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Saturday, 1 December 2018 Dereel Images for 1 December 2018
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House photo experiments
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

How detailed should a panoramic image be? In general I make my weekly house photos from four images taken with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO. That should give me a raw resolution of 80 MP.

But there's nothing to stop me taking images with a higher resolution, like 8 images (vertically mounted) with the Zuiko Digital ED 9-18 mm f/4.0-5.6. That would give me a raw resolution of 160 MP.

Today I tried both:


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They're reduced, of course, but clicking on them shows that the second image (with the 9-18 mm lens set at 10 mm) has slightly more resolution. But the first has 72.5 MP (90% of raw, which seems surprisingly many), while the second has 94.1 MP (59%). Why the discrepancy? Also, expanding them to full size with a couple more clicks shows that there really isn't a big difference in resolution. I suppose that I should try something really high resolution for a comparison.


Handling software support
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Another reply to my tickets with DxO today. The one I entered yesterday (166777) was simply closed. No explanation, no follow-up possible, just assigned to my favourite support person. Had he deliberately closed it? Sent a follow-up ticket. That's 8 tickets in the last week or so, none of which have been closed to my satisfaction.

Also a response from the person responsible for ticket 165481. I had explained:

For what it's worth, the MD5 checksum of the downloaded files is:
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 20 -> md5 DxO_PhotoLab*
MD5 (DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup (1).exe) = 732dd80f53f1e66ca8b8ea3645f35c3e
MD5 (DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup(1).exe) = 732dd80f53f1e66ca8b8ea3645f35c3e

The first is the file I downloaded last week, the second was downloaded by Microsoft "Internet Explorer". Clearly they're the same, so the file is almost certainly correct. Do you have a divergent checksum?

I've downloaded this file three times now, a third time with a program that is easier to use, but which has issues with your certificates:

=== grog@ffm (/dev/pts/1) ~ 3 -> fetch https://download-center.dxo.com/PhotoLab/v2/Win/DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe
Certificate verification failed for /C=FR/ST=Hauts de Seine/L=Boulogne-Billancourt/O=DxO Labs/CN=*.dxo.com
34374366680:error:14090086:SSL routines:ssl3_get_server_certificate:certificate verify failed:/usr/src/crypto/openssl/ssl/s3_clnt.c:1269:
fetch: https://download-center.dxo.com/PhotoLab/v2/Win/DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe: Authentication error
=== grog@ffm (/dev/pts/1) ~ 4 -> fetch --no-verify-peer https://download-center.dxo.com/PhotoLab/v2/Win/DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe
DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe 100% of 330 MB 124 MBps 00m02s
=== grog@ffm (/dev/pts/1) ~ 5 -> md5 DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe
MD5 (DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe) = 732dd80f53f1e66ca8b8ea3645f35c3e
=== grog@ffm (/dev/pts/1) ~ 6 ->

Hopefully the download speed is up to your expectations.

I could say that the response blew my mind:

As we noted in our previous instructions, we do not support the use of dial-up or satellite communications for program downloads because for large files they can often prove to be unreliable. We also recommend using Microsoft's Internet Explorer because it does have extremely good file restart capabilities. The issues you are having with DxO PhotoLab 2 almost always points to an incomplete or corrupted download program file. This is why we suggest that you please re-download and install the program again. The installer program is self-contained and can be downloaded to any computer at any location, placed on a thumb drive, and used to install the program on your primary computer system.

And that's all! It does not address anything; apparently he wants me to download the file yet again! This time I did respond

And how can I download this to your satisfaction? Must I stand up, turn round three times to the left and utter mystical incantations?

But it would be wrong to say that it blew my mind. I have seen all this before, and I had a number of suggestions about how to fix the problem. Things don't seem to have changed in the last 1½ years.

But are they even right that you can install a truncated package and the installer won't notice? That's worth trying out:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 33 -> mv DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup\(1\).exe DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 34 -> cp DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe  DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 35 -> l DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe  DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe
-rwxr--r--  1 grog  lemis  346,420,088  1 Dec 11:51 DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe
-rwxr--r--  1 grog  lemis  346,420,088 23 Nov 12:31 DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 36 -> truncate -s -1  DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 37 -> l DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe  DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe
-rwxr--r--  1 grog  lemis  346,420,087  1 Dec 11:51 DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe
-rwxr--r--  1 grog  lemis  346,420,088 23 Nov 12:31 DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 38 -> md5 DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe  DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe
MD5 (DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup.exe) = 732dd80f53f1e66ca8b8ea3645f35c3e
MD5 (DxO_PhotoLab2_Setup-1.exe) = f5aaa6287835b2098cdf8a0de1faa3ba
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 39 ->

Tried installing that truncated package on euroa. Yes! It installs, and it works! Potentially, of course, the last byte means nothing anyway, but what sloppy programming! How much would it cost to append an MD5 sum at the end of the package and have the installer run MD5 on the rest of the package and compare the two? O tempora! O mores!

On the other hand, my purpose in life is to get the product to work, not to complain. It's like debugging: how do I work around the problems? In principle I should give them as much information as possible, but I get the distinct impression that this support person, at least, doesn't have the attention span to read it all. So maybe one thing at a time, and maybe lie when he said “Use “Internet Explorer” (I didn't)?

But in general I get the impression that support staff are very reluctant to admit any bugs, even to themselves, and even more reluctant to escalate problems. That doesn't improve software quality.


Summer on its way
Topic: gardening Link here

Today's the first day of summer, and gradually various flowers are coming out. Here's the Kniphofia


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And in front of the house we have a Xanthorrhoea that seems to have had some strange experience:


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It should look like this, of course:


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Schweizerschnitzel
Topic: food and drink Link here

Cordon bleu for dinner tonight. I'm sure we've eaten it before, but I have no record.

The big question: how do you cook them? I thought of the alternatives of pan-frying or baking. Strangely, my recipe books had little to say about it. Finally, after searching, I found a recipe in Bonniers Kokbok (Swedish), where they called it „Schweizerschnitzel“ (German, directly after the recipe for „Wienerschnitzel“, which in German is written as two words). All recipes wanted it fried gently in butter, and indeed, that worked well. Now to reconstruct the quantities.


Sunday, 2 December 2018 Dereel
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Power failure
Topic: general Link here

Another power failure this morning. When? How long? No idea, but short enough not to upset the computers, and from the clocks it seems that it came back at 1:34.


My eyes are dim, I cannot see...
Topic: health, opinion Link here

For decades I have used tiny fonts on my computer windows, using a 6×13 font. Initially the display size was 1024×768 and the resolution was 64 dpi, but despite larger screens I had higher screen resolutions, so the absolute resolution has gone up to as high as 109 dpi, depending on the display. But that still seemed OK.

Now I'm getting older, and I'm finding myself squinting at the screen. Time for a larger font, and and in fact it makes a big difference. Hopefully I won't have to do this too often.


“Internet Explorer”: really better?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why does DxO support claim that I should use Microsoft “Internet Explorer” to download archives? Superstition, of course, but superstitions don't come from nowhere. Discussed it on IRC today and came up with some insights:

  1. From carnival: “I think they work something out, decide a reason for why it worked, file it as done and try to use it forever.” And yes, that sounds very likely. “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

  2. “We also recommend using Microsoft's Internet Explorer because it does have extremely good file restart capabilities.” That's completely irrelevant, since I didn't need to restart the transmission. But somehow this article sets the tone. It's over 8 years old and describes “Internet Explorer's” improved restart capabilities. That says nothing about the competition, of course. This article does a comparison that's a bit TL;DR, but suggests that Chrome is the best for restarts, and that Apple's “Safari” is the worst (doesn't do range requests at all). with “Internet Explorer” coming second last, much as I would expect.


Monday, 3 December 2018 Dereel
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Plummeting temperatures
Topic: general, opinion Link here

It was warm on Saturday, a top of 33.5°. But that changed rapidly round 21:00:

Click to see larger image

Between 20:56:37 and 20:18:07 the temperature dropped from 28.4° to 19.0°, a rate of 0.44° per minute. But that's the broad view; between 20:58:40 and 21:00:42, the temperature dropped by 2.1°, over 1° per minute. That's reminiscent of Black Saturday, where the temperatures dropped by 1.3° per minute over a longer period of time.

+----------+--------------+
| time     | outside_temp |
+----------+--------------+
| 20:56:37 |         28.4 |
| 20:57:38 |         27.7 |
| 20:58:40 |         26.6 |
| 20:59:41 |         25.8 |
| 21:00:42 |         24.5 |
| 21:01:44 |         24.5 |
| 21:02:45 |         23.2 |
| 21:03:47 |         22.7 |
| 21:04:48 |           22 |
| 21:05:50 |         21.7 |
| 21:06:51 |         21.3 |
| 21:07:52 |         20.9 |
| 21:08:54 |         20.6 |
| 21:09:55 |         20.3 |
| 21:10:57 |         20.2 |
| 21:11:58 |         19.8 |
| 21:13:00 |         19.7 |
| 21:14:01 |         19.6 |
| 21:15:02 |         19.4 |
| 21:16:04 |         19.2 |
| 21:17:05 |         19.1 |
| 21:18:07 |           19 |
| 21:19:12 |         18.9 |
+----------+--------------+

More photo editing investigations
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

I now have a number of programs that can remove the extraneous objects from photos like this one:


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But I haven't done the job. Why not? I don't like the amount of manual intervention needed. All of them require you to mark what you want to remove, and that's very difficult with things like the fences line in front of the horses:

 
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Surely there's be something out there that can identify things like this and select them exactly to the pixel. Off today to look at some more. What I found was:

Potentially the issues here are that the tutorials don't describe what I want, and that in fact one of them could do it for me. But how much time do I have to investigate them?


Emacs font sizes
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After yesterday's change of font size for my xterms, it was time to do the same for Emacs. But how? Google is my friend: Select Set Default Font from the Options menu (I can hear rms grumble).

And that seemed to work. But not the way I thought. It only applied to one window, and after trying a couple, I couldn't get back to where I started. When I tried it on a second window (from the same Emacs process), I got different results. And when I tried changing things in the first window, it didn't change it there—but in the non-active window instead!

Peter Jeremy tells me that he does it at startup, which makes more sense. But how long will it be before I start an Emacs again? This one has been running for 2 weeks, and others have been running for over a month:

USER         PID  %CPU %MEM      VSZ     RSS TT  STAT STARTED         TIME COMMAND
grog       89218   0.0  0.3   883100  111172 v0  S    26Nov18      4:58.54 /usr/local/bin/emacs -display eureka:0.1 -geometry 110x75-53+0 -font 6x13 (emacs-24.5)

Tuesday, 4 December 2018 Dereel Images for 4 December 2018
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A photo for Christmas
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Since 2012 we've sent our friends and relatives a Christmas letter with a summary of what we have done in the last 12 months. At the head we've put a photo of us with at least some of our animals, and we've tried to make a different background each time:


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Clearly things are getting more difficult if we don't want to repeat ourselves. Looking at the photos above, we're not getting any better at it, and keeping the animals in position for the portrait is a non-trivial undertaking.

