What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Friday, October 07


Daily News Stuff 7 October 2022

Dinosaur Cancer Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: Gamera is really neat!  Gamera is filled with meat!  We've been eating Gamera!

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Thursday, October 06


Daily News Stuff 6 October 2022

Don't Scare The Horses Edition

Top Story

  • Intel's Arc A770 Limited Edition is here and it's not awful.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's four times as fast as the A380 card we saw earlier for 2.5 times the price, which changes the calculus a bit.  Plus they've had a couple of months to work on the driver issues.

    Basically everyone is saying that at current prices your best option for a mid-range card is AMD's 6650 XT (though not at Australian prices), but in terms of price/performance, ignoring features and drivers stability, Intel comes second.

Tech News

  • The A750 is here too, same story.  (Tom's Hardware)

    A little slower, but also a little cheaper.

  • Need a 64TB 25GBps RAID array for your next gaming rig? Highpoint has you covered.  (Serve the Home)

    The $1100 SSD7540 supports up to eight M.2 devices in RAID-0 or RAID-10, or presumably JBOD.  There are also smaller, cheaper models supporting four or two M.2 slots.

    The SSDs themselves are extra, of course.  But if the five M.2 slots on your next motherboard aren't enough, this is for you.

  • Facebook is reportedly laying off 12,000 employees.  (Futurism)

    It's a start.

  • Meanwhile at Twitter they're planning things much better: You don't get a severance package if you quit.

Disclaimer: Also if they simply feed you into the human composting machine.

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Wednesday, October 05


Daily News Stuff 5 October 2022

Musk Sticks Edition

Top Story

  • Elon Musk's on-again off-again hate affair with Twitter is apparently on.  (Ace of Spades)

    Lots of articles about this in the tech press, but they're mostly garbage.  No-one knows anything more than the bare announcement, and a lot of them are simply lying.

    The crazies - at, for example, Ars Technica - are going through the Five Stages of Leftist Grief on fast-forward:

    • Denial
    • Screaming
    • Screaming denial
    • Calling everyone Nazis
    • Threatening to move to Canada

  • Acceptance just isn't something they do.

  • Xbox arrived.  I assume it's the Xbox; I haven't opened it yet.  Either that or Microsoft is delivering Office 365 subscriptions via DHL now.

Tech News

  • UNSW's SMART protocol extends the coherence of spin qubits by a factor of 100.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Up to almost nothing.

  • The EU is passing legislation to require that all laptops be chargeable over USB-C.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Also smartphones, tablets, game consoles, headphones, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, e-book readers, portable speakers, and cameras.  The rule will apply to smaller devices from 2024, and to laptops starting in 2026.

    USB-C recently gained the ability to deliver up to 240W, which should run any laptop that doesn't set fire to your lap, but while there are cables that claim to support this standard (and it's not that hard, since the current stays the same at 5A max), I haven't seen a USB charger that can put that much power out on a single port.

  • Samsung has started mass production of 3nm chips.  (Liliputing)

    2nm is scheduled to enter production in 2025, and 1.4nm in 2027.

  • Volume 4B exists.  (Stanford)

    For those out of the loop, that's Volume 4B of Donald Knuth's classic The Art of Computer Programming.  Since Volume 1 was published in 1968 and there are expected to be another four volumes (4C, 5, 6, and 7) we had all better wish Knuth good health and an extremely long life.

Disclaimer: Taking time out to develop your own typesetting software is always an acceptable excuse for late delivery of a manuscript.

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Tuesday, October 04


Daily News Stuff 4 October 2022

Day Of Autotunement Edition

Top Story

  • Sometimes the only solution to a problem customer is to burn down their house.  (Cotten.io)

    In Minecraft.  Or in this case, in Ultima Online.

    An interesting discussion of the problem and the solution they eventually came up with:
    Dozens of homes had been destroyed across the entire multiverse of Ultima Online, and the flames licking the sooty rubble were a visible testimony to our team’s determination to deal with cheaters.

    It felt fantastic!

    And we were told not to do it again.

