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February 2024
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Thursday, 1 February 2024 Dereel Images for 1 February 2024
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Printer problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Another email from cert-bund.de today: an SNMP vulnerability.

Huh? I don't use SNMP. Well, no, but one of my devices does:

"asn","ip","timestamp","system_desc"
"4764","192.109.197.198","2024-01-30 00:54:15","Brother NC-8500h, Firmware Ver.1.02  (13.03.07),MID 84E-403"

That's my printer! And that's what I get for having it visible on the global Internet. OK, firewall it.


More printer problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Got a message from my accountant. Here's a PDF document, please sign and return by email. OK, how does that work? What kind of proof is the email? Still, I suppose I should print it out, sign it, scan it in and return it.

But I can't print from hydra! I hadn't set up printing yet. That in itself is interesting considering that I've been running it for 3 months. OK, what do I need? I had a vague recollection, but it was worth checking the FreeBSD handbook. But the information in there doesn't match what I have on eureka. It wants a spool directory /var/spool/lpd/lp.

Have they changed things? More investigation. No, if it has been changed, it was before I installed eureka. Another thing to tidy up. But yes, what I need is an /etc/printcap and a spool directory, in this case /var/spool/output/brother. Set that up, start lpd, and try to print.

=== grog@hydra (/dev/pts/53) ~ 115 -> lpr print.pdf
lpr: Error - No default destination.
=== grog@hydra (/dev/pts/53) ~ 116 -> lpq
lpq: Unable to connect to server.

Huh? Off to check on the web, but didn't find anything useful. I had some recollection that I've seen this problem before, but searching my diary didn't find anything. OK, another mañana.


Strange cd
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Seen this evening:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/30-min/Freunde-fuers-Leben/01 49 -> cd ..
=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Freunde-fuers-Leben 50 ->

How could that happen? Symlink? No, no symlinks involved. I had renamed the directory from a different xterm.

Now where does bash get its directory names from?


“Air fried” chicken thighs
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Grilled chicken thighs for dinner today. Yvonne marinates them in garlic, thyme and oregano, and in the past we have then done them in the oven. But why do we have three “air fryers”? All we need is time and a couple of temperatures. We want the skin browned a little, so maybe 210° cooking temperature, and 78° inside temperature. How long will that take? 20 minutes?

Not a bad guess for the time, it proved: after 21 minutes the meat near the bone was at 78°, and they were nicely browned:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240201/big/Chicken-thighs.jpeg
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They also had no trace of blood near the bone. Perfect! Well, no. They still seemed a little underdone. So next time I'll aim for 82° and expect it to take 25 minutes. The cooking temperature of 210° seems OK.


hirse death?
Topic: technology, general Link here

I'm using hirse.lemis.com, my mobile phone, more and more. Today I tried to wake it, but it was sleeping the sleep of the dead. I had to force reboot it to get any sign of life. Is this an indication that it's on its way out—it is, after all, nearly 3 years old—or just par for the course for consumer electronics? That could also explain the ftp speeds of round 75 kB/s that I had earlier in the day.


Friday, 2 February 2024 Dereel → Snake Valley → Dereel
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Printing on hydra, solved
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So what's my problem with printing on hydra? The web didn't help. But gradually it came back to me: CUPS. CUPS is a replacement for the Berkeley printing system that we know and love. I thought it was a Linuxism, but it seems that Apple committed it. And they re-used the Berkeley program names: the daemon lpd, the print program lpr and the utilities lpq and lprm. But the background configuration is completely different.

So: I set up my /etc/printcap for Berkeley printing, start lpd. So far, so good: CUPS stores its lpd in /usr/local/libexec/cups/backend/lpd, so I got Berkeley lpd. But when I try to print with lpr, I get the CUPS /usr/local/bin/lpr, because my PATH is set up to look at /usr/local/bin before /usr/bin. The result is to be expected.

What do I do? I don't want CUPS. But many ports do. The obvious solution is to reset the x bit for /usr/local/bin/lpr and /usr/local/bin/lpq. But that alone didn't help:

=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 5 -> wh lpq
6175947 -rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   15360 14 Oct 12:17 /usr/local/bin/lpq
5296379 -r-sr-sr-x  1 root  daemon  35864 11 Dec 16:32 /usr/bin/lpq
=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 6 -> lpq
lpq: Unable to connect to server.
=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 7 -> chmod -x /usr/local/bin/lpq
=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 8 -> lpq
bash: /usr/local/bin/lpq: Permission denied

Damn, I used to know this, but it was in a different millennium. what's the invocation to get bash to forget the current instance of a program name? rehash? No:

=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 9 -> rehash
bash: rehash: command not found
=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 10 -> hash +r
bash: hash: +r: not found

Another web search. Ah:

=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 11 -> hash -r
You have new mail in /var/mail/grog
=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) /home/grog 12 -> lpq
Printer Name: lp
Jobs: No Jobs in Queue

And after that, everything worked. But that's a serious issue. Why do we need more than one print spooler? Is CUPS maybe better? We should think about which alternative to take.


A new lawnmower
Topic: gardening, general Link here

It's only been a week since Yvonne found a lawnmower on sale on Facebook—a John Deere, a name that I don't associate with lawnmowers, for only $1200. And it turned out to be a scam.

Today Yvonne came cautiously into my office. She had found a lawnmower on sale on Facebook—a John Deere, this time in Snake Valley, for $1200. Should we even try?

But the thing looked good, and we had the opportunity to see it before committing to any money. Somewhat against my will got into the car, down to pick up Paul Donaghy and his trailer, and with Google Maps' help off to Snake Valley. Got there, but no Garth, the seller. Oh, wrong house number. Next door was the right number, but clearly there was no entrance from the main road. Round the corner to discover that here, too, there was no Garth: he must have given us the wrong house number. She sent us several hundred metres down the road to look for where some construction was going on in front of the house. Found that, but it was the wrong construction. Finally, on the fourth attempt, we found it, helped by the presence of the lawnmower with a “for sale” sign in front of the house.

So where's Garth? I called into the house, Paul off to the workshops behind the house. No Garth. Paul in to call into the house, but of course that didn't work. OK, dig out the phone number. Voice mail. Called up Yvonne and got her to try via Facebook. Success! He was in the house.

Back to the house, called loudly. Garth came! And we took a look at the mower, which looks very good. In particular I liked the appearance of the seat: for some reason, lawnmower seats deteriorate very quickly, but this one looks almost unused.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Lawn-mower-1.jpeg
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It seems that it belonged to an old lady who hardly used it (“only used on Sundays to go to church”). She's no longer in a position to mow the lawn herself, and nobody else wants to do it for her. Paul did some test mowing, we discussed the matter, and managed to beat him down to $1000, which we got from an ATM only 10 km away. Back home, Yvonne was overjoyed; clearly the issue has been a load on her mind.

How old is it? After noting that last week's mower had a DOM (presumably “date of manufacture”) field, I looked at this one. But no, it only has a “DATECODE”. Here last week's and today's:

http://dunham.org/grog/Day/20240127/417169474_1434236827490947_9026991735496439735_n-detail.jpg
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Lawn-mower-2.jpeg
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It's not clear what the code is, and a web search is of little help.


More phone issues
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

hirse.lemis.com, my mobile phone, is still misbehaving. While making my calls in Snake Valley, I was able to make the call, but the display didn't show the call, and there was no way to hang up. And when Yvonne called me, I didn't get a display to enable me to answer the call. I had to wait for it to time out, and then call her back.

The usual Microsoft trick worked: reboot. But why does this happen?


Saturday, 3 February 2024 Dereel Images for 3 February 2024
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Cleaning the shower
Topic: general, opinion Link here

For some time I've had this stain on my shower basin:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Cleaning-shower-1.jpeg
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It's not hard to see where it comes from:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Cleaning-shower-2.jpeg
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That's an el-cheapo basket to hold shampoo and things, and it has gone rusty. The stains are clearly some ferric oxide. And that is soluble in hydrochloric acid. I've been meaning to do something about it for some time, waiting mainly for a way to get a photo of the situation. That's done now, so I poured on my acid.

How long does it take? I was expecting it to be fast, less than a minute. But I underestimated it: under a second!


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Cleaning-shower-4.jpeg
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Butterflies!
Topic: gardening, animals, opinion Link here

For some reason, the whole countryside is full of butterflies, apparently Pieris brassicae. They particularly like our Buddleja x weyeriana, the Hebes and the Valerian:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Butterflies-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Butterflies-4.jpeg
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Dropped camera!
Topic: photography Link here

After finishing my weekly house photos I was walking back to the house when my camera fell off the tripod. This has happened to me before, coincidentally under the same conditions, and I've been very careful to ensure that everything was tight.

So how did it happen? I don't know. It wasn't anything I did today: the rail holding the camera came off the panorama bracket. It must have gradually been loosening—an accident waiting to happen. I'm surprised I didn't notice any looseness when taking the photos.

How much damage? As far as I can tell, none to camera and lens. But the remote control (once again) didn't come out as well:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Damaged-remote-control-1.jpeg
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Should I replace it? It still works, and it seems that this kind of remote control is out of fashion. Nowadays it has to be Bluetooth, as if I didn't have enough things to annoy me already.


More garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

Jesse Walsh along today to do yet more weeding. Somehow we're just not getting on top of it.


Ten years of eureka
Topic: technology Link here

I'm gradually moving my desktop from eureka to hydra, but today reminded me how slow progress is: ten years ago today I started using eureka in earnest, doing photo processing. It was so much faster.

Today I did my house photo processing on hydra. It was so much faster than on eureka. And in particular the graphics on the new monitor were so much better than on the old Matrix monitor. But somehow Moore's law is dead and buried.


Roast beef timing
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Roast beef for dinner today. I've more or less worked out the details now: cook at 180° fan-forced until the meat temperature hits 53°, about 50 minutes per kilogram.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240203/big/Roast-beef-4.jpeg
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Well, that's what I had. In fact, I think 52° is enough; the temperature continues to rise for the next 15 minutes, and at the end I had 58°. But the cooking time for 1.154 kg was only 48 minutes (and not the 75 minutes suggested on the pack). The shorter than expected time was probably due to the fact that I left the roast to reach room temperature before cooking. And my meat thermometer recommended 52°, which must be the first time that the recommendation was lower than my estimate. I'll try that next time.


Sunday, 4 February 2024 Dereel Images for 4 February 2024
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Global warming?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

It seems that last month was the third hottest January on record—somewhere. I forget where, but clearly in the northern hemisphere heat is not a concept that is associated with January.

But here, too, it wasn't at all hot:

mysql> SELECT date, min(outside_temp), avg(outside_temp), max(outside_temp)
       FROM observations
       WHERE month(date)=1
       GROUP BY year(date)
       ORDER BY avg(outside_temp);

+------------+-------------------+--------------------+-------------------+
| date       | min(outside_temp) | avg(outside_temp)  | max(outside_temp) |
+------------+-------------------+--------------------+-------------------+
| 2015-01-01 |               6.3 | 18.401607122668867 |              40.6 |
| 2021-01-01 |               6.2 | 18.792118665753357 |              40.9 |
| 2020-01-01 |               6.5 | 19.525835682546077 |              43.2 |
| 2010-01-31 |               5.8 |  19.58729291182623 |              44.9 |
| 2024-01-01 |               7.5 | 19.798747750238128 |              36.9 |
| 2013-01-01 |               5.4 | 19.888332649854043 |              43.2 |
| 2011-01-15 |               7.3 |  20.06438985396451 |              41.9 |
| 2023-01-01 |               7.5 | 20.578343210962966 |              41.1 |
| 2012-01-01 |               4.9 |  20.73690966800891 |              45.4 |
| 2018-01-31 |               6.4 | 21.048154826751524 |              43.5 |
| 2014-01-01 |               6.8 |  21.23271246846238 |              46.6 |
| 2019-01-01 |               4.1 | 21.799445233932307 |                43 |
| 2022-01-01 |               7.9 | 22.177257147764077 |              38.2 |
+------------+-------------------+--------------------+-------------------+
13 rows in set (4.12 sec)

In comparison with other years, the average temperature was below average, and the maximum temperature was the lowest, by 1.3°. And this month seems to be heading the same way. The first two weeks of February are generally the hottest in the year, but today we barely hit 40°. It seems that climate change is also changing the distribution: further north it was really hot.


