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rope running between flakes on Matthes Crest

On Saturday (that is to say, July 15th), Josiah, Liz, and I went for an attempt on the Matthes Crest traverse from south to north. It was a total mess; in my book, it falls just barely short of an epic, but it certainly crosses the line over into being a total cluster. We got in a decent ways over our heads, made a mess of basically the whole route, and had a really long day. Remarkably, almost the entire day was still fun. Here is, more or less, how it happened.

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tl;dr: you can boot TWRP on some bootlooping Nexus 5Xs if you are really careful and use the image that I provide. Skip to the instructions if you don't care to hear me blather. And if you liked this, you might also like the hard mode version.

Yesterday evening, my Nexus 5X (a refurb from July 2016, after the fingerprint sensor on my original October 2015 Nexus 5X failed) succumbed to the disease that seems to take all of them: while I was at dinner, I sent someone a message, and as I hit "send", the device hung, got shot by the watchdog timer and rebooted, displayed the "Google" logo, and continued to cycle through being shot down by the WDT and rebooting over and over again. This failure mode is apparently very common in these devices, and is known as the dreaded "bootloop"; it is so widely known that the Google Store has indefinitely extended the warranty period for devices matching these symptoms, and the Nexus 5X subreddit is basically overrun by bootloop posts.

The actual root cause, as far as I can tell, is not publicly known. There has been a lot of speculation about what causes it, and what triggers it, and what exacerbates it -- and there are a lot of very hocus-pocus remedies to attempt to prolong the life of the device, or to recover from it. Indeed, information about this seems scarce even inside Google; reliable sources indicate that for a time, microkitchen refrigerators were full of Nexus 5Xs, in an attempt to stave off issues while updating the devices. All that seems to be certain is that the "bootloop" is a hardware defect. There seem to be many different syndrome families of bootloop. For instance, some devices seem to exhibit unusual behavior before they fail entirely (perhaps reporting "no SIM card", or having touchscreen issues); some devices fail in a fashion that is temperature-sensitive or voltage-sensitive (freezing the phone can give some extra life, or discharging the battery to a low percentage can also give the phone some extra time); and some devices fail in a fashion that seems to indicate storage issues (there's no temperature or other sensitivity, and the system usually crashes when trying to read from storage). There seems to be a long tail of symptoms, but the "temperature-sensitive" case seems to be the most common.

In any event, that is the bucket that mine fell in. Mine would boot into recover for about five or six seconds after being put in the freezer, but did not last long enough to mount the filesystem, let alone get data out of it. One enterprising user on XDA-Developers noted that low-battery-voltage cases caused the system to disable the Cortex-A57 (high-power, high-performance) cores, and experimented with a patched kernel that forced the phone to only run on the Cortex-A53 (low-power, low-performance) cores, and lo and behold, found that doing so allowed his phone to boot.

I tried booting his boot.img on my phone, and sure enough, it at least got to the boot progress spinner. But, really, I wanted all the data from my phone, not to boot my phone up and potentially corrupt more stuff if it crashes. So, I used mkbootimg_tools to tear apart the boot.img that he supplied, and also to tear apart a TeamWin Recovery image. Then, I glued the TWRP ramdisk into the "A53-only" boot.img using the same mkbootimg package; and after I had an A53-only-plus-TWRP boot.img, I booted that on my phone. And sure enough, TWRP booted without trouble, and I could pull data off my phone! (For good measure, I wrapped it in an ice pack while it was mirroring, just in case.)

how to pry data out )
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I have many thoughts to spill out, but maybe most are better served by my personal journal. But I have been thinking that I want to more regularly publish vignettes of thoughts publicly; less well-formed, less "pointful", less edited, less coherent, more thoughts and ideas. Here is one.

unformed thoughts: a morning practice )
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Whether you imported your LiveJournal account or not (my opinion: you should; then you will have continuity), you should also remember to claim your LiveJournal OpenID, which is a non-obvious part of the LJ-to-DW transition process. Go do this now to save yourself and other people headache.

