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?

Thursday, March 31


Daily News Stuff 31 March 2021

Dust Biters Anonymous Edition

Top Story

  • Repeat after me: We have a hot prospect expecting to close today but if you act right away...

    Actually, this time I believe them, because (a) they provided details that were not to their advantage and cooled me down on this property, and (b) they didn't claim a hot prospect so much as a room temperature one.

    Either way, bleah.  I'll have my agent check out my top two alternates but I'm getting ready to activate Plan B.

  • I'm not sure there is a top story today.  Well, the Washington Post says that some of the cryptographic signatures on the Laptop from Hell check out proving that the emails are from who they say they are and did in fact say what they say when they were sent, but we knew that 18 months ago.

Tech News

  • YouTube has added 100 free TV shows and over 1000 free movies.  (Mashable)

    Where are they?  What are they?  No-one knows.  You can't browse the list; you can't search for them; and if I click the link to see even a sample of the TV shows I get a purple monkey error.

    "It's personalised" says YouTube, which apparently translates to "fuck you".

    Also, the small number of free movies I could find that are actually viewable in Australia are crap.  But then so is Netflix.

  • Canada will ban sales of combustion engine cars by 2035.  (Engadget)

    Has Canada ever seen Canada?  There is no country in the world that would benefit more from global warming or that is less suited to electric vehicles.

  • Phenylephrine is useless.  (In the Pipeline)

    On the one hand, it's not a precursor to meth.  On the other hand, it does nothing.  And there are many cheaper substances that fit both those roles.

  • QNAP again.  (Bleeping Computer)


Disclaimer: Plan C is a cardboard box.

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Wednesday, March 30


Daily News Stuff 30 March 2022

Polished Timber Everything Edition

Top Story

  • Agent for the other house on my shortlist is not playing games.  Sent the contract right over, only one thing in there that raises an eyebrow, and certainly no deal breakers.  Getting my agent to do a walkthrough and then will take it from there.

    What I also found while clicking around is a rather nice five bedroom house on 16 acres on the edge of town - with a spare two bedroom house just in case, I don't know, the main house has a puncture.  At the extreme upper end of my price range but actually still cheaper than my current place, which is about the size of the spare house there.

    The problem is, it's on wireless internet, and wireless internet in Australia sucks.  A major reason I selected this particular town is the fibre internet, and this house don't got it.  I can do my job remotely, but I still need to be able to do my job.

    What price 1km of Cat 5?

  • Axie Infinity's Ronin network bridge got hacked.  Just a little bit.  (Bleeping Computer)

    For $620 million.

    And they didn't notice for a week.

    (Yes, this is crypto stuff.)

    (breathe in)


    (breathe out)

Tech News

Disclaimer: Oh.

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Tuesday, March 29


Daily News Stuff 29 March 2022

And Then There Was One (And A Dozen Alternates) Edition

Top Story

  • I'm pretty sure the real estate agent for the house I talked about yesterday is playing games with me - I can see the Internet Archive, I know how long this place has been on the market, sure you have a hot prospect right this minute and are expecting to exchange contracts shortly, I believe you, millions wouldn't - but I don't have time so you're off the list.

    Which leaves me with something that's cheaper and doesn't appear to need any work.  Still with the old-school high ceilings, and 50% larger than my current place while being 60% cheaper.  Maybe not my dream home but a huge improvement and the mortgage payments on a 10-year loan will be less than not much more than my current rent.

  • The ECASH bill in the US House of Representatives aims to introduce a government-controlled non-blockchain anonymous digital currency.  (CoinDesk)


    It would be legal tender, support peer-to-peer transactions, and would not have either a centralised or distributed ledger.  Like cash, the ledger would be after the fact, not part of the currency.

    I'm going to have to read up on this because this sounds (a) like a good idea and (b) impossible.

Tech News

Party Like We're Underwater Video of the Day

Had to get up during the night because rain was coming down sideways and my front hall was flooded.

Had to pause writing this post because rain was coming down sideways and my front hall was flooded again.

Gotta get out of the flood zone.

Disclaimer: Moving van?  No, I booked a submarine.

