Meet you back here in half an hour.
What are you going to do?
What I always do - stay out of trouble... Badly.

Thursday, October 21

Geek

Daily News Stuff 21 October 2021

Into The Ameverse Edition

Top Story

  • Apple's M1 Max GPU has raw compute performance and memory bandwidth similar to the RTX 3060 Mobile but does much better than that in several OpenGL benchmarks.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It can often match the mobile RTX 3080 and RX 6800M.  

    If you compare the ALU and Driver Overhead benchmarks on the table, you can see what's going on: Apple's drivers on M1 hardware only need to target a single graphics architecture, and are much more efficient for this kind of benchmark than Windows.

    That might not translate well to real apps; if the ALU benchmark is representative the raw power of this chip really is 3060 class and not even close to the 3080.

    But a win is a win; if that driver efficiency works well for your use case, the performance gain is real no matter where it is coming from.

    The CPU also provides very good multi-threaded performance.  (Geekbench)

    Yes, Geekbench is rubbish, but for what it is the multi-threaded score is interesting.  I suspect that the win for Apple here is because there's no separate GPU chip, when the load is mostly on the CPU they can allocate their entire power budget there.  AMD provides 8 core laptop chips that can run at 15W, but when you run on all 8 cores the clock speeds throttle down pretty hard.

    Again, not a miracle of design, but a useful tradeoff.

    Plus having pretty much sole use of TSMC's 5nm, as I mentioned before.  But that just explains the efficiency, it doesn't make it any less real.


Tech News

  • Meanwhile the Ryzen 6000 mobile chips have been spotted with their own new high performance - though not that high performance - integrated graphics. (Tom's Hardware)

    This one is an engineering sample and the results are a bit of a jumble; it's five times faster than Intel's Xe graphics on one test, and then slower on another. We'll have to wait and see how it shapes up; if the leaks so far are accurate I expect it will turn out twice as fast on average as AMD's current integrated graphics.


  • Also meanwhile TSMC expects to have 3nm in mass production in Q1 of 2023.  (AnandTech)

    Among other advances this delivers 70% more transistors in a given area, and that's on top of a 70% gain going from 7nm to 5nm.  So you can look forward to 24 core laptop CPUs in a couple of years.


  • Windows 11's Android support is now available to those enrolled in the Beta release channel.  (Bleeping Computer)

    It sounds like it's really a beta release and needs some improvement before it's comfortable to use.  It comes bundled with the Amazon app store, which doesn't seem to have the latest Kairosoft games, or, let's see, okay, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Chrono Trigger are all there.  Potentially not a waste of time once they get the emulator working smoothly.

    Developers enrolled in the Dev channel are unimpressed.  Though to me this feels like a Beta feature and not a Dev feature.


  • The Huawei Matebook 16 has a 45W Ryzen CPU limited to 35W that spends most of its time at 20W.  (AnandTech)

    This doesn't actually cost a lot in performance - around 6% on average - and significantly extends battery life.  The reviewer's complaint is not that it does it, but that it doesn't tell you that it's doing it.  Which is entirely fair.


  • Windows 10 on my old notebook has decided that the Deluge BitTorrent client - which I have been running for years - is PUA, a Potentially Unwanted App.

    Potentially is correct, but this is Microsoft, so the only options I have available are to delete the app, quarantine it, or turn off that protection entirely.  

    A security measure that is so annoying that you simply turn it off is worse than no security at all.


  • Another day, another bundle: I just picked up Corel Painter 2021 for about 90% off.  (Humble Bundle)

    The catch, as you might expect, is that the current version is 2022.  But if you buy the bundle and then upgrade you still save 40%.

    And that's ignoring the five other applications and the thirty content packs included in the bundle.

    It's not Photoshop, but the perpetual license is the price of a three-month subscription to Photoshop.  (Though you have to sign up with Adobe for a full year to get that price.)

    I generally buy every second release of these apps when they show up on Humble Bundle, which is fine for applications you use once a week.  I have no hesitation in paying for the full JetBrains IDE subscription, because I live in those apps. 

    (And they're also relatively cheap, and provide you a perpetual fallback license if you cancel your subscription.  You just stop getting new versions.)


