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Friday, June 30


Daily News Stuff 30 June 2023

The Case Of The Rapping Reaper Edition

Top Story

  • Oh, yeah.  Nvidia's RTX 4060 is here.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Buy a 6700XT while they're still available.  Or wait for the 7700 and hope it's priced appropriately.

    The only good cards in the current generation are Nvidia's 4090 - if you're spending someone else's money - and AMD's 7600 which is now available for around $250 and is worth just about that.

    Everything in between is either overpriced, underperforms, or has stupid limitations that ruin a card that might otherwise be adequate.

Tech News

  • Dell's 6K professional monitor is here.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's good, but it costs as much as six good 4K monitors, and I'd rather have six good 4K monitors.

  • There's no such thing as bad publicity, until the woke mob arrives.  (New York Times)

    A new author - who appears to be an idiot, but she's being interviewed by the New York Times so that is pretty much required - found her book getting review-bombed on Goodreads because, so far as I can tell from the rather turgid article, the plot summary she posted to Twitter is insensitive to Marxist retards:
    The story centers on a young Black woman working at Goldman Sachs who falls in love with a conservative white co-worker with bigoted views.
    Note also that "Black" is capitalised because it is an identity, where "white" is not because it is merely an admission of guilt.

  • Rocky Linux, which took up the mantle from CentOS after that distribution was murdered by IBM, says it has found a way forward after RedHat stopped distributing source code releases.  (The Register)

    IBM only cares about large enterprise customers - if you have fewer than 16 servers they will just give you RHEL licenses for free - but they don't want to let those large enterprise customers slip away, so they are making it as difficult as possible for independent Linux distributions to retain 100% compatibility with RHEL, without actually violating the open source licenses that all the code depends on.

    Expect a slow-moving and frankly rather boring war of attrition here, as IBM comes up with annoying new tricks and the smaller distros work around them,

    Meanwhile I'm using Ubuntu.

  • Brave browser will soon prevent web pages from scanning your local network.  (Ars Technica)

    If you thought your home devices were safe without passwords because they're not exposed to the internet, well, wrong.  Your browser is on your local network so any web page you load can scan your devices.

    And a surprising number of legitimate websites do that for no good reason.  The article mentions eBay, Chick-fil-A, Best Buy, Kroger, and Macy's, and there are lots more.

    Brave will show a popup for websites that try this and you will be able to grant one-time or permanent access, or tell the site to buzz off.  It will be interesting to see what breaks.

  • If you want a small Android phone, the Asus Zenfone 10 is apparently what passes for that these days.  (The Verge)

    It has a 5.9" screen, but some of the larger models are getting close to 7", so it  is at least relatively small.

    It's not cheap either, but the specs are decent.  Not that The Verge tells you what they are, but here's a proper review  (Tom's Guide) and here are the full specs.  (GSM Arena)

    It has a headphone jack but no microSD slot, but is at least available with up to 512GB of storage.  Still, if you're using it to hold important data, make sure it's all backed up, because if the phone fails for any reason everything on it is going to be toast.

  • Gigabyte's new Ryzen 7030U Brix (their NUC lineup) is up to 140% faster than previous Intel models.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Where by "previous" they mean three years previously, but then the 7030U is itself a two year old design so that's not actually unfair.

    Don't expect remarkable performance, but it should be decent for anything short of serious gaming.  The eight core 7030U is a slightly improved 5800U, and my new laptop is a six core 5600U, and I'm pretty happy with it.  With the CPU anyway; the shortcomings relate to the screen and the battery life, neither of which applies to a desktop mini-PC.

  • Hyte has done it again: The new Y40 Calliope Mori edition is available for pre-order.  (Hyte)

    If you plan to fill your house with Hololive-themed PCs they also offer custom Y60 versions styled on Bae and Kronii, and a Hololive EN TKL keyboard.  Which I can't buy because that for some reason is US/Canada only even though it's called the "Connect the World" bundle.

Disclaimer: The world ends with you, and also at the border.

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Thursday, June 29


Daily News Stuff 29 June 2023

Cartoon Rabbit Password Apocalypse Edition

Top Story

  • At Reddit, the beatings will continue until morale improves.  (The Verge)

    Many of the major subreddits, each with millions of users, remain dark, and Reddit's approach has moved from threatening the moderators to, well, still threatening the moderators.  They don't really seem to have any other ideas.

