A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for July, 2009

Greenpeace Proves Once Again Zealous Environmentalists are Dicks

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Greenpeace a group known around the world for pulling stunts such as ramming whaling vessels has taken time out of their busy schedules to prove once again how big of dicks they are…

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10297357-92.html

Some Greenpeace pricks broke into Hewlett Packard’s Palo Alto headquarters and painted the words “Hazardous Products” on the roof. This apparently was due to the fact that Hewlett Packard didn’t give a flying fuck that Greenpeace rated their company poorly on the so called green meter.

So let me get this straight. Greenpeace doesn’t like the practices of a company. They could simply not buy anything from that company and publicly berate them to prove their point. Of course this wasn’t radical enough to they revert to trespassing and vandalism instead. Furthermore the only people who are going to see this message are one flying overhead. To me this seems pointless since people flying overhead are already using a “non-green” form of transportation and hence probably don’t give a shit what Greenpeace things. If I were the head of Hewlett Packard I’d be suing Greenpeace for every penny I could squeeze out of them.

This guys are nothing more than low level terrorists. That’s right I said it, terrorists. If you don’t bend to their will they will take matters into the realm of property damage of physical attacks (I’m sorry ramming and potentially sinking a ship full of people in waters well below freeze, thus guaranteeing the death of the sunken ship via hypothermia, is a physical attack against those people). I don’t know how these guys don’t have federal agents crawling so far up their ass’ that they can taste them.

Here is a source of Greenpeace trying to ram a Japanese whaling vessel…

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4049

Written by Christopher Burg

July 29th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

BATFE Changes to Short Barreled Rifle Rules

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Snowflakes in Hell did a post looking at apparent changes in the BATFE rule book regarding pinned and welded extensions on barrels otherwise too short to avoid being labeled NFA weapons…

http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2009/07/28/pin-weld-no-longer-viable/

The BATFE hand book can be found here…

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/nfa/nfa_handbook/index.htm

In summary the newest version of the NFA hand book appears to have taken out language that would allow pinned or welded accessories on a barrel being added into the length measurement of the barrel. Hence if you have a 15″ barrel with a 1″ pinned or welded flash suppressor it would now be considered a short barreled rifle.

This could turn many law abiding citizens into instant felons since this method has been used by many people to make their otherwise too short barrel long enough.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 29th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

A Case Against a Gold Backed Economy

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I was reading Bruce Schneier’s block and came across an interesting story…

http://www.commodityonline.com/news/Swiss-banks-have-no-space-left-for-gold!-19698-3-1.html

Swiss banks are running out of space to put their gold. This is a larger issue than many would give it credit for since gold does take a lot of space and if you have a large quantity of it in one area you need to really secure it. I’m not talking just putting more guards around it but you need to fully secure it since criminals will be trying to steal that treasure trove of precious metals.

It’s an interesting thing to consider especially for those who want us to return to a gold based economy. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know enough about economics to determine if backing our money with gold is a good idea. I will say it seems smart to back your money with something of value though. And if you set each denomination of money to be valued a specific denomination of gold it would prevent stupidity like a government printing up $1 trillion to give away to people who helped cause a major economic recession. I’m just saying.

Source: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/07/swiss_security.html

Written by Christopher Burg

July 29th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Side Notes

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And Samuel Colt Made Them Equal

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Remember that saying that God made all men but Samuel Colt made them equal? I think this story exemplifies that…

http://www.click2houston.com/news/20153320/detail.html

An 18 year old man decided he was going to steal a 74 year old man’s car. Normally the 18 year old would win any such fight due to the advantages of youth. But when Martin Baltazar put a knife to August Peters’s throat and attempted to steal his car he wasn’t expecting the aged man to whip out a gun. Furthermore I don’t think Mr. Baltazar expected the old man to shoot him.

Once again an average citizen uses a gun to stop a crime. But of course the gun banners would have you believe that Mr. Peters should have just surrendered his keys. After all criminals who are willing to put a knife to your neck certainly wouldn’t be willing to kill you even if you gave up your keys right? I mean getting rid of a witness was never a concern of a criminal… oh wait.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 29th, 2009 at 5:04 am

Captain Obvious Says Texting While Driving is Bad

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In the realm of no shit Sherlock we have this study…

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10296992-94.html?tag=nl.e703

Apparently texting while driving increases your chances of crashing 23 fold. Who knew? I mean come on how can doing something that makes you take your eyes off the road increase your chances of having an accident? Man I’m glad this study was done to finally put this argument to rest.

If you couldn’t tell that last sentence was sarcasm.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 29th, 2009 at 4:54 am

Posted in Darwin's Duty

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The Things You Learn

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Just an interesting side note here. But I’m listening to episode 573 of Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy and Leo mentioned he couldn’t see in stereo. I thought that was interesting because I also have that issue and only know of a couple other people who also have that problem.

