Monday, June 27, 2005

It's already started

(Tip of the hat to Mad Ogre.)

FREEPORT - With Thursday's Supreme Court decision, Freeport (TX) officials instructed attorneys to begin preparing legal documents to seize three pieces of waterfront property along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for construction of an $8 million private boat marina.

Linky.

The more I think about the SCOTUS decision in Kelo v. New London, the more steamed I get. By allowing a municipality to condemn unneglected private property so that it can be transferred to another private entity for the benefit of the state, the court has taken a step towards a kind of national socialism. Not Nazism as practiced in German 1933 - 1945, but an alliance of governmental and corporate interests with individual civil rights -- such as they are allowed to exist -- made subservient to the state and its corporate partners.


Unless something is done by the executive or legislative branches of the Fedgov, I see things turning ugly. Very ugly.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Is it time yet?

SCOTUS has been on a roll, lately. Recently, we had the Raich decision, in which the Court took the line of “reasoning” from the egregious Wickard v. Filburn, and ruled that Congress may regulate the use of home-grown marijuana under the Interstate Commerce Clause. The Interstate Commerce Clause. What. The. Fuck.

Now, the Court has gone and put some more White Out on the Fifth Amendment. In Kelo v. New London, it ruled that a municipality may exercise the power of eminent domain in the event that it decides that, basically, because it can get more tax revenue from a commercial property than a residential property, it wants to take away your house and let a developer turn it into an office complex. Property rights? Hah!

And of course, even before Raich, SCOTUS ruled that the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act is not an unconstitutional infringement upon our free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

Are they trying to make it Claire Wolfe time?

Coming Home

HITEC wrapped Thursday. Yesterday and today were slow, and I got to wander the show floor some more and talk to a couple of other exhibitors. I spoke with a couple who may be able to help out with issues I’m working on, such as centralized content filtering systems and alternative ways to bring an Ethernet connection to a hotel room without CAT5 cabling.

After the exhibits closed at 1500, I packed all my stuff in a box and gave it to the guy in charge of packing up out booth. I asked him to ship it back to me via Fedex 2nd day air. I then headed off to LAX to turn in my rental car, get dinner, and wait for my flight at 2215 (ugh).

Note to the TSA asshats at LAX: You people are fucking morons. When I got off the Avis shuttle there was a 100 yard long line outside the terminal. I ASSumed this was the line to check in. Wrong. Rather, it was the line to go through security. I didn’t find this out until I was inside, where there was a sign indicating that you were in the line to go through security. So, I figured out where the check-in line was (since I had to check a bag), got through that, then got back in the security line. How hard is it to put up a goddamn sign to tell people what the line was for????

I supposed I should be grateful I didn’t get picked out for the anal probe search. It’s probably because with my beard I look Semitic, and Lord knows, only blued-eyed blonde Norwegian grandmas hijack airplanes.

One good thing: I got an aisle seat instead of the middle seat I originally had.

Of course, they had to then go and issue me a boarding pass telling me to go to gate 8, then change it to gate 12 without announcing it for hours and I wound up finding out on my own.

It was depressing to have to queue up like a good little subject, take my laptop out of my bag, take off my shoes, and go through the metal detector. It’s bullshit that I can’t take a pocketknife or my Gerber Multiplier in my carry-on bag anymore. Never mind the fact that with the example of 9/11 in memory, should some towelhead try to hijack a plane with a knife he’d get beaten into a bloody pulp by the rest of the passengers. No, we are better off as unarmed sheep. Then, of course, there’s the papiern, bitte, routine. All that’s missing are the jackboots and leather coats, because God help you if you complain. The days when I’d fly somewhere for a vacation are long gone.

After finally getting through security, I went into a bookstore and picked up Heinlein’s Tunnel in the Sky, which I’ve somehow not read yet, then had dinner at a Gordon Biersch (sp?) mini-brew pub in a food court. Their Blonde Boch beer is very good.

After downing my beer I made my way to the gate from which my flight departed, and camped out. The only Internet access in LAX’s Terminal 1 is either via kiosks ot a Boingo hotspot. Since I’m not going to shell out $9.95 for Boingo, this will be posted Friday or Saturday. (Note to LAX: Ft. Lauderdale airport offers free wifi. Yet another reason I’d rather go to Florida for warm weather than the People’s Republic of Kalifornia.)

Edit: Well, damn. It took me only a few minutes to get my bag once back in Philly. It usually takes almost an hour.

Thoughts on L.A.

(Warning, pent up blogging about to be unleashed.)

I am not real impressed with Los Angeles. It’s too big and spread out, there are tons of homeless people wandering around, and the traffic is as bad as New York City or Washington, DC. On top of that, the town rolls up the sidewalk early.

