Why did you say six months?
He's coming.
This matters. This is important. Why did you say six months?
Why did you say five minutes?

Saturday, February 27


Daily News Stuff 27 February 2021

You Idiots Edition

Tech News

  • Don't connect critical industrial control systems directly to the internet you idiots.  (Ars Technica)

    And if you do, don't leave them in programming mode.

    And if you do, when you update your résumé, just say you were in a Turkish prison for the past twelve years.

    Yes, there is also a nasty vulnerability in the key management used in Logix industrial automation systems, but you have to be doing several things wrong to even get to that point.

  • Turns out the water cooling doesn't help.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Dell gaming systems are infamously noisy.

    The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 offers a water cooling option.

    It doesn't help.

    Shame, because you can actually buy one, which is not true if you try to buy the individual parts.

  • The Sabrent Rocket Q4 4TB is the fastest 4TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 drive on the market.  (Serve the Home)

    Also the cheapest.

    Yes, you guessed it.  But despite using QLC flash, it's not actually bad.

  • I wonder what happens if you simply add yeast to pancake batter, put it in a cake tin, and leave it to rise before baking?

    I'll find out tomorrow.

    The gluten-free bread I like has been out of stock for months, which is why I've been experimenting with making my own.  There are lesser alternatives - lesser than the brand I like, that is; still clearly superior to anything I've managed to produce thus far.

    At least chicken nuggets are available again.  There is one gluten-free brand available at one store, and it's been missing for weeks.  I was going to try making my own but the stuff I needed for that was also out of stock.

    I did find out, though, why gluten-free chicken nuggets are better than regular ones - in that they have more chicken and less coating than the regular kind.

    It's cheaper that way.  Pound for pound, the chicken costs less than the gluten-free coating, whether it's batter or breadcrumbs.

  • YouTube is a pile of crap.

    Yes, they shadowbanned Kiara, who has over 800,000 subscribers now, while she was in the middle of moving back home from Japan to Australia wink.  They took down Suisei's remonetisation celebration stream due to a copyright strike, after leaving her demonetised for a month without ever saying why.  Suisei has 780,000 subscribers.

    They also did this:

    Viva Frei has 350,00 subscribers.

    They also shadowbanned and demonetised Hardware Unboxed due to "suspicious activity" on their account.  What suspicious activity?  They didn't say.  How can this be resolved?  They didn't say.

    Hardware Unboxed has 750,000 subscribers.

    If you have a small YouTube channel you had better (a) back everything up and (b) hope the algorithm never notices you, because if it does, you are screwed.

Disclaimer: Slab and grue, yes. But it doesn't say how slab and grue.

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Friday, February 26


Daily News Stuff 26 February 2021

Desert Topping Floor Wax Edition

Tech News

  • Redbean is a small (200k) extremely fast (1 million requests per second) web server for static files and applications.  (Justine.lol)

    It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Net and Open BSD.

    Without recompiling.  The same binary runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Net and Open BSD.  Not currently for Arm-based Macs but that is coming - still in a single binary.

    To deploy your content, you change the name of the file from redbean.com to redbean.zip, add your files to the zip archive - because yes, it is also a valid zip archive, because why the hell not - change the name back to redbean.com, and run it.

    You can also apparently boot directly into it from BIOS, but that's only useful on a virtual machine; on actual hardware you'd have no drivers.

  • INTERCAL, YAML, and other horrible programming languages.  (Earthly)

    It's all fun and games until someone loses their mind.

  • Demand for semiconductors is currently as much as 30% higher than supply.  (AnandTech)

    Not memory, which is what usually gets bitten by supply crunches, but logic.

    It may be 12 to 18 months before things get back to normal.

  • The RTX 3060 is not actually bad.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's faster than a 2060 Super and close to a standard 2070 or the older 1080 Ti, and reasonably priced at $329, particularly with its 12GB of RAM.

    I couldn't find any available on Amazon or Newegg, but there are some listed in stock here in Australia, starting at A$869, which US$691 including tax, or US$628 before tax.

    So the cheapest available model is selling at a 90% markup over MSRP.

