isn't going anywhere, is only likely to get worse for China.

  • The Pentagon has vowed to get to the bottom of UFO sightings.  (Reuters)

    That's actually pretty simple.  They're not real.
    UAPs are unexplained, it's true. But they are real.

  • Small Android phone.  (SmallAndroidPhone)

Disclaimer: Contains no small Android phone.

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Tuesday, May 17


Daily News Stuff 17 May 2022

Quick one today because I have to scurry off and do stuff.

Disclaimer: Outside?  I have to go outside?  Again?

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Monday, May 16


Daily News Stuff 16 May 2022

Now Officially Extra Dead Edition

Top Story

  • When Luna implodes, Venus catches a cold.  Or something  (The Record)

    Venus Protocol - a decentralised finance thing of some sort - lost $11 million because it was using a pricing feed, Chainlink, that still had a minimum price of $0.10 when the price of Luna plummeted from over $100 to $0.01.

    So people could deposit worthless imaginary money and then use it as imaginary collateral to borrow imaginary money that had not yet collapsed.

    Other DeFi sites were hit by the same issue, though losses appear to be small compared to the $40 billion wipeout of Luna itself.

Tech News

  • Python is slow but is about to get faster.  (ZDNet)

    Python 3.11 is expected to be 1.25x faster than Python 3.10.

    PyPy - which already exists - is 4.5x faster than Python 3.10.

  • Will the upcoming Ryzen 7950X have 24 cores?  (WCCFTech)

    Maybe.  Would be nice.  With the other details we know (5nm process, DDR5 RAM, 170W max TDP) it should be possible.  And it would reduce the need for the lower-end Threadripper parts - a 24-core Zen 4 pat would be close to the speed of a 32-core Zen 3.

    And Intel is planning 24-core desktop chips for later this year, albeit 8 fast cores and 16 slow cores, where AMD's chips would have 24 full-size cores.

  • In 500 metres, crash directly into the ground.  (Business Insider)

    Crashed Russian aircraft in Ukraine allegedly have consumer grade GPS receivers taped to the flight console.  Had.  Had consumer grade GPS receivers taped to the flight console.

  • Heroku is having a bad day.  (Brandur)

    And has been for three weeks.

Disclaimer: Which is about average for my bad days, now that I think about it.

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Sunday, May 15


Daily News Stuff 15 May 2022

Donuts Vs Pretzels Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Elon Musk continues to use Twitter as his personal salt mine.

    He knows liberals are idiots, and they have no way to cancel him.  Let them hate so long as they seethe.

  • Kobo Kanaeru of Hololive Indonesia was one of the vtubers to be banned following a deliberate spam campaign designed to get vtubers banned.  YouTube did nothing to filter the spam or ban the spamming accounts, but they did ban the users targeted by the attack.

    Because they're retarded.

    Hololive management kicked up a fuss and got her account restored.

    And now YouTube has done exactly the same thing again, for exactly the same reason, not even a week later.

    Because they're retarded.

  • Good dog.  (Notes from Poland)

  • I learned the general form of Seven Colour Map Theorem today.

    If you draw a map on a flat sheet, or a tube, or a sphere, and there are no special rules - no enclaves or empires that need to be specific colours - you only need four colours to make sure no two bordering countries are the same colour.

    On a Mobius strip you need six colours.

    On a donut, or a coffee cup - any surface with one hole - seven.

    On a pretzel - a surface with three holes - nine.

    And so on up to twelve colours for a surface with six holes, called genus 6.

    On more complicated surfaces - genus 7 and higher - the number is given by the formula

    Which is not what I was expecting.

  • Aya has announced three new hand-held gaming PCs.  (Liliputing)

    The Neo Air, smaller and lighter than the Steam Deck.  This one is due this month and uses a Ryzen 5000 series APU, probably one of the cheaper / low power models.

    The Neo 2, with the latest Ryzen 6800U laptop chip.  This will more than twice as fast as the Steam Deck - once it gets here.

     The Neo Slide with a sliding screen and a full keyboard underneath.  No schedule on this one; it has the same specs as the Neo 2 plus the keyboard.

