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Cursed Adapters (twitter.com)
375 points by dsr_ 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 201 comments

The SIM card one is actually used by SIM card developers, I've had a few of those on my desk in a previous life.

Basically, when developing applets for SIM cards, it's a lot easier to deal with plugging in a full sized SIM card in a large slot than dealing with a tiny modern size SIM card, especially when dealing with multiple handsets.

The testing process with a handset is simply to write the applet on the card using a full sized smart card reader, then take the card, put it in the handset and boot it. With the adapter, the steps of putting the card in the handset and taking it out are much easier, since there's no need to move a tiny card and extract it using a tool.

Speaking solely from a position of outside naive curiosity, how does SIM card applet development work, why/where is custom development needed, and what sort of security considerations (are|need to be) taken into account?

For example, I can settle doctor's appointments etc with what looks like a perfectly ordinary card terminal; I swipe my healthcare card and after a long sequence of button-presses by the (very patient) receptionist I get a receipt with the Medicare logo etc on it (this is in Australia). I've always wondered if all the logic to do this is hiding in the SIM card or if the card terminal is also running specialized firmware.

The only bit of related anecdata I can remember was... wait, I don't believe it but I found it, probably one of the more interesting bits of applet development out there: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18140208 (the entire thread is a bit of a rabbithole too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18138328)

You can think of SIM cards (and other chip cards, like bank cards) as a low power computer; they run their own embedded OS and can install applets. The applets basically run on a tiny restricted JVM (no GC!) that follows the JavaCard profile.

SIM card applications can talk with the handset through messages, asking the handset to display menus, send SMS messages, open a browser, and more [0]. The handset also forwards certain messages to the SIM card, such as certain special SMS messages. The SIM card can actually be reprogrammed over the air (slowly) using signed SMS messages.

The applications that run on the SIM card can include certain banking applications (those were popular in countries with less robust banking infrastructure and wide deployments of feature phones) or multi-carrier SIMs.

With regards to your card, if it gets swiped, it probably doesn't use a chip. For the chip to work, it has to be powered, which entails either being physically inserted in a slot or being powered through induction.

I should probably write a blog post about all of this stuff, it's pretty interesting. Thanks for reminding me of it!

[0] https://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_ts/101200_101299/101267/08...

I would definitely be very interested in a generalized inside view of how everything works!

I stumbled on some PCMCIA-slot card readers at one point, which led me on a fun adventure discovering that I can list recent transactions out of my bank card. (Then after losing my wallet (annoying but not tragic) I discovered (to my initial confusion) that the latest model doesn't include this nice "feature". Hmph.) Learning how bankcards worked was very interesting.

And - facepalm - of course the terminals I referred to are running their own firmware: Medicare cards do indeed use magnetic stripes.

I'm currently headscratching over how authentication/access cards work, and the associated various industry thrashings (standardization, PGP crypto, cloneability, etc).

Yes, the aspect that you need to test things on many mobile networks does become easier when you can easily switch the SIM - that alone makes it kinda essential - unless you have multiple devices for each network and there are a lot - more so if you factor in roaming.

That and nobody ever advertises how many times you can swap a sim and the socket pins won't break.

Kinda makes you wonder how many times you can swap a sim before the socket suffers failure of some form, from wear and tear. I've certainly had a fair few break over my lifetime and that's from light usage.

Though getting full sized sim cards is becoming harder these days I have noticed - even the precut multi sim that you push out the sim for the size and the aspect that the last phone I saw that would take a full sized (credit card sized) sim form factor was two decades ago.

The ISO/IEC 7816 interfaces can pretty sturdy (eg. for ATMs), but for phones, I'd wager that most phones don't ever change the SIM card more than once or twice; phone manufacturers probably cut costs there.

Probably 80% of those are hack solutions intended to prolong the service life of weird embedded/industrial x86 systems.

If you go far enough down the rabbit hole of weird embedded system component makers, and system integrators (mostly Taiwan based) you'll find all sorts of weird stuff. The sort of pieces you'd use to build a x86 system running a complicated thing in a factory or industrial process, or a kiosk... Armored stainless steel keyboards, fanless systems with big heatsinks built into the chassis, and so forth.

If you dig through the twitter history of the account linked to (one of the best on twitter, I might add) you will find many examples of exactly this type of industrial hardware.

From the thread:

> although if you really want to live the Real Life, you might want to consider... m.2 CANBUS!

> Have you ever wanted to interface with the network running your car from an m.2 slot? if so, go to jail. but not before buying this!

