Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- January 2022

Sat Jan 01 05:21:20 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @theavalkyrie

In case you’re not aware @.esden’s most recent stream is building up a Black Magic Probe prototype with a new MCU to control it (old MCU is unobtanium, hence no BMP in stock). So if that prototype passes testing maybe some stock soonish?

Sat Jan 01 05:58:16 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @whatnick

“Made from an element that is theorised to exist, but has not been seen in practice.”

(Unobtanium has been relatable for a while, but the 24 months of 2020 have demonstrated it’s a key element of way more things than originally thought! 😃)

Sat Jan 01 09:19:30 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @mattfromlondon: My best pic of 2021. No clever trickery, just a weird street in Canary Wharf. Particularly happy with it because it’s t…

Sun Jan 02 21:20:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @kbeckmann and @mithro

I’d probably just create a fixed layout table matching the manual and parse that directly.

Using “*” as a placeholder, like the manual.

(Beware I typed the opcodes in again from your code, so check before use. I think I fixed Row/MSB / Col/LSB order.)

Tue Jan 04 06:42:47 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @weirjp: @ElizaJBarr I live in Singapore - Govt provided every household an oximeter, reusable masks and ART test kits (and there have b…

Tue Jan 04 09:05:47 +0000 2022 (#)

Exponential growth is a hell of a drug.

(QT is Australia: 47k Covid-19 cases reported in a day, out of 547k total since 2020 start. Probably an undercount of day, as they’ve run out of PCR testing capacity and rapid tests. Similar vaccination rates to NZ, by total population 😢)

Thu Jan 06 06:11:03 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @The_Ada_Rhodes: If you get nothing on STERN the best second guess is ALCID

Combined they cover 46.4% of consonant phonemes and 79.26%…

Thu Jan 06 06:40:36 +0000 2022 (#)

Australia ⬇️ 😢

It’s out of PCR testing capacity and out of RATs (Rapid Antigen Tests) only about 10 days into the Omicron surge.

(New Zealand has only #NZCovid19 PCR, no DIY RAT tests at all; AFAICT only RAT tests are pharmacy supervised for unvaxed wanting to exit Auckland.)

Thu Jan 06 06:54:15 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Ref: free #NZCovid19 rapid antigen tests at pharmacies until 2022-01-31, for unvaccinated travellers leaving Auckland (ie don’t have a Vaccine Pass to show).

It explicitly says rapid tests not to be used if symptoms (get PCR).

Thu Jan 06 07:08:18 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

New Zealand banned “unapproved” #NZCovid19 (ie DIY, rapid) testing kits 2020-04-22 (for a year, renewed 2021-04-22).

Since then only access is a “big businesses” trial, and Auckland pharmacy supervised use.

Thu Jan 06 07:18:31 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

After some digging it seems “Purchase of [#NZCovid19] self-test rapid antigen tests will be available for the [New Zealand] general public early in the New Year.”

So hopefully they will be part of the Omicron strategy 🙏

Thu Jan 06 07:42:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar

Yes, quite.

Or at the start of the Delta outbreak.

“Rapid test before you go out even though you don’t have symptoms.” is very common elsewhere (Scotland, Germany, etc). Won’t catch everything, can help slow accidental “oh, I didn’t have any symptoms” spread.

Thu Jan 06 07:47:43 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @mjg59

I think Hyrum’s Law and Proper Enterprise Software Quality practically require you to do so 😃

Thu Jan 06 23:44:59 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @slyall: Hopefully NZ can keep Omicron out for at least another month or so. That should give us time to give around half 5-12s their fi…

Sat Jan 08 00:20:00 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

Looks like Tableau to me. FWIW, I’ve found with Tableau that even if you have download permissions (unclear here) you have to select (eg double click) the data set you want to download before export, so dialog allows “Data” (ie CSV) downloads. (Weird UI/UX choice 😔)

Sat Jan 08 00:34:03 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

I have many questions.

Particularly about “dishwasher push notifications” and “wanted” 🤔

Sat Jan 08 01:41:52 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

I (sort of) understand wanting to track history of when devices ran, stats, etc (even if it feels a little too “sysadminning my dishwasher”).

But push notifications?! I almost never want push notifications!

(I can tell when my dishwasher finishes because it stops making noise.)

Sat Jan 08 06:27:46 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

As a sign of progress, you can emulate a CPU in the pixel shader of your graphics system. (In this case enough RISC-V features, and 64MiB of RAM, so it can boot Linux. Article from 2021-08-25.)

