Friday, March 31
Termites R Us Edition
- 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.
- Also shit is this Epyc Genoa motherboard from ASRock. (Serve the Home)
I looked at it and was impressed that they had managed to fit a Genoa motherboard into the microATX form factor, even if they had to cut it back to eight memory channels.
It's not the microATX form factor. It's not the anything form factor.
- Even more shit arrives from Asus in the form of the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM. (The Verge)
It's an ugly, bulky, overweight tablet PC with a 48 minute battery life.
- Tax Heaven 3000 is an anime dating sim that also does your taxes and empties your bank account. (Tech Crunch)
- Half of all new NPM packages are SEO viruses. (Sandworm)
The other half are other kinds of virus.
NPM is, you guessed it, shit.
Thursday, March 30
- 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
- A full review of the new Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16. (Tom's Hardware)
With two screens, a 16 core Ryzen CPU, and an Nvidia RTX 4090, this is one of the most powerful and flexible laptops around but.
But it seems that Nvidia couldn't decide who they were making this laptop for and ended up with something that won't please anybody - unless it arrives as an unexpected gift. It's by no means bad; it's just not focused.
Creators don't need a 240Hz display or an RTX 4090, they'd be better off with a cheaper (quieter, cooler) GPU and a higher-resolution, wider-gamut display. The 16" LCD panel covers only 85% of DCI-P3 - which used to be very good and again is not bad, it's just decidedly unremarkable for a high-end laptop.
Gamers don't need the second screen or the cramped keyboard and small trackpad caused by its inclusion, and more conventional laptops have better cooling and run faster.
If you work and play on the go and need to pick just one laptop, again, it's not a bad choice. It's also not remotely cheap - the tested configuration cost $4000. US, not Australian. It's A$7000 here.
- Memory prices continue to fall which is great for consumers in the short term but not great for the companies that produce the chips, with Micron losing $2.3 billion for the quarter. (Tom's Hardware)
The last collapse of DRAM pricing left only three major producers of memory chips.
- Intel plans to release the successor to the lackluster Sapphire Rapids server (and workstations) CPUs by the end of this year. (AnandTech)
They should look up Osborne Effect.
They really should, because Emerald Rapids - the replacement for Sapphire Rapids - will be followed by Sierra Forest in the first half of 2024, then Granite Rapids in the second half of 2024, then Clearwater Forest in 2025.
It seems simpler to just buy AMD.
- 1100 virtue-signaling nitwits signed on to an open letter calling for a six month moratorium on AI research, pointing to the existential threat posed by crappy chatbots. (Tech Crunch)
- Stable Diffusion will kill all life on Earth by lunchtime Wednesday if we don't act NOW!!!!! (Time)
Just in case you thought the wankers from the previous article were insufficiently hysterical.
Louis Rossman Ranting About That RESTRICT Act Video of the Day
Yeah, this is fine.
Wednesday, March 29
- There's a bank run on Binance now. (WSJ)
The crypto trading platform has seen outflows of $2 billion as thieves, scammers, and terrorists scurry for cover. But it's weathered similar outflows recently, so this doesn't necessarily mean doom.
I'm sure the US authorities hope it does mean doom, because they hate crypto.
For the wrong reasons.
- Meanwhile in brighter news Sam Bankman-Fried, disgraced CEO of bankrupt Ponzi scheme FTX, has been charged with paying $40 million in bribes to Chinese officials. (CBS News)
No, you idiot. You take bribes. You don't pay them.
- 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.
Midjourney Art of the Day
Tuesday, March 28
All Turtles All The Time Edition
- The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed a complaint against Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao for - basically - not taking the CFTC seriously. (CNBC)
On the one hand, the entire crypto industry is full of this kind of rule-bending bullshit when it's not outright stealing money and setting it on fire.
On the other hand, the people enforcing the rules sat around with their thumbs up their butts while the industry stole that money and set it on fire, and are only now taking action against much more minor infringements.
- Intel's 13th generation NUCs are here. (AnandTech)
Along with a handy chart that shows the difference between the 1340P and 1360P. Not much at all on the CPU side, but the iGPU has 96 cores instead of 80 and runs 100MHz faster.
