Shallow Thoughts

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

Wed, 07 Oct 2020

MarsMap: What Features of Mars are Visible?

[MarsMap screenshot] I've been working on my upcoming PEEC talk, Observing Mars at Opposition on October 16.

Mars' closest approach was yesterday, October 6, and the actual opposition will be next Tuesday, October 13.

So, wait, we've already missed closest approach, and the opposition will be over before the actual talk happens? Then why bother?

Fortunately, opposition is actually an "opposition season", not a single date. And for most people, the best part is a little past opposition.

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[ 18:10 Oct 07, 2020    More science/astro | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Tue, 29 Sep 2020

Y is for Yunque

Dave was browsing through satellite imagery and noticed what looked like an old bridge across the Rio Grande just north of Española, near the Ohkay Owingeh pueblo.

In the Days of COVID, one cure for the stir-crazies is to get in the car and go for a drive. So we ventured forth to check out this bridge.

[Bridge across the Rio Grande] Sure enough, just west of where County Road 56A crosses the Rio, there's a little stub of a dead-end road called Yunque that leads to a footbridge.

The name Yunque sounded vaguely familiar, but neither of us could pin down why.

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[ 12:50 Sep 29, 2020    More misc | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sat, 26 Sep 2020

Pho 1.0, Belated Release

[pho image viewer] I was doing some disk housekeeping and noticed that my venerable image viewer, Pho, was at version 1.0pre1, and had been since 2017. It's had only very minimal changes since that time. I guess maybe it's been long enough that it's time to remove that -pre1 moniker, huh?

Of course I couldn't leave it at that. There were a couple of very minor bugs I'd been ignoring, when you delete from the end or beginning of the image list. So I fixed those, bumped the version, updated the web page, tagged the git tree and made a release. Pho is now 1.0. About time!

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[ 10:32 Sep 26, 2020    More programming | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Thu, 17 Sep 2020

Resizing Images for a Twitter Stream

[LWVNM tweet of a Vote411 image] In the LWVNM, we're promoting our new non-partisan state-wide online Voter Guide, Vote411.

I got roped into doing the Twitter side of this, using a bunch of images the communications team got from the national LWV.

The problem is, the images are square, 1500x1500 pixels. Turns out Twitter won't display square images: according to most references I found, it crops any image you tweet to 600x335 (16:9).

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[ 14:13 Sep 17, 2020    More tech | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Fri, 11 Sep 2020

Key Bindings for Copy and Paste Under X11

In the previous article I wrote about how the two X selections, the primary and clipboard, work. But I glossed over the details of key bindings to copy and paste the two selections in various apps.

That's because it's complicated. Although having the two selections available is really a wonderful feature, I can understand why so many people are confused about it or think that copy and paste just generally doesn't work on Linux -- because apps are so woefully inconsistent about their key bindings, and what they do have is so poorly documented.

"Why don't they all just use the standard Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V?" you ask. (Cmd-C, Cmd-V for Mac users, but I'm not going to try to include the Mac versions of every binding in this article; Mac users will have to generalize.)

Simple: those keys have well-known and very commonly used bindings already, which date back to long before copy and paste were invented.

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[ 12:54 Sep 11, 2020    More linux | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Mon, 07 Sep 2020

X is for the X Selection: Copy and Paste on Linux

There's so much confusion about copy and paste in Linux. Many people, coming from the Windows or Mac worlds, complain about copy/paste not working right. And while it's true that some apps don't handle copy/paste very well (Firefox in particular is notably flaky in this area), usually the problem is that nobody has ever told them about one of Linux's best features: the two types of selection, Primary and Clipboard.

The Primary Selection

When you sweep your mouse across some words to highlight them, or double-click to highlight a word, or triple-click to highlight a line, whatever you've highlighted is now in the primary selection.

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[ 12:28 Sep 07, 2020    More linux | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Wed, 19 Aug 2020

W is for Whiptails

[Maybe a New Mexico Whiptail] Late summer is whiptail season. Whiptails are long, slender, extremely fast lizards with (as you might expect) especially long tails. They emerge from hibernation at least a month later than the fence lizards, but once they're awake, they're everywhere.

In addition to being pretty to look at, fun to watch as they hit the afterburner and streak across the yard, and challenging to photograph since they seldom sit still for long, they're interesting for several reasons.

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[ 19:56 Aug 19, 2020    More nature | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Fri, 14 Aug 2020

V is for Video Editing with Shotcut

I have a new camera, a Sony a6100. Frustrated with the bugs and limitations of my ancient Rebel XSi, I decided to jump into the world of mirrorless cameras.

So far I'm pleased with it (though sometimes frustrated by its Byzantine menu hierarchy). One of its nice features, which the Rebel didn't have at all, is movies, and I've been shooting a lot of short movies of radio controlled airplanes when we fly at Overlook Park.

That's the problem: a lot of short movies. I'd like to make them available on YouTube so that my fellow pilots can see them; but uploading a movie to YouTube is a low and elaborate process, and uploading eight or so short clips of less than a minute each is just too much work. It would be so much easier if I could edit them together and upload just one movie.

Time to learn some basic video editing.

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[ 16:02 Aug 14, 2020    More linux | permalink to this entry | comments ]