Shallow Thoughts

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Wed, 25 May 2022

A Brood of Small Cicadas

Our trees in La Senda have been ticking madly for about a week.

The noise had been worrying me. Some of our drought-stressed piñons might not have enough sap to fight off bark beetles (we lost four trees last year to the beetles). On the other hand, cicadas do make clicking noises (like an orchestra tuning up, preparing for the symphony). And the ticking noise came from junipers as much as piñons; bark beetles are usually species-specific..

[cicada from La Senda brood starting 2022-05-17] But eventually we were able to find a few of the tickers and photograph them. Definitely cicadas, though they're noticeably smaller than the big broods of 2014 and 2019, and greener, with bigger eyes (here's a 2019 cicada for comparison).

It's remarkably hard to locate cicadas to photograph them, even when you're surrounded by junipers that each have several of them clicking loudly. Once you see them, you can see the movement as they make their ticking noises, and as they slowly work their way along a branch.

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[ 20:01 May 25, 2022    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 20 May 2022

Sending Mail via Gmail using OAuth2 (2022 Edition)

There's been lots of talk on mailing lists for various mail programs, like Alpine and Mutt, about Google's impending dropping of password access.

Although my regular email address is on a Linux server, I subscribe to several Google Groups. I use a gmail address for those, because Google Groups doesn't work well with non-gmail addresses (you can't view the archives or temporarily turn off mail, and unsubscribing may or may not work depending on the phase of the moon).

I prefer not to have to sign on to Google and use the clunky browser interface when I have a perfectly good mailer (I use mutt) on my computer. I send mail from mutt using a program called msmtp. But to post to a Google Group, I need to use Google's SMTP server. (SMTP is the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, the way mail gets from one computer to another across the internet.)

Up to now, I've been using an msmtp configuration that includes my Gmail password. That requires clicking through several Gmail pages to enable the "Less Secure Apps" setting. Google resets that preference every month or so and I have to go find the "Less Secure Apps" page to click through the screens again; but aside from that, it works okay.

But now Google has announced they'll be removing support for password access on May 30, 2022.

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[ 12:32 May 20, 2022    More tech/email | permalink to this entry | ]

Tue, 17 May 2022

Time-Lapse Video of Pyrocumulus from the Hermit's Peak Fire

The Cerro Pelado fire that was threatening Los Alamos is mostly under control now (71% contained as of Tuesday morning), and the county has relaxed the "prepare to evacuate" status.

That's good, and not just for Los Alamos, because it means more people who can fight the much larger Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon fire, currently 26% contained and stretching over a huge 299,565 acres.

For those of us on the Pajarito Plateau, that means we're getting views of enormous pyrocumulus clouds towering over the Sangre de Cristo mountains from Las Vegas to just south of Taos.

I keep missing the opportunity for photos, but on Sunday night I took a series of images and made this time-lapse movie.

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[ 12:25 May 17, 2022    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 13 May 2022

Mapping Fire Perimeters

[Fire map from mapping] I've been using the Wildland Fires map from to keep an eye on the Cerro Pelado fire and the larger (though more distant from me) Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon fires raging in the Pecos.

It's an excellent map, but it's a little sporadic in whether it shows the fire perimeter. In any case, as a data junkie, I wanted to know how to get the data and make my own display, maybe for a quick viewer that I can pop up when I sign on in the morning.

Also, Los Alamos County, on its Cerro Pelado Information page, has a map showing the "Go" lines (if the fire crosses these lines, we have to evacuate) for Los Alamos and White Rock and I'd like to be able to view those lines on the same map with the fire perimeter and hot spots.

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[ 10:46 May 13, 2022    More mapping | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 08 May 2022

Earth, Wind and (Cerro Pelado) Fire

[tree cage tied to fence]
It's the windy season, and the winds are crazy here. I'm pretty sure I saw a house, some flying monkeys and a woman on a bicycle fly past the window twenty minutes ago.

I'm not sure precisely how crazy — our weather station is only showing a max of 18 mph, which mostly means there are too many trees around it, but the weather station at TA54 just up the road is reading 26 right now, with a max of 48.3.

The cage that I built this spring to keep the deer away from the apple tree (not that it ever flowers or fruits anyway) keeps wanting to slide into the tree or topple over on top of it. I had to jump up twice during dinner and run out to rescue it. So now it's tied to some big rocks and, if those lose their grip, it's also tied to the fence.

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[ 19:49 May 08, 2022    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 25 Apr 2022

Virt-Manager Beginner Tips

A couple of small tips on QEMU/KVM/VirtManager that I picked up while migrating my Windows 10 virtual machine from VirtualBox, for use once you get virt-manager running and migrate your VirtualBox VMs to virt-manager/QEMU:

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[ 14:33 Apr 25, 2022    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Sat, 16 Apr 2022

Migrating a VirtualBox Windows Virtual Machine to QEMU/KVM/virt-manager

A month ago I wrote about Getting virt-manager Running on Debian. The ultimate goal of this was to migrate my Windows 10 install from VirtualBox to QEMU, because VirtualBox is becoming increasingly difficult to install on Linux, especially on Debian, which has removed VirtualBox from Bookworm (testing) and there are indications that it might be removed from Sid (unstable) as well. I gather there's something unsavory about the license now that Oracle owns it, but I haven't been following the details.

Anyway, after getting virt-manager running, I'd been putting off the rest of the migration out of a suspicion that there lay dragons. I was right: it took several days of struggling, but I now have Windows 10 working under virt-manager and qemu/kvm. Here's how.

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[ 18:20 Apr 16, 2022    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 10 Apr 2022

Jerry Smith Speaks on Los Alamos Broadband at Lunch With a Leader

The March League of Women Voters' Lunch With a Leader featured Jerry Smith, the county's new Broadband Manager. I wrote it up for the LWV newsletter, but since that's PDF, I thought I'd post a more accessible copy here.

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[ 11:12 Apr 10, 2022    More tech | permalink to this entry | ]