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Tuesday, 7 July 2020 Dereel Images for 7 July 2020
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More Dropbox pain
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

So why did my Dropbox upload hang just before the end? There's a “help” link that brings me to this page, where I read:

You can upload files through the desktop app or mobile apps, no matter their size.

Files uploaded to dropbox.com must be 50 GB or smaller.

All files uploaded to your Dropbox must be smaller than your storage space. For example, if your account has a storage quota of 2 GB, you can upload one 2 GB file or many files that add up to 2 GB. If you are over your storage quota, Dropbox will stop syncing.

Note: Files uploaded through the API must be 350GB or smaller.

Four different size values! And one of them unspecified. Tried to follow the link to find out how much space I had, but the download hung, repeatedly.

Sorry, Dropbox, you're more pain than I can handle. Off to investigate s3cmd, which I use for my photos, but whose incantations are stored in various scripts. But it's straightforward enough:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/49) ~ 978 -> s3cmd sync /Photos/yvonne/20200705/orig/67050112.MOV  s3://lemis/yvonne/videos/ -P
upload: '/Photos/yvonne/20200705/orig/67050112.MOV' -> 's3://lemis/yvonne/videos/67050112.MOV'  [part 1 of 237, 15MB] [1 of 1]
 15728640 of 15728640   100% in   38s   394.33 kB/s  done
upload: '/Photos/yvonne/20200705/orig/67050112.MOV' -> 's3://lemis/yvonne/videos/67050112.MOV'  [part 2 of 237, 15MB] [1 of 1]
...

And after a couple of hours it was done. But where is it?

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/54) ~ 112 -> s3cmd ls -l s3://lemis/yvonne/videos
                       DIR                                       s3://lemis/yvonne/videos/
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/54) ~ 113 -> s3cmd ls -l s3://lemis/yvonne/videos/
2020-07-07 05:55 3720123421   874e8cae7f094ae6d2e6240f15068816-237  STANDARD  s3://lemis/yvonne/videos/67050112.MOV

Another program, like rsync, that is sensitive to trailing slashes in path names. But how much help is that? Clearly the s3:// is magic. Ultimately I found the URL http://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/yvonne/videos/67050112.MOV, but how do I remember that? Presumably it's in some config file or another that I have also forgotten.


Why such big video files?
Topic: photography, multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

The video clip that I uploaded for Yvonne was 5 minutes, 20 seconds long, and it took up 3.7 GB! That's 42 GB per hour! Why so big? Clearly it's higher quality than “broadcast” videos, but how much?

Investigating, (re)discovered that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III has the following video options:

Resolution       FPS       Mb/s       Fantasy name
4096x2160       24       237       C4K
1920x1080       120       50       FHD
3840x2160       30       102       MOV
1920x1080       60       52       superfine
1920x1080       60       30       fine
1920x1080       60       18       normal

Yvonne had the thing set to 4K (in other words, 3840x2160), so the file size should have been 4.08 GB. No idea why it was that much smaller. The real question is, of course: how big does Julie want it to be? For the moment let's set it to the bottom one, only 18% of the size.


Another grid power failure
Topic: Stones Road house, general Link here

Another grid power failure today at 9:23:58, this time a relatively uncommon 100 second outage.


Dual power sources?
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

I've been watching my photovoltaic power system fairly carefully since it was installed, and I think I understand it fairly well now. But today I saw something that puzzled me:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200707/big/dual-power-source.png
Image title: dual power source
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Drawing 436 W from the PV array, 3.5 kw from the batteries—and 1.1 kW from the grid. Why? Under those circumstances I would expect it to draw only from the first two, at least until the batteries reached 20%. Is this some kind of slow stop? It clearly had nothing to do with the outage earlier in the day.


First orchids of spring
Topic: gardening Link here

Walking the dogs, found these Pterostylis on the roadside:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200707/small/Pterostylis-1.jpeg
Image title: Pterostylis 1
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Spring is on its way.


Understanding planting boxes
Topic: gardening Link here

I'm preparing for some spring herbs (notably Basil), which I'll grow indoors. OK, I have a box:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200707/small/Planting-box-1.jpeg
Image title: Planting box 1          Dimensions:          890 x 304, 142 kB
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But what's that metal rod?

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200707/small/Planting-box-2.jpeg
Image title: Planting box 2
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Took it out; it can't be much use under the soil. And then I was Enlightened:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200707/small/Planting-box-3.jpeg
Image title: Planting box 3          Dimensions:          856 x 316, 193 kB
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It makes up for the flimsy construction of the box.


Wednesday, 8 July 2020 Dereel Images for 8 July 2020
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New Microsoft box
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Over the weekend I ordered another ThinkCentre M93p, and it arrived today. This one was intended to run “Windows” 10, so there wasn't much to do except set it up. But almost out of habit, I opened it up and started putting in a graphics card (by default it only has a VGA connector). And there a surprise that will keep me thinking when I get the next one, destined to become a FreeBSD box: it's too high. Still, that's for another day.

