Sunday, December 26


Daily News Stuff 26 December 2021

Letelescope C'est Moi Edition

Top Story

  • After 25 years in development, the James Webb Space Telescope was launched safely and is on its way.  (CBC)

    The telescope is designed to work in the near-infrared.  That's not a magical spectrum, it's just hard to work with here on Earth where basically everything around it is radiating in the infrared, and worse, the atmosphere blocks most of the infrared light from space.

    The telescope is now heading out to its long term base of operations at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point, about a million miles straight out from the Sun past the Earth.  That's a lot further away that the Hubble so there's no easy way to repair this one if it needs glasses.

    And yes, they did test it first.

  • Meanwhile, this being apparently the 21st century or something, work is underway to turn an old superfund site into the world's leading fusion research program.  (Boston Globe / MSN)

    The $2 billion project has been funded in part by Bill Gates and Google, and has been criticised by sustainable energy activists for taking attention away from more critical matters, by which they mean, themselves.  Because if fusion can be made to work - or rather, be made to work in a less dramatic fashion than what we have had for the past 70 years - then their grift train is derailed permanently.

Tech News

  • I was wondering why there were no Alder Lake motherboards which could run dual PCIe slots in a x8/x8 configuration, and then I realised that it was likely due to the cost and difficulty of running two sets of PCIe 5 signals - at 32Gbps - to those slots.

    Then I poked around a bit and found that there are actually plenty of such boards, but every single one of them uses DDR5 RAM, and you'd have to be daft (or spending someone else's money) to go with DDR5 right now.  Given the pricing of some of those motherboards my surmise that the lack of dual slots was due to cost is probably not wide of the mark, either.

    And then I realised that the reason I wanted that second slot was so I could hook up more than four monitors (I want three or four monitors, a drawing tablet that needs its own HDMI, and possibly also a TV) and the motherboard I had selected for the build itself has HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, each capable of 4K/60Hz.

    From the integrated graphics, yes, so no good for gaming, but just fine for a drawing tablet or watching movies.

  • The Philadelphia 76ers just partnered with a company that "applies tech and AI to the entertainment industry".  (Defector)

    They apply this in rather innovative ways: The company's own CEO appears to be an AI program.  Which might be news to NASDAQ where the company's shares are listed.

    90% of AI is bullshit, and the other 10% is swearing because the code you've spent years working on just did something embarrassingly stupid.  Again.

  • What real AI looks like.  (Louis Bouchard)

    Some examples actual research papers from the past year:

    - Automatic detection and quantification of floating marine macro-litter in aerial images
    - High-Resolution Photorealistic Image Translation in Real-Time: A Laplacian Pyramid Translation Network
    - The Cocktail Fork Problem: Three-Stem Audio Separation for Real-World Soundtracks
    - Deep nets: What have they ever done for vision?

  • A Christmas miracle: It turns out that even the crazies over at Ars Technica think that slave labour camps run by communist dictators are a bad idea.  (Ars Technica)

    Intel sent a message to its Chinese suppliers to tell them to stop using slave labour.

    A day later the company apologised profusely for suggesting that companies controlled by a totalitarian state that can disappear CEOs on a whim might ever be inclined to do anything immoral.

    The left-wing commentariat over at Ars Technica responded - to my surprise - with entirely appropriate levels of scorn, redoubled when a genocide apologist showed up right there in the thread.

  • The Scorptec Nuctop has a dumb name.  (Scorptec)

    But it also has the Four Essential Keys (since someone asked - PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End - you use those all the time as a developer), an Intel Core i7 11800H, RTX 3070 graphics, a 15.6" 165Hz QHD (2560x1440) IPS display, 32GB of RAM (upgradeable to 64GB), 1TB of NVMe SSD (specifically a Samsung 970 EVO Plus which is a very good choice, and upgradeable to as much as you can jam into two M.2 2280 slots), Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (10Gbps), a full size SD card slot, headphone jack, wired 2.5Gb Ethernet, and an optical/mechanical keyboard with per-key backlight control. 

