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Thursday, 21 October 2021 Dereel Images for 21 October 2021
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KL Hokkien Mee again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

KL Hokkien Mee for breakfast again today. This time I went back to the original quantities of 5 ml light soya sauce and 25 ml of KL caramel sauce.

It still doesn't taste right! I'm coming to the conclusion that it tastes better with dark soya sauce. Maybe it would be good in combination with the caramel sauce. And maybe I should follow up on an idea that I noted earlier: use squid instead of fish balls.


Guest contributions to this diary?
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

As I say in many places, this diary is my record of what I have done and (increasingly) my opinions. But I get many requests like this one from

From: Penny Kling <@gmail.com>
Subject: Guest Post Request

Greetings! I would like to contribute to your website by adding a guest
post. Do you have any specific requirements I should follow?

Sorry, that's not how this works, and that's what I told her.

Sorry, I have no provision for guest posts. If you write something that interests me, I may mention it in my diary, but don't count on it being automatically complimentary. As I say in the footer to my daily diary,

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.

I got a reply which might suggest that she didn't read my message clearly (“what topics should I choose?”).

And then there's another message, much clearer:

I’m Sarah with Traeger Grills. We’ve just published a piece called “Safe Internal Temperatures for Meat,” which offers a guide to getting any cut of meat to the perfect temperature for serving. Maybe it would be a good fit on your page here?

http://www.lemis.com/grog/recipes/thermometers.php?dirdate=20040806?size=2

Problem: the linked page raises several red flags. It's US American, of course, and the temperatures are all in Fahrenheit only, making them unintelligible for about 95% of the world's population. After conversion, the temperatures themselves are strange: fish at 62° (I'd choose 45° to 50°), pulled pork at 95° (no idea, but it seems very hot), chicken at 73° (I've found 78° to 80° to be better. Steak at 57° is close enough, but on the high side for me. Probably the real issue is that it's too undifferentiated, and that's the advantage of my cooking times page: I can and do update it. I really don't see any advantage in this kind of table.

About the only thing that came out of the message is the page to which she referred, /grog/recipes/thermometers.php. It's wrong, of course, but I had forgotten that it existed. I hadn't updated it since 30 July 2008, and the markup was all wrong. It did, however, contain a discussion of cooking temperatures that I have now edited significantly.


Buddleja photos revisited
Topic: photography, gardening, opinion Link here

It's high time to finish the macro photos of the Buddleja that I started last week: it has almost finished flowering.

After consideration, it seems that the extension tubes on the lens hadn't helped much because I had forgotten to focus as close as I could.

Tried that today, ultimately taking a series of 220 images for this photo (full frame):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211021/big/Buddleja-flower-2-DMap.jpeg
Image title: Buddleja flower 2 DMap          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 1651 kB
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211021/small/Buddleja-flower-2-PMax.jpeg
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That's the same set of images processed differently. And they're not very encouraging. What have I done wrong? Even the detail of the centre of the flower could be sharper:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211021/small/Buddleja-flower-2-PMax-detail.jpeg
Image title: Buddleja flower 2 PMax detail
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Is that diffraction or issues with the stitching?


COVID-19 comes closer
Topic: health, general, opinion Link here

Paul Donaghy was due to come tomorrow to mow the lawn. But no, a cancellation: he's a “tier 3” COVID-19 contact. His wife Julie was in contact with somebody who had her nails trimmed by somebody else, and the trimmer later tested positive for COVID-19. So Paul has to self-isolate, though apparently not yet submit to a test.

That's the closest we've come to an infection. Hopefully the others all prove to be negative.


Friday, 22 October 2021 Dereel Images for 22 October 2021
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Mobile phone messaging: WhatsApp?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Michael James today, suggesting that I could minimize my phone pain with WhatsApp, which—he says—makes messaging easier.

OK, WhatsApp is an interesting app because it comes from the FreeBSD space (Jan Koum, who still has a FreeBSD commit bit). Try it out.

Install works well, and it imports my Google contacts. Well, it checks them, and finds that about half of them have a recognizable WhatsApp connection. But that's bad. More fragmentation. And that brings me to a digression:

Once upon a time we had email and USENET News. In many ways they were very similar: the header structure was compatible, and the main difference was the way you handled the message. Email was personal, and news was posted publicly. Anybody could join in.

