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August 2022
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Monday, 1 August 2022 Dereel Images for 1 August 2022
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Shed: day 10 of 3
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Troy Addicoat really showed up today, not alone as announced, but with 3 others. In went the skylights:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220801/big/Completing-shed-1.jpeg
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A little tidying up, and we're done! Troy even took away the truck and pay-by-the-hour scissor lift, which have been here since 11 July. Now we just have to wait for the inspector to come by and approve the structure, and we're really done, only 28 months after we started.

Will Tatnell also along to reposition the water trough:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220801/big/Relocating-trough-2.jpeg
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He also tidied up the surface in front of the arena, and adjusted the sand in the arena so that it's not on quite such a slope. It's good enough that Yvonne will try it like that before going to the trouble of getting more fill for the surface.


Hibiscus damage
Topic: gardening Link here

The cold snap has really had its effect on the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max”:


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It's a good thing we have other cuttings available if it really dies.


Fix my air conditioner
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

So now I'm pretty sure that the problems with the air conditioner at least have to do with the fan. Called up Tony at Atmos on 0419 110 370. Rang out and diverted to voice mail. Called Leeann on 5331 9436. Rang out and diverted to what appears to be the same voice mail. Repeatedly. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.


Tuesday, 2 August 2022 Dereel Images for 2 August 2022
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The shed: final inspection
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Gagan Deep of Wyndham Building Permits along today for the final inspection of the shed.

It failed.

He complained about the skylights—not the colour, or the number, but that they were there at all. And he didn't like the fact that the water discharge wasn't 10 m from the shed! He took photos of the down pipes, and barely looked at the shed itself, only the braces that Troy was going to remove tomorrow.

Spoke to Troy about the matter, and he said he would contact Brenton, surname unknown, apparently Gagan's superior. He called back later to say that all was well, and we wouldn't need another visit. Hopefully he's right.


Lara? Larissa? Lena? Yelyena?
Topic: language, animals, opinion Link here

We've had our dogs for over a year now, and we're running into trouble with their names. Larissa was clear from the outset, and we had planned to shorten the name to Lara. But then Lena came, and we had trouble deciding what to call her. We finally settled on “Lena” (Yvonne) or “Lyena” (me).

But that proves to be a problem: the names are too similar, and while the dogs have no difficulty distinguishing them, we do. So Yvonne has decided that she's prepared to change to Larissa (full name) and Yelena.

Looking up the name in Wikipedia is instructive for two reasons: yes, in Russian it's Елена (Yelyena), but in Ukrainian, which uses different letters for E, it's Єлена (Yelena). So arguably we could call her Yelena, the way Yvonne wants, and get away with it. But Borzois are Russian dogs, not Ukrainian, and it would be silly to reject everything Russian just because of their psychopathic leader.


Google Maps rejections
Topic: general, opinion Link here

For some reason Google Maps doesn't want Stones Road to end:

 
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In fact, Stones Road comes from the north and ends at the junction with Bliss Road, which continues to the NE corner, and beyond that to the south it's Harrisons Road:


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That's all the same photo with different crops. The last one shows the sign for Harrisons Road, more visible from closer:


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Clicking on the images gives an opportunity to display a map of the area from which the photos were taken.

Quite some time ago I submitted a correction to Google Maps. Normally they accept my corrections, but this time they didn't:

Stones Rd
Not applied · Road info
Google couldn't verify your edit
Edited 26 Dec 2021

The T junction is even in their (seriously outdated) street view, though barely recognizable:

 
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Is that my fault if they can't verify things? Hopefully this article will help.


Shed lighting
Topic: Stones Road house, general, photography, opinion Link here

How even is the lighting in the shed with those skylights? Went through with an exposure meter and found, in bright sunlight, an exposure difference of about 2.4 EV from the darkest to the brightest part. That seems good enough for me.


Wednesday, 3 August 2022 Dereel Images for 3 August 2022
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Shed: the next obstacle
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Woke up early and it occurred to me that, though Troy was due to come here today and remove the braces from the shed, we still didn't have the certificate of inspection. So at 7:48 I got up and sent him an SMS:

Still haven't seen the certificate for the inspection. We should wait for that before removing the braces.

About 1½ hours later and looked outside. Mitch, Troy's helper, removing the braces. OK, it's done now. But he wouldn't take the rubbish with him, though Troy had promised to do so.

While I was there, checked the ground. We had had 7.5 mm of rain overnight. How do things look?


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That could be worse: once grass has grown over it, we shouldn't have much of an issue.

But later I received mail from Wyndham Building Permits: a “WRITTEN DIRECTION TO FIX BUILDING WORK”, requiring me to:

Carry out work to ensure compliance with the Building Act 1993 Building Regulations 2018 and / or building permit as follows:

Connect Down Pipes with existing stormwater system as per plan

OK, I'll bite. What existing stormwater system? What plan? But it's clear that we're going to have to do something. Spoke to Troy, who was still surprisingly unhelpful given that he has still $1000 to get for me. In principle it's not his problem, but since he has done work on the shed since the last inspection, it's possible that they'll complain about that when they come back to check. Sorry, Troy, I warned you.


Richmond Penang WHITE Curry Noodle
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last time I was in Geelong I bought a packet of this paste:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220803/big/Penang-WHITE-curry-noodle-paste-3.jpeg
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I've been holding off cooking it, at least because of the bizarre cooking instructions:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220803/big/Penang-WHITE-curry-noodle-paste-2.jpeg
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Use ¾ pkg of the paste? And what, throw the rest out? No, “the remaining ¼ pkt of paste is for extra flavouring if required”. It also wants considerably more liquid, so I spent a lot of time wondering just how much to make. In the end I used the entire packet, 400 g coconut paste and water and diluted until it tasted about right, which proved to be 2.12 litres, somewhat less than they asked for.

And the flavour? Boring. Richmond make some excellent Penang laksa, but everything else I have tried from them doesn't quite make the grade.


No coffee!
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yvonne turned on the coffee machine today. Nothing happened. After a bit of examination, discovered that it was displaying a red warning triangle. Obvious, isn't it? But section 19 of the instructions tell me:

The inside of the appliance is very dirty.

How can it tell? The instructions say to remove the infuser, clean it and replace it. OK. How does it know that I have cleaned it? It doesn't, say I. So I removed the infuser and replaced it, and it carried on working.

That's good for the morning coffee, but clearly it's a good idea to clean it. Here's the photo sequence that the maker was too polite to include in the instructions:

  1. Remove the water tank:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220803/big/Coffee-machine-2.jpeg
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  2. Open the infuser door on the right side of the appliance:


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    In passing, why does it mention the right side now? It's clearly behind the water tank.

  3. Press the two coloured release buttons inward and at the same time pull the infuser outwards:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220803/big/Coffee-machine-6.jpeg
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    Again, too polite to say that the infuser is the thing with the red coloured buttons on it.

  4. Soak the infuser in water for about 5 minutes, then rinse under the tap.

    Interesting that it's not an issue getting it wet. The results show almost no “dirt” at all:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220803/big/Coffee-machine-10.jpeg
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  5. Replace the infuser and push on the PUSH symbol until it clicks into place.

It shows a couple of drawing that bear only a passing resemblance to the infuser:


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Still, that works. Why can't they document it accordingly?


Elena does it again
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

It's only been less than a month since Elena chewed up Yvonne's glasses:


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That involved an expensive replacement. But now we have:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220803/big/Yvonnes-glasses-1.jpeg
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Those are the new glasses. It's not quite as bad, but they need replacing. Today Yvonne went to town and ordered two new el-cheapo sets. Hopefully by the time Elena gets through them, she'll have grown out of it.


Kiev 3A instructions
Topic: history, photography, opinion Link here

Yvonne back home from shopping with a package:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220804/big/Kiev-3a-instructions-3.jpeg
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The instructions for the Kiev 3A. That didn't take as long as last time, only a little over a month. At the time I had thought that that was because it had been sent from Lviv, not Kyiv for the camera itself, but it seems that the camera was subsequently sent via Kyiv.

02.07.2022       79022 LVIV 22 UKRAINE       Acceptance
04.07.2022       79999 TSOP LVIV UKRAINE       Dispatching
05.07.2022       79999 TSOP LVIV UKRAINE       Income
05.07.2022       03909 DOPP KYIV UKRAINE       Dispatching
05.07.2022       03909 DOPP KYIV UKRAINE       Income
      03928 KYIV MMPO UKRAINE       Dispatching
05.07.2022       03928 KYIV MMPO UKRAINE       Arrival at outward office of exchange
06.07.2022       03928 KYIV MMPO UKRAINE       Item presented to customs:
06.07.2022       03928 KYIV MMPO UKRAINE       Released from customs for further delivery:
22.07.2022             The postal item has been processed at the office of exchange and handed over for further transportation to the destination country
28.07.2022       AUSTRALIA       Container with your item is processed at the airport

Oh:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220804/big/Kiev-3a-instructions-1.jpeg
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Wrong model? Well, yes and no. In fact there were four different documents there. First, the sales receipt:


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Sold by Zentralniy Univermag, Petrovka 2 in Moscow phone number K 5-35-20 on 2 March 1958. Now doesn't that bring things closer? And both here and on the “passport” are the serial numbers both of the camera and the lens:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220804/big/Kiev-3a-instructions-10.jpeg
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And yes, the instructions are for many Kiev models, including the Kiev 3, but apparently not the Kiev 3A. That appears to be what they supplied at the time.

And then there's a fourth document, relating to the lens, along with tables like this one:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220804/big/Kiev-3a-instructions-14.jpeg
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I need to find a way to translate this stuff.


The incredible shrinking ruble
Topic: history, general, opinion Link here

The exchange rate of the Russian Ruble has been of political interest in the last few months. From Yahoo! finance, before Russia invaded Ukraine, the exchange rate was round 85 RUB to the €. Then the western world put sanctions on Russia to reduce the value of the Ruble. Now the rate is round 63 RUB. In other words, the Ruble has appreciated by about 30% against the €:

Date       Open       High       Low       Close*       Adj. close**
01 Feb 2022       86.9906       123.8021       84.5306       93.8144       93.8144
01 Mar 2022       120.3455       160.4040       89.9626       92.4836       92.4836
01 Apr 2022       89.9626       97.2080       75.0680       75.1105       75.1105
01 May 2022       75.1105       77.4070       58.9704       65.8050       65.8050
01 Jun 2022       65.3152       67.5952       53.7092       53.7092       53.7092
01 Jul 2022       55.1654       63.7892       53.7150       60.3047       60.3047
01 Aug 2022       63.5610       63.7540       61.8899       62.5624       62.5624
03 Aug 2022       63.7097       63.7128       62.5720       62.6080       62.6080

Yes, the rate briefly reached 160 RUB per €, but then it recovered. That worked well, didn't it?