  • Lenovo's Thinkpad Fold X1 is the world's first foldable laptop except for all the others.  (Thurrott.com)

    It's essentially a 13" tablet that folds into a roughly 9" mini-laptop with an optional Bluetooth keyboard that snaps into place magnetically.

    It's about the same size as my HP Spectre x2 except that it folds in half.

  • Twitter will now let you pay to follow people.  (ZDNet)

  • Australia's stupid link tax law has passed through Parliament.  (AP)

    It had strong bipartisan support so you know it's bad.

  • Nvidia's dedicated mining cards are worse at mining than their gaming cards.  (Tom's Hardware)

    And the reason appears to be that they are using last-generation Turing chips - from the 1660 up to the 2080 Ti - and not current-generation chips.

    Turing was (is?) made on TSMC's 12nm process while Ampere is made on Samsung's 8nm process, so cranking out the older chips doesn't affect production capacity for the newer ones - except, as we noted, that demand is running at 130% of capacity anyway.

  • The language of technical difficulties is universal.

    I can't understand what Pekora is saying.  I can't understand what her chat is saying.  I can't even read her Minecraft setup screen, apart from the words "Hololive server" and "LAN".  But everyone knows what red text on a login page means.

Disclaimer: If we had some ham and eggs, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some ham and eggs.

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Thursday, February 25


Daily News Stuff 25 February 2021

Piglin Princess Pipico Edition

Tech News

Not Tech News - Not Any Kind Of News, Really

  • Faith in humanity restored, just a tiny bit.

Every Single Hololive Japan Opening Theme Video of the Day

I've been watching Hololive for months and I'd seen about 5% of these.

Disclaimer: Some of Aqua's openings may cause brain injury in vertebrates.

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Wednesday, February 24


Daily News Stuff 24 February 2021

Beck, Tig Beck Edition

Tech News

  • Big Tech Detective is a Chrome extension that block requests to Google.  (The Verge)

    Unsurprisingly, you have to install it manually.

    It's configurable to block requests to Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and/or Amazon, and to block the page that made the request.

  • Console architecture from the NES to the Wii.  (Copetti)

    Each console gets its own page with a lot of detail; even so, some of the features need entire pages of their own.  Mode 7 on the SNES springs immediately to mind.

  • Betteridge's Law of Quantum Headlines: If your headline uses the word "quantum" the answer is no.  (ZDNet)

    In this case:
    Could quantum computers fix political polls?
    And they give the answer right there in the subhed, so they are at least nominally aware.

  • The trouble with Cassandra.  (Min.io)

    Specifically the trouble with using Apache Cassandra as a metadata store for object storage platforms like Amazon S3.  If that seems awfully specific, that's because MinIO is a storage platform like Amazon S3.

    It's open-source.  I didn't realise it was AGPL, but that shouldn't matter for 99% of applications where you just want to use it, rather than sell it as a product.

    If you want to sell it as a product, and can't work with AGPL, though, forget it.  Their Enterprise license is capacity based and costs four times as much as simply using Backblaze B2.  That is, the license alone costs more than outsourcing the whole thing.

    I suspect their audience is companies that want to use S3 APIs (why?) but need to control their own data.  A thousand bucks a month for long-term support on a 50TB storage pool is a lot less than even a potential privacy lawsuit.

    Oh yeah, the problem: Cassandra is not ACID.  It's not even eventually consistent, not by itself.  It's highly available, continuing to work even if parts of your network or multiple servers are down.  MongoDB by comparison will only work if a majority of nodes are available and you are connecting to that majority.

    It can also, by default, lose confirmed writes.

    So an object can be written to the datastore, be confirmed as available, and then if a problem occurs with the database - not the storage - be lost from the index and unfindable.

    Also, last time I checked - and admittedly it's been a while - MinIO didn't support user authentication or any other form of multi-tenant support; everything was owned by one user.  Now it does.  That makes it a lot more useful.

Disclaimer: It's all gone quantum.

