This accidentally fell out of her pocket when I bumped into her. Took me four goes.

Thursday, September 22


Daily News Stuff 22 September 2022

One For One Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Before you ask, yes, Uranus also has rings.

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Wednesday, September 21


Daily News Stuff 21 September 2022

Petaflopmobiles R Us Edition

Top Story

  • Nvidia had its big announcement.  (AnandTech)

    Lots of stuff, but the most immediately interesting are the RTX 4080 and 4090.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The 4090, launching October 12, has twice the performance of the 3090 Ti - from 40 TFLOPs to over 80 TFLOPs - while being 20% cheaper.  Which would be more impressive if the 3090 Ti hadn't been priced at $2000.

    The 4080 will arrive in November in two models, with 12GB of RAM and 40 TFLOPs at $900, and 16GB of RAM and 48 TFLOPs at $1200.  That's a significant difference; either the 16GB model should be called the 4080 Ti or the 12GB model should be the 4070 Ti.

    While the base 4080 has the same compute power as the 3090 Ti at less than half the price, it also has half the memory and half the memory bandwidth.  Nvidia is making up for that by increasing the on-chip cache from 6MB to 48MB (and 96MB on the 4090).

    AMD did that with the Radeon RX 6000 range, and it worked pretty well.  The options for doubling bandwidth over the 3090 Ti are pretty much restricted to HBM, which isn't exactly cheap.  On the other hand, moving from Samsung's 8nm process to TSMC's 4nm meant Nvidia had a huge number of transistors to play with - up from 28 billion on the 3090 Ti to 76 billion on the 4090 - so using five billion or so on cache was not a hard call to make.

    While $900 for the smaller RTX 4080 looks good compared to the $2000 3090 Ti, it doesn't look nearly so good when compared with the $700 RTX 3080, and gamers don't seem to be happy.  It's about 30% more expensive and offers about 30% more performance.

    Oh, an interesting point: They're PCIe 4.0.  Which means they'll work fine with my Bae case, though the standard 4090 might not fit.

Tech News

RTX 4000 Roundup Video of the Day

Disclaimer: 16 is the new 12.

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Tuesday, September 20


Daily News Stuff 20 September 2022

Duck Tape Edition

Top Story

  • I managed to snag an Xbox Series X. The local electronics store - local to my old place in Sydney, that is - had it in stock a week after I handed in the keys, but only for in-store purchases. But the "notify me" button on the Microsoft store had changed to a "buy now" button when I checked today. The buy now button didn't work, but when I logged in and went back through the Xbox page I was able to add it to my cart and checked out.

    Since I am now moderately far from the madding crowd, I should have it in two weeks.

  • I also managed to snag the cord for my new electric mower, something I somehow avoided for 15 years with the previous one. So into town I went for some pliers and electrical tape. I have pliers and electrical tape... Somewhere.  Easier to go into town.

  • I've been hearing what sounded like ducks out the back of the house the past couple of weeks, but never caught sight of anything duck-like. Until today, walking back from the shops (which is quite a hike - there's a 400 foot elevation difference) I came across a herd of wild ducks crossing the street a couple of blocks from my house.

    So, yes. Ducks.

  • Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group plans to spend $6 billion on "Net Zero" investments by 2030 - including hydrogen. (Financial Times)

    Hydrogen is useless as a mainstream fuel. The energy density is terrible and it leaks through everything. Anyone pushing it as a fuel is trying to sell you something.

Tech News

Gura Gaiden the Animation Video of the Day

The Making of Gura Gaiden the Animation Video of the Day

Where is our Hololive anime? If they need money, all they have to do is open a Kickstarter and they'll be buried in cash in the first twenty minutes. And it's not like the rest of the anime industry is doing anything that impressive right now.

Disclaimer: A.

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Monday, September 19


Daily News Stuff 19 September 2022

Rats Edition

Top Story

  • The case for my new computer - the limited edition Hololive one - has shipped.

    I don't have any parts to go in it, but I'll sort that out in coming months.

    One thing: The case is laid out such that the graphics card is vertical, using a right-angle PCIe adaptor.  This is common in the kind of flashy show-off cases I don't usually buy, and by usually I mean ever.

    The PCIe adaptor is PCIe 4.  The CPU, motherboard, and graphics card I'll be buying will all support PCIe 5.  I think it will automatically fall back to PCIe 4.  If not I will be quite irked.

  • Google and Facebook now control only 80% of all online advertising.  (The Economist via

    Down from 85% previously.  The main new competitor is TikTok, which is not an improvement.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Ideally the distance between engineering and marketing should be less than three thousand miles.

