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Friday, March 31

Geek

Daily News Stuff 31 March 2023

Termites R Us Edition

Top Story

  • Twitter has announced its new API plans for developers.  (Twitter)

    They're shit.  Just completely useless.

    For $100 per month - that's the hobbyist plan - you get 10,000 GET requests per month and 50,000 POSTs.

    Which is already terrible, but in fact even that is a lie.  They're counting individual tweets, not requests, and you can fetch 200 tweets with one GET.

    So that's 50 requests per month.  For $100.

    Elon Musk is somehow recreating the market opportunity that should have closed when he rescued Twitter from the commies.


  • Twitter is publishing The Algorithm today.  (Twitter)

    Whatever that means.  We'll see.



Tech News



Disclaimer: No, I did not have a good day today.  How did you guess?

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Thursday, March 30

Geek

Daily News Stuff 30 March 2023

Tiktokapotamus Edition

Top Story

  • US government efforts to ban communist spy and propaganda application TikTok have been stalled by...  Senator Rand Paul.  (Reuters)

    Senator Paul is just being his usual contrarian self and there is nothing at all to worry about in the comfortingly-named RESTRICT Act.  

    Let's see...  First born child, uh huh.  Plagues of blood, okay.  A fire upon the deep, makes sense.  Demons from the Ninth Circle of Hell eating your liver, yep.

    Everything is totally above board here and there is nothing to worry about and the government is not trying to shove through an unprecedented and violently unconstitutional infringement of civil rights under the pretext of fighting those filthy commies blinkblinkblink blink-blink-blink blinkblinkblink


Tech News

Louis Rossman Ranting About That RESTRICT Act Video of the Day


$1 million fines and 20 year penalties for secret crimes.

Yeah, this is fine.



Disclaimer: IT IS NOT FINE!

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Wednesday, March 29

Geek

Daily News Stuff 29 March 2023

Pippopalypse Edition

Top Story



Tech News

  • In other good news Disney's layoffs of 7000 staff have wiped out its metaverse unit.  (Deadline)

    Signs that someone at Disney is awake?


  • You can now run Doom on the Commodore 64.  (Tom's Hardware)

    By shoving an entire Raspberry Pi into the cartridge slot, but still.


  • HP's Omen Transcend 16 has the Four Essential Keys.  (Tom's Hardware)

    In fact, it has an entire ten-key desktop cursor pad - four arrow keys, the 4EK, plus Insert and Pause, plus another three keys above those.

    It would be hands down the best full-size laptop keyboard layout around except for some fucking reason the power button is sandwiched between F12 and Delete where you guaranteed to hit it with some regularity.  This is particularly galling because there is an obvious location for it at top right where they have positioned the Print Screen key.

    PowerToys can probably fix that.

    Anyway, apart from that the laptop has up to an Intel 13900HX CPU (6P + 8E cores) or AMD 7940HS (8P cores), RTX 4070 graphics, 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of SSD, and a 2560x1600 16" display with mini-LED lighting.

    Prices start at $1670 though, so not exactly a budget item.


  • Nvidia's RTX 4060 and 4060 Ti are expected to launch in May, after the 4070 arrives next month.  (WCCFTech)

    The desktop models, that is; the laptop versions are already on store shelves.  Inside laptops.

    These are expected to have 8GB of RAM.  One of the good things about the existing 3060 is that it comes with 12GB of RAM.  Well, not the laptop version, which only has 6GB, and not the butchered 8GB model, but the regular desktop card.  That looks to have been cut with the new release.


  • Intel's most expensive 4th generation Sapphire Rapids server CPUs can run Stable Diffusion image generation ten times faster.  (WCCFTech)

    Ten times faster than what, you ask.

    Ten times faster than previous generation CPUs.

    But nobody runs Stable Diffusion on CPUs, you say.

    Well, yeah.


Midjourney Art of the Day

http://ai.mee.nu/images/WitchAndRat.jpg?size=480x&q=95

The original version of this one literally gave the girl two left hands.  Other variations had...  Other problems.  This one came out pretty well, except that she's supposed to have short hair rather than braids and Midjourney v5 hates short hair on women.




Disclaimer: Give me tomboys or give me death!

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Tuesday, March 28

Geek

Daily News Stuff 28 March 2023

All Turtles All The Time Edition

Top Story


Tech News

Midjourney Art of the Day

http://ai.mee.nu/images/SorceressWorkbenchHD.jpg?size=480x&q=95

The hands again aren't quite right, but they are attached to her wrists and there aren't three of them, unlike one of the other pictures in this batch.

If someone wanted to illustrate a fantasy role-playing game, Midjourney would be a godsend.  Except that it doesn't understand what it's doing, it just makes a pastiche of what it's seen.

Now, it's seen literally millions of photos and pieces of art and it's grown very good at making pastiches, but it has no understanding and no imagination.

If you want an illustration, it's great.  If you want an illustration of something, hire an artist.



Disclaimer: They're all starving, you know.

