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Thursday, 1 December 2022 Today's diary Today's images top next last
30 years!

With the end of last month I have now completed 30 years' worth of daily diaries: 7¾ years from 1 January 1963 to 30 September 1970 (the stub on 1 October 1970 doesn't really count) and then 22¼ years from 1 September 2000 to 30 November 2022.

How many pages is that? Very difficult to say. There were a number of distinct phases:

And then of course there's the medium. In the 1960s it was paper, and from 2000 on it was machine-readable. In each case, from the perspective of the present, the number of pages depend on the browser and how you have set it. But I've done a couple of print previews, and come up with, for the month of November:

Year       pages
1963       20
1967       34
1969       25
2002       9
2006       24
2007       47
2012       77
2017       72
2020       75
2021       89
2022       78

My guess is that I could reckon 30 pages per month in the 1960s, 25 pages from 2000 to 2007 (when I retired) and 75 since then, for a total of 18630 pages (2730 + 2025 + 13875). But that's not all, just the two large contiguous chunks. I've also written up other days, either at the time or later. Each entry in the diary source starts with a PHP daytitle invocation, so I can count the days:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~/public_html 36 -> grep '<\?php daytitle' diary-???[12]???.php|wc -l
   11260

That's about 30.83 years, so I could increase my already inaccurate guess to 19,145 pages. How does that compare with other long books? It seems that the longest work of fiction is “Marienbad My Love” by Mark Leach, which according to this page has 10,710 pages, or “The Blah Story” by Nigel Tomm, which according to this page has 7,312 pages and is thus considerably longer than “Marienbad My Love”, whose page count they're too polite to mention.

But my diary isn't fiction. What about the Oxford English Dictionary? It wins: the second edition (the last one printed) had 21,728 pages. Still, I seem to be in the same ball park.

Hanging daily cleanup run

For the last couple of days I've been getting mail messages like this:

Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2022 03:01:00 +1100 (AEDT)
From: Charlie Root <root@lemis.com>
To: root@lemis.com
Subject: bde.lemis.com daily run output

bde.lemis.com daily prior run still in progress

What's that? Off to look and discovered:

=== root@bde (/dev/pts/1) /home/grog 12 -> ps uax|grep period
root     7607   0.0  0.0      13620   2568  -  Is   Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh - /usr/sbin/periodic daily
root     7610   0.0  0.0      12752   1832  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 lockf -t 0 /var/run/periodic.daily.lock /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED daily
root     7611   0.0  0.0      13620   2544  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED daily
root     7620   0.0  0.0      13620   2568  -  I    Sat03        0:00.01 /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED daily
root     7774   0.0  0.0      13620   2552  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh /etc/periodic/daily/450.status-security
root     7776   0.0  0.0      13620   2548  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh - /usr/sbin/periodic security
root     7779   0.0  0.0      12752   1840  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 lockf -t 0 /var/run/periodic.security.lock /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED security
root     7780   0.0  0.0      13620   2544  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED security
root     7788   0.0  0.0      13620   2560  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED security
root     7790   0.0  0.0      13620   2572  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh - /etc/periodic/security/100.chksetuid
root     7796   0.0  0.0      13620   2572  -  I    Sat03        0:00.00 /bin/sh - /etc/periodic/security/100.chksetuid
root     7900   0.0  0.0      13620   2548  -  Is   Sat04        0:00.00 /bin/sh - /usr/sbin/periodic weekly
root     7904   0.0  0.0      12752   1832  -  I    Sat04        0:00.00 lockf -t 0 /var/run/periodic.weekly.lock /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED weekly
root     7905   0.0  0.0      13620   2548  -  I    Sat04        0:00.00 /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED weekly
root     7914   0.0  0.0      13620   2564  -  I    Sat04        0:00.00 /bin/sh /usr/sbin/periodic LOCKED weekly
root     7916   0.0  0.0      13620   2564  -  I    Sat04        0:00.00 /bin/sh - /etc/periodic/weekly/310.locate