More interesting to me is what my Kiev 3A really cost in 1958. 2,224 Soviet Rubles, of course:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220804/big/Kiev-3a-instructions-7.jpeg
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That sounds like a lot. What would it be worth in modern currency? Problem: there was almost no currency exchange at the time. All I have is this comparison, which suggests that the exchange rate was about 4 Rubles to the US dollar, so the camera would have cost about $550. And what's that in modern currency? This page tells me that on 1 January 1960 (the earliest they record) it was £245:11:5 Australian, (which they write as $491.07), and that that converts to a massive $9,038 today!

Is that plausible? Another indication is from the Soviet Ruble page:

On April 1991, following the failed monetary reform of 1991, the tourist exchange rate was raised significantly to 27.6 Rbls. per dollar, making the average monthly Soviet salary of 330 Rbls. worth only $12.

So yes, this seems an amazingly high price. Based on the quote above, it would have been worth 7 years' wages or more, assuming that the Ruble didn't deflate between 1958 and 1991. Is it correct? Am I misinterpreting? There's nothing on the receipt to indicate the currency, but what else could it have been? Is it forged? It's written in pencil, which seems strange, but not exactly an suggestion of fraud.


X modifier issue: fixed
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Last week I came up with a strategy to fix sticking modifier keys in X: remove them. How? xmodmap is your friend, and it seems that to remove NumLock (well, in fact all keys that are interpreted at mod2) from the modifier map, you get it to execute the command

clear Mod2

I could also presumably have entered

remove Mod2 = NumLock

But I really don't want any kind of Mod2, so the first one seems better.

But how do I execute it? According to the man page, you specify expressions with the -e option. But when I try it, I get:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) ~ 52 -> xmodmap -e clear Mod2
xmodmap:  commandline:1:  bad clear modifier input line
xmodmap:  unable to open file 'Mod2' for reading
xmodmap:  2 errors encountered, aborting.

Fool! It's a single parameter, so you need to quote it:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) ~ 53 -> xmodmap -e 'clear Mod2'
=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) ~ 54 ->

The way I actually did it was to put it in the ~/.xmodmap file that gets run when I start X.


Thursday, 4 August 2022 Dereel Images for 4 August 2022
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Translating Russian documentation
Topic: language, photography, opinion Link here

Spent much of the day scanning the documentation for the Kiev 3A. Done, and legible—in Russian, of course. How do I translate it? Google_Chrome has an interface to Google Lens, and that should translate things for me.

Well, up to a point. Here the inside of the “passport”, original and translation:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220804/big/Kiev-3a-instructions-8.jpeg
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Clearly nothing that I can use to produce an English translation of the documentation. It does, however, have a dump of the texts, which I have put on the history page.

How good is the translation? Bearable at best. It does manage Russian handwriting, up to a point:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220804/big/Kiev-3a-instructions-8-detail.jpeg
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Now if there's one part of the original that's easy to read for a non-Russian speaker, it's the numbers: 28, 1957. So how did it make a 2 out of the 7?

There's also a long and boring dump of this text, which I have saved on the passport page.

The other page I looked at was the lens table I looked at yesterday. Surprise, surprise, it relates to the use of a +2 dioptre close-up lens:


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That's completely useless. Yes, again there's a text, but it really doesn't help much. I've saved it in the lens tables page.

So I'll need to find alternatives, if there are any.


Arena shed: the final hurdle?
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

What do we do with our WRITTEN DIRECTION TO FIX BUILDING WORK, requiring me to:

Carry out work to ensure compliance with the Building Act 1993 Building Regulations 2018 and / or building permit as follows:

Connect Down Pipes with existing stormwater system as per plan

Clearly that's nonsense. There is no existing “stormwater” system, and if there's a plan, they're keeping very quiet about it. But clearly we need to drain the area, and we had planned to put a tank on the west side of the shed. Yvonne spent some time looking for tanks, with reasonable success. In the evening had a long discussion with Mari Hendriks, who can do the work the week after next. But how do we know whether they'll be happy with that? I need to drag up all relevant documentation and then give them a call. How I'm looking forward to that!


Friday, 5 August 2022 Dereel Images for 5 August 2022
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Shed: done? dusted?
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Call from Troy Addicoat today. He should have called yesterday, but I still owe him money, so I was sure I would hear from him. Yes, he spoke to Brenton, who—he says—said that I needed to dig the drain pipes into the ground and lead them at least 6 m from the shed, where, presumably, it would resurface. I have my grave doubts. This is from somebody who has never seen the land, and even the document I received from them talks of a non-existent “existing stormwater system”. All I can really surmise is that Troy didn't get any concessions from Brenton.

Should I pay him? In principle yes. The only remaining bone of contention is the drainage, and that's not Troy's business. But then he sent Mitch along yesterday to remove the braces on the structure, and potentially that could lead to still more problems. So I offered to pay $500 now and $500 when the inspector had finally done his thing.

Troy didn't agree. In fact, he disagreed vehemently, threatening to come and demolish the shed unless he got his money by this evening. “How are you going to explain that to Yvonne?”. Sorry, Mr. Addicoat, that is a threat of destruction. I hereby forbid you to enter my property.

He cooled down again and promised that in the unlikely event that the inspector complained about the braces, he would come and replace them and then remove them again. “I'm a man of my word”.

Well. That could be discussed. But in the end and after discussion with Yvonne I decided that it's unlikely that there would be any problem, so we could take the risk. So I've now paid the whole thing.

In the meantime, Yvonne spent time looking for tanks. We found two that would do the trick, but there's a question of delivery times. It looks as if it will be a couple of weeks before we get anything.

And the drainage? I'm supposed to:

Connect Down Pipes with existing stormwater system as per plan

Well, no stormwater system exists. And the plan? Which plan? Off to look at the (revised) planning and building permits, and there's no mention of drainage at all. So what are they complaining about? The inspection is supposed to check whether the structure complies with the permits, and it does.

OK, time to hoist the council with its own petard. Please explain: which existing stormwater system and which plan? We're compliant. Please issue the certificate and cancel your invoice for another inspection. We will connect up the shed to a tank, and if you have any wishes, we will consider them. You can come and take a look if you like, at your expense.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of that.


Translating Russian
Topic: language, technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday's attempts to translate the Kiev 3A instructions were less than successful. But surely there must be something on the web. Did a bit of searching and came up with this page, which offers a far-too-mouse-happy interface to first “scan” and then translate pages. Here an example:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220805/big/i2ocr-1.png
Image title: Kiev 3A instructions          Dimensions:          3567 x 2414, 1693 kB
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The translation is less than stellar:

- 32 -.
gear, and the rotation of the lenses themselves for
(Fig. 30).

on the-
focus ring roller

, Rice. 30. Focusing E = 13.5 cm.

} NOTE: Before installing the lens "Jupiter-12"
| -3.5 cm need to remove from the rear lens two
safety caps.

The rear element of this lens is not protected
on the frame, and therefore, so as not to damage it
° view, with lens "Jupiter-12" Р=3.5 cm

must be handled with extreme caution.
When installing optional lenses,
And the chag, fixing the focusing mechanism on the device
| | those are turned off automatically by the lens mount.
and Removing optional lenses
in the reverse order, also with the installed
on the focusing mechanisms of the apparatus and lens,

1X. Camera "Kyiv-Sh"

(Model W)

The Kyiv-Sh camera (Sh model) is different
from the camera model P by the top device
the part in which the photovoltaic is placed
exposure meter (Fig. 31).

Rice. 31. General view of the Kyiv-Sh camera

I suppose it can be forgiven for translating the name of the camera as Kyiv, but it has translated the III as the Cyrillic letter Ш in the first instance and W in the second. And the abbreviation рис. is recognized in the first sentence, but the second occurrence gets translated as “rice”. Still, it's better than nothing.

It also offers to translate with Bing, but that seems broken: it takes you to the home page.


More Mod2 observations
Topic: technology Link here

Removing Mod2 from my X modifier map on teevee worked round the issue of stuck modifier keys. But why did it only happen there? A quick check on eureka shows: it doesn't exist there! I wonder why.


Saturday, 6 August 2022 Dereel Images for 6 August 2022
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Finally: lamb biriani
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last May we had planned a riding clinic with Anke Hawke, and I had planned dinner, involving lamb biriani. Lockdowns postponed the clinic multiple times, and it didn't take place until the end of last month.

I had frozen the meat and broth that I had prepared in advance, but I didn't cook the dish during the clinic: I've come to the conclusion that the people have more interesting things to do. But finally, after more minor delays, I cooked it today:


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And it was boring! This was supposed to be a dish for special occasions, but though nothing obvious went wrong, there was nothing to make it stand out. Certainly the rice should have been fluffier. Did I cook it incorrectly? Too much broth? Or was it just inferior (basmati) rice? And there seems to be not enough of it, nor of the nuts, while there seems to be far too much meat.


More fun with POSTIDENT
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Last month I had lots of fun with Deutsche Post's POSTIDENT app. But I have to prove that I'm alive, so a couple of days ago I ran the thing, which was relatively straightforward. It accepted my images and told me that I would be informed.

That came today:

leider konnte Ihre Identifizierung für rentenservice.de/DLN noch nicht abgeschlossen werden.

Grund: Es konnten nicht alle Aufnahmen erfolgreich geprüft werden.

Bitte führen Sie den Vorgang erneut mit einem unterstützten, gültigen Dokument durch.

Sie können die betroffenen Aufnahmen erneut erstellen.

All (only) in German! And this from an app that won't let me use German in the interface. What it says is basically “unfortunately not all images could be checked successfully. Please repeat the operation with a supported valid document”.

What's wrong with this approach? Which images couldn't be “checked successfully”? Why not? What is a supported valid document?

The idea is good. The implementation is amazingly broken.


Sunday, 7 August 2022 Dereel Images for 7 August 2022
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Flowering mi
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

On Wednesday Yvonne bought some choi sam that looked a little different from usual: it had broccoli-like buds. That in itself isn't unusual, since the two vegetables are closely related. But by today some of the buds were flowering:


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I'm alive, not sure about you
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Another attempt at proving my existence to POSTIDENT after yesterday's unspecific rejection. At least it had saved my identification, so I just needed to rescan my “ID” (really my driver license). The previous photos looked good enough, though of course they were far too sensitive to store on the phone for me to examine. But the license has a clear section with the birth date and expiry date on it. Potentially it could be difficult to read if photographed on a dark background. So today I put a sheet of white paper underneath it.

How did it come out? It looked OK on the screen, but who knows what got to Germany. About the only indication of where the problem lies was that the app no longer wanted a video of me, thus violating one of the basic principles of authentication.

Will it work this time? Somehow I doubt it. The app is broken beyond recognition. But what's its problem? Unable to read the text? My guess is that the people who wrote the app don't know that every Australian state has its own driver license, and they've never seen one of these before.


Dealing with councils again
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

I still have this WRITTEN DIRECTION TO FIX BUILDING WORK from Wyndham Building Permits. What should I do? On the one hand, I'm going to do the work, maybe. The problem is, they haven't said what they want. They write:

Carry out work to ensure compliance with the Building Act 1993 Building Regulations 2018 and / or building permit as follows:

Connect Down Pipes with existing stormwater system as per plan

What plan? What existing stormwater system? OK, Wyndham, tell me. The ball's in your court. After all, the shed is finished and functional and is in accordance with the permits. It'll be interesting to see what they have to say for themselves.


