Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- December 2021

Fri Dec 03 00:53:44 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @emilyst: Words are available on a freemium model, which is why so many bad writers use a lot of adverbs. They can’t afford the subscrip…

Fri Dec 03 04:48:54 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: Singaporean doctors telling you they're very worried about a COVID variant is like a regiment of Gurkhas telling you th…

Mon Dec 06 06:13:37 +0000 2021 (#)

After spending entirely too much time on it, I managed to automate displaying my #NZCovid19 Vaccine Pass on my iPhone, from the lock screen, with the minimum steps. It’s now just swipe right, click on the shortcut widget, and authenticate to the phone.

Mon Dec 06 07:12:31 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

TIL IRD has ~1600 fewer staff than 5 years ago 😮

That probably helps explain the months long delay in responding to anything even vaguely non routine 😢

Even ~24 hours to answer phone call is very quick compared with 6-12 weeks to answer MyIR request.

Mon Dec 06 07:14:25 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

OTOH actually finishing IRD’s transformation project will hopefully mean an end to the annual 7-10 day downtime periods, routinely scheduled near important tax filing dates 😔

Mon Dec 06 09:06:43 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @fastchicken and @nzgizmoguy

No I don’t have an Apple Pay card loaded, so unfortunately the “double tap for Apple Wallet” doesn’t work. (That’s also why the Vaccine Pass in the Apple Wallet is harder to find: the “add a credit card we can bill at will” advert takes up the opening screen.)

Mon Dec 06 09:09:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @jme_nz

Accessibility Zoom is a good work around for the poor Vaccine Pass QR code size 👍

(Unfortunately “double tap for Apple Wallet” apparently only works if you give a credit card to charge at will, which I haven’t; seems to be a “documented” limitation.)

Tue Dec 07 01:43:27 +0000 2021 (#)

TIL that the land my house is on apparently more than doubled in the last 3 years (2018 valuation to 2021 valuation is ~2.25x)😮

It’s not that much land, in an “affordable” suburb, so that’s rather surprising.

(It’s about least 8-9x land value from when I bought!)

Tue Dec 07 01:47:07 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The “value of improvements” (ie house, etc) went up 1.2x in the same 2018 to 2021 time frame which feels much more realistic.

Apparently land that is “easy driving distance” (but not exactly close) to the central city is expensive now.

Tue Dec 07 01:49:51 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

When I bought my house the “improvements” (ie house, etc) were at about 65-75% of the cost. Now it seems like the land is 65-75% of the cost (and the “improvements”, ie house, has gone up too, so that’s a bigger change than it might seem).

Tue Dec 07 10:31:30 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @robicellis: And there it is without a single soul in sight.

Tue Dec 07 20:12:12 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @andrewtychen: @NewsroomNZ reports that an OIA shows that DPMC, MFAT, MBIE, Customs, and Police asked for access to the (limited) centra…

Tue Dec 07 20:12:41 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @andrewtychen: I'm glad that the regulatory/legislative landscape is now better than it was with a clear statement that contact tracing…

Wed Dec 08 06:00:10 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ExcitedLeigh: If, like me, you suck at working with months in your head, here's a table to convert your 2nd dose date to when you're el…

Wed Dec 08 21:19:24 +0000 2021 (#)

🧵 #NZCovid19

Sadly Omicron seems likely to arrive in NZ right as NZ gets into full “Vaccine Passports will protect us (from Delta)” mode, and potentially “isolate at home when arriving from overseas” mode, as we give up most of the previous spread prevention measures 😢

Wed Dec 08 21:23:43 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

If #NZCovid19 Omicron arrives when most people are just 2xPfizer vaccinated, and assuming their Vaccine Pass “allows a normal life” with daily Delta case numbers at a steady high level, first few Omnicron cases could be missed. We could have a large outbreak before we know it.

Wed Dec 08 22:29:59 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @LostAngelNZ

I think it’s too early to know the mortality of Omicron.

And if Omicron and Delta are different enough to need different vaccinations, they’re probably different enough to allow double infection (Delta and Omicron) of people whose immune system is weakened by first infection.

Fri Dec 10 07:36:25 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @field_hamster and @slyall

I’d normally expect about 10 days before Christmas +/- 3 days. So this week is at the early end. But it wouldn’t surprise me if some people went early because many are “done with this year” already.

(They’re mostly to avoid call outs over Christmas / New Year stat days.)

Sat Dec 11 02:00:29 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @StaticFlow: In case anyone hasn't discovered this. The Log4J formatting is nestable which means payloads like ${jndi:ldap://${env:us…

Sat Dec 11 06:42:22 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @xssfox:

Sat Dec 11 21:31:15 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @4n6Bexaminer: My TLDR; on this thread is- you probs won't know you have something vulnerable or detect exploitation until post compromi…

Sat Dec 11 21:53:28 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @SarahJamieLewis: Asbestos problems, where you've introduced a dependency to serve purpose but due to "unforeseen" danger now needs to b…

Sun Dec 12 00:41:31 +0000 2021 (#)

This ⬇️

Interpolating into format strings makes sense (but anything accessing the network should be default off, and rarely enabled).

