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Wednesday, 19 July 2017 Dereel Images for 19 July 2017
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teevee: going live
Topic: technology, multimedia, opinion Link here

So everything seems to be OK with teevee. Time to take it out of the office and connect it to the TV in the lounge room.

I need to keep tiwi running along with teevee until I'm sure that everything is OK. That means new cables and stuff, of course. Where have all the power cables gone? Found some new ones, and even an additional power strip. That was the easy part. Next, Ethernet. Found my old 5 port Ethernet switch, but where did the power supply go? I was using it only a few months ago, until I gave up on TV. But I couldn't find it.

Never mind, I had a second one, an 8 port switch, and a power supply to go with it. But it never got out of its self test. Power supply or switch? Should I care?

Three more switches, all only 100 MB/s. Any port (out of 8) in a storm. More power supply problems! They all have strange ratings, like 5 V, 2.4 A (which I had, but only 100-120 V input) and 7.5 V (which I had, but not with the correct connector). Finally I looked at the last one: a 24 port switch with (thank God) a normal IEC 63020 C13 power connector. So I plugged that in, and it recognized tiwi, but not the wall plug. It seemed that the cable I had put in there was defective. Crossover? I thought that modern switches could handle that. So a new cable, and that worked.

And then there were audio and HDMI cables, all placed so that it's almost impossible to plug them in. But finally I was done, and I turned it on, connected to the TV via HDMI connector 2.

It worked, but the image went beyond the edges of the screen. Xorg.0.log suggested that it wasn't getting any EDID information, and I had some recollection of that. Plugged it in to HDMI 1 (more cursing the location of the sockets), and it worked. But not well. This CPU has roughly twice the grunt of the old one, but the display was jerky, and top showed that it was maxed out.

Comparing the Xorg.0.log files from tiwi and teevee was interesting: the latter contained repeating messages:

[  1097.496] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): SKYDATA S.P.A. BAUHN TV (DFP-1): connected
[  1097.496] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): SKYDATA S.P.A. BAUHN TV (DFP-1): Internal TMDS
[  1097.496] (--) NVIDIA(GPU-0): SKYDATA S.P.A. BAUHN TV (DFP-1): 340.0 MHz maximum pixel clock

Why? Searching the web suggested that this only occurs in conjunction with problems that stop things working altogether. But clearly the issue relates to the display, since I didn't have them with the normal monitor.

So off to the nvidia site to look for the driver documentation. I recall seeing it before, and finding it helpful, but I couldn't find a link on the web site, and I couldn't find anything in this diary either. Finally, after a roundabout way that I forgot to record, I did find it: Configuring X for the NVIDIA Driver and nvidia X configuration options. And there I found:

"NoMaxPClkCheck": each mode has a pixel clock; this pixel clock is validated against the maximum pixel clock of the hardware (for a DFP, this is the maximum pixel clock of the TMDS encoder, for a CRT, this is the maximum pixel clock of the DAC). This argument disables the maximum pixel clock checking stage of the mode validation pipeline.

So I added that to the config file, which, in addition to things I changed long ago, now contains:

    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "nVidia Corporation"
    Option         "UseEDIDDpi" "FALSE"
    Option         "DPI"  "150x150"
    Option         "ModeValidation" "NoMaxPClkCheck"

Or does it? When I looked the next morning, the last line was commented out. But the messages no longer appeared. It looks as if this is still not over and done with, especially since the performance still seems less than stellar.

Apart from that, there are other minor things I need to look at. Why is the firefox display size so different? The xterm display colours don't match. And a lot of other minor stuff that doesn't stop me using it. But (here we go again) after 25 years, this stuff a real pain.


First camellia of spring
Topic: gardening Link here

Our Camellia japonica is starting to flower:


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Only one small flower so far, but there are plenty of buds, and the leaves are looking better. Looking back, we've had it for nearly 7 years, and the only time it flowered anywhere near this early was 5 years ago. I'm hoping that things will be better now that it's planted in the ground.


Panorama problems solved?
Topic: photography Link here

It seems that I'm not the only person to suffer from the changed focal length syndrome that caused me pain earlier this month. Now T.Modes (as he styles himself) has produced this document, which I must read.


Thursday, 20 July 2017 Dereel Images for 20 July 2017
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Strange egg yolks
Topic: food and drink Link here

Why are egg yolks so consistent? The genetic code, of course. But from time to time there are differences, like this one, with eggs from the same box:


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Hugin alignment issue
Topic: photography, technology Link here

As planned yesterday, tried the instructions to solve the problem that I had earlier this month aligning panoramas. The issue was supposedly related to an incorrectly calculated focal length, and the instructions showed how to reset it.

It didn't work. It recalculated the incorrect focal length, and the panorama still was a complete mess. Another thing to investigate more deeply.


