WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA?

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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Sunday, February 16

Geek

Daily News Stuff 16 February 2020

Late Final Extra Edition

Tech News



Disclaimer:

May you live in interesting times.
May you come to the attention of those in authority.
May you find what you are looking for.

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Saturday, February 15

Geek

Daily News Stuff 15 February 2020

You Know, The Little Cheesy Ones Edition

Tech News

  • Look out, she's gonna blow!  (Ars Technica)

    Something is happening somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse.  We just don't know exactly what.


  • 10TB drives for $160.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I wish I could get storage that cheap locally.  The same drive is A$409 from my usual source.  But I checked around and I can get it elsewhere for A$300, which, given the terrible exchange rate and 10% sales tax included, is not too far off the mark.  In fact, I can get the 12TB model for from Amazon for A$360 delivered.

    I probably will.  My plan - now that I have decently fast internet access and unlimited bandwidth - is to shut down the backup archive server I've been running and just put all the old crap on a local drive here.  We'll still have daily online backups - we currently backup every day to two servers in two separate locations. I'll only need to hit the archive if we have to go back to an older version to fix database corruption or accidentally deleted data that doesn't get noticed for a few days.


  • Twitter ran ads for, uh...  (Gizmodo)

    This apparently is real.




  • Littlewood's Law and the Global Media.  (Gwern.net)

    Or, why even when the media get the story right, it might not matter.
    If someone said, "I don’t really believe these anti-semitic hoaxes are real in the sense of a bunch of anti-Semites have been emboldened by Trump’s election, I think there’s something else going on, like maybe an employee made them up to drum up donations”, you would probably think that was excuse-making; if they had said, "I don’t believe them, maybe they’re actually fake because some schizophrenic or crazy Jew with a brain cancer & a flair for VoIP pranks did them all themselves”, you would definitely think they were desperately coming up with excuses & denying facts, and to not put too fine a point on it, that they should be ashamed of themselves for such a lack of intellectual honesty & flagrantly partisan bias.
    The problem is, in an increasingly interconnected world of nearly eight billion people, thousands of bizarrely improbable events happen every single day - and now, are not just perceived as miracles, but recorded and reported.

    That conspiracy theory in the example above?  Happened.  (Wikipedia)

    The old medical rule that when you hear hoofbeats, expect horses, not zebras never applied to House because the doctor who saw the patient before him would have already checked for horses.  And as science and technology and engineering advance, it eventually gets to the point that there are no more horses.

    Right now, if you get the sniffles, it's probably just a cold, because there are over 200 viruses that cause colds and we don't have a cure or a vaccine for any of them.

    But once we do find a cure for the cold, once we eradicate it as we did smallpox, if you get the sniffles, you'll have come down with zebras.  Not because zebras have become more common but because there aren't any horses.

    This also explains why almost everyone on Twitter is insane except for your own small group.  It's because you care about the minor everyday things involving your own small group, and the broader Twittersphere only impinges upon you when something really stupid happens.  Such as, oh, an ad from a human organ trafficking ring.

    Or something awesome, but it's simple mathematics that there are rather more stupid events than awesome ones.


Music Video of the Day

Didn't I see a new Saint Motel song on YouTube yesterday while I was looking for tech videos?  

Yes, as it happens.  Yes I did.



Disclaimer: A lot more.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 14 February 2020

End Of The World As We Know It Edition

Book News

  • There's a new Repairman Jack novel: The Last Christmas.  (Amazon)

    Last time we saw Repairman Jack, the world had...  No, wait, there were the three prequel books.  Before that, then, in the updated version of Nightworld, the entire Universe had fallen to the Adversary and things were not looking so great.

    So this is a midquel, fairly late in the sequence.  It's number 16 according to the Amazon page, but with the post-Nightworld additions I'm not sure what that means exactly.

    Also from F Paul Wilson, Panacea has now spawned a trilogy, with the third book coming out - oh.  February of last year.  Never mind.


  • Speaking of universes eaten by alien space bats, there are two new volumes in Peter Clines what-is-now-apparently-known-as-the Threshold Series.  Volume three, Dead Moon, is rather further separated thematically and chronologically than The Fold was from 14.  It's still a solid addition, but none of the characters from the first two books appear, and some of the new ones deserved to be eaten by the alien space bats.  The casts of 14 and The Fold were more likeable on the whole.

    Volume four, Terminus, is currently only available as an Audible Original, though that will presumably change at some point.  I haven't had time to listen to it yet, and prefer audiobooks for re-reads anyway.  But I do have some spare credits so I will pick it up.


