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

Wednesday, July 13


Daily News Stuff 13 July 2022

All Politicians Are Bastards Edition

Top Story

  • There's not a lot of tech news this week so I'm going to mention another government that has fucked things up (though not destroyed the entire country): The average household energy bill in Britain is expected to soar from £1,300 to £3,300 in the space of a year.  (BBC News)

    That's with price controls.  The article mentions that 30 energy companies have gone broke due to soaring gas prices but doesn't say why the one would lead to the other.  But if costs go up and the price you can charge is limited by government fiat, you are going to go out of business.

  • Meanwhile here in Australia it took our new center-left government two weeks to create an energy crisis and our own soaring prices.  And here's me moving to a much larger all-electric house in a much colder climate in the middle of winter just as electricity prices spike to new records.  Yay.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Give me 2560x1600 or give me death!

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Tuesday, July 12


Daily News Stuff 12 July 2022

Return To Sender Edition

Top Story

  • Not strictly tech news and the blog has covered this but Sri Lanka just collapsed due to insufficient poop and it was all predicted back in March.  (Foreign Policy)

    Bubble-dwelling cretins decided to ban the artificial fertilisers essential to feeding the world (which is where Sri Lanka is located) and also to the country's economy, dependent as it is on agricultural exports, insisting that "organic" farming methods would survive, when everybody knows that this is quite literally impossible because there's not enough poop to go around.

    Because that's what organic farming runs on.  Everyone knew there wasn't enough poop and said so, but Sri Lanka's government insisted it would create that poop.
    From the moment the plan was announced, agronomists in Sri Lanka and around the world warned that agricultural yields would fall substantially. The government claimed it would increase the production of manure and other organic fertilizers in place of imported synthetic fertilizers. But there was no conceivable way the nation could produce enough fertilizer domestically to make up for the shortfall.
    They're just getting warmed up:
    While the proximate cause of Sri Lanka’s humanitarian crisis was a bungled attempt to manage its economic fallout from the global pandemic, at the bottom of the political problem was a math problem and at the bottom of the math problem was an ideological problem—or, more accurately, a global ideological movement that is innumerate and unscientific by design, promoting fuzzy and poorly specified claims about the possibilities of alternative food production methods and systems to obfuscate the relatively simple biophysical relationships that govern what goes in; what comes out; and the economic, social, and political outcomes that any agricultural system can produce, whether on a regional, national, or global scale.
    "Organic" produce is food for the privileged (and indoctrinated) few.  It is completely untenable as a substitute for modern scientific farming and everyone knew that.  

    But well-funded Western advocacy groups kept pushing for it - keep pushing for it - regardless, as we see right now in the Netherlands.

Tech News

Peak Internet Music Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

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Monday, July 11


Daily News Stuff 11 July 2022

Return Of The Revenge Episode Two Edition

Top Story

  • Just how bad is the bot situation at Twitter?  (The Register)

    It appears that Twitter was sabotaging Elon Musk's attempts to determine the numbers himself, and they are being very cagey with the numbers themselves. 

    Twitter will likely claim it was unintentional.  I'd say no-one could be that incompetent, but this is Twitter we're talking about.

Tech News

  • Elasticsearch is the QNAP of databases.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Mangatoon (who) got breached and the details of 23 million users exfiltrated, including auth tokens from social networks.

    I think if you run Elasticsearch on a QNAP NAS the universe might spontaneously reboot.

  • Netflix to staff: Shut up and do your jobs.  (The Verge)
    In the Google doc, one person commented, "In Ted’s email to directors, he calls out that Dave Chappelle is ‘one of our most popular comedians today’ and his last special is ‘our most watched, stickiest, and award winning stand up special to date.’ My interpretation of this message is that sticky metrics outweigh the possibility of harm. Is that a fair interpretation of that email?”

    Days passed, and the question remained unanswered.

    The answer is, shut up and do your job.  Or don't.  You can be replaced.  Probably by a hamster.

Disclaimer: Cuter and probably cheaper to feed too.

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Sunday, July 10


Daily News Stuff 10 July 2022

GroundNOC Day Edition

Top Story

  • Me: I am absolutely unavailable this weekend even if there's an emergency.
    Work: We have an emergency.
    Me: ...

  • Monday, this is a $25 stock.  (NBC News)

    Twitter's board, which fought desperately against Musk's takeover bid, claiming it severely overvalued undervalued the company, is now fighting desperately to enforce the offer.

    Good luck with that lawsuit, guys.  Discovery is a female dog.

