Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you but... honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it's just an ordinary crack, but I know its not cause at night there's voices so... please please can you send someone to fix it? Or a policeman, or...
Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.

Sunday, March 21

Geek

Daily News Stuff 21 March 2021

I Will Not Buy This Record Edition

Tech News



Not Exactly Tech News

  • Kiara didn't have an outro animation.  She described what she had in mind, and a fan immediately made it for her.  It meets her specifications perfectly.


Score One for the Good Guys Video of the Day

The good guys being anyone but the New York Times.

Defamation lawsuits are notoriously and appropriately difficult in America, so just getting past a motion to dismiss is a win.


Disclaimer: You will all go to your respective Valhallas.  Go directly, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 20 March 2021

Side Quest Side Quest Edition

Tech News

  • Police warn students to avoid science website.  (BBC)

    There are some things man is not meant to know.  And by things we mean science, and by man we mean you.
    "Students should be aware that accessing such websites is illegal, as it hosts stolen intellectual property," said Det Insp Kevin Ives.
    Lern science, go to jail.  Great message there, Kev.


  • PCI Express 6.0 is ready to go.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The spec isn't officially finalised yet, but there is a final draft, and now hardware designs are ready for implementation.


  • AMD and Intel are updating interrupt handling for x86.  (ZDNet)

    And they have completely different proposals on how to do it.

    Linus Torvalds has words:
    Honestly, it doesn't look too bad.
    Oh.

    AMD is doing a minimal change that fixes the key bugs that plague operating system designers, while Intel is doing a complete rethink that will provide a better long-term solution.  And, in fact, the two solutions are compatible if the companies can agree to cross-licensing.

    This is why we can have nice things.


  • Victoria University in Wellington deleted all the files on every PC on their network.  (Newshub)

    Someone had a bad day after that.  More than one someone, probably.


  • Bullshit water turns out to be harmful as well as expensive and useless.  (Ars Technica)

    Five children have suffered liver failure after drinking alkaline water; fortunately all have recovered.

    The company marketing this crap has been sued.

    Good.


A Shark in Time Video of the Day




Disclaimer: Should have stolen his nose.

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Friday, March 19

Geek

Daily News Stuff 19 March 2021

Who Will Limit The Limiters Edition

Tech News

  • AMD will not be implementing driver or firmware changes to limit GPU mining.  (WCCFTech)

    Because they did it in hardware.

    Not specifically, but the RDNA 2 design with less memory bandwidth and a large cache (96MB or 128MB) is markedly slower for mining tasks than Nvidia cards in the same price bracket.

    Oh, and the 6700XT is almost out of stock already in Australia.


  • AWS has added Lambda to S3.  (ZDNet_

    They call it Object Lambda, and you can wire it up so that when you read a fil via the standard S3 API, it actually runs through a linked function first and returns the output of that function.  Useful, for example, for transforming JSON data automatically without having to manager your own database and application server.


  • 19 different antivirus companies class uTorrent as malware.  (TorrentFreak)

    Hmm.  I switched to Deluge quite some time ago, so I'm not sure what uTorrent may or may not have been up to. 


  • The bans will continue until morale improves.  (TorrentFreak)

    Russia is still threatening to block Twitter.  Since obviously people will just use VPNs to access it, they are also threatening to block VPNs, and ultimately, all content from outside Russia, some of which content even now is not entirely without value.


Disclaimer: One cannot leapfrog that which has already been frogloped.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 18 March 2021

Stop Turtle Time Edition

Tech News

  • Radeon 6700 XT is here and how it does depends on which review you read.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Or perhaps more significantly, on which game you are interested in.  Performance ranges from slightly behind the 3060 Ti on certain titles to faster than the 3080 on others.

    I suspect this is because AMD reduced memory bandwidth and compensated with a very large (96MB) on-chip cache, and some games are happier about that than others.  Driver updates will likely improve things going forward, but for now it's worth checking for benchmarks for your favourite games, because that makes the difference between whether this is a good card for you, or a great one.

    Of course you have to be able to get it first.


