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Is ChromeOS the way to go?

July 20, 2021 — BarryK

I have been wondering about this for some time. My understanding is that ChromeOS was originally designed for a permanently online computer, not really for running off-line. I haven't closely followed development, but apparently that changed, allowing off-line use.

Then in 2016 Google announced that ChromeOS would be supporting Android apps:

They haven't stopped there. In 2018, Google announced that ChromeOS would be supporting Linux apps, a project named "Crostini", via a Debian-based virtual machine:

That was when I started to pay attention to ChromeOS development. It seems that Linux is a terminal interface, however, GUI apps can, apparently, be installed. Here is one guide, that explains how "Gnome" apps can be added to the ChromeOS package manager:

But how much of this is hype? What is the reality? This article, published Jan. 11, 2021, has some revealing statements:


And in the last two years, Linux has improved by leaps and bounds and it’s almost stable to use.


Also, keep in mind currently, Linux on Chrome OS does not support hardware acceleration so the performance is slightly choppy.

...I would have thought that depends on the GPU. Perhaps computers with Intel GPUs would have hardware acceleration? A bit of online reading, it seems GPU acceleration, using openGL, is available, at least for recent Intel GPUs, but a couple of reports it is troublesome. Obviously a work-in-progress, that hopefully will improve.

Gimp, LibreOffice, Inkscape, apparently run OK, and particularly interesting, so do Windows apps, via Wine. I see can even run Windows 10 in a virtual machine.

This certainly is interesting!      

Tags: linux

Plans for TreeHugger 1P tent Mark-3

July 20, 2021 — BarryK

The TreeHugger 1P tarp/tent Mark-1 project is documented here:

I started a Mark-2 design, with spreader-bar for head-space, but abandoned it:

Thought about the design a lot more, and decided, rather than have a spreader-bar, will make the high-end higher. This means will do away with the constraint of using a carbon-fibre or trekking pole to hold up the high-end. The high-end will be held up by tying to a tree trunk or branch -- unless can use an extra-long pole.

With Mark-1, I first constructed a tarp, and then added end-panels to turn it into a tent,as shown here:


I was going to construct a built-in mesh bivvy for the Mark-1, but now jumping to Mark-3, based on Mark-1, with lessons learned, higher high-end, slightly longer, and end-panels included in the original cutout.

What I mean is, instead of adding the end-panels afterward, plan to include them in the fabric cutout. This will simplify construction. So, there won't be an intermediate tarp, the tent will be constructed directly.

Here are the SolveSpace 3.0 files, gzipped:


SolveSpace is a "parametric 2D/3D CAD" application, for Linux, Windows and OSX, described here:

Here are the dimensions for each side. The outer lines include the hems and ridgeline overlap, the inner lines will be the actual dimensions after the hems are folded over and the ridgeline overlap glued together:


The other side includes the panel on the high-end:


Those 1.5cm measurements are hems, that will be folded over. The 2.0cm measurements are the ridgeline, and the two sides will be glued together at the ridgeline, by 2.0cm overlap.

Here are the two pieces put together, to show the length of fabric that will be required:


...based on the fabric having usable width of 1.51 metres, and the length required is 5.75 metres.

If we want to go for a deep catenary cut, as I did for the mark-1, here is a possibility:


...the left side is the high-end of the tent. Measure down 90cm and draw a line to the ridgeline on the low-end. Then plot the points as shown. This will be slightly less deeper than the Mark-1.

So, after cutting out the two sides, cut the ridgelines as per the above curve. Then join them, with 2cm overlap.

I am keen to get going on this, however, currently only have 20D fabric, and really want to use 10D, as aiming for lightest possible weight. Have placed an order for 10D, but it is coming by China Post, and my experience is will have to wait about 2 months. Aaargh! Will have to find something else to do in the meantime.

According to SolveSpace, the area of the two pieces is 2.537 plus 3.540, which is 6.077 metre squared. If the 10D silnylon is 31gsm, the weight of the fabric will be 186 grams. A bit less than that if there is a catenary cut.

