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Friday, 1 May 2020 Dereel Images for 1 May 2020
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NBN outage!
Topic: technology, general Link here

A message arrived from Aussie Broadband yesterday evening after I had gone to bed: you have an unscheduled NBN outage! Well, it didn't arrive immediately, because we had an outage. But yes, there was one, about 25 minutes long. Impact on me: my IRC TCP connections reset, and I had to restart.

More interestingly, though, this is the second unscheduled outage this (last) month. And the last scheduled outage was nearly 2 months ago, a real record. Have they just changed their reporting method? Both were in the middle of the night, but yesterday's was before midnight, something that I haven't seen for nearly a year.


More infrared insights
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Yesterday's infrared comparison left one question open: why was the E-30 so much less sensitive than the other cameras, when 5 years ago my E-30 was more sensitive? One reason might be that this E-30 is a different camera from the one I had 5 years ago, but should that make a difference?

Off to reprocess the photos I took then, setting the white balance this time. Here a comparison with the E-PM2 and the old E-30.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20141125/big/IR-E-PM2-4-corrected.jpeg
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The second image is clearly darker than the first, but it's correctly exposed: the sky (top left) is barely correctly exposed. The problem is that the first one doesn't include the sky. OK, increase the exposure of both of them until one point (to the right of the crush, bottom right) barely starts to be overexposed. For the E-PM2, that's 1.23 EV more, for the E-30 it's 1.86 EV more, pretty much exactly ⅔ EV difference. Yes, they're both lighter than I would choose, but the important thing was to get the same level of exposure:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20141125/big/IR-E-PM2-4-corrected-lightened.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20141125/big/IR-E30-9-corrected-lightened.jpeg
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So this lightness corresponds to an exposure of 20 s for the E-PM2 and 4 s for the E-30, both at f/8 (1.7 and 3.9 EV respectively). It's fair to say that that E-30 was a good 2 EV more sensitive than the E-PM2.

But that's not what I saw yesterday: there the E-PM2 was roughly 3 EV more sensitive than the E-30. The E-PM2 shot was taken at 3200/36° ISO, which confuses the issue, but it did mean I could have hand-held it. Reducing to 200/24° ISO and f/5.6, the exposure corresponds to 1.2 s (4.4 EV) compared to 4 s (3.0 EV) for the E-30. So that's a total difference of 3.4 EV between the photos of 5 years ago and now. The E-PM2 hasn't changed, so that would suggest that the exposures are consistent. Are they? We have:

Date       E-30       E-PM2
25 November 2014       5.3       3.0
30 April 2020       3.0       4.4

I've adjusted the exposure for the E-30 5 years ago in line with the adjustments I tried today. But it still doesn't help. The issue is almost certainly that yesterday's scene was brighter. So if I adjust the old exposures by the 1.4 EV difference of the E-PM2, we get:

Date       E-30       E-PM2
25 November 2014       6.7       4.4
30 April 2020       3.0       4.4

And that certainly suggests that the two E-30s had completely different infrared sensitivity. Proof? Hardly. But it's probably the best I can do.


Saturday, 2 May 2020 Dereel
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A day wasted cooking
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yvonne wanted lasagne al forno for dinner this evening. Not an easy dish. It has four components: ragù bolognese, itself quite complicated, salsa di pomodori, sauce béchamel (for some reason almost always in French) and the noodles themselves. Based on experience with shop-bought lasagne, I decided to make fresh noodles. About the only time-saver was that we had salsa di pomodori in the deep freeze.

Got as far as making the ragù, mixing the dough for the noodles and preparing the buerre manié for the béchamel. Thaw out the salsa di pomodori. It was lumpy! Turned out to be ratatouille: the label had fallen off, and we had assumed it would be the salsa, but it seems that we had run out.

No lasagne tonight! Quick change of plan (Wiener Schnitzel). We can make the salsa tomorrow and eat the lasagne then.


Cockatoo feathers
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Dereel has many birds, mainly parrots and magpies. Sulphur-crested cockatoos appear by the hundred, irritatingly flying across the sky where I can seldom get good photos:


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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20181107/big/Cockatoo-2-detail.jpeg
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Black cockatoos are much rarer, but since we moved to the Stones Road property, we often see them too (yellow-tailed black cockatoos), though there are fewer in a mob, only round 50 on average.


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Recently Yvonne found a couple of tail feathers:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200501/big/Cockatoo-feathers-2.jpeg
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The smaller one is from a sulphur-crested cockatoo, the larger one from a yellow-tailed black cockatoo


Sunday, 3 May 2020 Dereel Images for 3 May 2020
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Unseasonal plants again
Topic: gardening Link here

It has rained heavily over the last few days, to the point that we could hardly go outside. And it has been colder than usual. But despite all that, our Corymbia ficifolia, a summer flowerer, is still flowering:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200503/big/Corymbia-ficifolia.jpeg
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And the first iris is also flowering:


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One plant that flowers pretty much all the year round is the Solanum laxum in front of the water tanks:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200503/big/Solanum-laxum.jpeg
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That's not very many flowers, but it's more than I recall; yet another effect of much more fertilizer, I think.

But the plant of most interest was the Robinia pseudoacacia that we transplanted two weeks ago. It certainly doesn't look as happy as on transplanting (first photo):


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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200503/big/Robinia-pseudoacacia-1.jpeg
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Yvonne was worried that it might die—something that I considered quite possible—but in fact the impression is misleading. Yes, the old leaves are dying off, but new ones are already coming out in no uncertain manner, and new shoots are coming out next to the old, dying ones:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200503/big/Robinia-pseudoacacia-4.jpeg
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Frustrating lasagne
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

As planned yesterday, Yvonne made a new batch of salsa di pomodori today, and I continued with making the lasagne. Not good. The noodle dough got caught in the noodle machine, and I couldn't extricate it:


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That's not the first time with this machine, but I've never had it before that. There must be something wrong with the machine; I won't use it again. In the end I had to give up with the fresh pasta and salvage the dish with the dried “instant” pasta that I so hate. Tried boiling it first, which didn't seem to make much difference to it, but potentially made it less dry than it might otherwise have been.

And the béchamel didn't mix well either. I had to use a pot that I don't normally use, and it didn't go well with the mixer, with the result that it burnt on the bottom:


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And somehow I couldn't get my normal 6 layers into the pot. Even with 5, the result boiled over:


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And while serving it, I managed to turn the serving upside down (first image):


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After all that, it should have tasted bad too. But no, it was excellent.

Now for a new noodle machine.


Monday, 4 May 2020 Dereel
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Time for other things
Topic: gardening, general Link here

Somehow I've been doing nothing round the house over the last couple of months. Something in the office or kitchen is always holding me up. But in the last couple of days I've had a little time on my hands.

OK, spread some fertilizer in the front garden. First “native” (Proteaceae) fertilizer for the Grevilleas and Leucadendra, and then the remainder of a bag for other plants. Finished that off and couldn't be bothered to open a new one, so left it at that. After all, it's (finally) dry, not the best time to spread fertilizer.

And how about finally installing the other shelves in the garage? I installed one six months ago and then left the other two for “later”. But then I could move out some of the stuff in my office and tidy away some stuff that I put in there temporarily 5 years ago when we moved in. Set to, in the process recalling why I had procrastinated: these components are really very difficult to insert correctly, and each of the 24 pieces required multiple attempts to fit correctly, as I noted on the second day of assembly. Today I had deliberately made things even more difficult: instead of the intended 5 shelves, I had decided on 7 for this unit and 8 for the other. I had bought a third unit just for the shelves. Got the 5 shelves installed with much cursing, and decided that that was all I could subject Yvonne's ears to. Again mañana.


Install COVIDSafe!
Topic: general, health, opinion Link here

Received on my mobile phone today, as relayed to my Real Computer:

Incoming - AusGov (No contact specified)
Message text: Coronavirus Aus Gov msg: Help us to keep you safe and ease restrictions by downloading the COVIDSafe app now: aus.gov.au/app (4/5/20 19:19)

Now wouldn't you think they would have known that I had already installed it? Maybe it's to instill a false sense of security in people concerned about their privacy.


Tuesday, 5 May 2020 Dereel Images for 5 May 2020
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Installing the gate opener
Topic: general, opinion Link here

CJ Ellis along this morning to help install the gate opener, which we've already had for a month now. The critical part was the alignment of the mountings, and the instructions had stipulated using clamps. But that didn't make sense. There's only one place we can mount the big end of the opener, on the inside of the gatepost. So after careful measurement it made more sense to mount it there.

Somehow it was slow going. Yes, I mislaid a few things and had to look for them, and the maker had helped by not supplying enough washers; I'll have to buy some more. But just aligning things and drilling the holes seemed to take longer than I had expected.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200505/big/Gate-opener-3.jpeg
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But that was the hard part, and after an hour it was done, and we confirmed that the angles and the distances worked correctly.


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That was the hard part. After breakfast I went out again to do the electrics.

Oh. Where are the cables? The terminal blocks? The screws? Where should I put the battery charge controller? The instructions said nothing. All I had was a box, two batteries and the controller:


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Clearly the batteries were intended to fit inside the box, though there's no way to tie them down. And the charge controller? It's clearly not designed to be mounted externally, but there's no obvious place to put it. The battery box and its cover, however, were much deeper than necessary, and I found I could put it—again loose—inside the box and still screw it closed.

