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Wednesday, 16 October 2019 Dereel Images for 16 October 2019
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Recovery day
Topic: general, gardening Link here

It's been pretty busy the last few days, to the point where I haven't got round to doing a number of routine things. Even this diary hasn't been ready until mid to late afternoon. My RCS log times show the effect:

date: 2019/10/16 03:13:35;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +174 -4
date: 2019/10/15 02:50:55;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +69 -3
date: 2019/10/14 04:25:56;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +233 -3
date: 2019/10/13 05:22:56;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +180 -3
date: 2019/10/12 05:13:15;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +171 -4
date: 2019/10/10 23:28:20;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +155 -4

They're in this silly reverse chronological form, and in UTC; my time is 11 hours later. So instead of a typical 10:30 (bottom line), the times have gone up to 16:23.

Today I relaxed, and found time to plant the cuttings from the mystery plant that I took yesterday:


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In the process, noted that, Melbourne Cup day or not, it's time to plant the tomato seedlings. Here the Giant Tree Tomatoes lying flat:

 
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High time to plant them.


Miese Suppe
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

From time to time we've eaten some instant Miso soup, not the most fascinating soup I know, but it's a usable addition to a Sushi/Sashimi dinner. It's boring enough that we have nicknamed it „Miese Suppe“ (roughly “terrible soup”), because that sounds pretty much the same. But why instant? One step better would be pre-prepared broth in a bag, from Wokka. As the bag said, just add water, Ramen noodles and spring onions.

So we did that. It tasted terrible! Well, even more boring than the dried stuff. One issue was the quantities: the instructions specified 300 ml of water, and that was clearly too much. We ended up adding soya sauce to get any kind of taste. We could equally well have used water and forgotten the concentrate.


Thursday, 17 October 2019 Dereel Images for 17 October 2019
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Still more power failures
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Another 5 short grid power failures this morning between 07:45:27 and 07:46:26. That's less than a minute. Should I really count them individually? In particular, it seems to take the inverter 1 second to register a power outage, so if there's only 1 second between the failures, it's not really power back at all. Maybe I should set a minimum of 5 seconds between outages.


Bloody NBN!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Another all-day “scheduled” outage from the National Broadband Network today, from 8:38 to 16:29, nearly 8 hours and almost exactly the whole working day. Spent some time hacking my network failures program to produce more interesting information, like:

Summary from  1 January 2019 to 31 October 2019
Total 64 outages, total time 195460 seconds (2 days, 06:17:40)
Longest outage:                 28252 seconds (07:50:52)
   Start:                       17 October 2019 08:38:34
   End:                         17 October 2019 16:29:26
Average time between outages:   392149 seconds (4 days, 12:55:49)
Average duration:               3054 seconds (00:50:54)
Availability:                   99.22%

So it's the longest outage this (very bad) year, and the tendency seems to be getting worse:

Summary from  1 July 2019 to 31 October 2019
Total 31 outages, total time 139734 seconds (1 days, 14:48:54)
Longest outage:                 28252 seconds (07:50:52)
   Start:                       17 October 2019 08:38:34
   End:                         17 October 2019 16:29:26
Average time between outages:   305017 seconds (3 days, 12:43:37)
Average duration:               4507 seconds (01:15:07)
Availability:                   98.52%

Average outage duration over the last 3½ months of an hour and a quarter, availability of only 98.5%. I've been using the Internet for over 30 years now, and I can't recall ever having had such unreliability. Even my satellite link had an availability of over 99%, and the outages were shorter:

Total 1684 outages, total time 792001 seconds (9 days, 04:00:01)
Average time between outages: 56449 seconds (15:40:49)
Average duration: 470 seconds (00:07:50)
Availability: 99.17%

It's made all the worse by the fact that it's deliberate.

