What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Tuesday, August 31

Geek

Daily News Stuff 31 August 2021

Red Mencken Edition

Top Story

  • ARM China has hoisted the black flag and started slitting throats.  (ExtremeTech)

    SoftBank - owners of ARM - thought it was a good idea to form a joint venture with China where they only held 49% of the company.  The CEO of the joint venture was fired last year for running a business on the side, and went rogue, claiming he owns the company, and started firing any staff who wouldn't follow his instructions.

    The Chinese authorities are perfectly happy with this situation because it lets them walk away with a lot of ARM intellectual property.  Older designs - up to the A77 - but not garbage.

    Of course this means that no-one with any sense will enter a joint venture with China again, but it was a pretty dumb move to start with.


  • Meanwhile China is working to scrub what's left of its internet of inconvenient truths.  (Bloomberg)

    It appears they've recently started heading back from fascism to communism, which means the oppression will remain the same but the economy will disintegrate.



Tech News

  • Movie companies want VPNs to lose the P.  (TorrentFreak)

    In essence - given the way a VPN works - they want to ban arithmetic.  That's what it all comes down to - all the laws on end-to-end encryption and backdoors for law enforcement and VPN logging are attempts to ban arithmetic.


  • The best consumer hard drives.  (AnandTech)

    While I'd love to go SSD-only, it still costs at least three times as much per gigabyte, and doesn't really make sense if you just want a big storage array where you dump copies of everything in existence.  

    Since there are now only three makers of hard drives - Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba - the roundup is relatively straightforward, and they helpfully highlight the best bargains in green.


  • Which reminds me: I recently said there are no good small Android tablets.

    I was incorrect.  There's the Lenovo Tab M8 FHD.  (Lenovo)

    It's the smaller cousin to the 10" model I got recently.  Same 8-core CPU, but with just 3GB RAM and 32GB of built-in storage.  But it does have a 1920x1200 screen, which is what I see as the minimum for good typography at that screen size (which matters if you read a lot), and it would be a hell of a lot faster than my ancient Nexus 7.

    And for $120 you can't go too far wrong.  Except that it's completely unavailable in Australia.  Even eBay turned up empty.  I could order it from AliExpress and keep my fingers crossed for six weeks.

    Lenovo also seems to have released four new 11" tablets - the P11, P11 Plus, P11 Pro, and Yoga Tab 11.  Those are rather more expensive (and a lot bigger and heavier) but the P11 Pro has a 2560x1600 OLED display, which would be great for watching TV and movies.


  • A bug in the latest version of the Google Search App prevents some models of Android phones from making or receiving phone calls.  (Bleeping Computer)

    I understand that there are people who still do that.


Disclaimer: But why?

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Monday, August 30

Geek

Daily News Stuff 30 August 2021

Plus Ca Change Plus A L'orange Edition

Top Story


Tech News

  • AMD's new Threadripper Pro 5995WX is up to 40% faster than the current 3995WX.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That's a huge jump in performance because these two CPUs have the same number of cores (64) and the same power consumption (280W).

    I would have expected these high-end chips to be limited by the power budget and/or heat and not a lot faster than existing models, but it looks like AMD has been busy the last few months.


  • The Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 XT Eagle is a graphics card.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's one of the cheapest cards available from the current generation and it works, and it's avail...  Well, I can't find it in stock in Australia, but it exists.


  • Google Play turned a profit of $8.5 billion in 2019 on $11.2 billion in revenue.  (Thurrott.com)

    I assume that's net revenue - their 30% cut - and not gross payments. But I do have to wonder how you spend $2.7 billion to run a website.


  • I'm tempted to build my new PC in one of these.  (Thermaltake)

    It supports two XL-ATX motherboards, dual power supplies, and at least 21 disk drives (I had to look at the parts list to figure that out).

