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Sunday, 1 May 2022 Dereel Images for 1 May 2022
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Zoom again
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

Why couldn't Mark and I hear each other during our attempted Zoom conversation yesterday? The

Setup was relatively painful (or I have repressed the experience), and it even accepted the password that I chose (“Type 4771”), though once again it claimed that my newly invented email was a “frequently used email”. But when I tried to sign in, it wouldn't accept the password.

OK, new password, not overly different. Failed again. But then I discovered (how? I forget) that it had removed the space in the password and not even told me! I've had some bad password processing, including from Zoom, but this is the first time that I've found a program that changes the password, and that without telling me.

Sign in. How do I establish contact? Send email, it seems. OK, send an email, but of course I mistyped and got an invalid name. Didn't worry Zoom. But I didn't get a message when I typed in the correct email address.

Later I tried from my side and was told “Sorry, you cannot use this link to add friends”. OK, how about a phone number? The program (or maybe Android) is too stupid to know its own phone number, so I had to enter it. And then I had to type in a CAPTCHA! Into a mobile phone non-keyboard! It worked on the second attempt, and finally I was able to establish contact. But there was some issue with audio again. It was turned off, but I could turn it on—which promptly turned off video! Somehow, without any obvious reason, I had enabled “Safe driving mode”:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/Screenshot_2022-05-01-15-19-51-772_us.zoom.videomeetings.jpeg
Image title: Screenshot_2022 05 01 15 19 51 772_us.zoom.videomeetings          Dimensions:          1080 x 2340, 247 kB
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More flailing around—I thought I would remember what I did, but it was so strange that I can no longer remember. Finally I had a connection with Yvonne. And the sound worked.

Problem solved? No, because I don't know how I got there. But my problems were not over yet: how do I leave the “meeting”? I didn't find out. I had to stop the app.

I've been growling about Android apps for nearly 10 years, but this is the strangest and most frustrating I've found so far.

OK, what alternative? By comparison WhatsApp is trivial. But Mark doesn't want it, so how about Skype? I've used that in the past, but not on euroa, my Microsoft laptop. OK, install and wait for the obligatory email.

It didn't come. More checking and discovered that it had made it here and been classified as spam by one of my ancient spam traps:

procmail: No match on "From:.*pain rel"
procmail: Match on "From:.*protection"
procmail: Locking "/home/grog/Mail/Caughtspam/spamsites.lock"
procmail: Assigning "LASTFOLDER=/home/grog/Mail/Caughtspam/spamsites"
procmail: Opening "/home/grog/Mail/Caughtspam/spamsites"
procmail: Acquiring kernel-lock
procmail: Unlocking "/home/grog/Mail/Caughtspam/spamsites.lock"
procmail: Notified comsat: "grog@18199734:/home/grog/Mail/Caughtspam/spamsites"
From account-security-noreply@accountprotection.microsoft.com  Sun May  1 10:07:52 2022
 Subject: Microsoft account security code
  Folder: /home/grog/Mail/Caughtspam/spamsites  10673

How old is that? It could be up to 20 years old. And the message matched:

From: Microsoft account team <account-security-noreply@accountprotection.microsoft.com>
Subject: Microsoft account security code

Please use the following security code for the Microsoft account gr*****.

gr***** sounds right. Time to get rid of the filters. It's easier to just delete them.


Running with George
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

After walking with George last week, Larissa had symptoms of joint pain. They went away after a single dose of Meloxicam, but we've decided not to take her for walks for a few months.

And George? Well, he doesn't have to walk. How about bringing him here and letting him run around with the dogs? Arguably that's just at much of a problem, but we'll see.

We started off by letting him run free with Lena, who is less excitable, and then let Lara out on a lead. As I expected, she just lay down and let George examine her (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-7.jpeg
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Let her run free? I was for it, but both Yvonne and Peggy were worried what might happen if George suddenly got upset. So Yvonne went and found a muzzle:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-26.jpeg
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Then we let Lara loose. As I expected, no fireworks (again, run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour)


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-48-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-49-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-50-detail.jpeg
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And then they set off into the wild blue yonder, stopped only by a gate:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-55-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-56-detail.jpeg
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Back again:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-61-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-63-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/George-Larissa-Lena-70-detail.jpeg
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We left it at that, clearly a success. And Lara didn't have any soreness today.


Lost kitchen utensils
Topic: food and drink Link here

Our “hair dryer” “air fryer” has a stand with a drip tray underneath:


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A couple of weeks ago the drip tray disappeared. Not that serious: we have a cake pan that is almost exactly the same size and which I've been using. But where did the real drip tray go? Today we found it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220502/big/Drip-tray-1.jpeg
Image title: Drip tray 1          Dimensions:          3396 x 4762, 4281 kB
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It's under the cutting on the left. I had idly wondered at the time that the tray was made out of metal and not out of plastic.


More security issues
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

While doing something completely unrelated, discovered today:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/39) ~ 20 -> ssh freefall.freebsd.org
Permission denied (publickey).
Disconnected at Sun 1 May 2022 14:42:30 AEST

Huh? I've been connecting from eureka to freefall for decades, and “I haven't changed anything”. In fact, I'm still logged in from a different xterm:

=== grog@freefall (/dev/pts/54) ~ 27 -> w
 3:44AM  up 81 days,  1:15, 55 users, load averages: 0.20, 0.26, 0.23
USER       TTY      FROM                                      LOGIN@  IDLE WHAT
...
grog       pts/54   121-200-11-253.79c80b.mel.nbn.aussiebb.n 12Apr22     - w

Is there something wrong with my keys on eureka? How does it look from lax?

=== grog@lax (/dev/pts/2) ~ 2 -> ssh freefall.freebsd.org
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
grog@freefall.freebsd.org: Permission denied (publickey).
Disconnected at Mon 2 May 2022 03:49:03 UTC

Well, that gives me more information. I've seen that before, but on that occasion it wasn't a problem. But it's reasonable to assume that I should update my encryption keys.

How do I do that? I've had my current keys for ever, and all I recall is that there are newer, even more secure ways of doing it. But how? Asking Mark would be a good idea, so sent off a message to him.

In the meantime, how about ssh -v? Tried that,

=== grog@dereel (/dev/pts/3) ~ 10 -> ssh -v freefall
(much output omitted)
debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
debug1: Offering public key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent
debug1: Server accepts key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent
Authenticated to freefall.freebsd.org ([96.47.72.132]:22) using "publickey".
...
=== grog@freefall (/dev/pts/18) ~ 1 ->

It works! But that was from dereel! Why? I've established that it's using the same key. Comparing debug output wasn't very helpful, especially as the messages are a little unclear. But this section seems relevant (- at the start of the line is dereel, + is eureka, space is both):

 debug1: Next authentication method: publickey
-debug1: Offering public key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent
-debug3: send packet: type 50
+debug1: Offering RSA public key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa
+debug3: send_pubkey_test
 debug2: we sent a publickey packet, wait for reply
-debug3: receive packet: type 60
-debug1: Server accepts key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent
-debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo
-debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using rsa-sha2-512 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo
 at this point, dereel authentication has succeeded
...
 much later, after dereel has a prompt from freefall
+debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey
+debug1: Trying private key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_dsa
+debug3: no such identity: /home/grog/.ssh/id_dsa: No such file or directory

Some of the differences are due to the different version of ssh, but somehow freefall has silently ignored eureka's key, while it accepted exactly the same key from dereel. This makes no sense at all to me.

Moving on, checked the handbook, which wasn't very helpful, and also found this page, which points me at keymaster.freebsd.org and keycheck.freebsd.org. And keycheck tells me that my key “works with the new sshd requirements”, but it doesn't when invoked with the same key from eureka.


More Academia strangenesses
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Another message from Academia today:

  19 N   01-05-2022 To acd@lem (1114) Academia.edu   Connect with 2 co-authors of "Porting UNIX Software: From Download to Debug" on Academia.edu

What's wrong with this message? What's right about it? Firstly, I'm the only author of the work, but assuming that there had been others, wouldn't you think that I'd know them and not use Academia to connect with them, especially since they want me to pay money for the privilege?

And how do I get them to stop this false claim? I suppose the US way is to engage a lawyer, but they should have some way to contact them to correct incorrect claims on their part.


Monday, 2 May 2022 Dereel Images for 2 May 2022
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Alternate day syndrome
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Sometimes I get the feeling that things happen on alternate days: one day, like yesterday, I do a lot of stuff worth reporting on, and on the other day I report on it. Today I wasn't finished with my diary until 16:30, and as a result, I did almost nothing worth reporting on.


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More Australia Post pain
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Call on Yvonne's mobile phone today. Robyn, from Australia Post, clearly in relation to Yvonne's damage report. First questions about email, giving me ample opportunity to view my opinions about Australia Post's outsourced mail system. No, Australia Post doesn't outsource its mail. And of course they can't accept unsolicited mail: it needs to be an answer to an existing question so that they can associate it with an existing problem.

So I pointed out that the Subject: line contains the case number, which should eliminate any issues—she had no answer to that—and that email came from salesforce.com and not auspost.com.au. “That's us! Look at the TV ads and sports sponsoring! Everybody does it!”.

And why did she call on this number? She had Yvonne's last email in front of her, asking her not to use the phone number. Could she not read it? “Sorry, I can't tell you that. You're not authorized”. Yvonne wasn't there, so I couldn't do anything. Helen Miller was, so maybe I should have asked Helen to authorize her. After all, apart from the female voice she had nothing to go on.

Later she called back, still on the mobile phone, Yvonne spoke to her and brought the phone to me. Too fast. She hadn't understood that Yvonne had authorized her, and she had to do it all over again. But finally I got her to note the correct number to call on, and not to use Yvonne's mobile phone.

The discussion was interesting. Of all the mail sent, she only had two: the message they sent on 21 April, and Yvonne's reply on 29 April. No record of Yvonne's message of 21 April, none of the two messages I sent, none of the three copies of the receipts that we sent, not even a record of their own message of 27 April!

So finally she sent me another message so that I could reply to it, tripping over the obviously wrong australiapost@lemis.com, and finally (5th try or so) she got the information she wanted. No thanks to Australia Post's broken complaint handling.

Later Yvonne's phone went off again. Don, from Australia Post. No, no indication of another phone number to call. No indication that I was authorized to deal with him. So he had to hang up and go back and talk to Robyn.

Finally he called back on the right number and confirmed that the painting had been packed appropriately and still damaged. They're prepared to refund a maximum of $100, the default insurance sum. I suppose that's all he can do, though as I said, I didn't expect that the $100 was all that was applicable in case of negligence by Australia Post.

Still, it has been an experience:

Afterwards I took a look at other mail that I have received from Australia Post, like this notification:

Received: from mta15.notifications.auspost.com.au (mta15.notifications.auspost.com.au. [136.147.141.217])
        by mx.google.com with ESMTPS id r12-20020a056214068c00b0044175bf603csi8336741qvz.213.2022.03.28.19.32.59
        for <groggyhimself@gmail.com>
        (version=TLS1_2 cipher=ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 bits=128/128);
        Mon, 28 Mar 2022 19:32:59 -0700 (PDT)

So they do have some of their own email infrastructure. This, too, suggests a severely broken IT infrastructure.


The demise of national postal services
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Is salesforce.com really a subsidiary of Australia Post? It certainly doesn't look like it:

# whois.markmonitor.com

Domain Name: salesforce.com
Registry Domain ID: 4623063_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.markmonitor.com
Registrar URL: http://www.markmonitor.com
...
Registrant Name: Domain Adminstrator
Registrant Organization: Salesforce.com, Inc.
Registrant Street: Salesforce Tower, 415 Mission Street, 3rd Floor
Registrant City: San Francisco
Registrant State/Province: CA
Registrant Postal Code: 94105
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.8006676389
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +1.4159017040

Looking at their web site, they offer all sorts of services, so many that email doesn't even show on their first list.

And why should Australia Post, the company responsible for delivering mail in Australia, outsource their mail delivery to any company? That's their core business, or at least it was in the last millennium before email became dominant. Surely other large postal services don't do that! Off looking at MX records, and found:

USPS (USA)       usps-com.mail.protection.outlook.com.
Deutsche Post (Germany)       mx1.dhl.iphmx.com.
Hong Kong Post (Hong Kong)       mail.hongkongpost.hk
(UK) gpo.uk       For you, my friend, a special price
Royal Mail (UK)       royalmail-com.mail.protection.outlook.com.

gpo.uk belongs to a domain squatter! And apart from Hong Kong Post, they all outsource their email! I thought that Germany might be an exception, since DHL belongs to them, but that's not the domain name:

Domain Name: iphmx.com
Registry Domain ID: 1530264571_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: WHOIS.ENOM.COM
Registrar URL: WWW.ENOM.COM
Registrar: ENOM, INC.
Registrant Organization: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
Registrant Street: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
Registrant City: REDACTED FOR PRIVACY
Registrant State/Province: CA

What privacy? enom (their styling) makes a business out of domains and email. But clearly not a subsidiary of Deutsche Post.

What really gets me, though, is that so many can't even get DNS records for the servers through which their mail goes. That's trivial, and they should be able to do it better than they way they do. After all, I have:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/18) ~ 29 -> nslookup -q=mx lemis.com
lemis.com       mail exchanger = 10 mx0.lemis.com.
lemis.com       mail exchanger = 20 mx1.lemis.com.
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/18) ~ 30 -> nslookup mx0.lemis.com
Name:   mx0.lemis.com
Address: 121.200.11.253
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/18) ~ 31 -> nslookup 121.200.11.253
253.11.200.121.in-addr.arpa     name = 121-200-11-253.79c80b.mel.nbn.aussiebb.net.

Exploring thesauruses
Topic: language, opinion Link here

What's this?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220501/big/Dresser-4.jpeg
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If it weren't for the upper part, it would be something like a small sideboard. But with it? The problem is compounded by the certainty that people in different English-speaking countries use different words. Time for a thesaurus. There are plenty of them, of course.

First to the State Library of Victoria, who supply me free access to the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, their suboptimal search engine returns an Oxford Thesaurus, but when I follow the links it divides like a hydra and gives me nothing useful, though I can purchase a paper copy—not exactly what I had in mind.

OK, try online: thesaurus.com. For “sideboard” it gave me “cupboard” (close), “buffet” (not here), “closet” (something that I can't really associate with anything like a sideboard), “credenza” (a word that I had not heard of before, proving my assumption that different countries have different vocabularies) or “cellarette”. Nothing appropriate.

Further investigate showed that “credenza” might even be an appropriate term. The OED tells me that it's “A sideboard, free-standing cupboard, or storage chest, originally Italian or of Italian style”. Problem: my guess is that nobody round here would know what I meant.

Today Helen Miller was here, so I asked her. “Dresser” or “hutch”. Words I had never heard of before in that connection. A “dresser” is a dressing table, after all. But OED knows better: a dresser is

2. A sideboard used for storing crockery, glasses, cutlery, and other dining items, typically consisting of several display shelves mounted above drawers and a cupboard.

Pretty much an accurate description. Why “dresser”? Ah, that comes from the first meaning.

1. A kitchen table used for preparing or dressing food prior to serving; (also) a side table in a dining room or hall from which food or dishes are served. Now historical.

And “hutch”? I automatically thought of rabbits, but OED tells me (years in italics):

1303 A chest or coffer, in which things are stored.

And rabbit hutches? That came much later:

1607 A box or box-like pen or ‘house’ in which an animal is confined, as a rabbit-hutch.

So what do I call the thing? I really don't know. “Dresser” is the closest, but if I didn't know it, there will be many others.

It wasn't until later that I looked up Wikipedia, which came up with even more terms, including madia and chiffonier,

In passing, discovered a Thesaurus link on the OED descriptions, sadly not very helpful. And thesaurus.com seems remarkably simplistic. I signed up for their ”synonym of the day” and got “match the word” questions, like:

Which one is a synonym for mean? intend, abscond or mend?
Which one is a synonym for direct? order, chaos or confusion?