EDIT 2021-07-21:
I discovered that the panel at the high-end actually requires the fabric roll to be wider than it is. My 10D silnylon has a usable width of 1.51 metres, same for the 20D silnylon. However, found by careful rotation of the cutout, can get the cutout width to be 1.518 metres, that is, 151.8cm.

Also, the two pieces can be cut out so as to use less fabric length, 5.112 metres, compared with 5.75 metres above:


...the brown lines represent the usable fabric width. The first piece is flipped vertically, so ridgeline is on the bottom. The second piece, on the right of the above drawing, is rotated slightly, to minimize the cutout going over the usable width. Even so, the bottom hem-line of the high-end panel is about 0.8cm over the usable width, going into the edge of the fabric that is not silicone-impregnated.

I can live with that. The bottom hem-line of the high-end panel will be folded over by 1.5cm, and the little 0.8cm un-impregnated will end up impregnated when the hem is glued.

Sure have designed this to the limit, maximum height that can be achieved at the high-end. Sitting inside, the height at the peak point will be just on 1.51 metres, but of course this drops rapidly on each side. That 1.51m is based on about 2.5cm air gap at the bottom of the tent. Then, as planning to construct an inner mesh bivvy, the final peak height will be lower. 

EDIT 2021-07-21:
I have played with the dimensions, now the second piece fits nicely within the 151cm usable width of the fabric, and without having to rotate it. Here are the updated SolveSpace 3.0 files, gzipped:


And here are the dimensions for cutting the pieces out of the fabric:


...required length of fabric now just a tad over 5.07 metres.      

Tags: light

Testing mk1 tent and wood stove

July 18, 2021 — BarryK

The ultralight (242g) TreeHugger 1P mark-1 tent is described in an earlier post:

The ultralight (55g) wood stove is described here:

Firstly, the stove. As reported in the above link, there is a review on Amazon, quoting:

The first burn was only 1/3 full of cedar twigs (not hotter burning hardwood), and before I could put on a small pot the inner supports warped and collapsed into the fire and the outer frame warped into an oval. The outer frame and inner supports are made from very thin titanium, almost identical to what I use for a windscreen with my micro alcohol stoves. The design is quite similar to the small Little Bug stove, which weighs 9 1/2 ounces. This one weighs just under 2 ounces (without the control slider) and is just too fragile to be a usable stove.

Yesterday, I tested it. Here it is, loaded with twigs, ready to go:


Ha ha, I can also confirm, it wasn't long before the pot-rest collapsed! And I didn't even have a pot on top. The titanium just warped and collapsed.

The two side-pieces were still OK. Looking at it today, yes, warped, but still usable. Something stronger is needed for the pot-rest, and something that will help the side-pieces to retain their shape.

Anyway, I boiled water by placing the pot directly onto the wood:


...that smoke is because the wood is damp. Made it hard to start the fire, but once going, OK, except got lots of smoke when added more twigs. The water boiled fast, had soup for lunch.

The tent, well, not much to say, easy to erect, just needed a convenient tree to tie it up in "tree hugger" mode:


And of course, one of the big features is the side entry:


Erection was straightforward -- staked out the four corners, then tied up the high-end to the tree, then inserted the short pole and staked it. Five stakes, but then a sixth for the side -- that sixth stake not essential.

Thinking about the height of the high-end, that was set by the length of my carbon-fibre pole, if it is to be erected without a tree. However, if that constraint was removed, no pole, then the high-end could be higher, which would give more head room inside. Will think about that.

You can see in the above photo, the usefulness of the tree as a back rest while inside the tent. Yes, that was the idea. Or, it could be a wall in a shelter.  

Tags: light

Grub2config replaces Grub4Dos

July 14, 2021 — BarryK

This is great news! 'shinobar' is an old-timer. He joined the old Murga Puppy Forum in 2009, and has created PETs that have been important components of Puppy, including Grub4dos GUI, and SFS loader. EasyOS has his Grub4dos PET, in the "Setup" menu.