Strelitzia growth
Topic: gardening Link here

It seems I paid too much attention to the Strelitzia nicolai with the broken front. The other one that we translplanted is developing a new shoot:


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That's interesting because of its almost complete lack of roots.


MyNetFone escalation
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

For reasons that I don't understand, CJ Ellis has genuine issues with his VoIP connection with MyNetFone. I've been using them for years, and have had relatively few problems. But a couple of years ago CJ had a strange problem: incoming calls were diverted immediately to voice mail, and MyNetFone support claimed—incorrectly—that the ATA wasn't registered. Outgoing calls worked normally. It took forever for them to fix it.

Now CJ has a problem: incoming calls are diverted immediately to voice mail. Outgoing calls worked normally, but MyNetFone support claims—incorrectly—that the ATA wasn't registered. There's clearly something really strange in their configuration. Got CJ to authorize me, and today I called up, in the process getting the this message while waiting for an answer:

While you are waiting, please consider this: Please stay on the line for the next available operator.

Finally I spoke to Manish, who couldn't add anything to the matter: once again, their system claimed that he wasn't registered. Asked him to escalate it, but he couldn't. Asked to speak to his supervisor, but he couldn't connect me, and I could expect a call back in 24 to 48 hours! This sounds like Telstra all over again.

Left him with the message that they should hurry, or they'd find that the service had been cancelled. Only then did I confirm with CJ that he was prepared to pay a little more for the corresponding Aussie Broadband service. For about $25 a year it should be worth it for his peace of mind.


ALDI noodle maker
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Yesterday Yvonne bought a noodle maker that was on special at ALDI:


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Do we need it? I don't know, but it seemed worth trying, though certainly not to save money: you can buy a lot of pasta for $129. Still, we can always bring it back...

The thing didn't look bad, and it comes with attachments to make all sorts of different pasta:


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But of course the instructions were as confusing as ever:


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Of course it came with its own volumetric flour measure (“cup”), but how much fits in there? And what's the issue with water, vegetable juice, stock and egg/water mix? This device is suited to wheat only (why?), and what kind of wheat noodles do you make without eggs? And what is the proportion of eggs and water?

So the first thing is to establish how much flour fits into the flour measure. That's a variable, of course:


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So what's correct? Add the weights to the egg-water mix, and you end up with between 218 g and 257 g of pasta, and not the 160 g that the table claims. What's wrong here? On a different page I read (clearly IMPORTANT):

NOTE; DO NOT EXCEED THE RECOMMENDED MAXIMUM FLOUR CAPACITY OF 640G.

Elsewhere again I read:

Note: Do not exceed 4 cups of flour or 640g.

That looks like a hard limit, not a recommendation. But 640 g is the maximum amount of pasta in the table above (4 “cups”). So reading between the lines, “Makes g of pasta” in the table translates to “weight of flour”.

OK, we can do that:


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Next, what proportion of egg and water? The noodles I know have no water at all, but maybe the machine needs it. One thing's clear: we don't want to add fractional eggs. So what does an egg weigh?


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OK, 51 g egg, 29 g water, a total of 70 g. Put in the machine according to the instructions, turn on: “Appliance will begin to knead the dough for 3 minutes - this depends on capacity being mixed”. In fact, for one cup it starts with a display showing 11 minutes, and kneads for 4. I can't imagine the time being shorter for larger loads.

But despite all attempts, the quantities were completely wrong. At the end of the 4 minutes, I just had crumbs:


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OK, another egg:


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But that was too much:


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Not much I could do there, so I pulled the mess out and kneaded another 20 g in by hand. Then back into the machine, and let it run. At the end of the 4 minutes, not much had changed:


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Then it started trying to extrude the noodles. Complete and utter failure. At the end we had:


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Nothing at all came out! On the face of it, that's not surprising. The chamber is far too large for a single “cup” of flour, and there's nothing in the mechanism to propel it to the output conveyor:


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So how can this thing work at all? My best guess is that if you fill it with at least 480 g of flour and other ingredients to suit, some will end up in the conveyor, and the elasticity of the (wheat) dough will pull the rest through. But I'm not prepared to waste anything else on the device. It's a particularly bad failure. Back it goes, with a flea in its ear.


21-gun salute?
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

So what do we do with the perfectly good noodle dough? Put it through one of our manual noodle machines. But where are they? Searched the whole kitchen and pantry, but couldn't find them. It seems that we haven't unpacked them since moving here over 2 years ago.

What I did find, though, was “champagne” from Perrini in Meadows, vintage 2007. We had bought 2 cases of 12 bottles each, and drunk exactly 3. So we have 21 bottles left over.

How good is it? We'll find out. The thought occurred to me that if we popped all the corks at once, we could have something like a 21-gun salute.


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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