Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- May 2022

Sun May 01 09:51:14 +0000 2022 (#)

There is something weirdly nostalgic about figuring out again how to patch CP/M 3+ to support a ramdisk larger than the floppy disc that came with the computer (178kB floppy drive; 444kB ramdisk).

Sun May 01 09:53:23 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

For added weirdness this is running on a MiSTer FPGA setup, reimplementing the hardware, displayed over HDMI to my TV. And I can ssh in to the MiSTer to add more ROM/floppy drive images.

(Ironically I only saw this on green screen back in the day, ~35 years ago.)

Tue May 03 06:52:07 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @yaneerbaryam: Prevalence of Long Covid is now estimated to be 51-80% across all infections including asymptomatic, mild and severe.…

Wed May 04 08:56:01 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Is that a Kiwicon sheep in the background?

Wed May 04 10:35:24 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

It’s not so much the base access subscription that hurts, so much as all the “bonus” “take home” content that I feel really adds up… :-/

Wed May 04 20:39:58 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @johndmcmaster: CBM LED watch broken LED segment repair journey! The right digit's left-top segment is out as seen on the faulty 0. What…

Thu May 05 07:40:36 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @kylegriffin1: Breaking.

NBC News: The U.S. has exceeded 1,000,000 COVID deaths since the start of the pandemic. @NBCNews

Thu May 05 23:50:14 +0000 2022 (#)

My #NZCovid19 vaccination pass was due to expire later this month (20th), so I just went to get a new one.

The new expiry date: 2022-06-01. A full 10 days extension :-/

(Fortunately 10 extra days solves my immediate problem, of an event around 20 May.)

Thu May 05 23:59:58 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Someone pointed me at a 3 day old story saying there’ll be a whole new system which “should be ready” for the start of June. Nothing like deadline driven development, eg? 😬

Sat May 07 07:57:58 +0000 2022 (#)

The MiSTer FPGA project and cores are amazing: being able to swap 1980s 8-bit computers at the press of a button, and emulate 1980s joysticks from the keyboard.

But dealing with three layers of un(der)documented “Easter Eggs” in keyboard/joystick mapping is exhausting 😢

Sat May 07 08:02:10 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Apparently “everyone knows” that C64 games usually prefer joystick 2, and “everyone knows” the MiSTer C64 core has its own keyboard to joystick emulation config (F12 then right arrow then “Define C64 buttons”), which ignores the boot menu joypad/mouse keyboard emulation.

Sat May 07 08:05:01 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

After a couple of hours of searching and persistence I did find a working combination. And got to play a “joystick only” C64 game that came as part of a Kickstarter on the MiSTer with just the keyboard. (Hint: use scroll lock 3 times to toggle into “Joystick 2” mapping.)

Sat May 07 08:26:20 +0000 2022 (#)

You too can bounce signals off the moon with ease if you have a 150 foot computer controlled steerable dish, and a huge gain amplifier to assist you.

(Controlled by a FORTRAN program running in DOS mode under Windows 98; the earlier PDP got retired!)

Sat May 07 21:07:26 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

🧵by someone else on the site visit in the video up thread, with some closeup pictures and explanation

Mon May 09 00:19:35 +0000 2022 (#)

Installing Linux InfoSec security tools: download this unsigned stand alone package from a domain validated HTTPS website and install it on all your systems 🤦🏻‍♂️

Other than minimal HTTPS the only security feature is a MD5 checksum / SHA256 checksum in a popup per link 😬

Mon May 09 00:21:40 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Most Linux distros have had signed package repositories for around a decade, which third party vendors can provide, and would make the whole process easier.

Apparently someone decided click through license popups were more important than security :-/

Mon May 09 00:24:07 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I’ve heard of the company a bunch and the link my client provided and the link Google provides are the same so… it’s probably the right website.

But it’d be nice if we’d made any progress since 1998 😢

Tue May 10 08:31:10 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

I don’t live in Khandallah, but do live a suburb away.

Khandallah ranges from expensive with/without harbour views, through less expensive (generally without harbour views). The central village is small but fairly pretty.

Tue May 10 08:33:14 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Like most of the higher Northern Suburbs parts of Khandallah (higher/closer to the hills) are a bit inclined to be clouded over/in more than closer to central city (thanks to Mt Kaukau making its own weather).

Happy to answer more specific questions if you have them :-)

Tue May 10 08:59:01 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

That’s generally what I’ve heard over the last 40 years, that it seems nice. The only exception I can remember was a few blocks of state housing back in the 1990s which had a Bit Of A Reputation. But even that may well have gentrified by now…

Tue May 10 09:03:00 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Also to keep in mind it’s a bit more “outer suburbs” than where you are now. Probably not much further away in reality, but feels more “outer suburbs”. (There’s now 3 more rings of suburbs further north though, so not that “outer” :-) )

I’d happily live in Khandallah, FWIW.

