This wouldn't have happened with Gainsborough or one of those proper painters.

Monday, June 20

Geek

Daily News Stuff 20 June 2022

Computation Is Consciousness Edition

Top Story

  • We know that Intel's high-end 12th generation (and also 11th, 10th, and 9th generation) desktop parts are big expensive power-hungry monsters, but what about their low-end chips?  How does the $129 Core i3-12100 stack up?  (Tom's Hardware)

    Very nicely, as it turns out.  It's a 4-core / 8-thread CPU with none of the new Efficiency cores to complicate things, running at a maximum speed of 4.3GHz.  That's a lot slower than the 12900K at 5.2GHz, but it has a maximum power consumption of 89W vs. 241W on the 12900K.

    And while it's only a four-core chip, it's not slow.  It comes close to matching my old Ryzen 1700 desktop - an eight core system.  And easily beats the 11th-gen laptop I'm typing this on.

    If you want a desktop system that is cheap but fast enough to be practical, this - or the $199 six core i5-12400 if you need a little more oomph - is a good choice.

Tech News

  • Consciousness is computation.  (GitHub)

    Yes, I know that the headline of the article disagrees, but the article is retarded.

    The entire argument presented is that consciousness can't be computation because consciousness involves qualia, where qualia are defined as whatever is left over when you take away every part of consciousness that can be explained by computation.

    Which is a bit like defining art as what is left when you subtract the paint, the brushwork, the canvas, and the frame from a painting.  It sounds profound but doesn't actually mean anything.

    As Daniel Dennett noted many years ago, qualia don't exist.  Philosophers refuse to admit this because even burger-flipping requires real-world skills.


  • So if computers can be conscious, is Google's LaMDA an example?  (ZDNet)

    Probably, but that doesn't mean a whole lot.  You can be conscious but still dumber and less useful than a toaster, as the White House Press Corps proves daily.

    It's not sentient, which is a somewhat higher bar, but then neither are many of the people on Twitter much of the time.  I don't know if it regresses into obviously sphexish behaviour, which is the definitive strike against claims of sentience, but then humans do that, and not just on Twitter either.


  • Is the Samsung 980 Pro any good?  (Serve the Home)

    Yes.  It's not MLC (2-bit per cell) like previous pro models, but it is good.


  • What's new in the Ada 2022 standard?  (AdaCore)

    Not that much by the look of things.  Ada is a very capable language already and doesn't need a whole lot of new stuff, so this is good.

    You can convince it, like JavaScript, that "5" + 3 = 53 but "5" - 3 = 2, but it induces enough pain along the way that you will hopefully reconsider.


Disclaimer: Out of cheese error.  Redo from start.

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Sunday, June 19

Geek

Daily News Stuff 19 June 2022

Late Final Extra Edition

Tech News


Update: Well, that was no fun.  Takeoff was delayed due to mechanical problems, as in, they had to find another plane somewhere and fly it in.  Landing was delayed due to weather.  Train home was delayed due to the fact that THERE WERE NO TRAINS HOME.

So by the time I got home all the shops and takeaway places were shut, and I got to have cold baked beans for dinner because Old House is nearly empty now.

It's supposed to be completely empty, but this past week did not permit that.

Today's flight was on a Dash 8-200, the smallest plane so far, a 36-seater.  It has the same engines as the larger Dash 8-300, so it takes off in no distance at all.  Throttle up and the wheels aren't touching the ground anymore.  It does mean though that every window looks out on the engines.


Disclaimer: Oh not.

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Saturday, June 18

Geek

Daily News Stuff 18 June 2022

Tainted Donuts Edition

Top Story

  • The controls for the underfloor heating work.  That just leaves the oven, I think, as the only thing I haven't tested yet.  Oh, and the pump for the water tank.

    Temperatures hit zero this morning, but in C that's not all that cold.  Here inside I was snug and warm.


  • There's a flaw with - not in, but with - browser extension wallets like Metamask that could let anyone with access to your computer steal everything.  (Bleeping Computer)

    When you set up Metamask, it gives you a twelve word password recovery phrase.  You're supposed to keep that in a safe place, like, well, a safe.

    Your browser though sees it as form data that might be lost if you accidentally close the tab, so it writes it safely to disk.  Where anyone sharing your computer can find it.


