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?

Saturday, April 30

Geek

Daily News Stuff 30 April 2022

Blaargh Edition

Top Story

  • It's the weekend again and that means something, I don't remember what. Beer, maybe.  Do I like beer?


  • The FBI searched the data of millions of Americans without warrants. (Bloomberg)

    I am shocked, shocked, to find that the FBI is the largest organised criminal gang in the country.

    Even the ACLU is against it. Probably because they got searched, but whatever.


Tech News



Did Elon Musk Disparage Twitter?  No, You're All Idiots Video of the Day



Particularly telling point that Twitter's own CEO said much the same thing a year ago.

Money quote:
When you talk about disparagement, it really has to be something that disparages.



Sort of Anime Music Video of the Day




Disclaimer: Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bleeto.

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Friday, April 29

Geek

Daily News Stuff 29 April 2022

Top Story



Tech News


Disclaimer: Ugh.  Double ugh.

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Thursday, April 28

Geek

Daily News Stuff 28 April 2022

Late Final Beeswax Edition

Top Story

  • Quick one today because I worked until 1:30 AM because we have two major customers launching at the same time and then got woken up at 3:00 AM because I made an error in change management because a normally non-critical function is critical today only. Yay.


  • Well, someone's enjoying himself.



Tech News


Disclaimer: Bzzt.

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Wednesday, April 27

Geek

Daily News Stuff 27 April 2022

Oh No Anyway Edition

Top Story

  • "Fear" is not the word I'd use here: Under Musk, some fear Twitter's moderation progress could unravel.  (NBC News)

    Twitter's moderation stance was generally sound through to 2016, mostly tolerable from then until 2018, and on an oscillation cycle between Orwell and Kafka since then.

    And the star of this article is none other than Brianna Wu:
    Brianna Wu knows firsthand how bad the harassment on Twitter can get. A software engineer and game developer, Wu was targeted with death and rape threats during GamerGate, an online harassment campaign against women in the gaming industry that started in 2014.
    Everything in this opening paragraph is not only wrong but a direct lie.
    Wu, who has more than 100,000 Twitter followers and has used the platform throughout her career, said she consulted with the company’s trust and safety team in an unofficial, unpaid capacity from 2014 to late 2021.
    Apparently this is true though - Wu has been working as an informant for Twitter's corporate mutawa.



    Follow US law, ban the spambots, and give users the tools to block the trolls and lunatics.

    Oh, and Elon?  Close any offices Twitter has in Europe.


Tech News

  • Yes.




  • History didn't repeat for once: The Erie Railroad War of 1869 has eerie parallels with the Twitter board's poison pill.  (ThoughtCo)

    That time, Cornelius Vanderbilt - the richest man in America - failed in his takeover bid and the board looted the company, which went bankrupt in 1878.  And 1893.  And 1938.  And today is part of the Norfolk Southern Railway, railroads having some intrinsic utility unlike social networks.


  • Lucid group has an order for 50,000 electric vehicles from...  Saudi Arabia?  (WCCFTech)

    The company is not a major player in the field so far, but just announced a new 1050hp model with a 0-60 time of 2.6 seconds.  This deal follows on the back of a February agreement to build a manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia.  That's not something the country is known for, but the oil isn't going to last forever.


  • You wouldn't download a Mac, would you?  Not when you can run it right in your browser.  (MacOS8.app)

    It has Civilization installed, and SimCity, and Photoshop alongside Kai's Power Tools, and Claris Works and Microsoft Word.  It's actually pretty functional.


  • Sorry, I can't come in to work on the pyramid today.  A scorpion bit me while I was brewing beer.  (Open Culture)

    Which is probably a good excuse if you live in Texas today.  And are working on a pyramid.


  • The Ugly Monkey JPEG Instagram group got hacked, and $0 worth of ugly monkey JPEGS were stolen.  (ZDNet)

    The article claims $3 million, but journalists will say anything for clicks.


  • With memory prices steady SK Hynix has doubled its profits against the same quarter a year ago.  (ZDNet)

    This is good news for memory manufacturers - and for the rest of us too, because there aren't many of them left.  Memory prices are cyclic, and a lot of the companies exited the business one way or another in the last two bust cycles, leaving just Korean SK Hynix and Samsung, and US-based Micron.


  • Who is Risa Hoshino, Instagram MD?  (Sarah Burwick)

    Unusually it turns out she genuinely is a medical doctor.  The rest of it is a mishmash of half-truths and apparent fabrications - mostly relating to COVID, which an offense that would get your account terminated if you weren't pushing falsehoods in the service of the "consensus" viewpoint.