With a bit of thought, it's easy enough to find the answer, but I find it a little mean when the answer page states “intend is a synonym of mean”.


Wednesday, 4 May 2022 Dereel
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Scanning old photos again
Topic: photography, history, technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Patrick Cheah today, asking for permission to use this photo:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-5a.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 5a          Dimensions:          2501 x 1648, 723 kB Display location on map
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Why that? It's for a Facebook group dedicated to the Straits Echo, which seems to have only just survived the time of this photo. And that's the building in the middle:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-5a-detail.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 5a detail
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OK, can I improve on it? It's old enough that I still have the negatives, some of the first that I took with my Pentax SV. Get them out and scan them.

Oh. Not as simple as I had thought. As I had noted, I had had difficulties with developing the film, and large parts were undeveloped.

Next, where are my details about scanning photos, in particular negatives? I didn't find them until too late: they're here. Found out by trial and error that DIGITAL ICE (frozen fingers?) was a bad idea for black and white negatives, and finally scanned them in.

It proved that the photo that Patrick was interested in was one of a series of test photos that I took after buying a Pentax SV for Carmel Paull. That meant that I didn't have much in the way of details about the lenses, not even a clear name: what I wrote in my notes could be something like Kawanon or Komura. So I had to modify my createexif script to add appropriate information.

And then the (Epson) scanner “fixed” a problem that I had had with the old Canon scanner: it had almost no understanding of framing and cropping, leaving lots of space around the image. The Epson didn't: it carefully removed even the edges of the image. In this case, it meant that the roof of the building was trimmed. Here the results from Canon and Epson (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-5b.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 5b          Dimensions:          2580 x 1758, 1026 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-5.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 5          Dimensions:          4458 x 2720, 1841 kB Display location on map
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Things still weren't done. My next step, particularly important here, was to “optimize” the images. For that I use Perfectly Clear, which usually works well.

This time it didn't. It crashed, repeatedly. Why? Maybe it's not intended for monochrome images, but that's no reason to crash. Instead I had to go back to Ashampoo “Photo Optimizer”, with which I have had mixed results. But today I couldn't even remember how to run it! It only offered me one image at a time. It took several minutes and some RTFM to discover that the GUI was configured to hide the selection window, after which things ran relatively smoothly.

Much later I think I have identified my scrawl. The lenses I tested were the 28 mm f/3.5 mm Super Takumar (first two images, and the lens that I bought 5 months later), the 35 mm f/3.5 mm Super Takumar (third image), the Kawanon 35 mm f/3.5, the Komura 28 mm f/3.5 and the Komura 35 mm f/2.5. The unevenness in the first 4 images is due to the development problems.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-1.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 1          Dimensions:          4560 x 2530, 1365 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-2.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 2          Dimensions:          3363 x 2709, 1065 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-3.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 3          Dimensions:          4501 x 2709, 1643 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-4.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 4          Dimensions:          4234 x 2709, 1639 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-5.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 5          Dimensions:          4458 x 2720, 1841 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-6.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 6          Dimensions:          4447 x 2720, 1713 kB Display location on map
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It's interesting to notice how unsharp the corners are, including in the photo that Patrick chose (first one). That wouldn't happen nowadays.

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-5-detail.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 5 detail
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19650817/big/Penang-Street-6-detail.jpeg
Image title: Penang Street 6 detail
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Dimensions: 532 x 984, 84 kB
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Custom spam
Topic: language, technology, opinion Link here

Spam's a fact of life, but I find it interesting to try to guess the languages in which it arrives. Recently I got this one:

To undisclosed- ( 131) Mrs. Kristalina          Kæri styrkþegi!

Icelandic? It had lots of text:

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2022 09:28:05 +0000
From: "Mrs. Kristalina" <swiilasmith641@gmail.com>
Subject: Kæri styrkþegi!
Reply-To: info.ubabankofice02@gmail.com

Kæri styrkþegi!

Reyndar höfum við fengið heimild frá nýjum fjármálaráðherra og stjórnarráði
Peningamálaeiningar Sameinuðu þjóðanna til að rannsaka óinnheimta fjármuni
sem lengi er skuldað í ríkiskörfu Sameinuðu þjóðanna, sem hefur leitt til
þess að ruglaða eigendur trúðu því að þeir hafi verið blekkt af svindlarum
sem nota nafn Sameinuðu þjóðanna við rannsókn okkar. Samkvæmt
gagnageymsluskrá kerfisins okkar með netfanginu þínu er greiðslan þín á
lista yfir 150 styrkþega sem flokkaðir eru sem: Ógreiddur happdrættissjóður
/ Ógreiddur happdrættissjóður / Ófullnægjandi erfðir millifærslu /
Samningssjóðir.
...
Tengiliður: MR. KENNEDY UZOKA
Skaðabótadeild (United Bank for Africa)

Yes, no doubt: it's Icelandic, and some kind of phishing. But what's the reference to the “United Bank for Africa”? And given that there are something like 314,000 native speakers of Icelandic, too few to even figure in List of languages by number of native speakers, and that a large proportion of them speak English, it's not clear what this spam wants to target.


Thursday, 5 May 2022 Dereel Images for 5 May 2022
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More eBay surprises
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Yesterday I received a second refurbished Braun electric toothbrush. I hadn't bothered mentioning the first (early last month), but it had been satisfactory, so I ordered another one.

It was at least interesting from the point of view of the tracking. It took a long time, and every time I checked, it showed “Received and ready for processing”, dated 19 April. But on Tuesday I received information that it was ready for pickup. What did the tracking look like? eBay told me that it was both “Sent” but not yet “in transit”, but also ready for pickup:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220503/big/Tracking-1.png
Image title: Tracking 1
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And the detail tracking? Take your choice of:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220503/big/Tracking-2.png
Image title: Tracking 2
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220503/big/Tracking-3.png
Image title: Tracking 3
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Dimensions: 623 x 868, 33 kB
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In principle it's the same, but they change the names to protect the innocent. On 27 April it was either processed in Chullora (according to eBay) or Sydney (Australia Post). On Tuesday it was processed at 7:21 either in Wendouree (eBay) or “Winter Valley” (AusPost, a name that neither I, Google nor Wikipedia know). The one thing that they had in common was that it seemed to have been left for 8 days before they did anything with it.

But it's defective! Doesn't charge! OK, return. I've done enough of them that eBay clearly thinks it's time to change the rules. Now I must return it first and print out the label that they gave me:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220505/big/eBay-1.png
Image title: eBay 1          Dimensions:          829 x 940, 133 kB
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What label? None, of course, and there was nothing I could do to produce one. Once again I had to fight the eBay web site to get a call back from a human being or close copy. First, after I replied to the call with “Greg Lehey”, he asked for my name. And then “thank you for being an eBay customer for 23 years”, which I suppose is something. But clearly it's a “follow the script”, and because my answer wasn't in the script, I ended up with questions like “have you already returned it?”.

And he wasn't sure either, putting me on hold for a considerable period of time. Finally sent he me a label to print out.

You'd think that eBay would have their act together by now. Why did I get an empty label?


More scanning
Topic: photography Link here

It's been 55 years since my father and I left on our Asia Trip by car from Singapore (my father) or Kuala Lumpur (myself) to London. I took a (far too small) number of photos of the drive and scanned them in years ago on my ill-fated Canon 9900F scanner. The results are frequently terrible:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19670504/big/08-Valley-1.jpeg
Image title: 08 Valley 1          Dimensions:          2114 x 1444, 547 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19670504/big/10-Road-5.jpeg
Image title: 10 Road 5          Dimensions:          1978 x 1352, 402 kB
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That's clearly an exposure issue at the time, something that I can't change. But since then I have not only changed scanners (now the Epson “Perfection” 4990, not perfect, but much better) and also found the exposure record for the photos. I have also refined my scanning technique. So, since I currently have the scanner set up: scan them and postprocess them all over again.

It's slow business, and once again I'm left with the feeling that there's something very wrong with the way I developed the images at the time, probably an issue with the “substitute” developer. It'll keep me going for a while.


Friday, 6 May 2022 Dereel Images for 6 May 2022
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More slide scanning
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Scanning slides is a slow process, and there are many issues to solve or work around. As I said yesterday, the Epson “Perfection” 4990 is not perfect, especially not its software. There are many things that could be done better, including cropping: there's no way to adjust the crop. I had that issue with the Penang Street photos that I processed on Thursday, and it hit me in a different guise today. It seems that it doesn't handle cropping portrait format slides. I have to put them in in landscape orientation and then rotate them. The difference is significant, though it wasn't immediately obvious that the landscape format also truncates (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220506/big/Scan-1-detail.png
Image title: Scan 1 detail
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220506/big/Scan-2-detail.png
Image title: Scan 2 detail
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Apart from that, first indications are that the results are much better. I haven't finished processing the scanned images, but these two show, the ones I picked at random show a definite improvement:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19670504/big/08-Valley-1.jpeg
Image title: 08 Valley 1          Dimensions:          2114 x 1444, 547 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/Sample-photo-2.jpeg
Image title: Sample photo 2          Dimensions:          3829 x 2773, 2303 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/19670504/big/10-Road-5.jpeg
Image title: 10 Road 5          Dimensions:          1978 x 1352, 402 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/Sample-photo-1.jpeg
Image title: Sample photo 1          Dimensions:          3839 x 2794, 3322 kB
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They're still not good: the first one was just plain underexposed, and it wasn't possible to recover more detail, though I'll try harder when I'm finished. And the second one has lots of dirt on it, made worse by overexposure. But the difference between the old and the new photos is very significant.


More temperature measurements
Topic: technology, food and drink, general, opinion Link here

One of our freezers is clearly defective. When I open it I frequently find that the temperature on the front of the baskets is round 0°: they're moist. But it seems to cool. Is it a thermostat issue? Hysteresis? Offset? For that I need to know how the cooling cycle works.

I've measured freezer temperatures in the past with a meat thermometer, but they show only the current temperature. I really need a min/max thermometer. Surely they're available on eBay?

Indeed, and not even expensive. You can get thermocouple probes on their own for about $13, but you can also get a dual thermometer (digital, of course) with min/max and two probes for $35. That sounds like a bargain.

But wait, there's more. How about one with WiFi connectivity? Four probes, and only $84. Oh. For reasons that I suspect are due to poor firmware design, the minimum temperature is 0°. It's not the probe: all the thermometers I found use type K probes, which have a range of -200° to 1350°, far beyond what I would ever want to measure.

Further searching became even more expensive. It seems that the most common WiFi-controlled thermometers, including the $84 one (IBBQ-4T) come from Inkbird (a name which, for some reason, I find hard to remember). And they have another model, Inkbird IBBQ-4BW that seems almost identical, except that it costs $122 and has a strangely specified temperature range:

Short Time Measurement Temperature Range: -30℃~+300℃/-22℉~+572℉
Continuous Monitoring Temperature Range: -20℃~+250℃/-4℉~+482℉

Now why that? In any case, it would do the trick, though it's not clear what the real difference is. Should I buy it? Yes. Apart from the GAS value and the convenience, I could use it to explore meat cooking times. That's what it seems to be designed for, as the BBQ in the product name emphasizes. It's not so much min/max as continual readings, and the app produces at least the kind of temperature graph that it thinks appropriate, which could certainly be useful.


eBay strikes again
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The thermometer I was looking at, the Inkbird IBBQ-4BW, was advertised for about $122, with an additional $3 postage. But eBay offered 10% discount with a promotional code. OK, Buy It Now, apply the code, get a price round $112.

But for 50¢ more I could get express postage. Normally I don't bother, but that's a ridiculously low supplement. OK, select. And my discount went away!

Back to normal postage. Still no discount! Much examination with different browsers and systems, and finally discovered that they had cancelled the discount in mid-purchase! BAD eBay.

More looking and found an item that they hadn't seen fit to display before, although it matched the search criteria: IBBQ-4BW and an IHT-1P penknife-format temperature probe, for $115 including postage, somewhat less than $3 more. I don't really need the IHT-1P, but under the circumstances it seems to be the best choice.

Buy It Now. “Are you human?”. Yes, idiot, which is more than I can say for you. But no, I was presented with a never-ending sequence of these HORRIBLE CAPTCHAs before I could finally pay my hard-earned money. The whole matter took 48 minutes!

Looking back in my diary I see that I have been grumbling about eBay for decades. But why do they keep trying to annoy me?


Saturday, 7 May 2022 Dereel Images for 7 May 2022
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The riding arena: first steps
Topic: Stones Road house, animals, general Link here

Troy Addicoat along with his mate in mid-morning, just as we had thought he wasn't coming, and did the first step in putting up the shed over the riding arena:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/Footing-holes-1.jpeg
Image title: Footing holes 1          Dimensions:          4608 x 3457, 7781 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/Footing-holes-2.jpeg
Image title: Footing holes 2          Dimensions:          4608 x 3457, 7532 kB
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And that's all. Just holes and piles of dirt:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/Footing-holes-10.jpeg
Image title: Footing holes 10          Dimensions:          4762 x 3456, 8120 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/Footing-holes-9.jpeg
Image title: Footing holes 9          Dimensions:          4610 x 3456, 4258 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220508/big/Greg-in-hole-12.jpeg
Image title: Greg in hole 12          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 9396 kB
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Now an inspector needs to come (probably Monday or Tuesday) and confirm, yes, there are holes, and they're wide and deep enough. After that he can fill them with concrete, probably on Thursday, and wait for it to cure, about a week. Then he can finally start erecting the thing.


The legacy of Bruce Evans
Topic: technology, history, opinion Link here

Bruce Evans died in mid-December 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. We coopted Peter Jeremy to tidy up his computer remains, and he found these:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/bdes-computers-12-detail.jpeg
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Who wants them? Peter offered them to Warren Toomey and me. Warren wasn't interested. I thought that some of them could be useful, so I put my hand up. But how do you transport them? Shipping could be expensive, especially as one of the computers (HP Z800, not exactly a name I would have thought modern) is very heavy. So I went looking for people going by car from Sydney to Dereel. And there the problems started. Not only did nobody want to travel any more, there were threats that interstate travel would be prohibited.

Finally things were looking up, and about this time last year we had planned a clinic with Anke Hawke. Jane Ashhurst (who visited us last month) was coming by car. So her husband Scott picked up the computers, loaded them into the car, and they were on their way south when they heard the announcement: state borders are closed. They probably could have made it across before the closure was enforced, but then they wouldn't get home again for who knows how long? And we had to cancel the clinic, amongst a number of other things. It's now scheduled for next week after a delay of nearly a year.

And then Scott found his freedom too, taking his ute and caravan on a roundabout trip to the Simpson desert. Today he came by with the hardware:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/Scott-Ashhurst-2.jpeg
Image title: Scott Ashhurst 2          Dimensions:          3456 x 4608, 4882 kB
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They're here, after nearly 2 years!


Running bde's computers
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I really don't have time to look at bde's computers at the moment, but how difficult can it be to fire up a laptop? More than I thought: after the extended time, the batteries were completely discharged. OK, charge batteries and try:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220507/big/HP-filth-detail.jpeg
Image title: HP filth detail          Dimensions:          3700 x 1032, 293 kB
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Hewlett-Packard has never been my favourite brand, but that message (apart from the problem it reports) really presses one of my buttons. How can a reputable maker print messages that substitute backslashes (\) for slashes (/)?

But what's wrong with the laptops? One of them claimed that there was some issue with the BIOS, presumably a discharged CMOS battery, but both of them wouldn't boot. OK, boot from a USB stick. And they both got stuck in a reboot loop!