The L.A. Convention Center is nice, but whoever designed the parking garage was on crack. There’s a lot of wasted spaced.

Parking in L.A. seems reasonably priced, but I’m used to Philly, which is on the expensive side. Gas is more expensive in L.A., though. Jersey has worse drivers.

LAX is huge, bigger than Philadelphia Intl. I got my bags in about 20 minutes when I flew into LAX, which is definitely better than PHL (when flying into PHL I count myself fortunate if I get my bag in less than an hour). The signs for getting to the rental car return could be better. I got mixed up and had to drive around a bit until I got where I needed to be, so it’s good thing I got to the airport with too much time to kill.

The terminal in LAX is busy, crowded and loud.

Good thing: L.A. has some very hot women, but then so does Philly.

Did I mention L.A. traffic sucks?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

HITEC Update

HITEC is going well. We attracted a ton of visitors to our booth yesterday, although today was slower. Since we had fewer visitors I had more of a chance to wander the show floor, talk to other exhibitors, and pick up some schwag. The most useful freebie I got was a Tripplite 3-prong outlet ground tester. I had one of these when I was still in the field, but since I turned in my toolkit when I transferred downtown, I haven't gotten around to buying a replacement. Now, I don't need to.

One problem we've run into is that the wifi hotspot I setup keeps going up and down. The problem is interference from the other 40 or so vendors' hotspots, and basically there's nothing I can do about it. There's a finite number of channels we can use and nobody is coordinating who's using what, so all the WAPs are contending for the same frequencies. Most visitors to our booth are more interested in our video-on-demand product, so it's not a big deal. I did recommend, however, that at future shows we run a CAT5e drop to the laptop "hotspots" to avoid wireless issues entirely.

I got a chance this morning to check out a relatively new commercial-grade powerline Ethernet solution, which could potentially replace our Ethernet-over-coax in some deployments. We're going to arrange for a demo unit, so I'll get a chance to kick the tires on it.

The one thing that's annoying the hell out of me this trip is that the Sheraton Downtown LA does not have high speed access in all the rooms, despite what we were told. They have wifi in about 20% of the rooms and the lobby. The remainder of the rooms only have dialup; my room is in the 80% without wifi. To an Internet addict like myself that's like depriving a junkie of his fix.

The show wraps up tomorrow. I'm flying home tomorrow night on the redeye, and Friday is Judith's and my wedding anniversary, so I doubt I'll be able to post any updates for a couple of days.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Made it to California

After a slightly delayed takeoff I made it to Los Angeles intact, navigated my way through L.A. traffic, and checked in at the Sheraton on South Hope Street. It seems like a nice hotel but the only high speed Internet access is a hotspot in the lobby. What a PITA.

Tomorrow I'll head over to the convention center to set up my hotspot. In the interim, local time is about 10 to 9:00 PM, but I'm still on Philly time, so it feels like it's almost midnight. So, I'm going to cut this short and get some sleep.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Blogging will be light/non-existent this weekend

Today I'm heading up to the Bronx to see my grandmother, who's in the hospital after having a heart attack earlier this week. The last update I got last night was that her doctors are going to attempt bypass surgery on Tuesday. She's 90 and her health has been going downhill for the last three or four years, so I'm not really optimistic.

Assuming nothing bad happens in the next 24 hours, I'm flying out to L.A for HITEC tomorrow afternoon. I plan to spend the morning with Judith and the girls, since I'll be gone until Friday.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac

I really wanted to like NeoOffice/J, the Mac OS-X native port of OpenOffice.org. As long as I didn't need to exchange documents with MS Office users, it works OK. However, I haven't been using it that long and already I've run into issues with file corruption when saving a word processing file in .doc format. On top of that both versions of the open source office suite are dog slow. So, I went ahead and loaded MS Office 2004 on the iBook.

Office for Mac gives me excellent compatibility with Windows Office users and runs a lot faster on my hardware. Office for Mac is generally nicer than Office for Windows, actually, in appearance and feel.

I also configured Entourage to talk to my employer's Exchange (barf) server, so I'm not confined to webmail when on my Apple. Entourage has a nice feel to it, and my first impression of some of the features, like Projects, is favorable, but it does have a major bug. Specifically, it's almost guaranteed to corrupt your calendar. So, I disabled calendar sync. Fortunately, Microsoft is planning to release a big service pack later this Summer which should fix this issue, as well as enhance functionality of the addressbook, e.g., let you search through an Exchange server's Global Address List. ASSuming the SP works as promised I may be able to migrate completely to the iBook and keep my Dell D600 in my desk drawer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Going to California

My employer is sending me out to Los Angeles next week to attend HITEC, a trade show for the hospitality industry. I'll be setting up a wifi hotspot in our booth and be there to field questions regarding our full-blown hospitality solution. I'm flying out Sunday afternoon and taking the redeye home Thursday night.

