This wouldn't have happened with Gainsborough or one of those proper painters.

Saturday, August 15


Daily News Stuff 14 August 2020

Extra Final Late Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Ugh.  Ethereum.  Just posting about it has given me a migraine.

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Thursday, August 13


Daily News Stuff 13 August 2020

Mandatory And Forbidden Edition

Tech News

  • There's a new Humble Bundle out with Vegas, Sound Forge, and Acid.  (Humble Bundle)

    It's the "Studio" versions rather than the Pro versions, and Sound Forge and Vegas are last year's releases, but Acid is current.  And the Studio versions are pretty good if you don't need professional-level bells and whistles.

    Also includes Video Pro X which is normally $399 by itself, but I've never used it.

    With this bundle and Affinity's products, you can pretty much dump Adobe if you're not dependent on a very specific workflow.  I've already downgraded my Adobe subscription from the full suite to just Photoshop, and I think that can go now too.

  • HP leaked the specs of a Tiger Lake (Intel 11th generation) laptop.  (Tom's Hardware)

    If accurate, it's a huge improvement over 10th generation.  Comparing the i7-1165G7 to the current i7-1065G7, top clock speeds are up from 3.9GHz to 4.7GHz.  That's in addition to an expected 18% IPC boost thanks to the new core, so it could be 40% faster overall.

    It's still four cores and won't catch up to the current eight-core Ryzen laptop parts, which are 60% ahead on multi-threaded workloads, but for single-threaded tasks it could do very well for Intel.

    We still have to see what power consumption is like, though, since Intel's TDP numbers seem to be plucked from the air during an acid trip.

  • Speaking of which, Intel has spilled all the cool deets on Tiger Lake.  (AnandTech)

    Well, some cool deets.  Some deets.  A deetoid.

    Main thing is that where Ice Lake had 15% better IPC but 15% lower clock speeds, Tiger Lake has 15% better IPC but maintains earlier clock speeds.  The new Willow Cove core is the same as Sunny Cove, just manufactured on a process that isn't horribly broken.

  • Intel also announced their upcoming Xe-HPG graphics chips that they won't be making.  (AnandTech)

    More specifically, they confirmed earlier rumours that they will be outsourcing the fabrication of their graphics chips, either to Samsung or TSMC.  They didn't confirm which of those, but those are the only options.

  • Twitter has a new API.  (Twitter)

    This was originally going to be released on the day after the big hack, and they very sensibly delayed the announcement.

    It looks like an overcomplicated, restrictive, poorly-explained mess.

    It does provide real-time streams, something that used to be the core of the Twitter platform but was killed off long ago unless you wanted to pay Twitter a lot of money.

  • TechDirt are somehow trying to blame Trump for the layoffs at DC Comics.  They are now gone from my list of sources.  It's not worth the effort.

  • Australia's NBN has a gigabit access plan.  (ZDNet)

    Nobody offers it, and if you find someone who does you can't get it, and if you can it's ruinously expensive.  Across the entire country they signed up a total of 50 customers in the last quarter.  That accounts for all Australian ISPs except for those who run their on fiber in the CBDs of major cities.

  • Dropbox now offers a password manager, computer backup, and encrypted storage.  (Dropbox)

    I hope the backup feature works better than regular syncing, because with that, if your folder goes offline for any reason Dropbox immediately deletes all your online files so that everything matches.

Disclaimer: Well, poot.

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Daily News Stuff 12 August 2020

There's A Hole In The Telescope Edition

Tech News

  • A look at that 128-core mobile workstation in all its six-screen glory.  (Tom's Hardware)

    I was wondering if those extra screens just meant separate monitors.  Nope.

  • LPDDR5 is not the same as DDR5.  (WCCFTech)

    Yes, I know what the headline says.  It's wrong.

    Intel's upcoming 11th generation laptop chips will support LPDDR5-5400 memory.  Although that's not the same as DDR5, it's a useful jump from current limits of LPDDR4-3733 and will help a lot with the new Xe integrated graphics.

  • You can't sue over copyright infringement when you don't hold the copyright.  (Tech Crunch)

    Genius used trap street.  It's super effect-  No, wait.  The other thing.

