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Sunday, 24 May 2020 Dereel Images for 24 May 2020
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The ghosts of the last millennium
Topic: technology, history, opinion Link here

I postpone a lot of email messages, far too many in fact. Currently there are round 1,170 messages in my postponed folder, the oldest of which is dated 4 October 1999. There's even this message:

Date: Mon Nov 15 11:28:41 1999
From: Greg Lehey <>
To: Dennis Ritchie <>
Subject: Re: Cute Comments (was Re: Bad commenting style)

Alas, it's too late to send it now, but it's interesting to look at the email addresses (for once, not changed). mojave was, I think, my laptop, which I got from Jerry Dunham, who worked for Dell laptops at the time. The system name was apparently the internal project name for the laptop. And I was in Waltham, Massachusetts at the time, working for the now apparently defunct Sitara Networks.

And then there was this message, coincidentally also involving Jerry Dunham:

Date: Thu, 14 May 2020 11:40:30 +1000
From: Greg Lehey <>
To: Jerry Dunham <>
Cc: Wes Peters <>
Subject: Re: No joy
Message-ID: <>

On Friday, 17 December 1999 at 23:23:05 -0600, Jerry Dunham wrote:
> On Fri, 17 December 1999 at 15:54:34 -0700, Wes Peters wrote:

Well, I could answer that one, and I did. And it bounced. Can't find But only after 5 days. What was wrong there? Clearly still exists, or it would have bounced immediately. What does whois say?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/30) ~ 1 -> whois
Domain Name: DUNHAM.ORG
Updated Date: 2019-11-06T21:49:05Z
Creation Date: 1997-11-04T05:00:00Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2021-11-03T05:00:00Z

So it's been around for over 22 years, and it's still active—with completely invalid name server specifications. Both and ceased to exist thirteen years ago. What does he use it for? Nothing, it seems. For obvious reasons is no longer active.

Sent him a message to his new email address, and it seems that yes, in principle he still wants the domain. OK, we can do that. What do I need?

Total time: about 10 minutes. And it worked. It's nice to see something Just Work.

More ghosts exorcized
Topic: technology Link here

A week ago I went on an abortive search for an ssh that kept trying to connect to the now-defunct While setting up the mail forwarding for Jerry Dunham, I finally found the source: it was an xterm that had connected to www. The display looked something like:

ssh: Could not resolve hostname w4: hostname nor servname provided, or not known
bash: /usr/local/bin/xtset: No such file or directory
Disconnected at Sun 24 May 2020 10:13:53 AEST

So why didn't I find it? The second line is the clue: xtset is a program that sets the title of an xterm. I had moved it from /usr/local/bin to /home/local/bin, which requires a hash -r for bash to recognize it. And the ssh was running, so I couldn't run hash -r. As a result, the xterm title showed the previous details (usr, system and directory):

title: root (0) lax:namedb

Another mystery solved.

Standing rib roast
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Chris Bahlo came for dinner this evening, in the process delivering the meat for the main course. Yvonne had understood that it was beef filet, but what she brought looked like an oversized rack of lamb. Here after cooking and carving:
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What is it? Off to the web to investigate. It's a rib roast. Or maybe a standing rib roast. Or maybe just prime rib, as the US Americans call it. I have eaten it under the last name, and it tasted very good.

OK, how do I prepare it? It looks like a roast. Somehow it's impractical: ours had three ribs and weighed 1.44 kg. In general I reckon 180 g per person (120 g for Yvonne) for filet. A little more for fat and bone, but it's still enough for 6 people. How do you work around the bones?

And how do you roast it? Found a surprising number of recipes, including this one from the Australian Women's Weekly, who should know better:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Weigh beef and calculate cooking time (Cook for 20 minutes per 450g for medium/15 minutes per 450g for rare.).

20 minutes per 450 g? Why that? Why not 1⅓ minute per 30 g? 64 minutes per 1440 g? Another ghost of the past: Australia has been using the metric system for 50 years, but people still can't get rid of old avoirdupois measurements.

But this cut is complicated. The Women's Weekly recipe wanted 2.5 kg of meat, more than most. Others wanted “four ribs”, about 1.8 kg. But the thickness of all these cuts is roughly the same: only the length differs. How does that influence the cooking time? Certainly a time based only on the weight is not going to work. My guess is that the weight is relatively unimportant when calculating the cooking time.

