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Thursday, 18 October 2018 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 18 October 2018
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Dentist again
Topic: health Link here

Off to Ballarat again today to have the filling replace that had been identified last week. It seems that it was related to the tooth I had extracted two years ago: the filling was adjacent and now subject to more pressure. Hopefully the new one will hold better.

Somehow I didn't find much else to do in town. Sometimes those 30 km seem amazingly far.


Analytical scales
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

At school and university I used various analytical balances, some of the most complicated machines I had encountered. If I recall correctly, the ones at school had an accuracy of 0.01 g, while the master's balance had an accuracy of 0.001 g. They looked something like this:

In each case, weighing was a slow business. You couldn't wait for the scale to stop swinging—that would have taken several minutes, and you needed to add or remove weights several times—so you had to measure the sweep of the indicator to estimate the mid point.

Then about 14 years ago I bought some digital scales for brewing. Up to 50 g, in increments of 0.01 g, and only US $46.42. That's the same resolution as the balances we had at school. I was so impressed that I didn't bother to mention it in my diary.

But that balance seems to be showing the effects of time. It no longer wants to run on rechargeable batteries, and it's only a matter of time before it no longer wants to work with non-rechargeable batteries.

So I ordered a new one, which arrived today. Up to 100 g in 0.001 g increments! That matches the master's balance at school. And that for AUD $23.09, currently less than half the cost of the old one:

It required calibrating, but after that confirmed the weight every time to within 1 mg. I wonder if the scale is as linear as it should be. About the only real issue is that the thing is so tiny that it's difficult to read the display when there's something on it.


Soil examination
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

So what's wrong with my soil? I've bought a soil pH meter to check the most obvious problem. And Bingo!


This should be Live-birch-pH.jpeg.  Is it missing?
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pH 4.1! That's about as acid as it can get. No wonder the birch died.

Problem: that was the soil round the birch that has survived. Round the dead one I got a reading of 5.2, still not good, but much better than anywhere else I measured with the exception of the pile of topsoil that I have. And the Paulownia kawakamii also has a reading of pH 4.0. No wonder it isn't growing.

So is that the only issue? Clearly I need some lime, but will that be enough? Is the soil maybe even worse further down? That would explain why the biggest tree died first. And it doesn't explain why the Camellia japonica is also looking so sick. There the pH is round 5.0, not that bad for Camellias. It's not even clear that it's a good idea to lime it.


Friday, 19 October 2018 Dereel Images for 19 October 2018
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Scott Morrison shows the way
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Who says that the Liberals are behind the times? Our valiant Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has recently shown the dangers of letting your domain name expire. In cahoots with Jack Genesin he let his domain name expire, and then Jack set up a fake web site with links to an analysis of the dangers of letting your domain name expire:


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In the process, of course, he increased the number of hits on his web site by several orders of magnitude, prompting an overload on the server.

Here are the current details:

=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~ 81 -> whois scottmorrison.com.au
Domain Name: SCOTTMORRISON.COM.AU
Registry Domain ID: D407400000011040941-AU
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.auda.org.au
Registrar URL:
Last Modified: 2018-10-18T05:16:04Z
Registrar Name: DROP.com.au Pty Ltd
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone:
Reseller Name:
Status: serverRenewProhibited https://afilias.com.au/get-au/whois-status-codes#serverRenewProhibited
Status: transferPeriod https://afilias.com.au/get-au/whois-status-codes#transferPeriod
Registrant Contact ID: DS513272521773
Registrant Contact Name: Archer  Corbin
Tech Contact ID: DS51327252229
Tech Contact Name: Archer  Corbin
Name Server: NS2.SYRAHOST.COM
Name Server: NS1.SYRAHOST.COM
DNSSEC: unsigned
Registrant: GENESIN, JACK
Registrant ID: ABN 96701187815
Eligibility Type: Sole Trader
=== grog@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~ 82 -> host scottmorrison.com.au
scottmorrison.com.au has address 203.170.84.9
scottmorrison.com.au has IPv6 address 2404:8280:a222:bbbb:bba1:90:ffff:ffff
scottmorrison.com.au mail is handled by 0 mail.scottmorrison.com.au.

Clearly this is in agreement with Morrison; apart from the music (“Scotty doesn't know”), it's not offensive, and it's still there two days later. What was I thinking when I rewrote his name as “Is Moron” a couple of days ago? Bravo Morrison!


Pancreas: all clear
Topic: health, opinion Link here

Yvonne off to see Mr. Kon Shimokawa in Ballarat this afternoon. As expected, he gave her a clean bill of health, and also (apparently) the information that such distension of the pancreas as she has is no longer considered as dangerous. That's a relief.


More bad language
Topic: gardening, language, opinion Link here

While in town, Yvonne stopped off at Formosa Gardens nursery to buy some lime. How hard can it be? But no, the sales assistant wanted to know all sorts of details, so she called me and I spoke to the assistant. Yes, I know what I'm doing, I have acid soil and need some lime to neutralize it. How acid? pH 4. OK, how about some dolomite? No, I don't need magnesium, only lime.

