10 January 2010

Mushroom Hunting

We went out mushroom hunting in the Santa Cruz mountains this afternoon. My first trip. Wowza. We saw about a dozen different kinds of mushrooms. I think I can now identify the various features that one uses to figure out what kind of a mushroom (genus if not species) one has.

A lovely white three-inch cap mushroom with a veil forming a skirt we decided was either a death cap, destroying angel, or something sufficiently similar we would treat it as such. I'm not convinced I can reliably pick the vulva of a mushroom in order to tell whether or not it has one.

We took home two beautiful orange California Chantrelles.

We also took two large Milk Caps (Lactarius Argillaceifolius var. Megacarpus).

I was able to identify one mushroom as some sort of Russola, but a reasonable estimate as to species eluded me.

Numerous red mushrooms with green stalks abounded. We tentatively identified these as Witches Hats.

One black, wrinkled, ball shaped fungus was pointed out to me as a false morel.

As we emerged from the oak trees into a small meadow, we encountered a flock of fungi I would have thought were Dung Bells had there been any dung around.

There were a pair of clumps of some slimy white fungus I'll have to identify on a future trip.

And there were numerous brown-gilled fungi that I didn't study long enough to decide how many species were involved.

And this list doesn't count a few fungi growing from dead oak branches that we mostly ignored.

All in all a successful first mushroom hunt. I'm looking forward to the next trip to identify more species and greet old friends.

09 January 2010

Ubuntu Sound

Installing Karmic Koala on my computer. Sound and video break are again broken. Time to record what I do to work around problems.

For sound, see the instructions posted by VertexPusher at the bottom of page2 of an Ubuntu Forums thread.

I removed pulseaudio and logged out and in.

I reinstalled pulseaudio and logged out and in.

I right-clicked on the speaker icon at the top-left of the gnome panel, selected the 'input tab', and set my microphone to microphone 2. (I used the Applications>Sound>Recorder [check spelling] application to test which setting would record sound.) I played around with the microphone amplification and output levels using the recorder to find a good gain with low hiss. (I set amplification to about 2x unamplified, and I set output level to about 80% of the dotted line.)

I started skype and set the sound options to reference pulse. Clicked on Apply. Used 'generate test sound' to verify basic settings. I disabled "allow skype to set my mixer levels. Used 'generate test call' to prove all settings.

I quit skype, logged out, logged into my wife's account and set up skype again.

Argh! After the above when my wife went to use Skype, it *still* didn't work.

I upgraded to Skype 2.1.

I opened up Applications > Sound > something PulseAudio. (I was using my wife's account which displays Thai labels on the menus, so I'm not sure of the name of the app or what I was doing with it.) Here I found some other microphone thingy and clicked on it some.