Or I would have been able to had they been friendly enough to include screws. As it is, there's no way to close it. Established that they're the same M4×10 mm screws used in the controller box. By sheer coincidence found some M4×15 mm screws, too long for this box, but it seems that they would fit in the main controller box. But I'm going to have to buy some terminal blocks anyway, so I might as well get the right screws too.

In passing, though the controller is actually attached to its protective box, it doesn't look as if they were designed for each other:


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Yes, I know the pain of finding the right kind of box, but you'd think that a commercial operation would have done better.


Wednesday, 6 May 2020 Dereel Images for 6 May 2020
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Gate opener: the easy part
Topic: general, opinion Link here

So now we have the gate opener hardware mounted in place. All that's left is to mount the solar panel, batteries and the control unit.

Control unit first. No problem. But first I need to connect things up, so removed it again and turned my attention to the solar panel. It's really a strange looking thing:


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It looks as if it was stuck together in some cottage industry. Maybe it was. But more to the point, how do I mount it? Opened the bracket package and found:


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Now the bracket isn't marked as being intended to fit to the solar panel, though I can't see where else it would fit. But clearly the screw holes don't match.

Dammit, there are just too many problems with this thing. Time to send the seller a message listing the problems. To my surprise, received a reply only 13 minutes later. Sadly, it wasn't very helpful. Here a summary:

Please find the following:

- No instructions beyond wiring diagram for batteries and panel.

I will send you instructions to your email shortly.

- No way of fixing the batteries in the box that I presume is intended for them.

The battery box should be able to fit 2 batteries, that is the standard box provided by supplier.

- No screws to close the battery box.

The screws should be in the battery box or the control box, or in your installation accessories kit.

- No indication of where to put the solar controller.

Some customers make their own storage box for controller, or you can try to put it in control box if there is space.

- No way to mount the solar panel.

Solar panel mounting post is not included.

- No cables to join the components.

It only comes with motor cable 1.5m, it is a 5 core cable connects the actuator to circuit board. Rest of the cables are available from your local store or your electrician.

- A bracket that I can't identify. I thought it was for the solar panel, but it doesn't match.

There is a supporting frame comes with panel, like a bracket.

In summary: yes, we don't supply everything, including cables and a place for the charge controller. And yes, the frame that comes with the panel, the one that doesn't fit, is the one intended for the panel. And the missing screws should have been there, but no offer to send new ones.

So about the only thing of use were the PDF versions of the documentation, which showed that I had received the complete documentation, but also that I had forgotten one of the sheets of paper:


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So why didn't it fit? Yvonne came back from shopping and took a look. Simple! Put the bracket on its side:


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And how about that, that worked, and it matches the diagram. So why didn't I think of that? Because it's wrong! The panel is designed for vertical mounting, as the label and the connector on the back show:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200507/big/Solar-panel-1-detail.jpeg
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The outlet from the junction box should be at the bottom, which matches the label. It also matches the orientation of our neighbour's gate opener solar panel, for what that's worth. So I claim that I'm right, and they're wrong.

Apart from that, the screw threads are on the bracket, so I first need to remove the larger frame, attach the angled bracket, then screw the bracket back on again without being able to access the screw heads. And how do I open the contact box?


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OK, there's OPEN written at the top. Just push down? Doesn't work. Looking at the other end, where the cable should come out, there doesn't seem to be any way to slide it. And at the top end there are a couple of tags that clearly indicate that the thing should be slid in that way.


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Lift the cable end and then pull? That might work, but an attempt didn't show much willingness on its part. How much force should I use?

Yvonne brought back screws and junction blocks as requested. It seems that finding M4×10 screws is anything but simple, and she had to go to three different places before getting some at a specialty shop. But are they what I want? She had taken a sample with her (left), but what she got was on the right:


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The ones she got (30¢ each!) are shorter and have a wider head. And the head doesn't fit in the battery box! It does fit in the controller box, however, and I'm sure I'll find a way to fix things. But why didn't the people at the specialty shop notice that? What a pain this all is!


Finishing the shelving
Topic: general, opinion Link here

The shelf that I started assembling on Monday was blocking the garage, so while Yvonne was away I finally got round to finishing it. There are a number of issues to note, in particular that it's much easier to put in the shelves one at a time before adding the frames above them. But the big one is just getting the locking tags inserted in the columns. The side members look like this:


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The metal tags at the ends fit into two adjacent slits in the columns:


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But for that the top ones need to stand a little clear of the body of the member so that they can catch in the slit. OK, pull them out a little with a screwdriver (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200507/big/Shelf-side-member-4.jpeg
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And that works if you do it right. The real problem is that if you overdo it, the tags then don't fit back in the other side of the slit:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200507/big/Shelf-side-member-4.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200507/big/Shelf-side-member-6.jpeg
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And that causes untold pain and cursing. I think I'm getting the hang of it now, but I'll still need a while to drum up courage to build the third unit.


Thursday, 7 May 2020 Dereel Images for 7 May 2020
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More Clematis problems
Topic: gardening, general, opinion Link here

Somehow the Clematis that we bought 2½ years ago have had it hard. The “General Sikorski” near the dog run suffered multiple insults, but somehow has always come back. The “Edo Murasaki” on the wind break north of the house grew, but not profusely. I've been watching it produce a couple more buds, but only a couple, due any day now.

In the middle of the night (about 2:00) I woke up and heard a rushing noise from the lounge room. It was difficult to localize, but finally I traced it to the outside tap, near the corner of the lounge room and not far from the “Edo Murasaki”. Somehow it was turned on, and the hose that had been attached had become dislodged.

OK, outside and turn it off. How much water had we lost? It wasn't running when we went to bed round 22:30, so it would have been a maximum of 3½ hours. How much water comes out? Less than 5 l/min. So that would be a worst case of about 1,000 litres. We can live with that, at least at this time of year.

But while out there, saw something in the pelargonium bush. It wasn't there any more in the morning; it had moved further north:


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That's the wind break, still with the clematis buds. No chance of them flowering any more. The winds last night had torn the wind break from its mountings (on the left in the first photo) and torn not only the clematis apart, but also the Jasminum polyanthum from their roots.


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All that was left of the clematis plant were two stalks, barely visible as diagonal lines:


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It's autumn now, so doubtless both will come again in the spring. They might even end up bushier as a result. In the meantime, it'll give me something to think about in mounting the solar panel for the gate opener. How do I avoid this happening again?

In passing, who left the tap turned on? I'm very careful not to do that, so it must have been Yvonne. But she said she hadn't used it for weeks, it must have been me. In the end we blamed Nikolai, because he was standing next to us.


More fertilizer
Topic: gardening Link here

It was too windy to mount the gate opener components today, but I finally got round to spreading some more fertilizer in anticipation of the rain promised for this evening. 10 kg, and I didn't even get the garden finished. Hopefully it will make a difference in the spring.


Friday, 8 May 2020 Dereel Images for 8 May 2020
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Anniversary on anniversary
Topic: history, opinion Link here

Somehow all sorts of anniversaries occurred today:

The really interesting thing is the relationship of those times. I've been with Yvonne for over three-quarters of the last 50 years. The time between meeting and Sue Fortescue and marrying Doris seemed long, but it's just the same time as we have spent here, and I haven't even got round to unpacking things yet.


Gate opener: use a larger hammer
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Today was the last day where I could finish installing the electrics for the gate opener: in the afternoon it was supposed to rain.

But I got almost nowhere. I established that the frame and bracket for the solar panel were built in such a way that I would have to attach the frame first and then mount the solar panel when the frame was in place, not the easiest way to mount things.

But the real issue was how to attach the cables. I had already established that the cover for the contacts on the panel showed no obvious way of opening. In principle you'd expect to just push down on the marking:


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But that didn't work. Hammer? Put a screwdriver on top of the ribs on the cover and tapped lightly. Success! Well:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200508/big/Solar-panel-contact-board-1.jpeg
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And that's as far as it went. What now? After some consideration, tapped considerably more forcefully. More success!


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Admire the loose screw, not to mention the contacts with the panel itself:


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And how do I connect? No tags. I'll have to wrap the (supplied by me) wire around the screws. And the other end? The control unit has thoughtfully been provided with spade connectors that fit exactly over the battery terminals. Only that's not the way things are intended to be connected:


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What's wrong here? I really hate cutting off terminals, and possibly there's some other way to attach things. It took me a while to establish that these terminals would be exactly what I needed to connect to the battery if using the supplied mains charger. Is there a way to use the main controller to charge from the solar panel? No, it doesn't look like it:


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There's no connection for a solar panel there; ADAPTER is for the mains adapter. Presumably there's a good reason not to connect the solar panel there. And in addition I received an image of strange aspect ratio showing me that my wiring guess was in fact correct:

 
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I'm left with the distinct feeling that the opener itself is of good quality, and the battery and solar installation is a badly thought out addition. But this, too, can be solved.

In passing, when I opened the accessories bag for the battery compartment, I found, apart from the (correct!) cable joining the two batteries, the M4×10 screws that I had missed. What a place to put them!