    These are all fairly capable computers that will run Windows (and probably Linux with some driver fiddling) with USB 4.0 for charging, external displays, and whatever else you can't fit inside a one pound device with a 7-inch screen.

  • Speaking of Ryzen APUs they have a new one on the way.  (WCCFTech)

    Where the 6800U has 768 GPU cores, the Instinct MI300 will have 28,160.

    Of course, the Instinct range is compute GPUs and not laptop chips, but this is the first model to include Ryzen CPU cores as well.  And it's expected to draw 600W of power rather than 12W - which is actually reasonable given the relative core counts.

  • Western Digital has announced 22TB CMR and 26TB SMR drives.  (Serve the Home)

    SMR has a major problem when used in RAID arrays - rebuilding an active array after a drive failure takes forever.  I've gone with SMR drives for my home storage because it's so much cheaper - literally half the price - since I can just write to a different drive if I need to replace a failed disk.  

    Not so great in a datacenter, where you kind of expect the data to stay where you put it.

Disclaimer: It ain't what you put, it's the place that you put it.

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Saturday, May 14


Daily News Stuff 14 May 2022

Still Blrrr After All These Years Edition

Top Story

  • Unexpectedly: This house move is now entering panic mode, despite my having had a whole five or six minutes each day to prepare for it over the last few weeks.

    I'm getting assistance from work, because that was only our second largest product launch this year, with the biggest one coming up in a few weeks, and they'd like me to be alive for that.

  • Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter is temporarily paused while he reviews the level of bot activity on the site after Twitter...  Twitter did what, Reuters?

    Yeah, that's what I thought you said.

    Musk says he's still committed to the deal, just looking to send a few executives to jail for fraud.  Well, I might have added that part.

Tech News

  • AMD leaks ahoy.  (WCCFTech)

    Zen 4 and 4C we already know about.  Zen 4 is the new core design; 4C is a smaller version with less cache for high-density servers.  "Genoa" server chips using Zen 4 will be out this year with 96 cores; "Bergamo" chips with Zen 4C will be out early next year with 128 cores.

    Zen 4 desktop chips up to 16 cores will be out in Q3 or Q4 this year.  

    Zen 4 for laptops will arrive in Q1 next year, with a choice of 8 cores and fast graphics, or 16 cores and slow graphics.  16 full-size cores too, not the 8+8 that Intel now offers.

    Zen 4 for Threadripper, with up to 96 cores, is expected in Q1 or Q2 next year, rather than being a full year behind mainstream desktop parts as with Zen 3.

    And there will be a Genoa-X server part, with up to 96 cores and 1152MB of cache per socket (up from 384MB on Genoa), launching in mid-2023.

    Plus some information on Zen 5 - planned for late 2023 with up to 256 cores using a 3nm process - and Zen 6 in 2025.

  • And new "low-end" server chips too.  (WCCFTech)

    The new Zen 4 server parts are huge, with 12-channel memory and 160 PCIe lanes.  The new plan is for a range of "smaller" cheaper parts - up to 32 Zen 4 or 64 Zen 4C cores, 96 lanes of PCIe, and 6-channel memory.

    These will use the same size socket as current Epyc and Threadripper parts - so existing mechanical designs and cooling systems can be reused - but with a new pin arrangement, increasing the pin count from 4096 to 4844.  Switching from 8-channel DDR4 to 6-channel DDR5 means they wouldn't be compatible anyway.

  • How the Luna cryptocurrency lost 99.99% of its value in a month.  (CNet)

    A lot of attention has been on TerraUSD, a "stablecoin" pegged at 1:1 with the US dollar which is currently trading at 44 cents if you can find anyone to buy it.

    TerraUSD wasn't backed by an equal amount of US dollars, but by an interlinked guarantee with the Luna currency, such that 1 TerraUSD would buy $1 worth of Luna at any time.  If that exchange rate shifted, you could make money on arbitrage, which would inherently push it back towards the 1:1 ratio.

    So long as people were willing and able to conduct that arbitrage - both of which broke down last week, making $40 billion evaporate.

    On top of that it was also an obviously unsustainable Ponzi scheme.


