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Showing posts from November, 2018

7x9 tarp half mid

I have a number of different tarps in different sizes. I'm not bragging because it's stupid to have this much gear specially when I hike about 4 times a year. SAD!

Watching Evan Shaeffer hike with his 8.5x8.5 cuban tarp and JupiterHikes with his tarp and listening to their stories... as well as flatbrokehiker and some books I've read ... There is stuff to be learned. [a] be comfortable [b] endure some discomfort [c] just take what you need [d] camp is meant for sleeping.
I think MLD has a tarp they call the "monk". It's a lightweight 4x8 or 4x9 if they even sell it anymore. I've been testing my 5x9 in the backyard and it's been OK. No major challenges that I can see. It is clearly the "monk" style where it's just meant for sleep and there is not much wrong with that. There's not much room under the tarp for deploying a pole to keep the bugnet of my bivy off my face.

There is just enough coverage under the tarp and to stay dry you got…

Google fi FAIL bait

OK OK OK - first of all my SIM cards have not arrived yet so I have not plugged in, however, for some reason YouTube keep recommending Google fi reviews and frankly they ALL suck. Firstly they are just bad, secondly, they are old, and thirdly they are wrong.

The biggest complaint is the number of different billing strategies these people describe. They are generally wrong. One person said that you had to prepay for your data and anything unused would be applied to the following month. Of course that may have been the way it was initially, however, there is this:


This was grabbed from the google fi billing page. Clearly there is no prepay.

Next, even though it's not active yet, google has not asked me to prepay for text and talk. I've completed the registration, awaiting activation, and my balance is still ZERO.

Third, while text and talk has a base monthly cost of $20 plus tax and fees... it's about the same as a residential landline. There was another twit who migrated fr…

Altra goes streetwear

I hate streetwear!


It's an excuse to take money from people who want prestige based on what they wear and not who they are. And many cannot afford. Which may lead to someone stealing the shirt off your back. (I really like what Hasan says about it.)


Just as the person who stored the patterns for skinny jeans and bell bottoms from the 70s they made a killing when they resurfaced just a few years ago. Urbanwear does not tell me anything good about you as a person. It only says negative.

You are not an individual when your impulse is to follow.

Google FI

The project has been renamed from "project fi" to "google fi". If you think that's boring, it is. What is interesting is all the other stuff.



I have a, grand-fathered, free G-Suite domain and I was able to enable the serviceMy unlocked Moto G5plus is supportedMy Wife's iPhone is also supported although I might need to unlock itCombined pricing is cheaper than our ATT family plan, and by $50 a month if we use everything I'm always conscience about whether my wifi is on or not. On the one hand giving my browser history to the cell carrier versus the local hotspot is always troubling. The idea of a 3rd party VPN is also a pain and sort of a FAIL in itself specially when they are not carrier level players.
What have I learned: now I will not care if wifi is on or not.I will not care if my kids tether movies or gamesI will still have bandwidth leftover for work Now the next question:
Is it time to buy the kids their own phone? I do not have an answer for that …

explain new cars

Kia has to explain why they have 3 car models that are essentially the same with a base MSRP within $1000 of each other.


Well, in the KIA brand it seems that there really are some differences. The Niro is some sort of hybrid, the Sorento is a passenger hauler with 3rd row seating and the Sportage is somewhere in between. While the Sorento might be the battleship of the product line it's price range in the model start's off with the engine and then the trim. It's real easy to get to $40K.

Never Settle

Nice video. I wish I had heard this years ago.


"Every project we do we ask a series of questions"

does the project excite us? (projects can last for years)will it be fun? (will it be fun for everyone involved)will the project build our reputation? (will it take me closer to my ultimate goal)will we have creative control? (not the customer; not that we do not want to do our best work for them)do we have time? (no overtime) any no then we do not do the project
The last question that we ask is "will we make money?". Driven by sales not projects.

naughty knots - K.I.S.S.

