Thursday, December 21


Daily News Stuff 21 December 2023

It's Here Already Already Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Rite Aid has been banned from using facial recognition systems for five years after getting it wrong.  (Tech Crunch)

    That?  That's not a face.  This is a face.

    They should be back on line just in time for the catgirls.

  • The HP Omen Transcend 16 doesn't look terrible.  (Hot Hardware)

    It has an Intel 13900HX - 8 P cores plus 16 E cores, Nvidia RTX 4070 graphics, up to 96GB of RAM, a 2560x1600 240Hz display, and the ten essential keys (which is to say, a full desktop cursor pad).

    Plus two Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, wired Ethernet, regular USB, HDMI, and a headphone jack.

    It comes in black or white, and could be worth considering if you want a laptop that can play games but can also pass as a boring business model.

    Price varies in the vicinity of $2000, so if it's much more than that, wait for a sale.

Disclaimer: Gluten-free Tim Tams.

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Wednesday, December 20


Daily News Stuff 20 December 2023

Semifinal Curtain Edition

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Tech News

Disclaimer: It was all over when RFC numbers hit three digits.  (RFC100, released in  February 1971, was a guide to the 102 RFCs that existed at that point.  You see the problem.)

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Tuesday, December 19


Daily News Stuff 19 December 2023

Viikings R Us Edition

Top Story

  • Possibly the most Icelandish story ever. (New York Times) (archive site)
    A volcano in southwestern Iceland began erupting Monday with lava fountains reaching up to 330 feet and the glow visible miles away in the center of the capital, Reykjavik.

    The location of the fissure poses a risk to the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power plant and to the town of GrindavĂ­k, which was evacuated last month because of heightened seismic activity.

    "We are looking at a worst-case scenario," said Thorvaldur Thordarson, a volcanologist in Iceland. "The eruption appears big, and only about two kilometers from major infrastructure."
    Have they tried smashing it with a hammer?

Tech News

  • The writer of an unauthorised sequel to The Lord of the Rings had the bright idea of suing both Amazon and the Tolkien estate for infringing his copyright. (The Guardian)

    Bold strategy, let's see - oh he already lost and has to pay $134,000 in legal fees.

    And all copies - physical and digital - of his book have been ordered destroyed. That part about destroying digital copies concerns me, but let's face it, this thing averaged one star on Barnes and Noble, solely because you can't give zero stars in a review.

    At least The Eye of Argon was an original work, and Jim Theis never tried to sue anyone.

  • Maybe we don't need UUIDv7. (lu.sagebl.eu)

    Oh wait, yes we do.

  • Adobe has given up on its attempt to burn $20 billion acquiring Figma, thanks to incessant regulatory blockages. (Tech Crunch)

    The company will now need to cough up a mere $1 billion in compensation for the failed merger.

Disclaimer: It's a sort of greenish shade of yellow-purple.

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Monday, December 18


Daily News Stuff 18 December 2023

Ea-Nasir Walks Into A Bar Edition

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Tech News

Disclaimer: A dog and a shady copper merchant walk into a bar.

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Sunday, December 17


Daily News Stuff 17 December 2023

Holly Jolly Whatever Edition

Top Story

  • Small is the new Large: Microsoft has announced Phi-2, which it terms a "small language model".  (VentureBeat)

    With 2.7 billion parameters it generally outperforms Llama-2 and Mistral with 7 billion parameters, while being small enough to run happily on graphics cards with just 4GB of RAM.

    It's comparable to Mistral on language tests, but significantly better on mathematics and programming.

    If that's too big for you, Microsoft recently released Phi-1 and Phi-1.5 which will run on any reasonably specced potato.

    I'm happy to see this progress in making improvements to small models you can run yourself, that have potential to do some limited set of things well.  The push to ever larger models at astronomical expense is going to fail unless fundamental changes are made to the designs - and  to the culture of the companies building them.

  • Mistral also announced what they call Mixtral last week.  (Mistral)

    This a similar idea.  Rather than building one huge model that tries to handle everything, Mixtral uses eight small (7 billion term) models, each able to fit on a commodity graphics card, and each tuned to a specific kind of task.

    It outperforms the largest version of Llama-2 (70 billion terms) while being 30% smaller overall (for all eight models combined) and working on hardware at one twentieth the price.

Tech News

VTuber News

  • Congratulations to Fishman and all the Sad Girls at Sad Girls, Inc for winning the rising star category at the 2023 VTuber awards.  (Twitter)

    It's amusing to see people complaining that Sad Girls should be competing with the titans like Hololive and Nijisanji.  The entire reason they won this award is because they've grown so much this year that people compare them to the titans.

