Well it’s been positively dead around here but fear not after this week things should start up again. Anyways since I have a little free time I thought I’d give my thoughts on a CLP I recently tried called Gunzilla.

One of my friends has been proclaiming it as pretty good stuff so I finally tried it. This stuff is pretty bloody awesome. The first thing to note is that Gunzilla is made from plant byproducts making it “all natural” or “organic” or whatever hippie name you want to attach to it. The bottom line is Gunzilla doesn’t have harsh chemicals common in cleaners. Better yet this CLP has very little smell; what little there is smells of vegetable oil.

So how does it clean? Pretty well. I took it after my AR-15 a couple nights ago to test it and the gun cleaned up pretty quickly. I will admit it wasn’t atrociously dirty by any means but it was the only gun that wasn’t cleaned so that’s what I had. Gunzilla cleaned it up very well although not noticeably better than most other cleaners on the market.

What Gunzilla did very well was lubricate. That stuff makes everything it touches turn into a slick and slippery mess. Of course this makes it less than fun to work with but it also means it will work great at reducing friction. I haven’t shot the AR-15 since cleaning it so I don’t know how well Gunzilla will hold up but I certainly will post my findings the next time I take the gun out.

Overall I’m impressed though. Somebody managed to make a CLP that doesn’t reek of chemical cleaner and it cleans. I’ll post a more proper review after trying it on more guns and getting some range time in with a gun cleaned with Gunzilla.

Seriously Guy, Come On

Thanks No Agenda for this story. OK it’s time to take a trip down to the asylum. Today we are visiting Venezuela where the local TV station ViVe TV is saying the earthquake in Haiti was caused by a super top secret United States weapon. Seriously you can’t even make this stuff up:

Citing an alleged report from Russia’s Northern Fleet, the Venezuelan strongman’s state mouthpiece ViVe TV shot out a press release saying the 7.0 magnitude Haiti quake was caused by a U.S. test of an experimental shockwave system that can also create “weather anomalies to cause floods, droughts and hurricanes.”

Wow I guess Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 was right! My favorite part is the fact that we decided that to use it on Haiti instead of a nation we actually have problems with such as North Korea or Iran.

Body Scanner Fail

Bruce Schneier linked to a video of a person sneaking bomb components pasted on of those fancy full body scanners the TSA wants to put everybody through.

The video is in German but you can tell what’s going on even without knowing the language the French fear.

If You Aren’t Doing Anything Wrong

You have nothing to hide. I found some chilling news that everybody already expected from Says Uncle. Apparently the TSA has been searching the electronic devices of travelers and going so far as to copy files and send them to third parties. From the link:

• In a span of just nine months, CBP officials searched over 1,500 electronic devices belonging to travelers. Under the current policy, they were not required to justify a single one of these searches.

• Travelers’ laptops are not the only devices at risk of being examined, detained, or seized by the government. In fact, cell phones were the most commonly searched and seized devices between October 2008 and June 2009.

• Other types of devices that were searched and detained during this time period include digital cameras, thumb drives, hard drives, and even DVDs.

• Between July 2008 and June 2009, CBP transferred electronic files found on travelers’ devices to third-party agencies almost 300 times. Over half the time, these unknown agencies asserted independent bases for retaining or seizing the transferred files. More than 80 percent of the transfers involved the CBP making copies of travelers’ files.

We need to have a chat for a second. When you have sensitive information it should be encrypted. A great tool to created encrypted partitions is TrueCrypt. It’s a great utility that even goes so far as to allow you to create hidden encrypted partitions in such a way you have plausible deniability should you be asked for the encryption key to a hidden partition (You can’t prove it’s there so they can’t hold you indefinitely if you say there isn’t one). On all of my computers my entire home directory is encrypted (Mac OS has a feature called FileVault that allows for easy home directory encryption). Furthermore important files are then put into a TrueCrypt partition.

Another option to consider when traveling with important and secure data is to not have it on any device you travel with. Put the information on a server and download it when you get to your destination. Some companies have started doing this practice. Nobody can get your data if it doesn’t exist.

Either way this is important and scary information. I know almost everybody assumed this was the case but it’s finally been confirmed. Encrypt everything, period.

