CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?

Monday, April 22

Geek

Daily News Stuff 22 April 2024

Et Tu M.2 Edition

Top Story

  • Is the Minisforum V3 any good?  Yes.  (Notebook Check)

    It looks good on paper, and it also looks good in actual use.

    The one shortcoming is the battery life, which is only around six hours due the the high idle power draw - about twice that of a Microsoft Surface tablet.

    That's likely to be an issue with the BIOS on the review model not putting the CPU into the proper sleep state, but as of today it is something you need to be concerned about.

Tech News

  • If you're worried about the disappearance of the Z80, don't be: There's a project to produce an open-source version.  (GitHub)

    It's being produced as part of TinyTapeout and the chip measures 320x200 micrometers when produced on an ancient (and therefore cheap) 130nm process.


  • I mean, who doesn't need a 256-core carryon?  (Tom's Hardware)

    This squishes two 128-core servers each with 2TB of RAM into the size of a regular carry-on bag.

    There aren't many people who need to be able to grab that amount of compute power, jump onto a plan, and just plug it in wherever they land, but the people who need it really need it.


  • Asus laptop update: It's dead easy to open and upgrade.  Modern laptop covers are held in place with plastic clips as well as screws, and those clips can be a massive pain.  In this case not so much; pry the first one open, and then just keep levering it gently until it's free.

    Worth noting that the four short screws all go at the front.

    Anyway, installed the extra 32GB of RAM, booted it up with the cover off, and it worked just fine and showed 40GB of RAM (it has 8GB soldered in place and one free slot).

    Next up I swapped the SSD.  Powered on and BIOS recognised the new device, so I closed it all back up and plugged in the recovery drive.

    Which told be to go jump in a lake.

    So I plugged in the Windows 11 install drive.

    Which also told me to go jump in a lake.

    I have some Windows 11 install tricks to try, and failing that, a couple of spare SSDs.

    But why in 2024 does the Windows installer still fail with a generic message and an 8-digit hexadecimal error code?  You're not short of space for proper error messages, guys.


Disclaimer: Because fuck you, that's why.

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Sunday, April 21

Geek

Daily News Stuff 21 April 2024

Oops Edition

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Tech News



Disclaimer: A problem occurred.

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Saturday, April 20

Geek

Daily News Stuff 20 April 2024

Still Life With Anteater Edition

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Tech News

Disclaimer: I am a very strange loop.

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Friday, April 19

Geek

Daily News Stuff 19 April 2024

End of the World Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Grok keeps making up news stories.  (Ars Technica)

    So does the entire mainstream media - and the tech media including Ars Technica - but nobody mentions that.

    That said, they're not wrong.  I've pointed this out on Twitter myself.  In one case it decided six victims in a murder spree weren't enough and added another nine.


  • Testing Intel's Core i5-14400 low-mid-range CPU.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Personally I'd spend the extra few dollars to move up to the 14500 - which has four extra E cores - but for many people it won't make any difference and you might as well save the money.

    It's, well, it's fine.  And it runs fine with cheaper DDR4 memory, not just with DDR5.  And when I say fine, I mean spectacularly fast compared to anything even a few years old no matter how expensive.

    If you're aiming at gaming performance (and don't already have an Intel motherboard) it's worth paying another $20 for AMD's Ryzen 5700X3D.  It also uses cheaper DDR4 RAM and the performance boost is around 30%.


  • What would happen if a USB cable company built a NAS?  (Kickstarter)

    In the case of the UGREEN NASync, the answer is...  It's really good.

    The software (a fork of Debian) is still in development, but if you just want your NAS to be a NAS, it just works.

    You can install your own operating system, but it's currently not easy.  And you might need one of the higher end models that have a separate - removable - SSD for the operating system.


Disclaimer: The distance from Agano station to Ikebukuro is 58.9km.  Agano Station itself is the terminus for the Seibu Ikebukuro line and the Seibu Chichibu extension line.  The distance from Agano Station to Higashi-Agano, the next station inwards on the line towards Ikebukuro, is 5.1km and can be walked in about an hour.

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Thursday, April 18

Geek

Daily News Stuff 18 April 2024

Mostly Dead Edition

Top Story

Tech News



Train to the End of the World


I'm not sure what I was expecting but it wasn't this.

End of episode one, and the gang is off to Iscandar Ikebukuro to save the world uh, no, that part was correct.

Some gorgeous animation, great music, strong voice acting, and I somehow think someone on the production staff likes trains.


Disclaimer: Google, Google, you can't hide!
You're accused of genocide!
Google, Google, you can't fire us!
No-one else would ever hire us!

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Wednesday, April 17

Geek

Daily News Stuff 17 April 2024

Ship Shipping Ships Edition

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  • The modern world depends on a handful of ships.  (The Verge)

    Specifically, the 22 ships designed and dedicated to repairing the undersea cables that make the internet inter.

    It's a good article, and it covers the whole history of undersea cables and cable repair:
    Field fared no better. Twelve years after he began, he had endured severed cables, near sinkings, and had one "success”: a cable laid in 1858 that prompted celebrations so enthusiastic that revelers set fire to New York City Hall. The cable failed weeks later.
    We need more of this.

    The only problem is that as you scroll through it, every so often it hits an image gallery and scrolls sideways.

    I'm impressed they found something worse than the experimental UI over at YouTube.
     

Tech News



Disclaimer: Rubber ducky, joy of joys; when I squeeze you, you make noise.

