Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you but... honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it's just an ordinary crack, but I know its not cause at night there's voices so... please please can you send someone to fix it? Or a policeman, or...
Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.

Wednesday, August 05


Daily News Stuff 4 August 2020

As A Disgraced Number Theorist I Died From Overwork And Was Reincarnated As A Wombat In A World Where P=NP And For Some Reason Also Catgirl Warrior Nuns Edition

Tech News

  • TechDirt is drunk again in their own special way.  Emphasis on the special.  Mike Masnick is the only sensible one there and even he has a blind spot the size of the Horsehead Nebula.

  • Ryzen hits 6W.  (AnandTech)

    Only 2 cores, 4 threads, and 3 CUs on the graphics side, and a maximum clock speed of 2.8GHz.   Oh.  It's made on 14nm, so it's a cut-down previous-generation chip.  (AMD)

    Well, that's fine if the price is right.

  • Google has announced the Pixel 4a.  (AnandTech)

    The key point is that it costs $349, which is relatively sane.  Snapdragon 730G which is reasonably quick with two A76 cores and six whatevers, 2340x1080 5.8" OLED display, 6GB RAM, 128GB flash, only two cameras, headphone jack yes, microSD no.

    I'd much prefer it with a microSD slot, but 128GB of internal storage is enough for most tasks.

  • Intel's next-gen chips may be faster than AMD's current-gen chips on single-threaded benchmarks.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I saw it mentioned Ryzen 4000 but they mean the Zen 2 APUs; they don't have leaked benchmarks of Zen 3 just yet.  Tiger Lake comes with the new core that we've seen on a few Ice Lake parts, with around 18% better IPC than Skylake.  Zen 3 is expected to offer 10-15% better IPC than Zen 2.

  • How to increse your Elixir/Postgres performance 20x with one weird trick.  (Soykaf)

    This seems to be one of the lead developers of Pleroma.  The post starts out discussing simple stuff like using a GIN index to speed up array overlap queries, but the meat of it arrives half-way through when benchmarks show that the performance gain from adding the index depends on the order in which the benchmarks are run.

    That sort of attention to detail is very welcome and makes me more eager to try out Pleroma.

    Even if it has a dumb name.

    Anyway, the reason is that PostgreSQL tries out multiple query plans at first when a new index is added, but after a while locks in the one giving the best results so far.  So if an index scan happens to be the better solution for the first few queries that could use your new index, it will cheerfully ignore the index for that query going forwards.

    But if you connect to the database and run the query manually, it will switch back to trying out multiple query plans and find the best one, even if it's not the one your production code is using.

    I can see how that would have been a maddening debugging session.

  • Build your own COMIX-35.  (GitHub)

    Based on the RCA 1802 CPU.  Not exactly the first name in retrocomputing, but an interesting little project.

  • The most difficult possible maze.

    If you're a Roller Coaster 2 patron, anyway.

    It takes 6.6e20000 years to solve the maze but only two days to fix the code.  (GitHub)

  • If you update your Windows host file to block Windows telemetry Microsoft Defender will treat it as a virus.  (Bleeping Computer)

    You may not even be able to save the file.

    Now, detecting unwanted changes to the hosts file is a good thing, but Microsoft provides no other way to disable telemetry.

Disclaimer: We all know the reason.

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Tuesday, August 04


Daily News Stuff 3 August 2020

Splat Edition

Tech News (Mostly)

  • The Dragon capsule splashed down without mishap, and we've entered a new era of space exploration. Well, the launching of three Mars missions in a single week and communications satellites being launched by the thousands have something to do with that too.

  • Can't tell your kuudere from your coodere?  The Dere Types Wiki is here for you.

    They even categorise the countries from Polandball.  That's dedication.  Don't trust Lithuania.

  • Pleroma is a fediverse social network written in Elixir.  (

    It uses PostgreSQL on the back end and Vue.js on the front end, and supports the ActivityPub standard throughout.

    It supports pluggable UIs, including it's own PleromaFE, Mastodon's UI, and Soapbox.

    This is...  This is interesting.  I wrote my own blogging system because everything out there was steaming garbage, and have been working on my own social network for the same reason.

    But while Elixir isn't the first programming language I'd choose, it is a good choice.  And while I'd likely stick with MySQL out of familiarity, PostgreSQL is technically excellent.  And Vue.js my preferred client-side library.

    No Node.js anywhere.  No PHP.  No Rails, which while Ruby itself is a decent language, is rather a resource hog.

    Now I have to do battle with the sunk cost fallacy on top of everything else.

    Update: Oops, there it is.  Knew it was all too good to be true.  Node.js is contagious metastatic code cancer.