Monday, 8 August 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 8 August 2022
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Car service
Topic: general Link here

Into Ballarat this morning to have my car serviced. That's an unusual event: I've had the car for nearly 9 years, and this is the second service (the first was in May 2016). Leigh said that he could do it in 1½ hours at the outside, so we set off into town to do other things during that time. And sure enough, he called me after about 1¼ hours to say that it was ready. Left Yvonne's car there for service, to be picked up on Wednesday.


POSTIDENT, next three failures
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Do I trust POSTIDENT? Not further than I can throw it. So while I was in town, decided to get my “life certificate” witnessed by a Justice of the Peace. To the police station, where I found:


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Nobody there. But then, there was nobody at the police counter next to it either. I was there at the right time (12:23), right? Yes:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220808/big/JP-Service-3.jpeg
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But elsewhere, far enough away to not be obvious, there was an exhortation to use one of the longest URLs I have seen in a long time:


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It's not just the Germans who make life hard.

Back home, received the next expected message:


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Photo and video quality are “not sufficient”? OK, take the photos with a Real Camera and send them a photo of the display on the screen. That way I have some control of the quality.

But when I continued, I got this message:


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“The document is not supported”. That's a complete contradiction of the previous message. Is one of them correct, or are they both wrong?

I had already mentioned this list of accepted documents, but it's an excerpt. It offers the full list in PDF form, which contains (conveniently only in German):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220808/big/POSTIDENT-5.png
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In English: they accept an identity card (which doesn't exist), a passport and four apparently different driver licenses. Four? There are 8 different Australian Driver Licenses, one each for each state and territory. So it looks as if my guess is correct that they don't know that Victoria has its own driver license. So my guess is that the only thing that will work, at least in Victoria, is a valid passport. But I'm still amazed that they can be so incompetent.

There was one other option: the message I received suggested that I visit https://postident.deutschepost.de/user/start/?caseId=ZRDHWTEKV9V3. Did that and got:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220808/big/POSTIDENT-3-detail.png
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“Thank you for your identification. Your photos will now be checked by an employee of Deutsche Post”. In other words, the page failed because it couldn't take photos, but it was too polite to say so.

What a mess!


Another power failure
Topic: general Link here

Another 4 second grid power failure today at 11:57:57, interestingly the first of any kind for nearly 5 months.


Hedge plants for the arena
Topic: Stones Road house, general, gardening, opinion Link here

We've been thinking of plants to screen the arena for some time now. Since we had time on our hands in Ballarat, popped in to Formosa Gardens and took a look round.

There wasn't much to be seen. Yvonne took a liking to some Pittosporum cultivars, but I get the feeling that we should be looking at a more specialized supplier.


Zelenskyy: Putin has been replaced
Topic: politics, multimedia, opinion, fiction Link here

Saw an amazing claim on TV this evening: Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Vladimir Putin has been replaced as Russian head of state!

What a way to end the first season of Servant of the People!


Tuesday, 9 August 2022 Dereel
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Tuning KL Hokkien Mee
Topic: food and drink Link here

I've been getting to know KL Hokkien Mee for a year now, and gradually I'm getting used to the idea. Time to try some changes. Most importantly, I'm out of the marinated pork that's part of the recipe. How about something else instead? Lap Chong? Yes, that actually tastes better. I also used garlic shoots instead of garlic, though I don't notice much difference. And since I had it, I used the juice from cooking breakfast chicken wings instead of water for the sauce. That's particularly gelatinous—it's solid at room temperature—and I think that's also an improvement.


Turning points in life
Topic: history, music, general, opinion Link here

64 years ago, mid-1958, I was at the Teacher's College Practicing School (TCPS) in Carlton, Melbourne. The school and the college are long gone, now part of the campus of the University of Melbourne.

A number of pupils discovered the recorder, a kind of flute, and my sister Bev started playing it. I was known as unmusical, but I had a crush on number 1 recorder player, so when my sister got her own recorder, I persuaded my mother to buy me one too. Bev promptly demonstrated her talents to some visitors, while I went off into my room and tried to make sense of it. When I came out and played my part, the reaction was somewhat underwhelming.

But I persisted, and at one point talked to number 1 about some technical detail. She dismissed my ideas out of hand, correctly. So much for making a good impression. But I continued with music, and it's a big part of my life.

Later I heard that “Number 1” had made a name for herself in pop music. I followed her progress from a distance, but it wasn't until today, when her death was announced round the world, that I realized how famous she had become. And despite the fact that she probably wouldn't even have remembered me, it's fair to say that Olivia Newton-John changed my life “forever”.


Wednesday, 10 August 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 10 August 2022
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Find me a JP!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Into town today to pick up Yvonne's car—a whopping $1,300 for mechanical issues! I don't think I have ever paid that much except for crash repairs.

I still need to get proof that I'm still alive. The Deutsche Post's POSTIDENT app is demonstrably useless, and the Justice of the Peace at the Ballarat police station appears to have given up:


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OK, rather than typing in that ridiculously long URL, how about a Google search? That led me to Find a Justice of the Peace by appointment. None round Dereel (I wonder what happened to Loes Pearson), but no fewer than 75 for Ballarat. Not much indication of location, so started calling up the ones that had real telephones.

What a catastrophe! Anthony White (5333 5519) has retired, Anthony West's number (5341 8157) was not in service, Michael Walsh was not known at the number (5329 0920), and Margaret Cousins (5364 2900) has retired. When did they last update this list?

Finally found that there's a document signing station at Barkly Square (no nightingales), so headed off there, where a very helpful Ebony discovered that the JP wasn't here today (my mistake: I missed the “Thursdays 12 noon to 130pm [sic]” on the description), so she sent me off to the Ballarat Regional Office, the ambiguous name that the Department of Justice and Community Safety Victoria uses. 206 Mair Street.

OK, Google, take me there. 1½ hours! It ignored the “Mair Street” and wanted to take me to Melbourne. OK, Google, 206 Mair Street, Ballarat. Took me by a roundabout way to 218 Mair Street. Walked down to 206 and found:


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Surely they're not somewhere inside this building? No, Google Street View from 2018 suggests that they used to be there:


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I'm amazed. It seems that the bureaucrats of the whole world are ganging up to convince themselves that I'm dead.


More thoughts on biriyani
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Ate some of the remaining lamb biriani for dinner tonight. I'm still puzzling about why it was so boring, but I've come to the conclusion that it's a matter of balance: there's too much meat and not enough spices and nuts. Today I put more nuts in, and it improved things. Maybe this is an issue with dishes that I made before I discovered the spice pastes that I use for breakfast: I have frequently grumbled about how most recipes seem to have this kind of imbalance, and the relatively balanced spice pastes bring it into perspective.

So: next time I'll consider using round 3 times as much spice and half as much meat, not just for this dish.


Notwork outage!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

On the whole the National Broadband Network has been working relatively reliably in recent months, modulo their continual “scheduled maintenance”. But this evening things were different. Outage at 18:27.

Their fault or mine? The NTD showed normal indication, which at least meant that it was probably not the NBN itself. My system? I've had issues in the past where dhclient hung itself. OK, shoot down and restart:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/8) /src 45 -> dhclient  xl0
DHCPREQUEST on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67
DHCPNAK from 180.150.2.4
DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 6
DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 12
DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 7
DHCPOFFER from 121.200.8.1
unknown dhcp option value 0x52
DHCPREQUEST on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67
DHCPREQUEST on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67
DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 6
DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67 interval 8
^C

Huh? Where did that 180.150.2.4 come from? I once had an address like that, but that was long ago. And then a DHCPOFFER from 121.200.8.1, which is my correct next hop address. But why didn't it accept it? So I shot it down and checked:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/8) /src 46 -> ifconfig xl0
xl0: flags=8843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> metric 0 mtu 1500
...
        inet 121.200.11.253 netmask 0xfffffc00 broadcast 121.200.11.255
...

That looks like it's right. Restart dhclient:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/8) /src 47 -> dhclient  xl0
DHCPREQUEST on xl0 to 255.255.255.255 port 67
DHCPACK from 121.200.8.1
unknown dhcp option value 0x52
bound to 121.200.11.253 -- renewal in 900 seconds.

Done! But where did that 180.150.2.4 come from? What's in my leases file?

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/8) /src 49 -> less /var/db/dhclient.leases.xl0
lease {
  interface "xl0";
  fixed-address 121.200.11.253;
...
  expire 3 2022/8/10 08:43:03;
}
lease {
  interface "xl0";
  fixed-address 121.200.11.253;
...
  expire 3 2022/8/10 09:08:45;
}

Why do I have two entries with the same address? But there's no 180.150.2.4 there. It's a valid address (reverse maps as loop0.bng3.ia-dcb.portmel.aussiebb.net.). My best bet is that it was a hiccough in the Aussie Broadband network.

But then an hour later an IRC window popped up on the TV: “reconnecting”. Damn, off the net again! Tried random things like disconnecting the link between NTD and ODU (NBN's term for the antenna). It continued to show normal status, including that the ODU was working! Had the NTD hung? Replaced the cable, power cycled the NTD, but still no response.

So why did it not notice that I had disconnected the ODU? It seems that it's not the quickest on the uptake. I tried later and found that it noticed the disconnected cable after about 30 seconds, and then handled the situation correctly.

OK, I have this Aussie Broadband app on my phone. What does it say? Firstly, that I shouldn't choose complicated user names and passwords for mobile phones. After 5 minutes of typing and mistyping, ended up with:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220810/big/Aussie-broadband-fail-1-detail.jpeg
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But at least I was able to get some information, and in the end I got this outage display:


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Two pages of outages, covering most of Victoria and parts of Tasmania. Strangely, that's reassuring. Clearly not my fault, and big enough that they'll work round the clock to fix it. And sure enough, 50 minutes later the net was back.

And the strange observations? My guess is that the old IP address was indicative of the nature of their problems. The inability to log in might be another indication. And the NTD? For some reason they seem to have built in a timeout before reporting a loss of connection between ODU and NTD.

Still, this is so frustrating that I seriously wonder whether I should get a backup net connection. My mobile phone link is too slow and too expensive to serve that purpose. What else is there?


Thursday, 11 August 2022 Dereel Images for 11 August 2022
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Duck eggs
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yvonne gets duck eggs from Donna in Corindhap, and they're laying again. She certainly goes to a lot of trouble to process them:


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Boring activities
Topic: general Link here

Somehow I seem to have been rotating for weeks now, with hardly time to catch up with life. There are two metrics: the length of my mail queue (round 70 messages as of this morning; I try to keep it under 20) and the time at which I complete my diary entries, which lately has been late afternoon. But strangely there's still little to report. Far too much cooking, I fear.