So: what do we do this year. First, where do we take the photo? Yvonne had the idea of doing it in the lounge room on the sofa, which seems reasonable until you realize that Australian houses are too polite to restrict the view of the kitchen area (or install a dedicated kitchen in a house with only 240 m² area), so we get backgrounds like this:


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OK, we have screens. Put them up behind the sofa and we don't have the kitchen. Next, get the animals where we want them:


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Is there a good one? The best I could find is this one:


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Yes, we could take more, but it turns out that though the screen hides the kitchen area, it's quite obtrusive. How about going back outside, giving up on Piccola in the process? That worked better, but composition was still an issue:


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In the end, I think I'll have to either stitch a couple together or start again.


Wednesday, 5 December 2018 Dereel
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How many megapixels?
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Digital Photography Review has published test images for the new Canon EOS R and the Nikon Z7. And of course they already have some for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. How do they compare?

One of the key points is the image resolution. The Z7 has a sensor resolution of 46 MP, the EOS R 30 MP, and the E-M1 Mark II 20 MP. But when do you need more than 20 MP? For those situations, the E-M1 offers an 80 MP mode, which blows the others out of the water, at least on paper.

But can the lenses do it? DPReview has images taken with the 45 mm f/1.8 m.Zuiko. And yes, they blow the other two out of the water. Here crops in alphabetical sequence: Canon (245x123 pixels), Nikon (298x138 pixels) and Olympus (348x155 pixels):

 
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These images might be resized and suffer from the browser rendering engine, but they're useful because they're roughly the same size. Native resolution of the crops is:

 
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Clearly the Canon can't measure up to the other two. And I think that the Olympus had the edge over the Nikon, “crop sensor” or not.

But then I checked: this is not a full resolution (80 MP) image from the Olympus, it's the out-of-camera 50 MP JPEG image (more exactly 49,694,400 pixels), barely more than the 45,441,024 pixels of the Nikon Z7. Why is the image better? The Olympus sensor is only a quarter the size of the Nikon sensor. I can only guess that the lens makes the difference. The Olympus image used the M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8, and the Nikon used the Nikon 85 mm f/1.8 G, which you'd really expect to be comparable. Could it have been random differences in the setup?

But the real question is: that's not the most that the E-M1 Mark II can do. The equivalent raw image is 80 MP. Would that be better? Or would the lens be the limiting factor?

In passing, it's amusing to look at the cameras and lenses used for these images (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, as tested):


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You could almost assume that “the smaller, the better”.


Permission to publish?
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

The photos in the previous article are copyright Digital Photography Review. Their copyright conditions require me to ask for permission to reproduce them.

Is this reproduction? I've included a link to the originals, and I'm just quoting details of their images. It could be argued that that's fair use. But why risk it? Follow their instructions and apply for permission.

I did that over a month ago. The instructions are wrong, and I left a message on their web site to that effect, also asking for permission to publish. Until today I have received no response.

OK, part of copyright ownership is due diligence, which seems to be missing here. I'll assume that this is fair use, and so I've published them. DPR, if you read this, please contact me, preferably by email, whether you agree or disagree.


Thursday, 6 December 2018 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 6 December 2018
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Eye test
Topic: health, opinion Link here

Into Ballarat today for a scheduled eye test. It was interesting for a number of things: much better optical imaging, including views that I think the optometrist couldn't interpret adequately, but which showed my retina in an unusually sharp manner, along with some things that looked like histograms but which she said were indication of the thickness of the retina. I wish I knew what that meant.

Apart from that, the normal eye test. I had been concerned about loss of acuity since my last test, but in fact I got significantly better results than last time, and only marginally different correction needed (+0.25 dioptre cylindrical in the right eye). I think we can do without that, especially as the last prescription was also only marginally different from the results I got 7 years ago.


Signs of the times
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Every time I go to Ballarat I look around to see how bricks and mortar shops are shaping up. And once again I found empty shops in Bridge Mall, the busiest shopping street:


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I didn't really have anything else to do after my eye test, but it seemed that I should look around for something, so up to Bakery Hill to look for external blinds at Ray's Outdoors. Surprise, surprise: the shop had closed down. Had they moved elsewhere? Nothing on the door, but when I got home I found this article: yes, they've closed down many outlets, including Ballarat. Is this an indication of the Internet Revolution, or just a false positive?

On the way back, went down the east end of Bridge St, which used to have lots of restaurants. Now it has a few restaurants and lots of empty premises, unfortunately difficult to photograph: there must have been four restaurants that had closed down. That's not what I would have expected from the Internet Revolution. Are they collateral damage? Or the indication of some other factor?


Bushfire!
Topic: general Link here

It was quite hot today, a top temperature of 37.2°. And the first bushfire of the season, south-east of Buninyong. No direct danger for us, though the power lines for Dereel run that way, but it's disconcerting that it's happening so early.


Garden flowers
Topic: gardening Link here

The weather is good for the flowers in the garden, which is finally beginning to look interesting:


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The flowering grass spike is nearly as big as last years':


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Friday, 7 December 2018 Dereel
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Where is Hengasch?
Topic: multimedia, general, opinion Link here

When watching TV programmes, I very much identify with locations. Some of the films I see clearly show where they were taken, and even feature the location, such as the German series „Notruf Hafenkante“ (which might be roughly translated as “Port emergency”, clearly centred in the port of Hamburg, and „Hubert und Staller“ (the names of the heroes) in Wolfratshausen.

But then there are others that are placed in some location „Mord mit Aussicht“ (“Murder with a view”), which explicitly takes place in some fictive location in the Eifel area of Germany, close to the Belgian border.

But where? I have only established that some scenes were made in Korschenbroich, to the West of Neuss and Düsseldorf, where my brother-in-law used to live. Nowhere near the Eifel.

The names of the locations don't help. Hengasch is the main locality (vaguely obfuscated „Hängarsch“, or “Hanging arse”) in the district of Liebenich („lieber nicht“, or “rather not”). Where are they? In episode 18, Scharfe Bräute, ganze Kerle, at 30:37 into the episode, they show a map:


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OK, Bad Münstereifel really exists. Hengasch is to the east, and Liebenich to the north-east. Drag out a map:

 
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That doesn't show much, does it? In fact, „Hengasch“ in in the middle of a forest, and „Liebenich“ is near a lake, but nothing like what's really there (a couple of houses).

The real issue, though, is: why can't I drop a location marker? That used to be trivial. Now I can't find out how to do it. Can OpenStreetMap do better? Certainly the view is easier to understand:


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Can I drop a marker? Probably, but it requires work to find out how. Why did Google Maps have to change everything?

In passing, it's interesting how much trouble they took to create this map. I've seen this kind of thing before with Rain Shadow, but they didn't go to nearly that much trouble.


No hay!
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Three months ago we ordered some hay for the coming season, and a couple of days ago I get a message saying that it was ready and that it would be delivered today or tomorrow. She later clarified the number:


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Bloody SMS! But OK, I saw it by chance.

That was two days ago. This evening, while watching TV, an unusual sound came from my office. It proved to be “I'm too polite to speak, so I'll beep: you have an SMS”. And what an SMS!


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OK, the rainfall was low, but surely she wasn't that off in her previous message, which had been after the math. It sounded much more likely that she had sold it elsewhere. Called up and left a message, and got a furious call back: “How dare you complain? You don't have a contract”. Well, in fact, I'm sure that her SMS would stand up in court.

Of course, what's the truth? It's been a bad year. If she had told us a month ago that things weren't looking good, we would have had a chance of finding an alternative. But now we're left high and dry.


Rudy Guiliani, the cyber security expert
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Rudy Giuliani is a person who has gone down considerably in my esteem since he jumped on the Donald Trump bandwagon. And like his master, he loves to tweet. Recently he tweeted:

 
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Clearly careful typing isn't his thing; he was probably using a mobile telephone, in which case I can understand the problem. But the result here was that he created a URL g-20.in.

Enter Jason Velasquez, a web designer. He tried to follow the URL, but the domain didn't exist. OK, we can fix that.

The link above is from the Washington Post, which only allows a certain number of free views per time frame. There's an alternative (but not quite so good) article in the Guardian.

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In passing, it seems that this kind of lack of attention doesn't just affect right-wing US politicians. The article above (currently) mentions a site g2o.In, which (currently) still doesn't exist.

That would have been funny enough. Twitter doesn't have a provision for modifying tweets, so he would have had to delete it, something that apparently wasn't an option. Clearly he wasn't happy. His first response shows that he didn't understand how Jason was able to exploit the loophole:

Twitter allowed someone to invade my text with a disgusting anti-President message. The same thing-period no space-occurred later and it didn’t happen. Don’t tell me they are not committed cardcarrying anti-Trumpers. Time Magazine also may fit that description. FAIRNESS PLEASE

And look at those conspiracy theories!

The most interesting thing, though, is that it seems that Giuliani has served as a cybersecurity adviser to Trump. Now doesn't that say something about the calibre of his advisers?


Saturday, 8 December 2018 Dereel Images for 8 December 2018
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Chinese food revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've gradually been accumulating various fresh raw foods that are approaching their use-by dates: some Hokkien noodles and some fresh doufu.

What can I make with them? One of the reasons I have had them so long (nearly 2 months) was precisely because I wasn't sure. I had bought the doufu for some breakfast idea, probably Korean, but never found a good enough recipe. And while looking, found the noodles, for which similar concerns apply.

The doufu was relatively simple: I found another pack of preparation for Mapo doufu:

 
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But the devil is in the fine print. Well, not even that fine: “HOT”. And what's that other language? Japanese! And indeed it was made in Japan. But the HOT spells death for Yvonne, who hates even the sight of a chili.

A good thing I had the noodles. Again, what recipe? I found one in Wendy Hutton's “Singapore food”, but I didn't like it very much: it claims to be particularly heavy, but I don't see anything to bear it out.

