Enabling Edimax AC1200 adapter on El Capitan

I replaced my reliable Linksys 54G router with a new ASUS model available from T-Mobile, a “Personal Cellspot” router available to customers. It’s a rebranded ASUS AC1900 wifi router, which, for $25 deposit, is a no-brainer.

I live in a row of townhouses with a lot of wifi networks. Every house seems to have one or more networks. Lots of conflicts. The wifi apps that can help recommend a channel to use to have better reception didn’t find any available channels on the 2.4 GHz networks.

I have a 2009 Mac Pro upstairs, at the farthest point away from the only cable connection in the house. To get network connectivity to the Mac Pro, I could use wifi, pull an ethernet cable, or use a powerline adapter. I tried the wifi option first, with mixed results. Hackintosh sites reported good luck using the 300Mbps Wireless N PCI Express adapter from TP-Link (model TL-WN881ND). It’s a relatively inexpensive card, too. I installed the card and the kexts and got Mountain Lion to recognize the card. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a stable wifi connection. The same thing happened with the Edimax AC 1200 dual-band USB adapter. It seemed to work okay, but then would drop connection every few minutes. Neither the PCI card nor the USB adapter was usable.

I ended up purchasing powerline adapters. They have worked surprisingly well. I have one plugged in behind the router downstairs and another adapter plugged in next to the Mac Pro. The speed tests show that about 12 Mbps down and 5-6 Mbps up (sometimes faster, depending upon who knows what).

After I installed the Personal Cellspot router tonight, I decided to revisit the wifi adapters and see if anything had improved. Edimax hasn’t released the El Capitan drivers for the AC1200 EW-7822UA yet. (Drivers for other OS X versions are available here; you can register to be notified when the El Cap ones are available.)

I found instructions on how to extract the OS X 10.10 drivers from the Edimax OS X 10.10 DMG and get them working on OS X 10.11 for the Edimax AC1200 wireless dual-band USB 2/3 adapter. The Mac Pro can handle simultaneous network connections (has dual ethernet ports, for example). I got the wifi adapter working and set the priority network to be wifi. The adapter is currently connected to the 5Ghz 802.11 AC network.

And then ran some tests using speedof.me, a speed test that runs HTML 5 (not flash). This site has been my baseline test for the powerline converters and wifi connection speeds.

The ethernet connection I’m using is via a powerline adapter. It connects at about 12-15 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up (6 Mbps up on a really good day).

With the wifi adapter plugged into the USB 2 slot on the front of the machine, I am getting 35 Mbps down and 12 Mbps up.

When I move the wifi adapter to the USB3 PCI card in the back of the machine, the signal strength is slightly diminished. However, the speed is rock solid. I’m getting 61.2 Mbps down (with a max speed of 117.5!) and an upload of 12.22 Mbps, which is basically the same.

Damn! That’s an improvement! The only problem is the wifi adapter sometimes causes the system to randomly reboot. That’s not good. I’ll have to see how frequently that happens.


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Knowing when to say goodbye

My old mare, Prize, has had declining health since summer. A mare who used to be an easy keeper has stopped being able to keep weight on. She’s been on a complete senior feed for several years, plus chopped hay, joint and anti-inflammation supplements. Her teeth have wave mouth, so their uneven surfaces prevent her from being able to effectively chew grass and hay.  It’s not for lack of trying. Where ever she has been eating, there is a trail of matted lumps of grass she’s tried to chew (called quids).

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Kasane, Prize, and Isis. My three Bay Wonder Mares.

I’ve had a sinking feeling that she wouldn’t make it through this winter, and honestly, that I shouldn’t ask her to. Where she used to be my sure-footed, take-a-mudrock-downhill-at-a-canter trail horse, her gait has lost its stability as her muscles along her topline and hips have deteriorated. She had been retired from active riding for about 1.5 years. We still would do trail rides periodically when she had good days. She had not had a good day where her gait looked stable enough to ride since the summer.

Over the past few months, she has had bad days. At the barn, we took to calling them “episodes,” because that’s what they seemed to be. Most days she would have that mischievous,interested spark in her eye when she saw me. She would carefully pick her way through the paddock to see if I had treats for her. She would nicker and recognize me.