Quora: when in a hole, stop digging
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

I've been answering questions on Quora for about 6 years now, but during that time the quality of the site has gone continually downhill: apparently in an attempt to get more content, they started offering money to people who asked questions. Any question, no matter how silly, so it ended up getting lots of repeat questions. They should have paid the people who answer the questions, based on the number of upvotes (though that can also be abused). Yes, people can report questions, and I've frequently done so, but it doesn't seem to help.

And so it was today: questions like What is the time difference between Florida and Texas? or What is the reason space missions use GMT instead of local time?. Who posed those questions? Quora prompt generator! It's an autogenerated spam question! Report. Oh. No “insincere” category any more.

How much longer is this site going to survive?


Aussie explains
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Email from Aussie Broadband today, explaining the yesterday's outage. Apparently round 25,000 subscribers were affected, and as I had suspected it was a software issue, apparently overload. I suppose these things can happen; it's good to hear an explanation.


Friday, 12 August 2022 Dereel → Cape Clear → Dereel Images for 12 August 2022
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More Larissa problems
Topic: animals, general Link here

Is Larissa's arthritis getting better? We haven't decided yet. But today she certainly had significant issues—with her right front paw. She couldn't put it on the ground, and limped around on three legs.

Something stuck in her paw? Hard to say. We didn't see anything, but the whole area felt hot, and we clearly needed to do something. Yvonne called Pene Kirk, and soon we were off to her. She diagnosed a broken or sprained claw, probably only sprained, the second from left. Not much to do: bandage her up and keep her quiet for 3 weeks!


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But we've been there before this time last year. I wonder what happened, and how.


POSTIDENT: enough!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

As far as I can see, Deutsche Post's POSTIDENT app just plan Does Not Work, at least for me. I strongly suspect that they don't recognize even those forms of acceptable identification that really do exist. OK, send them an email asking them to explain.:

Will I get an answer? Well, I did, sort of:

Ihre Nachricht ist eingegangen. Eine schriftliche Eingangsbestätigung der Lebensbescheinigung ist wegen der großen Menge leider nicht möglich.
Lebensbescheinigungen werden nur in folgenden Formaten berücksichtigt:  Word – PDF – Digitalfoto JPG / JPEG – Bilddatei TIF / TIFF
Hinweis: Die Abholung der Lebensbescheinigung von einem Webserver per Link oder Ähnlichem ist aus datenschutzrechtlichen Gründen nicht möglich.

That sounds like a “got your message, here's your potted reply”. And while checking I discovered that I had already written to them last November with a formal complaint. And even then I didn't receive an answer.

OK, time for a summary page. It may come in handy, if only to warn others.


Second-rate British documentary forgeries
Topic: history, photography, opinion Link here

For reasons I don't really understand, I'm gradually watching a British documentary series Royals: Keeping the Crown. I've commented previously on how bad it is, and it hasn't got any better. The next episode had George VI presiding over the 1953 Iranian coup d'état—18 months after his death! But this incident is interesting because I hadn't known the details of the coup d'état, so there is some redeeming value in this nonsense.

But in the following episode some clever person decided to fake film strips of the time:


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The rectangle on the left is supposed to be a sprocket hole in a 35 mm film. The yellow markings are frame numbers (frames 33A to frame 36). Normally images would be either full frame (24×36 mm) or half frame (18×24 mm), so in this length there would be 3 or 6 images. And the distance between the codes is 18 mm, so the images are far too wide. And the code is only on one side of the film. And the sprocket hole is rotated by 90°, and it's about 5 times the side it should be.

But most importantly, these are digital codes. The photo comes from the 1950s. In those days the marginal markings were just numbers. The people who faked all this stuff are photographers. They know that. Why do they fabricate such nonsense?

But then: when did these markings come into use? It's surprisingly difficult to find out. The closest I came was Keykode, introduced by Kodak in 1990. There's more information on their web site. But it's not the same as what they display in the documentary, I recognize that code, but I can't find out more details.


Saturday, 13 August 2022 Dereel Images for 13 August 2022
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Tracing family history
Topic: history, general Link here

Recently I've had a number of mail messages from libraries about family history. The National Library of Australia has a Family History Month, and the State Library of Victoria had an article on boat arrivals in the 19th and early 20th century.

Just what I need to trace my ancestry. Well, no, they don't deliver the time, and I can see it taking up a lot of time. But still, what about the family of my paternal grandmother, Ruby Myrtle Lehey? They were Konrad (maybe Conrad) and Agnes (I think) Lohmann. When did they arrive? My great-uncle Rudolph was born in Germany, and he wasn't much older than my grandmother, who was born in Australia in 1900. So they must have arrived in the late 1890s.

Off to take a look. Nothing matched, not helped by incomplete names. But I did come across access to birth records, sort of. They go to some trouble to ensure that URLs are not persistent, but it seems that this page is the entry point. Without too much difficulty I came up with this entry:


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No question, that's a birth record of sorts for my grandmother. But my great-grandmother was called Carol Albertiene, not at all what I expected. And my great-grandfather spelt his name with a C. But why <Unknown family name>? It's in the first column. And why so few details? Because they want to sell the rest! I can pay $20 for a downloadable certificate, or round double for an authenticated printout. No thanks, people.

More searching showed that there were a number of children:


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They show what appears to be wilful truncation. Of those, Lillian Daisy was my aunt Lily. Vic Conradiene was presumably my great-aunt Connie, whom I had thought to have been considerably younger. I don't know Lydia Erma and Martha Emma Edit, but I had known that some of the daughters died in infancy, so those could have been to of them. They were born in 1893 and 1898, so my guess as to when the Lohmanns arrived in Australia was inaccurate.

But where are the rest? Somewhere I have records to back up my recollection that there were 12 daughters in all. Here I only have 5. At the very least were aunty Edie and aunty Irma. Could those be the names that the two unknown ones adopted?

But the records are interesting for other reasons. My great-grandmother's name keeps changing, and it doesn't look very German. But yes, I was right, initially it was Agnes.


Dove
Topic: animals Link here

Yvonne found this bird outside her bedroom:


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It appears to be tame. At any rate, it didn't fly away. Later we found it on the verandah, and Yvonne went out to feed it. It kept its distance, but didn't fly away until much later. And no, it wasn't interested in the feed.


Gold?
Topic: animals, general Link here

Larissa is clearly feeling better, and she's no longer limping. But she still can't go walking, so I went by myself with Elena. That looks like being the way for the next few weeks: Yvonne didn't want to come in case Larissa gets annoyed and starts chewing something.

On the way I saw a crash repair vehicle stop on the corner of Spearys Road. Graham Allsop from Colac. OK, asked if he was looking for something. Yes, gold. He showed me his day's pickings:


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I invited him to our place and went down the back with him, while he told me that his metal detector had cost $9000 and had a Bluetooth connection. I wonder how much gold it would take to pay for that.

He came back later with his pickings:


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A bit of quartz, A couple of .22 bullets, lead shot. No gold. Pity. I would have liked to find at least a little


Sunday, 14 August 2022 Dereel Images for 14 August 2022
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Limitations of old records
Topic: history, opinion Link here

Yesterday's birth record search brought some marginally interesting information, but of course there's more. How about the family name LEHEY?

Yes, 6 records, including a duplicate that can only be due to sloppy database management: the registration number

But the list also included my father Norman and my grandfather George Francis:


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Oh. They're not the details for my father and grandfather. This Norman Lehey was registered in 1916, 7 years before my father's birth, and his mother was “Elzth” GREENHILL. And the George Francis was registered in 1883, 10 years before my grandfather's birth. And where are my aunts Freda and Audrey, and my uncle Max?


Shopping in the time of the Internet
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

In March 2014 I wrote a paper Future of the Internet as part of an assignment. The future was set 20 years ahead, in 2034, so now over 40% of the time has passed.

I've also been keeping a signs of the times page, effectively a score card to keep track of how accurate my predictions were. I've already commented on the number of closed shops in Bridge Mall (which they seem to now be calling “The Bridge”), once the main shopping centre in Ballarat. But recently I heard that about 30% of all premises are vacant, and they have decided to overhaul it to make it a more pleasant shopping experience. It's difficult to find specifics, but the one big thing they're doing is to make it a thoroughfare again! Bridge Street again, no more Bridge Mall!

Is this progress? Everybody seems to claim that it's a Good Thing. How can traffic in a pedestrian area make shopping easier? It can't be to improve local traffic, which isn't really an issue at the moment.

It's not clear what role the Internet is playing here. Do they really think that opening to mall to traffic will improve the situation? I'd be less inclined to go there after such a change. So is there somebody out there with a longer term vision? If so, what is he/she thinking?


Monday, 15 August 2022 Dereel Images for 15 August 2022
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More family history insights
Topic: history, general, opinion Link here

Yesterday's investigation of birth records left a number of questions open. But of course, as the name says, Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria has more to open. OK, check out the marriages and deaths. Success, sort of:


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Like all the screen shots, they can be made legible by clicking on them up to 3 times, but in summary they contradict each other. For my family (ignoring others of our name), we have:

Name       Relationship       Birth       Marriage       Death
George Francis Lehey       grandfather                  
Ruby Myrtle Lohmann       grandmother                  
Norman George Lehey       father                  
Freda Myrtle Lehey       aunt                   -
Audrey Jane Lehey       aunt            
Maxwell Carl Lehey       uncle            

And even then there are a number of anomalies:

I thought that maybe there was a time limit, but my grandmother died in 1981. By that time she had 9 grandchildren, none of whom appear in the lists. What kind of record keeping is that?


The tank arrives
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

The next step in our glacial attempt to complete the riding arena shed. The water tank arrives:


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Now to wait for it to stop raining so that they can install it.


Fucking TV programmes!
Topic: multimedia, language, opinion Link here

Some time back somebody asked a question on Quora, now untraceable, about the use of the word “Fuck” in TV programmes. It seems that it's still taboo in the USA, where they apparently prefer blood and guts.

But strangely it's not the case in Germany. For some time I kept screen shots of subtitles using the word, but it got boring. The one that got me was a remake of the Immenhof films, children's programmes about riding schools and thus primarily addressed at teenage girls, maybe Immenhof – Das Abenteuer eines Sommers. Here a girl listening to a rather rude boy:


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„Abgefuckt“ is an application of German production rules to “fuck”, roughly “fucked up”. I found that so unpleasant that we stopped watching the show.

But you can't get away from the word. Some series, like Frayed or Aftertaste, have more than one occurrence per minute. And now we're watching Becoming Elizabeth, about Elizabeth I. It's relatively true to history, but there, too, there's use “fuck” liberally. That's not historically plausible. And is it really necessary? I'm not prudish, but I find it offensive to hear it all the time.


Tuesday, 16 August 2022 Dereel Images for 16 August 2022
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Alu lap chong
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I eat a variety of dishes for “breakfast”; they're relatively substantial, so maybe “brunch” would be a better term. But lately I've found them a bit repetitive. Time for a bit of experimentation.

