Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- January 2021

Thu Dec 31 12:58:54 +0000 2020 (#)

RT @yaakov_h: [BLOG] Dates are an utter nightmare and YYYY is worse than I thought:

What even is a year, anyway?

Thu Dec 31 20:36:31 +0000 2020 (#)

RT @Scott_Helme: My crystal ball didn’t give me any insightful InfoSec tidbits for 2021 so I took some cool photos instead!…

Fri Jan 01 19:29:31 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @_rsc: This post by @apenwarr contains an incredible amount and is worth reading.

Fri Jan 01 19:29:46 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @PowerDNS_Bert: In this post, we'll reverse-engineer the actual mRNA code of the @BioNTech_Group/@pfizer SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, character f…

Fri Jan 01 20:03:13 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @theavalkyrie: Here it is: my deep dive into the design of the Roland Juno digitally-controlled oscillators. It features detailed schema…

Sun Jan 03 06:59:47 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @andrewtychen: Hi, it's me again, saying that if you are worried about the virus potentially getting through MIQ into the community, one…

Sun Jan 03 08:14:30 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @esden: Also, it turns out the main stability issue was that the Elgato Cam Link 4k is using bulk endpoints by default. This worked ok o…

Sun Jan 03 08:49:54 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @MLE_Online: In case you missed it yesterday

I have a Brand New Video!

The Optical Sound Decoder: An exploration of old film technolog…

Mon Jan 04 03:10:04 +0000 2021 (#)

(Draft) #LCA2021 Sysadmin Miniconf programme is published, both on the Sysadmin Miniconf site and the #LinuxConfAU site.

Thanks to all the speakers!

#LCA2021 tickets still available (AU$125/AU$75/AU$25), UTC+11 online conference.

Mon Jan 04 07:56:48 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @pjf

Due to their early deployment most birds ship with a particularly early model of the Universal Translator, and I think that only recognises tonal languages and sign language... 😃

Mon Jan 04 22:34:48 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @andrewtychen: Every country seeking to use digital contact tracing needs to give their population assurances that this won't happen in…

Mon Jan 04 22:54:14 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @joneaves: This is why security and privacy minded computer touching people wanted the Google Apple notifications system.…

Tue Jan 05 02:20:26 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @RealSexyCyborg

“Miss Wu’s Traditional Mahjong Finishing School”. Apply now, accommodation included ;-)

Tue Jan 05 06:35:22 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

Technically some of the productivity hacks are “having an assistant without an executive function disorder.” But (non digital) Personal Assistants are less common these days, so.... 🤷‍♂️

Tue Jan 05 08:11:38 +0000 2021 (#)

“Edsger Dijkstra: The Man Who Carried Computer Science on His Shoulders” from September (2020) is a nice detailed article about Edsger Dijkstra, the well known Dutch Computer Scientist, written by someone who knew him for decades. (Via Twitter months ago.)

Tue Jan 05 22:41:34 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

Personal Assistant As A Service (tm) does seem to be a thing, because 2020s 😂

(Multiple Google hits, and ads, including one covering Wellington. Not sure how many of those do Executive Function Replacement as a Service... :-) )

Wed Jan 06 06:20:10 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

Yes, the virtualness definitely increases the agent/principal risks :-/

I know of people who’ve successfully used remote PAs for years, but I think they found them by word of mouth/in person, rather than a generic service website.

Wed Jan 06 22:32:02 +0000 2021 (#)

“Why are tubes mirrored?” from FranLab is a fascinating look into the getters and flashing process which make vacuum tubes and gas filled tubes possible. TIL the flashing process explains the “blackened” parts of the glass on many vacuum tubes.

Wed Jan 06 22:36:47 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @pjf

It appears the Main Character on Twitter today is the USA Democracy. I hope it survives.

Fri Jan 08 00:43:42 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @BunkyFob and @theavalkyrie

Having also fought with jinja2 white space control: lines containing only markup commands shouldn’t introduce white space (especially a newline). There should be a way to preserve leading space (for indent), but not inject an extra newline at the start. 1/2

Fri Jan 08 00:46:01 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @BunkyFob and @theavalkyrie

There should be a way to trim trailing white space that allows not trimming the newline (and one that does allow trimming the newline, ideally with an option to trim leading space from the follow line to be joined).

