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Tuesday, 20 August 2019 Dereel Images for 20 August 2019
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Mee soup again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

After yesterday's purchases, it was clear that I should have some East Asian food for breakfast, preferably something I hadn't had before. Tried this mi udang from Teans Gourmet:


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The results? OK, I suppose:

 
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But then I looked through my diary. I've had this before, and I wasn't as happy last time:

 
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In fact, I'm not even sure that what I ate today wasn't bought some time ago.


Wildflowers?
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

When walking the dogs, I find are various plants on the wayside that might fit the category of “weed”. But what are they? Are they only local? This one here is borderline: it's interesting enough to classify as something interesting, but it spreads easily.

 
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It seems that the white flowers are mature pink flowers. I must find out what it is.


How many web sites?
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

An interesting statistic from Statista today: How many web sites are there?

It seems that there are currently round 1,710 million A records for web sites out there, up from round 250,000 when I first went on line. But the real thing of interest is the language they use!

On 6 August 1991, British physicist Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in Switzerland published the first ever website, the WorldWideWeb (W3). By the end of 1992 there were ten websites online and, after CERN made the W3 technology publicly available on a royalty-free basis in 1993, the internet gradually started to grow into the all-encompassing giant that it is today.

So the WorldWideWeb [sic] was simply the CERN web site? The things you learn! And the rest are the “internet” (note the lower case, clearly written by somebody who doesn't know the difference between “internet” and “Internet”).

How times change.


Wednesday, 21 August 2019 Dereel Images for 21 August 2019
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Australia Post: So nice, so nice, we do it twice
Topic: general, technology, photography, opinion Link here

Last week I bought a flash unit on eBay, and nowadays Australia Post supplies emails with something like tracking information, and eBay does its best to second-guess. It arrived at “Napoleon” (Australia Post's name for Napoleons) on Monday. Today Yvonne picked it up on the way back from shopping. The emails read:

From bounce-1441751_HTML-1600721773-30696508-10784680-53441@bounce.notifications.auspost.com.au
     Mon Aug 19 10:05:03 2019
From: Australia Post <noreply@notifications.auspost.com.au>
To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Subject: Your delivery is ready to collect
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 2019 18:03:52 -0600

From ebay@ebay.com  Mon Aug 19 11:15:04 2019
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 2019 18:10:14 -0700
From: eBay <ebay@ebay.com>
To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Subject: ???? ORDER DELIVERED: METZ Mecablitz 15 MS-1 Digita???

From bounce-1441751_HTML-1600721773-30696513-10784680-317195@bounce.notifications.auspost.com.au  Wed Aug 21 14:45:03 2019
From: Australia Post <noreply@notifications.auspost.com.au>
To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Subject: Your delivery has been collected
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2019 22:42:01 -0600

I particularly like the time zones. I can understand eBay using a time zone UTC-7, but why on Earth does Australia Post use UTC-6 (presumably North American Mountain Time), and 16 hours behind local time?


Free Software workshop in Ballarat
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Ben Sturm today, somebody whom I don't know, but who seems to have been active in Ballarat for 15 years. He's running a workshop next week with the title “Contribute to Free and Open Source Software Workshop”, and was hoping that I could find participants. I can't, but it sounds like a good idea. It seems that it's part of a government-sponsored Digital Information Festival which will start in a couple of days' time and run for 2 weeks. I wonder how that will pan out.


Garden flowers in late winter
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

It's late winter, a month before the equinox, and I've decided to change my monthly photos to match equinoxes and solstices. Gradually spring seems to be coming. This month has been particularly wet, nearly 80 mm in the past 31 days, and some of the plants seem to be suffering from it, like maybe this Epazote that I planted only last week:

 
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At the top of the list of other sick-looking plants is most definitely this Corymbia ficifolia that we bought only two months ago. Here on planting and now:

 
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What went wrong there? Is it the plant, the planting, or the planting location? Certainly nothing seems to grow right there.

The Salvia microphylla that we bought at the same time also doesn't look happy:

 
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But its neighbour also looked like that a year ago, so I haven't given up hope on that one.

And then there's the Agonis flexuosa that we bought as the same time. Here last month and today:

 
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Which of those look better? We'll see how it does, but I'm not overly concerned.

The Alyogyne huegelii on the north side of the house is doing better now than it ever did in the summer:

 
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That's not a very normal time for a hibiscus-like flower. I wonder if it's just the freedom it experienced after the tomatoes are gone.

The Camellia japonica in front of the house is looking better, even if the leaves give cause for some concern:

 
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The island in the driveway is now almost completely covered in Carpobrotus, to the extent that we have had to cut it back:


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The Leucodendron could look happier:

 
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And though the Paulownia kawakamii looks like a dead twig, it at least has some flower buds:

 
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The succulent bed continues to improve, now with a number of flowers:


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To my surprise, the Petunias that I left outside over the winter haven't all died:

 
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And once again, the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis in the lounge room is flowering happily, just like it did this time last year:

 
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I had thought that they would be happiest in mid-summer, but the clone outside is also looking like it will recover as soon as it gets warmer:

 
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Little garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

More rose pruning. Why is it so difficult? Spent about 20 minutes and then gave up. I suppose part of it is just deciding where to cut.


