Atypical Netflix Series

Tonight I discovered the Netlfix series Atypical. The show focuses mostly on the main character Sam. He is a young man on the Autism Spectrum who is dealing with the challenges of High School and dating. The show focuses primarily on his social interactions and family dynamics. I have not seen a scene involving Sam that has not reminded me of some funny memory or difficult time growing up.

The awareness that this show will create for the ASD community will be good. It will also create some stereotypes which don’t cover all the different variation which can exist across the spectrum.

This show is not for younger viewers. Viewer discretion advised.


CWNAI am currently reading the Certified Wireless Network Administrator book 4th Edition by the CWNP group and Sybex. It is the Official Study Guide for the CWNA-106 exam. Hopefully, it will be more pertinent than the book I purchased for the CCNA Wireless Exam. I really liked the information in the Cisco Book but you really had to augment the information with hands-on lab experience as well as memorizing the types of questions on the exam and focusing on online Cisco resources and forums to learn the balance of information. I think that was good on the whole because it pushed me back into the material so that I would continue learning. I am still working on the third chapter. Much of the first part of the book is review. What I like about the review is that it treats the information from another person or group of peoples perspective. The Cisco waves on a rope analogy is pretty crude. I am fortunate in that I have been studying waveforms and have had access to oscilloscopes and service monitors since I was in grade school.

Some of the good information that I have gleaned from it so far is that the ISO standards are named from the Greek word isos or iσoϛ. This basically means equal or same. The group itself is named the International Organization for Standardization. Makes more sense now. It would be IOS if they used the name or possibly IOFS. Honestly how many more versions of IOS do we need?

I have learned an interesting fact about where the term decibel comes from. Decibels are relative units of measurement. They were originally created by Bell Labs. The unit of measure describes the difference in power of 10 to 1. This unit is a bel. Each 10 to 1 difference in signal amplitude is 1 bel. They further broke the unit into 10 pieces referred to as decibels. 1 bel = 10 decibels. The decibel allows very large differences in signal to be expressed using small easy-to-use values.


Aspergersians – Programmed To Be Minimalists?

I was an Aspie before it was cool or even a thing. Aspies are programmed to be minimalists and were minimalists before minimalism was popular. I love beating the crowd.

I went looking for my featured image for this post. I tried google image searches for minimalist homes. I tried looking for a bed or a chair in a room. I tried to look for a kitchen that I liked. No matter how hard I tried to find the perfect image, I kept thinking to myself…

“There is too much stuff in these pictures.”
“It is all laid out wrong.”
“Why do they need to hang all those things on the walls?”
“What is the purpose of that basket?”

I ended up settling on an image of a spacious empty room. In your mind feel free to clutter it with purpose later. For now let’s enjoy it for its simplicity and possibility.

I wasn’t always this way or was I? Growing up I remember stuff. I lived a very common middle-class childhood. Stuff was always around. I think it was important for me to have stuff at some level. The toys that triggered interests were the best. I did not keep things perfectly clean, but I also did not like having messes everywhere. My parents sent us children to our room as a punishment. It did not take my parents long to realize that this didn’t work with me. Sending me to my room was like throwing Br’er Rabbit into the brier patch. Oh no! I don’t have to interact with anyone. For how long? A long time. OK. I can spend several hours interacting with my toys. For a child on the spectrum alone time for misbehavior is a positive reinforcement. The parental disapproval of the action was a far greater dissuasion. I have home movies of my room. I would pan around describing all my stuff and its allotted space. I would also share stories about how it came into my possession.

So what is the significance of all this as it relates to being a minimalist. Let’s spin around the sun a few more orbital periods in the future direction. I started to find interests outside of my room. Interests tended to be outside, at my father’s work or in our shop building. When this occurred my bedroom transformed from a container holding my interests to a place to sleep and hold my clothes. I did not care that I slept on my parents old bed. It suited me. I did not need to have new dressers. I ended up using my childhood dressers until I made my own in High School wood shop. Birthday and Christmas gifts followed my interests’ exodus from the house. The house became a place of biological necessity. It still remained a haven from social chaos. The challenge became creating a comfortable and functional space. It was then that I began to realize that I liked simple and uncluttered.

Let me describe what I refer to as the Aspie Paradox. I think this is as a result of having one foot in this world and the other foot in the Aspie world. Examples of this paradox are as follows…

Burning desire to have close friends. <-> Discomfort in social interactions and social behaviors which promote friendship.

Desire to be seen as a member of a group. <-> Why would I ever want to be a part of a group?

