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October 2019
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Tuesday, 1 October 2019 Dereel Images for 1 October 2019
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Website migration still not complete
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Into the office again this morning to look at web server loads. Yes, gradually the new server was getting some load, up to a load average of 2 on occasion. And the old server was still round 20! What's causing that? Why can't Apache log the web server name?


No email!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

While waiting for the web traffic to settle, moved on to the question of mail. Moved the existing mail queue manually to eureka, and read:

Date: Sun, 29 Sep 2019 13:46:45 GMT
From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <MAILER-DAEMON>
Subject: Warning: could not send message for past 4 hours

   ----- Transcript of session follows -----
<grog@lemis.com>... Deferred: Operation timed out with mx1.lemis.com.
Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours
Will keep trying until message is 5 days old

And indeed, the message was still there, a couple of days later. mx1 is oldwww, and it's certainly not down. Tried

=== grog@w3 (/dev/pts/1) ~ 19 -> telnet oldwww smtp
Trying 208.86.226.86...
^C

No response! What's going on? No message in the mail log on oldwww. OK,

=== root@w3 (/dev/pts/2) /etc 105 -> tcpdump host mx1
23:54:38.997286 IP w3.lemis.com.34433 > 192.109.197.81.smtp: Flags [S], seq 1767958357, win 65535, options [mss 1460,nop,wscale 6,sackOK,TS val 157074713 ecr 0], length 0
23:54:41.997203 IP w3.lemis.com.34433 > 192.109.197.81.smtp: Flags [S], seq 1767958357, win 65535, options [mss 1460,nop,wscale 6,sackOK,TS val 157077713 ecr 0], length 0
23:54:45.200769 IP w3.lemis.com.34433 > 192.109.197.81.smtp: Flags [S], seq 1767958357, win 65535, options [mss 1460,nop,wscale 6,sackOK,TS val 157080916 ecr 0], length 0

No reply of any kind! At the other end, no evidence of any attempt to connect. A man-in-the-middle attack? Tried a few more things:

=== grog@w3 (/dev/pts/1) ~ 20 -> telnet mx1.freebsd.org smtp
Trying 96.47.72.80...
^C
=== grog@w3 (/dev/pts/1) ~ 21 -> host -t mx gmail.com
gmail.com mail is handled by 5 gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
...
=== grog@w3 (/dev/pts/1) ~ 22 -> telnet gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com smtp
Trying 74.125.195.27...
^C

It looks as if the vultures are swallowing my SMTP traffic. What about my other vulture, ffm.lemis.com?

=== grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 8 -> telnet gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com smtp
Trying 74.125.71.27...
^C

A bit of searching: yes, by default they block. I need to open a ticket and ask them to unblock. OK, off to the web site to discover that I have to specify which server. Two tickets where one would have done!

Quickly got a response telling me that the account team would look at it, and please don't send duplicate tickets. OK, tell me how. Please reassign the ticket to be against their web site limitations. New response: please don't submit duplicate tickets. Sigh.

Shortly later got a question: what services do you provide, how much email per day and per month, and what's the purpose of the mail? Clearly I answered to their satisfaction, and I got a response:

We have removed the default SMTP block on your account. Please re-start your instances via https://my.vultr.com, for the change to take effect (re-starting the server itself _will_not_work).

Aaargh! Reboot! This isn't Microsoft. ffm has been up for 604 days. I don't want to break that. And I don't want to interrupt web service. That really could have been done better. For the time being I'm considering alternatives. I've missed the end of the month deadline, so oldwww is with me until the end of the month. Maybe I'll be able to bear rebooting by then.

In passing, why do these error messages use the GMT time zone? It should be UTC.

Apart from that, there seem to be issues with the name server. My understanding is that my current config should serve requests from machines on the allow-transfer list, but oldwww didn't want to know anything about www. Not a primary concern at the moment, since I will be running a name server on www there too, and in the meantime I can use the Vulture name servers.


Bad markup
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's the beginning of the month, time to finalize last month's diary. Part of that involves passing the page through two different validators at validator.w3.org: this one for the HTML version and this for the RSS version. Most of the errors are in copied markup, but this one baffled me:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191001/big/Validation-fail-xml.png
Image title: Validation fail xml          Dimensions:          832 x 157, 16 kB
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What's wrong with that syntax? That was from the XML validator, but the HTML validator, though different, was no clearer:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191001/big/Validation-fail-w3.png
Image title: Validation fail w3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 617 x 154, 14 kB
Dimensions of original: 617 x 154, 14 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191001/big/Validation-fail-w3-2.png
Image title: Validation fail w3 2          Dimensions:          1041 x 150, 18 kB
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While scratching my head, looked at the source with Emacs:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191001/big/Validation-fail-emacs.png
Image title: Validation fail emacs          Dimensions:          900 x 112, 14 kB
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Finally! There was a ctrl-A character at the end of the line. That explains the obscure reference to non SGML character number 1. And once you know it, you can look at the first of the messages from the HTML validator (but not the second) and see an underscore character at the end of the line. And the XML message points at the r in port, probably because it doesn't understand tabs.


Leonid runs free
Topic: animals Link here

We've been letting Nikolai run free while walking for some time now, and things work well. But Yvonne didn't trust Leonid to do the same—until today. Shortly before returning home (this photo is almost at the gate), she let him free. At least here he behaved just as well:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191001/big/Leonid-walks-free-5.jpeg
Image title: Leonid walks free 5          Dimensions:          5184 x 3890, 2560 kB Display location on map
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Grocery shopping online
Topic: food and drink, technology, opinion Link here

Email from eBay today: do my grocery shopping online and get it delivered to my door.

That's one of the borderline areas I considered in my 2014 article The future of the Internet, and most recently here. How does it work? It seems that they're doing a deal with Coles, and that the delivery really is free, up to your kitchen bench. There's a URL, https://www.ebay.com.au/help/buying/grocery-shopping-ebay/grocery-shopping-ebay?id=4873, but I doubt that it's very durable. The most important thing is that it's only in selected metropolitan areas, the closest about 130 km away. They have my delivery address, so they could easily have established that I'm not a target customer.

But where does eBay come into the equation? You'd think that Coles would do it themselves. It seems that they do: here's another fragile URL offering what appear to be different terms and conditions, and, in my case, deciding that I live in Pagewood, NSW. But when I changed it to Dereel, they simply modified their store to the one in Sebastopol, which is the correct store. There's no mention of any geographical restriction on deliveries, but I need to spend at least $150, and it's only valid for this month.


Wednesday, 2 October 2019 Dereel Images for 2 October 2019
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Web site migration, day 4
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Into the office again this morning to see, from the old web site:

last pid: 12571;  load averages:  1.29,  1.25,  1.25   up 416+14:01:08 01:41:34
73 processes:  2 running, 71 sleeping
CPU: 50.0% user,  0.0% nice,  0.0% system,  0.0% interrupt, 50.0% idle
Mem: 67M Active, 69M Inact, 326M Wired, 7004K Cache, 58M Buf, 3444K Free
Swap: 1024M Total, 166M Used, 858M Free, 16% Inuse

  PID USERNAME    THR PRI NICE   SIZE    RES STATE   C   TIME    WCPU COMMAND
57141 root          1 103    0 95668K   524K CPU1    1 117.5H 100.00% perl

Now that's something different. This is a 2 processor system, so a load average of 1.3 is perfectly acceptable. But one of the processors was maxed out with a perl script, something that I hadn't noticed in the mess of httpd processes. What is it?

=== root@www (/dev/pts/0) ~ 76 -> ps aux | grep perl
root    57141 99.0  0.1  95668   524  -  R    16Sep19   7053:12.21 /usr/local/lib/webmin/webmincron/webmincron.pl (perl)
root      894  0.0  0.4  77220  1956  -  Ss   11Aug18     14:04.23 /usr/local/bin/perl /usr/local/lib/webmin/miniserv.pl /usr/local/etc/webmin/miniserv.conf

Webmin! That's something that Chris Bahlo uses (or used) to administer the site. Clearly something has gone wrong. But to think that that has been accounting for 50% of the CPU load for the last few weeks!

And then another piece in the puzzle:

Date: Wed,  2 Oct 2019 12:23:17 +0000 (UTC)
From: World Wide Web Owner <www@www.lemis.com>
Subject: FAILURE: /grog/Thisshouldbemoving-in-1.jpeg.Isitmissing <- http://mail.lemis.com/grog/diary-jul1997.php

Referrer:       http://mail.lemis.com/grog/diary-jul1997.php
Referenced URL: http://mail.lemis.com/grog/Thisshouldbemoving-in-1.jpeg.Isitmissing
Request URI:    /grog/Thisshouldbemoving-in-1.jpeg.Isitmissing

The “Thisshouldbe...” messages are an indication that the system didn't update the page quickly enough, a result of the system overload. But look at that URL: http://mail.lemis.com/grog/diary-jul1997.php. Where did they get that from? That explains why the old system is still serving web pages. High time to get all these spurious system names to redirect to the canonical name.

A while back I discussed on IRC whether the canonical name for my web site should be lemis.com or www.lemis.com. The consensus was that lemis.com is preferable. But that allows problems like this to occur. www.lemis.com it is.

Independently of this, it looks as if I should set up HTTPS, which seems to have become the only way to talk to web sites any more. Here the issue is a certificate. People have recommended Let's encrypt, which led me on to certbot.

Still to do:


Nikolai sick?
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Off to take the dogs for a walk, this time by myself. Today Nikolai came up as usual to have his chain put round his neck, but I didn't put it on: lately I've been leaving him off the lead from the time we leave the house, and it has worked well. But today he didn't want to leave the front of the house. Tried to get him to come, but he demonstratively turned around and wanted to go back into the house.

What's up? Is he sick? Took Leonid for a brief walk, then back to look at Nikolai. How do you tell if a dog is sick? There were no obvious symptoms. Cold, moist nose? Yes. But not as cold as Leonid's: 31° compared to 25°, as measured with a general-purpose infrared thermometer.

OK, should go by itself. But in the course of the day I discovered that he doesn't want to go out the front of the house any more; normally he wants to go there several times a day.

What's up? Sick? Did something out the front of the house scare him? After a bit of consideration, we're toying with the idea that he might feel rejected because he no longer gets a leash. Could it be that what we thought was good for him gave him a feeling of rejection? To be observed.