Understanding remote flash
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Last week I bought Yet Another macro flash unit, a mecablitz 15 MS-1 digital .

Why? It's the fourth macro lighting device I have, but the others all have their disadvantages:

  1. The “Viltrox JY-670 Macro Ring Lite” doesn't have TTL exposure, and the on/off switch is dubious; it takes quite an effort to turn the thing on.
  2. The Olympus STF-8 is horribly weak, difficult to use and expensive. It also doesn't work in conjunction with Olympus' own focus stacking.
  3. The Travor RF-550D LED ring light is far too weak.

So when I saw a mecablitz 15 MS-1 on sale on eBay, it seemed reasonable to put in a bid. And how about that, I got it, brand new, for $104. Google knows places that sell it in the same condition for between $600 and $709.

It's not as if the mecablitz doesn't have its own issues. The biggest ones are that it's relatively heavy, and that it's a slave flash: you need a master flash as well. Sure, I have flashes—at least four that would come in question for the master function, probably one of the toy ones that Olympus delivers with its cameras. But I need to understand how to use them.

OK, put in batteries, turn on. There's a flash test button, something notably missing from the STF-8. It has a display and three buttons behind it. Initially the display showed something about modelling lights, not the most obvious thing I would expect. OK, leave modelling light off, press OK (middle button), and get more selections with a wandering OK, now the right-hand button—something that I know from other mecablitzen—and end up with a display with the letters CAN at top left and a light balance display that I can change with the left and right buttons. What does CAN mean? Short for channel? How do I get out? I would expect the middle button to do that, but it was dead. Broken? I already have that issues with the Viltrox unit.

Nothing for it: RTFM. Lots of images of displays, but none with CAN at top left.

More details. Somehow this Metz documentation is hard to read; I've seen it with the documentation for the 58 AF-2. But gradually it dawned on me: it's the emulation, one of (the instructions say) CAN REMOTE, NIK REMOTE, OLY REMOTE, PEN REMOTE, SAM REMOTE and SON REMOTE. No display that I could find showed REMOTE, but clearly the bold text is a tasteful abbreviation of the emulation mode. The instructions note that the most flexible modes are CAN REMOTE, NIK REMOTE and CAN REMOTE, OLY REMOTE, and interestingly most of the examples show OLY (without REMOTE).

OK, how do I control the thing? With the on-camera flash, of course, along with the thoughtfully supplied infrared clamp, which, they say, is intended to block visible light. I need to look at it more carefully, but so far it seems to be designed to give the visible light a chance to shine through the hinge. But then I read:

The slave flash unit is remotely controlled by the master or controller flash unit.

A master flash unit contributes to the lighting and at the same time controls the slave flash units.

A controller flash unit only has control functions.

OK, I'll bite. How do I choose one or the other. Ah, see operating manual of the camera or external flash unit.

OK, time to look at the camera manual, which shows that Oly is just as confused as mecablitz and I. The chapter on flash (page 57 to 60 in the OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 Version 3.0 manual (PDF)) doesn't mention remote flash. Ah, the advantages of search functions in PDF documents. It's described all over again on page 153, apparently written by another group of people. It also seems that a different group of people wrote the firmware. Basically, what you do is:

In Camera (“Shooting”) Menu 2, select Flash RC Mode. This replaces the standard “Super control panel” that controls most aspects of the settings, and which this documentation calls the “LV super control panel”, with a flash-specific display:


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How do you get back to the SCP? Press INFO to toggle. What a clear indication of poorly adapted configuration menus!

And what does it all mean? That image above is the only documentation. I had a bit of an idea, but surely there must be some tutorials available on line? Went off looking for olympus remote flash tutorial and found several, including a number that didn't understand the details. I haven't watched them all yet, but what I see here is, for Olympus and the mecablitz 15 MS-1:

  1. Set the flash to OLY, of course, channel ALL.
  2. Set the camera to remote flash, of course.
  3. On the inscrutable menu, set (say) group A to TTL, 0.0 EV compensation (that's the third column) and the last column (which looks like two) to the flash symbol. Set groups B and C to Off, and the last row (camera symbol, implying on-camera flash) to Off, which, I hope, will make it just trigger the other flash(es).

And that's as far as I got today.

In passing, Olympus' flaky documentation doesn't end there. On page 152 of the manual I read:

 
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This table gives a guide number for ISO 100. But the camera has a base ISO setting of 200, and 100 is very much an exception. In addition, the focal lengths are given in 35 mm film camera equivalents. Why? This is a manual for a Micro Four Thirds system camera. So to understand this table, you first need to divide the focal lengths by 2 and multiply the guide numbers by 1.4.

Surely they can do better than that.


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. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. 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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