Saturday, August 21


Daily Tech News 21 August 2021

Look Before You Oh Never Mind Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Collaborative filtering doesn't work for...  Chatroulette?  (Chatroulette)

    Not surprised given the nature of the service, but the article actually goes to some lengths to examine why, which makes it worthwhile even if I personally have no use whatsoever for Chatroulette itself.

  • After Royal Core, Intel's Lunar Lake could bring 30% IPC improvement over Meteor Lake using Lion Cove cores.  (WCCFTech)

    What does any of that mean?  Well, future Intel processors will be faster than current ones.  The article is talking about Intel's 15th, 16th, and 17th generation parts, where current chips are 11th generation.  So we're looking at 2025 and 2026 before these chips finally arrive.

    It also mentions 40 core desktop parts - but that's still 8 large cores and 32 small ones.  AMD will give you 16 large cores today.  Just plunk down your money.

  • On the other hand AMD's initial socket AM5 parts will have DDR5 support but no PCIe 5.0.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Intel's support for PCIe 5.0 seems useless at this point - it only applies to the video card, and not only do video cards not need PCIe 5.0, they don't support PCIe 5.0.

    When they do appear, at least you'll be able to run two cards because a x8 PCIe 5.0 slot is as fast as a x16 4.0 slot.  But Nvidia no longer supports SLI so that's basically pointless too.

    AMD's Raphael - the initial AM5 part - has 28 PCIe 4.0 lanes, up from 24 on current AM4 parts.  It looks like the additional 4 lanes are intended to provide two USB 4 sockets, which in addition to 40Gbps USB, support DisplayPort 2.0 video and PCIe connections.  The chip can also provide two HDMI ports for a total of four displays.

    Like Intel, AMD really needs to get just a few lanes of PCIe 5.0 for the chipset connection.  At the moment their high end chipsets (Threadripper) use 8 lanes of PCIe 4.0 to get the needed bandwidth.

  • Hackers stole $90 million from the "most secure" crypto exchange.  (Tom's Hardware)


  • Tesla's D1 AI chip can deliver 362 teraFLOPs - albeit at FP16, so useful for AI but not for scientific work generally.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is intended for use in servers that analyse data and train less powerful systems in autonomous vehicles.

  • Asus have updated their PN50 Ryzen-based NUCs.  The PN50-E1 adds 2.5Gb Ethernet, which is welcome, and yanks the 3.5mm audio jack, which is not.

Disclaimer: Why do they all have boinkie doinkies?  It's not fair!

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Planning My Weekend

At least I'll have company while I work on the new server.

That's a whole lot of Minecraft.

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Friday, August 20


Daily News Stuff 20 August 2021

Stripes Vs Plaids Edition

Top Story

  • Intel spoke about their Alder Lake 12th generation desktop parts.  (AnandTech)

    It supports DDR5 RAM up to 4800MHz, which we've seen is not much faster than DDR4 at 3200MHz (except when it is), an 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and 4 lanes of PCIe 4.0.  Plus from the chipset up to 12 lanes of PCIe 4.0 and 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0.

    Which means they've done something really dumb.  The one place that needs more bandwidth, and that Intel has total control over, is the interface between the CPU and the chipset.  Make that 4 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and you can actually use all those downstream lanes.

    But that's exactly what they didn't.

    Oh, and it has 8 fast cores and 8 slow cores, which is basically useless on a desktop.

    But they are also promising a 19% improvement on IPC, which if real is definitely not useless.

Tech News

Disclaimer: And you get a Reichstag Fire, and you get a Reichstag fire!  Everyone gets a Reichstag Fire!

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Thursday, August 19


Daily News Stuff 19 August 2021

Oops I Hashed It Again Edition

Top Story

  • Researchers have taken a closer look at Apple's Neural Hash - the one they'll use to throw you in jail for child porn - and have already generated a hash collision.  (GitHub)

    A hash collision is where two totally different sets of data produce identical results when run through a particular algorithm.

    This is the 1-in-a-trillion chance Apple was talking about.

    Apple now says this is not the real algorithm, which totally doesn't have this problem, and that they'll also use a second algorithm to double-check before throwing you to the wolves.  You wouldn't know the second algorithm, it lives in Canada.

  • Looks like no product launches at work this weekend, so I'm going to stay in bed doing server updates and watching anime girls play Minecraft.

