They are my oldest and deadliest enemy. You cannot trust them.
If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give a favourable reference to the Devil.

Monday, February 28


Daily News Stuff 28 February 2022

To Move Or Not To Move Edition

Top Story

  • The Quest for Pixy Manor continues apace.  I've found a 5 bedroom place on two acres - in the same country town I was looking at before - for around $300k less than they're asking for my current shoebox on a postage stamp.

    And it has gigabit internet, which is not something I can get here in suburban Sydney.

    It's not as nice inside as some of the other places I've looked at, but it has all the storage space I could ask for - an attached 3-car garage, plus a second detached 3-car garage.  And the land is already divided into two lots and for that $300k I could probably build something on the second lot and sell the original.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: It turns out that with modern technology, three removes are equal to one fire.

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Post contains 349 words, total size 3 kb.

Sunday, February 27


Daily News Stuff 27 February 2022

Gettin' Shit Done Edition

Top Story

  • This is the way.

    Amazon takes longer than that just to change a status page from green to yellow.

Questions and Answers

  • From sock_rat_eez:
    Pixy, can you recommend a cheap tablet that would be (relatively) easily rooted & switched to Linux ?
    10-inch-ish size preferred, performance expectations low, SD card slot
    I'm not really up on models can easily be rooted and what versions of Linux run well, but the people at the XDA Developers forum are.  Here's the guide for the Lenovo M10 FHD Plus I have for example.

    It can be a fiddly process even for a tablet that is known to be rootable though.

  • From Faffnir:
    Using Brave,videos will not display for some COB's, mostly Weasel's Gun thread.

    Using Chrome works.

    Any suggestions?
    By default Brave doesn't install the Widevine DRM extension, so if the video is DRM-protected, it won't play.  Only thing I can think of immediately.

  • From DaveX64:
    What is your favourite data recovery utility? I stupidly left the cover off my computer and had a wireless phone sitting within 8 inches of the bottom of a Western Digital 4TB Black mechanical hard drive. It still shows in Windows but access is sporadic. I have about 2TB of data on it but a lot of it is crap anyway, would still like to get a few things off it.

    One I used successfully about ten years ago was Stellar Phoenix.  They have a free download that tells you if there's something that can be recovered before you actually pay for it.

    The other one that has a solid reputation but that I haven't needed to use is SpinRite.  It's one of the oldest data recovery apps for Windows so it looks kind of clunky, but it's well-regarded.

  • From badgerwx:
    I've heard that an SSD drive has a certain number of writes & that determines its lifespan. My laptop has an SSD main drive & a secondary HDD. Would it be worth it to move my /home & swap directories from the SSD to the HDD? I'd like to keep using this laptop as long as possible, and I'm not handy enough to open the case to replace anything.
    SSDs do have a limited lifespan, and it's more limited if you have a cheap QLC drive instead of a TLC one.  

    But modern SSDs are very clever about managing this and you have to rewrite the contents of the entire drive hundreds or even thousands of times before you run into that limit.  This does happen on busy database servers - there are more expensive SSDs rated for heavy database loads - but is unlikely on the average laptop.

  • From Rodent:
    How are things in Australia Covid/Economy wise? Hopefully they're dropping quarantines and those concentration type camp things they had.
    Here in Sydney (and the state of New South Wales generally) it's been relatively sane throughout.  Could have been better, but not crazy.

    Very limited vaccine mandates.  Mask mandates have been on again / off again.  Currently you need to wear masks on public transport and in hospitals, and you need proof of vaccination for large indoor music events.  And there's a couple of types of venues - night clubs, strip clubs, and, um, houses of ill-repute - where you have to check in.

    I have never once checked in.  I don't have the check-in app installed.  I have worn masks half a dozen times.

    Economy is going mostly okay.  Our government did spend a lot of money keeping people in jobs during the various restrictions, but it seems to have been better managed than US efforts.  Smaller scale makes that easier, I guess.

    Definitely seeing inflation starting to bite here.  Each week some other item on my grocery list has gone up by 10%.  My Amazon Prime subscription is paying off there - fresh food prices don't seem to be affected nearly as much, and other groceries I can often order cheap in bulk from Amazon if I don't care what day they arrive.