  • Why not just sell NFTs?  (BuzzFeed)

    That way at least everyone knows you're lying.
    Some doctors tried to refrain from giving out medical advice in the Ask a Doc channel. In April, one user posted: "Sometimes I'll wake up with my kidney area in bad pain from sleeping on my side, is this normal?” A lead MetaDocs doctor identifying as Dr. Fayez Ajib, a "Part-time doctor, full-time gamer,” according to their Discord bio — advised the user to see their physician.
    Huh.  Even NFT doctors are more ethical than Risa.


  • The Dell XPS Desktop 8950: Not complete trash.  (Hot Hardware)

    They weren't testing it as a high-end gaming machine, and noted that the included water cooling solution is designed for quiet and not maximum performance.  But given Dell's reputation of unnecessarily loud air cooling, that in itself is an advance.

    With a 12600K and a 3060 Ti it's not a terrible power hog: 469W in their torture test but a more reasonable 300W with a normal gaming load - and idle power levels are excellent at just 43W.  The included power supply is 750W so it could easily cope with an upgrade to a faster graphics card later.

    Single-threaded performance is great, multi-threaded is decent, and gaming is solidly mid-range - about the same as a previous generation RTX 2080.

    I'd like to see Gamers Nexus' take on it, but from this review it seems like a decent prebuilt.  It does use a non-standard motherboard - all of Dell's desktop systems do - so keep that in mind.


  • On iOS, all browsers are really just Safari in varying degrees of fancy dress.  Apple forbids any other browser on their platform.  The EU's new Digital Markets Act appears to make that illegal.  (The Register)

    Explicitly so.  While not calling out Apple by name, it does call out the imposition of specific browser engines on a software platform.

    Given that Safari causes more swearing from our UI team than all other browsers combined, forcing Apple to compete on a level playing field seems like a good thing, even if it comes via massively overbearing regulation from a grossly engorged Pan-European superstate, like a gargantuan blood-sucking tick that coughs up the occasional bit of ambergris.


Disclaimer: Ew.

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Tuesday, April 26

Geek

Daily News Stuff 26 April 2022

And There Was Much Rejoicing Edition

Top Story


Tech News



Disclaimer: It's the end of Twitter as we know it, and I feel fine.

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Monday, April 25

Geek

Daily News Stuff 25 April 2022

Just Move Disney To Seattle Edition

Top Story

  • Well, that's one solution: If your politics require you to maintain lockdowns but your economic survival requires getting as many people as possible back to work just lock workers in the factories.  (Ars Technica)

    Even the Ars Technica commentariat aren't on board with this one.  A few try half-heartedly to blame it on capitalism, but they're getting downvoted to oblivion.  There are mentions of Mao's war on sparrows, and those are getting upvoted.


Tech News

  • Ryzen 7000 is probably going to be DDR5 only.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Ryzen 6000 - the new laptop chips that just came out - is already DDR5-only (or LPDDR5).  It truly needs that bandwidth to enable its fast integrated graphics, where a pure CPU doesn't really, not unless AMD goes beyond 16 cores with these new chips.

    Intel's Alder Lake still supports DDR4 as well as DDR5 - depending on the motherboard - so AMD is betting that DDR5 prices will come down over the course of the year.


  • Twitter's board of directors finds itself unexpectedly at the bottom of a hole it just dug.  (Ars Technica)

    Nobody else is interested in Twitter at the moment because the first thing any buyer would need to do is fire the board and senior management, so if they succeed in fending off Elon Musk's takeover bid for their propaganda platform the stock price is almost certain to collapse. 

    Netflix and Disney actually have content people want and are willing to pay for, even if their new content is crap, and their respective share prices are in the toilet.  Nobody needs what was on Twitter yesterday; the value of the company is entirely on what people expect in its future.

    If the board succeeds in resetting that expectation to all Maxism all the time, as they seem to want, they could also reset the share price to zero.


Just Move Disney to Seattle Video of the Day



People, by which I mean Twitter users, are seriously arguing that Disney could move from Florida to New York City.  Not just upstate New York where there is at least room, but putting the whole thing in Manhattan, when the Florida park is twice the size of Manhattan Island.



Disclaimer: Leftists.  Can't live with them, can't feed them to the pigs because it ruins the bacon.

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Sunday, April 24

Geek

Daily News Stuff 24 April 2022

Department Of Corporate Slave Rabbits Edition

Top Story

  • Wait, is that mochi? Is all of that mochi? Is the mochi section at my local supermarket now larger than the gluten-free section?

    Yes.


