Twitter: @ewenmcneill -- June 2022

Tue May 31 23:10:03 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @damienmiller: This is how to configure git to sign commits using your SSH key. You'll need a recent version git and of OpenSSH: git >=…

Wed Jun 01 04:26:54 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: @ChefMiew Hong Kong's new rules for indoor air quality for businesses are absolutely fantastic though and should be an…

Wed Jun 01 04:33:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @attacus_au

This feels very “we put it on our risks register” as far as DR/Business Continuity planning goes… 🤔

(Especially since these days the “torch” on the phone is probably the nearest backup light source for many :-) )

Wed Jun 01 19:42:09 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @thatcks

I use shell script wrappers for that class of problem.

Either one per remote host (eg per-site ssh wrappers), or one that uses a “case” on the target shortname (eg, VM).

In both types they inject a bunch of extra predictable arguments that I don’t want to type each time.

Wed Jun 01 19:44:55 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @thatcks

If one calls the shell script something obvious/easier to type, it doesn’t take long to train oneself just to use the wrapper.

And if the wrapper passes through “$@“, or at least the bits of it that it didn’t consume, it’s fairly composable for adhoc commands.

Thu Jun 02 21:47:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @MarsMaven

Yes my GVS Eclipse without exhalation valve also seems to have a solid piece of (white) plastic inside blocking that exhaust port. I’d assume a real exhalation valve was flexible plastic or similar, rather than solid.

Fri Jun 03 06:33:22 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @notsolonecoder and @jimmeyer

“The computer assumes what you said makes sense, and at every moment it can it assumes it’s still going to make sense, no matter how confusing it gets. Eventually it reaches a point much later where it’s like ‘nope, I’m impossibly confused now’… and that’s your error message.”

Fri Jun 03 06:36:25 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @notsolonecoder and @jimmeyer

Oh how I wish this wasn’t the case.

With Python I’ve got to the point where 99% of the time I expect any Python compile time error to be a missing close parentheses, no matter what the error message or where.

(With C I also consider closing curly braces.)

Stockholm Syndrome 😢

Fri Jun 03 06:37:17 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @notsolonecoder: Every time I have to tell a student "I know it says the error is on line 16, but it's actually a few lines before that.…

Fri Jun 03 07:26:56 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

My understanding is that as of the Omicron outbreak (so last 4 months) PCR testing is only available for those with additional health complications who require proactive care. Asthma may or may not count.

Otherwise only RAT testing, which is suggested at day 0 and day 2.

Fri Jun 03 07:29:34 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

From everything I read on how RAT tests work, it seemed like there’s about 50% chance it’ll detect true positive Covid-19 on day 0 of symptoms, and ~90% chance on day 2 of symptoms. NZ medical system seems to just expect people to wait a couple of days and RAT test again :-/

Fri Jun 03 21:57:32 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Sadly at the point where NZ finally conceded that masks were required, the PM and Dir of Health both spent a lot of time insisting that surgical masks were equally effective as N95 and N95 were ineffective unless professionally fit tested.

Fri Jun 03 22:01:21 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

It was at about that point of obviously incorrect information, being presented as official fact, that I realised NZ was at the end of a health/science led response, and moving into a “political expediency” response.

And here we are 4 months into the first Omicron wave 😢

Fri Jun 03 22:58:43 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @nzkarit and @__fincham

Ironically I even found the NZ advice being given to medical professionals for fit testing N95: it is mostly the obvious things you mention (can’t see gaps/feel airflow at edges).

Which is why it was super obvious “no N95s needed” claims were “government doesn’t want to pay” 😔

Sat Jun 04 04:06:02 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @EricCrampton: There is as much Covid in Wellington wastewater samples now as there was in March - at least on eyeballing the thing. It'…

Sun Jun 05 08:33:00 +0000 2022 (#)

“Sisters with Transistors” tells the story of early electronic music (1940s-1970s) through the stories of the women who pioneered the field. Well worth seeing if that interests you at all.

(~NZ$10 48h streaming; ~NZ$25 to buy.)

Sun Jun 05 08:38:07 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

“Sisters with Transistors” (⬆️) is the one movie I considered braving Covid-19 to see in the (in person only) NZIFF last year. I didn’t, so I’m glad to made it out to a streaming/download release.

90% is 4:3 aspect contemporary footage, with often contemporary voice over. 1h25m

Sun Jun 05 08:52:00 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar

Interesting, I didn’t know about Kanopy (or they Wellington Libraries were doing steaming).

