Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- May 2021

Sat May 01 01:23:29 +0000 2021 (#)

Glasgow (FPGA based hardware analysis tool) update, a month after the original Early Bird “ships by” estimate: “we are still hoping to produce Early Bird units this year, but standard Glasgows might be delayed further.”

Sat May 01 01:27:16 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I’m entirely unsurprised by the delay. Even when rushing to order, I didn’t expect the Early Bird units to ship before June 2021 (and others “hopefully 2021”). I’d wanted a Glasgow for ~3 years, so I was ordering anyway.

New orders now say June 2022 🤔

Sat May 01 01:31:07 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The Glasgow CrowdSupply update also has a lot of useful background on potential causes of electronics shortages. Including big cancelled orders 1H 2020, matched with big urgent orders 2H 2020, & spread into substitute parts.

See also discussion next week.

Sat May 01 01:35:09 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @whatnick


Glasgow is particularly badly affected because they have a bunch of TI parts designed in too. And TI production is extra affected 1H 2021, leading to extra long lead times in orders placed this year 😢

(They’re considering redesigning at least some of the parts out.)

Sun May 02 00:19:13 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: If you can't reconcile demonstrated competence with physical appearance you simply aren't as good as you imagine yourse…

Sun May 02 00:27:59 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @SwiftOnSecurity: A good marker for an expert is they will talk about hidden safety designs you may not see, comprehend, or appreciate t…

Sun May 02 03:54:07 +0000 2021 (#)

Wow @Bountysource absolutely spams backers with emails when someone claims the bounty. 36 emails so far within (less than) 24 hours, including more emails even after I voted for who should get the bounty.

It makes me really reluctant to back anything else there :-/

Sun May 02 04:00:17 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Ironically it seems likely to end up that no one gets the bounty here as it seems @.Bountysource (now) requires 100% backer acceptance to pay out. And that seems unlikely to happen. Especially when more than one person believed they worked on the issue.

Sun May 02 06:51:55 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Three more emails, two of them identical sent 1 minute apart. I don’t understand what @.Bountysource hopes to achieve with this volume of backer spam 🤔

The messages have different message IDs, but are sent to the same address with the same contents (except tracking links). 😔

Sun May 02 23:34:15 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: Check it out everyone, new @openscad learning material. OpenSCAD is kind of love it or hate it, I love it. For people w…

Mon May 03 08:22:36 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @nrw505 and @bendechrai

Pretty much always the (normal) open button goes to the door controller for permission to open/trigger the open, and the “emergency open” is a local override for the door (which typically also causes an alarm to trigger/sound).

There’s no simple way to do both with one button.

Mon May 03 08:25:34 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @nrw505 and @bendechrai

The key here being simple: by fire, etc, code the emergency door open must work no matter what happens. Typically it locally interrupts power to the mag locks, which you don’t want to do all the time.

The buttons should be much more separated though. And better signed.

Mon May 03 08:32:40 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @apollo_50th: ^^^^ Administration ^^^^ Our once a month reminder that if you like what we are creating and want to support us, or just…

Mon May 03 08:46:42 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar

A barely authenticated payment instruction typically involving a piece of paper.

As opposed to now when our barely authenticated payment instructions involve copy typing a fixed set of numbers into random web forms.

Progress! 😬

Wed May 05 06:14:15 +0000 2021 (#)

OSPF extern type 2 is my least favourite OSPF LSA type 😢

(2+ hours, and counting, trying to stop traffic arriving in the wrong place from the wrong direction. And so far 2 OSPF connections where we’ve found “redistribute ... external type 1” missing.)

Wed May 05 07:18:16 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @kiwibrew

As it turns out neither of the devices was a Mikrotik. And one of them (a) I’ve never logged into (just advised someone over the phone, with copious Googling!), and (b) apparently changed its syntax for choosing OSPF external type between OS 5 and OS 6 🤦🏻‍♂️

Sat May 08 07:42:07 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

Chicken moon!

(Rather than the bigger cheese moon :-) )

Sun May 09 22:04:27 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ComfyConAU: > boot complete > comfyconau 2021 WE > 24th & 25th July 2021 > cfp:

Sun May 09 22:16:42 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: "When the Global pandemic is over..." it's "over" when it's over for everyone, otherwise the impoverished Global South…

Mon May 10 04:51:50 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL there are at least 3 FEC (Forward Error Correction) protocols in use with 25G Ethernet, each with multiple names: Clause 74 (Firecode, FC-FEC, KR-FEC); Clause 91 (Reed Solomon, maybe 527/514?); Clause 108 (Reed Solomon, maybe 544/514?).

Mon May 10 04:54:34 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

With Auto Negotiation to select FEC (and link training, for eye alignment). Plus the option of no FEC (short links only) for minimum latency (think HF Trading).