  • The Senate Expropriations Committee has instructed NASA to spend billions on a second contract for the new lunar lander and given them $100 million to do it with.  (Space.com)

    After Jeff Bezos first complained to NASA and was rejected, and then filed a federal lawsuit and lost, he clearly cried havoc and let slip the lobbyists of war.


  • Considering getting an 8TB SSD for my laptop.

    Upside: 9TB of fast storage right in my laptop (since the 1TB drive it shipped with can remain in the smaller M.2 slot - it has one 2230 and one 2280).

    Downside: Costs as much as a complete NAS with 24TB available in RAID-5.  Or five 14TB external drives. 

    Or, to put it another way, for the price of that SSD (which is QLC) I can get a 2TB TLC drive, 64GB of RAM, two 5TB portable hard drives, an 8-port 2.5Gb switch, two USB-to-2.5Gb Ethernet adaptors, seven assorted USB-C and HDMI cables to make sure that one of them works, a basic USB dock, an assortment of Parker pens, three bottles of Dove shower wash, and five bags of gluten-free jelly beans.  

    No, I haven't been throwing random items into my Amazon shopping cart, why do you ask?


Disclaimer: And damn'd be him that first says, "Dude, where's my stuff?"

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Wednesday, October 20

Geek

Daily News Stuff 20 October 2021

Unremarkable Remarks Edition

Top Story

  • A lot is being made of the massive bandwidth available to Apple's new M1 Max CPU - 400GB per second, using 8 channels of LPDDR5 RAM.

    But while that's massive for a laptop processor, it's not particularly special for a laptop.  My Dell Inspiron 16 Plus has 387GB per second - it's just split across separate CPU and GPU chips.  A gaming laptop with a the mobile version of the RTX 3070 has around 500GB per second.

    The new chips are good, no question, but they're not as groundbreaking as the news suggests.


  • Neither is Google's new Pixel 6.  (AnandTech)

    Okay, it runs Google's own mobile chip with two Arm X1 cores instead of the one that Qualcomm provides.  But it also downgrades the secondary cores from A78 to A76.  The AnandTech article suggests that Google's explanation for this makes no sense, and I tend to agree.

    Plus, being Google's own design, it lacks a microSD slot.

Tech News




Disclaimer: Can do.  Won't.

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Tuesday, October 19

Geek

Daily News Stuff 19 October 2021

Max Pro Vs. Pro Max Edition

Top Story

  • Apple announced the new 14" and 16" MacBook Pro models based on the new M1 Pro and M1 Max CPUs.  (AnandTech)

    These CPUs are what the original M1 needed to be and what the Tame Apple Press pretended it was.

    For background, the M1 has 4 fast cores, 4 slow cores, and 8 GPU cores, with a 128-bit memory bus and up to 16GB of RAM.

    The M1 Pro has 8 fast cores, 2 slow cores, and 16 GPU cores, with a 256-bit bus and up to 32GB of RAM.  For all intents and purposes, its double the M1; the slow cores don't matter a great deal except when your laptop is idle.

    The M1 Max raises the stakes further; the CPU is the same as the M1 Pro, but it has 32 GPU cores and a 512-bit bus with up to 64GB of RAM.

    In fact it's mostly GPU; the die photo looks more like a PlayStation or Xbox chip than a typical laptop CPU.  It has 57 billion transistors, which is more than a high end desktop CPU and graphics card combined.  That's possible because Apple has basically bought out TSMC's 5nm production capacity.

    But TSMC's rapid growth and the 5nm process itself have basically been funded by Apple's shiny toys, so I can't complain about that too much.

    The problem is, while this is one of the fastest mainstream laptops around, it only runs MacOS, and Apple's guiding corporate principle is controlling everything its users do.  In a few short years they've taken MacOS from possibly the most developer-friendly operating system around to one that I take pains to avoid.

    The other problem is that this technology is only possible because the CPU, GPU, and memory are sandwiched onto a single unreplaceable and unrepairable module.  You can't upgrade the RAM, you can't opt for less CPU and more GPU.  You get what you're given.

    Oh, and no Four Essential Keys either.

    The 16" MacBook Pro is probably better than my Dell Inspiron 16 Plus, but with the same configuration - 8 CPU cores, 32GB RAM, 1TB of SSD, and on the Dell, an RTX 3060 - it costs exactly twice as much.



