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Meteorologists are calling this autumn (September, October and November) pretty average when it comes to the amount of sunshine, and distinctly warmer than average ;-)

Our findings are similar, given that the grass in our garden was still growing rapidly until mid-November – that’s exceptional, and can only be explained with those mild temperatures. An above-average solar energy production number for November (116% of our average) compensates the low performance of September, and does indeed make the 2022 autumn pretty average.

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Autumn? Who’s talking about autumn? It has been exceptionally warm in Belgium in October; I haven’t noticed our heating switching on at home, and that is not just because we have lowered the temperature setting in order to save a bit of energy.

The sun has also done its best: our solar panels reported a production of 113% of the October average.

Our summer was (very) warm and sunny; September saw an early autumn replace the heat. In fact, September was rather dark and pretty wet. Our solar panels registered the lowest electricity production numbers for all September months since 2009 !

As Promised…

As promised: the updated electricity production numbers are now available on this site.

August 2022 is indeed the fourth month in a row to exceed the average electricity production numbers for our installation. 114% is pretty remarkable, as far as I can tell, given the age and state of our solar configuration.

I’ll update the numbers overview later.

Despite the gray weather of last Sunday July 2022 was actually quite sunny. Good news for our solar panels, whose production came to 109% of the average of the past decade.

Temse and the river Schelde, Belgium – 2022-07-31

No good news for Ukraine, so far…

Good news again: our photovoltaic panels caught enough sunshine to beat the average electricity production numbers of the installation for the past twelve months of June.

In May, just as in March 2022, our solar panels managed to capture more sun than average – good news after almost a year of rather disappointing solar electricity production numbers for our installation.

Too bad there is only bad news coming from Eastern Europe…

The numbers prove it: our solar panels delivered about 92% of the average amount of energy for the month of April. Not too bad, but hardly spectacular. Apart from the first week of April we did not get any rain at all; the garden could use a bit of water, especially now that everything is growing and blooming…

Lilies of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) or “meiklokjes” in our front yard

March 2022 was quite sunny here in Belgium, and the electricity production numbers from our solar panels prove that: they made 120% of the average March production of the installation. Nice. But. There are too many things going very very bad in Eastern Europe to make me really happy about all that sunshine.

I do appreciate the reaction of the German embassy in South-Africa, succintly but forcefully reacting to a message saying that “R*ssia is fighting Nazism in Ukraine”:

The phrase “Sadly, we’re kinda experts on Nazism” makes it clear to me that this was not just a quick copy-paste message from an embassy textbook.

Even at the beginning of March it was clear that civilians were being slaughtered, in a manner that I would call (institutional) terrorism, and which is clearly in defiance of all kinds of international laws! The situation discovered in the suburbs of Kiev proves that things have only gotten worse since then… and that promises little good for what’s happening in the south and the east of Ukraine.

I’m too frustrated with the way things go in the world to post more or less serious (or frivolous) stuff here. You’ll have to do with the sunflowers in the header above, to symbolise my sympathy for yet another population smashed by unnecessary violence. I’m breaking my brain over how to get the world to rid itself of power-hungry egotistic maniacs (and no, killing them isn’t the way)…

This could be seen last Friday on our TV screen: the movie “Snowden“, the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” and an episode of the Norwegian TV series “Occupied“. Just as if the current war in Ukraine isn’t enough to illustrate the propaganda, manipulation, corruption and other nastiness in the world today!

We were lucky: the last few days of February were very sunny. February 27 was the first day since mid-November that the sky remained blue for the whole day. Time for the first ideal Sunday walk – we enjoyed it immensely. So did nature: the first new leaves are appearing, we saw a few very early blossoms, and some birds are starting to look into building nests. Spring is coming!

Spring is coming!

All that fine sun of the last days of the month makes that our solar panels achieved 96% of the average for February. Things looked a lot darker until just a few days ago…

“Read the books they don’t want you to — that’s where the good stuff is,” continued Burton. “Read banned books!”

Mashable: https://mashable.com/video/trevor-noah-levar-burton-ban-books

Apple’s computers are too good – they keep working and working. Case in point: we still use a Mid 2007 iMac at home. And: I also still use a Macbook Pro from Mid 2012. Certainly we’re not the only people in the world that do not throw out our computer every three or four years.