Dual HDMI, dual Thunderbolt, dual DDR4 SODIMM slots - not DDR5, which makes it more attractive to me because not only is DDR4 cheaper but I already have 128GB in 16GB modules sitting around from earlier upgrades, one M.2 slot, and 2.5Gb Ethernet.
I'd prefer AMD but AMD's 7000 series doesn't support DDR4 memory.
- And then there were none: Agatha Christie's novels are the latest to be gruesomely murdered by British "sensitivity readers". (The Guardian)
I'm not saying woodchippers, but... Woodchippers.
- Some of Twitter's source code was leaked on GitHub by an embittered ex-employee. (Cyber Kendra)
Which narrows it down to about 9000 suspects.
- China sucks. TikTok sucks. Those who claim that - for example - America and Facebook are just as bad do not know what they are talking about. (The Register)
A well-written article, so of course the comments are full of idiots.
- The Verge is also full of idiots. (The Verge)
The ideal of an open internet is not a suicide pact, you retards.
Midjourney Art of the Day
Monday, March 27
Upscaling The Downscale Edition
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Sunday, March 26
- 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.)
- The file upload API changed and renamed the filetype field, causing image uploads to fail.
- The new filetype was an object rather than a string so I couldn't even parse it to get the image type.
- 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.
Surely You Don't Care What Other People Think Edition
- 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.
- 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."On second thoughts, you're right. Don't bother coming into the office. We'll send you your severance details.
"I'm crying as my family prepares a meal."
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
Which is great but still leaves the model I want - the Framework 13 - without the Four Essential Keys.
Saturday, March 25
Autumn Joy Edition
- Why the banking crisis probably isn't a repeat of 2008 - for now. (Chase)
Yeah, this is the opposite of convincing. Bank runs are a self-fulfilling prophecy, but being told the economy is booming in the middle of a recession does nothing to allay that.
- ChatGPT can write code - so long as it has seen the code before. (Twitter)
It scored 10/10 solving problems it had been trained on, and 0/10 solving problems it had not.
What's more, just as it does when asked for references to support its claims, ChatGPT will hallucinate when writing code and use APIs that do not actually exist.
Which is rather like charging a customer $500 for replacing their blinker fluid.
- Big socket is big. (Tom's Hardware)
I've mentioned many times the capabilities of the latest server CPUs - over 100 cores, a gigabyte or even tens of gigabytes of cache, a dozen memory channels per socket, and so on.
Something I haven't mentioned so often is that these chips are huge.
- Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and the man behind Moore's Law, has passed away at 94. (AnandTech)
He retired in 1997 so he hasn't been active in the industry in a long time, but his contributions were huge.
- How dare you refer to the Chinese Communist Party as "communist"? That's racist! (The Verge)
Sure, Congress is - as P. J. O'Rourke noted - a parliament of whores, but the CCP is communist and TikTok is a tool of the Chinese state, which is to say, a machine of a genocidal communist dictatorship.
Friday, March 24
8PM Lunch Edition
- 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.
- I mentioned 96GB of RAM as a possibility for the AMD Framework laptop because 96GB will shortly be an option on AMD systems. (WCCFTech)
You need a BIOS update but people running a beta version of the update report it works perfectly with up to 192GB of RAM.
Intel motherboards already work with this.
- Need a cheap 2.5Gb Ethernet switch? Here's a handy roundup. (Serve the Home)
2.5 is the new 1.
- Google's new AI chatbot, Bard, is here, and it's an ultra-woke lying piece of shit just like ChatGPT. (Not the Bee)
Burn it all.
Thursday, March 23
Triple Frog Edition
- The SEC has issued what is called a Wells notice to crypto exchange Coinbase, warning of likely regulatory action against the company. (CNBC)
What the notice did not say is what the regulatory action might be for, leading Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to go on something of a tirade on Twitter. The company has been asking the SEC to provide regulatory guidelines for them to follow, but the SEC seems to think it is better to rule by fear than by, well, rules.
Having failed utterly to take action against FTX the SEC is now determined to put all the horses back into the barn and then set fire to it.
- 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.
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