Children of Lilith

​You think us ugly.
You hate us.
You attack and burn us.
You don’t even know who we are.
You can’t understand who we are.

We are Lilim.
She begat us – the monstrous.
And we have beauty that you can’t comprehend.
Your attacks aren’t able to destroy us.
Your think your fire consumes us because that is what you see.
You can only imagine it in terms of how it would affect you.
But we are the broken and for that we know something you haven’t understood:
We can survive.
You forget who is among our siblings:
The Phoenix.
And she shares with us her power.

Your fire cannot destroy us.
It can only temper our mettle
As the blacksmith tempers metals.
The fire and quenching create greater strength.
That fire becomes our rebirth, and we emerge stronger than before.

Inspired by “The Seam of Skin And Scales” by Little Light.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fiber goodness: Sheep to Shawl!

Two weeks ago I participated in a Sheep to Shawl demo.

The idea behind these events is that you have a fleece, washed in our case, which is carded, spun, and woven. The loom was already warped.

We used both hand carders…
hand carding wool.

And drum carders…
drum carding wool.

A close-up of carding.

Then came the spinning.
Several women spinning on wheels and drop spindles.

Note: My wife’s and my wheels are in the background of this shot – hers is on the left, a Kromski Polonaise, and mine is the Ashford Traditional.

There were also a few with electric spinners (a.k.a. e-spinners)

After the first few bobbins of singles (what is made directly from the carded wool) were done it a division of spinning labor began to happen with certain people focusing on plying. The goal was to get it streamlined so that we could get it to the weaver. As they say, “it takes six knitters to keep a spinner busy, but six spinners to keep a weaver busy.”

Here I believe she has just thrown the shuttle right to left (heading away from the camera.) In the background one an e-spinner is being used to ply two singles together into yarn (and singles from two different spinners; looks like an Ashford and a Kromski bobbin are on lazy kate.) The pokadot paper in the lower right is a helper that is wound onto the warp beam with the warp threads, separating successive ranks. It helps more even winding.

And then, there was a shawl:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bug in disabling Android apps


I noticed an odd behavior in Android. I don’t use some of the Google apps like Movies & TV so I disable them. However, on my Note 4 I noticed that they were apparently being re-enabled the next time Play Store/Services checked for updates. I also noticed this on my work-provided Galaxy S6 and soon figured out what was actually happening. At the time I didn’t know if it was due to something Samsung had done or if it was Android, but now that I’ve experienced it on my Ellipsis 8 I know that it’s the latter. For reference, the Android versions are 5.0.1, 5.1.1 and 4.4.2, respectively.

When you tap “Disable” on the app it will ask if you want to uninstall the updates. From what I can see, if you click “cancel” there the entire operation aborts – doesn’t uninstall and doesn’t disable the app. However, if you click “ok” on the uninstall that is all that it will do – the app will remain enabled but disappear from the Downloaded list since it has reverted to the stock or bundled version. You need to go to the All list and disable it there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leaving for vacation, step one.

To leave work you must first leave work.


It’s a bit like the definition of recursion, but is true. When you go on vacation you need to leave the office behind, completely. My work mobile is on my desk, powered off. My laptop is still powered on, but only so Outlook will flush the deleted items, and I’ll have no access to it until I return to the office on Monday.

I’m taking my vacation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A month with Coin


What’s in the box – the Coin device, a mag strip reader that plugs into your mobile’s headphone jack, and an instruction card.

Verdict: Cool and interesting, but falls short and became an additional card to carry rather than replacing the other cards in my wallet, and don’t even think about just shoving it in your pocket unprotected.

Note: images are modified to protect sensitive information displayed when the Coin device is powered on and unlocked.

Remember the hype about this device – an electronic credit card size device that worked with your mobile so you could carry one card rather than many?

If not, there’s probably good reason. It was announced in 2013 to much fanfare, with a promised ship date in mid or late 2014. The price was $100 but pre-order was half that.

Into spring of 2014 the device was still promising. Those of us who pre-ordered received periodic emails with information of how to access password-protected blog posts with status updates and, if memory serves, the occasional photo or video. The message was always “we’re right on track!”

And then they weren’t. In mid-2014 they announced that they could not meet their original timeline. I believe that they stated that the project proved to have problems when in the hands of some early testers in Los Angeles. This really shouldn’t be surprising as this is an advanced technology for a consumer good and I wasn’t holding it as a major negative.