  • From questioning pookysgirl:
    What's the internet bandwidth for most of Australia? Do they use satellite for the Outback?
    Anyone in a metropolitan area and almost all country towns have 100Mbps available, 250Mbps or so if you're on cable, and 1Gbps on fibre.  Outside of town it's either fixed 5G (you get a big antenna for better reception) or a satellite solution.  There's a home-grown satellite solution called Sky Muster for the Outback, and Starlink just started deploying here too.

    How many undersea cables go into Australia? Do you ever have it that you're on an international call and it sounds like the whales are attacking the undersea cables with AK-47s? (Pooky and I used to get that sound circa 2012-2014. We'd laugh and make up stories about whale cartels.)
    There's at least a dozen major undersea cable links, the two biggest being Southern Cross which connects Sydney and LA via two different routes, and SEAMEWE3 from Perth to Singapore.

    It used to be that connecting from Sydney to Singapore would travel all the way to the US and back again, but they seem to have fixed that in the past couple of years.

    Sadly, no, I have not heard the whales.

  • From mildly citrusy:
    What is your take on blockchain data storage such as filecoin?
    Unfortunately that's rather like asking what flavour of unicorn I prefer.  Crypto developers are really bad at keeping their tenses straight, and often speak of future events in the present tense.  Unless you have very small amounts of data or very large amounts of money, you can't store data on the blockchain.

  • From markreardon:
    After 20+ years living on my corporate e-mail address, I'm coming up on retirement at the end of fiscal 2022.
    Can you discuss free vs pay e-mail and give suggestions for preferred options.
    Of all the big tech companies that will give you free email, I distrust Microsoft the least.  They'll just spam you with advertising, probably, and not report you to the Stasi so long as you are profitable.

    For paid solutions, ProtonMail is the benchmark, but they give you very little online storage.

  • From Lexistexas:
    So, proof of work, to get on the blockchain requires solution of an algorithm, right? Who comes up with the algorithm? And how do the other nodes on the network know the answer in order to verify it?
    The algorithm is baked into the blockchain when it is designed (which means that a poorly-chosen algorithm can wreck a blockchain further down the road).

    The algorithms are designed so that it is hard to compute the right answer, but easy to verify that a supplied answer is correct.  This generally involves very large prime numbers and probably elves.

  • From Bildo:
    I have an Asus ROG laptop that won't connect over wifi to any printer. I've checked my router, my firewall, and all the laptop settings I can I think of. No matter what I try I get the same "Wireless Printer Not Found" message. Any ideas as to what's going on?
    Elves again?  Possibly dark elves.  The combination of Windows networking and printers has always involved black magic.

  • From The Mantastic Tor:
    You often make references to the Four Essential Keys. I've worked in IT for 25 years and had never heard this phrase before you, and I haven't been able to find any other mention of this phrase in my web searches. So, if you please, which keys are these?
    PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End.  If you are using a modern IDE without those keyboards you often to hold down three, sometimes four keys at once to perform common functions.

    I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that on small laptops there is no good solution to this.  Either the keys are missing, or they are present but the keyboard is too crowded or too small, or shifted one key to the left so the keys are never where you expect if you touch type.

Tech News

  • Swapped the 512GB SSD in my Dell Inspiron 14 for the spare 4TB QLC one I had.  (I was originally going to use two 4TB QLC drives in my two Inspiron 16s but then (a) the QLC model went out of stock and (b) Amazon had the TLC model at the same price.  So I got two of those and the QLC drive I already had ended up surplus.)

    Opened it up (kind of fiddly), found the SSD slot (hidden but not very), installed the new drive, closed it up, and...

    Wouldn't power on.

    Opened it back up, swapped the original drive back in, powered it on with the case open - works.

    Installed the 4TB drive again, crossed fingers - powered on this time.

    Okay, done.  I promise to never open this one up again.  That just leaves, uh, four more laptops to do.  Including the Aero 13 which doesn't even have visible screws.

    Speaking of the Aero 13, it came with a big clunky barrel jack charger.  I have a little USB charger on the bedside table with one USB-C port (and four regular ones), and wanted to see if it would charge from that.

    Yep.  No problem.  It's only getting 35W so it won't charge very quickly, but since it only gets used in the evening for watching YouTube and checking websites, the chance of me running through its battery life is basically zero anyway.

