The ravens are looking a bit sluggish. Tell Malcolm they need new batteries.

Wednesday, August 08


Daily News Stuff 8 August 2018

Tech News

  • Intel's 660p QLC NVMe SSD is here and the benchmarks are out.

    Conclusion: It's reasonably priced and offers good read speeds, and should work fine for most users. It doesn't show the performance anomalies of the earlier 600p (TLC) and it has a large enough SLC cache that writes probably won't be a problem unless, oh, you're running Linux VMs with test databases doing natural language analysis on large volume social network feeds. (AnandTech, PCPer)

  • Asus's ZenBook Pro 15 UX550 has separate PgUp/PgDn/Home/End keys.

    Oh, and a six core i7 CPU, Nvidia 1050Ti graphics, 4K display covering 100% of Adobe RGB, two Thunderbolt ports, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. But that's incidental stuff. The keys are the, um, key.

    Also, a crappy VGA webcam. Why do you do that, PC makers? Why? (AnandTech)

    Also, this one doesn't have that neat touchscreen touchpad.

  • Threadripper 2 rips threads. (Tom's Hardware)

    Benchmarks are still embargoed, so you have to wait until Monday for the good stuff.

  • Techdirt examines why people don't trust capitalism anymore. Answer: Because they're thumb-sucking economic illiterates. (Techdirt)

    The economist that joins this week's podcast episode puts it somewhat more diplomatically, but that's what it comes down to.  And they make the very good point that the industries most often held up as failures of free markets are precisely those where the free market is most distorted by government intervention.

  • TSMC caught a cold. (Bloomberg)

  • Democrats want to destroy free speech online, hampered by pesky Constitution. (CJR)

  • Semiaccurate is bearish on Intel's server chances over the next couple of years. And when I say bearish, I mean bearish. (Semiaccurate, additional reporting by National Geographic)

    Semiaccurate often buries the juiciest stuff behind a paywall (have to keep the lights on somehow) so subscribers may have known this for a while, but this article lays it all out for everyone.

  • HTTPS kinda sucks for all that it is a necessity. You don't need to go to rural Uganda to find this out, though; anyone in Australia could tell you. (via Hacker News)

  • A security researcher got commit access to Homebew, that open source distribution thingy for Mac. Nothing bad happened, and the tools were solid enough to verify that nothing bad happened, and the problem has been fixed.

    But like many such projects, Homebrew is maintained by a small team of volunteers, with little funding despite large numbers of users. They have a Patreon page up now so if you're a Mac developer, consider slipping them a few bucks. Because it's a small price to pay for not having to manually compile 397 different packages. (via Reddit)

Social Media News

  • Iron Man tweeted that he is seeking to take Stark Enterprises private sending shares soaring like a SpaceX launch. Hopefully this one won't explode on landing. (Ars Technica)

  • Journalists are upset with Facebook because the terms of service effectively prohibit investigative journalism. Now, 95% of American journalists are weasels, but Facebook is one giant weasel with a user interface straight from the last days of GeoCities and poor personal hygiene, so at first glance I'm with the journoweasels. (TechDirt)

    Refreshingly, the complaint is not based on who is doing the research, but on the nature of the research:

    First, the purpose of the project must be to inform the general public about matters of public concern. Projects designed to inform the public about issues like echo chambers, misinformation, and discrimination would satisfy this condition. Projects designed to facilitate commercial data aggregation and targeted advertising would not.

  • Snapchat got a $250 million investment from Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Snapchat stock is down somewhat on lower user numbers, but it only lost $350 million this past quarter so things are looking up. (TechCrunch)

    Disclaimer: I have never used Snapchat and never plan to use Snapchat.

  • The New York Times speculates that Snapchat's dip to only 188 million users signals the beginning of the end for social media. For comparison, that number is almost exactly three times the circulation of all American newspapers combined at their peak in 1984. Or to put it another way, three hundred times the circulation of the New York Times today. (The New York Times)

  • No-one buys things via Alexa. (TechCrunch)

    I can certainly see the use of Alexa and other smart devices as magical hands-free phones when you're busy in the kitchen or occupied in the bathroom. But for regular shopping? I don't see the point, and apparently neither does anyone else.

