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February 2022
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Tuesday, 1 February 2022 Dereel Images for 1 February 2022
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Beetle plague!
Topic: animals, general, opinion Link here

Woken round 1:0 this morning to hear a muffled thump-thump-thump. In to find Yvonne crushing hundreds of beetles that had found their way into the bedroom:


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They seem to have found their way into the bedroom in a brief period where she had opened the outside door. But it seems that it was nothing compared to what had happened to Chris Bahlo. Here some photos taken with her mobile phone and mutilated by Facebook:


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What are they? There's nothing very obvious in the first couple of shots I took:


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And I didn't hear anything from anybody else. That suggests that it might have something to do with the horses that Chris and Yvonne are continually exchanging.


Frying pan surfaces
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Our new ceramic pans are smoother than conventional non-stick pans, but not as smooth as the one I bought a year ago. Also, it seems that there are differences between the surfaces of the new ones that Yana bought for us and the ones that we bought here ourselves. They're different colours: Yana's are black, ours green. Both were available in both places, so can the colour explain the difference, or are there random variations?

In any case, what's the difference in the surfaces? How about some photos? Here big green, big black, small green, small black, (small) orange, and three conventional pans for comparison, a normal “non-stick”, steel pan, and our relatively unused 32 cm Tefal pan:


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How about that: the ceramic pans look more uneven than the others! But the reflections are different: the ceramic pans show a clear circular reflection of the light, while on the other ones it's more diffuse. Maybe that's the clue: they're shinier. It also shows that the new black pans (photos 2 and 4) seem to have fewer bumps than the green ones, so they're probably the ones to keep.


More caterpillar photos
Topic: animals, photography Link here

While walking the dogs today, went past where we found the caterpillars on Saturday. They're not easy to find; I'm quite impressed that Yana managed to spot them. This time I had a macro lens with me. The one I photographed has grown:


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Printing photos
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

We've decided to print this photo for Helena Mirčić:


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I haven't printed photos for years, but Helena is not a techie, and we think that she will appreciate it. But where do we print them? A Google search had such a low signal to noise ratio that I almost despaired. But then Big W offered an 8"×10" print for $2.75. We can do that.

No we can't. I couldn't find my way round the web site. I had to create albums, add a user name, select their choice of password (Upper case, lower case, punctuation, d1g1t, at least 14 characters long), and then find that the page hung.

Damn Big W! I'll go elsewhere. And how about that, Harvey Norman offers the same photo for $2.00! That doesn't match my impression of the two companies. OK, try again...

Exactly the same thing! Both companies work together with Fujifilm, which does the best to hide the fact. And the web interface is appalling! About the only thing I discovered is that I am not required to create an “account”. But where do I go from here?

 
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Fool! You haven't read the information at top of and the other end of the screen!

 
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OK, I'll bite: how do I “add 0 photos” to "project"? Dammit, I just want to print this photo!

With a bit of guesswork and no help whatsoever from the web page, discovered that I could click on the image and select “Cart” or some such. Then I have to answer some silly question:


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No, of course not, idiot. I've just told you want I want. OK, continue:


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Huh? That's not the image I wanted. How do I get the right one? And why does it claim I started this on 2 January? This is not some old “project”.

I didn't find out how to get the right photo there. If I select the “Edit Image” link, it shows me the correct image. So my guess is that this is a completely misleading page, and that it really intends to print what I asked for. If not, it's only $2 and another rant. We'll find out tomorrow.

What an appalling interface!


Wednesday, 2 February 2022 Dereel Images for 2 February 2022
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CNAV: finally
Topic: general Link here

Finally sent off the documents that the CNAV wanted for Yvonne's pension. It's been over a year since they've been playing silly buggers with us. But finally (touch wood) it's done!


The first photo print of the millennium
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

While in town today, Yvonne picked up the photo that I so laboriously ordered yesterday. Yes, all as ordered—I think. Yvonne took it straight to Helena (who was delighted), and so I haven't even seen the first print of this millennium!


We will repair your air conditioner
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Call from Leeann of Atmos, the air conditioner people, phone 5331 9436. I had called Tony last week and received no call back. Sorry, says a very apologetic Leeann, we had trouble with our phones. She took down the details of the problem, and it seems it will take 2 to 3 weeks before Tony can deal with it (“sorry, it's that time of year”). But at least she sounds reasonable, and currently the weather is mild to cool.


Tanduri chicken again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last time we made chicken tanduri, the timing wasn't quite correct. I made notes on how to do it next time: 10 minutes in a microwave oven at 600 W, then 10 minutes in an “air fryer” at 230°.

That's what I tried today:


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  a

Too much. Maybe only 5 minutes in the “air fryer” next time.


Thursday, 3 February 2022 Dereel Images for 3 February 2022
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CNAV: the other shoe drops
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Letter in the mail today:


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Another letter from the CNAV, and that when only yesterday we thought that we were done with them. But the content is amazing!


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“The payment of your retirement is suspended since 1 March 2021 because .

So even they don't seem to know! But it has the same date as the last letter, though this one was matured for fully 7½ weeks before being posted in Belgium on 31 January 2022:

 
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Who wrote it? A competing bureaucrat? No, it seems to be the same person. In this letter she refers to herself as CROZA MAGALI, in the previous one simply as MME CROZA. What does she want this time?

Gradually I was getting the impression that the dates on both letters were as accurate as the other content, but then I saw the dates stamped on the envelopes:

      Date in Paris       Date in Charleroi
Last week       13 December 2021 13:33:03       21 January 2022
Today       10 December 2021 13:50:30       31 January 2022

So can it be that this letter was written first and just stored longer? Small details suggest that it isn't the case: she has changed the representation of her name, and the header information isn't quite as inaccurate (though it only states a phone number reachable from inside France). But it's clear that our woes aren't over now. Yvonne is convinced that it's deliberate, but I think we might be able to apply Hanlon's razor to this one: “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.


Mowing the lawn
Topic: gardening Link here

Paul Donaghy along this morning to mow the lawn. He barely got finished before he had to leave for a funeral. But in that time he managed to run out of petrol, and I had to refill it, only to discover that the petrol filler leaks like a sieve. In addition the drive belt for the cutter seems to have disintegrated.


New Year's noodles
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

The Chinese New Year festivities are under way, and yesterday Yvonne bought a number of things at the Fruit Shack. I had been rather interested in “Longevity Noodles” or “Long Life Noodles”, which I discover are called yi mein (伊面), at least in this recipe.

http://www.lemis.com/grog/Day/20220203/long-life-noodles-3.jpg

The interesting thing about them is that they are very long and need to be eaten whole; cutting them would be like truncating your life. OK, they should have something like that at the Fruit Shack. What Yvonne brought back looked somewhat different, but at least the name in English looked right:


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But the Chinese text is clearly different. Further investigation took me to Yi mein, where I read:

When yi mein is consumed on birthdays, it is generally referred to as longevity noodles or sau mein (壽麵/寿面).

And there's my 寿, which proves to mean “life” (shòu). So why are they so short? They also seem to have nothing like the consistency that I have seen described.

Still, let's try them. They come in 1.1 kg packages (something I've seen elsewhere, but not understood), and there seem to be 10 baskets:


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They weigh, not surprisingly, 110 g, and 234 g after cooking (60 to 90 seconds). But they're not long: in fact, they're much shorter than most noodles I have seen.

And then there's the recipe. Apart from noodles, just Chinese chives (apparently the same thing as the garlic chives that we have growing in the garden) and sauces. But that doesn't match the photo. In the end I used a couple of stalks of spring onions, a couple of stalks of choi sam and a handful of garlic chives:


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The result:


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It didn't taste bad, but there was far too little without anything else in the noodles.

That wasn't all we ate. ALDI had some duck dumplings on sale this week, so we ate them too. Never again! They tasted completely boring. We couldn't even discern a taste of duck.


Reading Chinese
Topic: language, technology, opinion Link here

It's becoming more and more important to be able to read Chinese. What does this mean?


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The bottom symbol is transliterated as miàn, often written mein (for some reason) and means noodles. But the rest? Surely there must be some program out there that can read Chinese and translate it for me.

Yes, it seems. Of course, they're mainly apps for mobile phones. OK, that might even make sense: point your phone at something, take a photo and translate it. Read this comparison of 5 apps and decided that Pleco looked best. Installed it and got caught up in a maze of twisty little apps, all different, none of which appeared to be prepared to do what I expected. Somehow it all got mixed up with various “accessibility” features, which I gather now means access for people who have some physical limitation. Maybe it helps—for example, it might solve my issues with quickly answering an incoming phone call—but it's not what I'm looking for right now.

The app itself looked like it should be useful, but then I found:

Screen Reader/OCR: instantly tap-lookup Chinese words in other apps through a floating interface; works on Android 4.1 and later. (reader free, OCR $)

So we're not there yet.


Friday, 4 February 2022 Dereel Images for 4 February 2022
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Farrier again
Topic: animals Link here

Dave Ingle along today to take another look at Carlotta. The good news: she is improving better than he had expected. Yvonne very happy.


Walking with Peggy, George and Elsie
Topic: animals Link here

Peggy, George and Elsie along again today to walk with our dogs. George is improving; he's now showing interest in our dogs, and even (cautiously) with me.


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We had intended to let them run free in the garden when they got back, but they were exhausted. Next time we'll do it first.


The power of diaries
Topic: language, technology, general, opinion Link here

Keeping this diary has one advantage that I had never envisaged: people who read it frequently come up with solutions for problems that I mention. Today there were two such cases.

First, Michel Lustig has followed up one of my complaints about CNAV, that they didn't give a valid phone number for calls from outside France. But it's available on this page: +33 9 71 10 39 60 for all regions.

And then Callum Gibson came up with at least a partial solution for yesterday's issue with reading Chinese. I don't need no steenking app! It's already a function of Google Lens. Simply take a photo of the text and ask it to translate. Taking yesterday's example:


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Excellent! Exactly what I was looking for. Played around with it for a while with various foodstuffs, which showed nothing startlingly interesting. How about something more complicated? Pei Mei's Chinese cookbook, conveniently written both in English and Chinese?


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That wasn't as successful. In fact, that was one of the worst translations I have ever seen.


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Here the first three steps of the menu, English, then translation:

That “translation” is so far from the truth that I wondered whether I had turned a page before writing the English version. But no, it's (partially) visible in the screen shot.

So what causes that? This is traditional Chinese, but I could almost expect it to have been interpreted as Japanese, given the inaccuracies. Maybe the relatively low light? There's promise in the technology, but in this case also a considerable source of mirth.

Coming back to the start of my search, why didn't I find this in my search? Are the comparison pages geared towards promoting other apps? This page at least mentions that Google has other tricks up its sleeve when it comes to translations. I suppose I should try that for a comparison.


Saturday, 5 February 2022 Dereel Images for 5 February 2022
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Larissa's eye
Topic: animals Link here

Larissa woke up this morning with a half-closed eye and clear signs of inflammation. It improved in the course of the morning, but Yvonne was still concerned and asked Pene Kirk (via Facebook, of course), who thought she should have a look. She was even prepared to see Helena Mirčić's dog Mat(h)ilde, who has some wound that won't heal, so up to help her load her into the car.

They came back, as I expected, with no serious issues.


Chinese translation: fixed!
Topic: language, technology, opinion Link here

My surprisingly poor results with translating Chinese yesterday puzzled me. How could the translation be that bad? But of course while writing up my diary I had another chance: instead of looking directly at the book, read from the screen:


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And that was a completely different matter. Here step 2 in English, yesterday's translation and today's translation:

2. On a flat slice of fish sprinkle a little bit of cornstarch. Lay a few pieces of shredded green onion, ginger, ham, mushroom on the fish and roll up.

2 Fang Ri mentioned in the war (including soft Qualcomm first), cut them into targets respectively. Onion and red spicy base. Expect to be the size of a nail piece.

2. Cut the cooked ham, cooked mushrooms (soaked and then steamed), onion and ginger into filaments, cut onion and red pepper into fingernails and set aside.

Not only does it make sense, it adds stuff that got forgotten or elided in the original translation.