Tech News

  • We already know that AMD's Rembrandt APUs - most probably with 8 Zen 3+ CPU cores and 12 RDNA2 graphics cores - are coming early next year.  Those are likely single-chip devices just like their current laptop chips.

    Coming up after that is Raphael which will bring 16 core CPUs with integrated graphics to laptops.  (WCCFTech)

    This isn't expected for 15 months and we don't know much about it yet, but it appears that all of AMD's next-gen CPUs will have integrated graphics, and low-power models of the desktop chips will be sold for high-end laptops.


  • A person or persons unknown hijacked the Tor nodes used by the REvil ransomware group.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Apparently they got control of the domains and have the hacker group's private keys and payment data.

    Sometimes bad things also happen to bad people.


  • How to enable Windows 11's God Mode.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Not God Complex, mind you.  That's enabled by default and indeed no-one has yet found a way to turn it off.

    God Mode gives you a single window with every possible configuration option available.  Which, since I cannot currently change the brightness of my secondary display for some reason, might come in handy.



Disclaimer: Inspector Gadget, I choose you!

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Monday, October 18

Geek

Daily News Stuff 18 October 2021

Sweep The Rug Under The Other Rug Edition

Top Story

  • Finally getting some time to set up my two new notebooks.  Some quick thoughts:

    • 16:10 high-resolution IPS matte panels are really nice these days.  The smaller one is 14" at 2560x1600, the larger is 16" at 3072*1920.  I have an older notebook with a 3840x2160 screen, but it's a glossy finish and the colours are more muted (plus it has huge bezels).  The new screens are bright and vibrant without being oversaturated.

    • Four cores, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD just aren't enough for the work I do, but that's the limit of most small laptops.  Fortunately the larger of the two has eight cores, 32GB of RAM, and a second M.2 slot.  For the last four years I've been using an eight-core Ryzen system, and for three of those, two eight-core Ryzen systems.

      I'm likely to supplement the laptops with a couple of NUCs running Linux, since I have spare RAM and SSDs just sitting around now.

    • Microsoft really wants you to sign in with an online account, and really doesn't want you to stop using Edge.  I'm still using Windows 10 so it doesn't force the issue, but that day will come.

    • Disk space disappears fast and Windows doesn't tell you where it's going.  Yes, sure, I did just install the entire JetBrains IDE suite, plus the Anaconda Python distro which chews up something like 3GB all by itself, but that still doesn't account for it all.  And none of those apps appears on the Windows app list that tells you how much space they are using.


  • How to try Windows 11 without fucking up your working system.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Bootable USB drive.



Tech News

  • Software development is an illusion; JavaScript doubly so.  (Nadh.in)

    The author picked up an old JavaScript UI project - six months old, that he wrote himself - and tried to get it working.  

    It didn't work.

    The fix for the problem caused another problem, and the fix for that broke things even more.  The workaround for the fix for the fix failed because the library versions were incompatible and probably will be for a year.

    The alternative was also incompatible, and the workaround for that was incompatible in a different way.

    The solution to this didn't work, and the fix for the solution for the workaround for the original problem wouldn't even compile.


  • Seriously, does no-one write code anymore?  (Rogulski.it)

    I think at the end of all that you have something that will save a database record.


  • I guess if you have a 9000 sq ft home you can afford $1500 for a WiFi mesh solution.  (Serve the Home)

    Also, 10Gb to the base station and 2.5Gb to the satellites.


Filler Anime Music Video I've Previously Posted of the Day



Disclaimer: Are we not satellites?  We are Pomu!

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Sunday, October 17

Geek

Daily News Stuff 17 October 2021

It's All A Bunch Of Stuff Edition

Top Story

  • The Asus ProArt X570 Creator may be the best Socket AM4 motherboard we'll ever see.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It has everything - and a price tag to match.  Most notably it comes with dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, rare on AMD hardware, and 2.5Gb and 10Gb Ethernet ports.

    It has three PCIe slots, all physically x16 but not all running x16, three M.2 slots, four DIMM slots (as you'd expect), four 10Gb USB, four 5GB USB, HDMI out, DisplayPort in (this routes video from your graphics card to the Thunderbolt ports), 5 1/8" audio jacks, no SPDIF, and a BIOS flashback button that works without a CPU installed.  That means that if you have a newer CPU than the BIOS supports, you can plug in a thumb drive containing the BIOS file and push the button, and it should automatically update itself.