What noodles?
Topic: food and drink, language, opinion Link here

A while back I bought some Chinese noodles—I don't even know where. They looked good, the price was right, so I bought them for the fun of it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240204/big/Guanmiao-noodles-2.jpeg
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But what are they? I discover that this is the only English inscription on the package.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240204/big/Guanmiao-noodles-4.jpeg
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But the inscription in large letters on the front and back is different. Google Translate helps with the front:

Tainan speciality
Alkali-free formula
healthy and worry-free

And what does this mean?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240204/big/Guanmiao-noodles-5.jpeg
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Guan Miao Noodles
Beyond tradition, the first alkali-free formula
Indicate (L) use acid to absorb preservatives, and bear the burden on your health.

So this seems to be more a question of manufacturing process than anything else. In view of the lack of English inscription, it's interesting that they're made in Taiwan. Of course, it seems that there is no indication of how long to cook them; I'll guess at 3 minutes until proof of the contrary. I recognized the Chinese symbol for 3 above the English label, but that proved to be part of “3 generations”, more advertising.


What I see is all you get
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

A couple of days ago I stumbled over a surprising number of TV series on the ZDF web site, several hundred of them. That poses two questions.

Firstly, how do I download them? It seems that each episode has its own URL, not easily deciphered. But youtube-dl is clever enough to scrape the index page and download the videos it finds. Only, as I discovered a year ago today, it's limited to what the web page displays by default, and the web designers have determined that it's a bad idea to display everything at once (“slide sideways”). Still, I was able to download dozens of videos automatically.

But where do I put it? There are several hundred gigabytes of video here. Time to rummage through my old USB disks. There's the one that Rani killed nearly 8 years ago. I had had some hope of being able to recover it by writing data to the entire disk. But that didn't work, and the system politely deleted the device node (/dev/da0p1) without saying anything. So yes, completely dead.

But then there's another backup disk that became free when I installed my One Big Backup disk last June. It's 4 TB in size, plenty of space for expansion. There's just the question of where to put what. I now have a 7.5 TB file system, a 6 TB file system and a 4 TB file system. Where's Vinum when you need it? Still, I've found a way: basically move all the “seen” videos (ones which are only present in the /spool/Already hierarchy) to the new 4 TB disk. For the time being, that works.

Of course, the “modern” way to do this is just download them when you want them. I'm decidedly not modern. That way they can go away before I watch them. What I have found is good for several years, and I've seen videos come and go in the past.


Monday, 5 February 2024 Dereel Images for 5 February 2024
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A mowed lawn!
Topic: gardening, general Link here

Paul Donaghy along today and mowed the lawn—finally! It seems that we have had nothing but trouble with the old lawn mower in the last year, starting with mechanical damage this time last year. But now we have a functional mower.

Paul got as far as the lawn, tried to engage the cutter. Immediate stall, reproducible. It took a while for me to discover that this is a safety feature: you can only engage the cutter when out of gear. After that, all was well except for some damage to the sprinkler system, which also required fixing. And it seems that Garth's claim that he had sharpened the blades was incorrect; Paul will look at it when he can find some US spanners.

In a way, it's sad. There were a surprising number of these flowers in the lawn:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240205/big/Wildflowers-1.jpeg
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More injuries
Topic: health, opinion Link here

After walking the dogs, Yvonne tripped in the drainage furrow for the Corymbia ficifolia and fell to the ground on her right side. These things happen, of course, but she was in severe pain as a result, notably round the ribs.

Fracture? It seems strange that she was hurt at all, since she landed on the lawn. A year ago I tripped and landed on the concrete verandah, but I didn't do anything painful. Presumably it's related to her osteoporosis, and it just adds to my concerns about her activities.

By evening it hadn't subsided significantly. Hopefully no serious damage has been done.


Tuesday, 6 February 2024 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel
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Guan Miao noodles again
Topic: food and drink Link here

Cooked the Guan Miao noodles for breakfast today. They come in convenient baskets of nominally 60 g, though the two I weighed both weighed 70 g. That gave me 147 g of cooked noodles, and indeed my guess of 3 minutes was correct.


Broken ribs?
Topic: health Link here

Yvonne spent a somewhat painful night, but that was to be expected. Probably there's nothing wrong that a couple of weeks' recovery won't solve. But the last two times that she injured herself (doesn't that in itself say something?), we discovered later that she had spinal injuries.

So: better safe than sorry. She managed a phone consultation with Dr Warren Policha, saving an eternity waiting at the Ballarat Base Hospital emergency department. He wasn't overly concerned, but gave her a referral for a “CXR and XR”, which proved to be chest X-ray and normal X-ray, and she'll have that done tomorrow. At least things seem to be less painful for her now.


More hydra strangenesses
Topic: technology, animals, multimedia, opinion Link here

Once again I'm finding more important things to do than complete the migration from eureka to hydra. It's certainly helped by the strange things that keep happening.

Instead, today I paid some attention to the mess of cables and backup disks behind eureka's monitors. I've started putting some brackets to hold them in place, especially since Bruno could knock them down:


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It's a slow business: it's easy to dislodge or disconnect something. Despite all attempts, I managed to cause some transient connectivity issues:

nfs server eureka:/: not responding
nfs server eureka:/: not responding
nfs server eureka:/: is alive again

And for some reason, the audio output from hydra developed a hiss that I couldn't get rid of. The audio cable is one of the many in the photos above, so it's reasonable to assume that there's a connection. In the past I have found flaky contacts at the amplifier input, but the only thing that I could find to get rid of the noise was to remove the plug from hydra's motherboard. And playing with xmixer showed that it just didn't work, or at least that the changes didn't get stored where mixer could see them. In the end I changed the volume to the highest and turned it down at the amplifier; that seems to have reduced the noise to a bearable level. But it's yet another outstanding issue.


Dentist again
Topic: health Link here

Off to Ballarat for my six-monthly dental check. Nothing at all wrong! I wonder whether Mario is getting bored now that I'm so old.

Afterwards, paying my bill, found the receptionists surfing the web. Like many others, they were trying to guess where to find Samantha Murphy, who disappeared on Sunday. There's a surprising amount of community involvement.


Still more mobile phone smart
Topic: technology Link here

As usual, I planned my trip into town with Google Maps and loaded the itinerary into my phone, more for the fun of it than anything else. First I needed to go to PPT to drop a letter. But on leaving I discovered I was 10 minutes late, so off to the dentist first, where I arrived only a couple of minutes late.

Coming out, of course, tried to modify my itinerary. Google Maps hadn't noticed that I was at the second destination, and when I tried to change things, everything hung. I couldn't get any response from the map, and I couldn't stop it (why doesn't Android have a user-visible kill function?). So all I could do was to reboot. And then, of course, my itinerary was gone, though Maps cheerfully offered me destinations like Eagle Pass, Paul-Dessau-Straße in Hamburg and Dakar in Senegal, all because I had looked them up on a different machine with a different program. There can only be one!

What a pain this software is!


Wednesday, 7 February 2024 Dereel Images for 7 February 2024
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Yvonne: no broken bones
Topic: health Link here

Yvonne into town today, and apart from other things she had her chest X-rayed. As far as the radiographer can see, there's nothing broken. That's what we had expected, but it's comforting to have confirmation.


A carburATor!
Topic: gardening, general Link here

We've been waiting for a new carburettor for our old lawn mower for 2½ months, and last week we gave up and bought a new mower, with the intention to get the old one repaired and sell it if we ever got a new carburettor.

And then today I got a call: they have a new carburator for us, conveniently when Yvonne was in town and planning to almost drive past. So she picked it up and brought it to the repair shop. Hopefully we'll soon have this chapter behind us.


Static linking
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

My hope of working around the fvwm2 bug by running fvwm2 on eureka, pointing at hydra, proved to be less than perfect. Yes, eureka's version of fvwm2 doesn't crash—if it's linked with the libraries on eureka. And that (currently) means running it on eureka. But then all the programs it starts also run on eureka. So the obvious thing is to somehow find a way to run eureka's version of fvwm2 on hydra with the eureka libraries.

Simple: link them statically. In the Good Old Days that was the only way, but nobody does that any more. Ten years ago I found a package called statifier that can do that—if your environment is correct, and in this context that means Linux. And at the time I couldn't get it to work on FreeBSD.

But why is anything like statifier needed? All I need is a good link editor, perversely (for hysterical raisins) called “loader” in Unix. But nobody invokes that directly any more: the compiler does it for you. As a result, I don't know how to use it. Spent quite some time playing around with various invocations, ultimately getting as far as an exectuable that linked with no problems and then crashed immediately.

The real issue is that I don't really know what I'm doing. It should be relatively trivial to take a dynamically linked executable and add the static libraries. But I haven't found anything that will do that for me.


Migraine!
Topic: health, opinion Link here

I suffer from migraine. Not frequently, not badly, not typically: I don't get headaches. The main symptom is the aura, which I thought was a primary symptom of migraine, but that seems not to be the case.

Today I had another attack, the first in months. The aura stretched to the right of my field of view, gradually moving upwards, accompanied by a scotoma which lasted about 10 minutes. And after that came a period of about 30 to 45 minutes where I could see clearly, but I couldn't read words. I could identify the letters, but I had great difficulty putting the words together. I also had similar issues speaking: I could speak normally, but I couldn't put words to the concepts that I wanted to express.

And then, as ever, it was gone. I've assumed that that's normal, and certainly my doctor suffers more than I do from migraine. But is migraine a misdiagnosis? I should read more on the topic.


Thursday, 8 February 2024 Dereel Images for 8 February 2024
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Migraine resources
Topic: health Link here

Yesterday's thoughts about migraine brought me to a number of links, some of which I followed up today. This one describes my symptoms quite well.


Dogs escaping
Topic: animals Link here

Petra Gietz here today. She looked outside and said “the dogs are out on the street”. Nonsense. There's a fence in between, and the gates are shut.

But she was right. They were both standing in front of the gate, clearly wanting to get in. They had dug a hole under the fence:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240208/big/Dog-escape-3.jpeg
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What do we do there? In the short term, block the hole:


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But later I came outside and found that the basket had been moved, and Larissa was guarding it:


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She hadn't gone outside. I put it in a position that was more difficult (I hope) to move, and we need to see what to do next.


Summer blooms
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Our Maple “Chantilly Lace” suffered during the course of the summer, and we thought we would need to place it elsewhere. But it now looks as if the issue was, once again, irrigation. Here it is 7 weeks ago and now today:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20231222/big/Maple-Chantilly-Lace-1.jpeg
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And to my surprise, on the corner of Progress Road I saw this Corymbia ficifolia:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240208/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-1.jpeg
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There used to be a very nice one there, but it got cut down for some reason. Our own one has been promising to flower for over a month now, but all I have seen so far is that the buds are increasing in size. Here a month ago and now:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240112/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-3.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240209/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-2.jpeg
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Photo history resource
Topic: photography, history Link here

I've been meaning to read this article about the history of camera lenses for ever, and finally I got round to it. It was well worthwhile, with insights into a number of people involved at the time, notably Joszef Petzval and Peter Voigtländer (for some reason not available in English). The strange thing is that it's titled “Lens Wars: Episode V”, and I was hoping for more, but this seems to be the only one.