CAN bus is used everywhere in industrial and embedded systems, not just cars. Lots of PLCs, servo cards, networked sensors use it, you need low latency to get the task done, and you usually prefer a small-form-factor fanless DIN-rail mount PC in a control cabinet, so full-size PCIe cards or USB adapters are no-go. M.2 it is! Likewise with the industrial USB-C and waterproof HDMI down thread; positive locking connectors don't usually go with modern touchscreens.

I think you'd see a lot of these connectors and adapters if you worked maintenance in (or just got a tour through) a local manufacturing facility.

I've got a weird SCSI to sdcard interface, I think it was initially developed for an 80s era sampler (sampling for music). But it works great in my Macintosh SE/30.

> have you ever thought that the real problem was that the front and back of your computer are backwards?

I do, actually! I thought I was alone in that.

I have my PC with the back facing the front. I actually flipped it to stop it from overheating from having the vents be against the walls, but I really like the easy access to the ports. It also makes opening the side panel easier, since they tend to be made to slide towards the back.

Never thought that the solution to my problem of "this cable is 4 inches shorter than it should" would be just making my computer face the wall and never minding about the power button. I'm sure I'll be able to just drill and put another power button on the top of it... And CDs and DVDs? Don't remember last time I used some.

Thanks HN!!!

There's another adapter you can get to solve the power button issue!

There are PCI slot brackets with power and reset buttons.


What is that supposed to be for? I only see

> Also great for isolating problem case switches!

... Which implies that that's not the primary use they envisioned.

Exactly what it says in the first line: motherboard power control without a case.

Their main product appears to be an open-air ATX "case", which basically amounts to a motherboard mount, a fan mount, a rail to support PCI cards, and a mount point or two for hard drives, without side walls and without a power button. So they also sell a power button mounted onto a PCI bracket, to slot into an open slot on the case's PCI rail.

That thing is called a test bench.

If I got one of those I could throw away the old screwdriver I currently use to turn on the PC that sits in a half-built (it has a chassis & base, no sides) case I never finished.

Only a few months ago, after over 10 years of poking screwdrivers at FP headers, it finally occurred to me that, since it's all standard sizing, I could just cut one of the 100s of dupont jumper cables I have lying around the EE lab and solder a push button to it. It took a whole 3 minutes of work (including waiting for the iron to heat up) and I have no idea why it never occurred to me before...

Huh, that might be fun to make a giant, novelty "ON" button to put on my desk. I guess I never really thought about it, but the power button really just bridges the two power pins, right? Pretty obvious but never gave it a thought. You can probably guess I don't do much work with electronics.

Yep, it's a 'momentary push-to-make' if you want a couple of search terms.

i.e. after press it returns to its previous state (momentary), and on press it 'makes' (as opposed to 'breaks') the circuit, or 'bridge' between pins as you said.

Which is why my screwdriver works - I momentarily hold it across the pins, making a connection between them.

Yeah, I really should - I even bought one for it all those years ago that I was working on this thing.

But, y'know, it's not hard enough to pick up the screwdriver and poke (I do keep it right there, solely for that purpose) that I've bothered.

I have one. I have a PC tower case with extra cages for holding hard disks - 4 cages with 4 drives each fill the front of the case. However that meant moving the slot where the power switch and front USB connectors were. I didn't need the front USB headers, and I also didn't want to cut a hole in the case, so moving the power switch to a empty PCI bracket in the back was the perfect option.

You could set your computer to wake on power (bios) and just use the power source on/off button to turn it on

I use a FT05 case for one of my desktops; besides being excellent thermally, having the motherboard rotated 90° with the rear i/o facing upwards is nice (also no gpu sag).

I built a custom case with a rotated motherboard like this, with a huge furnace filter on the intake and 8 fans (well in excess of what's needed for cooling) to clean my room air.

Or, to put that another way, you built an air purifier, and then embedded a computer into it.

People like you are why hackers/engineers have a reputation.


Pics please

Very old photos; I've replaced all the hardware you see except the SSD, wi-fi card, and the power supply.


Very cool, thank you! How's the noise after you switched the fans?

I switched first to Gentle Typhoons, then the new Noctua NF-A12×25.

The cheap-o original fans were quiet at low speed but hardly moved any air, and at high speed they made tons of wind noise; I think the airfoils were stalling or something.

The Gentle Typhoons were reasonably wind-noise quiet even at high speed, but made a high-pitched hissing from the bearings at all speeds, and a groaning rumble from the motors at low speed.

The Noctuas are much quieter at 1000 rpm, almost inaudible relative to the 4 hard drives, and make fairly innocuous white noise at high speed.

Since we’re on the topic of computer hacks, I turned off the heat in my room and farmed litecoin for a winter with my PC. My room was warm and toasty, and I sold the litecoin and bought a new video card!

