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Saturday, 22 July 2017 Dereel Images for 22 July 2017
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teevee network issues
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

So it seems that most of the functions of teevee are working correctly. Today I moved the disk with the recordings from tiwi to teevee, so I no longer need to have it running.

That also means that I no longer need the switch in the lounge room, so I disconnected it and plugged teevee directly into the wall socket. No carrier! After some messing around, discovered that it would only work with the switch. Why? At one point I thought it might be a crossover cable issue, but it was the same cable, and just to be sure I tried a couple of different cables.

Could it be that the switch at the other end (in the pantry) remembers the polarity of the connection? I left it turned off for about 20 minutes with no change. Could it simply that the switch is defective? I've had one of them fail on me.

Discussing later on IRC, with no new insights. If it's the switch, does it affect other ports as well? Went into the dining room with euroa, my Microsoft laptop and thus not the best thing to test with, and plugged it into the wall socket. It connected immediately. OK, what about the lounge room? Same thing. Plugged teevee in in its place, using the cable I had been using previously, and it, too, worked.

So what went wrong here? I still don't understand. We can rule out cable problems, because I tried several, and the one that was in place when it ultimately worked had been in place before when it didn't work. Contact issues? Possible, but unlikely. I had tried wobbling the connectors to be sure. I still don't know, but hopefully it won't happen again.

In the meantime I should start looking for a replacement switch, maybe an 16 port one for the office. In the process I came across this gem in the specs for some switch:

Silently delivers up to 2000 Mbps on each port

Arguably that's wrong, of course: “deliver” suggests a direction.


teevee: current status
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

So we have teevee substantially working as intended. But there are still some rough edges that I need to attend to, and it's worth noting them. Some are trivial, others less so.

And that's all I can think of at the moment. On the positive side, I can now transfer files between eureka and teevee at effectively wire speed. That didn't use to happen. Somebody must have changed the default TCP parameters.


The web meets Dereel
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

A while back, while looking for builders, I signed up with an online business search site that promised me three quotes within a ridiculously short space of time. The results were meagre at best: no online reply, though one person who contacted me may have come from them.

But they keep spamming me with more offers for things I don't need:

From: hipages <newsletter@newsletter.hipages.com.au>
To: Greg <groggyhimself@lemis.com>
Subject: Here's Dereel's Gutter specialist
X-Mailer: Create Send
Message-ID: <cm.1231261328404.ktydktl.bhljryhki.t@cmail20.com>
Reply-To: getquotes@hipages.com.au

Guttering and downpipes need to work correctly to protect your home in winter. If you haven't done so already, clean your guttering.

AAA Roofing & Restorations??? has 90 Recommendations and has been a member since 16 August 2013

OK, I'll bite. To the best of my knowledge Dereel (population 666, clearly a sinister implication) has no companies at all. So where are AAA? Ballarat? No, they're in Carrum Downs, 186 km away on the other side of Melbourne. Clearly Hipages' spam algorithms need considerable tuning.


Another cup size
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've been maintaining a page about weights and measures for nearly 13 years now. In particular, cups are a useless unit of measure: they can range in size between 80 ml and 284 ml, though the smallest used in cooking is 180 ml. But what about the measuring cup that came with the ALDI “pasta machine”?, clearly designed for left-handed people. It holds about 265 ml:


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That's only marginally interesting, of course, since it's intended to be used for measuring flour, where it's wildly inaccurate:


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Champagne: worth the price
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

So today we tried the champagne that I found on Thursday. We knew that we were in trouble when the cork hardly made a pop; it was only about half the diameter it should have been, barely wider than the neck of the bottle. And it tasted of cork. Yvonne and Chris sum it up:


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Sunday, 23 July 2017 Dereel Images for 23 July 2017
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Hugin stitch problems: solved
Topic: photography, technology Link here

For the past couple of weeks I've been puzzling about why my first panoramas two weeks ago didn't stitch correctly. Today I finally found out why. cpfind was finding control points on the end of the panorama bracket:


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That makes sense, and it's something I had been concerned about some time ago. The real question is why it didn't cause a problem before. My best bet is that the contrast was better in other images, so the control point detectors found better results (or, as in this case, none of any use). Time to rearrange the bracket.


Scanning old negatives
Topic: photography, technology, history Link here

As I go through my 1964 diary, I'm re-scanning the photos I took at the time. I had already scanned them with the ill-fated Canon 9900F scanner, but I can do better now.

Or can I? After letting the Epson “Perfection” 4990 Photo spend hours scanning the negatives, I ended up with:


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What the hell went wrong there? One of the scanner parameters? But which one? The settings in the scanner program are:

 
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Which are useful? I've established that “Backlight Correction” improves the shadows, and for colour photos “Color Resotration” really does help a lot. And the others? Grain is always a problem in old films (here Kodak Plus-X Pan), so I do that too. And the dust is everywhere, so how about “Dust Removal”? Ah, that's an old, worn-out magic word (so why is it there?). The new one is “DIGITAL ICE Technology”.

