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Monday, 16 January 2017 Dereel Images for 16 January 2017
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How to integrate a camera into a network
Topic: photography, technology, gardening, opinion Link here

We have a Begonia in the lounge room with small white flowers which point downwards:


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How do you get a photo of the flowers? From below, of course:


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And how do you compose and focus? There are two choices: grovel on the ground or use a smart phone with OI.Share:


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After trying both, it's clear that grovelling on the ground is the easier solution. Sometimes I wonder if OI.Share is ever of any use. Certainly there's so much against it that it's a pain to use. Today, once again, I had nothing but trouble. Apart from the problems just getting the two devices to talk to each other (made all the more difficult by the “network” topography that is imposes), I had trouble with the connection dropping, probably due to unspecified timeouts, and an inability to focus, not helped by the silly icons:

 
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They didn't make any sense to me while taking the photos, and it seemed that whatever I tried, it took a photo without focusing. Finding these things is complicated, so I gave up. The web page doesn't help: it makes all sorts of advertising claims, but doesn't offer worthwhile documentation. For example (in GPS tags):

  • You do not need to connect the camera to your smartphone.
  • You must connect the camera in Private Connection mode to synchronize the time before using this function.

I finally found the answer to the symols above in the camera “instruction manual”: the first symbol means “disable touch function”, second means “focus and take photo”, and the third means “focus only”.

I've ranted about this before, and I could rant about it many times in the future. This promised functionality is one of the reasons I bought the OM-D E-M1 in the first place. But instead of ranting, why don't I come up with something better? That would be easy, but there are many grades of “better”, and I need to consider which is best. Clearly this insistence on a single network link with the camera as the “access point” is one of the biggest issues. It would be simple enough to get the camera to get an IP address by DHCP, but how does the phone then locate it? There are some protocols used for finding multimedia sources, but I don't know much about them, so that's presumably the first thing I need to investigate.


Repairing my Siccama flute
Topic: music, opinion Link here

It's coming on 15 years since I gave Terry McGee a couple of flutes for repair, including my Siccama flute. I wasn't in a hurry—clearly a good thing—and I heard from him a little over 2 years ago with some photos (“still some work to be done”), but since then I heard nothing, no reply to my emails. Finally called him up today on 02 4471 3837, and spoke to Jessie, presumably his wife. He wasn't there, but would call back. He didn't. But it seems that I'm not the only customer waiting. Jessie said she made him make a New Year's resolution to work down the backlog of old instruments, so possibly we'll see something soon.


Tuesday, 17 January 2017 Dereel Images for 17 January 2017
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Another power failure
Topic: general Link here

Another power failure today. It must have been short: the only evidence was that the clocks on the microwave ovens and the main oven had reset, and the one that automatically restarts the clock (perversely from 1:00) suggests that the power was restored at 0:32..


Laksa again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

When I was young I frequently ate laksa for brunch. That seems to be an obvious choice now that brunch is one of our two meals of the day. But it's not the simplest dish in the world, and though my oldest recipe (now over 25 years old, and thus an antique by Internet standards) is for laksa, I have never made it.

But it's not even as simple as that. I first met laska in Kuala Lumpur, and that was usually asam (sour) laksa, or Penang laksa as we called it, though my very first reference was to curry laksa, which we also called Singapore laksa. Later I ate laksa in Kuching, and though I noted that it was different, I didn't pay much more attention to it; now it's recognized as Sarawak laksa. Last month I was in Geelong and bought some pastes for asam laksa and curry laksa. It has taken me until now to try them out: they require additional ingredients.

Today I tried the asam laska. Here the recipe as I made it, for one portion

quantity       ingredient       step
125 g (½ pakect)       Oriental Merchant Asam laksa paste
500 ml       water      
200 g       thick fresh rice noodles      
80 g       chicken      
      mint      
      Thai basil      

The chicken was a substitute: it should have been fish, but we didn't have any.

The results? It's been such a long time since I last ate Penang laksa (over 50 years) that I can't recall exactly what it tasted like. The hawker's stalls in Campbell Road (now Jalan Dang Wangi) always served it with a dollop of tamarind paste, and that was missing. But it didn't taste bad, and it had enough tamarind in it; the biggest issue was with the quantities. Next time I'll use much less water and paste, and probably about the same amount of the other ingredients.


Completing the driveway
Topic: Stones Road house Link here

It's time for the rest of the sand for the driveway, and Yvonne now wants sand on her riding arena as well. Call with Warrick Pitcher, who tells me that sand for the arena will cost $1300 for a truck and trailer load (better quantified as 20 m³). The sand should be 2" to 3" (5-7.5 cm) deep. How big is the arena? I guessed 30×15 m, Warrick 30×20. But clearly that's something we need to measure, so outside and, to our surprise, it's much smaller and by no means rectangular. The long sides are roughly equal at 23.2 m, and the short sides are 21.1 m (east side) and 11.7 m (west side), giving an area of 380 m². So our 20 m³ of sand would cover about 5.2 cm, which will have to do; we can spread it thinner in the middle and thicker on the edges.


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. 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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