I'm in the future. Like hundreds of years in the future. I've been dead for centuries.
Oh, lovely, you're a cheery one aren't you?

Wednesday, February 26

Geek

Daily News Stuff 26 February 2020

Rabid Cabbages Edition

Tech News

  • The Smithsonian has released an archive of 2.8 million photos into the public domain.

    Specifically a CC0 license.  They're planning to digitise their entire collection of 155 million items.


  • Microsoft can go fuck themselves.  (Bleeping Computer)

    No, I am not going to depend on an online service to log into my own computer.

    I think I ran into this recently when reinstalling my spare laptop, which got stuck in a boot loop after a failed upgrade to Windows 10 1909.  I hadn't configured WiFi at that point so it wasn't possible for me to use an online account, and the installer allowed me to set up a local account.  Apparently that is now the only way to do so at install time.


  • Really want a Nintendo PlayStation?  Got $300,000 plus burning a hole in your pocket?  It could be yours.  (Tech Report)

    It's the real deal and in working order.  (Heritage Auctions)

    And probably the only one in the world, since it's a prototype for a joint venture that never went ahead.


Disclaimer: Or you could just use a Raspberry Pi.

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Tuesday, February 25

Geek

Daily News Stuff 25 February 2020

Winking Olympic Vikings Edition

Tech News

  • Microsoft's Xbox Series X will be twice as fast as the Xbox One X.  (AnandTech)

    For graphics, that is.  Four times faster on the CPU side.

    The Xbox One X is four times faster on the graphics side than the Xbox One, but unchanged on the CPU, so overall the Xbox Series X is four times faster on CPU and eight times faster on graphics than the Xbox One non-X.

    Clear?


  • Mobile World Conference got cancelled by Corona-chan, but the industry burbles on, even if we sometimes wish it wouldn't.  

    Huawei announced the Mediapad Pro 5G, an update to the Mediapad Pro 4G, now with an extra G.  (AnandTech)

    It's a 10.8" Android 10 tablet, with a 2560x1600 screen and an A76-powered Kirin 990 CPU.

    Starting at €549 with no Gs at all, and up to €949 with 5G, 8GB RAM, and 512GB of storage.  Plus €129 for the keyboard and €99 for the stylus.  So...  Not exactly a budget device.


  • Speaking of Android tablets, I found this one on Amazon Australia.

    It's an older model, but it has basically the same specs as my Mediapad M3 and you can't beat the price.

    However...  The seller has a rating of zero.  100% negative.  And if you search the site for Teclast T8, it doesn't exist.

    For $280 they have a superseded Samsung tablet with specs in between the 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7 models.

    For $941 plus $312 shipping you could get the also superseded Mediapad M5.

    Or for $998.91 you could get the 2019 Galaxy Tab A 8" model with S-pen which matches or exceeds the specs of the 2013 Nexus 7 and has an almost up-to-date version of Android, and comes from a seller with 100% positive feedback.  Which feedback consists, unfortunately, entirely of this single review:
    The Green Elephant Ceramic Sharping Rod Sharpens my knives with ease and gets them sharp quicker than outer Sharping rods
    I spent years wishing Amazon would open an Australian storefront.  Now I want them to go away again.  Amazon Australia sucks.

    Which reminds me, though - I have a Sony Xperia tablet around here somewhere that I haven't been using since I got the Mediapad.  I should dig it out.  I can't remember if it had 16GB or 32GB of storage; if it was 32GB it's high time I swapped out my Nexus 7.  Something weird is going on with the Nexus 7 and its storage is slowly disappearing no matter what I do.  The Xperia tablet has a 128GB microSD card in it which would help a lot with that.

    Come to think of it, the last time I used it was probably that failed experiment to force adoptable storage to work.  Damn you, Sony.


  • Where was I?  Oh, right.  Kvetching.

    Speaking of 8" tablets at unreasonable prices Huawei announced the Mate Xs, the successor to the Mate X which as far as I am aware nobody anywhere ever actually bought.  (AnandTech)

    It also has a Kirin 990 CPU, with an 8" 2480x2200 AMOLED display, which folds and also - an advance over the original model - unfolds.

    It has 5G because why not and pricing starts at €2499.


  • What a tangled web we weave when first we venture to segment the market.  (AnandTech)

    People have been pointing out for weeks that a single $4000 64-core Epyc or Threadripper part can outperform two $10,000 28-core Xeon Platinum CPUs.

    Intel's response is a $2600 28-core Xeon Gold.  It's the same chip - it is literally the same chip - but with some interconnects spiked so it only supports up to two sockets instead of 8.

    There's also a new 26-core part for $1900, 24-core for $1550, and 20-core for $1270.  For Xeons, those are really good prices.

    Still not competitive with AMD, but really good for Intel.

    Serve the Home has further analysis.


  • TechDirt seems to be drunk today.


  • The specs for Big Navi have leaked unless they haven't and I suspect haven't but I could be wrong.  (WCCFTech)

    Supposedly the Radeon 5950X will be an 80 CU card with 24GB of HBM2 providing 2TB per second of bandwidth.  But that would mean four 6GB modules, and while that is certainly possible I've never seen such a configuration.

    Source is, well, Twitter.




  • You used to need a PhD to understand AWS pricing.  Now you need an entire research department.  (Andrew Wray)

    Some Amazon services are fixed price.  Some variable.  Some cost you nothing until a user lands on your page.  Others cost you a fortune even if you have no users at all.

    The only way I am able to wade through this nonsense and emerge with my sanity mostly intact is a childhood misspent min-maxing D&D characters.


  • Second Sock Syndrome and How to Solve It.  (Sheep Among Wolves)

    The article is talking about actual literal socks, but it works even better as a metaphor.


  • Pinterest is a train wreck.


  • China is hunting down anyone who tries to harsh Corona-chan's mellow.  (Vice)

    Because the Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague is less of a threat than an informed populace.


  • We apologise for starving your cat to death.  (Ars Technica)

    Only not very much.


  • If you missed out on the excitement of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum due to not having been born yet, now is your chance.  (Slashdot)

    The ZX Spectrum Next, just slightly delayed, is now shipping.  (Kickstarter)

    It includes a 28MHz Z80 implemented in an FPGA, with hardware sprites and 1MB of RAM.  It actually looks quite nice, very professionally designed and manufactured.

    If you missed out on the original Kickstarter due to not having paid any attention to Kickstarter lately, they will be running another Kickstarter soon for a second production run.


Anime Music Video of the Day



Disclaimer: Unless it doesn't not isn't hasn't won't.

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Monday, February 24

Geek

Daily News Stuff 24 February 2020

The Pacific Wasn't Terrific Edition

Tech News



Disclaimer: I see you've played knifey-spoony before.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 23 February 2020

Late Late Show Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Which is much better.

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Sunday, February 23

Geek

Daily News Stuff 22 February 2020

Snake Eye Soup Edition

Tech News

  • So if DigitalOcean is 1% the size of AWS, how exactly is the market divided up?

    Turns out to be easy to approximate, since the total cloud spend for 2019 was on the close order of $100 billion.  (MSN)

    DigitalOcean's share puts it at around 0.25% - and DigitalOcean is not a small company, giving you an idea of just how big this is.

    AWS is the market leader, of course, with 32.4%.  Azure is second with 17.6% - but is growing at twice the rate.  Between them they control exactly half the market.

    Google is a rather distant third at 6%.  Despite the fact that their service works very well and their management interface is light years ahead of AWS - we use both at my day job - I would hesitate to recommend it because their entire corporate culture has brain worms.

    Alibaba has 5.4%.  Both Google and Alibaba are growing at similar rates to Azure.

    IBM's total cloud and hosting revenues are greater larger than Azure, but that's not a pure cloud offering, combining cloud, traditional servers, and services.  Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce are also pretty substantial but are largely service-oriented rather than pure cloud.


  • SLC is back - sort of.  (AnandTech)

    Nobody makes SLC SSDs - that I know of - though you can buy SLC flash chips for embedded and industrial applications.  But most modern SSDs have a pseudo-SLC cache, where instead of using (for example) all sixteen discrete levels on a QLC device, you only use 1111 and 0000.  That gives you much larger margins for error and lets you write data faster.

    So what if rather than making that a cache, you made the whole drive like that?  MEMXPRO did exactly that.

    If the target niche isn't obvious, the drives are also waterproof and rated for -40°C to +85°C.  Transfer rates are around the 3GBps mark for both reads and writes, close to the limit of PCIe 3.0.


  • Speaking of limits PCIe 6.0 is on its way with a final spec due next year.  (AnandTech)

    PCIe 6.0 uses PAM4 encoding, so the signal frequencies are the same as with PCIe 5.0, but with four levels.  I'm not sure what the plan is for PCIe 7.0, though 112Gbps PAM4 encoding is already a thing  (SemiAccurate) and I'd be surprised if they didn't leverage that work.


  • Bethesda has pulled most of its games from Nvidia's GeForce Now streaming service.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I don't know what's going on with this, and haven't seen anyone explain it.  You have to buy the game first - on Steam or Epic or another supported store - so the game publishers already have their money.


  • Every melody in the world is now in the public domain or something.  (TechDirt)

    Well, every possible short melodic phrase within a normal harmonic scale, anyway; 68.7 billion of theme.  You can still copyright a song, of course, but you might need more than that if you want to sue someone for sounding similar in the future.


  • The first benchmarks for Intel's upcoming ten core Comet Lake Core i9-10900 ES have leaked and they don't even rise to the level of meh.  (WCCFTech)

    It's unlikely to reach the performance of AMD's 3900x, but so far it's struggling to beat the 3800X.