So: clearly the error reporting isn't what it should be; in fact, there doesn't seem to be any at all. And of course using a mobile phone for this kind of text is no longer convenient. Time to investigate the alternatives.


Google giveth, Google takes away
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I've been quite happy with my Chinese translations on my mobile phone. Good Google!

But today I got a message from Jerry Dunham:

Gmail has decided that e-mail from dunham.org is "unsolicited" (spam) and rejecting
anything I send to anyone who has a Gmail address, including Linda.

And how about that, my attempt sending mail was rejected with

<groggyhimself@gmail.com>: host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[142.250.141.27] said:
    550-5.7.1 [45.32.70.18      12] Our system has detected that this message
    is 550-5.7.1 likely unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of spam sent to
    Gmail, 550-5.7.1 this message has been blocked. Please visit 550-5.7.1
    https://support.google.com/mail/?p=UnsolicitedMessageError 550 5.7.1  for
    more information. o18si3527884pll.372 - gsmtp (in reply to end of DATA
    command)

That's Google too. Damn you, Google. I've been running a mail server for 30 years, far longer than you have been around, and I have never sent spam. Followed the links, of course, and came up with all sorts of things that they wanted me to do so that they would deign to deliver my mail:

 
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That's obscene. Yes, protect your customers against spam, but don't do it by rejecting any standards-conforming site that doesn't adhere to their additional specifications. Went through their checklists, which gave me the choice of doing what they want or not getting any further.

Did a bit of investigation at postmaster.google.com, which wants me to add a specific TXT RR to my DNS configuration:

lemis.com       text = "google-site-verification=AxIZbg-VfVkVCvz6FLBCQfhCt9JWf_6GLQdQTYc_I8c"

What an imposition! What would happen if every mail system on the Internet would require some RR specific to their domain? I'm disgusted.

That's not enough, of course: I also need other things, including an SPF RR that I once had, but it caused so much pain with rejected messages via other relays that I removed it again. And then there's this DMARC thing, whatever that is.

While discussing the matter on IRC, Juha Kupiainen came up with this site, which may help me.

GRRRR.
Garden flower snapshot
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

While taking the house photos today, found a couple of interesting things. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max” is flowering almost acceptably:


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The Clematis “General Sikorski” has recovered slightly, but it's still not looking good:


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My guess is that there's something wrong with the soil. Should we try to recover it, or just put some good soil in some time and plant a new plant?

The “Edo Murasaki” was treated worse, but it's coming back well. The first buds are showing:


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Semmelknödel again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We had planned a Chinese hotpot for dinner tonight, but somehow I didn't feel like it, and in the end we had gulasch. And for that we needed Semmelknödel. I had made both two months ago, but the recipe for the Knödel was still provisional. Today, hopefully, I would get something definitive.

It started off badly: I forgot to crush the dried bread, and ended up having to put it through the mincer. And the mixture came out very dry until I added the egg, after which they certainly weren't overly wet:


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But it worked well. Here the result, with a sole Thüringer Kloß in the middle:


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Sunday, 6 February 2022 Dereel Images for 6 February 2022
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Chasing the Gmail problem
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So where do I go now to get Gmail to accept my messages? Clearly others have been there before. How about Ozlabs? Looking there I see:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/33) ~ 28 -> nslookup -q=txt ozlabs.org
Non-authoritative answer:
ozlabs.org      text = "google-site-verification=8kB0wYsJZGUvxVgogn3N2YWeclxb2AfNy0Pveng0sFE"
ozlabs.org      text = "v=spf1 include:_spf.ozlabs.org ?all"

OK, sfr has also been forced to register with Google, and he has an SPF RR, but no DMARC. I can do that, too. In fact, I used to. From the zone file:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/14) /etc/namedb 325 -> blame ../namedb/db.lemis.com | less
...
1.175        (grog     11-Aug-20): ; This is more pain than it's worth.  Remove it!
1.175        (grog     11-Aug-20): ; lemis.com.         IN TXT "v=spf1 a:www.lemis.com a:ozlabs.org ip4:192.109.197.0/24 ip4:45.63.116.55 ip4:45.32.70.18 -all"

What was the pain? I didn't mention it at the time, but my recollection was something to do with messages forwarded by mailing being rejected because they didn't pass the SPF test. Still, it's easy enough to reinstate as long as I update the IP addresses. And after that:

Feb  5 23:18:22 lax postfix/qmgr[68371]: B843B280D0: from=<groggyhimself@lemis.com>, size=521, nrcpt=1 (queue active)
Feb  5 23:18:23 lax postfix/smtp[93938]: B843B280D0: to=<groggyhimself@gmail.com>, relay=gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[142.250.101.26]:25, delay=0.96, delays=0.2/0.01/0.1/0.65, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (250 2.0.0 OK  1644103103 t9si5646196pfl.216 - gsmtp)
Feb  5 23:18:23 lax postfix/qmgr[68371]: B843B280D0: removed

It works! Ship it!

Only one problem: the message didn't make it to my Gmail inbox. It took a while for me to realize that Gmail had classified it as spam, possibly because of lack of content (though that sounds counterintuitive). Select “not spam” and further messages were delivered normally.

OK, what about dunham.org? It's the same MTA. Does dunham.org need an SPF record too? First tried without one. Failure. And by that time Jerry (11 hours behind me, or 13 hours ahead if you ignore the date) had gone to bed.


Another caterpillar hunt
Topic: animals, photography Link here

While walking the dogs today, went looking for the caterpillar that we last saw on Tuesday. No sign of it. I should at least have marked the bush.

What I did find, on the other side of the road, was this:


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What is it? Clearly some kind of beetle, but which, and why are they there? In addition, there are a few ants involved as well:

 
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There were two of them not far apart.


Salvaging the last Buddleja
Topic: gardening Link here

It's been nearly 15 years since we moved into Kleins Road and thus to Dereel. One of the first plants to catch my eye was this Buddleja × weyeriana:


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It grew well from cuttings, and soon we had a large hedge of the stuff:


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We brought some cuttings with us to Stones Road, where they didn't do nearly as well. One after the other they died, and now I only have one sickly-looking survivor in a too-small pot. Today I finally got my act together and put it in a bigger pot, in the process taking “cuttings” of some of the more unlikely twigs:


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I don't have much hope. What a pity.


Flàmmeküeche
Topic: food and drink Link here

Flàmmeküeche for dinner tonight, done at 250° in the oven on “pizza” setting. A pizza takes about 7 minutes like that, but the Flàmmeküeche takes 13 or 14 minutes, complaining considerably about the condition of the oven:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220206/big/Flammekueeche-2.jpeg
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Monday, 7 February 2022 Dereel Images for 7 February 2022
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Frijoles again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We're out of beans for frijoles refritos. OK, cook a batch of one kilogram of beans, which should keep us going for several months.

The recipe is pretty straightforward: beans, onion, garlic, a little chili, epazote... and lard. Why lard? This is just the first step; later they will be fried in lard. And the quantities are completely different: 80 g lard for 16 portions now, 15 g per portion when frying. But all Mexican dishes include it.

What happens if I leave it out? We'll find out, maybe. My guess is that we won't be able to tell the difference. But somehow I get the feeling that they look different:


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The trouble is, of course, that I don't have anything to compare with.


Gmail again
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday I came to the conclusion that Gmail wouldn't accept mail from dunham.org based on the SPF RR for lemis.com. OK, add it to the dunham.org zone and try again. Partial success! Some messages were accepted, others weren't.

Well, that's what Jerry Dunham said. I saw:

Feb  7 00:39:09 lax postfix/cleanup[10407]: 8D15A28116: message-id=<62006A2D.3058.140877E1@jerry.dunham.org>
Feb  7 00:39:09 lax postfix/qmgr[68371]: 8D15A28116: from=<jerry@dunham.org>, size=707, nrcpt=3 (queue active)
Feb  7 00:39:10 lax postfix/smtp[10408]: 8D15A28116: to=<groggyhimself@lemis.com>, relay=mx0.lemis.com[121.200.11.253]:25, delay=1.2, delays=0.31/0/0.55/0.38, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (250 2.0.0 Ok:
+queued as 75A36263596)
Feb  7 00:39:11 lax postfix/smtp[10411]: 8D15A28116: to=<groggyhimself@gmail.com>, relay=gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[142.250.141.27]:25, delay=1.9, delays=0.31/0.01/0.13/1.5, dsn=2.0.0,
+status=sent (250 2.0.0 OK  1644194351 l14si9486344plh.157 - gsmtp)
Feb  7 00:39:11 lax postfix/smtp[10411]: 8D15A28116: to=<jerry@gmail.com>, relay=gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[142.250.141.27]:25, delay=1.9, delays=0.31/0.01/0.13/1.5, dsn=2.0.0,
+status=sent (250 2.0.0 OK  1644194351 l14si9486344plh.157 - gsmtp)
Feb  7 00:39:11 lax postfix/qmgr[68371]: 8D15A28116: removed

A bit of searching on Jerry's part. Of course! It's in the spam folder. A bit of marking and all was well.

But I had other “spam” in there too. After marking them, I discovered no fewer than 35 “spam” messages from the Hugin mailing list, like this one:

Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2022 07:43:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Mihai Dobrescu <mihai@gmail.com>
To: hugin and other free panoramic software <hugin-ptx@googlegroups.com>
Subject: [hugin-ptx] Endless loop?
Message-Id: <b39d3800-16f1-4b79-a64d-0e15a948d6b4n@googlegroups.com>
Reply-To: hugin-ptx@googlegroups.com

That's a whole thread of mail send from a Gmail user via a Google mailing list. What earthly reason does Gmail to classify it as spam? Sent out a message to the list, which wasn't classified as spam, and to which I get answers in agreement, such as:

A couple of important email messages I sent have also gotten lost.  Junk email is a problem, but the
cure (server-side junk filters that cannot be turned off) is worse than the disease.

A few years back Gmail's spam detection was good enough that I used it by default. Now it is as good as useless. They could at least give the individual user the choice of how to filter things.


4 o'clock flower?
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Our Mirabilis jalapa are flowering:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220207/big/Mirabilis-jalapa-25.jpeg
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The common names for this flower are puzzling: “Marvel of Peru”, when they come from México, and “four o'clock flower”, because they allegedly flower at 16:00. But as I noted last year, not here.

But when do they flower? Started a time-lapse series at 9:36 at 20 minute intervals and went through to the night. Looking at them in the middle of the day, the flowers are closed. And so they are at 16:00:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220207/big/Mirabilis-jalapa-20.jpeg
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But at 17:40 it's a different picture:


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And how about that, we're offset from solar noon by 1 hour, 25 minutes in the summer. Today 16:00 solar time was 17:39, coincidentally almost exactly the time of the photo.

More to the point, though, is the French nickname for this flower: « Belle-de-nuit », “pretty [flower] of the night. To quote that page:

Elle tient son nom de sa principale caractéristique, ses fleurs s'ouvrent pleinement la nuit et se referment au petit matin.

It starts flowering round 16:00 solar time, but it flowers all night and closes up in the day. I stopped the photos at 21:37, by which time it was completely dark (the light came from the automatic light in front of the garage), but the flowers were still open then:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220207/big/Mirabilis-jalapa-37.jpeg
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That's far from unusual. But at least now I have the background.


Time lapse photos
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Taking the time lapse photos of my Mirabilis jalapa is simple: my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has a time lapse feature.

But it doesn't have a power input! Why did they do that? The old Olympus E-30 has one, conveniently with a special connector which means that no normal power supply will fit. As it is, once the battery is exhausted, no photos. This sequence took over 12 hours, longer than I can expect a battery to last. So instead I did it the old-fashioned way: turn on the camera, take a photo, turn off again, wait 20 minutes, repeat. And for that I was able to use the E-PM2:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220207/big/Time-lapse-mirabilis-1.jpeg
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Out all day in the sun? No, it needs a hat:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220207/big/Time-lapse-mirabilis-4.jpeg
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So where are the photos? They're on today's photo page, all 74 of them. Somehow I need to find a way to display them, but I haven't found a good way yet. If I had used the E-M1 Mark II, I would have been able to create a video to go with it, but here I'm on my own.

