Shallow Thoughts : : Apr

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

Mon, 22 Apr 2024

Tactical is the New Black

[a so-called 'Tactical Pen'] My new binocular came! And something curious came with them: a "tactical pen".

It seems to be quite a nice gel pen, with an aluminum body and a locking retractor. But the "tactical" part is less clear.

Me What makes it tactical?
Dave Maybe that it's black?
Me Tactical is the new black?

And of course, my mind couldn't help wandering off to explore what might make the difference between a tactical pen and a strategic pen. Maybe something about how long the ink reserve lasts? Or how long it takes to click the clicky retractor thing?

Oh, well, it was free when buying the binocular from B&H, and it really is a pretty nice pen.

On the binocular:

Read more ...

[ 16:06 Apr 22, 2024    More humor | permalink to this entry | ]

Thu, 18 Apr 2024

Using Sox Play to Help Learn Guitar

I mentioned last month that I'm learning guitar. It's been going well and I'm having fun. But I've gotten to the point where I sometimes get chords confused: a song is listed as using E major and I play D major instead.

Also, it's important to practice transitions between chords, which is easy when you only know three chords; but with eight or so, I had stopped practicing transitions in general and was only practicing the ones that occur in songs I like to play.

I found myself wishing I had something like flash cards for guitar chords.

Someone must have already written that, right? But I couldn't find anything promising with a web search. And besides, it's more fun to write programs than to flail at unhelpful search engines, and you always end up learning something new.

Read more ...

Tags: , , , ,
[ 20:02 Apr 18, 2024    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

Sat, 13 Apr 2024

Saw the Eclipse ... Sort Of

[Viewing the eclipse from 19 Mile Crossing, TX] I'm sorry, but I have no eclipse photos to share. I messed that up. But I did get to see totality.

For the April 8, 2024 eclipse, Dave and I committed early to Texas. Seemed like that was where the best long-range forecasts were. In the last week before the eclipse, the forecasts were no longer looking so good. But I've heard so many stories of people driving around trying to chase holes in the clouds, only to be skunked, while people who stayed put got a better view. We decided to stick with our plan, which was to stay in San Angelo (some 190 miles off the centerline) the night before, get up fairly early and drive to somewhere near the centerline.

Read more ...

Tags: , ,
[ 12:36 Apr 13, 2024    More science/astro | permalink to this entry | ]

Wed, 03 Apr 2024

Making OsmAnd Overlays with QGIS (2024 Edition)

Several years ago I wrote about Making a Land Ownership Overlay with QGIS and Making Overlay Maps for OsmAnd. I've been using that land use overlay for years. But recently I needed to make several more overlays: land ownership for Utah for a hiking trip, one for the eclipse, and I wanted to refresh my New Mexico land ownership overlay since it was several years out of date. It turns out some things have changed, so here's an update, starting from the point where your intended overlay is loaded as a layer in QGIS.

Read more ...

Tags: , , ,
[ 18:15 Apr 03, 2024    More mapping | permalink to this entry | ]