Greg
animals language
brewing multimedia
cooking music
fiction opinion
gardening photography
general technology
history
Greg's diary
October 2009
Translate this page
Select day:
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
Select month in 2009:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Previous month
Next month
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

Thursday, 1 October 2009 Dereel Images for 1 October 2009
Top of page
next day
last day

Topic: technology, brewing Link here

It's been over a week since I've done anything with my brewing computer, and as if to make the point, I ran out of stout. Got round to doing a little more work—I wonder why I'm so reluctant. Put a connector on the Ethernet cable that I had installed over a year ago. It's still a pain to get the wires into the connectors, but at least this time it worked first time. Also put the relay board in the old UPS housing, and then went looking for the disk cage for the computer. Didn't find it, so gave up instead.


Topic: technology Link here

c't is still coming by special delivery, but today it was a day later, presumably to give them time to make a real mess of it:


  This should be ct-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: ct 1          Dimensions:          4100 x 2375, 800 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 1 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 1 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 1 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be ct-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: ct 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 944 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 1 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 1 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 1 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Sent in a complaint to the post office, but of course they just have forms to fill out.


Topic: gardening Link here

A little more work in the garden, mainly weeding. This will keep me busy for a long time. Also planted a few succulent cuttings in various places; they should fill out a lot of space quickly.


Friday, 2 October 2009 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: brewing, technology Link here

More work on the brewing hardware today, at a snail's pace. Connected up the serial side of things and gave up again. At this rate it'll take me another month before I start the next brew.


Topic: general Link here

Somehow didn't get much else done. Why am I so inactive at the moment?


Saturday, 3 October 2009 Dereel Images for 3 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: brewing, technology Link here

More slow work on my brewing hardware. The hardware itself is now complete, but I need to install the software. As the result of a number of problems, all my backups of brewer were empty. Took the disk out of the old brewer and connected it in the new machine. To my surprise, they're compatible; IDE (sorry, ATA (sorry, PATA)) has been around for longer than I remembered. The old drives with separate control and data cables have been gone for a really long time. Less to my surprise, the drive is dead:

Oct  3 14:32:23 brewer kernel: ad2: FAILURE - SETFEATURES SET TRANSFER MODE status=51<READY,DSC,ERROR> error=4<ABORTED>
Oct  3 14:32:23 brewer kernel: ad2: 405MB <WDC AC2420H 06.16K22> at ata1-master BIOSPIO
Oct  3 14:32:23 brewer kernel: ad2: FAILURE - READ status=59<READY,DSC,DRQ,ERROR> error=4<ABORTED> LBA=830759

Not a big issue—the only data I wanted was the configuration file—but I do prefer to have the exact copy I started with. Still, no time for brewing today, so there's always tomorrow...


Topic: technology, opinion Link here

One of the web communities I belong to is LinkedIn. As with many such communities, I don't really know why, and I'm certainly not active. Today Edwin Groothuis told me that he had invited me to “connect with him”. Just in time, it seems. When I went to the site, I found the invitation, along with a (supposedly unrelated) suggestion on the right:


  This should be linkedin.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: linkedin          Dimensions:          919 x 140, 14 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 3 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 3 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 3 October 2009

 
Topic: opinion Link here

It's been 20 years since the events that led to the end of the DDR and the reunification of Germany—half the time that the DDR existed. How time flies! In Germany a whole generation has grown up without any memory of the DDR.


Topic: cooking Link here

Yvonne has allowed me to cook a cassoulet again, and spent most of the day preparing that. In the process, discovered that the Kransky sausages that Yvonne had bought were in fact “Cheese Kransky”, but somebody had put a label over the description. What good are they? The Wikipedia article says: “One variation—the Cheese Kransky—is not considered to be an authentic member of the Kransky family as it was created by Australian gourmet continental butchers”. I think I can agree with that. Found some others in the deep freeze, but certainly it wasn't a typical cassoulet. Still, the Yeardleys came over for dinner and consumed amazing quantities, so it must have tasted OK.


Sunday, 4 October 2009 Dereel Images for 4 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: brewing, technology Link here

More work on brewer today, and finally got it finished. Not that there was much to do, of course, but it brought back to me how even the little details can take time. The serial driver has changed since December 2000, and the device /dev/cuaa0 no longer exists; instead I have /dev/cuad0 (and, for some strange reason on this machine with a single serial port, /dev/cuad1). I suspect that they have always been there, but they have different defaults. Took me a while to realise that all I really need to do was to set the CLOCAL bit in the c_cflag.

Even then it didn't seem to do anything, and it took me a while to realise that I hadn't told it where to display its status. A good reason to have kept the old config file. The sample configuration file contains lots of comments, and is intended to be a good introduction to the configuration, but it made it easy for me to miss things. I should consider restructuring it and installing a stripped-down version as the base config file.


Topic: general Link here

Summer's here! Or at least we put the clocks forward. Somehow it's more obvious this year, and it's amusing to go into the laundry and see Lilac, our cat, sleeping in her basket, when normally at this time she'd be scratching on one of the doors to get in.


Topic: gardening Link here

More garden work. It was dry, and there was little wind—in the evening there was no wind at all, something unusual. Finally did the planned weed spraying; the rest will have to be by hand.


Monday, 5 October 2009 Dereel Images for 5 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

I've been getting this kind of message in the daily log message from my external web site for some time:

Oct  5 00:41:11 w3 sshd[96071]: reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for corporat201-24589042.sta.etb.net.co [201.245.89.42] failed - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!
Oct  5 00:43:50 w3 sshd[96084]: reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for static-64-65-133-134.customer.sea.eschelon.com [64.65.133.134] failed - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!
Oct  5 00:50:37 w3 sshd[96171]: reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for abts-north-static-171.184.160.122.airtelbroadband.in [122.160.184.171] failed - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!
Oct  5 00:51:42 w3 sshd[96178]: reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for static.khi77.pie.net.pk [221.120.201.71] failed - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!
Oct  5 00:53:35 w3 sshd[96184]: reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for 59.162.166.211.static.vsnl.net.in [59.162.166.211] failed - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!
Oct  5 00:56:37 w3 sshd[96213]: reverse mapping checking getaddrinfo for vp195031.kln.uac68.hknet.com [203.169.195.31] failed - POSSIBLE BREAK-IN ATTEMPT!

And yes, the IPs are genuine. If they're yours, don't complain: do something about it. It's interesting to note that most of the IP addresses resolve to countries in South America and Asia.

In principle, this should be harmless: I have my sshd set up to accept only public key authentication—don't I? Checked the man page. Yes, defaults are public key only. Still, it was worth checking. Set up a fake user name and password, connected with ssh—and it accepted the password!

Further investigation revealed that the messages were only part of the story. /var/log/messages contained further information. The following message presumably relates to the first of the messages quoted above:

Oct  5 00:41:11 w3 sshd[96071]: error: PAM: authentication error for root from 201.245.89.42

It also proved that I hadn't read the man page very carefully: yes, PasswordAuthentication defaults to no, but UsePAM defaults to yes, and it effectively re-enables it. So the correct thing to do is:

--- /etc/ssh/sshd_config        2008/02/24 17:53:19     1.1
+++ /etc/ssh/sshd_config        2009/10/05 01:06:23
@@ -62,7 +62,7 @@
 #PermitEmptyPasswords no

 # Change to no to disable PAM authentication
-#ChallengeResponseAuthentication yes
+ChallengeResponseAuthentication no

 # Kerberos options
 #KerberosAuthentication no

It's surprising that none of the documentation I read drew any attention to this seeming compromise of security. Of course, it didn't do any harm; without exception, all of the attacks were on root, and apart from the fact that root has a password that is very difficult to guess, ssh to root is disabled anyway. Still, I feel more comfortable now.


Topic: brewing Link here

So finally I'm ready for my next brew. Almost. First I needed to crush the grain, and that still takes far too long, over an hour. Started too late, and didn't get finished before dinner.

What do I do now? I like to finish crushing the grain the day before. Another day's delay? Or shall I do it first thing tomorrow? I'll decide tomorrow.


Topic: gardening Link here

More pottering around in the garden. Weeds are the order of the day. One of our Hibbertia scandens was so overgrown that we could hardly find it. It should be climbing up a post, but it seems to prefer to stay on the ground. We'll need to do some tying up.

Also did more arrangement on the verandah. Rearranged the hanging flower baskets again, brought out the table that's been in the bedroom over winter, and had our first meal of the spring outside. It's still a bit cool, but it's getting more pleasant.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

Into the office this morning, turned on the monitors, and—nothing. Further investigation showed that the system was still running, but the displays were blank. Decided to reboot first and ask questions later. That in itself was an issue: I had set a time bomb some days earlier by removing a USB card without umounting it. In versions of FreeBSD before 8.0, this results in a panic the next time the file system is accessed—by umount, for example, which happened during the reboot. So I was in for another 2 hour fsck.

After reboot, found:

swap_pager_getswapspace(16): failed
swap_pager_getswapspace(16): failed
pid 37870 (Xorg), uid 0, was killed: out of swap space
pid 72545 (emacs), uid 1004: exited on signal 11 (core dumped)
pid 11462 (pbzip2), uid 0: exited on signal 6 (core dumped)
g_vfs_done():da0s1[READ(offset=16384, length=4096)]error = 6
deget(): pcbmap returned 6
g_vfs_done():da0s1[READ(offset=16384, length=4096)]error = 6
deget(): pcbmap returned 6

The last 4 lines were what the system managed while trying to umount the USB file system before crashing. But the first lines show that I ran out of swap space. How did that happen? I have 2 GB of memory and 3 GB of swap space—how can I run out there? Still, that's the case, and I'll have to keep a more careful eye on it.

