Saturday, September 22

Geek

Daily News Stuff 22 September 2018

Tech News

  • HP's Spectre x2 (2017) is really good.  If you can find one at, say, a 66.25% discount, go for it.

    The screen is great, the sound is surprisingly good for a notebook, it's fast and (if you get the 1TB model) has a ton of room for stuffs.  It charges very quickly - it can fast charge to 50% capacity in half an hour.  The bezels are large by 2018 standards, but you need something to hold onto in tablet mode, so I won't ding it for that. 

    The keyboard is a remarkable creation - incredibly light but at the same time a great surface to type on.  Attaching it to the tablet part is a piece of cake - you wave it in approximately the right direction and powerful magnets pull it in and two little tabs guide it into the right place.  The back of the keyboard is some kind of woven plastic, rather than the aluminium and glass of the tablet part, which gives you a solid grip on the whole thing.

    The pen is interesting too - I didn't realise it could sense proximity and not just touch.  Hover the pen over the screen and it will register a cursor at that location.  This is why it originally did nothing at all before I discovered the tiny battery compartment in the box in the other box.

    Few minor downsides: The trackpad buttons take a little getting used to; they're rather firm.  The fan will spin up under load and make a steady hissing noise as though you'd left your pet snake in the microwave, and if you keep it under load the notebook gets quite warm.  The USB-C ports are awkwardly located in the middle of the sides of the tablet part, and a USB charging cable is bulkier than the typical power cord for a small laptop, so it's left sticking out inconveniently to the side.

    Overall initial impressions though are extremely positive, and I'm very grateful to the anonymous benefactor who bought that domain from me and funded this out-of-budget purchase.  (I'll know who it is eventually, but they don't have a website up yet.)

    Into stock and out again
    Off to HP's store I go
    Includes a keyboard and a pen
    Great for taking notes you know.

    Terabyte of SSD
    $1350 for your sins
    I have two, could make it three -
    He who dies with most toys wins.
    One other thing I've found: For some reason, CPU virtualisation (VT-x) is disabled by default in the BIOS.  A quick trip to the BIOS settings fixed that and all was well, but I thought for a moment I'd mistakenly installed the 32-bit version of VirtualBox.*

  • Lenovo has their own mini laptop out, the A285.  (AnandTech)

    https://ai.mee.nu/images/A285.jpg


    This has better specs in some respects: A Ryzen Pro CPU (up to the 2700U, so four CPU cores and 10 graphics cores), up to 16GB RAM and 512GB of SSD, four USB ports, HDMI, and wired gigabit Ethernet.

    Touch screen is optional but the non-touch option is garbage - a cheap 1366x768 TN panel - and should be avoided at all costs.

    Also, it has PgUp/PgDn/Home/End keys, which the Spectre x2 does not.

    No price as yet.  Lenovo's prices change daily anyway.

    Update: Found the price.  US$990 for the crap version no-one should ever buy.  Useful models start at $1140.

  • Intel is ramping up its 14nm production to offset delays in 10nm which is now three years behind schedule.  (Tom's Hardware)

  • You won't believe this one simple trick to calculate billions of digits of pi using the wrong formula.  (PDF)

    https://ai.mee.nu/images/PizzaPie.PNG?size=720x&q=95

    This formula is wrong.  But it is accurate for the first 42 billion digits.

  • An artist drew copies of some of Andy Warhol's Polaroids by hand, crumpled them up, drew copies of the crumpled versions, created t-shirts with printed copies of the drawings of the crumpled drawings of the Polaroids, and packed them for sale into replica Campbell's soup cans, and got a C&D letter and not from the Warhol estate either.  (TechDirt)

  • PyPy, the Python compiler written in Python, is a marvellous beast, delivering typically twice the performance on the same code and sometimes much more, at a cost of only the occasional horrendous memory leak that takes out your entire server not that this has ever happened to me more than, say, fifteen times in the space of a week.

    Anyway, the one goat in the ointment was that calling traditional Python C extensions from PyPy was slower than molasses in Boston in January 1919.

    This has now been fixed.

Social Media News



Video of the Day


Clearly this is the one from Flatline.



Anime Music Video of the Day


Been wasting my time posting on Twitter...



Picture of the Day

http://ai.mee.nu/images/SteamCannon.jpg?size=720x&q=95


* There is no 32-bit version of VirtualBox.**
** If VT-x is disabled (or your CPU is ancient and doesn't support it) VirtualBox will only show 32-bit options for virtual machines, because it can do that even without VT-x.  It will do the same if you are on 32-bit hardware, running 32-bit Windows, or have Hyper-V or VMWare installed on the same machine, which is kind of a pain because you don't know what is going on.

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?




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