Greg
animals brewing
food and drink gardening
general health
history language
music multimedia
opinion photography
politics Stones Road house
technology
Greg's diary
recent entries
Translate this page
Select day in May 2018:
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
Select month:
2017 Sep Oct Nov Dec
2018 Jan Feb Mar Apr
2018 May Jun Jul Aug
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

Wednesday, 23 May 2018 Dereel Images for 23 May 2018
Top of page
next day
last day

Mobile phone cameras: how good?
Topic: photography, general, opinion Link here

Yvonne has has a bright idea: get rid of the sofa couch in the music room, because it's too uncomfortable. Is that an issue? It almost never gets used. Here it is currently, giving a good idea of the amount of use it gets:


This should be Sofa-couch-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa couch 1          Dimensions:          4768 x 3456, 2790 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

So we agreed to give it to Amber Fitzpatrick, who will get it in the next few days.

And then Yvonne had an idea: we need a sofa bed. She found one on Facebook for only $50. How do I like the look of it?

 
This should be Sofa-bed-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa bed 1
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 720 x 540, 24 kB
Dimensions of original: 720 x 540, 24 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 21 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Sofa-bed-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa bed 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 720 x 540, 23 kB
Dimensions of original: 720 x 540, 23 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 21 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

What terrible photos! I can barely recognize anything. What went wrong there? Yvonne says “what do you expect from a phone camera?”, but the fact is that I expect something a whole lot better than that, even in low light. To prove the point, I took some photos with my Samsung GT-I9100T, really not the best of phone cameras:


This should be Yvonne-Piccola.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Yvonne Piccola          Dimensions:          2448 x 3264, 874 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 22 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Kitchen.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Kitchen          Dimensions:          3264 x 2448, 616 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Tuesday, 22 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Tuesday, 22 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

They're recognizable as long as you don't look too closely:

 
This should be Yvonne-Piccola-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Yvonne Piccola detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 477 x 514, 83 kB
Dimensions of original: 477 x 514, 83 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry
 
This should be Kitchen-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Kitchen detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 290 x 283, 55 kB
Dimensions of original: 290 x 283, 55 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Tuesday, 22 May 2018:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

So what was wrong with the original photos? No idea. Anyway, today Yvonne went and took a look at it today, liked it, and took a real photo:


This should be Sofa-bed-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Sofa bed 1          Dimensions:          4773 x 3456, 3307 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 23 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 23 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 23 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

At least I can recognize something there. So for $50 and a lot of carrying things around, we'll be back to the status quo.


A new cat door
Topic: general, animals, opinion Link here

We've been thinking about a cat door in the laundry for years, and even bought a door to fit into the glass outside door. Then, two months ago, we discovered that installation costs would exceed $800 because we needed a new glass panel. Since then we've been wondering if it's worth it, particularly since it would probably need to be removed if we sell the house.

But there are alternatives, like door panels that fit beside the glass door. We had looked at one for the dogs three years ago, but there wasn't enough space. Something similar is available for cats, as described in this video. So today Yvonne picked up one at Bunnings, and I installed it.

The good news: it works. Here it is without the sealing strips:


This should be Cat-door-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 1          Dimensions:          2545 x 4888, 2374 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 
This should be Cat-door-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 2          Dimensions:          3311 x 4675, 2940 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

The opening for the door wasn't exactly wide before. Now it's barely acceptable at 37 cm, but we can get through with no difficulty—if we turn sideways:


This should be Cat-door-3.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 3          Dimensions:          2341 x 4752, 1715 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

Why didn't I install the sealing strips? Despite what the salesperson at Bunnings said, I can't find a good way to lock it. He had suggested putting the catch for the lock on the panel, but that makes no sense:


This should be Cat-door-1-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Cat door 1 detail          Dimensions:          958 x 669, 139 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018 Complete exposure details

 

Apart from the fact that there's no way to attach the catch to the panel, it's not anchored firmly enough. The method supplied with the panel is a bracket to be screwed to the sliding door with a bolt through the frame. I'll defer that until I'm sure that we're going to keep the thing.


Understanding Edixa cameras
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

A little over 50 years ago I bought an Edixa-Mat Flex S camera body, and about 18 months later I replaced it with an Edixa-Mat Reflex D. That camera was stolen from me in Milano in September 1976.