I bought the movie, up front, because it was roughly what I’d have paid to see it in the film festival and I figured it was an indie film that deserved the money. No regets.

Tue Jun 07 06:09:39 +0000 2022 (#)

TBH it feels like all the push for SemVer got us was major version numbers that tick over like an odometer. Which technically justifies breaking compatibility at “every major release” — and now those major releases come quarterly/monthly/weekly :-/

Yay, progress 😔

Wed Jun 08 07:36:51 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @TubeTimeUS: I'm happy to announce my new book, Open Circuits! Windell Oskay and I painstakingly cross sectioned, cut, sanded, polished,…

Thu Jun 09 01:04:44 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @AstroKatie: Updating HVAC systems and building standards is of course very expensive and difficult but creating and maintaining a natio…

Thu Jun 09 03:59:09 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @taviso

FYI this Lotus 123 port to Linux got discussed (favourable) for ~7 minutes (starting about 4m45s in) on this week’s “This Week in Retro” podcast (audio many places, plus video on YouTube).

Sat Jun 11 01:02:56 +0000 2022 (#)

Apparently No Starch Press will ship almost anywhere in the world (246 countries/territories!) except my country😢

They used to ship to my country, and don’t say why they’re no longer doing so on their website. I’ve emailed support to find out if it’s a mistake or deliberate.

Sat Jun 11 01:18:10 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @xleem

Mid 2020. (Only eBooks though; it’s normally hard to justify paying 75% more for shipping :-/ )

From memory the GST collection thing came in before 2020 (searching online suggests December 2019).

Sat Jun 11 01:20:14 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @xleem

My guess given the list they have seems to be “everything but New Zealand” is cut’n’paste mistake when reading to the list after Covid-19 shipping restrictions. (Two “New” countries in a row.)

Yet another reason to change our country name to Aotearoa :-)

Sat Jun 11 01:28:09 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @xleem

Although possibly related USPS seems to still have New Zealand (and ~17 other countries) on a mail service suspended list.

Which is possibly the same “temporary” suspension from October 2021 (“unavailability of transport”).

Sat Jun 11 01:32:40 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @xleem

But I’ve just checked and No Starch Press’s website won’t even let me order just the PDF of the book, so it’s not just shipping.

And they will ship to several other countries on that USPS suspension list 🤷‍♂️

Sat Jun 11 01:45:39 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ms_mary_mac

Thanks for the heads up there’s a No Starch store front at Book Depository. I’ll have a look of that includes this PreOrder deal.

(I can also Pre Order at Fishpond, which I’ve used a bunch, but it’s full retail, printed book only, not printed + PDF.)

Sat Jun 11 07:10:40 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @mikko: My talk "CTRL-Z" from SPHERE. I stand with Ukraine.

Sat Jun 11 07:25:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @merxplat and @tveastman

User customisable altcoin. Surely you are at the forefront of finance now! 💖

Sun Jun 12 05:55:20 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @RealSexyCyborg: Well the good news is Hong Kong's fantastic new air quality regulations for businesses means Upper Room UVGI fixtures a…

Sun Jun 12 07:17:46 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

Consumer seems to think “‘natural’ isn’t backed by any standards” in NZ. And I certainly can’t find any definition in relevant legislation / regulations.

At a guess Fair Trading Act might allow enforcing “extracted/derived from naturally occurring item.”

Sun Jun 12 07:21:05 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

See also this Ceres article which also suggest natural is not defined. (“Organic” has a few well recognised certifying authorities who tend to be quite picky, and their ID often ends up on the label, but apparently NZ regulations also don’t require that.)

Sun Jun 12 21:22:44 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

Probably, yes, “natural flavouring” could cover multiple things. I think there’s some minimum percentage where it has to be listed by itself. But flavourings probably don’t hit that.

Sun Jun 12 21:25:09 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @BR3NDA

And yes garlic is almost certainly hidden behind “natural flavourings” in some cases. Unfortunately garlic isn’t on the “must disclose individually” allergy list (unlike dairy, gluten, nuts, etc). It should be though; I know several people avoiding garlic for IBS/like reasons.

Mon Jun 13 22:27:33 +0000 2022 (#)

No Starch Press replied (their Monday), to say they (indirectly) use USPS for shipping to New Zealand, and USPS still won’t ship to New Zealand. So no New Zealand orders. (Billing countries and shipping countries seem to be same list, so not even PDFs right now.)