However (recursively!) interpolating in (likely user supplied) parameters is very WTF?! (Even more so with network lookups by default 😮)

Sun Dec 12 20:07:01 +0000 2021 (#)

Successful micro repair on (inner) layer 4, reached through copper pad on layer 1. That copper pad filling the frame is part of one of the USB 2.0 connector pads, on a (prototype) circuit board that fits inside a USB A socket.

Epic 🧵⬆️⬇️ (next Tweet in thread shows context)

Mon Dec 13 00:11:28 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @ehashdn: Everyone is shitting bricks about the log4j vulnerability but no one seems to be shitting bricks about the corporate game of c…

Mon Dec 13 00:26:45 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @attacus_au

😔 Glad you got tested in the end; sorry about the ordeal to get there.

It seems to me “walking” is a key part of “walk in” testing clinic, and they switched to being a “drive through” testing clinic with no notice; the drive through should have more car queueing space :-(

Mon Dec 13 03:25:56 +0000 2021 (#)

Vodafone (NZ) seem to be rushing changing people from landlines to (VoIP) “homelines” before Christmas. With zero advanced notice I got called out of the blue today, and told my line was being changed — which turned out to be this week.

Mon Dec 13 03:27:40 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I’ve known it was coming for a while (my exchange is one of the 1st/2nd batch to be retired). But was expecting next year. And maybe some heads up in the mail first, rather than just calls from random numbers.

Mon Dec 13 03:33:07 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

More exciting will be figuring out how to do VoIP with the Vodafone setup but still retain my custom Internet routing setup. (Particularly because it’s a DOCSIS Cable Modem so I assume they’re expecting to put VoIP on the home gateway, which I’ve bypassed 🤔)

Mon Dec 13 03:50:23 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Ironically Vodafone allow you to BYO “modem” for everything except (a) their VoIP and (b) DOCSIS Cable 😢

(But their DOCSIS modem and a Mikrotik doing VLAN tagging has worked for years.)

Mon Dec 13 03:53:27 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Vodafone insisted on sending a (Downer) tech so I guess they’re going to replace the DOCSIS modem and/or their home gateway. (They insisted on upgrading the cable plan too, so I hope they’ll test the coax is good for the new speed.)

Mon Dec 13 23:03:02 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @KWF: One of my nice friends at @henet gave me a dead 100G-LR4 optic to tear apart for your entertainment, so... let's get entertained!…

Tue Dec 14 03:58:34 +0000 2021 (#)

TIl that Vodafone (NZ) slammed me from the old TelstraClear platform to the new Vodafone platform, as a result of that change.

Which means my IPv4 static has disappeared (~16:30 today, 36 hours early), and a new static IP apparently allocated on the née platform.

Tue Dec 14 04:03:00 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Currently my cable modem service has yet another (dynamic pool) IP, as the IPv4/IPv6 service stopped at ~16:30 without warning. And the DHCP release/renew only got back a dynamic IPv4 address (DHCPv6 is unable to get any IPv6 addresses; they were dynamic previously).

Tue Dec 14 04:04:16 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @lin_nah


In theory the “new service” to be installed Thursday should make the Internet part work again. It just seems like I’ll have to change all the references to the old static IP everywhere 😢

Tue Dec 14 05:34:34 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Some additional context: earlier this year my mother’s UFB connection got moved from a Vodafone owned brand to Vodafone itself. She got a heads up it was coming months in advance, written notice weeks in advance, and it was scheduled a couple of weeks before it cut over. 1/2

Tue Dec 14 05:36:40 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

My mother’s old UFB service worked fine until the (deferred) cutover day, and then we just swapped the very old hole gateway for a new one that was preshipped and it worked immediately.

Way less disruption, and a lot more advanced notice. 2/2

Tue Dec 14 05:47:57 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Unlike my mother’s old “Vodafone owned” service, my invoice has just said “Vodafone” on it for many years. So it wasn’t obvious there was to be any change of account at all.

It seems like Vodafone NZ are consolidating all their broadband acquisitions onto one platform now 🤔

Wed Dec 15 21:07:27 +0000 2021 (#)

Downer tech arrived at start of the morning window which is great.

But no new equipment installed, no line tests, speed tests, etc. Entire job seems to have been making sure HG659 was connected to DOCSIS modem and to phone.

Wed Dec 15 21:25:17 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

And Downer tech couldn’t even test the phone beyond “gets not in service tone” as apparently (TR069?) provisioning of phone plan “will happen in the next 4 hours”.

