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Thursday, 22 February 2018 Dereel → Sebastopol → Dereel Images for 22 February 2018
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Picking up the car
Topic: general Link here

Into Sebastopol with Chris Bahlo this morning to pick up the Hyundai Elantra. All was well until I got home, when I smelt coolant. Was it still leaking? A look under the bonnet confirmed that there was little wetness, if any, and after all, it had been raining. And clearly the radiator was new. But there were patches of dried coolant on the radiator cap. Called up and spoke to Paul Sperber, who confirmed that the radiator cap hadn't been changed. So so far all I have to go on is the smell of coolant. Wiped the cap clean; we'll see if it recurs.


HDR Express: still no luck
Topic: technology, photography, opinion Link here

My previous attempts with HDR Express 3 were less than successful. But OK, since I can't comfortably access their manual (it can only be displayed from the running program!), I was going by what seemed to make sense, not necessarily what you should do with Microsoft-based programs.

And then it occurred to me: I had come to this program because of a book, “The HDRI Handbook 2.0”, by Christian Bloch. The obvious thing (apart from the discrepancy in version numbers) would be to follow the instructions there. Went to some trouble (connecting a DVI cable from dischord to my right-hand monitor) to be able to start the program on dischord, something that I hadn't been able to do before because of the rdesktop bug. That way I had a pristine installation.

The book starts off by telling you to take the images (but not to read them into the computer), and then

  1. “Drag and drop all images onto the HDR Express program icon at once.”

    Aaargh! What a horrible way to process files! In my case, it was also very difficult, because it meant starting the program, once again using this horrible mouse. But OK, why not?

    One reason was that I still haven't worked out how to select all files in a directory from Microsoft. Something to do with Ctrl and Shift along with button 1, some of the time, but it doesn't always work. And then there's Ctrl-A, which also works some of the time. Fortunately I had linked the files I wanted into a separate directory by themselves, so I didn't have to do too much mousework. Finally I got it to work, and it gave me pretty much exactly what I could have done more easily the way I had done before:


    This should be HDREx-1-detail.png.  Is it missing?
    Image title: HDREx 1 detail          Dimensions:          1044 x 683, 60 kB
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    All images taken on Thursday, 22 February 2018, thumbnails          All images taken on Thursday, 22 February 2018, small
    Diary entry for Thursday, 22 February 2018 Complete exposure details

     

  2. Next: “Follow the on-screen prompts and click OK.”

    Which ones? Does it mean these buttons? That's all I can see:


    This should be HDREx-1-detail-3.png.  Is it missing?
    Image title: HDREx 1 detail 3          Dimensions:          1399 x 193, 124 kB
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    This should be HDREx-1-detail-2.png.  Is it missing?
    Image title: HDREx 1 detail 2          Dimensions:          1607 x 168, 51 kB
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    No OK. Still, Merge seems right, so I pressed that.

  3. “Now you have your first HDR image. That’s the mythical 32-bit file that contains all information from all source images. HDR Express plays a little animation now, ramping through the entire range of exposures”.

    Never mind what “mythical file” means. The rest wasn't what I saw. (Mercifully) no animation. All I got was what I had seen on previous occasions, just this time without the information panels on the right:

     
    This should be HDREx-5.png.  Is it missing?
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    That's far too dark.

Clearly there was no point in carrying on here with the instructions: they don't work for me. Why? I'm not a novice when it comes to HDR, but somehow this program baffles me, and the instructions don't help.

Further investigation showed what I had discovered before: it seems that it had only processed the first image, to judge from the tab at top left:


This should be HDREx-5-detail.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: HDREx 5 detail          Dimensions:          1111 x 243, 125 kB
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Last time I selected all three images and got a better result, at least on screen. Why didn't the the instructions tell me to do so? OK, try again, first selecting all the images (which causes their icons to highlight):


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After that, I got a different result:

 
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Far too bright! But now I have two (and not three!) images, and it seems that it was only showing the highlighted one:


This should be HDREx-2-detail-1.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: HDREx 2 detail 1          Dimensions:          1342 x 201, 155 kB
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Diary entry for Thursday, 22 February 2018 Complete exposure details

 

Why only two? And why is it not showing a merged image? I tried again with Manual instead of Auto, with no obvious change. And I can't see anything else I can do.

This is really amazingly frustrating. What I have so far:

As if to emphasize the point, my next attempt failed with something completely different: the program froze, leaving a broken display:

 
This should be HDREx-4.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: HDREx 4
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I had to force stop it to get any reaction.

