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Tuesday, 2 June 2020 Dereel Images for 2 June 2020
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More mouse insights
Topic: technology Link here

More discussion about mice with Callum Gibson on IRC today. It seems that he's almost more interested in the issue than I. But our approaches are different: he was looking for (and found) a solution, while I'm trying to understand the architecture so that I can make a choice.

Today he came up with this page, which looks interesting, but which will need some careful reading. This page contains similar information, but also points out that xev takes parameters, and xev -event mouse should stem the voluminous output that it produces by default.

And then xmodmap has an -pp option, which prints the mapping between logical and physical pointer buttons, but doesn't seem to address the issues of chords like the Emulate3Buttons option of mouse(4x). And none of these address the issue of multiple pointers. But I should do something soon: currently I can't paste (button 2), even with the otherwise functional mapping on the M705 mouse.


Gate opener: more failures
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Planned to insert my new, correctly sized 8 mm bolt into the gate opening mechanism today. Yesterday I had measured the hole, and it was exactly 8 mm. But that was with calipers, and it seems I got it wrong. Yes, the 8 mm bolt fits well, but the hole is more like 8.7 or 9 mm, and that difference translates to about 30 cm in the “closed” position of the gate. Somehow the mechanism is poorly thought out. So it looks like I'll have to position it overclosed and adjust the limit switch. I can only set the position by trial and error, something I don't like.

And then the press button (doorbell) switch. It's illuminated and comes with the helpful information that this can drain the (doorbell) battery, but without any documented or obvious way to disable the illumination. Now clearly the gate opener battery has at least one order of magnitude more charge, but I still don't like the idea. And of course it's 48 V, probably much more than a doorbell (9 V?), so maybe it will just burn out the illumination LED. But maybe I should look for a more appropriate switch.


New pans
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We tried out the new frying pans for breakfast this morning. What features are important for cooking? I can buy el-cheapo pans for $15, or I can buy expensive ones like the new Tefal one for $70. What's the difference?

It doesn't seem to be the anti-stick coating any more. Once upon a time it was PTFE, and particularly in the early days it was very sensitive to damage. But nowadays they use vitreous coatings that are much more scratch resistant, though in the course of time they lose their anti-stick properties, and I think that they're never as good in that respect as the old PTFE coatings.

But there are two other issues that I've seen: evenness of heating and flatness. The evenness is clearly related to the construction of the base. In particular, when frying sausage slices in the pans I have, I've found that they brown better in the middle than on the edges. But this one (here the “sautepan”, which I won't use again for this purpose) does much better:


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The other one is the flatness of the surface. Here the pans don't do as well. But I was able to confirm that they flex with temperature. When cold (first photo) an oil film covers the bottom evenly, but when warm the centre rises, leaving the middle dry:


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I think I can live with that. The new expensive one, which I haven't used yet, should not behave like that, if my experience with previous big Tefal pans is anything to go by.


More flash investigations
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

The flash test photos that I took with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I on Sunday didn't produce the results I expected: at 1/800 s the image was completely black, while the images I took years ago with the E-510 showed a clearly delineated black band. Indication of shutter problems?

The responses I got on the Facebook M43 Tech Talk group were generally useless. They pointed out that the specified sync speed for the E-M1 Mark I is generally not 1/320 s: it's 1/250 s, and it always has been. The 1/320 s is an exception only for the toy flash supplied with the camera. So most of the answers were “you should be using High Speed Sync”. One even suggested that it was operator error, or that the flash didn't cost enough.

Today I took similar photos with 4 of the 6 Olympus cameras at my disposal: the E-30, the E-PM2, the E-M1 Mark II and the E-M5 Mark III. The results? All pretty similar:

So where does that leave me? Clearly from now on I'll set the E-M1 Mark I to 1/250 s for flash, but I don't have the slightest expectation that the problem won't show up again.


PayPal pain
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Yvonne doesn't buy much online, but she tried today. Special socks. Where do they come from? She didn't know. She knew the price, but not the currency. And she wanted the password for PayPal.

OK, went and found that, typed it in. Failure. Go to some URL unrelated to PayPal to try again.

DAMN! Have we fallen prey to a scammer? Quick, in something of a panic, off to change my PayPal password!

How do you do that? I was able to log in with no trouble, but where's the “reset password” tab? Must be behind the calendula icon. But there I find ways to update my photo, my time zone, how to close the account, how to add physical or email addresses. What about my password? Finally I found a link SECURITY at the bottom of the page. Must be that. No, only joking, that's just information about security.

Off to ask Google. Ah, up there above the profile. OK, select that.

