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Sunday, 5 December 2021 Dereel Images for 5 December 2021
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Understanding Academia
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

On the face of it, Academia is a serious academic web site. But I have already noted that they seem to be less than thorough in their checking of the documents that they offer, and their continual discovery of references to me (please sign up to see them) makes me doubt their real intentions.

A few months ago they came up with something sensible: “Are you the Greg Lehey who wrote The Complete FreeBSD?”. Yes, sure, so I updated my “profile” accordingly.

It took them a while to ask me to upload the document. Again, it's available on the web, so why not?

And then today I got a message that sounds more like the Academia I know and mistrust: “Connect with 4 co-authors of "The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition" on Academia.edu”.

I wrote the book by myself. But assuming that there had been co-authors, why should I need to “connect” with them via Academia? Clearly I would know them.

OK, log in, face web site breakage, and find this page. One hit for “complete freebsd”. But 5,668 papers with "complete freebsd" in the full text—just upgrade to see them. And 0 people. Where are the four co-authors? Finally connected and discovered that I didn't have to pay anything. And the whole thing was due to incorrect assumptions made by some bot:

  1. We found a co-author, Freebsd Current, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  2. We found a co-author, Joerg Wunsch, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  3. We found a co-author, Bray Be, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  4. We found a co-author, Freebsd Questions, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.
  5. We found a co-author, Freebsd Hackers, on your paper The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition.

That's an interesting number 4. And clearly three of them are FreeBSD mailing lists. I have no idea what or who “Bray Be” might be, though it's associated with an email address that I, the author, am not allowed to see. The only person I recognize is Jörg Wunsch, whose name they chose to mutilate. Why him? I mention reviewers in the preface, but there are many more, and there's no reason to assume that any of them might be co-authors. The only person who came even close to that would be Kirk McKusick, who wrote the foreward. In each case I was given the option to confirm, but not to deny. So there's not much I can do.

On the other hand, there's also:

Peter H. Salus confirmed that your paper, The Complete FreeBSD, Fourth Edition mentions them.

But there's no mention of him confirming anything, just a reference to him in the book.

I'm still puzzled.


Spring on its way
Topic: gardening Link here

It's halfway between the monthly house photo dates, and still more plants are flowering, a couple of weeks late. I had nearly forgotten this one:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211205/big/Tulbaghia-violacea-1.jpeg
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What is it? A bit of digging in my diary brought up the fact that it's a Tulbaghia violacea, and that I bought it two summers ago along with the Sisyrinchium angustifolium, left them to their own devices through the winter and finally planted them in September last year. This appears to be the first time it has flowered since being planted.

And the Sisyrhinchium? It's growing, and it even has a flower, but you need to look carefully:

 
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Apart from that, the flowers are gradually flowering. The roses are partially hidden in the weeds, but they're flowering nonetheless:

 
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Only the Clematis “Edo Murasaki” has finally succumbed to Bryan Ross's “pruning” attempts:

 
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All that's left are a couple of dead twigs. Thank God he's gone!


More lens comparisons
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I took some of yesterday's photos of the flowering grass with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f/3.5-6.3 super zoom. To lessen the depth of field, I also took some with the Nikkor 85 mm f/1.4 with the Viltrox NF-M43X focal length converter to get 60 mm f/0.99.

But while processing them the images appeared unsharp. Why? Focus or lens limitations? Yes, there's very little depth of field:

Subject        Focal plane     Magnification  Exposure       Near        Far         Depth of
distance (m)   distance (mm)                    comp  (EV)   limit (m)   limit (m)  field (m)
  20.00           60.181        0.00             0.0        19.157     20.921     1.763

But with focus peaking I should have been able to get it accurately. The Nikkor is 40 years old, and I've discovered five years ago that the 50 year old Super Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 for my Pentax was no match for my then new Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4. Could it be a similar issue here? Repeated the photos with three combinations: the Nikkor/Viltrox combination as yesterday, the Nikkor by itself, and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8, both at full aperture and stopped down a couple of stops.

The results? I think I chose a poor motive. The most obvious difference was in the colour balance. Here Nikkor, Olympus and Nikkor/Viltrox:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211205/small/Flowering-grass-1.jpeg
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That can be compensated for in postprocessing, of course. Looking in detail, we have:

 
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The surprise there is that none of the images is really sharp. But I think that I should probably try the TV view that I used 5 years ago, where the differences reach out and grab you:

 
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Destructive animals
Topic: animals Link here

Sometimes the animals can irritate. Last week I found that they had chewed off the end of an irrigation hose, so I cut it back, bent it over and tied it together.

What an offer! Something to chew on!

 
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Piccola, not to be outdone, decided to check what we were cooking for dinner. Cauliflower! Throw it out!

 
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A real curry again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Lately I've been cooking curries mainly from pre-prepared pastes, and many are good. But as I grumble from time to time, they're generally far too pedas.

Today we had “Indian” food (very much including Malay food) for dinner. We have finally finished the chicken curry that I had conceived for Yvonne, so I had to cook more.

I had forgotten how much work it is! The pastes certainly save time. But we ate a “paste” curry (vegetable curry) along with it, and it tasted far too pedas and not nearly as flavoursome. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and cook more curries from scratch.


Monday, 6 December 2021 Dereel Images for 6 December 2021
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Fixing web pages?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's been some time since I changed the basic layout of these web pages, round 10 years: I limited the paragraph width to what is normal in print, and added lazy loading for the images. What is definitely missing is the upgrade to HTML5: I'm still delivering pages in XHTML. From time to time I think of that and look at the effort involved—473 diary pages alone to fix.

Today I received mail from Daniel Nebdal, who finds my lazy loading sub-optimal. It seems that there's an alternative:

Assuming a browser that supports it, you can add load="lazy" to an img tag, and it will only request the image when the browser thinks it's about to scroll into view. And ... that's it, really. It's kind of nice. There's a Mozilla Developer Network article about it at https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Performance/Lazy_loading

The big issue is “a browser that supports it”. It seems that Safari still thinks of it as an experimental feature that requires explicit activation. And there's also the question of standards compliance, though this page tells me that HTML5 supports it.

So: what do I do? The easiest is “nothing”, but it does sound like something useful to try out. Looking at the attribute documentation suggests that if the browser doesn't support it, the images will just all get loaded, so it's not that big of a deal.

Other references from Daniel: Safari lazy loading and how it's implemented.


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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