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March 2016
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Tuesday, 1 March 2016 Dereel → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 1 March 2016
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Goodbye Davyd and Birte
Topic: general, food and drink Link here

Davyd and Birte off on their way back to New South Wales this morning, but not before a breakfast of huevos rancheros and Davyd's promise of a Paeja next time they come. He also proposes a number of other South American dishes.

Talk at breakfast was interesting: a rancho is a hovel in South America, which begs the question what ranchero means. And it seems that Davyd knows the Mitchells (Fiona and Max) from across the road, as well as Deb Bennett, who stayed with us nine years ago. They spent much time admiring her book “Conquerors”, which for some reason they hadn't seen before.


Lenspen?
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Another parcel from eBay today, so round midday in to Napoleons to pick it up, and nearly didn't get it—lately, it seems, they're reverting to their “not before 2pm” policy. Turned out to be the Lenspen that I ordered two weeks ago. Or was it? The markings, both on the packaging and on the item itself, were strange:


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Did a bit of research and came up with conflicting information. The manufacturer has no less than two PDF pages on the subject, here and here, some details of which contradict what I have. On the other hand, there's this page that shows exactly what I have, as does this video:

So what should I do? For the sake of a few dollars I don't want to ruin my lenses. Sent a message off to info@lenspen.com to ask them about the authenticity. They're in Vancouver, so I didn't expect an answer today.


Wednesday, 2 March 2016 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 2 March 2016
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To the dentist
Topic: health Link here

Into Ballarat today for a dentist appointment, the first in years. But there wasn't much to see apart from what the periodontist is treating already. And once again a hefty bill, of course.

He sent me round the corner to Lakeside Imaging for a dental X-ray, which was ready pretty quickly, and which I left at the dentists. Back home, a phone message was waiting for me: further investigation needed.


Powercor: 4,500 hours outage
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Today was a scheduled power outage from Powercor—the fourth in 11 months. The time frame was from 9:30 to 14:30, and the notification said that it would be cancelled in case of inclement weather (such as heat). Power went out at 9:36, despite the weather, which reached 35.6°. That required some unusual adaptations for lunch:


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And come 14:30, the power came back. At 13:34, called Powercor on 13 24 12 and spoke to Andrew, who sounded more helpful than most. He told me that 780 customers were affected, contacted the team doing the work and told me power would be back round 15:15, because they had to stage the return of power. In fact, it didn't come back until 15:26—an outage of 5 hours, 50 minutes, and 50 minutes longer than the window for performing the work. Spread over all the affected households, that's well over 4,500 hours!

This isn't the first scheduled outage in the last 12 months. It's the fourth, and the total time has been 12 hours, 28 minutes—well over an hour a month!

Date Time Duration
1 April 2015 12:40 1:15
21 May 2015 9:30 3:54
14 January 2016 9:11 1:29
2 March 2016 9:36 5:50
12:28

But then there are unscheduled outages too:

Date Time Duration
27 April 2015 4:17 short
2 May 2015 17:50 1:10
3 May 2015 21:58 short
4 May 2015 2:20 1:0
3 September 2015 23:40 10:17
18 September 2015 9:58 5:5
9 November 2015 12:10 unknown
18 November 2015 5:28 3:35
24 February 2016 22:14 short
21:7

So in the last 11 months we have had at least 33 hours, 35 minutes of outages! It's time that the government takes steps to ensure that it's in Powercor's interest to reduce them. Requiring compensation to the customers would be a good start.


Thursday, 3 March 2016 Dereel
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Lenspen: fake!
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Reply from Chantel Smiechowski at Lenspen today:

Yes unfortunately this appear to be a fake LensPen.

If you would like to mail in your fake LensPen to our office I can have a replacement sent out to you:

That's certainly generous of them, though I wonder whether the postage to Canada is less than the price of a genuine Lenspen. So first I have to identify genuine Lenspens and see what they cost.

Sent a message to the seller, who responded:

hi friend ,  I just check it ,we are so sorry about that wrong item to you , that maybe is our supplier make it wrong for you ,so we would like to resend the new one or refund that for you .if you want  us to resend that for you , that shipping is about 25-45 days ,  which one is it ok for you ?  please advise me .  we will try our best to solve problem for you .  keep in touch , have a nice day .  Grace .

Those damn suppliers! Of course, the seller advertises the fake packaging, so it's difficult to believe what she's saying here. First step: money back.


Donald Trump: another Hitler?
Topic: history, opinion Link here

Like many people outside the USA, I've been watching the US electoral race with growing alarm. How can people go for such a divisive, bigoted, extremist candidate as Donald Trump? Look at his background: a successful US businessman, an activity which requires extreme ruthlessness. Is that a quality that people want of a political leader? He's made himself so popular outside the USA that about 1% of the British population signed a petition asking Parliament to ban him from entry to the UK. And that's not the only case. It seems that Mexicans also want to have nothing to do with him.

The official result of the British debate had little definite to say, and I suppose it's unlikely that it will lead to a ban. The Washington Post gives a much more detailed description, unfortunately made unintelligible by the extreme abuse of reverse chronological representation:

Here's how the debate went down at the Palace of Westminster. All times are Eastern:

2:31 p.m. — The chair does a cursory call for “ayes” and “no’s.” But there’s no actual vote. The debate is over. Watch this space for a recap.

In passing, why (implicitly US) Eastern Time? That's neither the time zone of the debate nor that of the majority of readers. It would make more sense to reduce to a standard time zone like UTC, which coincidentally corresponds to GMT, the time zone in which the debate actually took place. That and the incomplete date (what year was this?) do little to improve my opinion of the Washington Post.

Can the USA risk having a president who has already made himself so unpopular outside the country? He would be the leader of what is still the most powerful country in the world. How would US relations with the UK and Europe fare, let alone Russia, Iran and China? About the only good thing I can see about having Trump as the Republican candidate would seem to make it more likely that the Democratic candidate would win the election. But that's a dangerously inaccurate hope. The Germans went on a similar path after the 1932 election, with disastrous consequences.


New port: no issues?
Topic: technology Link here

Finally got round to committing a new FreeBSD port, graphics/hugin-2016, with the latest release candidate for Hugin. Went without a hitch. I was just saying (on IRC) “I wonder what will go wrong now” when I got a mail message, sent fully 2 minutes after the commit message:

Looks like it was not repocopied, may I ask why?

Well, the answer is that I didn't know it should have been. There's nothing about it in the Porter's Handbook. No, it seems, I should have been looking in the Committer's Guide, a document that I didn't even know existed, and which isn't referenced in the Porter's Handbook. Apart from the rework of graphics/hugin-2016 there's clearly a need for documentation update.


Friday, 4 March 2016 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 4 March 2016
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More dental stuff
Topic: history Link here

Talk with Mario Cordioli about my tooth X-rays the other day. As I feared, there's something seriously wrong with 1/7, the one I had looked at last September; there's a good chance it'll have to come out. We'll find out more on Monday.


Gradually improving the furniture
Topic: Stones Road house Link here

We've had a cupboard standing in the corner of the dining room for now, but we haven't used it. In Kleins Road it was a wardrobe, but here we wanted to use it to store crockery. And first we need some shelves. We've been waiting for that for months, but finally I bought a plank at Bunnings and had it cut to size, and back home finally put them in. Now we have to decide what to put in there.

While at Bunnings, also bought a hammer drill. Once upon a time they were really expensive, but what the salesperson wanted to sell me was a pair of cordless drills—apparently just as good as corded drills, now that they have LiIon batteries—for $199. The second of the pair matched what I already have, and finally I found a corded drill for $49. I wonder how good it will be, but for my occasional use it seems the right choice.


Postal notifications
Topic: general, photography, opinion Link here

While leaving for Ballarat, found this at the gate:


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One of two notifications for parcels at Napoleons. Why were they there? Were there more? I don't know, why, but there were only two parcels for me, and I made a point of reporting the issue. Hopefully it won't happen again on a windy day.

The parcels were the ATA that I ordered on 8 February (and not posted until 22 February) and the studio flash I ordered last week. At least this time it arrived relatively quickly, given Australia Post's new, slower and more expensive delivery options.


More money
Topic: general, opinion Link here

A rather unexpected cheque in the mail today for $12,516.00. That sounds like cause for rejoicing, but it isn't. It's the remainder of my interest in Barossa Vines, in which I invested over $80,000 ten years ago. So far I have only seen about $30,000 return, including this cheque. And finally something has shown up on the web: this ruling might at least suggest that the losses are tax-deductable.

In town dropped in to Central Victorian Investments to add it to our term deposit. Done personally by the big boss, Brendan Gillett, and all with a minimum of paperwork. It reminds me of the Good Old Days, before things became so impersonal and bank staff had funny hairstyles and rings in their noses.


Saturday, 5 March 2016 Dereel Images for 5 March 2016
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Another garage sale
Topic: general, animals Link here

Off to Ruth Uren's after breakfast for another garage sale. I wonder where she gets all the stuff. I'm seeing my participation more and more as a way of stopping Yvonne going overboard. As it was, we picked up various stuff that I've mostly forgotten already, including some soft toys for the dogs. Nikolai took a liking to one, but I fear he's already no longer a match for Sasha:


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Using iview
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

Discussion on IRC yesterday: it seems there's a new series of The Doctor Blake Mysteries on ABC TV. It's set in Ballarat, and 3 years ago I tried to watch it, hampered at the time by abysmal TV reception. So I tried it with iview, ABC's web service. At the time I was refused because iview knows that I'm not in Australia. Yesterday I tried again:

 
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Now isn't that helpful? I sent a comment to ABC, and was surprised to get a response. What OS? What browser? OK, before I reply to that I have to confirm that it doesn't work on Microsoft either. Tried to start it and was told to install Adobe Flash, which came in with helpful information about how to install it:


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It could at least get the naming convention right! And when it started to install, it went overboard, installing stuff that I neither asked for nor need:

 
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After that, at least some iview content was available. What's the issue now?


More Microsoft strangenesses
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

When firing up dischord to check the iview issues, it was, as so often, flat out doing something with the disk. Looking at the Task Manager showed some surprises:

 
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No, the representation 1,075... is no surprise. That's modern. But what's this MATLAB stuff? I don't use it, though it seems I have something of that nature on the machine. But it appears to only be an installer. So why is this thing messing around there? And what's ZPSAutoUpdate.exe? How I wish I understood this mess.


Attaching the horse emblem
Topic: Stones Road house, opinion Link here

A couple of weeks ago I had a complete disaster trying to attach a horse emblem to the column in front of the house entrance: despite an impact drill, I couldn't drill a hole in the brickwork. That was the main reason I bought the hammer drill yesterday.

Unpacking produced a surprise:


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What does that mean? “DIY” is an informal term that you can't expect to find in a dictionary, but of course everybody knows that it means “Do It Yourself”. So what does this statement mean? “Don't lend this drill to anybody else”? And why is there no indication on the packaging?

My best bet is that this means “this drill is not suitable for sustained use”. But if that's the case, they should say so, and not in a way that you can't find out about until after you have purchased an unpacked the thing.

On the positive side, it got through the brickwork in a matter of seconds. I wonder what was wrong before. The bit (also new today) or the drill? In any case, that's what I needed it for. I suppose I should return it saying that it includes restrictions that weren't made clear at time of purchase (once again a violation of section 54, subsection 4 of the Consumer Law, which requires that such things be drawn to the consumer's attention before the consumer agreed to the supply).


More MythTV pain
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

There has been another reshuffle of the terrestial TV channels, with the result that a number of programmes didn't record. Time to run another mythtv-setup. But this time it didn't work: there were no error messages, but the window didn't display. More X breakage? No --listen-tcp, maybe? No, it's not that simple, but the only way I could get it to display was to connect cvr2 (the MythTV machine) to the TV and display it on its own X server, made more complicated by things like GNOME. And when I did, I couldn't navigate the screens properly.

Finally I got my rescan done, but the old channel numbers were still there, and the only way I could tell them apart was because mythtv-setup is too polite to set the finetune attribute, so the new ones all had it set to NULL. Ran a few tests, but all I could confirm was that some channels worked, but not all. I seem to have lost access to GEM (which, apparently, has been called “9Gem” for a few months, something that is anything but obvious). Looks like I'm in for more experimentation. Now if only the tuner I ordered weeks ago would show up, I could try to finish the installation on tiwi.


Sunset photos
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

A nice sunset this evening:


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That was done with a 3 shot HDR sequence (hand-held) with a +1 EV bias. For the fun, I took one with the in-camera HDR facility as well, at pretty much the same time:


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Once again an indication that the in-camera version is pretty useless. But how can I improve on these renditions? It depends almost only on the light, of course.


Sunday, 6 March 2016 Dereel Images for 6 March 2016
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Gentle Borzois
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

One of the nice things about Borzois is that they're so gentle. It even extends to their toys: where Nemo would destroy a new toy in a matter of minutes, our Borzois have had some of their toys for years. So when we bought some “new” toys for them yesterday, we were expecting them to last.

But somehow, since Sasha, things have changed:


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It's not just Sasha: the others join in and play tug-of-war with the toys. But they still play with the old ones too, so it's not such a waste.


Nikolai injured?
Topic: animals Link here

Nikolai started limping this afternoon, holding his left rear foot in the air. It doesn't seem to hurt him much, but where did it come from?