In any case, I made the dishes, both with surprises: the doufu was barely hot at all—I suspect that Yvonne could have eaten it—and the noodle recipe omitted half the ingredients (prepare prawns and pork, but don't incorporate them into the dish; prepare garlic and explicitly discard it). I'll have to think about whether I keep the recipe, but here are the ingredients:

quantity       ingredient       step
500 g       Fresh Hokkien noodles       1
      hot water       1
15 g       Garlic, sliced and fried       2
      oil and lard for frying       2
250 g       Pork, cut finely       3
100 g       Tiger prawns, unshelled       4
150 g       Prawns, shelled       4
2       eggs, whipped       5
250 g       Bean sprouts       6
20 g       Salt       7
100 g       Spring onions       7
      Coriander leaves for garnish       8
  1. Prepare the noodles as instructed (in my case, 2-3 minutes in boiling water). Drain and keep warm.
  2. Slice garlic and fry in fat until lightly browned. Reserve.
  3. Fry the pork in the fat until cooked. Reserve.
  4. Warm the prawns in the microwave oven.
  5. Fry the egg in the fat, breaking into smaller pieces.
  6. Add bean sprouts and fry. I omitted this step (no bean sprouts), but I'm sure it's better with the sprouts.
  7. Add the garlic, pork, prawns and spring onions and mix well. Add noodles, salt and broth and mix again, frying until hot.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Maybe it's worth keeping. Yvonne certainly liked it, but I found it a bit boring. It wasn't until later that I found the Hokkien mee page on Wikipedia, which might have some more interesting ideas.


Sunday, 9 December 2018 Dereel Images for 9 December 2018
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Hay!
Topic: general, animals Link here

Chris Bahlo has found hay for us, something that I thought would be almost impossible at this time of a bad year:


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Unfortunately they had to collect it themselves, and got caught in a cloudburst on the way back, so they had to dry the upper layers out before stacking:


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And they could only transport 60 bales at a time, meaning four trips. But we have hay! And it's good quality and—for the year—relatively cheap.


Overlaying maps
Topic: food and drink, general, technology, opinion Link here

Chris came for dinner tonight rather than the usual Saturday: Königsberger Klopse. Talking about maps after dinner, and generally lamenting how difficult it has become to use Google Maps. Somehow got on to this 1889 map of Dereel, which we investigated in great detail:


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I downloaded it three years ago, and to the best of my knowledge it's the only high resolution copy (5120x3598) of the map on the web, as discussed at the time. Chris thought it would be a good idea to overlay it with a modern map. But how? If I had a similarly detailed modern map, I could potentially overlay it using Hugin.

But where do I find a good map? Here's a section from the 1889 map and corresponding selections from the Google Map and OpenStreetmap:

 
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Even the “satellite” (aerial image) view doesn't help much:

 
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The other issue is: how do I get a 5120x3598 resolution map from either of these sources?


Monday, 10 December 2018 Dereel Images for 10 December 2018
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Unloading hay
Topic: general, animals Link here

Chris Bahlo had kept the second load of hay at her place overnight, and brought it around this morning for unloading. But the doorbell rang a little early. Not Chris at all, but Barry Ryan, the bloke who bought the Kleins Road house and just the man we needed to help:


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He wasn't very amused: he had really come along to ask Chris about a stallion to service his mare. He'll get that too, when the time is right.

The sight of the hay had other consequences, too: Lorraine Carranza saw it and realized that she needed some too. That's the first time we've seen her in a while: she hasn't been in the best of health.


Nikolai unwell?
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Walking the dogs today, Nikolai was unwilling to come along. Normally he's happy enough on the way out, and more reluctant to return, and he has a number of places to investigate on the way. But today he lagged behind from the start and didn't pay much attention to his favourite places. I decided to return home half way, to which neither dog objected.

Apart from that, he seemed normal enough, and there's no reason to believe that anything's seriously wrong with him—a very different situation from Zhivago, who did exactly the same thing three years ago, and who proved to have only one day to live. But clearly we'll need to keep an eye on Niko.


Tuesday, 11 December 2018 Dereel Images for 11 December 2018
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Kangaroos!
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

What's wrong with Nikolai? The obvious thing to do is to let him walk free and see what he does. That won't work outside the property, so decided to go down to the house forest, the 3,500 m² wooded area at the west of the property.

We have a standard procedure for that: Yvonne goes down there first, alone, and checks for kangaroos, while I stay back with the dogs at the first gate, relatively close to the house. When Yvonne confirms that there are no kangaroos, I let the dogs free, and they run at full speed towards the forest, turning to the right after the next gate. Here viewed from the forest, taken 3 months ago, with Nikolai on the right:

 
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Today he was completely normal. But while I walked down to the forest, I heard various screams, including Yvonne's. What's all that about? Got down there as quickly as I could to find the dogs having caught an adult mail Eastern Grey Kangaroo, about 1.60 m tall, which Yvonne had somehow overseen, and which was apparently too stupid to run away. When I got there they had it on the ground, but those claws are sharp and dangerous, and I managed to extricate Nikolai first and Leonid after that.

All involved had injuries. The kangaroo had at least a bloody nose:


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But I didn't have much time to investigate him. Yvonne was severely shocked, and though I couldn't see anything with the dogs, there was the danger that they, too, had been injured.

Back home, that was confirmed: Yvonne had been silly enough to get close to the kangaroo, and had a couple of scratches on her arms:


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Leonid had a scratch on his front left leg:


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And Nikolai had a number of relatively large skin lesions, up to about 3 cm across:


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Yvonne sent the photos to Pene Kirk, who thought that they weren't serious enough for immediate attention, but the dogs looked pretty unhappy, and Niko didn't even eat anything for dinner. To be observed; maybe we'll end up visiting Pene tomorrow.

So, in summary: no, there wasn't anything wrong with Niko. But there is now.


Wednesday, 12 December 2018 Dereel
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Nikolai on the mend
Topic: animals Link here

Nikolai had a rough night of it, and this morning he still wasn't looking much better. But he gradually picked up in the course of the day and ate his food. He's still licking the wound on his shoulder, and it looks like it'll be several days before he's back to normal, but at least we don't need to cart him off to Pene for the moment.


Luminar revisited
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

About 18 months ago, it seems, I installed Luminar on dischord, my Microsoft box. It clearly didn't leave much of an impression: I didn't even mention it here. There's a lot of photo software out there, but the lack of mention at least meant that I didn't find it really terrible.

But then Chris Baker, on the M43 Tech Talk on Facebook, came up with the idea that it was a good alternative to DxO PhotoLab. While that's unlikely, it occurred to me that it might be worth looking at again.

Starting Luminar told me that there was a new version available. OK, install that and see what happens. About the most surprising thing was that it didn't ask for a license key. Do I have one? I would have expected to have taken an evaluation copy.

Next, how to use it? They have a whole series of tutorials, mainly for Apple, it seems. Took a look at the overview, and then at the program. I couldn't see much similarity! And I certainly couldn't find any way to do things. They must have changed the user interface between making the video and bringing out the version I tried (1.0.0.6, as the Microsoft Control Panel tells me; I couldn't even find a way to ask for help on the Luminar screen).

Should I bother? Once upon a time it was normal for programs to require a lot of reading before you could use them at all. But once upon a time it was also normal to get an overview of the features. What I get now from https://skylum.com/ is:

The new Luminar harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence and brings you the best user experience to create meaningful, incredible images faster than ever.

OK, if they're incredible, I won't believe it. Why should I bother? Follow the invisible link above the hype and I end up at https://skylum.com/luminar. More hype:

Conveniently browse, rate, group your photos and much more…
With Luminar Libraries your photos will be the center of attention. A beautiful Interface offers a sleek canvas to enjoy all your images without extra distractions.

Dammit, what can it do? Can it even process raw images? I don't want to browse, rate or group my photos. I have much easier to use ways for that. And I don't care about attention; I have the web for that. Can it process photos? So far they haven't said anything about that.

I suppose I'll look a little more deeply, but so far there's nothing that makes it look attractive.


Thursday, 13 December 2018 Dereel → Cape Clear → Dereel Images for 13 December 2018
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Rain!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

It doesn't rain much in the summer, but there are exceptions. Today we had nearly 20 mm of rain, much of it in a couple of hours between 9:30 and 11:30. And the result was clear in the flooding in front of the house:


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And of course the water tanks were overflowing:


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To Pene after all
Topic: animals Link here

Yvonne was worried about Nikolai's wounds, and applied ointment and wanted to bandage it up. I wasn't at all happy about that—what if it's poisonous? And isn't it a good idea to let him lick the wound? No, it seems that Pene Kirk didn't think so.

OK, contact Pene again and see what she thought of it. Take him over and show him to her Yvonne had thought that we would have trouble getting him into the car, but as soon as he heard the tailgate open, he came running and was in the car as if nothing had happened to him. Pene thought that he should have been stitched at the time, but now it's too late. Antibiotics and a T-shirt:


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Certainly he's looking perkier.


Understanding online content
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I hate Facebook! Somehow I can never find things on it. I receive emails for events that I haven't been able to completely understand, but I really need to follow the link from the email to find what it refers to it. Why is it so obscure?

Today we had a case in point: Yvonne had sent Pene Kirk a “Personal Message” about Nikolai, and attached a link to the photos. But Pene hadn't understood the link, and thus didn't see the photos. Nothing serious on this occasion, but this is the kind of issue that could have serious implications.


Friday, 14 December 2018 Dereel Images for 14 December 2018
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Building CURRENT? Or C++?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I have been reminded that it's been nearly a year since I committed any code to the FreeBSD source repository. That's an anniversary that brings along the Grim Reaper, the maintainer of commit bits. People have suggested that I make some trivial commit, but that's not the purpose of this timeout.

As it happened, Bob Bishop (not a committer) piped up on a mailing list asking for somebody to commit a patch that he had submitted. OK, that makes more sense. First, bring current.lemis.com up to date—I haven't really done anything with it since February. And once again my source tree, which I sync daily, was out of sync. It hardly seems to be worthwhile to keep the tree; just check it out as needed.

Then make buildworld. It took all day and into the evening, over 9 hours! Yes, this is a virtual machine with only one CPU, but it should still run rings round the Intel 486 that I used 25 years ago. But in those days the build was done in 90 minutes. What's going on?

Every time I looked, it was C++ compiling C++. Once upon a time the purpose of a compiler was to save time. Nowadays it seems to be navel contemplation.


Modern lasagne
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Chris Bahlo's birthday today, so we had the weekly dinner a day early, one of her (and Yvonne's) favourites, salmon lasagne.

That requires—not surprisingly—lasagne, which in the past we used to make ourselves. But that was a long time ago, and today Yvonne had some pre-packaged lasagne. Just boil and use.

Oh. No. Don't boil. Just make your sauce, pour it over the lasagne, and cook for at least 20 minutes. Lasagne al forno. And not what we need.

Went looking for what else I could use. A packet of “lasagne verdi”, which seemed like a grammatical error, but maybe that's my lack of understanding of Italian. Also to be cooked in the sauce in the oven.

Dammit, there's nothing for it. Make our own noodles, the way we used to. Where's the noodle machine? I still don't know. Is it in one of the cartons that we still, after 3½ years, haven't unpacked?

