TWIT 811: Big Brick Energy

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

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The social networks blocking news in Australia seems like a bad move in terms of media literacy. If people are forced to go to the news sites then what does that do to media literacy? If we can see what sources people are using to justify being anti-vaccination, because they are sharing them, then we can debunk them. I wonder if these rules affect all social networks and forums or just Facebook and Google?

Maybe fewer people will be exposed to anti-vaccine stuff if they’re forced to seek it out rather than having it fill their newsfeed. Seeing where people get this stuff doesn’t seem to help anyway; I don’t think many people on Facebook are changing their minds by having things “debunked”. But there are plenty of other reasons why this Australian law and what has happened is terrible.


For a tech podcast I am sometimes surprised by the discussions about crypto. I’m by far no expert but I’d like to clear a few things up @Leo
First, I could be wrong, but most mining at home is not bitcoin. Bitcoin mining got into an area of difficulty where you needed purpose built ASICs a long time ago and I don’t think ANY GPU today can hold a candle to those. This was the case back in 2018, can’t imagine what it is today.
This has been the case for a long time now as well but you do not mine alone these days, at least not on any valuable coins. You mine as part of a pool which as a whole solves the problems and you get a cut of the block the entire pool discovers. The size of your cut is how many cycles you’ve contributed to the work. It’s pretty much exactly like SETI or Folding at home was. You get a small part of the problem to solve, your GPU does the work and you submit it for a payout.
My GPU mines in an ethereum pool which uses some version eth-hash algo. I do my little bit of work and get the cut paid to me in the Eth I mined, so I get ethereum. I don’t have any experience with this but some places (nicehash I think) you mine this “nicehash” protocol and they are deciding what coin your cycles go to. You get paid in BTC. And I’m talking like, with my 2060, it would be 0.00002 of a btc/day or something like that. Right now I can make a few $ per day basically. These algorithms are designed to still be mineable via GPU and so ppl are grabbing GPUs like crazy.
If you want to see the crypto tax on GPUs look no further that AMD RX580 cards. In order to mine Eth your GPU needs at least 6GB of RAM. The 580 is still a decent little card for mining, particularly if you put a few of them together, as a result you can get a 4GB card for like $100 or something but the 8GB versions are in the order of $4-500 CAD.

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Perseverance is actually the 5th rover on Mars (Pathfinder, Opportunity, Spirit, Curiosity).


Anyone else having trouble downloading TWiT 811? I’m using the Downcast app on my MacBook Pro & it just keeps spinning & spinning on the update.

It downloaded fine in Pocketcasts on my iPad…

Audio or video? TWiT has switched to Megaphone for audio and they seem to have some reliability problems with their servers, I had the same issue with Windows Weekly last week.

Video. Here’s the link I’m using: This Week in Tech (Video)

That’s the generic RSS feed for video - just subscribed in my newsreader and it worked. Not sure what’s going on at your end. I suspect you might have some privacy/security software that is blocking one of the redirects.

Make sure you whitelist:

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I am not running any type of privacy/security software that I am aware of. MBW & TWiG both download just fine. I completely deleted the previous TWiT link I had & re-searched in Downcast for it. Selected download & I get the same problem, just can’t refresh TWiT. I will just let it run for a while, maybe it will eventually connect.

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Just installed Downcast for iOS and the Mac app, searched for This Week in Tech. Found the Video feed, subscribed. It’s downloading in both now. Video plays back on both platforms.

I am baffled.

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It did finally download overnight. No clue why it took so long. I do love Downcast as it allows me to create playlists & sync between my iPhone & MacBook Pro. Thanks all for checking for me. The TWiT army is great!

I think the office of the future will be a few cubicles and/or offices with a huge conference room and a place for special equipment you wouldn’t have at home. That way you can collaborate or have physical meetings when necessary. This works when most of the employees are within driving distance of the office. It most certainly would alleviate traffic jams if people worked from home most of the time. Of course, it all depends on what your job is. This is mainly for people who use a computer all day.

Cryptocurrency has been around long enough these video card makers should have been able to scale up and meet the demand of the miners and the gamers by now. Crippling a device just because you don’t like who is buying it is a terrible thing to do.

Also, don’t worry about those Amazon warehouse jobs. With a $15 minimum wage and workers trying to unionize they will be replaced with robots along with almost every other entry-level job. Why would a fast food place or a grocery store pay someone that amount of money when you can just get a kiosk and make your customers do the data entry.

The discussion of Amazon was excellently confusing to me.

First, Amazon workers have a plight in terms of work conditions. Which I agreed with. Second, well, they could change jobs. Which I agreed with. Third, there are no other jobs. Which I agreed with. Fourth, we still buy at Amazon since we’re comfortable. Which I agreed with. Fifth, they are paid quite well. Which I agreed with. Sixth, but that does not mean it should be hell to work at. Which I agreed with.

A podcast shortening algorithm might conclude that the essence is: Amazon is a place where people work. And: warehouse jobs are neither comfortable nor generously paid. News at 11. The rest cancels out, somehow. A wonderful roller-coaster of a discussion of six sharp turns that all can agree with. Goes to show that tech companies and their implications seldomly are unidimensional. (Which is precisely why Jeff’s unidimensional views on TWIG sometimes drive me up the walls.)

