This accidentally fell out of her pocket when I bumped into her. Took me four goes.

Thursday, August 31


Daily News Stuff 31 August 2023

Undeducted Edition 

Top Story

  • OpenAI has disputed the claims in a class action suit brought by various authors such as Richard Kadrey, and "authors" such as Sarah Silverman, responding with your momma is a derivative work.  (Ars Technica)
    Authors claim generative AI is just a "grift" that repackages original works.
    The first half of this is self-evident.

    The second half is like saying steak is just repackaged carbon dioxide.  Yes.  Grass absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow.  Cows eat grass.  People eat cows.

    But the carbon dioxide is free, so it's irrelevant.

    In just the same way, authors - and "authors" - repackage the work of previous authors.  We accept this if they're sufficiently subtle about it, and the flavour comes out different, just like cows and grass.

    We don't expect grass to pay for the right to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, nor do we require authors to pay commercial licenses for the books they read as they learn to write.

    But if we are served a plate of alleged steak, and it is green and leafy, we tend to riot and burn the restaurant down.  Metaphorically.

    Much as I loathe OpenAI as a bunch of useless grifters, what they are doing is clearly fair use under US law.  Which doesn't mean they will win in court, and certainly doesn't mean that that the law won't end up changing.

    It just means that they are right.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Kemal Ataturk owned an entire menagerie of animals all named Abdul.

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Wednesday, August 30


Daily News Stuff 30 August 2023

Oops Left It In Draft Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Always make sure to wash your F15 Eagle thoroughly before feeding it pigeons.

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Tuesday, August 29


Daily News Stuff 29 August 2023

Bin Chicken Edition

Top Story

  • Kias and Hyundais are too easy to steal, so cities are suing the manufacturers.  (Vice)

    Already this year, lawsuits have been filed by Seattle (mayor: Democrat), Baltimore (mayor: Democrat), Cleveland (mayor: Democrat), New York (mayor: Comm...  wait, Democrat), Chicago (mayor: Lizard Person), St. Louis (mayor: Democrat), and Columbus (mayor: Democrat).

    Wonder what the common factor might be that all these cars are getting stolen.

    And I think rather than adding engine immobilisers to budget cars, manufacturers should look into deploying rabid wolverines.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Which is the chalcolithic era in CPU years.

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Monday, August 28


Daily News Stuff 28 August 2023

Tell Me O Muse Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Gigabyte has announced its new Brix Extreme range of NUCs.  (Liliputing)

    Mostly these are 4 and 6 core Ryzen 7035U chips - that is, Zen 3 CPUs with RDNA2 graphics.  Adequate but hardly groundbreaking.

    But the last model is a Ryzen 7840U: 8 Zen 4 cores and 12 RDNA 3 graphics cores.  This is one of the first 7840U devices I've seen; mostly manufacturers have been using the slightly faster but significantly more power-hungry 7840HS, or the rebadged Ryzen Z1 Extreme.

    Anyway, apart from the CPU it offers two SO-DIMM slots for a nominal 64GB of RAM, though 96GB should work, one M.2 slot, two HDMI ports, mini DisplayPort, USB-C with DisplayPort (so a total of four monitors), plus another USB-C without video, and five USB-A ports.  And 2.5Gb Ethernet and a headphone jack.

    If that's not enough there's a tiny expansion bay where you can add a module for another 2.5Gb Ethernet port, a second M.2 slot, and for some reason, a serial port.

    Prices were not mentioned.

  • AMD's Radeon RX 7600 is now available at Micro Center for $229.  (WCCFTech)

    It's not a high-end card, but that's not a high-end price.

  • Amazone just sent a Dear John letter to users of its Honeycode service.  (Honeycode Community)

    This was a platform that allowed people who didn't understand how to build applications to build applications that they didn't understand.

    The results were rather predictable.

Disclaimer: Traduttori, traditora!

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Sunday, August 27


Daily News Stuff 27 August 2023

Eight Days A Week Edition

Top Story

  • There's nothing like spending a Sunday afternoon sitting in your favourite chair with a warm cup of 9Gbps DDOS attack.