Tue May 10 09:38:05 +0000 2022 (#)

TBH this was one of the times I really wanted to be wrong.

Alas, no, the 2022 #NZCovid19 response has been decidedly mediocre 😢

Tue May 10 09:46:54 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Apparently today is the day we passed 1M total #NZCovid19 cases. Almost all of them in 2022.

For reference the NZ population is around 5M. So that’s about 20% of the country that have had Covid-19 in the last 3 months. We’re adding ~50k cases/week (~1%).

Tue May 10 22:42:44 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

The plan is “Number Go Up”. That’s it.

(And here in New Zealand we’re not wildly enthusiastic about the “retire to New Zealand” part. Not least of which is because the “retire” part seems j likely, because number must go up.)

Tue May 10 23:03:15 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

“when”?! Lots of people have been priced out of the property market here already for many years. (House prices are up at least 4-5x over 20 years; wages maybe 1.5x at best.)

But yes, if there’s a mass move of the global rich to NZ it’ll get even worse 😢

Wed May 11 06:29:15 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @nnja

Text files with links and related notes in ~/misc/blog/notes/*

(Historically this was notes for blog posts I planned to write; in the last decade it’s any topic that I “could” write more about, but probably won’t. I search it way more often for myself than to write something.)

Fri May 13 03:35:14 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @pjf

Vertically Integrated Just In Time Artesianal Basket Production :-)

(It looks lovely 😍 Sorry about the emotional support time that clearly represents. Nice you have a basket to carry your worries though 😃)

Fri May 13 04:58:24 +0000 2022 (#)

Shoutout to the AWS SAM local lambda developer who thought that a carriage return between lines of text was a good way to print out Python exceptions.

It’s times like these I wish for a real TTY where I could hope to read earlier lines through the over typing… 😢

Fri May 13 05:09:14 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Workaround: I’m piping all the “sam local start-lambda” through a perl one liner that detects an exception being printed and replaces CR with CR LF.

I did try quite hard to find where the exception was misprinted, but it’s very “you’re in a maze of twisty passages all alike” 😢

Fri May 13 07:04:08 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

Append only is very big in the 2020s… 😃

Fri May 13 10:06:31 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ranginui and @__fincham

You can tell it’s an early iPhone because if you hold it in the obvious way the cell reception is terrible: “you’re holding it wrong” :-)

Sun May 15 01:53:58 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @MLE_Online: If you place a horseshoe-shaped electromagnet 🧲 on the picture tube of a CRT TV, and if you control the electromagnet with…

Sun May 15 09:39:38 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @nzkarit and @__fincham

I’ve been using those 3M 9123 P2 disposable respirators too. Face/under chin fit is good for me, but I think my face is narrower than @__fincham.

Of note even The Warehouse is selling 3 packs of 3M 9123s these days. $15/3 pack (also a 1 pack).

Sun May 15 09:49:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @nzkarit and @__fincham

FWIW if the main thing you want changed is “clips behind the head, not onto ears” then there are about 3-4 dozen different 3D printable models for “behind the head” mask strap holders. I printed some for my other masks which improved their fit, once I dialed in the best fit size.

Mon May 16 01:01:46 +0000 2022 (#)

Very useful guide to AWS API Gateway access logging (which is off by default) for debugging access issues. (In my case it seems like the JWKS endpoint of the auth provider decides sometimes not to send certificates back, so auth temp fails :-/ )

Mon May 16 05:10:54 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @vashta_nerdrada and @__fincham

Thanks for the reminder to check Lanaco again. Every other time I’ve checked they’ve been massively sold out. But looks like their manufacturing might have caught up again.

$27.55 inc GST (but plus shipping IIRC) for 4.

Mon May 16 05:28:39 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham and @vashta_nerdrada

Yes, a lot of them are M/L “fits most adults” or S/M aimed at approximately teenagers. But there’s often nothing else to fall back on for guessing sizing.

(Fortunately M/L usually seems to work for me as I’m often approximately half way from “smallest woman” to “largest man”.)

Tue May 17 06:35:09 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

Kans-as and Arkans-as? 🤔

(Bonus: imagine a Kiwi accent saying them, where “foo as” is legitimate dialect English.)