Then came the PR blunder: they announced that they were adding a beta test program that was open to those who had pre-ordered and that would be the only Coin device they’d receive. Coin ultimate did the right thing and promise to send those testers the final product as well, but by that time there was a very negative sentiment.

In the late summer they released the app, the use of which was required to claim your pre-order. I was surprised to find that the app was listed as not compatible with my device in the Google Play store as Coin had stated that Android Jellybean was the minimum requirement and the MOTO Droid RAZR MAXX (the first one; not the HD or M model) was listed on Coin’s site as compatible. The reason is that only the most recent Jellybean version is compatible and the model in question would not receive that (yes, there are ways to manually do so, but that’s not going to happen for the average consumer.) As it would happen we decided to upgrade phones in early 2015 so this issue was addressed for me, but I did notice that they continue to list my former model as supported even thought I contacted them about the matter and suggested they should update the list.

A month ago my Coin shipped so I decided to see how it worked.


Functionally it’s pretty simple: one button, the location of which is indicated by the circle on the front. It does produce a tactile click and a small green led, located to the left of the button, illuminates briefly. If it’s powered off (screen is black, as in the photo at the top of this post) then it will power on and be in lock mode, indicated by LOCK on the display. If the paired mobile is nearby with Bluetooth enabled and the Coin app is unlocked (it has a mandatory tap code that is user set – a series of long or short presses a la Morse Code) then it will connect, unlock, and display information about the card selected. In large letters will be up to four characters indicating the bank, i.e. MasterCard displays as MC, and the line below will display the last four digits of the card number and the expiration date (edited out of all images here.) Pressing the button at this point will change the card info that Coin uses, and repeated presses cycle through the cards loaded.

If the Coin button is long-pressed it will enter SYNC mode, and the display shows that, which is used to transfer card information from the app. In the app you select the Sync button at the bottom of the screen and then select which cards to sync (the Coin device can only have eight cards but the app can hold more.)


The back looks as similar to a credit card as it’s possible to make such a device. My name is printed below a signature strip. The blacked out area to the right is a barcode and number that appears to be a serial number.


In actual use: it fails swiping around 50% of the time, but a second, slower swipe works most of the time, and my experience of the rate improved by swiping slower the first time. Additionally, I have had one location, a diner in Durham, reject it because it didn’t have the card bank logo on the face.


Loading cards: you can manually enter the card information but this seems pointless as you need to swipe the card to actually load it onto the Coin device. After successful swiping you must manually enter the CVV number. You can add a photo of the front and back of the card you entered but I have yet to figure out the value of doing so – it takes several taps to access them.

Additional technical details: Add this is a battery-powered electronic device it has warnings to not bend or cut it. It doesn’t strike me as particularly rigid so I’d not expect it to survive being tossed in the back pocket on your jeans.

One oddity that I noticed was that after rebooting my Samsung Note 4 the Coin app had lost all of the cards that I’d entered. I discovered that if I force stopped the app and stated it again the cards were back. Further, if, while in the state where it had lost the information, I entered the cards they would be there after the next reboot. I can only speculate as to why but it is possibly related to me having encryption enabled, including of my Note 4’s micro SD card, which does cause a delay of availability of the card on startup. The delay is only a few seconds but it the app autostarts during that time and the card is its first default location then I can see the behavior.

There is an option for us early adopters to get an upgrade to V2.0 of the device for free. I’m doing it for “why not?” reasons, but I doubt I would for any price.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kromski Polonaise upright finials tip.

Angela has a Kromski Polonaise spinning wheel, which looks like this.

One thing about them is the finials on the wheel uprights. They basically just sit there, having a poorly fitted joint. It’s fine if you never move the wheel but they’re easily knocked off if you need to move it much. Kromski suggest not using glue to keep them in place, though, so I came up with a different way using some thin cotton cord.


The first part is to cut the string to the appropriate length. About half an inch longer than the outside diameter of the upright worked great for hers. It’s probably fine if it’s a little shorter. What you want to avoid is it being so long that the ends of the string remain above the horizontal space of the joint (the next picture will make this more clear.)


resize_DCW_2829With the piece of string centered over the opening, insert the finial. This will push the string down, causing the tail ends to set between the sides of the peg part of the finial and the cylinder walls inside the upright. It will take-up the extra space. If the string is too long, you can just remove the finial and trim the string a bit, repeating until you get the right length. If one string isn’t sufficient for a snug fit you can do a second, as I did on the other upright (it has a looser fit.)