That's certainly less successful than I had expected. What has gone wrong there? Do HP laptops require special TLC to boot? Mañana, if not pasado mañana,


Sunday, 8 May 2022 Dereel Images for 8 May 2022
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Suffering Buddleja
Topic: Stones Road house, gardening Link here

Since we've been here in Stones Road—concidentally 7 years ago today—our garden flowers have suffered greatly. In particular the Buddleja x weyeriana, which had flourished in Kleins Road, have barely survived. So I was pleasantly surprised when I managed to resurrect the last dying plant. Here photos from three months ago and last month:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220207/big/Buddleja-2.jpeg
Image title: Buddleja 2          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 7656 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220420/big/Buddleja-1.jpeg
Image title: Buddleja 1          Dimensions:          3456 x 4644, 4304 kB
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And then on Friday I found this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220506/big/Buddleja.jpeg
Image title: Buddleja          Dimensions:          3456 x 4608, 6093 kB
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What's wrong there? Water? I tried that (as the photo shows), and it seems to be the case. Today it looks like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220508/big/Buddleja.jpeg
Image title: Buddleja          Dimensions:          3456 x 4608, 5167 kB
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It hadn't seemed particularly dry before, but it seems that Buddlejas are particularly sensitive to soil water content: I think that my previous failures could have been due to too much water.


More bde computer stuff
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So far my experience with Bruce Evans' computers hasn't been overly positive. I can't boot either laptop from disk or USB stick. How about a DVD? Dragged out an old DVD, which might be appropriate for these machines, one 10, the other 20 years old, and tried to boot.

The older one, a Compaq nx6325, booted from DVD, but then the display went blank and stayed blank. It's ancient (“Designed for Windows XP”); should I even bother? I have a Dell laptop of that era, and it's too old for anything useful.

The newer one, an HP EliteBook 8460p, came up with a particular surprise. I couldn't insert the DVD! The hub seemed too large for the DVD:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220508/big/DVD-drive-1.jpeg
Image title: DVD drive 1          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 5903 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220508/big/DVD-drive-3-detail.jpeg
Image title: DVD drive 3 detail          Dimensions:          1472 x 1407, 936 kB
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Looking at the photos, it seems that there are two issues: firstly, the hole in the DVD is really smaller than the hub mechanism, but it seems that it's supposed to fit half on top of the hub. But there's a spring-loaded catch, and it seems that one of the springs is missing. That wasn't visible until I took and processed the photos. I'll have to go back and try again.

But wait, there's more! Well, it didn't seem so: the accessories box just contained a few random cables and mice:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220508/big/bde-accessories-2.jpeg
Image title: bde accessories 2          Dimensions:          5287 x 3888, 5821 kB
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Picked it up to put it away, but it was surprisingly heavy. Lifting the cables showed:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220508/big/bde-accessories-3.jpeg
Image title: bde accessories 3          Dimensions:          5185 x 3888, 5320 kB
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An HP EliteBook 8570p, newer than the other two! Yes, I knew about this machine—it was in the photos Peter sent me—but I had assumed it had gone to a different owner.

OK. Boot. Failure! Again! And it seems that this one won't even try to boot from a USB stick, so I really needed the DVD. And it did boot from the DVD, showing me that the disk had no boot sector. How did that happen? Copied the content to eureka for further examination.

Somehow this is all much more work than I expected.


Wölferl and Constanze
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Yvonne's latest acquisition:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220508/big/Woelferl-Constanze-3.jpeg
Image title: Woelferl Constanze 3          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 4057 kB
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She has dubbed them „Wölferl“ and „Constanze“. I don't know what to make of the fact that Constanze is rough and Wölferl is smooth.


Credit card renewal
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

My credit card expires at the end of the month, and I'm getting various reminders to update my details with people authorized to deduct from the card.

First Vonex, the company designed to make MyNetFone look good. Initially I couldn't even access the site. And when I could, it rejected my credit card details without explanation.

Then came ALDImobile. No problem accessing their web site—some things have improved—but I only had the option of removing my payment method, not updating it. Called them up and was connected to mumble, which proved to be a way to pronounce “Hazel”. She talked me through it: yes, first remove the payment method, then you can enter a new one. Obvious, isn't it? No. Asked her to register a complaint, but I doubt she will do it.

Then Vonex. This mumble made Hazel appear crystal clear. At the end of the sentence I wasn't sure what language she was speaking, but ultimately she spelt it out: “Gail”. Am I getting hard of hearing, or are phone “consultants” getting hard of speaking?

She first wanted me to identify myself. Account number? Don't know. How about a phone number? That should be on her display, of course. But then I saw that there was an account number on their non-functional update page. “OK, I'll see if I can pull that up”. Then she wanted my date of birth again. What do I know? I never registered a date of birth for them, so I suspect that I never told them one.

Finally we found that my address was another form of identification. She took down my payment details and told me that all would be well. Why couldn't I do it online? Others had reported that too; they're updating their web site. It seems that they've been doing that (or needing to do it) for at least 6 months.


Monday, 9 May 2022 Dereel Images for 9 May 2022
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Still more laptop problems
Topic: technology Link here

So now I have an image of the complete disk of the HP EliteBook 8570p on eureka. It should be possible to recover an overwritten master boot record by searching for the magic numbers of the file systems. Started off a superficial search with strings(1). But it found nothing! A quick comparison with the disk on eureka showed that it should have found lots of things. Is the disk encrypted?

During discussion on IRC, mentioned that I wasn't able to boot from a USB stick on that machine. Matti Kupiainen suggested that maybe the USB bus on one side of the laptop might be defective. Tried on the other (left) side. Bingo! But I ended up in the same boot loop that I had with the other EliteBook. Tried on the right side again. It booted, but of course went into the loop again.

OK, get an older boot image, though this machine is only about 3 years old, presumably purchased only shortly before Bruce died. The image was about 1.1 GB, just too big for a 1 GB card. But that's OK. I have this card:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220510/big/Double-memory.jpeg
Image title: Double memory          Dimensions:          3322 x 4460, 4022 kB
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Put it in dereel, which reported:

da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus3 target 0 lun 0
da0: <Lexar LRWM04U 1.00> Removable Direct Access SPC-4 SCSI device
da0: Serial Number 201408282030
da0: 400.000MB/s transfers
da0: 3763MB (7706624 512 byte sectors)
da0: quirks=0x2<NO_6_BYTE>

Huh? That's 4 “GB”! How come the label only says 2? Who's lying? The obvious thing is to try to read it:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) ~ 67 -> dd if=/dev/da0 of=/dev/null bs=1m
3763+0 records in
3763+0 records out
3945791488 bytes transferred in 48.255269 secs (81769133 bytes/sec)

I've seen cards before with fake labels showing more content than they really have, but this is the first time I've seen one showing less. It's also much faster than the other cards I have: the 8 GB card manages only about 11 MB/s. Still, it works, and I tried an older image (FreeBSD 11) on it, unfortunately with the same results on all three machines. It seems that HP laptops have quirks that make it non-trivial (so far impossible) to boot from USB.

OK, I can boot the EliteBook 8570p from DVD. In principle that should work for the EliteBook 8460p too. Why can't I physically insert a DVD? On closer examination the drives look almost identical. Here the 8460p, then the 8570p (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220509/big/DVD-drive-2.jpeg
Image title: DVD drive 2          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 9044 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220509/big/DVD-drive-3.jpeg
Image title: DVD drive 3          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 8970 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220509/big/DVD-drive-5.jpeg
Image title: DVD drive 5          Dimensions:          5191 x 3888, 5442 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220509/big/DVD-drive-4.jpeg
Image title: DVD drive 4          Dimensions:          5191 x 3888, 5204 kB
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Clearly the hub on the 8460p is damaged. How easy is it to swap DVD drives between the two machines? Or is it possible, with sufficient care, to put a DVD on the remains of the hub? Do I care?


Destroying Bruce Evans' legacy
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Clearly one person who might shed some light on my issues with Bruce Evans' laptops is Peter Jeremy, whom we entrusted to pick them up and distribute them. So I asked him whether the disks were encrypted:

> I've taken a look at the laptops so far, and I've run into trouble
> with all of them.  All of them claim to have no bootable system, ...

I did wipe all the disks, so that's why none are bootable

WHAT? That's wanton destruction! I'm not exactly lost for words, but I'm amazed and deeply disappointed. What has Peter done with this action, which must have taken him some time? We discussed picking up Bruce's computers a couple of years ago, and I recommended asking Peter, because I considered him a trustworthy, reliable person. We discussed in some detail what to do with them and the data on them. Peter chose to put the whole thing, round 2.7 TB, on Google Drive, a storage format completely alien to most of us, but if it's still there, I can't find it. One thing that most definitely was not discussed was destroying the originals of the data.

So: it looks as if this information is gone forever, unless Peter can come up with backups. But why did he delete the information? We didn't discuss that, and he had no authority to do so. This is particularly concerning because I recommended him as a person of trust.

Bruce's legacy

Bruce Evans was a remarkable man. He was also known for having patches “in a drawer” at home, presumably on one of these computers. Are they now gone forever?

And then there's the question of how he configured his systems. This is particularly relevant for the laptops, but my guess is that he had some clever ideas about how to configure and run FreeBSD systems. Also all gone.

Damage

What do I do with the machines? The two towers are probably worth salvaging, as is the EliteBook 8570p, but the other two laptops are now effectively junk: the effort required to get them running again is not worth it, especially for the older one.


Tuesday, 10 May 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 10 May 2022
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Blood test and toothbrushes
Topic: health, general Link here

Into Ballarat today for my twice-yearly blood test. On the way, yet another attempt to get sensible dental equipment. After my experience with the refurbished toothbrushes, decided to get a new one instead, possibly a better model. I had paid $35 for a refurbished brush holder only (no power supply), and I found the same model, Braun Oral-B Pro 500, brand new with brush and charger for $50. That seemed a better option.

But how about something better? There's a big jump to the next one they had in stock, for $105. What do I get for that? It seems that it has a pressure sensor that displays different colours in front of your mouth. Isn't that clever? Not in my book.

And why are there no angled interdental brushes any more? It seems that I can get things like this from name brands for about 80¢ per piece, or these for 7¢:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220510/big/Dental-care-detail.jpeg
Image title: Dental care detail          Dimensions:          987 x 1316, 407 kB
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To make it easier for the name brands, these (and all similar ones) have a mint flavour, which puts them out of the question. Why do people do these things?


Bruce Evans legacy, continued
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So what happened to Bruce Evans' legacy? Looking back through the email exchange, it seems that at the time Peter Jeremy went to some trouble to save all the data, making his subsequent behaviour even more surprising. Found a number of what I think are disk images on Google Cloud, and started downloading the smallest of them, 15 GB compressed. And that's about all I did; I'll find what it is tomorrow.

But I've been in this kind of position before. 20 years ago I wrote

The time I spent working on this problem this week cost more than a mid-size PC.

Understanding my ssh problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why can I access freefall.freebsd.org from some machines and not from others, though I use the same ssh key in every case? Off to compare:. I added the colour highlighting later to make things more recognizable:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/44) ~/Photos/19670427 74 -> cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb grog@dereel.lemis.com
FreeBSD eureka.lemis.com 10.2-STABLE FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #2 r290972: Wed Nov 25 11:38:38 AEDT 2015     grog@stable.lemis.com:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/GENERIC  amd64
2048 3b:c3:00:e1:ea:57:43:7f:14:78:90:58:c9:61:bf:d8 /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)
Permission denied (publickey).

=== grog@dereel (/dev/pts/3) ~ 16 -> cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb grog@dereel.lemis.com
FreeBSD dereel 14.0-CURRENT FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT #3 main-n255108-9fb40baf6043: Fri Apr 29 09:53:15 AEST 2022     grog@dereel:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/main/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)
Last login: Sat May  7 23:04:30 2022 from ffm.lemis.com

=== grog@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) ~ 7 -> cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb grog@dereel.lemis.com
FreeBSD lagoon.lemis.com 12.1-STABLE FreeBSD 12.1-STABLE r355358 GENERIC  amd64
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
grog@freefall.freebsd.org: Permission denied (publickey).

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Hubert-und-Staller/10 42 -> cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb grog@dereel.lemis.com
FreeBSD teevee.lemis.com 12.1-STABLE FreeBSD 12.1-STABLE r359522 GENERIC  amd64
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
grog@freefall.freebsd.org: Permission denied (publickey).

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/1) ~ 13 -> cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb grog@dereel.lemis.com
FreeBSD tiwi.lemis.com 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #2 stable/13-n250531-6182c7881829-dirty: Fri Apr 22 12:53:34 AEST 2022     grog@tiwi.lemis.com:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/stable-13/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
grog@freefall.freebsd.org: Permission denied (publickey).
=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/1) ~ 15 -> ssh -V
unknown option: '-V'
OpenSSH_8.8p1, OpenSSL 1.1.1n-freebsd  15 Mar 2022

=== grog@ffm (/dev/pts/1) ~ 14 -> cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb grog@dereel.lemis.com
FreeBSD ffm.lemis.com 11.1-STABLE FreeBSD 11.1-STABLE #0 r326456: Sat Dec  2 13:06:23 UTC 2017     grog@ffm.lemis.com:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/GENERIC  amd64
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)
Last login: Tue May 10 07:14:42 2022 from 121-200-11-253.79c80b.mel.nbn.aussiebb.net

=== grog@lax (/dev/pts/1) ~ 1 -> cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh -V; ssh freefall
ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb grog@dereel.lemis.com
FreeBSD lax.lemis.com 12.0-RELEASE-p8 FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE-p8 GENERIC  amd64
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)
unknown option: '-V'
OpenSSH_7.8p1, OpenSSL 1.1.1a-freebsd  20 Nov 2018
Disconnected at Tue 10 May 2022 07:20:07 UTC
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
grog@freefall.freebsd.org: Permission denied (publickey).

What do I see here?

  1. Yes, in every case the key is the same.
  2. freefall rejects five systems and accepts two.
  3. There seems to be no relationship between the age of the system and the acceptability in freefall's eyes. In particular, tiwi is the newest system, and it gets rejected. The external virtual servers lax and ffm both use generic system installations. lax was installed in August 2019 and fails, but ffm was installed in December 2017 and succeeds.
  4. In all but one case of rejection, I get the message “agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type”.

Off to look for the message on the web. This page tells me

This message means that the SSH connection negotiated a connection using an RSA key with a different signature algorithm, either SHA-256 or SHA-512. However, the SSH agent, when asked to make the signature for that connection, provided an SHA-1 signature, which isn't in compliance with the agent protocol.

But looking at the output, it seems clear that ssh-agent is returning an SHA-256 signed key.

Then this page comes up with a similar, less restrictive answer:

For this connection, your client and server have negotiated that a SHA512-based signature should be used instead. However, when the client asked ssh-agent to create the signature, ssh-agent ignored the new extension and just returned a SHA1-based signature instead. Usually this happens when the agent simply does not support the updated protocol.

The solution is to upgrade the SSH agent. Latest versions of OpenSSH and PuTTY both have agents compatible with the new protocol; GnuPG's gpg-agent should also support this as of v2.2.6.

That's referring to Linux, of course. With FreeBSD this kind of thing should be impossible, just like upgrading only part of the ssh software is not easily possible. But looking more carefully, it doesn't seem to be correct. In the example discussed on that page, ssh -vvv returns:

debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: RSA SHA256:[hash]
debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using rsa-sha2-512
agent key RSA SHA256:[hash] returned incorrect signature type
debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using ssh-rsa

That's signed with rsa-sha2-512, not SHA1. And that's what I see on tiwi too:

debug1: Offering public key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent
debug3: send packet: type 50
debug2: we sent a publickey packet, wait for reply
debug3: receive packet: type 60
debug1: Server accepts key: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent
debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo
debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using rsa-sha2-512 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using ssh-rsa SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo

Why is that happening? How do I fix it?


Horse transport pain
Topic: animals Link here

Some time ago Emma Jefferson offered Yvonne a gift horse, but there were problems with the transport. Two months ago Yvonne wanted to go to Kybeyan to pick her up, but that too fell through. But finally the transport works—maybe. Only in the meantime Emma has decided to ask Real Money for the horse (named Dana). She was supposed to arrive tomorrow, but that transport also fell through, as I discovered after answering a call on Yvonne's phone, which she never has with her.

