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Sunday, 1 September 2019 Dereel Images for 1 September 2019
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Blue Heelers: done!
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

Finished downloading my episodes of Blue Heelers rather more quickly than I had expected. That was due in part to the fact that many of the episodes were in lower resolution:

01/S1-E05---Waiting-For-Apples-BLUH-005.mp4     VIDEO:  [H264]  1280x720  24bpp  25.000 fps  2495.2 kbps (304.6 kbyte/s)
01/S1-E06---Apprehended-Violence-BLUH-006.mp4   VIDEO:  [H264]  1280x720  24bpp  25.000 fps  2497.4 kbps (304.9 kbyte/s)
...
08/S8-E03---Dead-For-Quids-BLUH8-003.mp4        VIDEO:  [H264]  896x504  24bpp  25.000 fps  1499.3 kbps (183.0 kbyte/s)
08/S8-E04---On-The-Road-BLUH8-004.mp4   VIDEO:  [H264]  896x504  24bpp  25.000 fps  1497.0 kbps (182.7 kbyte/s)

So in the end I had “only” 349048 MB. And the numbers don't add up: according to the episode list, there should be 510 episodes, but I only have 508. In once case I know what's wrong. The download failed:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Blue-Heelers/06 300 -> yt https://7plus.com.au/blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042
[7plus] BLUH6-042: Downloading JSON metadata
ERROR: No video formats found; please report this issue on https://yt-dl.org/bug . Make sure you are using the latest version; type  youtube-dl -U  to update. Be sure to call youtube-dl with the --verbose flag and include its complete output.

But why? Yes, I could report a bug, but why should only one download out of 509 fail? What about playing directly from the web browser? It plays the uninterruptible advertisements, but then hangs. What's it really trying to say? Downloaded the page and the previous one to compare:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Blue-Heelers/06 297 -> fetch https://7plus.com.au/blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-041
blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-041                       12 kB  111 MBps    00s
=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Blue-Heelers/06 298 -> fetch https://7plus.com.au/blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042
blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042                       12 kB  111 MBps    00s
=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Blue-Heelers/06 299 -> diff -wu blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-04*
--- blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-041   2019-09-01 09:50:23.696833000 +1000
+++ blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042   2019-09-01 09:49:47.864950000 +1000
@@ -11,12 +11,12 @@

-      <meta name="description" content="Ben becomes the centre of an emotional triangle when his ex-wife arrives unexpectedly, seeking a reconciliation, and a victim of domestic violence misconstrues his support for affection.">
-      <meta property="og:description" content="Ben becomes the centre of an emotional triangle when his ex-wife arrives unexpectedly, seeking a reconciliation, and a victim of domestic violence misconstrues his support for affection.">
-      <meta property="og:title" content="Blue Heelers - Married To The Job">
-      <meta property="og:image" content="https://imageproxy.swm.digital/image?u=https%3A%2F%2Fimagemap.swm.digital%2Fimage%2FBLUH6-041&format=jpeg&w=1200&q=80">
+      <meta name="description" content="PJ is inconsolable when the Heelers discover Maggie's missing car in flames with a charred body inside.">
+      <meta property="og:description" content="PJ is inconsolable when the Heelers discover Maggie's missing car in flames with a charred body inside.">
+      <meta property="og:title" content="Blue Heelers - Web Of Lies">
+      <meta property="og:image" content="https://imageproxy.swm.digital/image?u=https%3A%2F%2Fimagemap.swm.digital%2Fimage%2FBLUH6-042&format=jpeg&w=1200&q=80">
       <meta property="og:site" content="7plus">
-      <meta property="og:url" content="https://7plus.com.au/blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-041">
+      <meta property="og:url" content="https://7plus.com.au/blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042">

     <link rel="preconnect" href="https://component-cdn.swm.digital/content" crossorigin>
@@ -72,7 +72,7 @@
     <link rel="icon" href="/favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" sizes="16x16">

-      <link rel="canonical" href="https://7plus.com.au/blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-041"/>
+      <link rel="canonical" href="https://7plus.com.au/blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042"/>

