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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 Hendrix, 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
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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 list:

 
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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 them! 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


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