One group of cuisines that are pretty much missing from my breakfasts are Indian. For a while I've been thinking of something based on potatoes, peas and turmeric, something like the alu masala that I've been made for a while. The idea was reinforced by the discovery of an unopened bag of potatoes that expired on 4 June. But how should I do it? Big experiment, including a lap chong sausage.

quantity       ingredient       step
100 g       onions       1
      oil to fry       1
30 g (1 piece)       lap chong       2
5 g       green chili       2
250 g       potatoes       3
7 g       salt       3
80 g       peas       4
2 sprigs       curry leaf       4
15 g       tamarind paste       4

The quantities are for “next time”; I found that my initial guesses were on the low side.

  1. Slice the onions with a mandolin and fry in oil.


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  2. Cut the chili into small slices. Cut the lap chong into slices:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220816/big/Alu-lap-chong-10-detail.jpeg
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  3. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Add chili, lap chong, raw potato and salt to the onions and cover:


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  4. Cook gently for about 20 minutes. Add peas, curry leaf and tamarind purée and warm:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220816/big/Alu-lap-chong-12.jpeg
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  5. Serve.

Notes

I tried cutting the potatoes with a mandolin and coarse slicer. The results were not encouraging:


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The initial quantity seemed a lot when I cooked it, but on the plate (barely touched) it was far less than I expected:


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And the result? Surprisingly, the lap chong fits well. I'll probably make more of this.


tiwi: the cutover
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

I've been working on tiwi, the next iteration of teevee, my TV driver computer, for 7 months now. It's gradually working, and in fact I'm using tiwi's disk for video storage, via NFS, since teevee's disk is flaky The next step is to put it into the lounge room and connect it up to the TV.

That's mainly a matter of finding cables and another network switch so that both connect to the house network:


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That's tiwi on the table to the left, and teevee on the right of the top shelf. It's a pain to put the computers in the cabinet, so I won't do so until things are working correctly.

Yes, it worked as it did before, of course. But what about the display? The machine has onboard graphics, but without an HDMI connection. So I have an old NVIDIA GF108 [GeForce GT 730] in one of the slots.

Try to start X. No display. I had been able to start X in the office, but presumably that was with the on-board graphics. OK, run X -configure. It only found the onboard graphics: I hadn't installed the NVIDIA drivers yet.

Sigh. That should be simple, but NVIDIA has made life hard in the past. So more investigation in this diary. Mañana.


Wednesday, 17 August 2022 Dereel Images for 17 August 2022
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Household repairs
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

For some time there has been something wrong with the door mechanism between kitchen and laundry. It's only a little over 7 years old, but it started binding and neither opening nor closing properly. Today I finally got round to looking at it.

I couldn't get it out! Well, only with more force than I had expected. In Germany door latches are standardized, but not here. It seems that the person installing it must first drill an appropriate hole in the door, and this one was too tight. To replace it I first had to file out the hole.

And what was wrong with the latch? In principle it looked fine:


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But when I replaced it, it worked the wrong way round! Normally you pull the lever down, but here I had to pull it up. Are those catches there to switch between left-handed and right-handed operation? More investigation needed than I really wanted.


Understanding historical birth records
Topic: general, history, opinion Link here

On Monday I puzzled about why I found some records about my ancestors and not others, though the time frame clearly went up to the death of my grandmother in 1981.

But today I read the answer:

Anyone can freely search birth records more than 100 years old, marriage records more than 60 years old, and death records more than 30 years old.

That almost completely explains the strangenesses of the search results. It doesn't explain the discrepancy about my grandfather George Francis Lehey, but there are good reasons to believe that he was born in Mount Gambier (South Australia), and thus his birth would not have been recorded in Victoria. But why don't they just make the records freely available?


Thursday, 18 August 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 18 August 2022
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To Ballarat again
Topic: general, Stones Road house Link here

Into town today to finally get a Justice of the Peace to confirm that I'm alive. And how about that, third time lucky! But why does it have to be so difficult?

Then on to Bunnings to look for a new door latch. Do I need one? It seems that there was nothing wrong with the old one, but a comparison with a new one might make sense—if I could find one that matches. There are, of course, numerous similar looking ones that don't make it, like the one on the left here:


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It's too long, and it has a completely different face plate. But I did manage to find the same one that I had, for the princely sum of $8.48—at least that's probably cheaper than the German latches. So I brought it home and had a look at the instructions. How to fit to various door types, no indication of how to switch from left opening to right opening. So I tried turning it. It turned in both directions! So there is really something wrong with the old one, though I don't see what it is.

Back home to put it in the door. It didn't fit! The hole in the door was barely big enough for the old one, but it needed further filing out to fit the new one. After that, it worked correctly. Could it be that the tight fit had possibly caused the old one to fail?


Reliance on digital devices
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

A couple of weeks ago I spilt some gravy on my infrared thermometer. I wiped it off immediately, but it didn't like it. It displayed temperatures in the order of 80° to 100° from surfaces at room temperature.

Nothing for it: buy a new one. In the meantime the old one dried out and seemed to be showing correct temperatures, but how can you tell? Now I can compare them: the old one shows consistently lower temperatures, round 0.5° at room temperature. But when baking a pizza today, the old one showed that the stone temperature was round 258°, while the new one showed round 278°.

Which is correct? I'd need a third one to find out. But it seems reasonable to assume that part of the problem is in the way the old one has been treated. But is that all? The old one never displayed 278° from the pizza stone. One way or another it makes a mockery of the 1 decimal place that the devices display.


Air conditioner: diagnosed
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

I've been grumbling for weeks or months about our air conditioner and how to get it repaired. Tony of Atmos was due last week, and I had called (voice mail) to remind them a couple of days ago. And today he called and wanted to come by immediately. Yes, please.

Explained to him that I suspected that there was something wrong with the fan, and the E25 errors (which it obligingly displayed, for the first time in weeks) were a result of that problem. But no, he wanted to look at the outside unit, while the rain poured down on him—round 3 mm in an hour. Went out to see what he was doing, and discovered him talking to somebody on the phone and pressing buttons on the “CPU” board. The thing has diagnostics! At top left there are three buttons:


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Now if I had known that, and with access to the person on the phone (presumably from Actron), I could have saved him a visit.

Finally he dried up and came in. Yes, he was also surprised that it has diagnostics, but that they were clear: the ambient temperature sensor is defective. A new one is on its way, and he'll install it next week.

So much for my analysis. But it's not the first time: when he arrived, he recognized me immediately. He had done work for me on another system not far away (Kleins Road, on 1 September 2008, nearly 14 years ago). Admittedly, I had the feeling that I had seen him before too, but what a memory! And on that occasion, too, I had told him what the problem was, he ignored me and went and found the real problem.

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong (apparently due to H. L. Mencken).


Friday, 19 August 2022 Dereel Images for 19 August 2022
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New doorbell
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

While in Ballarat yesterday, I picked up a wireless doorbell. 32 or so chimes, almost all of which were remarkably useless. But how do you select the chime? Almost completely dismantle the thing:


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Press the top (left hand) button to set the next chime. But that's really unusual that you need to go so far into the innards to do something that straightforward.

The other issue is how to attach the thing. The back looks like this:


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They supply an adhesive strip which has to work around the two bumps on the back. Will that work on our brickwork? For a while maybe. Do I take it back (“not suited for advertised function”) or do I just removed the PC board, drill a hole and attach it? I think the second is probably a better solution.


Hedge plants to hide the shed
Topic: general, Stones Road house Link here

Will Tatnell called today and wanted to come over and put in the water tank. In principle a good idea, but we also wanted to plant a hedge, and for that we needed to know how many holes he should drill, and where. And that again depended on the plants.

So on Petra Gietz' recommendation we decided to go to Birdsong Nursery in Smythesdale and take a look.

But there used to be another nursery in Ross Creek. Where was it? Looking at the map, it seems that it could have been on Bray Road. OK, that could be on the way to Smythesdale, so off along there.

After Burgess Road the road condition deteriorated greatly, and after about 800 m I decided it was better to turn around the way I had come. But it wasn't:


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That doesn't really look bad, but the sides of the road were really muddy, and despite the relatively good road surface, I couldn't get out again.

Damn! Called up the RACV and told them what had happened. They came up with the interesting claim that we were no longer insured with them, and they wanted over $200 membership fee, payable in advance, before they would send anybody out.

OK, nothing for it. Paid $280 for 2 years' roadside assistance and waited. To their credit, the bloke showed up pretty quickly—but wouldn't come closer than 300 m. His truck was completely unsuited to the terrain (it apparently had 3 tonnes of batteries in the back), and it would sink into the ground that we had come along. So he said sorry, suggested that we call Ballarat 4x4, and went again.

That's useless! I've paid $280 for a service that they didn't give me. And it's not the first time. Seven years ago we had a similar problem: they couldn't help because they didn't understand GPS coordinates. Why do I have anything to do with them?

OK, any port in a storm. Called Ballarat 4x4 on 5338 2225 and was told that Cameron wasn't there, but that he would call back.

How about Chris Bahlo? She has a 4x4 (in fact, I think she bought it at Ballarat 4x4). Called her. Voice mail.

I walked further on to where we had seen a number of houses, but only found one person, and he didn't have anything to help pull us out. Another call to Chris, 30 minutes after the first. Still voice mail. On the way back bumped into a girl, Georgia, who was jogging along the way and had already spoken to Yvonne and given her her phone number and offered to help if we didn't have any joy in an hour, when she would be at home again. She pointed me to the right direction to get to Ross Creek, where we walked to the General Store.

On the way Chris called back: she had been out riding in Dean, and wouldn't be available for at least an hour. On the the General Store and asked for help. Not much to be had; the person running the store was empathetic but unable to help.

Get a taxi home? Not a good time, Friday round close of business. It would have taken probably 40 minutes to get a taxi here. Yvonne called Georgia, who hadn't made it home yet, but then I got a call from Cameron of Ballarat 4x4, after only 75 minutes. Yes, he could come and pull us out, would take a while and cost $295. And while I was talking to him, Yvonne got a call back from Georgia: yes, she would take us home! Then we could come and pick up the car tomorrow. $295 saved by the skin of our teeth.

In passing, it's interesting to notice how bad mobile phone coverage is in Ross Creek. You have to go outside to get anything useful, and then it's flaky. And the phone tower is in plain sight maybe only 500 m away!

Georgia came and took us home—what remarkable helpfulness, especially compared to the experience we had with people whose business it is to help. And surprisingly we were only gone 3¼ hours, 30 minutes of which was getting there and back.


Saturday, 20 August 2022 Dereel Images for 20 August 2022
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Recovering the Commodore
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Up relatively early this morning after uneasy sleep while my mind thought of all the things that could go wrong recovering the car. One was obvious. Since the rear wheels were on relatively firm ground, the problem must lie elsewhere:


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It's clear where: the front wheels had sunk into the mud:


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So when I got up, I got a shovel to take with us to dig them out. Chris had also thought of that and brought her spade, and we dug out a bit behind the wheels before she pulled me out. That went as smoothly as I could have imagined, leaving these ruts behind:


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But that was too simple. I had to reverse some distance, and I managed to leave the road again!


