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Easier slide scanning

John Williams, who is coming for a short stay in France soon, wanted to see if there was a way to connect his Pi to his tablet, given that the tablet is a perfectly adequate LCD screen.

I said that I was not aware of such a thing, though I have in the past wondered why a tablet didn't have a big-directional HDMI port so it could output to a monitor or be used as one.
I suppose being built to a price point procludes such niceties.

John decided, then, that the solution required some out-of-the-box thinking. This thinking amounted to trying a USB HD video capture device, and an app that talks to webcams (and endoscopes, etc etc).
It worked.

The idea of doing such a thing never occurred to me, to be honest. I recall a time when Android couldn't even cope with Bluetooth keyboards, never mind anything fancy. So I didn't expect it to deal with USB video devices.

However, following John's experiment, I tried plugging in my USB photo scanner. It is a "standard USB video" device (which means VLC can access it on a PC), with an imager that can output 1344×896 at 15fps (MJPEG) or at 5fps (YUY2); grabbing stills as JPEG.

I think this is Tenerife.


Well, it's either Athens, Haifa, or Istanbul...

Somewhere in the Middle East
Somewhere in the Middle East.

Same clothes, same place... looks sort of Greek, but then there are loads of ancient Greek ruins and statues in Türkiye from back when it was the Byzantine Empire. Ditto the place that is now known as Israel.

Somewhere in the Middle East
Somewhere in the Middle East.

And, of course, how she got there...

S.S. Canberra
P&O S.S. Canberra.

It looks like it's using pontoons which, if I remember correctly (I probably don't!) was Limassol (Cyprus) and Haifa (Israel); but, of course, there's no guarantee that this photo was taken the same day and/or the same place. The very next photo, Mom is wearing something different so...

The photos are weird because it was 1987 and somebody got Mom a fancy new camera to enjoy. A Yashica Samurai which was probably the most tricked out camera she's ever owned. It took half-frame photos, which was good and bad. Good because you could get around 72 photos on a single roll of film, but bad because they were barely larger than the crappy 110 film, which means enlargements will lack quality. That being said, I'm making copies with a cheap crap low resolution CMOS imager that literally has no locking of white balance or exposure so just sort of "makes it up" as each photo appears in frame.
Mom hated the camera, by the way. Somewhere in the storage room I have a set of bags containing multiple SLRs (probably rusty these days) and various lenses, including one longer than my foot. ASA ratings, pushing for flash, getting that odd little focus ring lined up, compensating all of that for the lenses - that was the sort of photography Mom understood.
On the other hand, there are plenty of photos of Mom in all sorts of interesting locations, because the Samurai, looking like a weird camcorder, was the sort of photography everybody else understood. ☺


So, thanks again, John.
And, I hope you have a nice time over here. If you're over this way, feel free to drop by.



Got up at twenty past five this morning. I just really needed a tea.
Since it was still dark, I lit the candles so you can see what it looks like. It's a six-candle-power light source.
As you can see, it's not a lot of light. In terms of light output, it's probably akin to an 8W night light (by contrast, a fridge lamp is around 30-40W). These wattage ratings are for incandescent bulbs, not LEDs.

Candles at night
Candles at night.

Whatever, it's a soft pleasing light, just about enough to read by, and is surprisingly cosy. Sometimes powerful lights can be too harsh.

My snuff arrived this morning. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. I keep it stored between two of the arms of the candelabra in order that it doesn't get misplaced.

Candle snuff
Candle snuff.


Today's job

I started with this mess. Don't count the basket of towels. It's only there because there was nowhere else.

The before picture
The before picture.

It wasn't mostly boxes. That was just the stuff on top. Underneath, boxes of books - lots of Spanish stuff, and some Greek. Numerous old coats that I've stuck in a bag to recycle. And... well...

A set of large pots?