    You can increase that to 31 with a couple of hot-swap SSD cages, but those cost extra.  I could have Windows on one side and Linux on the other, and stuff it full of cheap disk drives in a RAID-Z3 config.  Bigger and cheaper than any NAS, if you were going to buy a Linux box as well.


Disclaimer: Or p'raps not.

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Sunday, August 29

Geek

Daily News Stuff 29 August 2021

Rocks Considered Harmful Edition

Top Story

  • I have a copy of the mee.nu system up and running on the new server.  I do need to test more before switching over, since we're upgrading the versions of Python and the database server at the same time - but we're certainly getting there.  

    Expect things to be about twice as fast as before as well.


  • Is Microsoft hiring State Department spokescritters to handle its communications?

    You can't upgrade old hardware to Windows 11.  Well, no, you can, but you have to do it manually rather than using the automated upgrade tool.  Well, no, you can do it manually, but then you won't get any updates, ever.  (PC World)

    Wait...

    No updates.

    No updates.

    Wrap it up, I'll take it.


Tech News

Unsolved Mythteries: The Hole In HoleEN Video of the Day



There's a hole in the Hololive English Minecraft server.  It's claimed three lives - Kiara (twice) and IRyS, and nobody knows who created it.

So by the power of weaponised autism, the internet discovered the random seed used by the HoloEN server, recreated their game world in its original state, did a frame-by-frame analysis of all 173 Minecraft streams, narrowed down the creation of the hole to between the 9th and 12th of October last year, and blamed Ina.

Who says she is Ina-cent.





Disclaimer: Have you tried unplugging your Skynet and plugging it in again?

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Saturday, August 28

Geek

Daily News Stuff 28 August 2021

Undefined Undefineds Edition


Update: Still working on the server upgrade.  "Today" has been extended for another 24 hours.

Update 2: I set an alarm to wake me up if the server went down again while I was asleep.  The alarm just went off, illustrating the downside of that: The site was up; the internet route between Sydney and our datacenter in Dallas was down.  So 99.9% of the world could still reach the server, but not only could I not reach the server, I couldn't reach the portal to check on the status of the server.  I have an alternate route to the server through a small cloud server I keep for just that purpose, but that's also in Sydney and also couldn't reach the server.  But they've fixed it.


Top Story

  • Microsoft is standing firm on the hardware requirements for Windows 11.  (ZDNet)

    Computers sold as recently as 2018 will likely be unable to upgrade, abandoning hundreds of millions of users.  Because - as the article analyses Microsoft's reported statistics - the newer hardware reduces the likelihood of a user encountering hardware-related system crashes from 0.3% to 0.2%.

    They did update their list of supported hardware to include the five year old i7-7820HQ....  Because they are still using it themselves in the Surface Studio 2.  (Bleeping Computer)


  • Firm like custard.  (ZDNet)

    Got an older PC and want to install Windows 11?  Go right ahead, says Microsoft.

    ...

    You can't upgrade, but you can download and install Windows 11 using your Windows 10 license key.  It will work fine.  They just hate you.

    I do now have one computer that will run Windows 11 without fussing around, and another is on its way.  Still don't care though, so not much has changed.

Tech News



Disclaimer: We did it again.

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Friday, August 27

Geek

Daily News Stuff 27 August 2021

Could Be Raining Edition

Top Story

  • Western Digital has confirmed that it swapped the flash in the Blue SN550 SSD for cheaper parts.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Under continuous write load performance eventually drops to 390MB/s, where the original model had a baseline of 610MB/s.  It's not terrible but...  If you're just playing games and doing regular office tasks, you won't notice at all.  You'd only see it if you're doing things like editing video or high-resolution camera raws.

    In which case, buy a Samsung 970 Evo Plus.


  • Even Samsung was caught in the act.  (Tom's Hardware)

    They quietly replaced the controller in their well-regarded 970 EVO Plus range with a newer and better one.  The new version is 10% slower in one test - unqueued sequential reads - but as much as 50% faster on random reads.