And the difference in nose temperature? Leonid had just come in from outside, while Nikolai had been inside all the time. That, too, we should observe.


Schinkengriller? Schinkenplatzer!
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

A couple of weeks ago we ate some ALDI „Schinkengriller“ sausages, cooked in an air fryer. The result could have been better. They all burst:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20190918/big/Schinkengriller-2.jpeg
Image title: Schinkengriller 2          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 2700 kB
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OK, as I noted at the time, they're intended to be grilled, not “air fried”, though I had my doubts that that was the problem. Indeed. In the grill they not only burst, but also charred:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191002/big/Schinkenplatzer-1.jpeg
Image title: Schinkenplatzer 1          Dimensions:          5286 x 3888, 2334 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191002/big/Schinkenplatzer-2.jpeg
Image title: Schinkenplatzer 2          Dimensions:          5286 x 3888, 2337 kB
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„Schinkengriller“ is a German construction meaning “Ham grillers”. But these are clearly bangers: „Schinkenplatzer“. A pity: they don't taste at all bad.


Thursday, 3 October 2019 Dereel Images for 3 October 2019
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Another power failure
Topic: general Link here

Another short power failure today at 11:34:54.


From Eagle's Nest to Big Oak
Topic: animals, gardening, opinion Link here

The weather was nice again today, so down Kleins Road with the dogs to walk in the area where we went 5 years ago, from the “Eagle's Nest” (corner of Swamp Road and Kleins Road) to the “Big Oak” (corner of Kleins Road and Swanson's Road). The Acacia paradoxa are in full bloom:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191003/big/Walking-dogs.jpeg
Image title: Walking dogs          Dimensions:          5186 x 3888, 7474 kB Display location on map
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Somehow it's not as pretty as I remember it. On the way found a number of orchids which I now know as Caladenia major:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191003/big/Caladenia-major-2.jpeg
Image title: Caladenia major 2          Dimensions:          5186 x 3888, 1738 kB Display location on map
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And of course I didn't have a macro lens again, which shows in the quality of the photos. I should go down there alone some time soon.

On the way back, marvelled at the changes in the Kleins Road property:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191003/big/Kleins-Road-1.jpeg
Image title: Kleins Road 1          Dimensions:          6427 x 3149, 7081 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191003/big/Kleins-Road-2.jpeg
Image title: Kleins Road 2          Dimensions:          5391 x 3888, 5565 kB Display location on map
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191003/big/Kleins-Road-3.jpeg
Image title: Kleins Road 3          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 4252 kB Display location on map
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In particular the Agave (or whatever it is) to the south of the house is now enormous:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191003/big/Kleins-Road-4.jpeg
Image title: Kleins Road 4          Dimensions:          899 x 502, 143 kB Display location on map
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Niko (on a leash) was his usual self, though he did have a little diarrhoea, so the cause of his issues yesterday are still not clear. But at least he's livelier.


Where have all the goldfish gone?
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

We've had goldfish in the garden for over 10 years now. When we moved here from Kleins Road we kept them in a tub for a while before putting them in the trough round the verandah, where they flourished.

Until about a month ago. After one particularly cold night Yvonne couldn't find any more, and thought that some bird (cormorant?) had eaten them. That sounded unlikely. I thought that they might have gone to the bottom of the water, where it's warmer, and later I found one swimming around.

But that was the only time, and it really seems that they're gone. As if to prove the point, the place now has lots of frogs, suggesting that there are no fish to eat the tadpoles.

But how could they disappear? It's really hard to believe that a bird could extricate them from their hiding places, and if they had just died we would see the remains. Some aquatic predator?


Daily migration problem
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Problems again today: my remote Squid proxy refused connections.

Why? Took a quick look. Not much activity, since it's just for me, but there was no evidence of any problems. Nor of any connection attempts, even when I tried again.

Bingo! It's running on oldwww, but the configuration in my browser points to www.lemis.com, now a different machine. Time to add a name squid.lemis.com.


Spring rolls, “air fryer”
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Had some spring rolls as an appetizer today, heated in the “air fryer”. The results weren't ideal:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191003/big/Spring-Rolls-2.jpeg
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The big ones also tasted greasy, which clearly has nothing to do with the cooking method.

The other issue with the “air fryer” is cleaning: the drawer is big, and it gets greasy. Deep frying seems less complicated.


Friday, 4 October 2019 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 4 October 2019
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Next migration issue
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne in today with a problem: she couldn't upload her photos to the web server.

Oh. I had forgotten that. She doesn't use the server for anything else, but she does have her photos there. And for that, the way I have it set up, she has her own account and ssh credentials. Or at least, she had. I had only set up accounts for Chris Bahlo and myself on the new machine. Not much work to set it up for her, but just another indication of how easy it is to forget little details.


Infrared thermometer pain
Topic: health, general Link here

Into town for a number of things today. First stopped off at UFS: the infrared ear thermometer that I bought (but didn't document) on 7 August 2019 seemed to work acceptably when I bought it, but now it shows pseudo-random temperatures between 34° and 35.5°, clearly incorrect.

Problem: I had mislaid the receipt. I had the credit card statement, but that was all. OK, ask them to show me what I'm doing wrong (which, in fact, wasn't beyond the bounds of possibility). Spoke to Keylin (if I remember the spelling correctly), who looked as if she had never seen a thing like that before. She certainly couldn't tell me how to use it (not even “stick it in your ear”, which used to be an insulting suggestion).

After a bit of discussion with a pharmacist who was too polite to approach me, she suggested calling the manufacturer. OK, why not? She was soon back: the whole company in on a training course today and Monday, and they won't be back until Tuesday. She, too, found that a little unusual.

OK, what's the alternative? The thermometer had cost $40, about as much as I was prepared to pay. The next cheapest one cost round $80, and I could go up to $180 if I wanted. No, not worth the trouble. Conventional in-mouth thermometers cost $7, and the number of times I use one (the last one died of a flat battery) doesn't make it worth spending any more money. Please refund.

That was easier than I thought. She didn't even ask for the receipt, just my membership card. All was stored in their computer, which, however, required massive paperwork on her part and two signatures from me before I got my refund.


ALDI again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

On to ALDI, where I returned a smoke oven that Yvonne had picked up last week. I had already tried what appears to be the same device nine years ago, but last week I couldn't remember why we returned it. Lack of cold-smoking, maybe? I have a solution for that. But no, the real issue is that it wasn't much good for hot-smoking either, because it didn't have a thermostat and the flame couldn't be regulated sufficiently.

While there, picked up some things that Yvonne had forgotten on Wednesday, and saw this marvel:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Nasi-goreng.jpeg
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Two portions of nasi goreng for $5! What's in there? Mainly rice (400 g, corresponding to 150 g of raw rice, about $0.15 worth), an egg ($0.50) and leftovers. Yes, there's packaging and stuff as well, but for that price they could equally well have made it a kilogram.

But wait, there's more!


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/German-Kransky-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/German-Kransky-2.jpeg
Image title: German Kransky 2          Dimensions:          3024 x 4108, 1869 kB Display location on map
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German Kransky (“made in Australia with at least 20% Australian ingredients”). I wonder how many Germans would associate „Kransky“ with a sausage.


Bunnings again
Topic: general, language, opinion Link here

On the way home, dropped in at Bunnings in Delacombe, apparently the biggest shop they have. Once again, it was almost empty, and the sole cashier explained this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Bunnings-checkout.jpeg
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That's supposed to be the do-it-yourself checkout, but it's closed: they need a person to supervise it, and it's just not worth the trouble with the amount of business they have. I wonder how things will pan out. Presumably people will learn about the place in the course of time.

The shop is laid out in a very similar way to the other Ballarat shop. Off to look at floor tiles for the verandah. Didn't find very much, but did find this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Tile-prices.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Tile-prices-detail.jpeg
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OK, $45.77, and the tiles are only 60 cm square. That's 0.36 m². But the small print states $42.36 per SQM. How does that work out? Must be bad language, like TILE FLOOR PRCLN PEAK CTN3. And how they get 1.08 SQM out of a tile 60 cm on a side is hard to understand. After a while, it dawned: CTN3 means “carton of three tiles”, and the price is for the carton, not the tile.

Wouldn't it be easier if they wrote these things in English?

And then there are “smart” plug-in sockets, a pair for about $27:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Smart-socket-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Smart-socket-2-detail.jpeg
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Arguably they're useful; at least they don't rely on a smart home controller. But they do rely on a smart phone. Why? Clearly they communicate by 802.11, so anything on the network should be able to communicate with it. Sigh.


Going home, with help from Google
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Finding my way out of the Bunnings car park wasn't easy. No signs apart from a couple of no-entry signs where I didn't need them, various barriers. In the end I decided that the only exit was to the south onto Webb Road, the way I went last time.

OK, I wanted to go south on Cherry Flat Road. But other things prevented that:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Accident-scene-1.jpeg
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What's going on there? The most obvious thing was the flashing lights from the police car:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Accident-scene-2-detail.jpeg
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They were blinding to the eye, almost completely obscuring the “Road Closed” message that they tried to convey.

OK, Google, how do I get home? Oh, that's an old, worn-out phrase. Now it's “Hey Google”. And as usual the interminable delay before this supercomputer in my pocket finally does something, showing me the way home (straight ahead at this point). Drove on, took another look, and got what looked like a scrambled screen:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Google-navigation-1.jpeg
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Messed around somehow and got a marginally better display:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Google-navigation-2.jpeg
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Had I moved? I don't recall. The GPS log says yes, by 5 metres, but the map claims 100 m. Still, what kind of display is that? I can't see anything there. More messing around and gone nothing useful, just spam from Google:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Google-navigation-3.jpeg
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I suppose I should check out the app, but I suspect it will just give me more cause for grumbling. Currently I download the screen shots to a real computer and edit them, if necessary, there. Anything that requires me to spend more time on a mobile phone has to be bad.

Keep trying:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Google-navigation-4.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Google-navigation-5.jpeg
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Huh? And all this, of course, with no verbal feedback from the device. Dammit, Google, take me home!

