Archive for June 5, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

Password Manager Resources

Apple (via Apple Developer News, Hacker News):

The Password Manager Resources project exists so creators of password managers can collaborate on resources to make password management better for users. Resources currently consist of data, or “quirks”, as well as code.

“Quirk” is a term from web browser development which refers a website-specific, hard-coded behavior to work around an issue with a website that can’t be fixed in a principled, universal way. In this project, it has the same meaning. Although ideally the industry will work to eliminate the need for all of the quirks in this project, there’s value in customizing behaviors to ensure a better user experience. The current quirks are:

  • Password Rules: Rules to generate compatible passwords with websites’ particular requirements.
  • Websites with Shared Credential Backends: Groups of websites known to use the same credential backend, which can be use to enhance suggested credentials to sign into websites.
  • Change Password URLs: To drive adoption of strong passwords, it’s useful to be able to take users directly to websites’ change password pages.


Acorn 6.6

Gus Mueller:

The main new features are with the Shape Processor. If you’re not already familiar with the shape processor, it’s a neat ability Acorn has to take shapes on vector layers and pipe them through a series of actions, similar to how Automator or Acorn’s bitmap filters work. Only instead of working on pixels, the processors will alter the shapes by scaling them or moving them around, or changing colors or blend modes. There’s even a processor which will generate shapes for you—so if you want your canvas to fill up with hundreds of stars, you can do that.

Acorn 6.6 adds new processors which let you set the stroke, fill, and blend mode of your processed shapes. You can now also flip your shapes and even shift colors.

Bombardier Temperature Correction Bug

Gareth Corfield (via Hacker News):

The bug, discovered on Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft fitted with Rockwell Collins Aerospace-made flight management systems (FMSes), led to airliners trying to follow certain missed approaches turning right instead of left – or vice versa.


Both companies disagreed with the FAA’s directive when it was in draft format, arguing that a software fix would be easier to accomplish than banning the use of the automatic calculator.


Bugs in flight control software are rare, though not unknown. Most bugs in airliners tend to be unforeseen memory overflows, as both Airbus and Boeing have discovered over the years. A design formerly owned by Bombardier, the Airbus A220 (nee Bombardier C-series) suffered from software-induced problems with its engines last year, while the Boeing 737 was discovered to have a rare bug that completely blanked all cockpit displays if pilots tried to land on one of seven specific runways in the world.

The Origin of Database “Sharding”

Raph Koster (via Em Lazer-Walker):

No, “shards” came about specifically because when we realized we would need to run multiple whole copies of Ultima Online for users to connect to, we needed to come up with a fiction for it. I went off and read a whole mess of stuff about early Ultima lore and tried to come up with a fictional justification. What I ended up with is described here pretty well: that the evil wizard Mondain had attempted to gain control over Sosaria by trapping its essence in a crystal. When the Stranger at the end of Ultima I defeated Mondain and shattered the crystal, the crystal shards each held a refracted copy of Sosaria.


In any case, we called parallel servers “shards” and it became a term used occasionally though not universally as a term of art within the field. […] So, did this database term come from a doc that I dashed off one afternoon in 1996? Umm… I am not sure. Seems like an interesting coincidence, if not.

Wikipedia references an earlier paper about SHARD (System for Highly Available Replicated DAta). I seem to recall reading about that in college, before the term could have jumped from MMOs to the mainstream via Flickr. However, SHARD was about replicating full copies of a database, not partitioning it. So the Ultima theory seems likely.

Update (2020-06-09): See also: Hacker News.

VMware Fusion 11.5.5

Michael Roy:

Fusion 11.5 users can now pull, build, run and push containers as part of a modern development and testing workflow, without needing other tools such as docker desktop installed.


When a container is fired up, we also mount the rootfs up to Host, meaning you can use Finder to browse the container contents! You could open up the running code of your app, make changes in real-time, in a way that feels just like editing any other file on your Mac.

See also: Introducing Project Nautilus.