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Monday, March 28


Daily News Stuff 28 March 2022

House Of Minus Seven Doors Edition

Top Story

  • I mentioned in a separate item that I've narrowed my house search down to two - though of course this morning a brand new four bedroom house popped up right in the centre of my price range - and I have someone checking on one of the properties for me because I have...  Questions.
    There's at least seven doors and one flight of stairs that aren't indicated on the floorplan, the main bathroom apparently occupies four separate rooms, there's a window that opens out onto the patio which is in turn entirely inside the house, and I think I might need to replace the carpet...
    Well, turns out you can find anything if you poke around long enough, including the last time this house was on the market back in 2015, and the photos and the floor plan from then.

    Yes, there are exactly seven doors missing from the current floorplan - and one missing from the old floorplan, which shows not only a solid wall in that place but the kitchen sink on the other side.

    The stairs are in the front hall, which is not what I expected.  I thought they were at the back of the adjacent living room.  That makes the front hall narrower of course but it adds light from above, and this plan shows that the loft area is larger than I had thought.

    The main bathroom really is split into four separate rooms which, well, okay; overall it's 15'x12' so even with separate rooms for the bath and the shower it's not exactly camped.  Honestly, the bath room by itself is bigger than my entire bathroom.

    And I probably will need to replace the carpet.

    On the upside, someone with some interior design sense has been in there in the past seven years and replaced the old custard yellow paint in the dining room and kitchen with eggshell and white respectively, and probably added $50,000 to the valuation in one shot.

    The 2015 photos don't make it look nearly as nice as the newer ones, and specifically the newer photos leave out the hallway and the stairs.  But if they've just gotten rid of the custard yellow plague there as well, that should look much better than it did.  And if not, painting is the one home maintenance task I have real experience at.

  • The Australian Stock Exchange expects more delays to its blockchain based trade records system.  (ZDNet)

    Originally expected to go live in April - last year - it's now set for April next year, but they've already advised that they're likely to miss that date as well.

    I'll give them credit for that: If you know that your project is going to miss its deadline a year in advance, that means that someone is paying attention.  I've seen - and rescued in some cases - projects that sailed straight into their deadline with no warning and no working code.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Speed up to go down, slow down to go up, struts will fix anything.

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Sunday, March 27


An Idol Group Like AKB-48

I've narrowed the house hunt down to two - with a dozen alternates in case those fall through.  One comfortably within my price range and very nice, one stupid cheap by big city standards and still quite nice.  There's a big price gap but the more expensive one is about 50% bigger and on twice as much land, so that's understandable.

I was a bit concerned about possible street noise with that larger one, but then I took a closer look at the layout (built in 1908, it's been through multiple renovations and extensions and the interior arrangements are now not merely complicated but non-Euclidean) and realised that the bedrooms are at the back.  The house now faces sideways; I suspect it originally took up a large corner lot but the street frontage on one side was subdivided and sold off decades ago. 

Okay, fine.  Sideways is fine.  Does explain why there's no facade.

There's at least seven doors and one flight of stairs that aren't indicated on the floorplan, the main bathroom apparently occupies four separate rooms, there's a window that opens out onto the patio which is in turn entirely inside the house, and I think I might need to replace the carpet, but it's twice the size of my current place (three times by volume thanks to the 13' ceilings) at 60% of the price.

I was taking a look at weather for this town, and on the positive side they haven't been affected at all by the recent and ongoing Noachianism.

On the not-necessarily-negative side, there were overnight lows below freezing every month from April through September last year, something that simply doesn't happen in Sydney.  By the time I move up there in May I'll be facing the coldest weather I've experienced in years - and it won't even be winter.


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Daily News Stuff 27 March 2022

123 Bandicoot Loop Edition

Top Story

Answers and Questions

  • From Chi-Town Jerry:
    I want to upgrade my PC -
    AMD Ryzen 3 2200G with Radeon Vega Graphics 3.50 GHz
    8 GB RAM

    Not enough to run MS Flight Simulator which my kids bought me..
    Will a new MoBo with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (w/onboard graphics) be enough to run that and Windows 11?

    The price of graphics cards is insane here!
    Here's a CPU benchmark comparison between those two chips.

    The 5600G is miles faster on that front.

    On the graphics side that site doesn't have the 2200G listed, but the older chip has 8 graphic cores at 1.1GHz, and the newer one has 7 cores at 1.9GHz. So about 50% faster.

