Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Shooting my Mongol Bow with Bamboo Arrows

Back in 2012 I bought this late Mongol, Manchu-influenced horsebow from "handmadebow" on eBay. It draws 50# @ 28". The riser and siyahs (limb tips) are wood while the limbs are leather-covered fiberglass.

I've posted pictures of this bow before but these came out better.

Closeup of the riser. As you can see, it has no arrow shelf. You shoot off the hand with this bow.

The top siyah, which is rigid. Essentially, Asiatic bows like this one are static recurves. The small block of wood on the belly side of the siyah is a string bridge, and helps to give the arrow an extra little pop.

About 2 weeks ago, I ordered a half dozen bamboo arrows from another Chinese eBay seller, "arrowmaker2013." They are 28" long and I asked the seller to send arrows spined for a 45 to 50# bow. I don't know if he did any special selection or not, but they fly very well from my bow.

The arrows are well made and straight. They have some kind of varnish or shellac finish and are nice and smooth.

You can get these arrows with field points or bullet points, but I went for the 150 grain "broadheads," which have three edges. They are very pointy but the edges are dull, which is fine for target shooting.

These points should work well on small game. Or zombies. ;)

The feather fletching is glued on and also secured at the leading edge with thread. The self nocks are reinforced with thread. The thread goes up to the back of the fletching but is just decorative at that point.

I've been wanting to try bamboo arrows for awhile now. Some people refer to them as "nature's carbon fiber." They fly very well from this bow, at least as good as my Port Orford Cedar shafts from 3Rivers Archery. At about 12 yards, this is how far they penetrate into my block target:

Not shabby at all, IMO. Remember, this target is designed to stop broadhead-tipped arrows shot from a modern compound bow like my Quest Rogue. I have no doubt that properly placed arrow with a sharp broached fired from the Mongol bow would shoot through a deer's chest cavity at up to 20 - 25 yards.

Edit 11/26/15:

I shot the bow this morning after adding Mountain Man Beaver Ball fur silencers to the string. Since the bow normally gets unstrung after each session, I used some artificial sinew to secure each end of the silencers, which are just narrow strips of leather tanned with the fur on, that you wrap into and around the string. They got rid of the twang and now it's silent.

Aside from shooting the bamboo arrows, I also shot some POC cedars tipped with bodkins. It shoots both types well, but so I have a larger quantity of a matched set, I ordered another dozen of the bamboo arrows today.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Networking Lab Experiments

Today I went out and got a table to get my rack of Cisco gear off the floor. I first went to Lowe's and bought a 5 foot long folding table but it turned out to be a little too long, so I returned it. I wound up getting a Husky portable workbench at Home Depot. It seems quite sturdy and I'll probably get a good amount of use from it, and not just to hold up old networking gear.

(There's a mirror on the wall behind the Cisco gear, courtesy of our house's original owners. It'll be replaced with drywall when we redo the room.)

The power strip that everything is plugged into came from Lowe's this morning. It's their Utilitech house brand and has two USB ports for charging devices. I should be able to power a Raspberry Pi off it.

I was working on switch configuration, including VLANs, so I wanted to have more than one computer so I could verify connectivity between hosts was working (or not working, depending on how things were setup). So, I dragged out my old MSI Wind netbook, running Windows 7.

Well, something is hosed up with the networking on it so I decided to dual boot it with Lubuntu Linux. Nowadays my work with Windows is infrequent enough that fixing issues is more of a PITA than it should be, so I figured that Linux would be less trouble.

All my config work was performed using the MacBook Pro, accessing the switch through ZOC and a console cable.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Some Hands-On Cisco Troubleshooting Today

Today I got to put into practice at work some of the stuff I've been reading up on. I was configuring the integrated lights-out management ports on some HP DL360 servers, but could not access them over the network. The network engineer I work with gave me access to the Cisco 4948 switch that the servers are connected to, and I experimented with port speed and duplex settings to no avail.

I pulled up the running config and noticed that the VLAN trunk port from the switch back to the Juniper MX480 router we're using was misconfigured. The original port config looked like this in part:

interface TenGigabitEthernet1/49
 switchport trunk allowed vlan 100-103
 switchport mode trunk

It should have looked like this:

interface TenGigabitEthernet1/49
 switchport trunk allowed vlan 100-104
 switchport mode trunk

Difference in bold.