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Monday, March 27

Geek

Daily News Stuff 27 March 2023

Upscaling The Downscale Edition

Top Story

  • Microsoft needs to stop shoving crap into Windows.  (Tom's Hardware)

    An evergreen story, but in particular this time about the MSN news that is shoved down your throat unless you go through and switch it off in seventeen places.  The Start Menu search will still look things up on Wikipedia which is something that nobody on the planet has ever wanted and I don't know how to turn that off.


Tech News

  • If you remember my experiments with AI image generator Midjourney from a few months ago, well, that was version 2, and they're now on version 5, and it's improved just a tiny bit.

    http://ai.mee.nu/images/TimeWitchHD.jpg?size=480x&q=95

    Hands are still its bête noire, but it's improving there too.  I only had to retry that one once.

    If you want something that looks like hand-drawn art it can do that too.

    http://ai.mee.nu/images/MagicSpaghettiRatHD.jpg?size=480x&q=95

    The old version was very good at generating body horror and Lovecraftian creepiness; I'll have to try that again and see if the changes have removed that or if it's still lurking.


  • The Arduino Uno R4 has been announced, with 16 times the RAM of the R3.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That brings it up to 32k.  Yes, kilobytes.  Yes, the R3 has 2k of RAM.


  • Amazon has released Mountpoint, an open source tool to mount S3 buckets as truly awful filesystems.  (InfoQ)
    Oh no, what has AWS done? I didn’t spend fifteen years yelling at people not to use S3 as a file system just to be undone by the S3 team itself!
    S3 is absolutely awful at managing files.  It's as effective at that as a bucket is at holding angry bobcats.  Treating it as a filesystem just makes that all the more painfully obvious.


Disclaimer: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask rather what's in this box labelled 'DANGER SALMONELLA'.  Oh, it's turtles.

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Sunday, March 26

Geek

One Small Step


http://ai.mee.nu/images/Pipipi.PNG?size=480x&q=95

So:
  1. The new server structure made the image filesystem read-only.  I got that sorted out the first week after the chaos of the move.  (Wait, no I didn't, but it did get sorted out a while ago.)

  2. The file upload API changed and renamed the filetype field, causing image uploads to fail.

  3. The new filetype was an object rather than a string so I couldn't even parse it to get the image type.

  4. There has been a bug in the code for fifteen years that only surfaced after I updated the MySQL server during the move, so even after uploading the file it wasn't accessible.  The record was created with invalid data and then immediately updated so this problem was invisible - it lasted less than a millisecond each time - until the new version of MySQL enforced stricter checking and refused to create the records at all.

Fixed.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 26 March 2023

Surely You Don't Care What Other People Think Edition

Top Story

  • TikTok users are retarded and so is the tech press that reports on the issue.  (Tech Crunch)
    Still, TikTokers point to the distinction between sharing data with a private Chinese company and the Chinese government.
    None.  The difference is none.  All Chinese internet companies are entirely under the thumb of the Chinese intelligence agencies.
    For its part, TikTok has tried to appease U.S. officials with a plan called Project Texas, a $1.5 billion undertaking that will move U.S. users’ data to Oracle servers.
    Which simply proves that TikTok is acting in bad faith.  The company has claimed for years that US user data is held separate from and inaccessible to Chinese operations, but all of TikTok's internal tools have backdoors to allow China to spy on foreign users.  (BuzzFeed)

    Look, if you want to be a pawn of a genocidal communist dictatorship, don't take half-measures, move to North Korea.  It's a free country. 

    To enter, not to leave.  You can only leave in a box.


Tech News

  • Proxmox VE might poop itself when daylight savings kicks in.  (Proxmox)

    This can't happen all the time or it would have been caught and fixed years ago, but several users from the UK reported it right as daylight savings started there.

    Always configure Linux/Unix systems to run root as UTC.  You can set timezones in individual user accounts and applications, but leave root alone.


  • A comparison of three hobbyist PCB services.  (lcamtuf's thing)

    I'd like to see a bigger review of these services; I'll see if I can find one.  Basically you can send these companies a design and get back circuit boards - in as little as 24 hours if you're willing to pay.  Some will also assemble the entire circuit for you, though again that costs money.


  • Panera Bread will use your palm print for membership verification and payment.  (CBS)

    Which means they have to have your palm print and your payment details on file.

    I'd list all the ways in which this will go horribly wrong but then I'd need a bigger blog.


  • After a petition signed by 30,000 Amazon workers demanding the right to work from home, Amazon says it would be happy to lay them all off if they don't quit whining and get their lazy asses into the office.  (NY Post)

    I work from home, but that started because I was working twelve hours a day and couldn't continue doing that if I spent two hours commuting each day as well.  It worked so well that the company eventually closed its physical office and set everyone to work from home.

    But these people are just idiots.
    "I'm collapsing here. I 'm sorry I feel like a total failure," one Amazon staffer wrote, according to Insider.  "Come in and work.  Do as you're told."

    "I'm crying as my family prepares a meal."
    On second thoughts, you're right.  Don't bother coming into the office.  We'll send you your severance details.