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Monday, February 22


Daily News Stuff 22 February 2021

Random Cheery Thoughts Edition

Tech News

  • Thoughts from an Ethereum developer.  (GitHub)

  • Not 1984 but Brave New World.  (ZDNet)

    Is that better? Maybe, if the only available alternative was indeed 1984.

    The usual suspects have signed on to an Australian industry code aimed at stamping out that most dangerous of all scourges, misinformation.

    Of course, Facebook has taken it a step further and stamped out Facebook.  File that one under met or exceeded.

  • Liberals get the bullet too.  (BuzzFeed)

    Communists at Facebook are upset that the CEO has influence over corporate policy, and that they are prevented from simply deleting everything they disagree with.

  • Turning all of science fiction's dire warnings into Totalitarianism for Dummies guides.  (The Next Web)

    Today: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Precrime.

  • Vyolfers streamed Minecraft this morning and Reine is resuming her previously aborted stream right now.  I found that literally seconds before it went live.

    Their shopping mall is starting to look really impressive.

  • Half-price sale on organic gluten-free flours.  Don't care at all about the organic part, but do appreciate the gluten-free and half-price.  Have brown rice flour, coconut flour, almond flour, lentil flour, and oat flour incoming.

    Just cross-checking, at half price they're cheaper than the inorganic equivalents but not radically so, except for the almond flour which is expensive no matter what.

Hardware Unavailable Video of the Day

Which unavailable graphics card should you buy?  A quick check in Australia showed the RX 550 and RX 6900XT in stock on the AMD side - at $149 and $2149 respectively.  Every card in between was out of stock.

On the Nvidia side things were slightly better, with the discontinued 2060, 2070, and 2080 being readily available albeit outrageously expensive, and the RTX 3090 selling at not too much above its list price.

Disclaimer: You there: Fuck off.  And when you get there, fuck off from there too.  Then fuck off some more.  Keep fucking off until you get back here.  Then fuck off again.

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Sunday, February 21


Daily News Stuff 21 February 2021

Dear Old Sadie Edition

Tech News

  • Planedrops keep falling on my head.  (Aviation24)

    But that doesn't mean - look out!  (Aviation Herald)

    Turbine blades fell out of a 747 engine taking off from Maastricht, and the engine inlet from a 777 taking off from Denver.

    Both planes had safe emergency landings, with only two minor injuries to people on the ground.  (Safety tip: Don't try to pick up fallen aircraft engine parts.)

  • That's basically what I wanted to build.  (Pimoroni)

    It's a board for the Pi Pico that supplies VGA, PCM and PWM sound (though you have to choose), and a microSD slot.  The only real hardware on the board is an I2C audio DAC for PCM sound; the rest seems to be passive components to let the Pi Pico show its strengths.

    The VGA output supports a maximum resolution of 640x360 in 15-bit colour, which is more than enough for my needs, and in fact a lot more than you can fit in the memory of the Pico, so they'd have to be doing similar tricks to those I described a while back - using a software CLUT to fill a line buffer that is then fed by DMA to the PIO.

    The advantage they have here is the Pico's intelligent PIO, which keeps things cycle-accurate without needing any external logic, which was the sticking point I ran into even before building a prototype.

  • Pimoroni has some other neat kits for playing with the Pico.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Someone at Tom's Hardware is something of a Pi Pico fan.

    I don't blame him, it looks like a fun and well-designed piece of kit.

  • At the other end of the Arm CPU scale, Apple's M1X will support 8 cores and 32GB of RAM unless it won't.  (WCCFTech)

    Technically 12 cores in total - 8 large and 4 small.

    Expect the usual articles explaining why no-one needs more than 32GB of RAM.  From people who run Mac Pro systems with eight times that much.

  • Binding to localhost:0 will automatically generate an available port number... Unless the system is already running 64512 services, in which case you're probably screwed anyway.

Cola Gremlin Video of the Day

She even hiccups.

Disclaimer: Change one parameter at a time.  Yeah, this latest baking experiment was not a success.

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Saturday, February 20


Daily News Stuff 20 February 2021

Ethicists Behaving Badly Edition

Tech News

  • Google has fired another one of its top AI ethicists.  (Reuters)

    In this case for violating their code of conduct and security policies involving moving research data outside Google's corporate network.