Still more messing around and I discovered that, for some reason, it had tried to send me by bus. Probably I prodded the phone in the wrong place; that's far too easy. Got to a T junction in Sebastopol, which I recognized, and somehow managed to get it to show me the map I had been looking for all along:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Google-navigation-10.jpeg
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What's that car symbol in the middle? That's my position! It didn't seem to be paying any attention to me.

Ah, I didn't say “Go!”. Finally I found the magic gesture and got:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191004/big/Google-navigation-11.jpeg
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OK, Google? It's Hey Google! And I certainly don't want you to play me any jazz. But after that it navigated relatively well with the exception of when it asked me to turn left into an embankment going through Enfield State Park. That reminds me of last year, where it told me to turn right when going along a road with no turnoffs. I think Google Maps must not like forests.


Saturday, 5 October 2019 Dereel Images for 5 October 2019
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More wildflowers
Topic: gardening, technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne in this afternoon to point me at a flower growing in the “sewage paddock” (the one with the soakage for the septic tank). She thought it might be an orchid:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191005/big/Mystery-flower-1-7.jpeg
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No, it's clearly not an orchid. But what is it? It reminds me of something, not necessarily indigenous. OK, time to look for programs that can identify flowers.

I didn't find any! Only “apps” for mobile phones! What a declaration of bankruptcy! What happened to our ideals of interoperability? And what a horrible thought to have to upload my photos to a phone to be able to identify them? Sure, it's convenient to be able to take a photo with a phone and identify it immediately, but a good program shouldn't be platform-dependent.

Later, while walking the dogs, found another flower:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191005/big/Mystery-flower-2-3-detail.jpeg
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I've seen this one too, but I can't recall what it is. High time for that program!


Leucadendron promises to flower
Topic: gardening Link here

Our Leucadendron salignum cultivar, the one that Lorraine Carranza gave us last Christmas, has been here for nearly a year, and so far it hasn't flowered. But finally it's promising:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191005/big/Leucadendron-1.jpeg
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And only now does it dawn on me that this is a Leucadendron, and not a Protea like the ones she has in her garden:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180720/big/Protea-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180720/big/Protea-1.jpeg
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We have another Leucadendron cordifolium, not far away. And it's not looking overly happy:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Leucadendron-2.jpeg
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But it, too, is coming up with new blossoms:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Leucadendron-4.jpeg
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I wonder if I should transplant it, possibly to a pot on the other side of the entrance.


The return of the goldfish
Topic: animals Link here

Looking around the verandah area today, discussing the loss of the goldfish. And then one showed up again, like the one I saw a couple of weeks ago. And another. And another. All in all I counted at least 5 of them, all relatively big.

What's going on? Are they just hiding? Or are they somehow sick or undernourished? Or maybe hiding from a predator that really tried to catch them? Tried feeding them with the flakes that Yvonne bought for them. One of the biggest ate some, but the others didn't pay much attention. In any case, time to clean out the trough and eliminate some of the plants that have grown in the water.


ALDI samosa maker
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last week Yvonne bought a samosa maker at ALDI:

https://mouthsofmums.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/27/samosa-maker-750x516.jpg

I've never made samosas before, and today I decided to try it out. I discovered multiple issues:

  1. Samosas are deep-fried, not baked.
  2. The instructions want you to heat the cooker (to a surprisingly accurate and uniform 180°, it eventuated) and then roll out the pastry onto the hot plate, fill them in situ and cover with another layer of pastry. I don't know how well that would work, but at the very least it would be wasteful of pastry. The results would look nothing like the illustration.
  3. The instructions also suggest oiling the surface of the cooker to prevent sticking. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun removing the samosas.

OK, first learn to make samosas the traditional way. We have forms that make pouches in samosa size, even if they're semi-circular. They don't waste pastry, and they don't sound so time-critical. I'll try that first, and if they taste good, I can go looking for something that makes triangular rather than semi-circular pastries.


Sunday, 6 October 2019 Dereel Images for 6 October 2019
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More wildflowers
Topic: gardening Link here

Waling the dogs today, saw another kind of wildflower:

It's not easy to recognize, just small (1.2 cm?) white flowers growing apparently from nothing. The interesting thing is that they don't have a constant number of petals:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Wildflowers-1-2-detail.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Wildflowers-1-7-detail.jpeg
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Comparing with earlier observations at the same location, it seems that they could be Drosera, possibly two different species.

The broom-like plants that I noted last week ago are now flowering more profusely:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Wildflowers-2-4.jpeg
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Still no idea what they are.


Garden flowers
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Back home things are looking good. We have the first cherry blossom:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Cherry-2.jpeg
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And also the first timid attempt at a Paulownia kawakamii flower since moving here:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Paulownia-kawakamii-6.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Paulownia-kawakamii-5.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191006/big/Paulownia-kawakamii-2.jpeg
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Removing TIFFs
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

For a few months now I have been converting my intermediate photos to TIFF rather than JPEG. And of course it's bloating the backups. Today I removed most of the intermediates. The difference is obvious. Here before and after:

before:
  Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity  Mounted on
  /dev/ada1p1      7,629,565 6,125,172 1,428,096    81%    /Photos
after:
  /dev/ada1p1      7,629,565 5,738,401 1,814,867    76%    /Photos

385 GB!


TIFF file sizes
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

While optimizing some images with Ashampoo photo optimizer, took a look at the sizes:

-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   86,571,008  6 Oct 15:08 Carpobrotus.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,087,978  6 Oct 14:45 Cherry-1.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,229,452  6 Oct 14:48 Cherry-2.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,259,462  6 Oct 14:47 Eucalyptus.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,228,318  6 Oct 10:22 Kitchen-accident-1.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,276,118  6 Oct 10:22 Kitchen-accident-2.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,997,899  6 Oct 14:08 Leucadendron-1.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel  121,625,698  6 Oct 14:08 Leucadendron-2.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,088,530  6 Oct 14:09 Leucadendron-3.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,088,608  6 Oct 14:09 Leucadendron-4.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,026,670  6 Oct 14:47 Oak-1.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,026,756  6 Oct 14:47 Oak-2.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,026,546  6 Oct 14:46 Paulownia-kawakamii-1.tiff
-rwxrw-r--  4 grog  wheel   96,026,686  6 Oct 14:46 Paulownia-kawakamii-2.tiff

There seem to be two basic sizes,round 96 MB and 121 MB. Why? This time the optimizer didn't change the size of the file significantly.


Ashampoo optimizer again
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne took a few photos this afternoon, about 430 of them. She zooms with the crop tool, so she was using dischord all afternoon, and I had to use eucla, the laptop. It doesn't have the latest and greatest Ashampoo optimizer, so I tried the old 2016 version that had broken on me last month. It didn't fail!

But when comparing the results, though they were marginally bigger, there was no obvious difference in appearance. Optimizer fail. Later I ran the same photos through “Photo Optimizer 7”, and it did improve them. What's going on here?


Monday, 7 October 2019 Dereel Images for 7 October 2019
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Bloody Resilium again!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Another email from Resilium again today. No, this time it was “Non Fleet Recoveries” (and not ”Fleet Recoveries” like the last time). It was signed by “Arpana”, of whom I am not sure whether she is the same person as Amol or not.

What did they want? $550. The offer is still open, but if I don't pay by 3 October they'll forward it to their mercantile agent.

What's wrong with this picture? No mention whatsoever of my reply of 27 September. Are they unable to read? Certainly they have given the impression of having far less intelligence than even typical insurance representatives, and the date 3 October adds to that impression. Maybe I should just pay the $550 to be rid of the pain.


Beware of Chris bearing gifts
Topic: technology, food and drink, opinion Link here

Chris Bahlo along today with a couple of items that she wanted to get rid of: an Apple MacBook Pro and a George Foreman “LEAN·MEAN CONTACT ROASTING MACHINE”. She had offered them to me a while back, so long ago that I had forgotten the details.

Deferred the “CONTACT ROASTING MACHINE” and looked at the laptop, which looks quite good. Problem: there's something wrong with the display, and from time to time it becomes more or less illegible. Repair will apparently exceed the value of the machine. For me that's not a significant disadvantage, since I'd want to access it over the net only.

Took it into the office and opened it. Well, tried to open it. Dammit, I can't get it open! Is this another silly Apple trick? Off to the web, where I found precious little help beyond the suggestion that some of them can be a little stiff. Insert big screwdriver. Nothing.

After a while, looked at it more carefully and discovered that I had been trying to open the wrong side. The other side opened quite easily. If there was a silly Apple trick, it was in putting the logo on upside down and putting all the connections on the sides, so that it wasn't clear which way was front and back. Andrew Perry told me that all logos are upside down nowadays, such as this ThinkPad T460, from this page:

https://tpenguinltg.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/t460-back.jpg

But I have a ThinkPad too. The one above is a T460, and mine is a T430:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191008/big/ThinkPad.jpeg
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Clearly people aren't as clear about orientation as they claim. And clearly having connections on the back makes it more difficult to make the mistake that I made.

OK, fire up. How about that! I had an account on the box, from who knows when? Logged in and was presented with the offer to do a system upgrade. OK, it proved the machine hadn't been used for nearly two years, so why not?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191007/big/Apple-pain-1.jpeg
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Aaargh! This bloody Apple ID! It's set to Chris' ID, of course. I had an ID, and maybe I still do, though I went through untold pain to get rid of the invasive thing earlier this year. Should I reinstate it?

First, how? The popup says “If you don't have an Apple ID, click Create Apple ID”. But where? It seems that it forgot to add that button!.

OK, Cancel. Ha ha, only joking, you can still download the new system. Only 5.3 GB. Left that running for some time, and addressed the issue of running the laptop when it's closed: normally that causes it to hibernate. In Microsoft there are buttons to set that, but Apple is too polite. Nothing in “Energy Saver”, nothing that I could find elsewhere.

Surely other people have run into this issue. Out on the web to search. How to use MacBook with lid closed, stop closed Mac sleeping sounded right. OK, no trouble if an external monitor is connected. Otherwise you can buy this app for only £0.99.

SCREAM! PAY for programs that make up for brokenness in the base system! What a horrible idea!

More looking and came up with Quick Tip: How to Stop Your Mac From Sleeping Using the Command Line. Use caffeinate(1), which does come with the base system. But what an appalling kludge! It stops the machine from sleeping by running a make process (and doesn't supply a Makefile, making it even more difficult. I'm appalled!

