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Sunday, 18 August 2019 Dereel Images for 18 August 2019
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NBN slower?
Topic: technology, opinion Link here

For some time I've noted an interesting detail in my National Broadband Network monitoring data:

NBN link statistics

Some time round 11 July the link latency (blue trace) increased by 3 ms. Why? Are they going to do something about it in one of their never-ending “planned maintenances”?


Bubbles?
Topic: general Link here

Walking the dogs through very wet weather, found this:


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A surprising number of bubbles were rising from a puddle in the road. Why? How? The puddle must have been there for hours, and the road is generally wet enough to have no air pockets, in fact wet enough for me to wear a hat and inspire Yvonne to take a rare photo of me with the dogs:


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Monday, 19 August 2019 Dereel → Geelong → Dereel Images for 19 August 2019
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Another bloody power failure!
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Woke up in the middle of the night at... when? It was dark, and so was the display on my bedside clock. Damn! Had we had the dreaded nightly power failure coupled with the air conditioner draining the remaining battery power?

Out to take a look at the damage. No, all was running, and the kitchen devices proclaimed 4:55. Only the UPS circuits were down, including all computers. RCD? No, it was all OK.

Damn! It must be the UPS itself. I had an issue with it only 2 days ago. But it's outside in the shed, and it's dark.

Back to bed and thought over the options. The obvious thing to do is to remove the UPS from the circuit; since the installation of the photovoltaic system four months ago it's no longer needed. But how do I do that? From memory, one of the connections was hard-wired, and the other had a 15 A plug, not standard. Which is which? Clearly the 15 A plug would be on the input. All I need to do is to remove the connector to the UPS on the (hard-wired) output side and put the 15 A plug on it. But that would destroy the cable, which could be expensive. Do I have alternative cables? Last time I messed around with the induction cooktop I couldn't find one. Do I have time to drive into Ballarat and buy something? I have to leave for Geelong at 12:40, which might make it a bit tight.

Call in an electrician? What's the chance of getting him here today? None of the ones I know, anyway. Get by without the UPS circuits for a while? All the computers were on one, but eureka and teevee have non-UPS circuits available, and I could lay an extension cable for lagoon. But then there's the house lighting, all on UPS. We could work around that, too, but it wouldn't be fun.

But what's wrong with the UPS in the first place? Maybe it's trivial to “fix”. Round 6:10 got up and marginally dressed and out, still in the dark, to the shed. OW!


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What happened there? The way to the shed goes through the laundry, behind this door:


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And I had walked into one of the rubbish bins, which (from in front) has a convenient pedal for opening it. This morning I proved that it was not so convenient from the side.

Out to the shed before discovering how badly I was bleeding. The UPS showed normal operation! I think so, anyway. It's not easy to see what it's thinking:


Warning: fopen(/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /usr/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/php/includes/onephoto.php on line 1362

Can't open /home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php:


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Warning: fopen(/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /usr/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/php/includes/onephoto.php on line 1362

Can't open /home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php:


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To even read the display, you need to kneel and press the ESC button:


Warning: fopen(/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /usr/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/php/includes/onephoto.php on line 1362

Can't open /home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php:


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Warning: fopen(/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /usr/home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/php/includes/onephoto.php on line 1362

Can't open /home/grog/www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20190820/photolist.php:


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Contact issues, perhaps? Toggled the switches, unplugged and plugged the cables. Nothing. Power cycle? How do you power cycle it? Clearly the IO button at bottom right, but just a press? No. Long press? No. If you're kneeling on the floor looking at the display, it's clear: press, release, press again. And then it doesn't turn off; maybe it goes onto passthrough, which would really be what I want. If it happens again, I'll try that. But I turned it on again and noted with relief that it showed that it was supplying about 400 W to something. Back into the house. Yes, up and running.

Next, reboot eureka, which is still horribly down-rev. And for some reason the boot loader stops saying “can't find /kernel”. As I discovered last month, the solution is to ignore it and type boot. And that worked this time too. High time to upgrade the system.

