Friday, April 12, 2024

Remembering Multi-Monitor Layout on Linux

I currently have the three monitors daisy-chained so the PC is connect to one monitor through USB-C DisplayPort and then daisy-chained to the other through standard DisplayPort cables.  This set up has a problem when the PC suspends or restarts.  Sometimes the first display gets no signals from the PC (thus none of the others does either) or just the last display gets no signals.  In either case, turning off-and-on will bring up all the displays (which I'm guessing allows the PC and monitor to do their handshake properly), but the layout of the displays are forgotten.   Since I have my displays in "Tie Fighter" configuration:  a central monitor flanked by two monitors in portrait mode so it forms a "H" layout, the orientation is messed up along with the ordering (it might think the middle monitor is on the left side or the right monitor is in the middle, etc).  A lot of time is wasted re-configuring everything so I started look to see if I can save the configuration and reload it whenever I have to.

Linux uses the RandR (Resize and Rotate X Windows Extension) and the xrandr tool can be used but the parameters becomes long when there's multiple monitors, different rotations and positions that are relative to each other.  Another tool that helps is arandr which is a GUI front-end to xrandr that has a feature to save layout into a script that can be run.  Once you have your layout setup, it can export it to a script that you can re-run, but I ran into two problems:

  1. It doesn't capture the order of the displays (which is on the right, middle and left) so while all three might be in the right rotation, they are not in the right order.
  2. The name of the display sometimes changes (e.g. a display might once be called DisplayPort-1 get tuned into DisplayPort-4) and then the script also doesn't work.
Finally, I found a tool called autoxrandr which will finger print the display so that even though the name changes, it still knows which monitor is which.  It can also save different profiles such as a laptop with no external monitor and another one with one external monitor which it will then recognize and load the appropriate profile automatically.

So I'm trying this to see if it solves my problems of.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Gyudon (Beef Bowl)

 Originally from Adam Liaw:

  • Thinly sliced beef
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2tbsp mirin
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 brown onion
Add chicken stock, soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar to top and bring to boil.
Add onion until soften.
Add beef and stir until beef is cooked.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Buying Plywood - Cuts, Cores, Matches and More

Buying lumber from a lumber yard can be intimidating, but surely plywood is simpler... right?  Plywood is a manufactured product that has a more controlled process and standardization then harvesting lumber, but there are still a lot of variations in plywood that makes buying plywood more complicated then if you were to buy a PlayStation off the shelf.  

I don't buy plywood frequently, each time I do I have to refresh myself on all the different terminology and options that I get back from the lumber dealer so I decided to write a post to myself to save my time re-searching the internet on what each thing means.

Core Materials

Plywood is made of layers of wood materials sandwiched between the wood veneers that gives it's look.  Walnut plywood is made from two walnut veneers with enough the material ("core") between them until it is the thickness desired.  The layers gives plywood its stability and not have the wood movement that lumber typically have.

Face and Back Grades

The face and back of plywood have grades that describes its quality:

Face grades:

  • AA - Premium, architectural quality for interiors, case goods and high end furniture.
  • A - Not as high as AA but still excellent appearance. 
  • B - Less perfect and consistent than A panels but more economical.
  • C - More defects and variations.  Not as attractive so good for less visible applications.
  • "Shop" grade - Panels that have some imperfection that causes the sheet to not meet the grade (e.g. A1 or C2).

Back grades

These goes from 1 (best) to 4 (worst).  Grade 3 & 4 allows for open defects.

Baltic Birch Grades

Baltic Birch uses a different grading system:

  • B/BB - one face free of "footballs".
  • BB/BB - An average of 4 to 6 footballs per face
  • BB/CP - An average of 4 to 6 football on one face and unlimited footballs on the back
(BB/CP example)

Veneer Core

Veneer core means the odd-number of layers between the face veneers are made of sheets of wood layered in alternating grain direction for stability.  Lighter and have strong screw holding power, but might not be as flat if there are imperfections in the core layers which can show through (aka "telegraph").

There are processes to address this such as Columbia Forest Product's MPX core to make veneer core smooth and reduce telegraphing.  MPX is Columbia's registered trademark for basically using smooth hardwood crossbands in the core to smooth out the veneer.

MDF Core

MDF core consists of using medium density fiberboard between the face veneers which is very stable and uniform.  MDF can be heavy and can swell up and dissolve when wet.

Combination Core

This core uses a combination of MDF and wood veneers between the faces.  

Veneer Cuts

The way the veneer is cut effects the appearance, properties and cost of the veneer.  For example, plain sliced cuts produces veneers with the "cathedral" patterns while a quarter cut produces a more thin line pattern.

A rotary cut can produce Whole Piece Face (WPF) veneer where the entire face of the plywood is a single piece of veneer and can be more economical to produce.  In order to make a full sheet of plywood from the other cuts, the strips of veneer of placed side-by-side so there can be a fine seam between the strips.  How the strips are placed is called matching which is discussed more below. 

Veneer Match

Unless it is a whole piece face, the veneer panels needs to be placed side-by-side in order to crate a full piece of plywood.  How these panels are ordered is what is called veneer matching.  There are multiple ways to do this and I provide some links in the references below that describe them but the common ones are:

Slip Matching

Slip matching places each panel next to each other without turning or flipping them over.  This creates a repeated look.

Sequence Match 

Sequence match requires that the panels come from the same log and be more consistent panel-to-panel.

(start here)

Book Matching

Book matching turns the panels over so that two adjacent panels mirrors each other much like how you open a book.


  7. -- sequence matching have a higher standard for matching more then slip (which is also layers it in sequence.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Reacher Season 2 - My Reaction So Far

Season 1 of Amazon's Reacher was a surprisingly entertaining show with a great cast that showed clear chemistry with each other.  The banter between the characters were fun to watch rather than annoying and the pacing at which each character's background is revealed kept me engaged through the entire season.   Unfortunately, season 2 has not had that same ingredients.

Most of the new characters already had a developed relationship so the character development happened mainly through flashbacks and the chemistry between them were lacking or lacked tension.  The pacing also feels more off this season there lacks any mystery to events and each episode felt a bit like the previous episodes.

Two more episode remains in this season and hopefully it picks up pacing and provide a satisfactory ending that will hold over until season 3.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Anime to Start the New Year - The Apothecary Diaries

For the first post of 2024, I'm starting with a positive review of The Apothecary Diaries.

Originally a Japanese light novel and then a manga before being released as an anime starting in October, 2023.  The Apothecary Diaries takes place in a fictional imperial China and follows a young Chinese girl who loves studying and making medicine.  With a pragmatic acceptance of realities of social norms of feudal China, the protagonist nevertheless ends up rising in prominence within the imperial court.

I enjoyed the characters and mysteries surrounding our heroine and the relationships she establishes with members across the social spectrum.

Unlike many modern anime, The Apothecary Diaries immediately secured not just a one season but two seasons of episodes (24) and as of this writing is half way through the initial 24 episode run.  I've been fully enjoying the anime and would recommend.