Saturday, October 24


Daily News Stuff 24 October 2020

An Entire Day Without Unfortunate Events Edition

Tech News

  • I read the latest Penric and Desdemona story from Lois McMaster Bujold today, Masquerade in Lodi.

    The Penric stories are a series of novellas - typically around 100 pages each - set in what has come to be known as the World of the Five Gods.  (Goodreads)  It's the same world we first saw in The Curse of Chalion, which is still my favourite Bujold work.

    This is the ninth Penric story by publication order, and the fourth in internal chronology, and the Penric stories are set after the third Chalion novel and before the first.  So...  Just read them in publication order.  You can't go far wrong.

    My cardinal rule is prequels never work, but these aren't really prequels, just stories in the same world at different times.  Order doesn't matter greatly with the one proviso that you must read Curse of Chalion before Paladin of Souls.  They are the second and third acts in a play where the first act is told by implication, and coming in late on that particular narrative structure would not, I think, work too well.

  • Nvidia's RTX 3070 Ti might have been cancelled before it could be launched or perhaps not.  (WCCFTech)

    The problem is that AMD's Radeon 6000 looks capable of competing on an even footing with the RTX 3080. and Nvidia doesn't actually have any 3080s to sell even if they were to reduce the price to compete.

    Not sure exactly how a different but cheaper board using the high-end GA102 chip is going to help Nvidia, but at least they don't have to cut prices on a card that isn't available.

  • The cancellations may extend to the 20GB model of the RTX 3080 and the 16GB model of the 3070.  (Videocardz)

    This suggests even more strongly than the handful of leaked benchmarks that AMD has finally come up with a winner.  On the video card front.  They haven't set a foot wrong on CPUs for some time, barring a few BIOS and boost clock issues.

  • Oh, right.  I mentioned the Radeon 6000 benchmarks before but neglected to post the link.  (Videocardz)

    If accurate - and this close to launch, real benchmarks do start to leak - at least one of the new Radeon cards is faster than the RTX 3080 on everything except ray tracing.

  • The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter are getting hauled back to face Congress again.  (Tech Crunch)

    At this point they have no friends, and their only advantage is that Congress is full of idiots.

  • GitLab is down.  (GitLab)

    We depend on GitLab for all our development and developer co-ordination at my day job.  This outage affected us not at all, partly because it happened at 9PM on a Saturday, but mostly because GitLab is a free download if you prefer to run it yourself.

  • The RIAA just Streisaned YouTube-dl.  (GitHub)

    I presume there were a ton of forks of the project, but a DMCA takedown would also lock all the forks, which is yet another reason NOT TO FUCKING CENTRALISE THE ENTIRE OPEN SOURCE UNIVERSE ON ONE GODDAMN PLATFORM.

  • In 2020 levels of irony, Facebook has demanded that the NYU stop tracking their ads.  (ZDNet)

    The NYU Ad Observatory project uses a browser plugin to allow volunteers to track and share data on what ads they are presented.

    Facebook objected.

    I hope this goes to court.  I hope it goes all the way to the Supreme Court.  And I hope Facebook gets taken to the woodshed.

  • Everything old is new again: Xerox PARC has been awarded a new DARPA research contract, this time for monitoring ocean environments.  (ZDNet)

    I wasn't sure Xerox PARC still existed.  Hell, I wasn't sure Xerox still existed.

  • Patreon has banned QAnon.  (Business Insider)

    QAnon is a popular but baseless conspiracy theory that claims that someone in Washington knows how to do his job.  This notion has Facebook, YouTube, and now Patreon understandably terrified.

  • Microsoft should buy Cover Corp.  Seriously.

