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Friday, 12 October 2018 Dereel Images for 12 October 2018
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More garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

Mick the gardener along this morning to look at the garden. It took him 6 hours, only cutting grass and spraying weeds. And he's only half done. That's not his fault: it really takes that long.


Margaret out of hospital
Topic: general Link here

Yvonne into town today to pick Margaret Swan up from hospital. Given the breakages she's been through, she doesn't look too bad, but it looks like it will be quite some time before she is back to normal again.


Knife colours
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

While in town yesterday, I picked up a couple more ceramic knives at ALDI. The last ones had red handles, so I chose green for the new ones. It wasn't until I got home that I discovered something else. A couple of days ago I had commented on the dirty colour of the blades on the ceramic knives. But that's not a bug, it's a feature. The green ones have white blades:


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Where's my named config?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The new Android phone has a presence on my local net, of course, so it needs a name. Yes, I know most Android users are too polite for such things, but I'm not most Android users. What shall I call it? My first Android device was a tablet, so I called it flachmann. Then the Samsung GT-I9100T got the name talipon. What should I call this one? It's Finnish, so it should be a Finnish name, which really eliminates teflon. How about translating flachmann? taskumatti it is.

Time to update the DNS configuration. Where is it? It used to be in /etc/named/db.lemis.com, but since then it has moved a couple of times, to /var/named/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com and then to /usr/local/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com. But this is on eureka, which has a horribly out of date system. Where is it?

Guessed at /etc/namedb/ and updated. Damn. The changes didn't stick. Where else could it be?

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~ 105 -> locate db.lemis.com | grep lemis.com$
/home/var/named/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com
/usr/local/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com
/var/named/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com

Yes, as expected. What's my current SOA?

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~ 107 -> nslookup -q=soa lemis.com
Server:         192.109.197.137
Address:        192.109.197.137#53

lemis.com
        origin = ns1.lemis.com
        mail addr = grog.lemis.com
        serial = 2017121201
        refresh = 1800
        retry = 3600
        expire = 864000
        minimum = 7200
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~ 108 -> locate db.lemis.com | grep lemis.com$ | xargs ls -lrt
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  11063 25 Sep  2015 /home/var/named/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com
-r--r--r--  1 root  wheel  10081 25 Nov  2015 /usr/local/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel   6940 12 Oct 11:31 /var/named/etc/namedb/db.lemis.com

Huh? The SOA has the implied format YYYYMMDDnn (years, month, day, serial number per day), so this SOA refers to changes that I made on 12 December 2017. But none of the files have a modification date anywhere close to that. OK, grep for it:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~ 109 -> locate db.lemis.com | grep lemis.com$ | xargs grep 201712
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~ 110 ->

None of them! Where is it? What did named say on restart?

Oct 12 11:31:26 eureka named[1848]: all zones loaded
Oct 12 11:31:26 eureka named[1848]: running

Now isn't that helpful? At the very least it could say where it looked for its named.conf.

I know that if your config file contains a lower serial number than the current one, named ignores it. Without saying so? No, I'm pretty sure that it does.

It took a while to find it: a typo, making the serial number one character longer:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/3) ~ 127 -> rcsdiff -wu /etc/namedb/db.lemis.com
--- /etc/namedb/db.lemis.com    2017/12/12 01:40:31     1.155
+++ /etc/namedb/db.lemis.com    2018/10/12 00:31:06
@@ -6,7 +6,7 @@
 $TTL 15m

 @                      IN SOA  ns1 grog  (
-                               2017121201
+                               20181011201

That wasn't what I wanted, but should have worked, in principle. After fixing the typo, it worked. Was this arithmetic overflow?


Unexpected communication
Topic: general Link here

Interesting looking envelope in the mail today:

 
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Br.? What's that? But the letter itself was even more interesting:

 
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Yvonne thought that that might have had something to do with the visit of the Jehovah's witnesses at the beginning of the month. But no, the Latter Day Saints are a different group, better known as the Mormons.

I've had contact with them in the past. Wes Peters, of the FreeBSD, is a Mormon, and I spent a weekend with him in South Jordan, Utah (a suburb of Salt Lake City) about 19 years ago, including attending a 3 hour celebration on the Sunday morning. But since then there has been nothing. I didn't know they had any (clearly inaccurate) records about me, let alone ask them to remove them. I'm puzzled. Where did this come from? Yes, I could ask them, but I'm not that interested.