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Sunday, September 18


Daily News Stuff 18 September 2022

Return Of The Moo Edition

Top Story

  • What does the future of AI hold for us?  Well first of all replacing the subliterate cretins who write for The Atlantic.  (The Atlantic)
    I recently started fooling around with Sudowrite, a tool that uses the GPT-3 deep-learning language model to compose predictive text, but at a much more advanced scale than what you might find on your phone or laptop. Quickly, I figured out that I could copy-paste a passage by any writer into the program’s input window and the program would continue writing, sensibly and lyrically. I tried Kafka. I tried Shakespeare. I tried some Romantic poets. The machine could write like any of them. In many cases, I could not distinguish between a computer-generated text and an authorial one.
    I've read GPT-3 text.  It's bullshit.  No matter the subject, it reads like pomo litcrit, because there is no mind behind it.  Indeed the entire point of GPT-3 is style over substance.
    I was delighted at first, and then I was deflated. I was once a professor of Shakespeare; I had dedicated quite a chunk of my life to studying literary history. My knowledge of style and my ability to mimic it had been hard-earned. Now a computer could do all that, instantly and much better.
    Most people are not brave enough to admit they are so bad at their jobs they can be replaced by a chat bot.
    If you asked GPT-3 to continue, say, a Wordsworth poem, the computer’s vocabulary would never be one moment before or after appropriate usage for the poem’s era. This is a skill that no scholar alive has mastered.
    If that's a skill no scholar has mastered, how can you tell that GPT-3 is doing it?

    To those who know nothing, everything is magic.

Tech News

  • Sony has showed off a new range of PCIe 5 SSDs for PCs.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Sony previously released its own SSDs specifically for the expandable storage for the PS5 (which has strict performance rules), and it looks like the company plans to keep making them.  Speeds of these models are up to 9500MBps, and capacities up to 4TB.

  • AMD's Threadripper processors are twice as fast for developing large software project as Intel's best workstation chips.  (WCCFTech)

    Now, that's comparing a 64 core AMD chip to a 32 core Intel chip, so it's not unexpected.  But even the 32 core AMD chip is 50% faster than the 32 core Intel model.  The 64 core Threadripper has always been constrained by power and heat.

  • If you click Show Password in Chrome or Edge and you have Enhanced Spell Check turned on - or in the case of Edge, the Spelling & Grammar add-on installed - your browser might send your password straight to Google or Microsoft.  (Bleeping Computer)


  • Intel's NUC 12 Enthusiast is available for pre-order.  (Liliputing)

    This model has Intel's own Arc A770 dedicated graphics and a 330W power brick, so it's really, really not something anybody should be buying, particularly not at a starting price of $1699.

  • On the other hand, it looks like the regular NUC 12 is also shipping.  It comes with an Alder Lake 1240P or 1260P CPU, slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 SODIMMs and an M.2 slot, two USB 4 ports and two HDMI ports supporting a total of four 4k displays, and four regular USB ports.

    These new chips are quite a bit faster than the 11th gen equivalents, at least for multi-threaded tasks.

    I'd much rather have a Ryzen 6800U, but I don't think there's a mainstream NUC with that CPU yet.

  • Speaking of four 4k displays, HP's Pavilion Plus 14 can run two 4k screens via USB C and a third via HDMI.  That's nice to see given that some recent Dell models have been cut back and can only run one external monitor at 4k.

    The Framework laptop doesn't have a fixed port arrangement - it has four little modules that slot in with whatever mix of ports you want.  If you want four HDMI ports, you can do that.

    But the integrated graphics can only support four displays in total, including the laptop screen, so what happens if you have four monitors connected?  Answer: The fourth is disabled, until you close the lid of the laptop, when it is automatically enabled.

    That's pretty good.

Disclaimer: Moo.

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Saturday, September 17


Daily News Stuff 17 September 2022

A Plague On Both Your Datacenters Edition

Top Story

  • It seems like only yesterday that I mentioned Texas House Bill 20, legislation that attempted to designate large social networks as "common carriers" just like phone companies, severely limiting the companies' ability to engage in viewpoint discrimination. That legislation, and a similar bill in Florida, had been blocked at the district court level.

    Which injunction has just been overturned, nay, not so much overturned as nuked from orbit. (The Volokh Conspiracy)
    A Texas statute named House Bill 20 generally prohibits large social media platforms from censoring speech based on the viewpoint of its speaker.

    The platforms urge us to hold that the statute is facially unconstitutional and hence cannot be applied to anyone at any time and under any circumstances.
    In urging such sweeping relief, the platforms offer a rather odd inversion of the First Amendment. That Amendment, of course, protects every person’s right to "the freedom of speech.” But the platforms argue that buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporation’s unenumerated right to muzzle speech.