I guess it’s not as rare of an issue as I thought.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 29th, 2009 at 3:11 am

Web Development Made Awesome

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I’m doing some web development for work currently and have decided that there are two tools all web developers need to know. The first is Django…

http://www.djangoproject.com/

Django is an amazing web development framework. Think of it as Ruby on Rails but for Python. The Django framework allows you to do all you server side work in Python which to me make it an amazing tool. And get this unlike many development tools out there Django is very well documented. Their web page has a good tutorial for starting off to top off the documentation.

Then there is jQuery…

http://jquery.com/

jQuery is a JavaScript widget library. It let’s you “AJAXify” your site easily for buzzword compliance and make designing the page interface very easy. But I think the best part is that the data presented by jQuery will display if a visitor has disabled scripting. Granted the information won’t look nearly as pretty but it will display.

These two tools have made web development very easy on me.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 28th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Posted in Technology

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Vltor Weapon Systems Acquire Bren Ten Name

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Good news courtesy of The Firearms Blog…

http://vltor.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/but-i-read-it-on-the-internet/

For those of you out of the loop Vltor has been working on a project they dubbed the Fortis Pistol. This was a recreation of the Bren Ten which was a pistol made for the newly introduced 10mm cartridge. Many companies have tried to bring back the Bren Ten and because of these failures there is a joke about the curse of the Bren Ten.

I’ll be honest here I’ve been watching the Bren Ten because I watched way too much Miami Vice back in the day. The Bren Ten was the gun carried by Sonny Crocket in the first few seasons (actually it was a modified Bren Ten). Anyways it looks like Vltor is taking this project very seriously which is good to see.

Source: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/07/28/baby-the-bren-ten-is-back/

Written by Christopher Burg

July 28th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Unibody MacBook Pro 15″ Review

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A month or two ago (I’m bad with time estimates) I finally broke down and decided I needed a new laptop. For perspective my old laptop is a PowerBook G4 with a 15″ screen. It held out but after four years it has finally become too slow for daily use. For instance it can not reliably run YouTube movies and Skype at the same time. On top of this Apple and will not support the PowerPC processor with the next Mac OS version by the looks of it.

Being a UNIX addict I looked at two options. The first was a cheap netbook which I’d put Linux on and the second was another Mac. I ended up getting a Mac since my last one ran so well and netbooks doesn’t have the power to run virtual machines which I use daily at work. I settled on the cheapest unibody MacBook Pro with a 15″ screen. I didn’t find the slight increase in processor speed not a higher end graphics card which I’ll never use on a laptop worth the extra money and honestly I find 15″ to be the perfect balance between portability and screen real estate.

First off I’ll zip through the feature list. It’s pretty must the same features you find on most laptops these days. It has build in 802.11n draft WiFi, Bluetooth, CD/DVD RW (it supports every format of DVD RW I’m aware of),two USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 800 port, 1 gigabit Ethernet port, an audio in jack, and audio out jack, webcam, microphone, and SD card slot, and finally a connector for an external monitor. The laptop itself is made of aluminium and is very thin and lights for a 15″ laptop.

The first thing I want to note is the battery. The battery is integrated so you can’t easily pull it out and swap in another battery when it’s out of juice. This may be a huge problem for many people and honestly I thought it would be one for me. But with the screen a full brightness while using WiFi I can easily get five and a half hours out of the battery so long as I’m not running a virtual machine. This satisfies my power requirements but may not satisfy those who have to be on a ten hour flight without access to one board airplane power. I will note replacing the battery itself is easy, all you have to do is pull off the back plate (just a series of Philips head screws) and it’s right at the trackpad end of the body. Overall I’m amazed at the battery life this thing gets since I’ve not had a laptop yet that could manage five hours with the screen brightness all the way down and WiFi disabled.

The next thing to note is the screen, it’s gorgeous. The color definition is great and the LED back lighting makes the image on the screen appear as if it’s painted on. With that said the screen is also incredibly glossy. Although this makes the picture look nicer it also reflects everything behind it. You can see yourself if the screen image is dark and any light source will glare on the screen. Although I find this to be a disadvantage normally I haven’t really had an issue with it. This could be due to the fact I’ve had a glossy screen laptop in the past and learned to angle the screen in such a way that any light sources behind me aren’t reflecting off of the screen. Honestly though if the screen image consists mostly of lighter colors (blues and white let’s say) you won’t notice the reflection.

Then there is the keyboard. It uses chiclet style keys. Apple has been transitioning to this type of keyboard since the MacBook was first introduced. The MacBook pros were the last series to have a regular keyboard until the unibody ones were released. Personally I haven’t no issues typing on either setup so I haven’t noticed any problem. The keys are also back lit so when you’re in a dark area the letters on the keys will glow a soft blue. I had this feature on my previous two PowerBooks and absolutely love it. Although I touch type and therefore never look at the keys the back lit keys are just cool looking.

