Wednesday, July 31, 2019

OMG will stupid ever end

I'm 5 minutes into my first Flutter training video and I'm hating it already. While I could go on and rant about flutter and it's crap it's just a trigger to a number of rants related to programming and dump trucks of stupid.

The first piece of stupid the depths to which flutter and android development relies on java. At one point in time java had become the COBOL of our time. It was everywhere and could do everything. But then at some point the poison from Microsoft where their vast quantity of APIs and attempt to pollute java turned into C#. Now java is drowning in APIs and even worse stupid language features.

For some reason golang has been the target of java programmers. For some reason they want classes and generics. Why on earth does someone want go to look like java? In that case just use java... the rest is just syntax.

What's next?

For me I think we are looking at simple DSLs. Why wouldn't you just take the 500 lines of code for a tcl interpreter and make it something that makes your next assignment easy to code and debug rather than something that is unreadable and subject to tech debt over time.

Pendents are suggesting that perl is on it's way out. Maybe. The syntax can make it a write only environment and the parrot engine tried to make perl more like java or python, in a sense, only forking the base and not really adding value after years of waiting.

I could also make an argument for LUA. Here, game designers as well as Lightroom have embedded LUA as their scripting engine.

My favorite memory of tcl is when it was part of the SNAP firewall/router tool chain.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tarp Cliff notes

I had a quick fail in the backyard as the skies opened up... Here are some quick notes for setting up a tarp:

  • Depending on how the edges have been finished AND if there is some seam sealer or tape; there is a top and bottom to the tarp. Make sure the correct side is facing up
  • With hammocks and some other configurations it's common to suspend the tarp from the ridgeline rather than over the ridgeline. There are some advantages and disadvantages... Wearing of the tarp as it rubs on the cordage; else it will sag and require a more taught lines which has it's own complications. There's also some dripping as water flows along the cord... which can be offset with drip lines.
  • in a downpour a net tent may not be necessary. Get maximal coverage, ground insulation, dry clothes, use the poncho as a secondary blanket.
  • know the direction of the wind, locate any natural shelter, set the position and slope of the tarp accordingly.
  • Consider an umbrella as a 4th wall or to give some volume to the net tent.
  • there is a golden ratio between the diameter of the ridgeline cord and the prusik end. If the prusik end is too narrow the knot will be difficult to operate.
  • the smaller diameter of the cord the lighter it is and the more you can/should carry but then the harder it is to get knots out and the easier for it to foul.
  • skip the micro-biners. When your fingers are cold they will be hard to manipulate.
  • Keep the prusik knot a reasonable length. Just enough to do the work. Too long and there will be too much sag.
  • inflatable sit pads are a waste because they need to do double duty as a kneeling pad and they compress too quickly for that,
  • get rid of the useless crap. The net tent pictured here just makes "it" difficult. Use the hammock sock. So I threw my net tent away.
  • I like my Kelty bootlick. It's about torso length but an odd number of folds so it's a little big for my pack. It's better for glamping with the kids. GONE
  • I'm reconsidering my use of inflatable mattress in the backward. The ground is already kinda solf and standing up through my knees was ok, however, on hard ground the inflatable will bottom out and I will pay that price. The inflatables have to go. I'll use the dimensions to shape my foam mattress.
  • I had discarded the Borah Bivy but not actually thrown it out. My net tent and net sock experiments have been OK but not great. The bivy gives me overlapping solutions and a lighter pack. I'd considered a custom sock/bag but in the end the bivy makes more sense as it has a net.

Here the tarp is bottom up and it collected lots of water and sagged even worse.


A suspended "from" plow point. This made it impossible to suspend the net tent properly.


The nettent was connected to the guy out and seemed to work well.


Converted to draping over the ridgeline the nettent seems to install better. There is less tension on the netting so it will maintain it's DPI.


The tarp was ALMOST in the best direction but an umbrella might have been helpful. Also the pitch of the tarp was a little too aggressive.


This prusik is to tight. The smaller cord has "kut" not "cut" into the 550 paracord and refuses to slide.


The resin s-biner is useless. There was some tension but not a lot. This is the 4th or 5th failure and clearly a signal that metal is better or more durable.


Using the Borah Gear Bivy here I was able to compensate for the polycryo groundsheet and was able to continue with the inflatable pad. The inflatable is more comfortable and does not stick like the GG close cell pad. Also the configuration means that I'll not damage my knees.

embrace the suck

I'm still thinking about the ground sheet challenge for this setup. Polycryo is lightweight and compact but it's that weight that allows it to fly around and it's the plastic that makes it stick to everything.


However, I have a plan. First of all my kit includes a hammock. It could be used for sleep or just as a chair. They are great in the swamp when you need a rest or you want to get your feet out of the water. But if you want to sleep then you need or should have a proper tarp. The tarp above is approx 6'x9'. That's simply not long or wide enough in the rainy season.

So here's the plan. Have a second tarp as a ground sheet and use the two tarps in bad weather. Also, since the tarp is essentially a single and depending on the configuration I could use the second tarp and or my poncho tarp for extra coverage or even insulation.

