Starting at 5 AM, in the dark, the contractors did the initial pour of for our front yard, a very large area requiring five truckloads of concrete, pumped nearly 200 metres down the hill. The weather cooperated with the rain staying away and the winds dying down.

It all went very well with only some minor problems like concrete getting poured into a workman's gumboots!

I have never seen such long poles used in screeding the surface, or in brushing it for the final finish.

In the natural world, Spring is really on its way here in Kaukapakapa. Yesterday our daughter came back from feeding the ewes some hay and sheep pellets to report that we already have two sets of twin lambs.

Unfortunately I have no photos to post.

It has been a bleak month with almost constant sickness in the household; grey skies, rain, and only rare interludes of welcome sunshine.

Some gleams of hope have been the flowers. The other day I walked up the driveway to see how things were progressing with the new driveway, which is coming on well -the concrete is due to be poured in just over 24 hours time - and I was surprised and delighted to find a daffodil in flower and then a moment later a jonquil in flower.

It's winter and it's raining here today. Our ewes are due to lamb next month and some are looking huge already. I took a photo of one the other day that looks as though she might be carrying triplets.

Most of our ewes have twins, which is very good as they can take care of them well. However, with triplets there is always the smallest of them that gets pushed out of the way and doesn't thrive and either gets handreared or gets sick and dies.

This is the third attempt to upload a photo of the sunset last night. I waited for the the upload to finish then added a description. For the third time the added photo and the description just vanished when I pressed the tick to end the process.

It could even be a fourth attempt as I have been trying since last night.

Is it just me or has anyone else had a problem?

I've been trying on my cellphone, for the record. I've never had a problem before.

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After days when we did not see the sun it was nice to have clear skies and sunshine yesterday.

It is school holidays and our entire family has been fighting off an infection that has symptoms of elevated temperatures, digestive problems and diarrhoea that left us feeling tired, irritable, and unable to think about anything or do anything. That's part of living with extended family including two young grand children who pick up every infection going around.

Failure to understand the nature of the disease and deciding to rely totally on vaccines to control the pandemic may be leading to the development of more virulent strains of the virus, much as the over-use of antibiotics have led to 'super bugs'.

A very concerning warning about this unintended consequence was given by a leading vaccine developer back in March 2021.

Mass Vaccination in a Pandemic - Benefits versus Risks: Interview with Geert Vanden Bossche
youtube.com/watch?v=ZJZxiNxYLp

-19

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Much has been learned about Covid-19 since it appeared late in 2019. A significant theory shows how the pathogen ignites autoimmune responses in a sub-section of the community, leading to complications, hospitalizations, and deaths in the pandemic and offers a way to their identification and treatment.

It seems to be beyond doubt that many of the responses by those in authority have been misguided and in need of revision as can now be seen in hindsight.

mcmillanresearch.com/understan

-19

I'm having fun converting images to AVIF format, learning to tweak the parameters to achieve higher compression ratios without losing visual quality on-screen. I find it impossible to distinguish between any of the files visually.

Compressing a 5.2M JPEG file into a 686K AVIF file took 36 seconds, but a reduction in file size of 87.1% is pretty impressive, compared with an already compressed lossy file format as is JEPG.

duckduckgo.com/?q=lossy+file+f

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I seem to have omitted a few words in the above post that I intended and are necessary to make full sense,

"Apparently the WebP image file format has been around and only just implemented on the Apple platform."

should have read.

"Apparently the WebP image file format has been around **for over a decade** and only just implemented on the Apple platform."

Ten years to adopt a new format???

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Apparently the WebP image file format has been around and only just implemented on the Apple platform.

The AVIF image file format has been around since about 2019 and has yet to be widely implemented.

I have found more information and resources at
ctrl.blog/entry/webp-avif-comp

I am now downloading a Linux CLI binary from
github.com/Kagami/go-avif/rele

I'm very interested in being able to compress image files while not losing image quality.

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The on-line converter is currently being rebuilt and cannot be used but has some more information and news about this new format, plus a comparison of an image in JPEG, WebP and AVIF formats, with these results:

The size of the original (uncompressed) JPEG image format is 61.1 kB.

The same image compressed as WEBP image format with 50% compression is 21.0 kB (65.63% reduction).

Compressed as AVIF image format with 50% compression is 11.0 kB (82.0% reduction).

avif-converter.online/

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I've just discovered another, newer, file format for images, 'avif'
freecodecamp.org/news/how-to-u

I discovered it by downloading a background image from the Brave github at
raw.githubusercontent.com/brav
and soon discovered that I could only open the file in my browser.

Apparently, though, this newest file format is rapidly gaining interest from all the major players and is soon to become the default file format for images as it has better compression than 'jpeg' and more features than webp.

One thing leads to another: while looking at:
Making A Home Entertainment Machine with A Remote (Part 1)
I noticed a link at the bottom of the page:
This Page is Designed to Last
jeffhuang.com/designed_to_last
which intrigued me, so I had a look.

The sixth item down suggested using the WebP image format so I checked this out on my system.

I found partial support for this format: I was able to convert a large .jpg file to a .webp file using with a massive 55% reduction in file size.

We have just passed the Southern Winter , and as my grandmother used to say, "As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens."

However, my orchids, on the South-facing back deck, don't seem to realise this as they are all coming into flower. My memory doesn't serve me well but this does seem to be quite unseasonal.

A search tells me I am wrong, the season starts in June and the flush is in September,

stuff.co.nz/life-style/home-pr

As I look out of my kitchen window I observe the different patterns of , from the arrow-flight of Magpies to the flitting of Fantails; from the aerial acrobatics of the Kereru to the swift, circular hunting patterns of Welcome Swallows; from the majestic and solemn flight of the Canada Geese in V-formation with its regular honking and energy-efficiency to the darting movements of Silver-eyes as they feed on the flowers and berries of a Himilayan Honeysuckle outside the kitchen.

Here's a specification for the new cellphone and camera, for the record.

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Comparison of sunset scenes, taken with my old and new cellphone cameras.

This specification seems to accurately portray my old cellphone: Moto G Play (XT1602)
phonemore.com/specs/motorola/m

The new cellphone is a Samsung Galaxy A52,
model number: SM-A525F/DS
Specifications:
gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_a5

The photos were taken on my new cellphone, a Samsung Galaxy A52.

I'm still struggling a bit to get used to the new cellphone but already I can see that the colours are much more vibrant, especially where there is a bright sky in the background and a lot of contrast in the light intensity. Whereas with my old cellphone camera either the bright sky or the darker foreground would be properly exposed but not both, this camera makes the necessary adjustments automatically.

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I have just celebrated my 80th birthday with a quiet day at home and just the immediate family. We are in the midst of upheaval with the new driveway construction so I hope to have an open day shortly after the project is done and invite a few more people to visit our home - something that we have been reluctant to do while the old, long, narrow, steep, broken-up driveway and confined turning/parking space at the bottom were all that we had to offer.

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