That's a lot of stuff, and clearly it points back to Friday or Saturday last week. But what? Considerable discussion on IRC, during which Callum Gibson suggested

cgibson: probably NFS

That made sense. What do we have mounted? I tend to use df rather than mount to show mounted file systems, but this time it didn't help:

=== root@bde (/dev/pts/1) /home/grog 15 -> df
^C^C^C

Yes, looks like Callum was right. So:

=== grog@bde (/dev/pts/3) ~ 1 -> mount
/dev/ada0s1a on / (ufs, local, soft-updates, journaled soft-updates)
...
eureka:/dump on /dump (nfs)
teevee:/ on /teevee (nfs)

teevee! I turned that off for the last time last Friday. Case closed.

=== root@bde (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 1 -> umount -f /teevee

Oh. Why can't I umount it? And while I'm pondering that, why is the daily run hanging on a dead NFS mount? Spent some time discussing things, during which people came up with a number of tools which I hadn't thought of. Of course rebooting teevee unstuck things.

I wonder why I mounted teevee's root file system on bde.

Summer?

“Spring” is over. At least it's not raining as much any more, and the ground is drying out.

mysql> select year(date), month(date), min(outside_temp), sum(rain), avg(outside_temp ), max(outside_temp)
       from observations
       where month(date) > 8 and month(date) < 12
       group by year(date);

+------------+-------------+-------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
| year(date) | month(date) | min(outside_temp) | sum(rain)          | avg(outside_temp ) | max(outside_temp ) |
+------------+-------------+-------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
|       2017 |          11 |               0.1 |  159.0000053346157 | 14.577038751082899 |               35.2 |
|       2018 |           9 |               0.2 |  85.20000332593918 | 13.369039499891645 |               32.8 |
|       2019 |           9 |              -0.4 | 141.60000556707382 | 13.117314515142308 |               38.2 |
|       2020 |           9 |              -0.4 | 202.20000755786896 | 14.158189008177851 |               35.5 |
|       2021 |           9 |              -1.3 | 126.00000447034836 | 12.569700883113573 |               36.2 |
|       2022 |           9 |               0.1 | 433.80001521110535 | 13.268796464539943 |               30.8 |
+------------+-------------+-------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+

mysql> select year(date), month(date), min(outside_temp), sum(rain), avg(outside_temp ), max(outside_temp )
from observations
where month(date) > 8 and month(date) < 12
group by year(date), month(date);

+------------+-------------+-------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
| year(date) | month(date) | min(outside_temp) | sum(rain)          | avg(outside_temp ) | max(outside_temp ) |
+------------+-------------+-------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+
|       2017 |           9 |               1.3 |  73.20000240206718 | 10.897573070216202 |                 27 |
|       2017 |          10 |               2.2 |  44.40000134706497 |   14.3353208718834 |               31.9 |
|       2017 |          11 |               0.1 |  41.40000158548355 | 18.570692008249146 |               35.2 |
|       2018 |           9 |               0.2 | 24.300000965595245 | 10.476095779155973 |               25.1 |
|       2018 |          10 |               0.3 |  27.60000103712082 | 14.222279477964436 |               29.8 |
|       2018 |          11 |               2.3 | 33.300001323223114 | 15.376019954227234 |               32.8 |
|       2019 |           9 |              -0.4 |  53.70000213384628 | 11.000214673516556 |               25.2 |
|       2019 |          10 |               3.6 |  36.30000138282776 | 14.290087203759951 |               34.8 |
|       2019 |          11 |               1.9 |  51.60000205039978 | 14.030092165084291 |               38.2 |
|       2020 |           9 |              -0.4 |  71.10000282526016 | 11.720643766963725 |               26.2 |
|       2020 |          10 |               2.8 |  75.90000295639038 |  13.13322726667633 |               29.7 |
|       2020 |          11 |               5.8 | 55.200001776218414 | 17.698659458353738 |               35.5 |
|       2021 |           9 |              -1.3 |  37.50000149011612 |  11.12978250546062 |               25.1 |
|       2021 |          10 |               0.2 |  87.30000293254852 | 12.714608166001115 |               29.2 |
|       2021 |          11 |               7.2 | 1.2000000476837158 | 17.337583513757384 |               36.2 |
|       2022 |           9 |               0.1 |   57.0000022649765 |   11.2251508370381 |               22.6 |
|       2022 |          10 |               1.4 | 244.50000882148743 |  13.72061873014933 |               26.4 |
|       2022 |          11 |               3.4 | 132.30000412464142 | 14.749486365609005 |               30.8 |
+------------+-------------+-------------------+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+

