Meet you back here in half an hour.
What are you going to do?
What I always do - stay out of trouble... Badly.

Monday, April 05


Older Posts Temporarily Hidden

Power is out at the new hosting company where Ace lives - and may be out for a day or two.  After power went out, they switched to generator backup.

Then one of the backup generators caught fire.

It was promptly put out, but power has been cut to the entire building and won't be restored until there's been a safety inspection.

I had a whole bunch of his content already in this server and activated his site over here, but that slowed the server to a crawl, and I had to hide older posts while I sorted that out.

All the content is safe and will be progressively re-enabled.  Should all be back tomorrow.

Update: We also have four servers at the same datacenter at my day job.  It's the big data crunching cluster I mentioned before, including the massive 128-core Epyc server.

That server - with complete backups of all the critical data - is now back online.  So is the one that caused me so much trouble that my boss authorised a 128-core replacement without a second thought.

I was half expecting none of the servers to survive except the broken one.  At least I'm spared that nightmare.

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Daily News Stuff 4 April 2021

It's Getting Hot In Here So Turn On The Air Conditioner Edition

Tech News

  • Intel vs. AMD: Who wins?  (Tom's Hardware)

    Comparing the 11900K and the 5900X it's a pretty easy win for AMD if you can actually find one anywhere which you can't.  Of all the Ryzen 5000 range the 5900X is the hardest to get.

  • Nvidia vs. AMD: Who wins?  (Tom's Hardware)

    Comparing he 3070 and the 6700XT the 3070 performs a little better overall and significantly better in ray tracing, but you can't get one.  The 6700XT is, so far, still available.

  • GitHub is being used to mine cryptocurrency.  (The Record)

    It's not a security breach though.  You can set up automated processes to test your code, and you can get those automated tests to mine cryptocurrencies for you.  It's comically inefficient and GitHub will terminate your account, but if you have nothing else to do with your time you might earn a few bucks before they shut you down.

  • A reasonably priced 2.5GbE switch?  (Serve the Home)

    Yes.  Albeit one designed by an idiot.

    The indicator lights are on the back.

  • Personal details for half a billion Facebook users are floating around on the internet.  (Bleeping Computer)

    I mean, on Facebook too, but in this case as a single huge dataset.

    I've never given Facebook my phone number, but Twitter will lock your account and force you to cough up your phone number to unlock it again.

Disclaimer: Because fuck you that's why.

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Sunday, April 04


Daily News Stuff 3 April 2021

Curse Of Vanishing Edition

Tech News
  • Tried my hand at fishing in Minecraft.  This is great in theory because fish let you tame cats and cats scare off creepers and creepers suck, and also because you can fish up certain types of enchanted items - bows, books, and fishing rods - that are otherwise hard to get.

    Wasn't having much luck with that part, until I fished up this item:

    It has every enchantment it is possible to have on a Minecraft fishing rod and all maxed out.  I could have done without the curse, but since getting that one I have fished up a ton of other goodies.

    No books of Fortune or Silk Touch yet, but I do have Unbreaking III to apply to my diamond pickaxe.

    Update: Well, I forgot I had it with me, went to feed the animals at my ranch, got jumped by pillagers, and the fishing rod is gone.  But it lasted long enough for me to get a replacement.  I just need to be level 24 to combine two of the other fishing rods it found for me and I'll have all the same enchantments but without the curse.  Only I just got killed by pillagers so my levels got reset...

  • SK Hynix is investing $106 billion in new fabs.  (AnandTech)

    That's still a lot, but it sounds like this is over a longer period than TSMC's similarly-sized investment.

  • Rocket Lake Xeons are coming.  (WCCFTech)

    I don't know why, but they are.

  • Zen 3 has a potential security vulnerability like Spectre.  (Phoronix)

    It's a side-channel attack and there's no proof-of-concept yet, but they're taking it seriously - and there's already a flag that can be set in the CPU to disable the specific feature, called Predictive Store Forwarding, that may be vulnerable.

