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All Postings, Greg Lehey:  (5,586 posts)

Source blog: Greg's diary


More GPS fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

For no particular reason, dragged out my old Garmin GPS II device today, put some batteries in, and left it to find where it was. It took nearly an hour! And yes, it works. But what use is a GPS receiver without navigational aids? And navigators are now so cheap that it's just not worth thinking about. Today Yvonne bought a new navigator at ALDI for $59. I've been buying every one they have on offer, about twice a year, in the hope that the maps will some day improve. Today might be the day: finally they've discovered Kleins Road, where I live.

Tue, 05 Dec 2023 02:00:40 UTC

xterm and TrueType?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things on my list for hydra is getting xterm to work with TrueType fonts. I've found lots of web pages addressing the topic, but somehow they all seem to miss my point. OK, try it out. I have a directory /usr/local/share/fonts/TTF with file names like luxirr.ttf and luximri.ttf, which I guess to be Roman and monospace roman italic. Try it out: === grog@hydra (/dev/pts/57) /usr/local/share/fonts/TTF 21 -> xterm -fa luximr It works! Well, sort of. Here the comparison between the current xterm and what I get from luxi: What a mess!

Tue, 05 Dec 2023 00:29:12 UTC

Another monitor dropout

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another dropout on my ?Matrix? monitor this morning. This time I got to the power button in time, and yes, it came back. But clearly there's more to it than the power button: the sounds that I mentioned happen every time it displays after blanking, and I would have noticed them if they had happened earlier. So potentially there's another replacement monitor to be expected.

Sun, 03 Dec 2023 23:41:34 UTC

Scan or photo?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Scanning the spice paste sachet was fairly straightforward. But the results were less than spectacular, so I tried again with my camera (second image): I hadn't expected that. And somehow, given my current work flow, it's easier to take a photo.

Sun, 03 Dec 2023 23:40:18 UTC

Mystery paste

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last time I was in town I bought a bag of ingredients for Kung Pao chicken, a little too hastily. Firstly, I have no idea what that is, beyond the belief that it's something that's cooked in the USA, and secondly this was definitely not from the USA: Yes, there's something in English stuck on the back, but nothing that gives the slightest idea of how to prepare it. I need a translation.

Sun, 03 Dec 2023 00:59:16 UTC

Chasing down the Emacs bug

Posted By Greg Lehey

So the only big problem with X on hydra seems to be the Emacs Multi_key problem. I've established that it's related to the version of Emacs installed on hydra. OK, how about building from source? It takes a while, but at the least it could help me find what option might cause it. OK, ?make all?. Turned to other tasks and looked at the screen a few minutes later. Stopped. What went wrong there? As far as I can see, nothing. hydra had built the entire Emacs port on 220 seconds! And for some reason I didn't need to build any dependencies.

Sun, 03 Dec 2023 00:50:41 UTC

Australia Post: How did we do?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Australia Post today: ?How was your recent delivery??. Ah, a chance to say what I thought. Or at least, that's what they said. It took several minutes before their web site responded, not once, but twice. But finally it did. Ease of collection: 0. Why? Oh, they didn't want to know that, though I had had a chance to enter some text earlier on. Try again? Sure, and this time I was able to enter the reference to my rant. Why hadn't they noticed that I had already answered? Race condition, it seems. Much later I tried again, and got the message that I had already responded.

Sun, 03 Dec 2023 00:40:44 UTC

CAPTCHA: How to chase away customers

Posted By Greg Lehey

A lot of the useful web pages recently have come from Stackexchange. Sounds like a good idea to sign up with them. Oh. Are you a bot? Please look at this CAPTCHA and tell me which of the images contains a crosswalk. No, stackexchange, I'm not a bot. I'm also not a US American, so I'm not really sure what a ?crosswalk? is. But I am sure that I find it insulting. So what if 100 bots sign up for stackexchange? There are other, less obtrusive ways to deal with them (rate limiting, for example). So I haven't signed up. I've been ranting about CAPTCHAs for nearly 15 years, and I still don't know why people use them.

Sat, 02 Dec 2023 02:50:15 UTC

What use ChatGPT?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Everybody's talking about ChatGPT as if it were taking over the world. But what I see is a very poor solution for the Turing Test. Quora uses it for some answers. I don't know why. Sometimes they're correct, usually stodgily written, and frequently amazingly incorrect. Here a couple over the last few days: When it is 12:00 am at Greenwich, the local time of one place is 8:00 pm. What is the longitude of that place? ChatGPT: The longitude of a place can be calculated based on the difference between the local time and the time at the Prime Meridian (0° longitude) at Greenwich, UK.

Sat, 02 Dec 2023 02:02:02 UTC

hydra: tidy up?

Posted By Greg Lehey

So gradually my problems with X on hydra are resolving themselves. Time for another one to crop up: Xcompose. While doing normal work, tried to enter a composed character (something like ö). Instead I got ¨o, the characters entered. Bad keyboard mapping? No, the same key (marked Compose) on each keyboard was mapped to Multi_Key. More investigation. Do I need additional settings? Checked when ~/.XCompose was referenced. Yes, when I start an xterm. But not when I start an Emacs. OK, try to hunt this down. What happens if I get an Emacs running on eureka to open a window on hydra?

Sat, 02 Dec 2023 01:14:42 UTC

Continued hydra pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So where am I now with X on hydra? I still don't get the correct Alt key bindings. Yesterday I concluded that it's probably an xterm issue, not a bash issue, and found a couple of ways to compare settings. So I started with that today. editres. Followed the instructions on this page, but they didn't work. Select ?Get tree? and I only got a message "message sent to client asking for widget tree". It seems that the client wasn't interested. xrdb -query. That worked, and the man page suggests that I can get even more information with the additional -all option.

Fri, 01 Dec 2023 01:30:27 UTC

Which 8 TB SSDs?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent a little more time looking round for 8 TB SSDs. There's precious little choice: only the Sansung 870 QVO. Scorptec, Umart, Mwave offer it for $899. Megabuy has it for only $886.88, though it's not clear whether that's the cheapest, since all are too polite to mention shipping charges. That makes it almost worthwhile, except that I'd really prefer a 12 TB drive. But I think the days of spinning rust are over. Should I wait until the current drive shows more problems, or should I bite the bullet?

Fri, 01 Dec 2023 00:47:59 UTC

hydra: cutover?

Posted By Greg Lehey

So: what do I need to do to cut over the X display from eureka to hydra? In principle the only outstanding issue is that I still can't use the Alt key with bash. But that can be fixed later. OK, move to the left. It's amazingly uncomfortable. Yes, I knew that it was only a temporary arrangement, but I was surprised how uncomfortable it is. Different screen heights, drawers in front of the left end of the displays, a mouse with a cord! That, too, I had forgotten. OK, back to check the Alt key issue. When I first fixed it on eureka, I noted two things: set the values in ~/.Xdefaults and add some entries to inputrc.

Thu, 30 Nov 2023 01:31:34 UTC

More X woes

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's high time I complete my migration to X on hydra. There's something seriously wrong with x2x between eureka and hydra. The cursor seems to land at random places, not made any easier by the fact that I can't see it disappear left from eureka:0.0 (there's no monitor connected). And maybe another problem is related, the random killing of the window manager on hydra:0.3. I had blamed it on firefox so far, but today it happened while running chrome. High time to migrate. What's stopping me? For reasons I don't understand, I can't get the Alt bindings to work. I started without the all-important entries in ~/.Xdefaults: !

Thu, 30 Nov 2023 00:56:29 UTC

Keyboard remapping: done!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why am I having so much trouble remapping my Sun Type 7 keyboard? It worked fine last time. But this time I've been trying to do things incrementally, and that seems to be a problem. OK, start again from scratch. What do I want to do? Save the default configuration as revision 1.1 of ~/keyboards/sun-map-hydra. Remap the keys above the main keyboard, marked F1 to F12. Set them to F21 to F32. The key codes are 67 to 76 (F1 to F10), then 95 and 96 (F11 and F12). The 2 keys to the left of the F keys (marked Help, Esc): Map to F11 and F12.

Thu, 30 Nov 2023 00:46:29 UTC

Yet more new hardware needed

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen in my nightly log files: +ahcich4: Timeout on slot 11 port 0 +ahcich4: is 00000000 cs 00000000 ss 00000800 rs 00000800 tfd 40 serr 00000000 cmd 0000cb17 +(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 60 08 68 5a 6f 40 0d 00 00 00 00 00 +(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): CAM status: Command timeout +(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): Retrying command +ahcich4: Timeout on slot 24 port 0 +ahcich4: is 00000000 cs 00000000 ss 01000000 rs 01000000 tfd 40 serr 00000000 cmd 0000d817 +(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 60 08 a0 5a 6f 40 0d 00 00 00 00 00 +(ada2:ahcich4:0:0:0): CAM status: Command timeout That's my 8 TB photo disk.

Wed, 29 Nov 2023 00:32:28 UTC

The window manager killer identified

Posted By Greg Lehey

The problems I had last week with dying window managers haven't gone away. It happened again today, again while doing something with firefox. And restarting the window manager failed again with the same message: Assertion failed: (ret != inval_id), function _XAllocID, file xcb_io.c, line 626. OK, if it's firefox's fault, what happens if I shoot down firefox? I can restart the window manager. I was also able to restart it.

Tue, 28 Nov 2023 00:03:38 UTC

More hydra fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it's clear that my next step with hydra is to remap the keyboard. That would mean that I could use it normally, so it also makes sense to move the small monitor to the extreme left and use the other three normally. I've done this before. nvidia-settings to the rescue. But today it was obviously in a bad mood. Yes, I was able to move it, but nothing I could do would get it to renumber the screens, so I now have, from left to right, the sequence Screen 1, Screen 0, Screen 2 and Screen 3. What do I do?

Mon, 27 Nov 2023 23:29:01 UTC

Ancient history in configuration files

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have a list of TV programmes to search for, and once a month I send myself a list to remind me, using cron, of course. But where do I store the list? Off looking through crontabs to find it. I failed: it must be in a script with a non-obvious name. But while looking, I found this entry: 0       0       *       *       *       root    cp -p /src/FreeBSD/5.0-CURRENT/src/usr.bin/calendar/calendars/* /usr/share/calendar >/dev/null 2>/dev/null That made perfect sense?once.

Mon, 27 Nov 2023 01:28:40 UTC

Artificial stupidity

Posted By Greg Lehey

For reasons I don't completely understand, but which I suspect is related to Indian school syllabus, there are lots of questions on Quora like If the time is 12 noon at 0° longitude, what will be the time at 75°E longitude?, and also lots of answers from people who have never heard of time zones. But Quora can do better: a ChatGPT bot that not only ignores time zones, but also can't count: At 12:00 PM at 0° longitude, the time at 75°E longitude would be 4:30 PM.

Mon, 27 Nov 2023 01:27:30 UTC

Yet another Matrix monitor issue

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another short dropout with my ?Matrix? monitor today. Tried to touch the switch, only half managed. But it came back round that time.

Mon, 27 Nov 2023 01:13:09 UTC

ssh authentication issue, ancient insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

A year ago today I discovered that I couldn't ssh from to only when the X server was started from That confirms the suspicion that I had last week.

Mon, 27 Nov 2023 01:03:18 UTC

hydra: Next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

What do I do now with hydra? The good news is that I can use it, and I'm doing so. In principle I could completely move away from eureka, but I still need the correct monitor setup and keyboard mappings. It doesn't seem worth messing around with the monitors until the new monitor arrives, but I could do something about the keyboard. Or could I? After multiple RTFM I still don't understand the expressions for describing key bindings with xmodmap, like this one: keycode  67 = F1 F1 F1 F1 F1 F1 XF86Switch_VT_1 The man page does divulge that there are a maximum of 7 bindings for a keycode.

Sun, 26 Nov 2023 01:20:51 UTC

Hugin on hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photo day again today, and for once the weather was appropriate. So, process the panoramas on hydra? Yes, it almost worked. Once again I had white blanked-out areas on hydra:1, but I also got the expected windows, here on the two monitors to the right. But the other two monitors were blanked out (completely ?white?) . And when I selected ?Crop?, the first image of the sequence appeared outside any window on the left-most monitor. Here a photo after that point, and just as the background on the small monitor was changing back to the xearth display: What causes that?

Sun, 26 Nov 2023 01:20:38 UTC

More Nvidia setup

Posted By Greg Lehey

In preparation for today's house photos I tuned the X setup for hydra:1, which I hadn't looked at for nearly two weeks. Based on my experience since then, fired up the server and ran nvidia-settings against it. Yes, I was able to move the displays around, set the resolutions and save the configuration file. But what a difference! The configuration file expanded from 69 to 178 lines, including detailed definitions for each monitor.

Sat, 25 Nov 2023 02:03:07 UTC

Calibrating the new monitor

Posted By Greg Lehey

I was right that the new LG 27? 27UP850-W 4K UHD has a calibration function, right? Checked the manual (with the descriptive file name ENG.pdf) and found nothing. More searching on the web brought me to this page, describing the calibration software. So yes, all seems well

Sat, 25 Nov 2023 01:57:13 UTC

New monitor: done

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent several hours today trying to decide on a new monitor. How do I make a choice? Pages that I looked at included: Bestproductsaustralia, which recommended a BenQ SW270C. And again they were too polite to mention the price until I followed a reseller link. The price I saw may not have been the cheapest, but at $1,566.25 it was way out of my range.

Sat, 25 Nov 2023 00:44:34 UTC

Matrix monitor insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

My old ?Matrix? monitor faded again today, first briefly, then long enough to be annoying. OK, where do I go from here? Check the power supply? How about turning it off at the switch first? As soon as I touched the switch, it came back again. Is this a flaky switch? It's also interesting to note the strange chirping noises that it makes when it comes back. I'm not sure whether this is new, or whether I just hadn't noticed before. It could be trying to sync the input, for example.

Fri, 24 Nov 2023 02:08:57 UTC

hydra: what next?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On with hydra today. For the most part it's almost usable. Only minor things get on my nerves, in particular the realization that a 180° view angle is not good for my neck. hydra:0.0 and hydra:0.1 are almost useless as a result. I think that 4 monitors is probably as much as I can comfortably use. And then there's another strangeness with x2x. It works surprisingly well, but now I have one joining eureka:0.0 west to hydra:0.3. In fact, they're both on the same monitor, so I can't see the cursor move from eureka:0.1 to hydra:0.3; there's just no cursor while traversing where eureka:0.0 should be.

Thu, 23 Nov 2023 01:45:22 UTC

A new monitor?

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it's clear that I should be looking for a new monitor to replace they dying ?Matrix? monitor. Yes, 27" is really the widest I can do (about 64 cm). But shouldn't I really be looking for a 3840×2160 resolution? As it happens, Friday is Thanksgiving in the USA, and the following day is called Black Friday because of the time skew. And the idea seems to have taken hold with retailers round the world. So I got mail from Umart offering big discounts on monitors. Even one that looks useful, the LG 27? 4K UHD UltraFine? IPS Monitor. Only $449!

Thu, 23 Nov 2023 01:15:03 UTC

More hydra progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

More work on hydra today. First, how do I use my new-found screen real estate? Can I put a browser on hydra:0.3 (using the monitor for eureka:0.0, which thus became inaccessible)? Yes! Can I run mail on hydra and send mail too? That had been an issue with dereel that I had put into the ?too hard? basket. But here, too, it worked with no problems. I just needed to start an Emacs on hydra:0.3 to avoid the control character mutilation that I had experienced (c-f changed to c-s-f, for example). And that also worked! The only issue was missing spell checker support.

Wed, 22 Nov 2023 02:33:34 UTC

hydra installation: progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

So are my authentication problems with freefall related to eureka? Yesterday's investigations suggested ?yes?. This morning, first thing, tried to access freefall directly from hydra. Success! Well, I've worked around the issue. I still have not the slightest idea why, or what the problem was, but somehow it seems that something in X has changed since my last build on eureka in 2015. But in the 25 years before that I have never seen this kind of incompatibility. And then there's the issue with Emacs, where Emacs windows on eureka get control codes changed (c-f becomes c-s-f, making it useless). OK, those are open questions, but they don't stop me from continuing with the migration.

Wed, 22 Nov 2023 01:09:43 UTC

More monitor dropouts

Posted By Greg Lehey

More dropouts from my ?Matrix? (brand) monitor this morning, and they lasted longer, up to about a minute each. Clearly it's trying to tell me something, and it's time that I listened. Time for a new monitor. Daniel O'Connor pointed out that I can get a new monitor with similar specs for under $200. So now the question: do I want a monitor with similar specs? 27" seems to be about the biggest I can fit on my desktop. Should I stick with the current 2560×1440 resolution or go to 3840×2160? My eyes aren't what they used to be, and 3840×2160 might cause problems.

Tue, 21 Nov 2023 00:52:24 UTC

Understanding hydra ssh issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

So why can I connect from dereel to freefall with no issues, but I can't from hydra with the same credentials? Spent an inordinate amount of time today chasing things up. Firstly, to my surprise, hydra (last update 18 October) is running OpenSSH_9.2p1, OpenSSL 1.1.1t-freebsd 7 Feb 2023, while dereel (last update 20 September)) is running OpenSSH_9.4p1, OpenSSL 3.0.10 1 Aug 2023. But then dereel is running FreeBSD 15-CURRENT, while hydra is running 13.2 STABLE. It shouldn't make a difference, but is it worth trying running dereel's version on hydra? Well, it might be worthwhile, but nothing useful happens: === grog@hydra (/dev/pts/7) ~ 67 -> /dereel/usr/bin/ssh freefall Shared object "" not found, required by "ssh" And the other way doesn't do anything useful either: ...

Mon, 20 Nov 2023 01:12:35 UTC

Another catchup day

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another day spent doing lots of things with nothing to show for it. Found the race condition in mkpto1 (temporary files with fixed file names), finished yesterday's panoramas, and somehow that seems to have been all.

Sun, 19 Nov 2023 00:33:09 UTC

House photo proceessing, another week

Posted By Greg Lehey

Saturday is house photo day, and for the past couple of weeks I've been trying to migrate the processing to hydra, which is much faster than eureka. Much of the photo processing is either on distress, my Microsoft machine, or done by scripts. Many of the scripts are single-threaded, so that seemed to be a good place to start. mkpto builds a project file (name ending in .pto), and it takes a certain time to process. Do all the .pto files (one per photo) to speed things up? That's almost as simple as changing a ; to a &. Then process on eureka:1 to select the view and maybe set some masks (not necessary today).

Fri, 17 Nov 2023 00:02:09 UTC

Updating window manager config

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of yesterday's action items was to update the window manager (fvwm2) configuration. And that relates to my gradual conversion from ISO 8859-1 to UTF-8. Currently I have two ways to start an xterm, one with each encoding. I seem to have fixed most of the problems with UTF-8, so it's time to remove the ISO-8859-1 versions. And in the process, I need to set my shell environment accordingly. In more details: Set the locale in /home/local/share/abbreviations, which gets read in by ~/.bashrc: -export LC_ALL=en_AU.ISO8859-1 +# Bite the bullet (20231116) +export LC_ALL=en_AU.UTF-8 ...

Thu, 16 Nov 2023 23:39:46 UTC

More keyboard insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that I still need to understand is why the identical keyboards on hydra and eureka generate different keycodes under X. Today Callum Gibson suggested a few things not related to X on IRC. First, you can test your keyboard type from a vty with kbdcontrol: === root@hydra (/dev/pts/8) /etc/X11 56 -> kbdcontrol -i </dev/ttyv0 kbd0:     kbdmux0, type:AT 101/102 (2) Oh. Not exactly the answer I was expecting, nor anything of use. But === root@hydra (/dev/pts/8) /etc/X11 56 -> kbdcontrol -d < /dev/ttyv0 | less #                                                         alt # scan         ...

Thu, 16 Nov 2023 00:53:13 UTC

X keyboard insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

The other thorn in my side with hydra X setup is the keyboard, of course. This time I started X without loading a key map. I saved the defaults to use for comparisons later on. After loading the keymap and saving it, I was able to confirm that the map was the same as on eureka. And the F3 mapping? My fault. I had mis-mapped it from day 1, over 10 years ago, and never noticed. But there's lots of fun ahead comparing the maps.

Thu, 16 Nov 2023 00:51:25 UTC

X on hydra: progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why am I having so much difficulty setting up X on hydra? Surely there must be an easier way. So far, based on Nvidia's instructions for Configuring Multiple X Screens on One Card I have created a configuration file that should do the trick. But it doesn't. OK, copy the configuration details exactly from that page and try again. That doesn't work either! Off searching for web pages that go beyond the documentation I had already found, and came up with How to set up dual or multiple monitors, also from Nvidia. That looks promising. It starts with: Open the NVIDIA Control Panel.

Wed, 15 Nov 2023 01:27:09 UTC

X server 0 on hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another issue with the X setup on hydra is that there seems to be no way to revert to a default key map. xmodmap is the program, and it'll happily modify the current key map any way you want. But to get back to the default, it seems that I need to restart X. And given the issues with Hugin, I don't want to do that yet: first I want to set up server 0 (one screen per monitor). In preparation, did a couple of other things. First, I'm using an old two-keyed mouse until I get the configuration finished. I've been here before, but the current way to set middle button emulation appears to be:     xinput set-prop 10 287 1  # Logitech wired I've already found instructions for setting up one screen per ...

Wed, 15 Nov 2023 01:18:42 UTC

Understanding hydra problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the reasons I'm taking such a long time setting up hydra?apart from the fact that it's possible?is that I want to understand the right way to do things. And currently I'm completely baffled by a number of things, notably the different characters generated by the same keyboard on eureka and hydra. Both keyboards are Sun Type 7 keyboards with a USB interface. In each case I load a key map file that, in particular, remaps the Control key to Alt, the CapsLock key to Control, the keys on the left to F1 to F12, and the keys at the top to F21 to F32.

Wed, 15 Nov 2023 01:10:05 UTC

Another monitor fade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over the last couple of months, my old ?Matrix? monitor has given cause for concern, briefly turning off or distorting the display, only once per day. But it has behaving for some time now. The last time I noted any problem was on 26 October.. Today it gave me a distorted display, only for a few seconds, but 4 times in a row. And then nothing again...

Tue, 14 Nov 2023 01:03:43 UTC

Hugin on hydra, again

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what's the issue with Hugin on hydra? So tar I have: It worked normally a week ago. Now it stops without explanation before displaying the initial screen. Trying to run on eureka is bound to failure: Hugin is too polite to run across the network. But it does try, and it starts displaying the initial screen before dying, thus lasting longer than on hydra. So somehow it must have something to do with X on hydra.

Sun, 12 Nov 2023 03:54:34 UTC

Latest Academia nonsense

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the mail today:   27 N   11-11-2023 To groggyhimself@l ( 957)         N   You have 1 highly engaged reader What's a ?highly engaged reader?? How can I find out? Read the message and I get: You have 1 highly engaged reader A total of 7 people have read your papers on Academia. Click here to see who: That goes on to tell me that, for only $5, I can find out who the ?highly engaged?

Sun, 12 Nov 2023 00:48:27 UTC

More hydra pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photo day today, time to play around with Hugin on hydra again. Not a success. In fact, an absolute failure. I couldn't even start Hugin! No obvious reason, just a couple of meaningless error messages followed by: /usr/local/share/hugin/data/plugins/    CAT:Control Points    NAM:keep 5 CPs per image pair    fails @api-max /usr/local/share/hugin/data/plugins/    CAT:Control Points    NAM:Warped Overlap Analysis    fails @api-max What does that mean? Did some package upgrade break this horribly fragile python? Still, no time to do anything today, so I processed the photos on eureka instead.

Sun, 12 Nov 2023 00:37:35 UTC

50 years since COBOL

Posted By Greg Lehey

In my calendar this morning: Nov 11  Greg Lehey writes GOPU, 1973 What's so special about GOPU? It was the only COBOL program I ever wrote, and it wasn't very clever. It wasn't even completely COBOL: it was an extension designed to talk to a CODASYL database. But I, the master assembler programmer, hated the idea of having to write in COBOL, and I took it out on the layout of the program and the identifiers. Things like code reviews didn't happen in those days: it worked, and that was enough.

Sat, 11 Nov 2023 01:31:30 UTC

Weather station insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's really irritating that the weather station has died now, just as the weather starts to get interesting. Can it be that the USB interface (or whatever it is) has recovered in the meantime? Tried starting it again on eureka, with the same results. OK, shoot down the window to kill all the processes that won't respond to a simple ^C and try again. No go. Check with ps. Dozens of dorun processes! dorun is a simple script that ensures that all the other processes keep running, and I had thought that it would go away if I shut the xterm window, but it didn't.

Fri, 10 Nov 2023 01:05:08 UTC

More weather station pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since my workarounds last month, my weather station has been running relatively reliably. Until today: ./wh1080 starting Can't read device: Unknown error or Device busy (16) That's nothing new. It happens about 20 times a day, and I just restart the wh1080 process (I can't recover programmatically). But this time it just kept repeating, and on one occasion I even got: Can't query database: MySQL server has gone away (2006) That must be one of the report processes, since wh1080 only writes to the database.

Thu, 09 Nov 2023 02:06:09 UTC

All phones down?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been having issues with phones lately, notably Monday's call to the USA. I had attributed that to the configuration change to enable international calls But today I had more problems calling a number in Ballarat. Why? We'll see if they continue, but it seems that Optus had a significant outage that they still haven't completely fixed (nor even identified the cause). ?Over 10 million customers and 400,000 businesses are affected by the outage?. 10 million is 40% of the population of Australia, and Wikipedia states ?Optus is the second-largest wireless carrier in Australia, with over 10 million subscribers as of 2022?.

Thu, 09 Nov 2023 01:58:57 UTC

eBay: More security

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from eBay today, offering me a thing called a Passkey. To quote: Passkeys are an alternative to passwords that allow you to sign into your eBay account using biometric authentication such as a fingerprint, pattern or PIN. OK, let's think about this: Fingerprint: requires a mobile phone. What kind of security is that? Pattern: potentially to be investigated, but once again it seems to need a mobile phone, like some of the password equivalents that phones offer.

Thu, 09 Nov 2023 01:48:50 UTC

More work overload

Posted By Greg Lehey

The FreeBSD Core Team doesn't require much work, but when it does, it comes unevenly. And the last couple of days have been a particularly busy time. Once again my mail inbox has overflowed onto a second page.

Wed, 08 Nov 2023 00:30:19 UTC

Boiling what?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Question in the German Quora today: Wie lange sollte man seine Eier kochen? On the face of it, that's ?how long should you cook your eggs??. But ?Eier? can mean eggs or balls (testicles). And I've been there before.

Wed, 08 Nov 2023 00:17:41 UTC

Chromium and multiple profiles

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the reasons I still use firefox?a browser that I have always hated?is because I couldn't get Chromium to support multiple profiles. But it seems that it does now. Does it also now work across a network? Tried it out. Not what I expected: === grog@hydra (/dev/pts/15) /etc/X11 70 -> DISPLAY=eureka:0.1 chrome [29146:-1859547136:1107/] The profile appears to be in use by another Chromium process (60349) on another computer (dereel). Chromium has locked the profile so that it doesn't get corrupted. If you are sure that no other processes are using this profile, you can unlock the profile and relaunch Chromium.

Wed, 08 Nov 2023 00:07:45 UTC

Strange change in hydra security output

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen in the nightly output from hydra today: -  6173502 -r-sr-xr-x  1 root  wheel          8928 Oct 14 13:46:53 2023 /usr/local/libexec/Xorg.wrap +  6172201 -r-sr-xr-x  1 root  wheel          8928 Nov  2 13:46:40 2023 /usr/local/libexec/Xorg.wrap What's that? The man page doesn't say. The DESCRIPTION only describes the permissions needed to run it, something that really needs fixing. But it seems to be something (new) that starts the X server. What starts it? I thought that maybe /usr/local/bin/startx might, but if so, it's well hidden.

Tue, 07 Nov 2023 01:58:49 UTC

Zoom pain, a year later

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent fully 30 minutes this morning trying to set up a one-on-one Zoom conference with a FreeBSD team member in the USA this morning. Zoom means camera and microphone, of course, and that's only on, my hand-me-down laptop. But I was sent the meeting code by email on eureka. How do I put it into the browser on bde? x2x to the rescue. And once again I had problems, insurmountable ones. We tried for half an hour, and it wasn't until after the discussion (on the phone) that I discovered that I had exactly the same problem a year ago today.

Mon, 06 Nov 2023 02:32:59 UTC

hydra X installation, day 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent most of the day with X on hydra. It was even more work than I expected. First updating my personal X configuration files on hydra: .xinitrc, .Xdefaults, and the non-existent .fvwm/fvwm2rc-hydra:1.0/ needed to start things properly. Also ~/xe, which along with its helper file ~/xemarkers. Restart X. ?Couldn't find any screens?. Huh? That was just running. More examination and discovered that the original xorg.conf file worked, but the new one, updated by nvidia-settings, didn't. More playing around with nvidia-settings, which was also not very cooperative: === grog@hydra (/dev/pts/2) ~ 1 -> nvidia-settings nvidia-settings: Fatal IO error 22 (Invalid argument) on X server hydra:1.0.

Sun, 05 Nov 2023 01:37:46 UTC

More firefox pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since my last update of firefox, to version 118.0.2, things have become much less stable, and once again I'm experiencing multiple crashes per day. That's presumably because I'm running across the network, and hopefully it will go away when the hydra migration is done. But I should really try to find out how to run multiple instances of chrome on one server.

Sun, 05 Nov 2023 00:27:32 UTC

X on hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

Enough procrastination! Today I continued my work on getting X to run on hydra. In principle it should have been a no-brainer: I already had a configuration file and most monitors in place. Only one monitor was missing. Well, I had the 7" monitor for my cameras, but that was as good as useless. So today Yvonne went and picked up a loaner from Chris Bahlo. First, though, I've been migrating my photo processing from eureka to hydra, and I need a number of programs. One is s3cmd, which loads my photos to DigitalOcean. It's in the FreeBSD Ports Collection, but they have chosen to call it net/py-s3cmd.

Sat, 04 Nov 2023 01:03:44 UTC

Bank of Melbourne bugs: insight?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Bill from Devin Lafranchi today. Pay by bank transfer. I have enough in my ANZ account, so went through all the pain of setting up a new payee and paying him. ?We'll need confirmation that it's you. We'll send an email to [email protected]?. Maybe they did, too, but of course that's not my registered email address; they're just too polite to write the real address. But they have it on record, and I get mail from them from time to time. After 5 minutes, nothing. This happens far too often (every time, it seems). Cancel. OK, Bank of Melbourne it is. Logon fail: ?Please match the requested format?

Sat, 04 Nov 2023 00:33:05 UTC

hydra: next steps

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why am I not getting more done with hydra? One obvious reason is that I want to get things right rather than getting them done quickly. And this font stuff is still irritating me. But it'll have to go on the back burner for a while. It's time to finally get the X configuration working. At least I should be able to use the current configuration for server 1, and all I really need is another monitor for the transition period.

Thu, 02 Nov 2023 00:45:08 UTC

The daily font pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really should be doing something else, but my difficulties with X fonts are still getting on my nerves. Why can't I find a font that provides representations for all characters that I am likely to find? And how do fonts add up? I've installed additional fonts for East Asian character sets, and they seem to get found automatically. I'm missing a lot of basic understanding. One thing that really irritates me is that Microsoft has none of these problems. Why not? Off searching, and discovered: contains: just copy the ttf files from a windows install (c:\windows\fonts\ , I think) to /usr/local/share/fonts/ .

Tue, 31 Oct 2023 23:00:01 UTC

Yet another xterm font attempt

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't found a good solution to my xterm font problem. More searching brought me to how to use ttf fonts in xterm, from the NetBSD project. That looked like just what I was looking for, especially since it was probably related in environment. It's simple: install the fonts/liberation-ttf package and enter: $ xterm -fa 'Liberation Mono' -fs 10 Oh. FreeBSD doesn't have a fonts/liberation-ttf port. A bit of searching showed that it's called x11-fonts/liberation-fonts-ttf, with the information Liberation fonts from Red Hat to replace MS TTF fonts OK, try that.

Tue, 31 Oct 2023 01:04:20 UTC

Replace xterm with rxvt?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the names that cropped up relatively frequently in my search for an xterm replacement was rxvt. Do we have one in the Ports Collection? Yes, x11/rxvt-unicode, and it promises: rxvt-unicode is a clone of the well known terminal emulator rxvt, modified to store text in Unicode (either UCS-2 or UCS-4) and to use locale-correct input and output. It also supports mixing multiple fonts at the same time, including Xft fonts. Well, if rxvt is so well-known, why don't we have a port? Anyway, installed it: ...

Tue, 31 Oct 2023 01:03:05 UTC

Fonts: still not done

Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking my diary today, I had a link to Burmese cats. Oh. For that, I need ?Burmese? and Thai fonts. I'm still not done. Have I missed something about TrueType fonts?

Tue, 31 Oct 2023 00:59:07 UTC

Missing photos!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Juha Kupiainen told me today that not all the photos in this month's diary were also displaying. Checking, I discovered that I was behind in syncing no fewer than 5 days' photos. How did that happen? In any case, time to resync all of them: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/23) ~/Photos 187 -> for i in [12]*; do (cd 1 && make sync); done That will take a while.

Mon, 30 Oct 2023 01:08:51 UTC

Photos the ?normal? way

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday Yvonne had a riding lesson at Anke Hawke's clinic at Chris Bahlo's place. Yvonne asked Chris to take photos of her with her (Yvonne's) Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. But no, Chris, who herself has a Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, chose to take the photos with her mobile phone! Why? I still have no idea. One of the important things about this kind of photo is the distance, and mobile phones don't have zoom lenses. Still, she took them. Now how to access them? Yvonne received information via Facebook, but fortunately it was just a URL for a collection at Google Drive, also not my favourite system.

Mon, 30 Oct 2023 01:05:15 UTC

xterm replacement?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Didn't do much work on the computers today, but I did try a couple of sites looking for a replacement for xterm. As I feared, not much help. I'll try again some other time.

Sun, 29 Oct 2023 01:21:14 UTC

Fonts: Microsoft beats X!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent much of today consolidating and documenting my experience with X fonts. I had wondered whether I had messed something up with my ~/.Xdefaults file, but there is none on hydra. So what I got is standard X. What a catastrophe! While writing it up, accidentally executed (view-hello-file), which brings up the word or phrase for ?Hello? in multiple languages. And some of them didn't render correctly: That could match the web sites that I couldn't display yesterday. So: I can display the fonts that I want with both xterm (as long as I choose a font size that I don't really want) and with firefox.

Sat, 28 Oct 2023 04:11:28 UTC

More font pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why does xterm render different font subsets on eureka and elsewhere? Clearly eureka has more fonts, but which? I've been saving email messages, nearly all spam, which have non-renderable characters in the Subject: line, like this: The images can be enlarged, but the second is a detail starting at the subject field of message 16. Clearly there's not much to be found there. More reading, notably this one, which explains the .Xresources file that I've been seeing.

Fri, 27 Oct 2023 00:25:06 UTC

More font investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

So, do I have the ClearlyU fonts? Yes, sort of. Part of an OpenBSD CVS repository, where I found: Version: 1.8 6 December 2000 Clearly that's an old, worn-out magic font. Callum Gibson came up with another link, But then I came up with this document, explaining how to set fonts specifically for xterm. The specifications are in the .Xdefaults file. And of course I (once) knew that. But why has it taken me such a long time to find it again?

Fri, 27 Oct 2023 00:24:54 UTC

Alternative video access methods

Posted By Greg Lehey

For a couple of years now I have been using youtube-dl to download videos. Apart from the finer-grained approach to displaying the videos (in particular single frame forwards and backwards with mpv and the lack of network issues), it also seems to avoid the advertisements that are becoming ever more invasive online. But they're not the only game in town. Today I got some other points, incongruously from the Unix Heritage Society mailing list. Here a selection: You can enjoy non-chopped up videos by replacing by in related URLs (easiest way to remember).

Fri, 27 Oct 2023 00:12:08 UTC

Next firefox trick

Posted By Greg Lehey

I run my :0 X server with 4 X screens, one per monitor, as opposed to a single X screen across 4 monitors for server :1, something that Callum Gibson doesn't understand. That means that I can place a different browser window on each screen (monitor). But firefox has always made it difficult. Two different firefox instances on the same screen refuse to work, even if they're started from different machines: the second one hands over to the first, meaning that I get all the settings of the first instance. That's one of the reasons why I have 4 screens in the first place.

Fri, 27 Oct 2023 00:04:57 UTC

Another monitor glitch

Posted By Greg Lehey

My old Matrix monitor came up with a new trick today: distorted display, again only a few seconds. Can it be that the problem is with the display card and not the monitor?

Thu, 26 Oct 2023 02:41:36 UTC

More artificial stupidity

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Michael James today, pointing at the latest feats of ?Artificial Intelligence?. Here an answer from Bard to the question ?if it takes 3 hours to dry 3 towels on a line, how long does it take to dry 9 towels on the line??: If it takes 3 hours to dry 3 towels on a line, then it will take 9 hours to dry 9 towels on the line. Assuming that the drying time is directly proportional to the number of towels, we can use the following equation...

Thu, 26 Oct 2023 02:18:39 UTC

Processing photos on hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

hydra is something like 8 times as fast as eureka, and its disks are even faster. Clearly photo processing is one of the things I should be doing next. And how about that, it almost worked! The only issue was ~/public_html/photos/RCS, a symlink to a file on eureka. But I still need to investigate how to tweak parallelism so that hydra can convert up to 40 photos at once. And then there's mail. Decades ago (2003/04/17 04:07:38) I started modifying /etc/aliases to create fantasy emails. Nowadays this is handled by /usr/local/etc/postfix/virtual, and I thought that /etc/aliases had done its dash. But no, /usr/bin/mail still uses it, so I need the one entry +# One Ring to rule them all +root:    grog + Also decades ago I ran into trouble with mutt: I couldn't ...

Thu, 26 Oct 2023 01:49:12 UTC

More X font investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

What's the most reliable description of X fonts? Clearly it should be what publishes. But somehow it wasn't on the list of options that I got during my search. But it's there: Fonts in X11R7.7. And it's worth reading. In particular, on page 8: If no font path is specified in a config file, the server uses a default value specified when it was built. And that's how the current server on hydra manages to find things. But it's not enough. A lot of stuff has changed in the last third of a century, including how fonts are specified.

Wed, 25 Oct 2023 01:11:03 UTC

hydra and X: the next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

The functions that I'm using on hydra are now working well. The next step is to continue configuring X. And there the confusion starts. What fonts? I seem to have most fonts that I need on eureka, but not on tiwi. And how do fonts work, anyway? If I run a web browser on hydra and displaying on eureka, some fonts, notably Chinese, Korean and Devanagari, are missing. Clearly the client is looking for the fonts on hydra, but where? And the configuration file generated by nvidia-xconfig doesn't have any mention of fonts at all. On eureka, /etc/X11/xorg-0.conf contains:     FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/misc/:unscaled"     FontPath        "/usr/local/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled" ...

Wed, 25 Oct 2023 01:10:26 UTC

More weather station woes

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why isn't my weather station software running properly on lagoon? It looks like it's hanging trying to read the configuration, which is in a MySQL database on eureka. But there are no error messages. OK, gdb time: === root@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) /home/grog/src/weather/WH-1080-lagoon 40 -> gdb wh1080 bash: gdb: command not found What? No debugger? Ah, I recall that people were having difficulty keeping it in sync with upstream development. OK, === root@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) /home/grog/src/weather/WH-1080-lagoon 41 -> pkg install gdb Newer FreeBSD version for package zziplib: To ignore this error set IGNORE_OSVERSION=yes - package: 1204000 - running kernel: 1201503 Ignore the mismatch and continue?

Mon, 23 Oct 2023 23:55:53 UTC

Bloody weather station!

Posted By Greg Lehey

One thing that seems to have changed with the arrival in position of hydra is my weather station. It's the most unreliable thing I know, and it has an only marginal wireless connection with the outside station. And it seems that the presence of hydra has so insulted it that it didn't want to communicate at all. Tried various alternatives. tiwi, in the lounge room, seemed a good choice, since it has a direct view of the outside station about 10 m away. But I couldn't start the program on. First there was library hell. Shared object "" not found, required by "wh1080" Oh, how about that, I never installed it on tiwi.

Mon, 23 Oct 2023 23:50:00 UTC

hydra consolidation

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I don't have enough time to invest in setting up hydra. Today, apart from documentation, I did relatively little. I was able to get my mail client and firefox to run on eureka's X server, however. That's much faster than with dereel, which was continually running into memory constraints. And that went surprisingly smoothly; soon I'll be able to power dereel down.

Mon, 23 Oct 2023 03:11:57 UTC

hydra: progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Cancelling the excursion meant that I could finally start the dreaded task of setting up X on The whole thing is complicated enough that I've started (another) web page describing what to do. First, what driver do I need? I had the link to find the drivers, and once again I had to search the drivers to find which supported my card. Fortunately it was the newest one, 535.113.01. Load from packages? Not there, only nvidia-driver-535.104.05_1. OK, load that, note the important parts of the pkg-message: To use these drivers, make sure that you have loaded the NVidia kernel module, by running # kldload nvidia-modeset OK, do that, also remove the old driver for whatever I was using in March.

Mon, 23 Oct 2023 03:11:23 UTC

More Microsoft distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another random strangeness from distress today: That was on not one, but two windows after I tried to start rdesktop. Closed both of them and started again, normally. Why is Microsoft so inscrutable? Arguably, of course, this is an rdesktop issue.

Mon, 23 Oct 2023 01:26:29 UTC

CAPTCHAs: How to insult people

Posted By Greg Lehey

Should I inform people that we weren't going to the wildflower show? Probably it was canceled anyway, but it can't do any harm to follow the convoluted ?contact the organiser? on the web site, so I did that. ?Prove that you're human?. Another bloody CAPTCHA! And when I had done that, another. They seem to be getting more common lately. A few days ago, Bendigo Discount Pet Supplies asked for one, after I had entered entered my password. People, are you really trying to chase off your customers? I didn't complete it, but found that I was able to complete my purchase without logging in and without a CAPTCHA.

Sun, 22 Oct 2023 00:36:28 UTC

tiwi panic

Posted By Greg Lehey, my TV computer, has far too little memory. I should have replaced it with another machine months ago, but every time I've played around with it I have run into connector hell, which even resulted in me buying a new TV. So for the moment I put up with web browsers swapping for 10 or 20 seconds at a time. But today was different. The whole display froze, though the mouse cursor showed that the system was still alive. Into the office and checked: firefox 100% CPU, X 100% CPU. kill -9 on the firefox seemed to do nothing, but in fact it only took about 30 seconds.

Sat, 21 Oct 2023 00:55:21 UTC

Help configuring X

Posted By Greg Lehey

By chance, saw this in my mail inbox today: Setting up X11: A no-tears guide to XFree86 configuration. Just what I want. Oh, wait. Something's not right. XFree86? That's not new. Wikipedia tells me that the last release was in December 2008, nearly 15 years ago. And the title of the article somehow sounds familiar. Of course, I wrote it, in July 1995, and the mail was just part of Academia's daily spam: ?Claim ... for your profile?. Reading it is interesting. It is almost only concerned with mode lines, something that has become completely irrelevant since the introduction of digital displays.

Sat, 21 Oct 2023 00:51:21 UTC

hydra: progress?

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some reason I'm hesitating with setting up X on hydra. Part of it is simply getting all the hardware physically in place. There are no fewer than 14 cables and 24 connectors involved, and they need to be placed on a desk top that already has 9 computers on it. But I got started today, and it looks as if it will all fit roughly as planned. The next step is configuration. The display card is an GeForce RTX? 3060 GAMING OC 8G card, based on the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060. Where do I find the correct driver? By searching their driver list; they don't have a direct link.

Fri, 20 Oct 2023 01:06:59 UTC

Historical problems building new machines

Posted By Greg Lehey

I built eureka, at least the current iteration, nearly 10 years ago. And the one before that, by coincidence, exactly 15 years ago. And in each case I grumbled about the appalling documentation. Still, there's reason to believe that it's getting even worse.

Fri, 20 Oct 2023 00:50:39 UTC

More hydra investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent much of the day documenting my fun with hydra. One thing that became evident was on the BIOS display screen: ?DDR? (they mean memory, not Deutsche Demokratische Republik) speed 3600 MHz? I paid for 5600 MHz components. Is this a tuneable? How can I tell? Where's the BIOS manual? Followed up with the MSI web site, which insisted on changing to and then hanging. More reading the documentation, which contained a link to the BIOS: Is that even valid?

Thu, 19 Oct 2023 01:54:27 UTC

Setting up hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

I had already put monitors in place to set up X, but that's jumping the gun. First we need an operating system. In principle I have that, from my work in March. So what do I do? Clearly I need to copy the system image, but first, what's already on the disk? Boot a live system from a FreeBSD 13.2-RELEASE memory stick and go looking for the disks. gpart show should tell me what's there. No geoms found! After some searching, discovered that the M.2 disks have names like /dev/nve0, and sure enough, there's one, but no subdisks. Is it completely empty?

Wed, 18 Oct 2023 23:16:22 UTC

Looking at hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

Before setting up the new iteration of, it's interesting to take a detailed look inside. Things have changed in the last 10 years. Between the first IBM Personal Computer 42 years ago and when I built eureka, changes seemed to be relatively small. CPU on a motherboard, slots for expansion cards, power supply at one side. About the biggest difference was that the original PC was oriented horizontally, while most of my machines in the last 30 years have been oriented vertically (?tower? housing). But hydra is different. Open the case and it's mainly fans: I identified the RAM at the right, noticeable because of its violent nature: ...

Wed, 18 Oct 2023 04:12:43 UTC

distress wants attention too

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recently I've had various issues with, my Microsoft box. For a while it wanted me to enter a password every time I connected, but that went away. Today, though, things hung, notably DxO PhotoLab. OK, Microsoft solution: reboot. After 5 minutes it still hadn't rebooted. Time for the Big Red Button. And yes, after that it rebooted, still with the old windows open. Stop DxO and... it rebooted again, and then performed updates that I didn't ask for! How I hate Microsoft!

Wed, 18 Oct 2023 03:36:35 UTC

The new hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into town in the afternoon to pick up the new machine. Everything went smoothly, though it's clear that times have changed. Detailed manuals for the coolers, just a wordless sheet of paper with diagrams of how to put things onto the motherboard. A couple of CDs, but nothing relating to the motherboard. To make up for it, there were lots of silly stickers: It's interesting to note that some of the images bear a marginal resemblance to Beastie: Back home, spent some time looking for documentation, and finally found the manual.

Wed, 18 Oct 2023 02:57:27 UTC

More amateur scammers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen in mail today: Subject: Australian Taxation Office: Refund Notification That's stupid enough that it could almost be legitimate. What's in the message? From  Tue Oct 17 08:06:11 2023 ... Received: from ( [])         by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 64A252811D Subject: Australian Taxation Office: Refund Notification Dear Taxpayer,     After the last annual tax calculation of your fiscal activity, we have     discovered that you are eligible to receive a tax refund balance of     3,850.50 AUD. Kindly complete the tax refund request and allow 5-10     working days to process it.

Wed, 18 Oct 2023 02:35:29 UTC

Paying for hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

In preparation to pick up my new machine this afternoon, I checked my bank accounts. Yes, I had enough in my ANZ account, but only just. What about Bank of Melbourne? ?Please match the requested format?! That's been going on for years! When are they finally going to fix it? Spent some time messing around, noting that it happened on all browser/computer combinations I had. Called up the help line, but then decided that I couldn't face the annoyance of talking to somebody whose brain is stored in a script. Finally, somehow, I managed to access the system, after they first tried to send me a ?secure code?

Tue, 17 Oct 2023 00:15:39 UTC

New computer on its way

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from Seth at Leading Edge Computers this afternoon. My new computer, the first for nearly 10 years, is ready for pickup. Joy? No, not really. Now there's a lot of work to do to get the thing working the way I want it. And that will be fun, at least partially because I've decided to once again run two machines: eureka will stay roughly as it is and be the gateway machine, and the new machine will get the name hydra from the HP Z800 that I inherited from Bruce Evans last year. I had chosen the name because I thought it had 24 CPUs, but that proved incorrect: there are only 12.

Mon, 16 Oct 2023 23:45:32 UTC

ICMP limits: shut up!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's rate limiting for ICMP packets works. And it has reduced the number of packets by over 95%. But why does the system have to crow about it so much? /var/log/messages is full of messages like Oct 16 16:07:10 eureka kernel: Limiting icmp ping response from 10 to 5 packets/sec Oct 16 16:07:12 eureka kernel: Limiting icmp ping response from 6 to 5 packets/sec Oct 16 16:07:13 eureka kernel: Limiting icmp ping response from 7 to 5 packets/sec Time to find a way to mute this message.

Mon, 16 Oct 2023 23:44:48 UTC

Monitor dropout again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yet another short dropout on monitor 2 this morning, this time earlier than on other days. What is it that makes it happen only once a day, and that relatively early?

Mon, 16 Oct 2023 00:51:39 UTC

Greg Lehey reconsidered

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last month I was surprised when ChatGPT came up with a surprisingly accurate description of me. For some reason I looked again today. I have changed! Hi! Greg Lehey is a computer scientist and software engineer. He is known for his work in the field of FreeBSD, an open-source operating system. Lehey has made significant contributions to the FreeBSD project, including writing the book "The Complete FreeBSD" and serving as the project's release engineer for several years. He has also been involved in various other open-source projects and has a strong background in Unix-like systems.

Sun, 15 Oct 2023 23:55:14 UTC

Why are you pinging me?

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some reason I have a whole lot of ICMP traffic, apparently random scans, resulting in this kind of output: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/4) ~ 120 -> arp -a | grep incomplete ( at (incomplete) on em0 expired [ethernet] ( at (incomplete) on em0 expired [ethernet] ? ( at (incomplete) on em0 expired [ethernet] ( at (incomplete) on em0 expired [ethernet] ( at (incomplete) on em0 expired [ethernet] ( at (incomplete) on em0 expired [ethernet] Why? Is it a preliminary to an attack?

Sun, 15 Oct 2023 01:50:53 UTC

Palestinian religious distribution: ChatGPT speaks

Posted By Greg Lehey

What was the religious distribution of Mandatory Palestine in 1920? Above I wrote that 12% were Christians, and I still think that that's what I read. But there are experts. Bard didn't want to know, but ChatGPT tells me: In 1920, Mandatory Palestine had a religious distribution that consisted of a majority Muslim population, followed by a significant Jewish minority and smaller Christian and Druze communities. The exact percentages were approximately 78% Muslim, 11% Jewish, 9% Christian, and 2% Druze.

Sun, 15 Oct 2023 01:42:02 UTC

Login failures

Posted By Greg Lehey

What good is login protection in an unreachable network? I still use passwords, because it ?feels right?, but I don't log in very often. And when I do, my password (a very unlikely character combination) is more finger memory than a recollection of the character sequence. But then I had repeated root login failures. Why? Which words capitalized? Which special characters? I couldn't work it out, and in the end I had to reset the password (from an open xterm) to what I thought it had been. But somehow I had the feeling that something was wrong. Had somebody changed it?

Fri, 13 Oct 2023 01:31:07 UTC

VicEmergency again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why can't I get alerts from VicEmergency app on my phone? Spent a lot of time looking through their excuse for documentation, coming up with at least the fact that they have a ?test notification?. So I tried that. Check notifications, nothing there. But they also have a ?send email? function. Set that up. Test. Yes! That's so much better than a mobile phone anyway. More searching. There are so many notifications that I can hardly see anything. I get a notification every time I wake, which connects to the phone. Newspapers, notably the Washington Post, tell me of all sorts of things of only marginal interest.

Fri, 13 Oct 2023 00:51:44 UTC

More disk errors?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking my overnight logs today, saw this: Oct 11 21:11:19 eureka kernel: (da2:umass-sim2:2:0:0): WRITE(16). CDB: 8a 00 00 00 00 01 2f 4a 5e 68 00 00 00 80 00 00 Oct 11 21:11:19 eureka kernel: (da2:umass-sim2:2:0:0): CAM status: CCB request completed with an error Oct 11 21:11:19 eureka kernel: (da2:umass-sim2:2:0:0): Retrying command This looks like a recovered write failure. But it's still a failure, something you don't want on a backup disk. But is it a disk failure? This is USB, and in the past it has been horribly unreliable.

Thu, 12 Oct 2023 01:10:02 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Yet another bushfire warning from the Ballarat Courier today: bushfire south of Ballarat. Where was it? That's what the VicEmergency app on my phone should tell me. But it didn't. We've seen this before. OK, off to the web to see what it had to say. Berringa! That's in my watch zone, and that's what the app told me when I asked. So why isn't this HORRIBLE VicEmergency app informing me? No notification (though I get them for things like bad weather off the US coast.

Thu, 12 Oct 2023 01:05:13 UTC

No TV today

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the first things I do in the morning is update my German TV programme list from, part of which is a cron job that downloads the latest information from But today it didn't get loaded: wasn't found. But why verteiler1 in the first place? It used to be, but that no longer exists. When the name finally resolved, I checked: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/4) ~ 101 -> nslookup     canonical name = Name: Address: Name: Address: OK, that's good to know.

Wed, 11 Oct 2023 01:42:59 UTC

Backup times

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Bahlo is back from Europe, and she is feeling somewhat under the weather. COVID-19? It's worth a check, and since we have a lot of RATs, she came by to pick one up. A good time for our weekly backup change. Quick backup of my photos, which normally takes 30 minutes. Tue 10 Oct 2023 11:42:02 AEDT Photo backup started Tue 10 Oct 2023 11:52:26 AEDT Photo backup ended Huh? That's not normal. A quick comparison showed: sent 25,284,870,629 bytes  received 34,427 bytes  13,981,147.39 bytes/sec Sun 9 Jul 2023 05:05:00 AEST Photo backup started Sun 9 Jul 2023 05:38:28 AEST Photo backup ended sent 14,958,992,459 bytes  received 18,774 bytes  9,942,845.62 bytes/sec Tue 22 Aug 2023 05:05:00 AEST Photo backup started Tue 22 Aug 2023 05:33:27 AEST Photo backup ended sent 4,151,516,529 bytes  received ...

Wed, 11 Oct 2023 00:48:35 UTC

Software archaeology

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now I'm gradually in a position to debug my makefs bug. After some fighting changes in gdb, I finally got into the meat of the ffs_mkfs() function, which looks like being the culprit. It builds up a superblock, which is referred to as sblock. But gdb doesn't want to know: Breakpoint 4, ffs_mkfs (fsys=fsys@entry=0x7fffffffe8e1 "./image2",     fsopts=fsopts@entry=0x7fffffffe2f0, tstamp=tstamp@entry=1696902845)     at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/main/usr.sbin/makefs/ffs/mkfs.c:193 193             sblock.fs_avgfpdir = avgfpdir; === gdb -> p sblock No symbol "sblock" in current context. Huh? Optimized out?

Tue, 10 Oct 2023 00:37:49 UTC

More bug hunting

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still working at a snail's pace on the makefs bug. One thing that it has brought home to me is how much the time depends on being active in the scene. And I really seem to have little time to spare, so I only work for the odd half hour or so. The other issue is: how do I proceed? I have two comparisons that show the difference between the bug and correct behaviour: FreeBSD without size specification, and NetBSD with or without size specification. The obvious thing is to step through the program along with one of the others and compare what happens.

Tue, 10 Oct 2023 00:32:34 UTC

More monitor dropouts

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over a week since a series of daily short dropouts on monitor 2. And then nothing?until today, when it happened in the same manner as before: a short dropout round 10:00. This time I didn't attempt any recovery, and it still returned after a few seconds. Then, for the first time, it was immediately followed by a second dropout, which again recovered by itself. What is this? Overvoltage? No, Powercor has lowered the mains voltage to ?only? round 240 V, and at the time that was the voltage; it was higher later in the day when I was feeding in power to the grid.

Sat, 07 Oct 2023 02:18:13 UTC

NetBSD again

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's getting high time to look at the makefs bug, as I've been saying for some time. How? I can work my way through the code, but there's a simpler way: I can compare it to a version that works?on NetBSD. OK, get an up-to-date source tree. Don't I have a script somewhere? Yes! #!/bin/sh # $Id: update-NetBSD-cvs,v 1.1 2003/07/20 03:42:35 grog Exp $ PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin echo ====== `date`: Getting NetBSD CVSUP updates cd /src/NetBSD/1.5-CURRENT/src cvs -d :pserver:[email protected]:/cvsroot update -P -d echo ====== `date`: Getting NetBSD CVSUP updates But look at that date! Over 20 years ago!

Sat, 07 Oct 2023 02:03:45 UTC

Strange error message sensitivity

Posted By Greg Lehey

Interesting mail from Michael Hughes today. Summarizing: Today I was working on a script and did the following command:  echo "" > file 2>/dev/null When I tried this on a file my user didn't have write permissions on, I recieved the error:  cannot create file: Permission denied The error message didn't go to /dev/null. But he didn't get an error message when when he tried: echo "" 2>/dev/null > file What's going on here?

Sat, 07 Oct 2023 01:52:49 UTC

Rumours of my demise, or, Microsoft hates me

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Michael James today, with startling information: Oh. They say that if you're on the Internet, nobody knows if you're dead, and I can confirm that from my list of Facebook friends, which includes at least 5 dead people. But myself? I feel like Mark Twain. This particular claim came from Bing, a Microsoft product, which I don't use. It's in competition, if that's the word, with ChatGPT and Bard. Did a bit of playing around with it, and it seems that its output is very raw.

Fri, 06 Oct 2023 00:25:25 UTC

System down!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Part of my regular morning ritual is to check the state of my machines. Most are local, but one is in Los Angeles, and another is in Frankfurt am Main. And today I read: === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 4 -> date; uptime Thu Oct  5 00:34:27 UTC 2023 12:34AM  up 13:37, 1 user, load averages: 0.19, 0.32, 0.36 Aaarrrgh! Yesterday it was: === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 5 -> date; uptime Wed Oct  4 00:19:25 UTC 2023 12:19AM  up 2067 days,  9:22, 2 users, load averages: 0.50, 0.57, 0.48 System down after 5 years, 8 months!

Thu, 05 Oct 2023 00:50:02 UTC

Configuration strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's high time to continue looking at the makefs bug. But as a result of Monday's panic, kimchi, my NetBSD VM, had gone away. Not a problem. Reboot. Oh. I had lost some of the VirtualBox modules necessary to run. Never mind, that's why I documented them. But it didn't work! Failed to open a session for the virtual machine kimchi. Failed to open/create the internal network 'HostInterfaceNetworking-em0' (VERR_SUPDRV_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND). Failed to attach the network LUN (VERR_SUPDRV_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND). Result Code: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005) Component: ConsoleWrap Interface: IConsole {872da645-4a9b-1727-bee2-5585105b9eed} What's that? Much messing around, including (finally!) putting the load commands in /boot/loader.conf, but the problem persisted.

Tue, 03 Oct 2023 01:23:08 UTC

Weather graph strangeness

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been nearly 14 years since I started using gnuplot to plot the graphs for my weather station, and from the start I had difficulties. One of them was to convert the time to gnuplot internal time (the number of seconds since 1 January 2000, 0:0 local time). That's clear enough: subtract the time_t value of the date. But for reasons I never understood, things only worked when Daylight Saving Time was active, and when it finished I discovered I had to adjust by 2 hours! Clearly a workaround, but it has worked for well over 10 years?until now. Now the time is correct, but the date is off by a day.

Tue, 03 Oct 2023 01:09:48 UTC

Human intelligence declining?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still trying to understand people who tell me that mobile phones aren't computers, and that it makes sense to copy files to local destinations via Google at the other end of the world. But the nonsense continues. Today I read on Facebook that a class of science students wasn't able to find files on their computers: Gradually, Garland came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached... the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations' understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students.

Tue, 03 Oct 2023 00:49:20 UTC

Artificial stupidity again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Silly question on Quora today: I am thinking of a three-digit number. The tens digit is more than the ones digit, the hundreds digit is seven less than the tens digit. What is the number? Well clearly that's silly. There are a large number of solutions to those constraints. But to my surprise, none of the answers were complete and correct. OK, once again artificial intelligence to the rescue. Bard tells me: There are only three possible three-digit numbers that satisfy the given conditions: 801 ...

Tue, 03 Oct 2023 00:38:22 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office first thing this morning. Number 2 monitor on eureka displayed Boot: Another crash! Why? Recovered as normal, and then saw in the logs: panic: cannot reassign paging buffer Well, that's a different one, anyway. Fought my way through the reboot, but I couldn't start the weather station software: device not found. No obvious reason for that, so I shut down, powered off and restarted. Then everything worked, sort of.

Mon, 02 Oct 2023 02:54:10 UTC

Next bushfire!

Posted By Greg Lehey

The bushfire season is really coming early this year. Nothing more round here, but in Gippsland there are a number. This one concerned me: Where's that? North of Briagolong, where my cousin Gill and husband Kline live. How close is it? Compare with Google Maps: Now doesn't that say a lot? I have the exact coordinates (on nearly every photo I took at the memorial for my aunt Freda last January: the house is at 37°48'40.1"S 147°06'28.0"E).

Mon, 02 Oct 2023 02:34:09 UTC

Android networking: the expert speak

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have assumed that my problems with WiFi FTP Server were due to a poor reimplementation of the TCP/IP stack. But is that assumption correct? Asked my tame artificial Intelligence bots: ?Does Android have a full TCP/IP stack?" . ChatGPT tells me Yes, Android does have a full TCP/IP stack. It is based on the Linux kernel and includes all the necessary protocols and components for communication over the internet, such as TCP, IP, UDP, and ICMP.

Mon, 02 Oct 2023 02:14:55 UTC

Android networking: why so castrated?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Discussing my issues with FTP on hirse today. Android is based on Linux, which has a full-featured TCP/IP stack. Why did the author of WiFi FTP Server have to reimplement the stack? Once again people on IRC amaze me. They're not stupid?in fact, quite the contrary?but they seem to accept the bad design decisions as something normal, even necessary. ?A mobile phone is not a computer?. " Why use TCP/IP when you can upload to Google and back down again?" That kind of attitude is bad for my blood pressure. Of course, there's an assumption on my part here: Why, did the author of WiFi FTP Server have to reimplement the stack?

Sun, 01 Oct 2023 01:22:06 UTC

The daily monitor fade

Posted By Greg Lehey

It really seems that my number 2 monitor has one brief failure every morning. It the recovers and runs normally for the rest of the day. It happened again this morning. This time it faded more slowly, though still in less than a second, and then recovered by itself. What do I do? So far, I think, nothing. I'll wait until it fails more consistently. If it fails completely, I have other monitors to replace it with, though they're lower resolution (only 1920x1080).

Sat, 30 Sep 2023 01:41:56 UTC

Android networking errors?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have a lot of GPS logs on hirse, my Android phone. How do I get them onto a real computer? FTP, of course. Android is based on Linux, so an ftp client should be part of the base installation, but no, Android is too Modern for that, so I had to install an app, WiFi FTP Server. Savour the layering violation in that name! But it works. Well, most of the time. Today I tried downloading all the files in the directory, and on one it hung: ?stalled?. After 10 minutes I gave up and restarted, this time selecting individual files.

Sat, 30 Sep 2023 01:34:36 UTC

ChatGPT: not that bad after all

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had a hard time getting to accept ChatGPT, but it seems that various factors have helped. Last week I quoted an example published on Quora, which contained the nonsensical claim A 35mm lens is considered a "normal" lens, and the general rule of thumb for the distance between a subject and a normal lens is to be about the same distance as the focal length of the lens. So for a 35mm lens, the subject should be about 35mm away from the lens.

Sat, 30 Sep 2023 01:33:47 UTC

The daily monitor fade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another short dropout of number 2 monitor today. I'm beginning to see a pattern: it happens in mid-morning, only once, and only lasts a few seconds. What can that mean?

Sat, 30 Sep 2023 01:05:02 UTC

VicEmergency: Decades of incompetence

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been complaining about VicEmergency and its predecessors over 15 years, but they still don't have their act together. Now, of course, there's an app, and I have it set up to warn me if there is any danger within 20 km of my property. Today there were two bushfires about 3 km away. The danger area came up to 1 km from my house. What did VicEmergency tell me? Nothing. When I fired it up, it knew: The grey area in the second image is my ?watch zone?.

Sat, 30 Sep 2023 00:59:59 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

I receive a news summary mail from the Ballarat Courier several times a day. Basically just a headline and an exhortation to pay up for a subscription price about 10 times the combined price of the New York Times and the Washington Post together. Today: ?Bushfire south of Ballarat?. OK, that's where we are. How far away is the bushfire? The horribly defective VicEmergency should tell me. Oh. It's between Dereel and Mount Mercer, about 3 km east of here. In fact, something that nobody seems to have noticed, there were two of them, both in a pine plantation. Arson?

Fri, 29 Sep 2023 02:35:19 UTC

The daily monitor dropout

Posted By Greg Lehey

Every morning now it seems that my number 2 monitor drops out for a few seconds. This time I got as far as locating the power button before it came back.

Fri, 29 Sep 2023 01:38:38 UTC

More ChatGPT surprises

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still can't get my head around ChatGPT's reputation. What I've seen is not overly convincing. But does it know me? Yes, it seems, but it scares it: That question was successful on the second attempt, and in fact the result was quite accurate: Greg Lehey is an Australian computer scientist and author known for his work in the field of Unix and FreeBSD operating systems. He is particularly well-known for his contributions to the FreeBSD project, an open-source Unix-like operating system based on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).

Thu, 28 Sep 2023 01:35:41 UTC

ChatGPT: Artificial stupidity

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I tested Google Bard as a supplier of recipes, but gave up on ChatGPT. Why? I don't recall, just that it tried to make life hard for me. OK, check again. Oh. It won't let me log in any more. And, not for the first time, it didn't send me a new password when I asked for one. OK, sign up again with a new email address. It wants my date of birth! That's one of the main security questions in Australia. Ah, ?We will only use this date to verify your age?. Isn't that stupid? If I'm an even marginally intelligent 13-year-old, I'll invent a date like 13 January 2000.

Wed, 27 Sep 2023 01:50:33 UTC

Finally! A git commit

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been gathering courage to attempt to commit Saturday's man page change. Today I had enough. It should be simple enough: git pull to be sure that my tree is up to date, git commit to commit locally, and git push to commit to the global repository: === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/10) /src/FreeBSD/git/main/usr.sbin/makefs 11 -> git commit makefs.8 hint: Waiting for your editor to close the file... Waiting for Emacs... [main 915af883221a] Explain the -d option.  1 file changed, 6 insertions(+), 1 deletion(-) === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/10) /src/FreeBSD/git/main/usr.sbin/makefs 12 -> git push freebsd Enumerating objects: 9, done.

Wed, 27 Sep 2023 01:49:35 UTC

Another monitor dropout

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another very brief monitor dropout today. I wonder if it's the monitor or the (separate) power supply. I no longer think that it could have anything to do with the computer.

Wed, 27 Sep 2023 01:40:33 UTC

Artificially intelligent recipes

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm gradually getting bored with the (mainly south-east Asian) breakfasts I've been making. Today I tried the Hokkien Mee that I first made in April. OK, but not spectacular. Can I improve on it? Recently I've seen some good results from artificially intelligent sites. Why not ask there? ?What is a good recipe for Hokkien Mee??. And how about that, it came up with a recipe that proved to be a rephrasing of this recipe. Rather unusual, but certainly worth thinking about. It also had two other drafts which proved to be other rewritings of the same recipe. It should have been able to find more.

Tue, 26 Sep 2023 01:55:54 UTC

AI assists spam?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Lately I've been getting a number of spam messages like this one:   86 N + 24-09-2023 To groggyhimself@le ( 322) Careers World        ND+ -- 56 Committer  Core Team Member jobs in Taunton -- OK, we have three keywords here: ?Committer?, somebody who commits to a source tree (when he's not too disgusted by git), ?Core Team?, something that also matches me?and Taunton, the town where I went to school 60 years ago. How could anybody come up with such a list of keywords?

Tue, 26 Sep 2023 00:29:04 UTC

Dying monitor?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Shortly after arriving in my office this morning, monitor 2 (the 2560x1440 one) turned itself off. No display, and the red power LED went on (to indicate ?power off?) . Only for a few seconds, but it repeated twice. Oh. Part of the decision on my new computer was to decide how to drive that monitor with its relatively uncommon dual DVI interface. But I've had it for almost exactly 11 years. It has certainly lasted longer than I expected, maybe longer than any monitor I have used continually; if it were to give up now I wouldn't be overly concerned. And then, obviously unrelated, my iftop display got corrupted: the local address field was replaced by * on every line.

Mon, 25 Sep 2023 02:09:26 UTC

No computer work

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow yesterday's experience with git completely demoralized me. Yes, I think I have identified the problem and worked around it, but I couldn't bring myself to continue, neither with git nor with my debugging. How I HATE git!

Mon, 25 Sep 2023 02:06:25 UTC

A use for ?artificial intelligence?

Posted By Greg Lehey

What do you serve along with kippers? I really don't recall what I used to eat. How about asking an artificial intelligence, in this case kippers are a type of smoked herring that is popular in the united kingdom and other parts of the world. they have a strong, smoky flavor and are often served for breakfast or lunch. here are some ideas for what to eat with kippers: Eggs: Kippers are often served with eggs, such as scrambled eggs, poached eggs, or fried eggs.

Sun, 24 Sep 2023 03:08:40 UTC

Another NFS bug?

Posted By Greg Lehey

My mail inbox is located on eureka, but I read it from a number of locations, including dereel and tiwi. Today I removed most of the messages on tiwi, but when I came back later, dereel claimed that some were still there. Why? The file stats looked correct, but the contents looked different on dereel, including deleted messages and stopping in the middle of a message. It went away after about 10 minutes, but why did it remain in that state for so long?

Sun, 24 Sep 2023 03:01:53 UTC

Git, how I hate you!

Posted By Greg Lehey

More work on makefs today, making moderate progress. But one thing is clear: the man page needed updating, and I've done so. Now just to commit it. Oh, that's an old, worn-out magic word. Now I need to commit and push it. OK, first commit. Hang. After quite some time, an error message: === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/1) /usr/src/usr.sbin/makefs 17 -> git commit makefs.8 hint: Waiting for your editor to close the file... /usr/local/bin/emacsclient: can't find socket; have you started the server? /usr/local/bin/emacsclient: To start the server in Emacs, type "M-x server-start". /usr/local/bin/emacsclient: No socket or alternate editor.

Sat, 23 Sep 2023 01:29:01 UTC

NFS amusement

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange message in the overnight logs from bde, the laptop. OK, fire up an xterm and see what's going on. No response. But ruptime tells me that it is up (for 320 days). Looking at the mail message, the headers said Received: from ( []) Oh. That's a consequence of the playing around with the Netcomm NF20MESH last month. I had to get an address with dhclient, and that was the one. OK, stop dhclient and assign the address manually. Still no xterm! A bit later, though, one popped up.

Sat, 23 Sep 2023 01:11:58 UTC

More makefs insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I have kimchi running, I can compare the output of makefs on dereel (FreeBSD) and kimchi (NetBSD). Does the bug occur on NetBSD as well? No. But there are other differences of interest: On NetBSD it creates a file system with numerous cylinder groups, while on FreeBSD there is only one: -Extent size set to 32768 -density reduced from 1600880 to 8192 -./image2: 600.0MB (1228800 sectors) block size 32768, fragment size 4096 -       using 1 cylinder groups of 600.00MB, 19200 blks, 76800 inodes.

Sat, 23 Sep 2023 01:10:58 UTC

More VirtualBox fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

So why can I run networking under VirtualBox with eureso (FreeBSD) but not with kimchi (NetBSD)? It must be the configuration. ?Power down? kimchi and look at the configuration. It's identical! OK, reboot and look at the probe messages. But I didn't need to: it came up with networking enabled. So it seems that a saved image state maintains some recollection of the network state.

Sat, 23 Sep 2023 01:05:45 UTC

Lying scales!

Posted By Greg Lehey

For 6 months now I've been weighing myself daily. TL;DR: I weigh about 86 kg, giving me a body mass index of round 23. But I'm doing this more out of curiosity than concern about my health. Yvonne got new scales six months ago, so I had a set in the bathroom. But I've noticed something strange: the scales have a resolution of 100 g, and very frequently I've had the same reading for days on end. Six days at 86.1 kg. That can't be right. OK, pick up a stool, weigh again. 87.9 kg. Put down the stool, weigh again.

Fri, 22 Sep 2023 02:39:40 UTC

Looking at makefs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Looking at the source for makefs was interesting. Nicely laid out, but not a single comment that I can see. Still, one of the more interesting things was a whole lot of debug code, invokable from the command line and clearly aimed at people like me who have to find out what the thing is doing. Once I understand that, the rest could be trivial.

Fri, 22 Sep 2023 02:17:27 UTC

VirtualBox again

Posted By Greg Lehey

makefs, the program that I'm looking at at the moment, was originally written by Luke Mewburn, who is a NetBSD developer. How does the program look under NetBSD? I have an old virtual machine; let's look. But once again I couldn't get networking working. I've been there before, more than once. Last time I wrote: The issue seems to be which klds to load. The important one is ng_ether, which in fact has nothing directly to do with VirtualBox. But just loading it doesn't seem to be enough; today it didn't work until I stopped VirtualBox, unloaded the kernel modules and loaded them again.

Fri, 22 Sep 2023 01:56:32 UTC

Paying for the computer

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seth wants a 50% deposit for the computer, which seems reasonable under the circumstances. OK, transfer the money. Dammit, another issue with the Bank of Melbourne web site. Login failure. Oh, I've changed it. OK, try again. How I hate these blanked-out fields (??????) ! At least they could give me the option to display them. Finally filled them all out, press the big button. ?Please match the requested format?! I've seen that before, though I haven't recorded it here for some time. OK, try with Microsoft and the correct credentials. Yes, I got in. Put in the transfer details, confirm 3 times, press the big button.

Fri, 22 Sep 2023 01:43:01 UTC

New computer

Posted By Greg Lehey

So I've decided on my new computer.

Thu, 21 Sep 2023 02:59:11 UTC

Next Microsoft distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Processing photos on distress with DxO PhotoLab, I ran into an almost daily occurrence: it hung. OK, shoot it down. No can do, says Microsoft: What's that? A requirement that I restart the computer too? Tried that, and it displayed ?rebooting? for several minutes until I thought to stop the rdesktop session. And then it worked again. What a mess this system is!

Thu, 21 Sep 2023 02:35:58 UTC

Debugging again

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been quite some time since I've done anything resembling programming on the FreeBSD code base, but today was the day: there's a bug in makefs, which proves to be an interesting program originally written by Luke Mewburn. OK, should be straightforward to fix, but first I have to find my way round the source tree again. Problem is repeatable as stated: use the -s (size) option and it generates an invalid file system, one that fsck can't fix, though it seems to work well enough apart from that. OK, build the program. How do I select debug? More to the point, though, where is the object?

Thu, 21 Sep 2023 02:30:23 UTC

Amazon security

Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking my Amazon order, I was required to submit myself to yet another 2FA authentication, which I am beginning to hate with a vengeance. It seems that somebody had tried to break into my account: Someone who knows your password is attempting to sign-in to your account. When: Sep 19, 2023 06:55 PM Pacific Daylight Time Device: Mozilla Firefox Linux (Desktop) Near: California, United States That was me, of course, at 11:55 AEST on 20 September in Victoria, Australia, using a FreeBSD.

Thu, 21 Sep 2023 02:23:18 UTC

ATO scare

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail purporting to come from the Australian Taxation Office this morning: We're getting in touch regarding your recent request to either establish a new self-managed super fund (SMSF) or to make changes to your existing SMSF, LEHEY FAMILY SUPERANNUATION FUND. We have processed your request. To prevent fraudulent activity, the ATO sends this email when: You have been added as a member to a new or existing SMSF A new member has been added to or removed from your SMSF, or ...

Thu, 21 Sep 2023 00:51:17 UTC

Artificial stupidity?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still occasionally answer questions on Quora, though I don't really know why. Today there was a question that I could skip: How far should a 35mm lens be from a subject?. The answer's obvious: so that it fills the frame. But Quora, after finally removing their spam generator, have now linked to ChatGPT, thus giving me the opportunity to evaluate its accuracy. Today was a low point: A 35mm lens is considered a "normal" lens, and the general rule of thumb for the distance between a subject and a normal lens is to be about the same distance as the focal length of the lens.

Wed, 20 Sep 2023 00:53:58 UTC

Amazon delivery times

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been idly wondering how accurate Amazon's delivery time estimates were. On Sunday, before I paid, all was to be delivered on Friday. Then they split the order, and only the first part was to be delivered by Friday. Not a worry, since I can't pick it up until the following Wednesday. But that was making assumptions. Today a Toll van pulled up in front of the gate, and a bloke brought in a small package. My first Amazon delivery, due on Friday! Given the detail in which they report delivery times, that's inaccurate, of course, but a big difference from eBay.

Tue, 19 Sep 2023 01:34:37 UTC

technology, opinion

Posted By Greg Lehey

Nobody has been able to reproduce the bug building TeX that I reported at the beginning of the month. Why? Something in the back of my head whispered ?environment pollution?. Well, not in those words, but that sounds about right. What if I have an environment variable that confuses the port build? Simple: try without any additional environment variables and see if it still happens. But how do you start a shell without inheriting the variables of its parent. It's very difficult. But if I start from getty (in other words, log in on a vty or virtual terminal), there's not much to inherit.