How about that, the spring wasn't colder than average; it was pretty much average, but both the minimum and maximum temperatures were milder than in other years. But of course the rain was much more. The rainfall numbers here are from my weather station and are somewhat on the low side; the real rainfall for spring was

Month       Rainfall
September       70.8
October       286.4
November       166.7
Total       523.9

That's close to the normal annual rainfall.

Luminar after all?

I've been looking at Luminar photo processing software for 4 years now, and I've never found a good reason to install it. But it came close. In April this year I considered it to fix the artefacts in this photo and others that I took at the same time:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47.jpeg
Image title: Kangaroos 47          Dimensions:          5186 x 3888, 4714 kB Display location on map
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At the time I discussed the issues in some detail, and also the confusion I had between their two products “Luminar AI” and “Luminar Neo”. The reviews were also not overly encouraging, so I left it.

But now is the black season, it seems: It's been Black Friday for the past 10 days or so. Skylum (the company that makes Luminar) offered me Yet Another special offer for Luminar Neo. OK, is that the one I want? Off looking. It seems that there's no mention of Luminar AI any more; potentially they have merged them into one product, which makes a lot of sense.

So: off looking for tutorials, once again finding nothing of use. Documentation of any kind is clearly not their forte. Is it even worth trying? One review suggested that the “remove power line” tool works quite well up to a point, and presumably it could do a good job on the fence lines.

OK, let's try. I have a 30 day money-back period, so I should really try it out in that time. Off to buy it, in the process discovering that they honoured the discount code SHOTKIT15 that I had picked up from one of the reviews.

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221201/big/Skylum-1.png
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I really can't read that! Enlarging helps, but why do they use such horrible colours?

OK, log in:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221201/big/Skylum-2.png
Image title: Skylum 2          Dimensions:          2522 x 1416, 150 kB
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I don't use generic logins, and I have one for Skylum, so press “Sign in”. No change, repeatedly.

FOOL! You should read the teaser at the bottom:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221201/big/Skylum-2-detail.png
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The real login screen is hidden below the bottom of the too-small window. They're not doing anything to make themselves more appealing.

Then the obligatory “accept licence”:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221201/big/Skylum-3.png
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Apart from the interesting detail that Skylum from Ukraine is really Shinyfields Limited in Cyprus, there's nothing of interest. Not even an obvious way to page down!

Then it went off installing over the net, giving no indication how long it would expect it to take. Mañana.


Friday, 2 December 2022 Today's diary Today's images top previous next last
More KL Hokkien Mee experiments

Over the last few weeks I've watched a number of videos about cooking Malaysian street food, including KL Hokkien Mee. There's not much there that really excites me, but they did use more liquid. I've also bought some real Hokkien noodles, so today I tried something new. The main differences were:

Ingredient       Old       Today
Chicken broth       20 g       48 g
Light soya sauce       20 g       33 g
Dark soya sauce       20 g       14 g
Caramel       15 g       21 g
Cornflour       12 g       15 g

Those are details, of course, and as a result the dish didn't look very different:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220913/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-11.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-3.jpeg
Image title: KL Hokkien Mee 3          Dimensions:          5226 x 3888, 5769 kB
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And in fact it didn't make much difference in taste. I can't see any particular advantage in using fresh KL Hokkien noodles instead of bucatini, which are also much cheaper. About the biggest surprise was that the sauce was so thick, though I used more liquid and less cornflour.