    AMD's suggestion is to set this flag on applications that run untrusted code (e.g. web browsers) or at the kernel level if you can't do that.  It doesn't need a microcode or BIOS update.

  • Rust leaks your username.  (Bleeping Computer)

    The absolute path used when compiling Rust programs is baked into the binary code.  This has been known for a while, but the Rust team seems to have bee struggling with the concept of don't do that then.

Disclaimer: It hurts when I do this.

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Saturday, April 03


Don't Try This At Home

Before spending a couple of grand on a whole new computer, I thought, why not try updating the drivers?  The video drivers for whatever reason aren't getting updated by Windows, so why not install them directly?

Turns out the answer is, because then your mouse will stop working.

If you have a Radeon graphics card and a multi-monitor setup and one of the monitors is off - or detected as off because it's switched to another input - your mouse will act as if it has four broken legs.  This apparently is a known issue dating back to at least 2018.

The solution is to disable HDCP.  Because of course it is.

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Daily News Stuff 2 April 2021

Role Reversal Edition

Tech News

  • Tohru (my main desktop PC) had decided that it will now shut down if I play two YouTube videos at once.  I discovered this because Reine (from HoloID) had a unscheduled collab in Minecraft with Pekora (who has a new costume - old-fashioned prison pyjamas, making her look even more like Bugs Bunny) and...

    Anyway, realised that Pekora was streaming and I could watch both viewpoints, and I did - for about two minutes.

    I need a new PC.

  • Which is a problem at the moment, particularly if I want something fancy, like any graphics card whatsoever.

    But: Intel has a partial solution for that.

    The high-end 11th gen desktop parts - the 11700K and 11900K - have been solidly panned, but the lower-end parts fare much better.  They're relatively cheap, still have six cores, and unlike the 5600X, have integrated graphics.

    The 11400 is somewhat slower than the Ryzen 5600X but only by 10% single-threaded and 20% multi-threaded, and it is roughly 50% cheaper at retail.  (Because the 5600X is selling for well above its recommended price.)

    And, as I said, it has integrated graphics so I could use the computer for work while I wait a year for my video card to arrive.

  • AMD is increasing production of Ryzen CPUs by 20%.  (WCCFTech)

    That's not enough, but they're limited by wafer allocation at TSMC, who are running at 100% across all their fabs right now.

  • Microsoft is making Xbox fridges for real.  Apparently.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Okay then.

    Where's that KFC console?

  • isEven as a service.  (isEven API)

    Given the mess that NodeJS made out of this, it almost makes sense.

  • When upper case doesn't get your point across adequately why not try uppest case?  (Tom7)

    Why not indeed?

  • Has anyone checked the Prime Minister?  (The Guardian)

    Would explain a lot.

Disclaimer: Not everything, but a lot.

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Friday, April 02


Daily News Stuff 1 April 2021

Walfielive Edition

Tech News

Yurumyth Video of the Day

For their April 1 full team collab, HoloEN did a new costume reveal - full Live2D rigged Walfie avatars.  It's a pretty high-effort prank, and they're doing individual streams with their new avatars now.

Disclaimer: Also, Amelia gave birth live on stream.

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Wednesday, March 31


Daily News Stuff 31 March 2021

Gremlin Inversion Edition

Tech News

  • Rocket Lake is here and it's crap.  (AnandTech)

    They previously got their hands on the i7-11700K and it was decidedly underwhelming, but also not the top of the line part.  Now they have the i9-11900K and...  Yeesh.

    What do you think, Steve?

    Steve's unimpressed.  What about you, Aussie Steve?

    Not ones to mince words, are Steve and Steve.

    The 8-core 11th-gen die is 25% larger than the 10-core 10th-gen die, and slower at multi-threaded and often at single-threaded tasks, while using more power.  It's not bad, not on the level of Bulldozer, but it's not better than its predecessor or its competition.

    Performance is not objectively bad, but it doesn't provide a reason not to simply buy AMD.

