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.( --- More (3483 words) --- )
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 )
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 )
(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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So what did I miss?
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.
I wrote this over on Facebook:
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.
- the effects begin to appear
- * this thread, by @absurdistwords: finally, empathy starts many tweets up, ends many tweets down. you'll have to click 'show more' a few times. keep scrolling up past the top until twitter's useless interface stops loading more tweets.
- * this thread, by @LibyaLiberty: a connection to the middle east
- a church protects an undocumented immigrant for 9 months (caution: autoplay video)
- * this thread, by @polotek: white people are divided. you'll have to click 'show more' a few more times.
- Zeynep Tufekci: this, among others (this, this, and tangentially but importantly this) about social media, and its impact on how information spreads. I cannot in stronger terms state: if you are involved in an algorithm that controls how people communicate, the responsibility for what happened last night was in part yours.
- Maciej Ceglowski: this, among others on the industry of selling your data to advertisers, and the data collected; this, and this.
- relatedly, me, on apps that sold you out.
- the ACLU is ready to fight. "If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step."
- this is how the future voted.
- Lambda Legal.
- Southern Poverty Law Center.
- * National Domestic Workers Alliance.
- "Seattle will remain a sanctuary city."
- US sanctuary cities.
- "All the research that we have suggests that this isn't really a problem." -- Zuck on filter bubbles
- No, I Will Not Give Trump A Chance
- * Autocracy: Rules for Survival
- Let's talk secure communications
- * "You belong here. This is a country of immigrants and common people. No vote will ever changed that."
- I worked for Congress for 6 years, and here's what I learned about how they listen to constituents.
- * 6 Reasons for Trump's Rise that No-One Talks About (or: "How Half Of America Lost Its Fucking Mind"). Really good post on what I like to call "closing the empathy gap".
- * The 2016 Election Isn't Over Yet (opportunity to act: there is a senate candidate remaining in Louisiana)
- * Forget "Why?", it's time to get to work. How to do the work.
- Holy Fuck. Now What? Opportunities to volunteer and get involved.
- Risk of Democratic Erosion -- Reading List
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
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.
(click for many more)
a surreality in photos
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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So there's, in a bunch of words, last year in music. What have you got? What did I miss?
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.
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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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.