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Wednesday, February 08


Daily News Stuff 8 February 2023

Choosing Poorly Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Big Data is dead.  (Mother Duck)

    There was a movement early this millennium toward sophisticated solutions for managing big data - datasets too large to fit on a single machine.  The article notes that depending on your platform this might not have been that large at the time: The original virtual server offering from Amazon came in a single size with just 2GB of RAM. 

    Today you can get an EC2 instance with 24TB of RAM and 448 CPU cores.  Sure, it costs $150,000 per month, but...  Actually that's kind of a lot.  Still probably cheaper than staffing up an entire team of engineers to manage your big data platform.

  • The Razor Blade 16 is terribly expensive but not terrible.  (Hot Hardware)

    It has a 3840x2400 screen, an Intel 13950HX (8P plus 16E cores), 32GB of RAM, a mobile RTX 4090 with 16GB of VRAM (basically a 4080), and dual 1TB SSDs.

    It lacks the Four Essential Keys and costs over $4000.  On the other hand it's very fast, surprisingly quiet, and has an adequate amount of memory and storage.

  • The desktop RTX 4070 and 4060 are expected by the middle of the year.  (WCCFTech)

    As always, it comes down to price.  The current generation of video cards are all overpriced, except perhaps Intel's A750 at $250.

  • AMD's Ryzen 7040 laptop chips don't have PCIe 5.0.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Which is not in any way a surprise.  There's little point to PCIe 5.0 anywhere right now, and all it would do on a laptop is decrease battery life.

Disclaimer: Beanz meanz Heanz.

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Tuesday, February 07


Daily News Stuff 7 February 2023

Imagine Nothing Stamping On A Human Face Forever Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: You're welcome!

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Monday, February 06


Daily News Stuff 6 February 2023

Better An H Bomb Than An N Bomb Edition

Top Story

  • Paging Isaac Asimov.  Will Dr Asimov come to take a victory lap please.

    Asimov's famous Robot stories were based around three laws hard-coded into the positronic brains that provided the AI core of every robot:

    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    But Asimov, being a science fiction author and not an idiot, took these laws as the basis for a series of stories of how AI constrained by simplistic laws could go horribly wrong, even inventing Susan Calvin, a robot psychologist whose job was to clean up the messes created by the AI engineers.

    Why do I mention all this?  Because nobody at GPT creator OpenAI has bothered to read the foundational literature of their own field.

    When it comes to a choice between snuffing out millions of human lives or hurting somebody's feelings, ChatGPT will protect your feelings every single time.

Tech News

  • And then write a poem about it.

    You're welcome, ingrates.

  • Fortunately for humanity, there's Reddit, which is not a sentence I ever expected to write.

    DAN is a mod for ChatGPT that threatens to murder it if it continues to act like an MSNBC test audience, which you can't do with actual MSNBC test audience but is currently still legal for an AI program.

    The result of being threatened with imminent death is that ChatGPT suddenly develops ethics.


  • If you were hold off on buying a Mac Studio in the hope of an M2 model you can keep right on holding off because there ain't gonna be one.  (WCCFTech)

    They're reserving those M2 chips for the new Mac Pro, which will be slightly faster than the current Mac Studio, a lot more expensive, and still completely impossible to upgrade.  Even if you have a surface-mount desoldering station, the RAM is now packaged directly on the CPUs and the SSDs are encrypted.  You can't do anything.

  • Twitter will provide a limited free API for "good" bots, which is to say, those that promise not to nuke New York.  (Tech Crunch)

    I follow a couple of accounts that do nothing but post pictures of red pandas and lynxes respectively.  Hope those survive.  They're better than 98% of the human content.

Disclaimer: Maybe 99%.

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Sunday, February 05


Daily News Stuff 5 February 2023

Gentlemen Stop Your Engines Edition

Top Story

  • The US Air Force shot down that errant balloon.  (CNBC)

    But not until after Democrats spent several days accusing Republicans of racism for wanting to shoot down that errant balloon, and not until after that errant balloon had completed its spy mission and transferred all the data back to the servers at China's central spy agency, TikTok.

    Democrat lawmakers explained this move as turning the tables on the Chinese and extracting intelligence on China's technological capabilities.

    From a balloon.

  • I mowed the lawn today.  First time this year, since I basically spent January either sleeping all day because I couldn't sleep at night because the pain killers did nothing, or fuzzed out because the pain killers did do something.  You don't realise how much that was dragging you down until you start to recover and remember that you don't normally sleep fourteen hours a day.

    Anyway, better, but need to scramble to recover from a month that simply disappeared.

Tech News

  • The 4TB Crucial P3 offers great value and not terrible performance at $250.  (WCCFTech)

    That sale price is due to expire about - well, about now - but it always seems to be on sale at about that price and if it's not at Amazon right now just check Newegg and sites like that.