  • Intel, AMD, and TSMC have cut off supply of chips to Russia.  (Tom's Hardware)

    China has also been banned from shipping products using those chips to Russia, which doesn't mean they won't do it on the black market anyway, but restrictions on volume and higher prices will fairly quickly strangle Russian IT.

    China's own chip production is mostly at 20nm, several years behind Taiwan and South Korea which are both at 5nm, or Intel at 7nm.

  • Nvidia was reportedly breached by South American extortion group LAPSU$.

    South American extortion group LAPSU$ was also reportedly breached by Nvidia.  (WCCFTech)

    The story is Nvidia followed the backchannel to the hackers' own servers, encrypted their data, and is now holding them to ransom.

    Many grains of salt with this one, though the initial hacking attempt appears to be confirmed.

  • Russia is gradually being cut off from the SWIFT payment network.  (The Guardian)

    Russia has $500 billion in foreign reserves...  Digitally.  They can't spend it if no foreign bank will talk to them.

    Of course with the idiots currently in charge in Washington DC and Berlin this won't be a clean isolation, but they can turn the thumbscrews tighter day by day.

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer:  A railway station, a Woolworths, a loaf of gluten-free bread, and an FTTP connection, and wilderness will be Pixy Central enow.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:12 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 1787 words, total size 13 kb.

Saturday, February 26


Daily News Stuff 26 February 2022

Go Fuck Yourself Russian Warship Edition

Top Story

  • Weekends are Question and Answer time, when I'm not working because the blockchain has blown up again, or stuck on a mobile link with a two second ping time, or tied up moving house, or whatever is scheduled for next week that I don't want to think about.

    Drop your questions in the comments today and if I don't get crushed by a meteorite I will endeavour to answer them tomorrow.

  • Internet is back on.

    It was the cable between the modem and the wall socket.

    How exactly that got fried by the lightning strike when nothing else was affected I do not know.  Maybe they have optoisolators at both ends to protect against this sort of thing.

    First thing I watched was a Minecraft stream with Pina Pengin of Prism Project, possibly the single nicest vtuber in the world, which got gatecrashed by Pipkin Pippa of Phase Connect who has a standing invitation to join Nick Rekieta's livestream if that gives you any indication.

  • Wait, HoloEN is having an unarchived off-collab?!  Amelia, Ina, Mumei, Fauna, and Kronii are all in the same room.  You can tell by the acoustics - they're terrible.  Right now they're singing the guitar solo from Bohemian Rhapsody, as you are required to by law in any karaoke session involving more than three people.

  • The US and allies including Taiwan have announced broad export restrictions of technology to Russia.  (Ars Technica)

    Does that mean video card prices will finally come down?

  • China's supreme court has ruled that fundraising via crypto tokens is a crime punishable by ten years in prison.  (The Star)

    Does that mean video card prices will finally come down?

  • Nvidia is investigating an attack that took down parts of its internal network for two days.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Well, fuck.

    Nvidia says that its "business and commercial activities continue uninterrupted" - which means that the attack was aimed at its R&D.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Boop.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:03 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 827 words, total size 8 kb.

Friday, February 25


Daily News Stuff 25 February 2022

Property Blues Edition

Top Story

  • Found a house I like.  Well, I say like, but that's not quite the right word.  Listed at around the market value of my current place, but (a) the lounge/dining area alone is roughly the size of my entire home, (b) the land area is larger than the land footprint of this entire townhouse complex, and (c) it has gigabit internet available (rare in Australia).

    Catch is it's a bit of a commute.  Like about ten hours.

    On the third hand we don't have an office in Sydney anymore, so I don't have a commute.

  • Samsung shipped a hundred million phones with broken encryption.  (ThreatPost)

    They were quietly notified last year and slipped a couple of patches into the regular updates, so if you've updated your phone since last September you should be good.

    Samsung chose a robust encryption method but got the implementation details wrong, leaving it leaky and prone to attack by unprivileged apps on the phone.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Shan't.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:52 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 325 words, total size 3 kb.


Adventures In Elevenland

I mentioned that I ordered an HP Aero 13, specifically with Windows 10 because it was 30% off, where the newer model with Windows 11 was only 20% off, and also because I don't want Windows 11, for several reasons not least of which is Windows 11 Home forces you to sign in with a Microsoft account and not just a local password.