USB is really a pain. Later in the day I wanted to back up my photos, which I do to a USB-mounted disk drive. Today when I plugged it in, the system froze. How? This time it wasn't a panic. I suppose I should really give up on USB file systems on FreeBSD 7.x.

Tried it on kimchi, my NetBSD box. It mounted! I had always thought that UFS file systems (especially UFS2) were not portable between operating systems. Still, I don't have enough confidence that I'd actually write to this file system with NetBSD: it's the only copy I have of my photos. Used another FreeBSD system instead.


Topic: brewing Link here

The computer problems gave me the excuse I needed to not brew any beer today. Finished crushing the grain, and I should be ready for an early start tomorrow. As if to draw attention to the urgency, I had two kegs to refill, and I only have one container of beer left.


Topic: gardening Link here

More garden work, tying up the Hibbertia scandens that I was working with yesterday. There's more light there now that we have demolished the cathedral; hopefully they'll grow along their guides now, and not along the ground.

Also more work in the Japanese Garden, planting Euphorbias. The ones we planted two weeks ago are not looking overly happy, but it's pretty certain that they'll survive, so for the remainder it's the sooner, the better:


  This should be Garden-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Garden 1          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 1888 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 7 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 7 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 7 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
Wednesday, 7 October 2009 Dereel Images for 7 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: brewing Link here

Brew day today—I had run out of excuses to postpone it, not to mention the even more serious danger of running out of beer. Fortunately, things went well enough, apart from some minor problems with the temperature probes. Starting early paid off: I was finished by mid-afternoon. Now to see whether I can keep this up and brew another batch or two before the end of the month.


Thursday, 8 October 2009 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: brewing Link here

Somehow brew days are always a lot of stress, and I feel distinctly relieved when it's over. Today was baking day (somehow that seems the wrong way round), and it was nothing in comparison. I still needed to attend to the ambient temperature sensor, but basically things are under way.


Topic: cooking Link here

Baking isn't completely simple either. I've more or less settled on my recipe:

  1. Mix 50 g starter, 100 g flour and about 100 ml water. Currently I'm using “Manhattan light rye” mix, which is about 87% wheat, mainly because I have a lot of it. At the moment I'm doing all the preparations at room temperature (round 20°).

  2. When the fermentation stops, add 200 g flour and about 180 ml water. The time seems to depend on the strain. I cultivated two separate starters from the dried starter that Sue Blake sent me in April. They're “interleaved”: each time I use the other strain, so I can compare them. They seem to behave differently; this one (which I'm calling “strain 2” for no particular reason) is slower, and it seems to create a more acid dough.

  3. When the fermentation stops, I do it again: 200 g flour and about 180 ml water. I suppose I should use less in the second step and more in the third, and I'll probably try that, but this is what I'm doing at the moment.

  4. Finally I save 50 g of the dough as the next-but-one starter and add 800 g of pure rye flour and about 400 ml of water, 15 g of salt and 15 g of caraway seed. My bread pan is most definitely not non-stick, so I cut baking paper to size (on our rolls, it's a length of 32.5 cm for the bottom, with 5.5 cm cut off one end, and two lengths of 12x15 cm for the ends of the pan). I lay out the dough in the pan, smooth down and leave it relatively wet, and leave to rise, which takes between 3 and 5 hours depending on the strain.

  5. Then I heat the oven to about 250°, spray the bread with water put it in the oven. Today I tried leaving it on the grill and spraying frequently to get an effect similar to the Hannover Gersterbrot. It took a lot of water, and somehow didn't have the same effect. That's not really surprising; the real Gersterbrot is flamed before it goes into the oven.

  6. After 15 minutes I drop the heat to 180° and bake for a total of 90 minutes, turning the pan through 90° and spaying with water every 15 minutes. The turning is to compensate for any irregularities in the oven temperature distribution.


Topic: gardening Link here

More work in the garden, despite the cooler temperatures. I really need to find where my hops are under the weeds (mainly grass) that have grown up over the winter. Rather to my surprise, we've already filled up two bays of our three-bay compost heap, and I fear we'll have the third one full before the first one has fully composted.


Topic: general, cooking Link here

More trying out the ALDI barbecue in the evening, the third meal cooked with it. And the ignition has failed already! It'll have to go back. I wonder if they will expect me to dismantle it.


Friday, 9 October 2009 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

More fun with the wview weather station software today, at least partially because I forgot to apply some of Steve Woodford's patches. The result is that I have archive records with ridiculous values in them, and no way to clean them out. Spent some time investigating that, discovering in the process that the archive file format is not very conducive to such procedures. To be fair to the author, he has since changed it, but it's now stored in a sqlite3 database (even if the rest uses, say, MySQL). I don't intend to follow that method, but I had hoped for an easier way of sanitizing the data.

As it was, added a subdirectory cleanarchive to the utilities directory, and spent most of the time trying to get these horrible GNU automake and friends to accept it. Solution:

  1. Create the directory, and copy another Makefile.am.
  2. Add the name of the directory to the top-level configure.in. This was the part that I didn't understand, and that caused so much cursing.
  3. Run:
      aclocal
      automake
      autoconf
      find .  -name .deps | xargs rm -rf
      ./configure ./configure --enable-station-wh1080 --enable-http

By the time I had that finished, I couldn't be bothered doing anything else.


Topic: gardening, general Link here

Sundance has now left Waterloo University, and his next job is in Adelaide. Due to the difference in the academic year, he now has until March to get there. He and Yana have decided to take the slow way home—by bicycle. They're keeping a blog (back-to-front, of course), and I spent some time trying to work out where they were. In the end I decided to create a Google Map to track their progress. The first part of their journey will take them to Los Angeles (I think), a small matter of about 4000 km.

Apart from that, didn't do much. Did some work in the garden, messed around with the fermenter—another overflow!—and did little else. It looks as if we'll have plenty to keep us busy in the garden, though.


Saturday, 10 October 2009 Dereel Images for 10 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

A horrible combination of bugs has been driving me crazy: the keyboard generates spurious “Ctrl locked on” events, and the X server insists on interpreting Ctrl-Alt-Backspace as “Terminate server”, even when the xmodmap settings disable it. On the assumption that this is a keycode-dependent setting, decided to remap the Backspace key to PrintScreen with the keyboard's mapping tool, and then define that as Backspace in the xmodmap settings—without “Terminate Server”, of course. And it worked!

Well, almost. Yes, the key still generates Backspace, at least in X—I still need to check what happens in vty mode—and Ctrl-Alt-Backspace no longer stops the server. But now bash no longer interprets Alt-Backspace as kill-word-backward. Emacs works correctly, though, and I suppose that's the main thing.


Topic: photography Link here

House photo day today, and more playing around with fill-in flash. Got better results with the Mecablitz 58 AF-1 O digital than last time, helped by the discovery that the head can rotate in a horizontal plane, and that it's thus possible to point the sensor at the camera. I need to experiment further.

Also some experiments with the polarizing filter, something that I haven't used much yet. When it's overcast, the graduated grey filter works better, but on cloudless days like today, the polarizing filter can create almost too-strong differences:


  This should be garden-se-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden se 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2016 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 10 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be garden-se-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden se 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1968 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 10 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

It's also interesting how the dark spot in the sky moves with angle in a wide-angle view like this one.


Topic: animals Link here

Looking out her office window, Yvonne saw an unusual sight: a Koala with baby in a tree about 50 metres away. Off in pursuit and got it a bit further down the paddock:


  This should be Koala-8.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Koala 8          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1424 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 10 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Koala-16.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Koala 16          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 896 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 10 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
Topic: general Link here

CJ along later with some posts for the Japanese Garden, but I wasn't happy with the condition. They're not expensive new, and I think the difference is worth it. While he was here, he told us of his recent journey to the Birdsville races last month. Seems lots of people are going on long journeys lately. This one went through the Innamincka Reserve on roads that aren't even marked on Google Maps.

We're off to Anakie tomorrow to visit the wildflower show. Or are we? The venue is the Anakie-Staughton Vale Hall, and the directions are very vague. Staughton Vale is some distance from Anakie, and I have no particular reason to expect that the place will be well signposted. Google Maps was its usual helpful self:


  This should be anakie-hall.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: anakie hall          Dimensions:          1206 x 1199, 320 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 10 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 10 October 2009

 

How could they possibly have come up with those suggestions? Anakie is in the Brisbane ranges National Park, pretty much in the middle of that map.


Sunday, 11 October 2009 Dereel → Anakie → Dereel Images for 11 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: gardening, photography Link here

Off early this morning to Anakie to see the wildflower exhibition. Google Maps gave us a time of 80 minutes; I took a different way that they claimed would take 87 minutes, as I discovered later; we left with 70 minutes to spare and were there half an hour early—only 40 minutes, well less than half the time. That time included finding the Hall, which was a couple of kilometres from the nearest indication on the maps, and the first sign we saw was after the turnoff.

Waited around outside for a while while people tried to over-organize themselves; there were tickets for everything, to get in ($1) and for the “workshops” (free). Finally got in and heard the “workshop”, ostensibly about macro photography, which was really a presentation about flower photography in general. Didn't learn too much, though he did have the good idea of putting a box around plants for photography, both for wind protection and lighting. I'll have to think of that.