What do I next? The sensible thing would be to forget it. But I don't want to give up. Next time I'll try the videos, which may be more up to date than the book.


FreeBSD: how stable?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Discussion of my recent panic on IRC this morning, and John Marshall expressed surprise that I was running FreeBSD-STABLE on my machines.

Why? That's the most stable version. But not according to John:

jrm: huh. grog uses -STABLE.
groggyhimself: Is that good, bad or ugly?
callum: I would consider it sensible
groggyhimself: My thoughts too.  I was wondering what jrm was thinking.
jrm: it was an observation
jrm: my understanding was never to use -STABLE unless it was absoutely necessary
jrm: as it is anything but 'stable' - and is not even guaranteed to compile - despite its name. and it's generally better - for production-grade hosts to use security branch

Huh? What has he been smoking? But he came up with backing evidence:

jrm: it's still considered a 'development' branch afaik
jrm: perhaps it's changed, but i had -STABLE not compile plenty of times in the past.
Darius: jrm: maybe a little but in practise not really
jrm: unless you're a developer, on a development host - unless you need the features - i dont see the need, personally. but it's all personal taste. i'm sure many in here are on -current
fwaggle: jrm: i used to track stable all the time. it's not meant to imply guaranteed stability, only that it's the branch that committers are supposed to avoid breaking, but i think it was actually broken maybe a handful of times in the several years i tracked it.
fwaggle: considering i started following it because of the nightmare that was freebsd 5.x on amd64, i don't think it's that bad :p
jrm: i still have nightmares of 5.x :/
fwaggle: i can't imagine what the folks working on it think of those days, all i had to do was run it and wait for them to fix things :p
juha: right now -stable has meltdown and spectre patches but not -release
peter: OTOH, I think 11-stable has some ZFS bugs that stop it releasing ARC under pressure.
jrm: juha: even the security branch?
juha: jrm, not sure
juha: i kinow there's been no updates for my 11-R boxes
peter: There hasn't been an SA about it.
jrm: how strange
jrm: well i'm sure the security officer is all over it ;)
groggyhimself: jrm: I think you might be misunderstanding.
groggyhimself: Or suffering from Debian brainrot.
groggyhimself: My understanding is that -STABLE is what it claims to be.
jrm: nope.
Darius: depends what you mean by 'stable' as usual
jrm: FreeBSD has two development branches: FreeBSD-CURRENT and FreeBSD-STABLE.  FreeBSD-STABLE is the development branch from which major releases are made.  This is still a development branch and, at any given time, the sources for FreeBSD-STABLE may or may not be suitable for general use. It is simply another engineering development track, not a resource for end-users. Users who do not have the resources to perform testing should instead run the most recent release of Fre
jrm: ^- From freebsd.org

Followed up that last quote. It's (currently) in Tracking a Development Branch in the FreeBSD handbook. But that's not the way I recall it. In The Complete FreeBSD I wrote:

FreeBSD-STABLE is an updated version of FreeBSD-RELEASE to which all possible bug fixes have been applied, to make it as stable as possible. Fixes are made on a daily basis. It is based on the same source branch as FreeBSD-RELEASE, so it has all the features and fewer bugs. It may contain additional features, but new features are tested in the -CURRENT branch first.

That's no proof of course, except that my opinion hasn't changed in the nearly 15 years since those lines were last updated. When did the text come into the handbook? Surprisingly, very recently:

r51412 | wblock | 2018-02-10 07:33:20 +1100 (Sat, 10 Feb 2018) | 6 lines
   Restore the Using FreeBSD-Stable section, which somehow got accidentally
   deleted ten months ago and nobody noticed until now.

But clearly that was first entered some time (months? years? decades?) before, so that doesn't help. Digging in old files I found, also in the handbook:

          If you are a commercial user or someone who puts maximum
          stability of their FreeBSD system before all other
          concerns, you should consider tracking <i class=
          "EMPHASIS">stable</i>.

In those (far) days, the handbook was structured differently, and this file was:

 -r--r--r--   1 grog  lemis   10756 14 Jul  1999 stable.html

So why the change of heart? Also, as some of the comments show, the change is not completely accurate. Bug fixes get applied to -STABLE, but not to -RELEASE.