On her bad days, she seemed confused about where she was. Each step was wobbly like she was trying to be careful where she stepped but her body didn’t have the coordination she remembered. Most days her gait was unsteady, but she would still manage to harass her paddock mate and chase the other away from hay piles even at a canter. Not on Prize’s bad days. On days when she had episodes, she didn’t leave her stall or her paddock. She would stand in the same place most of the day with her head poking out of the stall, her eyes focused inward. An episode lasted anywhere from a few hours to a day, at most.

Prize and I at a trail ride shortly after she first returned to me, 2010.

Prize and I at a trail ride shortly after she first returned to me, 2010.

The episodes, at first, were a very rare occurrence. A few months apart, but with growing frequency. We have tried a lot of different things. Pain management meds, anti-inflammation supplements, joint supplements (she’s been on this for years)… In December, she was having episodes once a week.

She had a bad day yesterday, Saturday, and it was worse than the others. Her lack of coordination was so pronounced that she had trouble trying to scratch her hock with her mouth. She tried to position her leg in the right spot and then started to lean around to reach her hock, and would stop. She would stay in that position, with her back legs splayed apart, her back right awkwardly on the ground reaching towards her front legs, and her head turned back staring at her legs. Her front legs were spread apart for balance. She would stand like that for a few minutes, and then it was like a light would click and she would pull her legs back underneath her. She couldn’t walk without losing her footing and almost falling several times.

She refused to eat until we gave her some Banamine (pain meds). Watching her, I could see how much pain she was in. This episode didn’t end on Saturday. It continued into Sunday and lasted the day. At one point shortly after she received the afternoon’s dose (and before it had kicked in), she laid down with her legs straight out and her lips set in a grimace across her face. Several of us stopped what we were doing to watch her belly to make sure she was still breathing.

She has been telling me in no uncertain terms that she is hurting.

I’ve known that this was coming. The sense of dread has been an undercurrent in my mind for the entire fall and winter seasons. That my sweet Prize was going to need to be let go with all of the beauty and dignity that she has shared with me over the past 30 years. I can’t put her through a harsh, wet, slippery winter.

When Prize came back to me six years ago, the girl who had Prize taught her how to give kisses. The girl would hold a peppermint candy in her mouth and Prize would reach up and gently take it. So today I went to the tack shop and bought some of Prize’s favorite treats: thick molasses and oat muffins with a peppermint candy in the middle. She might not be able to bite the peppermint, but she would be able to have the taste of it on the soft treat.

Prize and Kasane having a moment.

Prize and Kasane having a moment.

She hadn’t eaten much today, but she ate six of those treats. And asked for more. And nickered at me. She was spoiled and loved on and cooed over (but always with the awareness that being in a stall with an unsteady horse isn’t necessarily safe). It warmed my heart to see her in less pain after the meds kicked in. The difference in how she felt also spoke wonders.

The barn owner and I talked today. Prize is his favorite horse. (He calls her “my good horse.” On days when Kasane has been doing particularly well, he calls her my “other good horse.”) I asked him if he thought it was Prize’s time. He nodded and said yes, and tried like me to not cry.

The vet will be out on Monday. It is time. As much as I don’t want it to be time, how Prize is physically and mentally says it clearly. I can’t put her through this anymore.

So tomorrow I have to figure out how to grieve for a horse who was my partner in crime for many years. She who did jumping, barrel racing, jousting, gymkhana, ring spearing, trail riding, and trail classes all in English riding attire. She has taught many kids to ride. When the young riders didn’t know what they were doing, Prize would walk over to the instructor and stand there. She took care of the beginner riders and loved when a more experienced rider was on her, then she would get excited. Prize earned the nickname of “the rocket” because she would get up whenever someone like me got on her. Several times, she would be so excited, we’d rip around the ring a few times and then she would settle into work. After so many years of being afraid to jump, she helped me regain my confidence.

She has had a grand life. I am so blessed to have had the chance to redeem my earlier mistakes by having her back to take proper care of her and love her.

