What happened?
Twelve years!
You hit me with a cricket bat!
Ha! Twelve years!

Saturday, March 06


Daily News Stuff 6 March 2021

Alpacalypse Vs. Llamageddon Edition

Tech News

  • Rocket Lake is here, much to everyone's surprise, including Intel's.  (AnandTech)

    Tech sites are still under NDA and many don't even have review samples from Intel yet.  But European retailer MindFactory jumped the gun and released a couple of hundred i7-11700K chips and AnandTech scooped one of them up.  And chips bought at retail aren't covered by the NDA.

    And now they have a 19-page review chock-full of benchmarky goodness.

    So, how does it do?

    It do bad.

    Except in two very specific benchmarks, the 5800X beats it, often by a substantial margin, while using less power.  The two benchmarks where Rocket Lake takes off use AVX512 - which AMD doesn't currently have - and push power consumption to a space-heating 291W.

  • Looking for an iMac Pro?  Haha fuck you.  (WCCFTech)

    While supplies last.  And build-to-order options are gone.

    It will be interesting to see what they do at this point.  Their own chips can't compete and releasing another Intel-based system at this point will look like admitting their own chips can't compete.

  • At least 30,000 corporate and government Exchange servers have been hacked over the past week.  (Krebs On Security)

    It's not pretty.

Let's Talk Pi Video of the Day

This talk is focused on machine learning, but the first half hour is an overview of the Pi Pico, so if you're interested in either or both topics it may be worth your time.

It does discuss how they designed the PIO on the Pico: They got a long list of I/O protocols and designed the simplest possible circuit that could handle all of them.  It also mentions in passing that someone recently doubled DVI output performance.  I'll need to see if I can find details on that.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for its intended audience only.  If you read this post unintentionally, please destroy any memories of its content immediately.

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Friday, March 05


Daily News Stuff 5 March 2021

No Through Road Beyond Zebra Edition

Tech News

  • Bring your own client.  (Geoffrey Litt)

    I'm in favour of this idea.  The API for the new site was completed around Christmas; it's the UI that's holding things up.

  • eBay has banned sales of the six blacklisted Dr Seuss books.  (WSJ)

    These are sales of children's books between private individuals.


  • HTTPWTF.  (HTTPToolkit)

    For example, the Cache-Control: no-cache header tells the browser to cache your content, even if it is not normally cacheable.

  • I for one welcome our new, incredibly stupid, robot overlords.

  • Google wants to give your browser cancer.  (EFF)

    FLoC is a replacement for third-party tracking cookies.  They don't plan to stop tracking you; they plan to have your own browser track everything they do and report back to them.

    The EFF is stepping into the shoes the ACLU pooped in.  Um.  The EFF threw out the ACLU's shoes because they smelled of poop, bought some new shoes, and stepped into those.

  • How well do dual RTX 3090s in SLI work?  (Serve the Home)

    For some computation and rendering tasks it works very well.  For games, on the other hand, this is Serve the Home, they didn't benchmark any games.

  • Kiara got her shadowban lifted, finally.

    YouTube deleted the last two months of her videos instead.

    Yes, this is the same retarded crap that they pulled with Hardware Unboxed.

Epic Rant Video of the Day

Disclaimer: When On Beyond Zebras are outlawed, only outlaws will have On Beyond Zebras.

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Thursday, March 04


Daily News Stuff 4 March 2021

Ill-Conceived Gambits Edition

Tech News

  • AMD has announced the Radeon 6700 XT, shipping March 18 for $479.  (AnandTech)

    At that price it's still a high-end card, and your chances of finding one at that price are basically zero.

    But from a performance perspective it's also a high-end card.  It's cut down relative to the 6800 - from 60 CUs to 40 - but they've also scaled the clock speed up from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz.  As a result it's a bit less power-efficient than the 6800; it's no longer quite in the sweet spot for this design and process node.

    RAM is 12GB on a 192-bit bus, and it has 96MB of Infinity Cache, compared to 16GB and 128MB on the 6800.

    Also, all the leaks on this one were exactly correct.

  • CircuitPython could come to Raspberry Pi as a bootable OS.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That would let you treat it as a microcontroller and program the hardware directly, rather than through Linux, which would be attractive for a lot of hobbyists, particularly anyone trying to work with hard real-time requirements.

  • SpaceX's Starship SN10 took off cleanly, did a test flip and engine stall, descended and landed safely...  And then exploded.  (WCCFTech)

    I was watching the live stream.  I thought there was a bit too much fire after landing, and then boom.