Now the transport will occur in three steps. The first is done: she's in Yass. Tomorrow she will go to Melbourne. And on Thursday if we're lucky, Friday if we're not, she'll finally be here.

But that's not all. When on Friday will she arrive? It would be better for her to have a few hours of daylight on arrival, and in any case, Anke Hawke is arriving in the evening to finally hold the clinic that should have taken place a year ago. I can see conflicts already.


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

Shortly after 4:00 this morning it occurred to me that it had been quiet for some time. Normally I would expect to hear the air conditioner or the freezers. Power?

Yes! Once again a total power failure. OK, where's my torch? I really need to have something in a known place. Tried some likely places, but there was nothing there. Finally it occurred to me: my phone has a torch function, and I know where it is. One of the few times where it's really of use.

OK, check the PV inverter: no grid power. Out to check the meter. No problems! Back inside. No switches had tripped. Take the inverter out of circuit: power came back. So the inverter had failed.

What do I do now? Put the inverter back in circuit and see if things fail again? A good idea, if only to confirm the problem. But the inverter came back as normal and started charging. And it didn't fail again.

What causes that? After getting the machines back up, took a look at the inverter log and saw:


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Just after midnight the battery charge dropped to 20%, which should have triggered a recharge. But the inverter did nothing, and ultimately, round 0:41, it dropped to 5%, at which point the inverter cut out supply. For reasons that aren't obvious, it started charging again at 1:23, but only made it to 20% before giving up again. At 4:13 I took the inverter out of circuit, shown by the dip in the Grid/Genset Voltage curve (magenta). And when I turned it on again, the inverter functioned normally and continued to do so

Clearly there's a problem with the inverter here. It's not the circuitry (bypass switch, for example), since the inverter reported normal grid voltage the whole time. It just didn't charge.

There's more information in the inverter log, in fact, more than in the data that I suck out of the inverter, including things like inverter status and inverter alarms and grid supply frequency. The inverter alarms. The latter raised a 02000000 (is that octal?) when the battery discharged completely, but I think that's all it was trying to say. Sent mail off to Tomas Kucera and Fyodor Togornikov. Hopefully they can do something about it.


Power fail recovery, next attempt
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Recovering from a power failure is always a pain, though it's getting easier. For reasons I still don't understand, eureka's hardware doesn't recover from a power outage: it requires manual operation of the power switch. And then it doesn't boot automatically: it stops at the Boot: prompt and waits for me to confirm with Boot. But then it came up without trouble.

But there are still so many loose ends. I started writing all this stuff in a HOWTO page, but it still seems to be greatly out of date. I really should keep it up to date, and also with enough information for me to be able to apply it. How do I start the weather station software? It needs to run as root, probably because I haven't set the device permissions correctly. And the link check script? Also.


Inspecting the holes
Topic: Stones Road house, animals, general Link here

Round 11:00 this morning Gagan Deep of Wyndham Building Permits came along to take a look at the foundation holes for the shed cover. With him he brought a tablet with the old planning permit for the old location. And he noticed that something was wrong: now the holes were only 1 m from the boundary, whereas in the old permit they were 2 m away (from the internal fence, but he doesn't seem to have noticed that). I pointed out that we had an amended planning permit, and even brought it out for him, but no, he needed an amended building permit. So he noted that the holes were acceptable in themselves, but we needed to amend the building permit.

GRR! Will our problems with this damned shed never end? Tried calling Donna Morris, who had sent us the original building permit, but ran into trouble both with the phones and with the fact that she wasn't available. Spoke to Kylie, who sounded very helpful and sympathetic, but who really could only forward the information, and who told me that Donna won't be available again until Friday.


Identifying USB disks at boot
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The real issue with booting, still unsolved, is: how do I mount my USB disks correctly? eureka has 4 external backup disks, and on every boot they come up in as different devices, as I have noted before. What do I do? I've thought about it from time to time, wondering in particular if I haven't missed some more obvious method.

In principle I should be able to identify file systems by a label. The label is optional, but it would be a good start. But how do I find the label? One option would be to use gpart show, but the format is so confusing that I can't think of an easy way to parse it. Here an example:

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/5) ~ 31 -> gpart show
=>         40  15628050976  ada0  GPT  (7.3T)
           40          128     1  freebsd-boot  (64K)
          168     83886080     2  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
     83886248     41943040     3  freebsd-swap  (20G)
    125829288     83886080     4  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
    209715368  15418335648     5  freebsd-ufs  (7.2T)

=>         40  11721045088  da0  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088    1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)

=>         40  11721045088  ufsid/5c1b040802cb9906  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088                       1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)

=>         40  11721045088  ufs/videobackup  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088                1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)

=>         40  11721045088  diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088                     1  freebsd-ufs  (5.5T)

That shows two disks (sorry, “providers”): ada0 and da0, which almost coincidentally correspond to the devices /dev/ada0 and /dev/da0. But those are only part of the story: the devices are:

=== root@teevee (/dev/pts/5) ~ 32 -> ls -l /dev/ada* /dev/da*
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0x7d 11 May 04:13 /dev/ada0
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0x7f 11 May 04:13 /dev/ada0p1
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0x81 11 May 04:14 /dev/ada0p2
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0x83 11 May 04:13 /dev/ada0p3
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0x85 11 May 04:13 /dev/ada0p4
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0x87 11 May 04:14 /dev/ada0p5
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0xc2 12 May 10:35 /dev/da0
crw-r-----  1 root  operator  0xc3 12 May 10:35 /dev/da0p1

Where are the others? /dev/ada0p* are represented as:

=>         40  15628050976  ada0  GPT  (7.3T)
           40          128     1  freebsd-boot  (64K)
          168     83886080     2  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
     83886248     41943040     3  freebsd-swap  (20G)
    125829288     83886080     4  freebsd-ufs  (40G)
    209715368  15418335648     5  freebsd-ufs  (7.2T)

There's no heading, and you have to refer to the man page to understand the format:

The default output includes the logical starting block of each partition, the partition size in blocks, the partition index number, the partition type, and a human readable partition size.

No explanation of the => at the beginning.

Somehow I find this particularly unpleasant. Wouldn't this be a better format?

     Start         Size            Device    Type
        40  15628050976 (7.3T)  /dev/ada0    GPT
        40          128 (64K)   /dev/ada0p1  freebsd-boot
       168     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p2  freebsd-ufs
  83886248     41943040 (20G)   /dev/ada0p3  freebsd-swap
 125829288     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p4  freebsd-ufs
 209715368  15418335648 (7.2T)  /dev/ada0p5  freebsd-ufs

This still doesn't show the label; for that you use the -l option, which replaces the partition type with the label:

=>         40  15628050976  ada0  GPT  (7.3T)
           40          128     1  boot  (64K)
          168     83886080     2  rootfs  (40G)
     83886248     41943040     3  swap  (20G)
    125829288     83886080     4  rootfs-2  (40G)
    209715368  15418335648     5  spool  (7.2T)

Wouldn't that look better like this, including both partition type and label?

     Start         Size            Device    Type           Label
        40  15628050976 (7.3T)  /dev/ada0    GPT
        40          128 (64K)   /dev/ada0p1  freebsd-boot   boot
       168     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p2  freebsd-ufs    rootfs
  83886248     41943040 (20G)   /dev/ada0p3  freebsd-swap   swap
 125829288     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p4  freebsd-ufs    rootfs-2
 209715368  15418335648 (7.2T)  /dev/ada0p5  freebsd-ufs    spool

But that's only half the story. What does all this mean?

=>         40  11721045088  da0  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088    1  (null)  (5.5T)

=>         40  11721045088  ufsid/5c1b040802cb9906  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088                       1  (null)  (5.5T)

=>         40  11721045088  ufs/videobackup  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088                1  (null)  (5.5T)

=>         40  11721045088  diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG  GPT  (5.5T)
           40  11721045088                     1  (null)  (5.5T)

The man page doesn't help there. Both the offsets and the index number show that these are four different ways of looking at the same partition. But where do the diskid/DISK-NA8TZEWG and ufs/videobackup come from? ufs/videobackup particular looks very close to what I would have labeled it. Currently the file system gets mounted on /VB2, but years ago it was mounted on /videobackup. The man page doesn't help there. I need to understand what's going on before I try modifying any code (which looks as if it wouldn't be too difficult).


Bruce Evans' disks analysed
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

With some difficulty I managed to navigate Google Drive and find some of the many disks that Peter Jeremy saved before he decided to destroy everything on the computers. This morning I had a 15 GB file ad0.img.xz waiting for me. How do I access it? file tells me:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) /src/Downloads 30 -> file ad0.img
ad0.img: DOS/MBR boot sector; partition 1 : ID=0xb, active, start-CHS (0x0,1,1), end-CHS (0x3e8,254,63), startsector 63, 16081002 sectors; partition 2 : ID=0xa5, start-CHS (0x3e9,0,1), end-CHS (0x1e4,254,63), startsector 16081065, 57512700 sectors; partition 3 : ID=0xa5, start-CHS (0x1e5,0,1), end-CHS (0x3e0,254,63), startsector 73593765, 57512700 sectors; partition 4 : ID=0xc, start-CHS (0x3e1,0,1), end-CHS (0x11,80,63), startsector 131106465, 103335183 sectors

OK, how do I look at it? I could copy it to a physical disk, of course, but don't we have better tools than that? I had some recollection of a “vnode disk”. There!

=== root@echunga (/dev/ttypb) ~ 73 -> mdconfig -a -t vnode -f /src/ISOs/6.1-RELEASE-i386-disc1.iso
md0

Only problem: that file is a file system. What I have is a disk image containing file systems. Here a somewhat truncated output from fdisk:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 84 -> mdconfig -a -t vnode -f Downloads/ad0.img
md0
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 85 -> fdisk /dev/md0
Information from DOS bootblock is:
...
The data for partition 1 is:
sysid 11 (0x0b),(DOS or Windows 95 with 32 bit FAT)
    start 63, size 16081002 (7852 Meg), flag 80 (active)
The data for partition 2 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 16081065, size 57512700 (28082 Meg), flag 0
The data for partition 3 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 73593765, size 57512700 (28082 Meg), flag 0
The data for partition 4 is:
sysid 12 (0x0c),(DOS or Windows 95 with 32 bit FAT (LBA))
    start 131106465, size 103335183 (50456 Meg), flag 0

In passing, that's an interesting partitioning scheme for so small a disk. Not the way I would have done it, and I hadn't really expected Bruce to use Microsoft. But then, one of the reasons I wanted to look at these files was to discover that kind of information. But how do I access the file systems? Untidily, it proves, but it's possible.

The program needed is gnop, which apparently stands for “control utility for NOP GEOM class”, and is basically a test utility. Another man page that could be clearer. I found (and then lost again) an example

# gnop create -o 41255k md0

The -o is the offset from the beginning of the “provider”, in this case /dev/md0. There seems to be no provision for specifying a length. And clearly 41255k means 41255 kB, though that's not documented anywhere.

In my case, the offset for the interesting partitions was not an even number of kilobytes. What's the default scale factor? Sectors? No:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/bde 91 -> gnop create -o 16081065 md0
gnop: Invalid offset for provider md0.
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/bde 92 -> gnop create -o 16081065s md0
gnop: Invalid value for 'o' argument: Invalid argument
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/bde 93 -> gnop create -o 8233505280 md0

About the only thing that works is an absolute byte count. I suppose I should UTSL, but for the moment I have more interesting things to do.

Moving on,

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/bde 97 -> l /dev/md0*
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xa5 11 May 16:50 /dev/md0
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xac 11 May 16:59 /dev/md0.nop
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xad 11 May 16:59 /dev/md0.nopa
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xae 11 May 16:59 /dev/md0.nopb
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xaf 11 May 16:59 /dev/md0.nopd
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xb0 11 May 16:59 /dev/md0.nope
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xb2 11 May 16:59 /dev/md0.nopf
crw-r-----  1 root  operator   0xb3 11 May 16:59 /dev/md0.nopg

Clearly those are the devices relating to the individual partitions

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/bde 98 -> bsdlabel /dev/md0.nop
# /dev/md0.nop:
8 partitions:
#          size     offset    fstype   [fsize bsize bps/cpg]
  a:     131072       8192    4.2BSD     1024  8192 49152
  b:    8225280     144585    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28512
  c:   57512700          0    unused        0     0     # "raw" part, don't edit
  d:    8225280    8369865    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28512
  e:    8225280   16595145    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28512
  f:    8225280   24820425    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28512
  g:   24466995   33045705    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28512

Still more partitions! But those are the /dev/md0.nop?. So, I should be able to mount them:

   === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) ~ 55 -> mount -o ro /dev/md0.nopa /mnt
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) ~ 56 -> cd /mnt/etc
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 57 -> cat fstab
/dev/ad0s2a     /               ufs     rw,async,noatime        1 1
/dev/ad0s2b     /cbak           ufs     ro,async,noatime,noauto 1 2
/dev/ad0s2d     /usr            ufs     rw,noatime              1 2
/dev/ad0s2e     /home           ufs     rw,noatime              1 2
/dev/ad0s2f     /cvsbak         ufs     ro,noatime,noauto       1 2
/dev/ad0s2g     /e              ufs     ro,noatime              1 2
...

There's a lot more in the fstab—in fact, one of the longest I have seen, with many comments. But now I at least know how to mount the partitions:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 59 -> cd ..
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 60 -> mount /dev/md0.nopb cbak
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 61 -> mount /dev/md0.nopd usr
mount: /dev/md0.nopd: R/W mount of /usr denied. Filesystem is not clean - run fsck.: Operation not permitted
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 62 -> mount -o ro /dev/md0.nopd usr
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 63 -> mount -o ro /dev/md0.nope home
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 64 -> mount -o ro /dev/md0.nopf cvsbak/
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt 65 -> mount -o ro /dev/md0.nopg e

More interesting stuff in there, but first I need to understand it. So far, though, the contents seem even more interesting than I had thought.


Thursday, 12 May 2022 Dereel Images for 12 May 2022
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Irritating blood tests
Topic: health, opinion Link here

My blood test on Tuesday wasn't completely without consequences:


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That rectangular red patch on the left was where the plaster over the cotton wool had been. What causes that? It itches a lot, and I don't think it was the first time. Could it be the way I ripped it off, or that I left it on all day? That shouldn't be an issue. By contrast, the needle hole on the right was no problem at all. Next time I'll remove the plaster after a couple of minutes and see what happens.


GPS fail
Topic: technology Link here

One of the best uses I can find for a mobile phone is as a GPS navigator. It's not perfect, but I've decided that it probably works better than a dedicated GPS navigator. But today I got an unexpected message:


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Why that? How do you enable or disable GPS? It's not where you'd expect it on the right downwards “swipe”. After much searching I found this:


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That's under Settings/Location, at the very bottom of the Settings strip, after enabling it. But how did it get disabled in the first place?


Arena cover: the next step
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

I was so frustrated by yesterday's problems with the riding arena cover (dammit, what should I call it?) that I thought of reminding Yvonne that one of the conditions was that I should have nothing to do with the bureaucracy involved. But in the end I relented, and when I got a call from Brenton Carter of Wyndham Building Permits, I took it. Fill out this form, send in the plans (what plans? The only ones I have are from the planning permit, and they should already have them), and in a few days we should have an updated building permit (and, as it proved, also an invoice for the procedure). Hopefully we can get that done next week.


Another building interruption
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Just as Yvonne had put the eggs into the pan for breakfast, we got another call. Will Tatnell along to look at tidying up the remains of the bracken in the house forest, and also to consider laying a pipe to a new horse trough. That took a while, but it looks as if we'll get it sorted out pretty quickly.


