Greg
animals language
brewing multimedia
cooking music
fiction opinion
gardening photography
general technology
history
Greg's diary
August 2007
Translate this page
Select day:
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
Select month in 2007:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Previous month
Next month
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

Wednesday, 1 August 2007 Dereel Images for 1 August 2007
Top of page
next day
last day

Had intended to work on unpacking today, but it eventuated that our clothes dryer had died, and given its age we decided to replace it. Again into town, spending most of the day in the process, taking Chris' big trailer with us. Took advantage of that to buy some chipboard shelving, 3.6 m long, which was particularly cheap. Apart from that advantage, though, a trailer is a real problem in town: there's almost nowhere where you can park one.

Then took our old photocopier to the Dereel Hall, where we hope it'll be of more use, and in the evening to the Annual General Meeting of the Dereel Hall Committee, where the new committee was elected, still with Loes Pearson as president. I offered to help address the current Internet connectivity issues, and in the process discovered one of the issues with mobile phone coverage in Dereel: there are serious concerns about the danger of microwave radiations.

This was my first encounter with Wendy McClelland, who has since started a smear campaign against me and in general seems to be mentally imbalanced.

Was referred to EMR Australia (one of two; there's also an EMR Australia which relates to Electronic Medial Records). The first EMR Australia claims to offer comprehensive information about the subject, but it all appears to require payment. Looks like I'll have to do some more investigation.


Thursday, 2 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Finally we had a day where we could work on getting things unpacked. Lots of work, something to show for it, but little of interest to report.


Friday, 3 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More unpacking today. Gradually things are looking more like a home, but first we need to get some proper heating installed. That shouldn't take too long, but first we need to get all the quotes in. So far I have two, which vary in price by over 10%.


Saturday, 4 August 2007 Dereel Images for 4 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

We're getting a bit fed up with just working round the house, so today decided to go and take a look at the surrounding countryside. One of the main reasons why there is no direct road from here to Melbourne is because the Brisbane Ranges are in the way, and since there's a national park there, decided to go and take a look. Unfortunately, there's nothing of any great interest there; we have Enfield State Park much closer. Returned through Steiglitz, which is picturesque, but again nothing to write home about.

Still more unpacking. My office is beginning to look more reasonable. About the only things missing are the drums for the laser printer, my office phone, and the disks for the video recorders. If we only had heating and an Internet connection, things would be much more bearable.

Got my final quote on the air conditioning in the evening. It eventuates that the first offer was the cheapest, and hopefully we can get something done in the next week.


Sunday, 5 August 2007 Dereel Images for 5 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More unpacking today, looking for my three missing things: phone, printer drums and disks. Ended up unpacking everything that could conceivably contain them, with no success. Finally, towards evening, found them: they were so important that I didn't entrust them to the movers, but brought them myself in my car; there they were along with the precious musical instruments. Will I be happy when we have unpacked everything and have Internet and heating!

Fake pizza in the evening, using frozen McCains “Italian” pizza bases. Only an American could consider them to be Italian. In addition, they seemed to repel the topping, which slid around on the base, probably because they had been pre-baked and frozen. Not to be repeated.


Monday, 6 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Finally managed to call Phil to get him to install the air conditioning, and discovered that there's a 3 week wait on supplies of the external units. Damn! It's miserable here without proper heating, though the weather is gradually becoming a bit milder.

My Internet connection with Gobush should have been installed the week before last. For the past two weeks I've been calling them and asking when the installation would take place, and every time I've had a different answer, a promise to follow up, then nothing. Today they told me that they still didn't have a date, but the name of the installer: Duncan. I know him: he's the bloke who installed my satellite dish in September 2001, and he works in the Adelaide area. Despite all my attempts to get Gobush to understand I'm in Victoria, they've still set up for installation in Echunga.

This seemed irrelevant to the help desk bloke, though: he told me that clearly Graham was planning to come to Dereel, and that the problem is with the company doing the installation, Bluemaxx, and that they called them last week and sent two emails, but they couldn't tell me of any reaction. Asked for the number and job number and called up myself. The difference was significant: within 10 minutes we had established that the installation request had never been completed. They now have all the information they need, and they will try to expedite the installation in view of the problems I had had. I'll wait and see, but based on this difference in treatment, I wonder why anybody should choose Gobush.

More work on the house today, setting up shelves for my CDs. It shouldn't take this long.


Tuesday, 7 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More work on unpacking today. Finally I have all my CDs unpacked; what an achievement!

In the evening, started looking at the garden. That's another can of worms that'll keep us busy for some time to come.


Wednesday, 8 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Yet another day with little to show for it. Where does the time go? Somehow I'm completely lacking in drive. Maybe it's the low temperatures in the house; I can't wait for the air conditioning to arrive.

Cliff and Carla Taylor both showed up to pick up the last-but-one item: an old freezer. Amusingly, a phone call came in for Cliff while he was there. Carla asked how we were enjoying having central heating; I fear that I disappointed her by telling her we couldn't afford to run it, and that we were installing air conditioning. But then, they ran their heating at 18° in the day and 15° at night, and even then it cost them $400 a month.

Into Ballarat to catch up with a whole lot of things, only half of which I could do. It's a good thing that none of them are very urgent.


Thursday, 9 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

We've been here a month! Not that there's much to show for it. Somehow didn't even do much work, apart from tidying up the garden beds to the north of the house.

Over to the Yeardley's for dinner in the evening. Also there were Mark and Lisa Graber of the Australian Saddlebred Association. Pleasant evening.


Friday, 10 August 2007 Dereel –> Maffra –> Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Off early this morning to visit my father in Maffra, picking up my aunt Audrey in Camberwell on the way. Getting through Melbourne is horrible. In February I tried one way through town, which proved to be more than sub-optimal: from the Toorak Road exit of the freeway to the beginning of the Western Highway took us 60 minutes. Since then I've discovered that the M80 freeway takes us from the Western Highway to the south bank of the Yarra, almost on Toorak Road and only a few kilometres from the freeway entrance. The time? 55 minutes. Melbourne really must have some of the worst traffic in the world.

In Maffra, met up with my father, (my) aunt Freda and also Stephanie and Taylor, two of her great-grandchildren. Dad's not doing well; he keeps having minor strokes, and though he's not significantly incapacitated by any of them, the summation is not good news.