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Fortunately Chris was still there (we had agreed on that), and I was out again pretty quickly. But how did I manage it? Somehow there must be some marbles strewn around the area.


Bloody Microsoft!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday I noticed, not for the first time:

Aug 19 10:54:00 eureka nmbd[2580]: [2022/08/19 10:54:00.228974,  0] ../source3/nmbd/nmbd_namequery.c:109(query_name_response)
Aug 19 10:54:00 eureka nmbd[2580]:   query_name_response: Multiple (2) responses received for a query on subnet 192.109.197.137 for name LEMIS<1d>.
Aug 19 10:54:00 eureka nmbd[2580]:   This response was from IP 192.109.197.134, reporting an IP address of 192.109.197.134.

That's something to do with Samba. I have nmbd running both on eureka and lagoon (IP address 192.109.197.134). OK, we didn't need it there, so I stopped it.

Today Yvonne (the owner of lagoon) came to me and told me that DxO PhotoLab wasn't seeing any photos, though she had put some in the designated directory /Photos/3-yvonne. Check. Yes, that's the case. The files were there, but DxO didn't see them. It was too polite to tell me that it couldn't access the file system.

Of course! Samba isn't running! I just need to see to it that nmbd doesn't run, not smbd. Damn, retract that “fix”. And yes, smbd was running ago. But dischord, the Microsoft box, didn't want to know. Why not? How do you reconnect a “share”? Or is that a “mapped drive”?

I still don't know. Google searches didn't help, maybe because I still can't get my head around the terminology. How do you even “map” a “drive“? Looked at various pages that told me to go to “Windows” explorer, which dischord calls “file explorer”, but they showed a completely different set of icons from the ones displayed on the page, in particular no “Map network drive”.

FOOL! You didn't select “This PC” first. Then I was able to go to the window, but it still told me that it wasn't connected, and offered no help in reconnecting it. I had already checked with smbclient that it was accessible, so it wasn't a problem at my end. Tried remapping the “drive”, which let me go all the way before telling me that it was already allocated. So I cancelled. And how about that, the drive was accessible again!

I wish I understood Microsoft. Maybe the mapping failed when it tried to contact the Samba server, in the process showing that it was accessible. But somehow it's a symptom of a bigger problem. Another example was with Android. On the way home this morning Yvonne called me while the phone was displaying a map. “Incoming call: Deny? Accept?”. Press Accept. The phone carries on ringing, but the choices are gone, and I couldn't find them. Maybe I didn't do the secret handshake exactly the way Android wants, but why did it retract its offer? It seems to have something to do with the interaction between Google Maps and the phone app. After a bit of messing around I got the home screen, and with a bit of hesitation the phone offered me the same choice again, and I was able to answer it. But this sort of thing happens far too often.

Another situation, from yesterday. Cameron of Ballarat 4x4 asked me for my location. Do you have a PIN code (or was it TIP? I forget, and I can't find anything in the toyshop that matches). In any case, it's a way to send a coded version of your coordinates. In principle that's a reasonable request, and I discussed it with Chris on the way to pick up the car. Her opinion: “That's easier for non-technical people. Press a button and you get a code and you can tell people where you are”. But that's ridiculous. When you make a phone call, you should have the option of transmitting your location, and all phone apps should be able to interpret it and display it. You don't need to be a computer expert for that; it's far simpler than transmitting a location code.

Yes, I've ranted about this before, and I'll almost certainly do so again. But there are clever people out there building these apps. Why don't they come up with a usable solution?


Fondue quantities
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Fondue de fromage again this evening. We've been reducing the quantities continually over the years. Once upon a time we ate 300 g of cheese each, but today we had a total of 250 g, with the advantage that we actually finished it. The only issues were bread (200 g, which proved to be 50 g too much) and the “vodka”, if you can call a half-and-half mixture (only 37%) “vodka”. The result was that after flambéeing there was a whole lot of water left behind.

I wonder if I can remove the water with quicklime.


Sunday, 21 August 2022 Dereel → Smythesdale → Haddon → Dereel Images for 21 August 2022
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Screening the arena, try 2
Topic: gardening, Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Friday's attempt to find plants to screen the arena ended in disaster. Another attempt today. First off to Smythesdale to Birdsong Nursery, this time along a route that I think I have never taken before. For reasons that weren't immediately obvious, it is very twisty.

Birdsong isn't very big. Spoke to Ron, who I think is the owner, and he gave us some general ideas, but apart from some general suggestions, including buying a “Permafor” and native potting mix from Dela Landscaping, and avoiding phosphorus for all native plants, we didn't find much. Took a number of photos of possible candidates for later analysis.

Then on to Avalon Nursery in Haddon, where Tia showed us a number of plants. Again many photos.

What do we choose? We're as confused as ever. The requirement that the screen be 4 m high clearly doesn't make things easier. Somehow visiting nurseries doesn't seem to be the way to make a choice.


More battery problems?
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

While looking at plants, the battery ran out on my camera (Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I). That was surprising; I had checked before we left, and it showed full charge. And I had only taken 169 photos since putting the battery in, though admittedly I had left the camera powered on overnight at one stage. Still, that shouldn't make much difference, since the camera automatically powers down after a while. I'm wondering if the battery itself (number 5, received on 27 July) isn't defective. Certainly something to try out before my 60 days expire.


Jenny's Lammtopf revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

A dish that we conjured up years ago was „Jennys Lammtopf“ (“Jenny's lamb pot”), lamb with risoni. But for some reason we haven't made it for over 10 years, it seems. Today was the day to fix that.

Making the sauce mix was interesting. I followed the original recipe with double quantities, which called for 1.6 kg of canned tomatoes. But after adding 800 g, itseemed more than enough:


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In the meantime a lot of my kitchen practices have changed. In those days we cooked a big pot and baked it in the oven. Nowadays we tend to individual portions. But how much? I had written

Take equal amounts (1 bowl each) of lamb mix (350 g), risoni (rice-shaped pasta) (200 g) and water (250 ml),

That's for 4 portions. How does it fit into an individual serve? In the end I started again from scratch and did it by eye: 75 g lamb mix, 70 g risoni and 95 g of water.


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And there's the next problem. How do you put grated cheese on that? In the end I waited until it was half cooked and did it then:


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Cooking times? I did it at 220° and discovered after 7 minutes that it still wasn't boiling. OK, microwave oven first, only 50 s. And total time in the “air fryer” was 17 minutes:


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Next time I'll bring it to the boil first.

And the result? The overall quantities seem right for a normal person, meaning that Yvonne ate exactly half as one of three courses. A little dry, maybe, though it had more water than in the original recipe. Still, a useful readdition to our menu.


Monday, 22 August 2022 Dereel Images for 22 August 2022
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Preparing for the water tank
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Will Tatnell along this morning to spread some sand for the water tank. He also tidied up the surface in front of the arena, though it's going to be a while before it's good, not helped by the relatively heavy rainfall this month:


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Garden flowers in late winter
Topic: Stones Road house, gardening, general Link here

It's a month before the equinox, time for the monthly garden photos.

It's been a cold and wet winter, and it shows. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max” looks very unhappy, and I'm not sure that it will survive. Here last year and this year:


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And the Strelitzia nicolai, which hasn't seemed to have any problems in previous years, looks significantly frostburnt. The first photos is from 2 years ago: I didn't take a full size photo last year.


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The Alyogyne huegelii doesn't look as bad, but it's not flowering at all. Last year it was still recovering from an assassination attempt by Bryan Ross, but at least it was flowering. Here two years ago, last year and this year:


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About the only thing that looks better than before is the Grevillea robusta that I planted 3 years ago, and which I thought would die. It's not exactly growing like fury, but at least it is now bigger than it was when I bought it:


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And it looks as if our 7-year-old Ginkgo biloba has survived transplantation. Now maybe it will start to grow:


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A couple of surprises are some daisy-like flowers that have popped up in the lawn, and these grape hyacinths that I don't recall from that position in the past:


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It also looks as if the Solanum laxum near the water tanks has died:


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Is that due to the weather, the moisture or the age?

The continued trouble with our garden makes one thing clear, though: the planned screen to the north in front of the riding arena is a bad idea. We should plant individual shrubs there, and if they survive, we can decide how to augment them.

Somehow that's about all worth noting. I hope that things will look a whole lot better next month.


Understanding the seasons
Topic: general, opinion Link here

I try to orient my monthly garden photos by the seasons: equinox and solstice. But somehow the calendar dates don't match up. This year we have:

Event       Date       Time       time_t       difference       difference
                        (time_t)       (D:H:M)
Vernal equinox       23 September 2022       1:04       1663859040
Summer solstice       21 December 2022       21:48       1671619680       7760640       89:20:44
Autumnal equinox       20 March 2023       21:25       1679307900       7688220       89:23:37
Winter solstice       21 June 2023       14:58       1687323480       8015580       91:17:33
Vernal equinox       23 September 2023       6:50       1695415800       8092320       93:15:52

That's an amazing difference! Clearly it's related to the non-circular orbit of the earth, but how do I treat it in this context?


RACV explains
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Called up RACV this morning to cancel my roadside “assist”. No issues: I hadn't used the service (at least they acknowledged that), and I was within the “cooling-off” time.

And my insurance? Yes, it has lapsed. Edwina told me that the policy for the Hyundai had lapsed in March 2021 because of non-payment. Yes, that's not beyond the bounds of possibility—for one vehicle. But when it happens with two, I can't see that that's my problem.

Time to look for alternatives. Surprise, surprise: they're all much more expensive. We paid round $211 each per year with RACV, and the cheapest I could find on a comparison web site was $280. Should I reconsider RACV after all?


Dead battery!
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Recharged the new battery after yesterday's unexpected discharge. Put it back in again and went out to take the garden photos. After 9 shots it died! And it was interesting to note that it was noticeably warmer than when I put it in the camera, by about 4°.

OK, I've been bitten by this before, but the last time was well over 10 years ago. Fight my way through eBay's return process, which wants me to print a return label with a web page which hangs firefox. After some cursing discovered that it also downloads the label, so I could print it sanely, except that it doesn't understand two-sided print: the packing slip ended up on the rear of the label.


tiwi migration pain
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

I have a few particularly nasty scripts that keep track of which series I have seen when. They're full of grep invocations, about 3 per entry (currently coming up to 10,000 entries), and it takes a couple of minutes to run. During that time I didn't have access to the list. OK, a minor change writes the new list to a temporary file and then renames it. Problem almost solved.

But then there's something strange on tiwi. The one script, seelist, produces:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/19) /spool/Series/Rosenheim-Corpse/08 67 -> seelist
grep: trailing backslash (\)
grep: trailing backslash (\)
grep: trailing backslash (\)
...

And at the end, the list is truncated. Why? A quick couple of echos show:

grep: trailing backslash (\)
grep -v Großstadtrevier /spool/stats/seenrecently.94761
grep: trailing backslash (\)

It always happens when the file name contains non-ASCII characters. In fact, these are ISO 8859. And for some reason tiwi starts its xterms with and UTF-8 locale. Somewhere there grep gets confused.