Porting statifier
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

How much work is it to port statifier to FreeBSD? Ten years ago I gave up when it didn't build out of the box. But in fact that issue—the name of the architecture—was quite easy to fix.

But then I got:

=== grog@hydra (/dev/pts/51) ~/src/statifier/statifier-1.7.4 85 -> gmake all
/bin/sh ./configure
rm --force VERSION
rm: illegal option -- -
...

Gratuitous Linuxisms! And indeed the Makefile.in contained unnecessary stuff like

MKDIR       = mkdir --parents
MV          = mv --force
RM          = rm --force
RMDIR       = rm --force --recursive

Why? You'd think that this kind of program would be a natural to be ported. Why make life difficult? The change to mkdir -p and friends is more portable.

But that wasn't the end of the problem. After working round the build environment and installing a version of gcc (I think), I ended up with

gcc -m64 -Icpus/x86_64 -Wall -O2 -g elf_symbols.c -o 64/elf_symbols
In file included from /usr/include/stdio.h:40,
                 from ./my_lib.inc.c:12,
                 from elf_symbols.c:30:
elf_symbols.c:88:33: error: unknown type name 'Elf64_Section'; did you mean 'Elf64_Ssize'?
   88 | static const char *get_st_index(ElfW(Section) val)
      |                                 ^~~~
elf_symbols.c: In function 'main':
elf_symbols.c:349:49: warning: implicit declaration of function 'get_st_index'; did you mean 'get_st_bind'? [-Wimplicit-function-declaration]
  349 |                                                 get_st_index(sym->st_shndx),
      |                                                 ^~~~~~~~~~~~
      |                                                 get_st_bind

Admire the almost invisible bottom line (get_st_bind). How I HATE stupid half-colours in error messages! But more to the point, this seems to point to two different definitions of ELF structures. Yes, I can investigate, and the easiest way to do that is compare with a modern Linux system that can build the package.


Making software maintenance easy
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Answering a question on the FreeBSD-questions mailing list, discovered that there's a problem with the documentation of BSD make: make searches by default for a Makefile called BSDmakefile, but it's not mentioned in the man page.

OK, that's easy enough to fix. First, check what the man page says:

If no -f makefile makefile option is given, make will try to open `makefile' then `Makefile' in order to find the specifications.

And what does make do? In /usr/src/usr.bin/make/main.c I find:

        } else if (!TryReadMakefile("BSDmakefile"))
            if (!TryReadMakefile("makefile"))
                TryReadMakefile("Makefile");

OK, that's straightforward enough.

Oh, this was on eureka, and the sources are 8 years out of date. Over to hydra with this morning's latest and greatest.

Oh. The file is no longer there! In fact, the directory is no longer there. Much searching brings me to /usr/src/usr.bin/bmake. That in itself isn't an issue, but there are no sources there! The Makefile points me to /usr/src/contrib/bmake. But there's no mention of BSDmakefile in that directory. The closest I come is:

#ifndef MAKEFILE_PREFERENCE_LIST
/* This is the traditional preference for makefiles. */
# define MAKEFILE_PREFERENCE_LIST "makefile Makefile"
#endif

So somebody could theoretically define MAKEFILE_PREFERENCE_LIST and add BSDmakefile. But I don't see where it happens. Does make still behave like this? Well, a test shows that it still does on my system, built in mid-December.

One this stuff was easy. Now people are tying themselves in knots. My best bet is that we have ditched our version of bmake and brought in a better maintained one from outside. But somewhere along the line something has gone wrong. Do I care enough to follow it up?


Friday, 9 February 2024 Dereel Images for 9 February 2024
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hydra: Learning fvwm3
Topic: technology, history, opinion Link here

Somehow my attempts to work around the bug in fvwm2 are all too hard. Running it from eureka starts programs on eureka, not hydra. Attempts to statically link with eureka's libraries prove to be a can of worms. And I've established that (so far) the problem doesn't occur with fvwm3. So why not use that?

The main reason is because the results aren't as expected. No colours any more, icons in the wrong place on the screen. But there must be a way to do that. Off searching the web, and came up with this page with the encouraging title Things I ran into when moving from Fvwm2 to Fvwm3 by Chris Siebenmann. And it was quite interesting. It explains what I think is my bug: it's really a feature that never got defined, and now they have closed the loophole, apparently an incidence of Hyrum's law. It also explains the lack of colours: there are two ways of defining colours in fvwm2, and only one in fvwm3 (why?): colorsets. And of course I had the wrong kind.

So: go back and refactor my configuration file. What a horrible thought! And that got me thinking: how did I get here? I started using X in 1990, using twm, because it was all that I had. In 1993 I bought a copy of mwm for BSD/386, but in April 1996 I found that I had to replace it. No longer supported in the new BSD version? Maybe it was related to moving to FreeBSD.

And at that point I installed fvwm (version 1) and a configuration file that produced a look somewhat like mwm. Since then, I've just updated the file.

But what I have doesn't look much like the out-of-box appearance of fvwm[23]. Could it be time to rethink the entire appearance of my desktop. Chris Siebenmann helps here with his version:

https://utcc.utoronto.ca/~cks/pics/office/work-screen-2011-02-22.png

That's not what I want, but it has some good ideas. Once again I need to step back and consider alternatives.


Emacs pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Another program that I have been using forever is Emacs. I started with MINCE in about 1980 or 1981, and first installed GNU Emacs on a Xenix box in about 1989. My fingers are trained to work with it and the keyboard bindings I have added to it. If I find myself on a different keyboard (one without the F keys on the left), I often have to think carefully about what key combinations I need for a specific function.

But here, too, the modern world is catching up with me. How do I start Emacs on hydra? The old invocation (in the fvwm2 menus) is:

/home/local/bin/Emacs -display eureka:0.0 -geometry 100x50-53+0 -font 6x13

That works on hydra too, sort of. The font is tiny, and I have already changed other displays to scalable fonts. For that you need a font name and a font size. But after much searching I discover that Emacs has no provision for specifying font size, neither on the command line nor in X resources. I can do it by a menu (oh horror!) and save it, and that works. But even then I can't find the font size in the saved configuration, so the only way I (currently) have to change it is to run the menu again. And clearly that won't work where I need different sizes for different display resolutions.

And then there are other strangenesses. The cut functions don't seem to copy the text to the X kill buffer. Is this maybe the result of configuring it for Wayland? Somehow there's much more work involved in this transition than I had expected.


Curtains!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Eight years ago we installed our first curtains ever. Previously we had either not seen the need, or we moved into a house that already had curtains.


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They weren't cheap, but they also didn't last. For some time now they've been sagging:


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The reason is obvious. They're held by hooks that connect to these rollers:


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And the rollers are falling apart, like the front one here. OK, replace them. But for that we need to dismantle the entire rail! What a mess! And once again an indication of the appalling quality of so many of the fittings in this house.

So: I give up. Cable ties around the outside of the curtain rail. Yes, they're not pretty, but they're sturdy, and if they fail they can be replaced relatively easily. That's what's on the left side of the curtain:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240210/big/Sagging-curtain-detail.jpeg
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And as if to prove my point, the slight disruption caused by lifting the curtain was enough to cause another 6 or 8 rollers to fail.


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More garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

Jesse Walsh along this afternoon for more garden work. He also filled in the trench in which Yvonne tripped on Monday. Hopefully that will eliminate one danger.


Happy New Year!
Topic: general Link here

Today is the first day of the Year of the Dragon. Yvonne prepared for it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240211/big/Dragon-of-the-year-1.jpeg
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Crumbed prawns
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

On Wednesday Yvonne bought some good-looking prawns:


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How do you cook them? They recommended an air fryer, 7 minutes at 180°. And surprise, surprise! That worked.

Only: some fool had decided that sweet dessicated coconut was a good thing to put in the crumbs. Not so we. We thought of taking them back to ALDI, but decided against it.

Of course, there was a warning:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240211/big/Coconut-prawns-detail.jpeg
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But it should have been in red. Why do people do that?


Sunday, 11 February 2024 Dereel Images for 11 February 2024
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Lightning visit from Scott
Topic: general Link here

Scott Ashhurst along early this morning to pick up some things that Yvonne has given to Jane. That's the third time he's been here, while Jane has only been here twice. But once again I only saw him for a few seconds. I think the only time he has entered the house was to carry in the boxes that I inherited from Bruce Evans.


bde dying
Topic: technology Link here

Seen in this morning's backup log:

DUMP: dumping (Pass IV) [regular files]
DUMP: read error from /dev/ada0s1a: Input/output error: [block 586720074]: count=10240
DUMP: read error from /dev/ada0s1a: Input/output error: [block 586721232]: count=10240
...
DUMP: read error from /dev/ada0s1a: Input/output error: [sector 586723552]: count=512
DUMP: 32.05% done, finished in 0:11 at Sun Feb 11 21:18:51 2024

bde, one of the laptops that I inherited from Bruce Evans, has a defective disk. Doubtless that has nothing to do with Scott Ashhurst, who brought the machines to me nearly 2 years ago.

What do I do? I hardly use the machine, and I have another, better machine that I could use instead. For the time being, I think, I'll do nothing. Still, did some investigation about replacement disks. Clearly SSDs are the way to go. For the size I'm looking for (round 250 GB), you can get SSDs for under $30.


Finding Samantha Murphy
Topic: general, opinion Link here

A week ago, Samantha Murphy went for a jog in the forest. She didn't come back.

Who? I saw the report the following day in the Ballarat Courier. People disappear all the time, but for some reason Samantha's disappearance grabbed the attention of the whole country and even news outlets at the other end of the world.

Why? I don't know, but round here lots of people are in on the search. There are lots of articles, but they contain very little information. One item stands out, though:

It is understood a local mobile phone tower registered a ping from Ms Murphy's phone on Sunday, after she disappeared, but police refused to say more about the timing or location of the phone.

A ping! I wonder what they really mean. But the claim is incorrect: elsewhere it was stated that they had found the phone (really?) in the Buninyong Golf Club.

So how reliable is this information? Getting a mobile phone to ping anything is almost impossible. Pinging a mobile phone tower is even less plausible. My guess is that the HLR received a registration from a tower in Buninyong. But that's not very plausible either. If she had an active mobile phone with her, it would initially have been registered with a tower in Ballarat East, about 10 km to the north. If it then registered with Buninyong, there would be a lot more information. Was the phone physically found? Depends on whom you ask.

But: nobody has published the obvious question: how could the phone have got there, or registered with the tower? It's 2½ hours by foot to the golf club. That would mean that it was probably transported by car. With or without Samantha? And once again I'm left wondering why people don't have GPS tracking on by default on their mobile phone. That would give much more accurate information than an HLR.

Today we walked the dogs early, because it was hot. We bumped into Linda Swift from next door, who normally walks at this time. She was carrying a metal rod: it seems that people on Facebook have reported strange people in the vicinity of where Samantha disappeared, and she wanted to be able to defend herself. The matter has had a profound influence on the area. How would it have been treated in the USA? It probably depends on the colour of the victim's skin.


More hydra strangenesses
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

More attempts to migrate from eureka to hydra today. It's really not easy. So many things have changed. The new version of firefox seems to have changed its behaviour. I like a quick menu bar at the top (no idea what the firefoxes call it), but that no longer seems to be available. And copying text to X seems to have changed too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and the issue seems to apply to Emacs as well, which also seems to sometimes forget its current directory. It's all so variable that I haven't tried to investigate further. But maybe it's really time to investigate Google Chrome again.


Recovering the prawns
Topic: food and drink Link here

We only ate half of these horrible coconut-coated prawns yesterday. And clearly they need to go. Yvonne couldn't face the thought of the coating again, so she scraped it off and replaced it with something sane. The results were surprising:


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The was almost as much coating as prawns! And it was attached so firmly that she couldn't get it all off. But the results were better. Next time we do it from scratch.