Unlocking the Nokia 3
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Suggestion from Jamie Fraser today: buy an unlock code for my Nokia 3 on eBay. Interesting idea, and sure enough, there are two different offers under $20. That still makes it cheaper than ALDI's $129 offer that comes up tomorrow. Clearly worth a try.


Saturday, 13 October 2018 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 13 October 2018
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New kitchen toys
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

In to Sebastopol before breakfast this morning to get some of ALDI's special offers: a microwave oven (“microwave” in the newspeak of non-technical people) with convection and grill function, and a “digital air fryer”, not a device for frying digital air, but a deep fryer that tries to ignore the laws of thermodynamics and heat food without supplying adequate thermal mass to do the job.

Clearly I'm not convinced of either. But that's exactly the reason I bought them from ALDI: I can bring them back, even if I decide that the idea is good but the implementation is dubious.

That definitely seems to be the case with the “microwave”. I can't work out how to control it. I've never seen a microwave oven control panel quite like it. Here the two we have at the moment (the second one also from ALDI), and then the new one:

 
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On the positive side, it's the first microwave oven I've had in a long time that has a 24 hour clock, and the idea of the rotating knob for setting the time is not bad either, unfortunately marred by a lack of exact choice in the time. But i can't recognize anything on the panel! In general the photos I take show things much more clearly than you can see with the naked eye, but in this case the camera had difficulty too.

Coming closer I get a tasteful reflection of myself and some barely recognizable icons. Clearly the device is designed for illiterates:

 
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Browsing through the “instructions” suggests that I don't have much choice in the combinations of heat, but that could just be that they're not very well laid out. We'll be reheating pizza in a day or two, and that sounds like a good task for trying out the combined heating.

Other thoughts about the microwave oven: the dot matrix display looks long overdue on modern equipment, but it's on all the time, and it's quite bright. It's also considerably smaller than the old oven that it could potentially replace. And we'll have to see whether modern low-end microwave ovens now also have continually variable heat output (“inverter”, to use Panasonic's terminology).

I haven't unpacked the “air fryer” yet. I'll wait until we have some application for it.


A use for smart watches
Topic: politics, technology, opinion Link here

The affair about Jamal Khashoggi (another of these unpronounceable names, like Mnangagwa. It seems that Khasohggi should really be called Khashoqji, based in the name جمال خاشقجي‎) is fascinating for many reasons. None of them is the fact that today was his 60th birthday.

Firstly, it tends to confirm my negative opinion of Saudi Arabia, who have been making life hell for their neighbours—the war against Yemen, with hundreds of thousands of casualties (over 50,000 children have died of starvation due to Saudi blockades), and trying to bully Qatar into doing what the Saudis want, including shutting down the Al Jazeera network, and their continued attacks on Iran. All this, like the atrocities committed by Israel, can only happen because of tacit support by the USA.

Then there's the world reaction. Despite the horrendous death toll in Yemen, the world became most horrified by the death of a “mere” 40 children in a school bus on 9 August 2018—so much so that I didn't discover until I checked that 11 adults died too. Yes, that's sad, but compared to the others it's a drop in the ocean.

And now one man has reportedly been killed, on Saudi territory. And the world is up in arms! Of course it's horrifying. But what is there about this one suspected death that is so much worse than the hundreds of thousands of other casualties? But if it makes people sit up and finally do something about it, all the better.

Then there's the piecemeal reporting by the Turks, themselves not known for great respect of human rights. Almost every day there's some new detail, starting the day after his disappearance on 2 October. Had they bugged the Saudi Embassy? Possibly. Certainly they have surveillance cameras outside (on Turkish territory, and thus legal), and they've shown footage showing Khashoqji entering the embassy. But clearly if they have bugged the embassy, they have clear audio evidence of what happened, and also no way of presenting it without incriminating themselves. Thus the piecemeal revelations?

But today we found out: Khashoqji was wearing a smart watch with audio logging to his mobile phone. He wasn't allowed to take the phone into the embassy with him, so he left it outside with his fiancée, logging what went on inside.

Finally a use for a smart watch! And also a game changer for people being interviewed. In the past it was the phone that did the recording, and thus at least one of the reasons that the phone was not allowed into the embassy. But now watches also count. And when they're prohibited, what will come next? Time to accept, as I have done, that in this networked age we no longer have any privacy.


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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