Category Archives: Indulgence

The World’s Largest Building North of Seattle Still Produces the Boeing 747

By Maurice King – Boeing Widebody assembly plant, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4118798

In the 1960’s Pan American World Airways wanted a “jumbo” jet and they pushed Boeing hard to create it, dangling a $525 million contract. Risking the company to do so, and building the world’s largest building by volume just north of Seattle, Boeing designed and created the world’s first jumbo jet, the 747.

Though it changed aviation, the 747’s excellent design means it’s still used as a versatile workhorse even today. Trump’s new Presidential plane will be a 747.

This factory still rolls out planes, including Boeing’s newest. The parts are sourced from companies both domestically and around the globe in a logistical tangle of millions of parts from suppliers, to time schedules, to varying technical requirements.

Not only is Boeing good at building planes, it’s unparalleled in its ability to manage extraordinarily complex manufacturing projects. This is why Boeing so often leads large national projects, such as the ISS, as the prime systems integrator between all the contractors.

I’ve never actually toured the plant up there past Everett, Washington. But I think I’ll make it my next excursion. My dad worked most of his life at Boeing, so it holds a special place.

Italy’s Army Wants to Grow More Powerful Pot for it Citizens

Italy can’t keep up with its citizen’s demand for marijuana. Perhaps getting high is the one way Italians can cope with all the immigrants? Actually, it’s for “medical marijuana”. And the army has a monopoly on growing it. Also, the EU won’t let citizens grow their own pot. Maybe they’re afraid the Italians will take long afternoon naps? ?

Interestingly, Italy started buying pot from Holland for its citizens, and then everyone realized how much better Dutch pot was than Italy’s army pot. So now they Italian army is upping their game and growing a new strain that promises to be “3 times as powerful”.

There’s talk they may start buying from Canada. Now that would be an improvement. But, nothing as good as Washington State pot. Let me know when you want to talk, Mr. Italy uniform big-boys. We’ll make you an offer… ?

Source: PBS News Hour Report: Italy’s only medical marijuana producer can’t keep up with demand

AMD Ryzen 1800x Performance and Experience

A couple days ago I purchased an AMD Ryzen 1800x CPU as part of a new system build. Having more that 4 physical cores is very important to me since I do a lot simultaneously, including virtualization. That’s why I stuck with my last AMD 8350 for so long. It’s been a great workhorse and still performs very well, especially on heavy loads.

I’ve heard mixed results from people about DDR4 memory speeds usable by the Ryzen CPUs – that they are very picky about memory and can never reach 3200 MHz. I had no trouble reaching 3200 MHz, and with a CAS Level 14 as well! I chose the G.Skill Flare series memory which purports to be Ryzen AM4 oriented, and which was in my motherboard’s tested models as well.

The motherboard I chose was, at first, the Asrock x370 Taichi. I wanted a motherboard with a good reputation, good features and a good price. I also wanted it to support ECC memory, as the Asrock boards do. Although I wasn’t buying ECC memory now, I tend to turn these AMD multicore systems into servers down the road, and having the capability in place makes me sleep better. πŸ˜‰

The trouble is, I could never find the Asrock x370 Taichi in stock – it was always sold out. So I decided to buy the Asrock board which is the top-of-the-line x370 board instead, the Asrock Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming. It was a little more expensive, but it tended to be in stock, and it had a couple added features I liked: dual UEFI capabilities and it also had an extra 5gig network interface.

I had such good luck with my old Asrock board on the AMD 8350 system that this new Ryzen is replacing that I was confident going with Asrock again. I think these guys are my top favorite brand now after trying them in several different machines and form factors. The Asrock Fatal1ty x370 motherboard was a real pleasure to see and hold. You can tell some serious, solid work went into making these things. I have little doubt that the quality here is what made memory overclock so easily, too. And the CPU. Flawless and solid. I bet the Taichi x370 model would be the same.

The first thing I did after assembling the system was to enter the UEFI and use Asrock’s built-in network UEFI update utility to get the latest BIOS version. I love that you don’t even need to install an OS or mess with USB keys to update Asrock UEFIs. After doing this and rebooting into the latest UEFI, I just selected the memory profile for 3200 speed, and that’s it! Nothing else. Not one bit of hassle. I really have to hand it to G.Skill too for those nice modules. And they are fast with CL 14.

Asrock x370 Fatal1ty UEFI Screen

After this, I just bumped up the CPU base clock frequency from 3.6 to 4.0 GHz. Didn’t even change the default voltages. Touched nothing else. And there it was – perfectly stable. I’m very, very pleased with this CPU and motherboard. πŸ™‚ I have never had a little bit of overclocking go so easily.

And power use? It’s just sipping power right now as I type this, with very little else going on. The CPU, a Radeon Fury video card, an LG Ultrawide monitor, a Corsair H110i water cooler/pump with its 2 fans and 4 additional fans in the case — all of that is drawing 105 Watts, 113 Watts and 121 Watts — it keeps alternating between those 3 values.