Chasing down TV reception issues
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

So what's wrong with cvr2 that it can't receive GEM any more? It can't be the tuner or the frequency, because there are five programmes that I am interested in (visible = 1) on this specific frequency (mplexid, i.e. multiplexer ID):

mysql> SELECT chanid, channum, callsign, serviceid
       FROM channel
       WHERE mplexid = 1 AND visible = 1
       ORDER BY channum;

+--------+---------+--------------------+-----------+
| chanid | channum | callsign           | serviceid |
+--------+---------+--------------------+-----------+
|   2203 | 80      | WIN Western Vic HD |      1938 |
|   2081 | 81      | WIN Western Vic    |      1924 |
|   2204 | 82      | GEM Western Vic    |      1926 |
|   2083 | 83      | GO! Western Vic    |      1925 |
|   2206 | 88      | GO! Western Vic    |      1922 |
+--------+---------+--------------------+-----------+

Of those, I can get three. What's wrong? What does the TV think? I don't normally watch TV directly, but it works, and I was able to tune it and view all programmes. With a remarkably convoluted series of keypresses on the remote control I was able to display the tuning parameters, sort of:


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This one was GEM. You'd have to know it. The frequency is the integer part of the real frequency in MHz. Really it's 592.5 MHz. I have no idea what the Transport Stream number is; MythTV doesn't seem to use it. But as the name suggests, it's constant for this transport stream, probably an ID useful for some purpose or another. The real parameter of interest is the Sevice (ID). And in each case, they matched.

So what's the issue? If all else fails, look at the log files. And on Linux, they're usually not much help. But in this case, /var/log/mythtv/mythbackend.log did have a lot to say:

2016-03-06 17:40:49.222 TVRec(1): HW Tuner: 1->1
2016-03-06 17:40:49.610 AutoExpire: CalcParams(): Max required Free Space: 3.0 GB w/freq: 15 min
2016-03-06 17:40:49.639 Started recording: GEM Western Vic (82) "Sun Mar 6 17:40:00 2016": channel 2204 on cardid 1, sourceid 2
2016-03-06 17:40:50.014 MainServer::HandleAnnounce Monitor
2016-03-06 17:40:50.039 adding: cvr2 as a client (events: 0)
2016-03-06 17:40:50.253 Program #16 not found in PAT!
Program Association Table
 PSIP tableID(0x0) length(45) extension(0x327a)
      version(20) current(1) section(0) last_section(0)
         tsid: 12922
 programCount: 9
  program number  1921 has PID 0x 15c   data  0x 7 0x81 0xe1 0x5c
  program number  1922 has PID 0x 15d   data  0x 7 0x82 0xe1 0x5d
  program number  1924 has PID 0x 544   data  0x 7 0x84 0xe5 0x44
  program number  1925 has PID 0x 545   data  0x 7 0x85 0xe5 0x45
  program number  1926 has PID 0x 15e   data  0x 7 0x86 0xe1 0x5e
  program number  1927 has PID 0x 13b   data  0x 7 0x87 0xe1 0x3b
  program number  1928 has PID 0x 13c   data  0x 7 0x88 0xe1 0x3c
  program number  1936 has PID 0x 160   data  0x 7 0x90 0xe1 0x60
  program number  1938 has PID 0x 15f   data  0x 7 0x92 0xe1 0x5f

2016-03-06 17:40:50.749 ProcessPAT: Program not found in PAT.
                        Rescan your transports.
2016-03-06 17:40:50.773 Desired program #16 not found in PAT.
                        Can Not create single program PAT.

What's that? Did mythbackend get confused? Tried the Microsoft solution (reboot) without success. What's a Program Association Table anyway? Went googling and found a bug report and a discussion that didn't come to any real conclusions beyond “rescan” (what I've just done). About the only insight was that the PAT is part of the transport stream, so it's inviolable.

But why is Myth looking for Program #16? There's nothing in the channel table that matches. Or is there? Later I tried:

mysql> SELECT chanid, channum, sourceid, callsign, visible, mplexid, serviceid, last_record
       FROM channel
       WHERE channum = 82;

+--------+---------+----------+-----------------+---------+---------+-----------+---------------------+
| chanid | channum | sourceid | callsign        | visible | mplexid | serviceid | last_record         |
+--------+---------+----------+-----------------+---------+---------+-----------+---------------------+
|   2082 | 82      |        2 | GOLD 2          |       0 |       1 |        16 | 0000-00-00 00:00:00 |
|   2204 | 82      |        2 | GEM Western Vic |       1 |       1 |      1926 | 2016-03-06 17:51:05 |
+--------+---------+----------+-----------------+---------+---------+-----------+---------------------+

What's that GOLD doing there? And is serviceid the same as program #? At least I have something to go on now, though it looks like it's a bug if I've explicitly specified channel (chanid) 2204, probably because it selects from the table in the (in principle good) assumption that it will only get one result, and then doesn't check.


Monday, 7 March 2016 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 7 March 2016
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Suicidal dog
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Came into my office this morning to find Nikolai already there:


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It looks as if he wants to add a neck injury to the leg injury. That didn't get any better over the course of the morning, so we made an appointment with Pene Kirk for the evening. But then in the afternoon, suddenly, the limping was all but gone. Why? Was he just expecting it to hurt?


Dentist: the verdict
Topic: health, general Link here

To the dentist today for more X-rays. The results aren't encouraging: the tooth that had been giving me trouble is now dead, and we're still wondering whether it's worth removing it or not. And then there's another tooth with decay where nothing can get at it. That will require a crown, and that as soon as possible: we start on Thursday.

While in town, also finally had my hair cut, which, after over 4 months, was really necessary.


Desired program #16 not found in PAT: solved
Topic: multimedia, technology Link here

Yesterday I discovered duplicate channel number entries in my mythconverg.channel table, and suspected that, along with a bug in MythTV, might explain my inability to record certain programmes. Today took another look. Sure enough, there were many:

mysql> SELECT chanid, channum, sourceid, name, finetune, recpriority, visible, useonairguide, mplexid, serviceid
       FROM channel where mplexid = 1
       ORDER BY channum;

+--------+---------+----------+--------------------+----------+---------+---------------+---------+-----------+
| chanid | channum | sourceid | name               | finetune | visible | useonairguide | mplexid | serviceid |
+--------+---------+----------+--------------------+----------+---------+---------------+---------+-----------+
|   2008 | 8       |        2 | WIN Western Vic    |        1 |       0 |             1 |       1 |         1 |
|   2202 | 8       |        2 | WIN Western Vic    |        1 |       0 |             1 |       1 |      1921 |
|   2080 | 80      |        2 | GEM Western Vic    |        1 |       0 |             1 |       1 |        10 |
|   2203 | 80      |        2 | WIN Western Vic HD |        1 |       1 |             1 |       1 |      1938 |
|   2081 | 81      |        2 | WIN Western Vic    |        1 |       1 |             1 |       1 |      1924 |
|   2082 | 82      |        2 | GOLD 2             |        1 |       0 |             0 |       1 |        16 |
|   2204 | 82      |        2 | GEM Western Vic    |        1 |       1 |             1 |       1 |      1926 |
|   2083 | 83      |        2 | GO! Western Vic    |        1 |       1 |             1 |       1 |      1925 |
|   2084 | 84      |        2 | GOLD               |        1 |       0 |             0 |       1 |        15 |
|   2205 | 84      |        2 | LIFE               |        1 |       0 |             1 |       1 |      1936 |
|   2085 | 85      |        2 | Extra              |        1 |       0 |             1 |       1 |      1928 |
|   2086 | 86      |        2 | GOLD               |        1 |       0 |             1 |       1 |      1927 |
|   2088 | 88      |        2 | GO! Western Vic    |        1 |       0 |             1 |       1 |         2 |
|   2206 | 88      |        2 | GO! Western Vic    |        1 |       1 |             1 |       1 |      1922 |
+--------+---------+----------+--------------------+----------+---------+---------------+---------+-----------+

And the channels that I couldn't record all had double entries with low, invalid serviceid values in the duplicate: 80 and 82. But there were more, in particular 88, which I could record. Why? Coincidence? In any case, after removing the spurious entries, everything worked again.

Now why didn't I find that on Google?


Focus stacking again
Topic: photography, gardening, opinion Link here

The Murraya koenigii is flowering more profusely now, time for new experiments with focus stacking. What does “focus differential” mean? I had assumed that it was a relatively random value, but then I found this article claiming:

The key thing to know about focus differential is that the units are depth of field at the current focal length and aperture. The camera firmware knows just how big the lens' DOF is at every combination of focal length, subject distance and aperture, and that's how it determines the amount it adjusts the focal distance between shots. This means that the focal distance difference between shots will be much greater at f/16 than at f/2.8, which makes perfect sense when you think about it.

That sounded unlikely to me. If the camera can calculate the steps, there's no need for the focus differential in the first place. But since it's not documented, the only way to find out is to test things. Took three series, all using focus stacking. The first was at a step of 3, and the final value was far beyond the depth of the inflorescence, so I did the second with a step of 1. I can't really tell any difference.


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Run the cursor over either image to compare with the partner, and click to see a larger version.

In particular, the last image seems to have been taken at the same focus distance, which contradicts both the documentation and the article above. Here they are:


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Again, run the cursor over either image to compare with the partner, and click to see a larger version. In each case, after 7 steps, the same areas are in focus and out of focus. Clearly I need to do more investigation.

As I discovered the following day, the real issue was that my setting changes hadn't taken, and both image sets were taken at step size 3.

What is clear from these photos is that the images are underexposed. Why? They were taken with aperture priority exposure at f/16. My guess is that the correct exposure would be longer than the 1/8 s chosen, but that's the slowest speed that the electronic shutter can handle, and the camera (being Japanese) is too polite to complain. The individual images are not as bad as the composites because they were processed from the raw image by DxO Optics “Pro”, while the composites are out-of-camera.


Tuesday, 8 March 2016 → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 8 March 2016
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Where are my items?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

I buy a lot of stuff on eBay, but lately I've been having problems actually getting what I bought. At the beginning of January I bought a macro positioning rail for my camera, and a tuner for the new tiwi. Neither arrived, and I ultimately got a refund for both of them. But why? This has happened once or twice before, but not two items at once.

And the replacement tuner still hasn't arrived. Got a notification in the mail today with yet another unrecognizable tracking number, so off to Napoleons to pick it up. The focus rail, arrived on the last day of the delivery window.

Why are things so slow? Is this Australia Post again? It would be easy to come up with a conspiracy theory that (Australian) Big Business are paying them to make deliveries from China less attractive.


Focus stacking, continued
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday's experiments with focus stacking left a number of questions open. The first one was the influence of focus step setting. But when I turned on the camera and fought my way down the menus, it showed a step setting of 3, not 1. After a bit of messing around (and taking unintended single shots), I discovered that the menu system really requires me to press the OK button after making a setting. Otherwise the displayed value just goes away again. And that meant that my comparisons yesterday were in fact taken with the same focus step setting.

So I took two sets of the same image, one at f/4 and the other at f/8, both with step size 10:


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Run the cursor over either image to compare with the partner, and click to see a larger version. Yes, there's no doubt, the depth of field is larger (look at the table behind the flowers). So is this because the step size does depends on the aperture, or is it just the depth of field at that aperture? If I can rely on the focus distance given (unfortunately only to the nearest 5 mm) in the EXIF data, we have:

Image       Set 2 (f/4)       Set 4 (f/8)
1       0.945 m (0.935 - 0.955)       0.95 m (0.92 - 0.98)
2       0.91 m (0.901 - 0.919)       0.845 m (0.82 - 0.87)
3       0.925 m (0.916 - 0.934)       0.9 m (0.88 - 0.93)
4       0.965 m (0.95 - 0.98)       1.02 m (0.99 - 1.05)
5       0.985 m (0.97 - 1.00)       2.18 m (2.04 - 2.35)
6       1.03 m (1.02 - 1.04)       3.34 m (3.01 - 3.75)
7       1.445 m (1.42 - 1.47)       4.495 m (3.92 - 5.27)
8       1.865 m (1.83 - 1.91)       54.215 m (19.33 m - ∞)

The values in brackets are depth of field, calculated by exiftool for a circle of confusion of 15 µm. This is interesting for a number of reasons:

All of these points are what yesterday's article claimed. My doubts were at least partially misplaced, though there's still the question of the exact meaning of the focus steps.

OK, what about the difference between step size 10 and step size 1? These two images, taken at f/8, show the difference (the first is the second image in the pair above:


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That proved to be inconclusive. Clearly the 8 steps weren't enough even for both flowers. I'll have to go back to taking photos of tape measures.

At f/8, those images required 1/8 s exposure. What happens if I go to f/22? I still get 1/8 s and seriously underexposed images, with no warning!


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That's the problem I had with the Murraya koenigii yesterday.

Finally, how about focus bracketing instead of focus stacking? The images above show that step 1 is too small to get the entire images in focus with only 8 images. How about 30? That requires external processing:


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That was done with this script, using Hugin-related programs align_image_stack and enfuse, based on this tutorial. The version at the link is what I did today, and it won't change; this version will track my updates.

The results I achieved here were not perfect. There are halos and ghosting around the edges:

 
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The tutorial addresses that, suggesting a number of additional parameters to enfuse. But it certainly makes me respect the in-camera stacking more.

One place where the script completely fails is with the raw images from the in-camera stacking, like this one:


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The first image is out of camera, and the second is what the script did with the same images. The difference in size is due to advertised cropping performed by the in-camera processing. But my version is terrible! My best bet, which I need to check, is that it's because of the non-sequential manner in the images are focused.

