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October 2021
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Friday, 1 October 2021 Dereel Images for 1 October 2021
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More backup disk problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Into the office this morning to find last night's backup of eureka still running. That's not really surprising; it was only a level 2 dump, but since there was nothing else on the disk, it might as well have been a level 0 dump.

But something still didn't ring true. Looking at the log file, I found:

Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: ugen0.11: <Western Digital> at usbus0
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: umass0: <Western Digital My Passport 2627, class 0/0, rev 2.10/40.08, addr 23> on usbus0
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: umass0:  SCSI over Bulk-Only; quirks = 0xc001
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: umass0:3:0:-1: Attached to scbus3
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus3 target 0 lun 0
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0: <WD My Passport 2627 4008> Fixed Direct Access SPC-4 SCSI device
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0: Serial Number 575856324537304557343143
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0: 40.000MB/s transfers
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0: 3815415MB (7813969920 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 486397C)
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0: quirks=0x2<NO_6_BYTE>
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: ses1 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus3 target 0 lun 1
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: ses1: <WD SES Device 4008> Fixed Enclosure Services SPC-4 SCSI device
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: ses1: Serial Number 575856324537304557343143
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: ses1: 40.000MB/s transfers
Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: ses1: SCSI-3 ENC Device

40 MB/s? That's USB 2! Surely this thing can do USB 3! Put in the old hub again, and it too came up with 40 MB/s. A couple of power cycles, though, and I had:

Oct  1 17:11:50 eureka kernel: da0: >WD My Passport 2627 4008> Fixed Direct Access SPC-4 SCSI device
Oct  1 17:11:50 eureka kernel: da0: Serial Number 575856324537304557343143
Oct  1 17:11:50 eureka kernel: da0: 400.000MB/s transfers
Oct  1 17:11:50 eureka kernel: da0: 3815415MB (7813969920 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 486397C)

But backing up wasn't quite the unmitigated joy I was hoping for. I heard a click that proved to be coming from the disk. And no data transfer. The log file told me:

Oct  1 17:22:17 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): WRITE(10). CDB: 2a 00 00 00 01 a8 00 00 40 00
Oct  1 17:22:17 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): CAM status: CCB request completed with an error
Oct  1 17:22:17 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Retrying command
Oct  1 17:22:24 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): WRITE(10). CDB: 2a 00 00 00 01 a8 00 00 40 00
Oct  1 17:22:24 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): CAM status: SCSI Status Error
Oct  1 17:22:24 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI status: Check Condition
Oct  1 17:22:24 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI sense: NOT READY asc:4,1 (Logical unit is in process of becoming ready)
Oct  1 17:22:24 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Polling device for readiness
...
Oct  1 17:22:32 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Error 16, Retries exhausted
Oct  1 17:22:32 eureka kernel: g_vfs_done():da0p1[WRITE(offset=196608, length=32768)]error = 16
...
Oct  1 17:25:06 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI sense: NOT READY asc:4,1 (Logical unit is in process of becoming ready)
Oct  1 17:25:06 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Error 16, Retries exhausted
Oct  1 17:25:06 eureka kernel: g_vfs_done():da0p1[READ(offset=294912, length=4096)]error = 16
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: ugen0.11: <Western Digital> at usbus0 (disconnected)
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: umass0: at uhub10, port 4, addr 25 (disconnected)
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus3 target 0 lun 0
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: da0: <WD My Passport 2627 4008> s/n 575856324537304557343143 detached
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: ses1 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus3 target 0 lun 1
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: ses1: <WD SES Device 4008> s/n 575856324537304557343143 detached
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Periph destroyed
Oct  1 17:25:10 eureka kernel: (ses1:umass-sim0:0:0:1): Periph destroyed

During this period I tried in vain to umount the drive:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/4) ~ 157 -> umount /backups/
^C^C
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/4) ~ 158 -> mount /backups/
mount: /dev/da0p1: Device busy
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/4) ~ 159 -> umount -f /backups/
umount: unmount of /backups failed: Device busy
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/4) ~ 160 ->

Plugged it in to a motherboard slot, and sure enough, it was recognized as a 400 MB/s device immediately.

So what's the problem? The new USB hub? Then I wouldn't have had the trouble with the old one. It's also clearly not the disk, since it's brand new, and I had the same issue with the old one. Were the disks always connecting at 40 MB/s? I would have noticed that. And on checking, yes, the weekly backup disks used to probe at 400 MB/s.

So we have two defective disks (one new), two defective hubs, two power supplies, all of which gang up on me. But there's something: for some reason the indicator lights no longer show up correctly on the old hub.

OK, whatever it is, it's a reliability issue, and today's the Big Day with the level 0 dumps. Left the new disk connected to the motherboard and disabled dumps on the other machines (to a different disk, but also on the same hub) until I can get more clarity.


Lena cooling down
Topic: animals Link here

It's no clear why, but it seems that Lena likes to cool her legs:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211001/big/Lena-in-trough-6.jpeg
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Rainfall and consequences
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

While doing something in the office, discovered that I could no longer communicate with lagoon or teevee. Network problems? No issues with dereel, in the same room. The others are connected by a second switch in the pantry.

In to take a look. All lights out. That's an old switch, so it's understandable that it should have died. But looking further, the microwave oven was also off. Power fail!

Into the garage. Yes, the breaker had tripped. And it stayed tripped. Lots of paniced searching for the culprit, but finally found what should have occurred to me earlier: the drainage pump for surface water in front of the house. The area looked correspondingly undrained (we had had over 13 mm of rain):


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I've seen that before, though not so suddenly. And that was the reason why I replaced the el-cheapo ALDI pump with a not-quite-so-el-cheapo Ozito from Bunnings less than 18 months ago.

Last time Mick Solly did the work, but he's no longer there, and the thought of replacing the pump myself filled me with horror. Finally Yvonne persuaded me to call up UPI, a very good idea. They sent out Tom with a choice of pumps, including one with a fixed arm float that sounds better than what we had. He had his fun, of course:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211001/big/Failed-pump-4.jpeg
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But in less than two hours the pump had been replaced. Thank God for that! All over bar the invoice.


A nation of specialists
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Apart from replacing the pump, I had another plumbing job that needed doing: replace the mixer tap in the kitchen. It's pretty trivial, but it requires going under the sink and applying tools. Surely Tom from UPI can do it.

No, sorry, I'm an exterior irrigation man, not a plumber.

Sometimes I think that everybody's getting just too specialized.


Saturday, 2 October 2021 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 2 October 2021
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Dog training again
Topic: animals Link here

Off to Ballarat for dog training this morning.


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Lena is doing better lately; she's far less timid than she used to be. But she ran out of steam about about 30 minutes, and could no longer concentrate.

Also weighed the dogs again: Larissa 26.0 kg, Lena 27.6 kg. Lara is catching up with Lena, and it's visible.


Still more backup pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Somehow I've run out of explanations for why I'm having so much trouble with my backup disks. Into the office this morning to find that the backup on the new disk had (just) finished, successfully. So had the photo backup, which I had forgotten to disable.

But that was still at SCSI-2 speeds (40 MB/s). What do I do? First, play it safe: connect all the standard backup disks to the motherboard. Well, almost all: one of the issues is that the motherboard only has 4 USB-3 ports (I think), while I have at least 6 disks, and my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II also connects via USB-3.

So: connect the four most important disks to the motherboard and wonder, once again, what could have gone wrong. There are a number of potential explanations, none of them satisfactory:

  1. The power supply for the hub is defective.

    That was a possibility I considered early on, but it happened with both power supplies.

  2. The new USB hub is defective. Certainly I have never been able to get it to negotiate a USB-3 connection, although it was sold to me as such.

    Problem: I now have issues with the old hub as well.

  3. The new disk has damaged the hubs. Arguably that's possible: it's a 2½" disk and it draws its power from the hub.

    But how likely is the damage to take that form? And unless the disk itself is damaged and draws much more power than it should, it's highly unlikely. And the problems started with the new hub and the old disk, which is a 5¼" drive with separate power.

So far everything points to the new hub, except for the fact that the old hub is now also misbehaving. At the very least I should return the new hub.