  • There's a hundred-foot hole in our telescope.  (UCF Today)

    Yes, Arecibo.  I checked and there are other telescopes that could have have hundred-foot holes in them without being more hole than scope, but in this case it was indeed Arecibo.

    A 3" thick steel cable snapped and did what a snapped 3" thick steel cable is wont to do, that is, destroy everything in its path.

  • 32 > 28.  (Serve the Home)

    AMD's 32-core Epyc 7452 at $2000 outperforms Intel's 28-core Xeon Gold 6258R at $4000, and the 6258R is Intel's best price/performance offering by a mile.

    The article discusses the target market for this chip as well.  It's not really intended to compete with Intel's high-end parts, though it does well at that, but at replacing older servers with dual 12 to 16 core Xeon CPUs.  It cheap, has a relatively tame 155W TDP that lets it run in existing racks without worry, and can easily replace two or three older servers.

    Our Threadripper sever cluster at my day job has been rock solid since we got the issues* sorted out with Simon**.   Would definitely go AMD again.

    * First a bad SSD, then a bad memory module.  No problems with the CPU or board.
    ** They're called Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.  Why is Simon the troublemaker?

  • The best Amazon tablets for 2020.  (ZDNet)

    Um, ZDNet?  That's just a list of all of Amazon's tablets, with affiliate links.

    Nice work if you can get it.

  • The Surface Duo launches September 10 at a price of $1399.  (

    It's a potentially interesting device that has probably been killed by its price tag.  It avoids the problems with folding screens by simply not folding the screen - the two screens are separate and don't try to pretend otherwise.

    It has a 360-degree hinge so you can flip it all the way around and use it like a normal phone, or open it flat and have two screens side-by-side.  At $399 - with appropriate cost-saving measures - I suspect it would sell like hotcakes.

    It's 10mm thick folded, and weighs 250g, neither of which are unreasonable for a device like this.  But at that price I suspect it will be DOA.

  • The FTC's antitrust ruling against Qualcomm has been overturned on appeal.  (AnandTech)

    The court held that because Qualcomm acts like a dick to everyone equally, they are not in breach of the law.

Disclaimer: And I don't mean Extreme Beach Volleyball.

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Tuesday, August 11


Daily News Stuff 11 August 2020

128K Is Enough Edition

Tech News

  • The Oppo Reno3 is available with an A75, A76, or A77.  (AnandTech)

    The Reno3 Pro has an A75.  The Reno3 5G has an A77, but is only available in China.  And the Reno3 Pro 5G has an A76. 

    Why?  Because.

  • Speaking of Oppo, their A52 looks like the current best deal in Australia.  (GadgetGuy)

    For A$299 you get a perfectly adequate phone: 6.5" 2400x1080 IPS screen, 4 x A73 and 4 x A53 cores, 4GB RAM, 64GB flash, two SIMs, five cameras, microSD, and a headphone jack.

    And I can just walk to the store (because I'm not in Melbourne) and pick it up.

    The A73 isn't blazing fast, but it's a lot faster than an A53.

  • Reddit's CEO says that while many of its staff and most of its users are lunatics, he personally is not dumb enough to turn away easy money.  (Tech Crunch)

    Reddit is dead.  It just hasn't stopped moving yet.  And I don't give Tech Crunch more than 18 months, to be honest.

  • PDFs are just fine, the problem is users are whiny idiot children.  (NNGroup)

  • 112 lanes, no waiting.  (Serve the Home)

    The ASRack ROMED8-2T is a standard ATX size Epyc motherboard.  Single socket only, since the Epyc socket is huge, and only eight DIMM slots.  But it does have seven PCIe slots, all 4.0, and all x16, providing a ton of bandwidth for whatever you might need a ton of bandwidth for.

    Rear-panel I/O is limited to dual 10GbE, three USB ports, VGA, and serial, and an extra Ethernet port for remote management.  They also managed to squeeze in two M.2 slots, and two mini-SAS connectors providing 4 SATA ports each with the right cable.