Sat, 16 Sep 2023 04:05:00 UTC

Which domain registrar?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had the domain since the days when there was only one domain registrar worldwide. Now there are hundreds, if not thousands. And most seem to be flaky. Since 2005 I've been using GANDI, and I've been relatively happy. I said so today on IRC, and was told that GANDI had been sold to a registrar with a poor reputation: <jamie> I don't remember the exact story, but got bought out by someone and a  whole lot of people moved their domains off them <Docco> jamie: from the orange site: * groggyhimself follows Docco' link and tries to guess dates.

Sat, 16 Sep 2023 03:50:56 UTC

FreeBSD: a complete system?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've more or less made up my mind about my new computer; I'm just waiting to give the stragglers a chance to make an offer. But one problem seems to be common to all Ryzen motherboards: they use the RTL8125 Ethernet controller chip. And it seems that FreeBSD doesn't have a driver for it! Well, not quite. There's one in the Ports Collection (net/realtek-re-kmod, a name so obvious that it took me 10 minutes to find it even after I knew that it was in that directory. Is that the only one? The pkg-descr includes: This is the official driver from Realtek with a few patches to improve stability and performance.

Sat, 16 Sep 2023 03:46:58 UTC

Terrible rendering of photo screen shots

Posted By Greg Lehey

Whenever possible, I take a screen shot if I want to save a display, like the firefox's misbehaviour yesterday. But that's not always possible, and the alternative of taking a photo is orders of magnitude worse. No matter what I try, I can't get rid of the Moiré, and the gradation is just plain terrible.

Sat, 16 Sep 2023 03:34:41 UTC

Bloody firefox!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I discovered to my annoyance that firefox allows sites to spam me even when no windows are open. My guess is that this is an attempt to emulate similar monstrosities in mobile phone systems. But I found out how to disable them. Did I? Today I got: Is that the same? No, not quite, but from the same site. I just blocked that yesterday! OK, how about notification settings? Not blocked! Is firefox teaming up against me? Blocked everything this time; I wonder if it will remain that way.

Sat, 16 Sep 2023 03:05:37 UTC

Catching up on the Seasiafoods order

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't heard back from Seasiafoods about my order on Tuesday. Surely they must have a phone? Google to the rescue: yes, 0404 088 005. Called. No reply, finally voice mail. But is there not a real phone number? Google Maps shows a shop called Dong Nam almost exactly where they claim Seasiafoods to be, and it has the number 02 9211 1927. I seem to recall a mention of that name on their site, so I can always try that if all else fails. But some hours later I did get a call back, from a Chris, who explained that the web site might not be the easiest to understand, but that they don't post foodstuffs: they deliver.

Fri, 15 Sep 2023 00:24:55 UTC

Browser supported spam

Posted By Greg Lehey

While watching TV this evening, saw a popup at top right of the screen: ?Your computer is infected with a virus?. It went away before I could examine it more carefully. And it repeated many times, always elusive. Well, yes, is a computer. But it runs FreeBSD, and we don't have no steenking viruses. Some web page in the browser? Stopped the browser, restarted. Still there! Stop, restart, not recovering any pages, Still there! Is it maybe something else that is doing it? Much checking with ps, without any results. Something accessing the X display from elsewhere? I don't think my firewall would like that.

Fri, 15 Sep 2023 00:14:49 UTC

Grandstream copout

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne into the kitchen this morning to tell me that her phone wasn't working. When I had time to look, discovered that it was the cordless phone connected to the Grandstream HT802 that had already given me trouble, most recently on Sunday. Clearly it was wedged again, as the Aussie Broadband status page confirmed. OK, I've established that a reboot will unwedge it, and it did again. But then it occurred to me. Wasn't there a setting for periodic reboots? Yes! So they know of the problem, and this is their ?solution?! What a cop-out! In that connection it's interesting to see their syslog entries, many of which report memory allocation errors.

Wed, 13 Sep 2023 01:40:47 UTC

Next computer quote

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another quote for my new computer in today. Surprise! It looks almost good. They have even found a case that is not only not stupid-looking, but also promises good sound insulation. About the only thing to wonder about is the supply of a Microsoft ?Windows?. And so far also the lowest price, $3,899. Still 2 quotes outstanding, but I'm tempted.

Mon, 11 Sep 2023 01:51:00 UTC

Bloody robot traps!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Looking at IMDB today, I was presented with a couple of tests: Yes, bloody IMDB, I'm human, and I have human emotions. I don't need that kind of insult. Do it again and I'll stop using you. But in fact, it didn't. The next time I tried, it was normal again. Still, it's indicative of a worrying trend. I can understand that many sites want to ensure that they're not abuse by robots, but why?

Mon, 11 Sep 2023 01:50:00 UTC

Still more VoIP pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally sent off my reply to my Aussie Broadband complaint, recommending My suggestions all boil down to one thing: improve communication between your departments. In particular, Establish clear and useful escalation procedures. In the current situation, two different level 1 support people came up with two different approaches to the problem that I had, both ineffective. In one case, it was clear that the consultant lacked the necessary understanding of the issue.

Mon, 11 Sep 2023 01:00:14 UTC

PC choice, from an expert

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over the past couple of days I have looked further at the two quotes for my new computer system. On Friday I came to the conclusion that the quote did not include a graphics card, but in fact it included two Gigabyte GTX 1650-D6 4GB. Once I fought my way through the description page, which once again highlights cooling, I discovered that they are, indeed, graphics cards, and the images suggest that they have DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. But why should I have to fight my way through to discover that? Overall I have been rather disappointed with the two quotes for the new computer that I've had so far.

Sun, 10 Sep 2023 01:17:40 UTC

Hugin pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photo day today, requiring Hugin. I had set the ?Simple interface? recently to follow a bug, and I had to reset it. But it had removed all my settings! Well, that's what a backup is for. Found the last sane copy of ~/.hugin and restored it. And Hugin went and overwrote it! I'm not sure how, but part of it is related to the fact that ~/.hugin stores all sorts of things that it shouldn't, such as the last working directory, and I have a script that fixes that. But that was decades ago, and I had to find my way through the mess again.

Sat, 09 Sep 2023 02:35:34 UTC

VoIP pain without end

Posted By Greg Lehey

What are CJ Ellis' problems calling Aussie Broadband support? An obvious way to chase them down would be to swap the router/VoIP controller. I've been thinking of putting back the Cisco SPA122, which I have been calling an SPA112 all this time, but to do that I need to reset the thing. And for that I had already established: Connect an analog phone to the ATA device and access the IVR by pressing the asterisk key four times: **** Press the appropriate code to reset the unit: Press 877778# to reset the unit to the defaults as it shipped from the ITSP.

Sat, 09 Sep 2023 02:07:25 UTC

New computer: next quote

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today another quote came in for my new computer. Like the first, it's amazingly inaccurate. Although I had asked for an AMD Ryzen 7950X, it specified an Intel i9 13900K, with of course only 128 GB of memory. Yes, I suggested offering that as an alternative, but that's all I got. I need to check to see if the Silverstone SETA-D1 mid tower chassis has a window, but just in case, it also offers ?WIndows 10/11 PRO 64 Digital product ONLY?, although I had specifically mentioned FreeBSD. It also included a Corsair H100i Elite RGB, which I thought was a graphics card, but which proves to be a CPU cooler.

Fri, 08 Sep 2023 02:38:14 UTC

Next new system quote

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another quote for a new system today, showing that they hadn't read the specifications: only 64 GB of (violent) memory! And a couple of other details are strange too, including a case with a window in it, and they have quoted two display cards, each with one HDMI and 3 DisplayPort connections. I see that it's going to be fun going through these quotes. One thing of interest established itself during a discussion on IRC: currently FreeBSD doesn't have (adequate?) support for the Realtek 8125 2.5 Gb/s NIC. Neither does Realtek's web page: It seems that the currently usable driver is a port, net/realtek-re-kmod.

Fri, 08 Sep 2023 01:41:56 UTC

VoIP: The pain continues

Posted By Greg Lehey

CJ Ellis still has problems with his VoIP setup! I'm beginning to wonder if they're a case of PEBKAC, but if I decipher his statements correctly, he tells me that he can't call voice mail because he got a busy tone after dialing the first two digits. And he can't contact Aussie Broadband support for reasons that I don't understand: 1300 strtaight away to message , choose from the following ,residential services press 1 , small busiuness services press 2 , for enterprise servic es press 3 . I press one AT the first , then 2 then the 3rd , I then press 1 again , the message goes around again.

Thu, 07 Sep 2023 01:49:10 UTC

You have open ports!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from CERT-Bund today: Over the past months, systems responding to SNMP requests from anywhere on the Internet have been increasingly abused for DDoS reflection attacks against third parties. Please find below a list of affected systems hosted on your network. I've seen that before. But I don't use SNMP. But the list explains: "asn","ip","timestamp","system_desc" "4764","","2023-09-04 07:40:56","Brother NC-8500h, Firmware Ver.1.02  (13.03.07),MID 84E-403" My printer! I wonder if there's a way to disable it on the printer.

Thu, 07 Sep 2023 01:36:13 UTC

PC build questions

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from Mark of Tower IT today, with a surprising number of questions. At first he had not been able to find an X670E or X670-based motherboard that would accept 192 GB of memory, though he later found one. Instead he suggested the B650 chipset. What disadvantages? That's for me to find out, and this overview should help. I'm happy to have the fastest, but would I use it? During the subsequent discussion it eventuated that I can use effectively the same graphics cards I have now, or pay up to $1000 for higher performance card. But I don't have any performance issues at the moment.

Wed, 06 Sep 2023 01:24:16 UTC

Build me a computer, next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

While in town, went round to the computer companies that I had identified last week. To my surprise, all were there, but they all appeared to have closed down. That's just a matter of lighting, I think: they were all open, and all were interested in building the machine for me. Probably the one that made the best impression was?despite the name?Plus Gaming, where the bloke I spoke to (and whose name I didn't get; based on his appearance I've called him ?Barbarossa?) gave me an interesting insight: Intel processors are better for virtualization than AMD. That's definitely something to follow up on, though the bloke at MR IT tells me that virtualization is something very new, and the current crop of processors are the first generation to do it.

Wed, 06 Sep 2023 01:00:40 UTC

Microsoft pain again

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really only use Microsoft for photo processing. Today the various software misfeatures ganged up on me. Today ?Perfectly Clear? came up in full screen mode. Normally that wouldn't be an issue: with X I do that all the time. But Microsoft doesn't really support that: to start programs you need to be able to click on the frame that does duty for the root window, and there's no way to lower a window. How do I get rid of the thing? I can't even stop it! Oh, yes, I can. But when I restart it, it's still in full screen mode.

Tue, 05 Sep 2023 00:33:37 UTC

Air conditioner maintenance

Posted By Greg Lehey

Tony Nesci along this afternoon to look at the air conditioner. As expected, he found that the refrigerant level was too low, and he had to add 500 g. He even found the leak, some loose seals round where the refrigerant was added. Stupidly, I forgot to get a photo, but it seems surprising that it was so obvious. And now, of course, we need to wait for the next sub-0 night. 10 months at the earliest?

Tue, 05 Sep 2023 00:29:54 UTC

Electric fence interference

Posted By Greg Lehey

Garry Marriott, our neighbour to the south, has a new TV and has installed a new antenna to go with it. And it seems that the combination is suffering from interference. He came over today with Karel, an antenna man who thought it might be our electric fence. Guilty as charged, I fear. But why only now with the new, better equipment? Karel thought that it was because our earthing rod was only 50 cm long: It should have been at least 80 cm. But that's clearly not the cause. And then the braid that we use, which is not as good as plain wire, he says.

Mon, 04 Sep 2023 02:06:23 UTC

Swap improvement

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the first things I do in the morning is to load the latest German TV programme information with MediathekView. It's a behemoth of at thing, with a memory footprint of somewhat over 10 GB, and by morning it's usually swapped out. Getting it back in memory typically takes minutes. But now I have swap on SSD. Does it make a difference? Yes! It's still not instantaneous?part of that is simply the processing time?but it's at least one order of magnitude faster. And that's with an el-cheapo SATA disk.

Sun, 03 Sep 2023 01:00:05 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Came into the office to find eureka showing a Boot: prompt. Damn! But it had one advantage: I could finally put in the SSD that I had wanted to use for swap; java programs to magnetic disk can take minutes. The reboot went smoothly, but why? panic: handle_written_inodeblock: Invalid link count 56964 for inodedep 0xfffff80734f01e00 That must have happened during the monthly backup. Corrupted file system maybe? But looking down the backtrace I saw: #10 0xffffffff8030eba5 in dadone (periph=<value optimized out>,     done_ccb=<value optimized out>)     at /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/cam/scsi/scsi_da.c:3077 Clearly that's a reference to a ?SCSI?

Sat, 02 Sep 2023 03:24:18 UTC

Who will build a computer for me?

Posted By Greg Lehey

So who should build my new computer? Just because the Computeralliance configurator is broken doesn't mean that they can't build good computers. I just need to talk to a human. But there are other games in town?literally. What about local builders? Spent some time looking around and came up with: Leading Edge, 918A Howitt Street, phone 5333 2955. MR IT, 907B Howitt St, phone 4368 7636, email [email protected] Ballarat IT Solutions, 623 Sturt St., Phone: 5379 9986 ...

Sat, 02 Sep 2023 03:07:21 UTC

Installing TeX, try 3

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been waiting for a few days now for packages to appear for FreeBSD 15-CURRENT. Today was the day. After booting the package system and loading it again, off I went: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /src/FreeBSD/git/ports 60 -> mailme pkg install texlive-full The following 600 package(s) will be affected (of 0 checked): Installed packages to be REMOVED:         ImageMagick7:         a2ps: 4.15.5         audacity: 3.3.3_1         bind916: 9.16.42         chromium: 115.0.5790.110_1         emacs: 28.2_7,3         exiv2: 0.28.0,1         firefox: 116.0_2,2         gcc11: 11.3.0_8         gdb: 13.1_3    ....

Fri, 01 Sep 2023 02:46:43 UTC

Bloody CapsLock! Reboot!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Later in the afternoon I was reading mail on, and it suddenly refused to obey my instructions. In fact, the whole X display behaved strangely. Finally found a shell window and discovered that CapsLock was set. On most computers that's not a problem. Press the CapsLock key again and it goes away. Only: I don't have a CapsLock key! I have xmodmapped it out of existence (the key with that inscription is Ctrl, like God intended). How do I get rid of it? Did some thinking, but couldn't come up with anything. Switch to ttyv0 and back again? All that happened was that the ttyv0 display was corrupt, like far too frequently on modern machines.

Fri, 01 Sep 2023 02:46:33 UTC

Build me a new machine

Posted By Greg Lehey

More investigation of the configuration for my new machine. The most important discovery was that the Computeralliance configurator is not very clever. It will happily offer me an AMD Ryzen CPU, an Intel motherboard and an el-cheapo processor fan. Clearly I can't rely on that. But why should I? I know what I want. Let the people who build it suggest the exact components. What I have is: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X processor. Appropriate fan. 192 GB RAM. X670-based motherboard with at least 4 PCIe slots.

Fri, 01 Sep 2023 02:14:07 UTC

More security strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have two Microsoft machines, (?Windows? 7) and (?Windows? 10), which I use for running photographic software. I only access them via rdesktop Today I decided to check something from, my TV computer. Nothing happened. OK, try from a shell: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/5) ~ 247 -> /home/local/bin/dordesktop distress 1870x1030+0 wake: Cannot open bpf interface: Permission denied User grog sword scabbard! Connecting to distress ATTENTION! The server uses and invalid security certificate which can not be trusted for the following identified reasons(s);  1. Certificate issuer is not trusted by this system.

Thu, 31 Aug 2023 00:55:04 UTC

git pull, day 3

Posted By Greg Lehey

So, yesterday and the day before I failed in a real update to my ports tree with git pull. git merge --no-ff worked for a day, then I was back to the original problem. git rebase worked yesterday. And today? === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /usr/ports 35 -> mailme git pull --ff-only From    54b3112625f8..ec04036bb656  main       -> freebsd/main hint: Diverging branches can't be fast-forwarded, you need to either: hint: hint:   git merge --no-ff ... It still doesn't work! OK, give up. Does merge still work? === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /usr/ports 36 -> git merge --no-ff hint: Waiting for your editor to close the file...

Wed, 30 Aug 2023 02:00:30 UTC

More PoS terminal fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

After the ultrasound treatment I had an appointment for an eye test. But I had 40 minutes to wait, so off to Big W to look for plants. That was simple: they don't do that any more. But while looking around I found a kitchen mixer, something in which I failed in January. But here I found one for $29, as opposed to the $60 to $500 range in January. So I bought that, with some difficulty. Self checkout: Do I need a bag?

Wed, 30 Aug 2023 01:18:20 UTC

More git pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So yesterday I had problems with git which I fixed with a merge --no-ff. And today? === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /usr/ports 29 -> mailme git pull --ff-only From    648c8874180a..c196d1f5ffb8  main       -> freebsd/main hint: Diverging branches can't be fast-forwarded, you need to either: hint: hint:   git merge --no-ff hint: hint: or: hint: hint:   git rebase hint: hint: Disable this message with "git config advice.diverging false" fatal: Not possible to fast-forward, aborting. That didn't last long, did it? How about the other alternative? === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /usr/ports 30 -> mailme git rebase Successfully rebased and updated refs/heads/main. You have mail in /var/mail/grog === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /usr/ports 31 -> mailme git pull --ff-only Already up to date.

Wed, 30 Aug 2023 01:09:49 UTC

New web site scam?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The 404 document on checks the referrer of a page and sends me an email if it's also from my web site. That helps find broken local links, along with lots of URLs with embedded JavaScript in the URLs. But lately I've been getting a surprising number of faked URLs of a completely different nature: 984 N + 26-08-2023 To [email protected] (   6) World Wide Web Owner N + FAILURE: /collections/downloads/inga-juuso+h-moll+mendelssohn <-  990 N + 26-08-2023 To [email protected] (   6) World Wide Web Owner N + FAILURE: /de/service/downloads <-  991 N + 26-08-2023 To [email protected] (   6) World Wide Web Owner N + FAILURE: /collections/downloads/inga-juuso+merging-clock-recording+matangi-quartet <-  992 N + 26-08-2023 To [email protected] (   6) World Wide Web Owner N + FAILURE: /collections/downloads/inga-juuso+wim-kegel+matthew <-  995 N + 26-08-2023 To [email protected] (   6) ...

Tue, 29 Aug 2023 00:30:12 UTC

Microphone battery life

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne doesn't use her wireless microphones much, but she has been doing so more recently. In the past we had had issues with battery life with rechargeable batteries, so we used non-rechargeable batteries. But they don't last for ever, and the devices have particularly inaccurate battery state displays. Turn one on, note that it shows a fully charged battery?for 10 seconds or so. Then the display changes to ?discharged?, and unlike most devices I know, it immediately stops working. How long do rechargeable batteries last? They really only need to last the maximum of 2 hours or so that the PIXIO ?Robot Cameraman?

Tue, 29 Aug 2023 00:27:33 UTC

More ports hell

Posted By Greg Lehey

Nearly 30 years ago Warren Toomey published scans of John Lions' A Commentary on the UNIX Operating System on the Usenet alt.folklore.computers newsgroup. I formatted it and subsequently published it. It contains a number of scan errors. Recently I received updated versions of the sources from Conway Yee, and I've finally got round to incorporating them. But: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/21) /home/Book/Lions 116 -> make latex lionc.tex make: exec(latex) failed (No such file or directory) *** Error code 1 Oh. Has it been that long? OK, let's install.

Mon, 28 Aug 2023 02:28:55 UTC

Alternative video sources

Posted By Greg Lehey

ORF, the Austrian TV broadcaster, has just repeated all episodes of Stockinger, a series that I had been looking for. Today I finished downloading the remaining episodes, which they had provided out of order. Only one episode was missing: the first! Did I miss it? No, it seems. It was broadcast on ORF 3 on 19 August, but I couldn't find any reference to it in my lists. More searching suggested that I could find it on Serienjunkies. Yes! They're really trying to sell their services, of course, but they offer a free download service, and to make the paid version more attractive, they make the free version really difficult to use.

Sat, 26 Aug 2023 02:34:48 UTC

CJ's VoIP: done!

Posted By Greg Lehey

After all the fun with CJ Ellis' VoIP setup, I have finally got round to looking at my own setup. I have four lines, two of them accidents. The other two are the one I normally use and the one that's in the phone book. The latter one used to divert automatically to voice mail, along with a suggestion to call the other number if you know it. That worked well with MyNetFone, but Aussie doesn't inform you when a message diverts to voice mail. So why not divert to the answering service on the phone itself? One reason is that the phone doesn't have a configuration option to divert immediately, just after 3, 6 or 9 rings.

Mon, 21 Aug 2023 01:49:09 UTC

Ghostly music

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that Paul plays the Didgeridoo, and he was interested in the instruments I have in the cabinets, particularly the bassoons So I had to pull one out (the oldest, the Sautermeister), and of course Suzy and Linda had to pull out their mobile phones and take video of the matter. And how about that, it's haunted! Lots of orbs in the recordings! It seems that all four guests are interested observers of the paranormal, and this bassoon clearly has ghosts associated with it. Certainly the fact that both phones recorded them, while neither did when I brought out my Simiot-Tabard flute.

Mon, 21 Aug 2023 00:57:33 UTC

Honest scammers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Read in my mail inbox today:  401 N + 20-08-2023 To [email protected] ( 248) Australia Post Servi N + RE: Final warning: your package cannot be delivered. ! ! ! It wasn't until later that I saw these silly trailing ! ! !, but even without it something rang a bell. What does the content look like?

Mon, 21 Aug 2023 00:36:25 UTC

15 years of panoramas

Posted By Greg Lehey

Fifteen years ago today I did my first panorama shots, of the house in Kleins Road: I wasn't overly happy with the results even at the time. The gradation was bad, the cropping was bad. But since then I've refined my techniques, made scripts of them all. How difficult can it be to repeat and compare? The biggest issue, amusingly, was that each view was an individual shot, not the 3 bracket HDR shots that I did nowadays.

Sun, 20 Aug 2023 01:44:26 UTC

Aussie router: proof of the pudding

Posted By Greg Lehey

Aussie Broadband didn't crown themselves in glory by sending the new router to the wrong address. But I didn't have time yesterday to look at what they had sent. I managed to wait until after breakfast to ensure that I didn't get a stomach upset, and that proved to be a good idea. The agreement was to configure and test a new router and send it to me. They failed on the second by putting in my address but CJ's name. How about the first? In particular, does the default configuration really have open ports, as I could have deduced from Jeremy's mail yesterday: We supply our routers preconfigured for service and our ACS details are included by default with the configuration.

Sat, 19 Aug 2023 02:18:05 UTC

Next Aussie Broadband blunder

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from CJ Ellis this morning: his new router is waiting for him at the Napoleons post office. On the one hand, that's not bad. They really did get it sent immediately. But aren't the details clever? That's 32 km from his home, so he's involved in a 64 km journey over and above bringing it to me. And I had specifically requested and received confirmation that it would be sent to me. As it happened, I was in town in the afternoon, so on the way back I dropped into the post office. Yes, the parcel was there. But the address I gave (Derwent Jacks Road, Berringa) was wrong!

Thu, 17 Aug 2023 23:59:26 UTC

New computer, finally?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over 9½ years since I built eureka, my main machine, and over 7 months since I last started planning a replacement for it. I really need to do something. Back to looking at hardware choices, and it occurred to me that I hadn't really considered Intel processors. One of the criteria was power consumption, also one of the factors limiting the speed of my chosen processor. 105 W I could accept; 280 W I couldn't. And 170? One of the reasons I hadn't made much progress. But why hadn't I looked at Intel? Did so today and came up with the Core i9 13900F.

Thu, 17 Aug 2023 02:12:37 UTC

VoIP setup, next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from a Jeremy from Aussie Broadband regarding the complaint about CJ Ellis' Netcomm NF20MESH router. I hadn't done anything more since Friday. He's the successor to Karen, who left at the end of last week. OK, time to do so again. Called up Aussie at 11:24, and almost immediately got a call back from Andina, if I got the name right. This time I started the authentication with CJ's name, explaining that I was authorized, and that I was setting up the router for him. This time she wanted the post code for Berringa, something that they otherwise don't think important enough to put on their pages.

Thu, 17 Aug 2023 02:06:25 UTC

Backing up bde

Posted By Greg Lehey (the laptop) has been connected to CJ Ellis' Netcomm NF20MESH router since last week, so it didn't do the nightly backups. But why not? The other (WAN) side of the router is connected to our local LAN. Can't I just mount the file systems across the router? Yes, sort of. The router has its own view of the DNS world: === root@bde (/dev/pts/10) ~ 21 -> cat /etc/resolv.conf search home nameserver ?home?. What kind of domain is that? Yes, I could replace it with the correct resolv.conf, but it doesn't seem to be worth the trouble when any reset would also replace it with this nonsense.

Wed, 16 Aug 2023 01:14:34 UTC

More air conditioner fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

To quote the Ballarat Courier: You were not the only one who struggled to get out of bed this morning, nor the only one who was frozen in their car or with pipes that just refused to work. Ballarat recorded its coldest morning for the year, with the Bureau of Meteorology's weather station at the airport hitting -3.6 degrees at 7am. It wasn't quite that cold here, for some reason, only -1,4°, but it was far too cold for our ailing air conditioner.

Tue, 15 Aug 2023 02:40:10 UTC

dereel: I give up

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what's causing my network problems with dereel? I give up. But it looks serious, and the last version of the kernel I bought had the version string FreeBSD 14.0-ALPHA1. That's potentially a release show-stopper. Sent off a message to the FreeBSD developers' list. Responses from Tomoaki AOKI and Kevin Bowling, the latter the developer responsible. He had added code for TSO to the driver, and with a little checking found that it was enabled: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/1) ~ 14 -> ifconfig em0 em0: flags=1008843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST,LOWER_UP> metric 0 mtu 1500 options=4e527bb<RXCSUM,TXCSUM,VLAN_MTU,VLAN_HWTAGGING,JUMBO_MTU,VLAN_HWCSUM,TSO4,TSO6,LRO,WOL_MAGIC,VLAN_HWFILTER,VLAN_HWTSO,RXCSUM_IPV6,TXCSUM_IPV6,HWSTATS,MEXTPG>         ether 6c:0b:84:a5:c7:1c         inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast         media: Ethernet autoselect (1000baseT <full-duplex>)         status: active         nd6 options=29<PERFORMNUD,IFDISABLED,AUTO_LINKLOCAL> Disable it: === root@dereel ...

Tue, 15 Aug 2023 02:21:36 UTC

Air conditioner problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Funny noises from the air conditioner round 6:00 this morning. Not the loud noise of last month, just a too-short on and then off cycle. Out to take a look. Once again the temperature in the lounge room was a couple of degrees too low, but there was nothing obvious in the displays. ?Soft? power cycled the unit (from the control panel), and it displayed error code E14. From the error code list that I photographed on December 2019, that means: Not enough refrigerant?

Mon, 14 Aug 2023 02:02:29 UTC

More dereel pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

After yesterday's renewed failure with dereel, I started looking at other things. And the firefox that I ran on dereel, displaying on eureka, was ridiculously slow. And saving mail messages across NFS took so long that I aborted the attempt. What does ping say? === root@eureka (/dev/pts/5) /var/log 40 -> ping -c 100 dereel PING ( 56 data bytes 64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=15.803 ms 64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=15.551 ms ... Huh? 15 ms? This is a 1000 Mb/s interface. Other systems? === root@eureka (/dev/pts/5) /var/log 41 -> ping -c 100 tiwi PING ( 56 data bytes 64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=0.330 ms 64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.338 ms ^C That looks better.

Mon, 14 Aug 2023 01:02:29 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Winter is drawing to a close, but last night was still one of the coldest, with a minimum temperature of -0.3° at the surprisingly late time of 7:01. And the air conditioner couldn't cope. It didn't really get the house warm until after 9:00. Hopefully we won't have too many cases like that.

Sun, 13 Aug 2023 03:13:25 UTC

More fun with dereel

Posted By Greg Lehey

How did dereel survive the night with the new kernel? Well, it seems. All was still up and running this morning. But then, while I was doing something across the net with firefox, it hung. I couldn't even ping it from eureka. It's beginning to look more like a network interface problem than an NFS problem. OK, build a new kernel, see how that goes.

Sat, 12 Aug 2023 03:57:57 UTC

Where's my phone?

Posted By Greg Lehey

While messing around with CJ's hardware, Yvonne came in and asked me if I had seen her (mobile) phone. No, but there's a way to find it, of course: call it from another phone and follow the ring. But this time we didn't hear anything. OK, plan B: ask Google Maps. I track Yvonne's location, clearly really the location of her phone. And sure enough, Google Maps said that it's here. Enlarge the map: by the shed, maybe? Off to the shed, where Yvonne had just found it in her saddle bag.

Sat, 12 Aug 2023 03:56:07 UTC

More VoIP pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

We had just settled down to breakfast when the doorbell rang. CJ Ellis. I had asked him to send me email before he came. But, it seems, that wasn't possible: his ?Internet? froze while he was writing an email message, and so he didn't have any phone either. He came with old ATA and new Netcomm NF20MESH gateway. OK, finish breakfast and set the thing up. That's fairly clear: go to the SIP Basic Settin tab and fill in the details: But it didn't work!

Sat, 12 Aug 2023 02:07:25 UTC

dereel hang

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to discover no windows from dereel open. But that's to be expected, since I rebooted (from the lounge room) and hadn't been back into the office since. But I couldn't contact it! And then I discovered that, according to ruptime, dereel had been down since about 21:00 yesterday evening. Powered on the monitor and saw a whole lot of last message repeated 10 times last message repeated 9 times last message repeated 9 times Tried to log in, but it hung.

Fri, 11 Aug 2023 04:51:05 UTC

Understanding SCSI return codes

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that irritate me about the nightly backups are the ?error? messages that I get from some disks: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): READ(10). CDB: 28 00 00 00 01 68 00 00 40 00 (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): CAM status: SCSI Status Error (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI status: Check Condition (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI sense: NOT READY asc:4,1 (Logical unit is in process of becoming ready) (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Polling device for readiness Clearly that's a feature, not a bug. I'm planning to suppress it unless verbose boot has been specified. But there are others: (da1:umass-sim1:1:0:0): READ(10).

Thu, 10 Aug 2023 03:22:19 UTC

Apologies from Aussie

Posted By Greg Lehey

Our ?experience? upgrading CJ Ellis' home networking has been less than positive. Aussie Broadband agrees. Profuse apologies, and an offer to provide the router free of charge, along, of course, with help setting it up. We don't really need that unless there's something unexpected, but it's a nice gesture.

Thu, 10 Aug 2023 02:36:05 UTC

Updating the E-1 firmware, try 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two years ago I tried to update the firmware on my Olympus E-1. I knew it would be a problem because the modern software no longer wants to know about it, so I found an old version of Olympus Studio 2, which should have done the job, but I ran into trouble: it couldn't even detect the camera. OK, I currently have lots of things that I need to do, so why not revisit the update? After all, I don't really need it. First, though, see what a real computer says about the USB connection: Aug  9 13:41:55 dereel kernel: ugen0.4: <OLYMPUS E-1> at usbus0 Aug  9 13:41:55 dereel kernel: umass0 on uhub1 Aug  9 13:41:55 dereel kernel: umass0: <OLYMPUS E-1, class 0/0, rev 2.00/1.00, addr 3> on usbus0 Aug  9 13:41:55 dereel kernel: umass0:  SCSI over Bulk-Only; quirks = 0xc301 ...

Wed, 09 Aug 2023 01:53:45 UTC

News downloads: solved?

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it seems that my errors downloading Al Jazeera news are related to yt-dlp. That happens; the sites find new ways to trick it, and yt-dlp finds way to outsmart the tricks. I found a solution for that a couple of months ago: simply get . But that (already!) no longer works: === root@tiwi (/dev/pts/6) /usr/local/bin 34 -> fetch fetch: Not Found Much searching around the yt-dlp site, which suddenly seems so much more opaque than last time. But finally I found it: === root@tiwi (/dev/pts/9) /usr/local/bin 20 -> yt-dlp --update-to nightly Available version: [email protected], Current version: [email protected] Current Build Hash: 68cfb85d91da7da1a1c6f0d01b0f488b89c3275ca89fb893d6e573ba07a30d9d Updating to [email protected] ...

Tue, 08 Aug 2023 02:35:43 UTC

Chasing the YouTube issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

After failing to find the cause of the news download issues, put more debug code in. Download the news twice in parallel: will both copies do the same thing? Also link the downloaded file to a second name so that I have a copy if ffmpeg deletes the first. The results were interesting: Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2023 15:30:00 +1000 (AEST) From: Cron Daemon <[email protected]> ln: /spool/News/AlJaz-15.part: No such file or directory Where did that go? It should have been there at the time. Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2023 15:00:02 +1000 (AEST) From: Cron Daemon <[email protected]> To: [email protected] Subject: Cron <groggyhimself@tiwi> /home/local/bin/aljaz AlJaz-15 1920 Message-Id: <[email protected]> [youtube] Extracting URL: [info] gCNeDWCI0vo: Downloading 1 format(s): 96 [download] Destination: /spool/News/AlJaz-15 [hls @ 0x85e7be000] Skip ('#EXT-X-VERSION:3') ...

Tue, 08 Aug 2023 02:29:56 UTC

The eternal system upgrade

Posted By Greg Lehey

The refereence to the garbled messages above brought me back to a topic that I've been postponing for years: upgrade eureka. It seems that I went to some trouble to document that, only a little more than 12 years ago. Will I ever finish?

Tue, 08 Aug 2023 02:17:26 UTC

More garbled log messages

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen again this morning: kernel log messages: +Limiting closed port RST response from 213 to 193 packets/sec +nnfs sefrver s nsfeeurrsv esre revuerre ka:e/u:r eknao:t/ :r ensopto nrdeisnpgond +i +ng +e +ka:/: not responding +nfs sernverf s serveeurr ekeuraeka:/:: /: is ailive agains + alive again +nfs server eureka:/: is alive again +Limiting closed port RST response from 203 to 194 packets/sec +Limiting closed port RST response from 209 to 216 packets/sec +Limiting closed port RST response from 236 to 193 packets/sec +nfs server eureka:/home: nfsno t sreesponrdivnegr + +eureka:/home: not responding +n<6>nffss  sseerrvveerr  eeuurreekkaa:://hhoommee::  nnoott  rreessppoonnddiinngg +nfs server eureka:/home: is alive again +nfs server nfse server ueurreka:/homee:k ais :aliv/e ahgaoinm +e: is alive again +nfs server eureka:/home: is alive again We've seen that before, and there are ways to fix it, but ...

Mon, 07 Aug 2023 02:25:20 UTC

News download problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

I download news streams from Al Jazeera multiple times during the afternoon: the news (32 minutes) and the first 18 minutes of the news at 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 18:00. The first 18 minutes are in case we want to watch them before the news broadcast is finished: look at the first 18 minutes, then get the rest from the 32 minute version. I do this with the invocation (sleep $2 && ps wwaux|grep $ALJAZ | grep -v grep|awk '{print "kill -INT " $2}' | sh) &   LC_ALL=de_DE.UTF-8 youtube-dl$STREAM -o $ALJAZ STREAM is the YouTube stream identifier, ALJAZ is the name of the file and $2 is the duration (1080 or 1920 seconds).

Mon, 07 Aug 2023 01:51:31 UTC

Caret browsing: caught in the act

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the lounge room this afternoon, turned on the TV and saw: That's the thing that I had to remove on Thursday. But this time I know how it happened: Bruno had stepped on the keyboard. I should ensure that it's upright when I'm not there.

Sun, 06 Aug 2023 02:14:26 UTC

Chat transcript

Posted By Greg Lehey

What happened to the transcript of the chat that I asked for yesterday? My best bet was that it came from a server that didn't have reverse lookup, which I still reject. Today I was looking on the Aussie Broadband web site again, and another chat person offered himself. OK, what happened to yesterday's transcript? Usual answer: ?Check your spam folder?, ?Did you specify the correct address??. So I asked what the MTA name was. Not Aussie at all: livechat, which I interpreted (correctly, as it happens) as Now how was I to know that? And looking through the mail backup, I found: Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2023 04:58:03 +0000 From: LiveChat <[email protected]> To: 7973a0fd-c017-4359-90c6-65c4050d2aa0 <[email protected]> Subject: Verify your email address Message-Id: <204149cc-fe5e-4e4a-85c3-[email protected]> ## Verify your email address ## We'll send messages to this email address only if you verify ...

Sat, 05 Aug 2023 03:14:42 UTC

Checking CJ's ?modem?

Posted By Greg Lehey

CJ Ellis along this afternoon as planned with his brand new Netcomm NF20MESH ?modem?, really a home gateway with VoIP lines. Nicely packed with brochures from Aussie Broadband telling him how to connect the cables. That was necessary, too, because it has two inputs: And yes, that's about as clear as it can be. From left, 2 phone lines, DSL phone input, USB input (what for?) , 4 Ethernet lines (yellow), and only then the ?WAN? Ethernet input (red) OK, connect it up to bde.

Fri, 04 Aug 2023 01:44:47 UTC

Random cursor navigation with firefox

Posted By Greg Lehey

For reasons I don't understand, the firefox instance running on eureka:0.2 has gone crazy. Press PgDn and it goes to the bottom of the page. Press Home and nothing happens. In the middle of a long display PgUp and PgDn seem to position randomly. I've seen this before, and my workaround was to start a new firefox profile. But there must be a better solution. The main issue is how to search for the solution, but finally I found this page, which tells me that I have ?caret browsing? enabled. In firefox-speak that apparently means ?The caret is the name of the vertical "|" text cursor", and it allows you to navigate without a mouse.

Thu, 03 Aug 2023 02:00:19 UTC

The morning after the night before

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office to see how things were working after yesterday's panic. All went well, and even the backups that were halted by the panic completed afterwards, though I have my doubts as to their consistency. And an old friend resurfaced, the unprotected printfs: kernel log messages: +n<6f>sn nservfesrf  ssnefrsveeu rs ersvere reuvrekea:r/he ka:e/ohuomer: enoktm ea: rneos:po/t hreondmineg: + not srponedinsg +p +onding +r + eureka:/home: not responding +nfs server eureka:/: not responding

Wed, 02 Aug 2023 01:46:29 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Finished watching TV round 21:45. The usual prompt: keep or erase. Erase. But then nothing. No new prompt. Not in that window, not in any other. Into the office to check. eureka dead, and bde also hung. Nothing for it: reboot eureka, which saved a dump. The accompanying core.txt tells me: panic: cannot reassign paging buffer The stack trace shows that that comes from reassignbuf, which seems reasonable. Tracing back takes me to softdep_process_journal, ffs_syncvnode and nfsvno_fsync. This was during the monthly backups, so it's clearly related.

Tue, 01 Aug 2023 02:31:08 UTC

Android reset

Posted By Greg Lehey

For reasons I haven't understood,, our spare mobile phone (a Xiaomi Redmi 9A) has been glacially slow for most of the time we have had it, and it seems to be getting even slower. Recently I wanted to start a calculator app on it, but after I got tired waiting, I started it on my ?real? phone (Redmi 9T). And after that was displaying, I finally got a display on enzian. It must have taken 20 seconds. OK, some configuration issue? Some app that ties it in knots? Why not wipe it clean and reinstall everything? One good reason is because it's so much pain.

Mon, 31 Jul 2023 03:00:12 UTC

Still more panorama pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday was the day for the weekly house photos, but I didn't get finished: one of the panoramas didn't work. I had taken it in bright sunshine, requiring shading to do the job well, but I forgot to take an unshaded version of one view, resulting in a black segment in the sky: I had noticed that before I finished processing, so I repeated the whole thing. In the meantime the sun had gone in, so I only needed 6 images.

Sun, 30 Jul 2023 03:14:31 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did Elon Musk change the name of Twitter to X? We already have an X, and this just confuses things. In particular, Twitter users used to tweet. What do users do? OK, a good question for the latest batch of language synthesizers (?AI?) . I tried exactly that text. Here the results: ChatGPT Hi! users engage in a variety of activities depending on the context of could refer to a specific website or platform, so without more information, it's difficult to provide a specific answer.

Sun, 30 Jul 2023 03:07:35 UTC

2000 days and counting

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen this morning on === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 62 -> date; uptime Sat Jul 29 00:07:25 UTC 2023 12:07AM  up 2000 days,  9:10, 2 users, load averages: 0.50, 0.43, 0.40 Yes, I know there are systems that have been running without reboot for far more than 2000 days (a little short of 5½ years). A few months ago hubble had 4766 days, and it would now be 4897 days. But I've never had that before.

Thu, 27 Jul 2023 01:49:24 UTC

CJ's ATA, next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

So is CJ Ellis' ATA on its way? No response to my last email, so I called up. Voice menu gave me the choice of selection 2 for orders in progress or 3 for technical support. Clearly 2 is the selection. But after 5 minutes of talking to Georgia, she told me that it was a support issue and put me through to somebody who clearly had no understanding. At one point he said that the ?modem? had been sent, but then changed his mind. For more information, he needed further identification: he wanted to send me a PIN, which he called a 6-digit code.

Thu, 27 Jul 2023 00:42:39 UTC

Australian tax office fraud

Posted By Greg Lehey

Big news today: ATO reveals more than $557 million claimed by fraudsters exploiting security loophole. Who would have thought that? Remember, you saw it here first. And only a couple of weeks later I was involved in this kind of scam with the the ATO. Despite all my attempts to persuade them, they didn't follow up. As I said at the time, Government account security seems to be non-existent. All this, also the Centrelink matter, has been possible because of lack of basic security.

Wed, 26 Jul 2023 01:01:21 UTC

X sues Elon Musk

Posted By Greg Lehey

Elon Musk has done some strange things in the last year or so, but now he's being sued for trademark violation. He has changed the name of the social network (if that's the word) Twitter to X. But X has been the trademark of for decades. How can he get away with it? Even the logos look similar: No wonder has sued him. Now a ?billion?

Tue, 25 Jul 2023 01:00:44 UTC

Source IP address

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I have my /24 address block routed here, I have no need for Network Address Translation (NAT) any more. Without it, every machine on the local network can communicate with the global Internet using its own address. Every machine? No, there's one exception:, address That's the machine connected directly to the network link. Here a somewhat abbreviated ifconfig output: em0: flags=8843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> metric 0 mtu 1500    ether bc:5f:f4:c9:9b:bf    inet netmask 0xffffff80 broadcast    media: Ethernet autoselect (1000baseT <full-duplex>)    status: active xl0: flags=8943<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,PROMISC,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> metric 0 mtu 1500    ether 00:50:da:cf:07:35    inet netmask 0xfffffc00 broadcast    media: Ethernet autoselect (100baseTX <full-duplex>)    status: active Where does that come from on interface xl0?

Sun, 23 Jul 2023 03:25:00 UTC

Luminar panorama extension

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday was the release date for the panorama extension that Skylum had announced for Luminar Neo. No mail, which isn't like Skylum. Off to take a look: yes, it's available. Want to install? Yes, of course. What should I expect? Probably nothing like what I have now. I take weekly panoramas of the outside of my house, and that seemed a good thing to compare. My procedure is: Take 6 views of 6 locations, spaced at 60°, with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED Fisheye PRO..

Sat, 22 Jul 2023 02:21:25 UTC

CJ's ATA, next attempt

Posted By Greg Lehey

CJ Ellis tells me that he has now contacted Aussie Broadband and authorized me to act on his behalf. So at 11:37 I called up Aussie and tried to arrange for a new Analogue Telephone Adapter. ?You are in position 25 in the queue?. No offer to call back this time?that didn't come until I had been waiting for 4½ minutes. Call back at 11:59. Please identify yourself. Explained the situation, but it seems it was too complicated for the consultant, who told me he would have to investigate and call me back later. Maybe his lunch time? Round 14:15, I decided that something had gone wrong.

Thu, 20 Jul 2023 02:13:48 UTC

An ATA for CJ

Posted By Greg Lehey

Called up Aussie Broadband this morning to arrange for a new Analogue Telephone Adapter for CJ Ellis. But I couldn't authenticate myself! Yes, I had my own details, they know (I think) that I have authority to do things on CJ's behalf. But I needed to give his street address to prove who I am! What nonsense! Samuel, the consultant, tells me that it's a legal requirement. If it is, it's a particularly stupid one. I didn't think of it at the time, but of course it's in the telephone directory. When are the Powers That Be going to come into the 21st century when it comes to security?

Tue, 18 Jul 2023 02:09:01 UTC

Video overflow

Posted By Greg Lehey

I now have over 13 TB of videos and similar files on tiwi: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/13) /spool/Series 19 -> df -c /spool /VB2 Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on /dev/ada0p4      7,567,870  7,416,233  75,958    99%    /spool /dev/da0p1       5,722,572  5,447,435 217,911    96%    /VB2 total           13,290,443 12,863,669 293,870    98% They're spread over 2 disks, and moving things around isn't easy. In particular, most files have two names, one in the directory where I watch them, and one in a parallel directory Already.

Sun, 16 Jul 2023 23:48:23 UTC

CJ's ATA, next try

Posted By Greg Lehey

So, after some consideration designed to limit effort on my part, today I made another try at reprogramming CJ Ellis' ATA. Last time things failed because I couldn't talk to the box, but it's fairly clear that it should be accessed via the local interface. Quick reconfiguration of bde, the laptop, in the process discovering that I had apparently mapped the Ctrl key out of existence, and CJ came over. Yes! I can talk to it. But that's exactly what I tried last time, and it didn't work then. But the joy was short-lived: it wouldn't accept my password. Why not?

Sun, 16 Jul 2023 01:53:33 UTC

More panorama fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photos again today, and once again I had issues with the stitching?only 3 of 6 views stitched automatically, and I had to play around with the other three. Does this have something to do with the slightly lower viewpoint? It doesn't seem to. But somehow the control point detector gets confused if it has to find control points between all components. If I do them incrementally, first 2, then 3 and so on, they frequently work as expected. And now there's a new option on the horizon: Luminar Neo is coming out with a panorama extension. Along with their HDR extension, it could take over the work I currently do with Hugin and Photomatix.

Sat, 15 Jul 2023 03:26:29 UTC

Origins of spam

Posted By Greg Lehey

Watching South Pacific the other day, I noticed a interesting detail: That was made in 1958, long before the current use of the word ?spam? to mean unwanted digital information. Checked in the OED to be sure. Yes, the earliest use seems to come from 1991, though there's no reference to Monty Python, unlike Wikipedia. So: what does it mean? By chance, I was playing around with various ?Artificial Intelligence? sites, so I asked Bard and ChatAI.

Tue, 11 Jul 2023 02:20:19 UTC

Tortillas: Ask the AI pages

Posted By Greg Lehey

OK, if I can't find anything obvious on Google, can one of the AI bots help? Asked the same question of ChatGPT and Google Bard: ?Can I make Mexican tortillas from Doñarepa masa??. The answers were interesting: ChatGPT Hi! Yes, you can definitely make Mexican tortillas with Doñarepa. Doñarepa is a brand of pre-cooked cornmeal that is commonly used to make traditional Latin American dishes such as arepas and empanadas. However, it can also be used to make tortillas.

Fri, 07 Jul 2023 02:42:42 UTC

Commerce kills interoperability

Posted By Greg Lehey

From time to time I grumble about the death of the concept of interoperability. Individual communications are a good example. 30 years ago there was email and USENET news. And they were compatible: they used the same message format, and it was relatively easy to bounce a USENET news article via email. Now USENET news is dead, and email seems to be on its last gasp. Earlier this week I found that Carmel from Vonex either couldn't read it, or that their ticketing system had corrupted it to the point of uselessness. Instead we have SMS, MMS, myriads of ?Messengers?, Facebook and similar, Twitter, IRC and many more.

Fri, 07 Jul 2023 02:35:05 UTC

Online Unix

Posted By Greg Lehey

Following a discussion on the Unix Heritage Society mailing list, discovered a free online Unix system,, and signed up for it, just for fun. What can I do with it? Precious little that I can't do more easily But a little bit of sniffing around showed: faeroes:/sdf/udd/g/groggy> ps aux You are on faeroes among 3241 users.  ('validate' to see usernames) faeroes:/sdf/udd/g/groggy> uname -a NetBSD faeroes 9.3 NetBSD 9.3 (GENERIC) #0: Thu Aug  4 15:30:37 UTC 2022  [email protected]:/usr/src/sys/arch/amd64/compile/GENERIC amd64 faeroes:/sdf/udd/g/groggy> date Thu Jul  6 04:03:01 UTC 2023 faeroes:/sdf/udd/g/groggy> df -m Filesystem    1M-blocks       Used      Avail %Cap Mounted on /dev/wd0a         35011       3374      29886  10% / mx1:/sdf       50968848    7027397   41393008  14% /sdf ptyfs                 0       ...

Wed, 05 Jul 2023 01:33:54 UTC

Vonex: where's my money?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last Friday I finally gave in and sent Vonex a message containing my bank details, and asking them for an immediate transfer of the outstanding funds. No reply. Then yesterday I received email from a Carmel, same email address: We recently contacted you regarding your complaint about your refund, but we are still awaiting a response. Well, she should read the mail she has received (and of which their MTA confirmed delivery). Sent a message with the previous attached. No reaction. OK, send another message, including Friday's message and delivery confirmation and waving the threat of a TIO complaint.

Wed, 05 Jul 2023 01:03:53 UTC

More VoIP fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's installation of MizuDroid on hirse got me thinking. What is cheaper, direct mobile telecommunications or VoIP on a mobile phone? The standard mobile tariff costs 15¢ per minute. VoIP costs 15¢ untimed for ?landline? phones and 22¢ per minute for mobile. In all cases VoIP incurs an additional 6¢/MB for data. How long does that last? I have some recollection of 8 kB/s, so 1 MB would be 125 seconds, or about 2.5¢ per minute. So clearly it doesn't make sense to use VoIP for mobile calls, and even for ?landline? calls it's only interesting for longer calls. But what about service numbers starting with 13?

Tue, 04 Jul 2023 02:58:34 UTC

VoIP on Android, again

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still trying to work out how to set up CJ's VoIP lines with the least downtime and effort. Currently he has an account with Vonex, status unknown, and one with Aussie Broadband, which isn't programmed into his ATA. We need to do two things: Establish whether his existing ATA can be programmed to talk to Aussie, or whether it's locked in to Vonex, which would mean that it would need to be replaced.

Mon, 03 Jul 2023 00:11:47 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Last night was the first of the month, the time for the level 0 (complete) dumps. But that can take some time, and this morning I found in the logs: ...   DUMP: 82.77% done, finished in 1:34 at Sun Jul  2 06:35:54 2023 zstd: error 25 : Write error : cannot write compressed block   DUMP: Broken pipe   DUMP: The ENTIRE dump is aborted. That must have been round 4:59, after 7½ hours of dumping. It's over NFS, and I've seen it before. Later I also got: find: /videobackup: Input/output error find: /eureka: Input/output error find: /dump: Input/output error Nothing for it, repeat the dump, even if it will run all day.

Fri, 30 Jun 2023 01:34:26 UTC

Landlines: gone!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail today from Harald Arensen about yesterday's artice about the demise of the ?landline?. This article described the end of the Norwegian copper network, which took place at the end of December last year. My Norwegian's not very good, but the translation refers to the delivery technology (copper), not the switching technology. But maybe that's not important. I'd be more interested in knowing how the transition was handled. Presumably VoIP would have caused the least disruption. Norway's not the only country doing this, of course. And while looking at web reports, I found this British document makes things clearer, though it contradicts itself in its definition of ?landline?.

Thu, 29 Jun 2023 00:22:27 UTC

The demise of the ?landline?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Interesting article in the Washington Post: mobile phones have long taken over from fixed (?landline?) phones. 70% of the US population use only mobile phones, compared to 1.3% who use only ?landline?. 25% have both. That's not quite what I predicted nearly 10 years ago in The Internet in 2034. In fact I didn't even mention mobile telephones. But it's interesting to note that two-thirds of ?landline? connections are really VoIP. I wonder how long we have to go before they start shutting down the POTS.

Tue, 27 Jun 2023 05:02:33 UTC

Fun with VicRoads

Posted By Greg Lehey

While trying to pay my vehicle registration, noted that I could sign up for direct debit with VicRoads. That sounded like a good idea, so went to the site to fight yet more bureaucracy. One thing they wanted, of course, was my driver license number. OK, got that... So nice, so nice, we do it twice! There were two identical driver licenses in my wallet! Yes, I lost my license last month and had to have it replaced. But of course while looking for the old one, the first place I looked was in my wallet. And now there are two of them!

Tue, 27 Jun 2023 03:38:26 UTC

Reinstating Bank of Melbourne account

Posted By Greg Lehey

It has been over a week since I tried to pay the registration fee for Yvonne's car, and failed because the Bank of Melbourne's web site was broken. OK, try again. This time I got: Oh. They're still broken, And once again I didn't receive a ?Secure Code?. Call them up on 1300 555 203 and fight my way through Yet Another Voice non-recognition system to be asked for my card number and key. Then the usual ?We are experiencing a higher than usual volume of calls.

Tue, 27 Jun 2023 03:29:37 UTC

ANZ: We will not recover your money

Posted By Greg Lehey

Not one, but two letters from ANZ Bank today,referring to Vonex' abuse of my credit card. ?Unfortunately, the outcome of this dispute has been unsuccessful. We will send you further details regarding the investigation separately?. Huh? But then there's the second letter: ?Unfortunately, we have not been able to continue our investigation as we have not received the information we requested from you. This concludes our investigation, and the case is now closed?. Huh? What's wrong with this response? They shouldn't need any information from me. If I dispute a transaction, it should automatically be reverted, leaving me responsible for any disputes from the payee.

Sun, 25 Jun 2023 02:19:53 UTC

Microsoft wakes eliminated

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another day has gone by since I fixed my power management network configuration on dischord. Now neither of the systems wake at random. Finally!

Sun, 25 Jun 2023 02:18:33 UTC

Another mystery message

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen on a shell running on lagoon: ERROR: RDPSND: Extra RDPSND_NEGOTIATE in the middle of a session disconnect: The session was replaced. What does that mean?

Sun, 25 Jun 2023 02:06:49 UTC

Phantom calls logged

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't fought my way through the mess of logging information that my Grandstream HT802 produces, but lately I've been seeing: Jun 24 07:12:53 homephone HT802 [c0:74:ad:37:66:d8] []SigCtrl::SigRemoteConnect, Cannot take the call because SIP Incoming UID (100390237920793) does not match my UserID (09751721) Jun 24 07:13:18 homephone HT802 [c0:74:ad:37:66:d8] []SigCtrl::SigRemoteConnect, Cannot take the call because SIP Incoming UID (1000390237920793) does not match my UserID (09751721) Jun 24 07:26:23 homephone HT802 [c0:74:ad:37:66:d8] []SigCtrl::SigRemoteConnect, Cannot take the call because SIP Incoming UID (901146162016058) does not match my UserID (09751721) Jun 24 07:47:03 homephone HT802 [c0:74:ad:37:66:d8] []SigCtrl::SigRemoteConnect, Cannot take the call because SIP Incoming UID (100) does not match my UserID (09751721) Jun 24 08:12:50 homephone HT802 [c0:74:ad:37:66:d8] []SigCtrl::SigRemoteConnect, Cannot take the call because SIP Incoming UID (801146162016058) does not match my UserID (09751721) Jun 24 08:59:12 homephone HT802 [c0:74:ad:37:66:d8] []SigCtrl::SigRemoteConnect, Cannot take ...

Sun, 25 Jun 2023 01:06:37 UTC

Don't trust CellOPark

Posted By Greg Lehey

In April I commented about CellOpark, a mobile phone app that allows you to pay for parking via the phone?and that requires credit card details. Sorry, CellOpark, why should I trust you? And today I see that I was justified in not trusting it, though not for the reasons I expected: this article (probably hidden behind a paywall) reports that many people have been charged for parking that didn't occur. Now how do you prove that? Supply a GPS log to prove it?

Sat, 24 Jun 2023 03:38:48 UTC

?AI?: Passing the Turing test

Posted By Greg Lehey

What is Artificial Intelligence? I've known the term for over half a century, and from time to time I have been amused by how the media react. Now it's ChatGPT, a particularly good linguist. I looked at it 6 months ago and ran into problems with the user interface. In the meantime, according to the press, it seems that it is leading to Armageddon. I couldn't be bothered to try again, so I tried Bard, from Google, instead. What is a Cleveland Bay? Well, there's a place called Cleveland Bay in Queensland, but Wikipedia prefers to talk about a horse of that name, a breed even less common than the Paso Fino.

Sat, 24 Jun 2023 02:32:30 UTC

Sleepless Microsoft: solved?

Posted By Greg Lehey

For a month now I've been puzzling about why my Microsoft boxes dischord and distress keep waking up for no obvious reason. I've established that it must be something to do with the network: on distress, where I can get at the back of the machine easily, it doesn't happen if I disconnect the network cable. Yes, there's a ?Wake on LAN? setting that is presumably behind that, but where is it? In the past I've been through all the power settings, but I couldn't find it. Google to my aid. FOOL! You've gone through power settings, and of course it's a network setting.

Fri, 23 Jun 2023 01:44:32 UTC

More ATA hell

Posted By Greg Lehey

CJ Ellis along today, unannounced, and proving that our doorbell has failed. It's not even a year old! He brought his ATA with him, a Cisco <mumble> that looks quite like the non-functional PAP2T. He didn't bring the power supply, so I tried the power supply from the PAP2T, which has the same specs. No go. No red LED, of course, but no function either. Looked for the other power supply, but I couldn't find it. CJ back home to pick up the power supply. And it worked! So it does seem that the power supply is defective, and that I might be able to revive the PAP2Ts.

Thu, 22 Jun 2023 02:07:58 UTC

The next VoIP port

Posted By Greg Lehey

So how do I port CJ Ellis' phone number? Another hour waiting on the phone to talk to Aussie Broadband? First I went to the web site and discovered that all I needed was CJ's password and access to his webmail. So I was able to add a user so fast that I didn't realize that I had done it. But I wanted to port, so I entered the number to port, and after some searching discovered that CJ now has two VoIP lines, the first apparently already provisioned. All I need now is access to the ATA. Later CJ got mail from Aussie Broadband: Our Service Delivery has been trying to contact you in regards to your NBN order that we currently have in place but unfortunately haven't been able to reach you.

Wed, 21 Jun 2023 02:58:54 UTC

Goodbye Vonex... Hello Vonex

Posted By Greg Lehey

How happy I was to be finally rid of Vonex yesterday! But today an unfamiliar sight arrived at our doorstep: CJ Ellis, whom I haven't seen for a couple of years. And of course he had trouble with Vonex. I had recommended MyNetFone to him years ago, and of course he's suffering from the pain with the transition to Vonex. OK, at least I'm in practice: he's also with Aussie Broadband, so I just need to set up the configuration. Getting his money back from Vonex may be a different issue, of course.

Tue, 20 Jun 2023 00:32:56 UTC

VoIP: Ported!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Aussie Broadband this morning: Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2023 09:07:28 +1000 From: Aussie Broadband <no-[email protected]> Thank you for being patient while we wait for your VoIP number to be transferred over to us. We?ve received confirmation that the port will be completed on **2023-06-16**. But that should have happened 3 days ago, and I still had connectivity from Vonex. Should I reconfigure the ATA anyway? There are thousands of configuration parameters, and even the obvious ones (user name, password, SIP server) have strange names. Tried to call the existing number from my mobile phone and the other ATA, both with the same result: timeout.

Sat, 17 Jun 2023 02:15:39 UTC

The dangers of two-factor authentication

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have always hated Two-factor authentication, at least in the form that I know it: it's clumsy and means that I can't automate things. Today was a particularly bad day, but coincidentally I read this article: 'Invisible robbers' stealing millions in phone porting scam labelled as 'terrifying'. But the common practice of having a one-time code sent to your mobile phone number has enabled hackers to access thousands of people's personal information. ... Cybersecurity expert Ronnie Lowe said the measures did not go far enough and there was little people could do to avoid a sim porting attack.

Sat, 17 Jun 2023 02:15:21 UTC

Banks ganging up on me

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received a car registration renewal notice today. OK, fire up Bank of Melbourne's ?Internet banking?. What's up there? These are the same saved details that I have been using for months. OK, send me a ?Secure Code?. A warning: it can take up to one minute to arrive. But it didn't. Clearly the message in red (The login details entered don't match those on our system) is only partially relevant, since it knows (I think) my phone number. OK, has something in my saved password file been corrupted? Log in manually. ?Please match the requested format? against the ?Security number? (a 6 digit PIN).

Fri, 16 Jun 2023 00:40:07 UTC

RIPE NCC responds

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last month the RIPE NCC saga finished with a survey questionnaire. And of course I answered describing my pain. To my surprise, today I received a detailed response with explanations and acknowledging that there were things that they could do better. But the real issue was that, years ago, they had decided on specific procedures, one of which is that we are in general not able to transfer internet number resources from already closed legal entities. Followed by a resolution from the RIPE NCC Executive Board we can only transfer internet number resources from closed legal entities to the legal successor and only if the legal successor is confirmed with documents from 'a national authority'.

Thu, 15 Jun 2023 06:17:50 UTC

VoIP: another red LED

Posted By Greg Lehey

My surviving PAP2T VoIP adapter has failed! Another red LED, just like last time with the other device. That means that I only have one adapter. Is there anything I can do? Off searching and found this page and also this one. Some suggestion that it's the power supply, not the device, but that seems unlikely, since one worked with the power supply I was using, and the other didn't. Now both don't. I suppose I should go looking for another power supply and see if that helps. But I don't really need them once this pain with Vonex is over.

Wed, 14 Jun 2023 01:38:44 UTC

NSM: Not Microsoft

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still have no idea what is causing messages like these: Jun 13 22:04:28 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun 13 22:04:42 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 One thing's clear, though: it wasn't dischord (the Microsoft box), which was disconnected from the network at the time. So what is it?

Tue, 13 Jun 2023 00:30:34 UTC

mklinks: eating own dog food

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't got round to committing mklinks, but today, when I needed to reinstate Servant of the People, it occurred to me that it's exactly what I needed, but in the past I had always done it manually. I keep video series in a directory hierarchy two deep. The top level is the name of the series, the second the year. So for ?Servant of the People? I have: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/13) /spool/Series/30-min 198 -> ls -l Servant-of-the-people/01 total 6399 -rw-r--r--  2 grog  home  300,212,123  8 Apr  2022 01-02.mp4 -rw-r--r--  2 grog  home  333,550,378  8 Apr  2022 01-03.mp4 -rw-r--r--  2 grog  home  302,893,643  8 Apr  2022 01-04.mp4 ...

Sun, 11 Jun 2023 00:22:18 UTC

Microsoft powers hell

Posted By Greg Lehey

Paid particular attention to the backups today after the change of backup disk configuration. All seemed to have run well, though I had disabled the eureka backup while rsyncing /src/FreeBSD. But the daily kernel log messages showed: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): READ(10). CDB: 28 00 84 c5 b2 a8 00 00 40 00 (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): CAM status: CCB request completed with an error (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Retrying command There are subtle differences from yesterday. That was writing to /dev/da2, the old /dump disk. Today it was reading from /dev/da0, the /backup disk that I used for backing up eureka.

Sat, 10 Jun 2023 03:11:20 UTC

New backup disk

Posted By Greg Lehey

On 2 July, the monthly backup told me many: (da2:umass-sim2:2:0:0): WRITE(10). CDB: 2a 00 0a 93 c7 2e 00 00 10 00 (da2:umass-sim2:2:0:0): CAM status: CCB request completed with an error (da2:umass-sim2:2:0:0): Retrying command /dev/da2 is the /dump file system for all systems except eureka. Does that mean a hard error? I would expect to see a ?retries exhausted? for that case, and there were none. But clearly the disk is not in the best of condition. Time for a replacement, and while I was kicking my heels at the Ballarat Base Hospital yesterday, Yvonne picked up a new 10 TB backup disk from Officeworks: $359, and that for the equivalent of 6,250 fully equipped IBM 3330 systems.

Fri, 09 Jun 2023 02:55:18 UTC

TIO actions

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from Zaf of the TIO today. It seems that they have heard from Vonex, a certain Sonya who was too polite to contact me. And they have refunded the money! Would I check, please? No, nothing in my account. And he found fault with the fact that I didn't explicitly tell Vonex that I would not give them the account details for which they had asked. It seems?he says?that the Australian banking system really does provide for companies to be able to deduct money from people's credit cards, but not refund them. So I had to write another letter asking them explicitly to send me a cheque if they can't access the credit card.

Fri, 09 Jun 2023 02:43:52 UTC

Big Cheese: caught in the act

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Tuesday I put some bait into the ?Big Cheese? electric mouse trap and took a photo to be able to determine if anything had been taken. Today I took a look. No need for a photo: no mice trapped, all the bait gone. Clearly the thing isn't working. But while I prepared to take a photo (I didn't), something strange occurred: I hadn't turned it off, and it started sparking across the ?death trap? plates. It seems that there's some kind of intermittent failure in there. Time to change it.

Thu, 08 Jun 2023 02:39:43 UTC

DENIC: Done!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Message from DENIC this evening: GL3-RIPE wurde wie gewünscht geändert. Maintainer ist jetzt LEMIS-MNT. And yes, how about that.

Thu, 08 Jun 2023 01:55:09 UTC

VoIP state of play

Posted By Greg Lehey

As expected, the deadline for my complaint with the TIO against Vonex expired without any contact at all from them. OK, renewed complaint to the TIO. > * What outcome would resolve your complaint? They should immediately refund the sum of $34.70 that they illegally deducted from my credit card. They should expedite the porting of my second phone number (currently pending) to another carrier. The last one took over a month, which I ascribe to their incompetence. Once I agree that the numbers have been transferred, they should immediately terminate all services and refund the remainder of my balance, including pro rata the yearly subscription.

Wed, 07 Jun 2023 02:44:00 UTC

Your phone number has been ported!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call on my mobile phone this evening round 21:00. Michael of Aussie Broadband to tell me that my number had been completely ported. What, already? I only asked for it yesterday. Oh, no, he knew nothing of that, just that the first number. OK, the only issue there was that Vonex still hadn't fixed their internal configuration. Have they now? Who cares? But more to the point, this is the fourth time that they've called me on my mobile phone in the evening, though I've asked them not to.

Wed, 07 Jun 2023 01:57:56 UTC

Old LEMIS advertisement

Posted By Greg Lehey

For reasons I don't understand, DENIC wants to know my old address. But they have it: it's in the network handle GL3-RIPE: person:         Greg Lehey address:        LEMIS Lehey Microcomputersysteme address:        Schellnhausen 2 address:        D-36325 Feldatal address:        Germany phone:          +49 6637 1488 fax-no:         +49 6637 1489 So what kind of proof do they need? I thought of the original mail from Unido, round March 1992, giving details of my connection, but I couldn't find it.

Wed, 07 Jun 2023 01:31:46 UTC

Failed to contact local NSM?

Posted By Greg Lehey

In today's system log messages: Jun  5 16:29:34 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun  5 17:40:32 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun  5 17:47:18 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun  5 17:48:49 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun  5 22:08:20 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun  6 09:21:17 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun  6 09:28:45 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 Jun  6 09:36:04 eureka kernel: Failed to contact local NSM - rpc error 3 What's that?

Tue, 06 Jun 2023 02:30:30 UTC

More Microsoft pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange message on distress, my Microsoft 10 box, today. Backup failed. OK, why? A typically stupid message, something like ?error 0x8000017a?. Discovered that, for some reason, the backups for distress (on eureka:/dump) were gone. Recreate the path. Different 0x8000.... error message, and a text that could barely be understood to mean EACCES, permission denied. OK, chmod and try again. A different error message, but it still didn't want to work. Much searching for a solution, but somehow Microsoft administration is a book with seven seals. By accident I had closed the ?retry? window, and setting up backups seems to be completely orthogonal to my way of thinking.

Tue, 06 Jun 2023 02:12:38 UTC

VoIP: The next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't resolved the issue with Vonex, and somehow I'm concerned about Zadarma. In principle I want to sit out my subscription to MyNetFone Vonex until the year's prepayment expires some time in August. But Vonex's erratic nature means that I could end up with unexpected issues. The sooner I get rid of them, the better. So: called up Aussie Broadband and asked them to port my other number as quickly as possible, hopefully far faster than the month it took for the first number. And Vonex? Maybe Joey just can't read. Started my latest reply with This message contains 6 items, all of which require your response.

Sun, 04 Jun 2023 02:40:33 UTC

Reviving GL3-RIPE

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since Tuesday I have the ability to transfer maintainership of my NIC handle GL3-RIPE to somebody who can bring it up to date. How do I do that? Mark Price tells me that I can do it myself, which makes a lot of sense. Worked my way through the relatively copious RIPE NCC documentation, and before long I had a maintainer: LEMIS-MNT. And along with that I got a new personal handle, exactly what I was trying to avoid: GL12456-RIPE. The number of digits shows why I want to keep GL3-RIPE, but it's amusing to note that the digits in the new handle are almost, in sequence, 123456.

Thu, 01 Jun 2023 02:47:02 UTC

Aussie Broadband strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange message from Aussie Broadband support today: the email I sent them was empty! Huh? Which email? They were too polite to say. So I checked, and the only one I had sent had been addressed on Monday. So I sent them another message, and got another strange reply: Date: Wed, 31 May 2023 16:23:35 +1000 From: Aussie Customer Service Apologies again there, but it appears that email you've sent through again is also blank. Is it possible you can double check you're selecting the correct attachment and try sending it through again.

Thu, 01 Jun 2023 02:18:30 UTC

VoIP without end

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call on the phone from Joey Melendez of Vonex today. Why? I had sent her no fewer than 5 email messages last week, none of which she had answered, and I had asked her to not call me on the phone. An obvious reason: I find it hard to keep my temper when dealing with idiots. But I did make the mistake of demanding once again that they refund the money they stole. Sorry, can't do that, credit balance on an account can only be refunded when the account is closed. That's what the accounting department says. My guess is that she didn't give them the crucial detail that they weren't entitled to debit the money.

Wed, 31 May 2023 02:38:14 UTC

Fortune favours the brave

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yet another attempt to contact DENIC today, not made easier by a typo in the phone number. And once again I had difficulty with lines dropping and nobody in authority being able to address the issue. Though I called at 9:30 local time, only one person was available, and on another line. But my ?consultant? sounded concerned, especially given the time it has taken, and said that she would chase it up. Her name? Frau Fortuna: Mrs Fortune. And how about that, I finally got an email response: DENIC doesn't want to manage RIPE handles. Can I transfer it elsewhere? Can I!

Wed, 31 May 2023 02:36:31 UTC

The eternal VoIP

Posted By Greg Lehey

Surprising message on my phone today: AussieBB here. 0353461370 has successfuly ported. Call your previous provider to ensure the service is now closed. Why did they send an SMS? I almost never look at them. And of course it wasn't disconnected. Do I want the pain of calling Vonex again? No. It doesn't really make much difference who supplies it, and I have sent Vonex multiple messages telling them to disconnect it.

Tue, 30 May 2023 03:06:27 UTC

Aussie fixes phantom calls

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I had received mail on my mobile phone from Aussie Broadband about my phantom VoIP calls, but the fix didn't relate to the menus I found on the ATA. But I did ask him to ensure that I didn't get called on my mobile phone again. This evening, round 21:00, I got another call on the mobile phone. At least he knew the password I had given them (?pink elephant?) , but not that he shouldn't have called on that number. I must get them to ensure that they only call in the daytime. But he helped. He worked my way through the menus, and I was able to set the INVITE parameters to no.

Tue, 30 May 2023 02:44:57 UTC

Network trace for Microsoft

Posted By Greg Lehey

Disconnecting distress from the local net seems to have stopped the random wakes from hibernation. So clearly it's something on the local net that is waking it. But what? I ?haven't changed anything? there, but whatever it is affects dischord (Microsoft 7) as well. Clearly a trace on eureka isn't sufficient. There must be something like Wireshark or tcpdump for Microsoft. Off to take a look. Google has decided that I am now in Germany, or at least distress is. Everything was in German, and all the hits are from German sites. Found a Wireshark and installed it, but I couldn't get it to run.

Tue, 30 May 2023 02:41:05 UTC

Still more VoIP pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still don't have any useful response from Vonex, and it seems that Aussie Broadband's VoIP offering is a little too bare-bones. More investigation, though I really don't want to do this. Zadarma seems to have a number of things going for it, including no base fee and phone numbers in dozens of different countries. But to try it out means still more cables and another phone base. Do I want to do it? No. Should I do it? Probably. So, signed up with them. The usual ?make it easier for the crackers? password rules (?The password must contain letters and numbers, must be contain 8 to 30 characters in length?)

Mon, 29 May 2023 03:00:13 UTC

Why xterm for Android?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Mal White about last' month's article about xterm for Android. He pointed me to various ssh implementations, and of course I know about them. So why did I write that article? I no longer remember. What I need for Android is not an xterm, which is really not much more useful than ssh, but something that can display the Android screen on a real display. And I thought I had once had that, but I no longer remember. Doubtless some user-friendly Android ?feature? got in the way.

Mon, 29 May 2023 02:47:05 UTC

Image size strangeness

Posted By Greg Lehey

This morning I wanted to align two images for mouseover alternation: Somehow it didn't work as intended. The sizes of the images should have been the same, but the second one is higher. Why? But after processing, I had serious performance problems displaying the input images. After a bit of head-scratching, discovered: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/7) ~/Photos/20230528 577 -> file Computers-?.jpeg Computers-1.jpeg: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01, resolution (DPI), density 150x150, segment length 16, baseline, precision 8, 19233x16154, frames 3 Computers-2.jpeg: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.01, resolution (DPI), density 150x150, segment length 16, baseline, precision 8, 19233x16512, frames 3 The images are round 317 MP ...

Sun, 28 May 2023 02:44:37 UTC

Still more Vonex frustration

Posted By Greg Lehey

This whole week I have been trying to get a response from Vonex about the many problems I have with them. My last message (yesterday) contained: 1.  Today the DID number expires.  PLEASE DO NOT RENEW IT. 2.  DO NOT CANCEL the connection (MegaSaver), nor the other associated DID. 3.  Please cancel the SuperSaver before migration to the new system.     I do not wish to pay any money for this service. 4.  Refund the money that you illegally deducted from my credit card     NOW.  This is a demand, not a request.

Sun, 28 May 2023 01:57:48 UTC

More distress distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Shortly after arriving in the office, distress came out of hibernation again. What? I had firewalled everything going to it. And it had caught a lot of traffic: 00003      523950       32182090 deny ip from any to via em0 That's over half a million data packets since yesterday. What are they? Last time I looked it seemed to be something on distress accessing the outside world, and possibly that's what it was. But since I've been blocking things, what could be waking it?

Sat, 27 May 2023 03:08:45 UTC

ZoiPer config again

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still can't get ZoiPer to connect to my VoIP services. The obvious thing to suspect was an incorrectly entered password, since there was no way to check whether it was correct or not. But there was! Yes, it displays as a row of stars, but this horrible keyboard replacement suggests a string: And that's correct. Isn't it also stupid? I also discovered typos in the user name. Fixed all that. No difference. Still can't connect.

Sat, 27 May 2023 02:52:10 UTC

distress distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

For the past week or two, distress, usually hibernated, has been waking up at roughly regular intervals. Why? External network traffic? I've blocked all incoming traffic (from the external interface), but it hasn't stopped. OK, let's see what happens if I block traffic on the internal interface. That means that I won't be able to talk to it, of course, but I can always remove the firewall rule when I do.

Sat, 27 May 2023 02:47:34 UTC

Goodbye phantoms?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been 2 days since I moved my Aussie Broadband configuration from the Grandstream HT802 ATA to the Linksys (or is that Cisco)? PAP2T so that I could trace the phantom calls more easily. But there have been none! Is this somehow related to the ATA? I can't see how.

Sat, 27 May 2023 02:43:16 UTC

Vonex again

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been 4 days since I reported Vonex' fraudulent activities, 3 days since the TIO contacted them about it, and 2 days since Joey Melendez contacted me with content that bore almost no relationship to the matter. And today is the expiration date of my DID number. Have they disconnected it? No. Another email to them, specifying my demands. It's to [email protected], not to Joey personally, so somebody should be able to do something about it.

Sat, 27 May 2023 02:41:11 UTC

DENIC, where art thou?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Should I give DENIC another call or send them a mail message? The people I spoke to yesterday didn't seem to understand what I wanted, so maybe it would help to write email. Did that, and given the time difference it wasn't surprising that I didn't get a reply today.

Sat, 27 May 2023 02:25:41 UTC

Bloody monitors!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Round lunch time Yvonne called me. Bruno had jumped on her keyboard and reconfigured the display. Oh. The screen dimensions had changed, making things narrower, and clearly the monitor itself showed only part of the X display. I've used that before decades ago: it should be possible to switch between the display resolutions with Ctrl-Alt-+ and Ctrl-Alt--. But that hasn't worked for some time, and since I didn't need it, I didn't investigate why. It didn't work today, either. Dammit, restart X. It had only been up for 5 weeks. But it came up in the same resolution again, and so did the text display on the monitor: somehow the monitor had changed its parameters, not the computer.

