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

Tuesday, June 30

Geek

Daily News Stuff 30 June 2020

Pardox Of Insanity Edition

Tech News

  • Get your Humble Mapmaking Bundle today!  (Humble Bundle)

    For A$51 - what, US$35? - you get a lifetime license for Campaign Cartographer 3+, City Designer 3, Dungeon Designer 3, Perspectives 3 (to do 3D projections of dungeons and buildings), and a bunch of related books and resources.

    That's all the core modules - the other two are Cosmographer for designing star systems and stuff like that, and Fractal Terrain for automatically generating entire planets (which can then be imported into Campaign Cartographer to produce more conventional fantasy maps).

    I've been meaning to buy Campaign Cartographer for years, but getting everything costs a small fortune.  This is a good way to start.


  • I know, MongoDB is web scale and all that.  But MongoDB's index support is a Swiss Army chainsaw when it comes to just getting the job done.

    Need to index every field in a table, even ones you haven't created yet?  One command.

    Sorry, that should have been a full-text index?  Still one command.

    Oh, you need a full-text index on every field, including ones not yet created, but it needs to be secondary to a top-level key, so that each user account has their own full-text index?  Still one command.

    Need to index an array?  You can do this in MySQL nowadays; you just create a JSON field, make sure you put array data in it since there's no validation, create a function that pulls the data out of that array, bind the function to a virtual field, and build an index on that field.  Or in MongoDB you just index the array and done.

    Shame it doesn't do a better job at joins.


  • Forget Google and Amazon, regulate the payment processors.  (Medium)

    Do that and most other things will sort themselves out.


  • The modern web makes me want to throw up.  (Seph)

    Not everything has to be an app.  Most of the time a web page is better.


  • Everybody is mad at everybody.  (Thurrott.com)

    Microsoft has suspended advertising on Facebook because Facebook has user-generated content that whiny babies don't agree with.

    Microsoft doesn't have a problem with user-generated content because all their social media projects have died.


  • Amazon is building a 200,000m2 robotic fulfulment centre on the outskirts of Sydney.  (ZDNet)

    Does this mean Amazon Australia will stop being total garbage?  No, probably not.


  • That didn't take long.

    The first benchmarks of Apple's Arm developer kits have leaked out.  (Thurrott.com)

    It looks like Rosetta 2 actually works well enough to merely be slow and not a total embarrassment.


  • Reddit has gone full-on fascist.



    Not only have they banned 2000 sub-reddits for refusing to believe what the Party tells them, they now explicit condone racist and sexist attacks on people outside the Party.



    Just a coincidence that YouTube and Twitch are doing the same thing at the same time.



    Reddit used to be a useful site.  Now I'll be happy to see it burn.


Disclaimer: Some men just want to watch the world burn.  Me, I want to make some popcorn first.

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Monday, June 29

Geek

Daily News Stuff 29 June 2020

Extra Double Remote ISO Edition

Tech News

  • Ryzen 5000 APUs wil have either  Zen 2 or Zen 3 cores alongside either Vega or Navi grahics, depending on stuff unless they won't.  (WCCFTech)

    If this article is right, there will be high-end parts with Zen 3 and Vega, and low-end parts with Zen 2 and Navi.  I don't know if that makes sense.  Maybe it's a scheduling thing - AMD are preparing to ship millions of Zen 2 with Navi chips right now for Microsoft and Sony, and don't have the resources to also prepare Zen 3 / Navi silicon for the beginning of next year.

    Or of course it could just be complete fiction


  • GitHub is was down.  (Hacker News)

    Let's build a decentralised code repository and then all put our code in one place.  That'll work greate.


  • Has GitHub been down more since its acquisition by Microsoft? Yes.  (Nimble Industries)

    Twice as often, in fact.


  • Let's hope it's just aliens.  (IBT)

    Scandinavian atmospheric radiation watchdogs detected a spike in Scandinavian atmospheric radiation over the past week.  After checking that none of their mooses had spontaneously fissioned, they are pointing their slightly glowing fingers at a Russian research facility.

