13 September 2022

Update day! Whee!

Ubuntu's 22.04.1 LTS release came out fairly recently, and I had it on my to-do list to get around to updating some components of my personal digital empire once it did. I'd already been using 22.04 on my desktop for several months, to general satisfaction and particular appreciation of its having included a new enough version of Darktable to handle the CR3 raw format that one of my cameras produces.

So, to the updating. I have a DigitalOcean droplet that runs the Nextcloud snap. I like having a small bit of cloud that I can manage myself, primarily to share files among devices and sometimes with others. I use memory cards with higher storage capacity than the minimal droplet's 25GB, but it serves its purpose. sudo do-release-upgrade worked fine. One system checked off.

I also have a home server, which also hosts a Nextcloud alongside other services, for larger-capacity sharing within my LAN. Here, the Nextcloud instance hadn't auto-updated like the droplet's snap, and I (bad me!) hadn't been attentive to updating its versions while the service continued to "just work". After the OS upgrade, I found that the Nextcloud-in-place required a PHP version earlier than the 8.1 included with Ubuntu 22.04, so couldn't generate display pages. There's a third-party repository that has older PHP releases, but I wasn't quickly able to line up the right set of configuration for the old Nextcloud to make use of it, and it was Update Day anyway! After three successive updates to Nextcloud to successive versions, I got it current and able to find and use PHP 8.1. My screen sync icon winked with approval. 

Lesson: be aware of dependencies, and do upgrades when you have time to deal with surprises.  

02 January 2022

05 September 2021

Virtual Aviary

I set my virtual aviary site up a couple of years ago, but hadn't set up a pointer to it here until now. It started as a learning exercise in Python and Django, but I've kept it live and growing as a vehicle to host my collection of bird photographs. It's been satisfying and informative to structure and apply a database to organize the images based on metadata, and to explore tradeoffs between appearance and functionality. I'd never have gotten to its current count of 231 photographed species in New England without the help and company of other birders, so am appreciative for that. 

02 June 2021


Wikipedia describes the coloration of this Common Nighthawk as cryptic. I don't read this usage as relating to cryptography, or to a type of crossword puzzle, but it is certainly well camouflaged as it sleeps during a morning.

23 March 2021


Yes, I'm anthropomorphizing, but this White-breasted Nuthatch does seem suitably enthusiastic for the season!

13 February 2021

Iridescence in flat light

A bit of a science project here. I was out yesterday when I saw a Bufflehead swimming on a river. I enjoy these small ducks, which somehow look particularly playful as we see them in the winter. The males are noted for the iridescent colors in the plumage on their heads, as in this example from last year, but that's usually only noticeable when they're viewed in sunlight from the right angle.

My weather yesterday afternoon was cloudy. Flat lighting. Still, I enjoyed taking pictures of the Bufflehead. When I uploaded and processed them, I was surprised to see that colors were still present, as shown below. It's a noisier image and the lighting's clearly less appealing, but I still found it interesting to be able to see and distinguish the magenta, green, and blue areas around the bird's head.

 Nice to know that iridescent color isn't wholly extinguished in shadow!