Fri, 26 May 2023 02:55:04 UTC

Reinstating GL3-RIPE

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been two weeks since I sent a message to DENIC asking for authentication to change my handle GL3-RIPE. Beyond two automatic responses with two different ticket numbers, no response. But the responses had phone numbers, so called them, first the DENIC Business Services in Frankfurt (+49 69 26235-272), ticket 2023051143000294. Automatic response ?we will be with you shortly?, then silence, not even canned music. After a couple of minutes called the other one, ticket 1848782 in Darmstadt, +49 6151 62 90 942, and almost immediately was connected with a Mr Ratna, who told me that they had considered the message (and presumably the reminder) as spam!

Fri, 26 May 2023 02:22:44 UTC

More VoIP investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

What caused all the phantom calls on my Aussie Broadband line? Somehow the name ?sipvicious? looked suspicious. What does Google have to say about it? Ah, it's a OSS security tool, one that can be abused for the kind of call I have been getting. This page,?How do I stop SIPVicious attacks??, gives a solution: The only solution is to block these type of calls is to ensure that SIP ports such as 5060, 5061 are blocked on the firewall or router. Will that even work?

Thu, 25 May 2023 01:07:05 UTC

Still more VoIP pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call at 15:41 from Joey of Vonex, phone number 07 3667 8999, after I had stipulated that I wanted to communicate by email. The exhange speaks volumes: Joey: How are you today? Greg: Not very happy. Joey: That's good to hear. I must remind you that this call may be recorded for quality purposes. Greg: I've already told you that I don't want to communicate via phone. I want to communicate by email so that I can record the exchange.

Thu, 25 May 2023 00:04:22 UTC

VoIP phantoms

Posted By Greg Lehey

Woken up at 1:17 this morning by the phone ringing. Another bloody phantom call! And I had left the wrong phone connected to the Aussie Broadband line! Off to take a look at the details. It shows an invitation from A traceroute shows that to be behind and, which I am guessing is one of the Aussie servers. Does that help? Not much. One thing's clear: MyNetFone generates much more traffic to the ATA than Aussie does, and it clouds the trace. How about putting the line on a different ATA? After all, there's one right next to it?a Linksys (or is that Cisco)?

Wed, 24 May 2023 05:17:58 UTC

Firewall docco

Posted By Greg Lehey

How do I specify a specific interface in a firewall rule? A quick RTFM didn't help much. This page did: the via keyword. It might be worth reading more generally.

Wed, 24 May 2023 05:12:51 UTC

Sound via HDMI

Posted By Greg Lehey

A thread on the FreeBSD-questions mailing list caught my eye recently: ?Why can't I output audio to HDMI??. I don't have an answer: I just discovered years ago that I couldn't, and since I had an amplifier connected anyway, I didn't bother much. But it's (maybe) worth following up on. This article points me to a device /dev/sndstat. And how about that, on tiwi I get: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 42 -> cat /dev/sndstat Installed devices: pcm0: <NVIDIA (0x001c) (HDMI/DP 8ch)> (play) pcm1: <NVIDIA (0x001c) (HDMI/DP 8ch)> (play) pcm2: <Realtek ALC662 rev1 (Analog 2.0+HP/2.0)> (play/rec) default pcm3: <Realtek ALC662 rev1 (Analog)> (play/rec) No devices installed from userspace.

Wed, 24 May 2023 03:39:04 UTC

A day wasted with VoIP

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from Ben at the TIO today, as expected. For once somebody sensible! Normally I don't like phone calls because of the communication difficulties, but this time it was probably a sensible way to go. The reason I didn't need to give any details about Vonex became clear: they're well-known to the TIO, simply because there's only a limited number of participants. But Ben only knew them as a supplier of commercial services, and hadn't heard of their takeover of MyNetFone. He explained the details: they will communicate (almost certainly now have communicated) with Vonex and give them 10 days to resolve the problem.

Tue, 23 May 2023 01:43:26 UTC

Reporting Vonex fraud

Posted By Greg Lehey

Still no reply from Vonex about the fraudulent deduction of sums from my credit card. I've really been dreading the work it would take to report it, and I was right: over 2 hours today, and I'm only about half way through it. First called the bank, fought my way through the voice recognition service, and spoke to Alvir, explaining the details: On 16 May Vonex deducted the sum of $34.70 from my credit card despite my express prohibition. Who? Vonex, like I said How much? $34.70, like I said. When? 16 May, like I said. Sometimes I wonder why I bother stating the case up front.

Mon, 22 May 2023 05:34:32 UTC

Vonex does it again

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the issues that I have with Vonex is that I no longer get voicemail sent as email messages, nor even notification when I get a voicemail. OK, that's simple: disable voicemail and put it on the local phones, all of which have answering machine functionality. Oh. There's no longer a way to configure voice mail. All I can do is change the announcement. But while I was messing around, I got a stored voice mail from my daughter Yana. No date or time, of course, but I recognized the message: it was sent on 26 December 2021, announcing that she was a ?close contact?

Mon, 22 May 2023 04:51:56 UTC

Phantom phone calls?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the issues I have migrating from Vonex to Aussie Broadband VoIP is the issue of phantom phone calls. We've seen this before, and as a result we migrated to a different port (sip-tls, port 5061 instead of sip, port 5060). It has nothing to do with TLS, but it seems that the spammers don't try that port number?yet. OK, get Aussie to do the same again? Somehow the real solution would be to set a firewall rule, but that needs investigation.

Mon, 22 May 2023 01:31:34 UTC

Microsoft predators?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recently I've discovered that my Microsoft boxes dischord and distress have randomly come out of hibernation several times a day. Why? Then it dawned on me. Network traffic? What does tcpdump say? ICMP6 echo requests! But I don't even use IPv6! OK, we can block that: ipfw add 2 deny ip6 from any to any But it didn't stop! Does that not block ICMP, maybe? Try blocking ipfw add 2 deny icmp6 from any to any At least tcpdump recognized that and changed it: 00002           4            196 deny ip6 from any to any 00002           0   ...

Sun, 21 May 2023 02:06:47 UTC

Vonex responds

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Vonex: they're changing the ?plans?. This is presumably the message I should have received a little over a month ago. But it contains information that Joey was too polite to tell me: the prices are going up. $1 a month more for the line I'm using, and infinitely more for the ?SuperSaver?, which used to be free, and will now cost $5. Wouldn't you have thought that Joey would have told me that? By comparison, the fact that they have allocated the numbers incorrectly is more the kind of incompetence that I would have expected of them. They also have a link to a Residential Plans page, which contains information apparently unrelated to what they wrote on the other page.

Sat, 20 May 2023 02:58:03 UTC

OCR again

Posted By Greg Lehey

The report on my colonoscopy was on paper: I wanted to convert to text. There are so many programs that can do that, but years ago I bought a program from Ashampoo that captures the screen contents and can convert them to text. It only ran on Microsoft. What's it called? Something with OCR? The usual search functions didn't help, so I had to fight my way through a maze of twisty little icons, all different. Ah, there! ?Ashampoo Snap?. Why didn't I think of that?

Fri, 19 May 2023 01:45:30 UTC

SBS download: fixed

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been nearly 2 months since I stopped being able to access videos on the SBS site. I need to supply user name and password, but that still didn't help, assuming that I had found my way correctly through the vague instructions. More discussion on IRC today, and it seems that I was the only person with such problems. Others managed it with no trouble. But on further examination, they were using the latest and greatest yt-dlp, while I was using the one in the FreeBSD ports collection. I've been trying to avoid using the version on the web site, because it's maintained with git, one of my pet hates.

Fri, 19 May 2023 01:42:24 UTC

More VoIP issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Vonex has still not refunded the money that they illegally deducted from my credit card. Time for a complaint to the TIO, my bank and whatever authorities are responsible for abuse of this nature. Well, no, no time. But it'll happen. As if to prove the point, I discovered that voice mail is no longer being mailed to me as an email attachment. I found no fewer than four messages on my normal phone voice mail, one from Joey of Vonex, who should have known better, and none with any date information. Apart from their dishonesty, the functionality has reached a point that makes it useless.

Wed, 17 May 2023 04:36:52 UTC

SBS downloads again

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been well over a month since I last tried to find an incantation to download videos from the new SBS web site. I was left wondering whether I had provided the correct cookies or not. I had established that yt-dlp uses cookies from firefox or chromium, but it wasn't clear whether the cookies I extracted were actually correct. All I established was that it still didn't work with them. OK, start with a clean (polished?) chromium, log in to SBS, stop chromium and see what I get.

Wed, 17 May 2023 04:36:42 UTC

Bloody Vonex!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Unexpected mail from Vonex today: they had deducted $34.70 from my credit card. What part of this mail did they not understand? - You will not deduct any further sums from my account without my   written consent. Mail to Joey Melendez, who wrote: We cannot credit back or refund since the cancellation has been revoked and the services continue. That's nonsense, of course. My account is in credit, and direct debiting is a separate issue from having an account with them. Wrote back with a deadline of tomorrow. And if they don't refund (which seems likely)?

Wed, 17 May 2023 04:05:42 UTC

You have an open port!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange mail today: From: CERT-Bund Reports <[email protected]> Subject: [CB-Report#20230516-10005299] Offene Portmapper-Dienste in Netzbereich Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, der Portmapper-Dienst (portmap, rpcbind) wird benötigt, um RPC-Anfragen einem Dienst zuzuordnen. Der Portmapper-Dienst wird u.a. für Netzwerkfreigaben über das Network File System (NFS) benötigt. Der Portmapper-Dienst verwendet Port 111 tcp/udp. Nachfolgend senden wir Ihnen eine Liste betroffener Systeme in Ihrem Netzbereich. What's that? Spam? No, it's a consequence of having my network block on the net again. I had set up the firewall to refuse most connection requests from outside, but this is UDP, a connectionless protocol, and I had only blocked some Microsoft-related ports.

Wed, 17 May 2023 03:38:22 UTC

More network problems?

Posted By Greg Lehey

While downloading videos today, I discovered that the downloading had stopped. Further investigation showed that the machines in other rooms (tiwi, lagoon) were not responding. Network switch problem? Into the pantry. Yes, the switch was dead. But so was the Wi-Fi access point. Power? Into the garage. Yes, the circuit breaker had tripped, and it stayed tripped. I've seen that before, more often than I like. The sump pump in front of the house? Disconnected it and things ran again. The pump's not that old, and it was installed by UPI. Called them up on 5336 3420 (now, at least, they show their phone number on the web) and spoke to Kylie, who told me that all people were out, but that she would call back.

Tue, 16 May 2023 02:14:00 UTC

50 years of microprocessors

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been somewhat over 50 years since the Intel 8008 processor was introduced, and 48 years since I started programming one: It was a horrible processor, but it has left its traces even on the most modern processors. It's amusing to think that the original 8008 had only 3,500 transistors, and the current AMD Ryzen processors have round 3 million times as many transistors. But today I came across this article, which went further into the history of the 8008 than I had known.

Tue, 16 May 2023 02:02:39 UTC

Ports staging: beaten!

Posted By Greg Lehey

So clearly my issues porting mklinks from FreeBSD to FreeBSD are related to the ?stage? stage in the Ports Collection. And I hadn't read the Porter's Handbook from end to end. OK, read it and see what it has to say about staging. Almost nothing! Definitely no indication of what the ?stage? stage expects of the source Makefile. It really shouldn't have any expectations beyond that the file works. OK, how do other ports handle the issue? Went through the sysutils directory looking for small ports that use PLIST_FILES, and finally came up with sysutils/obliterate, a real file deletion program written by my good friend Wes Peters (as I only later discovered).

Mon, 15 May 2023 01:46:57 UTC

Next porting effort

Posted By Greg Lehey

So why am I having so much trouble porting mklinks? It compiles correctly, it installs correctly, and it was written for FreeBSD. But I've been chasing port issues (admittedly not very intensively) for days now. It's difficult to find the blame anyway than in the Ports Collection infrastructure. The first thing that I saw was that parts of the package Makefile were being ignored. I had a variable DESTDIR that overlaps with a variable of the same name in the Ports Collection. What happens if I change its name? It works! Well, partially. But there's something basically wrong if this sequence in a Makefile doesn't work: DESTDIR=        /usr/local install: all         cp mklinks ${DESTDIR}/bin Part of this is doubtless to do with ?staging?, where the files are first installed ...

Sun, 14 May 2023 00:43:10 UTC

mklinks port, day 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

A bit of idle thinking about why yesterday's port caused such problems. Which Makefile was to blame? The ports Makefile (/usr/ports/sysytils/mklinks/Makefile) or the package Makefile (/usr/ports/sysytils/mklinks/work/mklinks-1.0/Makefile)? At least I established that: mine, the package Makefile. But there's almost nothing in it. And for reasons I don't understand, it tried to put the man pages in work/stage/man/man1 instead of the work/stage/usr/local/man/man1 that it had waiting for it. But the Makefile contained: DESTDIR=        /usr/local all:    mklinks install: all         cp mklinks ${DESTDIR}/bin         gzip -c mklinks.1 > ${DESTDIR}/man/man1/mklinks.1.gz There are two issues here: first, it seems to have ignored DESTDIR, and secondly (presumably intentionally) the leading / got removed from the path name.

Sat, 13 May 2023 02:07:09 UTC

Porting again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last week a question appeared on the FreeBSD-questions mailing list: To: freebsd-[email protected] Subject: Tool to compare directories and delete duplicate files from one directory I'm wondering if anyone knows of a tool like diff or so that can also delete files based on name and size from either left/right or source/destination directory? Well, of course, that's what mklinks is for. Just install the sysutils/mklinks port and RTFM. Oh. It's been decades since I wrote it?the first checkin was dated 1995/02/26?and I cleverly named it after a script of the same name in 4.4BSD, though the functionality is quite different.

Fri, 12 May 2023 03:03:33 UTC

Net block: tidying up

Posted By Greg Lehey

So my net block is now officially mine, as whois shows. But I still need to update my net handle GL3-RIPE, and I don't have reverse DNS lookup. Message to DENIC about updating the handle, and hopefully we'll find out about the reverse lookup soon. About the only thing that's of interest is the now-you-see-it-now-you don't statement: === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/6) ~ 1 -> whois % IANA WHOIS server % for more information on IANA, visit refer: organisation: Administered by ARIN status:       LEGACY ...

Thu, 11 May 2023 03:40:41 UTC

Aussie complaint resolved

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another email from Aussie Broadband today about my complaint. Yes, they take my suggestions on board. It looked well written, but didn't go into any detail beyond acknowledging At this point, we can take this situation as a learning experience and use it as an opportunity to improve. Your feedback has shed light on areas where we need to improve our knowledge, training, and communication channels for our customers, this will passed along as feedback so we can look to improve our handling of requests like this.

Thu, 11 May 2023 03:20:02 UTC

RIPE: All done bar the shouting?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't heard the last word about my network block transfer: there's still this proof outstanding that I am entitled to the legacy of LEMIS. But just before going to bed I got an email: Date: Wed, 10 May 2023 10:41:40 +0000 (UTC) From: "RIPE NCC ([email protected]) via Zonka Feedback" <[email protected]> Subject: How did we do? Reply-To: [email protected] Mail sent successfully Ah, they're too polite to use plain text. There's a link to a typical survey in the HTML version.

Wed, 10 May 2023 02:46:07 UTC

Vonex: We will disconnect whether you want or not

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been exchanging mail with Joey of Vonex for a couple of days ago. Some time ago she said that I couldn't cancel the numbers before 25 May, and I had to make it clear that I wanted the service to continue until the date for which I had paid, some time in August, but the last couple of times she wanted to terminate on 15 May?next week! I still have issues with the Aussie Broadband VoIP service, so I don't want to be put under pressure. How do I get across to these people?

Wed, 10 May 2023 02:24:15 UTC

Network block: progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Mark Price today: RIPE NCC has accepted my driver license as proof of identity, and Mark has managed to drive up a deregistration certificate for LEMIS, showing (hopefully to RIPE's satisfaction) that I was the sole beneficiary. Things are looking up, and I'm very impressed that Mark managed to find the document.

Tue, 09 May 2023 02:01:16 UTC

Aussie Broadband

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail as promised from Lorens from Aussie Broadband. It's not even clear what he wanted, but I've been through this before, so I summarized the events of the last month, recommended that he pass them on to senior management (particularly my open letter), and even gave him an authentication method (one-time password ?pink elephant?) if he wanted to call me. Just before going to bed, I got an email from Melvin. Here are the only points of any interest: First of all, I would like to offer our apologies if it feels like we are unable to handle your previous complaint correctly within your expectations.

Mon, 08 May 2023 03:02:21 UTC

Aussie Broadband resolves complaints

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over 3 weeks since I raised a complaint with Aussie Broadband about the lack of availability of qualified support personnel. Today I got a phone call on my mobile phone from a Lorens, who wanted to know what the issue was with the network routing. But he couldn't give me any details until I authenticated myself: name, date of birth, etc. And how could he authenticate himself? He couldn't, of course. I have no doubt that he's genuine, but it's this kind of assumption that makes like easier for scammers.

Mon, 08 May 2023 02:24:52 UTC

Opening the flood gates

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have my /24 routed from anywhere in the world. Here the entries for the block last month and then today: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/24) ~ 33 -> whois -h " -v" AS      | IP               | BGP Prefix          | CC | Registry | Allocated  | AS Name NA      |    | NA                  | AU | ripencc  | 1991-05-01 | NA 4764    |    |    | AU | ripencc  | 1991-05-01 | WIDEBAND-AS-AP Aussie Broadband, AU So basically I don't need NAT any more.

Sun, 07 May 2023 01:01:55 UTC

Limits on net accessibility

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally it looks like the network block issue is being resolved. Mark Price seems to have all he needs to satisfy the bureaucrats, and I can sit back and recover from the stress. And then Juha Kupiainen piped up: from your diary "assuming that I don't run into bottlenecks." ... nbn - your wish is our command !! ... What does that document say? It's really hard to understand. Despite the title, it doesn't contain a ?fair use?

Sat, 06 May 2023 02:30:58 UTC

ANZ does it again

Posted By Greg Lehey

My (ANZ) credit card payment is due in a few days. It gets deducted automatically from my ANZ bank account. But there's not always enough money in the account, so I need to transfer from another account. How much is the payment? About double the normal maximum! How did that happen? Looking at the statement, I found: 16 APR       INTEREST CHARGED ON PURCHASES       $17.50 16 APR       LATE PAYMENT FEE       $20.00 ...

Sat, 06 May 2023 02:02:39 UTC

Wi-Fi phone calls?

Posted By Greg Lehey

During a discussion on IRC this morning, Jamie Fraser mentioned the possibility of using Wi-Fi instead of the mobile phone network for making calls. Well, yes, of course. It's VoIP, and it has nothing directly to do with Wi-Fi. It's an Internet protocol, as the name suggests. But no, says Jamie, android and iphone have the ability to use your wifi instead of the local phone network to place the call. i'm not sure why you'd want that, i suppose if you live somewhere with spotty or high-contention GSM but have good wifi it's useful?

Fri, 05 May 2023 03:25:23 UTC

More RIPE fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now the transfer of my network block is well on its way, and I was asked to set up some kind of account at RIPE. I don't know why: all they wanted was my name and my email address?and NO LESS THAN 4 CAPTCHAs! The real work will be done by Mark Price. Having the network routed here is in fact more useful than I had thought. On the amusing side of things, I can now ping my mobile phone from anywhere in the world, as long as it's at home. More useful, though, is that I could really now host my web site at home.

Thu, 04 May 2023 04:52:25 UTC

Spam phone calls?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Just before we went to bed, a call came in on my second phone line, one of the Aussie Broadband numbers. Number ported already? I missed the call, but that didn't matter. I got another. And another. Tried to answer, but no sound. What's that? Mañana. For today I disconnected the phone connection.

Thu, 04 May 2023 04:26:35 UTC

X resource hog identified

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally I've found the cause of the extreme X CPU usage that I had noted last month. It's www.fernsehserien.des episode pages. It also only seems to happen when the browser is running on a different machine from the server. Today I registered 35% CPU on the firefox process and up to 60% on the X server. My guess is that it's these rotating circles that never resolve: Somehow this site is broken.

Thu, 04 May 2023 03:48:55 UTC

RIPE: Tying up the loose ends

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what do I need to do to finally get rid of this thorn in the side that is RIPE NCC? A couple of messages from Mark Price today, in which he informed me that his LIR activity was not completely free: RIPE charge him 50 ? per year for the function! He will pass it on without any extras, which is generous. Followed up with a long phone call, during which he agreed that he could fix the routing issues easily. In the process he pointed me at and, which I must investigate. But the real issues are?again?bureaucracy!

Wed, 03 May 2023 05:11:09 UTC

RIPE: Progress?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been nearly a week since RIPE NCC said that they would consider things and get back to me. They did that this evening, just before I went to bed, still refusing to accept any of the documents that I had supplied, but... After our internal evaluation, we have decided to make an exception this time and accept your transfer request... FINALLY!

Wed, 03 May 2023 03:18:09 UTC

Changing phone suppliers

Posted By Greg Lehey

So gradually I'm moving my VoIP service from MyNetFone Vonex to Aussie Broadband, despite the problems I have had with their documentation. In particular there seemed to be no documentation on setting up voice mail or call charges. I couldn't even update my profile: despite not presenting an ?Email? field, it complained because I didn't enter anything in it. Called up this afternoon and spoke to Jordan, who surprised me by sending me exactly the information I needed. Voice mail setup is via number 101, and there's documentation for the VoIP service on the web, just not linked from anywhere I have been.

Tue, 02 May 2023 02:23:42 UTC

Still more communication issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from Joey Melendez of Vonex today, referring to the email I sent her last week. It's not clear why. She repeated what she had said last time, but said that my subscription (paid until the end of August) would end some time in June when all accounts were transferred. I suggested that they then refund pro rata, but I don't think that expression is in her vocabulary. In any case, she said that a ?senior rep? would contact me. Somehow the last 4 weeks have been full of miscommunication. It's amazingly frustrating.

Tue, 02 May 2023 02:07:55 UTC

It was IBM. It was UNIVAC.

Posted By Greg Lehey

Decades ago, I guessed round 1960, I heard a song, ?Automation? by Allan Sherman, one of the first songs about computers. And it contained the words ?It was IBM. It was UNIVAC.?. And somehow today's calendar entry reminded me of that: May  1  Greg starts working with IBM, 2001 May  1  Greg starts working with UNIVAC, 1973 50 years since I started earning money in the industry! In passing, a couple of points about the song. It was written by Allan Sherman, not Alan Sherman, a computer scientist who had only just been born.

Sat, 29 Apr 2023 03:36:14 UTC

Still more miscommunication: Vonex

Posted By Greg Lehey

VoIP seems to be on its way out. In fact, telephony seems to be on its way out, probably because modern phones have made it so difficult. Instead people ?text?, painfully typing into tiny, non-responsive ?keyboards?. That says something about the pain that making phone calls is. From our point of view, still with something resembling the old-fashioned telephone, things haven't changed much. But the world outside has made a change: Since people don't use phones as much, we don't make as many calls as we used to. And the ones made to mobile phones aren't free: in fact, they're more expensive with VoIP than with a mobile phone, so we don't use VoIP to call mobile phones.

Fri, 28 Apr 2023 02:49:42 UTC

Next AAMI response

Posted By Greg Lehey

Response from AAMI to the message I sent them 10 days ago: I tried calling to your  number 03 53461370. However, it is not available. Could you please provide us the number that we can contact you or could you please contact us on 1300 041 691? Did my message not get through? No, it was attached, and contained: The number is connected.  Did you maybe misdial?  And why did you call this number?  I gave you a different number to call (see the headers).

Fri, 28 Apr 2023 00:40:23 UTC

Aussie insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still don't have complete routing for my network block. But while writing my open letter to Aussie Broadband, re-read this message from John Alexander: What you do need to be able to do though is edit your apnic record to add in a route object for AS4764. Without that, our upstreams (NTT, and peering (Equinix, soon to be Google plus more) will reject the routes from us. We need you to be able to do this otherwise the only path in will be via Telstra transit, so will have to think twice before advertising it for you.

Fri, 28 Apr 2023 00:38:22 UTC

RIPE response

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today's response from RIPE NCC was short, but double. They need more time for both tickets. On the other hand, I had a response from Mark Price of Tranquil Hosting; maybe he can finally convince RIPE that I'm the legitimate ?successor? to LEMIS.

Thu, 27 Apr 2023 03:41:19 UTC

Quora strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over 5 years ago I answered a question on ?What is the need of swapping of processes from end to memory??. Not a very clear question, and not a very good answer. I didn't even try to reinterpret it. And then I forgot it. And now, for unknown reasons, I've had a flood of upvotes, 92 in a single day. There are 2 or 3 other answers (Quora can't make up its mind), and they have had none. Why is this happening now?

Wed, 26 Apr 2023 03:18:24 UTC

Open letter to Aussie Broadband

Posted By Greg Lehey

My issues with Aussie Broadband support are still not over. My route is visible in some places, but not in others. That could be beyond Aussie's control, of course, but the fact that I can't contact anybody in support who even understands the concepts is not. TL;DR: I summarize the pain I've been through in the last couple of weeks. Further down I have suggestions on how to improve service. Today I got an email from them: We?re glad to see that the recent fault on your service has been closed! Fault Reference: OK, what fault?

Wed, 26 Apr 2023 01:24:32 UTC

More network routing thoughts

Posted By Greg Lehey

So how does network routing work? In principle I know the details, but what I saw yesterday was that some systems could see my block and others couldn't. And that didn't change today. But what's the point of the second IP address ( on the external interface? Nothing outside my network knows it. Remove it (leaving the DHCP-assigned address). Things still worked. And the other thing: how do I get eureka (the one connected directly to the WAN link) to send packets with eureka's source address ( The network stack automatically chooses the external address (currently I really need to read up on this.

Tue, 25 Apr 2023 00:07:08 UTC

A route! A route!

Posted By Greg Lehey

More discussion on IRC about my issues routing my net block. What happens if I change the address of the external interface xl0 to something in my net block, say Just what I had expected: no traffic. Problem proven. So I restarted dhclient to set up the link again. But then Jamie Fraser came up with something surprising: jfraser: traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 60 byte packets jfraser:  1  _gateway (  1.324 ms  1.941 ms  2.045 ms jfraser:  2 (  28.730 ms  29.955 ms  30.206 ms jfraser:  3 (  47.981 ms  48.060 ms  48.224 ms Huh?

Mon, 24 Apr 2023 00:37:16 UTC

Kicking, Aussie style

Posted By Greg Lehey

Friday's response to my complaint about the lack of support from Aussie Broadband included the request ?If you have notyet kicked your session ..., please do this?. And now, thanks to Juha Kupiainen, I know what it means: use the Aussie ?Service Test? app to, well, ?kick connection?. He gave me the URL ?Aussie broadband customers can now kick their connection?, explaining a connection ?kick? acts like a remotely-controlled fresh reboot but even more powerful. Rather than just the old switch on, switch off method for your modem when it?s playing up, the ?kick?

Sat, 22 Apr 2023 23:52:04 UTC

More phone scams

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne received a strange call on her phone today, purportedly from ANZ. That's clearly a scam: ANZ doesn't make that kind of call. But by the time she handed the phone to me, the connection had been dropped. Still, not a problem. I got what was presumably the same thing myself later in the afternoon. It was an automated message, and it knew something like my name. It seems that my credit card with the "end numbers" 4337 was $59 in arrears. Nonsense! I always pay my credit card balance when it's due. Still, let's see what it wanted. I had various menus to go through, and in my case I was asked if I had paid.

Sat, 22 Apr 2023 03:20:50 UTC

Understanding Microsoft, part 4713

Posted By Greg Lehey

Part of my normal photo processing uses Microsoft-space programs, which I run on a machine called Both Yvonne and I use it via rdesktop, each under our own account. But it seems that not all accounts are equal. Yvonne frequently has issues starting rdesktop, and sometimes she gets a login screen for ?Other User?. Then again sometimes the rdesktop screen pops up for less than a second and then disappears again. And sometimes it gets as far as displaying: There are no endpoints from endpoint mapper What is that?

Sat, 22 Apr 2023 02:53:12 UTC

Ballarat parking meters again

Posted By Greg Lehey

One issue with Peter Apostolopoulos is that he doesn't have any free parking, unlike the other dentist practices. So I had to find a parking meter. OK, time to try out this irritating Cellophane app that I installed a couple of weeks ago. Oh. It looks as if it isn't supported here, only these horrible parking meters with an ABC keyboard and an illegible display. Got as far as entering my registration number, and then something illegible appeared. Get a photo: The camera doesn't understand either.

Sat, 22 Apr 2023 02:53:10 UTC

More Google Maps fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

As a matter of course, used Google Maps to get to the periodontist. It's pretty straightforward. But when I forwarded the route to my mobile phone, I checked the times. Yes, this time it agreed with the web browser version. At least for the means of transport that I had chosen, car. But it also gave me a time for public transport: Public transport? There's almost no such thing. What does the web browser say? So it really seems as if there are two different teams at Google Maps, one for mobile phones, one for Real Computers?.

Sat, 22 Apr 2023 02:06:34 UTC

RIPE postpones

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that I have had partial success with my application to RIPE NCC. No further questions; they've just transferred it to somebody else, who will look at it next week. Does this mean that there are multiple hurdles to jump?

Sat, 22 Apr 2023 02:05:22 UTC

Aussie resolves complaint

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got feedback from Aussie Broadband about the complaint that I lodged a week ago: I have picked up handling of your formal complaint raised on your behalf regarding your request for a legacy IP Routing change. I have reached out directly to our NOC leadership, and our NOC team have progressed your request on 18.04.23. You should have access to this now. If you have notyet kicked your session and rebooted your router, please do this so your framed route to properly attach to the service. Now what does that mean.

Fri, 21 Apr 2023 02:20:06 UTC

Rewiring lagoon

Posted By Greg Lehey

Part of installing the UPS units 2 months ago involved tidying up the rat's nest behind lagoon, Yvonne's computer. Apart from the fact that I hate it, it's a lot of work. But Bruno forced my hand. Wandering about behind Yvonne's desk, he found a wobbly power connector, and later something changed the resolution of the display. Cat on keyboard? How do you change X resolution anyway? Ctrl-Alt-+ and Ctrl-Alt--? Didn't work. Dammit, if we have to stop X, we might as well reboot and use the opportunity to redo the wiring: At the end a surprising amount of stuff was left over: ...

Fri, 21 Apr 2023 00:48:46 UTC, the latest

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some time addressing the response from RIPE that arrived yesterday evening. Why isn't the information sufficient? Wrote a lot on the subject, explaining the significance of the documents I had sent. Then I looked again. I had sent the wrong statutory declaration! I had made a second declaration regarding my access to the RIPE database, just in case they caused problems there too, but that was the one I sent: OK, nothing for it. Sorry, mea culpa. Another day gone by.

Thu, 20 Apr 2023 01:42:19 UTC

Still more RIPE fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

No response from RIPE today, the deadline that they had set. Sent them a reminder and finally, just before I went to bed, I got a reply: Unfortunately the Statutory of [sic] Declaration which was made recently on 18 April 2023 is not sufficient to support is transferred from LEMIS (SA) PTY LTD to you. Why? Ah, they're too polite to say.

Wed, 19 Apr 2023 02:28:40 UTC

What's legacy IPv4 address space?

Posted By Greg Lehey

So why did RIPE NCC tell me that my address block wasn't a legacy block? It predated RIPE (in fact, the creation date shows as 1 January 1970, in other words 0). But it seems that's not enough: this page tells me: Legacy space is the IPv4 address space that was distributed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority's (IANA) central registry prior to the formation of the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) system. After the RIPE NCC was established as an RIR, IANA authorised it to take over administrative responsibility of the address space that it had distributed in what is now defined as the RIPE NCC service region (Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia).

Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:53:11 UTC

Google Maps times

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been grumbling about the accuracy of GPS navigation software for as long as I have been using it, in particular the times it claims. Gradually it's getting better, to the point that it's almost worth looking at the timing information. Today I set up my route: Ballarat Base Hospital, police station, back to the Base Hospital, then back home. Driving time: 1 hour, 6 minutes: But when I sent the route to my phone, it disagreed: Now wouldn't you think that the same app would agree with itself?

Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:37:55 UTC

Yvonne: heart problems?

Posted By Greg Lehey

While this was going on, Yvonne told me that she was not feeling well. Chest pain. Given her cardiac history, that could be serious, so when I left for Ballarat round 13:30, I took her with me to the emergency department of the Ballarat Base Hospital, in the hope that they'd give her priority based on her symptoms. Drove on to the police station to get the statutory declaration signed: It's amazing how few checks are made for such a formal document. I didn't even have to identify myself to the JP, a perfect stranger: my signature was enough.

Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:34:16 UTC

UPS: More trouble than they're worth?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Turned on the printer to print out the statutory declaration, for the first time in months. BEEP! I had accidentally connected the printer to the new UPS instead of its own power point, and it overloaded. Instead of falling pack to passthrough, it simply turned off all power output, but not the beeping, which continued even after I removed all loads. I had to kill it separately. ANOTHER bloody power failure! Yes, of course, it was my fault, but what excuse is that? And this time, of course, I lost all the computers in my office with the exception of bde, the laptop.

Wed, 19 Apr 2023 01:26:14 UTC

LEMIS: Statutory declaration

Posted By Greg Lehey

First thing today was to write a statutory declaration about my relationship with LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd, not made any more difficult by my discovery of no fewer than 3 copies of the Constitution of LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd (?A company limited by shares?) . It's nearly all boilerplate, but of course there's a signature, where I declare that I am the sole member of Lemis [sic] (SA) Pty Ltd. Writing the declaration was straightforward enough, but somehow my text processing software has rotted, and I was unable to create a PDF output file (well, I created it, but it was empty).

Tue, 18 Apr 2023 06:59:29 UTC

AAMI again!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally a response from AAMI! But what kind of response? We tried to contact you on 03 53461370. However, the number is not connected. What's wrong there? Firstly, the number is connected, just with permanent voice mail. And my logs showed that no connection attempt had been made. And secondly, I had given them the correct number to call. Score 0 for AAMI. The message also included a number of photos, most probably of Helen's car. There seems to be damage that I didn't cause, but then, nobody told me what damage they're blaming on me. There were also photos of the inside of the car and other irrelevant things.

Tue, 18 Apr 2023 05:59:29 UTC

Aussie complaints

Posted By Greg Lehey

How do I complain to Aussie Broadband about their support (or lack thereof)? I asked for it in a response to the useless mail thread that I got from them last week. And how about that, I got a message: From: Aussie Broadband <no-[email protected]> Thank you for contacting the Aussie Broadband complaints department. Complaint reference number: **52729642** Please use this number when contacting Aussie Broadband about your complaint. OK, and how? The message went on: ### **What happens next?** If you have already spoken with one of our team, they should have outlined our complaint process timelines for your case.

Tue, 18 Apr 2023 05:49:03 UTC

More RIPE fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Saturday I discovered (I think) that my net block doesn't need to be in the name of a company, and as as a legacy network I don't need any involvement with RIPE. But the devil's in the detail, in particular the proof of ownership of LEMIS (SA), and it wasn't until today that I sent off a message offering a statutory declaration about the ownership of LEMIS, and also requesting non-involvement and a method to update the data for GL3-RIPE. The delay doesn't mean anything: it still arrived at RIPE at 4:53 UTC on Monday morning. The reply (in the evening due to the time difference) was also relatively fast, at 9:32 UTC: no, I'm not a legacy user.

Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:11:10 UTC

Luminar HDR

Posted By Greg Lehey

Luminar Neo has functionality for focus stacking and HDR, both of which I use. I already have Photomatix for HDR and Zerene for focus stacking, but who knows, maybe Luminar has some advantages. OK, fire up. It still has photos open that I processed weeks ago. How do I get rid of them? All I could find was to select them all and then press the DEL key. Somehow that seems tacky. Next, load the images. Nothing showed. Oh, first I need to open the ?folder?, after which it went off and started displaying all 36 images in the directory.

Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:06:22 UTC

Netblock ownership revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I established that my network block had transferred to LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd on 7 April 2015. And it was clear that it had nothing to do with me. Did I have any record? Yes, of course. And yes, not only was I involved in the transfer, I signed a document asking for the transfer. So why did I think I wasn't involved? The most convincing argument was that I used the old address for LEMIS, though I was in the process of moving. But that's a misunderstanding. I never migrated LEMIS to the new address: even then it was effectively non-functional.

Sun, 16 Apr 2023 01:59:45 UTC

Understanding the /24 transfer

Posted By Greg Lehey

The current state of play with deploying my /24 net block is that RIPE wants proof of ownership of the block, and that by Thursday. It's currently allocated to LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd: inetnum: - netname:        LEMIS-LAN org:            ORG-LPL6-RIPE country:        DE admin-c:        GL3-RIPE tech-c:         GL3-RIPE status:         ASSIGNED PI mnt-by:         RIPE-NCC-END-MNT created:        1970-01-01T00:00:00Z last-modified:  2023-03-22T09:43:24Z source:         RIPE organisation:   ORG-LPL6-RIPE org-name:       LEMIS (SA) PTY LTD country:        AU org-type:       OTHER address:        47 Kleins Road Dereel Victoria AU mnt-ref:        MP4204-MNT mnt-by:         MP4204-MNT created:        2015-04-07T21:35:02Z ...

Sat, 15 Apr 2023 04:00:34 UTC

New keyboard

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received a new Sun Type 7 keyboard today. Well, not so new: it looks considerably older than the one I'm using. But it only cost $25, and it's a good backup if the other one fails. I'm using it now to ensure that it really does work well.

Sat, 15 Apr 2023 02:20:36 UTC

Aussie Broadband Service: not what it used to be

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that technical superiority is no longer a hallmark of Aussie Broadband. After Tuesday's message from a Real Techie, I replied: Thanks.  Maybe there's a misunderstanding here.  I've had this block routed (5 times) before, and in the past the ISP just advertised the block.  I've never had to set up BGB or supply an ASN.  As far as I can tell, there is no ASN.  This is a legacy allocation (dating to March 1992), which might explain that. No response. Yesterday I resent the message marked ?Urgent? and asked for a call back.

Fri, 14 Apr 2023 03:32:36 UTC

Route my /24, more attempts

Posted By Greg Lehey

Discussion on the phone with Peter O'Connell. Can we register the /24 net block with the Lehey Family Trust? He's not sure, and wants to get back to me. In passing, ABR has an appallingly bad search function. Yes, I can find Lehey Family Trust, and also hundreds of Lees, Leahys and similar. Search just for ?Lehey? and it finds them too, overflowing its search results, with the result that I can't find if there are are any other companies with the name ?Lehey? in them. Apart from that, silence on all fronts: RIPE, Aussie Broadband. I even tried to contact Mark Price of RootBSD, now subsumed into, or maybe NetActuate.

Thu, 13 Apr 2023 03:02:22 UTC

Is my email being blocked?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Currently I send my email via, and from time to time some misguided Big Company blocks it for reasons that they can't really justify. Today I was expecting a number of important mail replies, and I got none. Did my messages get through? What if I send them via Aussie Broadband instead? It's a two line change in ---     2022/12/31 22:08:28     1.55 +++     2023/04/12 06:37:37 @@ -319,8 +319,8 @@  #relayhost = uucphost  #relayhost = [an.ip.add.ress]  # One of these two should be right.

Thu, 13 Apr 2023 02:46:17 UTC

Bloody AAMI again!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've now sent 2 emails to AAMI about the damage that they allege that I did to Helen Miller's car on 18 October 2022. I've responded twice, most recently last week, asking for immediate confirmation of reception. No response, so I tried again yesterday. Still no response. Time for a phone call. 13224411243351? No, of course not. That's just what my phone recorded. The number itself is 13 22 44, and the rest is a voice menu from hell, ending with a warning that I could be in for a wait of 30 to 45 minutes. They were at least partially right; after 30 minutes I hung up.

Wed, 12 Apr 2023 02:21:33 UTC

Route my /24!

Posted By Greg Lehey

OK, time is getting short for routing my /24 before I lose it. Do I need a business account? Off to the Aussie Broadband web site to look for pricing. Oh. First I need to log in! Why? And then they want me to go through this horrible 2FA! To make matters worse, it took several minutes for their email to come through. The interesting thing was that their business accounts cost no more than their ?residential? accounts. But they come with a static IP address?clearly nothing I need here?and that costs $5 extra for ?residential? connections, so they're actually cheaper if you need the static IP.

Mon, 10 Apr 2023 03:02:59 UTC

xterm for Android?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the most horrible things about ?modern? computer infrastructure is the lack of interoperability. How do I interface SMS with email with Facebook? How do I share files between Android and FreeBSD? All these things that should be easy have been made difficult for no good reason. On top of that, of course, there's one almost acceptable reason why Android is such a pain: it has to run on a device that is too small to have a usable keyboard. But even there things could be better. And an obvious interoperability feature would be a version of xterm that runs on Android.

Sun, 09 Apr 2023 02:45:55 UTC

Progress is coming. Get used to it.

Posted By Greg Lehey

Five years ago I read and commented on an article Why smart fridges are the future. I read it again today. Have things changed? I don't know. I change my opinions in the course of time?I've done it with Android, though I still find it abominable?but in this case, my opinions remain. About the only thing of interest in that article (apparently sponsored by Amazon) was the suggestion that Alexa could give you conversion factors and start timers: For example, you can say ?Alexa, how many tablespoons are in a cup??

Sat, 08 Apr 2023 04:06:43 UTC

Bloody cables!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Bruno ran around in the lounge room today, and somehow he managed to wobble on the HDMI output cable of tiwi. No picture. OK, I can do that too. Wobble. No picture. Wobble. No picture. How I hate HDMI! Dammit, finally time to put the computer in the cabinet where it belongs. Cables too short. Mess around and finally get them long enough to be able to boot tiwi on a side table in front of the cabinet. Turn on. Nothing. No power. Look round the back of the cabinet. All seems well. More cursing and swearing didn't help, so I get a new power cable and finally powered it on.

Sat, 08 Apr 2023 04:05:14 UTC

Cellophane? Cellopark?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The parking signs that I saw on Wednesday included a reference to a mobile phone app to pay for parking, or conceivably to park for free: Off searching today, and found it, with the strange name Cellopark, which sounds like cellophane. How did they come up with such a silly name? OK, install. Configure. I suppose that it's par for the course that I can only configure the thing on the phone, but what a pain! In addition, I have to enter information that it should know, like the phone number.

Thu, 06 Apr 2023 02:09:10 UTC

Car insurance: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne's car is still not insured for third party and stuff. In view of the pain we've just had with AAMI, it's time to do it. My interaction with Budget Direct last month was particularly painful. How about RACV again? Called up, gave the details. No, sorry, we can't renew the policy: it has lapsed. We need to do a new one. Various silly questions, but at one point it occurred to me: how much money are we looking at? The last yearly premium was $212. This time it would be $350 odd! I no longer get the membership rebates. Sorry, RACV, that's the final nail in the coffin.

Mon, 03 Apr 2023 00:18:36 UTC

More photo processing videos

Posted By Greg Lehey

After spending more money than I really wanted on Luminar Neo, I should get the most out of it. There are a surprising number of videos about how to use it, and I've been watching some of them. And how about that, I have learnt something. Probably the most interesting one is that they have a surprising number of key bindings that can be useful if I can only remember them.

Sun, 02 Apr 2023 02:54:07 UTC

What's annoying Xorg?

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some days now I've seen this kind of output from top:   PID USERNAME      THR PRI NICE   SIZE    RES STATE   C   TIME    WCPU COMMAND  2768 grog            1  52    0  3470M 43664K select  1 218.8H  41.55% Xorg This instance of Xorg was started a month ago, so it's using about 7 hours of CPU time per day. What's it doing? The obvious answer would be that it's handling data, but it's not displaying anything significant.

Sat, 01 Apr 2023 01:39:06 UTC

Ukraine refugees in UK: animal import only via Google or Facebook

Posted By Greg Lehey

I receive a regular newsletter from the UK Government about the Ukraine crisis. Refugees are allowed to bring in their domestic animals, something that in the past has been almost impossible for mere mortals. But there are conditions: Before you travel to the UK, apply to bring your pets to Great Britain from Ukraine. You will need a Google or Facebook account. O tempora! O mores!

Fri, 31 Mar 2023 01:28:18 UTC

Why is my phone so slow?

Posted By Greg Lehey

enzian, the Xiaomi Redmi 9A that I bought for Yvonne, proved so slow that I had to buy her another phone. Since then, enzian has been on my desk for playing around with. And yes, it's amazingly slow. Why? I've had cheaper phones that weren't that bad, and the phone is several orders of magnitude faster than my 1970s supercomputer benchmark, the Control Data 7600. Has anybody else found insights? Off looking, and came up with a number of pages, none of them overly convincing.

Fri, 31 Mar 2023 01:25:07 UTC

Use a mobile phone!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange error message from Google Maps today: ?Something went wrong, please reload? or some such. And of course a link to a ?learn more? page that didn't address the issue at all. But that's modern. What's also modern is apparently that I'm not using the right kind of ?device?: Your account, [email protected], is signed in on a device that doesn't have a screenlock. If your phone is lost or stolen, a screenlock helps protect your personal info. Add a screenlock.

Fri, 31 Mar 2023 00:56:33 UTC

Another system crash!

Posted By Greg Lehey

My IRC proxy wasn't running again today. It's really very unreliable, so in to restart it. But this time things were different: === grog@lax (/dev/pts/3) ~ 4 -> uptime 12:57AM  up 16:45, 4 users, load averages: 0.59, 0.49, 0.51 The system was restarted! That's the second time in three months!

Wed, 29 Mar 2023 02:57:30 UTC

/24 for sale

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've received a message from RIPE: I am no longer entitled to the /24 network block ( that I have had for 31 years, nearly as long as RIPE has been in existence. Oh. That's sad. Somehow it's part of my life, and I use the block every day. Just not on the Global Internet. And it's nice to know that the address range is so low in what used to be called a ?Class C network? that it's considerably lower than the RFC 1918 range of But the writing's on the wall: LEMIS no longer exists (closed down in 2007, deregistered in 2019), and since I haven't found a good way to use the address block on the Internet, it's not clear what good it is to me.

Wed, 29 Mar 2023 02:50:41 UTC

Understanding Android, next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

Discussed my Android documentation problems on IRC today. TL;DR: <fwaggle> You're not imagining it, that UX is fucked Swap one lack of documentation for another. UX? Like Tandem Computers' NonStop UX that I knew and loved decades ago? No, it seems to be a modern term for ?user experience?. Various people on IRC showed the contents of their corresponding screen, whose name I still don't know. They had one thing in common: they were all different. And modulo lack of documentation, they weren't any better than the MIUI screen.

Tue, 28 Mar 2023 01:04:20 UTC

Understanding Android, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne is somehow a master of accidentally setting obscure things on digital devices. Last Tuesday she managed to set ?Airplane mode? on her phone. I still don't know how, but I do now understand that I can reset it by pressing the aeroplane icon on this page, which, for want of better documentation, I call the settings overview page: Some of that information is perfectly clear: it was taken at 14:02 today, mobile data is turned off, I'm connected to a Wi-Fi network L3M15, Bluetooth is enabled, and I have a field to shine a torch if I wish.

Fri, 24 Mar 2023 01:33:55 UTC

Car insurance over the web

Posted By Greg Lehey

We've been driving our cars without third party, fire and theft insurance for over a year now, since RACV bungled our renewals. No particular harm: the most important insurance is included in our registration, but clearly we need to do something. On Juha Kupiainen's mention, tried Budget Direct, who offer a web signup. But it doesn't work! Some parts of the signup process are so slow that I couldn't finish. Clearly they think that I'm too stupid to enter the expiry date of my credit card directly, so they produce selection lists which take over 20 s to react. When I finally did, pressed CONTINUE and watched the thing hang.

Wed, 22 Mar 2023 01:57:17 UTC

Understanding X fonts

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that is holding up my system upgrade is the question of X fonts. I have a list of things to investigate, but basically it's far more complicated than it has any right to be. One of the things that puzzles me is things like this: Yes, they're all spam, in different character sets. But once upon a time I could display them. What has gone wrong? Spent some time investigating the matter. xterm has a font selection menu with very few fonts dating back decades.

Wed, 22 Mar 2023 01:50:57 UTC

Getting emergency warnings

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from a Free Thinker today?that's the name he uses?to tell me of an alternative to this horrible VIC Emergency web site. It seems that there's an XML feed with the information, and he includes a script to download it and send it to a mobile phone. I haven't examined it yet, but it looks like it would be relatively easy to modify it to send it to a Real Computer?.

Tue, 21 Mar 2023 00:13:26 UTC

You want uptime?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that has exceeded 5 years uptime, I've been keeping an eye on it daily: === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 19 -> date; uptime Mon Mar 20 03:11:10 UTC 2023  3:11AM  up 1869 days, 12:14, 2 users, load averages: 0.15, 0.18, 0.15 But that's nothing. carn/carneous on IRC (I don't know his real name) has a machine called hubble: hubble# uptime  2:22PM  up 4766 days, 20:35, 1 user, load averages: 0.06, 0.01, 0.00 That's a little over 13 years.

Sun, 19 Mar 2023 01:28:09 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange weather today. It started out normally enough, except for heavier than usual winds?the dreaded north wind that changes to west during the day. When it's coming from the north, it spreads bushfires south. When it turns from the west, it spreads the whole length of the bushfire to the east. So we kept a careful eye on the paddock to the west, which is grass for about 200 m. In principle, the wet summer means that there's not much to burn. Here the area round the house, taken today: Still, a good idea to try to squeeze some useful information out of this horrible VIC Emergency web site.

Sat, 18 Mar 2023 01:08:42 UTC

Bushfire alert!

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been a cool, wet summer, and we're well into autumn. But the fire danger still isn't over, as this article in the Ballarat Courier reports. Tomorrow could be the worst day of the season. To quote: ?We've had no real significant rain so far this year,? he said. (Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Gunning) And here's me thinking that we had record-breaking rainfall.

Sat, 18 Mar 2023 01:01:07 UTC

Another strange error message

Posted By Greg Lehey

Came into the office this morning to find an xterm window full of: console.warn: services.settings: Could not determine network status. Message: TypeError: lazy.gNetworkLinkService is undefined A quick Google brought me to a surprisingly accurate explanation. This is on eureka, with an ancient firefox, so I think it's a case of ?well don't do that then?.

Fri, 17 Mar 2023 00:34:58 UTC

More PHP debugging

Posted By Greg Lehey

A lot of the remaining error messages in my Apache error log relate to my PHP code. How do I debug it? For example: [Thu Mar 16 01:40:48.975295 2023] [php7:warn] [pid 71294] [client] PHP Warning:  A non-numeric value encountered in /home/grog/ on line 180 OK, I can check utils.php and discover that it's in a function addrows(), which sums columns (yes!) in a table. Where's it called from? What has it been passed? Clearly I don't want any of this information to appear in the page that I deliver, but it's very likely that the resultant page is broken.

Thu, 16 Mar 2023 01:20:20 UTC

More web site tidying up

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some time today tidying up various issues with the external web site. There are a surprising number of them. I really need to tidy up my logging.

Wed, 15 Mar 2023 00:52:57 UTC

Fixing web pages

Posted By Greg Lehey

While chasing up yesterday's log file problems, came across a number of log entries that I can't blame on anybody else: they're relatively benign PHP errors. Spent a considerable amount of time following up there; there will be more to come.

Tue, 14 Mar 2023 00:28:22 UTC

No mail!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find that no mail had been delivered from outside overnight. Why? Off to the external mail server to take a look. (Only) file system full! A bit of searching led me to /var/log/www/, where the error log was fully 27 GB in size! How could that happen? Clearly I need to pay more attention to the daily status reports. But it wouldn't have helped. Checking again, the last mail (16:54 yesterday) contained: Filesystem         Size    Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on /dev/ufs/rootfs     53G     41G    8.3G    83%    / So overnight I had written something like 10 GB of error messages to the log file!

Mon, 13 Mar 2023 01:15:01 UTC

Sunday, day of rest

Posted By Greg Lehey

McLaren Vale Cellars have a new wine in their catalogue: ?Legion Chardonnay?. I've had the Legion Shiraz, and it's one of their better ones. Chardonnay is not my particular preference (I go for Sauvignon blanc instead), but on one occasion I bought some by accident, and it didn't taste bad. So: let's try a carton of the Legion and see what it's like. Follow the link in the mail and come to... ?Black Market Chardonnay?. Not what I was looking for, but clearly a web site problem. OK, email to Mark Curtis asking what I should do. An answer came almost immediately, on a Sunday afternoon.

Sun, 12 Mar 2023 01:08:07 UTC

Next X attempt

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why couldn't I start X on teevee with two display cards? The problem is clearly in creating the configuration file, which (as far as I can see) is absolutely necessary if you have more than one card. But how do I create it? X -configure doesn't know about drivers. Juha Kupiainen suggested nvidia-xconfig, which I knew, but for some reason I hadn't thought of using it. OK, new day, new display card: vgapci0@pci0:1:0:0:     class=0x030000 card=0x85761043 chip=0x128b10de rev=0xa1 hdr=0x00     vendor     = 'NVIDIA Corporation'     device     = 'GK208B [GeForce GT 710]'     class      = display     subclass   = VGA vgapci1@pci0:5:0:0:     class=0x030000 card=0x375a1458 chip=0x128b10de rev=0xa1 hdr=0x00     vendor     = 'NVIDIA Corporation'     device     = 'GK208B [GeForce GT 710]'     class      = display     subclass   = ...

Fri, 10 Mar 2023 01:17:03 UTC

Next X configuration pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

During the week I tried to start X on the ThinkCentre incarnation of hydra. ?No screens found?. Strange. This box was effectively the old teevee with a second display card, and both had been recognized. And after the inevitable search I discovered that the driver I was using (340.108) supported both cards. OK, eliminate one potential problem and replace the old, dying teevee disk in the box. No change. OK, remove my guess at the ?wrong? card (GT218 [GeForce 210]), which I guessed to be the one with the larger heat sink. Reboot. Worked immediately. So clearly it's related to more than one card.

Thu, 09 Mar 2023 00:22:27 UTC

Hydra surprises

Posted By Greg Lehey

Not much time to do anything with hydra today, but one thing had puzzled me: why was the SSD so slow on the HP Z800? Tried the same tests on the ThinkCentre and got completely different results. Here first the Z800 and then the ThinkCentre, running the same disk and the same OS: === grog@hydra (/dev/pts/13) ~ 2 -> diskinfo -t da1 Seek times:         Full stroke:      250 iter in   0.016239 sec =    0.065 msec         Half stroke:      250 iter in   0.016996 sec =    0.068 msec         Quarter stroke:   500 iter in   0.079407 sec =    0.159 msec         Short forward:    400 iter in   0.044783 sec =    0.112 msec         Short backward:   400 iter in   0.043068 ...

Tue, 07 Mar 2023 23:46:59 UTC

Hydra, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

How do I proceed with hydra? It's clear I need a new base system (motherboard, memory, case, power supply), but the display configuration is still an issue, and I still don't know an easy way to find out what driver I need for a specific Nvidia graphics card. For each card, I need to search. OK, I have a pile of at least 4 cards, all different. What are they? Take out the disk from hydra and put it in the old teevee, a ThinkCentre. Got it up with surprisingly few issues (mainly editing /etc/fstab to change da0 and da1 to ada0 and ada1.

Tue, 07 Mar 2023 02:09:38 UTC

Error reporting by guesswork or frustration

Posted By Greg Lehey

A couple of days ago I had an error backing up the root file system on tiwi: DUMP: mapping (Pass II) [directories] DUMP: estimated 1730498 tape blocks. DUMP: dumping (Pass III) [directories] zstd: error 25 : Write error : No space left on device (cannot write compressed block) DUMP: Broken pipe Well, sure, you can run out of space, and it happens from time to time. But not this time: there was plenty of space. But somehow that number rang a bell, and it wasn't ENOSPC.

Sun, 05 Mar 2023 23:13:48 UTC

Retouching photos

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, got out Luminar Neo today to retouch yesterday's sunset photo. It's a good thing that I had made notes about how to use it; it's anything but intuitive. In particular, it's remarkably difficult to save a file. Still, the results are particularly good this time: Encouraged by that, I tried another photo that Yvonne had asked me to process: remove the tree in this photo: That looks as good as impossible, and the results confirmed my suspicions: ...

Sun, 05 Mar 2023 00:44:25 UTC

More Nvidia ?documentation?

Posted By Greg Lehey

While looking for something better than the documentation I found yesterday, I found the NVIDIA Accelerated Linux Graphics Driver README and Installation Guide. Clearly that's not directly related to FreeBSD, but equally clearly it's the Linux version of the NVIDIA Accelerated FreeBSD Graphics Driver README and Installation Guide. Only this one has an Appendix A, ?Supported NVIDIA GPU Products?. And it's newer than the corresponding Appendix E for FreeBSD. It goes as far as the 390 driver, and it even mentions my GT 710, unfortunately without divulging the driver version. It wouldn't make much difference: it, too, is way out of date.

Sat, 04 Mar 2023 02:03:02 UTC

Diary tidy-up

Posted By Greg Lehey

This diary is written as a PHP script, which allows me to include additional information only for myself, such as restricted content, drafts, comments and notes. This all gets discarded when PHP runs against it. In particular, I have a call '<?php exit (); ?>' after the last day, and after that I have notes for myself. But they have a way of accumulating. The last two days typically have 300 to 400 lines of content, but the file has grown to over 2,000 lines, mainly comments. Spent some time sifting through the oldest, which prove to be round 4 years old.

Sat, 04 Mar 2023 01:24:36 UTC

Nvidia drivers: the mess

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what do I do about a display card driver for lagoon? A bit of checking suggested that maybe the Nvidia driver version 510 would work; the ones I have been using had numbers starting in 3, not 4. But I don't have time for that; instead I should find a central set of documentation. So far, for example, there only way I know to find out what driver(s) support a specific card is to search for it in a list on the Nvidia web site. It's valuable information, which is presumably why almost nobody gives links to it. What I have found so far is: The driver archive.

Sat, 04 Mar 2023 00:49:11 UTC

Phone fail

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call on the (?landline?, really VoIP) phone today. Tried to answer it, but it kept on ringing. Further investigation showed that the phone (Uniden 1735)) wasn't communicating with the base station. None of the four handsets were. They made a ?bump bump bump? noise, and after a while they gave up. The ?bump? matched the dial tone, which should be continuous, and I've heard this before, three or four times before the continuous dial tone came. So maybe that's an indication of communication issues. Never mind, we have another one (Uniden 1635, effectively identical). And of course the batteries were discharged.

Fri, 03 Mar 2023 01:31:37 UTC

More lagoon fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's attempt at upgrading lagoon didn't get me as far as I wanted. About all I could establish is that the Nvidia driver documentation is an absolute catastrophe. For today, I put a ~/startx script in Yvonne's home directory to start X with TCP connections available, like God intended. It wasn't helped by the fact that stopping X garbles the display, and it seems it also leaves the keyboard unresponsive, so the easiest way to recover was the Microsoft way: reboot. But it works, and now Yvonne can run a second, up-to-date firefox from bde.

Fri, 03 Mar 2023 01:20:06 UTC

Repairing Yvonne's car

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne's car has been in the dock since Monday waiting for a new replacement ?computer? to do unspecified things that at least include running the traffic indicators. Into town with her to pick it up. Still not ready! ?Ten minutes?, said Leigh, holding a tablet used to configure the electronics. And he more kept to that time, it seems, while I had my hair cut just down the road. Only: it didn't fix the problem (?sticky? indicators). So we need a better diagnosis and more time in dock.

Fri, 03 Mar 2023 00:52:02 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking the overnight backups this morning, one of the first things I do, I found: Filesystem              1K-blocks          Used Avail Capacity iused   ifree %iused  Mounted on eureka:/videobackup 7,813,215,884 7,812,627,724     0   100%  96,659 983,915    9%   /videobackup Thu 2 Mar 2023 04:01:41 AEDT Video backup started rsync: [receiver] write failed on "/videobackup/spool/Download/..." : No space left on device (28) rsync error: error in file IO (code 11) at receiver.c(379) [receiver=3.2.4] rsync: [sender] write error: Broken pipe (32) Oh.

Thu, 02 Mar 2023 03:10:13 UTC

Upgrading lagoon

Posted By Greg Lehey

So, whether I like it, I need to upgrade lagoon to the latest and greatest FreeBSD. When was it installed? === root@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) /destdir/usr 10 -> uname -a FreeBSD 12.1-STABLE FreeBSD 12.1-STABLE r355358 GENERIC  amd64 Dammit, this horrible lack of information! Somewhere there's a knob to get useful information, like: === grog@bde (/dev/pts/5) ~ 1 -> uname -a FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #0: Wed Nov  2 13:52:12 AEDT 2022     [email protected]:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/stable-13/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64 OK, look at the kernel file directly: === root@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) /destdir/usr 12 -> l /boot/kernel/kernel -r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  31,364,536 12 Dec  2020 /boot/kernel/kernel That's not as accurate, since I could touch(1) the file, but it's ...

Wed, 01 Mar 2023 02:08:15 UTC

Firefox breaks system again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne has not been able to use the Facebook ?Messenger? feature for a couple of days now. Why not? Ignoring helpful answers on Facebook (?it will work if you reboot?) , off to find out. It works on Microsoft! Yes. It seems that Facebook has relied on a new firefox feature that isn't in the version (73?) on lagoon. pkg upgrade? Yes, willingly, in the process removing avidemux, ImageMagick and mpv. Damn! I couldn't even build it, because it wanted a different version of perl.

Tue, 28 Feb 2023 01:01:29 UTC

Preparing for Microsoft ?Windows? 11

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it's clear that the HP Z800 that I inherited from Bruce Evans isn't appropriate to be my main machine: only marginally faster than my current machine, and uses more power than all the other computers in my office put together. But what about using it as a Microsoft box that mainly sleeps and just gets woken for a few minutes a day? It's certainly faster than the current distress and dischord. But now the current version of Microsoft is ?Windows? 11. What do I need to install it? With some discussion on IRC I discovered that I had the choice of Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Pro N, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations, Windows 11 Pro N for Workstations, Windows 11 Pro Education, Windows 11 Pro Education N, Windows 11 Education, Windows 11 Education N, Windows 11 Enterprise and Windows 11 Enterprise N.

Mon, 27 Feb 2023 01:21:54 UTC

Power fail!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to see the display Boot: on eureka's console. Another grid power failure that found its way through the inverter! Again! This is impossible! The best thing about it was that it gave me the opportunity to put the new UPS in circuit. It's a nasty thing. There are only two buttons: a power button that doubles as secret handshake, and a red button to reset something that could signify overload or power surge (in each case, presumably, negating the claim of being an uninterruptible power supply). One of the secret handshakes was to tell the thing to shut up when source power goes away.

Mon, 20 Feb 2023 01:05:47 UTC

Updating the yt-dlp port

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's update to yt-dlp clearly requires committing to the FreeBSD ports collection. That's Yuri Victorovich's (surname uncertain) baby, and clearly it's a one-line patch. But is my ports tree up to date? More pain with git. === root@dereel (/dev/pts/7) /src/FreeBSD/git/ports 1 -> mailme git pull From    600101b2ff88..77a91720bc14  2023Q1     -> freebsd/2023Q1 error: Your local changes to the following files would be overwritten by merge:         www/yt-dlp/Makefile         www/yt-dlp/distinfo Please commit your changes or stash them before you merge. Aborting With CVS, of course, it would just be flagged and left to the programmer to sort out.

Sun, 19 Feb 2023 02:34:36 UTC

Next computer problem

Posted By Greg Lehey

We watch the news on TV round 15:30. But today I discovered that nothing had been recorded since yesterday. Tried it manually: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/1) ~ 14 -> LC_ALL=de_DE.UTF-8 youtube-dl$STREAM -o blah [youtube] GEumHK0hfdo: Downloading webpage [youtube] GEumHK0hfdo: Downloading m3u8 information [youtube] GEumHK0hfdo: Downloading MPD manifest ERROR: Unable to extract uploader id; please report this issue on . Make sure you are using the latest version; type  youtube-dl -U  to update. Be sure to call youtube-dl with the --verbose flag and include its complete output. Huh? How did that happen?

Sun, 19 Feb 2023 01:39:35 UTC

The customer lies!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Off to Ballarat today as planned to buy some UPSs at Officeworks. Their web site had shown stock of a number of devices that came into the question, but when I got there, almost none were there, and then ones that were were too polite to call themselves UPS: Found a somewhat reluctant Rowan Atkinsonesque salesperson and asked him, but he didn't want to know: ?If you have an issue with our web site, call them on the phone?.

Sun, 19 Feb 2023 01:32:58 UTC

Next computer issue

Posted By Greg Lehey

Tried to read in photos to the computer today. No communication with the E-30. A bit of investigation showed that it was related to the USB adapter, the one with the power switches. All was on, but the system didn't want to know about that port. Put the cable on a motherboard port and all was well. But why do these things keep happening?

Sun, 19 Feb 2023 01:30:58 UTC

Analysing the tiwi crash

Posted By Greg Lehey

So how much damage did the tiwi:/spool file system suffer yesterday? Made a list of the inodes, and found: inode 1727507 was an active news video download: 1727507 -rw-r--r--  1 grog  home  213,647,360 17 Feb 14:13 AlJaz-14.part The modification timestamp corresponds to the time of the power outage. I suppose that's understandable, though it's not clear why the file size should be bigger than advertised.

Sat, 18 Feb 2023 23:23:10 UTC

Another PV inverter crash! Another!

Posted By Greg Lehey

In mid-afternoon, into the kitchen to heat something up. Turn on the cooktop and BEEP! The PV inverter failed again! Why? Whatever it was lost power to the whole house. Of course, it was only temporary, maybe 3 seconds. But that was enough. Dammit, this is really unacceptable. One of the main reasons for the PV system was exactly to avoid this kind of problem. Reboot eureka. I'm getting far too adept at this. But first put a surge protector in front of the UPS for eureka and friends. Disconnect the UPS input, and everything died. The UPS claimed to have capacity for 30 minutes, but it lied.

Fri, 17 Feb 2023 01:03:30 UTC

Lies, damn lies and deadlines

Posted By Greg Lehey

I submitted my FreeBSD history article yesterday, just before the hard deadline. Mail back today: it'll be at least a week before he can look at it. So at least I have time to reconsider the content.

Thu, 16 Feb 2023 02:22:32 UTC

Dan Murphy responds

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reply to yesterday's complaint to Dan Murphy's: Thank you for contacting us and bringing this to our attention. I have sent this to our online team to rectify but if you would like to go ahead and place an order now, let me know and I will refund you the difference back to you. Apologies for the inconvenience caused. That's reasonable enough from her perspective, but it shows that she's not able to fix the problem immediately, nor even get the ?online team? to do so. So off to buy the stuff and hope that I'll get the remainder back some time.

Thu, 16 Feb 2023 02:16:15 UTC

FreeBSD article: done!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I was given a hard deadline for my article on FreeBSD history: today. Well, maybe tomorrow: 15 February. Got a couple of people on IRC to take a look at it, but they came up with nothing interesting. OK, it compiles, ship it! But it still took all day. While reviewing, Edwin Groothuis came up with a request: Can you put it in a Google Docs thingie so I can write my comments? Simple answer to that: no. I've reviewed things on Google Docs, but I don't know how to put things in there.

Wed, 15 Feb 2023 00:38:44 UTC

Thirty years of FreeBSD, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

On with my article on the first ten years of FreeBSD, which is due on 15 February?two days' time, since the date is implicitly in the USA. But I want to submit it by tomorrow evening to be on the safe side. Gradually it's taking shape. All that I need to do now is to tidy it up a bit and decide how negative I need to be about trends into the future. One that still greatly irritates me is the way people can't express themselves in writing, very noticeable in email. Even people who wrote well 30 years ago now send out a mess that makes them seem illiterate.

Mon, 13 Feb 2023 02:18:07 UTC

FreeBSD article continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

In my first pass of my article on FreeBSD history, I've got as far as the year 2000. I still need to write up 2001 to 2003. And suddenly I've run out of things to say. By 2000 I had written the Vinum volume manager, played a significant part in the restructuring of the FreeBSD kernel to handle multiprocessors better, and become a member of the FreeBSD Core Team. What more is there? It seems that from then on it was mainly bureaucracy. I've already tried to read my old Daemon's advocate articles, and I worked on tidying up another one, but it's slow business, about half an hour per article?and I wrote 35 of them.

Mon, 13 Feb 2023 01:00:10 UTC

Off the net again?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Once again this morning Yvonne said to me ?are we off the net again?? Into the office to check. No, we still had our Internet connection, but eureka was waiting with a Boot: prompt. Why? Apart from dereel, which had also rebooted, nothing else seemed to be affected, and I had specifically connected the old office UPS in front of it to tide over short inverter outages. And nothing else in the house was affected. Something wrong with the UPS?

Sun, 12 Feb 2023 01:29:38 UTC

FreeBSD beginnings, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent most of the day working on my article on ?FreeBSD: The first 10 years?a personal timeline?. As I noted yesterday, it's not the writing that's the issue: it's knowing what to write. And in that context it's good that I have written a lot about FreeBSD at the time. In particular, it was interesting to look at the slides (PDF) from ?Two years in the trenches?, about the FreeBSD Core Team, which I presented in September 2002. It confirms my recollection: by then, nearly 10 years after the project started, we had transitioned from a group of hobbyists scratching an itch to a bureaucracy.

Sat, 11 Feb 2023 01:33:55 UTC

Mail corruption!

Posted By Greg Lehey

My email inbox is once again overly large, and there are important messages in there that are over a month old. One was from Peter O'Connell, my investment adviser. It started with:;dmarc=pass action=none; Received-SPF: Pass ( domain of designates Now clearly those are mail headers, but they're displayed as part of the message. Something seems to have corrupted the mailbox. What?

Sat, 11 Feb 2023 00:52:14 UTC

Making history interesting

Posted By Greg Lehey

So I've decided on a topic for the upcoming 30th anniversary edition of the FreeBSD Journal: ?FreeBSD: The first 10 years?a personal timeline?, and I've written about half of it. But is that good? Yes, I can write it, and there's plenty of material. But is it interesting? It is for me: I always thought of myself as a latecomer in the project, but I made my first acquaintance on 27 September 1993, three months after the project was named, and I got actively involved two years later. And things like the new FreeBSD Core Team structure go back to noise that I made in early 2000.

Fri, 10 Feb 2023 01:40:42 UTC

Network outage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne in this afternoon: ?Are we off the net??. In general the answer is ?no?, but this time she was right, and she found out before I did. The NTD showed a normal status, so for once it must have been Aussie Broadband. OK, wait a few minutes. No improvement. tcpdump showed lots of ARP messages going out, and no reply. Dammit, I'm going to have to use this horrible mobile phone app to see if they knew about it. It's not designed for mobile phones, something like Why d0 you torment me so merc1lessly?. How do you enter that on a mobile phone? Slowly. No, glacially slowly, because you have to watch each individual character before it turns into a blob.

Fri, 10 Feb 2023 01:29:20 UTC

Goodbye, hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning, and, almost as expected, X was dead. Restart? Yes, this time without rebooting. But there was a difference: these repeating messages in /var/log/messages: Feb  9 08:47:06 hydra kernel: NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:0f:00): 69, Illegal Class Error: ChID 0001, Class 0000503f, Offset 00000100, Data 8d8d0a00 Feb  9 08:47:06 hydra kernel: NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:0f:00): 12, COCOD 00000001 e0012d00 0000502d 00000100 8d8d0a00 Feb  9 08:47:06 hydra syslogd: last message repeated 1 times Feb  9 08:47:06 hydra kernel: NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:0f:00): 6, PE0001 They repeated at regular intervals, probably corresponding to flickering on the X displays.

Thu, 09 Feb 2023 02:06:23 UTC

New bathroom scales

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne suspects that there's something wrong with her bathroom scales. OK, not an issue: they're on special at ALDI, so she can buy one and compare the results. Brought it home and discovered a little Bluetooth emblem. Oh. Clearly not the same as the old one. RTFM time. Download the Dr.Weight app from the toyshop, create an account, and follow the instructions. Did that, marvelling at the particularly poor reviews the app got, and tried to access the scales. Though I had paired, I couldn't find any way to get it to do anything useful. You'd think that at the very least it would display weights, but no.

Thu, 09 Feb 2023 01:30:13 UTC

Google Maps tracking

Posted By Greg Lehey

Wednesday is shopping day for Yvonne, and I follow her progress with Google Maps location sharing. But things don't always work the way I expect. In particular, on her way home she stops off at Chris Bahlo's, but Google Maps doesn't want to know when she leaves: it doesn't update her location until she gets home. It has done this consistently for the last 3 weeks. Today was different: Yvonne was at ALDI in Alfredton, and from then on her location didn't get updated for over an hour. Why not? Arguably it could be a data link issue. No mobile phone credit left?

Thu, 09 Feb 2023 00:43:57 UTC

More hydra failures

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to discover that X on hydra had failed once again. Things seem to be getting worse all the time. Once again I was able to restart it, but things can't go on like this. Time to get a new machine built. Long discussion on IRC. Why do I want to have the machine assembled rather than do it myself, like I have done with almost every other machine in the last 46 years? Laziness mainly, but also a question of compatibility. But with more consideration, there's not that much to consider. I have: Processor.

Wed, 08 Feb 2023 00:15:05 UTC

Another hydra crash!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to discover that X on hydra crashed again, apparently just as I pressed a key on the keyboard to wake the server. Again the same error message, DMA issues. The problem seems to be accelerating, and maybe it's not due to overheating after all. Damn. I really don't want to have my hand forced in choosing a new machine, but clearly I need to do something quickly. Maybe the interim solution is the other machine that I inherited from Bruce Evans, the one he called zetaplex.

Tue, 07 Feb 2023 00:30:35 UTC

Another hydra crash

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the issues I have with my current hybrid setup with hydra and eureka is that I no longer have a 4 monitor display for processing panoramas. The closest I come are the two monitors on hydra, so today I processed two that I took yesterday. While I was watching it, small ?worms? appeared over both monitors, and the display froze. Shortly after, X crashed. There's not very much information in the Xorg.0.log, but it's the same as before: [1031521.666] (II) NVIDIA(0): The NVIDIA X driver has encountered an error; attempting to [1031521.666] (II) NVIDIA(0):     recover...

Mon, 06 Feb 2023 00:51:05 UTC

5 years uptime!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since my Tandem days I've been fascinated by ?keeping it up?: rebooting is a no-no. And nearly 10 years ago, with a bit of cheating, I managed to approach the 5 years uptime mark. But then the system hosting failed, and there was no sensible recovery?after 4 years, 11½ months! New provider, new system. I didn't even mention it 5 years ago when I set up But it's been there ever since, and today I finally saw: === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 21 -> date; uptime Sat Feb  4 22:15:44 UTC 2023       10:15PM  up 1826 days,  7:18, 2 users, load averages: 0.76, 0.59, 0.51 That was 9:15 this morning.

Sun, 05 Feb 2023 00:43:18 UTC

More Hugin strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last week I had a strange problem with my house photos: the photo east of the house had strange artefacts. But I removed the image before I could save it, and I wasn't able to reproduce it. Never mind, a week has gone by, and I've taken the next round of photos. And the same problem happened again! This time I kept the image: It's not quite the same: this time the artefacts are sharper. But they happen on the same image in the same place: The disturbance at bottom left is the panorama bracket, but that's in every image in all of the panoramas, so its presence here is part of the issue.

Sat, 04 Feb 2023 03:01:46 UTC

Google knows where you are!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Found on a web page today: That's right! And it's the first time ever. I've had claims of being all over Australia, or in Europe or the USA. And the IP address hasn't changed. What has?

Sat, 04 Feb 2023 02:43:31 UTC

Old Unix sources

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the Good Old Days (last millennium), access to Unix wasn't easy. My first installation of Interactive Unix System V/386 came on floppies and cost an arm and a leg. Various people spirited away copies of Unix sources, notably Sun, for their own personal use. Times have changed. VETUSWARE claims to be ?the biggest free abandonware downloads collection in the universe?. And certainly their Unix collection is impressive. It includes both Interactive Unix and SunOS, the latter in source. I wonder what the copyright status is, or if anybody still cares.

Sat, 04 Feb 2023 02:01:51 UTC

X fonts revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really need to do something about the X fonts on hydra. I seem to have Cyrillic fonts, but not east Asian ones. OK, what do we have in the Ports Collection? Lots of stuff, of course, x11-fonts/xorg-fonts seems to be the one I want: This meta-package installs all X.Org fonts and related programs. But it lies. The Makefile says: RUN_DEPENDS=    xorg-fonts-100dpi>0:x11-fonts/xorg-fonts-100dpi \                 xorg-fonts-75dpi>0:x11-fonts/xorg-fonts-75dpi \                 xorg-fonts-cyrillic>0:x11-fonts/xorg-fonts-cyrillic \                 xorg-fonts-miscbitmaps>0:x11-fonts/xorg-fonts-miscbitmaps \                 xorg-fonts-truetype>0:x11-fonts/xorg-fonts-truetype \                 xorg-fonts-type1>0:x11-fonts/xorg-fonts-type1 \                 font-alias>0:x11-fonts/font-alias And they're already installed.

