Archive for July, 2015

anybody know where I can get spares of these beads?

A piece of costuming that I use for some gigs – mostly Leannan Sidhe gigs – threw one of the ring-type beads that are used in tying up the front. It’s just flat gone – no sign of it – so I need a replacement.

I think they’re shell. I’ve been a few places trying to match them with no joy and with the stores not having anywhere to suggest. So… any crafters or beaders out there seen these recently?

Failing that, anybody have a similar? I was thinking maybe niobium – but I’d rather keep what’s there now if I can. (Also, I haven’t seen any that would work.)

who has more smug than any other kitty mug?

George, that’s who.

Click for larger

what do you do with a broken hard drive?

I had already queued this post for today, back on Monday. Intel’s announcement on Tuesday – see previous post – made it even more appropriate.

♪ What do you do with a broken hard drive? ♪
♪ What do you do with a broken hard drive? ♪
♪ What do you do with a broken hard drive, ♪
♪ once it eats your data? ♪

Well, thanks to Boris L. on Facebook, I know know that you can turn it into a microphone. I don’t even know what to think about that. XD

this Intel announcement is inadequately appreciated

Intel have announced inventing a new type of memory technology, the first in decades. They claim it has 10 times the density of existing SSD memory; they are starting fabrication at 128Gb per dye. Intel’s press release says it is three orders of magnitude more durable as well, and three orders of magnitude faster.

This is a huge deal. With this, terabytes are the new K (or new M, if you prefer). But let’s leave that aside for the moment.

That speed means that this new RAM is faster than current system RAM, by about an order of magnitude. Which means there will no longer be an important difference between system RAM and long-term storage. The whole idea of long-term (disc: large, but slow) vs. short-term (RAM: fast, but small) storage becomes completely artificial. It’s all large, it’s all non-volatile (meaning stays when powered off), it’s all fast.

This changes everything about software development. If – and it is a huge if, like, this huge:


…what they’re announcing is true, there hasn’t been a breakthrough like this in the field in decades. This isn’t “better USB drives.” This is a new universe.

I mean, what do you compare this to? The hard drive, maybe? It kind of undoes the hard drive as a separate device, but I don’t think that goes far enough. It resets so many basic ideas about software and hardware development that you may in fact have to go all the way to the very concept of interactive computing to get something bigger. (Interactive, as opposed to batch, where you submitted code and waited for printed output to see what happened.)

No, Really, It Actually Was Like This

And this is just the first generation. At 10 times current storage density, that’s a big skip ahead in Moore’s Law (doubling every two years? Nah, let’s double three times next year alone, instead), and is getting close to “all the storage you want forever.”

You’re also seeing a massive elimination of fragility. That has tremendous value in and of itself. People think of the internet as forever, but that’s not true – that’s only for things that enough people care about to store individually that the resulting redundancy makes up for the intrinsic fragility of previous computer storage systems. 1000 times more durable than existing SSD puts it far, far past the lifespans of magnetic media – it gets you into paper range.

I have archive drives. They are about to be utterly obsolete. The whole concept of ‘delete’ is now pointless, except organisationally.

This changes the way file systems are written. This changes the way processors are made. They’ve got a bus that can handle the RAM bandwidth internally, so presumably – hopefully! – that extends out to a motherboard system bus. Think about that. The first products are going to be PCIe storage expansion, but that’s just because PCIe is the fastest interface out there now. It’s far behind what this new memory type can deliver.

I mean, once you’re designing for this kind of storage, do CPU caches have a point anymore? I don’t even know. (And as an aside: VMs become hilarious. SURE HAVE SOME WHY NOT) If the RAM bus that will go with this is moving at the speed of the RAM – which is, again, faster than anything we have now – then the only savings in the end is raw distance and speed of electron travel. That’s certainly not zero, so may make it worthwhile. I don’t know.

In my head I’m seeing processors basically treating all of storage as on-chip cache, and doing it with as many processors as you want. Hell, do new types of processors optimised for this storage paradigm even need registers anymore? I imagine so, but it’s a question worth asking.