Put that discussion right in front of the report of Brianna’s newest Porsche 911 Targa “Covid Project” and you’ve got some tension in the mind of listeners. I suppose it was not intended and just occurred this way, but there was some Hunger-Games-esque style going on there. :wink: Not to bask in that hard light, Leo pointed to the awkwardness of big purchases in times of wide-spread problems. In my mind, it’s one of those “that’s life” moments. Enjoy your success while it lasts. Other times will come. Still, makes for some… discerning listening. Like tannins in good wine.

PS: I should watch my wine analogies - there have been threads on increased drinking during Covid already. Glad this still only influences my analogy-usage.


Very well summarised.

I worked at a company a couple of years ago and I was talking to one of their warehouse operators, he complained that his father was also a warehouse operator and he could afford to support his family on his wages, but today, both he and his wife have to work full time to be able to support the family and keep up the house payments.

I’m not talking about a luxury mansion, I’m talking about a normal, 3 bedroom house, 1 bathroom, kitchen, dining and living room, a small garden and maybe a garage and a family with 2 children. Earning power, generally, has decreased dramatically over the last 30 - 40 years, for the average worker. Those working in Silicon Valley are outliers in the IT industry, for example - although even with the extremely high salaries they earn, they also have a much higher cost of living.

Manual workers in general, unless they are lucky to be working somewhere like Volkswagen, are generally much worse off than a generation or two ago - but probably better off than 200 years ago. Clerical workers probably fall into this category as well. Only “technology” workers seem to be able to get a decent salary these days, yet those manual jobs are much more important to the wellbeing of the human race than technology workers, in general - there would be a big drop of quality of life if we stopped using software, but the drop would be much more severe without food and the tools and logistics to produce it.

The pay difference between C-suite employees and “normal” employees is getting bigger all the time.


Maybe: the pay difference between those whose work’s value can be scaled and those whose work’s value cannot be scaled gets bigger. Which is a great incentive to train yourself to get into a well scaling profession.

This always reminds me of a past president’s election platform of “getting miners back into mines” as one of the more cynical initiatives.

At the same time, there are heartwarming old TV reports from the time of the introduction of automated ticket machines in the local public transport system of Zurich. ( , sorry, German only) The former employees were asked if they felt their jobs would disappear soon. They said: oh well, we shall see. Of course, there are still many people employed checking tickets in busses, trains, and trams.

I wonder if we sometimes move to slowly and retain too many legacy roles and positions for the sake of softening the blow but prolonging the problem. This would mean for Amazon: why on earth did they not yet automate this warehouses? Because it’s much more expensive, most likely.

That’s the irony of big tech: whenever it’s not profitable enough, big tech turns very, very low tech (just like the saying about AI’s true meaning) and retains the big tech label only for image reasons. It’s not big tech, it’s big business with some tech.


Very well put @pinter. I legit made an account because I felt the same. It pains me to hear people refer to mining bitcoins at home. And nobody has corrected this each previous time it was mentioned. I hope they get it right on the next show.

Cryptocurrencies are optimized for mining by ether GPU, CPU or even Hard Drive (BURST).

The majority of home mining is GPU based altcoins which are smaller, less popular cryptocurrencies optimized for GPU number crunching and then traded for Bitcoin. Bitcoin used to be mined by CPU/GPU in the early days. Today, as @pinter mentioned, it’s all mined by “application-specific integrated circuit” (ASIC) usually run in countries or areas with free electricity because profitability is so difficult".

In 2018 I was deep into mining Ethereum, SIA, Musiccoin, and other small coins. You usually join a pool as explained above and get portions of the profit.

Today I tore down my mining rig and just have 3 GPUs in my main computer. When I’m not using it, NiceHash fires up automatically and lends my 3 GPUs to mining whatever the profitable coin is at the moment. My hashing power is rented to buyers who want to buy the coins I’m mining. I pay a percentage to NiceHash for doing all the invisible behind the scenes work. Nicehash pays me in Bitcoin. Sure I could make more mining myself, but I don’t have time for that anymore and Nicehash keeps all the mining software up to date.

Today, with an electricity cost average of $0.15/kwh, I profit around $7/day CAD on a computer I leave on all day long anyway. As crypto prices go up, so does my profitability.

On another note, I don’t remember if it was mentioned on this show, but the new “crypto mining” GPU from Nvidia is annoying because at least when I’m done with my GPUs I can sell them to gamers (keeping one for myself :wink: )at a discount and they have a nice second use to someone who wants to game. The dumb CMP cards will be tossed in the landfill once people decide to stop mining with them since there’s no video ports.

Also, their threat to “block” mining on the RTX 3060 only works for Ethereum based algorithms, of which there are many sure, but does not address all the other algorithms that can be mined on GPU, so it will still probably be used for mining. That plus their claim of being “unhackable” is only a challenge request. Someone will get it mining in Linux I am sure.

Anyway, otherwise good show. Just please try to keep up TWIT. This news is more than 2 years old as @pinter stated. Or maybe have a crypto expert come on to give a quick opinion on some of these things. Crypto is still relevant.

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