    In fact, given availability and pricing, the Ryzen 3900X is looking pretty good right now.  Particularly since you can upgrade later to a 5900X or 5950X, and there is no upgrade path at all for the 11900K.

  • Let's find out what mongod --repair does, shall we?

  • Arm has announced Armv9.  It has stuff.  (AnandTech)

    Notably it has support for some kind of micro-hypervisor architecture that can protect VMs running on Arm hardware even if the host node is hacked.  To an extent, anyway; if you have root access to the host you can shut it all down and maybe delete all the data; what you can't do is access the data within the VMs.  I believe that Epyc also supports this.

    They also discussed the next two generations of mobile cores, which will bring 30% total IPC improvements, presumably over the current high-end X1 core.

    The first of these cores will arrive this year, with consumer devices early in 2022.

  • Dimgrey Cavefish is on its way.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is probably the Radeon 6600 XT.  It seems that this will have just 32MB of inifinity cache, which will make for a much smaller die - cache is about 1mm2 per MB on TSMC's 7nm node.  Not much less on 5nm either; that scales well for logic but not for memory.

  • Speaking of which, TSMC plans to ship 4nm parts this year.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Production was originally scheduled for next year, but they're ahead of schedule.  3nm is on track for late next year.

    If they don't run out of water.  They can have some of ours, frankly.  We're full.  For now, Taiwan is praying for typhoons.  Yurie, your country...  Another country needs you.

  • The Ubiquiti breach was bad.  (Krebs on Security)

    Intruders gained access to Ubiquiti's AWS account, set up their own VMs on the network, installed backdoors on the servers, and basically had full access to everything.

Hololive Minecraft Stream No Video of the Day

Not one Minecraft stream in 24 hours.  They got permission to stream Capcom games and they've run off in all directions.

Nene will be back shortly though, Kiara tomorrow, and Reine after that.

And there's at least a thousand hours of archives I haven't seen.

Oh, if you watch VTubers - on YouTube, anyway, not Twitch - Holodex is a pretty nice tool.  Despite the name it works for Nijisanji and VOMS and others I'm not familiar with.  The interface is a little awkward in spots, but it's nonetheless impressive for a fan-created project.

Update: Pekora jumps in to save the day with a unscheduled stream - she seems to be experimenting with some kind of steam-powered dimensional turtle transport system.

Update: Oh, Towa is streaming too.  Chaos ensues in 3...  2...

Yep, there we go.  Towa showed Pekora her water slide of death, but Pekora has enchanted armor and didn't die.  Then Pekora showed Towa one of the death traps - uh, attractions - in Pekoland, but Towa wriggled her way out of the trap and got stuck inside the mechanism.

I like the way all this complicated stuff in Minecraft only barely works at all.  It's great training for real life.

Disclaimer: Turtle house!

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Tuesday, March 30


Daily News Stuff 30 March 2021

Gone Fishing Edition

Tech News

  • Want an RTX 3060 but you accidentally built your computer in a shoebox?  Asus is here to help.  (Tom's Hardware)

    At 7"x5"x2" it should fit most cases, but it is two-and-a-half slots wide.

  • Mine Bitcoin on your Game Boy.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Only about 100 trillion times slower than dedicated hardware.

  • The database I repaired last night - this morning, really - has not yet failed again.  This is good.

    Update: It failed again.  Less good.  I realised that I'm initialising the replicas from live snapshots, so I'm doing it again from a snapshot after a clean shutdown.  it shouldn't break either way, but it does.

    Specifically it reports I/O errors, but there are no I/O errors being logged at the kernel or hardware level.  As in, zero, total, since the server was rebuilt after one of the SSDs failed entirely.

  • Pigz is your friend.  

    Pigz is a parallelised Gzip.  MongoDB can optionally gzip your backups, but it's one thread per table, so if 95% of your database is two large tables you'll be sitting there waiting forever while 126 of your 128 cores are basically idle.

