Is this how time normally passes? Really slowly, in the right order?

Friday, September 21


Daily News Stuff 21 September 2018

Tech News
  • Philips' 328P6VU Professional 4K Display features a 32" VA panel, HDR 600 (not full-range HDR, but not fake HDR either), 98% DCI-P3 coverage (a very good colour gamut), and USB-C docking facilities which would be perfect for something like Index or Railgun.  (AnandTech)

    Even better, it's not wildly expensive: Expected price in the US is around $620.

  • Google and partners have invested $100 million into GitLab after Microsoft bought industry gorilla GitHub.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I like GitLab a lot.  It's not perfect, but it's free and very capable.  Good to see they have the funding to keep expanding.

  • Mathematicians are still arguing over their ABCs  (Quanta)

  • Google really fucking hates the world wide web.  (Bleeping Computer)

    They got rid of www from your URL bar, now they plan to exterminate it from search results.

Social Media News

Everyone in social media has gone stark raving mad.  Best to simply avoid all the social networks for the next week or so.

Video of the Day

Linus agrees with me on the Nvidia RTX cards.

Picture of the Day

Like air guitar, only...

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Index And Railgun Update

There were just two minor regrets I had about the HP laptops I ordered: They weren't offering the 1TB model in the sale, when I would have happily paid an extra $200 or so, and the model I ordered didn't come with the matching pen.  HP sells a couple of different pens so no big deal, but that's an extra $90, twice, and the one in the store is silver rather than charcoal grey.

Because of the stock issue, they gave me a free upgrade to the 1TB model.

The 1TB model comes with the pen.

I don't have them set up yet, but they're unpacked, and it's crazy how small and light and well-constructed they are.  These machines are works of art.

Screen is fantastic, and the speakers are surprisingly good too - based just on listening to Cortana in Windows Setup, which some might not consider a comprehensive test.

Also, it's back in stock for immediate delivery.  I could buy a third- WHACK!  NO!

Note on packaging: Inside the box there is another box.  Inside the other box, there is a tiny compartment for the pen.  Underneath the tiny compartment for the pen, there is an even tinier compartment for the battery for the pen.  You will need this.

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Thursday, September 20


Daily News Stuff 20 September 2018

Tech News

  • Nvidia's RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are out.  (AnandTech)

    Well, not out in the sense that you can buy them, but out in the sense that you can't buy them, because (a) there aren't any and (b) the cheapest cards cost around A$1400.

    [Correction: Looks like some RTX 2080 cards are in stock, though the RTX 2080 Ti is not.]

    The 2080 performs about the same as the existing 1080 Ti but has less memory (8GB vs 11GB), and the 1080 Ti can be found for A$1000.  The 2080 Ti is the fastest gaming card around, but will likely cost around A$2000.

    The interesting part is the extra functionality added with the Turing family of chips: Dedicated ray tracing cores for more realistic light and shadows, and dedicated AI cores for more realistic...  AI.  In a year or two this will become significant, as libraries and games adopt the new features.  Right now, though, it's not, and even hardware ray tracing can't deliver playable 4K frame rates.

    Still if you're a game developer, this card is a no-brainer.  If you have a seven-figure trust fund, or you have a popular YouTube channel streaming or reviewing games, sure.   Otherwise you might as well stick with what you have until Nvidia and AMD bring their 7nm cards out next year, which will be both faster and cheaper.

    Gamers Nexus has more details than you could possibly want for each card.

  • AMD's Fireflight APU powers the less snappily-named Subor Z+.  (AnandTech)

    This, as mentioned previously, is only the fourth Zen family chip (despite a range of dozens of shipping processors).  It has four Zen cores and 24 Vega graphics cores, making it similar to Intel's Kaby Lake G parts.  In this case, it's one piece of silicon to Intel's three.

    AnandTech have got hold of one and are working on a complete review.  They just couldn't resist leaking a few snapshots.

  • Newegg had a credit card breach.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is why I refuse to store credit card details.  If Stripe or PayPal get hacked, everyone in the world will be screaming, but it won't be my job to clean it up.