    A Russia spokesman said that Russia had not had any issues with any of their nuclear power stations.


  • How the Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague took hold in America.  (New York Times)

    The answer is, in short, New York.

    Speaking of which, Australia was doing just fine, thanks, then someone in Melbourne sneezed and all the toilet paper evaporated.


Disclaimer: Maybe it's just me, or maybe they shouldn't make toilet paper out of dry ice or whatever the hell they are using that lets it disappear so readily.

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Sunday, June 28

Geek

Daily News Stuff 28 June 2020

Cancel All The Things Edition

Tech News


Disclaimer: Not that there is any pleasant cross between those two.

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Saturday, June 27

Geek

Daily News Stuff 27 June 2020

What Could Possibly Go Wrong Part Twelve Edition

Tech News



Disclaimer: Definitely not a giant space amoeba though.

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Geek

Daily News Stuff 26 June 2020

Oxygen Frequency Edition

Tech News

  • Twitter is a strange place.



    It probably won't show up here, but if you click through to Twitter, that post has a COVID-19 warning.


  • Want a mini supercomputer? You can get your own two-node A64FX system for just $40,000. (AnandTech)

    These are the chips that power the world's fastest supercomputer. However, it doesn't have two of them, it has 3168.


  • Arm-based Macs will be great for developers! (ML Illustrated)

    Assuming you are targeting MacOS or iOS. Sure, Docker will be a disaster, but that's fine, just don't use Docker.

    Actually I agree with that last part.


  • CLK is an emulator for 8 and 16-bit systems, including the Apple II and Vic-20. (GitHub)

    It... Uh. It produces an extremely accurate emulation of how games would have actually appeared by generating a composite video signal in software, and then decoding it again, in software, into a modern direct RGB bitmap.

    So it emulates not only the computer, but the monitor.


  • That's slightly creepy.



    No, not slightly.


  • Those favicons are up to no good again. (Bleeping Computer)

    In this case, a malicious script was embedded in the EXIF data of the icon. So the HTML and JavaScript would not contain any obvious nasties, but would be able to inspect and execute code from the favicon.


  • Boot Camp will die along with the Intel Mac lineup. (ZDNet)

    But that's no loss, because the only reason you'd use Boot Camp is for games, and Macs, even running Windows, are terrible for gaming.

    ...

    And that's a good thing.


  • There may be another Xbox on the way. (The Verge)

    It looks like there will be a lower-spec console, with probably 10GB of RAM and a much smaller GPU, but with the new Zen cores. This would replace the current Xbox One S, which has the old and relatively sluggish Jaguar cores.

Playlist of the Day

On second thoughts, no, let's not do that.


Video of the Day

Let's update the Asus TUF 15.  With a Dremel!



I watched the original video, which was pretty damning, but don't think I posted it.  Here they go the extra mile and it's definitely worth a look.  Five minutes' work and a voided waranty boosted clock speeds under full load from 2.3GHz to 2.9GHz.


Disclaimer: Oxygen frequency!

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Friday, June 26

Geek

Daily News Stuff 25 June 2020

The Kafka Goes On Edition

Tech News

  • AMD has succeeded in its ambitious 25x20 goal.  (AnandTech)

    In 2014 they promised to deliver 25x the power efficiency by 2020; their latest mobile parts deliver 31.77x.

    The power numbers are slightly odd but not irrelevant.  Ryzen 4000 APUs deliver 5x the performance of 2014 Kaveri with better than 6x the idle power efficiency, which means much bettter battery life if you're not running the CPU flat out all the time.  And we do see both of those in this year's Ryzen laptops - amazing performance and excellent battery life.

    Whether it's 31.77x times for real use is a bit harder to determine, but since they are the best laptop CPUs you can get, slightly beside the point.


  • A Ryzen-powered NUC that doesn't look like poop?  (Tom's Hardware)

    Unfortunately based on a Ryzen 3000 APU and not the far superior Ryzen 4000.  And it's not available.  At all.  They're planning an Indiegogo campaign but that hasn't even launched yet.