Then a workshop about identifying Acacias, where we did learn something, and brought away a series of tests to identify the Acacias in the Park. That's not that uninteresting; two of the three species that we know we have at home are included, including Acacia myrtifolia, which was the subject of one of the examinations, and of which we needed (and bought) another specimen as wind protection for the north bed. Also bought a CD and a book.

Then off to look at the flowers in the park. We had already been along this road to get to the Hall, and we hadn't noticed anything much:


  This should be Wildflowers-34.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 34          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2368 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

It's clear why they have the focus on macro photography: nearly all the flowers are very small:


  This should be Wildflowers-10.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 10          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 512 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Wildflowers-7.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 7          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 816 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Wildflowers-8.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 8          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1920 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Wildflowers-17.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 17          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 672 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The result was a number of people wandering around kneeling on the ground with cameras:


  This should be Wildflowers-11.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 11          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2480 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Yvonne-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Yvonne 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1856 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Moved on to the Bert Boardman Recreation Area in Steiglitz, which everybody pronounces Stieglitz. It seems there's a good reason: the town was founded by a Charles (if I can believe the documentation) von Stieglitz, and presumably the name arose from the the same kind of vague spelling that makes Google Maps claim that I live in “Kliens” (and not Kleins) Road. The recreation area was not nearly as interesting as the Butchers Road area, and I think the bus tours went there first. There were some Xanthorrhoeas there, presumably Xanthorrhoea australis, and also a Grevillea, presumably Grevillea chrysophaea, and not the local Grevillea steiglitziana:


  This should be Wildflowers-39.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 39          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1600 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

On back home, stopping at a bridge to take some photos, and came across a lot of a ground cover that we have at home, but which for some reason I didn't classify as a mystery plant. Here the ones on the side of the river, followed by the ones in my garden:


  This should be Wildflowers-40-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 40 detail          Dimensions:          1417 x 1775, 416 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Garden-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Garden 1          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 992 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Back home and processed our photos—Yvonne had taken even more than I did. Then decided to take some more photos in the garden and do some general garden work, including planting one of the Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata (Mount Lofty Ranges Grass tree) that we grew from seed years ago, and which seem to be going nowhere. They're certainly nothing like the size of the ones in Steiglitz:


  This should be Wildflowers-38.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Wildflowers 38          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 2528 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Xanthorrhoea.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Xanthorrhoea          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 3104 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 12 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 12 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Monday, 12 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The ones in Steiglitz are about 3 metres tall; ours is the 20 cm wisp of grass in the foreground.


Topic: general Link here

To the Yeardleys for dinner. David has a friend from his university days visiting him, Peter, who lives somewhere in Ontario. It's funny how many people live so close together at the other end of the world.


Monday, 12 October 2009 Dereel Images for 12 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: general Link here

Spring is showing another attempt at coming. The overnight minimum temperature was only about 13°, and it was very mild when we got up, so had breakfast on the verandah for the first time this spring.


Topic: gardening Link here

That kind of weather was conducive to gardening, of course, so spent more time weeding and tying up roses. It's been less than two months since the last rose of the last season bloomed (first photo), but already we have new ones:


  This should be rose-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: rose 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 784 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 17 August 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 17 August 2009, small
Diary entry for Monday, 17 August 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Rose-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rose 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 832 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 11 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 11 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The one in the second photo is a Climbing Iceberg, one of two that I needed to tie up to climb up the side of the verandah. Also removed the Salvia that we bought at Diggers less than a year ago—for some reason it has died, not the only underperformer we bought from Diggers.

In fact, the garden is booming. The Osteospermum ecklonis that seemed to be struggling in the winter have obviously won that struggle, and they're in the process of taking over the north-east bed. Spent a few minutes removing a large part of them, in the process revealing a number of bulbs that hadn't been able to find their way out:


  This should be Garden-before.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Garden before          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 5440 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 12 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 12 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Monday, 12 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Garden-after.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Garden after          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 5328 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 12 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 12 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Monday, 12 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: general, gardening Link here

Somehow ended up doing nothing much today. The weather is cool, wet and windy again, but I managed to do a certain amount of garden work—it's amazing how quickly grass takes over if you let it.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Dereel Images for 14 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

My satellite connection has been relatively reliable lately: since the beginning of the month I had “only” 5 outages and a total outage time of 398 seconds. Today that changed completely. When I came into the office, the link had been down for about 4 hours, and it continued all day long:

Date        Outages   Duration  Availability
1255442400       20      16920   80.42% # 14 October 2009

How I wish I could get a good connection!


Topic: general Link here

Another day of rain, and once again didn't get much done. At least the rain suggests that we might get some hay this year, though Yvonne has decided not to cut it; we'll let the horses eat it directly from the stem.

Finally called up the ALDI service people about the barbecue. It was clear that they're not used to this: I was transferred to (silence), and after a while Jenny answered by accident, expecting to talk to Rose. She couldn't help me either, and arranged for somebody to call back.

That somebody announced himself as Brett, but proved to be really Tony—“Brett” is a handle, as he put it. I don't suppose it makes any difference what name people use, though I admit that Brett sounds better than “Mockery”.

Tony didn't think that the problems I had were justification for return—in contrast to ALDI's refund policy, which obligingly showed exactly the barbecue on the page:

 
This should be refund-policy.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: refund policy
Dimensions: 580 x 362, 80 kB
Dimensions of original: 580 x 362, 80 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 14 October 2009:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But it was clear that Tony worked for the service organization, not ALDI; he explained how I could have paid $100 or $200 more buying it elsewhere, not exactly what I care much about. Looks like I'll have to take it up with the local shop after all.


Topic: gardening Link here

The tomatoes I planted months ago are now seedlings, but they look pretty weak; they can barely stand up by themselves, and Yvonne tied them up to miniature stakes (really meat skewers):


 
This should be Tomatoes-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tomatoes 1          Dimensions:          3803 x 2732, 1008 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Tomatoes-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tomatoes 1 detail          Dimensions:          1063 x 637, 122 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

What's the problem there? Not enough fertilizer? Not enough light? Inappropriate pots? Seeds not planted deep enough? In any case, time's getting on, and we have far more than we can plant, so planted one each of Cherry tomato, Roma and Rouge de Marmande (which, despite the name, seems to be an Australian variety) out in the veggie patch:


  This should be Tomatoes-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tomatoes 2          Dimensions:          3529 x 2807, 1120 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

There's a good chance that the wind will break them; I think the area is sufficiently free of frost that we won't have an issue there, though people in Victoria say you shouldn't plant tomatoes until Melbourne Cup Day.

Other plants in the veggie patch aren't looking too good either: my Chinese Cabbage (which Wikipedia calls “Napa cabbage”) is going to seed without ever having grown properly, and the Pok Choy (from Diggers, who don't have a good track record in our garden) isn't looking good either. On the other hand, more conventional Brassicas, such as Brussels sprouts and Kohlrabi, seem to be doing OK:


  This should be Chinese-Cabbage.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Chinese Cabbage          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2128 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Brassicas.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Brassicas          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 2304 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

I suspect they want far more water; my experiments show that they consist of about 95% water, so that makes sense. I think I'll postpone any further attempts until we erect the greenhouse that David Yeardley has given us, and then we'll do it with hydroponics.

Pulled out some more Osteospermums from the north bed, and brought them over to the Yeardleys along with some Gazanias, and took the opportunity to look at the greenhouse. It was dismantled decades ago, and of course there's nothing like instructions to go with it. Looks as if it'll be fun to put up. Confirmed, though, that we can put it on the slab of the old pigsty, which will make things a lot easier.


Topic: photography Link here

Did some macro photography of stinging nettles, pushing my equipment to the limit:


  This should be Nettle-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Nettle 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 608 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Nettle-8.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Nettle 8          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1152 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Nettle-sting.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Nettle sting          Dimensions:          1096 x 724, 104 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 14 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 14 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The last two were taken with my Asahi Super Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 lens on bellows: the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm F2.0 Macro is almost certainly a better lens, but it gives up completely if it doesn't have electronic communication with the camera. The lack of sharpness in the third image is clear, and I think it's not just focus. Still, this photo is the first I've seen that show the stepped shape of the sting.


Topic: opinion, photography Link here

Nikon have brought out a new camera, boasting ISO sensitivities of 12,800, 25,600, 51,200 and 102,400. What kind of numbers are they? I've been with the ASA—no, ANSI—no, ISO scale for nearly 50 years now, and they've always had sensible approximations to ensure that the numbers match the decimal numbering system: we had 10 ASA, 100 ASA, 1000 ASA, even (arguably) 10,000 ASA. So why are we suddenly going binary? It seems to be lack of understanding.

Spent some time discussing the matter on IRC, coming up with a surprising lack of understanding of the underlying principles. Why did people come up with the current numbers? They have nothing to do with the binary system; they're purely decimal. There are ten steps between 1 and 10. But proportional increases aren't linear. If you took the steps as 1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, the first step would be much larger than the last, a factor of 2 compared to a factor of 1.111. Clearly equal steps have to be logarithmic: the difference between each step is the tenth root of 10, 1.258925412. The following core of a little program shows the results:

  for (x = 0; x < 1.1; x+= 0.1)
  {
    printf ("%6.1f\t%6.0f\n", x, y);
    y *= tenthroot;
  }

   0.0     100
   0.1     126
   0.2     158
   0.3     200
   0.4     251
   0.5     316
   0.6     398
   0.7     501
   0.8     631
   0.9     794
   1.0    1000

Clearly, this has nothing to do with binary. But by coincidence 3 steps is almost exactly 2 (not as exactly as shown here; it's actually 1.9952). This is the reason for the 1/3 EV step in film sensitivities, which has now been adopted by digital cameras.