Sat, 04 Feb 2023 01:35:22 UTC

hydra fail

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning, and pressed on a keyboard to wake my sleeping Xs. hydra didn't respond. Yes, the system was still up, but the display wasn't. A quick check showed that X was no longer running. Did I accidentally close the window from which I started it? No, /var/log/Xorg.log showed: [761020.873] (II) NVIDIA(0): ACPI: received event: !system=CAM subsystem=periph type=error [761020.873] (II) NVIDIA(0):     device=cd0 serial="3C7126908574" cam_status="0x4cc" [761020.873] (II) NVIDIA(0):     scsi_status=2 scsi_sense="70 02 3a 01" CDB="00 00 00 00 00 [761020.873] (II) NVIDIA(0):     00 " [761023.396] (II) NVIDIA(0): The NVIDIA X driver has encountered an error; attempting to [761023.396] (II) NVIDIA(0):     recover...

Thu, 02 Feb 2023 01:45:35 UTC

Keeping distress asleep

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that my attempts to get distress (Microsoft ?Windows? 10 box) to stay hibernated were not successful: it keeps waking up, and I can't tell it not to. But there's another possibility: get it to sleep, like I do with dischord (?Windows? 7). That only goes via a secret menu, but it seems to work. Only: it still keeps waking up, apparently every 30 minutes. I had found a way to disable the timers, via a link ?change settings that are currently unavailable?. But it didn't seem to work.

Thu, 02 Feb 2023 00:56:30 UTC

A third of a century of FreeBSD?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It looks as if I'm going to write an article for the FreeBSD Journal about the Early Days. And by way of encouragement, they want the article by 15 February. I've been using BSD since 19 March 1992, but that was BSD/386, a commercial sibling. It wasn't until the following year (19 June 1993, it seems) that FreeBSD was born (or forked, or whatever). From the calendar.freebsd file: 06/19 Charlie Root <[email protected]> born in Portland, Oregon, United States, 1993 The original suggestion was that I should write about the issues relating to writing ?The Complete FreeBSD?, in the assumption that it would have been particulary difficult in those far-off days.

Wed, 01 Feb 2023 00:53:26 UTC

FreeBSD network performance

Posted By Greg Lehey

FreeBSD has almost the reference implementation of the Internet protocols, but that doesn't mean that it's perfect. Currently there's a mail thread on the freebsd-stable mailing list, in which the original poster only gets a fraction of the throughput on FreeBSD that he gets on Linux. Various suggestions on what to do, including setting undocumented sysctls?something that I have grumbled about in the past. I don't have time to look at the suggestions at the moment. One page that looks interesting is

Wed, 01 Feb 2023 00:49:44 UTC

Finding X fonts

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that is definitely a problem with hydra are the X fonts, as I noted two weeks ago. How do I get a complete installation? Microsoft and Apple installations come complete; why not FreeBSD? Off looking, and once again came up with a maze of little twisty possibilities, all different. One of the more insteresting ones was to copy the Apple or Microsoft fonts. But there must be a simpler way.

Tue, 31 Jan 2023 00:35:02 UTC

Insomniac distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've already grumbled about the fact that I can't put distress, my Microsoft ?Windows? 10 box, to sleep. It keeps waking up. OK, one good thing about Microsoft is that you can probably find a solution to a problem online. Off looking, and came up with this page, which confirmed my suspicion that the problem was probably something in the system that was waking it again, and pointed me to a different way of the maze of twisty little passages that is Microsoft configuration: disallow wake timers. Only: mine refuses to allow any change. Is that because it's on a remote desktop?

Mon, 30 Jan 2023 00:53:56 UTC

MediathekView? MediathekWeb? MediathekViewWeb?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why have I suddenly had so many problems with MediathekView? Is it the old version I'm using? I don't think so, but it's worth checking. There's a web version available. Maybe it was, but it's now in the hands of a domain squatter. More searching: ah, isn't it obvious? And yes, it has the same restrictions, though it can also download at even lower resolutions, in this case 291 MB instead of the 580 MB that MediathekView offers. I can't confirm, though: the page is terminally broken. I can't even decide if it thinks it can download or not.

Mon, 30 Jan 2023 00:44:58 UTC

Converting document formats

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been asked to write an article about my experience with FreeBSD in the last third of a century. Really? That long? No, FreeBSD isn't quite 30 years old, but I've been using Unix on a desktop for nearly 33 years, and 31 of those were with BSD. Still, the part that got me was: >> The process is fairly simple: you write the article (plain-text or Word >> is fine) > > Now *that*'s a difference.  Word!  You mean Microsoft "Word", > presumably.  We wouldn't have even considered it in those days.

Sun, 29 Jan 2023 23:50:42 UTC

The smart of phones

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've grumbled at length about the smart (pain) of modern mobile phones, but today I received support from an unexpected source: I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone. The author? Bjarne Stroustrup, not exactly a beginner.

Sat, 28 Jan 2023 23:46:29 UTC

More Hugin pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

As part of migrating to hydra, processed my weekly house photos on hydra. That started surprisingly well; the biggest issue was that I only had two monitors, while I used to do the processing on eureka server 1:, which spans all four monitors. And I no longer have that: the second monitor is no longer connected to eureka at all. And of course it all looks different, due to some library or another. And the fast preview window comes up blank. To get it to work at all, I need to click on the ?start fast preview? button. And for reasons I haven't investigated, it lists file names in reverse order.

Sat, 28 Jan 2023 23:23:27 UTC

More video download problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the first things I do every morning is to download new videos from German TV providers. I use an old version of MediathekView because the newer versions are so Linux-centric that I have difficulty installing them. This is also an obstacle in my upgrade to hydra. But lately I've been having difficulties with some series: I get poorly defined ?permissions? error messages and have to download them manually. And then today a whole lot of older episodes of ?Notruf Hafenkante? cropped up?all only in low resolution and without subtitles. In addition there was a new episode of ?Der Staatsanwalt?, also low resolution.

Sat, 28 Jan 2023 01:54:07 UTC

More Microsoft pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Some years ago I discovered that I could suspend a Microsoft ?Windows? machine to RAM and save a lot of power, and I still do so with But that was ?Windows? 7, and it's out of date. Now on I'm using ?Windows? 10, itself apparently on the way out, and I can't find a way to get it to suspend automatically. There's a SHUTDOWN command that will ?hibernate? (suspend to disk), but that has to be invoked from a command prompt. Still, that's worth it. Except that it doesn't work! Lately I've discovered that the machine will shut down for a few hours, and then it restarts for no obvious reason.

Fri, 27 Jan 2023 01:20:47 UTC

More power fail consequences

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning. No mail since yesterday evening! More mail configuration pain? A quick look at /var/log/maillog showed: Jan 25 21:13:47 eureka postfix/cleanup[31862]: warning: 1822A2635C8: write queue file: No space left on device Where did that all go? I should have the best part of 10 GB free on the file system. Off to tidy up, and then check: the backup for eureka should have gone to an external disk mounted on /backups. Did it? No. /backups is normally not mounted. It gets mounted specifically to perform a backup of eureka.

Fri, 27 Jan 2023 01:19:59 UTC

How secure is my password?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've grumbled about various stupid password rules in the past, but somehow others have found out too. There's this xkcd cartoon, which I have seen in the past: And it points to this page, which claims to be able to guess how easy it is to guess the difficulty of cracking a password. It's certainly interesting, though I have my doubts about its accuracy. It seems that the password ?Nospac3s? takes an hour to crack, while ?No spaces? takes a week. Thus the requirement to have a digit and no spaces, no doubt.

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 02:48:30 UTC

Powercor: the sting in the tail

Posted By Greg Lehey

Back home, put my camera in the office and saw on a monitor: Boot: eureka was down! How did that happen? Another power outage? Brought it back up and was just investigating things when I saw a panic message. Damn programs that pretend to be kernels and scare me unnecessarily. But no, it went on: Dumping 1300 out of 32658 MB: (CTRL-C to abort)  (CTRL-C to abort)  (CTRL-C to abort) ..2%..12%..21%..31%..41%..51%..61%..71%..82%..92% And yes indeed, eureka had paniced.

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 01:54:53 UTC

Another planned power outage

Posted By Greg Lehey

Powercor announced a planned outage last week, only 5 weeks since the last one. And again they informed me at length by snail mail, mobile phone messages and email. This one was relatively short, only 2 hours between 11:00 and 13:00. And the sun was shining, the PV battery was almost fully charged. What could go wrong? The inverter, again! That's exactly what happened last time. It turned off for the best part of a second, taking down all computers but nothing else. Damn! As it happens, I was just typing in yesterday's diary, and I had got as far as mentioning starting dbus, requiring a reboot.

Wed, 25 Jan 2023 00:52:42 UTC

Why backslashes are not slashes, revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I was horrified to find that both firefox and chrome are unable to access /why\backslashes\are\not\slashes.html: they change the backslashes into slashes. And it seems to be new: the version of firefox on eureka does it correctly. So does Apple's ?Safari?. Ah, but that's an invalid URL, says somebody on IRC. Really? Off to check RFC 2396. No, it's allowed, just deemed ?unwise?. I can agree with that.

Tue, 24 Jan 2023 23:02:10 UTC

Browser insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Continued trying to understand why I can't connect to an existing firefox instance on hydra, though it works with chrome. Bug in firefox? It looks like it. But in such cases it's good to check with the ?standard?: Microsoft. And with Microsoft that problem doesn't exist, though you can't just enter C:\Users\grog> firefox -new-tab That's far too easy. Instead you need to enter C:\Users\grog> c:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -new-tab But that's the Microsoft that we know and hate.

Tue, 24 Jan 2023 00:57:22 UTC

More hydra stuff

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've paused my installation of hydra?again?while I think out the next step in ports installation. But gradually it's becoming important. As usual, broken web browsers are the main driver, though I also need to find a reliable way to install ports. Breakage in invoking firefox has forced me to use chrome instead. That still works, but it has even less of an idea of X than firefox. There can only be one! I want to be able to have a browser window on all screens, but chrome will only give me one. And it may not even be visible! The worst thing is when I'm reading mail on tiwi and I try to display a web page: Created new window in existing browser session.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 01:46:45 UTC

Email formatting, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

How do you write a good email message? Clearly the point is to communicate, so a good message is one that communicates well. But many people have never learnt that. 25 years ago I wrote an article ?Internet mail? with recommendations on how to communicate, and a little later I wrote a document that has now become part of the FreeBSD web site: How to get Best Results from the FreeBSD-questions Mailing List. In part it recommends: Format your message so that it is legible, and PLEASE DO NOT SHOUT!!!!!. We appreciate that a lot of people do not speak English as their first language, and we try to make allowances for that, but it is really painful to try to read a message written full of typos or without any line breaks.

Sat, 21 Jan 2023 01:31:12 UTC

Understanding MMI

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I had pain trying to set timeouts for diversion to voicemail on our mobile phones. How do I find out what these codes mean? When I check the status, I get a fleeting ?MMI Code Started? message before the status display. What does MMI mean? With a bit of searching discovered that it's short for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data. Or maybe it's a superset of USSD, but the page is too polite to explain the TLA. Still, the fields in the command **61*101*11*30 mean: 61: call divert when not answered.

Sat, 21 Jan 2023 01:22:57 UTC

More hydra fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've switched to reactive mode on the hydra installation. I'll repeat it all from scratch when I install groggy (or whatever I decide to call the new machine), and in the meantime I've found what I think is a solution for my concerns with port installations: the basic installation (from packages until proof of the contrary), and an installation of the related configuration files. All I need is to fill in the details. Other random issues: My cleanup job didn't run again last night.

Fri, 20 Jan 2023 02:45:46 UTC

Daily hydra fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning. No mail about the overnight backup job. What happened? Ran the cleanup job manually: dump -2uf - / | nice zstd -T8 > /dump/hydra-FreeBSD/2/root.bz2   DUMP: WARNING: should use -L when dumping live read-write filesystems!   DUMP: Date of this level 2 dump: Thu Jan 19 09:10:55 2023   DUMP: Date of last level 0 dump: the epoch   DUMP: Dumping /dev/da1p2 (/) to standard output ... That looks fine, but clearly the dump hadn't run before. Off to check the cron log: Jan 18 21:00:00 hydra /usr/sbin/cron[5778]: (root) CMD (/home/local/bin/cleanup) That looks fine.

Fri, 20 Jan 2023 02:23:04 UTC

More mobile phone pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reading my diary entry for a year ago shows how things haven't changed. I had difficulty findin a way to change the time before an incoming call on an Android phone diverts (to voice mail). I needed to call the support line to find out, and he gave me the code **61*101**30. But I also had a reference to a more detailed discussion 4 years ago, and there I had different codes, even different between Android and iOS. In this case, after substituting, the code should have been **61*101*11*30. There's also the code *#61# to check. It's only coincidence that 61 is also the international code for Australia.

Thu, 19 Jan 2023 02:04:08 UTC

System configuration, 30 years ago

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had this scrap of paper behind my monitors for some time: It dates from 14 September 1991, and it's the I/O slot configuration for two machines, adagio and (I think) grave, two of my oldest Unix boxes. This was while I was still at Tandem, and my guess is that adagio was an Intel 80386 with 8 GB running Interactive UNIX System V/386, and grave might have been a smaller machine running SCO Xenix System V. It's not clear why I crossed out ?Grave?

Thu, 19 Jan 2023 01:08:21 UTC

More hydra progress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Gradually I'm getting hydra to a point where it's useful. An interesting point in separating the server functions (eureka) from workstation functions (hydra) is memory usage. When I boot eureka, it fills up its memory within a day or two, and before long I'm dipping into swap. Here the current situation: last pid: 41875;  load averages:  0.92,  0.91,  0.90   up 36+02:51:59  12:10:11 554 processes: 2 running, 528 sleeping, 6 stopped, 18 zombie CPU: 23.8% user,  0.0% nice,  2.6% system,  0.2% interrupt, 73.4% idle Mem: 6959M Active, 21G Inact, 2881M Wired, 346M Cache, 1655M Buf, 61M Free Swap: 20G Total, 15G Used, 5271M Free, 74% Inuse But on hydra I have: last pid:  8002;  load averages:  0.48,  0.31,  0.34   up 1+22:07:08  12:10:33 176 processes: ...

Thu, 19 Jan 2023 00:44:26 UTC

Modern tech nightmare

Posted By Greg Lehey

After listening to the news at 7:00 this morning, turned over, went to sleep, and dreamed. I was going through a toll tunnel by car, and I had forgotten to get my payment card out in advance. Never mind, at the toll booth at the other end, pull into a bay beyond the end and get it out. But something went wrong (I forget what), and it took a while to get back to the toll booth. Tried to talk to the person behind the thick glass, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. Tried to get him to come to the side where I could hear him, but he refused.

Wed, 18 Jan 2023 01:03:55 UTC

hydra, finally

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it's clear that hydra will only be a short-term solution for my ?desktop?. It's too weak and too power-hungry. But it's still worth setting up to refine my installation procedures so that the next system (what am I going to call it?) will be easier to install. The current state of affairs was carried over from last Thursday: I couldn't get X on eureka to display only on the right two monitors. Fix that first. The config file that I had was derived from the configuration for server 0, with just the screen information for screens 2 and 3. And only screen 2 worked.

Tue, 17 Jan 2023 00:46:53 UTC

A use for OI.Share?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've grumbled about OI.Share at length in the past. It seems to have been written by a team that ignores the rest of the camera development. Insists on JPEG images. Downloads images in a different format from normal. Can only connect to one camera, and if it is configured to connect to another, it forgets all about the first. Insists on being an AP, thus ensuring that you need a separate operation to move the images to a real computer. And everything is slow, probably because of hardware restrictions. In general, uselss. But for one minor detail: if you use it in remote control mode, it resets the camera clock to the phone time (presumably NTP adjusted).

Mon, 16 Jan 2023 00:56:50 UTC

System configuration, next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

More thoughts on a replacement for hydra today. On IRC, discussed the amazing difference between component pricing and complete systems. Yesterday I had found a system similar to the one that Daniel O'Connor described on Friday. Daniel came out under $1000; the offer I got was for $2,259. Why? Well, there's the case and the power supply, and some of the details don't quite match. But somehow there's still a big gap. Before I compare oranges with oranges (no Apples needed here), I need to decide what kind of display card(s) I need, and as always, that's painful. One option seems to be a refurbished card; currently there's a NVIDIA Quadro P600 available with 4 outputs for $129.

Sat, 14 Jan 2023 01:10:33 UTC

Goodbye hydra?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today I again spent more time thinking about how to complete the hydra install (peripherally including setting up the X server 3: on eureka) than actually doing anything on the machine. Somehow the noise and power consumption mean that I won't be able to use it very much. What's the alternative? Long discussion with Daniel O'Connor and Juha Kupiainen on IRC. How about that, there are relatively fast machines available for reasonable prices: <Doco> Ryzen 5 5500 with a lowend motherboard and 64GB of RAM is $600 (no case, PSU, HDs etc) That corresponds to the cost of power for hydra for 15 months.

Fri, 13 Jan 2023 00:51:30 UTC

More X fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Didn't do any work directly on hydra today. Instead I turned my attention to another X server on eureka. Server 0 has 4 screens. From the configuration file: Section "ServerLayout"     Identifier     "Layout0"     Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0     Screen      1  "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"     Screen      2  "Screen2" RightOf "Screen1"     Screen      3  "Screen3" RightOf "Screen2"     InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"     InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"     Option         "Xinerama" "0" EndSection The rest of the file describes the individual components.

Fri, 13 Jan 2023 00:39:24 UTC

Google Translate fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have a certain love-hate relationship with Google Translate, but I have to admit that it's getting better. But then, looking at what it did 7 years ago, that shouldn't be difficult. So: for the benefit of the non-German speakers who might be interested in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung article above, I tried to translate it into English. I almost failed. They seem to have changed the interface to be more ?modern?, and it no longer works the way I know. Neither does the method they recommend on most browsers. Only Chrome on Microsoft manages it, after much mouse pushing.

Thu, 12 Jan 2023 23:34:46 UTC

rwhod works!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why doesn't the version of rwhod on hydra work? I still haven't investigated. But today I discovered that distress has once again taken it into its own hands to install software updates and reboot! I noticed it because === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/34) ~/Photos/20230113 429 -> ruptime distress                   up    15:46,     0 users,  load 0.00, 0.00, 0.00 hydra                    down    19:27 That reminded me that I have other issues with rwhod: so far, every time distress reboots, it loses rwhod.

Thu, 12 Jan 2023 02:16:00 UTC

Mobile phones: the smart

Posted By Greg Lehey

Tried to call Yvonne on the phone in town today. No answer, followed by a call back: she hadn't been able to answer the call. So I picked up my phone, which was in landscape orientation and displaying one of its call indications: Dismiss/Accept? Turned it to portrait orientation. It dismissed without me coming anywhere near the screen. Why does this keep happening? Is it my specific brand (Xiaomi)? Why is answering an incoming call such a minefield?

Thu, 12 Jan 2023 01:25:32 UTC

Hydra: done?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Further work on installing hydra today. There wasn't really too much more to do. The most obvious thing was to get X up and running. In preparation connected a second monitor to the machine, and noted that that one (lower connector on the back of the machine) is the primary monitor: that's where the console appeared. So it seems that it can handle having only the second monitor connected. As I discovered yesterday, I needed to add this to the configuration file to get X to run: Section "ServerFlags"    Option "IgnoreABI" "1" EndSection Did that and tried again: === grog@hydra (/dev/pts/1) ~ 2 -> startx X.Org X Server X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0 Current Operating System: FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #0: Mon ...

Wed, 11 Jan 2023 01:39:08 UTC

How I hate git, once again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why couldn't I find chromium in the list of packages? There's a directory /usr/ports/www/chromium in the FreeBSD Ports Collection. What does /usr/ports/UPDATING say? Only that I haven't updated the tree in over 6 months. OK, === root@dereel (/dev/pts/5) /src/FreeBSD/git/ports 42 -> Log git pull hint: You have divergent branches and need to specify how to reconcile them. hint: You can do so by running one of the following commands sometime before hint: your next pull: hint: hint:   git config pull.rebase false  # merge hint:   git config pull.rebase true   # rebase hint:   git config pull.ff only       # fast-forward only hint: hint: You can replace "git config" with "git config --global" to set a default hint: preference for all repositories.

Wed, 11 Jan 2023 00:34:42 UTC

More hydra fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent a considerable amount of time today consolidating yesterday's experiences. And clearly there was a lot to consolidate. What else is there to do? Install more ports. But I couldn't find Google chrome! All I found was: === root@hydra (/dev/pts/0) ~ 13 -> pkg search chromium chromium-bsu-        Arcade-style, top-scrolling space shooter ungoogled-chromium-108.0.5359.124 Google web browser based on WebKit sans integration with Google What's that nonsense? Yes, I was able to install ungoogled-chromium, but that's not what I'm looking for. Some discussion on IRC, where I discovered still more undocumented details: there's a file /etc/pkg/FreeBSD.conf, which is only mentioned in passing in pkg.conf(5).

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 23:14:06 UTC

hydra: taking the plunge

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been thinking for a long time about how to proceed with hydra, the new HP Z800 that I inherited from Bruce Evans. I have had a basic install of FreeBSD 13.1 on it for weeks, but I wasn't sure how to continue. Today I took the plunge. And yes, it wasn't anything like what I had planned. TL;DR: even working out a strategy is an incremental process. Bootstrapping First there's a certain amount of bootstrapping. The install scripts are on eureka, so I have to be able to reach it.

Mon, 09 Jan 2023 02:26:44 UTC

Goodbye Johnbot

Posted By Greg Lehey

Network throughput problems again today. Uploading files slowed from 200 kB/s (a limit set by my TCP parameters, which I must fix) to about 15 kB/s. Why? I didn't find out before it got better again, but I was able to establish that the problems weren't local. But the traceroute output was interesting for other reasons: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/3) ~ 4 -> traceroute www traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets  1  eureka (  0.372 ms  0.367 ms  0.358 ms  2 (  27.376 ms  33.867 ms  20.654 ms  3 (  178.964 ms  169.305 ms  183.004 ms  4 (  189.950 ms (  190.197 ms  173.706 ms  5 (  182.201 ms  196.911 ms  192.211 ms  6 (  170.963 ms  189.428 ms  186.806 ms  7 (  172.025 ms  179.606 ms  200.801 ms ...

Sat, 07 Jan 2023 00:58:15 UTC

Ten years, still the same old procrastination

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen in my diary for January 2013: Once again I've been dragging my heels on my system upgrade method. In principle amd64-stable now contains all the ports I asked for and a relatively recent version of FreeBSD 9-STABLE, but I still need to customize it, and then I'll be in a position for the first upgrade. Spent some time customizing /etc/group and /etc/master.passwd; the latter contains a lot of history, user IDs and passwords from people who must at at least one time in the last 20 years have accessed the machine.

Fri, 06 Jan 2023 01:40:40 UTC

Installing hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been dawdling with installing a replacement for eureka for nearly 6 years now. Since May last year it has been the HP Z800 that I inherited from Bruce Evans. Why haven't I done anything yet? Why, haven't I done anything yet? Yes, I've done a lot of thinking. But the delay has two main reasons: I want to get it right. I've really been thinking about system upgrade methods for over 20 years now, and I still haven't come to any real conclusion.

Wed, 04 Jan 2023 00:52:17 UTC

Domain name renewal, the easy way

Posted By Greg Lehey

The domain name registration for needs renewing. Straightforward, right? Well, yes, in principle: go to GANDI, select and renew. But: I want to pay by debit card in Euros: PayPal charges too much for international transactions. And I should check that I still have enough credit. OK, off to TransferWise to check. What a pain this site is! Every time I go there I need to find my way around it again. But yes, I had enough ? credit, just not enough USD. Transferred some money from my bank account, which of course arrived in AUD. How do I transfer it?

Tue, 03 Jan 2023 01:05:09 UTC

Registering Perfectly Clear

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been using ?Perfectly Clear? for touching up photos fo some time now, but Yvonne doesn't. And she needs it. OK, install. Oh. It's there. Load some photos for processing: Well, I have a license. It's just not associated with this (Microsoft) user on distress. How do I enter the license key? Buy? No, that just takes me to the user manual, after starting a non-default web browser (?Internet Explorer?) . Looked through the menu at the top. Nothing obvious. ?Get Support?? No, that gives me the user manual too.

Mon, 02 Jan 2023 01:32:04 UTC

Sending the New Year's message

Posted By Greg Lehey

New Year, new New Year's message. I dread sending it: it gives me all sorts of problems with email. Today I decided that it was no use fighting the big companies that have come into existence long after I started the LEMIS mail server nearly 31 years ago. Instead I'd relay it through Aussie Broadband's server. But: Jan  1 09:01:08 eureka postfix/smtp[75154]: F3A442635E3: to=<[email protected]>,[]:25, conn_use=4, delay=0.62, delays=0.15/0.37/0.04/0.05, dsn=4.7.1, status=deferred (host[] said: 450 4.7.1 Error: too much mail from (in reply to MAIL FROM command)) Jan  1 09:01:08 eureka postfix/smtp[74950]: 016DB264AAC: to=<[email protected]>,[]:25, conn_use=4, delay=0.62, delays=0.16/0.37/0.03/0.06, dsn=4.7.1, status=deferred (host[] said: 450 4.7.1 Error: too much mail from (in reply to MAIL FROM command)) That wasn't a Christmas message, it was spam!

Sun, 01 Jan 2023 01:06:40 UTC

lax crash!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I connect to IRC via bip, a particularly unreliable proxy, so I have a script that restarts it when it crashes. That was the case again today. But no script! And then I saw: === grog@lax (/dev/pts/1) ~ 3 -> date; uptime Sat 31 Dec 2022 07:43:18 UTC  7:43AM  up 43 mins, 2 users, load averages: 0.33, 0.37, 0.34 My server had crashed! It hasn't even been up very long. From yesterday's output: Local network system status: lax    up   46+16:33,  0 users,  load 0.44, 0.45, 0.45 That's nothing like the other external machine, === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 15 -> date; uptime Sat Dec 31 07:45:23 UTC ...

Sat, 31 Dec 2022 01:42:14 UTC

New electric fence energizer

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into Napoleons today to pick up the new electric fence energizer. It does look rather like a toy, but if it works, who cares? The biggest issue was getting the wires on the too-small terminals. OK, finally mounted, test: 600 V? That should be round 8 kV! What's wrong? It could be the unit, or it could be a short circuit in the fence (or, of course, both). What's it like without a load?

Sat, 31 Dec 2022 01:31:44 UTC

Your answer has been deleted!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Quora are at it again. They have deleted two of my answers as spam because they contain URLs. That's not surprising: the question asked for URLs: Q: What are the best IPTV service providers for German channels? A: Much of German TV content is available online via HTTP. Take a look at ARD Mediathek: Videos von Das Erste und den Dritten Programmen der ARD, Filme online schauen - ZDFmediathek, Play SRF (Swiss) and ORF-TVthek (Austria).

Sat, 31 Dec 2022 01:17:40 UTC

Where's my electric fence energizer?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over a week since I ordered the new electric fence energizer. Where is it? Yesterday Australia Post and eBay were in agreement: Received and ready for processing at the post office where it was posted, 17:28 ?5.28pm? last Friday. What have they been doing in that time? Today, though, things were better: it has been in SUNSHINE WEST since 0:17 ?12:17am? yesterday morning. Can that be right? No, this time AusPost disagrees: it's In transit in WENDOUREE, VIC since 8:25 this morning. I know that. What they really mean is ?it's in NAPOLEON [sic] waiting for collection?. And sure enough, there was a pickup slip in the letter box.

Fri, 30 Dec 2022 05:22:06 UTC

OpenAI: Intelligent?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that there's a new craze (is that ?virus??) going around: ChatGPT, a chatbot made by OpenAI and powered not by a GUID Partition Table but by a Generative Pre-trained Transformer. That sounds interesting, so I tried to sign up for it. I failed. Why? Well, I had to sign up. The usual stuff: give an email address, choose a password, wait for the message, sign in. But this one was different. While I went to create an email address for it, it apparently timed out on me and said: OK, sign in again.

Thu, 29 Dec 2022 01:56:33 UTC

Doc Martin, further investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did the ABC have difficulty in (read: fail to) playing the final episode of Doc Martin yesterday? I had guessed that it was related to network addresses, but is that correct? The fact that it failed with Microsoft ?Windows? 10 and the latest version of firefox strengthens that hypothesis. But what about other browsers? Tried with Chromium and... it worked. Why? Surely they support firefox? Off searching, and found:this at ?On Your Computer?: What web browser can I use to watch ABC iview? The ABC iview website is best viewed using the following operating system and browser combinations: Operating System Supported Browsers Microsoft Windows 7 Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Ed...

Wed, 28 Dec 2022 03:39:43 UTC

Christmas photo again

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been ten years since we started sending an annual web page instead of Christmas cards. And or course the first thing we need is a photo of ourselves with as many animals as we can keep still. Once that was simple: ten years ago we took a total of 4 photos. But in the course of the years it has become ever more complicated. This year we started early, on 10 December. I took 15 photos, of which this was the best: That's clearly not the best background, and the fact that the dogs kept moving didn't help.

Wed, 28 Dec 2022 02:57:30 UTC

ABC and Doc Martin, day 3

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today's the third day that I have tried to access the advertised final episode of Doc Martin on ABC. Was the silly error message that I received yesterday really trying to tell me that the programme hadn't been broadcast yet? Yes! Now it's there, so I get a different error message: Video Player Error Sorry, there has been a problem playing back this video in your browser. This error has been logged with our technical team for investigation. Please check the iview support pages for recommended web browsers.

Tue, 27 Dec 2022 01:51:30 UTC

X preservation society

Posted By Greg Lehey

Discovered today that there's an X11 Conservancy Project. That sounds like they've pronounced X dead (or that they've come out with an X12, which sounds even more unlikely). But it's not quite as bleak as that. Yes, X is well over 30 years old?I've been using it for nearly 33 years?and not much is happening with it any more. But the project is akin to Warren Toomey's Unix Heritage Society, saving old code. I suppose that's a good idea.

Tue, 27 Dec 2022 01:22:43 UTC

More ABC fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I tried in vain to find where ABC had hidden the final episode of Doc Martin. But there's a service for finding things on the web: Google for doc martin christmas iview. And sure enough, there it was. But what use is a search function on the ABC site if it fails where a generic Google search succeeds? Of course, it still didn't work. ?This program [sic] is not currently available in ABC iview. You might like similar programs to this, shown below. Learn more in ABC iview Support.? What does that mean? My guess is ?we haven't broadcast it yet, and until we do, you don't have access, but we're not telling you that?.

Mon, 26 Dec 2022 01:25:33 UTC

Random photo postprocessing

Posted By Greg Lehey

A couple of days ago I tried this focus stacked photo of a mystery flower that I found in the forest: Oh. Only the front half is in focus. I need more focus steps. I can't do anything about that at the moment: the flower has wilted. But the white balance is also out. It should be more like this: OK, I have software that should be able to do that.

Mon, 26 Dec 2022 01:18:19 UTC

Finding TV programmes

Posted By Greg Lehey

ABC, our national broadcaster masquerading as an ISP ( has a couple of specials on over Christmas. I got email about it 10 days ago, announcing that the final episode of Doc Martin would be broadcast at Christmas. OK, it's Christmas. Where's Doc Martin? Spent quite some time looking, but there's no mention of a Christmas special. The search function was obliging, though: The very first episode is the ?best match?! People, you promised the very last episode.

Mon, 26 Dec 2022 01:07:21 UTC

Black Friday all year round?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today's the first day of Christmas, right? And Black Friday was a month ago? But not in Cyberspace. I'm continually bombarded with Black Friday offers:   70 N + 07-12-2022 To groggyhimsel ( 250) groggyhimself@       N + Black Friday: Aspirador Portátil sem Fio Vacuum Cleaner  134 ND+ 08-12-2022 To groggyhimsel ( 226) groggyhimself@       ND+ Black Friday: Dispenser de água recarregável luxo   90 N + 08-12-2022 To groggyhimsel ( 617) Amazon Business      N + BLACK FRIDAY : créez votre compte gratuit et profitez de 50% de remise  206 N + 08-12-2022 To groggyhimsel ( 717) groggyhimself@       N + Black Friday: O SMARTWATCH MAIS TECNOLÓGICO E COMPATÍVEL DO MUNDO AGORA EM SEUS BRAÇOS   46 ND+ 10-12-2022 To groggyhimsel ( 225) groggyhimself@       ND+ BLACK FRIDAY: Instant Past ?

Mon, 26 Dec 2022 00:52:14 UTC

tiwi down!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Came into the office this morning and noted that a number of xterms were gone from display :0.1. No tiwi xterms any more. Yes, tiwi was running. But: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/12) ~ 473 -> ruptime bde                        up   50+18:31,     0 users,  load 0.03, 0.11, 0.08 dereel                     up   12+02:36,     1 user,   load 0.04, 0.11, 0.22 dischord                 down    3+00:07 distress                   up   10+18:16,     0 users,  load 0.00, 0.00, 0.00 eureka                     up   12+02:34,    17 users,  load 1.08, 1.13, 0.92 lagoon           ...

Sun, 25 Dec 2022 01:20:55 UTC

Modern times

Posted By Greg Lehey

A year ago I started using ?Perfectly Clear?, a product of Eyeq, for postprocessing my photos. And within a few months they decided to discontinue the product and replace it by a much more expensive thing called Radiant Photo. I can survive without that. At least ?Perfectly Clear? is a lifetime license. But now they have come up with the same thing for only $99, round what I paid for ?Perfectly Clear?. Have they realized that their prices were too high? Or is it just a typical offer? One thing that caught my eye was one of the products bundled in the offer: Mylio Photos keeps your photos (and more) safe thanks to its unique backup technology.

Sun, 25 Dec 2022 01:08:37 UTC

eBay: So nice, so nice, we do it twice

Posted By Greg Lehey

A few days ago I finally resolved my most recent issue with eBay returns. And then I got a ?survey? from eBay asking me how I liked the return ?experience?. OK, as I said last month, bad eBay, good consultant, very slow return (21 November to 20 December!) . And then today I got another ?survey?. OK, eBay, this time I'll share: How satisfied were you (0 to 10): 2 Please tell us how your Return experience could have been improved. Please be as specific as possible. It should have been automatic.

Sat, 24 Dec 2022 00:33:46 UTC

Rechargeable batteries revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been using rechargeable AA and AAA batteries for years now, but somehow I'm still not satisfied. Where have they all gone? Some have failed, others are decades old. And somehow they never come anywhere near the claimed recharge count (180 to 2000 times) for NiMH batteries. I doubt any of mine have made 50 recharges. I've been looking for replacements for some time now, but ALDI seems to have stopped selling them. Maybe that's significant. Today I missed photo opportunities because the batteries were flat. Time to start looking for alternative suppliers.

Fri, 23 Dec 2022 00:33:53 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

We haven't had significant rain for nearly a week now, but today things made up for it: what proved to be 20 mm of rain in a couple of hours. And again the water was up to the doorstep: No, the extraction pump was working just fine, but it took a while to get rid of all the water. Should I replace it with something more powerful? And how much did the weather station report?

Thu, 22 Dec 2022 23:20:39 UTC

A new electric fence ?energiser?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne didn't pick up a new electric fence device (which they call ?energiser?, or even ?energizer?, for some reason) yesterday, but it seems that it's getting urgent. What do we do? We've had two JVA devices that survived for about 4 years each. Before that we've had battery driven ones that only lasted a few months. How about a more expensive brand-named device? Gallagher comes to mind. And Chris Bahlo had recommended Electric Fencing Supplies & Products. OK, they're in Ballarat, though Google Maps isn't quite sure where. Take a look at their web site, climb through the menus to Small Energizers 0-10 Acres ( 0-4 Ha ) / 240 Volt Mains (their punctuation and choice of units).

Thu, 22 Dec 2022 02:14:03 UTC

hydra: power consumption

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I never have enough time to complete my computer upgrade work. That's the situation once again. But I've discovered two things about hydra: firstly, it's noisy. I don't know if I can improve that by cleaning the fan, but it's worth a try. And then the power consumption: I turned it off until I have time to look at it. And my power consumption display dropped by 250 W! If that's true (and I need to confirm), that's 6 kWh per day, nearly $2. Over $700 a year. For that I might be able to buy a faster, more economical machine.

Wed, 21 Dec 2022 00:37:43 UTC

Microsoft strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

After one of these automatic updates from Microsoft, I endured: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/4) ~ 4 -> /home/local/bin/dordesktop distress 1870x1030+0 ATTENTION! The server uses and invalid security certificate which can not be trusted for the following identified reasons(s);  1. Certificate issuer is not trusted by this system.      Issuer: CN=distress Review the following certificate info before you trust it to be added as an exception. If you do not trust the certificate the connection atempt will be aborted:     Subject: CN=distress      Issuer: CN=distress  Valid From: Tue Aug  2 10:42:25 2022          To: Wed Feb  1 11:42:25 2023   Certificate fingerprints:        sha1: 25005f571c5a8eea58cef2eb629187b56c75a2cf      sha256: 8e1bc5c92a2049ae3df28906c1acc6f1eadad711055a6199a51f977e88bfa23a Do you trust this certificate (yes/no)?

Wed, 21 Dec 2022 00:12:34 UTC

ANZ card: done?

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, called up ANZ relatively early this morning. It didn't help much. I was still put on hold for 15 minutes, and just as somebody replied, the battery in my phone gave out. Damn! Got another phone with (hopefully) a better battery and tried again. Now I'm getting used to the dialogues, so I was prepared: Bot: So that I can direct your call, can you tell me the purpose of your call? Me: I need a replacement ATM card for an existing account. Bot: Now is this for a new account? Another 15 minutes and was connected to Geil, who spells his name ?Kyle?.

Tue, 20 Dec 2022 06:16:57 UTC

System installation part 2: /etc

Posted By Greg Lehey

After installing a system from the installation medium, the next step is to set up the configuration files in /etc. The FreeBSD does some of this, such as setting up file systems, basic network access and users. But that's only scratching the surface. What do we need? Here's a first cut of Yet Another attempt to understand things. It's important to know that this is a trusted network, so there's little attention to security. Preparation For the moment I have a series of half-prepared scripts and data files in the hierarchy eureka:/home/Sysconfig/Install. I'll refer to these as I go.

Tue, 20 Dec 2022 02:21:21 UTC

More upgrade pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

tiwi is now working relatively well, but there are still a couple of loose ends, like the subtitle problem on Friday: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/12) /spool/Series/Großstadtrevier/35 5 -> ttml2srt Traceback (most recent call last):   File "/home/local/bin/", line 12, in <module>     for elem in root.getiterator(): AttributeError: 'xml.etree.ElementTree.Element' object has no attribute 'getiterator' Time to find out what the problem is. ttml2srt is written in python, something that seems to delight in having hundreds of sub-ports: === grog@teevee (/dev/pts/5) ~ 20 -> pkg info | grep ^py | wc -l       86 === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/12) ~ 96 -> pkg info | grep ^py | wc -l       53 That's the number of python ports.

Tue, 20 Dec 2022 02:03:27 UTC

Replacing my ANZ ATM card

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's fairly clear that I won't find the ANZ ATM card that I lost 2 months ago. Why haven't I called ANZ and to ask for a new one. Oh, no, it's not that easy. Voice recognition system that tells me to please call from a mobile phone. If you really have to call on a normal phone, please enter your multi-digit Customer Registration Number. Sorry, no. Give me a human. ?This is going to take a while. Did you know that you can order a replacement card from the ANZ App or on the Internet??. No, I didn't. Off to take a look.

Tue, 20 Dec 2022 01:21:00 UTC

Reviving hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got round to installing FreeBSD on, formerly It wasn't easy. First, do I have an install image? Lately I've been installing from SD cards, and I found one (unmarked, of course) lying on top of dereel. What is it?

Mon, 19 Dec 2022 00:40:39 UTC

A new obsolete unit

Posted By Greg Lehey

Read in a US newspaper today: The federal government has called on the seven Western states that rely on Colorado River water to cut usage by 2 to 4 million acre-feet Acre-feet? What kind of unit is that? A quick Google search tells me that it's 1233.48 m³. But what pain! I suppose it makes sense to irrigators: they want to know how deep they can irrigate on their land.

Mon, 19 Dec 2022 00:11:15 UTC

System upgrade, never done

Posted By Greg Lehey

Read in my diary of 10 years ago: It's been over 10 years since I first tried to find a simplified way of staying up to date with FreeBSD. I still haven't succeeded. It's becoming an issue again: teevee is running relatively well, but the installation is about 18 months old, and it's running firefox 6.0. Not that much of a problem, but for reasons I don't understand it now pops up an additional ?Please upgrade?

Sun, 18 Dec 2022 23:47:21 UTC

More hydra thoughts

Posted By Greg Lehey

The HP Z800 is a very different kind of machine from the ones I have had before, and I've spent some time examining it. Just about everything seems to be accessible without tools, and there are few loose cables: In particular, the disks are in trays that connect directly to a socket: Problem: how do you connect an SSD?

Sat, 17 Dec 2022 02:30:48 UTC

More upgrade issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

After Wednesday's outage, I have a couple of issues that I hadn't expected. tiwi interprets the Alt key bindings correctly, but for some reason eureka doesn't. Probably I forgot to update a config file, but each case requires research to find out why. Another issue is probably older: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/12) /spool/Series/Großstadtrevier/35 5 -> ttml2srt Traceback (most recent call last):   File "/home/local/bin/", line 12, in <module>     for elem in root.getiterator(): AttributeError: 'xml.etree.ElementTree.Element' object has no attribute 'getiterator' Fired up teevee to compare, and it works fine there, so once again it's presumably a configuration problem that I need to research.

Fri, 16 Dec 2022 02:12:52 UTC

Luminar again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Processing yesterday's photos posed an interesting issue: power lines. And that's exactly the reason I bought Luminar. OK, how well does it work? Quite well, it seems. It removed all of the power lines I presented it, leaving only bare power poles. Here a ?before and after? of one of them: One image was a particular problem: The lines were no particular issue, but the power poles were, particularly the big one.

Fri, 16 Dec 2022 01:58:55 UTC

Mobile phone pain?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Calling Paul wasn't easy. My phone claimed no signal. Is that real? Off to compare with Yvonne's phone. Not much of a signal either, but there was one. My phone still didn't want to know. Rebooted, and it was back to normal. I've seen this before. Is this a sign that it's beginning to fail? After all, it's nearly 2 years old, which seems to be an eternity in the mobile phone world.

Wed, 14 Dec 2022 03:41:21 UTC

More Luminar experiments

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow my results with Luminar haven't been as satisfactory as I had hoped. Last time was particularly frustrating?I couldn't even find the Power Line Removal tool. Today I tried again and found the tool hidden under the Erase tool. I applied it first, and how about that. It did an almost perfect job. That in itself is frustrating. Why did I get significantly different results in the three times I tried to process the same photo? I still don't know. Still, move on. Remove the fenceposts. How accurately do I need to mark them? This time I marked them generously. It worked up to a point, but I ended up with a second segment of tail: At least that gives some insight ...

Tue, 13 Dec 2022 00:52:20 UTC

NBN has you covered

Posted By Greg Lehey

While investigating network coverage at the Bahlo/Papenfuss property in Rocklyn, looked at the current iteration of the NBN rollout map. All of Victoria is covered! And the technology is fixed wireless. Do I believe that? Reading an oversized disclaimer doesn't help: While most premises in the purple ?Service available area? can connect to services over the nbn? network, some premises may require additional work to be completed first. On rare occasions, some premises cannot be connected.

Tue, 13 Dec 2022 00:39:12 UTC

Preparing hydra

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I'm not making much progress with my computer upgrades. The system on eureka is now 7 years old, and I've been planning to upgrade it for over 5 years. Why the delay? Apart from laziness, it's this ?let's get it right? concept. And strangely the system has been remarkably stable since installation. Still, there are issues. I can no longer run the latest version of firefox on eureka (nor many of the not-so-late versions), and various sites don't want to talk to me. And it seems that the firefox team is getting modern and making it more and more difficult to run firefox over a network link.

Wed, 07 Dec 2022 00:21:09 UTC

More Luminar fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's photo processing with Luminar was less satisfying than it should have been. Time to RTFM. Oh. That's an old, worn-out magic word. First I read some of the copious emails I received from Skylum, some of which ask me to buy things, and others that show individual functionality. The confusion is illustrated in the ?Help? selection, which offers me a user manual but takes me to this FAQ page, which starts with the following helpful information: Where do I find my Extensions after installation?

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 00:30:46 UTC

Viewed video log

Posted By Greg Lehey

I keep various logs of videos that I have watched. The canonical one ends like this: Sun 2022-12-04 19:14:31  -> 21:21:52 x /spool/Series/90-min/Bergretter/13/13-06-Augen-auf-20211223-201500.mp4 Sun 2022-12-04 21:23:02  -> 22:24:34 x /spool/Series/Hubert-und-Staller/10/10-05-Mord-mit-1.600-Umdrehungen--153--20220209-185000.mp4 Mon 2022-12-05 10:14:11  -> 10:14:20 k /spool/Series/Alles-Finster/Folge_1_-_Alles_finster_S01_E01.mp4 Mon 2022-12-05 15:38:59  -> 16:00:01 k /spool/Docco/AlJaz-15.mp4 Mon 2022-12-05 17:30:25  -> 17:30:30 x /spool/Docco/Putins_Propagandamaschine_-_Das_manipulierte_Volk.mp4 Mon 2022-12-05 19:08:16  -> 20:14:55 x /spool/Series/Notruf-Hafenkante/04/04-06-Kais-Entscheidung-20170111-103000.mp4 Mon 2022-12-05 20:15:08  -> 20:58:41 x /spool/Series/McLeods-daughters/4/4-21-Secrets_And_Lies.mp4 Mon 2022-12-05 21:10:37  -> 21:59:07 x /spool/Series/Koeter-Rex/05/05-07-Blinde-Wut-0707167312.mp4 That's one entry per video, showing start time, end time, end status (x means deleted, k means kept; I think I once had others) and path name.

Mon, 05 Dec 2022 23:25:27 UTC

More Luminar fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow Luminar shows itself from two different perspectives. On the one hand I'm almost bombarded with suggestions about how to do clever things. But they're not what I'm looking for right now. On the other hand, I still want to process my kangaroo photo. Last time I just went off and played around, and I had surprisingly good results under the circumstances. But they weren't spectacular, and today I tried working on the background image on tiwi, effectively the same photo cropped. This time things didn't go as well. In particular, the ?remove powerlines? didn't work At All. After expending considerably more time than on Friday, I was left with this transformation: Yes, the fences are gone.

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 01:22:41 UTC

Getting to know Lumninar Neo

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally the Luminar Neo installation is finished. Please reboot! They're really doing everything to make me love them! OK, reboot, move the image to the task bar, start. I really wanted this to process this photo, one of many that I took on 14 August 2018: OK, work round the typical Microsoft space pain, create a new directory /Photos/1-Skylum, link the photos to it (for the fun of it I used the raw images, which it claims to handle), and start: That's a minimalist view.

Fri, 02 Dec 2022 00:43:57 UTC

Luminar after all?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been looking at Luminar photo processing software for 4 years now, and I've never found a good reason to install it. But it came close. In April this year I considered it to fix the artefacts in this photo and others that I took at the same time: At the time I discussed the issues in some detail, and also the confusion I had between their two products ?Luminar AI? and ?Luminar Neo?. The reviews were also not overly encouraging, so I left it.

Fri, 02 Dec 2022 00:41:50 UTC

Hanging daily cleanup run

Posted By Greg Lehey

For the last couple of days I've been getting mail messages like this: Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2022 03:01:00 +1100 (AEDT) From: Charlie Root <[email protected]> To: [email protected] Subject: daily run output daily prior run still in progress What's that?

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 01:14:34 UTC

More eBay pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

While in town, sent off the rain gauge that I finally got round to return. Next step: report it as sent and give the tracking number. But: It's worth reading the fine print, which contradicts the coarse print. Found a way to access the information after all and enter the tracking number. But what's wrong with these people? A change of generation? It's interesting to note that all people who communicated with me via ?chat? said things like: Hello Greg.

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 01:00:35 UTC

Shopping again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into town again today for the weekly shopping, or at least the rest of it: we managed most of it on Monday. About the only thing of interest was that Google Maps suddenly stopped reporting in mid-message. And that proved to be because I no longer had mobile phone reception! Drove like that from Sebastopol to PETstock in Latrobe Street. Still no signal. That can't be right. Power down the phone, pop the SIM card and replace, reboot. And yes, I had reception again. What caused that? The phone had recognized the SIMM card before I powered it down, so probably a simple power cycle would have done the trick.

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 03:48:15 UTC

Google wisdom

Posted By Greg Lehey

While searching for COVID-19 vaccinations on Google, got this helpful information: OK, Google, I'll bite. How are those diseases related to COVID-19?

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 03:36:49 UTC

Latest eBay pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the good things about eBay is that it's relatively easy to return merchandise if it's defective or not as described. But when I tried to return the defective rain gauge, I got a different reaction. First a message titled ?Some issues with your recent orders? with a lot of vague stuff about ensuring that things work for everybody, but with a link to their abusive buyer policy, and then one telling me to buy a return label. What's all this nonsense? Has some artificial stupidity program decided that I have returned too many items? That should be a feature, not a bug.

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 23:15:49 UTC

More tiwi pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

First thing this morning I took a look at the display from tiwi, which had looked completely messed up when I went to bed. But now it was fine. Then into the office to check the overnight logs: kernel log messages: +NVRM: GPU at PCI:0000:01:00: GPU-85983119-e9ef-ac66-6817-fbed5657b871 +NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:01:00): 32, Channel ID 0000000f intr 80040000 +NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:01:00): 39, CCMDs 00000010 000090b5 +NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:01:00): 31, Ch 00000001, engmask 00000101, intr 10000000 +NVRM: Xid (PCI:0000:01:00): 31, Ch 00000001, engmask 00000101, intr 10000000 (hundreds of repeats) What's that?

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 01:18:03 UTC

Gradually completing tiwi

Posted By Greg Lehey

More very little work on tiwi today. Spent some time looking for a mailcap file, and came up with the obvious /usr/local/etc/mailcap. Yes, the file on eureka has invocations for firefox, and there was none on tiwi. So copy it across and try to access a web page from mutt. Nothing. ?For every problem there is a solution that is elegant, obvious and wrong?, to (apparently) misquote H.L.Mencken. More searching. Ah, there's a ~/.mailcap. That, too, was missing, and when I added it, things worked as expected. So: what's /usr/local/etc/mailcap there for? In the evening, just before going to bed, firefox hung up on me, to the point that the display became inaccessible.

Sun, 27 Nov 2022 02:32:04 UTC

Unwriting history

Posted By Greg Lehey

While writing up the story of the lost mobile phone yesterday, I went back to Facebook to see what I wrote. Nothing! It has been wiped off the face of the earth, it seems. It doesn't even show in ?my content?. My best guess is that somebody thought it appropriate to remove both the thread I started and the thread that Kerrianne started a couple of weeks ago. How this irritates me! Here I am keeping records for decades, and things I have written are removed without even asking.

Sun, 27 Nov 2022 01:49:41 UTC

More TV issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the lounge room to watch the news today. Oh. No recordings. Run the script again? It failed: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/9) /spool/Docco 35 -> /home/local/bin/aljaz AlJaz-16-1 1080 [youtube] -upyPouRrB8: Downloading webpage [youtube] -upyPouRrB8: Downloading android player API JSON ERROR: [youtube] -upyPouRrB8: Private video. Sign in if you've been granted access to this video What did I do wrong this time? Nothing, it proved. They have just changed their stream ID, like they do about twice a year, and they chose the time that caused the most confusion.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 01:36:27 UTC

Goodbye teevee

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now tiwi is set up well enough that I don't really need to run teevee any more. Shut it down. tiwi died! Huh? It took me longer than it should to realize that I had started X on tiwi from teevee, so when it went down it took tiwi's X with it. But by that time I was rebooting tiwi, showing that I didn't get a console display. That must be related to the BIOS settings for the display, something that I should examine Some Other Time. But at least the cutover is mainly complete.

Sat, 26 Nov 2022 01:04:21 UTC

Found: mobile phone

Posted By Greg Lehey

It didn't take long for my post on Facebook about the mobile phone I found yesterday to bear results. I got a call on the phone itself, from Kerrianne Frost, who lives around the corner in Progress Road, and whom we know from horsey stuff. Yes, it belongs to her son, and it was lost 12 days ago, and GPS logging showed that it was last seen at the junction of Swamp and Ferrers Roads, 3 km away, and that it had a red cover on it. So how did it end up where we found it? Much discussion, in the course of which two other people mentioned that they had seen it, but thought that it was broken.

Fri, 25 Nov 2022 02:01:26 UTC

Found: mobile phone

Posted By Greg Lehey

Walking the dogs this afternoon, Yvonne saw a mobile phone on the side of the road. Looks just like my enzian. What make? I couldn't see anything obvious. It has clearly seen better days. There's a piece of adhesive tape on the left, and the screen protection is peeling off: OK, put it on charge. That worked. Fire it up. That worked too, showing that it's a Samsung Galaxy A11 and that the display has damage: And that's basically as far as I got.

Fri, 25 Nov 2022 01:07:58 UTC

Director ID, try 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally I have brought up enough courage for another stab at applying for my Director ID . This time the call back promised less than 18 minutes. It barely made it: after 17 minutes I got a call from somebody who eventually claimed to be Ariana (again, my spelling). And, as I feared, she wanted all the information over again. First, will you answer a secret question? Yes, prepared for that. Long silence, then ?what is your home address??. My guess is that she didn't want to ask ?what's the purpose of all these silly questions??. So I have tricked the system.

Thu, 24 Nov 2022 23:21:02 UTC

tiwi: the next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's clear that the disk on teevee is deteriorating rapidly. Time to catch up with my installation of tiwi. In principle there were only two issues: Alt key bindings on bash on xterms, and the lack of an Emulate3Buttons on the mouse. I had already found, and lost again, some suggestions for the bash issue. More searching, and came up with this page, which suggested two steps: Add these entries to my ~/.Xdefaults file: !

Tue, 22 Nov 2022 23:40:53 UTC

Director ID: so nice, so nice, we do it twice

Posted By Greg Lehey

While I had Marcio on the phone, I got him to issue an ID for Yvonne, who had never heard of the thing. Similar questions: tax file number (which I had ready), Medicare number, passport number. Wait a while, the passport expired in 2014. Never mind. To identify yourself with an Australian passport, it needs to be valid or to have expired not more than 3 years ago. For foreign passports, that's not a requirement, as long as she entered Australia on it. He didn't even want the visa number, which is what I would have expected, and he didn't ask the nationality of the passport, which is presumably encoded in the number.

Tue, 22 Nov 2022 22:30:11 UTC

Getting a director ID

Posted By Greg Lehey

The Australian Government has discovered that there are a number of companies with fake directors. The solution: register them based on their known identification, a ?Director ID?. And their preferred method is this horribly insecure myGovID, which was used last year to steal money from Centrelink, who made me pay for their mistakes. No way I was going to do that again. What are the alternatives? Can I get my accountant to do it for me? No, says Peter O'Connell, they're not allowed to do it. I must do it myself, and the easiest way has proven to be by telephone.

Sun, 20 Nov 2022 01:54:42 UTC

Goodbye Twitter, hello Idiot

Posted By Greg Lehey

The news of the month is how Elon Musk bought out Twitter and proceeded to dismiss more than half of the work force. Latest rumours are that he requires his employees to produce voluminous new code to show their worth. Some discussion on the UNIX Heritage Society mailing list. As Dan Cross put it, Well, if I ever go to work for Twitter, I know how I'm initializing large arrays. But of course Elon is following the old adage ?when in a hole, dig faster?.

Sat, 19 Nov 2022 00:45:05 UTC

Last Core Team video conference

Posted By Greg Lehey

The last of the three video conferences about the charter for the FreeBSD Core Team today. At least I managed to get my thoughts across about the usefulness of this kind of discussion as compared with email, but I don't know to what extent the others agreed.

Fri, 18 Nov 2022 05:15:47 UTC

Firefox changes

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the consequences of teevee's problems was that it was no longer a good idea to run firefox from teevee. OK, start from tiwi. But it didn't respond to invocations from mutt on eureka. Instead it started a local firefox. After analysis, it seems that this is a fixed bug. In the past you couldn't start a separate firefox from two different systems on the same display: the second attempt would just attach to the first, even if it was running on a different system. Now, it seems, it is possible, but that means that a mutt running on eureka can't attach to a firefox running on tiwi and displaying on the same display; instead it tries to start a new instance.

Fri, 18 Nov 2022 05:15:39 UTC

Migration pressure

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reading the nightly log summaries this morning, I saw: Checking setuid files and devices: find: /usr/local/lib/bonobo/monikers: Input/output error find: /usr/local/lib/colord-sensors/libcolord_sensor_argyll.a: Input/output error find: /usr/local/lib/colord-sensors/ Input/output error That was from teevee. Oh. What's in /var/log/messages? Lots of: Nov 17 04:00:33 teevee kernel: g_vfs_done():ada0p4[READ(offset=3944546304, length=32768)]error = 5 Nov 17 04:00:36 teevee kernel: (ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 60 40 28 8f f5 40 07 00 00 00 00 00 Nov 17 04:00:36 teevee kernel: (ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): CAM status: ATA Status Error Nov 17 04:00:36 teevee kernel: (ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): ATA status: 41 (DRDY ERR), error: 40 (UNC ) Nov 17 04:00:36 teevee kernel: (ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): RES: 41 40 48 8f f5 40 07 00 00 40 00 Nov 17 04:00:36 teevee kernel: (ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): Retrying command, 3 more tries remain ...

Wed, 16 Nov 2022 03:37:51 UTC

Another Core team teleconference

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another teleconference for the working group to establish a charter for the FreeBSD Core Team this morning at 7:30. Last time I was quite impressed by how it ran, maybe because I had few positive expectations. But today was less positive. One of the ?participants? showed up at the start, said a word and disappeared. Another one had difficulties once again with the video interface throughout the call. I did too at the start, but fortunately Adam (the coordinator) set me right before the meeting got started. But clearly the technology is getting in the way, and I'm not sure what it adds to the meeting.

Tue, 15 Nov 2022 01:25:14 UTC

lax down!

Posted By Greg Lehey

While watching TV this evening, an Emacs popped up over the film we were watching. ?Reconnecting to Dammit, another network outage? No, only lax wasn't reachable. OK, finish the film and check. Yes, lax is there again. But: === grog@lax (/dev/pts/1) ~ 1 -> uptime 10:51AM  up 25 mins, 2 users, load averages: 0.26, 0.33, 0.24 Oh. It crashed! And that after being up for over 15 months: Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2022 03:03:36 GMT From: Charlie Root <[email protected]> lax    up  478+08:07,  0 users,  load 0.57, 0.47, 0.45 Still, it's not as bad as if had gone down: === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 7 -> uptime  1:31AM ...

Mon, 14 Nov 2022 01:26:35 UTC

Chromecast revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reading back in my diary, came across this article on watching TV. Jamie Fraser had bought a Chromecast box, something that I found far too limiting. How do you single step? How do you take a screen shot? Can Jamie live with it? Asked him on IRC. Yes, it seems. Single step? No. Screen shot. No. As others said, who needs them? Somehow people are all stuck in their boxes.

Sat, 12 Nov 2022 00:48:48 UTC

Olympus webcam, retried

Posted By Greg Lehey

Following some discussion on IRC, once again tried to connect my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II to distress as a webcam. The main issue I had last time was that I didn't have a microphone. But of course I do: the Saramonic UWMIC9 wireless microphones that, I discover, I have had for over 4 years. They're not suitable for continuous use, since they're heavy on batteries and too polite to use rechargeables, but for a test they should be more than sufficient. So: first recall what I need to do to connect the camera. Focus mode to C-AF (continuous) to keep my face in focus.

Fri, 11 Nov 2022 01:31:17 UTC

Overly eager bots

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received in my mail this morning: From: World Wide Web Owner <[email protected]> To: [email protected] Subject: FAILURE: /booquoo/nooquyj.php <- Referrer: Referenced URL: Request URI:    /booquoo/nooquyj.php Remote IP: Surely I didn't have a reference like that? No, I didn't. Coincidentally it was another strange mismatch. This time is easier to understand: some over-eager bot has decided not to check if a URL-like text is really a link before trying to resolve it.

Wed, 09 Nov 2022 05:20:05 UTC

Olympus cameras as webcams

Posted By Greg Lehey

I wasn't at all impressed by the image quality produced by my laptop during the teleconference. But then, it's a toy camera. And I have at least two real cameras that claim to be able to function as a webcam, as I noted a couple of years ago. Off to look at the details. Not encouraging: Olympus is gone, OM System is here, and the app is apparently still in Beta. And it doesn't run on Microsoft ?Windows? 7, the version running on eucla, my Microsoft laptop. OK, not that much of a problem: I can connect my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II to distress.

Wed, 09 Nov 2022 05:15:05 UTC

Wither FreeBSD core team?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Up early this morning for a 7:30 teleconference to discuss a charter for the FreeBSD Core Team. Not my idea of fun, but despite my objections I found that we came up with some useful results. I still think that we could have done better with more conventional means, but that requires the others to also be prepared to use these means (email discussions, for example). Certainly the ability to write up a collaborative document during the meeting was interesting, in particular because it was relatively tidy; my drafts look really messy, maybe because they can. The other thing that I hadn't expected was less positive: somehow the whole day was out of sync as the result of my early rising.

Tue, 08 Nov 2022 00:30:45 UTC

Zoom again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's tests of Zoom on FreeBSD were a complete waste of time. Try as I might I couldn't get any audio. So today, painful as it was, I tried on Microsoft. Surprise, surprise! First, it wanted to install an app, and then it presented an almost completely different interface: My guess is that under FreeBSD a firefox plugin provides the equivalent functionality, thus explaining why I always get firefox even when I'm running Chrom* and it's my ?default browser?.

Mon, 07 Nov 2022 00:58:26 UTC

More Zoom pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's high time that I get my act together with Zoom: our meeting is very early on Tuesday morning. OK, fire up again. Things are glacially slow, and top shows:   PID USERNAME    THR PRI NICE   SIZE    RES STATE    C   TIME    WCPU COMMAND  1832 grog         41  27    0    28G   952M select   2 282:38 309.53% firefox Maxing out 3 CPUs! And that on a relatively modern laptop. Is this a firefox issue? Tried starting chrom*, but that didn't help.

Sun, 06 Nov 2022 00:51:01 UTC

More web cam stuff

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got round to upgrading the installation on bde, slightly complicated by the installation process that I'm developing, a completely unrelated issue. How do I install the packages? ntpd needs starting, and it needs a local configuration file. To start it, I also need the cuse module, along with a very specific invocation of webcamd: === root@bde (/dev/pts/2) ~ 7 -> webcamd -N Chicony-Electronics-Co---Ltd--HP-HD-Webcam-Fixed -S SN0001 -M 0 webcamd 1783 - - Attached to ugen1.4[0] webcamd 1783 - - Creating /dev/video0 webcamd 1783 - - Creating /dev/video1 But the good news was that it worked, as did x2x, though it ran glacially slowly in a Zoom browser window.

Sat, 05 Nov 2022 02:03:38 UTC

Video recovery, day 3

Posted By Greg Lehey

In principle I have completely recovered my video data. This morning the daily cron backup job ran, and I got up a little apprehensive of what I might find: if I had forgotten to restore some files, the backup job would ensure that they were lost forever. But no, quite the opposite. Lots more files got backed up than I had expected. Old files that I had already seen. It almost looks as if my scripts foo and bar missed some files. But how? It's interesting to note in that connection that there is 50 GB less free space on /spool than there was at the beginning.

Fri, 04 Nov 2022 00:56:53 UTC

Video recovery, day 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

By the middle of the night my reconstruction of tiwi:/spool/Series was complete. But things didn't look quite right: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) /spool/Series 240 -> l -rt total 1 drwxr-xr-x   4 grog  home     512  1 Nov 12:31 Call-the-Midwife drwxr-xr-x   5 grog  home     512  1 Nov 12:31 Morden-im-Norden drwxr-xr-x   3 grog  home     512  1 Nov 12:31 New-Gold-Mountain drwxr-xr-x   3 grog  home     512  1 Nov 12:32 Doc-Martin drwxr-xr-x   2 grog  home   1,024  1 Nov 12:32 Jewel-in-the-Crown drwxr-xr-x   4 grog  home     512  1 Nov 12:32 HIP drwxr-xr-x   6 grog  home     512  1 Nov 12:32 Rentnercops drwxr-xr-x  13 grog  home   1,024  1 Nov 12:55 30-min drwxr-xr-x   3 grog  home     512  1 Nov 12:55 Dr-Kleist drwxr-xr-x  10 grog  home     512  1 ...

Thu, 03 Nov 2022 01:57:26 UTC

Video conferencing on bde

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't got completed the webcam setup that I started a week ago. How do I test it? We're using Zoom, and how about that, I'm already set up for it. Started zoom and... no picture. But I've seen that before too: I was only able to start cheese as root. All this requires more keyboard access to the machine than is bearable on this mutilated keyboard on due to only partially successful keyboard remapping, I don't have a control key any more, and I can't restart X easily, since it has lost its vtys. OK, that's what x2x is for.

Thu, 03 Nov 2022 00:54:11 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking my video downloads before breakfast this morning, I discovered that I had created a directory /spool/Series/Fisk/02. But why? Surely I already had /spool/Series/Fisk/01. Oh. It's a series with 30 minute episodes, so the correct directory name is be /spool/Series/30-min/Fisk/02, and that exists. So delete the new hierarchy: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/2) /spool/Already/Series 123 -> rm -rf /spool/Series/ === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/2) /spool/Already/Series 124 -> AAARGH! Something must have interrupted me before I finished typing, and I removed all of my active series, some 2.5 TB of them!

Tue, 01 Nov 2022 02:34:47 UTC

System upgrade, next delay

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still dragging my heels on system upgrades, but we're heading for another set of video conferences (why?) , and I want to ensure that my laptop is capable of handling them correctly. So what do I use to test it. Is Skype available on FreeBSD? A quick locate shows: yes. OK, is it named correctly? === root@bde (/dev/pts/6) /usr/ports/net-im 14 -> pkg search skype pidgin-skypeweb-1.7,1          Plugin to use Skype chat from Pidgin(without Skype running) Damn. What's wrong there? Try again on dereel: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/2) /home/grog 7 -> pkg search skype pkg: repository FreeBSD contains packages for wrong OS version: FreeBSD:14:amd64 Huh?

Sun, 30 Oct 2022 22:55:40 UTC

More Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since my Android system upgrade a few months ago, I haven't been able to access the data from the Mendhak GPS logger: they have ?secured? the system so that nothing except the app itself can access it. So I had to use the workarounds that the logger provides: regular email or (my choice) ftp. That works, but it comes with a delay: it gets sent at regular intervals, typically one day. If I take a photo and want the location information, I have to wait until it is transferred; previously my tagging scripts loaded the files automatically. It does, however, offer to store the files elsewhere on the device.

Sat, 29 Oct 2022 02:01:22 UTC

Elon Musk saves the world

Posted By Greg Lehey

The current story of the day is that Elon Musk has bought Twitter and started firing everybody from the top down. And some people are complaining. But they haven't read my diary. Nearly 6 years ago a majority of people wanted to kill off Twitter. Now Musk is, it seems, doing just that.

Thu, 27 Oct 2022 01:21:02 UTC

Service Victoria: beyond worse

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is ?over? (never mind that at the beginning under 1,000 people had died of COVID-19 in Australia, and now it's over 15,000), I don't pay as much attention to the statistics as I once did. But today on IRC Callum Gibson mentioned a fourth vaccination. What, a fourth? I hadn't heard of that. But I can check that on my mobile phone with this horrible Service Victoria app, which maintains ?digital certificates? of my vaccinations. Fire it up: Yes, that's old.

Thu, 27 Oct 2022 00:27:05 UTC

Webcam with FreeBSD

Posted By Greg Lehey

Whether I like it or not, I'm due for a few video teleconferences in the near future. Last time I did it with my mobile phone, which was suboptimal for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because the app insisted on using mobile data where it had a perfectly good Wi-Fi connection, thus using up all my phone credit. In the meantime I have set up Bruce Evans' old HP EliteBook 8750p laptop, and that works as well as a machine with a hard-wired CapsLock key can work. And of course it has a webcam. How do I set it up?

Sun, 23 Oct 2022 05:57:44 UTC

High resolution panoramas

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photo day today. I normally take 6 360° panoramas, each of which has a size of between 60 and 80 MP. But the camera has a high resolution option for roughly 4 times that resolution. Why not try it? One issue is that I normally use exposure bracketing (+1.7 EV, +4.7 EV and -1.3 EV) and for whatever reason the camera won't do that in combination with high resolution shots, so I have to take each image individually. But that can be done. I can also just do individual exposures (0 EV offset) and stitch them together.

Fri, 21 Oct 2022 02:32:08 UTC

Another mobile phone reset!

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Tuesday, as I was leaving for Geelong, I put my mobile phone in its holder... and it reset. I wondered at the time if something was wrong. But today exactly the same thing happened! It seems that it wasn't in a reboot loop: it wanted to feel wanted, and when I touched it the right way, it completed the reboot. But why did it happen? Did I touch it the wrong way when mounting in the holder?

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 03:14:09 UTC

The daily smart phone smart

Posted By Greg Lehey

Lots of emergencies at the moment, of course. And that's what the Vic Emergency app is all about. But I haven't been receiving any information. Fool! Of course you have. Those are the little popups that appear while you're doing something else, and disappear before you get time to look at them. And if they show up in the notifications, they're behind more important things like PetaPixel's review of the Leica M6 (how did they find out how to spam me?) , or a message from ALDImobile from 6 June telling me that it's time to recharge. And once you locate the message, you just need to deal multiple swinging blows at your phone to discover a flood warning between Lake Eildon and Seymour, only 250 km away and on the other side of the ranges, or (if you look in the wrong place) that there are no total fire ...

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 02:45:06 UTC

Reading rain gauges

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've come to the conclusion some time ago that my eyes aren't what they once were. In particular, I have great difficulty reading the rain gauges. Admittedly they have also seen better days, but how about photos? That's with high microcontrast to emphasize the readings. I still have difficulty! No wonder I normally do.

Sat, 15 Oct 2022 02:34:54 UTC

Power fail, the rest

Posted By Greg Lehey

By chance I woke up at 2:35. We still had power. We still had no grid power. While I was contemplating the situation, the power went out, at 2:40. Almost exactly what I had guessed. How long would the outage last? We've heard of people who have been off the grid for days. Spent some time considering how to handle the situation, and during that time the power was restored, at 3:09. We had missed weathering the outage by 29 minutes! I later discovered that the state of charge of the batteries was only 94% when the power failed, and for some reason?I suspect Luke Parry of Effective Electrical?the ?turn off?

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 02:45:51 UTC

X and UTF-8: Hope?

Posted By Greg Lehey

A thread on the NetBSD mailing lists today: how do I generate Alt key codes with X, specifically xterm? Some of this seems to overlap with my issues with tiwi. There seem to be some solutions there too; I just need time to look at them.

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 02:20:12 UTC

Understanding false positives

Posted By Greg Lehey

Clearly Google Maps got confused by the fact that there's more than one Victoria Street in Ballarat and surroundings. An avoidable kind of false positive, something that happens more often with peoples' names. One of the strange things about my name is that I seem to be the only person who has it. Just about everybody seems to have a Doppelgänger, but not I. Even Yvonne, born Yvonne Ködderitzsch, the name of a tiny village north-east of Weimar, has not one but two Doppelgängerinnen. This search page suggests that there might be even more. But what are surnames? Yvonne (mine) has been treated by numerous medical professionals over the last 10 days.

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 01:16:12 UTC

Google Maps: bad day

Posted By Greg Lehey

I had already noted that Google Maps wasn't much help today. Yesterday I had asked it to take me to the Queen Elizabeth Centre, which it knew, and it transferred the route to my phone. But today the route was gone! Somehow the user interface for the phone app is very different from (and much worse than) the web browser interface. To its credit, it got us there at exactly the estimated time, something that many navigators have had trouble with in the past. But it took me to the wrong place: Is that wrong?

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 04:40:20 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Manipulating Hugin files is not the easiest thing in the world, and a while back I investigated the project file format, with only moderate insights. But today I heard of Panotools Script, which appears to have a number of functions that could help. If I only had time...

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 04:15:12 UTC

Faster DxO

Posted By Greg Lehey

15 years ago yesterday we toured the Great Ocean Road and Maits Rest, and of course I took a lot of photos. But at the time I had had my Olympus E-510 less than 2 months, and the results weren't that good. In particular, I took all photos as JPEGs, and in this photo Yvonne's face was burnt out: OK, time to reprocess with the latest and greatest DxO PhotoLab. Yes, they're marginally better, limited by the choice of JPEG images (in turn decided because I didn't have any useful raw image processing software at the time).

Tue, 11 Oct 2022 01:12:24 UTC

Fun with DxO PhotoLab 6

Posted By Greg Lehey

The photos that I took at the Ballarat Base Hospital on Friday proved particularly difficult to process for a number of reasons. Firstly the white balance was all over the place, and since I took things with available light and ISO sensitivities up to 3200/36°, I needed careful processing to render the images well. So far this has been with DxO PhotoLab's DeepPRIME setting. But now there's an even deeper PRIME, DeepPRIME XD (whatever that is intended to mean), and it is even much slower than DeepPRIME. Today I tried to fix some of the white balance and also measure timing, in particular whether PhotoLab 6 is really faster than PhotoLab 5.

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 03:03:00 UTC

DxO speed improvements

Posted By Greg Lehey

DxO have released a new version of PhotoLab, 6.0, as Digital Photography Review informs me: DxO is too polite to spam its customers with such information. OK, try it. Oh. For some reason their web site only wants to speak German to me, and then refuses my password and my browser (firefox). Went to some trouble to download it, but finally succeeded: it's 765 MB in size and took about 3 hours to arrive. That seems to be somehow related to my link. I was able to download it to in 7 seconds: === grog@ffm (/dev/pts/0) ~ 18 -> fetch DxO_PhotoLab6_Setup.exe                       100% of  764 MB  115 MBps 00m07s But copying it here again came across at about 100 kB/s, less than ...

Fri, 07 Oct 2022 06:07:06 UTC

Fast bank transfers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I transferred some money from my Bank of Melbourne. Nowadays that's normally instantaneous, but this time I got a timeout saying that the transfer was in progress, and ?check back later please?. I did that, and the money had gone through, but where was the notification email to the recipient? That arrived today: From bounces+18703364-aeed-[email protected]  Thu Oct  6 15:32:03 2022 Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2022 04:32:00 +0000 (UTC)  The Payer has requested we send you an email with details of a Payment made through Bank of Melbourne Internet Banking. Date: 05/10/2022 Time: 03:31 PM AEST That's 24 hours' delay, so exactly that it almost seems symptomatic.

Thu, 06 Oct 2022 01:24:38 UTC

Problem report: 20th anniversary

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received an email notification for a couple of updates to Bug 44034. Clearly a little too early: next Friday it will be 20 years old. And it's still open! But I couldn't change the text. Attempts to log in failed, and the system refused to let me change my password. Discussion with Philip Paeps, who is almost in our time zone (Hong Kong). He fixed it for me, but how did it happen? It seems that I changed it by accident using a completely different kerberos interface. That, too, should be better documented.

Mon, 03 Oct 2022 00:57:51 UTC

Travel and email false positives

Posted By Greg Lehey

So do I go to Europe in December? I really don't want to, but if I have to, I should combine it with a few visits. For various reasons I want to go to Hamburg, and it occurred to me that there's a relatively active group, BSDHH, which meets once a month at a Chinese restaurant (Lotusblüte?) in Eppendorf. Would the time match when I might be there? Where's the last mail message on the topic? === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/35) ~/Mail 4 -> grep BSDHH * david.purdue:16N8Qv8AkB2//Xyv/oL15zjI6fpTReC/hBz7n6cUY9s/rR9cfiBSDHHT8qZ1i/gP0NH5fpR7 iracarmel:wwwuuaRJDS6x0MlOM6Mygw43ueBSDHHN5BJMmuMEg4sv0H3zSimtUlOKL3zGwkox7VDDSikP sandraellis.pi:bGGfrmbQly77BJBxhKV+AroJT7kjZ+Yh6pjbRuBpr3pMen1qa2SiR5UqBSDHHEhUfE4t1p3c tessaa:mDrsRKLDTiQ67GxDh51t6LATiQ47kZiBSDHHeH3rE1sTyUtbS7a+SfK2qrbayf4NJzCadUgg03ie tomt:Zu5JJSiOHZZlnxnss5xeST3SSiE8IsaydOkkhSScBSDHHsUlMISRfReeyf7O4+ARoqQpI/2bxcFI === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/35) ~/Mail 5 -> grep Lotusb * frolley_zuideveld:VvOvLotusb8ut1MTEo5nDjxkJGp5MjYhaw2NdTGWVqtDxMmPIROvWf8ALgEI7Ki8mfWEFSB6 That's amazing!

Mon, 03 Oct 2022 00:32:11 UTC

Bloody DST!