And what about focus steps at 1? The claim that it reflects depth of field is incorrect. Here's what I got from the 30 images:

Focus       Depth of field
0.95 m       0.940 - 0.960
0.95 m       0.940 - 0.960
0.95 m       0.940 - 0.960
0.955 m       0.945 - 0.965
0.955 m       0.945 - 0.965
0.96 m       0.95 - 0.97
0.96 m       0.95 - 0.97
0.96 m       0.95 - 0.97
0.965 m       0.95 - 0.98
0.965 m       0.95 - 0.98
0.965 m       0.95 - 0.98
0.97 m       0.96 - 0.98
0.97 m       0.96 - 0.98
0.975 m       0.96 - 0.99
0.975 m       0.96 - 0.99
0.975 m       0.96 - 0.99
0.98 m       0.97 - 0.99
0.98 m       0.97 - 0.99
0.985 m       0.97 - 1.00
0.985 m       0.97 - 1.00
0.985 m       0.97 - 1.00
0.99 m       0.98 - 1.00
0.99 m       0.98 - 1.00
0.99 m       0.98 - 1.00
0.995 m       0.98 - 1.01
0.995 m       0.98 - 1.01
1 m       0.99 - 1.01
1 m       0.99 - 1.01
1 m       0.99 - 1.01
1.025 m       1.01 - 1.04

Even with my preferred circle of confusion of 8 µm, the depth of field at 1 m and f/8 is from 0.983 m to 1.018 m, so clearly that's far too small a step. I'm left trying to understand why they did it this way. And the last four entries show how inadequate this resolution of 5 mm is to investigate the issue.


Wednesday, 9 March 2016 Dereel Images for 9 March 2016
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Still more focus stacking
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Still more playing around with focus stacking today. Peter Jeremy asked why I took the photos from such a distance; that's clearly because they're big flowers, the lens has a ridiculously long focal length, and I want to get the whole flowers in the image. But clearly I can take photos of parts of the flower too. To do that, I needed flash, and fortunately the camera is prepared to wait for the flash to recharge (with the rather strange sequence 1, 2 or 4 seconds and more, but not the 3 I really need):


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Once again there seems to be little difference between these two images, though one was taken with a step size of 3, the other with a step size of 6. Time for focus bracketing again?


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Again, this was taken with 30 steps, in this case of “1”, and processed with my focusstack script. Yes, I now have enough depth of field. But what went wrong there? Not only are there halos and ghosting, there's an entire miniature copy of the stamen in the image:

 
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What went wrong there? There's clearly a lot to investigate, but I had other issues. Why the focus increments? Looking at the EXIF data, the first two images have:

Image       Sequenece 1       Sequence 2
1       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)       0.28 m (0.279 - 0.281)
2       0.28 m (0.279 - 0.281)       0.275 m (0.274 - 0.276)
3       0.28 m (0.279 - 0.281)       0.28 m (0.279 - 0.281)
4       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)       0.28 m (0.279 - 0.281)
5       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)
6       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)
7       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)
8       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)       0.285 m (0.284 - 0.287)

Three things are obvious here: firstly, there seems to be no difference between the two sequences, secondly the step appears less than the depth of field, and thirdly the lack of exact positioning data is really irritating. Went looking in the source of exiftool, file Image-ExifTool-9.90/lib/Image/ExifTool/Olympus.pm, which contains the comment (currently round line 2780):

        # this rational value looks like it is in mm when the denominator is
        # 1 (E-1), and cm when denominator is 10 (E-300), so if we ignore the
        # denominator we are consistently in mm - PH

So why are we getting the value rounded to 5 or 10 mm? My guess is that this is a choice made by the author. Went looking, but Perl isn't my thing, and I didn't find it in a timely manner.

But there's another approach: what should the steps be? Modified my depth of field program to show steps based on the depth of field. For the lens and aperture (f/5.6 in this case) and a circle of confusion of 8 μm, I get:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/29) ~/src/photography 119 -> dof -s 8 60 5.6 0.28
Lens focal length:        60 mm
Aperture:               f/ 5.6
Hyperfocal distance:      80.357 m
Circle of confusion:       8.00 µm

Subject        Focal plane     Magnification  Exposure       Near        Far         Depth of
distance (m)   distance (mm)                    comp (EV)    limit (m)   limit (m)  field (m)
   0.2800         76.3636       0.273            0.7         0.2790       0.2810     0.0020
   0.2810         76.2911       0.272            0.7         0.2800       0.2820     0.0020
   0.2820         76.2188       0.270            0.7         0.2810       0.2830     0.0020
   0.2830         76.1465       0.269            0.7         0.2820       0.2840     0.0020
   0.2840         76.0744       0.268            0.7         0.2830       0.2850     0.0020
   0.2850         76.0025       0.267            0.7         0.2840       0.2860     0.0020
   0.2860         75.9307       0.266            0.7         0.2850       0.2870     0.0020
   0.2870         75.8590       0.264            0.7         0.2860       0.2880     0.0021

Yes, the depth of field really is that shallow, only round 1 mm. So the new questions are:

This last question is important. You can either measure from the entrance pupil or from the sensor. Given the surprising length of this lens (about 96 mm from front element to rear element, over 50% more than its focal length, and that for a non-zoom lens), and assuming entrance and exit pupils close to the front an rear elements, it would have to be from the entrance pupil: the closest distance from subject to sensor would be 4f + l, where l is the distance between the pupils. In this case, that would be 335 mm. But I should still measure it.


Thursday, 10 March 2016 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 10 March 2016
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More dental work
Topic: health Link here

Into town today for a marathon 80 minute dental sitting to place a crown on one of my molars. Nothing of great interest, but of course the bill was to match. And I have to go back in two weeks to have the final crown fitted.


What price light bulbs?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

On Wednesday Yvonne bought a new bedside lamp—with bayonet fittings. Apart from that, all light fittings in the house are E27 or E14 screw, so I didn't have any globes for it. But that's OK, they thoughtfully sold her two fluorescent globes for $6.50 each—more than I paid for my LED globes last year—and with E14 screw thread. So back to Bunnings to return them.

Somehow the price sounded too high, and I couldn't find anything else any cheaper, so off to Masters to see what I could find there. Not much. The LED globes are back to a more normal $17 each, and the cheapest fluoro I could find was over $6. But self-checkout the rescue: after asking me if I wanted to contribute to charity (why? The normal checkouts don't), I was given a sum with no details: $2.00. What's that nonsense? More unexpected deductions? No, that was the price I had to pay. Why? Nobody knows. Maybe it's a bug in their software. Certainly they have bugs in their price markings; elsewhere I found lots of things without price markings, and I've had difficulty in that area in the past.


More EXIF investigations
Topic: photography, technology Link here

Before I can do much more with my investigation of Olympus focus stacking, I need to establish if I can get more accurate focus information from the EXIF Maker Notes. First step was to look through the many alternatives to exiftool to see if they do any better. Tried exif, exiv2 and exiftags, all of which produced very little output and nothing at all about focus distance. My guess is that they don't analyse the Maker Notes. exifprobe does show some of the Maker Notes, but there's no mention of focus distance there either.

OK, how difficult can it be to go through the EXIF data manually? Spent most of the afternoon reading the documentation, but somehow documentation isn't what it used to be. Forty years ago I'd analyse a processor dump by printing it out and marking it up in various colours to highlight data structures. That required tables showing what the structures looked like. They don't do that any more. The best description I can find of the Olympus Maker Notes (conveniently in German) tells me the contents of the fields, which are arranged in directories, but not how the entries are structured, nor how directories are marked. It mentions a marker that says whether the entries are big-endian or little-endian, but not which orientation each marker specifies (note to Grog: fix).

With a lot of messing around I came down to this section, in little-endian format:

00001f00: 0000 0103 0300 0100 0000 0925 0000 0203  ...........%....
00001f10: 0300 0100 0000 0400 0000 0303 0300 0100  ................
00001f20: 0000 4405 0000 0403 0300 0100 0000 a548  ..D............H
00001f30: 0000 0503 0500 0100 0000 602c 0000 0703  ..........`,....
00001f40: 0300 0100 0000 0000 0000 0803 0300 0100  ................
00001f50: 0000 0000 0000 0903 0300 0100 0000 0000  ................
00001f60: 0000 0a03

Those are my best guess for tag number (0x503) and focus value (0x2c60). But exiftool says:

0x0301 Focus Step Count                : 9481
0x0303 Focus Step Infinity             : 1348
0x0304 Focus Step Near                 : 18597
0x0305 Focus Distance                  : 0.285 m
0x0308 AF Point                        : Left (or n/a)

0x2c60 is 11360 decimal, nothing like 0.285. Is this maybe a focus step count? That could be plausible. If the focus step is 1348 at infinity and 18597 at the closest point, 11360 would be towards the near end. But how do you convert focus steps to distance? There's every reason to believe that it's a non-linear relationship. More investigation needed. In passing, there's also a tag 0x307 at offset 0x1f4e, but that doesn't get parsed by exiftool. Neither does tag 0x309 at offset 0x1f56. The German description page doesn't mention them either.


Friday, 11 March 2016 Dereel → Melbourne → Dereel
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Shopping in Melbourne again
Topic: general, food and drink, opinion Link here

Off to Melbourne today for what we had once planned to be a quarterly shopping spree. But it's such a pain that we do it much more rarely. The last time that we did it just for shopping was nearly a year ago.

Navigating Melbourne's streets is a pain, even with the help of a GPS navigator, and despite knowing the road I managed to take the wrong exit from the West Gate Freeway.

At the market, things were as ever, and we ended up with an amazing amount of food—the car fridge was full to the brim, and responded by coming up with an error indication, not for the first time. What is it? I suspected overheating, but the instructions say it's low battery voltage. That seems unlikely, but I now note that there's a way to set the input voltage range:


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But a normal voltage for a running car is round 14 V, and the switch was set as shown. Does it maybe think the voltage is too high? I've set the switch to “med”. Let's see if that helps next time.

Then off to Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick, a company with only a Facebook web presence, along roads that I've known for over half a century (basically just up Elizabeth St/Royal Parade/Sydney Road). And once again Melbourne's bizarre traffic routing got me in the wrong lane when reducing from Royal Parade to Sydney Road. Straight ahead? No, of course not, you swing round to the left, because straight ahead is no entry. Google Maps shows:


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That's Sydney Road behind the “no entry” sign.

At Mediterranean Wholesalers, discovered they had doubled the size of the place from two to four shop fronts, but they still didn't have what I was hoping for, Italian crockery and glassware. In fact, we got very little there at all. The only “discovery” was seeds for what Yvonne knows as Mâche rosette, and which proves to be Valerianella locusta. It seems to be known in English, but strangely less so in Italy.

After that, somewhat frustrated, decided to head back home. But we still had to eat, and Yana had wanted to meet us at Brother Nancy, another place with only a Facebook presence. But we didn't have the phone number or address, and we couldn't get Yana on the phone in time—she called back shortly before we arrived in Ballarat.

Home relatively early, but quite frustrated. Next time we need to plan our trip better.


Analysing Olympus MakerNotes
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Spent a little time analysing the Olympus MakerNotes for one of my Hibiscus photos. exiftool renders the parts of interest like this:

0x0300 Zoom Step Count                 : 0
0x0301 Focus Step Count                : 9481
0x0303 Focus Step Infinity             : 1348
0x0304 Focus Step Near                 : 18597
0x0305 Focus Distance                  : 0.285 m
0x0308 AF Point                        : Left (or n/a)

And that's all in the range 0x300 to 0x3ff. Looking at the hex dump makes your eyes go funny:

00001f00: 0000 0103 0300 0100 0000 0925 0000 0203  ...........%....
00001f10: 0300 0100 0000 0400 0000 0303 0300 0100  ................
00001f20: 0000 4405 0000 0403 0300 0100 0000 a548  ..D............H
00001f30: 0000 0503 0500 0100 0000 602c 0000 0703  ..........`,....
...

Isn't it easier turning the bytes around?

00001f00: 0000 0301 0003 0001 0000 2509 0000 0302  ...........%....
00001f10: 0003 0001 0000 0004 0000 0303 0003 0001  ................
00001f20: 0000 0544 0000 0304 0003 0001 0000 48a5  ..D............H
00001f30: 0000 0305 0005 0001 0000 2c60 0000 0307  ..........`,....
00001f40: 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000 0308 0003 0001  ................
00001f50: 0000 0000 0000 0309 0003 0001 0000 0000  ................
...

A little more reformatting gives:

0301 0003 0001 0000 2509 0000
0302 0003 0001 0000 0004 0000
0303 0003 0001 0000 0544 0000
0304 0003 0001 0000 48a5 0000
0305 0005 0001 0000 2c60 0000
0307 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
0308 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
0309 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
030a 0008 0014 0000 2c68 0000
030b 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
030c 0003 0002 0000 0000 0000
030d 0003 0016 0000 2c90 0000
030e 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
030f 0008 0004 0000 2cbc 0000
0310 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
0311 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
0312 0003 0002 0000 0000 0000
0313 0008 0001 0000 192d 0000
0314 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
0315 0008 0001 0000 0000 0000
0316 0008 0024 0000 2cc4 0000
0318 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
0319 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
031a 0003 0054 0000 2d0c 0000
031b 0003 0001 0000 0108 0000
031c 0009 0001 0000 0000 0000
031d 0009 0001 0000 0000 0000
031e 0009 0001 0000 0000 0000
0320 0003 0010 0000 2db4 0000
0321 0008 0001 0000 0000 0000
0324 0008 0001 0000 0000 0000
0325 0003 0008 0000 2dd4 0000
0326 0003 0008 0000 2de4 0000
0327 0003 0001 0000 0000 0000
0328 0007 0200 0000 2df4 0000
0329 0007 0004 0000 0000 0000
032a 0008 0001 0000 0000 0000
032b 0008 0001 0000 0000 0000
032c 0008 0001 0000 0000 0000
032d 0001 0001 0000 0000 0000
032e 0004 0001 0000 0000 0000

Look at all those tags! There are 41 of them, and only 6 are mentioned in the documentation available to me. They all seem to have the same 12 byte format, though that might just be coincidence:

+------------------------------+   Offset
|        tag ID                |    0-1
|------------------------------|
|      entry type              |    2-3
|------------------------------|
|        flags?                |    4-5
|------------------------------|
|         empty                |    6-7
|------------------------------|
|         value                |    8-9
|------------------------------|
|    high-order value?         |    10-11
+------------------------------+

Bytes 2 and 3 seem to contain a small integer, possibly an entry type, and 4-5, though varying significantly in value, seem to have relatively few bits set, so I'm guessing they're some kind of flag. I'm also guessing that the last 2 bytes are the high-order bytes of the value, though in this example they're always 0. I really should fight my way through the documentation. But for the moment it's interesting to note that a number of these tags have a non-zero value, and as far as I can tell, they're completely undocumented outside Olympus.

