CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?
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Wednesday, February 01

Geek

Daily News Stuff 1 February 2023

Beginning Of Part Two Edition

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Tech News



History Doesn't Repeat But Sometimes the Ink Bleeds Through Video of the Day



This is the same guy as yesterday, but reacting to a different source, one that is rather topical given the complete fucking insanity that goes on in the crypto markets.

The South Sea Company was formed to take on the British government's debt, but its share value ballooned out to ten times that before the bubble popped, equivalent to a single US company today having a market cap of $315 trillion - about eight times the combined value of all American companies across all stock exchanges.


Disclaimer: Or 0.0003% of the mineral value of the asteroid 16 Psyche.

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Tuesday, January 31

Geek

Daily News Stuff 31 January 2023

End Of Part One Edition

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Tech News


Getting All Your Ducks in a Row Video of the Day



The video he's reacting to is by CGP Grey who I've mentioned before, but this channel is new to me.  And he's quite good.  I haven't caught him in an error, and he's caught every error that I caught in content he was responding to, plus some errors I didn't catch.

He's knowledgeable, seems to be conservative-leaning though not outspoken about it, and likes to explore historical what-ifs.  Oh, and he loathes Woodrow Wilson.



Disclaimer: As do all right-thinking people.

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Monday, January 30

Geek

Daily News Stuff 30 January 2023

Ode To A Different Ow Edition

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  • Salesforce - yes, that Salesforce - is using AI to develop enzymes that can digest plastic and bacteria and has published the source code on GitHub so that anyone else can do the same.  (Neowin)

    Grey goo anyone?

    Enzymes don't reproduce themselves - or at least I don't know of any enzymes that can reproduce themselves, though given the existence of prion diseases (enzymes and prions are both proteins) I would be reluctant to state that it is impossible - so you have to keep producing the enzyme somehow and the reaction can't just take over and melt the world.

    Unless you genetically engineer a microbe to produce the enzyme.

    Which nobody is crazy enough to attempt.  The world is peaceful and stable and not at all run entirely by a coterie of imbeciles and lunatics.

    Well, it's been a good run.  See you all in the next simulation.


  • No major kidney stones today or over the weekend - though a smaller one did make a brief appearance and then pass without comment.

    So I have a migraine instead.

    Which is fine.  My migraines pass of their own accord so long as I sit in a dark room for three hours or so and don't, uh, use a computer.



Tech News

  • The ASRock NUCS BOX-1360P/D4 is as the name would suggest a NUCS - definitely not a NUC, that doesn't appear to be trademarked by Intel but best to play it safe - with a 1360P, a 13th generation laptop CPU (or maybe a 12th generation laptop CPU rebranded, I'm not sure yet since this is the first such device to appear), and ECC.  (AnandTech)

    All DDR5 memory has internal ECC, which protects (somewhat) against data errors within the memory chip, but not against data errors that happen on the bus between the CPU and the RAM.  You can get DDR5 ECC modules for servers, and there are probable unbuffered DDR5 ECC module for desktop CPUs though since Intel doesn't support ECC on desktops and AMD doesn't officially support ECC on desktops the market for those is not huge and good luck finding any.

    Except...  It turns out that Intel does support ECC on desktops (except that it doesn't, more on that in a moment); it just doesn't support ECC memory.  What it does instead is take regular memory, encode the ECC separately, and write that ECC data to a reserved area in the same RAM rather than to an additional RAM chip added for the purpose (or in the case of DDR5, two chips).

    And...  It works.  It does slow down the system a bit and use about 3% of your RAM to store the extra ECC data, but it corrects single bit errors and detects double-bit errors...  At which point your computer crashes because Windows has no idea what to do with any of this nonsense.


  • Build your own Redis.  (Build Your Own)

    Here's one I built* earlier.

    It's a book explaining how to rather than a sensible suggestion, rather like a detailed guide to constructing Chartres Cathedral when that building rather notably already exists and has done so for eight centuries.

    Though if you were going to build your own Redis, it might not be the worst possible idea to replace the hash table as the primary data structure with, say, an AVL tree, so that you can fucking find the data after you have stored it.

    Also it might be handy if Chartres Cathedral had wheels so that it could be moved to a more sensible location during winters.

    * That is, downloaded and compiled.



Disclaimer: I see that Redis now has wheels and Chartres Cathedral has self-organising storage buckets.  This is not quite what I had in mind but I will not quibble.

