Wednesday, September 14


Daily News Stuff 14 September 2022

Party Of The Eighth Part Edition

Top Story

  • Congressional testimony from Peiter Zatko says that Twitter is run by idiots and infested with foreign spies.  (WCCFTech)

    Which former we knew and latter comes as no surprise.

    Also that the company executives have been routinely lying to the board, to shareholders, and to the SEC.

    Zatko was, until January, Twitter's head of security, before being abruptly fired and then receiving a $7 million settlement.

  • It must be purely coincidence then that at least six "research firms" are offering money to besmudge Zatko.  (New Yorker)

    Former coworkers at Stripe, Google, and DARPA report being bombarded with aggressive requests for paid interviews about Zatko - with the clear implication that you had better be prepared to dish the dirt.
    The consultant told Provos that its analysts were assessing Zatko’s "personality professionally and socially," his "strengths and weaknesses," "motives for his whistle-blower complaint and any similar past complaints," his "need for attention," and whether he was a "zealot or ideologue," "conspiratorial," or "vengeful." She also said they were interested in Zatko’s "view of Elon Musk and Musk's bid for Twitter."
    And they were prepared to pay $1000 per hour for this, which is a wonderful motivation for discovering a previously latent speech impediment.

    How this reads to me is that everything Zatko has said is true and Twitter's management is in serious trouble, but I should beware of wishcasting.

Tech News

  • A long review of Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach with no part IV.  (Less Wrong)

    I first read GEB when I was 16 - it was a Christmas gift from my mum.  Which tells you something about both of us.  It's probably heavy going for a 16 year old but the way it is written you can read it once and get the surface of it, skimming over the maths-heavy pages, and then come back to it again a year later an get a lot more out of it.  Maybe more than once.

    Also, Hofstadter is right about the nature of consciousness.

  • GlobalWafers is starting construction of a $5 billion factory in Texas this November.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Before you can build a silicon chip you need a silicon wafer - a sliver of ultra-pure crystalline silicon the size of an LP record.  There are many chip factories in the US but this will be the first new wafer factory in 20 years.

  • A tale of two hardware firewalls.  (Serve the Home)

    One good, one less good.  And the only difference being the case - but since these are passively cooled, the case makes a big difference.

  • China has formally accused the NSA of spying, which is the function of the NSA.  (Gizmodo)

    This may be true, in which case it's dog-bites-man except that the NSA broke Rule One of Spycraft, which is don't get caught.

    Or it may be China making shit up to divert attention from getting caught spying on other countries itself, which, well, same as above.

  • They said I was daft to build a datacenter in Strasbourg, but I built it all the same.  It burned down.  Then I built another one.  (The Register)

    OVH has built a new, hopefully less flammable, datacenter on the site of the one that burned to the ground last year.

    Last year was not a good time for datacenters.

Disclaimer: That burned down.  Then I built another one.  That caught fire, burned down, and exploded with enough force to blow out windows in Vladivostok.  But the fourth one is waiting on the insurance money.

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Tuesday, September 13


Daily News Stuff 13 September 2022

Working Five To Eight Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Intel's upcoming 13700T - a nominal 35W part - is reported to outrun AMD's 105W 5800X in both single and multi-threaded tests.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This could be true.  The 13700K is a 16 core / 24 thread part, while the 5800X is 8 core / 16 threads, so with one core running very fast or all 16 cores running slowly it can outperform the 5800X in the respective benchmarks while using less power.  But also being less useful for many workloads, because games (for example) really don't like it when one thread runs at half the speed of the others.

    Also it could be using a lot more than 35W.

  • Who cares if it scales?  (Better Programming)

    Me, because whenever someone writes something that doesn't scale, fixing it becomes my problem.  Often at 3AM.  On a holiday weekend.

  • Quad9 continues to fight those jerks at Sony in court.  (TorrentFreak)

    Quad9 is one of the public, global DNS servers - the others being Google's and Cloudflare's  Sony wants it to block pirate sites, even though it doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with the pirate sites - it just performs lookups of DNS information from other servers.