    Ethicists are consistently some of the most unethical people on the planet, so it doesn't surprise me in the least that even as unethical a company as Google is having trouble with them.

  • The state of the NAND Flash ecosystem.  (AnandTech)

    TL;DR: 10Gbit/mm².  That's, um, quite a lot.  Consider that the Raspberry Pi Pico has 2MB of flash memory, which would measure 0.0016mm² if manufactured on a leading-edge process, and the entire chip would barely be visible to the naked eye, even if you knew exactly where it was.

  • Never had a chance to get a Voodoo 5 6000 back in the day?  Why not build your own?  (Hot Hardware)

    Well, because the drivers are notoriously buggy and it's terribly slow by modern standards, but still, someone did exactly that, and the homebrew model looks better than the real thing.

    He also made it a PCI card (not PCIe) instead of AGP, so it's just about possible to find a motherboard that will support it.

  • Brave was leaking DNS requests for pages fetched over Tor due to a regression in the built-in ad blocker. 

    That's kind of bad.

    They had a fix available within 24 hours of being notified.

    That's pretty damn good.

  • Oh, Calli is streaming.

    Oh, she's doing a Japanese-only challenge.  Being Calli, this means that any time she accidentally speaks English she has to take a drink.

    Speaking of which, I was watching the Kiara/Calli farewell karaoke earlier.  (Kiara is heading back to Australia wink now that travel restrictions have been relaxed.)

    I stopped the chat in Chrome and opened it in Edge instead so it wouldn't make the music freeze and skip as it often does.

    Edge used 5.5GB of RAM for that one tab.

Oh No Haachama Video of the Day

If YouTube bans her and she has to start over again, that will just give her the opportunity to join Hololive EN Gen 2.

Update: Wait, she's got both the short (Haachama) and long (Haato) twintails now?  She must buy virtual shampoo by the pallet.

Disclaimer: "What the fuck" is technically omnilingual.  Otherwise she'd be plastered already.

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Daily News Stuff 19 February 2021

Gremlin Farm Edition

Tech News

  • In an effort to preserve at least some RTX 3060 cards for gamers, Nvidia has deliberately skorked their drivers to cut Ethereum hash rates in half  (AnandTech)

    And launched a new range of mining-oriented cards.

    Which rely on the exact same supply-constrained chips as the gaming cards.  But are worse at mining.  A lot worse.

    No, I don't know what they think they're playing at either.

  • Need more screen real estate on your laptop?  Got $20,692 of somebody else's money to spend?  Expanscape got you covered.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The Aurora A5 and A7 have up to seven screens - four 4K 17" displays, two 9" 2K displays, and a 7" touchscreen.

    They run on a Ryzen 7 4800U.  The A5 comes with 64GB RAM, 2TB of NVMe SSD, and 2TB of SATA SSD.  The A7 boosts that to 128GB RAM and 8TB total SSD.

    These are currently prototypes, but if you want one badly enough they will custom build it to your specs and deliver it to you.  The traditional markets for these would be film editing in the field and energy and mineral exploration, but both those industries are kind of in the dumps at the moment.

  • Intel just Osborne Effected Rocket Lake.  (WCCFTech)

    Well, not deliberately perhaps, this is a leak.  But according to the leak, Alder Lake will be 20% faster than Rocket Lake and ship in December, giving Rocket Lake a mere nine month lifespan, since it won't even launch until next month.

    Alder Lake will use a new socket - LGA 1700 - and support DDR5.  If it launches on schedule and delivers as expected, it will give Intel a lead over AMD for the first time in four years, since Zen 4 isn't expected until early 2022.

  • Microsoft Office 2021 will be available for purchase later this year.  (Thurrott.com)

    Which seems like a good time for it.

    Also, yes, purchase, as in you plunk down your money and then you get to use it.  Office 365 will still be there if you prefer that.

  • WhatsApp has explained what data it shares with Facebook and why.  (ZDNet)

    The answers are, respectively, everything, and fuck you.