It’s state machines all the way down.

Sun Jan 09 07:38:21 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman and @BR3NDA

Particularly so since there already are reimplementations of Wordle with source explicitly available, which work pretty well. (I see it doesn’t have a license stated, but I suspect if someone asked they’d add a common license.)

Mon Jan 10 06:04:05 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @Danjite: Messy and terrible, but with mild comic value:

Mon Jan 10 07:43:38 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ranginui

FYI there’s a reimplementation of Wordl on GitHub, with source available (although without a COPYING / LICENSE file last I looked) which seems to work pretty well. So that’s another possible code base (if someone asked them to add a license file).

Mon Jan 10 08:09:14 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

Naomi Wu has spent a bunch of time looking at good masks; the QT is one of the best short summaries of what she’s been suggesting for months.

I too got a 3M 6200 based kit based on Naomi’s suggestion (Elipse didn’t seem to be available locally).

Mon Jan 10 21:26:09 +0000 2022 (#)

This is a fun variation on Wordle (it “changes what it was thinking of” based on your guesses).

Denying it the most common letters (eg stern / alcid, or maybe siren / octal) does narrow search space considerably as it’s going to say “nope, none of those common letters” 😃

Mon Jan 10 21:40:08 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @thomasbeagle

Yes I’ve also got 5 on some paths (different from the example 5 in thread).

I suspect 4 is very letter choice dependent, as you’d need to eliminate just the right letters to make the 4th word inevitable.

(Same word inputs seem to lead to reproducible final answer.)

Fri Jan 14 00:03:25 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @tserong: #til The Unix Heritage Society exists #lca2022

Fri Jan 14 02:35:00 +0000 2022 (#)

TIL that CC-BY-SA and CC-BY-NC-SA are not compatible in either direction (presumably because making it NC is “not share alike”; and obviously allowing commercial use is that wasn’t previously allowed is outside the license).

#lca2022 #LinuxConfAU

Fri Jan 14 04:27:01 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @Lenniesaurus: Not all men.

Sat Jan 15 03:30:37 +0000 2022 (#)


International transactions are hard these days 😢

When the obvious (online anything unacceptable for record authority), and easy (Embassy help, urgent courier; closed/too slow because pandemic) are ruled out, whatever is left is “the solution”.

Spoiler: it worked. But OMG.

Sat Jan 15 03:48:04 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @DrJinRussell: It’s the 15th Jan and we have kept Omicron out of Aotearoa New Zealand’s community for 52 days, thanks to a phenomenal ef…

Sat Jan 15 03:48:42 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @farmgeek: We've administered more than 8.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in NZ and I don't think I've seen a single person seriou…

Sat Jan 15 04:52:20 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

Yes, quite.

I’m still undecided 🤔

(Fortunately both seem likely to have good recordings out soon, so it’s “which do I watch first” rather than “which do I miss” 💖)

Sat Jan 15 05:12:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Very interesting talk (see QT ⬇️) presented by Greg Baker at #lca2022, about machine translation for less well represented languages, extrapolating from existing sources.

There’s some initial (Python) code available too (GPLv3 it appears). #LinuxConfAU

Sat Jan 15 06:47:23 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @StevensHat: The first Keynote from #LCA2022 is now available "The early days of Unix at Bell Labs" - Brian Kernighan (LCA 2022 Online)…

Sun Jan 16 01:28:03 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @caitelatte

“2020 is not here, but the future is unevenly distributed” :-)

Sun Jan 16 04:13:19 +0000 2022 (#)

J’s talk captivatingly weaves a D&D based story line with practical examples and advice, illustrated with beautifully chosen AI generated art.

Thanks @minxdragon! I’m definitely watching the talk again once the recording comes out, as your presentation is spellbinding 💜

Sun Jan 16 18:53:25 +0000 2022 (#)

I’m streaming live conference talks for the 4th day running: after 3 days of #lca2022, today is PancakesCon 3, live-streaming on YouTube (no registration required).

It’s a 50/50 mix of infosec and “speaker’s choice” topics. (~ 6 more hours of talks.)

