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Altra Vanish-R Racing Flat

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  • Friday, November 20 2020 @ 07:06 PM UTC
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Running and Fitness

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The Vanish-R is a super lightweight racing flat from Altra.



Getting a shoe this light seems to guarantee that there are some compromises and tradeoffs.

These shoes remind me a lot of the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 from (many) years ago...



Both are lightweight. So extremely light! Both have a plate-like thing inside. Both have only a small amount of foam and very little cushion. Both have a very similar amount of ground feel. Neither are particularly comfortable. Neither are my favorite shoe.

The Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150 are still my favorite racing shoes.

But since the Wave Universe and the Bare-X Lite 150 are no longer available for purchase, the Vanish-R could be a good option.

It is nice to see Altra adding some more minimalist shoes to their lineup. Another Altra that I am interested in checking out is the Escalante Racer (not to be confused with the Escalante). On paper, it looks like it is just a little bit more shoe and could be the sweet spot like another one of my favorite shoes, the ST series from Topo Athletic.

Annotate PDF files on Linux with Xournal

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  • Tuesday, July 07 2020 @ 05:31 PM UTC
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Linux, Open Source, and Tech Stuff

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Xournal is a great tool that I only discovered recently. From the package description, "Xournal is a GTK+ application for notetaking, sketching and keeping a journal using a stylus. It can also be used to add annotations to PDF files."

I use this tool only infrequently and have trouble remembering its name so I am making this blog post for it.

I use Xournal fill out PDF forms on Linux when the PDF document has no actual form fields (basically annotating over the empty blanks) so I can type on a computer instead of having to print a form, fill it out, and then scan it. This also makes the form much more legible than if I were writing on paper.

I have also used Xournal with a Wacom stylus in order to "hand write" / sign my name. Tip: Have your Wacom plugged into the computer before starting Xournal.

On Ubuntu, the package name is "xournal" in the Universe section and you start annotating a PDF by selecting from the menu File -> Annotate PDF

Forms with the little boxes for individual letters are a little challenging, but usually there is a font that comes close to the proper spacing.



You can save your work in-progress as a Xournal file (.xoj). To get the results into a final PDF for submissions, select from the menu File -> Export to PDF.

Laptop Screen Height and Remote Work

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  • Wednesday, March 25 2020 @ 12:31 AM UTC
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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I prefer a standing desk. With the COVID-19 work from home orders causing me to become a full-time Remote worker, my home desk area setup is much more important than it was before.

I know some people who stand up at a table or breakfast bar and use their laptops, but that is a terrible neck angle for long periods of time.

If your laptop will open to 180 degrees, then the following configuration with an external keyboard and mouse may help the screen position considerably:



Otherwise, I suggest a laptop stand such as this one from 1home:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077JZSBS2

which works very well compared to some others I have tried.

Here I am using it in combination with my Ergotron WorkFit sit-stand workstation:


Access Docker After Install Without Logout or Reboot

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  • Tuesday, March 24 2020 @ 06:48 PM UTC
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By default, after installing docker on Ubuntu, normal user accounts cannot connect to the docker daemon.

$ sudo apt install docker.io

$ docker ps

Got permission denied while trying to connect to the Docker daemon socket at unix:///var/run/docker.sock

 

After adding one's user account to the "docker" group, a full logout and login is typically needed for the user account to receive the new group membership. And in fact, on Ubuntu running the default desktop environment, one may need to actually reboot or run an extra command such as:

$ loginctl terminate-user $USERNAME

because systemd seems to preserve a user context even after logout.

Starting a new bash login shell inside an existing terminal is definitely insufficient:

$ bash --login -i

Terminating a desktop session can be fairly inconvenient, depending on the amount of Work In Progress and document editors and browser tabs, etc.

 

On Ubuntu 18.04, here are steps to allow a normal user account to immediately access docker without having to log out first:

$ groups  # note that "docker" will not be in list of groups

$ sudo gpasswd -a $USERNAME docker   # add your specific username to the "docker" group

 

$ sudo grpck   # verify that your group file has no syntax errors, and only the expected differences exist
[sudo] password for dan: 
'dan' is a member of the 'docker' group in /etc/group but not in /etc/gshadow

$ sudo grpconv    # syncs group and gshadow aka the magic command that prevents "newgrp" from generating the error: 'failed to crypt password with previous salt'

$ newgrp docker  # log in to new group (starts a subshell with the new group membership attached, environment preserved)

