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Saturday, 18 November 2017 Dereel Images for 18 November 2017
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Garden update
Topic: gardening Link here

A couple of days ago I noted with pleasure the recovery of the tiny tree fern that we bought last year and which had suffered from the bore water spray:


This should be Tree-fern-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tree fern 1          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 5296 kB
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All images taken on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 15 November 2017 Complete exposure details

 

But today it doesn't look anything near as good:


This should be Tree-fern-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tree fern 3          Dimensions:          3890 x 5184, 5740 kB
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Where is it? You need to look much closer:


This should be Tree-fern-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Tree fern 4          Dimensions:          3888 x 5186, 2976 kB
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Image title: Tree fern remains          Dimensions:          5184 x 3888, 9303 kB
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All images taken on Sunday, 19 November 2017, thumbnails          All images taken on Sunday, 19 November 2017, small
Diary entry for Sunday, 19 November 2017 Complete exposure details

 

Mick the gardener was here today, and he didn't see it while whipper-snipping. He did see a patch of weeds next to it (towards the bottom of the image), and carefully avoided them:


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Image title: Tree fern 2          Dimensions:          3888 x 5184, 7903 kB
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Diary entry for Saturday, 18 November 2017 Complete exposure details

 

He also planted the “Baby's tears” ground cover in front of the house, first tearing it into six pieces:


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Image title: Front garden 2          Dimensions:          3888 x 5230, 9389 kB
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Still, I suppose accidents will happen. I wonder if the tree fern will recover. Should I even try, or just buy a new one?


An end to “blogs”?
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

I've been keeping an online diary for over 17 years now, following on from a paper diary that I kept for nearly 8 years in the 1960s. In March 2009 I was informed that my “blog” had been added to the ACM Queue blog roll. Blog? I don't have no steenking blog. In fact, I created one to make my point.

Where does the word “blog” come from? “Weblog”, of course. Even the Oxford English Dictionary describes the term in detail, including this reference (under weblog):

1997 J. Barger Lively New Webpage in alt.culture.www (Usenet newsgroup) 23 Dec. I decided to start my own webpage logging the best stuff I find as I surf, on a daily basis:..www.mcs.net/~jorn/html/weblog.html.

Typically, that URL is now 404.

I chose to limit my diary for ACM: much of what I do is of no interest to their readers. And for quite some time I've been one of the most regular contributors. Looking back over the life of the blog roll (about 8½ years), I contributed 3,280 of the total 13,628 posts, about 24%. That's about 32 a month out of about 135 a month.

But times have changed. Today there were (so far this month) 35 posts, 28 by me. Last month (the last complete month) there were 47 posts, 36 by me. My average hasn't changed, but the overall average has dropped by round two thirds.

That's not just the last month or two. In June 2016 (the first month for which I can get statistics), there were 53 posts, 30 by me. In those 18 months the other contributions have dropped from 23 per month to 11 per month.

Where have all the bloggers gone? It seems that in this day of smart phones, typing has become “too difficult” (for once I'm in agreement), and people prefer more ephemeral means of communication. If Facebook isn't bad enough, consider Snapchat, a company with a philosophy that goes against all that I hold dear. Or, if you're a politician, there's always Twitter to limit your output to match your attention span.

I suppose blogs will go the way of USENET, with archived content and very little new content. I wonder how we'll communicate in 10 years' time.


Sunday, 19 November 2017 Dereel Images for 19 November 2017
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Object schema-validation controller throttled?
Topic: technology Link here

Tim Bray wrote an article yesterday days ago about the image quality of his Pixel 2 as processed by various software. Interesting, but not spectacular. How would a real camera have handled it? Decided to leave a comment. But of course there was a form to fill out. Did that (“How many sides does a triangle have?” Three, of course), and got an error message:

Insertion Aborted
Error: Object schema-validation controller throttled; exiting.

Huh? Deliberately obfuscated “error message”? It seems so. Subsequent attempts (including replacing “three” with “3”) brought no joy, but interesting variants on the error message:

Configuration Interrupted
Error: Subsystem normalization controller failed health check; exiting.

Initialization Problem
Error: Model parse controller has invalid index; exiting.

Queuing Malfunction
Error: Origin consistency-check initializer not authenticated; exiting.