I'm always willing to learn new things but that usually comes at the price of discarding something old. For example bowline knot and taut line hitch are pretty well stuck. I've tried to replace the bowline a few times but nothing sticks. In that case the alternatives have not really improved the situation whether it's cordage used or strength of the know or the use'cases.

This guy has me believing that he's using a double dragon knot and a farrimond hitch and after practicing with them for a while I do not believe it.


Some people collect pens and some people collect knots. I suppose if you've spent years on the same know and like me change means giving something up then I get it. However, they are not better knots. Personally I use micro cordage, anything from 1-2.5mm or #36 bankline. A few extra inches for a good knot is OK, however, the line strength is about 100-300 pounds so any knot will do. And frankly, the simpler the better.

bowline - either a small one …

fancy linelocs no more

I was watching this video... then I tried to buy some of the linelocs that he demonstrated but they were sold out.

So I started to looks at Dutchware for some gear that might work. It's not the first time that I've done this recently. But I at least put 5 items in the cart and I started to think about quantities. That's when I realized I was going down the same path again.
At the end of the day it's all about the cordage, knots, and twigs.

Another Amazon FAIL

it's clear that we are in the holiday shopping season and that with all the shipping things are going to go wrong. But I'm not sure that VERY wrong is to be expected and that Amazon is not going to help.

I have two different orders. The first was a pair of long sleeve shirts. According to Amazon it was supposed to be delivered early in the week but then the package was damaged in Miami. So I had the chance to refund or replace. I opted for the replace because I wanted the shirts. Now Amazon is tracking the package, yesterday, it was in Miami and Today it seems to be in San Bernardino. I just do not know how this happens...

The second purchase was a 32GB ram module for my computer. Amazon sent it through their own system and while it was originally reported to be delivered Friday they changed the information Thursday morning to say it was going to be delivered Thursday. In fact Amazon said, OUT FOR DELIVERY.


Well, it never arrived. As of this morning the history has not changed…

Kilt hiking

I wonder if there is a lesson learned for long distance hiking?


Seems like such a compact way to carry your stuff. Just add a bedroll.

half pyramid

I decided to use the hiking pole to make a half pyramid and it worked great.

The cordage is still the doubled up 1.18mm cordage and it was a serious pain in the ass as I tried to deploy. The knots got tangled everywhere. What's great about this setup is that the tarp is 9x5.5 with plenty of room underneath. I will have to give this a try with a torso length pad, pillow, bivy and quilt.
The most important thing about this configuration is that it's compact and lightweight.

Sprint: Lease iPhone

It's Thanksgiving 2018 and Sprint is running an advert:
LEASE an iPhone and it'll be an iPhone XR
This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. First this is still the retail price. Second they are taking advantage of the lucrative aftermarket. They make no mention of warranty or replacement if it breaks and we all know how fragile the screen is.

You would be better off buying a Motorola for $200-300. Keeping it for 2-3 years and then either trading it in or putting it in the drawer in case the new one breaks.

Just keep in mind that $1000 goes a long way whether it's rent, car loan, food, or a real computer. Personally I'd prefer to have an extra computer or even a better display.

running out of memory

For the last 3 years I have been building and expending a report generator for a client. In that time I've produced about 1700+ individual reports which have run hundreds of times if not more. In that time I have learned a number of interesting things...templates and macros are goodparameters and recursion are even betteruploading to some storage like AWS and emailing links instead of contentschedulingconcurrency and DB capacity is a serious challengereplication is going to cause issuesreporting engine in proximity to the DB server causes latency and other costsreporting engine capacity What I'm fighting with is trying to get management to scale up the systems so that we can get more done in shorter periods. As time progresses we are putting more reports in production and they are reporting on more data all of which takes longer and risks failing due to memory or timeout constraints.
This also falls back on the challenge of not paying for idle hardware.

the way I think about shelter

Watching this video where the presenter demoed 3 different pitches for a 5x9 poncho I was impressed. I have a natural bias for the a-frame even though the pyramid and flying diamond are easier to get in and out of. Also, I really like the weight of tent poles instead of trekking poles but I'm getting used to the idea of trekking poles again. Just too many shelter options.


