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Tuesday, March 31


I Still Aten't Dead

Three product launches, a conference (we have our own conference now), and a huge server migration meant that for the past two months I've been chasing fixed deadlines with rapidly varying requirements.

I have emerged.  Not necessarily emerged entirely victorious, but certainly emerged.

It looks like we might be moving operations mostly out of the cloud and onto a cluster of Threadripper 3960X servers with an aggregate 6 million IOPS.  Using ZFS and LXC everything will get snapshotted and backed up to AWS (and in some cases, replicated live) so that if it all drops dead somehow we can spin it back up the same day.

Need to read up on LXD clustering, like, right now.

Not installing Kubernetes, thanks.  Will probably have Docker running inside LXC though.

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Daily News Stuff 31 March 2020

Can't Give It Away Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Disclaimers are limited to one pack per customer, per visit, per day, until further notice.

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Daily News Stuff 30 March 2020

A Tiger In Africa Edition

Not Exactly Tech News

  • The last Dresden Files book came out in 2014.  But now:

    Peace Talks in July.  Battle Ground in September.

    There was the first Cinder Spires book and a bunch of comics in between, but it's been a while otherwise.

    Here's a recent interview with Jim Butcher.

    Butcher explains in the interview that he spent three years trying to write this latest volume, and ended up with a 400,000 word first draft, before his editor suggested How about we make this two books?  Which made a light come on, but he had to do a lot of rewriting to make each novel a reasonably self-contained entry in the series.

    He noted in another interview that these two books only fill one slot in the series outline - 16 of 20 in the main sequence - so there will be one, possibly two extra volumes before the concluding trilogy.

    Also, the Dutch edition of Grave Peril is titled Doods Nood.  (Reddit)

  • While we're on books, and fantasy books specifically, I've been rereading Mike McClung's Amra Thetys series.  I had bought but not read The Last God, a collection of side stories not involving Amra herself.  I finally read that and it was good enough to prompt a reread of the other five volumes.

    Probably not the best book in the series to read first though.

    The first book in the series, The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids, is either $0.99 or $0.61 on Amazon right now so you can't go far wrong. 

Tech News

  • Here come the Ryzen 4000 laptops, finally.  (Tom's Hardware)

    This one is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, a 4800HS model with an RTX 2060, so they haven't tested integrated graphics just yet (they're working on additional benchmarks though) but on the CPU side of things it is unequivocally the fastest laptop in their roundup, even against the Dell XPS 15 with Intel's top of the line Core i9-9980HK.

    And it has an 11 hour battery life.  On a 3.5 pound gaming laptop.

    The model seen here has a 1080p display but there will also be a 2560x1440 version, which is effectively "retina" level at 14".

    In that review Leo mentions that a couple of years ago he reviewed an Asus GL702ZC - a 6.6 pound 17" laptop with a desktop Ryzen 1700 and Radeon RX 580 - the same configuration as my current desktops.

    The G14 is 30 to 50% faster, and half the size, and has vastly better battery life.

    It comes with a power brick, but will happily charge off USB C if you don't need it in its top turbo mode.

    Except for those missing keys the 2560x1440 model would make a great go anywhere / do anything laptop.

  • Intel's Rocket Lake is coming unless it isn't.  (WCCFTech)

    This is Intel's 11th gen part with the new Xe graphics, and power ratings from 15W to 125W.

  • The cloud is full, part two.  (ZDNet)

    Azure reports that demand in certain locations has jumped by 775%, and overall demand for certain telecommuting products has jumped over 200% worldwide.

  • The Standard Model, like Ramans, does everything in threes.  (Quanta)

    We just don't know why.  People have been working on this for decades and we still don't know, but an interesting suggestion is that it's the the particles that seem unusual to us - not the electron but the corresponding tau particle - that are the ones that are actually fundamental.

  • Yes, the Galaxy S20 has 100X zoom.  (

    No, it's not any good.  The 10X zoom looks great in the sample photos though.

  • Is Uranus leaking gas?  (Digital Trends)

    Sorry, I had to.  You know I had to.

  • Zoom has stopped sending all your data to Facebook.  (Vice)

    Says Zoom.  We'll see.

  • I spend a lot of time calling out the US news media.  The Australian news media can be just as bad at times, but the difference is they don't operate in lockstep the same way, and on any story one of the mainstream outlets will actually report the facts in some recognisable form.

    Case in point:

    Directly calling out China for not just lying but for rewriting history and disappearing inconvenient whistleblowers - when the US media are busy repeating the lies.

    Stop the video when it gets to the interview clip though.  The interviewee is a moron.

Disclaimer: I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

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Monday, March 30


Daily News Stuff 29 March 2020

Don't Install Numpy Edition

Tech News

  • Seriously, it's been compiling for like an hour.

    Oh, there we go, it failed.

  • Peaky oil.  (Bloomberg)

    In some markets the price of a barrel of oil has apparently gone negative.

  • And seven times never trust a...  Teddy bear?  (Bleeping Computer)

    Beware of teddy bears bearing USB drives.  And don't take any wooden horses either.