Prize and Isis

Prize and Isis

I am going to try and celebrate her. She has touched so many and has been so loved. A lady at my office emailed me once asking about Prize. Her daughter had learned to ride on Prize. I am amazed at the lives this original Bay Wonder Mare has touched.

I know I have to say goodbye. This will be my second, and final, time to say goodbye. That first time I said goodbye when I had to sell her because I could not pay my board, I wrote “Transfer of Owners”:

I felt your breath
soft on my neck
myriad memories
tickling my mind like
whiskers
falling
from clippers

Luminous eyes
glazed with the day’s work
and the field is
dust
flicking through the stall
washed with bespeckled light
and the thrum of horse flies
and the stench of sweat
and the buzz of Osters
trimming, trimming…

The night is vacant now
scents of cedar and straw
drift through the barn into
my dreams–
twice-wet feet cross the stream
to another’s pasture


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No more sounds in the ceiling

The kitties have been downstairs now for two weeks. They are absolutely loving the extra space. They follow me around the house, sit next to me on the couch, and now have even more places to hide their toys. They do get on the table, but not on the kitchen counter. I can live with that so far.

For now, happy kitties!

And no more sounds in the ceiling. I don’t know if the mice have realized that the kitties are around, but I have not seen or heard anything that sounds like mice lately.

My neighbors on either side of me are also hearing things in their walls and ceilings. Maybe it is time to get some mouse traps and put then in the crawl space…


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Stiffness when riding

Kasane has always been a very limber girl. She can reach for a treat all the way back to her hip almost at her croup. All I have to do is show her the trip, tap her hip, and she reaches around for the treat. She’s done that since she was two. It’s a way to get her to stretch her neck and reward her after a ride.

For the past three weeks, she’s reached around like a champ on the right side. She hasn’t been as flexible on her left side. It’s taken several minutes of coaxing her to reach around even past her shoulder for a treat. When we’ve ridden, she’s been stiff on her left side.

She’s never made faces when I’ve asked her to bend or to carry herself. She hasn’t given any outward sign that her neck was bothering her — except for her reluctance to reach around for a treat.

After several weeks of her flexibility not improving (even with multiple rides and even a clinic and lesson), I called the chiropractor.

Kasane was adjusted this morning. Her atlas joint in her neck and four vertebrae on her left side were out of alignment. The chiropractor said that Kasane would be feeling a lot better now. After 72 hours of rest, I’d be able to ride and see how she felt.

When I walked Kasane in before her appointment, she walked at a normal speed. Relaxed and not hurried. After her appointment, she felt a lot better. She trotted in place while we walked back out to the field. She felt so much better.

I can’t wait to ride her this weekend.


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Sounds in the ceiling

Last night while I was doing the dishes, I heard skittering of something in the kitchen ceiling. The kitties were upstairs staring at the wall and walking around meowing. They were following the sound of something in the walls.

Not sure what it is. Mice seem to be a good guess since my neighbor recently had issues with mice. The HOA is working on painting and repairing siding on the houses. The painters have were repairing some of my unit’s siding except they messed up the back wall of my chimney. There are gaps in the siding which they have said will be properly fixed. Those gaps are big enough for a mouse to get in.

So the kitties now have the full run of the house. BrieBrie was brave and came downstairs with me. She is wandering around now, playing with a fake rabbit fur mouse (one of Kiesha’s old toys). She seems to enjoy having the extra space. She’s much braver than Phaedra is. My other little kitty will eventually come down here.

I am hoping that the smell of predators will cause the mice to go away. If the kitties don’t catch the mice, then I’ll have to call an exterminator. Can’t have mice in the walls.


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Kelpie painting

I saw this and immediately wanted to get a print. I may yet. Will definitely have this on my xmas list…

Photography Prints


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Gaming stuff: DnD and Warhammer

Gizmodo has an article on how Wizards of the Coast is working with a company called AltspaceVR to create an official virtual environment for playing D&D. The setup will use Oculus VR hardware for playing. It looks interesting, although would require a good hardware investment for anyoen wanting to use the system. (Personally, I prefer pen and paper — much cheaper.)

