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Friday, 21 January 2022 Dereel Images for 21 January 2022
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M91p boot bug: fixed
Topic: technology Link here

As requested in the followup of Sunday's bug report about being unable to boot FreeBSD 13.0-RELEASE on my ThinkCentre M91p: please try 13-STABLE and 14.0-RELEASE. OK, worked. So it really looks like a duplicate of bug 209821.

Fixed? No, I don't think so. The media are still out there for download, and bug 209821 shows that it occurs on a variety of hardware from different manufacturers. Release Engineering should think of a solution, but what?


More tiwi stuff
Topic: technology Link here

Rebooting the M91p meant shutting down dereel, which had been running on that box. OK, we haven't yet confirmed that the tiwi installation will run there. Clearly something to try, so first updated some of the files in /etc: exports syslog.conf src.conf, master.passwd and group. I also copied crontab, but that's not a good idea at this point: we don't want tiwi doing teevee's job to the outside world yet. We can leave that until just before cutover. In this case, however, it wasn't important, since I hadn't changed crontab.

/etc/group has always been an issue, and I've tended to fake it. But today I wanted to do it right. At the very least I need to add local groups home and lemis, and give myself access to wheel. But when comparing I came up with stuff as old as the last millennium:

guest:*:31:root,velte,andreas
ingres:*:74:ingres
lemis:*:1000:grog,bsd,joerg,harti,yvonne,wkt
home:*:1001:yana,norm,yvonne,grog
begemot:*:1002:joerg,harti,grog
ibm:*:1011:
rocksoft:*:1030:grog
pasocentral:*:1031:grog,di

velte is Jack Velte, who may have had access some time in the late 1990s. He has been dead for over 10 years. ingres is clearly for the Ingres database, which I can't recall using this millennium. joerg and harti are Jörg Micheel and Harti Brandt; again I don't think they have had access since 2000. norm is my father, who died 13 years ago. ibm and rocksoft relate to my real work in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005. And di is Diane Saunders, our neighbour in Echunga, who has definitely not had any access since we left, and probably not since about 2002.

So: instead of trimming, why not start again? I'll see when I run into trouble.

/etc/rc.conf was simpler than it might have been. I had already provided for this kind of migration. It starts with:

FORREAL=1
if [ $FORREAL -eq 0 ]; then
  hostname="tiwi.lemis.com"

Just change FORREAL to 0 and it's OK.

Then I needed to start sshd, which required me to run ssh-keygen. And on the other side, I needed to remove (the old) tiwi from ~/.ssh/known-hosts.

OK, change the disks and reboot. Some issues with the network, but they went away. But dereel didn't come up cleanly:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220121/big/dereel-boot.jpeg
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What caused that?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/41) ~ 26 -> arp -a
dereel.lemis.com (192.109.197.135) at cc:52:af:41:c3:55 on em0 expires in 279 seconds [ethernet]
tiwi.lemis.com (192.109.197.177) at cc:52:af:41:c3:55 on em0 expires in 948 seconds [ethernet]

arp still knew the old dereel! That's quite impressive, since I had booted the machine 3 times since it was dereel!

Connecting with ssh wasn't quite what I expected:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 1 -> ssh eureka
Enter passphrase for key '/home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa':

Yes, after I found my passphrase and entered it, it worked. But normally it's automatic. What went wrong? After some searching discovered that I had special-cased teevee and tiwi in my scripts: on them I start X automatically on startup and set up an ssh-agent. This time, though, I didn't. Run the commands manually and all was was well.

So now I can create the /spool file system and start copying the video data across:

gpart add -t freebsd-ufs ada0
newfs -L spool -O 2 -U -a 64 -b 32768 -d 32768 -e 2048 -f 4096 -g 2097152 -h 64 -i 1847296 -j -k 1152 -m 1 -o space /dev/ada0p4
mount /dev/ada0p4 /spool
cd /teevee/spool
rsync -Havx * /newfs > /tmp/foo

That came across nice and fast. iostat showed:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) /etc 33 -> iostat 1
       tty            ada0            pass0            pass1             cpu
 tin  tout KB/t  tps  MB/s  KB/t  tps  MB/s  KB/t  tps  MB/s  us ni sy in id
   0    76  989  110 106.0   0.0    0   0.0   0.0    0   0.0  19  0  6  0 75
   0    80  970  113 107.1   0.0    0   0.0   0.0    0   0.0  20  0  7  0 72
   0    78  989  113 109.1   0.0    0   0.0   0.0    0   0.0  20  0  6  0 74

Huh? 900 kB transfers? I thought the absolute maximum (MAXPHYS) was 128 kB. But it seems that they have increased it recently. Netflix effect? But those transfer rates, over 100 MB/s, are welcome. Unfortunately they didn't stay that way. This isn't a shingled disk, is it? I thought the green WDs were supposed to be high performance. Of course, if they are, it's not a big deal: after all, I almost always only read from them.

The only other strangenesses were with bash and Emacs: bash seems to interpret Meta keystrokes strangely, so M-f capitalizes instead of moving a word forward. It's not clear why: it doesn't happen all the time, and it could be that there's some issue with X.

That could be the issue with Emacs too: I can't cut on one system and paste on another. So I'll probably have to find out what they have broken in X this time.


Amateur phishers
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Another phishing email today:

Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2022 16:32:41 +0100
From: "PostMaster@netbsd.org" <alisourcepro@service.alibaba.com>
To: groggyhimself@netbsd.org
Subject: Email Shutdown For: groggyhimself@netbsd.org

Dear groggyhimself@netbsd.org

This is to inform you that we are closing the old version of our mailbox today.

Below is a quick guide on how to update your account to avoid shutdown. This service is free!

Click Here To Update https://colegiocaraguata.com.br/wp-admin/users/index.php?email=grog@netbsd.org

Thank You.

