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Thursday, 24 May 2018 Dereel Images for 24 May 2018
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Assam laksa again
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

It's been a while since I last made assam laksa for breakfast. I did so today, this time with rice noodles that were much thinner than they should be.

On the whole, not bad. But some details need fixing. Here's package and the recipe on the back:


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Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018

 
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Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018

 

So I made my 1.5 litres. Too much. I think next time 1.2 litres would be about right.

And rice noodles continue to amaze. In the past I've discovered noodles that were supposed to be softened for a minute or so in cold water, but which in fact needed to be cooked for 12 minutes. This one wasn't quite as bad: it wanted to be left in cold water for 5 minutes:

 
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At the end of this time they were still hard. After 12 minutes, they were still hard, so I put them in hot (just off boiling) water for 5 minutes, after which they were al dente.

Here's the result:

 
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Fixing mplayer?
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

I've been using mplayer for over 15 years, and in the course of that time I have found enough cause for complaint. But it works, sort of, and the code is clear enough that I was able to add missing functionality, notably the ability to store file positions and to display information on the screen in a useful (for me) format. As a result, I have a set of patches that I have to apply to every new version.

But there are still things that I need to do. MPEG positioning is only to a key frame, and there's no way to step backwards frame by frame—something that we had with VCRs 30 years ago. I have been considering adding support for some time, but it's non-trivial.

And then I went looking for alternatives, and discovered that mpv supports positioning to any frame (“HR seek”, they call it). And how about that, I have it installed already. Why didn't I use it? I tried six months ago and discovered that it had no support for lirc.

At the time that was enough reason not to consider it further, but in the meantime I've given up on lirc too. The whole interface was wrong, and I don't find it inconvenient to have a real keyboard on my lap instead. So now I can use mpv, and I only needed a few changes to get it to do almost what I want it to do. It has a configuration file ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf:

--- .config/mpv/mpv.conf        2018/05/24 05:57:23     1.1
+++ .config/mpv/mpv.conf        2018/05/24 09:22:05
@@ -30,7 +30,7 @@
 ##################

 # Start in fullscreen mode by default.
-#fs=yes
+fs=yes

 # force starting with centered window
 #geometry=50%:50%
@@ -136,3 +136,7 @@

 #[eye-cancer]
 #sharpen=5
+# Grog, starting 20180524
+osd-font-size=15
+# keep OSD on when we ask for it.
+osd-duration=0

That last line bases on undocumented behaviour. By default, OSD (“on-screen display”) information is removed again after 1 s, something that irritates me. osd-duration specifies a different timeout in milliseconds. But 0 means “keep it on”. It's not documented, so it's not clear whether this is a feature or a bug from the implementer's viewpoint.

It also has the option of saving the current position in ~/.config/mpv/watch_later/. I'm not sure if I like that as much as my concept of storing the information in the same directory as the video, but it does the job.

And these two features effectively mirror my patches to mplayer. Apart from that, I need to consider my mmp script, which I used for starting mplayer with my personal options. Many of them are superfluous with mpv, but at least keeping a record of what I have seen isn't. But it's trivial compared to what works out of the box.


Kangaroo tracks
Topic: animals Link here

We see lots of kangaroo tracks when walking the dogs, but these are particularly obvious:

 
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Friday, 25 May 2018 Dereel Images for 25 May 2018
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Traffic Nazis again
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Two months ago Yvonne received a “speeding” ticket: I had been driving her car down an almost empty freeway in good weather and good condition, but I had been fined nearly $200 for driving at 105 km/h in a 100 km/h speed limit, a speed that would be legal just about anywhere where there are roads of this quality.

There's nothing you can do about this sort of thing. Yvonne sent off a “nomination form” saying that she wasn't driving, I was. And we heard nothing.

Some sane person at the fines department looked at the ticket and discarded it because it was stupid? Not a hope. Based on previous experience, it's more likely that they somehow lost the nomination form. OK, not to worry? To worry! They slap on penalties that can quickly exceed the original fine. So today I called up the fines department on 9200 8111. It took them fully 30 minutes to reply! Finally I got on to Vicky[sp?], who wanted confirmation that I was authorized to ask whether the form had arrived or not. Nothing to do: I had to go and find Yvonne, and Vick* asked her her address (on the form) and date of birth. And with that she was identified!

And yes, the nomination form had arrived. They've just been busy. You'd think that with the money they made, they could be more efficient.


Moving furniture
Topic: general, opinion Link here

As planned, Chris Bahlo came along with her ute to pick up the furniture we're giving to Amber Fitzpatrick: a sofa bed, a massage armchair with footrest (but sadly without power supply), a hanging chair for the verandah, and the table that we bought over 2 years ago, for which which we have never been able to find a good place.

How is that going to fit? Chris wanted to put the table upside down under the sofa. And the legs? I measured things and came to the conclusion that it would never fit. Chris was more optimistic.

Finally we got the table and sofa in place. To my astonishment, it didn't just fit, the fit was so good that it almost seemed to be made for it:

 
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And somehow we got the other stuff on the car too:

 
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Donald Trump: idiot or genius?
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

One of the more amazing things I've seen recently was the change of heart in North Korea and the planned face-to-face meeting between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. I had already noted elsewhere that if he pulls it off, he could be a good candidate for the next Nobel Peace Prize. What a conflict it would be for me to accept that! But then, not all winners are Really Good People. Think of Aung San Suu Kyi, for example, who in retrospect seems to fit more into the category of “the enemy of my enemy”.

Still, if he pulls it off, it will be worth it. But will he?

Today Trump cancelled a planned meeting with Kim, citing “tremendous anger". Is it all off? People seem to think so, but for once I disagree. I even think that Trump might be playing it right. After all, if there is one thing that he can do, it’s make deals. That doesn’t mean that this one will work, but there are some subtle things that make me wonder: Consider:

I will be very interested in how this pans out. I think it's very possible that the meeting will go ahead after the initial gesturing is out of the way.


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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