Jinja2 makes these... difficult :-/


Fri Jan 08 06:31:29 +0000 2021 (#)

I think I revived my MacBook Air Early 2015 from the dead (sudden power off, would not power on) with an Extended SMC reset. (Either that or playing Louis Rossman videos at it helped! Both were done at the same time :-) )


Fri Jan 08 06:34:15 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Notably: charger showed green, only sign of life was what sounded like fan starting to spin, but when I opened the back fan was spinning constantly and fan never stopped until charger and battery were disconnected. (Also tried usual SMC / PRAM resets to no effect.)

Fri Jan 08 06:36:44 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

For those playing along at home with good memories: this is not the late 2013 MacBook Pro which had its battery changed during the first NZ lockdown (that’s been good ever since).

But the tools I bought as a result of that experience proved invaluable!

Fri Jan 08 06:55:57 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

FTR no obvious reason why it powered itself off. I was using it from battery (10 minutes after disconnecting from charger) on my lap, as I often do. No idea what was different this time 🤷‍♂️

But it’s getting it’s weekly set of backups today, as a precaution :-)

Sat Jan 09 06:37:56 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: Only available for a few more hours, an absolutely fantastic and authentic view of China. Really worth watching. https:…

Sat Jan 09 08:53:39 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @RealSexyCyborg

Thank you for the timely reminder; I’ve just finished watching it :-)

It is a really good documentary, well worth watching. Hopefully it makes into some Film Festivals! (I also thought the English subtitling was very well done, which should help sales.)

Mon Jan 11 09:12:05 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

I looked at that 17985 number and thought “that feels like the right order of magnitude” (given city, county, and state police for every place with more than a handful of people; plus the whole set of federal/service police organisations).

It’s... an interesting system!

Mon Jan 11 23:20:41 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @wintergatan: Trying something new this week, started a Second Youtube Channel, Wintergatan 2, with simpler videos following the daily p…

Mon Jan 11 23:23:54 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @pjf: I absolutely adore threads like this.

Beautiful explanations, broken down into bite sized pieces.

Today we're learning about h…

Tue Jan 12 07:21:36 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @andrewtychen: Hello! I'm collecting examples of GOOD QR code placement and positioning. Not bad examples, keep those for your group cha…

Wed Jan 13 22:58:41 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @theavalkyrie: I got tired of not understanding what my GCC linker file was doing. I went on a quest to understand every. single. comman…

Sat Jan 16 00:07:11 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

I am very here for a “Mock AI phrenology” satire art piece. Just saying ;-)

Sat Jan 16 00:08:52 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @linuxconfau: The countdown is on: Just 7 days ‘til 2021. Have you got your tix? We can’t wait to hear from our…

Sat Jan 16 02:05:58 +0000 2021 (#)

“Compiling Word for Windows from OS/2 1.2” is an intriguing software history adventure for anyone who remembers early OS/2 or WinWord. Software from a time when OS/2 was the future, and 386s were fast :-)

(Found via a random YouTube suggestion!)

Sat Jan 16 05:18:41 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL that index corruption in the MacPorts registry.sqlite database can lead to “port rev-upgrade” claiming an “invalid file was passed”.

Fixed by dropping and rebuilding the relevant indexes (an macports.sqlext is required).

Sat Jan 16 05:22:06 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

That took... a while to debug. Including hacking on macports.tcl enough to determine it was 100% reproducible, and apparently caused by something in data loaded for that row.

(This is on MacBook Air that had the “sudden power off” a week ago, so I assume partial write to disk.)

Sat Jan 16 05:43:29 +0000 2021 (#)

“Lee Boysel — Making your first million and other tips for Aspiring Engineers” is a fun slice of early microchip history (1963-1971), from vacuum tubes to LSI chips. (Talk from 2007, published 2016; via Tweet a few weeks ago which I lost.)

Sat Jan 16 05:49:37 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh


Is there not a standardised poster format for the codes to scan?

Here in NZ you register your business, and get an A4 sized PDF to print out which you are legally required to display; the resulting QR code is 108mm x 108mm (I just measured the one on my front door; WFH FTW).

Sat Jan 16 06:54:13 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

Yeah the “postage stamp sized” one is entirely missing the point :-(

As a user of these QR site codes, I’d actually prefer they were even larger. Approximately 200mm x 200mm should be possible on A4, and would scan easier/at more distance.

Thanks for the explanation!