In other words, van 104, which carries the iLO traffic, wasn't being trunked back to the router, so it wasn't accessible from anywhere else on the network. As soon as I added vlan 104 to the trunk port I was able to ping the iLO ports from outside that vlan.

I have to say, I feel pretty good about myself for catching that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cisco Lab

The equipment I ordered to use in my CCNA studies arrived yesterday. As expected, the switches and routers show some wear but overall, they look to be in good shape. The 12U rack is new and went together without too much trouble. It came with a bag of 8x32 rack screws.

I mounted the three Catalyst 2950 switches at the bottom. Incidentally, the auction description said that they would be 24-port switches, but as you can see from the picture, I was shipped 48-port units. I suspect that's what the seller had handy.

Because of how Cisco designed the 1841 router case, I mounted them backwards in the rack so that I have easy access to the ports. I decided to leave 1U between them for routing the power cords. I still have room for a couple more devices such as a server or a 1U power strip.

ASSuming I get the CCNA, if I go on towards my CCNP I'll probably replace at least one of the 2950s with a Layer 3 switch that can route traffic between VLANs. That's a little while down the road, however.

I plan to fire up everything after work tomorrow.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

One of the challenges of a career in IT is keeping up to date and learning new skills. For the past 14 months or so, I've managed the primary lab/data center at my employer's corporate HQ, but have relied upon a couple other guys to handle the network. I'd like to take over the network, which mostly runs on Cisco equipment. So, I decided it's time to get my CCNA certification as a way to get my feet wet.

For texts, I went with Wendell Odom's CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Certification Library. Additionally, the Free CCNA Workbook site has a variety of lab exercises to do.

Although I'll be able to work on real equipment I felt it would be prudent to learn on gear completely separate from my lab network. My first step was to download and install the GNS3 router emulator on my laptop. I was able to find some usable Cisco images by exercising my Google-fu.

But I also wanted physical hardware to bang on. eBay is full of used Cisco gear. This post on Reddit was helpful in deciding what to buy (and what to avoid). Using that, I ordered a kit off eBay containing three Catalyst 2950 switches and three 1841 routers, plus various cables and T1 WICs, and a desktop rack.

One thing you need when working on initial device configuration and sometimes for troubleshooting is a console cable. Most laptops no longer have a serial port, so I and my coworkers have been relying on USB-to-RS232 adapters, mostly the Keyspan USA-19HS. However, I recently found FTDI chipset based USB-to console cables and got one of them. So far, it's been working fine in OS X Yosemite and El Capitan.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Framers of the Constitution Accepted Private Ownership of Fully Armed Warships

One of the canards trotted out by anti-gunners after every mass shooting is that the Framers could not have envisioned the power of modern weaponry, so that the Second Amendment does not protect civilian ownership of "assault weapons." All you need to refute that argument is that the Framers did indeed accept the private ownership of military weapons is to point out Article One, Section Eight, Clause Ten of the Constitution:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Emphasis added.

So what is a Letter of Marque and Reprisal? Essentially, it was a government license to attack, capture, and sell enemy ships. The letter of marque is what distinguished a privateer from a pirate. In order to do that, you need an armed ship yourself. Letters of marque weren't issued to US Navy ships, they were issued to the private owners ships who would outfit them for privateering, including naval artillery.

In the 18th and 19th Centuries, an armed warship was the closest thing extant to a weapon of mass destruction. And we haven't discussed the private ownership of artillery on land or inland waterways, which was common through the 19th Century. E.g., flat boat-mounted swivel guns used by fur traders in the West.

So can we agree that the Second Amendment does protect the right to own military weaponry, just as the First Amendment protects your right to spout uninformed bullshit on the Internet?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Free Book Download from Sparks 31

I've been following Sparks 31's blog for awhile now, and bought his book Communications for 3%ers and Survivalists. He's decided to make the full text of that book and his other tome, The Modern Survivalist available as one PDF, for free.

It's worth a gander.