jc blog - tales of a modern-day nomadic hunter-gatherer

Follow jcomeau_ictx on Twitter This is the weblog of Intrepid Wanderer. You never know what you might find here; graphic descriptions of bodily functions, computer programming secrets, proselytizing for the antichrist, miscellaneous ranting and kvetching, valuable information on living off the land... if you don't share my rather weird interests you may want to try slashdot instead.

You can consider my Del.icio.us links an extension to my blog, as are my LifeTango goals and my other to-do items. My to-buy list is also public, but only for sharing any useful ideas that might be there; I'm not requesting charity, neither do I offer it.

You can find me easily in google searches, as jcomeau, jcomeau_ictx, or jcomeauictx. There are lots of other jcomeaus, but AFAIK I'm the only jcomeau_ictx out there so far.

If you want to comment on anything you see here, try the new Facebook comments, reachable by clicking the "[comment]" link at the end of each post. If for some reason that isn't working, go ahead and email me, jc.unternet.net. You know what to do with the first dot. Make the 'subject' line something reasonably intelligent-looking or it goes plunk! into the spambasket unread.

This RSS feed may or may not work. Haven't fiddled with it in forever. RSS Feed


The restored phone popped up a notification about the warranty that I couldn't dismiss. Finally got rid of it by going into Settings | Apps and ran 'force stop' on Blu Help. In the terminal app, using find /* -iname '*warrant*' 2>/dev/null I found /system/app/warranteer/warranteer.apk and using pm list packages | grep warrant found com.warranteer.app.blu and com.warranteer.helper.blu, both of which I plan to eliminate in my next TWRP session. [comment]


Now that the bootloader is unlocked, I can boot TWRP simply with fastboot boot blutwrp.img, avoiding the potential of a bricked phone. Wish I'd done this a long time ago. I'm now using TWRP and adb pull to backup partitions on the phone and save them to my laptop. Then I'll try removing some more of the bloatware. [comment]


By the way, the way I get into Fastboot mode reliably is adb reboot bootloader. No combination of buttons ever gets me there except by accident, and I'm not absolutely sure it's ever worked.

I might have gotten my phone back. I had already downloaded a system image off the web (firmwarefile.com), so I did adb push ../Blu_D110L_MT6580_V22_GENERIC/Firmware/recovery.img /tmp/, and from TWRP, Install | Flash image | /tmp/recovery.img | swipe. It seems to have worked, but I seem to have a factory image, nothing installed. Let's see if I can get it working again before heading south for the winter. [comment]


Almost bricked my primary phone. I got tired of the bloatware and did fastboot flashing unlock, followed by fastboot flash recovery blutwrp.img and fastboot reboot. It went into a TWRP boot loop where it was unable to mount /data and other vital partitions; only holding the volume-up pressed in for at least once cycle enabled me to get the TWRP boot screen. Still goes into a loop on reboot, but now I might be able to restore it. [comment]


Took out lotecnotec 2011 for a spin, hoping to test both the train track and water, but it was too rickety to risk going down the hill, and I don't yet have a way to push and steer it. Mothballing it until next spring.

If downloading photos from Google Drive isn't working, from the preview click the 3 dots and select "Open in a new window". It actually opens in a new tab, but from there the download icon ought to work. It did for me. [comment]


Two days ago I tasted my California bay fruits, olives, and acorns. The first two tasted OK, but the acorns were still way too bitter. I tossed those, and this morning added about 2% salt to the other two jars. We'll see how they turned out next spring.

On the ride up to the cabin on Monday, I was fiddling with the lumbar support on the new car seat, and managed to mess up my back again. I suffered for the next two and a half days, but by Thursday morning the pain was mostly gone. Perhaps the arch of the back is similar to that in the foot: adding support weakens it.

About a week before I begin my trek south. Trying to tie up some loose ends before leaving. [comment]


Got back from the cabin this afternoon. Found dried plums on the trees (bushes, really) this time, first time I've ever noticed fruit in any form. I gathered 10 and probably could easily have gathered 100 in that small stretch of road leading from the creek up to the southern ridge. Reconstituted them in water overnight and they were delicious the next morning. [comment]


Stuck at the cabin with an old XP machine, and couldn't figure out how to update the root certificates, which were causing constant errors visiting webpages. Finally hit upon certmgr.msc, which allows viewing what certificates are available, and realized that just typing the name of a downloaded cert will prompt the wizard to install it.

Remembering the assoc and ftype commands:

C:\Documents and Settings>jc\assoc .crt

C:\Documents and Settings>jc\ftype cerfile cerfile=rundll32.exe cryptext.dll,CryptExtOpenCER %1



Marinating tough cuts of meat overnight in sofrito and soy sauces, and cooking them slowly the next day for 2 hours (adding a bottle of ruby ale optional), makes for tender and tasty morsels approaching, but not yet as good as, what my Mom used to make. It's taken me decades to reach this achievement.