    It's a pretty important case because at its core is whether you can repeat a piece of information that is (a) public and (b) verifiably true when someone decides they don't like the implications of that information.

Disclaimer: I got my DNS and my DNA samples mixed up and now my laboratory mice are running illegal casino sites from Antigua.

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Monday, September 12


Daily News Stuff 12 September 2022

First Catch Your Rabbit Edition

Top Story

  • How to build a Greek temple.  (Antigone Journal)

    In case your plans for the weekend fall through, here's a handy list for a quick DIY project.

Tech News

  • And three hundred degrees.

    Intel planned to hit 10GHz about 15 years ago, but reality declined to cooperate.  Still, it's good to see some level of progress.  The only 6GHz CPUs that have shipped previously were in expensive IBM servers.

  • The flips side of more gigahertz is, of course, more cores.  (Serve the Home)

    The article makes the point that if 128 core CPUs are readily available, it makes little sense to run servers with 4 cores that are less than 25% busy most of the time.  Slice a 256 core system (two 128 core CPUs) into 256 virtual servers and you get 256 times as many customers in the same amount of rack space.

    Unfortunately that's also part of the entire you'll own nothing and like it mantra.  It makes economic sense, but I'm going to continue running my own servers as long as it's at all feasible.

  • A problem with the planned introduction of 2nm chips has been resolved with the help of a microwave oven.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Might have some difficulty banning the sale of those to China.

  • Coinbase is funding a lawsuit against the treasury department over sanctions on Tornado Cash.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Tornado Cash is a cryptomixer, and cryptomixers are often used to hide stolen funds.  It's online money laundering.

    But Tornado Cash isn't a website or a business; it's open source software.  It can be used for illegal purposes, but it's hard to see how it can itself be illegal under US law.

Disclaimer: Of all the tables in all the databases in all the world, you had to put a system lock on mine.

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Sunday, September 11


Daily News Stuff 11 September 2022

Good, Bad, I'm The Guy With The Typewriter Edition

Top Story

  • Nobody buys books anymore.  Maybe.

    The truth is slightly more complicated, as it usually is.  (Countercraft)

    Nobody knows how many books are published each year, how many are sold, how many of each book published are sold, or how to work out answers to any of those questions.  The first comment to that post - one of the rare exceptions to Rule 1 of the Internet - has a lot of statistics that indicate that, within the quantities that can be quantified, 15% of new books sell fewer than 12 copies, sort of.

Tech News

  • While AMD just announced welcome price cuts with its new Ryzen 7000 range - sort of - Intel is planning just the opposite.  (WCCFTech)

    To unpack that a little, the 7950X, due in about two weeks, is priced at $699, where the 5950X was priced at $799 at launch and was unavailable for months in any case.  But the 5950X is now readily available at around $550, so the new chip is simultaneously $100 cheaper and $150 more expensive than the old one, depending on what numbers you are comparing.

    Meanwhile Intel is planning on price increases of up to 20%, particularly in the consumer market sector.  Intel's consumer product earnings are down 25% year-on-year and the easiest way to bring them back up is to increase prices.

    AMD doesn't have to fab capacity booked to steal the market from Intel, so it could come down to a choice of waiting until the AMD chip you want comes into stock again, or settling for an overpriced intel chip.  We'll see how that works out.

  • WiFi 7 is coming, with transfer rates up to 5Gbps.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Not sure yet if I'm going to cable the three rooms in my house that don't have wired networking.  I'll probably just run the cables on the floor to start with.  Right now I'm using WiFi 6 which according to my router's specs can reach 4.8Gbps.  The same way a Yugo GV can hit 150mph - if you drop it from a sufficient height.

  • Get ready to switch browsers by January.  (The Register)

    If you haven't already.

    Google will be killing Chrome support for fully functional ad blockers - the ones that let you select exactly what you want blocked and where.  This is ostensibly because this requires the ad blocked to be able to inspect the contents of all web pages, and the internet requests they make.

    But mostly because Google is an advertising company.

    Safari and Edge are expected to do the same.

    Brave and Mozilla have specifically said they won't, but Mozilla is run by communists so this does not leave us with many viable choices.

Disclaimer: One, in fact.