Mon May 10 04:57:00 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

This knowledge brought to you by 25G (SR fibre) links failing to reestablish on hard switch power cycle (and sometimes on fibre unplug/replug), somewhat at random. Discovered during “acceptance testing” 😬

Only work around found so far is power cycle the server. Joy.

Mon May 10 05:00:05 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @moylecroft

Yes, that. Also see down thread.

The only saving grace here is everything except the 1m OM3 was bought from the same vendor. But I think it’s going to be an “interesting” support ticket.

See also inter vender 25G FEC fun....

Mon May 10 05:49:37 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @aurynn and @Aethylred

Yes, but an email newsletter arrives via a channnel that also contains things requiring a response. Thus obscuring those things in the noise.

I know some people have a separate email account just for said noise emails, which they read like a news feed. (I mostly unsubscribe.)

Mon May 10 07:17:11 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @skywalkerbeth, @va2lam and @SwiftOnSecurity

The introduction of stoats/ferrets was about 100 years ago. Serious efforts to remove them started 40-50 years ago.

It turns out removing stoats/ferrets is harder than introducing them. Who knew?!

Mon May 10 07:22:24 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @jeriellsworth: This semiconductor supply chain mess is like nothing I've seen before.

Spending my weekend doing last minute redesigns…

Mon May 10 10:49:51 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @isomer

Indeed, although this is VMware on the server, and the person handling that side is... less CLI focused. I’m less sure how applicable ethtool is there.

The thing is the link normally works (eg fresh server boot). It’s just recovery from lost link that’s marginally reliable 🤔

Mon May 10 10:54:41 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @isomer

Also FWIW it’s merely my speculation that maybe FEC mismatch is a potential cause of protocol desync. Because there’s lots of light (dBm) and the FEC obviously alters the on wire bit pattern. But it could be something else.

System Integrator opted to open support ticket first.

Mon May 10 20:55:15 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @trogs

10G definitely has much more of the “interop” rough edges worn off through a decade of mass adoption.

25G (~5 years into adoption cycle) pretty much “just works”. But edge cases in behaviour are still being “debugged in the field”.

Mon May 10 20:58:29 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @trogs

Also to be aware 10G switches have good 1G support. Whereas 25G switches are very “why would you want to use that old thing” about 1G (you can make 1G work, but it needs custom port config).

But 25G is now about 50% more than 10G, so “adoption by default” is coming.

Tue May 11 04:25:51 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @minxdragon: Honestly if surveillance marketing ended so would the fascination with classifying people by gender. It wouldn't be entirel…

Tue May 11 08:05:06 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @damienmiller: Nice to see SSH FIDO security key support enabled at @github.

My colleague @sebkinne added the security key support to l…

Wed May 12 00:37:11 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

For future reference:

ethtool -m

Should report the same SFP Digital Optical Monitoring results on a server as the “phy-eth” results on a switch, including Tx/Rx dBm light levels (eg, to confirm fibre connected).

Looks to be available on VMware ESXi too.

(Hat tip to @.isomer)

Wed May 12 00:53:10 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Looks like the specification for the SFP DOM output is SFF-8472. (SFF being the Small Form Factor general SFP mechanical/electrical specifications.)

Wed May 12 01:02:52 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

If you want to try to decode this by hand you probably also want SFF-8024 and a few other referenced standards.(Inexplicably it seems switch vendors don’t even decode the common entries to labels 🤦🏻‍♂️). In particular ID 0x03 is SFP and connector 0x07 is LC.

Wed May 12 01:14:53 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @moylecroft


Wed May 12 02:06:56 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

It seems like FEC auto-negotiation at 25G is still a work in progress. Especially between vendors.

And I found on the switches in my case “negotiation auto” for 25G-SR SFPs means “negotiation no” (ie if you want autoneg FEC you have to force it on).

Wed May 12 02:50:34 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @seldo: Open Source software is good, and desirable, for lots of reasons -- standardization, collaboration, security, trust -- that have…

Wed May 12 03:38:38 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

For the original problem, currently it looks like the latest server NIC firmware (2021-04-13) has an “Enhancement” which “added capability for FEC configuration through UEFI HII”.

Reverting to previous (2020-02-14) firmware or locking FEC settings seems to give us link recovery.

Wed May 12 07:32:59 +0000 2021 (#)

I’m reminded by the very wintery day that the Whare Hauora sensors were being sent “soon”. I got an email a month ago saying mine were coming, and to expect a setup email, but nothing at all since.

I saw a tweet in April that someone got one set. Did anyone else receive them?

Thu May 13 05:54:29 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @kiwipycon: Announcing Kiwi PyCon XI

Ōtautahi/Christchurch 17th, 18th, and 19th of September


Fri May 14 03:00:35 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

Would the AI really be considered “intelligent” if it didn’t share the biases of its creators? 🤔

(Which I think amounts to “in group” bias, ie sharing common assumptions about the world context.)