More meal experiments
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Satuday evening “special” dinner tonight. Yvonne had bought a couple of “scallop and champagne gratin”. Put in the hair dryer air fryer and cook. How long? They're too polite to assume that you don't have an oven, and in the oven (fan-forced) they wanted 20 minutes at 180°. Decided on 15 minutes at 180° in the air fryer, which was more or less acceptable, modulo air-fryer specific uneven browning:


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Admire the layout of the first one. I had intended to try to fix it, but forgot.

They tasted OK. Coquilles St Jacques in béchamel. Oh. After looking at the package later, it seems that we forgot that they should have tasted of champagne. There's certainly no reason to think so. And apart from the fact that béchamel is relatively time-consuming, there's no reason why we shouldn't make something like that ourselves. Still, at least we have two more (real) shells.

And then brochettes de rognons, which I suppose we should call kidney kebabs:


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Nothing very special there, just the cooking time. Kidneys tend to become very wet when grilling, so I gave them 20 minutes at 200°. They weren't wet, and they weren't tough, but I think they could have got by with 15 minutes.

More to the point, though, was the taste. They didn't taste much like kidneys. Maybe the alternative rognons en casserole would have been better.

It wasn't until later that I realized that I had forgotten to look at my air fryer cooking times list. It wouldn't have helped: I had specified 20 minutes at 210°. And there's also rognons en brochette, which we should have seen before we started.


Sunday, 3 October 2021 Dereel Images for 3 October 2021
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DST again
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Daylight Saving Time started today. It's worth keeping track of everything I need to do:


Prawns and squid revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Prawns and squid for dinner today, somewhat hampered by the lack of some of the ingredients (oyster mushrooms and choi sam for example). But we had these old jars of “stir fry” ingredients:


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Clearly we used the “mushroom mix”, but in fact there was little to tell between the two. It contained carrots and some other vegetables. Here's the contents of the jar (189 g after draining) after processing:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211003/big/Prawns-and-squid-1.jpeg
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One of the problems in frying squid is that it normally gives off a lot of liquid, and by the time it's cooked, it's tough. It needs to be done very hot—just the job for an induction cooker with “boost” function, here 3.7 kW:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211003/big/Prawns-and-squid-5.jpeg
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And yes, it did taste better that way. Now if only this appalling range hood had been able to extract the smoke.


Monday, 4 October 2021 Dereel Images for 4 October 2021
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Advice for surviving the pandemic
Topic: health, opinion Link here

Seen on Quora today:

http://dunham.org/grog/Day/20211004/main-qimg-1862f7ec7fa5e86964b229b5dbf3ca72.jpeg

The print quality gives it away: this was advice for people during the Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago.

Some people never learn.


Bankwest: look out!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Finally got all my documents together to send to Bankwest for my new credit card application. Sent it off and got a “successfully delivered” DSN message, marginally interesting because it took nearly a minute to arrive.

But there are more minutes. After fully 2 minutes, 10 seconds, I received:

From MAILER-DAEMON  Mon Oct  4 16:25:35 2021
To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
From: Mail Delivery System <MAILER-DAEMON@mx7.bankwest.com.au>
Date: 04 Oct 2021 13:24:31 +0800
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

The following message to <cards.processing@bankwest.com.au> was undeliverable.
The reason for the problem:
5.1.0 - Unknown address error 550-'5.4.1 Recipient address rejected: Access denied. AS(201806281) [ME3AUS01FT009.eop-AUS01.prod.protection.outlook.com]'

That looks familiar. I had noted exactly the same problem earlier last month. The common denominator is the subdomain protection.outlook.com, and last month I had come to the conclusion that it is outlook.com's way of saying “recipient does not exist”.

But is that correct? If so, it's serious: that was the address I had been asked to send to. I had already run into computer trouble when I applied, but if they're really that incompetent, do I want to have anything to do with them? Sent off a message to postmaster@bankwest.com.au and the sender address of the request, both of which were accepted (according to outlook.com), and both of which generated no response.

I won't try any longer. Life's too short to get involved with this kind of pain.


Tuesday, 5 October 2021 Dereel → Geelong → Dereel
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Still more tortilla fun
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Huevos rancheros for breakfast again today, and yet another case of guessing the quantity of water for this horrible El Maizal masa harina. Today I used 1:1.5, but it was still quite moist. So at least until the end of this packet, it's back to 1:1.45.


More Google Maps fun
Topic: technology, opinion, health Link here

To Geelong today for my 6-monthly periodontics checkup. Nothing much of interest there, but of course it was another chance to play around with using hirse, my mobile phone, along with Google Maps, as a navigator

First issue: find the periodontist. They have a free parking space round the back, and the location is very different from their address:

I can enter that on a computer, but how do I do it on a phone? Off to ask Google, and came up with give a place a private label. Simple:

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Search for a place or address.
  3. Choose Add a label.

Simple, isn't it? But where is “Add a label”? Nowhere to be seen, and no help offered. It goes on to say “Tip: You need Web & App Activity turned on to give a place a label”. OK, do that. Oh. No, it was on already. Somehow this “help” makes too many assumptions. And frustratingly, when I tried it after returning, there was an “Add a label” selection, only I couldn't tell it the location to which the label should be added.

I found one example while looking for the Web & App Activity:

You can disable Location Sharing from this page, but you can only start sharing your location from your mobile device. Location Sharing works across Google apps and services, including Google Maps and Family Link.

Now isn't that clever? You can only use the device with the most difficult user interface!

I didn't find how to do it, neither before leaving nor when I got there. A couple of months back I was able to tell Google Maps on my phone that I was at Pene Kirk's place, but I didn't recall what I said, and nothing I tried today helped.

From there I wanted to go to the Gourmet Asian Grocery (really Malaysian). “OK, Google, take me to the Gourmet Asian Grocery”. “Sure, let's go”. And it showed an itinerary overview that was clearly incorrect. No idea where it wanted to take me, and the next time I tried it was correct.

Google Maps has been around for decades. It has improved slightly in that time, and like the curate's egg, parts of it are excellent. But why is the rest so hard to use?


New chili sauce
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

One of the things that are surprisingly hard to find is good chili sauce. For some dishes, notably huevos rancheros, I like a bit of chili sauce on the side. Not quite genuine Mexican, of course (the “correct” way to do it is with a pico de gallo), but I like it like that.

But which one? The prototypical Malaysian/Indonesia sauce is sambal ulek, still almost universally spelt “sambal oelek”, the old pre-1972 Indonesian spelling, even in Malaysia. Interestingly, the one I have been using comes from the USA:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211006/big/Huy-Fong-Sambal-Oelek.jpeg
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And it's too pedas (“hot” or “spicy”) for my taste. Fine for cooking, but a teaspoonful would be rather unpleasant.

Today I bought a couple of potential contenders, here with some stuff that I bought from ALDI some time ago:


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How are they? I've graded them in order of increasing pedasness. As the name suggests, the sambal nasi lemak is for nasi lemak. It's relatively mild, but has a strong belacan component that makes it less general-purpose.

The Lee Kum Kee claims to be “medium hot” and to be suitable as a condiment:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211006/big/Lee-Kum-Kee.jpeg
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That seems reasonable, and it's probably the best of the bunch.

The “Thai” “Chili Jam” (made in Malaysia) is intended for cooking, but it's not that bad as a condiment. The “Nonya” (should be “Nyonya”) is far too hot. I might be able to use it for cooking.

And which is best for huevos rancheros? I'll find out next Tuesday, when we eat it again.


Wednesday, 6 October 2021 Dereel Images for 6 October 2021
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Spring progress
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Walking the dogs, saw this bush again:


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We had seen it three weeks ago:


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Yvonne had uprooted a seedling, which I was sure wouldn't survive. But yes, it seems to be doing well, and the parent trees are flowering much better than three weeks ago. What is it? It seems to self-seed willingly. I can't recall seeing it last year; is it newer than that?


Centrelink security: where?
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Voicemail and mail from Steven Garnett of Bankwest today, asking, as I feared, for more information from Centrelink. OK, nothing for it: sign in to this horrible mygov and select “Centrelink”.

We could not connect to the service. Please contact us for help. (RFM51)

That sounds right. They can never get anything right. OK, try with different browser. Same thing. Where's the help link? There isn't one. What does Google say? It found a tweet:

RFM51 code refers to server issues, unlink your Centrelink account and relink it again.