Back home, trying a different way through Melbourne. After dropping Audrey, we took Riversdale Road and Swan St back to Southbank, stopping on the way for a not very inspired Vietnamese dinner. We made it through much faster, but it's not clear whether that was because of the route or the time of day.

Back home at 22:35. 14 hours, 10 of them travel, for only 730 km. We should have spent the night in Melbourne.


Saturday, 11 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Into town today to do a few things, and as usual took all day and only got some of them done. Gradually the weather is looking better, and we're spending more time working in the garden. It's amazing how little we seem to be doing.

Phone bill from Telstra today. Over $170, for a “budget” connection, including $59 for “connection”, i.e. signing me up for the phone line (that's why, I suppose, they didn't want me to just take over the old connection), and lots of money for calls to Ballarat, all of 33 km away, which is “STD” (“Subscriber Trunk Dialling”, a term from a time long past) and thus costs by the minute. The total bill from MyNetFone would have been about $5. Roll on my Internet connection.


Sunday, 12 August 2007 Dereel Images for 12 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More work around the house. Started assembling a water bed for Yvonne, and she went to pick up some mulch which we spread in the garden. Also took the opportunity to bring over the remaining plants which had been waiting at Chris' place for over two months:


  This should be plants-arriving.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: plants arriving          Dimensions:          2816 x 2112, 992 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 12 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 12 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 12 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

Things are getting more and more settled. Hopefully life will get more interesting when we're finished here.

In the evening, another Indian dinner. Jana is a vegetarian, so tried some new recipes. Also, for the carnivores, a packet of chicken tikka masala mix which didn't taste too bad; the best part, though, were the instructions: “Add 2 cups (300 ml) of water”. Does that imply that a cup is 150 ml or 300 ml? I think it's the former, but either way it's yet another value of “cup”. The other recipes were also the usual connection of inaccuracies; the recipe for Kali Dal required 250 g (or 1 cup) of urud dal and 2 litres (8 cups) of water. Apart from the fact that the proportions are wrong (1 litre would be better for 250 g), a “metric cup” (250 ml) of dry urud dal weighs 180 g. sigh


Monday, 13 August 2007 Dereel Images for 13 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Lots of phone calls today. I had intended to call Telstra anyway to ask about the last bill, but today another one came: $260 odd which came and went without any action required by me, without reference to any phone number. Spent an hour on the phone and discovered:

Much of this is nonsense, of course, but it makes clear how difficult it is to deal with these people. As to going to the web: apart from the fact that the information there is not part of the contract (and certainly apart from the fact that the URL is incorrect, and when I find the data I don't know whether it applies to me, and I probably won't be able to read it), I don't have an Internet connection! Thanks again to Telstra. Called up Bluemaxx to hear the progress of my satellite installation and was told that the Government broadband guarantee has expired, so they're not installing any more satellite dishes. They expect things to continue in a couple of weeks, however.

I've had enough! This has been going on for 2 months, and I'm still no closer to an Internet connection. Went over to Chris' and borrowed a modem, which at least I got running relatively quickly, a big difference from the speed of the line itself:

Aug 14 15:26:09 eureka ppp[57241]: tun0: Chat: Received: CONNECT 31200^M
Aug 14 15:26:09 eureka ppp[57241]: tun0: Phase: deflink: dial -> carrier

Still, the quality of the satellite connection was pretty varied too. Hopefully we'll soon see some proper networking capability round here.


Tuesday, 14 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Now that we have an Internet connection here, spent most of the day setting up my office the way it's meant to be. It's a lot smaller than the old one! In particular, the space behind the desks is very limited. Still, managed to get a reasonably comfortable setup:


  This should be office-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: office 1          Dimensions:          2816 x 2112, 512 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 15 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be office-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: office 2          Dimensions:          2816 x 2112, 528 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 15 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

Took advantage of the situation to make another attempt to buy a camera on eBay. This time the vendor's in Hong Kong and appears to understand Australian rules. Hopefully it'll run more smoothly than the last attempt.

Chris and Jana along in the evening to look at the paddocks, and stayed to dinner.


Wednesday, 15 August 2007 Dereel Images for 15 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

New TV antenna
Topic: multimedia Link here

Call from Barry Robinson, the TV antenna man, this morning. He had been planning to come on Friday, but the weather forecast was bad, and since the weather was good today, he came today instead. Spent a couple of hours messing around and finally came up with a marginally acceptable analogue signal and what appeared to be as good a digital signal as we could get—why is the information from these decoder chips so hard to understand? Clearly, though, the trees to the west of us are causing significant problems. In the process changed the antenna and installed a “mast head” amplifier at the bottom of the mast:


 
This should be old-antenna.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: old antenna          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 320 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 15 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be new-antenna.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: new antenna          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 352 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 15 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 


Tunneling mail out
Topic: technology Link here

In the afternoon, more computer work. One effect of the move from satellite to dialup is that the ISP blocks port 25 (smtp), so I had to set up a tunnel. I've done that before, of course, but I had lost the details, and spent more time than it was worth looking for them. In the process found a backup, dumped from eucla in its Linux persona, and found that I didn't have a Linux box to read them with. dump is really a particularly useless backup program. Started putting together ceeveear, my computer video recorder (CVR), which is on the list to be updated anyway now that we have an antenna, but didn't get finished. Finally found how I had done it: on establishing connection, issue a command like:

ssh -fN -L2025:mail-server.example.com:25 mail-server.example.com

This sets up a tunnel from local port 2025 to remote port 25 on mail-server.example.com. -f tells ssh to go into the background, and -N tells it not to execute any command.

In the Postfix transport file, tell Postfix to send all mail to local port 2025:

*   smtp:localhost:2025
      

Cheap phone cards
Topic: general Link here

Today was the birthday of Yvonne's sister Gaby. In the old days we would just have called her on the phone, but now it costs an arm and a leg. Went looking for a “phone card” (really an account) that offered us a “local” dialin number (in Ballarat, which I can now get for only $0.25 a call instead of that much per minute). Finally found Minute Max, which doesn't seem to have its own web site, and which offers calls to Germany for only $0.015 per minute, considerably cheaper even than the VoIP we used, which ran to round $0.05 a minute. Using it was a completely different issue: the instructions are marred by 1960's-style beeps from Telstra, and after entering the PIN, the first digit dialled (0) is rejected with the message “Please use the full UK dialling code”. Gaby didn't answer her home phone, and we weren't able to get any response at all from her mobile phone. Electronic services seem to be getting worse all the time.