Sun Jan 16 20:38:18 +0000 2022 (#)

TIL you can run BIRD (BGP daemon) on the Linux computer inside your (“Smart”) SFP. And the smart SFP ships with a Debian Linux install in it 😮

(Yet another layer in the “we heard you liked computers so we put a computer in your computer” journey :-) )

Sun Jan 16 21:23:30 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

🧵with discussion of post and some more examples of “things you can get in SFP form factor”

Mon Jan 17 22:28:54 +0000 2022 (#)

Despite previously assuring me that all settings were transferred from old Vodafone to new Vodafone, @vodafoneNZ both failed to email me the invoice and the MyVodafone site shows no direct debit set up while invoice/staff insist it will be direct debited.

Mon Jan 17 22:32:22 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @vodafoneNZ

I’ve hopefully fixed the invoice emailing by actually adding my email address to the “email bill to” section on the MyVodafone site.

“Robin” at VodafoneNZ (0508-888-800, 2022-01-18 11:15) insisted total will be direct debited.

I guess I’ll find out in February if that works 😬

Mon Jan 17 22:44:19 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @vodafoneNZ

Having installed My Vodafone iOS app on yet another device (to log into home account, instead of mobile account), the MyVodafone iOS App says direct debit is set up for my home account.

So maybe MyVodafone website is just broken 🤷‍♂️ Which seems to be impossible to report 😔

Mon Jan 17 23:09:57 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @vodafoneNZ

DM sent with account number and screenshot of MyVodafone website.

It might just be the MyVodafone website displaying incorrectly, but if so it’s very confusing and you should ask your website developers to fix the bug.

Tue Jan 18 01:02:45 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @vodafoneNZ

The direct debit has been set up with Vodafone NZ for 20 years; it’s not new.

The problem is either with Vodafone staff failing to transfer the direct debit to the new account Vodafone insisted on setting up, or with the website display of direct debit status.

Tue Jan 18 01:22:18 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @notsolonecoder



(Over time I’ve either trained clients to pay regularly on time or discouraged them from asking me to do work. Some are much better at paying on time than others, so “select for reliably pays on time clients” definitely helps :-) )

Tue Jan 18 02:01:40 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @notsolonecoder

Yeah, payments of December invoices in January is typically way less reliable than other times, as often a key person to do something to enable is on leave at some point (or all of) the payment cycle.

Hopefully easily sorted with a reminder 👍

Tue Jan 18 04:31:14 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

My favourite talk from #lca2022, @.minxdragon’s “Role For Initiative” is now available for rewatching (or watch for the first time if you didn’t catch it live: if so you’re in for a treat!).


Thu Jan 20 08:22:35 +0000 2022 (#)

Seems like the Xilinix Spartan 6 FPGA (an older generation FPGA, but still used) is effectively end of sale, due to lack of fab capacity 😮

(Suggested lead times of 2 years; and strong hints to redesign rather than wait.)

Thu Jan 20 22:02:33 +0000 2022 (#)

@sevreview I think I just found the next candidate for your Downtime Project Podcast: the Wordpress install :-)

(Internet Archive has a good capture from 2022-01-05 so it’s a fairly recent breakage.)

Fri Jan 21 04:02:40 +0000 2022 (#)

NZ Government seems to be doubling down on #Covid19NZ booster vaccinations as the single thing they’re going to (hopefully, if Omicron waits long enough) do differently from NSW, Australia.

Fri Jan 21 04:03:55 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

For overseas audiences: “Red” is businesses open for smaller groups, vaccine passes (showing have 2 doses #NZCovid19 Phizer, booster not indicated).

Most people’s vaccine passes are valid until May 2022 (6 months from issue), and 2 doses only ~halves chance of catching Omicron.

Fri Jan 21 04:10:53 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I guess we’ll have to wait and see if this “ride it out” position holds when we reach the “50% of all #NZCovid19 cases ever have been in the last day” stage of the exponential growth 😬

(We might max out testing capacity first: ~10k max tests/day; ~15k cases to date.)

Fri Jan 21 04:57:52 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

FTR there are community cases (but possibly not community spread) of #NZCovid19 Omicron in New Zealand now.

Fri Jan 21 05:15:00 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Some more detail on Palmerston North #NZCovid19 case from Ministry of Health.

“Didn’t know they were infectious, didn’t have symptoms, just out of many-tests MIQ” suggests several Palmerston North Omicron exposure risks 😢

Sat Jan 22 01:25:36 +0000 2022 (#)

“How I built my own Sega Mega Drive hardware dev kit from scratch” is an interesting tale, with lots of DIY hardware photos, of setting up for independent game platform development in the early 1990s, on a very limited budget.