    Also the PCIe allocation is handled intelligently.  Unlike some boards, you can fill the three PCIe slots and the three M.2 slots and all of them will work, though the PCIe slots will be split down to x8/x4/x4.  On some boards plugging in a third M.2 card will disable one of the expansion slots, which would be a nasty surprise if you haven't read the manual.

    Downside: All of this costs $430, or close to A$800 here in Lockdown Land.  I can get a Threadripper motherboard for that price, with three full x16 expansions slots and support for 256GB of RAM.

    I say it may be the best AM4 board we'll ever see because AM5 is not far away.  Zen 4 isn't out until the end of next year, but the Rembrandt APUs - a halfway part with Zen 3+ cores, RDNA2 graphics, and DDR5, but still only PCIe 4 - are already in production at TSMC.


  • However Intel's Alder Lake CPUs turn out otherwise - more on that below - the chips aren't short of I/O bandwidth.  Gigabyte's Aorus Z690 Master shows off PCIe 5.  (WCCFTech)

    It's not quite as packed with features as the Asus ProArt, but the main PCIe slot is 5.0 x16 even when the other slots are all filled, delivering 64GBps of bandwidth.

    Once there's a PCIe 5 graphics card to slot into it.  In the meantime, it will run at 4.0 speeds, so halve that number.

    Also expected to be well north of $400 when it hits retail.


Tech News

  • Intel's Alder Lake CPUs may not work with some games.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The issue is not with the games themselves, but with the DRM software attached, which is incredibly fussy about hardware specs.  The issue is the "hybrid architecture" of Alder Lake - the mix of fast and slow cores.

    Intel has said it is working with DRM providers to "make sure their solutions support new platforms", which is a pretty clear statement that it doesn't currently work.  The big problem will be with older games that aren't receiving updates; there you might need to disable the slow cores in BIOS to get things to work.


  • A look at the HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Mini.  (Serve the Home)

    This is one of those small form factor business desktops - bigger than an Intel NUC but still pretty tiny.  Serve the Home is reviewing them with an eye to potential as home servers.  It's in the name.

    The interesting feature of this one is that you can add a GTX 1660 Ti graphics module, which would give you up to 7 total video outputs - three from the integrated graphics and four from the tiny custom graphics card.  They didn't review that config but they have a picture; the back of the system is a sea of I/O ports.


  • Canon all-in-one printers disable scanning if they run out of ink.  The company is now facing a class-action lawsuit over that bullshit.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Good.


  • Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is a pretty solid small notebook.  (Thurrott.com)

    Though not cheap.  Lenovo is one of the few companies that provides build-to-order laptops here in Oz, and once you start ticking off all the options on this one the price starts stacking up.

    It has the usual 11th generation quad core CPU, with a 14" screen at up to 3840x2400 - at 500 nits and 100% DCI-P3, 32GB RAM, 2TB of SSD, dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, optional 4G or 5G mobile networking, the Four Essential Keys (albeit oddly located), and the classic ThinkPad trackpoint and three physical touchpad buttons.  No microSD slot, and no wired Ethernet.


  • Governments of 31 countries are planning to fight ransomware by making things harder for everyone else.  (WSJ)

    They are targeting crypto payments rather than tracking down the criminals and dropping a house on them.

    Mostly because said criminals are fully supported by the governments of Russia and China, which are using them to wage low-intensity warfare on the rest of the world.  Those two countries were not invited to the meeting.


Disclaimer: I'll get you, my pretty, and your Number 5 Szechuan Barbecue Dog with Spicy Noodle too.

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Saturday, October 16

Geek

Daily News Stuff 16 October 2021

International Rat Of Mystery Edition


Top Story

  • From the What Were They Thinking Files: 7-Eleven decided to build a biometric database of their customers without actually bothering to tell anyone. (ZDNet)

    7-Eleven - apparently this was just in Australia - was conducting an in-store survey using a tablet interface that took your photo while you were filling it out.  The photos were then analysed as faceprints and uploaded to the cloud.

    7-Eleven claims that the survey takers consented to this because they have terms somewhere on their website that say they can take your photo if you are in one of their stores.  But there's a big difference between incidentally appearing on security footage which is erased after a period of time, and a company amassing a biometric database of a significant percentage of a country's population.