In this demo he used FOUR 6-foot and FOUR 3-foot pieces of cordage. And EIGHT stakes. Each setup used everything.
I can't go with less than a 9x12 absolutely waterproof silly long tarp.. -- a comment on the video I'm of the opinion that when you hike then you JUST need the shelter to sleep. So there is no real need for all that extra space. If, on the other hand, you're camping then you might want to stay out of the weather for longer periods. Frankly I can make an argument for two 5x9 tarps (one tarp, one poncho-tarp) instead of one large 9x12.


It's not square!!!

Simply put "flat tarps" meant to be at right angles are still analog and not digital.


This is a Yama 8.5x8.5 flat tarp hung diagonally and the center simply does not hold. The water will pool and it will be damaged.

And it's cheap... Does anyone make quality cordage anymore?


upgrading rancheros in place ... so bad

I'm upgrading RancherOS, in place, on one of my nodes in the my DEV cluster and frankly it's a fail. What started off as a quick download has turned into a build. As to what Rancher is building on my system I have no idea, however, when compared to CoreOS auto deploy interruptions I do not care. I can deal with a system that is rebooted and the Docker Swarm can too... but having to wait while Rancher recompiles swaths of the system and causes the VMware web interface to crash or timeout.

Furthermore with a 32GB ram system having to partition the VMware by node I've already discovered some applications unable to complete the task because the cap on memory allocation.

frustrated yet?

Are you frustrated but all the choices for gear? Just last night, on a Shark Tank rerun, one of the sharks said that hikers/campers would buy a collapsible pot because hikers buy stuff. Then this morning I was watching The Patriot Act when the presenter was talking about conspicuous consumption. All that rattling around in my head as I tried to decide whether my go to kit was going to be ground based or hammock based, tent or tarp, air mattress or pad, cheap and heavy or expensive and heavy.
Let's face it hiking, especially long distance hiking, is in itself conspicuous consumption. I did not like it as a kid and I do not like it as an adult and as a parent too. (as I stare at my small collection of Swiss Army Knives included limited edition.) The sad reality is that even though these bobs carry Bug Out Bags they really cannot plan for every eventuality. One guy had a tarp and hammock. And said that if there are no trees that a mylar bivy was the fallback. Dropping into urban vs w…

Nap during the day

Trying to nap during the day in Florida does not pay dividends when it's in the 80s. I pitched my tarp, added the groundsheet, air mattress and pillow.


The groundsheet is some tyvek with a reflective coating. I do not feel strongly one way or the other, however, it might have been better for shade in the afternoon rather than the tarp.

The mattress was comfortable, specially side sleeping. I've used it before and it's not bad. There are challenges because this model seems to have some memory when it's stored and initially it was curled here and there regardless of the inflation. Also, I tried it inside my Boarh bivy because it was thin, however, the ground was hard. Here, in my backyard the grass offers some cushion.


Lastly, the tent poles that I used are about 32 inches. That's not enough to sit up. And depending on the ground my knees are going to take a beating. Lastly the A-frame offers some protection but nothing fantastic. The breeze was nice but that's b…

daisy chain or prusik

In my no-hardware post I try out daisy chain guy lines. While using lightweight 1.18mm cordage or even bank line to make daisy chain guy lines is simple and reliable the challenge is that the knots cause things to hangup on itself. Also it uses 2x the cordage (even at 1.18mm).
I do not like bank line because I keep tripping over it in the dark and sometimes in the middle of the afternoon. The line smells and that smell is tr transferred to my hands.  I still like tent poles instead of trekking poles but most tarps do not have grommets. Yama and Dutchware sell grommet contraptions I just do not know how well they work or how long they last.




Initially I take issue with the amount of cordage. And secondly the knots and overall manageability. But now that I think about it some more there is the issue of the stakes. To be effective, and safe, the stakes need to be pounded into the ground at ground level. Take that for what it is. However if you were making stakes from branches then things …

All the same to me

This is not particularly a hiking post but I am at a point where I need to start thinking about a new car as my lease has 5 months left. My preference, at this point, is some kinda smaller crossover.

Nissan Rogue $24,800+Rav 4 - no wayMurano - no wayRX - no wayEquanox - no wayForester - $26,583+Explorer - $32,365+Q3 - $32,900+CRV - $24,350+Volvo - no wayhyundai Tucson - 20,050+VW Tiguan - $22,250+ What a mess!

no hardware

One article I read make the suggestion that toggles are hardware even if you use twigs. After I initially conceded the point and tested some knots I was OK with the findings. Then I watched this video:


Normally a corner guyline is 3-5 feet... he recommended 6 feet. Attach it to the corner and then tie loops every 6-10 inches. When deploying the tarp pick the angle then the loop and then set the stake. My favorite part about this is that I'm not tying knots in the cold or in a hurry. Also there are a number of ways to attach this to the guy out points so that there is some flexibility. And more importantly I can use some micro cordage.

What I had been considering was some 2.5mm cordage and some variation of prusik knots and soft shackles. The clear difference here is that this configuration is clearly more technical than the former. Also I can carry a lot of micro cordage where the 2.5mm cordage does take up space and weight.


UPDATE I assembled six 5ft segments and two 7ft segments…

Rancher Labs online classes

Rancher 1.x was a cool project. I liked the approach of deploying the controller, then adding workers, and then deploying applications. Under the covers the orchestration could support several different models including adding sidekicks and persistent container following. They really did some work to spearhead the persistent containers which can be complicated because of remote caching, change management, security and so on. They also supported many different models of orchestration including their own cattle, swarm, meso, kubernetes.

With Rancher 2.x they cut the cord on all orchestration but kubernetes. There may be some backporting except that Rancher excels reverse engineering clusters as well as deploying them. They have not talked about the internal design or motivations but it's clear that a running cluster is more authoritative than the data structure you think you captured that might represent the model.

That said picking the authority is a challenge. Worse still is tryin…

the pendulum swings away from hammocks

Today is the first 60 degree morning of the season. my hammock was still set up and I decided to crawl in with my blanket just to see how comfortable this might be overnight. Although the hammock is still rocking a little and there is occasional gust of wind my toes are warm my torso is warm but my back is still a little cold and the 1/8 in foam pad is just too cold.



The funny thing is I can't remember ever watching any demonstration video of somebody climbing into or out if a hammock having to adjust the pillow adjust their pad adjust their underquilt adjust their blanket all while not dropping anything onto the ground. I dropped my pillow once my blanket three times and only got lucky with the pad because I was busy with the others. Even more lucky that the wind was not blowing or the ground wet or rainy.

In the winter one stays warm by moving about and generating your own heat in the summer one gets cool by standing still and sweating. While I lay here in this hammock my feet a…

frustrated by hammock tarps

has me thinking about bivy sacks again:
Borah Gear Bug Bivy - 6oz, $73Borah Gear Ultralight Bivy - 5.6-6.5oz, $90Bear Paw Wilderness Designs - 9-21oz, $100-150Outdoor Vitals hammock sock - 7.6oz, $37Dutchware hammock sock -  8.1oz, $57Enlightened Equipment Recon Bivy - 7.35oz, $160Paria - 13oz, $59MLD Bug Bivy - 6.5oz, $125MLD Bug Bivy 2 - 7oz, $155the friendly swede pyramid bugnet - 5oz, $16sea to summit pyramid bugnet - 3oz, $34Outdoor Research Bug Bivy - 16oz, $89 There are 2 types of bivys. The first is a more traditional version where the entire sack or apparatus is waterproof and self contained. There is a segment of the 1P tents that might also be considered bivy. The second is sort of a hybrid or even just a bugnet and sometimes just a bugnet tent.
The checklist: cost - I think the cost should be less than $100. Anything more and you might as well buy a tent. There are many light weight tents in the $200 range. For example the SMD Skyscape Scout is $135 at 40oz. The deshutes plu…

farming food in space

I've started watching Origin on Youtube Originals and the first character is walking though what looks like a farm. I've hit pause for the moment because I'm reminded of Silent Running(1972) even though I do not know or remember the plots. In both cases they are growing plants that have real analogs in terrestrial farming today. And the density is similar too.

