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Camera review faking

Free camera with 5* reviewRummaging around in the camera app, I came across this, screenshot on the right.

It seems a shame, as if they put in a little more effort to sort out the quirks, it is actually a surprisingly good camera for the price.

Sure, there will always be dumb people who will rate the camera badly due to thinking that "wireless" means it can somehow magically power itself without any wires attached (wireless means it doesn't need a network cable, a power source is obligatory for what ought to be painfully obvious reasons).
But to try to game the ratings by offering a free camera? Seriously, why? I mean, have they read the reviews for other cameras in the same price bracket? Half of them are mere toys. My other tilt'n'turn camera is set to record always because its event trigger is thermal and it is always being triggered. My fixed camera doesn't have an SD slot, so it's only for monitoring.

Sure, the camera does have issues. It isn't perfect. But for the price it has impressed me. I mean, I spent slightly more on a model Stirling Engine that broke the first time I used it, so, come on.

Or, to put it another way, I'm usually pessimistic about tech. I'm already ready to be disappointed by the complexity of my new washing machine, and a common refrain here is "decent enough hardware let down by absymal firmware". So for me to actually show some sort of enthusiasm about something? For the price this is a good camera.

I am writing this blog entry on RISC OS, using the Android portable as the screen. This came about because I fired up OvationPro to put together a quick sign in a couple of minutes, which I printed directly to the inkjet thanks to Dave's IPP driver, plastified, and then nailed to the wall. It probably won't last long, but so long as it gets noticed...

The exit is thata-ways, bye.
The exit is thata-ways, bye.

The little text says "Loi 78-17 du 6 janvier 1978 modifiée par la loi du 6 août 2004". This is the standard French data protection act from 1978 which was updated in 2004 to include the provisions of Directive 95/46/EC on the European standard for protection of personal data. It's a bit weird, but the use of a recording device (in this case a camera) on private property not normally accessible to the public (and without the ability to record a public place or a neighbour's property (both are banned in France) is covered by the generic data protection act. France isn't quite as paranoid as Germany regarding these sorts of things, but it's a lot stricter than the UK.

It looks like I'm supposed to provide a notification of a recording device in use, so here it is. Technically a visitor could object to the collection of personal information (their activities), but since it's private property, the only person in a position to object is the postal worker (and since her visit times aren't fixed, it's not really feasible to include an 'off' time). For everybody else... you're objecting? Fine, please call the rozzers because you're trespassing.
Yup, thanks, bye.


WTF washing machine cycles?

I found a service manual for a similar-ish washing machine, a Whirlpool TDLR 60230 (dated summer 2015). This had detailed information on the wiring, layout, and the cycles.

Here's the chart for the eco 40-60 programme that is used as the reference for determining the consumption ratings.

Eco 40-60 programme
Eco 40-60 programme.

In all cases, there's a 23 minute start where it heats up. What happens next depends upon the detected load and options:

  • Small load - a 10-20 minute main wash
  • Medium load - a 69-84 minute main wash
  • Large load - a 115-130 minute main wash
Yes, you read that correctly, put something large in and it'll happily main-wash it for two hours. During this time the motor will work in 16 second cycles alternating the rotation of the drum, for 8-14 seconds active, and 8-2 seconds resting. The vagueness is because it tries to be intelligent and adapt itself to the washing that needs done.
This machine appears to have a selector for soil level (high, medium, light) where a lightly soiled small load will wash in 6 minutes. I don't think mine has a soil level option.

This is followed by two 13 minute rinses. If I press the intensive rinse button, the first rinse is executed twice (but is the wash cycle then fixed at two hours?).

Finally, for a small load the ending spin (which looks freakishly complicated) will do a short spin. They define short as nine minutes. Otherwise, my god, it'll spin for a total of thirty two minutes.
My old machine had two clicks on the dial (or 6 minutes) of spinning. I tended to manually advance it for a single three minute spin. If water stops coming out during the spin, just being a little dribble, then it's dry enough to hang up on the line. I don't need the machine to aim for 62% residual humidity.

