Friday, November 27


Daily News Stuff 27 November 2020

Six Of One, One Hundred And Twenty-Eight Of The Other Edition

Tech News

I Was There, Gandalf Video of the Day

Apparently this is now a meme but nobody knows where it came from.  Except us, of course.

Embedding disabled and I couldn't find an alternate source, so click the link for this one.

Disclaimer: I think you'll find it's a bit less complicated than that.

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Thursday, November 26


Daily News Stuff 26 November 2020

Turkeyween Edition

Tech News

  • Cowputers are back!  (Walmart, via Tom's Hardware)

    For $399 you get a 3.5lb laptop with a 14" 1080p IPS display, 10th gen Core i5 CPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, HDMI, USB-C, two USB-A, microSD, headphone jack, and fingerprint reader.  The Four Essential Keys are present and well-located, and you have a choice of four different colours.

    Unless there's something wrong with the hardware it looks like a bargain.

  • On the other end of the scale, here's a mini-ITX Epyc server motherboard.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Almost.  They call it "deep mini-ITX" because it's about 1.5" longer than standard, but since the Epyc socket is nearly the size of a standard mini-ITX board that's no real surprise.  It will easily fit in larger miniITX cases though - anything with room for a full-size GPU - and any microATX or larger case.

    It supports up to 1TB of RAM, dual 10GbE ports, one PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, one M.2 slot, and six U.2 connectors for 2.5" NVMe SSDs.

  • Leaked benchmarks of the Ryzen 5800U laptop chip suggest that it may be even more faster than expected unless they don't.  (WCCFTech)

    At least on single-threaded tasks, where it beat the 4800U - itself by no means slow - by 38%.  On the multi-threaded test it was only around 10% faster, presumably because there's only so much you can get out of a 7nm chip at a 15W TDP.

  • The Xbox One X is a great gaming console that you shouldn't buy just yet.  (

    Since you can't buy it just yet - it's out of stock everywhere - that won't be too much of a problem.

  • Third-party Radeon 6000 video cards have landed and are already sold out.  (Tom's Hardware)

    AMD said earlier that supply would improve dramatically with the launch of these models, designed and made by AMD's partners rather than AMD themselves.  This does not appear to be the case.

  • France is charging a 3% tax on revenue from digital services starting next month.  (NBC News)

    Or, to put it another way, the price of digital services in France just went up by 3%.

  • I can, in fact, get a Ryzen 5900X and a Radeon 6800 XT.  Both are in stock and ready to ship.  If I'm willing to drop A$4699 for a pre-built configuration.  (PCCaseGear)

    It's a nice system, except for only having 32GB of RAM.  But that's quite a lot of money.


Maru has a new baby sister.

Disclaimer: Unexpectedly.

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Twitter Archipelago

Back in Twitter Jail, which is the nicest part of Twitter to be perfectly frank.  That's what I get for moderating my language.


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Wednesday, November 25


Daily News Stuff 25 November 2020

Once We Built A Tunnel Edition

Tech News

  • It's not worth the effort of trying to port Linux to Apple's Arm-based Macs says Linus Torvalds.  (ZDNet)

    Yeah?  What would he know?

  • How to install audio apps on the new Arm-based Macs.  (Six Colors)

    Step One: Reboot into recovery mode.
    Step Two: Configure MacOS into "Reduced Security".
    Step Three: Enable kernel extensions.
    Step Four: Reboot again.
    Step Five: Install the app.
    Step Six: Find out it doesn't actually work.
    Step Seven: Get a PC.

  • Vivaldi are building mail, calendar, and feed reader support into their browser.  (

    Currently in technical preview.

  • 32GB SODIMMs are A$150 on Amazon with free two-day shipping.

    I'm tempted to buy one and try it.  These should work in my Dell desktops (Inspiron 27 7775 all-in-ones) and one module would take me to 40GB, but I can't find anyone who's tried it.

    On the other hand, the 5900X seems to be back in stock.

    The new Asus Vivomini models are also in stock, ranging from A$499 for the 4300U to A$699 for the 4700U.  Those definitely do support 32GB modules.  I could get one and populate it with the discarded memory and SSD from upgrading my Dells, but spending $500 to re-use $175 in parts seems a bit

  • Memory leaks are out of scope.  Won't fix.  (GitHub)

    VSCode is built on a fundamentally shitty platform making memory leaks almost impossible to fix.

    I've used VSCode for some tasks where IntelliJ doesn't have the necessary language support.  It is bad.  I wouldn't quite prefer Notepad, but it's very close.

  • Xioami have announced the Poco M3, starting at $149 unless they haven't.  (WCCFTech)

    It uses a Snapdragon 662, which has four A73 cores, so performance should be reasonable if well behind flagship devices.  But it has a fingerprint reader, headphone jack, and microSD slot, putting it ahead of many flagship devices including every iPhone ever released.  Main camera is 48 megapixels, though on a device this cheap I wouldn't expect the best lenses and image processing.