Mon May 17 10:36:14 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @pjf

“The enemy of my enemy...” repeated over about three generations (70-80 years).

Plus in that geographic region Israel is the closest thing the USA has to a friendly nation. And the USA is big on strategic positions around the globe.

Mon May 17 21:52:51 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @helenleigh: Technology is not neutral. If you want to understand what AI researchers are doing to find and fight bias in our technologi…

Tue May 18 22:28:12 +0000 2021 (#)

Joy. The Python Software Foundation spammed every email address they’d ever seen from me, at the same time. The first unsubscribe link doesn’t work. (It turns out there are two unsubscribe links, the second might have worked.)

I guess that’s... ironic given Monty Python 😔

Wed May 19 01:36:38 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

FTR I’ve heard from zero people (to say they received @WhareHauora hardware they pledged for). And I’ve not received any reply to my email from earlier this month asking about the timeline of the hardware delivery (just sent a follow up email).

So maybe rollout “still to come”?

Wed May 19 05:17:51 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @sigmas: Here's a bucket list #Seattle shot that I've been hoping to capture forever. A perfect #rainbow behind @space_needle ! https://…

Wed May 19 05:33:33 +0000 2021 (#)

BigClive overview video (from 2016) of the PRG “Best Boy” theatre/stage lamp. As he says in the video it is really well engineered to be maintainable.

(Via mention on a podcast a couple of weeks back.)

Wed May 19 07:13:44 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL (one of) the (co)directors of a film I helped crowd fund (a few years back) passed away (a while ago it seems) and that maybe someone working with them on film projects might be able to finish that film.

I guess that partly explains the lack of progress updates on the film!

Wed May 19 07:27:30 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

I don’t have a household/personal budget any longer. But I do have savings targets (1/4 to 1/3 post tax income), and track every cent of my spending so I have visibility of how I’m spending money (have done so for 10+ years).

(Having... several months income in savings helps.)

Wed May 19 21:48:28 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Also FTR I did get an email reply overnight from Whare Hauora. It seems they paused their hardware rollout because of early feedback about setup/enrollment issues.

I got an offer to send me hardware out anyway, which I’ve accepted: I was expecting DIY open source anyway 😃

Thu May 20 07:06:53 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @rfc1036: The freenode IRC network is under new management. After 20 years as senior staff I have resigned along with all my colleagues:…

Thu May 20 07:09:31 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @TwitchiH: Within eight hours, is the eight-largest IRC network on Earth.

And the migrations are just getting s…

Thu May 20 09:47:30 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @gatecatte

Now it’s safely a day later... as much as I’d like to believe this was original, the uneven white space in the smallest text line makes me think it’s been tweaked since it was originally laid out 🤔

(Fun either way though!)

Fri May 21 09:58:29 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @LalehKhalili: Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum, Light Sentence, 1992:

Sat May 22 02:03:19 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The Whare Hauora hardware turned up yesterday, via overnight courier. The hub (Ethernet/WiFi/Bluetooth) and sensors (Bluetooth I assume) have nice cases, and even have a custom logo.

Now to find time to get them all enrolled/set up; maybe next week/weekend.

Sat May 22 02:16:26 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Sensors look to be FCC ID 2ABU6-S1.

FCC filings confirm BLE 4.0 device, with a single button (used for pairing). From the internal photos it looks like there are 2xAAA cells inside, and four screws (in corners) holding it together on the button side.

Sat May 22 02:23:03 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

AFAICT the sensors are Minew S1 Temperature and Humidity sensors, with a branded case.

Which means more could be available, maybe via Minew directly or perhaps via Ali Express (I did find an AliBaba listing).

Sat May 22 02:32:11 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Unsurprisingly the gateway looks like the Minew G1, with patch WiFi and Bluetooth antennas. Looks to be secured by two screws underneath (1 visible, 1 under QR label).

I understand Whare Hauora have a custom software load on it.

Sat May 22 02:42:30 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The default firmware for the Minew G1 is apparently based on OpenWRT and can send to MQTT/HTTP.

If I’m lucky the MQTT functionality is still present in the Whare Hauora custom firmware load too.

Sat May 22 02:45:29 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @kiwibrew

Yes I’ve got some of those Xiaomi sensors here too. I bought them last year after deciding the Whare Hauora devices (Crowd Funded ~3 years ago) were never coming.

Someone I know was working on custom firmware for the Xiaomi sensors, which also made them appeal.

Sat May 22 02:51:07 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @pjf: I'm begging you, even if you don't go full YYYY-MM-DD, just spell out the month in dates.

