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Wednesday, 1 June 2022 Dereel Images for 1 June 2022
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Rain!
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Lots of rain overnight. Well, not that much, only about 10 mm, but it's enough to lie around, in particular in the holes for the footings for the riding arena:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220601/big/Rain-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220601/big/Footing-holes-2.jpeg
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The concrete's coming tomorrow. Is that going to be a problem?


Back on core
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So starting at 0:00 UTC (10:00 here) I'm a member of the FreeBSD Core Team again. It didn't start slowly. I sent out a message asking for suggestions on how to organize things, especially since we're spread round the world (Li-Wen Hsu and I way ahead of UTC, John Baldwin 8 hours behind, Ed Maste 5 hours behind, and the rest in a surprisingly small area in France, Germany and Switzerland). The previous core teams have placed importance on video meetings, but the biggest time difference between members is 7 hours (currently John Baldwin and I), in the northern winter Li-Wen Hsu and the European contingent. Video meetings aren't going to work effectively.

But in the meantime we ended up with another issue, currently sensitive enough that I can't mention it. And that gave rise to round 20 email messages to deal with, and a surprising number of mail delivery failures. Hopefully things will calm down.


How to kill email as a communication medium
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Jerry Dunham today:

I contacted the insurance, and quickly discovered that I could receive e-mail from them, but they
couldn't receive from me.  This forced me to deal with them via Gmail.

Since then I've discovered that I can't send e-mail from home to my boss at the IRS (irs.gov),
something I normally do when I'm ill and can't come to work.  Back to Gmail to report that I was ill
with COVID.  Apparently both the insurance company and the IRS are blocking messages from
dunham.org.  I don't send spam, so I'm left wonderring why and what to do about it.

Somehow that's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm running into the same problem, and I had bounces from two members of the FreeBSD Core Team as well.

What's the problem? I think David Harris (the author of Pegasus Mail) sums it up:

[OAUTH2] is a major step on the way to an Internet where the only players are large corporations, serving their own interests in the name of profit and power.

It seems that there's no space left for people running their own mail servers any more, something that I've been doing for over 30 years now.

There seem to be two main issues. Strangely, OAUTH2 isn't one of them (yet). My email via POP3 continues to come in. What doesn't seem to work is:

What do I do there? The most obvious thing was to modify my SPF record to allow mail from Aussie Broadband's mail servers, and send things via them. Will Aussie even accept mail from lemis.com? Yes, they do, and it works. But it doesn't address the wider SPF issue.

But we're not done. Are my DNS records correct? That depends on which of the large corporations you ask. Looking at some headers (of messages that passed), I see:

DMARC_BAD_POLICY(0.00)[lemis.com : Multiple policies defined in DNS];

What does that mean? Ask the experts, in this case redsift.com

DMARC policy record check

fail  The DMARC Policy has the following syntax error:
pass  The policy on your DNS conforms with the DMARC specification.

Now you see it, now you don't. Clearly something's wrong, but they can't see it, and various tests have passed for months. But in fact I did have two DMARC records, and that can't be right:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/24) ~ 33 -> nslookup -q=txt _dmarc.lemis.com
Server:         192.109.197.137
Address:        192.109.197.137#53

_dmarc.lemis.com        text = "v=DMARC1;p=none;rua=mailto:dmarc@lemis.com,mailto:ff87498b6a@rua.easydmarc.com;ruf=mailto:ff87498b6a@ruf.easydmarc.com;fo=1"
_dmarc.lemis.com        text = "v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:dmarc@lemis.com"

That's easy enough to fix, but it does highlight how flaky this whole framework is.


AusPost amazes!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Received mail this morning with multiple step link to this tracking information:

COOLAROO VIC       Wed 1 Jun, 10.34am
SOMERTON VIC       Wed 1 Jun, 10.13am
In transit to next facility in SOMERTON VIC       Wed 1 Jun, 7.13am
MELBOURNE NORTH VIC       Wed 1 Jun, 6.44am
SUNSHINE WEST VIC       Wed 1 Jun, 1.31am
NAPOLEONS VIC Tue       31 May, 11.00am

That was the Inkbird IBBQ-4BW that I returned yesterday. It arrived in under 24 hours! I don't think I've ever seen that before.


Thursday, 2 June 2022 Dereel Images for 2 June 2022
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Onset of winter
Topic: general Link here

Cool night tonight. The weather station, 4 m above the ground, measured a low of 0.6°, but clearly it was cooler on the ground:


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The lowest temperature I measured was -2.0°.


More mushrooms
Topic: gardening Link here

While investigating the frost, found these mushrooms:


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What are they? Small Suillus luteus and then Agaricus campestris?


Still more mail pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's still not clear that I can even send mail to all of the FreeBSD Core Team members, and the basic breakage with SPF remains. Probably the most reliable way to solve the problem would be to give up running my own mail server. What, after 30 years? That hurts.

But I'm not the only person who suffers from the problem. What do other FreeBSD project members do? Mail to the FreeBSD postmaster team got a reply from Baptiste Daroussin, coincidentally one of the new core team. He pointed me at this page, not classified but only usable by people with a FreeBSD login. There are two ways: either from the (unspecified) MUA or via Postfix (software) configuration, which—again—requires an amazing amount of configuration.

The easy part is setting up Kerberos passwords, described here. That worked as advertised, I think:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/1) ~ 1 -> ssh kpasswd.freebsd.org
FreeBSD 12.2-STABLE (CLUSTER) #0 stable/12-n233232-db3515d03dd: Wed Jun  2 05:08:40 UTC 2021

Unauthorized access is strictly prohibited.
role=kpasswd build=amd64_12@n233232-db3515d03dd

Hi there, grog..

Sanity checking..
Creating initial instance for grog/mail
===================================================================
Generating strong, evil random passwords...
===================================================================
Your new, ready to forget, password:         Uive3a(X
Your new, ready to forget, mail password:    wieC?3ze7iHga7foi]xei[ghi}i

Evil random passwords? Do I want to know? But the postfix configuration is backed up behind other issues I have with postfix. For the moment I have the alternative of just writing my email on freefall.freebsd.org.


More mail issues
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Apart from my own problems with mail being accepted, there are questions like digital signatures. Today, as FreeBSD Core Team member, I got a message from the FreeBSD doc team announcing a couple of new committers. Digitally signed. With an expired key.

Told the submitter, who created a new key and uploaded it. I downloaded the key—still the old one! But he pointed me at a list of keys for all project members, which somehow was not expired. It also saves me a lot of individual loads.


More skin treatment
Topic: health Link here

Yvonne into town today for treating some skin ailment, the name of which they didn't tell her; I suspect actinic keratosis. It's a pretty aggressive treatment. Here she is afterwards:


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It'll take a day or two to heal. Hopefully she won't need that again in the near future.


Finally! The footings!
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Troy Addicoat was due to be here round 10:00 this morning to do the concreting for the footings for the arena. Based on prior experience, called to remind him just before 9:00. No, he wouldn't be there. The concreters had postponed until 15:00, and he would be there at 14:30.

Came 14:30. No Troy. Watched anxiously every minute and so, and finally, at 14:58, somebody showed up: the concrete. Called up Troy, couldn't reach him. The driver was clearly upset that he had to be working so late, blaming it on Troy. He looked dubiously at the soil, stamped around on it a bit, decided that it would probably hold the weight of the truck.

About 10 minutes later a couple of workmen arrived, but not Troy, in a van that looks like a service vehicle for door systems:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220602/big/Pouring-footings-6.jpeg
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The driver positioned the truck at the entrance to the paddock, and the soil proved more than firm enough to hold it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220602/big/Pouring-footings-2.jpeg
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Troy arrived about 30 minutes later, complaining that the whole thing had been put off until the afternoon, blaming it on the concreters. He was going to put in a formal complaint. A lot of good that will do, as I told him.

To my surprise, they poured the concrete in with wheelbarrows:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220602/big/Pouring-footings-13.jpeg
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They weren't helped by the water still in the holes:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220602/big/Pouring-footings-15.jpeg
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But they got through it in less than an hour, discovering that they were short by about 1 m³ of concrete. That arrived later, and despite everything, they were done in 2 hours. In the process we discovered that the site isn't nearly as level as Warrick had thought:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220603/big/Arena-footings-7.jpeg
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I wonder whether we're going to need more sand there.


Friday, 3 June 2022 Dereel Images for 3 June 2022
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KL Hokkien Mee again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

One of the issues I have with my recipe for KL Hokkien mee is that I need to fry squid rings until lightly browned:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220317/big/KL-Hokkien-mee-16.jpeg
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At normal temperatures, the rings lose a lot of moisture, and the result resembles rubber. The only solution is to cook them very hot (in a pan at round 350°, with lots of heat to maintain the temperature). The result is good, but the side effects are not:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220317/big/KL-Hokkien-mee-10.jpeg
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The whole house fills with smoke (thanks, Australian architects, for eliminating kitchens from houses). But there's a solution, the old portable induction cooker:


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It only barely does the job: part of the issue is the strong heat needed. The kitchen induction cooker can deliver up to 3.7 kW, while the portable one is limited by the power cord to 2.4 kW. Maybe next time I should use a thicker pan that doesn't cool down as quickly.


Still more mites!
Topic: gardening Link here

It's only been a couple of weeks since I brought the curry tree back into the lounge room. And already there is evidence of mites!


