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Monday, 28 September 2020 Dereel Images for 28 September 2020
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72 years!
Topic: history, opinion Link here

My birthday today, a round number: 72, which has many factors. From my daily cron job:

1/8 life:               Saturday, 28 September 1957
1/6 life:               Wednesday, 28 September 1960
1/4 life:              
Wednesday, 28 September 1966
1/3 life:               Thursday, 28 September 1972
3/8 life:               Monday, 29 September 1975
1/2 life:               Friday, 28 September 1984
5/8 life:               Tuesday, 28 September 1993
2/3 life:               Saturday, 28 September 1996
3/4 life:               Saturday, 28 September 2002
5/6 life:               Sunday, 28 September 2008
7/8 life:               Thursday, 29 September 2011

There's even one event that doesn't match a birthday:

30% life:               Tuesday,  5 May 1970
May  6  Greg Lehey meets Susan Fortescue, 1970

How time flies! Since my last birthday party, already here in Dereel, I've grown 20% older.

More transcoding insights
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

Now that I have managed to get a good copy of the Oddball DVD, it seemed a good idea to look at some DVDs that we bought at Julie Donaghy's in March. I had tried at the time to rip them, with little success. So I tried with tccat, and how about that, it ripped them.

Well, two out of three episodes. For some reason the middle episode came out completely scrambled. And somehow 2.5 GB for a 45 minute video in (relatively poor) 576p seemed excessive. How about trying something that goes beyond simply copying the data. HandBrake? Played around a bit and finally found some ways to tell it where to store things. “root”? “Desktop”? “File System”? “Other”? “File System” seemed the way to go, even if it meant emulating a monkey and climbing through directory trees. But it didn't offer a tree. Could it be that it Did The Right Thing and stored in the current directory? It took it something like 20 minutes of scanning before it wrote anything, during which I discovered a bug in lsof that made it just loop—and only on dereel!

But finally it started writing—in the root file system, /! I've never seen that before. And yes, the output file was (much) smaller, in fact marginally smaller than the copy I already had. After moving it to a sane location (current working directory, of course), I had:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/11) /spool/Already/Series/Heartbeat/01 1057 -> ls -l 01-01.m4v s01e01.changing.places.dvdrip.xvid.avi
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  541771938 28 Sep 14:08 01-01.m4v
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  home   576696320 13 Feb  2017 s01e01.changing.places.dvdrip.xvid.avi
=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/11) /spool/Already/Series/Heartbeat/01 1058 -> mpid 01-01.m4v s01e01.changing.places.dvdrip.xvid.avi
01-01.m4v                                 VIDEO:  [H264]  698x576  24bpp  25.000 fps  1096.1 kbps (133.8 kbyte/s)
s01e01.changing.places.dvdrip.xvid.avi    VIDEO:  [XVID]  576x432  12bpp  25.000 fps  1204.1 kbps (147.0 kbyte/s)

Try better quality? Chose the second episode and selected Super HQ 576p25 Surround, whatever that may mean. It took forever and once again created a scrambled output, without any warning. OK, move on to the third episode, which also took over an hour. But the result was only marginally smaller than the original:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/11) /spool/Already/Series 1053 -> l Heartbeat/01/
total 14546
-rw-r--r--  1 root  home   2,109,209,366 28 Sep 17:05 01-03.m4v
-rw-r--r--  1 root  home   2,627,495,936 27 Sep 19:32 Heartbeat-3.mp4

So what's wrong with episode 2? Fired up my old Digitrex DVD recorder, which had no trouble with it, though it showed that the original was of pretty terrible quality. So why does (presumably) libdvdcss have such trouble with it?

Once again, I'm left with the thought: why bother? I have the DVDs, and if I want to watch these old episodes again, I can make up my mind then.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 Dereel Images for 29 September 2020
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Blue tortillas revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Nine years ago I tried blue masa, mainly out of curiosity. It was better than this castrated white stuff that seems popular in the USA, but I decided that I preferred the yellow masa.

But when shopping in Geelong last week, I could only find a single packet of yellow masa, paradoxically 816 g, which makes sense neither in metric nor in archaic units. So I bought a second packet of blue masa:
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How do you make tortillas with it? Ten years ago I had immense problems with making tortillas at all, and I attributed that to the exact relationship between water and masa. My tortilla recipe bears testimony to that.

OK, take a look...

Brand       Masa       Water       Date
Maseca       120 g       175 g       8 October 2011
Minsa yellow       120 g       200 g       13 July 2012
Minsa blue       120 g       155 g       13 July 2012
Minsa mix       120 g       200 g       13 July 2012
Casa iberica       120 g       180 g       11 April 2013
Masa lista       140 g       252 g       9 April 2019

That's for four tortillas. Nowadays I make two, using 50 g of Minsa masa and 90 g of water (corresponding to 216 g in the table above). And the blue minsa required 155 g, corresponding to 65 g water. Should I try that as a starter? What about reading the instructions on the packaging?

Mezcle 2 tazas de Harina de Maiz Azul Organico El Maizal con 2 tazas de agua tibia y mezcle por 4 minutos.

These bloody cups again! But at any rate it can give me the ratio to the yellow masa.

Mezcle 2 tazas de Harina de Maiz ... con 2 tazas de agua tibia y mezcle por 4 minutos.

The same! Can that be right? OK, mix in my 90 ml of water and leave to soak. Mud. Far too much water.

OK, that was 1:1.8. How about 1:1.5? Add 10 g of masa, try again. Yes, that seems about right. And how about that, I had no trouble at all pressing it and peeling off the paper. Practice makes perfect:
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And the taste? OK, but I still prefer the yellow masa.

Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

For some reason, the curtain in front of the exit to the verandah has become more and more difficult to open and close. Something is clearly jamming, and today it was so tight that I thought I would tear the cords.

Up to take a look. I don't understand these things, and they've done their best to hide the cords, so I couldn't see anything. But clearly it's related to the cords, and my best bet is that they've come off presumed pulleys at each end of the rail. Removed the ends of the curtains from the cords, and all works.

How do I address this issue?

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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