OK, garden lime? What's that? What are the ingredients? It's 95% NV. Huh? What kind of marketing gibberish is that? Ah, it's also 92.5% calcium. That corresponds to 129.5% CaO or 231% CaCO₃.

Dammit, can't anybody talk straight any more? I can't make any sense out of that. So we didn't buy anything; probably not a bad idea anyway. My recollection is that lime costs about $20 a ton, and we need several tons for the whole garden. This would have been a 25 kg sack at most, and it would definitely be much more expensive.

Discussed the matter on IRC, and Juha Kupiainen came up with the answer: NV stands for “neutralising value”, one of those fundamental units of physics, along with ENV (“effective neutralising value”; clearly NV isn't effective). Or is it? From the link above, and admire the missing full stops:

In other words, a complete lack of understanding on both sides. A Google search showed relatively conclusively that this is yet another example of bad language.

But the link is interesting after all. It relates to the Corangamite area (Electorate? Shire Geology? They're too polite to say), which is round here, and it discusses the various kinds of lime that are available. And maybe I should reconsider dolomite. Who says that the soil is not also deficient in magnesium?


You have been pwned!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

We've had some discussion about ransomware and such on IRC, and I expressed the opinion that you don't need to break in to a system to get a ransom. As if to prove the point, I recently got a ransom demand myself, exposing my perverse secrets. It's worth looking at the entire message, including the headers (only modified to point to the normal groggyhimself):

From MAILER-DAEMON  Wed Oct 17 18:10:17 2018
Return-Path: <>

It's interesting that there's no domain name on this From line. I wonder why.

X-Original-To: groggyhimself@eureka.lemis.com
Delivered-To: groggyhimself@eureka.lemis.com
Received: from eureka.lemis.com (eureka.lemis.com [192.109.197.137])
        by eureka.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 9D9B14494B0
        for <groggyhimself@eureka.lemis.com>; Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:10:14 +1100 (AEDT)
X-Original-To: mailer-daemon@lemis.com
Delivered-To: groggyhimself@lemis.com
Received: from www.lemis.com [208.86.226.86]
        by eureka.lemis.com with POP3 (fetchmail-6.3.26)
        for <groggyhimself@eureka.lemis.com> (single-drop); Wed, 17 Oct 2018 18:10:17 +1100 (AEDT)
Received: from 187-162-48-90.static.axtel.net (187-162-48-90.static.axtel.net [187.162.48.90])
        by www.lemis.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 0F6271B72837
        for <mailer-daemon@lemis.com>; Wed, 17 Oct 2018 07:05:19 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <BEBFFB08C5FA4C363773804D72C4BEBF@XQAEUIB2M>

These last few lines clearly identify where the message came from. It's interesting because it's apparently a static address, which should enable abuse@axtel.net to identify the perpetrator. I wonder if they did anything with my complaint.

From: mailer-daemon@lemis.com
To: mailer-daemon@lemis.com
Subject: mailer-daemon@lemis.com is hacked
Date: 16 Oct 2018 19:18:52 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
        charset="windows-1252"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2900.5931
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2900.5931
Status: RO
Content-Length: 1868
Lines: 36

Hello!

My nickname in darknet is timmie39.
I hacked this mailbox more than six months ago,
through it I infected your operating system with a virus (trojan) created by me and have been monitoring you for a long time.

If you don't belive me please check 'from address' in your header, you will see that I sent you an email from your mailbox.

Heh. Who believes the From: address?

Even if you changed the password after that - it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the
    caching data on your computer
and automatically saved access for me.

What does that mean? He has finally managed to create a virus that attacks FreeBSD machines? Give that man a medal!

I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history.
Accordingly, I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos.

All 5 TB of photos! He's been busy. Of course, he could more easily have got them from the web site.

I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit.
You have a very wild imagination, I tell you!

Probably not as wild as his one-size-fits-all imagination.

During your pastime and entertainment there, I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching.
Oh my god! You are so funny and excited!

Dammit! He got a camera to work and didn't tell me!

I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?

Wrong. Everything I do is open, and I go to great lengths to let people know what I do.

If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $514 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created.

No. I hate destroying data. But if he insists, he can pay me for the inconvenience.

Send the above amount on my BTC wallet (bitcoin): 1DBMVxzSPZ95FDyZfopwHgxncFEsp89uuS
As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted, I do not need it.

Sorry, I don't do bitcoin. Send the money to my PayPal account.

Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device.
Also, I'll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs, I have carefully saved it!

It seems that everybody has my email address anyway. I wonder what logs he was thinking of.

Since reading this letter you have 50 hours!
After your reading this message, I'll receive an automatic notification that you have seen the letter.

This part could at least theoretically be correct, via DSN. But I don't see any evidence in the headers.

I hope I taught you a good lesson.
Do not be so nonchalant, please visit only to proven resources, and don't enter your passwords anywhere!
Good luck!

I don't know about a “lesson”, but it was interesting to analyse the message. Basically he confirms my claims: he doesn't need to break in to my system; a well-formulated message can scare enough technically inexperienced people into paying money to him. This sort of thing really should be pursued by the authorities, and in this particular case (yes, the source address is correct) it should be relatively easy to find the perpetrator.


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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