My EDC setup

EDC, short for Every Day Carry, has become a common term to many, myself included. The underlying philosophy of “what do I need to bring with me on a daily basis” is an interesting one, and one which has prompted me to think about what I bring with me on a day to day basis. While the specifics may – and do – change, in general, what I bring with me is:

  1. Wallet – currently a Secrid Miniwallet, which includes an RFID blocking cardslide.
  2. Keys – currently an Orbitkey, which is quiet and stylish
  3. Pocket tool – currently a Leatherman Skeletool with torx (T10 and T15) and Phillips-head bits
  4. Cell phone – currently an iPhone 6
  5. Pen – currently a Mont Blanc Meisterstück LeGrand Rollerball

Those are the absolute, bare bone basics, and all of them fit in my pockets or on my belt, precluding the need for a bag. When I do add a bag, a few other items are usually added to the collection:

  1. Headphones – currently Bose QC 25
  2. Knife – currently a Spyderco Tenacious
  3. Flashlight – currently a TerraLUX LightStar80
  4. Leatherman Bit Kit
  5. Roll-up with chargers, cables and spare batteries

As for what bag, I have three go-to options:

  1. 5.11 Tactical PUSH Pack – compact yet spacious, this is the lightest of the three
  2. 5.11 Tactical RUSH 12 Backpack – quite a bit larger, this offers the most options, and sits well on my back.
  3. Mitchell Leather Classic Briefcase – the most stylish of the three, and a spacious option suitable for most applications

Finally, as an aside, a comment about one of the connotations of EDC; carrying a firearm. I have never felt the need to be armed for my protection, and I count myself blessed that that is so. Furthermore, carrying a firearm in a holster on your body in public is illegal in Norway, except for when you are at the firing range. There are exceptions for people under a specific threat, but again, I am not in that situation.

BTS: Farmers and their cows

This week, I have a tale of two farmers for you…

The two farmers, let’s call one John and the other Seamus, are both cattle farmers. One day, John says to Seamus; “Here’s an idea; how’s about you give me one of your cows? That way, I’ll have twice as many as you do.” Seamus counters “I don’t think so; instead, why don’t you give me one of yours; that way we will have the same number of cows.” How many cows did they each have to start with?

Last week, I left you without revealing who was arrested. It was, of course, the maid; there’s no mail delivery on Sundays.

TBT: Creating a shortcut to start a service

This post originally ran in October 2008. I am reposting it now, as part of my throwback thursday project, to give some of my older quality posts some love. Though the post references Windows XP; the command works in later versions, too.

I’ve finally got my HTPC up and running with Team Mediaportal‘s lovely Media Center replacement Media Portal. One of the issues I faced while getting it up and running, was getting it to work with my MCE Remote. The solution to this was a third-party app called IR Server Suite. Once installed, every function in my MCE Remote worked like a charm. Until I rebooted the computer that is.

For some reason, the service that IR Server Suite uses to override Windows Media Center, and reroute signals to Media Portal, does not start properly. Although I am trying to solve the problem, a more immediately interesting issue is creating a better workaround than having to go to Services and manually start it.

The solution came to me while at work, as I remembered that a few of our servers have services that at times need to be restarted. This is done through shortcuts on the desktop of the server to save time. The shortcut leads to a batch file, using the NET START command. Here’s how my batch file looks like:

@echo off
net start inputservice
exit

On the user friendly computer

One of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis, 99 percent invisible featured a story about the computer mouse and its inventor, Doug Engelbart. In it, the fact that modern computers are becoming increasingly user friendly was bemoaned, arguing that if it were less user friendly, we would be able to perform more advanced tasks. Though an interesting point of view, it seems to me sadly mistaken. The thing is, though modern computers and operating systems are becoming ever more user friendly, accessible, and easy to use, that does not necessarily extend to the software run on the device. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Statistics suites
    • Whether you use, SPSS, R or SAS, you will be spending a fair bit of time learning how to use it, and they all have advanced and complicated tools that take time and experience to learn
  • BI Software
    • Highly powerful though they are, I would be hard pressed to call software such as SAP BI or Oracle BI readily accessible to the untrained user, though the experienced user can get a wealth of information out of them
  • Database management suites
    • Whether you use MS SQL, MySQL or NoSQL, database management is a skill that takes time and experience to hone,

Simply put, I would contend that the world envisioned by Doug Engelbart, where we push ourselves to do more with our tools, and leverage those tools to greater effect, is here. Though most users might not see it, and therefore not know it or even know of it, it is here, and the toolsets afforded to us are ever expanding, ever improving, and ever deepening.

BTS: Lies, damned lies

Another quick crime mystery for you this week:

A man was found murdered Sunday morning. His wife immediately called the police. The police questioned the wife and staff and got these
answers:

The wife said she was sleeping. The cook was preparing breakfast. The gardener was gathering vegetables. The maid was getting the mail.

The police instantly arrested the murderer. Who did it and how did they know?

As for the solution to last week’s mystery; in winter, condensation forms on the inside of the pane, not the outside. Hence, Mr. Hound must have been lying about wiping away the condensation.

Citrix: Keyboard input fails on Mac OS X

A user called in, saying that she was having problems with her email client on Citrix. I quickly established that she was using a Mac, and that she was able to open and read emails, as well as start a reply, but that no keyboard input seemed to show up when she was writing an email. I next asked her to try to search in Outlook, with the same result. The final thing we tried before ascertaining what the problem was, was checking if the problem only affected Outlook. As it turned out, it didn’t, but propagated through all applications in Citrix.