So naturally while they charged me for the cheaper Windows 10 model, what they actually shipped me runs Windows 11.

But you can set it up to sign in with just a local password.

The second way - if you goofed and already set up WiFi - is to hit Shift-F10 as that page suggests and just disconnect your WiFi

I also had to toggle the power to get it to restart the setup cycle but it worked fine.

As for the hardware?  Seems nice.  Very light, great screen (2560x1600 at 13" is pretty darn sharp), not slow, though internet speeds here leave something to be desired right now.

The provided charger is a bit of a brick, but it charges from any USB-C charger as well as the barrel jack, so that's not a problem.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:29 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 228 words, total size 2 kb.

Thursday, February 24


Daily News Stuff 24 February 2022

A Farewell To PixyLab Edition

Top Story

  • Today has been a shitty day for the world in general.  Also I have to move out of my home for the past decade since I'm renting and the owner is putting it on the market.

    Might be looking to buy this time.  Move to a less expensive area with worse transport, as long as it has good internet access.

    Didn't think I could necessarily swing the deposit but I had completely forgotten about certain financial reserves that have just been sitting there while I've been working 48 hours a day.  So...  I can swing the deposit on a reasonable place.

    (You forgot you had how much money?  Yeah, I've been busy.  Also it's not exactly liquid.)

    Update: Or move out of Sydney entirely and save about a million bucks plus interest. That seems... Inviting.

  • Russia may attempt using cryptocurrency to evade the worst of the incoming sanctions.  (New York Times)

    I can see the headline now: Ruble falls to new low of 40 trillion to the dollar as Russia's crypto reserves drained by bot network Weed_Slut_420.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: About the other shitty news today - yeah, I know.

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Post contains 522 words, total size 5 kb.

Wednesday, February 23


Daily News Stuff 23 February 2022

5G Or Not 5G Edition

Top Story

  • Internet is still out.  Playing telephone tag with the idiots at my ISP - how the hell can you run an internet business when your only support is by phone?

    Meanwhile I have a 5G phone, a 5G SIM card, and a 5G plan.  What I do not have is a 5G signal, because that would make life too easy.  If I go upstairs and stand by the window I can just about get a second bar on the 4G signal sometimes.

    At least I have a much better mobile plan.  The bandwidth fees I was paying would have quickly added up to the cost of the new phone.

  • I was wrong, we need crypto.  (

    A heartfelt and un-woke post from the guy behind Ruby on Rails, a long-time crypto-skeptic (justifiably) now shocked into being a true believer:
    This is crazy. Absolutely bonkers. Terrifying.

    I still can't believe that this is the protest that would prove every Bitcoin crank a prophet. And for me to have to slice a piece of humble pie, and admit that I was wrong on crypto's fundamental necessity in Western democracies.

    And that it was the Canadians who brought this on? You might as well have told me that it was really the Care Bears who ran Abu Ghraib.
    I work mostly with Python, though I do like Ruby.  Might be worth taking a look at Rails even though - yep - it does have a Code of Cancer.

  • In a cashless society, freezing someone's bank account is a prison sentence.  (The Hub)
    The fact that weaponizing the financial system against nonviolent protestors and their distant supporters was the government’s tool of first resort should worry anyone who understands the role of civil disobedience in democracy. I would like to think Minister Steven Guilbeault, who was once arrested for scaling the CN Tower to hang a Greenpeace banner, lost a little sleep when he considered that disrupting critical infrastructure is still a common tactic of his environmentalist comrades. But somehow I doubt it. If there is one thing we haven’t seen much of in Ottawa recently, it’s principled consistency.
    Very true.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-is Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Dirty creature come my way, from the bottom of a crypto lake.  Selling off all my apes, think I've made a big mistake.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:01 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 723 words, total size 7 kb.

Tuesday, February 22


Daily News Stuff 22 February 2022

Party Like It's 1999.99 Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: All of these things I do, because I don't want to reboot.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:32 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 339 words, total size 4 kb.

Monday, February 21


Daily News Stuff 21 February 2021

I Wish You A Stasi Christmas Edition

Top Story

  • Hackers took advantage of the confusion around an update to OpenSea's smart contracts to launch a phishing attack and steal NFTs worth between $0 and $200 million.  (The Verge)

    Apparently they managed to make $1.7 million in real crypto before being caught at it and locked out.  The NFTs can easily be rendered untradeable and worthless, but once sold the cryptocurrency is harder to block.