    Now, the moderators of many of the subreddits are little better than a horde of mini-Hitlers, but so are the people actually running the company.  The problem is that despite all the hitlering there is a lot of worthwhile content stuck behind the blackout curtains.

    And the only thing Reddit cares about is monetising that content; it doesn't matter how that affects the moderators or the users.

    They've really taken a page out of the Big Hasbro Book on Customer Relations.

Tech News

Cartoon Rabbit Password Apocalypse Video of the Day

Dammit Paul!

Disclaimer: Your password must include an invocation to the Sun in eleven rhyming couplets, written entirely in the precative mood, in Old Akkadian.

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Wednesday, June 28


Daily News Stuff 28 June 2023

Shop Of Theseus Edition

Top Story

  • Who is the new Mac Pro for?  Apparently, nobody.  (The Verge)

    The previous Mac Pro was a serious computer for serious people - except that it was a Mac, anyway.  It supported multiple video cards and up to 1.5TB of RAM.

    The new Mac Pro is limited to 192GB of RAM, the same amount you can add to a $100 Intel 13100F.  And it supports no graphics cards.  It has slots for graphics cards, but if you install one, it won't work.

    If you ask professional Mac users if they want a Mac Pro, the answer is no.  For almost all of them the 96GB available on the MacBook Pro is enough, and for the few remaining there's the 192GB on a maxed-out Mac Studio.  The Mac Studio doesn't have any PCIe slots, but you can't use the PCIe slots in the Mac Pro anyway.

Tech News

Disclaimer: You can have my Cobalt when you pry my Model M keyboard from my cold, dead fingers.  So probably Tuesday.

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Tuesday, June 27


Daily News Stuff 27 June 2023

Daniel's Disappointing Donuts Edition

Top Story

Tech News

Disclaimer: It's not the journey, it's the destination, and the destination is home.

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Sunday, June 25


Daily News Stuff 24-25 June 2023

Just People Doing People Things Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • AI's bigger-is-better approach is running out of road.  (The Economist)

    OpenAI's GPT-3 cost nearly $5 million to train in 2020.  GPT-4 just over two years later cost more than $100 million.  Is OpenAI prepared to spend $2 billion on GPT-5?  Even if they are, is there enough high-quality data that they can spend that much with it automatically going to waste?

    The article suggests that AI companies will be forced to work smarter, not expensiver.  But even if they do that will mean instead of spending exponentially more money for incrementally better results, they'll need to work exponentially smarter for incrementally better results.

    That's an even worse tradeoff.  It's the Technological Nothingularity, where even with AI helping train new generations of AI, progress slows to a crawl indistinguishable from a dead stop, where the technology of tomorrow can be safely predicted by assuming that nothing ever changes.

  • ChatGPT can't program in INTERCAL.  (Muppet Labs)

    That's okay.  Neither can anyone else.

  • Midjourney 5.2 is here and seems to be pretty good.  (Ars Technica)

    It may not matter if your progress stalls, so long as you get to good before stalling it.  If you run out of fuel after arriving safely at your destination. meh, you can deal with it later.

    It was hard to get good results out of Midjourney 2.  It was vague not only on how many fingers people had and where they should be located, but hands and heads as well.  They latest version appears to produce much more coherent images.

Disclaimer: If a product says "not tested on animals", that means they're testing it on you.

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Friday, June 23


Daily News Stuff 23 June 2023

Postcrime Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Windows 11 is garbage.

    When I get back home, Tanya the Evil is getting a Windows 10 upgrade.

  • Intel has made it official: There won't be a 14th generation desktop chip based on the Meteor Lake architecture this year.  (WCCFTech)

    There will however be a 14th generation desktop chip based on the Raptor Lake architecture, which is 13th generation, and a 14th generation laptop HX chip based on the Raptor Lake architecture, which is still 13th generation, a 1st generation laptop U/H Ultra chip based on the Meteor Lake architecture, which is 14th generation, and a 1st generation laptop U/H chip based on the Raptor Lake architecture, which as we mentioned earlier is 13th generation.

    All clear?


    Don't buy anything.

  • The 7840HS in the Beelink GTR7 makes for a potent NUC.  (Serve the Home)

    They tested it in light gaming such as League of Legends and logged no real improvement over the previous generation GTR6 with a 6900HX processor.

    Then they realised that the new model has been tested on 4k resolution instead of 1080p.