In the end we boiled them in water. No, these “instant” pastas are really barely acceptable for lasagne al forno. They're really not what we need for this dish. High time to either find the old pasta machine, or maybe buy a new, more advanced device.


Saturday, 15 December 2018 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 15 December 2018
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No water?
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

In the shower this morning I noticed that the water wasn't as warm as usual. Another problem with the hot water system? Made a note to look at it later.

But while we were preparing for breakfast, Yvonne told me that we didn't have any water. Check. Power OK. Pump seemed normal. And after the recent rain the tanks were full, 50 m³ of water.

Power cycled the pump. A bit of noise, but not—it seemed—as much as normal. And still no water. The bloody pump had failed! And I only bought it less than a year ago!

Called the Ballarat Pump Shop on 5339 6366 and spoke to Jeff, who, as it proved, had sold me the pump in January. Yes, they had a replacement pump for me, so into town, in more of a hurry than planned: I discovered that they shut at 12:00 on Saturdays.

Made it at 11:55, and Jeff took the pump and put it on a bench. Didn't start. Turned the rotor. Started. Ah, that's the capacitor (on the right, 8 μF, 450 VAC):


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What? On such a new device? OK, can happen. We can fix that. Armed with only a pair of combination pliers, he cut off the wires from the old capacitor and put in contacts for the new capacitor, which had contacts instead of leads. Done!

How about testing? Yes, OK. No change. Damn.

Round about here, Adam came along. He remembered me from the dog bath repair eighteen months ago. Together they puzzled over it, discovering in the process that it wasn't the control unit (good: that was from the old pump and out of warranty), and that something was funny with the pump itself.

By this time it was way past closing time, so Jeff fitted a pump for me, and off back home to install it. Why do these things always happen on weekends?

In passing, it occurs to me that I should have taken more photos. The place looks like something out of the 1960s. Over one power point, for no obvious reason, was the inscription “ADAM IS A WANKER”, and on another wall a poster for operational health and safety, obviously modified: “Don't lift heavy loads. Get some other cunt to do it”.

And the hot water? Clearly the problem with the pump caused the pressure to be lower, resulting in more cold water flow in relationship to the hot water. Do I believe that? Not really. Out to open up the distribution panel for the hot water system. Yes, the circuit breaker had tripped again! It's only been three weeks since the last time! Is that an indication that it's getting worse? Hard to say: it seems that with reasonable sunlight we don't need the electric boost, and even over the past couple of particularly dreary days, and with much use of hot water washing yesterday, the water was still acceptably hot.


Australia recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Two months ago the current Prime Minister of Australia, whom I like to call Scott is Moron, tried to win a by-election in a safe seat. He failed.

The election was necessary because the seat had been vacated by the incumbent Malcolm Turnbull, this year's first prime minister, who had been deposed by Morrison. One of the tricks that Morisson used was to claim that they would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Despite the sizeable Jewish population in the Division of Wentworth, they lost the vote. There was some reaction, though: Indonesia protested strongly and put various negotiations on hold.

Now it seems that Morrison, never one to learn from his mistakes, has recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thus angering the Palestinians, the whole Muslim world, myself, most of the people I know, and even Israel (which lays claim to the whole of Jerusalem). From The Times of Israel:

While Australian Zionists celebrated the decision as “historic”, a recognition of only West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital may actually be detrimental to the Jewish state’s efforts to secure the international community’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the entire city.

So who benefits? The Indonesians have got up on their hind legs again and demanded that Australia recognize Palestine. That would actually make sense, but in general the reactions were sufficient for Australia to issue a travel warning (I think; I can't find anything on then DFAT web site, but that's normal enough), and others are calling for a boycott of Australian goods.

More annoyingly, though, this third attempt at a prime minister states that “Australia” recognizes West Jerusalem. As part of “Australia”, I strongly protest. The (minority) Australian government recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital, a move that even Israeli media see as self-serving:

Recognizing Jerusalem is expected to help the embattled Australian PM — who faces the prospect of an election drubbing next year — with Jewish and conservative Christian voters and win him friends in the White House.

Oh, for politicians with the interests of the country at heart!


Sunday, 16 December 2018 Dereel Images for 16 December 2018
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Garden flowers in early summer
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Middle of the month, and of the first month in summer, time for garden photos.

Gradually the garden is looking tidier, and my application of fertilizer a while back seems to have borne, if not fruit, then at least flowers. The variegate Hebes are flowering for the first time (first photo), and particularly the lilac flowering ones are doing better than ever before:


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Other plants that appear to have benefited from the fertilizer are the Pelargoniums and the roses:


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The roses look less good than a week or two ago, though; possibly it's time for another round of fertilizer.

The annuals in the beds are doing less well. Some of our pansies and petunias have died, and the others are not all as good as they should be. There were several pansies in this image, but only the ones on the right have survived (and thrived):

A number of plants are coming into flower, though a little later than last year, notably the Cannas and the Leucospermum cordifolium. Here comparisons of last year and this year:


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The sole Kniphofia bloom is disappearing from the bottom:


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There's a good reason for that: it's directly outside the dining room window, and on a couple of occasions we've seen Wattle birds sucking the nectar from the flowers. I don't think that's what nature intended: I can't imagine what's left bearing fruit.

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis that I planted in the garden are still doing acceptably, though differently. The clone of my uncle Max's Hibiscus has recovered from the burn it got, and the leaves are looking a lot better, though it currently has no buds:


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On the other hand, the new one with the erectile dysfunction has many flowers, but they're smaller than usual:


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And indoors, the parent Uncle Max Hibiscus is showing the way with flowers at least double the diameter:


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Other things that aren't doing well are the Fuchsias that we bought only last month:


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I don't understand that.


Marianne returns
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

The current protests of the gilets jaunes in France are somehow part of French life, reminiscent of 230 years ago. Not just for me: this weekend five women appeared in a demonstration, dressed as Marianne, a symbol of the French Revolution, and with the distinctive cocarde tricolore (English cockade) of the revolution:

Some news sources just mentioned the incident, others noted that they were bare-breasted. Almost none actually showed them from the front. That would be too offensive, like this painting of Marianne (Liberty Leading the People) by Eugène Delacroix, which used to be on the French 100 F bank note:

Even the frontal photos had been retouched. Somehow people have become too politically correct.


Monday, 17 December 2018 Dereel Images for 17 December 2018
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Nikolai healing
Topic: animals Link here

We really should have taken Nikolai to Pene Kirk when he was injured by the kangaroo last week, but it's too late now. By the looks of it, it'll be quite a while before it's healed:


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Move to IPv6?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

We've been talking about IPNG IPv6 for decades now, and a while back I decided that I had no specific advantage from it, but the larger headers made it less efficient. But will the lack of advantages persist? If not, it's interesting to note that Aussie Broadband now supports it, according to this thread.


In memoriam: Sue Blake
Topic: general Link here

It's been 8 years today since Sue Blake died, an occurrence that I didn't mention in my diary at the time. But it brings back to many of us how long we have been in this particular rut. The last hacker's barbecue, at which Sue was present, was on 17 April 2010, nearly 9 years ago. Somehow things aren't happening as fast any more.


Tuesday, 18 December 2018 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 18 December 2018
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Last minute Christmas shopping
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

Nele Kömle and mother Magda Delva along today for a visit. I had promised something like a Christmas dinner, though it was a lunch. First into town to buy a Turducken that ALDI had on special starting today, and also a baguette.

The baguette was fun. First I had to find a parking place, but all I could find was a three-quarter place:


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That's my car on the right. I took the photo after leaving the shop, and didn't notice until I got in my car that the owner had entered via the passenger door and was in the process of climbing over the presumably obstructive middle console of her car. If she had waited, I could have let her in.

And the baguette itself: what's it called in Australian? Yvonne said “bread stick”, and when I got there I had ample opportunity to locate the things and their label: “White breadstick”. OK, when it was finally my turn, I asked for a white breadstick. Stick? Who cares about stick? I narrowly escaped the assistant not only grabbing a loaf of concertina bread, but also putting it through their slicer. In the end, I had to point him at them.

It wasn't even done then. On getting home, on the paper round the bread I found:


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So where are these loved sourdough baguettes? Not in Sebastopol.


Christmas early this year
Topic: general, opinion Link here

This time I had included a Christmas pudding. Flambéeing the pudding hardly seemed to be worth it. Chris confirmed that it was burning, but not by sight:


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Nele's always a little hard to please, and though she had never eaten it before, I couldn't even get her to try a little:


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If we ever do this again, I'll at least draw the curtains.

Magda was more adventurous, and to my surprised, even said that she liked it. As Christmas puddings go, it wasn't too bad, though it was a little crumbly:


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And as always we had our fun:


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I think Christmas will finish early this year. Melanie Bahlo is coming on Friday, more good food, so I think we'll count Christmas by the barbaric way of considering 25 December to be the last day of Christmas instead of the first.


ALDI: Free Christmas fireworks
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

The ALDI Christmas pudding was designed for heating in a microwave oven:


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OK, quickly stick it in the oven and start according to instructions. What's that noise? Fireworks! ALDI has thoughtfully coated the inside of the package with metal foil, which sparked to the housing:


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Wasn't that nice of them? A good thing it didn't damage the oven. I wonder what would have happened if I had left it in there for the full three minutes.


Turducken? Turken?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

The roast that I bought at ALDI this morning was a fresh Turducken, a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. Here an image from Wikipedia:

But I couldn't see any sign of duck in our roast, and the pieces were far too small to be anything stuffed. The whole thing was relatively crumbly. In general, rather disappointing. I had bought another one, deep frozen, which I was going to keep for a suitable time. No, thanks. The best thing about ALDI is that I can bring it back, and that's what I'll do. But it's another indication that we shouldn't rely on ALDI for important meals.


Another IP address change
Topic: technology Link here

More network problems today. Investigation showed:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 281 -> ifconfig xl0
xl0: flags=8843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> metric 0 mtu 1500
        options=82009<RXCSUM,VLAN_MTU,WOL_MAGIC,LINKSTATE>
        ether 00:50:da:cf:07:35
        inet 167.179.139.35 netmask 0xfffffc00 broadcast 167.179.139.255
        nd6 options=29<PERFORMNUD,IFDISABLED,AUTO_LINKLOCAL>
        media: Ethernet autoselect (100baseTX <full-duplex>)
        status: active

That's not my external IP address. Well, yes, it is:

Dec 18 10:02:38 eureka dhclient: New IP Address (xl0): 167.179.139.35
Dec 18 10:02:38 eureka dhclient: New Subnet Mask (xl0): 255.255.252.0
Dec 18 10:02:38 eureka dhclient: New Broadcast Address (xl0): 167.179.139.255
Dec 18 10:02:38 eureka dhclient: New Routers (xl0): 167.179.136.1

I wonder how often they intend to change things. It's a real pain.


