And PB, you're like a bazillion years old. You're not freaking 19, what the heck?

Saturday, April 19

World

Portlandish

So, a reservoir in Portland is to be drained because someone urinated in it.  Essentially, they're using 38 million gallons of water to flush the loo.

This is...  Something of an overreaction.  Apart from the ick factor, and the possibility that the phantom micturator has an implausibly infectious UTI, the toxic substance in urine is urea.   And if the entire population of Portland emptied their bladders into that one reservoir, the concentration of urea would still be undetectable by taste or smell and below the allowed limit.*

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Friday, April 18

Geek

Choices...

The contenders to replace my old Dell 27" monitor:

Samsung 28" 3840x2160 TN display for $749.
Dell 24" 3840x2160 IPS display for $1199.*
LG 34" 3440x1440 IPS display for $1299.

The Samsung is cheapest by a good margin, but it's a TN panel, and I've been using IPS screens on my desktop since I first moved away from CRTs.

The Dell is a very high-quality screen, but it's the smallest, and runs exclusively at 3840x2160.  So it's not great for gaming unless you have something like the new Radeon 295X2, a $1500 500W liquid-cooled monster.

The LG is actually lower resolution than the others, but it's huge and wide enough for three workable documents side-by-side.

I think there's no bad choice here; they all look like excellent monitors.  Unfortunately, I don't really have the money or space to buy one of each.

* It was A$1699 at the start of the year.  That price is coming down fast.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:09 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, April 17

Cool

Musical Interlude

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:35 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, April 09

Geek

Dodging Bullets

First Apple's SSL library had a serious security flaw, but that's okay because I don't use Apple's SSL.  (I have an iPad, but it mostly just sits there.)

Then GnuTLS had a worse security flaw, but that's okay because I use OpenSSL.

Then OpenSSL had the worst security flaw of them all...  But that's okay because the version of OpenSSL we're using here is older than the bug.

I will wipe and reinstall a couple of virtual machines that don't have user data on them yet, just in case.

Of course, while mee.nu was secure* Amazon, Google, and any number of other providers have been exposed to this bug to varying degrees for two years.**  And the nature of the bug is such that attacks would not show up in normal server logs; it's a silent, pseudo-random data leak.

* Entirely because I've been too busy to migrate to a newer version of Linux and install proper certificates, not because of any specific virtue.

** It's been a busy two years.  Seriously.  I don't want to talk about it.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:50 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, April 06

Geek

Get With The Program!

I mentioned recently how iiNet have been periodically upgrading my internet plan for free for eight years.

This leaves me with this "problem":

daily usage trends
anytime:8,325MB

suggested daily usage
anytime:125,024MB

I'm not sure that my connection is actually fast enough to download 125GB per day.  Never mind finding that much content that I want.  I just downloaded every current version of Linux Mint because it was there and I might want to try it some day.  There's only so many Linux distros and podcasts out there...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:27 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, April 04

Life

April

Three public holidays and I get an extra hour of sleep this Sunday.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:16 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, April 03

Geek

U28D590D

I almost bought a new monitor (or two) last year.  I have a Dell U2711, and while it's adequate, it's not a perfect monitor (and mine has a few flaws that have developed over the past couple of years).

So I've been looking closely at Dell's 4K monitors. The 32" model at around $3000 is simply too expensive; I might be able to afford it, but I have better things to do with the money.  The 28" model is a lot cheaper ($829), but it's a TN panel rather than IPS, and it's limited to 30Hz.

The 24" model falls in between - it's IPS and a full 60Hz, but half the price of the 32" model ($1449).  But it's not all that big, smaller than my current screen.  Also, it doesn't have a scaler - the only resolution it accepts is 3840x2160.  I have a Radeon 7950, which isn't a bad graphics card, but it's not up to playing the latest games at 4K resolution.  I don't really care about playing games at 4K - I played Mass Effect 1 and 2 on my current monitor at 720p, and that was just fine - but if I have a monitor that only accepts 4K, I'm kind of stuck.

So, none of the Dells are ideal.  But Samsung just announced their catchily titled U28D590D, a 28" display most likely using the identical TN panel as the Dell model, but with different electronics.  Samsung provide 4k@60Hz via DisplayPort, and dual HDMI inputs for 4K@30Hz - or 1080p@60Hz.   Or, for that matter, two side-by-side displays of 1920x2160, if for some strange reason you wish to do that.  It can also do scalable picture-in-picture with the alternate inputs.

It has a fairly nice, minimalist industrial design.

/images/U28something.jpg?size=720x&q=95

And it costs $749.  Australian.  Including sales tax.

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Sunday, March 30

World

Irony Alert

Terra-Medica, a company I'd not heard of before that apparently sells overpriced placebos, has been instructed by the US FDA to recall several batches of their pills because they may actually work - due to accidental contamination with penicillin.

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Saturday, March 29

Life

Pixy's Houshold Hints

Don't leave an Australian two dollar coin in your pocket when washing your clothes in...  Whichever model fancy Samsung combination washer/dryer it is that I have.

Because it's exactly the right size to lodge in the drain and block it completely.

And if the thing can't drain, it won't do anything at all.*  Which means no washer.  And also no dryer.  Combination washer-dryers are wonderful things until they break, and then you lose two critical appliances at once.**

So now I have a working washer, a working dryer, and two dollars.***  A good day all round.

Update: Well, I have a washing machine and $20 anyway.  Found some $5 notes in a pocket when I was carefully checking my first load in my restored washing machine, which was good.  Then it singularly failed to dry the load of washing, which was not so good.  Still an improvement.

* Because (a) the first thing it does on any wash cycle is drain any leftover water, and (b) the dryer has a condenser unit, and won't start unless it can run cold water through the condenser.
** It's been raining here in Sydney for about a month.  I can hand-wash my clothes when I have to, since it's just me, but hand-drying is not so easy.
*** Actually, $5.  There was another $2 and a $1 in the emergency water release thingy.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:16 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Why PC Sales Are Declining

You can get a decent Windows laptop for $500.

You can get a horrible piece of crap for $500.

And there is no way to know which you are getting unless you verify the specifications of every single component and memorise Intel, AMD, and Nvidia's entire product ranges.

How is the average customer supposed to know that a 1.5GHz Celeron 1007U is nearly twice as fast as a 2GHz Celeron N2810?

Can you imagine if the 2015 Ford F-250 came with a 4-cylinder engine, when the cheaper F-150 came standard with a V8, and the manufacturer only listed max RPM on the brochure?  Because that's what laptop makers do every single day.

And don't get me started on the continued existence of 1366x768 displays. Quad-core CPU, 1TB disk, 16GB RAM, 4GB dedicated graphics, wireless-ac, USB 3.0...  And a screen from the flipping dark ages.

There's one major PC laptop maker who still provides build-to-order options in Australia, and that's Lenovo.  Most of their low-end models have crappy screens, but you can upgrade them.  The price to go from an outdated 1366x768 to a more reasonable 1920x1080?  $55.  Their W540 laptop comes with 1920x1080 as standard, but can be upgraded to 2880x1620.  Price?  $132.

If  the price differential is so small, why does every laptop between $500 and $1500 have the same crappy screen?

Answer: Because the manufacturers are dickheads.

The weird thing is that this is the exact inverse of the mobile phone market.  Recent mobile phones are mostly 1920x1080 - twice as many pixels on a 5" screen as an average laptop has on a 15" screen.  But most phones ship with a pathetic 16GB of flash, half of which is already used by the operating system.  Doubling that would add about $10 to the price of a device costing several hundred dollars, but noooo....

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:29 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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