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September 04, 2021

Daily Tech News 4 September 2021

Top Story

  • Susprised by backlash from every sentient being in the entire galaxy and even some journalists, Apple has postponed its plans to (checks notes) spy on children. (MacRumors)

    Not cancelled, mind you. They are still 100% committed to spying on children. They just need time to recalibrate their spin.


  • I used to listen to tech podcasts all the time, and stopped last year because (a) they were getting dull because all the tech companies suck, (b) they were becoming overtly political and most of the commentators are closet commies, and (c) Hololive.

    One example of what I mean is Jeff Jarvis, who was (maybe still is) a regular on This Week in Google - and who teaches at a journalism school funded by Facebook.

    Let's see what kind of person Jeff is.

    Yeah. Not wasting my time on that.

    And if you ever wondered how journalism in the US came to be what it is today, it was through being taught by professors like Jeff.




Tech News

  • The new best small laptop may be the HP Pavilion Aero. (PC Magazine)

    A 1kg / 2.2lb 13" laptop isn't that new - I have an LG model from 6 years ago that fits those specs - but this one ticks all the other boxes as well.

    Up to an 8 core Ryzen 5800U, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and a 2560x1600 display covering 100% of sRGB. The charging jack is on the right, but if it can charge from the USB-C on the left that's not a problem.

    This being HP, the Four Essential Keys are present and in their proper place. And it's available in four colours if you care about such things - silver, white, gold, and rose gold.

    It starts at around $680 right now - with 6 cores, 8GB/256GB, and a 1920x1200 screen - with a maxed-out configuration going for $1050.

    But because there's a universal law that we can't have nice things, it has no SD card slot. Sure, you can get a little USB adaptor for a few dollars, but what the fuck, HP? You almost had it, and you threw it away.

    For a change this is actually available in Australia - though only a single configuration at present - and is not yet in stock in HP's US online store.


  • Speaking of the Four Essential Keys, I thought the MSI Modern 14 had 'em. There they are on the right of the main layout, just where you'd want them.

    Then I took a look. Insert? Delete? What the hell? Bad MSI! No biscuit!


  • Intel's 12th generation desktop CPUs are launching on November 19. (WCCFTech)

    Just in time to be out of stock for Christmas.

    On the one hand, these will bring welcome updates including DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, on the other hand, leaked tests indicate that they are every bit as power hungry as existing 9th, 10th, and 11th gen parts and not all that much faster.


  • If you're running Gzip on a recent IBM mainframe, it just got orders of magnitude faster. (Phoronix)

    One of the things that IBM does with its mainframe CPUs is shovel in dedicated hardware for common functions. Every CPU these days implements hardware for encryption, but compression is uncommon.

    I wonder if this extends to ZFS. Gzip compression works great with ZFS, but if you copy terabytes of data over a very fast link it also puts a substantial load on the CPU.


  • An open letter to Microsoft: Stop putting ads in Windows, you fucking retards. (Bleeping Computer)

    If you're annoyed with ads on websites breaking page layouts, you ain't seen nothing. A promotion for Microsoft Teams broke the explorer, taskbar and start menu on preview builds of Windows 11.

    It wasn't an update, it just broke. And it stayed broken even if you completely reinstalled your computer.

    Paul Thurrott has more. He's more polite than I am but equally unimpressed.


  • Mass exploits of a bug in Atlassian Confluence are underway. (ZDNet)

    Happy Labor Day long weekend, sysadmins! Glad you got three hours of sleep, because you're going to need it!

    Atlassian used to have a program where small teams could get any of their products for $10 per year. Obviously it's a "first dose is free" thing, but if your company has had a small developer team for years and isn't growing, it might still be attractive.

    This sort of thing makes it less so - any authenticated user, or possibly just anyone on the network, could run any code they wanted on the company's Confluence server.

    Which if that server is connected to the internet and not behind a VPN DON'T EVER DO THAT means you're completely screwed.


  • Apple is discovering the cost of hiring progressive lunatics: They're facing an investigation from the US Labor Board for (checks notes) putting crazy people on paid leave. (Engadget)

    Where can I get a gig like that? Full pay for zero hours per week sounds like a rather cushy deal.


  • The chief software officer - the first such - of the US Air Force has quit because the senior staff of the US military are idiots. (The Register)

    And if he expected anything else, he is also an idiot.


  • A hacker scammed a victim out of over $300,000 for a fake Banksy NFT by the clever trick of listing the NFT on Banksy's own website. (BBC)

    They did return the funds (less postage and packing). But anyone who is dropping $300k on an NFT is going to get fleeced again tomorrow anyway.


  • I was going to say this article was obvious horseshit, but I took a look and it might actually just be normal competent engineering with a bad headline. (Fast Company)

    The claim is a new wind turbine design can capture five times the energy of existing turbines. I thought at first that this was claiming five times the efficiency, which is impossible. Instead, it's a new design made up of multiple smaller - but still huge - rotors, that collects more energy than a current single large turbine because it's the size of 20 football fields.

    Which breaks no laws of physics and will probably actually work.



Disclaimer: In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
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