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Tuesday, 28 November 2023 Dereel Images for 28 November 2023
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Ten year anniversary
Topic: history, Stones Road house, opinion Link here

Ten years ago today, after much searching, we finally found a building site for a new house, in Stones Road. We bought it, and that's where we live now. How time flies! And how the place has changed. Today I braved sun, flies and mechanical problems to repeat a panorama that I took at the time—as it seems, even the time of day was almost the same. But it's almost impossible to see any similarities (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):
Image title: Stones Road          Dimensions:          12018 x 1887, 8296 kB
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All images taken on Thursday, 28 November 2013, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 28 November 2013, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 28 November 2013 Complete exposure details
Image title: Stones Road 1          Dimensions:          22270 x 3934, 36794 kB
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That's at least partially because of the choice of location, of course, but it's also interesting to see how much of the surrounding vegetation has changed.

41 year anniversary
Topic: history, general, opinion Link here

Why only one anniversary? Today's the 41st anniversary of my wife swap, the day I moved my old wife (Doris) out of the house and the new one (Yvonne) in.

The window manager killer identified
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The problems I had last week with dying window managers haven't gone away. It happened again today, again while doing something with firefox. And restarting the window manager failed again with the same message:

Assertion failed: (ret != inval_id), function _XAllocID, file xcb_io.c, line 626.

OK, if it's firefox's fault, what happens if I shoot down firefox? I can restart the window manager. I was also able to restart it. So something in the previous process was responsible for the problem, and that it wouldn't go away.

More Black Friday pricing
Topic: general, opinion Link here

So now Black Friday is over, even Cyber Monday. Have the Washington Post's prices gone up? Of course not:

  16 N   21-11-2023 To washingpost ( 697) The Washington Post  N   Unlimited access is A99c for a limited time
  25 N   24-11-2023 To washingpost ( 694) The Washington Post  N   Nothing says “Black Friday” like our A99c sale
  28 N   27-11-2023 To washingpost ( 699) The Washington Post  N   Get The Post for A99c

Dinner with the Marriotts
Topic: general, food and drink, history, opinion Link here

In honour of today's anniversary, we invited our neighbours Garry and Diane for dinner. We've been living next door for 8½ years, but somehow we don't see much of each other. We had dinner at their place a while ago—hardly more than 5 years. And we still don't know very much about each other, for example that Garry bakes his own bread too. They're in the process of moving into a house closer to Ballarat. When we bought the property, Garry said that when he moved out of the house, it would be feet first, so I'm trying to persuade him to let me take a photo of him in that position. But I didn't even get any photos this evening.

Wednesday, 29 November 2023 Dereel
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Yet more new hardware needed
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Seen in my nightly log files:

+ahcich4: Timeout on slot 11 port 0
+ahcich4: is 00000000 cs 00000000 ss 00000800 rs 00000800 tfd 40 serr 00000000 cmd 0000cb17
+(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 60 08 68 5a 6f 40 0d 00 00 00 00 00
+(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): CAM status: Command timeout
+(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): Retrying command
+ahcich4: Timeout on slot 24 port 0
+ahcich4: is 00000000 cs 00000000 ss 01000000 rs 01000000 tfd 40 serr 00000000 cmd 0000d817
+(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 60 08 a0 5a 6f 40 0d 00 00 00 00 00
+(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): CAM status: Command timeout

That's my 8 TB photo disk. It looks as if it's on its way out. OK, simple: replace it.

Oh. Not so simple. What do I replace it with? An 8 TB disk costs round $370. What does an 8 TB SSD cost? Are there even any 8 TB SSDs? Yes, though probably not as fast as the 4 TB one that I have in hydra. And they cost about twice as much. Clearly the tendency is for them to drop, but in the meantime it's just one more thing to wonder about. Are 8 TB even enough? Currently /Photos is nearly full:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/43) ~ 1 -> df /Photos
Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/ada1p1      7,629,565 6,684,090 869,179    88%    /Photos

That's misleading, though. A lot of the stuff in there are TIFF intermediate files that could (should) be removed. But 12 TB might be a better size—if I can find one.

Keyboard remapping: done!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why am I having so much trouble remapping my Sun Type 7 keyboard? It worked fine last time. But this time I've been trying to do things incrementally, and that seems to be a problem.

OK, start again from scratch. What do I want to do?

Some of this is confusing. According to the man page, the second keysym is chosen when the key is pressed along with the shift key. But on eureka I have:

keycode  37 = Meta_L NoSymbol Meta_L
keycode 113 = Alt_R Meta_R Alt_R Meta_R

The first one is the key I use for Alt, but it doesn't have that name, and Alt-Shift combinations work fine. And there doesn't seem to be any distinction between Alt and Meta. xev also doesn't show any difference.

And then there's the question of the modifiers. The man page for xmodmap only describes the first four keysyms, but this page, courtesy of Daniel Nebdal (again), states:

Each keysym column in the table corresponds to a particular combination of modifier keys:
  1. Key
  2. Shift+Key
  3. Mode_switch+Key
  4. Mode_switch+Shift+Key
  5. ISO_Level3_Shift+Key
  6. ISO_Level3_Shift+Shift+Key

But the default keymap that I dumped had 8 keysyms, and the eighth is frequently different, like for the F keys above the main keyboard:

keycode  67 = F1 F1 F1 F1 F1 F1 XF86Switch_VT_1

How is that supposed to work?

And then there's this:

keycode  92 = ISO_Level3_Shift NoSymbol ISO_Level3_Shift

How does that tie in with the sixth keycode in the list above?

Still, I changed things as above, loaded the map and... it worked! That should have been obvious, but even now I have unanswered questions.

More X woes
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's high time I complete my migration to X on hydra. There's something seriously wrong with x2x between eureka and hydra. The cursor seems to land at random places, not made any easier by the fact that I can't see it disappear left from eureka:0.0 (there's no monitor connected). And maybe another problem is related, the random killing of the window manager on hydra:0.3. I had blamed it on firefox so far, but today it happened while running chrome. High time to migrate.

What's stopping me? For reasons I don't understand, I can't get the Alt bindings to work. I started without the all-important entries in ~/.Xdefaults:

! Make alt key work again (20221124)
*VT100*utf8:            1
*VT100*eightBitInput:   false
*VT100*eightBitControl: false
*VT100*eightBitOutput:  true

OK, that's easy to fix. I've done that already on eureka, and it worked with the running X server. But this time it didn't make any difference. Still more stuff to investigate.

More bad dictionaries
Topic: rant, language, general, opinion Link here

It's been five years since I ranted about poor definitions in some dictionaries. I was particularly irritated by the definition of “local time” in the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

: time based on the meridian through a particular place as contrasted with that of a time zone

That's nonsense, of course, and the examples they produced at the time clearly referred to time zones. But they have changed; they seem to choose recent quotations at random and without checking. Still, it's worth a comment, which will probably land in /dev/null:

Your definition claims that "local time" is not related to time zones, but the examples all relate to time zones. I believe that your definition is incorrect, not the examples. All other reputable dictionaries that I have found equate local time to the prevailing time zone. See OED for a clear definition, and for further background.

It'll be interesting to see if I get any reaction.

This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.

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