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Monday, 19 November 2018 Dereel Images for 19 November 2018
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Ubuntu for CJ
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

CJ Ellis' computer is so infected with viruses (I think) that the best thing appears to be to reinstall the OS. But on discussing it on IRC, people suggested that I should avoid Microsoft and install Ubuntu instead.

I resisted. Why? I really have very little love for Microsoft, but if I install Ubuntu, I alone will be responsible for support. But on thinking about it, the idea didn't sound that bad. I seem to end up doing it anyway, and certainly there will be less infections with Ubuntu. So I downloaded the 18.04 LTS version and installed.

Installation was much as I feared. It started off by identifying the existing FreeBSD installation:


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For some reason (probably the keyboard) I managed to enter the password incorrectly several times, culminating (as I discovered) in entering the same incorrect password twice, meaning that I couldn't log in after rebooting.

How do you recover from this in Ubuntu? In FreeBSD you would boot single-user and reset. But how do you boot single user in Ubuntu? It's even too polite to show me the boot messages. Again, IRC to the rescue:

<ozz> During beginning of boot press the any key
<ozz> You should see a language select menu.
<groggyhimself> Nope.
<groggyhimself> Came back to the login prompt.
<oggle> groggyhimself: hold shift when booting?
<groggyhimself> Ah, *that*'s the ANY key?

Tried both, and they didn't work. Looking online told me that the SHIFT key was correct, but that it “didn't always work”.

I've noticed on some systems that timing when to hit the left Shift key can be tricky, sometimes I miss it and need to try it again.

Dammit, boot from DVD and see if that helped, noting once again how glacially slow the boot process is. This page was of some help, though in principle it was pretty obvious:

The only thing that wasn't obvious was the chroot.

After that, setting up the system. How I HATE these colours that they insist on producing. Apart from the fact that they're far too gaudy, all assume a terminal with bright (white?) text on a black background. Make it sane and you get something like this:


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My background isn't completely white, which makes it (barely) possible to see the white text.

I've noted how to do this before, by fixing a file called /etc/DIR_COLORS. But that's an old, worn-out magic word. More searching online gave me that ls and grep are aliases deliberately intended to annoy with these colours. Unalias and they behave normally. But apt isn't like that, and I haven't found a way to get around it. I tried resetting the TERM environment variable to something monochrome, but that didn't interest it. WHAT a pain!

Apart from that, yet another GUI to get used to. As they proudly announce:

 
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Ubuntu 18.04 works differently from older versions

They don't say why they have changed things.

Still, after some pain I got things installed. I hope that CJ can come to terms with it.


First outdoor Hibiscus
Topic: gardening Link here

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis that I planted last week is recovering, and today the first flower bloomed:

 
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Nothing spectacular, but that's a plant that I've been tending for over 10 years, and this is the first cutting that I have planted outside, so it seemed to be something of an achievement.

Also got round to taking more photos of the flowers that Ruth picked on Saturday. They have certainly lasted well, considering that they were stuck in the ventilator grille of the car all day before being put in water. Here hopefully enough to identify them:

 
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More HDR comparisons
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I had intended to do more work on Saturday's photos today, but somehow I didn't get round to it. But it's interesting to compare two individual photos that I took:

 
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Which looks better? The first is merged from a group of 3 photos taken hand-held at 3 EV intervals, and the second is an in-camera “HDR2” image. Sorry, I still can't find any use for in-camera HDR.


Do you exist?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Another letter for Yvonne today from Carsat, the French social security department, asking for an “attestation d'existence”, close enough to English to be obvious.

 
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That makes sense: people die, and somehow they have to know when they can stop paying. But look at the date! 25 October, nearly a month ago! And they want an answer by 11 December, or they will stop pension payments. If it's that urgent, they could at least have sent it by airmail, rather then storing it in Belgium for a few weeks.


Tuesday, 20 November 2018 Dereel Images for 20 November 2018
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More Ubuntu installation pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So I have Ubuntu installed on CJ's computer. Now to make it easier to use.

Not much, really. But it took all day. TeamViewer had exactly what I wanted: a package for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, along with instructions But trying to install it was like pulling teeth:

=== root@cj (/dev/pts/0) /home/grog/Downloads 5 -> dpkg -i teamviewer_14.0.12762_amd64.deb
Selecting previously unselected package teamviewer.
(Reading database ... 169272 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack teamviewer_14.0.12762_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking teamviewer (14.0.12762) ...
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of teamviewer:
 teamviewer depends on libqt5gui5 (>= 5.5) | qt56-teamviewer; however:
  Package libqt5gui5 is not installed.
  Package qt56-teamviewer is not installed.
(many repeats)

dpkg: error processing package teamviewer (--install):
 dependency problems - leaving unconfigured
Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.13.3-11ubuntu1.1) ...
...
Errors were encountered while processing:
 teamviewer

Doesn't that make FreeBSD's pkg look good! OK, clearly it wants Qt installed. Went looking for that. apt is too polite to assume that you don't know any names, so there's no search function (or it's also renamed so that I can't find it). Back to memories of 15 years ago... apt-cache search, that obviously named program. But no, no qt. After fighting my way through hundreds of packages, finally decided on libqt5core5a, having successfully ignored the text libqt5gui5 in the vomit from dpkg.

