Monday, April 29, 2013

Political art

Was a little board so I decided to do some 1st amendment expression of my 2nd amendment views. Seen plenty of these for AR's and AK's, but none for my beloved Styer, so I decided to do my own. It is crude and crappy, but that is why I don't make a living as a graphic artist.

Brief history lesson, When Mexico still ran Texas, they gave the settlers a cannon for protection from the natives. When the Mexican government decided to be tyrannical pricks and take away the cannon, the settlers said no, made a flag with a picture of a cannon with a star and the words "come and take it."

The Mexican Government tried to take it, and not only failed but sparked the Texas Revolution. In recent years the constant threats by the feds to ban and take away our peace keepers has sparked the embers of patriotic expression, and for many, the AR, AK, Styer, 1911, etc, is their cannon. We need them to defend against the evils of the world just as much as those early Texas settlers did.

And yes, the mag looks a bit long, because the original model I used to base the picture on had the 42 round mag in it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Black Powder, if you please.

In last few months I have taken up the habit of shooting replica cap and ball guns. Being a very practice shooter in modern firearms, I decided to branch out and try something different. I had some experience with cap and ball before, shooting a friends guns from time to time, so I knew the basics of the loading and operation. Buying my first one was an adventure. I was at a sporting goods store buying a gift for my mother (a youth bow kit) and decided to also get my first cap and ball gun. After examining the selection, I chose the Pietta replica of the 1861 Colt Navy revolver (not the one pictured), mainly because it had good balance and pointed well. I was rather surprised that when purchasing the firearm that there was no paper work or background check, because apparently the feds don't consider these guns a threat to tyranny, err I mean national security. So there I was at the register guying a bow and cowboy pistol, looking like I was taking playing cowboys and Indians way too seriously.

So I take it out for the first time and had a blast (pun intended) As gun hobbies go, it is cheaper than most, and can be very relaxing.

I bought the 1858 Remington pictured above, mainly because after doing research I had discovered that it was easier to disassemble and clean. (The Confederate bill pictured with it is fake and is there only for artistic flair). Shortly after the purchase the 1861 Colt broke, due to a spent primer getting into the inner workings of the gun, so I get to learn how to fix an old style revolver. (replacement parts have been ordered).

When shooting, I have been using the pyrodex pellets, which are little cylinders of powder that are simply inserted into the chambers in the place of actual powder. A purist might complain, but I prefer pyrodex to actual black powder, and the pellets are really nice because there is much less mess, and is not all that different from the paper cartridges used in the civil war. The powder load is pretty much the high end of what the pistols are designed for, but since all of my guns are steel framed, they can withstand continued use of the pellets. I also used pre-greased wool patches, and regular .454 inch round ball bullets. Accuracy is pretty decent with these guns, especially when loaded correctly.

I am looking forward to learning more about these weapons. I might post some videos later or other tidbits about this later.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's a small world after all

Short one today folks, but I found this funny video on Youtube. Seems less funny now that such devices are getting smaller and smaller... In fact today I read about a new do it yourself mini computer called the Raspberry Pi (must be made by Lonestar, only he would use Raspberry!). It is meant to be and educational computer to teach children and people in poor countries how to use and program computers, simular to the failed $100 dollar laptop project, but this thing is cheap (found one for like $55 on Amazon) and is the size of a credit card. Not a lot of features or power, but hey, simple and cheap is the aim here. It runs on the ARM architecture, which for non techies means it runs on a cell phone processor, so don't think you will run Windows on it (unless you port Windows 8 RT to it...) Just put in an SD card for your hard drive with the Operating system, hook it up to a TV (you know, like they did way back then in the stone age of PC's), USB mouse and keyboard and you are ready to go. I think I might get one, just because it would be cool.

Now the Computer guru of me starts thinking of making this little system into a very cheap dumb terminal (another stone age computer technique making a comeback). But then I started another terrible thought. Lets say if we give these things to place like the Middle East and Africa, I wonder what percentage of them would become bomb detonators,  or make shift missile control systems (because lets face it, people get real creative when they want to kill each other). Could such systems in the future be called assault computers? Think I am crazy, but but little devices like these and cell phones have more computational power than the now retired space shuttles. Makes one think...

I like to think the future is bright, it's just I hope it is the good kind of bright, not the fireball of doom kind.