  • The 2020 Razer Blade Stealth is a well-designed and completely pointless laptop.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The included 1650 Ti isn't fast enough for serious gaming, and a Ryzen APU laptop like the MSI Modern 14 is half the price and capable of running Minecraft at 120fps, leaving the Stealth in a place where it makes nobody happy.

I Have No Idea What Is Going On Video of the Day

Haachama's last Minecraft stream was a nice peaceful five hours of her completing the first two levels of her Tower of Babel.  Seriously, she's taking the Breugel painting and is reproducing it in Minecraft.  It's enormous.

Today she's  building some sort of redstone-controller water cannon, and this one is a Japanese-only stream so...  Now she's throwing eggs at it?

Disclaimer: Which place is already occupied by Twitter.

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Tuesday, November 24


Daily News Stuff 24 November 2020

Swings And Roundabouts Edition

Tech News

  • In the end it turns out that the net hole in my budget is only around $500, so I could in fact get myself a new PC if I cut the specs down a bit.

    And now there are no Ryzen 5000 CPUs in stock at all.

    Oh, wait, there's a 5600X at another store I've used before.  I'll spec something out.

    Update: RAM prices have finally returned to the low they reached back in, what, 2013?  A$300 for 64GB of DDR4-3200.  And while Radeon 6000 cards basically don't exist at present, a placeholder RX 580 can be had for relative peanuts.  

    I can afford something that would be 70% faster than my current system for single-threaded tasks and 50% for multi-threaded, have 4x as much memory, 8x as much space on the C drive if I can get it to RAID-0 two M.2 devices, be just as fast for gaming, and be a whole lot quieter while it does it.  Even if it does make noise it will do it under my desk and not directly in front of me.

  • PayPal is still screwing up payments for Coles and Woolworths.  The order from Kmart (part of the Coles group here) got paid, then cancelled, then refunded, then I placed it again by credit card, then they cancelled the items I particularly wanted because they were out of stock even though they still list them as in stock though that part is not PayPal's fault.

    Then Woolworths dropped part of my grocery order - again - so I tried to place a second order with Coles and PayPal bounced it - again.

    Update: Wait.  The only thing Woolies entirely dropped from my order was the paper towels.  The gluten-free bread was out of stock but they replaced that with two smaller gluten-free loaves; the specific toilet paper I ordered was out of stock but they replaced that with a larger 24-pack of the same brand.  So worst case I just need to duck out and pick up some paper towels, or just try not to make a mess until next week.

  • Speaking of Ryzen 5000 AMD now supports undervolting and overdriving.  (AnandTech)

    This is entirely automated, requiring just one click to optimise your CPU for the active cores, and voids your warranty because of course it does.

  • MyNOR is a homebrew CPU with an ALU consisting of a single NOR gate.  (MyNOR)

    It takes 2600 cycles to perform an 8-bit addition.

  • Apple's head of security has been indicted.  (Morgan Hill Times)

    This is security as in making sure people don't walk off with the laptops, not as in bypassing your firewall settings because fuck you anyway.

    Allegedly the Santa Clara Sheriff's Department was holding out for bribes before issuing CCW licenses, and Apple just happened to donate a couple of hundred iPads to the department out of a sense of community something something.

    Two senior officers in the department were also indicted.

  • Maddy is a mail server.  (GitHub)

    It's designed to replace Postfix, Dovecot, OpenDKIM, OpenSPF, and OpenDMARC with a single binary.

    And if you've ever configured an even slightly complicated mail server you'll know what a blessing this is.  Configuring the standard mail services on Linux these days is like configuring Node.js to run PHP applications, only worse.

  • Many smart doorbells for sale on Amazon come pre-installed with vulnerabilities.  (CyberScoop)

    On the other hand, Amazon's own smart doorbells catch fire, so the choice is up to you.

Quack Like A Duck, Sing An Angel Video of the Day

Give it a couple of minutes for her to really get into the song.  It's worth it.

Disclaimer: My Squirrel Buddha Can't Sing In Duet...  With Herself.

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Monday, November 23


Daily News Stuff 23 November 2020

Illudium Q-36 Edition

Tech News

Noisy Neighbour Problem Video of the Day

Squirrel Noises Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Noisy neighbours - not just for virtual servers anymore.

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Sunday, November 22


Daily News Stuff 22 November 2020

Publication Order Edition

Tech News

  • Asus has not announced their new Tinkerboard 2 and 2S. (Tom's Hardware)

    These are similar to the Raspberry Pi, albeit slower because they only have two A72 cores rather than four.