At 10 Mb/s, 5.3 GB take about an hour. In the meantime, tried something different. For no good reason, compared the ping times. At this point the system had called itself dhcp-238. Here a summary:

--- teevee.lemis.com ping statistics ---
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 0.142/0.311/0.374/0.069 ms
--- lagoon.lemis.com ping statistics ---
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 0.315/0.364/0.402/0.027 ms
--- dhcp-238.lemis.com ping statistics ---
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 0.632/0.788/0.926/0.012 ms

Why so slow? It's a 1 Gb/s interface, with only one switch between it and eureka, while the others had two.

en0: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
        options=10b<RXCSUM,TXCSUM,VLAN_HWTAGGING,AV>
        ether 3c:07:54:3f:73:75
        inet6 fe80::3e07:54ff:fe3f:7375%en0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x4
        inet 192.109.197.238 netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast 192.109.197.255
        nd6 options=1<PERFORMNUD>
        media: autoselect (1000baseT <full-duplex,flow-control,energy-efficient-ethernet>)
        status: active

Is the energy-efficient-ethernet to blame?

Finally the upgrade was done. Or was it? It came up with a conflict with Xcode, without a suggestion as to how to fix it.

OK, time for another screen shot. But why with a camera? Apple must have some way to take a screen shot. More checking. Went out to the web, where I discovered that the way to take a screen shot depends on the version of Mac OS. What version of Mac OS do I have currently running?

dhcp-238:~ grog$ uname -a
Darwin dhcp-238.lemis.com 13.4.0 Darwin Kernel Version 13.4.0: Mon Jan 11 18:17:34 PST 2016; root:xnu-2422.115.15~1/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64

That doesn't help much. How old is the kernel?

-rwxr-xr-x@   1 root  wheel  8394688 Jan 12  2016 mach_kernel

That doesn't look like a recent update. Was there something about a Sierra? Is that the same as High Sierra? How does that relate to other OS revisions? How do I find out?

Apple support notes, of course. On IRC, Jamie Fraser offered me this page, which goes into some detail. But you need macOS Mojave (is that the same thing as Mac OS?). They're too polite to tell you where to find information for other, presumably older and mouldier versions of their name-changing operating system.

Finally got something that suggested that Cmd-3 will take a shot of the entire screen. Entered Cmd-F3 and ended up with a completely different screen:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191007/big/Apple-pain-2.jpeg
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What went wrong there? Fool! You pressed Cmd-F3 instead of Cmd-3. Finally I found my way back, but the display was gone. Instead I was offered:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191007/big/Apple-pain-3.jpeg
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Sigh. Like Microsoft, it tries to pessimize your network traffic. OK, what the hell, I have enough bandwidth and time.


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The word “purchase” sounded ominous. Is this a polite way of circumlocuting “You need an Apple ID and $$$ to buy this upgrade”? OK, they offer Details:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191007/big/Apple-pain-6.jpeg
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OS X Mavericks? Is that the same as Mojave? Looking at the dates and the comment “This article has been archived and is no longer update by Apple”, I'd guess that this relates to a much older version, and that the link that took me there is broken. Bad Apple! Still, I don't see myself spending real money buying “Dark Mode” (presumably the horrible colours that my photo software offers, and which I've been grumbling about for I don't know how long), “new apps”, and most certainly not a new Mac App Store. Stacks? What's that? Do I want to know?

In the meantime I got a popup telling me to update Java:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191007/big/Apple-pain-7.jpeg
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But it seemed to hang. OK, go to “About this Mac” and generate a report. Screen scrambles, the problem that made Chris stop using it. What she didn't know, though, was that it wasn't just the screen: the system froze and was no longer accessible via the network.

That's enough pain for one day. Why did I do it in the first place? Clearly Apple and I are so far from each other that nothing can save the relationship.


More wildflowers?
Topic: gardening Link here

Today's wildflower:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191007/big/Wildflower-3.jpeg
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I've almost certainly seen this before, but I don't have time to search.


Garden flower bouquets
Topic: gardening, general Link here

This is the time of the year where we have plenty of flowers in the garden, and Yvonne makes bouquets out of them. Time to start an album:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191007/big/Garden-bouquet-1.jpeg
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The fronds at the left are Eremophila nivea.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019 Dereel Images for 8 October 2019
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Another grid power failure
Topic: general Link here

Another grid power failure this morning at 0:23:31, the shortest yet: only one second


More Apple fun
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday's fun with the MacBook should have been enough, but there were still some loose ends to tie up. What is this machine? Were any of the 5.3 GB of updates yesterday actually installed? After reboot, I found these displays:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191008/big/Apple-screen-1.jpeg
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What does the X in the circle mean? That the update failed? Or that this is Mac OS X? It seems that that “Mac OS X” is an old, worn-out magic word, and that it's now called macOS. But I've already seen that they're not very consistent. After all, you'd really think that they're practicing deliberate obfuscation by having no less than three names for their releases. If I can believe what it's telling me, I have Darwin 13.4.0, OS X 10.9.5 and macOS High Sierra. Do they relate? My kernel (if that's what /mach_kernel is) dates from January 2016, and I can't see any updates to /usr/bin (nor even find /sw/bin, which appears in my PATH variable, whatever that might be intended to mean).

Other details are scanty. 16 GB memory (good, more than any other machine I have except for eureka). What processor? Ah, we won't scare you with details like model number. It's a 2.5 MHz Intel Core i7. How many different kinds are there of that? According to the link, there are at least 12 of them, assuming you discount the 2.53 GHz processors (yes, that's a different value, but maybe Apple is too polite to distract me with more than 2 significant digits). How many cores? There could be 2 or 4.

And the OS release? This Apple support note tells me how to find out the macOS version number:

From the Apple menu  in the corner of your screen, choose About This Mac. You'll see the macOS name, such as macOS Mojave, followed by its version number. If some product or feature requires you to know the build number as well, click the version number to see it.

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191009/big/macOS.png
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But that's not what I see:


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What an unmitigated mess this stuff is!


More wildflowers
Topic: gardening Link here

More wildflowers while walking the dogs today. I'm sure I've seen this one:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191008/big/Wildflower-1-3.jpeg
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And this one seemed closed because of the cool weather.


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It was badly placed, thus the poor shot, but hopefully I'll see one again.

And then this shrub is directly in front of the house. Yvonne transplanted it from the other end of Stones Road. It's the only one of three that survived, and it looks better than any of the originals, which are normally even stragglier.


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Migrating narrawin.com
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Chris Bahlo has finally got round to updating her data on the new web server machine—with SFTP! I wonder how she keeps track of things. And of course it didn't work for her, because I was still running the zone on the old web server.

OK, no time like the present, even if it is just before dinner. Copy across the information and run apachectl graceful. Error! The pathnames were a kludge that I needed on the old server, /usr/home/chris/www.narrawin.com. We don't need to put /home under /usr any more, so /home/chris/www.narrawin.com it is. OK, apachectl accepted that. And then I had to wait for the DNS to propagate. Finally it happened, but I couldn't access the site. The error log contained:

[Tue Oct 08 07:24:54.084811 2019] [authz_core:error] [pid 89695] [client 167.179.139.35:61970] AH01630: client denied by server configuration: /home/chris/www.narrawin.com/
h3
[Tue Oct 08 07:24:54.433312 2019] [authz_core:error] [pid 89695] [client 167.179.139.35:61970] AH01630: client denied by server configuration: /home/chris/www.narrawin.com/favicon.ico

What does that mean? apachectl gave it a clean bill of health. Took a look at the configuration again

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName      www.narrawin.com
        ServerAlias     narrawin.com
        DocumentRoot    /home/chris/www.narrawin.com
        CustomLog       /var/log/www/narrawin.log combined
        ErrorLog        /var/log/www/narrawin-error.log
        HostnameLookups On
        AddType          application/x-httpd-php .php
</VirtualHost>

<Directory /home/chris/www.narrawin.co÷m>
        Options All MultiViews
        Require all granted
</Directory>

Nothing wrong there. Oh:

<Directory /home/chris/www.narrawin.co÷m>

Where did that ÷ character come from? It must have been related to the locale issues that I had with Emacs six weeks ago.

Why do I always do these things when I have limited time? But at least it seems to be working now.


Wednesday, 9 October 2019 Dereel Images for 9 October 2019
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Grevillea bronwenae recovers
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

We've had our Grevillea bronwenae for two years now. It looked OK in the first year, but in the second I was marginally concerned. But this year it has come back with a vengeance. Here two years ago, last year and today:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20171015/big/Grevillea-bronwenae.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20180915/big/Grevillea-bronwenae.jpeg
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Nikolai's worries
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

So was Nikolai's problem last week sickness or sadness? His bowel movements have long since normalized, so today I tried it again. Go walking without a chain or leash. No, he didn't want to know, wanted to go back inside, just like last week. Put him on the leash and he was happy.

Aren't dogs strange?


Still more wildflowers
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

While walking the dogs today, found this single flower:


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At the time I couldn't tell whether it was the same as the one that Yvonne had found last weekend:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191005/big/Mystery-flower-1-7.jpeg
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Clearly it's something else.


Resilium again
Topic: general, opinion Link here

My pains with Resilium or FleetRecoveries or NonFleetRecoveries aren't over yet. Yesterday I sent them a message in the assumption that their attention span doesn't extend beyond the first paragraph, and asking at the end of it for a confirmation of receipt. None was forthcoming.

OK, from now on I'll send them a message every day until I get a response. I wonder if I ever will. What an incompetent company!


Samosa?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've already established that the ALDI samosa maker appears to be suboptimal. But what's the best way to make them? Not surprisingly, I found a number of recipes both in my recipe books (one for “samoosa”) and on the web. All different. It seems that you can make them with vegetables or with meat, but vegetables seem more appropriate. Today spent a lot of time trying to find a recipe, and came up with this:

quantity       ingredient       step
5 g       ginger       1
36 g       onion       1
0.5 g       black mustard seed       2
2 g       coriander seed       2
1.5 g       cumminseed       2
1 g       fennel seed       2
2.25 g       garam masala       2
130 g       cooked potatoes       3
60 g       peas       3
1 g       curry leaves       4
5 g       coriander leaf       4
2.5 g       salt       4

Preparation

  1. Cut the onions and ginger finely, fry in a little oil until onions are glassy.
  2. Grind the spices and add to the onion mixture.
  3. Add potatoes and peas and crush with a potato masher.
  4. Add leaves and salt and mix well.
  5. Roll out shortcrust pastry and cut into circles. Fold together in a wonton press.
  6. Deep fry quickly at 180°, then complete at a later time at round 150°.