At least hundreds of millions will mi…

Sat May 22 04:18:36 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @scarybeasts: [blog] Recovering "lost" treasure-filled floppy discs with an oscilloscope:, a project with Phil P…

Sat May 22 04:22:03 +0000 2021 (#)

Also mentioned in the “analogue floppy recovery” blog post (in QT) is also FloppyControlApp which is designed to help automate manual recovery of marginal sections of old floppy disks. And a 3D printed jig for cleaning floppy disks.

Sat May 22 04:39:39 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @tomscott: New video! I promise this story about microwaves is interesting:

Sun May 23 00:31:41 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @shinynew_oz: I wrote Google's original postmortem policy. It was based on the largest full site outage to date - a single engineer roll…

Sun May 23 23:25:51 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @jillrouleau

4% 😬

At first I thought it was 40% and I was like “yeah, that’s kinda dry”. Then I looked again. Oh my!

(Here it very rarely gets below 50% humidity. But I am ~10km from lots of ocean, by a mountain that gathers its own clouds over the valley I’m in...)

Mon May 24 08:10:47 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @yaakov_h

Perhaps 3.5GHz and 3.6GHz will beat together 100 million times a second, and Covid-19 won’t stand a chance? 😃

Mon May 24 22:06:29 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @Siliconinsid: SunPlus SPCP16A (2004) The SPCP16A is a 8-bit microcontroller with integrated low speed USB interface and PS/2, 64 bytes…

Tue May 25 06:00:50 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ericlaw: "I am a senior engineer. I am good at a lot of things. I spend my days expanding the set of things I am good at. I rarely spen…

Tue May 25 08:06:08 +0000 2021 (#)

Wed May 26 01:23:41 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @PyConAU: As data scientists will tell, Python is great for ML: pip install you numpy For great wins at AI... And use it in industry as…

Wed May 26 08:01:40 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @mjg59: Welp, Freenode is now just shutting down channels that have topics indicating that the channel has migrated to another network,…

Wed May 26 08:31:05 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ChrisBalladarez: The Valley of Fire, Nevada. Hands down one of the luckiest shots I’ve ever got. I’ll never forget this moment. https:/…

Wed May 26 23:23:05 +0000 2021 (#)

Dell are finally notifying customers that their default VLT, etc, TLS certificate included in their OS10 switches expires 2021-07-27 (ie in 2 months).

I guess it’s better than after it expires :-/

Wed May 26 23:24:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The best solution is to upgrade to a later switch OS10 that doesn’t rely on this old TLS certificate for VLT.

The work around is to run a Dell script that somehow (I haven’t seen it yet) replaces the expiring certificate with a new one (briefly interrupting VLT peering 😔)

Wed May 26 23:28:08 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Fortunately/unfortunately my client affected by this noticed the expiry date late 2019, and on Dell ProSupport advice swapped it out for a custom TLS certificate (expiring 2030).

So no immediate issue I hope. But OS upgrades don’t allow for changed TLS cert, so it’s still messy.

Thu May 27 03:46:26 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

On further investigation it appears Dell were shipping this “expired in 2021-07-27” TLS certificate at least up through the end of 2020 (maybe early 2021), based on other hardware at a client.

Thu May 27 03:48:46 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

In theory Dell Networking OS doesn’t rely on this TLS certificate any more for the VLT clustering. But from factory hardware still comes with 10.4.3.x on it (at least late 2020).

And stunnel4 still runs one process using the TLS cert on 😬

Fri May 28 04:30:33 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @neurowonderful: The five neurodivergent love languages: infodumping, parallel play, support swapping, Please Crush My Soul Back Into My…

Sun May 30 00:43:40 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @yaakov_h

“Everyone has a test environment.

Some people are lucky enough to have a separate production environment.” — someone else in the Internet whose name I’ve since forgotten

Sun May 30 08:14:06 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

There’s a roast shop in Johnsonville too (Roast Canteen). Which is probably also too far away for you 😃

(And a bunch in Petone, Lower Hutt, etc. Those are not Wellington City though, just Wellington region...)

Sun May 30 08:21:22 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

Google Maps and I believe (at least) one of these suburbs exists :^)

(Greetings from the imaginary lands outside the CBD 🌈)

Mon May 31 00:30:48 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ComfyConAU: We have roughly a month till our CFP closes! We've had lots of amazing entries so far, make sure you get yours in quick and…

Mon May 31 09:53:32 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @figmadesign: I later gave that talk again, and had it properly recorded. If you are interested in over a century of a history of people…

Mon May 31 10:06:53 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @GyledC

Thanks for the thoughts 💜

It’s been wet here, but no actual flooding affecting me so far (I’m inland, and 200m above sea level).

It does look like other parts of my city have had surface flooding; but I think the South Island ended up a lot wetter (I’m in the North Island).