Tech News

  • Office 365 Pro Plus won't hijack your searches to Bing after all.  (Ars Technica)

    Well, not by default.  It does include a control panel for network admins to automatically configure the default search engine for machines under their control, which seems like a useful tool in the corporate world, but it does nothing until it is deployed and configured.


  • MacOS Catalina: Still more trouble than it's worth.

    What exactly does it give me?  I know what it takes away, but what does it give me?


  • WiFi Association: We've simplified things, so that there's just WiFi 4, WiFi 5, and WiFi 6.  Higher numbers are faster.  Probably.

    Also WiFi Association: Here's WiFi 6E.  (AnandTech)

    6E adds support for the 6GHz band, which is even less able to go through or around obstacles - which is both bad and good.  You'll get less overlap from neighbours' WiFi, but will have to take more care locating your own router for coverage.


  • The US Department of Justice has filed charges against Huawei under the RICO Act.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That's a significant escalation, raising the stakes from alleging that Huawei broke the law to alleging that it is a criminal enterprise in itself.

    China will likely be unhappy, but they have other things to worry about right now.  (Metro)

    Things are so bad that they may have started telling the truth:
    China's National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Thursday, taking the total number of infected to 63,851.
    This hasn't bitten the tech industry or the broader global economy yet, but if the disease continues to spread, that's going to change.


  • The British police force, last seen stamping down on terror threats such as butter knives, safety scissors, and limericks, has turned its attention to...  Virtualbox and Discord.



    And they conquered a third of the globe, somehow.


  • A look at 3990X performance on Linux vs. Windows 10 Pro vs. Windows 10 Enterprise.  (Phoronix)

    A number of benchmarks show marked performance decreases under Windows when going from 64 to 128 threads.  In some cases Windows Enterprise helps; in other cases it offers no benefit.  Linux has little trouble putting all 128 threads to work.

    Blender, interestingly, has no troubles at all in this benchmark, working well on all operating systems.


  • Need something a bit faster than those 2.5Gb switches with 10Gb uplinks?  How about a 25Gb switch with 100Gb uplinks?  (Serve the Home)

    48 25Gb ports, 6 100Gb ports, $1999.  Which is remarkable value.

    Yes, it's SFP+.  I'll let that pass just this once.  25GBase-T is a thing that exists, but I haven't seen any products based on it.


Disclaimer: I don't have any Cat-8 anyway.

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Thursday, February 13

Geek

Daily News Stuff 13 February 2020

Valentine's Day Antimacassar Edition

Tech News

Video of the Day

Everything you ever wanted to know about AMD's elusive B550 chipset.



In short, it's still not out, apparently having had to go back into the oven at least twice.

There are B550A motherboards, which use the B450X chipset...  Which is the B450.  The difference is not in the chipset but in the motherboard itself: These boards use the old PCIe 3.0 chipset, but are qualified for PCIe 4.0 support from the CPU, for the first PCIe slot and the first M.2 slot.  That's something AMD had hoped to enable on existing boards but then pulled in the final BIOS release due to some boards not actually working.



Disclaimer: Trust the computer.  The computer is your friend.

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Wednesday, February 12

Geek

Daily News Stuff 12 February 2020

Downgrade And Refund Edition

Tech News



Disclaimer: I can see the fnords.

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Tuesday, February 11

Geek

Daily News Stuff 11 February 2020

Dropbox Bites Again Edition

Tech News



Disclaimer: Denis Moore, Denis Moore, riding through the night.
Denis Moore, Denis Moore, with his bag of things.
Steals from the poor, gives to the rich,
Stupid bitch.

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Monday, February 10

Geek

Daily News Stuff 10 February 2020

Beware The Ides Of November Edition

Tech News

  • Nvidia is the latest company to pull out of MWC over Corona-chan.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Actually, it looks like Sony is the latest to withdraw; that Tom's Hardware story is several hours old.

    Others not appearing in this film include Amazon, Ericsson, LG, and ZTE.


  • Speaking of Corona-chan, did the Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague actually show up in November?  (U of T News)

    An epidemiological paper from the University of Toronto, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, says China's official numbers don't make any sense unless the starting date was actually weeks earlier.

    This holds true even if they're fudging the official numbers.


  • Leaked benchmarks of the 15W Ryzen 4500U and of the 35W Asus-only Ryzen 4800HS indicate that these chips are pretty good unless they aren't.  (WCCFTech)

    The mobile 4800HS outruns a desktop 2700X or 3600 - not to mention intel's 9700K.  And it seems it's not even the high-end part - there are 4900H and HS parts yet to appear.