That was very much an experiment, but it worked surprisingly well:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191009/big/Samosas.jpeg
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I'll need to frob the quantities next time, but the interesting thing is that the relatively small amount of filling was enough for about double the quantity in the photo.


Another grid power failure
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Another grid power failure this evening at 18:44:25, again only one second. I wonder if this kind of failure would have registered before we installed solar electricity.


Thursday, 10 October 2019 Dereel Images for 10 October 2019
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No programme data!
Topic: multimedia, technology Link here

Into the office this morning, and as usual checked TV programme data from mediathekview.de. Nothing! The cron job had failed. OK, try it manually:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/33) ~ 61 -> /usr/bin/fetch -o /var/tmp/Filmliste-akt.xz http://verteiler1.mediathekview.de/Filmliste-akt.xz
fetch: http://verteiler1.mediathekview.de/Filmliste-akt.xz: Connection reset by peer

That was repeatable. What now? The host name was interesting: verteiler1.mediathekview.de. Is there a verteiler2? Yes. And it works!

Further investigation shows that there are a number of them, not all distinct:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/33) ~ 57 -> for i in `jot 10`; do host verteiler$i.mediathekview.de; done
verteiler1.mediathekview.de has address 5.1.76.111
verteiler1.mediathekview.de has IPv6 address 2a00:f820:417::4df6:1bf2
verteiler2.mediathekview.de has address 195.201.115.158
verteiler2.mediathekview.de has IPv6 address 2a01:4f8:1c0c:7baa::1
verteiler3.mediathekview.de has address 5.1.76.111
verteiler3.mediathekview.de has IPv6 address 2a00:f820:417::4df6:1bf2
verteiler4.mediathekview.de has address 88.99.80.17
verteiler4.mediathekview.de has IPv6 address 2a01:4f8:1c17:5753::1
verteiler5.mediathekview.de has address 5.1.76.111
verteiler5.mediathekview.de has IPv6 address 2a00:f820:417::4df6:1bf2
verteiler6.mediathekview.de has address 159.69.82.180
verteiler6.mediathekview.de has IPv6 address 2a01:4f8:1c1c:5642::1
Host verteiler7.mediathekview.de not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)
Host verteiler8.mediathekview.de not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)
Host verteiler9.mediathekview.de not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)
Host verteiler10.mediathekview.de not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)
=

Still more wildflowers
Topic: gardening Link here

Walking the dogs round the “big loop” (Rozenstein Road), came across a number of wildflowers, including some that I don't think I've seen before. Now is clearly the time for the Caladenia major:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Caladenia-major-2.jpeg
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I saw a number of them, and also the small blue flowers that we saw in Spearys Road on Tuesday:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Wildflower-3.jpeg
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And there are also some that I can't recall having seen before:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Wildflower-1-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Wildflower-1-5.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Wildflower-2-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Wildflower-4-1.jpeg
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There are many flowers that look like the first one, but they're not arranged as shown in the first photo.


Bloody lens caps!
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

One of Yvonne's big gripes about Real Cameras is the lens cap. I can't blame her. Somehow, after round 100 years, the industry still can't agree on how to make one. Today I took the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60 mm f/2.8 Macro with this lens cap, which I think originally came with the Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Lens-cap-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Lens-cap-2.jpeg
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And the bloody think kept falling off! Why can't they make a cap that's easy to take off and put on, and that just stays on? 50 years ago the lens caps were just push-on, and I can't recall ever having lost one.


Overfeeding Piccola
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Piccola into the house today with a treasure found in the garage. Yvonne was surprisingly upset, and I locked Piccola in the laundry. But she wasn't overly interested:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/Mouse.jpeg
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Are we feeding her too much?


How the other half live
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne has borrowed a number of USB sticks from Julie Lannen which she wanted copied. All Microsoft format, of course, one of which eureka didn't want to know about. It proved to be in NTFS format, not a good idea for interchangeability, and I had to read it in on dischord. What a pain this Microsoft is! And all these file names with spaces in them; three even had leading spaces.

What really interested me, though, is the attention people pay to these things. Each stick was different, and two of them were in a decorated case:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/USB-sticks-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/USB-sticks-3.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191010/big/USB-sticks-4.jpeg
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Somehow that seems to be too much attention to detail for something that is just utilitarian.


Friday, 11 October 2019 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 11 October 2019
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Medical and mechanical stuff
Topic: health, general Link here

Yvonne had an appointment for some kind of scan today, in principle nothing that would involve me. But yesterday she had had a couple of incidents where the starter of her car didn't engage, clearly something that we needed looked at. So off with her into town and left the car at what used to be Ballarat Automotive, but which is now under new ownership and called Sovereign City Service Centre.

To my surprise, Leigh (Franklin) was prepared to look at it right away, and called me to say yes, needs a new starter motor—probably not surprising for a 2007 model. And to my surprise, the motor only cost $250, and he could have it ready this afternoon.

That wouldn't work, since we'd be home by then, but Yvonne is going into town again tomorrow, and Leigh is more than happy to be at the workshop then to return it to her.


Food shopping
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

After dropping Yvonne at St John of God I went on to the East Asian food shops in Howitt St. Found some onion shoots, something I've never seen before:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191012/big/Onion-shoots.jpeg
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Then to the Pilipinos, where I almost never find anything. I certainly didn't find everything I was looking for, but they did have Californian Sambal “Oelek” and some Bolsts Indian chutneys. In particular I hadn't expected the latter.


Botanical Gardens again
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

After that dropped in to the Botanical Gardens, where nothing much seems to be happening. The Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens are now asking $8 for the plants on sale outside the Robert Clark Centre, a price that I can resist. Took a look inside the centre, which seems less active than in the past. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that there are no people in there any more:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191011/big/Robert-Clark-Centre-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191011/big/Robert-Clark-Centre-2.jpeg
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Haircut?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

After that on the the “new” (for me) barber that I had been intending to try out, the King's Crown. Surprisingly active place, old-fashioned appearance, 3 barbers cutting in semi-darkness. And a 25 minute wait! Looking at reviews on the web, this seems to be the short end of the wait. I might have tried it, but there was every chance that Yvonne would be finished before I even got into a barber's chair. Looking at their web site, I discover that they also cost twice as much as Kerry in Sebastopol.


More plants
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

So across the road (almost) to Formosa Gardens nursery, where I found a couple of Fuchsias for the hanging pots that we must finally hang in the entrance. Also bought a chili bush and a Thai basil bush, which I hope will grow better than the European basil we've tried in the past.

And then there was this plant:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191011/big/Eucalyptus-dolichorhyncha-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191011/big/Eucalyptus-dolichorhyncha-3.jpeg
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Eucalyptus dolichorhyncha, misspelt as Eucalyptus dolichorrhyncha, and not quite the Fuchsias that I had found, but possibly interesting. To be investigated.


Microsoft update pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I've recently grumbled about problems updating Apple software. In many ways it seems that Microsoft does it better.

But Microsoft is up to the challenge. I started an update yesterday—only a few hundred megabytes, something that I could download in 5 minutes—and today it was still hanging at 48% downloaded. Restart. From 48%? No, from the beginning, of course. I sometimes wonder what the issues are with their downloading process. Anyway, it worked this time.


Still more interesting flowers
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Fay, who lives on the north side of Grassy Gully Road about half way down, has planted some new daisies in her entrance:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191011/big/Daisies-1.jpeg
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Pretty, but that's all. Until Yvonne noticed the centre:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191011/big/Daisies-2.jpeg
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That's an interesting colour in the centre.


SuncorpFleet: done!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

It's been four days since I have asked Resilium or FleetRecoveries or NonFleetRecoveries to simply confirm that they had received my email. Did I get one today? No, not explicitly. But I did get another that might almost make up for it:

Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2019 03:46:51 +0000
From: Fleet Recoveries <FleetRecoveries@suncorp.com.au>
To: 'Greg 'groggy' Lehey' <groggyhimself@lemis.com>
Subject: RE: Letter of Demand | Claim Number: R005112442
Message-ID: <BA8C59D57C1F65429ACF4AA8F536774D527ECC58@PBNEMBMSX4107.int.Corp.sun>

We are willing to accept the payment of $300 to settle the matter.
I have attached the previously sent letter for demand for payment options.

That should really make up for things. I'm left wondering whether I should have offered less: clearly they don't have any evidence against me. But I had expected it to cost $300, and any less could have ended me up in litigation. I would almost certainly have won, but as I have already noted, it's worth $300 to have nothing more to do with these idiots.


Saturday, 12 October 2019 Dereel Images for 12 October 2019
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Redirecting web site names
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I've established that one of the reasons that I have so much web traffic is because I have multiple names that respond to HTTP requests, so crawlers load each page several times. Apart from www.lemis.com, there's also mail.lemis.com, people.lemis.com and lemis.com. How do I tell the client to redirect to www.lemis.com?

Out searching the web, and came up with myriad way to do similar things, including with mod_rewrite, like this page from the the Apache documentation. But further down it came up with the answer: a simple Redirect directive. Just what I was looking for, but why did it take me so long to find it?