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The webs are amazingly difficult to see: they're only visible in bright sunlight. And I didn't see any mites at all. But my guess is that the brown spots on the stem in the last photo are mites on their way.

They always go for new growth, so the simple way to combat them, apart from Pyrethrum, is to cut off harvest the parts with the webs.


Extreme anamorph distortion
Topic: photography, multimedia, opinion Link here

Watching a new film series on TV this evening, Sisi, a modern retelling of the story of Elisabeth in Bavaria, Empress of Austria. It's certainly different from the classic film with Romy Schneider: it starts off with a scene of her masturbating.

It's more interesting for other reasons. Firstly, though it was made in Germany and Austria, and I keep a careful eye on programmes from those countries, I found out about it from the Australian SBS. And it has some of the most extreme examples of pincushion distortion I have ever seen. For the fun of it, I tried correcting the distortion of a couple of screen shots with DxO PhotoLab, but even at 100% the verticals weren't straight (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


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It's interesting to note how the top and bottom margins get bent to compensate. Still, so far it doesn't seem to be a bad series.


Where's my camera?
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

It's been two months since I bought a couple of cameras in Ukraine. The second one, a FED 1, had an estimated delivery date between 2 May and 13 May.

That's optimistic, but it also causes a problem: if it doesn't arrive by a month after the latter date, and if I do nothing, I can't get my money back. eBay wants me to report it by then.

So I asked for my money back, and got a very quick response from an unhappy seller who pointed me to updated tracking information (tracking number RH063075495UA):

30 May 2022  Контейнер з Вашим поштовим відправленням оброблюється в аеропорту
7:16pm

The container with your mail is handled at the airport. Ukrposhta agrees. The seller claims that the airport is in Turkey, which would be good, at least until the Russians decide to attack Turkey, though I don't see that. OK, what do I do?

Time to speak to a human at eBay, which is really difficult. Finally got a callback from somebody called Bari, whose name later proved to be spelt “Ahmad”. I did the right thing by asking for my money back, even if it upset the innocent seller. He can postpone indefinitely 10 days at a time. So I did that, and it seems that I need to ask them to extend the postponement every 10 days, starting (why?) on 10 June. He also promised to send me information about how to request a callback without going through dozens of twisty little web pages.

In the process, I discovered that eBay is now too polite to send email regarding returns. I found no less than four messages from sellers whom I had assumed had not replied. Ultimately it doesn't make any difference to the result, but it's annoying that I didn't know about it. And now I need to poll my eBay messages at least once a day. You'd think that they were trying to make life difficult.


Saturday, 4 June 2022 Dereel Images for 4 June 2022
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Alu masala for breakfast
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yesterday I had to trim the curry tree, so I was left with a lot of leaves. What can I do with them? I don't use them as much as I used to, though when I do it's quite a quantity. Off looking at this page, which had interested me some time ago, but didn't find anything that reached out and grabbed me. OK, how about alu masala?

Off to compare recipes. To my surprise, there's very little variation. Some omit the tamarind, which I think is a mistake. And none include peas, which seem a good idea to me. So I put them in anyway:


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And the result? The curry leaves were a little insipid, something I hadn't noticed before. But apart from that and the excessive amount of work needed for a single serving, the result was not bad. In particular, I think that the peas are right.


Crawler fallout and video editors
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

Received in the mail:

From: Tia <tia.videoproc@gmail.com>
Subject: Just wanted to reach out about something,

Typical spam, right? I deleted it and then reconsidered. Not spam after all:

Hi just a quick one,

Tia here from VideoProc (Digiarty Software) - we blog all about the world
of video and audio editing.

Just a quick email regarding your piece here
http://ns2.narrawin.com/grog/diary-feb2020.php?subtitle=Another%20grid%20power%20failure&article=D-20200218-002611.
I actually recently wrote a piece on “Best Video Editing Software” and was
thinking it would make a great fit for your piece. So I was wondering,
would you be interested in linking to it at all? :)

OK, what's that URL? The first thing that hits me is that it's the wrong host name. I really must update my web server config so that incorrect host names don't bleed into the lemis.com web site.

But that doesn't matter. ns2.narrawin.com ceased to exist on 13 November 2021. And the article? A single line: “Another grid power failure at 01:51:58, again only one second.”. Now what does that have to do with video software? It's on the same page as this article, which I suppose is related. It reminds me of Google Image Search, which used to include various images of my house when doing an image search for Fastrand.

OK, and the article? She wrote it under the pen name Cecilia Hwung, and arguably it's worth reading. The part that I like least is that they tested it only on Microsoft and Apple. But my guess is that most of them will run on Linux, and at least half of her top 8 are in the Ports Collection. Many of the others are not interesting anyway.

So, Aunty Cecilia, you have what you asked for: a mention in my diary. Is it what you wanted?


Sunday, 5 June 2022 Dereel Images for 5 June 2022
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“La mian” laksa
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last week I bought a new kind of Laksa at the Fruit Shack:


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It claims to have everything for the meal, but of course it lies. It has the broth and the noodles, but not the additional ingredients that it recommends:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220605/big/La-Mian-laksa-10-detail.jpeg
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Still, it claims to be Singapore Laksa, something that I haven't been able to clearly identify this century. So today I tried it.

The quantities are strange: It doesn't say how many portions they're aiming for, but they want 500 ml of water, making about a total of 550 ml of liquid. I've established that most sources recommend about 350 to 400 ml per portion, and that corresponds with my appetite, so this is about 1½ portions. The same goes for the noodles. Normal single portion uncooked noodles weigh round 60 g; these weigh 90 g:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220605/big/La-Mian-laksa-1.jpeg
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OK, let's stretch to 2 portions, since I wasn't very hungry anyway. First mix the stuff:


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The white powder appears to be dried coconut cream. And they want the noodles cooked (for 7 minutes) in the sauce! OK, humour them, also add some fishy stuff:


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The noodles were really relatively cooked after 7 minutes. Left the other half for tomorrow, but of course the noodles absorbed the moisture:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220605/big/La-Mian-laksa-6.jpeg
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And the taste? Interesting. It reminds me of the “Katong Laksa” that I made 3 years ago.


New office chair
Topic: general Link here

Finally got round to assembling the office chair that I bought last week. It's identical to the old one, which is showing its age:


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But it feels completely different. Even more important than the surface is the fact that the cushioning in the old one has collapsed, making it much harder.


Mail issues: partial solution
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The instructions for setting up Postfix to deliver mail directly to freebsd.org are complicated enough that I put them off to my more general revision of my postfix configuration.

But there are other methods too. mutt has a configuration parameter smtp_url where it can be told to send mail directly to an MTA instead of local sendmail. What happens if I set it to smtp_url=smtp://mx1.freebsd.org? Tried that, and within limits it Just Worked. Sending mail to myself at FreeBSD.org gave a header:

Received: from eureka.lemis.com (121-200-11-253.79c80b.mel.nbn.aussiebb.net [121.200.11.253])
        (using TLSv1.2 with cipher ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 (256/256 bits))
        (Client did not present a certificate)
        by mx1.freebsd.org (Postfix) with ESMTPS id 4LGcfm0x44z3Jmm

And the limits? Send only to people at FreeBSD.org, and use your FreeBSD.org login. That at least eliminates abuse.


Camera from Ukraine, next step
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Replied to the seller of my FED (camera) today, reassuring him that I would give every chance for delivery, even if it took a long time. And a new surprise:

05-Jun-22 15:25
Seller's message: "hi, the package arrived in australia today. thanks for supporting my country"

He followed up with a screen shot:

 
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Amazing! That's the second time he has responded almost immediately, and the second time that the tracking has been updated. I reported the problem at 14:57 on 3 June, and got a reply, including updated tracking, at 15:11. And this time it didn't take long either, though I can't say how long, since eBay is too polite to keep that kind of information. That's so unusual that it almost sounds suspicious. If it has already arrived in Australia, it should be here this week some time.

And what if the screen shot is forged? No, it isn't. By the time I saw it, I had already checked on the Ukrposhta web site. It doesn't seem to be possible to provide it with the tracking number directly (RH063075495UA), but it shows:


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While messing around on the web site, found the Ukrainian version:


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That answers the question I had a couple of days ago: how could the seller know that the container was in Turkey? It says so in Ukrainian: “ТЕРМIНАЛ Турція”, but not in English:


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Monday, 6 June 2022 Dereel → Cape Clear → Dereel Images for 6 June 2022
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More work in the house forest
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Will Tatnell showed up this morning to look at the work we're planning. He decided that it was too wet, but it seemed that he had an appointment with his mate Brendan to consider removing the remaining ferns from the House Forest at the west of the property. He didn't take long; I followed them and barely caught up with them by the time they were finished. Estimate: 1 day to do the simple bits, another day to remove the smaller saplings and give space for the horses to move around. $300 an hour, so we'd be looking at between $2,500 and $5,000. I think we can decide against that.


“La mian” laksa, day 2
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

For breakfast, ate the other half of the “La mian” laksa that I prepared yesterday. It hadn't improved; here yesterday and today:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220605/big/La-Mian-laksa-4.jpeg
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Clearly we needed more broth, but what? With a bit of searching, found a container of Maggi fumet de crustacés (crustacean stock), and used some of that. It's better than water.

Now that I have tried this dish twice, it's worth summing up. On the positive side, it tastes quite good.