So what's wrong with departing from this method and using binary? The only way to look at this in a binary perspective is by doubling; that causes three independent groups of sensitivities, for example:

Looking at the last members of each group, 102,400, 128,000, 160,000 and 204,800, the relationships are no longer equal. They should all be 1.258925412, but in fact they're 1.25, 1.25 and 1.28.

Yes, that's not a serious problem—a more serious one will be when sensitivities increase by another factor of 1000 (sorry, 1024): then the highest of those three groups would be 209,715,200, 131,072,000 and 163,840,000. And that doesn't even make sense if you stick to the decimal values 200,000,000, 125,000,000 and 160,000,000: the numbers are just plain unwieldy. By this time it should be clear that the logarithmic method first pioneered by Julius Scheiner makes more sense: these last three values correspond to 84°, 82° and 83° DIN/ISO.


Thursday, 15 October 2009 Dereel Images for 15 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: gardening Link here

It's been raining a lot lately, but somehow found some time to do some work in the garden, pruning and removing plants; we've decided to severely limit the number of Osteospermum and remove all the Carpobrotus glaucescens in the main garden: they grow like fury, but so far they haven't flowered.


Friday, 16 October 2009 Dereel Images for 16 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: gardening Link here

The weather's still pretty variable—we should really be happy that it's raining. Managed to get some work done in the garden, though; the north bed has been through a lot of change since we moved here, and the eastern side of the house will change a lot in the coming months as well.


Topic: photography, gardening Link here

The trip to Anakie has me paying more attention to the plants in the garden. Much of what we consider weeds could be some kind of interesting wildflower. More macro photography. We two following plants that could conceivably be of interest, though we will probably continue to consider them as weeds.

The first seems to be some kind of vine—I took some photos of it after returning from Anakie, but not of the flowers:


  This should be Mystery-flower-1-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 1 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 384 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Friday, 16 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Mystery-flower-1-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 1 4          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 384 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Friday, 16 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The flowers are about 1 cm long. Conceivably we could use them until more consistent climbers are mature.

The other one is very small; the flowers are only a couple of millimetres across:


  This should be Mystery-flower-2-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 2 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 464 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Friday, 16 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Mystery-flower-2-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 2 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 448 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Friday, 16 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The photos above were taken with the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm F2.0 Macro, pretty much at the limit of its focus. I can come much closer with the Asahi Super Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 and the bellows, but I'm now relatively convinced that I'm hitting some basic limitation of the lens. This time I turned it around with a reversing ring, which should improve things, but it seems that there's a minimum circle of confusion, and it's limiting the resolution. Here an extract from the previous image followed by a full-size image with the Super Takumar:


  This should be Mystery-flower-2-2-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 2 2 detail          Dimensions:          1336 x 943, 114 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Friday, 16 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Mystery-flower-2-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 2 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 480 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Friday, 16 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The Super Takumar only barely manages to be sharper than the Zuiko. It's much more obvious (I could hardly say “clearer”) with yet another attempt with nettles, this time perpendicular to the leaf. The second image is a detail from the first which displays at natural resolution as a “thumbnail”. It's clearly very unsharp, and it's not primarily due to focus.


  This should be nettle-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: nettle 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1104 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 16 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Friday, 16 October 2009 Complete exposure details

   
This should be nettle-3-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: nettle 3 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 450, 78 kB
Dimensions of original: 600 x 450, 78 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 16 October 2009:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Saturday, 17 October 2009 Dereel Images for 17 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: photography Link here

More house photos stuff today. Every time I try to do something out of the ordinary with my Mecablitz 58 AF-1 O digital, I run into problems. Today it was the photos of the verandah. The light was subdued and just right for a photo with a lot of flash fill-in. And I couldn't get the unit to fire out of the line of sight of the wide-angle lens (18 mm equivalent on a 35 mm camera). Why can't these things have a proper cable connection? In this case, it dawned on me that I could mount the flash on the camera in this particular case, but that's not the point.

Ended up with a whole lot of photos, and my current method of naming them—partially automatically from a list of photo names, and partially manually by entering names—proved less successful. In the Good Old Days we made contact prints of entire films and selected what we wanted. I suppose the GUI generation do something similar, but they tie it down with so much mouse pushing and other stuff that I don't want to know. At any rate it seems unusual that people actually give descriptive names to their photos when using GUI tools, maybe because it requires typing.

Ended up writing a little PHP script that created a web page with really small images (150x200), which took much less time than I had expected. Now if I only had the EXIF data showing as well. MythWeb has nice popups of the programme details, so went to investigate how they did that.

Javascript, of course, something that I don't know much about. Spent some time dissecting a web page and removing the stuff I didn't need, and even got some kind of display, but clearly I need different formatting. More work required.

While I was at it, also played around with my “slide show” page showing the changes in the garden. It's all well and good, but it only showed one image at a time. Added code to display a second image and change it independently. That wasn't so easy, though it looks simple enough. The problem is that HTML has such a really horrible concept of state: I have a central function to display photos, and it handles the links. But every time I add some additional information (here the variables pos2 and dir2 to manipulate the position and direction of movement of the second image), I need to modify the central display function to pass them in every link. That's not a question of the difference between GETDATA and POSTDATA; it's just the fact that it needs to know at all. If HTML had structure data types, I could just add a value to the structure and pass it without the central function needing to know anything. As it is, as soon as I do something as simple as trying to change the size of the second image, it goes away, because the showphoto function doesn't know the variables.

Still, this page shows a basic weakness in my display functions: all the additional information is there whether you want it or not, at least for the larger photos. Here's the current state for a “small” image:

I probably need to provide the EXIF information as a Javascript popup and make a drop-down menu for the other items.


Topic: gardening Link here

Garden work was mainly weeding. It's amazing how fast the grass is growing at the moment.


Topic: general Link here

The Yeardleys over for dinner. I'm not allowed to say how much they ate.


Sunday, 18 October 2009 Dereel Images for 18 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: photography Link here

My unfinished work with the “contact prints” yesterday gave me no rest, and spent most of the day working on it and learning precious little about Javascript. Got the output looking fine, but it appeared at the bottom of the screen, even if that part of the page wasn't currently being displayed, something that MythWeb doesn't do. Looked at the insides of the MythWeb scripts, which proved to be hundreds of lines of stuff that looked much more complicated than what I needed.

Finally asked on IRC and got a reply from Edwin Groothuis, who took the obvious step of asking Google and came up with this script. Downloaded it and played around with it a lot, and got it to work, sort of. Clearly I need to understand Javascript better.


Topic: photography, gardening Link here

Yvonne took a liking to the little orange flowers I photographed a couple of days ago, and left the glass on the dining table. Today they opened—they're about 5 mm in diameter—so I had the chance to take more macro photos and investigate this problem with unsharpness. Was it related to the small aperture (still only f/16, the smallest that the Super Takumar can do)? Took a number of photos with three different lenses, the others being the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm F2.0 Macro and my 135 mm f/2.8 Exaktar.

The photo with the Zuiko looked nice enough, but I couldn't really come as close as I wanted:


  This should be Mystery-flower-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 352 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The Super Takumar came close enough, but I'm still not happy with the sharpness. It beats the Zuiko (here first a detail of the previous image, then two full images taken with the Super Takumar):


  This should be Mystery-flower-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 1 detail          Dimensions:          1198 x 1042, 118 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Mystery-flower-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 3          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 752 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Mystery-flower-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 4          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 992 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

But it's still not really sharp. Did some comparison photos with different apertures, and then with the Exaktar. The results suggest that the aperture isn't the issue. Here details taken at f/16, f/8 and f/5.6 respectively:

 
This should be Mystery-flower-4-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 4 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 494 x 371, 50 kB
Dimensions of original: 494 x 371, 50 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 18 October 2009:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Mystery-flower-6-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 6 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 496 x 372, 48 kB
Dimensions of original: 496 x 372, 48 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 18 October 2009:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Mystery-flower-5-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 5 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 512 x 384, 48 kB
Dimensions of original: 512 x 384, 48 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 18 October 2009:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

About the only obvious difference is the depth of field, along with a little burn-out in the last image. And the Exaktar did no better; the same size section of the closest I could get shows the same kind of blurring:


  This should be Mystery-flower-11.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 11          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 688 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

   
This should be Mystery-flower-11-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery flower 11 detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 486 x 365, 54 kB
Dimensions of original: 486 x 365, 54 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 18 October 2009:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

For the time being I'm going to have to assume that it's a limitation of the lenses, which almost certainly weren't designed to provide this sharpness.


Topic: animals Link here

Yvonne and Chris did another horse change today, giving us the opportunity to take some photos of horses getting to know each other:


  This should be Meeting-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Meeting 1          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 2000 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Meeting-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Meeting 2          Dimensions:          2653 x 1766, 720 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Meeting-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Meeting 3          Dimensions:          3256 x 2099, 960 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 18 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 18 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
Topic: gardening Link here

Still more weeding. Sometimes I despair of getting this stuff fixed up. Yvonne is planning some red posts for her Japanese garden, and spent some time preparing the rather dubious looking raw material.