Tech News

  • Video card prices - at least here in Australia - seem to all be below MSRP.  Well, up to the RTX 3080 and RX 6800 anyway.  The 3090 Ti is still crazy expensive.

    The only reason not to buy one right now is new cards are on the way in the next few months.  Probably.


  • Speaking of which: When AMD says something will ship "this Fall" they don't mean November 30.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The new Socket AM5 / Ryzen 7000 CPUs and motherboards are expected to be launched September 15.


  • Everything you never wanted to know about USB-C but were forced to ask.  (Tech Powerup)

    USB-C is now used by USB 3.0, USB 4.0, Thunderbolt 3, and Thunderbolt 4.  Oh, and cheap USB-C charging cables (and some not-so-cheap ones) are often only USB 2.0.

    This article goes over all the features supported by USB-C generally and how to know which ones actually work with your devices.


  • In this stunning exposé, BuzzFeed reveals that TikTok is owned by China.  (BuzzFeed)

    TikTok assured everyone that US user data could not be accessed by the Chinese staff.  They lied.


  • Physicists have linked two time crystals into a single quantum system with two states.  (Live Science)

    The time crystals are formed by cooling helium-3 to within a gnat's whisker of absolute zero - which unlike 0C is in fact rather cold - and creating a standing magnetic wave, which because helium-3 at that temperature forms a Bose-Einstein condensate, a state of matter where the entire system shares a single quantum state - keeps going forever so long as you maintain the super-cooling.

    In this experiment they built two of those, and then brought them together so that the two magnetic fields interfered with each other.

    Time crystals generally are perpetual motion devices, just useless ones. They'll keep going forever, but you can only create them by pouring tons of energy into maintaining the specific conditions the require, and also if you look at them they immediately break.

    I mean, literally.  If you look at them they stop working.

Another Day, Another Alternative Anime Music Video of the Day


Hope this does eventually see the light of day.  It looks amazing.  

Nice to see EN and ID Gen 1 in this trailer - the first one was JP only.  In fact, since the first trailer, JP, EN, ID, and Holostars have all launched new generations.  It's been a while.



Disclaimer: But then, so do I.

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Friday, June 17

Geek

Daily News Stuff 17 June 2022

Semifinal Countdown Edition

Top Story 

  • Redbean has reached 2.  (Justine.lol)

    Version 2.0 and also nearly 2MB.

    Readbean is a web server - that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Free/Net/OpenBSD in a single binary - now with embedded Lua, SQLite, and Unix.

Oops, boarding now.  Back soon.

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Thursday, June 16

Geek

Daily News Stuff 16 June 2022

JTL Edition


Disclaimer: No thing like an old thing.

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Wednesday, June 15

Geek

Daily News Stuff 15 June 2022

Watch Me Pull A Cabbit Out Of My Hat Edition

Top Story

  • A non-Apple hardware site reviews Apple's Mac Studio.  (Hot Hardware)

    They do like it, but if you go to page two you can see a PC configured at the same $2000 price point simply wipe the floor with the Mac.  Yes, the Mac Studio is small and elegant and quiet and sips power, but it's fast only in two specific cases: When compared with out-of-date Apple hardware, and when tested on Apple proprietary video codecs.


Tech News


Disclaimer: But only slightly.


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Tuesday, June 14

Geek

Daily News Stuff 14 June 2022

It Goes Uppity Up Up Edition

Top Story

  • So the gas price on the Polygon blockchain went over 12,000.



    Think of blockchain gas prices like, well, gas prices.  The standard price on Polygon is 30, so think of that like 30 cents per gallon.  And then you come along one day and you need to fill up, only the price is suddenly $120 per gallon.

    What do you do?  Particularly when there are a dozen alternative fuels you can try if you're willing to spent the time and money to refit your engine.


  • That jerk with the motorcycle needs to refit his engine.  Will be only too happy to leave Old House for good at the end of the week.


Tech News

  • SpaceX has environmental approval for a full test flight of its Starship.  (Ars Technica)

    The rules are kind of bullshit, ranging from bans on launches on holiday weekends to indirect lighting to avoid confusion in sea turtles to signposting for a post-Civil War Civil War battle, but it's approved.

    The full-stack Starship is bigger than the Saturn V and considerably more advanced - it's designed to refuel in orbit if needed, so it can carry its 100 ton payload not just into Earth orbit but all the way to the Moon or Mars.


