An aggregation of our Blog Roll, made up of acmqueue authors.   more

Postings for May 2022:  (59 posts)
Sat, 28 May 2022 01:56:54 UTC

New FreeBSD core team

Posted By Greg Lehey

So the results of the FreeBSD Core Team, elections are out. I'm one of them again: The next core team will consist of: Baptiste Daroussin Benedict Reuschling Ed Maste Emmanuel Vadot Greg Lehey John Baldwin Li-Wen Hsu Mateusz Piotrowski Tobias C. Berner That also makes me the member with the longest span, from 22 years ago to now. The other thing, which I had noted last month, was how many of the members are not from the USA. Five are from Europe, one Chinese and one Australian.

Fri, 27 May 2022 01:48:01 UTC

Technical terms for real dummies

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen today: Difference Between SSD and NVMe . Difference? They're different levels of detail. But no, our expert knows better: The main difference between SSD and NVMe is that SSD stores data by using integrated circuits while NVMe is an interface used to access the stored data at a high speed. NVMe is far advanced than SSD and hence is faster and better encrypted than the latter. In case that didn't come across, here it is again: SSD is a secondary storage device that uses integrated circuits to complete its work while NVMe is an interface that is used to access the stored data.

Tue, 24 May 2022 12:17:20 UTC

Graviton3 & EC2 C7g General Availability

Posted By James Hamilton

Today we?re making the AWS Graviton3 processor generally available in the AWS EC2 C7g Instances. Graviton3 and EC2 C7g Instance Type General Availability Video Graviton3 is the third generation of the AWS Graviton CPUs and it continues to raise the bar on performance.  Graviton is one of our 4 semiconductor product lines here at AWS....

Tue, 24 May 2022 03:17:28 UTC

More thermometer insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally I have a hit on a defrost cycle on the outside (correctly functioning) freezer: It started round 2:30 this morning and lasted a good hour. During this time the temperature in front of the baskets rose to about -6.5°, but the temperature in the baskets stayed below -18°. All well and good. But wouldn't it be nice to know more exact times and temperatures? Yes, of course. But what I got was anything but. After moving these horrible slider buttons, I reshaped the graph: Here the time scale is a little more detailed.

Tue, 24 May 2022 02:55:22 UTC

ACM digital library

Posted By Greg Lehey

The ACM has opened its digital library, now accessible for free. I haven't looked at much, though I did find an article on the original UNIVAC, which looks interesting.

Tue, 24 May 2022 02:52:09 UTC

Working around W3 bugs

Posted By Greg Lehey

The problem with the W3 validator that I mentioned last week is still there. Run the validator, find a problem, fix it, and the validator doesn't want to know: it still reports the old source. But I have a workaround: the URL for the validator is Just change that last digit from 1 to 2:, and it will force a reload. That works because the value of validating just needs to be non-zero.

Sun, 22 May 2022 03:54:50 UTC

GPS logging: solved?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Thursday I discovered that my GPSLogger had not logged anything for half an hour. How could that be? When in Ballarat, took another look at the display: For whatever reason (probably because it was in the car) the readings weren't accurate enough for my settings, which told it to discard all readings accurate to less than 5 m. Changed that to 20 m, and the effect was immediate. From this track log: But why only 20 m?

Sun, 22 May 2022 01:52:59 UTC

ABC Listen App: useless

Posted By Greg Lehey

While preparing breakfast, heard some classical oboe music on the radio. Tomaso Albinoni? When it was over, listened to the announcer. No mention of a composer. OK, that's what the ABC Listen App is for, isn't it? Fire it up and discover that there's nothing like what we heard. Ah, for mobile phones, and apparently only for mobile phones, there's a second channel. Find the correct one, which shows what it's playing now. Ah, but there's ?more info?. That shows what is still to come. More searching, and finally found ?Full Tracklist?, showing not the full track list, but what they had already played, in reverse chronological order: And that's all!

Sun, 22 May 2022 01:26:05 UTC

ABC Listen App: useless

Posted By Greg Lehey

While preparing breakfast, heard some classical oboe music on the radio. Tomaso Albinoni? When it was over, listened to the announcer. No mention of a composer. OK, that's what the ABC Listen App is for, isn't it? Fire it up and discover that there's nothing like what we heard. Ah, for mobile phones, and apparently only for mobile phones, there's a second channel. Find the correct one, which shows what it's playing now. Ah, but there's ?more info?. That shows what is still to come. More searching, and finally found ?Full Tracklist?, showing not the full track list, but what they had already played, in reverse chronological order: And that's all!