    On Saturday Prism Project is doing a Minecraft collab with all 9 members, and Hololive is doing a relay stream to celebrate linking the EN and JP servers.  HoloID is getting their own server as well, but they'll probably go the same route as EN and not link it until they reach the End on their own.

    Plus there's the whole EN Gen 2 debut on Sunday.  YouTube doesn't seem to be doing them any favours; they all lost at least 30,000 subscribers today.  I'm sure that will get rectified, but along with getting their accounts locked by Twitter is a rocky start.

    Where HoloMyth consists of an ancient Atlantean, the priestess of a mysterious cult, a phoenix, Death's apprentice, and a British chick, the new generation consists of the incarnations of Space, Time, Nature, and Civilisation, and a rat.

Tech News

  • Do you people want consent decrees?  Because this is how you get consent decrees.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Microsoft is fucking around in Windows making it harder to change your default browser.  In fact, there no longer even is a default browser; there's a different selection of each file type and protocol, and you have to change them all individually.

  • Intel's next-next-gen Raptor Lake desktop CPUs will have up to 24 cores.  (WCCFTech)

    8 real ones and 16 low-power and low-performance cores.

    I don't know why, but it's plausible they can't currently add more high-performance cores and stay within their power budget.  The last two generations of Intel desktop parts have been notoriously power-hungry and it doesn't sound like the new chips will improve on that.

    Their laptop parts aren't such a problem.

  • The US Census Bureau got hacked-ish in January of last year.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Only ish, because an investigation has showed that the hackers were able to exploit a bug in Citrix to gain access, but the system is such a bureaucratic nightmare to use that they gave up at that point and went away.

  • 48.6 million current and former T-Mobile users are going to have a bad day.  (Bleeping Computer)

    No phone numbers, passwords, or financial data.  Just your full name, date of birth, SSN, and driver's license.

    So that's alright then.

  • TSMC is now the most valuable company in Asia.  (CNBC)

    With China hell-bent on destroying its own economy and demand for chips at record highs, TSMC's market cap has remained solid while Tencent and Alibaba  have gone into sharp decline.

    TSMC is unusual in this field in that they make stuff themselves, and they are very, very good at it.

Disclaimer: Blrrrrrrp.

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Wednesday, August 18


Daily News Stuff 18 August 2021

Splat Goes The Weasel Edition

Top Story

  • Well, that's one way to handle things. PolyNetwork - the crypto site that got hacked recently and lost $600 million - has its money back and has offered the hacker half a mil and a job as Chief Security Advisor.

  • Meanwhile down south Reichskaren Ardern of New Zealand just locked down the entire country over one case of Bat Flu.

    And Tasmania in turn has declared New Zealand to be a high-risk zone.

    No matter how bad your political leadership may be, there's worse nearby.

Tech News

  • Memory prices are starting to come back down.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Still well above the all-time low of A$3 per GB, but at that price half the world's DRAM manufacturers went out of business.

    Good news for me because I'm looking to buy 128GB pretty soon.

  • Package specs for AMD's Zen 4 server CPUs have leaked.  (WCCFTech)

    Max instantaneous power draw on the new server parts is 700W, up from 450W.  That lines up with the leaked increase of maximum continuous power from 280W to 400W, and that lines up with the increase from 64 to 96 cores.

    The I/O die by itself can use up to 126W, but it's driving 12 Infinity Fabric links, 12 channels of DDR5 (actually 24, but let's not go into that), and 128 lanes of PCIe 5.0 so that's not really a surprise.  A lot of it seems to go to the Infinity Fabric links, since the smaller parts have all the PCIe and memory channels active but fewer links, and have much lower I/O die power.

  • Zen 3 Threadripper and Threadripper Pro parts are expected to arrive soon.  (WCCFTech)

    I considered getting a low-end Threadripper system for my new PC, but I think I'll be better off with two Ryzen systems - running Windows and Linux respectively.

  • Scientists at LLNL triggered a fusion reaction that released 10% as much energy as all the sunlight hitting the Earth.  (NYT)

    More than enough to power human civilisation.

    For 0.1 nanoseconds, anyway, which is how long it lasted.

  • A critical security flaw affects 83 million IoT devices.  (Bleeping Computer)

    The flaw is called IoT.

Disclaimer: Get out!  Get out now!  The security flaws are coming from inside the house!

