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October 2017
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Sunday, 1 October 2017 Dereel Images for 1 October 2017
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Summer Time!
Topic: general, photography, opinion Link here

We moved to Daylight saving time this morning, which still involves setting multiple clocks. More and more are setting themselves automatically, though, including now two of my cameras, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I and II. They set the time from a mobile telephone if you can manage to connect to them with this horrible OI.Share application.

Or do they? After fighting my way through the inevitable manual configuration (remove all other networks, connect to camera) and returning to “Remote Control”, nothing happened. It seems that you have to at least wait another 10 seconds until the phone takes over complete control of the camera.

And then the time was out by 30 seconds! Not surprisingly, the phone was too. A bit of searching revealed that there's yet another setting, Date and time/Automatic date and time. So I set that, but nothing changed. A clock display app showed that the phone remained out by 30 seconds.

GPS time? Out of the house to let the phone sync with the world, but it didn't, even after 10 minutes. Reboot. Hang. I think this one is “normal”, so I powered down and up again and tried to sync. It still took in the order of 10 minutes. Can this have something to do with the change to daylight saving time? It doesn't do that normally, and it didn't repeat it later.

Isn't it easy to have the time set automatically?


More multimedia download insights
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

I'm still trying to find out how to download videos from SRF. MediathekView can download some of them, but only some of them. Yesterday I had tried to view one that doesn't show up in the MediathekView list, but had been told that, due to content restrictions, it was only accessible between 22:00 and 6:00, implicitly CET. That's OK here, especially since we moved to DST: it corresponds to 7:00 to 15:00 here. And then I was told it was only accessible in Switzerland.

It did that with some other programmes too, including stuff that was included as “free” in MediathekView. OK, can MediathekView download it? Yes, no trouble. So what's the issue?

Searching the web came up with this script, which claims to be able to download videos from SRF. It's not complicated, and it refers to a program rtmpdump. What's that? How about that, it's a port, and it's installed:

NAME
       rtmpdump - RTMP streaming media client

That's another one to investigate.


Shame on Trump!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Yes, we've come to realize that Donald Trump is a disaster for his country and, to a lesser extent, for the rest of the world. But he continues to astound. You'd think he had a motto “When in a hole, keep digging. Make it the biggest hole ever. Really!”.

I've already commented on his lack of support for Puerto Rico. But when the mayor of San Juan pleaded for help, what did he do?

...want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job. ...Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They.... The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.

Even by his standards, that's disgusting. When are they going to rid their country of him?


New wildflower
Topic: gardening Link here

A couple of days ago I saw some flowers blooming in the property two blocks up Stones Road. Today I came with a telephoto lens, though I didn't need to: I found another one on the side of the road:


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What is it? On the face of it, it looks exotic. Spent some time looking through the list of local wildflowers, but didn't find anything. But then Margaret Swan contacted me: it's a Freesia refracta, and apparently the “alba” variant, to judge by the offerings from Diggers Club. The normal ones are yellow:


Monday, 2 October 2017 Dereel → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 2 October 2017
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New disks
Topic: general Link here

Notification slip in the letter box today: two parcel for me in Napoleons. One was the disks that I had ordered last week, so off to pick them up. And the other parcel—a mixer tap for the kitchen—wasn't there! It seems that the slips are printed in the sorting office in Wendouree, so it's possible that the thing might not have made it to delivery. I would have been particularly unhappy if I had made a 40 km journey just for that.


Misery Creek Road again
Topic: gardening, photography Link here

The main Colac-Ballarat Road through Enfield State Park is particularly colourful right now. I can't remember it ever being so colourful before during the last 10 years that we have lived here.


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They prove to be one of the plants I had identified earlier.


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It's really high time to find out what they're all called. And other plants are also more prominent, like this one at the end of Orchid Track:


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And this tiny one is, I think, new:


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The individual flowers are only a couple of millimetres across, and it's easy to miss altogether.


More multimedia download stuff
Topic: multimedia, technology Link here

Continued investigating how to get programmes from SRF today. There's this script, which complained about non-implemented functionality. It starts:

#!/bin/sh

Who uses /bin/sh any more? Linux people just link it to /bin/bash, so I guessed that it required bash functionality. Changing the first line to point to bash fixed it. Then I ran it, and got no output, neither on the screen nor on the disk. Time for some script reading. It seems that it's really just a wrapper for rtmpdump, which proves to be related to mplayer. The business end is:

video_url=$(curl -s "http://www.srf.ch/webservice/cvis/segment/$i/.json" | grep -E -o "rtmp:[^\"]+" | head -1 | sed "s/\\//g")

And a couple of additional lines told me the truth:

else
   echo No video URL found

It seems that the URL http://www.srf.ch/webservice/cvis/segment/$i/.json is an old, worn-out magic word. I haven't seen any response for any file. Do I care? Yes, I think so, but do I care enough?

The other discovery is that youtube-dl can also download a number of other sites. But it also had difficulty with SRF:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) /src/Series 55 -> youtube-dl 'http://www.srf.ch/play/tv/schweizer-film/video/der-koch?id=68e5b4b2-cee6-48e6-824e-b54b29feb545'
[SRGSSR] 68e5b4b2-cee6-48e6-824e-b54b29feb545: Downloading JSON metadata
ERROR: For legal reasons, this video is only available in Switzerland.
You might want to use a VPN or a proxy server (with --proxy) to workaround.

OK, free proxies are available. But they don't all do quite what I'm looking for:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) /src/Series 59 -> youtube-dl --proxy https://gateway.j-host.ch/ 'http://www.srf.ch/play/tv/tatort/video/goldbach?id=3d1ed3ae-3d41-40ce-be6f-f87d11bbde60'
[SRGSSR] 3d1ed3ae-3d41-40ce-be6f-f87d11bbde60: Downloading JSON metadata
ERROR: Unable to download JSON metadata: '' (caused by BadStatusLine("''",)); please report this issue on https://yt-dl.org/bug . Make sure you are using the latest version; type  youtube-dl -U  to update. Be sure to call youtube-dl with the --verbose flag and include its complete output.

That's enough pain for one day.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017 Dereel Images for 3 October 2017
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Upgrading lagoon
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I now have a new system disk for lagoon, Yvonne's computer. Time to upgrade the system, which also involves moving it to a smaller, quieter box, my old ThinkCentre that was once called despair.

First problem: despair does not have a DVI output. Will I even be able to start X on it in native resolution? But that's in the future. For the time being, how do I migrate? Downloaded the latest FreeBSD installation disk and started it. Things have changed at some point, and I was rather surprised to see the install DVD want to fsck itself. Chose my standard disk layout: two alternative root file systems, 40 GB each, 20 GB of swap, and the rest of the 2 TB 1.8 TB as /home.

How do you boot from the second root partition? I made the choice easy by not using the first one at all; the prepared copy of eureso, my up-to-date virtual machine, will go there. So I installed and rebooted:


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Not completely unexpected, though not very clever: although it installed the root file system on /dev/ad0p4, it's looking for it on on /dev/ad0p1 (or, to use its inimitable terminology, 0:ad(0p1); when will people harmonize these names?). OK, that's simple: tell it to boot from 0:ad(0p4):


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No simple error message for us! Just a crash. But at least I have a name now: gptboot. Reading the man page was sobering: it seems that there's no way to tell it how to boot if you have a problem like mine. It goes through attributes in the GPT partitions: bootme and bootonce, and also sets bootfailed when appropriate, and to set the first two you need a running system. Somehow that seems wrong, and I'm still wondering whether I can be bothered to fix it.

