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Monday, 20 November 2017 Dereel Images for 20 November 2017
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Wikimedia error messages
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Some while back I linked to some images on Wikimedia. Today I discovered that one wasn't loading. My loading mechanism includes some JavaScript magic, so all I saw was a “loading” message that took too long.

OK, follow the link manually. A remarkably vague error message taking up the entire height of a 2560×1440 screen:


This should be WP-error-message-1.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: WP error message 1          Dimensions:          1342 x 789, 80 kB
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OK, page down...


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Image title: WP error message 2          Dimensions:          1371 x 504, 56 kB
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Wouldn't you think that they would have found a better way to report that particular error? The one they mention is Just Plain Wrong.


Wildflower photos
Topic: gardening, photography Link here

It's only been 3 days since I noticed this wildflower:


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All images taken on Friday, 17 November 2017, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 17 November 2017, small
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They shot up all over the place, and I had planned some macro photos of them. But only today they seem to have finished flowering. Grabbed a couple and took them into the office, where I got at least one reasonable photo:


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Image title: Wildflower 1 PMax          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 868 kB
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Oh. That's not the same plant. Friday's flower looked like this:

 
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OK, still worth photographing. But it's really not easy. I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II focus peaking fails badly with extreme macros. And how many steps? How many times have I asked that? Once I expressed the opinion that a default of 99 steps was ridiculously many, but now it seems that it's only rather silly to say 99 and not 100. This image was taken with 20 images, and it's clear that only the closer half is in focus.


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Image title: Wildflower 6 PMax          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 1955 kB
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The colour balance and contrast are also rather strange. This is a primarily white flower, but it looks almost grey. That's particularly obvious looking from the front, where at least most of the flower is in focus:


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Image title: Wildflower 7 PMax          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 2131 kB
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So what do I need to do? Optimize exposure and work out how many images to take. Yes, I could take many more, but somehow that goes against the grain. It must be possible to calculate the number of steps. But there are still too many unknowns.


Upgrading mplayer
Topic: multimedia, technology Link here

One issue I still have with teevee is “tearing” of the displayed image on images that pan (horizontally). That's a common complaint, but in my case it started after my upgrade in June, where the software stayed the same and the hardware got faster. No obvious reason why it should start tearing.

Went searching on the web and found the usual recommendations, including VDPAU. Looking at my wrapper scripts, I found that I didn't specify VDPAU anywhere. Try out with explicit -vo vdpau and got:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/1) /teevee/spool/Series/Deutschen 24 -> /home/local/bin/mplayered -vo vdpau Die-Deutschen-II-\(6_9\)-20171004-153000.mp4
MPlayer SVN-r37862-snapshot-3.4.1 (C) 2000-2016 MPlayer Team

Playing Die-Deutschen-II-(6_9)-20171004-153000.mp4.
libavformat version 57.36.100 (internal)
libavformat file format detected.
[mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2 @ 0x215a810]Protocol name not provided, cannot determine if input is local or a network protocol, buffers and access patterns cannot be configured optimally without knowing the protocol
[lavf] stream 0: video (h264), -vid 0
[lavf] stream 1: audio (aac), -aid 0, -alang deu
VIDEO:  [H264]  1280x720  24bpp  25.000 fps  3155.9 kbps (385.2 kbyte/s)
Error opening/initializing the selected video_out (-vo) device.
Clip info:
 major_brand: mp42
 minor_version: 1
 compatible_brands: isommp42
 creation_time: 2017-09-28 09:16:17
 copyright:
 copyright-eng:
Load subtitles in ./
SUB: Could not determine file format
Cannot load subtitles './Die-Deutschen-II-(6_9)-20171004-153000.txt'.
==========================================================================
Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
libavcodec version 57.39.100 (internal)
AUDIO: 48000 Hz, 2 ch, floatle, 128.0 kbit/4.17% (ratio: 16000->384000)
Selected audio codec: [ffaac] afm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg AAC (MPEG-2/MPEG-4 Audio))
==========================================================================
AO: [oss] 48000Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
Video: no video
Starting playback...
Error opening/initializing the selected video_out (-vo) device.
A:   0.0 (00.0) of 2610.0 (43:29.9) ??,?%

Why that? In any case, it looked like a good time to upgrade my mplayer, not made easier by the requirement to merge my own patches. But that went relatively easily. This time I created a directory hierarchy /usr/ports/multimedia/mplayer-local, copied the contents of /usr/ports/multimedia/mplayer to it, and then merged my own patches. Surprisingly, it worked out of the box. And the total build time for mplayer was a little over a minute, quite surprising with today's bloated ports.

And it worked. In particular, I didn't need to specify -vo vdpau: the tearing went away without it. Is it invoked by default, perhaps?

It wasn't until we were watching TV in the evening that I discovered that the remote control didn't work. But that almost seems normal; somehow LIRC seems to have it in for me.


Tuesday, 21 November 2017 Dereel Images for 21 November 2017
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Propagating Clematis
Topic: gardening Link here

While planting the Clematis “General Sikorski”, I managed to break off one of the stems. Damn! So I cut off the bottom of the broken-off piece, prepared it with scraping and hormone and planted it in a pot. Not surprisingly, it's not looking very happy at the moment:


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While watering the plant itself, noted that the remnant stem was lying on the ground:


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Image title: Clematis 5          Dimensions:          4609 x 3456, 3667 kB
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So I tried to lift it up. And it wouldn't come. It had developed a root and attached itself to the ground:


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So: it seems that to propagate Clematis, you need to cover one of these nodes with soil. Not what I had done:


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Image title: Clematis 3          Dimensions:          4614 x 3456, 2340 kB
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Still, I can fix that—maybe, if it's not too late:


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Image title: Clematis 6          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 2561 kB
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We'll see how that goes. Apart from that, there's also the stem with the flowers on it, which I put in a vase. To my surprise, the flowers lasted nearly a week, though they're clearly past it now:


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But after trimming the flowers off, it seems that it, too, has developed vestigial roots:


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Image title: Clematis 6          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 3244 kB
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So that'll soak in water for a while, and then I'll plant it.


Sun orchids: finally
Topic: gardening Link here

While walking the dogs today, found what I have been looking for for over a week: the first flowering Thelymitra pauciflora (sun orchids):


This should be Thelymitra-pauciflora-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Thelymitra pauciflora 4          Dimensions:          4611 x 3456, 2671 kB
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Image title: Thelymitra pauciflora 4 detail          Dimensions:          1113 x 983, 178 kB
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They haven't opened properly yet, and because of the heat I didn't return with proper macro equipment, but hopefully some of the other ones will start soon.


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. 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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