Tech News

  • DNS got hacked and the personal details of 16 million customers leaked online.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Apparently this DNS is a major Russian chain of electronics stores.

  • Yes, we have no Rapberry Pis.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Raspberry Pi hasn't provided an official update on the situation because, well, there is no update.  They're baking 400,000 Pis a month, the most they can get the parts for, and they're selling them just as fast.

  • HBO has found a new way to save money: Make TV episodes so dark it is impossible to tell what is going on.

    Next they might discover radio.

Bookworms, Ascendance Of

When I started watching it I didn't realise there were 36 episodes.  Oops.

Pretty good, though I was hoping to see Main / Myne

Well, the story is continued in the manga, as they say.  I had read the manga up to the end of part one, and the anime gets to the middle of part two.  The light novels and manga are now both well into part four...  Though apparently out of sync.  I think I'll continue with the manga for now.

Update: Or perhaps not.  I need to read part three of the manga and there's only three chapters translated of that.

Pikamee Reacts to Almost the End of the World Video of the Day

Life pro tip: Don't use magic spells to slow down the Moon's orbit.

Disclaimer: Next week, don't use magic spells to throw strangelets at the Sun.

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Monday, October 03


Daily News Stuff 3 October 2022

Getting The Bone From The Trom Edition

Top Story

  • PayPal has banned using its services to buy, well, books. (Hacker News)

    The terms are so broad that they cover all works of fiction and probably all non-fiction except for trigonometry textbooks:
    You may not use PayPal's services for activities that


    5. involve the sending, posting or publication of any messages, content or materials that, in PayPal’s sole discretion, (a) are harmful, obscene, harassing or objectionable, (b) depict or appear to depict nudity, sexual or other intimate activities, (c) depict or promote illegal drug use, (d) depict or promote violence, criminal activity, cruelty or self-harm (e) depict, promote or incite hatred or discrimination of protected groups or of individuals or groups based on protected characteristics (e.g. race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation etc.) (f) presents a risk to consumer safety or (financial) wellbeing, (g) are fraudulent, promote misinformation or are unlawful, (h) infringes the intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights of any party or (i) are otherwise unfit for publication.
    Romance novels? Banned. Medical textbooks? Banned. Historical fiction and non-fiction alike? Banned. Mark Twain and Charles Dickens? Banned to hell and back. Shakespeare and Chaucer? Banned so hard they're still spinning in their graves.

    The Bible? Banned. The Koran? Oddly enough, also banned.

    Oh, and they want you to snitch on that samizdat copy of Ivanhoe:
    We encourage you to report violations of this Acceptable Use Policy to PayPal immediately. If you have a question about whether a type of transaction may violate the Acceptable Use Policy, or wish to file a report, you can do so here.
    So that PayPal can steal all their money:
    If you are a seller and receive funds for transactions that violate the Acceptable Use Policy, then in addition to being subject to the above actions you will be liable to PayPal for the amount of PayPal’s damages caused by your violation of the Acceptable Use Policy. You acknowledge and agree that $2,500.00 U.S. dollars per violation of the Acceptable Use Policy is presently a reasonable minimum estimateof PayPal’s actual damages - including, but not limited to, internal administrative costs incurred by PayPal to monitor and track violations, damage to PayPal’s brand and reputation, and penalties imposed upon PayPal by its business partners resulting from a user’s violation - considering all currently existing circumstances, including the relationship of the sum to the range of harm to PayPal that reasonably could be anticipated because, due to the nature of the violations of the Acceptable Use Policy, actual damages would be impractical or extremely difficult to calculate. PayPal may deduct such damages directly from any existing balance in any PayPal account you control.
    Do not leave any money in your PayPal account. Ever.

Tech News

  • Are theses new "AI" art generators really applying artificial intelligence or are they just picking out elements of a vast library of existing images and putting them together?


    The creator of that page took the prompt

    A woman with flowers in her hair
    in a courtyard, in the style of ...

    And ran it through the Stable Diffusion algorithm with 1500 different artists names.

    On the one hand, most of them are not very good. Sturgeon's Law applies at least as much to AI-generated art as to human efforts, and no-one went through the 6000 results (there are four examples for each artist) to filter out the crap.