Tech News

  • AMD's mid-gen upgrade Milan-X server CPUs have broken cover with a list price of $10,746.99.  (Tom's Hardware)

    That's for the new top of the line 64 core part, now with 768MB of L3 cache instead of 256MB.  The existing version costs $9424.99 so it's not that much of a markup.

    Desktop versions with the new and larger cache - and an average 15% better gaming performance - are expected by the end of the year.


  • Zen 3 Threadrippers are also starting to leak out.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Zen 3 arrived on the desktop last year, and is already out for servers and laptops, but the workstation lineup has been stuck on Zen 2.  Threadripper is expected to be updated in November and Threadripper Pro by February.

    Though Zen 3+ and Zen 4 are both expected next year, which will put workstation users behind the curve again.


  • Apple appears to have weaseled its way out of a class action suit over their App Store restrictions.  (Axios)

    They don't appear to have given up much at all.  Developers will now be permitted to email their uses about payment options other than Apple, and Apple won't deliberately cheat the search results.

    And those are the highlights of the deal.


  • There's a big bad bug in Synology networking gear.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Ugh.


  • Moderators of some of the largest forums on Reddit demanded that the site do more to clamp down on free speech.  Reddit said no.  (Motherboard)
    Dissent is a part of Reddit and the foundation of democracy.  Reddit is a place for open and authentic discussion and debate.  This includes conversations that question or disagree with popular consensus.  This includes conversations that criticize those that disagree with the majority opinion.  This includes protests that criticize or object to our decisions on which communities to ban from the platform.
    Reddit isn't quite Big Tech but it's no longer a plucky little startup, and even this mild defense of free speech is good to see.

    Motherboard - owned by those shitheads at Vice - is of course deeply offended.


Disclaimer: You say you're offended.  I say, well so fucking what?

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Thursday, August 26

Geek

Daily News Stuff 26 August 2021

Slavery With Benefits Edition

Top Story

  • I've been working crazy hours lately but it's not without its benefits.  I hadn't even gotten through explaining why I was asking for them to buy me two laptops in the space of a month when my boss approved the request, passed it to accounts, looked up the tech specs and asked if I thought he should get one himself to replace his MacBook.

    And accounts ordered it an hour later.

    It's the Dell Inspiron 16, a pretty solid desktop replacement laptop.  3072x1920 screen - exactly the same as the 16" MacBook Pro, 8-core CPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and an RTX 3060.  It matches or beats my desktop system on everything except screen resolution, but I can just plug it into the desktop monitor to fix that.

    I'll probably upgrade it to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD if I'm happy with it, because until I have more free time I don't need a faster CPU or graphics card than that.


  • Google is paying Apple $15 billion to remain the default search engine for iOS.  (WCCFTech)

    Just build your own universe.


Tech News


The Feeling Is Universal Video of the Day



Now i have to watch it.

...

Okay, all is forgiven.  First up is Aki Rose, one of my favourites.  They mention her having to take an extended break for health reasons.  What happened is that she was injured in a car accident and took quite some time and physical therapy to fully recover.  But she did.



Disclaimer: Hello overseas sexy guys.

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Wednesday, August 25

Geek

Daily News Stuff 25 August 2021

Get Those Damn Users Off My Beautiful Clean Network Edition

Top Story

Tech News



Disclaimer: Did you know that if you nurture your nuts, they can grow splendidly?  (Squirrel giggles recede into middle distance.)

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Tuesday, August 24

Geek

Daily News Stuff 24 August 2021

Bus Factor One Edition

Top Story

  • Now that I've got that raise and can look at buying nice new PC it seems that video card prices are heading back up.  I'm tempted to say fuck it and just get a 3090 so I don't have to worry about it for five years.

    On the other hand, the 4TB Seagate Firecuda 530 is in stock locally, so I can quit pricing RAID configurations of WD Blue SN550s.  Which - well, see below.