  • I thought the Tinkerboard had a dedicated AI core but I had it confused with another news item: SolidRun has launched their new Arm developer board for low-end AI vision projects. (ZDNet)

    These use an NXP i.MX 8M Plus (originally Motorola, then Freescale) which is slower than the Raspberry Pi because it has zero A72 cores rather than four - just the slower A53 core - but it does have a dedicated neural processing unit running at up to 2.3 trillion operations per second.  Boards start at $75.

  • Apple says that it's up to Microsoft to make Windows run on Arm Macs. (Tom's Hardware)

    Which implies that Windows can run on Arm Macs, at least in theory.  Which would suggest that Linux could in principle run on Arm Macs.  Which would make them something other than shiny paperweights.

    Still not going to buy one.

  • Twitter seems to have completed its process of wokifying its technical staff. (Tech Crunch)

    The new fleets feature supposedly made tweets disappear after 24 hours. However:

    • Twitter's API includes fleets in the requests, so any app that caches the API data will keep the fleets indefinitely.

    • Each fleet has a canonical URL which still works after the fleet has nominally expired.

    • Twitter doesn't actually delete the content for 30 days or longer anyway. The feature is purely cosmetic even when it works, which it currently does not.

  • Victoria and South Australia are imposing a mileage tax on electric cars to replace the petrol excise.  (The Driven)

    Which means they need to track how far you drive.  


  • Angry Haskell noises.  (Is Apple Silicon Ready)

    Well, angry Android Studio and Docker noises too, but Haskell is the only one that gets the double red splat of not working natively at all and also not working under x86 emulation.  At least some parts of Android Studio and Docker sort of work.

    There is only one app I use that I know is written in Haskell, but it's really useful.

  • Ubuntu Web Remix is ChromeOS only Firefox on Ubuntu.  (Ubuntu Forum)

    This isn't being officially announced by Canonical, but the lead developer is an Ubuntu team member.  I can certainly see the value in a ChromeOS-like operating system that isn't controlled by Google's HR department.

Disclaimer: I say we take off and nuke the entire HR department from orbit.

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Saturday, November 21


Daily News Stuff 21 November 2020

Entropy Gradient Edition

Tech News

  • It seems PayPal doesn't like Australia's largest retailers.  Had a problem placing a grocery order with Woolworths on Thursday.  Went out to the shops, used the same card I use to pay via PayPal, went through just fine.

    Paid a hosting bill today, no problem.  Tried to buy a few items from Kmart, goes into compliance review with PayPal and they'll get back to me in three days, maybe.  Not sure what good that will do since the order seems to have been cancelled already.

    Fortunately this is just some household things I'd like to get before Christmas, not my next week's worth of food.

  • YouTube chat is garbage.  Just an observation.

    I mean technically, not the people in it, who are mostly fine.

    Except for the Chinese antis, who are very much garbage.

  • Sam is coming to Intel and Nvidia.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is AMD's method for direct-mapping all of a video card's RAM into the CPU's address space.  Currently only works for Radeon 6000 series with Ryzen 5000 series CPUs on a 500 series motherboard but in theory it should work for any CPU, GPU, and motherboard combination.

  • An Elbrus mini-ITX motherboard.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I didn't know they were still making these things.  The chip is on the slow side and the board will be expensive, but if you're interested in that kind of thing, it will make it a lot easier to get a working system.

  • Third-party Radeon 6800 cards are on their way unless they're not.  (WCCFTech)

    Stock clock speed on this one from PowerColor is 2340 MHz vs. 2250 MHz for the reference design, but they got a stable overclock of 2650 MHz.

  • Making your web app run 100x faster means it costs 100x less to host maybe.  (Luke Rissacher)

    Just yesterday I found a common API call at my day job that takes about two seconds - but 99.something% of the time is returning the same, public data.  We added some code to the client to hit the API when it needs custom data and the CDN otherwise, and that dropped to 14 milliseconds.

  • End-to-end ECC vs. a 0.1¢ surface-mount resistor.  (Kate's Lab Notebook)

    0.1¢ on the resistor.

  • A Brainfuck IDE and interpreter that fits in a boot sector.  (GitHub)

    Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to boot and cry.

  • It's always a demarcation dispute with these guys.  (Tech Crunch)

    Pakistan: We want to censor the internet!

    Twitter, Facebook, Google: Hey!  That's our job!

  • Oh, right.  I have Amazon Prime now.

Move Aside, Conan O'Brien Video of the Day

I saw this and thought, hey, nice, they got a professional editor to do the opening credits.

No.  Well, maybe.  It was another HololiveEn member - Amelia.  But I know that Ina is a professional illustrator, so it's entirely possible that Amelia is a professional video editor as well as a Minecraft gremlin.

Disclaimer: All I got right now is this box of one dozen starving, crazed weasels.