Lasagne again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been a long time since we ate Lasagne al forno, and today was the time. Yvonne was concerned, not without reason, that we only had “instant” lasagne, perversely in packs of 7 sheets. We've had issues with that in the past, but looking back through this diary I couldn't find much in the way of ideas. About the only thing was, in the recipe:

If using “instant” lasagne, add another 200 ml to the sauce béchamel to make up for the moisture that the pasta will absorb. If using “no-cook” fresh pasta, add 50 ml.

The markup (“instant” instead of “instant”) suggests that this is very old. Still, tried it, and in principle things went well, though once again the béchamel burnt to the bottom of the saucepan:


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But the result was far too wet:


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Apart from that, though, it tasted alright. So what do I do? Scratch my head—next time.

The other thing that's obvious is that our dishes are not high enough. There's really no reason for the sauce to boil over:


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Again, something to think about next time.


Monday, 12 February 2024 Dereel Images for 12 February 2024
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Researching Hokkien Mee
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've been making a semblance of KL Hokkien Mee for 2½ years, now, and on one occasion I tried a sachet of Hokkien Mee, but I've never tried it from scratch. Spent some time this afternoon looking at recipes. Lately there have been some good videos on YouTube, but not all of them are good. This one looks authentic (first in Chinese, then in English), but it's so vague (“to your choice of (choose your ingredient)”) as to be almost useless. And of course SBS had to get in on the bandwagon with this recipe, using unknown ingredients such as wombok. I wonder how many people from outside Australia can even understand the recipe.

But there was one quite good one:

Not quite the way I would do it—you need to start hours in advance with a pile of prawn heads—but interesting. In particular, he said that he cooked with oil rather than the old way with lard, because of the health implications and so as not to offend his Muslim neighbours, but later went off to eulogize about his youth, when he knew an old man who cooked over a charcoal fire and used lard—ah, the aroma!

From my point of view, it's clear that prawn broth is central to the dish. I have two new prawn pastes. Can I use one of them for this dish?

In passing, came across this recipe for KL Hokkien Mee. The markup is painful, but it's interesting part how close it is to mine. It must be right!


Bushfire? Fire ban? Your guess
Topic: rant, general, opinion Link here

Mail from the Ballarat Courier today: tomorrow is a total fire ban day, with “catastrophic” conditions predicted.

“Catastrophic”? How does that relate to “Code Red”? Oh, it seems that “Code Red” is an old, worn-out buzzword. Presumably it's the worst that can happen, unless there's an “Armageddon” level. But why ask the Courier? Ask https://www.vicemergency.com.au/. Oh, no, wrong URL. They have preferred https://emergency.vic.gov.au/, and clearly don't think it worth the $20 or so a year to register vicemergency.com.au. Still, they're authoritative. No fire ban:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240212/big/VicEmergency-no-worries-detail.jpeg
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Oh, you want to know about tomorrow? Why don't you say so? Yes, tomorrow there's a total fire ban for half the state,

The other site, CFA, was similar. If you insist, it will tell you the most important information.

I've been ranting about the poor quality of their reports for over 15 years. Two weeks after that rant was Black Saturday. It would be unfair to say that nothing has changed: now there's a “catastrophic” fire danger level, and I haven't found out what the new levels are. But why can't they present useful information in a way that grabs people's attention?


Tuesday, 13 February 2024 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 13 February 2024
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Fake Hokkien Mee
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

After yesterday's investigations, I had to cook Hokkien mee for breakfast today, of course. Rather than stick to the recipes I had seen, I interpolated with what I had at hand, obviously using some experience from my KL Hokkien mee. In particular, though, I wanted to try out this new prawn (“shrimp”) paste, which I hoped would be a good substitute for prawn head broth:


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Here's how it went:

quantity       ingredient       step
20 g       prawn paste       1
60 g       pork belly       1
65 g       chicken broth       1
15 g       lard       2
15 g       garlic       4
10 g       ginger       4
5 g       fresh chili       4
1 (60 g)       egg       5
25 g       choi sam leaves       6
60 g       squid tubes, cut into strips       6
60 g       prawns       6
180 g       “Hokkien noodles” (bucatini)       7
60 g       choi sam       8

Procedure

  1. Cut the pork into slices. Mix the prawn paste with the broth and marinate the pork in it for 20 minutes.


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  2. Remove the pork from the marinade and fry gently in the lard until lightly browned.

  3. Add 35 g broth to the marinade.

  4. Fry garlic, ginger and chili in remaining fat until cooked.

  5. Add the egg and stir to break up. Add half the marinade and cook until somewhat reduced.

  6. Add choi sam leaves, prawns and squid and cook until soft.

  7. Add noodles and 70 g broth. Heat until hot.

  8. Serve.


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240213/big/Hokkien-Mee-7-detail.jpeg
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    There should be lime slices, but I forgot them this time.

How was it? It was acceptable, but not more. That's why I only used half the marinade from step 3. I decided relatively early on that the prawn paste isn't the right choice. In particular, it's too salty, and more like belacan than prawn broth. I have another one, and I'll try again with that one next time.


firefox outwitted?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I've been grumbling about the disappearance of my quick menu bar (my term) on newer versions of firefox. Callum Gibson to the rescue: just hit the Meta (Alt) key and you'll get a menu to enable you to customize it.

It don't work for me. Ah, not Meta, Alt. And how about that, I hadn't remapped Alt; it was still where it's marked on the keyboard. And how about that, it gave me a “Bookmarks Toolbar” and enabled me to add things to it.

So not a menu bar after all? Well, yes and no. It seems that the menu bar is gone, but the bookmarks toolbar has taken its place. But why? Firefox is enough of a pain as it is without having it change its appearance all the time. But maybe there's more: I've found a Customize Firefox controls page which might help relieve some of the pain.


Haircut again
Topic: general Link here

Into town today only for a haircut. 21 minutes to get there, 25 minutes for the haircut, 21 minutes back. Somehow that's a waste of time, but I couldn't think of anything else to do.


Bushfire! Leave immediately!
Topic: rant, general, opinion Link here

As expected, today was a bad day for bushfires, and it showed VicEmergency at its worst. Are we affected? Let me count the ways:


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0 warnings? 2 warnings? 1 “incident”? 2 “incidents”? Can't they count?

Following up, I received the alarming display:


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Ha ha, only joking. Going back to the same page showed:


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The “leave immediately” applied only to the framed area, and we're at the blue pin. And the second display shows no such warning. Now you see it, now you don't. Now you live, now you die.


Android confusion
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I've been trying to rearrange the icons on my phone, and in the process ran into this horrible idea of coalescing icons into “folders”, in the process adding a title of its choice:


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But where did it get that title from?


Wednesday, 14 February 2024 Dereel
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BOM strangenesses
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, who don't want to be called BOM, but whose Internet domain is bom.gov.au, supplies a lot of information. At http://www.bom.gov.au/places/vic/KFC2/ I can see a local weather forecast. On my mobile phone, using the BOM Weather app (that appears to be the official name), I can get a different forecast for the same place. For example, for tomorrow the web site gives temperatures between 7° and 24°, while the app gives 9° to 23°. I've never seen the two agree.

But there's one thing that I can't view on a mobile phone: the local rainfall map. While searching and discussing on IRC, discovered another strangeness: https://www.bom.gov.au/ doesn't work. BOM doesn't do HTTPS!

The Bureau of Meteorology website does not currently support connections via HTTPS.
You will shortly be redirected to http://www.bom.gov.au.

Now admittedly I don't either, but I am slightly ashamed of that. But they're a government agency. And it's not as harmless as it appears: for reasons we hadn't established, Juha Kupiainen has a browser that insists on HTTPS, thus creating a loop and no access.


Language in cooking
Topic: language, opinion Link here

There are lots of silly words in cooking, as well as abuses of words with different meanings. I have a whole page about some of them, and it discusses stupidities like wombok and shallot. But it seems that we're going through a change in terminology or spelling that, while not incorrect, somehow irritates me:

Does this make any difference? I don't know. If it unifies divergent spellings or terms, it might be of use. But here we have lost the distinction between prawns and shrimps (as Wikipedia shows). That's a different situation from my last rant: in the case of “wombok” the number of different terms has increased, not decreased, and the term “shallot” (or “echalotte”) has become so overloaded that I don't know how to interpret the term in a recipe.


Thursday, 15 February 2024 Dereel Images for 15 February 2024
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ALDI egg poacher
Topic: food and drink, language, opinion Link here

Last week Yvonne bought a new gadget from ALDI: an “egg poacher”. That's interesting, since I've always had issues with getting fried eggs perfectly uniform. And my attempts in the past have been less than successful.

Take a step back: what's poaching? What methods are there to cook eggs whole? I've probably missed something, but there's at least boiling in the shell, boiling without the shell, or frying. And “boiling without the shell” is generally called poaching.

What this thing does is something else: it cooks the eggs in a container, over water, but not in contact with it:


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The device is really a perfectly normal frying pan, of which I have more than enough, with a frame to hold little cups, into which you put the eggs. Bring water to boil underneath and cook.

That's the easy part. In the past similar devices have failed because I can't get the egg out of the cup. In fact, there are a surprising amount of questions:

So it's not as straightforward as it seems. What do the instructions say?


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Who can read that? I can't. Coming closer,


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According to the instructions, you cook the egg in the container, and that's the end of the story. No mention of whether to cover it, no help in getting the thing out again. About the only thing that I found (after enhancing the text to make it legible) was

Fill pan with water so that water line is just below poaching tray.

Isn't that clear? What is “just”? Should the water touch the cup or not? My guess is that it means that the cup should dip into the water, but that's just a guess. Still, I couldn't read that detail until later, so I put relatively little water into the pan, not enough to touch the cups. I took a cup, spread some oil round the surface, put the egg into it and cooked with the lid on for 4 minutes, the maximum that they state. The result didn't quite match the image on the packaging:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240215/big/Egg-poacher-3-detail.jpeg
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That's clearly a result of leaving the lid on. But there were more discoveries. Yes, the egg came out with no trouble at all:


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But it was not completely cooked, and it bounced off the rice where I had tried to put it.

So: my guess is that the water should touch the cups, and that the lid should be left off, at least if you want to see the yolks. One way or another there's the issue that the eggs come out of the cup upside-down. Still, the results are more positive than I had expected.


Web ECONNRESET?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

My external web site has been very busy lately, with load averages going up over 100 and seldom below 10. I'm surprised that it's still so responsive. But on a couple of occasions I've seen it below 1. How could that happen?

To my surprise, I was no longer able to access the web server. ECONNRESET: “Connection reset by peer”. It was only the web server; everything else worked normally. OK, try an apachectl graceful. And yes, after that it worked. But why did it happen? How can I ensure that it doesn't happen again?


Magnet therapy or snake oil?
Topic: health, opinion Link here

While talking to Linda Swift the other day, she mentioned some surprisingly expensive walking shoes that she had bought. They're magnetic, and they're good for some health-related issue or another

Is that serious? Off researching. Yes, indeed, there are recognized uses of magnetism in modern medicine, including transcranial magnetic stimulation and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. But they use dynamic magnetic fields. What Linda is talking about uses permanent magnets, and is thus magnet therapy. Yes, that's a big thing, generating revenues of over a thousand million dollars a year. But no, there is no scientific consensus that it's effective. So it's more like a modern form of snake oil. It's interesting, though, to follow up on these things.


More Microsoft strangenesses
Topic: technology Link here

My accountant needs proof of my identity for an application to close an account. Yes, we've signed and returned the form, but they want proof of my identity: a driver license! And for some reason I couldn't find any on our local network. OK, scan and save.

