Sunday, March 25, 2012


As expected, the lefty loonies are tearing this to shreds.
Guess they can't stand the truth....

H/T to USA_Admiral for finding it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just a Thought.....

Courtesy of Pink Floyd......

And did they get you to trade
Your heros for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

From 1975, no less.
Wonder if they had a "vision".....

O.B.I.T. ***Coming Soon To An "Agency" Near YOU!***

One of the more scary "Outer Limits" episodes was O.B.I.T.

From the opening intro by the Control Voice:

"In this room, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, security personnel at the Defense Department Cyprus Hill's Research Center keep constant watch on its scientists through O.B.I.T., a mysterious electronic device whose very existence was carefully kept from the public at large. And so it would have remained but for the facts you are about to witness…"

Looks like the NSA is building their own these days.

And be sure to read some of the comments. Looks like there's a bunch of "us" among the geeks who read WIRED.....

Monday, March 19, 2012

2nd Amendment Poll ***Please Read and Forward***

I don't often ask people to forward things, but I think this is important.
USA Today is running a poll on whether the 2nd Amendment affirms an INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms.
So please go vote, and pass it on.
Thank you!

Does the 2nd Amendment affirm and INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Hatcher's Notebook"....BUY IT!

Carteach0 has a review over on his blog about this book. After reading the review, and his recommendation, I ordered the book from Amazon. It got here a week or so ago, and I've been reading it in my "spare" time.
It's just fascinating.
Besides giving the history of machine guns, and semi-automatic rifles, it also has a lot of practical information, including the first explanation of "headspace", with drawings, that I actually understood.
And a lot of other interesting things, too, like "Experiments with Barrel Obstructions", "Gun Corrosion and Ammunition Developments", and more charts, tables, illustrations, and photographs than you can shake a stick or three at.
Truly and amazing work, and a definite "Must Have" if you're at all interested in the technical aspects of guns, ammo, and shooting.
I give it a "Five".

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Project Day

Well, since it's raining, and supposed to keep up all day and tomorrow, I finally got started on the project I'm helping my radio buddy with.
I would have started last night, but I gave a presentation to my radio club on "The History of Coaxial Cables and Connectors". It was supposed to be about just connectors, but the more I got into it as I was writing it, the more I realized it was important to go into the details of the cable itself, and how it related to the various connectors used.
It was a rousing success, even though I didn't think it was up to my 'usual standards' of a presentation.
But then it was for my radio club, and not my job!
So far I've unsoldered the headers from an Arduino board and an LCD board, and cut a piece of perfboard to use for the "interface" to the Outside World.
Now I have to get out my Dremel and cut a slot in the plastic enclosure to pass the ribbon cable from the display to the Arduino, and drill a few holes for the "Select" push button, the contrast adjust pot, and the camera shutter release cable.
Then I'll just solder the parts together, snap the box together, program it, test it, and then hook it to my Nikon D200 to see if it works "As Advertised".
Pictures to follow.....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"First Responder" Class

GROAN.....I thought it was going to be my First Aid/CPR class, but it's not.
Since we store and use lots of Horrible, Nasty, Toxic stuff here, it's a HAZMAT First Responder class.

We have to be trained at the "FRO" level, so we're going over all the books and stuff about how to deal with spills and all the other things that go along with spilling Hazardous Material.

Believe me, if anybody spills any NTO or UDMH here, I'm heading UPWIND, and fast.

My head hurts.......

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Busy, Busy!

Haven't posted much because I've been so flippin' BUSY lately.
Got really started on getting my TS-950SDX ready to sell, and since that will leave me without any 'Knob Twistin" radios, I decided to set my Hallicrafters Boat Anchor station up to "keep the bench warm".
The Hallicrafters station consists of an SX-117 receiver, an HT-44 transmitter, a PS-150 Power Supply/Speaker, and an Electro-Voice 664 "Buchanan Hammer" microphone.
I really have to get them on the work bench and go through them, but I brought them up slooooow on a variac, and they work OK for now, but with with gear made back in the mid 1960's, there's always things that could use a tweak or two.
Besides, the 950 is "in the hospital" right now, and I only have one "bed"!

And I started helping one of my friends bring an Arduino project from "kinda-sorta" works to "that's the way it SHOULD work", and that's taking me some time to get up to speed on. I've done some things with Basic Stamps, and PIC's, but the Arduino is new to me.