The other issue was timing, of course. How do I time the 20 minute interval? I have at least 3 ways: use a kitchen timer, use my watch, or use my mobile phone. The kitchen timer is inconvenient because I would have to carry it with me. The watch works, but there's the danger that I might forget to restart it.

And the mobile phone? Nice display, counts down, even beyond 0. But if I turn the phone off I lose the display, and I can't easily reset it even when it's beeping. This is clearly related to the timer app, but I have two different ones, both of which make life difficult in different ways.

Once again I find that a mobile phone is a difficult to use, badly thought out high-tech substitute for the functionality we've been using for decades.


Tuesday, 8 February 2022 Dereel Images for 8 February 2022
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Where's my planning permit?
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

The required advertising for our planning permit finished on 2 February. Where's the permit? Yvonne has tried to contact Sarah Smith of the Golden Plains Shire Council for a couple of days. That's nothing new: without exception she has never been available on the phone, and from recollection she only ever once called back.

So Yvonne wrote a draft of an email setting a time limit and copying her superior. Based on my experience, that's not the way to do it. Mike Cook, the Planning Compliance Officer, would be a better choice. But not yet.

So I started modifying the draft, and while I was at it, got a call from Annalise [spelling?] of the Golden Plains Council. It seems that Yvonne's last voice mail message accidentally got stored in a general customer voice mail pool, which at least had the result that somebody called back. Explained to her the extreme difficulties we have had to contact Sarah. She confirmed that voice mail should go to her own queue, and tried to connect me. No connection, of course, but she suggested that, rather than connecting me to her voice mail, she would follow up personally.

And oh wonder, only a couple of minutes later I got a call from Sarah, only the second one I have had in nearly a year. Yes, advertising is done, no objections, and she will process the amendment today or on Thursday (why so long?) and submit it to her manager for approval, stressing the urgency of the matter. I: “So we can expect the permit by the end of the week?”. She: “Yes, if my manager approves”. I don't see that that will be the issue, but at least we have solid dates.


New garden furniture
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Helen Miller has a set of old garden furniture that she wants to give away, and Yvonne found a free petrol canister (“Jerry Can”) nearby in Enfield, so off today to pick them up. Picking up the can was more difficult than we had expected: despite confirming the time, the donor wasn't there when we arrived, though we found him on the way back and collected not one, but two cans and a filler, the part we were really looking for.

Picking up the furniture was relatively straightforward. While we were there, admired the gazebo that Helen has, and which is presumably part of the background to her new garden furniture:


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That's interesting because we were also thinking of a gazebo, though it's not clear where we should put it. Our furniture isn't as pretty, of course, but still a lot better than the one it replaces (second and third photo):


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I wonder if I can give the old table away.


Yet another mobile phone?
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

It looks as if Yvonne's Xiaomi Redmi 9A mobile phone was not the best choice. Yes, it works, but it's glacially slow on some things. Starting the camera took for ever, round 20 seconds. It was faster after booting, only 5 seconds, but starting Google Lens took at least that long again. It's almost enough to go to sleep.

Why? Is it because it has “only” 2 GB of memory? I'm reminded of the first edition of “Installing and Running FreeBSD” (coincidentally almost exactly 26 years ago):

To install FreeBSD, you will need a computer with an Intel 386 or better CPU, which should have at least 5 MB of memory.

How times change! And how inefficient modern computing devices are!

Still, it looks like time for a faster phone. It should be compatible with my Xiaomi Redmi 9T, because I don't want the pain of having to fight two different interfaces. But which? Once again I'm faced with the complete inability to compare phone specs. Size maybe, price, ... But not performance.

The other issue is that my phone is not simply last year's model (9 series), it's the year before last's. Now there are 10s and 11s on the market. Should I upgrade? I fear that even with the same maker the interface will change sufficiently to be a challenge.

And then there's the price. I paid $285 for my Redmi 9T with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Now I can't find a Redmi 9T under $323, and even then it only has 4 GB/64 GB. I can't find a 6/128 anywhere.

What a pain these things are!


Olympus USB cables
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday I took 37 photos with the Olympus E-PM2. And once again I had difficulty getting the computer to recognize the camera:

Feb  8 10:13:47 dereel kernel: usbd_req_re_enumerate: addr=25, set address failed! (USB_ERR_IOERROR, ignored)
Feb  8 10:13:57 dereel kernel: usbd_setup_device_desc: getting device descriptor at addr 25 failed, USB_ERR_TIMEOUT
Feb  8 10:13:58 dereel kernel: usbd_req_re_enumerate: addr=25, set address failed! (USB_ERR_IOERROR, ignored)
Feb  8 10:14:07 dereel kernel: usbd_setup_device_desc: getting device descriptor at addr 25 failed, USB_ERR_TIMEOUT
Feb  8 10:14:08 dereel kernel: usb_alloc_device: Failure selecting configuration index 0:USB_ERR_TIMEOUT, port 8, addr 25 (ignored)
Feb  8 10:14:08 dereel kernel: ugen0.4: <OLYMPUS E-PM2> at usbus0
Feb  8 10:14:08 dereel kernel: ugen0.4: <OLYMPUS E-PM2> at usbus0 (disconnected)

What's wrong with that view? The system didn't identify the camera as a mass storage device. My guess is a connector problem. It has happened on a number of occasions with this camera, and since it doesn't happen on the other cameras, which I use much more, I assumed that it was an issue with the camera's USB connector. Not a big deal: it's an old camera, and I can always use a card reader.

But what if it's the cable? Went looking and found another 3 cables. That seems unusual in itself, but I have 6 cameras with this interface, so there should be more. Still, it's interesting that there are two different kinds with different cable diameter. Tried the other thin one. Still failure. Tried on of the thick ones. Success!

Why? Is there something different in the cables? It's a strange combination, but it looks as if the problem has gone away for the while.


Wednesday, 9 February 2022 Dereel Images for 9 February 2022
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Frijoles: not what I expected
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Huevos rancheros for breakfast today, and with them Monday's frijoles.

How did they taste? Different. They were cooked through, but some how still more solid. Did I maybe not use enough water? I haven't finished freezing them yet, so I added more water to the the remainder in the pot and cooked a little longer. It'll be a while before I can compare the results.


How to answer a phone
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I still can't get my head around the user-unfriendliness of modern mobile phones. I've been using phones for as long as I can recall, nearly 70 years, and in the past I have (almost) never had difficulty answering an incoming call. With the old-style phones it was simple: lift the handset (when it was really a handset and not a complete phone) from the cradle.

Later wireless phones came onto the scene, and initially you had to not just pick them up, but also press a button. They learnt, though, and now most phones have the option to answer as soon at you take it off the cradle.

Then came mobile phones. No cradle, so you had to press the button. That's understandable, and it's not that much more work.

But then the modern “smart” mobile phone came onto the scene. No button! Well, yes, modern ones have two or three, but they have other functions. To answer it, you need to “swipe” (“deal a stinging blow”) some display. That means not just picking it up, but looking at it to see where the display is. And to make things worse, the behaviour differs from one make to another. And some phones, mine included, show a different display depending on what they're doing. I can't recognize some of them without my glasses on.

How can people put up with this? How simple would it be if the phone would redefine a short press on the power key to “answer” when there's an incoming call? If you really want to turn off under those circumstances, it could still be redefined to a longer press. Or, given that these phones almost all have motion sensors, how about something that reacts to moving the phone (picking it up, for example)?

Off to investigate. While I was doing so, a call came in from Yvonne, the call display obscured by another of these “don't cover the thingummy” messages that I couldn't get rid of. Finally (again with the power key) answered the call, but why is it so difficult? On the web found pages like How to Answer Calls without Swipe on Android and a lot of old videos showing how to do it on Androids long dead. There was nothing for modern versions. It almost seems as if things are getting worse.

Finally, after much searching, found Raise To Answer, almost exactly what I was looking for: lift the phone, put it to your ear, and it answers automatically. Installed, tried out, works!

FINALLY! When Yvonne came home, installed it on her phone. Tried it out. Didn't work. Put it to my ear. Worked.

Huh? Tried again with my phone. Same thing. There's clearly something about Yvonne that mobile phones don't like. They may rest assured that the feeling is mutual.


A clematis!
Topic: gardening Link here

As I had half expected, my Clematis “Edo Murasaki” is flowering again!


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Take that, Bryan Ross.


Thursday, 10 February 2022 Dereel Images for 10 February 2022
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More arena construction delays
Topic: Stones Road house, general, health, opinion Link here

Now that our amended planning permit is just round the corner, it's high time to call Warrick Pitcher. He's very busy: apart from general earthworks, he's also our friendly local gravedigger. Normally he has 2 or 3 a week, but now it's 5 or 6, and he's working 7 days a week. That's an unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.


distress: distress
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne wanted to process photos today, which means access to distress, our Microsoft “Windows” 10 box. No reply.

Checked it: yes, it was not responding. Down since some time yesterday. Find cables and connect a monitor. It had crashed. Let the recovery thing do what it wanted, then reboot. “Windows had to back out an update. Click for more details”. But then it changed its mind and no longer offered the details.

What update? The one that you, idiot, insisted on applying? What does "Settings/Windows Update" say?

 
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OK, that looks like it survived—this time. It also offered me an upgrade:

 
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I suppose that makes sense. But how about a backup first?

I've always had immense pain making backups on Microsoft boxes, mainly because I don't know what they do. Now they don't even seem to have real backups any more. First to the Settings menu, which I still find confusing, and search for “backup”

 
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Huh? I don't want “controlled folder access” (whatever that means) or ransomware protection. Where's “backup”? Ah, the box. Those icons confuse. OK, what can I do?

 
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“OneDrive”? What does that buzzword mean? Wikipedia tells me: an external file hosting service. And for the potential security and traffic implications, they want me to pay money! No way!

And “File History”? It doesn't even say!

I don't trust this stuff. How about just copying the disk? dd should do it. But of course not on Microsoft. OK, boot from a FreeBSD USB stick. First, shut down:

Access is denied.(5)

Huh? It never used to. How do I start a CMD.EXE with administrator privileges? Right click, secret handshake, ? Nothing.

OK, have I lost my foo? Go to Settings/Accounts (the word they use for “users”, though there's no accounting). Window tries to start, but evaporates.

Nothing for it: log out and select the power icon. Power down. No admin privileges needed. Stupid Microsoft!

OK, try to log in as Admin. No chance. It tries, without asking, to reinstall the broken updates. That way madness lies.


Recovering Microsoft with FreeBSD USB stick
Topic: technology Link here

Once I had distress down, booted from the memory stick that

# ifconfig em0 192.109.197.172
# cat > /etc/resolv.conf
search lemis.com
nameserver 192.109.197.137
^D
# mkdir /Photos
Photos: read-only file system

Huh? I've just created a file on this file system. Why can't I create a directory? OK, is there a mount point /mnt? Yes:

# mount eureka:/Photos /mnt
# dd if=/dev/ada0 of=/mnt/distress.image bs=128k

And how about that, that worked. The entire disk copied at 90 MB/s, not bad for across the network.


More Microsoft update pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Now that I had a backup of the disk, tried to reboot from the old one to see what happened. Once again the boot behaviour was different. It spent an inordinate amount of time checking things and producing strange messages:

Working on features
64%
Don't turn off your computer.
...
Your system is restarting due to a configuration task
(reboot)
We couldn't complete the updates
Undoing changes
Don't turn off your computer

But finally it finished and came up apparently none the worse for wear. OK, that wasn't what I wanted anyway.


New SSD for distress
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

OK, since I've got this far, time to finally install the SSD that I bought for this purpose over 4 months ago. That's relatively simple: both the old disk and the SSD are 250 GB in size, so I should be able to just copy the partitions.

Oh. 250 GB isn't always 250 GB. My image was:

-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  250,059,350,016 10 Feb 13:02 /Photos/distress

And the SSD has 250,059,309,056 bytes, 40,960 bytes or 80 sectors less. What can I do?