  • Photoshop can no longer draw lines.  (Photoshop)

    It's been broken for months.

    Which just tells me it's time to cancel my subscription entirely because it's that long since I've used it.

Ground Beef Video of the Day

I noticed this account first because she does some nice fanart of Hololive members.

Then I found that she does drawing streams on YouTube.

Then I found that she does gaming streams on YouTube.

Then I found that she does English-language Minecraft streams, which are in short supply right now - at least on the channels I follow.  HoloEN hasn't done any since Kiara's house building a week ago, Moona and Reine's big shopping mall collab seems to be mostly in Indonesian, and Reine's planned English-language solo stream today got turned into Journey to the Savage Planet at the last minute because the Holoserver wouldn't talk to her.  (I should check and see what Pikamee has been up to, she might have something for me.)

Vyolfers only has 1770 subscribers so far, which is less than 1% of the smallest Hololive member, but it means that chat is a small group of friends and not a huge chaotic mess.

Oh yes, ground beef.  If you watch it, you'll see why.  She has a unique method of herding cattle.

Update: Dammit, I checked on what Pikamee has been up to, and her latest video - just a few hours ago - is an announcement about Monoe getting fired for an unspecified breach of contract.  Since VOMS only had three members that's a pretty serious blow.

Laptop Repair Video of the Day

Not Louis Rossman repairing a MacBook with a dead capacitor, but something better: Dave Jones repairing a Tandy 102 from 1986 with a dead PCB track.

Watching him take it apart, for a moment it seemed surprisingly sophisticated for the time, with an array of ten surface-mount QFP packages visible on a daughter board.  Then I realised that it needed ten surface-mount QFP packages just to drive the 240x64 monochrome LCD display, which these days you'd just connect over I2C or something.

Disclaimer: Satay squirrel is off.

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Thursday, February 18


Daily News Stuff 18 February 2021

Arrivederci Edition

Tech News

  • Facebook has blocked all news into, out of, from, for, by, or about Australia.  (ABC)

    Including articles posted by the news organisations themselves, government weather reports, and emergency services.

    I'm not exaggerating.  Here's their own blog post.  

    If you're pretending to take a principled stand, try not to cut off emergency services during an emergency.

  • Google meanwhile has struck a deal with News Corp.  (Protocol)

    That's only one of the big Australian news organisations, and though it has global reach its market share within Australia is not particularly large.

  • The HP Spectre x360 14 is a flippy convertible laptop with a 3:2 touchscreen.  (Tom's Hardware)

    You can choose between a 1920x1280 LCD or 3000x2000 OLED display, up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD, and either a quad-core 11th generation Intel CPU or...  No, that's the only choice.

    It does have the Four Essential Keys though.

  • Citibank just blew half a billion dollars due to a bad UI.  (Ars Technica)

    In fairness, it's a really bad UI.

    In further fairness, the judge is an idiot, arguing in his decision that major banks wouldn't make huge and obvious blunders.

  • This interview with Bill Ottman, CEO of Minds, is worth a listen.  (Quillette)

    He seems to have his head on straight.  While I don't agree with everything they do, they are neither incompetent, nor crazy, nor openly antagonistic towards freedom of thought, where most of their competitors fall into at least two of those categories.

    Also, Quillette being an Australian commentary magazine, they got shut down by Facebook.  Not being incompetent or crazy themselves they have their own site, their own forums, their own podcast, but one third of their traffic was coming from Facebook.

  • As Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, and Twitter have shown very clearly, if you deal with American Big Tech you have to have a backup plan that doesn't involve American Big Tech, because they not only cannot be trusted to do the right thing, or to abide by their own contracts, they can't even be relied upon to obey the law.

Disclaimer: Facebook who?

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Wednesday, February 17


Daily News Stuff 17 February 2021

Better Late Than Never

Tech News

  • With Google Play Music shutting down I requested a backup of all my Google content.

    Two weeks ago.

    It was scheduled to run on the 5th.

    It just started.

  • Coco planned a stream to take her over the 1 million subscriber mark.  Due to scheduling differences, she started out at 999,948.  Which was good because the stream immediately got banned.