Sat Jan 22 06:56:21 +0000 2022 (#)

STM8 read out protection versus a pair of LMC555s: who will win?

(Bonus points for implementing it with a breadboard, and some potentiometers!)

Sat Jan 22 22:26:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Short notice announcement brings the news that NZ moves to #NZCovid19 Red at 23:59 tonight, due to known Omicron community spread (at least Auckland and Nelson area).

And sets expectation of 1000+ cases/day “in a few weeks” (“Stage 3” of response).

Sat Jan 22 22:29:26 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Plan for #NZCovid19 Omicron in NZ seems to be to do PCR testing as in 2020/2021 in first stage of response (up to 1000 cases/day), then transition to a (to be announced) Stage 3 response presumably with less PCR testing, etc.

(FTR 1000 cases is 1/15th of NZ total cases to date.)

Sat Jan 22 22:33:07 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The Government’s main #NZCovid19 seems to be suggesting people “get boosted”, but 4+ months from second dose for Group 4 is at least February (even if booked first dose ASAP and brought second dose forward when that was announced possible).

No home RATs, no N95 masks 🤔

Sun Jan 23 08:26:25 +0000 2022 (#)

This (2h18m!) documentary draws a fairly direct line from the 2008 mortgage derivatives bubble bursting through NFTs, and on into DAOs. It’s whirlwind tour of a dozen years of cryptocurrency history, the promises made and the promises lost, told from an outsider’s perspective.

Mon Jan 24 01:18:38 +0000 2022 (#)

Evidence in the parking receipts: something changed in 2020, and got worse in 2021, that reduced the need for parking receipts.

(And no it wasn’t selling a car, or suddenly all parking being free.)

2016: ~60; 2017: ~70; 2018: ~70; 2019: ~80; 2020: ~15; 2021: 3 😮)

Mon Jan 24 03:06:45 +0000 2022 (#)

This is one of the situations where home #NZCovid19 Rapid Antigen tests would be most useful.

Most of my hayfever / allergy symptoms are/were on the “Covid-19 symptoms” list. 1/2

Mon Jan 24 03:09:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Being able to test at home in the “fairly sure there’s no chance it’s Covid-19 but I’d like to check just in case” situation would help a lot (it’s hard to justify using up PCR resources for that).

But NZ banned RATs in 2020, and only started trials with them late 2021 😔


Mon Jan 24 07:42:47 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

The (USA) Elipse P100 seems to be closest to “looks good and works”. AFAICT not available locally. (So far I’ve not tried to import one, so don’t know how hard that would be at present. 3M elastometric is local, but P100 filters mostly sold out.)

Mon Jan 24 08:15:10 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

There’s a 3M exhalation valve replacement, the 3M 604. Also doesn’t seem to be available in NZ.

FWIW the Elipse P100 appeals to me because it seems a bit smaller than 3M half face masks in practice (so definitely smaller than the full face ones).

Mon Jan 24 08:36:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Snap :-)

Once I realised Amazon was the main referenced distributor, had stock and would ship to NZ, I figured I might as well order now rather than wish I had later!

(Replacement filters seem to be out of stock at present; at a guess for “no dust” use they’d last a while.)

Mon Jan 24 20:30:10 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @dajnewin and @__fincham

Thanks for that link. Especially using surgical masks as the filter seems like a really good idea as they’re easily obtained and easy to explain what it is (as well as being a pretty good filter).

Mon Jan 24 21:24:40 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

My favourite Absurdle combination so far, because it reads almost like poetry and the fifth (and final) word appears to be the only one left at that point.

Tue Jan 25 06:45:43 +0000 2022 (#)

TIL we now have copyleft trolls (to match the copyright trolls), who seem to specialise in “well, actually” you didn’t quite follow the license terms perfectly, so it’s copyright infringement and BTW have you heard of statutory damages (US$150K)… but we’ll settle now for less.

Tue Jan 25 06:49:42 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

TL;DR of @.doctorow’s post is that Creative Commons licenses before 4.0 allow no chance to fix up mistakes following the license terms (eg not using exact attribution).

CC 4.0+ licenses provide 30 days for well intentioned users to fix oversights and still rely on the license.