First, look at the partition table. Here the old disk:

=>       63  488397105  ada0  MBR  (233G)
         63       1985        - free -  (993K)
       2048    1185792     1  ntfs  [active]  (579M)
    1187840  487204864     2  ntfs  (232G)
  488392704       4464        - free -  (2.2M)

=>       63  488397105  diskid/DISK-WD-WCC2EC0XDKXZ  MBR  (233G)
         63       1985                               - free -  (993K)
       2048    1185792                            1  ntfs  [active]  (579M)
    1187840  487204864                            2  ntfs  (232G)
  488392704       4464                               - free -  (2.2M)

There are 4,464 sectors unused at the end. So who cares if there are only 4,388 free on the new disk? OK, let's partition:

DRIVE=ada0    # Note that you *must* omit the /dev/
gpart destroy -F $DRIVE
# Create GPT
gpart create -s gpt $DRIVE
# p1
gpart add -b 2048 -s 1185792 -t ntfs $DRIVE
# p2
gpart add -b 1187840 -s 487204864 -t ntfs $DRIVE

The results? Two successes (destroying and recreating the partition table), and two “invalid argument”s trying to create the partitions. Why? Much experimentation. It didn't like the file system type. I could (and did) create other Microsoft partitions, along with a nfsbsd-ffs partition.

Is this a bug in gpart? If it isn't, it's very poor error reporting. What would happen if I just copy the entire disk from the image I had saved on eureka? About the most interesting thing is that the copy took longer, only 75 MB/s instead of 90 MB/s. That's strange, given that in the first case I was writing to a relatively slow backup disk, and in the second to an SSD. But the copy worked, and the system booted without so much as a mention of any discrepancy.

Daniel O'Connor suggested a further check: sfc. That ran for 5 minutes and produced the output

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220210/big/Microsoft-4-detail.png
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Ah, a log file. Well, sort of. Lots of

2022-02-10 15:56:31, Info                  CSI    00000006 [SR] Verifying 100 components
2022-02-10 15:56:31, Info                  CSI    00000007 [SR] Beginning Verify and Repair transaction
2022-02-10 15:56:31, Info                  CSI    00000008 [SR] Verify complete

Most were just progress information, but there were a couple of

2022-02-10 15:57:10, Info                  CSI    00000081 Warning: Overlap: Directory \??\C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers\en-US\ is owned twice or has its security set twice
   Original owner: Microsoft-Windows-Foundation-Default-Security.Resources, version 10.0.19041.1, arch amd64, culture [l:5]'en-US', nonSxS, pkt {l:8 b:31bf3856ad364e35}
   New owner: Microsoft-Windows-Foundation-Default-Security.Resources, version 10.0.19041.1, arch amd64, culture [l:5]'en-US', nonSxS, pkt {l:8 b:31bf3856ad364e35}

OK, Microsoft. I'll bite. What's the difference? Or is it only the fact that the entry is duplicated? In any case, no mention of any issues with the partition table.

So: the system appears to have recovered. There are still some strangenesses: I still can't start CMD.EXE with administrator privileges from the task bar, but I can run SHUTDOWN anyway, and I can still start CMD.EXE with administrator privileges from the menu box at bottom left. When the system comes up, it wants me to hit Ctrl-Alt-DEL to proceed. Why? It wasn't there before, but it's clearly the fault of some unsolicited update or another. And I later discovered that rwhod or whatever it's called is no longer running, or at least no longer broadcasting status. Mañana.

And the updates? Now that I have a good base, how about that update to “Windows 19, version 21H2”? Oh. No longer offered. Despite the backout, my system is up to date.

It wasn't until some time later that I saw one potential reason for the gpart issues: I had assumed, without checking, that the old disk had a GPT partition table. After all, they've been standard for But it didn't. It had an MBR partition table, and of course that's what I created when I copied the entire disk. But it's still invalid: the table extends beyond the end of the disk.


The trigger for the Microsoft issues?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Only later did I discover that we had been off the net for a considerable part of the night:

Start time End time  Duration   Badness        from                    to
                     (seconds)
1644415823 1644423575   7752  0.017 # 10 February 2022 01:10:23 10 February 2022 03:19:35
1644426258 1644437658  11400  1.342 # 10 February 2022 04:04:18 10 February 2022 07:14:18
1644437903 1644437973     70 14.694 # 10 February 2022 07:18:23 10 February 2022 07:19:33

Timestamp      Outages  Duration  Availability    Date
                        (seconds)
1644411600  3 19222 77.75% # 10 February 2022

5⅓ hours off the net! Thank you, National Broadband Network, this must be one of the longest outages we've had in quite a while. Maybe it caught Microsoft by surprise.


Friday, 11 February 2022 Dereel Images for 11 February 2022
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distress: rwho?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why is rwho no longer running on distress? Off to look for it, and discovered that this was not the first time that I had had problems with it. But today was different. Searching there showed me a program RWHODINSTALL.EXE which, well, installs rwhod (Why does Microsoft need a search box when it has a search path in the “shell”?). This is clearly the same one that I installed a long time ago. Run it, answer the questions, and it starts.

How do I get it to start automatically when I reboot? I don't know, but when I rebooted later it didn't restart. I had to “reinstall” it. How I love Microsoft!

The other thing was the “Windows 19, version 21H2” update. It had been offered earlier in the day yesterday, and then retracted. And today there was the offer again. OK, install. It was finished surprisingly quickly and showed no obvious differences.

And while investigating Microsoft's backup options, checked the “Back up using File History”, something that I didn't have enabled. There was no way to enable it from the Backup tab, but through some sequence of clicks that I have now forgotten, arrived at this display:

 
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How did I get there?

 
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Problem: there is no tab “System and Security”, and when I search for “File History” I don't find this page, only other ones that I have already seen. But “You're already backing up your files”? That suggests that the “obsolete” “Windows” 7 backup is still the only way to go. Only: the last backup was weeks ago. Why hasn't anything else been backed up?


Walking with George again
Topic: animals Link here

Peggy Naumov along today with George to go walking, unfortunately without Elsie. We had intended to let Elsie run around with our dogs before going walking, and then to let George join in. As it was we just went for another walk.


Configuring DMARC
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

How difficult can it be to configure DMARC for my mail server? That depends on whom you ask. But I suppose I can risk it, and in the end I added a pretty meaningless record:

_dmarc                  IN TXT "v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:dam-rc@lemis.com"

Sent a message to Gmail to see what happened:

ARC-Authentication-Results: i=1; mx.google.com;
        spf=pass (google.com: domain of grog@lax.lemis.com designates 45.32.70.18 as permitted sender) smtp.mailfrom=grog@lax.lemis.com;
        dmarc=pass (p=NONE sp=NONE dis=NONE) header.from=lemis.com
Received: from lax.lemis.com (www.lemis.com. [45.32.70.18])
        by mx.google.com with ESMTPS id h14si20426563pgi.577.2022.02.10.21.34.32
        for <groogled@gmail.com>
        (version=TLS1_3 cipher=TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384 bits=256/256);
        Thu, 10 Feb 2022 21:34:33 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of grog@lax.lemis.com designates 45.32.70.18 as permitted sender) client-ip=45.32.70.18;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com;
        spf=pass (google.com: domain of grog@lax.lemis.com designates 45.32.70.18 as permitted sender) smtp.mailfrom=grog@lax.lemis.com;
        dmarc=pass (p=NONE sp=NONE dis=NONE) header.from=lemis.com

OK, that works. Now why were so many web pages telling me that I needed DKIM signatures first? That's for another day.


Wikipedia on drugs?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

While looking at GUID Partition Table on Wikipedia today, found this:

The GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a world boss found in southeastern Azshara. The blue wyrm Azuregos is a trusted lieutenant of the aspect Malygos. As a blue dragon, he is incredibly interested in magical artifacts and their protection. For this reason he guards the ancient night elf Ruins of Eldarath, in modern day Azshara.

Vandalism, of course, and I fixed it. But what's the point of this kind of nonsense?


Saturday, 12 February 2022 Dereel Images for 12 February 2022
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Aussie responds
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Aussie Broadband support today, a response to the report I made only 17 days ago:

I've taken a look at your service and ran a Service Health Summary check to
see what could be the issue.
I cant seem to see any issue at the moment, if you are still experiencing
issue with the service please give our team a call so we can further
investigate the issue.

No indication that he had even read my report, which contained:

     $ dig pkg.freebsd.org @202.142.142.142
     ; <<>> DiG 9.10.4-P3 <<>> pkg.freebsd.org @202.142.142.142
     ;; global options: +cmd
     ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached

This has been happening at least since 17 January.  I've worked around
the problem by not using your name servers, but clearly that's a
workaround, not a solution.

In particular, it's clear from the report that I'm not having any problems any more. Responded accordingly, including a reference to last month's article, and got a surprisingly quick response which, unfortunately, also didn't seem to have read the history. He wanted me to check link connectivity:

First, open the 'Command Prompt' by opening the 'Start' Menu, and typing
'cmd' into the search box at the bottom, and clicking on 'cmd' in the search
results list.
Once you are in the command prompt, please copy and paste or type the
following addresses. Please note that they must be done one at a time.

After each command, please copy and paste the final results by right-clicking
inside the black area of the command prompt window, selecting 'mark', dragging
your mouse over the text while holding the left mouse button, and pressing
enter to copy. Paste into notepad or into a reply email.

ping *Router IP/Default Gateway* -n 100
ping 202.142.142.142 -n 100
ping 1.1.1.1 -n 100
ping www.google.com.au -n 100
ping *The IP / Server you're having issues with* -n 100

What's wrong with these instructions?

  1. It ignores the fact that I have stated that it's a name server issue, not a connectivity issue.
  2. It assumes that I am using Microsoft. It would also not work for Apple, for example.
  3. It uses Microsoft-specific syntax for ping. It uses -n instead of -c to specify the count and puts it after the system name.
  4. It also uses Microsoft misspelling for traceroute, which I suppose is to be expected.
  5. It wants me to ping the name server twice, once by default and once because it's the system with which I have been having trouble.

Responded accordingly and got—finally—a sensible response:

This is definitely a bit of a weird one.

Seen cases of some domains not resolving at all but not intermittent ones.

Passed the logs up to NSOC so they can have a look if anything funk has
changed with our DNS servers around those dates that would cause this issue.

But why did it take 17 days to even get started? I know that Aussie is fixated on phone support, but that doesn't work well with this kind of problem. My guess is that there's a serious question of when to escalate a problem. And reading should help too.


date(1) through the ages
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The current man page for date(1) on FreeBSD doesn't even mention /etc/localtime, which I consider to be essential for any system. And the mention of tzdata is cursory at best. In addition, there are remnants of older methods of telling local time: -d sets the DST flag in some kernel structure, and -t sets local time as a negative value in minutes (so UTC-5 would be 300).

And then there's timed(8), which should be obsolete since the introduction of NTP. The man page for timed notes that it will be removed from base in FreeBSD 13.0, but there are still hooks in date.

So, it looks as if there are a number of things that need to be done. How did we get here? As it happens, date is one of the programs for which we have source from the First Edition of Unix, all 754 bytes of it. The part I like is:

        cmp     r1,$6           / march or later?
        blt     1f
        add     yr1972,r3       / leap year correction
1:
...
yr1972: 1

In other words, this date had a use-by date of 28 February 1976, after which the results would be off by 1.


DMARC? Google? Spam?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Strange mail today:

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2022 15:59:59 -0800
From: noreply-dmarc-support@google.com
To: dam-rc@lemis.com
Subject: Report domain: lemis.com Submitter: google.com Report-ID: 12348256022164262136

Spam? It was sent to my DMARC mail address. But ZIP attachments are suspect at the best of times. The headers suggest that it's kosher:

From noreply-dmarc-support@google.com  Fri Feb 11 22:02:15 2022
...
Received: by mail-qt1-f202.google.com with SMTP id a6-20020ac844a6000000b002cf3968d32aso6528910qto.1
        for <dam-rc@lemis.com>; Fri, 11 Feb 2022 03:02:14 -0800 (PST)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;
        d=google.com; s=20210112;

OK. What's in the archive?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/6) /var/tmp 195 -> unzip google.com\!lemis.com\!1644451200\!1644537599.zip
Archive:  google.com!lemis.com!1644451200!1644537599.zip
  inflating: google.com!lemis.com!1644451200!1644537599.xml

And how do I read it? firefox can display it, but it can't format it.