On the negative side:


Larissa's legs again
Topic: animals Link here

Despite the treatment we've had so far, it's clear that Larissa still has problems with her left rear leg. Off to see Pene Kirk, who examined her at some length and decided that it probably wasn't a hip issue, but something further down the leg. She has a considerable loss of muscle on that leg, greater than 25%. She gave her another shot of cartrophen, and we'll see how that helps.


30th anniversary ingredients
Topic: food and drink, history, opinion Link here

The fumet de crustacés that I used for breakfast wasn't the newest:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220607/big/Fumet-de-crustaces-1.jpeg
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It expired 30 years ago this month:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220607/big/Fumet-de-crustaces-7-detail.jpeg
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Presumably we bought it in France some time in the late 1980s.

How much do I use?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220607/big/Fumet-de-crustaces-5-detail.jpeg
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« Délayez 6 petites cuillerées par 1/2 litre de liquide » : “mix 6 small spoons per ½ litre of liquid”. That's the first time I've seen spoons mentioned outside the USA, and in this case it was almost always 6 of them. No mention anywhere of the weight, or the size of the spoon. Yvonne guesses that they mean coffee spoons, smaller than teaspoons

In the end I guessed at the typical 16 g/l of other stock powders, and it certainly didn't look too light:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220606/big/Fumet-de-poisson-1.jpeg
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If that's correct, the 6 spoonfuls would be 8 g. But I'm amazed that this sort of thing was sold in France as recently as 35 years ago.


Ten years of Android
Topic: technology, history, opinion Link here

Ten years ago today I bought my first Android tablet. It wasn't love at first sight—if there be love, it is yet to come—but some things haven't changed. As I wrote,

The most obvious thing missing on a tablet is the thing that I find most important: a fast, versatile way to communicate with it—in other words, a keyboard. How do you communicate effectively with a computer without one? Yes, it has a touch screen with a simulated keyboard, like my GPS navigator does, but apart from my aversion to making smears on any shiny surface, the lack of tactile feedback means that you have to look at the thing, and it slows me down to about a tenth of the normal typing speed. Clearly a poor substitute, and on the GPS I have taken to putting in jottings with the toy keyboard and fixing them online with a real keyboard later.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022 Dereel Images for 7 June 2022
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Feeding birds the easy way
Topic: animals Link here

It's now definitely winter, and what fruit are still left on the tomato plants outside the lounge room will never ripen. But we have a solution:


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That's a crimson rosella on the stand where the tomatoes were growing, about 3 m from my armchair. I had seen (the same?) one yesterday, where it spent some time enjoying a small green tomato, but I wasn't able to get a photo. Hopefully there will be better ones.


Whence the dirt?
Topic: health, opinion Link here

The charger on my new toothbrush looks surprisingly dirty:


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In fact, it was completely clean a week ago. The accumulated dirt (or whatever it is) is the result of drip water from the toothbrush. I rinse the toothbrush every time I use it, but of course some water drips onto the charger. But how can it give rise to so much dirt? It must be some kind of bacteria.


Where's Will?
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Will Tatnell was due to arrive today with soil and equipment to transform the garden and install a drinking trough in the middle paddock. No sign of him. It's not urgent, but surprising that we didn't hear from him.


Inverter problems, continued
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

It's been 2 weeks since Luke Parry of Effective Electrical promised to get back with an answer on the same day. He didn't. So far, despite email reminder, I hadn't heard from him.

But today he called. COVID-19 to blame, credibly. He's still trying to get his head round what happened last month, and he's talking to Ingeteam support in Spain. But he wanted to know why I had this sawtooth pattern in the battery charge:


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Simple: that's what Fyodor set up, and there seemed no reason to change it. But there is: clearly it's inefficient to store energy and then convert it back again; just keeping a constant charge level is much more sensible. And that's what he did, without telling me:


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Still nothing about the inverter failure, but at least something seems to be happening.


Wednesday, 8 June 2022 Dereel
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Video meetings: the details
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

So tomorrow evening we're having a FreeBSD core handover meeting, where members of the previous FreeBSD Core Team give us information that should probably better be done in writing.

Did I say tomorrow evening? No, it's really Saturday morning. The meeting starts at 24:00/0:00 for me, and I'm jumping for joy about the fact. But video conferences are fun! OK, let's ensure that things work well. We're using Google Meet, and I already had a two person conference with Warner Losh yesterday. But that was on a mobile phone! It seems that you can run it on a normal web browser even if it doesn't have a microphone or camera (“companion mode”). That would be good: use the phone as a camera and the TV to display the meeting.

Tried that out without any other participants. Didn't work: it promised me all sorts of things, but didn't display anything resembling a matrix of faces. OK, maybe that's because there's nothing to choose from. Contacted one of the team members and set up a “meeting”. Not good: first, I didn't get anything useful on the browser screen, and secondly the audio was terrible—some kind of feedback loop. Gave it up and considered the options, discussed at length on IRC. To my surprise, many other members thought that it would be OK on The Night. No testing required. I'm flabbergasted. Should I stay up 2 hours after my bedtime to risk a wasted meeting?


Thursday, 9 June 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 9 June 2022
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More Lena damage
Topic: animals Link here

Yvonne into my office this morning with this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/Glasses-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/Glasses-5.jpeg
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That's Lena's doing. She's nearly 15 months old now! When will she stop?


Google Meet, again
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

What was the audio issue with my Google Meet yesterday? Put that in the “too hard” shelf and tried the other thing, the one I really wanted to test: “Companion mode”. The obvious thing was to add Yvonne: after all, she didn't need to do anything, just have the phone on. And while I was messing around, Ed Maste appeared on IRC, so I asked him in too. Three people. Worked fine, audio too. And “companion mode”? It seems that it can't do what I want. It just adds other functionality, like automatically generated subtitles and out-of-band written comments. That could be useful, but it doesn't help me with my intention to display the meeting on the TV. The “help” didn't help much either, full of incomplete information and broken links.

OK, move on. It seems that most people use some kind of Bluetooth headset. Can I do that too? I have an old headset lying around, and I even found it and discovered that the battery has charge. How do I pair it? I recall some secret handshake to get it into pairing mode. My phone detected a QC150 device, and tried to pair with it. Did it succeed? It didn't say that it didn't. But I couldn't use it.

Was it even in pairing mode? Off searching and found this document, which tells me:

Long press the power on/off key for 3 seconds. The blue and red LED indicators will flash

Just too impatient! Yes, long press. After 5 seconds the blue LED flashes. Keep holding. After another 5 seconds, it alternates with red. Not quite the 3 seconds that the instructions said. But that was the only success. I still couldn't communicate with it.

Was I even looking at the correct device? Yes: when it was powered on, it tried for a long time to pair. When it was powered off, it failed automatically. So it's definitely the QC150 device.

OK, is the thing maybe paired with something else in the room? How about going to Yvonne's office and pairing with her phone. And yes, how about that, it worked almost out of the box. But it wasn't a QC150, it was a BH-M20!

Back to my office. I couldn't find a way to delete the QC150, but at some point the phone did it by itself. And then it was prepared to recognize the BH-M20 and connect to it.

So now I have a functional Bluetooth headset; hopefully it will stay that way for a while. But what a pain these things are!


Into town again
Topic: general, health Link here

Into town today, primarily for a haircut. But how do I get there? There are still roadworks all over the place, and I had just got to the main road when I saw an 80 km/h sign.

OK, maybe it's not that bad, but I'm not taking the chance. Turned off to Mount Mercer and took the road to Buninyong. Certainly less traffic: until the outskirts of Buninyong (30 km), I saw about 3 cars. But it's nearly 40 km, 12 km longer than the direct road, and I only just made my appointment.

Sad news from the hairdresser: I knew that my old barber, Kerry, has now closed down. He must have been over 80, so that in itself is not surprising. But it seems that shortly before my last haircut there he had accidentally mixed up the gears in his car, and instead of heading forward, he reversed into his wife and killed her.

From the barbers to Specsavers in town to order a new pair of glasses for Yvonne—fortunately he had had an eye test only a couple of weeks ago—and then via the butchers to Bunnings, looking for things they didn't have, like general purpose grease in tubes. Maybe “general purpose” is now an old, worn-out magic word.

And how do I get home again? Normally I'd take Cherry Flat Road, but Helen Miller told me that it is now blocked. OK, Google, take me home. Cherry Flat Road! Does it know something I don't, or do I know something it doesn't? Off east and then taken down Webb Road, a parallel road to Cherry Flat Road. It made it almost to Bells Road, where I wanted to go, but then turned left. A dirt road (Schreenan's Road) lay ahead. I've been down there before, but it looks as if it is better now, so I followed it.

And just before the end, there's a ford:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220609/big/Schreenans-road-ford.png
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That doesn't look too bad, but that was taken in the summer, when it was dry. Now it has been raining for a week, and the indicator showed about 20 to 25 cm of water. Should I risk it? I've got stuck in fords before, but this one was short, and I should make it.

So through. Car covered in water, but I made it. In retrospect I shouldn't have even tried.

Back via Napoleons and Enfield. The road works have finished; all that's left are a couple of 80 km/h signs that they apparently forgot.


Friday, 10 June 2022 Dereel → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 10 June 2022
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Finally fixing the tap
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

The mixer tap in the kitchen has been giving us pain since we moved in 7 years ago. They weren't able to install it at the time, and when I later found a plumber to install it, he made such a mess of it that it broke some time later. So last November we found somebody to install a new one—badly. He didn't tighten it up sufficiently, and in the course of time it got looser and looser.