    The implications of the platforms’ argument are staggering. On the platforms’ view, email providers, mobile phone companies, and banks could cancel the accounts of anyone who sends an email, makes a phone call, or spends money in support of a disfavored political party, candidate, or business. What’s worse, the platforms argue that a business can acquire a dominant market position by holding itself out as open to everyone—as Twitter did in championing itself as "the free speech wing of the free speech party.” Blue Br. at 6 & n.4. Then, having cemented itself as the monopolist of "the modern public square,” Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017), Twitter unapologetically argues that it could turn around and ban all pro-LGBT speech for no other reason than its employees want to pick on members of that community, Oral Arg. at 22:39–22:52.

    Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say. Because the district court held otherwise, we reverse its injunction and remand for further proceedings.
    Since the entire purpose of Twitter post-2018 - at least as its senior executives would have it - is to engage in viewpoint discrimination to protect leftists from reality, this is potentially devastating to the platform.

    It would also affect Facebook, of course, and comments on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, but those platforms at least have other functions, whether you consider them worthwhile or not.

    Expect Twitter to become even more frantic in its efforts to be taken over by its most hated enemy, because if HB 20 or the similar Florida legislation survives the court challenges, Elon Musk is the only thing that stands between them and oblivion.

Tech News

  • EVGA - the largest of Nvidia's video card partners - is so sick of dealing with the GPU company's bullshit that they've exited the marked entirely. (Tom's Hardware)

    Which is no small thing because video cards make up 80% of EVGA's revenue. Though not necessarily 80% of its profits - low margins, or right now, negative margins, being a major point of contention leading to the breakup.

    EVGA has said it has no plans to switch to making AMD cards instead. All warrantees for existing cards will continue to be honoured.

  • On the other hand GPU mining of Ethereum is now toast. (Tom's Hardware)

    This should help with the availability of next generation cards, though not sp much with Nvidia's financials, because they sold a lot of cards to miners over the last two years.

  • The 7900X is 30% faster than the 5900X. (Tom's Hardware)

    In both single and multi-threaded tests. This Geekbench which is not a great benchmark, but when comparing two almost identical CPUs it's a pretty good indication of what to expect.

    This also puts the 12 core 7900X well ahead of the 16 core 5950X. In fact, it would put the 7900X around the same level as the 28 core Xeon Gold 6348, which sells for close to $3000.

    This also puts it ahead of Intel's 12900K in both single and multi-threaded tests. (WCCFTech)

    Though of course Intel has the 13900K coming soon, which will offer significantly better multi-threaded performance because it has an extra 8 Efficiency cores.

    The WCCFTech article has a score for the 7950X as well, which puts it at 31% faster than the 7900X. Perfect scaling would be around 35% (extra cores and a small clock speed boost) so that is quite good.

    I'm looking forward to seeing more detailed benchmarks later this month, because I'm planning to build either a 7900X or 7950X system before Christmas.

  • Caddy vs. Nginx benchmarks. (Tyblog)

    Caddy fares better than I expected; indeed, there's no real reason to use Nginx if Caddy has the functionality you need.

Miscellaneous Australian Vtuber Nonsense Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Parrot Pie
Ingredients: 1 doz. paraqueets, a few slices of beef (underdone cold beef is best for this purpose), 4 rashers of bacon, 3 hard-boiled eggs, minced parsley and lemon peel, pepper and salt, stock, puff-paste.
Mode: Line a pie-dish with the beef cut into slices, over them place 6 of the paraqueets, dredge with flour, fill up the spaces with the egg cut in slices and scatter over the seasoning. Next put in the bacon, cut in small strips, then 6 paraqueets and fill up with the beef, seasoning all well. Pour in stock or water to nearly fill the dish, cover with puff-paste and bake for one hour.

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Friday, September 16


Daily News Stuff 16 September 2022

Land Of 998 Dances Edition

Top Story

  • Uber got hacked.  (Bleeping Computer)

    By persuading one idiot to hand over their password, the hacker got access to the company's AWS account, Gmail dashboard, VMWare management, Windows domain, security software, Slack channel, and bug database.

    This what we call in the tech biz, "bad".

Tech News

  • Think I might buy the cheaper model of the HP Pavilion Plus 14.  That's without the OLED screen and with a slightly slower processor, but it's still a 2240x1400 display, and still has 16GB of RAM, and it has the four essential keys, and is 40% cheaper.

    The Framework laptop is inviting (because it's about the only small laptop that you can put 64GB of RAM in - and I do have a spare 64GB of RAM) but lacks the four essential keys.