Friday, 23 February 2018 Dereel Images for 23 February 2018
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Offensive code of conduct
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

It's no secret that I'm opposed to “codes of conduct”, specific interpretations of what the codifiers see as good behaviour. Apart from the fact that there are too many of them, all with loopholes and inconsistencies, they shouldn't be necessary in the first place. Six years ago I decided against attending linux.conf.au (seasonal URL) because of their insistence on a code. Two years ago I noted a perceived issue with the FreeBSD Code of Conduct, requiring (in their view) an overhaul of the code.

Now it's there, and we had a long discussion (as it happened, started by myself, though I didn't stay in the thread for long). It seems that there's a distinct difference in attitude between the USA-centric members of the project and the rest, though it's worth noting that the head of the code of conduct committee was Benno Rice, who comes from Adelaide, and who was one of the few participants of my first Hacker's barbecue, 17 years ago. Maybe he has been in the USA too long.

Today two committers took such offence at the code that they resigned. This was private mail, so I won't mention the names:

I stop participating in FreeBSD project because of such stupid things as
https://www.freebsd.org/internal/code-of-conduct.html
Until this is removed or changed. For example, the current CoC can be shown
in case of a negative question "Are you 12 and/or your upbringing and
intellect is OK?".

and

FreeBSD is more care about SJW than resolving conflicts. I stopped doing
anything and visiting events after conflicts with bsdgirl.

Thank you members who was helping me to solve issues. Happy to see you in
real life without strange restriction by CoC. Please keep my account, i
might get back on board in future.

In passing, I have learnt a new TLA: SJW.

In some ways this is similar to my decision not to participate in linux.conf.au 6 years ago. I wonder how many others feel the same way (but not enough to read the endless mail threads). As it is, 121 ports in the Ports Collection are now looking for a new maintainer.

In passing, it's interesting to note some of the language used in the code of conduct: “misgendering”, ““dead” or rejected names”, ““outing” of any private aspect of a person's identity”. I don't really know what any of those mean. “Don't cause pain to people” should be clear to everybody, and it seems to encompass the entire code of conduct.


Understanding lens caps
Topic: photography, opinion Link here

When I bought my first Leica lens in 50 years, the Summilux 25 mm f/1.4, I felt a certain feeling of satisfaction at having a Leica lens:

 
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The only issue was the lens cap:

 
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Why not a Leica lens cap?

 
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So I went out looking for one. The prices are typical Leica: I could pay up to USD 40 for one. Finally I found one, but it didn't quite fulfil the quality expectations: it arrived in pieces that I couldn't glue back together.

Since then I've been looking for another, and finally I found one. It was even cheaper, only USD 10 (plus $11 postage!). And it arrived in one piece.

But it didn't fit! Unlike most modern lens caps, it was designed to fit round the tube on the outside of the lens. And this part was too small. The tube at the front of the lens has a certain thickness, matching the filters. I measured an inside diameter of 45.18 mm and an outside diameter of 50.52 mm:

 
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And the lens cap has an inside diameter of 47.84 mm and an outside diameter of 50.56 mm:

 
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Image title: Lens dimensions 8
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This should be Lens-dimensions-6.jpeg.  Is it missing?
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Somehow it seems that something is telling me that I should just give up. The inscription on the new caps is very low key anyway.

In passing, it's interesting to consider how hard to use lens caps are. For my four thirds lenses I have 5 or 6 different kinds of lens cap, all with marginally different ways to be removed. Most require to be pressed in a certain place, like the Lumix cap above, and the lens cap for the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO also requires to be put on the lens in a particular orientation—just what you need when you're in a hurry. Rear lens caps are (not surprisingly) all the same: they have a short rotation bayonet fitting. Why can't people do that with the front lens caps?


Server down!
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

Mail from Callum Gibson this evening, telling me that I (my proxy) had disappeared off the IRC channel. Strange. The proxy bip, runs on the external web server www.lemis.com. It occasionally hangs (I think there's a file descriptor leak somewhere), but I had just restarted it. Off to take a look:

=== grog@www (/dev/pts/1) ~ 1 -> uptime
11:13AM  up  6:22, 2 users, load averages: 0.58, 0.59, 0.52

The server had gone down again! That's the second time this year.

Somehow RootBSD is not what it used to be. I've had nearly 5 years uptime in the past, but when the server went down last month, it had been up for less than two years. But this time it was up for less than 6 weeks! And no information as to why. I could enter a ticket or send mail, of course, but why bother? Somehow things have changed, and silly things like uptime are only of interest to old fogies like me.


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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