Finally we have found a new plumber, Adrian Breen, who came along today and fixed the thing. At least it's now firm, and the hose runs as smoothly as is possible (the sink gets in the way). What a relief! He also took a look at the sprinkler solenoid, and it looks as if he has fixed that. That's a couple of loads off my mind.


A camera from Ukraine!
Topic: photography, general Link here

Where's my FED 1 camera? I've been asking that for over a week, having first had a false alarm 4 weeks ago. Today the next step: “You have mail” in the letter box, this time with a plausible rendition of the tracking number.

OK, I've been there before. Call up the post office to confirm. No, not there. Sure you have the right name? LEHEY. Yes, it's here.

Off to pick it up, noting once again the spurious road signs where there are no road works:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/Road-works-2.jpeg
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Yes, it's the right package:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/FED-from-Ukraine-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/FED-from-Ukraine-2-detail.jpeg
Image title: FED from Ukraine 2 detail          Dimensions:          1718 x 1726, 862 kB
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Interesting that the sender address is given as “Geroev Sevastopolya 36a, Kyiv”. Firstly, the transliteration seems to be a bit outdated (or Russian): Google Maps finds a Heroiv Sevastopolya St, 36, suggesting the alternation between Russian Г (G) and Ukrainian Г (H). But clearly Sevastopol/Sebastopol is in the name. And secondly, the package came from Nikopol, not Kyiv, as the tracking information shows.

Back home and took a look. Nice case, probably the best I have seen in an old camera:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/FED-from-Ukraine-6.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/FED-from-Ukraine-7.jpeg
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Inside, it looks as expected—almost:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/FED-from-Ukraine-9.jpeg
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Only somehow the lens cap was broken:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/FED-from-Ukraine-10.jpeg
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How could that happen? It could hardly have been in transit: it was protected by the camera case.

In any case, not surprisingly, it looks like a Leica II. The lens, a 50 mm (and not 5 cm) f/3.5 FED, looks like an Elmar, which is just as primitive:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220611/big/FED-1-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220611/big/FED-1-8.jpeg
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But I've know that for well over 50 years. In fact, compared to the 5 cm f/2 Summar that I got with the last FED, it is at least coated, though it's interesting that the closest focusing distance appears to be about 1.2 m. Still, looking at it again, it's surprisingly primitive. Yes, this is a 90 year old design, but my example probably dates from the mid-1950s.

In the case I found an exposure table:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/Exposure-table-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/Exposure-table-2.jpeg
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As was to be expected for a document of those times, it's in Russian, not Ukrainian. I still need to decipher it. The first column must be film sensitivity, but the heading is so fuzzy that I can't decipher it. But the second column (full sun, seaside) gives 1/100 s at f/8 for sensitivity 32, and 1/100 s at f/16 for sensitivity 65, suggesting that that's 2 stops more sensitive. That's neither linear nor logarithmic. To be investigated further.


Core hangover teleconference
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

Today was the day for the handover meeting for the new FreeBSD Core Team. That's difficult for a number of reasons, the least of which is that I don't think much of teleconferences anyway. One of the worst things is that there's just no good time for the meeting. Finally somebody (core secretary) decided on a time: 14:00 to 15:00 UTC. That's 7:00 for people in California, 16:00 for the majority of new core in Europe, 22:00 for Li-Wen Hsu in Taipei, and 24:00 for me here in Dereel. And normally I go to bed at about 22:30.

OK, used the waiting time to set up my phone with the Bluetooth headset. I had already found instructions of a kind for the real BH-M20 headset, so thorough that they didn't explain how to charge it, just “Please cut connection between charger and headset when not charging”. Clearly the micro-USB jack is intended for charging, and by observation I noticed that the LED shows red while charging, and then goes out.

OK, come 23:50 and I connected, with Warner Losh again helping me set things up. Yes, the headset works. No, it's not usable: there was so much echoing that I gave up and used hands-free. I wonder if that's related to that or other issues.

One other issue that I still need to check is the way I connected to the meeting, with the Android app. And it behaves differently from however the others connect. In particular, I couldn't get it to display more than 8 participants (there were up to 14 of us, though one was in a train and kept going offline). If we end up doing this again, I need to consider alternative interfaces.

And how useful was the meeting? For me, the focus on interpersonal relationships and various gripes was an eye-opener.

Apart from that, I had hoped for a video transcript. No, no, that requires permission of everybody on the meeting. Is there anybody who would object? Wrong question. Everybody should explicitly agree. Strangely, there was no such objection to an audio transcript.

But that's moot: I discovered that the faces didn't really add to the meeting. The real issue was the audio, and that was so hard to understand that I completely missed the point of one agenda item. Yes, there was a point or two of interest, but it seems to be an expensive waste of 14 hours of people's lives. And I've forgotten much of it already. I stand by my assertion that the whole concept is a waste of time.

Only: all sorts of people use this kind of service. Why? I need to think about that.


Saturday, 11 June 2022 Dereel Images for 11 June 2022
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Google meet: the cost
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

During this morning's Google meet meeting, a couple of popups occurred. I read the last one before it disappeared again: “Your ALDImobile PAYG credit is fully depleted”.

And yes, I had used up all my credit. Why did it appear then? This morning I took a look at my usage. Normally I charge with ALDImobile's $15 plan, which lasts up to a year before expiry. Since using features like Google Maps tracking, a charge only lasts typically 2 to 3 months. But this time it only lasted 2 weeks!

Checking further shows (eliminating sums below $0.20):

Destination       Duration/Data       Charge       Date
mdata.net.au       77.93MB       $3.9100       Sun, 5 Jun - 12:13pm
mdata.net.au       4.59MB       $0.2302       Mon, 6 Jun - 12:59pm
mdata.net.au       109.36MB       $5.4871       Wed, 8 Jun - 03:52pm
mdata.net.au       11.01MB       $0.5525       Thu, 9 Jun - 12:33pm
mdata.net.au       100.84MB       $5.0599       Fri, 10 Jun - 11:53pm

Those three entries amount to $14.46 out of my $15 recharge. All of them occurred when I was at home, when adequate Internet bandwidth was available. I can't associate the first with anything in particular, but the second seems to have been when I was testing the app with Ed Maste, and the third was the core hangover meeting.

So what's wrong here? Why is Google Meet even messing with routing? That's an obscene layering violation. And it's completely unnecessary: when my credit ran out this morning, things continued without a hitch using WiFi.

The workaround is clear: turn off mobile data when I'm at home.


Walking the dogs again
Topic: animals Link here

We stopped taking the dogs for a walk when Larissa had her problems three months ago. But since Pene looked at her on Monday, it seems that there's no particular reason for her not to move relatively slowly. So off for a walk, this time only as far as Spearys Road, but the dogs really wanted to go further. Hopefully we won't have any more trouble.


More FED camera investigations
Topic: photography, language, opinion Link here

What does this exposure card say?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220610/big/Exposure-table-1.jpeg
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I can try with Google Lens on my phone, but it's such a pain. There must be an easier way.

And there is! But only, it seems, if you use a newer version of Google Chrome. Then you can right-click on an image and apply Lens. And with a bit of clicking and pulling, I get:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220611/big/Exposure-table-1.png
Image title: Exposure table 1          Dimensions:          1249 x 1105, 337 kB
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  ); ?>

We're still not there, though. In particular, it doesn't really explain the leftmost column. “Feelings” probably really means “sensitivity”, but the word below is almost illegible, and it fails with more easily recognizable words like СУША. Time to involve a Russian speaker.

And the camera? I came across this summary, which suggests that my camera is a type 13 or 14, made between 1953 and 1955. So far I haven't been able to identify anything more accurately based on the serial number, and the link to the photographer is broken.


Union between Russia and Ukraine
Topic: history, language, opinion Link here

While looking at the list of FED submodels, came across the submodel 12:

http://www.lemis.com/grog/Day/20220611/Fed-12.jpeg http://www.lemis.com/grog/Day/20220611/Fed-12-detail.jpeg

The inscription, in Ukrainian, reads “1654-1954 SKILLS TOGETHER З MOSCOW”. No idea why it didn't recognize the preposition З.

So what happened in 1654? The Pereiaslav Agreement. Wikipedia tells me

The Zaporizhian Host, in order to leave the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, sought a treaty of protection with Russia in 1654.

How important is that? Hard to say.

As if that wasn't enough, we watched episode 15 of Servant of the People this evening, where President Goloborodko waxes eloquent on the term Хохол (Khokhol). The programme itself is in Ukrainian, and we can only understand it because of the subtitles, which are completely inadequate in this case. The only information I get is again from Wikipedia, which states:

The word "Khokhol" with the meaning of "unconscious Ukrainian" refers to the person who renounced their independence, individuality and allegiance to Russia, and instead began using Turkisms (words derived from Turkic languages) that were incorporated into the Ukrainian language

“Renounce independence and allegiance to Russia”? That sounds contradictory. But none of it fits the context of the episode.


More angel hair
Topic: food and drink, general Link here

A new kind of angel hair today:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220611/big/Barilla-angel-hair-5.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220611/big/Barilla-angel-hair-4.jpeg
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It claims to be ready in 3 minutes, but as usual it lies: 6 minutes is closer to the truth. And an amazing quantity stuck to the bottom of the saucepan:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220612/big/Noodles-3.jpeg
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And the taste? OK: there's not much choice in taste for this kind of noodle.