He is a member on the new Puppy Forum, but has kept a low profile. The great news is that he is working on a replacement for his old Grub PETs. Forum thread here:


Grub4Dos does not support GPT/UEFI system, which is new standard of the recent PC's. Grub2Config is a script installs the grub2 boot loader and makes the menu automatically probing intalled systems same way as the old Grub4DosConfig, enabling multiboot with Windows, Ubuntu and etc.. It supports both legacy MBR system and new GPT/UEFI. Also supports UEFI Secure boot thanks to the Gyrog's MOK manager.

It is still under development, but very promising indeed.     

Tags: linux

YouTube psychotic AI is deleting comments

July 13, 2021 — BarryK

I posted recently about Mike, a guy who makes quilts for camping/hiking, getting overwhelmed and stopping taking orders:

Yesterday, I saw a comment from '26realmc' on "Dori's Hiking Adventures" channel, her video on Mike's quilt that she purchased:


I posted a comment, just a few words, with link to my blog post. Comment got posted OK, but a little bit later saw that my comment was deleted. I sent an email to Dori, asking why she deleted my comment, and she replied that she didn't. She checked in the "held for review" folder, it wasn't there either.

So, I posted again, this time as a reply to '26realmc', no link this time, just a short inoffensive text message, refreshed the page, and once again the comment was deleted.

Tried a third time, different text, deleted again.

I have posted comments to YouTube before, and they have not been deleted, so what's up????

I did an online search and found heaps and heaps of people complaining about this. This post gives some reasons that the AI uses: have to click on "more" to see the full message.

It seems that the AI does not just object to certain keywords, but also makes associations using algorithms that we know nothing about. There is no warning, no reason given, nothing, the comments just disappear.

As this guy with a YouTube channel has complained, people are blaming him for deleting their comment, but he has nothing to do with it:

"YouTube is randomly deleting your comments"

I gave up trying to post a reply to Dori's video. This is very sad, no, much more than that, very disturbing. Innocent comments getting deleted.   

Tags: ethos

End panels for TreeHugger 1P Mark-1 tarp

July 11, 2021 — BarryK

Continuing the TH1P Mark-1 tarp construction project, this is the previous post:

By adding end-panels, it has now become a tent:


I won't post the dimensions, as it depends on a user's choice of pole height. It is easy to figure out -- just a triangle, well, almost.

At the front, one side of the triangle is glued to the tarp (left side of above photo) and the other two sides have glued hems, with a tie-out at the bottom corner. The tie-out is just like the others, with an o-ring attached.

The front panel is not quite a triangle, because I cut a bit extra so that the tarp will overlap, to minimize ingress of rain. However, you can see at the bottom, there is still a gap between panel and tarp -- if I had built the inner mesh bivvy, the intention was that would pull-in the front panel slightly, so that gap would disappear.

The tarp has a small hook on the tie-out, so can unhook from the o-ring and fold back over the ridgeline;


In the first photo, you can see an o-ring and a nylon hook beside it. That hook was the one originally attached to the tarp tie-out, however, today replaced it with a smaller one. The o-ring will have a tent stake through it -- I am using triangle-section stakes, so there are gaps for the hook to hook onto the o-ring, but it is better with a smaller hook.

I am intending to take this as it is, and just use one of my ready-made inner mesh bivvies on the next hike. Probably will not construct the Mark-1 tent any further.

The tail-end of the tent has just a simple triangle panel, glued to the tarp on both sides, hem along the bottom.

I have learned a lot from constructing the Mark-1. The tent as you see in the above photo weighs 242g (8.64oz) (not including poles), quite light, but I reckon, from lessons learned, could make it again with less weight, fairly close to 200g. So, rather than take Mark-1 to completion, with inbuilt mesh bivvy, will use it as-is.