Then there's a question of oven temperatures. One recipe wanted to start at 230°, others at 160°. More than elsewhere, I couldn't get a good idea of what to do. In the end I went by my roast beef cooking times and set it at 180°, estimating 70 minutes for a meat temperature of 53°.

And how about that, I was spot on! The only issue is that 53° might be a little warm. Next time I'll go for 52°. But if I had followed the Women's Weekly recipe, I would have cooked for 48 minutes, and it would have been excessively rare. On the other hand, 83 minutes for a 2.5 kg cut might be correct.

Dinner in the time of COVID-19
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Dinner was as ever—almost:
Image title: Dinner 2
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Somehow social distancing doesn't make it easier to take the photos.

Framing revisited
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

The photo of our dinner has an obvious defect: it's badly framed, and Yvonne is only half in the image:
Image title: Dinner 2
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It wasn't the only one. Today I took some photos of her with her horse Carlotta. Most were OK, but there were a few like this:
Image title: Yvonne Carlotta 36
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Why that? Simple: I always use the central focus point in the camera to focus, maybe moving away after establishing focus. But here things were too fast, so I ended up with the lid in the middle of the image, nothing below, and half a horse above. Time to use the capabilities of the camera.

Monday, 25 May 2020 Dereel Images for 25 May 2020
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More PV battery recalibration
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

Another battery recalibration today, almost exactly what I would have ordered. In the past I had multiple cycles, and I lost significant amounts of PV energy in the process. As I wrote 2 months ago, a single recalibration cycle once a month would be acceptable, but no more.

And that, it seems, is exactly what I have been getting. Today the cycle started after sunset, charged to 100% and discharged to (only!) 10%:
Image title: PV stats
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That's perfectly acceptable. But why did it stop at 10%? Have they updated the firmware again, and installed it without telling me?

Bahlo coat of arms mug
Topic: history, general, opinion Link here

When Chris Bahlo was here yesterday, she brought a mug for Yvonne:
Image title: Coat of arms mug
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What's special about that? It's the Bahlo coat of arms, which presumably Chris wears in full armour. Presumably one of the few mugs with that kind of emblem.

And what does it mean? Chris explains:


Per pale, dexter potenty bendy or and gules, sinister sable with a mullet argent of six points, pierced by a rondel.


Per pale: split vertically
dexter: left side (when worn on the right)
potenty bendy: potenty vair is an abstraction of a "fur"; bendy indicates it is diagonal.
or and gules: gold and red (refers to the vair pattern in this case)
sinister: right side
sable: black
mullet argent: silver star
rondel: circle


The potenty vair in red and gold is originally from a 13th Century miniature, showing a horse caparison (I have a replica of this). The mullet/star/spur rowel is a common symbol.

What it signifies (to me):

The vair pattern signifies both the complexity of life, but also the fact that there are pattern and cycles. The colours are (to me) happiness and prosperity. The upward diagonal is about improvement. The black half is a stark contrast on purpose, it means calm, privacy, introspection. The silver star is both a spur rowel, which is a symbol for horsemanship at a high level, and a star, which is about goals and aspirations.

Understanding French wines
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Years ago we drank a considerable quantity of French wine. There were three kinds, in decreasing order of quality « Appelation nom d'origine contrôllée », « Appelation contrôllée », « Vin de pays ».

But now we're in Australia, and there's plenty of local wine. Still we get some, but the descriptions are different: « Appellation d'origine protégée », « Appellation géographique protégée ». They're not particularly good wines, and my suspicion is that the difference between « contrôllé » and « protegé » is significant. I think I've even seen a « Vin de France », presumably something that they can't quite disown.

How do they compare? Time to check. Appellation d'origine contrôlée doesn't help much beyond confirming that it's still in use, since it doesn't mention the alternatives. This page looks convincing, mentioning two of my three new names (there's also « vin de pays », also known as « indication géographique protégée »). But where's « appellation contrôlée »? Presumably it's now the same as « appellation protégée ». Or is it? Time to check the French information, Appellation d'origine contrôlée. What do I read there?

Ne doit pas être confondu avec Appellation d'origine protégée.

Not to be confused with appellation d'origine protégée. Read on. It's not a question of quality but of jurisdiction. In France it's AOC, in the rest of Europe (and thus presumably anywhere outside France) it's AOP.

None of this has much to do with our experience last night. Chris brought a 2017 Château de Cathalogne Bordeaux AOP, and I presented a 2018 Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc (clearly a name intended for overseas marketing) IGP. We didn't like either much.

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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