So put that in the configuration, which also greatly simplified it:

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName      www.lemis.com
        ServerAdmin     grog@lemis.com
        ServerAlias     people.lemis.com lemis.com  mail.lemis.com
        Redirect        "/" "http://www.lemis.com/"
</VirtualHost>

Started up the web server and watched the redirects pour in:

60.221.240.99 - - [12/Oct/2019:01:48:03 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-dec2010.php?dirdate=20101214&imagesizes=111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111112111111111111121111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111112111111111111211111112 HTTP/1.1" 302 452
46.229.168.142 - - [12/Oct/2019:01:48:03 +0000] "GET /grog/photos/Onephoto.php?dirdate=20120609 HTTP/1.1" 302 246
60.10.250.179 - - [12/Oct/2019:01:48:03 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-mar2016.php?dirdate=20160327&imagesizes=111111111111111111111111111121111111111111111111111112111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111112111111111111111111111111112111111111111111112 HTTP/1.1" 302 419
61.166.41.223 - - [12/Oct/2019:01:48:04 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-jan2019.php?dirdate=20190107&imagesizes=1111111111111111111111111111111211111112111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111211111111111111111111111112 HTTP/1.1" 302 453

And did they pour in! I have top running on both old and web servers on my :0.0 display. Later I took a look and discovered:

last pid: 46278;  load averages: 80.51, 54.55, 40.13             up 46+22:15:22  03:59:56
286 processes: 52 running, 233 sleeping, 1 waiting
CPU: 91.3% user,  0.0% nice,  7.1% system,  1.5% interrupt,  0.0% idle
Mem: 543M Active, 1022M Inact, 37M Laundry, 431M Wired, 149M Buf, 48M Free
Swap:

Load average 80! I've never seen that before on the old server. In fact, there's an indication that it passed 100:

last pid: 79336;  load averages: 19.30, 16.94, 18.50821          up 47+16:28:00  22:12:34

Those 5 digits after the last average suggest that the text had once been stretched that far due to the length of the number.

Was that because of the redirects? Shut down the server on oldwww (the old machine) and watched the load average drop to under 3. Why so many?

The other thing was the 302 code. What does it mean?

302 Found (Previously "Moved temporarily")
Tells the client to look at (browse to) another URL.

In other words, go elsewhere this time only. Not what I wanted. More searching and found this page, which told me what the Apache documentation didn't: Redirect takes an optional first argument (shifting the others right). What I wanted was:

        Redirect        permanent "/" "http://www.lemis.com/"

Put that in after I didn't need responsiveness from the system. Hopefully things will calm down by tomorrow.


Can't sync photos
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After doing yesterday's photos, ran my normal file sync script. Things didn't go exactly according to plan:

rsync: mkdir "/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20191011" failed: No space left on device (28)
rsync error: error in file IO (code 11) at main.c(670) [Receiver=3.1.3]
rsync /home/grog/public_html/photos/dirlist www:/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/photos
rsync: write failed on "/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/photos/dirlist": No space left on device (28)
rsync error: error in file IO (code 11) at receiver.c(381) [receiver=3.1.3]
Sat 12 Oct 2019 13:50:00 AEDT

It took me a while to realize that the problem was at the remote end. That box has so much more storage than I need! Took a look and finally found my HTTP server error log. 42 GB! I should be rotating the logs, but there are issues with Apache log rotation that I haven't investigated yet. Still, what's in there? The ones at the end were particularly helpful:

[Sat Oct 12 01:47:46.802988 2019] [log_config:warn] [pid 42148] (28)No space left on device: [client 64.62.252.176:42598] AH00646: Error writing to /var/log/www/lemis.com.log
[Sat Oct 12 01:47:46.839821 2019] [log_config:warn] [pid 42048] (28)No space left on device: [client 1.31.97.14:37774] AH00646: Error writing to /var/log/www/lemis.com.log
[Sat Oct 12 01:47:47.235456 2019] [log_config:warn] [pid 42058] (28)No space left on device: [client 123.134.255.141:56777] AH00646: Error writing to /var/log/www/lemis.com.log

Apart from that, lots of warning messages that PHP was previously too polite to report, some from scripts that should no longer be used. Lots of people trying to access Yvonne's photos, which used to be on the server, but are now on DigitalOcean. OK, remove the empty directories (things like /yvonne/Photos/20180827/big/, and think later about how to bend the 404 document to point to the correct place. Remove the old script and link to its replacement. And start fixing the more obvious problems with my scripts. A lot were the unquoted use of $ in text input to a PHP function. And after a while the error log started growing less quickly than the access log. The rest can be done later (how many times have I said that?).


Chris Bahlo for dinner
Topic: food and drink, general Link here

Chris Bahlo for dinner this evening. She was a bit stringy; we should have marinated her. Once nothing worth mentioning: she used to come every Saturday. But times have changed. Spent much time talking about the strange situations many of our acquaintances have got themselves in to.


Sunday, 13 October 2019 Dereel → Steiglitz → Dereel Images for 13 October 2019
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Power failures: by the dozen
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Amazing information about my grid power today. Between 0:31:26 and 0:33:48 we had no less than 11 grid power failures.

Clearly they weren't long: the total period was 2 minutes, 22 seconds, and the longest outage was 27 seconds. On the other hand, this kind of bouncing is hard on electronics, probably the reason that the inverter waits a minute before reconnecting the grid.

But how do I count this? One 3 minute outage would be longer than the 11 I had. For the time being I'll count it as individual outages.

Could it be that these were brownouts? There have been significant voltage fluctuations, but not at that time:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191013/big/PV-stats.png
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Of course, that's only part of the truth. Clearly the grid voltage dropped below an acceptable value during that time, but there's nothing whatsoever to show it in the graph. What really happened?


Brisbane Ranges National Park again
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

It has been almost exactly 10 years since we visited the Brisbane Ranges, specifically to visit the Friends of Brisbane Ranges Wildflower Show. Unfortunately they seem to have stopped doing that, so this year we decided to go it on our own, specifically to the east end of Butchers Road, which runs between Steiglitz (pronounced Stieglitz) and Anakie. We had found the most flowers there 10 years ago, and we weren't disappointed today. Directly next to the car we found two difference species of orchids (at the extreme left and right):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191013/big/Orchids.jpeg
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The one on the left is a Caladenia major, and the other is a species of Diuris. Here the are again closer up:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191013/big/Caladenia-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191013/big/Diuris-3.jpeg
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But which Diruis? Diuris pardina? There are some similarities (of course), but also potential differences. Are these two even the same species? My guess is no.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191013/big/Diuris-3.jpeg
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And that's where the problems start. I saw lots of flowers, many clearly orchids, but I can't identify them exactly. Time for a book, I think.

It's tiring business. Yvonne gave up after a couple of photos and took other views, including these:


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For the time being I've given up trying to name most of the flowers; I'll try to identify them and come back here. Here are some that I consider to be orchids:


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The Caladenia major were everywhere, but some of the others really needed searching for.

I think that this first one (two photos) is a species of Grevillea; possibly the second one (last photo) is too:


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This one I know: it's Capeweed, a weed from the Cape Province that has nothing to do here.


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And these will require more investigation:


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On the way back, passed tracks marked “Wildflower Trak” and “Orchid Trak” on my GPS navigator, which seems to have a predilection for the spelling “Trak”. Stopped at the Wildflower Track, though Yvonne had had enough, and walked down a bit. Yes, wildflowers, but nothing that I hadn't seen at the other place. Met some women who told me that they had seen a spider orchid, and where it was, but all I saw there was one of the Grevilleas I had seen.


Meredith
Topic: general Link here

The way home went through Meredith, a not-so-small town on the road from Ballarat to Geelong. I've been through several times, but never stopped. The weather was good, so today seemed like the day to try it, especially as we discovered that you can buy ammunition and old drinks at the Post Office:


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This is the view from the main crossroads:


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And for some reason the railway station appealed to me, though I can't recall why:


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Maybe it was the angled panel under the verandah:

 
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I wonder if it's still in use. The railway line is, but I get the feeling that the station has been converted to a private dwelling.


Web site calming down
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

After the extremely high load averages of the last few days, www.lemis.com is now returning to what I hope will become normal, with typical load averages below 1, though from time to time it goes up to 20.

But barely has that problem gone away that I get another:

From: "support@vultr.com" <support@vultr.com>
To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Subject: Vultr.com: Bandwidth Warning

The following subscriptions have reached high bandwidth utilization levels:

Subscription:3243454 - 2048 MB Server - 66.42.97.229 (w3.lemis.com): 78% used
...
Please note: Your bandwidth usage cap will reset on the 1st of every month.

Oh. 78% only 13 days into the month? A result of the recent load issues? No, it seems that the bandwidth load has been relatively even. More head-scratching to do.


Monday, 14 October 2019 Dereel Images for 14 October 2019
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Finally, the hanging baskets
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

I don't know how long it has been since we decided to hang some baskets on the left in the house entrance, but it must have been round a year ago. Finally, with the advent of warmer weather (again!), got round to planting the Fuchsias that I bought last week:


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And finally I mounted the rod to hold them, and they're now in place:


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I think we can do with a third basket. More Fuchsias? Or maybe a fern?

Also documented the current state of the herb garden. The Thai basil has been there for a few days, the Epazote a little over a week:


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Both look as if they will grow well.


More orchids
Topic: gardening, photography, opinion Link here

Still more plants while walking the dogs:


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Surely that must be an orchid. But what kind? There are even more of them here than there were Caladenia major in Steiglitz yesterday.

And once again I had difficulty keeping the things still. There must be some clever way to keep flowers from shifting in the wind without damaging them or making the support evident in the photo.


Tuesday, 15 October 2019 Dereel Images for 15 October 2019
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Trump: Reward our allies!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

So, as everybody (except, possible, Donald Trump) had expected, the Turks have invaded northern Syria and attacked the Kurds, allies of the USA. And where is the USA? Its supreme leader is pretending it has nothing to do with him:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EGf7Uk4XUAAzK1x.jpg

With friends like this, who needs enemies? What a message to send to the rest of the world! This will really make negotiations with Iran and North Korea so much easier! As one commentator put it:

Faced with a crisis of its own making, a flailing superpower has turned to economic sanctions to pretend it is still relevant,

That wasn't just anybody. The Economist is one of the most influential news sources in the Western world. What they're basically saying is “Trump has destroyed the USA”. Make America Great Again? Hah! The article goes on to suggest that the real solution lies in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

Trump will go, but the damage will remain.


A new wide-aperture standard lens
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Four years ago I considered, and ultimately bought, a wide aperture standard lens for my Olympus OM-D E-M1. My choice was the Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4. It wasn't the widest aperture I could get, but all the ones with wider apertures didn't have autofocus. Since then the M.Zuiko 25 mm f/1.2 has appeared, and it has autofocus, but even at the time there were lenses with apertures as large as f/0.85—only all with manual focus.