Also discovered that I had chosen the wrong system. I have two boxes that look almost identical. In December 2015 it was a Core 2 Q9550, with a CPUMark of 3641 at the time (now 3997). But now I discover that it's a Core 2 Duo E6550 with a CPUMark of only 1499, much less than half the speed. I must have swapped it with stable. That'll need changing. Unfortunately, it doesn't make any difference to the lack of a DVI connector.


More wildflowers
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

The weather is gradually becoming more friendly, and perhaps not coincidentally the Marriotts from next door are back from their tours round Australia. Because of the weather we took the dogs for a slightly longer walk, up the top of Stones Road to Westons Road, noting in the process various flowers:


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I thought it might be the same as some I have seen on Misery Creek Road, but I can't locate them. I really must get round to identify all these flowers.

Then there are these ones, of which Yvonne has already successfully taken cuttings:


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And this creeper caught her eye:


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So she's trying some cuttings of it as well.


Tagine? Or Cous-cous?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We've made tagines relatively frequently lately, not only because we have the hardware. One result is that we have a whole lot of cous-cous (semolina) which needs to be eaten. So: cook cous-cous (dish) for a change.

What's the difference between a tagine and cous-cous anyway? They're both slow-cooked dishes of meat and vegetables. I had asked Mohammed Ifadir in Marrakesh, and he told me the obvious: tagine is cooked in a sealed pot, and cous-cous is steamed. In addition, there are things that you put in cous-cous that you don't put in tagine, like pumpkin and cabbage.

Somehow the difference doesn't seem that important. Another one, clear to both of us, is that cous-cous (dish) is served with cous-cous (semolina). Since we don't have the steamer (or maybe we do, but not the experience to use it), I decided to make a tagine and serve with cous-cous (semolina).

And which tagine? At Yvonne's request, lamb with apricots and almonds. But also according to her request, with much more vegetables. Here's what I ended up with:

quantity       ingredient       step
6 g       cumminseed       1
5 g       black pepper       1
8 g       cinnamon       1
5 g       ras-el-hanout       1
16 g       ginger       2
20 g       garlic       2
1 kg       lamb, cut into large chunks       3
      water to make a paste       4
300 g       onion       5
60 g       oil       5
150 g       turnip       6
200 g       parsnip       6
500 g       courgettes       6
400 g       potatoes       6
400 g       sweet potato       6
300 g       carrots       6
30 g       salt       7
200 g       dried apricots       8
      almonds, peeled       9

The big difference here is the quantity of vegetables: nearly 2 kg, compared to 1 kg in my recipe. Because of that (and the cous-cous) I left out the chick peas. I also left out the parsley, because we didn't have any, and I doubled the quantities of spices and put in 30 g of salt instead of 20. I also omitted the saffron: I haven't been able to taste it on previous occasions. The dish is enough for several days, so I only made a few almonds; I'll do more before further servings.

The result? Not bad, and the cous-cous suited the dish. But for my liking, there were too many vegetables. On the other hand, the double quantity of spices is good, and despite the increase in salt, it wasn't enough. That's partially due to the additional vegetables, of course, but I'll cautiously increase it in the base recipe, this time from 20 g to 25 g, and spread it over the top layer and let the condensation work it into the juice.


Wednesday, 4 October 2017 Dereel Images for 4 October 2017
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Upgrading lagoon
Topic: technology Link here

Yvonne was shipping in town today, a good time to upgrade lagoon, her computer. It went surprisingly well:

After that completes, reboot in single user mode and edit some files:

The big question: does X work? No. It came up in 1024×768 mode. I've seen this so many times before that I can't be bothered to try. What I need is a sensible graphics card. In the meantime I put the disk in the old machine, which meant that I had to copy the /etc/X11/xorg.conf as well. But then it Just Worked.

Left it there for Yvonne to discover, and sure enough, she (almost) didn't notice any difference. For some reason the firefox fonts are different, and her mutt mailbox was open read-only. The latter proved (bizarrely) to be related to the lack of the file /usr/local/lib/.muttrc, why, I don't know.

No good reason. As I discovered the following day, it didn't fix the problem.

But on the whole a relatively straightforward update. Gradually I can address the more complicated issue of upgrading eureka. In the meantime, time to start a HOWTO page on what to look at for lagoon.

In passing, it's interesting to note that you can copy a root file system with tar, as above, but you can't then just remove it with rm -rf: a number of the files have the schg flag set, and a couple have other flags set too. So it's good to know that you can reset all of them with:

find . | xargs schg 0


Latest compromise attempt
Topic: technology Link here

Lately I've been getting a lot of mail messages like this:

 524 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /backup.sql.bz2 <- http://lemis.com
 526 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /backup.sql.bz2 <- http://lemis.com
 560 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /dump.sql.tgz <- http://lemis.com
 580 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /dbdump.sql.gz <- http://lemis.com
 601 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /dump.tgz <- http://lemis.com
 654 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /db.tar <- http://lemis.com
 673 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /dump.gz <- http://lemis.com
 702 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /db.sql.zip <- http://lemis.com
 724 N + 03-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /sql.zip <- http://lemis.com
 740 N + 04-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /dump.zip <- http://lemis.com
 758 N + 04-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /1.sql <- http://lemis.com
 847 N + 04-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /site.sql <- http://lemis.com
 848 N + 04-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /site.sql <- http://lemis.com
 909 N + 04-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /mysql.sql <- http://lemis.com
 949 N + 04-10-2017 World Wide Web Owner To grog@lemis.c (   6) N + FAILURE: /dbdump.sql <- http://lemis.com

They're from my web server showing failed web lookups (/dump.tgz <- http://lemis.com says that there was a link to /dump.tgz from http://lemis.com), and I send them to help maintain document integrity. But all of these are fake links to presumed database backups. Do people really keep their database backups where they can be accessed remotely? In any case, I was going to block the sites until I discovered that there were a whole lot of them. I wonder how many people will get bitten.


Where's my tap?
Topic: general Link here

Yvonne stopped in at the post office to pick up the tap that should have been there on Monday. It still hadn't made it. Damn—not because it's late, but because making a complaint to Australia Post is such a pain. Went through the motions of entering a complaint. Tracking number, please. OK, can do that. Name of sender? Post code of sender? My name? My post code? When was the item sent?

Idiots! That's all in the tracking information, along with the fact that it was in Wendouree over 2 days ago. Spent another 5 minutes looking for a phone number and asking their stupid search functions. Finally found one (13 7678, which they obfuscate as 13 POST), along with one “From overseas”, hidden behind dots: +61-3-8847-9045. That's the one I want, since it's free. Called up, spoke to Josh, to whom I had to explain the situation twice. He put me on hold (“Sorry, I need to write an email”) and came back about 10 minutes later with the information that he had started a process and that I would receive an email. I didn't:

Oct  4 06:37:44 www postfix/smtpd[42847]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[116.240.201.166]: 450 4.7.1 Client host rejected: cannot find your hostname, [116.240.201.166]; from=<noreply@messaging.auspost.com.au> to=<groggyhimself@lemis.com> proto=ESMTP helo=<mail2.prod1.whispir.com>

What a company!

