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Wednesday, 17 January 2018 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 17 January 2018
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Flaky networking
Topic: technology Link here

Into the office this morning to find a surprising status on display :0:

1516142279 0 4 ftp.netbsd.org   # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:37:59 AEDT
1516142293 3.33714 4 www        # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:38:13 AEDT 299.658 ms
1516142350 0 2 freefall www.freebsd.de ozlabs.org       # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:39:10 AEDT
1516142353 14.044 5     # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:39:13 AEDT 71.205 ms
1516142426 18.4199 4 ozlabs.org         # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:40:26 AEDT 54.289 ms
1516142428 4.41454 5    # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:40:28 AEDT 226.524 ms
1516142522 3.9794 2 www www.freebsd.de ozlabs.org       # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:42:02 AEDT 251.294 ms
1516142547 3.80602 3 www.freebsd.de ozlabs.org  # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:42:27 AEDT 262.742 ms
1516142572 4.06215 3 www ozlabs.org     # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:42:52 AEDT 246.175 ms
1516142607 4.09868 2 freefall www.freebsd.de ftp.netbsd.org     # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:43:27 AEDT 243.981 ms
1516142610 36.8732 5    # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:43:30 AEDT 27.120 ms
1516142683 5.53247 4 ozlabs.org         # Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:44:43 AEDT 180.751 ms

What's that? It's the raw output from my NBN statistics page, and it's bad. Typical output should look like this:

1516127125 33.0732 5    # Wed 17 Jan 2018 05:25:25 AEDT 30.236 ms
1516127187 31.292 5     # Wed 17 Jan 2018 05:26:27 AEDT 31.957 ms

The output I had showed (third column) that on average I could only reach three of five systems that I ping on a regular basis. And even the other end of my National Broadband Network link (last column) had ping times of up to 262 ms instead of the normal 30 or so, with the exception of the two where the ping failed altogether. Clearly something very flaky, and apparently relating to my link. It had started at 6:40. Pings targeted at the other end of the IP link showed a very high rate of packet loss:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/38) ~ 6 -> date; ping -c 20 180.150.112.1
Wed 17 Jan 2018 09:03:54 AEDT
PING 180.150.112.1 (180.150.112.1): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 180.150.112.1: icmp_seq=10 ttl=255 time=134.543 ms
64 bytes from 180.150.112.1: icmp_seq=11 ttl=255 time=84.658 ms
64 bytes from 180.150.112.1: icmp_seq=12 ttl=255 time=105.490 ms
64 bytes from 180.150.112.1: icmp_seq=14 ttl=255 time=160.446 ms
64 bytes from 180.150.112.1: icmp_seq=17 ttl=255 time=411.511 ms
64 bytes from 180.150.112.1: icmp_seq=19 ttl=255 time=269.368 ms

--- 180.150.112.1 ping statistics ---
20 packets transmitted, 6 packets received, 70.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 84.658/194.336/411.511/113.609 ms
You have new mail in /var/mail/grog

Wireless link problems? The NTD showed normal status. OK, we've been there before. Power cycle the NTD, restart dhclient. No change. Enter a ticket (slowly) with Aussie Broadband, my RSP, and wait.

After another 45 minutes, during which Yvonne called me on the VoIP phone and managed to make herself understood (but wasn't able to understand me), the connection came back to normal.


Going shopping
Topic: general, opinion Link here

The good news of the day: Yvonne is coming out of hospital. But first I needed to do the weekly shopping.

I'm clearly out of practice. We do our menu and shopping planning together, so I know the drill, but by the time I left for town, I had a list only about half the size of normal. First to ALDI, where I found about half of what I needed, and managed to pay by credit card ($0.20 surcharge!) without wanting to: it seems that these POS terminals automatically book from credit card if you wave the card at them, while if you insert it, you get the choice. Easy for people who do this all the time, but that's not me.

The cashier refused to reverse the transaction, so I called for the manager. And he was friendly enough, and prepared to do so, but he was really only a trainee manager, so he called somebody more senior, who reversed the transaction and typed in all the items manually. And that for $0.20! I may be stubborn, but I did feel that this time I probably overdid it.

Then to Woolworths, where I had more fun with labelling. Which of these beans is the cheapest?


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Answer (not overly surprising): the loose ones at the bottom. Yes, the ones at the top are $5 as well, but for 340 g ($14.71 per kilogram), while the ones at the bottom are per kilogram:

 
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And yes, aren't the photos from my mobile phone excellent?

Also looking for papaya. All I found were halves, called “Paw paw”, a name that suggests the deep, distant colonial past. And with a claim that seems absurd: “Cut today, sold today”. Where are papayas grown in Australia? I'd suspect Queensland, suggesting two to three days from tree to shop.

The off to fill the car up with petrol, not without fun with the self-service checkout. It was quite hot today, and there was little traffic. Even the petrol station was deserted, and I was able to observe somebody who drove in behind me, though other pumps were unoccupied. Sometimes I wonder if I belong in this world any more.

Picking up Yvonne was straightforward enough, but my intention of driving her straight back home didn't quite succeed. First we needed to find a toilet seat at Omni Healthcare, and then to UFS for a startling number of painkillers. anti-inflammatories and nausea suppressors.

And while we were there, Yvonne thought of some of the things that I had forgotten, notably avocados, so across the road to Woolworths again and bought them. Then it occurred to me that I had forgotten to collect the dog food, so off round town to pick up that. Finally got home nearly 2 hours after I had gone to pick her up.