Is one of these causing my problems? Went through most combinations, and found that colour restore didn't do much, though it did slightly darken the image:


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Image title: Ananda grain reduce colour restore          Dimensions:          3407 x 2040, 572 kB
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In the images above, as well as many below, run the cursor over an image to compare it with its neighbour. As expected, backlight correction improved things:


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And then “Digital ICE”:


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So that was the culprit! What about dust removal?


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This should be Ananda-grain-reduce-colour-restore-backlight-correct-dust-remove.jpeg.  Is it missing?
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Some dust removed, but not much. OK, what about removing the “colour restore”? The difference is subtle.


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But there are other issues. Not all of the dust appears to be dust, and there are artefacts that appear at random, here visible on the shutters in front of Ananda's face. They're present in both images, but in different places:


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That looks like an issue with the scanner or the software, possibly related to the dust removal. Given the quality of the originals, I can live with that.


DxO fisheye
Topic: photography, technology, opinion Link here

My Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 8 mm f/3.5 fisheye lens suffers from considerable chromatic aberration, and DxO Optics “Pro” doesn't have a profile for it. As a result, the best correction I can get is this (from the image shown below):

 
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But thanks to its simplistic approach to recognizing lenses (“We don't need no steenking EXIF”), DxO thinks that it's a Panasonic Lumix G fisheye, because it has the same focal length and maximum aperture. And it keeps nagging me to download the module.

OK, who knows? Maybe it can help reduce the chromatic aberration. So I downloaded the module. The results were remarkable. No, it didn't reduce the chromatic aberration, quite the opposite, it would seem. Here an image from today's garden shots, firstly corrected manually, and then automatically with the DxO module:


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That's not correcting optical faults. It's correcting a world view, converting a fisheye projection to (I think) rectilinear. For my purposes, that's useless. And why does it do it? DxO has another product, ViewPoint, that does that kind of correction. That's annoying, because it means that when I do have a fisheye with support, I won't be able to use it.

And the chromatic aberration? Significantly exaggerated:


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That's mainly an indication that the lens properties differ significantly.


teevee progress
Topic: technology, multimedia Link here

More playing around with my teevee issues today. The colour difference on xterms proved to have nothing to do with bash: I had forgotten the .Xdefaults file, and that fixed that. It also made the window manager menus more legible, but it didn't change the font sizes in firefox. And to add to the list, mail isn't being delivered:

That's not overly serious, since I don't really need mail from this system, but I suppose I should fix it.


New network hardware
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

There's another issue with teevee: slow NFS mounts, is gradually beginning to make sense: after configuring the network interface, it takes nearly 10 seconds before it comes up. During this time the system attempts NFS mounts and fails. And, as I noted, this happened on tiwi before it, a machine with completely different hardware—in the box. It still connected to the same switch in the pantry, which has given me other cause for concern. So high time for a new switch.

I don't really understand switch pricing. I can buy a 5 port switch for as little as $8.73 including postage from Hong Kong, as long as I like white. A black version costs $1.18 more.

That makes for a price of $1.75 per (white) port. But come to 8 ports, and the minimum price goes up to $16.65, or $2.08 per port. And for 16 ports the minimum price is $83.00, or $5.19 per port. Does the architecture of a port mean that the price rises proportionately to the square of the number of ports? Or is it related to the fact that most 5 port switches are for a domestic environment, while 16 port switches are exclusively “professional”? No idea.

In any case, it seems that switches are particularly susceptible to failure, so it makes sense to buy one from a reputable manufacturer. Found a used Netgear JGS516 going for $49, including postage. That seems a reasonable choice: they have a lifetime warranty (my life, not the life of the switch), and though it's not clear that it applies to me, it is a certain indication of their confidence in their product. It also has a built-in power supply, which I'm beginning to consider an advantage.


Typesetting units
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Andy Farkas came up on IRC today with an interesting quote from Wikipedia:

Later Apollo missions used Nikon F 35mm cameras with a special f1.2 aperture 55m lens in order to take photographs in low light conditions...

He thought that could do with improvement. So did I: f/1.2, not f1.2. But he was really looking at the focal length, and 55 m really did seem rather long. Clearly it should be 55 mm.

Or should it? Andy thought “55mm”. And that's a question that's been in the back of my head for a while. I (now) always put a space between numbers and units, but it is correct? I dragged out my style guides, and found:

In all cases, there are exceptions for degrees, minutes and seconds.

The interesting thing, though, is that most people didn't like it. Despite clear and consistent rules, most people don't want to put a space between the number and the unit. Why not?


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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