    In the past day:

    • Rushia is streaming Minecraft right now, and has been live for three hours so far.
    • Suisei and Kanata both start streaming Minecraft in 30 minutes.
    • Okayu starts streaming Minecraft in 90 minutes.
    • Aqua just finished a nearly five hour Minecraft stream an hour ago.
    • Haachama just finished a two-and-a-half hour Minecraft stream two hours ago.
    • Sora finished a three-and-a-half hour Minecraft stream three hours ago.
    • Botan finished a two-and-a-half hour Minecraft stream five hours ago.
    • Moona took Gura and Amelia on a two-and-a-half hour tour of the HoloJP Minecraft server eight hours ago.
    • Mio and Miko completed a four-and-a-half hour Minecraft collab sixteen hours ago.
    • Haachama did an earlier three hour Minecraft stream twenty hours ago.
    • Okayu did an earlier two-and-a-half hour Minecraft stream twenty hours ago.
    • Pekora did a four-hour Minecraft stream twenty-two hours ago.

  • That's 32 hours just of Minecraft content in one day, and that's with nine of the girls busy on a big EN/JP Among Us collab.

    I mean, I'd generally prefer that Microsoft not buy Cover Corp, but they seem to be the most benign of the corporate overlords available right now if that sort of thing were on the table.  They may be milking Minecraft, but they haven't ruined it.

  • Speaking of Microsoft and corporate overlords and fuck the Epic Game Store anyway The Outer Worlds is out on Steam.  (Steam)

    And it's half price, to boot.

Original Outer Worlds Official Launch Trailer Replay Video of the Day

While I Have Yet to Watch This, I Can Comfortably Predict It Will Be Complete Chaos Video of the Day

I have a sneaking suspicion my computer may suddenly drop dead in a few minutes.

Disclaimer: Because why not?

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Friday, October 23


Daily News Stuff 23 October 2020


Tech News

  • No, I wouldn't do that to you.

  • I have two Butchers and a Bujold to read this weekend.  As an indication of how busy I've been, I haven't yet read Peace Talks, let alone Battle Ground.

  • Intel's DG1 discrete graphics chip is shipping now.  (AnandTech)

    To laptop makers - it's not available as a card.  I don't think the laptops themselves have shipped yet, so no benchmarks.

  • Speaking of benchmarks, the Ryzen 5600X is fast.  (Tom's Hardware)

    If this is real, it's spectacular.  (CPUBenchmark)

    The multi-threaded performance looks entirely plausible, but the single-threaded performance is a surprise.  It is just one benchmark and it's perfectly possible that this benchmark runs particularly well on Zen 3.  But I've found that Passmark scores track very closely with Python code performance, so it's a useful benchmark for me.

    If it stands up, then AMD's new 6 core processor has 110% of the single-threaded performance and 94% of the multi-threaded performance of Intel's 10 core flagship 10900K.  It's faster than an 18 core Xeon Gold 6140.

    And would be a pretty major upgrade over my current Ryzen 1700.

  • Even when it says "Ships from and sold by Amazon" you have to read the fine print.

    No, I wasn't burned - this doesn't apply to the 400GB model, which appears to be genuine.  But if you look up SanDisk microSD cards on Amazon AU, everything smaller than 400GB has that weird disclaimer:

    • This is an aftermarket of generic part.

  • Ubuntu 20.10 is out, including a Raspberry Pi edition.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I was meaning to check if it was out yet, and there it is.  I need to install a new Linux VM on New Spare Laptop since the old one was kind of a mess.

  • Speaking of spare laptops, turns out that Old Spare Laptop has the same battery problem as New Spare Laptop.

    With Old Spare Laptop there is also a loose connection, which coupled with the failing battery means it's unreliable even when plugged in.  But it turns out that loose connection is in the charger cable, not the laptop.  I remembered that I had another charger with the same plug, swapped them, and suddenly it works.

    At least until you unplug it, whereupon it dies instantly.

  • In Hololive news, Gawr Gura hit 1 million subscribers and Mori Calliope hit 500k during the same Minecraft collab stream (which I caught live), and Calliope had the #1 iTunes album worldwide on the same day, Coco is back to insult her fans, and HololiveCN is being, um, granted independence.

    The HoloCN girls are being given all rights to their characters so they can go independent. China is too toxic for Cover to want to deal with right now, particularly with the runaway success of HoloEN.

