I'm in the future. Like hundreds of years in the future. I've been dead for centuries.
Oh, lovely, you're a cheery one aren't you?

Saturday, August 12


Daily News Stuff 12 August 2023

Apple Pieless Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Setting Things on Fire and Ranting about Australia's Hapless Recycling Efforts with a Brief Discursion into the Secret History of the Unfortunate Thermonuclear Aftermath of the Grovers Mill Incident Video of the Day

We choose to set titanium on fire, and talk about the other things, not because it is easy, but because it is fun.

Disclaimer: What other things, Mr. President?  WHAT OTHER THINGS?  Is that when we nuked Mars?

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Friday, August 11


Daily News Stuff 11 August 2023

If Only Unless Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: I hate it when that happens.

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Thursday, August 10


Daily News Stuff 10 August 2023

Nuclear Bayou Edition

Top Story

  • Seattle looks set to be the first city in the US to protect gig workers from being arbitrarily revoked.  (KUOW)

    Companies like Uber have a bad habit - well, they have lots of bad habits, but they have a particular bad habit of treating their workers like accounts on social networks: You get up in the morning and your job is gone.

    No warning, no explanation, no recourse, it's just not there anymore.

    I haven't read the legislation and I don't expect Seattle to get it right - though it's worth noting that two council members voted against it because they thought it was overbroad - but if you behave unreasonably for long enough, someone, somewhere, is going to hit you with a rock.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Nothing.

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Wednesday, August 09


Daily News Stuff 9 August 2023

Fuck The Cloud Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Ble again.

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Tuesday, August 08


Daily News Stuff 8 August 2023

Pieces Of 7.95 Edition

Top Story

  • Zoom has announced that su casa es mi casa.  (Stack Diary)
    What raises alarm is the explicit mention of the company's right to use this data for machine learning and artificial intelligence, including training and tuning of algorithms and models. This effectively allows Zoom to train its AI on customer content without providing an opt-out option, a decision that is likely to spark significant debate about user privacy and consent.
    Zoom has always been run by scumbags.  It's a miracle they haven't been sued out of existence by now.
    Additionally, under section 10.4 of the updated terms, Zoom has secured a "perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license" to redistribute, publish, access, use, store, transmit, review, disclose, preserve, extract, modify, reproduce, share, use, display, copy, distribute, translate, transcribe, create derivative works, and process Customer Content.
    This kind of language is normal, but usually specifies that this is to be done solely to provide the service to the customer, not just for whatever the company wants.

    This predictably blew up on Hacker News, eliciting this response from Zoom:
    Hi there - this is Aparna from Zoom, our Chief Operating Officer. Thank you for your care and concern for our customers - we are grateful for the opportunity to double click on how we treat customer content.
    Double click?
    To clarify, Zoom customers decide whether to enable generative AI features (recently launched on a free trial basis) and separately whether to share customer content with Zoom for product improvement purposes.
    There may be a button to do so in the application.

    The problem is with your terms of service, in which you grant yourself license to do whatever the fuck you want, buttons be damned.

Tech News

Disclaimer: No!  No bau bau!

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Monday, August 07


Daily News Stuff 7 August 2023

War And Lawn-Edging Edition

Top Story

  • Yes, we can regulate online toxicity.  (PC Magazine)

    Now I'll grant you that this article mostly focuses on the platforms' recommendation algorithms and not the users' content, so it's far less a Journalists for Censorship piece than most.

    But attempting to regulate complex software systems that are poorly understood even by their own developers and are only fourth-order-tangentially related to any of the ascribed harm is likely just to make things worse.

    Instead mandate transparency.  Got a magical new recommendation algorithm that gives you an edge over your competitors?  Too bad, so sad, you have to publish that code.

    Or just stop using recommendation algorithms and hand control back to the users themselves.

Tech News

  • It's a real tech news wasteland today.

  • SpaceX launched yet another 22 satellites and landed the rocket flawlessly on the recovery ship.  (Space)

    Ho hum.