$ groups  # note that "docker" will now appear in list of groups for the user

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED
         STATUS              PORTS               NAMES

 

$ docker run docker/whalesay cowsay "No Logout Needed!"
 ___________________ 
< No Logout Needed! >
 ------------------- 
    \
     \
      \     
                    ##        .            
              ## ## ##       ==            
           ## ## ## ##      ===            
       /""""""""""""""""___/ ===        
  ~~~ {~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~ /  ===- ~~~   
       \______ o          __/            
        \    \        __/             
          \____\______/   

 

Thanks to the following articles which provided reference for this blog post:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/477551/how-can-i-use-docker-without-sudo

https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/grpconv-command-in-linux-with-examples/

https://askubuntu.com/questions/1045993/after-adding-a-group-logoutlogin-is-not-enough-in-18-04

Thermal Issues on Dell Latitude with Microsoft Teams for Linux

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  • Friday, March 20 2020 @ 06:26 PM UTC
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With work from home orders due to COVID-19, I am now working remotely fulltime.

My company is relying on Microsoft Teams for chat and video conferencing. Thankfully, Microsoft released a native Linux client.  Not really, it appears to be an electron app. But at least it doesn't need to run in a browser tab somewhere.  And it actually works... audio, video, and screen sharing. And after using a variety of video conferencing solutions over the years, I can say that video and audio quality of Teams is quite good.  Unfortunately, as of Microsoft Teams Version 1.3.00.958 (64-bit), the app is a CPU hog and causes my Ubuntu laptop to heat up. When the laptop heats up, the fan winds up like a small jet engine.  This is especially noticeable in a quiet home office environment.

I spent a lot of time with i8kutils and cpufrequtils to no avail. On Linux, the Dell Latitude 5501 seems to have only three fan speeds: off, low, and high. There is no medium speed. It is possible to tweak the temperature at which those fan transitions happen, but it is not possible adjust the fan RPMs.  On "low", the temperature will just continue to rise while Teams is running and eventually the fan has to kick into high (or the laptop overheat and crash).

The most significant change I was able to make to resolve the heat issue was to turn off TurboBoost. Whereas my temps were shooting up to over 90 degrees C if I tried to run the fan on "low", with TurboBoost disabled the temperature rarely goes about 50 degrees C. I disabled both Hyperthreading and TurboBoost in the system BIOS. This is disappointing to say the least, but this laptop still has 6 cores running at 1.4 GHz, which has been fine for all of the types of work I have been doing.

After disabling TurboBoost, the cpufreq-info tool shows:

 

GATE River Run 15k 2020 - Race Report

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  • Saturday, March 07 2020 @ 06:58 PM UTC
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Running and Fitness

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For the 2020 Gate River Run, the national 15k championship race, I traveled to Jacksonville with a friend the night before the race and we stayed at the race hotel. We were able to pick up our race packets and enjoy the expo without feeling the rush of race day morning. We had dinner and a beer at Intuition Ale Works on Friday night which was happily not crowded at all. The beer was excellent. I highly recommend Intuition if you are in the area.



The Hilton is almost exactly 1 mile away from the starting line... a perfect distance for warmup before the race... which we needed because it was cold and windy! This was my first Gate River Run that wasn't warm and humid and it was fantastic. With temperatures in the 40s at the start and the sun rising in the sky, no hat or gloves were needed and it was perfect weather for racing.

I did a good job of sticking to my race plan and not going out too hard, targeting 6:30 per mile based on my fitness level. In the last set of neighborhoods I had a tiny rough patch and fell off the pace a little bit before I was able to muster and charge towards the bridge.

The wind was ferocious throughout the race and if the Hart Bridge wasn't challenging enough, the strong headwind was the final battle. Coming over the top of the bridge I saw I needed to run sub-6 minute mile to go under an hour. I tried and tried but it took a long time to get moving again. The wind kept slowing me down even on the downhill.









I finished 153rd male overall, 10th in my age group, with a finish time of 1:00:10, averaging 6:27 per mile. This was my second-fastest River Run. I feel really good about this performance and I am looking forward to big gains next year.




Gate River Run 2020 was held on March 7. Results are available:
https://my.raceresult.com/148877/results?lang=en

PDF full results:
https://my1.raceresult.com/148877/RRP...mp;lang=en


T-shirt, medal, pint glass, top 10 percent finisher hat, and race shoes (Topo ST-2):



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