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

Saturday, November 11


Weekend Trickery

Doing a database upgrade via replication.

It'll take a while, but that doesn't matter because the site will keep running as normal throughout.  Except when one of the tables decided it didn't want to table anymore, there was that.  This upgrade should sort that kind of thing out as well.

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Friday, November 10


Daily News Stuff 10 November 2023

60% Solution Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Maybe we could find a cure. And then a vaccine.

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Thursday, November 09


Daily News Stuff 9 November 2023

Ad Astra Per Assholes Edition

Top Story

  • The second Starship test build is stacked up, ready for launch as early as next week.  (Ars Technica)

    This version should fix the issues that caused ground control to hit the self-destruct button four minutes into the first test flight.  Starship can lift more than a hundred tons into Low Earth Orbit and then land back on the ground - once they get the explosions ironed out - and has been contracted by NASA for future manned Moon missions, so I'm really keen to see this work.

    So are the commenters at Ars Technica.  As much as they're hardwired to hate Elon Musk, they are rocketry fanboys and want to see this fly.  The people getting banished from this particular thread are the ones hoping for fireworks.

  • Meanwhile the Space Force has tapped SpaceX to launch its space plane.  (Ars Technica)

    The X-37B is a robotic mini-Shuttle that has flown seven times so far - actually a pair of shuttles, just called 1 and 2 - often spending multiple years in orbit doing secret space stuff.  It usually launches on the Atlas V, but this time will go aboard the more powerful Falcon Heavy, which could be sending it into a much higher orbit.

  • Meanwhile the ESA is run by petty bureaucratic assholes.  (Ars Technica)

    All the worst qualities of all the European member states rolled together with no accountability.  What did you expect?

Tech News

Disclaimer: Though probably not.

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Wednesday, November 08


Daily News Stuff 8 November 2023

Meant To Do That Edition

Top Story

  • Optus, Australia's second largest telecommunications provider (I think), went down today.  (ABC)

    And I thought I was having a rough time when ARP updates for some of the IP addresses I needed to migrate were taking minutes to propagate rather than seconds.

    Anyway, around 4AM the entire Optus network ceased to be.  Mobile phones and internet access simply dropped dead right across the country.  Shops had to remember what cash looked like as point-of-sale terminals became useless bricks.  Melbourne's trains stopped working because, well, Melbourne.  Some remote towns with a single communications link via Optus were cut off entirely.

    I'm not sure quite how they managed this, because the national internet backbone itself was completely unaffected.  Probably DNS.  It's usually DNS.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Unless you use Optus, in which case you're screwed.

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Tuesday, November 07


Daily News Stuff 7 November 2023

Cognitive Assonance Edition

Top Story

  • WeWork has gone bankrupt.  (Bloomberg)  (archive site)

    This will save the labour of at least a dozen neurons that I had assigned to correcting all the other neurons that believed that WeWork went bankrupt a couple of years ago.

    The company has $15 billion in assets and $19 billion in debt, which is not fatal except that it is also unprofitable and sees no path to profitability without major changes.

    The company has filed for Chapter 11 proceedings in the US, which means it will attempt to reorganise to somehow become a functional company...  Which it never has been.

Tech News

  • Nitrogen-9 is apparently a thing.  (Physics Magazine)

    If 7 protons and only 2 neutrons sounds wildly unstable - atoms typically have as many or more neutrons as protons - then you are paying attention.  It very quickly disintegrates into five independent protons and a helium atom.

    In fact, nobody has actually observed Nitrogen-9; what they detected was something that had just disintegrated into five protons and a helium atom.  But if you find a flaming pile of junk with four wheels and four doors and a Ford logo, it's not too much of a stretch to guess that it used to be a car.

  • Speaking of flaming piles of junk, Washington DC is handing out free Apple AirTags to help track down stolen cars.  (PC Magazine)

    Which is the least stupid thing I've heard out of Washington in years.

  • If you want a pretty decent Windows laptop, the HP Pavilion Plus 14 is available for $680 with a discount code via HP's store on eBay.  (Liliputing)

    This is similar to the model I'm using right now.  Mine has an Intel 12700H, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD; the model on offer has a 13500H - newer, but fewer cores, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.  Both have a 2880x1800 OLED display, which is really nice, two Thunderbolt ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI, a microSD slot, and a headphone jack.  And the four essential keys.