OK, explicitly set the locale:

export LANG=en_AU.ISO8859-1
export LC_ALL=en_AU.ISO8859-1

But for some reason that doesn't help. And then I see things like:

grep -v Notruf-Hafenkante /spool/stats/seenrecently.94761
grep: trailing backslash (\)
grep: trailing backslash (\)
grep: trailing backslash (\)
grep: trailing backslash (\)
grep -v Greys-Anatomy /spool/stats/seenrecently.94761

There must be more to it than that. But what? This issue with tiwi completely baffles me.


Tuesday, 23 August 2022 Dereel Images for 23 August 2022
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Installing the water tank
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Mari Hendriks along today as promised to install the water tank:


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But they didn't finish. We only had 2 mm of rain, but it kept falling just as they were trying to glue the pipes together. So in the end they left the pipes draining to the west, and they'll come back and connect up the tank when it's dryer:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220823/big/Installing-tank-9.jpeg
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Escaping dogs
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Lately we've found Larissa in the garden, which is completely fenced off. Since Elena had her problems a few months back, we've been trying to keep them out of the garden: it could have been a snake. So how did she get in?

Lately Elena has been getting in there too. How? We've walked the entire length of the fence, and we can't find anything. Then today I saw this:


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It looks like something has been disturbing the vegetation there. Coincidentally it's quite close to where I had to cut through the fence to free Lara when she got caught there a year ago. But it doesn't seem to be big enough for the dogs to go through. They seem to manage it easily enough, so next time we'll call them from the garden and see how they get there.


State Library of Victoria: Improvements
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

I must access the OED about 10 times a week. But yesterday evening I received a message telling me that my password was incorrect. Something to do with the rather unorthodox way I log in? Tried again today and was told that I had to change my password. For that they needed to send me a 6 digit code to the email address on record.

OK, that's in my /usr/local/etc/postfix/virtual. Something not quite unlike slv@lemis.com. Put that in, receive email with the code. An account could not be found for the provided user ID. Huh? They just sent me a code.

OK, at least they provided a number to call, 03 8664 7000. Called that, fought my way through the voice menus (choice 3) and was connected to a winsome lass whose name proved to be Winsome Caunce, who very gently helped me through this “once in a lifetime” change. Yes, slv@lemis.com is known to the system, but it's not associated with my library card. Fix up, wait 24 hours, and then I'll be allowed to choose a new password. Sorry about that.

Somehow I got the feeling that she was coping very well with a migration that had gone badly wrong. I said so, and the way she barely denied it spoke volumes.

Another detail about the code I received:

From msonlineservicesteam@microsoftonline.com  Tue Aug 23 13:47:28 2022
Return-Path: <msonlineservicesteam@microsoftonline.com>
Received: from smtpi.msn.com (eus-irissmtp09.msn.com [52.234.172.104])
        by lax.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 457D02809B
        for <slv@lemis.com>; Tue, 23 Aug 2022 03:47:27 +0000 (UTC)
X-MS-Iris-MetaData: {"Type":null,"Fields":{"InstanceID":"cde5ed2d-6463-4072-874a-235f8e097d93","ActivityID":"d4a54aed-6e72-4c7d-9ea7-c1229afdee01"}}
Message-ID: <cde5ed2d64634072874a235f8e097d93-JFBVALKQOJXWILKCJQZFA7CJIFGVGU2QKJ6FGU2QKJCW2YLJNR6FG3LUOA======@microsoft.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
From: Microsoft on behalf of State Library Victoria <msonlineservicesteam@microsoftonline.com>
To: slv@lemis.com

Yet another company outsourcing their computer needs. Is this good?


Wednesday, 24 August 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 24 August 2022
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Fixing the air conditioner
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Tony from Atmos along today to replace the ambient temperature sensor for the air conditioner. It looks pretty much the way you'd expect:


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But replacing it was a nightmare (for Tony, of course). It's connected to the bottom left of the “CPU” board (red/white pair), as shown on this photo:


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The real problem, though, was the other side. It went through a bulkhead to a box on the other side, requiring removing the fan assembly:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220824/big/Air-conditioner-repair-5.jpeg
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And it was inside a box that had been riveted together:


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So Tony had to climb inside the coil area. How does he get out again? A handy gas cylinder solved that problem:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220824/big/Air-conditioner-repair-9.jpeg
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It still wasn't done. The cable went all the way to the bottom of the box, and Tony had his fun, all thanks to a couple of minutes of lack of thought on the part of the designer to find an easier way to replace the thing. After all, they had established that the sensor was unreliable enough to require a special error code.

And does it work? The fans still don't blow at full force. Tony thinks that that's normal, and he was right last time. I'll keep my eye on it for the while.


To Ballarat again
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Yvonne left her car at Bob Jane's today for new tyres, so I had to go into town to pick her up.

On the way home we had to drop dog food at Chris Bahlo's place. Talked to her about her recent problems with door latches. It proved that they were due to the same kind of latch that caused me pain last week. Only in her case, the mechanism had come apart, leaving the bolt stuck in the strike plate. She explained how she got it out again, but somehow not to my complete understanding.

Two latch failures in 7 years. Did I say two? No, this is the second problem that she has had. Why are these things so unreliable?


Resetting State Library password
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

So now it's a new day, and Winsome told me that I could now change my password. Same procedure as yesterday: get it to send me a PIN to sign in, and change it. Only today it knew my email address.

OK, what password? I'm sure they're not saying, but they're expecting upper case, lower case, digits and special characters. How about H0rrible Microsoft!? No, only after I tried it was I told the usual nonsense:


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OK, which of these requirements have I offended? Clearly my password is too secure with 19 characters. And it seems not to like spaces, though it's difficult to be sure given the way they present the message. How about H0rrible_Microsoft? Damn, no, still too long. H0rrible_Microso? 15 characters, upper case, lower case, digit, special. Still no go!

Sorry, Microsoft, you can't even check limited passwords correctly. Finally I found something completely different and only 9 characters long. But who needs security anyway?


Thursday, 25 August 2022 Dereel Images for 25 August 2022
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Fake Korean fried rice
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Once again I found myself with various leftovers that I wanted to process for breakfast, just like I did a year ago. Once again an egg with a broken yolk. That's simple: nasi goreng. But I also had some leftover kimchi, and strangely, there's not very much much that goes with kimchi.

OK, how about some Korean fried rice? I already have bibimbap, but that requires a fried egg with undamaged yolk. Off to look for various recipes on the web, none of them very inspiring. What I came up with was (for one portion).

Ingredients

quantity       ingredient       step
40 g       spring onions       1
5 g       ginger       1
5 g       garlic       1
15 g       gochujang       2
10 g       sesame oil       2
15 g       dark soya sauce       2
25 g       light soya sauce       2
15 g       kimchi juice       2
2       lap chong sausages       3
45 g       peas       3
25 g       carrot, cut in strips       3
180 g       cooked rice       4
1       egg       5

Preparation

  1. Cut spring onions into 1 cm lengths and ginger into strips. Crush garlic and fry gently until cooked.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients.
  3. Cut lap chong into 5 mm slices. When the onion mixture is cooked, add it, peas and carrot.
  4. Mix well, add rice and sauce. Heat until the moisture has evaporated.
  5. Add egg, fry until cooked. Serve with kimchi.

The quantities are somewhat modified to match my guesses at a next time. But it wasn't very interesting, and I don't know if there will be a next time.


Shed: all done bar the shouting
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Mari Hendriks and son appeared without warning this morning and finished the tank installation:


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It's done! Well, all except for the certificate of completion. But there's no more work to be done.

And how about that, it's a year ago today that Troy Addicoat first contacted me to start building!


Dog escape identified
Topic: animals Link here

On Tuesday I identified a likely place where the dogs could get through into the garden:


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But it wasn't clear at the time. All a matter of viewpoint. Today I established yes, they clearly went through there:


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The missing wire is still enough for them to get through. That's easy enough to fix:


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Procrastination
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Two years ago I came up with a list of things that I needed to do:

  1. Get the tiles for the verandah.
  2. Arrange for the “shed” for the riding arena.
  3. Prune the roses, make cuttings of the dead Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, do random garden work.
  4. Finish the installation of dereel.
  5. Buy new photo backup disks.

How much have I achieved in the last 2 years? We've shelved the idea of the tiles. The shed is finally finished, but only today. Roses have been pruned. dereel is still a work in progress. And we're running out of photo backup disks again. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.


enzian recharge
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

I still keep Yvonne's old Xiaomi Redmi 9A phone, named enzian.lemis.com (IP address 192.109.197.243 when it's at home) for various tests. It doesn't get much use, but it still wakes up from time to time to send me some useless notification, though it has been told not to. And it's on all the time.

But the battery life! Battery charge dropped below 20% today—after two weeks! A far cry from 30 years ago with my Motorola Brick, which required two batteries to see it through a day.


State Library of Victoria: your membership has expired
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Mail from the State Library of Victoria today:

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2022 00:01:14 +0000 (GMT)
From: Membership <membership@slv.vic.gov.au>
Subject: It?s time to renew your State Library Victoria membership
Content-Type: text/plain;
        charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

It\222s time to renew your State Library Victoria membership

Your free Access membership expires tomorrow.

Member type: Access
Join date: 14/03/2021
Expiry date: 26/08/2022

Savour those markup errors.

But there's more. Why has my membership expired? Something to do with the new password? And why do they state the “join date” as 14/03/2021? I've been a member for over 10 years.

My guess is that this is the next stage of their Microsoftization. At any rate “renew” function worked, and I am now a member for a whole 12 months in the future.


Friday, 26 August 2022 Dereel Images for 26 August 2022
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Peace!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Nothing to do! Well, in fact there's plenty to do, but somehow having the shed finished is such a relief. Just a message to the council attaching photos (which their mail system promptly rejected because the message was too big, requiring it to be split into two). Probably some discussion with them next week, but the worst is that we will have to pay another $185. What a relief!


Air conditioner: fixed?
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Is the air conditioner now fixed? I had two criteria: the noise that the compressor makes when it's running at full power, and the air flow at full power. And yes, the compressor does now seem to be louder.

But there's no obvious difference in the air flow. In particular, when I come into the office (with closed door) in the morning, the temperature is round 20° when it should be 21°. Under those circumstances I should hear a howling gale where the air escapes under the door. But there is none. So I'm pretty sure that the fans still need attention.


New camera battery
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

The replacement battery for the battery that failed on Monday is already here. That's interesting for a couple of reasons: firstly, it's relatively fast, and the previous one took 11 days to arrive, enough to provoke a comment in this diary.

Another interesting point: the battery looks identical to the one I returned. But this seller offers a 5 year warranty, assuming he's still in business than. On the other hand, the first one offered 3 years, so presumably that won't be an issue.

So why did the first one fail? Will this one also fail? It charged well enough. It would be tempting to think that the first one was old, since they don't have date imprints. But I still have one functional aftermarket battery that I received nearly 9 years ago, and presumably these are nothing like as old.