Getting to know Lumninar Neo

Finally the Luminar Neo installation is finished. Please reboot! They're really doing everything to make me love them!

OK, reboot, move the image to the task bar, start. I really wanted this to process this photo, one of many that I took on 14 August 2018:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47.jpeg
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OK, work round the typical Microsoft space pain, create a new directory /Photos/1-Skylum, link the photos to it (for the fun of it I used the raw images, which it claims to handle), and start:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-1.png
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That's a minimalist view. Where's my photo? I called it Kangaroos-47.jpeg, but the original (translated from the Makejpeg file) is orig/48140390.ORF. Not on that page. You need to scroll down, though I haven't found a scroll bar yet. And where's the file name? It seems that if you hold the mouse over an image and wait a couple of seconds, it will pop up. That's painful, but I can work around it when I know.

OK, work my way through the menu. First, get rid of the post in the foreground (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-2.png
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That looks good, better than what I got with other programs. OK, now for the star trick: remove “power lines” (again, run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


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That's quite impressive, but there are still issues. The line between the kangaroo heads is still there, and I had to remove it manually. And the line above it has been removed, but the replacement isn't quite right: there's a dark mark round where the line used to be.

Still, not bad for a first attempt. Save the file.

How? There's no File menu, nor anything similar. Finally I found a way: select the “exploding box” menu at top right, which offers “Share”, which can then either send it by (e)Mail, connect to a device (whatever that may be) or access a “folder”:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-7-detail.png
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And yes, that worked. In the process I have learnt yet more bad language.

More processing. Try to save export share again. “Folder” was greyed out and didn't respond. It seems that I was in the wrong menu (Erase instead of “Develop”), though potentially there are other details that I haven't learnt yet. After selecting that, it worked, and saved the second file in a file that annoys any self-respecting shell script:

-rwxr--r--  1 grog  wheel   2,316,621  2 Dec 10:12 48140390.jpg
-rwxr--r--  1 grog  wheel   2,340,890  2 Dec 10:22 48140390 (1).jpg

OK, this is my first time, and I got results surprisingly quickly (in fact considerably faster than writing up the experience). The results were also somewhat washed out (first image, run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour)


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47-Luminar-2-orig.jpeg
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But that's probably at least in part due to my choice of raw image without any enhancement, which possibly indicates different or non-existent lens distortion corrections.. It also seems to show a different cropping of the raw image. Still, the software does seem to offer promise.


Saturday, 3 December 2022 Today's diary Today's images top previous next last
Scanning old negatives

Last month I turned my attention to an album that my father created probably 70 years ago, showing some of his work up to about (my guess) 1961. There were also a number of loose negatives in the album, as well as a number of loose photos.

Today I tried to scan the negatives in. Most of them were 35 mm, cut in strips of 3:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Old-negatives-3.jpeg
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That wasn't difficult, but I need to guess what they are. There are a number of photos of this building model:


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But what is it? Is this the “Ideal Home” for which he won a prize in 1960 or 1961? I can't find any reference to the competition on Google, but the third image suggests that it was on public display.

And then there were others


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221203/big/Norms-photos-9.jpeg
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This staircase seems to have been of interest:


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The car at the bottom (his Citroën 11CL8?) suggests that it must have been outside, and it would put the time frame between 1959 and 1963. But where?

And then there are these two negatives:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Old-negatives-2.jpeg
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I can't scan them! They're in a rather unusual 6 × 4.5 cm format, and the scanner software doesn't understand them. I also haven't found a way to just do a raw scan.

Summer's here!

Only the day before yesterday I grumbled about the low “spring” temperatures. But now it's summer, and all that has changed. Temperatures ranged from 11.5° to 34.1°, 3.3° higher than any time in spring, and reminding me that we really need to overhaul the sprinkler system.