    On the other hand, it is doing pretty much what it says on the tin.

    I was preparing some examples of this myself, getting long-dead masters to paint the Space Shuttle, but I didn't have this much time to dedicate to such a project.

  • Linux kernel 6.0 is out. (Phoronix)

    So what's the big change that led to the jump in version numbers? Linus himself explains:
    So, as is hopefully clear to everybody, the major version number change is more about me running out of fingers and toes than it is about any big fundamental changes.
    It was up to 5.19, but it version numbers count from zero, so nothing essential is missing.

  • The story behind the 2018 Tumblr containment breach that unleashed insanity on an unsuspecting planet. (The Verge)

    It all came down to - as so many things do - money. Tumblr contained all kinds of weird porn, and all the weird people who like that shit, and the payment processors didn't want to go near it.

    So Tumblr's parent company at the time - I don't remember which bunch of idiots was running things right then - banned porn. All of it.

    Rather like lancing a boil on a patient with bubonic plague... In a crowded subway car.

  • If we increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, doesn't that mean trees will grow faster and lock away more carbon? Yes. (Phys.org)

    The effect is measurable and consistent, but currently CO2 is increasing faster than plants can soak it up, so some gradual and carefully planned adjustments to industry and transport are in order.

    By which I mean nuclear powered cars.

Disclaimer: Mention of lancing boils on patients with bubonic plague not to be taken as medical advice. Also not to not be taken as medical advice. Please just pretend that paragraph never happened.

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Sunday, October 02


Daily News Stuff 2 October 2022

Magic Robots Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Just Hololive Being Totally Normal Video of the Day

Bonus Mumei Moment Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Okay, I think two hours is the maximum time I can spend with you....  Would you believe thirty minutes?  Look, I've got an egg timer here -

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Saturday, October 01


Daily News Stuff 1 October 2022

Comatose Coders Edition

Top Story

  • Google Stadia's shutdown shocked developers too.  (The Verge)
    "I woke up getting ready for my workday, and I see on our Discord private chat for the company that one of my employees sent a message saying 'is this true?,' with a link," Rebecca Ann Heineman, CEO of Olde Skuul, said in an interview with The Verge.  "I follow the link and it's like 'oh, okay.'"  Olde Skuul had planned to launch Luxor Evolved on Stadia Pro on November 1st and was even planning to meet with Google on Friday to discuss the release plan. That obviously isn’t happening now.
    I feel bad for small developers who are looking for every avenue available to get games out there without going the gacha route or worse, NFTs, but if you didn't see this coming a mile away you have no business being in the industry.

  • Google Stadia never mattered and it never had a chance.  (The Verge)

    That's more like it.  Game streaming had its golden opportunity during the Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague when everyone was at home and both consoles and graphics cards were all but impossible to buy, and it went nowhere.  Now that that situation is over it's only going to get worse.

    Google shut down its own game studio in February last year, which should have given everyone ample warning to take the money and run.

Tech News

  • Intel's Arc graphics cards are in the hands of reviewers.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Earlier reviews of the low-end Arc A380 were not particularly favourable, but Intel has had a couple of months to fix driver bugs, plus these cards are four times as fast.  That, coupled with Nvidia's stratospheric pricing push, might make for a more receptive audience this time around.  We'll know within two weeks, but for now, the cards themselves at least appear to be well made.

  • Ryzen 7000 CPUs - 7700X and up - from Microcenter come with a free 32GB DDR5 memory kit.  (Tom's Hardware)

    While stocks last.

    Meanwhile the hosting provider that runs the big server has Ryzen 7000 servers in stock already.  They're not especially cheap, but they range from 25% to 200% faster than the existing server.

    Though it looks like Ryzen 7000 doesn't support ECC RAM.  DDR5 RAM has on-die ECC by default so they're still viable for non-critical tasks, but it removes one of the advantages AMD had over Intel.

    The other advantage AMD has is Intel's Efficiency cores, which just plain suck for servers - once you run out of Performance cores, additional thread will run at half speed.