Not the bean
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

When Yana was here over Christmas, she took exception to me making frijoles de la olla with kidney beans. They should be made with frijoles negros. Yes, of course, I explained, but where do you find them? She set off into Ballarat and came back with some, labeled (I think) “Black turtle beans”. Wonderful! But I had a big batch of frozen kidney beans in the deep freezer, so it wasn't until now that I finally got round to looking at them.

And I couldn't find them! What I did find were:


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The ones on the right are the (red) kidney beans. The ones in the middle are from a package marked “Adzuki beans” and also Đậu đỏ. Are they the same thing? But then I found the ones on the left, loose in a container. They're certainly black. Off looking for confirmation, and found little. The Spanish Wikipedia page contained the information:

Las semillas son negras opacas, alargadas, de tamaño pequeño, con 18 a 25 g/100 semillas.

OK, I can understand enough of that to recognize that a seed should weigh between 180 and 250 mg. Counted out 25 of them and weighed a total of 4.36 g, or 174 mg per bean, somewhat lighter than the specification. But the other beans (Adzuki?) weigh about 129 mg each, so that's the closest I have so far.


Google Translate excels
Topic: language, technology, opinion Link here

So what does “Las semillas son negras opacas, alargadas, de tamaño pequeño, con 18 a 25 g/100 semillas.” mean? I translate it as “The seeds are opaque black, wide, of small tamaño, with 18 to 25 g/100 seeds”. What does tamaño mean? Put it through Google Translate, which for some reason chose the mobile phone version of the page, coming up with:

The seeds are opaque black, elongated, small in size, with 18 to 25 g / 100 seeds.

So does tamaño mean size? My not-very-good Spanish-German dictionary translates it as „derartig, so groß, so klein“, suggesting “thus”, but it seems that as a noun it does indeed mean “size”. Only I had to follow up to be sure, and it doesn't seem to be appropriate in all cases.

But the real thing that hit me was this part:

The black beans, black beans , black beans , black beans black or black Zaragozas are black beans...

Saturday, 9 May 2020 Dereel Images for 9 May 2020
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Cooking, cooking...
Topic: food and drink Link here

The weather today was pretty terrible, a good thing under the circumstances: I spent most of the day in the kitchen.

For dinner we had enchiladas verdes. I've had a recipe for ever, but the details are unclear. It seems that the last time we tried them was ten years ago, and even then I had my doubts.

Today I started by comparing recipes for salsa verde, a little late. Yvonne had bought a capsicum, part of the recipe, but it seems that most recipes I've found online don't use it. My recipe also asked for cream, which I have decided is US American. In the end I changed it significantly. In the end I had:

quantity       ingredient       step
15 g       green chili (pickled Jalapeño)       1
500 g       green tomatoes       1
200 g       green capsicum       2
80 ml       chicken broth       3
20 g       garlic       3
80 g       onion       3
15 g       salt       3
10 g       coriander leaf       4

The jalapeños should have been serranos, and we could have had more (in other words, Yvonne didn't complain), but we didn't have any serranos. The enchiladas didn't taste bad, though the tortillas almost disintegrated. Next time I'll consider baking them alone for a couple of minutes first. And somehow I can't recall having eaten them before.


Sunday, 10 May 2020 Dereel
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Gate opener, next issue
Topic: general, opinion Link here

The weather wasn't good enough today for mounting the gate opener stuff, but at least I could work my way through the wiring. The first issue proved to be a problem that I had identified without recognizing the consequences:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200509/big/Charging-cables-1.jpeg
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Yes, I need a terminal block there. And the thoughtfully included spade connectors are needed to connect to the batteries. But how do I attach cables to them? The correct way is with a crimping tool, but if I once had one, I don't know where it is. Buy a new tool for two connections? That way madness lies.

In the end I removed the insulation and soldered wires to the connectors. How do you remove the insulation? I tried conventional tools and also kitchen utensils with equal lack of success and danger to my person. But they're heat sensitive, so I was able to get them off with the help of the soldering iron.

Only later did I realize that I did have a couple of cables with terminals on them. They're in the same photo above. But the cable was far too long, and I hate cutting them, so I probably would have done the same anyway.

Still, that seems to be the last hurdle. Tomorrow the weather will be better, so I can hopefully finish things then.


Multimeter strangeness
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Do the batteries for the gate opener have any charge? Yes, one has 13.13 V, the other 12.98 V.

Why the discrepancy? I had measured the second one with the leads swapped, so it really displayed -12.98 V. For the fun of it, swapped the leads. 13.13 V. Both batteries read the same, but the multimeter showed a discrepancy of 150 mV depending on which way round I measured them.

What can cause that? It's a cheap multimeter, but I hadn't expected that kind of issue. Presumably it has something to do with the circuitry that turns the voltages around.


Monday, 11 May 2020 Dereel Images for 11 May 2020
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Finishing the gate opener
Topic: general, opinion Link here

As promised, the weather was reasonable today, so I finally got round to installing the remaining parts of the gate opener, only 6 days after CJ and I installed the motor.

First, the solar panel. Yes, that worked. As expected, getting the screws in was a pain, but somehow I found all the ones I dropped into the grass:


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The only issue there is that the landscape orientation meant that I had to turn the panel more to the west than I had wanted.

Next, the batteries and control unit. Here the problems started:

But finally that was done, and there was just the controller to wire. That was straightforward enough, though the devil's in the detail: the screws for the terminal panel at the bottom are underneath, so it's much easier to attach the wires before screwing the box to the post:


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And yes, there's no power supply attached; that doesn't make sense unless we really run into trouble with the PV charger, and the power supply isn't waterproof.

Next, associate the “remotes” (remote controls). The instructions were a bit vague or even contradictory:

Press and release the CODE SW button, the CODE LED will be ON, then press the key in the remote twice in 4 seconds, the CODE LED will flash for 3 seconds and then to OFF. Now the remote has been programmed successfully.

NOTE: The button of the remote control should be pressed and hold for more than 2 seconds while programming.

But the 2 seconds didn't seem to be necessary. What the instructions didn't say was that immediately after associating the first remote control, the motor started running. But the gate didn't move. I had thought that this was because I had disengaged it, but it seems that the motor automatically reengages when it starts. The noise it made was like a screw going off the end of its range.

Why? I had installed exactly as instructed. OK, disengage the motor and half open the gate. Bingo! It ran. And didn't shut completely. The whole careful adjustment of the closing position hadn't worked, and I'm pretty sure that I'm not to blame (for once). In the end adjusted the position of the motor with the adjustments that they provide. Here last week and after adjustment:


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That's a pretty primitive adjustment, but it seemed to work perfectly:


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Then put the retaining pins in for the joints at the end of the motor. Surprise! The one at the gate end didn't fit. It seems that, though it's smaller than the other end, it takes the longer pin.

But finally it was done. We had to remove the dropper at the “open” end, since it opens further than that (I wonder what people do if there's a wall in this position), and the second time it closed it wasn't as exact:


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There's a vague description of adjustments in the manual:


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The position of Limit Switch A was fixed in factory, do not adjust it again. Plug on the power to running gate opener, use a screwdriver to loosen the screw of Limit Switch B, slide Limit Switch B to the desired closed position and fix it. Limit setting for Gate 1 is finished now. NOTE: Always place the magnetic ring between the Limit Switch A and B.

And then there's this:

WARNING: Ensure the gate opener is Power Off when you make any adjustment. Keep away from the gate, while setting the system in case of any unexpected gate moving. Carefully adjust the DIP switches to avoid the risk of machine damage, injury or death. Always ask the help of professional technician /electrician if you have any question.

OK, people, how do I Power Off? There are no switches! I would have to open the control box and physically disconnect the batteries. And which DIP switches must I “adjust”? There are three: Push/pull operation (never needing “adjustment”), auto close and photo beam.

But it's working. Our neighbours had noted that theirs was slower than they would have liked, but that's not the case for ours, though I don't see any likelihood of it attacking me while I'm adjusting it. I'll consider shut point adjustments later if that proves necessary, and I most certainly won't disconnect the power to do so.


More weather station anomalies
Topic: general, technology Link here

For some weeks now I've had the internal unit for the weather station in the lounge room. On the one hand, the temperature in the lounge room is more interesting than in the office, but the real reason was to have a line of sight to the outside unit, in the hope that the communication would be better.

The hope seems to have gone to fruition, but a couple of days ago I had a strange graph (blue line, obscured by the text; the bigger version is clearer):

Click to see larger image

What kind of malfunction could have caused that spike round 16:00? It's not a single incorrect reading: it took 90 minutes for the temperature reading to return to normal.

But then it dawned on me:


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That's the internal unit at the bottom left corner of the TV, in the sun. Move it to the other side, and hopefully all will be well.


Buying old cameras
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

How much are old cameras worth? People are still doing a roaring trade in 35 mm film cameras. Even I bought an Edixa Reflex two years ago. But what about more modern cameras? Are DSLRs old enough to be collectable? It occurred to me that the oldest real DSLR (one that was designed as a DSLR from scratch, rather than an evolution of film SLRs) was the Olympus E-1, introduced only 17 years ago. Looking at the specs, it's amazing how much things evolved between then and when the E-3 was introduced, only 4 years later.