Just under the keyboard is the trackpad. I know there usually isn’t much to say about trackpads but the one on the new MacBook Pros is fairly unique. First of all it’s made of etched glass instead of plastic. The idea here is that is won’t wear down (get shiny) like plastic trackpads eventually do. Until I’ve had the laptop for a year I’ll not notice this though. I do notice the trackpad feels smoother under my finger and it’s easier to do really minute movements with it. The second thing to note about the trackpad is that is doesn’t have a button at the bottom of it. Instead the entire trackpad presses down as a button. This allows for using gestures which the new MacBook Pros make heavy use of. For instance tapping on the trackpad works as a regular left click while tapping on the trackpad with two fingers works as a right click. Moving two fingers up, down, left, or right works as a scroll wheel would. Swiping with three fingers navigates though program specific objects (documents, pictures, files, etc.). Swiping up with four fingers reveals the desktop and swiping down with four fingers shows all the windows open on the current desktop. Finally you can zoom in and out using a pinch motion with two fingers. These features do speed up navigation quite a bit.

One last thing I’ll cover on the generic features list is the external monitor port. The new MacBook Pros use a mini DisplayPort connector instead of regular DVI or VGA connectors. This means if you want to hook up to any monitor besides Apple’s current 24″ Cinema Display you’ll need to get an adapter. I will warn you the mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter doesn’t have connectors for the four pins by the “blade” nor a connector for the vertical “blade” pin (bear with me I’m trying to use a little technical jargon as possible). So make sure to check your DVI connector before picking up Apple’s official adapter.

This laptop has plenty of processing power for my needs. It comes equipped with a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. This is roughly equivalent to my desktop which has two 2.66 GHz dual core Xeon Woodcrest processors. This translates to plenty of speed for running multiple virtual machines and anything else you would normally want to do with a laptop. It also comes with 4GB of RAM which is on the low end side for my uses but it can be upgraded to 8GB (Note never buy official Apple RAM. Always get the bare minimum Apple sells and upgrade the RAM using any decent and cheaper RAM such as Kingston or Crucial. You’ll get all the advantages with half the cost). I’ll probably upgrade the RAM sometime down the road.

I did upgrade the hard drive in this thing already. It came with a 5400 RPM 250GB drive so I went with a Western Digital 7200 RPM 320 GB drive. It’s faster and has more space. Likewise upgrading the drive yourself saves you money over ordering a larger and faster drive from Apple (I got my drive for $80.00 on Newegg while Apple wanted $100.00 for the upgrade). The drive still seems slow compared to my four drive RAID on my desktop but it gets the job done. Do note if you want to lay down some serious coinage you can put in a solid state drive which I hear greatly speeds up the drive read and write times.

I’m not going to review Mac OS since other people have done that to death. Needless to say everything runs acceptably fast (no computer is “fast enough” in my book) for what I need. I can run two virtual machines simultaneously without much issue. The only reason I can’t run three is because the hard drive begins to choke under all the read and write accesses. Aperture works great without any real noticeable slow down as well. Overall I love this machine so far and look forward to four more years on it (hopefully).

Written by Christopher Burg

July 27th, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Gadgets and Gizmos

Tagged with ,

Mouse Guns

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A couple weeks ago I came into possession of a Ruger LCP. Most of you have seen these by now it’s a tiny .380 automatic that holds 6+1 rounds. I finally found the casings and bullets to reload for it and will have a pocket holster here in a bit. But coming from a man who normally carries a Springfield XD Compact in .45 automatic I’ve been asked what I want with a mouse gun.

There are a couple reasons. The first and foremost is to have a back up gun. Most people have mentioned to me that a back up gun should be a snubby since they have a very low rate of failures. In general I agree with this idea. Snub nose revolvers are very light, small, and reliable. But they are also fatter than a semi-automatic pistol due to the cylinder. And this is where my problem with carrying a snubby resides, I can’t conceal it very well. I wanted my back up to fit into my pants pocket and not print. The LCP does this well. Furthermore the LCP is shaped in such a way that I can easily extract it from my pocket without it snagging on anything.

There is another advantage to having a gun that fits flawlessly in a pocket. If somebody wants my wallet and I happen to have my shirt tucked in over my in waste band holster I first have to pull my shirt up to gain access to my gun. This of course takes time, time which can cost me my life. Meanwhile reaching into my pocket seems like a natural motion since I could be getting my wallet. By the time it turns out I was getting my LCP the guy hopefully already had a couple rounds in him. This is a great advantage in my opinion since the chance of being mugged in a large city is pretty good.

Another advantage to semi-automatic pistols in my opinion is the profile of their reloading apparatus known as a magazine. While revolver speed loaders are cylindrical magazines are rectangular. Rectangular objects are easier to hide on your person since they present a flat side which doesn’t really print to anything noticeable. If somebody sees something cylindrical in your pocket they may think revolver while seeing something rectangular could be anything from a cellular phone to a wallet.

Finally I wanted a mouse gun so I had something to conceal at times when concealing a full sized pistol isn’t doable. For instance on a hot summer day it’s likely I’ll be in shorts and a t-shirt. Although I can conceal my full sized pistol in my normal shorts it certainly prints against my swim trunks. Meanwhile the little LCP drops right into the side pockets without any issue. Furthermore I don’t have as larger of a holster pressing against my skin making me sweat bullets.

Either way I love how the LCP fits my pocket and hand. Now that I have some ammunition components I can test it out this weekend and see how it shoots.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 27th, 2009 at 4:05 pm