For reasons partly of nostalgia and partly of interest, I recently bought a similar camera on eBay. It arrived today, and it's not as similar to the Edixa-Mat Reflex D as I thought. It doesn't have the slow shutter speeds of the D model (which, unusual for the day, had shutter speeds down to 9 seconds), and it also doesn't have an automatic diaphragm release. In those respects it's closer to my first Edixa camera, the Edixa-Mat Flex S, though I think that that camera didn't have speeds below 1/25 s. It also comes with a 50 mm f/2.8 Steinheil Cassar lens

Round about this point I came up with two basic questions: How old is this camera, and what's the difference between the individual models? It seems that in the entire lifetime of the Edixa reflexes (1954 to about 1970), the basic appearance hardly changed. And it also seems that the naming differences didn't necessarily make it to the inscription on the front panel. This page gives one view of the naming. With the older models with no electronics, it seems that we have these sub models of the Edixa Reflex, though it's not clear that the Edixa-Mat Reflex was any different:

Model       Year       Shutter (s)       Interchangeable viewfinder       Instant return mirror       Auto diaphragm       Exposure meter       Self timer
Reflex       1954       1/1000 - 1/25       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex S       ?       1/500 - 1/25       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex       1955-1965       1/1000 - 1       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex A       ?       1/1000 - 1       yes       no       no       no       no
Reflex B, Ba       ?       1/1000 - 1       yes       yes       yes       no       no
Reflex C, Ca       ?       1/1000 - 1       yes       yes       yes       yes       no
Reflex D, Da       ?       1/1000 - 9       yes       yes       yes       no       yes

There are many more models there, but round this point I'm beginning to doubt their accuracy. For example, it claims that the Edixa Flex of 1959 included an exposure meter, which sounds very dubious to me, especially since it also states that the Flex of 1964 didn't have one. And my Edixa-Mat Flex S isn't even mentioned. I'll have to compare with other descriptions.

In any case, that table suggests that my new camera is either the first or the third on this list. After all, that's what it says on the front panel, and the features match. But when? My Flex S had the serial number 259171, and the Reflex D had the serial number 273753. The new camera has the serial number 152145, clearly much earlier.

This page has some indications:

Model       Serial number       Year
Edixa Reflex       102421       1956
Edixa Reflex A       111726       1956
Edixa Standard       204857       1960
Edixa-Mat Reflex D       265569       1961

What other indications are there? The instruction manual has, on the back, “Manufacturers of precision cameras for 30 years”. Wirgin made their first camera in 1924, so that would imply 1954. But I don't think the camera is that old. Another indication might be the film sensitivity dial around the film rewind knob: it's rated from 6 ASA/9° DIN to 400 ASA/27° DIN. By contrast, my Asahi Pentax SV, which I estimate to be from the early 1960s, has markings from 10 ASA to 1600 ASA. In general, it seems reasonable to date the current camera to round 1957 or 1958. The table above also suggests that my first Edixa-Mat was made in 1961, and the second Reflex D probably 1962.

Apart from that, how does it feel after all these years? I never thought as much of the Edixas as I did of the Pentaxes, and this camera confirms this. The viewfinder is much dimmer, and the image is smaller. The lens has no assistance at all for full-aperture focusing: the only way to set the aperture is fully manually, and that's difficult without resetting the focus. But I recall that even at the time I had a low opinion of the Cassar. Overall, the Edixa seems so much more primitive than the Pentax. Given that it was one of the more popular German cameras, it's not surprising that the German camera industry succumbed to the Japanese, all the time looking down their noses at them.


Thursday, 24 May 2018 Dereel Images for 24 May 2018
Top of page
previous day

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:


This should be Laksa-1.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Laksa 1          Dimensions:          2409 x 2628, 3825 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
Diary entry for Thursday, 24 May 2018

 
This should be Laksa-2-detail.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: Laksa 2 detail          Dimensions:          1176 x 445, 200 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 24 May 2018, small
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. this one wanted to be left in cold water for 5 minutes. 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.


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.


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.


Greg's home page This month Greg's photos Greg's links

RSS 2.0 Valid XHTML 1.0!