Corymbia ficifolia in bloom
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Isn't this Corymbia ficifolia pretty when it flowers?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220212/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-1.jpeg
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Yes, but that's not ours; it's on Fiona's property. Ours, now 2 years old, looks like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220212/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-3.jpeg
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Sometimes I despair.


Roast chicken again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Roast chicken again for dinner tonight, mainly because Yvonne couldn't find veal anywhere in Ballarat. OK, 1.926 kg, 55 minutes per kilogram and 30 minutes to rest... 106 minutes cooking time, a total of 2 hours, 16 minutes. Start at 16:00.

Then I went looking at my cooking times page. Yes, some 55 min / kg there, but also many others. After a bit of consideration, decided that it might be OK 30 minutes less, 76 minutes instead of 106. So I took it out again and put it in at 16:30.

And how about that, it only took 66 minutes, only a little over 34 minutes per kilogram. Part of that was the lower breast temperature (78° instead of 80°), and part was because the breast wasn't covered in aluminium foil. That doesn't seem to have been necessary, though the thighs were barely cooked enough. But somehow, after years of experimentation, I still don't know what I'm doing.

Yvonne tried a new recipe that she found on Facebook, fan potatoes:


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We cooked them in the pan with the chicken for the last 60 minutes. They looked amusing enough, but they were only barely cooked, and not as crispy as promised. That became clear when she told me they should have been cooked at 425°, and not the 180° that I used for the chicken.

What's 425°? Clearly the obsolete Fahrenheit scale that they still use in the USA and Facebook. What a pain it is to convert! I can convert most archaic measures in my head, but Fahrenheit requires a calculator. 218⅓°, close enough to be called 220°.


Which lid?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

To take the photos in the oven, I asked Yvonne to open the lid („Mach' die Klappe auf“). Not always what I wanted:


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Sunday, 13 February 2022 Dereel Images for 13 February 2022
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Power fail!
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

While preparing the breakfast, heard a beep from several directions, including from the cooker, which replaced the normal field display with E, even for those fields that weren't in operation. It went away when I power cycled the cooker.

Power failure! Well, grid power failure. Nothing actually failed, but the fact that I got the beep and the error indication from the cooktop suggests that there was quite a serious overvoltage spike.

And the power stayed down for over 2½ hours, on a day when I really needed the air conditioner. When I powered it back on, I got an immediate E25 indication, suggesting that that, too, is related to power.


Since 5:45 we have been firing back
Topic: politics, history, opinion Link here

A relatively well known quotation in Germany is from Adolf Hitler: „Seit 5:45 Uhr wird jetzt zurückgeschossen“: “Since 5:45 we have been firing back”. It seems unknown in English, though it was one of the turning points of European history. On 1 September 1939 Hitler claimed, in a speech to the Reichstag:

This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our territory. Since 5.45 A.M. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met by bombs

That's nonsense, of course. Hitler had been annexing neighbours for 1½ years, and there were clear signs that he was preparing to invade Poland. Since the rest of Europe had done nothing about his other conquests, he assumed that he could invade Poland too, though the UK had guaranteed Poland's independence. Thus the fake attack from Poland, with which Hitler justified “fighting back”.

Nowadays this sounds horribly familiar. Russia has already annexed part of Ukraine and is supporting rebellions in other parts of the country. Now it has massed hundreds of thousands of troops close to the border with Ukraine. And all the time they say that they have no intention to invade. Or at least, that's what the Western press report. Elsewhere there have been rumblings that they want to defend themselves against potential Ukrainian aggression. A couple of shots across the border perhaps?

And what happens if they do? Sanctions, sanctions, sanctions. Probably no war; the results would be catastrophic. But one way or another there's this uncanny feeling of déjà vu.


Too few bones
Topic: animals Link here

Walking the dogs today, they found a bone that they had left behind a few days back:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220213/big/Larissa-Lena-sharing-bone-2.jpeg
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Couldn't there have been two?


Short life noodles
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Left-over noodles for dinner tonight, the same kind of “long life” noodles that we ate a couple of weeks ago, allegedly “long life” noodles. But they were only a couple of days old and had already turned into glue:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220213/big/Short-life-noodles-2.jpeg
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That's “for the cat”. I'm left wondering how much I trust this Havista brand.


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I have had two other kinds of noodle from them: the Shan Xi planed noodles (first photo) seemed OK, though I managed to overcook them, but the Shan Xi pull noodles (second photo) were uncookable.


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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210827/big/Shanxi-pull-noodles-1.jpeg
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More to the point, though, they all seem the same apart from the shape. There's no reason to believe that today's noodles have anything to do with real “long life noodles”.


Monday, 14 February 2022 Dereel Images for 14 February 2022
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Beep!
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Woken up at about 1:00 this morning by a beep!. It repeated. What was it? Out to look around. The smoke alarm. It wasn't trying to tell me that there was smoke; the noise was just as loud, but just a fraction of a second. Backup battery discharged? It's been there for nearly 7 years, so it could be. Mañana.

It beeped at irregular intervals between 10 and 80 seconds or so all through the night! Clearly the first thing in the morning I went to investigate. But how? It's a little disk screwed to the ceiling outside my bedroom door:


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How do I access it? It has text moulded into the cover, almost illegible in that position. But what are mobile phones for? How do I even position the phone? After a bit of effort, got:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220214/big/Fire-alarm-1.jpeg
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I still can't read it! OK, try to open it; the circular section in the middle with the bar across the middle is clearly intended to open the thing. Tried that, but it wouldn't rotate; it just complained loudly.

OK, get a real camera and put it through some software:


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With a bit of contrast enhancement, it's almost readable. The circle in the middle isn't intended to open the thing, as the inscription TEST HUSH suggests. It's not clear why there's a grip in the middle. But pushing it doesn't hush it, it makes it louder. The one LED was telling me that it had power, and the battery alarm LED wasn't on. Is that good or bad?

Still, how do I open it? Felt around the edges and found a protrusion. It's not visible on the photos. Push to open? With a bit of forcing, got it open. More photos:


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The only way to even see this is to put your head up against the ceiling. The camera helps:


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And yes, the only way to read the red strip is that way round, upside down. But read the “instructions”: “Test the alarm weekly. REPLACE ALARM BY YEAR 2024”. Who is ever going to read it when it is useful information?

But there's more. As it warns, the thing is dangerous:


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That's why they have warnings on the housing, again upside down, and once again almost illegible.

And opening the device? No, don't press, slide:


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And that on a part that isn't even visible from below!

The good news: the battery was really low (7.7 V). More good news: I found a new one and replaced it. But what a horrible design:

I wonder how many smoke alarms have been ripped out of the ceiling because some angry owner doesn't want to debug their replacement algorithm.

But later Jamie Fraser suggested that HUSH really means “shut up”. You have to know that, of course, and how to invoke it; not the thing to discover at 1:00 in the morning. Checked again, in the process noting that the inscriptions are so hard to read that even a torch doesn't help. But yes, they're two separate buttons, divided by the line. I wonder how long it “hushes” for. It would be nice to think “all night”, but I could easily believe that the “hush” function only works for real smoke and doesn't even work for low battery indications. And I can't imagine that it would last all night if there were smoke around.


Struggling garden
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Our Clematis “General Sikorski” is flowering again!


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Is that a last gasp? Why is it looking so sick? But even the leaves are only a few weeks old.

And the bridge across the “river” in the garden has seen better days:


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Rusty screws? I need to look more carefully.

On the other hand, the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cutting that Chris Bahlo gave me a couple of months ago has definitely struck. It even has a bud:


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Grilling tomatoes, the wrong way
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Somehow I always have trouble frying tomatoes for bacon and eggs. Sometimes they're too hard, sometimes too soft, and browning the surface in the pan is also extremely variable. The obvious thing to do is to cook them in the microwave oven, then fry them in the pan over high heat until they're lightly browned. Tried today. 1 minute in the microwave oven at 600 W. Still almost cold. OK, one more minute at 1200 W. No longer cold:


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The one on the left browned slightly:


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Strap hooks revisited
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

After my experience with the camera strap clips last month, it took me a while to change them. The new ones have the advantage that they're wider at the top, but I discovered:


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Does the gap make a difference? It seems to. The first time I picked up the camera with the “new” strap on, it came unlatched.

Damn! Some time ago I thought that I had finally found the solution that, apparently, nobody else is looking for. But now it looks as if I'm going to have to look for something more stable.


Tidying up Microsoft
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

My /dump file system is nearly full:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~ 382 -> df -i /dump
Filesystem 1048576-blocks      Used  Avail Capacity iused     ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/da2p1      1,907,067 1,720,304 34,197    98%  55,019 2,112,787    3%   /dump
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~ 383 -> du -sc /dump/* | sort -n
1       /dump/Iam
9373    /dump/tiwi-FreeBSD
18293   /dump/eureso-FreeBSD
33559   /dump/teevee-FreeBSD
44264   /dump/dereel-FreeBSD
110932  /dump/euroa
163533  /dump/distress-Microsoft
594567  /dump/dischord-Microsoft
745756  /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD
1720273 total

All values are in megabytes.

The Microsoft box that I use is distress. dischord is old and seldom used. Why is there so much there? I can't even do a new backup.

Off searching, with help from IRC. Yes, it claims to have 760 GB out of 931 GB in use (or, as it puts it, 171 GB free). How do I find where? What I need are find and du and things. But I have them, if I can only find them. With a bit of pain found BASH.EXE, part of the Cygwin suite I installed years ago. And how about that, in \\Windows\\Temp I have no less than 345,670 MB!

As others told me, “Disk cleanup” is what I need, for once a sensibly named program. Started it up with some difficulty—it tends to go into hiding—and discovered that it tidies up system files and user files separately, spending an amazing amount of time scanning. After hours and hours it was done and proudly told me that I now had 258 GB free, 87 GB more!

Under the circumstances I would have expected more. How much of that was from \\Windows\\Temp? -130 MB! It now has 345,800 MB! And some of those files are 8 years old! What kind of disk cleanup is that?


A new phone for Yvonne: done!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

What new phone for Yvonne? By chance today I saw a Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T going for only $299, about $100 less than normal. Problem: it's grey. But after some discussion with Yvonne, we agreed to buy it. Looking a the comparisons, such as I could find, it seems to have marginally better performance and other specs than my Redmi 9T (why do they have so many models with almost identical names?), potentially offset by having “only” 4 GB of RAM. So I ordered that.


Tuesday, 15 February 2022 Dereel Images for 15 February 2022
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ANZ: Déjà vu
Topic: history, technology, opinion Link here

It's been almost exactly 25 years since I opened my account with ANZ bank. Times have changed, but today Yvonne received an unexpected parcel in the mail:


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What's that? A pseudo-random number generator. We've seen this before, 25 years ago. It changes the number every 60 seconds (used to be 30) and can be used as a response to a challenge by ANZ to prove that you have the device in your possession.

Isn't that a little old-fashioned? Yes: the new way of doing things is with your mobile phone. And in this case, the mobile phone might actually be more secure. But Yvonne prefers the device, even though I was able to remove it from her (to take the photo) without her noticing.


Disservice Victoria, part 1
Topic: technology, health, opinion Link here

Yvonne is thinking of travelling interstate soon. What evidence will she need? The vaccination certificate is in her phone, and now (presumably coincidentally after I suggested it in this diary) it even displays a QR code. But what does the QR code say? Sorry, can't tell you that. You'll need to scan it in.

OK, here's the “certificate” and the scan results:


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So yes, it's me, or maybe somebody else called Gregory L. When were the vaccinations performed? Was there a third (“booster”) vaccination? Sorry, that's far too detailed information to spread here.

But when I fired up the Service Victoria app, it asked me to book a third vaccination. Why? I can think of at least two reasons, both of which could apply:

  1. The app doesn't check vaccination status before suggesting the third shot.
  2. The app doesn't know about my third shot.

Now wouldn't it be easy to just include the dates of the vaccinations in the “certificate”? Too easy, presumably. I'm continually reminded of my suspicion that they have got a novice to write and maintain the app.