Anime Music Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Some look at things that are, and ask, seriously, what the fuck, man?  I look at things that never were and breathe a sigh of relief.  It's a tough job here at the Paratime Monitoring Station.

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Sunday, August 02


Daily News Stuff 2 August 2020

Why Brains Fall Down Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: I saw the two articles together, so I had to.

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Daily News Stuff 1 August 2020

Don't Mess With Florida Man Teen Edition

Tech News

  • Twitter got hacked by a 17-year-old from Florida.  (TechDirt)

    Your security is only as strong as the weakest link, and the weakest link is probably an untrained minimum-wage support staffer.

    Twitter already knew this after the earlier incident with President Trump's account, but did nothing.

  • Microsoft wants to buy TikTok.  (Tech Crunch)

    That would certainly fix the security issues because no-one would use it.

  • TikTok is here for the long run, says TikTok.  (Tech Crunch)

    That's great to know.  I'm sure that when every country in the world except China has banned you for spying, and China itself has banned you for being useless, you'll look back at this moment with pride.

  • RedHat pushed a patch for Boothole.  The patch made systems 100% secure.  (Ars Technica)

    Because now they won't boot.

    There appear to be flawed patches out for Ubuntu and Debian as well.  Whatever you do, don't lesnerize.

    (As mentioned in yesterday's comments.)

  • Google won a case in Germany's high court over the fictitious "right to be forgotten".  (Deutsche Welle)

    I do have sympathy with some of these requests.  I removed the mention of someone's name from an old comment relating to a crime they were charged with and then later exonerated.  But I was able to look them up and confirm they were exonerated precisely because they hadn't succeeded in wiping all mention of this from the web.

    The solution to bad speech is more speech.  And alcohol.

  • The House Judiciary Committee isn't covering itself with glory in the current round of antitrust inquiries.  But neither are the companies under investigation.  (9to5Mac)

    Internal emails from Apple, Amazon, and Google have revealed blatantly anti-competitive practices.  Whether that arises to an antitrust case depends on whether the company is abusing a monopoly position in doing so.

  • Epic games wanted to offer its store on iOS.  (9to5Mac)

    Apple of course told them to get fucked.  That is blatantly anticompetitive, but Apple defends this by saying that their customers can switch to Android.

    But in the previous story, Apple removed Amazon's exemption from the 30% App Store tariff when Amazon pointed out the same fact.


Disclaimer: Never say in an email something that you can't defend later in court.

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Friday, July 31


Daily News Stuff 31 July 2020

Beyond The Shoe Event Horizon Edition

Tech News

  • I went out to the shops this evening for the first time in about three weeks.

    The process was slightly complicated by the fact that I threw out my shoes last weekend. At the time this seemed like a reasoanable thing to do, as (a) the heels had pretty much disintegrated and (b) I had at least four unworn pairs of shoes in the Strategic Shoe Repository at the bottom of the closet.

    I picked a pair of brown lace-ups, laced them up, and made it about two blocks before they fell apart.

    Not good.

    Trudged back home again and took a closer look at the remaining pairs. Turned out that I hadn't got a faulty pair; rather they'd been sitting there so long that the soles had denatured somehow and were only slightly stronger than damp cardboard. That's likely what did in the previous pair as well.

    Fortunately the fourth and final pair were made of a different material and were in good shape, so I did eventually make it to my destination and restock on gluten-free chicken nuggets and mi goreng and other essentials. You know you're eating the fancy ramen when it comes with five little sachets of stuff.

    Everything was open, including the RSL club, and pretty busy. Unlike Melbourne which right now is in total lockdown, again.

    This second wave is no joke though; it's killed nearly as many people as the first wave and much more quickly. Interstate travel has been largely halted until Victoria can get things back under control. I give it thirty years.

  • Philosphers discuss GPT-3. (Daily Nous)

  • GPT-3 discusses philosphers. (Pastebin)

  • Hacker News dicusses GPT-3 discussing philosophers discussing GPT-3. (Hacker News)
    One consequence of GPT-3 is that I am now highly sceptical of the human provenance of any HN comment on an article about GPT-3. It has made my HN experience objectively less enjoyable, because I’m constantly expending effort to spot nonsense and avoid wasting time reading it.

    Perhaps most worrying is not how "human-like” GPT-3 can be, but how "GPT-3 like” humans can be. When I am in "nonsense-detection” mode, I drill down into paragraphs to spot non-sequiturs etc and I find plenty of HN comments are rambling, contradictory, or I just can’t ascertain the meaning of the text.
    Yeah, pretty much.

  • GPT-3 channels Harlan Ellison by way of Fritz Leiber. (0bin)

    The first paragraph was provided as a writing prompt. The rest is GPT-3.