Last year I bought an E-30, effectively an E-3 with less environmental protection. Even the manufacture date in the “secret” parameters is November 2007, a year before it was announced, but matching the announcement date of the E-3 quite well.

Looking at the specs, a lot had happened between September 2003 and November 2007. Apart from considerably better functionality, notably “live view” (the precursor to mirrorless cameras) and image stabilization, the sensor resolution had increased from 4.9 MP to 12.3 MP, and the highest ISO sensitivity had gone from 800/30° to 3200/36°, and the rear LCD screen had more than doubled in area.

Wouldn't it be fun to have an E-1, just for comparison? Unlike the Edixa, I could even take photos with it. So when not one, but two showed up on eBay for a starting price of $100, it sounded like a good idea. How much should I offer? The seller had a “Buy It Now” of $250, but nobody believes that. A maximum of $150 should be enough.

To my surprise, five other people bid on them, and they finally went for $306. The winning bidder must have cursed not buying them for the “Buy It Now” price. But what did the people want them for? For collectables they're too expensive, and for real use the specs are insufficient.


Tuesday, 12 May 2020 Dereel Images for 12 May 2020
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Photos in the time of COVID-19
Topic: health, photography, opinion Link here

How have things changed for us as a result of the curfew quarantine lockdown? Hardly at all. We bought a couple of face masks, and I wore one in town 2 weeks ago. But why not use it as the title photo for my diary for the duration of the restrictions? So Yvonne came to take a photo of me with the mask.

Not easy. For the first couple of shots the flash didn't fire:


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Why not? I've had issues with the triggers in the past, but this time I had to wipe the contacts on the camera with my finger. We've probably never taken flash photos with it before. OK, finally we get a flash:


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Huh? Oh, yes, Yvonne's camera is set to auto-ISO, and the camera didn't know about the flash, so it took the photo at 3200/36° ISO, 3 stops too bright. Set to 200/24° as intended. Finally we got a photo:


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13 photos in all. What a pain!


Yet another teevee crash
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

There's something about the Covidly web site that browsers don't like. I've had to shoot down browsers on multiple occasions, but today things were worse than usual. On teevee the whole display hung, including the mouse cursor. The firefox process was using 100% CPU time, and I couldn't stop it: it was in STOP state. I thought that only happened when it was in a debugger, but clearly that wasn't the case, and sending a SIGCONT didn't help. In the end I had to reboot the system Yet Again.

Is this hardware? That's what I thought last time. But it's looking more like a software issue now. How can I debug this? Take a processor dump before rebooting? My tools are long worn-out, even if they're still described in gdb(4). Using them would first require bringing them up to date.


Wednesday, 13 May 2020 Dereel
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COVID-19: Done?
Topic: health, general, opinion Link here

Victorias COVID-19 restrictions have been eased. I forget most details, because they don't apply to me. Now there can be up to 30 people present at a funeral! And, I think, 5 people can get together at a time, and up to 10 people can play sport together, carefully planned so that games like football and cricket are still out of bounds.

And what did I do? Nothing worth talking about. I should, of course, have been upgrading eureka, but once again my enthusiasm wasn't up to it. What the hell, why not have a day doing nothing?


Thursday, 14 May 2020 Dereel Images for 14 May 2020
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Air conditioner: better de-icing?
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Today was the first really cool night this year. The weather station measured a minimum of 1.4°, which probably meant that the ground temperature was round freezing. And for the first time since the replacement of the controller, the air conditioner had to perform a de-icing cycle.

I've grumbled about the poor duty cycle in the past: in cold weather it only heated for half the time. But today that was different: it ran for fully 90 minutes before de-icing, where previously it would start de-icing after less than 30 minutes. Even now, though, it took 10 minutes to recover. Why? But it does seem that the behaviour of the new controller is somewhat different.


Documenting the PV system
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Call from Karen Rickard (?; a man) from Ballarat Solar Panels today. He wanted to come and remedy the issues that Daryl Buchanan had identified last month, notably the missing labels. He brought with him a document that included the following text:


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“CUSTOMER UNSURE OF SYSTEM INSTALLED AND THE CORRECT FUNCTION OF THE CHANGEOVER SWITCH”. Of course I know what system is installed and how the changeover switch works. It was this idiot Buchanan who operated it incorrectly, twice, after I had told him how it worked. I find that particularly offensive when he had caused us considerable pain by not listening, especially since he didn't need to operate it in the first place: he didn't understand the wiring even after I explained it to him.

To be fair, Karen (or whatever his name was) was confused too. It seems that these strange “hybrid” systems are not very well understood, nor frequently installed. But why not? It seems the most obvious way to do things if a grid connection is available. We needed some discussion to clarify the function of the switch. For me, it's straightforward: it's a bypass switch for the inverter. In the UP position it feeds the grid into the inverter, and the inverter feeds power to the house. In the MIDDLE connection, everything is disconnected (that's the one that Daryl Buchanan selected not once, but despite my admonishments, twice). In the DOWN position the inverter is out of circuit and the grid feeds directly to the house.

But what did we end up with?


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Somehow that's missing the point. In particular, there's no warning about the MIDDLE position (which, it seems, is required, as I had suspected).

But then there's the other issue. What's the CORRECT SIGNAGE for a battery? In the end, it ended up with this:

 
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OK, people, what's wrong here? Firstly, it doesn't say what the device is. There's another, much smaller label for that:


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But what use is the big one? How can it explode? How do sparks or flames cause danger? My understanding is that Lithium-based batteries die from electrical mishandling, not the presence of sparks or smoke in the environment. What happens if my car generates smoke when it starts?

In general, all these labels don't help much. I had to explain the component layout to both Daryl Buchanan and Karen. What we need is an overall circuit shown somewhere, not all these individual components.

And almost as a sting in the tail, Buchanan complained that “pips” (the screw covers on the switch housings) were missing. Yes, he was right:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200514/big/Labeled-PV-system-4.jpeg
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But that was taken today, after he had been here. Last year it looked like this:


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So clearly he had lost the pips while messing around inside where he didn't know what he was doing:


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That shows him measuring the wrong side of the PV array switch and wondering why the voltage was wrong (something that I, UNSURE CUSTOMER, had to explain to him).

One thing that he mentioned last month, but didn't include in his report, and which I thought would make sense, was some kind of protection to avoid driving the car into the battery:


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Why wasn't that in the report?

While talking to Karen, he mentioned that he had taken a course, and some inspectors also on the course didn't like the regulation that electricians should not use ladders made of conductive materials. It seems that aluminium ladders are by far the lightest, but the regulations prohibit them. I don't really see why they should be a safety concern, but clearly inspectors should adhere to the regulations.

And Buchanan?


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That's a metal construction, right? What should I say? When Buchanan came here I wasn't happy, but now I'm really annoyed.


Friday, 15 May 2020 Dereel Images for 15 May 2020
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Huevos a la tigre revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been a while since I ate huevos a la tigre, my take on Huevos a la flamenca. But today we had a broken raw egg to process, and recently I've discovered a mandolin (or is that mandoline?) that cuts good julienne strips. So off to try it out:


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Yes, it was easy enough to make the raw potato julienne, and the result was quite acceptable:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200515/big/Huevos-a-la-tigre-14.jpeg
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But somehow the shape is wrong, and it's not really much more difficult to cut the potatoes into cubes.


More transient grid outages
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Another couple of short grid power outages today, at 12:09:51 and 12:51:35.


Another new clock
Topic: general Link here

Four years ago I had a moment of surprising contentment at the sight of the new clock that we had put in the kitchen:


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Problem: it doesn't look like it, but it was (more correctly they were) in the way. Somehow I managed to knock one off the wall and break the glass. Petra Gietz managed to kill another. And now Yvonne has outdone both of us and broken another two.

Why? Somehow it's easy to hit with a broom handle. The last one is still working, without the glass, but I've finally decided that it's time to mount it higher. Here then and now:


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In the process I discovered that I had put the clock about 1 cm too far to the left on the previous occasion.


Saturday, 16 May 2020 Dereel Images for 16 May 2020
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Understanding used camera prices, part 2
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

A few days ago I commented on the prices that a pair of old Olympus E-1 cameras brought, and wondered why. But then another one popped up: $522! This is a single, used body of a camera that's really only of interest to collectors. Chris Bahlo bought her OM-D E-M10 Mark II a few years back, brand new, for $499.

It was long enough ago that Olympus don't want to know about it any more, but basically it's almost identical to the E-M10 Mark III

And I bought my second E-30 last year, with two lenses, for $250.

Alright, this camera comes from Japan, and I've seen a surprising number of surprisingly expensive cameras offered in Japan, but I still don't understand how they can get that kind of price.

But then I saw a real classic camera for sale, a Nikon F with Photomic viewfinder (a pentaprism with built-in TTL exposure metering), something that I lusted after when I was a boy. OK, not the best of condition, and it looks as if the Photomic isn't correctly mounted:


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Still, that's a really classic camera. I found another one (in excellent condition, however) going for $1,460, with only a conventional pentaprism. Watched it for a while, and 90 minutes before end the bids were still only at $60, so I put in a snipe—and won! $96. I wonder if the experts can see defects that I haven't. At least I established, based on this list, that the camera was built between January and March 1970. Also found this page that gave me some information about the Photomic prism, though I still don't know (nor care too much) whether it was a Photomic FT or a Photomic FTn. Maybe it's written on the head itself, though this video on the subject doesn't seem to suggest it:


What acacia?
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

There's a relatively uninteresting looking acacia in Stones Road, opposite Fiona Drayton's driveway:


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What makes it stand out (apart from the fact that it's flowering now, while most acacias flower in spring) is the strong perfume, which hits us every time we walk past. Wouldn't that be a nice shrub for the garden?