As I discovered the following day, this was attempted spam. Australia Post didn't try to send me an mail.

Injured kangaroo
Topic: animals Link here

Down to the house forest today with the dogs, armed with a macro lens to take photos of what wildflowers I might find. As usual, Yvonne went first to be sure that there were no kangaroos, but one remained anyway. It appeared to have been injured and unable to jump the fence. It tried to jump, but fell over sideways.

What to do? If we left him there, he would die. Time for wildlife rescue.

This wasn't the first such occurrence—in fact, it was the fourth. I thought I had kept the number when Vince came around to save another kangaroo three years ago, but I couldn't find it. Found one on the web, and they took forever to attend to my call. Finally I was able to give the details, and an hour later I got a call back—from Vince. He was out in another 45 minutes, and we went down the back. This time he was alone, and the light was better. As expected, the kangaroo had not moved far, and he was able to approach it relatively easily:


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He was able to pick it up without wrapping it in the cloth he had brought with him, and again back into the car:


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Once again I was surprised by how quiet the animal kept. We spent a bit of time outside, and the kangaroo just lay there:


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Vince couldn't detect any external injury, but he thinks that it might have some internal problems. It's an Eastern Grey, male, about 2 years old, and underweight, which might be related to his other problems. He thinks it might have some chances of survival, though typically only about 25% make it. The rest at least have a more humane death.

One thing to remember: Vince's phone number, 0418 501 508. He's from the Wala animal sanctuary, where Karen is also available under 0409 137 323. They no longer have a web site, though the cards still mention http://www.wala-animal-sanctuary.com.au/.


Thursday, 5 October 2017 Dereel Images for 5 October 2017
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More lagoon problems
Topic: technology Link here

It turned out that yesterday's “fix” to Yvonne's read-only mailbox issue didn't work. Her index page looks different, and the % sign indicating read-only status was in a different position. Back to my diary to find out what I did last time. On 13 June 2010 the issue was a missing rpc.lockd process. But that wasn't the case today. On another occasion I rebooted, and that worked round the problem. That sounds so Microsoft. So I went looking.

Permissions? Yes, that seems reasonable, but they were all correct. Make a local copy? Worked. So an NFS problem. ktrace showed the mailbox being opened twice, each time O_RDONLY. Why twice? And there was no obvious reason why O_RDONLY. The second time round it was after a program start of mutt_dotlock. Did that fail? I had started ktrace with the -i flag, but I didn't get a trace: it's setgid. And when I try as root, the operation succeeds.

OK, while I hunt down the problem, let Yvonne access the mailbox directly on eureka. Surprise, surprise! That also fails. That appears to exclude a number of potential culprits, including (obviously) NFS, but also apparently the new installation of lagoon. But it happened exactly then. I'm baffled.


How do you like AusPost service?
Topic: general, technology Link here

Automatic phone call from Australia Post today to ask me how I liked yesterday's interaction with their customer service team. Answered appropriately, and was offered the option to be connected with customer service for a follow-up. OK, since they asked, selected the option and was connected to Orrin.

Asked him to forward a problem report to the IT people that their server 116.240.201.166 didn't have reverse lookup. OK, noted, will inform people. A little too fast (“let's get rid of this crank”). Asked him to repeat the number, and of course he couldn't. Asked to be connected to a supervisor, and he went through the motions, came back and started asking questions about my item. Sorry, this is a DNS issue. More questions. Sorry, this is a DNS issue. Sorry, I'm just responsible for parcel tracking. Understood, please connect me to somebody who can handle the problem.

Finally he connected me to his supervisor (Emily, I think), who sounded more interested. Orrin had told her that I was complaining about spam. Set her right, and after some investigation discovered that this was the second problem. The first was that Josh hadn't sent me an email at all yesterday: he didn't have an email address, but “hadn't noticed” when he sent the email. So the message really is spam.

Low marks to the front line “consultants” at AusPost. At least I was able to establish that the delivery driver had found the item in his car, and that it should have been in Napoleon (yes, Emily wasn't prepared to get that misspelling fixed) today.


IP tunneling
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

ZDF seems to have a different algorithm from other German broadcasters for determining whether I'm in Germany or not, and for some reason they have decided that I am not. Presumably this is based on analysing different IP addresses.

OK, my Class C is routed internationally, though it stops somewhere in North Carolina. I can easily route it on to here, but various considerations make it a bad idea in general. What I really need is the way to tunnel a specific IP address from there to here.

OK, that's what an IP-IP tunnel is, right? I've used one of them before, and have exact instructions.

Problem: I need IP addresses at each end. I can't use existing ones without disrupting normal connectivity. In particular, my National Broadband Network connection only has one address, and my connection on the external server has a /30 netmask (4 addresses). One is the base address, one is the router, one is broadcast, and one is the SunOS memorial broadcast address. Nothing I could really use.

What are the alternatives? SSH tunnels are one, but they only handle a single port at each end. Is that enough? Probably not.


Friday, 6 October 2017 Dereel Images for 6 October 2017
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Yet another wildflower
Topic: gardening Link here

I'm lagging way behind in identifying the flowers growing round here, most of them presumably wildflowers, but I keep finding more. Here's another one that I don't recall:


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Grampians wildflower show?
Topic: technology, gardening Link here

This weekend is the Grampians Wildflower Show, whose web site includes a prominent 404 (“Spring into the Grampians”) and few details. The heading EVENT DETAILS promises more information closer to the date, and there's no address for the main venue; you have to find that elsewhere (it's 117 Grampians Road, Halls Gap).

While I was there, I looked for a few other locations of interest in another link that I found, with nice pictures but again hazy on location. Boroka Lookout looks stunning, but a 90m walk each way? That's too long for us, and it wouldn't fit in the time plan. It wasn't until I looked at it again that I discovered that it was 5 minutes and 90 metres. That's a surprisingly long time for the distance (5 metre elevation change), but certainly within our time constraints.

And then a nice gesture: Google Maps asked me if it should send the route to my phone. Yes, for once that makes sense. Clicked yes, it asked which device, so I selected Samsung Phone (talipon.lemis.com, as if it knew that). Shortly later the phone whistled at me. For once, things Just Worked.

Fire up the phone, which was sleeping. Where's the route? In maps, obviously. Nope, just a restaurant recipe somewhere that it didn't want to divulge. Messages? Nope, nothing there. GMail? Unlikely, and nope.

By this time I was out of options. The last one: ask on IRC. Not much idea there either. Finally Peter Jeremy came up with a helpful suggestion:

<grO0gle> All gmaps says is "try "Work"".
<grO0gle> So maybe the issue is that I'm retired.
<peter> grO0gle: I think you should unretire and get a job at Google so you can whinge at them directly.