    Australia's Privacy Commissioner was unimpressed with the company's arguments and they have been ordered to stop doing this and to destroy all data collected.

    But the investigation started in July last year - a month after the survey started - and 7-Eleven carried on doing this until August of this year.

    The kicker is that 7-Eleven was conducting this survey to gather demographic information on its customer base - already heading into questionable territory - and built the biometric database so they could filter out inaccurate responses.

    Yes, online and automated surveys return trash results.  Half the userbase on Steam was born on January 1.  Tough shit, be happy they even deign to answer the question.




Tech News

  • Pine64 has announced a new phone that isn't a completely antiquated pile of junk. (Tom's Hardware)

    The new PinePhone Pro has dual A72 cores as well as the inescapable cluster of A53 cores. That should make it about twice as fast as the old model.

    The specs generally are mediocre by 2021 standards, but it should function well enough.  My own phone has an A73, barely faster than the A72, and it runs fine for my needs.

    The distinction of the PinePhone is that it runs standard Linux.  It's not locked down at all, unless you pop the cover and flip some dip switches to make it so. You own it, and it does what you tell it to.


  • The latest Windows 11 beta has a fix for the Ryzen cache bug. (Tom's Hardware)

    Still no explanation of what the bug actually is.


  • Time to bust some trusts. (LA Review of Books)

    I saw a link to this today.  It's a couple of years old but hasn't lost any of its relevance.  It covers the ignorance and arrogance endemic within the West Coast tech startup and VC culture, and suggests that the appropriate and necessary remedy is to start breaking them up.  Or throwing them into a volcano, whatever works.


  • Apple has fired a leader of the "AppleToo" activist movement. (Apple Insider)

    Apple says for deleting files and impeding an internal investigation.  Now-former employee Janneke Parrish says for publishing stories critical of Apple.

    It's probably both.


  • Tether has paid a $41 million settlement to the CFTC for lying about being, well, tethered. (Bloomberg)

    This follows an $18 million settlement by Tether and other companies to the state of New York.

    Which makes me wonder, if they don't have the funds to back their stablecoin, where are they getting the funds to pay these fines?

    In a long list of blockchain trends to be avoided, Tether seems to be fast approaching the top.


  • Valve has banned games that use the blockchain from Steam. (The Verge)

    Valve bans games that allow in-game items to be traded for real money - except when it's them doing it.  The advantage of NFTs is that they create an instant marketplace separate from the game itself.  The disadvantage of NFTs is they create an instant marketplace separate from the game itself...  And also cost a few cents per transaction.

    Unless you're using Ethereum, in which case it's tens of dollars.


  • An experimental patch for Python removes the GIL without affecting single-threaded performance. (Python.org)

    In fact, it's 10% faster than the standard release on single-threaded code while scaling almost perfectly on multi-threaded code, something the stock Python interpreter cannot do.

    The problem is, Python extensions written in C generally assume there's no multi-threaded weirdness going on inside Python, and many of them are going to break horribly with this patch.


  • A drone has been used to deliver human lungs for transplant. (ExtremeTech)

    The flight took the human body parts from Toronto Western Hospital to Toronto General...  Which is only a mile and a half and they could have just packed them in ice and walked, but that wouldn't have made much of a headline.


  • They're putting guns on robot dogs now. (The Verge)

    The gun in question ins a SWORD Systems SPUR, available in 6.5mm and NATO 7.62x51, with a 10-round magazine and a 30x optical zoom coupled with a Teledyne FLIR thermal camera.

    Slightly disappointing; when I first saw the photo I was hoping for some kind of minigun, but the robot dog in question is quite small.


  • It's a tough life for Minecraft pets.  Baelz managed to smuggle two parrots from the Hololive Japan resource server to the Hololive Japan main server and then all the way back to the Hololive EN server - and then promptly got blown up by a creeper.


Disclaimer: Our gun-toting robot dog is perfect for guarding your next human body part delivery! Or obtaining it, as the case may be.

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Friday, October 15

Geek

Daily News Stuff 15 October 2021

Just Like That Edition

Top Story

  • The cache on AMD CPUs is up to 12 times slower on Windows 11 than on Windows 10.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I don't know how they managed that.  The article carefully measures and explains the effect - and that this drastic reduction in cache performance only means that your applications run 7% slower - but doesn't go into why.