So, if I ever meet a girl, we have lots of sex, and produce a bunch of children, that's the cooking equipment sorted. However, since my gas burner is a camping stove, these can wait in the cow barn.
Honestly, I'm more likely to get a cooker before a girlfriend, and I'm looking for neither. ☺


Mom really wanted to be certain that I have tea sets. These were ceramic tea pots that fit over a matching mug. They were on special offer, I think it said €4... so she got five.
This, in addition to the numerous other teapots means I'm certainly not lacking ways to serve tea.

Tea set, and again, and again, and again, and one more
Tea set, and again, and again, and again, and one more...

Also, gotta love the audacity of putting the pile of tea sets back into the hand panier, and then walking off with it. 😂


There was a time when Mom was serious about Aromatherapy, though she completely rejected the hoodoo such as diagnosing people by lines on their feet or whatever other new-agey bollocks tended to come along with such things. Instead, she would make nice smelling combinations of oils (in a carrier oil) customised for the person while talking to them, and then perform a massage (which she was trained to do). Generally, the combination of custom oils (a special thing just for the person, not some off-the-shelf rubbish) along with being touched in the ways that massages require, it tended to get people to open up. Mom was good at that. She felt that her work wasn't to hoodwink people, wasn't to show off, but to simply act as a sort of social worker because everybody has something in their lives that bother them. Sometimes, just talking to somebody can help massively.

Aromas, essential oils
Aromas, essential oils.

I used to like making up my own combinations for burning (a few drops in a little gizmo with a candle underneath). If I remember correctly, the one I liked was black pepper, bitter orange and.... I suspect it might have been eucalyptus?
Forgive me not remembering, it's been over two decades since. Anyway, I keep the Japanese cherry incense, but all of the rest I have thrown out. In fact one I tried (last week), I hated so much I picked it up and lobbed it in the sink, then left the doors open as I went for a walk.
Trust me, if you know what stuff is supposed to smell like, you'd find fake chemical scents to be only marginally less objectionable than the smell of tobacco.


Here, lurking amongst various paintings, is the pinnacle of my artistic achievement.

I would have been about ten when this was created. Using poster paint (!). I wasn't yet at boarding school exactly, it was a short (two week) stay at a different boarding school in Bursledon (near Southampton) to see how I would react to being separated from my mother. Apparently some kids completely freak out. But freaking out would require emotions and, well, I've never been particularly good at those.
It looks like it was a painting of something I've actually seen. I don't recall the school having animals, so this might have been something I saw while on holiday in Cornwall? That's obviously a duck. Don't ask me what that thing on the lower left is. I can promise you, it's not a urinating vulva. I would not have been aware of such things back then.
I like attempting perspective (even if it is horribly wrong), plus the attention to detail of including nails.

What really sucks is that if I set out to draw this now, it would probably look crappier.


Sort of in the middle a thunderstorm came through, so I was out back clearing gunk out of the gutter. Got completely soaked in the process as it was chucking down so hard there was a sort of shimmering sheen about a foot off the ground as the rain was bouncing off the ground and then colliding with the raindrops on their way down.
So I washed my hair, got undressed (yes, in that order), and threw my clothes in the washing machine. I hadn't planned on washing anything (certainly not more towels!) but Mother Nature said otherwise.


And, here, the final result. It's not the same angle. This picture designed to show off the new clear space and... holy crap this room is big!

The after picture
The after picture.

I have yet to clean up the mould on the wood (chair legs, mirror). Given the damp, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the chair or not. I would like to, but how would I go about cleaning it?

Still to do. The table by the front, and then sorting out the bookshelves and the chest of drawers. I wonder which I'll do tomorrow? Really, it ought to be the table, and clean the windows at the same time. We'll see.


Vaping kids

I was wondering what sort of vape nonsense would involve children, since this is a political topic right now.

Then I saw this in the bin at work.

What the hell?
What the hell?

I don't think I could have made a pack more designed to appeal to children if I tried. Oh, look, it's a cute banana and strawberry with "about 600 puffs"..... bloody hell.