But dischord, my old Microsoft “Windows” 7 box, told me that the device wasn't connected. Given the work that I've been doing lately behind the computers, that's no impossible. But no, all USB connections were firmly in place. Stop application. Power cycle scanner. Still nothing.

OK, what does the “operating system” say? Yes, it's there. Not much in the way of status, but while pressing random buttons, it ran a preview scan! And that without any external “application”! I didn't know that that was possible. It looked a little bare-bones, but it worked.

Back to Epson's own scan program. The scanner was still open by the system, and I had to leave the “control panel” to be able to run it. Still, an interesting insight.


Friday, 16 February 2024 Dereel Images for 16 February 2024
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How many noodles?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I eat a lot of noodles for breakfast. From a preparation viewpoint there are two kinds: loose noodles, which I need to portion myself, and “baskets” for a single portion, like these:


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Typically I've been cooking loose noodles and freezing them in 180 g portions. The “baskets” typically weigh 60 g and produce 150 g of cooked noodles. That's OK, too.

But today I wanted to cook some Sau Tau “shrimp” noodles. They come in baskets of only 45 g. Based on my previous experience, that would only give me 130 g. So I cooked three baskets, and how about that, I had exactly 300 g of cooked noodles. Eat half, freeze the other half.

But why so little? On my cooking times I had noted a weight of 130 g for the non-"shrimp” version of the noodles. That's a factor of 2.9 times the dry weight, and what I got today was 2.27 x. Why?


Finally, the Corymbia
Topic: gardening Link here

I've been watching the buds on my Corymbia ficifolia for nearly 2 months now. While other trees burst into flower, mine just got ever bigger buds:


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But finally it's in flower:


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That's just the beginning. Last year it flowered mainly in March. At the time I thought that that was because of the treatment it had had, but maybe it's just a late-flowering type.


What cost a newspaper?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Once upon a time it was expensive to produce a newspaper. In particular, the production methods required significant resources (material, production methods), and they didn't scale well. But that was in the last millennium. Now most news sources are on the Internet, and the incremental cost of another copy is close to 0.

Some newspapers seem to have noticed this, and they offer really cheap subscriptions. I am currently paying Australian $20 a year for the New York Times (“unlimited” version, meaning I get everything except the paper edition), and US $12.94 per year ($0.99 for 4 weeks) for the Washington Post. Yes, in each case that's only for a year, but I can then cancel and sign up for the same conditions again. My old email addresses are continually bombarded with offers, like today. These messages arrived 26 seconds apart:

  24 N   15-02-2024 To oldgrog@lemis. (1254) The New York Times   N   Ready for full access? A$20 for your first year.
  25 N   15-02-2024 To oldgrog@lemis. (1252) The New York Times   N   Ready for full access? $50 for your first year.

Clearly some fine tuning is in order.

Sadly, not all newspapers understand that. The Ballarat Courier wants a minimum of $3.44 per week! That's $180 per year, and that just for local news. Sorry, Courier, it's not worth it. I'll take the free daily headlines and extrapolate from there.


Saturday, 17 February 2024 Dereel Images for 17 February 2024
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Bruno in the office
Topic: animals, general Link here

I've gradually secured my office sufficiently to allow Bruno to come inside (and thus also to allow me to leave the door open). Today I was sitting at my desk when he approached. I wish I had been able to get a photo: first an expression of surprise, then a thick tail as he walked in. And yes, he didn't do any harm, though he did jump on the top of the 1.8 m high bookshelves, dislodging a box in the process. So we're not done yet, but I'm sure that he will gradually calm down.


Egg poacher, next step
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Thursday's experiments with the ALDI egg poacher were positive, better than I thought. But the eggs were undercooked on the underside and overcooked on top, to the point that the yolk wasn't recognizable.

OK, I had a list of things to try. The next one is with water up to the just below the poaching tray:


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But that makes the cups float:


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Sure, a little is OK, since the egg will weigh it down. In he end I decided on this much:


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And sure enough, that worked:


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Next: lid on or not? The illustration on the packaging showed clearly visible yolks, and you won't get that with the lid on. So cook with the lid off, 2 to 4 minutes according to the instructions. Here they are after 4 minutes:


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OK, another 4 minutes:


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Nothing to it. Lid on, yet another 4 minutes, a total of 12. Cooked. And stuck fast to the cups:


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That was exactly what worried me. So: the thing doesn't work the way I want it to, like all the other poachers I have ever seen. And the photo on the packaging is plain damn lies. It goes back.


More gardening stuff
Topic: gardening Link here

Jesse Walsh along to do some gardening today, and finally things are starting to look better. But we still have issues with the sprinklers round the roses.


Poor, misunderstood Israel
Topic: politics Link here

One of the news sources I read is the Times of Israel. It's been hard reading in the past few months. It's amazing how the view from Israel differs from the rest of the world. Today I started reading “The US charge of indiscriminate bombing is over the top”, by Michael Oren. Here Israel is engaging in textbook genocide, and he finds ways to justify it (“Washington should know that the Gaza civilian death toll is relatively low – its accusations endanger Israel's security”).

When will Israel learn that to make peace with its neighbours, it needs to behave peacefully? Yes, there will always be people who won't want to make peace, but involve the rest in Israel's prosperity and they will have few followers. They way they're going, they're giving groups like Hamas the ammunition they need to recruit new members. That's not the way to eradicate the group.


Rain on BOM app
Topic: technology, general Link here

A couple of days ago I claimed that I couldn't view rainfall on the BOM Weather mobile phone app. Of course I can, as Andrew Perry reminded me. All I need to do is to swipe in the right way, and I get a rainfall map that is far and away better than the web-based map: it can be resized, paused and scrolled, and it gives a forecast up to 90 minutes in the future. Better in every way—once you find it.


What's this message?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Seen on a random xterm:

[53586:-1385032960:0216/233605.117805:ERROR:quic_network_blackhole_detector.cc(86)] Blackhole detection deadline should be the last deadline.

What does that mean? What produced it?


Steak and kidney pastie
Topic: food and drink Link here

We ran into time constraints for dinner today, so at the last minute decided on steak and kidney pie. But lately Yvonne has been eating so little that she has made a “pastie” out of hers. Today I decided on that too. The expected 7 minutes at 210° in the “hair dryer” “air fryer” proved to be too short (first photo). 12 minutes looks better:


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But even then we have the old issue of undercooking from below:


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Somehow we're still not there.


Sunday, 18 February 2024 Dereel Images for 18 February 2024
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Induction cookware: limitations
Topic: food and drink Link here

Yesterday's experiments with the egg poacher had a non-obvious consequence: I had another pan that I also wanted to heat at the same time. And my induction cooktop is very sensitive to the size of the pan. Although both pans were the same size, only one of them fitted on the large cooking field. Why?


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The pan on the left is the poacher. It's the same size as the other one, but it has fewer induction points, too few to work with the big field. The other one did, but only just. Interestingly, it only worked when it was slightly offset on the field:


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Is that because of the size of the induction area on the pan, or because the field is actually slightly offset from the markings on the cooking surface? I'd guess the latter: it didn't heat if I offset in the other direction.


Go?ulasc?h again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Goulash for dinner today. Or is that Gulasch? Or Gulyás? And how do we cook it? It seems that this is a continual bone of contention, as I noted 2 years ago. I thought we had two recipes, and Yvonne said that she didn't like either of them: she wanted her old recipe from her livret de cuisine. So I transliterated that and did some comparison. Surprise, surprise: she had bought ingredients matching the bogrács gulyás that I had planned. So I started with that and made relatively small changes. Since the original is Yvonne's recipe, I've created a new one with my quantities and methods.

Only later did I find yet another recipe, this time spelt “goulash”. So now we have four! Time to write a summary page.


Semmelknödel revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

To go with the gulasch I also made some Semmelknödel (bread dumplings). Maybe not enough attention to detail. Here last time and this time:


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Maybe I should mince the onions and parsley.


Monday, 19 February 2024 Dereel Images for 19 February 2024
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A surplus of lawn mowers
Topic: gardening, general Link here

Call from Julie Donaghy this morning. She and Paul were at the Ballarat Mower Centre to pick up our old lawn mower. But it hadn't been paid for.

Right. I had asked for an invoice on Friday, but they hadn't got round to sending it. They still wanted the money, which I paid by credit card. Paul around later with the machine and a shiny new carburettor:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240219/big/Lawn-mower.jpeg
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He mowed the lawn with it. Yes, now it works, though somehow the engine still sounds a little uneven.

A couple of days Paul had shown interest in buying it from me. I wasn't keen, because I couldn't ask more than it was worth. But that turned out not to be a problem: his son has given him his mower. So now we have three functional lawn mowers, where three weeks ago we had none.


Gaza: like the Holocaust?
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

The government of Israel is up in arms again. No, not killing people in Gaza: they have a well-equipped army which is doing that. No, they're offended by a statement by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, in which he compared their genocide to the Holocaust. They're summoning the Brazilian ambassador to give him a dressing-down. I hope that they don't shoot him.

What did Lula say?

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments,” Mr. Lula told reporters during the 37th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. But, he then added, “it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

I've been asking myself the same question: is the current massacre in Gaza like the Holocaust? I've come to the conclusion that it isn't. Yes, the Germans killed more Jews than the population of Palestine. But by comparison with Gaza (and explicitly only by that comparison), the killings were almost civilized: cart the people off to an extermination camp and kill them. Not exactly fun, but better than starving them, wounding them, denying them medical attention and tormenting them for months on end.

In passing, the world is up in arms about the situation in Gaza, and with good reason. But many people act as if it's something new. Looking at what I wrote over 11 years ago, it seems that nothing much has changed except for the intensity. Verbatim from then:

I've been horrified by the Israeli attacks on Ghazza. How can the international community sit by and watch that happen? How can Israel, a country founded after the atrocities of the Second World War, trample on the human dignity of its neighbours in such a manner?

One of the reasons that Israel was able to perform such atrocities is because of the military aid they get from the USA. Why does the USA not take a harder stance?

All that has changed since then is that Israel has become even more violent. When will it end?


Joining video files
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

Last month I watched a video series from Al Jazeera about Al Nakba. It was very informative, not to mention horrifying.

But is it balanced? Al Jazeera is an Arabic broadcaster run by the government of Qatar. Is there anything else? Yes. Ten years ago I participated in a course on Coursera about the recent history of the Middle East, which I think was produced by an Israeli institution. I still have the videos. Started looking at them, but they're all very short (most less than 10 minutes). How can I join them?

I've been there before, and I'm sure that this diary contains the information. But after some searching I couldn't find the details. About the only thing of interest was this page. It's not relevant here, but it suggests a connection between youtube-dl and mpv which might be of interest.

OK, how about a more intelligent interface? Artificial, of course, but they're out there. Bard, maybe? Oh, it doesn't like being called that any more. Now it's Gemini. So I asked “How do I join multiple MP4 files using mpv”. And to my surprise, I got what looks like a useful answer:

Unfortunately, mpv itself doesn't have a built-in feature to join multiple MP4 files directly. However, there are two alternative approaches:

1. Using the lavfi-complex filter:

    This approach involves using the lavfi-complex filter, which allows for manipulating video and audio streams in real-time. However, it requires some familiarity with filter syntax and can be more complex than other methods.
    You can achieve this by:
        Opening the first MP4 file with mpv.
        Adding the subsequent files using the --external-file option.
        Specifying the lavfi-complex filter to concatenate the video and audio streams.
    Here's an example for two files:

mpv video1.mp4 --external-file video2.mp4 --lavfi-complex='[vid1] [vid2] hstack [vo]'

    This command plays video1.mp4 with video2.mp4 displayed next to it horizontally.