    It has a hefty 94WHr battery and weighs a relatively svelte 1.95kg.  And runs Windows 10 Pro, where you are more likely to get landed with 11 Home on a laptop like this.

    I don't know who the OEM is - Scorptec is an Australian chain of computer stores (and online store) and did not make this themselves - but the specs are pretty much perfect and the design is a nice restrained magnesium alloy case in basic black.

    Might need to investigate this one, since I was planning to order a pile of stuff from Scorptec in the next week anyway.

    Update: The OEM is, um, Intel.  This appears to be their NUC X15 Laptop Kit - model LAPKC71F.

    I might rail against Intel's idiotic management, but there are worse companies to buy computers from. I think I might get one of these.

  • I think I missed this at the time: There are no bandwidth charges between Vultr's cloud servers and Backblaze B2 storage.  (Backblaze)

    I mean, it would be nice if Vultr offered object storage in every one of their locations, but for a small company, keeping cloud servers running smoothly in 13 countries on 5 continents is already a pretty big job - particularly for prices starting at $2.50 per month.


  • On July 1, the world's fastest SSD was fast - ish, how to install Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi, yes, we had no Xboxen, launching virgins into orbit, and everyone's favourite foul-mouthed shit-posting drug-dealing USDA-approved Yakuza dragon went out with a bang, with 490,000 people tuning in for her farewell stream.

  • On July 2, Humble Bundle was not so humble, the Optane P1600X was perfect for doing nothing very quickly, the FTC voted itself new powers, I - apparently by pure psychic energy - voted myself a raise, and Amazon was unhappy with stuff.

  • On July 3, Facebook went full Stasi and the usual subjects loved them for it, the Zenfone 8 headed to the US, Oppo merged with OnePlus saving everyone the bother of pretending they were different companies, Intel signed a deal to produce chips at TSMC, dodging that TPM report, Russia launched another attack on US businesses, the tame Apple press were busy conducting that Russian domesticated fox experiment on themselves, kill your IoT devices with an axe, Instagram claimed that it wasn't Instagram, and Twitter moved to protect its target market of drooling idiots from the consequences of their own actions.

  • On July 4, Windows 11 was all about security - not yours, theirs, Samsung had a new small tablet that kinda sucked, the Ryzen 5700G kinda didn't suck, Qualcomm headed back to making custom cores, Intel might have been bringing Sapphire Rapids to the desktop - but probably not until 2023, and STOP OUTSOURCING CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE and also DON'T CONNECT CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE DIRECTLY TO THE INTERNET.

  • On July 5, managed services companies were disease vectors in a plague-ridden world, how to install Windows 11 in a virtual machine, Qualcomm was headed forwards to 4nm, an SSL certificate chain got taken out by a cosmic ray, Windows on Arm still sucked, and rent seekers sought rent.

  • On July 6, we wondered how much it would cost to bribe a bear, how to uninstall Windows 11, we thought - stupidly - that GPU prices would continue to come down, QNAP had another critical vulnerability, and yes, Audacity was suddenly spyware.

  • On July 7, Australia was getting a shiny new computer for the National Minecraft and Also Some Astronomy Centre, YouTube went too far and had to walk backwards, Oppo was cheating on benchmarks - poorly, JEDI was cancelled - which turned out to maybe have been the right decision though for the wrong reasons, there was a BIG bug in Windows printing, WSL2 was great unless you did I/O, and the Biden Administration considered sending a sternly worded note to Russia.

  • On July 8, npm audit was broken by design - as well as being broken accidentally, the 10Gb switch situation still sucked, neurons used pulse-coded signalling like everyone except apparently neuroscientists thought all along, what browser should you use to replace Chrome (Brave), China was for some bizarre reason gathering DNA samples of millions of women, and YouTube banned Hololive's Houshou Marine - just a small account with 1.4 million subscribers, no reason to check first.

