Greg
animals language
brewing multimedia
food and drink music
fiction health
opinion gardening
photography general
technology history
Stones Road house politics
Greg's diary
July 2012
Translate this page
Select day in July 2012:
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
Select month:
2012 Jan Feb Mar Apr
2012 May Jun Jul Aug
2012 Sep Oct Nov Dec
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Previous month
Next month
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

Sunday, 1 July 2012 Dereel Images for 1 July 2012
Top of page
next day
last day

Five years of retirement
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Five years ago today I officially retired. Time has flown! And of course my lifestyle has changed considerably—for the better, I'd say. It's not so much what I'm doing as how I'm doing it: now I do what I want to do, in my own time. If I don't want to do something, I can refuse. During my working life I didn't have that luxury.

And, gradually, it seems that I'm living the same kind of life I did before I started working for a living. Earlier this year I typed in the remainder of my diary for 1967. Apart from the obvious difference in experience, and the rather painful events I documented as a result, I'm doing much the same now as then. I'm enjoying it.

When I was younger, people talked of old age (itself a changing term) as a return to childhood. I don't know what exactly they meant, but I was left with an impression of declining intelligence and childlike behaviour, specifically that of children under 10. That may come, but it's not what I'm seeing now: it's more a return to normal after having to do somebody else's will for a third of a century. To misquote Somerset Maugham, work is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Coincidentally, this month includes a number of life-changing anniversaries, this year neatly laid out in a 5 and 15 year framework. For once in reverse order:


Photo frobbing
Topic: photography Link here

More playing around with yesterday's photos today. I still can't work out why those two panoramas didn't automatically align correctly, but found that a couple could do with significant improvement. Here before and after, with mouseover alternation:


This should be garden-path-ne-old.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden path ne old          Dimensions:          9238 x 2724, 7296 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 30 June 2012 Complete exposure details

 

This should be garden-path-ne.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden path ne          Dimensions:          9238 x 2724, 7312 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 30 June 2012 Complete exposure details

 

In this image, flare is clearly visible round the door of the shed at the right. Flare in the images is still an issue, made considerably more difficult by the fact that it's almost invisible in the viewfinder.


This should be garden-path-se-old.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden path se old          Dimensions:          9345 x 2671, 7744 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 30 June 2012 Complete exposure details

 

This should be garden-path-se.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden path se          Dimensions:          9345 x 2671, 8000 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 30 June 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 30 June 2012 Complete exposure details

 

Here colour balance and brightness are suboptimal in the original, where they weren't corrected. It's surprising how often the colour balance tends to be too blue in out-of-the-camera shots.


Improving the lazy load
Topic: technology Link here

It's clear that my lazy load code still leaves a lot to be desired. While looking at the issues, discovered that the pages I am now generating severely upset the W3 validator, in particular the data-original attribute.

I'm not sure how to handle this. On the one hand, HTML prescribes specific attributes for each tag, and others aren't allowed. On the other hand, JavaScript not only allows them: it appears to make sense. To find out how to resolve the issue, I at least need to learn more about JavaScript and jQuery. Tried that and decided that my own PHP functions were too untidy, and spent some time trying to make them easier to understand. The untidiness didn't help, and I didn't get finished.


File hiding with Microsoft
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

One of my continual rants about the “Microsoft space” is that the file system hierarchy has been chopped apart and pasted onto windows. How do I find the window? Simple, it's on the screen in front of you. Oh, it isn't? Well, we have nifty search tools for you that will find all files matching specific broad attributes within a matter of minutes.

Today I had the issue: I wanted to scan something, for which I currently still need to use pain, my Microsoft laptop. After installation it came with a popup asking me where to store the image. A while back, that got on my nerves, so I disabled it. Now I can't find the scanned files! And I can't find a way to reenable the popup either.

Still, there are those nifty search tools. I had just scanned in the image, so I wanted to tell it to search only for things updated in the past 5 minutes (-mmin 5 in find terminology). But no, windows don't work that way. You get the choice the programmer thought of: last week, last month, last year, or any. OK, off I went looking for documents. After only a few minutes, it found it:

 
This should be in-part-only.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: in part only
Dimensions: 787 x 596, 40 kB
Dimensions of original: 787 x 596, 40 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 1 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be in-part-only-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: in part only detail
Dimensions: 575 x 67, 4 kB
Dimensions of original: 575 x 67, 4 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 1 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But "C:\Documents and Settings\groggy\img009.tif" didn't exist. Of course not! That's only part of the pathname. Why should I get it all, even though there's space for it? That would be too simple. Yes, there's a specialist option View → Details, but not only is it not default, it has to be set every time.

OK, this is only partly Microsoft's fault. It should show in the scanner application. But somehow it's all symptomatic of an attitude that, like a stone in a shoe, irritates more every time I encounter it.


Email: in a bind
Topic: technology Link here

Yvonne came to me this evening with a mail message that had bounced:

This is the mail system at host dereel.lemis.com.

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.

...

<chris@narrowin.com>: Host or domain name not found. Name service error for
    name=localhost type=A: Host not found

Huh? localhost not found? Went to dereel and checked. Of course localhost was there.

=== grog@dereel (/dev/pts/6) ~ 19 -> host localhost
localhost.lemis.com has address 127.0.0.1

But I couldn't bounce the message either:

Jul  1 19:34:04 dereel postfix/smtp[77480]: D5E55DA856: to=<chris@narrowin.com>, relay=none, delay=457, delays=457/0.01/0/0, dsn=5.4.4, status=bounced (Host or domain name not found. Name service error for name=localhost type=A: Host not found)

So what was the problem? Restarted postfix. No change. Reloaded named. No change. Only when I stopped and restarted named did things work again. What a bind!

Looking at the logs, this happened some time between 17:44:19 and 19:26:26. What happened in that time (apart from this problem, of course)? Nothing. This is hardly a heavily loaded server, and we were eating and watching TV. I'm baffled.

Why localhost in the first place? Like most ISPs, Internode blocks outgoing port 25 (SMTP). So I have set up a tunnel, and I send mail to its port on localhost.


Monday, 2 July 2012 Dereel Images for 2 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Don't trust USB disks, part 1
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Into the office this morning to discover my backup disk LED flashing. After further investigation discovered that the monthly level 0 dump was still running after 11 hours. And still further investigation showed:

Jun 26 11:17:37 dereel kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus5 target 0 lun 0
Jun 26 11:17:37 dereel kernel: da0: <ST310005 28AS > Fixed Direct Access SCSI-2 device
Jun 26 11:17:37 dereel kernel: da0: 1.000MB/s transfers
Jun 26 11:17:37 dereel kernel: da0: 953869MB (1953525168 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 121601C)

After the last connection, for no obvious reason, the disk had been detected as a 1 MB/s device. Normally I get:

Jul  2 08:02:48 dereel kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus5 target 0 lun 0
Jul  2 08:02:48 dereel kernel: da0: <ST310005 28AS > Fixed Direct Access SCSI-2 device
Jul  2 08:02:48 dereel kernel: da0: 40.000MB/s transfers
Jul  2 08:02:48 dereel kernel: da0: 953869MB (1953525168 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 121601C)

Normally it takes about 4 hours to do the level 0 dump. Now it was less than half way through. Clearly it made sense to restart the backup. But why does it occasionally show up as a 1 MB/s device? I don't know, but on detaching the disk and reattaching it, it was still 1 MB/s. After power cycling the drive, it was recognized correctly. But that could be a coincidence, like so many things I find with USB.

Is this USB, is this my motherboard, or is it FreeBSD? Possibly a little of everything. But FreeBSD has the great advantage of telling you what's going on. With commercial desktop operating systems, you don't know.


Don't trust USB disks, part 2
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

I back up my photo disk separately from other data. There's lots of it, it's incompressible, and it makes sense to have a mountable file system. I keep two copies, one of which is always at Chris Yeardley's house in case of larger catastrophe. One of the disks has a USB enclosure; the other had one until it died (under warranty) last year, and MSY still haven't managed to replace it. Today I mounted the disk with the enclosure on lagoon, Yvonne's computer, using USB. Bad idea—see previous article. Something went wrong:

Jul  2 13:52:51 lagoon kernel: (da1:umass-sim1:1:0:0): AutoSense failed
Jul  2 13:52:51 lagoon kernel: g_vfs_done():da1p1[WRITE(offset=712181530624, length=16384)]error = 5
Jul  2 13:52:51 lagoon kernel: g_vfs_done():da1p1[WRITE(offset=712186806272, length=16384)]error = 5

This write error is understandable: it's trying to write to offset 712 TB from the beginning of the disk, and the disk is “only” 2 TB in size. That indicates some kind of file system corruption, so umounted it and tried fsck, which confirmed my fears:

...
74483618 DUP I=17522694
EXCESSIVE DUP BLKS I=17522694
CONTINUE? yes

INCORRECT BLOCK COUNT I=17522694 (501088 should be 46344)
CORRECT? yes

** Phase 1b - Rescan For More DUPS
74483608 DUP I=16580642
74483609 DUP I=16580642
74483610 DUP I=16580642
74483611 DUP I=16580642
...

At the end, the file system was “clean”, but the damage was so massive that I went at it again—and found more errors. lost+found was 11 GB in size.

Normally I keep the file systems in sync with rsync, which could handle this kind of structural damage, but not holes in the files themselves: normally, if they have the same size and the same modification timestamps, rsync considers them identical without checking. There is an option to check, but that doesn't make sense: it requires more I/O than just rewriting the file system, especially since I have two almost complete copies of the data. So that's what I did: new file system, and start all over again. This time I did the logical thing and connected the disk to defake via eSATA, which I should have been doing all the time. But there's something like 1.3 TB of data, and I only have a 100 Mb/s Ethernet connection between dereel and defake, so by evening I only had a small fraction copied.


X font hell
Topic: technology Link here

For some time I've had difficulties with Wikipedia fonts. A typical example is this, from the article on Archaeopteryx:

 
This should be English-defake-default.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: English defake default
Dimensions: 611 x 136, 16 kB
Dimensions of original: 611 x 136, 16 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 2 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

That etymology is supposed to be in a Greek font, but only the π in the second word is correct. The rest looks nothing like Greek.

I've seen this before, and I assumed that it's incorrect fonts that are the problem. But how do you investigate this kind of problem? This happens on teevee (my TV projector machine) and defake. On dereel it's almost right:

 
This should be English-dereel-override.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: English dereel override
Dimensions: 691 x 145, 18 kB
Dimensions of original: 691 x 145, 18 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 2 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But that's still not quite correct. The last letter of ἀρχαῖος and the third letter of πτέρυξ are still wrong.

For the fun of it, tried looking at the Greek version of the page. Surprise, surprise: it's wrong there, too. The normal Greek text is rendered correctly, but the etymology is wrong:

 
This should be Greek-defake-default.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Greek defake default
Dimensions: 535 x 130, 6 kB
Dimensions of original: 535 x 130, 6 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 2 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

What's causing the difference? Callum Gibson suggested that it was firefox's settings, a can of worms in themselves. “Allow pages to choose their own fonts, instead of my selections above”? That doesn't really make sense, since my selections don't include any of what are obviously two different font sets. But nowadays things don't need to make sense, so I tried it anyway. It turned out that defake had allowed it, and dereel had not. What happens when you change it? On defake, it fixedworked around the problem:

 
This should be Greek-dereel-override.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Greek dereel override
Dimensions: 642 x 137, 14 kB
Dimensions of original: 642 x 137, 14 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 2 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But on dereel, enabling font selection made no difference whatsoever. OK, that's an older version of firefox, but the difference in behaviour is remarkable.

So I'm left with two issues: what fonts is the page selecting, and why is the Greek version selecting two different font sets? The latter's easy to determine, and would have been even easier if “view page source” would work for this page. For some reason it doesn't, and I had to save the page to disk. Then I discovered:

      <p>
        <b>Αρχαιοπτέρυξa </b> ή <b>Αρχαιοπτέρυγα</b>, (<i>Archaeopteryx</i>) αναφερόμενο μερικές
        φορές και με το γερμανικό του όνομα, <i>Urvogel</i> («το πρώτο πτηνό»), είναι το αρχαιότερο
        και πιο πρωτόγονο
        γένος <a href="http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%A0%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%BD%CE%AC"
        title="Πτηνά">πτηνών</a> που είναι γνωστό. Το όνομα προέρχεται από
        τα <a href="http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%91%CF%81%CF%87%CE%B1%CE%AF%CE%B1_%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%B7%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AC"
        title="Αρχαία ελληνικά" class="mw-redirect">αρχαία ελληνικά</a> <span class="polytonic"
        xml:lang="grc" lang="grc">ἀρχαῖος</span> και <span class="polytonic" xml:lang="grc"
        lang="grc">πτέρυξ</span>.
      </p>

So the quotes are enclosed in a polytonic class span, whatever that may be. And clearly that chooses different fonts. I don't think I want to know.

But what were the fonts that were chosen? I guessed at Syriac, but that needed clarification. It seems that there are very few tools to help with this sort of thing. With Callum Gibson's help, went looking at parts of X that I haven't looked at in over 20 years. They haven't improved. The obvious way to find the fonts I had referenced was with find to look at font files that had been accessed in the previous 10 minutes:

=== grog@defake (/dev/pts/3) ~ 3 -> find /usr/local/lib/X11/fonts -amin -10
/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/misc/6x10.pcf.gz
/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/misc/6x12.pcf.gz
...
/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/luxisri.ttf
/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/luxisr.ttf
/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/OTF/SyrCOMKharput.otf
/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/OTF/SyrCOMUrhoy.otf
...

OK, the Syr in /usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/OTF/SyrCOMKharput.otf looked like a smoking gun. How do you look at it? With xfd.

That's the easy part. xfd doesn't want to know about file names. There are two options:

       -fn font
               This  option  specifies  the core X server side font to be dis-
               played.  This can also be set with the FontGrid font  resource.
               A font must be specified.

