Elzetta Retention

As I have previously mentioned, I started out using a Prometheus Lights Titanium Pocket Clip on the Elzetta Alpha before switching to the now-discontinued Raven Pocket Clip in 2016. The O-ring provided by the Raven Pocket Clip is key to how I use the light. It allows me to release the light and use my hand for something else, without dropping the light. The clip itself is perfectly adequate, though not as tight and springy as the titanium clip.

Last summer, I decided to move back to the titanium clip, but to add my own O-ring. I basically knocked off what Retention Ring sells, just using spare bits I already had around. It consists of a little bit of Lawson Ironwire, an O-ring with 1” internal diameter, a tiny piece of heat shrink tubing, and a knot. It isn’t pretty, but it has been working great as part of my EDC for the past 8 months.

Elzetta Alpha, Prometheus Titanium Clip, DIY Retention Ring

Link Log 2024-02-23

The future of silk

Uta Genilke - Replikant

WHS’ bicycle stuff: component reviews & more

U.S. Commercial Shipbuilding in a Global Context


Recent Inks

Goulet Pens will sell you sample vials of ink. I took advantage of this to expand beyond my long-time staple of Noodler’s 19001 Black, without ending up with a bunch of full bottles I wasn’t going to use. Mostly I was looking for a blue. I came out the other side with two new favorites – neither of which are really blue.

Noodler’s 19808 Heart of Darkness is more black than black. It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black. It also dries relatively quickly, and writes well on the cheap paper one often encounters out and about in the world.

Noodler’s 19040 Air Corp Blue-Black isn’t really much of a blue-black. It is more of a teal-black. It’s a really pretty shade, and unique, but still subtle enough that it can be used anyplace there aren’t strict color requirements. This one also dries relatively quickly, and writes well on the vulgar paper of the unrefined. This ink loaded in my Pilot Vanishing Point is my daily writer now.

Working through all these sample vials over the last few months also caused me to move away from piston converter cartridges. I now just use standard cartridges, and refill them with a syringe and needle. This ends up being quicker, cleaner, and less hassle. It also means I can use the last little bit of ink in the container, without buying a snorkel.

The Things I Do for Time

I am a believer in the sacred word as defined in ISO 8601, and the later revelations such as RFC 3339. Numerical dates should be formatted as YYYY-MM-DD. Hours should be written in 24-hour time. I will die on this hill.

Since time immemorial, this has been accomplished on Linux systems by setting LC_TIME to the en_DK locale. More specifically, the git history for glibc shows that en_DK was added (with ISO 8601 date formatting) by Ulrich Drepper on 1997-03-05.

A few years ago, this stopped working in Firefox. Instead Firefox started to think that numerical dates were supposed to be formatted as DD/MM/YYYY, which is at least as asinine as the typical American MM-DD-YYYY format. I finally got fed up with this and decided to investigate.

The best discussion of the issue is in Thunderbird bug 1426907. Here I learned that the problem is caused by Thunderbird (and by extension Firefox) no longer respecting glibc locales. Mozilla software simply takes the name of the system locale, ignores its definition, and looks up formatting in the Unicode CLDR. The CLDR has redefined en_DK to use DD/MM/YYYY1.

The hack to address the problem was also documented in the Thunderbird bug report. The CLDR includes a definition for en_SE which uses YYYY-MM-DD2 and 24-hour time. (It also separates the time from the date with a comma, which is weird, but Sweden is weird, so I’ll allow it.) There is no en_SE locale in glibc. But it can be created by linking to the en_DK locale. This new locale can then be used for LC_TIME.

$ sudo ln -s /usr/share/i18n/locales/en_DK /usr/share/i18n/locales/en_SE
$ echo 'en_SE.UTF-8 UTF-8' | sudo tee -a /etc/locale.gen
$ sudo locale-gen
$ sed -i 's/^LC_TIME=.*/LC_TIME=en_SE.UTF-8/' /etc/locale.conf

Now anything that respects glibc locales will effectively use en_DK, albeit under a different name. Anything that uses CLDR will just see that it is supposed to use a locale named en_SE, which still results in sane formatting. Thus one can use HTML date input fields without going crazy.


  1. The Unicode specification defines this pattern as "dd/MM/y", which is rather unintuitive, but worth including here for search engines.
  2. The Unicode specification defines this pattern as "y-MM-DD".

I spent yesterday afternoon at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

They had first editions from everyone from William Gibson to Isaac Newton, proofs and manuscripts from Neal Stephenson and Ludwig Wittgenstein, 17th century books on witchcraft with binding that did not appear to be from livestock, and Turing’s programming manual for the Ferranti Mark 1. But the books I saw the most copies of at different booths were firsts of The Monkey Wrench Gang and Grapes of Wrath.