Sat, 21 May 2022 01:54:37 UTC

Another total outage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

While sitting at my keyboard, heard a loud ?beep? and everything went dead. Dammit, not another inverter failure! Out to take a look at the inverter, which once again showed no power. Check the outside meter. Really no power. But this time the battery charge was round 52%, so there shouldn't have been any problem. Spent some time getting eureka back up again, much less than on other occasions?only 8 minutes?then checked the other computers in the house. They were all still running! It must have been a very transient problem. Gradually it dawned on me: the inverter carried on running normally.

Fri, 20 May 2022 03:23:00 UTC

More flaky apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

At breakfast we listen to ABC Classic, which has only recently dropped the suffix ?FM? from its name. And while there are no classic commercials, they beat their own drum loudly. ?Use the ABC Listen App?. What good is that? There's one way to find out: install it. Oh: Already installed! When did I do that? Off to take a look. Found nothing under ?ABC?, nor under ?listen?. Where is it? Try installing again? Now you see me, now you don't!. OK, installed: Where's ABC Classic?

Fri, 20 May 2022 02:37:47 UTC

Route maps: the limitations

Posted By Greg Lehey

I didn't have much choice on my way home if I wanted to avoid the roadworks: the more southerly roadworks started just north of Grassy Gully Road, so I couldn't take any route to the east. Off through Enfield State Park via Misery Creek to Berringa, starting in Incolls Road in Enfield. There I asked Google to take me to Berringa. Long delay: can't contact Google. OK, I still had the map, and managed to find my way to Berringa with only a couple of stops to check. Is the mobile network coverage there really that bad? It could well be.

Thu, 19 May 2022 16:51:22 UTC

About Those Killswitched Ukrainian Tractors

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week on my podcast, I read a recent Medium column, About those kill-switched Ukrainian tractors, suggesting that what John Deere did to Russian looters, anyone can do to farmers, anywhere. (Image: Cryteria, CC BY 3.0, modified) MP3

Thu, 19 May 2022 02:50:50 UTC

ssh: No complete explanation yet

Posted By Greg Lehey

After last week's investigation, it's clear that the presence or absence of an ssh-agent will not necessarily stop ssh from establishing a connection with a remote system, though the result may be a key signed with a different protocol, and pedantic systems like object. But last week I tried from, which is running a very up-to-date version of FreeBSD. Today I tried with, running === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~ 34 -> uname -a FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #2 r290972: Wed Nov 25 11:38:38 AEDT 2015  amd64 And there it didn't help.

Thu, 19 May 2022 00:39:58 UTC

More temperature insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it's clear not only that something is seriously wrong with the freezer in the pantry, but that it's related to the temperature control and not to the compressor. Modern freezers have a defrost cycle, but how often does it run and how high do the temperatures rise in that time? Connected it up to the other freezer and waited. I didn't see any obvious defrost cycle at all. It's difficult to say, since I open the freezer for normal use a couple of times a day, giving rise to views like this: Here the blue trace (in front of the drawers) goes up to -4°, and the temperatures inside the drawers goes up to about -14°.

Wed, 18 May 2022 01:34:06 UTC

Reverse engineering Inkbird

Posted By Greg Lehey

So the app for the Inkbird IBBQ-4BW is almost useless. Reverse engineer the protocol and collect the data myself? This article discusses the details. It seems to broadcast something. OK, For a first attempt, I took a look at what it had to say: 11:24:09.324696 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:14.325785 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:17.322125 ARP, Request who-has tell, length 46 11:24:19.326255 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:24.324427 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:27.321882 ARP, Request who-has tell, length 46 ...

Wed, 18 May 2022 00:51:53 UTC

More inkbird and freezer insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had my Inkbird IBBQ-4BW up and running stumbling for a couple of days now. During that time I've discovered: The horrible app is almost useless. It drops data, it doesn't save raw data, so I'm limited to what little information it supplies in the way of graphs, and it continually crashes. It's interesting to note that the reviews of the app almost all seem to agree with me.

