Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- April 2022

Fri Apr 01 03:47:46 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @developerjack


(Personally I’ve never had anyone comment on invoice numbers except (a) when I accidentally duplicated them for the same client — “computer says no” — or (b) very early on when I started at four digits to make formatting easier. But I ~always invoice monthly.)

Fri Apr 01 07:18:59 +0000 2022 (#)

New Tim Hunkin series on components started yesterday (2022-03-31). First new one (“episode 9”) is on sensors (~1h long, with chapters).

(IIRC according to the announcement video there’s 5 videos in this series, to be released weekly.)

Fri Apr 01 07:23:04 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @bunniestudios

I’m all for “ugly but functional”, and recyclable 👍

Just wanted to let you know it seems very close to the margin of safety on surviving long shipping the way Mouser pack it (ie loose inside a larger box). Even slightly wider cardboard “joints”/thicker tray card might help.

Fri Apr 01 21:37:11 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: Now live for everyone! Killing Viruses with UV- Safely!

Open Source Upper-Room UVGI Fixture ht…

Fri Apr 01 21:52:08 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @theavalkyrie: Y'all hate UUIDs? Me too. I use ULIDs instead. They are 26 chars long using base32, lexicographically, monotonically so…

Sun Apr 03 06:31:45 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @MeanestTA: Everyone on my team (5 men ages 48-75) texts me to make sure the slang they’re using is correct in context. Some examples be…

Mon Apr 04 06:20:29 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @ComfyConAU: Finally, the Youtube Links for the weekend are going to be here. Sat 9 April - Sun 10 April - https…

Wed Apr 06 07:03:58 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Find a computer from the 1980s you like, with its OS in ROM. Acquire a few spares, and keep them in working order. Pretend the last 30 years never happened. RetroComputing is very in these days.

(I mean it’s not what I did. But some days it sure is tempting😃)

Wed Apr 06 07:06:13 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Wed Apr 06 07:12:23 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @ngumenyuk: In a moment of crisis Ukraine turns to be an incredibly functioning & effective state.Volodya&Igor job is to restore interne…

Wed Apr 06 07:30:36 +0000 2022 (#)

If you like your sudoku solves “movie length”, and “mystery reveals itself” style, “The Ultimate Miracle Sudoku” is for you: empty grid, 9 “?” marks outside the grid (which are X-Sums & Sandwiches).

A beautiful solve by Simon of @crypticcracking (1h27m).

Thu Apr 07 00:30:38 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

The names of icons on the home screen of a phone need to be short, hence Settings.

System Preferences on macOS is just a (usually hidden) menu item on a much larger screen. (Fairly sure it’s been System Preferences for a very long time if you’re wondering which was first.)

Thu Apr 07 04:52:28 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @danielgoyal: Omicron is far more dangerous than the Flu.

Many have bought into the “Covid is now like the Flu” narrative.

So here’s t…

Sat Apr 09 02:22:07 +0000 2022 (#)

#ComfyConAU is on now, streaming on YouTube so you can watch from your couch. Sat/Sun afternoon/evening for those of us in Aotearoa.

(Opening talk, on now, is Laura Bell. Join the ComfyCon Discord for chat; invite link at bottom of #ComfyConAU2022

Sat Apr 09 02:47:46 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Now live at #ComfyConAU is a talk on “The Birth of the Surveillance State in Artefacts”. If you’re interested in early tech, and aren’t watching live, it’d be interesting to go back and watch later (about 50 minutes into live stream link up thread).

Sat Apr 09 03:20:03 +0000 2022 (#)

Podcast suggestion via #ComfyConAU and the Surveillance tech talk: “I Spy”. Each podcast episode featuring a spy telling the story of one operation (seems to have 3 seasons so far) 😍

Sat Apr 09 06:46:49 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

🧵with sneak peek into some of the excellent Surveillance Technology (of the past, mostly East Germany) talk from this afternoon at #ComfyConAU (to wet your appetite for the talk if you missed it).

Sun Apr 10 00:47:47 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

Depends how it is implemented: at least in some cases “by ministerial approval” basically means “submit a good reason in writing and it’ll be approved”.

As you say often Ministers (and managers) don’t know the details; they’re just “process has been followed” check points.