So, yeah. If they deliver, you can short Seagate, short Western Digital, short Hitachi – or, as Fishy said, “short Thailand.” In this environment, what even is magnetic media lol other than “It’s been fun, guys; you are now niche players.”

Test quantities this year to developers. Product next year. PREPARE FOR REBOOT!

introduction to the business meeting

For all those who are considering going to the World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting (as I suggested might be necessary regarding the Hugo awards), Kevin Standlee has produced this ten minute video on business meeting procedures. It is dry, as such things tend to be, but please do give it your time. This is how the meeting is run, full stop, and you need to know.

There is far more sitting than I am comfortable with doing. Such is life. I didn’t know about that, so really, if you’re going to the meeting, watch the video.

a history of recording through 1950

Courtesy the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music, enjoy a lovely history of recording through 1950. Lots of sample recordings you can listen to, including essentially-hifi recordings made live on 78s towards the end of that technology cycle. (Did you know a 78rpm live-recording shellac disc could record 14khz tones? Neither did I. That’s about where FM radio tops out, for comparison purposes. SURPRISE)

There are a couple of illustrative mp3s showing the difference between purely-mechanical recording and “electronic” recording – the move from acoustic horns to microphones, basically. Still no tape or ability to edit; throughout this entire era it’s still horns-or-live-mics-to-etched-master-disc. But the appearance of electric microphones in 1924 changed everything, and to be able to hear it on from-the-era recordings is just amazing.

(And if you’re seeing this on Livejournal or Dreamwidth, the Korra icon I’m using with this post is basically one of the kinds of microphones they’d’ve been using in the early electric recordings, preserved here. Cool. huh?)

yakkity max

This is genius. No, really, this is genius. Hit play.

Courtesy Kathryn T. on Facebook. 😀

okay that windows thing from earlier? NOTHING. Not compared to this.

Almost every Android phone can be p0wned by sending it a text. Many of them can be p0wned completely silently, and in most cases, you don’t have to interact with it – as soon as you look at the text, your phone is theirs.

This goes back to Android 2.2, inclusive. It’s a whole set of disastrous security holes, all in one platform. That whole Windows thing I posted about earlier is nothing compared to this. Nothing. This is an unmitigated disaster.

I mean, I’m looking at this from a security environment and just… how do you even fix this? Aside from the fact – fact – that Android phone manufacturers are absolutely infamous for never rolling out OS updates, much less security updates, the sheer number of pending p0wned devices – around one billion – kind of boggles the mind.

The only good thing about it is that battery lives and screen breakage will retire most of these devices sometime over the next three years. That’s how long this will echo around, because we can reasonably well assume the patch rate will be negligible.

something you'll never see again – fantastic four 1994

VICE has an article up about the long-missing Roger Corman-produced Fantastic Four film from 1992, including the actual film. It’s ripped from a bootleg VHS copy which may be the only one left, as the negative – reportedly – was burned. Get to it before a DMCA notice is served.

I have to tell you, particularly for a film so legendarily bad, it’s not really that bad. At least, not the first 20 minutes or so I’ve watched. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a good movie – seriously, it’s not – but I’ve seen way worse, and I’ve seen way worse in theatres. Also, the effects are fairly terrible, but it was produced for about a nickel, so what do you expect with that budget in 1994?

oh for the love of

So, yeah, Windows 10, looking pretty decent, has some issues, but Cortana looks pretty fun and I’ll want to try that, and there’s games testing about to happen that will be relevant, but whatever.

And then I see this.

What the hell, Microsoft? What the hell. Even if – okay, I’m sure this is true – corporate machines can or will have this turned off by default by administrators, this is still a mind-bogglingly bad decision. Even laying aside the whole ‘people don’t want to automatically share their home network passwords to EVERYONE THEY’VE EVER MET EVER’ thing, people use personal machines at work.

I’d add commentary about people using phones at work too, but then I remembered it’s Windows Phone, so nevermind. But the laptop thing? Oh yeah.

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