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Postings for November 2017:  (34 posts)
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 02:20:04 UTC

LinkDelight: revenge is sweet

Posted By Greg Lehey

I was really upset by the way, far from accepting my best offer on eBay, LinkDelight increased the Buy it now price of the FW760 monitor from $230 to $247. But they also had one on auction, initial bid $225. OK, wait until the end and then buy... for $225, the price they had rejected yesterday. That feels good. To be fair to LinkDelight, their price was probably really too low. But if you offer Buy it Now and Best Offer, you shouldn't increase the price when people make an offer, at least not for that one person. ACM only downloads articles once.

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 02:15:21 UTC

Completing tiwi

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's upgrade attempts for teevee were almost completely successful, except for the issues with the display. I established a procedure, and today I tried it out. First, connect the cables again, paying special attention to the seat of the HDMI cable. And it worked! Was it really just a badly sitting cable? After some consideration, I've decided yes. Next step is to move the physical disks around. My media are still on teevee, which is less than optimal. ACM only downloads articles once.

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 01:45:09 UTC

New display card for teevee

Posted By Greg Lehey

The package that Australia Post so lovingly matured was a display card for teevee, my multimedia box (or TV driver). Yes, of course it has a display card, but it's full height, and I wanted to migrate teevee to a Lenovo ThinkCentre: How do I migrate easily and with fallback? I can't even just take out the disks from teevee and put them in the new machine (provisionally called tiwi): if something goes wrong, I'll have to rebuild again, and I won't have the option of comparing how they behave.

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:00:33 UTC

Productivity When You Just Can't Even

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Ryn Daniels has written an excellent piece about time management and productivity when you are burned out. The advice is spot on. I also do these things when I'm not feeling my best too. "It's one thing to talk about productivity when you're already feeling motivated and productive, but how do you get things done when it's hard to even make it through the day?"

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:29:00 UTC

ON1: No thanks

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recently I heard of a company called ON1, who have just released a new version of their photo software. OK, I can try that. Fought my way through their web site: I needed to provide my (one-off) email address before they would talk to me, and for that I needed to tell them about myself and what kind (only one) of photos I took. Finally I was registered, logged in and... had to tell them all over again. My guess is that this is a case of Hanlon's Razor. Finally installed the software, and got the message: And they didn't think of that before?

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 23:57:22 UTC

More viewfinder investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent quite a bit more time investigating viewfinder monitors today. There's an amazing choice. Some of the better ones seem to come from a company with the unlikely name Feelworld, which calls them on-camera monitors or HDMI Camera Field Monitors. But which? The current list (probably predestined to link rot) lists no fewer than 19 different models, in addition to 18 SDI Field Monitors. They differ at least in resolution and screen size. But even after limiting to 7" diagonal and 1920×1080 resolution, I'm left with 5 different monitors, with an actual resolution of 1920×1200. Why do they use this aspect ratio?

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 23:23:05 UTC

Hibiscus photos: finally!

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over 18 months since I started trying to take focus-stacked photos of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers. So far technology has always got the better of me. Today I had another go, and finally I have a couple of photos which are almost acceptable: I need to look at it in more detail, but I don't see any artefacts. About the only issue is the depth of field. In each case, I took 20 shots, the first at f/4 (a little wide for this lens) and the second at f/5.6.

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 01:38:42 UTC

Reinstalling DxO

Posted By Greg Lehey

Time to run DxO PhotoLab on euroa again. The installation is still broken, and remained broken after uninstalling it. But when I fought my way the maze of twisty little directories folders after deinstallation, the files were still there. OK, rm -rf /cygdrive/c/Users/grog/Local/DxO/ and reinstall. It worked. What use are these deinstallers? OK, I had put stuff in there that hadn't been installed, but surely they can deal with that. At the very least they can report the fact. Microsoft! ACM only downloads articles once.