Sat Jan 16 07:04:08 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL that BBSes with ANSI art are still a thing (via the Internet rather than dialup). Including in New Zealand it seems. 😮

(Via @.textfiles whose BBS Documentary footage features in it.)

Sat Jan 16 07:05:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

From memory I’ve not logged into a (dialup) BBS for 23-25 years, after a decade of it being daily routine (and 4 years running my own dialup BBS).

It looks much the same, but faster :-)

Sat Jan 16 09:19:27 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @AlsGeekLab

If I were to use the terminal program I wrote in Z80 assembly for the Amstrad CPC, with a WiFi “modem” like that it’d be an identical experience :-)

(I even still have the Amstrad CPC6128; it managed 2400bps, and sort of 9600 bps.)

Sat Jan 16 19:59:54 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @_davidsark: Warp speed shutter drag in Japan

Sat Jan 16 20:13:05 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @rgarner: Yesterday on the fields in the snow and fog I ended up finding myself unable to see anything beyond the next tree…

Sun Jan 17 01:42:08 +0000 2021 (#)

“How I designed a free music font” is actually a fascinating tour of the history of computer aided music scoring, and music fonts, in disguise. Apparently “Score”, a program first started in the 1970s, inspired it all. A “Helvetica” of music notation.

Sun Jan 17 06:07:19 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

Or bypass the API entirely: at the base of it is presumably a contact closure that happens to a schedule. An embedded single board Linux board (Raspberry Pi Zero?) and cron probably covers 99% of the required functionality... 😃

Sun Jan 17 08:48:11 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RanuDhillon: We're deploying vaccines like we do annual flu shots rather than the mass vaccinations done in Africa & Asia where million…

Mon Jan 18 07:42:34 +0000 2021 (#)

It’s disappointing to see Signal’s creator (see QT image) basically saying “having tried nothing I conclude nothing will be sufficient”.

Context: risk of third party input methods, as used with many non English languages. The request has always been to notify users of the risk.

Mon Jan 18 07:45:12 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Even PGP, notorious for its good crypto and terrible UI, came with documentation that warned you of surrounding risks that could limit the security you got from the software. As does, eg, Firefox “Private Browsing”.

Informed users can make informed choices.

Mon Jan 18 07:53:58 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

As a random suggestion, make an agreement with someone (or “all of Twitter” if you need mass accountability :-) ) that you’ll only use TikTok for “music fun” when it feels like fun. And, more importantly, when you’re doing it for yourself.

Mon Jan 18 23:36:05 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: It's No Problem "Andy from London". Sounds good. Tell people. Of course. First Moxie has heard of it. Capital idea old…

Mon Jan 18 23:36:36 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: Okay Signal vulnerability was raised by problematic PRC citizen with titties:

Will be- 1. ignored by tech journalists…

Tue Jan 19 02:58:44 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

Do you have a feeling for how long it’ll take for US states to start leaving?

Having grown up through the German reunification, USSR, etc, breakup, the UK and then the USA splitting up has seemed inevitable for a while. But I’m expecting the UK first (Scotland) 🤔

Wed Jan 20 00:12:14 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL that some people apparently still use WebEx for remote presentations, and that WebEx is apparently unable to “connect audio”, even from the presenter, if it isn’t given OS/Browser access to the microphone 🤦🏻‍♂️

(I guess it’s entirely missing a “listen/watch only” option :-( )

Wed Jan 20 00:17:41 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

There are, naturally, no detailed error messages about the audio connect failing both ways because of lack of microphone access. You just get directed through the Internet Audio / Call Me / Call In flow repeatedly.

YouTube Live, Twitch, etc work way better for presentations.

Wed Jan 20 00:43:25 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Ironically attendees of the presentation are muted anyway. So the microphone access achieves nothing, other than making some programmer’s code a tiny bit simpler.

The “Foo joined the meeting”/“Foo left the meeting” really add to the presentation too... 😃

Wed Jan 20 04:27:52 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @hacks4pancakes: 1) Tech (including infosec and hacking), is deeply political.

Technologies invented, hacked, or adapted in a well-mean…

Wed Jan 20 06:31:40 +0000 2021 (#)

In an “exciting” 2021 development, one the ~4 week old cards (reissued mid-late December 2020) now has three (NZ/AU) charges to it, that I didn’t make, all of which happened today.