  • The company also carried out a static test fire of Booster 9, a new Super Heavy booster for Starship, made up of 33 Falcon 2 rockets.  (Space)

    It didn't explode.  So dull.

  • The ninth Dedekind Number has been discovered.  (Quanta)

    It was in Madagascar, hiding under a log.
    Another way of thinking of the Dedekind number is in set-theoretic terms. Think of a set with elements, say the numbers {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, …n}. That set has 2different subsets, which form a mathematical structure called a lattice. Now collect those subsets according to the following rule: No subset in your collection can be a part of another subset in the collection. Such a collection is called an anti-chain, because it combines points on the lattice in a way that doesn’t form a chain. (For example, {{1}, {2, 3}, {3, 4, 5}} forms an anti-chain.) The number of anti-chains for a given is, again, the Dedekind number.
    I'm not sure exactly why I would want that, but I at least understood it.

  • Don't buy Chromebooks.  (Ars Technica)

    Chromebooks generally have fixed lifespans after which they stop receiving updates, because Google is a garbage company in a garbage industry.

    Amazon and Walmart are selling Chromebooks that have already expired, at full price, because garbage companies in garbage industries.

    And they do not make any note of the fact that they are selling the digital equivalent of rancid meat, anywhere.

    Unsurprisingly, none of the companies involved have responded to questions.

Freieren News

Please don't screw this up.

Disclaimer: Pina Pengin is back.  Things could be worse.

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Sunday, August 06


Daily News Stuff 6 August 2023

Blip Of Doom Edition

Top Story

  • There's nothing quite like getting woken up at 3AM because the websites your company runs are in the middle of a firehose vulnerability scan from the latest botnet.

    Every single attempt was failing because we don't run any of the crap they were trying to break into (or at least, not on the public internet) but the volume was so high it tied up every single thread on all the back-end servers.

  • A second group has now replicate room-temperature magnetic levitation in LK-99.  (Tom's Hardware)

    While another group reports that the material is really fussy to work with.

    It may be a room-temperature superconductor if you win the synthesis lottery.  It is pretty consistently a normal high-temperature superconductor, but "high temperature" there means liquid nitrogen rather than liquid helium.

    Also so many researchers are playing with this stuff that the raw materials aren't available from regular suppliers right now.  Out of stock globally.  None of it is rare, it's just not made in bulk because nobody wanted it much.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Still ble.

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Saturday, August 05


Bau Bau Nippon

Yagoo's Home for Lost Girls strikes gold once again.

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Daily News Stuff 5 August 2023

So Much For That Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Threads says it will be adding search and web access "soon".  (The Verge)

    Yes, it launched without those.

  • Researchers at MIT have invented an entirely new kind of battery using only cement, water, and carbon black.  (The Register)

    Plus: Safe and reliable, can power a house using only cheap, common materials.
    Minus: It's a cube twelve feet on a side weighing eighty tons.

    Just in case you thought I was joking about battery research yesterday, there's enough information in the article to run that calculation yourself.

  • Cloud Provider CoreWeave (who?) has obtained a $2.3 billion debt facility to buy Nvidia H100 AI accelerator cards using its Nvidia H100 AI accelerator cards as collateral.  (AnandTech)

    Unfortunately CoreWeave is not publicly traded so you can't short them.

  • GPT-4 is a room-temperature non-deterministic piece of garbage.  (GitHub)

    We know that GPT-4 can't give the same answer twice, even if the question is something with only one correct answer, like is 17077 a prime number.

    This article examines why, and comes to the conclusion that GPT-4 is poo.

  • A look at the Red Hat source distribution brouhaha by someone who has been involved in open source since before there was a term for it.  (LPI)

    From John "maddog" Hall, the discussion edges into my previous comments on You can't beat free.

  • A Snake game for DOS.  (GitHub)

    That's it.  That's the entire binary file encoded as hexadecimal.  Without the encoding it's half that size.

  • Now that Intel and Micron have given up on phase-change memory, what's next?  DapuStor's Xlenstor2 X2900P, maybe.  (Serve the Home)

    It's SLC flash, which is very easy to make but nobody does.