Sunday, 12 June 2022 Dereel Images for 12 June 2022
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Phở alternative
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've been using this paste for making Phở for some time:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210326/big/Pho-1.jpeg
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But I also have some cubes:


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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220612/big/Pho-2.jpeg
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First problem: they're one of these 1½ portion things. I had established that a portion of phở requires about 300 ml of water, but the instructions want 500 ml per cube, 1.67 times as much. OK, I can keep some over for next time. Mix it in water and bring to the boil as instructed. It tastes of nothing! Well, maybe a little salty. But compared to the paste it's very insipid.

In the end I diluted to 600 ml and added 20 g of phở paste. It wasn't enough.

And I have another 6 of these cubes! What should I do with them? I hate throwing things away.


Recovering bde's laptop
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The experience with the core team handover meeting on Friday made it clear to me that a mobile phone is not an appropriate device for participating in such meetings, and not just because of the excessive data costs. I need a laptop.

Yes, of course I have a laptop, euroa.lemis.com, running Microsoft “Windows” 7. But I should really be using FreeBSD, at least for core team teleconferences.

Never mind, I have three other laptops from Bruce Evans. They once ran FreeBSD until Peter Jeremy vandalized them. I just need to reinstall the software.

But how? Nowadays I install from USB sticks, but for some reason none of these laptops can boot from USB. The newest, an HP EliteBook 8570p, can at least boot from DVD, while the older EliteBook 8460p has a damaged DVD drive. Where do I have a DVD? Found one with FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE, now nearly 5 years old. Install. Reboot. HP setup hell, trying to do a net boot. What a strange “BIOS”! I couldn't get into setup because it wanted a password, but at some point it told me that there was no operating system on the disk.

Boot from DVD again, go into a shell. All data nicely there in the root partition. Did it forget boot blocks? Put them in again and tried rebooting. Still no operating system.

Dammit, is this computer so old that it only uses MBR partitioning? Went through the whole install again with MBR, and how about that, it worked!

But MBR is ancient, and GPT has been around for much longer than the laptop. Maybe it's a BIOS configuration thing that I couldn't get to.

So now I have a 5 year old system on the laptop, which I decided to call bde.lemis.com in honour of Bruce. He had called it iotaplex.bde.org (fake domain name), but I couldn't bring myself to call it that. Next I need a newer system. OK, buildworld and kernel. During the usual eternity building llvm, the build broke. Trying to jump too many releases at once? But by then it was evening. Mañana.


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

We don't eat much lamb, mainly because Yvonne has decided that she doesn't like it any more. But today was the day, and I had the issue of cooking this nice-looking piece, once part of a lamb that strayed onto Chris Bahlo's property, and which didn't seem to have an owner:


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780 g. Cook at 180° for how long? My notes say “until 63°”, and suggest 55 minutes per kg. So that would be about 43 minutes.

In fact it took about 53 minutes. And it was overcooked! That's not really surprising; I would have expected a meat temperature of round 55°. Next time.


Monday, 13 June 2022 Dereel
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More HP installation fun
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

If I can't build a new world on bde, my HP EliteBook 8570p, how about building it elsewhere and then just installing it on bde? That required cloning Yet Another source tree and building, which took half the day. Then mount eureka:/home on bde, bend a couple of symlinks, and install.

C library problem: some version mismatch. That's what I get for trying to upgrade so old a system. I'm sure that there are various ways of recovering, but for me the simplest was to download a new DVD image of 13.1-RELEASE. And yes, that worked fine, once I recalled how to burn a DVD in this decade (cdrecord -r image), and after I discarded the coaster, uncompressed the image and tried again.

OK, now set up the new system. That's a separate issue, one that I haven't come to terms with in over 20 years. But then I had a brainwave: make! All I need to do is come up with a Makefile that will enable me to set up individual aspects of a running system. I had already done the vestiges of this approach when working for MySQL: I had a homekit, a collection of the files that I needed to install on a new system to feel at home with. That approach could be extended to include basic system functionality on machines to which I have complete access.

It's been over 5 years since I started trying to upgrade eureka. Will this help, or just help me procrastinate?

On a different note: why can't I access the BIOS on the machine? The manual I have doesn't even mention the BIOS, just all sorts of stuff that doesn't seem overly relevant. Off to search the web site for more appropriate documentation, without any success. Finally asked the “HP Virtual Agent” lurking in the wings, which came up with some very unexpected misunderstandings before pointing me at a document so obscure that I can't find it any more, since I forgot to save the URL. But there I found:

A forgotten BIOS password cannot be reset by HP. HP is committed to the security and privacy of our customers. To resolve a forgotten BIOS password issue, a system board replacement is required, and additional customer costs apply.

So the BIOS stays the way it is. I suppose I can't blame Peter Jeremy for this one.


Tuesday, 14 June 2022 Dereel
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Where's Troy?
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Troy Addicoat was due to erect the shed today. He didn't show. Somehow I was expecting that. I'll chase him tomorrow.


Gmail: finally dead
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It took longer than advertised, but Gmail has finally implemented its irritating “security” measures:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/8) ~ 9 -> fetchmail -a
fetchmail: Authorization failure on groggyhimself@gmail.com@pop.gmail.com
fetchmail: For help, see http://www.fetchmail.info/fetchmail-FAQ.html#R15
fetchmail: Query status=3 (AUTHFAIL)

Forwarding still works, so I don't really care.


What's an American?
Topic: language, general, opinion Link here

When I was a lad, I was taught that there were five continents: Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe. But that proved to be at least partially because of where I learnt. Even for a 6-year-old it was clear to me that Asia and Europe had no clear boundary, while North and South America were clearly defined (and, of course, really separated by the Panama Canal).

But now, at least in English, the term America has developed a new meaning: the name of that nameless country, the United States of America. And that's why my link to America above leads to the country, not the continent. That's not the case in other countries: On Wikipedia, French Amérique, German Amerika, Italian America and Spanish América all describe the (double) continent.

So what's an American? For me, it has always been an inhabitant of America. But now the meaning has changed, as the Oxford English Dictionary states:

America, the name of a land mass of the Western hemisphere, consisting of the two continents of North and South America, joined by the Isthmus of Panama; frequently used also as the name of the United States of America;

American Originally: a native or inhabitant of America, esp. of the British colonies in North America, of European descent (now historical). Now chiefly: a native or citizen of the United States.

Now admittedly the USA has a problem that it has no real distinctive name. I've already mentioned the ambiguity of “America”. And “United States”? They're not even the only set of United States in North America! Directly to the south are the United Mexican States (officially Estados Unidos Mexicanos). So there is a problem, and I follow the German usage of referring to the inhabitants of the country as US Americans. In Spanish they have their own terminology: estadounidense, according to the Diccionario de la lengua española of the Real Academia Española.

But today I had a response to what I thought was a fairly straightforward response on Quora: I accidentally left my spaghetti sauce out on the counter overnight, seeing that I am going to heat it up do you think it will be fine?. Clearly the answer is “yes”, but in the USA, for some reason, that's dangerous. So I answered

Are you a US American? Then throw it away. Otherwise it should be fine.

Why the difference? Beats me, but ask any US American and they’ll tell you to throw it away.

That was years ago, but today an RW Smythe, by implication a said US American, took offence to my use of “US American”. Why? It's a standard term. And somehow he got Quora to delete a comment because it constituted “hate speech”.

What should I do? In no way did I intend any “hate”, but Quora is a little silly in that respect. What it does suggest, though, is that RW Smythe reported it.

I know why I don't want anything more to do with Quora.


Wednesday, 15 June 2022 Dereel Images for 15 June 2022
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Where's Troy?
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

As expected, Troy Addicoat didn't show yesterday. Called him up and discovered that he's on a big job that will take several days, but we're next on his list, so we can expect him to be here round Wednesday next week. He'll contact me on Tuesday to let me know more. I'll believe it when it happens.


More trees?
Topic: gardening Link here

Received an offer of a couple of potted interesting cultivar maple trees yesterday, so Yvonne went by this afternoon to take a look:


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The one at the back is in a pot 1.2 m high, and it's not clear how we can transport it, if at all. The other one, apparently a “Chantilly lace” cultivar (but presumably not “whipped cream”) looks like a possibility. I'll take a look tomorrow.


Meat for choucroute
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We're planning a choucroute garni (Sauerkraut dish) for the weekend. It needs different kinds of preserved meat. From the current recipe:

quantity       ingredient       step
100 g       smoked pork fat (without meat), in 5mm slices       1
250 g       Kassler       1
300 g       Smoked sausage, such as Debreziner or Rookwurst       1
250 g       smoked pork belly       1
200 g       Grilling sausage       1
3       “Leverknepfle”       1

The pork fat and Leverknepfle are OK: we have them already in the freezer. And the others? Yvonne was able to find Rookwurst in town (not a foregone conclusion), and also pork belly. Kassler? Hasn't been seen in these parts for years. How about thick slices of bacon? Yes, found some, but only 50/50 with thin slices. Grilling sausage? Only with gravy (huh?) and fennel.

