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Tuesday, 19 September 2017 Dereel Images for 19 September 2017
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Where in the world am I?
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

There's something funny about MediathekView: sometimes it doesn't find things that are listed in the Mediatheken, and sometimes it can't load things that I can watch directly, claiming “forbidden” (HTTP error 403). Why?

One reason could be something that I've frequently observed: my network block (“Class C”) was allocated in Germany in the dark ages, round 1992. When I moved here, it moved with me, but much software still thinks I'm in Germany. In general it's a minor nuisance—some broken sites of Big Business decide to redirect to their German subsidiary when I access their site, for example—but in this case it appears to tell the Mediatheken that they can display the content—if I use a Class C address and not the gateway address.

OK, how do I work round that? eureka.lemis.com is the gateway machine, but for some reason I can get the content there, currently only via a web browser. How about installing MediathekView there? Of course it doesn't say that it works on FreeBSD, and there's no port. But it's in Java. How hard can it be?

Not very hard. As the instructions said, I needed to install Java 8, and then it ran—for a fraction of a second. Then it died with the message:

JavaFX wurde nicht im klassenpfad gefunden.
 Stellen Sie sicher, dass Sie ein Java JRE ab Version 8 benutzen.
 Falls Sie Linux nutzen, installieren Sie das openjfx-Paket ihres Package-Managers,

What does that mean? Basically, that it couldn't find JavaFX, whatever that is. ktrace showed that it didn't look for anything of that name (and that the output of the error message was messy, with the newline characters output with a separate write system call). And that I should ensure that I have JRE version 8, along with some Linux-specific information. I had that. Configuration error?

Spent a lot of time looking for details of how to configure Java, along with lots of web sites dealing—mainly inappropriately—with the error message. Finally I discovered that the last line of the error message was relevant: in FreeBSD terms, it meant that I should have installed the java/openjfx8 port. Problem: there is none, only java/openjfx8-devel. What happened to the stable version? It seems that there is none.

Installing Java 8 was relatively straightforward, but openjfx8 is a whole different kettle of fish, and it took forever, paradoxically including a new version of ruby. But then it ran, which means I no longer need to fight Microsoft to use it.

But I still can't get my content. Whatever is failing the test, it's not the system itself. Wouldn't it be nice to just store things from the web browser?


Dinner panoramas again
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Yesterday's dinner panorama wasn't bad, but Margaret Swan's face came out a little underexposed: she was sitting side-on to the flash unit, and the reflection from the ceiling wasn't enough. OK, we can do that: a little bit of fill-in flash with the toy flash that came with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and use it to trigger the room flash. Here's the arrangement. The whole thing is mounted on the Vanguard 263 AT PRO, with the centre column spread out horizontally, with the end over the centre of the table:


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The end of the column is a minor problem: I need something to turn things through 90°. I used an old ball head, turned through 90°, and with the broken Sunwayfoto rotator on top:


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And sure enough, the test photos worked fine. But not the for-real photos. It looked as if the room flash didn't go off, which is more likely to mean that it went off too early, probably a pre-flash. Here one of my tests, and then the real thing, without any correction:


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I had set the fill-in to ¼ strength, -2 EV. And that's the exposure I got for all the photos.

I still ended up with a panorama, of course, but it's clear that it has been salvaged:


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So, for next time, I have:

  1. Ensure that all flashes go off at the right time.
  2. Find a way to get the guests (yes, Chris, I'm talking about you) to look sensible.
  3. Maybe raise the viewpoint a little.

Tonight's dinner
Topic: food and drink Link here

As planned, I'm recording what we eat with guests. This time it was simple: German Abendbrot. And everybody was happy.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017 Dereel → Clarendon → Dereel Images for 20 September 2017
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Clarendon again
Topic: photography, animals Link here

Off to Unicorn Park in Clarendon, near Scotsburn, today to take some photos of Arne Koets teaching Yvonne some of the finer points of riding.


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It's tiring work, and I was glad when the 45 minutes were over. Margaret Swan didn't have any such problem, though she did manage to fill up an SD Card with her continuous video:


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Horse photos: the frustration
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

The whole horse photo affair was somewhat frustrating. I had taken my two big bottles, the Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD and the Zuiko Digital ED 35-100 mm f/2.0. Unlike last time, I was closer to the action this time, so I didn't need the 35-100 mm lens at all. For once, most of the recording was video, and I discovered the hard way that the Four Thirds system lenses don't support continuous autofocus, which made the 14-35 as good as useless. Instead I used the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.

And even then, I couldn't find a focus system that worked. Continuous autofocus with tracking seems to ignore the AF targets. It works well enough as long as it can see the horse's head, but when the horse turns away, the focus point wanders off into nirvana, and it's almost impossible to catch it again. And continuous autofocus without tracking gets lost if I let the horse leave the target area. Somehow I'm left with the feeling that there's no good way to do this. I wonder if other cameras do it better.


Misery Creek Road again
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

On the way home, drove down the first couple of kilometres of Misery Creek Road. As expected, things have changed considerably since last time: it's warmer now, and these orange pea-like flowers are everywhere, interspersed with at least two kinds of acacias. One kind is a bush:


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And the other kind looks like a grass:


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They were already there last time, and I got better photos then (had a macro lens with me), but there are many more now.

The Grevillea bedggoodiana are also flowering more profusely, if not obviously:


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But one seems to have died completely, though the ones around it look fine:


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I wonder what happened there.

Then there are the purple-flowering bushes near the end of Orchid Track, now flowering more profusely:


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In the forest, they really stand out, but they're barely recognizable in the photos. How can I emphasize them?

Once again I'm impressed by how many of these flowers are close to the east (highway) end of Misery Creek Road. This Hardenbergia violacea is directly on the turnoff from the highway, and it's the best specimen I found:


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MediathekView insights
Topic: multimedia, technology Link here

Why can't I download Mediathek videos that I can watch online? It all sounds like a web proxy issue. So how do I set a web proxy for MediathekView? Once again Google to my aid. It pointed me at this forum discussion (!), which states that you should start MediathekView like this:

java -dproxyset=true -dproxyhost=<proxy server> -dproxyport=<port> -jar mediathekview.jar

And how about that, that did the trick. It's not clear why, but who am I to complain?


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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