I've already analysed the tags that I do know, but it occurs to me that the relationship between focus step and focus distance, though non-linear, is probably quite obvious: it's linearly related to v in the lens formula, which in that reference is called S₂. The “focus distance” is then u (S₁). Now I just need to find time to test this hypothesis.


Saturday, 12 March 2016 Dereel Images for 12 March 2016
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Strange exiftime bug
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

As if I didn't have real problems understanding EXIF, today I got these messages when copying photos from the camera:

mcopy -pm C:/dcim/100OLYMP/P3126248.ORF /photowork/P3126248.ORF
exiftime: doesn't appear to be a JPEG file; searching for start of image
exiftime: skipped spurious bytes in JPEG
exiftime: start of image not found

The first line is the command to copy the file from the camera, and exiftime is a script that sets the timestamps for the files once they have been read in. And it has worked for ever (the RCS timestamp is 2012/07/07 00:24:47). And .ORF is Olympus' raw format. Why is it failing now? It works fine when I run it later. My best guess is some kind of race condition, but right now I have other EXIFs to fry.


Dereel Camera Crew
Topic: photography, general Link here

Helen Miller told me about a camera group starting up in Dereel. Am I interested? I don't know yet, but possibly. Finally found out when and where it was (14:00 on the second Saturday of the month, at the Dereel Hall), so off with a somewhat unwilling Yvonne to take a look.

We didn't choose the best day: the group is run by Paul Shire, a professional sports photographer, but he wasn't there—had a sporting event to cover. That makes sense for a Saturday afternoon; the real question is whether the meeting time is appropriate under those circumstances.

Apart from the missing Paul, a number of familiar faces: Caroline Everett, Helen, her partner (Michael, I think), and two others whom Yvonne knows; Lisa Hunter, who runs the group and Carol Ann Moyse. And that was all. Not much talk of cameras, more of activities. By the end of the discussion, which Yvonne left early, we had more or less come to the idea of a photo outing to Berringa next month, with particular focus on the Mount Misery Creek Bridge, which I photographed two years ago:


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It'll be interesting to see how others render it.

It seems that the photographic interests are similar: macros, flowers, birds. Caroline has borrowed a 500 mm Nikon tele from Paul, and is over the moon about it. And the thing must weigh about 3 kg, more than my heaviest lens. A far cry from Yvonne's point of view. And Carol Ann is interested almost exclusively in photos of the Aurora australis, which seems to be a difficult undertaking: it's visible mainly from the coast, and then almost only via camera. I'll wait to see some of her photos before I go overboard with that kind of subject.


EXIF: where's the Big Picture?
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Spent a lot more time looking at processing EXIF data. There's lots of documentation of the individual components, though not all details (for example, what are the other components of the entries I looked at yesterday?). But given a file, how do I dissect the structure? Wikipedia tells me that JPEG images store the data in APP1, segment marker 0xffe1, and TIFF images store it in a sub-IFD with the TIFF Private Tag 0x8825. How do I find them? Clearly I need to understand more TIFF.

But there should be a simpler way: use a library. And what's a more obvious choice than libexif? Spent some time looking at the documentation, in the process reinforcing my dislike of doxygen: it describes the trees, not the forest. In this particular case it also implies that the view of the library is from its internal constructs, not the external data structures. After giving up on the documentation, I tried UTSL: the library comes with a program exif that performs a similar function to exiftool. Reading through that showed that there's too much baggage to really understand it. Here's the beginning of main (), somewhat trimmed:

        while (*args) {
                ExifLoader *l;

                ed = NULL;
                p.fin = *args;
                if (!continue_without_file) {
                        /*
                         * Try to read EXIF data from the file.
                         */
                        l = exif_loader_new ();
                        exif_loader_log (l, log);
                        exif_loader_write_file (l, *args);
                        ed = exif_loader_get_data(l);
                        exif_loader_unref (l);
                }

What reads the data from the file? exif_loader_write_file()! Now isn't that intuitive?

More investigation suggests that the library approaches the EXIF data from a position of strength: it handles everything it knows and ignores the rest. That's pretty much the opposite of what I want. I could be wrong, of course, but based on the documentation it's hard to say.

Another thing that was obvious is that most of these packages aren't well maintained. libexif seems to have last been updated in July 2012. exifprobe, which I looked at next, seems to have had its last update in July 2005, before the release of any of the Olympus cameras I have. Clearly the maker notes (maker-olympus.c) are completely out of date.

OK, I don't do Perl, but I can read. The section handling the focus steps reads:

    0x301 => { Name => 'FocusStepCount',    Writable => 'int16u' }, #11
    0x303 => { Name => 'FocusStepInfinity', Writable => 'int16u' }, #11
    0x304 => { Name => 'FocusStepNear',     Writable => 'int16u' }, #11
    0x305 => { #4
        Name => 'FocusDistance',
        Writable => 'rational64u',
        # this rational value looks like it is in mm when the denominator is
        # 1 (E-1), and cm when denominator is 10 (E-300), so if we ignore the
        # denominator we are consistently in mm - PH
        Format => 'int32u',
        Count => 2,
        ValueConv => q{
            my ($a,$b) = split ' ',$val;
            return 0 if $a == 0xffffffff;
            return $a / 1000;
        },
...

But I don't want the value converted. The previous three tags generate unchanged integer output. So how about this?

    0x305 => { Name => 'FocusDistanceRaw',     Writable => 'int16u' }, #grog

Surprise, surprise, not at all what I expected:

0x0305 Focus Distance Raw              : 28.5

That's simply 100 times the value it used to print. Why? It must have something to do with the other bytes in the entry. Played around a bit more and added these lines:

    0x30a => { Name => 'FocusMystery',     Writable => 'int16u' }, #grog
    0x30d => { Name => 'FocusMystery2',     Writable => 'int16u' }, #grog
    0x30f => { Name => 'FocusMystery3',     Writable => 'int16u' }, #grog
    0x313 => { Name => 'FocusMystery4',     Writable => 'int16u' }, #grog

Those five lines correspond to these entries in the file, which seem interesting because they have similar values:

0305 0005 0001 0000 2c60 0000
030a 0008 0014 0000 2c68 0000
030d 0003 0016 0000 2c90 0000
030f 0008 0004 0000 2cbc 0000
0313 0008 0001 0000 192d 0000

But the output I got was:

0x0305 Focus Distance Raw              : 28.5
0x030a Focus Mystery                   : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0x030d Focus Mystery 2                 : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0x030f Focus Mystery 3                 : 400 0 0 0
0x0313 Focus Mystery 4                 : 6445

Clearly the other values in the entry have an influence on the formatting. In particular, it's interesting to note that the values 0x14 and 0x16 in tags 0x30a and 0x30d match the number of 0 digits printed. In fact, it seems that that field, which yesterday I identified as “flags?”, is in fact being interpreted as a field count. Is that correct? An alternative guesswork might be that these tags are all focus step counts for various images: they increase a little at a time (though not very uniformly). Do they exist in other images? All the more reason to find a good way to dump raw EXIF data without trying to interpret it. In addition, I note that the value 0x2c60 (decimal 11360) in tag 0x305 is 4 × 2840. But that's probably just a coincidence: it's not accurate enough, it it doesn't explain the factor 4, and it would break the hypothesis about focus steps.


Sunday, 13 March 2016 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 13 March 2016
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No generator
Topic: general Link here

Yesterday ALDI had a pure sine wave generator on special. I have two primitive generators already, but my snooty Eaton UPS doesn't want to know about them, so it sounded like a good idea to try it out. And by chance they had a car fridge that might work better than the one we have.

Only problem: the specials were yesterday. What chance that they still have some? In to Sebastopol to find out. No, both sold out within 2 hours of opening, and it wasn't worth trying the other shops in the Ballarat area. Damn!


Bratwurst again
Topic: food and drink Link here

Last time we made Bratwurst was over half a year ago, and we've been waiting for a visit to Melbourne to get more supplies. For some reason it's really difficult to get as simple an ingredient as pork belly or shoulder in Ballarat: the butchers insist on preparing the pieces for grilling, in the process removing most of the fat. And in Melbourne things are cheaper, too.

Today I had the record quantity of 7.2 kg of meat (up from 4.2 kg last time). It was quite a load, and we needed a bucket for mixing:


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This time I used thicker casings, 35-37 mm instead of the 26-28 mm casings I used last time. They proved to be quite different beasts:


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They're also longer, and I had great difficulty getting the first one onto the nozzle of the sausage machine—they didn't slide as easily as the others, and it must have taken me 10 minutes. And then a couple of the sausages burst when being filled because the casings didn't slide off properly. That one casing took about 80% of the filling—more than anything we've done before. With the second, cut short as a guess, I flushed it from inside as well, discovering in the process that the thing had an intestinal blockage. After fixing that, the casings went onto the nozzle without difficulty, and all worked well:


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As planned last time, we didn't freeze the left-over filling. Instead I found a way to manually stuff the filling down the nozzle and into the skin. We ended up with 74 sausages, a weight of pretty exactly 100 g each. That's about what I expected, but I see that last time the average weight was 71 g.


Sasha and kidneys
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

One of the things I bought in Melbourne were some lamb kidneys. But in the past two days we didn't have time to eat them, and now they were past human consumption. Feline consumption? Piccola wanted nothing to do with them. Canine consumption? Nikolai and Leonid gulped them down. Not so Sasha. He watched when the others eat theirs, then took one, walked to an old chair, and put it down there, taking a couple of tiny bites out of it:


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In the end I gave most of it to Niko, upon which Sasha happily devoured the rest.


EXIF data: finally an overview
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Further searching for the format of EXIF data has finally paid off, probably because it wasn't what I was looking for. I was looking for a description of TIFF format and came up with this page, which contains this illustration:

Image

And that's exactly the kind of diagram I'm looking for. Further investigation shows that there's also a similar page for JPEG, and that mentioned APP0 but not APP1. OK, we're making progress, so went looking for jpeg app1 file format and came up with this page, which looks like it will finally give the overview I've been looking for. At the very least I can decipher the header of the photo I've been looking at:

00000000: ffd8 ffe0 0010 4a46 4946 0001 0101 015e  ......JFIF.....^
          SOI  APP0 len ID (JFIF\0)   Vers U Xden
00000010: 015e 0000 ffe1 5ca2 4578 6966 0000 4949  .^....\.Exif..II
          Yden Thum APP1 Size Hdr           endian
00000020: 2a00 0800 0000 0f00 0e01 0200 2000 0000  *........... ...

The data in red is the APP0 header, which is common to all JPEG images, and the data in green is the EXIF data in APP1. The JPEG page contains these definitions, which are not overly convenient, and the original contains incorrect offsets in the comments (fixed here):

typedef struct _JFIFHeader
{
  BYTE SOI[2];          /* 00h  Start of Image Marker     */
  BYTE APP0[2];         /* 02h  Application Use Marker    */
  BYTE Length[2];       /* 04h  Length of APP0 Field      */
  BYTE Identifier[5];   /* 06h  "JFIF" (zero terminated) Id String */
  BYTE Version[2];      /* 0bh  JFIF Format Revision      */
  BYTE Units;           /* 0dh  Units used for Resolution */
  BYTE Xdensity[2];     /* 0eh  Horizontal Resolution     */
  BYTE Ydensity[2];     /* 10h  Vertical Resolution       */
  BYTE XThumbnail;      /* 12h  Horizontal Pixel Count    */
  BYTE YThumbnail;      /* 13h  Vertical Pixel Count      */
} JFIFHEAD;

The EXIF page doesn't contain as convenient a struct def, and it's a little confusing. I'll create better definitions for both unless I can find some elsewhere.

And the EXIF page also explains the II and MM that I have seen in the Olympus Maker Notes:

First 2bytes defines byte align of TIFF data. If it is 0x4949="I I", it means "Intel" type byte align. If it is 0x4d4d="MM", it means "Motorola" type byte align.

Intel! Motorola! Concepts from a bygone age! So II means little-endian and MM means big-endian. At least I'll be able to remember that now.


Monday, 14 March 2016 Dereel Images for 14 March 2016
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Tracing the exiftime bug
Topic: technology, photography Link here

What caused the error messages from my exiftime script that I saw a couple of days ago? Today Yvonne borrowed my camera (after over 5 weeks her own camera still isn't back from repairs), and I put a couple of debug lines in the script. But it ran without problems.

