This wouldn't have happened with Gainsborough or one of those proper painters.

Tuesday, July 25


Good To Know

Apparently a Ryzen R7 1700 with a Radeon RX 480 can run Civilization 6 at 4K at 48 frames per second.

(Tohru has an R7 1700 and an RX 580, which is a few percent faster than the 480.  And a 4K screen.  And I picked up Civ 6 for about $20 in the Steam summer sale.)

That's better than I expected; the RX 580 is marginal for 4K gaming, and I was expecting to have to drop down to 1080p.  Not that that is really a hardship.  But it seems most of the benchmarks are for actiony games that I don't play anyway, and for strategy stuff it does a lot better.

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I also got one of these on the weekend:

Lenovo Ideapad 110S

It's to use as a spare PC for watching TV and arguing on Twitter in the bedroom.  It replaces Potemayo, an old HP laptop running Windows 8.

Cost me $250 on sale - about US $180 $200* - and despite the limitations (Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD) it's actually pretty good.  The screen is much better than the 5-year-old Potemayo; it's a TN panel, but a good one.  The CPU is faster (though still slow), the memory is adequate, though barely, and the SSD is a thing that exists.  Considering that a Windows 10 license alone is $150, I'm not going to complain.

Mostly, though, it gets a wifi signal.  Potemayo always had lousy wifi, and it's been getting worse as the airwaves get more crowded.  That's what got me out of the house on the weekend to buy a new computer - I wanted to watch some Flying Witch and got the no wifi for you message.

Shana has no such problems, at least so far.

For a device that has clearly been built to a price rather than a performance level, it's surprisingly well-made.  It's light-weight but solid, the keyboard is crisp, the screen is bright and colourful, and overall it's a slim, sleek, and attractive little device.

There's also a 14" model with 4GB ram and a 64GB SSD, which is probably the way to go if you want to use it for anything more than watching anime.  I can see Windows 10's eternal upgrades eventually eating that 32GB SSD even without installing any applications.  

It does have three USB ports and a micro-SD slot for storage upgrades, and I stuck in a 32GB card for my files, but Windows wants its C:.

For 1/10th the price of Tohru, Shana delivers 1/10th the performance, has 1/10th the RAM, 1/10th the storage, and 1/10th the pixels.  About 1/10th the weight as well.  This seems fair to me.

* The Australian dollar did what?  Well....  Good.

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Saturday, July 22



Not this one:

This one:


The Dell Inspiron 27 7000.  The model I'm looking at has a 4k screen, 8-core Ryzen 1700 CPU and 16GB RAM, a Radeon RX 580 graphics card with 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1TB disk drive.

It's 15% off for the next week, so instead of paying a little more for the convenience of an all-in-one system, it's actually cheaper than I could build myself.  Particularly right now with the extinction-level event that's hit mid-range video cards.

Update: Order placed!  I added a three year warranty, three year accidental damage insurance, a speaker system and their fancy Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and it still came out cheaper than the bare system was before.  (The US models ship with the fancy keyboard, but for some reason they went with a cheaper one in Australia.)

Tohru will be a little sister to Taiga, my 2015 Retina iMac.  Yes, tiger and dragon.  No, I didn't specifically plan that.

Update: ETA was two weeks when I placed the order.  It's now two days for the system, which is great...   And two weeks for the keyboard.

Update: Keyboard just arrived.  That was a quick two weeks!

Update: Tohru has shipped!  Keyboard is currently showing an ETA of Sunday...

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Ninefox Gambit

So, what we have here is a space opera kind of thing set in a universe where dialectical materialism is true.  That is, the laws of physics are (to some extent) what you can convince other people to believe them to be.

As a science-fictional premise this is fine, and the author follows through on his premise pretty robustly.  Most of the characters are idiots, and the society they live in is awful.  But this is because being a charismatic sociopath is the only reliable path to power, so all the leaders - all of them - are of that nature.  They treat their soldiers and citizens as pawns, or less than pawns, because that actually works.

Our heroine, Kel Cheris, is an up-and-coming infantry captain with a flair for mathematics unusual in the army.   She is co-opted into a plot by some of the central political figures in the Hexarchate to do...  Something.  I've finished the first book, and it's still not entirely clear who is trying to do what to whom.

On now to book two, Raven Stratagem.

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Tuesday, July 18


Australian Politics, Ladies And Gentleman

Turns out that the Australian Greens' Scott Ludlam was ineligible to run for Senate.

It turns out that Greens deputy leader Larissa Walter was also ineligible to run for Senate.

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Monday, July 17


Generation Z Is A Definite Improvement

Me: Play them Dirty Deeds.  Play them Dirty...  YEAH.

This is Western Civilisation in a nutshell: A nine year old girl in a Cupcakes & Sprinkles & Confetti tee-shirt rocking out to AC/DC.

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Cautiously Optimistic

It took more than 50 years for movie technology to catch up with one woman's imagination, but here we are.

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Tuesday, July 11


SMR Drives Are Not The Fastest Things In The World...

Actually, they're bimodal.  If you try doing random writes to an SMR drive (like the Seagate Archive models) you can hit 1000 IOPS for the first 20GB of data, after which it will plummet to about 5 IOPS.  This is because they implement a WAFL cache.

For reads, they're just like any other hard drive.

Currently backing up 20 million files - about 5TB in total.  Transfer completed, verifying now.

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Sunday, July 09


I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!

Had to transfer files from some old servers to their replacements this weekend, so I can shut off the old servers and save money for new toys.

First I thought I'd make sure the new servers were all up to date, so I did the usual apt update; apt upgrade dance and they didn't boot anymore and instead showed an absence of bootable drives and a kernel panic.

Which isn't possible, because without a bootable drive there'd be no kernel to panic, so I knew something else was going on.  Fortunately at that point I was logged in on the console using VNC (which sucks when you have to use it from the other side of the planet, let me tell you) and was able to coax them both into booting again from an older kernel.  Seems there's something amiss in 4.4.0-81 and -83 on these particular machines, though I have others running just fine.

Thankfully it was nothing worse; once I purge the newer kernels both machines rebooted just fine.  Now the file transfer is running and I can just leave it to do its job; it's about 30 million files so it will take a day or so.

Update: And there's a bad drive on one of the new servers.  Yay.  At least I can hand that off to someone else to sort out.

Update: Went to the bathroom, came back, and they'd replaced the drive for me.  These guys are good!

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Fuwa Fuwa Witch

Helpful hint: Don't eat the yellow rhubarb.

Update: What?  The parents aren't dead?  What kind of anime is this?

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