  • Since I'm back in a big city for a few days I stopped at an electronics store to see if there exists a phone appreciably larger than my Samsung, um, A52 5G I think it is.  Not that I have 5G back home in West Wyalong* but I did in Sydney before the move.

    Well, I didn't; in fact I barely had any Gs at all.  I had five hypothetical Gs, but zero point one actual Gs.

    Anyway, no.

    No good small tablets either.  The sales guys - there were are group of them standing around chatting - paused when I said there were no good small tablets, and then unpaused when I added except for the iPad Mini which I don't want.

    I think I might have to get one, though.  I have my Samsung A7 Lite with me on this trip as well, and it's just a big bundle of meh.

    * May not contain any actual West Wyalong.

  • Prism Project has announced its seventh generation of vtubers.  (Twitter)

    This comes a month after Gen 6, which came a month after Gen 5, which came 18 months after Gen 4, so it seems that someone at Sony finally woke up and remembered that they bought a vtuber agency a couple of years ago.  (The exact terms of the deal weren't made public, but day-to-day operations are handle by Sony now and the talents' music is released under the Sony label).

    The three new talents are all well-known indie vtubers, which is something Phase Connect also did with its "Phase Invaders" generations, and it's what Kawa Entertainment is all about.  Give them a home, let them keep their models and fanbases, and skim a little off the top in return for managing things like music and gameplay rights.

  • So apart from Windows 11, Mrs Pixy, how's the new laptop?  (The HP Pavilion 14, non-Plus version.)

    It's okay.  The screen is definitely meh.  The CPU is significantly faster than my old laptop (six cores vs. four, so it should be), and it has 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD because such things are cheap if you can just find a laptop that is still upgradeable, which is the only reason I got this and not the much nicer but unupgradeable Plus.

    Keyboard I'm getting used to, but the screen is not as good as the old laptop even after the old laptop's screen went bad.  Battery life is far from spectacular as well.

    I brought along a little 65W GaN charger with three USB ports to keep the laptop, phone, and tablet topped up and chugging alone.  

    It can't do that.

Disclaimer: Double plus Nongood.

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Thursday, June 22


Daily News Stuff 22 June 2023

Usual Suspecting Edition

Top Story

  • Journalists for Censorship is at it again: Spotify's podcast platform is going off the rails, except for Joe Rogan who is still drawing huge audiences and we can't stand it!!!!!  (The Verge)
    One problem is that none of these people — from former presidents to filmmakers to bestselling authors — were able to deliver sure-fire podcast hits. Even a podcast hosted by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen ended up putting people to sleep.
    This comes as a surprise?
    This cascading series of events says a lot about the unwieldy nature of Spotify’s podcast business, which is still driven mostly by the former host ofFear Factor. Not even a compilation video of Rogan saying the n-word nearly two dozen times got him kicked off the platform. It’s a lot of power for one creator to yield.
    Spotify: He actually makes us money.

Tech News

Disclaimer: I'll be away for a couple of days attending a 100th birthday party.  (Not mine.)  Will probably be able to log in remotely and post something though.

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Wednesday, June 21


Daily News Stuff 21 June 2023

Shark Day Edition

Top Story

  • A new LLM (large language model, the same sort of AI as ChatGPT) called phi-, with 1.3 billion tokens, scores over 50% on the HumanEval problem set.  (Twitter)

    GPT-4 scores 67% - but uses 1.7 trillion tokens.

    How did they achieve this miracle?  They trained phi-1 on textbooks rather than on the internet.

    And what does it means?  It means you can produce an AI that is smart enough to perform simple tasks and small enough to run on your laptop - and probably your phone.

    What else does it mean?  It means to score 85% on that test using the same approach as GPT-4 you'd need something like 2 quadrillion tokens, which would cost billions of dollars to train even if you could find that much data.  And then years to "align", that is, to get it to stop giving obviously wrong answers because you stuffed it full of nonsense.

    Garbage in, garbage out.

    phi-1 took four days to train.  (Arxiv)

    Also, speaking of garbage, don't use textbooks published after 2010 or so.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Instead of office chair, package contained live shark.  Not complaining, but do you have any more of these?

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Tuesday, June 20


Daily News Stuff 20 June 2023

A Song Of Fiery Ice Edition

Top Story

  • Some say we'll end in Brave New World,
    Some say in 1984.
    I stand with corporate flag unfurled
    And push like hell for Brave New World.