Finally he came up with the suggestion that I look at “Notifications”. Where's that? Checked all the funny icons, but couldn't find it. Ah, no, Notifications are a different, more complicated interface. Following Peter's instructions, start at the root window (or whatever it's called in Android):


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Swipe down, and you should see Notifications:


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Further down? Yes!


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Nothing useful there. Lots more swiping:


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Where does all this crap come from? I didn't ask for it, and there's lots of it. It completely obfuscated the map notification, which was there, but disappeared as soon as I selected it.

OK, this works. I wonder how many Android users learn to use their device just based on the documentation (of which I have received none). And now I need to work out how to get rid of these gratuitous news feeds.


Saturday, 7 October 2017 Dereel → Halls Gap → Pomonal → Dereel Images for 7 October 2017
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eBay: No item, no refund, no explanation
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

As if I didn't have enough to do over the weekend, eBay decided about the “seller” who took my money and didn't deliver. They decided that that was correct, and that I should not get a refund:

 
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A final decision! With the option to appeal. That sounds right for eBay. But what nonsense! How can they refuse to admit a refund? And why don't they attempt to justify their decision? Of course I appealed. But why this nonsense in the first place?


GPS: How to ruin an outing
Topic: gardening, general, technology, opinion Link here

Off to Halls Gap today for the annual Grampians Wildflower Show, as mentioned yesterday. I had spent some time planning the route: unlike in other countries, small back roads are usually faster than the main highways. They're more direct, usually in acceptable condition, and the main Western Highway is usually congested. In the days before GPS I worked out a number of ways from Skipton to Ararat, and the navigator took me somewhere round there.

So yesterday I stored the route in my GPS navigator—not an easy business, since navigators go by addresses, not generally landmarks. So I had had to manually type in the coordinates, which it didn't like much either: not reachable by road. So in the end I was left with likely-sounding destinations like Mount Zero and Mount Difficult.

As described, I also stored the route from Google Maps in my telephone, and to be really sure I also charged up my old ALDI tablet as a backup.

Things didn't quite work out. When I came into the office this morning, both phone and tablet were dead, though both had been connected to the charger: the tablet has a bad charger connection, and I hadn't managed to keep it connected. The phone, it seems, had discharged because the GPS receiver was on; sometimes, but not always, it uses more power than the charger can provide.

Off on the route that the (dedicated) GPS navigator had chosen for us. All went well until past Skipton, but then it took us down an unmade road. Not what I had asked for. Checked my settings, and sure enough, unmade roads were not allowed. Where were we, anyway? The overview is terrible—after all, this is only a 7" display, and even the map view is impossibly vague. Worse, the bloody thing won't even show a compass direction! Still, the road didn't look too bad, so we took it anyway—only about 2 km.

But then we hit another stretch, much worse—there was a big pit in the middle of the road, which I managed to avoid, not without some cursing from Yvonne. What to do? I didn't have the foggiest idea where I was, nor even the direction I was travelling in. I really should have taken a real map with me, though that has the disadvantage that I can't easily transform the geographical coordinates to places on the map. So we continued—until we hit an impassable object:


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How deep was the ford? Only one way to find out:


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That's too deep for our car, especially since if we got stuck, it could be hours before we somebody could get us out again. So off back again, this time asking the navigator for “fast” rather than “short”. It took us over more unpaved roads, a bridge over the river, and then back almost exactly to the other side of the ford.

Finally we were in sight of the Grampians:


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On through Pomonal, where the most interesting plant was decidedly exotic:


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In Halls Gap, we were faced with the same issue that we had seven years ago: no signage. The bloke in the shop pointed us to the clearly marked information centre further down the road:


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But that wasn't the right place. It has some interesting stuff in there, including documentation of various walks, for sale for $2 each:


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It wasn't until later that I discovered that this single photo had captured all the sheets in perfectly legible quality:


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Apart from that, a rather incongruous statue of an Indian woman advertising the local http://www.spiritofpunjabrestaurant.com/ (a URL that took me ten attempts to type in correctly, http://www.lemis.com/grog/clearly not intended for entry on a smart phone):


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The real exhibition was in a slightly better marked (“Now On”) building:


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First, though, I had to find a toilet. Conveniently, there was a sign at the top of the post on the right of the photo above, pointing across the road. Over to take a look:


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No further signs, of course—that would be cheating. Back to ask and was told (indirectly) that it was the building on the right with the ramps:


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That's a useful heuristic in recovering from inadequate documentation. Clearly toilets need entrances for handicapped people.

Back at the exhibition, for $2 a head we got entry to a display of some interesting plants, including food eaten by the local Aboriginals (and, to be politically correct, non-existent Torres Strait Islanders). There were also suggested guided walks through the Botanic Gardens (who apparently don't have a web site) and some walks further afield.

Bought a couple of books on local plants—they're not that different from Enfield State Park at home—and off on our predetermined path. But we didn't find anything. The first stop was supposed to be Boroka Lookout, but it took us just past Silverband Falls car park and told us to drive into a gully. Time to look at the documentation I had printed out. Damn! I had left them at home!

OK, I still had the route that I had sent to my phone yesterday. Turn on the phone. Route gone! The phone had powered down, so clearly the route was no longer needed. Maybe there's a way to conjure it back, but I don't know the incantation. It was still on my computer at home, but that doesn't help much. Still, we didn't want Silverband Falls, so on—and back to Halls Gap.

Somewhat frustrated, looked at the route in the navigator. All waypoints still present. Dammit, let's go home! Cleared my painstakingly entered route before it occurred to me that I could at least have saved it for later analysis. Yvonne had shown interest in Lake Fyans, of which there had been a description in the exhibition:


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On the way, found a turnoff to Heatherlie Quarry. That was one of the places I had planned to visit, and the description stored on my camera told us, in pre-map terms, how to get there:


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Not easy to read on a tiny display, but what I did read was that there had been a bushfire in 2014, and it hadn't completely recovered. In addition, since September had been so cool, things weren't really ready yet. So we went on. It wasn't until I could read the description properly that I discovered that it might well have been worthwhile.

On the way to Lake Fyans, found a large number of flowers on the wayside:


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Very pretty, but exotic: they're Gazanias, from Southern Africa. Presumably somebody liked them and planted them there.

At Lake Fyans, we saw a number of Dianella revoluta bushes:


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But that was about all. Took a look at the adjacent caravan park, but apart from a rather pretty entrance feature, there was nothing worth seeing, in particular no information on wildflowers.


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On the way back home, we passed through Pomonal again, and decided to stop in at their wildflower show, which was mainly sales-oriented:


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They did have some nice stuff there, and Yvonne couldn't resist two plants, a grafted Grevillea bronwenae and an Eremophila nivea.

I originally wrote:

and a plant without a label that they tell me is a Pultenaea nivea. I thought I had misheard the name, but there really is a species of that name. But it doesn't look anything like what I would expect of a Pultenaea.