Following the suggestions, arrived at this display:


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That suggests that guess 1 was correct. OK, select “Update certificate” (why don't they do it automatically?). And I got this:


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That's the first of at least 20 screenfuls, none of which offered “update certificate”. At some point I was redirected to this horribly insecure myGov, which redirected me to Medicare, which offered me an update. OK, press surface. Did something happen? How do I know? All I see on the Service Victoria page looks identical to before.

WHY can't they do anything right?


Disservice Victoria, part 2
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After the pain with Service Victoria, discovered that my phone performance was terrible, to the point that it hardly reacted at all. It's not the first time I've had this, and Yvonne's phone has performed so badly that I have decided to replace it. But she uses Service Victoria all the time. Could it be to blame? How can I tell? And the old Microsoft trick of rebooting doesn't necessarily help, because the app gets restarted! Still, today it was a lot better after a reboot that requited holding down the power button for something like 20 seconds.

Of course, this is just a suspicion. I didn't find any indication on the web. But wouldn't it be nice to find a way to measure Android performance?


dischord backup
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So: I have identified 345 GB of data in \\Windows\\Temp on dischord. Some of the files were 8 years old. Doesn't Microsoft ever tidy up after itself? Can I just remove them all?

Consensus on IRC was “yes”. But I was terrified by the thought of having to recover the thing if something went wrong. Time for another backup? Moved the current one away from the almost full /dump and tried again.

Yes, this backup was smaller, helped by the presence of even older partial backups on /dump. OK, remove the files in \\Temp. Yes! All gone, and now I have:

Filesystem 1M-blocks   Used  Avail Use%  Mounted on
C:            953767 343949 609818  37%  /cygdrive/c

That's still a lot, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.


Wednesday, 16 February 2022 Dereel Images for 16 February 2022
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Fixing the sliding doors
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

We have been trying to replace the rollers in the sliding doors to the verandah and outside the main bedroom for over 2 months. In principle it should be simple: remove the door from its mount, pull out the rollers and replace them with new one. But the bright spark who installed them decided to screw the rollers to the frame and then burr the head so that we couldn't get them out again:


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Prior attempts to remove it had failed, so I bought an screw extractor bit for a drill, and today Paul Donaghy and I finally tried to use it. No go: firstly the extractor is too short, so I had to hold it at an angle, and secondly it didn't grip.

Damn it, use a larger hammer. 6 mm drill and drill out the screw. That worked, sort of. Replacing the rollers was a matter of seconds: push them in, note that they fit snugly and don't fall out, and admire the fact that the adjusting screw no longer aligns with the screwdriver hole. But my drill bits weren't HSS, and they suffered. Never mind, Yvonne was in town and was able to pick up a set of HSS drill bits, which we wanted to use for the bedroom door. But she didn't get back until after Paul left, so we're still not done.


Fixing the sprinklers
Topic: Stones Road house, gardening, general Link here

While Paul was here, he also took a look at the sprinkler system, which was in even worse condition that I thought. There must have been 20 leaks of various kinds, some of them not easy to track down. We think we've done it now; time will tell.


Answering Android phones, attempt 9312
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Calling Yvonne on her phone is never easy. But today, it seems, she ended up with a different display. It should look like this:

 
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But, she says, instead of the green phone symbol at the bottom she got a red one. Clearly she can't have imagined that, and I thought I saw something similar on my phone. Crossed “wires”?


The cost of a cup of coffee
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

What do you pay for a cup of coffee in a cafe? I know what I pay: nothing, because I don't drink coffee in cafes. But I get the impression that it's in the order of $5.

And what do I pay? Now I have the automatic coffee machine, I pay $11 for a kilogram of beans. 8 g per cup makes 125 cups, a little under 9¢ per cup. Before that I used a capsule machine, where the calculation is easier: on special the capsules cost 37.5¢ each. That means that I can pay off the $550 difference in price between the capsule machine and real coffee machine with rather less than 2000 cups of coffee, about 16 months. That in itself is a useful recognition.

But there are other kinds of coffee, noticeably instant coffee. What does that cost? A while back I saw a special offer for instant coffee, probably from ALDI. It didn't look cheap.

So I asked a question on Quora: “What weight of instant coffee do you need for a standard 200 ml cup of coffee? What does it cost?”.

The answers were even worse than the typical Quora answer. Only one of the (only) four responders had gone to the trouble to read the comment I had added to the question. His suggested that, although the packaging suggests 2 g of powder per cup, 4 g would be better.

But the pricing? I had asked Yvonne to check when she went shopping today, but she came back with two kinds: “Nescafé original” and ALDI's own Alcafé. Nescafé included the note that the 200 g of powder were good for 117 cups, or about 1.7 g per cup. Why? Their packaging elsewhere (Philippines?) states 80 g / 40 cups. But Erwin Anciano tells me that that's not strong enough; 4 g would be better.

OK, what does that mean in price? The Nescafé costs $5.99, so a 4 g serving would cost 12 ¢. The ALDI coffee costs only $3.69, so a cup would cost 7.4 ¢. This assumes that Erwin is correct in his quantities for instant coffee. But he agrees both with me and his coffee supplier in the quantity for coffee beans (8 g), so it's a good indication. And it means that Nescafé is actually more expensive than the coffee beans I use, though in the 12 years it would take to break even with the cost of the coffee machine, the machine would probably need replacing.

There are other ways to make coffee, of course. You can buy cheap non-automatic coffee machines for ground coffee for about $150. It's interesting to compare. The last column (amortization) is based on 4 cups a day and a device life of 4 years (rounded up to 6,000 cups):

Kind       Machine       Machine       Per cup       With amortization
            price       (¢)       (¢)
Nescafé                   12       12
Alcafé                   7.4       7.4
Capsule       ALDI       $69       37.5       38.65
Beans       Cheap       $150       8.8       9.05
Beans       Automatic       $600       8.8       18.8

Thursday, 17 February 2022 Dereel Images for 17 February 2022
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Dry omelettes: still not there
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

MY experiments with cooking “dry omelettes” (without any oil) have shown promise, but not success. The pan I use (now several of them) have a ceramic lining, and the omelette doesn't stick at all:


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Well. It's not perfect. The pans are slightly convex, so the egg in the middle is very thin. It's also the hottest point, so it cooks first, and either I cook it until the edges are cooked, in which case the middle is crisp, or I cook it less, in which case the edges stick.

None of this is helped by the induction cooker (for once); it heats only the bottom of the pan, not even the edges (because of the construction of the pan). Some time later I tried working around this by heating the edges with a gas flame, but it wasn't perfect.

Today I tried a different approach: heat very gently, so that the heat differential between centre and is less. Still no breakthrough. The edge was still undercooked, and the middle shiny and crispy:


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Interestingly, the edges dried out later and separated from the pan by themselves:


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But maybe I should just make it thicker, maybe in one of the smaller ceramic saucepans that Yvonne has just bought. The problem there, of course, is getting something under the edge of the egg.


Olympus OM-1?
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

It's been nearly 15 years since I bought an Olympus OM-10, the cheaper version of the Olympus OM-1, the first full-frame 35 mm SLR from Olympus. At the time I bought it for the bundled telephoto lens and subsequently sold it for a pittance; now they go for 10 times the price.

But the OM-1 is back! Well, it's not called Olympus any more, though you could be forgiven for thinking so:


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Why did they choose that name? Apparently as a kind of homage, though it looks like another opportunity to make web searches worse.

And how is it? I'm still trying to find out. Awesome! Marvellous! Buzzword! But it seems that they have made the first sensor breakthrough in nearly 10 years, and if you consider it to really be an E-M1 Mark IV, it's more innovative than the Mark III was. The new sensor allows faster reactions, and they're promising better subject-recognition autofocus. If it can keep track of horses in an arena, I'll be impressed. They've also completely changed the menu system, which is a mixed blessing: on the one hand, the old one is really painful, but I know it, sort of. The new one will require learning.

Do I want one? I have over an hour's worth of videos to look at. Even Tony Northrup has got up on his hind legs and produced a video.


Where's my planning permit, part 194
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Last week I finally established contact with Sarah Smith of the of the Golden Plains Shire Council, and she promised to give the completed documentation to her manager by last Friday.

So where is it? Did her manager not approve? Sent off an email—documentation is good—and got a surprisingly quick response. After a suggestion that I should personally involve her manager, she became very helpful and came up with another snag: the bushfire management plan. What's that? That's the first I had heard of any modification in that area. Would I allow her to endorse it? Yes, of course. OK, then it will be on my manager's desk this evening.

Hah, Sarah, caught you out. If you had done all work last week, you would have discovered the bushfire management issue then.


Friday, 18 February 2022 Dereel Images for 18 February 2022
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teevee problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

As usual, my migration from teevee (the old TV computer) to tiwi (the new one) has stalled, mainly because of some strange issue with bash input. But things seem to be getting worse. This morning's backup showed:

g_vfs_done():ada0p4[READ(offset=3919478784, length=98304)]error = 5
(ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 60 40 e8 cf f4 40 07 00 00 00 00 00
(ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): RES: 41 40 e8 cf f4 40 07 00 00 40 00
g_vfs_done():ada0p4[READ(offset=3919478784, length=32768)]error = 5
pid 51923 (firefox), jid 0, uid 1004: exited on signal 5
swap_pager: indefinite wait buffer: bufobj: 0, blkno: 717040, size: 32768
...
pid 93226 (firefox), jid 0, uid 1004: exited on signal 5
Limiting closed port RST response from 278 to 200 packets/sec
pid 20306 (mpv), jid 0, uid 1004: exited on signal 11

None of this has happened before. So something is getting worse.

But there's a short-term workaround. This disk still has two “root” file systems, the other called /destdir:

Filesystem          1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/ada0p4                 39,662    24,536    11,952    67%    /
/dev/ada0p2                 39,664    24,488    12,002    67%    /destdir
/dev/ada0p5              7,526,918 7,316,283   135,365    98%    /spool

The errors all appear to be on /dev/ada0p4. Why not just copy the whole partition to /dev/ada0p2 and run from there, completely ignoring /dev/ada0p4? First, let's see where the problem occurs:

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/8) ~ 7 -> Log tar cvf /dev/null /
...
a usr/local/openjdk8/lib/tools.jar
a usr/local/openjdk8/lib/ct.sym
(hang)

OK, at least we know which files are affected, and why it only happens during backup: I messed up openjdk8 some time back and no longer use it.

But we can ignore that kind of issue with a bigger hammer:

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/8) ~ 7 -> Log  dd if=/dev/ada0p4 of=/dev/ada0p2 bs=256k conv=noerror
dd: /dev/ada0p4: Input/output error
14951+0 records in
14951+0 records out
3919314944 bytes transferred in 73.105440 secs (53611809 bytes/sec)
dd: /dev/ada0p4: Input/output error
163838+1 records in
163838+1 records out
42949279744 bytes transferred in 703.273195 secs (61070548 bytes/sec)

OK, now remount /destdir and alter /boot/loader.conf to point to the new partition. But it wasn't there! OK, run rsync to copy the missing files. And that had its own issues: rsync doesn't understand mount points, and of course they're all in the root file system, so I had to explicitly specify which directories I wanted:

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/8) / 8 -> Log rsync -Havx bin boot compat COPYRIGHT etc lib libexec rescue root sbin usr var /destdir

While that was running, the system panicked. In the lounge room discovered that the boot loader couldn't be found. All I had was:

Boot:

Damn, how long has it been since I last booted from that level of bootstrap? An older version of The Complete FreeBSD contains the information, but not the latest version:

Boot: wd(0,a)/kernel

How long ago was that? Now we have ada, not wd, and the kernel is in /kernel/kernel, not the root file system. And I don't think that this boot level understands directories, so it probably wouldn't work.

So: my trusty SD card again. Booted from that and—not surprisingly—established that the file system on /dev/ada0p2 was badly corrupted. Why? Probably my choice of options for dd: conv=noerror. The partition is 83886080 sectors in size, or 42,949,672,960 bytes. But dd only copied 42,949,279,744 bytes, or 393,216 bytes (768 sectors) less. So I had offset most of the disk by 768 sectors. No wonder the file system was corrupt. I should have used (I think) conv=noerror,sync,

OK, let's do this differently. Run newfs and use tar to copy the file system. That started off well, but:


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I've seen those files! OK, why not just remember the entire /usr/local/openjdk8 hierarchy? Did that, ran the tar. Then modify /etc/loader.conf to point to the correct partition. vi refused: it claimed that the file systems were mounted read-only. Why? No time to worry about it. sed is your friend.