Word of the Day

Absquatulate: To leave abruptly.

Video of the Day

What ancient Greek music sounded like ca. 408 BC, as best as we can reconstruct it. (With one small change that the higher registers are sung by women in the modern choir where in the ancient world it would likely have been boys.)

Thing of the Day

Tree cover map of Australia. Look, it says it right in the name, "null arbor".

This is why everyone lives in that arc from Adelaide to Brisbane. And a few weirdos in Perth. Everything in between sucks. (I have lived my entire life within that thin green band along the east and south-east coast.)

Picture of the Day

The train arriving on platform three is the late-running 1932 coals to Newcastle service. This train does not pick up passengers.

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Tuesday, August 07


I Considered Adding A Daily Social Media News Section

But the social media news is STUPID.
Wait, I found a Twitter thread that isn't garbage.  Worth a look if just for the novelty.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:42 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 103 words, total size 1 kb.


Daily News Stuff 7 August 2018

Tech News

  • Android Pie is out.  Pie?  Just pie?  Yes, just Pie.  (Android Central, hat tip Rick C.)

    I don't have it.  My Nexus 7s and my Sony tablet are stuck on 6; my Moto G4 Play and my Huawei Mediapad are still on 7, though at least they're getting the monthly patches.

  • AMD's Threadripper 2 previews are out.  Full reviews turn out to be embargoed for another week, though, so this is just the tech details (which had already leaked) and pricing (which had already leaked) and AMD's own performance tests (which had already leaked).  (AnandTech)

  • AMD's semi-custom console APU is ready for its closeup, Mr DeMille.

    Looks like a 256-bit bus delivering 256GB/s of bandwidth, and we can see that the APU is indeed a single chip, not a multi-chip module like Intel's Kaby Lake G.  (AnandTech)

  • IBM shows off a 19.2TB SSD with an MRAM cache.  Magnetoresistive RAM is fast and durable and non-volatile, but expensive, so using it as a cache makes a lot of sense.  (AnandTech)

    Also, the drives support PCIe 4.0.

  • Lenovo has leaked AMD's rumoured 2300X and 2500X CPUs.   (Tom's Hardware)

    These are just updates to the 1300X and 1500X.  It looks like they're built on the Ryzen 2 CPU die, and not on the APU die with the graphics disabled.  (The CPU die has more cache, so if the leaked details are correct these can't be using the APU die.)

    Update: Come to think of it, the APU die has fewer PCIe lanes available, so they would have to use the CPU die for these models or lose functionality over last year's versions.

  • BBC blocked in China.  This is not, remarkably, the fault of any stupidity on the part of the BBC.  They did everything right.  It's just nominally communist fascists fighting with nominally capitalist socialists over the marketing rights to the censorship Olympics.  (TechDirt)

  • Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube have booted professional crazy man Alex Jones.  (TechCrunch)

    Which would be less alarming if (a) I wasn't on a week's suspension from Twitter for insulting goldfish and (b) hadn't been banned from YouTube for eight years before they relaxed their multiple-account restrictions for paying customers.  (I have Google Play Music, which includes YouTube premium.)

    VermillionAMV got banned from YouTube a couple of days ago, and all they do is post other people's AMVs.  I linked that nice Wakfu AMV and the next day it was gone.  Fortunately they got reinstated, but there was no indication of what happened or why, just BOOM, everything gone.  And YouTube URLs have zero descriptive value, so when they go you're left with nothing.

  • Intel is expected to quote launch unquote their quote ninth generation unquote chips this month.  You'll be able to get the chips in maybe October.  Also, this is still Skylake.  Nothing has changed except the name.  Oh, and the core count.  That's actually changed a lot.