But what is it? I took a twig to examine more carefully:


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Then an online search, which proved to be very unhelpful. The closest I came was Acacia stricta, but they bloom in spring, nobody mentions the perfume, and the flowers grow close to the stem, as this photo from VICFLORA shows:


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Understanding IPA
Topic: language, technology, opinion Link here

One of my new toys is a mandolin. Or is that a mandoline? My spell checker opts for “mandolin”, but this is a kitchen utensil, not a musical instrument.

And according to Wikipedia, it's spelt mandoline. According to OED, it's mandolin, with the comment

Frequently mandoline.

More to the point, though, is the pronunciation:

Brit. /ˌmandəˈlɪn/, /ˈmandəlɪn/, /ˈmandl̩ɪn/
U.S. /ˈˌmændəˈˌlɪn/

But Wikipedia is strongly US-centric, so their pronunciation was

/ˌmændəˈliːn, -ˈlɪn/ or /ˈmændəlɪn/;

OK, I can fix that. Oh. This easy-to-use Wikipedia uses MediaWiki, an easy-to-use substitute for complicated markup languages like troff and TeX. Simple, right? Just paste the IPA into the editor window.

After 30 minutes I gave up. The idea is a template to lead the user to a relatively useless description of IPA for the language in question (in this case English). Each Individual Glyph needs to be separated by a vertical bar, so to get /ˌmændəˈliːn, -ˈlɪn/ you need to enter:

{{IPAc-en|ˌ|m|æ|n|d|ə|ˈ|l|iː|n|,_|-|ˈ|l|ɪ|n}}

OK, I can do that:

{{IPAc-en|m|a|n|d|ə|l|ˌ|ɪ|n}},{{IPAc-en|ˌ|m|a|n|d|ə|l|ɪ|n}},{{IPAc-en|ˌ|m|a|n|d|l̩|ɪ|n}}

Naughty boy! You entered a, which isn't valid. Never mind what OED thinks. It didn't complain about the ; it just repeated the previous IPA snippet.

Life's too short to mess around with this junk. I considered just ditching the update, but in the end I just put in the raw IPA without the template stuff. That will probably upset somebody (probably US American) who finds that it violates some Wikipedia policy, like the time some well-meaning person reverted a fix to the cron page, made by Doug McIlroy and submitted by Ken Thompson (the author of cron) because there was no published reference.


Pommes soufflées revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Over the course of time Yvonne has bought no less than three tubs of garlic butter, which I almost never eat, and which she only eats with beef filet. One is in the deep freeze, an opened one expired about 2 years ago, and there was a full one that expired only two months ago.

Nothing for it: we'll have to eat beef filet, and for once I ate it with garlic butter. And accompaniments? Broccoli (Yvonne's favourite) and pommes soufflées. I had made some comments in the past that they didn't work very well, but this time I decided to take photos and consider what went wrong.

First fry at 180°:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200516/big/Pommes-non-soufflees-1.jpeg
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Let them cool down, raise the fat temperature to 190°, and fry again:


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They look nice, but they didn't blow up. It wasn't until we ate them that we discovered that, despite the appearance, they weren't really cooked. Clearly they had been fried too hot.

This really does need considerable preparation. I haven't even decided what approach to take next time, but a bit of research might help.


Sunday, 17 May 2020 Dereel Images for 17 May 2020
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Orientation of house
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

How is our house oriented in relationship to the compass? In the past I have had the impression that the plots of land in the area were measured with magnetic compasses and without a clear understanding of the deviation. Even the City of Melbourne suffers from this problem.

In principle we're oriented with the long side of the house east and west, but it's clear that it's turned slightly clockwise. I had guessed a deviation of 12°, but there's a way to find out: wait for the sun to cast a shadow parallel to a wall of the house and use the NOAA Solar Calculator to show me the azimuth at the corresponding time.

The sun shone parallel to the west wall of the lounge room at 11:51:45, which today corresponded to an azimuth of 8.29° at -37.80024, 143.75095. So that's the value, to be confirmed on some other occasion.


The ghosts of the past
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I don't look at the system log on eureka that often, but the last time I did, I saw:

May 17 08:28:59 eureka grog: ssh w4 terminated
May 17 08:29:34 eureka last message repeated 14 times
May 17 08:31:39 eureka last message repeated 50 times
May 17 08:41:42 eureka last message repeated 240 times
May 17 08:45:22 eureka last message repeated 89 times

That's clearly one of my keep-alive scripts: when logged in to a remote system, I can time out thanks to the NBN. OK, do it in a loop, wait a few seconds and then try again.

But this one isn't going to work. w4.lemis.com was a temporary name for what became (I think) lax.lemis.com. So I can just stop the ssh loop.

Or can I? Where are they running?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) ~ 89 -> ps aux|grep w4
USER         PID  %CPU %MEM      VSZ     RSS TT  STAT STARTED       TIME    COMMAND
grog        7535   0.0  0.0    52604    4328 30  I+   12Feb20       0:00.04 ssh -A w4
grog        7548   0.0  0.0    52604    4328 46  I+   12Feb20       0:00.06 ssh -A w4

/dev/pts/30 and /dev/pts/46. OK, where are they?

I didn't find them. That's not difficult: I have 5 X displays, with 18, 46, 53, 36 and 11 windows, a total of 164 windows. Sure, I just need to look at the xterms, but I still didn't find them. OK, what else is running on those windows?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) ~ 90 -> ps ut30
USER   PID %CPU %MEM   VSZ  RSS TT  STAT STARTED    TIME COMMAND
grog  7535  0.0  0.0 52604 4328 30  I+   12Feb20 0:00.04 ssh -A w4
grog 36280  0.0  0.0 17888 2244 30  Is   14Sep19 0:30.52 /usr/local/bin/bash
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) ~ 91 -> ps ut46
USER   PID %CPU %MEM   VSZ  RSS TT  STAT STARTED    TIME COMMAND
grog  7548  0.0  0.0 52604 4328 46  I+   12Feb20 0:00.06 ssh -A w4
grog 49740  0.0  0.0 17888 2244 46  Is   24Oct19 0:17.38 /usr/local/bin/bash

OK,

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) ~ 94 -> kill 7548
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) ~ 95 -> ps ut46
USER   PID %CPU %MEM   VSZ  RSS TT  STAT STARTED    TIME COMMAND
grog 33584  0.0  0.0  8272 1932 46  S+    4:23pm 0:00.00 sleep 5
grog 49740  0.0  0.0 17888 2768 46  Ss   24Oct19 0:17.38 /usr/local/bin/bash

That makes sense. That's my loop. OK, dammit,

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) ~ 99 -> kill -9 49740
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) ~ 100 -> ps ut46
ps: /dev/pts/46, /dev/tty46, and /dev/46: No such file or directory

That should do it. But there must be an easier way.


Goodbye lockdown!
Topic: general, health, opinion Link here

This was the first weekend since the relaxation of the quarantine laws for COVID-19. For me, nothing unusual. Linda Swift came to watch Yvonne work with her horses, and I later saw her talking to Diane next door.

But then I had to go to Chris Bahlo's place for some photos, and saw two sets of neighbours in Bliss Road also doing something outside with what appeared to be visitors. And even on IRC nothing was happening. What's all this fascination with being outside?


120p video with the E-M5 Mark III
Topic: photography, animals, opinion Link here

Yvonne's new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III has a feature that I haven't seen on any other camera: it can take 1920×1080 video at 120 fps. That could be quite useful for examining horses' gaits.

Today Chris Bahlo was doing some jousting training, along with Amber Fitzpatrick and (exceptionally) Yvonne. Over with her camera to take some video.

Note to self: familiarize yourself with the buttons before taking video. The Olympus cameras have a dedicated button for video, so you can interleave video and stills. But the E-M5 Mark III has its button further back than on my cameras, and to complete the confusion there's another button where the video button is on my camera, which doesn't seem to do anything. It's marked “Exposure Compensation Button”, but it's not necessary for setting EV offsets.

And once again there's an issue of focus. It seems that 120p doesn't allow continuous autofocus (presumably the processor is too busy doing other things). In my situation that wasn't a big issue: f/8 at a distance of between 50 and 100 m doesn't require refocusing. But somehow I still managed to get some shots which were badly out of focus. Clearly a case for RTFM.


Cornish pasties
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I spent a considerable part of my youth in what the British call the West Country, really the extreme south-west: Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

And in those parts there's a dish called Cornish Pasties. I've eaten many times in the course of the years, but as far back as 1958 my mother, quite a good cook, explained to me that it's almost impossible to make a good Cornish pasty at home.