Now, as I said, this isn't for my machine. The info sheet for mine says on this Eco 40-60 cycle (spin speed 951rpm in all cases):

  • 1.5kg load: 2h15m, 0.35kWh, 30 litres of water, heating to 30°C.
  • 3kg load: 2h30, 0.49kWh, 36 litres of water, heating to 34°C.
  • 6kg load: 3h15m, 0.90kWh, 52 litres of water, heating to 41°C.

There's also a "Magic 40" that does a 40°C (max 3kg) in an hour. It doesn't mention the consumptions.

Suffice to say, my initial impression is that it is a complicated cycle. But for all this technology, will my clothes be any cleaner than my older machine?


A living room table

I got a table for the living room. It's just a simple unfoldable table that is literally a piece of thin chipboard on legs, but it'll be enough for mugs of tea and such should I have visitors again.

A table
An instant table, should such a table be needed.


Fun at the supermarket

It was late yesterday, so I didn't mention the supermarket fun.

So I was buying the washing machine and I asked for the extra three years on the guarantee. The girl stared at me and said she doesn't think that can be done here. She was right, it couldn't. I had to leave, walk around the side, and to the drive-through collection that also doubled as the after-sales service. There she had the barcodes to set up the extra guarantee period.
Between you and me, it's weird as hell that this can't be done at the point of sale. I guess most people don't bother.

There was an animated woman there buying a bulky thing. A big garden table with chairs. The table was something like two and a half metres by a metre. It was big. They asked where her van was. She didn't have a van, she had a car. A generic meh car (think Ford Mondeo or any mid-sized Renault). She was going to put it into her car.
So they wheeled it out into the little lobby. It was larger than her car. Okay, so she was going to put it on her car. Animation turned to agitation, so the staff backed down. There were obvious video cameras, so they could clearly show them telling her it was a bad idea. So she dragged the big table outside to set about putting it on top of her car.
You must understand, the width might have been less than the width of her car, but the length was longer. Plus, her car had no mounting points. No roof rack, nothing. So...?

I bought my stuff and left. I didn't want to waste time watching this insanity.

So I went to get a trolley and was nearly run over by a very seriously annoyed man. "QUOI?" ("What?") he kept barking into his phone. He opened the back of his car and flung his shopping inside.

"CASSE-TOI, GROS PUTAIN DE MERDE!" ("F-off, motherf-!"), he yelled, flinging his phone into the car so hard it bounced off the passenger seat, hit the window, then clattered down into the foot well somewhere.
"Enculé! Merde! Putain!" ("Motherf-! Poop! Bitch!"), and he flung the trolley across the car park. I caught it before it hit somebody else's car. He gave me a gesture that I'm not sure if it was "whatever" or "screw you". It wasn't thank you. He slammed the door, started the engine, and took off at high speed the wrong way, slamming on the brakes to avoid being hit by somebody coming the right way.

For my little bit of public service, I could later recuperate the euro coin in the trolley lock mechanism. Thank you kindly.

What came to mind is this video of a man freaking out (and the saddest thing there is the girl standing frozen in place, only to visibly flinch when he slams the car door). Some people need to calm the hell down. Drink tea, you'll feel better...


Staying in

There's a big vide grenier tomorrow. But it's forecast to be 31°C. It has already passed the predicted 30°C for today, and I've already closed and flapped out the shutters so I can have some light without the direct glare of the sun.

I think I'll give that vide grenier a miss. Too damn hot. I ought to be strimming or something, but...

...I'm doing eight hour days. My brain is frazzled. I think I'll crack open a cold one (lemon drink!) and chill out with a film on Prime Video called "Mad Heidi" - mountain girl Heidi is all grown up and goes on a crusade against a megalomaniac cheese magnate after her boyfriend is killed for illegal trading. So she turns into an action girl kicking ass to liberate Switzerland from fascist cheese tyrants.
It manages to get 5.5 on IMDb, and is made in Switzerland by Swissploitation Films. I'm expecting a flimsy plot with gore and arse kicking and not taking itself seriously. Perfect for enjoying on an overly hot weekend when I don't want to think.