At any rate, with one key keyboards, hunt and peck typing will be the the only way to go! ;)

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hat came back...

Long time, no blog. Been busy with work and life. Technically I no longer live in A-town, but moved to the big city of Fort Worth. I still travel to the space time vortex that is A-town often, so I think the blog here can keep it's name.

Lot of BS lately. I think the chem trail people have it all wrong, planes have diarrhetic  male bovines strapped to them covering everything in a thick sludge.

The one that is bothering me most at the moment is the shooting up in Connecticut. Never mind the fact that whenever some one breaks the law and kills some one, law abiding citizens get their rights threatened, but the media turns it into a circus. Let those poor people bury their dead before you bombard them with cameras. The sickos that run CNN and MSNBC and all the other news outlets could not wait to show off the madman who did this, and proclaim the weapons he used as the tools of satan, and politicize this thing. I mean it is no surprise, but it still pisses me off.

This isn't a time to politicize, to sensationalize, or report on every irrelevant fact about the gun man's life. It is a time to mourn. And if you really, really want to think about how we stop tragedies like this, I suggest we turn to the book that was used a lot to build this country. Yes, the Bible.

First, the Bible says (in Mathew chapter 5:45) that God sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous alike, which boils down to, bad things happen to good people (and bad people too). Main reason for this is when Adam ate the stupid apple, and brought sin and evil into the world and all man kind, but if you want a secular view, then it is simple to say shit happens. So, we have evil in this world, and when it is at it's worst, innocent people die. Now the Bible is full of encouraging stuff such as spiritual salvation, which I subscribe too, however, a lot of people don't, so it has some practical advice to extend one's stay here at hotel Earth.

in Nehemiah chapter 4 the people of Judah had a problem, they needed to build a wall to defend themselves from their enemies, but were also concerned that they would be attacked while working. So they armed their workers! They also setup some of the mean with heavier weapons and reserved them to guard, and had lookouts with trumpets. How does this apply today? Well we have phones and alarms instead of trumpets, and we have police to be the assigned guardians, but sad fact is, they can't always get there in time, even today. We need to be more proactive as a society. There are believe it or not school districts that allow concealed carry, although very few, for staff and teachers, combine that with a permanent  law enforcement officer at the school, and I bet these mass killings would either slow down or stop. I hate the idea that we have to have armed teachers and cops around schools, but in other countries, such as modern Israel, they saw the need to protect the innocent who can't protect themselves. But lets not stop there, how about taking off all restriction of where you can bring weapons? Let everyone effectively carry a "sword" or "spear" while they do their work, and any enemy who attempts to attack will at least think twice.

So, we acknowledge there is evil in the world, and we can take steps to protect ourselves, but how do we actually reverse this trend? I don't think it really can be practically, for two reasons. One reason is that both history and the Bible show that the world tends towards chaos and evil, the second is that if we were really were going to do it, we would have to pull together as a nation, and restore the ethics and morality we once had as a nation, and get the mentally disturbed the help they really need instead of handing them pills and setting them loose. This won't happen because there is a large part of this nation hell bent on dividing itself.

So, there is my frustration. No one really wants to fix the problem right, they just want to do band-aid legislation until the only ones free to act are the ones that go insane...

In the mean time, the six o'clock news bombards grieving people, saying that home schooling is a horrifying fact. Yeah, thats right, during lunch I was watching some news station (I ate lunch out and had no choice of the content viewed) and they had one of those screen scrawling things that scrolls through the same 10 tidbits all day long, this one with the title "horrifying facts turned up" one was that a fourth gun was in the truck, then a couple of other things, but the one that irritated me was the home schooling bit. Unless he was beaten senseless everyday being home schooled,  I don't think it really matters, but the media in some subliminal messaging bs wants you to associate horrendous acts with teaching your kids at home instead of being taught by the state... As George Carlin said, it's BS and it's bad for you.

So there, my first rant, err, blog in a long while, hopefully I will do a more light hearted one next.. My prayers go out to those hurt in the tragedy, and also to the nation, once indivisible, and seemingly, no longer under God, lets hope a miracle happens and we pull ourselves to the right way, or at least, a better path...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Still Alive


Cat plays better than I do.
Been a while since I posted anything, but I have been busy, bit short handed at the new job. They have decided to move to down town Fort Worth, which for an IT man means long days.