  • I nearly bought a Framework Laptop but the battery on the 1340P was 10% smaller than the one on the 1360P and a new battery would cost a whole $69.  (The Verge)

    Now there is a point here: There is almost no difference between the 1340P and 1360P (or the previous generation's 1240P and 1260P) and no reason to spend the extra $320, except that the 1360P Framework 13 comes with a slightly larger battery.

    The reason for that is that Framework already has large orders for the smaller, older battery and needs to put them somewhere or pay a lot of money to cancel the order, and the 1340P as the latest low-end model is the obvious victim of choice.

    But on the eleventh hand, just buy the AMD version.  Better in every way and all AMD models come with the new battery.

    I'm planning to plunk down $100 to pre-order it.  Ships some time in Q3, and I doubt something better will show up before then.



Framework Video of the Day

Now that Linus has his channel back (one of his staff opened a PDF that wasn't a PDF) he's taken a look at the new Framework 16.  A prototype, since it won't ship until late this year, but he was an early investor in Framework and has one of the biggest hardware review sites around, so he gets early access.


This video shows off the modular design: Six swappable I/O modules - they're all USB-C internally but can switch between USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, audio, micro SD, or storage - up to 1TB each.  A swappable PCIe module for a graphics card or other device.  

And six swappable input modules.  The keyboard, trackpad, and the inch or so of empty space to either side of each are all removable and replaceable without even needing a screwdriver - they clip in place with magnets.  (The screen bezel is also magnetic.)

Which is great but still leaves the model I want - the Framework 13 - without the Four Essential Keys.



Disclaimer: You can't always get what you want, unless you have a Digi-Key account, a surface-mount reflow workstation, and a very steady hand.

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Saturday, March 25

Geek

Daily News Stuff 25 March 2023

Autumn Joy Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Also, McCarthy was right.

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Friday, March 24

Geek

Daily News Stuff 24 March 2023

8PM Lunch Edition

Top Story

  • Framework, the company behind - logically enough - the upgradeable/repairable Framework laptop, had a couple of announcements today.

    First is an AMD version of what is now called the Framework 13.  (Frame.work)

    This is something people have been asking for since the first Framework laptop appeared.  It will come with a six or eight core Ryzen 7000 CPU with Zen 4 cores and RDNA2 graphics, plus up to 64GB (and maybe 96GB) of DDR5 RAM in two SO-DIMMs.

    There's also a 13th generation update to the Intel version, and that model still uses DDR4 RAM in case you have 64GB of spare SO-DIMMs just lying around like I do.

    If you have an earlier Intel version, you can buy just the new motherboard and swap it in, and they have a $39 case so you can re-use the old motherboard as a desktop PC.

    Still lacks the Four Essential Keys.  Otherwise I'd have bought one already.


  • The other new announcement is the reason the Framework laptop is now the Framework 13: The Framework 16.

    This is a 16" version of the same idea, with a few extra features enabled by the larger design.

    The Framework 13 has four interchangeable I/O modules so that you can get whatever mix of I/O you need.  If you want three 2.5Gb Ethernet ports on your laptop you can do that.

    The Framework 16 uses the same modules but supports six of them.

    It also has a PCIe 4.0 x8 slot for a graphics module (or another device, like a dual M.2 slot adaptor).

    And while it still lacks the four essential keys, it has interchangeable input modules, so there's an optional numeric keypad if you want it, and other user interface modules on the way.


Tech News



Disclaimer: -

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Thursday, March 23

Geek

Daily Tech News 23 March 2023

Triple Frog Edition

Top Story


Tech News

  • There's a looming replication crisis in AI research.  (AI Snake Oil)

    More specifically there's a looming replication crisis for any research that involves the products of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, which in reality is anything but open.  OpenAI is shutting down access to its Codex AI, giving researchers three days notice before a hundred scientific papers were consigned to the reproducibility dustbin.

    That site looks interesting; it throws cold water on a number of overheated subjects in the AI space.


  • Nvidia's RTX 4000 SFF is a half-height Ada Lovelace professional graphics card.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Perfect if you need a second graphics card but your special edition Hololive PC case only has half-height slots after the first one.

    It has 20GB of RAM and four mini-DisplayPort ports, delivers roughly the performance of the previous generation's RTX 3070, and uses just 70W of power.  The 3070 itself has 8GB of RAM and uses 220W of power, so that's a pretty substantial improvement.

    The price is, unfortunately, $1250.  It would be quite a good card otherwise.


  • Meanwhole Nvidia's H100 NVL has 188GB of RAM and fills four full-height PCIe slots.  (AnandTech)

    And uses around 800W of power.

    Price is not even mentioned, but if you assume it will cost somewhere between a new car and a new house you won't be disappointed.  If you wonder who is in the market for such a thing, Nvidia's marketing says it offers "12x the GPT3-175B inference throughput as a last-generation HGX A100".

    Yeah, it's aimed squarely at OpenAI.


Disclaimer: No, b-e-e-tles.  An inordinate fondness of beetles.  Now turn that music down.

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