Clearly this isn't a youtube-dl problem. It must be the veil past which I could not see. But in fact, youtube-dl had a suggestion. At one point I mistyped a partial URL and got an interesting message:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Blue-Heelers/06 300 -> yt blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042
ERROR: 'blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042' is not a valid URL. Set --default-search "ytsearch" (or run  youtube-dl "ytsearch:blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042" ) to search YouTube

OK, that's worth trying:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Blue-Heelers/06 301 -> youtube-dl "ytsearch:blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042"
[youtube:search] query "blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042": Downloading page 1
[download] Downloading playlist: blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042
[youtube:search] playlist blue-heelers?episode-id=BLUH6-042: Collected 1 video ids (downloading 1 of them)
[download] Downloading video 1 of 1
[youtube] _ejNUPiOUbA: Downloading webpage
[youtube] _ejNUPiOUbA: Downloading video info webpage
WARNING: Unable to extract video title
[youtube] _ejNUPiOUbA: Downloading MPD manifest
[dashsegments] Total fragments: 521
[download] Destination: _-_ejNUPiOUbA.f134.mp4
[download]   6.3% of ~103.08MiB at  1.03MiB/s ETA 03:48

How about that! What did I have?

-rw-r--r--  2 grog  home  894,381,099 29 Aug 09:17 S6-E40---Dirty-Money-BLUH6-040.mp4
-rw-r--r--  2 grog  home  894,360,821 29 Aug 09:38 S6-E41---Married-To-The-Job-BLUH6-041.mp4
-rw-r--r--  1 grog  home  150,764,279  1 Sep 09:56 _-_ejNUPiOUbA.mp4

That's rather less than the others. Took a look at it. The good news is that it does indeed appear to be a representation of the episode. The bad news is that the quality is terrible, and even worse, it only seems to be the top left quarter of the view. Still, it's intriguing. I wonder what it did there.

So that accounts for one of the missing episodes. What about the other? They've done everything they can to make it hard to find a missing episode: first, they have renumbered them (now 14 seasons instead of 13), and they have reallocated the episodes apparently at random. They also appear to have renumbered some of them, though that's not the issue here. So I numbered them sequentially to match the Wikipedia page:

=== grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Blue-Heelers 335 -> k=1; for i in */*mp4; do echo -n $k: $i; echo; k=`expr $k + 1`; done | less
...
428: 11/S11-E40---Running-Scared-BLUH11-040.mp4
429: 12/S12-E01---Mind-Wide-Open-BLUH12-001.mp4
430: 12/S12-E02---On-The-Inside-BLUH12-002.mp4
431: 12/S12-E05---Secrets-and-Lies-BLUH12-003.mp4

According to the online list, there should be another episode between 428 and 429, “Reasonable Doubts”. Where is it? The detail page has the answer:

This episode of Blue Heelers went to air LIVE. ... NOTE: This episode is not included in the original DVD release. However, it is included in the ViaVision release as a special feature.

That explains it, but why doesn't Seven have it on their web site?


Understanding Trump supporters
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Does Donald Trump lie? As we used to say years ago, “Is the Pope Polish?”. But recently I read a question on Quora: What do you think of China disputing that any calls took place regarding the trade wars with the United States over the weekend?. For me the answer is clear: Trump lied, maybe just to keep his hand in. But Stan Fasack answered differently (quoted verbatim, including punctuation):

Chinas stock market biggest loses in its history , growth slowest in two decades , needs it USA currency to purchase internationally , millions have lost their jobs , and companies are planning to move their manufacturing to a more friendly environment.

Then you ask the question which seems to dispute what trump has said ….

Guess it comes down to who do you believe ….. I choose our president , because it makes sense .

It takes all kinds, I suppose. I simply commented “… and because he would never tell a lie.”.

WRONG! I don't know what a lie is:

The clarion cry of the left ,truly falls on deaf ears of the 64 million American citizens who back trumps words and policies .

Trump exaggerates , so what ! But what is important is what trump delivers …. The left has so painted themselves into a corner that they think past rhetoric ,if repeated enough times would be believed by trumps base .