  • The US government is planning to spend up to $6 billion to keep nuclear power plants in operation. (AP)

    After spending decades working to make nuclear power unaffordable, they've more or less succeeded in killing off the only gluten-free readily deliverable carbon-neutral baseband energy source.

    Now they have to prop it up and piss off their anti-nuclear base or allow it to be replaced with natural gas and piss off their anti-global-warming base.

    The action itself probably makes sense - we need more investment in nuclear power, not less - but I won't lose any sleep over the inevitable internecine vitriol. Unless I need to make a late-night popcorn run.


Questions and Answers

  • From GnuBreed:
    Isn't there some kind of quantum limit on how narrow the channels are between individual chip lanes, before 'crosstalk' (or sometimes called quantum tunneling) becomes a major issue? If you keep lowering the barrier, soon there will be pain.
    Indeed there is, and if 2nm chips really had circuit elements measuring 2nm they'd be on the wrong side of that limit.

    Fortunately the numbers for process nodes are derived by a complex formula from actual measurements, by which I mean they are completely fictional, so we have a few more years before we hit that limit.


  • From Long-time Commenter, First-time Reader:
    My teenager wants to play Valorant. I have been hesitant to install it on the family PC because of some things I read about the Vanguard anti-cheating software, namely, the root level of control it has. Am I right to be concerned or am I over-reacting?
    I know that people did complain about Valorant's always-on anti-cheat software when it first came out - calling it a rootkit - but I haven't heard of it actually being connected with any hacking events.


  • From Minimal gp-Based Barrier:
    I volunteered to manage a legacy static website for a radio club. The original creators and maintainers are gone, of course. I've been simply hand-editing the html, and that's easy for me.
    Now the club wants me to choose a 'drag-and-drop' tool, so that 'anybody' can take over for me when I leave. I do agree it's good to plan for succession.
    The last web builders I used were FrontPage and Dreamweaver. (I hated them.) So I'm way out of date on choosing a current tool. I see most of them are SaaS now, e.g., Wix.
    Ideally, what I'd like is: Free, or at least non-subscription. Not locked into a particular domain provider. Won't obsolete in the next five years.
    Do you have any suggestions? Thanks again!
    That's a good question, but unfortunately I don't have a good answer. Dreamweaver still exists, but it's not at all what you want for that kind of thing. I'll poke around a bit and see if I can come up with suggestions.


  • From mom stabby stabby stabby stabamillion:
    Are you going to do any traditional moving rituals for the new domicile? (example: first thing moved into house is salt, rice, money; house blessing or sage burning, etc)
    I'll perform the ritual plugging of a sacrificial device into the built-in USB charging ports (new house) and fill the wine fridge with bottles of Pepsi Max.


  • From Legion of Boom:
    Moving into new house with brand new Ethernet wiring. 2.5G Ethernet at lest, puncher's chance of 10G (all but 2 runs depending on length).
    What is a good book or detailed tutorial on more advanced networking (managed switches, L2/L3, vlan)? Counted, have ~45 devices with IPs, 2 home businesses, Synology NAS, so probably overdue to think about network layout.
    I don't know how standardised managed switches are. There are plenty of books on Cisco equipment, but how much of that translates over to cheaper stuff from Ubiquiti or QNAP or Netgear? The concepts will - a VLAN is a VLAN - but the commands probably won't.

    Another one I'll have to do a bit of digging on.


  • From Lost In Space:
    Your dev work is seemingly done on all manner of platforms. How much of your work time is spent using each of the main ones?
    Almost all my work runs on Ubuntu, though I use Windows as my desktop OS.
    2. How much fiddley biting do you have to do to get the various Chromium browsers to behave? Theoretically it should be zero fiddley biting but we are dealing with code, nothing is ever what is seems to be. This goes up by a factor of 10 once you are dealing 3 lines of code.
    As little as I can possibly get away with. I use Bootstrap for most of my web work and that helps hide the differences between browsers.

    It's Safari that's usually the pain; the various flavours of Chromium mostly behave themselves.


  • From webley silvernail:
    I have an old MSI all-in-one desktop gaming computer, with an Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4870HQ CPU @ 2.50GHz and 16 GB of RAM. It was pretty hot stuff back when I bought it, but it's slowly dying now. I had to replace a SSD a year or so back, and it's never been the same. It used to boot up in 30seconds or less, now it takes several minutes and only after a bunch of error messages. Can you recommend a gaming laptop replacement? Thanx.
    If a mid-range mobile graphics solution - an RTX 3060 or 3070 - is sufficient for the games you want to play, I'd suggest taking a look at Intel's NUC X15.