A quick Google search led me to the conclusion that the problem was most likely caused by a problem in Citrix Receiver versions prior to version 11.9. I logged on to Citrix Director, and lo and behold, she was using version 11.8.2:

Citrix version

Having established this, the solution was simple enough; download and install the most recent version of Citrix Receiver. Problem: solved.

BTS: Mr. Rose and the Hound

Following on last week’s theme, here’s another quick crime mystery:

Poor Mr. Rose was found dead in his study by Mr. Hound.

Mr. Hound recounted his dismal discovery to the police:

“I was walking by Mr. Rose’s house when I thought I would just pop in for a visit. I noticed his study light was on and I decided to peek in from the outside to see if he was in there. I walked through the snow towards the window, and I had to wipe the condensation off the window to see inside. That is when I saw his body. I kicked in the front door to confirm my suspicions of foul play. I called the police immediately afterward.”

The officer immediately arrested Mr. Hound for the murder of Mr. Rose.

How did he know Mr. Hound was lying?

As for the solution to last week’s mystery, Mr. Jones was certainly lying about the details of the matter, as the dead man was shot in the stomach, not the back.

TBT: FileZilla – the only FTP client you’ll ever need.

This post originally ran in October 2008. I am reposting it now, as part of my throwback thursday project, to give some of my older quality posts some love. I still use FileZilla on a regular basis, and still love it dearly.

In managing two websites of my own, and one for an organisation I’m involved with, not to mention just to upload all the pictures I use in this blog, I use an excellent little application called FileZilla. Simply put, it’s an FTP client, a program designed to upload and download files using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Packed with features, it’s one of those programs I just can’t live without.

FileZilla boasts many features, such as:

  • Easy to use
  • Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)
  • Cross-platform. Runs on Windows, Linux, *BSD, Mac OS X and more
  • IPv6 support
  • Available in many languages
  • Supports resume and transfer of large files >4GB
  • Powerful Site Manager and transfer queue
  • Drag & drop support
  • Configurable Speed limits
  • Filename filters
  • Network configuration wizard
  • Remote file editing
  • Keep-alive
  • HTTP/1.1, SOCKS5 and FTP-Proxy support

Another very nifty feature is the fact that FileZilla automatically checks for updates, notifies me when they are available, and then downloads and installs the new version pretty much on its own.

Here’s what it looks like:

Find more information about FileZilla, and download it here.

Electric cars and the Zero emissions claim

A recent development in personal transportation, in particular in Norway, has been the introduction of electric vehicles. Where electric vehicles used to be either mobility scooters or big, ugly clunkers, they now come in many packages, from the small and nippy, such as Buddy, to the ones that look like, well, a car, such as Teslas offerings. The other day, I passed an electric car, on the side of which proudly proclaimed “Zero emission”. Depending on your perspective and where in the world you are located, the claim can be considered false, plausible or true. Let’s take a look:

From a lifecycle view, the claim is clearly and definitively false. Even with the best manufacturing techniques, it is unavoidable that there be some level of emissions, both when manufacturing the car as a whole, and most particularly when making the batteries. If you discount the manufacturing, you must still contend with shipping, which, unless done by electric trains (not diesel-electric, more on the sourcing of the electric power below) from manufacturing plant to the consumer, is also responsible for some level of emissions.

Now, once delivered to the customer, the car does not in and of itself make any emissions, which is the only reason the claim can reasonably, although with significant intellectual dishonesty, be made. Although the car itself may not make any emissions, that does not necessarily mean that no emissions were made in order to make the car run. In Norway, where I live, the vast majority of electric power is sourced through renewable energy. Thus, the level of emissions associated with making an already existing car run, can reasonably be said to be zero.

In other countries, that is not so. We need look no further than Germany, to find that their electric power is significantly less clean, and the level of emissions associated with making an already existing car run, can not reasonably be said to be zero without setting more constraints. What constraints? The thing about the emissions made by traditionally powered cars, is that they are twofold; first during the extraction and processing of petroleum, and second during combustion. The latter is local.

Thus, even though the power running an electric car is unclean, the car may still be said to have zero local emissions (though only with significant intellectual dishonesty) if the power plant manufacturing the power is not located within the local zone.

To me, a more interesting question than whether or not the emission-level of the cars is zero (which, as I believe I have shown, they do not), but rather whether they are better than their traditionally powered counterparts. I don’t have the answer to that question, though I’d be interested to hear if anyone else does.

BTS: Details matter

This week’s puzzle is a bit different, but I liked it. As usual, feel free to post suggestions in the comments; the solution will be up next week.

A crime happened at Caraway Street. The main suspect is a man named Patrick Jones. It was said that a man had been walking along the pathway when he was suddenly shot in the stomach. The suspect had brown hair, blue eyes, and wore a baggy suit, just like Patrick Jones’s.

Patrick was asked to tell the story right from the beginning. “Well,” said Patrick, “I was just hanging around the park when I saw this man walking along the pathway. Suddenly, a guy came up from behind him and shot him! I ran home as fast as I could.” The policemen asked him to give a description of the murderer.

Patrick said, “He had a red moustache, red hair, and a baggy suit on.”

“I think this man is telling a lie,” said one of the policemen. How did he know?

 

As I said, last week’s puzzle featured a format we have seen before. Here’s my solution:

The answer is 90.  arrived at this answer by dividing each number after the equals sign, with the one in front of it. A pattern quickly emerged; this time, the multiplier was always equal to the number in front of the equals sign plus one. This gives us the following solutions as we go on: 7=56, 8=72 and finally, 9=90.