  • HP spilled the beans on Intel's upcoming Ice Lake server parts.  (Tom's Hardware)

    They will go up to 40 cores.  This makes perfect sense, because of the way cores are arranged in Intel's server parts.  They use an X x X+1 grid - 3x4, 4x5, 5x6 - with two of the grid locations reserved for I/O rather than cores.

    So 3x4 gives 10 cores, 4x5 gives 18 cores, and 5x6 gives 28 cores - the current top of the line.  Next stop is 6x9, which equals 42.


  • AMD's upcoming Van Gogh APU has 256-bit DDR5 support unless it doesn't.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The information comes from a Linux kernel boot log, which includes these details:
    [ 99.984978] [drm] Detected VRAM RAM=1024M, BAR=1024M
    [ 99.984981] [drm] RAM width 256bits DDR5
    [ 99.985223] [drm] amdgpu: 1024M of VRAM memory ready
    [ 99.985233] [drm] amdgpu: 3072M of GTT memory ready.
    It's possible, the article notes, that this is just the Linux kernel misidentifying four channel DDR5 as 4x64 bits rather than 4x32 bits - DDR5 has 32-bit channels.

    But given that this is expected to be a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 part, it's also possible that AMD really is shipping a high-end IGPU with support for 256 bits of DDR5, because they already are.  That's exactly what's found in the current Xbox and Playstation lineups.

    Well, almost exactly; they use GDDR6 and the Xbox has a 320-bit bus, but they are both Zen 2 + RDNA 2 designs.  Simply remove the custom logic designed for either partner and ship a die built with only AMD's standard bits and you'll have the fastest PC APU ever made and it won't even be close.


  • Is building SMB directly into the Linux kernel entirely a good idea?  (Phoronix)

    I seem to recall there having been problems with this before.


  • YouTube does not, in fact, have your back.  (TorrentFreak)

    Though I can see that getting warned of garbage copyright strikes before a video goes live is better than having your entire channel deleted without warning afterwards.


  • What the hell is that squiggle-looking thing?  (Shapecatcher)

    Shapecatcher is Shazam for Unicode.  Draw a squiggle and it will find the closest matches.  Currently it doesn't handle kanji, but does do a lot of the really weird and rare glyphs.

    Let's see...  Alchemical symbol for urine?  Well, sure, I guess.



Ender Genocide Video of the Day


Choco has a brand new opening too, in honour of her endless wars to end the Ender menace.  She was a bit late starting so the opening loops a few times; skip ahead to the five minute mark once you seen enough of it.

It's worth staying for a couple of minutes from that point and watching her trip back from the Ender Farm to HoloTown.  I didn't know you could do that in Minecraft.  Oh, and check out her level when she starts.  And her inventory.  Not only has she been busy, she hasn't died in a very long time.


Disclaimer: May induce vertigo or motion sickness.  Really.  Took me a moment to figure out what the hell was going on with the perspective.

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Wednesday, March 17

Geek

Daily News Stuff 17 March 2021

I Do Not Like It Sam I Am Edition

Tech News

  • Programming on Ethereum is like trying to write COBOL on an IBM 701 with only two tape drives.

    Your maximum compiled code size is just 24k, and breaking your code into multiple contracts can actually increase the size rather than reducing it.  Procedures can have a total of 16 variables, including parameters and explicit and implicit variables.  Apart from the code size limit, there's also a gas limit on deploying contracts that can bite you even if you're technically under the code size limit.

    And every time you need to push an update to production - if you can even do that, because by default contracts cannot ever be changed - it costs you a thousand bucks.


  • Asus has shown off a new Thunderbolt 4 expansion card that can drop right in to any motherboard with an open PCIe x4 slot.  (AnandTech)

    If the motherboard comes with a matching Thunderbolt header because fuck you that's why.


  • Intel's 11th generation Rocket Lake parts are here, much to nobody's surprise.  (Tom's Hardware)

    They note that the eight-core Rocket Lake die measures 276mm2 (slightly smaller than the previous estimate) while the ten-core Comet Lake measured just 206mm2.