    If you don't gzip the output directly but have ZFS configured to use gzip compression, it's automatically multi-threaded and much faster, but if you then transfer the backup across the network it transfers it uncompressed.

    Solution is to backup uncompressed - let ZFS do its thing, it's not hurting you - and then Pigz everything in the dump directory, data and scheme files alike.  It's much faster and the MongoDB import will read it all just fine.

    Someone has a script to do incremental backups in MongoDB which I should take a look at.

    I'm not sure why they don't support it directly; all the necessary infrastructure is there as long as you run the incremental backup before the oplog flushes.  You can even do overlapping incremental backups, so you can still restore if some of the incrementals are missing.

    Sure, snapshots are easier, but a snapshot of a database with a corrupted index is just going to give you heartburn when you restore it.

  • Nobody thought to specify how to write IPv4 addresses until IPv6 arrived.  (

    Since IPv4 had been around for a long time by then, the specification was based on existing practices, and existing practices were based on BSD. 

    Turns out that 0177.1 is a perfectly valid IP address.  If you read yesterday's post you can likely figure out what for.

  • There are 30 malicious images on Docker Hub that contain crypto mining code alongside or instead of what they are supposed to contain.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Which doesn't automatically mean disaster; there's a ton of stuff on Docker Hub.

    But those 30 images have been downloaded an aggregate 20 million times.

The Dark Queen Rises Video of the Day

10,000 people waiting in line with twenty minutes to go.

Update: She had to postpone it by half an hour, so now it's nearly 19,000 people waiting with twenty minutes to go.

Your Shark Is the Shark That Will Pierce the Heavens Video of the Day

Gura doesn't sound at all like an Iowa farm girl here, which is what I suspect she is.

Disclaimer: I have literally no idea what she's going to do.

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Daily News Stuff 29 March 2021

Turn Of The Tide Edition

Tech News

  • That crazy Aussie sheila has returned.

  • There are currently zero 3060Ti, 3070, 3080, or even 3090 cards available in Australia, as far as I can tell.  Oh, wait, there's a couple of 3090s now.  And one 3060 non-Ti for a thousand bucks.  Click the In Stock filter at the top to watch everything disappear.

    There are, however, 6700XTs and 6900XTs in stock.  Marked up around 50%, but in stock.

    There is a supply of prebuilt systems with most cards from both Nvidia and AMD.  Just not the cards by themselves.

  • Is the ship still stuck?  (


    What a relief.

  • Looks like we have a checksum error in one block in one index on one table in a 6TB database.  This reveals itself by crashing MongoDB in the replicas.

    Turns out I can delete that table.  We don't need all the history; it's been kept in case we something went wrong and we needed to reprocess it.  If it's causing problems, it can simply be yeeted.  I don't need to fix it.

    Update: MongoDB bug?  Found another affected database.  ZFS has logged no errors.  I've updated to the latest point release of 4.2 for now; I'll upgrade to 4.4 later.

    Update 2: Nasty bad table deleted.  12TB of archived data vanished into the ether never to bother me at 2AM again. 

    That's the raw size of the records; the database and filesystem are both compressed so a database containing a table containing 12TB of data plus many other tables plus indexes is less than half that size in total.

    The fun part was getting the cluster working long enough to delete the table that was breaking the cluster in the first place; otherwise I'd have had to revert to a single node and then configure the cluster again from the beginning.

  • One open source developer politely informed another open source developer that his code was released using an incompatible license, being released under the MIT license when it included code licensed under GPL.

    The second open source developer kindly thanked the first, removed the mis-licensed version of his code from GitHub, and re-released it under GPL.

    And broke 577,148 projects.  (The Register)

    Someone is having a worse day than me.  Lots of someones, probably.

    The code that caused all this?  A database of common MIMEtypes.  It may not even be protected by copyright, let alone GPL restrictions.

  • Feeling left out, Node.js discovered a vulnerability in....  That's ridiculous.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Turns out the netmask package, downloaded 238 million times and used by 278,000 other projects, does the right thing and everyone else is insane.