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:30:16 UTC

Doctor, heal thyself!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I had an appointment with my doctor, Paul Smith, this afternoon. Problem: he has COVID-19. Well, he's recovering, but not safe for a physical meeting. So we did it over the phone. Nothing much to report: blood test results as expected, though he's still puzzled by the high MCV (106 fl) and fasting glucose (7.2 mmol/l). But the HbA1c value was 6.0 and that's more important, though it seems higher than it has been. As he said ?All in all you're not dying any faster than anybody else?. On the positive side, I had no difficulty with the voice quality on the VoIP call.

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:19:43 UTC

Time to reconsider VoIP?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Lately I've had a lot of trouble understanding people on the phone. Am I going deaf? No, it just seems to be on the VoIP line, and Yvonne has noticed it too. Has somebody changed the codec behind my back? Off to look for the current configuration: What's the best codec to use? According to this page, G.711, G.722, G.729 and also rans. Where's PCMU? PCMA? The best I can find on this ATA is G.722. Spent some time reconfiguring before I discovered that PCMU and PCMA are varieties of G.711, so I had to replace it again.

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:17:24 UTC

More gpart/geom insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Daniel Nebdal suggesting alternatives to rewriting gpart show. Doesn't gpart show -p do exactly what I want? It replaces the index numbers with ?provider? names. Surely I've seen that? Looking at the example I wrote last Wednesday, what I want is:      Start         Size            Device    Type           Label         40  15628050976 (7.3T)  /dev/ada0    GPT         40          128 (64K)   /dev/ada0p1  freebsd-boot   boot        168     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p2  freebsd-ufs    rootfs   83886248     41943040 (20G)   /dev/ada0p3  freebsd-swap   swap  125829288     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p4  freebsd-ufs    rootfs-2  209715368  15418335648 (7.2T)  /dev/ada0p5  freebsd-ufs    spool gpart -p -l gives me: ...

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:10:14 UTC

HTML validation problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Part of writing these diary entries is checking the PHP output for validity. I do this once for the HTML version, using the W3 validator, and once for the XML version, using this validator. But lately the W3 HTML validator has been lazy. I find a bug, fix it, and it revalidate?and the bug's still there. Not in my source, but in the validator's view of the world. How do I report this problem?

Mon, 16 May 2022 03:07:47 UTC

More Inkbird insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Malcolm Caldwell this evening: I have also setup freezer/fridge temperature logging. I looked at inkbird but in the end went with govee devices. But I did see that the protocols for inkbird are known. (As are the govee ones). For example you can find plugins for inkbird that work with open source home automation software like home assistant. Also this looks promising: More fun to try out, even if they appear to be a layering violation.

Mon, 16 May 2022 02:12:33 UTC

What's this?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Found in the fridge: When I found it, is was in this opened plastic bag: Now doesn't that tell me what it is? But never mind, Google Lens to the rescue: The trouble with Google Lens' ?translate?

Sun, 15 May 2022 03:28:02 UTC

Freezer temperatures

Posted By Greg Lehey

To my surprise, the temperatures in the freezer were not only acceptable, but slightly low. Here a typical view: The temperatures range between -19° and -22.8°, a little cool. But then there's this: That's the culprit! It seems to happen 2 or 3 times a day, and it lasts for nearly 2 hours (this graph shows a time span of 6 hours). My guess is that it's related to the automatic defrost.

Sun, 15 May 2022 02:19:19 UTC

Measuring freezer temperature

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent a bit of time with my new WiFi thermometer. It certainly shows Android apps from their worst perspective. One of my concerns when buying it was whether the cables were long enough. I shouldn't have worried: they're 1.5 m each, and they're rather unwieldy. And how do I arrange the colours? They're coloured red, green, blue and something that may be intended to be yellow. RGB sounds right, leaving Y for fourth place: But that turns out not to be the way the writers of the app think.

Sat, 14 May 2022 19:00:00 UTC

Golang Diaries: Generics

Posted By Tim Bray

My coding time this year has been invested in Quamina, an event-filtering library implemented in Go. Just in the last couple of weeks I spotted an opportunity to bring Go?s shiny new generics to bear, and not just anywhere, but for a central data structure. I got good results, but the process was sort of painful; I kept trying things that looked like they ought to work but didn?t. I?m sharing this tour through that experience because I?m a reasonably competent programmer with mainstream tastes and if I hit these bumps in the road others probably will too.

