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Wednesday, 1 December 2021 Dereel Images for 1 December 2021
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Overcooked noodles
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

As I feared two weeks ago, my Shanxi planed noodles were overcooked. And I have something like 10 portions! Sometimes I wonder whether it's worth the trouble.


Perfectly Clear limitations
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

My photo pages include popups to show the most important exposure details. For example, this photo of the heron recently was cropped.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211127/big/Heron-13.jpeg
Image title: Heron 13          Dimensions:          2119 x 1260, 939 kB
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All images taken on Saturday, 27 November 2021, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 27 November 2021, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 27 November 2021 Complete exposure details

 

What was the effective focal length? It's in the Exif data that I print out:

Date taken:     Saturday, 27 November 2021, 8:59:41
Exposure:       1/320 sec, f/4.8 (EV 12.8), 200/24 ISO
Camera:         Olympus OM-D E-M1
Lens:           Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 mm f/4.0-6.3
Focal length:   173.0 mm (full frame equivalent: 346 mm)
Focus:          S-AF+MF 13.275 m (12.87 - 13.71 m)
Crop factor:    0.168 (0.46 horizontal, 0.36 vertical)
Effective FL:   404 mm (FF: 808 mm)
Field of view:  2.6° horizontal, 1.6° vertical, 3.1° diagonal
Meter mode:     ESP Program AE
Stabilization:  Lens
Size:           2119 x 1260 pixels (2.67 megapixels)
Copyright:      Greg Lehey

But what I got was:

Date taken:     Saturday, 27 November 2021, 8:59:41
Exposure:       1/320 sec, f/4.8 (EV 12.8), 200/24 ISO
Camera:         Olympus OM-D E-M1
Lens:           LEICA DG 100-400/f/4.0-6.3
Focal length:   173.0 mm
Meter mode:     Multi-segment Program AE
Size:           2119 x 1260 pixels (2.67 megapixels)
Copyright:      Greg Lehey

That's fully 5 lines of data less, and the name of the lens has been changed. It didn't take long to find out why: “Perfectly Clear“ removed most, but not all, of the Exif data, here 156 of 254 entries:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/28) ~/Photos/20211130 144 -> exiftool Kitchen-plumbing-1.jpeg | wc -l
      98
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/28) ~/Photos/20211130 145 -> exiftool PC/Kitchen-plumbing-1.jpeg | wc -l
     254

Exif mutilation is common in this kind of software, so it's relatively easy to fix. But it kept enough of it to catch me off my guard.

And then: do I need “LOOKs”? Went through the list and found one that was offered for free, which might match its real value. It offers eye emphasis, in the example to a point that looks completely unnatural. As Alistair Boyanich said on IRC, “they need to rename the plugin "Goul'd Eyes"”.

But I don't know how to download it, and neither does anybody on IRC who looked at it. Is that deliberate or just broken? They offer a “chat” window, so I asked in there. “Expect a few minutes delay”. OK, looked back hours again, but it was “Not seen yet”. Mañana.


Thursday, 2 December 2021 Dereel Images for 2 December 2021
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The dangers of “top posting”
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

From time to time I receive messages from people wanting to write a guest post in this diary. Clearly that's not appropriate, because this is my diary describing what I have been doing. That's why I have this at the end of every page:

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 still get these requests, and I answer with a reference to what the person should already have read. But it seems that some people are in write-only mode. I suppose it's not surprising that they're the same people who put their reply by itself and append the entire history, which presumably they haven't read, like this one, where it happened twice:

Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2021 18:22:17 +0100
From: Penny Kling <pennyklingg@gmail.com>
To: Greg 'groggy' Lehey <groggy@lemis.com>
Subject: Re: Guest Post Request

Hey. Did you receive my email? I didn't receive your response

On Wed, Oct 20, 2021 at 4:10 PM Penny Kling <pennyklingg@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello. Thanks for your reply. I would like to publish an article on your
> site. I have several projects on different topics. I would like to know the
> terms of publication on your site to begin with. Could you help me with
> this?
>
> On Wed, Oct 20, 2021 at 1:43 AM Greg 'groggy' Lehey <groggy@lemis.com>
> wrote:
>
>> On Tuesday, 19 October 2021 at 14:26:18 +0200, Penny Kling wrote:
>> > Greetings! I would like to contribute to your website by adding a guest
>> > post. Do you have any specific requirements I should follow?
>>
>> Sorry, I have no provision for guest posts.  If you write something
>> that interests me, I may mention it in my diary, but don't count on it
>> being automatically complimentary.  As I say in the footer to my daily
>> diary,
>>
>>    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.

“I didn't receive your response” indeed! She not only received it, but also appended it to her message. But she obviously didn't read it.

Would that have happened if she had trimmed the message and interleaved her reply?


Perfectly Clear replies
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Into the office this morning to find the status my query to “Perfectly Clear“:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211202/small/Perfectly-Silent-detail.png
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15 hours and not seen. OK, not much hope there—I thought. But later when I looked at it again I got:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211202/small/Perfectly-Clear.png
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OK, that looks like a useful answer. But why did it take so long? And what's the time (“12:02 am”)? As I understand it, they're in Alberta, which observes US Mountain Time. I didn't get the message until around midday, which would have been 18:00 their time. So there's more to the delay than meets the eye.


1970s supercomputers
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

From time to time I compare modern computing devices to the CDC 7600. That article contains:

From about 1969 to 1975, the CDC 7600 was generally regarded as the fastest computer in the world, except for specialized units.

And a few months ago I had compared it to my new Xiaomi Redmi 9T. 580 megaflops compared to 8.7 gigaflops for the phone.

But the Wikipedia page said only 10 megaflops. Why? Today I finally found the reference manual. First, how many functional units? That's on page 2-9, which irritatingly has been replaced by a duplicate of 2-7. The Wikipedia page refers to 4 floating point arithmetical units, but what did they do? One divider, one multiplier, one adder, and the fourth? The 6600 had two arithmetic units, so that's probably what the 7600 had too.

And the timing? The only operation that completed in 1 clock cycle was PASS, effectively a NOP, which happened relatively frequently because of the instruction formats. Multiply took 5 cycles, and divide took 20. With all the interlocking that went on, and each instruction requiring 3 of the 8 X registers, the 10 Megaflops sounds perfectly plausible. It's also in line with my own experience in 1973, where we ran a benchmark between the 7600 and our UNIVAC 1110 (100 ns cycle time, 6 processors), and the 1110 won.

So I now carry a phone that has about 800 times the floating point performance of the CDC 7600. Somehow that's sad.


More online service issues
Topic: general, opinion Link here

(Paper) mail for Yvonne today, from Medicare:

Your Medicare online account is now linked to your myGov online account

Our records show that you linked your Medicare online account to your myGov online account on 29 October 2021.

More identity theft? No, just amazing go-slow on the part of Medicare. The letter was dated 18 November, fully three weeks after the event. And it wasn't posted for another week, and Australia Post somehow managed to take yet another week to deliver it.

Why so long? And why not use the email address provided?

What harm was done? None. I mentioned it at the time, part of these silly “COVID-19 Digital Certificates”. But the more I see of these government inefficiencies, the more horrified I am.


Net outage of a different kind
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

The Bureau of Meteorology had warned of heavy rain and thunderstorms today, and they hit us like I have seldom seen before. In a little over 45 minutes, the temperature dropped from 33.2° to 17.0°, a drop of 16.2°. And in the 62 seconds between 15:29:48 and 15:30:50, the temperature dropped by 3.4°, probably the biggest I have ever seen:

+----------+--------------+
| time     | outside_temp |
+----------+--------------+
| 14:55:54 |         33.2 |
| 14:56:55 |         33.1 |
...
| 15:26:40 |           28 |
| 15:27:45 |         27.7 |
| 15:28:47 |           27 |
| 15:29:48 |         25.7 |
| 15:30:50 |         22.3 |
| 15:31:51 |         20.9 |
| 15:32:53 |           20 |
| 15:33:54 |         18.8 |
...
| 15:43:07 |           17 |
Click to see larger image

The weather was accordingly bad. It was only a few minutes long, but my guess is that visibility was round 20 m, and for the first time with the National Broadband Network we went off the net for 15 minutes because of the weather:

Start time End time  Duration   Badness        from                    to
                     (seconds)

1638419259 1638420146    887  0.037 #  2 December 2021 15:27:39  2 December 2021 15:42:26

We also had a grid power failure, but only a 1-second version.


Friday, 3 December 2021 Dereel Images for 3 December 2021
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Visit from George
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Peggy Naumov along today with her dog George , whom we first saw with potential interest to purchase on 21 July. At the time he was terrified of everything, and Yvonne had recommended people who could help. And today was an attempt at socialization.

Peggy brought his pedigree with her: he's the uncle of Larissa and Lena, and the great-grandson of Zhivago.

George has made a lot of progress since we last saw him, but he's not there yet. We left him in the front (east) garden, and then let our dogs in the north garden, where he gradually approached them:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211203/small/George-meets-Larissa-Lena-3.jpeg
Image title: George meets Larissa Lena 3
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But he was still timid, so we didn't let them loose together. Instead we went for a walk with them, where things gradually got better:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211203/small/Greg-Lena-Larissa-Peggy-George-4-detail.jpeg
Image title: Greg Lena Larissa Peggy George 4 detail
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We left it at that. They'll be back about once a week, and I hope that by the new year he'll be a lot more confident.

In passing, George is a fully grown mail Borzoi, and our dogs (probably) won't get that big. But for 8½ months, they're doing surprisingly well.


Saturday, 4 December 2021 Dereel Images for 4 December 2021
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Top posting: barking up the wrong tree?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I got a reply to the message that I mentioned yesterday, once again quoting the entire history. And once again there was no evidence that she had read anything:

Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2021 13:28:43 +0100
From: Penny Kling <pennyklingg@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Guest Post Request

Hello. Thanks for your reply. I would like to publish an article on your
site. I have several projects on different topics. I would like to know the
terms of publication on your site to begin with. Could you help me with
this?

My answer was as one might expect:

Penny, I don't know how to get through to you.  I DO NOT ACCEPT GUEST
POSTS.  I keep telling you that, and I get the impression that you
don't read what I say.

You have, however, made it to my diary.  See
http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-dec2021.php?subtitle=The%20dangers%20of%20%E2%80%9Ctop%20posting%E2%80%9D&article=D-20211203-010829#D-20211203-010829

Why did I bother? I don't know, but since I have documented it, I suppose I should go through to the bitter end. And that came quickly:

<pennyklingg@gmail.com>: host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[74.125.142.26] said:
    550-5.2.1 The email account that you tried to reach is disabled.

So clearly I'm not the only person concerned about this person. In a way, that's a pity: it means that I was railing against an individual, and not against a group. Still, things aren't necessarily over yet. She may come back in a different guise.


Time zone strangenesses
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The FreeBSD-questions mailing list seems dead, but occasionally end users send email somewhere. Today it was on FreeBSD-hackers. Somebody in Turkey had chosen a time zone file /usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/GMT+3, but it didn't quite do what he expected:

# ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/GMT+3 /etc/localtime
# date
Sat Dec  4 03:48:50 -03 2021

Why that? And why did he use GMT+3 instead of /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Istanbul? My answer proved to be off the mark, but Derek Schrock came up with the explanation, from /usr/src/contrib/tzdata/etcetera::

# Be consistent with POSIX TZ settings in the Zone names,
# even though this is the opposite of what many people expect.
# POSIX has positive signs west of Greenwich, but many people expect
# positive signs east of Greenwich.  For example, TZ='Etc/GMT+4' uses
# the abbreviation "-04" and corresponds to 4 hours behind UT
# (i.e. west of Greenwich) even though many people would expect it to
# mean 4 hours ahead of UT (i.e. east of Greenwich).

It's clearly a carry-over from the old System V nonsense that made its way into POSIX. All the more reason to avoid the “GMT” offsets.


Spring has come?
Topic: gardening Link here

We're in the first week of summer, but the garden is only now catching up. Finally the Leucospermum cordifolium is flowering:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211204/small/Leucospermum-cordifolium.jpeg
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That's fully 2 weeks later than last year (here 20 November):

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20201121/small/Leucospermum-cordifolium-1.jpeg
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And the Acacia (Acacia melanoxylon?) is flowering more profusely, though it's hard to see:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211204/small/Acacia-3.jpeg
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The ornamental grass to the north-west of the garden has produced one spike per year so far, and three of them are still there from last year. But this year it has no fewer than five new spikes:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211204/small/Flowering-grass-1.jpeg
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And the Tropaeolums in the bed in front of the house are taking over:

 
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Somewhere in there was a Cyclamen, but I haven't seen that for a while.

And while walking the dogs, came across this Goodenia down Harrisons Road.

 
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211204/small/Goodenia-3.jpeg
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I've seen it before, but it has never flowered so profusely. I had thought that Goodenia was a species of something, but it seems that there are round 200 species. Until proof of the contrary it appears to be Goodenia ovata. Yvonne was taken by it, so she took a tearing of it to propagate. I wonder if it will take.


Perfectly Clear eyes
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Finally got round to downloading the free SharkPixel's Eyes “LOOK” for “Perfectly Clear“. It has to be done with the “Apps Manager”, making things difficult by having to scroll through a long list. And when it was installed, I couldn't find it! Ha ha, not a LOOK at all: it's a preset.

And in fact it doesn't work badly. Here before and after (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210610/small/Yvonne-orig.jpeg
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Clearly there's room for more improvements, but I should first look for a better image to play with.


Spätzle quantities
Topic: food and drink Link here

Jägerschnitzel for dinner this evening, and our first encounter with this kind of Spätzle:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211118/small/Bechtle-Sp%C3%A4tzle-1.jpeg
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Bavarian Spätzle indeed! Them's fighting words. But they're made in Schwaben. The instructions specified obsolete units like quarts (what kind?) and ounces, along with 22 minutes, which we extended to 24. 100 g gave 285 g of cooked Spätzle, of which we left 124. That suggests a portion size of about 28 g (coincidentally an avoirdupois ounce) of dry Spätzle.


Sunday, 5 December 2021 Dereel Images for 5 December 2021
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Understanding Academia
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

On the face of it, Academia is a serious academic web site. But I have already noted that they seem to be less than thorough in their checking of the documents that they offer, and their continual discovery of references to me (please sign up to see them) makes me doubt their real intentions.

A few months ago they came up with something sensible: “Are you the Greg Lehey who wrote The Complete FreeBSD?”. Yes, sure, so I updated my “profile” accordingly.

It took them a while to ask me to upload the document. Again, it's available on the web, so why not?

And then today I got a message that sounds more like the Academia I know and mistrust: “Connect with 4 co-authors of "The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition" on Academia.edu”.

I wrote the book by myself. But assuming that there had been co-authors, why should I need to “connect” with them via Academia? Clearly I would know them.

OK, log in, face web site breakage, and find this page. One hit for “complete freebsd”. But 5,668 papers with "complete freebsd" in the full text—just upgrade to see them. And 0 people. Where are the four co-authors? Finally connected and discovered that I didn't have to pay anything. And the whole thing was due to incorrect assumptions made by some bot:

  1. We found a co-author, Freebsd Current, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  2. We found a co-author, Joerg Wunsch, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  3. We found a co-author, Bray Be, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  4. We found a co-author, Freebsd Questions, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  5. We found a co-author, Freebsd Hackers, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.

That's an interesting number 4. And clearly three of them are FreeBSD mailing lists. I have no idea what or who “Bray Be” might be, though it's associated with an email address that I, the author, am not allowed to see. The only person I recognize is Jörg Wunsch, whose name they chose to mutilate. Why him? I mention reviewers in the preface, but there are many more, and there's no reason to assume that any of them might be co-authors. The only person who came even close to that would be Kirk McKusick, who wrote the foreward. In each case I was given the option to confirm, but not to deny. So there's not much I can do.

On the other hand, there's also:

Peter H. Salus confirmed that your paper, The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition mentions them.

But there's no mention of him confirming anything, just a reference to him in the book.

I'm still puzzled.


Spring on its way
Topic: gardening Link here

It's halfway between the monthly house photo dates, and still more plants are flowering, a couple of weeks late. I had nearly forgotten this one:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211205/small/Tulbaghia-violacea-1.jpeg
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What is it? A bit of digging in my diary brought up the fact that it's a Tulbaghia violacea, and that I bought it two summers ago along with the Sisyrinchium angustifolium, left them to their own devices through the winter and finally planted them in September last year. This appears to be the first time it has flowered since being planted.

And the Sisyrhinchium? It's growing, and it even has a flower, but you need to look carefully:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211205/small/Sisyrinchium-angustifolium.jpeg
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Apart from that, the flowers are gradually flowering. The roses are partially hidden in the weeds, but they're flowering nonetheless:

 
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Only the Clematis “Edo Murasaki” has finally succumbed to Bryan Ross's “pruning” attempts:

 
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All that's left are a couple of dead twigs. Thank God he's gone!


More lens comparisons
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I took some of yesterday's photos of the flowering grass with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f/3.5-6.3 super zoom. To lessen the depth of field, I also took some with the Nikkor 85 mm f/1.4 with the Viltrox NF-M43X focal length converter to get 60 mm f/0.99.

But while processing them the images appeared unsharp. Why? Focus or lens limitations? Yes, there's very little depth of field:

Subject        Focal plane     Magnification  Exposure       Near        Far         Depth of
distance (m)   distance (mm)                    comp  (EV)   limit (m)   limit (m)  field (m)
  20.00           60.181        0.00             0.0        19.157     20.921     1.763

But with focus peaking I should have been able to get it accurately. The Nikkor is 40 years old, and I've discovered five years ago that the 50 year old Super Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 for my Pentax was no match for my then new Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4. Could it be a similar issue here? Repeated the photos with three combinations: the Nikkor/Viltrox combination as yesterday, the Nikkor by itself, and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8, both at full aperture and stopped down a couple of stops.

The results? I think I chose a poor motive. The most obvious difference was in the colour balance. Here Nikkor, Olympus and Nikkor/Viltrox:

 
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That can be compensated for in postprocessing, of course. Looking in detail, we have:

 
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The surprise there is that none of the images is really sharp. But I think that I should probably try the TV view that I used 5 years ago, where the differences reach out and grab you:

 
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Destructive animals
Topic: animals Link here

Sometimes the animals can irritate. Last week I found that they had chewed off the end of an irrigation hose, so I cut it back, bent it over and tied it together.

What an offer! Something to chew on!

 
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Piccola, not to be outdone, decided to check what we were cooking for dinner. Cauliflower! Throw it out!

 
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A real curry again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Lately I've been cooking curries mainly from pre-prepared pastes, and many are good. But as I grumble from time to time, they're generally far too pedas.

Today we had “Indian” food (very much including Malay food) for dinner. We have finally finished the chicken curry that I had conceived for Yvonne, so I had to cook more.

I had forgotten how much work it is! The pastes certainly save time. But we ate a “paste” curry (vegetable curry) along with it, and it tasted far too pedas and not nearly as flavoursome. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and cook more curries from scratch.


Monday, 6 December 2021 Dereel Images for 6 December 2021
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Fixing web pages?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's been some time since I changed the basic layout of these web pages, round 10 years: I limited the paragraph width to what is normal in print, and added lazy loading for the images. What is definitely missing is the upgrade to HTML5: I'm still delivering pages in XHTML. From time to time I think of that and look at the effort involved—473 diary pages alone to fix.

Today I received mail from Daniel Nebdal, who finds my lazy loading sub-optimal. It seems that there's an alternative:

Assuming a browser that supports it, you can add load="lazy" to an img tag, and it will only request the image when the browser thinks it's about to scroll into view. And ... that's it, really. It's kind of nice. There's a Mozilla Developer Network article about it at https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Performance/Lazy_loading

The big issue is “a browser that supports it”. It seems that Safari still thinks of it as an experimental feature that requires explicit activation. And there's also the question of standards compliance, though this page tells me that HTML5 supports it.

So: what do I do? The easiest is “nothing”, but it does sound like something useful to try out. Looking at the attribute documentation suggests that if the browser doesn't support it, the images will just all get loaded, so it's not that big of a deal.

Other references from Daniel: Safari lazy loading and how it's implemented.


Tuesday, 7 December 2021 Dereel Images for 7 December 2021
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Laziness with loading
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday I noted Daniel Nebdal's suggestion to use the loading=lazy attribute for the images in my web pages. Why didn't I implement it immediately?

My web scripts are a jumble of stuff that have Just Growed over the last 15 years, and there are so many corner cases that I'm afraid to change anything. But today I took a look and discovered that it wasn't that hard after all. In fact, it made things a whole lot simpler:

--- php/includes/onephoto.php   2021/07/11 03:21:50     1.307
+++ php/includes/onephoto.php   2021/12/08 00:30:49
@@ -1509,25 +1509,12 @@
-  if ($islazy  && ! $validating)                               /* load images when they're visible */
        print <<< EOS
       <a id="Photo-$photoseq" name="Photo-$photoseq"
           href="$href">
           <img alt="$image" border="0" id="Photo_$photoseq"
                title="$title.  Click to redisplay $widthtxt."
-               class="lazy" src="$loadimage"
-               data-original="$image"
-               width="$width"
-EOS;
-
-    else
-      print <<< EOS
-      <a id="Photo-$photoseq" name="Photo-$photoseq"
-          href="$href">
-          <img alt="This should be $thisimage.  Is it missing?" border="0" id="Photo_$photoseq"
-               title="$title.  Click to redisplay $widthtxt."
-               src="$image"
+               loading="lazy" src="$image"
                width="$width"
 EOS;

Well, almost. I used the variable $validating to remove the “lazy” kludge, because it's not strict HTML. But it turns out that the loading attribute is not allowed in XHTML either, so I had to remove it for validation purposes. But it works, including with Safari, and it seems to be much faster, possibly because of more parallelism in image loading.


Cockatoos in the paddock
Topic: general, animals Link here

Walking the dogs, saw what looked like a flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos in the paddock to the east of Harrisons Road:

 
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They're lambs, of course, but very white, and cockatoos really do lie like that.


The rise of the dog roses
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Walking the dogs, found this atypical pink flower in the creepers down Bliss Road:

 
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What's that? A dog rose. This year they seem to be everywhere, including in our garden. Here's a more typical one in Stones Road:

 
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Communicating with Android, yet again
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Reading back through my diary over the years, I discover that I have been suffering from Android for round 10 years. It hasn't got much easier, but I'm not ranting as much as I used to: clearly it won't go away soon.

But I continue to be amazed at just how bad it is. Why can't I set custom ringtones on enzian, Yvonne's phone? I can set any of the standard ones. An obvious workaround attempt would be to find where they're stored and add my own ringtone, in the hope that the format is the same.

Simple, right? Search the storage for the directory with the ringtones and copy mine there. But how do you search? find(1) is the obvious answer, but it doesn't exist. OK, wouldn't it be nice if you could share file systems between Android and real computers? As I observed recently it's not a question of processing or storage power: even the slowest Android device is orders of magnitude faster and has orders of magnitude more storage than 1970s supercomputers, and certainly more than the 1980s computers for which NFS and friends were built. OK, go looking. NFS is as good as impossible, and that although this is a Linux-based system. The only one I found was from Servers Ultimate, and they have already pissed me off by sneakily hiding the fact that they want $6 or so for it—a review that seems to be the most popular on the page.

So: Samba? That requires getting my fingers soiled with Microsoft. OK, try funkyfresh Samba. That's a problem in itself. The URL is https://m.apkpure.com/samba-filesharing-for-android/com.funkyfresh.samba/download?from=details. How do I type that into a device with no keyboard? I've been there before, and my answer is a “home page” on www and eureka into which I can put URLs that I'm looking for:

# $Id: diary-dec2021.php,v 1.37 2022/01/07 22:46:34 grog Exp $
 /grog Greg's home page
 /grog/diary.php Greg's diary
 /grog/recipes/recipes.php Greg's cooking recipes
...
 https://m.apkpure.com/samba-filesharing-for-android/com.funkyfresh.samba/download?from=details Samba

That gets read by a PHP script and presented as a list of URLs that I can select from the phone. After adding a URL, all I need to do is refresh the page from the phone.

Refresh? What's that? Spent a lot of time trying to find out, only to discover that neither chrome nor firefox support it on Android! In firefox it's an experimental feature, and this page suggests that it's buggy. Why? What are these people smoking?

OK, found a way to get to the page and downloaded it. It's an APK format file, and I ended up with a link How to install APK / XAPK file. More stuff to download, read the vague instructions only to discover

Your Android device must already be rooted and a SuperUser app installed.

OK, give up, move on, try the toyshop and found LAN Drive (“SAMBA Server & Client”). Installed that, tried to control my stomach when I saw:

 
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OK, I should be able to access this with smbclient. But no, all I got was a brief delay (timeout?) and a completion code of 1.

Password issues? How do I know what the password is? Much experimentation and discovered that each app has its own password, and I hadn't set this one. I also needed to find the names of the shares that the app had set up for me (LANDrive and InternalStorage, under the dirty yellow tab in the screen shot above) and the exact number of bloody backslashes needed:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/34) ~ 22 -> smbclient -p 1445 \\\\hirse\\InternalStorage
Enter grog's password:
Domain=[Hirse.lemis.com] OS=[] Server=[]
smb: \> ls
  .                                   D        0  Thu Jan  1 10:00:00 1970
  ..                                  D        0  Thu Jan  1 10:00:00 1970
  AirDroid                            D        0  Tue Jun 15 12:32:30 2021
  Alarms                              D        0  Wed Mar 17 03:07:53 2021
  Android                             D        0  Wed Jun 16 10:51:51 2021
...
                682508 blocks of size 4096. 2251799813685247 blocks available
smb: \>

If that looks bad, in the source for this diary they needed to be doubled again, for a total of 8 backslashes before the system name. And who knows what gave rise to the estimate of free storage.

But I still can't climb trees with smbclient. What I need is Boris Popov's smbfs, a real file system for SMB. Yes, it's a little out of date, but I was still able to load the kernel module and try to mount it. Timeout. Lots of experimentation, but no success.

OK, what else? ssh access? Juha Kupiainen suggested using Termux. And how about that, it was installed. Documentation was another thing, and I couldn't connect to it with ssh the way Juha said I should. Ah, first I need to install openssh. That showed Termux from its worst side:

 
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Enlarging that suggested that there's something seriously wrong with the Termux repositories. OK, I actually have an ssh client installed on this phone, but I hadn't been able to access the system with it. Try again. Who's the user? Where's the password? Ah, there, again a different pair.

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/28) ~ 275 -> ssh -p 2222 hirse
Password authentication
Password:
:/ $ ls
ls: .: Permission denied
1|:/ $ pwd
/
:/ $ cd storage
:/storage $ pwd
/storage
:/storage $ ls
emulated self
:/storage $ cd emulated/
:/storage/emulated $ ls
ls: .: Permission denied
1|:/storage/emulated $ cd 0
:/storage/emulated/0 $ ls
AirDroid          MapsWithMe                Podcasts
Alarms            Movies                    Ringtones
Android           Music                     WhatsApp
BlackPlayer       Musicolet                 com.musicplayer.playermusic
DCIM              Network\ Cell\ Info\ Lite dctp
Download          NetworkSignal             ramdump
EasyVoiceRecorder Notifications
MIUI              Pictures
:/storage/emulated/0 $ ls -l Ringtones
total 2384
-rw-rw---- 1 root everybody 1641577 2021-11-25 12:12 KV622.2.mp3
-rw-rw---- 1 root everybody  795036 2021-06-07 17:41 O-Freunde.mp3
:/storage/emulated/0 $

That looks almost sane. I suppose it makes sense to start out at the top of the file system, but why can't I see anything? If I hadn't known from other apps, I would not have known where to look for user-accessible files. This wouldn't have happened, of course, if the system had real users with home directories.

So I have made some progress, but I'm not there. So far, though, what's wrong with Android?


Paving the way to hell
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Facebook message from Helen Consalvo to Yvonne today:

I want to let you know that Freda is in God's waiting room in the hospital in Maffra. She is in and out of consciousness but comfortable and with the family.

Damn! I've been meaning to visit her for years now, and in the winter I had a couple of opportunities to visit her: both Larissa and Lena come from just round the corner from her, and I could have combined picking up Lena and visiting Freda. But it didn't happen.

Call from her daughter Jan in the evening. Freda is not well, and it doesn't make sense to go and visit her: she probably wouldn't recognize me. It certainly looks as if she won't make it to her 97th birthday next month, but who knows? Yana is coming for Christmas. If she's still around then, we might go and pay our final respects.


Buckwheat chapatis
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Ate some leftovers of our Indian/Malay food this evening. No “chapatis” (really wheat flour “wraps”). No problem. I have atta, and I can make my own.

Oh. Kuttu atta. What's that? A quick search showed me that it's buckwheat, and the recipes didn't suggest chapatis. But I can try anyway:

 
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Not really what I was looking for, and we didn't finish eating them. I wonder what I can do with the rest of the flour—not for the first time: it expired on 2 April 2009.


Wednesday, 8 December 2021 Dereel Images for 8 December 2021
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Replacing the door rollers
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Paul Donaghy along today, and we tried to replace the rollers on these horrible sliding doors. Somehow—I don't really know how—we managed to get the door out of the frame, though ultimately we didn't do anything obviously differently from on other occasions. Maybe it was just that we slid it further open, and that the rails weren't quite parallel

Then took a look at the mountings. They come in two pieces, a casing and the roller itself. This is the underside of the door with the inner part removed:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211208/small/Sliding-door-8.jpeg
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It's clear from the inner part that the roller has had it, and as I suspected, dirt and dog hairs are the background, especially when comparing to the new roller, here in the outer casing:

 
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On the positive side, it seems that the new rollers have a larger diameter and are potentially harder. But it seems that it's necessary to take the things apart to remove the screw that holds the outer casing in place:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211208/small/Sliding-door-8-detail.jpeg
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That's a difficult thing to get at even then, and clearly the person who mounted it had difficulty too, destroying the head of the screw in the process. How do we get it out?

Bright idea: leave the housing where it is and just put in the new inner part. But they're not the same!

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211208/small/Sliding-door-5.jpeg
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Yes, it'll fit, but it's 6 mm longer, and we'd never get the door back together like that. By chance Yvonne called from town, so I told her that we had been given the wrong parts, and she set off to the supplier, who explained yes, they're longer, but they fit. You just need to drill a new hole in the profile to access the adjusting screw, which is now further from the ground:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211208/small/Sliding-door-2.jpeg
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But that still doesn't tell us how to get that screw out of the profile. It's not even clear that it needs to be there, but it's there in the model he showed to Yvonne, though the image quality (mobile phone) doesn't allow me to guess what kind of head it has:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211208/small/Sliding-door-15-detail.jpeg
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Why is it there? Clearly it holds the housing in place, but when the door is installed it's held in place by the weight of the door. Just to stop them falling out when the door is removed? A simple clip would do that much better. So now I have to find a way to drill the screw out.

How I hate these things! About the only surprise was that we got the door back in the frame with no trouble at all. I still don't understand that.


More Android fun
Topic: technology Link here

Why did Termux fail yesterday? Clearly it worked for Juha Kupiainen. Tried the old Microsoft “solution” and deinstalled and reinstalled it. Yes, now it works, and I was able to install openssh. What port is it listening on? From /etc/services 22, of course:

ssh 22/sctp   #Secure Shell Login
ssh 22/tcp   #Secure Shell Login
ssh 22/udp   #Secure Shell Login

But this is Android, and it doesn't do things like that. Juha told me: 8022. OK, ssh thither and be asked for Yet Another Password for grog. And how about that, one of the ones I gave it worked. Where did it find that? Or was it left over from the previous installation?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/34) ~ 26 -> ssh -p 8022 grog@hirse
Welcome to Termux!

Wiki:            https://wiki.termux.com
Community forum: https://termux.com/community
Gitter chat:     https://gitter.im/termux/termux
IRC channel:     #termux on freenode

Working with packages:

 * Search packages:   pkg search <query>
 * Install a package: pkg install <package>
 * Upgrade packages:  pkg upgrade

Subscribing to additional repositories:

 * Root:     pkg install root-repo
 * Unstable: pkg install unstable-repo
 * X11:      pkg install x11-repo

Report issues at https://termux.com/issues

That all looks very encouraging. Maybe it's useful after all.


80 years ago
Topic: history Link here

80 years ago, on 8 December 1941, Japan joined the Second World War by attacking British-controlled territory in Kelantan, completely surprising the British just as much as they surprised the US Americans in Pearl Harbor a little over an hour later. Times have changed, but the most interesting aspect is that the US Americans think that they were the first to be attacked. That's because of the time difference: Kelantan's time zone was GMT+7:30, Hawai'i was GMT-10:30, fully 18 hours apart.


Thursday, 9 December 2021 Dereel Images for 9 December 2021
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The riding arena: progress
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

It's been over 3 months since construction of the riding arena shed was halted. Finally there's progress: call from Mike Cook, Planning Compliance Officer of the Golden Plains Shire Council, to discuss what can be done.

It seems that neither the surveyor nor the council are strictly required to investigate whether there are power lines going over the site. They should have checked the title to see if any easement was noted. And there isn't. So their job is done.

Somehow that's too easy, but that's what the rules say. On the other hand, this also means that Powercor has no right to place the power line there. One option would be to demand that they remove the line, especially since we have established that there are viable alternative routings which might in fact be easier to maintain. But how long would that take? The other issue, of course, is that if they have messed up, they should be liable for our additional costs. Claiming for damages would have the advantage that we wouldn't have to wait for the outcome of the proceedings to build the shed.

In any case, they won't come on site until we have submitted a request for amendment to the permit. That can be relatively informal, and they'll waive the fee for the amendment. Just go to https://goldenplains.greenlightopm.com/my-app?ApplicationType=TownPlanning and fill out the form.

Problem: the site is set out so that you can't just enter a permit number. Only your permits are visible, and I have none: that was issued to David Rowe. OK, mail to the shire and got a relatively quick reply from Robyn Wemyss bypassing the issue by saying that, since I didn't need to pay for the amendment, it would have to be done by hand. She attached a document for me to fill out, but it was the wrong one. I sent my reply after hours, so there was no response today, but it seems that they're moving a little faster now.


Gone today, here tomorrow
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Somehow I'm accumulating more and more videos. Originally I had wanted to limit it to 4 TB, then 6 TB, and now teevee has an almost full 8 TB disk, and free space is dwindling.

I had already moved a lot of stuff out onto a spare 2 TB external disk. But then I found the old 6 TB backup disk with stuff from 2½ years ago on it. Is there anything worth keeping there? Before I delete it, I should check whether I have it on the current 8 TB backup disk. I have a program for that, mklinks, which despite the (historical) name will also remove duplicate files when asked nicely. First with the -z option to see what it is going to do, then without to actually do it:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~ 100 -> mklinks rm -v2 /videobackup2/spool/ /videobackup/spool

The -v2 option shows the names of the files that it deletes:

...
--- Remove /videobackup/spool/Already/Series/Weissensee/21.-Der-erste-Stein-und-22.-Blühendes-Land--neue-Folgen--20180509-201500.mp4
--- Remove /videobackup/spool/Already/Series/Weissensee/21.-Der-erste-Stein-und-22.-Blühendes-Land--neue-Folgen--20180509-201500.txt
--- Remove /videobackup/spool/Already/Series/Weissensee/Folge-10_-Liebe-ist-stärker-als-der-Tod-20180410-233000.ttml
--- Remove /videobackup/spool/Already/Series/Weissensee/Folge-10_-Liebe-ist-stärker-als-der-Tod-20180410-233000.mp4
...

After a while, looked more carefully: it was deleting files from /videobackup, not /videobackup2! That's my real video backup disk! And by the time I stopped it, it had removed about 1.4 TB of files!

That's not the end of the world, of course. By definition they're on /videobackup2. But how do I find which of them were on /videobackup before I started? There, too, things aren't that bad: /videobackup is a mirror of teevee:/spool. All I have to do is to run the nightly backup.

I now know that it takes about a minute to remove 1.4 TB of files. How long does it take to write them again? Looking at iostat, the backup ran at about 40 MB/s. So it would take at least 10 hours. Mañana.


Dish washer issues
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

From time to time I freeze a lot of single portions of curries and things. I put them in a “one-use” plastic container, freeze them, remove them and put them in a plastic bag. So I'm left with the containers, which of course I re-use. But how do you clean them? They're far too light to stay where I put them in the dish washer. Today I think I have found a solution. Here before and after:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211209/small/Dish-washer-before.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211209/small/Dish-washer-after.jpeg
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Friday, 10 December 2021 Dereel Images for 10 December 2021
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Australia Post tracking, again
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

I'm expecting two parcels in the post, and I've been tracking them with Australia Post. I've grumbled about their tracking system in the past, I've answered their frequent surveys, but if anything they're getting worse. One parcel has been waiting at Adelaide airport since 2 December, but Australia Post is optimistic:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211210/small/Auspost-2-detail.png
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Still in Adelaide, but it will be here some time between three days ago and now!

They're not so optimistic about the other one, though:


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Another 3 days at best. But it's already in Lucas, a suburb of Ballarat. That's 19 km away! According to Google Maps, I can walk that distance in 3¾ hours!

Of course I didn't believe either of the delivery claims, and of course I was right. The package in Lucas arrived in Napoleons at 12:05, quite close to the walking time later.

But why do they do this? The delivery estimates are Just Plain Stupid. If I track an item that hasn't been delivered, why do they claim that it could be here 3 days ago? And how do they get such wildly inaccurate estimates for an item that is clearly in a delivery vehicle to the pickup location?


Planning permit amendment request
Topic: Stones Road house, general, technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Robyn Wemyss today with the correct form to fill out for the amendment to the planning permit for the shed. It's in PDF format, and intended to be filled out and returned.

I recall having edited PDF documents with some difficulty in the past, but all I could find in my diary was 7 years ago, maybe not coincidentally filling out a planning permit amendment form for this house. And on that occasion I capitulated.

OK, how hard can it be? Free PDF editors for Microsoft “Windows”? Plenty of them, but this one stood out:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211210/small/PDFelement-1.png
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Download, install. Oh:

 
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It's not free at all. Lie-ware. They want USD 80 for it, and I don't even get a usable free trial period. Goodbye, Wondershare. I've been bombarded with advertisements from Ashampoo for their PDF editor, which comes with a 30 day full-featured trial. Downloaded that and installed it, but I couldn't work out how to run it.

No time to RTFM. I really want to submit this application today. OK, by hand, including the most horrible amendment to a plan that I've seen in a long while:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/Plan-amendment.jpeg
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But at least it has been submitted, and if they don't like it, they can always say so.


George visits again
Topic: animals Link here

It's been a week since Peggy Naumov and her dog George came for socializing with Larissa and Lena. They came again today, and it's clear that George is getting much more confident.

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211210/small/Yvonne-Peggy-Lena-Larissa-George-3.jpeg
Image title: Yvonne Peggy Lena Larissa George 3
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When we got back, he lay down, not something that a scared dog would do:

 
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He's not there yet, but things are clearly improving.


New flowering bush
Topic: gardening Link here

What's this flowering bush?

 
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It's down Bliss Road, opposite the track that leads to the „Grosse Linde“. It looks like it has been there for ever, but I can't recall seeing it before.


Saturday, 11 December 2021 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 11 December 2021
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Außer Spesen nichts gewesen
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Up early this morning and into Sebastopol to be there when ALDI opened, two minutes late, to pick up a couple of their weekly specials: a light tent and a green backdrop.

They hadn't arrived. A complete waste of a journey. Or was it? The shop assistant who helped me told me that I can check stock on the ALDI web site. That could save a lot of effort.


New Olympus DSLR
Topic: photography Link here

On the way home, picked up the parcel I commented about yesterday: an Olympus E-300 with this evolting word “EVOLT” written on it, serial number 623531061, along with another 14-45 mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital lens, serial number 180002977. The serial number of the lens is very different from that of the other 14-45 mm f/3.5-5.6, suggesting, along with the silly “EVOLT” on the camera, that both were made for the USA.

It was a bit of a gamble: it has originally been listed on eBay as “untested”. Surely they could at least have put a battery in it and see whether it would power up and fire the shutter, and I sent them a message to that effect. But no, it seems that was too much trouble, as was replying to my message. Instead they dropped the price from $150 to $87.50, also without telling me, and classified it as “for parts or not working”. That could either mean that they had tested it and found it wanting, or they had found it too much work to test. The latter would be understandable, since it came without a charger.

First, the secret menus. They proved to require a different method to access them, like the E-1: after opening the card cover, press DISPLAY and OK together, not MENU and OK as for the later cameras. Then arrow pad up, down, left, right, press shutter (no release) and you can select the pages with the arrow keys. MCS was 4007506002, telling me that it's an E-300 (of course), manufactured 506 (June 2005). Shutter release count was 9239, not much, but more than the other old Olympus cameras that I have. And firmware was 1.0, while the “current” version (20 November 2007) is 1.5.

So did it work? Put in a charged battery, turned on, yes! All works well, and I was able to charge the battery that came with it with no problems. Find a CF card, take photos, all OK. About the only thing I couldn't find was how to set the image format (raw, of course).

And the results? First surprise: the (mini) USB connection only manages 1 MB/s, making for very slow loads. I'm wondering whether there might be an issue with the cable that I found for it: it looks particularly thin. Where have all my USB cables gone? The only ones I have in excessive quantities have the ancient Type B connectors at at least one end. Does anything use them any more?

Put the photos through DxO PhotoLab and discovered a surprising number of hot spots, which, however, DxO glossed over. But this was in the relatively dark kitchen. Time for a faster lens, the Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD. The camera didn't power on! I couldn't even turn it off; I had to remove the battery. But there was something in the firmware update information for version 1.3:

The (camera) start up process has been changed to support interchangeable lenses to be released in the future.

The release information is not dated, but presumably the 14-35 is one such lens.

After downloading the manual, set raw images (press the shower head and turn the rear (only) dial), off to compare it with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I. How dim these DSLR viewfinders are! The Strelitzia nicolai is flowering profusely, so took a couple of photos of that.

But things weren't that simple. At least part of it has to do with the image processing, described below: DxO PhotoLab caused all sorts of problems, and I wasn't able to process the images with any version.

Never mind, I have other raw converters. How about “Perfectly Clear“?. Oh. It can't convert raw files, just “develop” or “open” RAW files. OK, try “open”. Yes, that worked, and both cameras produced good results:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/Strelitzia-E-300-Oly.jpeg
Image title: Strelitzia E 300 Oly
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/Strelitzia-1.jpeg
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Those are uncorrected images, and it's really hard to decide which is which. The E-300 is on the left.

But the next image was a different kettle of fish. The result was so bad that I threw it out. After all, I also have the original Olympus Workspace software. But it did no better. Here again E-300 left and E-M1 right:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/Dog-damage-E300-Oly-1.jpeg
Image title: Dog damage E300 Oly 1
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/Dog-damage-2.jpeg
Image title: Dog damage 2
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What's the problem there? It's not the processing software: for both images, “Perfectly Clear” and Olympus Workspace produced very similar images. I'll investigate some other time, maybe. After all, this is just a collector's camera. It would be interested to see how the raw images compare to the in-camera JPEGs.


More DxO pain
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

The first Olympus E-300 images were in JPEG format, which brought out an interesting bug in the latest update of DxO PhotoLab (coincidentally installed yesterday). They have obfuscated the menu which selects which images to display, by removing part of the description. And somehow they have broken it in the process:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/big/DxO-2.png
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This is my normal selection: “RAW” (they mean raw) and “RGB” (which they think includes JPEG), but not the images generated by PhotoLab. But now it displays the generated images, even if they're not selected! They're the ones that aren't highlighted.

Entered a bug report. That's a pain, but I can work around it except with JPEG images.

But DxO has more in store. It's clear that there's something not quite right about the Exif data from the E-300. exiftool didn't like the results from DxO:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~/Photos/20211211 60 -> fromdxo
Processed 1 images
Processed 2 images
Error: [minor] MakerNotes pointer references previous MakerNotes directory - /Photos/2-grog/PC110011_DxO.jpg
    0 image files updated
    1 files weren't updated due to errors
Error: [minor] MakerNotes pointer references previous MakerNotes directory - /Photos/2-grog/PC110012_DxO.jpg
    0 image files updated
    1 files weren't updated due to errors
File not found: orig/PC110011_DxO.jpg
File not found: orig/PC110012_DxO.jpg
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~/Photos/20211211 61 -> exifx /Photos/2-grog/PC110012_DxO.jpg  orig/JPEG/PC110012.JPG
File /Photos/2-grog/PC110012_DxO.jpg
Date taken:     Saturday, 11 December 2021, 11:45:20
Exposure:       1/4 sec, f/2.0 (EV 4.0), 100/21 ISO
Camera:         OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-300
Focal length:   17.0 mm
Meter mode:     Multi-segment Program AE
Size:           2448 x 3264 pixels (7.99 megapixels)

File orig/JPEG/PC110012.JPG
Date taken:     Saturday, 11 December 2021, 11:45:20
Exposure:       1/4 sec, f/2.0 (EV 4.0), 100/21 ISO
Camera:         OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP. E-300
Lens:           Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD
Focal length:   17.0 mm (full frame equivalent: 34 mm)
Focus:          Single AF 2.58 m (2.04 - 3.52 m)
Field of view:  53.9 horizontal, 41.8 vertical, 65.0 diagonal
Meter mode:     ESP Program AE
Size:           3264 x 2448 pixels (7.99 megapixels)

Apart from that (which I could work around), the software was not in agreement about the orientation of the images. DxO showed it correctly, but after creating the web pages I had:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/E-300-test-4.jpeg
Image title: E 300 test 4
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I had to hack around with exiftool to get:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/E-300-test-5.jpeg
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Whose fault is that? It doesn't happen with other cameras, so it must be something to do with the E-300.

But that was only JPEG. After finding out how to save raw images, I had more pain:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/DxO-4.png
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“This image cannot be processed since its EXIF [sic] data cannot be read or is corrupted”. What kind of excuse is that? You don't need Exif data to process an image. But I've noticed in that past that DxO Exif handling is buggy.

And that wasn't all. While I was doing this, I left DxO to process my weekly house photos, 75 images. It managed 57 and stopped for some reason. The log of processed images showed none at all. Recovered the 57 images, tried again, and it claimed (and showed the log) that it had processed all of them. My guess is that they'll come out with an update Real Soon Now.


Dereel Art and Craft Market
Topic: general, gardening Link here

Off to the Dereel Hall today to visit the Art and Craft Market (“Note: Proof of double COVID-19 vaccination is required to enter a community building”) today. They have an interesting bush in front of the entrance (which was shut):

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/Dereel-Hall-flowers-1.jpeg
Image title: Dereel Hall flowers 1
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211212/small/Mystery-flower-1.jpeg
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What is it? Something Hibiscus-like?

Found our way in via the rear entrance, where there was marginally more activity than in Corindhap six years ago. Nobody checked our vaccination status, and nobody was wearing a mask. Given the current state of COVID-19, it's not surprising that the number of infections is on the rise.

Caroline Everett was there again with a large number of papier-mâché containers:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211211/small/Arts-expo-1.jpeg
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She returned with one, along with a one-off frog:

 
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More PV recalibrations
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

A while back I thought that the PV inverter had got into a routine of calibrating the battery once a month. But that no longer seems to be the case. This afternoon I had the shortest ever recalibration, only 6 minutes.

I wish I understood the algorithm.


Sunday, 12 December 2021 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 12 December 2021
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Ballarat Sunday Market again
Topic: general Link here

Off to Ballarat today to go to the Ballarat market: Yvonne wanted to buy food from the Dutch stand there.

Once again a somewhat cavalier attitude to wearing masks. This was one of the people at the gate:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211212/small/Ballarat-Sunday-market-2-detail.jpeg
Image title: Ballarat Sunday market 2 detail
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Ah, but the devil's in the detail: the fine print reads “In closed paviolions”, so he was doing nothing wrong.

Into the closed pavilion where the Dutch stand is. There things were no different:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211212/small/Ballarat-Sunday-market-6.jpeg
Image title: Ballarat Sunday market 6
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The only person wearing a mask was Yvonne, Is wearing a mask really so difficult?

In general, the market was not well visited. So close before Christmas I would have expected lots of activity, but it was almost empty:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211212/small/Ballarat-Sunday-market-7.jpeg
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Documenting the E-300
Topic: photography, technology Link here

For some reason I spent a large part of today writing the article on the Olympus E-300. Why? I didn't do anything like as much when I got the E-330. But now I really have bought all the cameras I intended to buy, and I have a good selection of Olympus DSLRs to compare: the E-1, the E-300, the E-330 and the E-30. So it's probably time to spend a bit of time comparing them. That won't be immediately.


Yet ANOTHER battery recalibration
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Yesterday's PV battery recalibration was strange, but today I had an even stranger battery recalibration experience: only 8 seconds! What does it mean?


Understanding DxO bugs
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

Writing up yesterday's problems with DxO PhotoLab was harder than I thought. Yes, the latest version now displays the images that it generates, even if told not to, but it's not that simple. I still haven't worked out what is wrong, but changing the selection has little to do with what it displays. I shouldn't try; this is just stuff that should work, but I feel obliged to give as accurate an error report as possible.


Monday, 13 December 2021 Dereel Images for 13 December 2021
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ALDI product delays
Topic: general Link here

The stock information web page that the ALDI assistant recommended to me on Saturday proved to be less than useful. First it wanted me to enter a post code. Why not a town name? And what is Sebastopol anyway? Ballarat is 3350, but Sebastopol is higher. And just guessing the number didn't help: the search screen gave me hundreds of fals positive locations where there are no ALDI outlets. Finally I found Sebastopol 3356, and it gave me information for all outlets in a 50 km radius. What a crock!

It didn't help much. For all the things I looked for, I got the status No stock information availlable

The weekly mail from ALDI today, describing the new special offers. But for the first time, I noted the link to Special Buys Product Delays. And how about that, that works. And the things I'm looking for are still not in stock.


Inverter firmware upgrade
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Why is my PV inverter doing such strange things with the battery recalibration? While looking at the screens, noted that a number of firmware updates are outstanding. And this time they didn't warn of any damage if things go wrong:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211213/small/Inverter-2.png
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211213/small/Inverter-3.png
Image title: Inverter 3          Dimensions:          810 x 334, 40 kB
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Problem: I couldn't select “Start Firmware Upgrade”. That's presumably why the area is paler. How do I do it? Isn't it obvious?

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211213/small/Inverter-6.png
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Tick the box! I suppose that makes sense if there are many selections, but here it's anything but obvious.

Tick the box and let it run. “This operation can take several minutes”. But after receiving an alarm from Ingeteam, and the thing had been going for about 15 minutes, I got worried and called Fyodor Torgovnikov. To summarize what I wrote to him after the event:

That's not what it was like last time, in particular not the power going offline (which in fact only lasted for 30 seconds). And if I had known, I could have switched on the bypass switch. But why? About the only clue is that I haven't upgraded everything yet. Afterwards I still had:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211214/small/Inverter-1.png
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In particular, the inverter uptime is shown as over 8 months That would mean 26 March, but in fact the last update was on 31 March 2021. That can only mean that there's something wrong with their calculations; assuming that all months have 30 days? That would then add up.

So it looks as if I have more updating ahead of me. Presumably this time it won't take the house offline, but I won't give it a chance.

As if that wasn't enough fun, there was another battery calibration today, from 16:54 to 17:33. It'll be interesting to see what things look like after the next firmware upgrade.


Camera photos
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Finally got round to taking some photos of my Olympus DSLRs:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211213/small/Olympus-DSLRs.jpeg
Image title: Olympus DSLRs          Dimensions:          1022 x 264, 77 kB
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From left to right, Olympus E-1, Olympus E-300, Olympus E-330, Olympus E-30.

Isn't the photo ugly? Somehow, despite all my efforts, I'm still not getting good gradation. Played around a bit with “Perfectly Clear“ and got something that looked better, but a little washed out (run the cursor over the image to compare it with the original)):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211213/small/Olympus-DSLRs-clarified.jpeg
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In addition, all these lightening effects seem to move black towards magenta.

Nearly 60 years, and I still can't get things right.


Tuesday, 14 December 2021 Dereel Images for 14 December 2021
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What? Sap?
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Gabi Reichert has fallen in love with WhatsApp, and she uses it instead of email.

Why? Now we have at least four incompatible ways to communicate text: email, as God intended, but also SMS, Facebook and now WhatsApp. The last three are particularly incompatible, and I don't see that they offer any particular advantage. Yes, Facebook displays (one) image more easily than email, but that's a question of the email interface. It's particularly useless for multiple images, which get stored separately from the text that refers to them.

So why WhatsApp? I have no idea. Yvonne really doesn't want to use it, but she doesn't want to upset Gabi either, so in the end she tried using it. These HORRIBLE glass keyboards! She had nothing but trouble with them, and when she tried to read the messages from Gabi (from the last three months, all on one screen!) she couldn't get rid of the keyboard, making it even more difficult to read. I tried to help, but fared no better.

OK, RTFM time? No, that's an old, worn-out magic word. How about a YouTube tutorial? Lots of false positives, including one that was full of advertisements like “Google TV: a new way to scream”, and finally I found one that looked like what I wanted. But the interface that it showed—the main thing I wanted to know about—was very different. Clearly even the WhatsApp people have decided that it was inadequate and replaced it with something new, different and probably equally inadequate.

And finally I found one that matched the version installed on our phones. It seems to only be a few months old. And the tutorial was good for unexpected reasons: it pointed out that you can also make audio and video phone calls with WhatsApp, and that they don't cost anything. A bit of investigation led me to a text tutorial which helped further and showed that it works well, and it's a whole lot easier to use than the methods that caused me so much pain two months ago. So it has a use after all.

And then I discovered that there's also a web interface, which makes messaging considerably easier. Of course, it doesn't fix the basic problem that there are too many incompatible ways to do these things.


Wednesday, 15 December 2021 Dereel
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WhatsApp in practice
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Shopping day today, so prepared Yvonne to use WhatsApp video calls to discuss what to buy. With a bit of trouble we managed to get it to work before she left, and she called me from town to ask about whether we needed a cucumber. No, but this time I was able to show her how much we had left. Potentially she could have called and showed me what she wanted to buy.

But then the location services failed. We have location tracking enabled, so we can see where the other is on Google Maps. And long after she called me, she was still shown to be at the Fruit Shack. Well, not still, but that was the last update, at 12:34, just after she called me.

What has gone wrong now? Followed for about an hour, but no change. The last update was just after we spoke. Did she drop the phone and not notice? That's unlikely, given that she needs it to check in to every shop. But clearly something had happened. No answer to phone calls, neither WhatsApp nor normal network. Did it get on her nerves so much that she turned it off? Did she have an accident? Did she have a “medical emergency”? After a bit of thought, called up Fruit Shack on 5339 5258, and they went looking while I called the number on the other line. Nothing found.

OK. Phone lost outside? Phone stolen? Checked connectivity at https://web.whatsapp.com/, which requires an Internet connection. No connection. Sooner or later she should return. She's normally back by 15:00, but today she wasn't. 15:30. Still not back. 16:00. Still not back. Surely if there had been a serious accident or medical problem, they would have called me as next of kin? To be sure, called up the police on 131 444, the non-emergency number. To my surprise, the “member” thought that it warranted an emergency call, and was preparing to connect me when, to my surprise, Yvonne arrived back home, at about 16:10. One of these days, it seems, when everything went wrong, thus the delay.

And why specifically the phone issues? No more credit on her account!

That's amazing. Normally ALDIMobile sends warning messages when credit drops below $10, then again when it drops below $5. This time there was nothing. Calling in gave no indication that anything was wrong, and I had thought that incoming calls would still work. At the very least I should have been diverted to voice mail immediately, rather than let it ring. WhatsApp showed no indication of anything wrong, neither for call out (apparently), where it should have reported no network connection, nor for call in (where, like a normal call, it should have diverted). The only clue was that she tried to call out and received an “insufficient funds” message.

So how did this happen? How can we even guard against it? While recharging I went looking for the balance, but couldn't find it. Nor could I find usage for today or yesterday. Potentially the video calls use a lot of bandwidth and thus had depleted the balance, but that doesn't explain the lack of warning messages.

I suppose it's clear that using these services will cost more. At least my $15 per year will no longer expire with credit. But what “plan” do I choose? That will require more thought.

Interestingly, the GPS tracking service came back to life when she got home and showed the next location where she had been after the Fruit Shack, but no more beyond that. And of course her COVID-19 tracker had presented many timeouts, but it saved all locations and presents some kind of tracking history.


Thursday, 16 December 2021 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 16 December 2021
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WhatsApp in the early morning
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Just after getting up this morning, Yvonne's phone rang. Gabi Reichert with a WhatsApp video call. Yvonne was in the shower, so I went to take a look. Somehow it appeared without any action on my part, and of course I was visible; no chance of just ignoring it.

Had a bit of a chat with Gabi, during which Piccola showed her face. And of course I could show her to Gabi. And the dogs? OK, into the bedroom to show the dogs, but not stark-naked Yvonne.

That's interesting, though. A video call on a mobile phone is not just good to see whom you're talking to; Gabi now has a somewhat better idea of what our house and (especially) animals look like. Yes, that's the whole point, but it only sank in after the call.


More network relay issues
Topic: technology, general Link here

Call from a Greg in the Los Angeles area just before breakfast today. He has no fewer than three different Ethernet accessible relay boards, and like me he has had trouble with the documentation. I wasn't able to help him much, but he promised to send me email both to confirm the discussion (he got my mobile phone number from my home page, but apparently didn't read the “Use only if I tell you that it will be answered”. He hasn't sent a confirmatory email yet, so I'm not sure what his surname is, just something ending in -owski. But once again he has confirmed that having my phone number on the web doesn't lead to lots of spam.


To the dermatologist?
Topic: health, opinion Link here

Off into Ballarat today to see Gareth Grainger, a dermatologist (I think) about various minor skin irritations, the worst of which was itching. He gave me the once-over for skin cancer, confirmed that there were no issues—one of the cleanest skins in people of my age, it seems—but had absolutely no advice about the issues that had interested me. I don't know if that's good or bad news.


Centrelink: Income streams, please
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Call on my mobile phone on the way back from town. A Terry, who wanted to know details about my income streams. Why was she calling on my mobile phone? I never gave them that number. Ah, she called home first, and Yvonne gave her my mobile number, apparently because she begged so much.

What kind of nonsense is that? Does she think that I carry the documents with me in the car? Why didn't she contact PPT? How can I know whether she's even from Centrelink? About the only reason that makes her sound genuine is her apparent complete incompetence.


First hibiscus of summer
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Gradually spring is arriving, nearly 3 months after the beginning of summer. Our outdoor Hibiscus rosa-sinensis has suffered as before, but today we finally have a flower:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211216/small/Hibiscus-1.jpeg
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Next year I'll go to considerable lengths to protect it from the winter cold.


Marketeer who does her homework
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Mail from a Tracey Davis of AEG Marketing (I thought they were into technical appliances) today:

Subject: We Love Greg's Diary

I have come across your diary from a couple different sites and just wanted to reach out and say it's incredibly fascinating!

It is truly impressive that you have been writing entries for so many years and are still continuing to do so. I think that this diary will become a terrific time capsule for your life. Based on your biography alone it seems like you've got many stories to tell, and the success of your diary shows there are many people that want to hear them.

I'm not sure if you do any form of partnerships or sponsoring with your diary but I have a few Australian clients that would love to reach out and support Greg's diary. If you are interested in hearing more please give me a call.

Sure, the praise is probably over the top, but what surprises me is that she, other than all the people who have come before her, has really read the diary and come up with comments that relate to it. Of course, she has ignored the “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“”. Or maybe it wasn't as clear-cut as I had intended.


More mobile phone insights
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

My new-found use of WhatsApp has brought a lot of issues with it. Firstly, why did Yvonne run out of credit yesterday? ALDIMobile's web site is pretty terrible, and it took me a while to find what I wanted. But they have an app, so I installed that.

Surprise, surprise: it works much better than the web site. I can see my credit instantly, and there's also a provision to recharge via the app, though it's presumably not much help if there's no credit. But for once it's less pain than a web site.

And then there's the reliability. While in town I tried to call Yvonne, but failed. On the way home, after the call from Terry, Yvonne tried to call me with a WhatsApp video call, but I didn't hear it ring. Is that flakiness on the part of the app, or just an issue of hearing? I only just heard the call from Terry: if the radio was on louder when Yvonne called, it's possible that I might have missed it.


Whiting disaster
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Silver whiting for dinner tonight, from the large quantity that we bought and froze earlier this year. But this time the fish was full of bones and scales—something that we hadn't seen before—and we only managed to eat about half of it:

 
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What went wrong there? Previously it presented almost no problems.


Friday, 17 December 2021 Dereel Images for 17 December 2021
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Coronavirus bad language
Topic: health, language, opinion Link here

Since the advent of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the press has had a field day with terminology. Suddenly we're confronted with coronavirus. Never mind that we've known about them for decades, and on 1 April 2016 the German series „Bettys Diagnose“ aired an episode showing a “coronavirus” scare:

 
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That was what used to be called SARS, and is now called SARS-CoV-1. And even then, both are just two of a large number of corona viruses. Why do people use the term? “SARS-CoV-2” is easier to speak, as is “COVID-19”.

And then there are descriptions of the statistics. We're continually seeing claims of “spikes”, but so far I have seen very few. They're confusing surges (significant, continuing increases in figures) with spikes (transient sudden increases). Again, why?

But today I read in the Washington Post: “Omicron outbreak inducing whiplash for many Americans”. What does that mean? I've heard of figurative senses of the word “whiplash”, summarized well by the OED entry:

An injury to the head, neck, or spine caused by the head's being dashed to and fro on the less mobile trunk when a seated person is jerked forwards or backwards, as in a car accident. Usually attributive, esp. in whiplash injury.

The only mention in the text is:

Yet some studies suggest that many people only experience mild symptoms from omicron, and vaccine boosters appear to protect against severe illness from the variant, inducing a sort of whiplash for Americans trying to determine how to live their lives and what precautions to take.

Sorry, Washpost, I don't understand. Is this some US American use of the word that I haven't been able to decipher, like the use of the word “swipe” to mean not stealing or dealing a stinging blow, but simply wiping? Not according to my “Webster's New Encyclopedic Dictionary (All new 1994 edition)”. Begitulah cara menara Babel dibina.


DxO debugging
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

Reply from DxO PhotoLab support today:

Seth, Dec 16, 2021, 5:54 PM GMT+1

Thank you for writing. We just released an update to DxO PhotoLab 5 today, version 5.1.1. Please download and install it to see if the issue you reported is corrected.

OK, I was expecting a quick reaction. Installed the thing, and... no change whatsoever:

 
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Well, maybe. The view above shows that the first image has been processed, that only RAW (they can't help shouting) images are to be displayed. The second (unhighlighted) image is the processed output of the first image. And the image on the right has an indication that it is being processed. But it has been like that for minutes: it seems that displaying the selection caused the application to hang.

OK, shoot it down and restart. It still shows only the one image having been processed, but complains about another because it has already been processed:


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Elsewhere it tried to download conversion modules for the JPEG images generated by DxO. That's doubly wrong: first, it shouldn't have been looking at them, and secondly they have already been processed, so they don't need a conversion module.

DxO continues to frustrate me. So far this experience has shown:


RIP Freda McDermott
Topic: health, general Link here

My aunt Freda died today. It wasn't unexpected: she was nearly 97 years old, and she had been in hospital for a couple of weeks, as I noted 10 days ago. She was also the last of my father's generation. But it's sad; I had been half-planning to visit her for a couple of years, and the obvious time would have been when we bought Larissa or Lena, since they came from a kennel in Briagolong, only a few kilometres from her. Yes, I could have gone and visited her, but the real intention was to see her in relative health, not at death's door.


Walking with George again
Topic: animals Link here

Peggy Naumov along today with her Borzoi George. It was pretty warm, so we went walking round our old stamping ground at the south end of Kleins Road:

 
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The lighter blue track is Google's rather optimistic estimate of our track: the stretches at top left were done by car.

He's gradually becoming less timid. Today he appraoched Lena and wanted to sniff at her, but then as she moved towards him, he snarled at her. Later, though, he approached her while she was sniffing at something:

 
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In general, though, he's now walking comfortably with other people and dogs:

 
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I wonder to what extent that will apply to strangers.


Planning permit amendment: next step
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Phone call from Jen Smoorenburg from the Golden Plains Shire Council this afternoon: the application that I sent in last week used the wrong form. Yes, it was the form that I had been sent, but the head of department had determined that it was the wrong one, so I can fill out a new one, an application to amend a planning permit instead of an application for secondary consent. That certainly makes more sense, but now another week has gone by. I suppose that on the positive side it means that the application has progressed to the decision makers.


Saturday, 18 December 2021 Dereel Images for 18 December 2021
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Eliminating duplicate files
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

I've been trying to organize my video files better for some time now. It's not easy, Currently I have about 12 TB of files, about 70,000 of them. Many of these files are duplicates. I can use mklinks to recognize them if they're in the same place in a different hierarchy, and if they have the same name. Under those circumstances, it's trivial to remove the duplicates, at a rate of about a terabyte per minute

But what happens if the names are different, either of the directories or of the files themselves? As a matter of course I prepend a series number to the names, and remove the spaces that are usually in the names when downloaded:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) /spool/Series/Junge-Aerzte/03 245 -> l Wahlverwandtschaften\ \(115\)-20211209-131000.*
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel  1,370,200,987 19 Dec 03:30 Wahlverwandtschaften (115)-20211209-131000.mp4
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel         92,779 19 Dec 02:44 Wahlverwandtschaften (115)-20211209-131000.srt
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel        163,252 19 Dec 02:44 Wahlverwandtschaften (115)-20211209-131000.ttml
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel            613 19 Dec 02:44 Wahlverwandtschaften (115)-20211209-131000.txt
=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) /spool/Series/Junge-Aerzte/03 246 -> despace Wahlverwandtschaften\ \(115\)-20211209-131000.*
=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) /spool/Series/Junge-Aerzte/03 247 -> prepend 03-31- Wahlverwandtschaften--115--20211209-131000.*
=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) /spool/Series/Junge-Aerzte/03 248 -> l 03-*
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel  1,370,200,987 19 Dec 03:30 03-31-Wahlverwandtschaften--115--20211209-131000.mp4
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel         92,779 19 Dec 02:44 03-31-Wahlverwandtschaften--115--20211209-131000.srt
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel        163,252 19 Dec 02:44 03-31-Wahlverwandtschaften--115--20211209-131000.ttml
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel            613 19 Dec 02:44 03-31-Wahlverwandtschaften--115--20211209-131000.txt

mklinks goes by path names, so it can't recognize the fact that the old and the new files are the same. The obvious approach here is to make checksums of the files and compare them. Should I put that functionality into mklinks? I don't think so. Currently I'm tending towards a separate program. mklinks is very much tuned towards directory hierarchies, and the checksum approach should be more global (and much slower). But there's no hurry.

But then there are replacements. Higher quality versions of individual episodes, or replacements with subtitles? In almost every case not only the name, but also the size changes. I can't see any way past doing this one manually.


Gulyás? Goulash? Gulasch?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've had a recipe for bogrács gulyás (the original Hungarian goulash) for years now, and I'm happy with it. But it's quite different from the German „Goulasch“ that was derived from it, and that's not bad either. Time for the latter.

It didn't start off well. Yvonne wanted half and half beef and pork, but the only pork she could find was a filet, not exactly what I'd use for a dish like that. So on Thursday I bought a pork roast, and we ate the filet in a more appropriate dish. It really seems difficult to get stewing pork.

And then we went looking for recipes on the web, and of course found many:

One thing that they almost all had in common was: no pork. Only one mentioned „gemischtes Gulasch“, presumably a mixture of beef and pork. So the pork roast will have to wait until Christmas.

So I faked my own recipe. I started today, but we won't eat it until tomorrow.


Sunday, 19 December 2021 Dereel Images for 19 December 2021
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More power outages
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

A relatively long grid power outage, 28 minutes, in the middle of the night this morning, fortunately not during the time the air conditioner was running. The battery charge dropped from 32% to 26%; at that rate the outage could have lasted for a total of over 2 hours.


Thelymitra
Topic: gardening Link here

The weather this spring has been really strange, and many of the wildflowers have either not flowered or flowered late. Today I found this Thelymitra pauciflora, which has clearly already flowered:

 
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But look at the number of flowers! “Pauciflora” means “few flowers”, but this one has at least 10. Sadly, there were only two, and the chance of getting one in its brief flowering phase are minimal.

But wait, there's more! Round the corner in Progress Road we found this Callistemon, which has clearly been there for some time. But this is the first time we've seen it flowering, and we have been going past there every week for over 6 years:

 
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Is it wild? I don't know the colour, but it seems unlikely that it would appear like that in the wild.


Dead man position
Topic: animals Link here

One of the TV series we watch is Köter Rex, about a police dog. One of his party tricks is what they call „Totmannstellung“, literally “dead man posture”:

 
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The important thing is that the dog freezes in that position until its trainer comes to take a look. It seems, though, that this term is not in general use: all the Google hits I found refer to Köter Rex. I can't find an English equivalent, though I suppose “freeze” would do.

And now Larissa is doing it too:

 
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Semmelknödel
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

As planned, ate yesterday's Gulasch this evening. What accompaniments? Dumplings, of course.

For years we've taken the easy way out and bought “instant” mixtures. But they're no longer easy to find. Yvonne found a packet of „Kartoffelknödel“ (potato dumplings) at the Ballarat market last week, but they're short dated, and in any case I prefer „Semmelknödel“ (“bread roll dumplings”), and they were nowhere to be found.

OK, we've been there before with Kartoffelknödeln. Out to look for a recipe for Semmelknödel, and of course found many, all with conflicting quantities.

Basically the recipe is straightforward if a little unexpected: old bread rolls (of course), milk, eggs, parsley—and onion, quite a bit of it. But the quantities are very important. How much milk? How much onion? How dry should the rolls be? The consistency of the dough depends on the relationships, and there are things like “1 large onion” for 240 g of yesterday's rolls, along with 150 ml of milk and 2 M size eggs, or 6 rolls (presumably 360 g) with a normal size onion, 3 M size eggs and and 250 ml milk. Or maybe 300 g of rolls, 3 M size eggs (the “M size” seems to be about the only thing that is mentioned in all recipes), two small onions?

But I don't have bread rolls, I have completely dry bread crusts:

 
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In principle they're for the horses, but there's a question of the moisture content. Time to guess at a recipe. I found that soaking a crust nearly doubled its weight, so I started with 100 g of bread and 125 ml of milk.

 
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That proved to be too liquid:

 
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One of the recipes included the suggestion to add breadcrumbs in this case, and that's what I did—fully 70 g of them. After that they were still on the soft side, but to my surprise they cooked without falling apart:

 
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And they tasted OK. Clearly there's a lot of adjustment to do, but even now they're acceptable.

And the Gulasch? Tasted OK. I had used tomatoes instead of tomato paste, and maybe that wasn't the best choice. At any rate it was close to what I had aimed for:

 
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Injured bird
Topic: animals Link here

In the evening saw a bird heading straight towards the lounge-room window. It stopped, of course, at the window, and fell to the ground just outside, looking half dead. By the time I got a camera, it was on its feet, but looking anything but happy:

 
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Just as I was wondering how long it had to live, and whether we should put it out of its misery, it flew off as if nothing had happened.

And what kind of bird is it? A wattle bird?


Monday, 20 December 2021 Dereel Images for 20 December 2021
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Email: Coming into the 21st century
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Jerry Dunham is still agonizing with his change from a proprietary, now-dead email supplier, which I first reported three months ago. As I commented at the time, I had anticipated exactly this event 24 years ago in “The Complete FreeBSD”:

It's certainly a very good idea to have your own domain name. As time goes on, your email address will become more and more important. If you get a mail address like 4711@flybynight.net, and Flybynight goes broke, or you decide to change to a different ISP, your mail address is gone, and you have to explain that to everybody who might want to contact you. If, on the other hand, your name is Jerry Dunham, and you register a domain dunham.org, you can assign yourself any mail address in that domain.

Since then, Jerry has moved from the sanity of Unix to Microsoft, and he's having many problems. The most recent have been due to the fact that his (new) ISP blocks outgoing SMTP. Why doesn't he use their MTA? I finally got him to try it, and found:

21:50:02.057: --- 18 Dec 2021, 21:50:02.057 ---
21:50:02.057: Connect to 'outbound.att.net', timeout 30 seconds.
21:50:03.285: [*] SSL/TLS session established
21:50:03.285: [*] ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256, TLSv1.2, Kx=ECDH, Au=RSA, Enc=AESGCM(128), Mac=AEAD
21:50:03.285: [*] Peer's certificate name is '/C=US/ST=Texas/L=Dallas/O=AT&T Services, Inc./OU=Information Technology/CN=smtp.mail.att.net'.
21:50:03.285: >> 220 smtp.mail.yahoo.com ESMTP ready
21:50:03.285: << EHLO [192.168.1.211]
21:50:03.364: >> 250-kubenode544.mail-prod1.omega.gq1.yahoo.com Hello [192.168.1.211] [99.23.195.227])
21:50:03.364: >> 250-PIPELINING
21:50:03.364: >> 250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
21:50:03.364: >> 250-8BITMIME
21:50:03.364: >> 250-SIZE 41697280
21:50:03.364: >> 250 AUTH PLAIN LOGIN XOAUTH2 OAUTHBEARER
21:50:03.367: << MAIL FROM:<jdunham@dunham.org> SIZE=499
21:50:03.536: >> 554 Email rejected

Oh. Yahoo! doesn't allow his domain name. Nothing that I anticipated a quarter of a century ago.

So what do we do? There's another issue: in the Good Old Days we were gentlemen and didn't try to read each others' mail. Now it seems that SMTPS is the way to go. And my mail system isn't configured for that.

Checked that yes, indeed, AT&T doesn't block SMTPS, so I could just configure the system to do accept mail by SMTPS. But how? Off looking and came up with a bewildering number of pages explaining how to do it. This article looks very good, and it explains some of the background, including the reason that it doesn't make any sense:

https://www.linuxbabe.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Enable-SMTPS-Port-465-in-Postfix-SMTP-Server.webp

But it's more of a cookbook than something that I can use and adapt, and it assumes one of a few configurations that it has described elsewhere. In addition, it uses different configuration methods from the ones I know (in master.cf and not main.cf), requiring even more learning. Nothing to try out on mail.lemis.com.

So, what about my other external server, ffm.lemis.com? I don't have a mail server running there because port SMTP was blocked, and though they have enabled it, I need to reboot it for it to take effect.

=== root@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 13 -> uptime
 1:16AM  up 1415 days, 10:18, 2 users, load averages: 0.40, 0.41, 0.41

Reboot? Would you reboot a machine like that? But I don't need to: ports SMTPS is open. Only I don't have postfix installed, and it's too old for the FreeBSD Ports Collection to want to know.

OK, build from source? I can't even check out. I could check out the entire ports collection tree locally and then move it to ffm to build it. Who knows what problems I would encounter there?

Why is everything to do with encryption so complicated?


System upgrade, next tiny step
Topic: technology Link here

Why should I configure postfix on ffm? I can do it much more comfortably locally, and in the process maybe get some progress with my local system upgrade. The system on eureka is now over 6 years old, and again the FreeBSD Ports Collection doesn't want to know. That's why I brought up a second system, dereel, so long ago that I can't find definitive records.

The real stumbling block, apart from unexplained problems setting up X, was that I still don't know how to split the load between eureka and dereel. But gradually I'm coming to the conclusion that dereel should be the server and Internet gateway, and eureka should be my own workstation. And like that I can migrate services one at a time.

So, how about starting with mail? Bring dereel up to date and install the latest postfix and other ports. In the process, finally install one of the SSDs that I bought three months ago, and which have been sitting around here ever since waiting for being used.

The SSDs are only 250 GB. How should I partition them? I have a standard partitioning scheme for a system disk, here eureka:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/35) ~ 56 -> gpart show ada0
=>        40  7814034976  ada0  GPT  (3.6T)
          40         128     1  freebsd-boot  (64K)           boot partition
         168    83886080     2  freebsd-ufs  (40G)            1st root file system
    83886248    41943040     3  freebsd-swap  (20G)           swap partition
   125829288    83886080     4  freebsd-ufs  (40G)            2nd root file system
   209715368  7604319648     5  freebsd-ufs  (3.5T)           /home file system

The idea of the two big root file systems is that they include the /usr file system, and I can switch from one to the other on updates. But in fact I almost never do that. And despite large memory sizes, swap can still be a problem, so I decided on 40 GB for that. That doesn't leave much out of 250 GB. So today I decided on a single file system including /home; at some later point I will decide what to do with the other files on eureka, which include, notably, the web pages and photos. For the time being I have:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/1) ~ 17 -> gpart show ada0
=>       40  488397088  ada0  GPT  (233G)
         40        128     1  freebsd-boot  (64K)
        168   83886080     3  freebsd-swap  (40G)
   83886248  404510880     2  freebsd-ufs  (193G)

Booted, updated and built a world. How much difference does the SSD make? Here the bottom line, first from the build on 8 December with disk, and then today with SSD:

     7274.29 real     25661.42 user      1116.89 sys
     6763.69 real     25599.40 user       890.43 sys

That's actually quite surprising, particularly the system time. It represents an average CPU usage of 3.68 CPUs for the disk and 3.92 CPUs for the SSD, surprisingly close to the 4 real cores that the machine has.