Tech News

  • ASRock's DeskMeet is a compact desktop PC but not that compact.  (Liliputing)

    Available in AMD and Intel versions (the Intel model is better) for around $200, it includes the case, a 500W power supply, and a mini-ITX motherboard.  Which interestingly features four RAM slots, not at all common on mini-ITX boards.  You add the CPU, RAM, and storage yourself.

    It has room for a small video card - two slots wide, full height, and up to 8" long.  Which makes sense because the case is very roughly an 8" cube.

    The one notable shortcoming is that it only ships with gigabit Ethernet, not the 2.5Gbit that is finally becoming standard.

  • Well yes, but actually no.

  • RISC-V has shipped 10 billion cores.  (WCCFTech)

    Is that a lot?

    Which reminds me of one of the common elements of post-apocalyptic fiction, where there are no computers anymore and everyone has to rely on whatever it was we relied on before computers.

    I forget.

    Anyway, yes.  The slowest RISC-V core is probably a thousand times faster than the Apple II and there are more of them around than there are people, and RISC-V is still a relatively minor player in the market.  

    As of last year, 180 billion Arm chips had shipped from dozens of companies, many with multiple cores, with around 2 billion more chips being produced every month.

  • Do not dumb here.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Both sides could have handled that better, I think.

Disclaimer: Not dumb area here.  No, not you, you got permission slip.  You dumb all you want.

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Saturday, July 09


Daily News Stuff 9 July 2022

I Order You To Throw Me In That Briar Patch Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • The HP Pavilion 14 Plus looks like a solid laptop.  (Thurott.com)

    Starting around $700 with the top configuration at $1300, it's not a bargain item but it's not overpriced.  It's available with 10, 12, and 14 core CPUs (Intel Alder Lake, so they all have 8 low-power cores), and RTX 2050 graphics in one model.

    Display is choice between a 2240x1400 LCD and a 2800x1800 OLED, either one a solid choice, and it has a reasonable selection of ports thought they're somehow all on the wrong side.  I guess if you're left-handed, your time has finally come.  The Four Essential Keys are all present and correct as well.

    Only real flaw is that it's limited to 16GB of RAM (soldered to the motherboard), and that's only a flaw if you're a software developer running ac complex IDE or something like that.

  • Intel has new NUC laptop kits on the way.  (Liliputing)

    The previous generation came with a choice of RTX 3060 or 3070 graphics and were generally quite sold mid-range laptops.  You have to provide your own RAM, SSD, and operating system, but on the other hand that means they are designed to let you open them up and install your own RAM, SSD, and operating system, which is huge.  In the HP laptop above for example, the RAM is soldered in place and if my experience with recent HP models is any guide, the SSD is a real bitch to replace.

    Four Essential Keys too.

    The problem - potentially - is that these new models come with Intel's new Arc graphics chips, which are, shall we say, unproven.

Disclaimer: Inside you are two wolves.  I know you said you were hungry, but wow.

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Friday, July 08


Daily News Stuff 8 July 2022

Soylent Grin Edition

Top Story

  • You will own nothing and honestly we don't care whether you like it, part one: Sony is deleting movies "bought" via the PlayStation Store in Germany and Austria.  (FlatPanelsHD)

    The alternative would be for them to pay to retain the license for products they ostensibly sold on to customers in perpetuity, and that is simply not on the cards.

    Nor is there any mention of refunds.

  • You will own nothing and honestly we don't care whether you like it, part two: Google's "Democratic AI" is better at redistributing wealth than America.  (Motherboard)

    Well, I would hope so.  Though if it were worse, perhaps we could learn from it, because a key factor that makes America great is not redistributing wealth.

    Players in the game that tested this algorithm preferred it because it was a game and they didn't have to look at their paycheck each month and see what the government had stolen.

    On top of that, of course, is the fact that we've known for nearly a century that redistributing wealth doesn't work.  Writing in 1926, JBS Haldane - himself a socialist - pointed out that socialism cannot possibly work on the scale of the modern nation state.  San Marino or Andorra, maybe, but not much beyond that.

    If Google had a million players in that game, the redistribution would either be grossly and obviously unfair, or take far longer to calculate than playing the game itself, like ending a turn late in a game of Civilization.

    Or both.  There's no solution to the problem, but it's always possible to make it worse.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Good morning Sun Francisco, it's a warm one out there today, with temperatures expected to peak in the mid seventeen hundreds.  Remember to stay hydrated - and underground - and disconnect your QNAP devices from the internet.

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Thursday, July 07


Daily News Stuff 7 July 2022

It Was A Bad Move Coming Down From The Trees Edition

Top Story

  • Computers were a mistake.