ATF Beating Up on Legal Gun Shows

Scary but expected news via Snowflakes in Hell. There is an excellent write up over at theGun Rights Examiner. From the article:

Darwin Boedeker is the Texas Gun Shows (TGS) promoter. In a phone interview, he said that last Thursday, January 14, there was a meeting with Austin PD (APD), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the building lessee (HEB) and Andrew Perkel of Austin Market Place, who subleases the building from HEB and supports TGS.

At the meeting, Boedeker said the APD read off a “long list” of nuisance violations to the HEB representative. When Boedeker told everybody that these activities happened while another promoter hosted the gun show at that location–TGS began hosting shows November 2009–nobody else knew this.

Boedeker claimed that ATF and APD “intimidated” HEB into instituting a requirement that only dealers with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) can sell guns. Boedeker said APD invited the HEB representative “knowing he would crack.” That left two choices: cancel last weekend’s show on one day’s notice, or abide by FFL rule. Boedeker said that attendance was “horrible” last weekend, with 50 empty vendor tables and low attendance. He also said that 90% of those complaining about the new rule thought TGS was to blame.

Yes the ATF used it’s weight in an attempt to force a Texas gun show to ban private sales at the event. I guess this adds further credence to the ironic statement, “It’s OK I’m with the government; I’m here to help.”

Developer Kit Coming to Amazon’s Kindle

Now this is interesting. Amazon is planning to release a development kit for their Kindle. It’s going into beta next month, and I’m going to do everything I can to grab a copy (Assuming it’s a closed beta).

This will allow developers to write applications for the Kindle devices. This could be huge as it opens the possibility of adding readers for other e-book formats to the device. Of course there are restrictions:

Amazon has released some specifications and pricing details for prospective KDK developers. The max file size is set at 100MB, compared to the iPhone’s 2GB (just over 2,000MB) limit, but the Kindle shares Apples policy on restricting users from wirelessly delivering active content over 10MB on the Kindle’s 3G connection. Files larger than this will need to be transferred via USB.

Other restrictions include a ban on content deemed offensive, advertising or misuse of the user’s information, as well as a ban on voice over IP software and applications that supersede the Kindle’s basic functions.

Developers can also choose to provide small pieces of content (less than 1MB) for free, but are forced to charge for any larger content to pay for 3G data costs. Software creators can choose between a one-time purchase and a monthly subscription model for their content.

The need to make an application cost money if it’s over a certain size isn’t surprising to me. Every Kindle user gets access to free 3G. But that connection is really only free to you in the sense that you don’t pay a monthly fee. Every time you download a book part of the money you paid goes to Sprint or AT&T for the data transferred.

I’m rather worried that Amazon is planning such strict controls over the development process beyond the use of the 3G connection though. It seems like Apple made it OK to release a device where the manufacturer has to approve every applications for that said device. I really hate that idea and it’s part of the reason I don’t have an iPhone. I hate to see this kind of crap catch on.

But not matter how you slice it having an SDK for the Kindle is a pretty cool idea.

ATM Card Skimmers

Via Bruce Schneier’s blog we get some pictures of ATM card skimmers. Take a look at the pictures and you’ll see how hard it is to tell if you’re inserting your card into an ATM alone.

ATM skimmers are little devices that criminals attach to the card reader of an ATM. What it does is read the number from the card and somehow either store it for later retrieval or send the number to the criminal. It doesn’t interfere with the operation of the ATM so while the criminal gets your card number you simply get your money and receipt from the ATM. As the pictures in the linked article shows it’s very difficult to tell whether a skimmer as been attached to an ATM.

Sonny Crocket Will Be Proud

I’m sure many people reading this can figured out what I’m going to be talking about in this post by the title. The Firearm Blog has some information about the Vltor Fortis pistol.

First it’s going to be released in limited numbers. Only 700 of the Vice model and 500 of the Spec Ops model. Second the gun will use EAA Witness magazines, not actual Bren Ten magazines as they are more rare than unicorns. Finally, as I’ve mentioned before, the Fortis pistol will be officially called the Bren Ten as Vltor purchased the rights to the name.

Sadly the price will range between $1,099 and $1,299. That’s a lot of money to own a reproduction of an ’80’s legend (And by legend I’m talking about the magazines because as far as anybody is concerned they don’t exist).