(Why? When you import your LiveJournal account, you create subscribe-and-access links to a bunch of LiveJournal people, but you still exist twice, according to DreamWidth -- once as "you.dreamwidth.org", and once as "you.livejournal.com". So if people imported their LiveJournal accounts, and have you as friends, you still won't be able to see them, because they gave access to your LiveJournal instance; you need to link the two, so that DreamWidth knows that they actually meant to give access to your DreamWidth instance, too. For bonus points, this also means that all of the comments that got imported by your LiveJournal name into other people's journals will now be attributed to your DreamWidth name, too.)
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I liked the idea of last year's review of music so much that I went and wrote down everything that I bought (and a bunch of things that I listened to otherwise this year). A handful of things were released this year, but only narrowly a majority: I discovered a lot of stuff from years past that I liked! Anyway, let's do it:

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So what did I miss?
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Like many others seem to have these days, I've moved. You can now find my weblog at joshua0.dreamwidth.org. Public posts will continue to be crossposted to LiveJournal for some time, but my LiveJournal account will be phased out.
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Evelyn Ave bike lane, blurry, as the sun sets

When I started my yoga teacher training, I promised to myself that whatever I share would be true to what I experience.  If that be all inspirational messages attached to pictures of me in absurd-seeming poses, then that would be what it'd be; but if the reality was something else (and I'll give you a hint: my feet still don't go behind my head), then whatever I wrote about would be something else.  Well, the truth of it is that the human experience runs the gamut from light to darkness; being honest with you, and being honest with myself, means talking about both of them.

By September or October of 2016, I was on track, I felt, for one of the healthiest years I'd had yet.  My physical health was relatively good, and moreover, my psychoemotional health was pretty good, too; I felt fairly resilient in the face of a year of what seemed like never-ending travel, and not a whole lot of time at home to rest and regenerate.  You have, perhaps, heard of some of these travels; the general theme, I think, is a place of challenge, but also a place of being able to handle the challenge.  I was excited for the chance to write a positive end-of-the-year message, for once!

Suddenly, around November, though, the opposite.  The election was, perhaps, a microcosm of what felt like a world and structure of mental health that was crashing around me.  I felt physically ill, too, as the demons that have always haunted -- and will always haunt -- me came back to visit; my body felt unable to even muster the energy to stay warm, let alone exercise, or take care of any of the other habits and routines that I am used to.

I felt like I spent a fair bit of the past few months offering reassurances to friends who seemed to be experiencing similar, with varying degrees of success.  For a while, it was easy to make the motions of pretending to be okay -- and not letting on that I wasn't, because I knew that whether I was or not, they had the chance to be okay.  It became difficult to reassure myself, too, when all of the usual tools in my toolbox seemed to bring nothing to bear.  (At the same time, I shudder to think of what would become if I hadn't those tools available at all.)

These last couple weeks of being away from work and entirely taking time for myself have gone a long way towards recovery -- for which I am very thankful.

For those of you who read this, and who identified this year with the experience of the darkness: you are not alone.  It can feel overwhelming.  Your experience is uniquely yours, but you are not alone. I hope you'll remember that the light is there; check in with the people who see it sometimes.

And for those of you who read this who identified this year with the light: thank you for bringing that light with you.  You, too, remember that the darkness is there; I hope that you'll check in with the people who see it sometimes, and shine the beacon brightly.

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I wrote this over on Facebook:

I deliberately went to sleep last night with no knowledge of who was winning or losing, but that didn't make it any easier when I woke up this morning to a heartbreaking text from my mom: "Words can't express how sad I am at the possible impact the next four years could have on the next 25 years of your life".

I am lucky that the impact, in the short term, will be but an inconvenience for me. But I fear for the impact of the rise of the alt-right on some of my closest friends. My trans friends, who I fear for the safety of. My friends of color, who I fear the increase in the day to day abuse of. The women in my life, who stand to face the consequences as our country travels back in time.

I don't know what happens next. But today isn't the last day that we'll have to face together, and January 20th won't be, either. It's time to redouble our commitments to each other, and to our communities. If you can, give money and resources to organizations that matter. Get to know the stories of the service workers around you whose lives are on the line. Volunteer your time to work in the places and with the people that will be hit the hardest.

The work starts now.