Monday, 19 October 2009 Dereel Images for 19 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology, photography Link here

More work on the Javascript stuff today, and finally got it working acceptably, though I can't get the windows to stop moving with the cursor. Now the question is whether the approach is worth the trouble, or whether the continual popups get on people's nerves:


 
This should be popup.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: popup          Dimensions:          859 x 414, 110 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 20 October 2009

 
Topic: technology, general Link here

More problems with the WH-1080 weather station today: something went wrong with the communication between station and computer, and it took me a few hours to notice. During this time I got a continual stream of:

Oct 19 13:52:09 kimchi wviewd[18269]: <1255920729129> : readStationData: preposterous rain rate! raw 440, delta 65532
...
Oct 19 16:43:01 kimchi wviewd[18269]: <1255930981749> : readStationData: preposterous rain rate! raw 440, delta 65532

Restarting wview got rid of it, so it looks like there's room for improvement. In the meantime I have 1 spurious mm of rain and flat values for all the other parameters, presumably because the entire data record was discarded:


  This should be weather.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: weather          Dimensions:          1198 x 1116, 138 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 20 October 2009

 
Topic: general, photography Link here

A couple of months ago I bought a lens and had it sent USPS First Class Mail. Despite the contradictory tracking information, the lens arrived quickly, but even after it arrived the tracking information did not acknowledge that it had been posted. Was reminded of this incident today, and checked. The tracking information had been written out to backup store, but was retrieved automatically in a couple of hours, where I could discover that it still hasn't been sent:

 
This should be tracking-info.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: tracking info
Dimensions: 730 x 789, 54 kB
Dimensions of original: 730 x 789, 54 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 19 October 2009:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

What use is such inaccurate “tracking” information?


New greenhouse
Topic: gardening Link here

David Yeardley has given us his old greenhouse, and he and Chris came over today to deliver the bits and pieces:


 
This should be Greenhouse.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Greenhouse          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 3376 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 20 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

It'll be fun putting that up, especially since we don't have all the parts, and we don't have any instructions.


Tuesday, 20 October 2009 Dereel Images for 20 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology, multimedia Link here

One of the things I do in the morning is to check the TV programme and set recordings with MythWeb. Not today: cvr2 was down, and it wouldn't come up. Further investigation showed that it was the same problem that I had had three months ago: the system had written the (XFS) root file system superblock back offset by 64 bytes:

00000000  00 10 6b 35 00 10 00 00  00 c0 21 04 00 10 00 80  |..k5......!.....|
00000010  00 d0 59 30 00 10 00 00  00 00 00 02 00 10 00 00  |..Y0............|
00000020  00 20 0e 2b 00 10 00 00  00 b0 88 20 00 10 00 00  |.  .+.......  ....|
00000030  00 70 7e 2f 00 10 00 00  00 f0 ba 10 00 10 00 00  |.p~/............|
00000040  58 46 53 42 00 00 10 00  00 00 00 00 02 e1 9a 79  |XFSB...........y|
00000050  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
00000060  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 81  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 82  |................|
00000070  00 00 00 01 00 b8 66 9f  00 00 00 04 00 00 00 00  |......f.........|
00000080  00 00 5c 33 b4 a4 02 00  01 00 00 10 00 00 00 00  |..\3............|
00000090  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  0c 09 08 04 18 00 00 19  |................|
000000a0  00 00 00 00 00 02 d6 80  00 00 00 00 00 00 02 09  |................|
000000b0  00 00 00 00 02 6b 44 1a  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |.....kD.........|
000000c0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
000000d0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
000000e0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01  00 00 00 08 00 00 00 08  |................|
000000f0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|

Last time this happened, I had assumed that this was a random hardware glitch. But it's the only problem I've had with this computer, and it's happened twice now, with exactly the same offset. I've got to assume that it's a software bug, and the clear workaround is to get rid of XFS. Pity: I thought this was probably the best file system around. It may be, of course, that this only affects a particular release: a Google search didn't find anything obvious except my last incident.

Still, the relatively copious notes I made last time were of great help. It's clearly worth keeping this kind of information, even if it's boring for the casual reader. The next step I did was xfs_repair, as before.

root@naan:/etc/network# xfs_repair /dev/sdb1
Phase 1 - find and verify superblock...
bad primary superblock - bad magic number !!!

attempting to find secondary superblock...
...............................................................................

This takes a long time—I think it reads the entire disk, printing out many dots. Finally it finishes:

...............................found candidate secondary superblock...
verified secondary superblock...
writing modified primary superblock
sb realtime bitmap inode 18446744073709551615 (NULLFSINO) inconsistent with calculated value 129
resetting superblock realtime bitmap ino pointer to 129
sb realtime summary inode 18446744073709551615 (NULLFSINO) inconsistent with calculated value 130
resetting superblock realtime summary ino pointer to 130
Phase 2 - using internal log
        - zero log...
ERROR: The filesystem has valuable metadata changes in a log which needs to
be replayed.  Mount the filesystem to replay the log, and unmount it before
re-running xfs_repair.  If you are unable to mount the filesystem, then use
the -L option to destroy the log and attempt a repair.
Note that destroying the log may cause corruption -- please attempt a mount
of the filesystem before doing this.

As on the previous occasion, the mount failed, but the superblock had been recreated:

root@naan:/etc/network# hexdump -C /dev/sdb1 | less
00000000  58 46 53 42 00 00 10 00  00 00 00 00 02 e1 9a 79  |XFSB...........y|
00000010  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
00000020  9c ab b0 45 fd 7d 46 f4  91 0e 65 16 4a 38 74 29  |...E.}F...e.J8t)|
00000030  00 00 00 00 02 00 00 04  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 80  |................|
00000040  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  |................|
00000050  00 00 00 01 00 b8 66 9f  00 00 00 04 00 00 00 00  |......f.........|
00000060  00 00 5c 33 b4 a4 02 00  01 00 00 10 00 00 00 00  |..\3............|
00000070  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  0c 09 08 04 18 00 00 19  |................|
00000080  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
00000090  00 00 00 00 02 e1 3e 36  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |......>6........|
000000a0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
000000b0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
000000c0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01  00 00 00 08 00 00 00 08  |................|
000000d0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|

Ran xfs_repair -L immediately. It ran much more quickly:

root@naan:/etc/network# xfs_repair -L /dev/sdb1
Phase 1 - find and verify superblock...
sb realtime bitmap inode 18446744073709551615 (NULLFSINO) inconsistent with calculated value 129
resetting superblock realtime bitmap ino pointer to 129
sb realtime summary inode 18446744073709551615 (NULLFSINO) inconsistent with calculated value 130
resetting superblock realtime summary ino pointer to 130
Phase 2 - using internal log
        - zero log...
ALERT: The filesystem has valuable metadata changes in a log which is being
destroyed because the -L option was used.
        - scan filesystem freespace and inode maps...
        - found root inode chunk
Phase 3 - for each AG...
        - scan and clear agi unlinked lists...
error following ag 0 unlinked list
        - process known inodes and perform inode discovery...
        - agno = 0
b6471b90: Badness in key lookup (length)
bp=(bno 24144, len 16384 bytes) key=(bno 24144, len 8192 bytes)
b6471b90: Badness in key lookup (length)
bp=(bno 47296, len 16384 bytes) key=(bno 47296, len 8192 bytes)
        - agno = 1

After that, lost+found was once again full of files, but I was able to reboot, and it didn't seem to have impacted the way the system runs. I'll use it like that until the next version of Ubuntu comes out (8 days to go, it seems), and then I'll install a new system with a different file system.


Topic: general, gardening Link here

CJ and Sue along this morning to look at the greenhouse, and started trying to work out how it fits together. Made surprising progress. Yvonne went over to the Yeardleys to pick up the screws, but they had been lost in the course of the years, so we'll have to get some new ones. Not much chance of starting tomorrow now. Followed up on a label we found on the door of the greenhouse, and found the manufacturer on the web. Unfortunately they don't have any online manuals for erecting the thing.


Topic: general Link here

The weather was surprisingly warm today—it went over 30°, and we ate all our meals on the verandah. Somehow it was a little too warm, though—wouldn't it be nice if the temperature would stay in the mid-20s?


Topic: photography Link here

The sunny weather brought back to me the advantages of a polarizing filter:


 
This should be Breakfast-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Breakfast 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1344 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 20 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Breakfast-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Breakfast 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1648 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 20 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 20 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Time to buy one for my macro lens; there's some interesting stuff in the mini-pond.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009 Dereel Images for 21 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology, photography Link here

Mail from Tom Maynard today:

My vote is to drop the pop-ups. I find them annoying ... and there's precious little information in them of any interest (or value) to me. I might occasionally click a picture to see a bigger version, but I'll never care what lens was used, or what the exposure settings were.

Of course, there's precious little of interest to most people in any part of my diary. I do like the idea of the popups, but the way they follow the cursor annoys me. The instructions tell me that all sorts of things are configurable, including the position, the font and the size. But none of that works for me. I think I should look at some of the alternatives.

One unexpected problem came from the W3 validator, which tells me:

Line 322, Column 54: document type does not allow element "tr" here

          …_info [0] = ["Image ct-1.jpeg",
            "<tr><td>Author:</td><td>Greg
            Lehey</td></tr>
        

The element named above was found in a context where it is not allowed. This could mean that you have incorrectly nested elements -- such as a "style" element in the "body" section instead of inside "head" -- or two elements that overlap (which is not allowed).