Clearly that's understandable


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How were we to get back home? Presumably the navigator would choose the same way back. But no, it didn't. It took us to Ararat. From there I pretty well know the back roads, but it didn't go that way: it took me down the Western Highway (grr) for a couple of kilometres, and then down a road I don't know. At least no unmade roads? No such luck:


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This time it was much longer, but fortunately not as bad as Anderson's Lane, the road with the ford. But this is really useless. I bought a GPS navigator to have more control over where I go. Instead I end up with inaccurate map data causing not only discomfort, but real problems, and the lack of overview means that I can't even recover from them. I wonder if the Big Brands do any better. I certainly wouldn't rely on it.

What do we do next time? Plan routes with fallback to maps. Take the guided tours of the area. And what else? To be determined. Why is this all so difficult?


Saturday night dinner
Topic: food and drink, photography, opinion Link here

As a result of our journey, dinner tonight, with Chris Bahlo as usual, was less complicated: the rest of Tuesday's tagine. And, of course, the usual silly photos. Well, almost:


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You certainly can't complain that they were underexposed. In fact, that was after DxO Optics “Pro” did what it could to salvage the image. Before they looked like this:


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That's what I get for not checking my settings. For the indoor images in Halls Gap I had set the ISO to “automatic”, and so for these photos the camera chose 39°/6,400 ISO. Bad Groggy.


Sunday, 8 October 2017 Dereel Images for 8 October 2017
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eBay does it again!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Clearly it was a mistake on eBay's part to close my case yesterday without a refund. Maybe the first one was done by computer, but clearly an appeal should get the attention of a human. Maybe it did, but I was still astounded by their final (final) decision:

 
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Again no reason. How can they get away with this? Time to make some noise.

Every time (far too many of them) that I have trouble with eBay, I try to find some valid, honest reason. And in this case, it's quite possible that the reason is that they have a moron handling these cases. But it's time that the authorities took note and did something about it. I can see a long fight ahead. And maybe it's the thought of that fight that lets them get away with it. I wonder how many other people have this problem and just give up.


Processing GPS information
Topic: technology Link here

Yesterday's journey left me with no fewer than 8 GPS logs, none of them covering the entire journey. I left the phone (talipon) charging until we got to Halls Gap, and the car navigator (the other seven) stopped logging every time I stopped the car, so I had some gaps.

In any case, I didn't know how to process the logs. There must be a converter...

After a bit of searching, found GPSBabel (“convert, upload, download data from GPS and Map programs”). Just what I need, and there's a FreeBSD port for it, so I installed it.

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/4) ~ 24 -> man gpsbabel
No manual entry for gpsbabel

Clearly a modern program. To be fair, it has a 200 page PDF documentation, but that's almost too much. It also has a --help flag, which produces only marginally less verbose output:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/4) ~ 26 -> gpsbabel  --help | wc -l
     832

It seems that GPSBabel can't recognize input file formats, so you have to tell it. That's OK, since you need to tell it the output format anyway. So you enter something like this:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/4) /src/GPS/Tracklogs 38 -> gpsbabel -i igo8 -o gpx track033.trk track033.gpx
IGO8: Unexpected end of file (EOF)!

And it doesn't create any output. What caused that? The -i igo8 looks like the only choice for input file format. Is it wrong anyway? Or is this because the log wasn't closed properly? Is there a way to identify what kind of file it is? If so, I didn't find it.

Looking further, I found this page, which describes my navigator, which can apparently write GPX logs to an external micro SD card. Where did I put that card? They're far too small, and I'm sure I've lost numerous cards. The only one I have now is in talipon, and who knows what havoc I would wreak if I took it out. Called Chris Bahlo, got her voice mail, and asked for the loan of a micro SD card.

By the time Yvonne returned with an SD card from Chris, I no longer needed it: GPSVisualizer, a site I have used before, allows you to upload (m)any formats and convert them to GPX, with no more pain than the usual problem of specifying file names to firefox. And it also displays them on a map, and allows you to download the resultant image. Much slower than doing it locally—if it works—but not that big a deal.

In the process, firefox asked me what do to with the file. Open with marble? Or save it? Save it, of course. “Do this without asking” box? Greyed out. I'll never understand firefox. But what's marble?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/12) ~/Documentation/GPS 56 -> pkg which /usr/local/bin/marble
/usr/local/bin/marble was installed by package marble-4.14.3

It must be a dependency. Searching tells me:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/12) ~/Documentation/GPS 57 -> cat /usr/ports/astro/marble/pkg-descr
Marble is a Virtual Globe and World Atlas that you can use to learn
more about Earth: You can pan and zoom around and you can look up
places and roads.

WWW: https://marble.kde.org/

Certainly worth looking at—some other time. At the moment I only have part of a map. How do I merge the things? It seems that GPS Track Editor can do that. But that, too, can wait. The files from the car GPS are in XML, and they don't overlap in time, so I should just be able to cat them together and remove header and trailer information. And yes, that worked fine. I was then able to upload the map to Wikiloc, another site I have used before. Here, too, I need to learn a number of details.


Grampians trip route analyzed
Topic: general Link here

So now I sort of have a map of the trip we did yesterday:


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It clearly shows both the route to Halls Gap (southern route) and the return further north. Our fun at the ford is also clear (bottom left of the box):


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On the face of it, the route is probably about as direct as you can get. The real problem is that the maps appear to be incorrect, and to claim that they are surfaced when they are not. This is particularly obvious on the way back: the unpaved stretch was rather more than 20 km, fortunately not too bad.

Round Halls Gap itself, a couple of things are obvious:


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Firstly, the route is nothing like I put into the navigator. From Halls Gap we were supposed to go to Heatherlie Quarry, way up to the north. Here's the Google Map which I copied into the phone:

The map above only shows the bottom section of that map, down to Silverband Falls.

Secondly, the return from Silverband Falls to Halls Gap is shown as a straight line. That's presumably because the navigator wasn't logging at the time. When I find a way to merge two different logs, I should be able to fix that.

There are so many other things I want to do. Wouldn't it be nice to run the cursor over a route and have images and times pop up? Or just to add images at various points. I'm pretty sure that Wikiloc doesn't do that. I can add images, but they don't get incorporated into the map, and it doesn't display the location information associated with them.


Monday, 9 October 2017 Dereel Images for 9 October 2017
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Bloody eBay, day 3
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

OK, it's been nearly a month since I ordered a disk on eBay, and I still have neither item nor refund. And eBay, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that “A refund won't be issued for this case”. I've already complained vociferously about this decision.

But that's just eBay. I still have a case against Craig Weber (eBay seller klearview_au). Call up Consumer Affairs Victoria, and while waiting in the inevitable hold pattern, was referred to the web site. For once, that might make sense, and so I took a look. “Buying from a private seller online” fits the bill. And in my case, they recommended that I contact the police:

If consumers used an instant cash transfer system (such as Western Union or MoneyGram) or deposited money directly into the seller's bank account, it can be very difficult to track the money once the seller has collected it. In this case, consumers should contact the police.

They added:

Although we cannot resolve disputes arising from consumer-to-consumer sales, we can provide you with further advice. View our Contact us page.