       -fa font
               This option specifies a Xft font to be displayed. This can also
               be set with the FontGrid face resource. A font pattern must  be
               specified.

Which is which? In my day, there was only the first; now there are Xft fonts as well. OK, try them both:

=== grog@defake (/dev/pts/3) ~ 7 -> xfd -fn /usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/OTF/SyrCOMKharput.otf
Warning: Cannot convert string "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/OTF/SyrCOMKharput.otf" to type FontStruct
xfd:  no font to display

Not very friendly? -fa makes up for that in modern fashion by not complaining and just displaying a completely unrelated default font (Bitstream Vera Sans-12). The thing is that you first need to find out what the internal font name is. It's not just the file name, not even after you've stripped off extensions and things. The only way I found, and it's a real pain, is to get fc-list to list the fonts and then look for likely looking things:

=== grog@defake (/dev/pts/3) ~ 10 -> fc-list | grep -i kharput
/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/OTF/SyrCOMKharput.otf: Serto Kharput:style=Regular

So that works, but which is the font name? The man page doesn't want to say either, but it does offer a --verbose option that helps:

=== grog@defake (/dev/pts/3) ~ 11 -> fc-list --verbose | grep -i kharput
        family: "Serto Kharput"(s)
        fullname: "Serto Kharput"(s)
        file: "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/OTF/SyrCOMKharput.otf"(s)

Then, finally, I was able to display the font:

 
This should be Serto-Kharput-1.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Serto Kharput 1
Dimensions: 451 x 611, 22 kB
Dimensions of original: 451 x 611, 22 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 2 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But that looks like a perfectly normal ISO 8859-1 character set! It took a while and some nudging from Callum to discover that there are more pages (indicated at least by the active Next button), and page 4 showed:

 
This should be Serto-Kharput-4.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Serto Kharput 4
Dimensions: 451 x 611, 22 kB
Dimensions of original: 451 x 611, 22 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 2 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Serto-Kharput-4-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Serto Kharput 4 detail
Dimensions: 216 x 92, 4 kB
Dimensions of original: 216 x 92, 4 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 2 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Bingo! These fonts cover the range 0x300 to 0x3ff. In UTF-8, those are the code pages for combining characters (0x300 to 0x37f and Greek (0x380 to 0x3ff). Syriac is in the range 0x700 to 0x73f. This font does include glyphs in that range, but it's spamming the Greek alphabet range too. Now to find out where it comes from.


jQuery extended attribute: a possibility?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

This evening Jashank Jeremy pointed me to a HTML5 working draft titled “Embedding custom non-visible data with the data-* attributes”. That looks surprisingly like what I'm already doing with the lazy loading code I'm working on at the moment. As I thought, it seems to be a good idea. And it seems that it works already, so there's no reason not to accept something like that, even if the naming restrictions seem a little bizarre.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More backup and migration problems
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Into the office this morning to find the photo backup disk not flashing. Further investigation revealed:

x Photos/grog/20111103/orig/PB036725.ORF
x Photos/grog/20111103/orig/PB036731.ORFtar: Photos/grog/20111103/orig/PB036731.ORF: Read error: Permission denied
tar: Photos/grog/20111103/orig/PB036713.jpg: Cannot stat: Permission denied
tar: Photos/grog/20111103/orig/PB036715.jpg: Cannot stat: Permission denied
tar: Photos/grog/20111103/orig/PB036732.JPG: Cannot stat: Permission denied

I've seen that before, and I've blamed NFS. But looking more carefully, this is tar x (extraction, as the leading x shows). And of course there were no permission problems. What's causing this? In any case, it required me to continue with rsync. And then I discovered:

=== grog@defake (/dev/pts/1) ~ 57 -> df -i /Photos /photobackup
Filesystem     1048576-blocks    Used  Avail  Capacity iused     ifree %iused  Mounted on
dereel:/Photos        1907196 1270951 617173     67%  450675    639499   41%   /Photos
/dev/ada0p1           1788034  306081 1464073    60%  220370 488471852    0%   /photobackup

The disks are the same sizes, and until recreating the file system on /photobackup, so were the file systems. I got the parameters for creating the file system from dumpfs -m /dev/ada0p1, which should have given me the newfs command line to recreate the file system. But it just gave me defaults. Damn! Now I have to start all over again. But it doesn't have to be immediately; the backup disk won't fill up for another 6 or 12 months. In the meantime, I can do some more thorough integrity checks on the other disk.

The whole thing makes it clear, though, that I finally need to complete my migration to 64 bit. It shouldn't be that difficult, but I don't want to run into trouble down the road where I can't get back to run some software I need. So I need to run both for a while, something I've frequently done in the past. Does x2x still work? Yes, sort of. They've removed the -south and -north attributes, but I didqn't use them anyway, and the rest is OK. So I'll migrate to a two-machine system again at least until everything I want works under 64 bits.


Marginal garden weather
Topic: gardening Link here

Somehow I'm spending all my time with my computers again. It wasn't supposed to be like that, but it's warmer in my office than out in the garden. Today was a little better; it seems that sunshine is more of an incentive than temperature. Managed to get most of the old cannas cut down before my motivation subsided.


Yeardleys on the road again
Topic: general, food and drink Link here

Over to the Yeardleys' for dinner tonight. David, Tuyết and Minh Chau are off again tomorrow morning, and we probably won't see them until the New Year again. Sweet and sour fish, some of the fish David brought with him from the Queensland coast, where he's currently working.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012 Dereel Images for 4 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Political viewpoints
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Peter Jeremy posted a link to a survey about political opinions on Facebook today. I've done it before, once in the current form and once in something very similar that I did in a management training course in late 1986. In each case I came out consistently as economically left and libertarian, somewhere near Mohandas Gandhi. To my surprise, though, most of the people on IRC who divulged their results ended up very close. Is that why we tend to agree on a lot of things?

The other thing that surprised me was the grouping of modern politicians:

 
This should be politicians.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: politicians
Dimensions: 703 x 408, 36 kB
Dimensions of original: 703 x 408, 36 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 4 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

That's an amazing grouping at top right: nearly all modern Western politicians. Only François Hollande is out of line, and that by a wide margin. Somehow that doesn't convince me.


Tree trimming
Topic: general Link here

The tree trimmers are here to free up vegetation around the power lines:


This should be Trimming-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Trimming 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 3232 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 4 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 4 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 4 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

Asked them to talk to us before entering the property, to which they agreed. But they didn't come today: they spent all day cutting down a few trees and branches on the 500 m stretch of Kleins Road. 3 of them. I would have expected that to take an hour or so.


amd64: biting the bullet
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Today marks 14 months since I started planning to upgrade dereel, my main system, to a 64 bit version of FreeBSD. During that time I've always found reasons to procrastinate: the pain of migration is just too much, and it would be difficult to move back if something goes catastrophically wrong. But I've gradually come round to the idea of running a 32 bit machine and a 64 bit machine in parallel until it's done. And today I finally took the plunge, in the process taking both machines out into the garage and dislodging prodigious quantities of dust with a jet of compressed air. I had two machines: dereel, 4 processors, 6 GB of memory (of which I could only use 3), with two dual graphics cards to drive four monitors:

Jun 26 10:13:40 dereel kernel: CPU: AMD Phenom(tm) 9550 Quad-Core Processor (2210.08-MHz 686-class CPU)
Jun 26 10:13:40 dereel kernel: Origin = "AuthenticAMD"  Id = 0x100f23  Family = 10  Model = 2  Stepping = 3
Jun 26 10:13:40 dereel kernel: real memory  = 3220045824 (3070 MB)
Jun 26 10:13:40 dereel kernel: avail memory = 3127648256 (2982 MB)

The other is defake, a much older single processor machine that I used to drive my TV projector until a PowerCor voltage surge killed the USB bus (despite the “protection” of a UPS). Interestingly, it has the same processor frequency:

Jul  2 15:55:14 defake kernel: CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500+ (2210.18-MHz K8-class CPU)
Jul  2 15:55:14 defake kernel: Origin = "AuthenticAMD"  Id = 0x40ff2  Family = f  Model = 4f  Stepping = 2
Jul  2 15:55:14 defake kernel: real memory  = 3221225472 (3072 MB)
Jul  2 15:55:14 defake kernel: avail memory = 3053604864 (2912 MB)

The first step was to set up X running on defake, still on the old machine. I couldn't load the display card driver. It claimed an invalid object file format, which made no sense. The messages in the system log were clearer:

Jul  4 12:09:51 defake kernel: KLD nvidia.ko: depends on kernel - not available or version mismatch
Jul  4 12:09:51 defake kernel: linker_load_file: Unsupported file type
Jul  4 12:24:44 defake kernel: nvidia0: <Quadro NVS 210S / GeForce 6150LE> on vgapci0

So the driver was out of date. Why? It proved to date from January, and I had updated all ports several times since then. It looks as if some dependency information is missing.

After that I didn't have much trouble except for difficulties getting the second graphics card to work, the one I was given some months back. After a fair amount of experimentation came to the conclusion that it's dead.

Next step was to swap the system disks in the machines, thus effectively changing their identities. In the process, I also renamed defake to eureka, a name I had reserved for this possibility 5 years ago. It wasn't as bad as I thought, right? Maybe not. If anything, it was worse. It didn't help, of course, that I shut the machines down before adjusting the /etc/fstab files. But I couldn't boot the new dereel at all: the loader couldn't find the kernel.

The problem lies at least in the way FreeBSD boots. The first step (in this case, anyway) is that the BIOS locates the bootable partition in the MBR and loads a bootstrap from that. In the case of BSD, this partition will be a BSD slice with potentially a number of BSD partitions inside. The bootstrap then locates the loader, which reads a number of configuration files, notably /boot/loader.conf, and decides where to find things.

But at every step the naming is different. After reading the man page boot(8), I'm not convinced of anything except that the page needs revision. BIOSes talk of C: and D:, loader talks of disk1s1a, and the kernel has a plethora of names and numbering schemes depending on interface and disk driver. Finally I discovered that disk1s1a was the second disk (I had some recollection that the numbering started with 1, not 0), and I couldn't reset the loader to try disk0 once it was booted. To add to the confusion, once I got it booted, it didn't run the siis driver, which would have called the system disk something like ada0, though it was loaded; instead it came up as /dev/ad4. Modified the fstab accordingly; I'll check later what went wrong.

Once I got the systems up and running, there was a plethora of strangenesses. Some, like changes in configuration, were clear; others were very puzzling:

That's just the tip of the iceberg, of course. My weather station software isn't running, I don't have backups set up, there are lots of programs, such as wine and VirtualBox, that need to be configured. It'll keep me busy for some time to come. But at least my photo software appears to work.


Thursday, 5 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Continued migration
Topic: technology Link here

On with my migration to FreeBSD amd64 today. A couple of mount problems on other machines because I had moved the file systems /src and /Photos from dereel to eureka, but nothing serious. The real problem was the weather software: it needed recompilation, after which it ran for a while. And then, after some other tweaks, it failed with a missing MySQL library. I had to compile it again. Where did the library go?

But that wasn't the end of it. The weather station connects via USB, and the USB bus on dereel is dead. So I had to move the database to eureka. And then the web database functionality on dereel no longer worked. Yes, I could have changed the access parameters, but I'm planning to move the web server anyway, so it seems counterproductive. Until I do, neither my local database stuff nor the weather station display will work.

Apart from that, tried something that I have been meaning to do for a long time: coalescing monitors into a single display. The old way to do that was with Xinerama, which I never used because my monitors all had different resolutions. Then it seems that xrandr was the way to go. But now there's TwinView for nVidia cards, which I have, so on the recommendation of Callum Gibson tried that.

The instructions say to run nvidia-xconfig --twinview, which takes the current X configuration file and converts it to a TwinView-compatible file. But it does it in a way that completely obfuscates the changes:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) /etc/X11 12 -> diff -wu xorg.conf.backup  xorg.conf.twin | less
--- xorg.conf.backup    2012-07-05 14:00:43.000000000 +1000
+++ xorg.conf.twin      2012-07-05 14:00:43.000000000 +1000
@@ -1,5 +1,17 @@
 # nvidia-xconfig: X configuration file generated by nvidia-xconfig
-# nvidia-xconfig:  version 1.0  (root@quartet.lemis.com)  Wed Oct 22 16:34:08 CST 2008
+# nvidia-xconfig:  version 295.40  (root@defake.lemis.com)  Fri May 25 14:34:13 EST 2012
+
+# 0: ALDI Fission
+# 1: BenQ G2400W
+# 2: BenQ E2200HD LCD panel (1920x1080)
+# 3: Samsung 2233SW
+# Card 1 (left from behind), head 1 (lower)
...
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) /etc/X11 13 -> diff -wu xorg.conf.backup  xorg.conf.twin | wc -l
     199

199 lines of diffs! And where did those comments come from? They're mine, alright, but they weren't there in the original. Spent some time with ktrace to find out what it had done, but finally discovered it had collected all my carefully placed comments in the file and moved them to the top. Is this another variation on the sin of reverse chronologism?

Finally found what real changes had been made. Only the ones described in the instructions. Add the lines:

    Option         "TwinView" "True"
    Option         "MetaModes" "nvidia-auto-select, nvidia-auto-select"

I have two cards with 4 monitors, but I only wanted one pair to have the double display (a 7680×1080 display would really look rather silly). Did it work? Yes. And it does exactly what you'd expect. The question is only whether it really makes sense. It's going to be good for running Hugin, where I often need to have both the preview window and the mask window visible at the same time. They both need to be on the same display, so this will give me the horizontal space I need. But for the rest of the time it doesn't seem to be very useful. Many programs position windows in the centre of the screen; when I started, xearth was split across the two monitors roughly along the San Andreas Fault, and others bring up menus in exactly the same place. So I think I'll revert to separate displays and start a second X server with fewer displays—once I work out how to reenable display switching again.