This is part of a Javascript assignment:

          <script type="text/javascript">
             exif_info [0] = ["Image ct-1.jpeg", "<tr><td>Author:</td><td>Greg Lehey</td></tr><tr><td>Date taken:</td><td>Thursday, 1 October 2009, 9:34:00</td></tr><tr><td>Exposure:</td><td>1/250 sec, f/10.0 (EV 14.6), 100 ISO, Normal saturation</td></tr><tr><td>Camera:</td><td>OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.  E-30</td></tr><tr><td>Lens:</td><td>Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD</td></tr><tr><td>Focal length:</td><td>32.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 64 mm)</td></tr><tr><td>Focus:</td><td>0.76 m (0.69 - 0.85)</td></tr><tr><td>Meter mode:</td><td>Center-weighted average</td></tr><tr><td>Flash:</td><td>Fired, Fill-in (+0.7 EV)</td></tr>"];
          </script>

And yes, this is really all on one line, because Javascript wants it that way. But why should the validator be looking into Javascript strings? This looks like a bug to me. If it's part of any HTML specification, it's an extreme misfeature.

Low cost web development

My spam filters are getting most spam now, and also a considerable quantity of false positives. One message that got through recently was (somewhat trimmed):

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 11:05:27 +0530
From: "Team Ads" <enpershyaam@gmail.com>
Subject: Web Site Designing & SEO (internet marketing) for low cost - Coim
        batore, INDIA
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

   <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
   "   http://www.w3c.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/loose.dtd">^M

= ^M
^M

    ^M
= ^M
 ^M
 DOES you company need
   any of ^M
 = these SERVICES?
   ^M
   ^M
 ^M
 = ^M
 ^M
    ^M
 ^M

   Team Ad's.  Coimba= tore, INDIA (FREELANCER) ^M

   Web = Designing and SEO for low cost ^M

   Mob: +91 99422 20302, 92624 01244 ^M

   mail us - ^M
 admi= n@teamads.com
   ______________________________________= _____________
   Our Best Services: ([1]htt= p://www.teamads.com) ^M

   - Web Desig= ning&nbsp; NEW ^M
 OFFER bel= ow !!!
   - ^M
 = Web Development (PHP - Web Portals, Classifieds etc,)
   - Web ^M

This was really just text/plain; there was no HTML version. I think I can safely answer this one with “no”. About the only thing he's done “right” is to get through my spam filter.


Topic: gardening, general Link here

CJ and Sue along today. We had planned to put the greenhouse together, but we still don't have the screws. Took one out as a sample. It's amazing how primitive the things look, with straight slits and square nuts:


 
This should be Bolt.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Bolt          Dimensions:          2029 x 1982, 688 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 22 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

That's not ideal for modern tools; maybe we can find something else.

Instead of the planned work, CJ did some general spring cleaning, removing and burning the remaining wood from the pig sty that I dismantled two years ago, and also pulling out dead and dying trees, including the Hakea laurina which fell over some months back. Despite the forecast, it was also sunny and the winds were low, so spent some time spraying weeds. I can see another long session of mulching to follow.

Also mowed the lawn for the first time this spring, after I finally got the thing to start. The problem seems to be that the spark plug has lost the ferrule onto which the cable fits, and the connection is pretty loose. The carburettor also seems to be leaking, and various screws in inaccessible places need tightening up. Time to have it serviced.

One thing that can't be blamed on the condition of the mower was that I somehow managed to catch a garden hose in it and drag it some distance. The hose was connected to a tap, and it pulled out the tap and its plastic riser:


  This should be broken-pipe-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: broken pipe 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 880 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 21 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be broken-pipe-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: broken pipe 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1264 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 21 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Fortunately I had the replacement parts needed, so things weren't too bad.


New plants
Topic: gardening Link here

Sue also brought some plants for us: a “Mexican something” and what I identified as a Honeysuckle, but which she tells me is a Firecracker:


  This should be Mexican-something-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mexican something 1          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1024 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 21 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Mexican-something-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mexican something 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1008 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 21 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Honeysuckle-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Honeysuckle 1          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 592 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 21 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 21 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

So yet another mystery plant. It seems that we can consider it a spring bulb, though clearly the root system is of a different nature.


Thursday, 22 October 2009 Dereel Images for 22 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

More investigation of the Javascript validation errors I got yesterday, and discovered that yes, indeed, it's a misfeature. From http://www.htmlhelp.com/tools/validator/problems.html#script:

As mentioned in the HTML 4 Recommendation's note about specifying non-HTML data in element content, end tags are recognized within SCRIPT elements, but other kinds of markup--such as start tags and comments--are not. This is an unintuitive quirk of SGML for elements defined to have CDATA content.

Call it a quirk if you will; for me it borders on insanity. The result, along with another issue that the author of the Javascript had ignored, was that I had to change my text from this relatively straightforward text:

          <script type="text/javascript">
             exif_info [5] = ["Image Honeysuckle-1.jpeg",
                              "<tr><td>Author:</td><td>Greg Lehey</td></tr>"];
          </script>

To this:

          <script type="text/javascript">
             <!--
             exif_info [5] = ["Image Honeysuckle-1.jpeg",
                              "<tr><td>Author:<\/td><td>Greg Lehey<\/td><\/tr>"];
             // -->
          </script>

The HTML comment seems to be needed too, and the close HTML comment needs to be commented in Javascript, with the // form that I hate so much, since otherwise it wouldn't close properly. What a mess! But at least it validates again, though I've written a page about the topic to which my “Valid XHTML” icon at the bottom of these pages links.

In the process, did some more checking and once again ran afoul of the naming conventions for values of id and name in anchor tags. I had been using the photo name for part of the tags for linking to photos, but they can contain illegal characters. Strangely, it was relatively simple to remove the photo name from the name, and it simplifies the URLs.


Topic: gardening Link here

More garden work, planting the “Mexican somethings” in the north bed, which I've just managed to claim back from the Osteospermums.


Topic: animals Link here

Catch me a magpie!

Piccola is greatly enjoying the spring weather and the birds around the garden. She spent a lot of time stalking a magpie today:


  This should be Piccola-and-magpie-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Piccola and magpie 2          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 2752 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 22 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Piccola-and-magpie-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Piccola and magpie 3          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 2496 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 22 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

We've also had a large number of sulphur-crested cockatoos around lately:


  This should be Cockatoos-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cockatoos 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1536 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 22 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

All these photos were taken from my office window.


Topic: animals, general Link here

We're having visitors again. Today the first arrived, Hanna Barth from Karlsruhe, and she and Yvonne spent most of the afternoon at Chris' place. Chris along later for dinner, and of course she had to show Hanna how to maltreat cats:


  This should be Chris-Lilac-Hanna-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Chris Lilac Hanna 2          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 1200 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 22 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Chris-Lilac-Hanna-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Chris Lilac Hanna 3          Dimensions:          4100 x 2795, 1216 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 22 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 22 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
Friday, 23 October 2009 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

Only a year ago I put a 500 GB disk in dereel, my new main machine, and there was more than enough space for everything I needed. But already the writing was on the wall: my photos are taking up more and more space, and by today there were 212 GB of photos, and free space was down to 3 GB. Time for a new disk.

The problem is, I want to rebuild the machine soon, preferably with some virtualization layer, but that won't be until FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE at the earliest. In the meantime I don't want to make any too far-reaching changes. But I have a second disk on the machine, /dump, which had about 60 GB free, so I copied some of the less interesting archive stuff there. No problem.

Checked that the data got there, then started deleting the old files. And exactly at that moment my time bomb struck: about 2 weeks ago, I converted my camera copy scripts to use mtools, but I still had a mount call in there, and I didn't notice it until after disconnecting the camera. It was clear that the system would freeze up at some point, but it was strange it happened right now. fsck. fsck. fsck.

It's funny how spam comes in waves. Lately there hasn't been much, but today I got one that puzzled me: it had a SpamAssassin score of about 30, but it still got delivered. Further investigation made it clear why:

Received: from [82.114.73.162] (unknown [82.114.73.162])
        by w3.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id C771B3BA57
        for <grog@lemis.com>; Thu, 22 Oct 2009 08:10:18 +0000 (UTC)
Received: from 82.114.73.162 by gort.ebay.com; Thu, 22 Oct 2009 09:10:18 +0100

Received by gort.ebay.com? Not a hope. That's a faked header, clearly aimed at people like me who have so much trouble with broken mail from eBay that they have a separate procmail rule for it. You might argue that that's not eBay's fault, but it is: if their mail wasn't such a complete and utter mess, I wouldn't have that problem.

tvremote lives again

Also downloaded an ISO of FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE and installed it on a USB stick for the laptop which I used to call tvremote. Its last use was for the kitchen, but we still haven't found a good name for it. This time I was able to boot, but I've decided to leave the stick read-only and NFS mount most stuff from dereel. Still don't have X running properly, but most stuff went relatively smoothly. I should keep a copy of the stick and use it for multiple machines; brewer looks like another candidate.


Topic: photography Link here

I've come to the conclusion that flash exposure is still a dark art. For some time I've had my flash exposure compensation set to +0.7 EV, but the exposure of last night's photos was all over the place, up to 2 EV difference. Some of that may be because I haven't waited for the flash to be fully charged, something I should pay more attention to. But some of the photos were decidedly overexposed, and that by more than 0.7 EV, something that undercharging wouldn't explain. It doesn't seem to be a problem peculiar to the Mecablitz 58 AF-1 O digital: it happens with the built-in flash unit of the E-30 too, and it happened with the E-510 as well.

UFRaw improvements

When I started using ufraw, I had big problems with the settings. They're still very wrong: typically, the exposure is off by about 1.3 EV, and the saturation and contrast don't match what the Olympus software or the in-camera JPEGs produce. In addition, the automatic exposure adjustment created photos that were uselessly “underexposed”. But at least that has changed: now automatic exposure compensation works (and shows values round +1.3 EV, as I had empirically discovered). That was particularly helpful with the flash shots.