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Sunday, January 29

Geek

Daily News Stuff 29 January 2023

Doom Bat Edition

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  • Now that AMD's low-power Ryzen 7900 (non-X) is out there's never been a better time to build a high-end PC except what's that Lassie the 7900X is faster, cheaper, and comes bundled with 32GB of DDR5 RAM if you buy it from Microcenter?  (WCCFTech)

    Oh.

    The 7900X runs at 170W while the 7900 (without the X) runs at 65W.  Despite using 60% less power, it's only 6% slower on multi-threaded tasks and 3% slower single-threaded.

    On the other hand you can configure the 7900X to a 65W TDP, which turns it into a 7900.

    On the seventeenth hand you can configure the 7900 to run in PBO mode which turns it into a 7900X.

    On the forty-eighth hand, the 7900X comes with 32GB of free RAM.  On the seventy-second hand, the 7900 comes with a fairly good CPU cooler, which is an extra cost on the 7900X.  On the three-hundred and twenty-eighth hand, that cooler is only fairly good and won't suffice if you enable PBO to turn your 7900 into a 7900X anyway.

    Just buy whatever.  It's a good chip.


Tech News



Someone Is Wrong on the Internet Video of the Day



The quickest way to uncover a deeply buried fact is to be confidently wrong about the subject in as embarrassing a manner as possible.



Disclaimer: That goat was just like a goat to me.

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Saturday, January 28

Geek

Daily News Stuff 28 January 2023

To Sleb Perchance To Drem Edition

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  • You can't play Forspoken on a Radeon 580.  (WCCFTech)

    The 580 is a few years old now but it was a pretty good graphics card - it was my primary GPU until it got packed in a box in May, and it's still a very popular card in Steam hardware surveys.  But it doesn't support DirectX 12_1 and Forspoken requires that as a minimum feature set.  Nvdia's GTX 1060 from the same era does support DirectX 12_1.

    On the other hand, neither card is fast enough to handle the game; it's very demanding and the recommended hardware - AMD's Radeon 6700 XT and Nvidia's RTX 3070 - is not only much newer but significantly more powerful (and more expensive, of course).

    On the third hand, current generation consoles - the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X - are also much newer and more powerful than the Radeon 580.

    On the fourth hand, Forspoken is hot garbage and nobody wants to play it anyway.

    This kind of thing rarely happens with CPUs - you have to be using a truly ancient CPU for code to no longer run on it.  (Unless you have a Mac in which case you're fucked the moment they decide you're not worth their time anymore.)  GPUs are fixed-function devices designed to run, well, pretty much DirectX these days, and if they don't keep up with that specification their days are numbered.


Tech News

  • Pioneering English-language Vtuber agency Tsunderia has closed its doors.  (DotESports)

    They've done the right thing by their talents, at least, releasing them from their contracts, leaving all the existing content up, and handing over rights to continue independently using the same designs.

    The smaller agencies seem to be in a tight spot.  Vshojo and Phase Connect might be doing okay, but Prism was bought by Sony (which has two in-house vtuber agencies as well as investments elsewhere), and Aetheria (formerly Cyberlive) went the same route as Tsunderia last year.

    Vtubing exploded in 2020 when everyone was welded into their homes and Hololive launched its own English-language division (a few months after Tsunderia), but now that people are permitted once more to stumble blinking into the sunlight - and that the global economy has been wrecked by the same people who locked everyone up in the first place - it's much tougher going.


  • Speaking of much tougher going toy company Hasbro has laid off 15% of its staff after announcing declining sales and profitability in the last quarter.  (The Hollywood Reporter)

    The only division of Hasbro that improved sales last quarter was Wizards of the Coast - creator of Magic the Gathering and owner of Dungeons and Dragons - which under the steady hand of Hasbro just burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp, handing the market to direct competitor Paizo.

    The most recent D&D game I played wasn't D&D at all, but Paizo's Pathfinder.


  • The Lenovo Thinkstation P620 is a beast but.  (PC Perspective)

    This system is based on the 64 core Threadripper 5995WX, but is otherwise nothing special in terms of features.  It's fast for heavily multi-threaded tasks, but it's a Zen 3 chip and the Zen 4 7950X is not that far behind while being much, much cheaper.  It's only really aimed at industries where time is money, where saving an hour on a 3D or video production task means you can bill another client for that hour.