Also tried out Hugin with my new memory limits. Not a success. My verandah panorama from last weekend was detected with a maximum error of 373.0 and an average error of 6.0, up from 5.4 and 1.8 respectively when I did it on dereel last week. When I loaded the project file and tried to stitch, nona kept crashing with SIGBUS, something I almost never saw on i386. Is this a difference between i386 (SIGSEGV) and amd64? In any case, I'm far from having things running normally. It certainly vindicates not only my two-machine approach, but also my reluctance to migrate.


Friday, 6 July 2012 Dereel Images for 6 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Still more tree removal
Topic: general Link here

The tree cutters have been active in Kleins Road for the last 3 days. Today I took another look and discovered that they had cut down two more trees, a wattle and a eucalyptus that I had been rather fond of:


This should be Tree-removal-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tree removal 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2784 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 6 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Tree-removal-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tree removal 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 3056 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 6 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

But it seems they had been slated for removal too, and the people here today were just tidying up, converting the things into mulch. They really could have discussed the thing with me first. On the positive side, we got the mulch, probably about $200 worth. But then, they were our trees.


amd64 migration: even worse than feared
Topic: technology, photography Link here

On with the migration to FreeBSD amd64 (64 bit version) today. It wasn't easy. I had expected the transition not to be smooth, but I had never expected it to be this bad.

Much of it was related to photo processing, the reason that I started the migration in the first place. I had noticed that the 64 bit version of Hugin had problems that didn't occur on the 32 bit version, and sent mail to the mailing list. One of the replies suggested that this is a known issue that also occurs on Mac OS X, so maybe something will come of that.

But there were other issues. I took my weekly panoramas today, because the weather was suitable, and even reading the images into the computer was a problem:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/6) ~/Photos/20120706/orig 22 -> exiftime  P7067432.ORF
/Photos/Tools/exiftime: 1: Syntax error: Unterminated quoted string
/Photos/Tools/exiftime: 11: Syntax error: Error in command substitution

I set the author information there, and the script I use had a bug, a typo that should have rendered it useless under i386 as well:

--- /Photos/Tools/exiftime      2011/01/08 23:33:04     1.5
+++ /Photos/Tools/exiftime      2012/07/06 23:09:47     1.6
@@ -2,13 +2,13 @@
-  DATE=`echo $CREATE_DATE | sed s'/.* : //; s/://g; s/ .*//`
-  TIME=`echo $CREATE_DATE | sed s'/.* //; s/://; s/:/./`
+  DATE=`echo $CREATE_DATE | sed s'/.* : //; s/://g; s/ .*//'`
+  TIME=`echo $CREATE_DATE | sed s'/.* //; s/://; s/:/./'`

How could that ever have worked? But it seems it has done for a year and a half. And under the present circumstances, it's not the first thing I would look for. That was simple enough, but when running another script, which calls PHP functions, I got a message

Fatal error: Directive 'register_long_arrays' is no longer available in PHP in Unknown on line 0

That proved to be a configuration file problem:

--- /usr/local/etc/php.ini      2010/09/06 02:12:05     2.2
+++ /usr/local/etc/php.ini      2012/07/06 03:59:15     2.3
@@ -475,7 +475,7 @@
 ; Whether or not to register the old-style input arrays, HTTP_GET_VARS
 ; and friends.  If you're not using them, it's recommended to turn them off,
 ; for performance reasons.
-register_long_arrays = On
+register_long_arrays = Off

After that, I got a continual stream of:

Deprecated: Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/grog/public_html/php/includes/onephoto.php on line 456

Now what's so dangerous about using POSIX regular expressions? But clearly I needed to heed the prayers of those who know better and convert to Perl regular expressions. The documentation of ereg and preg_match was sufficiently different in style that I got the impression that return value in the third parameter was different, but it seems that was a misunderstanding. In the end, discovered that this Emacs command (using different regular expressions again) would do the conversion, at least for my relatively simple regular expressions:

(query-replace-regexp
  "ereg (\"\([^\"]+\)"
  "preg_match (\"~\1~"
  nil
  (if
    (and transient-mark-mode mark-active)
    (region-beginning))
  (if (and transient-mark-mode mark-active)
    (region-end)))

I chose ~ as a delimiter simply because I then didn't need to worry about conflicts.

Finally I got as far as trying to stitch today's panoramas. Again the verandah centre had very poor results with panomatic, so I tried the new cpfind program. It crashed and conveniently shut the log window before I could get a chance to read it. How I wish Hugin would store the log file somewhere where it can be examined. I'll look at that later. Finally, however, I had a fast panorama preview window with something that didn't look too bad—and discovered that the move controls didn't work.

Back to running on dereel. Got to the fast panorama preview and... the move controls didn't work. It looks as if this is a problem with the X server. OK, I wanted to get the X server working on dereel as well, so attended to that. It now had only the display chip on the motherboard, but that's an nVidia chip as well. But when I configured X, it came up with the free nv driver, which is amazingly restrictive: it couldn't even find a mode line for 1920x1080, the resolution of the display. When I tried to use the proprietary nvidia driver, the one I've been using for years, I once again got the message:

(EE) Jul 07 10:45:02 NVIDIA(0): Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module. Please see the
(EE) Jul 07 10:45:02 NVIDIA(0):     system's kernel log for additional error messages and
(EE) Jul 07 10:45:02 NVIDIA(0):     consult the NVIDIA README for details.

There was nothing in the system log, but on one attempt I got this message:

KLD nvidia.ko: depends on kernel - not available or version mismatch

Why not? It was there and in use until a couple of days ago. Tried rebuilding the module, and ended up with nonsensical messages like:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/1) /boot/kernel 29 -> kldunload nvidia
kldunload: can't find file nvidia
=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/1) /boot/kernel 30 -> kldload nvidia
kldload: can't load nvidia: File exists

I know I didn't link the module statically into the kernel, so this suggests to me that the module didn't tidy up behind it on the last reload. When I have time to reboot the system, I'll try again. And maybe the error message from the driver is really trying to tell me that it doesn't support this particular chipset. Another thing to investigate.

OK, so back to the nv module. How do I get a mode line for that? Decades ago I wrote a detailed description of how to do this, which later found its way into The Complete FreeBSD, but nowadays it should be easier. There's xvidtune for that. Or is there? Looking on eureka, I couldn't find it, and it seems that the port has been removed. Why? No time to look now; I had a copy on dereel. But it says:

=== root@dereel (/dev/pts/1) /boot/kernel 32 -> xvidtune
Please install the program before using

What does that mean? No idea. Tried a few alternatives and finally gave up. Still, at a pinch I can make do with this ugly 1280x1024 screen that it gave me. Well, no:

=== grog@dereel (/dev/pts/10) ~ 2 -> hugin
Xlib:  extension "GLX" missing on display ":0.0".
Segmentation fault: 11 (core dumped)

It seems that I need GLX, and for GLX I need the nvidia driver. To quote /var/log/Xorg.0.log:

(EE) Failed to initialize GLX extension (Compatible NVIDIA X driver not found)

So I'm stuck. I can't run Hugin on eureka because of bugs. I can't run Hugin on dereel and display on eureka because I can't move the images in the fast panorama preview. And I can't run Hugin natively on dereel because I can't get X to run properly. What a pain! I had expected problems, but nothing like this many.

Out of desperation, tried running on dereel and displaying on lagoon, Yvonne's computer. That worked. But it's complicated and slow, and Yvonne would have a word or two to say about tying up her computer for hours at a time.

In the evening, while waiting for Yvonne in the lounge room, tried running things on teevee, the projector driver. And again I couldn't move the image in the move tab. It wasn't until later that I realized that this is another amd64 machine. What is it about that that triggers the problem?

Other strangenesses

As if that wasn't enough, there were various other things that happened that don't appear to be directly related to the upgrade. Every time I saved my diary notes in Emacs, it got displayed on the neighbouring firefox. There's no obvious connection between the two, and the key bindings haven't changed. Closing the file and reopening it stopped the problem.


Saturday, 7 July 2012 Dereel Images for 7 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

First frost of winter
Topic: general, gardening Link here

Woke up this morning to find a mild frost. The weather station showed a minimum of -0.2°, and some areas of the garden had frost on them. But most of the water areas didn't, only a little on the small bird bath in the Japanese Garden:


This should be Frost-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Frost 5          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 3152 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 7 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Frost-6.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Frost 6          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1520 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 7 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Frost-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Frost 1          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1440 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 7 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

Huevos rancheros with capsicum
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yvonne found an interesting suggestion somewhere recently: huevos rancheros with the eggs fried in rings of capsicum:


This should be Eggs-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Eggs 4          Dimensions:          3533 x 2944, 1120 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 7 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

It certainly looks interesting, especially since we normally fry the eggs in rings to keep them together. But it's difficult to cut the slices accurately enough to stop the white getting out underneath, and the taste wasn't convincing: the capsicum is too sweet. We considered trying again with green capsicum, but I don't see that being much better a match. Nice idea, but no cigar.


amd64 migration: the agony
Topic: technology, photography Link here

So I more or less have FreeBSD amd64 running, but there are significant problems with Hugin, compounded by compatibility problems running the nvidia driver on dereel. After doing a couple of panoramas on Yvonne's machine lagoon, realized that I had a laptop with functional X on the desk to the right in my office. It is usually called pain when it runs Microsoft, but it also has a FreeBSD system, eucla, on the disk, so booted that, and sure enough, it worked.

Problems: tiny 1024×768 display, and also the confusing names. I now have systems eureka (main machine) and eucla (laptop), not to mention the old echunga. At least I never had an echuca. But the similarity of the names is confusing, and I managed to update the wrong /etc/fstab. I didn't notice it at first, until I tried to do another panorama and got:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/12) ~/Photos/20120706 45 -> ln C/garden-centre-19.jpeg /home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka/19
ln: /home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka/19: Cross-device link

That's strange. Both directories are on the same file system, /Photos. Checked and found:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/12) ~/Photos/20120706 46 -> df C/garden-centre-19.jpeg /home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka
Filesystem     1048576-blocks    Used  Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/ada1p1           1907196 1273977 614146    67%    /Photos
eureka:/Photos        1907196 1273977 614146    67%    /Photos

Yup, both on /Photos. It took me a while to look at the first column: one was mounted directly, one via NFS. I wish the system wouldn't allow that.

And then I got a reply to my message to the Hugin mailing list, referring to a bug report on the subject of inability to move in the move tab. It seems that by holding down the middle button, it will work. And currently the bug report is marked “will not fix”, blaming the window manager (fluxbox in the bug report, and my case fvwm2) for the problem. That seems unlikely, but I do have an issue with moving windows. I have this bound to Shift-Meta-Button 3. Under i386, you hold down the key and drag the window. But this no longer works. Instead I have to click and release the button, and then I can move the window, and again click a button when I'm done. I had thought it was a configuration issue that I had intended to look at later, but potentially it's related.

So once again I tried running Hugin on dereel and displaying on eureka. And panomatic got stuck in a loop, and the control point windows didn't display any text! While wondering about that, managed to provoke a debilitating bug that I had hoped I had left behind me: the mouse cursor got stuck between two screens, jumping back and forward. I haven't found a way to get out of that one: I had to stop X and restart it. But I couldn't restart X. In the end, gave it up as a bad job and rebooted. And then I could start X, but I didn't have a mouse. It produced some error messages that I didn't write down, something to do with the device being open by some other process. But on a second attempt, it worked. That's pretty much what I saw on Wednesday, but didn't write down. Is this a general problem? I don't have the strength to try it again. I just want things to work again.

While I was rebooting eureka, also rebooted dereel to put in an nVidia PCI card that I had found lying around. Bad idea. Once again I couldn't boot; somehow my boot configuration got messed up since I last booted. Somehow nothing at all is going smoothly, though I suspect some of it is my own fault.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I discovered that cvr2, the MythTV box, had somehow lost its default route and not updated the programme info. I can't see that that can be related to the other problems, since neither dereel nor eureka are involved in network routing. It must be the phase of the moon.


Chasing the hugin bugs
Topic: photography, technology Link here

After the double reboot, at least I can now display the Hugin screens on eureka, and I confirmed that the trick with the two mouse buttons works. Spent some time investigating the strange behaviour of panomatic, which seems non-deterministic. In one case I found that it had put control points nowhere near each other (for example, one at the top of the image, the other at the bottom):


This should be amd64-sameimage.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: amd64 sameimage          Dimensions:          946 x 861, 288 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 7 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 7 July 2012

 
 
This should be amd64-sameimage-detail-1.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: amd64 sameimage detail 1
Dimensions: 74 x 356, 20 kB
Dimensions of original: 74 x 356, 20 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 7 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be amd64-sameimage-detail-2.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: amd64 sameimage detail 2
Dimensions: 89 x 356, 26 kB
Dimensions of original: 89 x 356, 26 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Saturday, 7 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

Not only that: it claimed that the control points were very close to each other. For control point 0 (in the middle in the first image, at the bottom in the second) it claims a distance of only 0.66 pixels. What has gone wrong there? When I tried again, I didn't get the same results. Still, this is an out-of-date version of Hugin. First I need to try with the latest version.


Sunday, 8 July 2012 Dereel Images for 8 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Getting Hugin to work on amd64
Topic: photography, technology Link here

Spent nearly all day trying to get Hugin to work, with only moderate progress. The first issue was to install the latest version of Hugin, so checked that out and once again ran into this problem with tclap, compounded by the problem that I didn't understand where cmake was looking for the files. In the end gave up and unpacked them into /usr/include/tclap, a suboptimal place. But at least it should keep the builds quiet until I get it right. There is also a new dependency on SWIG, which was relatively trivial to fix.