Topic: gardening Link here

A bit more garden work, mainly weeding. Also decided to rearrange the Gazanias, and split one bush into about 6 smaller plants. Gradually things are taking shape.


Saturday, 24 October 2009 Dereel Images for 24 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

FreeBSD crashes on large deletes
Topic: technology Link here

More attention to my disk reshuffle today; the system had crashed before deleting all the files from /home, so deleted the remainder. Well, that was the intention. The system crashed again. This must be related to issues I know about soft updates. But it's a real pain, and it took me a couple of hours to sort things out; first run fsck, which took over an hour, then reboot the machine into single user mode—why doesn't it respond correctly when I try to interrupt the boot?—turn off soft updates on the file system, remount, delete the files, umount again, set soft updates, then go back to multi-user mode. What a pain. It must be possible to catch this situation before it causes a crash.


X configuration: one giant leap backward
Topic: technology Link here

Spent more time looking at the new kitchen computer today, trying to get X running. The mouse had the same issue that it has always had, and once again I could turn to this diary for a quick solution. But there were other issues.

Firstly, I wanted to use the software installed on dereel rather than installing copies on the laptop. That requires using ldconfig, whose man page tells me:

FILES
     /etc/ld.so.conf              Conventional configuration file containing
                                  directory names for invocations with -aout.
     /etc/ld-elf.so.conf          Conventional configuration file containing
                                  directory names for invocations with -elf.

That's completely incorrect. Those files no longer exist. After some time, found the correct information in /etc/defaults/rc.conf, including:

ldconfig_paths="/usr/lib/compat /usr/local/lib /usr/local/lib/compat/pkg"
                        # shared library search paths
ldconfig32_paths="/usr/lib32" # 32-bit compatibility shared library search paths
ldconfig_paths_aout="/usr/lib/compat/aout /usr/local/lib/aout"
                        # a.out shared library search paths
ldconfig_local_dirs="/usr/local/libdata/ldconfig"
                        # Local directories with ldconfig configuration files.
ldconfig_local32_dirs="/usr/local/libdata/ldconfig32"
                        # Local directories with 32-bit compatibility ldconfig
                        # configuration files.

That worked well enough after finding out how. But I still couldn't get X to work.

Configuring X has been a fairly constant problem over the last 20 years. When I first installed X on BSD, about 17 years ago, it took me forever to create a correct configuration. But then people gradually improved the situation, even to the point that you usually don't really need a configuration file to get a basically functional X display. In the cases where it doesn't work out of the box, X -configure usually does the job.

This time X -configure didn't work either: I got a message “Can't assign video memory”. I've seen that, too, with my other Dell laptop, but not with this one. On further investigation, discovered that it had created a configuration file for two screens, something which this el-cheapo laptop most definitely doesn't have. Removed that, but it still didn't work. /usr/local/Xorg.0.log showed that both keyboard and mouse had been disabled.

Discussions on IRC suggested that this was the HAL issue. If I understand this correctly, HAL is Linux's answer to FreeBSD's devfs, and newer versions of X require it. From the man page:

hald is a daemon that maintains a database of the devices connected to the system system in real-time. The daemon connects to the D-Bus system message bus to provide an API that applications can use to discover, monitor and invoke operations on devices. For more information about both the big picture and specific API details, refer to the HAL spec which can be found in /usr/local/share/doc/hal/spec/hal-spec.html depending on the distribution.

It's not clear where hald comes from, but it got installed on my box. But it's not on the FreeBSD web site, there's no information on how to start it at boot time, and /etc/defaults/rc.conf doesn't mention it. From IRC I got the suggestion that I set the following in /etc/rc.conf:

# Undocumented incantations
hald_enable=YES
dbus_enable=YES

But that didn't make any difference, and in /var/log/Xorg.0.log I find:

(EE) config/hal: couldn't initialise context: (null) ((null))

What a mess! But why? If I install the same version of the X server on Linux, it works fine. As far as I can see, there's something basic missing in the FreeBSD configuration. How can people release software like this?


Topic: gardening, photography Link here

Apart from that, didn't do much. More weeding—will it ever end?—and of course my Saturday photos. The sky was pretty much cloudless, so I used the polarizing filter instead of the graduated neutral density filter. I'm not sure that it isn't too strong: in some cases the sky takes on an unpleasant steely grey colour:


 
This should be garden-se.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden se          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1904 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 24 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 24 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 24 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

In other cases, the difference is quite an improvement. Here it's the first image, and neither has been postprocessed:


  This should be dam-nw.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: dam nw          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1696 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 24 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 24 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 24 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be dam-nw-alternate.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: dam nw alternate          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1632 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 24 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 24 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 24 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

More thinking required.


Sunday, 25 October 2009 Dereel Images for 25 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: general Link here

Laurel Gordon came along today, brought by her son Leah and by a somewhat roundabout way—they lost their way coming from Ballarat, and they were almost in Geelong before they realised they had taken the wrong way.


Topic: photography Link here

More photos in the evening, of course, and did some more playing around with flash. I've known about bounce flash for decades, but for some reason I haven't used it much since I've taken up photography again. Today I changed that, with good results (left direct flash, right bounce):


 
This should be Dinner-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dinner 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1376 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 25 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 25 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 25 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Dinner-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Dinner 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1408 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 25 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 25 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 25 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Clearly something to do more of.


Monday, 26 October 2009 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: technology Link here

More work trying to get X to work on my laptop today. Michiel Overtoom sent me a message suggesting adding the following line to the ServerLayout section of Xorg.conf:

    Option "AutoAddDevices" "Off"

Tried that and got some improvement, but there are still lots of problems, partially related, it seems, to my decision to put a lot of the software on an NFS mount. More experimentation needed. I should also consider trying the new Ubuntu when it comes out.


Laurel's plants
Topic: gardening Link here

Laurel brought lots of plants with her when she came, much of which we need to classify. What we appear to have is:

These aren't my own photos, clearly. They'll come later. For now the question is where to plant them.


Topic: photography Link here

It's been 2 years since I bought my “new” scanner, and somehow I haven't used it much. Spent a lot of time scanning in some of my oldest negatives, in the process coming to various conclusions:


Tuesday, 27 October 2009 Dereel Images for 27 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: gardening Link here

CJ along today to do some various work in the garden. First, Yvonne has prepared a series of posts for her “Japanese” garden, which required knocking into the ground:


  This should be Garden-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Garden 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2464 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 27 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

After that, we attended to the greenhouse, and at least got the main frame up:


  This should be Greenhouse.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Greenhouse          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 3280 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 27 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

The problem is that a number of the brackets for the roof are broken, and I don't know where to find replacements. I suppose I'll have to call up the manufacturer. They're made out of plastic, and they don't look like an easy thing to fake:


  This should be Angle-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Angle 1          Dimensions:          4100 x 3084, 1456 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 27 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Angle-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Angle 3          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 688 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 27 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
Topic: general Link here

Leah and his aunt came to pick up Laurel today. The immediate reason for her visit was that she has bought our horse float, which we hardly use any more:


 
This should be Float-leaving-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Float leaving 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2496 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 27 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Before we got that far, we discovered that Laurel's car has a new kind of electricity connection to the float. The only one I have ever seen, here or in Europe, is a circular connector with three rows of alternate pins and sockets. This one was a rectangular one with a single row of 7 contacts. They went off into Ballarat and fortunately found an adaptor with no difficulty.


Topic: gardening Link here

Also went theough the garden with Laurel again to identify new plants. She thinks that Mystery flower 18 could be a Kalanchoe, which seems possible; it looks similar to the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana:

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

I also understood her to have said that Mystery flower 17 could be a Crocosmia, but that doesn't seem to match the appearance. More investigation needed.


Wednesday, 28 October 2009 Dereel Images for 28 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: photography Link here

Spent a lot of time scanning photos taken in 1964 and 1965 today. I suspect I have never seen most of them: photographic paper was expensive, and many of these photos were of very poor quality. I developed them all myself, with the possible exception of the very first; the marginal notes in the negative album describe the film (frequently off-cuts of commercial film such as Kodak 30 ciné) and the developer (usually Promicrol). There's also a surprising amount of physical damage to the negatives, suggesting that the problems I recall getting the film into the spiral were worse than I remember. But amongst the mess there were a few interesting photos, including a couple of views of Kuala Lumpur that I haven't seen before, and which I turned into panoramas. The first is a view of the “Padang” (now called “Merdeka Square”) from Federal House (now Rumah Persekutuan), and the second of Mountbatten Road (now called Jalan Tun Perak). The black square at bottom left of the second image is because of the differing formats of the two images I used to make the panorama (left landscape, right portrait). In view of the historical interest, I decided not to crop it. These photos would have been taken about the end of August 1964.

In fact, they were taken on 14 September 1964


  This should be Kuala-Lumpur-from-Federal-House.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Kuala Lumpur from Federal House          Dimensions:          3748 x 974, 912 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 14 September 1964, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 14 September 1964, small
Diary entry for Monday, 14 September 1964 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Kuala-Lumpur-from-IBM-building.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Kuala Lumpur from IBM building          Dimensions:          2227 x 1711, 784 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 14 September 1964, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 14 September 1964, small
Diary entry for Monday, 14 September 1964 Complete exposure details

 

Wikipedia claims that Jalan Tun Perak used to be called Java Street, but that's incorrect. I need to drag out an old map to find Java Street.


Topic: gardening Link here

The plants that Laurel brought are causing some issues: where do we plant them? Identified places for most of them, though the Salix melanostachys and the Libertia grandiflora are still an issue, and planted the Euphorbia melifera in the Japanese garden. Most of the roses will have to wait until we have cleared the ground.