That sounds right. But unlinking sounds extreme. OK, look through the “contact us” pages. First it needs to know which of its preconceived categories apply; never mind that I had a very specific one, and the linking page should have provided that information: there was nothing appropriate. Worked my way through multiple levels of various social services, many of which wanted me to sign in before they would consider giving help. Finally I found one that seemed to apply: complaints, 1800-132-468.

But I wasn't done. First I was connected to a voice non-recognition service that wanted to know my Customer Registration Number. What's that? It's on every piece of correspondence that I received from them. Ah, in print they spell it “Reference”. Read it out. Silence, then “I don't recognize that”. Three times, then it offered me a # key which ultimately connected me to a real live person who was, in fact, quite solicitous and helpful. I think her name was Leeann.

She took down my immediate complaints:

She took all that down and then checked my account. It seems that at 9:22 on 23 September their internal fraud checks determined that somebody had accessed my account to perform some kind of financial transaction to an account to which I had no access. Details, please? Sorry, that would be a security breach.

OK, it's not Leeann's fault, but there's something very wrong here. Somebody has been tampering with my account, and Centrelink has detected it, but it won't give me any information about it. They didn't even inform me! In fact, I had received a dead tree letter this morning telling me

Our records show that you successfully registered for Centrelink self service on 22 September 2021 at 16:01 - Canberra time.

Savour that “Canberra time”. That's one of the time zones keeping Australian Eastern Standard Time, same as here. And that was round the time I put in my initial application for the Bankwest credit card, which involved me in identifying myself with driver license and Medicare details, and I had thought no more of it.

But that's not the end of it: on 24 September they had performed a transfer to this incorrect account, although they had identified it as fraudulent the day before. As a result, my normal pension payment due on 29 September was only $181.60 instead of $434.04. Leeann thought that the difference might be some advance that had been requested on 23 September.

OK, $250 is a fair amount of money, but it won't kill me. What do I need to do? Leeann wasn't able to access the account, which is locked—in itself a good idea—but it is locked in the state that means that from now on I only get $181: I lose $250 every two weeks. I have to go into a Centrelink office with photo ID to reenable the account. At some level that makes sense, but what a pain!

So what's wrong with this picture?

OK, what do I do with Bankwest? Their computer system is really dubious, and the fact that they outsource their email to outlook.com suggests that there could be security issues. On one hand, it's not clear how the information that I provided could be used to compromise my Centrelink account, but the timing of the initial access is a smoking gun. Clearly Bankwest didn't do it themselves, but it's easy to come to the conclusion that their lax security enabled the attack. Sent a message to Steve describing the issue and asking him:

I ask you to forward this message to your security team, if you have one, and to ensure that they investigate the matter and give me a plausible description of what has happened, or, as I expect, why they don't believe that it has anything to do with Bankwest. In particular such a report should address and explain the involvement of outlook.com, and also describe in some detail the path taken by my application from web site to your bank's (hopefully secure) storage.

You will understand that my application is currently on hold. Even before today, I was getting the feeling that it might not be such a good idea. But apart from that, as a result of this issue, I have no way of getting the information that you request.

And of course the cards.processing@bankwest.com.au address bounced again after I received positive deliver confirmation.


Thursday, 7 October 2021 Dereel Images for 7 October 2021
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Returning the USB hub
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I started a return for the malfunctioning USB hub yesterday, and got an interesting message from the seller:

Dear friend. We are so sorry. We specially consulted the manufacturer and their feedback is as follows. The product has four ports and seven ports. There is only one 3.0 interface for the four ports, and 2.0 for the others. The seven ports have four 3.0 interfaces, and the other is 2.0. There is no problem with your product. How we refund you half,and you close the dispute?Thank you very much for your understanding.

At the very least that's not what they advertised. Is it even correct? My guess is that they have misinterpreted their own advertising: “4/7 Port USB 3.0 HUB”. But that's because they sell two different versions, one with 4 and one with 7 ports. There's no reason to believe that the ports are different, and there's certainly nothing in their message or on the device to say which ports are allegedly 2.0. So back it goes.

The real question, though, is: what do I do now? This design appears to be the only game in town, and I've had trouble with them. The first one (4 ports) was what I got when I ordered a 7 port hub. They weren't able to replace it, so it was refunded, and I kept it. The second one was never shipped. And this one doesn't work reliably.


Another orchid
Topic: gardening Link here

A rather unexpected find in the forest south of Bliss Road while walking the dogs together:


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The (dead) fern fronds in the first image show how small it is, only about 1 cm across. Clearly it's an orchid, but what kind? I had “mosquito orchid“ in my mind, but that's clearly not the case.

Now where did I put that book about local wildflowers?


New branch managers
Topic: animals Link here

Lena and (especially) Larissa have started playing with branches:


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Other dogs before them have done that, usually at a considerably younger age. And Lena isn't really interested in carrying them, only stealing them from Lara.


Bankwest: what now?
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

No response from Bankwest to my letter asking for investigation of their part in my Centrelink breach yesterday. I know that the mail gets through, so my best guess is “not my problem”.

And why can't I send mail to cards.processing@bankwest.com.au? It appears to be handled by outlook.com, clearly a Microsoft space company. Can it be that they're too polite to handle mail from systems like mine? It would be worth checking with a mainstream MUA/MTA. How about Gmail?

So I sent off a message to them, fully expecting it to be delivered. No:

Date: 07 Oct 2021 10:13:03 +0800
From: Mail Delivery System <MAILER-DAEMON@mx7.bankwest.com.au>
To: groggyhimself@gmail.com
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)
Message-Id: <b14c0a$95o8fv@SHP01MAILGW02.rtdomau.local>

[-- Attachment #1 --]
[-- Type: text/plain, Encoding: quoted-printable, Size: 0.3K --]

The following message to <cards.processing@bankwest.com.au> was undeliverable.
The reason for the problem:
5.1.0 - Unknown address error 550-'5.4.1 Recipient address rejected: Access denied. AS(201806281) [SY4AUS01FT020.eop-AUS01.prod.protection.outlook.com]'

[-- Attachment #2 --]
[-- Type: message/delivery-status, Encoding: 7bit, Size: 0.4K --]

Reporting-MTA: dns; mx7.bankwest.com.au

Final-Recipient: rfc822;cards.processing@bankwest.com.au
Action: failed
Status: 5.0.0 (permanent failure)
Remote-MTA: dns; [104.47.71.138]
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 5.1.0 - Unknown address error 550-'5.4.1 Recipient address rejected: Access denied. AS(201806281) [SY4AUS01FT020.eop-AUS01.prod.protection.outlook.com]' (delivery
+attempts: 0)

[-- Attachment #3 --]
[-- Type: message/rfc822, Encoding: 7bit, Size: 6.8K --]

Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2021 13:12:36 +1100
From: Greg Lehey <groggyhimself@gmail.com>
To: cards.processing@bankwest.com.au
Subject: Does this account exist?
Message-ID: <CAMMRsgQYRfBOLwrgkpY-R+3q4Zc88zX1276UbFkLDPgON2i60A@mail.gmail.com>

So they are really asking for replies to an address that doesn't exist, even after my report. Clearly they're not a company for me. Now I just want to know whether and to what extent they are responsible for the breach of my Centrelink account.


POP3S again
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I really need to sort out email for Jerry Dunham. Last week I ran into inexplicable problems with “mail loops back to myself”. OK, I can compare that with narrawin.com, which I also handle. And that delivers fine to any address no in virtual. OK, try again with dunham.org. It works!

What went wrong? I'm not sure. About the only thing I noticed was that the main.cf buffer hadn't been saved when I started today. But it can't have been that: I did a number of changes last week.

But that was simply POP3, with no encryption. The next problem: set up POP3S. How do you do that? I've done it, but it was over 10 years ago, and since then I have changed the server, so the configuration isn't there. Off to Google for qpopper ssl, and struck paydirt almost immediately: the 4th hit was Greg's setting up qpopper on FreeBSD. Clearly it was painful enough at the time (July 2008) that I wrote down all the details.

All? Well, no, I still need to read between the lines. I still have all the certificates that I created at the time, but I have long since forgotten the pass phrases. Another “too difficult” for today.