Antiquarian Book Fair, Monkey Wrench Gang

Many of the sellers were from London or Paris. So I find myself imagining a shadowy cabal of Parisian antiquarians, realizing that they have a show in San Francisco coming up and wondering what the Americans will buy. “J’ai trouvĂ©!” one of them declares. “Ed Abbey and Steinbeck. They won’t be able to resist.”

Link Log 2024-01-21

2023 Rotation

How America Got Mean

The Most Important Thing

Turtle-Pac Cargo Spheroid 50

Tor censorship attempts in Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan

The Dead Flag Blues (Midjourney & Godspeed You! Black Emperor)


Link Log 2024-01-07

To Own the Future, Read Shakespeare

2020 Qualified Military Available Study

Canned Fish Files w/ Matthew Carlson

Tales from the Afternow: Little Rocks

Best Croissant in Paris

Winter Picnic: Oolong, Chocolate, Deenz

How I Audio: Mobile Edition

I do not regularly listen to audio of any sort outside of home or the office. But I value the ability to do so, so I always carry earbuds in my bag. As with headphones, the cable is the usual failure point. The solution, once again, is modularity.

Specifically, I recommend skipping the entire consumer earbud category and going straight to “professional” in-ear monitors.

I carry Shure SE215 IEMs. These are near the bottom-end of the IEM market. I’ve heard people claim that paying hundreds, or thousands, of dollars for custom-molded IEMs is worth it. I’ve heard other people claim that the Chi-Fi market now offers IEMs that are cheaper than the SE215s and yet provide better audio quality. To my non-discerning ears, the SE215s sound great, and they satisfy my listening and comfort requirements. But more important than the specific make or model is that most products in this market segment will offer replaceable cables. The SE215s use an MMCX connector.

For portable use, I want a cable with an inline mic (and 3-button remote) so that I have the option of using it to go hands free with my pocket telephone. Shure sells IEMs with such a cable. This cable failed for me after a couple years. Fortunately, the Chinese Communist Party has realized Marx’s dream of a practically infinite supply of generic MMCX cables with inline mics for dirt cheap. I’m now using a cable I bought off AliExpress for about $10, and if I have to spend another $10 in another couple years I shan’t shed a tear. (If this was for more than occasional and incidental use, I would likely purchase something like the Antlion Kumura Cable or Kinera Gramr, but I’m not going to carry that sort of thing around in my bag just in case.)

I prefer silicone eartips when out and about in the world. They are long lasting and easy to clean. They don’t provide as much isolation as foam tips, but I consider that a feature rather than a bug; I don’t want to be cut off from the surrounding environment. (In special circumstances where I do actually want to block or diminish environmental sound, I use actual ear protection). My favorite tips are the Spinfit CP100+. The medium size feels good upon initial insertion, but I find the small size is more comfortable after a couple hours of continuous penetration.

As a general rule, I subscribe to the Kamala Harris School of Audio Peripherals, as documented in my favorite example of modern hard-hitting investigative journalism. Wireless is a trap. But I admit that there are times when a wireless connection is convenient and worth the additional hassle, however few and far between those times may be. With a modular system, this can easily be addressed by the addition of an adapter.

Originally I thought I might purchase something like the FiiO UTWS5 or Shure RMCE-TW2. But both of these utilize telephone software, which I’m allergic to, and I realized I didn’t actually understand what the sales pitch was for this new-fangled category of “true wireless” earbuds.

Instead, I ended up going back to AliExpress and purchasing a much cheaper necklace style adapter. This isn’t something I carry everyday, but it’s nice to have the option to grab it when plans warrant.

Bluetooth is the one component of the modern audio stack where the technology is still improving – or, at least, getting less bad – so using an interchangeable module here makes sense. The adapter I purchased is built on the Qualcomm QCC5181 chip, providing Bluetooth 5.4, which appears to still be the latest and greatest thing. Portable Bluetooth devices have a limited service life due to their integrated batteries, so again, modularity makes sense here. When these batteries fail, or when I determine it is worth updating to the latest chip, I just buy a new adapter rather than purchasing a whole new system. (It’d be great if we could buy adapters with replaceable batteries, but that seems to be a dream too far.)

If someday in the future I decide it is worth it to buy custom molded IEMs, I’ll just order them with an MMCX connector and they’ll be able to play nicely with my existing ecosystem of cables and adapters. This is the antithesis of the market trend and may result in the revocation of one’s listener license.

Modular, Portable Audio Rig