Later I took my own photos and the problem occurred again. Why? Does exiftime hate me? Ran wh, another little script that extends which to show all possible executables, and found:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) ~/Photos/20160314 1078 -> wh exiftime
 263011 -r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  47824  6 Mar 10:33 /usr/local/bin/exiftime
1910037 -r-xr-xr-x  1 grog  lemis    448  7 Jul  2012 /Photos/Tools/exiftime

Clearly the second one is my script. But where did the first one come from? If it's in /usr/local, it's probably a port.

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) ~/Photos/20160314 1087 -> pkg which /usr/local/bin/exiftime
/usr/local/bin/exiftime was installed by package exiftags-1.01

That's collateral damage from my investigations last week. Further investigation showed that it did have a man page, and that it does something similar to (but not the same as) my script. But it seems that it expects its arguments to be JPEG images.


Towards understanding Olympus Maker Notes
Topic: technology, photography Link here

Somehow software has become so complicated nowadays that you can't just hack away and incrementally create something: first you need a library a stack of twisty little libraries, all different, and you have to learn how to use them. My experience with libexif a couple of days ago didn't exactly fill me with confidence. How does it relate to yesterday's view of the structures? What I really want is something that doesn't try to understand and interpret too much of the data, just present it in vaguely dissected form. Enter my up-and-coming program exifdump, not exactly the only program of that name. Some of them, like this one, could give me some useful pointers, though they also confirm my prejudices about point of view; this program dumps the tags it knows, not the tags it doesn't know.

Spent a bit of time starting that program today. Where do I get a generic hex dump routine? There are probably many stuck inside behemoth libraries trying to get out, and I found one of my own in my ~/src directory:

/*
 * Hexadecimal and character dump utility
 * Greg Lehey, 5 February 1992
 * $Id: hexdump.c,v 1.2 2009/11/16 03:30:54 grog Exp $
 */

Not quite 25 years old, but still not what I wanted, and I ended up rewriting even that. But looking at that header suggests that the name of author and original date are worth keeping for hysterical raisins.


New TV cabinet
Topic: Stones Road house, general, multimedia, opinion Link here

Back in December we ordered a custom-made TV cabinet, and finally it has arrived:


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There's more fun ahead putting the equipment into it. It started today: while moving the TV, we pulled the HDMI cable out of the TV, and the socket seems somewhat loose. It took a lot of jiggling to get the thing to work at all. There's a second HDMI connection to the TV, but it doesn't provide any EDID information, so tiwi didn't want to know. Hopefully the TV won't go the way of my Android tablet, which I can barely charge because of connector issues. Wouldn't you think that by now people would know how to build a good connector? The rot set in with AUI.


Now that's a bone!
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

For some time our dogs, sight hounds, have been sniffing along the edge of the road when we took them walking. Not without reason: there was an enormous head bone of some animal clearly visible—to us. But not to the dogs, and at 3 m it was apparently too far away for them to locate it exactly. Finally I took Nikolai in to pick it up, and he brought it back home in triumph:


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Tuesday, 15 March 2016 Dereel → Napoleons → Dereel Images for 15 March 2016
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Olympus settings and logs
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Finally Yvonne's camera is back from repairs. Off to Napoleons to pick it up for her. As expected, they replaced the shutter, so the first thing of interest was to check the internal pages with information like the shutter actuation count.

How do you find that? There are plenty of pages on the subject, but I can never find them, so I started writing my own page, which proved to be more work than I expected. Discovered, however, that the camera had already had 167 shutter actuations, presumably since the shutter had been replaced.

That wasn't all, though. They had upgraded the firmware (for some reason there's always a firmware revision waiting when I send a camera for repair), and it took me some time to get the thing reset. Time for another settings page


EZ makes you lazy
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Brought the camera to Yvonne and she took a photo of me:


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What's wrong with this photo, apart from exposure and framing? Isn't that enough? That's what happens when you turn the camera on and take a photo without setting focal length. So I said “how about zooming?”. That was better, but still not good:


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She had only changed the focal length from 14 mm to 25 mm, although the lens has a maximum focal length of 42 mm:


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And the exposure? All automatic, the first ones not helped by the exposure meter mode (Olympus' favourite “ESP Program AE”). But the real issue is the lens itself, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ. I was concerned about this years ago when I bought the camera for Yvonne. It looks like I was right. Of course, it would help immensely if Olympus would store the last focal length setting and automatically restore it on power-on, rather than setting the shortest focal length.


Garden in early autumn
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

Middle of the month again, time for my next round of garden photos. Somehow things seem to be getting less and less interesting. High time to fix up the garden.

The red Mirabilis jalapa has already finished flowering for the year, but the yellow one, which started late, is still going well:


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A few weeks ago, Sasha broke off a stem of the yellow Mirabilis, and Yvonne planted it in soil—something I thought would have no hope of survival. But it's flowering too:


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It remains to see how long, of course.

The Petunias that we planted relatively late have, for the most part, done well:


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And the Cannas are doing better than most:


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Even the Fuchsia triphylla that gave us such concern in Kleins Road has now decided to flower. There wasn't much left of it after last winter, and I fear it won't survive this one, but at least it's still there:


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The roses are struggling on, and even the Tropaeolums are not getting very far. This is the only one of about 10 that I planted that is actually flowering:


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One surprise is this volunteer tomato plant:


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There's not much to show for it, but it's as much as we got when we planted them.

Apart from that, however, things aren't looking good. Our Cycad may or may not survive, though I suspect it's already dead:


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The Tree fern will almost certainly survive, but it's not looking happy:


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And that's probably typical of the situation in the garden. Things seem to be dying of heat:


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That first photo shows a Eucalyptus that we planted in June. The horses didn't help, and they have bitten off most of it (and all of the Eucalyptus caesia). But even so it's not doing at all well. In each case, I can't make up my mind whether it's the exposure or the poor soil, but we'll explore both possibilities before the winter.

With that sorry situation, it's even more remarkable that the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis in the dining room is doing so well:


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Setting up the TV cabinet
Topic: Stones Road house, multimedia Link here

Time to set up the TV cabinet:


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The intention was to put something like a single Lenovo ThinkCentre in the cabinet, but I can't find an adequately powered display card that fits, and I'm still waiting for a tuner that will work with FreeBSD—I ordered the first one on 1 January, but it never arrived, and the second one has been on order for over a month and is now also overdue. So it'll be a while before we get rid of the big cabinets on the side.


Wednesday, 16 March 2016 Dereel Images for 16 March 2016
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Still more flash triggers
Topic: photography Link here

The flash triggers that I ordered last month arrived today. Item as described. The only question was whether the system was compatible with my existing triggers. Yes, it is. So now I have four flash triggers and 5 transmitters, quite a difference from only two months ago.


Yvonne or Ivan?
Topic: animals, general, opinion Link here

Decades ago in Germany, a Ukrainian family moved in to the house across the road in Schellnhausen, and one day they invited us to a party they were throwing. We arrived in mid-afternoon and the host, name unknown, came out with a tray of vodka and salt and announced “Yvonne”.

How did he know her name? He didn't. It was his name, Іван (Ivan), and it's pronounced, at least in Ukrainian, almost like “Yvonne”. Lesson for that day. We didn't stay long at the party: they intended to go all night, and there was only vodka to drink.

But Ivan has come back to haunt us. Yvonne went to pick up her weekly box of chicken frames for the dogs today, and there was a new employee at Whiteys. What was on the box?


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OK, amusing. But the joke backfired: this box was really for an Ivan, and it contained very fat minced beef, not chicken frames. What to do? Go back into town? In the end we decided that the dogs could eat mincemeat for a week, though they really didn't seem to like it.


Lucy the gift horse
Topic: animals Link here

Lorraine Carranza lost a horse a few weeks back, and her other horse was showing extreme signs of loneliness, so Yvonne arranged with people she knew to get a “rescue horse”, which after some delays they were supposed to pick up last weekend. But somehow that didn't work, and all attempts to contact the shelter failed.

This morning Yvonne gave up and put a request on a Facebook group. Not 5 minutes had passed when she got a reply from Sue Giddins, who had just received Lucy, a Paso peruano, from Western Australia yesterday. She's 26 years old, and Sue had promised to look after her until she died. And she was overjoyed to be able to place her near where we live.

Lucy's no stranger. She was given to Yvonne nine years ago:


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We're still trying to work out who gave her to her. Yvonne thinks that she went to Chris Yeardley (now Bahlo again) after that, some time after we arrived in Dereel.

Len and Sue showed up in late afternoon, and we decided to unload her in Progress Road:


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We then walked her to Lorraine's place, while the others covered the 600 metres by car:


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Certainly Lorraine's little pony was overjoyed, even to the point of being incautious:


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But they clarified things and went off together, if not quite into the sunset:


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They're at the extreme right, near the tree line, in the last image.


Thursday, 17 March 2016 Dereel → Napoleons → Dereel
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Finally! The tuner!
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

I've been waiting for a USB tuner for tiwi since the beginning of the year. The first one I ordered never materialized, and I ordered a second one on 12 February. It has taken until now for it to arrive! Off to Napoleons to pick it up.

Surprise, surprise! Wrong connector! When I ordered the original tuner, I went to some lengths to ensure it had a 75Ω antenna connector. But when I ordered the replacement, I forgot, and it has an MCX connector. That's not the end of the world, but it means Yet Another Delay while I get the adapter.

Never mind, I can at least try to set up MythTV now that I have a tuner. Took a look in the FreeBSD handbook, which is really a bit bare-bones. About the only useful FreeBSD-specific information is that you need webcamd to run the tuner. But that page barely mentions the port, and it mainly just tells you how to bypass the ports system to build it!

More googling showed me pages like this one, which seems unduly complicated. So back to the first page, which does have some information on how to run it:

# the following command will attach to the first detected webcam:
./webcamd

OK, try that:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 3 -> webcamd
Available device(s):
webcamd [-d ugen1.1] -N EHCI-root-HUB-nVidia -S unknown -M 0
webcamd [-d ugen0.1] -N OHCI-root-HUB-nVidia -S unknown -M 0
webcamd [-d ugen0.2] -N Generic-USB-Hub-ALCOR -S unknown -M 0
webcamd [-d ugen0.3] -N DVICO-USB-HID-Remocon-V1-00-DVICO -S unknown -M 0
webcamd [-d ugen0.4] -N USB-Receiver-Logitech -S unknown -M 0
webcamd [-d ugen0.5] -N MEDION-MD-86360-vendor-0x1113 -S unknown -M 0
webcamd [-d ugen0.6] -N USB-Receiver-Logitech -S unknown -M 1
webcamd [-d ugen1.2] -N RTL2838UHIDIR-Realtek -S 00000001 -M 0
Show webcamd usage:
webcamd -h

So many tuners? No, so many USB devices; it just lists them all. Looking more carefully at the list, it's clear that the tuner is the last one (ugen1.2). Read the man page, which suggested that I

     -d      Specify the <unit>.<addr> of the USB device to use.  This option
             can be combined with -N and -S options.

OK:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 6 -> webcamd -d /dev/ugen1.2
usage: webcamd -d [ugen]<unit>.<addr> -i 0 -v -1 -B -d <USB device>
...
NOTE: The minimum options needed is one of -d, -S, -s, -l, -N or -D

OK, try that:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 7 -> webcamd -d /dev/ugen1.2 -i 0 -v -1 -B
usage: webcamd -d [ugen]<unit>.<addr> -i 0 -v -1 -B
...

What's wrong there? With a bit of experimentation, got:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 8 -> webcamd -d 1.2 -i 0 -v -1 -B
Attached to ugen1.2[0]
=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 9 -> echo $?
0

Finally! It was too snooty to accept a full path name. But where were my devices? In fact, where is my webcamd? Nothing. Tried:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 10 -> ktrace -i webcamd -d 1.2 -i 0 -v -1 -B
Attached to ugen1.2[0]
=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 11 -> kdump | less
...
  2413 webcamd  CALL  write(0x2,0x7b6719,0x3d)
  2413 webcamd  GIO   fd 2 wrote 61 bytes
       "webcamd: Could not open /dev/cuse. Did you kldload cuse4bsd?
       "

fd 2 is stderr, of course. But where was it writing? Clearly it wasn't to the controlling tty, and it's not in /var/log/messages either. And why did it return a completion code of 0 when it failed? And what's this cuse4bsd anyway? Ah, that's in the man page, not the usage document:

     webcamd requires the cuse4bsd(3) kernel module. To load the driver as a
     module at boot time, place the following line in loader.conf(5):
...

OK, load the module and try again.

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 14 -> kldload cuse4bsd
=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 15 -> webcamd -d 1.2 -i 0 -v -1 -B
Attached to ugen1.2[0]
=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 16 -> echo $?
0
=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 17 -> ls -R /dev/dvb/
adapter0

/dev/dvb/adapter0:
demux0          dvr0            frontend0

OK, next step: run mythtv-setup. Can't communicate with database! I thought I had set that up, but apparently not; mysqld wasn't running, and it wouldn't start. No time to check why. Tomorrow is another day.

One thing that did occur to me is that the output of webcamd without parameters is almost a list of commands to attach to the device:

webcamd [-d ugen1.2] -N RTL2838UHIDIR-Realtek -S 00000001 -M 0

All you need to do is to remove the [] and maybe the parameters in between. How well does that work?

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 24 -> webcamd -N RTL2838UHIDIR-Realtek -S 00000001 -M 0
Attached to ugen1.2[0]
Creating /dev/dvb/adapter0/demux0
Creating /dev/dvb/adapter0/dvr0
Creating /dev/dvb/adapter0/frontend0
Creating /dev/lirc0
Creating /dev/input/event0

Look at that! Output! But it doesn't daemonize. For that you need the -B option too. And then there's only the first line of output. But what's this /dev/lirc0? That's already there, and what does it have to do with webcamd?