    If it had upgradeable RAM, or even just a build-to-order option for 32GB, it would be pretty much perfect.  But you'd need a professional desoldering station to even attempt such an upgrade.

  • Bluesky Social has migrated to SQLite.  (Hacker News)

    SQLite is the most popular database in the world - there are an estimated one trillion copies of it in use, because it is so often embedded inside applications.  But it's an unusual choice for a social network.

    What Bluesky is doing is giving each user their own database - which means the company is running 1.8 million individual databases.

    Which is Dante's 11th circle of Hell.  (The 10th is inhabited by postmodernists.)

Disclaimer: The 12th circle is supposedly reserved for New York commercial real estate agents, but has been boarded up and vacant for centuries.

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Monday, November 06


Daily News Stuff 6 November 2023

Red River Unicorn Cull Edition

Top Story

  • Why Cities: Skylines 2 performs so poorly.  (Paavo)

    Culling and level of detail.  Or rather, the lack of same.  Or precisely, horrible defects in Unity that mean that in complex games the automatic handling of these issues simply breaks.

    And what that means is that if a complex structure would be drawn with 60,000 polygons when it's in the foreground, in Cities: Skylines 2 it is drawn with 60,000 polygons when it is in the background, and indeed drawn with 60,000 polygons when it is behind another object and not visible to the player at all.

    Which means that it will be fixed, with some improvements arriving already and a lot more in coming weeks.  But that's because the game developer has taken over fixing things the game engine should handle for them.

    Most likely - this is speculation, but it makes sense - Unity has been promising fixes for these problems for months, and the fixes simply didn't arrive in time.

Tech News

  • Went to cancel my Adobe Creative Cloud account since I don't really have time to use it, and I have plenty of other software to take its place (mostly from Humble Bundle, which is a great place to save 90% by buying last year's version).

    They gave me a 50% discount.

    Which...  Okay.

  • A brain injury removed my ability to perceive time.  (Salon)

    It was lupus.

    An Oliver Sacks tale except in this case the patient recovered and was able to tell it herself.

  • Drunk grizzlies keep getting killed by trains in Montana.  (Cowboy State Daily)

    Which has to be the Montana-est headline ever.

  • Across the US, in red states and blue, in rich districts and poor, home-schooling is the fastest growing form of education.  (WV News)
    Home schooling's surging popularity crosses every measurable line of politics, geography and demographics. The number of home-schooled kids has increased 373 percent over the past six years in the small city of Anderson, S.C.; it also increased 358 percent in a school district in the Bronx.
    This worries the usual suspects:
    "Policymakers should think, 'Wow - this is a lot of kids,'" said Elizabeth Bartholet, an emeritus professor at Harvard Law School and child welfare advocate. "We should worry about whether they're learning anything."
    You might want to look closer to home, Erzsebet.

Disclaimer: I thought she died in the 17th century.

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Sunday, November 05


Daily News Stuff 5 November 2023

Bit Late Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Poit.

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Saturday, November 04


Daily News Stuff 4 November 2023

A Billion There Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: There is no spoon.  I can do you a fork though.

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Friday, November 03


Daily News Stuff 3 November 2023

Fraud Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Sun of a Beach Video of the Day

Disclaimer: The Wuhan Bat Soup Chemical Company was not available for comment.

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Thursday, November 02


Daily News Stuff 2 November 2023

No Through Road Island Edition

Top Story

  • The much-anticipated Cities: Skylines 2 is out, and I was hoping to finally build my new PC, with a configuration that could run the game comfortably at 4K.

    Looks like I won't be doing that any time soon, first because my money may be headed to something else entirely, and second because there is no such configuration.  (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

    An RTX 3070 - a decent card from the previous generation - at the 1080p High setting, gets 13fps.  The 4070 Ti, which is the fastest Nvidia card at anything resembling a sane price, gets 22fps.

    And that's at 1080p, not 4K.

    I'll leave it for six months.  I might buy it - I'm definitely going to play it at some point - but it looks like it needs some more time in the oven.

Tech News

Disclaimer: We wouldn't be caught dead running out own software.  What are you people doing?

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