What’s wrong with my ginger?

A while back I planted an offcut from some shop-bought ginger root in our back yard. It due course leaves grew up to 50cm or so, and then a week or two back they turned yellow and appeared to die off. Yesterday I dug the roots up, hoping to see a nice large thing I could eat.

To my surprise, what I found was small and rather orange, which seems incorrect for healthy ginger. After googling a bit I’m at a loss for a description of what’s gone wrong, but I get the impression it’s something like fuzarium rhizome rot. I’ll have to keep buying ginger for the moment, at least until I can figure out what to do in order to resolve this problem.

Here’s a photo showing my ginger and normal ginger. Pretty obviously bad!

Dodgy ginger

I don’t see anything about that in the Contract With Queensland

I read Newman v gays: where else but Queensland? earlier today, and recalled that there wasn’t anything about homosexuality in the “CanDo QLD” pre-election “commitment” document titled “Contract With Queensland”:

CanDO QLD Contract With Queensland (obverse)CanDO QLD Contract With Queensland (reverse)

I have sent the email below to our local member:

From: James McPherson

To: Tarnya Smith MP

Subject: re the LNP and homosexuality

Hello Ms Smith,

will the Newman government be introducing laws to make it illegal to be homosexual or to engage in homosexual intercourse in this State?

Surely that is the logical conclusion of the LNP approach to the things which matter greatly to the voters of this state?

Also, I don’t see any mention in the “CanDo QLD” “Contract For Queensland” of the changes to civil unions and surrogacy. Could you enlighten me as to where and when that part of the LNP platform was published prior to the most recent state election?

In a previous email with Ms Smith she expressed her support for the rolling back of the civil unions legislation. I await her response with interest.

Notes to self: getting a ripped DVD image to play on the Beyonwiz

Over the last few months I’ve been ripping our dvd collection[1] to files, so we can play them over the network on our PVR (Beyonwiz DP-P2) in a much more convenient fashion for us than finding the dvd and mucking around with the dvd player. C has been particularly enamoured of our Pixar collection: Toy Story; Toy Story 2; Monsters, Inc; Finding Nemo; (we have others, but she’s too young to watch them yet).

One aspect of this which has made things painful for J and I is that when we’re playing these Matroska files, the audio is out of sync with the video. The problem starts at the start of playback, and over the course of a movie gets to the state where the difference is 3 to 4 seconds. Most definitely headache-inducing stuff for us, but C doesn’t appear to notice or care – for now!

I did a bit of digging over the last day or so (you can see its relative importance in my stack of tasks!) and discovered that there are two components to the problem. Firstly, the Beyonwiz doesn’t seem to cope with Matroska files that have embedded chapter entities. Secondly, the Beyonwiz doesn’t seem to cope with more than one audio track (aac and ac3, for these) embedded in a Matroska file.

To fix this, I made a copy of my original Matroska file because when we upgrade our playback capabilities (to something with more grunt, and using either xbmc or Plex), this won’t be a problem. I used mkvpropedit to remove the chapter markers from the copy, and then used ffmpeg to transcode the copy to an mp4 and generally fix everything else.

Command-line wise, it went like this:

$ cp Toy_Story.mkv TS_1.mkv
$ mkvpropedit -c "" TS_1.mkv
$ ffmpeg -i TS_1.mkv -vcodec libx264 -acodec copy -ab 160 Toy_Story.mp4

Both ffmpeg and mkvpropedit came from the OpenIndiana SFE repos (http://pkg.openindiana.org/sfe and http://pkg.openindiana.org/sfe-encumbered)

Now the only problem I have to work around on the Beyonwiz is that it seems to have a memory leak with playing mkv or mp4 files, so if I try to play one and get the ‘Unsupported format’ error a reboot of the appliance is required. Tedious, but simple. Wish I had the source…..

[1] NOTE: this is our own, we-paid-hard-cash-for-the-disks DVD collection.

Some shuffling of deckchairs

I’ve moved off the homeunix.com subdomain I’ve been using for the past few years. It seems that not only did I not read the email from DynDNS.org in June 2010, but that requesting an AAAA record for jmcp.homeunix.com was sufficient of a change to take that subdomain out of the grandfathered list and also turn off domain wildcarding.


I figured that I might as well go for a proper vanity domain, so here it is: jmcpdotcom.com.

I think I’ve fixed up most of the links in various posts, but if you find one that’s still pointed incorrectly I’d appreciate a comment or email to advise.

Darktable 1.0.4 official Solaris 11 package available

Jo made the official announcement of 1.0.4 an hour ago, and if you want to use Darktable v1.0.4 on Solaris 11, please grab a copy of the official Solaris 11 package. If you’re new to Darktable on Solaris, please read my post on how to get started with the dependencies.

If you’re using OpenIndiana, then you should be able to use these packages too, as long as you first update your package/pkg version to the latest available from the sfe repository.

And it’s pushed!

As noted previously, I’ve spent some relaxation time recently working on fixing up the speed of tag suggestion generation in Darktable.

I’m really pleased to note that my changeset was pushed to master yesterday. You can view the gory details here, bearing in mind that the line breaks in my commit message didn’t quite make it in


For the record, here they are:

  • Improve tag suggestion query speed Remove erroneous comparison from dt_tag_get_suggestions Remove darktable|* tags from tag suggestion list

  • Add hints for cmake to find FlickCURL and LCMS2

  • Updates to Solaris11 packaging: -- Added build_ips script for Solaris 11 -- Genericised the IPS manifest -- Updated the IPS manifest to reflect changes in delivered files -- Fixed some typos in the IPS manifest

  • Fixed the MAKE assignment in build.sh so it works properly

If you’d like a copy fresh-off-the-git-master, please grab Darktable.60eaaada709da3a.p5p.gz and let me know how you go.

Just. Say. No.

I got a notification from Twitter that I had a new follower. Said new follower (EarlPdxPearl)’s bio is

EarlPdxPearl Earl PearlOregon Republican Christian Conservative focused on truth about Left Wing Radical Earl Blumenauer and Obamacare Taxes. Herman Cain makes sensePortland, OR

Just *!@#$!#@!#@ING No. Go Away.

When I look at it’s previous tweets, which all seem to be from Fox News Insider, I realise that my first instinct was correct.

Tagging speed improvements for Darktable (brought to you by DTrace)

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a bit of hacking on Darktable‘s tag suggestion code, because it is a significant usability pain point for me.

A few weeks back I wrote a post published on the Darktable.org blogabout how easy it is to be the maintainer of this application for Solaris. I also mentioned a DTrace one-liner I’d fired up to see what was going on with tag suggestions. From that one-liner my little bit of DTrace quickly escalated into variations of this:

#!/usr/sbin/dtrace -s
    self->traced = 1;

    self->traced = 0;

    self->sqlt = vtimestamp;
    self->sql = copyinstr(arg1);

    printf("sqlite \"%s\" took %d nsec",
        self->sql, vtimestamp - self->sqlt);
    self->sqlt = 0;