Hence it would be… nice if Apple kept the software on those older machines up to date. I understand that Apple cannot implement every last novelty on those oldies. That’s not what I’m asking for. But security patches and certificate updates can’t be that hard to integrate in some sort of update package for earlier versions of Mac OS X. After all, email is still email, and web browsers from 10 years ago are still capable of displaying most current sites. Just covering those two functional domains might allow many Mac users to use their older machines. How about it, Apple?

One of the issues posed by these older Mac OS X versions is the browser message “This Connection Is Not Private” when trying to access a site over the secure https: protocol. This message means that there is a problem with one or more certificates in the certificate chain for that particular site. Usually it’s a matter of expiration: certificates are only valid for a specific period of time. That is also the case for the certificates that were used by the Certification Authorities that sign the TLS certificates for the website. As time goes by, some of those “root certificates” expire, making browsers like Safari pop up warning messages to tell you of the problem. The correction for this problem is easy: the root certificate has to be updated, and things will work again. As long as Apple updates Mac OS X on your Mac, they will do that for you, and you don’t have to worry about this problem (at least for websites that play by the book!). However, if you’re not familiar with the underlying mechanisms in the browser, the error message is actually blocking you from accessing the site – even when in fact there is nothing wrong with it (the problem is on your Mac!).

Can this problem be fixed on older MAC OS X versions, for which Apple no longer provides updates? Luckily, the answer is yes. But it is not a “click here and you’re done” kind of fix; you need to have some experience with the Terminal application and the bash command line on your Mac, and you also need access to a Mac with a recent (preferably the latest) version of the certificates.

Here’s the procedure, paraphrased from StackExchange. To simplify things, I’ll describe how to update all system root certificates in one swoop.

  • On the ‘newest’ Mac, launch the “Keychain Access” application.
  • In the “Keychain Access” application, click on “System Roots” in the left column, and select all certifcates in the list that appears (a single click in the that list, followed by Cmd-A).
  • In the File menu, select the option “Export Items…” and save the file as “rootcerts.pem“.

All the certificates will be stored in that single file. The first thing to do now is to transfer that “rootcerts.pem” file to your ‘old’ Mac. You can do so with a memory stick or card, by email, or by using some kind of cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.).

To do so you should log on to the ‘old’ Mac, using a user account that has administrator rights.

  • Put the “rootcerts.pem” file in a folder, e.g. “Downloads”.
  • Open the Terminal application, and go to the folder with “rootcerts.pem” file.
  • In that folder, create a new script file called ‘trustroot.sh‘ (yes, I prefer to add a .sh extension to that file in order to recognize it as such later on), and add the following content (using pico or the text editor of your preference):
#!/bin/bash
DIR=trustrootdir.$$
mkdir -p ${DIR}
trap "rm -rf ${DIR}" EXIT
cat "$1" | (cd $DIR && split -p '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----' - cert- )
for c in ${DIR}/cert-* ; do
   security -v add-trusted-cert -d -r trustRoot -k "/Library/Keychains/System.keychain" "$c"
done
rm -rf ${DIR}
  • Save the file and make it executable, using the command ‘chmod 755 trustroot.sh‘.
  • Everything is now in place; all that remains to be done is the execution of the script with the following command line (plus your sudo password, of course):
sudo ./trustroot.sh rootcerts.pem

You should see a list of certificate descriptors pass by in the Terminal window.

The certificates exported from your ‘new’ Mac will now be included in the list of ‘System’ certificates (as explained on StackExchange, only Apple can update the ‘System Roots’ keychain), but they will be taken into account just as well.

You can close your Terminal session now. It’s up to you to decide whether or not to keep the ‘trustroot.sh‘ script for future use; you will have to replace the rootcerts.pem file later anyway, with a more recent version of the certificates.

If everything went well, your browser should no longer show the dreaded message – except for sites that really have an expired certificate.

PS. I have changed the location of the temporary directory in the ‘trustroot.sh‘ script to the current directory, compared to what you see on StackExchange. I did that because I got an error message when running the ‘trustroot.sh‘ script that complained about “/” being a read-only file system. Somehow the settings of my Terminal shell had chosen “/” as the TMPDIR, and you can’t just create new folders there. Since the script deletes the temporary directory anyway, it’s location doesn’t matter; it will exist for a just a few seconds anyway…