  • China can't spy on TLS 1.3 connections, so they've blocked them all.  (ZDNet)

    Older protocols sent the host name in clear text before establishing the connection; TLS 1.3 encrypts that as well.  (The reason for this is that the certificate used to encrypt the connection is based on the host name, so you have to jump through some extra hoops if you want to encrypt the host name itself.)

  • Ceres has an ocean.  (CNet)

    It's underground, but based on images from the Dawn probe they're pretty certain it's there.  Dawn orbited Ceres from 2015 to 2018, and came as close as 20 miles from the surface, providing 100,000 photos and a ton of new data for scientists to analyse.  The results have just been published in Nature.

  • 2020 summed up in one tweet.

Disclaimer: No.

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Monday, August 10


Daily News Stuff 10 August 2020

One Of These Days Edition

Tech News

  • Good news: There's a new volume out of Department of Corporate Slave Rabbits.

    Bad news: It's the final volume.

  • How to save $6000 on a top-of-the-line Intel Xeon.  (AnandTech)

    Buy AMD.

    Or get the Xeon Gold 6258R in place of the Xeon Platinum 8280.  It's the exact same chip with one QPI link disabled so it only supports two sockets and not eight.

    Even on such a dry article - benchmarking two identical chips to prove that they are indeed identical - the comments are full of crazy people.

  • AMD has filed for a patent on a new approach to heterogenous cores.  (Tom's Hardware)

    It's much like Arm's big.LITTLE approach, except that it looks like AMD is planning hardware-level thread migration.  When your code needs AVX it pops over to the high performance AVX core and then when it's out of the AVX loop it pops back over to the low power core, without the operating system needing to intervene.

    Of course it's just a patent, not a product.  Interesting nonetheless.

  • A new class of laser doesn't defy the laws of physics.  (New Atlas)

    Yes, I know what the headline says.  Whenever you see something like this they're always talking about something like wavefront propagation and not the speed of the light itself.  It has potential applications but it does not in any way violate the laws of physics.

  • How the fashion industry ate itself.  (New York Times)

    If you sell an expensive product that no-one actually needs, or indeed wants, then sooner or later a woodpecker is going to come along and destroy civilisation.

    This fate is not, of course, limited to the fashion industry.

  • Turning humidity into alcohol.  (ANL)

    Argonne National Laboratory has discovered a new, high-efficiency catalyst for converting carbon dioxide and water - plus electricity - into ethanol.  It's not an energy source, of course, but an efficient way to convert excess electricity into storeable energy at peak solar/wind times is critical if renewable energy is to be successful.

Anime Trailers of the Day

I forgot about this one.  I'm pretty sure I saw an announcement for it a while back, then it fell off my radar because 2020.

Not familiar with this series, but the art and animation look pretty good.

Kumo Kumo Kumo Spider is confirmed for January 2021, alongside the new seasons of Non Non Biyori and Log Horizon, which pretty much confirms that 2020 is a time loop and we'll never escape.

That's the same old trailer from 2018 though.  Nothing new yet.

Oh, and while I wasn't watching a wild Bakarina appeared.

There's a Crunchyroll trailer too, but that makes it look terrible.  They honestly have an anti-talent for trailers.  Now, Madman knows how to create a trailer, just as ADV did back in the day.

Disclaimer: Also, free booze.

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Daily News Stuff 9 August 2020

Ship Sun Boom Edition

Tech News

Disclaimer: Though to be fair, the Osborne 1 topped out at 16 cores.  If you bought 16 of them.

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Sunday, August 09


Daily News Stuff 8 August 2020

Zhentarim Spies Are Drow In Disguise Edition

Tech News

  • Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is an official sort-of-D&D game.  I say sort of because although the races and classes and characters are familiar from D&D (Minsc and Boo are in it) the skills and levels and damage rolls are completely made up.

    The way it works is that for each adventure, all your characters are reset to level 1, though you can earn favour with particular deities which lasts throughout a campaign and can sometimes be used to buy bonuses which apply to all campaigns.

    Except Zorbu.  Zorbu is different.  For each enemy he kills, he gets a tiny 0.01% damage bonus to future enemies of the same kind, and gets additional bonuses based on the total bonus for all kinds of enemies.  And while that bonus is small, it never resets.