  • Mozilla is concerned about India's new laws regulating online content.  (Mozilla)

    Their concerns about people banning books might have more weight if they weren't personally so gung ho about burning them.

  • A new version of the Grub bootloader has 117 patches fixing a list of serious vulnerabilities.  (Bleeping Computer)

    All of which are only a problem if you have physical access to the computer in question, in which case Grub is far from the only attack vector.

  • Google's cross-platform UI toolkit, Flutter, is now in Version 2.  (Thurrott.com)

    The SDK is 1.3GB, so I wouldn't expect high-performance light-weight apps to come out of this.

  • Firefox, for some reason, can play Hololive livestreams more smoothly with chat enabled than Chrome can with it disabled.

    It still seems to be slowly leaking memory though.

    Update: Memory usage went back down without me touching anything.  It uses a lot of RAM, but it's not a steady leak. 

    I'm trying Waterfox side by side with Firefox now, and they seem to behave pretty much identically.  Which they should.  Using a surprisingly large chunk of the GPU to handle video decode though.  I guess 6 teraflops ain't what it used to be.

Peko Peko Peko Peko Peko Peko Peko Peko Peko Video of the Day

Disclaimer: Bleep your bleeping bleep right in the bleeper.

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Wednesday, March 03


Daily News Stuff 3 March 2021

300% Overclock Edition

Tech News

  • Reading through the details of the PicoDVI project from yesterday I'm struck by how simple (relatively) it is to encode low-resolution graphics into a TMDS signal - the encoding used by DVI and HDMI.

    The project itself uses RGB pixels rather than a palette, which makes the code more complicated and slower.

    The hard part is sending out three synchronised bitstreams at 251.75MHz, but the Pi Pico can do that, if you first overclock it to 251.75MHz, which it can also do.  I don't know of any other microcontrollers that can do that - the clock-accurate encoding part, I mean - previously you used an external FPGA if you needed something like that.

    I want 480x360 rather than 640x480, and I don't know how well that will work, though there is no defined minimum resolution for DVI or HDMI.  It would still require a small overclock for a 60Hz refresh, but 6% rather than nearly 100%.

    The great thing though is I don't need to build anything to try it, just wait until one of these projects ships, then plug it into a cheap monitor and start fiddling with the timing parameters.

    For a real project I'd make a small board with two RP2040s - the Pi Pico chip - connected over SPI, and just a couple of SPI flash chips, a voltage regulator, and other minor things.  Simple enough when you know someone who does this for  living.

    VGA is even easier, of course - you don't have to do all that nasty encoding, which leaves headroom to actually draw stuff on screen.

  • At the other end of the scale the Threadripper Pro is now shipping to retail customers.  (AnandTech)

    Prices range from $1150 for 16 cores to $5490 for 64 cores.

    The Asus Threadripper Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI motherboard will set you back an additional $1000 or so, which is not a bad price given its feature set, which ranges from dual 10G Ethernet and remote management to seven PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, seven M.2 slots, and audio with a claimed 120dB SNR.  About the only thing it lacks is Thunderbolt 4.

    This is all still Zen 2, though; there are no Zen 3 Threadrippers or Epycs available at retail yet.

  • The Asus ProART B550-Creator does have Thunderbolt 4.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The only AMD motherboard I know of that does, though there are a handful with Thunderbolt 3.

    It maxes out at 16 cores and 128GB of RAM, only has one PCIe 4.0 x16 slot and two M.2 slots (and the second would be PCIe 3.0 since it's a B550 board), and the dual Ethernet ports are only 2.5G, but that's still a solid little platform.

  • The Radeon 6700 XT will be launching in four hours.  (WCCFTech)

    That's 3AM here.  Not staying up.

    The one thing I'm interested in is how much Infinity Cache it has - if any.  The 6800 and 6900 models have 128MB; leaks indicate this might have 96MB.  That should be enough for 1440p gaming, and could also hint at where AMD is going next with its APUs.

  • The US Navy is a bunch of pirates.  (TorrentFreak)

    Specifically, they have been found liable in a case before the Federal Circuit.  Given that they did in fact install the software in question on half a million computers without paying for it, this seems like a reasonable ruling.

    Of course, they won't pay for the (up to) $500 million in damages either.

Disclaimer: And neither will I.  At least, not directly.

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Daily News Stuff 2 March 2021

Sit And Click Edition

Tech News

  • Intel's 670p is their new high-end QLC SSD.  (AnandTech)

    High end for QLC that is, which means low end.

    It's much improved over the earlier 660p and 665p.  Only problem is it costs more than a good TLC drive like my WD Black SN750 - $155 for Intel's 1TB model vs $130 for the WD.