So only new item is a RJ11 to RJ11 cable. And an internal routing headache 😔

Wed Dec 15 21:27:11 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Best I can tell the “upgraded” broadband plan in practice just has faster uplink (upload) speed which is handy. Actual downloads don’t seem a whole lot faster in practice (or even, eg, Speedtest to Vodafone Auckland server).

Wed Dec 15 21:30:41 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Some downloads are still very slow (under 1 Mb/s, ie under 10Mbps). And best case downloads from even NZ sites seem to still be well under 10MB/s (ie 100Mbps; even old plan claimed 200Mbps down).

Possibly heavily contended/oversubscribed network now 🤔

Wed Dec 15 21:36:44 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

And sadly one of the better features of Vodafone cable — direct Wellington to Wellington routing to my colo — disappeared in the last year (all trombones via Auckland now). Presumably as old connections got pulled out, and/or transit providers changed.

Fri Dec 17 00:40:01 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @tveastman: I'm really sorry New Zealand, but we simply cannot pretend we're at the end of this thing.

Sat Dec 18 08:07:56 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @linuxconfau: Our fourth keynote for #lca2022 is Brian Kernighan. He will be speaking about the early days of Unix at Bell Labs, how it…

Sun Dec 19 06:21:42 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @RealSexyCyborg

For anyone else looking, it seems to also be in stock at Mouser at present (380+ at Mouser when I looked; 160 ish left in stock at DigiKey when I looked). Neither of those are big numbers though, so stocks still limited.

Mon Dec 20 03:23:37 +0000 2021 (#)

Apparently Snapper’s website update from a “cyber attack” in May 2021 is taking longer than planned (“November 2021” is 3+ weeks ago).

Account logins to check balance still don’t work, and iOS app and “temporary web form” seem to need newer card type 😢

Mon Dec 20 03:27:47 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

All I want to know is if the “balance on your Snapper card doesn’t expire” that Metlink claims applies to my older Snapper card last used/topped up March 2020 (due to the ongoing global pandemic).

Mon Dec 20 03:31:03 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Snapper definitely did previously lock cards for non use (and then still accept money added to them after that, but keep the card locked 😔).

Apparently the only way I can find out if Snapper have stolen my money this time is to try to use the card and see what happens 😬

Mon Dec 20 03:37:05 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Aha. Looks like current Snapper terms and conditions imply (in broken English) that the expiry period is now 5 years and 11 months (terms since 2018-09-11).

It was previously expiry after something like 12 months non-use, which is easy to exceed.

Mon Dec 20 03:41:02 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @DrEricDing: 📍The coronavirus is airborne. Very airborne. Even if you don’t see anyone—doesn’t mean the aerosols aren’t in the air. WATC…

Tue Dec 21 06:41:24 +0000 2021 (#)

The #NZCovid19 plan update for Omicron has some encouraging features (boosters at 4 months instead of 6, keeping MIQ required at least through February).

But still seems very “vaccines will save everything” in tone 😢

Tue Dec 21 06:45:43 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Missing is any mention of ventilation improvements, or air flow monitoring, or access to rapid “test at home before you leave the house” options being widely available. (Especially since overseas shows PCR testing resources easily overwhelmed by #NZCovid19 Omicron surge.)

Tue Dec 21 06:48:38 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The “pretty good against Delta” 2-dose Vaccine Passes in NZ seem likely to just help spread #NZCovid19 Omicron if they really do try to manage Omicron in Red without other lockdowns. (Months old 2 dose Pfizer without booster is much less protective against Omicron than Delta.)

Tue Dec 21 06:56:26 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

In “lies, damn lies, and statistics” the article claims “we have over 90% and rising of the population fully vaccinated” for #NZCovid19.

(a) that’s 90%+ of eligible, about 77% of total population;

(b) “fully” vaccinated seems likely to change soon (~ 2-3 months) to 3 doses.

Tue Dec 21 06:59:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The really sad thing is that the #NZCovid19 2020 response was one of the best in the world, 2021 response was “okay” (vaccinations a bit late, relaxed into first drop of Delta rates and let it spread).

But 2022 response feels like it’s going to be decidedly mediocre 😢

Tue Dec 21 07:01:53 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Yeah as best I can tell it’s “after 4 months” starting “from January 2022”.

Unclear when in January that starts, but my guess is “after NZ has closed for the Christmas/New Year break.

(My 4 months is up early February, so I moved my calendar reminder :-) )

Tue Dec 21 07:08:48 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Press conference says “early January” for 4 month booster walk-ins, with booking system updated later in January. Dates apparently to be published soon once they’re confirmed.

So maybe 2nd week of January for walk-ins?

Tue Dec 21 07:18:55 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @__fincham


Yes I suspect there’ll be a big rush of Group 1/2/3 getting boosters in January one way or another (4/6 months).