Super strong emotions about someone or something. <-> Alexithymia takes over and while you feel emotion deeply, you don’t know how to react so you remain stoic or over react. With things no problem. With people…big problem.

I want to be liked for who I am. <-> Who do I need to be in order to be liked?

Why doesn’t everyone see it my way? <-> Why would anyone see it their way?

I am really uncomfortable with all this stuff and don’t like it around me anymore. <-> I have made other people feel bad for throwing things away, giving them away or breaking things when I took them apart to see how they worked or to build (insert some project here which was super cool at the time. No wait. That was super cool. I just don’t need it. I can play with it in my brain any time and not have it cluttering my space.) I better keep it.

The problem for the Minimalist-Aspie is that you don’t want to surround yourself with things. Unfortunately we have not reached a point in advancement whereby we can manifest anything and de-manifest anything in an instant. It works in my brain, why not in the real world. I think this is part of the reason why video games and computers are so attractive to Aspies. We can create our own worlds in a medium that negates the Aspie Paradox. When we have navigated the seas of our mental activities, we can turn the computer off.

I would encourage younger people who might be dealing with interest clutter to find ways to externalize interests. Find jobs relating to your interest so that you can play with them in the job box and then come home to your comfortable space. If you have interest creep over the years, move to different types of jobs in your interest areas. Find people with shared interests in the community that can connect you with places that provide interest locations. Keep those interests at home if they do not create problems with the sanctity of your home space.

My ideal home would include a comfortable chair for reading and relaxing. A simple kitchen with a small table for eating. A bed and a room to store it. I would love to suspend gravity nocturnally so that I wouldn’t need a bed. I don’t understand why we need clothes. Reluctantly I need a place to keep clothes. Hopefully as few as possible. A bathroom for showers and hygiene related activities. Inefficient biological necessities though they are. This is my ideal house. If we use something of utility regularly, it is included. Anything else needs to go.

Enter the interests… So… Ideally I would have a collocation facility for my computer and networking needs. It would be connected to the internet with redundant multi-gigabit connections. There would be a full wood shop, a full metal shop and a science lab. The fish and plants would grow huge in my aquaponic greenhouse. Look at the beautiful acres of gardens. Part of the electrical power comes from several acres of solar panels. There are Large barns and chicken coops. There are lakes and ponds connected by canals which are diverted to hydroelectric power generators. A golf course with a driving range is right next to the space port. You get the picture. Now look at the bottom right hand corner of that picture. Do you see the red button that says done? I am going to push that now and spend some time in my empty room. Imagine a desk with a computer on it. Think nerdier. There you go. Chair, table, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Why is there mail on the table? I will take care of that don’t worry. I will go ahead and do it now. See. Everything where it belongs. Simple.

Getting ESXi Running

Today I decided that my home lab needs to have an ESXi server. I have decided to call it SAMI in honor of the people of the Northern European Arctic. I have installed it on an old dell PC Optiplex 740. I made an ISO image CD and loaded it that way. I could not find a USB stick to Rufus a boot USB otherwise I would have preferred that method. The installation kept complaining about my hardware. I pushed on through. I did not want to leave a DHCP address on it so I went into the setup with keyboard and monitor on boot and assigned a static IP.

I navigated in my browser to the IP and downloaded the Vsphere client software. I had not installed it on my home machine yet.

General Info

I have downloaded Ubuntu 15.04 and am running through the install. I created a datastore on the ESXi server and then uploaded it through the Vsphere client. You have to tie the ISO in the data store to the CD/DVD drive on settings as well as check the connect check box and connect at startup.

One frustrating part of the installation is that you need to see the Continue button. I have tried tabbing around. On one screen it was not tabbing. I found alt+F7 keys allows you to move the installer windows around in the little console window.

Don’t forget to remove the datastore ISO image from the Virtual CD/DVD drive. I un-check connect and un-check connected at power on. Restart Ubuntu.

I had a lot of graphics problems initially. I have used the display settings before but could not get the apply checked.

I ended up using the following terminal command.

xrandr --output Virtual1 --mode 1024x768 --rate 60

I then need to setup SSH for remote access.

sudo apt install openssh-client

sudo apt install openssh-server

Time to script.


My First Wi-Fi Project

It is hard to believe that there was a time in my life when I did not have Wi-Fi connectivity. When I was in high school, we were so lucky to have dial-up internet access. I could surf at 20-30 Kbps. It was during this time that my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. It wasn’t until I was in college that she needed to have a degree of supervision while she was at home. In the same way a hammer sees every problem as a nail, I decided the best way to watch her would be to install a network camera at home. Network cameras were just hitting the marketplace. Panasonic made a KX-HCM10 camera. The resolution was not great but it still offered pan and tilt which was very good for the price point at the time.