Found out that a rusty steel bar (3/4"x1/8" stock, in this example) makes for a pretty good fine-grit file. I was able to sharpen one of my cobalt bits with it to the point where it would effectively drill through steel again. [comment]


Working on breaking in a generator, first two times I tried it started "surging" after 20 minutes: revving, idling, revving, idling, about a half hertz. I Googled it, and determined it was probably due to not having a load on it. So this time I plugged in a shop vac, and ran it while the genny was running.

But it turned out, that "surging" (not a good term, but what I found online) was due to the generator running out of gas. I filled it with my last gallon and it ran for about 2 hours. Now to replace the oil and prep it for conversion to natural gas.

Tasted my 3 pre-ferments today. The olives and acorns were still way too bitter, but the California bay fruits may be ready to pickle. I didn't though, I was busy with other stuff today. Maybe tomorrow. [comment]


Trying to reset the admin password on a gifted laptop. No luck with several different repair disks (DSL, Rescatux, Hiren's Boot CD) and though Avast's instructions may have worked, I took a walk while the "repair" was doing its scan, and when I got back the computer had rebooted itself and I couldn't try the trickery mentioned in the article.

However, I had a dubious Windows 7 install disk with no key. I booted it, followed these instructions until I ran into the brick wall that was I had booted a 32-bit DVD to repair a 64-bit OS; but I tried clicking the "Load Drivers" button and bingo! I had an administrator-level file browser. I quickly went to D:\Windows\System32, backed up utilman.exe and sethc.exe, and copied cmd.exe to impersonate both. No sense going half-assed.

Rebooted, clicked the button at the lower left of the login screen, and was presented with a CMD window. Made several attempts at net user Administrator * until I gave it a password Windows found acceptable. It works! [comment]


Had my first glass of wine in 6 days since the scratchy throat started Friday afternoon. It never progressed beyond that phase, although I did get another mild headache or two during that time. I'm not 100% sure it's over but I seem to be mostly back to my usual post-nasal drip and excess mucus production.

Probiotics, lots of water (mostly via soup) and a mostly-keto diet rarely fail to mitigate onset of symptoms. [comment]


My instructions for flashing TWRP don't work on my computer in Petaluma. One problem was that SP Flash Tool couldn't connect to /dev/ttyACM0, so in one xterm I ran for i in $(seq 0 300); do echo try $i; ls -l /dev/ttyACM0; sleep 1; done while following the steps. It showed me that the tty's group owner was dialout, so I added myself to the group using sudo usermod -a -G dialout jcomeau, logged that xterm out, and started a new one (because I know of no way to refresh groups once you're logged in).

Anyway, that didn't fix it, because the tty stays open only until Android starts booting, about 3 seconds later. Not enough time I guess. I wonder why that didn't happen in Mexico last January. [comment]


OK, finally figured out some things about fastboot mode on the BLU Dash X2.

First, no known key combination will get you into it. You have to instead adb reboot bootloader. And at that point no keys seem to be recognized. Everything is done over USB, using the fastboot command. I tried fastboot boot blutwrp.img but it failed saying "oem unlock is false". So then I attempted fastboot flashing unlock, but got a warning that if I unlocked the bootloader, I'd lose all my data. So I pressed volume down to answer "No". Then I just typed fastboot reboot to get back to the normal phone software. Guess I'll have to use that SPFlash tool again.

At least I know how to get out of Fastboot mode without yanking the battery now! [comment]


Notes on BLU Dash X2 boot modes. Unless otherwise stated, hold volume button(s) as indicated, press power button 5 seconds and release, still holding volume button(s) for another 5 seconds, then release.

Volume up + power: Recovery mode, sometimes, Meta mode other times. If recovery, use volume down to scroll, volume up to select.

Volume down + power: Factory mode. Volume up and down scrolls, power button does nothing at all, and soft Home button at bottom right selects the highlighted option.

Volume up and down + power: you get black-on-white BLU startup screen but with "=> META MODE" at bottom left. Only thing I could figure out from that was to hold power button for 10 seconds to turn it off.

No luck getting fastboot mode yet today, though I have in the past. Somehow. [comment]


Just finished Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, a riveting exploration of how anarchy leads to the "night watchman" minimal state via the path of the "dominant protective association" for a region; and how no morally legitimate path can lead to a more powerful state. In it he gives what are very likely brilliant rebuttals to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice. I say "very likely" because Nozick generally starts each topic in laymen's terms but quickly segues into advanced mathematics, which leaves me in the dark even moreso than Rawls did, since the latter at least provides some illustrative graphics.