 
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Damn you, PayPal, why do you want me to update my browser in an emergency? Off to find another browser and change password. It promised to send me a code to my primary email address, and I needed that to continue. But it didn't arrive. OK, alternative method: enter the complete number of one of my credit cards (the one ending in 11). That worked, sort of:

 
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What does that mean? First password wrong, second one right? At any rate I can't save it. Click on the red “other vehicle danger” icon? Yes! The British Highway Code says of this symbol:

Other danger; plate indicates nature of danger

But PayPal was just too polite to tell me what I should have known:

 
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We wouldn't want passwords to be too secure now, would we? OK, finally got my password changed. Logged in, confirmed that nobody had performed any transactions. But then I got email from PayPal:

  44   + 01-06-2020 service@paypal.com.a To Greg Lehey   ( 100)   + Welcome to PayPal One Touch ???
  50   + 01-06-2020 service@paypal.com.a To grogpal@lemi ( 567)   + Verification code to reset PayPal password
  52   + 01-06-2020 service@paypal.com   To Greg Lehey   (  88)   + You've just changed your password

What's that One Touch? The email was in only broekn plain text:

You've chosen to skip login with PayPal One Touch TM. From now on you won't be asked for your email or password when paying with PayPal on this device: Desktop Firefox FreeBSD.

You can now breeze through checkout on millions of eligible apps and merchant websites. As long as you actively use PayPal, we'll automatically log you in unless you turn this setting off. For your security, we'll always ask you to log in whenever you update your personal or financial information, or if you haven't used this feature in a while.

This feature isn't recommended for shared devices. If you share this device with a family member or friend or are using a public computer, we recommend turning this feature off to avoid unauthorised purchases:

- Log in to your PayPal account
https://www.paypal.com/au/webapps/mpp/home?utm_source=unp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PPC040707&utm_unptid=a1f3aafb-a495-1e1a-9c4f-b8750c3966bb&ppid=PPC000397&cnac=AU&rsta=en_AU&cust=WU77GKRAXFZXQ&unptid=a1f3aafb-a495-11ea-9c4f-b875c0396b6b&calc=a8858777991bf&unp_tpcid=remember-me-enabled-notification&page=main%3Aemail%3APPC004711%3A%3A%3A&pgrp=main%3Aemail&e=cl&mchn=em&s=
+ci&mail=sys&xt=104037 .
- Click the "Settings" icon next to "Log out".
- Click "Security".
- Click "Update" next to "One Touch for auto login at checkout".
- Click "Opt out" per device or "Turn off One Touch??? on all devices".

...

From this I can at least deduce:

How serious is this? I had something like this set up already. But is it the same? I don't know, but it's concerning, especially since it was sent before I got round to changing anything. But another similar message arrived later.

But back to Yvonne's socks. Off to fill out the form and finally pay for them. Hang:

 
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What does CLAMP mean? Some kind of error, possibly an inappropriate reference to a wheel clamp? And what about this at the bottom left?

 
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What's a keidson? But after a minute or two I got:

 
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Is this URL kosher? It looks very much as if we were transferred to an external site, though the URL starts with paypal.com: https://www.paypal.com/webapps/hermes?flow=1-P&ulReturn=true&token=EC-82P64788W31433305&useraction=commit&country.x=AU&locale.x=en_AU#/checkout/login

So: did my password get compromised again? Off to change it again (and yes, that was really the password I used at the time). Send email to the seller, but that didn't work either:

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.

<ncservice1@buyeasyservice.com>: host mxbiz1.qq.com[203.205.232.191] said: 550
    Ip frequency limited.
    http://service.exmail.qq.com/cgi-bin/help?subtype=1&&id=20022&&no=1000725
    (in reply to end of DATA command)

I've never seen that before.

So what's going on? My guess is that the payment was passed to the seller's system, and that it's broken in more than one way. In all probability there was no compromise, but how can you tell? Certainly it's an indication that this whole setup is more complicated than is acceptable: how can you tell what has happened? PayPal can't even write their documentation intelligibly.


Wednesday, 3 June 2020 Dereel Images for 3 June 2020
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Completing the sock purchase
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

So what went wrong with Yvonne's attempt to order socks yesterday? Her mail to the seller bounced, but their system had obviously noted the problem and sent her email reminding her of the purchase—along with a $6 rebate voucher.

OK, try again. Yesterday's URL was clearly old and worn out, and that was something they hadn't expected:

 
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But retrying brought me further, including additional inapplicable but required information:

 
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And the voucher (“only valid for today”) was still applicable, so in the end we saved the $5.99 postage. It worked! And the receipt from PayPal explained another mystery:

Subject: Receipt for your payment to keidson.

So the company variously refers to itself as keidson, ACCFC-COM, buyeasyservice.com and stromore.com. No wonder we're confused: they seem to be too. Once again, it seems, an application of Hanlon's Razor.


Rice in new saucepans
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I cook rice in bulk and freeze it in portions. Today was a day, not helped by the fact that the stainless steel saucepan I use for rice was already in use. OK, what are the new saucepans for? Not for that; at least that was my intention. But why not?

It proved to be very successful. Rice does have a tendency to stick to the bottom of a saucepan, and the non-stick coating proved very effective. I wonder how it will go with nasi lemak.

But one thing hit me. The projecting handles:


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They're not in the way on the stove, but they'll take up significantly more space dish washer. Something to think about next time we buy cookware.

In passing, this time the rice:water ratio was 1:1.45. I think I can go to 1:1.5 next time.


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. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. 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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