So I’m getting a third credit card replacement in less than a month 😢

Wed Jan 20 06:41:39 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

My bank insists the old card was cancelled correctly and these new charges (today) were all against the new card.

There’s been 24 purchases (and a few saved card for pending purchases) on the new card. About 15 online (rest in person), from 19-20 merchants.

Wed Jan 20 06:43:19 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I guess I’m lucky I found them today (in online banking, my card total didn’t match my records).

But the overlap between previous merchants and the past month of charges is fairly small, so I’m puzzled how it leaked again so quickly.

Wed Jan 20 06:47:03 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The majority of my saved card details on sites are for a different card from the one that apparently leaked, twice.

(As few saved cards as possible, but many web sites insist on it to buy anything at all now :-( )

Only payments are broken 😔

Wed Jan 20 07:14:07 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

It is honestly surprising the banks are still issuing multi-year expiry credit cards.

Clearly it’s a payment technology terribly prone to replay attacks. So the obvious work around is to issue short lived credentials. Which my bank certainly doesn’t.

Thu Jan 21 09:29:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

In at least some of my herbal teas the ingredients for, eg, Cinnamon Cardamom herbal tea is... cinnamon, and cardamom. And that’s it. So maybe you could DIY?

(Another friend makes their herbal tea literally from fresh herbs from their garden, daily.)

Thu Jan 21 20:12:58 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

Yes finding teas that just contain a few ingredients without lots of other things obscuring it can be hard.

Most of my tea comes from T Leaf Tea, who are pretty good about minimal ingredients. Looks like they ship to Australia, free over $90 buy AFAICT.

Thu Jan 21 20:19:08 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

Their new website is annoying to navigate, but searching by ingredients works. Their ingredients listed are exactly what is in the tea/pack, providing you find ones without “flavouring” as an ingredient.

Eg one of my current favourites: Tutti Fruiti.

Fri Jan 22 06:48:43 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @Charcol0x89

My favourite “email shaped placeholder” is And typically everything else can be fillers (0x41 :-) ) apart from the postcode and country to get a reasonable estimate.

But typically I assume “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” if they make it that hard.

Fri Jan 22 07:10:26 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @BunkyFob and @theavalkyrie

Last time I did this I used some simple “command line to API call” wrappers, and the Bats testing framework to write test cases in bash.

Most of the tests were “given fixed input produced expected output to stdout” style. (With a final “valgrind clean”.)

Fri Jan 22 08:17:44 +0000 2021 (#)

I’m impressed to discover that the BBB audio/video chat for #LinuxConfAU online allows for “listen only” joining. “Listen only” plus text chat makes it easy to follow along without being tethered to a headset, etc.

(Watching Newcomers session on the big screen!) #LCA2021

Fri Jan 22 22:14:25 +0000 2021 (#)

Half the clocks in my room are now on UTC+11 and half of them are on UTC+13. I’m sure this won’t be confusing at all 😃

#LCA2021 #LinuxConfAU

Fri Jan 22 22:33:19 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @HeyCisco

Thanks. I got it working well enough for me.

Please pass on to the WebEx developers that a “listen only” option (that doesn’t need camera/microphone access and is always muted) would help with larger presentation-style “meetings” (that only take questions via text chat).

Sat Jan 23 00:24:16 +0000 2021 (#)

@0xF2 it’s LCA2021 Miniconf day today. Talks on now!

Sat Jan 23 01:53:03 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @xfxf: @nextdayvideo is streaming @linuxconfau #lca2021 the next 3 days - 4 virtual tracks! Even though we'll be processing/encoding vi…

Sat Jan 23 08:38:13 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL you can take skeuomorphism too far 😃

(Probably only those who saw the first of the 3+ virtual PDNS platforms will understand that :-) )

#LinuxConfAU #LCA2021

Sat Jan 23 09:08:08 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @slyall: Sysadmin Miniconf all finish for this year.

Worked pretty well for our first time online, some good ta…

Sat Jan 23 22:59:55 +0000 2021 (#)

For those that loved the classic Usborne 8-bit era computer books for children and didn’t realise they were available gratis now (released 3-4 years ago; I found them last year).

#LinuxConfAU #LCA2021

Sat Jan 23 23:04:51 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @kattekrab: "The the thing that was innovative, was not the hardware, it was how easy it was to use... It's about having fun." - Limor…

Sun Jan 24 00:23:44 +0000 2021 (#)

Keith Packard demoing X11 on Debian on RISC V natively (SiFive Unmatched pre-release board, with FU740), at #LCA2021!