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Picture of the Day

Saw this on Twitter, thought it was CGI for a second.

Maybe it is.  Maybe we're all CGI.

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Wednesday, September 19


Daily News Stuff 19 September 2018

Arr, me harpies, shiver me flim-flams and belabour me scuppers, it's that time of year again!

Pirate News

Video of the Day

Picture of the Day

Not very piratey, but striking.

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Tuesday, September 18


They're Here!

Index and Railgun just showed up a day early.  Will likely get them unpacked and start setting them up tomorrow.

Won't do a full review since they're being discontinued anyway, but will post my impressions and any technical notes I have.

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Daily News Stuff 18 September 2018

Tech News

  • The Contributor Covenant, just adopted by the Linux project, is pure cancer.

  • Intel's Xeon D-2141I is a worthy competitor to AMD's Epyc 3151.  (Serve the Home)

  • AMD meanwhile leaked two new Ryzen laptop APUs.  (Overclock3D)

    Again, just different versions of the existing chip.  The 2500U and 2700U are 15W parts for low-power laptops; the new 2600H and 2800H are 45W parts for desktop replacement systems.

    Top speeds are the same, but base speeds jump from 2.2GHz on the 2700U to 3.3GHz on the 2800H.

  • Extended validation certificates are dead.

    These work exactly the same as regular certificates, but the issuer is supposed to verify that you are who you say you are - checking your address, business registration, and other details.  And the status shows differently in your browser.

    Or...  It used to.  But none of the major companies bothered to use them, so the different status now shows as a weird exception to the rule.  So browsers have been updated to show all secure sites the same so as not to confuse users.  So there is now almost no reason to have an EV certificate, and they cost a fortune, where regular certificates can be set up for free (with some limitations).

  • The SR-60 packs sixty tiny servers into 2U of rack space.  (The Next Platform)

    They also have an SR-90.

    Each node is a dual core Intel i7 7600U - very close to the specs of my new laptops (i7 7560U) and not slow - and an upcoming refresh will substitute the newer quad core i7 8650.  Up to 16GB of RAM per node, and 128GB of flash.

    That's not a lot of storage, but it's intended that you'll use that for boot and then use network-attached storage.  Each node has 3 x 1Gb network links, and each cluster of ten nodes has 2 x 10Gb links, so there's a ton of bandwidth sloshing around.

  • David Patterson says it's time for new architectures and new programming languages  (IEEE Spectrum)

    He would know.  Hennessy and Patterson was one of my favourite textbooks.  Not only do I still have it, I went out and bought a newer edition later on.

Video of the Day

What's that you say?  I posted this yesterday?  Um...  You know, I really don't think I'm getting enough sleep.  I didn't notice that until just now. I'm not going crazy.  Chrome on my tablet switched the videos around.  But I am tired enough to believe that I had posted the same video twice.

Picture of the Day

Things sure have improved since we outsourced all our pollution to China.  But I kind of miss the smogodactyls that used to circle the Chrysler Building.

Bonus Video of the Day

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Monday, September 17


Daily News Stuff 17 September 2018

Tech News

  • USB-C audio is garbage.  (PCWorld)

    This is a problem with USB-C more generally; it does so many things that you can't tell from any given port what it does.

    My new laptops have two USB-C ports each.  Both do USB, but only at 5Gb, DisplayPort, and power in.  DisplayPort should mean they also support HDMI (and thus DVI at up to 1920x1200) though the exact spec determines if that requires one adaptor or two.  But no PCIe alt-mode, no 10Gb or USB 3.2 20Gb, no ThunderBolt, only one DP stream each, no MHL or VirtualLink.

  • Microsoft removed that sad little screen Edge pops up when you use it that one time to download Chrome or Firefox  (CNet)

  • Google just released a Basic interpreter for the web.

  • Tame Apple Press says "Bored now."  (Macworld)

    Jason Snell is one of the best of the Apple press and I respect him a lot, though he does his best here to paint a rosy face on the zombie.