Yvonne home again
Topic: health Link here

So Yvonne's home again. The good news is that she seems in better state than I had feared. She can walk relatively normally, though sitting down and getting up are still a problem, and will probably be the case for some days. Clearly it was the right decision to take her to the hospital, but I wonder what would have happened had we not. She could have died, but she could also have ended up in much the same state as now, just in more pain. And that's probably what happened to many people in the past, and also happens nowadays in countries where they can't afford the medical care.

Looking at her medication was instructive. The pharmacist spent quite some time telling me of the dangers of most of them, and I wrote notes on them (why don't we get the information in writing in the first place?). It wasn't until I got home that I found that two of them were very similar: brand name “Endone”, containing 2.5 mg oxycodone hydrochloride, and to be taken with care, not only because of constipation, and brand name “Targin”, for which I was given no specific warnings: and it also contains oxycodone hydrochloride, this time double the quantity: 5 mg, along with 2.5 mg naloxone hydrochloride. Why no warning? And why the Endone in the first place?

Put Yvonne in the guest room for the night, since the doctors had expressed concern that she might not handle getting up out of her water bed easily. But in the middle of the night I found her up and letting in the dogs, and she decided the guest bed was too hard, so she went back to the water bed, apparently without ill effects.


Thursday, 18 January 2018 Dereel
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NBN outage follow-up
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Call from Will at Aussie Broadband today, following up on my problem report yesterday—after 24 hours! I would have expected a more timely response, but as it was, of course, the problem “went away” without help from Aussie or me.

Interesting discussion, in which he asked for more information, including MAC address (why?) and confirmation that the interface was configured for autonegotiation. All that comes from the ifconfig output, and of course we were able to confirm that it was correct.

He also considered the possibility that the issue was congestion. That's possible, of course, but it would have had to be between the ODU and the POI (National Broadband Network-speak for Outdoor Unit, the antenna on our roof, and Point of Interconnect, where they connect to other networks). And that should be significantly overdimensioned. In addition, the times of day weren't exactly typical for high traffic.

Also discussed typical latency across the link, and he came up with pretty much what I experience: 15 ms to 50 ms. And that seems to happen at random. We considered that probably there are multiple internal connections between the tower and POI, and that they could be used at random. That could also have a bearing on the problem.

Before sending in the additional information, though, I needed to fix up my network statistics page, which has been broken for a long time. I didn't realize how long: I had commented out the update of the weekly stats in April 2015, before we moved to Stones Road. And the other ones no longer worked, because gnuplot has changed its understanding of dates—or so it seems. Somehow these plots are really hard to understand.


Carry a camera!
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

When I was a lad, some entity in the UK, probably Amateur Photographer, came up with the slogan “Carry a camera!”, and I very much went along with it. In general, I have done so again since I got my first digital camera nearly 20 years ago. But in the last couple of years I have changed my handbag and my cameras, and things no longer fit. Yesterday I was caught out without a camera when I took the photos of the vegetables, and it shows. Peter Jeremy asked me why I didn't carry one again.

Why, indeed? After all, I have the Olympus E-PM1, and with the Panasonic Lumix G 20 mm f/1.7 it seems smaller (though not lighter) than the old Nikon “Coolpix” 880 that I carried with me 15 years ago:


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Isn't the difference in monitor size impressive? The CoolPix appears to be bulkier, but in fact, at 5.56×10×7.82 cm, it has a box volume of only 434.8 cm³, while the E-PM1, at 6.94×11×6.54 cm, has a volume of 499.3 cm³. Still, it's comparable, so I'll try it for a while. It's also a good use for the 20 mm Lumix, a lens that I hardly use.

In the process, it's interesting to compare the cameras from a photographic point of view:

      880       Samsung phone       E-PM1       E-M1 Mark II
Date of manufacture       August 2000       2011?       February 2010       December 2016
Standard ISO       18°/50       19°/64       24°/200       24°/200
Maximum ISO       18°/50       19°/64?       42°/12,500       45°/25,000
Resolution       3 MP       8 MP       12 MP       20 MP

The interesting thing is that the E-PM1 is not that much newer than the CoolPix—it's nearly half its age. But in the 8 years since the E-PM1 was made, the parameters haven't changed that much. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II has 20 MP and a maximum ISO of 45°/25,000, not that big a jump for 7 years. Progress has moved to other features.


Opioid crisis
Topic: health Link here

Why did the doctors prescribe Yvonne two different medications, both of them containing oxycodone hydrochloride? And why was the one with additional ingredients (Targin) slated for consumption twice a day, while the other (Endone) “only” every 4 hours? And why did the pharmacist warn against overuse of Endone, but not of Targin?

Went looking. That was instructive on many levels. Oxycodone is one of the key drugs in the current US opioid epidemic. And that's all that there is in Endone. Targin, on the other hand, contains naloxone hydrochloride, which, to quote Wikipedia, is a medication used to block the effects of opioids. And that explains the statement on the box, which I have never seen before: “POSSESSION WITHOUT AUTHORITY ILLEGAL”.

OK, that makes sense. And then I discovered that Yvonne had been taking the Endone, but not the Targin. Why? Unclear markings, unclear recollection of what the doctor said. She switched, but that difference could have been serious. Once again: why don't we get the information in writing in the first place?


Heat and smoke
Topic: general Link here

Another hot day today, with a top temperature of 42°. Ideal bushfire weather. And towards evening we smelt (wood) smoke and saw haze. But where did it come from? The appalling bushfire general emergency map showed nothing within 30 km. And I've learnt better than to call the emergency numbers unless I can actually see flames (by which time, of course, it would probably be too late).


Trump of the week
Topic: politics Link here


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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