Sat, 14 May 2022 03:09:09 UTC

Icebird thermometer

Posted By Greg Lehey

Back home, unpacked my toys: an Inkbird IBBQ-4BW multithermometer with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and also an IHT-1P ?penknife? thermometer. How do I set it up? Very much RTFM, which was terrible. The instructions didn't match the behaviour, and for the WiFi connectivity they wanted me to sign up with an email address and password! Did all that, received a 6 digit confirmation number, which the app didn't accept. Asked for another one, but clearly the Inkbirds think that one is enough. Dammit, how about Bluetooth? How about that, for the first time ever Bluetooth paired immediately, bringing a particularly stupid display: Maybe it reflects the pain that even the developers had with the software.

Sat, 14 May 2022 01:15:28 UTC

New toy

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today the thermometer that I ordered last week arrived in Napoleons. By this time it was clear that Yvonne wouldn't be going into town to pick up Anke, so off to Napoleons to pick it up. They couldn't find it! In the process discovered that they don't have any network access to check tracking. Tried with my mobile phone, but the tracking number on the pickup slip was wrong, so it didn't help. Finally, after 15 minutes of searching, left with a request to call back when they found it. I hadn't quite made it home when I got a call from Yvonne to tell me that they had found it almost immediately, but that she hadn't been able to get me on the phone: this was the 5th attempt.

Fri, 13 May 2022 02:31:12 UTC

More ssh mysteries

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why does accept the same ssh key from some systems and not from others? On Tuesday I had established that the ones that were rejected were replying with the incorrect signature type: debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using rsa-sha2-512 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using ssh-rsa SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo But why? This was tiwi, running an almost completely new version of FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE. Clearly the ssh components were compatible. In preparation for a bug report, built a new world with today's latest and greatest: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 8 -> uname -a FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #0 stable/13-n250745-1db9d7b7751c: Thu May 12 15:10:04 AEST 2022 amd64 And ...

Fri, 13 May 2022 02:17:45 UTC

GPS fail

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the best uses I can find for a mobile phone is as a GPS navigator. It's not perfect, but I've decided that it probably works better than a dedicated GPS navigator. But today I got an unexpected message: Why that? How do you enable or disable GPS? It's not where you'd expect it on the right downwards ?swipe?. After much searching I found this: That's under Settings/Location, at the very bottom of the Settings strip, after enabling it.

Thu, 12 May 2022 19:00:00 UTC

Meet Quamina

Posted By Tim Bray

No parent will name a favorite among their children. But I do have one among my brainchildren, my software contributions over the decades: The event-streaming code I helped build at AWS. After rage-quitting I missed it so much that over the last few months, I wrote a library (in Go) called Quamina (GitHub) that does some of the same things. This is about that. Quamina offers an API to a construct called a ?Matcher?. You add one or a hundred or a million ?Patterns? to a Matcher then feed ?Events? (data objects with possibly-nested fields and values) to it, and it will return you an array (possibly empty) of the Patterns each Event matches.

Thu, 12 May 2022 03:46:28 UTC

Bruce Evans' disks analysed

Posted By Greg Lehey

With some difficulty I managed to navigate Google Drive and find some of the many disks that Peter Jeremy saved before he decided to destroy everything on the computers. This morning I had a 15 GB file ad0.img.xz waiting for me. How do I access it? file tells me: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) /src/Downloads 30 -> file ad0.img ad0.img: DOS/MBR boot sector; partition 1 : ID=0xb, active, start-CHS (0x0,1,1), end-CHS (0x3e8,254,63), startsector 63, 16081002 sectors; partition 2 : ID=0xa5, start-CHS (0x3e9,0,1), end-CHS (0x1e4,254,63), startsector 16081065, 57512700 sectors; partition 3 : ID=0xa5, start-CHS (0x1e5,0,1), end-CHS (0x3e0,254,63), startsector 73593765, 57512700 sectors; partition 4 : ID=0xc, start-CHS (0x3e1,0,1), end-CHS (0x11,80,63), startsector 131106465, 103335183 sectors OK, how do I look at it?