Creation Malfunction
Error: Module synchronization activator mismatch; exiting.

Update Problem
Error: Microservice marshalling responder missing; exiting.

I wonder what the real problem was.


Leucospermum flowering
Topic: gardening, photography Link here

The Leucospermum cordifolium in front of my office window is gradually starting to flower:


This should be Leucospermum-cordifolium-3.-PMax.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Leucospermum cordifolium 3. PMax          Dimensions:          5186 x 3888, 3565 kB
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This is a halfway stage before all the stalks extend.

This also gave me another chance to take a focus stacked image, this time hand-held with 20 exposures. I can't see any evidence that Zerene had trouble with it, though it's gradually becoming clear that PMax creates cleaner backgrounds than DMap. Here PMax, then DMap (run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour):


This should be Leucospermum-cordifolium-3.-PMax.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Leucospermum cordifolium 3. PMax          Dimensions:          5186 x 3888, 3565 kB
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This should be Leucospermum-cordifolium-3.-DMap.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Leucospermum cordifolium 3. DMap          Dimensions:          5186 x 3888, 3390 kB
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The other issue that I still need to address is the relatively flat output. Here the PMax variant in comparison with a single image:


This should be Leucospermum-cordifolium-3.-PMax.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Leucospermum cordifolium 3. PMax          Dimensions:          5186 x 3888, 3565 kB
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This should be Leucospermum-cordifolium-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Leucospermum cordifolium 2          Dimensions:          4612 x 3456, 3172 kB
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In this case, the single image might be preferable, though clearly the depth of field is insufficient.


Revisiting old focus stacks
Topic: photography, technology Link here

I'm gradually getting to the stage where my Zerene results are sufficient for most purposes. What about my older attempts? Can it help there? My first attempts at manual focus stacking go back nearly 5 years, but on that occasion I had to give up because my software wasn't up to it. Today I got:


This should be Garden-flowers.PMax.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Garden flowers.PMax          Dimensions:          4032 x 3024, 2735 kB
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That's not perfect by a long shot. It can't be: I only had two images, and there's an intermediate area that is out of focus in both shots. But it works, and in this case there's no significant colour or gradation difference.

Then, on 18 June 2015, I tried to merge a series of images of a Eucalyptus flower. By this time I had the version 4 firmware for the Olympus OM-D E-M1, but problems with DxO Optics “Pro” stopped me by giving me converted images with different sizes. That's still an issue, but now my scripts correct for it:


This should be Eucalyptus-flower-PMax.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Eucalyptus flower PMax          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 1541 kB
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In this case, the default DMax image has an even worse background:


This should be Eucalyptus-flower-DMap.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Eucalyptus flower DMap          Dimensions:          4608 x 3456, 1391 kB
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Started reading the documentation, which suggests that DMax really requires tuning to get good results, but that they can then be very good.


Bloody autofocus!
Topic: photography, animals, opinion Link here

Another series of horse riding videos today, like the ones I took three months ago. I wasn't keen: I had had serious focus issues last time, and I didn't know how to fix it. But Chris and Yvonne were insistent, so out again, this time with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO, using a medium-sized focus area and autofocus with tracking. And how about that, with one minor glitch the camera kept focus.

Or at least, it claimed to have done so. The focus system showed a green frame round one of the horse heads that tracked perfectly. But it was lying: the image didn't stay in focus, like here at about 1:20:


This should be Chris-Yvonne-focus.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: Chris Yvonne focus          Dimensions:          1930 x 1106, 2045 kB
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That's really frustrating. What do I do?


Buddlejas: the fat and the lean
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

A year and a half ago we planted five Buddleja saplings to the south of the house. Their fate has been varied. The two at the end both died. One did really well, and the others look like they have barely grown. Here the westmost two:


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Image title: Buddleja 1 detail          Dimensions:          5152 x 1532, 4276 kB
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Image title: Buddleja 2          Dimensions:          3888 x 5186, 9183 kB
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It's difficult to recognize the small one; it's at the extreme left of the first image, and the bottom of the second one. Why has it done so badly? My best guess is that the soil there is really poor, and there were no nutrients. I've fixed that now, and we'll see how (if) things improve.


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


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