    One particular kind of enemy is Drow.  Zorbu hates Drow almost as much as Netflix.  But Drow are a pretty rare enemy in the game, so it's hard to boost that bonus.

    What aren't rare are Zhentarim spies.  They're everywhere.  And guess what they turn out to be when you shoot them?

    Update: Waving my mouse pointer at them and reading the descriptions in the split second before they take an arrow to the knee crossbow bolt to the head, about one third of them are drow and the rest are human.  You can spot the drow once you know this because they have a tuft of white hair sticking out from under their hoods.

  • The Ryzen 7 Pro 4750G is definitely not a drow in disguise.  (Tom's Hardware)

    You can't buy it, since the Pro parts are OEM-only, and you can't buy the equivalent 4700G just yet because there aren't any.  But there are some floating around on the grey market and Tom's scooped one up and put it to the test.

    It's a 65W part (there's also a 35W version of most of these with the suffix GE) that uses 65W of power.  In load tests it pulled 58W using AVX on all cores, and 68W with the GPU at full load.  It's worth noting this because Intel's i7 10700F, also a 65W part, drew 153W under the same test.

  • AMD are flirting with 5GHz again.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Model numbers have been spotted for the upcoming Ryzen 4000 CPUs that indicate a 16-core part with a boost clock of 4.9GHz.  I'm sure AMD would love to hit 5GHz, not because that's a major performance boost, but because it looks a lot better on marketing slides.  But we can see what it does to power consumption by looking at the 10700F above.

    I call it the 95/90 rule: The first 95% of performance takes the first 90% of the TDP, and the last 5% takes the other 90%.

  • Google bought North, maker of the Focal smart glasses.  (TechDirt)

    They then killed the upcoming Focal 2 - and also all existing Focal 1 glasses.  Which are now permanently rendered dumb.

    Yes, Google did issue refunds, but they also permanently bricked a whole lot of working devices.

  • The Note 20 is a $1000 atrocity unless it isn't.  (WCCFTech)

    A number of people have been criticising the Note 20 - not the Note 20 Ultra, but the base model - for cutting corners that should not have been cut.  The Galaxy S20 has a better screen, better build quality, and in the international version a better CPU than the Note 20, for the same price.

  • Julia is production ready!  (GitHub)

    But can I finally statically compile and distribute my apps?


    Well.  Okay then.  Thanks.

    Julia is normally JIT compiled.  It uses type inferencing, and has the neat trick of compiling specialised versions of functions the first time they are called with a specific combination of types.  So one function can accept any size of int or float, and Julia will automatically produce efficient vectorised code for it on demand.

    That made static compilation tricky, and they've been working on it for a couple of years now.  It seems that it's finally ready for production.

    There's also a talk on using Julia for scripting while avoiding the JIT overhead.

  • Broken XML is a parser for broken XML.  (GitHub)

    One of those things that you really hope you never need but are happy exist, like life jackets on airplanes.

  • The Sabrent Rocket Q 8TB is a 7.68TB drive with 6.98TB of available storage.  (Serve the Home)

    Thanks for that, storage industry.

    Interestingly, the 4TB model from the same product range actually has 4TB (about 3.6TB); I'm guessing they added a couple of extra flash dies in there but couldn't do that on the 8TB model because they were at the controller limit.

    This is an M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 drive, so speeds are capped at around 3.5GB per second by the interface, and it achieves around 3.3GB per second in benchmarks.

    It's QLC, but it performs like a fast TLC drive (such as the Samsung 970 EVO Plus), because with so much raw storage Sabrent could enable an enormous psuedo-SLC cache.  Even at 99% full - the Achilles' heel of other QLC drives - it still nudged the 3GB per second mark.

    Just one tiny oint in the flyment: It costs fifteen hundred bucks.

  • Apple are anti-competitive and their excuses are horseshit, says...  The tame Apple press?  (Six Colors)

    Well, the exact phrasing used was
    let me be frank, a load of hooey
    But the feeling comes across.

  • Apple accidentally flagged a developer account as....  Something.  No details provided.  (

    This instantly and without notifying anyone revoked all the certificates for all his apps, causing them to show an alert that they "will damage your computer" and should be reported as malware.