More ssh mysteries
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why does freefall.freebsd.org accept the same ssh key from some systems and not from others? On Tuesday I had established that the ones that were rejected were replying with the incorrect signature type:

debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo
debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using rsa-sha2-512 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using ssh-rsa SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo

But why? This was tiwi, running an almost completely new version of FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE. Clearly the ssh components were compatible. In preparation for a bug report, built a new world with today's latest and greatest:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 8 -> uname -a
FreeBSD tiwi.lemis.com 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #0 stable/13-n250745-1db9d7b7751c: Thu May 12 15:10:04 AEST 2022     grog@tiwi.lemis.com:/usr/obj/usr/src/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64

And then:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 1 -> ssh freefall
agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type
grog@freefall.freebsd.org: Permission denied (publickey).
Disconnected at Thu 12 May 2022 12:35:40 AEST
=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 2 -> ps aux|grep ssh-agent
grog       56964   0.0  0.0  12868  2236  3  S+   12:36      0:00.00 grep ssh-agent

Huh? No ssh-agent running? What's my key?

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 3 -> ssh-add -l
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)

Where did that come from? OK, start an ssh-agent and populate it:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 4 -> eval `ssh-agent` >/dev/null
=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 5 -> ssh-add < /dev/null
Identity added: /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (/home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa)
=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 6 -> ssh-add -l
2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA)

Not surprisingly, it's the same key. But the proof of the pudding is:


=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 7 -> ssh freefall
Last login: Fri May 13 00:26:32 2022 from 121-200-11-253.79c80b.mel.nbn.aussiebb.net
FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT (CLUSTER) #0 main-n252623-389844c058e: Tue Jan 25 12:45:38 UTC 2022
...
=== grog@freefall (/dev/pts/23) ~ 1 ->

So: somehow the system is responding without an ssh-agent, and that's part of the problem. And that's because I started the xterm from eureka, which also provides the key (I think). And looking at my .bashrc, I get a first inkling of differences. Greatly trimmed,

if [ "$HOSTNAME" = "teevee" -o "$HOSTNAME" = "tiwi" ]; then
  eval `ssh-agent` >/dev/null
  DISPLAY=:0 ssh-add < /dev/null
  startx -- -listen tcp &
  PATH=$PATH:/src/Samba/tivo/vplay/i386
else
  eval `ssh-agent` >/dev/null
  DISPLAY=:0 ssh-add < /dev/null
fi

In the process I note this modification to the PATH environment variable. What was /src/Samba/tivo/vplay/i386? The name gives the lie: it must be decades old, and I no longer have a directory /src/Samba. The line is from revision 1.26 of 23 May 2008, 14 years ago, and the comment suggests that even then I no longer knew what it was for.

But back to the story: teevee and tiwi are special, which could account for part of the problem. And yes, checking dereel, it does have ssh-agents running.

So that could be part of the problem. But it's only part of it, because it doesn't explain why my external servers lax and ffm behave differently. I really need to understand better how these things work. What part of ssh does the signing? Clearly it's not ssh-agent, as I had thought.


Borzois barking?
Topic: animals Link here

In mid-evening, after it was completely dark, Lena and Larissa were outside in the front of house. And I heard frantic barking.

Borzois don't bark. What's going on there? Lara! It wasn't just a couple of “woofs”: it was continuous, loud barking, something that I have never heard before in 40-odd years of living with Borzois, apparently at something in the street. And then somebody said out of the darkness: “Don't worry, Gregory, everything's all right”.

Gregory? Who calls me Gregory? But I didn't see anybody, only reflections of what could have been a car parked in Grassy Gully Road, but which I now think were reflective road markers. But Lara wasn't satisfied: even inside she continued grumbling to herself for some time.

What can that be?


Friday, 13 May 2022 Dereel → Napoleons → Enfield → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 13 May 2022
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Superstition and Friday the 13th
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Friday the 13th again today, as every 7 months on average. An unlucky day, they say, clearly a superstition. But today we could almost believe it. We had multiple unexpected issues. On other days they'd be just coincidences. But today it's clearly because of the date.


Next horse clinic issue
Topic: animals, general Link here

So tomorrow is the start of the horse clinic postponed from a year ago—the one that also delayed the arrival of Bruce Evans' computers. Call from Anke on the way to the airport: they had cancelled her flight!

Considerable flurries of attempts to rebook on another flight, which ultimately came to nought. The clinic is cancelled at the last minute again! At least I hadn't got round to thawing out the food I had started last year.

Bloody Friday the 13th!


New toy
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Today the thermometer that I ordered last week arrived in Napoleons. By this time it was clear that Yvonne wouldn't be going into town to pick up Anke, so off to Napoleons to pick it up.

They couldn't find it! In the process discovered that they don't have any network access to check tracking. Tried with my mobile phone, but the tracking number on the pickup slip was wrong, so it didn't help. Finally, after 15 minutes of searching, left with a request to call back when they found it.

I hadn't quite made it home when I got a call from Yvonne to tell me that they had found it almost immediately, but that she hadn't been able to get me on the phone: this was the 5th attempt. Back to Napoleons and picked it up: the sender had run the address together, so what was on the label was “GREG YVONNELEHEY”, and it had been stored under Y, not L.

More Friday the 13th? At least the difficulty calling me could have been because of flaky mobile network coverage between Napoleons and here.


Icebird thermometer
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Back home, unpacked my toys: an Inkbird IBBQ-4BW multithermometer with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and also an IHT-1P “penknife” thermometer.

How do I set it up? Very much RTFM, which was terrible. The instructions didn't match the behaviour, and for the WiFi connectivity they wanted me to sign up with an email address and password! Did all that, received a 6 digit confirmation number, which the app didn't accept. Asked for another one, but clearly the Inkbirds think that one is enough.

Dammit, how about Bluetooth? How about that, for the first time ever Bluetooth paired immediately, bringing a particularly stupid display:

 
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Maybe it reflects the pain that even the developers had with the software.

OK, and now try the “Asssisted connection” for WiFi. But that didn't work: it was already connected! So clearly this app is particularly broken.

That's about all I did today. I'll check out the freezer tomorrow.

And the penknife? I don't really need it, since I already have a much smaller thermometer that does the same thing:


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Still, the display is much better, and since it didn't cost anything, I can barely complain.


Dana arrives
Topic: animals Link here

Call from Cooper, apparently the last horse transporter for Dana's marathon journey from Kybean to here. He arrived at Chris Bahlo's place just as it was getting dark:


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The light from the headlights shows how dark it really was. Fortunately she was relatively easy to handle, and she was soon unloaded:


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Put her in a yard for the night:


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Tomorrow, in daylight, we'll bring her to our place. These photos don't make it clear that it was very dark all the time.


Saturday, 14 May 2022 Dereel Images for 14 May 2022
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Dana comes home
Topic: animals Link here

Early breakfast today, then over to Chris Bahlo's place to pick up Dana.


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She's home! After only a little more than 5 days for 963 km, an average of not quite 8 km/h.


Measuring freezer temperature
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Spent a bit of time with my new WiFi thermometer. It certainly shows Android apps from their worst perspective.

One of my concerns when buying it was whether the cables were long enough. I shouldn't have worried: they're 1.5 m each, and they're rather unwieldy. And how do I arrange the colours? They're coloured red, green, blue and something that may be intended to be yellow. RGB sounds right, leaving Y for fourth place:


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But that turns out not to be the way the writers of the app think. They have implicitly assigned to colours in the graphs: red, yellow, green, blue (cyan).

Working with the app is an exercise in frustration. By default, it can't even display all the temperatures at once:


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It wastes screen real estate with silly pictures and overly large graphics. The cow head was a result of my playing around with this menu, before I found out how to remove it again:


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I suppose that could be useful for a thermometer designed for cooking meat, but does it have to be a picture of the head?

Pressing on the four squares at top right of the temperature display improves things, but only marginally:


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Now only half the screen is occupied, and all the controls are gone. So I have to alternate between the two. The second gives an overview, the first a marginal measure of control.

So what can I do with the thing? So far, it seems, I can display graphs of temperature against time:


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And that shows that there are discontinuities. Why? The app claims to be connected both via Bluetooth and WiFi. Is it trying only Bluetooth? The WiFi access point is only about 40 cm away, on top of the freezer.

And then sometimes when I select the graph module, it tries and then stops again. Is the graph module crashing? It sounds about right. The only way I have found to get it to work again is to stop and restart the app.

But how do I get at the data? All the thing offers is graphs with hard-to read axis markings. It must store the data somewhere. How do I get at it? How about sniffing the traffic between thermometer and phone? It has a rather sane-looking status list on the settings page:


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That's a rather strange address. It should be in the range 192.109.197.0/24. Can I ping it? Yes!

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/23) ~ 180 -> ping 121.200.11.253
PING 121.200.11.253 (121.200.11.253): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 121.200.11.253: icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=0.012 ms
64 bytes from 121.200.11.253: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.015 ms

And that, again, is a very short ping time.

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/23) ~ 170 -> host 121.200.11.253
253.11.200.121.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer 121-200-11-253.79c80b.mel.nbn.aussiebb.net.

Huh? That's the address of the Internet gateway. What's my real address?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/23) ~ 172 -> arp -a
121-200-11-253.79c80b.mel.nbn.aussiebb.net (121.200.11.253) at 00:50:da:cf:07:35 on xl0 permanent [ethernet]
...
dhcp-225.lemis.com (192.109.197.225) at e8:db:84:b6:18:b1 on em0 expires in 1196 seconds [ethernet]

This terminally broken app has reported the wrong IP address! OK, is it listening to anything?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/23) ~ 173 -> nmap dhcp-225
...
PORT     STATE SERVICE
6668/tcp open  irc

IRC? Why should that port be open? It isn't, really. An attempt to connect to it with irc just timed out. But telnet was more successful:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/23) ~ 178 -> telnet dhcp-225 6668
Trying 192.109.197.225...
Connected to dhcp-225.lemis.com.
Escape character is '^]'.

Uk3.3Lº
3Ww×.]í±ñ;BÈlªUUk3.3LoøJÉãú;.Ñ       F
ºs
tĵÝóZeýÏ$X´âi{į­ã`n

Now how do I go about analysing that?


Freezer temperatures
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

To my surprise, the temperatures in the freezer were not only acceptable, but slightly low. Here a typical view:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220515/big/Inkbird-thermometer-4.jpeg
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The temperatures range between -19° and -22.8°, a little cool. But then there's this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220515/big/Inkbird-thermometer-7-detail.jpeg
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That's the culprit! It seems to happen 2 or 3 times a day, and it lasts for nearly 2 hours (this graph shows a time span of 6 hours). My guess is that it's related to the automatic defrost. When I have more data, I'll compare it with the other freezers.

Opening the freezer makes a difference too, but it's nothing by comparison. This graph (time span 1 hour) shows three openings in relatively quick succession:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220515/big/Inkbird-thermometer-9-detail.jpeg
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Here the cyan trace is the sensor in front of the drawers, which is open to the outside when I open the door.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220515/big/Freezer-thermometer-3.jpeg
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The red trace is at the top, also unprotected by the drawer fronts. And the other two briefly go up to about -16°, but quickly recover, within minutes. The previous graph shows the temperatures inside the baskets above -16° for round an hour.

So: what is this? My guess is that there's something wrong with the defrosting mechanism.


Sunday, 15 May 2022 Dereel Images for 15 May 2022
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Early in the morning
Topic: animals Link here

Got out of bed at a normal time today. No sign of Yvonne. Ah, there, 200 m away:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220515/big/Yvonne-Dana-2-detail.jpeg
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Dana didn't survive the transport completely unscathed. Yesterday we saw a scratch on her leg, already partially healed:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220514/big/Dana-comes-home-50.jpeg
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And today she had a problem with her right eye, which was almost closed in the early morning, but which gradually improved in the course of the day.


What's this?
Topic: language, food and drink, technology, opinion Link here

Found in the fridge:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220515/big/Mystery-ingredient-2.jpeg
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When I found it, is was in this opened plastic bag:


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Now doesn't that tell me what it is? But never mind, Google Lens to the rescue:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220514/big/Google-lens-translate-1.jpeg
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The trouble with Google Lens' “translate” facility seems to be that it is to eager to please, even when the image is poor (here due to reflections). But it also makes it pretty useless. Running Google Lens against the photos I took later consistently gives me “Haidilao seasoning” for the red text and and “soup bag” for the black text. And of course, that doesn't help much.

What is it? It's oily and tastes vaguely salty. I should remember where I got it from and what I used it for.


Death of a journalist
Topic: politics, general, opinion Link here

Last Wednesday, Shireen Abu Akleh, a reporter for Al Jazeera, was shot dead in the Jenin refugee camp. We found out about it almost immediately, since we watch Al Jazeera news on a daily basis. They reported the death at 4:25 UTC, with the result that for the next 24 hours Al Jazeera news brought no other content, and we had to find other news sources to find out what was going in the world. Even now, four days later, nearly a third of the content relates to the incident, and even in the rest—here Annalena Baerbock, Germany's foreign minister, talking about Sweden's decision to join NADO, as she put it—the entire right side of the screen relates to Shireen, and the short news items on the strip at the bottom relate only to her death and subsequent treatment:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220515/big/AlJazeera.jpeg
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Yes, it's sad that journalists get killed, but how many people were killed in Ukraine over the same couple of days? Admittedly, the Israeli occupation forces have helped keep the issue going. A Palestinian shot her! The police who attacked the funeral procession only did so because the coffin had been stolen, according to the Times of Israel:

The announcement came in the wake of international condemnation after officers charged Palestinians who were holding and surrounding the casket at the funeral on Friday, and beat them with batons, nearly toppling the coffin. Police have claimed that the casket was seized by a mob, against the family’s wishes, outside Jerusalem’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, prompting the cops’ intervention. Abu Akleh’s brother, however, said the family and mourners had hoped to hold a “small procession” but were “bombarded” by officers as they left the hospital.

Somehow this all reminds me of the lies that Russia has been telling about Ukraine. Does anybody really believe them? And is it really just a coincidence that they also destroyed the Al Jazeera office building in Gaza?

Can anybody really claim that Israel is a respecter of human rights? Yes, the Palestinian leadership has a number of issues, but isn't it time, after nearly 55 years, for Israel to retreat from the areas they conquered and leave the administration to a neutral body (United Nations, maybe)?

Later another report plausibly contradicted Israeli police's claims.

More Inkbird insights
Topic: technology, general Link here

Mail from Malcolm Caldwell this evening:

I have also setup freezer/fridge temperature logging. I looked at inkbird but in the end went with govee devices.

But I did see that the protocols for inkbird are known. (As are the govee ones).

For example you can find plugins for inkbird that work with open source home automation software like home assistant. https://github.com/stelford/home-assistant_inkbird

Also this looks promising: https://github.com/tobievii/inkbird

More fun to try out, even if they appear to be a layering violation. Certainly this display looks better than what Inkbird provides:

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/stelford/home-assistant_inkbird/master/room-temps.png .

But I really should finish upgrading my computers first.


Monday, 16 May 2022 Dereel Images for 16 May 2022
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Baked beans revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Time for another load of baked beans today. That's pretty straightforward, but today I added more pork skin, a total of 250 g for 750 g of (dried) beans. It'll take a while to find out whether that's a good quantity or not.

Also paid more attention to the cooking time: 5 hours, at which point the beans were still barely firm. But it takes hours for them to cool down, so my guess is that this is the best time to stop cooking.


HTML validation problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Part of writing these diary entries is checking the PHP output for validity. I do this once for the HTML version, using the W3 validator, and once for the XML version, using this validator.

But lately the W3 HTML validator has been lazy. I find a bug, fix it, and it revalidate—and the bug's still there. Not in my source, but in the validator's view of the world. How do I report this problem?


More gpart/geom insights
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Daniel Nebdal suggesting alternatives to rewriting gpart show. Doesn't gpart show -p do exactly what I want? It replaces the index numbers with “provider” names.