It runs TuxRacer fine. So success :-)


Sun Jan 24 00:24:58 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @staticsan

I’m sure I had a couple of them as a child, and loved them. Not entirely sure where they ended up, so finding the PDFs was a fun discovery!

Sun Jan 24 00:30:27 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ExcitedLeigh: It's also incredible how I have no idea what project this is a subtweet of, but there's SO MANY it could be.…

Sun Jan 24 01:09:10 +0000 2021 (#)

If you’re not live watching @TheMartianLife teach us Astronomy from first principles up through Radio Astronomy (on right now at #LCA2021), you really should watch the video when it comes out. The talk is amazing 💚💙💜


Sun Jan 24 01:32:19 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Slides from the Radio Astronomy talk.

The talk also shows there power of pre-recording and careful editing to squeeze more content in! 💜❤️💚

#LCA2021 #LinuxConfAU

Sun Jan 24 02:37:51 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @nickzoic

“And now let’s allow Virtual Nick to explain for us” :-)

(But seriously pre-recorded demos with live commentary can work really well IME.)

Sun Jan 24 03:43:08 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon


Always tomorrow :^)

Sun Jan 24 04:02:48 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

It’s pretty much the arc of history that there is a group who enforce the rules on others (directly/indirectly), and another group on whom the rules are enforced.

The costumes change from decade to decade. But the “enforces rules” group are always the “powerful”, by definition.

Sun Jan 24 04:38:22 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @dritchie

The only way I could scan more would be to go out more often/more frequently/to more places.

Which... well it doesn’t seem to be something one should encourage during a pandemic (see, eg, countries whose name begins with “United”).

Sun Jan 24 04:40:09 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @andrewtychen: Hi, if you are following the Ministry of Health's advice and have "turned Bluetooth on", please double check that Bluetoo…

Sun Jan 24 07:27:19 +0000 2021 (#)

The supposedly “objective” (Western) “Music Theory” actually turns out to have a subjective bias towards 18th Century (German speaking) Classical music. Surprise!

A good (45 minute) overview of what’s missing/the bias.

Via #LCA2021 chat. #LinuxConfAU

Sun Jan 24 22:42:37 +0000 2021 (#)

“Your best mentor is someone who is 6 months ahead of you” — Omoju Miller keynoting at #LinuxConfAU this morning

(The flip side of that being someone way ahead might not remember what to teach, and might be overloaded with other tasks.)


Sun Jan 24 22:52:10 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL you can “race the beam” to output HDMI (DVI) on a modern microcontroller, including 640x480@60Hz RGB565 😮

Since it’s dual core, one core can generate graphics for the other core to scan out!

(There’s a great write up in the README on GitHub.)

Mon Jan 25 00:14:04 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL the Wikipedia “Comparison of Command Shells” has a lot of useful tables for checking portability of features. (Mostly I care about POSIX vs Debian /bin/sh, ie dash, vs bash; but the page covers many more shells.)

#LCA2021 #LinuxConfAU

Mon Jan 25 00:27:42 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I also learnt about “starship” as an enhanced prompt generator (written in Rust, compatible with several shells).

#LCA2021 #LinuxConfAU

Mon Jan 25 01:04:32 +0000 2021 (#)

This ⬇️

If there isn’t actual content in the first message I’m going to assume you have nothing to say, and don’t understand asynchronous communication conventions (or are deliberately violating them, which is worse).

Minimise roundtrips and interruptions/notifications.

Mon Jan 25 01:25:29 +0000 2021 (#)

The BeagleV board (announced last week) is a RISC V based dev board. General availability September 2021.

If you can help with hardware bring up they have an early access program too, register via Google form. #LCA2021 #LinuxConfAU

Mon Jan 25 02:47:05 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @pjf

I saw that title and thought “that’s a talk perfectly shaped for @pjf” 😃

(I hope to catch that one on video: it had me at automated proofs ;-) )

Mon Jan 25 04:07:41 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @pjf

Minor crop and flipping the image (to face towards text) and it might work as an avatar...

(Nice photo!)