OK, a search in the freezer brought some thick bacon slices to light; maybe I should keep a larger stockpile. And the sausages? What's the problem here? Finally she found some alleged Cumberland sausages “generously seasoned with sage, pepper and nutmeg”, and about the same form factor as our Bratwurst. OK, that would be interesting to try, so she brought some back, and we ate them this evening. Basically, they're bratwurst with different seasoning, and at least they have natural gut casings, but somehow they brown differently:


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The meat composition must also be quite different, and there seems to be a fair amount of egg in them too: they're much firmer, almost unpleasantly so. They won't do as a substitute for bratwurst, but in fact they could be just what we're looking for for the choucroute.


Thursday, 16 June 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 16 June 2022
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Repairing the freezer
Topic: general Link here

Phone call from Wayne from Barclays this morning just as I was getting out of the shower. Only got noise, apparently a race condition between answering and him being diverted to my voice mail. He wanted the model number of the freezer, something that I hadn't been able to find last month. But with his guidance, I found it:


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He showed up an hour or so later and took a look at the freezer. Contrary to my expectations, he didn't need to move it. The whole defrosting mechanism is on the inside of the freezer, behind a cover that I hadn't paid attention to before:


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But before I could get a photo, he found something else jammed in the slit at the bottom of the cover, which is an air inlet. Here it is afterwards:


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A bag of something, melted. Clearly it was involved in the defrost cycle.

Apart from that, there was just the position of this temperature sensor, clipped just above an accumulator:


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He wasn't sure that that was the right place, but it appears to have been like that since it was made. We could, of course, have compared with one of the other freezers, but that would have been a lot of effort.

In the end he couldn't find anything wrong. Could it just have been the bags? A simple solution to what ended up costing $276, one of the highest domestic equipment bills I have ever had. Left the freezer running all day with a thermometer in the top shelf, but it didn't have any recording ability. So far all looks good, and the thing no longer beeps when we open the door.


Mobile phone photos
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Sending the photos of the freezer label to Wayne should have been a no-brainer: he has a mobile phone, I have a mobile phone, and I can take a photo:


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Not the best in the world. The door prevented me from getting a photo from directly in front of the label, but like any digital photo, I can reprocess it. And like I am, I also took a photo with a Real Camera. Here the results. First, the out-of-camera images:


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Then after processing with DxO PhotoLab:


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Then after processing with “Perfectly Clear“:


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It should be clear which column is the phone and which is the camera. And yes, for identification purposes the phone is more than satisfactory.

Of course, processing is only half the story. Then I needed to send it to Wayne. And once again I had difficulties. Off to Google for android send photo and came up with millions of hits. Google's favourit was Android: Send Picture in Email or Text Message, which seemed idea. But it wants a + icon. There was none.

OK, there's also How to Send Photos On Android Phone By Text or Email:

tap and hold on the Photo that you would like to send. You will see a check mark appearing on the photo.

Nope. No check mark.

Clearly Google is no help. Much messing around and found that if I just tap (and don't hold), it is reduced in size and a number of symbols appears below it:

 
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What do they mean? I recognize the heart and the cooking pot. The one on the left could be an exploding pressure cooker, the one on the right a Swiss power point. By trial and error I found that if I select the exploding pressure cooker, I got another display with a too-wide row of icons.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220617/big/Screenshot_2022-06-17-13-21-18-719_com.miui.gallery.jpeg
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What are they for? Too polite to say, of course: after all, this is Android. But selecting “Messages” finally allowed me to send it.

What's wrong with this picture (apart from groggy being obtuse, of course)? The user interface is completely obscure, it has clearly changed since the web pages I found were written, and the only way to navigate it is by trial and error. Is no effort being made to unify the interfaces?


Bluetooth earbuds
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

ALDI had Bluetooth “TRUE WIRELESS” earbuds (the mind boggles) on special yesterday, and by chance Yvonne was able to find some, which bore no resemblance in appearance to the advertisements. Tried them out today. Good news: they work, and the sound quality appears OK, though I haven't tried speaking to them. The bad news: I can't get them to stay in my ears, and every time I try to adjust them, I end up turning off the sound source. I hadn't expected that.

And of course the instructions were inaccurate and vague. Sadly, I had expected that.


Another maple
Topic: gardening Link here

Into town today, mainly for an eye test, but first dropped in and picked up one of the maples that Yvonne looked at yesterday, the “Chantilly lace”. Here it is after unloading from the car:


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Where should we put it?


Eye and ear test: waste of time
Topic: health, opinion Link here

To Specsavers today for an eye test, though I only had one 18 months ago. Special treatment for diabetics.

And an ear test. I've had one of those before too, and it seems completely useless. Sit in front of an iPad and press a green surface when you hear a tone. Four frequencies (as it proved, 500 Hz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz and 4 kHz), three warbling tones with descending volume, and of course one set for each ear.

The results: passed, sort of:


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How do they estimate the relative levels? And why is my left ear worse than my right ear? I heard all the tones. The person who performed the test (Amy) didn't know either. She couldn't even tell me what the frequencies were.

The eye test confirmed that nothing had changed since last time. Nothing to be done, not even a free set of reading glasses.


Shepherd's pie again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Got back from town just in time to be able to cook the shepherd's pie that I had already put off once.

But all sorts of things were against me. My carefully recorded quantities were all over the place. I had written:

I've decided that there should be 1.2 g and 1.5 g of meat per cm² of dish, so for the 300 g in the recipe I would need a dish between 200 cm² and 250 cm² in size.

OK, I had 360 g of meat (1.2×), so that corresponded to 240 to 320 cm². Quickly calculate the area of an ellipse and decide that the red oval one would have 276 cm², just what I was looking for. But it was far too little! In the end I took a larger pot (31 × 21 cm, 511 cm²), and it was about right. That's up to double what I wrote!

Then the question of gravy. I had some left over, and I had written “80% of the weight of the meat”, in this case 288 g. So I carefully prepared the rest. And it was far too little! More gravy, and I ended up using 535 g, close enough to 1.5× as much as the meat!

And then the mashed potato. 160% of the meat, 650 g. How do I make that? It's this horrible Deb stuff, about which I have ranted at length last year. The instructions don't give quantities—in fact, the packaging doesn't even state the weight of its contents. What we have is this table, which isn't even consistent with itself:


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In the end I decided to weigh the contents (appear to be 360 g, after subtracting a guess of the weight of the packaging which proved to be close enough; the weight of the packaging is 9 g) and extrapolate from the “4 serves” and use 140 g, with 510 g of water for a total of 650 g of mash. That proved wrong; the correct value would have been about 735 g. But no matter; it was still far too little. So my own miscalculations ganged up with Deb's inaccuracies, and we ended up with about 35% to 50% too little mash:


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And it needed nearly 40 minutes to brown, by which time it didn't look as bad:


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But I still need to think about the quantity of mash.


Friday, 17 June 2022 Dereel Images for 17 June 2022
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Metaday
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Why do I keep this diary? On occasion, such as today, I spend just about the whole day writing it, and even then I didn't get round to updating the recipes.

And that's not really what this diary is about. Should I be less verbose in keeping my diary? I've considered it, but I don't think so.


Saturday, 18 June 2022 Dereel Images for 18 June 2022
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Neighbourly relations
Topic: animals, photography, opinion Link here

The Swifts next door have two new puppies, Denzel and Mandy. They're both tiny, Mandy even smaller than Denzel, not only because they're puppies (after all, ours are also only 15 months old), but they get on well with Larissa and Lena:


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Aren't the photos horrible? But what can you do on the spur of the moment?


Sunday, 19 June 2022 Dereel Images for 19 June 2022
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Choucroute garni again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We don't seem to eat as much Sauerkraut as we once did. We've had a little over 1.5 kg of it in the pantry for I don't know how long. Time for a choucroute garni.

The oldest package was from Leuchtenberg (whose insecure URL suggests that they're an association, not a company):


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The bag shows signs of age, but they're too polite to tell me how old it is:


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Maybe that's because they don't take us seriously:


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In any case, one of the jars I also have expired in 2020 (they don't bother to put a date), and my guess is that this stuff expired 5 years or more ago, something confirmed when I opened it:


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The jar behind the pot is one of the other Sauerkrauts. The colour of this one was so different that I tasted it to be sure that it was still good. It's not the colour itself: the Sauerkraut darkens considerably during cooking, so that by the time I was done it looked like this:


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And how was it? It tasted good, but I'm still considering. The Sauerkraut (but not the meat) gets cooked for a total of about 3 hours, and it was almost falling apart. And I think it needed more potato (something that I have incorporated in the recipe).


Power overload!
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Unexpected status from our PV inverter today:

tstamp       Pac       Status       SOC       VBat       PacGrid       PacBat       PacPV       FromPV       W1
2022-06-19 15:11:33       0       Internal Bypass Closed       50       263       NULL       0       0       0       12337
2022-06-19 15:11:34       0       Internal Bypass Closed       50       263       NULL       0       0       0       12335
2022-06-19 15:11:35       0       Internal Bypass Closed       50       263       NULL       0       0       0       12333
...
2022-06-19 15:16:08       0       Internal Bypass Closed       50       263       NULL       0       0       0       12148
2022-06-19 15:16:09       0       Internal Bypass Closed       50       263       NULL       0       0       0       10006
... (all below 11.5 kW)
2022-06-19 15:16:23       0       Internal Bypass Closed       50       263       NULL       62       0       0       10035
2022-06-19 15:16:24       8       Internal Bypass Closed       50       263       NULL       -342       350       0       10039

What does that mean? The last column (W1, grid power) gives the clue: we were using up to 12.3 kW, more than the rating of the inverter (11.5 kW), which is coincidentally also the rating of the grid power connection. So it seems that the inverter pulled the safety cord and waited until the usage dropped below maximum and stayed that way for 15 s. It's a good thing we didn't trip the main switch in that time.