    Which despite the name is a laptop. (YouTube)

    It has a 6 or 8 core 11th gen Intel CPU, RTX 3060 or 3070 graphics, a 240Hz 1080p or 165Hz 1440p screen, and a mechanical keyboard. Room for 64GB of RAM and two SSDs, plus Thunderbolt 4, and 2.5Gb wired Ethernet.

    You can buy the bare notebook and add components and install Windows, or there are various retailers / resellers who will sell you a complete system.


  • From az_desert_rate:
    I want to set up a remote disk for external storage for an old Mac and a couple of Linux machines, and maybe an old XP. I want to use the remote disk as a primitive Dropbox. I am looking for a cheap solution.
    I don't know if it makes a difference but everything is on powerline ethernet. No wifi because my computers are located in sheet metal outbuildings.
    Western Digital has some convenient dual-disk network drives that come preconfigured as RAID-1. Just plug them in and start saving files, and if the red light starts flashing on one disk, replace that one and keep on going. They're reasonably priced and no fuss at all.


  • From Daniel Ream:
    Is there any Windows 10/11 compatible full disk encryption software with no known back doors - so open source and trivially compilable?
    Lest anyone think I'm up to anything nefarious, I live in Canada. Using Patreon could retroactively make me a terrorist when I'm not looking.
    There are some projects but most of them seem to be dead, with no updates in at least a year. VeraCrypt is at least alive, but I don't know how well it works, if at all.


Tech News




Disclaimer: Strawberry.

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Saturday, April 23

Geek

Daily News Stuff 23 April 2022

Escher's Packing And Unpacking Edition

Top Story

  • It's the weekend or something closely approaching that, which means that it's Question and Answer time or...  Something closely approaching that.

    Put something resembling a question in the comments below and I'll put something resembling an answer in the post tomorrow.


  • Netflix wants to invest in fewer, better originals.  (Thurrott.com)

    The company plans to invest $20 billion in original content, and has indicated that they'd like at least one or two shows not to suck.


  • Because apparently the original plan of flooding the end zone with liquid shit hasn't been a runaway success.  (Pajiba)

    Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in a quarter where they had expected to gain 2.5 million.  Not me, though.  I quit years ago.  All my entertainment spending gets dumped into Hololive.  Uh, and Nijisanji, and Prism, and indies.  I spend a lot more on vtubers than I ever did on streaming services and it's still infinitely better value for money because they don't immediately turn around and use that money to destroy everything I love.


Tech News

  • TSMC's 3nm process is on track, 2nm still a long way off.  (AnandTech)

    N3 - the basic 3nm node - is due to start production this year.  The enhanced N3E is due for the first half of 2023.  Keep in mind that advanced chips take about six months from the start of manufacturing to appearing on the shelves in finished products.

    TSMC's 3nm brings the same level of advances over 5nm that 5nm has over 7nm: 15% faster, 30% more efficient, and 40% smaller.  My newest computers are built on Intel's 10nm and TSMC's 7nm process, so 3nm would completely blow them out of the water.

    TSMC's 2nm N2 node is not expected to enter production until the second half of 2025, where Intel's theoretically equivalent 20A node is scheduled for the first half of 2024.  (AnandTech)

    Whether the nodes are in fact equivalent and whether either company will stick to that question I have no idea.  Though Intel is expected to be one of the first customers on TSMC's 2nm node and why they'd do that when their own 2nm node will come a year earlier is a very good question.

    All that aside, at this rate we'll be pushing the limits of bulk planar silicon by the end of the decade; further advances will require a change in approach.

    Though that means that without the Red Queen's Race of updating fabs every couple of years to remain competitive, chip production will become much, much cheaper.  Compare the cost of a couple of trillion transistors of 3D NAND flash against the same transistor count in logic - sixty RTX 3090 GPU chips from Nvidia.


  • Analysts predict the end is near for the global chip shortage.  (Tom's Hardware)

    We're doomed.


  • Not least because with China seemingly determined to self-destruct we could be in for a supply chain meltdown that makes the last two years look like an all-you-can-eat Vegas buffet.  (General Crisis Watch)

    Chinese provinces home to hundreds of millions of people have either gone into lockdown or closed their internal borders to prevent escalation of a COVID outbreak that has officially killed 17 people.


  • Speaking of which, I found the 128GB of RAM I bought to upgrade my laptops.  I was going to do that over Christmas, then the blockchain melted down and I had to pull an 80 hour week during my vacation, which put me behind schedule on my other work, which snowballed until I pulled some more 80 hour weeks to clear the backlog, whereupon I discovered I had to move house by the end of May.

    Anyway.  RAM located, upgrades can proceed.  I need to get that done before I move because I won't be able to find anything smaller than a breadbox for six months afterwards.