Wednesday, 19 December 2018 Dereel Images for 19 December 2018
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New backup disk
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

A new backup disk arrived today, a 6 TB Seagate “Backup Plus Hub”; apart from the drive itself, it has a couple of additional USB 3 inputs.

OK, what's on it?

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 308 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         34  11721045100  da4  GPT  (5.5T)
           34       262144    1  ms-reserved  (128M)
       262178         2014       - free -  (1.0M)
       264192  11720779776    2  ms-basic-data  (5.5T)
  11721043968         1166       - free -  (583K)

We don't need any of that, of course. Blow it away and create a UFS partition:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 308 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         34  11721045100  da4  GPT  (5.5T)
           34       262144    1  ms-reserved  (128M)
       262178         2014       - free -  (1.0M)
       264192  11720779776    2  ms-basic-data  (5.5T)
  11721043968         1166       - free -  (583K)
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 309 -> gpart delete -i 1 $DRIVE
da4p1 deleted
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 310 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         34  11721045100  da4  GPT  (5.5T)
           34       264158       - free -  (129M)
       264192  11720779776    2  ms-basic-data  (5.5T)
  11721043968         1166       - free -  (583K)
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 311 -> gpart delete -i 2 $DRIVE
da4p2 deleted
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 312 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         34  11721045100  da4  GPT  (5.5T)
           34  11721045100       - free -  (5.5T)
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 313 -> gpart add -t freebsd-ufs $DRIVE
da4p1 added
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 314 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         34  11721045100  da4  GPT  (5.5T)
           34            6       - free -  (3.0K)
           40  11721045088    1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)
  11721045128            6       - free -  (3.0K)

All very nice. Next, what newfs parameters? These backup disks are for videos, which are particularly large files, so we don't need nearly as many inodes. Looking at the current disks, I have:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/4) ~ 1 -> df -i /spool /videobackup/
Filesystem          1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity iused     ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/ada0p5              5,568,407 3,428,207 2,084,516    62%   8,160 3,154,974    0%   /spool
eureka:/videobackup      3,815,019 3,447,603    62,214    98%   8,252   532,034    2%   /videobackup

The number of inodes allocated to /spool shows the problem: less than 1% will be used even if it gets full. It corresponds to an average file size of round 420 MB. OK, how about:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 314 -> newfs -L videobackup -O 2  -g 400m -h 64 -i 400m -m 1 -o space $DRIVE

That ran fine, but when I tried to mount it, I got

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 317 -> mount /dev/da4p1 /mnt
mount: /dev/da4p1: Invalid argument

Huh? But yes:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 319 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         34  11721045100  da4  GPT  (5.5T) [CORRUPT]
           34            6       - free -  (3.0K)
           40  11721045088    1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)
  11721045128            6       - free -  (3.0K)

Looking at the logs, I had:

Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: da4: the secondary GPT table is corrupt or invalid.
Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: da4: using the primary only -- recovery suggested.
Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufsid/5c19e5a53b739624: the secondary GPT table is corrupt or invalid.
Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufsid/5c19e5a53b739624: using the primary only -- recovery suggested.
Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufs/videobackup: the secondary GPT table is corrupt or invalid.
Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufs/videobackup: using the primary only -- recovery suggested.
Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG: the secondary GPT table is corrupt or invalid.
Dec 19 17:31:16 eureka kernel: GEOM: diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG: using the primary only -- recovery suggested.
Dec 19 17:31:27 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufsid/5c19e5a53b739624: the secondary GPT table is corrupt or invalid.
Dec 19 17:31:27 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufsid/5c19e5a53b739624: using the primary only -- recovery suggested.
Dec 19 17:31:27 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufs/videobackup: the secondary GPT table is corrupt or invalid.
Dec 19 17:31:27 eureka kernel: GEOM: ufs/videobackup: using the primary only -- recovery suggested.
Dec 19 17:31:27 eureka kernel: GEOM: diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG: the secondary GPT table is corrupt or invalid.
Dec 19 17:31:27 eureka kernel: GEOM: diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG: using the primary only -- recovery suggested.

That appears to be only half of the story: it didn't like the primary either. What went wrong there? Tried a whole lot of gpart recover (which worked every time) and various newfs options. The only thing that left the disk in a non-CORRUPT state was newfs with no options. Tried many alternatives, and at the end even the “no option” alternative left the disk corrupt.

Was it the Microsoft GPT partition table? That shouldn't make any difference, but for the first time ever I hadn't blown away the partition table, only the partitions. OK, that's easy enough:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 381 -> gpart destroy -F $DRIVE
da4 destroyed
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 382 -> gpart show $DRIVE
gpart: No such geom: da4.
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 383 -> gpart create -s GPT $DRIVE
da4 created
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 384 -> gpart add -t freebsd-ufs $DRIVE
da4p1 added
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 385 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         34  11721045100  da4  GPT  (5.5T)
           34            6       - free -  (3.0K)
           40  11721045088    1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)
  11721045128            6       - free -  (3.0K)

In the end, ran newfs and then gpart recover, and I was able to mount the drive:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 404 -> mount /dev/da4p1 /mnt
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 405 -> df /mnt
Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/da4p1       5,543,468         0 5,099,991     0%    /mnt

Finally! Started an rsync and went away to let it do its thing. But not for long:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 399 -> rsync -LHav --partial --delete-after /videobackup /mnt
building file list ... done
rsync: ERROR: cannot stat destination "/mnt": Bad file descriptor (9)
rsync error: errors selecting input/output files, dirs (code 3) at main.c(636) [Receiver=3.1.2]
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 400 -> df /mnt
Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/da4p1       5,543,468         0 5,099,991     0%    /mnt

Nothing I could do would allow me to access the disk.

What's wrong here? I really have no idea. Could it potentially be a hardware failure? Peter Jeremy suggested that it might be a smaller drive masquerading as a 6 TB drive, but that seems unlikely in what appears to be a brand new, factory sealed drive. Is it maybe some hardware incompatibility? eureka is still horribly down-rev. I'll try it on teevee tomorrow.


Lawn mowing thrwarted
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Yvonne out to mow the lawn today. She got about half way and some cable in the lawn mower snapped. It'll need outside repair.

Is it worth having a lawn mower that requires so much maintenance? Time to repair it, get rid of it, and have somebody else mow the lawn.


Nikolai dresses up
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Nikolai's wound is still open, and it looks like it will take a couple of weeks to heal. To stop him licking it, we had put a T-shirt on him, but he was able to get down the neck. OK, how about a button-down shirt?


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That's one of my old shirts, now (marginally) too tight for me. And surprisingly it's quite a bit too tight for Nikolai. We'll see how it works out.


Thursday, 20 December 2018 Dereel Images for 20 December 2018
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Backup disk debugging
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Continued investigating yesterday's problems with the new backup disk. What should I do first? Clearly it's designed for Microsoft, so how about checking if it works on Microsoft?

Connected it up, and nothing interesting happened. The “Computer” window showed the system disk, DVD and network “shares”, but not the new disk. The “Device Manager” saw it and said that it was working normally, but that was all. How do I repartition it?

Discussion on IRC, with the usual definite statements:

groggyhimself: How do I start disk management?
groggyhimself: On W7.
damian: go to start, punch in 'computer management'
damian: and it'll bring up the gui in my first image
damian: i THINK you can right click on 'Computer' and go to 'Computer Management', but it's been a while since i've used win7

OK, try that:


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Right click on the partition information, and I was able to build a file system. But I couldn't access it!

More investigation showed that the “disk management” had decided to assign drive letter E: to it. No matter that E: was already allocated to a network “share”:


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So I had to umount (or whatever the Microsoft word is) it and assign to a different letter (“Change Drive Letter and Paths...”; I wonder what the ... is hiding). And then it worked fine.

OK, disk OK. What's the issue? Connected it to teevee and tried again.

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 1 -> gpart show
=>         34  11721045100  diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG  GPT  (5.5T)
           34         2014                        - free -  (1.0M)
         2048  11721041920                     1  ms-basic-data  (5.5T)
  11721043968         1166                        - free -  (583K)

Not surprisingly, that looked pretty much like the original partition table. OK, we know that the table works. How about just changing the partition type?

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /home/grog 6 -> gpart modify -i 1 -t freebsd-ufs /dev/da0
da0p1 modified
=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /home/grog 7 -> gpart show da0
=>         34  11721045100  da0  GPT  (5.5T)
           34         2014       - free -  (1.0M)
         2048  11721041920    1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)
  11721043968         1166       - free -  (583K)
=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /home/grog 9 -> newfs -L videobackup -O 2  -g 400m -h 64 -i 400m -m 1 -o space $DRIVE
...
=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /home/grog 10 -> gpart show da0
=>         34  11721045100  da0  GPT  (5.5T) [CORRUPT]
           34         2014       - free -  (1.0M)
         2048  11721041920    1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)
  11721043968         1166       - free -  (583K)

Dammit, exactly the same problem as before! And after recovering the drive, I still couldn't mount it.

And then I looked at that newfs command again:

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /home/grog 9 -> newfs -L videobackup -O 2  -g 400m -h 64 -i 400m -m 1 -o space $DRIVE

The DRIVE variable was set to /dev/da0, the name of the drive, not the name of the partition. I should have run newfs on /dev/da0p1! PEBKAC! Tried again, and surprise, surprise, it worked!

But we still have less than the full disk available to the partition. Microsoft may not be able to use any more, but I know that UFS can. OK, blow it away and create a new freebsd-ufs partition, as before:

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/6) ~ 840 -> gpart delete -i 1 $DRIVE
=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/6) ~ 841 -> gpart add -t freebsd-ufs $DRIVE
=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/6) ~ 842 -> gpart show $DRIVE
=>         40  11721045088  da4  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088    1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)

Huh? That wasn't what I got before. Now there's no missing space at all: partition 1 is the same size as the entire device. Well, almost. Previously it had reserved 34 sectors for the primary partition table. That makes sense:

Image

Now it's 40. Why? And will it work?

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /home/grog 22 -> newfs -L videobackup -O 2  -g 400m -h 64 -i 400m -m 1 -o space /dev/da0p1
density reduced from 419430400 to 7405568
/dev/da0p1: 5723165.0MB (11721041920 sectors) block size 32768, fragment size 4096
        using 6331 cylinder groups of 904.00MB, 28928 blks, 128 inodes.
super-block backups (for fsck_ffs -b #) at:
 192, 1851584, 3702976, 5554368, 7405760, 9257152, 11108544, 12959936, 14811328, 16662720, 18514112, 20365504,
...
=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /home/grog 27 -> df -i /mnt
Filesystem 1048576-blocks Used     Avail Capacity iused   ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/da0p1      5,722,571    0 5,665,345     0%       3 810,363    0%   /mnt

Yes, but I wasn't able to get my very large files; the density reduced from 419430400 to 7405568 meant that it wanted to give me one inode for every 7 MB, whether I needed it or not. Is this necessary? One way or another, it's time to look at the newfs code: it shouldn't have even tried to create a file system on a partition not designed for it.