Sun Apr 10 03:35:48 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @minxdragon

Likely, yes, it’ll add some (mostly unnecessary) delay 😢

But where it falls on the “somewhat bad” to “extremely terrible” range depends on the people running the process. (“Such consent will not be unreasonably withheld” is often added to legally codify good will.)

Sun Apr 10 04:19:43 +0000 2022 (#)

RFC3339 date/time formats versus ISO8601 date/time formats, with live updating examples. (Via #ComfyConAU chat.)

(RFC3339 is basically the subset of ISO8601 date/time formats you want to use, although RFC3339 allows a few other reasonable variations.)

Mon Apr 11 08:36:17 +0000 2022 (#)

Back in the days of floppy disks, loading programs was slow (and RAM was expensive, so no disk cache): what if you could rerun the previous program without loading from floppy again? Such a helpful utility could be very small… 😃

Mon Apr 11 10:01:19 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @OzziePriya: Inspired by the #ComfyCon talk on early surveillance engineering , nerded out on google for some reading/visual material. F…

Mon Apr 11 21:31:04 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @farmgeek: Masks! If we're going to abandon most other public health measures (with or without justification) we should be going hard on…

Mon Apr 11 21:33:35 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @cstross: Herd immunity can only work against a virus when infection (or vaccination) confers a long-lasting immune response. It's now c…

Tue Apr 12 08:55:27 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @winegeeknz and @BR3NDA

As best I can figure out The Warehouse are currently shipping each (set of) things from the nearest store which has them in stock. Which makes sense for expediency (and I guess in person shopping is quieter while deliveries have picked up).

Tue Apr 12 08:57:47 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @winegeeknz and @BR3NDA

But yes they’re clearly subsidising the shipping a bit in the process. (Fortunately I got only two boxes out of one order, on different days: one from Wellington, one from Auckland.)

Some other brands are also shipping deliveries from random stores, but not as split up.

Tue Apr 12 09:24:16 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @xssfox: TV show idea: Air crash investigators but for website outage incidents

dramatic music Narrator: "There was only a single ECS…

Tue Apr 12 09:30:08 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA and @winegeeknz

Curious 🤔 As best I can tell “Auckland Oaks” Warehouse is near the airport so sending a package from there makes sense. Maybe 2 if waiting on incoming stock. But 6 separate packages for one order/store makes less sense.

(I got one Auckland Oaks, on Rongatai, a day apart.)

Wed Apr 13 03:00:59 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

Given the timing of “parcel delayed” and the time of year (a day before a 4 day weekend), it may just be that it didn’t arrive in Wellington until after the couriers had left for today’s deliveries. And they’re not sure of getting it to you today.

(Hopefully no leaks!)

Wed Apr 13 08:37:52 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Beyond the other (great) descriptions, by modern convention I’d usually assume a bearer token was issued by something other than what is validating/accepting it (eg like JWT).

Whereas a Session ID (cookie, form param, URL) is usually created by same entity that is checking it.

Thu Apr 14 06:21:55 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @aurynn

It’s a pretty common pattern to have a system boot, notice its file system is smaller than the full disk, resize the partition and file system, then restart.

Raspberry Pi (raspbian) does that, and I’ve used cloud-utils “growpart” to do the same in a VM.

Thu Apr 14 07:10:34 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @DrEricDing: Finally official acknowledgement that aerosols is the main method of transmission. Deeming #COVIDisAirborne places a burden…

Thu Apr 14 09:38:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

The most successful solution I had was a perl script called “toweb” (which I wrote) that used ImageMagick (via perl), to resize/rename/annotate the photo, and also build a thumbnail. Plus rsync to the web server.

(Then perl or markdown to build the webpage.)

Thu Apr 14 09:41:10 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Ironically at some point 6-8 years ago I decided “I should process photos better”, and got various Adobe things and lots of RAW photos. But the actual volume of photos published with this “better” system is nearly zero (vs thousands with the old perl script) 🤔

Thu Apr 14 09:43:31 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

My blog is ikiwiki, edited (in markdown) with vim. Embedded photos just get git added to a resources directory along side, and git pushed with the built blog HTML.

I guess it depends just how textual you want to be :-)

Thu Apr 14 09:45:21 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Also FWIW I highly recommend AirDrop for getting adhoc photos off a phone onto something else to publish them. It’s 50% of what I use AirDrop for (the rest is links to another device). And quick enough I actual do use the photos from my phone elsewhere.