Still, how hard can it be? Now that we have the World-Wide Web, I can go looking. And how about that, a genuine recipe from the Cornish Pasty Association. It went into more detail about the shortcrust pastry than about the filling. But how important can that be? Now we have deep-frozen shortcrust pastry, and that should do the trick.

Chop everything into cubes, salt and pepper. How big should the cubes be? Went off looking and came up with these videos:

The first is interesting because it shows exactly what I wanted to see, including weights and dimensions (1 cm cubes). But the accent of the presenter shows that she comes from far further north, something emphasized by her closing words “one of the most famous foods to come out of the South of England”.

The other one is clearly from the south, and it's greatly different from the first. No cubes, and even the dough doesn't look much like any of the other recipes. I didn't pay much attention to it this time round, but it might be interesting for the next time.

OK, start with 500 g beef skirt, 450 g potatoes and 250 g swedes. Cut the potatoes and swedes into 8 mm slices and then cut them with a knife:


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And the meat? Skirt steak, as requested. And easy enough to cut, as it turned out:


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Round here it became apparent that I had far too many ingredients. A pasty (regulation 20 cm/8" diameter) takes about 150 g of filling, and I had 1.1 kg for 4 pasties. Managed to squeeze up to 170 g in some, but it was a tight fit:


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Damn! I salted the first one, then forgot the rest. Will need adjustment afterwards.

Bake for 50 minutes at 180°:


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It all took longer than I had planned, and they were still quite hot when they came onto the table: How did they taste? Edible. Yvonne liked hers, and this attack seems only to have been intended to cool it down more quickly:


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But they didn't taste right. I later discovered that I had forgotten the onion, but the real issue was the pastry. My recollection of Cornish pasties is that they're relatively soft and unglazed, unlike all photos I've seen. Next time, at the very least, I'll make my own dough. And, of course, get the recipe right.

It wasn't until much later than I found that the Cornish Pasty Association has another recipe with different quantities. Why?


Monday, 18 May 2020 Dereel Images for 18 May 2020
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Frijoles de la olla con frijoles negros
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Finally got round to processing the frijoles negros that Yana bought in December. I'm still puzzled: there were about 850 g of them, not a quantity that you would normally buy in a shop (though it occurred to me later that it could be 2 of the old Avoirdupois pounds).

After soaking they swelled up to a total of 1.82 kg, a factor of 2.14:1, and more than I recall from other beans, though I'll have to check that. At least it matches the claim in the Wikipedia page:

One cup of dried black beans yields approximately ​2½ cups of cooked beans.

Cooking took about 4 hours, and the following morning they looked like this:


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And the taste? Alright, but I don't see a big difference from red kidney beans. Yvonne says that she prefers the kidney beans, but we have another 17 helpings of these before she has to make up her mind.


Tidying up the office
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Part of the effort of setting up the shelving in the garage is to put things that are too sensitive for the shed (which can become moist on occasion, and frequently hot), thus enabling me to move some of the mess out of my office.

It's painful stuff, mainly because I'm not used to being tidy. Today I moved much of the stuff out on the west side of my computer desks, where random stuff has been piled for the past 5 years. To my surprise I found no fewer than 8 keyboards (including a Northgate OmniKey) and 5 computers. One was only a motherboard, one is something ancient that I once used as teevee while we were still in Wantadilla, one a ThinkCentre that (I think) is defective. But then another was complete, and the fifth was only missing a disk.

What are they? The last two both had fanless display cards, so maybe they were old instances of teevee or tiwi. If the machine that I'm currently (very slowly) setting up as dereel really proves to be defective, at least I have two backups.


More photo fun
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Saw a flying ant on the side panel of the front door today. Time for some photos with the mecablitz 15 MS-1.

And how about that, it worked and exposed roughly correctly, though getting a focus confirmation was not easy:


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But why are the details so unsharp?

 
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Yes, this is a severe crop, but I've taken far too many macros where the details look like that. It can't be camera shake (flash), clearly not focus (the head is relatively in the middle of the focus range). More investigation needed.

And taking the photos of the beans was another issue. My exposure meter told me f/11.6. Exposed ⅔ stop more (f/11) and got:


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I needed fully 2 EV more to get a reasonable exposure:


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Why do these things happen?


Tuesday, 19 May 2020 Dereel Images for 19 May 2020
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Garden flowers in late autumn
Topic: gardening Link here

A month to the solstice, time for the monthly garden flower photos.

Just before these photos were taken, we had four days with particularly cold overnight lows, apparently breaking decades-long records in some places. In all probability the ground temperature went below 0° every night, though the weather station (3.5 m above the ground) measured between 0.5° and 2.2°. Probably it has affected some of the plants, but it's too early to be sure. Only the daun laksa (Persicaria odorata) is looking significantly unhappy, though new shoots are growing in the undergrowth:


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The chilis planted next to the bush are almost all ripe:


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I wonder if the plant will survive after I harvest the chilis.

On the other hand, many plants are still behaving as if it were summer. The Corymbia ficifolia has hardly stopped flowering since we got it:


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A lone Gladiolus is also trying to flower:


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The Honeysuckle is also flowering, if not particularly vigorously:


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The mistreated Epazote seedlings that I planted at the end of March also look better, though I'm not convinced that they'll make it through the winter. Here then and now:


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The garlic that I planted at the same time is also growing:


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On the other hand, the Syngonium podophyllum that I planted at the same time seem to have died.

Indoors, two of the five Buddleja cuttings that I took in early March have taken and are growing well:


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The original Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max” has not taken kindly to being repotted. Strangely, whole branches have died, while others are doing well:


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The clone that I moved from Yvonne's bedroom to the loungeroom has developed new leaves that look less sickly than the old ones:


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Other plants are behaving appropriately to the season. For only the second time since moving here, the Betula pendula (Birch) are behaving as if it were autumn:


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The Hibiscus syriacus has also lost flowers and leaves since last month (here before and after):


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The other Hibiscus-like plants are still doing well. The Alyogyne huegelii) is flowering profusely, more than ever before:


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I thought that the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max” looks happier than this time last year, though that's not that clear. Here last year and now:


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Hopefully it will handle the winter better this year.

Another plant of some concern is the Robinia pseudoacacia that we transplanted last month. It had started to grow new leaves, but they're not looking very happy either.


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My best bet is that these shoots will grow well in the spring:


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The Banksia integrifolia has been one of the success stories. It has grown well and consistently since we planted it, and it's now 4 or 5 m high, with many cones:


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Spring is on its way already, though. We have the first Snowflake:


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And one of the Iris has been flowering for a couple of weeks:


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And the Arums are coming into flower:


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The Syngonium podophyllum that I moved to her room at the same time is doing well:


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Last month I noted that one Spathiphyllum plant, in the dining room, was quite sickly, and moved it to the bathroom. I thought that it had improved, but in fact there's very little difference to be seen. Here last month and now:


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And last month I wrote:

The only issue with Yvonne's plant is that it doesn't flower.

But that has solved itself:


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Wednesday, 20 May 2020 Dereel Images for 20 May 2020
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Bucatini or Spaghetti?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

One of the results of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was the shortage of certain food ingredients. We still can't get yeast—a good thing I use mainly sourdough—and for a while pasta was a problem as well. At one point Yvonne bought some bucatini, which I had thought looked pretty much like spaghetti. But today I cooked them and found that they're much thicker:


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The package is marked “Number 6”. I don't know if that relates to the thickness or just a company internal numbering. When I followed up on the description, I discovered that bucatini have a buca or hole down the middle. I didn't notice that, but on checking, yes, there's a tiny hole down the middle. I wonder what good that is.

I use them instead of various Malaysian noodles, and quite possibly the thickness is a better match for Hokkien or laksa noodles.


Lens colour rendition?
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

From time to time I've heard people talk about colour rendition of lenses, and I haven't paid much attention. But today it reached out and grabbed me. While taking photos of the indoor plants, I found this:


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It didn't just hit me when I saw the results: they were clearly visible through the viewfinder. The first was taken with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO, the second with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I and the Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4. Why are the colours so different? Is it the camera or the lens? I'm inclined to think that it's the lens. At the very least it's a thing to follow up on.


Slow cooking
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

One of the problems with my Cornish Pasties on on Sunday was that I wasn't happy with the pastry. Another was that I still had a lot of filling left over.

OK, let's follow the PDF recipe on the Cornish Pasty Association web site. The pastry instructions read:

For shortcrust pastry (rough puff can also be used):
      500 g strong bread flour (it is important to use a stronger flour than
          normal as you need the extra strength in the gluten to produce
          strong pliable pastry)
      120 g lard or white shortening
      125 g Cornish butter
      1 tsp salt
      175 ml cold water

Method
     1. Rub the two types of fat lightly into flour until it resembles
          breadcrumbs.
     2. Add water, bring the mixture together and knead until the pastry
          becomes elastic. This will take longer than normal pastry but it
          gives the pastry the strength that is needed to hold the filling and
          retain a good shape. This can also be done in a food mixer.
     3. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge. This
          is a very important stage as it is almost impossible to roll and shape
          the pastry when fresh.
     4. Roll out the pastry and cut into circles approx. 20cm diameter. A
          side plate is an ideal size to use as a guide.

