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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.


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