Monday, January 30, 2017

Why didn't I do this sooner? Oh, yeah....


Transcend Travel CPAP/APAP. 
Image borrowed for fair use from Intertubes.

Sara and I both use CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices. These are small machines that sit by the head of our bed and force air through a hose, into a mask that covers our nose, and down our airway to our lungs in order to keep it open while we sleep. It is a treatment for Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (SOSA) which is a condition in which the airway closes periodically during sleep. We actually use devices called APAPs (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure). Each of us has two APAPs, one for home and one for travel that is smaller and runs easily off a battery.

As a geek, I want access to medical technology that I have to use, and I want data on my usage (my pulmonologist says that I am his poster boy for compliance, and seeing the data is part of that for me). As a pilot, Sara requires data from the CPAP for her flight medical. Both of us want to be able to program the devices to change their pressure parameters as our needs change. To do this, you need special software, and in at least one case, a special piece of hardware and cable for the CPAP. We have all of that. We have everything we need to access data on and program each of the four machines (two types) that we use. I have visited multiple pulmonologists in the 15+ years I've used CPAP, and never has one been able to read data off my machine. But I can. :-)

You also need a Windows machine. The CPAP market is not so large that the manufacturers build great software, and they only build it for Windows. Some of them use outdated hardware specifications (like 9 pin serial ports and 8 pin DIN connectors). Many will write to one or another kind of SD card (some only to original SD, not SDHC, some to micro SD, etc.), but all of them I've encountered require Windows software to extract data and get reports.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Windows? I have an old media PC I bought from someone at Amazon that I run the software on. It's old and crappy and never connects to a network, and only comes out to run this software, but to do so, I have to keep a monitor around and move my keyboard and mouse while I set the machine up somewhere, and it's just a pain.

So I thought, I'll buy myself a cheap old Windows laptop, maybe even with a serial port, running Windows 7 or 8, and it'll be cheap and easy to move around and I can reclaim the cubic yard of office that the current device and monitor and keyboard and mouse occupies. And I did. I went to the local neighborhood computer repair place and bought a used ASUS laptop for $150, and it's just what I needed even if it doesn't have a serial port and runs Windows 10.

I need to install two applications on it. One for each brand of CPAP. And it takes hours. The first app is on CD, and it doesn't have a disk player, so I move one over from my Mac and it reads it but it won't install the software because the software uses a library that isn't included in Windows 10 and won't install off the CD in Windows 10 and I have to research it and find the newer 4.0 version that includes the older 3.5 and 2.0 versions and install it and see if the installer will recognize it and I try to install that software four times before it works. The second piece of software isn't nearly so bad so I only need to install it twice before it works. And then it takes 40 minutes for the Windows 10 system to recognize the USB to serial adapter and find a driver for it, and another 30 minutes to update the Windows 10 system files.

And finally it works. And I have a portable system that I can use to access my own medical data and program my own medical devices.

And this morning when I turn it on to suck data out of my CPAP, it takes 20 minutes to update Windows 10 again. Two days after I last updated it.

Now I remember why I didn't do this sooner...

Cross Posted from Mischievous Ramblings II
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Communique from the Resistance: Day One

Photoillustration by Evan Robinson.  Original images 
stolen from the inter-tubes as fair use.

(note: this communique was received through illicit and untraceable channels.  I do not know who wrote it, nor their location.  They requested that I fill in MY location for the C-Store, and in order to receive additional communiques, I have complied. 
    -- Evan)

On the first day of Trump, within minutes of his inauguration, anti-anxiety medications (e.g. chicken tenders and Fritos) spiked in price.  At a C-Store on Whidbey Island, WA, a checker attempted to charge me triple for the chicken tenders and an additional dollar for the Fritos.

Negotiations ensued.  An accommodation was reached.  I'm the best deal-maker.

Further communications as warranted and safe.
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Maggie Jochild, 8/5/1955 — 1/6/2017

Hello, You Came Back -- Death, from The Endless, a series of graphic novels.

Goodbye Maggie: Beloved, Brilliant Writer, Colleague, Friend

Maggie Jochild changed my life.

Maggie Jochild, 1980
Bean Hollow Beach, near Pescadero, Ca
Maggie was a brilliant writer — of blog posts, of poetry, of fiction. She was a fierce advocate for women, children, the disabled, dykes, people of color, for the underprivileged.

Maggie's novel Ginny Bates is an amazing exploration of life lived intentionally by women, as free of the patriarchy as possible. It addresses issues of class, sexism, racism, and anti-semitism, all inside the family-by-choice lives of lesbians and their families. It is appropriately called "The Great American Lesbian Novel."

I hope whomever now holds artistic control of Maggie's writings, facilities the novel's publishing as soon as feasible. Ginny Bates deserves a permanent spot in the pantheon of great genuinely American novels. More importantly, its publication to a wide audience would be an enormous contribution to schools and young people.

A serialization of GB is on Meta Watershed. Her other (all amazing) novels are also serialized and posted there.

Maggie in 7th Grade
Maggie came to write at Group News Blog in 2007-2008 during the first Obama presidential campaign. She made an immediate difference.

Her writing helped GNB in ways public and private. It is fair to say Maggie's writing was core to the respect and fierce devotion our readers gave GNB at its peak. In addition to her public contributions Maggie as a person, as a force of nature, caused numerous behind the scenes changes at GNB which made us better writers, better advocates for our readers and mission (which mission she helped redefine), and better with each other. She made us better people.

Personally, Maggie's writings and friendship were instrumental in revealing to myself my own automatic investments: in class privilege, male privilege, white privilege, straight privilege, in revealing privilege. I was not the only one. She also gave of herself unstintingly. Weeks of her time were spent helping myself and others learn to deal powerfully with our disabilities.

Even with (or more accurately, because of) her radical and courageous feminism, Maggie was kind, compassionate, willing to hear, understand and forgive the sins of childhood and upbringing. She was a good friend, someone whom it is a lifelong badge of honor to be able to say that I too was privileged to know Maggie, to live and fight by her side.

Maggie Jochild, 1999, Austin Tx
Photo by Harper Vinkemulder
We were colleagues, collaborators, and for some years, close friends. For the decade I knew her, even after our lives drew apart, she remained dear to my heart.

Maggie's medical condition has been serious to dangerous the past decade, including hospitalizations and surgeries. Recently, she was placed on palliative care at the University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, Tx.

Maggie Jochild died Friday morning, January 6, 2017, at the age of 61. She was predeceased by her family, including her mother Mary Jo and her younger brother Bill. She is survived by her beloved Margot Williams, and a vast network of loving friends, cyber and tofu, in Austin and around the world.

Bill and Maggie, Summer 1964
Houma, La
All week long friends and loved ones of Maggie's have been saying goodbye — in person at her hospital bedside, on Facebook, through blog posts, emails, messages and texts, in conversations with each other, and in our hearts. The enormous outpouring of support has been appropriate to the life Maggie lived and the contribution she made.

She really was that great.

I am grateful for the gift Maggie's writing was to our readers, and the greater gift her friendship and gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) corrections and coaching provided.

Today I am a different and better person because of conversations with Maggie: more gentle, more honest, more human, more able to love and care for others.

I will miss her. As will everyone privileged to have known her.

Tat Tavm Asi.

Further Information
Many additional poems and writings are inside the following sites.

Maggie Jochild — Facebook
Margo Williams — Facebook

Maggie's blog — Meta Watershed
Maggie's earlier blog — Maoist Orange Cake

Maggie's posts — Group News Blog
Maggie's tweets — Twitter

Search on: Maggie Jochild — Google
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