Technical specs, there's 2ml of "e-liquide" containing 20mg of nicotine (10mg/ml), and a 550mAh battery. The "e-liquide" consists of vegetable glycerine (thickener), propylene glycol (which is banned in the EU!!! makes the mist), nicotine (the drug smokers are addicted to), benzoic acid (anti-fungal), and real/fake flavourings (let's hope this isn't diacetyl!).
They point out that it's poisonous if you drink it. But completely fine to atomise and chuck it in your lungs, then, right?
Stuck right in the middle of the legal blah-blah it actually says "Wear protective gloves/clothing/face mask". Uh, whut?!?

Personally, I think vapes should be banned completely. Forget the dubious chemicals people are tossing into their lungs (it's probably safer than actual cigarettes, come to think of it), it's a lot of plastic for a short life product. If they can ban those crappy Happy Meal "toys" (term used extremely loosely), these devices ought to be considered in the same fashion. Then there's the toxic residue of the vape liquid, plus the battery (some sort of LiPo/LiIon cell?). I can't think of one positive attribute for vapes other than "addicts can get their fix without stinking up the place".


The heart teapot

You know, I would have sworn on A Brief History Of Black Holes that he heart was red and the surround was grey.

Now, isn't this a pleasing looking teapot?
Now, isn't this a pleasing looking teapot?



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Gavin Wraith, 10th June 2023, 21:51
I think the second photo is taken on the Galata bridge in Istambul.
Rick, 10th June 2023, 23:39
I had a quick look at Google Maps and while that certainly looks like the Süleymaniye Mosque on the hill, the bridge looks completely different... 
...but, then, the one visible is the *fifth* Galata Bridge, built in the early 90s. A quick search for the fourth one got a couple of pictures that looked similar enough. 
Well spotted! 
So it's Istanbul. 
I wonder where the statues are?
John, 11th June 2023, 16:51
You're spoiling us, Mr Ambassador, with your fulsome praise! You can stop now! OK - I had an idea and let it fester a bit. 
And of course we've got to visit to deliver our purchase on your behalf - and get the money! 
The work in the house is progressing marvellously! 
How lovely to see your Mom before we knew her, when she was young! 
Your artwork is impressive as well. Irene went as far as to say it was marketable as "naïve"! 
Vape marketing compare and contrast Alcopops. 
That random "mosaic" floor looks really nice now it's visible! 
See you soon!
Zerosquare, 11th June 2023, 17:06
> I'm more likely to get a cooker before a girlfriend 
"I already have a cooker, so what are you doing tonight?" is a pick-up line you don't hear every day.
Anon, 13th June 2023, 00:07
I have a DSLR. It's an older one, dates from about 2004 (I bought it off a friend second-hand at the end of 2005), a Canon EOS-20D. 
It's the "pro-sumer" model, as marketdroids like to call it, or "semi-pro" as humans would refer to it. So it has some of the features of the then-pro model (EOS-1D) but a lot cheaper. Manual override on everything, along with a fully manual setting. 
Know what? 90% of the time I leave it in the "P" setting for fully automatic operation. That way I can concentrate on composing the shot rather than messing about with aperture and shutter settings. If I want to override it there's a thumbwheel by the shutter button that has a "program shift" function. 
The other 10%? I sometimes switch it to the "A-DEP" mode (Automatic Depth Of Field). This is rather clever, it uses the autofocus sensors to measure the nearest and furthest objects in shot, sets the aperture by this, then picks a shutter speed. 
And very occasionally, once in a blue moon, I might throw it into fully manual mode when I want to do something very specific. 
I wouldn't worry about your painting efforts. I can't draw to save my life either. 
And as for vapes? If you ban them, people will go back to tobacco. I'm a lifelong non-smoker. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke[1]. Even more so when it gets on my clothes and the following morning they stink of stale smoke. Like, just don't smoke around me. 
Vaping though? Although not something I'd ever do personally, if someone's vaping around me it doesn't really bother me. And it doesn't smell rank like smoke does. 
[1] With the possible exception of marijuana. Which actally smells quite nice. Not that I'd ever advocate the use of illicit substances of course. Just saying I kind of like the smell of it.

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