2. Using ffmpeg:

    This is a more straightforward and recommended approach for joining multiple MP4 files. ffmpeg is a powerful tool for video and audio manipulation, and it has a dedicated feature for concatenation.
    You can easily join MP4 files using ffmpeg by:
        Creating a text file listing the paths to each MP4 file (one per line).
        Using the -f concat option with ffmpeg to specify the text file.
        Choosing the desired output format (e.g., -c copy for lossless copying or re-encoding with specific options).
    Here's an example for lossless concatenation:

ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i inputs.txt -c copy output.mp4

    This command reads the file list in inputs.txt, copies the video and audio streams without re-encoding, and saves the output as output.mp4.

Remember that the lavfi-complex approach might be suitable for simple playback with immediate joining, while ffmpeg offers more flexibility and control for permanent merging.

I haven't tried it yet, but it seems to make sense. Score 1 for Bard, Gemini, or whatever it's called today.


Tuesday, 20 February 2024 Dereel Images for 20 February 2024
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More web server pain
Topic: technology Link here

In my log messages this morning:

lax.lemis.com kernel log messages:
+swap_pager_getswapspace(3): failed
+swap_pager_getswapspace(19): failed
+swap_pager_getswapspace(3): failed
...

And coinicidentally (or was it?), my web server had hung up in a state where it just replied with ECONNRESET again. OK, I know how to do that: apachectl graceful doesn't work, but apachectl stop; apachectl start does.

But how did that happen? Typically I use almost no swap: in general it's round 13% full. But clearly I need more. OK, how do I do this? It's a machine without a swap partition, and currently I have two memory disk (md) of size 1 GB and 2 GB. But reading the mdconfig(8) man page makes things less than obvious. The steps are:

# dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/swapfile-3 bs=1m count=4096
# mdconfig -a -t vnode -f /var/swapfile-3
md2
# swapon /dev/md2

It wasn't until later that I found this in the shell history.

But the first step didn't complete. It took over 4 hours!

4096+0 records in
4096+0 records out
4294967296 bytes transferred in 15456.954560 secs (277866 bytes/sec)

By comparison, on hydra it only took 1 second:

=== root@hydra (/dev/pts/10) ~ 105 -> time dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/swapfile-3 bs=1m count=4096
4096+0 records in
4096+0 records out
4294967296 bytes transferred in 1.067215 secs (4024461970 bytes/sec)

real    0m1.069s
user    0m0.000s
sys     0m1.047s

Why so slow? Yes, the system is loaded to the gunwhales, but strangely there wasn't much disk activity. And even this glacial speed is comparable to what systems did 30 years ago.

Did adding the swap fix the hang problem? No. It obligingly hung again shortly later. Clearly I'm going to have to do something. The short-term solution would be to add a second server: after all, ffm.lemis.com has enough “disk” storage free, and it is almost idle. But I should really address all these diary accesses with different parameters:

8.222.184.0 - - [19/Feb/2024:22:06:52 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-may2003.php?topics=ctopchtopchtopcatopcctopcptopcctopcatopctopcctopcatopcatopcctopch HTTP/1.1" 200 62501 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/116.0.0.0 Safari/537.36"
8.219.168.35 - - [19/Feb/2024:22:06:52 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-aug2002.php?topics=copcJopcopccopccopccopcc HTTP/1.1" 200 55502 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/116.0.0.0 Safari/537.36"
8.222.203.212 - - [19/Feb/2024:22:06:52 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-jul2005.php?topics=ctopcctopcaopchopchopcaopcopchopcaopccopch HTTP/1.1" 200 93280 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/116.0.0.0 Safari/537.36"

I hadn't seen that ?topics= parameter before. It looks like some kind of gene sequence, and I'm sure I can simplify it. But that's still more work.


Monarch butterfly?
Topic: animals Link here

Our invasion of butterflies seems to be coming to an end, at least for the Pieris brassicae. But now I'm seeing a number of these:


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I had thought that they're Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), but there are a number of differences in the markings compared to the photos I've seen of Monarchs. In particular, the photos show lines going across most of the wings, while mine has blotches. Are they something else, maybe?


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Chef Lo noodles: the down side
Topic: food and drink Link here

A year and a half ago I bought some surprisingly cheap noodles:


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I was quite happy with them. But gradually I'm becoming fussier, and when I ate some today, I noted the down side:


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Despite repeated stirring, they stick together! Yes, there's probably a way around that, but it requires much more attention.


Freezer problems
Topic: food and drink, general Link here

Preparing breakfast this morning, I opened the right side of the “new” (5 year old) freezer, only to discover this:


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Lots of frost! The door wasn't properly shut, presumably because of the small drawer at top left. Stupidly, it doesn't fit the rails! And yes, there's an audible warning if the doors are left open, but it's clearly too polite to complain if they're just not completely closed.


Garden flowers in late summer
Topic: gardening Link here

It's a month before the equinox, time for the monthly garden photos. Things don't look as bad as they have done. The Corymbia ficifolia is finally coming into flower, the first time to this extent:


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Last year it didn't flower until a month later, and then not nearly as much:


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So maybe things are finally on the mend.

And despite all mistreatment, the remaining Clematis (“Edo Murasaki”) is flowering relatively profusely:


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There still should be more leaves, but maybe they'll come.

One thing is clear: watering is still an issue. After putting a dripper in the Maple “Chantilly lace”, it looks much better. Here is is two months ago and now:


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And the roses are making it clear that they're not getting enough water:


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I thought that we had fixed the watering problem in October, but it really looks as if I'll have to do a lot of this work myself. Why do others have so much trouble with irrigation?

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis “Uncle Max” seems to be recovering from the insults of the last couple of years, but now some kind of insect seems to have taken a liking to its flowers:


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And it's not clear why the Ginkgo biloba and the Box elder are not doing better.


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The Box elder has been there for years, and it's still only about 40 cm high:


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The Abutilons that looked so unhappy earlier are now growing well, but there are relatively few flowers:


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And the Banksia serrata seems happy enough, but currently has no mature flowers:


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And the long-suffering Camellia japonica? It certainly doesn't look good:


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But it seems that there are some new leaves, and they look green, not yellow:


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Possibly, like with the Abutilon next to it, much will die off, but the rest may recover well.

The real issue, though, are the weeds. Here the south bed last month and now:


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Inside, Yvonne has an ornamental rubber tree. It clearly enjoyed the environment in the guest room: it had grown to about 3 metres in height. We've taken the top off and planted it in two parts:


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Tree down!
Topic: general Link here

Petra Gietz in shortly after noon to tell me of a tree down in Grassy Gully Road:


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That should be reported, but where? Called up the Council in Bannockburn. That was the right address, and they took details and reported it.

Yvonne was out shopping. Should I tell her about it? Yes, probably, but though I spoke to her on the phone, I forgot. It was possible to get past on the left, but what if she arrived there just as they were removing it? And that, of course, had to happen:


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The web server issue
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

My web server is still running with load averages over 100. No hangs today, but how long can it last? There's an obvious but difficult solution: rewrite my web page code to do the grunt work at the client end. How much work is that? My photo display functions are 3000 lines of PHP code, and they would need to be rewritten in JavaScript. which also involves me learning enough JavaScript to do the job.

In the meantime, how about a second server? ffm.lemis.com is sitting around doing nothing. OK, start an rsync. No rsync on ffm. And it's way down-rev. Try to build the port?

=== root@ffm (/dev/pts/0) /usr/ports/net/rsync 5 -> make
make: "/usr/share/mk/bsd.port.mk" line 32: Cannot open /usr/ports/Mk/bsd.port.mk
make: "/usr/share/mk/bsd.port.mk" line 32: Cannot open /usr/ports/Mk/bsd.port.mk
make: Fatal errors encountered -- cannot continue

And yes, there's no such file. Why not? Do I care? Somehow the Ports Collection is more work than I can stand. How about moving the executable from eureka? What libraries does it need?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/22) ~/letters/IDs 224 -> ldd /usr/local/bin/rsync
/usr/local/bin/rsync:
        libz.so.6 => /lib/libz.so.6 (0x800879000)
        libc.so.7 => /lib/libc.so.7 (0x800a8f000)

Aaah. Finally a program without thousands of dependencies. Both of those libraries are already on ffm. Thanks, Tridge. So without much difficulty I was able to move my web data round the dark side of the world, from Los Angeles to Frankfurt am Main.

But that was the easy part. Now I need a web server, and that has never been easy even with up-to-date systems. How about an new ffm? Off to look at the Vultr pages. The cheapest is $36 per month! What's that nonsense? Elsewhere they offer “servers” for as little as $2.50 per month, though it seems that they only allow IPv6 connections; otherwise it's $3.50 per month.

Damn you, Vultr. Don't try to trick me. I'll go elsewhere. But it seems that all the competitors who were around a few years back have gone away again. So I'll think about what to do.

And that helped: there are two ways to pass parameters to a dynamic web page: GET and POST. GET encodes the parameters in the URL, and that's what I use. POST doesn't; it passes the data separately. I've used it, but I'm hazy on the details. Still, it seems that it would solve my problem of web crawlers trying all parameters. Now just to refresh my memory.


Emergency!
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Tomorrow is going to be hot and windy, ideal bushfire weather. The CFA has declared a total fire ban.

How did I find out? From the Ballarat Courier. What does this horrible VicEmergency app say? One incident, an “Other”:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240221/big/VicEmergency-1-detail.jpeg
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We know that. That's not an “other”, it's a fallen tree, idiots, and you have a category for that. And it's probably already gone (this was some hours after Yvonne went past). And the Zoom didn't do anything. What about the total fire ban? Nothing. It should jump out and hit you.

Later in the evening I tried again. Still no mention of a fire ban when I started the app, but it had changed colour:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240221/big/VicEmergency-2.jpeg
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Clearly that's obvious to anybody who can jump to conclusions: total fire ban. Look at those incidents, all 6 of them. Did I say 6? Can you make do with 4?


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240221/big/VicEmergency-3.jpeg
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So yes, if you can fight your way through their obfuscation, you can discover what you should have received as a warning message. They should be ashamed of themselves.


Thursday, 22 February 2024 Dereel Images for 22 February 2024
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Fake ramen noodles
Topic: food and drink Link here

I've been playing with these new Ramen noodles for a while. They have an interesting texture. I've seen hundreds of recipes for them, which in the past I ignored because I thought they were for “instant” noodles. But those hundreds pose a problem: what should I cook? In general they're variations on a theme. What's mine?

Today I tried this recipe,

Ingredients

quantity       ingredient       step
50 g       beef steak       1
      oil to fry       1
30 g       spring onions       2
10 g       ginger       2
15 g       garlic       2
2 g       chili       2
30 g (1)       dofu puff       2
50 g       broccoli       3
30 g       small cooked prawns       5
10 g       oyster sauce       5
5 g       sesame oil       5
25 g       light soya sauce       5
      chopped onion leaves       6
10       cucumber slices       6

Preparation

  1. Cut the beef into thin strips. Fry in oil until slightly crispy. Reserve:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240222/big/Ramen-noodles-1.jpeg
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  2. Cut the spring onions, chili and dofu puff into small pieces. Fry in the pan with garlic and ginger:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240222/big/Ramen-noodles-3.jpeg
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  3. Cut broccoli into small pieces and add to the mixture:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240222/big/Ramen-noodles-5.jpeg
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  4. When the broccoli is hot, add the reserved beef:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240222/big/Ramen-noodles-6.jpeg
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  5. Add noodles, sauces and prawns:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240222/big/Ramen-noodles-10.jpeg
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  6. Serve with chopped spring onion leaves and cucumber slices:


    https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240222/big/Ramen-noodles-11.jpeg
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30 years of minnie
Topic: history, technology Link here

Warren Toomey runs a site now called TUHS (“The Unix History Society”). I've known of Warren for round 30 years, at the latest since May 1994, when he published the Commentary on the Sixth Edition UNIX Operating System that I subsequently put up on the web.