And now? Social media with various restrictions (Twitter with short messages, Facebook, SMS that requires specific transport). Many require you to sign up for an account, and it seems that WhatsApp belongs to this kind.

What can any of these do that News and traditional email can't? Clearly there's a stronger emphasis on graphics, but that's not that important. Email has been extended to carry graphics, arguably not very well. But that's an implementation detail: it could be done, and if News hadn't died, it could do so too.

There's only one detail that Email and News never did: lock the user in to commercial content. And that's the way it should have stayed. This “locking in” isn't even the main reason that I hate Facebook, but it's a good one.

So, sorry Jan, I won't be using WhatsApp. It helps that I couldn't find a way to send images with it either. I'm sure that both MMS and WhatsApp can do the job once I have worked out the mind set of the developers. But MMS is less restrictive, apart from the potential further limitation of data link choice.


lemis.com Security Vulnerability Notification
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Unexpected mail from Open Bug Bounty today: lemis.com Cross Site Scripting Vulnerability Report ID: OBB-2188982.

Huh? Who are these people? Did a bit of checking and found that yes, they're kosher. But how can I be involved in any cross-site vulnerability? I don't do anything significant with user input, just dates. OK, I can contact the reporter, and did that, but in all probability his time zone is completely different. In the meantime, followed up https://pentest-tools.com/website-vulnerability-scanning/xss-scanner-online, which found nothing.


How much a cup of coffee?
Topic: food and drink Link here

I've been drinking real coffee (as opposed to instant coffee) almost all my life, with the brief exception of the last 1960s. And I prepare nearly all of it myself. A cup of ground coffee requires about 8 g of coffee. I pay $11 a kilogram, so that's about 8.8¢; to be on the safe side I round it up to 10¢.

A cup of coffee in a café costs more. How much? I really don't know, but my guess is in the order of $5. That's quite a markup. But there's a more direct comparison: how much does a cup of instant coffee cost?

Went looking today: this page goes into surprising detail about—apparently—how to spend more time making “instant” coffee than making ground coffee from a modern machine. It recommends 3 g of coffee powder. And looking online, the same coffee (“NESCAFÉ Gold Original”) normally costs $19 for 320 g, making a single cup cost 18¢.

That's actually a surprising difference. With 4 cups a day for me, that's 32¢ a day, $117 a year. You can buy coffee machines for the price difference of 2 or 3 years.


Upgrading DxO: the pain
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

There's a new version of DxO PhotoLab out there. The press have been informed, but once again I, as a customer, was not.

Should I buy it? What does it really offer? Bug fixes? That would be nice. And new interface options that might make life easier. OK, buy it.

Once they took payment in Euros, US dollars and Australian dollars. But that was once. Now it's only in US dollars. OK, I have a Transferwise creditdebit card that I can use to pay in US dollars. Problem: I don't have any cash balance in US dollars. What happens then?

To be on the safe side, decided to transfer some money to the account. The web site doesn't make it easy. Finally got to the point where they were prepared to accept money from me. Over to the Bank of Melbourne web site and transferred the money.

FOOL! You forgot to give any identifying information! And in principle the Wise web site does it for you—if you have an account with specific banks, not including Bank of Melbourne.

OK, nothing for it, call them up. Where's the phone number? Another 5 minutes searching, It's in last month's diary: +61 2 7202 6518. Called up and was connected quickly to Christopher, probably because most people can't find the number, and discussed what to do. He suggested that it would probably be returned if they couldn't identify the recipient, and started looking for details... when the Wise window showed that they money had arrived! I'm impressed. How did they identify the recipient? Do they have my Bank of Melbourne account noted somewhere?

Things were not over, though. I had started payment on yet another browser window, but it had gone away. Restart the payment. Yes, you have an order outstanding. How do I pay for it? Ah, not telling. With a bit of messing around discovered that I had to click on the “trolley” icon, after which it hung.

Much more experimentation. Finally found my open window, which had been waiting for me so that it could tell me that it had timed out (“payment declined”):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211022/small/DxO-fail-1.png
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Try again, and this time it worked. Isn't paying over the web fun?

But DxO wasn't done yet. Two hours after confirming the payment, DxO sent another message: “Your cart is still waiting”. Aren't commercial web sites fun?


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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