Surely I've seen that? Looking at the example I wrote last Wednesday, what I want is:

     Start         Size            Device    Type           Label
        40  15628050976 (7.3T)  /dev/ada0    GPT
        40          128 (64K)   /dev/ada0p1  freebsd-boot   boot
       168     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p2  freebsd-ufs    rootfs
  83886248     41943040 (20G)   /dev/ada0p3  freebsd-swap   swap
 125829288     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p4  freebsd-ufs    rootfs-2
 209715368  15418335648 (7.2T)  /dev/ada0p5  freebsd-ufs    spool

gpart -p -l gives me:

=>        40  7814034976    ada0  GPT  (3.6T)
          40         128  ada0p1  (null)  (64K)
         168    83886080  ada0p2  (null)  (40G)
    83886248    41943040  ada0p3  (null)  (20G)
   125829288    83886080  ada0p4  (null)  (40G)
   209715368  7604319648  ada0p5  (null)  (3.5T)

Not quite the same. The type is gone, and if (null) is supposed to represent the label, it doesn't look right.

Ah, that's clear: the (null) means that there is no label! Let's add one:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 135 -> glabel label -v cbak md0.nopb
glabel: Can't store metadata on md0.nopb: Operation not permitted.
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 136 -> glabel label -v cbak /dev/md0.nopb
glabel: Can't store metadata on /dev/md0.nopb: Operation not permitted.

RTFM time. Following the instructions in glabel(8), I need

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 138 -> tunefs -L  cbak /dev/md0.nopb
tunefs: /dev/md0.nopb is not clean - run fsck.
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 139 -> df
Filesystem          1048576-blocks      Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on
...
/dev/md0.nopb                3,952     3,427     208    94%    /mnt/cbak
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 140 -> umount /mnt/cbak/
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 141 -> tunefs -L  cbak /dev/md0.nopb
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 146 -> gpart show -r
...
=>        0  148597079  md0.nop  BSD  (71G)
     144585    8225280        2  7  (3.9G)
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 147 -> gpart show -l
...
=>        0  148597079  md0.nop  BSD  (71G)
     144585    8225280        2  (null)  (3.9G)
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 148 -> gpart show -p -l
...
     144585    8225280  md0.nopb  (null)  (3.9G)

Now that's nothing like what I expected. First, why tunefs and not glabel? The man page doesn't say so, but my guess is because it's a label in a UFS file system, not the GEOM structures, and the tool for that is tunefs.

Next, why does it not work if the file system is mounted? There's no mention in the man page, so either the man page needs updating if there's a good reason, or it needs to be allowed in the program if there's no good reason. And finally, gpart show doesn't work there. It's presumably looking for a different label.

What about the label added by glabel? What if the message was really saying “can't change label while the file system is mounted”? OK, it's not mounted now. Try again.

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 164 -> glabel label -v cbak md0.nopb
Metadata value stored on md0.nopb.
Done.
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 165 -> gpart show -l
...
     144585    8225280        2  (null)  (3.9G)

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 166 -> gpart show -l -p
...
     144585    8225280  md0.nopb  (null)  (3.9G)

It seems that the only thing that will display the labels is geom -t:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /mnt/etc 180 -> geom -t | grep LABEL
...
      md0.nopb                                   LABEL      ufsid/574c22de02cc6de6
      md0.nopb                                   LABEL      ufs/cbak
      md0.nopb                                   LABEL      label/cbak

So clearly there are more than one label, though the ufsid one surprised me. But how many more are there if gpart show -l still displays (null)? This is a real can of worms.


Time to reconsider VoIP?
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Lately I've had a lot of trouble understanding people on the phone. Am I going deaf? No, it just seems to be on the VoIP line, and Yvonne has noticed it too.

Has somebody changed the codec behind my back? Off to look for the current configuration:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220516/big/Grandstream-1.png
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What's the best codec to use? According to this page, G.711, G.722, G.729 and also rans. Where's PCMU? PCMA? The best I can find on this ATA is G.722. Spent some time reconfiguring before I discovered that PCMU and PCMA are varieties of G.711, so I had to replace it again. Reboot the ATA.

But should I even be using these old Uniden phones any more? Can't I run VoIP on my mobile phone? I haven't had any issues with the sound quality there, and at home it doesn't cost anything. First off to find what the best VoIP apps are. Surprise, it's still ZoiPer. From this page:

Zoiper is one of the few SIP and VoIP applications left which is why it is so unique. It focuses mostly on phone calls and includes support for Bluetooth, IAX support, the ability to make phone calls over the Internet, and other additional protocols.

Too old-fashioned, it seems. Now you use Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google foo or WhatsApp, all of which have the extreme disadvantage that the other end also needs to have them installed. OK, install ZoiPer, which now wants me to pay money. The interface is just as emetic as it was a year ago. At the end I had this interface:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220517/big/Zoiper-home.jpeg
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What's that? A photo of Yvonne. OK, are we connected? No!


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220517/big/Zoiper-status.jpeg
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What an amazing difference between the simplistic and useless home display and the status showing me that I wasn't even connected, and giving me no better explanation than “(60)”. To make up for it, it tries continually to get me to upgrade to services that cost money. A bit of searching shows that the code means “connection in use”, which makes sense. But why is everything to do with mobile phones so stupid?


Doctor, heal thyself!
Topic: health, technology Link here

I had an appointment with my doctor, Paul Smith, this afternoon. Problem: he has COVID-19. Well, he's recovering, but not safe for a physical meeting. So we did it over the phone. Nothing much to report: blood test results as expected, though he's still puzzled by the high MCV (106 fl) and fasting glucose (7.2 mmol/l). But the HbA1c value was 6.0 and that's more important, though it seems higher than it has been. As he said “All in all you're not dying any faster than anybody else”.

On the positive side, I had no difficulty with the voice quality on the VoIP call. Were the other problems coincidences, or did rebooting the ATA help?


Tuesday, 17 May 2022 Dereel Images for 17 May 2022
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More inkbird and freezer insights
Topic: technology, food and drink, opinion Link here

I've had my Inkbird IBBQ-4BW up and running stumbling for a couple of days now. During that time I've discovered:

  1. The horrible app is almost useless. It drops data, it doesn't save raw data, so I'm limited to what little information it supplies in the way of graphs, and it continually crashes. It's interesting to note that the reviews of the app almost all seem to agree with me.

  2. The thermometer can run while it's being charged, but what I've seen so far suggests that it doesn't work well like that: the temperature display jumps up and down 5° or more in a matter of seconds.

  3. The freezer clearly has significant problems with its defrosting cycle (if that's what it is). It seems to cool normally most of the time, but today I had a particularly bad example, where the temperature in front of the drawers rose to about 7.8°:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220517/big/Freezer-temperatures-1-detail.jpeg
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    The temperature in the top drawer (red curve) rose to nearly 3°, but the others weren't so bad at -8° or so. Still unacceptable, of course.

How do the temperatures compare on the other freezer? Moved the system there; we'll see how it compares.


Reverse engineering Inkbird
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So the app for the Inkbird IBBQ-4BW is almost useless. Reverse engineer the protocol and collect the data myself? This article discusses the details. It seems to broadcast something. OK, For a first attempt, I took a look at what it had to say:

11:24:09.324696 IP inkbird.lemis.com.49154 > 255.255.255.255.6667: UDP, length 188
11:24:14.325785 IP inkbird.lemis.com.49154 > 255.255.255.255.6667: UDP, length 188
11:24:17.322125 ARP, Request who-has inkbird.lemis.com tell inkbird.lemis.com, length 46
11:24:19.326255 IP inkbird.lemis.com.49154 > 255.255.255.255.6667: UDP, length 188
11:24:24.324427 IP inkbird.lemis.com.49154 > 255.255.255.255.6667: UDP, length 188
11:24:27.321882 ARP, Request who-has inkbird.lemis.com tell inkbird.lemis.com, length 46
...
11:24:37.321858 ARP, Request who-has inkbird.lemis.com tell inkbird.lemis.com, length 46
11:24:47.321888 ARP, Request who-has inkbird.lemis.com tell inkbird.lemis.com, length 46

There are the UDP packets described in the article, though they're a different length and apparently encrypted. Do I want to know? But look at those ARP requests. ARP is used to find the MAC address of another system, like this:

11:59:17.433713 ARP, Request who-has tiwi.lemis.com tell eureka.lemis.com, length 28
11:59:17.434042 ARP, Reply tiwi.lemis.com is-at cc:52:af:41:c3:55 (oui Unknown), length 46

Unix systems check every 20 minutes, but Linux seems to be much more frequent. But what earthly use is an ARP request every 10 seconds asking for the systems' own IP address?

But wait, there's more:

11:24:56.506706 IP inkbird.lemis.com.59056 > ec2-3-124-225-12.eu-central-1.compute.amazonaws.com.8886: Flags [P.], seq 69:282, ack 70, win 3690, length 213
11:24:56.773039 IP ec2-3-124-225-12.eu-central-1.compute.amazonaws.com.8886 > inkbird.lemis.com.59056: Flags [P.], seq 70:139, ack 282, win 3752, length 69
11:24:56.901644 IP inkbird.lemis.com.59056 > ec2-3-124-225-12.eu-central-1.compute.amazonaws.com.8886: Flags [.], ack 139, win 3621, length 0
...

Who is it talking to there? And why?

The idea of using third-party reverse-engineered software is good, but it seems that every device that Inkbird makes is different, and the chance of being able to connect to it easily seems minimal. Even their own apps have difficulty recognizing different devices. So I'll just accept it with its extreme limitations. It still does better than a min/max thermometer, but what a waste of potential!


Groceries: back to the future
Topic: general, history, opinion Link here

Read on Statista today:

Grocery delivery has come into focus in the coronavirus pandemic, expanding what was long considered the “last frontier of e-commerce” to a much larger number of households.

What does grocery delivery have to do with E-commerce? Over 60 years ago grocery deliveries were the norm for us in Kuala Lumpur. Naina Mohamed had a delivery service for half the town, and we'd fill out order slips for what we wanted on the following day. Looking back it's amazing that it worked so well. But suddenly that's new?


Wednesday, 18 May 2022 Dereel Images for 18 May 2022
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More temperature insights
Topic: technology, general, food and drink, opinion Link here

So it's clear not only that something is seriously wrong with the freezer in the pantry, but that it's related to the temperature control and not to the compressor. Modern freezers have a defrost cycle, but how often does it run and how high do the temperatures rise in that time? Connected it up to the other freezer and waited.

I didn't see any obvious defrost cycle at all. It's difficult to say, since I open the freezer for normal use a couple of times a day, giving rise to views like this:


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Here the blue trace (in front of the drawers) goes up to -4°, and the temperatures inside the drawers goes up to about -14°. That's a completely different scenario.

But why do I not see a defrost cycle? Could it be that it's much less frequent, or that it even doesn't occur at all (that my hypothesis is incorrect)? I'll have to observe for a while longer.


A building permit!
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

As discussed with Brenton Carter last week, today we received the amended building permit from Wyndham Building Permits, along with the approval for the pad footings a little later. We can continue! On Friday Troy Addicott should be here to pour the footings. Then we'll have to wait for them to cure, but by the end of the month it could be over and done with! Only 26 months or so.


ssh: No complete explanation yet
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After last week's investigation, it's clear that the presence or absence of an ssh-agent will not necessarily stop ssh from establishing a connection with a remote system, though the result may be a key signed with a different protocol, and pedantic systems like freefall.freebsd.org object. But last week I tried from tiwi.lemis.com, which is running a very up-to-date version of FreeBSD. Today I tried with eureka.lemis.com, running

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~ 34 -> uname -a
FreeBSD eureka.lemis.com 10.2-STABLE FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #2 r290972: Wed Nov 25 11:38:38 AEDT 2015     grog@stable.lemis.com:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/GENERIC  amd64

And there it didn't help. I ran ssh with the threefold -vvv option, and what I saw (and didn't record) seemed nothing like what I saw last week.

Why didn't I record it? Too lazy, and I really don't understand things anyway. I have two options: find out what the problem is, or finally upgrade eureka to a modern version of FreeBSD.


Thursday, 19 May 2022 Dereel → Napoleons → Berringa Images for 19 May 2022
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A camera from Ukraine!
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Interesting looking pickup slip from Australia Post in the letter box today:


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What's that tracking number? As usual, it appears truncated. But there are only two things I'm waiting for, two cameras: a Kiev from Kyiv and a FED from Nikopol, both with tracking numbers issued by Ukrposhta that looked similar. In either case, I'd like to see it as soon as possible.

Off to Napoleons to pick it up, in the process being stopped for about 5 minutes at a time in two different sets of roadworks between Dereel and Enfield, something that irritates me more than it should.

The postman recognized me immediately: “That was a drama last week, wasn't it?”. Yes, indeed. But today he couldn't find it either! And this time it really couldn't be found. Was it sent with StarTrack? They hadn't been in yet today.

GROWL! Last week I had made a note to call the Post Office before picking anything up, and I had forgot. This time it didn't look likely that it would arrive, so after some consideration back home again, this time by the scenic route to avoid the roadworks and see something different for a change.


Route maps: the limitations
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I didn't have much choice on my way home if I wanted to avoid the roadworks: the more southerly roadworks started just north of Grassy Gully Road, so I couldn't take any route to the east. Off through Enfield State Park via Misery Creek to Berringa, starting in Incolls Road in Enfield. There I asked Google to take me to Berringa. Long delay: can't contact Google.

OK, I still had the map, and managed to find my way to Berringa with only a couple of stops to check. Is the mobile network coverage there really that bad? It could well be. Still, I have the GPS receiver, so I should have some record of the route.

Back home, checked what Google Maps had to say:

 
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That's actually surprisingly good; the way home was the westerly route.

And GPS Visualizer?

 
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And that's amazingly bad! It's the same GPS receiver, after all. Google clearly saves the data and uploads it when it can. GPSLogger reads data every 2 seconds and saves it; it's up to me to download it when I want it. So it should be much more accurate than Google Maps. But looking at the log, I found:

<trkpt lat="-37.67134332" lon="143.83185226"><ele>391.92169189453125</ele><time>2022-05-19T05:17:46.000Z</time><course>195.5</course><speed>14.62</speed><geoidheight>0.0</geoidheight><src>gps</src><sat>9</sat><hdop>0.7</hdop><vdop>0.7</vdop><pdop>1.0</pdop></trkpt>
<trkpt lat="-37.77272504" lon="143.69886522"><ele>379.9693603515625</ele><time>2022-05-19T05:46:19.000Z</time><course>174.0</course><speed>7.33</speed><geoidheight>0.0</geoidheight><src>gps</src><sat>15</sat><hdop>0.6</hdop><vdop>0.7</vdop><pdop>1.0</pdop></trkpt>

No logging at all between 05:17:46 and 05:46:19! That's almost the entire return journey. Why not? The GPS receiver was clearly working. Is there something wrong with the app? What alternatives do I have? Why is everything to do with mobile phones so flaky?


More flaky apps
Topic: music, technology, opinion Link here

At breakfast we listen to ABC Classic, which has only recently dropped the suffix “FM” from its name. And while there are no classic commercials, they beat their own drum loudly. “Use the ABC Listen App”.

What good is that? There's one way to find out: install it.

Oh:

 
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Already installed! When did I do that? Off to take a look. Found nothing under “ABC”, nor under “listen”. Where is it? Try installing again?

 
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Now you see me, now you don't!. OK, installed:


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Where's ABC Classic? Ah, for that you need to search. swipe the screen, taking care not to break it, and there it was all the time!


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So what do I have from it? A horrible quality rendition of what I can get far more easily on the radio. Yes, may be of use to people who are on the move, but even then there must be better solutions. And of course it wouldn't have helped me on the way home this afternoon, since there was no Internet connection, though of course I have a real radio in the car.


