Shallow Thoughts

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

Sun, 01 Oct 2023

Create a Windows 10 that Boots off a USB Stick, from Linux

In 2019, I wrote about struggling to get any sort of Windows booting off an external USB stick, in order to Install Lenovo Firmware Packaged as a .exe on a Linux Machine. I ended up needing to borrow a real Windows machine and install Rufus on it.

In 2023, things are much better. Aki at atkdinosaurus has written a clear, concise tutorial on that topic: How to create a Windows 10 installation on a USB stick in UEFI mode. I love that it's all command-line, so you can duplicate the steps exactly.

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[ 10:07 Oct 01, 2023    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 28 Sep 2023

Opening a URL in a New Tab of an Existing Browser Window

My search for a good desktop Mastodon client has led me down a path that involved learning some fun ways to interact with existing browser windows on Linux with X programs like xdotool and wmctrl.

Like many people, I've switched from The App Formerly Known As Twitter to Mastodon (where I'm But the next question was which Mastodon app to use.

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[ 11:48 Sep 28, 2023    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Drag-and-Drop in Python Qt6

I had a need for a window to which I could drag and drop URLs.

I don't use drag-and-drop much, since I prefer using the commandline rather than a file manager and icon-studded desktop. Usually when I need some little utility and can't immediately find what I need, I whip up a little Python script.

This time, it wasn't so easy. Python has a GUI problem (as does open source in general): there are quite a few options, like TkInter, Qt, GTK, WxWidgets and assorted others, and they all have different strengths and (especially) weaknesses.

Drag-and-drop turns out to be something none of them do very well.

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[ 18:45 Sep 22, 2023    More programming | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 17 Sep 2023

Carrying Water for a Canine Companion

[Labrador retriever drinking from a water bottle] The weekly hiking group I'm in has quite a few members who bring their dogs on hikes, as long as the trail allows it (National Parks, Monuments and Preserves don't allow dogs).

I've seen various solutions for carrying dog water: bowls that telescope out in use, and can be compacted flatter. Bowls out of flexible materials like waterproofed nylon. Smallish cups. Then there's the tricky job of pouring the unused water from a flexible bowl back into a narrow-mouthed water bottle each time.

But dogs are more flexible than you might think. One of our canine hiking companions, Lewis, has been trained to drink from a water bottle. He just laps at the stream as it falls, and spills surprisingly little. So his person can give him a drink at any time, without stopping and digging around for a bowl.

I'd never seen this before, but it seems pretty handy for a dog and person who go hiking just about every day.

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[ 18:04 Sep 17, 2023    More hikes | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 07 Sep 2023

Los Alamos Voting Data on a Folium Choropleth Map

Somebody in a group I'm in has commented more than once that White Rock is a hotbed of Republicanism whereas Los Alamos leans Democratic. (For outsiders, our tiny county has two geographically-distinct towns in it, with separate zip codes, though officially they're both part of Los Alamos township which covers all of Los Alamos county. White Rock is about half the size of Los Alamos.)

After I'd heard her say it a couple times, I got curious. Was it true? I asked her for a reference, but she didn't have one. I decided to find out.

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[ 11:58 Sep 07, 2023    More programming | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 31 Aug 2023

Signs on the Way to San Antonio Hot Springs

[Rock wall on the way to San Antonio Hot Springs] This week's group hike was to San Antonio Hot Springs, in the Jemez above La Cueva. It was nice and cool up there, especially since the trail is mostly shady, winding through ponderosa forest with views of San Antonio Creek below and towering rock walls above.

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[ 12:06 Aug 31, 2023    More hikes | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 25 Aug 2023

Zenity for Notification Dialogs

When I wrote about Getting Linux System Notifications under Openbox, I ended up tossing out the whole notification system and using zenity to pop up a dialog directly. Specifically, a command like XAUTHORITY=~/.Xauthority DISPLAY=:0 zenity --title "Hello" --info --text="Hello world"

But customizing zenity to make it more attention-getting turned out to be more difficult than expected ...

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[ 13:55 Aug 25, 2023    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 21 Aug 2023

Getting Linux System Notifications under Openbox

I've been a fan of Linux's lightweight window managers, particularly Openbox, for many years.

But admittedly, there are some things they don't generally handle. One of those is system notifications.

Mostly, I've been happy to go without notifications. Firefox is forever asking me whether I want to turn them on for particular websites (which wouldn't work, but Firefox doesn't know that), usually websites I'm visiting for the first time and probably don't ever want to visit again, let alone let them spam me with ads as notifications outside my browser.

But every now and then it would be handy.

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[ 14:03 Aug 21, 2023    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]