But probably the most important contribution was what is now called TUHS; previously it was called PUPS (PDP Unix Preservation Society), and that's still the name of the save file I have for the mailing list: it fits better under the fingers than TUHS. And his server has always been called minnie.

Well, for the last 30 years, anyway. Today for 30 years minnie.tuhs.org first saw the light of day as minnie.cs.adfa.edu.au, running (Warren says) FreeBSD 1.0e on a 386DX25 with 500M of disk space, 8M of RAM and a 10Base2 network connection. He goes on to say

I'd received a copy of the BSDisc Vol.1 No.1 in December 1993. According to the date on the file `RELNOTES.FreeBSD` on the CD, FreeBSD 1.0e was released on Oct 28 1993.

That's puzzling. Is this a parallel release? My oldest FreeBSD CD-ROM is called “Version 1.0” and is dated December 1993. More stuff to investigate.

One thing is clear: this is one of the oldest continuously operating sites on the Web. Warren clarifies:

I'd gone to a summer conference in Canberra in mid-February 1994 (see pg. 29 of https://www.tuhs.org/Archive/Documentation/AUUGN/AUUGN-V15.1.pdf and https://minnie.tuhs.org/94Web/Canberra-AUUG/cauugs94.html, 10am) and I'd seen the Mosaic web browser in action. With FreeBSD running on minnie, it seemed like a good idea to set up a web server on her.

NCSA HTTPd server v1.1 had been released at the end of Jan 1994, see http://1997.webhistory.org/www.lists/www-talk.1994q1/0282.html It was the obvious choice to be the web server on minnie.

He doesn't say that the NCSA server was the only web server available. That certainly makes it the obvious choice.

But minnie isn't the oldest web site. That distinction, it seems, goes to http://info.cern.ch/, where the whole thing started. That can't be much older, but sadly they don't mention any dates.


Emergency services read this diary?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

The search for Samantha Murphy has been quiet for a while. Not a surprise: she disappeared on 4 February, and so far no trace has been found.

But now they've had a breakthrough:

He said "intelligence derived from phone data" meant police would renew focus on an area near Mount Clear, a suburb south of Ballarat CBD, as part of their investigation.

Now why didn't I think of that? Oh: I did, on 11 February.

To be fair to the emergency services, the amazing volume of reporting in the media is only matched by its almost total lack of content. What phone data? There's amazingly little detail. But I fear that she won't be found alive.


Bushfire!?
Topic: general Link here

Bad weather today. Relatively high temperatures predicted (38°, which was very close to what we actually experienced), and high winds. When we went out to walk the dogs, we smelt smoke. OK, ask VicEmergency. No problems.

But on the walk the sun shining through the clouds had a strange yellow colour.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240222/big/Dark-clouds.jpeg
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When we got back, we discovered that there was a serious “incident” just outside our watch zone, round Beaufort.

And yes, it showed on the map. Details? “Get out now, fire not under control”. Somehow the normal information had been replaced. Once again I have the feeling that there must be a better way, but this time I don't know how.


www load dropped
Topic: technology Link here

For days I've been looking with concern at the load on www.lemis.com, with load averages round 30 and peaking at round 150. The only times when it was normal were when the server got itself confused and started refusing all requests. So when I saw a load average round 3, I was concerned. But no, everything was working normally. Can it be that whatever was overloading the server (looked like a DDoS) has now moved on to more fruitful pastures?


Friday, 23 February 2024 Dereel Images for 23 February 2024
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How much lard?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

KL Hokkien Mee for breakfast today. But the pork I had was extremely fat. OK, cook it until the fat melts. But that produced a whole lot more lard, of course, so much that I was concerned it might spoil the dish:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240223/big/Fat-mee.jpeg
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But no, in fact it wasn't too bad. Maybe a little more lard wouldn't be a bad idea.


Keeping Bruno out
Topic: animals Link here

Bruno is quite like Rani in that he likes heights. And that proves to be one of the main concerns when he's in my office, like here:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240223/big/Bruno.jpeg
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Will that plastic container stop him from jumping to the next bookcase? If he lands on it, it will tip, and he will land on the floor. He didn't try this time; I'll see if he does in the future.


Quora revisited
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Quora seems to be on the way out. I haven't received any mail this year, and I have barely looked in. But it's still there. Today I found a search result pointing to a Quora reply, and while I was there I found a whole lot of mainly particularly silly questions addressed to me. The good news is that there is now a “downvote” selector arrow on all of them, so I can easily downvote questions like “What is the quarter past 4 on time?”.

And of course there are the old stupid time questions like It is 4:30 PM in a place whose longitude is 40⁰E. What is the longitude of the place? Where is the local time 8 AM?. Should I answer it? I have better things to do.

But there were 6 answers to the question, all wrong. And the interesting thing is that there is no such place. So I answered it, and Quora decided that my reply would look better with this stupid image, which at least I was able to remove:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240223/big/Quora-nonsense.jpeg
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Somehow they're trying to be silly. What is the purpose of that blob in the Caribbean?


Tidying up fallen tree
Topic: general Link here

Walked past the site of Wednesday's fallen tree today. They really didn't go to too much trouble:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240223/big/Fallen-tree-2.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240223/big/Fallen-tree-3.jpeg
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I particularly like the way they wedged a fallen branch between the remaining trunks. Presumably they had better things to do; they don't normally leave things like that.


Nakba: the other side
Topic: history, opinion Link here

As planned, after watching the Al Jazeera video series about Al Nakba last month, I've been looking at videos from a Coursera series on the recent history of the Middle East. I only have the videos, and so far I know neither the name of the presenter nor the institution, but I believe that it's from Israel. It's very interesting, and of course the viewpoint is very different from the Al Jazeera series.

So far I have only got to about 1940. But it's very interesting. No outright contradictions (yet), but insights that are interesting. In particular, by 1930 it seemed that the Zionist dream of a state in Palestine was failing: immigration levels were far lower than expected, and the Passfield white paper showed a much more balanced view of things (and was thus condemned by the Zionists who claimed that it contradicted the intention of the Balfour Declaration, carefully ignoring the clause “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”).

But it wasn't implemented, and a couple of years later a strong impetus for increased immigration appeared: Adolf Hitler became the leader of Germany.

The other part of interest was that the British Mandate covered what by this time was called Palestine and Transjordan. Why the division? According to this series of lectures, to ensure that the Jewish national home was restricted to Palestine. This was before any talk of partitioning, but it's worth thinking about


Saturday, 24 February 2024 Dereel Images for 24 February 2024
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More Hugin strangenesses
Topic: technology, health, photography, opinion Link here

It's been four months since I got the new hydra, and I still haven't completed the transition from eureka. A surprising number of things have slowed me down, in particular the number of programs that work on eureka and not on hydra. notably MediathekView and Hugin. MediathekView in particular is irritating. It can send URLs to a web browser, but now that they have further broken firefox, it has to be on the same system.

In addition, what resolution do I need for my monitors? hydra:0.1 is running at 3849×2160 (“4K”), and many things are hard to read. But that also relates to my eyes, which I'm planning to have overhauled Real Soon Now. So should I wait until I have the new eyes before I do anything? Maybe.

And Hugin? Today was my house photo day, and once again I ran Hugin on hydra. And once again it produced bad stitching results. Here the output from hydra and eureka based on identical inputs, including the project files (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240224/big/e-from-house-broken.jpeg
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I've traced the difference to this one invocation:

=== grog@hydra (/dev/pts/20) ~/Photos/20240224 75 -> hugin_executor --stitching e-from-house.pto

Are there invisible knobs that cause the difference? And why is it always this view?


www hangs investigated
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Once again the web server on www.lemis.com hung, round 8:54 this morning. I've been keeping output of w(1), which shows:

 9:44PM  up 331 days, 13:32, 5 users, load averages: 139.65, 71.45, 34.21
 9:49PM  up 331 days, 13:37, 5 users, load averages: 2.89, 35.55, 29.94
 9:54PM  up 331 days, 13:42, 5 users, load averages: 0.69, 13.46, 21.24
 9:59PM  up 331 days, 13:47, 5 users, load averages: 0.30, 5.09, 14.95
10:04PM  up 331 days, 13:52, 5 users, load averages: 0.22, 2.09, 10.66
10:09PM  up 331 days, 13:57, 5 users, load averages: 0.24, 0.93, 7.56
10:14PM  up 331 days, 14:02, 5 users, load averages: 0.32, 0.56, 5.38
10:19PM  up 331 days, 14:07, 5 users, load averages: 0.43, 0.47, 3.88
10:24PM  up 331 days, 14:12, 5 users, load averages: 0.44, 0.52, 2.87
10:29PM  up 331 days, 14:17, 5 users, load averages: 0.32, 0.43, 2.15
10:34PM  up 331 days, 14:22, 5 users, load averages: 19.31, 5.76, 3.63

Times are in UTC, tastefully in 12 hour clock yesterday evening. So the load average hit 140 and then quickly fell back to 0.69—if I look at the 1 minute average. But the other two columns are purportedly 5 and 15 minute averages. So at 22:09 the 5 minute average would have been from 22:04 to 22:09, where the 1 minute average was way below 1. But it was still 2.09. And at the same time the 15 minute average should have been between 21:54 and 22:09, also way below 1, but I get a value of 7.56. Is this a bug?

In any case, I found out at 22:34, and once again the load average shot up.

What do I do? I can change the parameter passing from GET to POST, but I'm not sure it would make any difference. Looking at old diary entries, in this case May 2008, I see things like:

.222.197.200 - - [20/Feb/2024:22:50:45 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-may2008.php?topics=popccopccopcaopccopchopcpopccopccopcc HTTP/1.1" 200 192543 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/116.0.0.0 Safari/537.36"
8.219.206.182 - - [20/Feb/2024:22:52:44 +0000] "GET /grog/diary-may2008.php?topics=copccopccopcpopchopchopcpopcaopcpopcaopccopchopccopccopccopcc HTTP/1.1" 200 194803 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/116.0.0.0 Safari/537.36"

But they're all from different systems. Changing parameter passing won't help there. And there are a ridiculous number of them. Just for this month I get, over a 24 hour period,

=== grog@lax (/dev/pts/3) ~ 3 -> grep may2008 /var/log/www/www.lemis.com.log | wc -l
   10980

That's one request every 8 seconds—for a diary entry that is 16 years old! And there are something like 380 different diary entries. No wonder the server is overloaded.


Raclette quantities
Topic: food and drink Link here

Raclette for dinner this evening. How much do we eat? How do we prepare the right quantities?

Yvonne cooked 3 potatoes. She's too polite to weigh them, but my guess would be 450 g (coincidentally an avoirdupois pound). Far too little! And how much cheese? How much ham?

More to the point, how many trays do we fill? This time I counted: I ate 6. And Yvonne ate three. Half with tomato, half with ham, of which we had ample leftovers. And we had just a little potato left over, so at least that quantity was correct.


Sunday, 25 February 2024 Dereel Images for 25 February 2024
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Bushfire?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

At breakfast the sun was shining, but there was a certain amount of haze. Dust? It's been dry lately. Or bushfire? Fired up this horrible VicEmergency app. “There is one incident in your watch zone”. OK, select, wait for it to drop to 0. But no, there was an incident:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240225/big/Bushfire-1.jpeg
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As the magpie flies that's only about 850 m from where we are (tastefully indicated by the binocular symbol). But we've seen that before, a little to the north. And it proved to be a false alarm. But Yvonne was worried, so after breakfast (I was able to hold her back that long) we set off to take a look. No, it wasn't Wendy Mclelland's house (here on the left), but further up the road:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240225/big/Bushfire-4.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240225/big/Bushfire-6.jpeg
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Clearly they were already finished. Yvonne got out and talked to the driver:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240225/big/Bushfire-7.jpeg
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False alarm, like 8 years ago. And within 30 minutes VicEmergency deleted the report. No follow-up: it was as if it had never happened. What are the people to think who saw the report and couldn't find it any more?