Watching TV, the hard way
Topic: multimedia Link here

We still don't have ceeveear running, but Yvonne wanted to watch TV, so she did it in typically improvised style:


 
This should be tv-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: tv 1          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 560 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 15 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 15 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
Thursday, 16 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

After my discussion on the phone with Telstra the other day, I finally received some information in the mail: no less than 5 separate envelopes, each containing one glossy brochure. They even contained the call rates—for every tariff except the one I'm on! According to Kristi (spelling?) on Monday, I'm on “Home Line Wide Area”, and all calls to Ballarat will cost me $0.25 untimed. There's no mention of such a plan in the brochures, and also no such charge for distances up to 50 kms. Why can't they get such obvious details right?

Shopping day today: since moving so far away from town, we've decided to do it once a week, and somehow it took us all day. Admittedly we ended up buying more than we had expected, but it's surprising how much time these things can take. Bumped into Chris and Jana not once, but twice, in the process. It's also becoming clear that we're in the deepest provinces here, and many foods we took for granted in Mount Barker are not available.


Friday, 17 August 2007 Dereel Images for 17 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Thirty years ago Milad El-Khalil, a friend of mine in Germany, bought a HiFi system, at least partially as a surprise for his wife Dagmar. I went along and helped him install it in record time, so fast, in fact, that Milad got worried something would go wrong. It didn't: everything worked fine, and everything was up and running in an hour.

Today things are different. Finally got round to connecting up my HiFi system, or at least parts of it, but it took me all day. What has changed? Have I become an old dodderer? Or have things become more complicated?

Leaving the first question standing, it's clear that things have become more complicated. In those days a HiFi setup was basically a tuner, turntable (no CDs yet), maybe a tape deck, amplifier and loudspeakers. Today I have all of those, also two CD changers, two computers, two VCRs, a DVD recorder and a data projector. But today a lot of the time was spent just looking for the bits and pieces to put things together, such as cables. By the evening I had the one computer (teevee, the FreeBSD box that handles the projector), the CD players and the tuner connected up. Tomorrow will be the fun with ceeveear and MythTV.

Amusingly, while researching this, I discover that Milad now lives in Halle an der Saale and is a representative for the CDU in the Sachsen-Anhalt Landtag.

Mobile phone hysteria

This morning I received a document in the mail from Wendy McClelland, entitled “HEALTH HAZARD FOR DEREEL: The Deadly Microwave Radiation emitted from Communication Towers”. I met Wendy on 1 August and commented on her views on that occasion, but this document makes it clear that I'm going to have to do more. This is the first draft of a paper that I'm writing on the subject.

I take the following statement as being almost correct:

A draft report document called 'Integrated Urban Design Framework' for Dereel, Rokewood and Corindhap has been put out by Golden Plains Shire for the public to view and comment on for further town plans.

On page 33 it suggests putting in a radiation tower in Dereel.

It appears that Wendy is either unaware of the correct terminology, or she thinks that the term “radiation tower” will raise the FUD level.

The rest of the document is a confused, hysterical and unsubstantiated list of claims of all the horrors that would happen if we were to have a mobile telephone tower in the area. The whole document is two pages long; I'll summarize:

What do the experts think?

One thing I haven't addressed in the discussion above is whether mobile phones really do pose a health risk; I don't know, and possibly they do. But I do contend that the only way to find out is to research the issue objectively, and I don't believe that Wendy has done this. In particular, I have given references in this link, while Wendy has given none whatever that are publicly available.

My thoughts on the relative dangers are reflected in two of the documents I found. The first is the document I found while looking for information on power output above. It's in PDF format, but contains some interesting information:

As mentioned before, the World Health Organization has a number of documents on the subject. Here are two that I found interesting:

WHO has a number of other Fact sheets on the subject, but I haven't read them.

Conclusion

Like others, I can't completely reject the possibility that mobile phones pose a unique health risk. I consider it highly unlikely, however, and given the enormous public opposition to the technology, as witnessed by Wendy, I'm confident that any such problem will be identified and worked around. I don't believe that the issues are really related to base stations.

On the other hand, I do want to have access to modern communications. Currently Dereel has almost no mobile phone coverage, and it has caused me—and I'm sure many others—significant problems. I hope that the tower will be built, preferably somewhere where it's not an eyesore.


Saturday, 18 August 2007 Dereel Images for 18 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Spent most of today fighting MythTV, not for the first time. In addition to other problems I've had with digital TV reception, there is no transport setting file for the Ballarat area, so I couldn't use dvbscan to generate a channels.conf file, the way I did last time for Adelaide (Mt Lofty tower). Searching the web found a variant of dvbscan called w_scan, conveniently only in German, though the sources include English documentation. It compiled without problems, but did nothing useful:

=== grog@ceeveear (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src/w_scan/w_scan-20070807 3 -> ./w_scan
w_scan version 20070807
Info: using DVB adapter auto detection.
   Found DVB-T frontend.  Using adapter /dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0
-_-_-_-_ Getting frontend capabilities-_-_-_-_
frontend Zarlink ZL10353 DVB-T supports
INVERSION_AUTO
QAM_AUTO
TRANSMISSION_MODE_AUTO
GUARD_INTERVAL_AUTO
HIERARCHY_AUTO
FEC_AUTO
-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
177500:
184500:
...
858000:
ERROR: Sorry - i couldn't get any working frequency/transponder
 Nothing to scan!!
dumping lists (0 services)

Another thing I found was a channel list with the frequencies of the Ballarat channels. Retrofitted that into the Melbourne transport settings file and ran it, with strange results: it found some of the channels, but not all the details. Running tzap then was unable to sync the data.

So what's the problem? Poor signal quality? Since I've just spent over $400 having a new antenna put in, I hope not. Maybe it's the other parameters in the initial tuning file, but I'd expect them to be the same for all Australian transmitters.

