Monthly Archives: February 2017

Species List, Attempt One, Take Three

Ok, if I create a table, that’s fine. Except that I’ll update it won’t I. And then it won’t be a reflection of current recollection. So let’s keep it messy. What do I have. What do I remember?


  • Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
  • Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
  • Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) 
  • Stags Horn Sumach (Rhus typhina)

I have a share of a gorgeous Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris). It’s half in Mike’s garden, as is a Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) that fell over last year and had to be cut down. That’s coppicing nicely. I thought and hoped it would. It is. It’s great to see.


  • Hazel (Corylus avellana)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
  • Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
  • Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

Actually the beech should be down here. There’s no big beech trees. Only little ones I’ve planted.

There are Cherry Trees. I think they’re probably something like Prunus kanzan as they fit the picture when in flower. Definitely not wild cherry (Prunus avium).

There’s a big tree I forgot. I think it’s Leylandii (X cupressocyparis leylandii) although it might be a Leyland Cypress (Chamaecyparis leylandii).

I’ve got some:

  • Elder (Sambucus nigra)
  • Willow (Salix spp. not sure …)
  • Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus)
  • Dogwood (Cornus?)
  • Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) [yeah, I looked it up]
  • 5 Apple Trees. Little ones.

Lots of Snowdrops, Bluebells, Daffs, crocuses, aconites.

  • A holly tree. (Ilex aquifolia). Right next to the house. Should give it a hack really.
  • Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)
  • Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)



Species List (First Attempt)

yes, after 10+ years living in Durham it’s about time I had a stab at this. There’s a couple of things I want to do on the garden:

  1. Species List
  2. Map

And whenever I start thinking about it I overthink it about all the things I’d like to note, plot, monitor. And in the end, I do nothing.

So let’s make a start:

Hang on, where’s my Tablepress plugin gone? It should be here? I’ve just installed it. Back in a tick.

Permissions on /dev/video0 running motion on Raspberry pi

It pretty much happens that every time I setup motion on a new build that it doesn’t work right away. There’s usually a few things I miss. Usually it’s an error reading from the camera, the logs reporting something like:

Feb 17 10:51:21 pi2 motion: [1] [NTC] [ALL] motion_init: Thread 1 started , motion detection Enabled
Feb 17 10:51:21 pi2 motion: [1] [NTC] [VID] vid_v4lx_start: Using videodevice /dev/video0 and input -1
Feb 17 10:51:21 pi2 motion: [1] [ALR] [VID] vid_v4lx_start: Failed to open video device /dev/video0:

which invariably means the camera is broken or I’ve misconfigured my motion setup.

This one was puzzling me a little though. It’s on a raspberry pi, imaginatively titled pi2, and it was failing to read from the camera. The reason I was puzzled was that the hardware combination had worked before. What had gone wrong was the micro-SD card, and I’d done a new raspbian build, copying over the relevant motion configuration files from the old card.

Clearly the difference had to be something to do with the OS. So what was different? I’d taken the opportunity of the SD failure to download and install the latest version of raspbian and everything looked good to go.

Running motion as root worked fine, both against the vanilla configuration file, and the customised config file I wanted to use. So let’s have a look at the video file:

root@pi2:~# ls -l /dev/video0
crw-rw----+ 1 root video 81, 0 Feb 17 11:17 /dev/video0

Looks about right. Ah, the video group. I need to be in the video group. That might be it:

root@pi2:~# usermod -G video dougie

Restart motion and try again. Nope. Let’s have a closer look at that file.

On pi2 (with a new version of raspbian):

crw-rw----+ 1 root video 81, 0 Feb 17 11:17 /dev/video0

and on pi1 (another rpi, running motion fine, with a slightly older version of raspbian):

dougie@pi1:~ $ ls -l /dev/video0
crw-rw---- 1 root video 81, 0 Jan 8 22:54 /dev/video0

Very similar, but not identical. The newer version of the device file has and extra + at the end of the permissions bit, which means the file has extra security permissions set. I’ve not had cause to use Access Control Lists (ACLs) before, and it was a temptation just to chmod 777 on the file as a quick and dirty, and lazy, fix, but I thought it’d be better to take a closer look. Using the getfacl command:

root@pi2:~# getfacl /dev/video0
getfacl: Removing leading '/' from absolute path names
# file: dev/video0
# owner: root
# group: video

I could see that I (me: dougie) did not appear on the list, although the default rpi user pi does. I rarely use the pi account. One of the first things I do is change its password, create my own user, and use that instead. So it looks like the default install for raspbian allows user pi to access /dev/video0. It also looks like I can’t access the file, despite being a member of the group video.

I found a good command summary on the centos documentation website, and using that gave myself access:

root@pi2:~# setfacl -m u:dougie:rw /dev/video0

That did the trick.