After that, tried again. No change. The first problem was just finding out why cpfind crashed: it logged to a window that disappeared as soon as it crashed, so there was no way to know what went wrong. ktrace had showed me some of what was going on, including that the messages were written to stdout, so took a look at the code, and found the main function in hugin-2011.4.0/src/hugin_cpfind/cpfind/main.cpp. I've lost all liking for C++, but fortunately you can write C code and get it to work, so wrote this kludge:

--- main.cpp~   2012-07-09 09:22:43.000000000 +1000
+++ main.cpp    2012-07-09 09:23:02.000000000 +1000
@@ -370,6 +370,15 @@

 int main(int argc, char** argv)
 {
+    FILE *fd = fopen ("/var/tmp/cpfind.log", "a");
+    close (2);
+    dup2 (fileno (fd), 2);
+
+    int i;
+    for (i = 0; i < argc; i++)
+        fprintf (fd, "Arg %d: '%s'\n", i, argv [i]);
+    fflush (fd);
+
     std::cout << "Hugin's cpfind " << DISPLAY_VERSION << endl;
     std::cout << "based on Pan-o-matic by Anael Orlinski" << endl;

Ran that and got:

Arg 0: '/usr/local/bin/cpfind'
Arg 1: '-o'
Arg 2: '/tmp/ap_resDOxf9g'
Arg 3: '/home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka/00'
Arg 4: '/home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka/01'
Arg 5: '/home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka/02'
Arg 6: '/home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka/03'
Parse error: Argument: /home/grog/Photos/Hugin-build-eureka/01
             Couldn't find match for argument

ERROR: 14:15:07.036227 (/home/ports/graphics/hugin-devel/work/hugin-2011.4.0/src/hugin_base/hugin_utils/utils.h:238) lexical_cast(): lexical cast error
Assertion failed: (nr < optvec.size()), function loadPTScript, file /home/ports/graphics/hugin-devel/work/hugin-2011.4.0/src/hugin_base/panodata/Panorama.cpp, line 2183.

It took me quite some time to realize that these parameters are incorrect. They're right for panomatic, but not for cpfind. I couldn't find what the right parameters are for cpfind, and I couldn't find where to set them in the preferences, though I was sure they were there before. I got them implicitly by resetting the control point detectors to defaults. After that, it ran, found a very good match (better than the 32 bit panomatic), and I found:

Arg 0: 'cpfind'
Arg 1: '--multirow'
Arg 2: '-o'
Arg 3: '/tmp/ap_resvSJq7a'
Arg 4: '/tmp/ap_inprojkaHoE7'

Later Terry Duell on the mailing list pointed me to the Edit button in the preferences, where you can set the parameters to be handed to the control point detector. Inspection shows that the correct parameters for cpfind are:

-o %o --multirow %s

While for panomatic it's:

-o %o %i

But clearly the values weren't correct in the first place. There are a number of issues here:

The results of cpfind with yesterdays “house looking south” panorama were very good, better than I had had with panomatic in 32 bit mode, nona didn't crash, and I got a good result. So I tried again with the “verandah centre” panorama. Not good:


This should be verandah-preview.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah preview          Dimensions:          1920 x 1080, 976 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 8 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 8 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 8 July 2012

 

Once again I got lots of spurious control points between different parts of the same image, and they were by far the worst matches, up to 693 pixels apart. It had turned a number of images on their side, like this one:


This should be verandah-preview-2.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah preview 2          Dimensions:          1920 x 1078, 992 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Sunday, 8 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 8 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 8 July 2012

 

It wasn't the multirow attribute, which seems to be set whether or not you ask for multirow. I tried removing all the control points attached to only one image, and I got a better result, but still unacceptable.

Another issue is still moving in the fast panorama preview window. The bug report refers to a debug build, so tried that:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/11) /usr/ports/graphics/hugin-devel/work/hugin-2011.4.0 142 -> cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug

Running those executables created lots of debug output, conveniently to stderr, at least in the case of cpfind. How much? Too much:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/10) /var/tmp 29 -> l cpfind.log
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel  157988611 Jul  8 18:41 cpfind.log
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/10) /var/tmp 30 -> wc -l cpfind.log
  900137 cpfind.log

900,000 lines is 15,000 pages. It looks like this, taken from a random point not too far from the beginning of the file:

DEBUG 18:01:04.173483 (/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-devel/work/hugin-2011.4.0/src/hugin_base/algorithms/optimizer/PTOptimizer.cpp:245) agree(): Error (-26.606, 21.846), 34.4256
TRACE 18:01:04.173516 (/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-devel/work/hugin-2011.4.0/src/hugin_base/panodata/SrcPanoImage.cpp:241) setVar(): Var:r value: 25.9383
TRACE 18:01:04.173547 (/usr/ports/graphics/hugin-devel/work/hugin-2011.4.0/src/hugin_base/panodata/SrcPanoImage.cpp:241) setVar(): Var:p value: -7.32586

As the time indicates, I didn't have much time to look at it today, and the size deters me. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.


ldconfig problems
Topic: technology, photography Link here

One of the alternate possibilities I had while trying to solve the Hugin problem was to run the 32 bit binaries on eureka. For that, of course, you need the libraries, and they need to be located with ldconfig. Tried that, and for some reason it refused to accept the library /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) /home/grog 7 -> ldconfig -32  /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin/
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) /home/grog 8 -> ldconfig -32  -r
/var/run/ld-elf32.so.hints:
        search directories: /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin/

There are 9 libraries in that directory, and (not surprisingly) hugin requires them all:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) /home/grog 9 -> l  /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin/
total 11
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   122076 Jul 28  2011 libceleste.so.0.0
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel    24252 Jul 28  2011 libflann_cpp.so
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  9279544 Jul 28  2011 libhuginbase.so.0.0
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   328172 Jul 28  2011 libhuginbasewx.so.0.0
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel    88488 Jul 28  2011 libhuginlines.so.0.0
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   402716 Jul 28  2011 libhuginvigraimpex.so.0.0
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   205072 Jul 28  2011 libicpfindlib.so.0.0
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel    52328 Jul 28  2011 liblocalfeatures.so.0.0
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   156464 Jul 28  2011 libmakefilelib.so.0.0
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) /home/grog 10 -> ldd /dereel/usr/local/bin/hugin
/dereel/usr/local/bin/hugin:
        libhuginbase.so.0.0 => not found (0)
        libboost_thread.so => not found (0)
(etc)

With some experimentation, discovered that ldconfig didn't like the names, in particular the .0.0 at the end. Change the name and it discovers them:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) /home/grog 11 -> ln  /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin//libhuginbase.so.0.0  /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin/libhuginbase.so.0
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) /home/grog 12 -> ldconfig -32  -r
/var/run/ld-elf32.so.hints:
        search directories: /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin/
        0:-lhuginbase.0 => /dereel/usr/local/lib/hugin//libhuginbase.so.0

But that doesn't help, because the executable is still looking for the version with .0.0 at the end. Is this a bug or a feature? It's certainly a pain.


Monday, 9 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

New tripod plate
Topic: photography Link here

The tripod plate I ordered a couple of weeks ago arrived today. For once, it's just what I want, though it took me a while to realize it. Here the old (left) and the new plates:


This should be Plate-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Plate 4          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 752 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 10 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 10 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 10 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Plate-5.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Plate 5          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 832 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 10 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 10 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 10 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

There's not much difference, but it's significant. At first I thought the hexagonal nut was a disadvantage compared to the D ring on the old one, but this proved not to be the case: it requires a spanner, but it makes it easier to tighten the nut. By contrast, the D ring is difficult to grasp, and it has already bent because of the tightening needed. And somehow the arrangement of the padding on the other side means that it slips less. It's the same kind of padding, so maybe the fact that the pads are smaller enables them to grip better. In any case, it looks as if I won't need to glue it, so I've ordered another.


Still more migration issues
Topic: technology, photography Link here

On with my various experiments with the FreeBSD amd64 migration today. The biggest discovery was how to find 32 bit shared libraries. I had already discovered that ldconfig ignores files with specific names, but that appears to be a bug in ldconfig. In any case, using the old (probably “deprecated”) environment variable LD_32_LIBRARY_PATH works, so now I can run all my old 32 bit programs like kklondike and my version of xearth.

More importantly, though, I can run the 32 bit versions of the Hugin programs. Did a lot of experimentation, including running hugin-i386. That worked, but it wasn't able to load the fonts:


This should be ugly-hugin.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: ugly hugin          Dimensions:          1045 x 531, 82 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 10 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 10 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 10 July 2012

 

Still, detecting the control points with panomatic-i386 was successful, and the panorama looked OK. Saved the project, started 64 bit Hugin with the same parameters, and it still looked OK. Ran Align again, using 64 bit panomatic, and it broke it again. Somehow I'm not getting much further. Saved the project files for 32 bit and 64 bit detection for further reference. They're very different, but nothing reaches out and grabs me.


This should be verandah-centre.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah centre          Dimensions:          9200 x 5935, 10928 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 6 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be badpano.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: badpano          Dimensions:          9169 x 6483, 5552 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 6 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 6 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

On the positive side, took some time to get the web server and mail running. And once again I had lots of changes to make in my PHP code because they don't want POSIX regular expressions any more. By comparison, getting mail up and running was easy.


Tuesday, 10 July 2012 Dereel Images for 10 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Five years of Dereel
Topic: general, opinion Link here

We've been here 5 years already! How time flies. I was thinking of taking some photos to show how things have changed in that time, but I've already done that to death with the photos, notably the ones I took earlier in the year. Still, it's been quite a time, and we're feeling comfortable now.


Hugin and VirtualBox
Topic: technology, photography Link here

Continued trying to get Hugin working on FreeBSD amd64 today, and with the help of the mailing lists finally made the breakthrough. The original problems (mainly crashing) have gone away. The single row panoramas that I had tried had worked, and the only problem I had was with the “verandah centre” panorama.

While looking around, discovered that there is, indeed, good documentation for the control point detectors, where you'd expect it: Help. It fires up a web browser (how does it know which one?) with relatively complete documentation of the parameters, including the information for cpfind that should use the --multirow option unless you're doing big panoramas. It seems to have nothing to do with multirow panoramas.

The other information was about the really bad control points on the same image. They're not a bug: they're a feature, something called vertical line control points, as the control point view of the south view panoram show. That also explains why the error was so small. But clearly something went wrong with the verandah centre panorama. You can switch off the line detection in Preferences/Assistant, so tried that and got good results.

Why did the vertical line detection fail so badly? Probably because none of the images were taken pointing horizontally. The lower row was pointing at the floorboards, and it seems that linefind took them to be vertical, giving rise to this kind of misdetection:


This should be control-points.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: control points          Dimensions:          1093 x 1087, 592 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 11 July 2012

   
This should be control-points-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: control points detail
Dimensions: 626 x 135, 10 kB
Dimensions of original: 626 x 135, 10 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Wednesday, 11 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

It looks as if linefind should only be used on roughly horizontal panoramas.


Window manager bugs
Topic: photography, technology Link here

Another issue I had with Hugin was the inability to drag the image in the fast preview Move tab. I had heard that it was a window manager bug, but that seemed unlikely. Still, it was worth checking, especially since there's an outstanding bug report against fluxbox reporting output from xev. I was able to reproduce it here with the 64 bit version of fvwm2. Without a window manager, or with the 32 bit version of fvwm2, a mouse click and release give the following events:

ButtonPress event, serial 27, synthetic NO, window 0x8400004,
    root 0x501, subw 0x0, time 327962631, (115,111), root:(922,132),
    state 0x0, button 1, same_screen YES

ButtonRelease event, serial 27, synthetic NO, window 0x8400004,
    root 0x501, subw 0x0, time 327962783, (115,111), root:(922,132),
    state 0x100, button 1, same_screen YES

But with 64 bit fvwm2, I get:

LeaveNotify event, serial 35, synthetic NO, window 0x8400004,
    root 0x503, subw 0x0, time 328006415, (38,120), root:(837,506),
    mode NotifyGrab, detail NotifyAncestor, same_screen YES,
    focus YES, state 256

EnterNotify event, serial 35, synthetic NO, window 0x8400004,
    root 0x503, subw 0x0, time 328006415, (38,120), root:(837,506),
    mode NotifyUngrab, detail NotifyAncestor, same_screen YES,
    focus YES, state 256

KeymapNotify event, serial 35, synthetic NO, window 0x0,
    keys:  0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
           0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0

ButtonPress event, serial 35, synthetic NO, window 0x8400004,
    root 0x503, subw 0x0, time 328006415, (38,120), root:(837,506),
    state 0x0, button 1, same_screen YES

ButtonRelease event, serial 35, synthetic NO, window 0x8400004,
    root 0x503, subw 0x0, time 328007407, (38,120), root:(837,506),
    state 0x100, button 1, same_screen YES

This is very close to the bug report, and it correlates directly both with the inability to move in the fast panorama Move tab and the strange methods I need to move windows with the window manager. So for the time being I'm staying with the 32 bit version.


Migrating from braindeath
Topic: technology, photography Link here

One of the reasons I wanted to move to FreeBSD amd64 was to have enough memory to run VirtualBox machines big enough for programs like DxO Optics “Pro”. Up to now the biggest memory I could get for smart, a Microsoft XP image, was about 800 MB. Today I tried again, once again running into problems with out of date drivers—why doesn't portupgrade upgrade them? But apart from that, everything went smoothly, and I was able to get up to 3.5 GB of memory. Installed the latest version of DxO and ran it. How much faster? The old machine has a 2.8 GHz Pentium D with 2 GB of memory. smart now has 3 Phenom 9550 CPUs with 3.5 GB of RAM. According to cpubenchmark.net, the Pentium D has a PassMark performance of 1,300, while the Phenom has a PassMark of 2,536, pretty much exactly twice the speed. So how did the conversions go? First thing to note is that DxO, at any rate, only used one CPU. I don't know if Microsoft XP can use more, but there was no evidence of it. And it took twice as long! It seems that these PassMark numbers relate to all available CPUs, so this seems reasonable, but it's a bit disappointing to see an already glacially slow program get twice as slow again.