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Saturday, September 10


Daily News Stuff 10 September 2022

Don't Open The Door Edition

Top Story

  • I found a new door to not open.  Now that spring has come to New House City I opened up the sliding doors to the dining room to air the place out.  I didn't worry about the screens because there aren't many insects around yet.

    There are birds, however, and it wasn't ten minutes before I had a magpie as a houseguest.

    Turns out that magpie poop does clean out of carpet if you get to it promptly, so that could have gone worse.

  • Don't buy a graphics card for more than $500 right now.  (Tom's Hardware)

    In fact, the article suggests, don't buy a graphics card for more than $250 right now.  Mid-range and high-end cards from Nvidia and AMD are only a couple of months away.  Low-end cards aren't expected to be replaced until later, perhaps the middle of next year, so the RX 6600 remains a solid choice if you need something right now.

    Otherwise hold off if you can.

    Which is slightly annoying if you want to build a Ryzen 7000 system because the new CPUs launch in two weeks.

Tech News

  • If you already did buy a graphics card for more than $500 and want to tinker with AI stable diffusion image generation programs like Img2img Stable Diffusion web UI makes that easier.  (GitHub)

    Written in Python it provides you with - as the name suggests - a web UI so you don't need to remember 900 arcane command line arguments.

    It does specifically need an Nvidia graphics card - or rather, Img2img does - but I have a couple of those sitting unused right now and might give this a try.

  • Winamp 5.9 is out.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Because that llama's ass ain't gonna whip itself.

  • The US Navy says all UFO videos are classified and releasing them will harm national security.  (Vice)

    Did the Zerg also give 10% to the big guy?

  • Are AMD laptops really more energy efficient than Intel?  Yes.  (Hot Hardware)

    There are some cases where Intel does very well, but overall AMD is ahead, sometimes far ahead - particularly if you're depending on integrate graphics:
    Regarding the utlraportables, AMD pulls off another really great efficiency win. Not only is the frame rate 60% higher than the Intel-based Samsung Galaxy Book2 360, it uses 30% less power. Plus the performance is something you can really feel; 46 fps is smooth enough, but averaging up near 74 fps is quite smooth, and the dips are going to be a lot higher than Intel's, too. We're at a performance level where we'd like to play this game on the ASUS machine, whereas the Xe IGP in the Core i7-1260P powering the Samsung notebook might force us to play on lower settings to be more comfortable.
    I'm looking forward to seeing what Zen 4 and 5nm bring to laptops next year.  AMD has noted that in their new low power settings (65W) for desktop chips they are getting 75% better performance than with Zen 3, which is a huge increase for a single generation.

  • Intel has started the first $20 billion stage of a planned $100 billion manufacturing site in Ohio.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The first two factories are expected to come on line in 2025.

Disclaimer:  Hands!  Hands at the ends of my arms!

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Friday, September 09


Daily News Stuff 9 December 2022

Nye Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Stolen Piggy Bank.  Gain 1 coin every second and increase SPD by 15%.  However, reduce Pick Up range by 50% and Moona is at the door with an axe.

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Thursday, September 08


Daily News Stuff 8 September 2022

Do As I Do, Not As I Say Edition

Top Story

  • When Disney was looking to buy Twitter back in 2016, they dropped the idea not because the site was awash with bots, but because the real users were assholes.  (Vox)

    You can totally understand a nominally family-oriented company like Disney keeping a long, long way away from Twitter.

    But the takeaway from this new interview with former Disney CEO Bob Iger is that the site is flooded with bots, not Twitter's official five percent fairy tale.

    Elon Musk took note.

Tech News


A pretty good rendition of one of my characters, though it takes some convincing to get Midjourney to give a young character grey hair.


And another, unrelated:


It's really quite good at head-and-shoulders shots.  If they can just teach it that arms end with hands, it will be stellar.

Disclaimer: But you can flip the table.

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Wednesday, September 07


Daily News Stuff 7 September 2022

Burn All The Things Edition

Top Story

  • How Cloudflare got KiwiFarms wrong.  (The Verge)

    Cloudflare got KiwiFarms wrong by caving to the fascist mob, but since The Verge is a card-carrying flag-waving member of that mob, this article is complaining that Cloudflare didn't cave sooner.