Daily news from ABC
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

I receive daily news email from Channel 9, a commercial TV broadcaster and, I think, allied with Microsoft. Not my natural choice of news information, but they have the advantage of good presentation, sort of.

Others thought that I should take the national broadcaster, ABC. But somehow their web presence irritates me. They have chosen the domain name abc.net.au, which would suggest that they're an ISP or some such. It wasn't for lack of access to abc.com.au: they have that too, but it redirects to abc.net.au.

Then, like almost all broadcasters, they have video content online (German „Mediathek“). But unlike almost all broadcasters, it's only in low definition, and access is painful. As a result I don't watch it.

But maybe a daily newsletter would be a good idea. OK, I have an account. Log in:

 
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That's my saved password. Or it was. They have decided that, in the interests of security, they should limit the number of tries you need for a brute force attack. Clever!

OK, send me a password reset link:

 
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No email. I should have checked not only my email, but also the message: “If you have an active account...”. Well how can I know, if you go and change things without telling me?

No, they had gone and deleted my account without as much as a by your leave. OK, sign up again with a more insulting but acceptable password, in the process being asked not only for my post code, but also the exact locality. So that they can give me information tailored to my location? Chose the locality under the cursor (Lal Lal, as it happens) and was presented with a weather forecast for Melbourne. I suppose it's better than Darwin.

Signed up for the twice daily newsletter. The first one arrived shortly later, but that was the last I saw of it. What happened this time? At least they're confirming my opinion of them.


Friday, 8 October 2021 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 8 October 2021
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Yet another battery recalibration
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

I had gradually become used to the monthly battery recalibration that I have had since March last year, but lately things haven't been quite like that. The last record I have of a recalibration was two months ago, and out of the monthly sequence. Then yesterday evening we had another, starting at 22:43 and going on until 3:08. Again it just charged to 100% and then stopped.


KL Hokkien Mee, more authentic?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

KL Hokkien mee is interesting because of the dark colour:


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That's caused by a considerable quantity of dark soya sauce. Or is it? The Nyonya cooking recipe says:

An authentic plate of KL Hokkien mee uses a specific black sauce labeled as ‘thick caramel soy sauce’. It is no surprise that this soy sauce is mistaken as the sweet soy sauce (kicap manis) which is popularized by Indonesian cuisine. In actual fact, this thick dark soy sauce is not at all sweet but has a subtle saltiness to it. It is meant to add some colour to dishes.

When I was in Geelong on Tuesday, I asked for KL caramel soya sauce, but all I got was this:


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That's not soya, just caramel. But it's made in Petaling Jaya, close enough to KL to be authentic. How about giving it a try?

It's much darker and thicker in appearance than normal dark soya sauce:


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As a result, I used less; instead of the 25 g of dark soya sauce and 5 g of light soya sauce that I had been using, I tried 15 g of each. Surprise! It wasn't dark enough:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211008/big/KL-Hokkien-mee-2.jpeg
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But we seem to be getting there. Sadly, the taste wasn't significantly different, but despite the increased amount of light soya sauce, it wasn't as salty as last time.


Visiting Centrelink
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Finally took up the courage (and two big books) to go to Centrelink in Ballarat to sort out my pension fund breakin. Was it worth trying to get an appointment? No, no indication that that would help, and the fact that Wednesday's letter didn't include a phone number speaks for itself.

On the way out of the property, picked up the mail. Another letter from Centrelink, confirming that I had cancelled my nominee agreement with PPT (which they spelt Ppt). What other nonsense has been done with my account?

At Centrelink I had the usual questions about COVID-19, and then was directed to a counter where a badly masked receptionist called me George Lehey and asked if I had an appointment. Appointment? If only! But it seems that it's now normal practice. And he was able to find me an appointment at 12:15—in 10 minutes' time. Sat down and read the two letters carefully, in the process coming across this gem:


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Surely that phone number is wrong. The first thing that I noticed was that it started with 62. That's Canberra, as the rest of the text confirmed. But the area code is 02, not 03. So this incorrect phone number has been printed on probably hundreds of thousands of letters, and nobody has noticed enough to correct it.

I had only just finished reading the letters when Tracy called my appointment. That's really a much better situation than I was used to.

Tracy was much more forthcoming than Leeann on the phone, maybe because I had identified myself (brief glance at my driver license). And clearly it was an issue that she wasn't used to: she disappeared for nearly 10 minutes to talk to a “team leader”, returning only when I finally opened one of the books I brought with me. It seems that whoever broke in to my account accessed it from Mygov. He reset the PPT nominee agreement, but allowed Yvonne access to my account. My guess is that these were the default values that he set when changing the account details.

The important part was that he transferred an advance of $760 and an “urgent payment” of $200, a total of $960, to an account at Cuscal, an online bank, and even gave me the account number. Easy to get it back? No, it would be anonymous, but the fraud people would get on to it.

She decided that she wouldn't unlock my account—the actual reason that I had come in—but on reflection, that's probably right. Until we know how the intruder got to the account, we can't be sure that he can't still get in. I suspect that he won't; there are many other fish in the sea, accounts that Centrelink isn't monitoring as closely. But I don't know when I last accessed my Centrelink account online. From my diary entries, it wasn't in the last 4 years.

So how did he gain access without me receiving a PIN for the request? It seems that you can set up more than one mygov account for yourself! All you need is two documents to identify yourself, for example a driver license and a Medicare number—exactly what I supplied to Bankwest exactly at the time that the breach occurred. The smoking gun is getting hotter.

So what do I do? A police report is a good thing, said Tracy. I was half way to the police station (100 m to the south) when I decided that it would be good to first get my documentation together. Also, of course, I had to take a new nominee agreement form round the corner to PPT (100 m to the west).

In the afternoon, Steven Garnett replied to the urgent email I had sent two days ago:

Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2021 14:39:02 +0800
From: cpsout@bankwest.com.au
To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Subject: Ref No: 12574008
Reply-To: cards.processing@bankwest.com.au

I just wanted to clarify with you that the email address for documents to be
sent to us is cards@bankwest.com.au

The request to send documents to this address is on the email we sent out.  The cards processing address is not a valid email address so would you have received an error if you had selected "reply to email" on your lap top. I understand our email does state that it is a no reply email address.

Unfortunely I can not speak for your Centrelink/my gov issue, but I can forward your email onto the relevant department to investigage if there is any issue.

In other words: it's broken, and they don't even understand that it's broken. His message (and the others that he sent) include a specific Reply-To: cards.processing@bankwest.com.au, and most certainly neither information that it's a no-reply address (and if so, why the Reply-To:?) nor a reference to cards@bankwest.com.au. And my request to get the security team involved seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

So: who is to blame, and why? Here my current guess:

  1. Bankwest, for broken computer infrastructure and probably enabling my authentication details to be compromised.
  2. Mygov, for allowing duplicate accounts to be set up. Their “security” also seems to be lacking, something that I have ranted about years ago.
  3. Centrelink, for not informing me immediately (what use is the email address I gave them, and why does it take them 16 days to get a paper letter to me?). Also for not having provisions in place to verify that the account to which they are transferring funds is kept in my name, and to stop transfers under way when they detect fraud. Any of these three provisions could have stopped the breach.

In passing, it's interesting to note how many people at Centrelink were either not wearing a mask or not wearing it correctly. You'd think that a bureaucracy would pay more attention to that sort of thing.


POP3S revisited
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The problem with my Greg's setting up qpopper on FreeBSD page was at least that I had forgotten to write down the pass phrases for the certificates; I still had the certificates that I made at the time.

But where do I need the certificates? There's nothing in that document to suggest that I will ever need them again. OK, the configuration files are straightforward enough, so why not give it a try? Updated the files and got as far as testing. According to the page, I should get:

=== grog@dereel (/dev/ttypj) ~ 90 -> openssl s_client -connect dereel.lemis.com:995
CONNECTED(00000003)
depth=0 /C=AU/ST=VIC/L=Dereel/O=LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd/OU=Messaging/CN=www.lemis.com...
verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
...

