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Saturday, 29 April 2017 Dereel Images for 29 April 2017
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Leica: Left hand, right hand
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

Took a number of photos with my new Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 today. And how about that, it really makes a difference. To start with, the black cockatoos flew by, and I managed to get a number of photos that, while not good, were an order of magnitude better than what I had got previously:


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None of them are really good, but at least they're in focus (about 70% of the total I took). Now I need to get the birds to come closer and to improve the exposure (probably +1 EV to start with).

Then I had another attempt at the Amanita muscaria, this time at 400 mm and 1/50 s:


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I don't see any camera shake there. My rule of thumb would have said “not under 1/800 s”, so this is 4 stops better. The shallow depth of field is clearly recognizable.

And in the afternoon I got some quite acceptable photos of the dogs playing:


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The only problem I've discovered is a left/right thing:


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The zoom ring on the Vario-Elmar turns in the opposite direction to all my Olympus zooms. This is the first Panasonic/Leica zoom lens I have, but I assume it's a general issue. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to it.


Rani: full of shit
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

So we blocked the entrance behind the musical instrument cabinet, so that Rani couldn't use the space behind as a toilet. We also made sure she had continual access to the designated toilet in the laundry. What did she do? She crapped in front of the cabinet!

Gradually she's convincing us that it's time for her to go. I don't like giving up on a cat, but it's been over a year now, and she's still not tame.


Responsibility for rotten foodstuffs
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yvonne cooked salmon lasagne for dinner tonight. To that purpose she bought fresh lasagne (or, as they put it, lasagna) from Woolworths. It may have been fresh, but it wasn't good:


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Those look like two different organisms. How could that happen? The stuff has a “best before” date of “10-06-17”, which I interpret to mean 10 June 2017, still long in the future. And it wasn't treated badly since we had it: brought home in a cooler bag and put straight into the fridge.

Yes, of course we can get our money back. But it very nearly spoilt the whole dinner preparations. If we had gone back to get another pack, it would have cost us about $40 for the car, not to mention the waste of an hour. As it was, we found enough substandard dried lasagne to make do.

More to the point, though, Yvonne wanted to use it anyway. I wonder how many other people would do that. No wonder substandard food processing is responsible for many cases of food poisoning. I have a mind to report it to the authorities.


Dinner with the Marriotts
Topic: general, photography Link here

Garry and Diane Mariott along for dinner tonight, an opportunity for some more photo experiments:


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Sunday, 30 April 2017 Dereel Images for 30 April 2017
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Power failure
Topic: general Link here

Another brief power failure this morning at 0:47, coincidentally just as I had got up to go to the toilet.


Crash! Crash! Crash!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

I had barely got up when Yvonne asked me to see what was wrong with dischord, the Microsoft box we use for photo processing. Dead! I discover I had connected it to an unprotected power outlet, and the power indicator showed that it wasn't powered on: for reasons I didn't investigate in time, it didn't come back up after the power outage. Connected it to the UPS and it came up happily, and it shouldn't happen again.

Next thing: check what's going on on IRC. Disconnected from the proxy. Can't reconnect. Off the net? No, a ping to www worked. Did my bip process die? It seemed so. But then I saw:

=== grog@www (/dev/pts/2) ~ 3 -> date; uptime
Sat Apr 29 23:26:29 UTC 2017
11:26PM  up 11:41, 4 users, load averages: 0.14, 0.21, 0.21

A crash! After only 2 years uptime! How did that happen? I wonder if I'll ever beat the nearly 5 years I had by September 2013.

I also wanted to process photos, so I used euroa, the Microsoft laptop. It told me it wanted to reboot to complete something. OK, humour it. It came back up again, and I started using it. Then it froze. I couldn't even ping it. But it worked locally. After a lot of checking, discovered that Norton Security had been enabled, and it had set all kinds of default filtration without telling me, including blocking ICMP and (apparently) remote desktop. No setup screen, no asking: it just did it.

It also told me that I had 21 days for my free trial, after which I would have to pay Real Money for the privilege of being blocked. OK, that's clarified the matter. Totally remove the product.

It still didn't work! As a parting shot, it had enabled the “Windows” firewall!

Yes, of course we need security. But it needs to be appropriate. In my case, the machines are behind a real firewall running on eureka, and that's something I can control. I don't need no steenking toy firewall behind the real one.


OI.Share, yet again
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I'm still thinking about the continued failure of getting good photos of this flower:


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The problem is that it's tiny, only about 8 mm across. The first was taken with my “mantis” tripod over 2 years ago, the second a few days ago and hand-held. Both were painful.

There are two issues: one is keeping the camera in position (not easy with a depth of field of about 0.5 mm). The other is using the viewfinder:


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I've decided that the mantis is probably not worth the trouble, and I've ordered a stand that may be more useful;


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Put a focusing rail on that and I should be in much better shape.

But that's only half the issue. How do I compose the images? The viewfinder is too difficult to use in that position, and the LCD display is too sensitive to sunlight. There are two other possibilities: a clip-on viewfinder like the VF-2 that I got a couple of months ago. That's designed to fit directly on the camera, not an advantage in this case. But wouldn't it make so much sense to have it on a cable so that you could mount it elsewhere? It's almost worth trying, but I suspect that cable impedances will make it impractical.

So the remaining alternative is OI.Share, a broken mobile phone app which offers a remote viewfinder. I've tried it several times over the years, and every time I have given up in disgust.

Today I tried again. Yes, it's just as broken. In fact, it seems to be even more broken: on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II the display “WiFi” that is supposed to be on the LCD display is missing. Why? Some setting? It's present on the E-M1 Mark I. As usual, the “instructions” are no help at all, and I wasn't able to fix it.

Connecting to the phone was, as ever, a pain. Start the app and it immediately claims that there is no camera. I'm gradually finding out how to work around the bugs. Once the initial setup (“Private”) has taken place,

Elsewhere I have seen this advice, but I haven't investigated:

... on Android phones, I turned that Auto Switch/Smart Switch off. This prevent the phone from switching to stronger signal, i.e. 3G/4G/4GLTE.

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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