Monday, 20 June 2022 Dereel Images for 20 June 2022
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Unusual mushrooms
Topic: gardening Link here

Found more mushrooms while walking the dogs today:


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I don't think I've seen them before.


Freezer: working again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been 4 days since Wayne came to repair the freezer and couldn't find anything except for a plastic bag blocking the entry to the cooling coil. And since then it has worked fine. So clearly it was the plastic bag. I won't make that mistake again. Today I finally moved all the stuff back from the spare freezer.


Tuesday, 21 June 2022 Dereel Images for 21 June 2022
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Garden flowers in early winter
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

June solstice today, time for the monthly garden photos.

There's nothing special to note in the winter, except that autumn meets spring. On the autumn side we still have a number of roses, though they still need more attention:


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Surprisingly, one last Clematis is still trying to flower:


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And the Salvia microphylla is still not dead:


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On the other hand, spring flowers are still barely recognizable. The first couple of snowflakes are barely flowering, so little that I didn't see them the first time round:


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The trees in the east garden are not doing spectacularly well, but they don't seem to be dying. I was concerned about the long-suffering Ginkgo biloba, which we transplanted a few months back. It's not looking good, but it is producing buds:


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The Corymbia ficifolia isn't flowering (nor should it, but it did this time last year, but it's not looking nearly as sick as it did last spring:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211023/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-1.jpeg
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I've been suspecting for some time that the problem isn't the cold, but the wetness. That could also apply to the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max”. Here this time last year (first two images)a, in October and now (last two images)::


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210621/big/Hibscus-rosa-sinensis-1.jpeg
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Even now, the water level in the area is very high. Here the solenoid pit about 5 m from the Hibiscus:


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So it might be a good idea to put another extraction pump there, though it could only discharge into the “river” of gravel running past:


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The lid of the pit is visible about halfway down on the left, next to the Arum. Much would trickle back, but with enough effort we might keep things dryer.

The lime tree is bearing more and more fruit, and it's still flowering, but it's clearly not happy:


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That may be because it's directly above the pit, and it also doesn't like the water.

The Camellia japonica is another plant that has never looked happy.


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It might be suffering from the same problem. In this case, though, there is already an extraction pump right next to it. And since it doesn't look very happy in the summer either, this might be a different problem.


Wednesday, 22 June 2022 Dereel Images for 22 June 2022
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Where's Troy?
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Troy Addicoat was due to erect the shed today, and to call me by yesterday if he couldn't make it. Neither happened.

Called him in the morning, and he said that he would call back in 5 minutes. He didn't. Over the course of the day I tried several times, only getting voice mail. Finally I sent him an SMS threatening—once again—legal action

And that was all I heard.


Where have all my contacts gone?
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Yvonne back from shopping and wanted to know why her phone no longer knew who I was. Instead of displaying my name and image, it just showed the phone number.

Further investigation showed that almost, but not quite, all of her contacts had disappeared. Checked on a real computer and discovered the same thing: somehow they were just plain gone.

How can that happen? Yes, of course it's possible to delete contacts, but Yvonne doesn't know how to do that, and I can't see her accidentally deleting 50 or so contacts. Went into settings and discovered that it's possible to restore older versions of the contacts list, and yesterday's seem to be OK. But what causes that?

To be safe, got her to change her Google password, though I don't really think that it was a breakin.


Early 35 mm cameras
Topic: photography, history, opinion Link here

When was the 35 mm film cassette introduced? That's a question that I answered on Quora years ago (my answer: probably the Leica Standard). But today somebody upvoted the answer, and I went back to take a look.

And there was an answer that had been downvoted, pointing to this page. It seems that there were dozens of still cameras using 35 mm film in the early part of the last century. I need to spend more time looking at it.

What a useless site Quora has become! Why can people just downvote useful information like that?


More choucroute thoughts
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Finished off Sunday's choucroute today. Yes, definitely too little potato. Also too little sauerkraut. And I already used much less than any recipe recommends. More modifications to the recipe.


Thursday, 23 June 2022 Dereel → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 23 June 2022
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Troy: the next delay
Topic: Stones Road house, general, technology Link here

Troy Addicoat did respond to yesterday's SMS, at 16:31:

I am sorry but were we are working has not got A lot of service and can't Cole I will call you tomorrow morning

Where's the email copy? I didn't see one. Yet another reliability issue with these damned Android “devices”. Called him up, and it he tells me that the weather has not been in his favour, and now it looks like it'll be the end of next week at the earliest before he can do our job. He didn't take me up on the offer of equipment hire. I suppose that's a good sign, though I'm reasonably sure that he's quoting an overly optimistic time. Still, the real deadline was for the Anke Hawke clinic, which, barring further catastrophes, will start tomorrow. Since he can't make that, a few more days won't make much difference.


A leg of lamb for Lena
Topic: animals Link here

While walking the dogs, Larissa found a severed lamb leg in Spearys Road. Not quite the cut of meat you associate with roast lamb, but still a lamb leg. She dropped it, Lena grabbed it and took it home with her:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220623/big/Lena-leg-of-lamb-4.jpeg
Image title: Lena leg of lamb 4          Dimensions:          4610 x 3456, 3594 kB Display location on map
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How did it get there? Yvonne suspects a fox, but that seems unlikely to me.


Finally! The Kiev 3a!
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

“You have mail” slip from Australia Post in the letter box today. Finally the Kiev 3a has arrived from, well, Kyiv. Off to the post office to pick it up and unpacked it.

It's really in good condition, particularly the case:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220623/big/Kiev-3a-6.jpeg
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The camera is a little grimy, but in excellent condition:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-12.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 12          Dimensions:          4682 x 3063, 3900 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220623/big/Kiev-3a-12.jpeg
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What's missing? The instruction manual! It was in the sales description on eBay:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220623/big/Kiev-3a-15.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 15          Dimensions:          1600 x 1096, 477 kB
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And that proved to be more of an issue than I thought. I had difficulty getting it to focus, and I wasn't able to find the shutter dial without a Google search. And even then, it seems that there are no instruction manuals for this model to be found on the web. I found an instruction manual for the Zeiss Contax IIIa, which seems to be very different from the Zeiss/Kiev III, which were both almost identical to my camera. And strangely the Zeiss Contax IIIa has a considerably smaller rangefinder base. This photo is from the page above, but they make it almost impossible to link to it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220623/big/Contax-IIIa.jpeg
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The shutter is set from the wind knob (and yes, it winds in the same direction as every other 35 mm camera except the Exakta, from left to right). But unlike most other cameras, there's no separate shutter speed dial: it's under the wind knob, barely visible:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-2.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 2          Dimensions:          5191 x 3888, 5003 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-3.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 3          Dimensions:          5194 x 3888, 5015 kB
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To set the speed, you lift the knob and turn it so that the dot matches the fixed shutter speed dial below.

And for some reason there's a lock for the lens, keeping focus at infinity. There's also a wheel near the shutter release for focusing. A whole lot of interesting ideas that somehow didn't survive.

Apart from that, it's interesting to compare the cameras. It looks bulky, and to an extent it is. But what surprises me is the size of the lens. It's a Юпитер-8 (Jupiter-8) 5 cm f/2 lens, basically a rebadged Sonnar, but it's so small. Here next to the 5 cm f/3.5 Fed on the Fed:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-11.jpeg
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And here compared with the 50 mm f/2.8 Cassar on the Contax D:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-10.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 10          Dimensions:          4845 x 1559, 3347 kB
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Is it extensible? It doesn't seem to be.

One of the interesting things about this camera is the extremely wide rangefinder base. And it makes itself felt. Compared to the Fed/Leica, focusing is much more precise. It's strange that the Zeiss Contax IIIa reduced the base. I wonder why.

And the exposure meter? It seems to work. Here with the cover closed and then open:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-6-detail.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 6 detail          Dimensions:          4675 x 2579, 3963 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-7-detail.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 7 detail          Dimensions:          4275 x 2256, 4521 kB
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But in bright sunlight it goes off the scale. Is there some range switch somewhere? And how do you interpret the indication? The rewind button has something like a calculator on it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220624/big/Kiev-3a-4.jpeg
Image title: Kiev 3a 4          Dimensions:          5191 x 3888, 6394 kB
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“ГОСТ” (GOST) is the old Soviet film speed measurement system, and clearly there are apertures and shutter speeds underneath. They can be turned relative to each other, but I don't see any relationship with the meter readings. None of this is made any easier by the very small markings on a reflective background.

Still, it's interesting to see the amount of technological innovation that went into this camera. Yes, it was made in 1957 (the first 2 digits of the serial number show that), but the design goes back to the 1936 Contax III; the only significant difference is the flash synchronization (1/25 s!).


Finally a simple git invocation
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The FreeBSD Core Team has private data, of course. In my day we kept it with RCS, but that's no longer modern. So of course now it's kept with git.

How do I access it?

=== grog@dereel (/dev/pts/2) ~/core 103 -> git clone freefall:/secret/core/mysecret/mygit.git
Cloning into 'repo'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 30603, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (30603/30603), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (13306/13306), done.
remote: Total 30603 (delta 13903), reused 29661 (delta 13265), pack-reused 0
Receiving objects: 100% (30603/30603), 8.35 MiB | 257.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (13903/13903), done.

