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Friday, 3 July 2020 Dereel Images for 3 July 2020
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Defunding Facebook
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Recently Facebook took down some postings from Donald Trump, but then reinstated them along with a comment that the content breached Facebook content rules, but might nevertheless be in the public interest (“Look what kind of person the US Americans elected as president”).

And then a number of high profile advertisers announced that they would stop advertising on Facebook. What? Are they trying to bully Facebook into relaxing its censorship? That's what I thought until I dug a little deeper: no, quite the opposite. They've signed up to Stop Hate for Profit.

Now will that finally have an effect? It would be funny if Twitter and Facebook were to ban Trump altogether.


Computer upgrades: new tangents
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I bought my new ThinkCentre mainly because I thought that there might be a hardware issue with the old one. When I got it, I did some investigation that showed that there are issues with newer versions of FreeBSD or X, and I still haven't cornered them. But now that I have replaced the hardware, the rest isn't so much of a hurry.

But there's another upgrade on the back burner: splitting eureka (running FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE, now coming on 5 years out of date) into two machines, one as a network gateway and one as my private machine. That petered out a couple of weeks ago, mainly because the hardware failed.

The other issue was also there: I wanted to do my first clean install in over 20 years, and it wasn't easy. On the other hand, I must do something: a number of sites are warning me that my browser is out of date, some presenting emetic CAPTCHAs where more modern browsers are accepted, and SRF won't talk to me at all: I have to use dischord, an up-to-date Microsoft “Windows” 7 box. What indignity!

But the network servers don't have quite that problem. They all work as intended, though an upgrade wouldn't do any harm. So: how about doing it the other way round? Leave the current box as the server box and install a separate machine as my personal machine. That way I could migrate slowly, especially with the two machines connected to a single “desktop” via x2x

There are at least two ways to implement this particular approach: assemble a new, faster machine (after all, eureka is now coming on 6 years old), use an existing machine, or even possibly buy another cheap ThinkCentre.

The first approach is clearly the cleanest. But it took me weeks of research last time, and I'm not really interested in that pain again.

The second approach has the great advantage that I don't need to buy any more hardware. At least for the time being I could use the old teevee, the one that I suspect of having some hardware issues. Or I could use the one remaining old machine that still seems to work. That's no longer many. In the end it boiled down to the current tiwi or an old Athlon II, only half the speed of tiwi.

tiwi only has 4 GB of memory, and the Athlon only 2 GB, but both had empty slots. OK, salvage memory from the others and put another 4 GB into tiwi.

Power on. beep-beep-beep beep-beep-beep beep. Oh. What's that? Off to download the hardware maintenance manual, which didn't know either. But I did get:

Four sets of three beeps: Reseat the memory modules. If the error persists, replace the memory modules one at a time until the failing module is determined.

That seemed reasonable, even if the thing couldn't count. Could it be that each set represented one SIMM, and that it was number 3 that was defective? No, it didn't like either of the new SIMMs. OK, read elsewhere:

· Use 1.8 V, 200-pin DDR3 SDRAM (double data rate 3 synchronous dynamic random access memory).

Hmm. How about that, the new SIMMs are 1.5 V. I hadn't noticed before that there are different voltages, and the writing on the SIMMs doesn't exactly make it easy to notice:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200704/big/Memory-modules-4.jpeg
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Looking in other boxes brought out SIMMs with a different index hole, making it clearer that they were incompatible. A total of 8 SIMMs, 12 GB of memory, and it looks as if I won't be able to use any of it.

Looked briefly at the other box. Like eureka, it's capable of taking two graphics cards, and I have two which would drive all four monitors. But the GeForce GT 640 card that I use to drive the 2560x1440 monitor, though identical to the one in eureka, is very noisy. It's also old (not surprisingly), and it uses the 340 driver. And both would fit into a ThinkCentre M93p as well.

Enough thinking for one day.


Leo in pain
Topic: animals Link here

Leonid has been limping for a couple of days now. It seems that his right elbow is the problem. Off in the afternoon to show him to Pene Kirk, who prescribed him some anti-inflammatories. Hopefully that will work.


A surplus of food
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yvonne has found a new supplier of eggs in Dereel, Michelle de Groot, who supplies enormous eggs, averaging about 75 g each. She picked up a new load on Wednesday, so at the moment we have more than enough.

But then this morning our neighbour Helena came along with a box of 18 eggs! I eat about 6 eggs a week, Yvonne 7. What to do with them?

As it happens, the eggs weren't the only unsolicited gifts this week. Margaret Swan has a new harvest of truffles, and we received one last weekend. And what can you do with truffles? Truffle omelettes are a favourite:


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Saturday, 4 July 2020 Dereel Images for 4 July 2020
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Olympus Webcam
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Received interesting mail from Olympus Australia the other day: far from closing down, they've announced new lenses and a webcam application.

The lenses are a 150-400 mm f/4.5 PRO, which has been under development for over a year, and a new 8-25 mm f/4.5 PRO. The 150-400 corresponds roughly to my Leica Vario-Elmar 100-400 mm f/4-6.3 except for the constant aperture and the inbuilt 1.25x teleconverter that converts it to a 188-500 mm f/5.6. Interesting, but probably outside what I can justify.

The other is more interesting: an 8-25 mm f/4 PRO zoom. That could get quite a bit of use, but the aperture isn't outstanding. I already have the M.Zuiko DIGITAL ED PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8, a full stop faster, and Panasonic/Leica have a DG Vario-Summilux 10-25 mm f/1.7, another 1½ stops faster. How will the new Oly lens fare? Presumably it will be a lot smaller and possibly cheaper.

The webcam application is a whole different matter. I've been considering using my camera as a webcam for some time, but the whole thing falls flat because—they say—you need an HDMI to USB adapter, and they cost more than the average webcam.

But here they say that you can do it without any additional hardware! Well, only specific OM-D models, including the E-M5 Mark II, but not the E-M5 Mark III! Why not? Some discussion on Facebook came up with nothing definite, but the most likely scenario is that the program uses the tethering functionality, and the cable (micro USB instead of USB-C) doesn't support it.

OK, off to the download site and downloaded the software (“only for Windows”). No luck:

Cannot install this software in this PC
Your PC does not meet the operating system requirements for the application.

The program doesn't support old, worn-out software like Microsoft “Windows” 7. It wants “Windows” 10. Yet another reason to upgrade. Still, it looks like it might be worthwhile.


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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