Here is the bad news for liberals, trumps base has grown , and three years of Russia Russia which had no legitimacy, has worn thin in trumps America .

Here is what IMO liberals never seem to understand, politicians have lied to mid Americans for decades , they lied to inner city minorities for decades , and educators have lied to all of America ,when we graduate young men and women who can not read or write at a high school level ,can’t do basic math , and have little chance of success in the real world.

Trump has made promises during his campaign to 64 million Americans , who believe two things about Trump … one is promises made promises kept , and the second is even the promises he has not delivered yet , he remains steadfast in trying to implement those policies and principals .

A final note , he has accomplished this without the help of a single democratic in congress ,

Later he made a further comment:

What you have misconstrued is what constitutes a lie ….. will give you two examples

When Obama said you can keep your doctor and you could keep your hospital , that was a lie ….why you may ask , well because he was president and he lied about a policy he initiated …

When trump says that unemployment is the lowest for minority inner city citizens , in all of recorded history…. That might not be accurate but it is true enough to be accepted ….. WH.Y. Because it is a positive outcome due to his policies …

Trump said for three years he did not collude with Russia to win election that was a true statement ,,, when Schiff and nadler said they had proof positive that he did , that was a lie .

Fascinating! It would be easy to put this down as just plain nonsense, but there's something very interesting in this answer and the response to my comment: an insight into how Trump can lie (my definition, thank you) as much as he wants and people will still not only support, but also defend him. It's also interesting that he considers it sufficient for Trump to support his supporters, and not all the US American people.


Power fail!
Topic: Stones Road house, general, opinion Link here

In mid-afternoon I heard a beep from the office UPS. That was nothing unusual when it was behind the flaky Eaton UPS in the garage, but now it's fed directly from the inverter. Something wrong there?

Yes! Power failure, continuing. OK, what do things look like? There was a mixture of overcast sky and shy sunshine, the battery had 63% charge, and the PV array was charging slightly. Nothing to worry about until things change. First, turn off the air conditioner: it could drain the battery in 90 minutes. And then do the cooking I had planned on gas rather than electricity.

Powercor was its usual confused self, reporting the fault multiple times with different causes. Durham Lead had two different faults, it seems, and I've decided that Buninyong-Mount Mercer Road is one of their favourite guesses at where the problem might be:

 
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Can I hold out 3 hours? As it turned out, yes, no problem. The power actually came back at 17:20:03, by which time the battery state of charge had climbed to 70% and fallen back to 66%. But it was a good thing it happened when it did: it was getting dark, and I would soon have been dependent only on the battery. In fact, I had less than an hour's reserve:


This should be PV-stats-1.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: PV stats 1          Dimensions:          856 x 316, 127 kB
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The top line (bathtub) is the grid voltage, between 0 and 252 V, and the purple line is grid power consumption, up to 5 kW round 18:30. The dirty green area is the battery state of charge, which hit 20% at 18:16; without grid power it would have decreased to 5% by about 18:30, then shut down.

Summary: yes, the PV system saved me from an extended power outage. No, it didn't save me from nail-biting.


Monday, 2 September 2019 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 2 September 2019
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First tulips of spring
Topic: gardening Link here

The first tulips are out:

 
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That seems early, and indeed looking back over the last few years it's about 2 weeks earlier; normally they come pretty much exactly in mid-September:

 
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The only exception was 3 years ago, when they were there in late August:

 
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I suppose it must depend on the rainfall as much as anything, though it has (subjectively) been relatively mild.


Ashampoo fail
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Processing my photos involves putting it through Ashampoo photo optimizer. It often delivers good results, though I have had multiple issues with it over the years.

But then yesterday I had no results at all. After putting it through my comparison program, there was no obvious difference. OK, do it manually. Crash! “The photo could not be optimized correctly".