Gave up on that and started configuring MythTV with a new, empty database and do a full scan. That worked well enough, and it found all channels with no difficulty:

mysql> SELECT chanid, channum, freqid, name, xmltvid, mplexid, serviceid, visible
    -> FROM channel
    -> ORDER BY chanid;
+--------+---------+--------+-----------------+---------+---------+-----------+---------+
| chanid | channum | freqid | name            | xmltvid | mplexid | serviceid | visible |
+--------+---------+--------+-----------------+---------+---------+-----------+---------+
|   1002 | 2       | NULL   | ABC TV Victoria |         |       3 |       689 |       1 |
|   1003 | 3       | NULL   | SBS             |         |       9 |       849 |       1 |
|   1006 | 6       | NULL   | PRIME Ballarat  |         |      11 |      2382 |       1 |
|   1008 | 8       | NULL   | Western Vic     |         |       1 |         1 |       1 |
|   1020 | 20      | NULL   | ABC HDTV        |         |       3 |       688 |       1 |
|   1021 | 21      | NULL   | ABC2            |         |       3 |       690 |       1 |
|   1022 | 22      | NULL   | ABC TV          |         |       3 |       691 |       1 |
|   1030 | 30      | NULL   | SBS HD          |         |       9 |       848 |       1 |
|   1031 | 31      | NULL   | SBS 2           |         |       9 |       851 |       1 |
|   1033 | 33      | NULL   | SBS NEWS        |         |       9 |       850 |       1 |
|   1038 | 38      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 1     |         |       9 |       862 |       1 |
|   1039 | 39      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 2     |         |       9 |       863 |       1 |
|   1060 | 60      | NULL   | PRIME HD        |         |      11 |      2400 |       1 |
|   1061 | 61      | NULL   | PRIME View 1    |         |      11 |      2401 |       1 |
|   1062 | 62      | NULL   | PRIME View 2    |         |      11 |      2402 |       1 |
|   1063 | 63      | NULL   | PRIME View 3    |         |      11 |      2403 |       1 |
|   1080 | 80      | NULL   | WIN TV HD       |         |       1 |        10 |       1 |
|   1200 | 200     | NULL   | ABC DiG Radio   |         |       3 |       694 |       1 |
|   1201 | 201     | NULL   | ABC DiG Jazz    |         |       3 |       695 |       1 |
|   2002 | 2       | NULL   | ABC TV Victoria |         |      14 |       689 |       1 |
|   2003 | 3       | NULL   | SBS             |         |      20 |       849 |       1 |
|   2005 | 5       | NULL   | SC10 Ballarat   |         |      13 |      2050 |       1 |
|   2006 | 6       | NULL   | PRIME Ballarat  |         |      22 |      2382 |       1 |
|   2008 | 8       | NULL   | Western Vic     |         |      12 |         1 |       1 |
|   2020 | 20      | NULL   | ABC HDTV        |         |      14 |       688 |       1 |
|   2021 | 21      | NULL   | ABC2            |         |      14 |       690 |       1 |
|   2022 | 22      | NULL   | ABC TV          |         |      14 |       691 |       1 |
|   2030 | 30      | NULL   | SBS HD          |         |      20 |       848 |       1 |
|   2031 | 31      | NULL   | SBS 2           |         |      20 |       851 |       1 |
|   2033 | 33      | NULL   | SBS NEWS        |         |      20 |       850 |       1 |
|   2038 | 38      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 1     |         |      20 |       862 |       1 |
|   2039 | 39      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 2     |         |      20 |       863 |       1 |
|   2050 | 50      | NULL   | SC10 HD         |         |      13 |      2082 |       1 |
|   2055 | 55      | NULL   | MyTalk          |         |      13 |      2114 |       1 |
|   2060 | 60      | NULL   | PRIME HD        |         |      22 |      2400 |       1 |
|   2061 | 61      | NULL   | PRIME View 1    |         |      22 |      2401 |       1 |
|   2062 | 62      | NULL   | PRIME View 2    |         |      22 |      2402 |       1 |
|   2063 | 63      | NULL   | PRIME View 3    |         |      22 |      2403 |       1 |
|   2080 | 80      | NULL   | WIN TV HD       |         |      12 |        10 |       1 |
|   2200 | 200     | NULL   | ABC DiG Radio   |         |      14 |       694 |       1 |
|   2201 | 201     | NULL   | ABC DiG Jazz    |         |      14 |       695 |       1 |
|   3050 | 2050    | NULL   | SC10 Ballarat   |         |       2 |      2050 |       1 |
|   3082 | 2082    | NULL   | SC10 HD         |         |       2 |      2082 |       1 |
|   3114 | 2114    | NULL   | MyTalk          |         |       2 |      2114 |       1 |
+--------+---------+--------+-----------------+---------+---------+-----------+---------+

We still have one entry per card and channel, which doubtless will cause problems, but by then it was evening.

In the evening, we had planned to make cannelloni, but we discovered that we had forgotten to buy the pasta. Why should that be a problem? For the first time in years, made some fresh pasta:


  This should be cannelloni-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: cannelloni 1          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 544 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 18 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be cannelloni-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: cannelloni 2          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 544 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 18 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

The pasta recipe was from my old Time-Life cookbook, originally published in 1968 and translated into German. Nevertheless it contains these stupid cups and spoons measures, which in German don't mean anything. In this case, though, the relationship of the ingredients for the pasta is of extreme importance for its consistency, so I tried to measure a “cup” of flour and weigh it. In the process, ran into another problem: the meaning of “cup” depends on where the recipe was written (and, as this example shows, not where it was published). So I can't even go out and buy a “cup” measure (and the US “cup” is about 20% more than the volume of my household cup). Never mind, I have a measure conveniently marked with two different cups. Which one of these is correct?


  This should be cups-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: cups 1          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 560 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 18 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be cups-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: cups 2          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 528 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 18 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be cups-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: cups 3          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 576 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 18 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 18 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

The first one appears to be both a “metric” “cup” and a US “cup”. In fact, though, each of the three photos contains the same quantity of flour, just shaken differently. It's my best guess at a US “cup”.

And it was wrong! This one weighed 120g, and while kneading I added another 20g of flour, which still proved not to be enough. Is this the inaccuracy of “cups” or the inherent inaccuracy in all cookbooks? I'd guess at the latter: for example, it requires eggs, but the cookbook assumes that all eggs are the same size. My best guesses for making the pasta next time are now in the pasta recipe.

Ended up with so much cannelloni that we invited the Yeardleys in, who had the dubious distinction of sending back not one, but two of my bottles of wine. They can taste something in them that I can't; I wonder if there's some smell in the cupboard that's affecting the wine.


Sunday, 19 August 2007 Dereel Images for 19 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

I know that dialup is slow, but some things astound me:

=== grog@dereel (/dev/ttypa) ~ 79 -> ping -i 30 ozlabs.org
PING ozlabs.org (203.10.76.45): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=0 ttl=45 time=90734.764 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=1 ttl=45 time=225248.825 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=2 ttl=45 time=195262.352 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=3 ttl=45 time=165307.044 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=4 ttl=45 time=135342.645 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=5 ttl=45 time=106283.668 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=6 ttl=45 time=76336.723 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=7 ttl=45 time=46363.896 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=8 ttl=45 time=17755.795 ms
64 bytes from 203.10.76.45: icmp_seq=9 ttl=45 time=12957.647 ms

Sequence 2 took 3 minutes, 45 seconds! This happened while running rsync to update the web site, but this must still be the slowest I've ever seen over a link not involving RFC 1149.

Spent most of the morning updating documents, notably my recipes. In the afternoon, the Yeardleys had a housewarming party, so we took along a log of wood to help. Chris' brothers Reinhard and Jonas were there, along with Jonas' wife Patricia, who comes from Göbelnrod, near Grünberg and just down the road from where we used to live in Schellnhausen. Pleasant afternoon. I had given Fifi some belacan to make her sambal with, to which some people objected, so they had to cook it on the barbecue outside:


  This should be sambal-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: sambal 1          Dimensions:          2112 x 2816, 720 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 19 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 19 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 19 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 


Monday, 20 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More work on getting MythTV up and running. I didn't specify the programme guide in the setup, because it was such a pain last time. This time I just modified my grabber configuration files to point to the correct feeds. After that, mythfilldatabase worked fine, but of course mythbackend didn't want to know anything about it.

Took another look at my xmltv HOWTO. Lots of things are wrong about it, notably the lack of attention to the xmltvid attribute. The issue is still that mythfilldatabase adds more entries. In the following list, the channel IDs starting with 1000 relate to the first DVB card, the channel IDs starting with 2000 relate to the second DVB card, and the channel IDs starting with 3000 were added by mythfilldatabase. Originally the xmltvid was empty for all the channels added by the scan, for the obvious reason that the IDs are assigned by the program guide, and aren't part of the information that the scan can find. In the following table, I've added the xmltvids shown in red so that the existing channels can be associated with the data.

That's not enough, though: that gave me up to eight listings for the same program, one for each channel ID with, I think, the same call sign. To fix that I had to make these channels invisible by setting the visible attribute to 0. They're shown in red too.

mysql> SELECT chanid, channum, freqid, callsign, xmltvid, visible, name FROM channel ORDER BY chanid ;
+--------+---------+--------+-----------------+-----------+---------+-----------------+
| chanid | channum | freqid | callsign        | xmltvid   | visible | name            |
+--------+---------+--------+-----------------+-----------+---------+-----------------+
|   1002 | 2       | NULL   | ABC TV Victoria |           |       0 | ABC TV Victoria |
|   1003 | 3       | NULL   | SBS             |           |       0 | SBS             |
|   1006 | 6       | NULL   | PRIME Ballarat  |           |       0 | PRIME Ballarat  |
|   1008 | 8       | NULL   | Western Vic     |           |       0 | Western Vic     |
|   1020 | 20      | NULL   | ABC HDTV        | ABC-Vic   |       1 | ABC HDTV        |
|   1021 | 21      | NULL   | ABC2            | ABC2      |       1 | ABC2            |
|   1022 | 22      | NULL   | ABC TV          |           |       0 | ABC TV          |
|   1030 | 30      | NULL   | SBS HD          | SBS-Vic   |       1 | SBS             |
|   1031 | 31      | NULL   | SBS 2           |           |       0 | SBS 2           |
|   1033 | 33      | NULL   | SBS NEWS        | SBSWN     |       1 | SBS NEWS        |
|   1038 | 38      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 1     |           |       0 | SBS RADIO 1     |
|   1039 | 39      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 2     |           |       0 | SBS RADIO 2     |
|   1060 | 60      | NULL   | PRIME HD        | Prime-Vic |       1 | Prime           |
|   1061 | 61      | NULL   | PRIME View 1    |           |       0 | PRIME View 1    |
|   1062 | 62      | NULL   | PRIME View 2    |           |       0 | PRIME View 2    |
|   1063 | 63      | NULL   | PRIME View 3    |           |       0 | PRIME View 3    |
|   1080 | 80      | NULL   | WIN TV HD       | WIN-Vic   |       1 | Nine            |
|   1200 | 200     | NULL   | ABC DiG Radio   |           |       0 | ABC DiG Radio   |
|   1201 | 201     | NULL   | ABC DiG Jazz    |           |       0 | ABC DiG Jazz    |
|   2002 | 2       | NULL   | ABC TV Victoria |           |       0 | ABC TV Victoria |
|   2003 | 3       | NULL   | SBS             |           |       0 | SBS             |
|   2005 | 5       | NULL   | SC10 Ballarat   | SC10-Vic  |       1 | Ten             |
|   2006 | 6       | NULL   | PRIME Ballarat  |           |       0 | PRIME Ballarat  |
|   2008 | 8       | NULL   | Western Vic     |           |       0 | Western Vic     |
|   2020 | 20      | NULL   | ABC HDTV        | ABC-Vic   |       1 | ABC HDTV        |
|   2021 | 21      | NULL   | ABC2            | ABC2      |       1 | ABC2            |
|   2022 | 22      | NULL   | ABC TV          |           |       0 | ABC TV          |
|   2030 | 30      | NULL   | SBS HD          | SBS-Vic   |       1 | SBS HD          |
|   2031 | 31      | NULL   | SBS 2           |           |       0 | SBS 2           |
|   2033 | 33      | NULL   | SBS NEWS        | SBSWN     |       1 | SBS NEWS        |
|   2038 | 38      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 1     |           |       0 | SBS RADIO 1     |
|   2039 | 39      | NULL   | SBS RADIO 2     |           |       0 | SBS RADIO 2     |
|   2050 | 50      | NULL   | SC10 HD         |           |       0 | SC10 HD         |
|   2055 | 55      | NULL   | MyTalk          |           |       0 | MyTalk          |
|   2060 | 60      | NULL   | PRIME HD        | Prime-Vic |       1 | PRIME HD        |
|   2061 | 61      | NULL   | PRIME View 1    |           |       0 | PRIME View 1    |
|   2062 | 62      | NULL   | PRIME View 2    |           |       0 | PRIME View 2    |
|   2063 | 63      | NULL   | PRIME View 3    |           |       0 | PRIME View 3    |
|   2080 | 80      | NULL   | WIN TV HD       | WIN-Vic   |       1 | WIN TV HD       |
|   2200 | 200     | NULL   | ABC DiG Radio   |           |       0 | ABC DiG Radio   |
|   2201 | 201     | NULL   | ABC DiG Jazz    |           |       0 | ABC DiG Jazz    |
|   2202 |         | NULL   | ABC             | ABC-Vic   |       1 | ABC             |
|   2203 |         | NULL   | ABC2            | ABC2      |       1 | ABC2            |
|   2204 |         | NULL   | NINE            | WIN-Vic   |       1 | Nine            |
|   2205 |         | NULL   | SBS             | SBS-Vic   |       1 | SBS             |
|   2206 |         | NULL   | SBSWN           | SBSWN     |       1 | SBSWN           |
|   2207 |         | NULL   | SEVEN           | Prime-Vic |       1 | Seven           |
|   2208 |         | NULL   | TEN             | SC10-Vic  |       1 | Ten             |
|   3050 | 2050    | NULL   | SC10 Ballarat   |           |       0 | SC10 Ballarat   |
|   3082 | 2082    | NULL   | SC10 HD         |           |       0 | SC10 HD         |
|   3114 | 2114    | NULL   | MyTalk          |           |       0 | MyTalk          |
|   3115 |         | NULL   | ABC             | ABC-Vic   |       1 | ABC             |
|   3116 |         | NULL   | ABC2            | ABC2      |       1 | ABC2            |
|   3117 |         | NULL   | NINE            | WIN-Vic   |       1 | Nine            |
|   3118 |         | NULL   | SBS             | SBS-Vic   |       1 | SBS             |
|   3119 |         | NULL   | SBSWN           | SBSWN     |       1 | SBSWN           |
|   3120 |         | NULL   | SEVEN           | Prime-Vic |       1 | Seven           |
|   3121 |         | NULL   | TEN             | SC10-Vic  |       1 | Ten             |
+--------+---------+--------+-----------------+-----------+---------+-----------------+
58 rows in set (0.00 sec)
mysql>