Quick and easy curry
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

While in Melbourne last week, I bought a package of chicken curry paste (tumisan kari ayam), made by Tean's Gourmet of Persiaran Hamzah, Klang. The instructions reminded me of the curries I had when I was a lad, and today I made a curry with it.

Contrary to my fears, it wasn't as pedas (hot) as it might have been, though ultimately it was too much for Yvonne. More to the point, though, it was thin and insipid, even though I had used less chicken than specified. Given that curries freeze well, I think it's worth the extra work to do it yourself.


Friday, 18 March 2016 Dereel Images for 18 March 2016
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Power outage!
Topic: Stones Road house, opinion Link here

Woke at what proved to be about 2:50 this morning. Looked at the bedside clock. Nothing! But the far-too-bright blue LED of the air conditioner was on.

We've seen that before. Thanks, Jim Lannen. The RCD for the all-important UPS had tripped. Turned it on and tried to get back to sleep, with little success. What a mistake I made in getting Jim to do the house wiring! Yes, JG King's electricians were less flexible, but they couldn't help being more accurate, and the price differential has completely evaporated. Time to get a list of all his sins and present it to him.


Rain!
Topic: general Link here

The cause of the power failure was presumably related to the weather. Loud thunder and lightning, and what proved to be 24.8 mm of rainfall. Our tanks are full again, and even the trough round the winter garden to be is nearly full:


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So it's been only 6 relatively dry weeks since the tanks were last full. It doesn't seem like we're going to run out of water in the foreseeable future.


Power failure recovery
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Recovering from power failures is getting easier now that I have so much practice. When I came in this morning, eureka was mainly up and running. But I couldn't access my local web cache. Once again it turned out that this was a DHCP issue: after a power outage, dhclient overwrites /etc/resolv.conf with data from the remote DHCP server, not what I want, and in this case it resulted in the external view of my DNS, not the same as the local view served by the local name server. To fix it I needed to check out my local version again and restart squid. Later I had a similar problem with mysqld.

How do I stop dhclient doing that? Daniel O'Connor came up with a suggestion: set resolvconf_enable="NO" in /sbin/dhclient-script, a file that I didn't know existed. OK, next time...

And my test machines? stable came back fine, but I couldn't get teevee up At All:


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I've never seen that before. Did something get overwritten? Do I care, or should I just reinstall? This was a system with a broken ports collection, so the latter might be a more sensible idea.


Old file systems
Topic: technology, history Link here

Warren Toomey sent out a message to the Unix heritage society today asking for examples of file systems in the late 1960s. I knew one: the Master File Directory of the Univac 1108. The last time I used it was some time in September 1974, and I don't recall very much about it. But the Programmers Reference Manual is available online, and it contains a description of the MFD, starting on page 333 of the scan—unfortunately from such a completely different perspective that it's hard to compare.

But Warren's question was whether it was customary to keep the file names separate from other file metadata (inodes in Unix parlance), and it seems that that wasn't the case. On the other hand, the MFD has all sorts of paraphernalia, including the ability to “roll out” files to tape and automatically restore them when they are opened, and to locate backups if there hasn't been any roll-out. In passing it's fascinating to think that 50 years ago, the mass storage of the UNIVAC 1108 consisted of drums only.

There's also other stuff (but, for some reason, not the 1108/1106) at http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/univac/.


tiwi installation, continued
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday's attempt to install the tuner in tiwi ended with database issues. Before attending to them, considered the cheap and easy approach described on the webcamd page:

#
# The following command will display webcam contents from /dev/video0
# by default.
#
pwcview

OK, tried that:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/2) ~ 1 -> pwcview
Failed to access webcam: No such file or directory
***********************************************************
Make sure you have connected your webcam to the root hub
or to a USB 1.1 hub, also check your dmesg for any errors.
***********************************************************

Huh? The tuner was there, and so were the devices. What's the issue. Once Again ktrace to the rescue:

=== grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/2) ~ 2 ->
  2988 pwcview  CALL  openat(AT_FDCWD,0x4084d0,0x2<O_RDWR>,<unused>0)
  2988 pwcview  NAMI  "/dev/video0"
  2988 pwcview  RET   openat -1 errno 2 No such file or directory

That's correct: there was a /dev/dvb hierarchy, but no /dev/video. Why not? It's there on cvr2. Spent a bit of time looking through the sources of webcamd and found that yes, it will create it, at least sometimes. Googling didn't help either. But there's a basic issue with programs like this: how are they going to tune the tuner? My guess is that pwcview only really works with webcams, not with tuners. Yet another hypothesis in search of confirmation, but for the time being there are more obvious things to do.

So why didn't mysqld start? Nothing in the log files. By default mysqld logs to its own file, in this case a hard-to-find /var/db/mysql/tiwi.lemis.com.err. That's clearly a default that the port should change. Looking there I found an amazing number of error messages, starting with:

160114 09:15:47 mysqld_safe mysqld from pid file /var/db/mysql/tiwi.lemis.com.pid ended
160114 13:33:41 mysqld_safe Starting mysqld daemon with databases from /var/db/mysql
2016-01-14 13:33:41 0 [Warning] TIMESTAMP with implicit DEFAULT value is deprecated. Please use --explicit_defaults_for_timestamp server option (see documentation for more details).
2016-01-14 13:33:41 0 [Note] /usr/local/libexec/mysqld (mysqld 5.6.27) starting as process 2526 ...
2016-01-14 13:33:41 2526 [Note] Plugin 'FEDERATED' is disabled.
2016-01-14 13:33:41 2526 [Note] InnoDB: Using atomics to ref count buffer pool pages
...
2016-01-14 13:33:41 2526 [Note] InnoDB: Highest supported file format is Barracuda.
2016-01-14 13:33:41 2526 [Warning] InnoDB: Resizing redo log from 2*320 to 2*3072 pages, LSN=1595675
2016-01-14 13:33:42 2526 [Warning] InnoDB: Starting to delete and rewrite log files.
2016-01-14 13:33:42 2526 [Note] InnoDB: Setting log file ./ib_logfile101 size to 48 MB
2016-01-14 13:33:42 2526 [Note] InnoDB: Setting log file ./ib_logfile1 size to 48 MB
2016-01-14 13:33:42 2526 [Note] InnoDB: Renaming log file ./ib_logfile101 to ./ib_logfile0
...
2016-01-14 13:33:42 2526 [Note] Server socket created on IP: '::'.
2016-01-14 13:33:42 2526 [ERROR] Column count of mysql.events_waits_current is wrong. Expected 19, found 16. Created with MySQL 50535, now running 50627. Please use mysql_upgrade to fix this error.
2016-01-14 13:33:42 2526 [ERROR] Native table 'performance_schema'.'events_waits_summary_by_host_by_event_name' has the wrong structure

Why do I have to search the entire system to find these messages? They should be output when I try to start the server. My guess is that the first two lines were logged by an earlier version of mysqld that was too polite to mention the date. But why is it running InnoDB anyway? Since the unpleasantness ten years ago, I've avoided using it. In any case, now I have the issue of trying to repair the database or just reinstalling. At least I have the choice; for a live system, this would be catastrophe.


Inconsiderate drivers
Topic: general, animals, opinion Link here

Since moving to Stones Road, the neighbours all seem to be friendly. We walk the dogs every afternoon, and normally drivers of passing cars wave to us as they go by. Quite a change from our departure from Kleins Road.

Today we decided to take the dogs down Grassy Gully Road, since they seemed to be particularly interested. Yes, there's more traffic there, but not that much more, so we went a little earlier.

On the way there (about 30 m), we were passed by a black car. He came back a few minutes later, round 14:45, going probably faster than was safe given the visibility. And despite my waving, he didn't slow down.

Driver of ZHK 523, if you read this, reflect what you should have learnt in driving school: if you hit somebody, whether you kill them or not, you'll be to blame, and you'll have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life. Is it worth it?


Cannelloni revisited
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Four years ago I had a bad experience making cannelloni with instant cannelloni tubes, and it wasn't until a year ago that I tried again, still not happy. We blamed it on the specific pasta, made in Australia by San Remo. But while in Melbourne last week, I bought some genuine Italian tubes, made by DeCecco—so genuine that the instructions are only in Italian.

A thing I hadn't noted before is how difficult it is to fill these tubes. I think these ones are thinner, making it even more difficult, and lessening the difference in effort between using these tubes and using home-made pasta. But I finally got it done (note to self: use béchamel from 60 ml milk for each tube).

The results? Still not good. Not as bad as the San Remo experience, but I think this is really a dish for fresh pasta.


Saturday, 19 March 2016 Dereel Images for 19 March 2016
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Golden Plains Arts Trail
Topic: general Link here

Yvonne off to Corindhap this morning to participate in the Golden Plains Arts Trial, not for the first time. Last year there were several artists in the Dereel Hall. This year it's in the Corindhap Hall, a considerably smaller and harder to find venue, and apart from her only Caroline Everett is participating:


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She took Leonid with her, who became uneasy round lunch time, so when I went over to take a look, I took Nikolai with me and swapped dogs. Niko was not impressed when I left without him.

Last year they had hundreds of visitors. This year there were dozens. I get the feeling that the whole thing is a good idea that hasn't quite made it. I don't see Yvonne participating next year.


Politically correct grammar
Topic: general, language, opinion Link here

There's some well-meaning plan going on for Australian schools to ensure that children don't get bullied. Not quite an issue our family has any more—Yana will turn 31 in a couple of months—but there was stuff about it on the news. And today on IRC Andy Farkas posted this link. I got the impression that the programme only addresses bullying homosexual children. It's not easy to find out exactly what is going on, but this news article, which still seems to be lacking in content. What is the current situation? No link. What changes do they want to make? Apart from addressing homosexuality (clearly the most important issue in schools), it's not clear what the changes are. Maybe the Safe Schools Coalition is behind it: “This is our introductory guide to supporting gender diversity, intersex and sexual diversity in schools. It includes...”. And yes, the ... are original. You'd get the impression that homosexuality and sexual diversity are the only issues with bullying at schools.

What really got me, though, was a statement in the radio news this morning that I haven't been able to find again: it seems that teachers in Victoria are being encouraged to avoid the use of the words “he” and “she”. They didn't say what should be used instead. “It”?

Now I'm all for accepting people as they are. But that doesn't mean ignoring the differences, just respecting them. This excessive political correctness irritates me.

To my surprise, I was alone on IRC. Other people, probably with a lesser respect for grammar than I, considered it correct, and pointed to the use of the word “they” in the singular instead of the older (and admittedly somewhat confusing) “he”.

Clearly there's a need for a neutral (not neuter) pronoun in some cases, but why use it when the gender is known? Because it's not clearly defined for transgender people? Somehow it tears the grammar apart. More importantly, it serves to blur distinctions. Is that good? I'm proud of my identity. I wouldn't want to be like everybody else. Am I alone?

No. In the evening, mentioned it individually to Yvonne (her) and Chris Bahlo (her). Both had the same reaction: “What? Do they want to use “it” instead?”.

O brave new world!


Goat tagine
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Fake tagine again for dinner this evening, this time with some nice looking goat meat that I bought in Melbourne last week. It tasted good, but the three hours' cooking time were apparently not enough. Next time I'll try 5 hours.


Sunday, 20 March 2016 Dereel
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Ports install hell
Topic: technology Link here

So tiwi's MySQL installation is broken, possibly beyond repair. Since I don't need any of the data in the database, it seemed easier to remove and reinstall it. Tried that today:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/6) /var/db 21 -> pkg install mysql57-server
The following 3 package(s) will be affected (of 0 checked):

New packages to be INSTALLED:
        mysql57-server: 5.7.10_3
        mysql57-client: 5.7.10_4
        mysql56-client: 5.6.27

Huh? Those numbers are a representation of the version number (5.6 or 5.7). Why should the server version 5.7 install two different clients, one for a different release?

Oh, what the hell:

Proceed with this action? [y/N]: y
Fetching ...
Checking integrity... done (1 conflicting)
Conflicts with the existing packages have been found.
One more solver iteration is needed to resolve them.
The following 6 package(s) will be affected (of 0 checked):

Installed packages to be REMOVED:
        mythplugin-mythweb-0.27.5
        p5-DBD-mysql-4.033
        qt4-mysql-plugin-4.8.7_1
        py27-MySQLdb-1.2.5

New packages to be INSTALLED:
        mysql57-client: 5.7.10_4
        mysql57-server: 5.7.10_3

The process will require 189 MiB more space.

Proceed with this action? [y/N]:

Sigh. Now things are getting more complicated. Still, as before, there's nothing there that I need to keep, so I answered y and completed the installation. Then reinstalled MythTV, and, as instructed: instructed:

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/6) /var/db 24 -> mysql -uroot < /usr/local/share/mythtv/database/mc.sql
ERROR 1033 (HY000) at line 3: Incorrect information in file: './mysql/tables_priv.frm'

That's the same error as before! How could that happen? It doesn't seem to be mc.sql, which just has a few commands to create a database and grant privileges. It doesn't even create any tables.

Wrong server? Deinstalled MythTV and reinstalled:

Installed packages to be REMOVED:
        mysql57-server-5.7.10_3
        mysql57-client-5.7.10_4

New packages to be INSTALLED:
        mysql56-client: 5.6.27
        p5-DBD-mysql: 4.033
        qt4-mysql-plugin: 4.8.7_1
        py27-MySQLdb: 1.2.5
        mythtv: 0.27.5.20150616
        mythplugin-mythweb: 0.27.5

So it seems that it really needs MySQL 5.6. OK, but isn't there something missing there? At the end of the process, I have no SQL server left. Or did I?