  • Speaking of which, it appears that Chinese data heist story is not only true, but even better than it seemed at first glance. The database maintained by the Shanghai police was properly secured but then some random intern added a maintenance dashboard connected to the public internet and accessible without a password. (CNN)

    (There's additional reporting at the Wall Street Journal but it's behind a paywall.)
    A CNN analysis of the database sample found police records of cases spanning nearly two decades from 2001 to 2019. While the majority of the entries are civil disputes, there are also records of criminal cases ranging from fraud to rape.
    In one case, a Shanghai resident was summoned by police in 2018 for using a virtual private network (VPN​) to ​evade China's firewall and access Twitter​, allegedly retweeting "reactionary remarks involving the (Communist) Party, politics and leaders."
    Genocidal fascist nightmare state meets radical transparency. What could go wrong?

    It gets better:
    Bob Diachenko, a security researcher based in Ukraine, first came upon the database in April. In mid-June, his company detected that the database was attacked by an unknown malicious actor, who destroyed and copied the data and left a ransom note demanding 10 bitcoin for its recovery, Diachenko said.

    It is not clear if this was the work of the same person who advertised the sale of the database information last week.

    By July 1, the ransom note had disappeared, according to Diachenko, but only 7 gigabytes (GB) of data was available -- instead of the 23 TB originally advertised.

    Diachenko said it suggested the ransom had been resolved, but the database owners had continued to use the exposed database for storing, until it was shut down over the weekend.
    One thing Orwell never contemplated was Big Brother accidentally losing control over all the telescreens to a bored 14-year-old in Missouri.

    Never mistake authoritarianism for competence.
    Shanghai Police did not respond to CNN's request for comments on the ransom note.
    Quelle surprise.

Tech News

  • Drobo - maker of some interesting if seriously non-standard direct-attach storage devices - has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Apple Insider)

    In theory that means they're restructuring and plan to return but as far as I can tell they stopped doing any product development years ago and it's hard to even find their products for sale, so it's not clear exactly what they have left to restructure.

  • Britain is no longer part of the EU so Apple is facing an entirely separate case there seeking $1.8 billion in damages over anticompetitive behaviour. (The Register)

    At issue is once again the App Store, which was designed from day one to be as anticompetitive as possible. Not as anticompetitive as possible within the law; as anticompetitive as possible mathematically.

  • Systemd creator Lennart Poettering has taken up a position at Microsoft after fifteen years at RedHat giving Linux cancer. (Phoronix)

    Fuck systemd.

  • Never mind, I read the chart wrong. That's not interesting at all.

Disclaimer: Couldn'ta, wouldn'ta, shouldn'ta.

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Double Ugh

I had the site monitoring alarm on.

It runs as a script in WSL on my laptop.

I must have bumped the terminal somehow, because if a gnat farts anywhere within a mile of the WSL terminal it stops scrolling which means it also stops making noise.

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Wednesday, July 06


Daily News Stuff 6 July 2022

Yes We Have No Home Loans Edition

Top Story

  • Side note: A number of people asked - reasonably enough - why on Earth I would take a variable rate home loan rather than locking in historically low interest rates with a 30 year fixed mortgage.

    The reason is, so far as I can tell, 30 year fixed rate mortgages are a uniquely American creation.  They simply don't exist in Australia.  The closest thing I could find here is a 10 year mortgage at 7.45%, when my variable rate loan is currently at 3.15%.

    That rate will be going up again after the latest Reserve Bank announcement here, but it would have to go up a lot to match the fixed rate.

  • Also, thanks - a few people pointed me at CZUR scanners, and that does look like the way to go.

  • Closer to home but not much the EU has declared war on Apple.  (MacRumors)

    More specifically they've adopted legislation requiring big tech companies (including but not limited to Apple and Google) to allow developers to use third party payment providers (killing the 30% cut they take of every transaction) and access all services provided by the hardware device if given permission by the user.

    Users meanwhile are covered by a requirement to allow third-party app stores and sideloading.  Not a drama for Android, but a huge change for iOS.

    Apple would also not be able to force developers to use the Safari web engine, and manufacturers and carriers would not be allowed to pre-install applications that the user cannot remove.

    Cue a great wailing and a gnashing of teeth from the Bay Area.

    Just a few short years ago I would have decried this as massive government overreach, but Big Tech pooped their bed and now they must lie in it.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Mmm, sausages.

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Tuesday, July 05


Daily News Stuff 5 July 2022

  • Interest Rate Printer Go Brrr Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Press any key to doubt.

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