Kanteen Maintenance

I've been a firm proponent of Klean Kanteen bottles for nigh on a decade now. The two I have have suffered a bit of abuse, scuffs and dings, which only marginally reduce the capacity. I think I could drop one off a building and it would survive.

The stainless bottle and the plastic cap are easy to clean. Sadly, over the years, the rubber o-rings that seal the bottles up and stops errant drips have degraded somewhat. I am not sure what the black stuff is, I can't clean it off and it looks pretty unsightly. Also, there are some tears in the rings which compromise them.

Thankfully, a replacement aftermarket set is available on Amazon and it is a quick job to whip off the old ones and replace them.

Ready for another 10 years of service.


Backpack Pannier

Cycling to work is undeniably a good thing. Sweat on the other hand, is not. My commute is 7.5 miles, a lot of which is uphill. Riding a bike with a backpack full of stuff makes me sweat quite badly and my work doesn't have any sort of showering facilities. Couple that with being required to wear a shirt and tie and you have a recipe for disaster.

My bike has a pannier rack on it so the natural idea is to put a pannier bag or two on. This however would mean transferring stuff between the pannier bag(s) and my EDC backpack irritatingly often and means having extra kit about the place.

The solution then is to put the backpack itself on the bike. A few options were brainstormed. Ratchet straps were tried but ended up being more hassle than they are worth. Using a Greyman Tactical RIP-M panel was attempted but unsatisfactory. What is needed is a way of hooking the backpack straps to the rack.

Way back in the day, I got a Kifaru Paratarp with the peg and pole kit. The kit has basically been retired, got better pegs and hiking poles for that purpose but I kept the poles around for future use. I attached one of the pole segments (basically a bit of aluminium pipe) to the rack with a couple of hose clamps and used a couple pieces of kydex from a previous project to space it out. Hook the straps over the pipe and tighten them down and the bag is securely attached to the bike. Doesn't move an inch.

The major downside to this approach is at low speeds (namely moving off and manoeuvring on foot) the bike is biased to one side which is interesting getting it down the hall at 04:30. At regular cruising speed I don't notice a thing.


Naomi Wu posted on Twitter a guide on forcible entry by the New York Fire Department.

The guide primarily focuses on how to get rapid entry to a premises on fire using various implements, as well as an overview of different doors and locking mechanisms. Obviously it is meant for legal rapid entry to save lives but also unintentionally gives ideas when looking for a new home or how to secure your current front door from people trying to gain unlawful entry.

It also reminds me that I want a Halligan bar, more useful in a post apoc situation than a crowbar.


Food Prepping With Huel

If you have been in the tech circles in the last couple of years you will have heard about Soylent, powdered food for techies and folk who don't want the hassle making food. Sadly its not available in the UK (at least without paying shipping and import fees).

I found a couple offerings this side of the pond but none were too satisfactory, shipping delays and other faff being the main issues. Until I stumbled upon Huel. Same idea as Soylent but made in the UK, next day delivery with a reputable courier and 100% RDA of everything.

The "food" is dry powder and comes in plastic foil lined bags which are sealed from the factory. I figure they are ripe for food storage. 1 bag is 14 meals at 500 calories a go. 4 bags is a month of calories, assuming a daily intake of 2000 calories. Since they are foil lined, the use by date is a good 8-12 months but being dry powder and (presumably) relatively sterile, the shelf life is probably a good bit longer.

There will likely be a cutoff point where the powder does start to spoil so it will need rotating out. A simple way to keep track of it is to just write the delivery date on the bags I get.

I keep one bag in my bugout/travel bag and another in a pelican case which I can wheel along behind me. If I need to hightail it out, I have at least 2 weeks of food. These 2 bags are the first to be rotated when I get a new delivery which ensures I have the longest life for any bugging out. Old bags get slotted into storage by date order and consumed in time.

I use Taskwarrior to remind me to order more Huel on a monthly basis: t add project:foostorage recur:monthly wait:due-2days Buy 5 bags of Huel

I get my Huel deliveries in 4 or 5 bags a go, my one or two meals a day means I only consume about 3 bags worth a month. If I get 4 or 5 bags every month, then over the course of a year, I can build up several months of stored food. Assuming I can procure potable water, I can basically live for an extended time without having to procure sustenance of any significant value.