=== root@tiwi (/dev/pts/6) /var/db 31 -> mysql
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 9
Server version: 5.5.46 Source distribution

5.5? What's going on here? Confirmed that there was no /usr/local/libexec/mysqld left; presumably the deinstall didn't first stop the server, and it was still running. No wonder things are confused. Reinstalled server version 5.6, and at least I didn't have the errors when I created the mythconverg database. But after that I couldn't be bothered any more.


Golden Plains Arts Trail: nothing
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Yvonne spent all day in Corindhap again at the Golden Plains Arts Trail. Over the weekend there must have been a total of 50 to 60 visitors, and she sold nothing. That looks like being the last time.


Two meals a day: failed experiment
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been some time since we started trying to eliminate lunch from our daily food. Today I made the mistake of trying despite a normal (small) sized breakfast. Not good. I made it until about 15:00, and was then hungry, so I ate some left-over tagine, confirming that more cooking did the goat good.

But it wasn't enough. Round 16:30 I ate some mixed nuts, which should have been enough. But come 18:00 I was starving again, to the point that when we finally did have dinner, it took me most of the meal to get rid of the hunger. I must have eaten much more than normal.

Somehow this isn't working. Until I can find a better migration pattern, it's back to 3 meals a day.


Monday, 21 March 2016 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 21 March 2016
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Glassware and crockery, again
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Where do we get glassware of normal dimensions, the kind of things that fit in dishwashers? Into Ballarat to see what's available there. There's not much difficulty in finding crockery, apart from the bucket-sized cups, but it seems that “normal” glassware is no longer available in Australia, and there's a big disconnect from what dishwasher makers expect. After a frustrating hour and a half looking at the likely shops, gave up. We should consider importing glassware from Europe, in the hope that things there are more normal.


Shopping in the Internet era
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Two years ago I wrote an essay on The Internet in 2034. Surprise, surprise, 10% of the time has gone by already. There I wrote:

Most purchases will occur on-line, and the few remaining shops will mainly exist to order and supply goods available on the Internet. The exceptions will be fresh goods such as food and some services where a view of the items in advance is desired, such as some clothes. This will also have a profound effect on the economy: many companies, notably shops and mall owners, will go bankrupt. The future will favour those who can adapt.

Walking through Armstrong Street and Sturt Street in central Ballarat today shows that this is starting already. We must have passed 5 empty shops available for lease or purchase, including one of Ballarat's last camera shops. Yvonne had done a search for tableware in Ballarat and come up with the name of a company called Decora at 18 Armstrong Street N. But it wasn't there any more. Neither was the successor company, “Leading Edge Computers”, now presumably on the trailing edge.

Even Myer, once the department store in Australia, is showing signs of wear. I get the impression that they haven't renovated the place in decades. And they greatly irritated me by having no clear price labelling. I was told to look on the boxes, but in one case the same product had two different prices. Quite a negative experience. I wonder how much longer they will last.


More garden stuff
Topic: gardening Link here

Mick along again today to continue working on the garden, including the drain sump near the entrance. Things are moving on, and the garden is certainly looking better:


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While in town, ordered 5 m³ of garden soil, into which we can plant the plants we'll buy over the coming months. Today we picked up three: a Hardenbergia violacea ground cover, a Lonicera japonica and a Eucalyptus caesia ssp. Magna, cultivar “Silver Princess” to replace the one that we planted last winter, and which the horses had managed to uproot despite the protective mesh around it. Things aren't exactly filling up, but we're heading in the right direction.


First real tomato!
Topic: food and drink, gardening, opinion Link here

In Kleins Road I made many attempts to grow tomatoes, with only moderate success. In particular they were usually misshapen and unevenly ripened. So I haven't tried anything like that in Stones Road.

That hasn't stopped the tomatoes, though. In a year where so many things died, we had a volunteer tomato:


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Not big, but all the fruit look right. One was now ripe, so we ate it for dinner:


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Maybe we should try again after all.


Tuesday, 22 March 2016 Dereel Images for 22 March 2016
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More garden stuff
Topic: gardening Link here

Mick along again today to complete the boxes for the solenoids and extractor pump. Things are finally looking a little better:


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Genuine Lenspen
Topic: photography Link here

Parcel in the mail today:


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It proved to contain not only the promised Lenspen, but also a smartklear™, an anti-bacterial smart phone cleaner. Nice of them, I suppose, but they have other products I'm more likely to use, such as something to clean the viewfinder window on a camera.

So how do they compare? On the left the genuine pen, on the right the fake:


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How well does it work? I tried it on a filter with a small fingerprint. It took longer than I expected, but it removed it. Maybe the fake would have too. Or maybe it would have scratched the lens.


Wednesday, 23 March 2016 Dereel Images for 23 March 2016
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More bread issues
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Another slow-rising bread today. Normally it takes about 3 hours, but today it only barely made it after 6. I had done an experiment and changed the constitution of the starter (less water), but it's not obvious why that should make a difference. Time to record the rising times so that I can detect tired starters.


Power interruptions: enough is enough
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Round 14:50 this afternoon the office UPS started beeping. Out into the garage, and sure enough (thanks, Jim Lannen) the RCD had tripped, the sixth time this year. Turned it on and all was well.

Well, almost. My ATA showed an error indication. No worries, that's why I have a spare. Connected it up. It worked, but I discovered that I hadn't configured it as well as I had thought.

So: ATA or power supply? Connected the old ATA to the new power supply, and sure enough, it worked. So the power supply died round the time of the power issue. Did a power surge somehow make its way through the UPS?

While I was pondering that, the UPS started beeping again. Out to the garage. All circuit breakers set. A real power failure this time. Cursed, powered down the machines on the main UPS, then out to fire up the generator and connect it to the UPS. Couldn't find the extension cable (in the garage after the work on the irrigation), and by the time I finally got things laid out, the office UPS had died. Next time I should connect it to the main UPS until I have the generator in place.

And once again I couldn't get the UPS to charge. Power connections? How do you check them? Plug in something like a lamp, but of course I didn't have anything like that. After a frantic search, found an electric toothbrush, not the most obvious thing. And I discovered that one of the (Schuko) plugs wasn't plugged in properly.

Finally got things running, in to the office, and sure enough, the computer started again, and so did the printer. The printer? It's not on the UPS. Just at that moment, power had come back. The whole effort for nothing. Even powering down the other machines hadn't been necessary: the main UPS had not failed.

Then the interminable fsck. Out to walk the dogs while the fsck ran on /home. Came back home, and the monitor had faded! Here before and after:


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Brownout? How could that affect the monitor? To the garage again, but again no problem. Came back and the problem had gone away. It took a while to realize that when I had come in, I had my Polaroid sunglasses on, and the LCD output is polarized: thus the difference.

Things still didn't go smoothly. The fsck failed with unexpected soft update inconsistencies, not once but twice. The second time I took photos:


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But it seems that the real issue was that the directories reconnected in phase 3 were confusing the reference counts in phase 4 (the inode numbers are the same). One more fsck fixed it.

And what did it find? Nothing! Two empty directories, dated 3 March and 13 March:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/6) /home/lost+found 15 -> ls -lR
total 1
drwxr-xr-x  2 root  wheel  512 13 Mar 09:29 #17142509
drwxr-xr-x  2 grog  lemis  512  3 Mar 13:18 #18166478

/home/lost+found/#17142509:
total 0

/home/lost+found/#18166478:
total 0

Why are such old entries still there? The machine had been rebooted since either of them were created.

Things still weren't over. That was /home. There was still /Photos, which I set to noauto in /etc/fstab so that I could complete booting without it. It took 65 minutes! Fortunately it didn't have any issues at all. Finally all was done at 17:44:53, nearly 3 hours of messing around.

This can't go on. I had intended to wait until prices dropped, or the government finally did something about encouraging solar electricity, but I'd rather drop my blood pressure. Time to get a battery-backed solar electricity installation, and damn the government!


More ports pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I have now committed the latest version of Hugin to the FreeBSD ports tree. And again I've run into problems: new dependencies that I should have known, and for some reason it doesn't build on FreeBSD 9.3:

cd /wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src/tools && /usr/local/bin/g++48   -DGLEW_STATIC -DHUGIN_HSI -I/wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src -I/wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src/hugin_base-I/wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src/celeste -I/usr/local/include -I/usr/local/include/OpenEXR -I/wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src/foreign -I/usr/local/include/python2.7 -O2 -pipe -Wl,-rpath=/usr/local/lib/gcc48 -fno-strict-aliasing-Wl,-rpath=/usr/local/lib/gcc48 --std=c++11 -O2 -pipe -Wl,-rpath=/usr/local/lib/gcc48 -fno-strict-aliasing -Wl,-rpath=/usr/local/lib/gcc48   -fopenmp -o CMakeFiles/pto_var.dir/ParseExp.cpp.o -c /wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src/tools/ParseExp.cpp/wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src/tools/ParseExp.cpp: In function 'bool Parser::ConvertToRPN(const string&, const ConstantMap&, std::queue<Parser::RPNTokens::TokenBase*>&)':
/wrkdirs/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-2016/work/hugin-2016.0.0/src/tools/ParseExp.cpp:371:23: error: 'stod' is not a member of 'std'
                 val = std::stod(expression.substr(pos), &index);

How I hate C++! But I don't have a 9.3 machine (this was from a FreeBSD automatic test machine). OK, let's install one, for the first time from a USB stick I found lying around. This time I did absolutely minimal configuration to avoid missing dependencies. After a bit of messing, that worked—sort of. It would seem that Hugin isn't the only port with problems on 9.3:

===>  Extracting for cmake-3.5.0
=> SHA256 Checksum OK for cmake-3.5.0.tar.gz.
cmake-3.5.0/Help/module/FindOpenSSL.rst: Can't create 'cmake-3.5.0/Help/module/FindOpenSSL.rst'
tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors.
*** [do-extract] Error code 1

...

===>  Applying FreeBSD patches for glib-2.46.2
2 out of 2 hunks failed--saving rejects to gio/gunixmounts.c.rej
=> Patch patch-gio_gunixmounts.c failed to apply cleanly.
=> Patch(es) patch-config.h.in patch-configure patch-docs_reference_Makefile.in patch-gio_glib-compile-schemas.c patch-gio_gunionvolumemonitor.c patch-gio_gunixmount.c applied cleanly.
*** [do-patch] Error code 1

I didn't get much further: I was interrupted by the power outage. But sometimes I wonder if I should bother.


Thursday, 24 March 2016 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 24 March 2016
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More dental stuff
Topic: health Link here

Into Ballarat again today for the rest of my dental work, attaching the final crown. Nothing of importance, and rather to my frustration I couldn't think of anything else to do while I was in town.


Making dental appointments
Topic: health, general, technology, opinion Link here

After my dental appointment, I needed make an appointment for a checkup in about 6 months' time. No worries, they'll send me an SMS. Sorry, don't do SMS. OK, they'll send dead tree mail.

And Email? Already dead?


VirtualBox again
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Why am I going to all this trouble to set up physical test boxes? Because I've had difficulties with VirtualBox, mainly. But that should be soluble, and so I had another attempt today. This diary helps, and I noted that it was less than 2 months since my last attempt. But I didn't read it as carefully as I should have:

Off to find out from Google, but I couldn't access the Internet: the link wasn't working. Nothing obvious: the interface looked right, routing looked right, but there was no traffic. Coincidence?

Stopped the VM and VirtualBox and restarted dhclient, and the network came back. Started VirtualBox again, and I was off the net again.

Moved to stable, where there's no second interface to mess up, and tried again...

And that, it seems, was the last time I even tried on eureka. But today I couldn't get any network connectivity at all. Checking another entry, I found that I had had issues with the vboxnet0 interface. But that was there. Hung itself up? Tried restarting it—and it went away! Nothing I could do would get it to come back.

But while I was puzzling about that, went off the net again. Today things looked a little different, presumably because I didn't try to access Google. But the network still didn't work. And while investigating, found this:

Mar 24 12:48:35 eureka kernel: arp: 08:00:27:d1:28:26 is using my IP address 180.150.4.222 on xl0!
Mar 24 12:55:01 eureka kernel: arp: 08:00:27:e3:9b:93 is using my IP address 180.150.4.222 on xl0!

What's that? Who's messing around with my National Broadband Network link? And of course it corresponded with the times when I dropped off the net, as back in Janauary.

I was in the process of writing to my ISP when I considered the alternatives. How about that, both MAC addresses were of my VirtualBox VMs. What were they doing on the wrong link? RTFM time again. The relevant section was rather brief, and seemed to concentrate on wireless and OS strangenesses. It took me several readings to discover:

To enable bridged networking, all you need to do is to open the Settings dialog of a virtual machine, go to the "Network" page and select "Bridged network" in the drop down list for the "Attached to" field. Finally, select desired host interface from the list at the bottom of the page, which contains the physical network interfaces of your systems.

The page is:

 
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That interface name at the bottom is the host interface! I had wondered why I wasn't getting the name I had selected. Set it to em0 and all was well. Now wouldn't it have been helpful to state “Host interface name” instead of just “Name” on that screen?

And what about vboxnet0? It seems that it no longer needs to be created manually: when the VM comes up, it's created automatically. I could have sworn it was still in the documentation, but I can't find it any more.