    One of the reasons I was in a hurry to buy so much computer stuff earlier this year is that I was anticipating a possible Chinese interdiction or even invasion of Taiwan.  Which is appallingly cynical of me but all my old computers were dying and not being able to work for a living would be something of an inconvenience.

    Now I'm expecting just as much supply chain disruption overall but in different areas.  Might be living in a half-empty house for a while.


  • You can now buy the Framework laptop motherboard for your own projects.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Starts at $399 with a Core i5-1135G7.  It supports up to 64GB RAM, one M.2 SSD, and four USB-C ports for everything else.

    Now do a Ryzen 6000 model.  And the Four Essential Keys.


  • Apropos of nothing, I bought a big bag of salted cashews last weekend that turned out to be contaminated with gluten, so that was fun.


  • Softbank is planning an IPO of Arm at a $60 billion valuation - but maintain a controlling stake.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The $40 billion sale to Nvidia foundered on regulatory rocks, but Arm is a technically solid company and is finally making some inroads into the server market.

    The woke plague hasn't yet infected semiconductor design the way it has software development, because preparing a new chip for production can cost up to half a billion dollars.  The beancounters still rule with an iron fist.


  • I deployed an Ubuntu 22.04 virtual server.  I also noticed that Percona has a release of MongoDB 5.0 out - 5.0.7 in fact - which indicates that it may now be stable enough for use.

    Percona's MongoDB 5.0 won't install on Ubuntu 22.04.

    Oh well.


  • Will Microsoft cut off security updates if I run an unsupported install of Windows 11?  (ZDNet)

    ZDNet is also running a weekly Q&A post.  They point out that Microsoft says you won't be entitled to receive updates, not that you won't receive updates.


  • Ebook services are bringing "unhinged conspiracy books" into public libraries.  (Motherboard)

    Oh no, books.  In libraries.  World ends, film at eleven.


  • Twitter has banned ads contradicting the "consensus" opinion on climate change.  (Washington Post)

    I'm less concerned about Twitter blocking ads than I am about them banning accounts because I block every account I see with a promoted tweet.


  • Tech companies face substantial fines if they fail to meet the EU's new content rules, whatever they are.  (Bloomberg)

    The rules forbid targeting ads based on race or religion, targeting ads to children, and using "dark patterns" like making the Decline button smaller or harder to see than Accept.

    And fines can be up to 6% of annual gross revenue.  Not profit, revenue.



Disclaimer: We're a non-profit organisation.  We didn't want to be, we're just not very good at what we do.

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Friday, April 22

Geek

Daily News Stuff 22 April 2022

Bats In Hats Edition

Top Story


Tech News



Disclaimer: Vanilla ice cream comes from white cows.  In snow.

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Thursday, April 21

Geek

Daily News Stuff 21 April 2022

Cow Fairy Edition

Top Story

  • Why South Africa is running out of Marmite.  (The Economist)

    Commies.

    Marmite is made from the crap that you have to scrape off the bottom of a beer vat before you can brew a new batch.  That's why it exists - brewers were stuck scraping this stuff out of their vats so they tried adding salt and selling it.

    South Africa had the bright idea of banning beer production during the pandemic because, I don't know, happy drunk people don't obey social distancing rules very well.  And now, even though those restrictions are over - social distancing and brewing bans alike - there's still no Marmite because when you fuck with the supply chain like that the effects ripple on for years.


Tech News

  • There may be an exploit in the Windows version of popular compression app 7-zip.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Or there may not.  One researcher suggests that the exploit only works if certain registry changes are made first, e.g. if your computer has already been hacked.


  • AMD's next-gen APUs - not the ones that just launched, but the ones coming next year - could push regular laptops well into console graphics territory.  (WCCFTech)

    The table provided puts the current Ryzen 6000 APU close to the performance of the Xbox Series S; the new model will be nearly twice as fast.

    It will still fall behind a full PS5 or Xbox Series X, but since you still can't buy those, that might not be a problem.


  • GitHub bad.  (JSQ)

    I mentioned earlier that GitHub was suspending the accounts of Russian users associated with sanctioned companies.  

    It turns out that when GitHub suspends a user, they delete all of that user's history, including work they've done in projects they don't own.

    The code itself remains intact, but all the information about who made particular changes and why is simply gone.


  • Speaking of simply gone smart home company Insteon is.  (Ars technica)

    Congratulations on your very expensive brick.

    Oh, and the company's C-suite executives have been busily scrubbing all mention of Insteon from their online profiles, so don't expect any help from that end.


Disclaimer: Gentlemen, start your lawyers.

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