I bought the Summilux before the Olympus lens came out, but I don't think I would have changed my decision. I don't use the lens that often, and the price and size differential is significant. On the other hand, a 25 mm f/0.95 lens with autofocus would have been interesting.

Now Nikon has come out with its own standard lens with f/0.95 aperture, for the Z series. For some obscure reason it's 58 mm instead of the more normal 50 mm. It's enormous and prohibitively expensive. Here a comparison from Compact Camera Meter:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191016/big/Lens-comparison.png
Image title: Lens comparison          Dimensions:          1247 x 755, 369 kB
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That's a Nikon Z7 “full frame” camera, barely larger than the E-M1 Mark II. But look at the monster lens! “Full frame” bodies can really now be the same size as Micro Four Thirds system bodies, but the lenses are generally larger.

The real issue, though: the new Nikon lens is manual focus! Why? It can't be the cost of the thing: they're talking about US $8000, more than I paid for all my bodies and standard lenses put together. By contrast the Voigtländer 25 mm f/0.95 lens for MFT costs $800, exactly 10% of the cost of the Nikon lens. Is there some technical reason for the lack of autofocus? In general autofocus works better with wider apertures, and that's also where you really need good autofocus. I'm puzzled.


Five years of Ashampoo pain!
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

Ashampoo is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary. And I'm still having trouble with them. Their latest optimizer, version 7, works, but it seems to impart a greenish cast on many images. And version 6 no longer refuses to run: it now creates output files that are round 40% larger than the original, but otherwise appear unchanged. If I select a single image, it still fails.

But that's nothing new. By chance I looked at my diary of 5 years ago. Same problems then. Why do I stick with them? Why doesn't somebody else come out with something similar but more reliable?


Irrigation pain
Topic: gardening Link here

Yvonne planted some Artemisia cuttings at the north-eastern corner of the property a while back. They all died.

They're not the first thing to die there; in fact, everything that we planted there has died. But Yvonne suspected that they weren't getting enough water. OK, out to check.

First problem: somehow Mick had managed to disconnect a hose connection on the eastern boundary, resulting in no water for a lot of plants to the north, including the Paulownia kawakamii, the remaining birch and the oak. But they're all doing well. Here a flower from the Paulownia, the first we have had since moving here:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191015/big/Paulownia-kawakamii.jpeg
Image title: Paulownia kawakamii          Dimensions:          3889 x 5184, 2644 kB
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OK, fix the join and back to the row of Artemisia. Opened the end to let the water out, a good idea in any case: sludge forms in the hoses in the winter, and it's better to flush it out before it clogs the drippers. But nothing came out.

Further investigation showed that the hose is on relay 3, not relay 4. That works fine, and it has been doing so the whole time. So the whole premise, while it made me check the irrigation and find faults, had nothing to do with Yvonne's concerns. We'll have to start again with new cuttings.


New cuttings from the neighbourhood
Topic: gardening Link here

While walking the dogs up round Westons Road, we've seen this shrub:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191012/big/Mystery-bush-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191012/big/Mystery-bush-2.jpeg
Image title: Mystery bush 2          Dimensions:          4608 x 3457, 1950 kB
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What is it? Today we took a couple of cuttings, also enabling me to look at it more closely:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191016/big/Mystery-flower-2.jpeg
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Wednesday, 16 October 2019 Dereel Images for 16 October 2019
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Recovery day
Topic: general, gardening Link here

It's been pretty busy the last few days, to the point where I haven't got round to doing a number of routine things. Even this diary hasn't been ready until mid to late afternoon. My RCS log times show the effect:

date: 2019/10/16 03:13:35;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +174 -4
date: 2019/10/15 02:50:55;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +69 -3
date: 2019/10/14 04:25:56;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +233 -3
date: 2019/10/13 05:22:56;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +180 -3
date: 2019/10/12 05:13:15;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +171 -4
date: 2019/10/10 23:28:20;  author: grog;  state: Exp;  lines: +155 -4

They're in this silly reverse chronological form, and in UTC; my time is 11 hours later. So instead of a typical 10:30 (bottom line), the times have gone up to 16:23.

Today I relaxed, and found time to plant the cuttings from the mystery plant that I took yesterday:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191017/big/Mystery-plants.jpeg
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In the process, noted that, Melbourne Cup day or not, it's time to plant the tomato seedlings. Here the Giant Tree Tomatoes lying flat:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191017/big/Giant-tree-tomatoes.jpeg
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High time to plant them.


Miese Suppe
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

From time to time we've eaten some instant Miso soup, not the most fascinating soup I know, but it's a usable addition to a Sushi/Sashimi dinner. It's boring enough that we have nicknamed it „Miese Suppe“ (roughly “terrible soup”), because that sounds pretty much the same. But why instant? One step better would be pre-prepared broth in a bag, from Wokka. As the bag said, just add water, Ramen noodles and spring onions.

So we did that. It tasted terrible! Well, even more boring than the dried stuff. One issue was the quantities: the instructions specified 300 ml of water, and that was clearly too much. We ended up adding soya sauce to get any kind of taste. We could equally well have used water and forgotten the concentrate.


Thursday, 17 October 2019 Dereel Images for 17 October 2019
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Still more power failures
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Another 5 short grid power failures this morning between 07:45:27 and 07:46:26. That's less than a minute. Should I really count them individually? In particular, it seems to take the inverter 1 second to register a power outage, so if there's only 1 second between the failures, it's not really power back at all. Maybe I should set a minimum of 5 seconds between outages.


Bloody NBN!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Another all-day “scheduled” outage from the National Broadband Network today, from 8:38 to 16:29, nearly 8 hours and almost exactly the whole working day. Spent some time hacking my network failures program to produce more interesting information, like:

Summary from  1 January 2019 to 31 October 2019
Total 64 outages, total time 195460 seconds (2 days, 06:17:40)
Longest outage:                 28252 seconds (07:50:52)
   Start:                       17 October 2019 08:38:34
   End:                         17 October 2019 16:29:26
Average time between outages:   392149 seconds (4 days, 12:55:49)
Average duration:               3054 seconds (00:50:54)
Availability:                   99.22%

So it's the longest outage this (very bad) year, and the tendency seems to be getting worse:

Summary from  1 July 2019 to 31 October 2019
Total 31 outages, total time 139734 seconds (1 days, 14:48:54)
Longest outage:                 28252 seconds (07:50:52)
   Start:                       17 October 2019 08:38:34
   End:                         17 October 2019 16:29:26
Average time between outages:   305017 seconds (3 days, 12:43:37)
Average duration:               4507 seconds (01:15:07)
Availability:                   98.52%

Average outage duration over the last 3½ months of an hour and a quarter, availability of only 98.5%. I've been using the Internet for over 30 years now, and I can't recall ever having had such unreliability. Even my satellite link had an availability of over 99%, and the outages were shorter:

Total 1684 outages, total time 792001 seconds (9 days, 04:00:01)
Average time between outages: 56449 seconds (15:40:49)
Average duration: 470 seconds (00:07:50)
Availability: 99.17%

It's made all the worse by the fact that it's deliberate.

What are they doing? Preparing us for 100% down time, so that they can delight Wendy McClelland's heart and remove the Radiation Tower? It seems so. This particular outage was part of a wider announcement:

Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2019 12:20:07 +1000
From: Aussie Broadband <support@aussiebroadband.com.au>
Subject: NBN is planning some maintenance in your area

NBNCo has let us know that they are planning network maintenance in your area, and that your service at <strong>29 STONES RD, DEREEL VIC</strong> will be affected.<br>

The details are:
  - Start date and time: Wed 16th October 2019 07:00 AEDT
  - End date and time: Tue 22nd October 2019 21:00 AEDT
  - Window: 158.0 hours

You may experience the following interruptions during the maintenance
  - 720 min
  - 720 min
  - 480 min
  - 480 min

That's a total of 40 hours, a whole working week! Our outage today was presumably one of the first two. Do they really plan to take us off another three times for hours on end between tomorrow and Tuesday?

When will it ever stop?


Recovering from the outage
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

After the day's outage, recovery took a while. For some reason my outgoing mail tunnel to mail.lemis.com didn't want to restart automatically. When I started it, it hung.

Oh.

#!/usr/local/bin/bash
# Set up and maintain mail tunnel to mail
# $Id: diary-oct2019.php,v 1.42 2019/11/30 06:14:23 grog Exp $
while :; do
  logger Restarting SMTP tunnel
  /usr/bin/ssh -n -N -L 2026:mail.lemis.com:25 www.lemis.com
  sleep 5   # don't flood
done

For reasons I forget, mail.lemis.com is 192.109.197.81, one of the last uses of my /24 network block, and an alias for the interface on the old www. But I had had difficulties with routing, which didn't always work, so I had made the actual connection to www. And that has changed, and mail on www is not (yet) configured. Changed to oldwww and all was well.

And then I had difficulties connecting to www with ssh. A lot of flailing around, and finally I got a connection. But that load average!

last pid: 61988;  load averages: 181.52, 160.22, 121.16  up 52+00:14:34  05:59:08
312 processes: 198 running, 114 sleeping
CPU: 95.5% user,  0.0% nice,  4.5% system,  0.0% interrupt,  0.0% idle
Mem: 770M Active, 795M Inact, 2960K Laundry, 444M Wired, 150M Buf, 47M Free

That's worse than it ever was on the old server. What's the issue? I had thought that the load was due at least in part to the multiple names under which the server was known. Now most of them have taken the 301 hint, but some remain (semrush.com, are you listening? Probably not). Is the new server slower than the old one? Certainly it has only one logical CPU, where the old one has two.

Looking at that and also the amount of traffic I'm getting, it looks as if it might be cheaper to migrate to a more powerful vulture. Currently I have a single processor with 2048 MB memory and 2 GB bandwidth for $10 per month—plus possibly $20 in additional traffic charges if I really use the 4 TB that it's looking like. But for $20 total I can get a 2 CPU vulture with 4 GB memory and 3 TB traffic. Might that not prove cheaper in the long run?

The effects of the overload were evident when I tried to sync my diary. Normally it takes about 30 seconds, but today I got:

sent 47,684,649 bytes  received 198,394 bytes  14,529.83 bytes/sec
total size is 3,109,981,811  speedup is 64.95
Thu 17 Oct 2019 18:13:44 AEDT

real    55m4.814s
user    0m9.193s
sys     0m0.253s

Why did I transfer nearly 50 MB? Probably some temporary log files that I created when updating the failure program. But it appears that the transfer completed relatively quickly, and it then hung. I don't have an explanation for that particular behaviour.