Mon Jan 25 04:14:19 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @hacks4pancakes: How are we expected to deal with all of the awful behavior in our larger society when half the people in it never face…

Mon Jan 25 04:17:44 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @SahilBloom: In 1983, a 52-year-old senior executive at Texas Instruments was passed over for the company's top job.

He would go on to…

Mon Jan 25 06:22:07 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL there’s a whole book on “Digital Design in Chisel”. Gratis PDF available, or order a printed version via Amazon.

(Chisel is a Scala based HDL for FPGA development.)

#LCA2021 #LinuxConfAU

Mon Jan 25 07:10:02 +0000 2021 (#)

Congratulations to @xfxf on very deservedly winning the Rusty Wrench award at #LCA2021!

I liked the way they cunningly ensured he’d be at the conference to receive the award by having him work AV for this #LinuxConfAU too😃

Mon Jan 25 07:26:14 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

A little of what Ryan has been doing all these years, in his own words (PyCon AU 2017 talk).

Via link in #LinuxConfAU chat.

(And I know first hand Ryan put in hundreds of hours this past year to ensure PyConline and #LCA2021 online succeeded.)

Mon Jan 25 23:39:01 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @yesthattom: I can finally say this in public: While the attacker was attacking Stack Overflow, they were doing searches on Stack Overfl…

Tue Jan 26 20:29:47 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @bzotto: Thread: An attempt to reconstruct, manually, the data on a corrupted 5.25" Apple II floppy disk which contains a game I wrote w…

Wed Jan 27 01:36:33 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL the Ubuntu PPA packaging of CertBot drags in random other packages (and newer versions of packages) that conflict with attempting to do a release upgrade (eg, 16.04 to 18.04). Fun.

(Latest plan seems to be stable releases.)

Wed Jan 27 01:48:59 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

And for bonus fun, when “do-release-upgrade” crashes out because of this, it leaves apt sources set to the new release, so “do-release-upgrade” cannot be used to try again.

I’ve manually updated apt sources to add newer PPA release, and will apt upgrade it all myself. 😔

Wed Jan 27 02:42:22 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

FTR 18.04 to 20.04 seems to be cleaner as (a) do-release-upgrade undoes enough that it can be run again, and (b) there is no certbot PPA for focal (it’s in the main repo) so “do-release-upgrade” disabling the PPA is actually what is needed.

Wed Jan 27 03:00:22 +0000 2021 (#)

If your smart phone is under about 3 years old it probably does support the Google-Apple Bluetooth contact tracing method used by the NZ Covid19 app to supplement QR code scanning. It’d really help if you turned it on (see QT).

(G-A Bluetooth method was designed for privacy.)

Wed Jan 27 03:04:21 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

In particular the Google Apple Bluetooth method regularly makes up random numbers, keeps a list of those on your phone, seems them out to phones nearby, and keeps a list of any it hears from other phones. After a few weeks it removes entries from the lists. 1/2

Wed Jan 27 03:07:18 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Since they’re random numbers, only stored on your phone, no one knows whose random number is whose, or where it was heard (just the date/time heard).

If someone tests positive they can choose to send out a list of their random numbers “found to be infected at the time”. 2/2

Wed Jan 27 03:10:24 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Like the QR codes, the Google Apple method only works if you’ve been using it at least two weeks before the infection is found. So your phone has a list of “people with phones with these random numbers were near me” that it can check if notified.

So start yesterday, or today.

Wed Jan 27 04:15:31 +0000 2021 (#)

Thread (mostly up, a little down from QT).

The complexity around leap seconds, and time standards in general, really are a study in technical debt. (And IMHO trying to optimise for many things at once, including backwards compatibility.)

Wed Jan 27 05:31:08 +0000 2021 (#)

TFW your bank’s idea of shopping online safely still believes “a padlock” proves anything other than “the year is 2021, everything has a padlock”.

(AFAICT zero option for an online only visa “card” number, and zero option for mandatory Visa Secure 2FA.)

Wed Jan 27 05:34:50 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

In more positive news my third (3rd) replacement credit card in about 6 weeks arrived promptly. And the largest of the three fraudulent charges didn’t get confirmed (eg vendor got told in time and cancelled the order; other two did get confirmed).

Wed Jan 27 06:05:03 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Oh look ANZ Australia supports Virtual Credit Cards, at least for corporate customers. It’s just New Zealand and/or Personal customers that miss out.