I also currently have my home server in a closet with the seeds I’m starting so the soil stays around 80 degrees (f).

You seem like you understand how to read twitter. Can you help me out?

I don't see the quote you provided anywhere on the linked page. What I see is this.

> so I was looking for a MicroSD to M.2 adapter (shut up, it exists, and I have reasons to want it) and I found something way more cursed: M.2 (SDIO) to SD card slot!

It sounds like a reply to something, but I can't tell what, and then below it are a bunch of replies, none of which seem to be related to each other. I think I have a twitter learning disability.

Yeah, I don't understand the structure that well either, but those below don't seem to be replies. To see the actual replies, hit "Show this thread" or "See replies" below the image.

This is what I see when I click the link [0], the text is right there.

What do you see when you open the link ? (no sarcasm or offence intended)

0: https://imgur.com/a/CkrGGDR

That is what I see also. But the text "have you ever thought that [...]" is not there. I later found out that you can click "Show this thread" to see it. But don't confuse it with "← Thread", since that will show you a bunch of Trump and celebrity stuff.

Sounds like a good idea in theory, but then you need to reach all the way to the back to access the PCIe card mounted in your optical drive bay.

See, I totally agree with your reasoning, and I would do that with my computer, except...

...the back of my computer is ugly.

It matters! My computer is a pretty large fixture in my apartment, and I want my home to look nice.

You could hide the computer behind a painting.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeears ago, a company called Cyber Research made a "backwards PC case" with both the slots and drive bays facing the same side. They used to advertise in PC Computing and Byte and stuff, if I recall correctly.

If I had a bunch of time I could probably find 'em on Archive.org or something. Their logo was very distinctive, a 3d-head sort of thing which I remember resembling the middle of the "little brain / big brain / universe brain" meme.

I used to have a case that had stuff reversed this way. The cables came out at the front, and a cover could close over them to make it not look ratty. I think it was made by Lian Li.

Hahaha do you remember when humans used to put data in through the front of the computer?

Does that mean your power button is facing the wall?

Like an iMac! Except the ports are accessible.

Just make a 10 feet cable and route it from a push button double sided to back of your display all the way to PWR_BTN header. That’s how I do it.

Set the computer to start on a keyboard press.

I lived for years with a desktop with a broken power button. Didn't miss it.

My virtual assistant uses wake on lan to switch on my computer. It's pretty handy.

> I lived for years with a desktop with a broken power button.

Why couldn't you replace it?


>Didn't miss it.

Yes, that.

Initially, I didn't replace it because I had no time to go buy another on that day. Then, because of that.

unfortunately, that wastes a good deal of power in the modern age of USB keyboards...

How many watts does your USB keyboard draw?

Depends how many devices are plugged into it via the soldered on USB to m.2 adapter, obviously.

none, but the USB controller is expensive

Yup, but it's OK. I hardly ever use it.

This is a semi common issue with VR. There are products available that extend the displayport and usb connections to the front of the case.

> the real problem was that the front and back of your computer are backward

If this is truly a source of friction, why bother with the case? Why not go au naturale?

Dust, noise, thermal and electrical danger.

Lack of horizontal realstate, inability to drill and screw it into the wall (it's not my wall).

Well there's only one solution, then;)


...oh, it's not your ceiling, either? Well then I'm out of ideas:)

That was... less glorious than I was hoping for. I think a PC built as a mobile would be pretty cool.

That's a huge tower of a heatsink. The motherboard seems to be bending from the weight of it. Am I seeing 2 fans attached to the sides of the heatsink?

Perfect to reduce vibration and other sounds for podcasting

Huh? My computer had important (usb) ports on the front top of the case as early as 2005. Do they not make PC towers like that anymore?

They do, but some people may want more USB ports, some an ethernet port, some a DisplayPort display port[1]. A keyboard and mouse is something you'd typically connect to the back, but I can see some people liking the ability to conveniently reconnect them to a laptop.

Of course, you can buy a USB hub, you can buy a USB ethernet NIC (though it still probably won't go as fast as the back one), but you can also just flip the box.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22429795

Someone once wanted to play a music CD on my computer. You seriously think I bothered to buy a CD reader for this thing?

Some boards have power n reset buttons at the back too.



These sort of adapters are used a lot by people like myself who muck around with retro hardware. No need to rely on hardrives that are 20-30 years old. Just plug in an adapter in and then swap out SD / CF cards.

There are even CF to ISA card adapters that you can buy in kit form:


However the market is obviously very niche.

Keep in mind that the market for "retro hardware" is not limited to amateur tech archæologists. It also and probably mostly includes users of industrial equipment. Their useful lifetime can span decades even if the computers controlling them are beyond obsolete long before that, and replacing them can be nearly impossible or not economically viable.