I've changed the pathname for obvious reasons, but it was really that simple. That's so different from all the pain I've had with git in the past. Of course, it wasn't all that simple. I've already established that for a normal commit to a repository I need two steps, first commit, then push. But in this case, I also needed an add, though the file already existed. I wish I understood this program.


Friday, 24 June 2022 Dereel Images for 24 June 2022
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Riding clinic: next delay
Topic: general, animals, opinion Link here

We've been planning a horse clinic with Anke Hawke for over a year, but COVID-19 and other catastrophes kept postponing it. Last time (Friday, 13 May 2022) Anke was on the way to the airport when she heard that the flight had been canceled. This weekend it should finally happen. And then Yvonne got a Facebook message: flight delayed. Only 1½ hours, and then she really did arrive. But as she put it on arrival, she understands why I haven't flown for 16 years.

And why the delay? This news item makes it clear that it's nation-wide, because of the school holidays and higher passenger numbers, something that clearly nobody expected.


The Leica mystique: why?
Topic: photography, history, opinion Link here

Last month Leitz (now called Leica camera) held an auction of old cameras. They expected to get a lot of money for this camera:

https://www.dpreview.com/files/p/articles/8216774687/Leitz_Auction_3.jpeg

It's not much of a camera. No rangefinder, very limited range of shutter speeds, fixed 50 mm f/3.5 lens. But it was Oskar Barnack's personal camera, and they expected to get round € 3 million for it. It sold for € 14.4 million:

OK, you can understand that. It's the history, not the technology, that makes the price. For the event, the team from Digital Photography Review went to Wetzlar, and Chris Nichols fulfilled a lifetime ambition by borrowing a Leica M6 and taking some impressive black and white photos.

Yes, was the camera responsible for the quality of the photos? No, of course not. It was Chris. With the same camera I wouldn't have achieved anything of note. But I was left wondering: why Leica M6? What does it have that the more legendary Leica M3 doesn't have? In fact, what does it have that my Kiev 3a or my Nikon FM2 don't have?

Camera       Contax III       Leica M3       Nikon FM2       Leica M6
Introduced       1936       1954       1982       1984
Shutter       metal,       cloth,       metal,       cloth,
      vertical       horizontal       vertical       horizontal
Top shutter speed       1/1250       1/1000       1/4000       1/1000
Standard lens       f/1.5       f/2       f/1.4       f/2
Flash sync (s)       none (1/25)       1/50       1/250       1/50
Meter       uncoupled       none       coupled       coupled

So the Leicas have worse specs than the Nikon, and even mainly worse than the 1936 Contax III. The only obvious advantage of the M6 over the M3 is the presence of a light meter. But a quick search of eBay shows that the cheapest used M6 and f/2 Summicron is on offer for US $4,300, while you can get a Nikon FM2 with f/1.4 lens for $300. I really don't understand.

Contax or Kiev? There's not much difference except the year of manufacture. The biggest difference is the flash sync on the Kiev 3a, but I preferred to mention how old the design is.


Mobile phone software upgrade
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

More fun with Yvonne's mobile telephone today. Since Wednesday location tracking no longer worked. Why? On checking, discovered that the Mendhak GPS logger also didn't receive any data.

Much messing around, including getting Yvonne to log in to Google again, since she had changed her password on Wednesday. It took her hardly more than five minutes: isn't it helpful to display the password while you're typing it in?

But that didn't help either. Then the Microsoft solution occurred to me: reboot! And how about that, that did it. But while I was messing around, I discovered that a software (“security”) update was available. OK, install. And of course it was available for all three phones. Well over 1 GB for each. A good thing that the data price has dropped.

Then the actual update. “Don't try to reboot now. It won't work, ever again”. And it started counting up by percent, with two digits after the decimal point. And then it hung at 4.99%! What do I do? I can't reboot. So I waited. After several minutes, it suddenly jumped to something like 69.23% and then continued. The behaviour was the same on all three phones, always hanging at 4.99%. Why do they even bother with the percentages if their reporting is so sloppy?

Security upgrade? Maybe. But they've changed the user interface, even some backgrounds. But then, I suppose that's modern. I just need to get used to the bloody thing all over again.


People in two countries have read my papers!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Latest nonsense mail from Academia.edu:

  77 ND  24-06-2022 To acade@lem ( 961) Academia.edu         ND  People in 2 countries have read your papers

Two whole countries! Doubtless Paraguay and Uzbekistan. Given that I communicate on a daily basis with people in at least 10 countries, what kind of incentive can that be? And it rather points to the mindset of people who write this kind of nonsense.


Saturday, 25 June 2022 Dereel → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 25 June 2022
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Larissa's lump
Topic: animals Link here

Yvonne and Anke up at the crack of dawn for a riding lesson, while I tried to sleep on. Finally I had to give up as Larissa made a grunting noise outside my bedroom.

But she was nowhere to be seen. Yvonne had left the laundry door a crack open, and Lara had managed to slip in:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220625/big/Laundry-door.jpeg
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And somehow she looked different:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220625/big/Larissa-with-bone-2.jpeg
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Like Leonid before her, she had managed to bite so hard into her morning bone that it got stuck in her jaw. I had to dislodge it and give it back to finish eating it.


Camera collection: from the sublime to the ridiculous
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I'm rather pleased with my last two camera acquisitions, particularly the Kiev 3a. But there's more. Yesterday I received notification of the arrival of a the Diaxette that I had bought on eBay over the weekend, so off to Napoleons to pick it up.

The very first camera model I ever used was a Diaxette, made by Voss in Ulm. I must have received it some time in 1963, but I didn't note it in my diary. The first photos I took with it were in April 1964:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19640401/big/La-Couere-7.jpeg
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To the best of my knowledge this camera is identical to the first one:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220626/big/Diaxette-5.jpeg
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It differs in a number of ways from the other cameras in my collection. It is the only one with a leaf shutter, the only one with a fixed lens, and the only one with no focus assistance whatsoever. It's really a bare-bones camera: lens, aperture, shutter. About the only thing it has that some of my others don't is flash sync. And yet I took some good photos with it in the 16 months I used it, including these photos that have been very popular:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19640914/big/Kuala-Lumpur-from-Federal-House.jpeg
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It has a Pronto shutter with speeds of only 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and 1/200, and a 45 mm f/2.8 Steinheil Cassar lens, one of the worst I know: it's only a triplet, and at full aperture it's very soft in the corners:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220626/big/Diaxette-3-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220626/big/Diaxette-2-detail.jpeg
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I had forgotten how small the camera is. Here it is with a Leica II copy (FED-1) and an Olympus E-PM2, the smallest Micro Four Thirds System camera that Olympus made:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220626/big/Leica-Diaxette-Olympus.jpeg
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Until I bought this camera, I used a photo by Cees-Jan de Hoog on my camera collection page:

http://www.cjs-classic-cameras.co.uk/other/diaxette.jpg

And how about that, the (lens?) serial numbers are almost the same: 900139 and 900142, though Cees-Jan's camera has a Prontor-S shutter with 1/300 s top shutter speed.

Lens serial numbers? Maybe they're the camera serial number, which is pretty much the same for a fixed-lens camera. Certainly I can't find any other serial number on the camera.


Don't be evil!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

While messing around with Yvonne's phone, checked details of the mendhak GPS Logger. The author is not happy with Google:

Just yesterday GPSLogger has again been unpublished from the Play Store (for the nth time, as usual without warning)...

In the past I've spent effort in getting the app reinstated, however I can't do that any longer; I no longer have the motivation and energy to support GPSLogger development and to deal with the Play Store's moving goalposts...

The core of the issue (why it gets removed) has been that GPSLogger supports a lot of older devices and frameworks, whereas the Play Store is always trying to get everyone onto the latest versions.

My sympathies are with mendhak. But somehow there are too many people complaining about Google lately.


Sunday, 26 June 2022 Dereel Images for 26 June 2022
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Clinic dinner
Topic: general, animals, food and drink Link here

Today was the last day of the Anke Hawke clinic. Somehow it was lower-key than usual. In the past Yvonne spent most of her time there (at Chris Bahlo's place), but this time she hardly went there at all, though she did find time to take 83 photos, but even that's a far cry from the hundreds she used to take. The weather didn't help: she had wanted Anke to give her lessons at our place (so as not to float Carlotta), but it rained most of the day.

As usual we had a dinner at our place, once again paella valenciana. That found many friends. I had expected to have about half the paellera left over, but in fact there was just enough left to dispel the concern that I hadn't cooked enough:


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That also gives an indication of how to adjust the proportions next time: fewer chicken thighs, more seafood.

Table discussion was interesting: we had a good collection of people from related disciplines sitting next to each other: Anke (horsewoman), Pene Kirk (vet) and Chris' sister Melanie (geneticist), and they had quite a lively discussion, which for some reason included supernumary ribs. Melanie mentioned a gene with a name so long that I have forgotten it, and there seem to be no references to it on the web.


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Diary entry for Sunday, 26 June 2022 Complete exposure details

 

Unfortunately both Yvonne and I were tired. I faded round 21:00, and Yvonne threw the guests out round 22:00. I fear that was too early for all of them. Maybe we're getting too old for this sort of thing.


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