But what I saw was:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~ 87 -> openssl s_client -connect lax.lemis.com:995
CONNECTED(00000003)
34379280744:error:140770FC:SSL routines:SSL23_GET_SERVER_HELLO:unknown protocol:/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/secure/lib/libssl/../../../crypto/openssl/ssl/s23_clnt.c:782:
---
no peer certificate available
---
No client certificate CA names sent
---
SSL handshake has read 7 bytes and written 297 bytes
---
New, (NONE), Cipher is (NONE)
Secure Renegotiation IS NOT supported
Compression: NONE
Expansion: NONE
---

Huh? What's that? That's exactly the kind of problem I feared. Did I get anything on the server side? Yes!

Oct  8 05:11:17 lax qpopper[81416]: Config file /usr/local/etc/qpopper/qpopper.config line 13 too long

How about that. A bug in qpopper: if you don't terminate the last line of the config file, it gets confused and doesn't apply it. The answer was as simple as adding a \\n to the file. After that everything was OK.

Well, almost:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~ 92 -> fetchmail
fetchmail: Connection errors for this poll:
name 0: connection to lax.lemis.com:imaps [45.32.70.18/993] failed: Connection refused.
IMAP connection to lax.lemis.com failed: Connection refused
fetchmail: Server certificate verification error: unable to get local issuer certificate
fetchmail: Broken certification chain at: /C=AU/ST=VIC/L=Dereel/O=LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd/OU=Certificate Authority/CN=www.lemis.com/emailAddress=grog@lemis.com
fetchmail: This could mean that the server did not provide the intermediate CA's certificate(s), which is nothing fetchmail could do anything about.  For details, please see the README.SSL-SERVER document that ships with fetchmail.
fetchmail: This could mean that the root CA's signing certificate is not in the trusted CA certificate location, or that c_rehash needs to be run on the certificate directory. For details, please see the documentation of --sslcertpath and --sslcertfile in the manual page.
fetchmail: Server certificate verification error: certificate not trusted
fetchmail: Server certificate verification error: unable to verify the first certificate
fetchmail: Warning: the connection is insecure, continuing anyways. (Better use --sslcertck!)
1 message for grog at lax.lemis.com (698 octets).
reading message grog@lax.lemis.com:1 of 1 (698 octets) flushed

Again, one of these things requiring thought. The IMAP messages are spurious; I don't want IMAP, and I don't have it. But the rest seems to be some issue of trust, and I don't know what I've omitted.

The real thing, though, is the last two lines: it works! And arguably it doesn't create more error messages than a smoothly running firefox.


Another abandoned USB hub
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

The seller of the USB hub that I have been trying to return has accepted the inevitable and refunded the price. So far he hasn't asked for the thing back. That's the second time this has happened with this kind of hub. I wonder what rate of return they get.


Saturday, 9 October 2021 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 9 October 2021
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Teans Mi Udang
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been over 3 years since I last ate Teans Gourmet “Mi Udang” (prawn noodles):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211009/big/Mi-udang-1.jpeg
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They seem to have changed their recipe since last time: add sachet to 1.6 l water (used to be 1.5). In the end I made up to 1.6 l, which seemed good enough, but as on previous occasions it was far too pedas. I think I should freeze the portions and scrape off the oil, which will have most of the chili in it.


Dog training again
Topic: animals Link here

Into Ballarat for our penultimate dog training session. Somehow things didn't go overly smoothly, not helped by a particularly frightened dog who had been in the training area before we went in there. Our dogs were not overly focused.

Weights today: Larissa 26.2 kg, Lena 28.4 kg. That's only 200 g more than last week for Lara. I wonder if the scales are accurate.


Unhappy plants
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Three weeks ago I moved the Murraya koenigii (curry tree) outside.


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210923/big/Murrya-koenigii.jpeg
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It appears to have been a little premature. Now it looks like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211009/big/Murraya-koenigii-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211009/big/Murraya-koenigii-2.jpeg
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I'm sure that it will survive, but it wasn't my intention to put it to such pain.

And once again the Corymbia ficifolia looks unhappy:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211009/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-1.jpeg
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https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211009/big/Corymbia-ficifolia-2.jpeg
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What is it about that position? The damage appears to happen in spring, not in winter.


Sunday, 10 October 2021 Dereel Images for 10 October 2021
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Recovery!
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

Somehow the last few days have been particularly hectic, as the diary entries show. Today was a day of recovery, and I didn't do much apart from baking bread and washing three dishwasher loads.


Orchid rediscovered
Topic: gardening Link here

I still don't know what Thursday's orchid is, but it's not alone:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211007/big/Orchid-3.jpeg
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The first photo is the one I saw on Thursday, and the other was taken almost exactly 5 years ago. I didn't find out what it was then, either, but there were many others in that area, between the end of Kleins Road and Swanson Road. Clearly it's the time of year; I should go and see what else I can find.


Caramel soya sauce?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

On Friday I pondered the “dark soya sauce” used in KL Hokkien Mee. There's some consensus that it should contain caramel. But while the sauce that I bought contained caramel, there's no indication that it contains anything with soya base.

Googling, I found basically two images: the sauce I bought (first image) and Yuen Chun sauce:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211009/big/Cooking-caramel-1.jpeg
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  http://dunham.org/grog/Day/20211010/41MpsIfqfFL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

And those are the only two kinds I could find. And clearly there's confusion. While the heading of this page refers to it as caramel sauce, the description muddies the waters with

Yuen Chun Caramel Sauce is a sweet soy sauce use as marinade in Chinese recipes, ...

My guess is that everybody who calls it soy(a) sauce is similarly confused. Until proof of the contrary, I'll assume that it's just caramel.


ABC news subscription
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why have I not received any news mail from the ABC subscriptions that I set up on Thursday? Off to take another look.

It's almost impossible to find anything on the site. When I did, it was a completely different page, offering many more newsletters, and claiming that I was subscribed to some of them. OK, select the ones that look interesting, press “Submit”. Nothing. Oh yes, just as I was about to give up:

TypeError: NetworkError when attempting to fetch resource.

That was repeatable. I've seen too many broken web sites lately, so I didn't try again. But then I got an email confirming my subscriptions. Well, some of them, anyway. Try again, this time without error messages. Success, and once again a single email with the evening's news. It seems there should have been more, but let's wait and see.


Tracking the POP3S certification issues
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

In principle my POP3S configuration for qpopper now works, but clearly there's a question of trust with the certificates. Peter Jeremy suggests using Let's encrypt. That sounds like a very good idea, and not for the first time I've made a note to follow up.


Monday, 11 October 2021 Dereel Images for 11 October 2021
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RIP Xandy Stams
Topic: general, health, opinion Link here

Received on the Tandem Alumni mailing list today:

Alexander (Xandy) Stams paassed away on September 11, 2021 due to a
Covid-19 infection (he was not vaccinated).

I worked with Xandy at Tandem ESSG in Frankfurt for much of the 1980s. We were never close, but we had a lot to do with each other: I was the manager of the operating and hardware group of ESSG, and Xandy was the manager of the subsystems group.

Somehow it's sad for a number of reasons: firstly, of course, he's dead. And if he had been vaccinated, he probably wouldn't have been. As it is, he's the first person whom I have known of whom I know that he died of COVID-19. I fear that there are more to come.


COVID certificate
Topic: health, technology, opinion Link here

Gradually we're coming out of SARS-CoV-2 imposed “lockdown”. Well, we're already out of it, but today it was eliminated in all of New South Wales, and the government of Victoria has stated that things will get considerably more relaxed in the next few weeks. A good thing, too: in the past the “lockdowns” have worked well, but they don't seem to have much effect against the “delta variant”: despite the measures, which have been in place for months now, the numbers have continued to climb and have now reached nearly 2,000 infections per day. The only thing that should help is vaccination.

And that seems to be part of the loosening of restrictions. Many facilities are to be made available only for people who are fully vaccinated. Finally something sensible.

But how do you prove your vaccination? With a “digital certificate”, which has nothing to do with digital certificates: I got one two months ago. It's in PDF form, and printed out it looks like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20210806/big/Vaccination-status-1.gif
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That's because of some damage in the PDF. I found a way to print it out using xpdf, but it's still just a piece of paper, not a digital certificate.

But now I can get the Service Victoria app to display the certificate. That's certainly a good idea. Let's do it!