Ambient temperature in the room right now is 23C — the CPU is 32C. When I ran the CPU benchmarks shown below, the highest temperature the CPU reached was 42C very briefly. I’d say I probably have a lot of overclocking room if I want to.

I have to say, my experience with the the AMD Ryzen 8100x has been a real joy, especially when paired with this Asrock board. I can certainly feel a zippyness in normal use over the 8350, especially in such silly things as scrolling a web browser on a page full ads πŸ˜‰ Not even one little stutter with this machine.

I haven’t installed Linux on it just yet – that will happen after I’m done typing this. But Windows 10 works wonderfully. And I really like this Ultra M.2 SSD. I went with the Corsair Force MP500. My Linux system will be on a normal Crucial MX200 SSD I’ll be installing.

So, the performance of using this thing — very fast and responsive. And you can load it up too, and not even notice. I’ve tried the gaming and recording at the same time – couldn’t even tell the difference.

For benchmarks I like to use actual CPU benchmarks and not just how many FPS a game might have. I used the AIDA64 suite here, which is a really thorough set of testing and system cataloging software. I’m going to have to buy a copy I think — I like the whole inventory aspect they have too for your systems.

Anyway, this Ryzen 8100x system performs absolutely, completely stellar on the benchmarks. It’s right up their with incredibly expensive 16 and more systems on most, and always right up toward the top. Of particular note, and importance to me, is its performance on AES encryption — nothing can touch it. This will be wonderful for full disk encryption on the Linux side. πŸ™‚

I’ll include screen shots of all the benchmarks – I ran every one in the suite, just once, except for 1 I ran 3 times because I accidentally kicked off Thunderbird. Hopefully this might help someone who’s thinking about getting one. I honestly couldn’t be happier, particularly considering what I’m getting for the money! And I’m happy to have some solid new AMD tech. This system really feels well engineered.

FPU Julia
FPU VP8
AES
CPU PhotoWorxx
CPU Queen
CPU ZLib
FP32 Ray Trace
FP64 Ray Trace
Hash
FPU SinJulia
Mandel
Memory Read
Memory Write
Memory Copy
Memory Latency

A Satellite Dream

I had a dream that a guy was having surgery to place all kinds of electronic equipment inside his body, all over, including antennas, so that he could be a satellite.

The doctors were happy to do it, because it was something new. They wrinkled up all the skin around his shoulders and chest with a long, thick wire. He was wincing a little.

He said the only drawback so far is that it gave him scoliosis in a few places in his spine, and he felt heaver and it was hard to move because the metal inside always seemed to move separately from his flesh.

EFF’s Web Browser Tracking Tester – My Results

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced an update to Panopticlick 2.0 — a web-based utility that analyzes your web browser’s current capabilities, settings and behavior as it is visible to outside people, to help you understand how your privacy is maintained.

It’s an interesting question, the issue of privacy, when considering the accessibility and use of so many “free” services. The fact is, our privacy is the currency we often trade in money’s stead.

This growing realization is prompting many people to find ways to start protecting their privacy. This is a challenge, despite whatever means they discover, particularly considering the largest marketing company around, Google, also provides people with the most widely-used web browser, Chrome.

Running Panopticlick 2.0 from the Chrome web browser yielded the following result for me:

Chrome Web Tracking

It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect. I don’t, however, use Google’s Chrome browser, except when I have no choice, which Google makes sure is often enough. For example, you can’t edit your photos stored on Google unless you use Chrome. You can’t use hangouts unless you use Chrome. Or use Google Voice. And if you’re using Linux, in order to use Chrome, you must give Google root access to your computer by installing Chrome as a system repository.

So I use Firefox for nearly everything that isn’t a Google service, as a sort of compromise. I actually find Firefox is a much better experience for me, too, regardless of ethical considerations. I also use the EFF’s Privacy Badger plugin, which helps thwart tracking. The result of the same test run above with Firefox, using Privacy Badger is the following:

Web Tracking with Privacy Badger

I honestly don’t mind ads on sites, as long as they are not obtrusive or intrusive — or malicious. And Google provides some of the least obtrusive ads out there. However, they also provide some of the most intrusive, in that they know the most about you.

I use Google’s Ads on my site here. Despite getting around 100 or so visits per day, I haven’t made any money from them yet. Not one cent. Yet I’m giving Google the information that you’ve come here to read this. Unless, of course, you’re using something like Privacy Badger to block the ads, like I am. πŸ˜‰ I don’t know how much you could really block using an add-on, if you’re using Google’s Chrome browser though.

As an interesting aside, I ran this test on Microsoft’s Edge web browser. It surprised me! They actually have some partial protection for people going on. Well done Microsoft!

Web Tracking Microsoft Edge

The funny thing is, if you click on “Install Privacy Badger” in Microsoft Edge, you get taken to the Google Chrome store to install a Chrome plugin. The EFF really needs to fix that.