Category: Miscellaneous

Accessing MobyVM

I needed to map an addition port into an existing Docker container. Now I know the right thing to do is to create a new container and do it right this time but GitLab’s container has problems running on the Windows Docker Desktop. Permission-based problems that I’m not particularly included to attempt to sort out just to run a simple sandbox. Which means I’d need to drop my config file back in place & recreate my sandbox projects. And since I’m using CI/CD variables which don’t export … recreating the sandbox projects is a bit of a PITA.

On Linux, I can fix this by editing the config.v2.json and hostconfig.json files … but this is Windows running a funky Hyper-V Linux. And it turns out you can access the files on this MobyVM.

docker run -it --rm --privileged --pid=host justincormack/nsenter1

Now I’m able to cd into /var/lib/docker/containers, find the full ID for my GitLab container and cd into it, and edit the two config files. If it is running, you need to stop the container prior to editing the config files.

config.v2.json — add the port to “ExposedPorts”


hostconfig.json — add the port to “PortBindings”



Stop the Windows Docker service, start it, then start the container again. Voila! The new port for the container registry is there without recreating the container.

Drawing a rectangle/square (or ellipse/circle) in Gimp

I finally installed the larger hard drive to my laptop (1TB SSD!!), and I now have enough space for a Windows partition, a Linux partition, and a data partition that is used by both systems. I’ve always had a handful of items on my “Linux misses” list, and image editing is one of them. I use Gimp in both Linux & Windows when I want to do “fancy” image editing — especially blurring out text when composing documentation — but I love the simplicity of MS Paint for adding text and shapes to images (my red “click this one” and purple “look at this section” rectangles). And there’s no readily obvious way to just draw a rectangle in Gimp. At one point, I had a whatever-it-is plugin/macro/function that allowed me to draw all sorts of complex shapes. But, really, I just want to put a red rectangle on a screen print. Found it!

Use the selection tool to draw a rectangle or ellipse; from the “Edit” menu, select “Stroke Selection”. This adds a pencil/paintbrush stroke along the selection boundary.

Best Dimming Light Bulbs

We purchased a house full of Z-wave dimmers (Leviton VRMX-1LZ and DZSM-1LZ) as a Christmas season special from Leviton two years ago. We were really happy to have dimmers throughout the house — we could use the existing lighting as nightlights, have movie nights with a little pathway lighting … and then we installed a few dimmers and realized the bulbs dimmed. But not DIM dimmed. It was a massive bummer, and significantly diminished the couple hundred bucks we’d dropped on these smart dimmers. 

We even called Leviton & got a paper they publish with how different bulbs dim with their various dimmers. And realized that all of the bulbs that went down to 1 or 2% were discontinued. Another bummer! The paper is updated periodically, but even the early 2018 iteration failed to yield any in-production well-dimming bulbs.

Over the summer, I came across a review of various dimmable LED light bulbs. The guy had an integrating sphere rigged up and was measuring output and colour — seemed like he put a lot of effort into it (and I’d LOVE to find that write-up again!). His write-up indicated that Home Depot’s “house brand” bulbs, EcoSmart, dimmed down to basically nothing. I added EcoSmart 60W bulbs to my “next time you’re at Home Depot” list and finally remembered to pick them up in September. Except there were two types — plastic ones and glass ones that can be used in closed fixtures. The plastic ones dimmed well — way better than any of the Cree, Phillips, or Lighting Science bulbs we’d tried. But the glass ones — they dimmed to the point of being off. We had to go through and change what the dimmers consider zero because these bulbs were TOO dim. And they didn’t hum, buzz, or flicker. I was thrilled — swapped out the downstairs hallway bulbs with these glass EcoSmart LEDs and the light fixtures have become nightlights. 

I wanted to get bulbs for the other hallway, bedrooms, and bathrooms. So I ordered the bulbs online & they showed up. Replaced one set of bedroom bulbs, dimmed them … and they’re about on par with the Cree bulbs we had. Huh? Upon investigation, while the bulbs we got delivered had the exact same part number, they had a different UPC. And a different product code above the UPC. Even odder — the energy draw and estimated annual cost were different. Apparently there are different revisions of the bulbs, and the 02 revision doesn’t dim any better than every other bulb out there. 