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 22:28:21 UTC

Focus stacking wildflowers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some time today processing yesterday's focus stacks of the wildflowers. There were slim pickings: in most cases I had managed to miscalculate the beginning or end focus point, and I ended up with results that were just plain out of focus. I really need a better viewfinder. One possibility would be a small normal monitor connected to the HDMI output. There were only two photos worth looking at. Here's a Diuris sulphurea rendered by Zerene (first two images) and Helicon Focus variants A (weighted average) and C (pyramid). . I wasn't able to get any results for Helicon B (depth map): every time I moved the mouse towards the button, the application crashed.

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:33:16 UTC

Radiation Tower progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

The new Telstra radiation tower has now been erected, but they're still working on it: Still, it can't be long now before we finally get coverage. ACM only downloads articles once. It's possible that this article has changed since being downloaded, but the only way you can find out is by looking at the original article.

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 00:22:30 UTC

Olympus goggles

Posted By Greg Lehey

Olympus has announced a new product, the EyeTrek Insight EI-10L That report, from Digital Photography Review, is the most informative. Their own page is much less so, but shows some truly horrendous prices: the unit itself costs $1,500. Even the battery charger costs $249, more than I paid for Yvonne's E-PM2 with lens. It's billed as developer's edition, which I translate as solution looking for a problem. I have a suitable problem: I need a remote viewfinder for my camera for use out in the open. With suitable imagination, this device could be adapted.

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 23:50:24 UTC

Getting photos off Android

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I took a couple of photos with my mobile phone: I hadn't expected to need to do so, and I had left my camera in the car. But how do I get them off the phone? I've grumbled about the opacity of the Android user interface in the past, but I've always managed to get them off there with a little bit of searching. But not today. WiFi File Transfer, a program that fills in for missing basic Android functionality, offered to find My Photos, My Pictures (what's the difference) and other Mys, but it couldn't find them. Neither could I.

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:56:42 UTC

Microsoft memory use

Posted By Greg Lehey, my Microsoft photo box, has 16 GB of memory, still a comparatively large amount. But after my photo experiments today, the task manager showed it using about 15 GB physical memory. After stopping the photo software, it dropped to 2.23 GB: This is Windows 7, though I'm not too sure it would be very different in older or newer releases. But why do programs that aren't currently in use use so much physical memory? Is their Virtual Memory model really that bad?

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:48:19 UTC

More focus stacking comparisons

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two weeks ago I took some focus-stacked photos that were less than optimal. The results with the out-of-camera stacking were surprisingly good, but limited in focus depth (only 8 component images). I took another series of 84 images of a Burchardia umbellata, of which FOCUS Projects Professional made results that I wouldn't want to use: Due to the stack size issues, I haven't been able to get Zerene or Helicon Focus to produce any results. But now I can normalize the sizes. What do I get?

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 23:29:23 UTC

eBay pain, yet again!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from eBay today, coinciding with a routine access to my eBay: Unauthorized use of your account -- action required We have reason to believe that your eBay account has been used fraudulently without your permission. Weve reset your eBay password. If you had your PayPal account linked to your eBay account, we've disabled your PayPal link to protect your funds. Any unauthorised activity, such as buying or selling, has been cancelled and any associated fees have been credited to your account. Any listings that we removed are included toward the end of this email.

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 15:00:00 UTC

November NYC DevOps Meetup: Building a hybrid cloud

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Taras Lipatov, Principal Engineer at Sailthru, will describe his experience building a hybrid cloud using docker/mesos/consul­ at the Tuesday, November 14, 2017 nycdevops meetup. More info and to RSVP on RSVP soon! See you there!

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 07:05:49 UTC

Zerene on FreeBSD

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another potential advantage of Zerene is that there's a Linux version. Will it run on FreeBSD? Spent some time checking, and came to the answer Yes. The main issue proved to be, once again, that eureka is so down-rev that I can't run modern Linux binaries on it. But it worked almost out of the box across the LAN on lagoon. Yet another reason to upgrade eureka. ACM only downloads articles once.