Here's a handful of resources and thoughts that I've collected over the past 14 hours since I woke up. Some of these are a place of hope, some a place of caution, and many are disturbing. Take care of yourself. I've continued to update this in the days after the election. I've also added * to the best things.

Take care of yourselves, your friends, your families. Be there for each other. And then once you have some time to spare, be there for your community.

The work starts now, but it doesn't end tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or even in four years.

"God gave Adam a secret — and that secret was not how to begin, but how to begin again."

          — Elie Wiesel

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(in the vein of [livejournal.com profile] slothman's "hold your nose and vote"; he has also recently published elected offices November 2016, ballot measures November 2016)

I just spent about two hours doing research on candidates and politics in this year's election. So, without further ado, my notes, and my proposed votes.

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Jul. 5th, 2016 10:04 pm

recently 2

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sunset-lit sky over the mountains, peering out of a tent
(click for many more)


a surreality in photos

More, recently. A trip into the Eastern Sierras -- a place I had been, but didn't remember. A trip back home -- a place I had been, and remembered full well. A trip to Shanghai, for work -- a place I hadn't before been at all. Still hard to write about, because for some of it, I don't even understand myself what enough of what it all meant to write about. So, another photoblog it is. Last time was snapshots of a reality; this time, perhaps, snapshots of a surreality. I hope you again enjoy.


(previously)
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Here's something that's been kicking about in the back of my mind for the past few days, ever since I saw it happen to me. Every time I think about it, I get really angry, and I feel like I should write about it; and then I get too angry to figure out how to structure a post. The gist of what follows is that an internet service stole your personal information from me. There are lots of people I could blame, but at the end of the day, the data was on my phone, and then it was in the cloud somewhere that I don't control. It came from me, and I apologize. This won't affect most people, but as you'll read, there are some that it could -- and the practice by which it took place, on a wider scale, is extremely dangerous for a handful of groups of people that we already systematically oppress.

This post has been updated since it was originally written to include another example.

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This year, there was quite a lot of good music released. Here's my shortlist of things that I bought, and a few words about each. Most of these were released this year, but some were just things that I discovered this year. In chronological purchase order:

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So there's, in a bunch of words, last year in music. What have you got? What did I miss?
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zafu on top of zabuton in middle of room in new house

Change in the past 365 days -- people. places. practices. presence.  Old habits give way to new habits.  Old patterns of thought subside for new, and maybe then come back again.  Storms surge, and pass, and surge again.  The light starts to become visible, if only for fleeting moments.

So many teachers in this past year, to whom I owe my immense gratitude.  People who are not my Teachers, but even still my teachers.  It is a privilege to be a student.  The work is never easy, but I couldn't have it any other way.

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It's been over a year since I started wearing my first-generation Pebble Steel. I expected that I was going to find it an annoying gadget that didn't really do anything positive for me, but I was pleasantly surprised, and somewhat taken by it, really; I wrote a few programs for it, and up until a week ago, I wore it around with me pretty much everywhere. Last Friday, however, my Kickstarter reward arrived: a shiny new Pebble Time Steel in gunmetal black! The Pebble Time is Pebble's second-generation smartwatch, with a host of changes: color, a microphone, a new industrial design, and a new user interface layer. I've been wearing it for just over a week, then, and so it seems apropos to write another review, in the same vein of that which I wrote in March of 2014, of the first-generation device.

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Okay! So a few weeks or so ago, I spoke at !!Con, and before I forget (even more), I wanted to write down a few of the things that were particularly notable to me about it. In general, I liked the !!Con experience, and the biggest negative (that I arrived on a redeye at 7am, but that my AirBnB didn't exist until 3pm...) was mostly the fault of my own incompetency; but I wanted to take a moment to write down in a little more detail what some of the things that !!Con did really right were. This is all somewhat train-of-thought, so you'll have to forgive me if there are incoherencies... But without further ado:
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Anyway. That was quite a lot longer than I had planned on. But, hopefully, that gives you a flavor of things that made !!Con special. If you're planning a conference of your own, you should absolutely look to !!Con as a role model in a lot of ways.

(and, of course, photos)

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