After that, things ran well, and I had no further trouble. But it's another reminder to finally finish the migration to tiwi.


More on OM-1, take 2
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Spent some time today looking at some of the videos I had collected about the new OM System OM-1. They're surprisingly disappointing in terms of content. Tony Northrup's is particularly bad. One of the important innovations is the back-illuminated (BSI) sensor, which promises all sorts of speed improvements and potentially also sensitivity improvements. Tony just complained that it was the same resolution as the predecessors, comparing them with mobile phones with over 100 MP resolution (is that genuine or extrapolated?) and ignoring the fact that the camera (admittedly like its predecessors) can produce 80 MP images. Goodbye, Tony. I want information, not attacks.

So what is new about it? The three things that I see are higher speed (up to 120 photos per second, or at least most of a second, producing round 1.6 GB of images), faster processor and promised better autofocus. The devil's in the detail, and I still haven't enough information.


Where's my planning permit, part 195
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

So where's my planning permit? Yesterday Sarah Smith had promised to get it sorted out by the evening. Still, we're in no hurry. Give her more rope if she needs it.

But oh wonder! At 4:51 UTC (as the Golden Plains Shire Council like to date their emails), or 15:51, she finally sent me a copy of the amended permit. It's done!


Saturday, 19 February 2022 Dereel Images for 19 February 2022
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Penang laksa noodles again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Penang laksa for breakfast today. How about Penang laksa noodles to go with it?


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But I don't have these noodles listed in my noodle cooking times page. Instead of looking for them in my diary (where I would have found them almost exactly 2 years ago), I decided to try again from scratch. And now of course they're on the noodle page.

The instructions are relatively clear:


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How long? They don't even say what I should soak them in. OK, put them in water and start a timer.

After 25 minutes they were still almost completely hard, and I was running out of time. What do the instructions in other languages say?


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“ke dalam air panas”: “In hot water”. Yes, it goes on with “air biasa” (“ordinary water”), but the idea of using hot water didn't make it into English, and even here there's no time. What does it say in Chinese? Now I have a translator, so I can check:


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Nope, not even hot water. And in passing, isn't the photo horrible?

OK, boil them. It took 12 minutes even after soaking in cold water for 25 minutes! I note from last time that it took 15 minutes after relatively short soaking.


Garden flowers in late summer
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

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

It's been a surprisingly cool summer. For the first time ever, we haven't hit 40°:

mysql> select year(date), max(outside_temp) from observations group by year(date);
+------------+-------------------+
| year(date) | max(outside_temp) |
+------------+-------------------+
|       2009 |              40.4 |
|       2010 |              44.9 |
|       2011 |              41.9 |
|       2012 |              45.4 |
|       2013 |              43.2 |
|       2014 |              46.6 |
|       2015 |              40.6 |
|       2017 |                41 |
|       2018 |              43.5 |
|       2019 |              44.5 |
|       2020 |              43.2 |
|       2021 |              40.9 |
|       2022 |              38.2 |
+------------+-------------------+

Yes, summer isn't (quite) over, but it's unlikely that the rest of the summer or autumn will exceed those temperatures, and it's 2.2° lower than anything we've had before.

But it's dryer, and the front garden shows it:


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We only fixed the irrigation system three days ago. Why are they still looking so dry?

A bit of investigation showed why: we seem to have completely disconnected the irrigation for that part of the garden. We'll be seeing Paul Donaghy again on Monday, and hopefully we'll get things sorted out then

Our Alyogyne still looks healthy enough, but it's not flowering much. I had thought that it could be due to the time of year, but by chance I discovered that ten years ago today our Alyogyne in Kleins Road was flowering happily despite having almost been uprooted:


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Still, the current one looks healthy. Could it be that it has too much competition from the Cannas?

There's not much else to see; looking at the view 10 years ago shows how much our garden has declined. But the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are doing well. The one inthe garden has finally decided that it's summer:


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I'll have to find a better way to protect it in the coming winter.

And the cutting from Chris Bahlo continues to grow:


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So, I think, are the remaining Buddleja x weyeriana


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There's not much to be seen there, but it will serve to observe the progress.

The Clematis continue their uneven development. The “Edo Murasaki” is looking quite happy:


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But the “General Sikorski” has once again lost all its leaves, though it has produced a better flower:


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It should be getting enough water. What's wrong? Should I transplant it? It would be as cheap to get a new plant.

And I had expected more of the Abutilons that we had grown from cuttings last year. They're not looking sick, but they have produced more flowers in the past:


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We didn't plant any tomatoes this year, but old friends came to greet us:


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It looked better before the wind blew it over. I should really prop it up.


Rechargeable battery life
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Yesterday I went out at mean solar noon to take my sunny daily Analemma photos. Turn on the remote control. Nothing. Batteries flat.

I have marvelled for some time that the batteries kept for so long; it must have been over a year, including a number of times where I forgot to turn the thing off. I must have done it again last time I used it, but this time one of the (rechargeable AAA NiMH) batteries was well and truly flat: 0.62 V.

Recharging was a problem: the charger didn't want to know about the completely discharged battery, and I had to throw it out. But by today I had two other recharged batteries, and they worked. Out to take the photo. Checking the connection worked, but when it came time to take the photo, the receiver no longer responded. One of the batteries had already failed!

That was one of two relatively old batteries. Back inside and checked some of the remaining batteries. No fewer than five of ALDI's current range, including the one from the remote control, were completely dead. Why? They couldn't be more than 2 or 3 years old, and I have others that are 15 years old and still functional.

So: how many times should it be possible to recharge a NiMH battery? I have recollections of claims like 1000 or 10,000 times. Have I ever been able to recharge a battery 50 times? Only the Lithium-based camera batteries, I suspect.


Flaky Internet link
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

In the evening I noticed significant performance issues with our Internet link. It proved to be high packet loss. Evening overload? No, whatever it was lasted through the night. Fortunately it was gone by morning.

NBN link statistics NBN
        link statistics

That's twelve hours with packet loss over 25%, and the third and worst such problem in the last month, after 21 January and 22 January. Hopefully they'll ensure that it doesn't happen again.


Sunday, 20 February 2022 Dereel Images for 20 February 2022
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Visit from George
Topic: animals Link here

Peggy Naumov along today with George and Elsie. This time we had a different idea: let Elsie run around in the paddock with our dogs while George watched from the other side of the fence:


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The problem is clear. George was interested, but the others didn't run.

Off on a walk after that, and got at least 120 m before George and Larissa decided it was enough:


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We were able to get them moving again, and in fact went further than we have been in a long time, way beyond Lorraine Carranza's house, a total of 2.1 km.

George is still not calm enough to be let loose with our dogs. How do we progress? I think we'll just have to repeat until Elsie is prepared to play with them.


ALDI table grill
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

A few weeks back ALDI had a table grill on offer:


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The ribbed area is for grilling meat, not that different from our fake raclette grill, and the circular one is for a hot pot that was also supplied. I had hoped that it might also work for fondue, but the heating plate is ridiculously uneven:

The real issue, though, is that it's so bulky. It really is two different devices stuck together. It looks as if it should slide together, but that's not the case. Where do you put it on the table? We'll put it on the table in front of the ALDI cashier when we return it.


Monday, 21 February 2022 Dereel → Cape Clear → Dereel → Geelong → Dereel Images for 21 February 2022
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More house maintenance
Topic: general Link here

Paul Donaghy around today, mainly to complete fixing the sprinkler system. First, though, we replaced the rollers in the sliding door in the main bedroom. After our experience, and now with real HSS drill bits, it should have been simple.

But it wasn't. Drilling out the first screw with a brand new 6.5 mm drill bit seemed to take forever. By chance I had found a single new 8 mm bit, presumably better quality, and it really helped.

But the second screw was made of sterner stuff. It took something like 4 minutes to drill out. Why? I had guessed overheating, so I put the bit into some water to cool it down, but if it was overheating, the damage was done.

Finally we got the rollers in place, and even then there's some issue: the door slides well enough, but it doesn't engage in the latch easily: I need to slide it with some force to close it. Is that an issue with the height of the rollers? Do I care?


More garden maintenance
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

After that, Paul went on to look at the sprinklers in the front garden. Yes, we had cut off the entire northern part. Fixing that was easy enough, sort of:


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The surprising thing was the last one: now that we're not losing (much) water, the drippers are delivering much more water than is needed. I'll need to keep an eye on that.

And then there's another issue:


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That's the Acacia melanoxylon to the left of the gate in this view from the house:


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And there's a clear diagonal crack in the bark, accompanied by noises suggesting that the tree is not much longer for this world. Paul is happy to cut it down: they make good firewood.


Animated images in web pages
Topic: photography, multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

I wanted to show the wobble in yesterday's article about the ALDI table grill. How do you do that? How about an animated GIF? Off looking, and came up with a couple of likely-sounding options for doing them online: Adobe and Convertio MP4 to GIF converter. OK, upload. Adobe hung. While waiting for it, looked at Convertio. Yes, it did its job and gave me a GIF that I couldn't find a way to display. I'm sure I would have found one, but the 7 second clip had blown out to 54 MB. That's far too much to put in a web page.

OK, upload to YouTube. How? In days gone by the “upload” tab grabbed you by the throat, but now they have upgraded their user interface, and today I couldn't find it. Neither could Yvonne, who does a lot of uploading. On her screen it looks completely different. Things weren't helped by the fact that there were no tool tips for the strange icons.

Finally I found it. Half a battery: https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220221/small/YouTube-1-detail.png

At the end, Adobe was still hanging. Goodbye, Adobe.


Gmail's idea of spam
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Since tidying up my Gmail account a couple of weeks ago, I have received less spam. And for once the mobile phone connection helps: though I don't read mail on a phone (how could you?), it informs me when something goes into spam. Today I found 8 messages:


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The interesting thing is that they are all, without exception, mail from a Google mailing list. Will they ever get their act together?


Lena: snake bite?
Topic: animals, health, opinion Link here

In the evening, after dinner, Lena came in and nearly fell over: somehow she had difficulty walking. She didn't seem to be in any pain, but she couldn't keep control of her legs.

Tried to call after hours vet services, but the results were very poor: the Ballarat Veterinary Practice has an after hours service run by people who seem to have no idea of what they're dealing with. They clearly don't have caller ID display: the person I spoke to wanted to know the state in which I was located. The Bannockburn Veterinary Clinic was more straightforward: they no longer do after hours.

Things got worse, and at 19:00 (after about 20 minutes) I took this clip:

She then vomited, and Yvonne contacted Pene Kirk, who suspected a snake bite. Over to see her, while hearing horror stories of the expense of curing snake bites—costs of $3,000 to $4,000 are normal. But by the time we got there, Lena was looking normal again, though a blood coagulation test showed that something was wrong: it seems the blood should coagulate in about 2 minutes, and in this case it took over 5, adding weight to the hypothesis of a (possibly not very bad) snake bite. She gave her some antihistamines:


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And apart from that, wait. Animal emergency hospitals are in Geelong, Werribee and Melbourne! Keep an eye on her through the night, and if things get worse, contact one of them.

Back home, round 20:30, decided that a bit of forewarning wouldn't be bad. Called up Geelong Animal Emergency on +61-3-5222-2139, and spoke to Vicky, who said that we shouldn't wait, get some antivenin into her right away. By the time symptoms arise, it could be too late.

Damn! But better safe than sorry. Off to Geelong (80 km) with Lena and without Yvonne. Got there at 22:00 and spent 90 minutes there waiting while Mahala did a coagulation test (again) and a creatine kinase test.

She came back somewhat bewildered. The coagulation test was normal, and the creatine kinase was 200, the upper level of normal. If it had been a snake bite, it would be round 100,000. So we can exclude a snake bite. And if she hadn't listened to my description and seen the video I took, she would have thought that there was nothing wrong with her.

But what is it? She suggested further tests that could be done, but it seems that Lena's not in danger now, so we'll take her to the Bannockburn Veterinary Clinic tomorrow. Back home, arriving at 0:30.