The Clematis at the south end of the verandah is growing like fury, but I saw a group of very unhappy looking leaves, which appear to have a fungal infection:


  This should be Sick-clematis-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sick clematis 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 896 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 28 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 28 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 28 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Sick-clematis-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sick clematis 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1120 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 28 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 28 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 28 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

Hopefully removing the leaves was sufficient.


Thursday, 29 October 2009 Dereel Images for 29 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: general, gardening Link here

Summer's here! Only a week ago the daytime high temperatures were in the mid-teens, but today we hit 32°. Didn't feel overly motivated as a result, but did plant a couple of plants: the “Phyllis Bide” climbing rose and the “Monsieur Tillier” bush rose. Used fresh compost from the compost heap, which is now looking very good. I filtered it through the filter I had built for this purpose, but there were very few solid twigs in it.

The “Monsieur Tillier” is supposed to be quite big, and the place I put it (replacing an Erysimum) looked smaller than appropriate, and I ended up moving it about 40 cm; better now than later.


Topic: photography Link here

More toys arrived today: a polarizing filter for the macro lens , also a 10 dioptre close-up for the same lens. I've established that the lens is good, but it's a pity it only comes down to a magnification of 2:1 (corresponding in subject size to 1:1 on 35 mm). With the close-up lens it appears to come approximately twice as close. How do you calculate these things? The way I learnt it, for thin lenses the law is 1/f = 1/u + 1/v, where u is the distance from the object to the “centre” of the lens, v is the distance from the focal plane to the “centre” of the lens, and the magnification is v/u, usually written as the ratio u:v. So at 2:1, u is twice v. For a 50 mm lens, that makes v = 66.7 mm and u = 133.3 mm.

What happens when you add a 10 dioptre lens in front? For thin lenses, you simply add the dioptres. A dioptre is 1000 / f, so 50 mm is 20 dioptres, and 30 dioptres are 33.3 mm. So with v = 66.7 mm, u shrinks to 66.7 mm, and the magnification goes to 1:1.

So much for the theory, and for my assumptions: modern lenses are anything but thin, and the supplementary lens is a long way from the optical centre of the main lens. Put the lens on and tried it out, and it roughly seems to be the case; I'll test in more detail some other time.

Also a little bit of playing around with the polarizing filter, which certainly showed the advantage in the area I was expecting:


  This should be Duckweed-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Duckweed 2          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 816 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 29 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 29 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 29 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Duckweed-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Duckweed 3          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 656 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 29 October 2009, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 29 October 2009, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 29 October 2009 Complete exposure details

 

No prizes for guessing which image is which.

Apart from that, more scanning of images. I kept careful notes of the photos I took, and I had them until a couple of years ago, when I moved here. Now I can't find them any more, and it's a real pain trying to guess which photo was taken when. Given that I classify the photos by date, this is a serious issue. I should mount a search.


Friday, 30 October 2009 Dereel Images for 30 October 2009
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Topic: gardening Link here

Up this morning with the realization that I had planted our ”Monsieur Tillier“ in the wrong place—thus the issue with the exact placement. So ended up replanting it a second and hopefully the last time.

Also did some other planting, though we're already running out of space. Planted the Haworthia that we bought in April and which had been sitting in a pot until its roots were firm enough, so that we could plant the dwarf Salix in the pot it was in, and also planted the Libertia grandiflora in two different places near the bigger Silver Birch. Then I ran out of ideas and of places, so gave up. We still have 3 roses to plant, and I keep forgetting which goes where.


Topic: animals Link here

A magpie for Piccola

We've already noted that Piccola has been chasing magpies, and that the magpies delight in luring her on. Today things were different: we found a young magpie in one of the trees, apparently too young to fly, and it was screaming for help. That attracted Piccola, of course, who actually managed it up into the tree and got hold of it. Fortunately we managed to shake her off and bring her inside: there were other magpies around, and they're particularly aggressive in such conditions. I don't have much hope for the bird; hopefully it will die before Piccola gets hurt.


Topic: photography Link here

More scanning today, including some comparisons of old colour negatives. I had already scanned one particular film with the Canon scanner, but I didn't notice until I had tried again with the Epson. That at least gave me the opportunity to compare the rendition. In both cases, the colours of the scanned image were pretty terrible (and on the Epson the option “recover colors” seems to make no difference), but the Ashampoo photo optimizer (Ashampoo doesn't believe in useful links) makes them a lot better—a little better with the image of the Epson than the Canon, which also managed to lose the bottom of the image. The dull greens are probably because of the film (Ektachrome X, I think).

The following photos show the results of the scans, first Epson, then Canon. The left-hand ones are the raw output of the scanner software, and the right-hand ones after optimization.


  This should be Hills-Epson-orig.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hills Epson orig          Dimensions:          2521 x 1632, 464 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, small
Diary entry for Friday, 20 August 1965 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Hills-Epson.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hills Epson          Dimensions:          2521 x 1632, 528 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, small
Diary entry for Friday, 20 August 1965 Complete exposure details

 

  This should be Hills-Canon-orig.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hills Canon orig          Dimensions:          2228 x 1407, 480 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, small
Diary entry for Friday, 20 August 1965 Complete exposure details

 
  This should be Hills-Canon.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hills Canon          Dimensions:          2228 x 1407, 512 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 20 August 1965, small
Diary entry for Friday, 20 August 1965 Complete exposure details

 
Topic: opinion Link here

Speed kills—or does it?

I've written in the past about Australian officialdom's obsession with “speeding”, but more or less given up hope of any improvement. Somebody pointed me to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which sounds surprisingly like my own opinion. Is there still hope?

Still, there are some interesting statements. From the constructive selective quote department:

It believes speed is put down as a primary cause when factors such as ... police pursuits and other criminal activity are major contributing factors.

In reality, the statement is just badly formulated:

It believes speed is put down as a primary cause when factors such as alcohol, drugs, unregistered vehicles, unlicensed drivers, police pursuits and other criminal activity are major contributing factors.

“It” is the National Motorists Association Australia, if the title on the home page is to be believed. It's not clear how unlicensed vehicles and drivers can contribute directly to road deaths; I suspect this is just inaccurate quotation. The NMAA clearly has considerable objections to the current situation. It also seems to be another site with variable links, so this link may die.

Perhaps comparing apples with oranges, the RTA argues that the British road system (which is similar to ours) is safer. It says the German road toll is 50 per cent higher overall than in Britain, where all motorways have mandatory speed limits.

It's interesting that this is in contradiction to the information that the Australian Government published and which I quoted back in January. I've updated the table to add the statistics for the UK:

      Australia       France       Germany       UK       Victoria
Deaths per 100,000 people       7.7       7.7       6.2       5.4       6.6
Deaths per 10,000 vehicles       1.1       1.3       0.9       1.0       0.9
Deaths per 100 million km       0.8       0.8       0.7       0.6       0.6

The way I read the differences between the UK and Germany, British vehicles drive further and are driven by a smaller percentage of the population. The deaths per 100,000 people is clearly the least dependent on road behaviour than the others, and the differences are inconclusive: the UK has more deaths per unit vehicle (so the UK drivers have fewer cars), and they have fewer deaths per unit distance. But there's no way this can be in agreement with the RTA's claim that the German “road toll” is 50% higher. The RTA is a State Government agency, so they must be aware of it. Without seeing any proof, I'd claim that this is another unfounded claim.

There's also a poll on the topic—not very detailed, and clearly opinions rather than arguments, but it's still interesting to see the (current) results: 61% of respondents thought that higher speed limits would lower the “road toll”, 31% thought “only if the roads were up to it”, which sounds like a more cautious (and sensible) answer in favour. Only 5% said “No, Australian drivers aren't skilled enough”, and only 3% toe the official line “No, speed always increases fatalities”.


Saturday, 31 October 2009 Dereel Images for 31 October 2009
Top of page
previous day

Topic: technology Link here

My 404 document for the web site sends me mail when an internal link fails, so that I can fix it as quickly as possible. I'm continually amazed by the number of false positives. Direcway has a crawler which seems to ignore HTML syntax:

Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 14:46:31 +1100 (EST)
Subject: FAILURE: /grog/Image%20Sick-clematis-2.jpeg <- http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary.php

Referrer:       http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary.php
Referenced URL: http://www.lemis.com/grog/Image%20Sick-clematis-2.jpeg
Remote host:    host72171001450.direcway.com

The thing is, there is no such link on that page, and I'd most certainly never create a page with a space in its name. It's part of the Javascript in the page:

          <script type="text/javascript">
             <!--
             exif_info [85] = ["Image Sick-clematis-1.jpeg",
                              "<tr><td>Author:..."];
             // -->
          </script>

I've put in all the incantations to keep the XHTML spec happy, and the W3 validator seems happy, so I must assume that this is a bug with direcway (who, it seems, now call themselves HughesNet).


Topic: general, gardening, photography Link here

Another really hot day today—the overnight low was about 18°, and it rose to 34° for much of the afternoon. Once again it kept me from doing much in the garden, and I spent most of the day in the office scanning negatives. It's amazing how much better the photos got when I bought the Pentax SV.


Topic: cooking, general Link here

Chris along for dinner in the evening. Jana is vegetarian, so I had another excuse to cook Indian food.


Top of page Previous month Greg's home page Today's diary entry Next month Greg's photos Copyright information

Valid XHTML 1.0!

$Id: diary-oct2009.php,v 1.55 2014/02/28 03:26:33 grog Exp $