Exactly that, I don't have a link but SCSI adapters to SD card's are used by many retro hardware people and they love them for that. I don't have a link to the device but a review of one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx1mu7TPtE8

I watch that guys channel from time to time. A lot of this stuff is easier thanks to forums and Youtube tbh.

I have one and use it. Want to add an SSD to your Apple ][? Boom.


It is really amazing how people are keeping these old machines alive.

I've using one of this CF to ISA for embedded x86 for some project.

15 years and it still working without trouble. Because CF was booting into ramdisk and isn't used anymore after boot.

Cannot help myself, but am reminded of the famous electric to water adapter: https://etel-tuning.eu/werkzeug-zubehor/183-adapter-drehstro...

I made this fake cable website[1] years ago that let you find all kinds of silly and impossible cables. There's a funny story about how I got Google Product search to implement a policy that all products submitted to their database had to actually exist.

[1] http://cabledimension.com/

I can't read German, so I can only assume that's a joke... What the heck is going on there?

It’s a joke. For some reason people like making these fake Gardena adapters.

Here’s a water-to-HDMI one: https://imgur.com/FHSFM9o

There's an international version: https://etel-tuning.com/

Hey, I was going to post that! Not sure what I'll get when I actually (try to) order one of those contraptions.

That site is hilarious, after browsing for 10 mins I realised there wasn't a single serious product haha

Why the negativity? Why the "OH FUCK YOU - FUCK YOU, IT EXISTS (author words)" tone when there are entire markets/areas where retro-compatibility and weird conversions are a requirement?

I know that an average user won't buy many of these adapters, but for a person doing that kind of research, is it really that weird? I mean, the author is a "Hardware / software necromancer, collector of Weird Stuff, maker of Death Generators."

We're retrofitting 18K devices with SSDs through a M2-to-USB converter (we have reasons to do it that way). Someone is selling my company 18K of those boards. So, not bad at all. And that's just us.

I don't believe they're actually angry or negative that it exists! It's an expression of surprise, using hyperbole to communicate in a funny way how bizarre it is without context. Foone is an old and weird hardware enthusiast, they love this sort of stuff.

Edit: I mean they love old and weird hardware, not that they themselves are old and weird.

I definitely interpreted it as the latter so thanks for clarifying with that edit :’D

Of course there is nothing wrong with a person being old or weird, either.

> I know that an average user won't buy many of these adapters, but for a person doing that kind of research, is it really that weird?

The joke is that these manufacturers are just trying all permutations of adapters like some kind of unhinged mad scientist disregarding if anyone actually needs them or not. This is obviously not true, but it's an absurd idea that the intended audience can relate to, so it makes for a funny joke.

A case of tone not carrying in text. They're not being as negative as it might first appear.

I find it a bit obnoxious,personally, but whatever. No tone in text.

I would recommend everyone spend enough time on 4chan's more interesting boards (or similar) that they get inoculated to most text. Makes the internet into a pretty calm place, like how meditating in a storm might train you to be unfazed by smaller distractions.

> Why the negativity? Why the "OH FUCK YOU - FUCK YOU, IT EXISTS (author words)" tone

I can think of plenty of reasons, but they pretty much all boil down to, "Because that gets you bigger numbers next to the little heart icons."

This isn't even a strange adapter, I'd be surprised if this didn't exist. Why not get excited about cassette tape to 3.5mm adapters (very real and also very useful)?

Why not get excited about cassette tape to 3.5mm adapters (very real and also very useful)?

I use one of these nearly every day, since my truck doesn't have an aux-in jack, but it did come with a factory cassette tape player.

I still get a kick out of the fact that stereo Bluetooth cassettes exist :)

A lot of these seem pretty useful in certain circumstances. A lot of the "[whatever] to USB header" ones could be used for the boot drive so you can use all of your drive bays for data. I've seen servers with internal USB and SD ports for exactly that purpose, but if you don't have one, these could be useful.

I agree, a lot of them do seem useful, but I do admit that the situations where I might have found them useful were situations where I was doing dumb stuff.

> And here's another one that's weirder and weirder the longer you look at it. So it's a 5.25" bay mounted hard drive, but it's a RAM disk.

Now a RAM disk is when you use some RAM like a disk, but this isn't on the motherboard, so... how is it RAM? how does it connect?

see when they call this a RAM disk, they really mean it on the "DISK" part. It's SATA! It's a SATA drive you use like any other drive, it's just fast as hell because it's backed by RAM!

but doesn't RAM lose its contents when turned off?

YEP! that's why it has that big honking battery there, it keeps the RAM active when the PC is turned off.