    If you point your browser at, that's localhost.  If you point it at 0127.0.0.1, that's something completely different - it's interpreted as octal.  What idiot thought that was a good...  Oh.  The IETF.  

  • PHP got compromised.  (Phoronix)

    Not only did their Git server get hacked over the weekend, the hackers actually introduced two vulnerabilities into the code.

    The PHP Project immediately shut down their server and has redeployed to GitHub.

  • I have cows, sheeps, one chicken, no pigs (he escaped, probably off to watch the Haachama stream), a cat, and every possible dye colour except brown.

    I watched a stream where Risu spent about 90 minutes wandering about the Holoserver looking for brown wool for her Korone doll.  Turns out they didn't have any at the time, since the only way to make brown dye is to find a jungle biome and retrieve cocoa pods.  Brown sheep also occur naturally, but they're the rarest colour.

    The only way to create green dye - and then lime and cyan - is to find a desert biome and harvest a cactus, but once you find a desert biome locating a cactus takes about three seconds.  Finding cocoa pods in a jungle is a little harder.

    You only need two pods, though.  Even one would do.  Once you have the pod, you dye a sheep, turning it brown.  Since brown dye doesn't mix with any other colour, 50% of that sheep's offspring with any other sheep will also be brown.  If you breed a red sheep with a yellow sheep, by contrast, you can get red, yellow, or orange sheeplets.

Tunnel Boring Video of the Day

I was wondering if this was even possible.  Turns out yes, but it's just a wee bit complicated.

Disclaimer: Maybe two corrupt indexes.  Why only on the replica though?

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Sunday, March 28


Daily News Stuff 28 March 2021

I've Got A Couple Of Friends And They're Both Named Dave Edition

Tech News

  • So Dave - the new server at my day job - has arrived.  Dual 64 core Epyc 7702, 256GB RAM, two 15TB Micron 9300 Pro NVMe drives, and a 16TB Seagate Exos drive for local backups.

    That backup drive was yanked from Theodore, which is so messed up right now that it can't even rsync without crashing.  I'm currently copying all the files off, then will reformat and copy all the files back just in case there are filesystem errors.  ZFS is good at handling that, but maybe not on broken hardware.

  • Oh, and I found sheep, pigs, cows, and chickens all in one place - across the river and over the hill in the savannah biome.  It's a bit of a hike from my house by the spawn point, but it's in a straight line and just by coincidence is right above the main tunnel for my diamond mine where I've started laying railroad track.

    So I'll dig stairs up to the surface and build a little farmstead there.  Or maybe relocate since even my remodeled house isn't anything special.

  • Ugh.  Data corruption in one of the other nodes in our largest MongoDB cluster.  With one node down and another having data errors, it's not currently a cluster at all.  Fortunately that one doesn't cause huge dramas if it's down for a few hours; it's mainly for data ingestion and analysis, and not directly customer-facing except for one specific page where you can see your own data.

    Currently shipping a fresh snapshot over to both the bad node and the new one.  There's a reason we got 10Gb Ethernet for these.  Maybe 25GbE would have been worthwhile.

  • Testing Intel's NUC 11 Pro as a tiny server.  (Serve the Home)

    Sure, it's slower than a last-generation Ryzen 4750GE APU on every benchmark, but it's only a four-core part so it would be.

  • Slashdot is a cesspool of idiocy.  It's no longer even useful for links to other sites.

  • Haachama isn't back yet, but all her streams are.  (Reddit)

    Her avant garde psychological horror improv series got canned by Cover Corp; they're not saying exactly why but at the time they did it multiple Hololive channels were affected by shadowbans, demonetisations, and in one case, getting deleted outright.

    Following that more and more of her recent streams were switched to private, including some nice relaxing Minecraft content that couldn't possibly offend anyone.

    But now all of it is back, and apparently unaltered.  Hopefully the crazy Aussie will be back soon herself.

Disclaimer: Ugh.  Wait, one piece of good news.  Half ugh.

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