  • The Celsius cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme bank has suspended withdrawals because everything is fine.  (Ars Technica)

    Celsius offered implausibly high interest rates on cryptocurrency deposits:
    In a January Bloomberg article, Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky "told Bloomberg Businessweek that Celsius is able to pay such high yields because it passes along most of its earnings to its users. He said it's the traditional financial system that's ripping people off by taking their deposits, using them to make money, and then claiming it can only pay tiny interest rates."

    "Somebody is lying," Mashinsky said. "Either the bank is lying or Celsius is lying."
    Embrace, as they say, the healing power of and.

    From the comments, which are normally a dumpster fire and should be avoided:
    Any time some stranger promises to let you, yes you, in on their amazing investment opportunity that reliably and consistently outperforms other investment vehicles, you are being scammed. They are not your friend. If they had such an opportunity, they would hoard it zealously, borrowing against other assets in order to make a shitload for themselves.
    Ponzi is as Ponzi does.


Disclaimer: One morning in a fit of pique
She drowned her father in the creek
The water tasted bad for a week
And we had to make do with gin.

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Monday, June 13

Geek

Daily News Stuff 13 June 2022

Bear Paws Edition

Top Story

  • Intel has announced details of its Intel 4 process node - a pseudonominal 4nm, due in 2023.  (Tom's Hardware)

    What size modern semiconductor process nodes really are is a complex question and a little beside the point, because everyone has been using marketing numbers for the past fifteen years anyway.  Intel 4 was previously known as 7nm, and though it's probably closer to a real 7nm, its scaling is much the same as TSMC's 4nm node (which is really just a minor adjustment to that company's 5nm node).

    Anyway, it gets 160 million transistors per square millimetre, 20% higher than TSMC's 5nm and 20% lower than TSMC's 3nm, so calling it Intel 4 is right on the money.  That's also double the current Intel 7 process (previously 10nm).

    Intel 4 also offers 40% lower power consumption or 20% better performance at the same power, but that doesn't mean that clock speeds will jump from 5GHz to 6GHz.  That statistic is a best case, selected where the process is most efficient.  In the chart provided, that seems to be around 2.1GHz, though the improvements are significant right across the chart.

    Intel 4 will likely show up late next year in the 14th generation Meteor Lake CPUs.

Tech News

Disclaimer: You know I'm never gonna move again, aching feet have got no rhythm...

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Sunday, June 12

Geek

Daily News Stuff 12 June 2022

Make Me One With Everything Edition

Top Story

  • Me: This bathroom has space next to the existing towel rail and a convenient power point, perfect for adding a heated towel rail.
    Also me: I wonder what this switch does.  Doesn't seem to control the lights or exhaust fan.
    Also also me: These towels are unexpectedly warm and dry.

    If haven't figured out how to switch on the underfloor heating, and I haven't used the oven yet, but I think I've got everything else working.

    Update: Apparently the sides of the control panel slide out or fold out to reveal the actual controls.  The button on the front does nothing.  The newer model is a touchscreen but this one isn't.   


  • That billion dollars was probably sour anyway: After their cryptocurrency lost 99% of its value, the makers of crappy blockchain game Axie Infinity say it was never about the money.  (Bloomberg)
    [Co-founder Jeffrey] Zirlin said he empathized with people who’d lost money—life-changing sums, in some instances. But he added that a crash that got rid of Axie profiteers could have its upside, too. "Sometimes having to flush out the people who are just in it for the money,” he said, "that’s just the system self-correcting. The suckers can starve in the dark, I've got mine. Don't print that.”
    Zirlin may have added:
    "We have to be careful revealing our location, just like the president doesn’t always have to reveal his location,” he said. "We’re kind of like heads of state, or superhero actors dodging restraining orders.”
    Kind of like that, yeah.

Tech News

  • Bottom of the budget SSD market: The Teamgroup AX2 offers 2TB of SSD in a 2.5" SATA package for $130.  (AnandTech)

    Not sure I'd recommend that particular model, though; warranty replacement seems iffy.  Better to go with Samsung, or Micron/Crucial, who make their own flash chips and stand by their products.  I bought some Corsair drives and they seem to be working fine so far.


  • Top of the budget SSD market: The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus offers 1TB of SSD in an M.2 NVMe package for $130.  (Serve the Home)

    Twice as expensive per gigabyte, but twelve times faster - 7000MB per second compared to 540MBps on the Team AX2 above.