I failed. Once again I ran into technical problems, including error messages in 1 pt font:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211011/big/Ehealth-1.jpeg
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After going around in circles, I ended up with displays like this:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211011/big/COVID-Certificate-1-detail.jpeg
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After some investigation discovered that the app needed manual updating. But even then I couldn't load the certificate, though Medicare claimed that it was there: now you see it, now you don't.

What a horrible user interface this is. Am I just too stupid to use it?


More blue mystery flowers
Topic: gardening Link here

Walking the dogs a little further afield today, saw this bush in Lorraine Carranza's garden:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211011/big/Mystery-flower-1.jpeg
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It appears to be the same mystery bush that I have looked at on a couple of occasions, most recently earlier this month.


Buddleja out of season
Topic: gardening, photography, opinion Link here

Our Buddleja weyeriana is interesting in that it flowers exactly in the first half of the year, from January to July. Well, that's what they did in the garden. We only have one plant left, and we're coddling it in the lounge room. And almost exactly in the middle of its non-flowering season it's flowering again:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211011/big/Buddleja-8.jpeg
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It's in a good position to get some focus stacked photos. That's something that I haven't done for a while, and I now remember why: really close macros are a pain at the best of time. Focus peaking no longer works reliably, and it's anybody's guess how many images I should take. It took me so long to take the images that I didn't have time to process them. I won't find out if I took enough images until I process them. Oh for a calculator and adjustable strength focus peaking!


Tuesday, 12 October 2021 Dereel Images for 12 October 2021
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Understanding “modern” apps
Topic: health, technology, opinion Link here

Why couldn't I download my “digital certificate” on my mobile phone? Medicare seems to think I have loaded it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211012/big/Now-you-see-me-detail.jpeg
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But Service Victoria just offers me an(other) opportunity to download it:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211013/big/Service-Victoria.jpeg
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So what's the issue? I have now updated the app, but Service Victoria still asks me to download it. But this time it offers to do it directly, presumably one of the results of updating the app. OK, try again. “Replace the certificate?”. OK, dammit, replace. But I still get offered the same install offer.

FOOL! That stuff at the top of the display is just advertising, and it's not tailored to your situation. Any normal person would intuitively know that you should touch this area at bottom left:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211013/big/Service-Victoria-detail-2.jpeg
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Touch that, and sure enough:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211012/big/Digital-certificate.jpeg
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Now isn't that clever? I could create a “certificate” like that with little difficulty, especially if I have this one to start with. No reference number, nothing to indicate that it's me. Are the authorities really that stupid?


More dog stuff
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Yvonne is much more interested in training our new dogs than I am. Today she tried one of the things we learnt on Saturday: training them not to touch food in front of them until allowed. Now that's easier for borzois than for most dogs, and she had already achieved it years ago with Nemo:


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Today things were somewhat hampered by an interested cat, but she's getting there:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211012/big/Training-Larissa-Lena-13.jpeg
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How are our dogs growing? I've been following their weight (but not their height; that's more difficult) almost since we got them. On Saturday I was marginally concerned because they seem to have put on almost no weight since the week before. But then I found this page, which shows normal ranges of weight against age (in months):

https://cdn.belpatt.fr/graphiques/115-1.png

On Saturday they were not quite 7 months old. According to that chart, their weights should be between 19.5 kg and 29.5 kg. In fact, they weighed 26.2 and 28.4 kg, both above average. If we carry on like that, Larissa will end up weighing about 34 kg and Lena 38.

I've already noted that Lena likes to steal Lara's branches, but she's only interested in the theft, not the item. Today it was a bone (sheep? kangaroo?):


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211012/big/Lena-with-bone-4.jpeg
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And again she dropped it as soon as Lara lost interest.

Another strange thing about Lena is how she likes to sit down in puddles:


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Other borzois don't seem to like to sit much at all.


Focus stacked Buddlejas
Topic: photography, gardening, opinion Link here

Got round to processing the two focus stacks of the Buddlejas that I took yesterday. In fact, they weren't too bad:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20211011/big/Buddleja-5-PMax.jpeg
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Those individual flowers are about 6 mm across, so the fine detail is in the order of 10 μm. But the real problem is that I didn't take enough shots: the distant parts of the flowers are still out of focus.

What do I do? More shots is one option. Altering the focus step is another. It was set to 2, and I could go up to 10. But how I wish I understood what exactly these things mean. Are they dependent on aperture? According to my observations 5 years ago, yes. I should go back and investigate what I started then in more detail.


Reporting Centrelink security breach
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Despite multiple requests, Bankwest has not responded to my request to get their fraud team involved in the Centrelink fraud case. The place to go is https://reportapp.cyber.gov.au/, which presented me with multiple warnings that it's not suitable for an emergency. They can certainly say that again, and they did:

Due to the complex nature of enquiries undertaken as part of the assessment process, it is not uncommon not to hear from Victoria Police for at least 12 weeks. If there is an immediate threat to life or risk of harm, please call 000.

Fought my way through a form that tried to guess what the problem was, including that money had been taken from my bank account (please specify BSB and account number), but which accepted dummy values, and finally got as far as entering very close to my maximum of 2000 characters without being complete:

On 22 September 2021 between 15:00 and 16:00 I applied for a credit card online with Bankwest. During the process I had to identify myself with driver license number and Medicare number. I had multiple issues with their web application, and followed up with an email, which revealed further issues with their IT infrastructure.

The card application proceeded normally. On 6 October I received paper mail from Centrelink telling my that my account details had been updated on 22 September at 16:01 to allow self-service. I also received mail from Bankwest asking me to provide information from Centrelink. When I tried to access my Centrelink account via mygov, I received a message "We could not connect to the service. Please contact us for help. (RFM51)". I contacted Centrelink on the phone and was told that their fraud department had locked the account at 9:22 on 23 September because of fraudulent access to the account. In addition they transferred an unspecified sum of money to an unspecified account number on 24 September, although the account was locked. My pension payments had been reduced from about $435 to $180, and that I would have to go to a Centrelink office to have it reinstated.

On 8 October I went to Centrelink in Ballarat and was given more details: the access took place via mygov, a total of $960 had been transferred to the account specified in the header to this report, and other details of my account had been changed. It's not clear how the intruder gained access, but the timing of the incident suggests that somebody had intercepted Bankwest's verification of my personal details and used them to access my Centrelink account.

Despite multiple requests, Bankwest has shown no evidence that they are following up the data breach. I am left with the impression that they are indifferent to the problem.

I have more to say on this matter, but your web form is full. If you contact me by phone, please quote “Hackedagain, honey”.

And what a mess they made of it!


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I've never seen anything deliberately format a text ragged left before, and it's not clear why they removed all paragraph breaks. Can the police really deal with such a mess?

Only then was I asked to enter personal details, a few other things, and I was done, receiving a reference number . And some advice carefully tailored to my situation:

Based on the information you have provided; someone may have committed fraud against you.

Well, yes, that's a given.

If you haven't already, contact your financial institution immediately.

What financial institution?

Contact IDCare (idcare.org) to help recover your identity.

If your personal information was exposed in a data breach change your account passwords.

OK, which passwords?

To stop the malware infection from spreading, disconnect the affected device from the internet or other network connections (such as home Wi-Fi).

Run a full scan on your device using your anti-virus software and follow the instructions to remove any identified files.

What malware?

Configure your email to require two-factor authentication (eg password plus a code sent via SMS).

Never give anyone your username or password or let anyone access your online accounts. Use different passwords for each of your accounts.

Protect devices and accounts from compromise using programs such as Quad9 (https://www.quad9.net).

To avoid disclosing your personal details, don't click on links that are in suspicious email messages.

To avoid installing malware, don't click on suspicious links on untrusted sites, check the site's security and use a browser add-on to regularly check for phishing links.

This has nothing to do with email.

What about those URLs? IDCARE is

Australia and New Zealand’s national identity & cyber support service. Our service is the only one of its type in the world. We have helped thousands of Australian and New Zealand individuals and organisations reduce the harm they experience from the compromise and misuse of their identity information by providing effective response and mitigation.

I suppose that's worth investigating.