    Nice passive-aggressive messaging there Apple, considering this was entirely your fault.

    Apple did fix it, which simply left the developer to recompile, re-sign, and resubmit all his apps, and all his customers to re-download and re-install them after having been told they were malware that would damage their computers.

  • While we're beating a dead Apple, the discussion on the latest WAN Show on the problems of getting a Floatplane app onto iOS is worth a listen.  (This segment starts at around 7:37, after they spend five minutes not realising they're live.)

    Essentially, there are two rules:

    1. You have to pretend that nothing exists outside of the app store.
    2. The application of Rule 1 is entirely arbitrary.

    Even if your app precisely replicates the functionality of an existing app and follows Rule 1 to the letter, chances are it will get rejected because Rule 2.

  • Classic Google Sites sites will die next year.  (9to5Google)

    This has been much better handled than is typical for Google.  A new version of Google Sites was released in 2016, and this shutdown only affects sites that were created in the older version that have not been converted using the online migration tool by September of next year.

    Can't really fault them for this.  It was originally launched in 2008 and is still supported as long as you migrate to the current version.

  • They're also shutting down Google Music, but that's been transitioned to YouTube Plus or whatever they're calling it this week, so it still works and you get ad-free YouTube.

    Also, I can apparently re-download the 5000 or so tracks I uploaded to them, which is good because they're not on my current computer or in Dropbox and I don't feel like going backup surfing.

  • Oh, right, the /1 and /2 is referring to function arity, not some weird internal versioning.

    Sorry, was reading up on Elixir.  It's slightly weird, but it's not quite that weird.

    I like the language, but I don't feel like facing Erlang stack traces, which - believe it or don't - are orders of magnitude worse than Java's.

Disclaimer: Possibly an order of magnitude of orders of magnitudes.

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Friday, August 07


Daily News Stuff 7 August 2020

Error 0 Edition

Tech News

  • One of our core database servers decided to start refusing connections today, after running without a hiccup for 18 months.  MySQL was working fine, the server was fine, storage array was fine, network was fine...  But about 20% of the time incoming network connections were rejected.

    I still have no idea what was going on, but it was bad enough that migrating the entire database to a new server on a Friday afternoon seemed like a good idea.  And as it turned out, it was.

  • Speaking of the shortages of AMD's APUs, PC Perspective had an interesting discussion today on their livestream.

    Short story shorter: AMD's laptop partners didn't order a whole lot of Ryzen 4000 APUs, and then sold everything they had almost immediately.

    They went back to AMD for more, but AMD had placed its wafer orders based on the OEM orders and there wasn't a whole lot more to be had.  Wafer orders have been increased, but the pipeline is about five months long.

    So the spare dies that were going to be sold as desktop APUs were suddenly not spare at all, and have been shuffled back into the laptop stream.  And that's why the desktop APU announcement was OEM-only, and why Lisa Su can confidently promise end-user shipments in the future - there's nothing wrong, they're just waiting for more wafers to pop out of the pipe.

  • Intel got hacked - sort of - and there's 20GB of confidential - sort of - documents floating around.  (AnandTech)

    Intel says the document dump is from their partner site where information is provided under NDA.  If they manage to track down who exfiltrated it all, someone is going to have a very bad day.

  • America has banned ByteDance (the company behind TikTok) and TenCent (the company behind everything else).  (Tech Crunch)

    The usual suspects are busy defending the surveillance operations of a genocidal fascist state.

  • The ASRock DeskMini X300 supports Ryzen 4000 APUs which as we just noted are not available.  (WCCFTech)

    At 6" x 6" x 3" it's bigger than a typical NUC, but that means it can pack in more stuff: Dual M.2 2280 slots and dual 2.5" drive bays.  And two SO-DIMM slots, but that's pretty standard.  DisplayPort, HDMI, and for some reason also VGA output, 4 USB ports, and either WiFi or an empty M.2 slot for a WiFi adaptor, depending on which model you buy.

    There's also an Intel version if you want that for some strange reason, like for example the chips actually exist in the marketplace.