  • Reparaibility on Dell's new XPS 13 is kind of crap.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Not only has soldered RAM, but a soldered SSD.  Two USB-C ports and that's it.  No options to expand or upgrade at all.


  • More details on that new Tachyum CPU that runs both Intel and Arm code.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's an in-order VLIW design that uses software translation for non-native code and to provide pseudo out-of-order execution.  This has been done before with mixed success, but nobody has thrown 128 cores running at 5.7GHz at the problem.  Maybe they'll do better than previous attempts.

    The largest, fastest model has a TDP of 950W - which is rather a lot - but if you're willing to back off on the clock speeds a bit you can still get the full 128 cores at a 300W TDP.

    Peak performance of 96 DP TFLOPS and 12 FP8 PFLOPS puts it in the class of specialised AI accelerator cards, which is not bad at all for a general-purpose CPU.


  • DNS is a database.  dns.toys takes advantage of that.  (DNS.Toys)

    Want to look up the time in a distant city, or the weather, or current exchange rates, but somehow the only tool you have available is DNS?  Problem solved.


  • GM needed a new part for the 2022 Tahoe.  Setup time for injection molding would have delayed production by weeks so the company 3D-printed it.  (CNet)

    Using a factory full of HP Multi Jet printers, which are not something I was aware existing, but given that I just threw out a 25 year old Laser Jet that still worked are probably a good investment.


  • Yep is a new search engine that proposes to give most of the ad revenue back to content creators.  (Yep)

    It seems to work.


  • There's an unfixable security flaw in Apple's M1 processor.  (Tech Crunch)

    And almost certainly in the M2, given the timing.  It takes a long time to fix these issues in hardware, when they can't be resolved with a microcode update.

    There's no current exploit, but this is something that could make a security flaw in regular code much more serious.

    You can try it yourself if you really want to.


  • So I want a laptop with at least an 8-core CPU - a 6800U, for example, or maybe Intel's i7-1280P, 32GB of RAM, a good selection of ports, dual M.2 slots, and a 2560x1600 screen, but still thin and light.

    GPD: Got you covered!  (Liliputing)

    Uh, maybe not that thin and light.  A screen larger than 10" is nice sometimes.


  • Google, hiring only the best and brightest and complete nutcases (hat tip HungarianFalcon):



    It's a chat bot, you idiot.



Disclaimer: Because you told me to.

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Saturday, June 11

Geek

Daily News Stuff 11 June 2022

Superarctic Edition

Top Story

  • Did not got below zero last night in New House City, but 2C was quite cold enough when I had to sort through an unheated garage at 2AM looking for the two boxes with all the bedding.  They were supposed to be at the top, since they weigh almost nothing (one box was literally filled with pillows), but turned out to be underneath not only multiple layers of boxes filled with books, but under a stack of bookshelves as well.


  • Acer has warned of a potential oversupply of laptops as inflation begins to bite and supply chain issues are slowly corrected.  (Tom's Hardware)

    If you need a new laptop, keep an eye out for bargains on previous-generation models - Intel's 11th generation and Ryzen 5000.  They're perfectly good chips, and if manufacturers find themselves with growing inventories, they're likely to cut price to clear them out.


Tech News

  • AMD's Zen 5 - due in 2024 - will be a major redesign with wider instruction issue.  (AnandTech)

    Both AMD and Intel have been stuck at issuing a maximum of 4 instructions per cycle for the past decade.  It's a little more complicated than that...  It's a lot more complicated than that, but that's the essence.

    Issuing more instructions per cycle makes for a faster CPU, but it also makes for a more complex CPU, and the complexity rises a lot faster than the performance.  Still, with clock speeds only gradually drifting higher, and most software only taking advantage of a limited number of cores, it's a key change that designers will have to adopt.


  • If OpenSSL were a GUI.  (Smallstep)

    It's not the only command line tool that looks like this either.


  • Is the iPad a substitute for the PC yet?  No.  (ZDNet)

    It never will be so long as Apple maintains its restrictive software practices.  High end iPad hardware is powerful enough to act as a general-purpose PC, and the operating system is Unix.  But Apple blocks a whole range of useful functionality from appearing in the App Store, and also blocks you from working around that block.


Disclaimer: Not waving, drowning.

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