    A fix is expected next week, but nothing I've seen, including AMD's own announcement of the problem, discusses why it is happening.


  • But new emojis.  (WCCFTech)

    Yes, the people working on emoji updates for Windows 11 are entirely independent of the team fixing the cache latency issues, but still.


Tech News

  • The Radeon RX 6600 is pretty much sold out already.  Checking two online stores here in Australia, each is down to a single model, after having at least five on launch day.

    How much of that is lack of supply and how much was pent-up demand for a card at anything on the same planet as a reasonable price I don't know.  Performance is  generally within 10% of Nvidia's RTX 3060 - mostly slower, but sometimes faster, depending on the game - but the retail price was about 40% lower than the 3060.  


  • Ubuntu 21.10 is here.  (Serve the Home)

    I'm mostly interested in the LTS releases, which will next appear with 22.04, but 22.10 is a good indicator of what will make it into 22.04.  I'll give it a try in a VM at least.


  • If you join a banned Telegram channel in Belarus you will go straight to jail.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Who do they think they are, Melbourne?


  • There is no cloud, there's just, um, your computers.  (ZDNet)

    Google Distributed Cloud Hosted runs Google's management software on your own servers, so you can run them as if they were Google Cloud without actually depending on Google Cloud.

    The Google Cloud management dashboard is actually pretty nice, and it sounds like this works without needing to connect to the actual Google Cloud at all, which is definitely a win.


  • Apple will probably be announcing stuff next week.  (ZDNet)

    Everyone is watching for a version of Apple's M1 CPU that supports more than 16GB of RAM.  Intel and AMD's laptop CPUs all support 128GB, and even if that's rarely implemented, if you shop around for high-end professional laptops they do exist.  Apple is currently stuck using Intel chips for anything beyond basic requirements.  For all the efforts of the tame Apple press to insist that 16GB is enough for anyone, anyone who uses Adobe software knows that ain't so.


  • Crystal 1.2 is out.  (Crystal-Lang)

    Crystal is one of the four new-ish programming languages worth watching, alongside Nim, Rust, and Julia.  It's basically a compiled version of Ruby with the worst parts of Ruby removed and performance that is orders of magnitude better.  (Nim is basically the same thing for Python.)


Kind of Nuts But in a Good Way Video of the Day



This is a Minecraft server built by Hololive fans - in four months.  According to the video, this is in survival mode.  That is, not only has everything you see been built by hand, one block at a time, those blocks were mined one at a time while fighting off all the monsters in the game.

Feels slightly odd for me because I know that music as Pina Pengin's theme, and she's with rival vtuber agency Prism Project.  

Update: And apparently Pikamee's new closing theme.

Meanwhile, I build my first automated farm - a combination sugar cane / bamboo harvester,  based on the design Kiara and Mamatori (her real-life mother) built on stream.  It works, but it's not exactly fast; I'll need to expand it about ten times to make i really useful.



Disclaimer: G-o-g-g-  Aye, it's a wee ripper!

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Thursday, October 14

Geek

Daily News Stuff 14 October 2021

Yeah About That Edition

Top Story

  • No, airdropped NFTs cannot empty your crypto wallet.  (CoinDesk, September 22)

    OpenSea bug lets hackers empty crypto wallets with airdropped NFTs.  (Bleeping Computer, October 13)

    I mean, sort of...  I read through the article, and it looks like there's a long series of factors involved:

    1. A hacker mints an NFT with a malicious SVG file attached as the ERC721 metadata image.
    2. They then airdrop this NFT into the wallets of their victims.
    3. OpenSea automatically imports every single NFT across three different blockchains, so the new NFT shows up automatically.
    4. User clicks on the new NFT.
    5. This is surmise on my part, though I don't see how else the rest could happen: Metamask was using the SVG tag rather than the IMG tag when the detected image type was SVG.
    6. The SVG file has embedded JavaScript, and the SVG tag permits the JavaScript to run.  (The IMG tag would block it.)
    7. A Metamask (or other wallet) prompt pops up to connect your wallet. User clicks on that was well.
    8. Another Metamask prompt pops up to siphon your funds out of your account. User clicks on that one as well.
    9. All your money is gone.

