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Tuesday, 25 April 2017 Dereel Images for 25 April 2017
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What software update?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

On the whole I'm positively impressed by euroa, my “new” Lenovo ThinkPad T430. But it's still a Microsoft space machine, and it shows:

 
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What are they? They're not telling. It seems that they're Lenovo updates, not Microsoft updates. Lenovo, you could tell people what you're doing to their computers!


Selling lenses
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Taking photos of my lenses and listing them took up a significant proportion of the day. It's a good thing I'm not charging for my time, or it might not have been worth selling some of them. And in the process I examined the lenses more closely than I have for some time, making a disturbing discovery in the process:


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That appears to be a separation of the elements inside the lens (the Zuiko Digital ED 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6). Damn. I'm sure that it doesn't make a serious difference to the quality of the images, but it does make a serious difference to the price I can get. What the hell, it's not worth much anyway, and I can always use it if it doesn't sell.

On a more positive note, it looks as if I have already sold the M.Zuiko 12-40 mm f/2.8 “Pro”. That was faster than I expected; now I'm going to have to buy a replacement.


Happy birthday Sasha
Topic: animals Link here

Sasha is two years old today, making him an adult. Yvonne couldn't resist buying him a birthday present, but he couldn't find a way to open it:


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Husfrusill med ägg
Topic: food and drink Link here

From time to time we fake Swedish Husfrusill using Matjes fillets. Recently on IRC Henrik Johansson mentioned eating it with boiled eggs. To my surprise, he wanted soft-boiled eggs. Yvonne and I discussed it and decided that, for non-Swedish palates at any rate, hard-boiled eggs would be better:


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And yes, it's an improvement.


Wednesday, 26 April 2017 Dereel Images for 26 April 2017
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Another anniversary
Topic: history Link here

Only 2 days ago was the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Asia trip, one of the turning points of my life. And today's another anniversary: 20 years ago today I left Germany for good, on the way to Australia. It's not appropriate to say that I never looked back—I was back in Germany briefly later in the year—but it's certainly another turning point.


Lens: sold!
Topic: photography Link here

I've now put up a total of five lenses (or is that 4½?) for sale: the M.Zuiko 12-40 mm f/2.8 “Pro”, the Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD, the Olympus Zuiko Digital 35 mm f/3.5 Macro, the Zuiko Digital ED 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 and the (half lens) EC-20 2× teleconverter. I've also offered them on Facebook for between $10 and $20 less, reflecting the fact that I don't have to pay fees. I hadn't expected any to go away quickly, especially since I had put a relatively high “buy it now” price, but I had already had interest in the 12-40 before I put it up for sale (and before I had mentioned a price). But sure enough, she was still interested, and not only did she buy it, the money arrived in my bank account within hours. That's a far cry from Chris Bahlo's attempts to buy a Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150 mm f4.0-5.6 from the same Facebook group, which has been going on for over a month now.


Lens: bought!
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

My new Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 is on its way—from Hong Kong. They don't mention anything about having to pay GST (only that it's not in the prices), but hopefully there will be none. In the meantime, though, I need a lens to replace the M.Zuiko 12-40 mm f/2.8 “Pro”. Not a difficult choice: I had already pretty much settled on the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60 mm f/2.8-4. But DxO Optics “Pro” still doesn't support it, and I had expected to have some time before buying it. No such “luck”.

So off to eGlobaL again, the purchase made a little easier by the fact that they now have most of my details on file. All went relatively smoothly until it came to payment. And then... Bloody “Verified by Visa”! Once again it wanted a mobile phone number. Will they buy me a mobile phone? Of course not.

Damn VbV! The banks should be ashamed of themselves. It's not as if it adds significant security. I can bypass it with a simple password (“my secret”). If the Bank of Melbourne ever processes my online application (which I can't influence), I'll have to make sure that doesn't happen.

But there's always PayPal. Should I risk it? The lens costs $990, and this morning we only had $800 in the bank, from which Yvonne had already deducted some sum. Yes, I know how to change the payment source when buying on eBay, but this isn't eBay, and they have a different interface which may not offer me the option.

But checking the accounts showed that the money for the new lens had already arrived, so I went ahead. I needn't have worried. I still had the option, which included using the credit I had. But it changed the shipping address! I had to go back to the original order Yet Again and reinstate the address. Another half hour payment. Hopefully that'll be the last.


Mail transit times: new record
Topic: general, opinion Link here

A couple of weeks ago the battery in one of our cordless phones died. Not a worry, it proved: they're available on eBay. So I ordered one, sent from Melbourne. It arrived today, fully 12 days after I ordered it and it was marked sent! I had previously opined that a persistent snail would be faster, but this represents a speed of 0.45 km/h. The persistent snail would laugh its head off. Australia Post, how do you explain that?

One explanation might be that the claimed sending date was wrong. That's what dated post stamps are for. But that seems to be a relict of the 20th century, and few packages display it. So it was today. But the slowness of Australia Post is really unforgivable, and if they want to prove their innocence, they can always require some kind of dating for untracked items.


My reference to bell peppers
Topic: food and drink, technology, opinion Link here

Mail today with a familiar looking text:

I was searching the web for information on bell peppers and saw your great post here: http://narrawin.lemis.com/grog/diary-may2016.php

I noticed you mentioned https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_pepper in your post, and just wanted to give you a heads up that I recently wrote a blog post you might like. It's a detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on 15 health benefits of bell peppers according to science, and includes 5 delicious bell pepper recipes.

Bell peppers? What's that? Oh, he (she?) meant Capsicum, which Wikipedia calls Bell pepper. But that's never a word I use in my diary (with today's obvious exception).

But the real thing is that it looks so familiar. It's almost identical to the message I received at the end of last month. And how about that, last time the sender was Jen Miller <jen@jenreviews.com>, and this time it's Jesse Miller <jesse@jenreviews.com>. At the time I had thought (but not mentioned) that the references were discovered by looking through the HTML markup, but this mail proves it.

And it also shows something else: look at the quoted URL, http://narrawin.lemis.com/grog/diary-may2016.php. That domain shouldn't have a web server at all. More Apache config to look at.


Astrophotography
Topic: photography, technology Link here

Saw some impressive images on Facebook today, made with Deepskystacker. Looks like another can of worms to open.


Black cockatoos
Topic: animals, photography, opinion Link here

Cockatoos are widespread in Victoria, and they frequently come in large swarms. But they're almost invariably the Sulphur-crested variety, and the various black ones are much rarer.

But lately we've been seeing big swarms of them. Well, Yvonne has seen them, and I've just heard them. Today I had time to put on my (old) telephoto lens and take a single uninteresting shot, barely showing that they're Yellow-tailed black cockatoos, before they disappeared:


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Roll on the Vario-Elmar!


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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