Wednesday, 11 July 2012 Dereel Images for 11 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

FreeBSD amd64: into the second week
Topic: technology Link here

The good news about my migration to FreeBSD amd64 is that it's almost over. Things are running more or less smoothly, and now I can address the things that I needed amd64 for in the first place. Yesterday I established that smart, a virtual Microsoft XP machine on eureka, was actually significantly slower than braindeath. Discussing it on IRC today, established that yes, Microsoft XP is multiprocessor-capable if it's installed that way, and that's the way it's installed on braindeath, which appears to have hyperthreading. That also confirmed that DxO Optics “Pro” uses both “CPUs”, so it was worthwhile investigating the situation on smart. It proved not to be running the other processors I had given it, and I didn't really feel like doing a full install. Instead I need to find the cheapest way to buy a new 64 bit Microsoft operating system and install that.

Still, Callum Gibson—as always—came up with a number of interesting links which promised to help. The first looked like just what I needed, but stressed the importance of having “Service Patch 2” installed. My version is Service Pack 3, so that seemed OK. But it wasn't: things look very different under the covers, and the instructions just didn't work. There's another page on the subject, but I felt I had spent enough time on the matter already.

Instead took a look at a couple of other VMs. I have just received a DVD of Ubuntu 12.04, so installed the 64 bit version of that. On Peter Jeremy's suggestion, called it echuca. That was uneventful, but when it came up I couldn't find anything to do with it. No shell! It seems that Canonical have achieved their aim of making their operating system as Microsoft-like as possible. It seems that it is possible to get a shell by clicking on top right and typing in terminal, but the “out of box experience” was very negative. I'll leave it as it is until I need to use it for something.

Apart from that, migrated the web server to eureka, updating the DNS configuration to match, and ran into yet more problems with PHP. Why, WHY do they have to deprecate things as standard as POSIX regular expressions? One of the results is that my phpMyEdit pages no longer work, not even after frobbing. Tomorrow I'll have to install the new version to get it to work again.


Victoria Police: surpassing themselves
Topic: general, opinion Link here

A reply to our last complaint about the excess charges for the speeding fine today:


This should be Court-letter-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Court letter detail          Dimensions:          1957 x 297, 432 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 11 July 2012

 

This should be Court-letter.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Court letter          Dimensions:          2550 x 3509, 5872 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 11 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 11 July 2012

 

My opinion of the authorities was already at rock bottom, so this couldn't worsen it. But it makes very clear just how incompetent they are. I suspect “there are sufficient grounds to vary the costs” is what we've been getting at all along. But they don't say anything more about it, just as they don't give any reasoning for the rejection. Instead they offer to issue a warrant to claim $0.00 from me. I didn't think that sort of thing still really happened.

How do I react? We'll have to go to court to get the fees back. But should I react to the letter? On IRC, Edwin Groothuis suggested I should call up and refuse to pay, Peter Jeremy thought a cheque for the value demanded would be a good idea, and Callum Gibson suggested I ask for extra time to pay. Personally I thought of calling up and saying that bPay refused to process the transaction. But all these approaches have the disadvantage that whoever I contact, though he or she may fail the Turing test, might understand that I'm making fun of the system and have absolutely no sense of humour. But what a system! We still feel persecuted, and Yvonne even talked of returning to South Australia.


Seed germination problems: recognized?
Topic: gardening Link here

Three weeks ago I planted a number of tomato, chili and lily seeds. The tomatoes should have germinated in 10 to 14 days, so clearly something was wrong. I had left them in the bathroom by the window, one of the brightest places in the house, but not the warmest: most of the time the temperature is under 20°. So a couple of days ago I put them in the kitchen, where it's very dark but significantly warmer. And that did the trick: now a number of seeds have germinated, and hopefully the rest will follow suit.

That's only part of the issue, though: they need both warmth and light. I suppose I'll have to put them back in the bathroom with some heating.


Refining chicken wings
Topic: food and drink Link here

Yvonne came back from shopping with 4 kg of chicken wings—only $8! We have not one, but two recipes for them, but today I did more experiments. In the past I have either steamed or boiled them to cook them, and then barbecued or deep-fried them. But the first step still didn't convince me, so today I took the wings out of the marinade and cooked them in the microwave oven. While deep-frying, I reduced the marinade and added honey, something that I hadn't really got to work properly before.

The result? Good, but it could be better. The meat should be falling from the bone, and it wasn't quite. That's a matter of the microwave oven, of course. I cooked for 10 minutes at 440 W. How much did they weigh? I don't know, but there were 5 wings, probably 600 g. That particular load should probably have been cooked for about 30% more, say 13 minutes. So the important rates are: 570 kJ per kg, 730 W per kg. We'll try again in a couple of days.


Thursday, 12 July 2012 Dereel Images for 12 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More PHP pain
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Everywhere I go I find more fallout from decisions made in the latest version of PHP. As planned yesterday, got hold of the latest version of phpMyEdit and installed it. Ran the script phpMyEditSetup.php and got:


Notice: Undefined index: db in /usr/local/www/data/phpMyEdit-5.7.1/phpMyEditSetup.php on line 65

Notice: Undefined index: tb in /usr/local/www/data/phpMyEdit-5.7.1/phpMyEditSetup.php on line 66

And that was all. For whatever reason, the generated page ended there. Tried again on dereel, still running the old version of PHP, and that worked. So I moved the generated file (freezer.php) to eureka and tried it there. And the web server gave a 404! I've never seen that before for a file that was present, no matter what the contents.

As if that wasn't enough, discovered a new “feature” in bash: I have a number of environment variables that refer to path names. In this case it was W, which is the base directory of the web server. And I use it in conjunction with file name completion, like this:

=== grog@dereel (/dev/pts/4) ~ 12 -> cd $W/phpMTab
=== grog@dereel (/dev/pts/4) ~ 12 -> cd /usr/local/www/data/phpMyEdit-5.7.1/

But that no longer works! Instead, the file name completion puts a backslash in front of the $ sign:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) ~ 36 -> cd $W/phpMTab
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/27) ~ 36 -> cd \$W/phpMyEdit-5.7.1
bash: cd: $W/phpMyEdit-5.7.1: No such file or directory

Is that intentional? It doesn't seem to have anything going for it, and I can't find a way to turn it off.

In any case, did some comparison of the newly generated file. About the only difference was a comment saying which version of phpMyEdit had generated it. Further investigation showed that the newest version is dated 16 September 2007, so it's clearly another dead project. Did some investigation of alternatives before I realized that this is God's way of telling me to finally write my own, custom built pages. But clearly not today. For the time being we'll just run it on dereel.

But what a pain! It really seems that PHP, in particular, is being deliberately backwards-incompatible.


My photo processing
Topic: photography Link here

My photo processing isn't exactly typical. I don't use any of the big online photo sites like Flickr or Picasa. Instead, I process things almost entirely my own way and display them on my web site. That allows me much more flexibility in the presentation, including including them in other pages, multiple sizes, comparison images, popup EXIF data, lazy loading and more.

And inevitably it's a work in progress. There's a lot of mess under the covers. But yesterday Peter Jeremy asked me for a copy of the software. That's fine, but there's no documentation (does this sound familiar?). So today I spent some time writing a web page on my photo processing. Hopefully it'll be useful.


Another grapefruit
Topic: gardening Link here

Our pink grapefruit trees are bearing well now. Most aren't completely ripe, but a couple have fallen off, and I've left them a while to ripen further. Today we tried the biggest one:


This should be Grapefruit-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Grapefruit 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 960 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 12 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 12 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 12 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

Not a very good imitation of a pink grapefruit. I forgot to notice which tree this is, but possibly it's the old one, which has already played this kind of trick on us. As grapefruits go, it was acceptable, but too sour and bitter for our taste. Hopefully the ones still on the trees will be better.


Enchiladas rojas
Topic: food and drink Link here

Enchiladas rojas for dinner tonight, and went out looking for recipes. They're surprisingly similar, and also pretty much the same as enchiladas verdes except for the sauce, so I've combined the recipes and just written a new recipe for the sauce.

Quite an uneventful dish:


This should be Enchiladas-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Enchiladas 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1168 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 12 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 12 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 12 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Enchiladas-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Enchiladas 4          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1648 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 12 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 12 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 12 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

One issue is the cheese. I used feta and discovered that it doesn't melt. About the only other thing of interest is that the tortillas stuck to the comal, which I think is because they were too moist. I've also decided to use 30 g of masa per tortilla instead of the previous 25 g, which seems to be a better size.


Friday, 13 July 2012 Dereel Images for 13 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

PHP: What to complain about
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Finally bit the bullet today and started work on a replacement for the phpMyEdit deep freeze list. It's been a while since I've done this, and I spent sometime looking in vain for an example. Finally I took the most likely candidate and went off to the PHP manual web site, which told me that—of course—the MySQL interface I was using is deprecated. I should choose mysqli or PDO_MySQL. Did some reading about that and came to the conclusion that there wasn't much in it. So what interfaces did I have compiled in? That's in /var/db/ports/php5-extensions/options. And none of the interfaces were installed. How could anything work?

But then, of course, nothing did work. Rebuilt the PHP extensions and installed them, restarted httpd, and suddenly everything worked again. What's wrong with this picture?

So: in the end I just needed to replace some obsolete variables, and everything works again. But why were there no error messages?


bash: broken for 18 months
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

The other bug that I found yesterday was the completion issue with bash. Callum Gibson went off into the web and came back with a number of references indicating that it was introduced about 18 months ago, people agree that it is a bug, and nobody is doing anything obvious about it. This message probably sums it up. It's a sad day when such a central piece of software can have a bug of this magnitude for this long. But then, who uses shells any more? The web browser is the way to go, and they're all riddled with bugs.


Happy begonia
Topic: gardening Link here

The begonia that I moved to the kitchen two weeks ago has thanked me. Here “before” and “after”:


This should be Kitchen.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Kitchen          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1520 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 27 June 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 27 June 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 27 June 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Begonia.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Begonia          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1424 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 13 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 13 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 13 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
Saturday, 14 July 2012 Dereel Images for 14 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

The new enblend revisited
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Photo day again today, and managed to take my panoramas with no particular problems. Yes, smart (the virtual Microsoft machine on eureka) is even slower than braindeath, but of course I was able to spread the processing across both machines, with the result that my first processing step was done somewhat faster. And then I ran into trouble stitching the equirectangular panoramas:

enblend: info: loading next image: X00-230009.tif 1/1

enblend: out of memory
enblend: std::bad_alloc
enblend: info: remove invalid output image "X00-23.tif"
gmake: *** [X00-23.tif] Error 1

That was despite allocating 3.5 GB of memory for the process, something it didn't come close to using. Is this the result of an internal limitation? This was the 32 bit version, since I had had trouble building the 64 bit version of enblend version 4. Took another look at that:

g++46 -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I. -I../..   -I/usr/local/include  -D_GNU_SOURCE -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -I../../include -DVIGRA_STATIC_LIB -D_THREAD_SAFE -I/usr/local/include/OpenEXR   -O2 -pipe -Wl,-rpath=/usr/local/lib/gcc46 -fno-strict-aliasing --param inline-unit-growth=60 -O2 -DNDEBUG -Wall -MT libvigra_impex_a-png.o -MD -MP -MF .deps/libvigra_impex_a-png.Tpo -c -o libvigra_impex_a-png.o `test -f 'png.cxx' || echo './'`png.cxx
png.cxx: In function 'void PngError(png_structp, png_const_charp)':
png.cxx:84:21: error: invalid use of incomplete type 'png_struct {aka struct png_struct_def}'
/usr/local/include/png.h:872:16: error: forward declaration of 'png_struct {aka struct png_struct_def}'
png.cxx: In constructor 'vigra::PngDecoderImpl::PngDecoderImpl(const string&)':

This was followed by many more of the same. Why did that happen? Compared with my successful build of the 32 bit version 3 months ago. It failed too! Further investigation on Google found a number of hits, some saying that they had solved the problem—but not how. It seems, though, that this is a documented compatibility issue between enblend and libpng. On that page I read:

Portability Note
The libpng 1.5.x series continues the evolution of the libpng API, finally hiding the contents of the venerable and hoary png_struct and png_info data structures inside private (i.e., non-installed) header files. Instead of direct struct-access, applications should be using the various png_get_xxx() and png_set_xxx() accessor functions, which have existed for almost as long as libpng itself. (Apps that compiled against libpng 1.4 without warnings about deprecated features should happily compile against 1.5, too.)

Wonderful! I can't recall any reference to deprecation in prior builds, and I really, really don't care about code purity right now. I just want the bloody thing to work. People have suggested dropping back to older versions of libpng, but clearly that's not the best way to go. It looks as if I'm going to have to do yet more work.


Hugin's linefind
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

My experiments with Hugin's linefind program haven't been very positive so far, so today I tried one panorama both ways, with and without linefind. The results weren't encouraging: without linefind, I had an average error of 0.9 pixels and a maximum of 2.8. With linefind those values increased to 1.6 and 18.8.

And the results? Conveniently it lost the cropping, so these two images (first without, then with linefind) don't quite match. Run the mouse over either image to replace with the other:


This should be house-ne.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house ne          Dimensions:          4526 x 2564, 3536 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 14 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 14 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 14 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be house-ne-linefind.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: house ne linefind          Dimensions:          4527 x 2465, 3440 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 14 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 14 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 14 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

One thing's clear, though: the first image (without linefind) has better verticals. And that's exactly what linefind is supposed to buy you. Maybe it assumes perfectly level orientation, something that I seldom do. So for the time being, at any rate, I won't use it.


