Friday, March 13, 2015

First Aid Kits and Emergency Kits for Scouts and EDC

After spending hours on end reviewing pre-packaged First Aid and Emergency kits for scouts, and comparing their contents with best practices from authoritative sources like the Mayo Clinic, I have come to the conclusion that the majoring of off-the-shelf kits are not worth your money.  In fact, you can build better and more complete (based on your needs) kits by buying stuff from Amazon or other local discount stores,

It seems to me that most kits are all about +1, +1 to increase the price or increase the value proposition of the product.  Further I have learned that:
  1. If you do not know HOW to use what is in your kit, it will not help you
  2. If you do not know WHAT is in your kit, it will probably not help you
  3. Most kits need to be customized to some level based on individual requirements (think medications and EpiPen) and where you live and play.  However, most pre-packaged kits have less than 15% available space for customization. 
  4. Most off-the-shelf kits also have theoretical features and supplies that are only valuable if you are going to be lost in the middle of Montana or Alaska.  If you are within 1 walking day to a major road or your home, some of the things will not be very useful. Also, having emergency fishing tackle in kits where you do not live by any open water, is probably just a waste of money.
I have broken up the kits in to groups based upon their purpose and use.  They are as follows:

  1. Basic First Aid Kit
  2. Extended First Aid Kit
  3. Mini-Fishing Kit
  4. Wilderness Survival Kit
  5. Emergency Kit
  6. 72-Hour Kit

Basic First Aid Kit
This kit would be used for day trips, day hikes, and everyday carry

General Items / Tools / Applicators
  • Storage Container
  • A card with Emergency Phone Numbers
  • Chapstick
  • Fingernail Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Q-Tips
  • Syringe to wash out wounds (use water from your water bottle)
  • Small pocket knife
  • Whistle

Clean / Sterilize / Disinfect / Ointments
  • Sanitizing Hand Wipes
  • Alcohol Prep Pads
  • Antiseptic Towelettes
  • Neosporin (triple antibiotic ointment)
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Sting Relief / After Bite

Wound Dressing / Closure
  • Assorted Bandages
  • Butterfly Closure
  • Gauze Pads and Gauze Roll
  • Medical Tape
  • Moleskin (blisters)

Medicine / Pain Relief
  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetaminophen or Aspirin
  • Allergy Medicine (Zurtex, Benedrhyl, etc)
  • Anti-Diarrhea Medication (Pepto Bismol, Imodium AD, etc)
  • Any other specific medications you may need (heart medicine, EpiPen, etc)

Extended First Aid Kit
Used for base camp, overnight camping trips, left in car at trail head, kept in the car / office

Other Kits
  • Basic First Aid Kit

General Items / Tools / Applicators / Protection
  • First Aid Book
  • Card / piece of paper / small notebook
  • Pencil / Pen (need to record when things happened and make notes)
  • Small Leatherman (Scissors and knife model)
  • Non Latex Gloves (2 pair)
  • CPR Mask
  • Thermometer
  • Small LED Flash Light with extra batteries
  • Mini Bic lighter 

Clean / Sterilize / Disinfect / Ointments
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Foaming Hand Sanitizer / Soap
  • Burn Ointment
  • Iodine Wipes
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Calamine Lotion
  • Sterile Eyewash
  • Super Glue (wonderful way to close wounds, look up history of super glue)
  • Instant Cold Pack
  • ACE Bandage
  • Cotton Balls
  • Silver Rescue Blanket

Mini-Fishing Kit
This kit would only be needed if you where going some place where you could actually use it.  Camping trips and hikes in the middle of the desert are not going to yield many fish from the dust.

General Items / Tools
  • Razor Blade
  • Fishing Hooks
  • Sinkers
  • Artificial bait
  • Leaders
  • Fishing Line
  • Nylon rope to string fish up
  • Floats
  • Lurs
  • Safety Pins

Wilderness Survival Kit
This kit is a bare minimum designed for the what-if you get lost and stuck in the wilderness and need to find my way out.  Knowing how to use a compass and water purification tables is critical.

Other Kits
  • Extended First Aid Kit
  • Fire Starter Kit
  • Mini-Fishing Kit - depending on where you live and how far away you go
  • Emergency sewing kit

General Items / Tools
  • Folding plastic water bottle bags
  • Compass 
  • Map of the area you are going to or live at
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Paracord Bracelet
  • Knife
  • Signal Mirror (metal)
  • Fine wire

Emergency Kits

Other Kits
  • Wilderness Survival Kit

General Items / Tools
  • 50 feet of nylon cord
  • Matches / Lighter
  • Glow Sticks
  • Water Filter
  • Hand Warmer Packs
  • Flashlight
  • Bug Spray
  • Sun Screen
  • Super Glue
  • Safety Pins
  • Sewing Kit (2 needles)
  • Chap Stick
  • Poncho
  • Duct Tape
  • Electrical Tape
  • Razor
  • Plastic poncho
  • Plastic bag
  • Head Lamps