    Eight cores.  Let's see AMD answer that oh wait they already did.  (Fudzilla)

  • Samsung is getting into the QLC game too.  Unless these are a lot cheaper than existing TLC drives I'd hold off for the first generation or two.  (TweakTown)

  • Inko is a dynamic gradually-typed object oriented language written in Rust and producing portable bytecode.  I think the syntax needs a bit of poking - curly brackets and :: and @ everywhere - but the functionality looks nice.

Word of the Day

PΓ€ntsdrunk: The Finnish art of drinking at home, alone, in your underwear.

Thing of the Day

Thing of the day is the Ologies podcast.

Host Alie Ward takes listeners through an ology - a field of science or general knowledge - each week. It's usually quite interesting, but sometimes a but scatterbrained, usually when listeners send in stupid questions. The gemology podcast veered into pseudoscience and and museum podcast got sidetracked by ghost stories, which was annoying because the rest of the episode was both interesting and entertaining.

Picture of the Day


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Monday, August 06


Daily News Stuff 6 August 2018

Tech News

  • AMD's Threadripper 2990WX Ultimate Sewing Silk And Satin Edition is 53% faster than Intel's competing Core i9 7980XE Waffling Whiffenpoof.  On Cinebench, specifically, but that's a solid use case for this chip.  (WCCFTech)

    The Threadripper WX range is not for everyone due to price and memory latency; unless you really need all those cores and your application isn't latency-sensitive, you'd be better off with the Threadripper X or just a Ryzen 2700X.  But for those who need what it delivers, it does seem to deliver.

    Threadripper 2 embargo lifts today, so expect a flood of reviews shortly.

  • AMD's rumoured 2600H and 2800H 45W mobile APUs just got leaked by HPPDF  (Via Reddit)

    As noted previously, this is all the same APU chip; it's just configured at anything from 12W to 65W depending on the application.  And it's a good choice for an all-in-one like this - though I'll stick with my Dell Inspirons and their eight-core Ryzen 1700s thanks.

  • Well, actually...  Apple is only the first company to reach a $1 trillion value if you don't adjust for inflation.  And ignore state-owned groups like Saudi Aramco and PetroChina.

    The Dutch East India Company ($7.4T), Mississippi Company ($6.3T), and South Sea Company ($4.2T) all dwarf the maker of overpriced digital fashion accessories.  (Motley Fool)

    True, all three of those companies peaked during bubbles, the South Sea Company infamously so.  But then, the iPhone X starts at A$1579 and doesn't even have a headphone jack, so don't talk to me about bubbles.

Picture of the Day

Zelda: Sunlight Princess, Mirco Cabbia

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Sunday, August 05


Daily News Stuff 5 August 2018

Tech News
  • For a trillion-dollar company Apple sure ships some garbage products.  (TechCrunch, who are not getting an invite to the next developer conference.)

  • An office building in Seattle without air conditioning.  Of course, Seattle is practically in the Arctic, and even so this office is hot and sweaty and workers leave early to avoid the late afternoon heat and it's generally fucking retarded.*

  • Apparently 25GBaseT and 40GBaseT are a thing.  They use Cat8 cables, which are also a thing.  And autonegotiate all the way back down to 10BaseT (old 10 megabit Ethernet) if needed.  Cable runs at 25/40 Gbps are limited to 30 metres, so this is for wiring racks and not office buildings.

    There's also a new standard for running gigabit Ethernet over a single wire pair, which is very interesting for wiring office buildings.  If you already have Cat5 everywhere you can run four times as many ports.

  • Server migration and database updates are done.  Which means I don't need to renew that server for another year.  Which means I get to spend the money on toys instead!  I'm thinking a couple of 1TB Intel 760p SSDs for Tohru and Rally...  For Tohru, at least.  And since NBN hasn't arrived, I need a new router, because my old one is old.  And one of those nice LaCie 8TB drives.  And there goes all the money I just saved...

    Planning to get the Asus DSL-AC52U router, which in theory supports the VDSL config I'll need for NBN, but in practice locks your connection so you have to call tech support and get them to unlock it and wait for your verified NBN modem to show up.  But it also has a WAN port that I can plug the official modem into so I can blame my ISP when it goes wrong.

