Shallow Thoughts

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

Thu, 22 Feb 2024

towebhost: a Handy Script for Mirroring Multiple Websites

I maintain quite a few small websites. I have several of my own under different domains (, and so forth), plus a few smaller projects like flask apps running on a different port. In addition, I maintain websites for several organizations on a volunteer basis (because if you join any volunteer organization and they find out you're at all technical, that's the first job they want you to do).

I typically maintain a local copy of each website, so I can try out any change locally first.

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[ 16:18 Feb 22, 2024    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 02 Feb 2024

Identifying Trees and Shrubs in Winter: a PEEC Plant Walk

[Craig shows a more common one-seed juniper] Last week Craig Martin led a tree and shrub identification walk for PEEC around Kinnikinnick (yes, I had to look up the spelling) Park in Los Alamos.

It was a very welcome addition to the summer flower walks that Craig and Chick Keller have led in the past. Nothing wrong with flowers, but I get curious about the non-flowering plants I see around me. I guess I'm not the only one who feels that way, because the walk was very well attended despite the mud and snow.

And it was fabulous. I scribbled notes as I could, but I'm sure they won't make any sense to me a week from now, let alone a year. Hence this writeup.

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[ 12:34 Feb 02, 2024    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Sat, 20 Jan 2024

First Time Biking the White Ridge Bike Trails

[Map of White Ridge Bike Trails] Dave and I finally got around to riding the White Ridge Bike Trails. It's an area north of Albuquerque, adjacent to the Ojito Wilderness (which is also on our to-explore list). Somehow we'd never quite gotten there, but this week was perfect. Here in White Rock our local trails are covered with melting snow, which means they'll be muddy for at least a month even if it doesn't snow any more. But down near Albuquerque they didn't get much snow, and the temperature was forecast as mid-40s, so we hoped conditions would be good.

The map paints trails as Beginner (green), Moderate (blue), Difficult (red), and Severe (black). We're intermediate bikers: pretty comfortable riding over rocks and other modest obstacles, but not good enough to do the super technical stuff like we see at Pajarito. But there's no consistency to bike trail ratings: a lot of trails rated difficult in the bay area were well within our abilities,, while some trails that Los Alamos County puts on their "family friendly" list are so difficult that I can't ride them (we've argued with the county's trail guy, who I don't think is a mountain biker; he insists that they should rated as easy based on some IMBA criterion or other.)

Anyway, the point is that you can't tell what you'll be able to ride without going there and trying it.

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[ 19:41 Jan 20, 2024    More bike | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 01 Jan 2024

Best Books I Read in 2023

2023 was a good year for books, especially nonfiction.

I only finished twenty books this year. I think that's mostly because I read a lot more nonfiction than usual (tending toward long books and slower reading), and I had no re-reads. Still, quite a bit lower than past years. I guess I've been pretty busy with other things, and tired and zonking out early instead of reading well into the night.

Here are some of the books I enjoyed most this year.

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[ 12:34 Jan 01, 2024    More misc | permalink to this entry | ]

Tue, 26 Dec 2023

Running Windows 10 under QEMU, Update: Debian Changed OVMF

In October I wrote about making a Windows 10 that Boots off a USB Stick, From Linux.

A Debian update today or yesterday (Merry Christmas!) broke that and I spent a few hours today chasing that down.

There's a package called ovmf that puts BIOS/firmware related files in /usr/share/OVMF/. The command I used in the earlier article included the flag -bios /usr/share/OVMF/OVMF_CODE.fd but as of today, -bios apparently doesn't work any more with any of the files there.

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[ 18:01 Dec 26, 2023    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 14 Dec 2023

New Hobby: Crochet Earmuffs

[Akkana modeling a crochet earmuff] With the cold weather upon us, I've been cranking out a lot of crochet earmuffs.

I'd made a few knitted earmuffs back when I was learning to knit a few years ago. I liked the way they felt and worked — no pressure on my head or ears like with the kind of earmuffs that have a band that goes over the head — but they're tricky to knit, requiring circular knitting with small double-pointed needles and a lot of increasing and decreasing. I'm still not that good at knitting and have a hard time with increases.

It turns out earmuffs are much easier in crochet.

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[ 15:35 Dec 14, 2023    More misc | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 27 Nov 2023

A Smaller, Lighter Dataset: Clip Layers in QGIS

[QGIS screenshot showing a manufactured polygon to clip a river layer]

The dataset I used for mapping fire perimeters is huge: not surprising if it's all historic fires for the US. Classifying it in QGIS gave a warning, and operations were very slow. Here's how to clip a big dataset in QGIS to restrict it to a smaller geographic area.

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[ 11:43 Nov 27, 2023    More mapping | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 23 Nov 2023

How to Use QGIS to Identify Fire Areas


(A QGIS beginner's tutorial.)

For quite a while I've been wanting a map showing the perimeters of the big local fires. When walking through a burned area, I wonder, was this one from the Cerro Grande fire? Or Las Conchas? Or another fire?

Yesterday, inspired by Ryan Peek's #30DayMapChallenge toot on California Fire Perimeters, I decided to look for the data and load it in QGIS.

Also, I never did an entry for Day 3 of the #30DayMapChallenge, "Polygons", so this is it, not quite three weeks late.

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[ 12:34 Nov 23, 2023    More mapping | permalink to this entry | ]