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 06:51:40 UTC

Normalizing image stack sizes

Posted By Greg Lehey

DxO PhotoLab creates output images that can vary in size by up to about 6 pixels on a side. That's not a big deal, much less than 1%, but it breaks various software that processes multiple images and expects them to be exactly the same size. What I need is a program that can take a stack and crop the larger images to the size of the smallest. Where can I find that? I looked, but couldn't find anything. Maybe I didn't have the right search terms. In any case, searching became more difficult than doing it myself, so I wrote a script myself.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 23:22:12 UTC

eBay manipulation?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still annoyed about the way I've been treated regarding the matter with Craig Weber (eBay seller klearview_au). When I get over my anger I'll follow up. But today I was curious as to whether he was still registered with eBay. Yes. Not only that, since then he has become a top-rated seller! And that with the feedback I left him! Went checking what feedback he had received since thenand mine was gone! So was another one of similar character. Working my way through the little twisty passages of eBay links brought me to, where I could enter the item number (352142223044), which the page obligingly removed, and then displayed: Mutually withdrawn?

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 20:41:50 UTC

Operational Excellence in April Fools' Pranks

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

This issue's column in ACMQueue Magazine is titled, "Operational Excellence in April Fools' Pranks". You can read it on the Queue app:

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:50:35 UTC

Registration for NYC DOD 2018 is open!

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 23:38:45 UTC

World's most widespread Unix

Posted By Greg Lehey

What is Unix? That depends on whom you ask. The lawyers have always had a different viewpoint from the techies. And while it's reasonable to say that Linux is Unix-like, can you say that about Android Yes, it has a Linux kernel, but the whole interface is foreign. In my book, not Unix. Similar considerations apply to Mac OSmacOS (barely fits my definition of Unix and iOS (doesn't). Given my definitions, it's clear that macOS is the most widespread version of Unix. Or so I thought. Then I read this article: Every Single Processor that Intel has made in the last 8 or 9 years contains a hidden processor running MINIX.

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:13:49 UTC

How I lifehacked my way into a corner

Posted By Cory Doctorow

My latest Locus column is “How to Do Everything (Lifehacking Considered Harmful),” the story of how I was present at the birth of “lifehacking” and how, by diligently applying the precept that I should always actively choose how I prioritize my time, I have painted my way into a (generally pleasant) corner that I can’t... more

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:48:53 UTC

Apple touchpads: the expert speaks

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Malcolm Caldwell today about my touchpad article a few days ago: Recent trackpads on macs allow various options for right button (or as they call it "secondary click").  I use "two finger" clicks for right mouse button.  It has become so natural for me, so much a part of muscle memory, that I could not remember that without sitting at my mac and seeing what I do to activate right click. This is actually well "documented", but in a completely non-obvious place: its under settings->touchpad.  There you can set how you want to activate clicks, secondary clicks etc.

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 23:04:45 UTC

More focus stacking

Posted By Greg Lehey

Taking the opal photos was only the first part. Now I also had a good subject for focus stacking. In this case, of course, in-camera stacking works well enough, as long as you don't forget the crop, which is significant: I didn't even bother to try with FOCUS projects 3 professional, but I downloaded a trial version of Zerene and compared it with Helicon Focus. The results were interesting. Helicon is much faster, round 5 times the speed, it feels. But the results aren't quite up to scratch.

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 00:30:08 UTC

Analyzing focus stacking Exif data

Posted By Greg Lehey

How does the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II focus stacking work? It provides you with two basic settings: step distance, a number between 1 and 9, and step count. This photo gives some details: Richard Turton has done some investigation of the meaning of focus step, and come up with a relationship to the aperture for one lens, not completely coincidentally the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60 mm f/2.8 Macro with which I took today's photos: it's the obvious choice for this kind of work. But in the process he introduced another parameter, focus count.

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 19:38:25 UTC

MicroReview: Usenix LISA 2017

Posted By Tom Limoncelli

I'm a bit too tired to write a full review of Usenix LISA 2017, so let me just say that the content was excellent and the audience was the most diverse that I've seen at a mainstream sysadmin conference. The best part about the content? If I could sum it up in one word, it would be "new". Tons of new stuff, new technology, new ideas, and new techniques. (Ironically the one training session I taught was my not-new Time Management class, but the room was packed with new attendees.) Best meta-issue? Usenix switched to the "Sched App" which was awesome.