The idea came from a woodworking technique known as hemp wrapping, as it uses thin hemp cord.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Catching up…

Okay, so a lot has happened since I last wrote…

I’m still at the same job, but a reorg means I’m on my sixth different direct manager (five different positions – one was held by a different person by the time I came back under it.) I was promoted to senior system administrator, and we have a crop of newer admins, all of whom are showing promise.

I’ve also picked-up some hobbies that are taking a lot of my time. Spinning, as in making yarn, both on spindles and wheels, and learning to weave. I still ride motorcycles, of course.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The most careful part to navigate…

The part of mentoring that I find to be the part that needs to be most carefully navigated is working with less experienced admins when they make mistakes. I find it important to remember when I was in that phase and approach it as a learning experience.

This morning I assisted one admin who made a mistake during or maintenance weekend. It’s the classic situation – needed to restart some components and restarted something that ought not to have been (a component that holds a lot of data in memory, so restarting eliminates it.) My involvement was when this admin was seeking to determine if it caused any problem and, if so, how to go about informing the necessary people to fix it.

It turned out that the system in question, with which I had considerable familiarity, has scripts to automatically reload the data after a restart so it wasn’t an issue and ended at that step. I did tell him that he was approaching it in exactly the right way – own the mistake and do what needs to be done to fix it.

I often tell my admins that if you never make mistakes then you’re likely not really doing anything. The onus on people in positions such as mine is to back those words with appropriate actions. This includes situations as the above and, sometimes, using my own mistakes as an example of how to handle when you screw-up.

Posted in SysAdmin | Leave a comment

Bike upgrades

All of these were installed months ago.


RAM Mount on the ZR-7s. This screws into the unused mirror mount on the grip (the ZR-7s has fairing-mounted mirrors.)




Similar, but for the R1100R and replaces a bolt in the triple-tree that mounts one of the handlebar halves.





ThrottleMeisters on the ZR-7s (black) and R1100R (silver w/ milled.) These are a twist-style friction-lock for the throttle. The small brass collar visible between the grip and bar end on the ZR-7s is the friction body in the extended position.



Matching dummy bar weights on the left side.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Always practice safe patterns and switches.

This post is prompted by one floating around Google+.

Take a UNIX directory containing three files as follows:

If you run ls with no arguments in that directory the output is as expected.
$ ls
bar.txt foo.txt -l

Even ls -l works similarly.
$ ls -l
total 0
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:23 bar.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:23 foo.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:22 -l

However, let’s do ls *
$ ls *
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:23 bar.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:23 foo.txt

Something’s just a little different there! I’m not including the output here, but ls -l * produces the same output.

The reason is how the wildcard actually works, and we can easily see this using echo *
$ echo *
bar.txt foo.txt -l

So, when you type ls * in this directory, you are actually executing this command:
ls bar.txt foo.txt -l

An uncommon order, for sure, but ls happily accepts the -l switch at the end and modifies its behavior. How do you fix it?

The post on G+ suggested prefixing the wildcard with “./” which specifies the current directory. That works great with ls, but there is another solution that works, at least in the Linux world: two hyphens followed by a space.

$ ls -- *
bar.txt foo.txt -l
$ ls -l -- *
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:23 bar.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:23 foo.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 dcwowner dcwapp 0 Jun 23 09:22 -l

The reason I prefer this solution is that it has applications on other commands. Say I’m searching files in a directory for a line from a log file that happened at 13:32, and the format of the time stamp is yyyy-mm-dd-hh:mm:ss. My command would look like grep -RF "-13:32" * which is neat, simple, and wrong:
$ grep -RF "-13:32" *
grep: invalid option -- ':'
Usage: grep [OPTION]... PATTERN [FILE]...
Try `grep --help' for more information.

In spite of the quoting (and it behaves the same with single quotes), the pattern “-13:32” is evaluated as an argument to grep, and grep complains about the colon. Run it again with the pattern “-13” and you get no output from the command. Add “– ” before the pattern, though:
$ grep -RF -- "-13:32" *
bat.txt:2014-06-24-13:32 my entry

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment