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Thursday, 1 December 2022 Dereel Images for 1 December 2022
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30 years!
Topic: history, opinion Link here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hanging daily cleanup run
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

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

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

bde.lemis.com daily prior run still in progress

What's that? Off to look and discovered:

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

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

cgibson: probably NFS

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

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

Yes, looks like Callum was right. So:

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

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

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

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

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


Summer?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Month       Rainfall
September       70.8
October       286.4
November       166.7
Total       523.9

That's close to the normal annual rainfall.


Luminar after all?
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

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


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

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

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

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

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

OK, log in:


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

FOOL! You should read the teaser at the bottom:

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

Then the obligatory “accept licence”:

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

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


Friday, 2 December 2022 Dereel Images for 2 December 2022
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More KL Hokkien Mee experiments
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

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

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

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


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220913/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-11.jpeg
Image title: KL Hokkien Mee 11          Dimensions:          5321 x 3888, 6205 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-3.jpeg
Image title: KL Hokkien Mee 3          Dimensions:          5226 x 3888, 5769 kB
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And in fact it didn't make much difference in taste. I can't see any particular advantage in using fresh KL Hokkien noodles instead of bucatini, which are also much cheaper. About the biggest surprise was that the sauce was so thick, though I used more liquid and less cornflour.


Getting to know Lumninar Neo
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

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

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


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


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-1.png
Image title: Skylum 1          Dimensions:          2522 x 1416, 2749 kB
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That's a minimalist view. Where's my photo? I called it Kangaroos-47.jpeg, but the original (translated from the Makejpeg file) is orig/48140390.ORF. Not on that page. You need to scroll down, though I haven't found a scroll bar yet. And where's the file name? It seems that if you hold the mouse over an image and wait a couple of seconds, it will pop up. That's painful, but I can work around it when I know.

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


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-2.png
Image title: Skylum 2          Dimensions:          2522 x 1416, 2626 kB
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That looks good, better than what I got with other programs. OK, now for the star trick: remove “power lines” (again, run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-3.png
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-4.png
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221202/big/Skylum-3-detail.png
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That's quite impressive, but there are still issues. The line between the kangaroo heads is still there, and I had to remove it manually. And the line above it has been removed, but the replacement isn't quite right: there's a dark mark round where the line used to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Saturday, 3 December 2022 Dereel Images for 3 December 2022
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Scanning old negatives
Topic: history, photography, opinion Link here

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

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


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


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221203/big/Norms-photos-11.jpeg
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But what is it? Is this the “Ideal Home” for which he won a prize in 1960 or 1961? I can't find any reference to the competition on Google, but the third image suggests that it was on public display.

And then there were others


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


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221203/big/Norms-photos-2.jpeg
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The car at the bottom (his Citroën 11CL8?) suggests that it must have been outside, and it would put the time frame between 1959 and 1963. But where?

And then there are these two negatives:


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


Summer's here!
Topic: history, general, opinion Link here

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

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

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


More garden tidying
Topic: gardening Link here

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


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A far cry from what the previous person managed.


Sunday, 4 December 2022 Dereel Images for 4 December 2022
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Preparing the irrigation
Topic: general, opinion Link here

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


Diaxette thoughts
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

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

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

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

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


Skylum and Ukraine
Topic: photography, politics, opinion Link here

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

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

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

I wonder why I had to search for that.


Saving the last croton
Topic: gardening Link here

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

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


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


Monday, 5 December 2022 Dereel
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More Luminar fun
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

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

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


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


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

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


Viewed video log
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nazis in Ukraïne!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, 6 December 2022 Dereel Images for 6 December 2022
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More Luminar fun
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

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

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

Where do I find my Extensions after installation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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Note the missing tails on the kangaroos.

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

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


Wednesday, 7 December 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel
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Shopping again
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

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

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

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


More physiotherapy
Topic: health Link here

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


Central Asian Kitchen in Sebastopol
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

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

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

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


Thursday, 8 December 2022 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 8 December 2022
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Deep fried noodles
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

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

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

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


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


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Fry. Oh:


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


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


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


Misted lenses
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

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

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


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


Lightning X-ray
Topic: health, opinion Link here

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

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


How not to fill a petrol tank
Topic: general, opinion Link here

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


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


Horses come home
Topic: animals Link here

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


Radiologist's cupcakes
Topic: food and drink, health, opinion Link here

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


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Friday, 9 December 2022 Dereel Images for 9 December 2022
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“La Mian” laksa again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Six months ago I made a laksa from “La mian”, who also call themselves “Prima taste”. That's the second laksa mix from that brand, and as I decided last time, the quantities are irritating: sachets with noodles for about 1½ portions, and they want the noodles cooked in the laksa.

I had another three left over, so I decided to make 5 portions out of them, four to freeze for another time.

And the noodles? They're cakes of 96 g each, where normal noodle portions are round 60 g:


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I decided to cook an entire cake for one dish, which presented its own problems:


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At the end, of course, there were far too many noodles:


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So I cooked the other two cakes and froze them as 3 individual packages. But sorry, La Mian, the laksa is quite acceptable, but that's the last time.

A more positive insight: recently I bought deep frozen raw prawns; typically only cooked prawns are available. And the difference is like night and day! The cooked prawns are already overcooked. Hopefully the raw variety will remain available.


Saturday, 10 December 2022 Dereel Images for 10 December 2022
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Christmas photo again
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Christmas is coming, and after it our annual Christmas letter. At the top of each letter is a photo of Yvonne, myself and as many animals as we can keep still.

So: what photo would summarize this year? The completion of the arena cover, of course. But how do we summarize that? A photo of the whole entrance to the property? Today was sunny (too sunny, it seems), so we tried it out.


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And that was the best! What a mess!

What's wrong here?

So: an obvious alternative would be a different projection, probably cylindrical. That might be worth the effort. Another use for a fisheye lens.


Horses back in the “laneway”
Topic: animals, general Link here

Out to let the horses into the “laneway” in the middle paddock, where the various animals of the Swifts came to greet them:


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We're still having fun with the watering trough. Maybe because it wasn't in use, it has filled up with algae, and we still have issues with the float valve:


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Irrigation maintenance
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Jesse Walsh along today to work in the garden. A good thing, too. We had found a large puddle in the area in front of the arena, which proved to be due to a torn-off pipe. Jesse spent a considerable amount of time fixing that and other problems in circuits 3 and 4.


Fondue!
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Ate some of the cheese that I bought on Wednesday. Surprise, surprise: it was excellent.

What was it? The brand was Le Gruyère, and I think it must have been 18 months old. I should check (and maybe encourage Campanas to sell more fondue cheese).


Sunday, 11 December 2022 Dereel → Rocklyn → Dereel Images for 11 December 2022
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First Kniphofia of spring
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

It's been a really bad spring, and things are still not really good. Today I found the first Kniphofia of the year:


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That's nearly a month later than in other years.


Off to Rocklyn
Topic: general, health, opinion Link here

Off to Rocklyn (a place so small that Wikipedia hasn't heard of it, a few kilometres east of Dean) today for a gathering to view the new property of Melanie and Chris Bahlo and Tony Papenfuss, Melanie's husband (I'm tempted to call them the “Bahfuss”). Google Maps had a wonderful route to bypass Ballarat:

 
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What a route! The rains of spring have sorely tested Australian roads, and they failed the test. Potholes everywhere, like here at the junction of Springbank Road and Black Swamp Road.


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Made it there just in time (12:25 for a 12:00—12:30 start), but we couldn't find anything. Did I have the right place? The property once had blue gums on it, like the images on Google Maps show:

 
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But this looked more like a nursery, with lots of small trees growing:


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Called Chris on her mobile phone, but only got voice mail. And then a car came up behind us. Got out to say “don't follow us, we're lost too”, but it was Melanie: we had, in fact, arrived at exactly the right place. People started turning up, and things gradually got under way.


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Got answers to some of my questions: it seems that Melanie and Tony aren't planning to move here in the next ten years, just to use it as a weekend house and then move here after that when they retire. That makes more sense—it's 120 km and 90 minutes' drive from where they work, and their sons are still at school in Melbourne. And it seemed that they have as good as no Internet connection, something that doesn't worry Chris. But after checking with National Broadband Network and fighting their view of Australian addresses, I discover that it is, in fact, covered by NBN Fixed Wireless. I had to give the address of the house next door, and discovered that it already has a FW connection, which sounds more reliable than their guesswork maps.

Yvonne and I went up the hill to get a view. Yes, the property is not nearly as level as Google Maps make it look, and the highest point is in the middle of the east side, where our car is parked in this panorama:


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Walked around to get a few photos, including of this sapling:


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It's not immediately apparent, but the “saplings” are growing out of the stumps of the old blue gums. Melanie tells me that it will take a considerable amount of work to remove them altogether, and that's one of the reasons that the property was so cheap, only about 6 times what we paid for Wantadilla 25 years ago. For that they get 32 ha instead of 20, but no house and no cleared land. How prices have gone up!

When I came back to the car, Yvonne had disappeared. In the distance I heard a call for help. Looking around, found her lying on the ground. Full of apprehension, told her to stay where she was and went over, where I found that she was on the ground and couldn't get up again. It took some effort to lift her, and I had to help her back to the car.

Things improved a little, but not much, and we left early. On the positive side, we found a better way home, one that Google Maps didn't even think of offering, via Pootilla (in fact the way that Yvonne had suggested).


Cooking in the bathtub again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

„Jennys Lammtopf“ for dinner tonight, a perfect subject for testing the “bathtub” air fryer “convection oven”. The grille is wide enough to take two pots next to each other, something that was a problem with the “hair dryer”. OK, prepare the pots and put them in the bathtub:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221211/big/Bathtub-cooking-1.jpeg
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Oh. They're very close to the heater, and offset. Another problem with even cooking? No:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221211/big/Bathtub-cooking-3.jpeg
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That's quite surprising, in fact. I had had issues with uneven cooking in the “hair dryer”:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20190903/big/Steak-and-kidney-6.jpeg
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But here the surface is browned as evenly as I could like. About the only issue is that the grille only has 3 feet, which makes it particularly unstable:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221211/big/Bathtub-cooking-6.jpeg
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It would be easy to say “well don't do that then”, but in fact this was the second time, after I had already had spilt one and resolved to be more careful.


Monday, 12 December 2022 Dereel Images for 12 December 2022
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Still more KL Hokkien Mee experiments
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

KL Hokkien Mee for breakfast again today. Even before I started, there was a surprise:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221212/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-1.jpeg
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There were 5 prawns when I started. Ah:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221212/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-2-detail.jpeg
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Clearly Piccola thought that I should have marinated them.

Only minor changes to the quantities from last time, but this time I fried the squid rings normally rather than over high heat. I also used less cornflour (6 g instead of 12 g), and I left the noodles soak in the broth for about 5 minutes, during which they got considerably darker:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221212/big/KL-Hokkien-Mee-4.jpeg
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I don't think that's the way to do the squid. I barely noticed it. So it's back to the Big Smoke next time.


Preparing hydra
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Somehow I'm not making much progress with my computer upgrades. The system on eureka is now 7 years old, and I've been planning to upgrade it for over 5 years. Why the delay? Apart from laziness, it's this “let's get it right” concept. And strangely the system has been remarkably stable since installation.

Still, there are issues. I can no longer run the latest version of firefox on eureka (nor many of the not-so-late versions), and various sites don't want to talk to me. And it seems that the firefox team is getting modern and making it more and more difficult to run firefox over a network link. So it's getting more urgent.

But there's this machine from Bruce Evans lying around. It's an HP Z800, and if I understand things correctly it has 2 CPU chips, each with 6 cores, each of which has 2 threads: 24 “CPUs” altogether. It used to be called besplex.bde.org, but clearly it should be called hydra. Spent some time looking at the hardware, which also has a NVidia FX 8000 graphics card occupying 2 slots and offering only two DVI outputs. This page describes the drivers.

So what do I do? Install on the current hardware, I think. I may end up installing a new graphics card, but for the time being I could try to get x2x to run with it and the old eureka.


NBN has you covered
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

While investigating network coverage at the Bahlo/Papenfuss property in Rocklyn, looked at the current iteration of the NBN rollout map. All of Victoria is covered! And the technology is fixed wireless.

Do I believe that? Reading an oversized disclaimer doesn't help:

While most premises in the purple “Service available area” can connect to services over the nbn™ network, some premises may require additional work to be completed first. On rare occasions, some premises cannot be connected. Check your address above and contact a provider to find out if the nbn™ network is available at your home or business.

So I checked Chris Bahlo's current address. Yes, “ready to connect”. Planned technology: nbn™ Satellite. So the colours on the map are Just Plain Lies. All the better that I confirmed yesterday that the neighbours in Rocklyn have NBN Fixed Wireless.


Tuesday, 13 December 2022 Dereel Images for 13 December 2022
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More bathtub experiments
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Bacon and eggs today. Normally I bake beans in the “hair dryer” “air fryer”, but today I tried it in the “bath tub”.

Not an unqualified success. I started at 230° dial setting, corresponding to the way that I do it with the hair dryer. And after 10 minutes it had hardly browned. Increase to 250° for another 10 minutes, and I had this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221213/big/Baked-beans.jpeg
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That's acceptable, but somehow it's moister. That could be a coincidence, but it seems that the dial settings on the bathtub are somewhat optimistic. So far I have no reason to prefer it to the hair dryer, especially as it's fiddlier to use (where do you put the hot lid when you open it?).


Yvonne: discharged
Topic: health, general, opinion Link here

Call from Bernada at the Royal Melbourne Hospital this morning: Mr. Peter Turner, the surgeon, has examined the X-ray taken last week, and it found favour with him. Yvonne has been “discharged”, which I interpret as meaning that they won't want any further investigations. As Bernada said, “I hope we don't hear from you again”. She did, however, suggest that she might be able to ride horses in a couple of months, something that still worries me.


Harnessing Larissa
Topic: animals Link here

Larissa has an irritating habit of pulling on her leash when we're walking and something catches her attention. I had thought of reintroducing the chain collars, but Yvonne found an old halter and tried it out:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221213/big/Larissa-with-halter-1.jpeg
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She doesn't like it, of course, but so far it works relatively well.


More Luminar experiments
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Somehow my results with Luminar haven't been as satisfactory as I had hoped. Last time was particularly frustrating—I couldn't even find the Power Line Removal tool. Today I tried again and found the tool hidden under the Erase tool. I applied it first, and how about that. It did an almost perfect job.

That in itself is frustrating. Why did I get significantly different results in the three times I tried to process the same photo? I still don't know.

Still, move on. Remove the fenceposts. How accurately do I need to mark them? This time I marked them generously. It worked up to a point, but I ended up with a second segment of tail (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-40-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-40-doubletail-detail.jpeg
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At least that gives some insight into how the objects are removed. But it's a “once only” thing. I wasn't able to remove the spurious tail section; I had to start again.

But that was a different photo. Back to my number 47. Remove the lines, remove the posts more carefully, and I got:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47-nodung.jpeg
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That doesn't look that bad. I even removed some of the larger dung heaps. But it's still not perfect. Looking carefully, one white fence line wasn't completely removed, and removing the one that went past the horses left a distinct mark:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47-detail-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180814/big/Kangaroos-47-nodung-detail-2.jpeg
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That's not bad for a first attempt. But the problem is that that's all you get. It would be really nice to be able to tune things.

So: do I return the product or not? It does quite a good job of removing the fenceposts and dung heaps. But it's not the only game in town. FRANZIS offers CutOut 10. How does that work? Spent some time trying to find out, in the process coming to the conclusion that the product suffers from significant lack of love. When I tried to install it, a popup suggested that I might have trouble, and indeed I did. It seems that the package doesn't adhere to the standard Microsoft conventions, and I need to use unzip to do anything with it. I recall something like this with previous versions, but today I didn't get around to looking for the solution. Still, I should investigate before my “30 days money back” period for Luminar expires.


Wednesday, 14 December 2022 Dereel Images for 14 December 2022
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No hot water!
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Up a little earlier this morning. No hot water! Out to take a look at the “Dalek” (hot water heat pump):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Water-heater-3.jpeg
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The display showed E11. Damn, what's that? Called Paul Kinna of Ballarat Plumbing Services (0418 527 576), who sold me the machine three years ago, but I only got voice mail.

Left a message and considered alternatives. Power cycling didn't help. Where's the instruction manual? On the web, of course. And on page 48 I read:

E11
Fault in the fan
Leak in refrigerant circuit
Fault in the compressor
Fault in the expansion valve
Fault in the dry filter

Sounds like a catch-all to me. OK, how do I “reset the system”? More searching and found a reference to page 39, but there was nothing there. Finally found it on page 41: hold the OK button for 3 s. It doesn't make it clear whether this is a simple reset, factory reset, nor whether there's any difference. But yes, the E11 went away and was replaced by:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Water-heater-1.jpeg
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What's that? LE6? No, more searching of the manual tells me that I can't read, and it's LEG, short for Legionnaire's disease. It's normal under those circumstances: it heats to at least 60°, and until it's done it alternates with the current water temperature:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Water-heater-2.jpeg
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That seemed to work. The heat pump made noise. Out several times to confirm that the temperature was rising.


Powercor planned outage
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Powercor had planned an outage today, from 9:00 to 15:00. For once I got adequate information, via phone, email and dead trees, not once, but twice. So come morning I had the battery charged to 96% (why not 100%? I don't know, but I'm superstitious). And how about that, the power went out while I was checking the status of the hot water system.

So did the air conditioner! The power went away altogether for about 30 seconds! Clearly there's something wrong with the inverter—I suspect it doesn't like overvoltage, and it got a surge when the power went away. It came back, of course, and there was enough sunlight for the battery charge to increase rather than decrease; we didn't drop back to 96% again until 19:45. But the damage was done, and it took 45 minutes to get the computers back up and running again. Somehow there's too much pain with domestic devices.


Shopping in Sebastopol again
Topic: general Link here

Off for our weekly shopping today, this time with Yvonne driving, for the first time in well over 2 months. It was clearly an effort, and halfway through she handed over to me. Once again fun at Woolworths. Once again their toilets are out of order:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Woolworths-1.jpeg
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Trying to find things in Woolworths is always an adventure. Here's German black bread, hidden between completely unrelated items (though I did find where they have hidden their white beans):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Woolworths-2.jpeg
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Where? At the very bottom:

 
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I was also looking for veal schnitzel, and had to ask. The assistant came and showed them to me, in the “pork” section. She replied to my comment “I'd never have looked for it there” with something that I forget, but which suggests that she agreed: you have to know where to look.

Yvonne had a hairdresser's appointment, during which we discovered that the premises had been sold:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Arabella-sold.jpeg
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It seems that Brooke, one of the hairdressers bought it, so the business will continue.


Sebastopol 2022
Topic: photography, history, general, opinion Link here

Nearly 60 years ago I wandered round KL taking photos with my Diaxette, some of the earliest photos I ever took. Fairly normal stuff. But these two in particular have elicited great interest:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19640828/big/Secretariat-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19640914/big/Kuala-Lumpur-from-Federal-House.jpeg
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Why? Because almost nobody has published similar photos.

So while Yvonne was having her hair done, I wandered around Sebastopol, specifically the junction of Victoria and Albert Streets. Presumably this was once intended to be the centre of the village, but nowadays much of the action is further north. And in the 15 years since we've been here, things have changed a lot. Shops have opened and closed again, and there are still premises that are unoccupied. I trust that Brooke got a good price as a result.

OK, time to get a view of what it's like now. Here a couple of views:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-2-Luminar.jpeg
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This is Albert Street north of Victoria Street, looking west. The blue shop at the south end was once a pizzeria with the bizarre name “Rio Bravo”, but it seems to have been closed for some time. Next to it is the new Central Asian Kitchen, which has apparently replaced the “Indian Heritage Restaurant” that was also not there for very long:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-8.jpeg
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Further south, almost everything has changed except for Ringins Butchers. Coles is still there, but the building has been completely replaced:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-7-Luminar.jpeg
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I wonder what another 15 years will bring.


Napoleons T-shirts
Topic: general Link here

Seen at the Napoleons General Store today:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Napoleons-post-office.jpeg
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In passing it's interesting to note that the web site is 8 years old, and they've changed owners since then.


Thursday, 15 December 2022 Dereel Images for 15 December 2022
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Repairing the hot water service
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Finally got a call from Paul Kinna of Ballarat Plumbing Services (0418 527 576) today. It seems that he has had little to do with the Bosch water heaters, and he suggests I contact Bosch. Somehow this reminds me of the issues with the air conditioner 3 years ago. The difference is that the heater is now working again, so I put it on the tuit queue.


Mobile phone pain?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Calling Paul wasn't easy. My phone claimed no signal.

Is that real? Off to compare with Yvonne's phone. Not much of a signal either, but there was one. My phone still didn't want to know.

Rebooted, and it was back to normal. I've seen this before. Is this a sign that it's beginning to fail? After all, it's nearly 2 years old, which seems to be an eternity in the mobile phone world.


Mismatched clothing
Topic: general, opinion Link here

After walking the dogs today, tried to take off my jacket. The zipper was open, but I still couldn't get it off.

Oh, no, it wasn't. The left side was open, the right side was closed:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221215/big/Gregs-jackets-3.jpeg
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I haven't done that for nearly 60 years, and on that occasion it was deliberate:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19641029/big/Greg-2.jpeg
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Podiatrist again?
Topic: health, opinion Link here

Call from Zoe at Ballarat Allied Health (5334 1113), today, to help me make an appointment with Kym Ellis, a podiatrist.

Huh? Spam? No, it seems that Paul Smith sent them a referral, because I'm diabetic (or, more to the point, because he has finally accepted it). But do I need foot care? I had something similar 10 years ago, where we agreed that there was nothing wrong with my feet, and there's nothing that I can see that has changed.

But why not err on the side of safety? It costs $70, of which Medicare will only refund $56. I should talk to Paul about it first.

In passing, what does “Allied Health” mean?


Luminar again
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Processing yesterday's photos posed an interesting issue: power lines. And that's exactly the reason I bought Luminar. OK, how well does it work?

Quite well, it seems. It removed all of the power lines I presented it, leaving only bare power poles. Here a “before and after” of one of them (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-7.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-7-Luminar.jpeg
Image title: Sebastopol streetscape 7 Luminar          Dimensions:          12496 x 3929, 14043 kB Display location on map
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One image was a particular problem:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-5.jpeg
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The lines were no particular issue, but the power poles were, particularly the big one. But Luminar managed to remove even that and fake the butcher's sign that was partially obscured (again, run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-5.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-5-Luminar.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221214/big/Sebastopol-streetscape-5-1-Luminar.jpeg
Image title: Sebastopol streetscape 5 1 Luminar          Dimensions:          4608 x 3457, 4888 kB
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It's not perfect, of course: there's an ice-cream cone behind the leftmost power pole, and Luminar couldn't guess that, but the results are surprisingly good, better than I had expected. Is that enough of a reason to keep the product?


Friday, 16 December 2022 Dereel Images for 16 December 2022
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Anke returns
Topic: general, animals, food and drink Link here

Anke Hawke arrived today for the next horse clinic, a little different now that Yvonne is not able to ride. She arrived just in time for breakfast, and the radishes that Yvonne had finally found (they've been out of stock for weeks) found Anke's favour:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221216/big/Mouse-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221216/big/Mouse-4.jpeg
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Mi udang for breakfast, rather more than Anke normally eats. Surprisingly, she also doesn't like papaya (nor water melon, for that matter). To be noted for next time.


More upgrade issues
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

After Wednesday's outage, I have a couple of issues that I hadn't expected. tiwi interprets the Alt key bindings correctly, but for some reason eureka doesn't. Probably I forgot to update a config file, but each case requires research to find out why.

Another issue is probably older:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/12) /spool/Series/Großstadtrevier/35 5 -> ttml2srt Die_schlafende_Unschuld_481.de.ttml
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/home/local/bin/ttml2srt.py", line 12, in <module>
    for elem in root.getiterator():
AttributeError: 'xml.etree.ElementTree.Element' object has no attribute 'getiterator'

Fired up teevee to compare, and it works fine there, so once again it's presumably a configuration problem that I need to research. At least I have references in this diary...


Saturday, 17 December 2022 Dereel Images for 17 December 2022
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Another protea
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Jesse Walsh along today, and he brought with him a bunch of these flowers:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/Leucospermum-1.jpeg
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What are they? They're clearly something in the Proteaceae, and they're very similar to our Leucospermum cordifolium.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/Leucospermum-cordifolium-1.jpeg
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Maybe they're a species of Leucospermum, but there are so many it's difficult to be sure.


Coming up roses?
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Looking at the roses today was a bit of a shock. Here the “Monsieur Tillier”:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/Roses-1.jpeg
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Three weeks ago it looked like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221121/big/Roses-7.jpeg
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That was after a lot of rain, and I expected it to pick up from there. What went wrong there? My best guess is that, despite the amazing amount of rain we have had recently, the ground has dried out. The roses are on irrigation circuit 2, which we haven't checked yet. Over to Chris Bahlo's to borrow a sprinkler, and I'll look at it... tomorrow.


Wrapped turkey breast
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

On Wednesday I bought a turkey breast roast, as I did last year and the year before last:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20201224/big/Turkey-roast-4.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211120/big/Turkey-2.jpeg
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There was a slight difference, though: this one was “bacon wrapped”. What do the cooking instructions say? 140°! And 45-50 minutes in per 500 g. Why 500 g? That's only a fraction of the weight. Has it been translated out of ancient units? And in particular, a long tube of meat doesn't require cooking times proportional to its weight. So I'd put 100 minutes at the high end of the range.

Surprise, surprise! It's not the same kind as in previous years. It's round!


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221217/big/Turkey-breast-1.jpeg
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OK, how do you calculate that? Double the weight and you double the volume. Forced convection provides enough heat that you can't consider that a bottleneck. One approach would be to consider the time to be proportional to the cube root of the weight. But this thing doesn't weigh the same (1 kg) as the others either: It weighs 2 kg. So that would mean about 1.6 times as much, 64 to 80 minutes.

That seems too low. But that's what meat thermometers are for. It finally took 135 minutes, considerably less than the 180 to 200 minutes that the instructions suggested, but also more than my guess. Where does the surface area come into play?

Somehow I didn't find it as good as the ones from previous years. Less flavour, somewhat lacking in texture:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221217/big/Turkey-breast-8.jpeg
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And of course it will be difficult to cut into slices suitable for putting on bread.