  • On July 9, the massive Russian ransomware attack affecting 1500 companies around the world didn't touch backups so everyone just restored from backup and went on with their day, the new Atari console had solid hardware and crap software, API pagination was surprisingly complicated, and by "surprisingly complicated" we mean "a complete nightmare", don't buy the Lexar NM620 SSD, Google dropped their Play Services - for 2013 releases of Android which was kind of understandable, California insisted people were not fleeing the state and that sorry no-one was available to discuss it because they had all moved to Tennessee, and we discovered Pina Pengin.

  • On July 10, nothing went horribly wrong in the tech world for an entire day, the NSW state government finally lost the plot (the premier at the time has since resigned and been replaced with someone substantially better), Samsung's 3nm GAA process was on track for 2022 risk production, Backblaze pointed out that you couldn't make money farming Chia, Tencent was spying on children, which I suppose is better than just enslaving them, and Samsung's mobile app to control their washing machines needed access to everything.

  • On July 11, just buy Stardock's Object Desktop and be done with it, Journalists for Fascism was at it again, how to merge two Apple IDs into one and other ways to ruin your life, Science Based Medicine imploded their hard-won reputation for not being batshit insane leftist ideologues, and Hope descended a little too hard. (Hope is currently playing Terraria.)

  • On July 12, Kaseya - the managed services company that helped 1500 other companies get hacked - patched the vulnerabilities involved, giant pandas were no longer endangered, and a free and open internet was under attack said, uh, Google.

  • On July 13, AMD's Threadripper 5000 was expected to launch in August - something I'm pretty damn sure didn't happen, the rainbow dildo butt monkey incident, OpenSearch reached 1.0, SolarWinds again, nuclear powered Bitcoin mining, and the Salton Sea could supply 40% of the world's lithium.

  • On July 14, 83% of the world's software developers were burned out, give me /events not webhooks, RabbitMQ had streams, Alder Lake might not suck, AMD-based NUCs didn't suck, Russia took the day off and let have a turn China hacking US companies for a bit, Amazon rolled out end-to-end encryption for doorbells, Adobe updated Fucking Acrobat (TM), how Intel fucked up, Firefox broke Facebook and there was great rejoicing, and the Great EN Vtuber Explosion hit full steam with Nijisanji's second wave.

  • On July 15, it hurt to live.

  • Still on July 15, if you can't code, that routine would let anyone straight in if they simply didn't enter a password, and thus 1500 companies had their data wiped, China hacked governments in Asia instead of companies in America for a while, Microsoft patched 117 vulnerabilities, Twitter scuttled Fleets, firewall your firewalls, and I wasn't biased against Apple, I just hated everyone.

  • On July 16, it's not censorship if it's a private company said the censors, Ukraine shut down a football mining operation, Windows printing had another BIG bug, it might be possible to know how many numbers there are, unsafe at any speed including parked in the driveway, and the Steam Deck looked pretty cool.

  • On July 17, Google banned distributing anything they don't like for any reason by anyone, Oberon+, Threadripper Pro, NASA got the Hubble working again, an RCE in CDNJS, 25,000 years after walls were invented, scientists figured out what they were for, and Pocket Casts was bought by WordPress.

  • On July 18, why, though, HP Australia kinda sucked, Lenovo Australia kinda sucked, more on the UK Post Office embezzlement debacle that turned out to just be buggy accounting software, installing Z/OS on your laptop, Facebook hit back at claims that it wasn't a fascist-run shithole, and the Freedom Phone looked distinctly sus.

  • On July 19, there was ANOTHER BIG BUG in Windows printing, BubbaBot as prior art, SQL was annoying, a Pi Pico with a ton of connectors, and a billion rows per minute into SQLite.

  • On July 20, President Biden made it perfectly clear that Facebook was not mowing down people in the streets as far as he was aware, the Radeon 6600 and 6600 XT were set to launch, Black 3.0 was even blacker than Black 2.0, Audacity apparently was mowing down people in the streets, China in the computer room with a jumper cable, why I buy Dell, Android TV became recursively worse, and Apple removed an app for spotting fake reviews because Amazon apparently found it inconvenient.