  • The Ethereum merge - switching from mining to staking - has happened.  (CoinDesk)

    On the one hand, they postponed it about two dozen times.  On the other hand, it went through without a hiccup.

  • Cloudflare's, like the independent, is fighting censorship on multiple fronts.  (TorrentFreak)

    Though given Cloudflare's past form they'll fold like a damp tissue if someone says something on Twitter.

  • The MOS 7600 is a microcontroller after all.  (Old VCR)

    This chip powered home versions of Pong and some other very early - very early - video games.  Since there was no published documentation and this was over 40 years ago, nobody knew whether the game was built into the chip at the hardware level (possible for something as simple as Pong) or a program written into the chips ROM, if it had any ROM.

    The solution?  Sand off the top of the chip very carefully - very carefully - and look at it under a microscope.  If you know what to look for you can see ROM and RAM and things like shift registers and logic arrays.

Minecraft Computer Video of the Day

This is the predecessor to the virtual computer in yesterday's Minecraft-in-Minecraft video.  It runs at 1Hz.  The new version uses a custom version of the Minecraft server to achieve a zippy 20kHz or so.

And it can play things other than Minecraft.

Disclaimer: Like Terraria.

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Thursday, September 15


Daily News Stuff 15 September 2022

That Which Is, Is Not Edition

Top Story

  • Those sudden gurgling sounds indicate that the third bottle of drain cleaner finally did the trick.  Love the house.  The plumbing not so much.

  • The EU has upheld the EU's 4.1 billion euro fine on Google.  (Ars Technica)

    Google was hit with the fine for anticompetitive practices in the way it forces Android phone makers to bundle specific apps, to make Chrome the default browser, to make Google the default search engine, and in forbidding any company with an Android license from also forking the open source Android codebase.

    On the one hand, this smacks of opportunistic looting of a foreign corporation by a corrupt and decaying bureaucracy.

    On the other hand, Google should have stayed awake during the antitrust proceedings against Microsoft, or at least read the CliffsNotes.

Tech News

  • So what's happening at Patreon?  Patreon lays off its entire security team.  (PC Magazine)

    "Not the entire team", says Patreon.

  • Patreon denies hosting child sexual abuse material.  (PC Magazine)

    "It's lies and slander by counterrevolutionaries", says Patreon.

  • 7 Patreon alternatives for rats fleeing a sinking ship.  (PC Magazine)

    I think I might replace the as-good-as-deceased ZDNet with PC Magazine for my news roundups going forward.  Some of this stuff was also at Vice and The Verge, but they presented Patreon's statements as fact rather than as mere statements.

  • Don't buy the Dell Inspiron 27.  (PC Magazine)

    I have two of these and they were my workhorse desktops from 2017 up until May of this year when they got packed into boxes.

    The original model had a 4k display, an 8 core Ryzen 1700, and Radeon RX 580 dedicated graphics.  With all that they did tend to run a bit hot and one of them started overheating in the last few months, but I could probably fix that with a can of compressed air to blow out all the dust.  (I did that before packing it in the box but haven't booted it up since then.)

    They've released annual refreshes since then but not one has offered a 4k screen and the graphics options have been mediocre.  Though with a 1080p screen and a laptop CPU in a 27" case they probably don't have the same cooling problems.

  • The Ryzen 7950X will hit 5.85GHz - on one core, in Antarctica.  (WCCFTech)

    Base clock is 4.5GHz, all core boost clock is 5.1GHz, single core boost clock is 5.7GHz, and peak clock if thermals permit is 5.85GHz.

    That's stock, not overclocked, but unless you have amazing cooling you're unlikely to see anything over 5.7.

  • Have I been trained is a search tool that lets you explore all the training data that went into this new crop of AI image generators.  (Have I Been Trained)

    About 5.7 billion images.

    Midjourney doesn't know what Hololive is, though.

  • Meanwhile ERNIE-ViLG, the Chinese version, doesn't know what Tiananmen Square is.  (MIT Technology Review)

    And reports you for re-education for even trying.

  • Superhuman AIs are going to kill us all.  (Vice)

    Probably not, but the paper behind the article does have a point.  When you measure anything by proxy, you are promoting the proxy at the expense of the thing you are trying to measure.

    Using college education as a proxy measure for success in life led to a flood of useless college degrees.  And Google's Pagerank algorithm single-handled created the comment spam industry.

    Similarly, current approaches are training AIs to cheat.

  • After legislation by Texas and Florida to force social networks to make their moderation rules public (among other things) was delayed by the courts, a third state has joined the fray: California.  (The Verge)

    Be right back, making popcorn.