Thu, 12 May 2022 03:14:23 UTC

Identifying USB disks at boot

Posted By Greg Lehey

The real issue with booting, still unsolved, is: how do I mount my USB disks correctly? eureka has 4 external backup disks, and on every boot they come up in as different devices, as I have noted before. What do I do? I've thought about it from time to time, wondering in particular if I haven't missed some more obvious method. In principle I should be able to identify file systems by a label. The label is optional, but it would be a good start. But how do I find the label? One option would be to use gpart show, but the format is so confusing that I can't think of an easy way to parse it.

Thu, 12 May 2022 02:52:34 UTC

Power fail recovery, next attempt

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recovering from a power failure is always a pain, though it's getting easier. For reasons I still don't understand, eureka's hardware doesn't recover from a power outage: it requires manual operation of the power switch. And then it doesn't boot automatically: it stops at the Boot: prompt and waits for me to confirm with Boot. But then it came up without trouble. But there are still so many loose ends. I started writing all this stuff in a HOWTO page, but it still seems to be greatly out of date. I really should keep it up to date, and also with enough information for me to be able to apply it.

Thu, 12 May 2022 02:05:38 UTC

Power fail!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Shortly after 4:00 this morning it occurred to me that it had been quiet for some time. Normally I would expect to hear the air conditioner or the freezers. Power? Yes! Once again a total power failure. OK, where's my torch? I really need to have something in a known place. Tried some likely places, but there was nothing there. Finally it occurred to me: my phone has a torch function, and I know where it is. One of the few times where it's really of use. OK, check the PV inverter: no grid power. Out to check the meter. No problems!

Wed, 11 May 2022 02:44:17 UTC

Understanding my ssh problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why can I access from some machines and not from others, though I use the same ssh key in every case? Off to compare:. I added the colour highlighting later to make things more recognizable: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/44) ~/Photos/19670427 74 -> cat ~/.ssh/ ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #2 r290972: Wed Nov 25 11:38:38 AEDT 2015  amd64 2048 3b:c3:00:e1:ea:57:43:7f:14:78:90:58:c9:61:bf:d8 /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA) Permission denied (publickey). === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/3) ~ 16 -> cat ~/.ssh/ ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb FreeBSD dereel 14.0-CURRENT FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT #3 main-n255108-9fb40baf6043: Fri Apr 29 09:53:15 AEST 2022     grog@dereel:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/main/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64 2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA) Last login: Sat May  7 23:04:30 2022 from === grog@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) ~ 7 -> cat ~/.ssh/ ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall ...

Wed, 11 May 2022 02:36:55 UTC

Bruce Evans legacy, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what happened to Bruce Evans' legacy? Looking back through the email exchange, it seems that at the time Peter Jeremy went to some trouble to save all the data, making his subsequent behaviour even more surprising. Found a number of what I think are disk images on Google Cloud, and started downloading the smallest of them, 15 GB compressed. And that's about all I did; I'll find what it is tomorrow. But I've been in this kind of position before.

Tue, 10 May 2022 02:59:33 UTC

Destroying Bruce Evans' legacy

Posted By Greg Lehey

Clearly one person who might shed some light on my issues with Bruce Evans' laptops is Peter Jeremy, whom we entrusted to pick them up and distribute them. So I asked him whether the disks were encrypted: > I've taken a look at the laptops so far, and I've run into trouble > with all of them.  All of them claim to have no bootable system, ... I did wipe all the disks, so that's why none are bootable WHAT? That's wanton destruction! I'm not exactly lost for words, but I'm amazed and deeply disappointed.

Tue, 10 May 2022 02:40:36 UTC

Still more laptop problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have an image of the complete disk of the HP EliteBook 8570p on eureka. It should be possible to recover an overwritten master boot record by searching for the magic numbers of the file systems. Started off a superficial search with strings(1). But it found nothing! A quick comparison with the disk on eureka showed that it should have found lots of things. Is the disk encrypted? During discussion on IRC, mentioned that I wasn't able to boot from a USB stick on that machine. Matti Kupiainen suggested that maybe the USB bus on one side of the laptop might be defective.