Wed Jan 27 06:09:15 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

And in other news (yes I’m comparison shopping), BNZ also seem to think a padlock, a security and privacy statement and a returns policy are the key to safe online credit card use. Sigh.

Why does it feel like we’re stuck in the early 2000s?!

Wed Jan 27 06:11:53 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Ironically the BNZ/AirNZ OneSmart apparently did support virtual credit cards (but apparently the current TravelX version does not). It’s unclear to me if BNZ offers virtual credit cards with any of their other cards; if they do they sure hide details of it.

Wed Jan 27 06:46:31 +0000 2021 (#)

NZ vs China on #Covid19NZ tracing:

NZ: scan in and maybe you get a cookie.

China: no scan, no service (initially checked by staff, then later automatically by entry turnstiles).

Let’s take this seriously before it is too late.

Wed Jan 27 09:14:10 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon and @pjf

It ain’t over yet, especially because the hedge fund got more money and doubled down on their bet today.

But it sure is entertaining that the hedge fund has had their bluff (shorting over 100% of the available stock) called big time, by small investors 😃

Wed Jan 27 09:17:33 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon and @pjf

My guess from here is that the small investors hold out long enough (out of spite) that the “double or nothing” bluff (shorting further with new money) fails too.

Then what is now clearly a massive bubble in that stock unwinds very messily. (Probably in the next few weeks.)

Wed Jan 27 09:19:26 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @merxplat: Moonposting once again

Wed Jan 27 09:20:05 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

That’s a stunning photo. Thank you for sharing!


Wed Jan 27 09:25:31 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

It’s more than that: the mix of transition colour in the sky, the blue into the hills, the whisps of clouds, and the framing are all amazing.

The moon definitely helps. But it’s not the moon alone that’s the star of the photo :-)

Wed Jan 27 23:35:28 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @MohitBhoite: Trying out some patterns with the seven segments. Looking forward to synchronizing them with head motions.…

Thu Jan 28 23:30:26 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @KempPlays and @pjf

There appear to be multiple cats. Who all seem to be in charge... 🤔

(Not to mention a collection of birds who seem pretty in charge too! Everyone else gets to stay while they’re useful :-) )

Thu Jan 28 23:58:25 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar

Do Sharesies still have the terms and conditions that allow them (Sharesies) to pick the timing and price of purchases/sales of shares? And to choose if the trade is with Sharesies or with someone else?

(At leaf it looks like you got a fairly prompt answer to your question.)

Fri Jan 29 00:28:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar

Interesting. The name at the top made me assume it was a personalised response. But I guess templates make that trivial to mass produce...

Fri Jan 29 04:42:41 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL Microsoft Teams iPad app managed to break the microphone audio in 2.2.0 and 2.2.1. Possibly fixed, by reverting the change, in 2.3.1 released a couple of days ago. (But Teams app has been very unreliable at detecting headset plugged in for ages.)

Fri Jan 29 09:04:25 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @pjf

On the Internet there are two Mondays: first Monday that matches the calendar, and second Monday once North America realises it is Monday.

Second Monday is usually the bigger meal :-)

Fri Jan 29 20:13:23 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL that Big Endian architectures get more security benefit (against buffer overflows) from ASLR than Little Endian architectures do 😮

(As the reply to QT says, “that’s a neat trick”. Unfortunate the world mostly standardised on Little Endian now...)

Fri Jan 29 21:41:25 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @endtwist: So many folks (esp. the media) are missing the complete backstory on $GME and how we got here.

This has been simmering for o…

Fri Jan 29 21:52:04 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @KralcTrebor: Ok - here's my best explanation of why @RobinhoodApp restricted trading in the short-squeeze stocks.

Spoiler: the story i…

Fri Jan 29 22:29:15 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ashishkjha: Heard of SARS-CoV2 variant from Japan?


How about one from South Korea?


Surely variants from New Zealand & Vietn…

Sat Jan 30 00:23:37 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @apollo_50th: T-79 hours, 30 minutes and counting. The Apollo 14 count has resumed after a scheduled 10 hour hold. #Apollo14 #Apollo50

Sun Jan 31 00:09:20 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @xfxf: Videos from #lca2021 are starting to go up. Twitter is hiding tweets from @nextdayvideo again for unknown reasons, so either sub…

Sun Jan 31 00:12:33 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @tnt4all: Details how I ran Doom on the iCEBreaker / Lattice UP5k :