Saturday, 27 August 2022 Dereel Images for 27 August 2022
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Another quiet day
Topic: general Link here

Somehow all the activity of the past month has finished, and there's nothing more to do. There could be, of course, but apart from the weekly house photos there wasn't much to do, especially since it was Yvonne's turn to cook dinner.

Is this the way of the future? No, I don't think so. It has happened again and again over the years.


DDR revisited
Topic: history, opinion Link here

In Germany, „DDR“ is short for „Deutsche Demokratische Republik“, the “German Democratic Republic” that existed from 1949 to 1990. Its shadow still falls over the Federal Republic of Germany, then called “West Germany”. And German TV continually produces programmes about its history. Today I watched another one, „Das war die DDR“. And again I learn new things. It's particularly relevant in the light of the current Russian aggression against Ukraine. But where are the documentaries about the Federal Republic of the time?


Ukrainian phonology
Topic: language, opinion Link here

Ukrainian is very similar to Russian, but there are some obvious differences. The vowels are different: Russian has Ё (confusingly pronounced “Yo”) and Ы, while Ukrainian has Є and І. To add to the confusion, Е in Ukrainian corresponds to Э in Russian, and Є in Ukrainian corresponds to Е in Russian.

But how do you pronounce them? So far I don't even know how to pronounce Київ or Зеленський. The official transliterations Kyiv and Zelenskyy are completely confusing, in the latter case in particular because the two ys represent different letters in Ukrainian. So today I went looking for a tutorial, and came up with this one:

Surprise, nothing like what I expected, but very useful. My takeaways were that Ї is a separate letter from І (written in lower case as і), and that И is pronounced more like German Ü. But it's only the vowels, and it poses more questions about the consonants. I already know that Г is more like an H, and that they use Ґ for G. But the presenter pronounced “vowel” more like “wowel”, though in other connection she pronounces В like a V. More searching to do.


Sunday, 28 August 2022 Dereel Images for 28 August 2022
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Air conditioner: not there yet
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Woke up in the middle of the night wondering whether I had turned the temperature down (from 21° to 19° in the night). No, I hadn't. But that didn't explain why the temperature display was showing 23°, and the infrared thermometer agreed.

It was a relatively mild night, so I turned the system off altogether. But why had it happened? Did it happen? It would have been the first time if it was, but maybe there was some other explanation, like the outside temperature.

Apart from that, though, it's clear that the fan speeds haven't changed since last week's repair. When I turned the unit on again in the morning, there should have been a real rush of air, but there was none. Time to call Tony back.


More Ukrainian sounds
Topic: language, opinion Link here

More searching for clues to how Ukrainian is pronounced. It's a can of worms. In particular, yesterday's assumption that И is pronounced more like German Ü seems to be only an approximation. Today I listened to part of this video, “UKRAINIAN LETTERS “І” and “И””:

And there I read:

 
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Well, I certainly don't pronounce those words as üf, hüt and büt. But though the presenter pronounces the vowels correctly in those words, it's different from the way she pronounces и with Ukrainian words. Sometimes I hear a hint of diphthong, something like “üi”. And after a К it sounds different again. The best example is Київ: I have heard various pronunciations from native Ukrainians, and it seems that somehow an р (r) crops up there, something like “Kryüiv”. That occurs in another word in this video, Кіт, but she doesn't mention it.


Fake cha shao
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

On Thursday Yvonne picked up a “Cantonese style pork shoulder” from ALDI. I thought that it might be something like cha shao. Cooked it tonight.

Yes, the colour vaguely resembles cha shao. But it's shoulder, not exactly the most appropriate cut for cha shao, and in the course of cooking it distorted into two separate pieces:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220828/big/Fake-cha-shao-1.jpeg
Image title: Fake cha shao 1          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 5631 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220828/big/Fake-cha-shao-3.jpeg
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And the taste? Boring. Although it had been marinating for days, it had almost no cha shao flavour. As Yvonne said, next time I should do it myself.


Monday, 29 August 2022 Dereel Images for 29 August 2022
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PJW's face again
Topic: history, technology, photography, opinion Link here

Who is PJW? Depends on whom you ask. It seems that it was the abbreviation (user ID?) for Peter Weinberger, the W in awk, and the face on Bell Labs's water tower. It seems that nobody had the presence of mind to take a closer view of the tower (the right-hand one), but it's the one in the second image.

http://spinroot.com/pico/watertower.jpg http://spinroot.com/pico/pjw_logo.gif

I first heard of the story 21 years ago from Peter Salus, with the interesting twist that the stencil involved was in the possession of Warren Toomey, who was present at the time.

But the story had gaps and errors. Originally we thought it was an image of Rob Pike, but a year later Rob confirmed that it was Weinberger. Today I read this article on the subject by Gerard J. Holzmann (GJH), in which I discovered more details, including that Rob Pike was behind the representation (and thus very much not the subject). Now why didn't he tell me that?

The other thing that was unclear at the time was how Warren got hold of the stencil. It seems reasonable to assume that Ken Thompson sent it to him.

It's also interesting that GJH wrote a book titled “Beyond Photography — The Digital Darkroom” in 1998. The Weinberger stencil is part of that effort. I've skimmed through it, and it looks interesting, but it needs more attention.


More tiwi configuration
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

It's been nearly a week since I last worked on making tiwi the only TV driver computer. The issue was X configuration.

That's nothing new. I've been configuring X (and talking about it) for over 30 years. But it's the details that count. The TV only has HDMI inputs. The ThinkCentre M91p that is tiwi only has a D-Sub video output, so I have an Nvidia GeForce GT 730 display card in it as well. But there's no output on the card.

OK, today's task: connect up a monitor to the D-Sub output and configure it to display on the Nvidia card. How hard can it be?

Very. First, I need to do it with enough time to spare in case something goes wrong, and tiwi records things in the afternoon, so I didn't have much time. Then find a D-Sub cable. I must have hundreds, but I couldn't find a spare, so I had to take the one I normally use for dereel. Connecting is not made more fun by the position of the computer. Connect up to a monitor, power down, reboot.

No display. The monitor says “no signal on HDMI”. That's a feature, not a bug, but I couldn't find any way to persuade it to change the input. Even the MENU button didn't produce anything useful. This is one of the monitors I got from Bruce Evans, and I don't have a manual.

Yes, I could search the web for a manual, but it was simpler to change the monitor. And of course this one has inputs only from below. Finally connected it up, D-Sub from the motherboard and DVI from the Nvidia card, and rebooted. How about that, the D-Sub connector had fallen off, but it came up happily with the DVI cable on the Nvidia card. The BIOS had display card choice set to “Auto”, which I think means that it will talk to whatever is listening. OK, leave it like that and try to start X.

[   236.168] (==) Using config file: "/usr/local/etc/X11/xorg.conf"
...
[   236.197] (EE) NVIDIA: Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module. Please see the
[   236.197] (EE) NVIDIA:     system's kernel log for additional error messages and
[   236.197] (EE) NVIDIA:     consult the NVIDIA README for details.

What does that mean? No further system log, but clearly I had forgotten to load the module. Without a config file, it started happily. Loading the module wasn't the issue, but time was. Mañana.


Tuesday, 30 August 2022 Dereel Images for 30 August 2022
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No tiwi work
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

Why am I having so much trouble setting up tiwi? One thing's clear: I need to do this stuff in the morning, when nothing much is happening. But in principle things should Just Work. Part is the concern about the problems I've had in the past with HDMI, which seems not to like me. But there's still this issue with locales. There must be some other variable that I haven't identified yet, and until I do, I can't complete the changeover.


Kitchen scales strangenesses
Topic: food and drink, technology, opinion Link here

While preparing dinner this evening, discovered:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220830/big/Scales-1.jpeg
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That's not as strange as it might seem: I had had a pot on the board which weighed, well, about 620 g, and then used the tare function to weigh something in the pot. But when I removed the board, I discovered:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220830/big/Scales-2.jpeg
Image title: Scales 2          Dimensions:          2017 x 2486, 851 kB
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Image title: Scales 2 detail          Dimensions:          1300 x 565, 123 kB
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Underflow!

Well, no. More investigation showed that the display had overflowed:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220830/big/Scales-6.jpeg
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After adding a little water, I got:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220830/big/Scales-7.jpeg
Image title: Scales 7          Dimensions:          2992 x 4514, 1661 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220830/big/Scales-7-detail.jpeg
Image title: Scales 7 detail          Dimensions:          1544 x 618, 144 kB
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Wednesday, 31 August 2022 Dereel
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Welcome, new RACV member!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Received a strange letter in the (snail) mail yesterday: a membership card from RACV. I've been a member since this month!

Problem: I have another card with the same membership number which says that I've been a member since May 1997. It's also a pretty gold colour, while the new one is blue.

Should I care? Yes. RACV has proved to be the cheapest car insurance, and the discount I get depends on years of membership. OK, bite the bullet, call up their help line and fight my way through the menu (4, 7).

“Hello, welcome to RACV. This is mumble. Can I have your name and date of birth please?”.

What was that name? Aline maybe? Got her to spell it out. Lynn. Not an easy person to understand, but apparently easy to confuse. She asked for my name three times, and forgot about the birth date.

Got very little out of her beyond the fact that they claim to have sent invoices for the Commodore on 24 July 2020 and for the Hyundai on 11 March 2021. But later she changed her mind and decided that they had sent the invoice for the Commodore on 4 November 2021. Apparently she hadn't noted the first had been paid (on 8 December 2020).

OK, can we continue the insurance? Yes, no worries. I'll send you the invoices by email. On my request, she said she would also send them by snail mail. She couldn't help with getting my membership details reinstated; for that I would have to call the complaints line on 1800 675 958.

Despite my concerns, the invoices arrived a little later. The invoices that they had allegedly sent last year! I could pay them and still have no cover!

Should I really renew my insurance with them? It does save a considerable amount of money, but I'm left with the impression that RACV is singularly incompetent at all levels with which I have had dealings.

On review, it's interesting to note that this isn't the first time that I have had problems with RACV. I had exactly the same problem 12 years ago, where they compounded the error by calling me up and asking for my credit card details!

Another entry shows further incompetence: they wanted $40 per year to perform direct debit!

And in September 2013 I had more problems: their computer systems had been down for days. It wasn't the only time; in April 2019 I had the same issue with their web site.

I've already mentioned the last time that I tried roadside assistance and failed because they couldn't process GPS coordinates. But then 5 years ago they wanted to know when I got my driver license and then refused to accept it because I was not yet 18 years old, the current age for getting a driver license in Victoria (I got mine in Kuala Lumpur). Considering that our daughter Yana got her driver license in South Australia at the age of 16. At the time nobody told her that she was not allowed to drive to Victoria, and indeed she did so when she was 17, coincidentally 20 years ago today.

And particularly interestingly in this context, on 19 March 2021, 8 days after the last invoice for the Hyundai, Yvonne received a new membership card, thanking her for being a member for 25 years.

After looking back through all that, I'm aware of two things: first, keeping this diary is useful, and secondly RACV appears amazingly incompetent.


Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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