    Yes, they do seem to be available, but so are the six and eight core Ryzens now.  The high-end Ryzens are still hard to find, but Intel has no competitor there.


  • Let's gray out menu items just because.  (All This)

    Apple is also bad at user interface design.  Good at making things look pretty.  Bad at making them useful.


Zombie Electroswing Rap Opening Theme Video of the Day



Multiple impromptu collabs on the HoloJP Minecraft server last night, none of which I could actually watch because (a) it was after midnight and I had an early start and (b) YouTube was such a wreck that it was stuttering even at 144p.

Anyway, Ollie's cool opening theme now has lyrics.  Also, this stream is shadowbanned, apparently because YouTube hates zombies with 180dB screams.


Disclaimer: There's a warning in the opening credits for a reason, guys.

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Tuesday, March 16

Geek

Daily News Stuff 16 March 2021

Buck Flockchain Edition

Tech News

  • Legislation proposed in India is seeking to ban cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets while promoting use of the blockchain.  (Reuters)

    The bill, one of the world’s strictest policies against cryptocurrencies, would criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading and transferring crypto-assets, said the official, who has direct knowledge of the plan.Given all the fun I've had programming contracts for Ethereum, I certainly sympathise, but I don't think they've quite thought this through.

    I think a more appropriate remedy would be to hit the planet with a relativistic neutron star, or perhaps summon Cthulhu and have him file a suit over theft of trade secrets.


  • Why the new USPS truck looks dumb.  (The Drive)

    In short: The requirements were sufficiently restrictive that there was no other solution.  

    Really, I'm slightly surprised that there was a solution available.


  • Oops.

    What this doesn't say is that all other Azure services were up, but you couldn't log in to any of them for up to five hours depending on your location.

    That's not easy to prevent.  If you have a unified global platform, you have a unified global authentication service, and that's a single point of failure.

    If you have multiple authentication services that somehow need to interact, it becomes exponentially less secure.


  • Is the Epyc 7453 a hidden gem, or just a torpedo aimed at Intel?  (Serve the Home)

    The article doesn't actually answer that question, by the way, or even ask it.  I just noticed this while going through the table of Milan SKUs.

    The 7453 is a 28-core part.  AMD couldn't actually make that before, not without unbalancing the CCXes, which would make life hard for operating system schedulers.  With Zen 3 it's easy - four chiplets with seven active cores.

    Compared to the 24-core 7443, it has slightly slower base clocks - 2.75 vs 2.85GHz - four more cores, and costs $440 less at $1570.  It does also have lower boost clocks - 3.45 vs 4.0Ghz - and only 64MB of L3 cache, which is half what is physically found on four chiplets.

    It can't be a coincidence that Intel's closest fastest readily available Xeons also have 28 cores, and have much less cache than Epyc.  The Xeon 6258R has 28 cores, a base clock of 2.7GHz,  37.5MB of cache, and costs $3950, though it does offer a turbo speed of 4GHz.

    This lets AMD point out that two of its 28-core parts cost less than one from Intel.

    It's not the only odd duck in the lineup, either; the 16 core 73F3 (the F series all clock up to 4.0GHz) costs more than the 24 core 74F3.  Speculation is that there's some specific package that increases license costs sharply if you have more than 16 cores per socket, and AMD was delivering the fastest possible part to fit in that constraint, with a price to match.  It has a full eight chiplets populated, each with just two cores active.

    The benchmarks compare AMD against Intel and also against the Ampere Altra, an 80 core Arm-based server processor.  The new Epyc parts win across the board - little surprise - but the Arm chips do surprisingly well.


Gremlin Shark Video of the Day



Disclaimer: It says here your wallet address is 0xFUCKTHISSHIT.  While I appreciate the sentiment, I don't believe that's a valid hexadecimal number.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 15 March 2021

Distributed IBM 701 Edition

Tech News

  • Epyc Milan is here.  (AnandTech)

    In a nutshell, at the largest core counts it's 17% faster than Rome, which is a very good generational improvement but not quite the groundbreaking stuff we've seen from AMD recently.

