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Wednesday, 16 August 2017 Dereel Images for 16 August 2017
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Cutting progress
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

It's been over two months since I started propagating my first Hibiscus cuttings. Their progress has been interesting. Here the first cuttings, then and now:


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It's hard to compare these photos. Clearly the biggest one, at the top, is as good as dead. The one on the right doesn't seem to have changed much, and the one at bottom left looks better than before. It has lost a number of leaves, but the ones that remain look healthier than before. And there are three new leaves on their way:


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One of them (on the left) was there when I potted it, but the other two appear to be new.

Why did the cuttings fare so differently? The one that did the best is from the tip of the stem; the others were along the length, and they were planted in a different orientation to where they were on the bush.

Then there's the next round, cut just over a month ago. They, too, are doing very differently. I had expected both of these to do well:


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But in fact one is almost dead, while the other might make it:


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Again, the orientation of the leaves might give a clue. But we're not done yet. I'll leave them there for at least another month and see what happens.


Thursday, 17 August 2017 Dereel Images for 17 August 2017
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Goodbye ache
Topic: general, technology Link here

The name ache goes back to the early days of the FreeBSD, decades ago: it was the user ID for Andrey Chernov, one of the first developers.

He died yesterday, a couple of weeks before his 51st birthday. Of what? We don't know, but it seems to be related to osteoporosis, not exactly a common complaint for a person in his position. In a recent mail message he wrote:

Sorry, I can't be constructive for some unknown time, because I broke my leg yet again, due to osteoporosis. This one is more serious than previous, so I need complex surgery, can't find skilled enough traumatologist in Moscow yet and don't have enough money for Israel clinic. All my time I try to resolve this issue now one way or another and it is difficult for me to think about something else???

So better medical care may well have saved him. That makes it all the more sad.


Trump: in hole, stop digging
Topic: politics, history, opinion Link here

I've given up expressing my opinions on Donald Trump: they're all so similar. He is probably the worst thing that has happened to his country in decades.

As I see it, the USA came to global prominence when it joined the Great War on 6 April 1917. Not quite 100 years later, on 20 January 2017, it began its decline.

Yes, many people in the USA are up in arms about it, but not to the same extent that they are in other countries, and I'm left with the impression that they don't recognize what is happening. But last weekend something happened to change that: the rally in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed by a car that drove into a crowd. A sad occurrence, but the fallout seems to have impacted the US American psyche far more than the events would suggest. The car attack is nothing new: it's been done in France, Germany and the UK already, and in this case only one person was killed. Today it happened again in Catalonia, killing at least 13 people.

The reaction of the US “President” was less than sympathetic—to the victims, at any rate. It's easy to read pro-extremist sentiment into them, and that's what most people have done. It seems to have crossed a line when the editorial board of the Washington Post printed a statement condemning his behaviour. Is this the turning point where even his fanatical supporters turn against him?


Postal services in the Internet Age
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Three years ago I wrote an essay about The Internet in 2034, and I've been watching things develop since then. 17.5% of the time has already passed!

One of the things that I predicted, and which I'm still very sure will happen, is the transition from on-site to off-site purchases. That implies more emphasis on transporting these goods.

Somehow, though, that isn't going according to plan. Transporting goods is getting slower, not faster. A while back Australia Post raised prices and slowed down deliveries. Today was a case in point: last week, after 3 days of trying, I finally purchased a new battery for my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Australia Post's tracking system didn't like the tracking number I was given. Whose fault? Certainly the seller didn't crown itself in glory with their web site. I wasn't in a hurry, so I waited.

It arrived today, and suddenly the tracking number worked—after a week! Bad Auspost! And look at the times!

 
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Despite what Digidirect said, it wasn't sent from Melbourne at all, but from Welshpool, a suburb of Perth. And that's 3,330 km away, further than from London to Istanbul.

But why such a long time? An obvious explanation would be that they were batching parcels until they had enough to make it worthwhile. But a week? Surely there are more parcels than that.

By contrast it's interesting to read what I wrote 52 years ago:

My bromide [photographic] paper arrived this morning, which is pretty good service, considering that I only sent off for it on Sunday evening.

That's not one postal item but two, in about 40 hours. Yes, the distance was shorter, about 260 km each way, but it was by train, and it involved work in the middle. I still don't understand why postage has become so slow. It's not just Australia Post (though they're a good example), so there must be a good reason. But what?


Another new GPS navigator
Topic: technology Link here

Di Saunders has bought a GPS navigator to help her find her way here. It didn't work: she couldn't work out how to program it. It's a NAVMAN MiVUEDRIVE FHD, as the web site claims, though I think that includes gratuitous shouting on the part of the WEBMASTER.

She paid $200 for it, far more than I have ever paid for a navigator. What does she get for it? A considerably smaller display (but bigger than the one on her iPhone; that's why she bought it). Free monthly map updates, 1080p video camera and a G-sensor to record the direction of impact during a collision.

The map updates don't seem to be any better than with the el-cheapo navigators: three years after our street number was assigned, it still doesn't know it. And it's strange to use; even after downloading the manual, I still couldn't understand how to navigate to a favourite place. There's no reason to assume that it's any worse than the ones I have, just different.

But the worst thing about it was that the battery doesn't hold a charge. After 3 hours on charge it died immediately when removed from the charger. That's an individual issue, presumably. But since I had an old navigator to give away, it should be enough reason for her to get a refund.


The eternal flash pain
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Di was doing some dog training this afternoon, so I got my camera and took some particularly forgettable photos:


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Why is that so unevenly exposed? The simple answer is: I used on-camera flash. It looks as if the flash can't cover the entire field of view. This is at 30 mm equivalent, and the flash is supposed to go to 28 mm, so I can't see why. But it confirms my experience: never a good photo with on-camera flash.


More Hibiscus progress comparisons
Topic: gardening Link here

Yesterday's plant comparisons weren't the only ones. A little over a month ago I pruned my Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and had a number of stems left over. For the fun of it, I planted them outside. They're doing about as could be expected:


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There's also the stick that I put in a pot:


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That one hasn't changed. I see little hope for any of them, but I'll give them a little longer.


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


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