The Cicadas are Here

Cicada on hardware cloth with red eyes

There are annual cicadas. Then there are 13-year cicadas. And 17-year cicadas. Then there are days like today when 13 and 17 year cicadas emerge from the ground around the same time, creating a fairly odd event in our backyard.

Cicada holes in ground

My daughters are helpfully pointing out a few of the thousands of holes in the ground around our yard—sites where cicadas have been emerging for the past two weeks.

Almost every day there's a new batch that starts climbing up the garden, the trees, the house, the barbecue grill, the kids toy box, the toys the kids leave in the yard... pretty much everything.

And then for a day or two you see them shedding their old skin, emerging, walking around a bit drunkenly, then eventually flying up into the trees.

microSD cards' SBC days are numbered

Raspberry Pi M.2 HAT+

For years, SBCs that aren't Raspberry Pis experimented with eMMC and M.2 storage interfaces. While the Raspberry Pi went from full-size SD card in the first generation to microSD in every generation following (Compute Modules excluded), other vendors like Radxa, Orange Pi, Banana Pi, etc. have been all over the place.

Still, most of the time a fallback microSD card slot remains.

But microSD cards—even the fastest UHS-II/A2/V90/etc. ones that advertise hundreds of MB/sec—are laggards when it comes to any kind of SBC workflow.

The two main reasons they're used are cost and size. They're tiny, and they don't cost much, especially if you don't shell out for industrial-rated microSD cards.

microSD card slot on Raspberry Pi

Quick NVMe performance testing with fio

I've recently been debugging some NVMe / PCIe bus errors on a Raspberry Pi, and I wanted a quick way to test NVMe devices without needing to create a filesystem and use a tool like iozone. I don't care about benchmarks, I just want to quickly push the drive and read and write some data to it.

fio is the tool for the job, and after a quick install sudo apt install -y fio, I create a configuration file named nvme-read.fio:


Then run it with:

sudo fio nvme-read.fio

Easy way to put some stress on the drive, and test your PCIe setup and the drive itself.

Import unsupported camera RAW files into Apple Photos

Many years ago, I decided to migrate my photo library from Apple's now-defunct Aperture to Photos, so I could take advantage of Apple's iCloud Photo Library (don't worry, I still have three full complete local backups, plus a separate cloud backup besides Apple's iCloud originals).

One pain point is RAW support. As camera manufacturers add new models, their proprietary RAW codecs are updated, and software vendors like Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft have to update photo editing tools to work with the new camera models.

I don't envy them this task, but as Photos was Apple's official successor to Aperture (a pale shadow to be sure, but it has its merits as a semi-decent library organizer), they've generally done well supporting new camera models. The compatibility list for macOS Sonoma, iPadOS 17, and iOS 17 is a testament to that effort.

Achieving Pro Zoom meeting quality on my Mac

Azden shotgun mic on desk setup

For the past decade, I've worked remote. I slowly moved from full-time software and infrastructure dev to YouTuber, and throughout that time, I kept tweaking my desk video recording/conferencing setup.

I wanted to document my setup today, as I've tweaked it a bit in my new studio space. Hopefully some of my tools and techniques can help you, or maybe you can find a way to make a simpler (hopefully cheaper) but higher quality setup!

I made a video going through everything in detail, but I'll mention the highlights in this post:

Raspberry Pi is getting into the services game

...and it's all free—so far.

Raspberry Pi Connect Beta Logo

Raspberry Pi today launched Raspberry Pi Connect, a free remote VPN service for all Pi OS users.

If you create a Raspberry Pi ID, you can sign up for Connect, install rpi-connect on a Pi 4 or 5 running 64-bit Pi OS 12 'Bookworm', and register that Pi with the service.

Then, on any other device's web browser, you can log in and remote control your Pi through Connect's web-based VNC viewer.

Raspberry Pi Connect Demo

The VNC server is based on wayvnc, and the Connect service allows for as many registered Pis as you want (though I'm guessing the interface is optimized for the majority use case of one or a few).