In the process, found a new app for my mobile phone: BOM Weather, from the agency that doesn't want to be called BOM. OK, just what I need. It gives me a forecast for Dereel, just like the web site does (second image):

 
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Now isn't that nice? Now I have a choice of forecast. How do they manage that? I can sympathize with them having difficulty forecasting weather in the current situation, but how can they come up with temperatures that depend on the platform?

More garden tidying

Despite the weather Jesse Walsh showed up, planted most of the walking iris plants and continued on the succulent bed, which now looks almost presentable. Here two weeks ago and now:


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A far cry from what the previous person managed.


Sunday, 4 December 2022 Today's diary Today's images top previous next last
Preparing the irrigation

Another warm day today, a high of 36° (or 31° or 32° according to the Bureau of Meteorology). I really need that irrigation. Turned on the tap. No water!

Start the pump. No reaction. That's normal if it's already primed. Is it?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Bore-pump-3.jpeg
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Compared to real life, that's readable. And yes, it shows that the pump has pressure. So why don't I have any water? Off to check the pump filter:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Bore-water-filter-1.jpeg
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It's completely clogged with mud! I've seldom seen so much. OK, clean it out, replace it. Leaks. Here's the layout:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Bore-pump-1.jpeg
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The filter is the slanted black cylinder on the right:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Bore-pump-1-detail.jpeg
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So why is the thing leaking? The photo shows the answer:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Bore-pump-1-detail-2.jpeg
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Not much work, but somehow it really gets on my nerves.

Diaxette thoughts

Another Diaxette showed up in my eBay saved searches today, slightly cheaper than the one I bought six months ago. Nothing special: it's pretty much identical to the one I bought, though there are differences between models: Cees-Jan de Hoog has one with a serial number that differs by only 3 numbers from mine (900139 and 900142), but his has a different shutter.

Unsurprisingly, the serial number of the one on sale today is considerably different: 875088. But clearly Voss didn't make a million of these cameras, and the serial numbers suggest that only the last 2 or 3 digits are actually the serial number, and the ones at the start have some other meaning. That would give the serial numbers 88, 139, 142. Is that plausible? I wonder how many were really made.

The other thing of interest is the depth of field indicator. At f/16 it shows a hyperfocal distance of about 14½ feet (yes, it doesn't show metres at all—neither does Cees-Jan de Hoog's camera—but it's about 4.4 m). But for a hyperfocal distance like that you'd need a circle of confusion of 30 μm. That would limit resolution to 800×1200, considerably less than I'd expect. Maybe it's reflective of the capabilities of the lens, which is really not very good. But I should compare the markings on other old lenses. Other lenses I have have hyperfocal distances between 3.8 m (Schneider Xenar) to 4.8 m (Super-Takumar, Nikkor). My other Cassar also has about 5 m. They're all 50 mm lenses, so with the exception of the Xenar they all seem to have about a 30 μm circle of confusion; the Xenar is closer to 40 μm (600×900).

Another interesting thing about the shutter. It runs from only 1/25 s to 1/200 s, but it seems that it can be set to just about any time between those limits; the 1/50 s and 1/100 s seem to be only indications.

Skylum and Ukraine

Much mail from Skylum today, extolling the uses of Luminar. And I wondered: they keep referring to Ukraine in their materials, but what do they really have to do with it? The company is in the USA, and there's no domain skylum.ua.

But a bit of searching helps: In a blog entry I read:

Skylum was founded in Ukraine, and the majority of the team is here.

I wonder why I had to search for that.

Saving the last croton

On my 60th birthday my uncle Max gave me a number of plants. Sadly, they're all dead (so is Max), with the exception of a croton (probably really a Codiaeum variegatum) and descendents of the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.

But the croton was looking very unhappy. We had planned to repot it, but that didn't happen, and what was left relatively quickly lost a lot of leaves. Can we propagate them? This article says yes. So that's what I did, even before getting photos of the old plant. What we have now is:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221204/big/Dead-croton-1.jpeg
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I wonder if anything will survive.