That left me with a reasonable display, after I removed some of the extraneous naming from the name attribute, but I still had some problems actually recording things. Messed around with the antenna connections and got a lot of improvement; but what's the issue? I'm not out of the woods yet.


Tuesday, 21 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Into town today to finally have my hair cut. Found a barber (not a hairdresser) in Sebastopol who still does things the old-fashioned way, in my case making my hair a little shorter than I would have liked. But that can be tuned; I suspect I'll stay with him.

Then to the Eureka Medical Centre to get the results of my blood tests two months ago. Unlike my experience the day before, I had a long wait, nearly 2½ hours. I'll have to choose my times more carefully next time.

As suspected, all was well; although I have diabetes, all my diabetes-related values were in the acceptable range for healthy people. Nevertheless, the doctor wants me to cut down on cholesterol. I wonder how important that is. For the moment, until the next HbA1c measurement next month, I don't plan to change anything.

Back home didn't do much. Now we have TV again, we're doing even less real work.


Wednesday, 22 August 2007 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Had intended to tidy things up today, but didn't get very far. One of the results of my retirement is that I'm now in charge of looking after the household accounts, something that Yvonne previously did. Spent a lot of time setting up new folders, but didn't get finished.

My problems with MythTV aren't over—or maybe it's just the drivers for the DVB cards. In any case, a recording of a programme on “Win” fell apart in pieces. More investigation required.


Thursday, 23 August 2007 Dereel Images for 23 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Last week I bought a camera on eBay; despite promises, it wasn't dispatched for 4 days, and then by UPS. At least UPS allows you to see the progress of the shipment:

Tracking information

So it came in over the weekend and apparently was stored at UPS from Sunday to Thursday. Australia Post would have delivered immediately. Still, I'm used to this kind of treatment from courier companies, and didn't try to hurry them up.

This morning I received a letter in the mail from a company in Ballarat. The camera had been waiting there at the railway station since Tuesday, and I had to go in to pick it up. Off to town, where I discovered that UPS doesn't deliver anywhere in Victoria except for Melbourne. Under those circumstances, they shouldn't have accepted the package in the first place. I was also able to pick up the camera with no identification whatsoever; anybody else who had known about the camera could have picked it up before me. My hope of UPS improving my opinion of it was in vain. I retrieved the tracking information shown above after I had picked up the camera, so it's also completely inaccurate.

On the positive side, the camera was as advertised and it has a world-wide warranty, which no US vendor offers.

On to VicRoads to have my drivers' license changed to Victoria. The agent took my details and told me I'd need an interview, and asked me when would be convenient to make an appointment. I told her that I had expected to be able to do it immediately, but she said an appointment was necessary: that was the procedure. Before I had time to venture much of an opinion beyond “doing it by the book”, she said that I could have an appointment now if I wanted. I wanted, and 10 minutes later I had a new Victorian drivers' license. But what a strange way to go about things!

Back home, and the air conditioning people showed up and installed 4 of the 7 interior units; we're still waiting for the external units, and we don't even have much of a delivery date. Things are getting warmer, but hopefully they'll arrive soon.

Spent a lot of the afternoon RTFMing the camera manual, which is voluminous. So far it seems easier to use than the Canon, but it'll take a while to learn. It also comes with only one battery and no Compact Flash card. I knew this, but didn't want to buy the second battery and CF card until I was sure I actually got the camera (I already have a 48 MB card which will do for the while). Set off on eBay to look for them, and found them remarkably cheaply, for $17 and $14 Australian respectively. You'd think that they'd come as standard on a camera in this price range.

Paying for the items took forever! About 45 minutes total, mainly, it seems, because PayPal is so inefficient with what it sends down the line. At a maximum speed of about 3.5 kB/s, just downloading a page can take several minutes, by which time you'd think it had timed out. High time that I get a real Internet connection.