Wed May 18 08:28:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Fun new “your GID conflicts” symptom: with the right (old) IdM client libraries it looks like a GID in the trusted auth provider for a different group to the same GID on the IdM server will cause the whole user entry to be rejected (ie user cannot login) 😢

Wed May 18 08:31:49 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

On other/newer IdM client libraries it just results in the conflicting GID being stripped from the users additional groups set (ie some file access permission issues), and may not impact them much.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS seems to be “old enough” for “you shall not log in” treatment 😢

Wed May 18 08:33:31 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I’ve known about the “conflicting GIDs get stripped” for about 18 months and warned my client repeatedly they’d have to renumber those groups (and fix file permissions). It’s still on the “backlog” list to address… 😔

Wed May 18 08:39:24 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham and @xssfox

I have a feeling that Wikipedia implemented something like that for their own use. But I’m not sure if it works with other ISBNs than ones they’ve added references too.

(I’d have suggested Good Reads, but Amazon bought them some time ago. IMDB also got bought from memory.)

Wed May 18 08:45:32 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Guido van Rossum, apparently. (He’s also listed as one of the authors of the PEP.)

Wed May 18 08:51:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham and @xssfox

Looks like the Wikipedia book sources link will let you search for your own ISBN. And that seems to result in a GET URL with ?isbn= and the ISBN number.

(Turns into page of “search on site FOO for the ISBN” links; no direct book details.)

Thu May 19 05:47:23 +0000 2022 (#)

TIL “realpath ../../dir/absent” returns nothing on stdout (just error on stderr, no zero exit code).

If you have:

TO_GO=$(realpath ../../something) sudo rm -rf ${TO_GO}/*

you might want more error checking. (And to reconsider how badly you want a wildcard and/or sudo there.)

Thu May 19 05:51:16 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Via a friend who got to figure out why something someone else wrote exploded and clean up the mess. (Hopefully their Ansible server build process does everything… 😬)

Also of note: the (default) GNU rm —preserve-root doesn’t kick in for /* expanded by the shell; only for “/“.

Thu May 19 06:02:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Bonus extra subtlty I’ve just learned: it’s okay if the final component (eg filename) doesn’t exist. It’s a problem if the directory structure leading up to the final component doesn’t exist.


TO_GO=$(realpath ../../absent/something) sudo rm -rf ${TO_GO}/*

Thu May 19 06:04:20 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @nickzoic

Indeed. My friend tells me the script carefully had “set -e” in it… shortly after the section illustrated that “couldn’t fail” 🤦🏻‍♂️

(My friend has already moved “set -e” earlier in the script!)

Thu May 19 21:09:23 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @TProphet

Yeah, I’d not put any money in the next pandemic being well managed. Especially since early research seems to suggest monkeypox is also airborne.

(Sadly I don’t think we’ve learned our lessons about “airborne” yet 😢)

Thu May 19 21:13:52 +0000 2022 (#)

🧵about Monkeypox, already found in 7 countries. It’s related to Smallpox, which the world stopped vaccinating for… around 30 years ago 🤦🏻‍♂️

Anyway bonus additional reason to wear a mask.

(Eric has additional threads on Monkeypox if you want more info.)

Thu May 19 21:32:16 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

Does it help that apparently the rental for the digits billboards is apparently being used to finish refurbishing The Embassy (the foyer, etc, from memory)?

(I’m not keen on more digital signs either, but seems like a good cause.)

Thu May 19 21:35:59 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @textfiles: Vangelis is, like, the soundtrack to all your most amazing things, and if you've never heard the work he did with synthesize…

Fri May 20 06:34:13 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @timdurkan: Tonight here in Seattle

Sat May 21 07:44:53 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @ben_ouyang: I got covid.

Here's how I quantified my daily viral load using RATs:


Sat May 21 07:59:45 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @taviso: Another unexpected discovery from the archives of a 90s warez BBS! 🏴‍☠️ Now a native Linux port of Lotus 1-2-3 is finally possi…

Sun May 22 02:02:56 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

Yeah :-/

In the USA it seemed some people were double masking for this reason: P2/N95 for protection and then a cloth mask with a nice design. (China seems to have gone for printed designs on KN95 or KN94 as the latest iteration. Which makes sense in volume.)

Sun May 22 08:00:12 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @showipintbri

It’s Steampunk CI… and it does whatever it feels like because you’re executing code (shell/make) you downloaded from the Internet.

(In theory you could audit the configure script before running it; in practice Not So Much. Auto-generated shell scripts are nearly unauditable.)

Tue May 24 01:02:19 +0000 2022 (#)

As best I can tell this git commit message (which one has to dig for) is the best documentation of the (new in April 2022) git “” config option (added as a work around for the CVE-2022-24765 directory traversal ownership issue).

Tue May 24 01:04:19 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The git RelNotes for a bunch of minor git versions all patched with it do not mention “” at all, and chain to each other. And the git config documentation doesn’t mention when the “” got added or why 😢

Tue May 24 01:07:05 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

So the UX for users upgrade to a patched version is basically “you have to run this git config command to continue working”, with no indication of why it suddenly appeared.

Answer: early/mid April 2022, work around for a security fix.

