Shallow Thoughts : : tech

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

Fri, 20 May 2022

Sending Mail via Gmail using OAuth2 (2022 Edition)

There's been lots of talk on mailing lists for various mail programs, like Alpine and Mutt, about Google's impending dropping of password access.

Although my regular email address is on a Linux server, I subscribe to several Google Groups. I use a gmail address for those, because Google Groups doesn't work well with non-gmail addresses (you can't view the archives or temporarily turn off mail, and unsubscribing may or may not work depending on the phase of the moon).

I prefer not to have to sign on to Google and use the clunky browser interface when I have a perfectly good mailer (I use mutt) on my computer. I send mail from mutt using a program called msmtp. But to post to a Google Group, I need to use Google's SMTP server. (SMTP is the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, the way mail gets from one computer to another across the internet.)

Up to now, I've been using an msmtp configuration that includes my Gmail password. That requires clicking through several Gmail pages to enable the "Less Secure Apps" setting. Google resets that preference every month or so and I have to go find the "Less Secure Apps" page to click through the screens again; but aside from that, it works okay.

But now Google has announced they'll be removing support for password access on May 30, 2022.

Read more ...

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[ 12:32 May 20, 2022    More tech/email | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 10 Apr 2022

Jerry Smith Speaks on Los Alamos Broadband at Lunch With a Leader

The March League of Women Voters' Lunch With a Leader featured Jerry Smith, the county's new Broadband Manager. I wrote it up for the LWV newsletter, but since that's PDF, I thought I'd post a more accessible copy here.

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[ 11:12 Apr 10, 2022    More tech | permalink to this entry | ]

Sat, 29 Jan 2022

View or Reset All Your Firefox Zoom Settings

Firefox's zoom settings are useful. You can zoom in on a page with Ctrl-+ (actually Ctrl-+ on a US-English keyboard), or out with Ctrl--.

Useful, that is, until you start noticing that lots of pages you visit have weirdly large or small font sizes, and it turns out that Firefox is remembering a Zoom setting you used on that site half a year ago on a different monitor.

Whenever you zoom, Firefox remembers that site, and uses that zoom setting any time you go to that site forevermore (unless you zoom back out).

Now that I'm using the same laptop in different modes — sometimes plugged into a monitor, sometimes using its own screen — that has become a problem.

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[ 18:04 Jan 29, 2022    More tech/web | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 12 Dec 2021

Battling Signup Spam on the Bill Tracker

I've spent a lot of the past week battling Russian spammers on the New Mexico Bill Tracker.

The New Mexico legislature just began a special session to define the new voting districts, which happens every 10 years after the census. When new legislative sessions start, the BillTracker usually needs some hand-holding to make sure it's tracking the new session. (I've been working on code to make it notice new sessions automatically, but it's not fully working yet). So when the session started, I checked the log files...

and found them full of Russian spam.

Specifically, what was happening was that a bot was going to my new user registration page and creating new accounts where the username was a paragraph of Cyrillic spam.

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[ 18:50 Dec 12, 2021    More tech/web | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 15 Nov 2021

Removing Bad Autocompletes from Firefox's Location Bar

A priest, a minister, and a rabbit walk into a bar.
The bartender asks the rabbit what he'll have to drink.
"How should I know?" says the rabbit. "I'm only here because of autocomplete."

Firefox folks like to call the location bar/URL bar the "awesomebar" because of the suggestions it makes. Sometimes, those suggestions are pretty great; there are a lot of sites I don't bother to bookmark because I know they will show up as the first suggestion.

Other times, the "awesomebar" not so awesome. It gets stuck on some site I never use, and there's seemingly no way to make Firefox forget that site.

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[ 16:54 Nov 15, 2021    More tech/web | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 06 Aug 2021

Firefox Broken on Local Domains

I maintain quite a few domains, both domains I own and domains belonging to various nonprofits I belong to. For testing these websites, I make virtual domains in apache, choosing an alias for each site. For instance, for the LWVNM website, the apache site file has

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName lwvlocal
and my host table, /etc/hosts, has
127.0.0.1    localhost lwvlocal
(The localhost line in my host table has entries for all the various virtual hosts I use, not just this one).

That all used to work fine. If I wanted to test a new page on the LWVNM website, I'd go to Firefox's urlbar and type something like lwvlocal/newpage.html and it would show me the new page, which I could work on until it was time to push it to the web server.

A month or so ago, a new update to Firefox broke that.

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[ 13:34 Aug 06, 2021    More tech/web | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 19 Jul 2021

Hack to fix Firefox 90.0's new invisible menu

Yesterday I started up my browser and discovered that I had no menu.

[Invisible Firefox menubar]

I understand that Mozilla wants us not to use the menu ... because why would anyone want to use any of Firefox's zillions of useful features that aren't available through the hamburger menu? ... but they've always made it possible to show a menubar if you really want one. Right-click in the area where the tabs are, and there's an option for Menu Bar that you can turn on.

And that option was still there, and the space above the tabs where it should show up was still taking up space ... there just weren't any menu buttons to click on.

Except they were. I tried clicking near the left edge and a familiar File menu popped up. Aha! The menubar is still there; it's just invisible. (In the screenshot above, if you look hard you can actually see the menu items, barely; in the theme I was actually using, which got uninstalled while I flailed around trying to fix the problem, they were much less visible.)

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[ 18:46 Jul 19, 2021    More tech/web | permalink to this entry | ]

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 | ]