  • Twitter has suspended 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts.  (LA Times)

    Apparently they've finally found a Democrat they don't like.  Admittedly Bloomberg's viral efforts have been pretty amateurish.


  • Is fusion finally less than 20 years away?  (New Atlas)

    Maybe.  The new approach fuses regular hydrogen with boron-11 using 10-petawatt chirped pulse amplification lasers.  Boron-11 is the most common isotope and is stable, but boron itself isn't particularly abundant, since it's not part of any of the regular fusion pathways in stars.  Still, you don't need a lot of it - and it's more plentiful than uranium.

    The research is going on at the University of New South Wales and elsewhere, and I found a published paper but even so it seems rather heavy on the speculation and light on the results.


Disclaimer: No doubt about it, I gotta get another hat.

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Friday, February 21

Geek

Daily News Stuff 21 February 2020

Quintarian Heresy Edition

Book News

  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Penric stories finally have a proper print edition, having been collected in Penric's Progress and Penric's Travels, the latter out in May.  These form volumes four and five in her World of the Five Gods series.

    If you enjoy well-written, tightly-plotted fantasy with relatable heroes and complex villains, you can't go wrong with these.  The first two books, The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls, form a trilogy where the first volume doesn't exist. Instead, the history of those events comes out naturally as the characters discover it. 

    I call the hypothetical Chalion trilogy Ista's Fall, Ista's Redemption, and Ista's Glory.  That's a minor spoiler but nothing you wouldn't get if you read the blurb for Paladin before reading Curse.

    The remaining books in the series are actually set earlier chronologically, but work fine because they're not prequels, just stories that happened in the past of Curse of Chalion.

    If you prefer science fiction and haven't read the Vorkosigan Saga, pick up either Shards of Honor or The Warrior's Apprentice.  My own experience started with The Vor Game, which actually comes after The Warrior's Apprentice, and that works too.

    They are absolutely brilliant military SF with a focus on the people rather than the battles, though there are certainly battles.

    Bujold's other major series is Dag and Fawn Go on a Boat, otherwise known as The Sharing Knife.  Which is very well written and engaging but doesn't have the same impact.

  • Repairman Jack uses DuckDuckGo.

    The latest Repairman Jack book - The Last Christmas - is a sort of sequel to the Ice Trilogy, which happens during the events of the Repairman Jack series, which happens during the events of the Adversary Cycle.

    F. Paul Wilson started out writing the Adversary Cycle, found he had a hit with Repairman Jack, the main character in the second volume, completed the Adversary Cycle first, then circled back and added in 15 books in the chronological middle of the main series, plus six additional prequels.

    And then updated the original six volumes to fix up the chronology a bit, because the last volume of the series by internal chronology was published in 1992, and the second last in 2011.

    These are all well worth reading.  The two starting points are The Keep - first book of the Adversary Cycle, or The Tomb, the first book of Repairman Jack.  The Keep is set during WWII and The Tomb in present-day New York, and it takes a while for the events to link up, but they do.


Tech News



Disclaimer: Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 20 February 2020

Twos Complement Edition

Tech News


Disclaimer: I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!

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Wednesday, February 19

Geek

Daily News Stuff 19 February 2020

Slightly Less Work-Related Panic Edition

Tech News



Disclaimer: Possibly twice.

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Tuesday, February 18

Geek

Daily News Stuff 18 February 2020

What Katy Din't Edition

Tech News

  • Some idiots think they have a copyright on the word "did".  (Torrentfreak)

    Not even a trademark, which might be narrowly defensible.

    Oh, and Google just shrugged and complied with the takedown notice.


  • Behold the Opiomat.  (The Guardian)

    In every town - nay, every village - surcease from, well, pretty much everything when you stop breathing.


  • Mike Godwin - yes, that Godwin - on what early internet activists, including himself, got wrong.  (Slate)

    They worried about the government.  They worried about big corporations locking internet access up for themselves.  They didn't worry about people being given exactly what they asked for.


  • A new device can turn humidity into electricity.  (Ars Technica)

    If they'd brought one of those to Sydney the week before the drought broke, they could have powered the entire country.

    Technically it doesn't work on humidity but on humidity gradients - just like any other energy source, it's not the absolute value but the difference between two points that matters.


  • Speaking of humidity, two weeks ago Sydney's water supply was down to two years - a little over 40% capacity.  It's now up to 80% and it's still raining.  (Water NSW)

    In fact, I just now had to mop a pool of water out of my front hall.  My roof doesn't leak and there's a full flight of stairs up to my front deck; there was just that much rain coming down that inside was the path of least resistance.


Disclaimer: Which anime had the teru teru bozu closing theme?  Oh, Jungle Guu Final.  Huh.  Been a while since I watched that.

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Monday, February 17

Geek

Daily News Stuff 17 February 2020

Extra Late Final Edition

Tech News


Disclaimer: Ugh.

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