What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Thursday, October 31


Daily News Stuff 31 October 2019

Extra SpOoOky Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and I, Robot would be a good name for a rock band.

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Wednesday, October 30


Daily News Stuff 30 October 2019

Non-Trivial Edition

Tech News

  • Nvidia's GTX 1660 Super is out.  (AnandTech)

    Spoiler: It's a GTX 1660 with GDDR6 RAM.  That's it.  No other changes.

    But since it's only $10 more than the 1660, and the RAM speed is increased from 8GHz to 14GHz, it's quite a bargain.  It's nearly as fast as the 1660 Ti and $50 cheaper.

    But rather than replacing both the 1660 and 1660 Ti, Nvidia are choosing to squeeze the 1660 Super into the wafer-thin gap between them.  And the 1650 Super will launch in three weeks and add to the squeezeness.

    This has irked some reviewers.

  • How Backblaze took 18 months to raise their price by $1.  (Backblaze)

  • A Go programmer takes a look at Nim.  (Jungle Coder)

    Nim is to Python what Crystal is to Ruby.  I prefer Crystal because it compiles directly to executables using LLVM, where Nim produces C which then gets compiled, and my experience of that sort of thing - not Nim itself, but that process - has been blargh.  This article suggests that in this case it works pretty nicely.

  • He'll save every one of us!  (Google Webmaster Central Blog)

    Browser makers are auditioning for the role of Ming the Merciless and killing off Flash.  And being arseholes about it.
    I still remember my son playing endless number of Flash games until my wife yelled at him. It's time to go to bed, son. Hey Flash, it's your turn to go to bed.
    In fairness, Adobe killed Flash slowly by embedding an infinite number of security problems.

  • Google's Pixel 4 XL gets a bad review.  (ZDNet)

    In short, it's a great phone, if it's still 2017.

  • Microsoft's Surface Laptop 3 gets a good review.  (ZDNet)

    In short, it doesn't fall over.

    That is, it's a modern lightweight laptop with a 3:2 screen ratio, so the center of gravity is much higher than a typical 16:9 model, and previous Surface Laptops (and other 3:2 devices) had a bad habit of tipping over if you took the name literally and put them in your lap. 

    My Spectre X2 is great, but you really, really need a desk or table or some flat surface if you want to use it.  Or it works fine as a tablet.

  • Reports are circulating of new Android malware that can survive a factory reset.  (ZDNet)

    Exactly how it does that is unclear; it shouldn't be possible on an unrooted device.

  • CS:GO keys are the new Bitcoin?  (ZDNet)

    Criminal groups were buying the keys in bulk and then selling them at a loss to launder cash.  Valve said oh no you don't and the price of keys instantly tripled.

  • The MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM is a 12 port 10Gb Ethernet switch for $500.  (Amazon)

    It has 8 RJ-45 ports and four ports supporting either RJ-45 or SFP+.  

    (Thanks Rick C for the tip.)

Disclaimer: There is no disclaimer.

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Tuesday, October 29


Daily News Stuff 29 October 2019

Better Off Alone Edition

Tech News

  • Intel's Core i9-9990XE can hit 5.0GHz on all 14 cores.  (AnandTech)

    It runs at 255W and costs around $2000 if you're lucky enough to find one.  They're sold to partners only by special auction and in limited quantities.

    Or you could buy a 32 core Threadripper.

  • Intel's Core i9-9900KS can hit 5.0GHz on all 8 cores.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It runs at 127W and costs $513, will be on sale for only two months, and carries a one-year warranty.

    Or you could buy a 12 core Ryzen.

  • The US Senate has put a hold on a terrible horrible no good very bad House copyright act.  (TechDirt)

    The House bill legislated a streamlined copyright infringement process that could slap people with up to $30,000 in penalties without messy technicalities like due process.

    Ron Wyden and Rand Paul, thanks.

  • Begun, the 10nm era has. (AnandTech)

    Only four years late.

  • Ryzen 3000 had a bug in a specific random number function. AMD pushed out a BIOS patch. Motherboard manufactureres released updated BIOS files.  Only some of them forgot to actually apply the patch.  (Ars Technica)

    So even if you are completely up to date you might still have the bug.

    The bug can do nasty things to Linux security tools, which check that the random number they get from the CPU is sufficiently random, and keep asking for more random bits until they're satisfied.  If the bug is present and unpatched the number never gets random enough, so the system completely locks up.

  • On the other hand, if you have the patch, the problem is solved.  That's a lot less true for Intel's speculative execution bugs.  (ZDNet)

    If you're running untrusted code on an Intel server (shared hosting, virtual servers) just disable hyperthreading already.  It's the interesection between speculative execution and hardware threading that produces most of the bugs, and you can't turn off speculative execution.

Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Dogs is dogs, and cats is dogs, and squirrels in cages is parrots, but this here turkle is a hinsect, and he won't cost you nothing.

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Monday, October 28


Daily News Stuff 28 October 2019

Surprise Edition

Tech News

Social Media News

  • The Washington Post bememed itself over the weekend.  (archive.org)

    They did change the headline, but not the obituary itself, which is if anything even worse, and not before hundreds of people had taken screenshots.

Disclaimer: If you gaze long into the shithole, the shithole will gaze back into you.

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Post contains 213 words, total size 2 kb.

Sunday, October 27


Daily News Stuff 27 October 2019

Thirty Million Lines Of Poop Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: This guy's an idiot.

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Saturday, October 26


Daily News Stuff 26 October 2019

Giant Bee Edition

Tech News

  • A Windows PC that costs less than a Windows license unless it doesn't.  (WCCFTech)

    The specs are...  Meh.  It's an Atom CPU, and it's not one of the newer non-sucky Atoms.  But 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage are enough to actually do something useful, and more than enough to run Linux.

  • Speaking of Linux, I set up one of those Binary Lane storage servers I mentioned, and I'm moving my offsite backups over to it right now.

    It uses disks and not SSDs, but that doesn't mean it's slow.

        # dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/test2 bs=1000000 count=10000 10000000000

        bytes (10 GB, 9.3 GiB) copied, 5.70009 s, 1.8 GB/s

    I like Binary Lane a lot because they make it dead easy to install your own Linux ISO, so you can partition the storage and configure ZFS. On DigitalOcean you can't easily do that with the included storage, only for attached disks (which aren't particularly cheap).

    Ubuntu 20.04 may solve this.

  • Raycraft: A comparison.  (AnandTech)

    Screenshots from the new Minecraft beta with Nvidia ray tracing enabled and disabled.  With those little before-and-after slidy things.

    It makes a huge difference to the atmosphere of many scenes...  But on the other hand, frequently makes it impossible to actually see anything.

  • Okay, great, but why does it take 16 seconds to boot into BIOS anyway?  (Tom's Hardware)

  • Who do India think they are anyway, Europe?  (TechDirt)

    Courts just love to assert jurisdiction over the Universe and all the other places too.

  • If it were more, it wouldn't be a Kindle.  (Six Colors)

    E-ink displays just haven't progressed to the point that anyone would want to run an app on them.  Until that changes, Kindles will remain kindles.

  • The i3-9100F as a server CPU.  (Serve the Home)

    But, you say, that's a desktop CPU and doesn't support ECC.

    That would be true if Intel were at all consistent, but they're not.  Of all the 9th generation desktop CPUs, this one does in fact support ECC memory.

    And it's actually not bad.  It outperforms fairly capable low-end server chips from a couple of years ago, like the Xeon E3-1220 V6.

  • Oh look another horrible PHP bug.  (ZDNet)


    Only affects Nginx servers running PHP 7, and fortunately I'm not using that combination anywhere.

    Good that I know about it, though, because I'm doing a server overhaul at my day job right now, and we do run Nginx and PHP for some legacy apps.  Precisely because they're legacy we haven't upgraded to PHP 7.

  • SMS roaming charges are for the birds.  (BBC)

  • The videos are cool but atmospheric "gravity waves" are not gravity waves.  (CNN)

    Eddies in the space-time continuum.

  • An ultra-short-throw projector gets put to the test.  (Ars Technica)

    This puppy can project an 80" 4K image given 3" of clearance.  That's kind of neat.  At $2700 it's not cheap - you can get a Sony 75" 4K smart TV for half that - and it's not great if the lights are on, but the flexibility is interesting in itself.

Manga of the Day

Usagi-moku Shachiku-ka or Department of Corporate Slave Rabbits.

The series follows the daily life of Fuwami, a mochi-worker from the Moon who lost her job in a strategic lunar rightsizing.


Video of the Day

The forgotten glueless fractal hexatetraflexagon.

Disclaimer: Yeah, no.

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Friday, October 25


Daily News Stuff 25 October 2019

Mango Chicken Edition

Tech News

  • Intel has discovered a new atom.  (AnandTech)

    This is a new core design called Tremont, that follows on from Goldmont and Goldmont+.  Goldmont and Goldmont+ have been used in the Apollo Lake and Gemini Lake families respectively, which are the first Atoms to not suck.

    Tremont is supposed to increase IPC by 30% over Goldmont+, which should make for a quite competent low-end processor for home storage, network, and media devices.  If power consumption is kept down it could work well for tablets too.

  • Realtek 2.5GbE cards are now available from...  The well-known global brand of Area Mr. Jack.  (AnandTech)

    Of course, there are exactly zero 2.5GbE switches available.