    From the impressive benchmarks of the smaller 32-core variants, it seems clear that at 64 cores it's running into thermal limits even with a 280W TDP.  The article discusses the reasons why, indicating that it's more the I/O die and all the communications links than the CPU dies themselves.

    A huge single die would drastically reduce that power draw - but would be too large to manufacture economically.  I'd say too large to manufacture but we've seen a recent return of wafer-scale integration so nothing is entirely of the table.

    The 24-core 4GHz model looks like it might be a good replacement for the Threadrippers at my day job at some point.


  • Nvidia's RTX 3060 comes with firmware and drivers designed to reduce its efficiency at mining cryptocurrencies so that video cards might remain available for video.  Nvidia claimed that the combination of firmware locks and custom drivers would not be hackable.  It has been hacked.  (Tom's Hardware)

    By Nvidia.

    Oops.


  • WeLeakInfo did just that.  (Krebs on Security)

    Oops.


  • GitLab cloud was having problems - now apparently resolved.  (GitLab)

    At my day job we run our own GitLab instance so this didn't affect us.

    What did affect us was a bug in the switch firmware for the storage in the cloud server pod at our hosting provider, which killed it dead as a doornail.  I was able to migrate it to a different pod and get it working again once I found the notification, which did not get forwarded to me even though they were helpful enough to inform me of upcoming maintenance windows in France.


  • The new LG Gram 17 doesn't exactly not have the Four Essential Keys.  (ZDNet)

    It has PgUp and PgDn which double as Home and End, and a numeric keypad which doubles as a cursor key pad.  I don't like numeric keypads on laptops, because it moves the main typing area off-centre, but on a 17" model that might not be such an issue.

    Screen is a 2560x1600 IPS panel covering 99% of DCI-P3, which is very good.  CPU is a quad-core 11th gen Intel part, with 8GB or 16GB RAM and up to 1TB of SSD.

    The standout feature though is its weight - just 1.35kg.


  • First Rule of Memphis Club is don't tweet about Memphis.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Twitter tech support, my account has just been banned.
    Wrote a tweet about a city, didn't go quite how I'd planned.


Disclaimer: Second Rule of Memphis Club is fuck Twitter anyway.

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Sunday, March 14

Geek

Daily News Stuff 14 March 2021

Universal Themes Edition

Tech News



You Can't Step Into the Same Ocean Twice Video of the Day


Mostly because if you try you will die of embarrassment.


Disclaimer: A.

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Saturday, March 13

Geek

Daily News Stuff 13 March 2021

Keep It Stupid Edition

Tech News

  • Rocket Lake weighs in at 290mm2.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That's twice the size of AMD's 8-core APUs, and 40% larger than the 10-core Comet Lake.  It's larger than any recent consumer desktop CPU.


  • Stronghold Warlords is a game that exists.  (WCCFTech)

    More to the point, WCCFTech is doing game reviews.  Makes sense, since mainstream game journalism has dug itself into a hole and set the hole on fire.


  • Lordstown Motors seems dodgy as hell.  (WCCFTech again)

    WCCFTech is also doing business and automotive news because, well, see above.


  • SQLite 3.35 can do maths and drop columns.  (GitHub)

    Not being able to drop columns was kind of annoying.  You had to create a new table without that column and copy all the data into it.  It sounds like that's what the DROP COLUMN statement does behind the scenes, but at least it's a single command.


  • It's becoming increasingly clear there are no adults in charge at Google.  (Thurrott.com)

    This reminds me that back when I listened to podcasts all the time rather than Hololive - so, September - I enjoyed Windows Weekly far more than This Week in Google even though I was more interested in what Google was up to than Microsoft, because the people reporting on Microsoft - including Paul Thurrott who wrote the above piece - were functioning adults while those reporting on Google were mostly nuts.

    And not the interesting kind.


  • Speaking of uninteresting kinds of nut, the world's best peanuts turned out to be just a seasonal thing.  I'll keep sampling them and then buy two dozen bags when they get the really good ones back in stock.  Currently they're pretty meh.


  • How the Antikythera Mechanism probably worked.  (Nature)

    They figured it out by the straightforward approach of building one themselves.


