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January 30, 2023

Daily Tech News 30 January 2023

Top Story

  • Salesforce - yes, that Salesforce - is using AI to develop enzymes that can digest plastic and bacteria and has published the source code on GitHub so that anyone else can do the same. (Neowin)

    Grey goo anyone?

    Enzymes don't reproduce themselves - or at least I don't know of any enzymes that can reproduce themselves, though given the existence of prion diseases (enzymes and prions are both proteins) I would be reluctant to state that it is impossible - so you have to keep producing the enzyme somehow and the reaction can't just take over and melt the world.

    Unless you genetically engineer a microbe to produce the enzyme.

    Which nobody is crazy enough to attempt. The world is peaceful and stable and not at all run entirely by a coterie of imbeciles and lunatics.

    Well, it's been a good run. See you all in the next simulation.

  • No major kidney stones today or over the weekend - though a smaller one did make a brief appearance and then pass without comment.

    So I have a migraine instead.

    Which is fine. My migraines pass of their own accord so long as I sit in a dark room for three hours or so and don't, uh, use a computer.

Tech News

  • The ASRock NUCS BOX-1360P/D4 is as the name would suggest a NUCS - definitely not a NUC, that doesn't appear to be trademarked by Intel but best to play it safe - with a 1360P, a 13th generation laptop CPU (or maybe a 12th generation laptop CPU rebranded, I'm not sure yet since this is the first such device to appear), and ECC. (AnandTech)

    All DDR5 memory has internal ECC, which protects (somewhat) against data errors within the memory chip, but not against data errors that happen on the bus between the CPU and the RAM. You can get DDR5 ECC modules for servers, and there are probably unbuffered DDR5 ECC modules for desktop CPUs though since Intel doesn't support ECC on desktops and AMD doesn't officially support ECC on desktops the market for those is not huge and good luck finding any.

    Except... It turns out that Intel does support ECC on desktops (except that it doesn't, more on that in a moment); it just doesn't support ECC memory. What it does instead is take regular memory, encode the ECC separately, and write that ECC data to a reserved area in the same RAM rather than to an additional RAM chip added for the purpose (or in the case of DDR5, two chips).

    And... It works. It does slow down the system a bit and use about 3% of your RAM to store the extra ECC data, but it corrects single bit errors and detects double-bit errors... At which point your computer crashes because Windows has no idea what to do with any of this nonsense.

  • Build your own Redis. (Build Your Own)

    Here's one I built* earlier.

    It's a book explaining how to rather than a sensible suggestion, rather like a detailed guide to constructing Chartres Cathedral when that building rather notably already exists and has done so for eight centuries.

    Though if you were going to build your own Redis, it might not be the worst possible idea to replace the hash table as the primary data structure with, say, an AVL tree, so that you can fucking find the data after you have stored it.

    Also it might be handy if Chartres Cathedral had wheels so that it could be moved to a more sensible location during winters.

    * That is, downloaded and compiled.

Disclaimer: I see that Redis now has wheels and Chartres Cathedral has self-organising storage buckets. This is not quite what I had in mind but I will not quibble.
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