USB MIDI v0.10

I have uploaded v0.10 of my MIDI module for RISC OS 5 (additions by Dave and Ian). Thanks to Ian's work:
  • Connecting to devices is greatly improved, so should now connect to more USB devices.
  • Running status can now be sent.
  • SysEx is now handled.
  • ActiveSensing now works both ways.
  • And a total disconnect between devices and ports, which allows for a remapping between them.

What's happening here is two USB devices are plugged into my Pi. The first is a USB to serial MIDI. The second is my keyboard. Rhapsody4 is playing Bat Out Of Hell to the first device, and the remapping is sending the data to the second device, so my keyboard is playing the tune.

Remapping MIDI ports
Remapping MIDI ports.

Here's the download: (about 201KiB)



Your comments:

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C Ferris, 24th June 2023, 21:41
Would a USB midi adapter output sound to headphones on something like the Pinebook?
Rick, 24th June 2023, 21:44
Not directly, no. It outputs MIDI (a stream of musical events), which can then be turned into sound using a synthesiser... 
Bernard, 25th June 2023, 18:14
Thanks for MIDI work. Hoping to use it with Yamaha PSS-580. So far, though, Rhapsody4 giving problems on Pi 400: no music icons in main part of 'Cursor edit mode Panel'. Any suggestions?
C Ferris, 26th June 2023, 09:23
Bernard, 28th June 2023, 00:47
Thanks. Yes, that's the download I used and it works okay on ARMX6, just not yet fully on the Pi 400. Mysterious.
Anon, 28th June 2023, 14:09
My MIDI setup is... terrifying, shall we say? 
A dedicated DAW PC (still running Windows 7, it isn't used to access the internet other than to download drivers for new hardware), a quad-core AMD A8 with 16GB RAM, with a full-size ATX motherboard (one that has four PCI slots). 
3x M-Audio Delta 1010 interfaces. This consists of a "host" PCI card (hence the requirement for PCI slots) connected to a rackmount unit with 8x line inputs and outputs (using 1/4" balanced jacks) and a MIDI in/out. The unit connected to the lowest-numbered PCI port acts as the "master" and generates a word clock, which then syncs the other two units (and anything else I might want to add). 
An M-Audio MIDIsport 4x4 USB MIDI interface (4 in, 4 out). 
A Casio Celviano AP-250 digital piano, which has a USB interface (MIDI over USB). 
The remaining MIDI interfaces (all 7 of them) are connected to these keyboards: 
Yamaha PSR-282 
Yamaha PSR-400 
Casio CT-680 
Casio CZ-1000 
And these sound modules: 
Casio GZ-50M 
Yamaha MU-10 
With a "spare" MIDI input being used for an Evolution MIDI controller keyboard (4-octave touch response with pitch and mod wheels). 
Depending on what part I'm playing into Cubase, I'll use either the piano (for polyphonic piano parts, weighted keys etc), the Evolution keyboard (where I'm playing a solo part in but need the pitch and mod wheels) or sometimes the Yamaha '282 (where I need touch response but unweighted and don't need pitch / mod). 
Add to this a whole bunch of VSTs in Cubase. 
I should probably add that I'm a semi-pro musician, hence the otherwise over-the-top setup. There's enough capacity to be able to record a full band as well as any MIDI parts, plus vocals etc. The best part is that all the stuff to set this up only cost a few hundred quid. A few years back a setup with that level of functionality would have cost 6 figures. Technology is amazing.
Rick, 28th June 2023, 21:17
Okay anon, your MIDI setup description is as long as my blog post... you're showing off. 😋
Anon, 28th June 2023, 21:22
Not really lol! Like I said I'm a semi-professional musician, hence the somewhat-OTT setup. 
I really want a set of V-drums too but don't really have space. 
(And for the record, no, I can't play the guitar.)
Rob, 1st July 2023, 02:22
On fitting things on the roof of a car.. ley-man-27227286

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