Posted By Greg Lehey

First day of Daylight Saving Time today, time to reset dozens of timekeeping devices. Fortunately computers, even Microsoft, Apple and Android, now do that automatically. But there are still 8 cameras, two watches, two microwave ovens, one conventional oven, two conventional clocks and two car clocks, a total of 17. The older cameras are clear: go through the menu and set the time. Three of them are so old that I won't bother until I really take a photo with them. But the newest ones (Olympus OM-D) can communicate with the horrible Olympus Image Share mobile phone app. Ah, no, it's not Olympus any more, it's ?OM Systems?.

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 01:09:20 UTC

More tiwi experience

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have tiwi up and running to a point where I can use it. I didn't get round to doing much with it today, mainly just discovering new issues. They include: Compose key doesn't work. This could just be a question of the keyboard mappings, but I need to investigate. It seems that I have visited the issue multiple times over the last 12 years, and I really wish I didn't have to do so again.

Sat, 01 Oct 2022 02:09:21 UTC

Teaching COBOL inheritance

Posted By Greg Lehey

Sat, 01 Oct 2022 00:56:24 UTC

Traveling again?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The FreeBSD Core Team and FreeBSD Foundation are considering the current charter of the core team, and we've set up a working group including me. How do we communicate? Teleconferences! I've expressed my dislike of teleconferences in the past, but I'm in the minority, so it's going to happen. This time of year is more conducive: 12:00 in California, 15:00 in Ontario, 21:00 in West Europe and 7:00 (next day) here. It's unpleasant, but we can do it. But today the other shoe dropped: at the end we will need a face-to-face meeting of all core members and at least some Foundation members.

Sat, 01 Oct 2022 00:50:50 UTC

tiwi cutover: doing it

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over a month since I did any real work on installing tiwi, my replacement TV computer. One of the big issues was just setting up X with enough time to spare in case things went wrong. Since tiwi is continually recording, it's not easy. I have to do it in the morning, and then I'm cooking. Today was the day: Yvonne made breakfast, so I had time to play around and reboot if I really had to. I still have one issue open with UTF-8. This is one of the first machines I have with the UTF-8 locale as standard, and on Monday I established that, though I'm out of options, the problems only seem to occur with a remotely started xterm.

Fri, 30 Sep 2022 01:46:05 UTC

Android file access: I give up

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been trying to access images on hirse, my Android phone, for four days now. Every avenue I have tried has failed. The only possibility that I had still seen was to look in backups. But they, too, didn't help: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/36) ~ 55 -> l /src/Phones/enzian/Backups/ -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel       6,731 16 Sep 10:59 Blocklist(com.miui.securitycenter).bak -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel     107,589 16 Sep 10:59 Camera( -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel       7,751 16 Sep 10:59 Clock( -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel      54,336 16 Sep 10:59 FM Radio( -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel       6,212 16 Sep 10:59 Gallery( -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel       6,208 16 Sep 10:59 Notes(com.miui.notes).bak -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel       7,243 16 Sep 10:59 Phone settings( -rw-r--r--  1 grog  wheel       6,222 16 ...

Thu, 29 Sep 2022 02:14:15 UTC

More Android image searches

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some more time looking for ways to access the originals of images sent with Android messages today, and still failed. It's reasonable to assume that the images are stored in a directory associated with the app, whatever it might be called. More investigation with the phone mounted on distress, starting from this screen: OK, there's a directory folder called This PC ? Redmi 9% ? Internal shared storage ? Android ? data ? ? data. What's in it? Nothing! But maybe it's lying. What about this directory tree that I found yesterday? COMMAND.EXE shows: But it lies!

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 01:41:03 UTC

Accessing Android photos: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Tony Nesci sent me this photo yesterday, I think: Why ?I think?? This was the best I could extract after a couple of hours' work. He took it with his phone, of course, which was so proud of the feat that it watermarked the image. He then sent it to my phone with only 20 or 30 swipes. And then I got: It's amazing how hard to read Android displays are when shown on a real display.

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 01:37:25 UTC

Quora ?spam? understood

Posted By Greg Lehey

Once again Quora has deleted an answer, and once again I ?appealed?. But this time I got a sensible answer: Jeff, Sep 25, 2022, 4:51 PM PDT Hello Greg , Thank you for writing in. The quality control systems that we have in place will detect when a link and/or the same information is repeatedly being posted on Quora. Posting the same link and/or the same information over and over in a short period can result in your content being moderated. It?s fine to post about a product, company, or blog on Quora - as long as it's _directly relevant_ to the discussion - but repeatedly posting the same link/information may be considered spam.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 01:12:26 UTC

Cornering the UTF-8 issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

For months now I have been running two TV computers:, the ?real? computer with a dying disk, and with a valid disk and up-to-date but no display. And I've been dragging my heels. Why? The X installation requires me to have time when it's not recording something, and there isn't much of that. In addition, I've had some bad experiences with HDMI cables, and I want to be sure that I don't end up in a situation like last year, where the TV no longer worked. The other is more important, though: why can't I use normal keyboard bindings with bash on tiwi?

Mon, 26 Sep 2022 01:02:57 UTC

Making money with free software

Posted By Greg Lehey

An interesting thread on the Unix Heritage Society mailing list recently got me thinking. Andy Kosela wrote: That reminds me of the excellent dissertation of Gerald Holzmann on Code Inflation. The situation is even worse now and honestly I don't see it will improve in the future. My take on the code inflation problem is that today without paid "volunteers" (from IBM, Oracle, Google, etc.) a large chunk of our modern software landscape would just collapse. It is not 90s Internet anymore where hobbyists did it for fun, because frankly back then it was fun...

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 02:44:49 UTC

Quora apologizes

Posted By Greg Lehey

Unexpected mail from Quora moderation today: We are very sorry for this experience. Your content,, was mistakenly removed as a violation of our spam policy, but it is now reinstated. That's the response to my complaint on Monday. As I said at the time, I wasn't really expecting that. And since then I have received no more questions from the Spam Generator. Have they removed it, or just blocked me from seeing the questions?

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 01:56:45 UTC

Rare Space Phenomenon Alarms NASA

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from ABC today: 29 N + 19-09-2022 To groggyhimsel (  63) ABC News    N + Rare Space Phenomenon Alarms NASA Sensationalists! What's it about? From: ABC News <[email protected]> Subject: Rare Space Phenomenon Alarms NASA Message-ID: <ym552wd6ufwr37cr-j6momakct6r63e87-16650-[email protected]> izabeth was born at 02:40 (GMT) on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, ... Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930. The two princesses were educated... I've seen that before, most recently 2 days ago. The URLs point to a different domain, but the layout and the spurious plain text are similar in concept.

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 01:35:27 UTC

The eternal system upgrade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen in my diary 20 years ago: More work on upgrading systems today. It's terrible work. I spent most of the day trying to find a clean way to upgrade /etc, and failed. mergemaster produced a lot of output, but didn't do very much else. Left me with about 80 files which had to be merged by hand, including such no-brainers as /etc/defaults/rc.conf. This system is just about unworkable. So I've been trying to get things right for over 20 years! Today, though, I did make some progress.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 01:18:42 UTC

Goodbye Quora?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Quora seems to be as good as dead. Just about all questions now come from the Quora Spam Generator, and I've been responding with my opinions of that. But it seems that I have offended the spambot. Today I got a message: Your answer has been deleted as it was found to be in violation of our Spam policy. To learn more about Quora's policy, click here: If you think this is an error, you can appeal here: Spam from me? ?Appealed?

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 00:57:15 UTC

Exploring rc again

Posted By Greg Lehey

As planned, spent some time reading up on /etc/rc and subsidiaries. They prove to go back to work done by Luke Mewburn in the NetBSD project. And it seems that both /etc/rc.d and /etc/rc.conf.d/ are intended to hold complete scripts, not just the definitions that I'm looking for. What I want is a way to include snippets like this only once: nfs_client_enable=YES           # This host is an NFS client (or NO). nfs_server_enable=YES           # This host is an NFS server (or NO). rpc_lockd_enable="YES"          # Run NFS rpc.lockd needed for client/server.

Mon, 19 Sep 2022 02:15:56 UTC

rc revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ever since 4BSD, BSD machines use a set of scripts, starting with /etc/rc, to start the machine. /etc/rc itself is invariant, but it reads a configuration file /etc/rc.conf to set the machine up. How do I set this up programmatically with my new system install scripts? My idea had been to create a directory /etc/rc.conf.d/ and put individual configuration routines in there, then modifying rc.conf to read them in and apply them. But rc is a moving target, and it's not clear where it's going. My recent installations all have a directory /etc/rc.conf.d/, but there's nothing in them, and there's almost no mention of it in the man page.

Mon, 19 Sep 2022 01:29:02 UTC

Spam: ain itself

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spam message today:  615 N + 18-09-2022 To groggyhimsel (  60) Delta Airlines Shopp N + Congratulations! You can get a $90 United Airlines gift card! OK, I was once a Delta airlines frequent flyer. Is it possible that it isn't spam? Look at the text version in case they're tracking me by URL: From 55938-91728-3085-13531-[email protected]  Sun Sep 18 16:35:31 2022 DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha1; c=relaxed/relaxed; s=k1;;         h=Mime-Version:Content-Type:Date:From:Reply-To:Subject:To:Message-ID; [email protected]; Congratulations! You can get a $90 United Airlines gift card! attached by wires.

Mon, 19 Sep 2022 01:20:31 UTC

Android MAC addresses, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Bartosz today, who pointed me at this page. It explains that yes, indeed, Android uses random MAC addresses as a ?security? measure to make people harder to track. And it shows how to disable it on a per-network basis. OK, take a look. To my surprise, the method still works, but the settings I found were surprising: it was already set up for ?use device MAC?. So presumably the change only happens when the network is set up. Bartosz was surprised; he has checked the code and found no way that that could happen.

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 01:12:32 UTC

More Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

By this morning my reconfiguration of enzian, the Xiaomi Redmi 9A was complete. Well, almost complete. At least two of the apps that I use regularly, WiFi [sic] File Transfer and Mendhak GPS logger, weren't installed. And there were more surprises. My main intention was to maintain configuration, but that didn't happen. The FTP server was installed with default configuration, and for some reason it buzzes when I perform certain functions, like display home screen. That might actually be useful: the thing is so glacially slow that it's good to know that it has taken note. And the MAC address change? Yes, Andy Snow confirmed that this is a feature and not a bug, or that at least the Android developers think so.

Sat, 17 Sep 2022 01:36:16 UTC

A change of pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what do I do with bde? The keyboard has a hardware CapsLock key that I can't remap. And my fingers are so used to having Ctrl in that position that that's a show-stopper. Yes, I can almost certainly connect an external keyboard, but that negates the purpose of a laptop. So: the obvious thing to do is finish setting up tiwi, which has been hanging for a couple of reasons. Here the change to UTF-8 breaks a number of things, including grep and my shell interface?the keyboard issue again. I also need to finish installing X on that machine, but that's nothing by comparison.

Fri, 16 Sep 2022 02:14:49 UTC

Off the Net!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Say what you will, mobile phones can be a source of information. This time last week I missed the news at 7:00, but when I got into the office I swiped my phone and got the startling news that Elizabeth II had died. This morning it beeped at me and told me that we were off the net. And so we were, sort of. More a case of extreme flakiness, which my scripts reported as no fewer than 26 outages with an average duration of 110 seconds. The reality was a little different: times of relatively good connection, times with very poor connection.

Thu, 15 Sep 2022 03:31:08 UTC

Laptop installation: impasse

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some time tuning my ?new system install? scripts today. Made reasonable progress until I tried my standard keyboard remapping, in particular Ctrl next to A, Alt in bottom left corner of keyboard. Then I got === grog@bde (/dev/pts/43) ~ 6 -> xmodmap ~/xmodmap.bde xmodmap:  /home/grog/.xmodmap-bde:2:  bad keysym in remove modifier list 'Caps_Lock', no corresponding keycodes xmodmap:  /home/grog/.xmodmap-bde:6:  bad keysym target keysym 'Caps_Lock', no corresponding keycodes xmodmap:  2 errors encountered, aborting. What's that? After some investigation, it seems that the laptop keyboard has a hardware CapsLock key which can't be remapped.

Wed, 14 Sep 2022 02:33:39 UTC

Fastest Internet service

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another statistic from Statista today: That's supposed to be the mean downlink (?download?) speed. I have a hard time believing that. I think I only know one person with a downlink of over 100 Mb/s (Jari Kirma). Certainly such speeds aren't generally available in Australia, and as long as they charge a premium for higher speeds, it's not clear why anybody would want them. I can get nominal 75 Mb/s, but I've chosen to stay with 25 Mb/s simply because of the price.

Wed, 14 Sep 2022 02:03:30 UTC

Installing BSD, 30 years later

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been well over 30 years since I first installed BSD on a PC. It was challenging then, and in 1998 I did an all-day tutorial on the subject at the AUUG annual conference?and didn't finish. And of course I've written a book on the subject. In the course of the years, installing the base system has become trivial much easier. Everything that I described in September 1998 is now a matter of 10 minutes and a few almost routine inputs. But things don't end there. What I still can't completely get my head round is how to maintain continuity. At the very latest, I started writing configuration files such as ~/.bashrc and ~/.emacs when I did my first BSD installation, but there's also a chance that I started even earlier with my first Unix installation in about 1987.

Mon, 12 Sep 2022 01:31:32 UTC

Device reliability pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to hear beep-beep-beep at regular intervals. My weather station software telling me that the internal unit wasn't getting any data from the external unit. Damn! This happens far too often. The units are only about 20 m apart, but from time to time they don't communicate. And then things come good again, for reasons that I don't understand. Took the internal unit into the lounge room, where it has direct 10 m line of sight through the windows. No data. Batteries in the internal unit low? Take them out and measure them. The readings were all over the place, from almost nothing to over 2 V!

Fri, 09 Sep 2022 03:26:17 UTC

Installing bde

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been dragging my heels on my computer configuration for years now. In the meantime, I need to: Finally update eureka, my main machine. The current installation dates from 25 November 2015, and I've been procrastinating on this one for at least 2 years. Finally migrate tiwi to teevee. Continue the installation of bde, a laptop I inherited from Bruce Evans. I started this three months ago, but ran into problems and put it into the ?too hard?

Thu, 08 Sep 2022 00:51:35 UTC

More exploit blocking

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent some time tidying up yesterday's code for the web exploit, greatly hampered by web browsers that cache old contents. It seems to work now. And then there's another! I wish I understood how this stuff gets executed before I refer to it.

Wed, 07 Sep 2022 02:42:34 UTC

Understanding the web exploit

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've worked around yesterday's security issue, but I didn't really understand. But today it came clear, at least partially. The page in question has input fields, and they look like: <form action="$me" method="get">           <td>    <input type="submit" value="Search keywords in description:"/> ...         </form> $me is set in a header file: $me = $_SERVER ["PHP_SELF"];                    /* name of this script */ And $_SERVER ["PHP_SELF"] includes all the trailing nonsense that the crackers used.

Wed, 07 Sep 2022 02:31:01 UTC

Maths for the masses, part 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

The Reserve Bank of Australia has raised the interest rate again, for the 5th time in 5 months, and this time by 0.5%, as the ABC reports. To help understand what it means, they write: According to analysis by RateCity, the latest increase will add a further $216 a month to a $750,000 mortgage. OK, I'll bite. 0.5% interest on $750,000 are $3,750. You don't need an ?analysis? to come to that conclusion: you should be able to do it in your head. And that's $312.50 per month.

Wed, 07 Sep 2022 02:06:49 UTC

Maths for the masses, part 1

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another almost meaningless statistic from Statista today: Africa Leads the World in Solar Power Potential. What does that mean? They provided this image: What does ?kWh/kWp per day? mean? kWh is clear: it's a kilowatt hour, a marginally metric way of saying 3.6 mJ. But ?kWp?? They're too polite to assume that I don't know. After a lot of searching it proved to mean ?Kilowatt peak?, the rated output of the panels. But in my experience that's not the peak: it's (barely) possible to exceed that value.

Tue, 06 Sep 2022 02:02:11 UTC

Web security breach

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from openbugbounty today, telling me of a security breach on the URL"><svG onLoad=prompt(9)> gave rise to this result: Huh? What's that? The URL makes no sense to me at all. Where do I find something that explains it? About the only interesting thing is that this part of the URL: photos.php/x. I didn't know that you could extend a PHP script URL beyond the final .php. But a bit of examination shows that phpinfo() returns that part as $_SERVER ["PATH_INFO"].

Mon, 05 Sep 2022 02:11:10 UTC

Best Asian supermarkets in Ballarat

Posted By Greg Lehey

There aren't many grocers in Ballarat that cater for non-Western food. The only ones I regularly visit are the Fruit Shack, the ?Ballarat Asian Grocery? next door and the Indian place next to the Curry Star in Dana Street. But while looking for something else, advertising caught my mind: ?Find the best Asian Supermarkets [note that plural] in Ballarat?. OK, I'll bite: BEST Asian Supermarkets in Ballarat VIC Need an Asian grocery store? These 0 results are waiting for your call.

Thu, 01 Sep 2022 00:03:40 UTC

Welcome, new RACV member!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received a strange letter in the (snail) mail yesterday: a membership card from RACV. I've been a member since this month! Problem: I have another card with the same membership number which says that I've been a member since May 1997. It's also a pretty gold colour, while the new one is blue. Should I care? Yes. RACV has proved to be the cheapest car insurance, and the discount I get depends on years of membership. OK, bite the bullet, call up their help line and fight my way through the menu (4, 7). ?Hello, welcome to RACV. This is mumble.

Wed, 31 Aug 2022 02:06:21 UTC

Kitchen scales strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

While preparing dinner this evening, discovered: That's not as strange as it might seem: I had had a pot on the board which weighed, well, about 620 g, and then used the tare function to weigh something in the pot. But when I removed the board, I discovered: Underflow!

Wed, 31 Aug 2022 02:03:25 UTC

No tiwi work

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why am I having so much trouble setting up tiwi? One thing's clear: I need to do this stuff in the morning, when nothing much is happening. But in principle things should Just Work. Part is the concern about the problems I've had in the past with HDMI, which seems not to like me. But there's still this issue with locales. There must be some other variable that I haven't identified yet, and until I do, I can't complete the changeover.

Tue, 30 Aug 2022 02:17:23 UTC

More tiwi configuration

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been nearly a week since I last worked on making tiwi the only TV driver computer. The issue was X configuration. That's nothing new. I've been configuring X (and talking about it) for over 30 years. But it's the details that count. The TV only has HDMI inputs. The ThinkCentre M91p that is tiwi only has a D-Sub video output, so I have an Nvidia GeForce GT 730 display card in it as well. But there's no output on the card. OK, today's task: connect up a monitor to the D-Sub output and configure it to display on the Nvidia card.

Tue, 30 Aug 2022 01:59:02 UTC

PJW's face again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Who is PJW? Depends on whom you ask. It seems that it was the abbreviation (user ID?) for Peter Weinberger, the W in awk, and the face on Bell Labs's water tower. It seems that nobody had the presence of mind to take a closer view of the tower (the right-hand one), but it's the one in the second image. I first heard of the story 21 years ago from Peter Salus, with the interesting twist that the stencil involved was in the possession of Warren Toomey, who was present at the time. But the story had gaps and errors. Originally we thought it was an image of Rob Pike, but a year later Rob confirmed that it was Weinberger.

Fri, 26 Aug 2022 00:55:20 UTC

State Library of Victoria: your membership has expired

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from the State Library of Victoria today: Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2022 00:01:14 +0000 (GMT) From: Membership <[email protected]> Subject: It?s time to renew your State Library Victoria membership Content-Type: text/plain;         charset="us-ascii" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit It\222s time to renew your State Library Victoria membership Your free Access membership expires tomorrow. Member type: Access Join date: 14/03/2021 Expiry date: 26/08/2022 Savour those markup errors. But there's more. Why has my membership expired? Something to do with the new password? And why do they state the ?join date?

Fri, 26 Aug 2022 00:51:25 UTC

enzian recharge

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still keep Yvonne's old Xiaomi Redmi 9A phone, named (IP address when it's at home) for various tests. It doesn't get much use, but it still wakes up from time to time to send me some useless notification, though it has been told not to. And it's on all the time. But the battery life! Battery charge dropped below 20% today?after two weeks! A far cry from 30 years ago with my Motorola Brick, which required two batteries to see it through a day.

Fri, 26 Aug 2022 00:45:41 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Two years ago I came up with a list of things that I needed to do: Get the tiles for the verandah. Arrange for the ?shed? for the riding arena. Prune the roses, make cuttings of the dead Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, do random garden work. Finish the installation of dereel. Buy new photo backup disks. How much have I achieved in the last 2 years? We've shelved the idea of the tiles. The shed is finally finished, but only today.

Thu, 25 Aug 2022 04:23:46 UTC

Resetting State Library password

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now it's a new day, and Winsome told me that I could now change my password. Same procedure as yesterday: get it to send me a PIN to sign in, and change it. Only today it knew my email address. OK, what password? I'm sure they're not saying, but they're expecting upper case, lower case, digits and special characters. How about H0rrible Microsoft!? No, only after I tried it was I told the usual nonsense: OK, which of these requirements have I offended?

Wed, 24 Aug 2022 02:15:20 UTC

State Library of Victoria: Improvements

Posted By Greg Lehey

I must access the OED about 10 times a week. But yesterday evening I received a message telling me that my password was incorrect. Something to do with the rather unorthodox way I log in? Tried again today and was told that I had to change my password. For that they needed to send me a 6 digit code to the email address on record. OK, that's in my /usr/local/etc/postfix/virtual. Something not quite unlike [email protected]. Put that in, receive email with the code. An account could not be found for the provided user ID. Huh? They just sent me a code.

Tue, 23 Aug 2022 03:38:07 UTC

tiwi migration pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have a few particularly nasty scripts that keep track of which series I have seen when. They're full of grep invocations, about 3 per entry (currently coming up to 10,000 entries), and it takes a couple of minutes to run. During that time I didn't have access to the list. OK, a minor change writes the new list to a temporary file and then renames it. Problem almost solved. But then there's something strange on tiwi. The one script, seelist, produces: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/19) /spool/Series/Rosenheim-Corpse/08 67 -> seelist grep: trailing backslash (\) grep: trailing backslash (\) grep: trailing backslash (\) ...

Sun, 21 Aug 2022 01:44:15 UTC

Bloody Microsoft!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I noticed, not for the first time: Aug 19 10:54:00 eureka nmbd[2580]: [2022/08/19 10:54:00.228974,  0] ../source3/nmbd/nmbd_namequery.c:109(query_name_response) Aug 19 10:54:00 eureka nmbd[2580]:   query_name_response: Multiple (2) responses received for a query on subnet for name LEMIS<1d>. Aug 19 10:54:00 eureka nmbd[2580]:   This response was from IP, reporting an IP address of That's something to do with Samba. I have nmbd running both on eureka and lagoon (IP address OK, we didn't need it there, so I stopped it. Today Yvonne (the owner of lagoon) came to me and told me that DxO PhotoLab wasn't seeing any photos, though she had put some in the designated directory /Photos/3-yvonne.

Fri, 19 Aug 2022 01:39:04 UTC

Reliance on digital devices

Posted By Greg Lehey

A couple of weeks ago I spilt some gravy on my infrared thermometer. I wiped it off immediately, but it didn't like it. It displayed temperatures in the order of 80° to 100° from surfaces at room temperature. Nothing for it: buy a new one. In the meantime the old one dried out and seemed to be showing correct temperatures, but how can you tell? Now I can compare them: the old one shows consistently lower temperatures, round 0.5° at room temperature. But when baking a pizza today, the old one showed that the stone temperature was round 258°, while the new one showed round 278°.

Wed, 17 Aug 2022 01:58:24 UTC

tiwi: the cutover

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been working on tiwi, the next iteration of teevee, my TV driver computer, for 7 months now. It's gradually working, and in fact I'm using tiwi's disk for video storage, via NFS, since teevee's disk is flaky The next step is to put it into the lounge room and connect it up to the TV. That's mainly a matter of finding cables and another network switch so that both connect to the house network: That's tiwi on the table to the left, and teevee on the right of the top shelf.

Mon, 15 Aug 2022 00:14:43 UTC

Shopping in the time of the Internet

Posted By Greg Lehey

In March 2014 I wrote a paper Future of the Internet as part of an assignment. The future was set 20 years ahead, in 2034, so now over 40% of the time has passed. I've also been keeping a signs of the times page, effectively a score card to keep track of how accurate my predictions were. I've already commented on the number of closed shops in Bridge Mall (which they seem to now be calling ?The Bridge?) , once the main shopping centre in Ballarat. But recently I heard that about 30% of all premises are vacant, and they have decided to overhaul it to make it a more pleasant shopping experience.

Sat, 13 Aug 2022 02:50:42 UTC

POSTIDENT: enough!

Posted By Greg Lehey

As far as I can see, Deutsche Post's POSTIDENT app just plan Does Not Work, at least for me. I strongly suspect that they don't recognize even those forms of acceptable identification that really do exist. OK, send them an email asking them to explain.: Will I get an answer? Well, I did, sort of: Ihre Nachricht ist eingegangen. Eine schriftliche Eingangsbestätigung der Lebensbescheinigung ist wegen der großen Menge leider nicht möglich. Lebensbescheinigungen werden nur in folgenden Formaten berücksichtigt:  Word ? PDF ? Digitalfoto JPG / JPEG ?

Fri, 12 Aug 2022 01:13:01 UTC

Aussie explains

Posted By Greg Lehey

Email from Aussie Broadband today, explaining the yesterday's outage. Apparently round 25,000 subscribers were affected, and as I had suspected it was a software issue, apparently overload. I suppose these things can happen; it's good to hear an explanation.

Fri, 12 Aug 2022 01:07:31 UTC

Quora: when in a hole, stop digging

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been answering questions on Quora for about 6 years now, but during that time the quality of the site has gone continually downhill: apparently in an attempt to get more content, they started offering money to people who asked questions. Any question, no matter how silly, so it ended up getting lots of repeat questions. They should have paid the people who answer the questions, based on the number of upvotes (though that can also be abused). Yes, people can report questions, and I've frequently done so, but it doesn't seem to help. And so it was today: questions like What is the time difference between Florida and Texas?

Thu, 11 Aug 2022 00:20:25 UTC

Notwork outage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the whole the National Broadband Network has been working relatively reliably in recent months, modulo their continual ?scheduled maintenance?. But this evening things were different. Outage at 18:27. Their fault or mine? The NTD showed normal indication, which at least meant that it was probably not the NBN itself. My system? I've had issues in the past where dhclient hung itself. OK, shoot down and restart: === root@eureka (/dev/pts/8) /src 45 -> dhclient  xl0 DHCPREQUEST on xl0 to port 67 DHCPNAK from DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to port 67 interval 6 DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to port 67 interval 12 DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to port 67 interval 7 DHCPOFFER from unknown dhcp option value 0x52 DHCPREQUEST on xl0 to port 67 DHCPREQUEST on xl0 to port 67 DHCPDISCOVER on xl0 to port 67 interval 6 ...

Tue, 09 Aug 2022 02:00:11 UTC

POSTIDENT, next three failures

Posted By Greg Lehey

Do I trust POSTIDENT? Not further than I can throw it. So while I was in town, decided to get my ?life certificate? witnessed by a Justice of the Peace. To the police station, where I found: Nobody there. But then, there was nobody at the police counter next to it either. I was there at the right time (12:23), right? Yes: But elsewhere, far enough away to not be obvious, there was an exhortation to use one of the longest URLs I have seen in a long time: It's not just the Germans who make ...

Sun, 07 Aug 2022 01:59:38 UTC

More fun with POSTIDENT

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last month I had lots of fun with Deutsche Post's POSTIDENT app. But I have to prove that I'm alive, so a couple of days ago I ran the thing, which was relatively straightforward. It accepted my images and told me that I would be informed. That came today: leider konnte Ihre Identifizierung für noch nicht abgeschlossen werden. Grund: Es konnten nicht alle Aufnahmen erfolgreich geprüft werden. Bitte führen Sie den Vorgang erneut mit einem unterstützten, gültigen Dokument durch. Sie können die betroffenen Aufnahmen erneut erstellen.

Sat, 06 Aug 2022 03:04:00 UTC

More Mod2 observations

Posted By Greg Lehey

Removing Mod2 from my X modifier map on teevee worked round the issue of stuck modifier keys. But why did it only happen there? A quick check on eureka shows: it doesn't exist there! I wonder why.

Sat, 06 Aug 2022 02:36:58 UTC

Translating Russian

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's attempts to translate the Kiev 3A instructions were less than successful. But surely there must be something on the web. Did a bit of searching and came up with this page, which offers a far-too-mouse-happy interface to first ?scan? and then translate pages. Here an example: The translation is less than stellar: - 32 -. gear, and the rotation of the lenses themselves for (Fig. 30). on the- focus ring roller , Rice.

Fri, 05 Aug 2022 01:48:40 UTC

X modifier issue: fixed

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last week I came up with a strategy to fix sticking modifier keys in X: remove them. How? xmodmap is your friend, and it seems that to remove NumLock (well, in fact all keys that are interpreted at mod2) from the modifier map, you get it to execute the command clear Mod2 I could also presumably have entered remove Mod2 = NumLock But I really don't want any kind of Mod2, so the first one seems better.

Sun, 31 Jul 2022 01:28:08 UTC

postfix/sendmail: latest discovery

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why do tiwi and dereel start sendmail when sending mail? eureka doesn't. Somehow this whole ?pretend to be sendmail? is going too far. In fact, it doesn't start sendmail at all. It starts mailwrapper: 4824928 lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel     11 27 May  2020 /usr/sbin/sendmail -> mailwrapper And what does mailwrapper do? It starts sendmail! Details in /etc/mailer/mailer.conf: # Execute the "real" sendmail program, named /usr/libexec/sendmail/sendmail ... sendmail        /usr/libexec/sendmail/sendmail ... So how do we get postfix at all?

Sat, 30 Jul 2022 01:58:04 UTC

Postfix fixed^W worked around

Posted By Greg Lehey

What's wrong with my postfix installation on tiwi? The identical configuration works on teevee, and there's no host name dependency anywhere. Have I missed out a configuration file? More searching through /etc and specially /etc/mail. Comparing with the settings on dereel, it seems that postfix has weaned itself a little more from sendmail, after only 20 years. /etc/rc.conf has removed these references: # This is for postfix! postfix_enable="YES" sendmail_enable="YES" sendmail_flags="-bd" sendmail_outbound_enable="NO" sendmail_submit_enable="NO" sendmail_msp_queue_enable="NO" In fact, I don't thing that the last three settings ever had any effect in postfix.

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 02:55:38 UTC

More X pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

More investigation of yesterday's problems with X fonts led to the interesting discovery that these are oversized fonts, and that there are some special hacks to get them to display. This also applies to Chinese fonts, it seems, but they work fine with uxterm and Emacs. So until proof of the contrary it appears to be a font issue. But wait, there's more! One of the really infuriating issues I have with X is when a modifier key gets out of sync. Normally, it seems, it's NumLock: it remains ?pressed? when I don't touch it, and it becomes ?unpressed? when I press it.

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 02:45:09 UTC

Automated install continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

Continued on my project to install FreeBSD systems ?automatically?, using settings common to all the secondary systems in the household network. The biggest issue was starting, and that gradually seems to be past. One of the issues I've run into again and again over the years was postfix. That should be trivial: save the configuration from teevee and replicate it on other systems (in this case tiwi), replacing system names where necessary (here they weren't). The results: didn't work! Jul 27 16:38:00 tiwi postfix/smtpd[23853]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from localhost[]: 451 4.3.5 <[email protected]>: Recipient address rejected: Server configuration problem; from=<[email protected]> to=<[email protected]> proto=ESMTP helo=<> Why?

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 01:42:26 UTC

Understanding X fonts, 32 years on

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been using X since at least April 1990, and in general I think I understand it pretty well. But my recent issues with tiwi still confuse me. Then today I ran into a different issue: Tobias Berner has written a script that uses specific UTF-8 characters that my system doesn't display: Since they're UTF-8, it's not surprising that they won't display correctly in an xterm, but then there's uxterm. And it displays: State    Tally                Own Vote            6,  0,  0,  3            5,  0,  1,  3 Look OK?

Tue, 26 Jul 2022 00:44:11 UTC

xterms: another surprise

Posted By Greg Lehey

So why are the xterms on tiwi started with a UTF-8 locale? Tried again today and noted that, in fact, I didn't have X running on tiwi. OK, start it and check. The xterms were normal! So the whole issue revolves around xterms started remotely. That's partially good news: I can (finally!) use it to replace teevee without running into the problem. But I still don't understand what's making the difference. I start the xterms from an fvwm2 menu: + "tiwi" Exec ssh -A tiwi /usr/local/bin/xterm -name "xterm-lx" -bg BlanchedAlmond -s -sl 2048 -sb -ls -j -rw -display eureka:0.0 -geometry 90x50+53+0 -fn 10x20 -e /usr/local/bin/bash & And the entries for other systems are almost identical; in fact I generate them from a script, changing only the client and server names.

Tue, 26 Jul 2022 00:02:55 UTC

Dan Murphy's: Hanlon's razor?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received an interesting offer in the (e)mail recently: Oettinger beer for only $48 for a slab. In Australia, that's cheap. And we buy it regularly, so it makes sense to buy a few. Click on ?Add to cart?: Huh? Suddenly it's $3 more expensive. That's dishonest! Checking, there were indications that the prices differ from place to place.

Fri, 24 Jun 2022 03:53:28 UTC

Finally a simple git invocation

Posted By Greg Lehey

The FreeBSD Core Team has private data, of course. In my day we kept it with RCS, but that's no longer modern. So of course now it's kept with git. How do I access it? === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/2) ~/core 103 -> git clone freefall:/secret/core/mysecret/mygit.git Cloning into 'repo'... remote: Enumerating objects: 30603, done. remote: Counting objects: 100% (30603/30603), done. remote: Compressing objects: 100% (13306/13306), done. remote: Total 30603 (delta 13903), reused 29661 (delta 13265), pack-reused 0 Receiving objects: 100% (30603/30603), 8.35 MiB | 257.00 KiB/s, done. Resolving deltas: 100% (13903/13903), done. I've changed the pathname for obvious reasons, but it was really that simple.

Fri, 24 Jun 2022 02:11:21 UTC

Troy: the next delay

Posted By Greg Lehey

Troy Addicoat did respond to yesterday's SMS, at 16:31: I am sorry but were we are working has not got A lot of service and can't Cole I will call you tomorrow morning Where's the email copy? I didn't see one. Yet another reliability issue with these damned Android ?devices?. Called him up, and it he tells me that the weather has not been in his favour, and now it looks like it'll be the end of next week at the earliest before he can do our job.

Thu, 23 Jun 2022 03:43:03 UTC

Where have all my contacts gone?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne back from shopping and wanted to know why her phone no longer knew who I was. Instead of displaying my name and image, it just showed the phone number. Further investigation showed that almost, but not quite, all of her contacts had disappeared. Checked on a real computer and discovered the same thing: somehow they were just plain gone. How can that happen? Yes, of course it's possible to delete contacts, but Yvonne doesn't know how to do that, and I can't see her accidentally deleting 50 or so contacts. Went into settings and discovered that it's possible to restore older versions of the contacts list, and yesterday's seem to be OK.

Fri, 17 Jun 2022 03:38:32 UTC

Bluetooth earbuds

Posted By Greg Lehey

ALDI had Bluetooth ?TRUE WIRELESS? earbuds (the mind boggles) on special yesterday, and by chance Yvonne was able to find some, which bore no resemblance in appearance to the advertisements. Tried them out today. Good news: they work, and the sound quality appears OK, though I haven't tried speaking to them. The bad news: I can't get them to stay in my ears, and every time I try to adjust them, I end up turning off the sound source. I hadn't expected that. And of course the instructions were inaccurate and vague.

Wed, 15 Jun 2022 01:34:22 UTC

Gmail: finally dead

Posted By Greg Lehey

It took longer than advertised, but Gmail has finally implemented its irritating ?security? measures: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/8) ~ 9 -> fetchmail -a fetchmail: Authorization failure on [email protected] fetchmail: For help, see fetchmail: Query status=3 (AUTHFAIL) Forwarding still works, so I don't really care.

Tue, 14 Jun 2022 01:53:56 UTC

More HP installation fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

If I can't build a new world on bde, my HP EliteBook 8570p, how about building it elsewhere and then just installing it on bde? That required cloning Yet Another source tree and building, which took half the day. Then mount eureka:/home on bde, bend a couple of symlinks, and install. C library problem: some version mismatch. That's what I get for trying to upgrade so old a system. I'm sure that there are various ways of recovering, but for me the simplest was to download a new DVD image of 13.1-RELEASE. And yes, that worked fine, once I recalled how to burn a DVD in this decade (cdrecord -r image), and after I discarded the coaster, uncompressed the image and tried again.

Mon, 13 Jun 2022 02:02:30 UTC

Recovering bde's laptop

Posted By Greg Lehey

The experience with the core team handover meeting on Friday made it clear to me that a mobile phone is not an appropriate device for participating in such meetings, and not just because of the excessive data costs. I need a laptop. Yes, of course I have a laptop,, running Microsoft ?Windows? 7. But I should really be using FreeBSD, at least for core team teleconferences. Never mind, I have three other laptops from Bruce Evans. They once ran FreeBSD until Peter Jeremy vandalized them. I just need to reinstall the software. But how? Nowadays I install from USB sticks, but for some reason none of these laptops can boot from USB.

Sun, 12 Jun 2022 01:57:53 UTC

Google meet: the cost

Posted By Greg Lehey

During this morning's Google meet meeting, a couple of popups occurred. I read the last one before it disappeared again: ?Your ALDImobile PAYG credit is fully depleted?. And yes, I had used up all my credit. Why did it appear then? This morning I took a look at my usage. Normally I charge with ALDImobile's $15 plan, which lasts up to a year before expiry. Since using features like Google Maps tracking, a charge only lasts typically 2 to 3 months. But this time it only lasted 2 weeks! Checking further shows (eliminating sums below $0.20): Destination       Duration/Data       Charge       Date ...

Sat, 11 Jun 2022 02:53:51 UTC

Core hangover teleconference

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today was the day for the handover meeting for the new FreeBSD Core Team. That's difficult for a number of reasons, the least of which is that I don't think much of teleconferences anyway. One of the worst things is that there's just no good time for the meeting. Finally somebody (core secretary) decided on a time: 14:00 to 15:00 UTC. That's 7:00 for people in California, 16:00 for the majority of new core in Europe, 22:00 for Li-Wen Hsu in Taipei, and 24:00 for me here in Dereel. And normally I go to bed at about 22:30. OK, used the waiting time to set up my phone with the Bluetooth headset.

Fri, 10 Jun 2022 01:57:46 UTC

Google Meet, again

Posted By Greg Lehey

What was the audio issue with my Google Meet yesterday? Put that in the ?too hard? shelf and tried the other thing, the one I really wanted to test: ?Companion mode?. The obvious thing was to add Yvonne: after all, she didn't need to do anything, just have the phone on. And while I was messing around, Ed Maste appeared on IRC, so I asked him in too. Three people. Worked fine, audio too. And ?companion mode?? It seems that it can't do what I want. It just adds other functionality, like automatically generated subtitles and out-of-band written comments. That could be useful, but it doesn't help me with my intention to display the meeting on the TV.

Thu, 09 Jun 2022 01:16:35 UTC

Video meetings: the details

Posted By Greg Lehey

So tomorrow evening we're having a FreeBSD core handover meeting, where members of the previous FreeBSD Core Team give us information that should probably better be done in writing. Did I say tomorrow evening? No, it's really Saturday morning. The meeting starts at 24:00/0:00 for me, and I'm jumping for joy about the fact. But video conferences are fun! OK, let's ensure that things work well. We're using Google Meet, and I already had a two person conference with Warner Losh yesterday. But that was on a mobile phone! It seems that you can run it on a normal web browser even if it doesn't have a microphone or camera (?companion mode?)

Tue, 07 Jun 2022 01:45:46 UTC

Ten years of Android

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ten years ago today I bought my first Android tablet. It wasn't love at first sight?if there be love, it is yet to come?but some things haven't changed. As I wrote, The most obvious thing missing on a tablet is the thing that I find most important: a fast, versatile way to communicate with it?in other words, a keyboard. How do you communicate effectively with a computer without one? Yes, it has a touch screen with a simulated keyboard, like my GPS navigator does, but apart from my aversion to making smears on any shiny surface, the lack of tactile feedback means that you have to look at the thing, and it slows me down to about a tenth of the normal typing speed.

Mon, 06 Jun 2022 02:11:36 UTC

Mail issues: partial solution

Posted By Greg Lehey

The instructions for setting up Postfix to deliver mail directly to are complicated enough that I put them off to my more general revision of my postfix configuration. But there are other methods too. mutt has a configuration parameter smtp_url where it can be told to send mail directly to an MTA instead of local sendmail. What happens if I set it to smtp_url=smtp:// Tried that, and within limits it Just Worked. Sending mail to myself at gave a header: Received: from ( [])         (using TLSv1.2 with cipher ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 (256/256 bits))         (Client did not present a certificate)         by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id 4LGcfm0x44z3Jmm And the limits?

Sun, 05 Jun 2022 01:27:31 UTC

Crawler fallout and video editors

Posted By Greg Lehey

Received in the mail: From: Tia <[email protected]> Subject: Just wanted to reach out about something, Typical spam, right? I deleted it and then reconsidered. Not spam after all: Hi just a quick one, Tia here from VideoProc (Digiarty Software) - we blog all about the world of video and audio editing. Just a quick email regarding your piece here I actually recently wrote a piece on ?Best Video Editing Software? and was thinking it would make a great fit for your piece.

Sat, 04 Jun 2022 03:58:10 UTC

Where's my camera?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been two months since I bought a couple of cameras in Ukraine. The second one, a FED 1, had an estimated delivery date between 2 May and 13 May. That's optimistic, but it also causes a problem: if it doesn't arrive by a month after the latter date, and if I do nothing, I can't get my money back. eBay wants me to report it by then. So I asked for my money back, and got a very quick response from an unhappy seller who pointed me to updated tracking information (tracking number RH063075495UA): 30 May 2022  ?????????

Fri, 03 Jun 2022 01:40:56 UTC

More mail issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Apart from my own problems with mail being accepted, there are questions like digital signatures. Today, as FreeBSD Core Team member, I got a message from the FreeBSD doc team announcing a couple of new committers. Digitally signed. With an expired key. Told the submitter, who created a new key and uploaded it. I downloaded the key?still the old one! But he pointed me at a list of keys for all project members, which somehow was not expired. It also saves me a lot of individual loads.

Fri, 03 Jun 2022 00:48:46 UTC

Still more mail pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's still not clear that I can even send mail to all of the FreeBSD Core Team members, and the basic breakage with SPF remains. Probably the most reliable way to solve the problem would be to give up running my own mail server. What, after 30 years? That hurts. But I'm not the only person who suffers from the problem. What do other FreeBSD project members do? Mail to the FreeBSD postmaster team got a reply from Baptiste Daroussin, coincidentally one of the new core team. He pointed me at this page, not classified but only usable by people with a FreeBSD login.

Thu, 02 Jun 2022 02:32:38 UTC

How to kill email as a communication medium

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Jerry Dunham today: I contacted the insurance, and quickly discovered that I could receive e-mail from them, but they couldn't receive from me.  This forced me to deal with them via Gmail. Since then I've discovered that I can't send e-mail from home to my boss at the IRS (, something I normally do when I'm ill and can't come to work.  Back to Gmail to report that I was ill with COVID.  Apparently both the insurance company and the IRS are blocking messages from  I don't send spam, so I'm left wonderring why and what to do about it.

Thu, 02 Jun 2022 02:25:20 UTC

Back on core

Posted By Greg Lehey

So starting at 0:00 UTC (10:00 here) I'm a member of the FreeBSD Core Team again. It didn't start slowly. I sent out a message asking for suggestions on how to organize things, especially since we're spread round the world (Li-Wen Hsu and I way ahead of UTC, John Baldwin 8 hours behind, Ed Maste 5 hours behind, and the rest in a surprisingly small area in France, Germany and Switzerland). The previous core teams have placed importance on video meetings, but the biggest time difference between members is 7 hours (currently John Baldwin and I), in the northern winter Li-Wen Hsu and the European contingent.

Wed, 01 Jun 2022 03:21:37 UTC

DxO: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's article on paying with TransferWise included a number of screen shots. Problem: some of them included things like my account numbers, which I didn't want to be seen. Simple: erase them with photo software. Did I say simple? I failed. DxO PhotoLab can do that, or at least that's what they claim. Downloaded the user guide (PDF), all 246 pages of it, but I couldn't find out how to do it. The functionality is mentioned, but it's more a description of how it works than how to use it, and all attempts failed. Maybe there's a video that shows how to do it, but the whole approach confuses me.

Wed, 01 Jun 2022 03:13:13 UTC

John's metal detector

Posted By Greg Lehey

Our neighbour John from Kleins Road (never did find his surname) showed up a couple of times asking for help with his old electronic equipment, and (surprisingly) I was able to help in both cases. But last week he came up with an ancient metal detector which no longer ?beeps? (and thus doesn't show whether it's even working).

Wed, 01 Jun 2022 02:15:29 UTC

Teamviewer for Android

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that lately a number of scammers are using TeamViewer to access people's computers and mobile phones. That's understandable. But mobile phones? I didn't know TeamVewer would work on phones. Off to search, running into the usual impossible maze of twisty little menus, all the same. Dammit, this is a program that I've used, and setup was relatively simple. Of course, it's so long ago that they have forgotten my login (or possibly changed their password rules to eliminate my password). Much messing around, and in the process the app simply disappeared: I had to reinstall it Maybe I reinstalled a different app, but after that it worked as I would expect?almost.

Tue, 31 May 2022 04:43:39 UTC

Paying concreters: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Admittedly, Troy Addicoat was not due to arrive today, but he was supposed to call me to tell me about paying for the concrete. After two calls to his voice mail, he finally called back and gave me the details: Brad of Hanson's concrete, phone 5339 2030. OK. Should I just call him and give him the credit card details? Yes, Hanson concrete seems a kosher company, and the phone number was correct. But somehow I heard alarm bells. OK, pay with my bright green ?Hello world? (thus the punctuation) debit card from Transferwise. Oh. Not enough credit. OK, transfer money to it.

Tue, 31 May 2022 04:38:27 UTC

Solving the Gmail dilemma

Posted By Greg Lehey

So there are only a couple of days to go until Gmail requires OAUTH2. What should I do? Looking at my inbox, I discover that in the last week I have had about 10 messages, and that there are really only three sources of mail: McLaren Vale Cellars, who somehow picked up this address in addition to the one I gave them, Academia, who also somehow found out, and the Hugin user group. Of those, I only really need the Hugin group, and I don't see a way around that. But while snooping around I found that I can automatically forward messages.

Tue, 31 May 2022 02:27:24 UTC

Displaying SMS on real computers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Callum Gibson read Saturday's article on copying SMS messages and wanted to know why I don't use Google Messages. Simple: I forgot. I discovered it last June, and I have it on my private ?local configuration? page. Admittedly, at the time I was more interested in sending messages than saving them, but clearly it can do both.

Mon, 30 May 2022 02:33:29 UTC

Gmail change pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Google Mail has come up with an important security upgrade: OAUTH2. Well, they've been using it for some time, but none of the software I use caters for it. What do I do? I have a gmail account, and I need it at least for the Hugin user group, because Google is too secure to allow their messages go out into the (by them) unregulated Internet. And I use fetchmail to pop it down every 5 minutes. Starting on 1 June they will accept mail only with OAUTH2 authorization, and as far as I can see, that means manual intervention with every download.

Sun, 29 May 2022 02:21:06 UTC

Roast chicken with Inkbird

Posted By Greg Lehey

Roast chicken for dinner tonight. I've been keeping a record of cooking times for some years now, but now (until Wednesday) I have this ill-fated Inkbird IBBQ-4BW thermometer, so I can keep more of an eye on what happens. I put one sensor on the grille of the oven, one in the breast and one in a leg joint. It wasn't at all what I expected. In particular, the temperature in the breast was much lower than in the leg. That makes sense, but it doesn't match my prior experience. And contrary to my previous claims, the temperature rose relatively linearly: According to my records, the chicken (1.825 kg) should have been cooked (78°) in between 55 and 73 minutes.

Sun, 29 May 2022 01:19:30 UTC

Google Maps link rot

Posted By Greg Lehey

Where was I on 2 May 1967? Driving from Madras (now Chennai) to Nellore, as I wrote in my diary. But I also wanted a map, so I used Google Maps to generate a map and a short link to it: But now Google doesn't want to know: Invalid Dynamic Link - Blocked We could not match param ',135.745076&sspn=64.250491,63.544922&geocode=FUZJxwAd74LIBClhM31P6mVSOjEz1GNoC6dhbg;FWdg3AAdGH_EBClxh5UOyoxMOjFVHxYlIGwD0w&t=m&z=9' with whitelisted URL patterns in this Google project. If you are the developer of this app, ensure that your Dynamic Links domain is correctly configured and that the path component of this URL is valid.

Sun, 29 May 2022 00:38:59 UTC

Android: the next incompatibility

Posted By Greg Lehey

Troy Addicoat sent me an SMS yesterday, and I quoted it in my article on the subject. But how do you copy an SMS to other media? With not one, but two apps, of course. Automatically forward SMS to your PC/phone, or maybe gawk or smsforwarder, forwards incoming SMSs, something very necessary for people who don't look at their phones all the time, and this app with an identity problem, your choice of two of SMS (Backup, Print, Restore) can, with only a few swipes, transfer up to 6 individually selected messages at a time into a specified directory on the device.

Sun, 29 May 2022 00:21:52 UTC

The future of the Internet, next step

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been over 8 years since I wrote an essay The future of the Internet, really supposed to be titled ?how the Internet will be different 20 years from now? (in other words, 8 years ago). We're coming up to half time. How accurate are things? I'm tracking this up to a point at my ?signs of the times? page. Today I saw another sign: the BBC are stopping broadcast of some radio stations. As I said: Radio and TV broadcasts will gradually cease.

Sat, 28 May 2022 01:56:54 UTC

New FreeBSD core team

Posted By Greg Lehey

So the results of the FreeBSD Core Team, elections are out. I'm one of them again: The next core team will consist of: Baptiste Daroussin Benedict Reuschling Ed Maste Emmanuel Vadot Greg Lehey John Baldwin Li-Wen Hsu Mateusz Piotrowski Tobias C. Berner That also makes me the member with the longest span, from 22 years ago to now. The other thing, which I had noted last month, was how many of the members are not from the USA. Five are from Europe, one Chinese and one Australian.

Fri, 27 May 2022 01:48:01 UTC

Technical terms for real dummies

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen today: Difference Between SSD and NVMe . Difference? They're different levels of detail. But no, our expert knows better: The main difference between SSD and NVMe is that SSD stores data by using integrated circuits while NVMe is an interface used to access the stored data at a high speed. NVMe is far advanced than SSD and hence is faster and better encrypted than the latter. In case that didn't come across, here it is again: SSD is a secondary storage device that uses integrated circuits to complete its work while NVMe is an interface that is used to access the stored data.

Tue, 24 May 2022 03:17:28 UTC

More thermometer insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally I have a hit on a defrost cycle on the outside (correctly functioning) freezer: It started round 2:30 this morning and lasted a good hour. During this time the temperature in front of the baskets rose to about -6.5°, but the temperature in the baskets stayed below -18°. All well and good. But wouldn't it be nice to know more exact times and temperatures? Yes, of course. But what I got was anything but. After moving these horrible slider buttons, I reshaped the graph: Here the time scale is a little more detailed.

Tue, 24 May 2022 02:55:22 UTC

ACM digital library

Posted By Greg Lehey

The ACM has opened its digital library, now accessible for free. I haven't looked at much, though I did find an article on the original UNIVAC, which looks interesting.

Tue, 24 May 2022 02:52:09 UTC

Working around W3 bugs

Posted By Greg Lehey

The problem with the W3 validator that I mentioned last week is still there. Run the validator, find a problem, fix it, and the validator doesn't want to know: it still reports the old source. But I have a workaround: the URL for the validator is Just change that last digit from 1 to 2:, and it will force a reload. That works because the value of validating just needs to be non-zero.

Sun, 22 May 2022 03:54:50 UTC

GPS logging: solved?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Thursday I discovered that my GPSLogger had not logged anything for half an hour. How could that be? When in Ballarat, took another look at the display: For whatever reason (probably because it was in the car) the readings weren't accurate enough for my settings, which told it to discard all readings accurate to less than 5 m. Changed that to 20 m, and the effect was immediate. From this track log: But why only 20 m?

Sun, 22 May 2022 01:52:59 UTC

ABC Listen App: useless

Posted By Greg Lehey

While preparing breakfast, heard some classical oboe music on the radio. Tomaso Albinoni? When it was over, listened to the announcer. No mention of a composer. OK, that's what the ABC Listen App is for, isn't it? Fire it up and discover that there's nothing like what we heard. Ah, for mobile phones, and apparently only for mobile phones, there's a second channel. Find the correct one, which shows what it's playing now. Ah, but there's ?more info?. That shows what is still to come. More searching, and finally found ?Full Tracklist?, showing not the full track list, but what they had already played, in reverse chronological order: And that's all!

Sun, 22 May 2022 01:26:05 UTC

ABC Listen App: useless

Posted By Greg Lehey

While preparing breakfast, heard some classical oboe music on the radio. Tomaso Albinoni? When it was over, listened to the announcer. No mention of a composer. OK, that's what the ABC Listen App is for, isn't it? Fire it up and discover that there's nothing like what we heard. Ah, for mobile phones, and apparently only for mobile phones, there's a second channel. Find the correct one, which shows what it's playing now. Ah, but there's ?more info?. That shows what is still to come. More searching, and finally found ?Full Tracklist?, showing not the full track list, but what they had already played, in reverse chronological order: And that's all!

Sat, 21 May 2022 01:54:37 UTC

Another total outage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

While sitting at my keyboard, heard a loud ?beep? and everything went dead. Dammit, not another inverter failure! Out to take a look at the inverter, which once again showed no power. Check the outside meter. Really no power. But this time the battery charge was round 52%, so there shouldn't have been any problem. Spent some time getting eureka back up again, much less than on other occasions?only 8 minutes?then checked the other computers in the house. They were all still running! It must have been a very transient problem. Gradually it dawned on me: the inverter carried on running normally.

Fri, 20 May 2022 03:23:00 UTC

More flaky apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

At breakfast we listen to ABC Classic, which has only recently dropped the suffix ?FM? from its name. And while there are no classic commercials, they beat their own drum loudly. ?Use the ABC Listen App?. What good is that? There's one way to find out: install it. Oh: Already installed! When did I do that? Off to take a look. Found nothing under ?ABC?, nor under ?listen?. Where is it? Try installing again? Now you see me, now you don't!. OK, installed: Where's ABC Classic?

Fri, 20 May 2022 02:37:47 UTC

Route maps: the limitations

Posted By Greg Lehey

I didn't have much choice on my way home if I wanted to avoid the roadworks: the more southerly roadworks started just north of Grassy Gully Road, so I couldn't take any route to the east. Off through Enfield State Park via Misery Creek to Berringa, starting in Incolls Road in Enfield. There I asked Google to take me to Berringa. Long delay: can't contact Google. OK, I still had the map, and managed to find my way to Berringa with only a couple of stops to check. Is the mobile network coverage there really that bad? It could well be.

Thu, 19 May 2022 02:50:50 UTC

ssh: No complete explanation yet

Posted By Greg Lehey

After last week's investigation, it's clear that the presence or absence of an ssh-agent will not necessarily stop ssh from establishing a connection with a remote system, though the result may be a key signed with a different protocol, and pedantic systems like object. But last week I tried from, which is running a very up-to-date version of FreeBSD. Today I tried with, running === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/13) ~ 34 -> uname -a FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #2 r290972: Wed Nov 25 11:38:38 AEDT 2015     [email protected]:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/GENERIC  amd64 And there it didn't help.

Thu, 19 May 2022 00:39:58 UTC

More temperature insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it's clear not only that something is seriously wrong with the freezer in the pantry, but that it's related to the temperature control and not to the compressor. Modern freezers have a defrost cycle, but how often does it run and how high do the temperatures rise in that time? Connected it up to the other freezer and waited. I didn't see any obvious defrost cycle at all. It's difficult to say, since I open the freezer for normal use a couple of times a day, giving rise to views like this: Here the blue trace (in front of the drawers) goes up to -4°, and the temperatures inside the drawers goes up to about -14°.

Wed, 18 May 2022 01:34:06 UTC

Reverse engineering Inkbird

Posted By Greg Lehey

So the app for the Inkbird IBBQ-4BW is almost useless. Reverse engineer the protocol and collect the data myself? This article discusses the details. It seems to broadcast something. OK, For a first attempt, I took a look at what it had to say: 11:24:09.324696 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:14.325785 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:17.322125 ARP, Request who-has tell, length 46 11:24:19.326255 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:24.324427 IP > UDP, length 188 11:24:27.321882 ARP, Request who-has tell, length 46 ...

Wed, 18 May 2022 00:51:53 UTC

More inkbird and freezer insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had my Inkbird IBBQ-4BW up and running stumbling for a couple of days now. During that time I've discovered: The horrible app is almost useless. It drops data, it doesn't save raw data, so I'm limited to what little information it supplies in the way of graphs, and it continually crashes. It's interesting to note that the reviews of the app almost all seem to agree with me.

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:30:16 UTC

Doctor, heal thyself!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I had an appointment with my doctor, Paul Smith, this afternoon. Problem: he has COVID-19. Well, he's recovering, but not safe for a physical meeting. So we did it over the phone. Nothing much to report: blood test results as expected, though he's still puzzled by the high MCV (106 fl) and fasting glucose (7.2 mmol/l). But the HbA1c value was 6.0 and that's more important, though it seems higher than it has been. As he said ?All in all you're not dying any faster than anybody else?. On the positive side, I had no difficulty with the voice quality on the VoIP call.

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:19:43 UTC

Time to reconsider VoIP?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Lately I've had a lot of trouble understanding people on the phone. Am I going deaf? No, it just seems to be on the VoIP line, and Yvonne has noticed it too. Has somebody changed the codec behind my back? Off to look for the current configuration: What's the best codec to use? According to this page, G.711, G.722, G.729 and also rans. Where's PCMU? PCMA? The best I can find on this ATA is G.722. Spent some time reconfiguring before I discovered that PCMU and PCMA are varieties of G.711, so I had to replace it again.

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:17:24 UTC

More gpart/geom insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Daniel Nebdal suggesting alternatives to rewriting gpart show. Doesn't gpart show -p do exactly what I want? It replaces the index numbers with ?provider? names. Surely I've seen that? Looking at the example I wrote last Wednesday, what I want is:      Start         Size            Device    Type           Label         40  15628050976 (7.3T)  /dev/ada0    GPT         40          128 (64K)   /dev/ada0p1  freebsd-boot   boot        168     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p2  freebsd-ufs    rootfs   83886248     41943040 (20G)   /dev/ada0p3  freebsd-swap   swap  125829288     83886080 (40G)   /dev/ada0p4  freebsd-ufs    rootfs-2  209715368  15418335648 (7.2T)  /dev/ada0p5  freebsd-ufs    spool gpart -p -l gives me: ...

Tue, 17 May 2022 02:10:14 UTC

HTML validation problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Part of writing these diary entries is checking the PHP output for validity. I do this once for the HTML version, using the W3 validator, and once for the XML version, using this validator. But lately the W3 HTML validator has been lazy. I find a bug, fix it, and it revalidate?and the bug's still there. Not in my source, but in the validator's view of the world. How do I report this problem?

Mon, 16 May 2022 03:07:47 UTC

More Inkbird insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Malcolm Caldwell this evening: I have also setup freezer/fridge temperature logging. I looked at inkbird but in the end went with govee devices. But I did see that the protocols for inkbird are known. (As are the govee ones). For example you can find plugins for inkbird that work with open source home automation software like home assistant. Also this looks promising: More fun to try out, even if they appear to be a layering violation.

Mon, 16 May 2022 02:12:33 UTC

What's this?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Found in the fridge: When I found it, is was in this opened plastic bag: Now doesn't that tell me what it is? But never mind, Google Lens to the rescue: The trouble with Google Lens' ?translate?

Sun, 15 May 2022 03:28:02 UTC

Freezer temperatures

Posted By Greg Lehey

To my surprise, the temperatures in the freezer were not only acceptable, but slightly low. Here a typical view: The temperatures range between -19° and -22.8°, a little cool. But then there's this: That's the culprit! It seems to happen 2 or 3 times a day, and it lasts for nearly 2 hours (this graph shows a time span of 6 hours). My guess is that it's related to the automatic defrost.

Sun, 15 May 2022 02:19:19 UTC

Measuring freezer temperature

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent a bit of time with my new WiFi thermometer. It certainly shows Android apps from their worst perspective. One of my concerns when buying it was whether the cables were long enough. I shouldn't have worried: they're 1.5 m each, and they're rather unwieldy. And how do I arrange the colours? They're coloured red, green, blue and something that may be intended to be yellow. RGB sounds right, leaving Y for fourth place: But that turns out not to be the way the writers of the app think.

Sat, 14 May 2022 03:09:09 UTC

Icebird thermometer

Posted By Greg Lehey

Back home, unpacked my toys: an Inkbird IBBQ-4BW multithermometer with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and also an IHT-1P ?penknife? thermometer. How do I set it up? Very much RTFM, which was terrible. The instructions didn't match the behaviour, and for the WiFi connectivity they wanted me to sign up with an email address and password! Did all that, received a 6 digit confirmation number, which the app didn't accept. Asked for another one, but clearly the Inkbirds think that one is enough. Dammit, how about Bluetooth? How about that, for the first time ever Bluetooth paired immediately, bringing a particularly stupid display: Maybe it reflects the pain that even the developers had with the software.

Sat, 14 May 2022 01:15:28 UTC

New toy

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today the thermometer that I ordered last week arrived in Napoleons. By this time it was clear that Yvonne wouldn't be going into town to pick up Anke, so off to Napoleons to pick it up. They couldn't find it! In the process discovered that they don't have any network access to check tracking. Tried with my mobile phone, but the tracking number on the pickup slip was wrong, so it didn't help. Finally, after 15 minutes of searching, left with a request to call back when they found it. I hadn't quite made it home when I got a call from Yvonne to tell me that they had found it almost immediately, but that she hadn't been able to get me on the phone: this was the 5th attempt.

Fri, 13 May 2022 02:31:12 UTC

More ssh mysteries

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why does accept the same ssh key from some systems and not from others? On Tuesday I had established that the ones that were rejected were replying with the incorrect signature type: debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using rsa-sha2-512 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo agent key RSA SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo returned incorrect signature type debug3: sign_and_send_pubkey: signing using ssh-rsa SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo But why? This was tiwi, running an almost completely new version of FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE. Clearly the ssh components were compatible. In preparation for a bug report, built a new world with today's latest and greatest: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/3) ~ 8 -> uname -a FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #0 stable/13-n250745-1db9d7b7751c: Thu May 12 15:10:04 AEST 2022     [email protected]:/usr/obj/usr/src/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64 And ...

Fri, 13 May 2022 02:17:45 UTC

GPS fail

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the best uses I can find for a mobile phone is as a GPS navigator. It's not perfect, but I've decided that it probably works better than a dedicated GPS navigator. But today I got an unexpected message: Why that? How do you enable or disable GPS? It's not where you'd expect it on the right downwards ?swipe?. After much searching I found this: That's under Settings/Location, at the very bottom of the Settings strip, after enabling it.

Thu, 12 May 2022 03:46:28 UTC

Bruce Evans' disks analysed

Posted By Greg Lehey

With some difficulty I managed to navigate Google Drive and find some of the many disks that Peter Jeremy saved before he decided to destroy everything on the computers. This morning I had a 15 GB file ad0.img.xz waiting for me. How do I access it? file tells me: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/19) /src/Downloads 30 -> file ad0.img ad0.img: DOS/MBR boot sector; partition 1 : ID=0xb, active, start-CHS (0x0,1,1), end-CHS (0x3e8,254,63), startsector 63, 16081002 sectors; partition 2 : ID=0xa5, start-CHS (0x3e9,0,1), end-CHS (0x1e4,254,63), startsector 16081065, 57512700 sectors; partition 3 : ID=0xa5, start-CHS (0x1e5,0,1), end-CHS (0x3e0,254,63), startsector 73593765, 57512700 sectors; partition 4 : ID=0xc, start-CHS (0x3e1,0,1), end-CHS (0x11,80,63), startsector 131106465, 103335183 sectors OK, how do I look at it?

Thu, 12 May 2022 03:14:23 UTC

Identifying USB disks at boot

Posted By Greg Lehey

The real issue with booting, still unsolved, is: how do I mount my USB disks correctly? eureka has 4 external backup disks, and on every boot they come up in as different devices, as I have noted before. What do I do? I've thought about it from time to time, wondering in particular if I haven't missed some more obvious method. In principle I should be able to identify file systems by a label. The label is optional, but it would be a good start. But how do I find the label? One option would be to use gpart show, but the format is so confusing that I can't think of an easy way to parse it.

Thu, 12 May 2022 02:52:34 UTC

Power fail recovery, next attempt

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recovering from a power failure is always a pain, though it's getting easier. For reasons I still don't understand, eureka's hardware doesn't recover from a power outage: it requires manual operation of the power switch. And then it doesn't boot automatically: it stops at the Boot: prompt and waits for me to confirm with Boot. But then it came up without trouble. But there are still so many loose ends. I started writing all this stuff in a HOWTO page, but it still seems to be greatly out of date. I really should keep it up to date, and also with enough information for me to be able to apply it.

Thu, 12 May 2022 02:05:38 UTC

Power fail!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Shortly after 4:00 this morning it occurred to me that it had been quiet for some time. Normally I would expect to hear the air conditioner or the freezers. Power? Yes! Once again a total power failure. OK, where's my torch? I really need to have something in a known place. Tried some likely places, but there was nothing there. Finally it occurred to me: my phone has a torch function, and I know where it is. One of the few times where it's really of use. OK, check the PV inverter: no grid power. Out to check the meter. No problems!

Wed, 11 May 2022 02:44:17 UTC

Understanding my ssh problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why can I access from some machines and not from others, though I use the same ssh key in every case? Off to compare:. I added the colour highlighting later to make things more recognizable: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/44) ~/Photos/19670427 74 -> cat ~/.ssh/ ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb [email protected] FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE FreeBSD 10.2-STABLE #2 r290972: Wed Nov 25 11:38:38 AEDT 2015     [email protected]:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/svn/10/sys/GENERIC  amd64 2048 3b:c3:00:e1:ea:57:43:7f:14:78:90:58:c9:61:bf:d8 /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA) Permission denied (publickey). === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/3) ~ 16 -> cat ~/.ssh/ ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABAQDVYUjpMuqVqp/JR8ex/fzRpTb+ygOQDU/aaS40TNdCtXgcGjzYfAt0N5QtUX2IAJlgYvLaao+hAoXXfvKTs0rybhWBKuApxTOB7gVEYtNUz3qIkHsBun4FB8zNYCvL2DVTlB46xkbNYZoZB+Yh5TrbdiXyvO917k2Rj6jUGlcc1oQn6xqlSE0/qSByhsGfPV99S72DJdhGOCwRPbt35Co85dlJ6zh7Mj2+Im0m41SblbJ2JBvf4IPAn+YumkFWt3FJy1zKRgl3kxfh8yDZxgqrBaylGhaJZ9vCBW7WICKKZMm+ewuxFX9nFtPvB4OirRxCLgN6m3keSFpSH3nqS2Rb [email protected] FreeBSD dereel 14.0-CURRENT FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT #3 main-n255108-9fb40baf6043: Fri Apr 29 09:53:15 AEST 2022     grog@dereel:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/main/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64 2048 SHA256:S7sZHLcY4dgw53/rF70vrScdPuGef3enHdJzuYA1WDo /home/grog/.ssh/id_rsa (RSA) Last login: Sat May  7 23:04:30 2022 from === grog@lagoon (/dev/pts/2) ~ 7 -> cat ~/.ssh/ ; uname -a; ssh-add -l; ssh freefall ...

Wed, 11 May 2022 02:36:55 UTC

Bruce Evans legacy, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what happened to Bruce Evans' legacy? Looking back through the email exchange, it seems that at the time Peter Jeremy went to some trouble to save all the data, making his subsequent behaviour even more surprising. Found a number of what I think are disk images on Google Cloud, and started downloading the smallest of them, 15 GB compressed. And that's about all I did; I'll find what it is tomorrow. But I've been in this kind of position before.

Tue, 10 May 2022 02:59:33 UTC

Destroying Bruce Evans' legacy

Posted By Greg Lehey

Clearly one person who might shed some light on my issues with Bruce Evans' laptops is Peter Jeremy, whom we entrusted to pick them up and distribute them. So I asked him whether the disks were encrypted: > I've taken a look at the laptops so far, and I've run into trouble > with all of them.  All of them claim to have no bootable system, ... I did wipe all the disks, so that's why none are bootable WHAT? That's wanton destruction! I'm not exactly lost for words, but I'm amazed and deeply disappointed.

Tue, 10 May 2022 02:40:36 UTC

Still more laptop problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have an image of the complete disk of the HP EliteBook 8570p on eureka. It should be possible to recover an overwritten master boot record by searching for the magic numbers of the file systems. Started off a superficial search with strings(1). But it found nothing! A quick comparison with the disk on eureka showed that it should have found lots of things. Is the disk encrypted? During discussion on IRC, mentioned that I wasn't able to boot from a USB stick on that machine. Matti Kupiainen suggested that maybe the USB bus on one side of the laptop might be defective.

Mon, 09 May 2022 03:40:29 UTC

Credit card renewal

Posted By Greg Lehey

My credit card expires at the end of the month, and I'm getting various reminders to update my details with people authorized to deduct from the card. First Vonex, the company designed to make MyNetFone look good. Initially I couldn't even access the site. And when I could, it rejected my credit card details without explanation. Then came ALDImobile. No problem accessing their web site?some things have improved?but I only had the option of removing my payment method, not updating it. Called them up and was connected to mumble, which proved to be a way to pronounce ?Hazel?. She talked me through it: yes, first remove the payment method, then you can enter a new one.

Mon, 09 May 2022 03:00:29 UTC

More bde computer stuff

Posted By Greg Lehey

So far my experience with Bruce Evans' computers hasn't been overly positive. I can't boot either laptop from disk or USB stick. How about a DVD? Dragged out an old DVD, which might be appropriate for these machines, one 10, the other 20 years old, and tried to boot. The older one, a Compaq nx6325, booted from DVD, but then the display went blank and stayed blank. It's ancient (?Designed for Windows XP?) ; should I even bother. I have a Dell laptop of that era, and it's too old for anything useful. The newer one, an HP EliteBook 8460p, came up with a particular surprise.

Sun, 08 May 2022 03:13:08 UTC

Running bde's computers

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really don't have time to look at bde's computers at the moment, but how difficult can it be to fire up a laptop? More than I thought: after the extended time, the batteries were completely discharged. OK, charge batteries and try: Hewlett-Packard has never been my favourite brand, but that message (apart from the problem it reports) really presses one of my buttons. How can a reputable maker print messages that substitute backslashes (\) for slashes (/)? But what's wrong with the laptops?

Sun, 08 May 2022 01:57:13 UTC

The legacy of Bruce Evans

Posted By Greg Lehey

Bruce Evans died in mid-December 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. We coopted Peter Jeremy to tidy up his computer remains, and he found these: Who wants them? Peter offered them to Warren Toomey and me. Warren wasn't interested. I thought that some of them could be useful, so I put my hand up. But how do you transport them? Shipping could be expensive, especially as one of the computers (HP Z800, not exactly a name I would have thought modern) is very heavy.

Sat, 07 May 2022 02:18:54 UTC

eBay strikes again

Posted By Greg Lehey

The thermometer I was looking at, the Inkbird IBBQ-4BW, was advertised for about $122, with an additional $3 postage. But eBay offered 10% discount with a promotional code. OK, Buy It Now, apply the code, get a price round $112. But for 50¢ more I could get express postage. Normally I don't bother, but that's a ridiculously low supplement. OK, select. And my discount went away! Back to normal postage. Still no discount! Much examination with different browsers and systems, and finally discovered that they had cancelled the discount in mid-purchase! BAD eBay. More looking and found an item that they hadn't seen fit to display before, although it matched the search criteria: IBBQ-4BW and an IHT-1P penknife-format temperature probe, for $115 including postage, somewhat less than $3 more.

Sat, 07 May 2022 02:01:44 UTC

More temperature measurements

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of our freezers is clearly defective. When I open it I frequently find that the temperature on the front of the baskets is round 0°: they're moist. But it seems to cool. Is it a thermostat issue? Hysteresis? Offset? For that I need to know how the cooling cycle works. I've measured freezer temperatures in the past with a meat thermometer, but they show only the current temperature. I really need a min/max thermometer. Surely they're available on eBay? Indeed, and not even expensive. You can get thermocouple probes on their own for about $13, but you can also get a dual thermometer (digital, of course) with min/max and two probes for $35.

Sat, 07 May 2022 01:15:33 UTC

More slide scanning

Posted By Greg Lehey

Scanning slides is a slow process, and there are many issues to solve or work around. As I said yesterday, the Epson ?Perfection? 4990 is not perfect, especially not its software. There are many things that could be done better, including cropping: there's no way to adjust the crop. I had that issue with the Penang Street photos that I processed on Thursday, and it hit me in a different guise today. It seems that it doesn't handle cropping portrait format slides. I have to put them in in landscape orientation and then rotate them. The difference is significant, though it wasn't immediately obvious that the landscape format also truncates: Apart from that, first indications are that the results are much better.

Fri, 06 May 2022 01:50:45 UTC

More eBay surprises

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I received a second refurbished Braun electric toothbrush. I hadn't bothered mentioning the first (early last month), but it had been satisfactory, so I ordered another one. It was at least interesting from the point of view of the tracking. It took a long time, and every time I checked, it showed ?Received and ready for processing?, dated 19 April. But on Tuesday I received information that it was ready for pickup. What did the tracking look like? eBay told me that it was both ?Sent? but not yet ?in transit?, but also ready for pickup: And the detail tracking?

Thu, 05 May 2022 03:18:10 UTC

Custom spam

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spam's a fact of life, but I find it interesting to try to guess the languages in which it arrives. Recently I got this one: To undisclosed- ( 131) Mrs. Kristalina          Kæri styrk?egi! Icelandic? It had lots of text: Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2022 09:28:05 +0000 From: "Mrs. Kristalina" <[email protected]> Subject: Kæri styrk?egi! Reply-To: [email protected] Kæri styrk?egi! Reyndar höfum vi? fengi? heimild frá n?jum fjármálará?herra og stjórnarrá?i Peningamálaeiningar Sameinu?u ?jó?anna til a? rannsaka óinnheimta fjármuni sem lengi er skulda?

Thu, 05 May 2022 01:14:05 UTC

Scanning old photos again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Patrick Cheah today, asking for permission to use this photo: Why that? It's for a Facebook group dedicated to the Straits Echo, which seems to have only just survived the time of this photo. And that's the building in the middle: OK, can I improve on it? It's old enough that I still have the negatives, some of the first that I took with my Pentax SV.

Wed, 04 May 2022 01:51:23 UTC

The demise of national postal services

Posted By Greg Lehey

Is really a subsidiary of Australia Post? It certainly doesn't look like it: # Domain Name: Registry Domain ID: 4623063_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN Registrar WHOIS Server: Registrar URL: ... Registrant Name: Domain Adminstrator Registrant Organization:, Inc. Registrant Street: Salesforce Tower, 415 Mission Street, 3rd Floor Registrant City: San Francisco Registrant State/Province: CA Registrant Postal Code: 94105 Registrant Country: US Registrant Phone: +1.8006676389 Registrant Phone Ext: Registrant Fax: +1.4159017040 Looking at their web site, they offer all sorts of services, so many that email doesn't even show on their first list.

Wed, 04 May 2022 01:35:25 UTC

More Australia Post pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call on Yvonne's mobile phone today. Robyn, from Australia Post, clearly in relation to Yvonne's damage report. First questions about email, giving me ample opportunity to view my opinions about Australia Post's outsourced mail system. No, Australia Post doesn't outsource its mail. And of course they can't accept unsolicited mail: it needs to be an answer to an existing question so that they can associate it with an existing problem. So I pointed out that the Subject: line contains the case number, which should eliminate any issues?she had no answer to that?and that email came from and not ?That's us!

Mon, 02 May 2022 04:10:18 UTC

More Academia strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another message from Academia today:   19 N   01-05-2022 To acd@lem (1114)   Connect with 2 co-authors of "Porting UNIX Software: From Download to Debug" on What's wrong with this message? What's right about it? Firstly, I'm the only author of the work, but assuming that there had been others, wouldn't you think that I'd know them and not use Academia to connect with them, especially since they want me to pay money for the privilege? And how do I get them to stop this false claim?

Mon, 02 May 2022 03:42:16 UTC

More security issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

While doing something completely unrelated, discovered today: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/39) ~ 20 -> ssh Permission denied (publickey). Disconnected at Sun 1 May 2022 14:42:30 AEST Huh? I've been connecting from eureka to freefall for decades, and ?I haven't changed anything?. In fact, I'm still logged in from a different xterm: === grog@freefall (/dev/pts/54) ~ 27 -> w  3:44AM  up 81 days,  1:15, 55 users, load averages: 0.20, 0.26, 0.23 USER       TTY      FROM                                      LOGIN@  IDLE WHAT ...