    However, the recommended minimum graphics card for the game is the RX 570, which is about three times faster again. So that hardware will certainly run better, but I don't know if it will be better enough to make the game enjoyable.

  • From Caiwyn:
    I am still skeptical of crypto simply by default, but what exactly are the downsides other than current volatility?
    For the most part, crypto really does run as a combination MLM / Ponzi / pump-and-dump scam. The thing is, under all the bullshit it is actually useful. The other thing is, there's so much bullshit that the utility is being destroyed.

    I work in the crypto space - over the last few years it's gone from being 10% of my job to 90%.

    I hate it.

    As the technical lead at our small company I'd be a natural to send to a conference for a talk or panel discussion, but the CEO knows I'd stand up, look out at the expectant audience, and say LEARN TO CODE.

  • From OSUsux:
    Hey, Pixy. After a recent harddrive crash I'm looking for a home RAID solution mostly for storing photos, media, etc. I'm tech adjacent, but I haven't ever done anything with RAID. So I'm looking for something that is easy to setup AND rebuild when an HDD goes bad.

    I probably don't need a ton of space - I have less than 1 TB of stuff now, would probably want at least 2, maybe 4 TB of space for room to grow. I would anticipate this being a long term (10+ years) storage solution. Also trying not to break the bank on this.

    Any suggestions?
    A low-end Synology box with two drive bays like the DS-220k would probably work fine, or one of Western Digital's dual-bay devices that come pre-populated with disks. Those come pre-configured with RAID-1 (mirroring) so you just need to plug it in and hook up your computer - and swap the failed drive if and when it starts blinking red. With those capacities you probably don't need anything bigger, just something that will save your bacon automatically when a drive fails.

    Just don't connect it to the internet.

  • From J. Random Dude:
    NASs. I've thought about getting a QNAP or something similar but with their software updates occasionally being corrupted by virii, am I better off just rolling my own, ie adding more drives and such to the Windows box I'll be using to run Blue Iris surveillance camera software?
    QNAP is probably fine as long as you don't connect it directly to the internet. Same with the recent problems that have hit Asus, Western Digital, and Synology devices - though QNAP has had the worst run this past year.

    For a single application though you're probably fine just adding drives directly to your PC. Certainly cheaper that way.

  • From Thing From Snowy Mountain: Dandolo Did Nothing Wrong:
    Late Question For Pixy: If I want to share some videos what's a good alternative to youtube?
    Rumble, probably. Seems to be getting more traction than the other startups right now.

  • From Rodent:
    Pixy any comments on protecting corporate systems? Seeing a lot of cyber attacks and ransomware on municipal systems, food manufacturers, and others. Latest was H.P. Hood dairy based in Boston. Meat plants and cream cheese makers come to mind for past events. Apologies if you're posted on that previously and I missed it.
    My comments in this area are mostly along the lines of STOP THAT YOU IDIOTS! WERE YOU RAISED IN A BARN?

    Which while well-deserved are not really actionable advice.

  • From m0lr4k:
    I am tired of hardware devices that dictate when their usefulness ends for me. I have had a co-branded Google / Asus router for a number of years. Well now Google has said it won't work past the end of the year, because Google.

    Any recommendations for a home router for a medium-sized home, preferably one that allows FOSS firmware to be flashed on it? I've looked at a few (and even the option of using a Raspberry Pi Compute Module as a router), but I don't see a clear leader like the old Linksys 54g (or whatever model) was 15 years ago. Extra options like support for mesh networks and home automation would be cool, but I'm now in the camp of rolling it myself if I add much to those sorts of things.
    I'm not sure what exact model to recommend, but what you are looking for is OpenWRT. They maintain a huge list of supported devices and matching software versions. Might be worth checking your current hardware if you haven't already.

  • From AshevilleRobert:
    Question. Is it possible to build a PC with none of the major components coming from china (Processor, memory, motherboard, case, power supply and video card)? I understand that discrete components will be, just wanting to avoid the finished items being so.
    Maybe. The chips for CPUs are made in the US and Taiwain, GPUs in Taiwan and South Korea. RAM chips and flash have major factories in the US and South Korea. The leading motherboard and graphics card manufacturers are based in Taiwan - but they all operate some of their production in mainland China so it would be tricky proposition to make sure nothing comes from there.