I wonder how long that battery lasts for, also I guess wiping your data is easy... just unplug the battery, no way anyones gonna get at your data then.

These things were excellent back when flash had poor density and mediocre speeds; the cost per MB was similar when fully populated and it was significantly faster.

Unfortunately SATA is the limiting factor. However, they would be awesome on the PCIe bus.

They were actually used? by who?

Caches, scratch drives for compilation or whatever other disk intensive process you had, etc.

Heavy industrial models were the ancestors of today's all-flash SAN arrays, later common in hybrid ram+flash. RAMsan was one of the major vendors.

CCP used one for Eve Online. They stuck their SQL server on it.

I think I've seen some in person in 2008 used for, IIRC, some form of coordination in Oracle RAC.

without any idea what a SAN array is was this used as a kinda hybrid ram, where you'd keep all your data on a real harddrive and then on system boot push it all to this where it would stay for years until the next system boot?

No. SAN = Storage Area Network. Essentially networked block devices. a RAMsan array would terminate multiple 1-4Gbit links and provide a very fast block device (possibly subdivided into logical devices) that would be used by other computers.

The contents were persistent, through battery storage + UPSes etc.

LTT was mentioned in another subthread; they also did a video on the i-RAM, one of the implementations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYbCYgYZVT8

My favourite cursed adapter is the Etherkiller, a mains plug connected to an ethernet cable: https://i.imgur.com/oQBaNQL.jpg

That’s a CAT-o-5-tails

Sounds like a Power over Ethernet thing?

It's PoE, I guess, if you treat any concept of standards compliance with dismissive disdain to the point of intentional malice.

I kinda want something with a lot of microSD slots and it exposes each one as a separate disk. Then I could run a zfs pool on spare/discarded SD cards around the house.

The closest thing I found was something claiming to do something like SD slot raid-0. But the board does all the work, and raid-0 is terrible. And the whole point for me is that SD cards have terrible failure rates, so I figure zfs adds redundancy.

A company made one of these a while ago, and it was awful. Linus Tech Tips has a video on it. The market is just too small and there are so many better options that it’s not worthwhile to make.

But you could make a Beowulf cluster out of those!

Will no one ever think of all the wolves?


No, that one doesn't expose them as separate disks, that one is hardware raid 0

The overarching point is the same. The utility of such a device is so small and has such a small potential audience that no one would make one (at least with any reasonable quality).

If you really want it, get a USB hub and full each port with an SD card reader.

I think you described the raid-0 device I was describing. Whoever came up with the idea for that device, I can say with confidence, does not understand the failure rate of SD cards and the mathematics of why raid-0 is a bad idea.

You are right though in this "overarching" point that it is very niche and you can probably have a decent solution with USB. I would think that might get a little more clumsy and consume more power than a single board exposing all slots though.

There are very cheap USB to microSD/SD adapters.

Add that too a good USB hub and you have what you want.

USB to microSD adapters are so cheap, that very often Kingston microSD card is more expensive than the same card in SKU that also includes the adapter.

So there's mini PCI-E and there's mini PCI-E(SATA). The SATA one is just directly connected to a SATA controller, when you look for storage devices for the mini PCI-E format that's all you find thanks to it's prolific use in laptops.

The other mini PCI-E is just a 1x PCI-E channel... or a USB connection, when you look for items to connect to mini PCI-E you find Wifi and 3g/4g cards and something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BJ45JXD. Now one day in my searches I did find some Intel Flash drives that were used for ReadyBoost duties on some Windows laptops, but they lack a flash controller and you need a special Linux kernel module to even use it which breaks my want to boot from the mini PCI-E device.

Since the industry went the m.2 route the mini PCI-E slot is dead and dying. You can even get m.2 adapters for Wifi(https://www.newegg.com/fenvi-fv-ax200h-m-2/p/0XM-00JK-00063) or FPGA(https://numato.com/product/aller-artix-7-m-2-fpga-module) because it's more universal than a standard PCI-E slot now.

This ramble is to nominate mini PCI-E as a cursed connector.

Unrelated, but is there a reason I now suddenly have to click "Show Thread" every time someone links to a Twitter thread now?

No, but there are several "thread unroller" sites to make reading these things easier.

The existence of those apps and their popularity should be a large hint to twitter that their UI is broken

Does anyone have a link to those pages that turn twitter threads in to normal blog posts?

This gave me flashbacks. In the 90s I had to work with a lot of strange hardware. They all had "standard" interfaces, but they weren't really standard at all.

Sometimes to connect my laptop to a device required a series of three or four adapters.

We also had kits in the office to make your own serial adapters, where you had to figure out the pinouts on each side and then build the adapter one pin at a time.