OK, call the police? The first issue is to establish if the transfer had been completed. Fortunately Craig also has an account with ANZ bank, so it was an inner-bank transfer. Called up ANZ on the well-hidden number +61-33-9683- 9999, and spoke to Jen, who first got necessary details of my account and then established that the transfer was made via “Internet” banking, another department. Connect to Aaron, who went through the same thing all over again, then said that he couldn't confirm whether the money had arrived, due to privacy concerns. Somehow that is a breach of the other obligation to trace my payments. On the other hand, he was able to make a request for refund, which wouldn't have made any sense if the transfer hadn't completed. He also repeated the advice of CAV to contact the police: the request is just that, a request, and requires the agreement of the other party. And the whole thing smells of fraud.

What do I do? Back to the eBay page. And there I saw:

 
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I suppose you can buy Schrödinger's cat on eBay too. But what an insult! Yes, Craig Weber opened an uppaid item case against me, and didn't close it. But they believed him!

Deep breath, got eBay to call me (“valued customer”). Spoke to Rayne, who was not only able to remove the unpaid item case (“because it's the first time”), but also explained the actions:

Left him with some suggestions, which appeared to genuinely interest him:

But eBay has been around for 20 years, and they're still such a mess. What's the hope that this incident will change anything? Surely there must be a way to increase public awareness of their policies. That should get their interest: it could limit their sales.

Sent Craig Weber a mail telling him that I expected the refund in my account by Thursday morning, and that I would not go to the police before then.


Playing with Marble
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

One of the GPS-related software components that I wanted to look at was marble, and did so today. It's a KDE application, which means that if I don't have a KDE environment, I don't get any help. Still, this stuff is straightforward, right? No, it's KDE. Climbing directory trees is bad enough with firefox, but KDE goes one step further by renaming the directories: Home isn't /home, it's (in my case) /home/grog/. How I hate software that tries to hide the system from you!

Tried it out anyway. There's an “Open” tab, which I used to painstakingly walk my way to my GPS logs. Found my log file, tried loading. Nothing. No action, no error message. Time to look for documentation after all. Found a handbook, but it's only HTML, in many small pages. Just working my way through was a pain. The manual itself could be quite good, and if it's available in single HTML or PDF form, it might be quite useful. But as it is, it doesn't help much.

Finally it dawned on me: KDE is not Unix! So when I give it a file name, it doesn't look at the file, it looks at the name, in this case car.gpslog, throws up its hands in horror, but is too polite to complain. All I needed was:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) ~/Photos/20171007/orig 61 -> ln car.gpslog idiots.gpx

Then I was able to load the log file idiots.gpx with no trouble.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017 Dereel → Ballarat → Misery Creek → Dereel Images for 10 October 2017
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Breakfast: Mi udang
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Another spice paste based breakfast this morning, based on Teans (a company with a null web site) Mi Udang paste, made by Suntraco food industries:


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The instructions stated that I should add a total of 1.5 litres of water for 6 big helpings. A lot hinges on “big”. This is what I got from one portion:


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The question is whether to reduce the number of servings to 3 or 4, or to add more water. It was certainly pedas enough.


More physiotherapy
Topic: health, general Link here

Into town today, in principle to have my neck massaged, but it's probably good enough as it is. On the other hand, my left arm has a pain round the area where I used to receive vaccinations, and it felt almost like that kind of pain. Heather did various tests and found a matching point of discomfort round my shoulder blades—referred pain, or something that I need to look up. Looks like I need to pay (more) attention to my posture, something that she was reluctant to mention.

On the way home, my quarterly haircut.


Misery Creek Road again
Topic: gardening, photography Link here

The weather today was warm, and has been for a couple of days. In Misery Creek Road things have changed: the orange bushes are gradually fading, but the Grevillea bedggoodiana are coming out, and the greenish flowers are tending towards red:


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There are also a couple of orchids:


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It's amazing how difficult they are to see in that photo (one at the top, one at the bottom). They're almost certainly Caladenia major:


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Another plant looks almost familiar:


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This appears to be a Pimelea species, though different from the ones growing on our property (of which, for some reason, I don't have a good photo):


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Looking through my diary, it seems that I found a number of these flowers last year, without identifying them.


New kitchen mixer tap
Topic: general Link here

Replacing our kitchen mixer tap hasn't been easy. The first attempt, over two years ago, failed because the hole in the sink was 1 mm too small. Then I took the easy way out and did nothing until a few weeks ago, when I found a plumber and discovered that, due to poor storage, the metallic coating had tarnished. Considering that the mixer costs less than the installation, it made sense to buy a new one.

That should have arrived last week, but Australia Post lost it (the postie carried it around in his van for a few days), so I didn't get round to picking it up until today. And what did we find?


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That join isn't intended to come apart. It was glued together, but the join broke. Yet another return!


Debugging mutt
Topic: technology, health, opinion Link here

Why did Yvonne's mutt stop working after I upgraded her system? I discovered that it was due to mutt_dotlock failing, and that unlike on previous occasions, it was not due to NFS. But it worked for me, and it didn't work for Yvonne. Why not?

Finally found time to have another look. Things weren't made any easier by the fact that mutt_dotlock runs setgid, so ktrace doesn't trace it. How about the good old debugger? How do you create a version of the program with symbols? A couple of months ago I found how to do it for FreeBSD software, but mutt is a port. In the end, I just copied the compiler invocation and added a -g to the compile and link options.

Ran gdb mutt_dotlock and... no output, because it's setgid. All that work for nothing.

Next, put messages in the source. They showed, surprisingly, that the only check done is whether mutt_dotlock can write to the mail directory. And it couldn't. Why not?

Back to look at the directory permissions:

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/0) /usr/ports/mail/mutt/work/mutt-1.9.1 102 -> ls -ld /var/mail /eureka/home/var/mail
drwxrwxr-x  2 root  wheel   512 10 Oct 11:24 /eureka/home/var/mail
drwxrwxr-x  2 root  mail    512  9 Oct 18:40 /var/mail

Isn't that obvious? And yes, of course, a chgrp mail did the trick. Why didn't I see that before? I can think of two reasons: firstly, I was expecting the problem to be on lagoon, since I had just upgraded it, and there was no reason to change the group ownership of /eureka/home/var/mail—in fact, I still have no idea how that happened. And secondly, I'm sure that I looked at it, but didn't notice. I'm beginning to wondering whether the real problem is that my eyes are not what they once were.

And why did it work for me? I'm a member of group wheel, so the change didn't cause any problems.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017 Dereel Images for 11 October 2017
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Another new lens
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

In April I replaced my M.Zuiko 12-40 mm f/2.8 “Pro” lens with something longer. The choices were the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60 mm f/2.8-4 and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4 IS PRO. I chose the Vario-Elmarit.

Why? There were a number of reasons:

After getting it, I found a couple of issues that tempered my joy:

Then Kev Russell offered a (barely) used lens on Facebook. The price was right, and I reconsidered. Yup, let's take it.

This is getting a little ridiculous, though. When it arrives, I will have no less than 7 lenses that cover the focal length range 14-35 mm (full frame equivalent 28-70 mm): the Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60 mm f/2.8-4, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4 IS PRO, the Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 II R, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 EZ and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150 mm f4.0-5.6. Yes, I should get rid of some of them, but I'm in no hurry, and the Zuiko Digital 12-60 has been on the market for months, so that's a secondary thought.