  • Running Linux on a Commodore 64.  (GitHub)

    With a memory expansion module.  You can't actually run Linux in 64k of RAM.

    And even then, it's only been tested in emulators.  It works by running a RISC-V emulator on the Commodore 64, and running Linux in that.  The developer estimates that it would take about a week to boot on real hardware; it takes two hours on an accelerated emulator.

Tech News

  • South Yorkshire Police accidentally lost three years of bodycam footage.  (The Independent)

    This likely scuttles dozens of prosecutions.  

    Rotherham is in South Yorkshire.  So is Hillsborough, where 97 people died back in 1989 as a direct result of police mishandling crowd control.

    Back then they used VHS tapes, which couldn't be deleted at the touch of a button.

    The VHS tapes of the incident were somehow stolen.  From a locked cupboard, in a locked room, protected by a burglar alarm...  That didn't go off.

    Turns out they were the wrong tapes anyway; it was a different set of tapes that proved the police were lying about the event.

  • Did you know they have the internet on computers now?  Threads is available on the web.  (ZDNet)

    Both the remaining users are reportedly pleased by this news.

  • Speaking of losing important files, a crypto startup has gone bankrupt after losing the keys to its main wallet.  (404 Media)

    Its main wallet containing customer funds.

    They've known about this since December.

    Of 2021.

    And only now are bothering to tell anyone.

    Based on the numbers given in the article, the company was bankrupt even with the contents of that wallet; they're just extra double bankrupt without it.

Disclaimer: The car keys!  Neil, you've got the car keys!

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Saturday, August 26


Daily News Stuff 26 August 2023

Blocked At The Firewall Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • AMD announced its new Radeon 7700 XT and 7800 XT graphics cars, shipping September 6.  (AnandTech)

    I predicted pricing of $449 and $549 respectively, $50 too much in each case to be truly competitive, and I was half right.

    The 7700 XT with 12GB of RAM and 54 CUs (cluster units - graphics cores) is $449, slotting in precisely between the 8GB and 16GB models of Nvidia's 4060 Ti while generally outperforming both.

    The 7800XT with 16GB of RAM and 60 CUs, on the other hand, is $499, the same price as the 16GB 4060 Ti, which it demolishes, and $100 cheaper than the 4070, which it competes against fairly evenly.

    The 7700 XT might receive a small price adjustment before it hits retail (like the 7600), but it's a decent card.  It's just outshone by its big brother.  For an extra $50, just go for the 7800.

  • Reviewing the Fanxiang (who?) S770 2TB SSD.  (Serve the Home)

    It's a perfectly adequate middle-of-the road PCIe 4 SSD, with a couple of bugs.

    Like the fact that the temperature sensor always returns the same reading.

    I wouldn't buy one, but it appears to be basically functional.

  • The College Board, which administers the SAT and Advance Placement exams, also helpfully shares your data with Facebook and TikTok if you access their website.  (Gizmodo)
    "We do not share SAT scores or GPAs with Facebook or TikTok, and any other third parties using pixel or cookies," said a College Board spokesperson.  "In fact, we do not send any personally identifiable information (PII) through our pixels on the site. In addition, we do not use SAT scores or GPAs for any targeting."
    Well, that's good to hear.
    After receiving this comment, Gizmodo shared a screenshot of the College Board sending GPAs and SAT scores to TikTok using a pixel. The spokesperson then acknowledged that the College Board’s website actually does share this data.
    Oh, that TikTok.
    "Pixels are simply a means to measure the effectiveness of College Board advertising," the spokesperson said. "If a student uses the college search tool on, the student can add a GPA and SAT score range to the search filters. Those values are passed in the pixel, not because we configured the pixel that way but because that’s how the pixel works."
    We don't share user data with Facebook or TikTok, except when we do, in which case that's just how things work.

    Props to Gizmodo here for slapping the College Board in the face with the cold, wet Trout of Fact.