Tue May 24 01:10:07 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I first discovered this on an existing git shared working directory, after someone else patched the host (and thus git). And I wondered why it suddenly appeared.

No one else using that shared working directory has mentioned it to me, so I guess they just rolled with it 😢

Tue May 24 01:21:39 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: CO2 has turned out to be a far more accurate proxy for infection risk than anyone would have guessed- and carrying a CO…

Tue May 24 01:26:13 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: In case you are curious why we're doomed to repeat this, I give you the four cognitive fallacies of the apocalypse:


Wed May 25 01:12:22 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: I went down this rabbit hole a while back- the evidence that a great deal of transmission is airborne and droplet expla…

Thu May 26 00:57:56 +0000 2022 (#)

It occurs to me that the #NZCovid19 response has been very Kiwi:

  1. We’re all in this together, we’ll get everyone vaccines and get out of this crisis.

  2. We got you vaccines. What? It’s still spreading? Don’t worry, back to normal, she’ll be right mate.


Thu May 26 01:42:39 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

A Computer Science degree is a lot of work, and only vaguely related to “real world programming computers”.

Many times a HR department will accept any degree plus N years experience in IT. If you want it just for HR purposes maybe get a degree in something interesting to you?

Thu May 26 05:46:08 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

Yeah, I understand the desire to get past the gate keeping. Sorry it’s being enforced so unevenly (and specifically). And sadly you might be right that for that purpose only a Comp Sci degree would truly work :-/

Fri May 27 03:53:18 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @kiwitoa: #tereo Kīnga o te rā. Quote of the day. Mā te pono koe e whakawātea, engari rawa i te tuatahi ka whakahōhā i a koe. (Kāore i t…

Sat May 28 01:06:15 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @alicegoldfuss

It’s not just you: the straps on the GVS Elipse P100 just seem to be comically large (I have the same, but without exhaust valve).

I ended up 3D printing some “strap clips” to hold the straps out of the way; a friend just cut them to length and heat sealed the new strap ends.

Sat May 28 05:25:15 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @xssfox

I think this route manages to avoid NSW. It is a bit longer though… 🤔

(As best I can tell any shorter route ends up going through Broken Hill, NSW. Or elsewhere in NSW.)

Sun May 29 00:59:45 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @andrewtychen, @BR3NDA and @APndrgrst

From memory with “I estimate” provisional tax you’re supposed to have paid 1/3rd of final total by first date, 2/3rds by second date, and ~95% by last date. Otherwise yes non-trivial use of money interest.

If you have the spare cash overpaying first installment can help.

Sun May 29 01:04:04 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @styler, @BR3NDA, @andrewtychen and @APndrgrst

And if you’re a provisional tax paying employee of a provisional tax paying company (“shareholder employee”), then both you and company have to pay provisional tax; final totals of each depend on how much you choose to pay yourself out of the company.

Sun May 29 02:59:56 +0000 2022 (#)

Just got my current #NZCovid19 vaccination pass (expires November 2022), and am amused to see the PDF still says “use the NZ Covid Tracer app to scan QR codes”, despite the Government removing the requirement to display them (and this many businesses removing them).

Sun May 29 03:03:41 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Even where the #NZCovid19 QR codes are still displayed they’re now often difficult to find/scan. For example New World Chaffers Street, where AFAICT the only QR code still displayed is an A6 (tiny) version that is “somewhat near” the entrance.

(It does scan, if you are close.)

Sun May 29 21:38:27 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

Let me guess: it’s cold and wet so the bus is crowded and all the windows are closed.

(Air quality feels like one of those “oh, we never knew” things because of the lack of detailed measurements.)

Sun May 29 23:02:45 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @tveastman

Back In My Day (tm) the buses had openable half flap windows as I remember some freezing cold bus rides.

But yes entirely possible that Modern Buses are just flat glass with maybe skylights that open… but you wouldn’t want skylights in the rain :-(

Such future proofing!

Mon May 30 09:59:27 +0000 2022 (#)

It’s a brave keynote that includes live coding, let alone live coding for an alpha language VM :-)

PyScript (“very alpha”) feels like “I heard you like VMs so I put a VM in your VM” (in the browser; a WASM Python env). #PyCon

Tue May 31 09:20:05 +0000 2022 (#)

Several telescopes + 1 earth + a few days imaging + 1PB of data + very precise timestamps + 1.5 years of data collation/correlation/processing = a detailed image of something very far away.

Fascinating #PyCon keynote about imaging M87 with the EHT.

Tue May 31 10:27:58 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @xssfox

The NZ (2022) version also included pen on paper signatures witnessed via Zoom, which then had to be scanned… and turned into PDFs.

(We did eventually get enough PDFs, despite the pandemic lockdown. But yes very many PDFs.)

Good luck with your quest!