Sunday, 18 December 2022 Dereel Images for 18 December 2022
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More hydra thoughts
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The HP Z800 is a very different kind of machine from the ones I have had before, and I've spent some time examining it. Just about everything seems to be accessible without tools, and there are few loose cables:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/HP-Z800-6.jpeg
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In particular, the disks are in trays that connect directly to a socket:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/HP-Z800-1.jpeg
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Problem: how do you connect an SSD? Probably you buy an adapter from HP. But of course you can plug the SSD into the connectors too, and the tray at least holds it in place so that there's no strain on the connector:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/HP-Z800-2.jpeg
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In fact, it fits so well that I couldn't get it out again! Is there some kind of lock in there? Maybe those two metallic clips in the sockets are intended to hold the device in place?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/HP-Z800-1-detail.jpeg
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So. Now I have everything I need to finally install the system. Well, almost everything; I still need time.


System upgrade, never done
Topic: history, technology, opinion Link here

Read in my diary of 10 years ago:

It's been over 10 years since I first tried to find a simplified way of staying up to date with FreeBSD. I still haven't succeeded. It's becoming an issue again: teevee is running relatively well, but the installation is about 18 months old, and it's running firefox 6.0. Not that much of a problem, but for reasons I don't understand it now pops up an additional “Please upgrade” tab every time I open a new tab. I can't upgrade from their site, because they don't have versions for FreeBSD, and I can't upgrade to the latest and greatest because I'd get caught in a dependency nightmare.

Some things never get done. And somehow it's always firefox that forces my hand.


A new obsolete unit
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Read in a US newspaper today:

The federal government has called on the seven Western states that rely on Colorado River water to cut usage by 2 to 4 million acre-feet

Acre-feet? What kind of unit is that? A quick Google search tells me that it's 1233.48 m³. But what pain! I suppose it makes sense to irrigators: they want to know how deep they can irrigate on their land.


Dinner with friends again
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been six months some time since we've had friends round for dinner. Wednesday had been Chris Bahlo's birthday, and of course Anke was here, so we had a celebratory dinner with a subset of the people who were here last time. I suppose it's a sign of the times that I didn't take any photos.

One new thing: Yvonne wanted some baked potatoes. Well, baked potatoes. Half-baked potatoes? Either way, trying out new dishes on guests is a no-no. We decided to do them in an “air fryer”, and once again the only one that was big enough was the bath tub. Despite my concerns, the recipes I found on the web seem to have had things correct: 30 minutes at “392° F”. Why 392? It's exactly 200° C.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/Roast-potato-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221218/big/Roast-potato-2.jpeg
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Only the one in the middle was a little on the firm side. Next time we'll put a smaller one in the middle.


Monday, 19 December 2022 Dereel Images for 19 December 2022
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Goodbye Anke
Topic: general Link here

Anke Hawke off again today. It took her all day to get home: car to Ballarat, coach to Tullamarine, flight to Newcastle, car back home. She left round 10:30 and didn't get home until after dark, round 21:00. Yes, it's a fair distance, but it still seems excessive.


Burning solar panels
Topic: general, opinion Link here

For some reason I went into the riding arena today and saw:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221219/big/Burning-panels-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221219/big/Burning-panels-5.jpeg
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The very first impression was that it was something burning, but clearly it's a reflection. But where does it come from? The sun was over my left shoulder, and there's nothing much for it to reflect from. One of the antennas? Kept an eye on things for a while, and noted that, as expected, the reflections moved to the east, opposing the direction of the sun. About the only things that could reflect would be the TV and radio antennas; the diamond-shaped National Broadband Network antenna at top left was too far back to be visible from the surface of the panels.


Reviving hydra
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Finally got round to installing FreeBSD on hydra.lemis.com, formerly epsplex.bde.org. It wasn't easy.

First, do I have an install image? Lately I've been installing from SD cards, and I found one (unmarked, of course) lying on top of dereel. What is it?

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 12 -> ls /dev/da0*
da0     da0s1   da0s2   da0s2a
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 12 -> fdisk da0
The data for partition 1 is:
sysid 239 (0xef),(EFI System Partition)
    start 1, size 66584 (32 Meg), flag 0
        beg: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63
The data for partition 2 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 66585, size 2184848 (1066 Meg), flag 80 (active)
        beg: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63
The data for partition 3 is:
<UNUSED>
The data for partition 4 is:
<UNUSED>
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 13 -> mount /dev/da0s2 /mnt
mount: /dev/da0s2: Invalid fstype: Invalid argument
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 14 -> gpart show da0
=>       1  15523839  da0  MBR  (7.4G)
         1     66584    1  efi  (33M)
     66585   2184848    2  freebsd  [active]  (1.0G)
   2251433  13272407       - free -  (6.3G)

=>      0  2184848  da0s2  BSD  (1.0G)
        0       16         - free -  (8.0K)
       16  2184832      1  freebsd-ufs  (1.0G)

=>       1  15523839  diskid/DISK-201408282030  MBR  (7.4G)
         1     66584                         1  efi  (33M)
     66585   2184848                         2  freebsd  [active]  (1.0G)
   2251433  13272407                            - free -  (6.3G)

=>      0  2184848  diskid/DISK-201408282030s2  BSD  (1.0G)
        0       16                              - free -  (8.0K)
       16  2184832                           1  freebsd-ufs  (1.0G)

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 15 -> mount -t ufs /dev/da0s2 /mnt
mount: /dev/da0s2: Invalid fstype: Invalid argument
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 16 -> mount -t ufs2 /dev/da0s2 /mnt
mount: /dev/da0s2: Invalid fstype: Invalid argument
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 17 -> cmp /dev/da0s2 /src/ISOs/FreeBSD/FreeBSD-13.1-RELEASE-amd64-dvd1.iso
/dev/da0s2 /src/ISOs/FreeBSD/FreeBSD-13.1-RELEASE-amd64-dvd1.iso differ: char 1, line 1
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /home/grog 18 -> > cmp /dev/da0 /src/ISOs/FreeBSD/FreeBSD-13.1-RELEASE-amd64-dvd1.iso
/dev/da0 /src/ISOs/FreeBSD/FreeBSD-13.1-RELEASE-amd64-dvd1.iso differ: char 12, line 1

So what is it? The obvious thing would be to try to boot from it. OK, connect up a monitor. Which of the two DVI outputs? Maybe it will choose. Connected it up to the spare monitor to the left of my desk and booted. It did something, but the display stayed stubbornly on the D-Sub input, and I couldn't find any way of telling it to do anything else. Why are monitors so hard to configure? In the end, disconnected the D-Sub connector, and how about that, there was hydra telling me that it had forgotten its date. And then it tried to net boot.

So: learn Yet Another BIOS interface. That worked, up to a point, but the bloody thing insists on trying to net boot every time, even when I have set a different boot order. Boot from USB worked fine, confirming that it's a FreeBSD boot image. Install as usual. Which Ethernet interface should I configure? The thing has three of them: two on the motherboard, and a third on a separate board. Why? They're all bge interfaces. Connected an Ethernet cable to one of the on-board and configured bge0. No carrier. Much messing around, configuring all three, and finally I discovered that bge0 was right, but it was the PCIe board. What's the background there?

