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Wednesday, October 31


Daily News Stuff 31 October 2018

It's Halloween, but I have a cold, so I'm going to ignore anyone who knocks on my door (don't think we had anyone last year, it's not much of an event in Australia) and eat all the chocolate myself.  The one thing that does happen is that share packs of chocolate (Freddos, Caramello Koalas, Turkish Delight and so on) are all half price.


Tech News

  • Apple finally updated the Mac Mini, after leaving it to rot for four years.  After previously eliminating the high-end four core model, all new models have at least four cores.  Pricing starts at $799 for four cores, 8GB RAM, and a miserable 128GB of SSD, and rises rather rapidly to $4199 for six cores, 64GB RAM, 2TB of SSD, and a 10Gbit ethernet port.

    The new model has four Thunderbolt 3 ports, which is nice; not clear if that's two independent controllers like the MacBook Pro.

    It's still four times the size of an Intel NUC though.

    Interesting thing: It supports 64GB RAM.  It has two SO-DIMM slots.  This is the first product I've seen actually shipping with 32GB unbuffered DIMMs.  The reason this is interesting is that my Dell desktops, Tohru and whatsherface - Rally Vincent - have two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots as well.  This means that at some point I will be able to upgrade them to 64GB as well, cashflow permitting.  32GB is probably enough, but if memory prices do come down it will be nice to have that option.

  • Apple also updated the MacBook Air which had languished nearly as long as the Mac Mini.

    It gets the MacBook Nothing's retina display, sluggish CPU, terrible keyboard, and high price.  Um...

    In Australia, a MacBook Air with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD costs A$2769.  A similarly configured ThinkPad E485 costs A$1125 right now, and has a quad core Ryzen APU which will mop the floor with the ultra-low power Y-series chip in the Mac.

  • Apple also updated the iPad Pro, which hasn't been languishing, particularly.

    It received the very latest A12X CPU, smaller bezels, a redesigned pencil, and USB-C, while remaining every bit as overpriced, locked down, and generally useless as before.  Actually even more overpriced - between $150 and $270 more depending on the model.

  • I was spot-checking a geolocation database for my day job as part of a project on social media taxonomies, and the data insisted that Sydney is named for the Greek god Dionysus.  I said, Go home geolocation database, you're drunk, but it turns out to be true.  In a rather roundabout fashion over a couple of millennia.

  • Apple also announced, but has not yet released, an update to the MacBook Pro family, which is basically brand new.

    The update involves replacing the Radeon R560X Pro with the new Vega Mobile family.  (AnandTech)

    It's not clear yet how much of an upgrade this is.  Vega 20 has 20 cores, compared to 16 on the R560X, but it also has a newer architecture and more that double the memory bandwidth.  So somewhere between 25% and 100% faster.  Depending on stuff.

    This is also the first product announcement with Vega Mobile, which has been in hiding most of the year.

  • As many as 96% of people are immune to CRISPR.  (EXOME)

    This is bad, because it means that gene therapy might not work on them.

    Fortunately, scientists believe they have figured out a way to bypass the immunity by altering the structure of the CRISPR-Cas9 protein, so our catgirl-enriched future is safe.

Social Media News

  • Vice applied to buy Facebook ads on behalf of every single sitting US senator.

    All of their requests were approved.

    They previously applied to buy ads for Mike Pence, the DNC, and ISIS.  Those were approved too.  Only a request to buy ads for Hillary Clinton was turned down.

    I don't have much time for Vice, but this is good reporting.  Credit where it's due.

Dandelion Picture of the Day
Art by @xiao_woo

Dandelion Video of the Day

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Tuesday, October 30


Daily News Stuff 30 October 2018

Tech News

  • AMD has unleashed their 12 core 2920X and 24 core 2970WX  (AnandTech)

    The 2970WX is a niche product, but the 2920X at $649 is a solid workstation CPU that costs only a little more than Intel's 8 core mainstream i9 9900K (MSRP $499 but currently selling for closer to $600).

    Running rendering tasks puts it ahead of Intel's much more expensive 12 core i9 7920X and close behind Intel's even more expensive 16 core i9 7960X.

    For gaming and desktop stuff, software development, that sort of thing, just go with the Ryzen 2700X unless someone else is paying.

  • The latest copyright ruling that came down on the side of "right to repair" also supports the right to play.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The ruling will permit breaking DRM protection to continue playing abandoned computer and video games, assuming they were legally bought in the first place.

  • An Australian MP points out that copyright laws must seek a balance between creators and consumers and not simply enact increasingly draconian rules every year.  (Tech Dirt)

  • Apple owes Qualcomm $7 billion (A$793 quadrillion).  (Bloomberg)

    According to Qualcomm.

  • WebAssembly in Chrome 70 has threads.

    No indication on whether Chrome 70 otherwise sucks less than Chrome 69.