    The moral of the story seems to be well, don't do that then.  Don't allow SVG files, don't use the SVG tag, don't take any wooden airdrops, don't blindly click on Metamask popups, keep your funds separate from your NFTs, and just generally treat the blockchain with the same level of trust and respect as you'd grant a Chicago politician you just caught rifling through your cash register.



Tech News

  • AMD's Radeon RX 6600 is here. (PC Perspective)

    It looks like a reasonable card.  It's a little slower but a lot cheaper than the Nvidia RTX 3060. In fact, it's by far the cheapest current generation card when looking at actual retail prices rather than suggested prices.

    It should fly through any game at 1080p - it's about 40% faster than the Xbox Series S - and it is small, quiet, and power-efficient.  It's not really remarkable in terms of performance or value; it's a mid-range card in a market where 100% markups are the norm.  But if you just want something to get by for a year or two, it at least won't break the bank.

    Update: And it's pretty much sold out already.


  • I previously mentioned a problem with Windows 11 that caused AMD CPUs to slow down by as much as 15%. Well, the first update has arrived for Microsoft's new operating system and it's made everything much worse. (Tom's Hardware)

    If you're not being paid to use Windows 11, even if you are generally inclined to upgrade because, I don't know, you want to run Linux GUI apps under Windows, give it a couple of months.


  • Nvidia may also be new releasing low-end cards soon. (WCCFTech)

    In fact, there's an entire new rumoured product lineup:

    • RTX 3050
    • RTX 3050 Ti
    • RTX 3060 Super
    • RTX 3070 Ti 16GB
    • RTX 3080 Super
    • RTX 3090 Ti

    The RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti already exist as laptop parts and have been expected to show up as desktop cards for a while.  The 16GB 3070 Ti (or something like it) has been rumoured for quite a while; I mentioned that Nvidia's mid-range is short on memory compared to AMD; the current 3070 Ti has 8GB where the competing RX 6800 has 16GB.

    The 3060 Super is a little weird if it is real.  The rumoured specs suggest a card with more compute power and RAM than the current 3060 Ti, but less bandwidth.  Nvidia doesn't have the large on-chip caches that AMD has, so that will skew benchmark results significantly depending on the game.


  • Is your Apple II or Commodore PET getting a bit slow and creaky?  The 65F02 is a pin- and binary-compatible replacement CPU that runs at 100MHz.  (e-basteln)

    It's an entire circuit board - it needs extra chips to convert the old 5V signals to modern logic levels that are closer to 1V - but it is the same size as the original 40-pin DIP chip and drops straight into the socket.


  • Southwest: It was lag!  (The Points Guy)

    Totally not industrial action.  It was the weather.  Moonlight reflecting off a weather balloon.  Look over there, a monkey!


  • Apple: Forcing us to allow sideloading of apps would turn iPhones into pocket PCs.  (ZDNet)

    "Customers would actually own the devices they pay for!  Can you just imagine how terrible that would be?  I mean, for us.  Fuck the customers.  Wait, this is off the record, right?"


Disclaimer: Record is off.  Baked beans are off too.

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Wednesday, October 13

Geek

Daily News Stuff 13 October 2021

So Long And Thanks For All The Cryptokitties Edition

Top Story

  • Alternative blockchain Polygon just raised its transaction fees by a factor of 30.  (AMBCrypto)

    Well, sort of.  They increased the guideline for the minimum gas price charged by validator nodes from 1 to 30.  That's voluntary, but nobody's going to turn down earning 30x as much for processing transactions.  On the other hand, the real gas price on Polygon hasn't been consistently 1 since around April; 8 was about the best you could get reliable transactions with, 15 was more reasonable, and sometimes it spiked over 100.

    The reason they did this, though, is the network was too cheap for its own good.  It was getting flooded with millions of garbage transactions per day, because each one cost a small fraction of a cent.  Now that each one costs a large fraction of a cent, transaction volume has halved and the network is much more stable.

    Sucks if your business model doesn't support spending half a cent per transaction, but blockchains do cost money to run.


  • The new NSW premier took time out from his busy schedule of restoring civil rights (not being sarcastic here, he's really doing that) to announce a $3 billion green hydrogen boondoggle.  (Sydney Morning Herald)

    I'll watch for Dave from EEVBlog's thoughts on this.  He loves tearing apart the claims of green energy projects, and he lives right here in Sydney.