That wasn't the end of it. Later, checking my eternal National Broadband Network problems, I discovered that my graphs weren't being updated. Further investigation showed that one of the scripts was failing with the message

awk: trying to access out of range field -1
 input record number 1493, file
 source line number 1

Isn't that helpful? It took a while to discover that one of my log files had a spurious line of binary zeroes, apparently written when the system went down:

1566146684 29.0529 5 0.0        # Mon 19 Aug 2019 02:44:44 AEST 21.904 ms
1566146744 30.2792 5 0.0        # Mon 19 Aug 2019 02:45:44 AEST 23.693 ms
^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@1566159705 31.5946 5 0.0        # Mon 19 Aug 2019 06:21:45 AEST 21.759 ms
1566159765 30.7409 5 0.0        # Mon 19 Aug 2019 06:22:45 AEST 21.916 ms
1566159825 29.7203 5 0.0        # Mon 19 Aug 2019 06:23:45 AEST 21.996 ms

On the positive side, that gave me a good idea of when the power went down on eureka. On lagoon it was 02:34:37, which implies that the office UPS only lasted for 10 minutes, less than I would have expected.


Copying music to SD card
Topic: multimedia, technology, opinion Link here

How do I copy music files to an SD card? In principle it's simple: Mtools are your friend. But there's some issue with the sequence: the files are stored on a FAT file system, but the player (mine, at any rate) is too stupid to read file names, let alone sort by name, so it plays them in the sequence in which they're stored in the directory, effectively random. In the past I wrote a script to do something like that, but it wasn't exactly what I expected. OK, copy one for one and see what happens.

That probably worked, but after a few directories I got a message that I have never seen before:

=== root@eureka (/dev/pts/7) /src/Music/MP3/Bach-JS/Magnificat 48 -> for i in *; do mcopy  d:; done
No directory slots

What's that? There were 74 files in the directory. Is that all that FAT can handle?

No, of course not, as didn't occur to me until later. On cameras they routinely store hundreds, even thousands of files in a directory. A limitation of mtools maybe?

I didn't get a chance to try out the new card. Just before leaving for Geelong, Yvonne noticed that my front tyres were flat. Well, at any rate seriously underinflated. No time to get out the air compressor and fix things: I took her car instead, which doesn't have an MP3 player.


Periodontal checkup
Topic: health Link here

Despite my somewhat belated departure, arrived in Geelong with a good 15 minutes to spare. They made up for that by being 20 minutes late, something that almost never happens. And the periodontal checkup was uninteresting—things look as good as they ever have done.


Shopping in Geelong
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

After the periodontist, off to Belmont looking for foodstuffs. I regularly go to the Indo-Asian Grocery Store and Gourmet Asian Grocery, but recently Google has come up with a couple more: the “Best Indian Grocery Store Geelong” and the “Geelong Belmont Asian Groceries Sto” (tastefully truncated), both without any useful URL, but at least there was an indication on the map: both on the other side of High Street, but within a few hundred metres of the first two.

OK, first to Best Asian:


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I really only wanted that typically Indian food, Masa harina. No, they didn't have it. Other maize flour? No, no maize flour. Took a look around, found some Makki Atta, the same brand as this stuff that we bought last year:


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But I didn't need any of that: it's not much good, and anyway I have some.

In fact, I don't. We gave it to the dogs.

Off to Indo-Asian, where thankfully they had plenty of Minsa masa harina. I keep running out, so this time I bought 4 kg, which should keep me going. The shopkeeper tells me that only Mexican and South American people buy it, specifically for tortillas, and also that Maseca (which I would have preferred) is currently not available, and that he keeps trying to get it.

Then to the Gourmet Asian Grocery, a very distinctly Malaysian place:


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There were a couple of older Chinese people talking to Jason Tan, the owner, in an English that reminded me of my childhood. The Malay suffix “-lah” (an exclamation mark) clearly still lives on in Malaysian English.

I had ordered some dofu cubes, and Jason had put them aside at the back of the fridge, but it seems that somebody had plundered them, and I only got 4 rather than the 5 that I had ordered. Also bought a large amount of other stuff.

Finally to “Geelong Belmont Asian Groceries Sto”, only marginally recognizable by that name:


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It also appeared to be shut:


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And there was no sign of an Internet cafe (isn't that a little anachronistic nowadays?).

This one was interesting. Gourmet Asian Grocery is Malaysian, but the people in this shop all spoke Mandarin Chinese to each other, something that I've seldom heard in Australia. I'm also not sure how well the shopkeeper speaks English; the only things she said was the price. Didn't buy much there, but she did have some noodles and prawns.


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. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. 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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