    Intel will need to bring prices down by 30% before it makes any sense at all.

  • Speaking of 30% cheaper, if you try to order the Asus Zenbook 14 from Amazon Australia, the US model - delivered to Australia, in Aussie dollars, including Australian sales tax - is 30% cheaper than the Australian model.

    The only difference is the plug on the charger.

    The Zenbook 14 has USB-C.

    The Zenbook 14 does not support USB-C charging because fuck you that's why.

  • This could be something.

    Its a host board for the Pi Pico with microSD, USB, audio out, and from the looks of it, HDMI.

    Tom's Hardware says DVI but you can see there's no DVI connector.

    What they likely mean is a port that is physically HDMI and electrically DVI, which actually works perfectly well up to 1080p.  You don't get audio that way, but on the other hand, implementing it that way is royalty free, which matters a lot for small runs of hobby boards like this.

    Update: Oh my God.  (GitHub)

    So, DVI and HDMI use encoding called TMDS.  You can't just dump a digital RGB signal onto the cable; you have to encode each of the three colour channels as a 10-bit serial stream - at ten times the native pixel clock.

    That's precisely what they're doing.

    In software.

    They do overclock the Pico from its nominal 133MHz to 252MHz to get the necessary serial clock, but it works.  They can in fact drive two 640x480 60Hz DVI monitors from a single Pico, entirely in software.

  • I can get fried rice again.

    There are two big supermarket chains here in Australia.  One of them offered a quite nice store-brand microwave chicken fried rice in those long-life pouches that last about a year in the pantry.  A couple of months ago I went to order more and they were nowhere to be found.

    Now the other supermarket mysteriously has what looks exactly the same chicken fried rice except with their own store brand on it.

    I haven't been eating it as much lately because they recently started offering even better frozen versions that aren't much more expensive, but it's good to have a supply tucked away in the pantry.  In an emergency you can just eat it as a rice salad; it's already cooked.  Tastes better hot, but it's not bad cold.

  • It's likely that Apple will soon switch from their proprietary Lightning port to USB-C for all their mobile devices.  That will cause a lot of e-waste as people throw out existing devices, adapters, and cables because while they don't say it they expect Apple to fuck everything up.  (ZDNet)

    Why do they expect Apple to fuck everything up with the switch to USB-C?

    Because they already is.

  • Rocket Lake launches on March 30 unless it explodes on the pad.  (Hot Hardware)

    Which it probably won't because a certain retailer has already been selling them and benchmarks are out in the wild right now.

    The 11900K comes close to the Ryzen 5800X on Cinebench in both single and multi-core tests,  But the 11900K is the top of the line Rocket Lake part, and the 5800X is AMD's mid-range desktop part.  On the eleventh hand, the Ryzen 5900X and 5950X are pretty hard to find, though the 5800X seems to be in good supply.

  • I really should buy a new router to replace the one that caught fire.

Disclaimer: Because the one that caught fire ain't feeling too good.

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Monday, March 01


Daily News Stuff 1 March 2021

Onwards And Sideways Edition

Tech News

  • AMD's 4th gen Epyc Genoa will have stuff unless it doesn't. (WCCFTech)

    Specifically, up to 96 Zen 4 cores, 12-channel DDR5, 128 lanes of PCIe 5.0, and a 6096-pin socket.  In a two-socket system 48 PCIe lanes of each CPU will be used as interconnect, making 160 lanes available for I/O.

    Supposedly with a 320W TDP configurable up to 400W.  Current Threadrippers peak at 280W, and most Epycs are lower; 400W is rather a lot.

    But a 96-core 4th gen will easily match two 64-core 2nd gen Epycs.  It will also have twice the I/O bandwidth and more than twice the memory bandwidth.

    I had seen speculation of 96 cores and wondered how they'd fit the 12 chiplets required - even with 5nm it would be a tight fit.  The answer is, make the socket bigger.

    It's also rumoured to support AVX-512 which is currently the only server benchmark Intel can still win.

    It won't appear until the first half of next year, though.

  • Wonder if they'll support three channel DDR5 on socket AM5.  The desktop I/O die is currently one quarter of the Epyc I/O die, so if they keep that ratio, it would mean three memory channels.

    Doubt it - though it would make for amazing APUs

  • WASM everywhere everywhere. (GitHub)

    It's a Web Assembly interpreter compiled using that run-anywhere C library.


  • Don't plug your new Arm-based Macbook into that USB-C dock.  (ZDNet)

    Because it might die.

    Two points worth noting.  First, Apple blames the dock.  Second, they've released a software patch for it.