We Heard You Like Minecraft, So We Put Minecraft in Your Minecraft So You Can Minecraft While You Minecraft Video of the Day

Literally.  This is amazing.

It's a scaled-down version of Minecraft, with monochrome graphics, but it's implemented on a computer simulated at the transistor level within the game.

Disclaimer: We heard you like disclaimers so whatever it is we didn't do it.

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Wednesday, September 14


Daily News Stuff 14 September 2022

Party Of The Eighth Part Edition

Top Story

  • Congressional testimony from Peiter Zatko says that Twitter is run by idiots and infested with foreign spies.  (WCCFTech)

    Which former we knew and latter comes as no surprise.

    Also that the company executives have been routinely lying to the board, to shareholders, and to the SEC.

    Zatko was, until January, Twitter's head of security, before being abruptly fired and then receiving a $7 million settlement.

  • It must be purely coincidence then that at least six "research firms" are offering money to besmudge Zatko.  (New Yorker)

    Former coworkers at Stripe, Google, and DARPA report being bombarded with aggressive requests for paid interviews about Zatko - with the clear implication that you had better be prepared to dish the dirt.
    The consultant told Provos that its analysts were assessing Zatko’s "personality professionally and socially," his "strengths and weaknesses," "motives for his whistle-blower complaint and any similar past complaints," his "need for attention," and whether he was a "zealot or ideologue," "conspiratorial," or "vengeful." She also said they were interested in Zatko’s "view of Elon Musk and Musk's bid for Twitter."
    And they were prepared to pay $1000 per hour for this, which is a wonderful motivation for discovering a previously latent speech impediment.

    How this reads to me is that everything Zatko has said is true and Twitter's management is in serious trouble, but I should beware of wishcasting.

Tech News

  • A long review of Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach with no part IV.  (Less Wrong)

    I first read GEB when I was 16 - it was a Christmas gift from my mum.  Which tells you something about both of us.  It's probably heavy going for a 16 year old but the way it is written you can read it once and get the surface of it, skimming over the maths-heavy pages, and then come back to it again a year later an get a lot more out of it.  Maybe more than once.

    Also, Hofstadter is right about the nature of consciousness.

  • GlobalWafers is starting construction of a $5 billion factory in Texas this November.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Before you can build a silicon chip you need a silicon wafer - a sliver of ultra-pure crystalline silicon the size of an LP record.  There are many chip factories in the US but this will be the first new wafer factory in 20 years.

  • A tale of two hardware firewalls.  (Serve the Home)

    One good, one less good.  And the only difference being the case - but since these are passively cooled, the case makes a big difference.

  • China has formally accused the NSA of spying, which is the function of the NSA.  (Gizmodo)

    This may be true, in which case it's dog-bites-man except that the NSA broke Rule One of Spycraft, which is don't get caught.

    Or it may be China making shit up to divert attention from getting caught spying on other countries itself, which, well, same as above.

  • They said I was daft to build a datacenter in Strasbourg, but I built it all the same.  It burned down.  Then I built another one.  (The Register)

    OVH has built a new, hopefully less flammable, datacenter on the site of the one that burned to the ground last year.

    Last year was not a good time for datacenters.

Disclaimer: That burned down.  Then I built another one.  That caught fire, burned down, and exploded with enough force to blow out windows in Vladivostok.  But the fourth one is waiting on the insurance money.

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Tuesday, September 13


Daily News Stuff 13 September 2022

Working Five To Eight Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Intel's upcoming 13700T - a nominal 35W part - is reported to outrun AMD's 105W 5800X in both single and multi-threaded tests.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This could be true.  The 13700K is a 16 core / 24 thread part, while the 5800X is 8 core / 16 threads, so with one core running very fast or all 16 cores running slowly it can outperform the 5800X in the respective benchmarks while using less power.  But also being less useful for many workloads, because games (for example) really don't like it when one thread runs at half the speed of the others.

    Also it could be using a lot more than 35W.

  • Who cares if it scales?  (Better Programming)

    Me, because whenever someone writes something that doesn't scale, fixing it becomes my problem.  Often at 3AM.  On a holiday weekend.

  • Quad9 continues to fight those jerks at Sony in court.  (TorrentFreak)

    Quad9 is one of the public, global DNS servers - the others being Google's and Cloudflare's  Sony wants it to block pirate sites, even though it doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with the pirate sites - it just performs lookups of DNS information from other servers.

    It's a pretty important case because at its core is whether you can repeat a piece of information that is (a) public and (b) verifiably true when someone decides they don't like the implications of that information.

Disclaimer: I got my DNS and my DNA samples mixed up and now my laboratory mice are running illegal casino sites from Antigua.

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