We returned the bulbs and checked the light bulb aisle at the store for any with UPC 693690563636 and product code ABA19A60WESD01 — and found a bunch on the shelves. They also had the 02 revision and a 03 revision. Since the 01 ones were a known quantity, we bought them. And they dim down to nothing! It’s been just about two years, but the dimmers we’ve put in are finally PERFECT. 

Just like Helsinki

When Trump first trotted out his hypothesis that logging would have somehow saved the large swaths of construction from forest fires, I rolled my eyes and thought back to his campaign touted secret plan to defeat ISIL … which turned out to be consulting Generals. Which, as far as a military tactic goes is, worked about as well as all of the previous approaches (which, I suppose in his head, did not include this brilliant consulting step). Logging — which generally takes the big solid part of the tree (a.k.a. the trunk) and leaves behind all of the little bits (twigs, branches, leaves, underbrush) seems more apt to promote conflagrations — all of those little twigs, branches, leaves, and whatnot lay around, dry up … insta-kindling.

But yesterday’s proclamation that we’d be fine if we were only cleaning up the forest floor like Finland really bothers me. Not because of the obvious climate differences between a country averaging 27″ of rain (and I believe had an above average precipitation total last year) and an area that got, what, not quite 5″ in the last July-June season? Or the twenty or thirty degree temperature difference. But because of the absolute ignorance of international news. This is the sort of thing people at the White House get paid to keep track of. Finland had an unusual number of fires this last yearSweden too.

Why *I* Didn’t Report

I tried to report, but I could not get anyone to TAKE my report. When I was in University, I had an undergrad assistant-ship. One of my responsibilities was overseeing work-study students who helped out in a computer lab. General management stuff – scheduling, sorting out coverage when someone couldn’t make their shift, determining when the lab was available to students, approving time cards. One kid falsified his time card — he’d clock in, leave, and come back a few hours later to clock out. Not making a shift wouldn’t be a problem, I dealt with that quite regularly and generally covered shifts myself if I couldn’t find someone looking to pick up a few extra hours. But asking to get paid for not working was unreasonable (also a crime. It wasn’t just defrauding the University, it was defrauding the Federal Work Study Program). My mental parade of horrors went something like this: chap gets charged with fraud, loses work-study funding, has to leave school, entire life is ruined over a stupid thing he’s done as a 19 year old kid. I wanted to help the guy, so I decided to be in my office before he clocked in. Check the lab every fifteen minutes or so and confirm that he didn’t just step out for a minute. Leave a note on his time card to see me in my office. And TALK to him about it — I know what you’re doing, it’s not right nor is it legal, and there are real ramifications if you persist and I have to report you. The kid was a big guy. Over six foot tall, built like a footballer. I asked a friend of mine to hang out in my office with me.

A few hours later, and I had evidence the dude was falsifying his time card: he came back to punch out. And came into my office as requested — all innocent-like with no idea what I could possibly have wanted to discuss. My friend, unfortunately, had gotten bored and decided to ring her sister about ten minutes before his shift was over.

My office had been a dark room — an important thing, when developing negatives, is to avoid exposure to light. Darkrooms have two rooms — open the first door, enter into the antechamber, kick on the red lights, close the outer door, then open the door to the processing room. I used the antechamber as a storage area, but there were tables and chairs out there too. The inner room was my actual office – desk, chairs, coffee maker. My friend took her call out to the antechamber because my discussion with the work-study student was going to interrupt her call. And closed the door.

So here I am, in a closed room, alone with the guy (a) that intimidated me and (b) with whom I had to have an unpleasant conversation. I explain that we’ve been checking the lab every few minutes and know that he never actually worked his shift. He could call it an emergency and say he came back to cross out the “in” time now that the emergency was sorted. Or he could clock out, and I’d have to report the fraud to administration.

He proceeded to sit on me and kiss me. I could not get up. I was stuck in a rolling office chair, where attempts to push with my feet just scooted the chair around the tile floor. I wasn’t a terribly weak girl, I could bench about 30 kg which was about average for my size. But there was no shoving this guy off of the chair. I was terrified, and in my mind a little angry that my friend — who really only needed to be there for like the last half hour of the guy’s shift — had decided to stay for the full three hours and didn’t care enough to actually help me during the period of time I actually wanted help. I was kissed and groped at for minutes before I was able to injure the guy enough that he fell off the chair. And I ran out to the antechamber. The guy was furious, but he wasn’t going to do anything with my friend standing right there, or with the antechamber door opened to the hallway. He stormed off.