Mon, 09 May 2022 03:40:29 UTC

Credit card renewal

Posted By Greg Lehey

My credit card expires at the end of the month, and I'm getting various reminders to update my details with people authorized to deduct from the card. First Vonex, the company designed to make MyNetFone look good. Initially I couldn't even access the site. And when I could, it rejected my credit card details without explanation. Then came ALDImobile. No problem accessing their web site?some things have improved?but I only had the option of removing my payment method, not updating it. Called them up and was connected to mumble, which proved to be a way to pronounce ?Hazel?. She talked me through it: yes, first remove the payment method, then you can enter a new one.

Mon, 09 May 2022 03:00:29 UTC

More bde computer stuff

Posted By Greg Lehey

So far my experience with Bruce Evans' computers hasn't been overly positive. I can't boot either laptop from disk or USB stick. How about a DVD? Dragged out an old DVD, which might be appropriate for these machines, one 10, the other 20 years old, and tried to boot. The older one, a Compaq nx6325, booted from DVD, but then the display went blank and stayed blank. It's ancient (?Designed for Windows XP?) ; should I even bother. I have a Dell laptop of that era, and it's too old for anything useful. The newer one, an HP EliteBook 8460p, came up with a particular surprise.

Sun, 08 May 2022 03:13:08 UTC

Running bde's computers

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really don't have time to look at bde's computers at the moment, but how difficult can it be to fire up a laptop? More than I thought: after the extended time, the batteries were completely discharged. OK, charge batteries and try: Hewlett-Packard has never been my favourite brand, but that message (apart from the problem it reports) really presses one of my buttons. How can a reputable maker print messages that substitute backslashes (\) for slashes (/)? But what's wrong with the laptops?

Sun, 08 May 2022 01:57:13 UTC

The legacy of Bruce Evans

Posted By Greg Lehey

Bruce Evans died in mid-December 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. We coopted Peter Jeremy to tidy up his computer remains, and he found these: Who wants them? Peter offered them to Warren Toomey and me. Warren wasn't interested. I thought that some of them could be useful, so I put my hand up. But how do you transport them? Shipping could be expensive, especially as one of the computers (HP Z800, not exactly a name I would have thought modern) is very heavy.

Sat, 07 May 2022 02:18:54 UTC

eBay strikes again

Posted By Greg Lehey

The thermometer I was looking at, the Inkbird IBBQ-4BW, was advertised for about $122, with an additional $3 postage. But eBay offered 10% discount with a promotional code. OK, Buy It Now, apply the code, get a price round $112. But for 50¢ more I could get express postage. Normally I don't bother, but that's a ridiculously low supplement. OK, select. And my discount went away! Back to normal postage. Still no discount! Much examination with different browsers and systems, and finally discovered that they had cancelled the discount in mid-purchase! BAD eBay. More looking and found an item that they hadn't seen fit to display before, although it matched the search criteria: IBBQ-4BW and an IHT-1P penknife-format temperature probe, for $115 including postage, somewhat less than $3 more.

Sat, 07 May 2022 02:01:44 UTC

More temperature measurements

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of our freezers is clearly defective. When I open it I frequently find that the temperature on the front of the baskets is round 0°: they're moist. But it seems to cool. Is it a thermostat issue? Hysteresis? Offset? For that I need to know how the cooling cycle works. I've measured freezer temperatures in the past with a meat thermometer, but they show only the current temperature. I really need a min/max thermometer. Surely they're available on eBay? Indeed, and not even expensive. You can get thermocouple probes on their own for about $13, but you can also get a dual thermometer (digital, of course) with min/max and two probes for $35.

Sat, 07 May 2022 01:15:33 UTC

More slide scanning

Posted By Greg Lehey

Scanning slides is a slow process, and there are many issues to solve or work around. As I said yesterday, the Epson ?Perfection? 4990 is not perfect, especially not its software. There are many things that could be done better, including cropping: there's no way to adjust the crop. I had that issue with the Penang Street photos that I processed on Thursday, and it hit me in a different guise today. It seems that it doesn't handle cropping portrait format slides. I have to put them in in landscape orientation and then rotate them. The difference is significant, though it wasn't immediately obvious that the landscape format also truncates: Apart from that, first indications are that the results are much better.