Tue Jan 25 23:04:53 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

I get “not relying on only FSMG for security updates” (mirror might be behind), but is there some reason I’m unaware of not to use FSMG as a local cache of security updates, providing one also lists the central {Debian,Ubuntu,…} security CDN as well? 🤔

Wed Jan 26 00:28:01 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @nzgizmoguy and @__fincham

Thanks for the confirmation! That’s what I’be been doing: FSMG as “local cache” for possible faster download and the office for “up to the moment” updates.

Wed Jan 26 00:40:54 +0000 2022 (#)

“It’s a bold strategy Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him.”

(This is the “deferred from 2021 by Delta” dates; seems like they have more deferral dates in mind too.)

Wed Jan 26 00:45:26 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Sadly my pick is 1-2 July 2022 (Kawaiicon II new dates) will be pretty close to the peak of the #NZCovid19 Omicron wave, given the stage 1 “slow the spread” response followed by the stages 2/3 umm… “less slow spread” (1000+/day). (Covid waves overseas seem to be 4-5 months.)

Wed Jan 26 04:00:45 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @theavalkyrie

I highly recommend automating everything to do with Doing Invoices as much as possible (way past the XKCD point of being worth it).

On the one hand the “generating invoices” task takes longer, but on the other hand “generating invoices” is now programming not administrivia 😃

Wed Jan 26 04:40:29 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @urchinette: @JortsTheCat @UFWupdates Hi Jorts, just in case you didn’t know the word boycott comes from activism here in Ireland in the…

Wed Jan 26 07:04:33 +0000 2022 (#)

Brian Kernighan interviewing Doug McIlroy (Nerd Talk video from 2021-10-22) is fascinating for its Unix history trivia.

(Might appeal to #LinuxConfAU attendees who enjoyed seeing Brian Kernighan’s keynote at #LCA2022. English, with Spanish subtitles.)

Wed Jan 26 07:25:03 +0000 2022 (#)

🧵and browser based microcoded System 360/50 simulator (WIP), and detailed blog post describing the system being simulated and its context (links down thread).

“To build the simulator, I extracted the binary microcode from the listings using a custom OCR tool.” 😮

Wed Jan 26 08:11:45 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @ComfyConAU: Pack your bags for the living room: ComfyCon AU is back on the 9th and 10th of April! CFP Coming Soon!…

Thu Jan 27 03:41:19 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: YouTube's criteria are patriarchal, and male gaze focused- if men like it, it's bad and women need to change or be depr…

Thu Jan 27 05:15:14 +0000 2022 (#)

If you’ve ever wanted to understand how a flip flop works in silicon, and the timing constraints around how fast it can be clocked (and the clock skew it can tolerate) this is the video for you. (~22 minutes long, Sky130 based examples)

Sat Jan 29 22:21:13 +0000 2022 (#)

Naomi’s explanation of the fairly direct path from China’s (old) “One Child per Couple” policy to her ultra-femme gender expression is both more touching and more heartbreaking than I’d guessed 😢

~38 minutes, one captivating take straight to camera (with a little B roll).

Sun Jan 30 06:38:29 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @xssfox

“Fall” is drop bear season.

(Nobody knows when that is…)

Sun Jan 30 06:56:51 +0000 2022 (#)

Looks like the #NZCovid19 outbreak has recently picked up a whole bunch of exposure sites in/near Wellington, released throughout today (more today than I remember in all of 2021).

Probably worth keeping an eye for the next several weeks, eg “from:@nzcovidbot AND #wellington”

Sun Jan 30 07:00:47 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The @.nzcovidbot is an unofficial source (scanning Ministry of Health #NZCovid19 data periodically); double check anything it announces with official sources.

But the Twitter bot produces much more easily regularly searched data than anything the Ministry of Health provides 😢

Mon Jan 31 00:03:12 +0000 2022 (#)

TIL NZ inflation from 2000 Q1 to 2021 Q4 compounded works out to about 39% decline in purchasing power over this century. Despite the “low inflation” targets (which, uhh, were exceeded in 2021 by… a lot). 😢

Mon Jan 31 02:23:03 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @ComfyConAU: Our CFP is up! Sign up, whether you're old or new to the field, if you have something to talk highly technical or more soci…

Mon Jan 31 02:37:00 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @textfiles: Now that it's in your wishlist, see this amazing 12 minute presentation about the emulator.

Mon Jan 31 08:03:58 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

“No artificial ingredients” means everything was somehow extracted from a biologically grown/naturally occurring thing. Rather than synthesised from basic molecules in some form of chemistry.

It’s basically marketing; some synthesis are safer than some extraction processes.