Saturday, April 17


Daily News Stuff 17 April 2021

Legible Penguin Edition

Top Story

  • Get FLoCed: Nobody wants to work with Google on their new IOPAAS platform (invasion of privacy as a service).  (The Verge)

    Brave blocks it; Vivaldi blocks it; Firefox blocks it, and Mozilla is run by Stalinists; Opera doesn't specifically block it but doesn't support it; the DuckDuckGo extension and mobile browser both block it; Microsoft and Apple appear to be planning to block it but don't want to come out and say so.

    Google is planning to stop supporting third-party cookies next year, meaning that evil ad-tracking scum vermin will need to find a new way.  FLoC was Google's plan for this, but everyone hates it.  Third-party cookies had uses beyond privacy violation; FLoC does not.

    I had to give up on third-party cookies a long time ago because, technically, is not a valid domain name - or at least wasn't at the time.  The second-level domain must be at least three characters long.  So I couldn't set cookies for, either for the domain itself or as third-party cookies for subdomains to implement single sign-on.

    Speaking of managing sites, you can also opt your site out of Google FLoC regardless of what browser your readers prefer.  If you're using one of the common web servers or proxy servers it should only take a minute or two; that page provides instructions for Apache, Nginx, Caddy - we use Nginx and Caddy -  Varnish, Traefik, Lighttpd, and more.

    I've done just that for all sites hosted on this server.

    I haven't done it yet for sites hosted on the main server because it's still down.

    Kopi Luwak is coffee where the raw beans pass through the digestive tract of a civet before being roasted and ground.  I am not making this up.
    Art by Bangzheng Du.

Tech News

  • There's more to not rolling your own crypto than just not rolling your own crypto.  (Galois)

    Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and things are now so complicated that nothing worth not doing is easy either.  This is complicated mathematical stuff, but you can get the gist by looking at the penguin on that page.  The one on the left is the original; the one in the middle is encrypted using AES in ECB mode.  It's encrypted using a high-quality thoroughly-tested encryption algorithm, but the result is just a penguin with a noise filter applied.

    To decrypt the file you need either the password or a quantum supercomputer, but you don't need to decrypt the file; you can just look at it and see the image.

  • Why is Python so popular despite being slow?  (Sethserver)

    Because it works, and your page is broken.

    I'd prefer to use something else - Crystal or Nim, probably - if I were to start a major new project now, but the only dynamic language (or rather environment) with a larger collection of available libraries than Python is Node.js, and Node is digital leprosy.

  • Step 1: Buy old, unprofitable power plant.
    Step 2: Convert to mine Bitcoin.
    Step 3: Profit.  (Tom's Hardware)
    Step 4: Get shut down for using your own power for the wrong thing.

  • It can't game, but can the Surface Laptop 4 work?  (Tom's Hardware)

    Mostly, yes.  It has an 8 core Ryzen 4980U, which they call custom silicon but is really just a binned Ryzen 4800U.  That said, the 4800U is a solid part and a binned version of it is icing on the cake.

    That's paired with 16GB of LPDDR4-4266 RAM - large enough to get stuff done and fast enough for the integrated graphics to run at full speed, a 512GB NVMe SSD, and a 15" 2496x1664 3:2 touchscreen, powered by a battery that delivers 12 hours of us in real tests.

    It doesn't have the Four Essential Keys, though, so it's dead to me.

  • Atlast packs the 10 core i9-10900 into a small form factor, passively cooled desktop.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The i9-10900K is famously power-hungry, topping 300W under load with default motherboard settings.  But this is the i9-10900T - still 10 cores, but with a 35W TDP rather than 125W.

    It would be cheaper and quite possibly faster to simply get a Ryzen laptop like the one above, unless you absolutely need a silent, passively-cooled system, for a recording studio, for example.

  • The problem is that the customer has two children with their own daughter, and, as a result, he can't use my software because of errors.  (Stack Overflow)

    Family trees aren't trees in the computer science sense of the term.  The best you can hope for is a directed acyclic graph, and not even that in some states.

  • Testing the Samsung 980 Nothing.  (Serve the Home)

    Samsung's SSDs generally have a three-letter suffix - QVO for the low-end models, EVO for the standard lineup, and PRO for the, well, pro parts.  This one doesn't, and it slots in between the QVO and the EVO.

    It's a PCIe 3.0 DRAMless TLC SSD.  The alternative at that price point is QLC with a DRAM cache; it's a tradeoff, and either is likely to be fine for the average desktop or laptop.  I wouldn't put either one in a server on a bet, though, not even in RAID-Z3.

  • Amex let their SSL certificate for the Google Pay interface expire.  (Bleeping Computer)

    I can certainly see why this would be a manual process and not delegated to Let's Encrypt.  And also, since it wouldn't be public, it's harder to add to automated monitoring systems that alert you to impending certificate expiry.

    But still.

  • Dell is spinning VMWare back off as an independent company.  (ZDNet)

    Dell acquired an 80% stake in VMWare when it bought enterprise storage and server vendor EMC in 2016.  I don't think VMWare ever fit in with Dell's corporate strategy, though, so it's no surprise to see it being spun off.  And they'll likely make a tidy profit off the deal.

