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Monday, 24 June 2019 Dereel Images for 24 June 2019
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Topic: general, Stones Road house, opinion Link here

It's been a fairly mild winter so far this year, but last night made up for it. The weather station, 3.5 m off the ground, measured -0.9° at 6:14, but when I got up and went outside, round 8:30, I found temperatures as low as -3.7° to the south of the house.

And the air conditioner couldn't cope. When I got up the temperature in the lounge room was round 18°, and the temperature in the office didn't reach 20° until about 10:00. Why?

I've complained about this in the past: it's the ridiculously long time that the air conditioner rests after de-icing. I've measured up to 14 minutes, and today I counted 13 minutes on one occasion. Now that we have the photovoltaic power installation, I can see more exactly:

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The spikes between 6:00 and 8:19 are where the air conditioner was running. The troughs in between are where it was de-icing: nearly 50% of the time! Coupled with the reduced efficiency of the system when it's cold, it's no wonder that it couldn't cope.

And the missing spikes between 7:30 and 8:00? I puzzled about this, but then it was clear: the system was drawing power from the battery (the sawtooth pattern). Unfortunately the system doesn't show a total power consumption in this graph.

Murder most foul
Topic: general, animals Link here

Walking the dogs today, saw a strange sight:

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It almost looks like the tomato sauce or whatever they use in films to depict a murder, and there are clear car tyre tracks in the liquid. But what is it?

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This seems to be a particularly bad area for kangaroos; I hit one myself almost exactly there four years ago.

Painful houses and bedrooms
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

It's clear that I'm no fan of “smart phones”, and I've grumbled at length about “smart TVs”. But now there's a new source of pain: “smart homes”. I've read various articles about them, mainly dealing with things like talking to your devices and remote controlling power points, but mainly the choice of a “system” (clearly “interoperability” is an old, worn-out magic word).

It's not as if I don't have various parts of the house connected to my local network. My article above about the air conditioner is one example, and then there's the network-connected sprinkler system. But I don't want to be tied to one vendor, and remote control of power points seems rather pointless to me.

But now there's a new level of pain: smart bedrooms. What on Earth do you need in your bedroom? The article explains: turn your TV off when you go to sleep (never mind that we watch TV in the lounge room). More “smart lights”, ultimately remote-controlled power points, but of course expensive and hard to use:

Smart lights are great for control from the comfort of your bed. You can create timers, turn them on and off with your voice or phone, and if you use smart bulbs, you can dim the or change colors to something less harsh for the evening. And with a few routines, you can create a sunrise effect without having to buy an expensive clock.

With your phone! Instead of pressing on a switch, you swipe your phone a couple of times and you're done! Or you use voice and wake up your partner. So much more practical. And for only $140 (a starter kit recommended in a link), you can save the cost of an expensive $10 clock.

But clearly the people who wrote this article live in a different world:

Your bedroom likely has a myriad of electronics, whether that be chargers, fans, heaters, humidifiers, or TVs. Smart plugs are a great way to give those devices intelligence without having to buy a new TV or rewire an outlet.

No, my bedroom has none of those items whatsoever. There's a thermostat for the air conditioner, but that's not interoperable, and it's not part of that list. Dammit, a bedroom's for sleeping in! What kind of daily rhythm do these people have? Maybe no lounge room? No partner?

What could I use in the bedroom? About the only thing that I can think of is an Internet-connected radio and a phone. I suppose the idea of a real phone doesn't occur to the authors because they only use mobile phones, but they take that as a given, not part of a “smart bedroom”. Still, when building the house I did have network cabling installed in the bedrooms, so maybe an Internet-connected radio might not be such a bad idea. Only there is absolutely no overlap with the “smart bedroom” described in this article.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 Dereel
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Time for a new lens?
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Yvonne takes a lot of videos, mainly (perversely) with her monopod tied to a fencepost rather than using a tripod. And since she's alone, she needs to cover a wide angle to avoid going off the field of view. In the past I've offered her my Zuiko Digital 9-18 mm f/4-5.6 to take the videos, but for some reason she didn't want to do it.

Today she came and asked me for a wider angle lens than her standard M.Zuiko EZ 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6. What can I offer? Various zooms starting at 12 mm, the 9-18 again, or an 8 mm fisheye? Clearly the fisheye isn't appropriate for video, and the 12+ mm zooms would probably not be wide enough. So (without reminding her), the 9-18 again.

The results could have been better:

That's completely out of focus! A combination of the old Four Thirds system lens and the E-PM2, which doesn't play nicely with phase-detect autofocus.

What to do? One possibility is to set manual focus, and I went looking for how to do that, using the designated AEL/AFL button to focus. It seems that you can't in video mode! But I could use video in normal still mode, and that would work.

Would that be sufficient? I have already got rid of one lens (the Zuiko Digital 18-180 mm f/3.5-6.3) because of autofocus problems with the E-PM2. Why not again? After all, I've had the 9-18 for over 10 years. A Micro Four Thirds 9-18? Or maybe a 7-14? Right now, before the end of the Financial Year, might be a good time to find one.

Sanctioning Ayatollah Khomeini!
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Donald Trump is remaining true to form. He may have held off military strikes on Iran—prompting some people to see him as an angel of peace—but now he has put financial sanctions on its supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-1989). Better late than never?

This is at round 20 seconds into the clip. Why is it in French? It seems that the English-language versions have dried up, which makes you wonder about press censorship in the USA.

Still, I found one English-language report.

Ayatollah WHO?!?! Trump Announces Sanctions On Long-Dead Iranian Leader
Twitter users call out the president for naming the wrong ayatollah.

But then, what would you expect of that bumbling idiot?

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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