OK, on and try to install that:

=== root@cj (/dev/pts/0) /home/grog/Downloads 19 -> apt install libqt5core5a
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
You might want to run 'apt --fix-broken install' to correct these.
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 libqt5core5a : Depends: libdouble-conversion1 (>= 2.0.0) but it is not going to be installed
                Recommends: qttranslations5-l10n but it is not going to be installed
 teamviewer : Depends: libqt5gui5 (>= 5.5) but it is not going to be installed or
                       qt56-teamviewer but it is not installable
     (etc)
E: Unmet dependencies. Try 'apt --fix-broken install' with no packages (or specify a solution).

Isn't that useful? “It (the dependency) is not going to be installed”. OK, let's try to fix the breakage that I didn't cause:

=== root@cj (/dev/pts/0) /home/grog/Downloads 20 -> apt --fix-broken install
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Correcting dependencies... Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
  libdouble-conversion1 libqt5core5a libqt5dbus5 libqt5gui5 libqt5network5 libqt5positioning5 libqt5printsupport5
  libqt5qml5 libqt5quick5 libqt5sensors5 libqt5svg5 libqt5webchannel5 libqt5webkit5 libqt5widgets5 libqt5x11extras5
  libxcb-xinerama0 qml-module-qtgraphicaleffects qml-module-qtquick-controls qml-module-qtquick-dialogs
  qml-module-qtquick-layouts qml-module-qtquick-privatewidgets qml-module-qtquick-window2 qml-module-qtquick2
  qt5-gtk-platformtheme qttranslations5-l10n
Suggested packages:
  qt5-image-formats-plugins qtwayland5 qt5-qmltooling-plugins
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libdouble-conversion1 libqt5core5a libqt5dbus5 libqt5gui5 libqt5network5 libqt5positioning5 libqt5printsupport5
  libqt5qml5 libqt5quick5 libqt5sensors5 libqt5svg5 libqt5webchannel5 libqt5webkit5 libqt5widgets5 libqt5x11extras5
  libxcb-xinerama0 qml-module-qtgraphicaleffects qml-module-qtquick-controls qml-module-qtquick-dialogs
  qml-module-qtquick-layouts qml-module-qtquick-privatewidgets qml-module-qtquick-window2 qml-module-qtquick2
  qt5-gtk-platformtheme qttranslations5-l10n
0 to upgrade, 25 to newly install, 0 to remove and 31 not to upgrade.
1 not fully installed or removed.
Need to get 25.2 MB of archives.
After this operation, 109 MB of additional disk space will be used.
  Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

And then it installed everything! But what a pain. Others on IRC even agreed. How does a non-technical user handle this kind of pain?

So I set up TeamViewer and established that it worked. Next, “sleep”. Yes, that worked too, and when I came back things still seemed to be OK. Except that TeamViewer no longer worked. The message wasn't helpful: “Not ready. Please check your connection”, implying a network connection.. OK, let's check the connection. It's fine. What next? There's no “retry” button.

Reboot? Yes, works. Sleep and resume. No, doesn't work. So clearly there's a connection. More web scouring to confirm that I was not alone, and that there were various suggestions about stopping and restarting the teamviewer daemon, none of which helped. This one, from the TeamViewer community, jumped to conclusions that it was a DNS issue (it wasn't), and suggests an inappropriate way to set up DNS. This one, from the Ubuntu community, at least told me how to restart the service, but that didn't help either. About the only obvious thing was that the deamon couldn't reinstate its PID.

And somewhere along the line I got this popup:


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OK, what does that mean? Pressed “Report problem” and it told me, yes, indeed, it had reported the problem. But it didn't say to whom, and told me absolutely nothing about its nature. That's disgusting.

Another less irritating indication of the sloppiness was starting chrome chromium chromium-browser:

 
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Normally, I suppose, all of that goes into /dev/null.


Nokia 3: dead?
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Went walking with the dogs today, as always, taking my phone with me for GPS location. When I got back, it was completely unresponsive. I couldn't even get it to boot. It shouldn't have been the battery: it had been on charge until I left with the dogs. Discussion on IRC, and “ibiza” came up with this video showing how to take the thing apart, not something that I wanted to do on a phone less than two months old and thus still under warranty.

But while I was watching it, the phone started to boot, after at least 5 minutes of silence. What caused that? Should I have it exchanged anyway?


Dinner with the Marriotts
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

Over to the Marriotts next door this evening for dinner. It's been nearly five years since we last sat on this verandah and agreed to buy the Stones Road property:

 
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Pleasant evening, even if everybody looked pointedly at Diane for drinking tea after the meal:

 
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Still more flash problems
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I really have nothing but trouble with on-camera flash. Going to the Marriotts this evening, I decided not to take the mecablitz 58 AF-2, and took the gutless FL-LM3 flash that came with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and of which Olympus thinks so highly that they don't have a description page.

Things didn't go well. This photo could almost have been OK, but the lens got in the way:

 
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OK, how about bounce flash?

 
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Why so dark? OK, back to normal flash:

 
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It wasn't until later that I discovered that I had the flash settings to manual, 1/10 power. Or did I? Looking at the settings (also later), it told me that it was set to full power. Is this an issue with the settings or with the Exif data? On the face of it, with the Exif data: it has a guide number of only 12.9 at 24°/400 ISO, so 1/10 would mean a guide number of 4.1 would only illuminate up to 1 m correctly at the f/4 that I used for the photos. The first photo clearly has more illumination than that. In addition, the Exif data claim that it's fill-in, not manual.

Why is this stuff all so complicated?


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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