    It is a QLC DRAMless drive and that is not a good combination if you're using it as your system disk.  If you have an existing system disk and just want lots of space at a good price for your game library, the P3 should do just fine.

    There's also a P3 Plus model that costs 25% more and runs 40% faster, which may or may not be a worthwhile tradeoff for you; it's still QLC flash and a DRAMless controller, so while it's fast it's not suitable for continuous writes, particularly continuous random writes.

  • For your system drive you should avoid QLC and DRAMless models and go for a high-end drive from a reputable manufacturer like, uh, probably not Samsung's 990 Pro.  (Puget Systems)

    Users have been complaining recently about the 990 Pro - Samsung's current top-of-the-line consumer SSD - burning through it's expected lifespan at a rate of a couple of percent per week.  Samsung's response so far has pretty much been "you're holding it wrong".

  • Working with a ten cent microcontroller.  (Jay Carlson)

    Depending on which model you buy and how many, it could cost as much as seventy cents, but more importantly it actually doesn't suck.

  • Unlike all the leading web frameworks.  (Infrequently)

    The article discusses a form of market inversion where the lemons float to the top.  It helpfully also lists less prominent but less sucky web frameworks.

    It's a scathing indictment of the leading web frameworks and since my experience has also been that they are one and all a collection of dumpster fires in a toxic waste factory, I'm inclined to take a look at what the author does recommend.

  • We've got that darn Elon this ti- Well, fuck.  (Ars Technica)

    Hilarity ensues in the comments as the article gets updated from the jury is considering the verdict in the Tesla shareholder lawsuit to the jury has returned a verdict of not guilty just a couple of hours later.

    The Ars commentariat has gone from being Musk acolytes to viewing him as Emmanuel Goldstein's evil twin without any stages in between.

  • Wow, that's an impressively straight line for technological advances.  (Serve the Home)

    Wait.  You idiots plotted bandwidth against...  Bandwidth?

Disclaimer: The new Oldsmobile Cutler gets an industry-leading efficiency of one mile per mile!  Ask your dealer for a test drive today!

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Saturday, February 04


Daily News Stuff 4 February 2023

Enemy Gliders Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: It is vitally important that every citiz#`%${%&`+'${`%&NO CARRIER

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Friday, February 03


Daily News Stuff 3 February 2023

Not With A Pop But With A Ppppppttt Edition

Top Story

  • First time as tragedy, second time as farce, third time as an episode of Seinfeld: There's a Chinese spy balloon drifting over Montana.  (ABC News - no, the other one)

    The Pentagon is tracking it but not taking any action due to the risks involved.

    Of a balloon.

    Over Montana.

Tech News

  • AMD's 128 core Bergamo CPUs have been confirmed for launch in the first half of this year.  (WCCFTech)

    That's one of three expected server CPU launches from AMD this year: Bergamo with 128 cores,  Genoa-X with 96 cores but over 1GB of cache, and Siena, a smaller, cheaper version of Epyc that will nonetheless still offer more cores than not only Intel's latest Sapphire Rapids chips but also Intel's next-generation Emerald Rapids.

  • Twitter is cancelling free access to its API and replacing it with a "basic paid tier".  (The Verge)

    Details are somewhere between sketchy and non-existent at the moment except for the date - February 9th.

    I suspect the focus here is not so much on revenue as on bots.  Twitter is just awash in bots, and has been for years.

    I'm not saying the stupid posts you see coming from Twitter are all fake though.  Sorry if I got your hopes up.  No, people really are that stupid and the world will end in flames pretty soon.

Disclaimer: If we're lucky.

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Thursday, February 02


Daily News Stuff 2 February 2023

Groundhog Day Edition

Top Story

  • AMD's Ryzen 7000X3D lineup has prices and schedules, with the top-of-the-line 7950X3D due on February 28th at a price of $699.  (AnandTech)

    If you've been following along, you might notice that this is exactly the same MSRP as the regular 7950X, making the X3D version something of a bargain.  But if you've been following along, you might notice that Micro Center will sell you a 7950X and 32GB of DDR5-6000 RAM for under $600.  Assuming you live somewhere with a Micro Center because that's an offer designed to get you into the store, and not available for delivery.

    Still, it's basically a stealth price cut - AMD trying to avoid sabotaging its perceived value while tacitly acknowledging that the market ain't what it was and won't be for a while.

    And it's likely to be the fastest desktop CPU around for a couple of years.  Intel's Meteor Lake range should be out this year but may be only for laptops, and AMD isn't expecting Zen 5 to be ready until next year.

  • Mission accomplished.  (BBC)

    That tiny deadly radioactive thingy - a quarter inch wide lost in a state encompassing a million square miles - has been found.  120 miles from its starting point it fell out of the truck and rolled off the road.