The other one that I keep forgetting is the rsync invocation. Remember those trailing slashes:

rsync -LHav --partial --delete-after /videobackup/ /mnt

Without the trailing slash after /videobackup/, it puts everything a level down at /mnt/videobackup.


newfs: the cruft of decades
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After I got my backup disk running, time to look at the code for newfs. To my surprise, the current source file (only one of them) is only 512 bytes long, including licenses, Usage() and option processing. And it's clear—up to a point—where the problem lies. The old BSD disk label didn't have partition types, just unenforced conventions: partition a was the root file system, partition b was swap, partition c was the whole disk, and other file systems were generally assigned from d to h.

Come GPT with its partition types, and the difference in newfs was minimal:

        if (!is_file) /* already set for files */
                part_name = special[strlen(special) - 1];
        if ((part_name < 'a' || part_name - 'a' >= MAXPARTITIONS) &&
                    !isdigit(part_name))
                errx(1, "%s: can't figure out file system partition",
                                special);

Clearly a check for partition type is needed here. Having the device name end in a digit is clearly not enough: that's the reason that I was able to create a file system on /dev/da4. The correct thing to do would be to check whether this is a GPT partition, and if so confirm that the partition type is correct.

There's lots of old cruft in there too. The whole thing is really in need of a complete cleanup. While browsing I found the old /etc/disktab, a list of all disks that the system once supported, none of them more than 200 MB or so in size. There are still references to floppy disks in there, so it might be slightly premature to completely remove it, but its days should be numbered.

The original newfs appears (by coincidence) to be as old as the Internet: like the Internet code, it was first released in early 1983, in 4.1cBSD. It's still recognizable as the same program, and interestingly it's not much smaller at 315 lines in length. The SCCS ID is:

static char sccsid[] = "@(#)newfs.c 4.6 2/20/83";

Revision 4.6 doesn't sound like the original revision. I should dig out an sccs to look at the logs.

In passing, it's interesting to look at the old commit log entries for the current FreeBSD newfs.c, in the days when things were fun:

According to Kirk: "Luckily, the statement is usually true".

XXX: This program badly needs a style(9) + BDECFLAGS treatment.

r75377 | mckusick | 2001-04-10 18:38:59 +1000 (Tue, 10 Apr 2001) | 150 lines

(It's unimaginable how Berkeley managed to screw up one of the few things about NFS that Sun actually got right to begin with!)

(My disk is a lot less noisy actually...)

Add support for filesystem-specific `-o' options, and re-implement the most common cd9660 and nfs options like God intended them.

Put back the `:' in the trinary ?: so this can actually compile again! :)


In-camera keystone correction
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

A discussion on the Facebook M43 Tech Talk group recently: why not use in-camera “keystone” (perspective) correction? My argument was that it only produced JPEG images, but no, it seems that that's not the case.

OK, out and try it out. The results were pretty much as I expected: the corrected output was only JPEG, even if I had set the camera to raw images only. The corresponding raw image was unchanged. That's as I think it should be.

But there were other issues. If you want to correct perspective (usually converging verticals), you do it precisely. You can't do that in the camera, and there are only about 10 steps that you can set, on the one hand not accurate enough, and on the other hand not far enough. Here's a comparison of the original view, the maximum correction that the camera can make, and what DxO PhotoLab makes.


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Yes, the DxO version is extreme. That's a feature, not a bug: perspective correction can only go so far.

In passing, what does “keystone” mean? Why apply it to perspective correction? OED states:

a distorting effect whereby a rectangular object produces a trapezoidal image, typically as a result of a line of projection, or an optical axis, not being at right angles to a screen.
[With reference to the resemblance of such an image to the typical shape of the keystone of an arch.]

Interestingly, the most recent reference is from a book about Olympus cameras:

2010 F. Gallaugher Olympus E-P1 46 This feature is a godsend. It is particularly useful in controlling the keystone effect.

Was Olympus the first manufacturer to include this feature in the camera?


ISIS: Defeated!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Donald Trump made a startling announcement today: ISIS has been defeated, so the USA is pulling out of Syria.

I wasn't the only person who was surprised. Everybody was, including his own cabinet. It seems that it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. But why? Trump must be the only person who thinks that ISIS has been defeated. Atypically, even Israel is upset, if I can believe this article and this one.

In that context, it's interesting to note another issue that the USA have in the region: they're fighting alongside Kurdish militia. And the Turks hate the Kurds, and they were threatening to attack even those Kurds who were allied with their (US) allies. Clearly an untenable situation. So what does the USA do? Instead of convincing Turkey to abandon their intentions, or getting the Kurds out of harm's way, they simply leave, leaving the Kurds to their fate: Der Mohr hat seine Schuldigkeit gethan, der Mohr kann gehen.

Bravo, Trump!


Friday, 21 December 2018 Dereel Images for 21 December 2018
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Snow peas!
Topic: food and drink, gardening, opinion Link here

Some weeks ago Petra Gietz gave me some snow pea seedlings. I planted a couple and left the rest inside until the weather got better. They died.

But one of the outside plants has survived—not very well—but now has a few pods:


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Had one whole pod for breakfast. And how about that, it tasted better than the ones from the supermarket: it was really crunchy. I should consider planting more next year.


Rain!
Topic: gardening, Stones Road house, opinion, politics Link here

Mick the gardener along today, mainly to weed the southern side of the house, which is sorely in need of it. He managed about a quarter of it, the part that interested me least:


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What went wrong? A couple of other things to do first, rain, and then more rain. Instead he picked some low-hanging fruit near the shed, conveniently blocking the drains:


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Round midday the rain worsened, and he left. A good choice: we had about 35 mm of rain, possibly the wettest day we have had since moving here. And it showed in the house entrance:


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The water tanks were overflowing again, of course:


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And the “river” of white stone to the north of the house lived up to its name:


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The drain pump normally runs for less than a minute at a time, but here it ran for over 5 minutes on several occasions. The good news is that the level switch finally seems to be functioning.


Dressing up Nikolai
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Nikolai has been wearing one of my old shirts for a couple of days now, and it seems to be doing him some good. We took it off to take a look at his wound, and it now has a considerable scab, which is clearly a good way to healing. His continual licking had been preventing it from forming, leaving wondering what the evolutionary advantage of licking is.

I forgot to take a photo of the wound while the shirt was off, but once it was back on again, we noted that a shirt needs a tie:


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Goodbye, Trump
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

People are still marvelling at Donald Trump's unilateral declaration of the defeat of ISIS. One person who was not amused was Jim Mattis, the United States Secretary of Defense and the man who should have made the decision. He, too, it seems, was not informed in advance. So he did the only honourable thing: if Trump doesn't need him to make decisions, he can go. So he resigned after only 11 months on the job.

Not the first high-profile departure from Trump's team this month. He's still trying to find a replacement for John F. Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, who was apparently fired. Strangely, Trump is having difficulty finding a replacement.

Where does it go from here? What happens if the entire White House staff resign? Can Trump continue to preside? When will they have to get rid of him?


Christmas: done!
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Melanie Bahlo, Chris' sister, along for dinner today. Gradually this Christmas stuff is getting tiring, and we're glad it's over. I didn't even take any photos.


Saturday, 22 December 2018 Dereel Images for 22 December 2018
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Power failure
Topic: general Link here

Another short power failure this morning, coming back at 0:54.


Trump giveth, Trump taketh away
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

“Make America great again!” And in the process, reduce employment. Well, Donald Trump has managed to reduce unemployment with various short-term tricks. But that's over now. Just before Christmas, he threw a temper tantrum and refused to sign the budget, thus ensuring that non-essential government services would close down. Just before Christmas!

Blame it on the Democrats? That'll be difficult. He's on video saying that he will take the blame for himself, at 915 seconds (15:15) into this video.

And now he has done what he promised. How is he going to wriggle his way out of it? What do his supporters think now? Will they believe his lies?

In that connection, the Washington Post has updated its fact checker, now apparently with live updates. 7,546 false or misleading statements in 700 days, 10.8 per day. Who said that Trump isn't a president of superlatives?

The other issue of importance is how seriously the financial community is taking it. The development of the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the last month shows the effect:


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The Dow has dropped faster than any time in the last 10 years, down 11.7% in the last 17 days, and wiping out the gains of the last 14 months. Will it suddenly rise again? Not until Trump gives in.


Kniphofia seeds
Topic: gardening Link here

Our first Kniphofia flower is outside the dining room window, where we can watch its development. What I haven't been able to catch was the wattle birds sucking nectar from the flowers (and, it seems, almost completely destroying the flower). Here three weeks ago and today:


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But looking more carefully, it seems that the flowers have done their job:


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I wonder if they will germinate.


Sunday, 23 December 2018 Dereel
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Worst cameras of 2018
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Digital Photography Review has done a video presentation of the best and worst photography equipment of 2018. I was interested what they would find bad, and indeed it was interesting: entry-level DSLRs. Somehow that's just one more nail in the coffin. The reasons: electronic viewfinders make life so much easier. And even worse, it seems was the Pentax K1-II, apparently a refurbishment of the Pentax K-1. They also brought out the opinion, probably correct, that Pentax owners are particularly loyal to the brand. I can relate to that: I bought a Z-1 on 2 August 1992 because of my prior experience with the Pentax Spotmatic. But even by those times, the tide had turned against Pentax. And certainly the K1-II shows that nothing much is happening: compared with the K1, about the only difference seems to be the poorer battery life, something that was already bad by comparison with other DSLRs.

The worst of all was justifiably so: the “abomination”, the “Yashica” Y35, a camera with really no redeeming qualities, even going to the stupidity of “digital film”, This review sums it up.


Christmas again
Topic: general Link here

Another year draws to a close, and rather later than usual, we've finally finished the annual Christmas letter. That was a certain amount of work, but of course there's nothing there that isn't also in this diary.


Monday, 24 December 2018 Dereel Images for 24 December 2018
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What's Christmas?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Today should have been Christmas Eve, but last week we decided to put Christmas forward by a week, so there was nothing much to do, not even cook special food. We had planned to eat some of the Christmas pudding, but somehow we weren't hungry enough.

Isn't it boring being old?


Tuesday, 25 December 2018 Dereel Images for 25 December 2018
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Yet another slow day
Topic: general, gardening, opinion Link here

Christmas Day! And nothing to show for it. Even in the radio there was no Christmas music. And somehow once again I did very little. though the weather was ideal for finally spraying the weeds: hot, dry and little wind.