Mon, 02 May 2022 01:44:43 UTC

Zoom again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why couldn't Mark and I hear each other during our attempted Zoom conversation yesterday? The Setup was relatively painful (or I have repressed the experience), and it even accepted the password that I chose (?Type 4771?) , though once again it claimed that my newly invented email was a ?frequently used email?. But when I tried to sign in, it wouldn't accept the password. OK, new password, not overly different. Failed again. But then I discovered (how? I forget) that it had removed the space in the password and not even told me! I've had some bad password processing, including from Zoom, but this is the first time that I've found a program that changes the password, and that without telling me.

Sun, 01 May 2022 02:40:13 UTC

Zoom: I still hate you!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got round to my video call with Mark Murray today. We've been planning since January 2021. By contrast, my call with Dan Langille in January required no preparation, as you'd expect from a phone call. Why the difficulty? Part was because Mark is in Cambridge, 9 to 11 hours behind me. When do we talk? During the summer it's more difficult, but I like doing these calls before 17:00, which is 8:00 his time. And then there's the choice of conference software. I was pleasantly surprised by WhatsApp, but Mark, a respected security guru, tells me that the license terms are inappropriate.

Sun, 01 May 2022 02:18:38 UTC

Segmentation fault: core dumped

Posted By Greg Lehey

While investigating the currently running FreeBSD Core Team elections, fingered the candidates, something that can only be done locally. One ended with Plan: https:/Segmentation fault (core dumped) I've seen that before. In fact, mine might be the original. I first committed the .plan on 2003/04/08 06:25:10. Currently it reads: Plan: 2022: Dereel 2023: Goldfields 2024: Victoria 2025: Australia 2026: The world 20Segmentation fault (core dumped) I had really wanted it to end with an arithmetic overflow, but you don't see that on FreeBSD.

Sun, 01 May 2022 01:34:39 UTC

Understanding AusPost exploit

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what went wrong with the Australia Post interaction yesterday? How did get wind of my messages to Australia Post? Looking at the original message to Yvonne, I found: Received: from ( [])         by (Postfix) with ESMTP id EA84B2808A         for ; Thu, 21 Apr 2022 00:46:09 +0000 (UTC) DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/simple;;         s=auspost; t=1650501968;         bh=Fa+eVlPSGLEdIU7gsq/YWvDtYI8NMZFZvmnNewJyoVE=;         h=Date:From:To:Subject:MIME-Version:Content-Type;         b=hYDyUn73CefbqV4giiub23npnW4aLFR+53X/fVa/2WcZSlSrDdOpiRN4lzbs89+Pu         TJNpNNTCEnzidbxlUj0zumm2PzFRr3b3Qmvvo1XN+XLLWVBl0x9kYzebUnKNqE9XtO         HJYLPbMJZu8babArp0b1U0fk65Hf/GEN++PMNosc= Authentication-Results: x-tls.subject="/C=US/ST=California/L=San Francisco/,         inc./OU=0:app;1:hnd;2:hnd-sp1;3:ap15;4:prod/"; auth=pass (cipher=ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384) Received: from [] ([]         by (envelope-from )         (ecelerity r(Core:release/ with ESMTPS (cipher=ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384         subject="/C=US/ST=California/L=San Francisco/, inc./OU=0:app;1:hnd;2:hnd-sp1;3:ap15;4:prod/")         id E9/62-31316-059A0626; Thu, 21 Apr 2022 00:46:08 +0000 Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2022 00:46:08 ...

Sat, 30 Apr 2022 02:08:29 UTC

Apple in kitchen?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still have an Apple computer in the kitchen. Now I have removed the upper part of the cupboard where I had it before, so I can access the keyboard more easily: And how is it? The more I try these things, the more I get the impression that there's only one good way to access a computer, and that's sitting in front of a good keyboard. In days gone by I used laptops, but they're barely acceptable, and you really need to be sitting to have good control of a keyboard.

Sat, 30 Apr 2022 00:18:20 UTC

AusPost: scammers?

Posted By Greg Lehey

A few weeks ago Yvonne received a package transported by Australia Post: Despite the ?Do not bend?, it had been bent and badly damaged. On 21 April Yvonne entered a formal complaint and demanded compensation. OK, receipts please. Yvonne sent them last week. No reply. Lost in the post, maybe? On Wednesday she went in person to the appropriate place, and later received an email: Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2022 02:08:13 +0000 (GMT) From: Australia Post <[email protected]> Subject: Australia Post Investigation - Case: 48079138 Message-ID: <>     We recently contacted you regarding your enquiry, and need some additional information in order to ...

Fri, 29 Apr 2022 01:31:47 UTC

More git strangeness

Posted By Greg Lehey

Bringing dereel up to date again today: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /usr/src 72 -> igitt up fatal: unsafe repository ('/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/main' is owned by someone else) To add an exception for this directory, call:         git config --global --add /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/main I've seen that before. But that was with -STABLE, and this is -CURRENT, which I have only used on dereel. Why has git decided that the repository ?is owned by someone else?? And who is this someone?

Fri, 29 Apr 2022 00:07:30 UTC

Fixing corrupt videos

Posted By Greg Lehey

Lately I've been running into an issue with streams of Al Jazeera news downloaded from YouTube: I can't search back, getting messages like AV: 00:00:57 / 00:18:05 (5%) A-V: -0.000 [ffmpeg/video] h264: Missing reference picture, default is 0 [ffmpeg/video] h264: decode_slice_header error AV: 00:01:00 / 00:18:05 (5%) A-V: -0.000 [ffmpeg/video] h264: Missing reference picture, default is 0 [ffmpeg/video] h264: decode_slice_header error AV: 00:00:49 / 00:18:05 (4%) A-V: -0.000 That's new, and clearly there's some format corruption there. Can I fix it by recoding? It took quite a while to find out, but this page proved useful.

Thu, 28 Apr 2022 01:58:00 UTC

Testing MediathekView on dereel

Posted By Greg Lehey

So finally I have dereel up to date and with linux64 compatibility. Test MediathekView: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/7) /usr/ports/multimedia/mediathekview/work/MediathekView 49 -> export JAVA_HOME=`pwd`/jre === root@dereel (/dev/pts/7) /usr/ports/multimedia/mediathekview/work/MediathekView 51 -> $JAVA_HOME/bin/java -jar MediathekView.jar /usr/ports/multimedia/mediathekview/work/MediathekView/jre/bin/java: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory Huh? That worked on tiwi. Yes, I've seen this message before, but it went away when I used the native Java. But looking at what happened since then, that seems to almost be a coincidence.

Thu, 28 Apr 2022 01:56:00 UTC

dereel: next upgrade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I started installing Linux compatibility on dereel. This morning I read: ... [83/83] Fetching linux-c7-alsa-plugins-pulseaudio-1.1.6_1.pkg: ...... done Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting) [1/83] Installing linux_base-c7-7.9.2009... Cannot install package: kernel missing 64-bit Linux support pkg: PRE-INSTALL script failed Now isn't that clever? First download all the stuff, then complain that the kernel can't install it. Clearly it wants: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/7) /home/grog 40 -> kldload linux OK, next time should be faster.

Wed, 27 Apr 2022 02:39:57 UTC

Updating dereel

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have MediathekView running on tiwi. Before I commit it, I need to have it running on FreeBSD-CURRENT. That's what dereel is for. But first it needs to be up to date. OK, pkg upgrade: ===== Tue 26 Apr 2022 15:05:31 AEST on dereel: pkg upgrade Updating FreeBSD repository catalogue... Fetching packagesite.pkg: .......... done Processing entries: Newer FreeBSD version for package rbllookup: To ignore this error set IGNORE_OSVERSION=yes - package: 1400056 - running kernel: 1400053 Ignore the mismatch and continue? [y/N]: Huh? I have a -CURRENT kernel built earlier this month.

Wed, 27 Apr 2022 01:39:57 UTC

Next Academia surprise

Posted By Greg Lehey

After yesterday's acknowledgement of ownership of ?Closed Source Fights Back?, it wasn't surprising that I got a message from Academia telling me: Someone confirmed that your paper, "Closed Source Fights Back" mentions them. Yes, that's the ?pay us money and we'll tell you who? message that I continually see. But no, this time it was straightforward and presumably correct: Peter H. Salus recently confirmed that your paper Closed Source Fights Back mentions them.

Wed, 27 Apr 2022 01:27:56 UTC

Core team again?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Nearly a quarter of a century ago I nominated myself for the FreeBSD Core Team and was elected. But after a few years, along with my other work, it seemed too much trouble, and I stepped back in 2004. Now elections are coming up again. I have more time, and there are surprisingly few nominations. Should I stand again? I have until 4:00 on Thursday morning (so effectively tomorrow evening) to decide.

Tue, 26 Apr 2022 00:32:37 UTC

More Academia strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow has been particularly active lately, and it has been the source of some surprises. Today I got a message asking ?Are you the Greg Lehey who wrote "Closed Source Fights Back"??. Am I? Possibly. How do I find out? It proved to be about the SCO fiasco, but I didn't have anything in that directory that matched. It took quite some time to find out that it was an article that I wrote for ACM Queue in 2003. So yes, my article. But how much time it took to find! Of course, Academia is sure that I've written other stuff too.

Mon, 25 Apr 2022 02:50:49 UTC

DxO virtual copies

Posted By Greg Lehey

DxO PhotoLab has a strange feature called ?virtual copy? of an image source file. What's it for? I don't know, and I don't really care. How do you get one? I don't know, and I only care because I sometimes make them accidentally. How do you get rid of them? I don't know, but I really care. Processing yesterday's photos, I somehow managed to create virtual copies of every one of 144 source images. How do I get rid of them? I can select the rubbish bin icon on each image, but as they say in German, I can rivet pancakes to my ears and claim to be a Dachshund.

Mon, 25 Apr 2022 01:56:09 UTC

MediathekView: done!

Posted By Greg Lehey

After my lack of success with MediathekView, most recently 19 April, I identified a forum for MediathekView (or MV, as it proves they call it) developers and asked for help. FreeBSD? Who cares about that? But the message in the middle of the verbose stack trace is clear: Caused by: java.lang.NullPointerException: Cannot read the array length because "this.screens" is null         at java.desktop/sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.initDevices( That's Java's way of saying ?No screens found?. Clearly a FreeBSD problem. More discussion with little of use. ?Which version of FreeBSD?

Sat, 23 Apr 2022 02:01:21 UTC

Another fence removal?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Kevin Koster today: Your recent diary entries talking about removing wire fences from a photo reminded me of playing with a free open-source program called Seam Carving GUI many years ago. There doesn't seem to have been any new development since, with the last version (from 2009 I believe, based on file dates) mirrored here: Most of the stuff about seam carving on the web talks about resizing images, but the program also has the function of removing highlighted objects.

Sat, 23 Apr 2022 01:01:02 UTC

Academia surpasses itself

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've commented a number of times recently about, most recently on Tuesday. But they're not letting up. Today I received a message that surpassed all I have had so far: What does that mean? About the only thing that's clear is that the title has nothing to do with me. Why do they come up with this stuff?

Wed, 20 Apr 2022 03:10:43 UTC

Academia revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Chris Bahlo around for dinner this evening, and since she's a real live academic, I asked her about Yes, she too gets the same kind of mail from them, though not as bad as I had last week, and it irritates her too. But she did have some insight: she once got a mail asking if she was the author of a paper co-authored by Tony Papenfuss. No, no such paper. But she's not the only Bahlo in academia, and her sister Melanie Bahlo is married to Tony. So clearly Academia is mixing up first names. And that could explain some of the bombardment.

Wed, 20 Apr 2022 01:59:30 UTC

MediathekView again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another attempt at getting the latest version of MediathekView to work on FreeBSD. Last time things failed with an initialization error: Exception in thread "main" java.lang.ExceptionInInitializerError ... Caused by: java.lang.NullPointerException: Cannot read the array length because "this.screens" is null OK, that was with the FreeBSD Java installation. It should be compatible, but who knows? MedithekView comes with its own Java system, and maybe there's a good reason for this. Run that instead? How do I do that? It's a Linux program, so first install Linux compatibility.

Wed, 20 Apr 2022 01:51:49 UTC

Upgrading tiwi

Posted By Greg Lehey

In preparation for another Mediathekview port attempt today, built a new system on tiwi. First, of course, git to update the source tree: === root@tiwi (/dev/pts/1) /usr/src 3 -> git pull --ff-only fatal: unsafe repository ('/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/stable-13' is owned by someone else) To add an exception for this directory, call:         git config --global --add /eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/stable-13 Huh? What does that mean. /usr/src is a symlink: === root@tiwi (/dev/pts/1) /usr/src 4 -> ls -l /usr/src lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  26 28 Mar 15:43 /usr/src -> /src/FreeBSD/git/stable-13 Previously I had updated it from dereel, and that still works: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /usr/stable-13 25 -> git pull --ff-only remote: Enumerating objects: ...

Tue, 19 Apr 2022 00:06:10 UTC

More Luminar investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's investigation of Luminar didn't produce any spectacular insights. Is Luminar Neo so much better than Luminar AI? Should I buy it on the off chance? That way madness lies. Off searching on the web and came up with The complete Photofocus guide to Luminar Neo, which certainly gave me some interesting insights. It addresses my ?power line? issue: This tool is effective when the power lines are up against the sky, but if there are lines in front of architecture, foliage or other intricate details, the results can be unpredictable.

Mon, 18 Apr 2022 00:16:32 UTC

Removing power lines

Posted By Greg Lehey

Four years ago I was lucky enough to get an almost perfect scene from our lounge room window: But only almost perfect. Yes, both kangaroos have clearly visible joeys in their pouches. But that fence! How do I get rid of it? Over the months that followed I tried inpaint and movavi, and then a number of other products. They all had the same issue: identifying what you want to remove. So I gave up, waiting for a better product. Now Skylum has come out with a new product, Luminar Neo, which claims to be able to do almost exactly what I'm looking for.

Sat, 16 Apr 2022 00:35:52 UTC

Greg Lehey, famous author

Posted By Greg Lehey

I continually get bombarded with emails from Academia asking me if I have written some paper or book. Usually I have, and I've already told them several times?there aren't many. And then there are these messages: Subject: ?G Lehey?: The name ?G Lehey? was mentioned in a paper recently found by Academia written by Antti  Kantee Subject: The name "Greg Lehey" is mentioned by a Political Science researcher in a paper uploaded to Academia Subject: ?Greg Lehey?: 1 Mention in a paper uploaded to Academia by someone in Algeria In every case, for more details I need to sign up for the full programme, something that isn't interesting enough.

Fri, 15 Apr 2022 05:21:13 UTC

Zoom: modern communications

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have to connect with a friend who uses Zoom. Why can't he use Whats App? That at least has a FreeBSD connection. OK, install Zoom on my camera. It doesn't make me fall in love with it. First, I get: There's so much wrong with that! It's useless for verification. It's one of these silly ?secret? bits of data that have special significance in Australia and shouldn't be divulged. There's no way to check whether it's correct or not.

Fri, 15 Apr 2022 02:32:19 UTC

45 GB throwaway data

Posted By Greg Lehey

Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a total of 51 episodes of Servant of the people, of which I have 23 or 24: the first season should be 24 episodes, but I only got 23, the first of which is double length. So probably I have the complete first season. OK, there are sources with better quality and all episodes. 45 GB! But when the National Broadband Network works, it works well, and I have unlimited data, so I was able to download them overnight at about 3 MB/s. No subtitles, only original Ukrainian! I can't do anything with that. Well, yes, I can: remove them again.

Fri, 15 Apr 2022 01:59:25 UTC

igitt! Again!

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's time for the MFC of the commits to the FreeBSD repository that I made a couple of weeks ago. ?MFC? (?Merge From Current?) is an old, worn-out magic TLA meaning moving the commits from the -CURRENT branch (thus the name) to the -STABLE branch, or whatever git calls it. How does that work? In fact, it's quite straightforward, especially for git. Learn another redefinition. You don't need this to do the work: No, ?cherry-pick? seems to be a US English redefinition of the word.

Thu, 14 Apr 2022 02:46:49 UTC

More port upgrade fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I can finally upgrade my ports on dereel. I started yesterday, but the transition from 13-STABLE quarterly to 14-CURRENT latest certainly made its presence felt: ===== Tue 12 Apr 2022 11:47:35 AEST on dereel: pkg upgrade Updating FreeBSD repository catalogue... Newer FreeBSD version for package tdb: To ignore this error set IGNORE_OSVERSION=yes - package: 1400056 - running kernel: 1400053 Ignore the mismatch and continue? [y/N]: Processing entries............. done FreeBSD repository update completed. 30988 packages processed. All repositories are up to date. Checking for upgrades (754 candidates): .......... done Processing candidates (754 candidates): ..........

Wed, 13 Apr 2022 02:04:53 UTC

Where are my cameras?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I now have two cameras on their way from Ukraine. How are they progressing? eBay gives (usually somewhat out of date) tracking information. For the Kiev, after fixing the back-to-front representation, it's (conveniently hidden in a too-small window) Ukrposhta tracking #RH062990804UA 6 Apr 2022 8:59pm       Tracking number provided 7 Apr 2022 11:19am       ????????????

Wed, 13 Apr 2022 01:20:51 UTC

Kitchen computer pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

While cooking the mee, I needed access to the recipe. Exactly the reason why I put the Apple (almost) in the kitchen on Sunday. So I used that. It really isn't good. It started by using Safari instead of the firefox that I know, if not love. And that is just plain confusing. OK, install firefox. That made things easier, once I discovered that c-f no longer works for ?find?. It's m-f, though only because it's not a real Apple keyboard; otherwise it would be some silly Apple name. And this silly Apple mouse takes getting used to as well. But I can put up with that.

Tue, 12 Apr 2022 00:09:20 UTC

Tracing the pkg issue

Posted By Greg Lehey

So why can't I do anything with pkg any more on dereel? Conveniently the messages gave me the exact URLs of the failing download, such as And of course a browser confirmed that the file doesn't exist. has only one directory, latest. There are two main ?mirror? sites and a number of ?mirror? ?mirror? sites, and they all agreed. OK, mail to the ports mailing list: I've checked both IPv4 sites, and only contains a "latest" directory, not "quarterly". Got an answer from a top-poster, appending my message unchanged: Only latest pkg sources in current (now is 14).

Mon, 11 Apr 2022 00:02:33 UTC

Kitchen computer?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Decades ago I kept a laptop in the kitchen, mainly for access to recipes. That was before the days of the World Wide Web, but it was still useful. Since then I've taken laptops into the kitchen from time to time, but with graphical displays I've come to the conclusion that laptops are a pain to use. What I need is a Real Computer. And of course, I have plenty of those. The closest is fwaggle, my Apple iMac that has been sitting in the dining room doing nothing for months. How about putting it closer to the kitchen? Yes, that works, but it still seems wrong.

Sun, 10 Apr 2022 02:41:06 UTC

More air conditioner problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been a month since I discussed our air conditioner problems with Tony from Atmos. I was to check the connections of the sensors to the main controller board. No hurry: the machine is working fine. There don't seem to be any issues when using it to heat, though it produces more E25 statuses than before. But today it was warm again. Air conditioner off, change from ?Heat? to ?Cool?. Turn on. It turned itself off again, repeatedly. OK, time to finally check the connectors. They're the ones at bottom left on the board: Somehow I had a recollection of a looser fit, like connectors on a computer board, which can get loose.

Sun, 10 Apr 2022 02:16:41 UTC

pkg problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the night's security run output today, found: pkg: Warning: Major OS version upgrade detected.  Running "pkg bootstrap -f" recommended Huh? Oh well, it's straightforward enough: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /usr/local/etc/postfix 180 -> pkg bootstrap -f pkg: Warning: Major OS version upgrade detected.  Running "pkg bootstrap -f" recommended pkg(8) is already installed. Forcing reinstallation through pkg(7). The package management tool is not yet installed on your system. Do you want to fetch and install it now? [y/N]: y Bootstrapping pkg from pkg+, please wait...

Fri, 08 Apr 2022 01:15:40 UTC

More mail server problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

After getting dereel's mail system working properly, it's straightforward to migrate it to tiwi. After all, I installed both systems in the same way. Surprise, surprise, it wasn't. I had assumed that it would be straightforward, so I didn't assign much time time it. But what I saw was anything but straightforward. After making the appropriate configuration changes, Apr  7 09:44:45 tiwi sendmail[80071]: 236Nijid080071: from=grog, size=26, class=0, nrcpts=1, msgid=<[email protected]>, relay=grog@localhost Apr  7 09:44:45 tiwi postfix/smtpd[80033]: connect from localhost[] Apr  7 09:44:45 tiwi postfix/smtpd[80033]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from localhost[]: 451 4.3.0 <[email protected]>: Temporary lookup failure; from=<[email protected]> to=<[email protected]> proto=ESMTP helo=<> Apr  7 09:44:45 tiwi sendmail[80071]: 236Nijid080071: to=grog, ctladdr=grog (1004/1000), delay=00:00:00, xdelay=00:00:00, mailer=relay, pri=30026, relay=[] [], dsn=4.3.0, reply=451 4.3.0 <[email protected]>: Temporary lookup failure, stat=Deferred: 451 4.3.0 <[email protected]>: Temporary lookup failure Apr  7 09:44:45 tiwi postfix/smtpd[80033]: disconnect from localhost[] ehlo=1 mail=1 rcpt=0/1 data=0/1 rset=1 quit=1 ...

Fri, 08 Apr 2022 01:08:30 UTC

Backup failure

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen in the system logs this morning: dump -2uf - / | nice zstd -T8 > /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD/2/root.bz2   DUMP: WARNING: should use -L when dumping live read-write filesystems!   DUMP: Date of this level 2 dump: Tue Apr  5 21:00:00 2022   DUMP: Date of last level 0 dump: Fri Apr  1 21:00:00 2022   DUMP: Dumping /dev/ada0p4 (/) to standard output   DUMP: mapping (Pass I) [regular files]   DUMP: mapping (Pass II) [directories]   DUMP: estimated 153867 tape blocks.   DUMP: dumping (Pass III) [directories]   DUMP: dumping (Pass IV) [regular files] zstd: error 25 : Write error : cannot write compressed block   DUMP: Broken pipe   DUMP: The ENTIRE dump is aborted.

Wed, 06 Apr 2022 01:35:46 UTC

Understanding postfix

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been running my own email server for over 30 years. It seems that I'm one of the few people who still does. That's not overly surprising: you can get free email services on every street corner. But I want to do it My Way, and things aren't getting any easier. 30 years ago I installed sendmail, the only game in town. Less than 9 years later, some time between 16 November 2000 and 29 January 2001, I migrated to postfix, mainly because sendmail had changed its configuration file format to be even more difficult (sorry, Eric). But postfix is also anything but easy.

Mon, 04 Apr 2022 23:31:23 UTC

Understanding O[IM].Share

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent much of the morning writing up yesterday's rant about OI.Share. That was useful for a number of reasons, most importantly because I now understand the bugs features better. First, what is the name of the app? What would you like it to be? OM Image Share? OI.Share? It seems that both are correct. On the one hand that means that the name of the app hasn't changed to add further confusion, but it also allows mistakes to take place, and there seem to be many of them. Most importantly, the only OI.Share that I can find in the toyshop is the old Olympus one, the one that installs and offers to install the new version.

Mon, 04 Apr 2022 01:26:26 UTC

Upgrading MediathekView

Posted By Greg Lehey

MediathekView is a program for downloading videos from European TV broadcasters. I've been using it for nearly 5 years, but I never really got round to making it into a FreeBSD port. Now I'm trying, and I've discovered that Lars Engels beat me to it?and then gave up again because of problems with Java. Now it's my turn. === root@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) /usr/ports/multimedia/mediathekview 155 -> mediathekview Error: A JNI error has occurred, please check your installation and try again Exception in thread "main" java.lang.UnsupportedClassVersionError: mediathek/Main has been compiled by a more recent version of the Java Runtime (class file version 61.0), this version of the Java Runtime only recognizes class file versions up to 52.0         at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass1(Native Method) ...

Sun, 03 Apr 2022 22:30:33 UTC

DST end, more OI.Share pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Daylight Saving Time ended this morning, with the usual issues of resetting clocks. The biggest was with the cameras. The older ones are simple: go to the menu and set it. But the three newest (Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I, OM-D E-M1 Mark II and OM-D E-M5 Mark III) have a remote control program that also sets the time from the computer device mobile phone to which they can connect. And that's more accurate. But this horrible OI.Share app makes it such a pain! In the spring I gave up, but today I tried again. One more surprise: the Toy Shop offers: after installing it on Yvonne's phone, it came up with ?Ha, ha, I'm the wrong OI.Share.

Sat, 02 Apr 2022 01:58:38 UTC

More DMARC investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did the GLOCK APPS web site refuse to continue yesterday? Clearly it's a badly written web page, possibly designed for Microsoft. So I tried it on distress, my faster Microsoft box. And how about that, still using firefox, it positioned the warnings outside the field that they had previously obscured. And it reacted when I pressed SUBMIT. It didn't like ?N0 future!? as a password (too weak, which it let me deduce to be the reason for not continuing). OK, try ?Is this str0ng enough, Idiots??? No, too long! So why did they let me enter it? Finally got something set up.

Fri, 01 Apr 2022 00:24:30 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Last month I set up DMARC for my external mail server, and almost immediately I started getting messages that I can't parse: [-- Attachment #2:!!1648512000!1648598400.xml.gz --] [-- Type: application/gzip, Encoding: base64, Size: 0.8K --] [-- application/gzip is unsupported (use 'v' to view this part) --] Clearly I need software to decipher it for me. But how? A google search brought a number (well, 210,000) of hits, including The Ultimate Guide to DMARC Reports in 2022 from GLOCK APPS and Understanding DMARC Reports from EASYDMARC (no I dea why they shout).

Thu, 31 Mar 2022 05:05:37 UTC

Quora responds

Posted By Greg Lehey

Response from Quora about my ?appeal? two days ago: Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2022 22:39:11 +0000 We are very sorry for this experience. Your content was mistakenly removed as a violation of our spam policy, but it is now reinstated. That's something, but I think it's still clear that my Quora time is over. There are no sensible questions to answer any more, and moderation is (probably unintentionally) on the side of the abusers. Remove answer immediately, take 2 days and an appeal to reinstate it.

Thu, 31 Mar 2022 00:52:33 UTC

More system upgrade problems?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I have upgraded dereel to FreeBSD 14-CURRENT, I'm still discovering strangenesses. Hitting c-p to get the previous command gives me: === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /spool/Series/Doc/01 18 -> <t I've seen that before, but not for decades. The < at the beginning of the line is an indication that it's not the start of the line: there's more to the left. Press c-a for the beginning of the line and I get === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /spool/Series/Doc/01 18 -> yt> What causes that?

Wed, 30 Mar 2022 23:52:21 UTC

Returning the wine

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I sent a mail to McLaren Vale Cellars about the damaged wine shipment. No response. OK, enter a ?dispute?, a rather heavy-handed term for what I wanted to say. But that's modern web sites for you, and McLaren Vale Cellars have a very modern web site. First I had to choose from a limited set of reasons. ?Damaged in transit?? No, nothing like that. The closest I came was: I did not receive an item I purchased, or the item I received is dead on arrival, not working, not the one I ordered or significantly different than [sic] what was described.

Wed, 30 Mar 2022 01:28:54 UTC

More ssh pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've upgraded dereel to FreeBSD 14-CURRENT, which currently seems to be very stable, and which makes it easier to build and test source upgrades. But once again I have had trouble with ssh. After make installworld I could no longer connect. What does /var/tmp/auth.log say? Mar 29 14:21:51 dereel sshd[68066]: userauth_pubkey: key type ssh-rsa not in PubkeyAcceptedAlgorithms [preauth] OK, that message is (almost) clear enough. But what's PubkeyAcceptedAlgorithms? Off looking online and found a suggestion to run: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /usr/src/bin/date 50 -> ssh -Q PubkeyAcceptedAlgorithms unknown option: '-Q' ...

Tue, 29 Mar 2022 05:09:37 UTC

Goodbye Quora

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been answering questions on Quora for years now, in the process watching its quality deteriorate from a serious question and answer site to a purveyor of nonsense and pornography. Today I received a message from their ?moderation?: Your answer has been deleted as it was found to be in violation of our Spam policy. To learn more about our Quora's policy, click here. If you think this is an error, you can appeal here. Spam? I don't send any steenking spam! What was the question, anyway?

Tue, 29 Mar 2022 04:48:19 UTC

More git fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I have broken the ice using git, time to catch up on other things that I was planning. The obvious one was the update to date(1) that failed two weeks ago. I had planned to investigate how to recover from that situation, but then a week later the source tree fell apart, and I had to recreate it. No git-oriented recovery possible any more. OK, put the file into a fresh tree, in the process finding more details to change. Push! === root@dereel (/dev/pts/1) /src/FreeBSD/git/main/bin/date 35 -> git push date.1 fatal: You are pushing to remote 'date.1', which is not the upstream of your current branch 'main', without telling me what to push to update which remote branch.

Tue, 29 Mar 2022 04:04:19 UTC

More weather station problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

My Fine Offset WH-1080 weather station is not the most reliable device in the world. Apart from strange USB issues, it has great difficulty communicating with the external unit. And so it was again today: I came into the office to discover that it had not been communicating at all for over 10 hours. Normally it recovers if I disconnect the receiver and walk closer to the transmitter. But today that didn't work either. What should I do? Buy another one? They're not made any more. Buy a different model and go through all the pain that I went through 12 years ago?

Sat, 26 Mar 2022 01:22:26 UTC

Igitt! again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I'm gradually recovering from my first experience with git, I wondered if anybody else had come up with the play on words ?igitt?. Yes: IGitt is ?a simple library that allows you to access various git hosting services like GitHub, GitLab and so on via one unified python interface?. And at the end of the page it confirms the etymology. But it seems to add Yet Another layer of abstraction on an already completely overloaded system.

Thu, 24 Mar 2022 01:59:36 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday git annoyed me by coming up with (or at least claiming) spurious changes in my source tree. I still can't understand what went round there, though I should probably go and examine the differences that it claims. But the xkcd cartoon won, I cloned Yet Another source tree and added my changes. Build Yet Another kernel. All well. OK, the point of no return. Commit and push. === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/FreeBSD/git/main 8 -> git commit On branch main Your branch is up to date with 'freebsd/main'. Huh? I had just changed two files! It seems that I had to dig to find them: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/FreeBSD/git/main 9 -> cd sys/dev/usb/ === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/FreeBSD/git/main/sys/dev/usb 10 -> git diff diff --git a/sys/dev/usb/quirk/usb_quirk.c b/sys/dev/usb/quirk/usb_quirk.c index cab6f1b7c074..d86ca5643515 100644 --- a/sys/dev/usb/quirk/usb_quirk.c +++ b/sys/dev/usb/quirk/usb_quirk.c @@ -353,6 +353,39 @@ static struct usb_quirk_entry usb_quirks[USB_DEV_QUIRKS_MAX] = { ...

Wed, 23 Mar 2022 00:31:58 UTC

VirtualBox again

Posted By Greg Lehey

In preparation to commit the quirk entries for Olympus cameras, I need to build a FreeBSD kernel against CURRENT main. But I don't have a system running CURRENT any more. OK, that's what virtual machines are for. Fire up VirtualBox and create a virtual machine with a recent CURRENT kernel and build the kernel with my changes. And once again I ran into issues with networking. The workarounds I established last time didn't work, at least not the way I described them. The issue seems to be which klds to load. The important one is ng_ether, which in fact has nothing directly to do with VirtualBox.

Wed, 23 Mar 2022 00:30:58 UTC

git, how I hate thee!

Posted By Greg Lehey

In preparation for committing the USB changes, I need to have an up-to-date CURRENT source tree. OK, I can do that: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /src/FreeBSD/git/main 21 -> Log igitt up ===== Tue 22 Mar 2022 12:56:52 AEDT on dereel: igitt up This seems to be a src clone From    8e72f458c6d3..fd6ca665d206  main        -> freebsd/main    210991b1f28b..b8ae329db949  releng/13.0 -> freebsd/releng/13.0    fa67c45842bb..928e649f6818  releng/13.1 -> freebsd/releng/13.1    8342c11f27eb..931c75bf01d6  stable/11   -> freebsd/stable/11    6fa8af618475..bf8cb490e27d  stable/12   -> freebsd/stable/12    9f600a260a73..812638797d59  stable/13   -> freebsd/stable/13 error: Your local changes to the following files would be overwritten by merge:         contrib/libcxxrt/atomic.h         contrib/libcxxrt/         contrib/libcxxrt/         contrib/libcxxrt/         lib/libcasper/services/cap_fileargs/cap_fileargs.c         lib/libkvm/kvm_proc.c         lib/libmixer/mixer.3         sbin/sysctl/sysctl.8         sys/compat/linuxkpi/common/include/linux/pci.h         sys/compat/linuxkpi/common/src/linux_pci.c      ...

Tue, 22 Mar 2022 03:51:18 UTC

Fixing Olympus quirks

Posted By Greg Lehey

More looking at the camera USB issues. It's been a while since I've messed around in the FreeBSD kernel, but it was less work than I expected. In this particular case, I needed to update /usr/src/sys/dev/usb/quirk/usb_quirk.c with the quirks, and also /usr/src/sys/dev/usb/usbdevs to define the devices. A typical entry looks like: USB_QUIRK(OLYMPUS, E_M1MarkII, 0x0000, 0xffff, UQ_MSC_NO_GETMAXLUN,     UQ_MSC_NO_TEST_UNIT_READY, UQ_MSC_NO_PREVENT_ALLOW,     UQ_MSC_NO_SYNC_CACHE), That could almost be generated from the dmesg output. But of course I needed to define E_M1MarkII, and that's why I needed to change usbdevs: product OLYMPUS E_M1MarkII 0x012e Problem: Olympus is too stingy to allocate a new product code for every product code, as I noted on Sunday.

Sun, 20 Mar 2022 01:27:13 UTC

USB issues again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reply from Hans Petter Selasky, the FreeBSD USB man, about my USB issues with the latest version of FreeBSD. You should add the quirks that appear in dmesg to: /usr/src/sys/dev/usb/quirk/usb_quirk.c You can test the quirk by adding: hw.usb.quirk.0="0x07b4 0x012e 0 0xffff UQ_MSC_NO_TEST_UNIT_READY,UQ_MSC_NO_PREVENT_ALLOW,UQ_MSC_NO_SYNC_CACHE,UQ_MSC_NO_TEST_UNIT_READY,UQ_MSC_NO_START_STOP" To /boot/loader.conf Also you can use usbconfig's add_quirk command to test these quirks for your device. Three different workarounds. The first clearly requires rebuilding the system, the second rebooting, and the third RTFM. And that gave me ample opportunity to think about man page updates.

Sun, 20 Mar 2022 01:09:19 UTC

30 years of fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Read in my calendar today: Mar 19  Greg installs BSD/386 0.3.1, 1992 Those were the days. My copy of BSD/386 was ?beta? (thus the < 0 release number), and in those days I took beta releases seriously; it was less than 3 weeks since I had left Tandem, and at Tandem people expected reports, which I dutifully provided. How times have changed!

Fri, 18 Mar 2022 00:41:22 UTC

More Google Maps fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

There are two vets in Bannockburn: the Bannockburn Veterinary Clinic and the Golden Plains Animal Hospital, apparently without a web site. We wanted to go to the Bannockburn Veterinary Clinic, so I said to my phone ?Hey Google, take me to the Bannockburn Vet Clinic?. Yes, no problem. But when we got to Bannockburn, it tried to take me to the animal hospital. That wasn't a big issue, since we don't need guidance to get there. But how do you tell Google that it's wrong? You can enter feedback after arriving, but it didn't think we had arrived.

Fri, 18 Mar 2022 00:15:20 UTC

More USB camera attachment issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Took photos with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the OM-D E-M1 Mark II today. Read them in to dereel, which is conveniently located. The photos from the E-M1 Mark I came in fine. No photos from the Mark II. Cable problems? Checked the connections, plugged into the other USB port (where the Mark I had been). Same thing: Mar 17 11:28:43 dereel kernel: usb_msc_auto_quirk: UQ_MSC_NO_TEST_UNIT_READY set for USB mass storage device OLYMPUS E-M1MarkII (0x07b4:0x012e) Mar 17 11:28:43 dereel kernel: usb_msc_auto_quirk: UQ_MSC_NO_PREVENT_ALLOW set for USB mass storage device OLYMPUS E-M1MarkII (0x07b4:0x012e) Mar 17 11:28:43 dereel kernel: usb_msc_auto_quirk: UQ_MSC_NO_SYNC_CACHE set for USB mass storage device OLYMPUS E-M1MarkII (0x07b4:0x012e) Mar 17 11:28:44 dereel syslogd: last message repeated 1 times Mar 17 11:28:44 dereel kernel: usb_msc_auto_quirk: UQ_MSC_NO_PREVENT_ALLOW set for USB mass storage device OLYMPUS E-M1MarkII (0x07b4:0x012e) Mar 17 11:28:44 dereel kernel: usb_msc_auto_quirk: UQ_MSC_NO_TEST_UNIT_READY set for ...

Thu, 17 Mar 2022 03:03:22 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

It's clear that I need to take several steps back to really understand git, or at least what was going on in the minds of the people who wrote it. Received another mail message from Jashank Jeremy in the evening, basically confirming my suspicions, and also offering suggestions that I will follow up on Some Time Soon. This xkcd cartoon seems particularly appropriate:

Thu, 17 Mar 2022 02:50:55 UTC

Phone answering pain, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Called Yvonne (who was shopping in Ballarat) on the phone today. No answer. I've seen this too often. Why can't she do something as simple as answer the phone? She called back. My phone rang, but nothing appeared on the screen. ?Swipe? down from top right. No answer indication. Hoist with my own petard! Finally she got through to me, but clearly something is seriously wrong here. I can't imagine that it's both of us. Could it be Xiaomi or MIUI? Maybe, but they're a very widely distributed make. Other possibilities include: I noted that the phone was reacting sluggishly before.

Wed, 16 Mar 2022 01:32:57 UTC

git, how I hate thee!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's attempt to commit to the FreeBSD repository using git failed due to an incorrect template. Back to look at the git primer today, and it seems that the conflict was my fault: instead of using the script that I had carefully set up, I did it by hand and lost the checkin template. But while reading the primer, ran into some strangenesses: Clone the repository: % git clone -o freebsd --config remote.freebsd.fetch='+refs/notes/*:refs/notes/*'${repo}.git Then you should have the official mirrors as your remote: % git remote -v freebsd${repo}.git (fetch) freebsd${repo}.git (push) OK, so far, so good.

Tue, 15 Mar 2022 00:37:57 UTC

Upgrading dereel

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I have git more or less working, I can upgrade some of my secondary systems. Today it was dereel, which is now effectively on the same release as tiwi: === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/0) ~ 2 -> uname -a FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #0 stable/13-n249989-b85d0d603c57: Sat Mar 12 13:23:39 AEDT 2022     [email protected]:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/tiwi/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64 === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/2) ~ 3 -> uname -a FreeBSD dereel 13.1-STABLE FreeBSD 13.1-STABLE #0 stable/13-n249995-80bab8aa7ed8: Mon Mar 14 13:20:09 AEDT 2022     grog@dereel:/usr/obj/eureka/home/src/FreeBSD/git/stable-13/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC amd64 Why does tiwi report itself as, while dereel is simply dereel?

Tue, 15 Mar 2022 00:11:53 UTC

First git commit

Posted By Greg Lehey

So finally I'm in a position to commit to the FreeBSD source tree again. Asked Peter Jeremy to review it (?OK, but why don't you use Phabricator??) and hold my hand while I committed it. First surprise: you don't just commit, you also push. I'm still trying to find out the distinction, but so far it looks like ?push? is the git word for ?commit?, and git ?commit? doesn't actually affect the copy in the repository. But I needed to document the commit details in the ?commit? stage, and the template I was presented didn't match what I should have got.

Sun, 13 Mar 2022 00:56:13 UTC

tiwi ?upgrade?, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally managed to check out the correct branch of the FreeBSD repository today, and despite reservations it built cleanly in less than 2½ hours, considerably less than the time it took for -CURRENT main. Rebooted nicely, then make installworld. But next time I tried, I couldn't access the machine. === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/35) ~ 1 -> ssh tiwi ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host Disconnected at Sat 12 Mar 2022 16:28:10 AEDT Huh? I still had one ssh session open to tiwi, but I couldn't connect any more. ssh -v didn't help much (it never seems to).

Sat, 12 Mar 2022 02:02:24 UTC

Upgrading tiwi

Posted By Greg Lehey

Despite all the frustration, I'm making progress with my TV computers. And my disks on tiwi and teevee are filling up. Time to continue the stalled migration from teevee to tiwi. OK, check out the latest stable/13 tree, not made any easier by the difficulty of finding the branch abbreviations. And somehow I ended up with the tree in /usr/stable/13 instead of /usr/src. OK, I can rename it. But git doesn't like that. It knows the name, and I had to stick to it. Nothing for it: a symlink to /usr/src. 3 hours of building clang later and it booted happily, so much so that I checked that it was really the new kernel: === root@tiwi (/dev/pts/2) ~ 2 -> uname -a FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT #0 main-n253735-832acea92fc8: Fri Mar 11 17:07:51 AEDT 2022     [email protected]:/usr/obj/usr/stable/13/amd64.amd64/sys/GENERIC  amd64 ...

Sat, 12 Mar 2022 01:42:40 UTC

Civilizing git

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Jashank Jeremy about my problems with how less handles gratuitous colour. Specifically, he pointed to how to stop git from misbehaving. Yes, I knew that. I thought. But he pointed to a man page git-config, only 93 pages of printed output, clearly too little for them to include examples of how to just shut the bloody thing up. Jashank included that: To set it for one invocation:: $ git -c color.ui=no [... the remainder of the invocation ...]

Fri, 11 Mar 2022 01:31:34 UTC

More bash bug investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

Followed on investigating yesterday's investigation of the bash problems on tiwi. So far I have practically eliminated bash itself, X, the keyboard drivers and my environment. What's left? In each case, I start the bash in an xterm. What happens if I use ssh to access the system? Tried that: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/34) ~ 1 -> ssh tiwi ... === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/5) ~ 1 -> ps aux And how about that, after the output, I can edit the command line normally. Same xterm, same bash, same environment, just not started via the window manager.

Thu, 10 Mar 2022 00:45:34 UTC

More control character pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent a considerable period of time today trying to corner the bash control code issue. Where does it come from? Yesterday's investigation didn't address all the possibilities. There were more environment variables which, though unlikely, could have had a bearing on the problem. Ended up changing them all to the versions on teevee. It didn't make any difference. So what do I have? It's not bash, because it happens with bashes from other systems. It's not the keyboard driver, because I've looked at the codes it generates, and they're the same It's not the environment, beacuse I've changed anything that could be relevant.

Wed, 09 Mar 2022 02:07:31 UTC

Catching up with workarounds

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over the years, I have run into a number of issues that have irritated me, and I've found workarounds for them. But they're adding up. Somehow I can no longer enter a file name into a selection box in firefox. Instead it gives me a tree that I need to climb to find anything. Particularly when uploading photos, this is a real pain: my ~/Photos/ directory has nearly 6,000 entries, and it expects me to scroll through them! There used to be a way to use a bash-like file name completion, but that was clearly too convenient.

Wed, 09 Mar 2022 01:59:26 UTC

man pages again

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm preparing to finally commit something to the FreeBSD source tree, which involves using git for the first time. OK, first try with a man page, specifically date(1), which still doesn't know anything about time zones! And how about that, I have forgotten all my mdoc-foo. Where's the documentation for the documentation? Looking at mdoc(7) wasn't very helpful: it shows standard GNU macros. Off searching on the FreeBSD web site, and found the information in the Documentation Project Primer, which pointed me to... mdoc(7). But it bears no relationship to mine. More searching shows that it has been completely replaced since I installed eureka.

Tue, 08 Mar 2022 01:03:33 UTC

Origins of ICMP

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recently saw a link to ?Ping! I love that duck! on the Unix Heritage Society mailing list. Fascinating reading. Who would have thought that it has such a long history?

Tue, 08 Mar 2022 00:47:41 UTC

Google: MY way

Posted By Greg Lehey

Gmail continues to annoy me. Yes, I can fix the authorization this time?maybe?but what will they come up with next? The real issue is that they want me to do things their way, and that seems to increasingly mean Microsoft or Apple. Not my way. The simplest solution is clearly to have nothing to do with Gmail. In fact, I don't have very many mail subscriptions that point to Gmail. Let's change the address. The biggest is Hugin, also the one that Gmail loves to classify as spam the most (and that despite it originating within Google!) . Off to change the email address.

Mon, 07 Mar 2022 00:17:48 UTC

Google ?security?: just to annoy me

Posted By Greg Lehey

Message from Google today: To help keep your account secure, Google will no longer support the use of third-party apps or devices which ask you to sign in to your Google Account using only your username and password. Instead, you?ll need to sign in using Sign in with Google or other more secure technologies, like OAuth 2.0. Email software, like Outlook 2016 or earlier, has less secure access to your Gmail.

Fri, 04 Mar 2022 02:29:12 UTC

eBay customer service again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call on the phone today, asking me about my ?customer experience? with the mobile phone. That's really quite extraordinary. Have they changed, or have I achieved some special status through having been with them for nearly 23 years? At least it gave me the opportunity to suggest a change in policy where they don't unilaterally decide to close a case without contacting the other party.

Thu, 03 Mar 2022 01:36:04 UTC

eBay: Resolution!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally my issue with the Xioami Note 9T has been resolved. Clearly the seller, mobileciti_estore, had attempted to close the case without fulfilling his part of the bargain, and eBay had closed the case without consulting me. But after ?appealing? they checked and fixed things. And I got a surprisingly friendly, almost bending-over-backwards message from them: Good News! I have closed this case in your favour with partial refund. Thank you for contacting eBay regarding the item "Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G" Item Id "402894423229" for which you had opened the return case on 19th Feb 2022.

Wed, 02 Mar 2022 02:31:46 UTC

Google Pay in Russia

Posted By Greg Lehey

Russia's invasion of Ukraine of Ukraine is the topic of much talk, of course. Today Jamie Fraser wondered on IRC: <jfraser> i guess russians are pretty dependent on things like google/apple pay? Google Pay? Who uses that? I don't, and I have no intention of doing so. My guess was that they don't use it much in Russia either. But off to check. And without so much as a by-your-leave I got a message that I had been signed up for the service! You added your account, [email protected], to the new Google Pay app.

Sun, 27 Feb 2022 01:47:44 UTC

Understanding Service Victoria

Posted By Greg Lehey

Service Victoria: has been a pain since I first installed it. How do I tell if my ?digital certificate? is up to date or not? As I grumbled only last week, it no longer shows the dates of the vaccinations: And now it has removed the history from the display on fossil, Yvonne's new mobile phone, as I grumbled yesterday, and it wants a login. But today I got a message on my phone: What's the difference?

Sun, 27 Feb 2022 01:35:07 UTC

More mobile phone insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's setup of, Yvonne's new mobile phone, went surprisingly smoothly, but there were still some strangenesses to iron out: Google Maps didn't want to know about Yvonne's location. It required simply to be enabled (?fixed?) . This appears to be a ?there can only be one? issue: enzian still had location tracking enabled, and after ?fixing? things on fossil, it was no longer enabled on enzian.

Sun, 27 Feb 2022 01:19:57 UTC

Recovering from power failure

Posted By Greg Lehey

Recovery from power failure wasn't that bad this time. Though I had lost a total of 7 computers, I was done in an hour. Here an overview of the issues: eureka's hardware doesn't recover from a power outage. For some reason the BIOS doesn't have a ?start running when power is connected? setting. It needs to be turned on manually. By this time, a number of other systems will be running.

Sat, 26 Feb 2022 00:55:34 UTC

Mobile phone setup, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now Yvonne has a new phone. Most important thing: what are we going to call it? Previous phones have been called (the old Malay word for telephone), (German for ??, pronounced xi?om?) and (because of the colour). Yvonne tended to names like or Jamie Fraser (on IRC) suggested ?because it's guaranteed to piss you off and probably not do the one thing it's supposed to do?. In the end I chose the name that should match Yvonne's derogatory opinion, and it matches the appearance (anthracite). And how do I set it up? How about that, it provides a migration function from an old phone, as long as the old phone still works.

Fri, 25 Feb 2022 23:36:48 UTC

A new phone!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been following the erratic path of the replacement phone that the eBay seller promised me a while back. On Wednesday he applied for and got a tracking number, but didn't post the item. I've seen that before; the item shows up in tracking, but may never actually get sent. But that wasn't the case this time: yesterday midday it was finally delivered to the post office. And today it arrived in Napoleons. Here Australia Post's upside-down and misspelt view of things: Awaiting collection at NAPOLEON CPA NAPOLEONS VIC Fri 25 Feb, 11.09am In transit LUCAS VIC Fri 25 Feb, 7.37am Unable to deliver - Item carded and transferred to post office for collection LUCAS VIC Fri 25 Feb, 7.32am Arrived at facility WENDOUREE VIC Fri 25 Feb, 6.37am In transit to next facility in BALLARAT VIC Fri 25 Feb, 12.38am Item ...

Thu, 24 Feb 2022 02:43:23 UTC

ALDImobile ?plans?

Posted By Greg Lehey

And then, for some reason, I checked my mobile phone account. Two payments via the ALDImobile app: a $15 ?Pay As You Go? (really ?advance payment?) update, and a $15 ?Mobile plan?. What's that? It seems it's 3 GB worth of data, fully $5 per GB! Having just fought my way through the app, it's clear that Yvonne had accidentally chosen the ?plan?, greatly hindered by the terminology: Mobile Plans? That looks right. What about the others? ?Data Plan? looks like what she got, ?Family Plan?

Thu, 24 Feb 2022 02:11:19 UTC

How to answer mobile phones, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne called me just as I was taking my analemma photos, so I had to hang up and call her back. And of course she didn't answer. Hung up, and she called me back. She couldn't find a way to answer the phone. When she got home, I checked. For some reason the phone only displayed this: OK, that's not very obvious, but it's there. The problem is that Yvonne had expected this: And since she still refuses to wear glasses, she couldn't recognize the display.

Thu, 24 Feb 2022 01:45:20 UTC

More mobile phone pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne off shopping today. I normally follow her on Google Maps, but today her location stayed stubbornly at home. Damn phones! Why are they so unreliable? What's the chance of being able to get it fixed on warranty? After all, it's only 4 months old. But what's the chance that I'll find somebody to repair it under warranty? Off yet again trying to find a new phone. Yes, there's a Redmi 9T available at a usable price, but first we need to complete the ?return? of the undelivered Redmi Note 9T, due to lapse on Saturday. So wait. But almost on cue, I received another message from the seller.

Wed, 23 Feb 2022 01:36:09 UTC

Where am I?

Posted By Greg Lehey

When we went to Bannockburn this morning, I showed Yvonne how to find a route on Google Maps and download it to her phone. But 2 km after we left it still showed ?Searching for GPS?. Huh? My phone worked fine. Reboot, no change. Go to GPS logger on her phone. Working normally, and had been for some time. But when we returned to Google Maps, it, too, knew where we were. What's going on here? It suggests some software issue if one app can access the device and the other can't. Somehow this phone was not the best choice. And the replacement that I ordered over a week ago seems to be vapourware at best and fraudware at the worst: after I refused to close the case until I receive the refund and replacement, my seller (mobileciti_estore) has gone quiet again.

Tue, 22 Feb 2022 02:40:56 UTC

Gmail's idea of spam

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since tidying up my Gmail account a couple of weeks ago, I have received less spam. And for once the mobile phone connection helps: though I don't read mail on a phone (how could you?), it informs me when something goes into spam. Today I found 8 messages: The interesting thing is that they are all, without exception, mail from a Google mailing list. Will they ever get their act together?

Tue, 22 Feb 2022 02:27:34 UTC

Animated images in web pages

Posted By Greg Lehey

I wanted to show the wobble in yesterday's article about the ALDI table grill. How do you do that? How about an animated GIF? Off looking, and came up with a couple of likely-sounding options for doing them online: Adobe and Convertio MP4 to GIF converter. OK, upload. Adobe hung. While waiting for it, looked at Convertio. Yes, it did its job and gave me a GIF that I couldn't find a way to display. I'm sure I would have found one, but the 7 second clip had blown out to 54 MB. That's far too much to put in a web page.

Mon, 21 Feb 2022 00:55:52 UTC

Flaky Internet link

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the evening I noticed significant performance issues with our Internet link. It proved to be high packet loss. Evening overload? No, whatever it was lasted through the night. Fortunately it was gone by morning. That's twelve hours with packet loss over 25%, and the third and worst such problem in the last month, after 21 January and 22 January. Hopefully they'll ensure that it doesn't happen again.

Sat, 19 Feb 2022 01:14:29 UTC

teevee problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

As usual, my migration from teevee (the old TV computer) to tiwi (the new one) has stalled, mainly because of some strange issue with bash input. But things seem to be getting worse. This morning's backup showed: g_vfs_done():ada0p4[READ(offset=3919478784, length=98304)]error = 5 (ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 60 40 e8 cf f4 40 07 00 00 00 00 00 (ada0:ahcich1:0:0:0): RES: 41 40 e8 cf f4 40 07 00 00 40 00 g_vfs_done():ada0p4[READ(offset=3919478784, length=32768)]error = 5 pid 51923 (firefox), jid 0, uid 1004: exited on signal 5 swap_pager: indefinite wait buffer: bufobj: 0, blkno: 717040, size: 32768 ...

Thu, 17 Feb 2022 01:34:01 UTC

Answering Android phones, attempt 9312

Posted By Greg Lehey

Calling Yvonne on her phone is never easy. But today, it seems, she ended up with a different display. It should look like this: But, she says, instead of the green phone symbol at the bottom she got a red one. Clearly she can't have imagined that, and I thought I saw something similar on my phone. Crossed ?wires??

Wed, 16 Feb 2022 01:18:23 UTC

dischord backup

Posted By Greg Lehey

So: I have identified 345 GB of data in \\Windows\\Temp on dischord. Some of the files were 8 years old. Doesn't Microsoft ever tidy up after itself? Can I just remove them all? Consensus on IRC was ?yes?. But I was terrified by the thought of having to recover the thing if something went wrong. Time for another backup? Moved the current one away from the almost full /dump and tried again. Yes, this backup was smaller, helped by the presence of even older partial backups on /dump. OK, remove the files in \\Temp. Yes!

Wed, 16 Feb 2022 01:09:59 UTC

Disservice Victoria, part 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

After the pain with Service Victoria, discovered that my phone performance was terrible, to the point that it hardly reacted at all. It's not the first time I've had this, and Yvonne's phone has performed so badly that I have decided to replace it. But she uses Service Victoria all the time. Could it be to blame? How can I tell? And the old Microsoft trick of rebooting doesn't necessarily help, because the app gets restarted! Still, today it was a lot better after a reboot that requited holding down the power button for something like 20 seconds. Of course, this is just a suspicion.

Wed, 16 Feb 2022 00:37:24 UTC

Disservice Victoria, part 1

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne is thinking of travelling interstate soon. What evidence will she need? The vaccination certificate is in her phone, and now (presumably coincidentally after I suggested it in this diary) it even displays a QR code. But what does the QR code say? Sorry, can't tell you that. You'll need to scan it in. OK, here's the ?certificate? and the scan results: So yes, it's me, or maybe somebody else called Gregory L.

Wed, 16 Feb 2022 00:22:50 UTC

ANZ: Déja vu

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been 12 March 1997 almost exactly 25 years since I opened my account with ANZ bank. Times have changed, but today Yvonne received an unexpected parcel in the mail: What's that? A pseudo-random number generator. We've seen this before, 25 years ago. It changes the number every 60 seconds (used to be 30) and can be used as a response to a challenge by ANZ to prove that you have the device in your possession. Isn't that a little old-fashioned? Yes: the new way of doing things is with your mobile phone.

Tue, 15 Feb 2022 01:39:52 UTC

A new phone for Yvonne: done!

Posted By Greg Lehey

What new phone for Yvonne? By chance today I saw a Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T going for only $299, about $100 less than normal. Problem: it's grey. But after some discussion with Yvonne, we agreed to buy it. Looking a the comparisons, such as I could find, it seems to have marginally better performance and other specs than my Redmi 9T (why do they have so many models with almost identical names?), potentially offset by having ?only? 4 GB of RAM. So I ordered that.

Tue, 15 Feb 2022 01:29:52 UTC

Tidying up Microsoft

Posted By Greg Lehey

My /dump file system is nearly full: === root@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~ 382 -> df -i /dump Filesystem 1048576-blocks      Used  Avail Capacity iused     ifree %iused  Mounted on /dev/da2p1      1,907,067 1,720,304 34,197    98%  55,019 2,112,787    3%   /dump === root@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~ 383 -> du -sc /dump/* | sort -n 1       /dump/Iam 9373    /dump/tiwi-FreeBSD 18293   /dump/eureso-FreeBSD 33559   /dump/teevee-FreeBSD 44264   /dump/dereel-FreeBSD 110932  /dump/euroa 163533  /dump/distress-Microsoft 594567  /dump/dischord-Microsoft 745756  /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD 1720273 total All values are in megabytes.

Sat, 12 Feb 2022 23:58:24 UTC

DMARC? Google? Spam?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Strange mail today: Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2022 15:59:59 -0800 From: noreply-dmarc-[email protected] To: dam-[email protected] Subject: Report domain: Submitter: Report-ID: 12348256022164262136 Spam? It was sent to my DMARC mail address. But ZIP attachments are suspect at the best of times. The headers suggest that it's kosher: From noreply-dmarc-[email protected]  Fri Feb 11 22:02:15 2022 ... Received: by with SMTP id a6-20020ac844a6000000b002cf3968d32aso6528910qto.1         for <dam-[email protected]>; Fri, 11 Feb 2022 03:02:14 -0800 (PST) DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20210112; OK.

Sat, 12 Feb 2022 23:17:12 UTC

date(1) through the ages

Posted By Greg Lehey

The current man page for date(1) on FreeBSD doesn't even mention /etc/localtime, which I consider to be essential for any system. And the mention of tzdata is cursory at best. In addition, there are remnants of older methods of telling local time: -d sets the DST flag in some kernel structure, and -t sets local time as a negative value in minutes (so UTC-5 would be 300). And then there's timed(8), which should be obsolete since the introduction of NTP. The man page for timed notes that it will be removed from base in FreeBSD 13.0, but there are still hooks in date.

Sat, 12 Feb 2022 22:59:31 UTC

Aussie responds

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Aussie Broadband support today, a response to the report I made only 17 days ago: I've taken a look at your service and ran a Service Health Summary check to see what could be the issue. I cant seem to see any issue at the moment, if you are still experiencing issue with the service please give our team a call so we can further investigate the issue. No indication that he had even read my report, which contained:      $ dig @      ; <<>> DiG 9.10.4-P3 <<>> @      ;; global options: +cmd      ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached This has been happening at least since 17 January.

Sat, 12 Feb 2022 01:59:38 UTC

Wikipedia on drugs?

Posted By Greg Lehey

While looking at GUID Partition Table on Wikipedia today, found this: The GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a world boss found in southeastern Azshara. The blue wyrm Azuregos is a trusted lieutenant of the aspect Malygos. As a blue dragon, he is incredibly interested in magical artifacts and their protection. For this reason he guards the ancient night elf Ruins of Eldarath, in modern day Azshara. Vandalism, of course, and I fixed it.

Sat, 12 Feb 2022 01:59:36 UTC

Configuring DMARC

Posted By Greg Lehey

How difficult can it be to configure DMARC for my mail server? That depends on whom you ask. But I suppose I can risk it, and in the end I added a pretty meaningless record: _dmarc                  IN TXT "v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:dam-[email protected]" Sent a message to Gmail to see what happened: ARC-Authentication-Results: i=1;;         spf=pass ( domain of [email protected] designates as permitted sender) [email protected];         dmarc=pass (p=NONE sp=NONE dis=NONE) Received: from (

Sat, 12 Feb 2022 01:36:10 UTC

distress: rwho?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why is rwho no longer running on distress? Off to look for it, and discovered that this was not the first time that I had had problems with it. But today was different. Searching there showed me a program RWHODINSTALL.EXE which, well, installs rwhod (Why does Microsoft need a search box when it has a search path in the ?shell??) . This is clearly the same one that I installed a long time ago. Run it, answer the questions, and it starts. How do I get it to start automatically when I reboot? I don't know, but when I rebooted later it didn't restart.

Fri, 11 Feb 2022 01:06:01 UTC

The trigger for the Microsoft issues?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Only later did I discover that we had been off the net for a considerable part of the night: Start time End time  Duration   Badness        from                    to                      (seconds) 1644415823 1644423575   7752  0.017 # 10 February 2022 01:10:23 10 February 2022 03:19:35 1644426258 1644437658  11400  1.342 # 10 February 2022 04:04:18 10 February 2022 07:14:18 1644437903 1644437973     70 14.694 # 10 February 2022 07:18:23 10 February 2022 07:19:33 Timestamp      Outages  Duration  Availability    Date                         (seconds) 1644411600  3 19222 77.75% # 10 February 2022 5?

Fri, 11 Feb 2022 00:56:37 UTC

New SSD for distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

OK, since I've got this far, time to finally install the SSD that I bought for this purpose over 4 months ago. That's relatively simple: both the old disk and the SSD are 250 GB in size, so I should be able to just copy the partitions. Oh. 250 GB isn't always 250 GB. My image was: -rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  250,059,350,016 10 Feb 13:02 /Photos/distress And the SSD has 250,059,309,056 bytes, 40,960 bytes or 80 sectors less. What can I do? First, look at the partition table.

Fri, 11 Feb 2022 00:46:18 UTC

More Microsoft update pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Now that I had a backup of the disk, tried to reboot from the old one to see what happened. Once again the boot behaviour was different. It spent an inordinate amount of time checking things and producing strange messages: Working on features 64% Don't turn off your computer. ... Your system is restarting due to a configuration task (reboot) We couldn't complete the updates Undoing changes Don't turn off your computer But finally it finished and came up apparently none the worse for wear.

Fri, 11 Feb 2022 00:25:05 UTC

Recovering Microsoft with FreeBSD USB stick

Posted By Greg Lehey

Once I had distress down, booted from the memory stick that # ifconfig em0 # cat > /etc/resolv.conf search nameserver ^D # mkdir /Photos Photos: read-only file system Huh? I've just created a file on this file system. Why can't I create a directory? OK, is there a mount point /mnt? Yes: # mount eureka:/Photos /mnt # dd if=/dev/ada0 of=/mnt/distress.image bs=128k And how about that, that worked.

Thu, 10 Feb 2022 23:19:01 UTC

distress: distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne wanted to process photos today, which means access to distress, our Microsoft ?Windows? 10 box. No reply. Checked it: yes, it was not responding. Down since some time yesterday. Find cables and connect a monitor. It had crashed. Let the recovery thing do what it wanted, then reboot. ?Windows had to back out an update. Click for more details?. But then it changed its mind and no longer offered the details. What update? The one that you, idiot, insisted on applying? What does "Settings/Windows Update" say? OK, that looks like it survived?this time. It also offered me an upgrade: I suppose that makes sense.

Thu, 10 Feb 2022 01:46:05 UTC

How to answer a phone

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still can't get my head around the user-unfriendliness of modern mobile phones. I've been using phones for as long as I can recall, nearly 70 years, and in the past I have (almost) never had difficulty answering an incoming call. With the old-style phones it was simple: lift the handset (when it was really a handset and not a complete phone) from the cradle. Later wireless phones came onto the scene, and initially you had to not just pick them up, but also press a button. They learnt, though, and now most phones have the option to answer as soon at you take it off the cradle.

Wed, 09 Feb 2022 01:24:28 UTC

Olympus USB cables

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I took 37 photos with the Olympus E-PM2. And once again I had difficulty getting the computer to recognize the camera: Feb  8 10:13:47 dereel kernel: usbd_req_re_enumerate: addr=25, set address failed! (USB_ERR_IOERROR, ignored) Feb  8 10:13:57 dereel kernel: usbd_setup_device_desc: getting device descriptor at addr 25 failed, USB_ERR_TIMEOUT Feb  8 10:13:58 dereel kernel: usbd_req_re_enumerate: addr=25, set address failed! (USB_ERR_IOERROR, ignored) Feb  8 10:14:07 dereel kernel: usbd_setup_device_desc: getting device descriptor at addr 25 failed, USB_ERR_TIMEOUT Feb  8 10:14:08 dereel kernel: usb_alloc_device: Failure selecting configuration index 0:USB_ERR_TIMEOUT, port 8, addr 25 (ignored) Feb  8 10:14:08 dereel kernel: ugen0.4: <OLYMPUS E-PM2> at usbus0 Feb  8 10:14:08 dereel kernel: ugen0.4: <OLYMPUS E-PM2> at usbus0 (disconnected) What's wrong with that view?

Wed, 09 Feb 2022 00:39:32 UTC

Yet another mobile phone?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It looks as if Yvonne's Xiaomi Redmi 9A mobile phone was not the best choice. Yes, it works, but it's glacially slow on some things. Starting the camera took for ever, round 20 seconds. It was faster after booting, only 5 seconds, but starting Google Lens took at least that long again. It's almost enough to go to sleep. Why? Is it because it has ?only? 2 GB of memory? I'm reminded of the first edition of ?Installing and Running FreeBSD? (coincidentally almost exactly 26 years ago): To install FreeBSD, you will need a computer with an Intel 386 or better CPU, which should have at least 5 MB of memory.

Tue, 08 Feb 2022 01:13:26 UTC

Time lapse photos

Posted By Greg Lehey

Taking the time lapse photos of my Mirabilis jalapa is simple: my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has a time lapse feature. But it doesn't have a power input! Why did they do that? The old Olympus E-30 has one, conveniently with a special connector which means that no normal power supply will fit. As it is, once the battery is exhausted, no photos. This sequence took over 12 hours, longer than I can expect a battery to last. So instead I did it the old-fashioned way: turn on the camera, take a photo, turn off again, wait 20 minutes, repeat.

Tue, 08 Feb 2022 00:47:40 UTC

Gmail again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I came to the conclusion that Gmail wouldn't accept mail from based on the SPF RR for OK, add it to the zone and try again. Partial success! Some messages were accepted, others weren't. Well, that's what Jerry Dunham said. I saw: Feb  7 00:39:09 lax postfix/cleanup[10407]: 8D15A28116: message-id=<[email protected]> Feb  7 00:39:09 lax postfix/qmgr[68371]: 8D15A28116: from=<[email protected]>, size=707, nrcpt=3 (queue active) Feb  7 00:39:10 lax postfix/smtp[10408]: 8D15A28116: to=<[email protected]>,[]:25, delay=1.2, delays=0.31/0/0.55/0.38, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (250 2.0.0 Ok: +queued as 75A36263596) Feb  7 00:39:11 lax postfix/smtp[10411]: 8D15A28116: to=<[email protected]>,[]:25, delay=1.9, delays=0.31/0.01/0.13/1.5, dsn=2.0.0, +status=sent (250 2.0.0 OK  1644194351 l14si9486344plh.157 - gsmtp) Feb  7 00:39:11 lax postfix/smtp[10411]: 8D15A28116: to=<[email protected]>,[]:25, delay=1.9, delays=0.31/0.01/0.13/1.5, dsn=2.0.0, +status=sent (250 2.0.0 OK  1644194351 l14si9486344plh.157 - gsmtp) Feb  7 00:39:11 lax postfix/qmgr[68371]: 8D15A28116: removed A bit of searching on Jerry's part.

Mon, 07 Feb 2022 01:14:45 UTC

Chasing the Gmail problem

Posted By Greg Lehey

So where do I go now to get Gmail to accept my messages? Clearly others have been there before. How about Ozlabs? Looking there I see: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/33) ~ 28 -> nslookup -q=txt Non-authoritative answer:      text = "google-site-verification=8kB0wYsJZGUvxVgogn3N2YWeclxb2AfNy0Pveng0sFE"      text = "v=spf1 ?all" OK, sfr has also been forced to register with Google, and he has an SPF RR, but no DMARC. I can do that, too. In fact, I used to. From the zone file: === root@eureka (/dev/pts/14) /etc/namedb 325 -> blame ../namedb/ | less ...

Sun, 06 Feb 2022 01:05:08 UTC

Google giveth, Google takes away

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been quite happy with my Chinese translations on my mobile phone. Good Google! But today I got a message from Jerry Dunham: Gmail has decided that e-mail from is "unsolicited" (spam) and rejecting anything I send to anyone who has a Gmail address, including Linda. And how about that, my attempt sending mail was rejected with <[email protected]>: host[] said:     550-5.7.1 [      12] Our system has detected that this message     is 550-5.7.1 likely unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of spam sent to     Gmail, 550-5.7.1 this message has been blocked.

Sun, 06 Feb 2022 00:42:06 UTC

Chinese translation: fixed!

Posted By Greg Lehey

My surprisingly poor results with translating Chinese yesterday puzzled me. How could the translation be that bad? But of course while writing up my diary I had another chance: instead of looking directly at the book, read from the screen: And that was a completely different matter. Here step 2 in English, yesterday's translation and today's translation: 2. On a flat slice of fish sprinkle a little bit of cornstarch. Lay a few pieces of shredded green onion, ginger, ham, mushroom on the fish and roll up.

Sat, 05 Feb 2022 01:22:41 UTC

The power of diaries

Posted By Greg Lehey

Keeping this diary has one advantage that I had never envisaged: people who read it frequently come up with solutions for problems that I mention. Today there were two such cases. First, Michel Lustig has followed up one of my complaints about CNAV, that they didn't give a valid phone number for calls from outside France. But it's available on this page: +33 9 71 10 39 60 for all regions. And then Callum Gibson came up with at least a partial solution for yesterday's issue with reading Chinese. I don't need no steenking app! It's already a function of Google Lens.

Fri, 04 Feb 2022 00:29:20 UTC

Reading Chinese

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's becoming more and more important to be able to read Chinese. What does this mean? The bottom symbol is transliterated as miàn, often written mein (for some reason) and means noodles. But the rest? Surely there must be some program out there that can read Chinese and translate it for me. Yes, it seems. Of course, they're mainly apps for mobile phones. OK, that might even make sense: point your phone at something, take a photo and translate it. Read this comparison of 5 apps and decided that Pleco looked best. Installed it and got caught up in a maze of twisty little apps, all different, none of which appeared to be prepared to do what I expected.

Wed, 02 Feb 2022 02:39:17 UTC

Printing photos

Posted By Greg Lehey

We've decided to print this photo for Helena Mir?i?: I haven't printed photos for years, but Helena is not a techie, and we think that she will appreciate it. But where do we print them? A Google search had such a low signal to noise ratio that I almost despaired. But then Big W offered an 8"×10" print for $2.75. We can do that. No we can't. I couldn't find my way round the web site. I had to create albums, add a user name, select their choice of password (Upper case, lower case, punctuation, d1g1t, at least 14 characters long), and then find that the page hung.

Tue, 01 Feb 2022 01:30:58 UTC

More examination of the DxO bug

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally found some time to examine what the new 5.1.3 version of DxO PhotoLab does. It's really confusing. There are four selections: If I select none of them, it seems that I get everything. If I select ?images not generated by PhotoLab? it eliminates the images generated by PhotoLab, which at least makes sense. If I also select ?images not generated by PhotoLab? it displays them again. If I deselect ?images not generated by PhotoLab?, it displays only the output images. All this would make sense if they were alone, and if nothing were displayed if nothing is selected.

Sun, 30 Jan 2022 00:53:23 UTC

DxO does it again

Posted By Greg Lehey

It has been six weeks since DxO released a new version of PhotoLab with a bug that displays the output files even when told not to. Here the black images in the strip at the bottom are the output files, although ?Images generated by DxO PhotoLab? has not been selected: And it has taken this long for me to convince the support team that it is wrong, and they promised to fix it. That sounds straightforward enough: just go back to the way it was.

Sat, 29 Jan 2022 01:47:47 UTC

Aussie Broadband support channels, again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Sent off a problem report to Aussie Broadband today, describing the issues with resolving the zone. The answer I got still puzzles me: Thanks for shooting us an email about your issue. If it's urgent, we suggest either: * giving our friendly Australian team a call on 1300 880 905 (8am to midnight Australian Eastern Time), OR * logging a fault via the MyAussie app or portal OK, it's not urgent. But how can it be easier for them to take any real problem report by phone?

Sat, 29 Jan 2022 00:42:59 UTC

Phone holder

Posted By Greg Lehey

The call with Dan gave me the opportunity to try out my new phone stand. It worked well, up to a point. I had hoped to position it so that my screens were in the background, something like my home page photo: But no, says Dan, that doesn't expose well. All you see is the screens with my silhouette in the foreground. On the other hand, where do I mount it? The best place is probably at half height in front of one of the screens, not the most convenient position. We're off to Briagolong tomorrow, and I'll use the phone to navigate there.

Sat, 29 Jan 2022 00:39:03 UTC

BSDCan 2022

Posted By Greg Lehey

Video call from Dan Langille today, the father of BSDCan. I'm one of the committee, and he wanted to discuss the option of whether there should be a face-to-face BSDCan this year, or whether it should be completely online. The real issue with planning face-to-face is that you don't know whether it won't have to be canceled at the last minute, putting a lot of people out of pocket. On the other hand, we haven't found a way to incorporate the hallway track into an online conference. An interesting detail that I didn't know: Allan Jude runs a company called ScaleEngine.

Thu, 27 Jan 2022 02:00:15 UTC

Another bloody NBN outage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Just to complicate my work on tiwi, we had another National Broadband Network outage today, over 35 minutes. I wish they'd get their act together.

Thu, 27 Jan 2022 00:11:44 UTC

More work on tiwi

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I haven't found time lately to work on my tiwi upgrade. I know why: this time I really want to do a really clean installation. And I have already betrayed my intentions. While trying to understand why key combinations like m-f no longer work correctly with bash, dumped the environment variables from tiwi and teevee and compared them. The results were suprising:  PYTHONSTARTUP=/home/grog/ +REAL_EMAIL='Greg Lehey <[email protected]>'  RSYNC_RSH=ssh === grog@tiwi (/dev/pts/6) ~ 20 -> grep REAL_ .* .bitkeeper:export REAL_EMAIL='Greg Lehey <[email protected]>' Where did that come from?

Tue, 28 Dec 2021 01:30:55 UTC

Goodbye PuTTY

Posted By Greg Lehey

Configuring and debugging PuTTY is a real pain! Configuration appears to require discovering and entering a maze of twisty little passages, all different, and when it fails, there appears to be no way to debug it. It even terminates the session, so that you have to go back to the start. So where can I debug? On the server side I can set up a debug server along the normal one: === root@lax (/dev/pts/3) /home/jdunham/.ssh 98 -> /usr/sbin/sshd -p 2222 -d -d 2>&1 | tee -a sshauth And yes, it generates a lot of output, over 100 lines.

Mon, 27 Dec 2021 01:49:20 UTC

The pain of PuTTY

Posted By Greg Lehey

More fun with PuTTY today, without coming to much in the way of success. What I have established: PuTTY starts up with a window titled ?PuTTY configuration?. The first window (?Session?) allows you to set host name, port and some obsolete parameters like serial lines. It's important to Save the configuration with a name. But that's only part of the configuration, of course. Then you need to climb down the tree, expand SSH (press + to the left) and select Auth: The important thing is the name of the private key.

Sat, 25 Dec 2021 00:36:00 UTC

Understanding encryption

Posted By Greg Lehey

I still haven't got my mail configuration for Jerry Dunham sorted out. Why? There seem to be a number of issues: I can't work out how to configure postfix correctly, and that is at least partially due to my inadequate knowledge of current cryptography software. I can apply configurations from a number of places, including Stephen Rothwell's configuration files for Ozlabs, but they're all different, and I want to understand what I'm doing. Then there's the question of web site cryptography. Cam I use the same certificates? Should I use the same certificates? I can't get the answer to that question from postfix setup tutorials or configurations.

Fri, 24 Dec 2021 02:52:43 UTC

Unexpected spam

Posted By Greg Lehey

Unusual spam message in my mail this morning:  841 N   22-12-2021 To linklist@lem (  86) carsonjaxxonc503@gma N   Seek supplier cooperation Sent via Gmail. Nothing unusual in that. But look at the To: address: [email protected]. What's that? One of my hundreds of mail aliases, allocated so that on occasions such as this I can just delete them. OK, into virtual to look for it. Not there! Checking the headers shows that it was delivered locally (the address wasn't rewritten at the external MX): X-Original-To: [email protected] Delivered-To: [email protected] Received: from ( [])         by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 044A62635BE         for <[email protected]>; Wed, 22 Dec 2021 17:57:25 +1100 (AEDT) Some searching took me ...

Thu, 23 Dec 2021 00:51:25 UTC

Installing Postfix from scratch

Posted By Greg Lehey

So how do I configure postfix to do what I want? What do I even want? The immediate issue is to accept SMTPS so that Jerry Dunham can relay mail through one of my external servers. But it seems that SMTPS is a crock, and STARTTLS is the correct way to go. Jerry uses Pegasus Mail. Why not install it and see whether it can be configured to use STARTTLS? Did that?does it ever look dated, with window decorations from the last millennium. But I couldn't find the configuration windows that Jerry had shown me in screen shots. Put that on the Tuit queue and see what I can do with configuring postfix.