Mon Jun 13 22:29:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

I’ve preordered the book from Book Depository: the Book Depository free shipping price and the No Starch Press preorder price plus shipping are similar. (But Book Depository is hard back only; No Starch does hard back and PDF if you can order on their site.)

Logistics are hard!

Tue Jun 14 05:35:18 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

Would you consider taking the train back to avoid the security theatre?

Apparently there is 1 train per day Canberra to Melbourne. It leaves pretty early and takes ~12 hours, which wouldn’t be my favourite. But OTOH it doesn’t invoke airports 🤔

Tue Jun 14 07:14:50 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

Yeah, one of the maps I found seemed like it spent a non trivial amount of time going north; guess that was going through Sydney. (Albury is at least basically south from memory.)

Unfortunate that flying is the least bad option between the Federal capital and a State capital 😢

Tue Jun 14 07:55:32 +0000 2022 (#)

The Floppotron 3.0 — now more of an installation than a portable instrument (512 floppy drives, 4 scanners, 16 hard drives).

(It is of course MIDI controlled.)

Tue Jun 14 07:57:40 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ExcitedLeigh

Yeah, optimising for less sitting around in one position post surgery does seem like a good goal 👍

Thu Jun 16 06:59:24 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @cr1901

Are the bookmarks in the Twitter data download zip? That’s usually pretty well structured data (separate files in a zip). Then maybe if it shows the most recent bookmarks on the API you could stay up to date on new ones that way? 🤔

Sat Jun 18 01:09:52 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @moss_sphagnum: I had a chance to go to this @VSOrchestra Orpheum Theatre built after the Spanish Flu to be pandemic proof and WOW. Th…

Sat Jun 18 22:39:10 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham and @pepperraccoon

Umm, SH58 has even less footpath than SH2 to Petone. WTF Google Maps!

Sat Jun 18 22:43:15 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Assuming you want to get Petone and your bike is optional “buses replacing trains” means go to Platform 9 and catch a “train replacement” bus with a train ticket. They’ll run to the train timetable, but be more crowded.

(There are also bus routes from Wellington Interchange.)

Sat Jun 18 23:34:39 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Unfortunately there’s a lot of “train replacement buses” at weekends in the last few years. It kinda makes sense based on volume of weekend users, but as you’ve found makes it basically impossible to do “train with bike to ride around when I get there” 😢

Sun Jun 19 00:39:30 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham and @isomer

In earlier years, yes, there was a high volume of “catch up” maintenance, often in weekends.

These days I suspect “passenger numbers make it cost ineffective to operate” is a bigger factor.

That said there have been non trivial works along rail to a Petone the last few months.

Sun Jun 19 06:36:57 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Petone has gentrified a lot in the last ~20 years. It used to be very run down/cheaper rents, but I suspect most of the housing has been renovated in the last couple of decades.

SH2 to Wellington and a train route on the harbour edge are probably the main downsides now.

Sun Jun 19 06:40:43 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

The Ngauranga to Petone cycle route is “possible to use” but still sufficiently badly planned and built that I still regularly see cyclists instead choosing the SH2 hard shoulder and cars passing ~1m from them. (It’s super narrow, only part of the distance, and very uneven.)

Sun Jun 19 06:58:07 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

Anecdata: I grew up living under 100m from a (suburban) train line. Close enough to see it pass, and hear it if you paid attention. Typically it quickly becomes periodic background sound.

Sun Jun 19 07:01:40 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @__fincham

I’d probably prefer to live more than say 300m from a train line (and have double glazing / sound insulation) given the choice (then you’d probably not hear it much/at all).

But starting/stopping and curves are noiser than straight. (Most complaints are squeals on curves.)

Sun Jun 19 10:02:35 +0000 2022 (#)

“Just Get 9”, a tile based puzzle game.

Arrows to navigate, space to activate tile. Combine 2 or more adjacent tiles of the same number to make a tile of the next number; goal: create a 9 tile.

Modern Amstrad CPC game; playable in browser on page.

Sun Jun 19 10:09:00 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @isomer and @__fincham

Yes London has more than enough rail tracks of varying vintages that it wouldn’t surprise me to find they’re in “paint the harbour bridge” territory: ie it’s a full time forever job because by the time you get to the end it’s overdue to start upgrading where you began!

Tue Jun 21 01:59:01 +0000 2022 (#)

TIL that RHEL 8 appears to log kernel messages only to journald by default, and journald only writes those to /run/systemd/journal by default, which is a tmpfs.