    800GB is not a lot by current standards, but it has a 20 microsecond read latency, and an 8 microsecond write latency.  That write time is about six times faster than a good TLC SSD.

    Side-by-side with Intel's discontinued Optane drive it delivers exactly the same single-threaded random write performance, but only half the random reads.  Which is probably fine for many applications, since the critical thing is getting data safely written to permanent storage as quickly as possible.

    The other advantage of SLC is that it's much more robust than common TLC or QLC cache.  (SLC stores one bit per memory cell; MLC two; TLC three; and QLC four.)

    With this particular drive you can rewrite its entire contents 100 times per day, every day, for five years.  Solidigm's 61TB drive is rated for only 0.6 drive writes per day, though being 75 times bigger the amount of data you can safely write each day to a low-endurance QLC drive works out to half that of the high-endurance specialised SLC drive.

  • It costs how much?  (Tech America)

    Not either of those drives, but an entirely different Solidigm model, an E1.S format 7.68TB drive for $217, which is insane.

    Only problem is you need specific server hardware or fiddly adapters to run an E1.S drive.

  • But while I was looking up the price of E1.S adapters (turns out they can be found for as little as $20) I tripped over the Sabrent PC-P3X4.  (Extreme HW)

    It's a PCIe 3.0 x4 card that takes four PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSDs.  At around $140 it's more expensive than similar cards that take four PCIe 4.0 SSDs, but it has a very neat trick up its silicon sleeve.

    Those PCIe 4.0 cards use a full x16 slot - of which you likely have exactly one - and rely on CPU support for PCIe lane bifurcation to treat the x16 slot as if it were four x4 slots.  Not all CPUs support that, and not all motherboards enable it even if the CPU does support it.

    This Sabrent card has a PCIe switch chip on it, so it doesn't need that.  It works in any slot that can fit a x4 connector.  The switch provides four lanes to the slot and two to each drive.  That means individual drives max out at around 1.7GBps, which is merely extremely fast, but any two drives running simultaneously can max out the slot bandwidth.

    If you want to take advantage of cheap SSD prices to shove a whole lot of fast storage into a PC, this is perfect.
    As I was attempting to wrap up this review, I struggled to identify anything negative. Not that it is expected to have something bad to talk about, but there is almost always something about a product you wish were different. No tinkering in the BIOS is required. No software needs to be downloaded and installed. No drivers need to be installed or kept updated. Nothing here to annoy you or nag you to death about registering your product. I literally could not identify anything to complain about.

  • Meanwhile, the most annoying thing of the day: Windows 11 updated itself on my new laptop and lost the touchpad driver.  This is something Windows 10 does too, and it's utter garbage.

    You either have to dig a USB mouse out of a drawer or remember keyboard shortcuts you haven't used since the last time Windows fucked this up and try to fumble your way through repeatedly removing and reinstalling the driver until Windows decides that yes, your laptop actually does have a touchpad, just as it did ten minutes ago before Windows decided to update itself.

  • Least annoying thing of the day: I've had a couple of issues with my new HP laptop - though much less since I stopped messing around trying to get MongoDB 5 running inside VirtualBox - but the built-in tests accessed by pressing F2 during boot are great.

    There's a test for everything, including the touchpad.  Takes ten seconds to confirm there is nothing wrong with the hardware and it's just Windows being Windows.  I'd rather not need to run the tests, but it's the best built-in test suite I've seen in consumer hardware, and the Pavilion 14 is not a premium model either.

  • Not annoying at all thing of the day: Pathfinder redemption codes on Humble Bundle.  I saw there was a new Pathfinder bundle up and realised that I hadn't redeemed the previous bundle, and sure enough the codes expired three days ago.

    So I thought, maybe, maybe they'll still work.

    They did.

    I checked for any other expired codes I might have, found some from two years ago, and tried those as well.

    They also worked.

    Thumbs up for Paizo.

Disclaimer: Ble.

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Friday, August 04


Daily News Stuff 4 August 2023

But Mostly Roundabouts Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: In fact, don't buy anything, ever.

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