  • Apple's APFS apparently uses global kernel locks for read operations

    This sort of thing makes it easy to make an operating system reliable, but it also kills scalability.  MacOS these days is basically a single-user operating system - you can run server apps on it, but no-one does - so they can get away with this in most cases.  On Linux, this would cause an uproar.

  • An animated bubble chart of Reddit over the past decade.

  • Why would anyone use a Core i3 as a server CPU?

    Some i3 models support ECC.  And an 8th generation Core i3 costs just $129 and runs as fast as an older E3 Xeon.  (Serve the Home)

  • The OnePlus 6T is a near flagship phone at a sub-flagship price.  (Android Central)

    No headphone jack and horrible haptics, so I'm not the target audience.  Gotta have them haptics.

  • There's a new undersea cable linking Sydney and Perth.  (ZDNet)

    I don't want to be the one to tell them...

  • AMD's second-generation Epyc server CPUs, codenamed Rome, may be leaping from 4 chips on a module to 9 smaller "chiplets", from 32 cores to 64, and from 64MB of cache to 256MB.  While these are rumours, AMD have publicly stated that the chips will be sampling to customers, um, right about now, so people outside AMD actually have these chips and accurate leaks are likely.  (AdoredTV)

    Worth watching just for the die photomicrographs.

Picture of the Day

Just a cat doin' cat things.

Video of the Day

Just a, um, talking cat on YouTube explaining the NPC meme.

Bonus Video of the Day

Hard to get and easily distracted?  Mew-ons are the cats of the Standard Model.

Bonus Cat Video of the Day

Just a mini-cat doin' mini-cat things.

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Monday, October 29


Daily News Stuff 29 October 2018

Tech News

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Just a train doin' train things.

Picture of the Day

Just a train doin' train things.

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Sunday, October 28



We now have a 32TB ZFS backup server.   4x12TB disks in RAID-Z, less a bit for OS, less 25% for RAID, less 10% for the conversion from TB to TiB.

That should last us quite a while.

This means we can not only backup everything, we can keep every copy of the backups.  If we need to jump back to last Tuesday to recover something that was deleted by mistake, we can do it.

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Daily News Stuff 28 October 2018

Tech News

  • GVPE 3.1 is out.  (Phoronix)

    GVPE stands for GNU Virtual Private Ethernet; it lets you securely connect multiple servers over the internet on a virtual local network, without a central VPN host.

Social Media News

Picture of the Day

Traveller by _LM7_

Video of the Day

An American ex-pat goes on a snack raid in an Aussie 7-11.

Chicken Twisties aren't all that good.  Go for the cheese flavour every time.  Although those definitely get messies all over your fingers.

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Saturday, October 27


Daily News Stuff 27 October 2018

Tech News

  • Chuwi's Lapbook SE doesn't entirely suck.  (ZDNet)

    It has a Gemini Lake Atom CPU, so it's on the slow side, but it's much faster than earlier generation Atoms and fine for light use.  (Not recommended for gaming.)

    4GB of RAM and 64GB of included storage are the week points.  On the positive side, it has a 13.3" 1080p IPS display, a backlit keyboard with a good layout, and a 6.5 hour battery life under actual testing.

    And it costs $240.

  • Western Digital announced a 15TB disk drive.  (AnandTech)

    This is not very exciting since they already had a 14TB hard drive.  All the real activity is in SSDs right now.

  • Microsoft showed off Windows running on an 896 core PC.  (AnandTech)

    No, you can't have one.  (HP)

Social Media News

Picture of the Day

Engine Maintenance by Mac Rebisz

Bee and PuppyCats of the Day

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Friday, October 26


Daily News Stuff 26 October 2018

Tech News

Video of the Day

Mods are asleep, inherit the Earth.

Picture of the Day

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Thursday, October 25


Daily News Stuff 25 October 2018

Tech News

  • HP announced the Spectre 13 x360.  (AnandTech)

    It's a notebook.  Um, 13" 1080p or 4K display, quad core CPU, up to 16GB RAM, up to 512GB SSD, built in LTE, two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the rear corners, an alleged 22.5 hour battery life.  180° hinge like all models in the x360 range.  1.3kg / 2.9lbs, starting at $1149.

  • Stack Overflow has a new code of conduct.  Surprisingly, it's not SJW garbage; it sticks to the point of promoting civility and answering questions.

Social Media News

Video of the Day

Picture of the Day
Art by @xiao_woo

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Wednesday, October 24


New Server - October Edition

Got the final new server I needed to set things up exactly the way I want.

This one has 4x12TB drives, and I'll be configuring it in RAID-Z like Mari.

I'll shortly be migrating things across and cancelling the older servers, because this new configuration gives us huge advantages, particularly in that if anything goes wrong I can roll back to an earlier point in time without needing to restore the database.

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Daily News Stuff 24 October 2018

Tech News

Video of the Day

How much bandwidth is too much?  Well, when it collapses into a black hole that's probably a sign.

Picture of the Day
Froppy by Foxling D.F

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