Picture of the Day

Pesca de Altura (High Fishing), Alejandro Burdisio

Video of the Day

A 50-year retrospective of anime openings.

I'm going to disown you if you don't - oh, you did.  Well, good.  Some odd choices, but plenty of great ones.

* I can say that here.

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Saturday, August 04


Daily News Stuff 4 August 2018

Tech News

  • AMD has a new APU: 4 Zen cores, 24 Vega compute units, and supporting 8GB of GDDR5 memory.  (AnandTech)

    Where the existing Ryzen 2400G trails behind the original Playstation 4, this new chip has almost exactly the graphics performance of the Playstation 4 Pro.

    The downside: You can't have one.  It's a semi-custom design for a Chinese PC and console manufacturer.  We're not likely to see these as a regular PC component, because without the GDDR5 memory the fast graphics cores would starve.

    As a minor note, despite the dozens of Ryzen processors across two generations now, covering desktops, laptops, workstations, servers from 8 to 64 cores, embedded systems, and now game consoles, this is only the fourth Ryzen chip.  Everything else has been put together from one CPU chip (in 2017 or 2018 version) and one APU chip.

  • AMD has a new range of high-end desktop chips that you will be able to buy, if you have the cash.  They range from the 12 core 2920X Tiny Tadpole for $649 to the 32 core 2990WX Robot Zombie Ninja Pirate for $1799.  (VideoCardz)

    The 12 and 16 core models use 180W; the 24 and 32 core models use a hefty 250W.  That's a lot of power and heat, but it's right in line with my Ryzen 1700, which uses 65W for 8 cores.

    Fittingly, the new chips come packaged in a small toaster oven.  (Fudzilla)

  • Microsemi (who?) are launching PCIe 4.0 products - SSD controller chips and PCIe switches.  PCIe 4.0 should start to enter general availability next year, with new CPUs and chipsets and motherboards and video cards and so on.  Yes, you will need to buy everything again.  And in 2020 DDR5 memory will be coming out, so you'll need to buy everything again.  (AnandTech)

    Or don't; things are mostly fine anyway.


Picture of the Day

Dotonbori, photo by Yoshito Hasaka

Video of the Day

Apparently Wakfu season 3 is on Netflix.  Apparently I cancelled my Netflix account BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE WORST RECOMMENDATION ALGORITHM EVER AND DIDN'T TELL ME THAT.

I have seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-Ray though.

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Friday, August 03


Daily News Stuff 3 August 2018

Tech News

Picture of the Day,Lamerlettaiac1880.jpg?size=720x&q=95

La merlettaia, Luigi Bechi, ca. 1880

Video of the Day

The SSI Gold Box games never looked like this!

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Post contains 108 words, total size 2 kb.

Thursday, August 02


Daily News Stuff 2 August 2018

Tech News

Picture of the Day

The Young Rag Seller, Guillaume-Charles Brun, 1870

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Wednesday, August 01


Daily News Stuff 1 August 2018

Tech News

Picture of the Day

Unused Soviet LK-3 lunar lander.

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Tuesday, July 31


Daily News Stuff 31 July 2018

Tech News

  • AnandTech reviews Intel's Xeon W.  Spoiler, the final page is titled "Conclusion: Is Intel Serious About Xeon W?"  (AnandTech)

  • New York has kicked out Charter Communications for failing to meet agreements and this writer at Tom's Hardware is terrified that he may need to use Verizon Fios or [shudder] DSL.  Because he has so few choices.  And the government should do something about that.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Listen, bub: I live somewhere where the government did something about that.  Result: I have been waiting nine years for them to upgrade my connection from DSL.  I can't get cable, because they're going to run fiber - eventually.  I can't get fixed 4G, because they're going to run fiber - eventually.  My options are DSL or [cough] satellite - in a city of five million people. 

    And the DSL infrastructure hasn't been upgraded at all during that time.  Because they're going to run fiber - eventually.

    The only worse thing than a monopoly is a government-run monopoly.

  • It's just a scratch.

Picture of the Day

Fly the derpy skies!

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