Friday, 20 May 2022 Dereel Images for 20 May 2022
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Arena: next problem
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

So now we have all the permits we need, including approval of the holes that Troy dug two weeks ago. He planned to pour the concrete for the footings today, then erect the shed in about a week.

But where's Troy? Yvonne called and got an SMS back saying that he couldn't make it, and that he would come on 3 June—two weeks from today! And he wanted to know if the entrance would be passable then. How can we know what weather we will have in the next 2 weeks? Even the Bureau of Meteorology doesn't know that!

But he called back later, apologizing for a secretarial error. Now it looks like Thursday next week.

Will these setbacks never end?


Another total outage!
Topic: Stones Road house, technology, general, opinion Link here

While sitting at my keyboard, heard a loud “beep” and everything went dead. Dammit, not another inverter failure! Out to take a look at the inverter, which once again showed no power. Check the outside meter. Really no power. But this time the battery charge was round 52%, so there shouldn't have been any problem.

Spent some time getting eureka back up again, much less than on other occasions—only 8 minutes—then checked the other computers in the house. They were all still running! It must have been a very transient problem.

Gradually it dawned on me: the inverter carried on running normally. It was the UPS in my office that failed! My guess is that there was a power spike which the UPS handled by disconnecting. And that's a real issue. I must really find a way to block overvoltages on the input to the inverter.


Saturday, 21 May 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 21 May 2022
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Pipe laying: no show
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Up early this morning to prepare for the arrival of Will Tatnell and his mate to lay pipes for horse troughs, look at bracken removal in the house forest, and put some real soil in the garden.

No show. Round midday Yvonne rang Will and discovered that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Next week, maybe.

Why is it that nobody ever tells you when they're not going to show?


ABC Listen App: useless
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

While preparing breakfast, heard some classical oboe music on the radio. Tomaso Albinoni? When it was over, listened to the announcer. No mention of a composer.

OK, that's what the ABC Listen App is for, isn't it? Fire it up and discover that there's nothing like what we heard. Ah, for mobile phones, and apparently only for mobile phones, there's a second channel. Find the correct one, which shows what it's playing now. Ah, but there's “more info”. That shows what is still to come. More searching, and finally found “Full Tracklist”, showing not the full track list, but what they had already played, in reverse chronological order:


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And that's all! I couldn't find a way to get more information, and they were too polite to assume that I didn't understand their truncation of KV 370 (a link that I had to add) and thus know that the composer was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, like the composer of KV 444 and KV 572. And of course, being an app, it's obligatory to truncate the text. It's not even clear who the oboist was, though I'm sure that was announced.

Why do I even bother?


Australian elections: Arse or Albo?
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Australian federal election today, a time to finally get rid of the backwards-looking Liberal-National Coalition and address the problem that real people have. It seems to have been a low-key affair. Normally I'm bombarded with paper mail asking me to vote for somebody whose name I really have forgotten, but this time there were only two. And down at the Dereel Hall, there seemed to be almost nothing going on:


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On previous occasions there had been much more presence of representatives of the individual parties. This time only three. Off to ask them why I should vote for them. The bloke on the left (Australian Labor Party) said “No idea mate. Ask somebody with half a brain”. So I turned to the bloke in the middle: “Why should I vote for the Greens?”. His answer was clearer: “Don't. Vote for us, the party with slogans so confusing that you could think we were batting for the other side” (I may have missed the exact wording). And yes, the big letters “GREEN” were just the name of the candidate, so well known that only his party's web site (currently) describes him. You need to read the small print to see that he was really advocating the Liberals, part of the coalition. That's not the first time I've seen that: six years ago they had a similarly confusing slogan:


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It would be easy to see that as recommending Labor, but again it's an inept advertisement for the Liberals.


Fondue again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We eat fondue about once a month, and today was the day. On Wednesday Yvonne had asked me whether we had enough cheese. Yes, said I, so much that I don't need to check.

Came time to thaw it out today. Yes, plenty of cheese, almost all Appenzeller. Only 75 g Gruyère, where I needed at least 210 g. Nothing for it, into town to Campanas, where I asked “What kinds of genuine Swiss cheese do you have?”. “Jarlsberg” (from Norway). I said as much, and her colleague said “Gouda” (from Holland). But yes, they did have two different types of Swiss Gruyère (“Swiss” is important, since similar cheeses made elsewhere are also called “Gruyère” in Australia), one 24 months old. That sounded like just the trick.

Back home, further discoveries. I've had difficulty recently refilling the réchaud, so today I weighed things. Yes, gas came out of the two almost-empty canisters, and after quite some time I had about 10 g. How much does the thing hold? Got a new canister and tried again. It quickly filled another 15 g. Clearly that's enough, but it seems that the lesson is that it's almost impossible to completely empty the canisters. I have enough lying around to last for the rest of my life, so the two old canisters can go—but where?

And the cheese? A little disappointing, and too salty, but certainly enjoyable. In the process came to the conclusion that we should only eat 125 g of cheese per person, down from 150 g not so long ago.


Reading parking meters
Topic: general, opinion Link here

In Ballarat, once again had difficulty finding a parking place near Campanas, and ended up having to park in a meter zone. I try to avoid that, and in Ballarat it's usually possible, but today I found another reason to avoid it: I couldn't operate the meter! I've been there before, but I had forgotten how bad it is. The display is aimed at my stomach, and the contrast is so bad that I can't read it. Finally I discovered I had to enter my registration number on an incorrectly laid-out keyboard. I've before, but on that occasion I had the wrong glasses on. Today it was just illegible. Got as far as entering my rego, then I got another display. I needed to take a photo to read it:


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But by the time I finished, the meter had got bored and reset to the initial display. Sorry, people, this meter is defective.

But why have these horrible devices in the first place? For once this would be an obvious application for a mobile phone app. That way you would have your payment details, car registration and even location available automatically; all you would need would be to decide how long to stay.

Searching for apps showed, of course, that there are many—far too many. Each appears to apply to a very small geographical area, which makes them much less useful. And of course the reviews suggest that they're of typical mobile phone app quality, leaving much to be desired. On the positive side, some are able to detect when you leave, so you only pay for the time you're really there—if they work correctly.

Now wouldn't it be nice for some regional authority to develop a well-functioning app that covers all the parking in the area?


GPS logging: solved?
Topic: technology, general Link here

On Thursday I discovered that my GPSLogger had not logged anything for half an hour. How could that be? When in Ballarat, took another look at the display:


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For whatever reason (probably because it was in the car) the readings weren't accurate enough for my settings, which told it to discard all readings accurate to less than 5 m. Changed that to 20 m, and the effect was immediate. From this track log:

 
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But why only 20 m? Do other phones do better?


Cameras from Ukraine: still nothing
Topic: general, photography, opinion Link here

On the way back home from Ballarat dropped into the post office in Napoleons again. My package still hasn't arrived! Sent from the war zone in Ukraine, halfway round the world, arrived in Ballarat and got lost between there and Napoleons! Time for a formal complaint, for all the good that will do. In the end I'll get my money back, but the person who pays will probably be the seller in Kyiv, who is the least to blame.


Sunday, 22 May 2022 Dereel Images for 22 May 2022
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Garden flowers in late autumn
Topic: gardening Link here

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

There's not much to see at this time of year. As last year, the birch looks like autumn, though the cherry has lost all its leaves:


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The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is flowering happily, better than this time last year (first photo):


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We'll have to protect it from the frosts in the near future, probably as soon as the flowers start to diminish.

Last year I was concerned about my Buddleja x weyeriana, and this year they don't look significantly different. Here last year (first image) and this year:


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But given that they nearly died in between, I'm quite happy, particularly that the twig I planted a couple of months ago is now flowering.

The Alyogyne huegelii that Bryan Ross so mistreated has now fought its way out of the Cannas and is now flowering again:


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And the Abutilon that we cloned last year is now well established:


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Flower photos in bright sunshine
Topic: photography, gardening, opinion Link here

The last couple of days have been sunny, almost cloudless. Not good conditions for flower photos: the contrast is too high. How about flash fill-in? Conventional wisdom has it that flash and sunshine don't mix, but it's worth trying.

I don't know what to make of the results. Here are a few, no flash on the left, flash on the right:


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Does it improve things? I can see it more as something to experiment with.


Monday, 23 May 2022 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 23 May 2022
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What use democracy?
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Nowadays it goes without saying that democracy (really representative democracy) is the best form of government. But is it? I'm reminded of Jawaharlal Nehru's saying:

Democracy is good. I say this because other systems are worse.

But that was before computer monitoring of voter intent. Nowadays it seems that in nearly all countries with free and fair elections (one of the problems with democracy), there are two parties with roughly equal numbers of supporters. And the exact rules of voting make the result even more dubious. In almost any other country, the 2016 United States presidential election would have ended in a win for Hillary Clinton.

The result, it seems, is that the two major parties hardly differentiate themselves. That's certainly the case in Saturday's federal election, the results of which are still out. It's clear that the Labor Party have the majority, and Anthony Albanese has been sworn in as new Prime Minister and sent off to Japan the same day. But so far it's not clear whether Labor will get an absolute majority.

My view? No party exactly represents my personal views (nor those of just about any thinking person). Labor comes closer than the Liberal-National Coalition, so in that sense I'm happy.

But what about the voices of the minority? The issue with party politics is that all members have to vote together, so there's not much room for minority views. This year a significant number of independent representatives have been elected, and so far Labor doesn't have an absolute majority. That could still happen: they're close. Do I want them to do so? That depends so much on the will of the independents and the Greens. But if they play their hands right, the result could be a more inclusive government. I wonder if we'll get to see it.


No camera from Ukraine
Topic: general Link here

A surprise in the letter box today: a “You have Mail” slip from Australia Post:


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I recognize that tracking number. Yes, it's as good as the same as the one I have been looking for since Thursday:


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As it happened, I had to take Yvonne to Sebastopol to have her car serviced, so dropped in to the post office and picked it up: some wine from McLaren Vale, not Ukrainian cameras after all. The postman was just as confused as I, and he couldn't believe that I would have received a pickup slip so much in advance.

But why the duplicate tracking number? Back home I checked the tracking numbers and found:

 
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Those were three separate cartons, all with the same tracking number prefix REH5006413 (and not, as I had guessed, RGH500GUIB). And Australia Post is happy to track just this prefix.

So:


Working around W3 bugs
Topic: technology Link here

The problem with the W3 validator that I mentioned last week is still there. Run the validator, find a problem, fix it, and the validator doesn't want to know: it still reports the old source. But I have a workaround: the URL for the validator is http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lemis.com%2Fgrog%2Fdiary-may2022.php%3Fvalidating%3D1. Just change that last digit from 1 to 2: http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lemis.com%2Fgrog%2Fdiary-may2022.php%3Fvalidating%3D2, and it will force a reload. That works because the value of validating just needs to be non-zero.


ACM digital library
Topic: technology Link here

The ACM has opened its digital library, now accessible for free. I haven't looked at much, though I did find an article on the original UNIVAC, which looks interesting.


More thermometer insights
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Finally I have a hit on a defrost cycle on the outside (correctly functioning) freezer:

 
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It started round 2:30 this morning and lasted a good hour. During this time the temperature in front of the baskets rose to about -6.5°, but the temperature in the baskets stayed below -18°. All well and good.

But wouldn't it be nice to know more exact times and temperatures? Yes, of course. But what I got was anything but. After moving these horrible slider buttons, I reshaped the graph:

 
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Here the time scale is a little more detailed. But the highest temperature (blue) is now about -15.5°, 9° lower than in the previous graph, and the same as the green trace! And in the first, the temperature in front of the the baskets rises round 4:30 and doesn't drop again until about 7:30. In the second, it drops again between about 5:30 and 6:30. And yes, these are two different representations of the same data!

Clearly the app is worse than useless. But it's the only interface that I have to any kind of historical data, so it makes the device useless as well. I've seen bad apps in my time (and ranted about them at length), but this one really takes the cake.


Tuesday, 24 May 2022 Dereel Images for 24 May 2022
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There is life at Effective Electrical!
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Finally got a response to my problem report of two weeks ago. It appears clear that I wasn't going to get any useful answer from Fyodor Torgovnikov, so I sent another rather more pointed letter to Tom Kucera, and today I got a call back from Luke Parry of the Effective Electrical service department. It seems that Tom has left the company—something that I half expected—and that they hadn't reconfigured his mail to forward to somebody else. But Luke sounds sensible, and he promised to call me back when he had looked at the situation. He didn't.


History in real time
Topic: multimedia, history Link here

One of the German TV series that I like to watch (and Yvonne tolerates) is „Um Himmels Willen“ (“For heaven's sake”), about a struggling convent and a town mayor who wants to take over the building and grounds for his own purposes. Clearly it has a religious tone, but it's not overbearing.

One of the characters is Bishop Rossbauer, not the youngest. Here he is in „Höhere Instanz“ handing a mobile phone to Sister Hildegard:


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For some reason I wanted to find out more about the actor, Horst Sachtleben. And yes, he's in Wikipedia. He died today! He was 91 years old, so that's not surprising, but the fact that he died today was a little unexpected.

Later various dates surfaced. Clearly 24 May is the latest, but others report 21 or 22 May.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 25 May 2022
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Fun in town
Topic: general, food and drink, health Link here

Off to Ballarat again today, primarily to take Yvonne to pick up her car, which has had its 240,000 km service. And it proved that the car is showing its age: lots of work still needs to be done.

While in town, caught up with a lot of other things, greatly hindered by an amazing number of roadworks. Apart from the two between Dereel and Enfield, there were two going the whole length of Sebastopol and gleefully proclaiming that they would continue until December.

As a result, changed my planned itinerary, and first to Bunnings to buy some protection cloth for the Hibiscus, helped by a particularly active sales assistant, who was helpful but gave the impression that she had more amphetamines in her blood that necessary. Then on to the Fruit Shack, also not the easiest: apart from the fact that Google Maps didn't want to know about the Fruit Shack (at least not until editing the location history), the road in between had road works. OK, take the scenic route along Lake Wendouree. Road works on Wendouree Parade! I had to drive through the car park on the shores of the lake to get there:

 
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And there things looked surprisingly run-down. Here an entrance to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, where I spent quite some time 10 years ago:


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At the Fruit Shack I showed some of my spice pastes in the hope that they might decide to stock them. What else should I buy? Normal supplies. Noodles?


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The interesting ones were the last: “Singapore Laksa. I've gradually come to the conclusion that that's not the same as curry laksa, but I'm not sure. And here they had multiple versions. I bought one of the others; the instructions are a little vague, and I'll have to try them first before I decide. An interesting detail is that these ones claim to be “wholegrain”, and that a number of the noodles I saw claim to be “steamed non-fried noodle”. Clearly the latter is incorrect: they haven't been steamed. But is this some kind of pseudo-health initiative?

On via yet another diversion to Officeworks, where I picked up a new office chair. The old one is showing signs of age, though I thought that I had bought it after moving to Stones Road 7 years ago. So when I found one with an 8 year warranty, it sounded like a good idea.

On to the UFS vaccination clinic, where I got a second booster from an apprentice (or whatever they call learning nurses) in normal time.

Finally home via a roundabout way to almost miss the road works, and to the post office for yet another package. I've often wondered why Yvonne takes so long to do her shopping, but today I spent most of my day doing relatively little.


Thursday, 26 May 2022 Dereel
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Where's Troy?
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

After his no-show last week, Troy Addicoat was due to come today. He didn't, and he also didn't call me to tell me what he was going to do.

This is getting very frustrating. Called him up and asked him if I should get somebody else to do the work. No, no, it's all my fault for not having the building permit. But he'll be there tomorrow morning.

Should I believe him?


Technical terms for real dummies
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Seen today: Difference Between SSD and NVMe .

Difference? They're different levels of detail. But no, our expert knows better:

The main difference between SSD and NVMe is that SSD stores data by using integrated circuits while NVMe is an interface used to access the stored data at a high speed. NVMe is far advanced than SSD and hence is faster and better encrypted than the latter.