Friday, 24 August 2007 Dereel Images for 24 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Finally the weather's getting better! For once we were able to take off our jumpers and open the windows, at least in part because we've become so used to cold temperatures. But it did get above 20° in the afternoon, until the sun passed the trees to the west and the temperatures dropped again.

Today I had planned to tidy up my office and the lounge room (room 10 according to our numbering; the layout of the house is sufficiently confusing that it's better to number them than give them a name; originally it was called the “rumpus room”). Yvonne was more interested in getting the outhouses converted from their previous use as dog runs. One of the rooms was not in use when we arrived:


  This should be shed-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: shed 1          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 832 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 24 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 24 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Friday, 24 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be shed-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: shed 2          Dimensions:          2736 x 3648, 928 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 24 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 24 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Friday, 24 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

For some reason, Chris Yeardley christened it “the chicken shed”, so that's what it will probably be called in all eternity, like the replacement for the Mike Smith Memorial Room is liable to be called the pigsty, because we're planning to put it where there are currently some very dilapidated (but clean) pigsties.

Yvonne didn't win completely, but looking at today's photos it's clear that she did fairly well. Most of the insides were screwed together with long screws and 8mm hex heads. The battery-driven screwdriver made hard going of it, and Yvonne had to unscrew a number manually. Then it occurred to me that a power drill would work too—Yvonne was not happy that I only thought of it after she had done most of the work.

In the afternoon, the Yeardleys came by to pick up some firewood, and in the process we further removed junk from the paddocks. At least things no longer seem so insurmountable.

Last month we bought a tagine at IKEA, or at least what they called a tagine: the original should be in pottery, but this was cast aluminium. I've been meaning to try it out for some time, but the big problem is that we have little understanding of Moroccan food, and the recipes I have all seem to be different. Ended up making up a dish which, apart from the pickled lemons, tasted more Greek than Moroccan:


  This should be tagine-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: tagine 4          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 1104 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 24 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 24 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Friday, 24 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

Still, it wasn't too bad, and there's some space for experimentation. I still have little idea how much difference the pot makes.


Saturday, 25 August 2007 Dereel Images for 25 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Over to the Yeardleys for breakfast today—nasi lemak. Fifi had told me about the way they do it at home, but in fact it came out to be quite similar to what I do:


  This should be breakfast-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: breakfast 1          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 912 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 25 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 25 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 25 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be breakfast-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: breakfast 2          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 944 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 25 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 25 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 25 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

The problems with Cameta still aren't over. Now they've given me negative feedback:

They also raised an issue with Square Trading to get me to retract my feedback. Why didn't they just contact me directly? If they had done that in the beginning, they wouldn't have this problem.

While waiting for breakfast, saw Chris' new printer: a Tally-Genicom colour laser printer. I forget the model number, but it's identical in appearance to my Brother HL-2700 CN. They paid $299 for it at Aldi! Prices are really tumbling.

Back home, discovered that Lilac has got over her affection for rabbits. Years ago we found her in the basket on top of the fridge with a live baby rabbit, apparently for company. Today the rabbit was less live:


  This should be lilac-rabbit.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: lilac rabbit          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 1072 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 25 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 25 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 25 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

I'm not happy about this kind of thing, but I should accept the fact that, in Australia, rabbits are serious pests.

Spent most of the day continuing our tasks; one that went better than I expected was mowing the lawn. Last weekend I had had to stop after removing a couple of blades on a concrete block, and today was the day to replace the mower blades, the sort of thing that I had always left to mechanics. Doing it myself proved to be useful: the blades themselves are very cheap ($18 a pair), and changing them is literally just a matter of screwing them onto a plate. The results were better too, though that could be related to the dry weather we've been having.


Sunday, 26 August 2007 Dereel Images for 26 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Wendy McClelland came around this morning in the vain hope that I might sign her petition. We had quite a discussion, in which she showed that she really didn't understand the material. That doesn't mean that she was prepared to listen. I asked her what power she thought the typical mobile phone tower put out. She didn't know. I told her it was in the order of 20W. She said “that's not right. It's much more”. How do you argue with that? She also insists that there's a difference between microwaves and radio waves, and that digital signals are much more dangerous than analogue signals. Interestingly, she also uses mobile phones herself on rare occasions. She seems to think that they suck power from the towers rather than using it themselves.

Somehow I never get round to tidying up my office. Today I at least had two excuses: first, the weather was good, inviting me to do something outdoors, and secondly, Yvonne was still working on the horse infrastructure and inviting me to do something outdoors. The chicken shed is progressing, and we managed to shoe-horn in a cupboard which was wider than the doorway; we had to remove the doors to get it in:


  This should be shoehorn-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: shoehorn 1          Dimensions:          2736 x 3648, 752 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 26 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 26 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 26 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

The new Olympus camera has 10 MP (“10.0”, according to the claim on the front; in fact, the largest images are 3648x2736 pixels, which translates to 9980928). That's a lot more than the 3 MP of the old Nikon CoolPix 880, but so far my scripts have created reduced-size images simply by reducing them by a specific factor (10% for “thumbnails”, 25% for “small”). Thus the old “thumbnail” images from the Nikon were 205x154 pixels, but the “thumbnails” from the Olympus would be 365x274. Things look even worse when you crop things, like Yvonne did with some photos I took for her yesterday, which were cropped from 1280x768 originals. The results looked terrible, so now I've modified the scripts to set the “thumbnails” and small images to a specific size, regardless of the size of the original.

A few days back I bought a large number of chicken wings with intent to barbecue in a vaguely Chinese style. I've always had problems with the way they're cooked: first marinated, then fried or grilled. The result can be that they're OK outside, but not completely cooked inside. Today tried steaming them instead, with good results.

Spent some time looking round eBay for a flash gun for my new camera. The real issues seem to be:

How much is strong enough? Olympus has two proprietary flashes with guide numbers of 50 and 36 (cleverly measured at the long focal length equivalent to 85mm on a 35mm camera). The ones I was looking at varied between about 25 and 30. So I dragged out my ancient Mecablitz 40 CT 4, which must now be 30 years old, and checked it.


  This should be mecablitz-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: mecablitz 1          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 528 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Monday, 27 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be mecablitz-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: mecablitz 2          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 688 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Monday, 27 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

It seems that the 40 is the guide number at 50mm, which may make it stronger than any of the modern flash guns I've been looking at. Considering the small apertures of modern lenses, that surprises me.