    GbE came out about 37 years ago.  Get your house in order, guys.

  • The Outer Worlds is out.  (PC Perspective)

    You can get it from Crappy Communist Game Store for full price, or via the Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Thing for Windows for A$1 for the first month and A$5 per month thereafter.

    Steam is not an option, and CCGS is not an option as far as I'm concerned.  I tried waving my dollar at Microsoft earlier today but I couldn't get the confirmation email.  Not that I'll have time to play it for at least another week.

  • Google's Pixelbook Go is kind of not terrible.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It did show an 11+ hour battery life in their tests, and even the 1080p screen is pretty good.  The high-end model is 4k, but 1080p on a 13" screen is by no means bad.  I have an older 13" 1080p laptop and the screen resolution was never really a problem, though I do love the 3000x2000 screen on my Spectre X2.

  • SoftBank is not having a good week.  (Tech Crunch)

    That said, conflating assets with revenue is fatuous nonsense propagated by the terminally innumerate.

  • "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the TikTokMan.  (Tech Crunch)

    Is everyone an idiot now or am I just unusually cranky today?

  • Zen 3, 4, and 5 are on the way unless they aren't.  (WCCFTech)

    Zen 3 has already been confirmed for next year, will be socket-compatible, and apparently is already sampling.  Zen 4 will follow "by 2022" and use a new socket - presumably for DDR5 support - and Zen 5 will come some unspecified time after that.

  • The Darling River in Australia has run dry which has never happened before for at least a couple of years.  (Reuters)

  • Why aren't people more upset about security bugs on flagship Android devices?  (ZDNet)

    The Galaxy S10 and Note 10 could be unlocked by anyone if you set up fingerprint recognition with a certain type of screen protector installed (because it uses a fancy new in-screen fingerprint sensor), and the Pixel 4's face unlock works even if you're dead.  Which...  I'm not sure how they found that out, and not sure I want to know how they found that out, but it wouldn't matter except that Google took the fingerprint sensor out of the Pixel 4 because they are idiots.

  • Turtles all the way down.  (Motherboard)

    The Universe may be made of universes.

Video of the Day

Disclaimer: No catgirls were created or destroyed during the filming of this edition of Daily News Stuff.

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Thursday, October 24


Daily News Stuff 24 October 2019

Still Considered Harmful Edition

Tech News

Video of the Day

An update on the NordVPN hack from a tech YouTuber who previously ran their ads and is not happy with them.

Disclaimer: Considered harmful considered harmful.

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Wednesday, October 23


Daily News Stuff 23 October 2019

Not So Fast Edition

Tech News

  • Elassandra combines the $attribute1 of Cassandra with the $attribute2 of Elasticsearch.  (elassandra.io)

    Potentially a useful platform for data warehouse / analytics work.  I've used Cassandra (to store a ~1TB queryable ring buffer of a 10,000 message per second stream) and while it's a little fiddly it does deliver as promised.

    Update: Come to think of it (this project was a few years ago), the buffer was larger than that, and the key point was that it was stored on spinning disk.  This is easy stuff on modern SSDs where 100,000 IOPS is considered consumer-grade, but I didn't have that much SSD to spare at the time.

  • 10 superpowers of HTML5.  (Medium)

    I spend so much time fussing with web apps these days that I forget how nice HTML5 is for web pages.

  • A farewell to Google.  (ZDNet)

    Apple I could drop tomorrow - though I wouldn't throw out my iMac, it would work just fine running a different OS.  Facebook I visit on rare occasions.  Netflix I cancelled.  Twitter cancelled me.

    Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are trickier.  But I'll at least try switching back off Chrome.

  • Stardock is aiming to do for Windows tablets what they did for Windows 8: Make them not suck.  (Thurrott.com)

    The new product is called TouchTasks and unless my licenses have expired I'll give it a try on my HP Spectre X2.

  • Electronic Arts may be returning to Steam.  (One Angry Gamer)

    I used to play The Sims and buy the new expansions as they came out.  I like the design tools, particularly now that you can create a variety of buildings and not just houses.

    Don't think I've touched it in three years.

  • Blizzard is run by idiots.  (One Angry Gamer)

    The occasional non-idiot just can't make any headway.

  • The 2019 iPad is just fine.  (Ars Technica)

    It's 0.5" larger and has a slightly higher resolution screen, and comes with an extra 1GB of RAM (3 rather than 2) not that Apple specifies this anywhere.  Price and CPU performance remain the same.

    And it retains the headphone jack, so there's that.

Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Do not follow the blue ball.

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Tuesday, October 22


Daily News Stuff 22 October 2019

So Were They All, All Honourable Men Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Splunge.

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