  • The most expensive click of all.

    With this AWS server as a baseline, the author tried to find the most expensive single Azure instance - something that can be ordered with a single click.  It came to $9,481,824.

Disclaimer: Which is rather a lot, honestly.

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Saturday, March 28


Daily News Stuff 28 March 2020

This Is Not The Fascism I Requested Edition

Not Exactly Tech News

  • The American news media have gone from merely venal, vapid, and inomparably lazy to completely insane.

Tech News

Disclaimer: No reported cases.

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Friday, March 27


Daily News Stuff 27 March 2020

Cowboy Dedup Edition

Tech News

  • If you're using IBM cloud servers with the standard portable storage and ZFS, do not enable deduplication.

    Block compression, fine.  No problem at all.  But deduplication will murder your performance.

    Thankfully performance recovers fairly quickly after you turn it off - duplicated blocks that were deduplicated before are still deduplicated, but it stops trying to do it for new data.

  • Quarantine Day 4444

  • Huawei have announced the P40, P40 Pro, P40 Pro Plus, and P40 Plus Pro.  (AnandTech)

    I think that's right.

    The standout feature is the camera array, with a huge 0.8" diagonal sensor and up to 10x optical zoom on the telephoto lens.  The Pro+ has two different telephoto cameras for a total of five rear cameras plus a 32MP selfie camera and an unspecified IR camera for face recognition.

    Prices from €799 to €1399, no Google services, and you probably can't buy one anyway.

  • Intel's 24 core Xeon Gold 6248R comes close to matching the performance of AMD's 24 core Epyc 7402.  (Serve the Home)

    Unfortunately it comes close to matching the price of the 32 core Epyc 7502 which beats it easily.  And if you're configuring a single-socket system, you can use the Epyc 7402P, which is half the price, or alternately the Threadripper 3960X, which is half the price and 30-40% faster.  (But only has four channel RAM.)

  • Speaking of which, the hardware of my 3960X server is configured and I'm just waiting on the techs to load up Linux and/or give me IPMI access.  This is where cloud servers do win out over dedicated hardware.

  • Achievement unlocked: One exabyte of other people's files.  (BackBlaze)

    I wonder what the aggregate size of BitTorrent is.

  • Zoom is the new hotness in this plague-raddled telecommuting wasteland.  (

    The new hotness that silently sends user data off to Facebook.  Even if you don't have a Facebook account.

  • Thunderbirds are go!  (UPI)

    The first official mission of the US Space Force launched successfully today, carrying a new military communications satellite, and not, as originally expected, rescuing a supersonic passenger jet whose landing gear had failed.

Video of the Day

Bonus Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Well, something is certainly go.

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Thursday, March 26


Daily News Stuff 26 March 2020

Really, That Was The Plan Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Alright, we've got exactly eight hours and fifty-seven minutes to get to Rome, break into the Vatican, get down to St Peter's tomb, and find the elevator.

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Wednesday, March 25


Daily News Stuff 25 March 2020

The Whatth Amendment Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Even if you like pumpkin, it has no place in your server room.

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Oh, So That's What They've Done

The Xbox Xeriex X as we've noted has an odd memory structure with two different bandwidth numbers.

The reason for this is that it's missing two chips.

It has 16GB of GDDR6 on a 320-bit bus.  Logically, that would be ten 2GB 32-bit wide chips in, except that would give them 20GB total.

So instead they have a 10GB bank with five 64-bit wide chips, and a 6GB bank with three more.  They share the same bus so the bandwidth is not cumulative.

The 10GB is for graphics and the 6GB is for game code and OS.

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Tuesday, March 24


Daily News Stuff 24 March 2020

Don't Eat The Yellow Snow Edition

Tech News

  • Yes, chloroquine phosphate is available from pet stores for treating fish parasites.  That doesn't mean you should eat spoonfuls of it.

  • I'm getting a 24 core Threadripper server to play with - I mean, to offload key background processing from expensive cloud services - at my day job.  Intel also has workstation CPUs.  (Serve the Home)

    An 18 core Xeon W-2295 costs about the same as a 24 core Threadripper and gets stomped on every benchmark except possibly one that uses AVX-512.  It does have an advantage in memory support - the Xeon can use registered modules, so it can go up to 1TB of RAM vs. 256GB on Threadripper.

    That is a shortcoming for AMD because high-end workstations these days tend to start at 256GB.

  • Twitter is removing tweets that misinform people about Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague or at least that's what they say they're doing.  (ZDNet)

    What they are actually doing - as I learned personally - is shadowbanning people for jokes, or honest and accurate comments.

  • It is literally impossible for speech recognition software to identify the colour of your skin.  (New York Times)

  • Relative is, well, relative.  (The Guardian)

    This 555 million-year-old fossil is one of the earliest ever found with bilateral symmetry, so it might conceivably be a direct ancestor.

Video of the Day

Picture of the Day

Disclaimer: Twitter is not an unbiased sample.

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