Put the thing back together, fired up, logged in with my Microsoft account, and “activation” was so smooth that I didn't notice it. But the setup was so strange that I really didn't understand a lot of it. Do I want to synchronize activity history across “devices”? I suppose if I were single-threaded, I might. But it fills me with horror to think that actions that I perform in one place should leak into other places. It seems the complete antithesis of good operating system design.

And then there's this “privacy” page with things (all activated) like “Diagnostic data: send your browsing history...”.

That's privacy? They must have redefined it since I learnt the word. And then there are things like “Inking & typing” and “Advertising ID”. What does that have to do with an operating system? Layering violations without end! And finally completely irrelevant entries like “Find my device” and speech recognition. About the only thing that might make sense (and which I might even try some time) is “Location”, but I doubt that that would work. Google has all the information it needs to find my location, and so far it hasn't even always been able to find the correct continent.

And then there's this “link to your smart phone” functionality. What's that? In any case, I can try it out, so I entered my phone number. Nothing obvious happened, but later I discovered that it had sent me a couple of SMS messages, which I shall investigate some other time.

Setting up the network was as on Sunday. At least I've been able to untangle most of that strangeness, though “Register the connection's address in DNS” puzzles the hell out of me. Probably once again it's some Microsoft wart (as opposed to Microsoft “Word”).

Turn down offer of “Microsoft 365” free trial, whatever that might be, and on to set up accounts. What a catastrophe! It seems that Microsoft no longer wants to distinguish between accounts and email addresses, so I had to select the “Email & Accounts” tab and enter a valid email address. Finally with the help of our IRC channel and Google found this page, which despite its age (over 4 years) proved to be right.

No, you don't choose “Email & Accounts”. Why would you to set up an account? You choose “Family & other users”. Family? This is “Windows” 10 Pro, not Home. OK, humour them. Set up a kiosk? What the hell is that? No, it seems that what I want is a limited account. Why limited? Yes, it's running under Microsoft, which is limitation enough, but I still don't know what it meant. It's not lack of administrator privileges; you can add them later.

No, select “Add someone else to this PC” (and not, note, “device”). I want to add myself. OK, humour it. It wants a Microsoft account or a phone (on a PC, remember?). No, I don't. I don't have this person's sign-in information, to put it in Microsoft-speak. So I get another window asking me to create a Microsoft account. Dammit, I don't want anything to do with Microsoft accounts, certainly not for Yvonne. Ah, Add a user without a Microsoft account. Finally! “Create a user for this PC”. I have to think out three stupid security questions. I wanted to select the pair “Microsoft”/“NO”, but they decide the questions, like the name of my first pet (what if I never had one?) or the city where I was born (which nobody else could possibly guess). In fact, I think plenty of people who know me could guess the correct answers to all the questions. But Microsoft can't, so I gave incorrect answers. But to make up for that, I had no option for a password!

OK, try logging in anyway. “The password is incorrect. Try again”. Not surprising, but retrying won't help. Try recovering. Answer All Three of the stupid security questions, then I was able to set my password. Somehow I think that I have done something wrong.

Move on. Next I want rdesktop access. Disable firewall. Nothing. Ah, the thing seems to have two firewalls, a “Windows” firewall and a “Defender” firewall. Undo both, and ICMP works too. A good thing, too: my “Ten easy steps to enable ping” link has atrophied.

But the rdesktop access asks me to use some silly name that it had thought out. It can look up its name from DNS, but it's too polite to do that. How do I set the name? This page tells me. And then I have to reboot! To change the name!

After that, though, I was able to access the system with rdesktop, something that caused me untold grief last time I tried it, now over 3 years ago. The other pain will be setting up access to FreeBSD via Samba, something that I didn't get working at all last time I tried. But Jerry Dunham has recently given me some hints, so maybe I'll get my act together this time.

Still, Microsoft loves updates. Went checking: You're up to date. Oh, maybe not. There's a new version out there:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200708/small/Microsoft-update-1.png
Image title: Microsoft update 1
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OK, download that, in typical Microsoft fashion:


https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200708/small/Microsoft-update-2-detail.png
Image title: Microsoft update 2 detail          Dimensions:          956 x 282, 123 kB
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Left it running. I'm in no hurry.


Nikolai injured
Topic: animals Link here

Nikolai came in from outside this morning and left many bloody pawprints. Further investigation showed that he had broken a nail on a hind leg:

 
https://lemis.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/grog/Photos/20200708/small/Nikolais-claw-1.jpeg
Image title: Nikolais claw 1
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Off in the afternoon to visit Pene Kirk again, the second time in a week after nearly 18 months since the previous visit. Relatively straightforward: clip the claw off and bandage it up. But for that she still needed to sedate him, leaving him surprisingly groggy.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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