    Oh, and Asus has only a six month exclusivity agreement on the HS parts - they will be available to other vendors later this year.  But given how rapidly AMD are iterating right now, six months might as well be a million billion years.


  • In a stunning revelation, hundreds of thousands of NHS computers have already been updated to Windows 7.  (ZDNet)

    Reportedly 463,784 are running Windows 7 with extended support, 587,531 are running Windows 10, and 318,000 are running "something but we're not sure quite what".


  • Liquid hydrogen is a crappy fuel.  (The Guardian)

    This is pointless.  But hey, it's his half-a-billion dollars.


  • So, it rained.  (BBC)

    About 400mm - 16 inches - of rain here in Sydney over the past four days, and it has extended in a wide swathe the length of the New South Wales coast.  The Gosper's Mountain Fire north-west of Sydney, which has been burning since October and has consumed 5000km2 - about two Luxembourgs - is finally out.

    And Sydney's water supply, down to only two years' worth as of last week has been topped up by a full year already with more on its way as the water makes its way into the streams feeding the various dams in Sydney's south and south-west.  (The Guardian)

    Which means - you guessed it - floods.  (Daily Mail)

    Not near me, fortunately.  Northern Sydney is many things, but flood-prone is not one of them, since the entire region is on a 45° degree angle, often in multiple directions at once.

    We still need more rain in the interior, though.  This event has drenched everything up to and including the Great Dividing Range but west of that has seen only scattered rainfall.


Disclaimer: Splish splash I was taking a walk...

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Sunday, February 09

Geek

Daily News Stuff 9 February 2020

Stop Making Nonsense Edition

Tech News

  • A see-through docky-cloney thing from Orico.  (PC Perspective)

    I need one of these.  I have tons of old bare disk drives I could use to dump backups onto, and a dock is a lot more convenient than swapping them in and out of external cases.  So I might pick up this exact model.


  • California tech companies have responded predictably to California's new privacy laws by fucking everything up.  (Tech Crunch)

    And in related news:



    And also:




  • Format Python code with YAPF.  (GitHub)

    Or - bear with me - use PyCharm and just hit Ctrl-Alt-L.


  • Polymath is a markup language for everything.

    Unfortunately it's the bastard offspring of Forth and Lisp.


  • Singapore accounts for half of all takedown notices for Netflix.  (ZDNet)

    Just a reminder that the First Amendment is a precious thing and some people need to be tarred and feathered, such as, for example, Congress:





    The key difference between Orwell's 1984 and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is that Bradbury realised the government would not need to enforce censorship.

    The people would do it themselves, and they would be insufferably smug about it.

    In short, he predicted Twitter.


  • A solar cell that works at night?  (Inverse)

    The summary makes no sense at all - the author seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that solar cells are thermocouples - but maybe the original paper does.


  • Why is Birds of Prey bombing at the box office?  (CinemaBlend)

    Because the director chose a non-canonical grouping of a second-tier story for an ultra-violent R-rated girl-power wokegasm and there just aren't that many purple-haired college students, no matter how things may appear on Tumblr.


  • Be evil.  (Silicon Valley)

    Google has transformed into Big Brother so clumsily that it was impossible not to notice.  If you're going to take over the world and turn us all into mind slaves, can you at least be subtle about it?


  • Almost every major website tracks your mouse movement.  (Medium)

    We did this at my day job after we launched our new app.  What the software is doing is letting you attach a replay of the user's session to a bug report.  When you're a small company with a complex web app this is seriously magical.


  • And did those dates, in ancient time, grow upon Britain's mountains green?  (Science Alert)

    No, probably not.  But researchers found enough seeds of an ancient and extinct variety of date palm that they've been able to grow six new trees - that show clear signs of selective breeding by Bronze Age civilisation.


  • What exactly went wrong with the voting software at the Democratic Iowa Caucus?  (Rolling Stone)

    Everything.  Exactly.

    Look, it's Rolling Stone, but apparently Rolling Stone has found the keys to the time machine and rediscovered some of its relevance:
    Democrats went on to systematically rat-fuck every group in their tent: labor, the poor, minorities, soldiers, criminal defendants, students, homeowners, media consumers, environmentalists, civil libertarians, pensioners — everyone but donors.

    They didn’t just fail to defend groups, but built monuments to their betrayal.

    I don't know of any other even vaguely mainstream media outlet that would print that today.



Video of the Day



Disclaimer: I could quote a relevant sketch from This Sporting Life at this juncture but nobody, absolutely nobody, would get it.

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