Sat, 04 Nov 2017 19:00:00 UTC

Vintage Nauticals

Posted By Tim Bray

We keep our boat at Horseshoe Bay, a pretty little place when approached by land. Boaters coming in from Howe Sound come face-to-face with a huge antique float/pier/breakwater kind of thing, whose ugliness Ive long found magnificent and which today I took the time to tour and photograph. Turns out this huge steel thing is afloat, actually; heres how its fastened to the land. Those are big chains and huge truck tires. What happened was, I was out winterizing the boat. Vancouver missed autumn this year, snapped over from 18°C Indian-summer to basically zero more or less overnight. Today a few snowflakes drifted down and I was wearing a nontraditional Canadian boating toque.

Sat, 04 Nov 2017 05:43:32 UTC

Debugging DxO PhotoLab

Posted By Greg Lehey

After playing around with DxO PhotoLab on euroa, it reliably hung in about three different ways. I couldn't get it to work. Deinstalling, both with Microsoft's standard tools and with a hastily downloaded Ashampoo Uninstaller 6, followed by subsequent reinstallation, didn't help. OK, time for a problem report. How do I describe it? A video clip sounds like a good idea. OK, let's try: What a catastrophe! It reminds me of what I tried to do with my camera 50 years ago, before good photocopiers were available to Mere Mortals.

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 02:35:03 UTC

Reinventing the button

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Bahlo has an ancient Apple MacBook which, she says, has a defective video display. The display is on the motherboard, and when she took it to the Apple people in Ballarat, they told her that it was nearly 5 years old, far too old for them to have spare parts. I don't use the display on computers that don't run X, so that was of no problem to me, so I asked her to give it to me. She did, but there's a problem: I can't find anything wrong with the hardware. Still, time to play around with it. But how do I communicate with it?

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 01:25:53 UTC

More focus stacking experiments

Posted By Greg Lehey

Despite everything I've been doing, my curry tree still has mites. Time for a few photos. They weren't good. The first, using in-camera focus stacking, was pretty fuzzy: These images are at approximately 1:1 magnification (in other words, the width is about 17 mm). And yes, the mites (about 0.5 mm across) are recognizable, but none of them at all are really sharp. What about the postprocessing alternatives? Putting the same images through FOCUS projects 3 professional and Helicon Focus (which, I discover from the tutorial videos, is pronounced H+licon) gave me: Once again a completely garbled output from H+licon.

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 01:02:09 UTC

Information rot

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been keeping this diary for over 17 years, and I link to a number of other places in the web. I'm amazed how many of them rot. Somehow xkcd summarizes it: I've taken to keeping copies of all the images I link to. ACM only downloads articles once.

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 00:20:10 UTC

More bank scams?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another mail message today, ostensibly from ANZ, my bank, and also potentially related to the fraud case: Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2017 06:10:42 +0000 From: ANZ Customer Enquiries <> To: "" <> Subject: Your Pay Anyone Disputes - Do Not Reply To This Email Message-ID: <> Received: from ( [])         by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 5EFE31B72806         for <>; Wed,  1 Nov 2017 06:11:37 +0000 (UTC) Received: from [] by id A0/46-27020-89569F95; Wed, 01 Nov 2017 06:11:36+0000 X-Env-Sender: X-Msg-Ref:!1509516664!23298582!18 X-Originating-IP: [] Received: from unknown (HELO (         by with DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 encrypted SMTP; 1 Nov 2017 06:11:32-0000 Received-SPF: PermError ( domain of used an invalid SPF mechanism) Received-SPF: PermError ( domain of used an invalid SPF mechanism) Dear Gregory Please ...

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 23:24:57 UTC

Still no Police contact

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's now been 6 days since I received notice to contact the NSW Police. And despite all attempts, I failed. OK, email to to, explaining the situation and asking for help. And how about that, I got a call back from Senior Constable Adam Ginnane within an hour, saying that he couldn't get in contact with DSC Todd, who was apparently out of the office on another matter, but that he had spoken with a colleague, and I would get a call back later in the day. He also gave me details of how to contact him if needed. It seems that Joan's comments yesterday were wrong: is in the same building as the help line I have called so many times, and they could have put me through.