Seems a very complicated way to throw away all kernel messages 🤦🏻‍♂️

(And very unhelpful for debugging hangs/crashes 😔)

Tue Jun 21 06:14:22 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @QueenOliviaStR and @merxplat

WiDe DiStRiBuTiOn Of ThIs ImPoRtAnT iNfOmAtIoN iS eNcOuRaGeD!!

Wed Jun 22 00:43:47 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

After considerable investigation it looks like the RHEL 8 plan for kernel messages is early ones are saved in /var/log/boot.log (end of boot), and the rest are read via rsyslogd “imjournal” and may be written to other log files (eg /var/log/messages).

Wed Jun 22 00:45:29 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

But this pretty indirect logging approach (a) splits up the kernel messages, and (b) makes it very hard to be confident “there are no kernel log messages” versus “kernel log messages didn’t get saved persistently anywhere obvious” 😢

Wed Jun 22 00:48:19 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

Also TIL the simplest way to reliably generate a “from the actual kernel” log message (ie kern.*) is to make a ext2 file system on a temporary file and mount that (via loop0).

Echoing into /dev/kmsg appears to always convert to user.* so you can’t use to test facility matches.

Wed Jun 22 07:28:39 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @merxplat

Matariki seems like the perfect time to start a moon cult… 🤔

Wed Jun 22 21:48:27 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @isomer: Today's 🔥 take: The networking industry is 20 years behind software engineering on best practices for config management.

Of co…

Wed Jun 22 21:51:41 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @lifofilo, @isomer and @delroth_

Ironically a lot of switches and routers are basically FreeBSD or Linux distros, sold along with some custom hardware did high speed network frame steering….

But yes, being able to much more easily spin up a virtual test lab would be a big win 👍

Thu Jun 23 00:38:49 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @isomer, @lifofilo and @delroth_

Without disagreeing with anything you said, I also find I can get a lot of benefit even with a “test lab” consisting of one virtual device, in terms of actually seeing the post-apply state of the config and finding typos.

Always “testing in production” is … nerve wracking :-/

Thu Jun 23 10:08:38 +0000 2022 (#)

“Score”, a 1h30m documentary (from 2016) about film scores, with many examples from very recognisable films and composers, was a lovely random YouTube suggestion.

(Appears to be uploaded by film distributor; unclear for how long.)

Thu Jun 23 22:52:30 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @delroth_, @isomer and @lifofilo

Further to @isomer’s point, programming languages have had “unreachable code” warnings for ~2 decades; routers still don’t.

(Ironically Juniper, etc, have a “default-action reject” non terminal, which can be earlier. I think it’s relatively new and less well known.)

Sat Jun 25 03:10:31 +0000 2022 (#)

Sadly it looks like my MacBook Air (13” Early 2015; bought 6 years ago) will no longer start, after I had to force power it off (due to a lockup).

Same symptoms as 18 months ago: fan spins up for ~10 seconds then stops, repeatedly. Always black screen.

Sat Jun 25 03:14:27 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

… okay that’s weird. After ~90 minutes of trying (including 2x battery disconnects and multiple SMC / Extended SMC resets), my MacBook Air just spontaneously booted by itself (off battery, with charger unplugged) 😮

Sat Jun 25 03:19:05 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

As best I can find out MacBook Air fan pulsing is often the battery/charger current sense circuit going awry (and thinking too much current drawn). Or sometimes (boot / EFI) SPI rom read issues.

Possibly letting battery discharge (down to 96%) helped? 🤔

Sat Jun 25 03:34:52 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

FTR I eventually found a report of this exact MacBook Air model (A1466, EMC 2925), with the same black screen / fan pulsing on for 10 seconds issues. Unfortunately no fix listed.

(Mine is that same model according to serial number lookup.)

Sat Jun 25 04:32:47 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @textfiles

For anyone else interested in watching Jason’s talk from the DHdays 2022 livestream (⬆️) later, he’s introduced starting at 4h45m33s into the (10h) livestream. (Then his, and 3 more, 20 minute talks, followed by the panel.)

See the DH & Heritage schedule:

Sat Jun 25 06:27:00 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @AOC: Overturning Roe and outlawing abortions will never make them go away.

It only makes them more dangerous, especially for the poor…

Sun Jun 26 21:38:04 +0000 2022 (#)

@kawaiiconNZ earlier in the year y’all suggested there might be a video feed (YouTube?) of the talks. Did that end up being organised? Or is it just “in person, be in the room on the day” only?

Sun Jun 26 22:06:13 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @kawaiiconNZ

Awesome, much appreciated! 🎉

Mon Jun 27 00:55:28 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @slyall

I suspect that warning is common to all their ladders.