72 Hour Kits

Other Kits
  • Emergency Kit

General Items / Tools
  • Small notebook and pencil / pen
  • Feminine products
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Extra batteries for flashlights
  • Garbage Bags
  • Diaper Wipes for cleaning just about anything
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush / paste
  • Money (small bills)
  • Comb
  • Bandana
  • Portable radio and extra battries
  • Sleeping Bag with extra pillows

Food / Water
  • Water
  • Food (ideas, obviously pack what you like and more then you think you will need)
    • Snack crackers
    • Hard tack candy
    • Dried fruit
    • Instant oatmeal
    • Jerky
    • Raisins / nuts
    • Instant rice / potatoes
    • Dried soup
    • Granola bars
    • Instant pudding
    • Powdered drink mixes

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why I switched to Go (golang), the next great programming langauge

I have been asked a lot as of late, why I switched to writing code in Go.  The answer is pretty simple and to quote another developer;
  • The language is modern, small, simple and quite strict. There's a minimalism here that I like - what you see is what you get. Some things that wouldn't even merit a warning in other languages (like unused variables) are errors in Go - your code won't even compile. I like the tidiness this promotes.
  • Awesome concurrency. Go's concept of goroutines and channels is simple, beautiful and works well. This is essential for something like syncthing where there's a lot of stuff going on in parallel.
  • Simple deployment. Go compiles to a single statically linked binary that you just need to copy to the target system and run. It's trivial to cross compile from one os/architecture into all others supported by the Go compiler.
  • Modern standard library, "some batteries included". This includes an HTTP server, a clean (non-OpenSSL) crypto and TLS implementation, JSON and XML serializers, etc.
  • Good enough performance. The Go compiler doesn't generate as fast code as the best C or C++ compilers out there, but it's still faster than interpreted languages.
  • Tooling and community. Go does things somewhat differently than many other languages and this can be a bit of an acquired taste... But for example the existence and adoption of "go fmt" means there is no discussion about formatting or indenting - there is only one standard. "Go get" simplifies fetching and building, plus results in a standardized repo layout. Etc.
  • I think it's a really nifty language to work with and IMHO, it is the next great system language.
  • It has the backing of a fiscally stable company, Google. So if anything it will only increase in popularity.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mac OSX Yosemite Draft eMail Problems

I finally upgraded my day-2-day notebook to Yosemite 10.10.2 and quickly noticed a very annoying problem with Apple's Mail client.  Mail automatically saves drafts of emails as you compose them, which is okay and to be somewhat expected.  However, the problem was, it would not delete the draft(s) after I sent the actual message and I had already turned off the "Store draft emails on server" function, years ago.

The solution I found that worked for me was to turn off the new "Automatically detect and maintain account settings" feature located in Preferences, Accounts, Account Name, Advanced, as shown in the screenshot below.  After unchecking that check box for all of my accounts and their corresponding SMTP servers, I restarted Mail and everything now works as expected. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sublime Text 3 Auto Complete Theme / Color Changes

After recently switching from Eclipse to Sublime Text 3 for my development work, I found the need to change some of the theme and element coloring options. One of the elements I wanted to change, but could not find any documentation for was the auto complete pop-up window. 

In the following screenshot you can see a pop up window with a list of auto complete options.  Let me explain how you might change these.

To change the background for the pop up window you would edit this element:
  "class": "popup_control",
  "layer0.tint": [64, 64, 64, 255],
  "layer0.opacity": 1.0,
  "content_margin": [2, 2]

  "class": "auto_complete",
  "row_padding": [2, 1],

  // White background
  "layer0.tint": [255, 255, 255],
  "layer0.opacity": 1.0,
  "dark_content": false


To change the color of text item is the pop up  window you would edit this element:

  "class": "auto_complete_label",

  // color of options in pop up window
  "fg": [72, 72, 72, 255],

  // red, the text color that you have typed that matches
  "match_fg": [255, 0, 0, 255],
  "bg": [255, 26, 26],

  // color of the text in the row that is selected 
  "selected_fg": [72, 72, 72, 255],

  // black, color of the matched text in the row that is selected
  "selected_match_fg": [0, 0, 0, 255],   
  "selected_bg": [156, 185, 223, 255]


To change the row highlight color you would edit this element

  "class": "table_row",
  "layer0.texture": "Theme - Default/row_highlight_wide.png”,

  // Blue highlight for the selected option
  "layer0.tint": [33, 90, 184],
  "layer0.opacity": 0.0,
  "layer0.inner_margin": [1, 1]

  "class": "table_row",
  "attributes": ["selected"],
  "layer0.opacity": 1.0,