    That was just part of the overall crypto-related freak-out that had my day start at 4AM yesterday and finish at 7PM, when neither I, my employer, nor our clients are involved at all in the financial side of crypto.  Panic transactions overloaded multiple blockchains that we use to do, well, useful stuff.

  • Twitter is testing a "liked by author" feature.  (Tech Crunch)

    That's Twitter chasing the cult of celebrity.

    YouTube does this, but it's meaningful there.  If the creator of the video you commented on likes or responds to your comment, that actually means something more than some rando replying.

    On Twitter mostly the opposite is true.

  • Get free NFTs, get your crypto stolen.  (Bleeping Computer)

    It's a two-for-one deal!  Don't miss out!

  • A plan to secure open-source software will cost $150 million over two years.  (Venture Beat)

    It's not a government plan, but one backed by businesses who spent far more than that addressing just one of the major issues that plagued us last year.

  • Samsung is reportedly planning to increase chip prices by up to 20%.  (PC Magazine)

    That would push up the price of everything else - literally everything else - but given that the price per transistor has fallen by a factor of about a trillion over the past few decades is not entirely unreasonable.

  • This Synology router also turns an external disk drive into a Synology NAS.  (9to5toys)

    Don't know if it supports multiple external drives - it only has one USB port but it's easy to get multi-bay USB storage boxes.  It has 2.5Gb Ethernet so it could be usefully fast.

Disclaimer: And now there's a box shortage.

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Friday, May 13


Daily News Stuff 13 May 2022

Seventeenth Time's The Charm Edition

Top Story

  • It's the Night of the Blunt Knives at Twitter.  (The Verge)

    CEO Parag Agrawal is clearing the decks of the most competent senior executives ahead of Elon Musk's takeover so that...  I got nothing.

    The tweets are weird.  "You're great.  The best in your field.  A perfect fit for the role.  Also, fired."

Tech News

  • The EU wants to do a thing.  (Some Stupid EU Site)

    If you can read the article and tell me what they want to do, you win a kewpie doll.
    • Strengthen the support offered to children in vulnerable situations by the Safer Internet Centres in Member States to address the digital divide.

    • Expand the role of BIK Youth Ambassadors and BIK Youth Panels - young people working with the Commission to implement the strategy - to support peer-to-peer activities at national and local level.

    • Start mapping the existing research on the neurologic impact on children of methods used for commercial purposes.

  • Horrifying things, kewpie dolls.

  • Google announced stuff?  (ZDNet)

    Anything good?

    No.  Well, they seem to have fixed some things they recently broke in YouTube, but no.

  • An engineering sample for what is probably AMD's upcoming Ryzen 7800X runs at up to 5.2GHz.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That's about 10% faster than the current 5800X, and Zen 4 is expected to be 25% faster than Zen 3 at the same speed.  And right now I'm on a Zen 1 that is underclocked because it overheats, so this new chip would be quite a bit faster.

  • If you're looking to build a Threadripper workstation, there aren't any.  (Tom's Hardware)

    AMD can sell everything it makes into the server market at higher margins, so it's not really looking for extra niches where it can sell a few thousand - or tens of thousands - of chips.  So it's a good thing that the 16 core Ryzen 7000 will likely be as fast as most Threadripper 3000 chips.

  • BBC Basic for SDL is BBC Basic only for SDL (a cross-platform graphics and sound library.  (BBCBasic)

    It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Raspberry Pi, and in your browser, and gives you up to 256MB for your Basic code which is just slightly more than was available on the BBC Micro.

  • If you're not an Ubuntu fan, Fedora 36 is now out.  (The Register)

    I got started on Red Hat Linux and used it for years, all the way through to CentOS 6, before giving up because of the eternities it took to release CentOS 7 and 8.

  • Getting utilities connected at my new house before I move in and learned something that I hadn't thought of.  It has a gas cooktop and gas hot water.

    It doesn't have gas.

    Specifically, the town doesn't have gas.  Have to get it delivered in bottles.

    Universal fibre internet, yes.  Gas, no.  Guess I'll take that trade.

Disclaimer: Some look at things that never were, and say, what the fuck?

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