  • Why Meta is the only AI company that matters.  (Phind)

    Meta's CodeLlama-34B scored 48.8% on the HumanEval test when it was first released.

    Phind's fine-tuned version scores 67.6% on the same test.

    CodeLlama was released yesterday.

  • Everyone involved in web scraping is a hypocrite.  (Eric Goldman)

    Many of the most litigious actors against web scraping don't actually own the content they are protecting.

Disclaimer: It's hypocrites all the way down.

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Friday, August 25


Daily News Stuff 25 August 2023

Damned If You Damn Edition

Top Story

  • Introducing Code Llama, a state-of-the-art AI for programming.  (Meta)

    While this has the same general limitations as other LLMs (like ChatGPT), you can download itself and mess around with the code and models without worrying about leftist lunatics wrapping the whole thing in the curare-dipped razor wire of wokeness.

    There are a couple of restrictions on the code license, and more on model license, but you can get the code and the data, and once it's out there you can rely on someone to ignore all the rules, and once that happens there's no putting Pandora's cat back in the bottle.

    This is in addition to the recently released Llama 2, a general-purpose LLM, and SeamlessM4T, a transcription and translation system that understands nearly 100 languages.

Tech News

Disclaimer: You don't hate journalists enough.  You think you do, but you don't.

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Thursday, August 24


Daily News Stuff 24 August 2023

Worlds Enough And Apple Edition

Top Story

Tech News

What Is Apple Up To Video of the Day

If you are suspicious about one of the largest and most unscrupulous opponents of device repairability having a sudden change of heart and becoming a stalwart champion of consumers and independent repair shops, you are not half so suspicious as Louis Rossman, who made the mistake of giving Apple the benefit of the doubt once, four years ago, and has been living it down ever since.

It's not a question of whether Apple is attempting to fuck over its own customers, but how.

Disclaimer: Basically, BOHICA.

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Wednesday, August 23


Daily News Stuff 23 August 2023

Unbaked Babies Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Why does the US government want to ban TikTok?  Because it's a tool of Chinese intelligence - or because it's not a tool of US intelligence?  (Gizmodo)

    Surprisingly, given the facts presented and not Gizmodo's spin, it appears to be the former.  The draft rules are not to spy on TikTok's users but to monitor TikTok itself - to spy on the spies.

  • In which The Verge takes a short break from hating Elon Musk to hate Ron DeSantis.  (The Verge)

    The article is about YouTube's deal with Universal Music Group to block otherwise legal creation of music using AI reproductions of the voices of artists signed to that label.

    You can't copyright what you sound like, but YouTube will take the music down anyway, just as they took down unapproved narratives regarding the Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague, something you will not find five thousand word diatribes published about at The Verge.

    So what does Ron DeSantis have to do with all of this?

    Absolutely nothing.  The Verge is off its meds again.

  • Hookworms may help stave off type 2 diabetes.  (New Atlas)

    The paper by Australian researchers, published in Nature, suggests that the anti-inflammatory response triggered by the parasitic worms helps counteract the metabolic processes that lead to diabetes and other health conditions.

    Hookworms have also been suggested as a treatment for autoimmune diseases for much the same reason.

    Yes, it's bloody Aussies again.  I suppose that living on a continent where all of the animals and most of the plants are actively trying to kill you makes a parasitic worm infection seem less of an issue.

  • What happened to The Wirecutter?  (The Atlantic)  (archive site)