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Tuesday, August 17


Daily News Stuff 17 August 2021

Chowderheads To The Left Of Me Mostly Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Holobits Video of the Day

In a totally unexpected turn of events, Cover Corp has announced Hololive English don't-call-it-gen-2.

Two of them have already had their accounts locked by Twitter.  It's something of a tradition.

Right now they all have between 60 and 70,000 subscribers - a few hours after launch and before their major markets have woken up.

Debut streams are this weekend - Sunday JST, exact times TBA.

I talk a lot about Hololive (and other vtubers), but honestly, when the alternative is Hollywood and the dying shreds of the publishing industry, one takes refuge where one can find it.

It started out with Korone - her English wasn't great but she's so much fun that it didn't matter - and then Coco and Haachama.  Then HoloEN launched, and I found out about VOMS and particularly Pikamee, then I realised that HoloID streams in English a lot of the time, and then they doubled their numbers.

Then it was Vyolfers and her little crew, and Pomu and the gang at Nijisanji EN, and then Pina & Co. at PRISM Project.  And now back to HoloEN, increasing their group from 5 to 11 in the space of a month.

I'm hoping the market will support them all.  HoloEN is guaranteed success and Nijisanji EN seems to be doing well enough for them to go full-time.  I hope PRISM can stay the course too; they're putting together quite a pool of talent.

Disclaimer: Guh.

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Monday, August 16


Daily News Stuff 16 August 2021

Bad News Is Good News Edition

Top Story

  • Everyone from Apple to Andrew Cuomo is now wishing they had just waited a week.

  • Microsoft wants to be the Blockchain Stasi of Anti-Piracy.  (TorrentFreak)

    The plan is to bribe people with cryptocurrencies to report software pirates, which means, because the blockchain is public data, that there is not even the pretense of anonymity for the informants.

Tech News

  • Russian ransomware gangs are working with Russian intelligence services.  (CBS News)

    No shit, Sherlock.

  • Huawei is pressuring smaller companies to install backdoors in software so that Huawei can then spy on the users.  (Mint)

    See above.

  • A hacker may or may not have breached T-Mobile's database and stolen personal details of 100 million customers.  (Bleeping Computer)

    They're offering 30 million social security numbers, drivers licenses, and other personal details for 6 Bitcoin.

  • Don't buy third-tier SSDs, I said.  Stick to the manufacturers who own their own fabs and design their own controllers, like...  I guess Samsung?  But previously also Toshiba and Intel and Micron/Crucial.

    But definitely not the Crucial P2.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This was originally a budget TLC drive.  Now it's a budget QLC drive.  Same model number, same DRAMless controller, but cheap QLC flash.

    DRAMless TLC drives have their place - for the typical desktop user, they work just fine.  QLC drives have their place - if you want a large cheap SSD for stuff that you want to load fast but don't update all that often.

    DRAMless QLC drives are an abomination before God.  Performance is terrible - as little as a quarter the speed of a similar TLC model - and lifespan is drastically reduced.

  • This incident report.  (Facebook)

    An SUV collided with a bus.  The bus collided with a power pole, which fell on the bus and took power out.

    The fire station is right next door, but the doors are electrically operated.  When they crank them open manually, there are live electrical cables blocking access.  The rear exit is blocked by an electrically operated gate.

    Meanwhile the SUV is on fire but the passengers on the bus are trapped by the downed power cables.

    Then things get complicated.

  • Nestflix and chill.  (Nestflix)

    This is your one-stop streaming service for movies and TV shows that...  Don't actually exist.

    Although...  I swear I've seen some of them.

Disclaimer: Dammit Ame, you've broken the timeline again!

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Sunday, August 15


Daily News Stuff 15 August 2021

This Might Actually Work Edition

Top Story

  • I was wondering if I really need 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD for my new desktop replacement notebook.  So I ran some tests on an older notebook with 16GB.

    Now I'm wondering if 64GB will be enough.  Probably.

    Also the Dell model I want went on sale Friday and is already out of stock, and  now probably won't ship until mid-September.  Great.

  • On the upside it looks like I've figured out how to safely migrate mee.nu - at a binary level - from the old 32-bit CentOS VM to shiny new 64-bit Ubuntu 20.04.  Full migration will come later when we're on stable (and much faster) hardware.