  • Over 1000 apps built with Microsoft's Power Apps tool have been busy leaking private data.  (Thurrott.com)

    Including minor things like job application forms, employee databases, and Bat Flu contact tracing apps, for everyone from Ford and American Airlines to the New York public school system.

    Because someone forgot to tick a box to keep the data private.

    Oops.


Tech News

  • Trust no-one: Western Digital appears to have silently swapped the flash chips used in their popular Blue SN550 SSDs.  (Tom's Hardware)

    There's just one site reporting the benchmark data and I'll post an update if more news comes in either way, but it looks like the new version suffers from read speeds as much as 50% lower than the original once you fill the 12GB SLC cache.


  • In stark contrast to the GPU situation, AMD CPUs are now selling below MSRP.  (WCCFTech)

    Only 10% below MSRP, but a deal is a deal.


  • IBM's new Z-series mainframe CPU is a big chip with a lot of stuff.  (Serve the Home)

    Short on sleep and my eyes kind of glazed over reading the details, but the gist is that this is am 8 core chip with a base clock of over 5GHz (server CPUs usually run much slower than that) supporting up to 32 CPU chips in a single system.

    An interesting design trick is that there is no L3 cache - as you would find on most chips - nor the L4 cache on previous IBM mainframes.  Instead, each individual core has a huge 32MB L2 cache.  (AMD's current CPUs by comparison share 32MB of L3 cache across 8 cores.)

    And that 256MB of total L2 cache across the 8 cores per chip act as a virtual L3 cache.  On an 8-socket system that scales out to 2GB of virtual L4 cache.


Since Someone Asked

  • Hololive debuted six new talents in their English branch yesterday, after delaying it for a day due to one of their PCs triggering its self-destruct just hours before launch.  This was a minor surprise because they had only announced five. 

    The sixth announcement was buried in a video played during the last of the debut streams.



    Two of the five talents who have streamed so far are Australian.



    Very, very Australian.



    I haven't heard that flavour of the Aussie accent in twenty years.  Where did they find her?

    Update: Someone on the Hololive Subreddit says Queensland.  Could be, I haven't been up to Queensland for tw...  Yeah, I guess that checks out.

  • VOMS (home of Pikamee and Tomoshika) is preparing to launch their second generation next month.

  • PRISM Project (home of Pina Pengin and Araka Luto, another Aussie) just announced auditions for their Gen 4.

  • Cyberlive (home of Kaneko Lumi) just announced auditions for Gen 2.

  • Nijisanji is already holding auditions for Wave 3 and Wave 4 of female English-language talents, and the first wave of male talents as well.  They have huge branches in Japan, Korea, and Indonesia, but their English-language push is new after their earlier attempts in India failed to gain traction.

  • What I call VMN - a loose affiliation of indies started by Indonesian artist and streamer Vyolfers - continues to grow, with three new talents joining their Minecraft server today.


Is it a bubble?  Maybe.  Hololive is the big fish in the pond and they've been playing it cool, and haven't added any new talents in Japan so far this year (and likely won't, given their lead time between audition and debut).

But Hololive's smallest and newest channels, subject to a YouTube shadowban and after having their subscribers deleted at least three times, still all have over 150,000 subscribers in the first 48 hours.

Wait, where's Omega's channel...  Right, the sixth ranger of HoloEN Gen 2 only has 66,000 subscribers, but they weren't publicised, haven't streamed yet, and are still shadowbanned.  Took me a couple of minutes just to find their channel to check the subs count, but that means 66,000 other people did that as well.


Disclaimer: Do not seek to ask for whom the VTuber streams, or Pixy might tell you.