And what's https://www.quad9.net/? From that page:

Quad9 is a free service that replaces your default ISP or enterprise Domain Name Server (DNS) configuration. When your computer performs any Internet transaction that uses the DNS (and most transactions do), Quad9 blocks lookups of malicious host names from an up-to-the-minute list of threats. This blocking action protects your computer, mobile device, or IoT systems against a wide range of threats such as malware, phishing, spyware, and botnets, and it can improve performance in addition to guaranteeing privacy. The Quad9 DNS service is operated by the Swiss-based Quad9 Foundation, whose mission is to provide a safer and more robust Internet for everyone.

That's an interesting consideration. Arguably one way to get my information would be via a man-in-the-middle attack. What do I see?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/15) ~ 216 -> host www.bankwest.com.au
www.bankwest.com.au is an alias for cdn.bankwest.adobecqms.net.
cdn.bankwest.adobecqms.net has address 65.8.134.101
cdn.bankwest.adobecqms.net has address 65.8.134.15
cdn.bankwest.adobecqms.net has address 65.8.134.90
cdn.bankwest.adobecqms.net has address 65.8.134.61

That's what I see elsewhere as well. quad9 has a server address 9.9.9.9, which returns the same information. So in this case it doesn't look like a DNS based man-in-the-middle attack, but they seem to have outsourced their web site too. I suppose that's modern, but does it offer other opportunities for breakin?


Wednesday, 13 October 2021 Dereel Images for 13 October 2021
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Cherry brand delivery
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Yvonne came back from shopping today with an unexpected package:


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It was the Kirschwasser that Ruth Viebrock sent me two weeks ago. It wasn't due for at least another 4 weeks!

As if that wasn't surprising enough, there was no customs duty. What did the customs declaration say?


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I can't make up my mind whether that's a mistyped English “brandy” or German „Brand“, which is a perfectly correct description. But potentially it was confusing for the Customs Australian Border Force or one of their parsing programs. OK, we can do that again.

Anything to complain about? Yes, of course. First, we had a fondue only last Saturday, so it'll be a week or two before we can try it, and secondly the bottle is too big for the shelf. But in total it came in much cheaper than what I would have paid here ($66.80 instead of about $120).

Now to get the Etter Kirsch.

And the tracking? Pretty much as I expected. Exactly one additional entry since I last looked:

 
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OK, handover to Australia Post sounds reasonable. What do they say?

 
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Following up the “What does this mean?” produced:

The tracking status 'product not trackable' – or the message, ‘sorry, this item can’t be tracked’ – might be shown for items sent using one of our international services that doesn’t come with tracking as a standard feature.

These include: Registered Post International

No track events will be shown for these items. However, if the item was sent using Registered Post International, a signature will be obtained when the item is delivered.

In other words, no tracking at all. Just a signature on receipt, which the post office didn't require.


Bankwest replies
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Call from Steven Garnett of Bankwest today to discuss the email I sent him on Monday, in which I had set a deadline of yesterday to get the bank's fraud team involved.

He repeated the content of the letter and gave the impression—once again—that he hadn't read the email. You'd think he hadn't received it, but he confirmed that he did. It seems that he had informed his process expert, whatever that is, his manager and his team leader (there that term again), but if he didn't forward the message to them, there's not much they could have done. He finally undertook to inform the fraud people, and I asked him to get them to contact me.

About the only interesting detail was that he confirmed that they received my application at 13:49 on 22 September. That's WST, UTC+8, so it was 12 minutes before the breach of my Centrelink account at 16:01 AEST. That fits very nicely into the hypothesis that the breach was as a result of personal data stolen from that transaction.


Borzoi weights again
Topic: animals Link here

More investigation of borzoi weights today at belpatt.fr. They offer the opportunity to register dogs, which I did for Larissa and Lena. The graphs are interesting, but misleading:

 
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Both of those show the weights of both dogs against age, but the continuous line is based on an estimated (“desired”) end weight. I had chosen 33 kg for Larissa and 38 kg for Lena, basically guesswork. So each graph is different.

And then there's a comparison with all dogs they have:

 
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That shows them nicely in the middle, but the whole graph is clearly skewed by one dog that got seriously overweight up to 37 kg at round 10 months of age and then dropped back to 31 kg at age 12½ months. And then there seem to have been only 2 other dogs, both considerably lighter than ours. That makes a total of 5 including ours, not exactly a representative sample.

But could it be that ours are overweight? Their ribs are not exactly sticking out. But at least until 10 months of age I'd prefer to err on the size of plumpness to avoid any growing issues like Larissa's hypertrophic osteodystrophy in August


Calling German mobile phones
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Since moving to MyNetFone, now Vonex, international phone calls have been ridiculously cheap. While a national “landline” call costs $0.20 untimed, a call to a German landline costs $0.019 per minute, so a 10 minute call to Germany is still cheaper than a call to Australia.

But mobile rates are different, sometimes markedly so. In Australia they're $0.10 per minute. And in Germany? I recall them being significantly more expensive than for landlines. And today Yvonne wanted to make a call to a German mobile telephone.

OK, look it up. Where? The new Vonex web site is completely broken and takes me round in circles. On login I get a link “International Rates”, but that logs me out and takes me to their sales page. Almost anything I tried brought me to this page, which doesn't offer any links:

 
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OK, call them up. Spoke to Yuri, who first wanted my account number. Gave him the phone number, which should have been displaying. Ah, MyNetFone customer. Hold on, I'll connect you. After a few minutes on hold—something that I don't recall from the olden days—I was offered the option of a call-back. OK, do that. I didn't get a call back at all.

Finally Yvonne made her call anyway. The good news: only $0.06 per minute. We can live with that.


Thursday, 14 October 2021 Dereel Images for 14 October 2021
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A mobile phone for COVID-19?
Topic: health, general, technology, opinion Link here

In the USA people have thought out various financial initiatives to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Round here there's an obvious one: a free (low-end) mobile phone. You have needed a phone to sign in to just about anywhere in Victoria for some time now, and soon you will need one to display these silly “digital certificates”.

Yvonne has a mobile phone, of course, but it's an old, small, folding one 10 cm high. She's reluctantly accepting the need for a “smart” phone, but it shouldn't be any higher.

Checked the old Sλmsung Samsung GT-I9100T. 12 cm. What can we find that's modern (and thus supported by the apps that the government has thought out) and no higher? Nothing! What I found was best small Android phones, with the surprising information

The smallest one is the new iPhone 12 Mini, which has a height of just 131.5mm.

Apart from the fact that iPhones drive me crazy, the things cost an arm and a leg. The cheapest price I could find was $750, more than 2½ times the price I paid for my own phone.

And that brought me back to the same problem that I faced in May: how do you compare phones? I want a relatively cheap one, especially because there's still the danger that Yvonne will decide not to use it, but it also should be small, to minimize that danger. And how do I find that?

It would be a lot easier if Yvonne weren't so insistent on a small phone. And maybe she could get used to something else. After all, she once found the E-PM2 with M.Zuiko Digital 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 II R to be too big, but now she keeps the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150 mm f/4.0-5.6 on her OM-D E-M5 Mark III all the time, even though she could still use the smaller M.Zuiko Digital 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 II R:

 
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So we can put the phone size issue to the test: Chris Bahlo has an old phone that she can sell to Yvonne, with ample try-it-out time. So we'll borrow that and see if she can come to terms with it.


MPEG corruption
Topic: multimedia, technology Link here

Seen on the screen after watching TV tonight:

[ffmpeg/video] h264: Error splitting the input into NAL units.
Error while decoding frame!
[ffmpeg/video] h264: Invalid NAL unit size (0 > 8734).
[ffmpeg/video] h264: Error splitting the input into NAL units.
Error while decoding frame!

What's that? There was no obvious corruption on the screen.


Friday, 15 October 2021 Dereel
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The pain of COVID apps
Topic: health, technology, opinion Link here

Something must have happened in New South Wales. Everybody is scrambling to get their mobile phones set up with the NSW equivalent of “Service Victoria”, which is subtly different, along with the same kind of stupid “digital certificate” of vaccination. And people had lots of difficulty with them.

These are experienced computer people, not coincidentally people who made fun of me when I grumbled about my problems. I'm glad to feel vindicated, and was able to make some suggestions to help.