But I was still terrified. I rang the police — even leaving aside sexual component of the assault, false imprisonment is a crime. Assault is a crime. I reported. And was directed to campus security because, for the price of a few new police cruisers and other “support” … evidently the city police do not respond to on campus crimes. Noise complaint, ring campus security. A flaming sofa out in the public street, ring campus security (although the fire department will eventually respond). Some kid assaults you and prevents you from leaving a room, ring campus security.

Well, you know what campus security has to say about sexual assault? There’s no evidence, I have no witness, it’s he said/she said. And it’s important that we be able to tell prospective freshman about the low level of on-campus crime. Including the zero rate of sexual crimes. So in addition to abject terror, humiliation, and eeeeewwwwww that I felt, I got to add in a heap of betrayal because, about a year ago, I was one of those prospective freshman getting the sales pitch. I remember hearing about the zero on-campus sex crime stat and wondering how that was possible. The students were still kids. You could find a keg party any night of the week. And whilst neither youth nor inebriation exonerate criminal action … they are certainly factors that contribute to it.

I told several friends — primarily because I did not ever want to be left alone with the guy, and I needed them to understand why. I’m telling the Internet 23 years later because of Trump’s comments about Dr. Ford not reporting. There are millions of different reasons assault victims haven’t reported the crime. None of those reasons mean the attack didn’t happen. None of those reasons mean the attack was anything other than horrifying. And sure I managed to move on. But I will never forget how the guy looked, or smelled, or the feeling of being restrained and assaulted.

So, Trump, #WhyIDidn’tReport … why I don’t have a police report to back up my assault is that the University paid off local law enforcement to ignore on-campus crime, and campus security had a vested interest in maintaining low crime stats. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just means that the so-called justice system fails a lot of people. And, hey, isn’t that the sort of thing a the head of the Executive branch should be fixing?


There is a difference

Today it is Jr’s “harassment” note, decades ago it was the assertion that “harassment is an ugly guy trying to get some”, but the fact remains that *harassment* there is a whole spectrum of harassment. Some dude whipping it out on the lunch queue, that’s blatantly obvious harassment without me specifically asking the individual to keep their genitalia covered. But harassment can be subtler too. The harassment I experienced frequently at work (twenty years ago) was the kind that became harassment when the guy refused to stop. A coworker asking me on a date is not harassment; a fellow student asking me to go to a dance is not harassment. Asking a dozen times *IS* harassment. Grabbing at my person and telling me how much I’ll enjoy the date *IS* harassment. And throwing them down on a bed, and attempting to disrobe them whilst covering their mouth … that’s not just harassment, that’s assault. And battery. And likely false imprisonment.

History Without Context

There’s a challenge in teaching history to young people — whilst it is not good to proceed through life ignorant of what has come before you, there are facets of history that are simply incomprehensible to a five year old kid. Explaining why some people are afraid of the police, describing the point of the military … it is a snarl of sociological and political facts, individual experiences … there’s a good and a bad side, but it is difficult to understand points of view without the entire history that created that point of view (a bit like coupling Zinn’s People’s History with Johnson’s History of the American People and calling that a balanced history lesson). I used to advocate for the inclusion of fictional works in University history classes — while the story itself may not be true, fictional works provide a picture into the reality of the time. History provides a context for books, and books provide a context for history. Arthur Miller was not randomly enamored with the Salem witch hunts.

Sadly, Anya’s teacher has begun down the path of history without context. Today (why not yesterday!?!) she taught the kids that “bad people” crashed planes into buildings in DC and NYC, as well as PA. Which left me to try explaining that it’s not like half a dozen people woke up one morning and thought it might be a lark to try flying an aeroplane … only to find it wasn’t as easy as it looks on TV. It was an organized group executing a plan. It was also a group organized partially because of terrible things done across the globe. A cause can be just without justifying any action taken in support of the cause. The validity of a cause doesn’t make the action right any more than “he hit me first” makes slugging your brother right.

A lot of nation-states, countries, and people have done a lot of terrible things to one another in the name of just causes … the events of which the teacher spoke is an egregious example.