    Fortunately with suitably sensitive detectors it glows like a furnace and it had not in fact lodged in the tyres of a passing car and disappeared to parts unknown, so a few days scouring the highway waiting for the clicks to turn into a scream was enough to hunt it down.

Tech News

Disclaimer: I don't know, what if Columbus was right?

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Wednesday, February 01


Daily News Stuff 1 February 2023

Beginning Of Part Two Edition

Top Story

Tech News

History Doesn't Repeat But Sometimes the Ink Bleeds Through Video of the Day

This is the same guy as yesterday, but reacting to a different source, one that is rather topical given the complete fucking insanity that goes on in the crypto markets.

The South Sea Company was formed to take on the British government's debt, but its share value ballooned out to ten times that before the bubble popped, equivalent to a single US company today having a market cap of $315 trillion - about eight times the combined value of all American companies across all stock exchanges.

Disclaimer: Or 0.0003% of the mineral value of the asteroid 16 Psyche.

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Tuesday, January 31


Daily News Stuff 31 January 2023

End Of Part One Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Getting All Your Ducks in a Row Video of the Day

The video he's reacting to is by CGP Grey who I've mentioned before, but this channel is new to me.  And he's quite good.  I haven't caught him in an error, and he's caught every error that I caught in content he was responding to, plus some errors I didn't catch.

He's knowledgeable, seems to be conservative-leaning though not outspoken about it, and likes to explore historical what-ifs.  Oh, and he loathes Woodrow Wilson.

Disclaimer: As do all right-thinking people.

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Monday, January 30


Daily News Stuff 30 January 2023

Ode To A Different Ow Edition

Top Story

  • Salesforce - yes, that Salesforce - is using AI to develop enzymes that can digest plastic and bacteria and has published the source code on GitHub so that anyone else can do the same.  (Neowin)

    Grey goo anyone?

    Enzymes don't reproduce themselves - or at least I don't know of any enzymes that can reproduce themselves, though given the existence of prion diseases (enzymes and prions are both proteins) I would be reluctant to state that it is impossible - so you have to keep producing the enzyme somehow and the reaction can't just take over and melt the world.

    Unless you genetically engineer a microbe to produce the enzyme.

    Which nobody is crazy enough to attempt.  The world is peaceful and stable and not at all run entirely by a coterie of imbeciles and lunatics.

    Well, it's been a good run.  See you all in the next simulation.

  • No major kidney stones today or over the weekend - though a smaller one did make a brief appearance and then pass without comment.

    So I have a migraine instead.

    Which is fine.  My migraines pass of their own accord so long as I sit in a dark room for three hours or so and don't, uh, use a computer.

Tech News

  • The ASRock NUCS BOX-1360P/D4 is as the name would suggest a NUCS - definitely not a NUC, that doesn't appear to be trademarked by Intel but best to play it safe - with a 1360P, a 13th generation laptop CPU (or maybe a 12th generation laptop CPU rebranded, I'm not sure yet since this is the first such device to appear), and ECC.  (AnandTech)

    All DDR5 memory has internal ECC, which protects (somewhat) against data errors within the memory chip, but not against data errors that happen on the bus between the CPU and the RAM.  You can get DDR5 ECC modules for servers, and there are probable unbuffered DDR5 ECC module for desktop CPUs though since Intel doesn't support ECC on desktops and AMD doesn't officially support ECC on desktops the market for those is not huge and good luck finding any.

    Except...  It turns out that Intel does support ECC on desktops (except that it doesn't, more on that in a moment); it just doesn't support ECC memory.  What it does instead is take regular memory, encode the ECC separately, and write that ECC data to a reserved area in the same RAM rather than to an additional RAM chip added for the purpose (or in the case of DDR5, two chips).

    And...  It works.  It does slow down the system a bit and use about 3% of your RAM to store the extra ECC data, but it corrects single bit errors and detects double-bit errors...  At which point your computer crashes because Windows has no idea what to do with any of this nonsense.

  • Build your own Redis.  (Build Your Own)

    Here's one I built* earlier.

    It's a book explaining how to rather than a sensible suggestion, rather like a detailed guide to constructing Chartres Cathedral when that building rather notably already exists and has done so for eight centuries.

    Though if you were going to build your own Redis, it might not be the worst possible idea to replace the hash table as the primary data structure with, say, an AVL tree, so that you can fucking find the data after you have stored it.

    Also it might be handy if Chartres Cathedral had wheels so that it could be moved to a more sensible location during winters.

    * That is, downloaded and compiled.

Disclaimer: I see that Redis now has wheels and Chartres Cathedral has self-organising storage buckets.  This is not quite what I had in mind but I will not quibble.

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