Thu Apr 14 09:48:59 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

That’s basically what I did, but the VM hosting the (old) photos is on my colo box (I’m already paying for). And there’s a 20 year old perl/sh publishing pipeline and no web apps insight :-)

(ikiwiki is a perl Markdown to HTML static site generator; I run it as a git hook.)

Fri Apr 15 06:15:58 +0000 2022 (#)

0208 C9 RET

Sat Apr 16 08:06:44 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @apollo_50th: T-9 hours and counting. The Apollo 16 countdown has resumed on schedule after a nine-hour planned hold. #Apollo16 #Apollo50

Sat Apr 16 22:46:04 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @apollo_50th: Lift-off! #Apollo16 #Apollo50

Sun Apr 17 06:05:07 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @ChrisByrnePhoto: Wild horses in Torres Del Paine. The last photo taken on my trip with Marc Adamus. It’s been a wild couple of weeks to…

Sun Apr 17 07:35:12 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @developerjack

Your fx-82AU Plus looks somewhat fancier than the fx-82c we were allowed to use in school.

(Still works, I end up using it every week or two; only real issue is the membrane to battery connection is fairly worn, resulting in dim display at times.)

Sun Apr 17 07:44:44 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @notsolonecoder

“Air” was provided for breakfast; I guess that’s not their usual breakfast?! :-)

Sun Apr 17 23:52:23 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

Do you have any means of taking donations that doesn’t require creating a PayPal account (something I’ve avoided for the last 10+ years)?

Bank account transfer? Something that takes credit cards? (Some Ko-Fi account do cards directly but it seems to need Stripe set up/linked.)

Sun Apr 17 23:54:53 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

Also possibly worth considering Patreon or similar that would allow $.n/month type on going donations from people who already have recurring payments there.

Mon Apr 18 00:06:32 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham and @tveastman

Normally yes PayPal will take donations without an account via a card.

In the specific case of Ko-Fi, no it won’t. It wants you to create an account. I tried, a bunch. (Ko-Fi’s advice seems to be “create PayPal account here”, or “connect Stripe”.)

Mon Apr 18 07:32:17 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @Tamora_Tea: @jsrNZ

Tue Apr 19 01:55:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

“Seasonal” as in Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer waves.

(I think “ordinary seasonal virus” is code for “yeah, we’re not going to do anything to make it go away any longer.” NZ feels pretty close to on that path now TBH.)

Tue Apr 19 03:07:49 +0000 2022 (#)

I think the Kawaiicon ticket site is a bit more excited about the idea of an in person conference this year than I am.

But I’ve bought the “opportunity but not the obligation” to attend (and live in the same city so can decide how I feel about it on the day). So maybe….? 🤔

Tue Apr 19 03:25:09 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Firefox 91.8 ESR on macOS in case it helps you debug style sheet issues. The “BARROW LOAD” “menu” was always in that second row for me. Window width appears to make no difference (until very narrow, when the whole menu bar disappears).

Tue Apr 19 03:31:01 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Left arrow Glyph seems to be U+2F75 (e2 9f b5 as UTF-8). Seems like the same length as on other pages to me. Both Firefox to Firefox and Firefox vs Safari screenshot of Unicode page.

Maybe a font selection thing?

Tue Apr 19 03:39:11 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Looks like the BARROW LOAD link is a “pwa-link” and is being “float: right” as a result. None of the other ul/li items seem to be floated. Float and non-float items live weird parallel lives in CSS, so at a guess you were relying on undefined behaviour 🤔

Tue Apr 19 04:10:20 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

FWIW it might be possible to use “display: float-root” on the parent ul these days to constrain the float range. Cross browser support seems to be “last few years”. Otherwise there are several old kludgy work arounds.

Tue Apr 19 05:42:26 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @BreeNewsome: This is why I keep saying Covid is one of the greatest indicators we’re in a period of collapse. Abandoning mitigation mea…

Tue Apr 19 06:16:56 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @aurynn and @chrisjrn

I’ve got rather more trust in my personal willingness to say “yeah, this is unsafe” and just go home. So I’m tentatively willing to go “we’ll see how it plays out” on mask compliance, for local (ie easy to just go home) conferences which are trying to do the right thing.

Tue Apr 19 06:20:02 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @aurynn and @chrisjrn

Even aside from any “ignored RAT test” situation, it seems to me inevitable at a large enough event someone will genuinely not know they’re infected until afterwards.