Last week was cool and very wet, but this week must be one of the hottest Christmases that I can recall. Yesterday we had a maximum temperature of 36.1°, and today we hit 33.3°. Things look like getting even hotter later in the week.

One good thing about having Christmas early: we have finished most of the left-overs. I suppose it says something about the Turducken (which, in fact, had a little bit of duck hidden at one end) that Yvonne preferred a Bratwurst over a slice of Turducken.


Wednesday, 26 December 2018 Dereel Images for 26 December 2018
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Enough laziness!
Topic: general, gardening, photography, opinion Link here

In the last week I seem to have done almost nothing, and there's plenty lying around waiting to be done. Today's the day!

Dammit, it's so hot. And despite the there's more wind than is good for spraying weeds. Maybe I should get Mick to do it next week...

OK, I also wanted to take some focus stacked extreme macros like the ones I did of the Thelymitra pauciflora on 1 November. But it's such an effort! So I didn't do that either.

What's that way I'm paving?


eureso, next step
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Since I'm not doing anything else, I suppose I could finally get round to upgrading eureka. I've been trying to track it with a virtual machine called eureso, but I never got to the point where I could consider it a drop-in replacement.

OK, try again. While I'm at it, why not use the spare system partition as the system disk? My system disk is partitioned like this:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/6) ~ 854 -> gpart show
=>       34  250069613  ada0  GPT  (119G)
         34        128     1  freebsd-boot  (64K)
        162   83886080     2  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
   83886242   20971520     3  freebsd-swap  (10G)
  104857762   83886080     4  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
  188743842   61325805     5  freebsd-ufs  (29G)

The digits in the third column are the partition numbers. Partition 1 is the boot partition, partition 2 the (current) root partition, partition 3 swap, partition 4 an alternate root partition (the one that I am going to populate), and partition 5 is essentially spare (this is the only SSD on the system, so I use it for disk-intensive scratch operations).

But how to I do that with VirtualBox? There may be a way, but I didn't find it. OK, install the new, shiny FreeBSD 12-RELEASE on it.

How do you perform an upgrade install nowadays? Things have changed, and it seems that you can't. Forget the new release and upgrade from the current 11.1-STABLE.

And once again it took all day with llvm's navel inspection. Why does it take so long?


Building a border wall
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Donald Trump has shut down parts of the US Government over Christmas to show his voters who's who. And why? Because he didn't get his money for his border wall, the one that the Mexicans are going to pay for.

But how about that, the Mexicans aren't going to pay for it after all. So he wants Congress to pay for it instead. And he has a tantrum because they won't.

But then, is it even a wall? That's what he said three years ago:

Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a "fence." It's not a fence, Jeb, it's a WALL, and there's a BIG difference!

But now it's a fence:

The Washington Post took a look at this and confirmed what I had suspected: the slats are far enough apart to let most skinny people in (and presumably stop the fat border guards from chasing them). Is this some kind of primitive, expensive pre-screening of would-be immigrants?

The New York Times has published more thoughts about Trump's self-contradictions on the subject.


Nikolai's wound progress
Topic: animals Link here

Took off Nikolai's shirt today to see how his wound is getting on. Much better:


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Most of the wound is to the left of the bare skin; the torn skin has covered the wound and seems to be healing well. But he still needs the shirt, or we can see him tearing the wound open again.


Thursday, 27 December 2018 Dereel Images for 27 December 2018
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eureso upgrade: the pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

In this morning to see how the system build on eureso had progressed. After 24827.86 seconds (6.9 hours), it had failed: disk full. The previous builds had stored the object files in /home/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/stable/11/, but now it's FreeBSD 12, so the objects go to /home/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/stable/12/, and the old hierarchy wasn't deleted. Damn!

OK, remove the files and try again, in the process increasing the number of CPUs to 6 (eureka, the host machine, has 8). Left it for a while, and back to look. No eureso window! Virtualbox told me that the VM was aborted.

Huh? Rebooted, fcsk'd, and into multi-user. A fleeting stack trace and back to the boot screen.

What happened there? Does the system not like a number of CPUs that isn't a power of two? Reduced the number to 4 and tried again. Same thing.

A couple of attempts proved that it was there to stay. OK, this is a virtual machine, and I made a backup of it last night. What do the “disks” look like?

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) /home/var/cache 57 -> l /src/VirtualBox/eureso/
total 36542
-rw-------  1 grog  wheel  21,550,333,952 13 Apr  2017 eureso.vdi
-rw-------  1 grog  wheel  16,758,341,632 27 Dec 13:34 home.vdi

OK, clearly it's the /home file system, not the root file system, which hasn't been changed in 1½ years. Restore that from backup and... no change.

Dammit, let's create a new VM and install the 12-RELEASE ISO on it. Did that. “missing boot loader”. Dammit, we now need a separate boot partition for GPT partitioned disks. Tried the “guided” installation, but that gave me ridiculous partition sizes that I couldn't change. Somehow FreeBSD installation hasn't got any easier.

Back to eureso. I had forgotten to set automatic fsck for /home, and it showed. Boot into single-user, fsck, mount -u / and edit /etc/fstab. Save. Panic!

Clearly that has nothing to do with the not-yet-mounted /home. Looking more carefully, discovered:

  1. At least if you have snapshots, the modification timestamps of the base .vdi file aren't relevant. The snapshots contain the differences, and they're in the subdirectory Snapshots with names like:

    -rw-------  1 grog  wheel     122,809,050 27 Dec 13:34 2018-12-27T02-34-04-326284000Z.sav
  2. The first attempt at fsck on this disk (with soft updates journaling) failed, but it let me mount it read-write anyway. Presumably that led to the panic.

So, back to my build. This time, with 4 CPUs, it took only 6833 seconds, rather less than 2 hours, roughly the same time that I used to have 20 years ago with a 133 MHz Pentium. But it's done!

Next, upgrade the ports. Pretty much as I expected:

Checking for upgrades (873 candidates): .......... done
...
The following 900 package(s) will be affected (of 0 checked):

Installed packages to be REMOVED:
        qt5-quick-5.9.4_1
        qt5-qml-5.9.4_1
        ImageMagick-6.9.9.28,1
        emacs25-25.3_1,3
        qt5-phonon4-4.9.1_1
...
Number of packages to be removed: 5
Number of packages to be installed: 23
Number of packages to be upgraded: 488
Number of packages to be reinstalled: 384

The process will require 1 GiB more space.
2 GiB to be downloaded.

Why do so many upgrade runs want me to remove Emacs? Is it a conspiracy on the part of the vi faction? But I'm used to this, which is why I keep logs of what's going on.

Clearly that was going to take a while, so left it to it. Mañana.


VicEmergency: the incompetence
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Another hot day (the temperature reached 39.4°), with much danger of bushfires. And the emergency services web site was as useless as ever. Indirectly the news was good: no bushfires. But to find that I first had to follow the cryptic symbols on the map, which told me that there had been a bushfire somewhere a week ago, and that it was now under control.

OK, since I now have a mobile phone that I use relatively frequently, how about installing the CFA bushfire app? Off to the toyshop and found two, I think, including the VicEmergency app. Tried to install the other and ended up with this one.

It wants setup and passwords and all sorts of nonsense, and also the definition of areas of interest, which might be of use. So I now have a 20 km radius around Dereel. Finished that and started the app. An incident!


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OK, click on it. Oh, no, not an incident, a warning:


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OK, I'm game. Select it:


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Ha, ha, only joking. No warnings, no incident.

This is repeatable; I took these photos the following day. VicEmergency, WHEN will you provide useful information?


Android apps: the pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After installing the app from VicEmergency (a site without a home page, it seems), we went walking the dogs. On the way back, my phone beeped. Emergency? Hard to tell. In bright sunshine the display is completely illegible. It wasn't until I got inside that I discovered a message from ALDImobile, my phone provider: my credit was fully depleted.

Why that? I should have had enough credit for another couple of months at the rate I use mobile phones. But on further investigation, it seemed that I had mobile data enabled, and for some reason it had used that rather than the in-house 802.11 network. I can't be sure, since ALDImobile won't tell me my usage for another day or two.

OK, disable that, and while I'm at it, why not download the ALDImobile app? But it hung with the display showing “Download pending”.

After half an hour or so I decided that something was wrong, even by Android standards. Off looking for the message What does download pending mean?. Lots of answers! Most of the “solutions” had one thing in common: they didn't work. The paths they described through the menus just don't exist on my system (Android 8.0.1). And they wanted things like “clear cache” without even trying to say how.

After rebooting and restarting the app, nothing changed. Finally I found a tab that I could reveal by “swiping” to the right from the left edge of the screen, almost like one of the answers that told me to “swipe” in the opposite direction. And yes, there were updates piled up and blocking my download. Stopped the download and started again, and after a while got the message “Waiting for WiFi”.

What? Something wrong with the network? I could do other things on it, including searching the toyshop in a vain hope of finding something useful, but it seems that the download just didn't want to use the network. A bit of superficial snooping with tcpdump suggests that it read a certain amount from the toyshop and then lost interest. At least that would explain why it used the mobile data connection to download apps.

And while discussing it on IRC, suddenly it worked! Why? No idea. It updated a couple of apps and then hung again:


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And yes, it's “high quality video ca”, not “high quality video camera”. We wouldn't want to be that high quality that we got everything right, would we? What is wrong with this stuff? Why can't I get sensible error messages?


The joy of online radio
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

Most of my “radio” listening nowadays is via the Net at Radio Swiss Classic. But today it didn't work: I got an HTTP 404 (“not found”) error.

Have they changed something? Off to check. Maybe. They certainly haven't turned off the service: http://www.radioswissclassic.ch/en/reception/internet lists the URLs (the wrong ones, for the German language programme), with the interesting information that http://www.radioswissclassic.ch/de/live/aacp.m3u offered better quality than the MP3 stream that I had been using. OK, try it out. At first it worked, but then I got:

 
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How I HATE these STUPID error messages that colour only the foreground! I couldn't even make it visible by highlighting it:

 
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But I was able to copy it to an Emacs buffer to read:

Playing: http://www.radioswissclassic.ch/de/live/aacp.m3u
[ffmpeg] http: HTTP error 404 Not Available
Failed to open http://stream.srg-ssr.ch/m/rsc_de/aacp_96.

Isn't that so much easier to read? And also an indication that Radio Swiss Classic seems to have been having problems today.


Trump: going the extra mile
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Opponents have accused Donald Trump of cowardice, since he had never visited troops in a conflict zone. Until now. He visited troops in Iraq, in the process managing to make blunders to annoy even his own troops, whom he promised a 10% pay raise instead of the 2.6% that he actually authorized.

How can he expect to get away with that? My guess is that Trump enjoys above-average support from the troops, but it's clear that many of his followers elected him in the hope of being better off. That kind of lie won't sit well with them, and neither will his shutdown of non-essential US Government departments over the Christmas period.