That seems straightforward enough, but the devil's in the detail. At the risk of ruining the recipe, I substituted Australian butter for Cornish butter, but I do appreciate the (almost complete) use of sane measurement units. How much is a teaspoon of salt? The one I used held 7 g, but according to my 2% rule, I put 10 g in.

Knead. In a British (if not Cornish) Kenwood mixer. Sometimes I think that this thing is out of date, and that other constructions would do better. Certainly getting “breadcrumbs” was not easy. But finally it was done. Then:

Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge.

Oh. No time for that. I'm reminded of what I wrote 50 years ago, just after I had moved into my first own domicile:

why can't I face facts and learn to cook a few things that don't take such a long time?

OK, no pasties tonight. Yvonne had a plan for using up the old pastry, the stuff I didn't want: quiche lorraine. But by 17:30 she hadn't started, and I was getting nervous: it had to be on the table at 18:30, and it required 45 minutes' baking.

Somehow, with a little assistance on my part, we made it. The baking time was only 40 minutes, not 45, and there's really not much preparation. In addition, it was “just right”, something about which we hadn't been sure.


Thursday, 21 May 2020 Dereel
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Another grid outage
Topic: general Link here

Another six second grid power failure at 0:26:21 this morning.


Cooking pain
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Somehow I've spent half the week cooking. It hasn't all been fun.

Today a batch of baked beans were on the agenda. I put some pork rind in there, but how much? Today, for some reason, I only had 660 g of (dried) beans, and for that I put in 100 g of rind, possibly more than is a good balance. We'll see.

And then there were the Cornish pasties of which I made such a mess on Sunday, and which I mistimed yesterday. Today I gave myself plenty of time, and used most of it.

Firstly, the dough was elastic, unlike the deep frozen dough I used last time. That meant that the carefully cut 20 cm circles of dough immediately reduced in size to about 12 cm when I took them off the benchtop. I found it easier (on the last attempt) to pull away the surrounding dough and fill the circle in place.

How much salt and pepper? They almost never specify quantities, even in recipes that are otherwise good in their specifications. “1 teaspoon”? I established yesterday that 1 teaspoon was 7 g, and that 10 g would be a better fit. But now they wanted “ Salt & pepper to taste( 2:1 ratio)” (their punctuation). What does that mean? “2:1 ratio” may not be my taste. And if it were, what kind of pepper? 2:1 by weight or volume? I decided that it would probably be white pepper, and by volume. Measuring one teaspoon of pepper gave me 2.6 g, so the 1⅓ teaspoons (10 g) that I had chosen for the salt would correspond to 4 g of pepper.

From then on, things went downhill. I weighed out my 4 g of pepper and put them in the mixture, along with (finally, this time) the onions. Started filling the pasties, which was made more difficult by the flexibility of the dough. Maybe that's what they meant when they wanted to leave the pastry in the fridge for 3 hours. The implication may be that the dough should be very cold. As it was, crimping was very difficult, and the pasties didn't look nearly as good as Sunday's.

And there was enough filling for 6 pasties! I used up nearly all my pastry, and it wasn't until I started filling the 5th that I realized that I had forgotten the salt again! And of course I had measured out the pepper on a 1:1 ratio, not a 2:1 ratio, so to make up for no salt I had double the pepper. Why am I having so much difficulty with this recipe?

Baked them at 160° this time, for 40 minutes. They tasted better because of the onion, but there was no significant difference in the pastry, and they still don't taste like the pastry that I recall from my childhood.

So: some time in the future I'll make a third attempt, with frozen pastry. But first we'll need to eat the 6 pasties that we have left over. I have a feeling that I'll have to eat most of them myself.


Friday, 22 May 2020 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 22 May 2020
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Lockdown eases
Topic: health, general Link here

The curfew quarantine lockdown is unlocking, and today Petra Gietz came to tidy up the house. It needed it:


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To Ballarat again
Topic: health, general, Stones Road house, opinion Link here

Into town today for a dentist's appointment, almost as planned before the panic. It was actually for yesterday, but they needed to reschedule. Nothing of interest.

On to Beaumont Tiles to look—once again—for tiles for the verandah. It's only been 5 years since we laid the slab. But this time I found a couple of tiles that didn't look too bad:


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Maybe we'll get some tiling done after all.

Then on to Bunnings , this time the one in Creswick Road, because I was in the area. They've made different and equally complicated arrangements for access:


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The actual entrance is hidden behind the cars on the left of the last view. And I admire the distance that they require between people (which, of course, nobody observed).

Inside, they were the only place I've seen to actually sell serious face masks:


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Only 4 per person? How long do these masks last? But the shelves looked well stocked, and I didn't see anybody buying them. That's not surprising: during the entire time in town, I wore my face mask. I don't know why: I was the only one. I went to the barber's, where Kerry took one look at me and asked me not to shoot: clearly I was a robber with a mask on. I didn't get the hair cut, though: too many people there.

And at the dentist's? No, even there only Mario, the dentist, had his usual face mask on. They did ask me to sanitize my hands when I came in. Somehow people aren't taking this overly seriously, and maybe they're right.

On to OfficeWorks, who had their own entry restrictions:


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That's a bay leading nowhere. Ignore it and you can enter. Maybe they plan to reposition it if things get too busy.


New Nikon F
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

When I was a lad I lusted after a Nikon F, one of the iconic cameras of the 1960s. And today I received the one that I bought on Saturday.

It's a little the worse for wear, as the photos showed. And as I feared, it came without a body cap. But to my surprise, an Olympus Four Thirds system body cap fits:


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It's not a good fit: a bit of a shake and it'll fall out. But it engages and closes the hole. I wonder if the Olympus people thought of that when they

There's clearly something wrong with the Photomic head, which doesn't fit the way it should, and I discovered that there's a screw missing on the side of the head:


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But I can look through it, and I'll investigate what the problem is some other time.

The mirror has seen better days:


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And the shutter? That's always an issue with older cameras. But it works surprisingly well, so well that I thought there was something wrong. Compared to a Spotmatic it's almost instantaneous. With the Spotmatic you can clearly hear the mirror going up, the shutter releasing and the mirror going down again. With the Nikon there's just a single sound

And then of course there's the leatherette covering. Is there a way to repair that? Do I care enough?


Saturday, 23 May 2020 Dereel Images for 23 May 2020
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More power problems
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

In my mail this morning:

tstamp  Pac     Status  SOC     VBat    PacGrid PacBat  PacPV   FromPV  W1
2020-05-22 12:11:22     2440    Waiting to connect to On-grid   24      258     NULL    1493    1003    0       0
2020-05-22 12:11:23     2787    Waiting to connect to On-grid   24      256     NULL    1768    1019    0       0

And that was all. Normally this kind of message indicates recovery from a grid power failure, and there are at least 60 such lines, since they come every second, and the inverter waits a minute before reconnecting. Why were there only two?

More investigation:

mysql> select tstamp, status, statuscode, codes from powerstats
       where tstamp > "2020-05-22 12:08:00"
       and tstamp < "2020-05-22 12:11:30";

+---------------------+-------------------------------+------------+-------------------+
| tstamp              | status                        | statuscode | codes             |
+---------------------+-------------------------------+------------+-------------------+
...
| 2020-05-22 12:08:24 | On-grid                       |          3 |                   |
| 2020-05-22 12:08:25 | On-grid                       |          3 |                   |
| 2020-05-22 12:11:22 | Waiting to connect to On-grid |          1 | 00-00 00-00 00-10 |
| 2020-05-22 12:11:23 | Waiting to connect to On-grid |          1 | 00-00 00-00 00-10 |
| 2020-05-22 12:11:24 | On-grid                       |          3 |                   |
| 2020-05-22 12:11:25 | On-grid                       |          3 |                   |
...
+---------------------+-------------------------------+------------+-------------------+
29 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Where did the entries between 12:08:25 and 12:11:22 go?

After a bit of thought, it became clear: I was in town, but Petra had had problems with the floor washer, which had blown multiple circuit breakers. It appears that it had blown the mind of the inverter as well, so now we know that it takes it about 3 minutes to restart and come on line, though presumably it had started working nearly a minute before the first message.

Also yet another indication that I should keep the UPS in front of my office computers. Both lagoon and teevee lost power.


Polish kippers
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

In my youth I frequently ate kippers for breakfast. When I moved to Germany I could no longer get them. But now that I'm in Australia, I should be able to get them again, right?

Well, sort of. The only ones that I have been able to find so far have been two whole kippers (two fish) frozen together, an idea that makes you wonder what the maker is thinking.

But recently Yvonne found some kippers in a can that looked far too small to hold a whole kipper, made in Poland of all places. Today I finally opened it:


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OK, that explains why the packaging is so small. But how do I get them out of the can without damaging them? In the end I bent the sides:


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And how did they taste? Like canned fish, nothing like the aroma of a fresh or thawed kipper. There were two servings, and I'm hoping I can convince Yvonne to eat the second one.