Thu, 23 Dec 2021 00:49:23 UTC

Downgrading DxO

Posted By Greg Lehey

DxO don't seem to intend to fix PhotoLab in the near future. At my request, they sent me a link to download the previous version?from an external server! Did that, and the installer failed, because it doesn't cater for reversion to older versions. Yes, I could remove the new version and reinstall. And what happens to my settings? Sent them a message asking for a safe procedure. Why don't they just go and fix their bugs?

Wed, 22 Dec 2021 01:18:28 UTC

Dereel upgrade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's build on dereel ran with no obvious problems. How about the ports? Tried that and got the obligatory repeat and (second time round) packages to be removed: Installed packages to be REMOVED:         ilmbase: 2.5.5         openldap-client: 2.4.58         py37-cairo: 1.18.1_1,1         py37-gobject3: 3.38.0 None of those appear to be important, and the system ran fine after the update. The sting could be in the tail, of course.

Wed, 22 Dec 2021 01:04:47 UTC

Ghosts of the past

Posted By Greg Lehey

Email from Red Energy today, confirming yesterday's changes. All as you'd expect? No, they included a ?billing address? as Kleins Road, which we left nearly 7 years ago. And it's not the address in the bills that we still receive on paper. Where does it come from? Are they trying to emulate Telstra, who reinstated the last-but-one owner of the Kleins Road house in November 2008, and who at that time hadn't lived there for at least 12 years?

Tue, 21 Dec 2021 01:42:25 UTC

Red Energy fixes web site

Posted By Greg Lehey

Electricity bill today, including an indication that I could save up to $59.02 per year by changing to a new ?plan? (they mean tariff). Yes, I've seen this before, and grumbled about the fact that I had to call up people to do what should be on the web site. Paying by direct debit was another similar issue. Surprise! They've fixed it. I was able to do both the change in tariff and setting direct debit online. They even thought about the current bill: yes, they can do that by direct debit too.

Tue, 21 Dec 2021 01:38:46 UTC

US whiplash

Posted By Greg Lehey

A few days ago I grumbled about US American usage of the word ?whiplash? in a non-sense that I didn't understand: Explanation from Jerry Dunham: "Whiplash" refers to getting jerked one way, then the other, and is applied to non-physical cases as well as physical. Here at the IRS, the Powers That Be sometimes change the rules by which we operate, then two weeks later reverse direction, giving us all "whiplash". It's a rather lame use of the word. As he says, ?rather lame?.

Tue, 21 Dec 2021 01:18:48 UTC

System upgrade, next tiny step

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why should I configure postfix on ffm? I can do it much more comfortably locally, and in the process maybe get some progress with my local system upgrade. The system on eureka is now over 6 years old, and again the FreeBSD Ports Collection doesn't want to know. That's why I brought up a second system, dereel, so long ago that I can't find definitive records. The real stumbling block, apart from unexplained problems setting up X, was that I still don't know how to split the load between eureka and dereel. But gradually I'm coming to the conclusion that dereel should be the server and Internet gateway, and eureka should be my own workstation.

Tue, 21 Dec 2021 00:51:16 UTC

Email: Coming into the 21st century

Posted By Greg Lehey

Jerry Dunham is still agonizing with his change from a proprietary, now-dead email supplier, which I first reported three months ago. As I commented at the time, I had anticipated exactly this event 24 years ago in ?The Complete FreeBSD?: It's certainly a very good idea to have your own domain name. As time goes on, your email address will become more and more important. If you get a mail address like [email protected], and Flybynight goes broke, or you decide to change to a different ISP, your mail address is gone, and you have to explain that to everybody who might want to contact you.

Sun, 19 Dec 2021 01:34:44 UTC

Eliminating duplicate files

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been trying to organize my video files better for some time now. It's not easy, Currently I have about 12 TB of files, about 70,000 of them. Many of these files are duplicates. I can use mklinks to recognize them if they're in the same place in a different hierarchy, and if they have the same name. Under those circumstances, it's trivial to remove the duplicates, at a rate of about a terabyte per minute But what happens if the names are different, either of the directories or of the files themselves?

Sat, 18 Dec 2021 01:04:41 UTC

DxO debugging

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reply from DxO PhotoLab support today: Seth, Dec 16, 2021, 5:54 PM GMT+1 Thank you for writing. We just released an update to DxO PhotoLab 5 today, version 5.1.1. Please download and install it to see if the issue you reported is corrected. OK, I was expecting a quick reaction. Installed the thing, and... no change whatsoever: Well, maybe.

Fri, 17 Dec 2021 01:49:49 UTC

More mobile phone insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

My new-found use of WhatsApp has brought a lot of issues with it. Firstly, why did Yvonne run out of credit yesterday? ALDIMobile's web site is pretty terrible, and it took me a while to find what I wanted. But they have an app, so I installed that. Surprise, surprise: it works much better than the web site. I can see my credit instantly, and there's also a provision to recharge via the app, though it's presumably not much help if there's no credit. But for once it's less pain than a web site. And then there's the reliability. While in town I tried to call Yvonne, but failed.

Fri, 17 Dec 2021 00:47:49 UTC

More network relay issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from a Greg in the Los Angeles area just before breakfast today. He has no fewer than three different Ethernet accessible relay boards, and like me he has had trouble with the documentation. I wasn't able to help him much, but he promised to send me email both to confirm the discussion (he got my mobile phone number from my home page, but apparently didn't read the ?Use only if I tell you that it will be answered?. He hasn't sent a confirmatory email yet, so I'm not sure what his surname is, just something ending in -owski.

Fri, 17 Dec 2021 00:01:03 UTC

WhatsApp in the early morning

Posted By Greg Lehey

Just after getting up this morning, Yvonne's phone rang. Gabi Reichert with a WhatsApp video call. Yvonne was in the shower, so I went to take a look. Somehow it appeared without any action on my part, and of course I was visible; no chance of just ignoring it. Had a bit of a chat with Gabi, during which Piccola showed her face. And of course I could show her to Gabi. And the dogs? OK, into the bedroom to show the dogs, but not stark-naked Yvonne. That's interesting, though. A video call on a mobile phone is not just good to see whom you're talking to; Gabi now has a somewhat better idea of what our house and (especially) animals look like.

Thu, 16 Dec 2021 00:32:33 UTC

WhatsApp in practice

Posted By Greg Lehey

Shopping day today, so prepared Yvonne to use WhatsApp video calls to discuss what to buy. With a bit of trouble we managed to get it to work before she left, and she called me from town to ask about whether we needed a cucumber. No, but this time I was able to show her how much we had left. Potentially she could have called and showed me what she wanted to buy. But then the location services failed. We have location tracking enabled, so we can see where the other is on Google Maps. And long after she called me, she was still shown to be at the Fruit Shack.

Wed, 15 Dec 2021 01:49:03 UTC

What? Sap?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Gabi Reichert has fallen in love with WhatsApp, and she uses it instead of email. Why? Now we have at least four incompatible ways to communicate text: email, as God intended, but also SMS, Facebook and now WhatsApp. The last three are particularly incompatible, and I don't see that they offer any particular advantage. Yes, Facebook displays (one) image more easily than email, but that's a question of the email interface. It's particularly useless for multiple images, which get stored separately from the text that refers to them. So why WhatsApp? I have no idea. Yvonne really doesn't want to use it, but she doesn't want to upset Gabi either, so in the end she tried using it.

Mon, 13 Dec 2021 00:56:56 UTC

Understanding DxO bugs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Writing up yesterday's problems with DxO PhotoLab was harder than I thought. Yes, the latest version now displays the images that it generates, even if told not to, but it's not that simple. I still haven't worked out what is wrong, but changing the selection has little to do with what it displays. I shouldn't try; this is just stuff that should work, but I feel obliged to give as accurate an error report as possible.

Mon, 13 Dec 2021 00:01:17 UTC

Documenting the E-300

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some reason I spent a large part of today writing the article on the Olympus E-300. Why? I didn't do anything like as much when I got the E-330. But now I really have bought all the cameras I intended to buy, and I have a good selection of Olympus DSLRs to compare: the E-1, the E-300, the E-330 and the E-30. So it's probably time to spend a bit of time comparing them. That won't be immediately.

Sun, 12 Dec 2021 01:57:41 UTC

More DxO pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

The first Olympus E-300 images were in JPEG format, which brought out an interesting bug in the latest update of DxO PhotoLab (coincidentally installed yesterday). They have obfuscated the menu which selects which images to display, by removing part of the description. And somehow they have broken it in the process: This is my normal selection: ?RAW? (they mean raw) and ?RGB? (which they think includes JPEG), but not the images generated by PhotoLab. But now it displays the generated images, even if they're not selected!

Sat, 11 Dec 2021 02:05:04 UTC

Planning permit amendment request

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Robyn Wemyss today with the correct form to fill out for the amendment to the planning permit for the shed. It's in PDF format, and intended to be filled out and returned. I recall having edited PDF documents with some difficulty in the past, but all I could find in my diary was 7 years ago, maybe not coincidentally filling out a planning permit amendment form for this house. And on that occasion I capitulated. OK, how hard can it be? Free PDF editors for Microsoft ?Windows?? Plenty of them, but this one stood out: Download, install.

Sat, 11 Dec 2021 00:54:05 UTC

Australia Post tracking, again

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm expecting two parcels in the post, and I've been tracking them with Australia Post. I've grumbled about their tracking system in the past, I've answered their frequent surveys, but if anything they're getting worse. One parcel has been waiting at Adelaide airport since 2 December, but Australia Post is optimistic: Still in Adelaide, but it will be here some time between three days ago and now! They're not so optimistic about the other one, though: Another 3 days at best.

Fri, 10 Dec 2021 02:31:10 UTC

Gone today, here tomorrow

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I'm accumulating more and more videos. Originally I had wanted to limit it to 4 TB, then 6 TB, and now teevee has an almost full 8 TB disk, and free space is dwindling. I had already moved a lot of stuff out onto a spare 2 TB external disk. But then I found the old 6 TB backup disk with stuff from 2½ years ago on it. Is there anything worth keeping there? Before I delete it, I should check whether I have it on the current 8 TB backup disk. I have a program for that, mklinks, which despite the (historical) name will also remove duplicate files when asked nicely.

Thu, 09 Dec 2021 00:57:01 UTC

More Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did Termux fail yesterday? Clearly it worked for Juha Kupiainen. Tried the old Microsoft ?solution? and deinstalled and reinstalled it. Yes, now it works, and I was able to install openssh. What port is it listening on? From /etc/services 22, of course: ssh 22/sctp   #Secure Shell Login ssh 22/tcp   #Secure Shell Login ssh 22/udp   #Secure Shell Login But this is Android, and it doesn't do things like that. Juha told me: 8022. OK, ssh thither and be asked for Yet Another Password for grog.

Wed, 08 Dec 2021 01:34:35 UTC

Communicating with Android, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reading back through my diary over the years, I discover that I have been suffering from Android for round 10 years. It hasn't got much easier, but I'm not ranting as much as I used to: clearly it won't go away soon. But I continue to be amazed at just how bad it is. Why can't I set custom ringtones on enzian, Yvonne's phone? I can set any of the standard ones. An obvious workaround attempt would be to find where they're stored and add my own ringtone, in the hope that the format is the same. Simple, right? Search the storage for the directory with the ringtones and copy mine there.

Wed, 08 Dec 2021 00:23:31 UTC

Laziness with loading

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I noted Daniel Nebdal's suggestion to use the loading=lazy attribute for the images in my web pages. Why didn't I implement it immediately? My web scripts are a jumble of stuff that have Just Growed over the last 15 years, and there are so many corner cases that I'm afraid to change anything. But today I took a look and discovered that it wasn't that hard after all. In fact, it made things a whole lot simpler: --- php/includes/onephoto.php   2021/07/11 03:21:50     1.307 +++ php/includes/onephoto.php   2021/12/08 00:30:49 @@ -1509,25 +1509,12 @@ -  if ($islazy  && !

Tue, 07 Dec 2021 00:16:01 UTC

Fixing web pages?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been some time since I changed the basic layout of these web pages, round 10 years: I limited the paragraph width to what is normal in print, and added lazy loading for the images. What is definitely missing is the upgrade to HTML5: I'm still delivering pages in XHTML. From time to time I think of that and look at the effort involved?473 diary pages alone to fix. Today I received mail from Daniel Nebdal, who finds my lazy loading sub-optimal. It seems that there's an alternative: Assuming a browser that supports it, you can add load="lazy" to an img tag, and it will only request the image when the browser thinks it's about to scroll into view.

Mon, 06 Dec 2021 00:53:16 UTC

Understanding Academia

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the face of it, Academia is a serious academic web site. But I have already noted that they seem to be less than thorough in their checking of the documents that they offer, and their continual discovery of references to me (please sign up to see them) makes me doubt their real intentions. A few months ago they came up with something sensible: ?Are you the Greg Lehey who wrote The Complete FreeBSD??. Yes, sure, so I updated my ?profile? accordingly. It took them a while to ask me to upload the document. Again, it's available on the web, so why not?

Sun, 05 Dec 2021 01:41:31 UTC

Perfectly Clear eyes

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got round to downloading the free SharkPixel's Eyes ?LOOK? for ?Perfectly Clear?. It has to be done with the ?Apps Manager?, making things difficult by having to scroll through a long list. And when it was installed, I couldn't find it! Ha ha, not a LOOK at all: it's a preset. And in fact it doesn't work badly.

Sun, 05 Dec 2021 00:53:22 UTC

Time zone strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

The FreeBSD-questions mailing list seems dead, but occasionally end users send email somewhere. Today it was on FreeBSD-hackers. Somebody in Turkey had chosen a time zone file /usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/GMT+3, but it didn't quite do what he expected: # ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Etc/GMT+3 /etc/localtime # date Sat Dec  4 03:48:50 -03 2021 Why that? And why did he use GMT+3 instead of /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Istanbul? My answer proved to be off the mark, but Derek Schrock came up with the explanation, from /usr/src/contrib/tzdata/etcetera:: # Be consistent with POSIX TZ settings in the Zone names, # even though this is the opposite of what many people expect.

Sun, 05 Dec 2021 00:47:38 UTC

Top posting: barking up the wrong tree?

Posted By Greg Lehey

I got a reply to the message that I mentioned yesterday, once again quoting the entire history. And once again there was no evidence that she had read anything: Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2021 13:28:43 +0100 From: Penny Kling <[email protected]> Subject: Re: Guest Post Request Hello. Thanks for your reply. I would like to publish an article on your site. I have several projects on different topics. I would like to know the terms of publication on your site to begin with. Could you help me with this? My answer was as one might expect: Penny, I don't know how to get through to you.

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 02:15:31 UTC

Net outage of a different kind

Posted By Greg Lehey

The Bureau of Meteorology had warned of heavy rain and thunderstorms today, and they hit us like I have seldom seen before. In a little over 45 minutes, the temperature dropped from 33.2° to 17.0°, a drop of 16.2°. And in the 62 seconds between 15:29:48 and 15:30:50, the temperature dropped by 3.4°, probably the biggest I have ever seen: +----------+--------------+ | time     | outside_temp | +----------+--------------+ | 14:55:54 |         33.2 | | 14:56:55 |         33.1 | ... | 15:26:40 |           28 | | 15:27:45 |         27.7 | | 15:28:47 |           27 | | 15:29:48 |         25.7 | | 15:30:50 |         22.3 | | 15:31:51 |       ...

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:51:08 UTC

1970s supercomputers

Posted By Greg Lehey

From time to time I compare modern computing devices to the CDC 7600. That article contains: From about 1969 to 1975, the CDC 7600 was generally regarded as the fastest computer in the world, except for specialized units. And a few months ago I had compared it to my new Xiaomi Redmi 9T. 580 megaflops compared to 8.7 gigaflops for the phone. But the Wikipedia page said only 10 megaflops. Why? Today I finally found the reference manual. First, how many functional units?

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:38:54 UTC

Perfectly Clear replies

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find the status my query to ?Perfectly Clear?: 15 hours and not seen. OK, not much hope there?I thought. But later when I looked at it again I got: OK, that looks like a useful answer. But why did it take so long? And what's the time (?12:02 am?) ? As I understand it, they're in Alberta, which observes US Mountain Time.

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:08:29 UTC

The dangers of ?top posting?

Posted By Greg Lehey

From time to time I receive messages from people wanting to write a guest post in this diary. Clearly that's not appropriate, because this is my diary describing what I have been doing. That's why I have this at the end of every page: 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 still get these requests, and I answer with a reference to what the person should already have read.

Thu, 02 Dec 2021 00:52:19 UTC

Perfectly Clear limitations

Posted By Greg Lehey

My photo pages include popups to show the most important exposure details. For example, this photo of the heron recently was cropped. What was the effective focal length? It's in the Exif data that I print out: Date taken:     Saturday, 27 November 2021, 8:59:41 Exposure:       1/320 sec, f/4.8 (EV 12.8), 200/24 ISO Camera:         Olympus OM-D E-M1 Lens:           Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 mm f/4.0-6.3 Focal length:   173.0 mm (full frame equivalent: 346 mm) Focus:          S-AF+MF 13.275 m (12.87 - 13.71 m) Crop factor:    0.168 (0.46 horizontal, 0.36 vertical) Effective FL:   404 mm (FF: 808 mm) Field of view:  2.6° horizontal, 1.6° vertical, 3.1° diagonal Meter mode:     ESP Program AE Stabilization:  Lens Size:           2119 x ...

Wed, 01 Dec 2021 00:47:12 UTC

Perfectly Clear: Ashampoo substitute

Posted By Greg Lehey

The photos of the insect nest were surprisingly successful, given the viewpoint and the distance. Put them through ?Perfectly Clear? with great advantage. I still need to find out some details of how to use it, but the results from the ?iAuto? preset suggest that that alone is an adequate replacement for Ashampoo photo optimizer. Eyeq, the maker of Perfectly Clear, continues to bombard me with special offers. Today it was $69 worth of ?LOOKs? for only $29. Which? They're too polite to say. Are they worth it? More video watching and discovered that I have a number of ?LOOKs? included.

Mon, 29 Nov 2021 00:03:50 UTC

Perfectly Clear, in depth

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today was the day to buy ?Perfectly Clear? for the special price of US $64.50. Off to the web site, where they wanted a shipping address, though they also say that they never ship anything. Never mind, my address is known. BANG! $6.45 GST on top of the price. Oh, yes, the Australian Government has decided to make GST mandatory for imports. Damn, I can run this software in other countries as well. How about Germany? BANG! 19% USt, $12.26 on top of the price. I have a computer in the USA. How does that look? Give them one of the addresses I used in the USA, and how about that, no extras.

Sun, 28 Nov 2021 00:56:23 UTC

Still more Perfectly Clear

Posted By Greg Lehey

Many photos today: the heron and the weekly house photos. And I played around with ?Perfectly Clear?. And how about that, some of the results were better than the original and what I could get from Ashampoo photo optimizer. So I suppose I'll buy it before the special offer runs out. It'll still need some getting to know, though.

Sat, 27 Nov 2021 00:42:19 UTC

Perfectly clear

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what is ?Perfectly Clear?? Two days ago I got some results, but only as ?Looks? (their term, including capitalization). What else can it do? Went off and found a surprisingly fuzzy video that explained what it can do. It applies ?Looks? to your image, and also offers adjustments based on these base ?Looks?. It seems that a ?Look? is what DxO PhotoLab calls a ?Preset?, a collection of settings. With a bit of practice I could presumably do the same thing with DxO. What did come out of the video was that Perfectly Clear can apply lens corrections for some lenses when converting raw images, at any rate.

Fri, 26 Nov 2021 00:29:10 UTC

Anonymous FTP to mobile phones

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why can't I access hirse, my phone, or enzian, Yvonne's phone, using anonymous FTP and WiFi FTP Server? Much messing around: === grog@teevee (/dev/pts/13) ~ 43 -> ftp -P 2121 hirse Connected to 220 Service ready for new user. Name (hirse:grog): anonymous 331 Guest login okay, send your complete e-mail address as password. Password: no echo 230 User logged in, proceed. Remote system type is UNIX. ftp> === grog@teevee (/dev/pts/13) ~ 44 -> ftp -P 2121 hirse Connected to

Fri, 26 Nov 2021 00:11:31 UTC

Bloody Android ring tones!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's search for a ring tone for Yvonne's phone drew a blank, and I couldn't even get audacity to let me save an image. Spent quite a bit of time today trying to find out how to save export the clip. I still don't know why, but since the ?File? menu gave me almost no options (import, Exit or ?Recent Files? (an obscenity in itself), I chose ?Recent files?. There was only the file I was looking at. But in this second window, for no obvious reason, I was allowed to ?export?: Finally!

Thu, 25 Nov 2021 02:24:56 UTC

Weather station resurrected

Posted By Greg Lehey

When my weather station died, one of the first things I did was to connect it to dereel to see if it would work there. But I ran into MySQL configuration problems, and put it in the ?too hard? ?later? basket. After all, teevee and its USB bus were still working, but it didn't recognize the device. Still, why not eureka? Tried it out and... it worked immediately. What is wrong with USB?

Thu, 25 Nov 2021 02:05:36 UTC

A ring tone for Yvonne

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne is still having difficulties with enzian, her new Xiaomi Redmi 9A mobile phone. Once again she wasn't able to answer it when I called. I wonder how prevalent this issue is. One thing that she wanted was a better ring tone for the thing: the introduction to the second movement of KV 622. That's not exactly unknown. Is there one available on the web? Out to search, and Google found many hits, all apparently with a signal to noise ratio of 0: if there was any download possibility in that jungle of advertising, I didn't find it. OK, I know how to do it myself, or at least I once did.

Thu, 25 Nov 2021 01:53:50 UTC

Perfectly clear?

Posted By Greg Lehey

More playing around with Perfectly Clear photo software today. Yet another irritating interface. They all are, so I can't blame the maker. But what does it do? So far it looks more like a set of default processing parameters than any ?Real Intelligence?. Tried it out on the fried egg photo, comparing with DxO PhotoLab of course. That's first PhotoLab with no corrections, then PhotoLab with my default settings, then Perfectly Clear with what looked like a good setting.

Thu, 25 Nov 2021 01:51:18 UTC

So nice, so nice, we do it twice!

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the sillier mottos at Tandem Computers was ?So nice, so nice, we do it twice?. And somehow the idea of duplication pervaded the company. So I suppose it was to be expected that, after I have spent some time discussing the Good Old Days, our breakfast eggs looked like this:

Wed, 24 Nov 2021 01:26:43 UTC

5 years of fake Facebook account

Posted By Greg Lehey

Reading my diary back through the ages, I came across this article for 5 years ago. To sign up for a demonstration copy of software, I had to use a Facebook address. I refuse to divulge my real Facebook credentials, so I created a new account?they're free, after all. And apart from this one use, I have never used it. But from time to time Facebook sends me ?new friend? suggestions. That's really surprising given the attention that people have been paying to fake accounts.

Wed, 24 Nov 2021 01:07:06 UTC

More failures

Posted By Greg Lehey

The 404 document on my external mail server sends me email when a local page refers a non-existent local page: this is link breakage that I can fix. Well, maybe. I have to believe that the referrer is correct. Occasionally I get messages like: Referrer:!&article=D-20150827-223324 Referenced URL: Request URI:    /sitemap.xml Problem: has no reference to a site map. I don't understand why people do this. Recently, though, things are even more bizarre: Referrer: Referenced URL: http://www.vv0.com Request URI: What does this have to do with my server in the first place?

Wed, 24 Nov 2021 00:55:06 UTC

More email delivery issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two days ago I sent an email to Carl Niehaus, but didn't hear back from him. But then I got a DSN message. Message delivered. That seemed a little late, so I checked the server log: Nov 21 03:58:35 lax postfix/smtp[28411]: C4C9828034: to=<[email protected]>, relay=none, delay=1.2, delays=0.21/0.01/0.97/0, dsn=4.4.1, status=deferred (connect to[]:25: Connection refused) <i>... retry at regular intervals</i> Nov 22 19:46:20 lax postfix/smtp[46284]: C4C9828034: to=<[email protected]>,[]:25, delay=143266, delays=143257/0.03/7.4/0.93, dsn=2.0.0, status=sent (250 2.0.0 pFGWm9KAui5C7pFGdmKjcc mail accepted for delivery) 143257 seconds! That's nearly 40 hours! Why that?

Tue, 23 Nov 2021 01:22:20 UTC

Tandem Computers, 30 years later

Posted By Greg Lehey

Frank Sheeman, formerly of Tandem Computers, held a get-together at the Duke of Edinburgh in Cupertino last Friday. I would almost have gone, but it's a rather long distance for a drink or two. But Gary Tom took a couple of photos, showing the passage of time more than anything else. The last time I was at the Duke would have been in August 1992, but I didn't really spend much time in Cupertino after about 1989. Then most of the people I knew were in their 30s or early 40s, so now they'd be round 70 or older, and it shows.

Mon, 22 Nov 2021 22:50:43 UTC

More mouse pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find that my MediathekView window had focus and wouldn't let go of it. Why? Spent some time confirming that the computer was running as usual, and I was able to switch to a different X server, which worked normally. But when I switched back to :0, I still couldn't get focus. OK, back to :1 and shoot down the MediathekView. All OK again. Write up yesterday's diary entries, in particular the nervous mouse. Tried out the mouse again, confirming yesterday's issues. And I ended up with another window holding on to focus. What was it?

Mon, 22 Nov 2021 02:11:43 UTC

Nervous mouse

Posted By Greg Lehey

While at Officeworks two weeks ago, I bought a new mouse, a Philips M405. The Logitech M705 that I have seems to misbehave from time to time, and possibly the regurgitation effect that I have had in the past could be related to Logitech quirks. Today I finally tried it out. How about that, it works out of the box. But it feels strange: it's too light. It's also very sensitive. Something to get used to. Or that's what I thought. Then I saw the mouse cursor crawling across the screen, and noted that the screen saver didn't cut in: the crawling was enough to wake it again.

Mon, 22 Nov 2021 00:24:26 UTC

86-DOS: Censored!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Ryan Ottignon today, asking about 86-DOS. I had bought a copy of it in October 1981 and send to Louis-Luc Le Guerrier in December 1997, and Ryan wanted some details. OK, point to my diary entries of July 2011 and August 2015, along with the advertisement in Byte magazine for November 1980: But the image wouldn't display. Well, not on one firefox. Others on IRC tried it, with similar results. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. OK, it's a PNG image.

Sat, 20 Nov 2021 00:56:21 UTC

Plain text characters set on a web page

Posted By Greg Lehey

I wrote the reply described in yesterday's article in German, but the file I saved is text without any markup. Problem: it includes the German quotation marks ??, and they don't appear to be in any ISO 8859 character set. OK, save in UTF-8, like this diary. But what I got was mangled: Die im Schreiben erwähnten Begriffe â??Postabrechnungsnummerâ?? und â??Postrentennummerâ?? sagen mir nichts. Sie werden auch nicht im Schreiben erwähnt, das nur eine einzige Kennungsnummer enthält. I don't need to ask why: the web server is interpreting them as 8 bit plain text.

Sat, 20 Nov 2021 00:27:32 UTC

Another bloody NBN outage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another National Broadband Network outage today, this time even longer at 9600 seconds (2 hours, 40 minutes). I hope they finally get their act together.

Fri, 19 Nov 2021 00:51:02 UTC

We will stop your pension payments in October

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne and I receive multiple pensions. And at some point we're going to die. That poses a problem for the pension funds: how do they know if we are still alive? The French and German funds have a simple if ineffective solution: send a form to be filled out, claiming that you're still alive. Get somebody in authority to witness it. In Australia, that's a Justice of the Peace who has never seen you, but considers your driver license to be adequate proof of your identity. It doesn't work well. We've been fighting the French CNAV since the beginning of the year, and they have actually stopped payments for her relatively tiny pension.

Thu, 18 Nov 2021 01:44:34 UTC

Finally answer mobile phone calls?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Called Yvonne on her mobile phone today. No answer. Try again. No answer. But then I got a call back, and once again my phone didn't offer me a ?answer call? popup. More ?swiping?, and finally got to the notifications. There it was! That seems to always be available. I've been using ?smart? phones for nearly 5 years now, and it has taken that long to find out how to answer an incoming call! And why hadn't Yvonne answered the call? Exactly the same problem!

Thu, 18 Nov 2021 00:25:25 UTC

Another bloody NBN outage

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another long NBN outage overnight: Start time End time  Duration   Badness        from                    to                      (seconds) 1637069123 1637078171   9048  0.003 # 17 November 2021 00:25:23 17 November 2021 02:56:11 That's marginally over 2½ hours, and probably a scheduled outage. There are so many of them, mainly false positives, that I can't be bothered to check. But why do we still get them?

Wed, 17 Nov 2021 00:53:34 UTC

Ten years of identity theft

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ten years ago today I had a surprising problem: somebody had changed my electricity supplier. And neither the old nor the new supplier would tell me who it was, and it was up to me to recover from the problem. The people in question proved to be our neighbours from across the road, the Everetts. They had just moved in to their new house, and somehow they had got their address wrong: 47 Kleins Road (our address) instead of 46 Kleins Road. And with only this misinformation, they were able to apply to have our electricity supply changed. That sounds surprisingly like my stolen identity last month.

Tue, 16 Nov 2021 02:20:48 UTC

Health checks in times of COVID

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into town today to hear the results of the blood test earlier this month. I was in for a surprise: They wouldn't let me in! They had a woman (nurse?) standing guard by the door. I had to call the reception (10 m away) on a mobile phone to tell them that I was there! And that where I have such difficulty getting an answer. This time it took over 3 minutes. Why couldn't the guard tell them?

Mon, 15 Nov 2021 00:05:36 UTC

House networking issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been a very cool and wet spring, and though the sprinklers are running, I don't think it was necessary. But are they running? I don't see any areas of particular moisture. And come to think of it, I don't recall seeing the daily cron output of the netsprinkle program for some time. Have I messed up my crontab? No, it still contains: 0 4 * * * /home/grog/src/netsprinkle -f /home/grog/public_html/weather/sprinklefactor -l 30 30 30 30 So why isn't it running? Tried running it, and it hung at the start.

Sun, 14 Nov 2021 01:01:11 UTC

File system structural abuse

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Stephen Rothwell today. He's upgrading the Ozlabs systems, in the process thinking of yet another security measure, involving sending a UDP packet before trying the ssh connection. He suggests: The "port knock" works like this: you need to send a UDP packet (at last one) to port 22 on the machine you want to log into (with the correct IP family, of course :-)).  You then have 20 seconds to ssh in. From bash, you can just do "echo >/dev/udp/host/port" Strange Linuxisms! But he also gave an alternative, based on BSD software, that can be executed automatically, making life easier.

Sat, 13 Nov 2021 00:38:37 UTC

The power of error reporting

Posted By Greg Lehey

After Wednesday's combined effort to fix Jerry Dunham's problems with Pegasus Mail, I was expecting the problem to be solved. Not so. But he did get better logging out of the program: 23:19:48.811: --- 11 Nov 2021, 23:19:48.811 --- 23:19:48.811: Connect to '', timeout 10 seconds. 23:19:49.950: [*] SSL/TLS session established 23:19:49.950: [*] ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, TLSv1.2, Kx=ECDH, Au=RSA, Enc=AESGCM(256), Mac=AEAD 23:19:49.950: [*] Peer's certificate name is '/C=AU/ST=VIC/L=Dereel/O=LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd/OU=Messaging/[email protected]'. 23:19:50.048: >> +OK Qpopper (version 4.1.0) at starting. <[email protected]> 23:19:50.048: << USER jdunham 23:19:50.098: >> +OK Password required for jdunham. << 0016 PASS XXXXXXXXX 23:20:00.190: 8: Socket read timeout 23:20:00.190: >> At the very least, it shows that Pegasus accepted the certificate without complaint.

Thu, 11 Nov 2021 03:16:21 UTC

Goodbye, paypal127@

Posted By Greg Lehey

A couple of days ago I ordered some wine online from Mclaren Vale Cellars. In the middle of payment, my browser died. OK, restart. Yup, still logged in, PayPal showed that I hadn't paid anything yet, so complete the transaction. The confirmation came relatively quickly?sent to [email protected]! That's my Paypal mail address, not the one that I use for Mclaren Vale Cellars. How can that happen? Clearly the interface between Mclaren Vale and Paypal leaked an email address. Sent several messages to them, and finally got a call from Mark Curtis, the manager. It was clear that he thought that it was user problems, but that's impossible: the new account had all the information that was in the old account, and I certainly didn't input it.

Thu, 11 Nov 2021 00:42:23 UTC

?Smart? TVs: back into the dark ages

Posted By Greg Lehey

Like most broadcasters, ABC Television offers online content under the name ABC iview. But unlike most broadcasters, you can't download the content; you need to watch it online. And what I have seen has always been in low resolution (typically 576p), though it seems that some is in ?high? resolution (720p). But what about our new Hisense A7G ?smart? TV? It offers iview, and since it claims to be 2160p, the 576p low resolution won't cut it. Try it out. You need to log in! Yes, I have an account, with a password that reflects my opinion of their web site.

Thu, 11 Nov 2021 00:41:39 UTC

Getting certificates for www, try 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

As a result of Monday's mail issues, I tried to install trusted certificates on, also known as, using certbot. I failed because the Ports Collection didn't like my down-rev environment. But there are alternatives, and I started investigating them today. certbot uses Python, and that was the main part of the problem, but there are alternatives, including getssl, which is a series of shell scripts. More reading to do, but of course it worked out of the box and gave me a main configuration file ~root/.getssl/getssl.cfg, also a shell script, to edit. All seemed relatively clear, though they didn't make it clear whether the commented-out entries were defaults or just suggestions, and ultimately I tripped over this one: # Define the server type.

Thu, 11 Nov 2021 00:41:24 UTC

Fixing Pegasus Mail

Posted By Greg Lehey

My article about Jerry Dunham's email problems caught the eye of a couple of people on IRC. For me it was an issue with trusting the certificates (there's no way to trust them), and I'm still looking at how to fix it, but Peter Jeremy thought that it's a Pegasus Mail configuration problem, specifically that each side was waiting for the other to throw the first stone. That would certainly explain the timeout. Daniel O'Connor went to the trouble to install Pegasus, so I created a dummy email ID on for him to play with.

Wed, 10 Nov 2021 00:25:47 UTC

Phone accessories and keyboards

Posted By Greg Lehey

Then off to Officeworks to look for a carrying case for enzian, Yvonne's mobile phone. Total loss on two counts: firstly, they really only had any cases for smaller phones (5.8", whatever that might be; they're too polite to use centimetres), and secondly they were really only cases, nothing for attaching to clothing. While there, it occurred to me that the keyboard for teevee is failing (sticky Shift key, which is amazingly irritating). OK, what does a new keyboard cost? You get the choice, anywhere between $7.79 and $229: What's the difference, apart from the 30-fold price?

Wed, 10 Nov 2021 00:01:34 UTC

Commit pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still drumming up courage to perform my first git commit. Not the first time I've been in this position; as it happens, exactly 10 years ago I had the same issue with subversion).

Tue, 09 Nov 2021 01:52:44 UTC

More mail problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Jerry Dunham is still having problems with his email. Some of it, I'm sure, is of his own doing, but it's not clear how. One thing's clear: he can't access his mail on using Pegasus Mail and POP3S. Finally I got a ?log file?: 19:26:37.693: --- 7 Nov 2021, 19:26:37.693 --- 19:26:37.711: Connect to '', timeout 10 seconds. 19:26:48.835: 8: Socket read timeout 19:26:48.843: >> 19:26:48.853: --- Connection closed at 7 Nov 2021, 19:26:48.853. --- 19:26:48.862: That really doesn't say much. When did it happen?

Fri, 05 Nov 2021 00:34:01 UTC

Australia Post does it again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last week we bought a new watch for Yvonne on eBay. And once again the shipping took forever. Finally, on Tuesday, it was flagged as ?In transit to Ballarat?. Ballarat? So far it has always been to Wendouree, the suburb where the sorting facility is located. And then nothing yesterday. Today the tracking told me that it was under way to Lucas, and was carded to await collection. Why there? That's nowhere near Napoleons. And, of course, estimated delivery date was between Tuesday, 9 November and Friday, 12 November. Why do they do these things? The item was in Napoleons, of course.

Thu, 04 Nov 2021 00:25:31 UTC

Redmi 9A battery life

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that surprised me about my Xiaomi Redmi 9T was the long battery life, several days. How would Yvonne's cheaper Redmi 9A fare? I was sure that it would exceed the life of the Sams?ng Galaxy S7 that she had borrowed from Chris Bahlo. And it does. The Sams?ng might survive overnight, but it would be pretty well discharged. This morning the Redmi 9A had a remaining charge of 40%?after 5 days! Then we turned on the GPS receiver she used it for navigation, which used up 20% of the remaining battery. But that's still surprising.

Wed, 03 Nov 2021 00:02:27 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Subject of a mail message I received today: Subject: pic doesn't center when i use a macro My first thought: why should that happen with a modern camera? It would be an obvious problem with a rangefinder camera, but a single-lens reflex or mirrorless camera should have no issues. But then I read: From: Douglas McIlroy <[email protected]> To: [email protected] False positive! Douglas McIlroy is the spiritual father of Unix, the boss of Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie round 1970, when Unix was born.

Tue, 02 Nov 2021 01:40:33 UTC

buildworld: success!

Posted By Greg Lehey

So now I have an up-to-date git tree of the FreeBSD sources. What next? My immediate need is to commit something to the tree to avoid my commit bit timing out. I know what to commit: ls -l, (the comma is an operator) inserts commas or other thousands separators into large numbers, for example: === root@eureka (/dev/pts/5) ~ 20 -> ls -l, /boot/kernel/kernel -r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  21,414,318 25 Nov  2015 /boot/kernel/kernel But on mu -CURRENT box I see: # ls -l, /boot/kernel/kernel -r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel    31443184 Nov  1 08:39 /boot/kernel/kernel # Apart from the fact that the kernel seems to have bloated by nearly 50% in the last 6 years, the explicitly requested commas are missing.

Tue, 02 Nov 2021 01:27:18 UTC

More spam!

Posted By Greg Lehey

In my mail this morning:   28 N + 01-11-2021 To [email protected] ( 624) Australian Taxation  N + We need to talk to you about your activity statements [SEC=OFFICIAL] That claimed to come from the Australian Taxation Office. But that's nonsense. What activity statements? I haven't had any activity in nearly 15 years. And if the ATO wants information, it knows where to get it: from Peter O'Connell of PPT. OK, who is this joker? Received: from ( [])         by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 8A0CF27313         for <[email protected]>; Mon,  1 Nov 2021 01:20:45 +0000 (UTC) Hmm.

Tue, 02 Nov 2021 00:59:03 UTC

Panorama build success

Posted By Greg Lehey

Got round to looking at Saturday's panorama problem again today. The problem was that I had taken a couple of images with a polarizing filter, which reduced the exposure by 1.7 EV. The result was: But that's after various recovery efforts by the stitcher. The preview image was much worse: And the photometric parameters showed that the normally exposed images had an exposure of 11.9 EV, compared to 10.3 for the dark ones.

Mon, 01 Nov 2021 00:31:34 UTC

More Android app issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

It would be really nice to find an Android app that tracked my location and provided the information on a map. I have that, sort of, with the mendhak GPS logger, GPS Visualizer and Wikiloc, but it's clumsy, and the maps aren't easily integrated. Something that output to Google Maps would be more useful. Even better would be an interactive display that showed time, speed and direction at the point under the cursor. But how often do you find something useful in Android? I'll put the search on the back burner. In the meantime, mendhak would do the job?if I could install it.

Sun, 31 Oct 2021 02:38:33 UTC

Next Android smart

Posted By Greg Lehey

Setting up Yvonne's phone has gone relatively smoothly, and it seems to have even longer battery life than mine; after 2 days without charge, the battery was round 80%. On thing that could reduce battery life is a GPS tracker. I've been using the mendhak GPS logger, but that's it seems that it's no longer acceptable to the toyshop. What can I use instead? Somehow the app list is really not very helpful. Tried GPS Phone Tracker & Mileage Tracker despite negative feedback: This app would have been rated 4, EXCEPT they are now killing computer browser access And it wanted me to create a user ID!

Sun, 31 Oct 2021 00:25:14 UTC

Still more bloody NBN outages!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Two mail messages from my ISP today: still more National Broadband Network outages: The details are:   - Start date and time: Wed 17th November 2021 00:00 AEDT   - End date and time: Wed 17th November 2021 06:00 AEDT   - Window: 6.0 hours During the outage window, NBN have outlined the period of time your service may be affected by an interruption:   - 360 min   - Start date and time: Thu 18th November 2021 00:00 AEDT   - End date and time: Fri 19th November 2021 09:00 AEDT   - Window: 33.0 hours During the outage window, NBN have outlined the period of time your service may be affected by an interruption:   - 540 min   - 540 min We've just had 14 hours of outages, and now they're threatening another 24 hours!

Sat, 30 Oct 2021 02:10:12 UTC

COVID-19 ?digital certificates?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The events of the day put setting up Yvonne's new Xiaomi Redmi 9A on the back burner. But one of the main reasons for the phone in the first place is for the Service Victoria app, including the vaccination certificate. No WHO approved yellow vaccination certificates for modern medicine?the one person who knew beyond any doubt that Yvonne had been vaccinated wasn't allowed to sign or stamp what she wrote in the certificate?but something digital issue by somebody (or thing) that had never seen Yvonne. OK, first step: sign up with myGov. That's particularly interesting, because it's the way my Centrelink account was breached earlier this month.

Sat, 30 Oct 2021 01:06:01 UTC

Power fail!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Listening to the news on the radio at 7:00 this morning: ?Wild weather has devastated most of the state, and thousands of households are without power?. That was some forethought of mine yesterday to charge the battery to 90% and turn the air conditioner off! The news continued: ?Hardest hit were Western Victoria, including Bendigo and Ballarat.? Then the air conditioner decided to reverse cycle, something I haven't heard in a while. And from somewhere a beep. And nothing more on the radio. Dammit, power fail, and I had turned the air conditioner on 45 minutes earlier without checking if we were on the grid or not!

Fri, 29 Oct 2021 04:39:27 UTC

New phone for Yvonne

Posted By Greg Lehey

Back home and unpacked Yvonne's new Xiaomi Redmi 9A. It's pretty much as I expected, and I got it set up relatively quickly. Now to set up the all-important Service Victoria app. It was already installed, having been ?copied? from the old phone. And, like an elephant, it doesn't forget. Yvonne's name is still spelt ?Christiane Bahlo?, along with her phone number. I really should have done a factory reset on the old phone.

Fri, 29 Oct 2021 03:28:57 UTC

Unwise money transfer

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ruth Viebrock has sent me another parcel from Germany; time to pay for it. TransferWise are cheap, but not free. But they have advice. I can do it for only 0.41 ?: Only on the same page, I see: 0.28 ?, the one I had already chosen. That's not the only thing wrong with their web site.

Fri, 29 Oct 2021 03:18:52 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Off in pleasant, sunny weather to Ballarat today for a haircut and to pick up Yvonne's phone, which, as expected, came today, and not the end of next week, as Australia Post claimed yesterday. By the time my hair was cut, the weather had changed considerably. On the way back to Napoleons I got caught in the heaviest rain I can recall in recent times, and had to slow down almost to a walking pace. In Napoleons they had had flooding in the shop. When I came out, I called up Yvonne and asked her to turn the air conditioner off: this is power failure weather.

Fri, 29 Oct 2021 03:18:50 UTC

git: some advantages?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find scratches on my :0.1 monitor: It's not immediately obvious, but there's something very wrong there: Of course, it's not scratches at all. git is half clever: it knows how to set the foreground colour, but not the background colour. Of course it knows that I should be using a black background. Another indication of the short-sightedness of the developers.

Fri, 29 Oct 2021 03:06:30 UTC

Net outage!

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been a while since I have had issues with the reliability of the National Broadband Network. Too long, it seems. Came into the office this morning to find the system off the net. Further investigation showed: Start time End time  Duration   Badness        from                    to                      (seconds) 1635254381 1635274981  20600  0.001 # 27 October 2021 00:19:41 27 October 2021 06:03:01 1635340681 1635370763  30082  0.055 # 28 October 2021 00:18:01 28 October 2021 08:39:23 People, that's 14 hours!

Thu, 28 Oct 2021 01:18:17 UTC

git: igitt!

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's really time to update my system. I've been saying that for the last 5 years or so, but the latest impediment has been git. My last attempt was three months ago, and I seem not to have had the courage to continue. OK, today was the day. I had a clone according to the instructions at, and tried to update it: ===== Wed 27 Oct 2021 15:36:47 AEDT on dereel: git pull --ff-only error: cannot lock ref 'refs/remotes/freebsd/vendor/openzfs/legacy': 'refs/remotes/freebsd/vendor/openzfs' exists; cannot create 'refs/remotes/freebsd/vendor/openzfs/legacy' From ssh://  ! [new branch]              vendor/openzfs/legacy     -> freebsd/vendor/openzfs/legacy  (unable to update local ref) error: cannot lock ref 'refs/remotes/freebsd/vendor/openzfs/master': 'refs/remotes/freebsd/vendor/openzfs' exists; cannot create 'refs/remotes/freebsd/vendor/openzfs/master'  !

Wed, 27 Oct 2021 23:57:35 UTC

What use tracking?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Over the years I've grumbled repeatedly about the inaccuracies of (physical) mail tracking. But today I had a particularly extreme case. Nine days ago I bought a phone for Yvonne on eBay. The seller (one of the ?FAST SHIPPING? kind) finally shipped it yesterday. Any hope of getting it here soon? Check the tracking. eBay says: Still just ?received?? Hasn't it gone any further? What does Austraia Post say? That's a big difference. eBay claims that it will be here by the end of this week, and Australia Post says it will take at least another week, possibly nearly 2.

Wed, 27 Oct 2021 01:03:16 UTC

Tracking people

Posted By Greg Lehey

Where's Yvonne? Most of the time she's in her office, about 20 m away. But she visits Chris Bahlo, and on Wednesdays she goes shopping in Ballarat. With a mobile phone and her permission I can track her location, and she can also keep track of her horse rides. Set it up today for location sharing while she went on a horse ride, and was rewarded by some interesting map displays: These screen shots were taken less than a minute apart, and they show her in two completely different locations about 2 km apart.

Tue, 26 Oct 2021 01:42:17 UTC

Strange DxO display

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have now upgraded to DxO PhotoLab release 5. So far there's not much difference to be seen, except that it rearranged my display and made me search for things. But today I got this display: What is it? There seemed to be no image selected. Will it happen again?

Sun, 24 Oct 2021 03:03:41 UTC

PV inverter strangenesses

Posted By Greg Lehey

The weather today was mainly overcast, so our photovoltaic system didn't generate much power. But at one point I looked at the ?dashboard? and saw it claim to generate over 11 kW! That's almost impossible. The panels are rated at a total of 10.8 kW, but they're oriented at 90° to each other, so it's barely possible that they can all output full power at the same time?unless ?full power? is considerably more than the rated power. The power displayed was only brief, before it dropped back to more like 6 kW?without an obvious difference in sunshine level. But looking at the logs, it seems that it could have been genuine.

Sun, 24 Oct 2021 02:33:13 UTC

Fixing web site vulnerability

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from [email protected] today with details of the vulnerability reported yesterday. How about that, it's due to my handling parameters to my web pages, like the URL above: /grog/diary-oct2021.php?topics=c& Since they come from me, there's no danger that they're malicious. But of course other people can create similar URLs, and that's what they did: Vulnerability Summary:      1. Vulnerable Domain:      2. Vulnerable URL:</title><ScRiPt>alert('/bughunter/')</sCrIpT>&&article=D-20200104-021000      3. Vulnerability Type: Reflected XSS And yes, that worked. The </title> was part of the exploit; it put the following script where it could be executed.

Sun, 24 Oct 2021 02:23:41 UTC

Who is using my mobile data?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's only been 6 days since I installed a new SIM card in Yvonne's phone. And I ended up with over $10 of credit. But today, while playing with it (trying, with success, to send an MMS to my phone), I got a message: only $4.94 of credit left. Huh? Yes, ALDImobile charges 35¢ per MMS, far too much, but that wouldn't explain the usage. Off to check and found things like 50.51 MB of mobile data ($2.5344) at 1:10 on Wednesday. What's that about? My own usage was nothing like that, though I have things like location tracking turned on. There was another $2.2877 on Friday.

Sun, 24 Oct 2021 02:17:54 UTC

More thoughts on messaging systems

Posted By Greg Lehey

A little feedback on yesterday's thoughts on messaging systems. Peter Jeremy notes that it was possible to send images via Usenet news. Yes, it was painful, but that's a matter of evolution: MIME, also not a very clean idea, is an example of that. But also a word in favour of WhatsApp: it can deliver messages via the Internet. What an idea! But yes, the standard messaging app can't.

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 03:00:55 UTC

Upgrading DxO: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

There's a new version of DxO PhotoLab out there. The press have been informed, but once again I, as a customer, was not. Should I buy it? What does it really offer? Bug fixes? That would be nice. And new interface options that might make life easier. OK, buy it. Once they took payment in Euros, US dollars and Australian dollars. But that was once. Now it's only in US dollars. OK, I have a Transferwise creditdebit card that I can use to pay in US dollars. Problem: I don't have any cash balance in US dollars. What happens then? To be on the safe side, decided to transfer some money to the account.

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 02:29:07 UTC Security Vulnerability Notification

Posted By Greg Lehey

Unexpected mail from Open Bug Bounty today: Cross Site Scripting Vulnerability Report ID: OBB-2188982. Huh? Who are these people? Did a bit of checking and found that yes, they're kosher. But how can I be involved in any cross-site vulnerability? I don't do anything significant with user input, just dates. OK, I can contact the reporter, and did that, but in all probability his time zone is completely different. In the meantime, followed up, which found nothing.

Sat, 23 Oct 2021 00:34:03 UTC

Mobile phone messaging: WhatsApp?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Michael James today, suggesting that I could minimize my phone pain with WhatsApp, which?he says?makes messaging easier. OK, WhatsApp is an interesting app because it comes from the FreeBSD space (Jan Koum, who still has a FreeBSD commit bit). Try it out. Install works well, and it imports my Google contacts. Well, it checks them, and finds that about half of them have a recognizable WhatsApp connection. But that's bad. More fragmentation. And that brings me to a digression: Once upon a time we had email and USENET News. In many ways they were very similar: the header structure was compatible, and the main difference was the way you handled the message.

Fri, 22 Oct 2021 00:14:47 UTC

Guest contributions to this diary?

Posted By Greg Lehey

As I say in many places, this diary is my record of what I have done and (increasingly) my opinions. But I get many requests like this one from From: Penny Kling <> Subject: Guest Post Request Greetings! I would like to contribute to your website by adding a guest post. Do you have any specific requirements I should follow? Sorry, that's not how this works, and that's what I told her. Sorry, I have no provision for guest posts. If you write something that interests me, I may mention it in my diary, but don't count on it being automatically complimentary.

Thu, 21 Oct 2021 01:09:19 UTC

Slideshow arrived!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Checking Yvonne's phone this morning, found a notification: a ?slideshow? from me had arrived, a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) message with two photos. That's the message I sent yesterday, and for which I looked in vain. Why did it take so long? My guess is that it didn't, but it was playing hide-and-seek with me. It seems that it won.

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 01:02:33 UTC

Sending photos by mobile phone

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the advantages I thought of for Yvonne's new phone is that she can use it to take photos while shopping and send them to me for examination. That's certainly an advantage over anything we have had before. But how do you do it? First take a photo, of course. Then look at all the silly icons and try to decide which will send it somewhere. There were none. Gradually I'm beginning to understand these silly buttons on software like DxO PhotoLab for sending photos directly to Facebook. More discussion on IRC. As Daniel O'Connor says, ?I dunno, Android visual language looks like a mess to me?.

Tue, 19 Oct 2021 00:36:41 UTC

Another bloody mobile phone!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've given up trying to find a small phone for Yvonne. A Xiaomi Redmi 9A it is, a slightly slower version of my Redmi 9T. It's not that I particularly like Xiaomi, but one mobile phone interface is bad enough. This way I don't have to get used to the problems that a second one causes, like today's issue where Yvonne couldn't find the dialing pad for the phone. About the biggest difference is the colour: blue instead of green. So I've decided to give it the name enzian.

Mon, 18 Oct 2021 01:01:13 UTC

More mobile phone choice pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent much more time looking for a new mobile phone for Yvonne today, in the process coming to two conclusions: phones are getting much bigger, and nobody seems to care. I have been unable to find a modern Xiaomi phone (one released in this decade) that is less than 15 cm high. And none of the ?smartphone choice? web sites allowed me to search or sort based on external dimensions. That's not just irritating: it's a real problem if you don't have a pocket where you can put the thing. And Yvonne doesn't.

Sun, 17 Oct 2021 03:13:04 UTC

More phone battery fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I for nearly 8 years now. In principle it was obsoleted by my OM-D E-M1 Mark II for nearly 5 years. But I'm still using the Mark I: there's not much difference between the two, and it's convenient to keep the Mark II for complicated stuff. As a result it's the Mark I that I use when I go anywhere, like to the dog training today. And the battery ran out! That's not surprising. They're all nearly 8 years old. At the very least I should carry a spare. But today I had trouble recharging two of the batteries that were waiting for use.

Sun, 17 Oct 2021 02:49:59 UTC

ALDImobile SIM: simplicity itself

Posted By Greg Lehey

Back home, time to install the new SIM card in the Samsung phone. Simple, right? The packaging included instructions, including going to and following the instructions. OK, I can do that. Of course, I don't have the same thought patterns as the people who wrote the web pages: This one means that I should write only the number, not the street itself, though the message suggests that it's the spaces that are to blame. ?Did you buy a Mobile, Date or Family Plan Starter Pack??.

Sun, 17 Oct 2021 02:38:33 UTC

Google retorts

Posted By Greg Lehey

We were in Sebastopol when it occurred to us to look for mobile phones in the Delacombe Town Centre. OK, Google, take me to Delacombe Town Centre. And off we were across country on arguably the best route. Until we got to the south-east corner of the complex: I should have turned left, and I did, but Google Maps wanted me to go round to the other side along a main road. ?OK, Google, du hast einen Knall?: ?OK, Google, you're crazy?. And the prompt answer: ?You and me both?.

Sun, 17 Oct 2021 01:07:18 UTC

A new phone for Yvonne

Posted By Greg Lehey

After some discussion, we have decided to buy a new phone for Yvonne. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has seen better days, the USB socket no longer works reliably, making charging touch-and-go, and the interface is completely different. By chance, I saw a cheap Xiaomi phone on the Officeworks web site yesterday, so off there to take a look at it. Not a single Xiaomi phone on offer! The reluctant staff member whom Yvonne brought by asked me if I had a screen shot. Right, just what you need when you come to a shop to buy something that has been advertised. Later, however, I was unable to find any Xiaomi phones on the web site.

Sat, 16 Oct 2021 05:43:23 UTC

New smart for Yvonne

Posted By Greg Lehey

As discussed yesterday, Yvonne brought home a Samsung Galaxy S7 from Chris Bahlo. And now I have to set it up for her. One ?smart? phone causes enough smart. Two different ones are double the smart, if not more. Spent some time playing around with it and wondering whether it wouldn't be a better idea to get another Xiaomi phone instead. The most obvious thing is, despite what people tell me, to use it to make phone calls. OK, put in the SIM card from the old phone. Oh. It's a mini-SIM card. Not a micro-SIM or nano-SIM. And the Samsung needs a nano-SIM.

Sat, 16 Oct 2021 05:32:16 UTC

The pain of COVID apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

Something must have happened in New South Wales. Everybody is scrambling to get their mobile phones set up with the NSW equivalent of ?Service Victoria?, which is subtly different, along with the same kind of stupid ?digital certificate? of vaccination. And people had lots of difficulty with them. These are experienced computer people, not coincidentally people who made fun of me when I grumbled about my problems. I'm glad to feel vindicated, and was able to make some suggestions to help. The most interesting one was when one person had to create a second Mygov account because the name wasn't spelt in the same way on all his documents.

Fri, 15 Oct 2021 01:11:55 UTC

MPEG corruption

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen on the screen after watching TV tonight: [ffmpeg/video] h264: Error splitting the input into NAL units. Error while decoding frame! [ffmpeg/video] h264: Invalid NAL unit size (0 > 8734). [ffmpeg/video] h264: Error splitting the input into NAL units. Error while decoding frame! What's that? There was no obvious corruption on the screen.

Fri, 15 Oct 2021 00:38:35 UTC

A mobile phone for COVID-19?

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the USA people have thought out various financial initiatives to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Round here there's an obvious one: a free (low-end) mobile phone. You have needed a phone to sign in to just about anywhere in Victoria for some time now, and soon you will need one to display these silly ?digital certificates?. Yvonne has a mobile phone, of course, but it's an old, small, folding one 10 cm high. She's reluctantly accepting the need for a ?smart? phone, but it shouldn't be any higher. Checked the old S?msung Samsung GT-I9100T. 12 cm. What can we find that's modern (and thus supported by the apps that the government has thought out) and no higher?

Thu, 14 Oct 2021 02:38:38 UTC

Calling German mobile phones

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since moving to MyNetFone, now Vonex, international phone calls have been ridiculously cheap. While a national ?landline? call costs $0.20 untimed, a call to a German landline costs $0.019 per minute, so a 10 minute call to Germany is still cheaper than a call to Australia. But mobile rates are different, sometimes markedly so. In Australia they're $0.10 per minute. And in Germany? I recall them being significantly more expensive than for landlines. And today Yvonne wanted to make a call to a German mobile telephone. OK, look it up. Where? The new Vonex web site is completely broken and takes me round in circles.

Thu, 14 Oct 2021 01:50:35 UTC

Bankwest replies

Posted By Greg Lehey

Call from Steven Garnett of Bankwest today to discuss the email I sent him on Monday, in which I had set a deadline of yesterday to get the bank's fraud team involved. He repeated the content of the letter and gave the impression?once again?that he hadn't read the email. You'd think he hadn't received it, but he confirmed that he did. It seems that he had informed his process expert, whatever that is, his manager and his team leader (there that term again), but if he didn't forward the message to them, there's not much they could have done. He finally undertook to inform the fraud people, and I asked him to get them to contact me.

Thu, 14 Oct 2021 01:09:55 UTC

Cherry brand delivery

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne came back from shopping today with an unexpected package: It was the Kirschwasser that Ruth Viebrock sent me two weeks ago. It wasn't due for at least another 4 weeks! As if that wasn't surprising enough, there was no customs duty. What did the customs declaration say? I can't make up my mind whether that's a mistyped English ?brandy? or German ?Brand?, which is a perfectly correct description. But potentially it was confusing for the Customs Australian Border Force or one of their parsing programs.

Wed, 13 Oct 2021 01:56:51 UTC

Reporting Centrelink security breach

Posted By Greg Lehey

Despite multiple requests, Bankwest has not responded to my request to get their fraud team involved in the Centrelink fraud case. The place to go is, which presented me with multiple warnings that it's not suitable for an emergency. They can certainly say that again, and they did: Due to the complex nature of enquiries undertaken as part of the assessment process, it is not uncommon not to hear from Victoria Police for at least 12 weeks. If there is an immediate threat to life or risk of harm, please call 000.

Wed, 13 Oct 2021 00:14:37 UTC

Understanding ?modern? apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why couldn't I download my ?digital certificate? on my mobile phone? Medicare seems to think I have loaded it: But Service Victoria just offers me an(other) opportunity to download it: So what's the issue? I have now updated the app, but Service Victoria still asks me to download it. But this time it offers to do it directly, presumably one of the results of updating the app.

Tue, 12 Oct 2021 00:29:59 UTC

COVID certificate

Posted By Greg Lehey

Gradually we're coming out of SARS-CoV-2 imposed ?lockdown?. Well, we're already out of it, but today it was eliminated in all of New South Wales, and the government of Victoria has stated that things will get considerably more relaxed in the next few weeks. A good thing, too: in the past the ?lockdowns? have worked well, but they don't seem to have much effect against the ?delta variant?: despite the measures, which have been in place for months now, the numbers have continued to climb and have now reached nearly 2,000 infections per day. The only thing that should help is vaccination.

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 02:02:07 UTC

Tracking the POP3S certification issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

In principle my POP3S configuration for qpopper now works, but clearly there's a question of trust with the certificates. Peter Jeremy suggests using Let's encrypt. That sounds like a very good idea, and not for the first time I've made a note to follow up.

Mon, 11 Oct 2021 00:57:38 UTC

ABC news subscription

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why have I not received any news mail from the ABC subscriptions that I set up on Thursday? Off to take another look. It's almost impossible to find anything on the site. When I did, it was a completely different page, offering many more newsletters, and claiming that I was subscribed to some of them. OK, select the ones that look interesting, press ?Submit?. Nothing. Oh yes, just as I was about to give up: TypeError: NetworkError when attempting to fetch resource. That was repeatable.

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 05:31:02 UTC

Another abandoned USB hub

Posted By Greg Lehey

The seller of the USB hub that I have been trying to return has accepted the inevitable and refunded the price. So far he hasn't asked for the thing back. That's the second time this has happened with this kind of hub. I wonder what rate of return they get.

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 05:08:04 UTC

POP3S revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

The problem with my Greg's setting up qpopper on FreeBSD page was at least that I had forgotten to write down the pass phrases for the certificates; I still had the certificates that I made at the time. But where do I need the certificates? There's nothing in that document to suggest that I will ever need them again. OK, the configuration files are straightforward enough, so why not give it a try? Updated the files and got as far as testing. According to the page, I should get: === grog@dereel (/dev/ttypj) ~ 90 -> openssl s_client -connect CONNECTED(00000003) depth=0 /C=AU/ST=VIC/L=Dereel/O=LEMIS (SA) Pty Ltd/OU=Messaging/

Sat, 09 Oct 2021 03:16:58 UTC

Visiting Centrelink

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally took up the courage (and two big books) to go to Centrelink in Ballarat to sort out my pension fund breakin. Was it worth trying to get an appointment? No, no indication that that would help, and the fact that Wednesday's letter didn't include a phone number speaks for itself. On the way out of the property, picked up the mail. Another letter from Centrelink, confirming that I had cancelled my nominee agreement with PPT (which they spelt Ppt). What other nonsense has been done with my account? At Centrelink I had the usual questions about COVID-19, and then was directed to a counter where a badly masked receptionist called me George Lehey and asked if I had an appointment.

Fri, 08 Oct 2021 04:33:16 UTC

Daily news from ABC

Posted By Greg Lehey

I receive daily news email from Channel 9, a commercial TV broadcaster and, I think, allied with Microsoft. Not my natural choice of news information, but they have the advantage of good presentation, sort of. Others thought that I should take the national broadcaster, ABC. But somehow their web presence irritates me. They have chosen the domain name, which would suggest that they're an ISP or some such. It wasn't for lack of access to they have that too, but it redirects to Then, like almost all broadcasters, they have video content online (German ?Mediathek?) . But unlike almost all broadcasters, it's only in low definition, and access is painful.

Fri, 08 Oct 2021 04:23:16 UTC

POP3S again

Posted By Greg Lehey

I really need to sort out email for Jerry Dunham. Last week I ran into inexplicable problems with ?mail loops back to myself?. OK, I can compare that with, which I also handle. And that delivers fine to any address no in virtual. OK, try again with It works! What went wrong? I'm not sure. About the only thing I noticed was that the buffer hadn't been saved when I started today. But it can't have been that: I did a number of changes last week. But that was simply POP3, with no encryption. The next problem: set up POP3S.

Fri, 08 Oct 2021 04:16:08 UTC

Bankwest: what now?

Posted By Greg Lehey

No response from Bankwest to my letter asking for investigation of their part in my Centrelink breach yesterday. I know that the mail gets through, so my best guess is ?not my problem?. And why can't I send mail to [email protected]? It appears to be handled by, clearly a Microsoft space company. Can it be that they're too polite to handle mail from systems like mine? It would be worth checking with a mainstream MUA/MTA. How about Gmail? So I sent off a message to them, fully expecting it to be delivered. No: Date: 07 Oct 2021 10:13:03 +0800 From: Mail Delivery System <MAILER-[email protected]> To: [email protected] Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure) Message-Id: <[email protected]> [-- Attachment #1 --] [-- Type: text/plain, Encoding: quoted-printable, Size: 0.3K --] The following message to <[email protected]> was undeliverable.

Fri, 08 Oct 2021 04:07:51 UTC

Returning the USB hub

Posted By Greg Lehey

I started a return for the malfunctioning USB hub yesterday, and got an interesting message from the seller: Dear friend. We are so sorry. We specially consulted the manufacturer and their feedback is as follows. The product has four ports and seven ports. There is only one 3.0 interface for the four ports, and 2.0 for the others. The seven ports have four 3.0 interfaces, and the other is 2.0. There is no problem with your product. How we refund you half,and you close the dispute?Thank you very much for your understanding.

Thu, 07 Oct 2021 00:52:46 UTC

Centrelink security: where?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Voicemail and mail from Steven Garnett of Bankwest today, asking, as I feared, for more information from Centrelink. OK, nothing for it: sign in to this horrible mygov and select ?Centrelink?. We could not connect to the service. Please contact us for help. (RFM51) That sounds right. They can never get anything right. OK, try with different browser. Same thing. Where's the help link? There isn't one. What does Google say? It found a tweet: RFM51 code refers to server issues, unlink your Centrelink account and relink it again.

Tue, 05 Oct 2021 23:47:39 UTC

More Google Maps fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

To Geelong today for my 6-monthly periodontics checkup. Nothing much of interest there, but of course it was another chance to play around with using hirse, my mobile phone, along with Google Maps, as a navigator First issue: find the periodontist. They have a free parking space round the back, and the location is very different from their address: I can enter that on a computer, but how do I do it on a phone? Off to ask Google, and came up with give a place a private label.

Tue, 05 Oct 2021 00:18:44 UTC

Bankwest: look out!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally got all my documents together to send to Bankwest for my new credit card application. Sent it off and got a ?successfully delivered? DSN message, marginally interesting because it took nearly a minute to arrive. But there are more minutes. After fully 2 minutes, 10 seconds, I received: From MAILER-DAEMON  Mon Oct  4 16:25:35 2021 To: [email protected] From: Mail Delivery System <MAILER-[email protected]> Date: 04 Oct 2021 13:24:31 +0800 Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure) The following message to <[email protected]> was undeliverable. The reason for the problem: 5.1.0 - Unknown address error 550-'5.4.1 Recipient address rejected: Access denied.

Sun, 03 Oct 2021 02:23:43 UTC

Still more backup pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I've run out of explanations for why I'm having so much trouble with my backup disks. Into the office this morning to find that the backup on the new disk had (just) finished, successfully. So had the photo backup, which I had forgotten to disable. But that was still at SCSI-2 speeds (40 MB/s). What do I do? First, play it safe: connect all the standard backup disks to the motherboard. Well, almost all: one of the issues is that the motherboard only has 4 USB-3 ports (I think), while I have at least 6 disks, and my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II also connects via USB-3.

Sat, 02 Oct 2021 04:12:36 UTC

More backup disk problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find last night's backup of eureka still running. That's not really surprising; it was only a level 2 dump, but since there was nothing else on the disk, it might as well have been a level 0 dump. But something still didn't ring true. Looking at the log file, I found: Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: ugen0.11: <Western Digital> at usbus0 Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: umass0: <Western Digital My Passport 2627, class 0/0, rev 2.10/40.08, addr 23> on usbus0 Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: umass0:  SCSI over Bulk-Only; quirks = 0xc001 Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: umass0:3:0:-1: Attached to scbus3 Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus3 target 0 lun 0 Sep 30 15:30:16 eureka kernel: da0: <WD My Passport 2627 4008> Fixed Direct Access SPC-4 SCSI device Sep 30 ...

Fri, 01 Oct 2021 01:07:55 UTC

Another fishy hardware failure

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm still not convinced that my TV really failed exactly when I installed more memory in teevee last month. But it seems that I have another case: yesterday I got a new USB hub for my external backup disks, and this morning I came into the office to find lots of: Wed 29 Sep 2021 21:04:12 AEST: Partial backup of /home/grog since 26-Sep-2021 zstd: error 25 : Write error : No space left on device (cannot write compressed block) There should be plenty of space on the disk.

Fri, 01 Oct 2021 00:53:45 UTC

Mail configuration pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Jerry Dunham today, telling me that his ISP was shutting down, and he was looking for a new mail provider. OK, for him I can do that. But what is he going to do about his current email address? It relates to his current provider. He can't take that with him. This is the ultimate ?I told you so?. I even published it. From the last edition of ?The Complete FreeBSD?, page 317: It's certainly a very good idea to have your own domain name.

Thu, 30 Sep 2021 01:43:38 UTC

More spam?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Found in my mail today: 53 N + 29-09-2021 To groggyhimself@Fre ( 105) Login No N + New Login To [email protected] From Safari on Mac OS The subject is the bold text at the end. Who did that? It took a few seconds to realize that this could only be some kind of phishing. How can you log in to via a web browser? The only authentication is via ssh. But it did take a few seconds.

Tue, 14 Sep 2021 01:42:48 UTC

Imports: the pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So why has UPS charged me all the extra money when they had promised on acceptance that there would be no further charges? Reading the fine print on their invoice, I see: Effective from 1st January 2020, the formal Declaration Fee (formerly known as the formal entry fee) imposed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will be AUD $88.00 for shipments over AUD $1,000. What's the Department of Immigration and Border Protection? Off to the other end to ask Customs about the matter.

Mon, 13 Sep 2021 02:32:06 UTC

Web: all our operators are busy

Posted By Greg Lehey

While checking yesterday's puppy training article, came across this: I've never seen that on a web site before. I was going to say ?that shouts Microsoft?, but in fact Netcraft tells me that it's Linux with a Cloudflare server. It's been a while since I looked at Netcraft. They seem to have given up on site uptimes, but there's still the ?Date first seen?

Sat, 11 Sep 2021 04:58:17 UTC

More Google Maps strangeness

Posted By Greg Lehey

For once I didn't get my phone to guide me to the physiotherapist, but when I got there, I did think to turn on maps. How about ?where am I??? Not quite what I expected: Still in Dereel? How can that be? When I asked it to take me to the physiotherapist, it obliged and told me that I was there. Clearly something hasn't been updated.

Sat, 11 Sep 2021 04:50:21 UTC

More ?Coronavirus? web problems

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of our neighbours appears to be flagrantly violating the ?lockdown? rules, walking unmasked and uninvited into other neighbours' houses. Not our business directly, but I looked up how to report the matter. The URL is to be savoured: Why lang=en_US? Where are we? But probably the best would be to call the police on 131 444. Filling out the form will probably require irrelevant information like the date of birth of my paternal grandfather.

Fri, 10 Sep 2021 06:03:23 UTC

Paying for the dogs

Posted By Greg Lehey

Buying Larissa and Lena proved to involve more than just paying for them. There were three different registrations: transfer pedigree, register microchip numbers, and pay the annual registration. I grumbled about the pain on Tuesday, but it's not over. Elyse sent email telling me that my credit card number was wrong, one digit too little. I explained that I had included the 3 digit code on the back of the card. No, still didn't work. Sorry, I can't help, that's the correct number. Send me a bank account number. After a while, another email: I???ve re set my computer and tried again and it seems to have gone through now.

Fri, 10 Sep 2021 01:37:51 UTC

Changed COVID-19 lockdown

Posted By Greg Lehey

From 23:59 this evening, according to the news outlets, we will have our COVID-19 ?lockdown? restrictions eased again. Can the cleaner come? Take a look at the official site: ?COVIDSafe settings? and, not to be outdone, the stupidly named ?How we live?. NOTHING! The pages still relate to upcoming changes on 2 September. I couldn't find anything about the upcoming changes this evening. Yvonne tried calling an information line, but it timed out after 30 minutes and hung up on her, claiming overload. The cleaner did the same, with the same result. People, we can't follow the regulations if we don't know what they are!

Wed, 08 Sep 2021 03:00:06 UTC

Animal registration payments

Posted By Greg Lehey

A couple of weeks ago Yvonne processed the paperwork for our new dogs and paid by cheque for some reason. Not a good idea. We write about 2 cheques a year, and the cheque book that she chose was for an account that we closed decades ago. We have already handled one bounce, but there was a second that hasn't bounced yet. OK, call up, apologize and try to pay. Account number, please? No, it will have to be a credit card. I'll get Emma to call you back. Emma duly called and wanted a credit card number. NO! I don't know you from Eve.

Tue, 07 Sep 2021 01:12:31 UTC

To Napoleons with Google Maps

Posted By Greg Lehey

So off to Napoleons to pick up my eBay items. The route looks like this: I know the way, of course, but I use Google Maps for the fun of it. This time I forgot to turn it on until I was half way down Grassy Gully Road, about 200 m from the main road.

Tue, 07 Sep 2021 01:05:45 UTC

Tracking with Australia Post

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm waiting for no fewer than four eBay items ordered over the last two weeks. According to Australia Post, two of them arrived in Wendouree (Ballarat) over the weekend, so they should have been in Napoleons this morning. But what did I see at 12:45? Two items with this tracking information: Of course, they politely hide the tracking details until you insist on seeing them.

Mon, 06 Sep 2021 01:51:06 UTC

Where was I when?

Posted By Greg Lehey

For some reason my monitor number 0 (far left) started misbehaving today. Colours dropped out, and it got dimmer. All the signs of a flaky cable connection. I wobbled the connections, and things got better, for a while, but it didn't stay that way. Maybe something wrong with the monitor? I had another on the floor doing nothing. Put that in, and hey, it was so much better. Nothing to do with the cable, just the monitor itself. First, it's larger, and secondly brighter. As a result, it made sense to put it in a better position, number 1 (second from left), and move the very old BenQ in number 0 position.

Sat, 04 Sep 2021 23:48:06 UTC

X pain without end

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been using X for over 30 years, and on the whole I'm comfortable with it. But a couple of bugs make my life painful, and in all that time I haven't seriously tried to hunt them down, since they happen so seldom and finding the bug looks like so much work. Today the ?modifier key? bug bit again: one of the modifier keys got stuck in the ?on? state. Which one? The code is 0x10. With xev I was able to establish that it wasn't any of the usual suspects. Shift toggles modifier bit 1, Ctrl toggles 4, Alt toggles 8?and that's all.

Sat, 04 Sep 2021 02:25:52 UTC

The pain of dog registration

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's bad enough that both Leonid and Nikolai died this year, but now we have issues with dog registration. Leo died before the registration was due, but we paid for Niko for what proved to be only 3 months. And Lena, his replacement, arrived after his death. In the past we have been able to transfer the registration, but now they have a new person, Alana, in charge of registration, and she's very precise. She confirmed that we could have had a refund for Niko's registration if we had applied before the end of June. OK, where does it say that on the registration forms?

Fri, 03 Sep 2021 02:08:17 UTC

International money transfers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne has bought Yet Another saddle in Germany, and we're trying to find a cheap way to pay for it. Bank exchange rates can be extremely expensive, so years ago I signed up with a company called ?Transferwise?. Clever name, right, prone to false positives? But they've changed the name. Now it's just ?Wise?, an immediately obvious (dare I say ?intuitive??) name. We had to get 1,672 ? to Germany. What would it cost? ?Wise? had a comparison that's probably not that far from the truth, though not in a useful format. For me, they charged 2,694.90 AUD, which would have ended up with the following sums at the other end if I send 2,694.90 AUD: Company       Recipient gets ...

Wed, 01 Sep 2021 02:34:05 UTC

Google Maps settings

Posted By Greg Lehey

More discussion of my issues with Google Maps' refusal to turn around last week. Callum Gibson got a different route home, but of course he hadn't driven in there and have his phone know his travel direction. Another suggestion: did I have it set to something else than car? How can I tell? One of the issues I have with Google Maps on phones is that I can't find the ?Settings?. Usually that's hidden behind 3 vertical dots somewhere on the edge of the display. But no, not Google Maps. I need to push myself in the face (?Avatar?, a term that I thought meant ?manifestation in human form; incarnation?, but now seems to mean ?photo?)

Wed, 01 Sep 2021 02:19:54 UTC

Why Afterpay?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The weather is gradually getting warmer, and today we took the dogs for a longer walk, to the ?Große Linde?. Lena is gradually getting more active, and I'm concerned that she might hurt herself when she runs to the end of her leash and gets stopped by her collar. Time for a harness, like Larissa has. Yvonne found a supplier online, but they were out of stock in Lena's size (7, which proved to be L upside down). Further searches found others, some in the wrong colour, and one just what I wanted, but somewhat more expensive. OK, just a matter of a dollar or 3.

Tue, 31 Aug 2021 02:19:26 UTC

4G vaccinations for the bush

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the more bizarre conspiracy theories going around is that SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations inject 5G devices into your blood. But there's no 5G round where we live; 4G is the best we can get. I have it. Time to start a new conspiracy theory that there are different vaccines for the bush that inject 4G devices instead of 5G devices. But do I have 4G? Look at my phone. No indication. More discussion on IRC. It should be on the status line at the top of the display, like this: But what I have is: Clearly it's too polite to worry me with such details.