I think also, might make the next one a little bit longer, maybe another 100mm, and a little bit wider at the front. The ridgeline has 25mm overlap, but it is such a strong bond, intend to reduce that to 20mm. The successor to Mark-1 will probably be named Mark-3.

Next step, use it on a hike, one or two nights.

EDIT 2021-07-12:
Here is the Mark-1 tent rolled up:


That's great, really small! Dimensions are about 175mm long and 80mm diameter.   

Tags: light

New 15 minute Covid-19 infectious test

July 10, 2021 — BarryK

Wow, this test equipment is now being manufactured in Perth, Western Australia. It was developed by scientists at UTS, a university in Sydney:

I heard about it on the radio, while driving my car, a few days ago. They are manufacturing the test equipment with the intention that they be installed at places like airports. Cost per unit will be about a quarter of a million AU Dollars, and AU$25 per test.

The guy being interviewed on the radio said that it is easy to adapt to detect other viruses.

It is a saliva test, not that horrible probe shoved up the nose, and here's the thing -- it detects when people are infectious, before they show symptoms. Quoting from the above link:

A person with COVID-19 may be contagious 72 hours before starting to show symptoms. With the sensitivity of our optical technology, we aim to identify the viral protein in saliva from asymptomatic but already infectious patients. This would allow for much more effective contact tracing and rapid discovery of pockets of disease before it is transmitted to others.

72 hours, that's 3 days, no wonder the virus spreads through our communities!

YouTube video:

A company called Alcolizer has, on  June 10, 2021,  received a Federal grant for manufacturing this test system, here in Perth. The new device will be called the "Virulizer". Fantastic!   

Tags: ethos

Wonderful quilt from undercling-mike

July 07, 2021 — BarryK

I posted about sleeping bags versus quilts for camping and hiking, back on March 20, 2021:

Here is a photo from that post:


In that post, I didn't reveal who makes them. Will do so now. His name is Michael, known as "undercling-mike" on the Aussie Bushwalking forum. This is the thread where you can find out all about them:

Mike started making these in 2017, I think as a hobby, presume that he has a day job. Unfortunately for Mike, news got around how nice these quilts are, and the orders flooded in. The manufacturing delay got longer, then in December 2020, Mike declared a hiatus, he wanted to rest awhile.

But people still kept requesting them, myself included. I placed my order on March 11, and received it just over 3 and half months later. Despite the hiatus, Mike has kept making them, just very slowly. In his last communication with me, he indicated that he probably won't accept any more orders for awhile.

Anyway, what I have is this:

-8 degrees C rating, regular-length, wide-width, 950 HyperDRY down (ethically sourced), 10D burnt-orange taffetta fabric inner and outer, straps and 5L stuff sack.

Weight, in the stuff sack and including the straps, is 633g.

Dori is a lass who lives here in Western Australia, and she acquired her quilt from Mike in November 2020, and has posted a video:

Hers is a little bit heavier, as she went for the 850-loft down and 15D fabric.

Mine would have been 594g if had also chosen regular-width, but was enticed by the possibilities of that little bit extra width. In the above photo, you can see the gap underneath. The wide-width fills that gap, which makes it, I think, more usable without straps, saving about 20g -- so, my pack weight will be 613g.

Here is a photo of a wide-width, you can see how the gap has been filled:


When mine arrived, I threw all the blankets off the bed and slept under the quilt. Lovely! So light and warm.
And so beautifully made -- as a beginner sewer, I marvel at the perfect stitching.
One thing I like about the burnt-orange 10D taffetta fabric is that it is translucent, and I can see how the down is distributed -- yep, it is spread everywhere.

If you are a camper/hiker and are drooling over these photos, unfortunately you cannot currently place an order. I have had feedback from a couple of people that Mike has not responded to their inquiry. That's because, as I stated above, he has taken a break from making them. He will of course complete the ones that he has accepted an order for, but be patient. He indicated to me that he will do a reset and resume making them, so probably best to just wait until he announces that on the forum.   

Tags: light