And finally I found what was on the SD card: FreeBSD 14-CURRENT. Not what I wanted. Reinstall 13.1-RELEASE, in the process running into a bug: you can't just overwrite the contents of an existing partition; the install program has somehow linked to it and can't let go. So you need to remove and recreate the partitions.

Finally it was done. Next step: configure. That's easy, or it would be if I weren't trying to build an automatic update system. Now I need to go back and see what I have done with bde (the laptop) over the last few months, and clear up the mess that I know I have made there. But it's a first step.


Replacing my ANZ ATM card
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

It's fairly clear that I won't find the ANZ ATM card that I lost 2 months ago. Why haven't I called ANZ and to ask for a new one?

Oh, no, it's not that easy. Voice recognition system that tells me to please call from a mobile phone. If you really have to call on a normal phone, please enter your multi-digit Customer Registration Number.

Sorry, no. Give me a human. “This is going to take a while. Did you know that you can order a replacement card from the ANZ App or on the Internet?”. No, I didn't. Off to take a look. No indication where, help points me to the fact that I can get a replacement credit card like that, but not an ATM card.

Dammit, maybe they'll be more responsive in the early morning.


Another dead electric fence “energiser”
Topic: general, animals, opinion Link here

Yvonne has been having trouble with the electric fence. That's not surprising: even on a small property like ours, it's about 3 km in total, and there's always somewhere that's causing a short. But today she drew a blank. Out to take a look: the “energiser” is dead.

That's not the first time. The previous one lasted not quite 4 years. It seems that that's the life span. The maker is JVA, an abbreviation that means “prison” in German, and on eBay they proudly announce “Over 800 sold World Wide!”. Time to replace it with something more reliable.


More upgrade pain
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

tiwi is now working relatively well, but there are still a couple of loose ends, like the subtitle problem on Friday:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/12) /spool/Series/Großstadtrevier/35 5 -> ttml2srt Die_schlafende_Unschuld_481.de.ttml
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/home/local/bin/ttml2srt.py", line 12, in <module>
    for elem in root.getiterator():
AttributeError: 'xml.etree.ElementTree.Element' object has no attribute 'getiterator'

Time to find out what the problem is. ttml2srt is written in python, something that seems to delight in having hundreds of sub-ports:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) ~ 20 -> pkg info | grep ^py | wc -l
      86
=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/12) ~ 96 -> pkg info | grep ^py | wc -l
      53

That's the number of python ports. teevee has 33 more than tiwi. How do I solve the problem? The github pages showed no dependencies. Ran it on teevee with the intention to see which libraries were used, but ran into trouble with the disk errors.

But I've seen this error before. How did I get around it? I forgot to say. OK, Google search. And that came up with this page, which tells me:

The error occurs when pandas is used in python3.9+ because the code xml.etree.ElementTree.Element.getiterator() which had been deprecated with a warning previously, has now been removed.

And how about that, I also have python 3.8 on tiwi. And it works with that, producing the advertised warning:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/12) /spool/Series/Vier-Frauen-und-ein-Todesfall/08 117 -> ttml2srt 08-05-Wahnwitz-14583890.de-AT.ttml
/home/local/bin/ttml2srt.py:12: DeprecationWarning: This method will be removed in future versions.  Use 'tree.iter()' or 'list(tree.iter())' instead.
  for elem in root.getiterator():

But why is it so difficult to find these things, and why do languages keep changing?


Tuesday, 20 December 2022 Dereel Images for 20 December 2022
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System installation part 2: /etc
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After installing a system from the installation medium, the next step is to set up the configuration files in /etc. The FreeBSD does some of this, such as setting up file systems, basic network access and users. But that's only scratching the surface. What do we need? Here's a first cut of Yet Another attempt to understand things. It's important to know that this is a trusted network, so there's little attention to security.

Preparation

For the moment I have a series of half-prepared scripts and data files in the hierarchy eureka:/home/Sysconfig/Install. I'll refer to these as I go.

Resolver

Assuming we're not running named, the system installation does the resolver installation (/etc/resolv.conf) well enough. But if not, it's easy to have a make target to do it.

File systems

In a network (mine, anyway), lots of important files are on other systems. So the system needs to be set up to mount them:

  1. Create the mount points. This can be done as a make target.
  2. Export all local file systems: /etc/exports. This could be a script that takes the names from /etc/fstab.
  3. Set up /etc/fstab to mount the file systems.

How do I set up /etc/fstab? In principle it knows about the local file systems after installation, so all I need are the NFS mount points. I maintain a network-wide file eureka:/home/Sysconfig/Install/fstab.nfs which can be concatenated to /etc/fstab.

Disadvantages:

Symlinks

Once the NFS file systems have been mounted, I need a number of symbolic links to hierarchies on other systems. An obvious one is eureka:/home/Sysconfig, which gets linked to local /home/Sysconfig. This can be done with a make target. This is also a chicken and egg issue: the scripts are on the net, but I can't access them until I have done this step. So I need to do some of this manually.

Users

The installation sets up at least root, and you can add other users if you want. But the passwords are an issue. It's easier to throw out the installed version and copy /etc/master.passwd and /etc/group from /home/Sysinstall/Install, or maybe directly from eureka:/etc. This is still untidy, but then I have “users” on my system who go back 25 years. But that's an issue to look at in a second pass.

And where are the user home directories? They could be new local ones, or symlinks to the home directories on other systems. The latter has the problem that systems can tread on each others' feet. So I think the best thing to do here is for each user to have a “homekit”, like I had when working for MySQL, which includes configuration files and things, but with symlinks to things like ~/Mail and ~/public_html.

Ports

Ports are a can of worms, of course:

My best guess here is to have a Makefile that maps a base port name to the name of the port that pkg recognizes. In the case where config files are needed, I need a specific target that also installs the config files. And I'm expecting a number of issues in this area.


ANZ card: done?
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

As planned, called up ANZ relatively early this morning. It didn't help much. I was still put on hold for 15 minutes, and just as somebody replied, the battery in my phone gave out.

Damn! Got another phone with (hopefully) a better battery and tried again. Now I'm getting used to the dialogues, so I was prepared:

Bot: So that I can direct your call, can you tell me the purpose of your call?
Me: I need a replacement ATM card for an existing account.
Bot: Now is this for a new account?

Another 15 minutes and was connected to Geil, who spells his name “Kyle”. And the usual couple of repetitions and questions: “Can you give me the email address and mobile number associated with this account?”.

Yes, of course I can, but first I have to check what email address I gave them. Did that, and he said “and your mobile number is (correct number), right?”. Maybe I should have given him the number and asked for my email address.