  • On July 21, IP addresses randomly disappeared, another BIG BUG in Windows (not printing this time), Amazon's New World vs the RTX 3090, China hacked 13 US oil and gas pipelines - in 2013, the EU banned arithmetic, and fuck systemd.

  • On July 22, everyone agreed that the keyboard on the new Razer Blade 14 sucked, what was the definition of NUC anyway, and yet another BIG bug in Windows printing, just not Microsoft's fault this time.

  • On July 23, we were going to move to a new server - and will this week, even Global Foundries was expanding, the new Dell XPS 17 also had a crappy keyboard, the Washington Post streamed porn, and free ransomware unlocking keys.

  • On July 24, we threw the blockchain people into a volcano, oh, yeah, those idiots, something was sus in the state of Alder Lake, a time of redemption for crappy GPUs, that nifty Framework laptop shipped, our fascist overlords were the only defense against their fascist overlords, and Journalists for Censorship were at it again again.

  • On July 25, Haachama came back to us at the turn of the tide, an update to ChromeOS had a teeny tiny bug, China partied like it was 2010, Apple fixed some teeny tiny WiFi bugs, Microsoft fixed a teeny tiny Windows Domain Controller Bug, Apple's mantra was fuck developers, and we were mad as hell and weren't going to eat bugs anymore.

  • On July 26, never look a duck bearing lemons in the mouth, it was too good to be true, nuclear power was expected to decline in efficiency - by 0.5% over thirty years, an feeding the world with demethylated potatoes.

  • On July 27, Intel launched its new 7nm process by the simple expedient of renaming 10nm to 7nm, 2023's Meteor Lake could have 192 graphics cores, 2022's 7900XT could have 240 graphics cores (rather more powerful ones), just throw all the blockchain people into the volcano, and the EU threatened to sue every single member state except Germany.

  • On July 28, then they came for our gaming PCs, Microsoft said you couldn't dodge the Windows 11 hardware requirements - which turned out to be a lie, Kioxia demonstrated six-level flash memory cells which lasted as much as (checks notes) two hours before losing your data, Cassandra 4.0 and MongoDB 5.0 were out, and the EFF sued the US Post Office over its illegal domestic espionage activities.

  • On July 29, the Democrats named people aren't complete idiots as the greatest threat to their grip on power, cutting all of the cords, Google and Facebook required workers who never set foot in an office to be vaccinated, and Apple shut down internal Slack channels because they hate their employees almost as much as they hate their developers and their customers. Apple workers - unionise. No, wait. ... Okay, I have popcorn. Now unionise.

  • On July 30, that telepathic raise I mentioned kicked in and was even backdated, which didn't make up for the sleepless nights but was at least something, a standard arrived for LPDDR5X, Dell was just a big doodoo head said other gaming PC makers, Safari was filled with bugs and just generally crappy, China entered into a new era of economic suicide, and HP laptops apparently existed, even in Australia.

  • And on July 31, I was looking at buying a couple of new computers - and five months later I still am, although I have bought a couple of new computers in that timespan, conservatives in Australia attempted political suicide and were only saved by one of their leaders getting caught up in a corruption investigation, resigning, and being replaced by someone at least partly sane, Static.Wiki was Wikipedia only static, idiots and maniacs, obvious security risk was obvious, the EU fined Amazon $888 million, more nastiness on PyPi, and what's a dead hobo here or there?

Party Like It's 1979 Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Offer void where prohibited by law and in Canada.

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1 The idiots at arse technica just haven't received the memo on how it's racist to say that chinese companies use slave labour.  Once that's sorted you won't have to worry about those sorts of comments again.

Posted by: normal at Sunday, December 26 2021 11:25 PM (obo9H)

2 a) There's apparently a case that fusion would produce more radioactive contamination than fission.
b) Sustainable energy advocates are still a festering crock of rancid shit.
c)  I would have trouble saying any more on those folks without getting a bit impolite.

Posted by: PatBuckman at Monday, December 27 2021 03:23 AM (r9O5h)

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

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