  • The invoice for the viewscreen was in your spam folder.  (ZDNet)

    Alexa supports over 90,000 Skills.  What do they all do?  Amazon doesn't know, or much care.

  • Microsoft has a patch for that horrible NTFS bug, where you can scramble your filesystem by opening a file with a particular name.  (Hot Hardware)

    You can't have it.

    The patch, that is, not the bug.  The bug you can have.

    To be fair, this is because they are allowing beta testers to beta test.  Pushing a buggy filesystem patch out to a billion users would not end well.

Disclaimer: But it would certainly end.

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Daily News Stuff 28 February 2021

We Don't Want Your Business

Tech News

  • You can mine Ethereum on Apple's M1 Arm chip.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Despite Apple's vaunted efficiency and TSMC's 5nm process, it is half as efficient as a previous-generation Nvidia card fabricated on 12nm.  And for throughput, it delivers between 3 and 4% of a 3060 Ti.

  • I recently mentioned Redbean, the tiny run-anywhere web server.  Take the binary, add your content directly to the file (since the binary is also a valid Zip archive), and run it directly on Windows, Mac, Linux, or Free/Open BSD - or boot directly into it from BIOS.

    And now Lua.

    Redbean+Lua+SQLite would make a <1MB application server that could be distributed as a single binary for every major platform.

  • Lastpass doesn't want you to use Lastpass.  (PC Perspective)

    Why exactly does a password manager need seven third-party tracking cookies?

  • In defense of dumb TVs.  (Framework)

    Kogan - Australia's own little Amazon Marketplace - still has a couple of store brand 4K dumb TVs.  And they're stupidly cheap.  I might pick up the 50" model before they disappear entirely, otherwise it's....

    Well, Philips does sell a 55" 4K monitor.  95% DCI-P3 gamut, DisplayHDR 1000, DisplayPort input, and a built-in 40W soundbar.  But it is a fair bit more expensive.  Also a reasonably-priced 43" monitor, though without DCI-P3 or HDR.

  • After killing CentOS, Red Hat now offers free RHEL subscriptions for open source nonprofits.  (ZDNet)

    Of course, before they killed CentOS they already did that.  It was called CentOS.  And you didn't have to beg for it.

  • Planned to clean my fridge, so I typed fridge cleaner into the search box when ordering my groceries.  Soapy water and paper towels would do the job, but I wanted to see what came up.

    What came up was a specifically food-safe disinfectant.  Kills the usual 99.9% of germs, but no harsh chemicals, it promised.  Took a look at the ingredients - water, ethyl alcohol, and vanillin.  Oh.  It's basically vanilla vodka at one tenth the price.

    I'm not sure exactly what proof it is; it doesn't say on the label.  After taking a whiff, I did what any enterprising scientist would do and sprayed a small puddle on the granite countertop and dropped in a lit match.  The puddle didn't catch fire, but the match burned with a blue flame for the next thirty seconds before finally going out.

    It also works really well at cleaning glass, and smells great.

    Update: They publish a safety sheet for it.  It's 25% alcohol by volume - 50 proof - and they list the flash point as 36°C.  Which doesn't mean that it catches fire at 36°C, it just means that it can catch fire at 36°C if you apply a match to it.  As does, for example, paper.

  • Speaking of Hololive and YouTube's algorithmic idiocy, apparently best doggo got demonetised for a while and had Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague warnings attached to her videos.

Disclaimer: And the horse you rode in on.

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Saturday, February 27


Daily News Stuff 27 February 2021

You Idiots Edition

Tech News

  • Don't connect critical industrial control systems directly to the internet you idiots.  (Ars Technica)

    And if you do, don't leave them in programming mode.

    And if you do, when you update your résumé, just say you were in a Turkish prison for the past twelve years.

    Yes, there is also a nasty vulnerability in the key management used in Logix industrial automation systems, but you have to be doing several things wrong to even get to that point.

  • Turns out the water cooling doesn't help.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Dell gaming systems are infamously noisy.

    The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 offers a water cooling option.

    It doesn't help.

    Shame, because you can actually buy one, which is not true if you try to buy the individual parts.

  • The Sabrent Rocket Q4 4TB is the fastest 4TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 drive on the market.  (Serve the Home)

    Also the cheapest.

    Yes, you guessed it.  But despite using QLC flash, it's not actually bad.

  • I wonder what happens if you simply add yeast to pancake batter, put it in a cake tin, and leave it to rise before baking?

    I'll find out tomorrow.