Email Support

There's not the slightest doubt that that's a phisher, of course, but clearly he's aiming at people with broken MUAs. How can anybody reading that believe that it's genuine?


A good, old-fashioned network outage
Topic: technology Link here

Mail from Aussie Broadband today: an unplanned National Broadband Network network outage, with a negative duration:

NBN Outage
Start Time       21-01-2022 05:25:02PM
Status       InProgress
Last Updated       21-01-2022 05:25:01PM

And sure enough, we were having problems. Not a real outage, more significant degradation. It was over in about an hour.


Saturday, 22 January 2022 Dereel Images for 22 January 2022
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Garden flowers in mid-summer
Topic: gardening Link here

It's “mid-summer”, really a month after the solstice, and time for the monthly garden photos.


Tricking Google Translate
Topic: language, technology, opinion Link here

Google Translate has improved considerably in the last few years, to the point where I have nothing to rant about. But today one possibility of tricking it occurred to me: In German, „halb neun“ (“half nine”) means halfway to 9 o'clock, in other words 8:30. In English some people refer to this time as “half eight”. Does Google Translate know?


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No! Time to feed something back. But the browser (firefox version 80) was too old to find Google's favour. OK, try Chrome:


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Huh? Why should that make a difference? It doesn't. It depends on whether I write “i will meet you” or “I will meet you”. Somehow Google Translate doesn't pay attention to the same things that humans do.


Another NBN go-slow
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

Another hour or so with high packet loss this afternoon. This time it was more irritating because it impacted on the download of Al Jazeera news. Once was amusing, but if it becomes more frequent it will be a real nuisance.


Beef with broccoli and orange
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

A while back I found an interesting recipe for orange beef (a Chinese recipe) on the web, and for some time I've been planning to cook it. Problem: one of the key ingredients is Chinese dried orange peel. Where do you find that? In case of doubt at the Fruit Shack. Yvonne went there last week and, with some assistance, found it:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20220122/small/Beef-with-orange-5.jpeg
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It's becoming more and more clear than an inability to speak or read Chinese is a real problem. Yes, the English name is written there, barely:

 
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Ingredients

quantity       ingredient       step
160 g       thin beef steak       1
20 g       orange juice       2
6 g       cornflour       2
6 g       vegetable oil       2
9 g       oyster sauce       2
1 g       five spice powder       2
40 ml       warm water       3
6 g       sugar       3
20 g       orange marmalade       3
40 g       orange juice       3
25 g       light soy sauce       3
5 g       Shaoxing wine       3
1 g       sesame oil       3
6 g       ginger       4
7       whole dried red chili peppers if desired       4
5 g       dried Mandarin orange peel       4
1       star anise, crushed       4
5 g       garlic, crushed       4
15 g       spring onion       4
130 g       broccoli florets       5
      vegetable oil (plus 1/2 tablespoon)       6
      cornflour for coating beef       6
5 g       cornflour       8

Preparation

  1. Mix the cornflour, orange juice Cut the beef into rectangles about 5 to 8 cm in size:

     
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  2. Mix orange juice, cornflour, oil, oyster sauce and five spice powder. Mix well and marinate the meat in the mixture for an hour or more:

     
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  3. Dissolve the sugar in the water. When dissolved, add marmalade, orange juice, soya sauce, wine and sesame oil. Reserve.

  4. Prepare ginger, orange peel, star anise, spring onions and garlic. Chop the ginger into small pieces, cut the peel into small pieces (this to be confirmed next time), crush the star anise, cut the spring onions into slices about 3 cm long and peel the garlic ready for crushing.

  5. Boil the broccoli in water for 45 seconds. Drain and reserve.

  6. When ready to start, turn the pieces of meat in cornflour and fry in copious oil until cooked, ensuring that all have contact with the pan. This may require several panfuls. Place the beef in the serving dish

  7. On gentle heat, fry the ginger, star anise, orange peel and dried chili if used. Fry for about 60 seconds. Add spring onions and crushed garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.

  8. Add half the reserved marinade from step 3. Mix the cornflour into the rest, and add when the first half is boiling.

  9. Warm beef and broccoli in microwave oven, pour sauce over it and serve.

     
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Notes

I use what Woolworths call “sizzling steak” for this dish. That's beef about 8 mm in thickness, too much for this dish, so I hammer it with a Schnitzel hammer after cutting. This roughly doubles the area, so the pieces should be about 4×6 cm before hammering.

The original recipe wanted “baking soda” (Sodium bicarbonate) in the marinade. I don't know that usage, so I left it out. The quantities for the marinade are barely enough to moisten the meat, so I roughly doubled them, in the process omitting water and replacing with orange juice.

The recipe called for coating the meat in cornflour before frying. I would have used wheat flour, but I'll try it this way a couple more times.

The recipe wants salt and oil in the water for boiling the broccoli. Given the short cooking time, this makes no sense to me. The dish tastes fine without it. I also omitted the oil, though arguably it's worth trying. I put the broccoli in the sauce rather than round the edges. Either way it needs re-warming before serving.

The recipe states simply “star anise”, suggesting that an entire star should be fried. I broke it into pieces, but it's still inappropriate. It should be divided much more finely.

While my orange peel is undoubtedly Chinese, it seems different from the peel used in the original recipe. It's much smaller:

 
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The original recipe talks of pieces 1 to 1½ inches in size. This is less than half that on a side. But of course weights are the important thing.


Easter Island comes to Dereel
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

After dinner, while idly looking outside, I saw:

 
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There's something about that leaf (it's a Strelitzia nicolai, not a banana) that reminds me of the Moai on Easter Island. The lower tear in the leaf looks like a mouth, the upper like the eyes. But how do I convey that appearance?


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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