I used SMC2404WBR Wi-Fi radios running 802.11b. I ran a 2″ PVC conduit from the house to a small tower along the fence in the field. I had a stainless steel box with 120 VAC and CAT 5e running back to the house.



My first hop was installed on a DC powered site on Racehorse Mountain. I had to install a voltage regulator as the 12 VDC site needed to be converted to 5 VDC for the radios. I used a crossover cable between the radios. This prevented me from needing to power any additional equipment.


My next hop was on Squalicum Mountain. Fortunately, I was able to see both Racehorse and Lookout from the ice bridge. I installed a small switch allowing other devices to have connectivity on the site.


At Lookout Mountain, I was able to tie into a T-1 Adtran Netvanta Bridge. This provided me connectivity to downtown Bellingham over 11 GHz licensed microwave.



I read back through my notes on the design. I was able to achieve a variable throughput on the link between 30-85 Kbps. While this might not seem much better than dial-up, the ability to have a connection on all the time was amazing. I set up the camera in the living room. Unfortunately, the video did not pass very well at such low data rates. I could see my mother, but it was not the real-time video I was hoping for. It is still amazing to me that this link worked at all. I did not have it in for very long. Ice falling from the tower on Racehorse knocked an element off of the feed horn even though I had built an ice shield. I did not expect the cheap antennas would last very long in any event.

I ended up repurposing some of the equipment for our church. Before I ran 2″ conduit and direct burial CAT5e between all the church buildings, I used one of the bridges to provide access between the church offices. I also used some of the parabolic grid antennas for direction finding interference coming from a Canadian operator at 2.5 GHz when I was working for Clearwire.

The Big Short Movie

I recently watched the movie “The Big Short.”

This movie is an interesting portrayal of the economic conditions which led up to the 2008 financial collapse. In our current real estate environment I find that history rhymes as housing prices rise in some areas as much as 10% a quarter. This is completely expected as interest rates remain at all time lows driving people into hard assets in an attempt to head off inflation. Money in savings loses more value to inflation than can be gained through sub 1% interest rates. A correction is on its way.

Will the banks show their hand with the introduction of a populist president? In the headlines we see the stock market rallying and big banks are supposedly licking their chops for the economic stimulus that Trump is suggesting for infrastructure spending. At the same time one has to wonder why banks like Goldman Sachs would have backed Hillary when The Donald was so blatantly for significant deregulation of the banking industry. Without delving into Chrony Capitalism and why the top banks promote seemingly self destructive politics, I would like to focus on the movie as it relates to Asperger’s.

One of the main characters is Michael Burry, M.D. Throughout the whole movie my wife and I were commenting upon how much he reminded us of someone who is on the Autism Spectrum. Michael was one of the few people to predict the sub-prime housing market collapse. His analysis showed the lack of value in the instruments that were being backed up by overvalued-risky mortgages. His company, Scion Capital, bet against the instruments that were created through derivative products that bundled these mortgages. He was so sure about his data and the impending collapse that he sunk billions into the options and eventually profited greatly.

He comes across during the movie as incredibly arrogant and aloof. He does not interact with people in socially typical manners. He does not dress like other people as is customary of people in the financial industry. He does not waiver from his decision once he has made his bet against the sub-prime markets. While other types of individuals who are born with the intrinsic ability to placate and offer sweet nothings of hope in the face of financial ruin, Michael does not play the game. He is right about the data and they can say whatever they want. They can do whatever they want. This is so typical of someone who is on the spectrum. As is typical with so many businesses, the product you are selling is only a small part of the value proposition that you are providing to your customer. We become so much a part of the value proposition in fulfilling the needs of our customers that our interaction is expected. This is especially true in such an esoteric environment as the financial markets.

The one area that I did not quite understand was his love of hard rock and roll music and drumming. Two things that drive me into a fetal position.

In the end Michael is able to provide of his customers with a massive payoff. While they might have been crying all the way to the bank, the whole painful process of having dealt with a fund manager who effectively demonstrated “selective mutism” while they were needing consoling led to Michael no longer being involved as a hedge fund manager. He has since moved to managing assets for Scion Asset Management.

In real life Michael has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome. After having done research into the subject, Michael has come to the realization that he also has the disorder.