Sunday, 24 May 2020 Dereel Images for 24 May 2020
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The ghosts of the last millennium
Topic: technology, history, opinion Link here

I postpone a lot of email messages, far too many in fact. Currently there are round 1,170 messages in my postponed folder, the oldest of which is dated 4 October 1999. There's even this message:

Date: Mon Nov 15 11:28:41 1999
From: Greg Lehey <grog@mojave.sitaranetworks.com>
To: Dennis Ritchie <dmr@alice.att.com>
Subject: Re: Cute Comments (was Re: Bad commenting style)

Alas, it's too late to send it now, but it's interesting to look at the email addresses (for once, not changed). mojave was, I think, my laptop, which I got from Jerry Dunham, who worked for Dell laptops at the time. The system name was apparently the internal project name for the laptop. And I was in Waltham, Massachusetts at the time, working for the now apparently defunct Sitara Networks.

And then there was this message, coincidentally also involving Jerry Dunham:

Date: Thu, 14 May 2020 11:40:30 +1000
From: Greg Lehey <groggyhimself@lemis.com>
To: Jerry Dunham <jerry@dunham.org>
Cc: Wes Peters <peters@softweyr.com>
Subject: Re: No joy
Message-ID: <20200514014030.GE1670@eureka.lemis.com>

On Friday, 17 December 1999 at 23:23:05 -0600, Jerry Dunham wrote:
> On Fri, 17 December 1999 at 15:54:34 -0700, Wes Peters wrote:
...

Well, I could answer that one, and I did. And it bounced. Can't find dunham.org. But only after 5 days. What was wrong there? Clearly dunham.org still exists, or it would have bounced immediately. What does whois say?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/30) ~ 1 -> whois dunham.org
Domain Name: DUNHAM.ORG
Updated Date: 2019-11-06T21:49:05Z
Creation Date: 1997-11-04T05:00:00Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2021-11-03T05:00:00Z
...
Name Server: ECHUNGA.LEMIS.COM
Name Server: BATTUNGA.LEMIS.COM

So it's been around for over 22 years, and it's still active—with completely invalid name server specifications. Both echunga.lemis.com and battunga.lemis.com ceased to exist thirteen years ago. What does he use it for? Nothing, it seems. For obvious reasons jerry@dunham.org is no longer active.

Sent him a message to his new email address, and it seems that yes, in principle he still wants the domain. OK, we can do that. What do I need?

Total time: about 10 minutes. And it worked. It's nice to see something Just Work.


More ghosts exorcized
Topic: technology Link here

A week ago I went on an abortive search for an ssh that kept trying to connect to the now-defunct w4.lemis.com. While setting up the mail forwarding for Jerry Dunham, I finally found the source: it was an xterm that had connected to www. The display looked something like:

ssh: Could not resolve hostname w4: hostname nor servname provided, or not known
bash: /usr/local/bin/xtset: No such file or directory
Disconnected at Sun 24 May 2020 10:13:53 AEST
^C

So why didn't I find it? The second line is the clue: xtset is a program that sets the title of an xterm. I had moved it from /usr/local/bin to /home/local/bin, which requires a hash -r for bash to recognize it. And the ssh was running, so I couldn't run hash -r. As a result, the xterm title showed the previous details (usr, system and directory):

title: root (0) lax:namedb

Another mystery solved.


Standing rib roast
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Chris Bahlo came for dinner this evening, in the process delivering the meat for the main course. Yvonne had understood that it was beef filet, but what she brought looked like an oversized rack of lamb. Here after cooking and carving:


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What is it? Off to the web to investigate. It's a rib roast. Or maybe a standing rib roast. Or maybe just prime rib, as the US Americans call it. I have eaten it under the last name, and it tasted very good.

OK, how do I prepare it? It looks like a roast. Somehow it's impractical: ours had three ribs and weighed 1.44 kg. In general I reckon 180 g per person (120 g for Yvonne) for filet. A little more for fat and bone, but it's still enough for 6 people. How do you work around the bones?

And how do you roast it? Found a surprising number of recipes, including this one from the Australian Women's Weekly, who should know better:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Weigh beef and calculate cooking time (Cook for 20 minutes per 450g for medium/15 minutes per 450g for rare.).

20 minutes per 450 g? Why that? Why not 1⅓ minute per 30 g? 64 minutes per 1440 g? Another ghost of the past: Australia has been using the metric system for 50 years, but people still can't get rid of old avoirdupois measurements.

But this cut is complicated. The Women's Weekly recipe wanted 2.5 kg of meat, more than most. Others wanted “four ribs”, about 1.8 kg. But the thickness of all these cuts is roughly the same: only the length differs. How does that influence the cooking time? Certainly a time based only on the weight is not going to work. My guess is that the weight is relatively unimportant when calculating the cooking time.

Then there's a question of oven temperatures. One recipe wanted to start at 230°, others at 160°. More than elsewhere, I couldn't get a good idea of what to do. In the end I went by my roast beef cooking times and set it at 180°, estimating 70 minutes for a meat temperature of 53°.

And how about that, I was spot on! The only issue is that 53° might be a little warm. Next time I'll go for 52°. But if I had followed the Women's Weekly recipe, I would have cooked for 48 minutes, and it would have been excessively rare. On the other hand, 83 minutes for a 2.5 kg cut might be correct.


Dinner in the time of COVID-19
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Dinner was as ever—almost:


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Somehow social distancing doesn't make it easier to take the photos.


Framing revisited
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

The photo of our dinner has an obvious defect: it's badly framed, and Yvonne is only half in the image:


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It wasn't the only one. Today I took some photos of her with her horse Carlotta. Most were OK, but there were a few like this:


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Why that? Simple: I always use the central focus point in the camera to focus, maybe moving away after establishing focus. But here things were too fast, so I ended up with the lid in the middle of the image, nothing below, and half a horse above. Time to use the capabilities of the camera.


Monday, 25 May 2020 Dereel Images for 25 May 2020
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More PV battery recalibration
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Another battery recalibration today, almost exactly what I would have ordered. In the past I had multiple cycles, and I lost significant amounts of PV energy in the process. As I wrote 2 months ago, a single recalibration cycle once a month would be acceptable, but no more.

And that, it seems, is exactly what I have been getting. Today the cycle started after sunset, charged to 100% and discharged to (only!) 10%:

 
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That's perfectly acceptable. But why did it stop at 10%? Have they updated the firmware again, and installed it without telling me?


Bahlo coat of arms mug
Topic: history, general, opinion Link here

When Chris Bahlo was here yesterday, she brought a mug for Yvonne:


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What's special about that? It's the Bahlo coat of arms, which presumably Chris wears in full armour. Presumably one of the few mugs with that kind of emblem.

And what does it mean? Chris explains:

Description

Per pale, dexter potenty bendy or and gules, sinister sable with a mullet argent of six points, pierced by a rondel.

Details

Per pale: split vertically
dexter: left side (when worn on the right)
potenty bendy: potenty vair is an abstraction of a "fur"; bendy indicates it is diagonal.
or and gules: gold and red (refers to the vair pattern in this case)
sinister: right side
sable: black
mullet argent: silver star
rondel: circle

Sources

The potenty vair in red and gold is originally from a 13th Century miniature, showing a horse caparison (I have a replica of this). The mullet/star/spur rowel is a common symbol.

What it signifies (to me):

The vair pattern signifies both the complexity of life, but also the fact that there are patterns and cycles. The colours are (to me) happiness and prosperity. The upward diagonal is about improvement. The black half is a stark contrast on purpose, it means calm, privacy, introspection. The silver star is both a spur rowel, which is a symbol for horsemanship at a high level, and a star, which is about goals and aspirations.


Understanding French wines
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Years ago we drank a considerable quantity of French wine. There were three kinds, in decreasing order of quality « Appelation nom d'origine contrôllée », « Appelation contrôllée », « Vin de pays ».

But now we're in Australia, and there's plenty of local wine. Still we get some, but the descriptions are different: « Appellation d'origine protégée », « Appellation géographique protégée ». They're not particularly good wines, and my suspicion is that the difference between « contrôllé » and « protegé » is significant. I think I've even seen a « Vin de France », presumably something that they can't quite disown.

How do they compare? Time to check. Appellation d'origine contrôlée doesn't help much beyond confirming that it's still in use, since it doesn't mention the alternatives. This page looks convincing, mentioning two of my three new names (there's also « vin de pays », also known as « indication géographique protégée »). But where's « appellation contrôlée »? Presumably it's now the same as « appellation protégée ». Or is it? Time to check the French information, Appellation d'origine contrôlée. What do I read there?

Ne doit pas être confondu avec Appellation d'origine protégée.

Not to be confused with appellation d'origine protégée. Read on. It's not a question of quality but of jurisdiction. In France it's AOC, in the rest of Europe (and thus presumably anywhere outside France) it's AOP.

None of this has much to do with our experience last night. Chris brought a 2017 Château de Cathalogne Bordeaux AOP, and I presented a 2018 Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc (clearly a name intended for overseas marketing) IGP. We didn't like either much.


Tuesday, 26 May 2020 Dereel Images for 26 May 2020
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Adjusting the gate opener
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

When I installed the gate opener, exactly according to the instructions, it didn't work: the opener was off the end of the drive, and I had to open the gate to get it to engage. And then it didn't shut correctly any more:


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I had to adjust the angle of the mounting bracket. Here before and after:


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After that, more by coincidence than anything else, it closed exactly:


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But it didn't stay that way. The gate stayed more and more open. I established that the mounting of the opener was not very firm, at least partially because of the post on which it was mounted. But clearly the design is not conducive to exact closure. Still, it should do better th