  • Amazon has announced Honeycode, a tool for creating unusable mobile apps without coding.  (Tech Crunch)

    Of course, it ties you permanently into the AWS stack and costs...  $10 to $20 per month per user.


  • Surprise!  TikTok is spyware.




  • Wirecard lost $2 billion. (Deutsche Welle)

    No, expenses didn't exceed revenues, and they didn't have a big write-down on assets.  They lost it the way you'd lose a quarter down a storm drain.


  • Perl 7 is coming.  (Perl)

    Like the PHP guys, they're pretending that 6 never happened and the last few years were all a bad dream.


  • GitHub has rolled out a new UI design, aimed at people who don't use GitHub and never will.  (ZDNet)

    This is a very common failing.  UI design is reviewed and it is found that people who don't use the application and aren't part of the target audience don't like it.  So the UI is changed to reach a broader audience - while making things objectively worse for existing users.


  • Apple's move to Arm has been in the works for some time.  (PC Gamer)

    A former Intel engineer has gone on record to say that bugs in Skylake drove Apple away.

    Skylake came out five years ago.

    The timeline works.  That's about how long it would take to prepare properly for such a transition.


Disclaimer: Or two weeks, whichever comes first.

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Thursday, June 25

Geek

Daily News Stuff 24 June 2020

Threadripper Go Boom Edition

Tech News

  • It's not supposed to do that.  Uncorrectable ECC errors causing crashes on Simon, apparently. 

    The new servers at my day job are named Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, and Simon is the troublemaker.  It's the one that had the high-end enterprise SSD fail too.

    Anyway, fixed now, and I get to re-sync everything and merge it back into the cluster.  For the third time in a month.

    The good thing is that through about a dozen reboots - it was crashing and restarting every three minutes until I was able to log in and intervene veryquickly - the public API delivered by that cluster did not so much as hiccup.


  • Dual-port NVMe is a thing.  (AnandTech)

    This has been a thing in the enterprise storage world since forever, first with Fiber Channel, then with SAS.  And probably with proprietary connecters before FC.  It seems to split one NVMe connector into two channels though, where dual-port SAS drives actually have dual ports.


  • Western Digital has divided its NAS storage range - as they did with Gaul - into three parts: The Red Plus range for small NAS devices, Red Pro for enterprise storage, and the Godforsaken Piece of Shit range for people you hate.  (AnandTech)

    This is deeply stupid.  The plain Red drives still have shingles and should not be bought.  And they're doing that while facing a class-action lawsuit.


  • Playing drinking games with liberty.  (TechDirt)

    Yes, our friends at TechDirt are blotto again, taking censorship as an irregular verb.

    When it happens them, it's discretion.
    When it happens to you, it's moderation.
    When it happens to me, it's censorship.


  • Well, good.  (Tech Crunch)

    Headline is: Trump's worker visa ban will hit Silicon Valley hard.

    Maybe they should have invested a few bucks in training rather than importing wage slaves?


  • Or maybe they should focus on engineering rather than diversity training?  (Second Breakfast)

    The article dicusses how Google blew it and how to replace them.


  • Native Ubuntu vs. WSL1 and WSL2.  (Phoronix)

    I notice in WSL1 I get much higher system times than in Ubuntu, even Ubuntu on a VM.  The slowest thing I regularly do in WSL is compiling Crystal code, and these benchmarks show that compiles are more than twice as fast in WSL2, sometimes three times as fast.

    Good.


  • Twitter added a content warning to a tweet by the President of the United States for promising to arrest and prosecute criminals.  (The Hill)

    Apropos of nothing, I am @Pixy on Parler.

    The site is kind of meh but at least it's not Twitter.


Disclaimer: You went full Kafka.  Never go full Kafka.

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Wednesday, June 24

Geek

Daily News Stuff 23 June 2020

Transition Edition

Tech News

  • Confirmed: Apple is transitioning Macs from whatever the hell architecture they are running this week to something different.  (AnandTech)

    The first product will be a developer kit - a Mac Mini with the same A12Z chip as the current iPad Pro, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

    To get the dev kit you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement that forbids any form of public benchmarks, but I expect the leaks to flow pretty freely.