Tue, 31 Aug 2021 01:42:38 UTC

Google Assist: Think inside the box

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did my phone get involved when I was talking to my TV yesterday? Could it be that the phone was listening, even though it was ?turned off?? OK, keep them apart and see what was happening. In the office, with my phone ?turned off? on the desk (in other words, no display), I asked ?Hey, Google, are you spying on me??. Indignant reply ?No, I would never do that?. So, first recognition: Google ?spies? on you. It's certainly paying attention to what you're doing, even when you think it's sleeping. Next, what does the TV say? Leaving the phone in the office, out to ask it.

Mon, 30 Aug 2021 01:31:50 UTC

?Smart? TV and Google Assistant

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm not really overly concerned whether I get Google Assistant to work on, my TV, but I was curious about what went wrong with my attempts on Friday. My best guess was that Bluetooth had been disabled in the configuration. OK, check that. No, all OK, Bluetooth enabled. Try with the microphone symbol again. It worked! OK, ask Google something. I got an answer, but not from the TV: my phone answered instead. Why? Why should I need a phone for communication between TV and remote control? And was it Bluetooth or via my Google account? Still more confusion. While in the configuration section, saw an item ?TV Bluetooth Speaker?, promising me audio playback from my phone to the TV speaker.

Sat, 28 Aug 2021 01:45:39 UTC

Google TV assistant

Posted By Greg Lehey

While setting up the TV, I was offered the option to set up Google Assistant (or a couple of alternatives). OK, that could be useful. My ?remote? (presumably remote control) needs to be within 3 metres of the TV? And that with a 75" TV? That makes it completely useless. Try it anyway. Nothing useful happens. So what is it this time? User ?error?? Broken ?remote?? Needed to hold the MENU button down for more than 20 seconds? Misidentified the MENU button (all I have is the box with three horizontal lines)? Some unspecified configuration error (Bluetooth not enabled, for example)?

Sat, 28 Aug 2021 01:23:01 UTC

TV firmware upgrade

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday my new TV started asking for a firmware upgrade. Every time I powered it on. And it warned that it would take up to 30 minutes. OK, do it in the morning. Upgrade went almost immediately to 10%, then 20%, then 21%, then... nothing. Checking with tcpdump showed almost no traffic, but when I went back later, the upgrade was done. Well, all bar the shouting: Why does it want me to accept licenses now? I can't recall any issues when I installed it, though at that point it would have been understandable.

Fri, 27 Aug 2021 06:43:54 UTC

Google Maps: to boldly go where no man has gone before

Posted By Greg Lehey

I went down Misery Creek Road without telling Google Maps, which had instructions to take me home. Once in Misery Creek Road, there's only one practical way home: turn around and go back to the main road, in this case about 400 m back. But Google Maps doesn't believe in retreating. Instead I got this suggestion: Problem: apart from going through private land, it's completely impassable. I have had great difficulty getting through that area on foot.

Fri, 27 Aug 2021 03:54:58 UTC

Misery Creek Road again

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the way home from Napoleons, headed down Misery Creek Road to see what I could find. To my surprise, the Grevillea bedggoodiana are already in flower: Also a number of other flowers that I should really know, but the only one I know for sure is the first, Hardenbergia violacea:

Fri, 27 Aug 2021 03:23:45 UTC

Music from Android

Posted By Greg Lehey

The trip to Napoleons gave me the opportunity to try out my new cable connecting hirse, my Android phone, with the car radio. The good news: it works. The not-so-good news: it doesn't work well. The sound is far too faint, and I had to turn up the volume on the phone to maximum, and it still didn't sound good. But I also had Google Maps running, and it didn't suffer from any such problem, so the break-throughs were almost deafening. Is this because I was using the file manager? Started ?Music?, the one that I couldn't delete, accepted their stupid license conditions, whatever they may be, and was presented with a list of ?songs?, all the same: I couldn't find any ...

Tue, 24 Aug 2021 05:15:48 UTC

The last supper

Posted By Greg Lehey

Maddog Hall dug up this image: It's on Facebook, of course, so who knows who was responsible? More to the point, though: whom does it represent? Maddog recognized himself, so that's final. And Jesus? St. Ignutious? Apart from that, I only recognize Tux and Linus Torvalds. Presumably you need to be a Linux-head to recognize the others.

Tue, 24 Aug 2021 03:34:49 UTC

New keyboard

Posted By Greg Lehey

It has been nearly 10 years since I started using a Sun Type 7 keyboard, and for some time I've been looking for a replacement: the A key had started malfunctioning. That problem has gone away, but for how long? So when I found a brand new one for $65, cheap by US standards, but with free shipping?the US suppliers want up to $150 just for shipping?I bought it. It arrived today?thus the trip to Napoleons?and to my surprise it came with not only a mouse (not included in the item description) but also two mains power cables that didn't belong there.

Tue, 24 Aug 2021 02:07:47 UTC

Google Maps navigation, continued

Posted By Greg Lehey

We drove a total of 259 km today?or that's what Google Maps says. It has a useful feature that it maintains track logs of where I have been?exactly what I have been doing with GPSLogger, though it calls them ?Your Timeline?. Being Google, of course, it also guesses (frequently correctly) what businesses I have visited. On the whole, a good thing. But as usual, the details are lacking. How do I publish the log? By default only I can see it. How do I find the time where I was at a specific location? And it's not always very accurate. Today I discovered a ?snap to road?

Sun, 22 Aug 2021 01:35:15 UTC

Well don't do that, then

Posted By Greg Lehey

Part of taking my house photos involves creating two files, Makejpeg, a list of instructions for converting images that I use for all photos, and Makehouse, a list of instructions for the house photos, which I generate with an awk script. It gets copied to Makejpeg: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~/Photos/20210821 789 -> cat Makejpeg >> Makejpeg Normally it is done instantaneously. But today it went on for a considerable period of time. More memory pressure and page faults? Kill it and see: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~/Photos/20210821 789 -> cat Makejpeg >> Makejpeg ^C === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~/Photos/20210821 790 -> l total 874 -rw-r--r--  1 grog  lemis        3,440 21 Aug 13:12 Makehouse -rw-r--r--  1 grog  lemis  914,604,840 21 Aug 13:12 Makejpeg ...

Sat, 21 Aug 2021 04:41:07 UTC

Android interfaces

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been ranting and whingeing about Android for nearly 10 years now, and I continually wonder what fueled the design decisions. My general feeling is that commercial interests predominate, but there are, after all, clever people behind them. What explains the network exchange between mobile phone and TV that I saw on Monday? Arguably I don't care, but people discussed it at length on IRC. In particular, why both ?Screen Sha..? and ?Content Sh...?? I've established that the former establishes a direct connection between the phone and TV, while the second causes the TV to contact YouTube directly, while the phone acts as a particularly hard-to-use remote control: It seems that under these circumstance some gesture brings up a marginally better ?remote ...

Thu, 19 Aug 2021 01:43:05 UTC

Unexpected directory change

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen on teevee: === grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Series/Landaerztin 55 -> cd .. === grog@teevee (/dev/pts/6) /spool/Videos 56 -> Those names in red are path names. The parent .. of /spool/Series/Landaerztin is /spool/Series/. So how did it end up in /spool/Videos? I still only have a partial answer: from another shell, I had previously done: === grog@teevee (/dev/pts/7) /spool/Series 32 -> mv Landaerztin ../Videos This adds the entry Landaerztin in /spool/Videos and removes it from /spool/Series.

Thu, 19 Aug 2021 01:12:28 UTC

Android communication: modern

Posted By Greg Lehey

People on IRC seized on yesterday's article on my pains connecting my (Android) phone to my (Android) TV. I had personally decided that the TV was to blame for displaying a help text instead of a connection menu: But lots of questions, most of which suggested that the article was too long to read. Had I connected it to the LAN? Had I selected the right input? Does the phone even support ?screen casting?? Does the TV even support ?screen casting?? Have you installed ?Google Home??

Tue, 17 Aug 2021 04:07:18 UTC

Displaying Android on TV, again

Posted By Greg Lehey

After yesterday's complete lack of success trying to display my Android phone on the new TV, I did a bit of research. Is there something special about my Xiaomi Redmi 9T phone or my Hisense A7G TV? Off looking for specifically that combination. How about a YouTube video? Sure enough, plenty of them, many pointing out that I didn't need this strange Google Home app. This one showed something quite close to my situation. Just click on the chipped window icon, the one they have chosen for ?cast?. Problem: my phone doesn't display that icon. OK, look for something that refers to MIUI, and found this one, conveniently in Hindi.

Mon, 16 Aug 2021 02:07:55 UTC

More ?smart? TV fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Getting our new TV up and running was very simple, mainly because I had been there before. On the first occasion I had tried to install it according to the instructions, and it had taken forever. This time I ignored what instructions there were, along with the installation procedure, and just connected it up as a monitor. But there are still those functions, and today I spent more time investigating them. One of them is the ?input? choice. TV, of course, and 3 HDMI inputs. Also AV and one labeled ?Screen Shar...?. I suppose it's typical of modern devices that the menus are designed to be too small for the text.

Mon, 16 Aug 2021 01:50:16 UTC

Chloe: Found!

Posted By Greg Lehey

A while back I looked at my diary for 1 September 2002, where I had written: In the evening off to Young and Jackson's on the corner of Flinders St and Swanston St to visit Chloe, ... The link was to my photos for 2 September; in those days I wasn't completely accurate with the dating. And I recalled the photo: a very poor photo of me next to the painting of ?Chloe?, a nude on the first floor.

Sun, 15 Aug 2021 02:04:04 UTC

Internet finally works

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've been using the Internet from home for over 30 years now, since I created a Heath Robinson connection from my home office in Schellnhausen, using an X.25 link to Tandem's ?Expand? network and on to in Austin, Texas. It was clumsy and slow, but it worked. Since then I've had to contend with three issues: price, speed and reliability. Price has dropped continually from the 0.45 DM/kB in March 1992 to my current unlimited ?plan? for $69 a month. Based on my actual usage (434 GB last month), that corresponds to 15.9¢ per GB. Based on the 1992 pricing, it would have been 195.3 million DM, or about 323 million AUD today.

Sun, 15 Aug 2021 01:57:53 UTC

Peak smartphone?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Marginally interesting statistic on Statista today: we have reached ?peak smartphone?. Considering that in the last 6 years more than one ?smart? phone has been produced for every person on earth, that's not surprising. But of course it's a challenge to the makers: how to persuade people to buy new phones although they have perfectly functional ones already. My suggestion: make them easier to use. Easier to interface with other computing devices, in particular. That means going back to established principles rather than inventing trendy new interfaces that nobody understands. Interoperability, that old, worn-out magic word. Why do I need a different interface not just for every phone, but for every app?

Sun, 15 Aug 2021 01:42:37 UTC

Removing Android apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

After the pain installing Android apps over the last couple of days, it seemed imperative to remove the useless ones before I got even more confused. For the most part, that was straightforward. Long press on the icon and a menu pops up: Press ?Uninstall? and it goes away. But ?Music player?, the one that wanted to enter into a legal agreement to play my local files, refused: I can't find a way to get rid of the bloody thing!

Sat, 14 Aug 2021 01:53:19 UTC

More Android audio investigations

Posted By Greg Lehey

More investigation of audio reproduction on Android today, including discussions on IRC. Not very much came of the discussion on IRC: it seems that I'm a fool for not doing it the way the system wants. In particular, I shouldn't know anything about file names or hierarchies. Problem: how do I understand it any other way? How do I interpret this, for example? It doesn't tell me anything that distinguishes the ?songs?. But the real problem seems to be product management somewhere: they decide that file system names and hierarchies are too complicated for normal users, so they work around them.

Fri, 13 Aug 2021 01:58:26 UTC

40 years of PC!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow almost nobody noticed an anniversary today: 40 years ago IBM announced their model 5150, better known as ?Personal Computer? or PC. That's more than half the history of digital computers ago.

Fri, 13 Aug 2021 01:55:26 UTC

Android: Was fragen Sie nach meinen Schmerzen?

Posted By Greg Lehey

What good are mobile phones? I have already established that they're not for phone calls. On that occasion I came up with 7 other uses, almost none of which suited me. The closest were podcast and ?Movies, Netflix?. No, I don't want to watch video on the phone. The display makes up only about 7.5% of the area of my new TV. But there's another issue. When driving, I listen to music on the radio. That's straightforward enough: I have copied a number of my CDs onto disk (eureka), and I can play them there. For example, === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/34) /src/Music/MP3/Schubert/Winterreise 6 -> ls 01-Schubert_-Winterreise,-Op.-89,-D-911---Gute-Nacht.mp3 02-Schubert_-Winterreise,-Op.-89,-D-911---Die-Wetterfahne.mp3 ...

Fri, 13 Aug 2021 01:48:07 UTC

Completing the teevee install

Posted By Greg Lehey

For a couple of days I have had teevee connected to the new TV, and it works. But there are things to do: Check whether I can start X with it. So far it was running with an X server started with the EDID of the monitor I had been using for testing. Potentially the EDID in the TV is broken. Add the other 8 GB of memory and check that it still works.

Wed, 11 Aug 2021 03:03:51 UTC

distress with big memory

Posted By Greg Lehey

Found some time to do some image processing with distress after quadrupling its memory. Is it faster? In the past I have expected to process up to 5 images per minute with DxO PhotoLab, or 12 seconds per image, though recently it seems to have been slower. And a freshly booted machine would show memory usage of about 5.5 out of 8 GB. Today I did two batches, keeping an eye on the memory usage. The first processed 13 images in 100 seconds, using up to 7.7 GB. That's clearly faster, only 8 seconds per image, but the image selection wasn't typical.

Wed, 11 Aug 2021 01:48:35 UTC

TV HDMI connect: final check

Posted By Greg Lehey

Overnight it occurred to me that I do have another portable HDMI source: my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and I have the cable to go with it. To the lounge room, plugged it in. No reaction. Works fine with the monitor. So another nail in the coffin of the TV.

Wed, 11 Aug 2021 01:44:01 UTC

Updating E-1 firmware

Posted By Greg Lehey

Installed my copy of Olympus Studio 2 on distress. How I hate these interfaces! But I found my way through the maze of twisty little passages to the right window for updating firmware. Connected the camera. ?Can't find camera?. Why? Somehow I had too much else to do today, so I didn't check.

Tue, 10 Aug 2021 07:52:35 UTC

Memory and Beethoven's 5th

Posted By Greg Lehey

While messing around with teevee, considered that I might as well put the additional 8 GB of memory back into teevee. But I didn't put it in the same slots. Beep-beep-beep-BURP, something like the theme of Beethoven 5. What does that mean? And why? I've mixed all kinds of memory in these ThinkCentres, but this was the same!

Tue, 10 Aug 2021 07:38:50 UTC

More memory for teevee

Posted By Greg Lehey

After upgrading distress' memory, I had 8 GB (2x4 GB) left over. Just what teevee wants: it already has 8 GB memory, but it's clear that modern web browsers eat it up quickly. OK, put it in and reboot. Beep, something that I don't recall. And then no display! Why? How can adding memory cause that kind of problem? OK, reboot and see what happens. Display. But when it started X, the display claimed that the signal (1920x1080) was out of range. Checking the X configuration shows that I have a second option, 1280x720, and that worked ?fine?. But why? Disconnect the TV and put on a normal monitor.

Tue, 10 Aug 2021 07:36:32 UTC

Microsoft reinstall

Posted By Greg Lehey

I have more Microsoft ?Windows? 10 system disks than I have systems running Microsoft: they come for free with every ThinkCentre I buy. OK, how about calling one of them progenitor and just bring it up to date with a base system that I can then tailor to a successor of dischord, distress, disgust and other Microsoft boxen. Started upgrading one, not helped by the lack of a mouse, but other things took over, so I didn't finish.

Tue, 10 Aug 2021 07:21:25 UTC

More memory!

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the mail today was no fewer than 64 GB of RAM for my ThinkCentres: 32 GB of SO-DIMM after all, despite (it would seem) the recognition of the seller that that's the wrong format for the computer, and 32 GB of DIMMs. The SO-DIMMs can go straight back, of course. And the DIMMs? They're enough to max out one ThinkCentre. So I put them in distress, my overworked Microsoft ?Windows? 10 box. Does it reduce the disk activity? Not yet. Maybe I should really try the Microsoft ?Reinstall? solution.

Mon, 09 Aug 2021 03:05:22 UTC

Another quiet day

Posted By Greg Lehey

Somehow I didn't get much done today. Spent a bit of time trying to find a way to update the firmware on my Olympus E-1, with some promise of success: this discussion gave a download link for Olympus Studio 2, which should be able to update the firmware: Well, it looks like Studio 2 can still be had!

Sat, 07 Aug 2021 04:49:49 UTC

Web site pain, the third

Posted By Greg Lehey

Had to make a funds (?payee?) transfer today with the Bank of Melbourne. It didn't show itself from its best side. The web site was down, not for the first time. Came back later and got a little further, then An error occurred while processing your request. Reference #30.1cf3ce17.1628221490.33b8a46b Refresh? Yes, that worked, but after I had started the transfer and entered all the details I got it again. Finally got to the point where it needed to send me a PIN, and then it decided that I had exceeded my daily transfer limit, something that it clearly hadn't thought of before.

Sat, 07 Aug 2021 04:42:04 UTC

Memory for ThinkCentre M93p

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Jim Dillon today pointing me to the Crucial memory choice page. Enter your exact maker, model and model number, and it will tell you what memory you need. I don't need that, of course: I have the hardware maintenance manual. But it was worth checking, if only to add to today's web site pain. It gave me the choice of M93p tower, M93p tiny, and mine. And how about that: the tower takes up to 4 DIMMs, the ?tiny? takes 2 SO-DIMMs. Tried to find the one for mine, but I had forgotten what they call it (?small? is the right answer), and the only way to find it again was to enter all the search terms from the start.

Sat, 07 Aug 2021 04:40:09 UTC

myGov, 6 years later

Posted By Greg Lehey

Six years ago I tried to sign up with MyGov, an Australian Government ?service? that shows bureaucracy from its worst side. I was so annoyed that I haven't looked at it since. But completing after our COVID-19 vaccinations last week, I received an email: Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2021 11:19:22 +1000 (AEST) From: myGov <[email protected]> Subject: Your COVID-19 vaccination status is available to view Sign in to myGov to get your message in your myGov Inbox. Regards, myGov team Do not reply to this email. And that, apart from some uninteresting headers, was everything.

Fri, 06 Aug 2021 04:02:33 UTC

Backup problems?

Posted By Greg Lehey

From time to time I get this kind of message out of my overnight backup:   DUMP: DUMP: 1849075 tape blocks   DUMP: finished in 271 seconds, throughput 6823 KBytes/sec   DUMP: level 2 dump on Thu Aug  5 04:00:00 2021   DUMP: error reading command pipe: Socket is not connected   DUMP: The ENTIRE dump is aborted. The error is presumably related to dumping compressed data across an NFS connection. But why then? The second line clearly states ?DUMP: finished". And checking the dump, that's correct. It is complete.

Thu, 05 Aug 2021 02:22:40 UTC

What memory modules?

Posted By Greg Lehey

People read yesterday's article on new memory modules and were confused. Yes, they were SO-DIMMs, and what I had in my photos were normal DIMMs. And as I had noted, they're not the same shape. But the seller specifically stated that they would fit my exact ThinkCentre model, the M93p; that's why I bought them. But I had thought that they were just higher. Juha Kupiainen tells me that they're the same height, just half the width. And how about that, the item listing had a photo that showed the dimensions, though rather fuzzily: 67.6 mm. And that's what the Wikipedia page DIMM states: Regular DIMMs are generally 133.35 mm in length, SO-DIMMs 67.6 mm.

Wed, 04 Aug 2021 02:29:04 UTC

More memory

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's clear that a number of my machines need more memory. There's not much that I can do about eureka, which already has its maximum complement of memory (32 GB), though it can do with much more. I'm going to have to face the prospect of replacing it with something with much more memory, at least 64 GB. And to think that I once wrote (?Installing and running FreeBSD?, just over 25 years ago): you will need a computer with an Intel 386 or better CPU, which should have at least 5 MB of memory.

Wed, 04 Aug 2021 01:33:20 UTC

Olympus serial numbers

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that interest me about my collectible cameras is when they were made. In the case of the Olympus DSLRs, that's relatively simple: with the secret handshake you can access 4 pages with information about the camera. The interesting one in this case is page 3, here from my E-1: The values are: CS: Camera Serial Number. This one is also written on the bottom of the camera.

Mon, 02 Aug 2021 02:13:01 UTC

Working around Microsoft breakage, part 815

Posted By Greg Lehey

Part of my pain with processing yesterday's photos from the Olympus E-1 and E-330 was that DxO PhotoLab didn't understand the raw format, and the Olympus Workspace program didn't understand network mounts: it insisted on me climbing its directory tree, which only showed local file systems. But there's a solution to that: symbolic links, a term that Microsoft has apparently not renamed. Pages like this tell you how to create them. You need to be root Administrator to use such powerful tools, and it seems that ?Windows? 10 no longer has the same interface to start an Administrator shell COMMAND.EXE: you need to search for it and then right-click ?run as administrator?.

Sun, 01 Aug 2021 02:38:43 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

On IRC today, Juha Kupiainen asked me how I transferred photos from my phone to a Real Computer. That's straightforward enough, as I reported earlier this month: I use WiFi FTP server and wrap it up in a couple of scripts. Not what Juha can use: he wants to push from his phone over potentially long distances. But it got us in a discussion, and both Peter Jeremy and Daniel O'Connor said that they use syncthing. What's that? A replacement for the standard utilities, it seems. Installed it on hirse and (since it's not a standard) on dereel. And I couldn't work out how to use it.

Sun, 01 Aug 2021 01:45:59 UTC

Photo processing software hell

Posted By Greg Lehey

Spent a little time today examining my new Olympus E-330. How does the sensor compare to modern cameras? How does the E-1 compare? Time for some comparison photos, also including the E-30 and the E-M1 Mark II. First surprise: the ISO range of the E-1 and the E-30 max out at 3200/36° ISO, but the E-330 only goes to 1600/33°. The E-1 considers both of these settings ?ISO BOOST? (with the shouting). OK, take photos at 100/21° and the highest values. For the E-M1 Mark II I did 25000/45° as well. Reading in the photos from the E-330 took forever. It averaged about 800 kB/s.

Sat, 31 Jul 2021 03:11:54 UTC

Strange rsync issue

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ozlabs are going the way of progress and shutting down bilbo, our venerable machine in Canberra. Instead we're going to a VPS. That will doubtless save a lot of money and probably improve availability, but of course disk space is relatively expensive. Stephen Rothwell contacted me and asked me if I really needed those 90 GB of files I had on the system. Almost certainly not. They date from when I hosted on bilbo, but that's years ago now. I would have removed them long ago, except: am I really sure that there's nothing there and nowhere else? OK, tar and feather them and move them here.

Thu, 29 Jul 2021 04:34:32 UTC

Reading Olympus E-1 photos

Posted By Greg Lehey

The Olympus E-1 has a standard mini-USB connector, and finally I have new cables. Tried reading the data on dereel today: (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): WRITE_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 61 40 a8 46 5b 40 13 00 00 00 00 00 (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): CAM status: Uncorrectable parity/CRC error (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): Retrying command, 3 more tries remain (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): WRITE_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 61 00 e8 c9 df 40 13 00 00 03 00 00 (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): CAM status: Uncorrectable parity/CRC error (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): Retrying command, 3 more tries remain (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): WRITE_FPDMA_QUEUED. ACB: 61 00 e8 92 cf 40 13 00 00 03 00 00 (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): CAM status: Uncorrectable parity/CRC error (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): Retrying command, 3 more tries remain (ada0:ahcich0:0:0:0): READ_FPDMA_QUEUED.

Thu, 29 Jul 2021 03:42:41 UTC

Addressing git, try 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

There's something about git that terrifies me, but it's getting to be time to finally come to terms with it. There's a primer in the FreeBSD Committer's Guide, but it's a little uneven. I'm keeping my experience in a living with git page, which is currently far less complete than the primer. I originally cloned a source tree on dereel last month, and the instructions tell me to run this involves the invocation === grog@dereel (/dev/pts/3) /usr/src 5 -> git pull --ff-only remote: Enumerating objects: 96495, done. remote: Counting objects: 100% (96493/96493), done.

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 03:16:44 UTC

VPS server prices dropping

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that just about everybody has a Virtual private server nowadays. I have two, one in Los Angeles and the other in Frankfurt am Main. They're not expensive, though storage is. But discussing on IRC today, I discover that prices are dropping radically, and you can now get servers for as little as $2 per month. For future reference:, and My guess is that the prices will continue changing in both directions; letbox is currently ?out of stock? of its $2 servers.

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 02:09:42 UTC

Xiaomi phone camera scanner

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I established, inter alia, that my almost brand new Xiaomi Redmi 9T phone didn't scan the QR codes at St John of God hospital, while most modern phones do. Why not? Took a look in the ?Settings? for the camera and found: But it was already turned on! Why didn't it work? Messed around a bit with the display. In particular, what do these symbols at the top mean?   Pressed the second one from the right and got this display:   ...

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 01:58:06 UTC

More reboot issues

Posted By Greg Lehey

Tried to start an xterm from teevee on eureka this morning. No reaction. Huh? Problems with the system? Not directly. It was maxing out the disks doing an rsync. Why? The only one is the one at 4:00 every morning, and it typically runs for about 10 to 15 minutes. But further examination showed: Filesystem  1048576-blocks      Used     Avail Capacity  Mounted on ... /dev/da2p1       3,815,019 1,991,615 1,785,253    53%    /dump /dev/da0p1       7,630,093 7,629,994   -76,201   101%    /backups /dev/da1p1       1,907,067 1,906,906  -152,404   109%    /videobackup /dev/da3p1       7,629,565 5,794,996 1,758,273    77%    /photobackup That's very wrong.

Tue, 27 Jul 2021 03:16:48 UTC

St John of God: Book with seven seals

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne's appointment was at St John of God hospital again today. In the past they have made it difficult for me to get in, but ?you ain't seen nothing yet?. I can no longer check in with the Service Victoria app, not because it's broken, but because they don't want you to use it: Huh? How is that supposed to work? A camera is a camera, not a QR scanner. And of course it didn't work. Somebody else came by, and it worked for her, but she was from the hospital staff, and it's not clear how long it took her to get it to work.

Tue, 27 Jul 2021 02:13:06 UTC

Recovering from the outages

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've had no fewer than 3 outages in the last week: two of the remote server, and then the results of the power failure today. Gradually things are coming up more easily, but I keep making notes in my after boot page and then forgetting to do anything about them. The really big one was setting the keyboard for teevee, now that X won't do it automatically, and today I once again found myself in a maze of little twisty passages, all different, finding the right .xmodmap file, not helped by the fact that when I chose the wrong one, I effectively had to reboot to reset to the correct starting point.

Mon, 26 Jul 2021 00:58:34 UTC

Recycling ancient hardware

Posted By Greg Lehey

Decades ago?at least 30 years?I built a state-of-the-art TV/HiFi setup. Two video recorders, two satellite receivers, and of course a TV. What wasn't available on the open market was a method to interconnect them, so I built my own based on switches and amplifiers available from Tandy. As the years went on, the satellite receivers went, TiVo and DVDs came, and I modified the box accordingly: Then came computer-based multimedia, and some time round 2004 the box became superfluous and ended up in the shed.

Sun, 25 Jul 2021 02:32:06 UTC

Census is coming

Posted By Greg Lehey

Still more irritating advertisements on the web today. Oh. One was not an advertisement, just an inappropriate way to draw my attention to the fact that there will be a census next month. Followed the link and found this information, including: If you don't have a Census number, you will be able to ask for one online. You will need to use a mobile phone for this. Now what earthly reason do they have to restrict the access to mobile phones?

Sun, 25 Jul 2021 02:15:51 UTC

Vultr failure

Posted By Greg Lehey

Message from Vultr today: Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2021 14:52:08 -0400 From: "[email protected]" <[email protected]> Subject: Host Node Reboot Regarding the following subscriptions: 4096 MB Cloud Compute - ( in Los Angeles Our monitoring system indicated an issue with the hardware node hosting the instances listed in this email. Our engineering team has investigated the issue and initiated a restart of the host node in question. That took them a long time! The failure was at 16:26 on 21 July, nearly 2 days earlier: Jul 21 16:26:53 lax kernel: ---<<BOOT>>--- Normally I wouldn't have paid any attention to that, but then I discovered that my IRC proxy wasn't working again.

Fri, 23 Jul 2021 01:10:43 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find both my IRC windows unable to connect to the remote proxy. What, off the network again? No, all seemed OK. OK, bip is old, worn-out software (even Wikipedia doesn't seem to know about it), and I'm continually restarting it. That was the case today, too, and putting it into a restart loop seemed to fix things. Problem solved? Not quite. Checked and found: === grog@lax (/dev/pts/0) ~ 1 -> uptime 12:24AM  up  7:58, 1 user, load averages: 0.28, 0.38, 0.34 8 hours uptime?

Thu, 22 Jul 2021 06:20:12 UTC

Getting to Buninyong

Posted By Greg Lehey

Peggy Naumov lives in Buninyong, slightly off to the east of the Ballarat-Colac road that we normally take. Getting there usually goes via Napoleons, but there's also another way via Mount Mercer: OK, I drive down the Ballarat-Colac Road all the time, and currently there are road works to slow things down. Selected the Mount Mercer variant and set off with Google Maps guiding me. But it wanted me to stick to the main road. OK, turn towards Mount Mercer, and sure enough, it recalculated the route. But half way to Mount Mercer, it wanted me to turn right (south)!

Tue, 20 Jul 2021 03:23:45 UTC

Breaking into mobile phones

Posted By Greg Lehey

Latest news today: thousands of mobile phones have been compromised by some method that I haven't read about yet. It even works without a click. Wow! Is that really surprising? Only last week I was ranting about my concerns with mobile phone security. But then, I'm just an old, progress-resistant fogey. Never mind that I got my first mobile phone more than 30 years ago, and people laughed at me for it. But this is ?military grade? spyware! Yes, pull the other one, it's got bells on.

Mon, 19 Jul 2021 07:34:48 UTC

Services Victoria: not for fools like me

Posted By Greg Lehey

While writing up yesterday's rant, I noted something new. I didn't include the entire link at the top of the page: Of course it should be: And those dots tell any normal human with intuition that there are multiple images there, and that you can select them. With the orange arrow at bottom right? Of course not! Select the button with a small part of a digit.

Sun, 18 Jul 2021 02:11:10 UTC

New cordless phones

Posted By Greg Lehey

We have two sets of cordless phones on two different lines: a Uniden 1635 with 4 handsets, bought in October 2014, and a Telstra 12850 with only two handsets in May 2015, mainly for the promise of Bluetooth headset compatibility. The Telstra phone lived up to my prejudices: it felt uncomfortable, had a particularly rasping synthetic voice with US American accent (for Telsta!) , and I couldn't adjust the volume with the Bluetooth connection. So I don't use it. But the battery in one of the Uniden headsets is dead. OK, it can be replaced: $18. That seems a lot, considering that I bought one a couple of years back for $5.25.

Sat, 17 Jul 2021 03:12:43 UTC

?Error messages?

Posted By Greg Lehey has some interesting pages, some of which I would like to update. But how? I don't have a login, and the login page doesn't offer a way to sign up. Tried a guess, but it seems that it was wrong: No Groogle. OK, select ?create a new account?: Savour that message! You don't have permission because you don't have permission. OK, elsewhere they offer help.

Fri, 16 Jul 2021 04:02:01 UTC

Secure transactions

Posted By Greg Lehey

Mail from Macquarie today: From 16 August 2021, we?re reducing the daily transfer limit for online transfers across your accounts to $5,000, unless you?re using the Macquarie Authenticator app. We?re making this change to further enhance your security, as we?ve seen a rise in online fraud and scam activity across Australia. Macquarie Authenticator provides a more secure method for verifying payment instructions than SMS. To transfer more than $5,000 per day, you?ll need to download and set up the Macquarie Authenticator app. We?ve included more information on Macquarie Authenticator below. So to be secure I need to store access credentials on my phone, which can be stolen, rather than keeping them somewhere where nobody will suspect.

Fri, 16 Jul 2021 02:33:20 UTC

More camera history

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm trying to categorize the history of camera technology, at least as seen from my current perspective. It's no secret that camera development has stagnated, and many people blame mobile phones for the situation. But what development is needed? Over the next few days I intend to think aloud about various aspects. Today it's viewfinders and focus. First, though, an overview. Starting a long way back, with old plate cameras, we have: Size: something that you can carry.

Thu, 15 Jul 2021 02:38:53 UTC

Air conditioner failure?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Up this morning to discover that the room temperature was round 16.5° instead of the set 21°. What went wrong there? Took a look at the control panel, and it showed a blinking RUN. That's normally the case when the outside unit turns on and is not yet up to speed. But clearly this had been going on for a while. Turned the internal panel on and off. Bingo! No RUN any more: E17. OK, do a real power cycle on the outside unit (which, of course, wasn't running). Came back in to find the controller displays going through a series of apparently random displays.

Tue, 13 Jul 2021 03:07:48 UTC

Xioami fail

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's experience with hirse, my Redmi 9T, confused me. Why was the machine so slow? Tried again this morning, of course, and also to see how many of the services were still running. The phone reacted normally, but the connection results weren't encouraging: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/6) ~ 521 -> nmap hirse Starting Nmap 7.30 ( ) at 2021-07-13 13:10 AEST Nmap scan report for hirse ( Host is up (0.0024s latency). rDNS record for Not shown: 997 closed ports PORT     STATE SERVICE 1234/tcp open  hotline That's not very much.

Mon, 12 Jul 2021 01:38:29 UTC

More Xiaomi insights

Posted By Greg Lehey

Ultimately I decided not to return hirse, my Redmi 9T. Yes, I wasn't able to get it to stop stopping apps at random, but that was the only real problem (apart from the fact that it was Android, of course). In particular, I liked the touch sensor integrated into the on-off button, And apart from the pain of finding a suitable replacement, who knows what problems a different model might have other irritations. Better the devil you know. Another good thing about the phone is the very long battery life. In the past I have been charging it every night, but the battery charge level seldom went below 70%.

Sat, 10 Jul 2021 03:39:08 UTC

QR code confusion

Posted By Greg Lehey

Walking round town nowadays requires a lot of QR code reading for contact tracing. Today when entering the hospital to pick Yvonne up, I took my standard image in the hallway. But in the unit where I was to pick her up, there was another one, conveniently located at knee height: OK, scan: OK, how do you open the camera? Showed that to the receptionist, who said ?never mind, use the one in the entrance?.

Sat, 10 Jul 2021 02:02:00 UTC

Retuning Yvonne's heart

Posted By Greg Lehey

Up in the middle of the night (OK, 6:30) to take Yvonne to St John of God hospital. The weather was amazing: temperatures round freezing, and plenty of fog. Yvonne went for a ?DCR TOE?, which I had already discovered means direct cardioversion and transoesophageal echocardiogram. I like to think it in terms of car ignition: her heart has been misfiring, and she needed the electrics looked at (TOE) and tuned up (DCR). She stayed there for half a day, and I picked her up round 14:00, apparently firing on all four cylinders. Dr Reddy prescribed her some Flecainide acetate and said that the procedure had been a success, something confirmed by her later blood pressure readings, for the first time without arrhythmia warnings.

Fri, 09 Jul 2021 01:23:26 UTC

More Google Maps navigation

Posted By Greg Lehey

Once again I used Google Maps to navigate to the dentist (?Hey Google, take me to Virginia Williams?), which worked well. Less so on the way back. It took me down Dawson Street and wanted me to turn right onto the Midland Highway: Sorry, no can do: That's not the first time a navigator has tried to take me that way.

Sun, 04 Jul 2021 01:47:19 UTC

Jamie Fraser collects leftovers

Posted By Greg Lehey

Jamie Fraser along again today, this time to pick up equipment instead of to deliver it. I had decided that I don't want to sell the old UPS that we bought when we moved in here. Instead I would give it away on Freecycle. But clearly Jamie is a more worthy choice, and he has just moved house, so it sounds like a good idea to give it to him. While we were at it, I tried in vain to give him some furniture for his lounge room, the cupboard at the back of this photo from 2004: But he was having none of it.

Sat, 03 Jul 2021 02:51:26 UTC

Google: Error, guess why

Posted By Greg Lehey

Tried sending an SMS today, using the service. Sorry, not today: OK, Google, what phone are you trying to talk to? It won't say, and I couldn't find a way to establish it. The Learn more link was typically useless: it didn't contain any information about the specific issue. Tried all the solutions, and finally scanning the QR code worked around the problem. But why does modern software refuse to supply more information?

Sat, 03 Jul 2021 02:42:58 UTC

New, faster backups

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday evening, the first of the month, was the day for the level 0 backups. Previously they ran for up to 15 hours, but then I got suggestions from Daniel Nebdal to use alternative compression programs. On eureka that's zstd, because it's older than the alternative compression programs. Today was the first time to compare it in action. The backup started at 21:00, and it was finished at 7:06, after 10 hours, 6 minutes. Last month it finished at 12:50, 15 hours, 50 minutes. Somehow I had expected more of a difference, but it's still a great improvement. lagoon was a different story.

Thu, 01 Jul 2021 00:31:22 UTC

Google Maps: The cost

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the things that I had to do to use Google Maps yesterday was to enable mobile data, something I almost never do. Why? I'm stingy, and in principle I always have Wi-Fi access. So today I took a careful look at data usage: Number       Destination       Duration/Data       Charge       Date 0490494038       28.09MB ...

Wed, 30 Jun 2021 02:31:45 UTC

Google Maps with voice recognition

Posted By Greg Lehey

Michael James had recently mentioned that he found Google Maps' voice recognition convenient. OK, we can do that too. ?Hey Google Take me to St John of God?. ?Choose your destination?. OK, there were 5 of them, including mine, and it took me there. One point for Google Maps. Next to the Fruit Shack. It knew that too. But the instructions were all wrong: That's 150 km away. I suppose that's acceptable, but why didn't it repeat the address that it found?

Tue, 29 Jun 2021 05:57:31 UTC

CIFS for Android

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that I have put enough effort into understanding the MIUI version of Android that I might as well stay with it. The only really irritating issue (beyond that fact that it's Android) is that it keeps stopping processes apps that should continue running. But while looking through the enormous mess of apps that I already have on the phone, I came across one that I have most certainly never used: LAN Drive, which offers an SMB server. Now wouldn't that be a good idea? In fact, I think I expressed a similar view some time ago.

Tue, 29 Jun 2021 05:40:22 UTC

Getting to know git

Posted By Greg Lehey

My accident with youtube-dl last week made it clear: it's time to upgrade teevee. But now there's this horrible git thing, and I'm going to have to come to terms with it. The documentation we have is rather sketchy, and it appears to contradict itself. I suspect that it will change in the not too distant future. It's been over 5 months since my last attempt, and looking at the tree I checked out, I no longer know what branch it is. How can I tell? It seems that the first line of /usr/src/UPDATING is a good start, though not as reliable as I would like.

Mon, 28 Jun 2021 01:22:13 UTC

More distress distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

More photos to process today. Is distress still running? rwho doesn't seem to think so. But it was. Did rwhod get removed with yesterday's recovery? OK, just start it: C:\>rwhod 'rwhod' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operatube program or batch file. Damn! Where did I get it from? Off and found this page, which seems to be the one I had before. Downloaded it and tried to install: Damn. Do I have to run as ?Administrator??

Sun, 27 Jun 2021 03:04:11 UTC

Trying Waze

Posted By Greg Lehey

Driving into Ballarat gave me the chance to try out yet another navigation app, Waze, which had been suggested (if not recommended) by Michael James. It works, sort of. I've seen routes like this before: That's pointing in exactly the opposite direction from the one I needed to take. The apps take the current direction of travel (or, presumably, the way the device is pointing) to decide on the route, and this one would have taken me round in a 3.3 km circular diversion to get back to Grassy Gully Road.

Sun, 27 Jun 2021 02:11:25 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

While bringing distress back to life, was presented with this notification: Aargh! All the things that I hate, put together: ?Streamlined? toolbar and menus: in other words, different, taking getting used to. ?Modern? tabs. ?Modern? is so irritating that I'm taking it to mean ?all that is bad?. Fresh icons: one barely recognizable icon changed to something else just when I was getting to be able to identify it.

Sun, 27 Jun 2021 01:55:48 UTC

distress in distress

Posted By Greg Lehey

House photo today, nothing special until it came to the processing. distress, my Microsoft 10 box, didn't respond. A quick look showed that it had been powered off. How did that happen? Connected up a monitor and powered on. Came back a little later and found that it was powered down again. OK, add a keyboard, sit and watch. But this time it ran through and recovered. The message was interesting: And the ?More info? wasn't very helpful, giving me the impression that it was all my fault.

Fri, 25 Jun 2021 03:56:21 UTC

Python horror

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I installed an update to youtube-dl to try to download videos from a reticent TV broadcast web site. It didn't work. Goodbye, TV site. You don't get to tell me how to watch TV. But then I wanted to watch the AlJazeera news. No file. I've seen that before: they keep changing their YouTube ID. But not this time. Running it manually, I got: [download] Destination: /spool/Docco/AlJaz-15 /usr/local/lib/ Undefined symbol "close_range@FBSD_1.6" ERROR: ffmpeg exited with code 1 Grr! The youtube-dl upgrade had installed a new version of python, and it broke some dependency.

Fri, 25 Jun 2021 02:52:21 UTC

Which mobile phone, once again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Rather to my surprise, the seller of my Xiaomi Redmi 9T has agreed to take the phone back. So off to look for alternatives. To my further surprise, I have found very few. I need to consider whether I can't live with this misfeature. After all, it's not as if Android is anywhere close to my idea of a good operating environment. And one feature of the phone is really convenient: the fingerprint reader that overlays the on-off button. It's hard to find details about how other phones handle that.

Thu, 24 Jun 2021 04:44:05 UTC

Organic Maps

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally Organic Maps downloaded the maps for Victoria. Since they're OpenStreetMap maps, I probably already have them on the phone, but that would require sharing, something that seems to be foreign to the concept of Android. Yes, it works. Tried the 708 Eyre Street that confused HERE WeGo. Well, I tried to try it. It seems that Organic Maps doesn't believe in looking for street numbers. It beat HERE WeGo by finding Eyre Street in Ballarat, but positioned at the western end, and I couldn't find a way to change it.

Thu, 24 Jun 2021 04:31:02 UTC

OI.Share revisited

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another Android app that I have used in the past is OI.Share. I have found it almost completely useless, but was that possibly because of the phone I was using? Tried setting it up again today. ?Easy Setup? worked first time. But: My only options are to try it again! And of course There Can Only Be One: Surely that can't be right. OK, remove, try again: What does that mean?

Thu, 24 Jun 2021 03:16:41 UTC

More Xiaomi pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

So what do I do about the Xiaomi Redmi 9T? The seller has effectively given up trying to pretend that they can offer a warranty: The extended warranty is under our own company for our customer hence we do not have the certificate :( That's nonsense, of course. They don't have a company. Even the invoice appears to be taken from some other company, though possibly they don't know of it. So I can send it back. But what do I replace it with? Apart from the misfeature, it's quite a nice phone.

Wed, 23 Jun 2021 02:58:54 UTC

Another GPS navigation app?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On IRC, Andy Snow suggested Organic Maps, which he found quite fast, though it's also based on OpenStreetMap. Installed it, but it didn't show itself from its fastest side: it hung at 14% while downloading maps. Still, that's probably the toyshop.

Wed, 23 Jun 2021 02:20:33 UTC

Latest MIUI pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

The seller of the Xiaomi Redmi 9T sent me an invoice in PDF form, without ABN, stating ?2 years warranty?. Without the ABN it's not worth the paper it isn't printed on. Replied asking for a written document. In the meantime, finally got a response for the support ticket that I entered on Friday. They wanted the IMEI number. Why didn't they specify that on their last message, which only asked for the serial number? OK, sent that, and got quite a quick reply: Both IMEI 865817055036801 and 865817055036819 are not found in our database.

Tue, 22 Jun 2021 05:51:39 UTC

More Xiaomi fixes?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On IRC today, Callum Gibson pointed me to a promised fix for my Xiaomi Redmi 9T problems. It's from Quora, so there are several answers. I didn't have time to follow, but there's some hope.

Tue, 22 Jun 2021 05:21:38 UTC

Navigating to Ballarat

Posted By Greg Lehey

On my way to Ballarat I tried a couple of navigation apps. Which ones? iGO and Sygic are no longer available. And somehow I got fed up with the others. Tried with HERE WeGo, which wanted to take me to Eyre Street in Buninyong. I thought that it might have been because I typed in the wrong street number (704 instead of 708), but no, 704 Eyre Street Ballarat also exists. So another app bites the dust. On the way back I used Google Maps, which still doesn't excite me.

Tue, 22 Jun 2021 02:53:47 UTC

GPS navigators: going round in circles

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen in my diary for 10 years ago today: I bought a new GPS navigator and discovered that the map data was completely out of date. That's exactly the same problem I had with the most recent one in April. In that connection, it's interesting to note the increase in size of the map files: -rwxr--r--  1 grog  wheel  80226209 Mar 19  2010 Australia.fbl 120695296  07-27-2019 18:15   AZ 2020/CONTENT/Map/Australia_R3_HERE_2019.Q2_190612.fbl 121902592  03-02-2021 10:41   AZ 2021/CONTENT/map/Australia_HERE_2020.Q2_200720.fbl 122764288  06-10-2021 10:06   com.nng.igo.primong.igoworld/files/privdocs/InappShop/Mount/map/Australia.fbl The last three are reported by zip, which is too polite to use international date formats, so the dates are in out-of-order MDY format.

Tue, 22 Jun 2021 02:27:00 UTC

Xiaomi still kills apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

As I feared, despite the configuration hoops I jumped through, hirse continues to kill apps that are marked in multiple ways as ?don't stop?. Here an example of the servers: === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~/Photos/20210619 215 -> date; nmap hirse Sun 20 Jun 2021 17:58:27 AEST PORT     STATE SERVICE 1234/tcp open  hotline 2121/tcp open  ccproxy-ftp 4242/tcp open  vrml-multi-use === grog@eureka (/dev/pts/14) ~/Photos/20210619 217 -> date; nmap hirse Mon 21 Jun 2021 09:48:33 AEST PORT     STATE SERVICE 1234/tcp open  hotline 4242/tcp open  vrml-multi-use Got a response from the seller about my return request: Hi dear, The extended 1 year warranty is under us :) Hence for 2nd year, you can claim with us if there's any issue with the phone :) Thanks, Kelly ...

Mon, 21 Jun 2021 02:10:00 UTC

More QR code scans

Posted By Greg Lehey

On the way to pick up Lara we stopped at a petrol station. Walked in without a mask, because I forgot. Nobody complained, and on request pointed me at the toilet. QR code! Makes sense. Scan. On the way out, checked the door. Yes, QR code. Scan. Nobody else did, and nobody even pointed it out to me. What's the point?

Mon, 21 Jun 2021 00:35:10 UTC

GPS navigators yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Driving to Melbourne was a good chance to try out the few GPS navigators that I hadn't already tried. That turned out to be only HERE WeGo. For the fun of it, also tried MapFactor Navigator again. I also had my standalone navigator running. Navigator proved once again to be worse than useless. At least HERE WeGo chose the correct route. Navigator was absolutely consistent in choosing routes ranging from suboptimal to completely wrong. In Ferntree Gully Road it repeatedly wanted me to do a U turn when I was on the correct route. I thought I had had set the wrong destination, but after returning I confirmed that I had the correct street.

Mon, 21 Jun 2021 00:14:48 UTC

More Xiaomi pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

I went to a lot of trouble yesterday to configure hirse, my Xiaomi Redmi 9T mobile phone, from stopping apps all the time, and I thought that I had succeeded. But no, they're still going away. That's enough. I don't need this kind of annoyance, and there are plenty of other phones out there that don't have this defect. It goes back.

Sat, 19 Jun 2021 23:57:44 UTC

Still more navigation apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

Carried on half-heartedly today trying to find a usable GPS navigation app for my phone. It's depressing. I've established that iGO doesn't have adequate POI data, not even the amount delivered with el-cheapo standalone navigators, and like Sygic, it's just too expensive. MapFactor Navigator worked, but had significant issues with OpenStreetMap, and also the search interface was suboptimal. As I later discovered, I couldn't find a way to enter street numbers. Tomorrow we're going to Ferntree Gully, but I couldn't enter the complete address. What else is there? MAPS.ME, apart from being too loud, also uses OpenStreetMap, so it's not worth trying.

Sat, 19 Jun 2021 03:56:35 UTC

Finding the ATA

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's attempts to recover my Apple ID were thwarted because I couldn't locate my VoIP ATA on the network. I had disconnected it from the network, so when I reconnected it it would get a new IP address, and comparing the output of arp -a before and after would show it to me. Did that and found: ( at 00:25:9b:6e:34:36 on em0 expires in 1033 seconds [ethernet] So that's why hirse moved. officephone (as I think it was called) had had the same IP address.

Sat, 19 Jun 2021 03:45:06 UTC

Bloody dhcpd!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Trying to download my screen shots from hirse was more difficult than I expected. Timeouts although the apps were running. What's going on? While looking for something else, found an indication of the IP address, which the Settings menu must have inadvertently displayed. That's dhcp-228, and hirse is Why did that happen? In general, dhcpd hangs on to IP addresses at all costs. I had to modify my scripts to accept alternate IP addresses.

Sat, 19 Jun 2021 03:39:22 UTC

MapFactor navigator

Posted By Greg Lehey

Going into Ballarat gave me a chance to try out a new GPS navigator, MapFactor Navigator. It wasn't very successful. The maps were correct, but the route that it chose wasn't. And every time I deviated from its recommendations, it recalculated a new incorrect route. In addition, it showed speed limits that are just plain wrong. Other navigators often show old speed limits, but this one shows limits that have never existed, like 60 km/h down Grassy Gully Road. My guess is that this is due to their use of OpenStreetMap. I checked Grassy Gully Road, and sure enough, it shows a speed limit of 60 km/h.

Sat, 19 Jun 2021 02:44:03 UTC

MIUI app murders: fixed?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Surely I can't be the only person suffering from this stupid app stoppage that MIUI seems to think desirable. More searching on the web brought me this. Unlike previous pages, it refers to version 10 of MIUI, the one I'm running. Followed it: Go to Settings/Battery & Performance: Select the ?Settings?

Sat, 19 Jun 2021 02:22:21 UTC

MIUI assassinations: enough!

Posted By Greg Lehey

I've spent the best part of a week trying to stop the MIUI version of Android from stopping processes apps when it feels like it. Why? This is a clear violation of the Trade Practices Act. A computing device is there to run programs. If it can't do it reliably, for whatever reason, and I haven't been warned in advance, that's a violation. Of course, first check that it can't be fixed. Clearly they think of it as a feature, not a bug. A case for support. Where are they? This page gives me Technical Support - [email protected] Doesn't that inspire confidence?

Fri, 18 Jun 2021 03:03:58 UTC

Banks in the time of Internet

Posted By Greg Lehey

In the article about the sale of Pedro I praised the bank system for getting their act together and allowing instant transfers. That might have been premature. Yvonne wanted to pay Sally for the advertisement she put in the Trading Post. ?It says that the server is down?. Oh. Were we off the net again? No, all fine, but indeed I got a timeout on OK, wait a bit?a good half hour?and it worked. Then I wanted to pay for Lara, using the Bank of Melbourne account. Timeout on Others confirmed that the servers were inaccessible, and later came up with this news report.

Fri, 18 Jun 2021 02:40:16 UTC

Recovering Apple ID

Posted By Greg Lehey

Finally found the (unflattering) password for my Apple ID today, and Apple accepted it. But it wasn't done yet: This stupid reliance on phone numbers to authenticate things is Just Plain Stupid. As far as the number shows, it's a plain ?landline? (in fact, it's VoIP, but Apple can't know that). And there are ways to tap into phone lines along the side of the road: Those numbers on the tags are the last 4 digits of the phone number.

Fri, 18 Jun 2021 02:16:02 UTC

Understanding iPads

Posted By Greg Lehey

My ?new? iPad 2 came with no documentation at all. While that's modern, in this case it was a free gift, so I could hardly complain. But I had difficulties navigating: how do you get away from a full screen? It wasn't until some time later that I noticed the sole button on the side (or is that bottom?) . Still, Apple is a reputable manufacturer. They must have manuals for the device. Off to look for ?Ipad 2 manual?, and sure enough, came up with the iPad manual page, which pointed me at this PDF document. Only 12 pages, and 11 of them were warranty and safety information.

Thu, 17 Jun 2021 02:31:40 UTC

An iPad

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne came home from shopping today with an iPad 2. Why? The price was right: nothing. Plugged it in and tried to set it up. ?Please enter your Apple ID?. Aaargh! Just what I was ranting about yesterday! But maybe I should do it, at least to set it up. Anyway, don't I have one after all? Yes, on my password list, unfortunately without a password. Why did I forget that? OK, click on ?forgotten password?. It wants to send a code to my old phone number, and wouldn't take no for an answer. When I continued anyway, got: There is not enough information to reset your password at this time.

Thu, 17 Jun 2021 02:14:30 UTC

Navigation apps again

Posted By Greg Lehey

Going to Ballarat was a good opportunity to further test the navigation apps that I had installed on hirse: iGO and Sygic. In principle I had decided against iGO, at least because of the lack of POIs, but it seems that I was at least partially wrong there: it was able to find M.C.Physio. But it couldn't find ALDI, so it's probably not the choice. Sygic calculated an arrival time that looked wrong. But I kept my eye on it, and how about that, it was right after all. Wonderful. But that was on the way to the dentist. While I was there, it seems, the free trial of ?Sygic Premium?

Wed, 16 Jun 2021 23:43:10 UTC

More MIUI assassinations

Posted By Greg Lehey

hirse still continues to wake in the morning with fewer apps running than on the night before. What's going on? On checking, discovered that most of the apps that were ticked in this list, and which I had painstakingly unticked, were ticked again: But there's more. You can do an app-by-app configuration. In fact, it seems that to get it to behave, you must do an app-by-app configuration, and of course all my favourite apps were on the ?chop? list.

Wed, 16 Jun 2021 02:24:52 UTC

Navigation confusion

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yvonne will pick up a device (as it happens, an iPad) for me tomorrow, so set up the real GPS navigator for her to find the place. And from there she wanted to go to M.C.Physio, so I searched for that in the POIs. Yes, it has it, twice in fact: Now isn't that helpful. Same address, two different distances. How did they manage that?

Wed, 16 Jun 2021 01:35:58 UTC

Sending SMS

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the people interested in buying Pedro, all communicating by SMS on phones. Yvonne spoke to one of them today, and she wanted details by ?text?. How do you do that? Slide (or ?swipe??) over the surface of a phone? That way madness lies. I recall some interface I have used in the past, but I couldn't find it now. OK, what's IRC for? Asked and got a reply from Daniel O'Connor: On an Apple. I can do that, though I had to reboot fwaggle: it didn't do so automatically after last week's power failure. -bash: command not found.

Tue, 15 Jun 2021 03:15:07 UTC

Still more Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Gradually I'm coming to terms with hirse, my new Xiaomi Redmi 9T. There are still a few rough edges to work out, of course. The most obvious one was the continual app disappearance: I continually needed to restart things, for no obvious reason. But Andy Snow explained: it's a feature, not a bug. The apps that get stopped are ones that use the most power, and this page explains how to fix it?if you happen to be using a 3 year old version of MIUI. Still, it hasn't changed completely beyond recognition. The instructions about ?becoming a developer? no longer seem to apply, I think, but this sequence seems to be the way I went: ...

Mon, 14 Jun 2021 03:22:18 UTC

Begone foul cracker!

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find 2000 mail messages, most of which looked like:  937 N + 12-06-2021 To [email protected] (   6) World Wide Web Owner N + FAILURE: /%29%20AND%204985%3D%28SELECT%20%28CASE%20WHEN%20%284985%3D4985%29%20THEN%204985%20ELSE%20%28SELECT%205052%20UNI  938 N + 12-06-2021 To [email protected] (   6) World Wide Web Owner N + FAILURE: /%29%20AND%207697%3D%28SELECT%20%28CASE%20WHEN%20%287697%3D6953%29%20THEN%207697%20ELSE%20%28SELECT%206953%20UNI  940 N + 12-06-2021 To [email protected] (   6) World Wide Web Owner N + FAILURE: /%27%20OR%20NOT%201661%3D2897%20OR%20%27rxVi%27%3D%27YQTNgrog/Rant/reverse-horror.php/ <- All from the same address, of course: Remote IP: Client:         Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071103 Firefox/ OK, time to finally set up a firewall to block idiots like that.

Sun, 13 Jun 2021 03:47:23 UTC

Phone image quality

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I took a couple of images with hirse, my new phone, in the darker corners of my office. How good are they? Good enough if you're not fussy. How about a crop (the box next to the microscope at top left): That's not spectacular. Surely a Real Camera can do better: Oh. Yes, marginally better, but still not acceptable. That was taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 ASPH., which is closest to the phone in angle of view and aperture.

Sun, 13 Jun 2021 03:19:03 UTC

More Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

After yesterday's journey to Cape Clear, today was the time to evaluate the track logs. Where are they? I know the ones for Mendhak GPS logger: /storage/emulated/0/Android/data/com.mendhak.gpslogger/files/. OK, take a look with ftp. Connection refused! The ftp server had stopped. Restart the server and try again. But there was no track log there! GPS logger had also stopped. So had one of the navigation apps. In fact, hardly anything was running any more. What's going on here? OK, where are the track logs from iGO and Sygic? How do you find them? Presumably the app authors expect you to ?swipe? all over the place with magic incantations instead of just specifying a path name.

Sat, 12 Jun 2021 03:06:53 UTC

More navigation apps

Posted By Greg Lehey

Going to Pene Kirk's in Cape Clear gave me an opportunity to try out more navigation apps. This time I decided to compare iGO and Sygic. I didn't have an address for Pene. I know where it is, and I easily established the coordinates, but how do I enter them? iGo knows that I'm in the USA or somewhere like that, so it offers a west (negative) longitude by default: But it accepted my guess of an E to represent east. And it took me down my short cut via Harrisons Road, which, like just about every map I've seen lately, it calls Stones Road.

Sat, 12 Jun 2021 03:01:37 UTC

More Android surprises

Posted By Greg Lehey

I'm gradually coming to terms with hirse, my new Xiaomi Redmi 9T mobile phone. But there are typical modern things like this: Clearly a feedback page. But for what? Ah, it's too polite to say. I may never know, so certainly I can't feed anything back.

Sat, 12 Jun 2021 02:31:08 UTC

USB file system confusion

Posted By Greg Lehey

Into the office this morning to find that my nightly backups didn't work as intended: the backup file system for eureka had overflowed. Further investigation showed that the four external USB disks had been probed in the wrong sequence, and I had backed up to the /dump file system instead of the /backups file system. Another item for my ?after boot? page. But shouldn't there be an option to mount based on the disk label? I had some recollection, but I couldn't find it. Maybe it's was something that I did with Vinum decades ago.

Fri, 11 Jun 2021 07:46:02 UTC

firefox display refusal

Posted By Greg Lehey

Today's photos started off with a photo of the garden and two screen shots, the first a detail of the second. But one of my firefoxes didn't want to know: That text on the right is displayed when the image can't be displayed. Why? Other browsers can show it, so it's clearly not an issue with the image. But look at that name! What an obscenity! My ad blocker (and others) wanted nothing to do with it, though they were happy enough with the name of the detail image,

Fri, 11 Jun 2021 07:18:15 UTC

What size mobile phone?

Posted By Greg Lehey

One of the really frustrating things about using a mobile phone as a computer is that they're so tiny. My old S?msung I9100 has a display with 11 cm diagonal, about 4?" or 0.33% of the area of our TV display. That's barely usable. And when I first got involved with Android, I chose a device with a marginally larger display: a 10" tablet, a whopping 1.7% of the TV display. But tablets are obviously too big. Phones are the way of the future: they need to fit into your shirt pocket, it would seem: Still, my Nokia 3 had a somewhat larger display than the S?msung, 5" or 0.44% of the TV.

Fri, 11 Jun 2021 03:41:02 UTC

iGO to Napoleons

Posted By Greg Lehey

A rather soggy ?you have mail? slip from Australia Post in the letter box today: my newest Nikon F was waiting for me at the post office. Time to try out the Android version of iGO on hirse. That's effectively the same software that I use on my standalone navigators. I had tried installing it 9 months ago, but failed to install any maps. Try again. Yes, it installed, even very quickly: this phone seems to have much faster networking than the Nokia 3: it displayed rates of over 2 MB/s, coming close to the speed of my network link. The iGO interface is different, but vaguely familiar.

Fri, 11 Jun 2021 03:29:30 UTC

Recovering computers

Posted By Greg Lehey

How did the computers weather the power failure? Frustratingly, eureka's hardware doesn't recover from a power failure: I have to manually power it on, and no UEFI setup option can change that. distress, the Microsoft ?Windows? 10 box, came up in its usual disk-eating state. teevee came up with no problems at all, but I still needed to start X and set the key map. lagoon came up, but couldn't mount NFS file systems from eureka, so I thought it easier to reboot it after eureka was up. And eureka? It doesn't want to boot, presumably a variant on the issues I have with dereel: In this case, my guess is that I installed a newer variant of the boot code, but that the support in the file system was missing (no directory ...

Thu, 10 Jun 2021 03:14:53 UTC

Mobile phones and supercomputers

Posted By Greg Lehey

When I started in the business, the supercomputer was the Control Data 7600, and for a long time I measured all computers by its performance. Basic parameters: 2 CPUs, each with 8 functional units (I think; it's surprisingly difficult to find details). Cycle time 27.5 ns, so if all 16 functional units were running (which never happens), it would run at about 580 MIPS. And my new Xiaomi Redmi 9T mobile phone? According to it has ?Octa-core (4x2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver)?.

Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:15:45 UTC

Still more Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Presumably as a result of practice, setting up hirse, my new Android phone, wasn't as difficult as I had feared. Of course, there were still things to be done. One was just plain finding installed apps. Much discussion on IRC, and lots of experimentation, and finally I got roughly what I was looking for. It seems that MIUI has two different ways of displaying apps. By default it's the old way, in pages ?swiped? sideways, the way it was on my S?msung I9100. The problem is that I didn't find a way to sort the icons alphabetically, so I had to search the entire collection.

Wed, 09 Jun 2021 03:34:01 UTC

Android compatibility: the truth?

Posted By Greg Lehey

Last week I grumbled about the fact that Service Victoria's app doesn't support my old S?msung I9100: Android 4.1 is too old for it. And Callum Gibson defended the choice because of the effort involved in supporting such old (over 8 years!) systems. And then I discovered that some apps are too old for modern Android! I had difficulty with the WiFi File Transfer, because it was too old. And today I spent some time looking for the Mendhak GPS logger. When I found it, the author explained the reason why it's no longer in the toy shop: The core of the issue (why it gets removed) has been that GPSLogger supports a lot of older devices and frameworks, whereas the Play Store is always trying to get ...

Wed, 09 Jun 2021 01:47:02 UTC

More Android fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I managed to set up hirse, my new Xiaomi Redmi 9T mobile phone, without too many difficulties. But of course there were many loose ends. First, what about a GPS logger? In the past I had used the Mendhak GPS logger, but that was no longer an option: the toy shop didn't know about it. I had had this problem before with taskumatti, and I had installed two others, both titled ?GPS Logger?: BasicAirData and Peter Ho. They weren't a raging success: in fact, I couldn't get either to work. BasicAirData only ever showed this screen: That wasn't a hardware issue: the GPS status app showed a surprising number of satellites.

Wed, 09 Jun 2021 01:42:26 UTC

Microsoft disk thrashing

Posted By Greg Lehey

What's wrong with Microsoft ?Windows? 10? Since last month's forced update, it seems to be trying its best to kill the disk: for no apparent reason, the system processes use 100% disk for minutes on end. I suppose I should replace it with an SSD, but what does it happen in the first place? How I hate Microsoft!

Tue, 08 Jun 2021 04:05:50 UTC

Telling time with Android

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another issue with all Android phones that I have seen is that they don't want to display seconds in their times. hirse came with a clock app that nicely did so, even by default. But what about on the screensaver? No, then the seconds go away, and there's no way to get them back. Why? I can only assume that this is an energy saving thing. But I wish they'd offer it, at least as an option.

Tue, 08 Jun 2021 02:22:35 UTC

Setting up Xiaomi Redmi 9T

Posted By Greg Lehey

Unpacked the new Xiaomi Redmi 9T phone with some difficulty: it had been wrapped tightly in bubble foil, and I had difficulty unwrapping it. The first thing I saw was a USB charger, outside the box. Why? There was another charger with European plug inside the box. Clearly not an Australian model. But what I wasn't expecting was how much bigger it was than previous phones: From left to right: S?msung G9100, Nokia 3, Xiaomi. Documentation looked better than I expected. Warranty documentation written in flyspeck, and 100 pages of instructions, admittedly also in flyspeck!

Tue, 08 Jun 2021 00:19:46 UTC

Where's my phone?, conclusion

Posted By Greg Lehey

Where's the phone that I bought nearly 2 weeks ago? On Friday they sent it to Wendouree, apparently too late to get it to the post office on the same day. OK, what does AusPost tracking say today? And yes, the times are consistent wrong way round chronological. So it was transferred to the (unspecified) post office at 6:42 and then put in transit 7 minutes later. What does that mean? Called up the post office on 5342 0455 and was told that the packages were just being unloaded from the car, and that it would take about an hour, after they had scanned them.

Mon, 07 Jun 2021 05:38:19 UTC

dereel X upgrade, next pain

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday I managed to avoid doing any work getting X configured on dereel. In principle all I needed was to get the configuration to arrange the three displays in the correct order, which in this case means :0.0 on D-Sub, :0.1 on DVI and :0.2 on HDMI. That's necessary at least because only the third display has an HDMI input, and on the second the D-Sub input is already in use. Irritatingly, that meant that the non-X display was on the middle monitor, and it's stupid enough to change displays if one goes away. So when eureka:0.0 (on the same monitor) does a screen blank, it changes to dereel and doesn't come back when I restore the eureka displays.

Sun, 06 Jun 2021 03:02:21 UTC

More dereel fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

A little more playing around with dereel today. First, take the memory out of eureso and put it in dereel, increasing dereel from 8 GB to 16 GB. Booting wasn't quite what I expected. Firstly, it failed: Haven't I seen that before? I'll have to check. And don't I just need to enter boot to boot? Yes. But then I saw: real memory  = 12884901888 (12288 MB) avail memory = 12384124928 (11810 MB) Why not 16 GB?

Sat, 05 Jun 2021 04:04:32 UTC

Backup problems solved

Posted By Greg Lehey

My replacement of backup programs brought an unexpected problem, as I noted a couple of days ago. The backups failed with dump -0uf - / | nice zstd -T4 > /dump/lagoon-FreeBSD/0/root.bz2 mksnap_ffs: Cannot create snapshot //.snap/dump_snapshot: /: Snapshots are not yet supported when running with journaled soft updates: Operation not supported dump: Cannot create //.snap/dump_snapshot: No such file or directory Today I tried the obvious: copy and paste the first line. It worked! Huh? Time for more examination of that script:   echo dump -${level}uf - $fs \| nice $PRI $BZIP \> $dumpfile.bz2   if [ "$dummy" != "Y" ]; then     ...

Sat, 05 Jun 2021 03:45:14 UTC

X on dereel, next attempt

Posted By Greg Lehey

In August last year I spent two weeks trying to configure X on dereel, and ultimately gave up postponed the effort. The issue was almost certainly a bug in the nvidia driver: no matter what I wrote in the X configuration file, it put the displays in the same sequence, and not the one I wanted. Since then I have upgraded the system, and it makes sense to use dereel as my workstation and eureka as the house hub. So let's take a look at that X configuration again... It has changed completely! I didn't get very far, but what I saw today was (from /var/log/Xorg.0.log): [196913.340] (==) Log file: "/var/log/Xorg.0.log", Time: Fri Jun  4 17:17:50 2021 [196913.340] (==) Using system config directory "/usr/local/share/X11/xorg.conf.d" [196913.340] (==) No Layout section.

Sat, 05 Jun 2021 03:07:21 UTC

Access only with QR code

Posted By Greg Lehey

The latest lockdown in Victoria is now loosened. For us out in the sticks, there are only a few restrictions. What are they? I wish I understood. Despite over a year of this kind of issue, the government still doesn't have a single place to go to to tell you what you may and may not do. But in the news I heard that access to shops is now only with QR code. What does that mean? Presumably some mobile phone app. Why did I only hear it on the news, to which I only listen sometimes. Yvonne hadn't heard of it (and didn't know what a QR code is anyway).

Fri, 04 Jun 2021 03:26:10 UTC

New password restrictions

Posted By Greg Lehey

It seems that I'm not the only person who finds password strength checkers stupid. Here's a reductio ad absurdum: Your new password must include the full text of one of Shakespeare?s sonnets, plus at least 48 characters from three different alphabets. Bear in mind that you cannot use a Shakespearean sonnet that you have used in a previous password and you must include at least three numbers and no more than eight, but at least six upper case letters. There are further restrictions.

Fri, 04 Jun 2021 03:25:08 UTC

Download failure

Posted By Greg Lehey

Seen while trying to download a video with MediathekView today: I wonder what that means. It only applied to one file, and it was consistent, so I suspect a configuration error at the other end.

Thu, 03 Jun 2021 02:52:56 UTC

Finally better backup compression?

Posted By Greg Lehey

It's been nearly a month since Daniel Nebdal sent me suggestions for better compression for backups. Yesterday was the first day of the month, time for a level 0 dump (whole system), and thus also high time to choose a better compression program. For eureka things were clear: pbzip2 is the best that I have installed, and I didn't want the pain of building a port on a 6 year old system. teevee was also uninteresting, since I use rsync to back it up. Left lagoon, which has zstd. OK, make zstd -T4 the compressor. Today I had two unexpected results: The network-wide script /home/local/bin/dodump wasn't linked on lagoon.

Thu, 03 Jun 2021 01:46:54 UTC

Upgrading dereel again

Posted By Greg Lehey

The build of FreeBSD 13 on dereel completed without incident yesterday. Time to reboot and install the world. Failure! Something about creating a symlink C, which already existed. What directory? It's too polite to say that, but it was related to nls. OK, go looking: === root@dereel (/dev/pts/0) /usr/src 2 -> find / -xdev -name C | xargs ls -ld ... drwxr-xr-x  2 root  wheel     512 19 Jan 09:18 /usr/share/nls/C lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel       7 19 Jan 09:18 /usr/share/vi/catalog/C -> english The only symlink was the second one, but clearly that has nothing to do with nls.

Wed, 02 Jun 2021 03:30:43 UTC

More GPS navigator fun

Posted By Greg Lehey

Planning to go into town today, despite the lockdown, to mcPhysio. I don't really need a GPS navigator to get me there, but it's an interesting position because the parking area is on Anticline Lane, behind the clinic, and my previous navigators couldn't find it. OK, add the coordinates to the user.upoi file, and once again it worked. And for some reason it wanted to take me only to the junction of Anticline Lane and Eyre Street, and that via a different route from normal, via Ascot Street. That's not optimal, but I did have the route set to ?short?, and maybe it was.

Wed, 02 Jun 2021 03:12:54 UTC

Battery recalibration, part 2

Posted By Greg Lehey

Yesterday's PV recalibration was short and sweet. But it's also Tandem-like: ?So nice, so nice, we do it twice?. Today we had another one, in principle almost identical to the first one: start charging at 12:40 and 51%, charge until Can't open /home/grog/ fopen(/home/grog/ failed to open stream: No such file or directory I hope there will only be two.

Tue, 01 Jun 2021 03:13:51 UTC

Upgrading my systems, yet again

Posted By Greg Lehey

The computers I was expecting last weekend didn't quite make it to the state border before the lockdown was declared. Now it looks as if they won't make it here until September. What should I do? My current thinking is to make dereel (or whatever I'll end up calling it) my personal workstation, and leave eureka as the house server. The server software is not as time-critical as the workstation software (such as firefox, Google Chrome and other obscenities). OK, first bring dereel up to FreeBSD 13. For that, I need to use git, a program that I find profoundly irritating. But it gave me a chance to follow the instructions in the committer's guide.

Tue, 01 Jun 2021 02:46:23 UTC

Another PV system battery calibration

Posted By Greg Lehey

Another PV battery calibration today, once again with minor impact. It started at 10:13 with 35% battery charge, and was done by 11:17. And this time it did use the PV power, even to the point of feeding in to the grid during that time. Looking at the graphs, I'd guess that it only cost me 1 or 2 kWh from the grid: While I was at it, discovered that the graph generator does show output power usage, obfuscated at ?Inverter Active Power?

Sun, 30 May 2021 03:07:40 UTC

GPS POIs: success

Posted By Greg Lehey

Why did my GPS navigator not want to know my manipulated user.poi yesterday? Is it something basic, or some trick it has up its sleeve to refuse files it didn't create? Try one step at a time. The file it created, and which it recognizes, has only the one line: 1|@Favourites|Casa iberica||-37.798047|144.975922|_a**||_avi||3065|Fitzroy, VIC|Johnston Street|25||+61-3-| 2|@Favourites|Home||-37.800201|143.751655|_a**||_avi||3352|Dereel|Stones Rd|29||+61-3-| @My POI It's worth parsing this line. Clearly the delimiter is a |, and some of the fields are always empty (and have been on all the other versions of these files that I have seen over the years).

Sat, 29 May 2021 03:47:06 UTC

Where's my phone?

Posted By Greg Lehey

The phone that I bought on Tuesday stood a fighting chance of arriving today. But it didn't, so it'll be at least another 3 days. And then in the evening I got a message: the phone has been sent, tracking number attached. Tracking number shows that Australia Post issued the tracking number at 16:06 today. And that's all. No evidence that it has been sent, though Australia Post is very lax with that kind of detail. Still, no thanks to oz_trade for their handling speed, despite their promise of fast delivery.

Sat, 29 May 2021 03:46:57 UTC

Creating POIs for GPS navigator

Posted By Greg Lehey

So it seems that I have lost the POI (Point of Interest) file that I had in my old GPS navigator. That's not so bad: it was quite a mess, and it would be interesting to find out how to create one with sane tools. What does it look like? === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /mnt/AZ 2020/save 14 -> less profiles/01/user.upoi-orig "profiles/01/user.upoi-orig" may be a binary file.  See it anyway? ÿ?2^@|^@@^@F^@a^@v^@o^@u^@r^@i^@t^@e^@s^@|^@H^@o^@m^@e^@|^@|^@-^@3^@7^@.^@8^@0^@0^@2^@0^@1^@|^@1^@4 === root@dereel (/dev/pts/4) /mnt/AZ 2020/save 15 -> hd profiles/01/user.upoi-orig 00000000  ff fe 32 00 7c 00 40 00  46 00 61 00 76 00 6f 00  |ÿ?2.|[email protected].| 00000010  75 00 72 00 69 00 74 00  65 00 73 00 7c 00 48 00  |u.r.i.t.e.s.|.H.| 00000020  6f 00 6d 00 65 00 7c 00  7c 00 2d 00 33 00 37 00  |o.m.e.|.|.-.3.7.| 00000030  2e 00 38 00 30 00 30 00  32 00 30 00 31 00 7c 00  |..|.| 00 ...

Fri, 28 May 2021 02:44:00 UTC

Updating GPS navigator

Posted By Greg Lehey

Since wanting to return the new GPS navigator six weeks ago I haven't really done anything with it, though I got both a refund and the device. As a result, I gave the old one to Petra Gietz' granddaughter Kaylin (or similar). And I have newer maps than the ones in the device, so how about installing them? I've been through these directory trees before, and there wasn't anything particularly difficult this time. But what happens if the software doesn't like the maps? The map directory is (relative to the device storage) AZ\ 2020/CONTENT/Map/. But the new image has AZ\ 2021/CONTENT/map/. Does the device care about capitalization?

Fri, 28 May 2021 02:04:24 UTC


Posted By Greg Lehey

Victoria has been without any new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for 45 days now. Or at least, that was the case a couple of days ago. Now we have 35 of them! Time for a fourth lockdown. It'll last a week or so. What superb timing! Over the next 3 days we had planned: A riding clinic with Anke Hawke, starting on Saturday. Jane and Scott Ashhurst had already left by car, and had to turn back.

Thu, 27 May 2021 04:00:34 UTC

Whence these security warnings?

Posted By Greg Lehey

On Monday I was puzzled by the false positive security messages I had been receiving. And I found out what the problem was: sharing /var/log between eureka and eureso. Problem: I'm not. eureso stores its log files locally. So where is it coming from. Looking at just one file, /bin/rcp, I had on Monday: --- /var/log/       2021-05-23 04:09:21.202725000 +1000 +++ /tmp/security.mc8GJjo2      2021-05-24 02:18:33.930816000 +1000 - 1524878 -r-sr-xr-x  1 root    wheel         19952 Nov 25 11:45:59 2015 /bin/rcp + 3370766 -r-sr-xr-x  1 root    wheel         19952 Nov 25 11:45:59 2015 /bin/rcp The only difference is the inode number.

Thu, 27 May 2021 03:03:00 UTC

Whose fault is SARS-CoV-2?