One of the comments noted that last Christmas, Wizards laid off a large portion of the D&D team, including the editor of the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide. My snarky side thought, well that explains why we haven’t seen a lot of new content for D&D 5e. No one left to coordinate it if the editor is gone.

I still prefer Warhammer. It’s grittier and feels more balanced. Everyday people doing heroic deeds not because they have super skills but because they are motivated to help (or hinder). The players seem more engaged instead of just going along for the ride.

I hate that Warhammer was discontinued but at least the core rule set is being reprinted. The community of players for WFRP 3e is still putting out some amazing stuff, like the randomized adventure generator, created by Emirikol.

It’s good to see that players are pulling together and creating content to share. That’s the sign of an active, healthy player community. Whether or not there is ever another edition of Warhammer, I’ll play the heck out of third edition.

And eventually add Iron Kingdoms RPG to my set of known systems. I just have to find people to play with who want to try it.


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Show Experience

Kasane and I have our first dressage show in two weeks at a local venue. We’ve ridden dressage tests before at schooling shows sponsored by our local awesome horse club. This is a schooling show that will not be a test where you know everyone. This is a Show Experience.

I used to show a lot when I was younger. We did Arabian breed shows with most of our horses, primarily halter classes since most of the horses we had were younger or breeding stock. I had fun and I’m thankful for the experience of learning how to gracefully handle competition.

All I really wanted to do was ride. Halter was nice but it was too much like work to get the horses cleaned and primped before their classes. There wasn’t a sense of joy of a good partnership (at least not for me) when showing in halter. It was work.

Riding was work too, but at least it could be fun. We could enter the trail class, a traditionally Western class, while wearing English attire. My mare and I did barrel racing in a hunt seat saddle. We didn’t expect to win: we entered to have fun. Prize loved those classes and she taught me to love them as well.

I still get nervous whenever I think about showing. Slight hand tremor. Edginess. Except I know that Kasane can do these things and do them well. We’ve ridden the walk-trot test Intro B for years. We could do that in our sleep.

Which is why I chose to ride the Intro C test and throw some canter into the mix because why not? We can canter. We need a goal to force us to work towards something greater. A few strides of canter around a circle and then shifting back down to the walk isn’t that hard.

The trick is that we haven’t done much canter work at all in years. I had to learn to deal with a lot of my own fears and issues around cantering (and having a horse land on me a few times at a canter) before I could canter with Kasane without giving her mixed signals. She’ll canter when I ask, but we’re stiff and out of whack. We aren’t smooth and practiced like we are with a trot. We just need to work on it. What better motivation than a deadline and a show?

Two weeks.

I know the test now. I dream about it almost every nice. I can feel how Kasane moves when she canters when I visualize it. I dream about where my body position needs to be when I ask her to pick up the canter and when we transition back to the working trot. I know we can do this.

During my lesson on Saturday, my instructor asked me if I was sure I really wanted to do the test. Honestly, our canter work during the test was pretty gross. But it got better during the lesson. We made progress.

That’s the whole point of riding: to make progress in riding and understanding how you and your horse work as a team, to love your horse, and to have fun.


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Warhammer resources for game masters

Even though Fantasy Flight Games have officially stopped developing Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 3rd edition, the players have continued to develop new resources. I recently found a new-to-me site, Daily Empire, a blog about all things Warhammer. The site has links to some fan-developed adventures, GM resources, tools, and more.

I found a new 120+ page adventure I might run my Warhammer group through: The Queen of Embers. It is geared towards players who are in the middle of their second careers, which is exactly where my players are.

Daily Empire also had a link to an expanded character module from the Winds of Chaos site. While this is really geared towards second edition WFRP, some of the rules and traits can easily be adapted to 3e to make character creation a little more detailed.

Stun to Strike is a fan forum for all things Warhammer. It seems to be a much livelier place than the Fantasy Flight WFRP forums.

Gitzman’s Gallery is a great place to find character sheets, link to Reckless Dice podcast, and the super huge detailed map of the Warhammer world.