Followed by “started quickly” parts of Group 4 in February (I booked ASAP each time, and still early Feb is 4 months). Everyone else waits to Mar/Apr at least.

Tue Dec 21 09:35:35 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @normnz

“Better than the UK” isn’t an especially high bar for effective governance at present :-)

I agree NZ is making moves in an encouraging direction, but so far it seems unlikely to be enough as announced, and they seem too attached to pre-Omicron plans :-(

Tue Dec 21 21:07:45 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Meanwhile in countries that have made “test at home before you go out” a key part of their strategy…

(Test at home is definitely not as good as a professional PCR test, including false negatives. But widespread routine testing helps pick up cases early.)

Thu Dec 23 00:14:10 +0000 2021 (#)

Python is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed. (With apologies to William Gibson.)

TFW a jokey “find Python and run this script” becomes sufficiently useful you end up writing a README and putting it on GitHub so you can find it again.

Thu Dec 23 00:19:17 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The GitHub variation is a layer cake of Bourne Shell at the top of the file and Python at the bottom of the file. Which is more convenient for larger Python scripts than the Bourne Shell / Python Turducken that I use for small snippets of Python.

Thu Dec 23 02:27:11 +0000 2021 (#)

aplyid,com: because nothing says trusted name in ID verification like a Crazy Domains DNS registration (seems to be the 2015 partial address of one of founders; AFAICT moved 2016), and a Let’s Encrypt TLS certificate.

As used for KYC by lawyers near you.

Thu Dec 23 02:31:09 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Other than progressive disclosure of “you’ll need ID”, “we’ll need to take a photo of you”, “you have to do this from a smart phone” the APLYiD system seems to work, including text recognition off driver’s license.

But the overall UX is… not great (3 attempts over 3 devices 😔)

Thu Dec 23 03:52:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

It turns out that aplyid,com is apparently operated not by the WHERE Ltd as on the DNS registration, but by APLY Ltd. So even more is outdated in the DNS registration. (One owner of APLY Ltd used to own WHERE Ltd, so I suspect it’s just a spin off business and tardy updates.)

Sun Dec 26 22:44:10 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @Siliconinsid: IIT VPU (1990) This chip has the most elaborate chip-art I have ever encountered! Engineers usually place their initials…

Sun Dec 26 23:16:29 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @Altomare3: The most beautiful vintage PCB I've ever seen. No idea what it's for or where it's from...

Mon Dec 27 08:34:54 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @isomer: This is a fairly interesting thread.

Wed Dec 29 06:43:37 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

NSW vaccinated numbers are 16+; NZ vaccinated numbers are 12+. Guesstimating population demographics both 0.9350.81 (16+) and 0.910.83 (12+) are basically 75% total population (double dose).

Can’t see it going any better in NZ than NSW with current settings though 😢

Wed Dec 29 22:25:52 +0000 2021 (#)

The #NZCovid19 “Omicron Summer Update” is Kiwi As :-)

Outdoors 👍 (And explains why it wasn’t on the usual MoH site.)

The Cicadas in the background is a nice touch 😃

Wed Dec 29 22:44:50 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @QueenOliviaStR: Don't like wearing a mask? Try this for inconvenience. (I wrote this opinion piece)

Thu Dec 30 03:28:31 +0000 2021 (#)

I finally got a chance to write up the most fun program I wrote in 2020, which was inspired by the #PyConlineAU 2020 “Rube Codeberg” competition initiated by @attacus_au.

Python, Switch/Case, FSM, Z80 assembly and CP/M makes for a complicated yak stack 😃

Thu Dec 30 03:56:02 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

It’s hard to tell reality from satire these days so I didn’t know if I should believe that number. But the WHO reports an even higher number (525,763) of new cases for the USA in the last 24 hours 😮

(Guess it depends which 24h you count.)

Thu Dec 30 07:48:10 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh and @yaakov_h

Sibling Once Removed 🤔

“sor” is kind of pronouncable, but not exactly “doesn’t need further explanation” 😢

(“Once Removed” is kinship/ancestory terminology for “child of” or “parent of” the relationship described. Mostly in “cousin once removed” and similar.)

Thu Dec 30 09:20:49 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @RealSexyCyborg

Actual Airlocks: not just for space any more.

(It does seem like air sanitation and airflow management are going to need to be the big hygiene things of the 2020s.)

Thu Dec 30 22:29:18 +0000 2021 (#)

RT @DrZoeHyde: Governments must not give up trying to control COVID-19 and should adopt a #VaccinesPLUS strategy as a matter of urgency.


Fri Dec 31 04:59:34 +0000 2021 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Turns out you can make a CPU on a synthesizer too, at least a Eurorack modular synthesizer.

This particular one seems to be an emulated Eurorack, so it’s a CPU on a synthesizer on a CPU on… :-)

The whole thread (and linked threads) are fun reading 😍