    The excuse given is "stochastic terrorism", a term that means someone somewhere said something I don't like.

Tech News

  • The GPD Win 4 is a hand-held game console like the Sony Playstation Vita and Nintendo Switch.  (Liliputing)

    It's a bit chunkier; the Nintendo Switch weighs around 11 ounces and this is nearly 20.

    On the other hand, it has a keyboard - under the 6" 1920x1080 display, which slides up if you want to type rather than play games, an 8 core Ryzen 6800U CPU, up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of NVMe SSD.

    Don't need.  Do want.  It's twice as fast as the laptop I'm using right now.

  • The Ryzen 4100 and 4500 are here.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Not sure exactly why, since these are older Zen 2 cores.  But the 4100 costs $99 and the 4500 costs $129, and they're not bad chips.  So I guess that's a reason.

  • There was a 23 year old denial-of-service bug in Curl.  (Haxx.se)

    Sort of.  Curl is a client-side tool (and software library) for fetching content from the web, so you could only really DOS yourself.  It involved bad cookies, which are a problem.  Probably oatmeal raisin, which are just cheap counterfeit chocolate chip.

  • Still playing with Midjourney.  Some prompts are dead ends that give horrible results after dozens of attempts.  Others work first try, like "middle-aged wizard at workbench".


    It's a lot better at head-and-shoulders shots than full-length.  It often loses track of the arms or hands and the results are not pretty.

    Pleased with this Ice Witch too:


    And added a couple more along that theme:


    It makes things easier if you expect the results to look slightly creepy.

    In fact, it's really good at creepy.


    It's keeping it from being creepy that's the challenge.


    But not impossible.

Disclaimer: My family called them "squashed fly biscuits".

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Tuesday, September 06


Daily News Stuff 6 September 2022

Digital Finger Painting School Of Art Edition

Top Story

  • So I took a little time to play with Midjourney, one of the new AI-powered art sites.  I've been critical of AI often enough; it has little of practical use to show for decades of research apart from being able to destroy the last vestiges of privacy in an increasingly totalitarian world.

    But this...  This is pretty neat.


    You just describe what you want to see, and the art style you want it drawn in, and it does it.

    Well, most of the time there are little details that aren't quite right - it's not great at bilateral symmetry, and fairly often the results are on the wrong side of the Uncanny Valley, and while it's good on faces and clothes, including things like uniforms and armour:


    It has a very shaky grasp of the concept of holding something.

    It does well on landscapes and cities though:


    You can get a free trial but if you get interested you'll burn through the allowance very quickly.  Monthly plans start at $10, or $30 for unlimited use.  If you need a lot of illustrations for something but you don't need a particular scene or action precisely, it's an amazing tool.

    Just be prepared to occasionally see things that can't be unseen, like when it simply forgets to give someone a face.

    If you try to put two characters in a scene, it tends to lose its marbles.  I can see why artists are upset, but they're certainly not out of a job yet.

    I also wondered if it's possible to get to images of recognisably the same character, given the amount of randomness involved.  And I'll just say for now, yes.  It takes patience, but if your prompt is specific enough, it's not that hard.

    Update: Typed in "lexx" as the prompt, nothing else.  Got this:


Tech News

  • QNAP.  (Bleeping Computer)


  • Email is broken.  (Carlos Fenollosa)

    Broken deliberately by Big Tech, so that only emails sent by (or if you're luck, via) Big Tech can reach email servers operated by Big Tech.

    You can receive email on your own server just fine, but sending it is another matter entirely.

  • Cheating at chess using computer shoes.  (Incoherency)

    It seems like a rather roundabout approach, but if it gets results, who's to complain?  I mean, the International Chess Federation, yes, but who listens to those nerds?

Disclaimer: So exactly why did you need photos of a ten-year-old blonde girl with scary eyes wearing a Prussian military uniform?

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Monday, September 05


Daily News Stuff 5 September 2022

Anaxiomatic Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: I don't know much about art, but I know what I don't like.

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