Trans Scend Survival

Trans: Latin prefix implying "across" or "Beyond", often used in gender nonconforming situations – Scend: Archaic word describing a strong "surge" or "wave", originating with 15th century english sailors – Survival: 15th century english compound word describing an existence only worth transcending.

Featured Articles:



Google Calendar API with Chapel & Python

Mirroring the repo here:

Google Calendar API with Chapel & Python

Despite Chapel's many quirks and annoyances surrounding string handling, its efficiency and ease of running in parallel are always welcome. The idea here is a Chapel script that may need to weed through enormous numbers of files while looking for a date tag ($D + other tags currently) is probably a better choice overall than a pure Python version. (the intent is to test this properly later.)

As of 9/19/19, there is still a laundry list of things to add- control flow (for instance, “don't add the event over and over”) less brittle syntax, annotations, actual error handling, etc. It does find and upload calendar entries though!

I am using Python with the Google Calendar API (see here: in a looping Daemon thread. All the sifting for tags is managed with the Chapel binary, which dumps anything it finds into a csv from which the daemon will push calendar entries with proper formatting. FWIW, Google’s dates (datetime.datetime) adhere to RFC3339 ( which conveniently is the default of the datetime.isoformat() method.

Some pesky things to keep in mind:

This script uses a sync$ variable to lock other threads out of an evaluation during concurrency. So far I think the easiest way to manage the resulting domain is from within a module like so:

module charMatches {
  var dates : domain(string);

Here, domain charMatches.dates will need to accessed as a reference variable from any procedures that need it.

proc dateCheck(aFile, ref choice) {
coforall folder in walkdirs('check/') {
    for file in findfiles(folder) {
        dateCheck(file, charMatches.dates);

errors like:

error: unresolved call '_ir_split__ref_string.size'

unresolved call 'norm(promoted expression)'

...or other variants of:
string.split().size  (length, etc)

...Tie into a Chapel Specification issue.

The short solution is do not use .split; instead, I have been chopping strings with .partition().

// like so:
if choice.contains(line.partition(hSep)[3].partition(hTerminate)[1]) == false {
    ...process string...

Canon: Conquered

Over 14 years ago, Lim Jeong-hyun posted a cover of Pachelbel’s Canon in South Korea, where it eventually filtered through the inter-webnet of old into Youtube.

I saw this video in its infancy, and soon began to learn guitar too.

5 years later I recorded my first cover of Pachelbel’s Canon.

Another 5 years passed (2016 at this point) before I began recording a second cover, posting this muse and this percolation on the subject.   While most attempts were futile….

…I made it through the whole song by take # 1,394  (2017 at this point):

Some more years go by and here we are today:


Persistent, Live Ubuntu for College

Below is are live mirrors of my “PSU Hacking Club” Ubuntu repos.

Generate psu-hacking.iso image & bootable media

The 'psu-hacking' disk image extends the Ubuntu LTS (18.04.x) operating system with common dependencies/software for the discerning college student.

  • Live, Persistent file storage
  • Fast: Ubuntu LTS + mkusb (casper-rw) = efficient
  • Use (almost) any hardware- take your desktop OS with you
  • Completely self sufficient: does not interact with your existing OS or other hard disks!

There are a variety of methods to setup a persistent, live OS.

Features & Software:

  • Atom editor with Chapel language support
  • R language + RStudio editor / IDE
  • Google Chrome
  • Libre Office suite
  • Common Runtimes and Compilers

Recommended Method:

For Ubuntu + PSU Hacking additions, use mkusb with the 2x USB drive method (below), and run the /scripts/ post install script:

git clone
cd iso-gen/scripts
chmod u+x && sudo ./
sudo reboot now

Visit /Disk-Speed-Testing for speed testing scripts and other info.

Visit /scripts for all install scripts and files for post install, Cubic utility, etc.

Visit /Alt-info_VBox_DD-Util for information on persistent, live environments from VBox VDI.

Make Your Own:

Thus far, the recommended way to get a persistent/live image installed is with two USB sticks:
One completely live (not persistent) Ubuntu drive, from which you can download and run the mkusb utility on the second USB stick.