Usually the suggestion is to stay at least 2 steps from the top of a ladder so you have something to steady yourself against (even if you only do so when you’re a bit unbalanced), to reduce the chance of falling.

Mon Jun 27 00:59:56 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @slyall

When there are only 3 steps, and the “usable” one is ~25cm off the ground, avoiding the top two steps makes it…. rather less useful :-/

OTOH even on the top of a 3 step ladder you’re not going to fall from much higher than a chair, so it might be safer than a “dodgy chair”.

Mon Jun 27 01:08:16 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @farmgeek: NZ has had 1.2 million reported cases of Covid. Experts suggest the real number could be 2-3 times that. 19% of those would…

Mon Jun 27 01:11:07 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @farmgeek

Just wanted to say thank you for collating/posting these daily Covid-19 statistics in such an easily reviewed form for so long. Much appreciated.

(Sorry that Min Health “unexplained revised numbers” made it impractical to continue 😢)

Mon Jun 27 01:18:51 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @aurynn and @__fincham

Of note “pink filters” is the 3M code for standalone (ie no cartridge/retainer) P100 filters. There are several variations of pink filters (for different use cases), but AFAICT all are P100 (some help protect against various vapours/fumes too).

Mon Jun 27 01:22:15 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @aurynn and @__fincham

Also there are several 3D printable models for adding exhalation filtering to 3M elastomeric masks (ie enclosure clip, into which you put surgical mask section or other mask filter material). Which was my plan as I couldn’t find 3M 604 in NZ, or with stock shipping to NZ.

Mon Jun 27 05:33:57 +0000 2022 (#)

Today I completed installing Ansible 2.10 and Ansible Galaxy modules on a CentOS 7 system with no outbound connectivity to the Internet (just inbound ssh to the VM), without the “disconnected node” manual steps.

It was… more complex than it might seem at first glance.

Mon Jun 27 05:37:51 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

The key enabling factor is OpenSSH 7.6+ supports:


To create a SOCKS5 reverse proxy; and curl/yum/pip will support:


to use it (pip needs PySock installed to do so, via curl download).

Mon Jun 27 05:40:54 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

ansible-galaxy seemingly will only work with a HTTP(S) proxy, so you need something like privoxy (in EPEL) to be a HTTP to SOCKS proxy (and set HTTP_PROXY to point at that).

(Ansible 2.10 because it is last version supporting Python 3.6, which is newest Python in CentOS 7 :-/ )

Mon Jun 27 05:56:47 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @kawaiiconNZ: Feeling unwell or not going to make it to the con?

There is a first time for everything - this year Kawaiicon will be liv…

Tue Jun 28 05:45:52 +0000 2022 (#)

Oh good, the vendor provided Ansible Galaxy collection for the network switch I’m configuring crashes in Ansible check mode. As reported a year ago on GitHub, with a 1 line fix. Which is still not merged 12 months later.

The fix works, but I guess I consider it “unmaintained”.

Tue Jun 28 06:34:48 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @hroethgar

Looks like they were going to do two lines:

St James Theatre

then decided there wasn’t enough space and just kinda tacked the “Theatre” onto the end of the first line. (The “St James” bit by itself seems fairly well centred.)

Search suggests it’s been like that For Some Time.

Tue Jun 28 09:41:46 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @fanf: on my blog: tolower() in bulk at speed using SIMD-within-a-register tricks to convert strings to lower ca…

Thu Jun 30 00:07:45 +0000 2022 (#)

Fantasy: Ansible Network Device management will help me configure switches idempotently

Reality: I have to parse the existing switch config in jinja to suppress spurious change commands, and match the stored switch config bug for bug.

Thu Jun 30 00:10:16 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @ewenmcneill

At least closed loop config generation is slightly better than open loop config generation.

But I’ve developed an even stronger hatred of “defaults don’t show in config” and “cancel command is not just add command with ‘no’ at the front”. (You have to leave random bits off 🤦🏻‍♂️)

Thu Jun 30 00:36:49 +0000 2022 (#)

Replying to @LostAngelNZ

Actually this particular switch is Yet Another Vendor (who has three mutually incompatible switch OSes in use on different models, but that’s next week’s problem).

I do miss the simplicity of Cisco’s parser always accepting:


though 😢

Thu Jun 30 03:11:23 +0000 2022 (#)

RT @StephTaitWrites: Every time someone says “in the US ‘Monkeypox’ (MPXV) is only happening in gay men,” I need you to remember that the c…