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Sunday, 16 September 2018 Dereel Images for 16 September 2018
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Topic: general, food and drink, photography Link here

Today was one of those strange days with lots to do and little to show for it. Somehow cooking Indian food makes the kitchen look like a bomb has gone off, and by the end of the evening things weren't looking too much better. That's at least partially because of the preparations for tomorrow: Yvonne is feeding not only herself, but also Arne Koets and friend, and also Chris Bahlo and Margaret Swan at tomorrow's clinic. Today she prepared the food.

And I still have the job of taking video. That's nothing new; we've been taking (lots of) video since 1984, but those were clips, and I've decided to take a whole 40 minute session of Arne teaching Yvonne. How do I do that? I still don't know. Probably badly, or at least, not to my satisfaction.

Monday, 17 September 2018 Dereel → Smythes Creek → Haddon → Ballarat → Dereel
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Horse videos: the pain
Topic: photography, multimedia, animals, opinion Link here

Off this afternoon to Three Barns in Smythes Creek to take some video of Yvonne's riding lesson with Arne Koets. I was concerned about problems, and my concerns were justified.

I had already decided to take videos with two cameras:

  1. One simply mounted on a tripod and taking the whole area of the arena for the whole time. For this I had chosen the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Which lens? Depending on the position, I had thought of the M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8 or the M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8 , probably the former. This camera also had the microphones connected.

The first issue is the venue itself: a covered arena, open at all sides. I've been there before, and it makes exposure almost impossible. Today the sun was shining, so things were even more extreme. Manual exposure? How do you even do that with video? Dragged out the E-M1 manual and discovered that yes, indeed, it works pretty much the way it does for stills. It wasn't until I got to the venue that I discovered that this doesn't work for the E-M1 Mark II, because the menus are different, and the “Super Control Panel” doesn't allow you to set this detail. So for that I tried an exposure compensation of +2 EV, which looks like it worked well enough.

The first surprise: the 45 mm lens was far too long. Fortunately I had my Olympus E-PM1 there with the Panasonic Lumix G 20 mm f/1.7, so I put that on the E-M1.

The rest still didn't work well. Despite all my attempts, Yvonne's microphone scraped against her clothing, making unpleasant scratching noises. And once again I had problems with both microphones. Yvonne's stopped working for no obvious reason; when I checked it was still on, and after power cycling it worked again. Later, Arne's powered down. Once again it showed full battery on being powered up. But back home I discovered that one of the cells was showing about 0.9 V. Could it be that something similar but not so catastrophic happened to Yvonne's microphone? I tested it and found no issues.

That was with NiZn batteries. Last week I established that NiMH batteries are not an option: even when fully charged they show a “battery low” indication, though a repeat test showed no problems. Admittedly, some of the NiZn cells are getting rather long in the tooth: I started using them seven years ago, and some may be getting tired. But I can't rely on them if they fail so silently. So it looks like I will have to use non-rechargeable batteries in the future, at least for the transmitters.

Apart from that, it was anything but plain sailing. I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that the much-hyped autofocus of the E-M1s is inadequate. Tracking doesn't: on some occasions it jumped to a different horse in the distance. There should be heuristics that make that less likely. On other occasions it got completely lost in the corner of the image (outside the AF sensor area?) and stayed there, presumably something like the problems I had last week. About the only good thing is that I discovered that, despite disabling the touch screen, I was able to touch the area I wanted in focus, and it worked immediately. But what kind of algorithm leaves you with a red square in the corner of the viewfinder (“I can't get into focus, and I'm not going to try”)? Under those circumstances, and given single focus point mode, you'd expect it to always be better to go back to that focus point and try to focus there. I'm very impressed, but not positively.

Was that all? Of course not. For some reason the E-M1 (the one that I just left running) stopped recording for no obvious reason after 22 minutes, 3 seconds. Start again and it worked. And on one occasion the E-M1 Mark II got so annoyed, presumably because it was completely out of focus, that it stopped reacting at all, and I had to remove the battery to stop the bloody thing. One way and another, not the smooth recording that I had expected.

And finally, I lost the lens cap to the M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8. Where did it go? My best bet was in the corner of the arena where I put up the tripods, but search as I might both there and elsewhere, I couldn't find it. But when the others came home, they had the cap with them. Yes, it had been in that corner. Presumably it had been covered in sand.

No daun kesum
Topic: gardening Link here

A few weeks back I planted a daun kesum plant, better known as Vietnamese mint, one of the key ingredients for Penang Laksa and thus also known as daun laksa in Malay.

But it was too early, and it died. I had got the plant from Avalon Nursery, not far from Three Barns, so I dropped in there on the way back. No, sorry. Picked up a Alyogyne huegelii that smiled at me, and that was all.

Finally an induction cooker?
Topic: general Link here

The week before last I got an offer from The Good Guys, valid for a month, for a Bosch PIJ611BB1E for the surprisingly good price of $1,098 instead of the standard $1,399. And then I got a special offer email for kitchen gear from them. OK, check what they're offering. How about that, exactly my chosen cooker—for $1,089. OK, time to buy. Dropped in today, but they didn't have them in stock. Ordered one, and was rewarded with a price of $1,050.

The list price is $1,699. Why are they selling them (and only this model, it seems) so cheap? Because there are only 3 cooking areas? To make up for that, the one on the left is 28 cm in diameter and can deliver up to 3.7 kW. That doesn't sound very big, but it's much larger than the standard 16 or 18 cm, and the heating surface of my largest frying pan is only 26 cm. But maybe people don't think that way. On the other hand, it could be a coincidence. The best price I can find on eBay is still $1,159.

While waiting to be served, the person in front of me came along with a 4 handset Panasonic cordless phone like the one that I had been looking at a couple of months ago. Price $139. Doubtless I could get one cheaper on eBay, but here I could get better customer service and return it if I had significant problems. So off to get one, but couldn't find it. The only one they had was the display model, which they sold me for $115 as a result. It wasn't until I was on my way home that I realized I hadn't checked the specs. And at home I discovered that it doesn't have mobile phone coupling, the only reason I wanted a new phone. So it'll have to go back after all.

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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