Recently I watched a video about the space shuttle and the ISS where the narrator was talking about the cost per pound to lift something into orbit. So that got me to thinking about the cost per sq.ft. and the overall production density. When watching Origin the character sees a small field of wheat. Just how much wheat does it take to make a box of of cereal.

Additionally, given the diversity of the planets food sources how many different machine types would be needed to harvest and process those different type of food? Are there foods that you simply could not produce? If you were going to mars would you takes seed…

Shedding some extra gear

I was/am getting ready to shed some extra gear. In the past few months I have been practicing with different sized tarps. I have a number of 10x10 tarps and a newly purchased 8.5x8.5.  The smaller tarp was purchased in response to Evan Shaeffer's AT gear list. As a ground sleeper 8.5x8.5 is OK and it provides options for both with and without bugnets as well as general shelters. But if you've never used a 10x10 they are huge.


This is a 10' tarp and the hammock is also 10'. That means that the configuration needs to be perfect in order to star dry. Even a standard A-frame with a 10x10 flat tarp is a challenge. Once you're in the hammock the length is considerably less but not by much. Also this cat-cut tarp give you few options.

8x8 is 64sq ft with a symmetrical diagonal of 11+7x9 is 63sq ft with a asymmetrical diagonal of 11+ The weight difference between an 8x8 and 10x10 depends on the material, however, for regular silnylon it's about 5oz. One constant tarp tr…

hummingbird hammock first impressions

I've only recently become hung on hammocks. As a hiker enthusiast I like UL and SUL gear in order to test myself in minimalist style or carry gear for different types of options. For example for just a few extra grams I can tarp+bivy camp or tarp+hammock. It's really about the availability of safe trees.

This past weekend I started a DIY project which I think "they" call half-turtle stand. 

One end of the hammock is tied to a tree and the other to an 'X' shaped structure that is then guy'd to a fixed point or strong stakes. In the picture above there are two OV hammocks.


I added a 3rd hammock, hummingbird plus, to the hammock stand (can only use 2 at once) in order to give it a try. It is the lightest of the hammocks I own and the one that makes the most claims about it's strength/capacity, durability an testing. Let's get to the punchlist: I weight 300 pounds at 5'11" and the plus is rated for 350there is a lot of initial stretch as the m…

love hate with facts and fiction

I have a love/hate thing going on with Outdoor Vitals. I believe they are a giving and spiritual based company and I only want them to succeed. However, sometimes I just cannot reconcile facts and fiction. The first is the the claim about being ultralight...



And after surveying different companies like ZPacks, Enlightenment, and a few others there is nothing about OV that is UL. To be clear there is no legal definition of Ultralight but there are norms for base back weight and depending on how long and how far UL means many different things. Basically Ultralight is an aggregate term for more than just what OV supplies.
Second, some months ago I purchase a couple of hammocks. I'm not sure why when one would hve been sufficient. I have a couple of other hammocks from Eno and Yukon-Outfitters that I'm not happy with; so OV seemed like a good choice. And because of how I plan my hiking and camping I like to have choices and backup plans... Therefore one more tarp. I did not own a…

glow in the dark

Several years ago we had a peeping tom in the neighborhood. I discovered him by accident when I tried to get into a schedule when walking the dog. One night I say the peeper, before I knew he was a peeper, walk around my block except that in the time it took me to get around the block he had only walked 3 houses. At that moment I was suspicious but not enough to call the cops.
My good friend and neighbor liked walking with a flashlight and so I started to also. (they had moved by then). That's when I started to notice this peeper. He was walking at the same time every night and down my street. One night I caught him between the homes immediately in front of my house. Flashlight in hand I called out and was very loud. I did everything I could to draw attention to the situation... except I left my phone in the house.
So now I carry my phone and flashlight.
Tonight, as I was walking the dog I grabbed my oLight. Only to realize I only use it intermittently and that if I were to drop i…