On the hammock side I've decided to do with the SeaToSummit Ultralight hammock with some UL straps. Unlike other hammocks the weave allows water to pour straight through so if it rains the hammock may get wet and may wick some water but at least it will not turn into a bathtub. So other than some discomfort from being wet it's not the same kind of suck.



Sea to Summit Pyramid Net Tent

STS makes 2 different models of the SOLO/SINGLE net tent. One is a nano with insect shield and the other is without. The nano is a grey material, it's light and feels like pantyhose. Where the non-nano feels like a coarse head bugnet or even a cook's headnet.

I decided to deploy the net today and while my nano is about 9 months old I've never used it. The material is soft and stretchy. The cord at the top is stretchy like a lightweight shock cord. Unfortunately I'd never noticed but there is a hook and loop patch attached to the net and it would not release. In the end the net ripped.


the damage


So then I tried the other. It's not treated but I have some spray. It's not soft and it's larger in volume than the nano. The cord is not a shock cord and that seems to have made the deploy better. Frankly you're not really supposed to touch the sides because that's where the bugs hang out.


In this configuration I should be able to relax and sit up. I could do a better job with the setup but this seems to work. Looking at the configuration I'm questioning whether polycryo or tyvek would make a better ground sheet but that's a topic for another day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Volume is as important as weight

I have too much crap. I mean I have so much gear that getting onto the trail usually involves some analysis paralysis as I try to select the right kit for the trail.

As I watch bushcrafter videos I see them carry the kitchen sink or at least tools to make a kitchen sink. And then there are the FKT/SUL hikers that cut the stencil tags off their underwear or just spend the stupidest amounts of money. And then there are the gear review junkies that buy everything known to man and tell you why it's great only to retract that position a few weeks, months or years later. Sure there is new and better gear every season but there's a limit to my patience.

In recent days I watched two videos that I really liked. One guy said his friends were not really hikers so he needed the extra gear to facilitate their joining him. And another said... this is my gear review and this is all I have. This kit cost me $600. That's it.

As I'm trying to outfit my pack for my next hike I've made some decisions:

  • my shelter and sleep systems can and should take up half my 22L pack.
  • first aid and emergency 25% and overflow into my Hip Pack
  • food and water about the remaining 25%
Of course this is for the Florida summer so my big three are not so big. When the winter temps arrive my percentages will change because I'll need a bigger blanket and less water because it's wetter.

Here is something to note:


Pillows are typically considered a luxury item. My thermarest pillow is my favorite and I sleep with it sometimes just because I like it. But the thing of it is all three take valuable volume in my pack. The Klymit pillow is clearly the most compact.


Sit pads come in many flavors and sizes. Many will perform different functions. The Gossamer Gear is nice because I can whip it out without disrupting the pack and kneel or sit. I, once, completely jacked my knees on a hard surface. The bootlick can also be used as a sleeping pad. But the Klymit sit pad is tiny by comparison and could potentially double as a pillow.


I don't know what to say about blankets/liners. My Pure Down blanket is meant for kids as it's not long enough. The versa blanket is ok but voluminous. The fleece blankets can be dialed in depending on the weather and rain/wet would only be a minor setback.

It all matters.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

polycryo tarp... NOT

I was thinking about using polycryo as a material to make a tarp. I'd set it up a few times for ground sleeping and it worked ok. Yesterday I configured it for my hammock. While it setup no differently than any other tarp I was not able to test it in the hammock because my portable hammock stand's anchor failed.


I like the idea of the clear material so that I can still interact with the environment and unless I needed shade it was just fine... hikers typically say hike until it's time to sleep. Then sleep. So it does not really matter what the material is made from unless you need privacy for changing etc...

Anyway, I left the tarp out over night and in the morning all was just fine. Then, after lunch, I noticed the damage.


The polycryo ripped. It would have been interesting if the rip had ripped at the guyout rather then near the guyout. That it's not rip-stop means that once a rip starts it's not going to stop... as happened. I suppose I could have taped a seam but by then all that weight of the tape would clearly add weight to the tarp that by the time you take weight AND durability into consideration anything would be better.

So the lesson learned is that polycry is better as a ground sheet and leave it at that.

Monday, July 8, 2019

I flopped

There is something to be said for testing your hammock before hopping in. My homemade hammock stand's anchor gave out and I flopped on my back. CRAP! This was going to be yet another test kit... I had been able to get my big three down to about 4 pounds and I'm kinda regretting it.
It's easier to tie a tarp to a bush than it is a hammock to the same bush.
Another experiment that failed was my polycryo tarp. It's approximately 7x9 but even with the sag there is no way to cover my 10' hammock. Overall it looks like it might fit.


I still needed some adjustments but never got a chance to try it out. It's also no level... All that not withstanding...


The ends of the tarp were never far enough under the tarp. About all this tarp is good for is keeping the bird shit off you and maybe a little mist but not any kind of real rain.

Fire OS and Android

The relationship between Amazon's FireOS and Google's Android OS is probably very complicated. And while there is probably some very...