What are they doing? Preparing us for 100% down time, so that they can delight Wendy McClelland's heart and remove the Radiation Tower? It seems so. This particular outage was part of a wider announcement:

Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2019 12:20:07 +1000
From: Aussie Broadband <support@aussiebroadband.com.au>
Subject: NBN is planning some maintenance in your area

NBNCo has let us know that they are planning network maintenance in your area, and that your service at <strong>29 STONES RD, DEREEL VIC</strong> will be affected.<br>

The details are:
  - Start date and time: Wed 16th October 2019 07:00 AEDT
  - End date and time: Tue 22nd October 2019 21:00 AEDT
  - Window: 158.0 hours

You may experience the following interruptions during the maintenance
  - 720 min
  - 720 min
  - 480 min
  - 480 min

That's a total of 40 hours, a whole working week! Our outage today was presumably one of the first two. Do they really plan to take us off another three times for hours on end between tomorrow and Tuesday?

When will it ever stop?


Recovering from the outage
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

After the day's outage, recovery took a while. For some reason my outgoing mail tunnel to mail.lemis.com didn't want to restart automatically. When I started it, it hung.

Oh.

#!/usr/local/bin/bash
# Set up and maintain mail tunnel to mail
# $Id: mailtunnel,v 1.5 2019/09/21 23:12:52 grog Exp grog $
while :; do
  logger Restarting SMTP tunnel
  /usr/bin/ssh -n -N -L 2026:mail.lemis.com:25 www.lemis.com
  sleep 5   # don't flood
done

For reasons I forget, mail.lemis.com is 192.109.197.81, one of the last uses of my /24 network block, and an alias for the interface on the old www. But I had had difficulties with routing, which didn't always work, so I had made the actual connection to www. And that has changed, and mail on www is not (yet) configured. Changed to oldwww and all was well.

And then I had difficulties connecting to www with ssh. A lot of flailing around, and finally I got a connection. But that load average!

last pid: 61988;  load averages: 181.52, 160.22, 121.16  up 52+00:14:34  05:59:08
312 processes: 198 running, 114 sleeping
CPU: 95.5% user,  0.0% nice,  4.5% system,  0.0% interrupt,  0.0% idle
Mem: 770M Active, 795M Inact, 2960K Laundry, 444M Wired, 150M Buf, 47M Free

That's worse than it ever was on the old server. What's the issue? I had thought that the load was due at least in part to the multiple names under which the server was known. Now most of them have taken the 301 hint, but some remain (semrush.com, are you listening? Probably not). Is the new server slower than the old one? Certainly it has only one logical CPU, where the old one has two.

Looking at that and also the amount of traffic I'm getting, it looks as if it might be cheaper to migrate to a more powerful vulture. Currently I have a single processor with 2048 MB memory and 2 GB bandwidth for $10 per month—plus possibly $20 in additional traffic charges if I really use the 4 TB that it's looking like. But for $20 total I can get a 2 CPU vulture with 4 GB memory and 3 TB traffic. Might that not prove cheaper in the long run?

The effects of the overload were evident when I tried to sync my diary. Normally it takes about 30 seconds, but today I got:

sent 47,684,649 bytes  received 198,394 bytes  14,529.83 bytes/sec
total size is 3,109,981,811  speedup is 64.95
Thu 17 Oct 2019 18:13:44 AEDT

real    55m4.814s
user    0m9.193s
sys     0m0.253s

Why did I transfer nearly 50 MB? Probably some temporary log files that I created when updating the failure program. But it appears that the transfer completed relatively quickly, and it then hung. I don't have an explanation for that particular behaviour.


The insides of the mystery flowers
Topic: photography, gardening, opinion Link here

The tiny flowers on our new mystery bush are about 4 mm in diameter and 1.5 cm long. But they have an internal structure, if only I can get it. Tried today with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60 mm f/2.8 Macro and extension tubes, for an on-sensor magnification of 1.4. That required focus stacking, of course. This one didn't make it either, although I took 60 components:

 
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I'd guess that I would need 200 shots to do it right. But that will have to wait for fresh flowers.

The other issue are the streaks on the image, like this one at upper left:

 
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They're caused by dirt on the front element or filter of the lens. The images vary in size depending on focus, so they appear (sharply) at a different place on each component. It seems to be a characteristic of the “PMax” algorithm that they're not optimized out. “DMax” (first image) does better, but it doesn't give the same depth of field (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):

 
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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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