Anyway it got me thinking about simulations, and how people could use simulated worlds to experiment with various utopian ideas, or even totally narcissistic dystopias with themselves as supreme ruler. Also, randomly generated AIs could populate these simworlds, with or without participation of living humans "jacked in", to see how various utopian theories work out over many generations. I have no idea how far current technology would enable these experiments. [comment]


The thought struck me that, even if technology advanced to the point where, as in the movie The Matrix, someone could "learn" a skill by simply having muscle memory transferred directly into his body, he wouldn't be able to tell you anything about it. If asked, he'd say something like "It's just intuitive". There would have to be guilds where people actually learn things the hard way, through trial and error guided by books or apprenticeships (to limit the range of "error"). They wouldn't have to be secret; most people would scoff at them as being old-fashioned and obsolete. But the old-timey practitioners would become invaluable if, say, EMP weapons wiped out large parts of the grid for a long time. [comment]


Tuesday or Wednesday, had a mild headache on awakening that lasted until about dusk. I ignored it as a sign of anything bad impending. Dumb.

Thursday, I opened a new bottle of wine for dinner, and drank it all. Dumb dumb dumb.

Friday, I awoke from a dream in which I had caught a cold. But my throat didn't feel abnormal, I just had the usual stuffed-up sinuses I get on cold nights, and once I spit out some mucus, I shrugged off the dream. Went to visit friends that afternoon, and of course there was some discussion of the coronavirus. I said that due to my chronic respiratory problems, I probably wouldn't even notice if I got symptoms, at first. But right after that I started analyzing. By the time we were on our way home, I decided my throat was probably abnormal (i.e., producing cytokines), so I messaged a warning to my hosts. Now this morning I am sure my throat is a battleground. Going to fight this with probiotics for now. I have plenty of sauerkraut and probably still some yogurt. [comment]


I never realized before that old-fashioned augers work fine with standard drill bits. I was always under the impression that they required those funky bits with a square tapered section at the end of the shaft.

Having a little more disposable income makes a big difference. I never would have plunked down $7.50 at Sacks for a tool that I wasn't sure would work for me before. [comment]


After only about a week of daily meat intake, my arthritic pains are disappearing. It's particularly noticeable when I try to scratch my back with my right arm. It was almost painless just now. That month or so of limiting my meat intake was enough to convince me it's just not healthy for me.

That said, I still look for last-markdown discounts before I buy. Today it was a grass-fed NY Strip steak in the manager's discounts for 30% off at Safeway. I have it marinading in Hobgoblin beer, soy sauce, and a little toasted sesame oil. It was a little over $6, but 0.8 pounds and well marbled.

Two days ago I picked a few acorns, left some of the green ones to dry, and am leaching the ones that already looked dry enough. So I've got a tiny batch of 3 different forages: California bay fruit, olives, and acorns, to leach and brine. [comment]


An experiment with sprouting alafalfa in brine with sauerkraut didn't work. Tossed it out yesterday after 3 or 4 days.

Started a microbatch of olives yesterday afternoon, which were foraged from the trees lining Rohnert Park Expressway starting outside Food Maxx and going east to Shari's. Crushed them with my steel Starbucks cup in a jar lid.

Got my chinup bar installed this morning before coffee. Sharpened my 5/16" drill bit with a file, grabbed it with Vise-Grips, and finished the holes I had gotten to 1/4" with my power drill the other day, and had used the reamer to get them almost to 5/16, but it was really slow going. The drill bit did the trick.

Problem is, I've got less than a month to achieve a beach bod before arriving in La Paz. Ain't gonna happen. Maybe for next winter then. [comment]


So usafacts.org was checking the user-agent headers to decide whether to send the latest data or not. I changed to a valid, but old, Mozilla user-agent string and now get the latest updates with wget. Amazing the fuckery that goes on behind the scenes. All this time my scripts were failing because of this shit. [comment]


I just woke up from a nap, and remembered something that popped into my mind a few days ago after sleeping, and forgot to jot down.

Large, flat, balloons, maybe a 1/4 acre or so in size. Inflate them with hot air, fly them over your house with a reflective side (white or aluminized mylar) up to slow global warming. If they could be manufactured in quantity such that they were affordable by a few billion people, maybe could make a difference, maybe not. And people could fly them black side up and cancel the white ones out, or worse. You never know.

The word "flying" brings up a more fun variant on the theme, one I've probably blogged before. Putting them black-side-up in the sun may be enough to heat them just enough to offset your weight. Then you could do Superman-like jumps from city to city. Or rig a way to carry a propane tank and pump hot air into it on demand, for better control. [comment]

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