    Also, Lenovo has the nasty habit of locking CPUs to Lenovo motherboards and nobody should buy their workstations.


You're Never Lost When You Have AZKi (TM) Video of the Day



GeoGuessr is a game that drops you into a random place in the world using Google Street View and similar image databases and leaves you to figure out where you are.  This is the one where fellow Hololive talent IRyS (AZKi's EN counterpart) took two minutes to find Australia on a map.

AZKi does a little better.  It takes her less time than that to pinpoint her location within two metres.



Disclaimer: Now shipping new AZKi Gold guidance systems, with three-part voice harmonies Starlink support.

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Friday, January 27

Geek

Daily News Stuff 27 January 2023

Sleb Edition

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Tech News



Disclaimer: Instead of live bobcat, package contained office chair. 2/5 would not buy again.

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Thursday, January 26

Geek

Daily News Stuff 26 January 2023

Return Of The Revenge Edition

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  • The new M2 Mac Mini is twice as fast as the Mac Pro for a fraction of the price...  In single-threaded benchmarks.  (WCCFTech)

    Which means nothing because even when the Mac Pro was new - back in 2019, shortly after the Laurentide Ice Sheet receded - the Intel Xeon chips had unimpressive single-threaded performance and were easily beaten by much cheaper desktop chips and even some laptop chips.

    Actually, those Intel Xeon chips kind of sucked and Apple would have been much better off with AMD Threadrippers, but they probably couldn't get the production guarantees that Intel could provide.


Tech News



Disclaimer: I write all my code in SNOBOL on CTOS.  Even if it leaks there are about three people in the world who can still read it.

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Wednesday, January 25

Geek

Daily News Stuff 25 January 2023

Australia Day Eve Edition

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  • If you needed another reason not to buy an M2 MacBook or Mac Mini, the performance of 512GB SSDs has been cut in half compared to the previous generation.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's the same thing they did previously to 256GB models: Cut down on the number of flash memory channels on the SSD to save costs, and cut the performance in half in the process.  The entry level 2023 Mac Mini actually has worse disk performance than the 2018 model.

    On a real computer this wouldn't be a problem.  For less than $100 you can buy a decent 1TB SSD and just swap it in.  On a Mac, of course, you can't upgrade anything, ever, and the upgrades you pay for at time of purchase cost twice as much as they would anywhere else.  (In the case of RAM, four times as much.)

    Also MacBooks lack the Four Essential Keys, but so do most otherwise good laptops so that's something of a moot point.


  • Australia Day tomorrow, so I get to sleep in and maybe get a chance to fix some things if I'm not overtaken by kidney stones yet again.


Tech News

  • SK Hynix has announced 9.6GHz laptop RAM, which the company brands as LPDDR5T.  (WCCFTech)

    That's fast.  I don't think there's a chip out there that needs memory that fast.  Even AMD's new Ryzen 7040 range with 12 RDNA3 graphics cores probably wouldn't need that much bandwidth.


  • Intel is deliberately flooding the PC market with stuff forcing prices down.  (WCCFTech)

    This isn't working on graphics cards since Intel's cards aren't hot sellers, and Intel doesn't make SSDs anymore (they sold that division to the same SK Hynix mentioned above), so this report is really talking about CPUs.

    This will likely be a good year to buy CPUs.  Might eventually also be a good year to buy a graphics card, but certainly isn't right now.


  • The Legion Bulletin of Mad Atomic Scientists has moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward by ten seconds, leaving the world trembling on the brink of disaster at just ninety seconds to midnight.  (NBC)

    Yeah, could you assholes stop that?  Hard to have a New Year's party if it never strikes midnight.
    The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 to examine global security issues related to science and technology. Each year, the group consults with a board of sponsors to analyze the world’s most pressing threats in order to determine where the Doomsday Clock’s hands should be set.
    And somehow the answer is always "time to give us more money".


  • This looks like the motherboard being used by that Storaxa NAS.  (Liliputing)

    Some people are casting doubt on the Storaxa, pointing out that the N6005 CPU doesn't have enough PCIe lanes to run all the devices listed.  Which, uh, appears to be true.  The only way it could work is to run a PCIe switch off a cable plugged into the M.2 slot on the motherboard, which would leave the four M.2 storage slots running at half speed.  That is, half the speed of one slot, spread over four slots.