Sunday, 15 July 2012 Dereel Images for 15 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Midwinter flowers
Topic: gardening Link here

Today's exactly the middle of winter, and also my garden flower photo day. Took advantage of the meeting of autumn and spring with a couple of vases of flowers seldom seen together, like Narcissus and roses or gingers:


This should be Daffodils-and-Hedychium-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Daffodils and Hedychium 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 800 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 16 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Jonquils-rose-grevillea-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Jonquils rose grevillea 4          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 928 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 16 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 


enblend build problems: solved
Topic: photography, technology Link here

Sent mail to the Hugin group today about the enblend build problems. Quickly got a reply pointing me at the Arch Linux repository with patches that look right. But why are they there and not in the enblend repository? It seems that they have been added to the repository, but only in the development version, and there's nothing at all on the site to point at the problem.


Monday, 16 July 2012 Dereel Images for 16 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Yana comes home
Topic: general, food and drink Link here

This morning our daughter Yana arrived by overland bus in the middle of the night to visit us for a couple of days. She's nearly finished university (thought she was, but discovered she still had a couple of electives to do), and she's thinking of going into gastronomy. Apart from some long discussions—she has also decided that she wants to learn more languages—this meant that we had to eat lots of food, including nasi lemak for breakfast and a recipe for Coquilles Saint-Jacques with courgettes and thyme:


This should be Yana-Yvonne-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Yana Yvonne 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1264 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 16 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Cooking-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cooking 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1040 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 16 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Coquilles.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Coquilles          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1520 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 16 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Yana-Yvonne-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Yana Yvonne 3          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 1200 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 16 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 16 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 


Preparing for spring
Topic: gardening Link here

The last couple of weeks have been pretty much tied up with my computer migration, and though the end is not yet in sight, at least I'm getting time to do other things. It's high time we planted some of the Hebes in the east and south of the garden, so did a bit of investigating there, also some weeding. Somehow I can't get motivated.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

The new enblend—finally!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

My remaining problems with the enblend version 4 port related to the outdated version of texinfo that we have in the base FreeBSD source distribution. Investigating the subversion logs showed that it had been updated regularly up to about 7 years ago, and then nothing. On the other hand, we have a newer version in the Ports Collection. Why? Sent a message to the project mailing list and got a clear answer: about 7 years ago texinfo changed its license to the GPL Version 3, which is incompatible with the BSD license, so we could no longer include it in the base system.

My timing is clearly inaccurate. As Harald Arnesen points out, GPL V3 was published on 29 June 2007

On the other hand, found out how to work around it and use a specific version of makeinfo:

CONFIGURE_ARGS=  MAKEINFO="${LOCALBASE}/bin/makeinfo"

Tested that and sent it off to Vasil Dimov, the maintainer. What a time it has taken!


Quiet day
Topic: general Link here

Somehow I was feeling demotivated, and didn't get much done today. More cooking in the evening, Indian food. Yana cooked an aubergine dish that is something like an Indian version of ratatouille.

Maybe this is the way most people live most of the time.


15 (or 55) years back in Australia
Topic: general, opinion Link here

The “divisible by 5” anniversaries continue. Fifteen years ago today we moved in to Wantadilla, which I mark as our real return to Australia after decades living overseas, mainly in Germany. By some strange coincidence, it's also roughly 55 years ago since I first returned to Australia with my parents after spending 3 years in Malaya.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012 Dereel → Geelong → Dereel Images for 18 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More tree removal
Topic: general, gardening Link here

CJ along to cut down a broken branch of one of the Cupressus macrocarpa trees to the north-west of the house:


This should be CJ-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: CJ 1          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 2112 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 18 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 18 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 18 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

He brought a bloke from Canada with him, Luke. Turns out that he comes from close to where Sundance and Yana were a couple of years ago.


Periodontic surgery
Topic: general Link here

To Geelong in the afternoon to see Leela Movva, the periodontist, dropping Yana at the station on the way. Leela had been planning some deeper gum treatment, which I had expected to be like I had five years ago, but this time it was serious work, including cutting through the gums, folding them back and cleaning underneath. It'll take a couple of weeks to heal. Hopefully this won't have to happen too often.


Thursday, 19 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

amd64 conversion pain not over
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's been over two weeks since I migrated to FreeBSD amd64, and I still have a long list of things that need fixing. Today managed to wedge the X server again—how I wish that would go away—and again had difficulty starting it. Then I discovered that my Emacs geometry problem, which I thought had gone away, is still with me. It seems that I didn't test it very well before. And somehow startx without parameters now wants to start server 1 instead of server 0. Why should that be? It's OK if I explicitly specify server 0, but why should it change the default?


Victoria Police: utter amazement
Topic: general, opinion Link here

A couple of days ago I noticed a strange thing about last week's letter from Victoria Police: although it stated that the application had been refused, and that Yvonne should pay $0.00 or face the prospect of them issuing a warrant, the heading (conveniently separated from the message by a number of case references) read VARIATION OF COSTS ALLOWED. What does that mean? What did the letter mean at all? I had been meaning to call them once I got my resolve together, but today another letter arrived. On the face of it, it had nothing to do with Victoria:


This should be envelope.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: envelope          Dimensions:          980 x 498, 272 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 20 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 20 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 20 July 2012

   
This should be envelope-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: envelope detail
Dimensions: 256 x 93, 16 kB
Dimensions of original: 256 x 93, 16 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 20 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But, to my amazement, it was not only from the “Department of Justice” of some unspecified entity, and it included a cheque for the disputed $95.40.


This should be refund.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: refund          Dimensions:          893 x 1228, 672 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 20 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 20 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 20 July 2012

 

So, finally, we have what we wanted.

But why this extreme stupidity? I discussed last week's letter with a number of people, many of whom came up with some fanciful ideas about what to do next, but none of whom thought that the application had been rejected. On the contrary, the only reference to the application (incorrectly qualified with “to revoke this Court Order”) stated that it had been refused. “Sufficient grounds to vary the costs” is such a nebulous term that it's almost meaningless, though it did suggest to me that something had been accepted. On the other hand, there's a demand to pay $0.00 or face the prospect of having a warrant issued. At least that indicated that the variation was not to increase the costs. The whole form of the letter is tantamount to illiteracy.

In many ways, though, it's also related to the inability to communicate of people in the Microsoft space. Consider this hypothetical mail message and reply:

> I am prepared to pay the original infringement penalty of $244.  I ask you to waive the remaining
> fees.

Your application to revoke the Court Order has been refused by the Infringements Registrar.

Once again I get the impression that they don't read carefully enough, or they don't have the intelligence to understand the content. But the demand for payment of $0.00 suggests that their computer people are no better.


Friday, 20 July 2012 Dereel Images for 20 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Wine under amd64
Topic: technology Link here

One of the problems about my migration to FreeBSD amd64 that I knew about in advance is that wine doesn't work. And that's annoying, because I use it to run Ashampoo photo optimizer in my photo processing. The idea was to use a virtual machine instead.

But one problem that I hadn't expected with virtual machines is that startup and shutdown isn't instantaneous. It can take up to a minute in a manner reminiscent of this cartoon:

Estimation

By contrast, wine does fire up essentially instantaneously, like any other program. But I can't even run it across the network because the performance goes to hell. So it was good to discover that the version of wine that I built on dereel, the i386 box, also runs on amd64. I suppose in the long term I should maintain an i386 box for port builds.


The worse for wear
Topic: general Link here

I suppose my gums are healing as well as can be expected, but the whole affair has left me feeling a little under the weather. As a result, did little of consequence today.


Saturday, 21 July 2012 Dereel Images for 21 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Full 64 bit Hugin
Topic: photography, technology Link here

It's taken me over 2 weeks to get my Hugin installation to work correctly with 64 bit executables. That's a good thing too: the 32 bit version of enblend maxes out with a process size of 3 GB, and that's not enough for some of my panoramas. Today I experienced some of the largest memory footprints I've ever seen:


  PID USERNAME    THR PRI NICE   SIZE    RES STATE   C   TIME   WCPU COMMAND
86087 grog          1 108    5  5184M  2141M CPU0    3   4:21 100.00% enblend
87523 grog         20 103    0  8591M  3778M CPU2    2  12:20 102.25% java

The most interesting thing, though, was the processing time. At the beginning of last month I had an extreme case where enblend took 4 hours, 40 minutes to do its thing. Admittedly that was with a higher resolution panorama, but in general enblend's processing time has been a serious factor. Not so today: the garden centre panorama took all of 4 minutes, 29 seconds—a 60-fold speed increase!

One of the reasons the migration has taken so long is the new linefind program, which is designed to find verticals. The man page doesn't say, but it appears to assume a horizontal lens axis, and it fails badly on my multirow panoramas. So for the moment at any rate I'm not using it.


More DxO bugs
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

I've already commented on a bugfeature of DxO Optics “Pro”: if the EXIF data of the input image is changed in any way—even in valid ways—it may ignore it completely. In my case, I had put my name in the Author tag. There's a clear workaround there, one that makes sense anyway: don't put the Author tag in the raw file, just in the output JPEG. DxO will even do this for you, though I haven't found a way to get it to store the values, so I have to reenter them every time I start it; it's easier to use my script afterwards.

So I did it like that today. Not a success. Hugin complained about every image:

Error: Offset of directory Olympus2, entry 0x0100 is out of bounds: Offset = 0x00002e10; truncating the entry
Warning: Directory OlympusCs, entry 0x0101: Strip 0 is outside of the data area; ignored.
Error: Offset of directory OlympusIp, entry 0x1103 is out of bounds: Offset = 0x0013fa70; truncating the entry
Error: Offset of directory OlympusIp, entry 0x1104 is out of bounds: Offset = 0x00161670; truncating the entry

So I used exiftool to reinstate the EXIF data. It wasn't happy either:

Warning: Bad MakerNotes offset for ThumbnailImage - orig/P7217757.jpg
Warning: Bad MakerNotes offset for ThumbnailImage - orig/P7217759.jpg
Warning: Bad MakerNotes offset for ThumbnailImage - orig/P7217758.jpg

DxO can say what they want about their requirement of untouched EXIF data for their input files, but they can't deny that this is a bug. So I'm back to the old method again.


Time to revamp the garden
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

I've been struggling with weeds for as long as I've been here, but comparing today's photos made it very clear how I'm losing the battle. Two years ago I was concerned about the state in the first image, but today it looks like in the second picture:


This should be garden-se.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden se          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1792 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 24 July 2010, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 24 July 2010, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 24 July 2010 Complete exposure details

 
This should be garden-se-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: garden se detail          Dimensions:          2645 x 2419, 2256 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 21 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 21 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 21 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

Clearly some of it is simply more vegetation, but the paths in particular are heavily overgrown. Time for some heavier-duty weeding.


Sunday, 22 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

enblend performance revisited
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Yesterday I noted what appeared to be a 60-fold increase in the speed of enblend, but I wasn't quite comparing the same thing. In fact, not only did the panorama I took at the beginning of last month have more images: it was also much larger, in fact about 170 megapixels (26046×13023). So today I tried restitching it.

That gave quite a different picture: enblend took nearly 58 minutes, still only about 20% of the time it took in 32 bits last month. The reason was clear: it had more memory to play with, and it used as much as it could get. The maximum resident set went up to 4,420,796 kB, and the address space grew to at least 12,344,496 kB, the largest I have ever seen. It also managed to swell the size of swap to over 3 GB. I still have difficulty coming to terms with these sizes, over 1000 times as much as was considered big only a few years ago.

That wasn't just an experience: it also has its positive side. This image was the one that I had found to have a number of stripes near the joins between the rows:


This should be verandah-centre-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah centre detail          Dimensions:          2813 x 1580, 784 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Friday, 1 June 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Friday, 1 June 2012, small
Diary entry for Friday, 1 June 2012 Complete exposure details

   
This should be verandah-centre-detail-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: verandah centre detail 3
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 712 x 378, 78 kB
Dimensions of original: 712 x 378, 78 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 1 June 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

They're gone now. It's not clear whether that's because of a newer build of enblend, or whether it's a bug that went into hiding with more memory. The base sources remained the same, but there were other libraries. Still, the swap usage suggests that I should put more memory into the box. Somehow 32 GB no longer seems excessive.


More weeding
Topic: gardening Link here

The comparison of the garden photos with two years ago make it clear that I should be doing more weeding, so spent nearly an hour today doing the best part of a square metre. I can see more use of chemicals and weed mat in the near future.


Monday, 23 July 2012 Dereel Images for 23 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More c't magazine problems
Topic: general Link here

I suppose it's a sign of my general laziness that I don't even read the magazines to which I'm subscribed. In particular, I find that I don't get through c't until the next one comes two weeks later. But in the last couple of weeks it dawned on me that I had read issue 12 (dated 19 May 2012) and not seen anything since. Then, last week, issue 15 (dated 30 June 2012) arrived. I was about to write a message to Heise, an action fraught with difficulty, when two days later issue 14 arrived. And then today issue 13 arrived, along with a copy of the their quarterly photo magazine, also very late. I now have everything, but they've all been knocked around a bit, and even issue 15 was about 10 days late. I wonder if I'll be able to get them to do something about it without too much effort on my part.


X and backups
Topic: technology Link here

I back up my machines religiously every night using a cron job. And I at least skim the output every morning to ensure that nothing went wrong. Or so I thought. Today, with the help of my X loop bug, I managed to blow apart a virtual machine disk. A clear case for restoring the disk from backups.

And then I discovered my backups hadn't run for about 2 weeks. No messages in /var/log/cron. Entry in /etc/crontab OK. And you don't need to run crontab for /etc/crontab; cron checks the timestamp and re-reads automatically. So what went wrong?

The timestamp! I had copied the file from dereel to eureka, using the -p (preserve permissions and timestamps) option, so it was still dated October last year. Restarting cron seems to have done the job.

The exercise also shows how annoying this X bug is. I've been investigating it on the web for some time, and I've come up with a couple of things that suggest it's not as directly related to multi-screen as I thought. This report shows something similar happening with a single display (“the mouse is flickering on some edge of the screen”). This one is with FreeBSD, but I found other reports of it happening with Linux.

Further investigation pointed me to the nVidia documentation, where I read:

Option "UseEvents" "boolean"

Enables the use of system events in some cases when the X driver is waiting for the hardware. The X driver can briefly spin through a tight loop when waiting for the hardware. With this option the X driver instead sets an event handler and waits for the hardware through the poll() system call.