This is now usb-c. Its a standard plug that supports somewhere between everything and just usb 2.0

Sure, if what you mean by standard is it physically fits together but you can’t tell what the heck it’s doing.

Nope. The usb-c on rPi doesn't do usb 2.0.

I think that when plugging an usb-c into an usb-c, we can assume it won't explode, but that's pretty much it. And I wouldn't totally bet on it.

The Pi4 actually does support USB 2.0 over the Type-C port, it just needed a software update to enable it. See https://www.hardill.me.uk/wordpress/2019/11/02/pi4-usb-c-gad...

Had seen too many burned out MBP usb-c ports to believe that nothing will explode...

I still keep around DB9 connectors and housings/pin kits. The field I work in still uses a lot of different serial communications and various vendors seem to like to design their own pinouts so they can sell you their own cables.

Hello, avionics friend!

RS-232 and all the weird and wonderful mostly passive adapters... (mostly caused by the fact that connectors on IBM PC have the logical, but opposite from everything else, gender)

Just this weekend we did a cleanup of our office and thrown away everything that looked like RS232 cable with the rationale that it is faster and cheaper to make/buy new one than trying to figure out which of the myriad variants this one is.

We got into the habit of ordering a bunch of different adapters every time a new standard presented itself. New FireWire 800? Order adaptors for going to FW400 and Sony's odd duck version. New flash card? Order adapters including to some weird things (I'm sensing a pattern Sony). Seems wasteful but it has saved our bacon quite a few times.

Twitter is such a shitty website to have to look at anything on that's bigger than a tweet.

Yeah, I saw one message a picture and went "that's it??", But then discovered it has a view thread button and there's more hiding there. Such a bizzaire UI experience.

I really hate that new "feature" too. I don't get why anyone would want it.

Edit: I think I figured it out. I think it's supposed to make it easier to see replies to the linked/original tweet which you would otherwise have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to see. The problem is that they implemented it backwards. It should show the thread by default and give you an option to see the non-thread replies to the current tweet instead.

I went through a real cursed search last summer trying to find a series of adapters to connect an Apple Cinema Display, which only has an attached mini-DisplayPort male cable, to a standard PC with only HDMI and DVI. Female mDP to male DP exists, but there's no way forward from there to convert male DP to male HDMI/DVI. I stumbled across female-DP to female-DP, which I thought was my holy grail until it couldn't power on the display. I learned about the difference between active and passive DisplayPort that day.

Eventually I just bought a different GPU that had mini-Displayport.

DisplayPort and HDMI have very different protocols: HDMI (like DVI) has three separate physical channels, one for each colour, whereas DisplayPort sends whole pixels down a single logical channel. DisplayPort outputs can switch to HDMI mode to support passive DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapters, but HDMI outputs cannot support DisplayPort screens.

Just try connecting a modern Mac to FireWire 400...

You gotta go:

FireWire 400 -> FireWire 800 -> Thunderbolt 2 -> Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C).


Seems like Apple has 'deprecated' the Firewire stack in macOS. Catalina works, but don't count on it being available much longer.

Btw, the FW->Thunderbolt conversion adds a noticeable amount of latency to my audio interface :(

At least it doesnt outright drop packets like the USB audio on modern macs.

What's still out there to use FireWire on?

Modern GPUs usually have most of their ports as full-size DisplayPort..


Header adapters are not meant for PCs, they are there for specialized boards. There are plenty of those.

That USB to ISA adapter, why would anybody buy the reverse nowadays? There aren't many computers with an ISA bus, but there are plenty of old specialized ISA boards that would cost a fortune to replace.

About that DDR4 extender, I have a computer where the processor cooler inutilized a memory slot (stupid motherboard designers?). I just left it empty, but could have used one of those too.

And... Ethernet into M.2 is plenty of interesting. I wonder how useful can it be.

I’ve read somewhere that manufacturers use extenders as replaceable receptacles for testing. The slots are rated for so many insertion/removal cycles so you’d want them replaceable.

That is precisely what the sodimm slot is for. Most service centers use those for memtesting.

The reason for M2 to ethernet adapter is that nowadays there are many boards intended for routers with M2 slot and putting an ethernet card in there makes much more sense than whatever use the slot was originally designed for.

The driver situation on that USB to ISA adapter must be amazing. I kind of hope it is a VMWare plugin that makes the board appear as a standard ISA bus device to the VM.

The DDR4 extender takes up the same place the memory would, and more. I don't understand what obstruction would be solved by this.

I thought the same at first but some memory ("gaming memory") might have pretty extensive heatsinks that make it wider than just this adapter PCB. So yeah, you don't win much but sometimes a few millimeters make the difference between fitting things in or not.