  • Anemoia is the feeling of nostalgia for things you never experienced.  (Wiktionary)

  • Not to be confused with Amemoia which is how Gura feels about Watson.

  • Huawei has launched their Mate 40 series powered by the new Kirin 9000.  (AnandTech)

    The main feature in the Kirin 9000 is a huge Mali G78MP24.  My Mediapad M3 has a Kirin 950 with a Mali T880MP4, so this is six times faster even before clock speed and architectural improvements.

    You'd have to be crazy to buy a Mate 40, though.  It's far from cheap, doesn't include Google services, and the CPU - made on TSMC's new 5nm process - has already ended production due to US sanctions on Huawei.

Disclaimer: But it helps.

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Thursday, October 22


Daily News Stuff 22 October 2020

Sleep Is For Tortoises Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Step Two: If you must get run over by a car, save your game beforehand.

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Wednesday, October 21


Daily News Stuff 21 October 2020

Osiris Rex Edition

Tech News

  • TrueNAS 12 is out.  (Serve the Home)

    With this release there is no more FreeNAS; in its place is TrueNAS Core.  I'm not sure if there are any differences in the platform at all; I think it's just a branding change, because FreeNAS and TrueNAS sounded like two different and competing products.

Tom Lehrer Music Video - Well, Music Still Photo Anyway - of the Day

Disclaimer: Well, I thought so.

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Uh Oh

CBS News is now doing straight reporting on the totally not a story Russian disinformation I don't need to deny it smear campaign.

It's not much, but the dam has cracked.

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Tuesday, October 20


Daily News Stuff 20 October 2020

Advance Warning Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Well, poop.

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Monday, October 19


Daily News Stuff 19 October 2020

Why Can't They Both Lose Edition

Tech News

  • New Spare Laptop has been deployed and is currently installing six months worth of software updates.

    Update: Where did all my disk space go?  Wait, VirtualBox is using how much?  Well, those can all go for a start.

    Update 2: Oh joy, a Windows Update boot loop.

    Update 3: Okay, Windows is updated now.  But it turns out that this laptop won't charge either.  Runs fine plugged in until you do something that draws extra current like, oh, running Idle Champions, at which point it drops dead.

    Update 4: That might be a software issue.  (CNet)

    But I'll have to open up the laptop and disconnect the battery to fix it.  Ugh.

    Hmm.  At some point I reinstalled Windows on this system and scrubbed it of all the Dell-specific drivers and stuff.  Might be worth reinstalling those.

    Update 5: BIOS reports the battery is fine, so it is a driver issue.  Well, that can be fixed, one way or another.

    Update 6: "This battery charging is temporarily disable."

    Update 7: There's apparently a workaround using advanced charging schedules.  Why they even exist I don't know, but worth a shot.

    Update 8: Nope.  Time to buy a new battery from some random seller on Amazon, I guess.  I can choose from Ding brand or Binger, or Amanda, or....  The reviews say remove your battery, leave it for two minutes, then try again.  Well, worth a shot.

  • The Bolsheviks at Google and Facebook are engaged in a war with the Mensheviks at the ABC.  (The Guardian)

    (Australia's ABC, that is.)

    The ACCC has mandated that social networks pay news organisations for the right to link to them.  Google and Facebook have said they will simply disable the ability to link to news articles.

    The ABC says that hey, it could run a social network.

    The only upside to the nightmare that would be a government-run social network is that it would collapse instantly because the ABC couldn't manage a piss-up in a brewery.

  • Down the rabbit hole: I'm a paid member of Amelia Watson's channel now.  On the other hand, it works out to something like ten cents per hour of entertainment given how much she streams.

    I don't often get to catch the live streams because I'm usually working on something at the same time and need to be able to pause, and they don't allow that on their livestreams.

    I've watched a couple of dozen hours of Hololive and politics hasn't been mentioned even once.  It's infinitely better value than Netflix for that reason alone.