So my risk calculations are based on air turnover, and spread reduction steps (like everyone in masks).

Wed Apr 20 04:10:14 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @helenleigh: Tell friends you admire their repo and compliment your colleagues' schematics today! I don't think us nerds gas each other…

Wed Apr 20 06:04:25 +0000 2022 (#)

Signs you’re working with an “Enterprise” software product: debugging a (SAML) authentication issue involves parsing JSON, XML, and YAML.

Wed Apr 20 06:06:44 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

In this case as best I can tell after looking for 90 minutes (after someone else looked for most of today) the final solution is “oh yeah, in that edition you have to run a reconfigure step after editing the config file” (otherwise it uses a cached config) 😔

Wed Apr 20 06:38:19 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @idreesali114: A dog waits in front of an operating room while medical team performs surgery on a Ukrainian soldier in a hospital, amid…

Wed Apr 20 10:38:42 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @tqbf: Welp. It’s the crypto bug of the year. Mark it down for April. Java 15-18 ECDSA doesn’t sanity check that the random x coordinate…

Wed Apr 20 22:35:38 +0000 2022 (#)

Apparently there’s a water outage affecting at least two suburbs (including mine), big enough to make the start of the main council phone message. With no ETA. But Wellington Water don’t even mention it on their website, or either Twitter feed 😔

Wed Apr 20 22:46:18 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Spoke to someone helpful at the Council. Burst water main 30 Broderick Road, crew on site but needing traffic control, digging, etc. From that location it’s going to take 4+ hours I’d guess.

Council person is going to ask @WgtnWaterNZ to actually report the outage on map.

Wed Apr 20 22:48:25 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @pearofdoom


As best I can tell it made it to the map as “50 houses” in Churton Park, but actually is N,000 houses in multiple suburbs.

Hopefully my encouragement of real status updates gets something posted soon.

(Guessed ETA is “this one will take a while”.)

Wed Apr 20 23:29:25 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

There is now an official notification, saying 4-5 hours interruption of water. Although the Wellington Water website still says “2 hours” and “last updated 10:00” so clearly that’s not very frequently updated.

Wed Apr 20 23:33:32 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Wellington Water work in your area map status I’m seeing now (~90 minutes later) for 30 Broderick Road water outage; link to map up thread (there’s no links to individual jobs AFAICT).

Wed Apr 20 23:42:23 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Turns out 2 hours was closer to the truth: I refreshed the page again a few minutes later and now it says “resolved”. And I have water again \o/

Guess it involved less excavation than they originally thought, at least to patch up.

Thu Apr 21 00:13:41 +0000 2022 (#)

The story of Prussian Blue leading to Cyanotypes leading to Blueprints is fascinating, and merely a side story to this Kickstarter (which is a book touching on less pleasant uses of cyanide).

“The fundamental interconnectedness of all things” indeed 🤔

Thu Apr 21 01:58:54 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @Danjite: Today's very sensible #COVID19 thred.

Thu Apr 21 07:35:28 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: What's quite frightening to me, and the millions of Chinese like me- 1st tier, educated, middle class, is this is our f…

Thu Apr 21 09:23:01 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @travisgoodspeed: Holy hell was this a good lecture. Elias made Starcraft Remastered backward compatible with memory corruption exploit…

Thu Apr 21 21:42:08 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ravenslofty

The only way I can be sure you’re not talking about my city is that we waited until we’ll into the 2000s to ditch the trolley buses. (“Eventually” to be replaced by battery buses: it’s been like 5-10 years and there’s less than a dozen of them so far 😢)

Fri Apr 22 01:48:08 +0000 2022 (#)

TIL that an AWS HTTP API (sporadically) failing JWT authorisation with “401 Unauthorized” and “JWKS communication error” probably means it couldn’t fetch the RS256 public keys.

Fri Apr 22 01:50:59 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I say “probably” because it’d be nice if this was documented… anywhere.

