Wednesday, August 30


This Week In Australian Politics

About a month ago, I noted that two Australian politicians had been found after years in parliament to have never been eligible for election because our constitution forbids anyone holding dual citizenship with another country from becoming a federal representative or senator.

The number is now seven confirmed instances and at least another eight possible cases - including the Deputy Prime Minister and the Senate opposition leader.  Labor (the opposition party right now) are sitting on documentation of citizenship status after originally promising to release it, so there are almost certainly more shoes set to drop in coming weeks.

All of which means, basically, nothing, because no-one cares about Australian politics, least of all Australians.

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Tuesday, August 29



The one overriding rule is this: If you are going to make a comedic animated buddy copy movie for children starring anthropomorphic talking animals, first and foremost it must be a good buddy cop movie.

It is.

I hadn't seen it before because I believed the hype to be overblown.  Maybe the hype was overblown, but it's still a damn good film.  Recommended.

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Sunday, August 27


Well, That Was A Long Week...

But now I have two episodes of Made in Abyss to catch up on.

(Checks site.)

Four episodes.  A very long week.

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Saturday, August 12


The End Of Google?

Call for Mr Betteridge.  Mr Betteridge to the courtesy phone please.

Unless you've been sleeping peacefully under a rock for the past week - in which case, congratulations - you'll be aware that Google fired an employee.  With over 70,000 employees under the Alphabet umbrella, this is something that must happen every day of the year, but in this case it was handled so ineptly that the resulting chaos resembled a bored teenager setting off a cherry bomb in a nest of crazy ants.

What happened was this: James Damore, a biologist working for Google in some unspecified capacity, disagreed with Google's methods for meeting its diversity quotas and wrote a memo suggesting adjustments to the company's approach.  Damore, being a nerd, evidently forgot that if Rule 1 of Corporate America is CYA, Rule 1a is Don't rock the boat.

The usual suspects leaked this internal memo to the ever-hungry outrage mobs and the mainstream media - if there is any distinction these days - and the relatively dull memo was immediately spun into a latter-day Mein Kampf.  Within a day, the CEO of Google publicly announced the firing of the suddenly inconvenient Damore.

When the CEO of a major public company has to personally address the firing of a single, fairly low-level employee, who has broken no laws nor done anything that - without the leak - anyone outside the company would have even known about, it means that the corporate structure has screwed up, badly.

And the nature and scale of the panic exhibited by Google makes it clear that engineers are no longer running the show.

And that is a huge problem for Google.

We implicitly trust engineers because we know they view the rest of humanity with benign indifference, as long as we don't gum up the works.  Engineers want to build things, and they enjoy seeing the things they build getting put to use.  An engineer-led Google could be trusted implicitly with your email, because they were far more interested in shaving another fifty milliseconds off the response time of the search box than they were in anything you could possibly be mailing back and forth, short of a solution to the Goldbach Conjecture.

The Outrage Mobs, on the other hand, don't care about building things, don't think in fact that anything should be built, but are passionately interested in what you say and what you think and what your motives are.

And if the mobs are gaining power inside Google, as they seem to be, that means there is no longer that implicit trust, that rather, we can expect sooner or later the backlash will take the step from fellow employees to customers.

Which would be utterly disastrous for Google, of course, but as I said, the mobs aren't interested in building things.

Google have so far responded with profound ineptitude to what should really have been a trivial internal problem solved by a chat with HR.  What they do next could save or doom the entire company.

If I were playing the market, I'd go long on Amazon and Microsoft right now.

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Monday, August 07



Great hosting provider. Texas-based.  Pixy approved.

Not sure why I keep getting credits, but between that and pre-paying a year in advance I got what was initially an $80/month server for $37.50 a month.

That includes 100TB of bandwidth, which works out to 0.0375¢ per GB.  

Amazon charges 9¢ - 240 times as much.

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Seeing Red

I have a Google Play Music All Access account, because (a) I'm an Android user and (b) because all the music services have basically the same library, but Google allow you to upload 20,000 tracks of your own, which is really handy.

Youtube now offer something called Youtube Red, a premium paid Youtube, which is ad-free (I think) and lets you play music in the background and stuff.