It's not clear that that is related, but it's quite possible. In any case, it's related to heavy load, so there's a chance. I've put the option in my config file, and we'll see if it does any good.


A bit more garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

Managed to drum up enough enthusiasm to put down some weed mat in the far east garden, plant some Hebes and bring in some mulch. It was surprisingly little work. Now if I could only keep this up.


Audrey Lehey the unknown
Topic: general, opinion Link here

My mother Audrey Lehey, née Herbert, has had an interesting life, mixing with people in high places—she once even received a visit from the Queen of England. But for some reason search engines have overlooked her completely. To prove the point to Yvonne, I searched for her again this evening. This time I found a new hit:

The marriage of Audrey Eileen, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs R. Herbert, Raith Court, East St Kilda, to Telegraphist Norman George Lehey, RAN, eldest son of Mr and Mrs G, Lehey, Montrose st, Auburn, was celebrated on Saturday at All Saints Church of England, East St Kilda. Archdeacon Schofield officiated. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a trained gown of white satin. Miss Audrey Lehey was bridesmaid, and Mr Robert Herbert was best man.

Clearly that was my parents' wedding, and there are details there I didn't know, such as the address of my mother's parents. But, ironically, the reference to Audrey Lehey wasn't for my mother, but my aunt Audrey, now Audrey Schaedel.

More generally, though, the NLA trove web site looks very interesting. It is apparently an attempt to digitize all old Australian newspapers. I wonder what else I'll find in there.


Next pizza experiment
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Last time I made pizza dough, I reduced quantities significantly. It's not completely clear that it's better, and I had intended to use only 4 g yeast and 100 g flour per pizza. We made pizzas again today, and to be on the safe side, I put in 5 g yeast per pizza. That's certainly enough. I pre-baked the bases for 4 minutes, by which time they looked like this:


This should be Pizza-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Pizza 2          Dimensions:          3916 x 2004, 1056 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 23 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 23 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 23 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

The bases swelled up to a point where they hit the upper heating element. But we're gradually getting there. I can't make up my mind whether to use less yeast next time, or to prick the base halfway through the pre-baking to stop it swelling up so much.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More network pain
Topic: technology Link here

Last night, just before going to bed, our network connection dropped. This happens from time to time, but this time it was different. The (wireless) link was reestablished, at least part of the authentication succeeded, but then... nothing. I couldn't be bothered last night, and hoped that it would clear up by the morning. It didn't. But when I restarted the ppp process, it came up immediately. So some error that ppp didn't think worth retrying.

Reading ppp.log is a real pain. It's verbose and repetitive, and the meaning of some of the messages is really difficult to interpret. But now I have a log of the failure and a log of a successful connection, so I can compare them. In a normal connection, I go through a whole sequence of:

Jul 24 08:52:29 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: FSM: Using "deflink" as a transport
Jul 24 08:52:29 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: State change Initial --> Closed
Jul 24 08:52:29 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: LayerStart.
Jul 24 08:52:29 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: SendConfigReq(1) state = Closed
Jul 24 08:52:29 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 0.0.0.0
Jul 24 08:52:29 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: State change Closed --> Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:30 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: RecvConfigNak(1) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:30 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  PRIDNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 24 08:52:30 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  SECDNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 24 08:52:30 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  PRINBNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 24 08:52:30 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 130 - NAK??
Jul 24 08:52:30 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  SECNBNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 24 08:52:30 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 132 - NAK??

The (1) in the first line is the attempt number, and it seems to take 6 attempts to get an ACK:

Jul 24 08:52:33 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: SendConfigReq(5) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:33 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 0.0.0.0
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: RecvConfigNak(5) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  PRIDNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  SECDNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  PRINBNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 130 - NAK??
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  SECNBNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 132 - NAK??
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: SendConfigReq(6) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 0.0.0.0
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: RecvConfigReq(0) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:   [EMPTY]
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: SendConfigNak(0) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 10.1.0.1
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: RecvConfigNak(6) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 121.44.21.36
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] changing address: 0.0.0.0  --> 121.44.21.36
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: SendConfigReq(7) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 121.44.21.36
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: RecvConfigReq(1) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:   [EMPTY]
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: SendConfigAck(1) state = Req-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:   [EMPTY]
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: State change Req-Sent --> Ack-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: RecvConfigAck(7) state = Ack-Sent
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 121.44.21.36
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: State change Ack-Sent --> Opened
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: LayerUp.
Jul 24 08:52:34 nerd-gw ppp[3152]: tun0: IPCP: myaddr 121.44.21.36 hisaddr = 10.1.0.1

Last night, though, this didn't happen. Instead I got:

Jul 23 22:04:20 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: SendConfigReq(15) state = Req-Sent
Jul 23 22:04:20 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP:  IPADDR[6] 0.0.0.0
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP: deflink: RecvConfigNak(15) state = Req-Sent
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP:  PRIDNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP:  SECDNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP:  PRINBNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 130 - NAK??
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP:  SECNBNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 132 - NAK??
Jul 23 22:04:21 nerd-gw ppp[1783]: tun0: Phase: deflink: Too many IPCP REQs sent - abandoning negotiation

So my best bet is that something at the other end is flaky at best, and in this case didn't work at all.

By coincidence, received a message from Internode support this afternoon, referring to a ticket I had raised. Two problems: firstly, I hadn't raised a ticket, and secondly they claimed that my phone number was out of service. So I called them up and discovered that they still had my old phone number from Wantadilla in the system. That's over 5 years out of date, and I have only had this service for about 18 months. And the ticket was a response to an automatic reply I send from the toy webmail account that they insist I have, the one whose name I have never revealed. They know it, of course, but shouldn't be sending anything there. And when they got the reply, they were confused.

In any case, discussed the network dropout with Bill, who saw from his end that I had had several short sessions, all less than a minute long. So somewhere in between there was some issue with connection setup. Bill thinks it's with Optus, but it seems that before they can lodge a fault, I need to deinstall and reinstall my software. I wonder if they do that too.


Interpreting Sipura dial plans
Topic: technology Link here

Calling Internode involved a small problem: I was downloading a CD image, and couldn't use VoIP. How do I get an outside line with the dial plan that I got for my SPA 3000 from MyNetFone? It reads:

(*xx.|000S0<:@gw0>|121S0|151S0|181S0|[2-9]xxxxxxxS0|0[23478]xxxxxxxxS0|0011xxx.|1800xxxxxxS0<:@gw0>|1300xxxxxxS0|13[1-9]xxxS0|<#0,:>xxx.<:@gw0>|xxx.)

And of course, there's very little help interpreting what this means, not even in the documentation. I have a link to a Dial Plan Parser, but it didn't help very much. Finally I got it: <#0,:>xxx.<:@gw0> means “Enter #0, wait for the (external) dial tone, then dial the number”.


More upgrade pain
Topic: technology Link here

More playing around with FreeBSD inside VirtualBox today. Upgraded the virtual defake to the latest 9.1-BETA kernel and... it wouldn't boot. They've recently done a dirty trick and changed the name of the disk driver, so the boot disk became /dev/ada0 instead of /dev/ad0. The loader had no difficulty loading the kernel, but then the entries in /etc/fstab were wrong, and the root mount failed.

That's OK: the loader enables you to tell it where the root file system is:

mountroot> ufs:/dev/ada0s1a

But that didn't work:

Trying to mount root from ufs:/dev/ada0s1a []...
mountroot: waiting for device ufs:/dev/ada0s1a ...
Mounting from ufs:/dev/ada0s1a failed with error 19.

Error 19 is ENODEV, operation not supported by device, not necessarily the most obvious error indication. Looking at the output of the list command, it seems that the kernel doesn't recognize the disk:

mountroot> ?
cd0 ada0

I should have seen ada0s1a there, but there's just the base disk. This isn't the first time I've had problems here, and I'm not sure what's causing them. Time to download an ISO and try from there.


More garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

Managed to maintain my garden work for a third day today, though it was slow work. Replanted a few Calendulas next to the row of Hebes, and spread the mulch:


This should be Hebe-bed-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hebe bed 2          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 3072 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

The continued with my weeding in the area. One weed, in particular, grows via underground runners and can spread very quickly. Spent the best part of an hour removing it from under a single Grevillea. Strangely I can't find any reference to what this weed is:


This should be Weed-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Weed 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1472 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Weed-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Weed 4          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 960 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

It's interesting because of the lobes at the bottom of the leaves. Apart from that, it could be some kind of Rumex, but the photos on some web sites, such as the Australian Government Weeds in Australia site, are so tiny that I can't recognize anything. Not only is the image only 199×144 pixels, the web page reduces it to 80×57:

weed sub-postage stamp

How can you recognize anything there?


Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Dereel Images for 25 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

When Venus aligns with Mars?
Topic: general, opinion Link here

Another double anniversary today, both of significant changes in my life: 45 years ago I was on my was to start university at Hamburg, and 30 years ago today I started my move to Rosbach vor der Höhe and also met my now wife Yvonne. How time flies!


First camellias bloom
Topic: gardening Link here

We bought a Camellia japonica nearly 2 years ago, and it spent the last 2 summers in a pot on the verandah. It didn't flower much. Then I moved it to the front of the house, still in the pot, next to the white camellia that has been here since we moved in. It seems to be doing a lot better there, and is already flowering, before the established white camellia:


This should be Camellia-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Camellia 2          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1440 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Camellia-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Camellia 1          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1184 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 25 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 


Yet another c't
Topic: general Link here

In the last week I have received no fewer than 4 issues of c't, including the quarterly photo edition. Clearly that's not enough: today the fifth arrived, last week's issue 16. Hopefully that's the end of the blockage.


Optus outage didn't just hit me
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Peter Jeremy pointed me at a newpaper article today: it seems I wasn't the only person hit by the network outage. They don't go into great detail, but the fact that it affected mainly postpaid customers suggests that it's something to do with authentication, which fits my problem description. The negotiation died just at the point where I should have received an IP address. Looking at what I got for the previous connection, I see:

Jul 19 14:48:42 cojones ppp[89600]: tun0: IPCP: myaddr 121.44.75.9 hisaddr = 10.1.0.1

Looking at the reverse DNS, I see:

9.75.44.121.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer ppp121-44-75-9.lns20.syd6.internode.on.net.

syd6 is almost certainly Sydney. So it appears that I was connected via New South Wales, which fits the problem description. That's good news: things of that magnitude are visible enough that they'll ensure that it doesn't happen again. A more localized problem wouldn't get the same amount of attention. Why did it take so long to fix? Maybe they were deinstalling and reinstalling their software.

While discussing the matter, Peter also pointed out a couple of other things that I hadn't looked at carefully:

Jul 19 14:48:40 cojones ppp[89600]: tun0: IPCP:  PRIDNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 19 14:48:40 cojones ppp[89600]: tun0: IPCP:  SECDNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 19 14:48:40 cojones ppp[89600]: tun0: IPCP:  PRINBNS[6] 10.11.12.13
Jul 19 14:48:40 cojones ppp[89600]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 130 - NAK??
Jul 19 14:48:40 cojones ppp[89600]: tun0: IPCP:  SECNBNS[6] 10.11.12.14
Jul 19 14:48:40 cojones ppp[89600]: tun0: IPCP: MS NBNS req 132 - NAK??

It's clear enough what PRIDNS and SECDNS are: they're the name server addresses. But what are PRINBNS and SECNBNS? The MS gives the clue: NetBIOS Name service. What on earth is that there for? This is supposed to be an Internet service, not a NetBIOS service. And it seems that the large number of retries is part of Optus' insistence on trying to negotiate NetBIOS names. Years ago Edwin Groothuis got bitten by the same thing. Peter commented:

If I recall the investigations I did and read the logs correctly (mine is basically identical to yours), Optus are sending ConfigNak (the RecvConfigNak entries) because our SendConfigReq doesn't include a NBNS entry.

He also recommended to increase the retry count with this line in ppp.conf:

set ipcpretry 3 50

Keeping up the garden work
Topic: gardening Link here

It's becoming ever clearer that my work in the garden is strongly influenced by the weather, and today was cooler. Managed some work anyway, including cutting down the grass bushes that we had planted in the east garden and then decided against. That involved dragging out our old but powerful mains-powered hedge trimmer and laying cables all over the place, so also trimmed the Buddlejas while I was at it. It's amazing how much they can grow in only a single season.


Thursday, 26 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Reviving FreeBSD build boxen
Topic: technology Link here

It's about time I committed some changes to FreeBSD, and as a prerequisite for that I need a separate build box. In the good old days I used old computers, but now we have virtual machines, and some time ago I created a few of them. I use them happily enough for Microsoft, but for some reason all three of my FreeBSD boxen wouldn't boot.

The problems were only marginally related. swamp came up, but I couldn't log in. When I tried, I got the message:

login: root
pam_nologin.so: no pam_sm_authenticate()
pam_sm_authenticate(): unexpected return value 4
Login incorrect
login:

What's that? Yes, I had had trouble with pam years ago, but I thought I had disabled it. And this came after a relatively minor change to the system, including a crash and subsequent fsck, so it seemed reasonable to assume that some of the pam files had been lost. But which? And how do you disable pam?

Discussed it on IRC, and Michael Ralston came up with a reference saying that /etc/pam.d/login needed changing:

@@ -5,7 +5,7 @@
 #

 # auth
-auth              required        pam_nologin.so          no_warn
+account           required        pam_nologin.so          no_warn

But this discussion was dated 27 September 2007 and referred to FreeBSD 7.0-CURRENT. swamp was running 10.0-CURRENT, and it had worked up until recently, and I had been upgrading things regularly. Surely it couldn't be related? But my login really did have the old auth in it, so I tried the change anyway, and... it worked!