It gives you a profile that's very slightly thinner at the bottom, but I've never seen a cooler that spills past the CPU where the bottom inch is wider than the second-most-bottom inch.

I misread this as Cursed Adopters, and thought it was going to be about users who, when they use a technology, seem to encounter more trouble than the average user--a kind of inverse of early adopters.

I use an SD female to microSD male, plugged into a PQI Air Card (which can use Dmitry's hacked Transcend firmware to run Ubuntu), inside an iPod.

Some of these adaptors are useful for geeks like me!


The photos on the thread are down. Could you re-up them?

Sorry about that! I'd run out of space on my Google Drive, so I deleted some files last week. I've reuploaded the photos to Mega.


downthread there's a USB-ISA adapter (lets you use ISA boards via a USB port) and that was so odd I chipped in actual money to see it happen

I have a box of custom ISA data acquisition boards sitting around somewhere, mostly because I never came around to throwing them out. I actually wrote a Linux driver for them some lifetimes ago. This USB thing might actually make them useful again. I never thought an adapter like this might exist.

Ancient (~2000) Orinoco USB dongles https://wiki.debian.org/orinoco_usb , Proxim/Lucent/Agere Prism chipset = original Apple pcmcia AirPort Card = first wifi 802.11b cards ever, shipped in USB-2-PCMCIA cradle build using Cypress EZ-USB bridge chip https://www.cypress.com/products/ez-usb-fx1 . PCMCIA is ~16bit ISA

This is the really cursed one

And of course you'll still have to fiddle with the IRQs on the boards you plug and have a USB to ISA bridge(?) driver and I can't imagine how to make an ISA driver talk to a virtual bus over USB

Suffice to say if it was the other way around I think ISA wasn't fast enough for USB 2.0 so at least there's that

The one ISA-on-USB I saw some years ago came with SDK and you had to write your custom software for it, no transparent automagic isa mapping on PC.

I really could have used a SD-card to USB headers adapter back when I was trying to put a bigger boot drive inside my QNAP NAS. It has a USB header on the motherboard which normally has only 512M of storage on it, which is rather too small for a normal Linux distro. I ended up with a USB key hanging out of one of the USB ports at the back which is way less elegant.

I've had several DOM (disk on module) devices over the years, but I think that the one that I loved the most was the SIMM to DIMM adapter, which adapted multiple SIMM instances to a single DIMM slot when the transition occurred. beautiful piece of tech for the time.

Never seen anything like that :o Plenty of 4x30 pin to 1x72pin adapters tho, both front and back facing so you can run a pair together.

I actually used the microSD to SD adapter before in my old Galaxy Note 3. Since the Note 3 had a removable back which you could use to access the both the battery and microSD card slot unlike most phones today, I replaced it with one normally used with a Zerolemon extended battery, and used it with a 512GB SD card since microSD cards did not come in sizes that large at the time.

I really wish Foone had a blog.

He does. It's just a long series of looooooong twitter threads. ;)

I knew this was going to be a foone thread before I saw that it linked to twitter. :)

> have you ever thought that the real problem was that the front and back of your computer are backwards?

This is a real market for telecom stuff, and one of the reasons shallow depth 1U and 2U servers with all of their connections on the front panel exist. Including power, whether ac or DC, network, indicator lights, and all the common ports found on an atx motherboard.

Meanwhile, all I want is a simple high-DPI gaming mouse with a USB-C (rather than USB-A) connector, and it still doesn’t exist in 2020.

Yeah, not clear why logitech hasn't yet bought into usb-c... all their stuff is still usb-a you can't even get a unifying usb-c connector for your mac.

Not sure about high performance mice, but Amazon does have some USB-C mice. I picked up for my daughter to play Stardew Valley on her mac. Was looking to avoid the daisy chain of adapters rather than a high sampling rate.


Who uses non-Bluetooth mice now?

> Who uses non-Bluetooth mice now?

Almost everyone using a full-size mouse.

There are very few actual Bluetooth mice offered by a major vendor in a full-size format. They're pretty popular in the "laptop mouse" market where the mouse is made uncomfortably small for people who care more about portability than usability, but the majority of full size wireless mice use proprietary RF protocols rather than Bluetooth.

A Logitech G rep once explained it to me, Bluetooth is technically capable of equaling USB mice but a lot of the Bluetooth adapters included in OEM PCs are hot garbage, so reliable performance is hard for them to achieve. That's why their last Bluetooth gaming mouse actually shipped with its own adapter built in to the charging base.

People who enjoy latency free and battery free mice. If its at a desktop there is really no reason to not use a wired mouse. And a wired keyboard is basically essential since bluetooth doesn't work before the OS has booted.

