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Monday, 23 April 2018 Dereel Images for 23 April 2018
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Power fail
Topic: general Link here

Restless night. Leonid barked for some reason round 3:45, and I couldn't get back to sleep. Round 5:46 I heard a “beep” from somewhere, and off to the office to find the UPS grumbling to itself, apparently being fed voltages that were all over the place.

The oven and adjacent microwave oven had reset their clocks, so clearly we had some kind of power failure. The microwave oven in the pantry showed 7:02. What does that mean? That it didn't fail? It resets to (paradoxically) 1:00 on a power failure and carries on running, so it could indicate a failure at 23:44. On the other hand, I can't set the clock manually: I've lost the instruction manual, and if clock setting still works, it's well hidden. The time displayed doesn't match the time of the previous outage (2:06).

Strangely, I was woken by a “beep” at 5:46 the following day, though there were no problems. Did the sound come from somewhere else?

More NBN outages!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

In the early afternoon we disappeared from the net. I had just got round to grumbling when it came back again—for all of 7 minutes. Took a look at the NTD, which showed:


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That orange LED is labeled “ODU fail”, implying (incorrectly) a defect in the “outdoor unit”, which other people call an antenna. Again, the connection came back pretty quickly.

But it continued like that, and after 15 minutes starting at 14:50, I headed off to the Radiation Tower to see if anything was going on. Sure enough:

 
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Went in and found a technician replacing a module:

 
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He was quite informative. Yes, this was a scheduled outage, and he was replacing an amplifier module which they thought could be defective. We'd be up again quite soon (which he later clarified as “an hour or two”). The whole thing relates to the modifications they performed to support 3.4 GHz connections. The modifications themselves are complete, and we now have an uplink bandwidth of a whopping 394 Mb/s, almost enough to sustain 16 parallel downloads at 25 Mb/s. He couldn't tell me what the bandwidth had been before, but no wonder we run into congestion at peak usage periods.

3.4 GHz? I had been told 3.5 GHz, and OzTowers agrees with me. Was the technician mistaken, or is the truth somewhere in between?

Was the maintenance really scheduled? We still have the prospect of another 4 hour outage some time in early next month, and we were informed of that. Given the nature of the work, I think this was unplanned, but of course he got a job order.

The cabinet was open, showing a surprising amount of equipment, most of which was difficult to identify, though there were a large number of (probably redundant) power supplies.

 
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Possibly the most interesting part was the plan on the door:

 
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I was quite impressed by the appearance of the installation, and he told me that it was much more modern than the Telstra tower 100 m away. He was from Decon, who do work for Telstra as well.

True to his word, the connection bounced several times (probably for testing), and finally came back up at 16:50. 9 outages today (102 minutes), a total of 28 (1,107 minutes, 18.4 hours) in the past 40 days, an availability of only 98.1%. Will they finally get their act together?

Date       Outages       Duration       Availability       Date
            (seconds)
1521032400       1       26968       68.79%       # 15 March 2018
1522069200       2       27326       68.37%       # 27 March 2018
1522764000       1       1225       98.58%       # 4 April 2018
1523196000       6       3935       95.45%       # 9 April 2018
1523541600       5       850       99.02%       # 13 April 2018
1524405600       9       6098       92.94%       # 23 April 2018

I get the impression that they don't have much in the way of diagnostics, and today's effort involved a lot of “suck it and see”.


When to plant Crocus sativus?
Topic: gardening Link here

Callum Gibson noted my article about the conflicting information for my Crocus sativus bulbs, and read it more carefully than I did. The bulbs were sold for planting now and ostensibly flowering in the spring. That wasn't what I had recalled, but the label was clear:


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But it seems that this is another discrepancy between the small and the large print:


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No wonder they're shooting now:

 
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They should be flowering!


Yana back again
Topic: general Link here

Our daughter Yana is back in town, for the first time in two years. Another dinner (Chris Bahlo came along for the fun of it), but not much else, not even photos.


Tuesday, 24 April 2018 Dereel Images for 24 April 2018
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Change in activities
Topic: general Link here

Surprisingly, Yana's presence has resulted in a change in activities. She and Yvonne decided to do some sculpting:

 
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Later they went into town to buy a bag of oranges to make cocktails with:

 
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And Yana has become one of the smart phone generation:

 
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Analogue multimedia revisited
Topic: multimedia, opinion Link here

It's been over a week since Chris Bahlo brought me a VHS cassette to copy. In principle I have everything that I need to copy—except for a cable connecting the equipment to the monitor (TV). Today I finally got round to scouring the shed for a suitable cable.

In to the lounge room to discover that it was 10 cm too short to fit where the DVD recorder (the old Digitrex GKX-9000) was, so ended up with the equipment balanced on a loudspeaker:

 
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And then surprise! The TV has no composite video input! It's still shown in the input select menu (the yellow one under AV), but the jack is missing on the back:

 
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It's not that long ago that TVs started coming with composite video input, and now it's gone again. So I basically can't use the old VHS recorder any more, because it doesn't have anything else. Still, the Digitrex has component output, so I was able to connect it like that and feed the VHS input through it:

 
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I had forgotten what terrible quality VHS and DVD are!

 
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Things are so much better now.

But I still had difficulties copying Chris' cassette. It's NTSC, and something in the daisy chain didn't like it. This is what I got on the TV:

 
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What now? It could be that it's the TV that doesn't understand NTSC, but one way or another I need to find a way to convert the images to something that the TV can display. Maybe I should take another look at Chris' converter. She probably didn't expect the tape to be the issue.


Israel: too far is too far
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

I've been concerned for some time about the way the State of Israel treats the people and territory that it conquered over 50 years ago. But it's difficult to criticize without being called anti-semitic (“Semitic”: Jewish or Arab; “Anti-Semitic”: Anti-Jewish). In particular it's hard to believe that their actions are in accordance in with international or national law.

I've been getting a daily feed from the Times of Israel for some time now, and recently they published this article by a prominent Jewish lawyer, who effectively says the same thing. Now if only they would pay attention to this kind of criticism.


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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