Tuesday, 22 February 2022 Dereel → Bannockburn → Dereel Images for 22 February 2022
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Lara: all good things are three
Topic: animals, health, opinion Link here

Lena looked normal enough this morning; it really looks as if the whole episode yesterday evening took place within the 30 minutes from 18:40 to 19:10. Still, as planned, off to Bannockburn Veterinary Clinic with her and Larissa as company. Rithvik took a look at her and could find nothing wrong with her. We could do some blood tests, but in my recollection they're even more expensive than blood tests for humans. We decided that “if it ain't broke, don't fix it”.

Back home—320 km in the last 18 hours for vet 3 vet visits—and discovered that Pene Kirk can't perform blood tests. I would have expected it to be like with humans: one person takes the blood sample and sends it to the pathology lab for analysis. But no, that works for biopsies, but for some reason not for blood tests. OK, we'll keep an eye on Lena, who has shown nothing beyond an excessive appetite, probably because she effectively had nothing to eat yesterday. This evening I gave her another 100 g of pellets over and above her standard 170 g. She looked very suspiciously at them, probably because, by chance, we had finished the “puppy” pellets, and these were adult pellets. But she ate them all.

While in Bannockburn, we were able to weigh the dogs for the first time since 16 October. Lena now weighs 32.85 kg and Lara 30.90 kg, up from 29.2 kg and 27.2 kg in October. The graphs at belpatt.fr are confusing:

 
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They give the impression that they're both (marginally) overweight, but on closer examination the blue curve is just an average, and it varies from dog to dog. The weight for adult Borzoi bitches range from 25 kg to 40 kg, so Lena is almost exactly in the middle. There's no reason to believe that they're underweight, though a few months back there was some reason to believe that they were marginally overweight. And that's probably the reason for the dip in the curve.


Where am I?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

When we went to Bannockburn this morning, I showed Yvonne how to find a route on Google Maps and download it to her phone. But 2 km after we left it still showed “Searching for GPS”. Huh? My phone worked fine. Reboot, no change. Go to GPS logger on her phone. Working normally, and had been for some time. But when we returned to Google Maps, it, too, knew where we were.

What's going on here? It suggests some software issue if one app can access the device and the other can't.

Somehow this phone was not the best choice. And the replacement that I ordered over a week ago seems to be vapourware at best and fraudware at the worst: after I refused to close the case until I receive the refund and replacement, my seller (mobileciti_estore) has gone quiet again. It almost looks as if he has no intention to deliver anything. So we're back to look for a new phone. What a pain!


Invasion? Anschluss!
Topic: politics, history, opinion Link here

Last week I found Vladimir Putain's behaviour reminiscent of the German invasion of Poland. But Hitler had other tricks in his book, and it seems that Putain is a good student. Why invade when you can annex like-minded people? Hitler did that in March 1938, and nobody complained very loudly. After all, there really was strong support for the measure.

Of course, things aren't quite the same in Ukraine. Russia may recognize Donetsk and Luhansk as separate countries, but they're about the only ones. And the move violates the Minsk agreements. That's OK, says Russia, we were never part of them.

Where do we go from here? My best bet is that Putain will bully Ukraine into agreeing to “never” want to join NATO, and things will cool down. That might even be the best solution; Putain won't live for ever, and who knows what things will be like in 10 years' time? After all, it has been 8 years since the Russians annexed Crimea.

In the meantime, the Russians may be shooting themselves in the foot. They get Ukraine and lose business with the west. What's going to happen to Nord Stream 2? Currently it's on hold. Russia may find itself with more gas than it wants.


Wednesday, 23 February 2022 Dereel Images for 23 February 2022
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More mobile phone pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne off shopping today. I normally follow her on Google Maps, but today her location stayed stubbornly at home. Damn phones! Why are they so unreliable? What's the chance of being able to get it fixed on warranty? After all, it's only 4 months old. But what's the chance that I'll find somebody to repair it under warranty?

Off yet again trying to find a new phone. Yes, there's a Redmi 9T available at a usable price, but first we need to complete the “return” of the undelivered Redmi Note 9T, due to lapse on Saturday. So wait.

But almost on cue, I received another message from the seller. It's on its way, though it's not quite clear what will happen with the $30 refund; he wants to wait until eBay pays the purchase price, which they're currently holding until I close the case. And I can't close the case until I get the refund. Still, that's a vicious circle for the seller and eBay to resolve.

And while I was mulling this over, Yvonne's location suddenly popped up on Google Maps. Why that? What unreliable things they are!

Read on.

How to answer mobile phones, yet again
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Yvonne called me just as I was taking my analemma photos, so I had to hang up and call her back. And of course she didn't answer. Hung up, and she called me back. She couldn't find a way to answer the phone.

When she got home, I checked. For some reason the phone only displayed this:

 
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OK, that's not very obvious, but it's there. The problem is that Yvonne had expected this:

 
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And since she still refuses to wear glasses, she couldn't recognize the display. There's a simple solution to that, but I don't know if I can get her to apply it.

Why did it only display the small display? I think that's what happens when it's not on the home screen, but I still have to confirm that.

The real issue is the number of times where nothing at all appears. I confirmed that I can get to that situation by pressing the Home button when the phone is ringing. And so far it seems to be possible to get the “answer” display by “swiping” from top left:

 
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So until proof of the contrary (which, however, I fear), that's the way to answer an incoming mobile phone call.

Dammit, this is a phone! You should be able to answer it without jumping through hoops. I've been having problems answering calls for over 5 years. How can so many people put up with this nonsense?


ALDImobile “plans”
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

And then, for some reason, I checked my mobile phone account. Two payments via the ALDImobile app: a $15 “Pay As You Go” (really “advance payment”) update, and a $15 “Mobile plan”. What's that? It seems it's 3 GB worth of data, fully $5 per GB! Having just fought my way through the app, it's clear that Yvonne had accidentally chosen the “plan”, greatly hindered by the terminology:


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Mobile Plans? That looks right. What about the others? “Data Plan” looks like what she got, “Family Plan” looks like contraception, and “Pay As You Go”? None of it makes much sense. After closer examination, it seems that the “plan” that she got was a normal one month recharge. What's the difference from “Pay As You Go”? That has a 365 day expiration. And that seems to be the only difference. That also means that I misunderstood until I followed through writing this article.

Called up ALDImobile (free call 2534) and spoke to Ivy, who had great difficulty understanding the concepts. I asked her to refund the “Mobile Plan”, which had been selected by accident. When I finally got it across to her, she spoke with her supervisor and said that I would hear from them by email within 2 days. We'll see.

In passing, this incident explains the lack of tracking this morning, and possibly also yesterday. The phone needed to be able to send tracking data, and there was no credit left. But wouldn't an error message have been a good idea? Oh, I forget, that's not modern.


Thursday, 24 February 2022 Dereel Images for 24 February 2022
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Cutting down trees
Topic: general, Stones Road house Link here

Paul Donaghy along today to cut down the two dying and dangerous Acacia melanoxylon (blackwoods) in front of the driveway:


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Things now look quite different, but not as much as I had thought. Here the view from the front door on Monday and after today:


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Friday, 25 February 2022 Dereel Images for 25 February 2022
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Noodle chaos
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Cooking fettucine this morning for breakfast. I cook a whole package (500 g) at a time, and it's pretty straightforward. But today I made the mistake of a too-small pot, and the things stuck together to a point where it took me, along with some help from Yvonne, over half an hour to get most of them apart. In some cases 5 strips had stuck together.

Should I just use more water next time? Or should I separate and wet them before putting them into the boiling water?


A new phone!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

I've been following the erratic path of the replacement phone that the eBay seller promised me a while back. On Wednesday he applied for and got a tracking number, but didn't post the item. I've seen that before; the item shows up in tracking, but may never actually get sent. But that wasn't the case this time: yesterday midday it was finally delivered to the post office.

And today it arrived in Napoleons. Here Australia Post's upside-down and misspelt view of things:

Awaiting collection at NAPOLEON CPA
NAPOLEONS VIC
Fri 25 Feb, 11.09am

In transit
LUCAS VIC
Fri 25 Feb, 7.37am

Unable to deliver - Item carded and transferred to post office for collection
LUCAS VIC
Fri 25 Feb, 7.32am

Arrived at facility
WENDOUREE VIC
Fri 25 Feb, 6.37am

In transit to next facility in BALLARAT VIC
Fri 25 Feb, 12.38am

Item processed at facility
MELBOURNE AIRPORT VIC
Fri 25 Feb, 12.13am

In transit to next facility in MELBOURNE AIRPORT VIC
Thu 24 Feb, 1.45pm

Item processed at facility
SYDNEY WEST NSW
Thu 24 Feb, 1.43pm

Received and ready for processing
Thu 24 Feb, 11.25am

Shipping information approved by Australia Post
Thu 24 Feb, 2.04am

Shipping information received by Australia Post
Wed 23 Feb, 7.02pm

Clearly it was express post, but I've never ever seen an interstate parcel arrive in less than 24 hours.

The sting was in the tail, though. Just as I was about to praise seller mobileciti_estore, I received an email from eBay:

This case is now closed

After reviewing all the details of this case, we've determined that you won't receive a refund.

Huh? No explanation, only the option of launching an “appeal”. And for that I had to supply a photo. At least that shows something:


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That's not a “Brand New: A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging”, as eBay describes the condition. In this case the crumpled warranty certificate was the only documentation I got. Even the SIM card ejector was missing.


Mobile phone setup, yet again
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

So now Yvonne has a new phone. Most important thing: what are we going to call it? Previous phones have been called talipon.lemis.com (the old Malay word for telephone), hirse.lemis.com (German for 小米, pronounced xiǎomǐ) and enzian.lemis.com (because of the colour). Yvonne tended to names like dopey.lemis.com or stupid.lemis.com. Jamie Fraser (on IRC) suggested scomo.lemis.com: “because it's guaranteed to piss you off and probably not do the one thing it's supposed to do”. In the end I chose the name fossil.lemis.com: that should match Yvonne's derogatory opinion, and it matches the appearance (anthracite).

And how do I set it up? How about that, it provides a migration function from an old phone, as long as the old phone still works. Connect them both to the same network and let them run. And it seemed to work, though first it confused things by asking for a serial number of the old phone. But it didn't match! It wasn't until much later that I discovered that it was the serial number of the new phone.

And at the end things were almost normal. Here enzian (the old phone) and fossil (the new phone):

 
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Why are apps missing? Ah, it warned:

 
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OK, download them. WiFi File Transfer installed easily enough, but of course I had trouble with Service Victoria: it wanted a login. But we had never had a login! Called up the service hotline on 1800 675 398 and had to wade through a multilevel voice menu, but at the end of it was connected relatively quickly with Dave, who knew just what to do, because he had been through it with his wife. Only that was just a new signup. It seems that there's no way to access the old history, though despite lack of login it knew that it was tracking Yvonne L, and even had her “digital certificate”. But the button to show it is no longer there; you need to first check in somewhere, like here:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211115/big/COVID-registration-detail.jpeg
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Then you can display your certificate. What a mess this app is!

OK, how about Google Maps? Selected it. The screen popped up, then it disappeared again. Looks for all the world like a badly written program that had crashed with no explanation. Repeatable.

OK, Microsoft solution. Remove and reinstall. Sorry, this is an important app, you can't remove it. OK, that's not quite what it said: it just didn't display the “Uninstall” selection. Update? Off into Settings, but couldn't find anything there. Finally (I think) I found an update possibility hidden behind an i in a circle at top right. Yes, needed updating. Update. Works.

WHY is this so complicated?

WhatsApp was another app that did strange things. It's not clear what, since I don't use it myself, and Yvonne wasn't sure, but at the very least it lost its archived “chats”.

Still, on the whole the upgrade seems to have gone relatively smoothly. About the only strangeness was in answering phone calls: like its predecessor, the phone prefers to show only the small version of the call notification: Presumably there's some well-hidden setting that causes that. I wish it wouldn't.


More tree felling?
Topic: general Link here

After yesterday's tree felling, things are looking a little bare. But to our surprise, while walking the dogs, we found many more trees and bushes mutilated:


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