So yes, he will have a new card sent to me. All done? No, lots of mail from ANZ:

Dear GREGORY,

We recently had a conversation about the ANZ card you reported lost or stolen. Your security is important so we have taken some immediate steps to protect your account.

We understand the inconvenience this may cause you, but we can make replacing your card as simple as possible.

What happens next:

Your card has been stopped
You should no longer use the card.
Your new card is on its way

Well, better late than never, I suppose. Doesn't it give you the feeling that the message has been tailored to your situation? I reported the card missing 2 months ago.


Microsoft strangenesses
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After one of these automatic updates from Microsoft, I endured:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/4) ~ 4 -> /home/local/bin/dordesktop distress 1870x1030+0
ATTENTION! The server uses and invalid security certificate which can not be trusted for
the following identified reasons(s);

 1. Certificate issuer is not trusted by this system.

     Issuer: CN=distress

Review the following certificate info before you trust it to be added as an exception.
If you do not trust the certificate the connection atempt will be aborted:

    Subject: CN=distress
     Issuer: CN=distress
 Valid From: Tue Aug  2 10:42:25 2022
         To: Wed Feb  1 11:42:25 2023

  Certificate fingerprints:

       sha1: 25005f571c5a8eea58cef2eb629187b56c75a2cf
     sha256: 8e1bc5c92a2049ae3df28906c1acc6f1eadad711055a6199a51f977e88bfa23a

Do you trust this certificate (yes/no)? yes
Core(error): tcp_tls_connect(), TLS handshake failed. GnuTLS error: The operation timed out
Failed to connect, SSL required by server.

Disconnected from distress, status 76
Connecting to distress
Core(warning): Certificate received from server is NOT trusted by this system, an exception has been added by the user to trust this specific certificate.
Connection established using SSL.
Clipboard(error): xclip_handle_SelectionNotify(), unable to find a textual target to satisfy RDP clipboard text request
Protocol(warning): process_pdu_logon(), Unhandled login infotype 1

Where does that come from? Is it even a Microsoftism?


Wednesday, 21 December 2022 Dereel → Cape Clear → Dereel Images for 21 December 2022
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Piccola suffering
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Lots of noise from the laundry during the night. That's where Piccola sleeps, and it sounded like she was vomiting.

That's nothing unusual—I'm reminded that in German there's only one letter difference between „Katze“ (cat) and „Kotze“ (puke). But today seemed worse than usual, and we've noticed considerable loss of weight in the last week or so:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221221/big/Piccola-1.jpeg
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In addition, it was clear that she wasn't feeling well, producing a sad “meow” from time to time, probably indicative of some pain. Yvonne contacted Pene Kirk via Facebook, and Pene suggested that it might be end stage kidney disease. She could put her down, but to know for sure we'd need blood tests.

After some discussion, decided that blood tests didn't make much sense. We don't want to know the exact cause, just whether we can do anything about it. With Pene's consent (she, too, is still recovering from severe spinal injury) took a loudly meowing Piccola to Cape Clear, where Pene diagnosed shrunken kidneys, one half the normal size, the other two thirds. It seems that kidney failure is the main cause of death in cats. But Piccola wasn't ready for that yet, though it's clear that her days are numbered. Different diet for her: raw meat, milk (yes, milk!), cheese and eggs. No dry food, no canned food, which contains too much sodium. Yvonne was in town, so I got her to pick up some stuff.

Back home, checked the cat food we had been feeding her:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221222/big/ALDI-cat-food-3.jpeg
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1.5% sodium. Presumably they're referring to elemental sodium. That corresponds to 4% salt, which sounds like a lot. And then I saw:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221222/big/ALDI-cat-food-4.jpeg
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BAD ALDI! The way they sell it, you'd think it was intended for daily consumption. And it's only this kind. They also have another one which is not intended for occasional feeding:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221222/big/ALDI-cat-food-1.jpeg
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And that one has only 0.8% sodium, still 2.2% salt. Has ALDI caused the problems? Probably not, but it's not impossible. And that kind of missing warning borders on the criminal. Should I take some kind of action? Does anybody care?

Yvonne back with some chicken mince, which Piccola looked at and ultimately ate. But it's clear that we have an invalid on our hands for the rest of her life, which may not be very long.


22 good things in 2022
Topic: history, music, opinion Link here

The Washington Post has published an article titled “22 good things that happened in 2022”. Clearly that's a tall order, and some of the good things looked like mitigation of bad things, like “The world (mostly) averted a global food crisis” (due to the Ukraine conflict). But one item caught my eye:

Lizzo played THAT flute. Musician extraordinaire Lizzo went viral for playing James Madison’s 1813 crystal flute. First she performed with it at the Library of Congress (at the library’s request). Then she tooted it briefly onstage at her D.C. concert in front of thousands of fans. Lizzo, a classically trained flutist, instantly reminded us of the magic of in-person events and the treasures of U.S. history.

I had seen that report when it came, but it hadn't interested me that much. I had never heard of Lizzo, and I had to look her up to discover that she's primarily a singer, apparently quite well known. Still, since it was a Good Thing, I took a look. What's special about the flute? It was made from crystal in 1813 by Claude Laurent of Paris. And there are surprisingly few clear images of it. About the best I can find is:

https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/files/2018/10/20181001SM013-768x512.jpg

Not many keys. There's an E♭ key, of course, and also clearly a cross F key and a G♯ key. And I'm pretty sure there's a B♭ key for the left thumb. And that's about all. Only 4 keys, at a time when (according to Baines) flutes typically had 8 keys.

I have a flute like that:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221222/big/Simiot-et-Tabard-flute-1.jpeg
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Yes, of course it's boxwood, but it only has 4 keys. In particular, I've found the lack of a C key to be a real problem. The other three missing keys (long F, low C♯ and C) aren't anything like as important. I wonder how she fingered C.

Searching for "Simiot Tabard" produced only 7 results, the first two of which are on this site. But there was also this page, which is surprisingly interesting, though I wish they would improve the presentation. But one of the illustrations is:

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Kv0_uc_-CfE/WIuW-kVqPLI/AAAAAAAAKn8/E38RDc7O9aMnTNMXIr86qleQPEJANv3agCLcB/s400/Simiot%2Bet%2BTabard.jpg

What a tiny image! But I can do that too:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221222/big/Simiot-et-Tabard-flute-4.jpeg
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And the interesting thing about it are the dates: 1812 to 1815. That's the only time that Simiot and Tabard built instruments together. And it's a good match for the 1813 Madison crystal flute.


hydra: power consumption
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Somehow I never have enough time to complete my computer upgrade work. That's the situation once again. But I've discovered two things about hydra: firstly, it's noisy. I don't know if I can improve that by cleaning the fan, but it's worth a try. And then the power consumption: I turned it off until I have time to look at it. And my power consumption display dropped by 250 W!

If that's true (and I need to confirm), that's 6 kWh per day, nearly $2. Over $700 a year. For that I might be able to buy a faster, more economical machine. But it'll do the job for the moment.


Thursday, 22 December 2022 Dereel Images for 22 December 2022
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Garden flowers in early summer
Topic: gardening Link here

Summer solstice, time for the monthly garden flower photos. The garden is still recovering (if that's the word) from a spectacularly cold and wet spring, and it shows. Since the beginning of October we have had both some of the coldest nights and 518 mm of rain, close to an average year's rain. And it shows. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max” isn't dead, but it's taking its time recovering:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221221/big/Hibiscus-rosa-sinensis-1.jpeg
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And the Cannas have only just started to flower:


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The leaves of the Strelitzia nicolai next to it suffered badly in the frosts, but it hasn't stopped it flowering profusely:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20221223/big/Strelitzia-nicolai-2.jpeg
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But the Kniphofia should also be flowering profusely, and it has only just got round to a second flower stem:


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The Curry tree that I had put outside a while back has lost most of its leaves, but as expected, they're on their way back:


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The roses that worried me a few days ago seem to be on the mend after significant watering. Here the first image from earlier in the week, then today:


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One surprise was the Leucospermum cordifolium, which seems to be flowering more profuesely than in previous years:


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And the grass bush at the north-west corner has developed many more seed stems:


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Our various oak trees are doing better than expected:


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Probably the best thing about the garden at the moment are the lilies and the Ornithogalum:


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They seem to be multiplying, and the Ornithogalum seem to seed outside their immediate vicinity.

The Abutilons that I cloned two years ago have suffered surprisingly different fates. The one I planted in the ground grew profusely, but for a few months now it looks almost dead:


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And the one I left in a too-small pot is flowering, though it would clearly like something better:


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And the Schinus molle in the east garden is “not dead yet”


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One plant that has been in that category forever is this one. I think it was a Jasminum, though I have forgotten. But despite its sickly appearance, it's flowering, sort of:


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There's also something seriously wrong with the Camellia japonica which has been here since we moved in:


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Those make me wonder if there's something wrong with the soil here, like some kind of contamination. Maybe that's the reason why the limes aren't growing well too, though at least there we have both flowers and fruit:


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More wildflowers
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Down to the south of our property there's a forest reserve with a large tree which we call the „Große Linde“ (“big linden tree”), though it's really a conifer. On the path there there are a number of wildflowers, most of which we have already missed. But here's a couple that we found today:


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The last one is puzzling. The leaves look almost like Pelargonium leaves.


A new electric fence “energiser”
Topic: animals, technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne didn't pick up a new electric fence device (which they call “energiser”, or even “energizer”, for some reason) yesterday, but it seems that it's getting urgent.

What do we do? We've had two JVA devices that survived for about 4 years each. Before that we've had battery driven ones that only lasted a few months. How about a more expensive brand-named device? Gallagher comes to mind. And Chris Bahlo had recommended Electric Fencing Supplies & Products.

OK, they're in Ballarat, though Google Maps isn't quite sure where. Take a look at their web site, climb through the menus to Small Energizers 0-10 Acres ( 0-4 Ha ) / 240 Volt Mains (their punctuation and choice of units). Pretty much the cheapest is a PowerPlus™ M160 Energizer, which proves to come from Gallagher. How much energy does it output? Click on the image and get a popup that tells me nothing beyond the fact that

PowerPlus™ M160 Energizer

Categories: Energizer, Small Energizers 0-10 Acres ( 0-4 Ha ), 240 Volt Mains, Medium Energizers 10- 100 acres (4-50Ha), 240 Volt Mains

Now isn't that helpful? The only useful information is the model number M160. OK, that's one shop, but it's so typical.

Went off, grumbling loudly, and Yvonne called up Landmark in Ballarat, where she was handed from one confused salesperson to another. Finally somebody recommended a Gallagher M50. What output? It's “fairly strong”.

Grrr! Why can't we get basic specs? Off to look at the Gallagher page, which tells me:

The M50 is a reliable entry-level electric fence Energizer ideal for hobby farmers with a small property or for fencing domestic animals.
Powers: 1 kilometre/5 acres
Contains: 0.5 Stored Joules
Suitable for: Entry-level hobby farmers
Warranty: 3 years

Now isn't that helpful? They don't even give the area in hectares! And assuming you want to power a square paddock of 2 ha, you'll need 560 m of fence per line. The calculation would only work for a single line under relatively ideal conditions. And what are “stored Joules”? My guess is that it's the product of voltage and capacity of the capacitor. I don't care about that: I want to know how much energy it outputs.

Oh, OK, we have that too: 0.27Joules (again, their punctuation). That's enough to power 6km of multiwire fence, though Gallagher only recommends 4km. And this is on the same page!

Our current device produced 2 J. So this thing provides only 13.5% of that energy. Its warranty is for 3 years, which means that we could only hope that it lasts longer than the JVA.

OK, there are others, like the M160 that I saw on the Electric Fencing Supplies & Products web site. Yes, it's stronger: 1.6 “Stored Joules”, which correspond to 0.86 real Joules output. Still not up to scratch. And then there's the MBS100, which is interesting because it outputs nearly all of its 1 “stored Joules”: 0.97 Joules. At the very least this shows that the concept of “stored Joules” is meaningless: the M50 and the M160 output 54% of the “stored Joules”, but the MBS100 manages 97%! And still they advertise with “stored Joules”!

Somehow the business greatly eroded my previous good opinion of Gallagher. This “comparison” is another indication:

 
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So do 4 km correlate with 6 ha or 2 ha? All these “specifications” seem completely meaningless. And yes, the images are truncated.

The next step up appears to be the M650 with 6.5 “stored Joules” (4.5 output Joules, this time, 69%). That's considerably more than we need, and it costs...

Oh. Gallagher is too polite to put prices where you look for them, and it seems that Electric Fencing Supplies & Products don't carry it. Instead they have an M300 with 3 “stored Joules”, something that the Gallagher web site didn't show. How many output Joules? Ah, that's a secret. Still, it could be round 2 J, but the thing costs $440.

What can I find from the el-cheapo offerings on eBay? A “Petscene Electric Fence Energiser Charger Mains Fencing Energizer 30KM IPX6 3.5J” for $149.50. And how about that, they state quite clearly that the output energy is 3.6-3.84 Joules. It has another clear advantage: it costs only a third of the price of the Gallagher, so we could buy two of them (or have the old one repaired), have a standby for the next failure, and still save money. So I ordered one of them.


Rain!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

We haven't had significant rain for nearly a week now, but today things made up for it: what proved to be 20 mm of rain in a couple of hours. And again the water was up to the doorstep:


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