Fri, 06 May 2022 19:00:00 UTC

Long Links

Posted By Tim Bray

Once again, a selection of long-form pieces for those who (unlike me) have jobs and won?t have time for all of, but might benefit from ingesting one or two. This month we have lots of musical offerings, along with politics, advice on how to walk, and 5G. Let?s start weird. I first ran across the writing of John Michael Greer when his site was called The Archdruid Report because Greer was in fact an Archdruid, which is to say the leader of a niche sect with ?Druid? in its name. He?s irritating as hell because his writing is bathed in an atmosphere of ?I?m so smart, I can see all sorts of things nobody else can and I?m doing you the favor of sharing my wisdom.?

Fri, 06 May 2022 01:50:45 UTC

More eBay surprises

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I received a second refurbished Braun electric toothbrush. I hadn't bothered mentioning the first (early last month), but it had been satisfactory, so I ordered another one. It was at least interesting from the point of view of the tracking. It took a long time, and every time I checked, it showed ?Received and ready for processing?, dated 19 April. But on Tuesday I received information that it was ready for pickup. What did the tracking look like? eBay told me that it was both ?Sent? but not yet ?in transit?, but also ready for pickup: And the detail tracking?

Thu, 05 May 2022 03:18:10 UTC

Custom spam

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spam's a fact of life, but I find it interesting to try to guess the languages in which it arrives. Recently I got this one: To undisclosed- ( 131) Mrs. Kristalina          Kæri styrk?egi! Icelandic? It had lots of text: Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2022 09:28:05 +0000 From: "Mrs. Kristalina" <> Subject: Kæri styrk?egi! Reply-To: Kæri styrk?egi! Reyndar höfum vi? fengi? heimild frá n?jum fjármálará?herra og stjórnarrá?i Peningamálaeiningar Sameinu?u ?jó?anna til a? rannsaka óinnheimta fjármuni sem lengi er skulda?

Thu, 05 May 2022 01:14:05 UTC

Scanning old photos again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Patrick Cheah today, asking for permission to use this photo: Why that? It's for a Facebook group dedicated to the Straits Echo, which seems to have only just survived the time of this photo. And that's the building in the middle: OK, can I improve on it? It's old enough that I still have the negatives, some of the first that I took with my Pentax SV.

Wed, 04 May 2022 01:51:23 UTC

The demise of national postal services

Posted By Greg Lehey

Is really a subsidiary of Australia Post? It certainly doesn't look like it: # Domain Name: Registry Domain ID: 4623063_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN Registrar WHOIS Server: Registrar URL: ... Registrant Name: Domain Adminstrator Registrant Organization:, Inc. Registrant Street: Salesforce Tower, 415 Mission Street, 3rd Floor Registrant City: San Francisco Registrant State/Province: CA Registrant Postal Code: 94105 Registrant Country: US Registrant Phone: +1.8006676389 Registrant Phone Ext: Registrant Fax: +1.4159017040 Looking at their web site, they offer all sorts of services, so many that email doesn't even show on their first list.

Wed, 04 May 2022 01:35:25 UTC

More Australia Post pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call on Yvonne's mobile phone today. Robyn, from Australia Post, clearly in relation to Yvonne's damage report. First questions about email, giving me ample opportunity to view my opinions about Australia Post's outsourced mail system. No, Australia Post doesn't outsource its mail. And of course they can't accept unsolicited mail: it needs to be an answer to an existing question so that they can associate it with an existing problem. So I pointed out that the Subject: line contains the case number, which should eliminate any issues?she had no answer to that?and that email came from and not ?That's us!

Mon, 02 May 2022 04:10:18 UTC

More Academia strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another message from Academia today:   19 N   01-05-2022 To acd@lem (1114)   Connect with 2 co-authors of "Porting UNIX Software: From Download to Debug" on What's wrong with this message? What's right about it? Firstly, I'm the only author of the work, but assuming that there had been others, wouldn't you think that I'd know them and not use Academia to connect with them, especially since they want me to pay money for the privilege? And how do I get them to stop this false claim?

Mon, 02 May 2022 03:42:16 UTC

More security issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

While doing something completely unrelated, discovered today: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/39) ~ 20 -> ssh Permission denied (publickey). Disconnected at Sun 1 May 2022 14:42:30 AEST Huh? I've been connecting from eureka to freefall for decades, and ?I haven't changed anything?. In fact, I'm still logged in from a different xterm: === grog@freefall (/dev/pts/54) ~ 27 -> w  3:44AM  up 81 days,  1:15, 55 users, load averages: 0.20, 0.26, 0.23 USER       TTY      FROM                                      LOGIN@  IDLE WHAT ...

Mon, 02 May 2022 01:44:43 UTC

Zoom again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why couldn't Mark and I hear each other during our attempted Zoom conversation yesterday? The Setup was relatively painful (or I have repressed the experience), and it even accepted the password that I chose (?Type 4771?) , though once again it claimed that my newly invented email was a ?frequently used email?. But when I tried to sign in, it wouldn't accept the password. OK, new password, not overly different. Failed again. But then I discovered (how? I forget) that it had removed the space in the password and not even told me! I've had some bad password processing, including from Zoom, but this is the first time that I've found a program that changes the password, and that without telling me.

Sun, 01 May 2022 18:15:38 UTC

Revenge Of The Chickenized Reverse Centaurs

Posted By Cory Doctorow

This week on my podcast, I read a recent Medium column, Revenge of the Chickenized Reverse-Centaurs, about the relationship between algorithms, interoperability and worker power. (Image: Cryteria, CC BY 3.0, modified) MP3

Sun, 01 May 2022 02:40:13 UTC

Zoom: I still hate you!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got round to my video call with Mark Murray today. We've been planning since January 2021. By contrast, my call with Dan Langille in January required no preparation, as you'd expect from a phone call. Why the difficulty? Part was because Mark is in Cambridge, 9 to 11 hours behind me. When do we talk? During the summer it's more difficult, but I like doing these calls before 17:00, which is 8:00 his time. And then there's the choice of conference software. I was pleasantly surprised by WhatsApp, but Mark, a respected security guru, tells me that the license terms are inappropriate.

Sun, 01 May 2022 02:18:38 UTC

Segmentation fault: core dumped

Posted By Greg Lehey

While investigating the currently running FreeBSD Core Team elections, fingered the candidates, something that can only be done locally. One ended with Plan: https:/Segmentation fault (core dumped) I've seen that before. In fact, mine might be the original. I first committed the .plan on 2003/04/08 06:25:10. Currently it reads: Plan: 2022: Dereel 2023: Goldfields 2024: Victoria 2025: Australia 2026: The world 20Segmentation fault (core dumped) I had really wanted it to end with an arithmetic overflow, but you don't see that on FreeBSD.

Sun, 01 May 2022 01:34:39 UTC

Understanding AusPost exploit

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what went wrong with the Australia Post interaction yesterday? How did get wind of my messages to Australia Post? Looking at the original message to Yvonne, I found: Received: from ( [])         by (Postfix) with ESMTP id EA84B2808A         for ; Thu, 21 Apr 2022 00:46:09 +0000 (UTC) DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/simple;;         s=auspost; t=1650501968;         bh=Fa+eVlPSGLEdIU7gsq/YWvDtYI8NMZFZvmnNewJyoVE=;         h=Date:From:To:Subject:MIME-Version:Content-Type;         b=hYDyUn73CefbqV4giiub23npnW4aLFR+53X/fVa/2WcZSlSrDdOpiRN4lzbs89+Pu         TJNpNNTCEnzidbxlUj0zumm2PzFRr3b3Qmvvo1XN+XLLWVBl0x9kYzebUnKNqE9XtO         HJYLPbMJZu8babArp0b1U0fk65Hf/GEN++PMNosc= Authentication-Results: x-tls.subject="/C=US/ST=California/L=San Francisco/,         inc./OU=0:app;1:hnd;2:hnd-sp1;3:ap15;4:prod/"; auth=pass (cipher=ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384) Received: from [] ([]         by (envelope-from )         (ecelerity r(Core:release/ with ESMTPS (cipher=ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384         subject="/C=US/ST=California/L=San Francisco/, inc./OU=0:app;1:hnd;2:hnd-sp1;3:ap15;4:prod/")         id E9/62-31316-059A0626; Thu, 21 Apr 2022 00:46:08 +0000 Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2022 00:46:08 ...