    So the ALV (Average Laundering Value) of the NFTs - the imaginary hyper-inflated prices they were listed for - was around $200 million, the thieves actually made off with $1.7 million in ETH, and the remaining stolen NFTs are now worth absolutely nothing.

  • Here's how it went down, translated into non-crypto terms:

    1. The Open Seas Zoo was planning on transferring $200 million worth of extremely rare monkeys to a new secure location in a U-Haul with security features and GPS tracking.
    2. The thieves stole an identical truck and added removable U-Haul decals to make it look exactly like the real thing.
    3. On the night of the transfer, they parked their U-Haul right behind the Zoo one and overpowered the driver.
    4. They then directed the monkey wranglers to fill their truck with monkeys.
    5. The original U-Haul was ostentatiously driven off, breaking the speed limit and getting caught on camera before being abandoned in an open field where it would be quickly tracked and found.
    6. Meanwhile the decals were stripped off the fake U-Haul and it was driven sedately from the crime scene and parked under a disused railway bridge where it wouldn't be found.
    7. The thieves now laid low for a few weeks while the police traced the real U-Haul but found no sign of the monkeys.
    8. A month later after the fuss had settled down the thieves could return to the stashed truck at their leisure.
    9. This is all your fault, Brian.
    10. You can have your monkeys back, guys.

  • These crypto enthusiasts are idiots.  (CNBC)

Tech News

  • I have two lights now on my fiber internet box.  Yesterday it had one; it's supposed to have three.  Progress, I guess.

  • I also have the new phone, a new SIM card on a 120GB plan instead of a 2GB plan, and probably a 400GB microSD card.  I say probably because I accidentally bought it from a third-party vendor when ordering from Amazon, something you should never ever do for SD cards and USB drives.  It's probably real though.  If it's fake, it's a very good fake.  I've bought a dozen or so SanDisk cards and it looks 100% legit.

    The Samsung A52s is very close in specs to the Oppo A91 I already have - same 2400x1080 AMOLED screen, just 0.1" bigger, same camera layout, same 128GB storage - but has an A78 core instead of A73.  It's about 140% faster according to benchmarks, and by far the fastest Android device I own.  Will be interesting to play with it.

  • San Francisco mayor London Breed also wants to flush workers who have fled their offices back into the city.  (SF Chronicle)

    In her case it is rather more literally a shithole.

  • AMD's new Radeon 660M RDNA2 integrated graphics outperforms Intel's fastest Iris Xe offering in most benchmarks.  (Tom's Hardware)

    On the one hand, it's not a lot faster than Intel's best integrated graphics.

    On the other hand, this is the cut-down version with 6 graphics cores.  The full version has 12 cores and isn't too far behind dedicated GTX 1060 and 1650 desktop cards.  (WCCFTech)

  • Yet another thunderstorm rolling in this evening, but at least this one isn't directly on top of me.

  • Was going to share the worst take in the history of takes, but he got ratioed out of existence.

  • At least in software I can just sigh and deploy to older, crappier, but still working hardware.

  • Speaking of older crappier but still working hardware, 2.82TB of backups transferred so far.  I could reduce that way down with some cleanup effort, but never have the time.

    Compression and dedup on the new backup server reduce the actual storage used to 1.67TB.

    Also, hard drives are really slow when you have 100 million files.

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Or is it?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:07 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 725 words, total size 6 kb.

Sunday, February 20


Daily News Stuff 20 February 2022

Pack Your Bags Kids We're Going To Disneyland Edition

Top Story

  • I noticed this too.  Apart from the usual propaganda outlets like the CBC and the mainstream Canadian press, there's a huge amount of bot activity supporting police brutality against peaceful protestors.

    They're not even very good bots.  This really needs an investigation because if what I'm seeing is real, it's a massive scandal.

Tech News

Party Like It's 1980-ish Video of the Day

Disclaimer: "Well, that's good.  Fantastic, that is.  Twenty minutes to save the world and I've got a post office.  And it's shut."  The Doctor was basically a sysadmin having a bad day.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:10 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 239 words, total size 3 kb.

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