  • From Squints:
    I'd love some elaboration on this from last week:

    >>enter ! and one or more letters at the end of your search query and it will use a different search index - and there are thousands supported

    Not for all thousands, of course, but a couple of examples. Thanks muchly.
    This one is in relation to DuckDuckGo search.

    The simplest one is that by adding !g to the end of your search, you get results from Google. Similarly, !a searches Amazon and !w searches Wikipedia. !/. searches Slashdot - and so does !./ in case you fumble it. There are currently 13,565 of these "bangs" available.

  • From Braenyard:
    Question - I need a portable HD that is independent of the internet. I bought a Seagate 1T and the first thing it wanted to do was connect, in fact, I could go no further unless I connected. The opposite of what I want.

    I have a WD Word Book 3T and would like a portable to use all the time and back it up to the WD Word Book. Reviews don't cover my connectivity concern.
    Any recommendation, please?
    Format that sucker. Show it who's boss. While a new external hard drive might want you to connect to the internet, once you format it it will become raw storage and won't demand anything.

Tech News

Disclaimer: Property is theft, therefore theft is property, therefore this ship is mine.

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Saturday, March 26


Daily News Stuff 26 March 2022

Hump Day Edition

Top Story

  • It seems we have somehow made it through another week and that means it's Question and Answer time.  Fling your answers into the comments using the provided working miniature trebuchet (some assembly required) and tomorrow I will fart in your general direction attempt to answer them.

  • The Latecomer's Guide to Crypto.  (New York Times Paywall)

    I literally can't read this.

  • The Annotated Latecomer's Guide to Crypto.  (Molly White)

    Fifteen crypto skeptics, computer scientists, and researchers take the New York Times apart and then - because I know some of these people are dedicated lefties - immediately relapse into Gell-Mann Amnesia Syndrome.

Tech News

  • The EU is bringing in new regulations that will force Big Tech to support open APIs and interoperability.  (Ars Technica)

    The initial focus is on messaging platforms but it seems to extend well beyond that, and the fines go as high as 20% of gross annual revenue.

    Apple and Google are objecting strenuously, but I don't much care because at this point they are even more thoroughly infiltrated by communists than Europe itself.

    The rules only apply to very large companies - with a market cap of $75 billion or revenues of $7.5 billion - so it leaves the field open for new competitors.

  • Following the Willie Horton rule, a group of filmmakers sued hosting provider Quadranet for providing services to some of the endpoints to some of the VPN providers used by some of the people who downloaded pirated copies of their films.

    Quadranet said this was bullshit and filed a motion to dismiss, and last December a Florida judge agreed and tossed the case.

    The plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that they had new evidence that would sustain the case and now the judge has ruled that it is still bullshit and tossed that too.  (TorrentFreak)

    Sometimes to good guys win.

  • Don't make your Redis servers publicly accessible.  (Bleeping Computer)

    Problem solved.

Disclaimer: Totally not a bubble.

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Friday, March 25


Daily News Stuff 25 March 2022

The Catch Is Out There Edition

Top Story

Tech News

  • Meanwhile anonymous, who have been quiet lately, claimed to have hacked Nestle and leaked 10GB of proprietary data.

    Nestle denies this happened for a rather unique reason: they accidentally leaked that data themselves months ago.  (Gizmodo)

  • Google still thinks Android tablets are a thing.  (The Verge)

    Guys, you haven't updated the Nexus 7 range since 2013.

  • Nvidia GPU prices are down by about 40% here in Australia, but AMD prices are moving much more slowly...  At least at the mid range.  At the high end, they're also down sharply.  Which has led to an absurd compaction of price brackets:


    Just $40 separates the 6800 from the 6900 XT.

  • Which makes the 6900 XT relatively good value but it's probably not time to buy one.  (Hot Hardware)

    The next generation's mid-range cards, due later this year, could beat current top-of-the-line cards while being much cheaper and more efficient.

Not At All Tech News

  • Hololive Indonesia Gen 3 was announced today, to debut, well, today.  I think they've figured out that if they launch the same day it doesn't give YouTube time to ruin things.