    We used to use OpenVZ but it's basically dead now, so I can't just copy the container across this time.  But with some compatibility libraries I can migrate the exact Python setup intact.  The databases were moved to MySQL 5.7 last year, so that part is reasonably current.

  • Apple will keep clarifying this CSAM mess until morale improves.  (Gizmodo)

    That's not my headline.  That's the literal headline on the article.  Apple screwed this one up good.

Tech News

  • If you were hoping the Radeon 6600 XT would reduce pressure on the video card market we've got bad news.  (VideoCardz)

    Although the 6600 XT is not particularly fast at mining Ethereum, it's very power-efficient - it mines about 30% more coins per watt than any other current card.

    On the other hand, if the miners buy all of those, they might leave some of the other cards which are better for gaming but worse for mining.

  • 1Password is abandoning its native Mac app for a clumsy cross-platform Electron replacement.  (Six Colors)

    The article blames the developer for deciding that the Mac wasn't an important enough platform to maintain a custom app.  But really, didn't Apple already decide that for us?  If they won't support their platform, why should we?

  • The Perl development community is disintegrating over code of conduct issues.  (Ars Technica)

    Codes of conduct are a cancer on open source development, a takeover by people who contribute nothing, and - you committed what into the source code?  Jesus Tapdancing Christ, dude, take some time off.  Like forever maybe.

Anime Trailer of the Day

Well, sort of anime.  It was two weeks ago that they dropped the first teaser, and this confirms exactly what we all thought - Hololive EN Gen 2 with a full five members is coming very soon - likely just before the Gen 1 anniversary.  It's also likely to be the only full generation debut this year, though I'd be happy to be wrong.

This is a much slower pace than last year, when they debuted Hololive ID Gen 1, CN Gen 2, JP Gen 5, EN Gen 1, and ID Gen 2.  (And the last couple of members of JP Gen 4 were early January.)

But with the launch of EN Gen 1 the company went from I think this might be working, keep putting more talents out there to holy crap, it's working, whatever you do, don't screw this up.  Out of dozens of members only three now have fewer than half a million subscribers.  The one that left a few weeks ago to pursue an indie career already has 800,000 subscribers of her own.

Let's Check In On Haachama Video of the Day

Haachama is the youngest member of Hololive and simultaneously one of the oldest, having joined in 2018 when she was still in high school.  About six months ago she discovered the classic Bruegel painting of the Tower of Babel - or one of them, since there are two - and decided she was going to build it in Minecraft.

And did.

You can't grasp the full scale of it from this clip, since she's flying around inside it and has the render distance turned up.  With the Minecraft default settings you can't see one wall from the other.

She completed her last year of high school here in Australia.  Trapped by the Bat Flu travel restrictions and with only a potato computer and two tin cans and a length of string for internet access, she had to get creative with her content.  And she certainly did that.

Oh, and that food?  She was looking after herself much of the time, so the weird stuff she created for her channel is what she ate.  Thankfully she was able to zip back home to Japan late last year when both countries were out of lockdown at the same time.

Disclaimer: I have a cunning plan...

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Saturday, August 14


Daily News Stuff 14 August 2021

Round Up The Usual Suspects Edition

Top Story

  • The usual suspects are distraught that the NSW government is refusing to implement an indefinite lockdown and plans to open up again as soon as vaccination numbers are up or case numbers are down.  (Australia waited for more safety data before rolling out vaccines so we're a few months behind the US.)

    I'm surprised that they've shown even that much sense, given their recent history, but I'll take it.

  • Apple "regrets" "confusion" over iPhone scanning.  (BBC)

    What they actually regret is being criticised for spying on children.

  • Apple is rolling out propaganda checklists to staff to "explain" to customers why the company is spying on children.  (Bloomberg)
    Some users have been concerned that they may be implicated for simply storing images of, say, their baby in a bathtub. But a parent’s personal images of their children are unlikely to be in a database of known child pornography, which Apple is cross-referencing as part of its system.
    That's not how it fucking works.  It doesn't take a hash of the file; that's too easy to cheat.  It uses perceptual hashes, the sort of thing that classifies a cat as an avocado.

  • It's so bad they've lost the Ars Technica commentariat.  (Ars Technica)

    That used to be a great site up until about five years ago; it was one of the first to get taken over by brain worms.  Today the comments are full of Apple-loving Biden voters, and yet, and yet, on this topic they are absolutely scathing.
    - I'll be OK with this if all governments super-pinky-swear they won't abuse the hash-repository for their own interests.