What caused that? Lots of experiments, and also bug reports, in which I established:

  1. The problem was not related to the photo itself. I was unable to optimize photos that I had already optimized previously with exactly the same combination of software and hardware.
  2. The problem was related to the version of optimizer. I have three different versions: “Photo Optimizer 6”, “Photo Optimizer 7” and “Photo Optimizer 2016” (this last a free version which doesn't produce results of obviously different appearance from the other two). Optimizer 7 "works", but produces result files that are at least double the size of the original, and up to 5 times the size. The others fail in the same way.
  3. It doesn't depend on the computer. It fails on euroa (laptop) in exactly the same way as it does on dischord (desktop). euroa, in particular, has not had any software updates of any kind in months, and was last rebooted on 10 August.

So what does it depend on? I had guessed some library, but that wouldn't explain the problems with euroa. At Tandem we once had a microcode bug that was triggered by an overflow in a (local) time counter, and we watched it start off in Australia, progress via India to Europe, and it would have gone on to the USA if we hadn't caught it first. Could it be something like that?

That's not the only bug with Ashampoo. In particular, it can't handle big images (somewhere round 50 MP seems to be its limit, and my E-M1 Mark II can generate 80 MP images). Time to look for something else, once again noting that “optimization” tends to mean “shrinking”, clearly not what Ashampoo 7 does. About the only thing I found was yet another Ashampoo version, the free “Optimizer 2019”. Downloaded that and ran into yet another Ashampoo bug that I have already seen but not recorded: entering the license key can take up to 30 minutes because of the slow echo on the input screen. Related to remote desktop, maybe? In any case, that was enough for today.


Kehr um!
Topic: general, music, opinion Link here

Off to pick up Yvonne this evening, the first time I've driven at night in quite a while, to the sounds of „Die schöne Müllerin“.

But something was wrong. The headlights seemed so dim. I was halfway down Grassy Gully Road as the singer (Peter Schreier?) sang „Kehr um!”, from part 15, „Eifersucht und Stolz“. Turn around! OK, stopped, turned around, went back home and changed cars. I can look at the cause of the dimness some other time, but I didn't want to discover that I had run out of electricity half way to Ballarat.

Who says that music has nothing to say?


Ballarat by night
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Arrived in Ballarat deliberately a while before Yvonne's bus was due to take some night photos, something that I haven't done in a while. I was going to take the Leica Summilux 25 mm f/1.4 and the Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 ASPH., but by coincidence I had received a newsletter from Olympus about... taking night photos. OK, worth reading, photos from different photographers. And they all recommended the M.Zuiko DIGITAL ED 7-14 mm f/2.8 PRO.

OK, I can do that too, so off with it instead. It was raining, and arguably some of the results didn't look that bad:

 
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It's interesting also to note the fact that I was able to take photos hand-held with shutter speeds as slow as ½ s without any obvious camera shake. Tried some photos of car lights going past, like this one:

 
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What puzzles me is that the car itself seems to have almost completely disappeared, not only in this photo.

Despite the rain, managed to keep the lens dry until the last 2 shots, showing the bus arriving:

 
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Another thing that's really complicated is white balance. Which of these is correct?

 
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I chose the first one, but the white lines on the street are clearly yellow. The second one, taking the white balance from the rego plate of the car on the left, is even yellower. But taking it from the road markings makes it unacceptably blue.


Außer Spesen nichts gewesen
Topic: animals, general, opinion Link here

Yvonne back more or less on time with a long story of her weekend. The course was Introduction to Trauma-Informed Horsemanship™ (admire that ™) with Sarah Schlote, who came from the other end of the Earth and had already caused me grief with payment.

Yvonne wasn't happy. She ended up with the feeling that Sarah really didn't know much about horses, and she was clearly also neither a good presenter—she kept repeating material—nor able to control the participants, who kept interrupting. And what she presented seemed to have little to do with the syllabus (PDF). In the end, apart from being $1000 or so poorer, Yvonne didn't have much to show for it. As the Germans say, „Außer Spesen nichts gewesen“, which doesn't translate well into English. Roughly: only expenses.