    All of the Hololive Indonesia girls speak fluent English, something I wasn't originally aware of, though now that Hololive English is larger they spend more time speaking Bahasa for their local audience.

    Holostars Gen 4 debuts right after that - Holostars is the male branch of the all-female Hololive.

Local Rabbit Goes House Hunting Video of the Day

The adventure into Darkest Zillow starts around the 24 minute mark.  It was interesting to see the difference in pricing between Australia and the US.  Here, every city of significant size anywhere in the country is expensive.  Also every country town in New South Wales except Broken Hill, which is further from Sydney than is Melbourne and right on the outer edge of civilisation.

Disclaimer: Not saying which side of that edge.

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Thursday, March 24


Daily News Stuff 24 March 2022

Lawyers Guns And Money Edition

Top Story

  • I have a local lawyer in the town I'm looking to move to checking on some things for me, and one of the things she was checking was whether there might be any council restrictions on any of the properties and yep, the house built in 1877 which is probably my preferred choice is heritage listed. So any renovations or improvements would not only have to pass by the town council but also the heritage council.  Two sets of hoops and one of them on fire.

    Which helps explain why such a great property has been sitting on the market for so long.  For my needs it's laid out pretty well (except for the original corner fireplaces which take up a ton of space and don't even work though there is a newer combustion stove in the living room) and it has been renovated fairly recently so there's not a lot of work that needs doing.  The one thing that could do with an upgrade is the bathroom and that I could probably manage.

  • Meanwhile far away from sensible bricks and mortar Solana-based stablecoin Cashio had a minor bug and lost 99.995% of its value overnight.  (Decrupt)


    It's the crypto equivalent of your parents answering a call from "Windows Support".

    Put not your trust in stablecoins.  Or anything else, really.

Tech News

Not At All Tech News

  • Reuben Hick said yesterday:
    I'm fascinated by the four considerations:
    * Internet speed
    * House Size
    * Price /m²
    * transportation

    Nothing about aesthetics, floorplan, neighborhood, structure condition, crime rate... all of the stuff normal people consider.
    Guilty as charged.

    I'm moving to a mid-sized country town (about 25,000 people) so there's not that much variation in neighbourhoods and crime rates.  There's basically the parts with wide streets and lots of trees, and the parts with really wide streets and really lots of trees.

    Internet speed (and stability) is a key concern because I live online, and I chose this town because apart from being pretty nice - I've visited a few times and stayed overnight at least twice - the whole place has fiber internet.

    As for house size, also yes.  I work from home, and my job requires multiple computers, so I need a big office on top of the usual space.  And all my accumulated technical junk also takes up a lot room, so I either have to throw it out or find a place with plenty of storage.  

    The one with a garage the size of a small house and a house the size of two and a half small houses is probably overkill but is priced right in the middle of other places half the size.  I can just tell the movers to shove everything into the truck at one end, and shove everything into the garage at the other end except for the dining table, fridge, and washing machine, which I would not want to drag up the stairs myself.  And the rest I can unpack whenever.

Party Like It's Hololive Video of the Day

I'm running low on 1982 and 1983 was a terrible year for pop culture.  So I'm heading off thataway for a bit.

Now that my internet is working I'm back to watching vtubers while I work.  Ah.  That's better.

Disclaimer: Whenever, whatever.

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Wednesday, March 23


Daily News Stuff 23 March 2022

We Heard You Liked Houses Edition

Top Story

  • Latest house I've looked at has a garage as large as my entire current house including the garage.  The rest of the house is about two and a half houses.  And it's half the price of my current house.  And has gigabit internet available.

    Not that you actually get gigabit speeds on gigabit internet here, but if you sign up for the half-gigabit plan you can come pretty close to that.

  • Nvidia today announced its new Hopper GPU architecture which can deliver a petaFLOPS sort of on a single chip.  (AnandTech)

    I say sort of because that's measuring 16-bit floating point which is fine for neural networks but useless for computational fluid dynamics.  With 64-bit values the vector unit delivers 30 TFLOPS which is very good but doesn't sound as impressive.

    It's not shipping yet and you won't be able to buy one when it does - this is for servers and supercomputers.  In fact, this architecture might not be coming to the desktop at all, since there's another product announcement coming for that later this year.

Tech News

Disclaimer: You're definitely better off with a pie of some description.

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