  • Looking at all this, you start to wonder how much of philosphy consists of deepities and the unvoidable conclusion is that it's deepities all the way down.
    We are all trapped in a cycle of life and death. Death is merciful. It brings an end to the suffering. We should embrace it when it comes.

    In other news, GPT-3 also seems to have a deep interest in art.

  • Envoy is a proxy sort of thing. (EnvoyProxy)

    It's what I'd call an application router. The idea is that you run an instance of Envoy alongside each of your applications. Your application listens and sends all its requests to localhost and doesn't need to know anything about where other services actually live.

    It handles HTTP, of course, but also MongoDB and Redis and PostgreSQL and generic TCP sockets.

  • Amazon has received the go-ahead to launch 3236 satellites. (The Verge)

    I'm so old I remember when that was a lot.

  • Sort by controversial. (Slate Star Codex)

    Three thoughts:

    1. This is a great idea for a new social network if you want to watch the world burn.
    2. It's probably fiction.
    3. It's probably not written by GPT-3.

  • Thanks for nagging me, Font Awesome.

    No, seriously.  I've been so busy the past week that I forgot about the 50% off FA 6 offer for backers of the FA 5 Kickstarter.  Grabbed it with 11 hours to go.

    $49 per year (regularly $99) for all their icons for five seats.  I'd forgotten that part; makes it a great deal for small companies with a few developers / designers.

Not At All Tech News

  • So, you decided to post this.

    Turns out I'm not the first person to think of the term cervixen in response to this nonsense.

Disclaimer: Probably.

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Thursday, July 30


Daily News Stuff 30 July 2020

Marchingup And Downagain Edition

Tech News

  • The Boothole bootloader vulnerability allows the Grub bootloader to execute arbitrary code.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Since that is the entire purpose of a bootloader, in most cases this means absolutely nothing.  But if you are running UEFI Secure Boot, this pokes a hole in it.

    On the third hand, you need to have root privileges to install this.

  • Real Capitalism 2.0 has never been tried.

    What a depressingly stupid article.  Socialists: Identifying real problems and making them worse since 1867.

  • You wouldn't download a Mac.  (GitHub)

    I mean, you can if you want.  The whole thing is only 239MB and it runs on pretty much anything.  Well, not itself, but apart from that.

  • Big Navi is big.  (WCCFTech)

    Leaks suggest 128 CUs - 8192 shaders - running at over 2GHz, more than twice as fast as anything AMD has produced to date, even ignoring the architectural improvements from Vega to Navi.

    As for when and how much, the leaks say HPC systems with 8 of the new cards will be available next March.  No prices and no details of consumer GPUs.

  • It's just a flesh wound.  (ZDNet)

    Arm fired the CEO of their Chinese joint venture over conflicts of interest - specifically that he was running his own competing investment fund.

    The CEO came up with a novel defense: He simply says he hasn't been fired.

Music Video of the Day

It fits perfectly with Ano Natsu de Matteru but the official video is not too shabby either.

Disclaimer: It's a bold strategy, let's see how that oh he's dead.

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Daily News Stuff 29 July 2020

Turtles, Termites, And Traffic Jams Edition

Tech News

  • According to Wikipedia, all DDR5 memory modules are registered.

    I took a quick look at the docs released by Micron, and they only discuss registered modules, but don't explicitly say that unbuffered modules don't / won't exist.

    If they are all registered - and we already know that DDR5 mandates on-die ECC - then there's little difference between desktop RAM and server RAM.  Just full-channel ECC in case of bus errors, and LR (load reduced) modules for maximum die stacking.

    I'm not certain if DDR5 being registered will work exactly as it does with DDR4, but if it does then the next generation of desktop CPUs will support at least twice as much memory, without needing to wait years for denser DRAM.

    Which means that the next-plus-one generation of even entry-level servers will likely support up to 32 cores and 256GB of RAM.

  • Zen 3 is due this year.  (AnandTech)

    Speak the name three times and it will appear.

    This means both server and desktop parts.  Also next-generation Navi cards for both gaming and datacenter use.  Oh, and Xbox Series X and Playstation 5.  It will be a busy few months for AMD.

  • A passively-cooled 10Gb home server/router from Supermicro for only $1500.  (AnandTech)

    It's no Cobalt Qube.

  • Two of Intel's next-generation Ice Lake Xeons beat a single current-generation Epyc.  (Tom's Hardware)

    By 7%.  If you use AVX-512, which Epyc doesn't have.  Will wait for more benchmarks, because Ice Lake should be a significant upgrade, if and when it ever arrives.

  • Someone needs to explain to physicists that humans don't live in trees.  (Vice)

  • A lot has been written about the technological singularity.  My view is that (a) it's impossible (at least the way it is depicted in science fiction) and (b) as far as it is possible, it is happening right now which is part of the reason everything is so fucking weird.