While you're correct, there's lots of plain-RF wireless mice and keyboards that work just fine before the OS loads, and many people confuse "bluetooth" with "all wireless".

Plus, some wireless mice are actually faster than some wired mice.

There's one reason: one less wire to deal with. I bought a Logitech G703 just to avoid the clutter and tugging on the cable when using it (and not having to buy or build a dampener for the cable). It has a cable I can use to charge it or use when it's low on charge, and I can't notice any difference in latency when it's wired or wireless, or compared to any wired mouse I've ever used. I'm also not playing many FPS, and definitely not anywhere near a competitive level, so even if there is some measurable latency it simply makes no difference to me.

The wireless dongle is plugged into a USB port on my monitor so it's only about a foot away, though not quite direct LOS. And if I wanted to fork over $100 for Logitech's wireless charging mousepad, I'd never have to plug it in again. I probably won't, but it's an option.

The only wire on my desk is for my keyboard.

> If its at a desktop there is really no reason to not use a wired mouse.

Sure there is. I don't want a cable across my desk and a desk grommet just to duck keyboard-and-mouse cables looks bad.

Not super scientific but Linus Tech Tips has a video comparing the latency of wired and wireless mice:


TL;DR: wireless and wired gaming mice have the same response times, but normal wireless office mice have slower response times than their gaming counterparts.

My biggest issue with wireless office mice is that if the laptop de-prioritises bluetooth interrupts due to CPU load or whatever, then you get this really laggy response. I'm not entirely sure exactly what's going on, but if I open something heavy on my work laptop the mouse will have a 0.5-1 second delay in responding.

This doesn't affect the touchpad, which I presume is running over a different protocol that has more real-time interrupts.

Anyone for whom the phrase 'I have to charge my mouse' sounds insane.

I have no devices using wireless protocols where a wired alternative is feasible. Why would I ever want to deal with the pain of wireless when cables are so easy to use?

My wireless mouse has a removable cable so I can charge and use it at the same time. It takes about 15 minutes to charge fully. It's really not that insane.

99% of the time I get to use my mouse with no cord dragging around, and it's never died on me because I can just plug it in when necessary.

There are a few mice that support operating as both wired and wireless which have a removable cable. The connector at the mouse end is usually Micro-B but I think there's at least one using C. Either way, you can easily replace the stock cable with one that has a C connector at the computer end.

You want the connector? I ask because my OnePlus 5 had a USB-C connector but it was actually USB2.0. Didn't USB3.0 forward change to have a pushing versus polling architecture?

Can I ask why this is important to you? Can you not just use a small adapter?

Sure, happy to explain.

I currently own a Logitech Pro Gaming Mouse (the wired version, https://www.logitechg.com/en-us/products/gaming-mice/pro-her...) and I'm very happy with it. However, it has a USB-A connector, and so I'm forced to carry and use a small adapter whenever I want to connect it to any 2016+ MacBook Pro, since they only have USB-C ports.

If only there was an identical mouse but with a USB-C connector, I could stop having to carry a USB-C/A adapter with me. All my other peripherals have USB-C connectors, so the mouse is the only thing holding me back.

It's not a big deal, but I am looking forward to being able to have all devices be able to connect via USB-C and be able to carry/own one fewer thing. It'd be slightly simpler and bring me a little joy.

Few years ago I replaced my Ipod's broken hard drive with a compactflash card using a strange adapter, it works great.

Missed a realy useful one: Apple SSD to M2.



LTT did a video with this product a couple years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3frnBoqqI_Q

SDIO? I have no idea how this works. Does the M.2 SSD have some sort of fallback mode to talk over SDIO or does it emulate an SD card interface? If it's the former is there an SDIO driver for M.2 SSDs?


Everything should have an adapter to connect back to RS232

Reminds me of some PS4 or Xbox (I think) reverse engineering video where they they tunneled PCI-E over RS232

(around 8m15s) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMiubC6LdTA

PCI PS/2 adapters were quite common when they were needed, just like PCI USB adapters a few years later. I don't know if i'd call them cursed.

I really love the Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT, connected to all GPIO Pins, with seperate USB cable! :D

made my day. Ima gonna archive all of them to my evernote collection in case I do need one of them!

Is it just me, or are none of the images loading on twitter?

Edit: they loaded in the end, it was just very slow

I only see one adapter (M2 to SD) and some random tech tweets. Am I missing something here?

Click on "Show thread"

Looking forward to the fake m.2 drives on amazon and ebay built with this

just noticed this is a thread from Feb 3. Not that it's not interesting, but was wondering I couldn't find it in foone's recent stream. (an HN re-submit I take it)

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