As if to make that point, there was another incident later in the evening, in Melaleuca Road in Enfield. That's further away, about 12 km, but still “local”. Where on Melaleuca Road? Nowhere! This incident also disappeared.

Later still, I received email:

Community Update for Air Quality in your watch zone: Heres
This Community Information message is being issued for smoke across Central and Southern Victoria.

You will see or smell smoke across parts of Southern and Central Victoria.
This smoke is a result of the large bushfire at Mount Buangor National Park.
The intensity of smoke from the fire has reduced since the peak on Thursday, likely indicating that temperatures of the fire has reduced, however the lower temperature may mean that smoke may not be travelling high and could have a greater ground level impact and be smoky or hazy in your area.

Clearly they're talking about Mount Buangor State Park, which is what they have been calling “Amphitheatre, Bayindeen, Ben Nevis, Chute, Elmhurst, Eversley, Glenlogie, Glenpatrick, Mount Cole, Mount Lonarch, and 2 more...”. With some difficulty it's possible that the “2 more...” are called “Raglan”, a text that would have fitted without that obfuscation.

And yes, the first sentence was truncated. Sigh.


www overload: increasing?
Topic: technology Link here

Unexpected mail today:

Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2024 10:08:48 GMT
From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <MAILER-DAEMON@lax.lemis.com>
To: groggyhimself@lax.lemis.com
Subject: Warning: could not send message for past 4 hours

lax.lemis.com is the overloaded web server. And the message to which it referred didn't finally get sent until nearly 12 hours after it was submitted:

Received: from lax.lemis.com (localhost [127.0.0.1])
        by lax.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 3D3B3280BF
        for <groggyhimself@lax.lemis.com>; Sun, 25 Feb 2024 12:49:50 +0000 (UTC)
Received: (from groggyhimself@localhost)
        by lax.lemis.com (8.15.2/8.15.2/Submit) id 41P0wvpZ054217;
        Sun, 25 Feb 2024 00:58:57 GMT
        (envelope-from groggyhimself)

So why did the second one get through first? But clearly I need to do something about the system.


Still more cooking
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Chinese beef with broccoli and orange for dinner tonight. And since it was there, also asparagus.

How do you prepare asparagus Chinese style? I've never had it. In fact, it's pretty much what you might expect, modulo the very short cooking times. I looked and found a number of recipes that were all pretty much in agreement, and ultimately found this recipe:

The quantities are hard to convert, but what she calls “shrimps” are clearly prawns, pretty much the size of the 10 g ones that I use. And there was very little asparagus, only 115 g (which sounds like 4 oz avoirdupois masquerading as metric). So I came up with the following recipe:

Ingredients

quantity       ingredient       step
110 g       asparagus       1
55 g       prawns (11 g per piece)       1
5 g       cooking wine       2
5 g       soya sauce       2
3 g       cornflour       2
5 g       ginger       3
5 g       garlic       3
      oil for frying       3
5 g       garlic       4
10 g       oyster sauce       5
3 g       sesame oil       5
2 g       cornflour       5
30 g       water       5

Preparation

  1. Peel and prepare asparagus and prawns. Cut each piece of asparagus into 3.
  2. Mix wine, soya sauce and cornflour and marinate prawns in it.
  3. Fry prawns with ginger, garlic until cooked. Reserve.
  4. Fry asparagus with garlic until bright green.
  5. Add sauce and cook, covered, for 2 minutes.
  6. Add prawns and stir until hot. Serve.

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

The other dish was beef with orange and broccoli, which we've eaten before. The biggest problem is frying the beef. It requires cutting into small pieces and rolling in flour. That's particularly fiddly. Today I tried deep frying, which helped in part. Next time I'll try frying first and cutting later. I also doubled the amount of orange peel, which was a definite improvement.


Monday, 26 February 2024 Dereel Images for 26 February 2024
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Bruno vomits
Topic: animals Link here

While working in the kitchen this morning, heard the tell-tale sound of a cat vomiting. The result:


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We've seen that before, but I can't recall anything that clear. And it didn't seem to worry Bruno at all.


Another approach to the weeds
Topic: gardening Link here

Despite weeks of weeding, the weeds in the garden are healthier than ever. Today Yvonne took to them with a glyphosate spray. It'll be interesting to see how many survive that.


More Israel-Palestine insights
Topic: history, opinion Link here

I'm continuing my Coursera videos of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Finally I have confirmation of the origin: they're by Asher Susser of the Tel Aviv University, and thus, as I had assumed, from the “other side”. And though there are still no contradictions, once again the emphasis seems different. Palestine was a British mandate, but after the war the British had better things to do, and there are many Jews in the USA. So the USA took over the lead in promoting the Jewish state, something that they have maintained until today.


Tuesday, 27 February 2024 Dereel Images for 27 February 2024
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Another attempt at Hokkien Mee
Topic: food and drink Link here

My last attempt at Hokkien Mee was less than perfect: I had used a prawn paste that was more like belacan than fresh prawns:


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But I have another kind:


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How does that stack up? Tried it again, in the process discovering that my recipe was significantly inaccurate. The result:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240227/big/Hokkien-Mee-6.jpeg
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Is it good enough? I don't think so. I need to rethink things. At least I had an opportunity to update the recipe.


Emergency? Catastrophic!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Today and (especially) tomorrow are slated to be some of the most dangerous fire days in the year. How do the emergency services help? No better than they have done for the past 15 years. Fortunately the Ballarat Courier sends email notifications, so I get the information that I should have got from VicEmergency.

But I still monitor what VicEmergency has to say, which at least has amusement value. And today, for the first time ever, I received a notification saying something like “Catastrophe”. That's worth looking at, so I selected it and was taken to the app.

Ha, ha, only joking. No catastrophe. No way to find out what it had tried to tell me in the notification. Maybe a bushfire at the Smythes... pony club? Or maybe not:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240227/big/VicEmergency-1-detail.jpeg
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Dangerous (dead) animals only 450 km away?


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One thing I did find was how to colour my display. Select the “Filter” lines from pages that have a header like this (which explicitly excludes the home page and the “Help” tab, which offers no help whatsoever):


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Then you can select one, and only one, of the following “filters”:


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After setting that and finding a suitable date (tomorrow), I was able to show my map in tasteful orange:


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I suppose that's almost acceptable if people have been through training to understand the app. As a primary method of communication with Joe Blow it's completely unacceptable.


Mobile phone image quality
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I've been playing around with a script to make downloading image files from mobile phones less painful. It almost works. And to test it, I took a forgettable photo in my office:


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Well, almost forgettable Look at that noise!


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And to my surprise, the background showed a bokeh that I thought was impossible to achieve with a mobile phone:


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“Everything serves a purpose, even if it's just as a bad example”.


Gmail: now I accept you, now I don't
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

Sent a reply to the Google Hugin user group today. It was both accepted and rejected by Google:


<grahammjantz@gmail.com>: host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[142.251.2.26] said:
    550-5.7.26 This mail has been blocked because the sender is
    unauthenticated. 550-5.7.26 Gmail requires all senders to authenticate with
    either SPF or DKIM. 550-5.7.26  550-5.7.26  Authentication results:
    550-5.7.26  DKIM = did not pass 550-5.7.26  SPF [hydra.lemis.com] with ip:
    [45.32.70.18] = did not pass 550-5.7.26  550-5.7.26  For instructions on
    setting up authentication, go to 550 5.7.26
    https://support.google.com/mail/answer/81126#authentication
    bw11-20020a056a00408b00b006e5306d0ff1si2541353pfb.248 - gsmtp (in reply to
    end of DATA command)

Your message was successfully delivered to the destination(s)
listed below. If the message was delivered to mailbox you will
receive no further notifications. Otherwise you may still receive
notifications of mail delivery errors from other systems.
The mail system
<hugin-ptx@googlegroups.com>: delivery via
    gmr-smtp-in.l.google.com[142.251.2.14]:25: 250 2.0.0 OK  1709004304
    ed8-20020ad44ea8000000b0068ee65b011fsi396992qvb.4 - gsmtp

And yes, the second message ended up in the archive. So what is Google thinking? It was the same MTA in each case.


Wednesday, 28 February 2024 Dereel Images for 28 February 2024
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Cat danger
Topic: animals, technology Link here

I have now secured the disks behind my monitors so that Bruno can't dislodge them. But somehow the danger isn't over:


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That's eureka. Should I cover it?


Suddenly summer
Topic: general, gardening Link here

It's been a relatively mild summer, though today the temperatures hit 37°. But almost overnight the lawn has gone brown:


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And on Friday autumn starts, at least according to the calendar.


Curry pastes revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

We found ourselves in the position to get rid of some cooked Basmati rice today. OK, no problem, thaw out a couple of curries.

Oh. They're in the database, but not in the freezer. There are others, but nothing that Yvonne is still prepared to eat (too pedas). Nothing for it: cook some more.

And somehow I've lost my desire to cook curries from scratch. The various Malaysian spice pastes that I've been using are, in general, better than what I make myself. But that's not what I need. All I found were Madras curry mixes from Pataks and Marion, the latter a relatively obscure Australian maker. The instructions didn't look encouraging, and in the end I cooked some chicken in each of them.

Not a success. Once again I find that the instructions are incorrect: the Marions paste has so much salt in it that it's clearly intended to be diluted much more than specified. Maybe I do need to cook things from scratch again.


Bushfire? Bushfire!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Bushfire danger today was... extreme? catastrophic? Spent much of the day following this emetic VicEmergency service, without gaining much in the way of insights.

And then after dinner I heard lots of vehicles going past. But I didn't see them, and at this time of year I should at least have seen their cloud of dust. Outside, where it was clear that they were some kind of flying vehicle. Bushfire? Yes!


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I know that address. 47 Kleins Road, where we lived from 10 July 2007 to 8 May 2015. And the fire went down where we used to take the dogs for a walk.

More to the point, did it endanger us? No. If I can believe the map (which I do more than a lot of what they have on the site), clearly the fire was going away from us. That's typical: fires start with a north wind, and typically the wind changes to west. And that's what the exclusion zone showed: to the south of where the fire started. Our danger would come from Enfield State Park, to the north.

Out to take a look. Yes, smoke clearly visible:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240228/big/Dereel-bushfire-1.jpeg
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Back inside, and the exclusion zone had changed:


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Oh. More information, partially for entertainment value:


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Westerly towards Mount Mercer? Mount Mercer is to the east, and thus the extension of the danger zone. But the important thing is that the north-west corner of this zone now included our property. What danger is there really? None, I thought. But Yvonne was very nervous, and I'd hate to be wrong. So how about going to the “CFA Safer Place” that they made so much noise about 9 years ago? Packed the cat and dogs into the car and off to see what was going on.

Lots of people stopped at junctions, like here at the junction of the Ballarat-Colac Road and Rokewood Junction Road:

What were they doing there? I don't know.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240228/big/Dereel-bushfire-40.jpeg
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The Safer Place wasn't deserted. There were a number of SES trucks there, but nothing else.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240228/big/Dereel-bushfire-12.jpeg
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In particular, nobody who was able or even interested in giving us any information. They didn't have any more than VicEmergency. But it was interesting to be there. It's really just around the corner from Kleins Road, about 700 m to the south-west. And we saw no smoke at all from that direction, nor from the south, suggesting that the water bombers had done their job:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20240228/big/Dereel-bushfire-26.jpeg
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