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Wednesday, 16 September 2020 Dereel Images for 16 September 2020
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Bloody “smart” phones!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

It's been nine years since I first started thinking about getting a “smart” phone, though it took until less than four years ago before I finally got one, and then mainly because it was free. Looking back, my objections were the same from the very start, like here: hard to use, no keyboard, amongst other random objections. All that has changed is that my hatred has increased.

On the positive side, I can now use it as a phone with relatively few problems. It almost always rings when a call comes in, and almost always I can answer it.

What's wrong with this picture? Before “smart” phones I never had a problem with either. By the time I got the first “smart” phone I had been using mobile phones for over 25 years and normal phones for about 60 years. “Smart” phones are supposed to be an improvement. What's the improvement in missing incoming calls?

Today it happened again. Call from Yvonne. Finger trouble getting the thing out of my pocket, giving me a different screen. But then a display “Incoming call. Decline? Accept?”. Pressed “Accept”, apparently not in an acceptable manner. Another different, unrelated display. OK, select “phone”. Normal phone interface display (in this case, a list of contacts) shows up. More messing around. Nothing to be done. It carried on ringing without giving me another chance to answer it, until finally Yvonne hung up and I had to call her back.

Why does this happen to me? Other people don't understand. Some suggest, apparently with some justification, that “smart” phones don't like me. And maybe that's really the issue: I am too impatient. The Decline/Accept window popped up after about 1 or 2 seconds (half an eternity). And when I managed to lose it, I didn't leave the display inactive for that length of time. Maybe it would have shown again if I had given it a chance to work at its normal glacial speed.

And why does it lose its ring tones? That could be finger trouble too. From time to time I take screen shots of the screen. How do you do that without a keyboard? Trick 17: Volume Down and Power. But woe betide you if you use Volume Up and Power. That's “set silent mode”. I think. It depends on the Android release. After checking several places, yes, this is one of the ways to shoot yourself in the foot with Android. But it tells you. Here the difference:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200917/big/Screenshot_20200917-124628.png
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No, not the contradictory and truncated messages about tomorrow's weather. The status display at the top with the intuitive icons with no description:

 
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It seems that this “sonic boom” icon tells you:

 
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No, that doesn't mean “no ring tone”. It means “I will vibrate when a call comes in”, leaving the rest to you to guess.

And how do you turn it off again? Same keystrokes? No, that doesn't change anything. Press on the icon? I had no success with that. Until writing up this article, the only way I could find was to go deep into the setup menu and manually increase the ring volume. But it seems that you can press either volume button by itself and press on the icon, which causes it to completely turn off any incoming call notification. But pressing it again restores normal operation.

Aren't “smart” phones fun?


Where's my camera?
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

My “new” Nikon FM2 was sent off last Thursday with Australia Post Express Post Platinum. That's a next day service!

But the fine print (OK, not fine print, but relatively easy to find) talks about “Coronavirus” delays. That's understandable, and so I wasn't overly upset when I discovered that the estimated delivery time was Tuesday to Thursday, especially since we're second class citizens out in the sticks. Still, as they say,

You can track the progress of your Express Post Platinum satchel online. Enter your unique item tracking number into our Track tool to see where it is during the delivery process.

OK, where is it? No tracking available! And then I discovered yes, Tuesday to Thursday, but not this week. It could take up to two weeks for it to be delivered! That's really surprising. Was it really sent Express? It could be a week before I find out.


Voigtländer Nokton reexamined
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

I don't use my Voigtländer Nokton 25 mm f/0.95 lens very often, but I've come to terms with it. Since it's a completely manual lens, I have to update the Exif data manually, and I have methods in place for that. But yesterday I took another photo (full aperture, of course, the only time it has any advantage) and got this:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200915/small/Corymbia-ficifolia-7.jpeg
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That's clearly vignetted. OK, fix it in DxO PhotoLab and save the profile, in the process running afoul of the horrible interface presented by DxO's editor, and overwriting my default profile in the process. Run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour:

 
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Image title: Corymbia ficifolia 8
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But it's only at full aperture. Later I took a couple of photos of the dogs at f/2.8 (because I was too lazy to change the lens), and there the vignetting (here without correction) was gone:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200916/small/Nikolai-Leonid-1.jpeg
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Still, under normal circumstances I will only use it at full aperture.


Thursday, 17 September 2020 Dereel Images for 17 September 2020
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Unlockup?
Topic: health, general, opinion Link here

Today the SARS-CoV-19 “lockdown” imposed in July finally finished. The number of COVID-19 cases has reduced to levels where the government thinks it's possible to take such a step (“step 3”, which is defined somewhere if you can face searching for it). We're allowed to move more freely, do things we weren't allowed to do before.

That sounds vague, and for a good reason. On international news I have heard that the lockdown in Victoria is the most draconian anywhere in non-authoritarian states. But I have barely noticed it. All the services I need have been available throughout the time.

OK, we're not in Melbourne, where different levels of infection and “lockdown” measures apply. But it seems to have worked well. Despite the initial source of infections, things are back to sustainable levels, and the infections have been offset by lower incidences of colds (including those caused by coronaviruses) and influenza. A far cry from the current situation in the USA: there the current 200,127 deaths correspond to 0.06% of the population. In Australia it's 0.0032%, and even in Victoria it's “only” 0.0113%.

There are a number of things I've learnt about the matter:


You have mail!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Finally a “You have Mail” (really!) slip in the letter box today. But it wasn't the camera I'm waiting on: it was something for Yvonne. Sent from Drouin on 19 August, 29 days ago! We could have walked the distance in 44 hours. Yvonne tells me that the sender has been following the tracking, and that for some reason it had been sent from Melbourne to Geelong, stored there for a while, sent back to Melbourne again, and then finally on to Ballarat. But that's not what the tracking information says now:

Awaiting collection at NAPOLEON CPA
Thu 17 Sep • 7:47am
NAPOLEONS VIC

In transit
Thu 17 Sep • 4:01am
SEBASTOPOL VIC

Unable to deliver - Item carded and transferred to post office for collection
Thu 17 Sep • 3:55am
SEBASTOPOL VIC

Delayed – waiting to be processed for delivery
Wed 26 Aug • 12:00pm

Item processed at facility
MELBOURNE VIC
Thu 20 Aug • 5:48pm

That's upside down, of course, just to make it harder to read, but it seems that they have rewritten history. 3 weeks without a location, and then they sent it to the wrong post office (Sebastopol).

It's beginning to look as if I will be lucky to get my camera by the end of next week. I wonder how many piles of undelivered mail there are around Victoria.


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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