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Friday, November 20


Daily News Stuff 20 November 2020

Shark Hat Edition

Tech News

  • Twitter's new "fleets" feature, which causes posts to self-destruct after 24 hours, has itself self-destructed after 24 hours.  (The Independent)

    It's the 2020est thing ever.

  • However bad we thought it was, it's worse.  (Mr Macintosh)

    • The MacOS Big Sur update would brick the 2013-2014 MacBook Pro beyond any recovery, requiring a whole new logic board.

    • The repair costs users $500, despite the fact that Apple destroyed your computer themselves.

    • The replacement logic board is not available anyway.

    Good work there, world's richest company.

  • Gigabyte finally has a range of Zen 2 NUC's.  (Tom's Hardware)

    On the good side, they have 2.5GbE as standard, HDMI, DisplayPort, and two USB-C with DP, one each at the front and back.

    On the bad side, the arrangement of the USB ports at the front seems deliberately designed to infuriate people.

  • Fonts for developers.  (Devfonts)

  • The threat of the leapn't second.  (Dreamwidth)

    Every few years on average we need to add a leap second to our clocks to keep them in sync with the Earth's actual rotation, which is very slightly slower than 86400 seconds per day, gradually slowing down, and variable anyway.

    Lately the accumulated drift has been holding at just above zero, raising the possibility of a negative leap second, which has never happened and would likely crash every computer in the world.

  • The ASRack X570D4U-2L2T-HoldTheMayo.  (Serve the Home)

    This is the updated version of what I have in the new server (where Ace is running now, after the old server imploded).

    It has two 10GbE ports, two 1GbE ports, and yet another one for IPMI, and both VGA from the management chip and HDMI for an APU.

  • IBM's Power 9 has a cache invalidation bug similar to the ones that have affected Intel in recent years.  (Phoronix)

    The fix is to flush the L1 cache on every single kernel call.

    Fortunately most Power 9s aren't running untrusted code in the first place and can just disable the security patch, because that would be really bad for preformance.

  • Buzzfeed is, for some unfathomable reason, acquiring the Huffington Post.  (Business Insider)

    Lois McMaster Bujold had a great expression for this in Shards of Honor (which if you haven't read it, you should):
    Put all the rotten eggs in one basket - and then drop the basket.

  • The usual suspects are back to demanding more censorship.  (New York Times)

  • Arecibo is being decommissioned.  (Science Magazine)

    Recent damage has left the radio telescope out of action and repairs are judged too risky.  One cable failed in August, and a backup cable failed last week while engineers were planning repairs.  The cables are nearly four inches thick, and if one failed while a repair crew was on site it could easily lead to fatalities.

Japanese-Australian-Finnish Cultural Fusion and How to Raise Wolves Video of the Day

Disclaimer: I regret nothing!

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Thursday, November 19


Daily News Stuff 19 November 2020

All Sales Final Edition

Tech News

  • Selected a hosting provider for the new social network.  Our current provider was very good on free speech issues and helped me with a bogus DMCA claim on one occasion, but they got swallowed up by a larger corporation a while ago and I don't know if they'd do the same today.

    But I've found a provider that has a good track record, that I've used once before, whose terms of service are essentially:

    • No illegal content.
    • No illegal activity.
    • No refunds.

    And while not the cheapest around they are reasonably priced.  That's all I ask.

  • Looking at Big Navi.  (PC Perspective)

    Generally speaking these are great cards at 1440p, often beating the more expensive Nvidia models, and good cards at 4k, coming close behind the more expensive Nvidia models.

    For ray tracing they are okay.  Noticeably slower than Nvidia but still playable.

    Of course, availability is currently zero, but that's just of AMD-branded cards.  Third-party cards are expected to arrive as soon as next week.

  • I expected the 6800 XT to be the pick of the RDNA 2 litter, but the 6800 turns out to be a surprisingly good card.

    It's $80 more than the 3070 (in the US) but beats it on every game, sometimes by substantial margins, and has 16GB vs. just 8GB on the 3070.  In Australia they're exactly the same price, making the 6800 the obvious choice unless you need a specific Nvidia-only feature.

  • Tame Apple Press says you don't need the thing you need the moment Apple stops providing it.  (Macworld)

    No, 16GB of RAM is not enough, thanks all the same.  16GB of main memory and 8GB of video RAM is not enough.  Two computers each with 16GB of main memory and 8GB of video RAM is almost enough.

    Please go piss on someone else's leg.

  • The internet is being censored.  (University of Michigan)

    File this one under no shit, Sherlock.

  • And again.

    What the hell does Outbrain do, anyway?
    We power the feed experience of the open web helping over 1 billion people discover content, products & services that they may be interested in.
    Oh, spam.

Disclaimer: Baked beans are off!

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