Monday, 5 December 2022 Today's diary top previous next last
More Luminar fun

Somehow Luminar shows itself from two different perspectives. On the one hand I'm almost bombarded with suggestions about how to do clever things. But they're not what I'm looking for right now. On the other hand, I still want to process my kangaroo photo.

Last time I just went off and played around, and I had surprisingly good results under the circumstances. But they weren't spectacular, and today I tried working on the background image on tiwi, effectively the same photo cropped. This time things didn't go as well. In particular, the “remove powerlines” didn't work At All. After expending considerably more time than on Friday, I was left with this transformation (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47-1080p.jpeg
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Yes, the fences are gone. But the result is not convincing. The fencepost removal is good, but the fence line removal isn't. Here a detail:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47-1080p-detail.jpeg
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In particular, if “power line removal” doesn't work, there's very little reason to use Luminar. Other software that I already have can do it manually, though admittedly the fencepost removal looks better than what I have achieved with other programs.

And the gradation? It could be better. In particular, the flanks of the horses have a distinct purplish tone, which seems to be very common in underexposed areas. I had hoped that Luminar could help there, but so far I haven't had much success.

Viewed video log

I keep various logs of videos that I have watched. The canonical one ends like this:

Sun 2022-12-04 19:14:31  -> 21:21:52 x /spool/Series/90-min/Bergretter/13/13-06-Augen-auf-20211223-201500.mp4
Sun 2022-12-04 21:23:02  -> 22:24:34 x /spool/Series/Hubert-und-Staller/10/10-05-Mord-mit-1.600-Umdrehungen--153--20220209-185000.mp4
Mon 2022-12-05 10:14:11  -> 10:14:20 k /spool/Series/Alles-Finster/Folge_1_-_Alles_finster_S01_E01.mp4
Mon 2022-12-05 15:38:59  -> 16:00:01 k /spool/Docco/AlJaz-15.mp4
Mon 2022-12-05 17:30:25  -> 17:30:30 x /spool/Docco/Putins_Propagandamaschine_-_Das_manipulierte_Volk.mp4
Mon 2022-12-05 19:08:16  -> 20:14:55 x /spool/Series/Notruf-Hafenkante/04/04-06-Kais-Entscheidung-20170111-103000.mp4
Mon 2022-12-05 20:15:08  -> 20:58:41 x /spool/Series/McLeods-daughters/4/4-21-Secrets_And_Lies.mp4
Mon 2022-12-05 21:10:37  -> 21:59:07 x /spool/Series/Koeter-Rex/05/05-07-Blinde-Wut-0707167312.mp4

That's one entry per video, showing start time, end time, end status (x means deleted, k means kept; I think I once had others) and path name. Currently this log file has 9,722 entries.

It's useful to keep track of when I have watched a particular series, so I have a second list that shows the last view time for a series. The corresponding entries are:

Sun 2022-12-04 19:14:31 90-min/Bergretter
Sun 2022-12-04 21:23:02 Hubert-und-Staller
Mon 2022-12-05 10:14:11 *Alles-Finster
Mon 2022-12-05 19:08:16 Notruf-Hafenkante
Mon 2022-12-05 20:15:08 McLeods-daughters
Mon 2022-12-05 21:10:37 Koeter-Rex

This list only contains series, and it only shows the last date and the series title, not the episode. The * in front of Alles Finster indicates that it has not been finished (corresponding to the k in the first log).

Problem: this is a shell script that Just Growed, and it's horrendously inefficient. It takes nearly 2 minutes to run. It also uses grep, which has difficulties with file names with characters not in the current locale. OK, simple: rewrite in a more efficient language. PHP comes to mind.

But how do I write it? The input file is sorted chronologically, so every time I find a directory I can replace the previous occurrence. An array with the series name as index? That should work.

Spent not very much time playing around with the new script, on the way running into issues parsing the input. In principle the input file has 7 fields: weekday, date, start time, noise arrow, end time and file name. Ideal for the PHP explode() function. But some (and only some) of the entries have 2 spaces after the start time, as in the example above, and explode() treats the second as a field by itself. Yes, I can modify the file, but it's tacky.