But is that enough? Not for Trump. He also managed to seriously anger many Iraqi politicians, prompting them to demand the expulsion of US troops from Iraq, claiming that he had violated Iraqi sovereignty and treated Iraq like a state of the USA.

Enough? No, they're still talking of The Wall. Yvonne came up with these cartoons. First, one that appears to be from the Los Angeles Times, but which I can only find on VentrellaQuest:

And then the Mexican view of a Trump wall, from drewgle:


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Update pain, part 1
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday I left eureso to upgrade its ports. Did it finish without error? No, I hadn't expected that, and it fulfilled my expectations:

[3/926] Installing xorgproto-2018.4...
pkg: xorgproto-2018.4 conflicts with glproto-1.4.17 (installs files into the same place).  Problematic file: /usr/local/include/GL/glxint.h

How do you address that? glproto has multiple dependencies, so I can't just remove it:

===== Fri 28 Dec 2018 09:23:12 AEDT on eureso.lemis.com: pkg delete glproto-1.4.17
Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting)
Deinstallation has been requested for the following 116 packages (of 0 packages in the universe):
...

OK, can Google help? Yes. It pointed me at this bug report, which is in status FIXED. The “fix”?

Check the UPDATING file in /usr/ports Specifically, this section:

  The xorg *proto packages have all been merged into one package,
  x11/xorgproto.  This might cause issues with upgrading.  If you
  get conflicts between xorgproto and old *proto packages, please
  remove the old package and install xorgproto again.

  In order to remove all orphaned ports, including all *proto port,
  the following can be used after the ports tree has been updated:
  pkg version -l \? | cut -f 1 -w | grep -v compat | xargs pkg delete -fy

That should fix the issue.

The corresponding entry was dated 20180731. Did it fix things? Of course not! It removed the affected ports. And why this breakage in the first place? The new pkg infrastructure is supposed to ensure that this doesn't happen. Still, it's clear that I don't have much choice, apart from installing everything from scratch, which is looking like an increasingly attractive alternative. First, though, what will it remove?

=== root@eureso (/dev/pts/1) /usr/src 14 -> pkg version -l \? | cut -f 1 -w | grep -v compat | xargs pkg delete -fy
===== Fri 28 Dec 2018 09:41:57 AEDT on eureso.lemis.com: pkg version -l ?
ImageMagick-6.9.9.28,1             ?
OpenEXR-2.2.1                      ?
automake-wrapper-20131203          ?
bind910-9.10.7_1                   ?
compositeproto-0.4.2               ?
damageproto-1.2.1                  ?
dmxproto-2.3.1                     ?
dri2proto-2.8                      ?
emacs25-25.3_1,3                   ?
fixesproto-5.0                     ?
fontcacheproto-0.1.3               ?
fontsproto-2.1.3,1                 ?
glproto-1.4.17                     ?
gstreamer1-plugins-mad-1.8.0       ?
inputproto-2.3.2                   ?
kbproto-1.0.7                      ?
libdbusmenu-qt-0.9.3.160420160218_3 ?
llvm39-3.9.1_8                     ?
phonon-4.9.1_1                     ?
php-mode.el-1.19.0_1               ?
polkit-qt-0.112.0                  ?
poppler-qt4-0.57.0_1               ?
printproto-1.0.5                   ?
qca-2.1.1_1                        ?
qjson-0.9.0                        ?
qt5-phonon4-4.9.1_1                ?
qt5-qml-5.9.4_1                    ?
qt5-quick-5.9.4_1                  ?
randrproto-1.5.0                   ?
recordproto-1.14.2                 ?
renderproto-0.11.1                 ?
ruby23-bdb-0.6.6_5                 ?
scrnsaverproto-1.2.2               ?
swig-2.0.12_2                      ?
trapproto-3.4.3                    ?
videoproto-2.3.3                   ?
xextproto-7.3.0                    ?
xf86dgaproto-2.1                   ?
xf86miscproto-0.9.3                ?
xf86vidmodeproto-2.3.1             ?
xineramaproto-1.2.1                ?

There's a whole lot of important stuff there, along with a number of things that I don't recognize. Fix, indeed!

After that, it “completed”, leaving me to face up to challenge of fixing everything that it has broken. And that after I thought that pkg was finally becoming useful!


Update pain, part 2
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

taskumatti, my Android phone, still won't update apps, hanging in states that suggest that it doesn't want to access the wireless net. Peter Jeremy, the master discover and interpreter of cryptic icons, noted something that I had discovered by more conventional methods:

<peterj> groggyhimself: Have you considered installing the Android update that's waiting on your
         phone (the box with the downarrow in it).  And the "waiting for wifi" is clearly something
         recent because your phone had updated a couple of apps the day before.
<peterj> groggyhimself: Toyshop-1 shows the icons (which are officially called something I
         can't remember) at the top.  The 3rd from the left is "OS upgrade available".
<peterj> groggyhimself: Is there any filtering between  taskumatti and the Internet?
<peterj> groggyhimself: Likely issues would be UDP/443 and TCP/5228
<peterj> Though if the Play store is working, the means either TCP/5228 is open or it's
         falling back to something else.  And if UDP/443 isn't working, it should fall
         back to TCP/443.
<groggyhimself> peterj: Clearly there's a firewall.
<groggyhimself> Though nothing like that.
<groggyhimself> It's not going to "resume" any more.
<groggyhimself> But it slept until I pressed the power button.
<groggyhimself> The issue isn't blocked packets, it's extreme delays between the data.
<peterj> groggyhimself: One possibility for extreme delays is that something is timing out.
         That said, I don't recall seeing anything like your are reporting.
<groggyhimself> If it's timing out, it's not visible here.
<groggyhimself> And the bloody thing has gone to "Resume" again.
<groggyhimself> I wonder if that's part of the delay, and programmed in.

In passing, he also came up with other information:

<peterj> groggyhimself: Duo is a video calling app, not a video camera app.
<peterj> groggyhimself: My guess is that Duo was already installed as part of Android.  What
         you are seeing is an update.

All the more reason not to truncate the names!

Anyway, he could be right. Let's install the update. But how? It started loading, and then stopped again. The button at the bottom changed from Pause to Resume without any action on my part, and without any explanation on its part:


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I had to press Resume again and again, and still it didn't work. What's wrong with this stuff?


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Fried eggs: the pain
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Decades ago I stopped frying eggs. The incidents of the time were just part of the problem: as a perfectionist, I find it frustratingly difficult to fry a perfect egg. Instead I let Yvonne do them.

But times change. Today I had huevos a la tigre for breakfast. This means that Yvonne eats poached eggs, so I had to fry the eggs myself.

How do you fry two eggs so that the yolks are in the middle, and how do you get them out of the pan and on to the food? In my case, clearly badly. I got the first egg where I wanted it, but the second yolk wandered off to the right:


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As if that wasn't bad enough, how do you position the mess on top of the filling? Again, badly:


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I managed to improve it a little, but it was still not right:


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Is there some mechanical way of improving on this?


Android pain, continued
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why can't I download software to taskumatti, my Android phone? I had done some tracerouting yesterday, which confirmed that there had been traffic. But I hadn't looked at it in more detail. Quite often these transfers appeared to end with an ARP request and reply, but I think that's more symptomatic of Linux' frenetic use of ARP. In this case, the transfer ended with the packet received at 14:52:19.210946, and it was a connection reset:

14:52:19.210946 IP syd15s01-in-f68.1e100.net.https > taskumatti.lemis.com.56302: Flags [R], seq 3610007318, win 0, length 0
14:52:37.962371 ARP, Request who-has eureka.lemis.com tell taskumatti.lemis.com, length 46
14:52:37.962396 ARP, Reply eureka.lemis.com is-at bc:5f:f4:c9:9b:bf (oui Unknown), length 28

OK, time to dig deeper. Fire up wireshark and look at what's happening:


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It's trying to establish a connection to 180.150.2.141! That's part of the Aussie Broadband address space, and I could confirm that it wasn't responding. Where did it get this idea from?

That image above is useful on the screen, up to a point. I can look inside the packet, but what I want to know is where it got the address from, and all the data is encrypted, so it doesn't help. But I can make it more legible with tcpdump:

15:41:09.483474 IP taskumatti.lemis.com.39140 > cache.google.com.https: Flags [S], seq 225647732, win 65535, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 880821 ecr 0,nop,wscale 8], length 0
15:41:09.517082 IP taskumatti.lemis.com.41798 > syd09s13-in-f14.1e100.net.https: Flags [.], ack 4471, win 387, options [nop,nop,TS val 880825 ecr 3510469742], length 0
15:41:10.480059 IP taskumatti.lemis.com.39140 > cache.google.com.https: Flags [S], seq 225647732, win 65535, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 880921 ecr 0,nop,wscale 8], length 0
15:41:12.480019 IP taskumatti.lemis.com.39140 > cache.google.com.https: Flags [S], seq 225647732, win 65535, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 881121 ecr 0,nop,wscale 8], length 0
15:41:16.489945 IP taskumatti.lemis.com.39140 > cache.google.com.https: Flags [S], seq 225647732, win 65535, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 881522 ecr 0,nop,wscale 8], length 0
15:41:24.511176 IP taskumatti.lemis.com.39140 > cache.google.com.https: Flags [S], seq 225647732, win 65535, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 882324 ecr 0,nop,wscale 8], length 0

cache.google.com? That's in the Aussie address space. But yes:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/12) /var/tmp 149 -> host 180.150.2.141
141.2.150.180.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer cache.google.com.
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/12) /var/tmp 150 -> ping 180.150.2.141
PING 180.150.2.141 (180.150.2.141): 56 data bytes
^C
--- 180.150.2.141 ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 0 packets received, 100.0% packet loss

This seems to be a “now you see me, now you don't” situation. ping should have resolved the name, but it didn't. Even more interestingly, I can access the address from www, my external server in the USA:

=== grog@www (/dev/pts/0) ~ 5 -> ping 180.150.2.141
PING 180.150.2.141 (180.150.2.141): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 180.150.2.141: icmp_seq=0 ttl=108 time=274.748 ms
64 bytes from 180.150.2.141: icmp_seq=1 ttl=108 time=274.727 ms

This is beginning to look more and more like some kind of confusion on the part of taskumatti. To add to the evidence, I tried upgrading some apps on talipon, my old mobile telephone. That worked fine. So it's not my network; it must be something in the mind of taskumatti. Now I just need to find out what. Proxies? Looking on the web suggested that the whole issue of proxies is a real mess in Android, and they recommend VPNs. But that way madness lies.


Garden in late summer
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

As the summer progresses, more things are coming into flower:


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The Buddlejas are also flowering, a little earlier than usual:


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