The Mecablitz has internal rechargeable batteries, presumably NiCd, and the last time I replaced them was 15 years ago, so they're dead as a dodo. But the unit still works, so it looks like it should be worth replacing them.


Monday, 27 August 2007 Dereel Images for 27 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

The post arrives early here—it'll take getting used to that the post is delivered at all—and today I found the battery for my camera that I had ordered on Thursday evening. That must be the fastest delivery I've ever had from eBay.

Spent some time this morning thinking about the flash unit, and removed the batteries:


  This should be mecablitz-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: mecablitz 3          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 800 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Monday, 27 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

They have no useful markings on them, beyond polarity, neither the voltage, capacity or type of battery. Connected a multimeter to them and discovered that together they delivered 4.8V, the correct voltage for properly charged NiCd or NiMH batteries. For the fun of it, put them back into the flash and turned it on. It didn't make the same whining noise it used to do 15 years ago, but it worked! I wonder how long NiCds last when they're discharged.

Further examination shows that it's quite useful, though the guide number seems to be on the optimistic side; the photos taken with the recommendations were somewhat dark:


  This should be kitchen-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: kitchen 1          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 944 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 27 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Monday, 27 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

I can compensate for that, and it's as good as I'll get until I spend the money to buy one of Olympus' flash units.

In the afternoon, planned to pump some water from the decrepit tanks behind the shed, which are leaking what water is still in them:


  This should be tank-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: tank 1          Dimensions:          2736 x 3648, 1456 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 28 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 28 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 28 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 

Spent the usual inordinate amount of time looking for connections to the ancient pump that I last used in Germany, though it has an Australian plug on it; I must have lent it to somebody. After connecting things up, discovered that it had seized up, and nothing I could do could get it to pump. What a waste! There's only about 1 cubic metre of water left in the tank; by the time I get a replacement, that'll be gone too.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007 Dereel Images for 28 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Today Yvonne was finally able to do her work by herself, so I returned to tidying up my office and filing things away. I'm still not finished, but it's looking a lot better.

My old Mecablitz has aroused more interest than I would have thought. Daniel Gustafsson writes:

What I lovely surprise on your diary! I thought I was the last one alive to use an old mecablitz, in my case a 34BCT1 that my dad originally purchased sometime around 1974. I use it with my Canon EOS350D (as well as an old Fujica ST801 35mm) with great success. It needs a bit of manual work since it can't communicate with the camera for light metering but works really well and creates nice light, especially when bounced off ceilings and walls. Not to mention that it looks awesome on a modern SLR =)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007 Dereel Images for 29 August 2007
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Quiet day. One of the reasons for retiring was to have more time to relax, so today took advantage of that, despite the mountains of work still to be done. Most of it can wait.

One of the things that can't wait too much longer is my brewing fridge. Put the machine together and fired it up, somewhat hampered by another UPS that failed on me and two keyboards each with a different stuck key. Now to find the relay power board, and to check that the sensors are still functional.

Just about everybody at the Yeardleys is leaving tomorrow—David, Fifi and Jana, leaving just Chris. Over in the evening for a farewell pizza:


  This should be chris-greg.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: chris greg          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 688 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 29 August 2007, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 29 August 2007, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 29 August 2007 Complete exposure details

 


Thursday, 30 August 2007 Dereel –> Melbourne –> Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Everybody was leaving today, and Yvonne and I had planned to go to the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, so it made sense to take them to the airport.

I'll never cease to marvel how bad the drive from the airport to the middle of Melbourne is. This time we left before hitting the toll road, and down Bell Street to Sydney Road. No signs of any nature suggesting that it's the way into town: the only signed ways take you down the toll way (about $12). When you get to Sydney Road, you need to turn right into it to get to town—but there's no right turn allowed! We had to drive on and do a U turn, which for some reason hadn't been prohibited. I'm left with the strong impression that everything has been done to maximize the profit of the company running the toll roads.

Sydney Road hasn't really changed in size since I lived in the area 50 years ago. It's still narrow and with tram lines down the middle. The inhabitants have definitely changed; the suburbs have names like Coburg, Brunswick and Heidelbarg, but the inhabitants now have names and cultures from the Middle East and South-East Asia, blending into Greek and Italian as you get further south.

Stopped at a place which boasted to be Australia's largest “European” supermarket, but whose receipts don't match the name—“Mediterranean Wholesalers”, without address or phone number. They're on the east side of Sydney road, just to the north of Victoria St, Brunswick. Went in there and discovered, as I expected, that “European” translated to “Italian”; but they do have a very good choice of Italian goods. Didn't buy much: our main plan was to buy things in the market.

Had lunch a couple of doors down at an “Asian” (i.e. Chinese-Malaysian-Japanese) place, then on to the market, where we arrived at about 14:30 to discover that our information had been incorrect: they shut long before the 17:00 that we had been told, and most of the vegetables were already gone. Bought what we could and down to the delicatessen section, which was well and truly closed.

Reinhard Bahlo, Chris' brother, had sent us a mail message with details of German food, but the closest we could find on that list (apart from the market itself) was in Boronia, and we'd already had enough of Melbourne traffic, so decided to give up and crawl back to the freeway along another route which might have been OK had there not been an accident. Headed back to Sebastopol and did most of our shopping at Safeway, which has the most expensive saffron I have ever seen: $10.99 for 100 mg, or $109,90 per kilogram. Normally the prices are about $3.50 for 400 mg, making this at least 10 times more expensive. I wonder if anybody buys the stuff; sufficient for a Paella Valenciana would cost about $60.


Friday, 31 August 2007 Dereel Images for 31 August 2007
Top of page
previous day

50 years since Malaya became independent. How time flies!

Didn't do much today. I had intended to assemble some cupboards for the kitchen, but I needed Yvonne's help, and she was in town all day doing shopping, so I just put some drawers together and then watched TV.

Tried some deep-fried vegetables in the evening. I don't know what went wrong, but it tasted horribly greasy.


Top of page Previous month Greg's home page Today's diary entry Next month Greg's photos Copyright information

Valid XHTML 1.0!

$Id: diary-aug2007.php,v 1.66 2013/06/24 01:15:04 grog Exp $