  • The Asus ZenBook Duo 14 lacks the Four Essential Keys, but with good reason.  (ZDNet)

    The reason is that the trackpad is on the right of the keyboard rather than in front of it, so there isn't room for a column of extended cursor keys on the right.

    And the reason the trackpad is on the right of the keyboard?  Because of that Duo part: This laptop has two screens.
    The lower screen is a touchscreen, and programmable to display apps or function keys or to work as a drawing surface with the included pen.

    As for the boring parts, it's an Intel 11th generation CPU with optional Nvidia MX450 graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.  It has two Thunderbolt 4  / USB-C ports, one regular USB, HDMI, a microSD card slot, and a 1/8" audio combo jack.  No wired Ethernet, but a Thunderbolt dock or USB-C monitor can provide 2.5Gb or even 10Gb Ethernet.

    It's interesting, and I can see that second screen being very useful for certain tasks.  Kind of like having an Elgato control pad only built right in to your laptop.  Asus shows examples on the product page of the second screen acting as a control surface for Adobe apps.

    The main screen is 1920x1080 and the second screen 1920x515.  I'd prefer 2560x1440 and, what, about 2560x700 respectively, but that's because I like to be able to split my screen when testing code.  With the second screen, 1920x1080 might actually be fine - I could have the browser on the main screen and a terminal session below.

    There's also a 15" model with a 4K OLED screen, 8 core CPU, and an RTX 2060 mobile GPU, but that's last year's model and it ain't cheap.

  • The House Judiciary Committe has approved a report recommending harsher restrictions on mergers and acquisitions in Big Tech.  (Reuters)

    Republicans on the committee - all of them, as far as I can tell - voted against it because they prefer stripping the companies of their CDA Section 230 protections, which simply isn't going to happen under the current Congress and Administration, so unless there's something specifically partisan and toxic in this report they're just being stupid.

  • Somewhere, D. D. Harriman is smiling: Space X has been awarded a contract for a new manned US Moon program.  (Washington Post)

    This means there's a good chance we'll actually live to see it happen.

What the Hell Are You Idiots Doing Video of the Day

Turnover FY 2020: $14,000.
Market Cap: $113 million.

Rascal Does Not Dream of War Criminal Senpai Video of the Day

A certain bunny girl had a cameo in How Not to Summon a Demon Lord.  That's totally Pekora, no matter what she says.

Disclaimer: Stop the bubble, I want to get off.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:04 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 1459 words, total size 12 kb.

1 I'm sure that opt-out actually does something other than tell google that you intended to opt out.  I'd much rather find a solution that poisons google's database.  Or maybe that poisons google and all its employees.

Posted by: normal at Saturday, April 17 2021 10:41 PM (obo9H)

2 Technically, it doesn't do much.  Practically, if Google violate the opt-out, Europe will fine them billions of dollars because it's free money to them.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, April 18 2021 12:19 AM (PiXy!)

3 General presumption should be that everything coming out of the current pretense at a Congress is toxic and partisan. 

Many of the Democrat Senators and Congressmen appear to be fraudulently seated, and the vote to make Pelosi speaker was not legitimate.  Her control of the Speaker's power, almost immediately used thereafter to try to frame Trump and the GOP, is itself not lawful.

There's a sound school of thought that we should not automatically execute Republicans who fail in any way to use theoretical power to hinder the current regime's ambitions.

I do think that Republicans who vote to confirm any Biden 'nomination' ought to be voted out.  I have gotten some push back on that idea in a conversation with someone who isn't saying that Biden is legitimate.

On the other hand, I fear that I am sliding into center-right squishery because of finding myself moderating on another position.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Sunday, April 18 2021 12:32 AM (6y7dz)

4 Yeah, I'm going to argue moderation here, and say that only Google and Alphabet's executives should be killed.  Killing the ordinary employees has too high a risk of harming someone who is innocent or valuable.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Sunday, April 18 2021 12:34 AM (6y7dz)

5 I'm just thinking that because it's still quite early in the development of FLoC, now would be the perfect time to stuff it full of useless nonsense.  And also to accidentally slip a few thousand pounds of arsenic into the soy milk supply in California.

Posted by: normal at Sunday, April 18 2021 01:17 AM (LADmw)

6 I've been thinking of doing something similar with the third-tier SEO web crawlers that plague this server.  Stuffing them full of nonsense, that is, not the other thing.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, April 18 2021 01:33 AM (PiXy!)

7 I'm hoping for a Ryzen 9 update to the Pro Duo, where among its other pricy virtues, both displays are wide-gamut HD touchscreens.  If that doesn't show up, then maybe at the beginning of next year I'll see how the Alienware and Razer models are holding up.


Posted by: J Greely at Sunday, April 18 2021 02:47 AM (ZlYZd)

8 "I can certainly see why this would be a manual process and not delegated to Let's Encrypt. And also, since it wouldn't be public, it's harder to add to automated monitoring systems that alert you to impending certificate expiry."
For a start, that's why office software has calendars.  I have one server with a ridiculously-short password expiry, so every time I put in a new password I set an event a few days before it expires, to remind me to reset it again so I don't have to contact IT.

Posted by: Rick C at Sunday, April 18 2021 03:51 AM (eqaFC)

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

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