  • Google has flopped its flip, will remove www again in Chrome 70 because they are idiots.  (Bleeping Computer)

  • Kobayashi just dropped dead.  Why did you drop dead, Kobayashi?  Was it because I was running 20 LXC containers in a VirtualBox VM running Ubuntu 18.04 desktop with just 2.5GB RAM?

    Yeah, that sounds like it.

  • Speaking of Linux and dropping dead...

    Pull a fork out of it, it's done: Linux adopts a code of conduct.  (Phoronix)

    A very specific and cancerous code of conduct.  Linux previously had the aptly and cheekily named Code of Conflict that prized quality of code above all else.  The new code doesn't mention code, or quality.  Not even once.

Video of the Day


Build the base.

Bonus (?) Video of the Day

This video has quickly become infamous.  The Verge builds a $2000 gaming PC and are so inept they are lucky the studio didn't burn down.  

Update: Aaand it's gone.  Heh.

They could have simply called Dell and ordered an Alienware Aurora with an 8700K, GTX 1080 Ti, and liquid cooling for that price, but the video would probably have been fairly short.

I'll let one of the 937 response videos speak for me here.

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Sunday, September 16


Daily News Stuff 16 September 2018

Tech News

  • ADATA's new SSDs offer up to 1.2GB per second and sizes up to 256GB.  (AnandTech)

    So what, you ask. 

    So...  They're half an inch square.

  • Nvidia won't have the RTX 2080Ti out for Talk Like a Pirate Day  (Tom's Hardware)

    A week's delay probably just means it needed a flash update.

  • Chrome 70 (does anyone keep track of Chrome version numbers any more?)  can detect things like faces and barcodes within images in a web page.  (Tom's Hardware)

    If this actually runs in the browser, it's pretty impressive.  If it's using cloud services, it's a big bucket of warm frog vomit.

  • CSS can crash your iPhone.  (TechCrunch)

    Your A$2668 iPhone.*

    I never did like CSS.

    This applies to every iOS app that renders third-party HTML, because the only HTML renderer allowed on iOS is WebKit.

  • Amazon stopped selling physical goods to Australia through their US store at the end of July, but have now started selling items from their US store through their Australian store.  The only really odd thing about that is that they didn't do it from day one.

    I mention this because I'm not sure if the model of the HP notebooks I'm getting includes the pen - the one I ordered originally did not, but then they gave me a free upgrade to the top-of-the-line model which is shown with the pen in all photos.  If the pen is not included, it's about 40% cheaper on Amazon than from HP's own online store.

    In fact, buying from Amazon's US store via Amazon's AU store can be 25% cheaper than buying the identical product directly from Amazon Australia.

* Australian list price for iPhone XS Max 512GB including AppleCare.

Video of the Day

Dumping with Scrump is not for everyone - warning, may contain targeted profanity and illegal memes - but it regularly provides insightful comments on the idiotic social media kerfufflery du jour.   (Also, Scrump is one of the few people banned from Twitter more often than me.)  This weekend's episode is on the cancerous European copyright legislation. 

They focus here on Articles 11 and 13, which are the most widely cited for being utterly pathological, but the whole thing is a disaster and I'll be looking for good videos or articles taking on the rest of it.

Axel Voss, the lunatic-in-chief of this five-ring clown show has backed away from his earlier support, saying that the legislation contains rules he hadn't intended, after his bill had passed a vote in the EU Parliament.

Under Article 11 I would have to pay even to post these daily updates if I lived in the EU, or had a business there.   Which simply means I will never, ever do that.

About half-way in they get to Article 13, and an instance where a comic was banned in Germany.  You can't tell from the video but the comic has a character skirting Holocaust denial and being hushed by another character.  So it's not just that Holocaust denial is being suppressed, but that discussion of the suppression of Holocaust denial is being suppressed. 

Again it's not clear from the video, but the suppression of the comic would not be related to Article 13, but to existing German laws making Holocaust denial illegal.

Now, I fully understand modern German reactions to their appalling 20th century history.  But we can see that they are already careering down the slippery slope of censorship. And they just led the EU in radically expanding the scope of censorship laws, in ways that are entirely unprecedented in the so-called Free World.

