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Saturday, 19 January 2019 Dereel Images for 19 January 2019
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Power fail? Computer fail!
Topic: technology, general, opinion Link here

Woken up this morning by the sound a fan running continuously. Damn, can't Yvonne turn the extractor off when she's finished showering? But no, it proved to be coming from lagoon, Yvonne's computer. It had rebooted round 7:56, and she tells me that there had been a power failure round that time. teevee had also rebooted, but was not making any noise. Both machines seemed to be running normally.

First question: what power failure? Nothing else had reported a failure. The ones that did were on the external UPS. And in the course of the morning it experienced many hiccoughs, causing my office UPS (one of the clients) to beep annoyingly, sometimes more than once a minute. Somehow this UPS was a bad purchase. My guess is that the hiccoughs are caused by mains power fluctuations that don't interest any other consumers, but cause it to interrupt briefly. Maybe there was a particular sequence at 7:53 or so that caused it to interrupt the supply long enough for teevee, lagoon and Yvonne's clock to lose power.

That doesn't explain the fan, of course. How do I stop it? Shut down and reboot? Did that, and the fan started all over again. OK, power down, pull the power plug and wait a while, then try again? That made a difference. It didn't power up again, though it made some kind of a noise through the sound output: click-click every 5 seconds or so.

OK, time for a replacement for lagoon. Took the disk and put it in my only remaining test box, and had almost no issues getting it up and running: I had expected at least some problems with the display card parameters. The only issue was one that I have seen before, that the network card didn't come up in time for the NFS mounts, so I had to retry them in multi-user mode.

So what's the issue with the old lagoon? It's a ThinkCentre M 6073. Any help on the web? Yes, indeed. A Google search thinkcentre loud fan brought a number of hits, some, like this one with specific instructions on how to fix it, even down to the motherboard layout. Only that's a different motherboard, and on mine I couldn't find the CMOS jumper mentioned. OK, tuit queue: for the moment Yvonne has a computer.

As if that wasn't bad enough, got a call from CJ Ellis: he had run into the dreaded corrupted content error bug. Put him off to the afternoon, by which time he had solved it: one of the connectors to his ATA was not seated correctly, and after he put it back in, the problem had gone away.

I wonder what really happened.


Piccola catching birds?
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Yvonne into the office while I was researching solutions to the ThinkCentre problem, to report that Piccola had caught a sparrow and left it in the laundry.

Had she? In to find this:


This should be Sparrow-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
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Yes, beyond reasonable doubt a dead sparrow. But it was intact bar a few feathers. Did Piccola kill it? If so, why didn't she eat it?


Girding up Sir Christiane
Topic: animals, photography Link here

Chris Bahlo along this afternoon to go riding in full armour. Yvonne asked me to take some photos of her once she had girded her up. OK, I can do that.

Half an hour later she still hadn't called me. Out to find them still hard at it:

What a time it takes! Finally she was done:


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Olympus autofocus fail
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

I still can't get my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II to autofocus reliably for video. Most of today's clips were OK, but one was spectacularly bad:

Yes, it's trying to tell me to clean the dust off the lens. But why does it get so completely confused, and what can I do about it? It started off in focus and just wandered off into nirvana. If the upcoming E-M1X model is better, I might even forgive it for its ridiculous size.


More curry tree mites
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

I've been paying particular attention to mites on my curry tree, and it seems to be paying off: it's looking a lot happier. But today, while drawing the curtains, I saw a tell-tale web on one of the healthy shoots. Out with the fly spray, and discovered that there were many such webs. Here they are after spraying:


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How do I get rid of the bloody things?


Counting FAT bytes
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Took a lot of photos today. The videos accounted for 7.4 GB, an amazing amount for the 15 minutes or so that I took. And while reading in from my 32 GB SD card, I ran an mdir -s to show all files. The summary was interesting:

      474 files       7 204 379 128 bytes
                     14 164 066 304 bytes free

That doesn't add up to 32 GB! But it also doesn't match what I read in:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/11) ~/Photos/20190119 716 -> du -sc orig/4*[FV]
...
8870    total

That's 8870 MB for today alone. All those files were on the card, and others besides. What has mdir been smoking?


Sunday, 20 January 2019 Dereel
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A new ThinkCentre?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

So what's wrong with lagoon? The obvious thing to do is to try to repair it. But these second-hand ThinkCentres hardly cost anything, and maybe it will make more sense to buy a “new” one.

Off looking on eBay, running into the same problems as on previous occasions: how do I know how fast the thing is? Some of the advertised systems don't even specify what the processor is. The ones that do don't give any idea of the relative performance, and not even the price is an indication.

What I found today was:

Model       CPU       Price+shipping       CPUMark       Comment
M71e       i5-2400       150+30       5962
M92p       i5-3470       165+24       3717
M81 FAST       CORE DUAL G620       189       2028
M81 FAST       CORE DUAL G6320             2377
      Core 2 duo (e7500)             1875
      i5-4590             7310       only tiny
M73       i5-4570       225       7131
      4570t? (2.9 GHz)             6794?

Yes, it's incomplete, but it might help. One issue is that the more powerful processors are in smaller cases, and they will probably not take a display card. I might just go for the i5-2400 again, the same one as in dischord.


More fridge insights
Topic: general, opinion Link here

My fridge investigations on Friday were limited to The Good Guys; clearly I need to find prices from others. Tried Appliances Online and came up with a better (if not good) overview, showing a significantly lower price for "side by side” fridges than the “French door” fridges that I had been looking at. For example, I can currently get a Haier HSBS628AW 629 l Side By Side Fridge for $1,069, but the cheapest “French door” fridge is the Hisense HR6FDFF630S with 630 l for $1,376.

Still, even that is significantly cheaper than what I have been looking at. What does the freezer compartment look like? Surprise, surprise! They're not telling! There are four images, none of which show what's in the freezer compartment:

Where are the other photos? One is the left half of this photo, another the right half, and the third (only on some pages) is the right half without content. No idea what the freezer compartment is like. You'd really think that they don't want to sell the things.

Still, it's becoming clear that our search isn't over yet.


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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