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Tuesday, April 16

Geek

Daily News Stuff 16 April 2024

Bonfire of the Bathroom Vanities Edition

Top Story

Tech News

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Monday, April 15

Geek

Daily News Stuff 15 April 2024

Mineflation Edition

Top Story

  • Axios sees artificial intelligence coming, and is shifting its strategy. (Seattle Times) (archive site)
    In the view of Jim VandeHei, CEO of Axios, artificial intelligence will "eviscerate the weak, the ordinary, the unprepared in media."
    Which is all of them. Yes, obviously Axios, but who is there in that industry that doesn't fit at least two out of three of those categories?
    VandeHei says the only way for media companies to survive is to focus on delivering journalistic expertise, trusted content and in-person human connection.
    Stop laughing, this is serious.
    "Fast forward five to 10 years from now and we’re living in this AI-dominated virtual world - who are the couple of players in the media space offering smart, sane content who are thriving?" he added. "It damn well better be us."
    Axios is a money-bleeding garbage mill, and always has been. As competition for stochastic garbage heats up and AI delivers for pennies a year what takes a six-figure salary for pompous overeducated leftists, we can only hope to see the evisceration VandeHei envisages.

    I wonder if bidding has opened on the hotdog concession.
    The company has also introduced a $1,000-a-year membership program around some of its journalists that will offer exclusive reporting, events and networking.

    "We're not prostitutes," said VandeHei. "Or if we are, we're the kind that expects you to shower first."


Tech News

  • The purpose of a system is what it does: Maria Cantwell ran for the Senate promising privacy legislation. She has spent the 24 years since then blocking all efforts towards it. (Washington Post) (archive site)

    If you deliver what you promised, they don't need you anymore.


  • Is that 368TB portable SSD just not the same as it was yesterday? Here's a 30,000TB tape library. (Tom's Hardware)

    That used to be a lot.

    The article says 75,000TB, but that includes compression, and I don't know who exactly has 75,000TB of data that isn't already compressed in some manner.


  • Minecraft modpack update: The squirrels in Luminous are animated better than the ones in Zoo Architect.

    Since both are working I'm not fussed.  Also the ones in Luminous come in four colour variants, which fits the theme of the mod.  There are new variants for almost all the common mobs - sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, cats, and wolves - plus new zombies, skeletons, creepers, endermen, golems, and spiders.

    No crashes in the latest test world.  It loads and runs - just - in 4GB of heap.  Looking pretty good at this point.

    I put Blue Skies and The Undergarden back in, along with Aether Redux; I'd previously taken them out due to their size but it seems okay now.  That took the base heap size from 3.3GB to 3.6GB; I'm running with a heap limit of 6GB.


Disclaimer: Slow news is good news, at least when you're a sysadmin and you don't get to sleep when something "exciting" is happening in the tech world.
more...

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Sunday, April 14

Geek

Daily News Stuff 14 April 2024

Dynamicising Edition

Top Story


Tech News

  • Scientists think they have found a way to double the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries.  (Science Daily)

    Lithium-ion batteries wear out a little each time they are recharged (and have another flaw that if you keep them on the charger full-time they can swell up and destroy your expensive gadget entirely).

    In testing the effects of different charging patterns, researchers found that charging with high-frequency AC power caused half as much wear as regular DC power.

    It should be cheap and simple to implement as well.


  • Yes, Virginia, the CPI is bullshit.  (Forbes)

    Ace might have covered this previously - the Forbes article is undated, but the research paper came out in February.

    Calculating the CPI using the same approach used up until 1982, annualised inflation in the US peaked at 18% in 2022, more than double the official number, and worse than the  darkest days of the Carter Era.

    So no, you're not imagining it.  Anyone who has been inside a grocery store in the past five years knows that, but some economists now also know it.


  • Apple executives have defended the company's practice of selling expensive laptops with just 8GB of RAM and no possibility of ever upgrading that unless you learn surface-mount resoldering techniques and probably not even then.  (WCCFTech)

    I looked up the cost of the chips themselves, and the 8GB RAM upgrade that Apple charges you $200 for - only at the time you order the machine, since it can never be upgraded afterwards - appears to cost the company less than $5.

    Apple's markup on memory upgrades is between 2000% and 4000%, depending on the model.

    That's why they won't let you add memory yourself.

    Their markup on storage is tame by comparison - about 600% over retail SSD pricing, likely 1000% on wholesale prices.


  • Modpack status: Functional but overweight, with 368 mods and no crashes.

    I am deliberately testing on a less-than-ideal system: A laptop with 16GB of RAM, loaded up with background apps that use most of that RAM by the time Windows has booted, with Intel integrated graphics and a high-resolution (2880x1800) display.

    I was getting around 60 fps previously, but with the latest additions and changes it's become slower and has noticeably more frame rate hitches.

    It also takes a good while to load.

    I hope to test it on my new laptop this week.  That probably won't be any faster, but since it has 40GB of RAM it will determine whether that is the limiting factor; if it loads and run smoothly that will be a good sign.

    I've set ModernFix to dynamic mode which has let me add Every Compat back in (adding 25,000 new wooden items) without the Java heap exploding - with static allocation, Every Compat would use up 2.5GB of RAM all by itself - but the modpack is still pretty memory hungry.

    I've also seen a squirrel and a silk cocoon in the latest test world, which means Zoo Architect and Critters and Companions are working.  And the villagers were shooting back at the nearby pillagers, so Guard Villagers is working too.


  • Update 2: Caverns and Chasms has a known incompatibility with Friends and Foes.  They're both open source and the developers have communicated, but there's currently no fix.

    That's what was causing those crashes.

    I think I want F&F more than C&C, so if there are no other incompatibilities I'll leave C&C disabled.


  • Update 3: Slimming it back down now.  One camel, eight penguins, no crashes.


Disclaimer: Up with which I will not put.

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Saturday, April 13

Geek

Daily News Stuff 13 April 2024

Magical Splat Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Not squirrel.

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