  • Update: I was wrong.  Ryzen 7000 does - unofficially - support ECC, just the same as earlier desktop Ryzen chips.  (Serve the Home)

    Gigabyte already has a server motherboard out for Ryzen 7000, with built-in remote management and dual 10Gb Ethernet ports.  It's not a high-end board, with two PCIe slots, one M.2, and four SATA ports, but with ECC support and a suitable disk controller card would make for a good storage server solution.

  • Steampipe is a library that turns cloud APIs back into SQL queries.  (Steampipe)

    A lot of cloud APIs.

    Weird but extremely useful if you just want to know, for example, how many of your Amazon Lambda functions are running on outdated versions of Python.

  • If you're running Microsoft Exchange, unplug it right now.  (Krebs on Security)

    Sure, it won't work if you do that, but nobody will be able to send you emails complaining about it not working so what does it matter?

Artificial Music Video of the Day

Iku Hoshifuri of Prism Project.  She had a birthday stream today and announced her upcoming debut album, and that if she could hit a (fairly modest) fundraising goal by the end of October she'd be able to commission cover art and a new music video.

Took about fifteen minutes.

Disclaimer: Can't file a complaint if we run out of complaint forms.

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Server Migration This Weekend

Might be some site hiccups, planned or unplanned.  I'll post more details when I have the final switch scheduled.

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Friday, September 30


Daily Tech News 30 September 2022

Friday Afternoon Meeting Blues Edition

Top Story

  • Minor correction to the story on Intel's A770 graphics card: It starts at $329, but that model has 8GB of RAM.  The 16GB model is $349, which is a great price for a 16GB card if the card (and the drivers) are otherwise good.  We'll see once the reviews come in.

  • Google is shutting down its game-streaming service Stadia.  Expectedly.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Everyone predicted its imminent death within days of its launch, because game streaming services suck, and Stadia both sucked and blowed because you had to pay for the service and then pay for the games as well.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Although Kez's Kitchen lemon creams aren't bad either.

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Thursday, September 29


Daily Tech News 29 September 2022

WhatsApp Doc Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • An early benchmark of Intel's unannounced 13900KS suggests that it may be very fast and also burn your house down.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is the model that will hit 6GHz, and it will also use 350W.  Which is a lot.

  • Amazon's new Kindle Scribe has a pen.  (Liliputing)

    It's still an e-ink display (and still has amazing battery life), but now you can take notes on it.  And it's the first new large-format Kindle in years, with a 10.2" screen.

    Given the ongoing existence failure of good small Android tablets, I'll probably be buying a Kindle for reading.  The other option is the iPad Mini, which...  No.

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh is not the oldest surviving work of literature, unless it is.  (Tales of Times Forgotten)

    It depends on how you define "oldest", "surviving", and "literature".

    But pedantry aside, the article does provide a fascinating review of some other very, very old manuscripts.

  • Reasonably priced Socket AM5 motherboards are on the way.  (WCCFTech)

    For the new Ryzen 7000 chips, the only motherboards available right now are the high-end X670 and X670E models, and none of them are what you would call cheap.  Which is fine if you're building a high-end 7950X system and need 10Gb Ethernet, four USB-C ports, and five M.2 slots.

    If you were hoping to build an inexpensive gaming rig based around the new 7600X, though, you currently need to spend more on the motherboard than the CPU.

    The new boards, based on the B650 and B650E chipsets, will bring prices down to start at around $125.

  • 48GB DIMMs are here.  (Serve the Home)

    One of the changes made with DDR5 was support for 24Gb memory chips, allowing for 24GB and 48GB memory modules.  This was because 32Gb chips were not immediately within reach, and this half-step would provide a short term increase in memory capacities - for a laptop, up to 96GB, and for a desktop, up to 192GB.

    Only the modules being shown off here are registered DIMMs for servers, and you can already get 128GB registered DIMMs.

  • Scientists have created an AI-controlled laser turret that kills cockroaches.  (Motherboard)

    I love it when a plan comes together.

Command and Conquer Yellow Alert Music Video of the Day

Disclaimer: I love the smell of cockroach bacon in the morning.

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