Yesterday/today happening occasionally for one API, apparently at random. (~3-4 known failures in 24h; at least 50 known successes, with the exact same JWT token, including soon before/after failure 🤷‍♂️)

Fri Apr 22 07:51:45 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @apollo_50th: Apollo 16 Commander (CDR) John W. Young jumps as he salutes the Stars and Stripes at the Descartes Highlands on the lunar…

Sat Apr 23 01:27:11 +0000 2022 (#)

You’d think if you searched for the exact title of a popular video it would come up at the top of the search results, right? Or at least the first page of results. Definitely before someone who just reuploaded the same video, right? Seems to depend who the video creator is… 🤔

Sat Apr 23 01:48:33 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @mongoosenewyork and @RealSexyCyborg

“If you give a man a steak, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to prepare and cook his own steak, you feed him for a lifetime.” 😃

(This video is BBQ, but the skills look pretty transferable… 🤞)

Sat Apr 23 09:40:16 +0000 2022 (#)

The QT tour of ~10 years of outages/causes was interesting, but one of the mitigations (from several years ago) surprised me: “Reboot hosts more than once every two years” 😮

(To reduce memory fragmentation; these days even 2 months uptime seems long.)

Sun Apr 24 08:07:32 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @glowcoil: The x86 ISA is a declarative format for specifying parallel compute tasks. Units of work are scheduled dynamically across a s…

Mon Apr 25 21:26:32 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Yeah, I’m guessing Discord is next for the “today’s a poor day to be a digital sharecropper” news. (Hopefully not any time soon though.)

Tue Apr 26 01:53:31 +0000 2022 (#)

TBH the weirdest thing about the possible sale of Twitter is that today feels like Monday here (due to a public holiday yesterday), yet the news just came out of the USA today. The future is weird.

(Today is not Monday here, it’s Tuesday; it only feels like Monday.)

Tue Apr 26 03:08:22 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @chx: Apparently some/many/most powered USB C hubs with Ethernet are causing serious problems when not connected to a computer. This is…

Tue Apr 26 03:12:34 +0000 2022 (#)

This (isolated USB network devices sending PAUSE frames) strikes me as yet another good reason to turn off Ethernet PAUSE receive on switches, everywhere except storage networking (where PAUSE frames are alive and well, and basically required by storage vendors).

Wed Apr 27 00:01:29 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

I guess this means we’re stuck in the “bargaining” phase of the 5 stages of grief: “we can just go back to normal, soon, right?” “Right?!”

(Hopefully it doesn’t just slip back to denial all over again 😢)

Thu Apr 28 04:49:39 +0000 2022 (#)

Desperately missing:


In PostgreSQL today. Or command substitution in PostgreSQL.

(You can do the above, but you have to “just know” the database name to include in command; I ended up fixing this with shell/sed/awk as a wrapper.)

Thu Apr 28 04:52:59 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Ironically I wouldn’t even need this GRANT if the AWS RDS PostgreSQL actually gave you a real PostgreSQL superuser. Then I could just do “CREATE SCHEMA … AUTHORIZATION user”. But that only works if you are superuser, the destination role, or a member of the role 😢

Thu Apr 28 08:47:04 +0000 2022 (#)

I’m amused that a 747 loaded with BluRay discs still managed to beat an Internet download of the same (Kickstarted) movie, even in 2020.

(The BluRay did get a week’s head start; and the slowest part of the download is getting past “quota exceeded” try again in 24 hours… 😃)

Thu Apr 28 08:49:39 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

(It turns out that Google Drive isn’t a great way to deliver multiple N GB movie files to hundreds of people who pre-purchased it, and all got notified to “download now” at about the same time; not sure the daily quota but much less than 20GB * 500+ backers…)

Fri Apr 29 05:58:52 +0000 2022 (#)


Also if your conference is “online”, the timezone you are running the conference from should be on the front page and the schedule page.

UTC+nn and UTC-nn are good timezone formats, but I’ll also accept Olson TimeZone Database tags (ie, Country/City).

Sat Apr 30 08:47:51 +0000 2022 (#)

“Keeper of Time” is indeed a beautifully shot documentary, and I think worth watching (I watched it tonight). [CW: a couple of short periods of flashing video]

It may turn up in the Documentary Film Festival, or NZIFF, but if not Vimeo streaming available from early next week.

Sat Apr 30 08:51:01 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

For me the documentary experience is somewhat tainted by being a KickStarter backer, and seeing the KS backers fairly poorly treated: film withheld from backers until in-person premiere, a year after it was finished, and pretty limited communication in the last 18-24 months 😢

Sat Apr 30 08:53:17 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

FTR ironically Keeper of Time wasn’t the movie I was struggling to download from Google Drive (KoT used Vimeo, which provided quick convenient downloads).

I just happened to have two KickStarter backed films release the same week!