Fuck these assholes.

Bonus Video of the Day

Picture of the Day

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Saturday, September 15


Daily News Stuff 15 September 2018

Tech News

  • Index and Railgun have shipped, ETA Wednesday.  This makes for a lot of computers sitting around, so I'm also going to pick up a new 802.11ac router so that all my things can talk to each other.

  • Google fixed that stupid URL-mangling feature.  I updated to the latest Chrome yesterday, and it works properly again.

  • Google being Google, they're also cancelling Inbox and forcing people to switch to an updated version of Gmail instead.  The updated version of Gmail is not good.

  • Intel just fixed another security bug, making it number 1397 for 2018.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • If you're looking at buying a server, say the word "epic" three times in front of a mirror and an Intel sales rep will appear and offer big discounts.  (Serve the Home)

    Alternately, just go ahead and buy AMD and enjoy dealing with one third the number of bugs.

Video of the Day

Well, it is Caturday.

Picture of the Day

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Friday, September 14


Daily News Stuff 14 September 2018

Tech News

  • After waiting nine years for a connection date, then six months for the connection date to arrive, then ten weeks for any updates after the connection date passed unconnected, NBNCo now informs me that there is "work to be done" and it will take another six to twelve months to connect me.

    The connection point is so close that I could stand at my kitchen window and hit it with a medium-sized dog if the wind was right.  Six to twelve months my arse.

  • In happier news, I found the product page for the laptop HP upgraded me to because the one I ordered was out of stock.  (HP have an infinite number of different product codes and it's hard to find the exact details sometimes.  That's how infinity works.)

    It's the top-of-the-line maxed-out version with a 1TB SSD, and I'm getting two of them.  Whee!  And my order has passed out of processing and into production, so it looks like it's all happening this time.  Which is good, because that model is now also out of stock.

    Tomorrow, I'll get hit by a comet.  But that's tomorrow.

  • If you care more about CPU performance and battery life and actually being in stock than display resolution and price the Toshiba Portégé X30T might be just the ticket.  (AnandTech)

    It has a quad-core 8th generation Intel CPU, 13.3" FHD display, and a multiplicity of ports - not just USB-C but full-size USB-A, wired Ethernet, HDMI, and even VGA.  In tablet mode it offers 8 hours of battery life, but the keyboard has its own battery (partly just to balance the weight) giving a total of 14 to 15 hours.

    And it even has PgUp/PgDn/Home/End keys, though the arrangement is a bit haphazard, similar to Lenovo's smaller laptops.

  • Speaking of which, if you're in Australia and looking for a general-purpose laptop, Lenovo has been messing about with pricing on their ThinkPad E family again.  With a quad-core Ryzen 2700U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and 1TB disk drive, the E485 currently works out to A$1374, which is a great price.  If I hadn't just bought Index and Railgun I'd be strongly tempted.

    The closest Intel model is A$1846, which is less attractive.  By about A$472.

  • AMD's second-generation Raven Ridge Ryzen APUs may or may not appear this year, on 12nm or possibly 7nm unless something else happens.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • If someone steals your laptop, they might be able to access information in memory even if it's locked and the drive is encrypted.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is a known problem, and it can even be done with desktops and servers if you are very quick, but it's probably around #4718 on the list of security issues you should worry about.

  • This analysis of Global Foundries' retreat from 7nm says that yes, it's all doom and gloom from here.  (IEEE)

    To which I say: Meh, and double meh.  Dennard scaling failed fifteen years ago, but I'm not about to swap my Ryzen 1700 for a Pentium 4.

  • Glen Cook's latest Black Company novel, Port of Shadows - the first in some years - is out.  I'll just hop on over to Amazon and b-  Shit.

Social Media News

Graphs, You're Doing Them Wrong II

Today's entry comes from Bloomberg, who really should know better.  Look at that mess.  What is it even supposed to mean?

Video of the Day

Comments are disabled for this video.  Because of course they are.

Actually, the worst thing about the Left is their economic policies, which lead inexorably to genocide.  But this is a start.

Picture of the Day

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