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Position, posture, and riding

Ever have so many posts in the backlog that you just never get around to catching up? It’s been like that. Many good things (and a few annoying things) going on!

Good things first. I’ve made a lot of progress in riding, just in time for horse camp this week. Yay horse camp! There will be blogging from camp if I have internet access.

Earlier this year, I started feeling frustrated with my riding. Kasane some times responded to my aids, and other ties didn’t. Some times she would roll into a canter when I was asking her to leg yield at the trot. Kasane is a very compact horse. If I lean forward just a little, she goes faster. Looking down at her shoulders to check her canter lead is enough to cause her to change leads.

We went to two jumping clinics in one weekend. One clinic on Saturday my friend Sylvana taught and the Sunday clinic was sponsored by the local Horsemaster’s group. Both were excellent and helped me overcome my anxiety about going over jumps. Kasane gets excited about jumping and rushes. She loves jumping. Part of the many things I learned from those clinics is that her rushing is in large part because of my position.

I grew up riding hunt seat, which means I lean too far forward and have my hands too low when I ride. Many years of ballet also mean that a natural turnout when I’m riding. My toes some times look like they could be wings. (When you ride any style, your legs are supposed to be against the horse. Turning your toes out shifts where your legs make content and minimizes the area.

I took a month worth of riding to focus on sitting back, so I could retrain myself to not lean forward. The trick is to teach myself where it feels right when leaning back. Lots and lots of walking to get that before I moved on to trotting. If I was leaning too far forward by even just a little, she would roll into a canter (usually on the wrong lead).

When I am riding in the correct position, with my legs flat against her and my upper body not leaning forward, our communication is improved. My aids are lighter. She lifts her front end, her impulsion improves, her headset is freer. She uses herself better because I’m not in her way.

It’s been enlightening and exciting. Yesterday the barn owner helped me re-learn a dressage test for camp. She still had to remind me to lean back but it’s less frequent than it used to be. She said that my riding had made huge strides in the past month.

Some times focusing on the basics has repercussions all the way up the chain.

I was so tickled with Kasane. My riding instructor gave me home work to help with not leaning forward and to improve my leg position: lots of riding without stirrups.


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Abney Park

I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Abney Park. They posted a new song today that struck a cord. Video has lyrics.


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Plumber fixed the drip

The tub is no longer leaking. My neighbor said that the build quality on these houses isn’t very good and I believe him. This was the second time the tub had to be repaired because of a drip. One thing I did learn with these old Delta faucets: the springs have to be elongated just a little bit with a gentle squeeze from a pair of pliers. Otherwise, they are a little too short and don’t seat properly.


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Waiting on the plumber

So my day feels like I’m waiting on the plumber because he’s coming to fix the sink (well, tub faucet, but close enough).


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Kitteh likes water drip

I turned off the water to the house when I went to work and during the day over the weekend. I turned the water back on overnight so the pipes wouldn’t freeze. I was upstairs looking at the faucet, and BrieBrie decided to try and help me.

Help from BrieBrie means her investigating each tool and playing with anything that might move. BrieBrie had her back feet on the ground and her front feet on the tub rim. Just too cute.

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For size comparison, here is a picture taken a few minutes after the first one. BrieBrie is sitting on the tub edge and Phaedra is on the floor near the tub.

2015-02-15 23.47.08


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Leaky bathtub faucet

A few months ago, my upstairs bathtub faucet began to drip. Just a little at first, but over the months it became a constant background noise. I couldn’t stand it and found a video on how to repair the Delta faucet. It is an older faucet, with a push-button diverter and a single knob that controls water amount and temperature. I took apart the faucet handle, replaced the inner rubber seals and springs. The leak stopped.

A month ago when the dripping started again. Just a few drips. If I moved the shower knob down and to the left, then the dripping would usually stop. The dripping went from a few paltry drips to a continuous stream.

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Nothing I have tried stops the stream of water. It’s hot water, too. Since it’s been warm, I shut off the household water when I went to bed last night and have called the home warranty place. They are going to send someone out on Monday to look at it.


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