The most interesting one was when one person had to create a second Mygov account because the name wasn't spelt in the same way on all his documents. I've had that issue too: clearly it indicates that the authentication is based on incorrect parameters.


New smart for Yvonne
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

As discussed yesterday, Yvonne brought home a Samsung Galaxy S7 from Chris Bahlo. And now I have to set it up for her.

One “smart” phone causes enough smart. Two different ones are double the smart, if not more. Spent some time playing around with it and wondering whether it wouldn't be a better idea to get another Xiaomi phone instead.

The most obvious thing is, despite what people tell me, to use it to make phone calls. OK, put in the SIM card from the old phone.

Oh. It's a mini-SIM card. Not a micro-SIM or nano-SIM. And the Samsung needs a nano-SIM. Yes, I can break out a micro-SIM card from it, but not a nano-SIM. We're going to need a new one. And that means going to ALDI when we go shopping tomorrow.

Why am I doing all this?


Saturday, 16 October 2021 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 16 October 2021
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Lena sick
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Lena is not feeling well. Yvonne tells me that she had been threatening to vomit all night, and when she got out in the morning, she vomited a little white foam. Not surprisingly, she didn't want anything to eat.

It stayed that way all day, and in the evening she vomited again. Apart from that, however, she seemed relatively active, no pain, no lethargy. Hopefully she'll be better tomorrow.


Dog training: graduation
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Off for the last session of dog training despite Lena's condition. Neither dog showed herself from her best side. Lena was somewhat subdued and not interested in the games, and of course her lack of interest in the treats didn't help. Larissa was full of beans and jumping around all over the place, also not very interested in the games.

Still, they graduated:


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I have mixed feelings about the course. On the one hand, Annette, the instructor, did the job very well, but the surroundings were barely acceptable, and really the course wasn't really what we were looking for: socializing with other dogs was much more important.

Weight update: Larissa 27.2 kg, Lena 29.2 kg, despite her stomach upset. That puts both of them well into the standard weight for adult bitches (25—41 kg).


A new phone for Yvonne
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

After some discussion, we have decided to buy a new phone for Yvonne. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has seen better days, the USB socket no longer works reliably, making charging touch-and-go, and the interface is completely different.

By chance, I saw a cheap Xiaomi phone on the Officeworks web site yesterday, so off there to take a look at it. Not a single Xiaomi phone on offer! The reluctant staff member whom Yvonne brought by asked me if I had a screen shot. Right, just what you need when you come to a shop to buy something that has been advertised. Later, however, I was unable to find any Xiaomi phones on the web site. Did I imagine it? Is this dealing with mobile phones scrambling my brains?

On via ALDI, where we got a SIM card with no difficulty, and at Yvonne's suggestion to Delacombe Town Centre to look for Dr Boom. I went looking for them a few months ago, but the DTC web site beat me, and I didn't find it.

I didn't find it today either, though I looked at where it should have been. But it was on the other side of the main drag! It wasn't until I got home that I discovered I had been confused by their map, which has an arrow pointing not north, but west! Their information hasn't improved at all since last time, and they still don't have any catalogue of the companies in the centre. I'm surprised that the companies haven't complained.

At Dr Boom, the next surprise: a sign on the locked door “Back in 30 minutes”, measured from some indeterminate starting time. There was a woman inside, who came out and said “I must be allowed my 20 minute lunch break”. Well, yes, she can do whatever she wants. But if you want to stay in business, you might set priorities differently. She sounded quite upset, as if life had been treating her badly for some time, and I felt a little sorry for her. But I also got the impression that part of the problem was that business was very slow. Her priorities don't help there.


Google retorts
Topic: technology, language, opinion Link here

We were in Sebastopol when it occurred to us to look for mobile phones in the Delacombe Town Centre. OK, Google, take me to Delacombe Town Centre. And off we were across country on arguably the best route.

Until we got to the south-east corner of the complex:


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I should have turned left, and I did, but Google Maps wanted me to go round to the other side along a main road. „OK, Google, du hast einen Knall“: “OK, Google, you're crazy”. And the prompt answer: “You and me both”. For the first time Yvonne saw something positive in the application.


ALDImobile SIM: simplicity itself
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Back home, time to install the new SIM card in the Samsung phone. Simple, right? The packaging included instructions, including going to aldimobile.com.au/activate and following the instructions. OK, I can do that. Of course, I don't have the same thought patterns as the people who wrote the web pages:

 
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This one means that I should write only the number, not the street itself, though the message suggests that it's the spaces that are to blame.


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“Did you buy a Mobile, Date or Family Plan Starter Pack?”. Yes, of course, they're all for mobile phones or data. So I select “I have a voucher”. Then it asks for a 10 digit voucher code, which is on the carrier for the SIM card:


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Wrong, fool! That's 13 digits. Well, yes, I can see that, but that's what it asked for? Called up ALDImobile, conveniently free on my ALDImobile phone, and spoke to mumble, who only answered when he felt like it. No, I don't have a voucher, I have a $5 starter pack, apparently neither mobile nor data. So I don't need to enter anything there.

OK, continue, and it let me, up to the point where I selected “Confirm”:

 
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Huh? I want to keep that number. Another call to ALDImobile, this time to a recognizable “Jose”. Oh. Why do you want to change from an ALDImobile number? It seems that their application expects the old phone number to be with a different provider and doesn't cater for the possibility that the existing SIM card won't fit in the new phone. He had to do it manually, made more complicated by the fact that I should have a PIN. I don't recall ever having had one, and as a result he had to go through full identification, including date of birth!

Finally it was done. But these things should be straightforward, and they never seem to be.


More phone battery fun
Topic: photography, technology Link here

I've had my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I for nearly 8 years now. In principle it was obsoleted by my OM-D E-M1 Mark II for nearly 5 years. But I'm still using the Mark I: there's not much difference between the two, and it's convenient to keep the Mark II for complicated stuff.

As a result it's the Mark I that I use when I go anywhere, like to the dog training today. And the battery ran out!

That's not surprising. They're all nearly 8 years old. At the very least I should carry a spare. But today I had trouble recharging two of the batteries that were waiting for use. Part of that is that they stand on the shelf for too long, of course. Today I should have chosen battery 4, but it hadn't been in use for nearly a year, so first I put it on the charger. It failed to charge.

These are the el-cheapos that I bought immediately after the camera. Is it time to retire them? For the moment they seem to respond to a couple of retries, but I can see a day coming.


Sunday, 17 October 2021 Dereel Images for 17 October 2021
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Lena on the mend
Topic: animals, health Link here

Didn't sleep well overnight. What's wrong with Lena? Did we do the right thing by leaving her to recover by herself. What if she were poisoned? Or did she have bloat? In either case, quick reactions are important.

Fortunately it was none of the above. She woke up much better, and she ate a little food in the morning. Normally we give them chicken frames, but I thought it better to give her only pellets. There was some indication of constipation, but that could have been because she hadn't eaten anything for over a day, and it was gone by the evening.

In passing, her symptoms only marginally matched those of bloat. She would have felt much worse if she had had it.


More mobile phone choice pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Spent much more time looking for a new mobile phone for Yvonne today, in the process coming to two conclusions: phones are getting much bigger, and nobody seems to care. I have been unable to find a modern Xiaomi phone (one released in this decade) that is less than 15 cm high. And none of the “smartphone choice” web sites allowed me to search or sort based on external dimensions.

That's not just irritating: it's a real problem if you don't have a pocket where you can put the thing. And Yvonne doesn't. The next issue will be to find something for her to carry it in.


Monday, 18 October 2021 Dereel
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Lena on the mend
Topic: animals Link here

Lena continues to improve. Her constipation is gone, but now she has loose bowels. Things are clearly not yet over.


Another bloody mobile phone!
Topic: technology, language, opinion Link here

I've given up trying to find a small phone for Yvonne. A Xiaomi Redmi 9A it is, a slightly slower version of my Redmi 9T. It's not that I particularly like Xiaomi, but one mobile phone interface is bad enough. This way I don't have to get used to the problems that a second one causes, like today's issue where Yvonne couldn't find the dialing pad for the phone. About the biggest difference is the colour: blue instead of green. So I've decided to give it the name enzian.

How I hate these things!


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