Shallow Thoughts

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

Tue, 29 Jun 2004

Alpha is flying

Beta still lives in the pyrocanthus, and is getting fairly good at hopping from branch to branch, fluttering at the right time now. We weren't sure it was Beta, since we hadn't seen Alpha in a while and were getting a little worried that something bad might have happened ...

But tonight after sunset, I saw Alpha perched up on the wire! After a feeding by one of the parents, Alpha actually flew down off the wire. Hooray!

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[ 20:30 Jun 29, 2004    More nature/birds | permalink to this entry ]

Mon, 28 Jun 2004

Beta comes for a visit

This morning, I was organizing the mockchick pictures into a web page when I heard a lot of adult squawking in the backyard. I turned, and saw a chick (probably Beta) sitting on the sill of the office door, looking at me. Eventually the chick jumped off and hopped across the walk and under the deck, not to be seen for a few hours.

But this afternoon, there was chick activity in the front yard, moving between the atlas cedar and the pyrocanthus. The chick is now settled down for the night at the top of the pyrocanthus. The parents are still feeding it. It's hopping from branch to branch pretty well, using its wings a little bit, as an afterthought. I don't think it's getting much help from its wings yet, but it's getting used to the timing of when to flap them.

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[ 17:00 Jun 28, 2004    More nature/birds | permalink to this entry ]

Sun, 27 Jun 2004

swsusp working, sort of

I got swsusp working on blackbird. Re-reading the kernel documentation with a night's sleep behind me revealed that at the very end of swsusp.txt, there's code for a C program to suspend non-ACPI machines. Worked fine! swsusp in 2.6.7 doesn't quite resume X properly (I had to ctrl-alt-FN back and forth a few times before I saw my X screen) but it's progress, anyway.

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[ 20:00 Jun 27, 2004    More linux | permalink to this entry ]

Beta out of the tree

Beta chick left the nest today, late in the day, and made it to the juniper in the front yard, where he/she spent most of the day, being fed by mom. But late in the afternoon, somehow Beta appeared in the rosemary, where I was able to get a couple of nice, sharp pictures with no window in the way. Strangely, the parents didn't even dive-bomb me during this.

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[ 17:00 Jun 27, 2004    More nature/birds | permalink to this entry ]

Sat, 26 Jun 2004

Beta out of the nest

Beta chick was out of the nest by early morning, but still afraid to leave the tree. All day it hopped from branch to branch, but never flew. The parents are still feeding it.

Alpha chick still seems to be safe, in the trees across the yard. The parents feed it occasionally, but not nearly as often as Beta.

Fired up by the PenLUG talk, I tried getting swsusp working on blackbird. No dice: it's still not at all obvious how to initiate a suspend (except for echo S4 > /proc/acpi/sleep, which obviously isn't very helpful on non-ACPI machines). The kernel Documentation file power/swsusp.txt says to use the acpi method for the "old version" of swsusp, echo disk > /sys/power/state for the "new one". But echo disk > /sys/power/state does nothing. swsusp.sourceforge.net says nothing about this "new version" or anything else modern; it offers a pair of patches against 2.6.2 (or comparably old 2.4 kernels) and says to use the suspend.sh script. But suspend.sh complains at install time because it can't find /proc/swsusp.

Linuxchix get-together tonight in SF -- saw Pearlbear again and met xTina. Didn't see Erin (meara) -- apparently she was there !? but we never recognized each other. Bummer!

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[ 23:00 Jun 26, 2004    More nature/birds | permalink to this entry ]

Fri, 25 Jun 2004

Mocker chicks fledged!

One of the mockingbird chicks fledged today! I didn't think it was ready, but the parent mockers were unusually aggressive this morning, dive-bombing Dave or me whenever we went in or out of the house, which made me wonder if a baby had fallen out. Scanning the tree, I discovered a chick out of the nest and sitting on a branch right next to the porch (I took a few pictures on my way past).

Then a few minutes later, I looked out the office window and there was a strange looking bird sitting on the back porch. The chick had fallen or fluttered there from its perch. It hopped around a bit, and fell into the recycling bin. There ensued a few minutes of concerned conversation between parent (perched on the edge of the bin) and the unseen chick, punctuated by occasional aluminum can rattling sounds. I was just about reaching the point of rescuing the chick and putting it back in the tree when it succeeded in hopping out.

It then hopped decisively down the walkway toward the back of the yard, paused briefly at the dirt patch where the lawnmower is parked, then hopped into the patio. The parents followed its progress from on high, but didn't interfere. They were obviously afraid to follow it into the patio, but paced the wires outside, nervously wing-fluttering and head-cocking.

That was the last I saw of the alpha chick. Later in the afternoon, the parents have been aggressively protecting the orange tree outside the patio, and occasional cheeps sound from roughly that direction, so it looks like the chick probably did manage to fly up into the tree. I hope it's out of reach of cats.

Beta chick is still in the nest, showing not much interest in flapping, exploring, or leaving. It looks quite a bit smaller and fuzzier, and the parents are still feeding it.

Photos here.

In between mockwatching, I went over to Sarah's and we attempted to install various distros on her machine, with no success:

She may end up going back to RH8. Sigh.

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[ 16:00 Jun 25, 2004    More nature/birds | permalink to this entry ]

Thu, 24 Jun 2004

PenLUG: Linux on Laptops

Great talk at PenLUG by Chander Kant of Linux Certified, on Linux on Laptops. It was much the same talk he gave a month ago at SVLUG, except at PenLUG he got to give his talk without being pestered by a bunch of irritating flamers, and it was possible for people to ask real questions and get answers.

The biggest revelation: "Suspend to Disk" in the 2.6 kernel is actually ACPI S4 suspend, and won't do anything on a machine that doesn't support ACPI S4. Why can't they say that in the help? Sheesh!

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[ 23:00 Jun 24, 2004    More linux | permalink to this entry ]

First blog entry. Let's see how this goes.

We've been watching the mockingbird chicks in the nest outside the laundry room for about a week now. The chicks (two, I think, but it's possible there's a third) are growing fast, and at least one is starting to grow some normal feathers on its back. That must itch: yesterday the baby was wiggling around in the nest, stretching, and preening itself madly.

I hear at least two different voices from the nest. One sounds almost hoarse, the other is clear and high pitched.

The parents are getting increasingly agitated. Today I got dive-bombed repeatedly while I was checking plants in the garden, despite being careful to stay away from the guava tree where the nest is. I keep wondering if somehow one of the chicks fell out and is hiding in the rosemary, since the parents get so agitated when I'm near there; but I never see them flying to the rosemary, and the chicks are obviously far too young to fly yet.

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[ 16:00 Jun 24, 2004    More nature/birds | permalink to this entry ]