  • The Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module is a Raspberry Pi 4 compute module.  (Tom's Hardware)

    They've dropped the SO-DIMM form factor for some reason.  That's a shame - it breaks backwards compatibility with early compute modules and replaces a standard connector with a custom one.

    On the upside, it has one PCIe 2.0 lane.

  • Asus looks to be preparing an Intel laptop with Intel graphics.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Nobody knows why, but the answer is probably spelled "money".

  • AMD skipped Ryzen 4000 on the desktop because the numbering had become confusing.  And then: The Ryzen 5600U and 5800U will be Zen 3; the 5500U and 5700U will be Zen 2 unless they won't.  (WCCFTech)

    This will still be a significant upgrade, because the 5700U will be 8 cores / 16 threads, where the 4700U is 8 cores / 8 threads.  So each model should be 20-25% faster than its predecessor.

  • There will be four editions of the Radeon 6900 unless there are five, or three, or some other number.  (WCCFTech)

    Rumours suggest a 6900 XE (or XLE), a 6900 XL, a 6900 XT, and a 6900 XTX, ranging from 64 to 80 cores.

    We'll know soon - AMD's Radeon event is on the 28th.

  • The Arm64 memory architecture supports address tagging.  (LWN)

    I didn't know that.  Since nobody actually had 16 exabytes of RAM, the architecture only uses 48 bits for physical addresses, and four bits of the virtual address can be used as a data type field.

  • Do not drink the cursed Elixir.  (GitHub)

  • Unlocking God Mode in Windows 10.  (Bleeping Computer)

    You just need 64 blocks of Crying Obsidian and two Diamond Anvils.

    Or, alternately, log in with admin privileges and create a folder named GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}.

    It will give you a version of the Control Panel with every single configuration and management option available.

Google Supports Pedophiles Video of the Day

The appeals system at YouTube, as multiple YouTubers have demonstrated, and at Twitter, as I know from personal experience, are designed solely to prevent lawsuits and not to provide any actual channel of communication.

Oh, look, I need to unlock my Twitter account again.  For...  Pushing back against QAnon?

Disclaimer: Some men just want to watch the world burn, and when it comes to social media I'm increasingly in agreement.

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Sunday, October 18


Daily News Stuff 18 October 2020

Waker, Sleep Edition

Tech News

  • It's definitely a loose connection.  Spare Laptop charged to 57% after being left alone for a while.  I used it for half an hour, then switched the settings so that closing the lid would put it into sleep mode, and left to do other things.

    Came back and it was dead as a doornail.

    Three hours later I poked it again, and it booted up and showed that it was at 86%, but not charging.  Fiddled with the power connecter and it started charging again.

    Okay.  Still replacing you, though, Spare Laptop.

  • My 1.2TB of microSD cards arrived, so I can populate my mobile devices, for when I go out, which I don't do, or into the office, which I also don't do.

    Update: Old Spare Laptop and New Spare Laptop both already have 200GB cards as it turns out.  So one of these goes in Index, one in Railgun, and the other one I'll keep for my next phone - I'll probably get an Oppo A52 or A91.

  • The New York Post's Twitter account is still locked.  (Fox Business)

    Twitter is apparently insisting that the Post delete several tweets.  The Post is, understandingly, telling Twitter to go fuck itself with a piledriver and twelve feet of curare-tipped wrought-iron fence and no lubricant.

  • I am shocked, shocked, to find partisan corruption going on in this social network.

  • Nobody knows what this is.  (AliExpress)

    Well, everyone knows what it says it is - a small motherboard with an embedded AMD A9-9820 CPU.  Only problem is that AMD never produced an A9-9820.  (ExtremeTech)

    Speculation is that these are failed Xbox One S dies.  At $125 just for the board, most people would be better off getting the new and far more powerful Xbox Series S, but it is a curiosity.  Other Linus mentioned that he had already ordered one for testing.