    The gluten-free bread I like has been out of stock for months, which is why I've been experimenting with making my own.  There are lesser alternatives - lesser than the brand I like, that is; still clearly superior to anything I've managed to produce thus far.

    At least chicken nuggets are available again.  There is one gluten-free brand available at one store, and it's been missing for weeks.  I was going to try making my own but the stuff I needed for that was also out of stock.

    I did find out, though, why gluten-free chicken nuggets are better than regular ones - in that they have more chicken and less coating than the regular kind.

    It's cheaper that way.  Pound for pound, the chicken costs less than the gluten-free coating, whether it's batter or breadcrumbs.

  • YouTube is a pile of crap.

    Yes, they shadowbanned Kiara, who has over 800,000 subscribers now, while she was in the middle of moving back home from Japan to Australia wink.  They took down Suisei's remonetisation celebration stream due to a copyright strike, after leaving her demonetised for a month without ever saying why.  Suisei has 780,000 subscribers.

    They also did this:

    Viva Frei has 350,00 subscribers.

    They also shadowbanned and demonetised Hardware Unboxed due to "suspicious activity" on their account.  What suspicious activity?  They didn't say.  How can this be resolved?  They didn't say.

    Hardware Unboxed has 750,000 subscribers.

    If you have a small YouTube channel you had better (a) back everything up and (b) hope the algorithm never notices you, because if it does, you are screwed.

Disclaimer: Slab and grue, yes. But it doesn't say how slab and grue.

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Friday, February 26


Daily News Stuff 26 February 2021

Desert Topping Floor Wax Edition

Tech News

  • Redbean is a small (200k) extremely fast (1 million requests per second) web server for static files and applications.  (Justine.lol)

    It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Net and Open BSD.

    Without recompiling.  The same binary runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Net and Open BSD.  Not currently for Arm-based Macs but that is coming - still in a single binary.

    To deploy your content, you change the name of the file from redbean.com to redbean.zip, add your files to the zip archive - because yes, it is also a valid zip archive, because why the hell not - change the name back to redbean.com, and run it.

    You can also apparently boot directly into it from BIOS, but that's only useful on a virtual machine; on actual hardware you'd have no drivers.

  • INTERCAL, YAML, and other horrible programming languages.  (Earthly)

    It's all fun and games until someone loses their mind.

  • Demand for semiconductors is currently as much as 30% higher than supply.  (AnandTech)

    Not memory, which is what usually gets bitten by supply crunches, but logic.

    It may be 12 to 18 months before things get back to normal.

  • The RTX 3060 is not actually bad.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's faster than a 2060 Super and close to a standard 2070 or the older 1080 Ti, and reasonably priced at $329, particularly with its 12GB of RAM.

    I couldn't find any available on Amazon or Newegg, but there are some listed in stock here in Australia, starting at A$869, which US$691 including tax, or US$628 before tax.

    So the cheapest available model is selling at a 90% markup over MSRP.

  • Lenovo's Thinkpad Fold X1 is the world's first foldable laptop except for all the others.  (Thurrott.com)

    It's essentially a 13" tablet that folds into a roughly 9" mini-laptop with an optional Bluetooth keyboard that snaps into place magnetically.

    It's about the same size as my HP Spectre x2 except that it folds in half.

  • Twitter will now let you pay to follow people.  (ZDNet)

  • Australia's stupid link tax law has passed through Parliament.  (AP)

    It had strong bipartisan support so you know it's bad.

  • Nvidia's dedicated mining cards are worse at mining than their gaming cards.  (Tom's Hardware)

    And the reason appears to be that they are using last-generation Turing chips - from the 1660 up to the 2080 Ti - and not current-generation chips.

    Turing was (is?) made on TSMC's 12nm process while Ampere is made on Samsung's 8nm process, so cranking out the older chips doesn't affect production capacity for the newer ones - except, as we noted, that demand is running at 130% of capacity anyway.

  • The language of technical difficulties is universal.

    I can't understand what Pekora is saying.  I can't understand what her chat is saying.  I can't even read her Minecraft setup screen, apart from the words "Hololive server" and "LAN".  But everyone knows what red text on a login page means.

Disclaimer: If we had some ham and eggs, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some ham and eggs.

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Thursday, February 25


Daily News Stuff 25 February 2021

Piglin Princess Pipico Edition

Tech News

Not Tech News - Not Any Kind Of News, Really

  • Faith in humanity restored, just a tiny bit.

Every Single Hololive Japan Opening Theme Video of the Day

I've been watching Hololive for months and I'd seen about 5% of these.

Disclaimer: Some of Aqua's openings may cause brain injury in vertebrates.

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