Got as far as wanting to print out the results. How do I do that? I have only one entry per series, the way I want it. And I can sort the array with, well, sort(). But sort() sorts from the beginning of the entry, so I end up with all Fridays at the top and all Wednesdays at the bottom.

What do I do? PHP doesn't seem to have a way to call a collating function, and there doesn't seem to be any more flexible sort function. I can write my own, of course, but somehow I get the feeling that I'm using the wrong tool.

What do I use instead? C? Not exactly the easiest language for this kind of problem, but it has the advantage that I know it. Perl? Probably a good choice, but I would have to learn it first. FORTRAN? You can write anything in FORTRAN, and it's bound to be ugly, so I wouldn't have to worry about elegance. LISP? That might even be a possibility. But why is this so difficult? I suppose the real issue is that I want to do it correctly.

Nazis in Ukraïne!

Seen in a post by Alexandr Kovalenko, originally dated 3 December 2013:

http://www.lemis.com/grog/Day/20221205/1385672_10151847439302989_888653917_n.jpg

Putain was right! There are Nazis in Ukraïne, or at least there were 9 years ago.

Background: if I have this right, the person in question is Mykola Azarov, the prime minister of Ukraïne at the time, and they're in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraïnian parliament). He was staunchly pro-Russian and did not speak Ukraïnian, thus the nickname Азірів (Aziriv).


Tuesday, 6 December 2022 Today's diary Today's images top previous next last
More Luminar fun

Yesterday's photo processing with Luminar was less satisfying than it should have been. Time to RTFM.

Oh. That's an old, worn-out magic word. First I read some of the copious emails I received from Skylum, some of which ask me to buy things, and others that show individual functionality. The confusion is illustrated in the “Help” selection, which offers me a user manual but takes me to this FAQ page, which starts with the following helpful information:

Where do I find my Extensions after installation?

Since HDR Merge, Focus Stacking, and Upscale AI require dragging the images to the tool from the catalog, they are available in the Catalog tab on the right-side panel.

You can find Noiseless AI and Supersharp AI in the Edit tab > Tools panel:

Access the Background Removal AI Extension in the Edit panel > Layer Properties > Masking > Background Removal AI.

That helps illustrate the confusion. One thing that I couldn't find was a user manual

But that's not modern. Now you watch videos of varying quality. Today it was this one:

First recognition: there is a “save” menu, in fact perfectly normal menus. They just drop down from the half-emblem at top left, if you first click on it and then release it.

Apart from that, there were some useful general processing suggestions that apply to other software as well, and also some suggestions that the sequence of events is important with Luminar. That could explain why the powerline removal worked first time, but not the second time.

But somehow this still doesn't cut it. One of the emails extolled the virtues of “RelightAI”. And yes, it looks good in their display. But not on my computer: I still can't find it! And that seems to be a general issue: now you see me, now you don't. As I write this, I can no longer find the powerline removal tool.

The other thing, which is almost more of an issue, is that the functions don't seem to be tuneable, at least not very much. I tried the “background removal” tool, which went off and marked what it had decided was not the background (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):

 
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Note the missing tails on the kangaroos.

Powerline removal has the same issue. As I have seen, it doesn't recognize all “power lines”, and fixing the rest makes the original function pretty irrelevant.

I had really hoped that this program would be an addition to my software collection, but it's beginning to look like it will go back.


Wednesday, 7 December 2022 Today's diary top previous next last
Shopping again

Into town again today for the weekly shopping. Somehow it's getting less all the time; this time I didn't need to go to Woolworths at all, and in general the shopping list was much shorter. But I did have to go to Campanas buy some cheese (Gruyère) for fondue. $80 a kg! Why is cheese so expensive in Australia? In Europe it's less than half the price.