In case that didn't come across, here it is again:

SSD is a secondary storage device that uses integrated circuits to complete its work while NVMe is an interface that is used to access the stored data. NVMe is much faster than an SSD. Solid state devices require less power to function than NVMe does.

I read it on the “Internet”. It must be true!

Seriously, where do these people get their ideas from? I suspect they belong to the same demographic as the people who contact me from time to time, like this one:

A DSLR is made up of high-quality components with better accessories and features. Image quality is its only major advantage over point-and-shoot cameras.

Friday, 27 May 2022 Dereel Images for 27 May 2022
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Be afraid, Finland!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Seen recently:

http://www.lemis.com/grog/Day/20220527/280829781_2768559546622255_7763213157845820561_n.jpg


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

Yesterday Troy Addicoat promised to be here this morning. He wasn't. After midday, Yvonne called John Hofman of Eureka Garages and asked him if he had somebody else to do the work. Simple answer: no, not in the next few weeks. Longer answer: Troy Addicoat was an absolute disaster, had left lots of people in the lurch, had multiple court cases open against him. I should demand my money back immediately and also take him to court.

Wow! I hadn't had that bad an impression. But while we were talking, Yvonne received an SMS from him, and I later discovered that he had sent me one early in the morning:

Due to your needs to get job done in a hurry I think it's better for both parties that you get someone else to finish off the job like you said yesterday

Well, that backfired, didn't it? But of course there's one detail:

Well thanks for the early warning. We've been waiting 3 months for you already. I'd suggest that you ensure that the footings are done by next week at the latest. If you can't do that, please refund the $7,000 prepayment, along with $725 interest, by the end of next week. John Hofman has recommended that I sue you, but I'd prefer not to have to do that.

That got his attention, and he called back shortly later. Yes, next week, without fail. I asked him if it would help if I were to pay the concreter directly—I saw this issue 7 years ago (but didn't mention it in the diary): Brett Chiltern had significant problems with the concrete delivery then, apparently because he owed them too much already. So we agreed that I would pay for the concrete and deduct the sum from the final bill. Maybe he will now come on Tuesday, as he promised.


More old photos
Topic: photography, general Link here

I have now scanned in all the photos of the Asia Trip of 1967—I thought. Now to process them. It's surprisingly difficult. Firstly, it seems that I missed scanning a few slides, and it seems that at the time I made a few mistakes writing down the metadata. In addition, I always took photos starting at the very beginning of the film, and many never came out. And once they're scanned, I still have the issue of relating the file name to the slide number. I'm making progress, but it's painful.


New FreeBSD core team
Topic: technology, general Link here

So the results of the FreeBSD Core Team, elections are out. I'm one of them again:

The next core team will consist of:

Baptiste Daroussin
Benedict Reuschling
Ed Maste
Emmanuel Vadot
Greg Lehey
John Baldwin
Li-Wen Hsu
Mateusz Piotrowski
Tobias C. Berner

That also makes me the member with the longest span, from 22 years ago to now.

The other thing, which I had noted last month, was how many of the members are not from the USA. Five are from Europe, one Chinese and one Australian. Hopefully that's a good sign.


Saturday, 28 May 2022 Dereel Images for 28 May 2022
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The future of the Internet, next step
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

It's been over 8 years since I wrote an essay The future of the Internet, really supposed to be titled “how the Internet will be different 20 years from now” (in other words, 8 years ago). We're coming up to half time. How accurate are things?

I'm tracking this up to a point at my “signs of the times” page. Today I saw another sign: the BBC are stopping broadcast of some radio stations. As I said:

Radio and TV broadcasts will gradually cease. They are costly: they use a lot of power, and transmission and reception equipment are also expensive.

The real question, as ever: how should they cater for people who have radio but no Internet connection? But they've been through that before with the transition to digital TV.


Robin Hood in Ballarat
Topic: multimedia, opinion Link here

A new film is on its way: The Siege of Robin Hood. Not quite our cup of tea, especially as it appears to be bloody, but it was filmed at Kryal Castle in (well, just outside of) Ballarat, so when it appears free to air, we may take a look.


Mushrooms!
Topic: gardening, food and drink Link here

Yvonne back this morning with a large basket:


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What are they? The red ones are clearly Amanita muscaria, and I think that the big ones are Suillus luteus. But there are others. Next time I'll get Yvonne to tell me before she picks them.


Android: the next incompatibility
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Troy Addicoat sent me an SMS yesterday, and I quoted it in my article on the subject. But how do you copy an SMS to other media? With not one, but two apps, of course. Automatically forward SMS to your PC/phone, or maybe gawk or smsforwarder, forwards incoming SMSs, something very necessary for people who don't look at their phones all the time, and this app with an identity problem, your choice of two of SMS (Backup, Print, Restore) can, with only a few swipes, transfer up to 6 individually selected messages at a time into a specified directory on the device. And then you still have to download it. But I've solved that problem with the aid of a few more apps.

But it works, and I suppose that's the best you can hope for in this modern age. The good thing is that that gawk should make the SMS (Backup, Print, Restore) irrelevant.

And all that for what is effectively a copy function. O Brave New World!


Google Maps link rot
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Where was I on 2 May 1967? Driving from Madras (now Chennai) to Nellore, as I wrote in my diary. But I also wanted a map, so I used Google Maps to generate a map and a short link to it: http://g.co/maps/kwskt. But now Google doesn't want to know:

Invalid Dynamic Link - Blocked

We could not match param 'http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=madras+to+nellore&saddr=madras&daddr=nellore&hl=en&sll=-25.335448,135.745076&sspn=64.250491,63.544922&geocode=FUZJxwAd74LIBClhM31P6mVSOjEz1GNoC6dhbg;FWdg3AAdGH_EBClxh5UOyoxMOjFVHxYlIGwD0w&t=m&z=9' with whitelisted URL patterns in this Google project.

If you are the developer of this app, ensure that your Dynamic Links domain is correctly configured and that the path component of this URL is valid.

But is it even Google? The URL of that message is https://g.co/maps/kwskt. Never mind, I can replace it with a long version: https://www.google.com.au/maps/dir/Chennai,+Tamil+Nadu,+India/Nellore,+Andhra+Pradesh,+India/. And of course it'll offer a short version, if not quite as short: https://goo.gl/maps/dT31siYszhfYK2xv8. But why offer short versions if their lifetime is also short? I added this link only 10 years ago.


More sprinkler pain
Topic: gardening Link here

Last week I prepared for the advent of Will Tatnell by clearing the mulch off the sprinkler solenoid south of the house. Will didn't show, but next time I looked at the solenoid, the cover was gone. Bloody dogs! But the following day Yvonne called me and showed water sprinkling everywhere. The solenoid was flooded, and there were jets of water all over the place.

Not one problem, but two. The water jets were problems with the sprinkler system that hopefully Paul Donaghy can fix. And the solenoid pit? I've seen problems like that before, but first we need to drain the pit, which could take a while. Today I finally took a look and found:


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That cylinder at bottom left with the wires going to it is the actuator coil. It should be screwed into the body of the valve, like this:


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How did it get out? It was clearly related to the dogs, but to remove it requires turning at least two full revolutions. A dog can't do that.

I've been here before, where I discovered that the valve is called a solenoid, and the solenoid is called a coil. Put it back together and turned it on. Still leaks! Should I get UPI to come and fix it? Gradually these irritating little things are getting more and more on my nerves.


Roast chicken with Inkbird
Topic: food and drink, technology, opinion Link here

Roast chicken for dinner tonight. I've been keeping a record of cooking times for some years now, but now (until Wednesday) I have this ill-fated Inkbird IBBQ-4BW thermometer, so I can keep more of an eye on what happens. I put one sensor on the grille of the oven, one in the breast and one in a leg joint.

It wasn't at all what I expected. In particular, the temperature in the breast was much lower than in the leg. That makes sense, but it doesn't match my prior experience. And contrary to my previous claims, the temperature rose relatively linearly:


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According to my records, the chicken (1.825 kg) should have been cooked (78°) in between 55 and 73 minutes. But after 71 minutes the breast temperature (yellow) was only 72°. The leg temperature (blue), on the other hand, was 88°, so I decided to take it out. 12 minutes later the breast was at 77° and the leg at 83°:


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The other detail was the oven temperature, which I had set to 180°. It took a while to get there—the oven decided that it was warm enough when it hit 165°—but ultimately it maintained about 187°:


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I had already noted something similar yesterday, where I had baked a pizza at the highest setting, 250°. The recorded temperatures were over 260°, which can't be bad.

Did I say “recorded”? No, that's not correct. The device displayed the temperatures, but didn't record them. What a piece of junk!


Sunday, 29 May 2022 Dereel Images for 29 May 2022
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Gmail change pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Google Mail has come up with an important security upgrade: OAUTH2. Well, they've been using it for some time, but none of the software I use caters for it.

What do I do? I have a gmail account, and I need it at least for the Hugin user group, because Google is too secure to allow their messages go out into the (by them) unregulated Internet. And I use fetchmail to pop it down every 5 minutes.

Starting on 1 June they will accept mail only with OAUTH2 authorization, and as far as I can see, that means manual intervention with every download. That's so contrary to my understanding of the Internet that I want to have nothing to do with it.

I've done some searching and come up with many hits, very few of which are of interest. Those that are almost all refer to Setting Up OAUTH2 Support for Fetchmail and Postfix requires me to download 137 kB of scripts and patches and things. Much work, in particular to check its integrity and compatibility with FreeBSD. There's a “run-through”, but can I be bothered? A quick skim suggests that you still need to manually authenticate at regular intervals.

Jerry Dunham forwarded this page by David Harris, the author of Pegasus Mail. He is scathing, but he comes up with some interesting opinions:

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

Yes, this echoes some of the things I have ranted about in the past. There's no space left for people running their own mail servers any more.


Monday, 30 May 2022 Dereel Images for 30 May 2022
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Displaying SMS on real computers
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Callum Gibson read Saturday's article on copying SMS messages and wanted to know why I don't use Google Messages. Simple: I forgot. I discovered it last June, and I have it on my private “local configuration” page. Admittedly, at the time I was more interested in sending messages than saving them, but clearly it can do both.


Solving the Gmail dilemma
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So there are only a couple of days to go until Gmail requires OAUTH2. What should I do? Looking at my inbox, I discover that in the last week I have had about 10 messages, and that there are really only three sources of mail: McLaren Vale Cellars, who somehow picked up this address in addition to the one I gave them, Academia, who also somehow found out, and the Hugin user group. Of those, I only really need the Hugin group, and I don't see a way around that.

But while snooping around I found that I can automatically forward messages. How about that. And what's more, I already have it set up. Only not enabled! OK, that should be easy enough, and it has the advantage that it now comes in automatically with SMTP instead of being polled with POP3. And with that the pain should be over.

Amusingly, after sending a test message, I found this:

 
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My message was plain text, and the top line was the Subject: line.


Repairing domestic appliances
Topic: general, opinion Link here

It's high time to repair our freezer. I've been measuring and documenting for a long time, but how about repairing it? Spent some time scouring the web—it seems that most entries are from third parties describing the companies. After discarding them, came up with:

So I called Barclays and spoke to Christy. They really want me to bring the freezer in for repair (to 2 Traminer Court, Wendouree), and then it will take a week and cost an initial $50. If they come, it'll take 3 weeks (she gave me an appointment for the morning of 16 June), and it'll cost $115 for travel unless they can combine it with somebody else, and at least $110 to look at it.

What do I do? I don't know yet. One way or another it's a good thing that I have the third freezer as a backup.


Paying concreters: the pain
Topic: Stones Road house, technology, general, opinion Link here

Admittedly, Troy Addicoat was not due to arrive today, but he was supposed to call me to tell me about paying for the concrete. After two calls to his voice mail, he finally called back and gave me the details: Brad of Hanson's concrete, phone 5339 2030.

OK. Should I just call him and give him the credit card details? Yes, Hanson concrete seems a kosher company, and the phone number was correct. But somehow I heard alarm bells. OK, pay with my bright green “Hello world” (thus the punctuation) debit card from Transferwise.

Oh. Not enough credit. OK, transfer money to it. But how? Once again I was left puzzling about how to do it. I had written a web page with great detail about how to do it, but somehow it still didn't look right.

We're talking about a significant amount of money here, so it's worth being sure. Called up the number I had for them, +61 2 7202 6518. “This number is no longer in service. For the new number, please head over to wise.com/help”.

Are they trying to annoy me? Arguably they wanted to give the number only to customers, but there's no access restriction on that page. No information about phone numbers, either, of course. OK, ask the question: “What's your phone number?”:


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No, they're not going to divulge that that easily. Went through the FAQs one by one, climbing many menu trees, and finally it gave up:

 
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And how about that, one link further, there was the number, +61 2 8000 1247. Now why did they make that so hard? Called the number, and in less than 17 minutes I was told how to do the transfer, but not why they made it so hard. It's simple: click on the balance shown on the left-hand side, click “Add”, go through several hoops, and it gives you the BSB and account number. Make sure to include the membership number.

Did all that, and it came up with new, confusing things: only one of 4 banks allowed! No, says consultant, you just say that you do your own transfer. OK, do that.

But the Bank of Melbourne has its own complaints:


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Huh? On the one hand, the numbers are invalid, on the other hand it knows that they're duplicates. Clearly buggy error recovery. The problem is that Transferwise is clearly no longer interested in transfers, thus the name change. Given the pain of making transfers at all, it sounded like a good idea to change the saved information. But that's not anything that the Bank of Melbourne had thought of, so I tried to add a new entry. But no, There Can Only Be One, and I first needed to remove the old entry, which wasn't made easy: for that, you need to climb down a completely different tree.

But finally it was done. And yes, the “already exists” message went away. The other two didn't! It took quite a while to realize that just copying and pasting the numbers isn't enough: although only the numbers are copied, the paste includes a leading space, and parts (but clearly only parts) of the Bank of Melbourne app are too stupid to handle that.

Finally it was done. Obligatory uninterruptible call to confirm the details and give me a number to enter, and also the opportunity to marvel how they changed the 3+3 sequence of BSB number to 2+2+2. You'd think that bankers would know that. But thanks to Osko, the money arrived before I hung up.

But “Wise” didn't want to know. It took them the best part of an hour to credit the money. And then, when I called up Hansons, it was too late: they stop work at 16:00.

But we're not done yet. How do people transfer money to me at Wise? Another call needed, but I'll wait until I have recovered from today.


Tuesday, 31 May 2022 Dereel Images for 31 May 2022
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Finally the concrete
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Called up Hanson concrete early this morning, where I was able to pay for the concrete with no difficulty. Hopefully things will be better from now on. This whole arena affair is seriously getting on my nerves.


Teamviewer for Android
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It seems that lately a number of scammers are using TeamViewer to access people's computers and mobile phones. That's understandable. But mobile phones? I didn't know TeamVewer would work on phones.

Off to search, running into the usual impossible maze of twisty little menus, all the same. Dammit, this is a program that I've used, and setup was relatively simple. Of course, it's so long ago that they have forgotten my login (or possibly changed their password rules to eliminate my password). Much messing around, and in the process the app simply disappeared: I had to reinstall it

Maybe I reinstalled a different app, but after that it worked as I would expect—almost. It wanted to access my other machine (here distress.lemis.com):


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Now what kind of masochism gives rise to that?

Arguably there is a way to do things the other way round, but I didn't find it. This screen suggests it:


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It would be really nice to be able to control a mobile phone from a Real Computer™.


Broken dish washer basket
Topic: general Link here

We bought our Whirlpool WFE2B19XAUS dish washer 4 years ago mainly as a stop-gap measure, but on the whole it has proven relatively useful. Only some of the parts are not as robust as they should be: the bottom basket is flimsy enough to require positional help when heavily loaded, and the cutlery basket has a couple of holes in the bottom where unexpected (to the designers) cutlery found a way through. And today I found another issue:


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&nb