But that was (mainly) yesterday, and just today I looked in the usual place. And DxO now supports the lens, though they've taken the opportunity to forget its name. Here how it reports the Olympus and the Vario-Elmarit:

 
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lagoon: problems gradually arrive
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Last week's upgrade to lagoon went remarkably smoothly. The only issue was with mutt, which really had nothing to do with the upgrade. But today Yvonne wanted to send an important mail message, They wanted her to print out a file, fill it out by hand, scan it in, and send it by email.

She came to me and said “don't bother about the email I sent you. Chris will print it for me”. Huh? Why do we need Chris to print files for us? Went to show her how to download a PDF file and print it out.

=== yvonne@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) ~/Downloads 51 -> lpr MEA-Application-Form.pdf
lpr: Error - scheduler not responding.

Huh? What's wrong there? lpd is running. Restarted. No change. Finally it dawned on me: it's this horrible CUPS, which installs a file /usr/local/bin/lpr, masking the system /bin/lpr. I can't get rid of CUPS, because some ports depend on it. Is there maybe an official way to get rid of this file? I found an obvious inofficial way:

=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/0) /etc 191 -> rm /usr/local/bin/lpr
=== root@lagoon (/dev/pts/0) /etc 192 ->

And then I was finally able to print the document.

Next, fill out the form, scan it in and attach it to a mail message. Yvonne copied herself for some reason (a copy gets put in her outbox automatically). In this case, though, the reason was (indirectly) good. Her copy didn't arrive.

Looking at the mail queue, she had about 25 messages that weren't being delivered, like the one she was looking at:

5E92B27302E  2695585 Wed Oct 11 18:52:06  yv0nn3@lemis.com
                                                    (address resolver failure)
                                         yv0nn3@lagoon.lemis.com
                                         mail@militaryequitation.com
                                         tiane@narrawin.com

Then it occurred to me: I hadn't transferred any of the configuration files. No time to do it then, so I bounced the message from eureka. But it's amazing how many basic functions can get overlooked for up to a week after an upgrade.


Rain!
Topic: general Link here

Yesterday was a nice, mild, windless day. I was planning another visit to Misery Creek Road today, but the weather changed completely. Winds of up to 40 km/h, and in the evening heavy rain—over 12 mm in an hour. What fun!


Thursday, 12 October 2017 Dereel Images for 12 October 2017
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Planting new plants
Topic: gardening Link here

Mick the gardener along this afternoon, mainly to weed—something that will keep him busy for a while—but he also planted our new plants. We had been planning to put them both in pots because of our poor soil, and also because it gets so wet in the winter—something that these plants, although grafted, would probably not stand.

But finding native soil is surprisingly difficult. Yesterday Yvonne had found small bags of native potting mix for high prices. What she brought home proved to be maybe enough for one pot. In the end, called up the vendor of the bushes, whose name I had conveniently photographed:


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And he told me that they were both equal to the worst soil we could point them at. The Grevillea has Grevillea robusta rootstock, and will even take phosphorus. So we planted the Grevillea bronwenae ended up at the corner of the verandah area, and the Eremophila nivea next to the Banksia:


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The Banksia is one of many plants that suffered during the recent heavy frost:


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But it looks like it's coming back quickly:


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Indoors, at least one of the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cutting that I propagated four months ago has definitely taken. Today its first (somewhat underwhelming) flower appeared:


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Still, it has come quite a way since June:


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That's the one at top left in this image.


Fixing lagoon mail
Topic: technology Link here

Got round to looking at the mail system on lagoon today. Put in the configuration files from the old system, restarted postfix, and found:

postfix: Postfix is running with backwards-compatible default settings
postfix: See http://www.postfix.org/COMPATIBILITY_README.html for details
postfix: To disable backwards compatibility use "postconf compatibility_level=2" and "postfix reload"
postfix/postfix-script: refreshing the Postfix mail system

Oct 12 09:36:29 lagoon postfix/qmgr[55707]: 3838B2730FD: from=<>, size=2687, nrcpt=1 (queue active)
Oct 12 09:36:59 lagoon postfix/smtp[55776]: connect to dereel.lemis.com[192.109.197.135]:25: Operation timed out

dereel.lemis.com? That's been out of commission for years, since I put everything into eureka. Where did that come from? It wasn't (not surprisingly) in the RCS files. When I checked out the latest version, all worked, though clearly I need to pay attention to the warnings.


Compressing web pages?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Discussing what a reasonable web page size is today on IRC. Jamie Fraser thought that 2 MB is too much. I wondered how big my diary pages are. Checked with last month's diary:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) /var/tmp 78 -> fetch http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-sep2017.php
diary-sep2017.php                                      738 kB  275  kBps 00m02s

Is that too big? That's even without the images. People suggested compression. Here a part of the discussion for my future reference:

<fwaggle> gr00gle: doesn't look like your webserver is gzipping your html would
 would probably slash that
<gr00gle> Do all web clients understand that?
<fwaggle> that don't you probably don't give a shit about
<Darius> would expect 99.999% of clients would request gzip'd data
<Darius> course your web server could gzip the uncompressed stuff on the fly
<fwaggle> aye, and those that don't, other than some braindead MSIE,
 shouldn't send the gzip accept-encoding header
<gr00gle> Yes, it would need to be compressed on the fly.
<gr00gle> Since it's generated on the fly.
<fwaggle> gr00gle: pretty sure there's a php flag to do it too
<Darius> fwaggle: yes
<fwaggle> though it's been a long time since i've dealt with php :/
<Darius> or apache has a module I think
<gr00gle> Any pointers would help.
<Andys> its enabled by default in newer versions.   mod_deflate
<gr00gle> Thanks.
<Andys> a2enmod deflate  ?
<fwaggle> yeah or mod_gzip in apache, which you can have it do on php scripts as well
<Darius>
https://www.warpconduit.net/2010/10/23/enabling-gzip-compression-of-php-css-and-js-files-without-mod_deflate/
<fwaggle> https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4709076/how-to-enable-gzip
<fwaggle> (second answer)
* gr00gle pushes on tuit queue.
<gr00gle> Thanks all.
* Darius wonders what will fall off the tuit queue

On the other hand, there's probably a lot to be said for packaging diary entries differently. My current method started over 17 years ago, where my diary entries were much smaller:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) /var/tmp 86 -> fetch http://www.lemis.com/grog/diary-sep2000.php
diary-sep2000.php                                      116 kB   62 kBps 00m02s

Compression is probably a good idea, but there are almost certainly other things I could do that would improve things, such as a sliding window into the diary.


Friday, 13 October 2017 Dereel Images for 13 October 2017
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Still more lagoon mail problems
Topic: technology Link here

Yvonne came to me today with a bounce message I had never seen before:

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.

                   The mail system

<yvonne@lagoon.lemis.com>: cannot update mailbox /var/mail/yvonne for user
    yvonne. file is a symbolic link

Well, yes, it's right. /var/mail/yvonne is a symlink. And so it has been for longer than I can remember, maybe 15 years. Is this some new thing in postfix? Digging found me this thread, also not new, in which Wietse Venema writes:

Unfortunately, symlinks to mailbox files are unsafe when the mail directory is writable by users other than root, regardless of who owns the symlink. You can thank the Linux, Solaris and IRIX people for that. This security check will not be removed from Postfix.