    But if we had to end again,
    I think I know enough of life
    To see that coddling morons*
    Brings us to Harrison Bergeron.

    Complex systems won't survive the competence crisis.  (Palladium)

    The world grows more complex by the day, and we haven't had a dumber ruling class since 1913.  And that worked out just great for everyone, so nothing to worry about.
    America must be understood as a system of interwoven systems; the healthcare system sends a bill to a patient using the postal system, and that patient uses the mobile phone system to pay the bill with a credit card issued by the banking system. All these systems must be assumed to work for anyone to make even simple decisions. But the failure of one system has cascading consequences for all of the adjacent systems. As a consequence of escalating rates of failure, America’s complex systems are slowly collapsing.
    Not just America, of course, but America is the exemplar here of past greatness rapidly corroding from within.  Many of the countries affected by this disease were never great, or their greatness was a century or more past.

    I mentioned Twilio yesterday, with their brilliant three word billboard - Ask your developer - the point being that even if you, the manager driving past, didn't know about Twilio, your technical staff did, replaced by some sesquipedalian drivel about reducing cost of acquisition, but that's just one tiny example of this, and to some degree it's an example of the brain rot that affects all large organisations.  Large organisations cannot innovate, which is why they acquire small ones.

    And then destroy them.

    What's the solution?  With businesses, you let them collapse into bankruptcy and sell of the pieces.  With countries, the traditional approach was war, but that is frowned upon these days.

    * No offense to the Horde, who are the good kind of moron.  Best I could do in two minutes.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Spam is whatever you have too much of.  For some things - like unsolicited advertising - the threshold is zero, or close to it.  For other things - like water - a little is good, but a hundred million gallons in the wrong place will just ruin your weekend.

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Monday, June 19


Daily News Stuff 19 June 2023

When Seven Hundred Years Old You Are Edition

Top Story

  • At least they're self-aware: Black Mirror's 'Joan is Awful' shits all over the future of streaming.  (The Verge)
    Right now in Hollywood, the screenwriters of the Writers Guild of America are on strike.
    I know this is true, but it hasn't affected my viewing habits one iota.
    And one reason they’re on strike is the fear that AI will take their jobs, churning out mediocre content quickly and cheaply that helps streamers’ bottom lines even if it doesn’t contribute much culturally speaking.
    So their jobs are churning out mediocre content quickly and cheaply that helps streamers’ bottom lines even if it doesn’t contribute much culturally speaking?

    I mean, yes.  True.  Just odd to hear them admit it.
    Disclosure: The Verge’s editorial staff is represented by the Writers Guild of America East.
    I would never have guessed.

Tech News

  • MSI is launching an RTX 4060 without RGB lighting.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I'm so old I remember when computer cases were opaque.

  • There's always a bigger fish, and there's always a slimier lawyer.  (New York Times)

    Slime gets drunk and says things he shouldn't, career implodes, film at eleven.

  • How to destroy your brand in eight words or less.  (Miguel Grinberg)

    Twilio - an API service for sending messages to people, which before Twilio was a confusing mess - replaced its iconic billboard that said simply Ask your developer with one that says How can I reduce acquisition costs by 65%? 


  • I've been rewatching series 5 of Doctor Who - new Doctor Who, not old Who, which is denoted by seasons and half of season 5 is lost anyway - and it mostly holds up well except for the two-part story in the middle, which was written by Chris Chibnall and is a slow and dreary mess where the characters play hot potato with the idiot ball.

    Chris Chibnall just happens to be the man who took over the show for series 11 and turned the entire thing into a slow and dreary mess where the characters play hot potato with the idiot ball.

    The warning signs were all there.

  • Speaking of warning signs, the trailer for Netflix's live-action adaptation of One Piece doesn't look entirely terrible.  (YouTube)

    Cheesy as hell, yes, but so is the anime.  They seem to have embraced the cheese and kept the spirit, which is encouraging.

    If you don't have kids you might not have heard of One Piece, but it's an industry in itself.  The anime has run for over 1000 episodes (plus fifteen movies), and the manga has sold half a billion copies.

    Will I be watching it?  Probably not.  The anime has run for over 1000 episodes, and I think I've seen one of those.  But if Netflix can produce something that doesn't suck, even now, there might still be hope for us all.

Disclaimer: Probably not.

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