What's wrong with this picture? The problem didn't occur after an update, but after a crash with subsequent fsck, which completely misled me. And clearly my login file was out of date—in fact, it had the ID line:

# $FreeBSD: src/etc/pam.d/login,v 1.16 2003/06/14 12:35:05 des Exp $

And no, des has nothing to do with DES: it's the login of the committer, Dag-Erling Smørgrav. Checking the logs, it seems that there has been only a single update since then, on 11 June 2007, and that was the one that caused the pain. But why didn't my upgrades update it? Callum Gibson told me I should have been reading the handbook. That's a problem: I've written my own handbook, and though it's out of date, the question is how often you should check. Every time? That doesn't work.

The current version of the handbook mentions /usr/src/UPDATING, a file I hadn't even heard of until I read of it in the mail message that Michael referred to. But it shouldn't be necessary, and in any case it seems that it now no longer contains any reference to pam. One of the great things we used to say about FreeBSD decades ago was that all you needed to upgrade your system was “make world”. Somehow the project appears to have given up on such simplicity.

I had less luck with another machine, defake. After building a recent kernel, it just can't find the devices. Although the disk hasn't changed, and it's able to load the kernel from /dev/ada0s1a, the probes only discover the base device /dev/ada0. So I'm dead in the water. I can boot the old kernel, so the disk structures are OK, but I can't upgrade it. What's wrong here?

In any case, it's clear that continual upgrades aren't as smooth as they were 10 or 15 years ago, so downloaded an ISO image for 9.1-BETA and installed that, making acquaintance for the first time with the new installation procedures. I suppose they might be OK for newcomers, but they don't seem to offer as much choice as before, and at least under VirtualBox they're just plain ugly. But VirtualBox offers one advantage for this sort of thing: throwaway virtual machines. Now I have a completely virgin 9.1-BETA machine, and I can clone a second one as a snapshot of the first, and do my work there. When I'm done, I just throw it away and make another clone. Now to decide where to clone.

VirtualBox has another strangeness: it tries to second-guess the keyboard layout, failing miserably in my case. In particular, the function keys F1 to F12 or so seem to have got lost, and the Esc key is still in its old location, but manages to create extra characters. That's normally not a problem, because I interact with the VMs via xterm, but when trying to boot the machine, it complicates things enormously. In particular, I should be able to boot defake from one of three partitions, selected by F1, F2 and F3, but that doesn't work.


More pruning
Topic: gardening Link here

Yesterday I pruned all the Buddlejas, but then it occurred to me that there were a few more to do. They proved to be more than the original quantity, and I also managed to remove a lot of old growth on the Salvia microphylla. My energy didn't last to the point of carting off the branches, which will have to wait until tomorrow.


Friday, 27 July 2012 Dereel
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Home alone
Topic: general, gardening Link here

Yvonne and Chris Yeardley headed off to Adelaide and Olivaylle today to pick up some horses, for Chris to beat up some young men, and for Yvonne to go shopping in the Central Market, leaving me alone with the cats. Somehow I didn't do much all day long. Cleared away yesterday's prunings, but the weather wasn't really conducive to doing much more work in the garden.


VirtualBox hangs and phantom processes
Topic: technology Link here

The make buildworld I started last night on swamp, one of my virtual machines, still hadn't finished this morning. It proved that the machine had hung. On further investigation, it wasn't the virtual machine itself but the host environment. I had to shoot down the entire VirtualBox system and restart. And then it happened again some hours later! What's wrong here? And how do I debug it?

That wasn't the only strangeness I had today. Last night's backup failed because the backup disk was already mounted. But why? Tried umounting it, but something had it open:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/11) ~ 123 -> umount /backups/
umount: unmount of /backups failed: Device busy
=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/11) ~ 124 -> lsof /backups/
lsof: WARNING: compiled for FreeBSD release 8.3-PRERELEASE; this is 9.0-STABLE.
COMMAND     PID USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
gam_serve 67910 grog 1607r  VDIR  0,184     1536    2  ()

Ignoring the evidence that Yet Another port fell through the last portupgrade session, what's gam_serve? Nothing. It's gam_server, but lsof truncates. pkg_info tells me that it's part of gamin-0.1.10_4, conveniently avoiding telling me the path name of the port. There's no good reason for that:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~ 171 -> less /var/db/pkg/gamin-0.1.10_4/+CONTENTS
@comment PKG_FORMAT_REVISION:1.1
@name gamin-0.1.10_4
@comment ORIGIN:devel/gamin

Not a port I installed. What does it do?

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~ 175 -> cat /usr/ports/devel/gamin/pkg-descr
Gamin is a file and directory monitoring system defined to be a subset of the
FAM (File Alteration Monitor) system...

The process conveniently had init as a parent, so I killed it. A new one popped up and took hold of the file system again. Why? Found another gam_server process, so I shot both of them down. Both came back again. In the end I had to force umount the file system to get rid of them. Another head-scratching moment.


Saturday, 28 July 2012 Dereel Images for 28 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

X still hanging
Topic: technology Link here

You can never prove the absence of a bug, right, just the presence? I had been wondering how to decide whether the recent changes to my X configuration fixed the hangs that I have been having. Now I have proof, unfortunately: it happened again today, not once, but twice. How do I debug this kind of problem?


Sunday, 29 July 2012 Dereel Images for 29 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Olympic fever and NBC accuracy
Topic: general, opinion Link here

So the London Olympic Games are now well under way, and both TV entertainment and news have dwindled to a trickle. I've heard more criticism of the event this time round than in previous years, such as this cost comparison. And of course the big news networks have coverage on their web sites, such as this one from NBC:

 
This should be Austr-al-ia-detail-2.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Austr al ia detail 2
Dimensions: 623 x 96, 4 kB
Dimensions of original: 623 x 96, 4 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 29 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

 
This should be Austr-al-ia-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Austr al ia detail
Dimensions: 656 x 602, 60 kB
Dimensions of original: 656 x 602, 60 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Sunday, 29 July 2012:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

But then, understanding other countries has never been a US forte, as presidential hopeful (“Obama has messed up overseas policy”) Mitt Romney has recently demonstrated. At least he's honest: other presidents don't let you know they're inappropriate for the job until after they're elected.


Bad time to track -CURRENT
Topic: technology Link here

For various reasons I still hadn't got swamp, my FreeBSD 10-CURRENT box, up to date. Today I finally managed it. Booted and got...

panic: _mtx_lock_sleep: recursed on non-recursive mutex em0 @ /src/FreeBSD/svn/head/sys/dev/e1000/if_lem.c:881

And for some reason kgdb can't read the dump properly:

kgdb: kvm_read: invalid address (0x354540a)
#0  0x00000000 in ?? ()
(kgdb) bt
#0  0x00000000 in ?? ()
(kgdb)

That should have given me a backtrace of the process that paniced. What went wrong there? It's beginning to look as if I should take another look at kgdb, but I'm not sure if I have the energy. In any case, it seems that this is a genuine bug in -CURRENT, one that mainly hits VirtualBox users. It's not 100% clear why that should be, except that the bug is specific to the network interface that VirtualBox provides.


Adelaide: not what it used to be
Topic: general Link here

Yvonne and Chris back from Adelaide and Olivaylle in mid-afternoon. Yvonne was not happy with Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills. Her shopping spree in the Central Market was disappointing: many of the stands she had wanted to visit are no longer there, and others, such as Standom, have greatly reduced their offerings. And Mount Barker has become a trendy, glittery place with high prices and superficial offerings. There's a Japanese place there where they bought some takeaway food which was so bad that they would have left it behind if they hadn't been so tired. To add insult to injury, the person serving them suddenly decided that she couldn't speak English when they complained. How things change in only 5 years!


Kaffir limes: too bitter
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Despite expectations, our Kaffir lime tree is bearing lots of fruit. It's not really intended for that: its main purpose is for the leaves. But before just throwing the fruit away, we've tried various things with them. They're too small for using the flesh, but today I pressed quite a bit of juice before thinking to try it. It's not very sour, but it's overwhelmingly bitter. Out with it after all.


Monday, 30 July 2012 Dereel Images for 30 July 2012
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Preparing for spring
Topic: gardening Link here

Winter has another month to go, but there's plenty to do in that time, and the first suggestions of spring are coming. Tomorrow I'll take some photos of what has happened so far.

A couple of weeks ago, Yvonne Curbach, the leader of the Growing Friends, asked me for some birch saplings. I've been dragging my feet, mainly because I couldn't find any, but time's getting on for that, too, so today dug out what I could find—a measly two saplings, along with one I had planted in a pot earlier, and also another which looks just the same (twig with buds), but which I suspect is a Japanese ornamental cherry. And while I was looking at that, noted that the two Hibbertia scandens cuttings that I had made last October are now developing leaves. Just the thing to plant in the shady area at the north-west corner of the house. Planted them there, in the process removing some really unhappy looking petunias, which I planted in pots for the greenhouse. There's a good chance they'll survive for another season.


Olympic games: forging friendship
Topic: opinion, general Link here

We don't watch sports, and as I mentioned, for us it's mainly a dry spell in the TV programme. But we heard good things about the opening ceremony, so we decided to take a look at that.

I've just finished a rant about Mitt Romney's lack of diplomacy. After what I wrote yesterday, he went on to Israel and claimed that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. That's an excellent way to annoy the Palestinians and confirm Arab prejudice against the USA. Bravo! I wonder what he would have said if he were asked whether the Palestinians should get Al-Quds as their capital.

But the Olympic committee weren't to be outdone. The ceremony started with a choir singing—predictably—Land of Hope and Glory, but then it went on to sing a song claiming Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand till we have built Jerusalem in Englands green & pleasant land. I've always disliked that song and considered it supremely insular. What worse thing to sing to an international audience!

The ceremony continued with an interesting view of British history, complete with token negro—playing cricket with a group of English gentlemen in what appears to be the mid-17th century. That's so wrong: firstly, there wouldn't have been any coloured people in that society at that time, and if there had been, they wouldn't have allowed them to play cricket with them. The same actor (I think) appears inmost other scenes. Nothing against coloured people, of course, but this is rewriting history. The English were very different until relatively recently, and the first coloured player in English international cricket was Roland Butcher, who played his first game for England in 1980. That doesn't say when coloured people were allowed into other teams, of course, and for some reason the web is silent on the topic, but I don't think it could have been much before 1950.

And then James Bond. It's interesting that the Queen participated, but the whole thing looked so completely inappropriate, and I at any rate wouldn't have known it was supposed to be James Bond if I hadn't been told. He looked like a prototypical British officer.

And then the celebration of the National Health Service, founded in 1948 and thus the first health insurance scheme in Europe, -37 years before the German Reichsversicherungsordnung. Everybody loves it! My recollection was than in reality, everybody hates it. Why even mention it in a ceremony like this?

Round about this point we couldn't be bothered watching any more. It's possible that things got better after that, but they would have had to change a lot to make up for the disappointing start. I skipped through the rest of the first half without finding any evidence, though I did find evidence that I wasn't the only one who was less than happy with the affair:


This should be Happiness.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Happiness          Dimensions:          1075 x 1080, 1184 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 30 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 30 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Monday, 30 July 2012

 


German Shepherd Dogs: hard to find?
Topic: animals Link here

Yvonne got a phone call from Jenny Judson today. Her old German Shepherd bitch died a couple of weeks ago, and she's been looking for a replacement. She has now found one: Nemo's mother, a mere 650 km away from where she lives. Sometimes I wonder how many pure-bred German Shepherd Dogs there are in Victoria.


Kaffir Lime: not so bad after all
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

After deciding to throw away the kaffir limes, I did a bit of research, and in the process discovered the names in Malay and Indonesian. For once they're not the same. In Indonesian the preferred name is jeruk perut, though they also know the Malay name limau perut, So do I: it's an important ingredient, and the Indonesian page states that they use the juice too. So I went off looking through my Malaysian and Indonesian cookbooks. It seems that they use them in addition to things like tamarind, presumably because of the bitterness. Still, worth keeping in mind.


Tuesday, 31 July 2012 Dereel Images for 31 July 2012
Top of page
previous day

More signs of spring
Topic: gardening Link here

We're two-thirds of the way through winter now, and since my flower photos two weeks ago a number more spring flowers are showing their heads:


This should be Acacia-baileyana-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Acacia baileyana 1          Dimensions:          3026 x 4032, 5520 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 31 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 31 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 31 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Grevillea.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Grevillea          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2336 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 31 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 31 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 31 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 

And just to confuse the matter, a stray Alstroemeria has come back into flower:


This should be Alstroemeria.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Alstroemeria          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2176 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 31 July 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 31 July 2012, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 31 July 2012 Complete exposure details

 


More plant identifications
Topic: gardening Link here

Yvonne was in town today, and while she was there she dropped in at the Botanical Gardens to give the birches to Yvonne Curbach. Yvonne was a no-show (probably just a bit late), but Bruce Holland was there and identified some of the plants she brought along: the unidentified plant that we bought in Napoleons six weeks ago is an Erodium:


This should be Mystery-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Mystery 3          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 1648 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 19 June 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 19 June 2012, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 19 June 2012 Complete exposure details

 

He also identified the weeds I was looking at last week. As I suspected, it's Rumex, though he didn't tell Yvonne what kind. He also identified some cuttings that she had brought—from elsewhere in Napoleons: they're a variegated sort of Pittosporum tenuifolium, and we should be able to propagate the cuttings. So that's what I did in the afternoon:


This should be Pittosporum.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Pittosporum          Dimensions:          3024 x 4032, 2000 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 1 August 2012, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 1 August 2012, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 1 August 2012 Complete exposure details

 

I left most of the leaves on this one for comparison's sake; conventional wisdom has it that it's better to cut most off and to trim the rest of the leaves, but it's interesting to see how much difference it will make.


Top of page Previous month Greg's home page Today's diary entry Next month Greg's photos Copyright information

Valid XHTML 1.0!

$Id: diary-jul2012.php,v 1.62 2014/06/25 01:35:01 grog Exp $