Personal OS:

  • Download the official Ubuntu image here
  • Download Etcher from here
  • Use Etcher to burn Ubuntu to USB stick #1

USB stick #1:

  • Boot from the USB stick:
    • Mac hardware- hold the alt/option key when the machine turns on
    • Other hardware- hold the boot loader key (usually F12, or F2 / F10) when the machine turns on
  • Follow the Ubuntu prompts (please avoid the host hardware’s disk, do not install anything anywhere yet)

Open a terminal and copy these commands:

# get mkusb
sudo add-apt-repository universe  
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mkusb/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mkusb mkusb-nox usb-pack-efi
  • insert USB stick #2
  • Open mkusb:
    • Follow prompts, psu-hacking iso should be in directory “home”
    • Select NO for “Quick Option” on host’s disk
    • Finish the prompts, quit, shutdown

USB stick #2: - Remove drive #1 - Boot from USB stick #2: - Mac hardware- hold the alt/option key when the machine turns on - Other hardware- hold the boot loader key (usually F12, or F2 / F10) when the machine turns on - Congratulate yourself, you are done!

Building the image:

On Ubuntu LTS

Note: mkusb utility is only available for Debian/Ubuntu

About persistent live Ubuntu:

When burned into a usb stick, this OS is completely self-sufficient and compatible with most (x86-64) computers- the environment, file system, preferences, etc are saved regardless of hardware.

Note:  Cubic utility is no longer used!


Simple File Hosting

Static site built with Hugo CLI

Note, file "core_psu-hacking.iso" is omitted for size constraints- hosted site contains this file @ directory /static/static/

# on OSX
# get hugo

brew install hugo

# clone site

git clone
cd static-site

# Compile and compress public directory

zip -r public

# upload and host with sftp & ssh

> cd
> put

# new terminal window

# check your remote filesystem- the idea is:
> unzip
> rm -rf

visit us

Also, check out the evolving PSU Hacking Club wiki here!

xD  – Jess

Summer 2019 Update!

GIS Updates:

Newish Raster / DEM image → STL tool in the Shiny-Apps repo:

See the (non-load balanced!) live example on the Heroku page:

Summarized for a forum member here too:

CAD / CAM Updates:

Been revamping my CNC thoughts- 

Basically, the next move is a complete rebuild (primarily for 6061 aluminum).

I am aiming for:

  • Marlin 2.x.x around either a full-Rambo or 32 bit Archim 1.0 (
  • Dual endstop configuration, CNC only (no hotend support)
  • 500mm2 work area / swappable spoiler boards (~700mm exterior MPCNC conduit length)
  • Continuous compressed air chip clearing, shop vac / cyclone chip removal
  • Two chamber, full acoustic enclosure (cutting space + air I/O for vac and compressor)
  • Full octoprint networking via GPIO relays

FWIW: Sketchup MPCNC:

Also TinkerCAD version:

Electric Drivetrain Development:

BORGI / Axial Flux stuff:

Designed some rough coil winders for motor design here:


Also, an itty-bitty, skate bearing-scale axial flux / 3-phase motor to hack upon:


– Jess

Warbler Trillers of the Charles

The first ones to arrive in MA, brush up!


Palm warbler



This is usually the first one to arrive.  Gold bird, medium sized warbler, rufus hat.  When they arrive in MA they are often found lower than usual / on the ground looking for anything they can munch on.  Song is a rapid trill. More “musical / pleasant” than a fast chipping sparrow, faster than many Junco trills.


Pine warbler



Slimmer than palm, no hat, very slim beak, has streaks on the breast usually.  Also a triller. They remain higher in the trees on arrival.


Yellow-rumped warbler



Spectacular bird, if it has arrived you can’t miss it- also they will arrive by the dozen so worth waiting for a good visual.  These also trill, which is another reason it is good to get a visual. The trill is slow, very “sing-song”, and has a downward inflection at the end.  If there are a bunch sticking around for the summer, try to watch some sing- soon enough you will be able to pick out this trill from the others.


Yellow warbler says “sweet sweet sweet, I’m so Sweet!” and can get a bit confusing with Yellow-rumped warbler

Chestnut-sided warbler says “very very pleased to meet ya!” and can get a bit confusing with Yellow warbler


Black-and-white warbler



Looks like a zebra – always acts like a nuthatch (clings to trunk and branches).  This one trills like a rusty wheel. It can easily be distinguished after a bit of birding with some around.  


American Redstart



Adult males look like a late 50’s hot-rodded American muscle car: long, low, two tone paint job.  Matte/luster black with flame accents. Can’t miss it. The females and young males are buff (chrome, to keep in style I guess) with yellow accents.  Look for behavior- if a “female” is getting beaten up while trying to sing a song in the same area, it is actually a first year male failing to establish a territory due to obviously being a youth.



– Jess

« Older posts