    When she got things working again, the next few minutes were spent measuring YouTube's cache timeout, which is somewhere between five and ten minutes, whereupon the count jumped straight to 1,001,032.


    It's been a busy week for YouTube, what with shadowbanning Hololive streams, banning Hololive streams, demonetising Hololive streams, and terminating Hololive accounts.  But hey, here's a gold-coloured play button to thank you for making us millions of dollars.

    Speaking of Google screwups, watching her second, half-hour long celebration stream in Chrome used over 2GB of RAM for that one tab.

  • The Lenovo Thinkstation P620 is the perfect computer for the demanding livestreaming drug-dealing shitposting million-subscriber yakuza dragon.  (AnandTech)

    Yes, it supports up to 64 cores and 512GB of RAM - they tested it with 1TB of LRDIMMs but it wouldn't boot - but it also measures just 36 dBA at 30cm with the default fan profile, so it actually is suitable for livestreaming.

    The base config is not even insanely expensive - currently $2099 with 12 cores, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an entry-level Nvidia Quadro video card.  The price includes a 1000W power supply and 10GbE built in.

  • Pine64 has a next generation version of their Quartz64 board out.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's more-or-less a Raspberry Pi 4 competitor, but has some extra features like SATA and a PCIe x4 slot.

  • Samsung's new HBM2 chips run at 1.2TFLOPs.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Yes, they're memory chips.  Yes, they have 1.2TFLOPs of compute built in.

  • I hope they're not being made in Texas.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The Austin area fabs belonging to Samsung, NXP, and Infineon have been told by their electricity supplier to temporarily shut down because the entire state is frozen solid.

  • Adata has changed the flash used on their XPG SX8200 Pro again.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Without mentioning the change or updating the model number.  This is the third time they've done that - to just this one model of SSD.

  • Amazon's attempt to avoid getting sued by the New York AG over working conditions does not seem to be going according to plan.  (WHEC News)

    I say this only because they have in fact been sued by the New York AG over working conditions.

  • Parler came back online for a while, with existing accounts but not all the posts.

    Ars Technica wrote the usual bit of techno-fascism, going upstream from them looking for someone they could potentially bully.

    The site is still up, but now their DNS isn't resolving so you can't get to it.

  • Reading up on the Raspberry Pi Pico, the magic beans are the two I/O controllers, which are sophisticated state machines that automatically sequence cycle-accurate I/O operations without specific, dedicated hardware or heavy CPU load.  Each controller contains four state machines, so you have a lot of flexibility, and that's in addition to the dedicated serial ports (two each UART, SPI, and I2C), USB, and PWM.

    This Hackaday article has some more details.

    This is how the VGA output works.  It doesn't have a built-in video controller, but the I/O controller is fast enough and flexible enough to handle that for you.

    That will certainly endear it to retrocomputer hobbyists, because while classic chips like the Z80, 6502, and 6809 are readily available, suitable video chips are hard to come by.  I wonder if someone will make a version that fits into a standard 40-pin DIP socket.

    The Pi Pico is powered by the RP2040 microcontroller.  I don't know if the chip is available to hobbyists yet, but it could be popular; it's a QFN56 package and should be relatively easy to work with.

    There are a veritable swarm of third-party board on the way already though.  (Raspberry Pi)

    Two such chips, two SPI flash chips, a power supply, and a handful of transistors resistors and you'd have a really nice retrocomputer.  And you can start right away with a regular Pi Pico.

Definitely Not Tech News

The only person to be deliberately killed during the January 6 protests was Ashli Babbitt.  (Glenn Greenwald)

It was understandable to initially attribute Officer Sicknick's death to the violent protest, but not only is there no hard evidence connecting the two - he died of a stroke, not of injuries - the news reports that he was struck with a fire extinguisher and rushed to hospital were quite simply a fabrication.

And that's not the only falsehood in wide circulation.  Read the whole story.  It's important.

YouTube Explains Itself Video of the Day

Disclaimer: We don't care.  We don't have to.

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