    I'm not the only one to make that observation.  (Less Wrong)

    Also of interest is this article about the potential speed of the singularity.  (Sideways View)

    The two things to expect when it really kicks into gear, is rapid shifting in the labour market leading to high unemployment, and at the same time, global GDP growth in the mid double digits.

    The key point of the notiong of the Singularity, though, is that at some point the trends go literally vertical, and that prediction of what things will be like on the other side of that point on the graph are impossible.  That is exactly what I predict will not happen, though if I'm wrong no-one will ever know.

Disclaimer: What's that?  There's an alternate-universe version of Bakarina where she's already into the main plot before she bonks her head?  Well, see you tomorrow, then!

Update: Although she's 15 years old rather than 8 this time, she's still the same lovable idiot.

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Wednesday, July 29


Daily News Stuff 28 July 2020

Don't Talk To Me About Life Edition

Tech News

  • Intel's Chief Engineering Officer has gotten the boot following five years of nothing.  (AnandTech)

    He features significantly in AdoredTV's latest video as the source of much of the internal politics that has derailed Intel these last few years.

    I have no independent information so I don't know if he's the cause of the problems, a convenient scapegoat, or a voluntary sacrifice to appease investors.

  • On the other hand there is now an i9-10850K.  (AnandTech)

    This is a 10900K only 100MHz slower and $35 cheaper.  I wonder how scaling it back just 100MHz affects power consumption.  I suspect the difference may be quite substantial.

  • A spiritual successor to the wildly popular Suikoden series - which I have never played - launched on Kickstarter and immediately crashed the entire site.  (Kickstarter)

    Three times, apparently.

    Despite that it was fully funded inside three hours and is now at three times its initial goal of ¥53,808,516.  Which seems oddly specific.  Oh, and has already unlocked seven stretch goals.

  • Intel may or may not be outsourcing fabrication of their discrete GPUs to TSMC.  (WCCFTech)

    It would make more sense to do this with a brand new product with no existing market than with any of their core products, and TSMC is very familiar with producing GPUs.

  • Intel's Ice Pickle.  (Serve the Home)

    AMD's second-generation Epyc Rome parts, launched last year, were intended to head off Intel's 10nm Ice Lake Xeons.

    Rome launched on schedule.  Ice Lake didn't, still hasn't, and has only been promised to trickle out in limited quantities before the end of the year.  At which time AMD will be shipping the Zen 3 based...  Genoa?  Venice?  San Marino?  Milan, that's it.

    Which leaves Intel in a bind because their storage, networking, and FPGA divisions have started producing PCIe 4.0 devices, but the only x86 CPUs available with PCIe 4.0 are from AMD.

  • S3 considered harmful.  (Twilio)

    Why, yes, a cloud storage option that can be accidentally configured to be writeable by the entire fucking internet is a sensible idea that the world's largest cloud services provider should definitely offer.

  • Arm-based Macs will change the world.  (ZDNet)

  • Arm-based Macs are irrelevant - even to Apple.  (ZDNet)

    Clearly ZDNet got their writers to do these two articles as a deliberately provcative pair, but the first one comes across as, frankly, slightly insane.

  • Campbell's Law.  (Wikipedia)
    The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.
    This is very close to one of Pixy's Laws - or at least a point I've discussed in relation to Google's Pagerank algorithm and its role in creating the entire comment spam industry.

    Not really surprising that someone pointed it out decades before me.

    Slightly surprising that I learned of this specific formulation from a left-wing educator explaining why left-wing education policy (which is to say, all education policy) so often does more harm than good.

Pixy Is Currently Reading

Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shite shimatta... a.k.a Bakarina and Jishou Akuyaku Reijou na Konyakusha no Kansatsu Kiroku a.k.a Bertia.

They're isekai / otome manga where the heroine is stuck in the role of the main villain.  Both girls work tirelessly to make things work out okay in the worlds they find themselves trapped in, hampered only by the fact that they collectively have the IQ of dish soap.

Wakfu Music Video of the Day

I know I've posted this one before, but I really like it so here it is again.

Anime Music Video of the Day

By the same creator.  I wasn't sold on this one instantly, but by the end I realised that it perfectly achieved what it set out to do.  And Ano Natsu de Matteru was a really nice little series.

Which is in two respects is the reverse of this one:

That video introduced me to Saint Motel, who I now love, and hooked me instantly.  But Konosuba is just kind of, well, bad.

Disclaimer: Or not so slightly.

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Tuesday, July 28


Daily News Stuff 27 July 2020

Doggone It Roy Gene Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Now look at that, what you have there is no bigger'n a grapefruit.

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Monday, July 27


Daily News Stuff 26 July 2020

Dead Crocs Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:07 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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