    First consumer products are expected this year.  Apple will continue to sell Intel systems - and release new ones - through at least 2022.


  • Speaking of Arm chips - which Apple carefully avoided doing, referring exclusively to "Apple silicon" - they now run the world's most powerful supercomputer.  (Tom's Hardware)

    152,064 48-core Fujitsu A64FX CPUs with about 4.5PB of HBM2 RAM.


  • France's new online hate speech law has been found unconstitutional.  (TechDirt)

    They will try again, of course, but for today score one for the good guys.


  • President Trump has temporarily suspended H-1B visas.  (Tech Crunch)

    Sundar Pichai is fuming at having his stream of well-behaved cut-price worker drones cut off.  Now he'll have to deal with the output of the American education system.


  • Ampere - no, a diferent one - is planning to ship a 128-core Arm CPU next year.  (Serve the Home)

    With engineering samples before the end of the year.  It will be socket-compatible with their current 80-core model.

    It will be interesting to see how quickly AMD release a 128-core Epyc part.  It certainly won't be this year; on 7nm it won't fit on the existing package.  But it's quite possible with TSMC's 5nm, which has just entered volume production.  They're not getting much competition from Intel, but Intel is no longer the only player in the server market.


  • Dell will start shipping Ubuntu 20.04 on the XPS Developer Edition laptops.  (Phoronix)

    I haven't tried it on the desktop yet, but I must say I've been impressed with it on the server.  Completely stable even on fairly new hardware (Ryzen and Threadripper).  There were some issues with 18.04 in the first couple of months, but 20.04 has been solid.


  • The New York Times is doing what it does best: Doxxing healthcare professionals.



    The reporter claims that using real names is a rule of The Times.  And yet they daily run stories based entirely on unnamed sources.  (Washington Examiner)


  • To be fair, that's not much of a leak.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Twitter leaked billing data.

    For advertisers, since they don't bill users.

    To the browser.

    That the advertiser was logged in to.

    So if you were logged in to a shared computer using your advertiser account, and someone came along afterwards and snooped through the cache files, they could potentially have found something interesting.

    It's a good tip for web developers generally, though - to avoid this, use Cache-Control: no-store on any page or API request that returns sensitive data like that.


  • Apple also caught up with Android, what, Jellybean?  (Six Colors)

    You can now customise your iOS home screen.  Very slightly.


  • Oh, and they also probably announced MacOS 11.  (ZDNet)

    The big change is that they're making it look and feel more like iOS.  MacOS is already a usability disaster on large screens, and this will just make it worse.


Most Important Apple Announcement Video of the Day


Ignore the first 42 seconds.  Apple, being Apple, couldn't just put out a trailer.  They had to step in it and squish it around.  And Apple being Apple, comments are disabled.

Jared Harris is Hari Seldon, which may be a bit disconcerting for fans of Fringe, in which he played a recurring and rather loathesome villain before .

I wonder where Amazon is with their series based on Iain M Banks' Culture novels.  Haven't heard anything about that in a couple of years.


Disclaimer: Always ignore the first 42 seconds.

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Tuesday, June 23

Geek

Daily News Stuff 22 June 2020

Nano Nano Edition

Tech News

  • Managed to get in to the old server by remote-mounting a recovery CD.... From Australia.  Booting this way is not fast.  It is very not fast.  It's about the same as a x1 CD-ROM drive, and I don't even remember those.

    But I did get in, and I did manually repair the software RAID volume, and then manually repair the LVM structure, and then mount the database filesystem, and then migrate all the data off to a Digital Ocean instance created specifically for that purpose.

    Not directly to the new server, because that would have required me to type in a 4096-bit SSH key.  Can't cut and paste to a VGA-over-IP console.

    Anyway, all the data is recovered and safe, and tomorrow I will continue with restoring all the non-Ace-of-Spades sites.  Fortunately not many of those (and I already did two on the weekend).


  • Also fixed mee.nu, where the MySQL server had gotten itself tied into a knot somehow.  I still can't explain the behaviour - it was doing very little, but both the database and the application were showing sky-high CPU utilisation.