    That's still faster than all four 2.5Gb Ethernet ports combined, though, so not the end of the world.

    And it also raises the question of where the Ryzen 5800U model is coming from.  That has a lot more PCIe lanes, but requires an entirely new motherboard.

    So maybe this is a Kickstarter to take a wait-and-see approach on if you can't afford to burn $280.


Disclaimer: Or in my case, another $280.  Ugh.

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Tuesday, January 24

Geek

Daily News Stuff 24 January 2023

Monogrammed Kleenex Edition

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  • Storaxa is a NAS/router/WiFi access point/VM host/media server/thingy.  (Liliputing)

    It has five 3.5" drive bays and four M.2 slots for storage, plus another M.2 slot for the boot device.  Four 2.5Gb Ethernet ports, WiFi 6E, four 10Gb USB ports (plus another two USB 2.0), and HDMI and DisplayPort for video out.  It runs Proxmox VE to provide virtual servers, and TrueNAS and OpenWRT - which is exactly what I'd use if I were doing this myself.

    CPU in the base model ($399) is an Intel Atom N6005, but for about $80 more you can upgrade to a Ryzen 5800U which provides dramatically faster, well, everything basically.

    All in a neat little box - 7x8x10".

    What's the catch?  First, it doesn't actually exist yet, it's a Kickstarter project.  Second, like most interesting and reasonably priced devices, it's made by a small Chinese company you've never heard of.


Tech News



Hololive-Related Thingy of the Day

Holocure 0.5 is due out February 10, bringing with it new maps, new music, and all of JP Gen 1 and Gen 2 as playable characters.  I was a bit confused why there were only nine new characters shown, but then remembered that Fubuki was included with Hololive Gamers in the 0.4 update, and she was a Gen 1 member before she created Gamers.

The game is mostly notable because it's loaded with little nods to Hololive fans - like the fact that you can pet Amelia Watson's real-life dog Bubba - but it's free and it's more fun than a lot of the stuff that sells for $70 plus day one DLC.



I played a lot of Holocure last year when I was travelling all the time and didn't have a computer at hand that could even handle Minecraft competently.  Don't regret it.


Disclaimer: The catch is, there is no catch.

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Monday, January 23

Geek

Daily News Stuff 23 January 2023

Ow My Bees Edition

Top Story



Tech News

  • If you're looking to build a new PC, the price increase for mid-tier DDR5 RAM over DDR4 is now close to zero.  One less reason to favour Intel over AMD.  (Intel chips still support DDR4 with an appropriate motherboard; the new AMD chips don't.)


  • If you want a graphics card to play games - and you're spending your own money, and you didn't just win the lottery - the best value is to be found in AMD's Radeon 6600 and 6700 families.  If you don't expect to run the latest games at 4K at over 60fps, those should do just fine.

    What if you want to run something that uses the graphics card as a compute engine, like Stable Diffusion?  Then things get a bit more complicated.  (Tom's Hardware)

    In the first test here, the fastest card on the market - Nvidia's $1600 RTX 4090 - comes in sixth place, behind AMD's 7900 XT, and also behind Nvidia's own RTX 3080 from 2020.  The 4080 is slower than a 3070.

    Intel's cards are at the bottom of the heap, but AMD's previous generation is also pretty bad.

    I think the answer is don't want that.  Failing that, soldier on with a 3060 Ti until this mess gets sorted out.


  • Amazon ran Comixology into the ground and now it's laying off staff.  (Android Police)

    Comixology is the leading digital marketplace for comics - the comic version of Kindle - and Amazon naturally bought it back in 2013.  They left it alone for a surprisingly long time before ruining everything last year, and with the current round of staff cuts they've apparently laid off everyone who might have fixed it.

    The article is a justifiable rant about Amazon's mishandling of the service, but it completely ignores the elephant in the room: Comics suck and nobody is buying them.

    DC and Marvel were approaching bankruptcy before - basically - being rescued single-handed by Robert Downey Jr's performance in 2008's Iron Man.  Now, many, many billions of dollars in box office receipts later, they are still approaching bankruptcy because they are being run by lunatics.

    Manga, meanwhile, is doing just fine.  Actually manga mostly sucks too but it doesn't blame the reader for that.


Disclaimer: Sturgeon's Law applies recursively.

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