    - It’s a brave new world, my sentient brethren.

    - In related news, Apple noted that "ignorance is strength". Additionally, sources familiar with the matter opined "War is peace."

    - I guess you can technically claim this is an "advancement" on privacy, as long as you don't think too hard about what direction Apple is advancing.
    All of those have 90%+ upvotes too.

Tech News

  • Turns out the WD Black SN750 4TB model is real.  I'm going to put one in my next laptop - assuming I get the laptop and it works well.  With 64GB RAM and 4TB (maybe 5TB) of SSD I won't need to worry about a new desktop system for a long while.

    I will get the Linux lab set up, since I'll have memory and SSDs on hand to fill up three NUCs.  Plan is to name the desktop and the three Linux nodes Ina, Pina, Pika, and Pomu.

    Update: Ina (big laptop), Pina, Pika, and Pomu (NUCs), Gwem (small laptop), and Kson (desktop system).

  • A WHO expert had concerns about a lab close to the site where the first COVID cases appeared.  (AP News)

    Well, it now seems that the first COVID cases actually appeared at that lab, but the first reported cases were at a market 500 metres away.

    That actually understates things.

    The Wuhan Bat Virus Lab where they were studying bat coronaviruses is diagonally across an intersection from the Wuhan Live Bat Market where the bat coronavirus outbreak was first reported.

    Concerns my bat coronavirus ass.

  • Apple has released MacOS 11.5.2, a 2.5GB bug fix.  (ZDNet)

    What does it fix?

    Dunno.  Apple didn't say.  Microsoft might give you reams of incomprehensible tech jargon to wade through for each individual patch, but it's still better than "macOS 11.5.2 includes bug fixes for your Mac".

  • Gigabyte has released a statement on their exploding power supplies.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It reads, and I quote, Oops.

    A couple of models rebadged and sold by Gigabyte - they don't actually manufacture them - had the overload cutout set at 150% of rated peak load, which was much too high for some of the components.

    They still cut out, they just did so rather permanently.

  • A look at the QNAP TS-873A 8-bay NAS.  (Serve the Home)

    The unit has a Ryzen V1500B - a first-generation quad-core embedded part with a TDP of 16W.  It's a lot slower than current generation parts, but it's cheap, supports ECC RAM, and is rated for ambient temperatures up to 105C so it's not likely to die on the first warm day of spring.

    Apart from the 8 3.5" bays the unit ships with 8GB of RAM - upgradeable to 64GB, two 2.5Gb Ethernet ports, two PCIe slots, and two M.2 NVMe slots for caching.

    There's also a slightly cheaper 6-bay model - the TS-673A.

    Oh, and I completely forgot about this: The TS-H973AX-8G is a 9-bay model, with 5 3.5" and 4 2.5" hot-swap drive bays.  It has the same Ryzen CPU but includes a 10Gb Ethernet port as well as the two 2.5GbE.  It has no M.2 slots but two of the 2.5" bays support U.2 NVMe drives as well as the more common SATA.

    All three models support ZFS rather than BtrFS, which is more common in low-end NAS devices.  ZFS works by magic; it's hard to overstate how much better it is than classic filesystems like NTFS or Ext4.  Need to back something up?  One click, you have a backup.  Need to enable database compression?  Don't need to mess with the database settings, one click and it's compressed.  Need to de-duplicate 18 million images?  One click.

    ZFS does need a fast CPU and plenty of RAM to work well, and if you have a really huge array stuffed full of photos and want deduplication, you'll need more than the stock 8GB.    But we'd be talking about hundreds of thousands of raw camera files before that became a problem.

  • Facebook is rolling out end-to-end encryption for Messenger.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Facebook now has a stronger privacy story than Apple.  How the turn worms.

  • You can get a Threadripper surprisingly cheap now.  (Newegg)

    That's the first-generation 8-core model, though.  It's slower than the 6-core 5600G - a lot slower in single-threaded workloads, slightly slower in multi-threaded - but if you need a ton of PCIe slots and/or 256GB of RAM but not super-high CPU performance, motherboards for it are also available and not crazy expensive.

Disclaimer: Don't know, don't care, didn't vote.  (SLAM)

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Friday, August 13


Daily News Stuff 13 August 2021

First Law Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Never sign up a customer who works weekends in another timezone.

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