If you have a Play Music account you get Youtube Red for free.

I've been suspended on Youtube since about 2005.*

The result is kind of weird - all the premium features work, but most of the basic ones don't.

And this is Google, so it's basically impossible to get unsuspended.


* I was uploading anime OPs and EDs, and around that time Sony Music automated their DMCA process.  I got suspended instantly, and I still am.

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Sunday, August 06


Inspiron 27 Unboxing, Teardown, And Review

  1. Not mine - still working on that - but it looks like review units started to arrive the same day mine did.
PC World get their hands on an Inspiron 27 and immediately open it up:

[Pixy Note: Click on that link for the video, because I couldn't stop it auto-playing.]

Yeah, I opened the box from the top too.

The video shows off how compact it is - they pack an eight core CPU, desktop graphics card (and not a sucky one), solid-state and spinny disk drives, a subwoofer (a sucky one*), and a fairly substantial cooling rig in something only slightly larger than a 27" monitor. The power supply is external, but I think my monitor also has an external power supply.

I paused the video and zoomed in on the disk drive. It looks like you might be able to squeeze a 5TB 15mm drive in there, which I'd like to try.

Digital Trends has a full review up with lots of pictures, though not of the innards.

I agree with most of the points in this review, though I'm less charitable towards the quality of the built-in sound, hence my trek today to pick up the Logitech speakers.

* To be fair, the complete Inspiron 27 weighs 10kg, and the Logitech subwoofer alone weighs 7kg, so you can't really expect the same sound.

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Two Or Three More Times

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Speakering Of Which

I swapped the Dell AE415 speakers for some Logitech Z623s.  Only an extra $30, but the difference is night and day.  The satellite speakers in the Logitech setup weigh as much as the Dell subwoofer - and produce about as much bass.  

Not surprising, because the Logitech satellites are 35W each, and the Dell speakers are 30W in total.

They're a little bass-heavy, to be honest; they're designed for watching movies more than listening to music.  But I can turn that down, where with the AE415s the bass was still inadequate even dialed all the way up.

Right now I have - not counting built-ins - eleven speakers on my desk, which is a bit much.  Time to do some decluttering.  Fortunately the Z623 supports three sound inputs, though I need to find a 1/8" to dual-RCA cord somewhere.  One of those boxes in the spare bedroom, I'm sure.

I just checked, and I was testing the Logitechs with the left and right speakers swapped.  Oops.

First thing I need, though, is a bigger desk.  Fortunately I know there's one of those in the spare bedroom, because it's kind of hard to miss.


Oof.  Forgot how heavy those things were.  Okay, 7'6" x 3' of antique oak worksurface installed!  (A legacy of my DotCom era salary.)  Now we're cooking!

Next step: Does this shiny new toy of mine support 4K HDMI input as well as output?


Yes.  Yes it does.  In fact, it looks amazing.  I'm thinking of getting an Xbox One X when it comes out, and with this screen and these new speakers, it should be great.  Right now I have my notebook plugged in, which is nice but not entirely necessary.  (Seeing as how the desktop is an eight-core to the notebook's two-core.)

It works as a monitor while the PC part is rebooting, which is exactly  what it should do but is nice to see anyway.  There's a physical button next to the power button that switches the video source, so it doesn't matter what software you are running, or even if the system currently boots at all.

Which means you could get two of these, and cross-connect them, run Windows on one and Linux on the other, and have two dual-monitor systems in the space of just the two monitors.  Not that I have any plans of doing that.

And my keyboard and mouse are now paired with Tohru, Taiga, and Azusa (the notebook), so I can just flip the switches to control them all.

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Saturday, August 05


When Akko Was 7

I just got the Android 7 update for Akko, my Huawei Mediapad M3.

A 2.5GB update.

It's installing right now, and the battery in my Nexu -

Well, that was quick.

No, now it's waving lotus blossoms at me.

Okay, delotused now, optimising and...  Done!  Just need to turn Nova Launcher back on, and we're good to go.

That was remarkably quick and painless for a major version upgrade.  Good work, even if Android 8 is rumoured to be out in a week.

But for this week, the Mediapad M3 is the best small Android tablet available.  Recommended.

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