  • And congratulations too to Vedal and Neuro-sama on the Best Tech VTuber award.

    Neuro-sama is a home-made AI VTuber who loves nothing more than roasting her poor creator.  As the creation of a single person - even building off open-source tools - she's truly impressive.

Secure Your Damn Basements, People Videos of the Day

First it was Hololive.

And now Phase Connect.

Who knows what Nijisanji or VShojo could have chained up down there?

Disclaimer: Well, probably Pomu and Kson respectively, but they're not talking.  I mean they're talking a lot, but not about this.  Yet.  Actually, they're mostly talking about frogs.  I don't know why.

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Saturday, December 16


Daily News Stuff 16 December 2023

Slep Deeprivation Edition

Top Story

  • Life hack: You can get Japanese products sooner (often by months) and cheaper by simply ordering them from Amazon Japan.

    The Pop Up Parade figures for Kiara and Ayame which I had on pre-order through Amazon US, with estimated shipping dates in March and February respectively, are in stock at Amazon Japan right now.

  • The Telescreen (Amazon $499) was in front of the painting (Etsy $299).  Marketing companies aren't actually listening in on your private conversations.  Probably.  (Ars Technica)

    Even if they say they are.

    A marketing team within Cox Media Group claimed it had a tool it called Active Listening, which involved, not to put too fine a point on it, illegally spying on other companies' customers, with the tag line "It's true.  Your devices are listening to you."

    If it were actually true, the resulting lawsuits would burn the entire company to the ground.  Fortunately it seems to be marketing, or in other words, a complete lie.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Do as I don't, not as I say.

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Friday, December 15


Daily News Stuff 15 December 2023

TAOCP2 Edition

Top Story

  • Finished up a major project at work that had taken over my life recently - a cloud migration from one crappy provider to another slightly less crappy one - involving dozens of applications, multiple database types, and over 100TB of data.

    Celebrated by ordering the latest edition of The Art of Computer Programming from Amazon.  I already have volumes 1-3 - somewhere - but it didn't cost much more for the now five-volume full set than for just the two new volumes.

    Not from Amazon, anyway.  A lot more elsewhere.

  • Intel's Meteor Lake laptop chips - the real 14th generation - are out.  (AnandTech)

    14th generation desktop chips are already here, but those are just relabeled 13th generation parts, just as some 13th generation desktop chips were relabeled 12th generation parts.

    How's the performance?

    We don't know.  Intel didn't provide any review models, not to anyone.

  • Samsung's Galaxy Book 4 range has the new Meteor Lake CPUs.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It will be available in South Korea next month, and in the rest of the world...  Eventually.

Tech News

Disclaimer: I know nothing!

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Thursday, December 14


Daily News Stuff 14 December 2023

Engulf And Devour Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: It's time to play Bees or No Bees.

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Wednesday, December 13


Daily News Stuff 13 December 2023

Bottom Of The Morning Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Google Fiber is now rolling out its 20 gigabit internet service, for $250 per month.  (Tom's Hardware)

    For $250 per month I can get 250 megabits.  While that's A$250 - about US$150 - 250 megabits is a lot less than 20 gigabits.

  • TSMC is ramping up to ship 2nm chips in volume in 2025.  (WCCFTech)

    Apple will be the first major customer, as has become the norm.  But the iPhone has paid for TSMC's massive technical advances over the past decade, so I don't begrudge Apple its typical 12-month exclusivity period.

  • Huawei meanwhile is working on 5nm chips.  (Tom's Hardware)

    China is currently stuck at 14nm because they can't buy the EUV optical tools needed for finer process nodes due to sanctions, and can't make their own because they're decades behind in that particular part of the tech sector.

    So what they're doing is something called multi-patterning: By running a chip through the process multiple times, very very carefully, you can end up with finer details than you can by just doing it once.

    Problem is each pass through the machine increases the cost and increases the failure rate, so cost goes up exponentially.  It's very much a stopgap approach, and unlikely to see adoption in any mainstream devices.

  • After acquiring VMWare, Broadcom is on a newfound mission to fuck both its customers and its staff.  (Ars Technica)

    Perpetual licenses are out; all products will now be subscription-only.

    Also out are nearly 3000 employees.

Disclaimer: Back off, man, I'm a scientist.

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Tuesday, December 12


Daily News Stuff 12 December 2023

Community Chest Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: From one to odd, I'm all out of even.

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