  • The Argon One M.2 gets more out of your Raspberry Pi 4.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's a bit larger than the average Raspberry Pi case, but it does add a fan, full size HDMI ports, and a (SATA) M.2 slot.

  • Building a new PC and want something faster than Gigabit Ethernet?  The Inventec SmartNIC C5020X has dual 50GbE ports.  (Serve the Home)

    And an FPGA, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Xeon-D processor.

    That should do the trick.

  • There are no signs at all that this will become a gigantic clusterfuck.  (

    Twenty-five European governments have pledged a total of €10 billion to build an alternative to AWS.

    I'll get the popcorn.

  • Friends don't let friends use Node.  (ZDNet)

    Just the latest list of malware that had been sitting in NPM undetected for (checks notes) two years.

  • Bay Area politicians are panicking over a recent suggestion that tech workers be required to work from home three days a week.  (MSN)

    The problem, they suggest, is that if required to work from home, the workers could just as easily work from home somewhere that isn't an overpriced overtaxed socialist shithole.

    They are right.

Disclaimer: For once.

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Saturday, October 17


Daily News Stuff 17 October 2020

October Surprise Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: If you type <?a> instead of </a> your entire blog might disappear.  Not here, though.  A certain other blog.

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Daily News Stuff 16 October 2020

Party Like It's 1985 Edition

Tech News

  • Twitter fell down.  (Tech Crunch)

  • So did Slack.  (Slack)

    Slack is still a thing, right?

  • Twitter and Facebook crossed a line.  (The Intercept)

    Glenn Greenwald - yes, that Glenn Greenwald - writes a thorough, incisive, and scathing analysis of the Orwellian events of the last 48 hours.

    Also this:

  • Matt Taibbi - another lefty journalist who can actually report straight news some of the time - shuts down a Huntergate Truther:

  • Twitter announced changes to its "hacked materials" policy after realising they'd just banned journalism.

  • Nim 1.4 is out.  (Nim-lang)

    Looks like mostly improvements to the standard library, plus a new garbage collector that handles circular references properly.

  • A look a the Crucial P5 SSD.  (Serve the Home)

    This is a mid-range TLC PCIe 3.0 device, which in 2020 means that it can transfer 3.4GB per second.  That puts it about 40% ahead of the WD Blue SN550, but on the other hand it's 50% more expensive.

  • Looks like Spare Laptop has a loose connection somewhere in the power circuit; it charges about 1% per hour if I'm lucky.

    Everything is backed up now, since it has soldered-in storage and if it stops charging completely there is no way for me to recover it.  Not that it had much on it - it has just 64GB of internal storage and I have a 64TB Synology farm in the spare bedroom.

    Looks like it will be getting an upgrade this weekend - from an old-model Atom with 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 1366x768 TN display, to a Core i5, dedicated Radeon graphics, 16GB RAM, 4GB VRAM, 1TB of SSD, and a 4k IPS touchscreen.

    Which just happen to be the precise specs of my work laptop.  Since I work entirely from home now, and I have the HP Spectre for when we do start having in-person sessions again, I might as well use the hardware I already have.

    I did have other laptops still working, and with better specs than Spare Laptop, but I handed them down to my nephews.

    Only catch - Spare Laptop had the Four Essential keys.  Work Laptop, which cost me roughly six times as much, does not.

  • Networking is the one odd corner of computing where you can simply plunk down cash and buy speed.  (Serve the Home)

    Gigabit Ethernet is still the standard for end users, but if you want a four port 100GbE card, they are readily available.

    This Silcom SnartNIC is probably not the cheapest option, since it also includes a high-end Stratix 10 DX FPGA, 8GB of HBM RAM, and 32GB of DDR4.

  • Amazon Women With iPhones on the Moon.  (UPI)

    NASA has awarded Nokia a contract to provide cell phone service on the Moon.

  • It is, after all, the 21st century.  (BBC News)

    This is the second time recently that a person has been spotted flying a jetpack at an altitude of a mile over Los Angeles.

Disclaimer: Which seems like a safe minimum distance.

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