    Short version: They got bought by the New York Times.
    Once, Lam assigned a reporter to review bike locks by talking with prolific bike thieves; the writer ended up interviewing a man who'd very likely stolen his old bike. The piece was a hit. "Every extra hour we put into a piece, I still argue it added to the revenue a post would generate," Lam told me. "The better it is, the more money it brings in over time." Wirecutter paid freelancers hourly, often spending thousands of dollars on sprawling features that generated money through the site's affiliate-link model - commonplace now, but a drastic departure from the banner advertising that was standard at the time.
    Quality reporting?  Not at this newspaper!
    In 2016, the site sold to the Times, as a service-y complement to the newspaper's own journalism. It didn’t take long for Wirecutter staffers to realize that the Times' ambitions for the site far exceeded Wirecutter's own expectations of moderate, steady growth. According to multiple former employees, whom I am keeping anonymous because they still work in the industry, the Times' leadership wanted the site to double the amount of content it produced in order to juice revenue. Those employees said Wirecutter's top editors argued that the site's business would not scale directly, because a minority of articles, many of them for big-ticket items such as appliances, generated the bulk of the company's revenues. But the mandate remained: Wirecutter would need to double its staff and double its output.
    If your site depends on affiliate links for revenue, reputation is everything.  So the new owners threw that out the window.

Pippa Music Group Sues YouTube Music Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Hey, free dummy!

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Tuesday, August 22


Daily News Stuff 22 August 2023

Mouse Of A Million Faces Edition

Top Story

  • There's no longer any such thing as a clean Windows install.  (Ars Technica)

    Not unless you have access to the Windows 11 Enterprise, anyway, or bought an AMD system and can simply run Windows 10.  (Windows 10 will work on current Intel CPUs, but the scheduler that handles the difference between Performance and Efficiency cores is only found in 11.)

    The article goes through the long and growing list of utter garbage that Microsoft has dumped into Windows 11, making the usual vendor-inflicted utter garbage that comes with laptops rather redundant.  Not that they don't still try.

    The stark difference between the Windows 11 Enterprise and Windows 11 Fuck You Peasants editions makes me wonder if the Pro and Workstation editions are better on the crapware front as well as restoring features Microsoft saw fit to remove in the update from 10.  Like having a primary username longer than five letters.

    It's so bad that even the anarcho-communist nutcases in the Ars commentariat agree.

Tech News

  • Speaking of Ars, they have another couple of hidden insults: If you're banned for telling them politely that they are full of shit, of course you can't comment, but you also can't read the comments, and you can't log out.

    Which works as well as Twitter's block function, which prevents you from reading someone's posts unless you open another browser, and prevents you from replying to them unless you paste in the link for their tweet directly...  Which works exactly the same as a quote-tweet because that's exactly what quote-tweets are.

  • After Japan, Israel, and Russia, India is the next country up to plough a lander straight into the surface of the Moon.  (Ars Technica)

    The Vikram lander follows in the footprint of 2019's successful crash of the Beresheet lander.  It is currently in an elliptical orbit that takes it to within 25km of the lunar surface, with a catastrophic impact scheduled for later this week.

  • Tesla has sued two former employees for misappropriation of other employees' private data.  (Tech Crunch)

    The employees made off with 100GB of data and leaked selected parts to the press.  100GB used to be a lot, but these days you can fit ten times that on a card smaller than your fingernail.

  • Don't expect graphics card prices to come down any time soon: Nvidia has sold $5 billion worth of crippled high-end video cards to China for AI training.  (Ars Technica)

    Another number that used to be a lot.

    The cards are still fast, but to comply with export restrictions have had their memory bandwidth reduced to less than that of a high-end consumer graphics card.

    If you want to know what China plans to use all that AI for, consider that Orwell assumed that humans would still need to monitor all those telescreens

    Also consider that generative AI has an unfailing habit of simply making shit up, and you can safely predict that China is not going to have a good time the next few years.

  • In a win for users of ChatGPT, the New York Times has blocked OpenAI's web crawler.  (The Verge)

    While it is true that there are any number of other sewers for OpenAI to crawl through, blocking one of the largest has got to help.

  • SFP?  Throw it in the bin.  (Serve the Home)

    Don't want to hear about it unless it's at least 100Gb.

  • Walking across Luxembourg.  (ioces)

    In a long weekend.  It took him four days, but to be fair he didn't choose the shortest or straightest route.  You could walk across the northern part of Luxembourg in a day.

Disclaimer: It's a small country but I wouldn't want to paint it.

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