  • SBG2 burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp.  (Bleeping Computer)

    SBG2 is - was - one of OVH's four buildings in Strasbourg, containing many thousands of servers.  Now it's gone, and the fire took the other four buildings offline temporarily as well.

    Signs suggest that the fire started in a UPS unit that had been recently services.  This is rare but not unknown; a few years back a US hosting company (I think I remember which one but won't name names in case I'm wrong) had a UPS explode and take out the wall next to it and the racks immediately adjacent.  But I can't recall the last incident on this scale.

    If your server was in that building and you didn't have backups somewhere else, it's gone for good.  That's why I back up from the US to Australia; any disaster big enough to take out both the server and the backup is not going to leave me time to worry about blogging.


Essential Don't Starve Together Mods Video of the Day



For their halfiversary stream, the five HoloEN Gen 1 girls played Don't Starve Together, which is not my favourite title, but a couple of fans modded them into the game which made all the difference.

Not only do the game characters look just like them but accurately mapped to the Don't Starve art style - that's them in the thumbnail above - they also have all their abilities.  Gura has her trident, Ina has her tentacles, Kiara can revive after death in a burst of flames, Calli has her Soul Scythe, and Amelia has Bubba as a pet, can travel in time, and drops salt crystals when she dies.

Which happened when Kiara tried out her phoenix revival ability and Amelia was standing too close.

Even their ghosts look like them.  Very well done.

Gura quote, eight minutes in: Chaos has ensued, everyone.


Disclaimer: A host is a host and coast to coast, nobody talks to a host that's close, unless the host that isn't close is busy, hung, or dead.

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Friday, March 12

Geek

Daily News Stuff 12 March 2021

Oops Edition

Tech News

  • On the other hand, MongoDB clustering works.

    One of the members in our secondary (5TB compressed) MongoDB cluster had problems.  Fixed the server, copied the latest snapshot from another cluster member onto it, started it up, and it simply said "oh, I have five hours of stuff to re-sync" and did so.  Pretty quickly too.  But then it's a Threadripper with a RAID-0 array of PCIe SSDs; it does most things quickly


  • The new Razer Blade 15 doesn't have the Four Essential Keys.  (AnandTech)

    It does have 10th-generation Intel CPU, so it's got that going for it, which is bad.


  • On the other hand, their new Tomahawk ITX case is overpriced kind of sucks.  (Tom's Hardware)

    But it looks nice, and looking nice is half the battle.


  • Intel's latest lakemap has leaked.  (Videocardz)

    It confirms PCIe 5.0 on Alder Lake and "up to 48 platform PCIe lanes" most of which won't be PCIe 5.0 and will be shared pins on the chipset that also do SATA or USB.  But with even four lanes of PCIe 5.0 from the CPU to the chipset you can run multiple NVMe drives or a graphics card at full speed from the chipset lanes.

    If Intel is moving to PCIe 5.0 on the desktop already, we might see it from AMD as well next year.  Also means the lifespan of PCIe 4.0 from Intel is only about six months.


  • Inside a 4S 2U Cooper Lake server.  (Serve the Home)

    A whichwhat?
    Originally we were supposed to get Cooper Lake in this 4-socket scale-out configuration as well as dual-socket Whitley as an advance processor before the 10nm Ice Lake.  About a quarter before launch, we found that Intel Cooper Lake was rationalized and the Whitley version was canceled, leaving the scale-up Cedar Island version as the only launch product.  Both Cedar Island and Whitley were to share LGA4189, with keying differences denoting whether we had Socket P4 or P5.  We covered this in our Installing a 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable LGA4189 CPU and Cooler piece where we used this Gigabyte R292-4S1 system to showcase the new socket and cooler design.
    Thanks, much clearer now.


Floor Raisins With Reine Video of the Day


She's the Haachama of dried fruit.

Actual Haachama is taking a break after Cover asked her to stop her recent series of videos, fearing she was crossing one of YouTube's innumerable lines.


Disclaimer: Not sure what the Haachama of dried fruit is, but she's it.

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