    Restarting the application didn't help.  Restarting the database (which also restarts the application because it shrieks and dies when the database goes away (hi Brickmuppet!)) fixed it right up.


  • Nvidia announced a 250 Watt Ampere.  (AnandTech)

    Pretty sure that's deliberate.

    Anyway, this is a version of their supercomputer module down-clocked slightly and put on a standard PCIe card.  19.5TFLOPs and 40GB of HBM2.  Price not specified.


  • Intel will be using nanoribbon transistors within five years, says Intel.  (AnandTech)

    This is the next technology after GAA - gate all around - which TSMC is introducing with their 3nm node.

    Intel currently still uses 14nm for most of their products.


  • Google Chrome has become spyware.  (Washington Post)


  • So has the Washington Post.  Try this link instead.  (txtify.it)


  • How to install and update WSL2.  (Thurrott.com)

    (Premium article, but if you give Paul your email address you get three premium articles a month.  And he seems like a nice guy.)

    Note that you can't run WSL2 alongside VirtualBox or VMWare.  I'm not sure if you could do that with WSL1, but you definitely can't with WSL2.


  • But then, Epic Games has always been trash.  (Engadget)

    You know you're living through a moral panic when you are not permitted to disagree.


  • Apple could switch to Arm.  (CNN)

    Or not.  Y'know, people who bought Windows PCs back in the day haven't needed to go through any of that shit.

    Just....  All the other shit.


  • Reviewer horrified to discover that a $140 laptop is a $140 laptop.  (Ars Technical)

    It takes TWELVE SECONDS to start Firefox.  TWELVE.  SECONDS.

    On the other hand, no noisy fan.


  • Oxford is entering Phase 3 trials for its coronavirus vaccine.  (MSN)

    This is very good news.  Even though the disease is tapering of in some places, there's no guarantee that immunity is lasting or that it won't return.


Disclaimer: Well, about a 1.3x CD-ROM drive.  Definitely latency-constrained, since my upstream bandwidth is enough for a 24x.

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Sunday, June 21

Geek

Daily News Stuff 21 June 2020

128 Thread Count Edition

Tech News

  • Scripts and emoticons are back.  Had to fix the directory permissions - I coped the files across directly from the backup, and the permissions weren't right for the new web server installation.


  • Wakfu is getting a fourth season.  (Kickstarter)

    Good thing it's already funded, because I'm strongly disinclined to give the idiots at Kickstarter their 5%.  Or whatever their cut is these days.  Ankama, the creators of Wakfu, seem like good people.


  • Using a 128 thread Threadripper 3990X to render video.  (Tom's Hardware)

    No, not like that.  Like this.  (BiliBili)

    24,512 more cores and it will match the resolution of my first computer.


  • Cat sitting on keyboard crashes lightdm.  (Launchpad)
    To replicate: In unity hit ctrl-alt-l, place keyboard on chair. Sit on keyboard.


  • The future of Windows is Linux.  (Thurrott.com)

    Well, close enough.  Also, keep a spare keyboard available for your cat.


MacBook Repair Video of the Day

Louis Rossman and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad MacBook



Started watching this, then noticed it was an hour and forty minutes.  They're usually twenty to thirty.  About half way in, waiting for the swearing to start.

Update: The swearing starts at 1:07.

Update 2: Apparently the live stream was over three hours.  This is just edited lowlights.


Memes, Fake News, and Copyright Explained in Eleven Minutes Video of the Day

Or, Shut It, Acosta.



If you normally watch YouTube on fast-forward you might want to switch back to normal speed for this one.


Trigonometry Explained in Twelve Minutes Video of the Day

There is no Dana circle, only Zuul lines.  Or maybe the other way around.


One of the most elegant explanations I've ever seen.


Lost Ace of Spades Thread of the Day

I posted this while waiting for one of the Ace co-bloggers to show up after fixing the site, and then one showed up a minute before I posted so I took it down again.

Surprise Weekend Food in Anime Thread




Disclaimer: Alright, cat, two spare keyboards.  But that's my final offer.

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