Sunday, August 09


Daily News Stuff 8 August 2020

Zhentarim Spies Are Drow In Disguise Edition

Tech News

  • Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is an official sort-of-D&D game.  I say sort of because although the races and classes and characters are familiar from D&D (Minsc and Boo are in it) the skills and levels and damage rolls are completely made up.

    The way it works is that for each adventure, all your characters are reset to level 1, though you can earn favour with particular deities which lasts throughout a campaign and can sometimes be used to buy bonuses which apply to all campaigns.

    Except Zorbu.  Zorbu is different.  For each enemy he kills, he gets a tiny 0.01% damage bonus to future enemies of the same kind, and gets additional bonuses based on the total bonus for all kinds of enemies.  And while that bonus is small, it never resets.

    One particular kind of enemy is Drow.  Zorbu hates Drow almost as much as Netflix.  But Drow are a pretty rare enemy in the game, so it's hard to boost that bonus.

    What aren't rare are Zhentarim spies.  They're everywhere.  And guess what they turn out to be when you shoot them?

    Update: Waving my mouse pointer at them and reading the descriptions in the split second before they take an arrow to the knee crossbow bolt to the head, about one third of them are drow and the rest are human.  You can spot the drow once you know this because they have a tuft of white hair sticking out from under their hoods.

  • The Ryzen 7 Pro 4750G is definitely not a drow in disguise.  (Tom's Hardware)

    You can't buy it, since the Pro parts are OEM-only, and you can't buy the equivalent 4700G just yet because there aren't any.  But there are some floating around on the grey market and Tom's scooped one up and put it to the test.

    It's a 65W part (there's also a 35W version of most of these with the suffix GE) that uses 65W of power.  In load tests it pulled 58W using AVX on all cores, and 68W with the GPU at full load.  It's worth noting this because Intel's i7 10700F, also a 65W part, drew 153W under the same test.

  • AMD are flirting with 5GHz again.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Model numbers have been spotted for the upcoming Ryzen 4000 CPUs that indicate a 16-core part with a boost clock of 4.9GHz.  I'm sure AMD would love to hit 5GHz, not because that's a major performance boost, but because it looks a lot better on marketing slides.  But we can see what it does to power consumption by looking at the 10700F above.

    I call it the 95/90 rule: The first 95% of performance takes the first 90% of the TDP, and the last 5% takes the other 90%.

  • Google bought North, maker of the Focal smart glasses.  (TechDirt)

    They then killed the upcoming Focal 2 - and also all existing Focal 1 glasses.  Which are now permanently rendered dumb.

    Yes, Google did issue refunds, but they also permanently bricked a whole lot of working devices.

  • The Note 20 is a $1000 atrocity unless it isn't.  (WCCFTech)

    A number of people have been criticising the Note 20 - not the Note 20 Ultra, but the base model - for cutting corners that should not have been cut.  The Galaxy S20 has a better screen, better build quality, and in the international version a better CPU than the Note 20, for the same price.

  • Julia is production ready!  (GitHub)

    But can I finally statically compile and distribute my apps?


    Well.  Okay then.  Thanks.

    Julia is normally JIT compiled.  It uses type inferencing, and has the neat trick of compiling specialised versions of functions the first time they are called with a specific combination of types.  So one function can accept any size of int or float, and Julia will automatically produce efficient vectorised code for it on demand.

    That made static compilation tricky, and they've been working on it for a couple of years now.  It seems that it's finally ready for production.

    There's also a talk on using Julia for scripting while avoiding the JIT overhead.

  • Broken XML is a parser for broken XML.  (GitHub)

    One of those things that you really hope you never need but are happy exist, like life jackets on airplanes.

  • The Sabrent Rocket Q 8TB is a 7.68TB drive with 6.98TB of available storage.  (Serve the Home)

    Thanks for that, storage industry.

    Interestingly, the 4TB model from the same product range actually has 4TB (about 3.6TB); I'm guessing they added a couple of extra flash dies in there but couldn't do that on the 8TB model because they were at the controller limit.

    This is an M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 drive, so speeds are capped at around 3.5GB per second by the interface, and it achieves around 3.3GB per second in benchmarks.

    It's QLC, but it performs like a fast TLC drive (such as the Samsung 970 EVO Plus), because with so much raw storage Sabrent could enable an enormous psuedo-SLC cache.  Even at 99% full - the Achilles' heel of other QLC drives - it still nudged the 3GB per second mark.

    Just one tiny oint in the flyment: It costs fifteen hundred bucks.

  • Apple are anti-competitive and their excuses are horseshit, says...  The tame Apple press?  (Six Colors)

    Well, the exact phrasing used was
    let me be frank, a load of hooey
    But the feeling comes across.

  • Apple accidentally flagged a developer account as....  Something.  No details provided.  (

    This instantly and without notifying anyone revoked all the certificates for all his apps, causing them to show an alert that they "will damage your computer" and should be reported as malware.

    Nice passive-aggressive messaging there Apple, considering this was entirely your fault.

    Apple did fix it, which simply left the developer to recompile, re-sign, and resubmit all his apps, and all his customers to re-download and re-install them after having been told they were malware that would damage their computers.

  • While we're beating a dead Apple, the discussion on the latest WAN Show on the problems of getting a Floatplane app onto iOS is worth a listen.  (This segment starts at around 7:37, after they spend five minutes not realising they're live.)

    Essentially, there are two rules:

    1. You have to pretend that nothing exists outside of the app store.
    2. The application of Rule 1 is entirely arbitrary.

    Even if your app precisely replicates the functionality of an existing app and follows Rule 1 to the letter, chances are it will get rejected because Rule 2.

  • Classic Google Sites sites will die next year.  (9to5Google)

    This has been much better handled than is typical for Google.  A new version of Google Sites was released in 2016, and this shutdown only affects sites that were created in the older version that have not been converted using the online migration tool by September of next year.

    Can't really fault them for this.  It was originally launched in 2008 and is still supported as long as you migrate to the current version.

  • They're also shutting down Google Music, but that's been transitioned to YouTube Plus or whatever they're calling it this week, so it still works and you get ad-free YouTube.

    Also, I can apparently re-download the 5000 or so tracks I uploaded to them, which is good because they're not on my current computer or in Dropbox and I don't feel like going backup surfing.

  • Oh, right, the /1 and /2 is referring to function arity, not some weird internal versioning.

    Sorry, was reading up on Elixir.  It's slightly weird, but it's not quite that weird.

    I like the language, but I don't feel like facing Erlang stack traces, which - believe it or don't - are orders of magnitude worse than Java's.

Disclaimer: Possibly an order of magnitude of orders of magnitudes.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:07 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Google and Apple showing off why they're the biggest fish in the pond: because they can!  Seriously, if they wanted your business, they would try to attract your business.  At this point, they just don't care and hopefully they go the way of myspace and gawker.  Good riddance.

Posted by: normal at Sunday, August 09 2020 09:49 AM (obo9H)

2 I tried playing Idle Champions, and couldn't figure out how increasing the bard's inspiration bonus reduced my base DPS from 24 quintillion to 7 quintillion.


Posted by: J Greely at Sunday, August 09 2020 12:17 PM (ZlYZd)

3 Numberphile could do an entire series on how the formation buffs work in Idle Champions.  "And this champion gives an additive bonus to all non-adjacent champions in the formation based multiplicitively on the number of adjacent champions."

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, August 09 2020 11:52 PM (PiXy!)

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

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