US whiplash
Topic: technology, general, language Link here

A few days ago I grumbled about US American usage of the word “whiplash” in a non-sense that I didn't understand: Explanation from Jerry Dunham:

"Whiplash" refers to getting jerked one way, then the other, and is applied to non-physical cases as well as physical. Here at the IRS, the Powers That Be sometimes change the rules by which we operate, then two weeks later reverse direction, giving us all "whiplash". It's a rather lame use of the word.

As he says, “rather lame”. It doesn't relate to how I understand the term.


Red Energy fixes web site
Topic: Stones Road house, general, technology, opinion Link here

Electricity bill today, including an indication that I could save up to $59.02 per year by changing to a new “plan” (they mean tariff). Yes, I've seen this before, and grumbled about the fact that I had to call up people to do what should be on the web site. Paying by direct debit was another similar issue.

Surprise! They've fixed it. I was able to do both the change in tariff and setting direct debit online. They even thought about the current bill: yes, they can do that by direct debit too. Things don't always get worse.


Tuesday, 21 December 2021 Dereel
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Ghosts of the past
Topic: Stones Road house, technology, opinion Link here

Email from Red Energy today, confirming yesterday's changes. All as you'd expect? No, they included a “billing address” as Kleins Road, which we left nearly 7 years ago. And it's not the address in the bills that we still receive on paper. Where does it come from? Are they trying to emulate Telstra, who reinstated the last-but-one owner of the Kleins Road house in November 2008, and who at that time hadn't lived there for at least 12 years?


Dereel upgrade
Topic: technology Link here

Yesterday's build on dereel ran with no obvious problems. How about the ports? Tried that and got the obligatory repeat and (second time round) packages to be removed:

Installed packages to be REMOVED:
        ilmbase: 2.5.5
        openldap-client: 2.4.58
        py37-cairo: 1.18.1_1,1
        py37-gobject3: 3.38.0

None of those appear to be important, and the system ran fine after the update. The sting could be in the tail, of course.


Wednesday, 22 December 2021 Dereel Images for 22 December 2021
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Eating less for breakfast
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've gradually accumulated a selection of mainly Malaysian-like dishes for breakfast, like curry laksa and mi udang. They're noodle soups with 400 ml of soup and 180 g of noodles. But lately I've been having difficulty finishing the serving. For a while I'll try 320 ml of soup and 160 g of noodles, and that's the way I made the Penang laksa today. The quantities are not very flexible: the spice packages are enough for 1.6 l of soup, previous 4 helpings, now 5.

And how does it work out? We'll see over time, but I certainly wasn't hungry at the end.


Downgrading DxO
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

DxO don't seem to intend to fix PhotoLab in the near future. At my request, they sent me a link to download the previous version—from an external server! Did that, and the installer failed, because it doesn't cater for reversion to older versions.

Yes, I could remove the new version and reinstall. And what happens to my settings? Sent them a message asking for a safe procedure.

Why don't they just go and fix their bugs?


Installing Postfix from scratch
Topic: technology Link here

So how do I configure postfix to do what I want? What do I even want? The immediate issue is to accept SMTPS so that Jerry Dunham can relay mail through one of my external servers. But it seems that SMTPS is a crock, and STARTTLS is the correct way to go. Jerry uses Pegasus Mail. Why not install it and see whether it can be configured to use STARTTLS?

Did that—does it ever look dated, with window decorations from the last millennium. But I couldn't find the configuration windows that Jerry had shown me in screen shots. Put that on the Tuit queue and see what I can do with configuring postfix.

After some searching (starting a few days ago), I found this guide, which looks very good, and includes good information. But ultimately it, too, is a cookbook, and just copying the main.cf file proved to be difficult for a couple of reasons: firstly, it bore no relationship to the default configuration files, which are full of comments and thus worth keeping, and secondly there are entries in there that aren't really necessary for the specific configuration I'm looking at.

So back to postfix.org. And there's so much stuff in there to read. Maybe it's best to start a list of what I want the server to do:

Is that all? It looks relatively straightforward. But for the time being I think that I should RTFM in more detail. The problems start when I see big sections about DNS setup, which I don't really need to do here.


How to give away a TV
Topic: general, multimedia, opinion Link here

After getting the new TV four months ago, I was by no means convinced that there was anything wrong with the old one, and planned to keep it somewhere as a backup in case the new one failed. But it's big, and we couldn't find anywhere to put it.

OK, give it away. It's only 4 years old, has a 75" diagonal, and works fine if you don't want an HDMI input. How many people need that? Arrange to swap it for a smaller TV? That should be a win-win situation.

Surprise, surprise! Nobody wanted it! The only reason I got was from Helen Miller: they use smart TV features, and this TV isn't “smart”. That was an advantage in my eyes, but clearly others see it differently.

Finally we settled on Petra Gietz, though she didn't have an old TV to replace it with. And she, too, needed an HDMI input. OK, try it out. Couldn't power it on. Try the DVD player they brought with them. Couldn't power it on.

Check the power connection. All looked OK, bedside lamp worked fine. Finally established that the DVD player was powering on, just with a discreet pale blue that was barely visible. And wasn't there some issue with a switch on the back of the TV? Checked the instructions, which (miraculously) were where I had expected them to be. Press button on the back. Finally the thing came on. Try the remote control. No reaction.

Finally it occurred to me: the height of the control was important, even when the TV was mounted at a height of 90 cm. Hold it too high and nothing happened. Now the TV was on the ground. Hold the remote control near the floor. Works! Connect the DVD to the TV via HDMI. Works!

Lucky Petra. A perfectly usable 75" TV for Christmas. But how difficult it is to give this stuff away.


Testing remote controls
Topic: multimedia, photography, opinion Link here

One of the steps in testing the TV and DVD player was to establish whether the remote controls worked or not. There's an old trick: point the remote control at a digital camera and operate a button. The sensor is sensitive to the infrared light issued by the remote control, and that makes it visible in an electronic viewfinder.

So I demonstrated that. Complete failure! We got it sorted out anyway, but I was puzzled b the failure and tried again later. Complete success!

 
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What went wrong when I wanted to demonstrate things?


Thursday, 23 December 2021 Dereel Images for 23 December 2021
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Garden flowers in early summer
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

It's just past the December solstice, time for the monthly garden flower photos.

The “spring” has been very cool, and though it's now warm enough, the garden is not as far advanced as in previous years.

In previous months the “trees” in the east garden have given cause for concern. They're still not doing well, but they're better. I had expected that the Schinus molle would die, but it doesn't look as bad as last month (first photo):

 
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The Corymbia ficifolia is also looking better. Again last month and this month:

 
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Last month I had the suspicion that the problems could be related to too much water. This still seems a good hypothesis.

The rest of the east garden seems to be doing better too. The remaining birch seems to be better than I recall, and the oak is also looking better. Even the long suffering box elder that we planted nearly 5 years ago, ago and then smothered, hasn't given up yet:

 
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The oak is looking much better than last year:

 
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As expected, the Leucospermum cordifolium is now in bloom:

 
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The Strelitzia nicolai is still flowering:

 
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Last month the Kniphofia was not flowering at all, but as expected, it is now in full bloom:

 
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The Persicaria odorata that Bryan Ross murdered is still struggling, but by the end of the summer it might be back to being a small bush. Here last month and this month:

 
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The more I look at it, the more anger I feel towards Bryan. The sage bush that he mutilated has not really recovered: all that's left are the shoots that Bryan missed. And the Alyogyne has not really improved:

 
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The Ornithogalum that I noticed last month are taking their time, but they're flowering now:

 
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The ornamental grass that we planted long ago and brought with us from Kleins Road is flowering nicely. Somehow it looks particularly good this year:

 
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Gradually the roses have been freed of weeds, and they're flowering at significantly different rates:

 
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The two Abutilons that we propagated in January have taken well. One is in the ground, the other waiting to see what happens:

 
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It'll be a while before they look as good as the original bush:

 
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The curry tree that I put out too early in the spring has now recovered and looks almost as if nothing had happened:

 
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Various lilies are in flower, both in the house and outside on the road:

 
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Feeding dogs: the next step
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Our dogs are gradually growing up. It's been some time since we weighed them, but my guess is that they're nearly fully grown. They're also not exactly skinny.

That was deliberate. After Larissa's problems 4 months ago, which could have been due to feeding, we had decided to give them as much to eat as they wanted. Borzois are fussy eaters, and they stop when they have had enough. So I gave them more to eat than they wanted and kept track of how much they ate.

That proved to be interesting for an unexpected reason: they ate vastly different quantities each day. Apart from half of a chicken frame, not very nutritious, we gave them feed pellets, and they ate between 0 and 200 g a day.

So: now we can't easily feel their ribs, so they're borderline overweight. From today they get 100 g, take it or leave it. Today they both took it.


The pain of government web sites
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Article in The Shovel today: Mary and Joseph denied entry to inn after failing to get negative COVID test 72 hours before arriving in Bethlehem. Topical, of course, but what particularly amused me was

Joseph did attempt to access his vaccination certificate at the border, but in the end decided that staying in a barn with farm animals with a pregnant wife would be less stressful than trying to navigate the MyGov website.

Unexpected spam
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Unusual spam message in my mail this morning:

 841 N   22-12-2021 To linklist@lem (  86) carsonjaxxonc503@gma N   Seek supplier cooperation

Sent via Gmail. Nothing unusual in that. But look at the To: address: linklist@lemis.com. What's that? One of my hundreds of mail aliases, allocated so that on occasions such as this I can just delete them.

OK, into virtual to look for it. Not there! Checking the headers shows that it was delivered locally (the address wasn't rewritten at the external MX):

X-Original-To: linklist@lemis.com
Delivered-To: linklist@lemis.com
Received: from lax.lemis.com (www.lemis.com [45.32.70.18])
        by eureka.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 044A62635BE
        for <linklist@lemis.com>; Wed, 22 Dec 2021 17:57:25 +1100 (AEDT)

Some searching took me to this (blame /etc/aliases):

1.11         (root     06-Sep-04): linklist:    groggyhimself

That was added over 17 years ago, before I switched to postfix. I even forget what the list was. There's a comment that should have helped:

# Linklist@mailman.anu.edu.au
linklist:      grog

Looking in my mail archives, it seems to have been a short-lived political satire list. Now where did anybody get that address from?


Friday, 24 December 2021 Dereel Images for 24 December 2021
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Understanding encryption
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I still haven't got my mail configuration for Jerry Dunham sorted out. Why?

There seem to be a number of issues: I can't work out how to configure postfix correctly, and that is at least partially due to my inadequate knowledge of current cryptography software. I can apply configurations from a number of places, including Stephen Rothwell's configuration files for Ozlabs, but they're all different, and I want to understand what I'm doing.

Then there's the question of web site cryptography. Cam I use the same certificates? Should I use the same certificates? I can't get the answer to that question from postfix setup tutorials or configurations. And the more I find out, the more I need to find out.

But then it occurred to me: one of the issues with Jerry's configuration is that his ISP blocks outgoing port 25 (smtp). I've seen that before and found a solution for it with ssh tunnel. From that entry:

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

That still works, of course, but Jerry is using Microsoft. How do you do it there? Downloaded and installed PuTTY, but I couldn't find out how to configure it.

Yes, of course there are tutorials, though I didn't find the official documentation until later, and the ones that I did find were very much cookbooks that addressed only specific issues. How do you generate keys? The only answers I found were references to a program called puttygen. OK,

C:\> puttygen
'puttygen' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operatble program or bactch file.
C:\> puttygen.exe
'puttygen.exe' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operatble program or bactch file.

Why isn't it part of putty? Is it compatible? How do I manipulate them? There seem to be far too many loose ends and documentation to match. At www.puttygen.com I read:

Once you install the PuTTY on your machine, you can easily run PuTTYgen. For the same, go to Windows -> Start Menu -> All Programs -> PuTTY -> PuTTYgen.

That's easy? But yes, it is there, just hidden from CMD.EXE! And it's called puttygen.exe, not PuTTYgen. How I hate graphic configurations!

But round about this time my stomach started bothering me, so I put it off until tomorrow. To be fair, things aren't that simple with Unix either, one of the reasons I started writing books on the subject. But Microsoft is just so much more painful.


Christmas?
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

It's Christmas Eve! Time for... what? Petra Gietz came by and brought two granddaughters who were terrified of Larissa (who loved them) and also some Christmas biscuits and things. Yvonne prepared a salmon dish that tasted good but too filling. And that was all. Bad Homburg!


Saturday, 25 December 2021 Dereel Images for 25 December 2021
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Plastic beef fillet
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Another Christmas day with nothing to show for it. At least I can use it as an excuse next year.

Today we ate beef fillet for dinner. I've been working out the weights to fit our appetite, and based on the fact that the butchers aren't very good at cutting small fillets, I got Yvonne to buy a single steak weighing 280 g.

In fact, it turned out to be 286 g. But when I cut it into two (160 and 120 g) I only had a total of 270 g left. Where did the rest go? Packaging!

 
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I found a total of 14.4 g of packaging, including a thoughtful sprig of rosemary! Lots of plastic wrapped round the fillet to keep it nice and round. In fact, after this photo I found that there was still plastic round the fillet, which I nearly put into the pan, another 1.6 g, for a total of 16 g! I wonder if they know how heavy it is; at $60 per kg that makes nearly $1 price difference.


Sunday, 26 December 2021 Dereel Images for 26 December 2021
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The pain of PuTTY
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

More fun with PuTTY today, without coming to much in the way of success. What I have established:

PuTTY starts up with a window titled “PuTTY configuration”. The first window (“Session”) allows you to set host name, port and some obsolete parameters like serial lines. It's important to Save the configuration with a name.

 
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But that's only part of the configuration, of course. Then you need to climb down the tree, expand SSH (press + to the left) and select Auth:

 
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The important thing is the name of the private key. On real computers that's .ssh/id_rsa, but PuTTY doesn't give any guidance. OK, save it, move the public key to lax, go back to the first pane and save, try things.


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What went wrong there? Move the keys to eureka, try there. The passphrase wasn't accepted! And that's all the stranger because PuTTY didn't even ask for one. Did I miss something?

OK, generate new keys with a sane interface. Works first time. Move the keys to distress (the Microsoft box I had been using). Authentication refused.

Damn, what is wrong with this Microsoft stuff?


More Christmas interruptions
Topic: health, animals, general Link here

Our daughter Yana was due to come to spend a week with us tomorrow, but it was postponed a day: her cat was sick, and she couldn't find a vet over the Christmas period.

But then in the evening we heard of further problems: she is a close contact of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. Must get a test, and at the time of reporting she had been waiting in line for 2 hours. Clearly the visit is off: whether or not she's infected, it will be days before she can appear in public again, let alone cross state borders. What a pain! At least she will be there for her cat.


Monday, 27 December 2021 Dereel Images for 27 December 2021
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Goodbye PuTTY
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Configuring and debugging PuTTY is a real pain! Configuration appears to require discovering and entering a maze of twisty little passages, all different, and when it fails, there appears to be no way to debug it. It even terminates the session, so that you have to go back to the start.

So where can I debug? On the server side I can set up a debug server along the normal one:

=== root@lax (/dev/pts/3) /home/jdunham/.ssh 98 -> /usr/sbin/sshd -p 2222 -d -d 2>&1 | tee -a sshauth

And yes, it generates a lot of output, over 100 lines. But what does it mean? Try comparing it with a successful connection. It seems that the big difference was:

Fail:

debug1: userauth_pubkey: test pkalg rsa-sha2-512 pkblob RSA SHA256:Ei4MicxKEVO/04vSQy77/RBzHSjYprytE+RMaaQXSNw [preauth]
Failed publickey for jdunham from 121.200.11.253 port 63378 ssh2: RSA SHA256:Ei4MicxKEVO/04vSQy77/RBzHSjYprytE+RMaaQXSNw

Pass:

debug1: userauth_pubkey: test pkalg ssh-rsa pkblob RSA SHA256:RARsb7c/+phb57W5abbR08OgJgGMYeHmpZSSbzlXYZM [preauth]
debug2: userauth_pubkey: authenticated 0 pkalg ssh-rsa [preauth]

Those appear to be different keys. But how do they relate to the private key? More importantly, though, where did the other key come from?

But while trawling the net for Yet Another guide, came across Native SSH Port Forwarding (Tunneling) on Windows 10. But it had nothing to do with PuTTY: as it said, it used the native Microsoft “Windows” support.

What's that? A program called ssh, invoked it from the “command prompt”. A reinvention? No, as far as I can see it's the original OpenSSH from OpenBSD, and it did exactly what I wanted. I could read the invocations directly out of “The Complete FreeBSD”, and they Just Worked! Setting up a tunnel differed only because I had to specify a user name:

ssh -L 2025:mail.lemis.com:25 jdunham@mail.lemis.com

What a relief!


More summer flowers
Topic: gardening Link here

The first Agapanthus are in flower:

 
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And Yvonne has freed the long-suffering Box elder from the weeds around it:

 
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It's still barely larger than when we got it nearly 5 years ago.


Tuesday, 28 December 2021 Dereel Images for 28 December 2021
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Microsoft ssh tunnel: tidying up the loose ends
Topic: technology Link here

Yesterday I finally got an ssh tunnel to work with Microsoft. It works! Ship it!

But there was one more thing to do: configure Pegasus Mail to talk to the tunnel. In principle that's simple: tell it to send email via SMTP to localhost port 2025.

OK. Let's try it. It took me nearly an hour trying to work my way through the menu system. And when I finally sent something, it didn't arrive! Ah, for something as important as sending mail you don't just send it. That just queues it. You need to run the queue as well with a different mouse exercise.

But then it sent it, politely in HTML format. That's not my problem. Jerry knows how to get it to send plain text. OK, Jerry, over to you. But he was strangely silent today, giving me the opportunity to turn to other issues.


The annual New Year's photo
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

The end of the year is coming up, time to send our annual New Year's message. And that requires a photo of Yvonne, myself and as many animals as we can muster. Time to get started.

It's not easy. At the very least we needed Larissa and Lena with us. We had thought of replacing Piccola with a ceramic statue, but she joined in anyway.

I took a total of 67 photos, and ultimately none was really usable. At the end of the second session, which looked promising, I said to Yvonne “And now I'll discover that they're all out of focus”. And they were! I had set manual focus to avoid surprises, but I had apparently forgotten to focus.

Here not quite the best, not quite the worst:

 
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Walking with George
Topic: animals Link here

Peggy Naumov along today with George for a walk. It's getting boring now:

 
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Understanding official information
Topic: health, general, language, opinion Link here

Seen in my inbox this morning:

  36 N   28-12-2021 To 9now@lemis.c (1679) nine.com.au   N   Hundreds test positive after COVID-19 texting bungle

Texting bungle? Another casualty of modern life. Followed it and found that, yes, it was a texting bungle and not a testing bungle. The article stated

SydPath, St Vincent's Pathology, accidentally sent about 950 people a test message saying they had tested negative for COVID-19.

And yes, another bungle.


Crackling pork
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works of our Christmas cooking. Yana has now received a negative result for her test, but she still needs to isolate for a while and take another test at the end of the week, so she won't be coming here.

We had a pork roast planned for one of the days, so we decided to eat it with Chris Bahlo. Problem: it had skin on, so it was clearly intended to be cooked with crackling. How do you do that?

Off looking, and came up with this page, from Australian pork. The meat of the recipe is:

The temperatures are good, presumably. The times are less helpful, since the weight component doesn't take the grilling into account. There are some mentions elsewhere in the page, but I have other information about that.

OK, follow the recipe. Maybe even 250° for the first 10 minutes, with heat from above? Did that, dropped to 240° after 12 minutes. And after 20 minutes we had:

 
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I wasn't expecting that. But there wasn't much to do but to open all the doors and windows, since our useless range hood couldn't come close to removing all the smoke.

After 38 minutes the skin started to crackle, so following the instructions I lowered the temperature to 180° and inserted a temperature probe, which showed 38°. It took a total of 100 minutes to bring the 1.5 kg roast up to 80°, far more than on my temperatures page.

But the results were good:

 
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Even Yvonne liked it, in contrast to 5 years ago, where she found it too fat. In fact, it was probably fatter this time, though last time I didn't remove the crackling:

 
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The skin looks better in the last photos, but my guess is was that it was a little tougher than today.

And once again we had some silly photos, this time of Chris being attacked by a Begonia:

 
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Wednesday, 29 December 2021 Dereel Images for 29 December 2021
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Panoramas for Google Maps
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

At dinner last night, Chris Bahlo expressed interest in a spot panorama for Google Maps showing her driveway. Street view is enabled there, but the images date from February 2008 and show an empty paddock:

 
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OK, I've been planning something like this for some time; the main issue is that I didn't want to do a full 180°×360° panorama. But we can address that; I had the bright idea of putting the camera on a monopod for two nadir shots, offset by a relatively small distance.

Off to Chris' place and also took panos of the riding arena (where I discovered that I had forgotten a ball head, making the monopod idea useless) and the fork in the driveway. Back home. First attempt with the arena worked, but I had forgotten the nadir. The other ones didn't. Why? Put them in the “too hard” basket for today.


Animal feed: how much?
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

For I've been keeping an eye on how much feed the dogs and cat get. By a week ago I had established that they ate very irregular amounts, and limited them to half a chicken frame and 100 g of pellets a day. And finally they're eating it all.

Is 100 g enough? I had intended to increase it about now, but they're certainly not skinny, probably marginally overweight. So it stays for the time being until we see that their weight normalizes.

Another interesting observation is that the size difference between Larissa and Lena is diminishing. Lara used to be considerably smaller; now it's just a little. And compared to George they're barely smaller, suggesting that they're pretty much full grown: Borzoi bitches are normally considerably smaller than dogs. We should really take them to town and weigh them.

But then I thought about Piccola: she gets fed twice a day with a mixture of cat food and pellets—40 g each time. That's 80% of what a growing Borzoi puppy eats. I've changed that to 35 g, but by the measure of the dogs, she should be getting closer to 10 g a day. And I'm sure that's far too little.


Thursday, 30 December 2021 Dereel Images for 30 December 2021
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Microsoft ssh tunnel: done!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Jerry Dunham this morning, one of what proved to be a total of 29 messages sent over 7 hours from different addresses. He told me that he had done everything I said, but still couldn't authenticate with the mail server.

Much investigation, traces and things. Last time I ran a debug sshd on mail.lemis.com I found that PuTTY appeared to be using a different private key from when I did it. Was that the case again? No, it appeared that Jerry's computer wasn't even trying. sshd reported for me

debug1: userauth-request for user jdunham service ssh-connection method publickey [preauth]

But for Jerry I got:

debug1: userauth-request for user jdunham service ssh-connection method none [preauth]

Where's the publickey authentication method? OK, now we have a sane ssh client. Run it with -v -v and see what happens, and compare with mine. It started with:

OpenSSH_for_Windows_8.1p1, LibreSSL 3.0.2^M
...
debug1: Connecting to mail.lemis.com [45.32.70.18] port 22.^M
debug1: Connection established.^M
debug3: Failed to open file:C:/Users/Admin/.ssh/id_rsa error:2^M
debug3: Failed to open file:C:/Users/Admin/.ssh/id_rsa.pub error:2^M
debug1: identity file C:\Users\Admin/.ssh/id_rsa type -1^M

OpenSSH_for_Windows_8.1p1? This is supposed to be Microsoft “Windows” 10! But no, that's what mine said too. Strange that a product introduced in the course of the “Windows” 10 life cycle should be named like that.

And how about that, error 2. That's from /usr/include/sys/errno.h:

#define ENOENT          2               /* No such file or directory */

Whatever this Microsoft stuff is, it looks very much like Unix under the covers.

So it looked like it couldn't find his keys. By comparison, mine read:

debug1: identity file C:\Users\grog/.ssh/id_rsa type 0

So, there seem to be two possibilities: either the really key isn't there, despite everything that Jerry claimed, or it's invalid, and ssh is lying. Despite the fairly clear error message, there's just a possibility to suspect that it is. id_rsa should be 2,602 bytes, but Jerry saved 2,640 bytes. No prizes for guessing where the difference came from: Microsoft added ^M characters. On the other hand, why should that be an issue? This key file is in ASCII.

Anyway, let's eliminate that possibility. How do I get a file past Microsoft mutilation? ZIP it, of course. Sent that to Jerry, and got a reply:

The new id_rsa file is 3170 bytes. I'll put it in .ssh

What is id_rsa.pub? Windows thinks it's a Microsoft Publisher file, but it looks like plain text to me. What does it do? Where does it go?

That doesn't fill me with the warm fuzzies; 3,170 bytes was the size of the ZIP archive. And it still failed. But only 5 minutes later I received another message:

From jerry@dunham.org  Thu Dec 30 13:42:39 2021
Return-Path: <jerry@dunham.org>
X-Original-To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Delivered-To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Received: from lax.lemis.com (www.lemis.com [45.32.70.18])
        by eureka.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 32AE226358C
        for <groggyhimself@lemis.com>; Thu, 30 Dec 2021 13:42:39 +1100 (AEDT)
Received: from [192.168.1.211] (www.lemis.com [45.32.70.18])
        by lax.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 6043A278E1
        for <groggyhimself@lemis.com>; Thu, 30 Dec 2021 02:42:38 +0000 (UTC)
From: Jerry Dunham <jerry@dunham.org>
To: G