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Monday, August 23

Geek

Daily News Stuff 23 August 2021

We Also Shoot Dogs Edition

Top Story

  • Apparently puppy murder doesn't poll well because Australia's Prime Minister is pushing state governments to end their idiotic lockdowns.  (News.com.au)

    And yeah, the puppy murder was a real thing done in the name of Public Safety.  People are not impressed, and in fact a criminal investigation is under way.  You can get away with doing that to humans, maybe, but not to dogs.

    "Bat Flu Zero" is an idiotic fantasy we caught from New Zealand, and even the Island Kingdom of Sheep Hermits can't actually sustain that dream.


  • "AI" tech that tracks noises that may or may not be gunshots landed an innocent man in jail.  (AP)

    Studies suggest that ShotSpotter, while expensive, is basically useless at reducing crime.  It's not entirely clear if it works at all.  Experts say that the system is perfectly designed - intentionally or not - to produce false positives.

    In this case, after Michael Williams had been in jail awaiting trial for eleven months, the prosecution shrugged and said they didn't have enough evidence to proceed.

    And David Chipman, Biden's nominee to head the BATF?  A former ShotSpotter executive.


Tech News

  • Firecuda go whoosh. (Tom's Hardware)

    7.3GBps read, 6.9GBps write, 1 million IOPs.

    It's not cheap - you can get two WD Blue SSDs for the same price - but it's actually faster than two WD Blues in RAID-0.

  • Samsung showed off 512GB DDR5-7200 modules for next-generation servers.  (AnandTech)

    The module layout suggests that 64GB desktop modules could also be on their way, as we saw earlier from...  Oh, the server just fell over again.  I think it was Team Group, while I wait for the database check to run.


  • A new Mac Mini with an M1X is on its way.  (WCCFTech)

    Might be interested if Apple didn't spy on children.  That debacle has kind of fallen off the radar with all the other debacles going on, but I haven't forgotten.


  • Stack 'em, pack 'em, and rack 'em: AMD discusses upcoming 2D, 2.5D, and 3D chiplet tech.  (WCCFTech)
    The interconnect uses a brand new hydrophilic Dielectric-Dielectric Bonding with Direct CU-CU bonding which was designed and co-optimized in deep partnership with TSMC.
    That's exactly what I was about to say.

    They're also looking at stacking CPU dies and stacking DRAM directly on the CPU.  With HBM3 you could have 32GB of RAM with 1TB per second bandwidth right in the CPU socket.

    The technology will appear first in Zen 3D late this year or early next.  This will have the same core design as current desktop Ryzen but triple the L3 cache - up to 192MB total - giving up to 25% better performance in Monster Hunter World.


  • Which is just what Intel is doing with their new high-end Sapphire Rapids Xeons.  (WCCFTech)

    Only more so - they could go as high as 128GB of RAM directly on the CPU.


  • The book The Honest Truth About Dishonest was based on fake data.  (The Economist)

    Article is truncated, but the gist is that the authors are either lying or grossly incompetent.


  • Get admin access to Windows 10 with just a mouse.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Don't even need to click on it.  Just plug it in.



    Razer has responded, is preparing a bugfix, and has offered a bug bounty, so even though they screwed this up they are acting responsibly.


Hololive EN Debut Stream Video of the Day





Disclaimer: Actually had a business discussion today on team members' bus factor.  Mine, unsurprisingly, is 1.

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Sunday, August 22

Geek

Daily News Stuff 22 August 2021

One Step Sideways Three Steps Down Edition

Top Story

  • Migrating the other sites to a new server.  So how do I switch over the shared filesystem from OpenVZ to LXD?  Read read...  Fuck.

    No shared filesystem for now then.

    Preparing to switch over today.


  • No it doesn't.  Core i9-12900K outperforms 11900K on After Effects.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The benchmark gives essentially identical results for 11th gen 8-core, 12th gen 8+8 core, and AMD 16-core CPUs, because it's a GPU benchmark.

    Sometimes the tech press are as bad as the mainstream press.


Tech News



Disclaimer: We may be strange loops, but some of us are looping at the stars.

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