  • Apple has forbidden game streaming services from iOS.  (The Verge)

    While I'm dubious - to say the least - of the promise of game streaming, the market where it would make sense is people who only own an iPhone or iPad.

    Apple are quite clear on their reasons for this: They want to paint as large a target as they possibly can for antitrust investigators.

    Because they are idiots.

Disclaimer: Well, idiots with a hundred billion dollars in the bank, so the proper term is "charmingly eccentric".

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Thursday, August 06


Daily News Stuff 6 August 2020

Wanwan Monogatari Edition

Tech News

  • The Samsung Note 20 is here.  (AnandTech)

    And cheap at just A$2199.  (For the 512GB Note 20 Ultra.)

    If the specs are correct, only the 4G Ultra version has microSD, and none of them have a headphone jack, so you're better off with something much cheaper if you care about such things.

  • Samsung also announced the Galaxy Tab S7.  (AnandTech)

    I want something smaller and cheaper, so naturally they went larger and more expensive, with 11" and 12.4" models.  They do have microSD slots but no headphone jack, because fuck you that's why.

  • Twitter locked the Trump campaign account after it correctly noted that very few children suffer from Wuhan Bat Soup Death Plague.  (Tech Crunch)

    Because fuck you that's why.

  • The new HP Envy 15 doesn't suck.  (

    It has the four essential keys in a good location.  Two Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, USB, microSD, and a fingerprint reader.

    The base model has a Core i7-1075H (6 cores / 12 threads), 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 1080p display, and a GTX 1650 for $1150.  Maxed out with an 8-core CPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, a 4K OLED display and an RTX 2060 it's a still pretty reasonable $1899.

    No AMD models.

  • But that might not be HP's fault.  (Slashdot)

    It seems that AMD has sold out of Ryzen APUs, and TSMC can't quickly ramp up production because they're busy churning out chips for the upcoming Xbox and Playstation launches.

  • The people responsible for sacking the people responsible, have been sacked.  (Vice)

    The online court hearing for the Florida teen accused of leading the recent Twitter hack, was itself hacked.  Well, "hacked" insofar as there wasn't even a password for the Zoom meeting.

  • The new 27" iMac and iMac Pro come with an option for a matte screen.  That matte finish costs as much as two entire 4K monitors from Acer.

Disclaimer: The House bill was pig doots and we chucked it.

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Wednesday, August 05


Daily News Stuff 5 August 2020

While Following An Invisible Cat I Was Run Over By A Truck Which Was Also On Fire And Now I'm A Ministry Of Agriculture Veterinarian In A World Where All The Animals Can Talk Edition

Tech News

  • Apple has released new iMacs.  (Tom's Hardware)

    They're 10th generation Intel models of the existing hardware, and they're not exactly cheap, with a fully-configured 27" system running to A$13,748.

    That does include an 8TB SSD, but since you can't upgrade the storage, you kind of have to.

  • Speaking of storage, Intel's 665p is gone.  (Tom's Hardware)

    The 660p gave decent performance (thanks to a large SLC cache) at an excellent price.  The 665p never came down to the same price, or even very close, so while it was slightly faster it was never an attractive purchase and I don't think it sold well.

  • Luau is Lua with types.  (GitHub)

    Lua is good.  Types are good.  I approve.  From the people behind Roblox.

  • The average load time for web pages is a universal constant.  (NNGroup)

    It doesn't matter how fast you make the server, the client, or the connection between them, because the controlling factor is whether the user is willing to wait. 

    Pixy's First Law of Load Times: Web pages expand to fill user patience.

  • SpaceX launched a grain silo.  (Ars Technica)

    Well, it's supposedly a Starship with just one engine and without the external skin or control surfaces, but it looks like a grain silo.

    Because of the layout the engine array will take in the final version, the one engine is off-center, and the software needs to dynamically control for that to keep the ship on course.

    It took off and landed without a hitch, so it seems that part works.

  • Samsung is launching a bunch of stuff today too, though most of it will not reach orbit.  (ZDNet)

    The roundup is expected to include the Note 20 and the new Fold device.

Disclaimer: Just imagine it, chatting with a griff in griffonese.

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