Tech News

  • Improving Sydney's Bat Flu check-in QR codes.  (GitHub)

    The simple expedient of just burn the fucking things doesn't appear to have occurred to the author.


  • AMD's Zen 4 will support PCIe 5.  (Tom's Hardware)

    There was some confusion here because the first CPUs on the new Socket AM5 platform from AMD will support DDR5 memory but only PCIe 4.  That will be the Rembrandt refresh of Zen 3 using the new RDNA2 graphics - the same graphics in the current Xbox and PlayStation graphics.

    So both Intel's 12th gen and AMD's 4th gen products will switch to 5th gen PCIe, and by the end of next year we might actually see cards that use it.

    The article also explains why Intel isn't using PCI 5 for the 12th gen chipset interface: Power consumption.  PCIe 4 is more than twice as power hungry as PCIe 3, and PCIe 5 is likely to continue that trend.  It's more efficient to simply double the link from 4 lanes to 8 than to upgrade to the new standard.  And that's what Intel has done.

    On the CPU an extra 10W of power consumption isn't critical if it also doubles I/O bandwidth.  On the chipset, that makes the difference between a passively cooled motherboard and one with a (potentially noisy and unreliable) chipset fan.


  • Hosting provider OVH is down.  (Hacker News)

    Famous last words: No impact expected.

    I could link to OVH's status page, but it's down.  Probably a failed BGP update, like the one that took out Facebook the other day.



Disclaimer: So I built another datacenter.  That one burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp...

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Tuesday, October 12

Geek

Daily News Stuff 12 October 2021

I'm Minin' Edition

Top Story

  • More sanity in unexpected places.  (Sydney Morning Herald)

    The SMH is a left-wing rag, and yet:
    It turns out that when you reflexively imprison people they get sick of it. Some take to the streets in protest and, clearly, a great many others just silently disobey the absurd demands of their overlords. When the dust settles on this pandemic and the world assesses how to deal with a future crisis, Victoria will be used as a template of what not to do.
    I mean, yes, it's just unusual to find a journalist willing to say so.



Tech News

  • They're trying to kill me again.  Minecraft streams today from Kiara, Ina, Kronii, Fauna, Amelia - twice, first with Roboco and now solo, Baelz, and a Calli / Rushia / Ollie collab at midnight.  Plus Pina Pengin from Prism, Enna from the new Nijisanji EN Wave 3, and Nymroot on the Gwemshire server.


  • I previously complained that you couldn't find any 1080p laptops in Australia for under A$1000, at least not name brand models.  That's now changed, a lot.  A quick look at one online retailer showed 23 models available.  None with more than 8GB of RAM, but one with 8GB RAM, 4GB VRAM, and a 1TB SSD.


  • Which PCIe 4 SSD is best for your laptop?  (Tom's Hardware)

    This is a different question to which is best for a desktop, because a desktop doesn't care about a few extra watts of power draw.  The Seagate Firecuda 530 is very fast, and is available in capacities up to 4TB, but it cuts three hours off the battery life compared to running the same workload on a Samsung 980 Pro.

    Not sure if I care because the laptop I'm planning to upgrade is not the one I'm planning to carry with me on a daily basis.  But for people who don't purchase laptops in three-packs, it's worth noting.


  • DRAM makers expect a "price correction" by the end of the year.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Usually when you see this it's a warning that prices are going up.  In thise case, though, it's a warning to investors that prices may go down.

    Which is good for everyone else.


  • If your house is made of cheese, the best locks in the world won't keep the mice out.  (Bleeping Computer)

    The headline suggests a weakness in wildcard SSL certificates, but that's not what this is about.  What they are saying is that if you generally use wildcard rather than specific certificates, and your applications don't check the domain used to talk to them, and one of your applications echoes back requests, and an attacker manages to poison your DNS results for their target users....  If all of that, then there's a problem.

    Using single-hostname SSL will prevent that, but so will fixing any of the other problems in that list.


  • A Florida judge has ruled that under CDA Section 230 Wikipedia is not liable for errors in articles posted by its users.  (Wikimedia)

    Since that is literally what the law says, it shouldn't come as a surprise that te judge ruled that way.  But it does, a little.


Disclaimer: Cookie vending machine!

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