The other day I got an email that is directed at some executive types that some people I know in executive places were going ga ga over. It was entitled elephants in the agile room. Basically it was a story about a bunch execs going to a ski lodge and half went skiing and the other half sat down and actually figured out what was wrong with their company, identifying problems as being "elephants" in the room, so they went elephant hunting and actually got something done. I broke it down real simple because it takes a normal person 2 to 3 reads to get the exact meaning of what was said in the email, and once I did I just couldn't help but laugh.

First off, I have noticed in the corporate an excessive use of metaphors. Even when the concept is clear and concise,  they average corporate CEO/ president/ or other C-level guy wants to tell it in a metaphor. This is something ingrained at the college level because I have seen  guys fresh from the book farm do the something, and after a while, it makes them look like condescending idiots, but they think it is genius. A metaphor should only be used to illustrate a complex point in a way that someone who is other wise not getting the idea. In networking we have to on occasion use a metaphor for a user who does not understand networking is mad because they can not do something they want to do. This is acceptable and common, however telling a bunch of laymen that you went to a ski lodge for elephant hunting does not endear them to your cause.

Second, such a excessive use of metaphors clouds the subject and trivializes it. Be to the point with your companies problems in normal meetings, your emails, and phone calls and you will "slay" one mighty elephant right there (<--- effective use of metaphor) because with direct and concise communication, you can identify a lot of crap as it comes up, and then when you take your ski meeting when things are doing well, you all can go skiing! No need to come around and circle the wagons later (<---- I hate the circle the wagons metaphor)

Third, when communicating to the employees who are on the lower part of the totem pole (<---- Native American metaphor, considered politically incorrect to use in conjunction with the circle of wagons one) and you spout off your strange and convoluted meta-logic (<--- new term) most except the most daft or the ones who where clockwork oranged during their college days for business (<---- pop culture reference and a metaphor for brain washing) you are going to seem distant and elitist which is very bad. In a time when people hate the people who run companies out of principle, your not helping your cause by condescending, or talking a bunch of nonsense. Leadership should be inspiring and  using worn out tools that you were told in college is the key is not the way it is done (<--- a very apropos metaphor right there).

One last thing, don't think your IT guys only know computer shit, we have to survive in a world that is ever changing, contradictory, and not for the feint of heart. Remember if we can figure out what the acronyms we use everyday mean and can set up an network that makes a company millions work right, we can see through a lot of other bs too.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A-Town no more and basics on wireless encryption.

Well been a log time between post, I got a new job as a system admin in company in Fort Worth. For those that don't know, a System Administrator is the guy that keeps a computer network working the way it is suppose to (it is nice having a job that I can explain in plain English what I do for a change). It was a big move and took up a lot of my time away from blogs.

Moving to Fort Worth in itself is not bad, aside from the traffic, which where I am at is not bad, except the scheduled traffic jam at the on ramp by where I live.

Now, Wireless Encryption methods. For the average home user, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what is available. You want to protect you and your home from unauthorized network users, regardless how harmless their motives may seem.

WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. It came out around 1999 and is almost useless today. Reason is because the cipher key (the key that is used to hide your data) is rather short and has a very good chance at being reused in a single session (it is suppose to constantly change and not be reused to prevent the cipher from being cracked and then used to encode future packets). In plain English, if some one was looking at your wireless traffic with a program designed to break encryption, it would not take long, especially a busy network. So what good is it? None unless you have a very old wireless card that does not support anything else, in which case I would suggest upgrading to a new adapter.

WPA 2 is the current mainstream encryption method. Based on WPA which used a encryption method known as TKIP (which was also vulnerable in a similar manner as WEP, but not as much). WPA2 uses CCMP which is based on AES (read top of the line encryption algorithm). AES encryption is about as strong as you can get commercially, and is availible for many applications. If there was too much alphabet soup for ya, don't worry, it is. To breack it down, AES uses bunch of complicated math to encrypt your data in such a way that even for a team of combuters it would take a long time to break.

To sum it up, in general WPA2 is as secured as you will get for a home network, just make sure you have a good strong password to your network as well, after all, it does you know good no matter the system, if they know your password is password or abc123 (I have seen this before).

Hope that makes it plain for non-techie folks, if you want more detailed explanations on anything, please ask, or better yet, google it your self, Wikipedia has some good articles and gives some back ground.