Tuesday, 3 September 2019 Dereel Images for 3 September 2019
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Echiums under way
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

This time of year is fun: there's always something new coming into bloom. Today it was the Echium:

 
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A replacement for Ashampoo?
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

Got round finally installing Ashampoo Optimizer 2019 and getting past the license checks. It looks just like Optimizer 7: it seems that about the only difference from the older versions is the gratuitous change of the user interface. It works. But how about that, it, too, enlarges the images. But it has one difference from Optimizer 7: no batch mode! For that you have to pay money and upgrade to Optimizer 7. So that's a non-starter.

OK, I had some other package that looked like it might be able to do the same job. What was it... ah, right: movavi photo editor. Found out how to start it (why is it so difficult to find programs on Microsoft?), and sure enough, it didn't do too badly. But:

Before:
-rw-rw-r--  3 grog  lemis   2,916,842  3 Sep 14:49 Eurphorbia.jpeg
After:
-rwxr--r--  1 grog  wheel  14,540,829  3 Sep 17:02 Eurphorbia.jpeg

Once again the “optimized” version is nearly 5 times the size of the original. What causes that? Could it be that the images use different JPEG transforms from the ones that Ashampoo and movavi expect? I have some recollection of a base set of transforms (directory?) that each JPEG image uses, and potentially there's a conflict here. How can I find out? I really don't understand JPEG very well.


Air fried steak and kidney pie
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Individual steak and kidney pies for dinner this evening. Normally we do this in the toaster oven (the real oven seems too energy-hungry), but today I tried it in the bigger of the two “air fryers”. I was just able to get the two forms into the device, but only because the bigger one is slightly oval:

How long? I started by pre-baking the bases, and then gave them 10 minutes at 200°. They didn't look bad at first:

 
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But only the part in the middle of the fryer was properly browned; the outside was still raw. I had to turn it around and give it another 8 minutes at 180° (I think) to get a reasonable result:

 
This should be Steak-and-kidney-8.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Steak and kidney 8
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I wonder if it's worth it. Like so many things with “air fryers”, it certainly doesn't scale.


Wednesday, 4 September 2019 Dereel Images for 4 September 2019
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More flash fun
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Yesterday's flash photos of the steak and kidney pies worked well enough with the mecablitz 15 MS-1 ring flash, but on comparison discovered that the background was underexposed:

 
This should be Flash-mecablitz-15-orig.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Flash mecablitz 15 orig
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Why? Did a couple of comparisons, and once again the studio flash came out best:

 
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Image title: Flash studio
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But on reflection (well, consideration), that makes sense. The pots were correctly exposed, and since the background was further away, it got less exposure. That's a general limitation of on-camera flash, especially with larger distance ratios.

In the process of taking the photos, noted a further limitation of Olympus' remote flash: no information about the flash unit(s) in the Exif data. That's partially understandable, but it could at least report the flash unit on the camera.


Cleaning teevee
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

teevee has been making fan noises from time to time recently. Time to clean the dust out:

 
This should be Cleaning-teevee-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cleaning teevee 1
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This should be Cleaning-teevee-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cleaning teevee 2
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Put it back together, turned it on. Yes, the noise had changed. Now it was continuous. I had forgotten the graphics card, which took a lot of trouble to get out:

 
This should be Cleaning-teevee-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cleaning teevee 3
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OK, more compressed air, ...

 
This should be Cleaning-teevee-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
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This should be Cleaning-teevee-7.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cleaning teevee 7
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The second photo is a view of the heat sink under the fan. Not much difference. I had to go at it with cotton swabs before I finally got something worthwhile:

 
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This should be Cleaning-teevee-12.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cleaning teevee 12
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After that, no noise any more. Well, not until the evening, when it started up all over again. Time for a new graphics card, I think.


fsck!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Rebooting teevee wasn't the normal procedure I had expected:

 
This should be Booting-teevee-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus 2 hi res
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Why? And didn't I have this on SUJ? Oh, no, I had had hangs with large updates with SUJ. But this should have been a clean shutdown. And there were a couple of interesting details in the recovery. Yes, under some circumstances you need to repeat fsck, and this was one of them. But then something caught my eye:

 
This should be Booting-teevee-1-detail-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus 2 hi res
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This should be Booting-teevee-2-detail-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Hibiscus 2 hi res