Or is it? It seems that I can pay similar prices for top quality cheeses. And we discovered years ago that we shouldn't buy cheese in Germany; we went to Switzerland or France instead.

And once again I was told that Jarlsberg was a Swiss cheese. Once again I told the younger man that it came from Norway, and this time, it seems, he believed me. I suppose that was something.

More physiotherapy

At the end of my shopping I went to the physiotherapists for advice about my osteopenia. That was useful: the exercises that Heather gave me were nothing like what Dr. Paul Smith suggested, and the details were so important that she had to correct me several times.

Central Asian Kitchen in Sebastopol

At Whiteys I saw menus on display from “Kazan Central Asian Kitchen”. That's an interesting concept. Central Asian? Turkmenistan? Kyrgyzstan? It wouldn't be Xinjiang, so nowhere I have been.

They prove to be just around the corner from Whiteys. Took a menu and looked at it when I get home. Dishes like Kabuli pilav and Tavuk şiş suggest places I have been: Afghanistan and Turkey, neither what I would call Central Asian. And the headers for the individual courses are in Turkish. But it looks like an interesting addition to locally available dining. My guess is that it's run by a couple, one from Turkey, the other from Afghanistan.

Sadly, I think they've made a mistake with their location. The area round the Victoria Street/Albert Street roundabout has seen a lot of businesses come and go, and my guess is that this is too esoteric for the populace. Maybe we should go and try something, though I don't know when I was last in a restaurant.


Thursday, 8 December 2022 Today's diary Today's images top previous
Deep fried noodles

Some time in April 1972 my parents took me to dinner somewhere near the corner of Orchard Road and Scotts Road. My mother told me of the excellent deep-fried noodles that they made there, and ordered some.

It must have been a different cook. The waiter, and subsequently the cook, were very unwilling, but finally they acquiesced. And indeed they didn't taste at all bad.

So: why don't I try that? I eat lots of noodles, but so far none that have been deep fried. Start with the Chef Lo noodles, cook them normally, rinse and allow to cool in a sieve:


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Put in the basket of a deep fryer and loosen a little:


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Fry. Oh:


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I hadn't expected them to fill out the basket. After further frying, they looked like this:


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The change in colour is real: they were slightly browned. And with the rest of the dish, I had:


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And the taste? Not bad. Next time I'll need to keep them in a better shape, and maybe it would make sense to cut the noodles a little shorter before frying. As it was, it was a little difficult to break the pieces.

Misted lenses

Taking the photos of frying the noodles had an issue: the steam from the deep fryer condensed on the lens. I could barely see anything through the viewfinder.

But the results didn't look nearly as bad. This first one was taken with the misted lens, the second (carefully further away) with a clear lens:


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Yes, there's a difference, but I was expecting more

Lightning X-ray

Into town with Yvonne this morning for what we hope will be her final X-ray. On the way we dropped off some prescriptions at UFS across the road, at which point Google Maps decided that we had arrived at Sovereign Radiology. Round to Sovereign, where Yvonne went inside and I stayed in the car for a couple of minutes to tell Google Maps what I thought.

When I went inside, Yvonne was gone. It seems that she barely caught the radiologist before she went off to lunch, and as I predicted she was done in a flash. Back to UFS, arriving roughly 10 minutes after we left, and of course they were not ready with the prescription. I had to wait another 10 minutes. That's the first time I've experienced that, and it makes me wonder how they're going to handle things with the drive-in prescription service that they're promising in their new building.

How not to fill a petrol tank

While in town, filled up the tank of the car. Back home I discovered:


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Oh. How much petrol did I lose? My guess is: none. The whole area around the filler was completely dry. Still, another indication that I'm losing my marbles.

Horses come home

Chris Bahlo along in the evening with Carlotta and Dana, whom we put in the dam paddock.

Radiologist's cupcakes

It seems that the Sebastopol branch of Sovereign Radiology is celebrating its first anniversary, and to do so they offered all patients a cupcake. Nice gesture, but there's more, a slice of icing showing where it came from:


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