The insides of the mystery flowers
Topic: photography, gardening, opinion Link here

The tiny flowers on our new mystery bush are about 4 mm in diameter and 1.5 cm long. But they have an internal structure, if only I can get it. Tried today with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60 mm f/2.8 Macro and extension tubes, for an on-sensor magnification of 1.4. That required focus stacking, of course. This one didn't make it either, although I took 60 components:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191017/big/Bud-5-PMax.jpeg
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I'd guess that I would need 200 shots to do it right. But that will have to wait for fresh flowers.

The other issue are the streaks on the image, like this one at upper left:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191017/big/Bud-5-PMax-detail.jpeg
Image title: Bud 5 PMax detail          Dimensions:          843 x 649, 122 kB
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They're caused by dirt on the front element or filter of the lens. The images vary in size depending on focus, so they appear (sharply) at a different place on each component. It seems to be a characteristic of the “PMax” algorithm that they're not optimized out. “DMax” (first image) does better, but it doesn't give the same depth of field (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191017/big/Bud-5-DMap.jpeg
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Friday, 18 October 2019 Dereel Images for 18 October 2019
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Busy day?
Topic: general, gardening Link here

Up early this morning for a busy day. First, the arrival of Mick Solly, the gardener. A good thing I did, too: almost immediately I got a call from his wife, Eileen, telling me that he was sick, and wouldn't be able to make it until next week.

The other thing on hand was a trip to Ballarat to hear the results of Yvonne's pancreas scan, almost exactly a year since the last one. Another phone call: Mr. Shimokawa was tied up in an operation and wouldn't be able to make it. Postponed until Monday.


Web site load puzzle
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

My web site load has dropped from the excessive load averages I have seen yesterday, but only to about 18. Why such a high load? Previously I had guessed at the multiple names for the web server, but it's been a week since I've been sending permanent redirects. Still, there are a number of requests coming in to oldwww. Played around with the web server configuration there to log redirects differently depending on the server name. That helped. After a few minutes my log files showed:

-rw-r--r--  1 root   wheel            0 Oct 18 06:41 lemis-access.log
-rw-r--r--  1 root   wheel         3502 Oct 18 06:45 mail.lemis-access.log
-rw-r--r--  1 root   wheel        52586 Oct 19 01:10 people.lemis-access.log

That was surprising. I had expected lemis-access.log to be the biggest. And who's talking to mail.lemis.com? Almost only semrush.com! It must have gone out and tried all known names to even discover that mail.lemis.com had a web server behind it. And now it seems that it has ignored all the 301s and continues happily. You'd expect better from a company that sells web services. semrush.com is also well represented on people.lemis.com, but there were a lot of others too, a large number with no reverse lookup. I wonder why I even created the alias.

Still, they've had plenty of warning. Why not just shut the server down? Bingo! The load average dropped to round 4. Maybe I don't need a bigger server after all.


Another wildflower?
Topic: gardening Link here

Seen in Grassy Gully Road today:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191018/big/Wildflower-1.jpeg
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What is it? There are several of them, and possibly I know them when they're open.


Windy weather
Topic: gardening Link here

I had put the remaining Thai basil and the chili plant on the table outside the lounge room until I could find a good place to plant it. The basil will probably be given away, but what about the chili? The weather forced my hand: the wind blew the pot off the table, completely uprooting it. OK, in front of the north window of the lounge room:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191018/big/Chili-plant.jpeg
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Hopefully it won't suffer from the experience.


Saturday, 19 October 2019 Dereel Images for 19 October 2019
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Web server: the results
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So I left the old web server stopped overnight, so that it didn't redirect requests to inappropriate domain names to the new server. Came back in the morning and the load average on the new server was still below 10. Turned on the old server again, and bang! Within minutes I had:

last pid: 16293;  load averages: 31.65, 23.93, 13.76             up 53+19:32:08  01:16:42

Why does it make such a difference? Is it the content that keeps PHP busy? Sadly, it doesn't seem to have had much effect on the traffic.


Orchids again
Topic: photography, technology, gardening, opinion Link here

Over the past week I took a couple of photos of the yellow orchids just north of our property entrance on Stones Road. They weren't a success:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191014/big/Orchid-1.jpeg
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Both are only marginally sharp, probably because of the wind. They're acceptable at the standard (“tiny”) size, but even a slight enlargement shows how bad they are:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191014/big/Orchid-1-detail.jpeg
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Today I took a couple of flowers back home and tried focus stacking under more controlled circumstances:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191019/big/orchid-1-DMap.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191019/big/orchid-2-DMap.jpeg
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That's a lot better! But there are still details. I did this with Zerene stacker, which offers two different algorithms. I must really read the details, but so far I just have the names: PMax (apparently preferred) and DMap. The first photo came out better with DMap. The PMax version had a halo round the features. Here DMap, then PMax (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191019/big/orchid-1-DMap.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191019/big/orchid-1-PMax.jpeg
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But DMax also seems to have less depth of field, visible here at the back of the right-hand flower:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191019/big/orchid-2-DMap.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191019/big/orchid-2-PMax.jpeg
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It's not clear if this is an advantage or a disadvantage; it also makes the background sharper, something that I've prefer to avoid.

In passing it's interesting to note that these flowers seem to come in pairs.


Sunday, 20 October 2019 Dereel Images for 20 October 2019
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Lenses: Oldies. Goodies?
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Camera lenses tend to last longer than the bodies, and even in the digital age I have a couple of lenses that I have had for over 10 years. But then there are the analogue lenses. I've had my current 50 mm f/1.4 Super-Takumar for over 52 years, and some of the lenses I have are clearly older than that.

The 50/1.4 Super Takumar had an excellent reputation, but three years ago I received my Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4 and discovered that it's an order of magnitude better than the Super Takumar:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20161027/big/Super-Takumar-50-1.4-detail.jpeg
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There are no prizes for guessing which is which.

On the other hand, I missed a couple of things:

So: how about comparing the Super Takumar and the Cassar? Certainly the appearance is markedly different:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191020/big/Super-Takumar-Cassar-3.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191020/big/Super-Takumar-Cassar-1.jpeg
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To do it right I need to find a “full frame” camera that will take Pentax screw thread lenses, clearly with an adapter. In the meantime it would be interesting to see how it did on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

The results are only partially of interest, since the camera is wrong. The big surprise was the difference in contrast:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191020/big/Cassar.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191020/big/Super-Takumar-1.jpeg
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Why that? The “stars” in the background from the Cassar are almost invisible, and the foreground is washed out. Why? Poor quality antireflection coating? But the coma isn't significantly worse than on the Super Takumar. For that I'll have to find a “full frame” camera.


More wildflowers
Topic: gardening Link here

This bush is in Stones Road, on the way from our house to the “schoolyard” (the junction with Bliss Road). I've seen it flower before, but I think these are the first photos of the buds:


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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191020/big/Mystery-plant-2.jpeg
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Kitchen sink shower head
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

The kitchen shower head that I ordered on eBay have arrived. One was fine, but the other had a sticky jet/spray switch, allowing it to produce both at the same time:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191020/big/Confused-shower.jpeg
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The photo was for the seller to ask for a refund. It seems that he knows the problem: immediate refund, keep the head. That's a big difference from some other sellers.


Planting tomatoes
Topic: gardening Link here

The “Giant Tree Tomato” plants are now about 40 cm long and desperately in need of planting. Finally put them in the ground with one of the new triangular frames:


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Hopefully it will withstand the wind.


More web server pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The load on the web server isn't the only issue, it proves. Today I got a mail bounce message:

<somebody@FreeBSD.org>: host mx66.FreeBSD.org[96.47.72.85] said: 450-4.7.25
    Client host rejected: cannot find your hostname, [208.86.226.86] 450 4.7.25
    in case of permanent delivery errors (e.g. 5XX SMTP errors) please send
    your problem report from a non-blocked location (e.g. gmail/yahoo) to
    postmaster@FreeBSD.org and include the following information: time (Oct 19
    23:22:35) and client (208.86.226.86). (in reply to RCPT TO command)

Huh? That was from mail.lemis.com. But further investigation showed that the mail configuration was set up to deliver from www.lemis.com. That's OK, though: the reverse lookup matches:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/45) ~ 32 -> host 208.86.226.86
86.226.86.208.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer www.lemis.com.

But it seems that the mail servers do a forward lookup too, and that resolves differently:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/45) ~ 34 -> host www.lemis.com
www.lemis.com has address 66.42.97.229

OK, fight my way through the config menus and set the PTR record to oldwww.lemis.com, then modify the mail config to claim to be oldwww.lemis.com. All OK? Some day, maybe, but by evening the PTR record hadn't been updated.


Another grid power failure
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Another short grid power failure this evening at 17:19:12.


Monday, 21 October 2019 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 21 October 2019
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Pancreas verdict
Topic: health Link here

Into Ballarat again today to visit Mr. Shimokawa to discuss the results of Yvonne's scan the week before last. The results: no change, apart from the fact that the new scan appeared to be a negative compared to the one taken a year ago, something that Mr. Kon didn't seem to notice. So: one scan a year for the next few years, and if there is still no change, back off to every other year. Under the circumstances things couldn't be better.


More plants
Topic: gardening, general, opinion Link here

On the way back home, to the Delacombe Town Centre, which is now developing quickly. It was originally on only one corner (SW) of Cherry Flat Road and the Glenelg Highway, but Bunnings (where we were headed) is on the SE corner, and something else is developing there too. And the NW corner also appears to be under development.

At Bunnings, found a surprise:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191021/big/Pieris-japonica-1.jpeg
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That's the bush I have been trying to propagate and take photos of. Pieris japonica. This one has slightly different flowers, but it's clearly the same species. And there I could also read that they only flower in spring. Still, we don't have to plant them.

While there, also bought a lime tree. Yes, we have had one for over 11 years, but it's really not happy. It's the skeleton behind the new plant, and it has borne maybe two fruit in that time.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20191022/big/Lime-trees.jpeg <