Today I spent all freakin' day at work doing on-line training, and tomorrow I'll spend all day doing my First Responder class.
Nest week I retake my Red Cross First Aid and CPR training again, and get my new cards. It's nice to have for those Really Bad Days At The Range, and I hope to God I never need it for that!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hope and Change

The "Change" the morons who elected the Poser-in-Chief "Hoped" for sure didn't turn like they (or the rest of us) expected!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vehicle Maintenance

My front brakes were starting to squeak/squeal the other day, so I stopped at AutoZone and got some new pads. Then, since the only "floor jack" I have is one of those itty-bitty ones, I swung by Harbor Freight to get a bigger one. I looked at all the reviews for their aluminum "racing" jacks, and settled on the middle one, that goes for about $140. around to raising up my Jeep today, and low and behold, there's over HALF the pad left on each front caliper!
Not too shabby for 40k miles. I blew all the dust out, and put the wheels back on. I also replaced the hydraulic hood prop that had given up the ghost. The hydraulic props are nice, but they only last a few years before the pressure slowly bleeds out of them, and then they don't hold the hood open.
And I do NOT like getting clunked on the head by the hood, as it sinks sloooowly in the West!
Next project for the day is to clean up the electronics workbench, as one of my friends is bringing over a project he needs help with.
He's been working on an Arduino controlled intervalometer for his astrophotography hobby, and although he's a whiz at coding stuff, he "Can't solder for shit" according to himself!
Always glad to help a fellow Ham, but geez....knowing how to solder is a Rite of Passage for being an Amateur Radio Operator.
Or at least it should be......

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Saved One From The Landfill Today

A PC, that is.
Somebody gave me a c. 2000 HP Pavilion the other day, knowing full well that I wouldn't rest until it was running again.
It's a 667 MHz Intel Celeron (NOT my favorite CPU) with 256 MB of memory, a 40 gig hard-disk, and built-in everything. I'd worked on bunches of this identical machine before, and frankly, they were throw-aways six months after they were bought back then.
Besides the fact it only had one free PCI slot, it only has a 100 Watt power supply, for Pete's sake!
Aint no bad boy video card ever goin' in there!
I farted around for a few hours formatting the drive, and reinstalling Windows98. WELL......turns out there's some pretty severe limitations on what will run on Win98. The very latest version of Internet Exploiter is 6.something with Service Pack 1, the latest version of Java is 5.1, the latest version of Firefox is 2.0, and so on, and so on.
I finally threw in the towel and decided to put Linux on it, and be done with it. I tried several of the 'lightweight' distributions, but they all ran really sloooow. Even Win98 ran like greased lightning compared to some of them.
I decided to try "Puppy Linux", as I'd heard good things about it, and although it took me longer than it normally would to get a PC running Linux, now that it's finished, it runs very well.
This PC, along with a new keyboard, mouse, and refurbed monitor, will go to the minister that married my wife and I, and she'll turn it over to somebody in her church that can't afford a "new" PC.
And there's one less hunk of electronics off the street, and put back to good use.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bye Bye Facebook!

Just nuked my account.
I really don't care to use it, I'm tired of getting "Friend Requests" from people I don't know, and I just don't see a need for it in my life.

In case you're curious about how to *really* kill your account, go here and follow the instructions.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

You KNOW The World Is Upside Down....

.....When 911 "Truthers" accuse the 0bama "Birthers" of being conspiracy nuts.

Or so go the reader comments over at The Daily Bell.

My God.....what are they putting in the water over there?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Stupid Nissan Dipstick Tricks.....

The PLASTIC handle of the dipstick in my wife's 2005 Nissan Sentra has been broken for about a year or so now. Now why anybody in their right might, let alone a REAL "Engineer", would design this part with a 100%, NON-reinforced plastic handle is beyond me. The kind of plastic they use has been breaking more or less continuously since around 1998, and you'd have to be a real ding-dong to not change it.
It's been more of an annoyance than anything because I've had to use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull it out and check the oil, but in that category of "This'll work until I buy a replacement part", so we both kinda let it slide. I finally bought a new dipstick the other day, and figured while it was still light out, I'd pop the hood and install the new one.
It appears that the last time she had the oil changed, the moron who works there didn't realize the plastic handle of the stick was broken off, thought the dipstick was already out of the engine, and tried to jam another dipstick on top of it to 'check the oil'.
The previously reachable (broken) stick is now about 4~6" down inside the dipstick tube, and is barely visible, let alone grabbable.
Every little tool I have that might be able to reach down the tube and snag the stick just doesn't work.
I tried putting some Super Glue on the end of a chopstick, but the plastic is just too oily for the glue to hold.
One 'solution' I saw posted in a Nissan forum was to pressurize the crankcase with compressed air, which supposedly blows the stick out of the tube. I'll try that tomorrow, but I think this one's been stuffed down the tube too far to come back out with just a few p.s.i. of air, so I'm resigned to having to (carefully!) twist the dipstick tube out of the block, remove the dipstick, and then tap the tube back in.
That involves removing the heat shield over the exhaust manifold, a job best done after the car has sat over night.
I've read where they make an all-metal replacement dipstick, so that's next on the search list!

Still Here, Just Busy, Busy, Busy......

 Doing mostly home owner stuff. Cabinet hinges, hanging things for SLW, and trying to knock out a bunch of "little things", like m...