OK, I thought that it might have been something like that. But why did it happen now? I discovered that I could work around it by removing /var/mail and making it a symlink to /eureka/var/mail. But that doesn't explain the problem.

After some thought, it occurred to me that this might be a configuration problem. When does postfix on lagoon try to deliver locally? The only user is Yvonne, and she has developed a rather strange habit of copying mail to herself. I think that in the past lagoon must have forwarded all mail to eureka, which then stored it in the same mail folder. My recent configuration strangenesses must have meant that lagoon now tries to deliver mail to lemis.com locally.


IP-IP tunnel experiments
Topic: technology Link here

Somehow I still can't get my head around IP-IP tunnels. Last time I set one up, I only had one end to contend with. Now I have two, and NAT in between to boot. Made a clone of a virtual machine to play with, and followed these instructions. They didn't quite work for me, but I'm wondering if my translation of the IP addresses wasn't to blame. One of the more bizarre messages was:

Oct 13 17:41:37 stable-11 kernel: gre0: loop detected

I suspect that has to do with use of the same IP range on different interfaces. At least I'm gradually getting to understand things.


Saturday, 14 October 2017 Dereel Images for 14 October 2017
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eBay: refund after all?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

A series of email messages from Craig Weber in my mail today. Here some of the text:

A transfer has been processed.
And because we are not like you there will be a follow up transfer as you have not realised the duplication on your part, we did though.
It is usually a more effective way to get a good outcome by being nice as threats are hardly ever going to be well received.

And as you know, the police won???t do anything so we could very well have kept anything that was paid to us.
All we had to do was send an empty box and it would have been considered ???delivered???.
As mentioned, we are not like you.

Interesting. And yes, he's right. I did pay for the thing immediately on purchase, but somehow I oversaw the matter. And he complained about non-payment twice by email and raised a complaint with eBay—6 days after I had paid—and didn't close it. With that, of course, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. And his suggestion of sending an empty package is significant. I fear that he speaks from experience about the police.

Why the change of heart? Maybe he does have something to worry about. In any case, I haven't contacted the police, mainly because I wanted to present them with a complete document, so I'll wait until Monday and see if the money comes back.


Orchid hunt
Topic: photography, gardening, technology Link here

On Tuesday I found a new orchid in Misery Creek Road:


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It's a Caladenia major, and it's out of focus (only visible on enlarging the image). Today the weather was calm, just the conditions for focus stacking, so off to Misery Creek Road again to look for one.

On the way found one of these Pimeleas that I seem never to have photographed properly, probably a Pimelea humilis:


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Nearby was a Dianella revoluta:


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Also got a better-focused photo of a Grevillea bedggoodiana and nearby a flower I haven't identified yet—I suppose I shall have to wait for it to flower:


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But the Caladenia was nowhere to be found. Down Orchid Track to see what I could find there:


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The first is almost certainly a species of Chamaescilla, but I haven't been able to identify the second.

Margaret Swan tells me that this is Wurmbea dioica, also called Early Nancy.

Also this plant:


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But no orchids. On through Berringa and past the old Misery Creek Bridge, which has further declined:


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To the area where we found the Caladenia tentaculata (spider orchids) last November, but there were none to be seen today, just these two:


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I suppose I should take more time to look at them, but it's tiring, so I left it at that. It looks like the next few weeks will have a number of such excursions.


Dealing with technology
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

My trip to Misery Creek Road involved a fair amount of technology: camera, mount and GPS recorders. The mount worked well:


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I think that tripod is one of the best purchases I have made recently. But other things didn't work as well. The photos of the Chamaescilla came out so dark that I thought there was no recovery possible. DxO Optics “Pro” proved equal to the task, but why the bad exposure in the first place?


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Comparing to the next image that I took with the other camera, this one is underexposed by 3 EV. How did that happen? I was thinking that it was time to return the camera for service when I discovered that I had accidentally changed the meter mode to “Spot shadow”. That's far too easy in the field where you have the camera on a tripod. In general, the viewfinder issue still needs attention. This toy OI.Share really doesn't do it in sunshine.

Another reason that OI.Share is not much use is that the phone doesn't work well. This may be this specific phone, but today the GPS receiver didn't work at all—not until I rebooted it. And the thing sometimes gets almost too hot to touch when the GPS receiver is on, but only some of the time. At least I can use the car GPS.


Sunday, 15 October 2017 Dereel Images for 15 October 2017
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More Misery
Topic: photography, gardening Link here

I wasn't really happy with yesterday's photos, mainly because of the exposure, so I headed off again today before breakfast and had another try. After all, with travel it's only 30 to 45 minutes.

It took an hour, and I didn't really have much to show for it. Yes, I got a better exposed Pimelea humilis, but it had started to wilt:


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Also another plant that I still need to identify, but not well taken:


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Certainly part of it is the viewfinder issue. Apart from the position of the camera, it's difficult to look through the viewfinder with a rail protruding to the back. In fact, the automatic viewfinder switchover doesn't even work:


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What I really need is some kind of goggle that will display like the electronic viewfinder, but away from the camera.


Garden flowers in mid-spring
Topic: gardening Link here

It's the middle of spring alraeady, time for the monthly monthly flower photos. The evidence of recent severe frost is clear. The Strelitzia nicolai pups that we transplanted three months ago have suffered badly. Here then and now:


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The parent plant doesn't look much better:


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Other plants that I had expected to survive well were the Paulownia kawakamii and the Metrosideros excelsa, but no such luck, though the Paulownia has developed a new side branch:


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And one of the Hebes is also looking very unhappy, though that's probably due to near-drowning.


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On the other hand, the Box elder sapling is doing relatively well:


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There's really not very much of interest at the moment, though the Gazanias are looking happy enough:


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Then there's this flower that Yvonne planted in front of the house, and which I have yet to identify:


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I can only hope that things look better in a month's time.


Monday, 16 October 2017 Dereel Images for 16 October 2017
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Pump problems
Topic: general, animals Link here

Chris Bahlo is on a freebie in New Zealand, and Yvonne is looking after her horses for her:


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But there was an unexpected occurrence. “El Reverende” (“Rev”) managed to destroy (and hide) the tap in his pen:


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So I had to come over and rummage through Chris' collection of random bits and pieces to find a replacement:


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And how about that, I found one:


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That proved to be the easy part. Next, turn the bore pump back on.


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But nothing happened. What's the reason for that? We have a very similar pump at home, and there's not much to it: connect power, press lever, and it runs. But here we heard nothing. Does it need priming? Is there something special required by the solar electric system? Back home and finally contacted Chris. No, nothing special, but the thing is set up so that we can pump rainwater into the system as well. Just open the blue valve in the middle:


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So we did that, and it worked, in the process showing that the replacement tap didn't work. But why didn't the bore pump start? Took the cover off the switch and found the usual collection of spiders:


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And the second image clearly shows burnt contacts. Tried cleaning them up, turned on again and... blew the RCD. OK, before I do any damage to the system, time for Chris to decide. We can run off the rainwater pump until she gets back.


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