Now, I'm not one of those people who are on 100% Huel, I like my real food too much to do that, but I usually have one "meal" for breakfast and depending on what is going on with work, another one or two that day, with a real meal at some point during the day.


My commute to work by bike is fairly tame.

The way back however, gets a touch scary at times. Especially the bit with 20 or so meters of unprotected pavement next to a dual carriageway with 40 ton artics barreling towards you at 60+ mph.


The first week of December 2015 brought a massive storm to Lancashire and Cumbria,

causing severe flooding which resulted in a loss of power to 61,000 homes and businesses. The Royal Academy of Engineering put out a report of the situation (mirror) discussing the situation:

Most homes in the affected area have gas-fired central heating with the control system and circulating pump reliant on electricity, so had no heating. Many homes have all-electric cooking and thus were unable to heat food. There are few high-rise buildings in the city but all lost power for their lifts and some upper floors lost water supplies. After 30 hours without electricity, many households had to throw away at least some of the contents of their freezers.

The biggest impact on most people was that few knew what was happening. By looking out of the window, it was obvious that there was a widespread power cut but none of the usual sources of information – TV, internet, text messages or social media – was working. Although there was FM radio coverage, many people did not have a suitable battery- powered radio and reporters in the area had serious difficulties in communicating with their studios.

Vulnerable groups, including those relying on electrically-powered medical appliances and residents of care homes, were more seriously affected.


I've been a double edged razor user for well over a decade now.

I find the shave to be much more pleasurable than the multi-bladed cartridge monstrosities, not to mention the cost is much reduced.

The main issue comes when it is time to change the blade. Have a fairly sharp (not so good for shaving but will still mess you up) blade - covered in scraped off skin and possibly blood depending on how badly I shave - to be disposed of.

Simply throwing the naked blades in the bin is not suitable. The hazard to anyone down the chain is too high. Similarly, putting the blades in the cardboard container they came out of is also not great.

I thought about the sharps bins you see in hospitals and clinics for needles and scalpels and wondered if there was a consumer version.

Small enough to sit on a shelf and enough capacity for at least a decade of shaving. Clearly marked as hazardous and easily sealed for future disposal into a suitable waste stream.


Rantmedia 1999-2019

At 21:00 PT, after 20 years of continuous broadcasting, the internet's longest running internet radio station is coming to an end. James O'Brien (aka Cimmerian) made the decision to end the run instead of letting it atrophy and wither away.

Sad to see it go, Patrolling was a formative part of my teenage years and I fully credit Rant with the solid friendships and the current relationship I have.

Sean Kennedy:

James O'Brien:

Don't hate the media, become the media!


Ytget

I've been a fan of command line scripts and software to get tasks done for a while now. A few weeks ago, I tried having a go at hacking on Bashpodder to add Youtube functionality via the use of youtube-dl to get videos automatically, podcast style.

Annoyingly, I couldn't make it run properly and left it for a while. Until this morning when I had some coffee and decided to just break out the functionality to a separate script. Two scripts for podcast downloading may be a bit much but needs must.

Like my bashpodder hack, this script requires youtube-dl to be installed.

It also requires two text files to be in your home folder (or symlinked from elsewhere). .ytget.conf is a list of channels that you want to download from, whether from Youtube or any other service that youtube-dl supports. .ytget.lastrun just contains a timestamp in date +%Y%m%d format - eg. 20190101 - that is when the script was last ran. I recommend initially using a date from a month or two ago, else the script will default to 20180101 and get all videos uploaded since then.

Grab the script (or clone the whole repo), stick it in your $PATH and grab your Youtube subscriptions, free from the need to have a Google account!


Contain Yourself

Firefox added containers to compartmentalise web browsing. A smart individual took that concept and made an add-on to containerise the abomination known as Facebook.

Today, I found that another person took that idea and made one to corral Twitter and I had the idea to see if the same has been done for Google. It has.

Those 3 add-ons should go a way to keeping data leakage under control. Of course, augmenting your browser with uMatrix and uBlock Origin is thoroughly recommended for further hardening.