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Sunday, 18 November 2018 Dereel Images for 18 November 2018
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The fun of photography
Topic: photography, technology, food and drink, opinion Link here

Spent most of today writing up and processing photos for the past two days, and I still didn't get finished. Once again I ran into issues with panoramas including the sea:


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Maybe I should have taken a fisheye lens with me to get a single photo of the sea to blend into the panorama.

And in the evening Ruth did some cooking. OK, take a photo for souvenir's sake. It's so simple now that we have the flash units in place.

Well, no:

  1. The first time round the flash didn't fire. Dammit, these contacts are really an issue.

  2. The second time round the flash didn't fire. Further checking showed that this was the flash trigger with the on/off switch. Maybe I should leave it on.

  3. The third time round the flash didn't fire. Dammit, these contacts are really an issue.

  4. The fourth time round the flash finally fired. And it was overexposed! I had the thing set to auto-ISO, so modulo noise (39°/6400 ISO), in fact the first three images were almost OK:


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    Only the flash one was hopelessly overexposed.

  5. And then the display on the back of the camera went dead! Instead I got everything only through the viewfinder. Delayed damage from dropping the camera? Took off the viewfinder cup and it worked. Somehow I must have managed to mis-position it in a way that caused the automatic viewfinder switch to trigger. After repositioning it, the camera worked normally.

  6. And later in the evening I decided to take some photos without the kitchen flash—and without checking the exposure. Bad idea:


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  7. That doesn't look that bad, but it's clearly dark despite multiple attempts to recover it.


Monday, 19 November 2018 Dereel Images for 19 November 2018
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Ubuntu for CJ
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

CJ Ellis' computer is so infected with viruses (I think) that the best thing appears to be to reinstall the OS. But on discussing it on IRC, people suggested that I should avoid Microsoft and install Ubuntu instead.

I resisted. Why? I really have very little love for Microsoft, but if I install Ubuntu, I alone will be responsible for support. But on thinking about it, the idea didn't sound that bad. I seem to end up doing it anyway, and certainly there will be less infections with Ubuntu. So I downloaded the 18.04 LTS version and installed.

Installation was much as I feared. It started off by identifying the existing FreeBSD installation:


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For some reason (probably the keyboard) I managed to enter the password incorrectly several times, culminating (as I discovered) in entering the same incorrect password twice, meaning that I couldn't log in after rebooting.

How do you recover from this in Ubuntu? In FreeBSD you would boot single-user and reset. But how do you boot single user in Ubuntu? It's even too polite to show me the boot messages. Again, IRC to the rescue:

<ozz> During beginning of boot press the any key
<ozz> You should see a language select menu.
<groggyhimself> Nope.
<groggyhimself> Came back to the login prompt.
<oggle> groggyhimself: hold shift when booting?
<groggyhimself> Ah, *that*'s the ANY key?

Tried both, and they didn't work. Looking online told me that the SHIFT key was correct, but that it “didn't always work”.

I've noticed on some systems that timing when to hit the left Shift key can be tricky, sometimes I miss it and need to try it again.

Dammit, boot from DVD and see if that helped, noting once again how glacially slow the boot process is. This page was of some help, though in principle it was pretty obvious:

The only thing that wasn't obvious was the chroot.

After that, setting up the system. How I HATE these colours that they insist on producing. Apart from the fact that they're far too gaudy, all assume a terminal with bright (white?) text on a black background. Make it sane and you get something like this:

 
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My background isn't completely white, which makes it (barely) possible to see the white text.

I've noted how to do this before, by fixing a file called /etc/DIR_COLORS. But that's an old, worn-out magic word. More searching online gave me that ls and grep are aliases deliberately intended to annoy with these colours. Unalias and they behave normally. But apt isn't like that, and I haven't found a way to get around it. I tried resetting the TERM environment variable to something monochrome, but that didn't interest it. WHAT a pain!

Apart from that, yet another GUI to get used to. As they proudly announce:


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Ubuntu 18.04 works differently from older versions

They don't say why they have changed things.

Still, after some pain I got things installed. I hope that CJ can come to terms with it.


First outdoor Hibiscus
Topic: gardening Link here

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis that I planted last week is recovering, and today the first flower bloomed:


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Nothing spectacular, but that's a plant that I've been tending for over 10 years, and this is the first cutting that I have planted outside, so it seemed to be something of an achievement.

Also got round to taking more photos of the flowers that Ruth picked on Saturday. They have certainly lasted well, considering that they were stuck in the ventilator grille of the car all day before being put in water. Here hopefully enough to identify them:


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More HDR comparisons
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I had intended to do more work on Saturday's photos today, but somehow I didn't get round to it. But it's interesting to compare two individual photos that I took:


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Which looks better? The first is merged from a group of 3 photos taken hand-held at 3 EV intervals, and the second is an in-camera “HDR2” image. Sorry, I still can't find any use for in-camera HDR.


Do you exist?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Another letter for Yvonne today from Carsat, the French social security department, asking for an “attestation d'existence”, close enough to English to be obvious.


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That makes sense: people die, and somehow they have to know when they can stop paying. But look at the date! 25 October, nearly a month ago! And they want an answer by 11 December, or they will stop pension payments. If it's that urgent, they could at least have sent it by airmail, rather then storing it in Belgium for a few weeks.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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