New quarter horse
Topic: animals Link here

Yvonne and Chris Bahlo off to Mount Egerton today to pick up Gabriella, rather less than a normal-sized horse:


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New cat
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

As if the horse wasn't enough, Melinda Radus (who visited us a couple of months ago) offered a cat for sale (on Facebook, of course):


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Yvonne has wanted a Bengalese for a long time, and this sounded like a good choice. But she's in the Adelaide Hills. How to get her here? As it happens, Kelly Daly reposted the advertisement, discussed with Melinda, and they discovered that Kelly or parents will be travelling from Ballarat to Adelaide in 2 weeks' time, and could bring her back. All done and dusted in about 4 hours. And it seems that we will even get a dinner invitation from Gary and Chris thrown in.


Moonrise, sunset
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Another pretty sunset today, lasting less than a minute:


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And that was followed by a moonrise that looked a whole lot better than this:


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Maybe I should try HDR next time.


Friday, 25 March 2016 Dereel Images for 25 March 2016
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Upgrading test boxes
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Now that I have resolved my difficulties with VirtualBox, the next step was to upgrade current to the present day. Not an issue: I may not have been keeping a FreeBSD CURRENT system up to date, but I do have a cron job which keeps an up-to-date copy of the source repository. So all I needed was:

# cd /usr/src
# make buildworld

But it failed, repeatedly:

/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/head/lib/clang/libllvmmipsdesc/../../../contrib/llvm/../../lib/clang/include/llvm/IR/Intrinsics.gen:2:10: fatal error: 'Intrinsics.inc.h' file not found

Problems with the repository or problems with the snapshot? Tried installing a 10.3 image and upgrading from there. Same kind of problem, different place. So repository? svn up showed no errors or conflicts. But I've seen strangenesses of this nature before. svn cleanup is your friend, right?

No, svn cleanup found no problems, and of course the problem didn't go away. OK, how about blowing away the sources, leaving only the top-level .svn directory, and performing a fresh checkout? Did that, and found a couple of changes, mainly new files. And the build continued, and once again it died on me. But by then it was evening.

While waiting for the builds to crash, tried installing Microsoft “Windows” 10 on a virtual machine. It worked, sort of, but as usual with Microsoft products, it left me scratching my head and wondering why I bother. But there is a good reason: eureka is twice as fast as dischord, and I can give the box at least twice as much memory, potentially more. But how do I get in? It seems that there's no longer even a COMMAND.EXE!


A new Borzoi
Topic: animals Link here

Call from Zali O'Dea today: they have a new Borzoi, Iceman, about 3 years old and almost completely white, and they're not sure whether he will fit in. Over to take a look:


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Yvonne thinks he looks sad, but I think he just looks like a Borzoi. But he has a noticeably different temperament from our other dogs, all of which are from the Zoloto bloodlines. Probably Iceman is more typical of the breed. On the other hand, there's also the very real possibility that he has been treated inappropriately. Certainly he's overweight and has apparently not been brushed in months. I took these photos only a couple of hours after they got him, and they had already removed a number of the tangles.


Introducing the dogs to Gabriella
Topic: animals Link here

Sasha was particularly irritated by the arrival of Gabriella yesterday, and kept barking most of the night. Today took the dogs out to introduce them to her:


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It's difficult to judge, but we're not sure which animal is the largest.


Δ Borzois?
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

To round things off, Pene Kirk came along later: Yvonne has had the idea of registering Nikolai and Leonid as Delta Therapy Dogs, and the first step is a clean bill of physical and mental health, which they got. Some time next month it's off to Geelong again, where we tested Nemo four years ago. We haven't anything like the amount of preparation this time round, and Borzois aren't known for this sort of thing, so it'll be interesting to see how he fares.


Saturday, 26 March 2016 Dereel Images for 26 March 2016
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Subversion subverted?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

More investigation of my build failures today. Simply recreating all files didn't help. How about a complete new working copy? Tried that and was amazed: there were dozens of differences. Why? svn info showed nothing of interest. In particular, the repository root and UUID were the same.

And the contents? 60 MB of differences!

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) /src/FreeBSD/svn 79 -> diff -wur head-2 head 2>&1 > svn-diffs
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) /src/FreeBSD/svn 80 -> l svn-diffs
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  lemis  60,039,508 26 Mar 10:42 svn-diffs

Strangely some of them seem to be positively ancient. Here head is the new checkout, while head-2 is the old one:

--- head-2/sys/boot/sparc64/boot1/_start.s 2016-03-26 08:42:17.953474000 +1100
+++ head/sys/boot/sparc64/boot1/_start.s 2016-03-26 09:42:42.604479000 +1100
@@ -1,4 +1,4 @@
-/* $FreeBSD: head/sys/boot/sparc64/boot1/_start.s 125717 2004-02-11 21:17:04Z ru $ */
+/* $FreeBSD: head/sys/boot/sparc64/boot1/_start.s 93311 2002-03-28 02:41:52Z obrien $ */

How could that happen?

But what seemed to be the most serious issue was:

Only in head/.svn: entries
Only in head/.svn: format
Only in head-2/.svn/pristine/05: 057812e349ebbbe7c5e509b8f78a6213d114e331.svn-base
Only in head-2/.svn/pristine/13: 13e0a501f751b1a6b1b8eec67eae102285d7e7da.svn-base

But .svn/entries is nothing like CVS/Entries. The former contains only a number, apparently the repo format version, while the latter contains a list of the controlled files in the parent directory. So probably this is just the result of using a different version. But why are there different .svn/pristine files?

Also, a couple of files were missing: Not surprisingly, those were the ones that broke the build.

Only in head/contrib/llvm/lib/Target/Mips/MCTargetDesc: MipsELFStreamer.cpp
Only in head/contrib/llvm/lib/Target/Mips/MCTargetDesc: MipsELFStreamer.h

Not surprisingly, those were the ones that broke the build. They're the only ones:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) /src/FreeBSD/svn 83 -> svn status head-2
D     C head-2/contrib/llvm/lib/Target/Mips/MCTargetDesc/MipsELFStreamer.cpp
      >   local file delete, incoming file edit upon update
D     C head-2/contrib/llvm/lib/Target/Mips/MCTargetDesc/MipsELFStreamer.h
      >   local file delete, incoming file edit upon update
Summary of conflicts:
  Tree conflicts: 2

How did these files go missing? It's not beyond the bounds of probability that a couple of files got lost after a crash, though there's no evidence for that. But for the files to stay deleted implies that I performed a svn rm on them. And I certainly didn't do that.

Sent a message to the FreeBSD internal list, but didn't get any useful replies by evening.


Yana comes home
Topic: general, photography, opinion Link here

Yana arrived this evening for a couple of days. It gave me a chance to try out the new 300 J flash unit in the lounge room:


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The exposure finally Just Works (f/8 at 1/250 s). I a couple of the images at f/5.6, but they was marginally overexposed. The exposure meter tells me somewhere between the two, depending on the place in the room, but the results are so much better than with on-camera flash that it's just not funny.


German: R-Umlaut?
Topic: language, opinion Link here

Listening to the news in German lately, I've noticed a significant tendency to pronounce i as ü. But Yvonne hasn't. Are my ears going funny? Yana's here, so I got her to listen to an example from Deutsche Welle News. No, nothing wrong with my ears. There is a tendency to pronounce it that way, but only (she says) before an r. In this case we had stirbt → stürbt, so that's consistent. It seems that even in primary school the children were told to avoid that mistake. I can't see that helping much. And I hadn't noticed the connection with r before. To be observed.


Sunday, 27 March 2016 Dereel Images for 27 March 2016
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Sasha crash
Topic: animals Link here

Sometime yesterday Sasha appears to have had trouble braking after shooting down the hallway outside the bedrooms:


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Yvonne tells me that she heard a loud yelping. More to the point, though, it took Sasha all day to be prepared to go through that narrow area where the wall bit him. Hopefully it'll stop him from running around so much in the house.


Hello Essey
Topic: general Link here

Essey Jensen along today on her way to Sydney, where she's starting a new job. We haven't seen her since Christmas 2009, when she moved to Tasmania. For Yana the time was even longer: it seems that the last time they saw each other was over 11 years ago.


Easter Bunny
Topic: food and drink Link here

What do you eat for Easter? Traditionally it's lamb (presumably once in bad taste). But Yvonne is fed up with lamb.

So what else goes with Easter? Rabbit, of course:


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Yana and Yvonne spent most of the afternoon cooking up the meal:


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And of course Chris was there too:


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Fun meal:


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In the middle, Yana decided to teach Essey how to use a calculator:


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Limitations of room flash
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Yesterday I had some quite good results with the studio flash in the lounge room, and previously we had good results in the dining room. But today I took photos from different angles, including into the kitchen, where I knew the illumination was weaker. But today I saw a number of problems in the photos I took.

The first problem is that somehow I keep forgetting where the lights are:


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Then of course the differences in illumination:


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But one thing I didn't expect in the lounge room was that I had simply placed the flash in the wrong place, causing shadows where none should be:


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So for the last ones I put it behind my armchair. At least some of the images are now better illuminated:


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Monday, 28 March 2016 Dereel Images for 28 March 2016
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Goodbye Iceman
Topic: animals Link here

The O'Deas have decided that they don't want to keep Iceman, their new Borzoi. It seems that he has attacked Bindi, and there's the very real possibility that Roni, their 2-year-old daughter, might behave inappropriately towards him, so probably that's a good idea. Yvonne has been trying since yesterday to find a new owner for him—on Facebook, of course.


Revisiting the kitchen appliances issues
Topic: Stones Road house Link here

It's been over 6 months since we came to an impasse with JG King about the remaining issues with the house, in particular the inappropriate kitchen appliances. I should now send a complaint to CAV, but it's a lot of work.

Part of that is comparing the utensils to what is installed in normal homes. Today over to Chris Bahlo's to measure the stove and the range hood. Unfortunately I couldn't find my anemometer, so I only did the stove.

In each case, the depth of the benchtop is 59 cm. Chris has a standalone stove/oven combination with protection for the wall at the back:


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The small burners are at the back, the large one at the front, which makes perfect sense. The distances from the centre of the small burners to the wall is 19 cm, and 15.5 cm to the back:


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That allows for pots of up to 31 cm diameter, more than adequate for a middle burner. The depth of the stove (measuring the grille front to back) is 53 cm.

Back home, things look different. The hot burner is at the back, located only 13.5 cm from the wall. This limits the pot size to 27 cm. A normal frying pan has a diameter of 30 cm. That's too small for the wok burner. There's nowhere to put it!


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And even if we do use it, we run danger of damaging the wall behind it, as we discovered a few months ago:


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But the real problem is in front: the stove is set back 6.5 cm from the front of the cabinet, and there's a further 8 cm of wasted space before the burner ares starts—a total of 14.5 cm, a quarter of the total depth of the benchtop. And compared to Chris' 53 cm grille depth, we only have 40 cm. No wonder things don't fit.


I don't like your photos
Topic: animals, photography, opinion Link here

Phone call from anonymous today wanting to talk to Yvonne. Why is Yvonne offering her (caller's) dog for sale?

Huh? Yvonne wasn't there, and she gave no names, not even her own. The obvious guess was Iceman, since she was trying to find a home for him (not sell him). I said sorry, it seems there's a misunderstanding here, and I'll clarify with Yvonne when she gets back.

But that wasn't enough for her. She talked about the terrible photos that Yvonne posted, and how the dog looked like he hadn't been brushed for a long time. And that doesn't fit: when I took those photos of Iceman, the O'Deas had had him for 2½ hours. Yes, he needed a good brushing. The O'Deas had already removed the bigger knots, but tidying up that mess takes time. So does slimming him down and regaining his trust. So to be clear, I asked who the dog was and where he was. Iceman, and he was with her: she had had him for 10 months.

Huh? We saw him at the O'Deas. So I asked her, what about the O'Deas? Who? After a bit more confusion, I went back to basics. Her name is Robyn Peddlesdon, and she gave the dog to the O'Deas on trial, but she only knew Zali by her Christian name, which she couldn't even pronounce. The O'Deas, it seems, were looking for a babysitter for their other dog, not a real dog, and they gave him back after 2 days.

OK, no worries. Now at least we know which photos she was talking about. Here are the photos that Yvonne chose for her Facebook article:


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Not the best photos I've ever taken, but animal photography isn't easy at the best of times, and they're not that bad. But even after she knew that I was the photographer, she carried on saying how terrible they were. You don't make friends like that.

Why did she want Yvonne to take down the post? We didn't get round to discussing that: she just said that Yvonne should take it down or she would take legal action. Yes, that would help, wouldn't it? And I could call the RSPCA to investigate why the dog was so nervous. But then she hung up.

What's her real problem? Did she think that Yvonne was trying to make a quick buck out of a giveaway dog? I later discovered that Yvonne had contacted her by phone (voice mail) for every person who had shown interest. Does she not listen to her voice mail? In any case, it seems it wasn't a giveaway; she claimed to be asking $1,500 for him, which I'm sure is not a price that the O'Deas were prepared to pay.

I'm left with the impression of conflict between concern for the animal's welfare (Yvonne) and hope to make a quick buck (Robyn). All in all a very nasty encounter. She seems to have had nasty words for everybody concerned. What's this “baby sitter” nonsense? As Yvonne said later, sometimes she wonders why she bothers.


Tuesday, 29 March 2016 Dereel Images for 29 March 2016
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More garden stuff
Topic: gardening Link here

Mick along today to continue his tidy-up of the garden. We are going to move the gazanias to a bed by themselves to the north-west of the house, but after digging it out he found hundreds of bulbs of these flowers:


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Clearly we need do something to keep them out, so we'll have to wait for some weed mat.


Introducing Gabriella
Topic: animals Link here

We've had Gabriella for a few days now in a paddock next to the other horses. Time to put them together:


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Keldan had no issues:


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