Since I'm setting up only a hotspot, all I'm planning to unbox are an IP3 Netaccess box, and a Netgear WAP. We normally use SMC WAPs, but due to the issues I've previously discussed here, I'm using a Netgear ME103 802.11b box.

The sales group is supplying two laptops which will be in our booth and connected to the hotspot. Since it'll be me who gets to fix them if something goes tits up, I spent some time this morning burning some CDs:
I also backed up to CD all the show-related docs I may need, along with documentation and firmware for the IP3 and Netgear. Finally, I plan to bring an XP Pro disc and a few blank CD-Rs with me, just in case.

Aside from the network hardware, I also packed several Ethernet patch cords, a surge suppressor, and a Netgear FVS318 router in the box which will I'll ship out tomorrow. Coming with me in my luggage will be my Gerber Multiplier and Victorinox Cyber Tool 41. (Dumbass bullshit TSA rules that I have to stow these in luggage. Only four years ago and they would've been with me in my carried-on laptop bag.)

I'll be working the booth for about 2.5 hours each day, so I'll have some time to kill. Time to look up what's to do in L.A. if you're not into the celebrity scene. I figure I'll check out the Labrea Tar Pits, since when I was a kid I wanted to be a paleontologist, and I may as well check out Fry's while I'm out there.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Enough play, back to work

Since I got to play yesterday, today I had to work around the house.

My electrician friend came over and installed an attic fan for me. While he was here and we were on the roof, I cleaned the gutters on one side of the house and trimmed back some branches that we overhanging the roof. I'm hoping this will keep the gutter on the right side of the house from getting clogged as quickly.

Afterwards, we went over to my folks where he fixed a recessed lighting fixture in their den. It's probably as old as the house, and the socket burned out. It isn't the kind of socket you can normally find at Lowe's but we found something close, and he was able to get it working again.

Range report

Yesterday I went up to Water & Wings and met a bunch of the guys from The High Road, The Firing Line, Battlerifles.com, and AR15.com.

I brought my Bulgarian AK, M1891/30 Mosin-Nagant, Marlin Camp .45, Ruger P90, and Bulgarian Makarov (which I wound up not shooting). The AK and Mosin worked great, as expected. I was popping clay birds offhand at 50 yards with the Mosin, shooting 1961-vintage Soviet surplus 7.62x54R light ball. This stuff is corrosively primed and some of the filthiest-burning stuff I've ever fired. But, it was cheap and I don't mind a little cleaning. I made sure to run a couple of patches wet with Windex through the bore to flush out the corrosive primer salts, then followed with a couple of patches wet with Hoppe's No.9. I let it soak for a few hours and when I finished up cleaning last night, didn't have to do much.

The Mojo rear sight which I installed on the AK is a major improvement over the regular open notch rear sight, and as a bonus, I didn't even need to adjust it to sight it in. My AK will probably get another red dot sight, but the Mojo unit gives me a good rear sight that won't break or need batteries. Highly recommended.

I ran into a couple of problems with the Marlin. I tried a Chip McCormick 10 rounder and it gave me some failures to feed. This mag has caused problems with the gun in the past, so I'll reserve it for my Springfield M1911, which seems to like it. Then, after about 10 shots through the gun, the cheap POS BSA red dot sight went tango uniform. I was shooting at clay birds placed on the 50 yard berm when I noticed that my rounds were impacting about three feet higher than where I was aiming and where I called the shots. I'd had the gun out before with the red dot and ran about 100 rounds through it, so it looks like the life span of the $30 BSA special is about 110 rounds of .45 ACP. I don't really care, because I got the sight for free, but it was a hassle. So, last night after getting home I mounted the Bushnell red dot sight formerly on my AR-180B onto the Marlin. That should hold up better.

One of the highlights of yesterday was meeting and getting to chew the fat with TheGeekWithA.45. He let me run a magazine through his Camp .45, which he'd fitted with a 21# Wolff mainspring, as described here. My gun has a 16# spring, but I'm going to order the 21# unit. It reduces the already mild recoil to almost nil, as as Geek said, no more "gunschmutz" in my face.

The other highlight for me was getting to try my new Ruger P90 for the first time. I am extremely pleased with it. It's accurate and ran 116 rounds of Sellier & Bellot .45 ACP ball without a hitch. The Ruger seems to soak up recoil better than my Springfield, although it's probably a little lighter. My hand was less fatigued after shooting the Ruger than it is when shooting the 1911. Once I run a couple more boxes of ammo through it the P90 will probably become my house gun.

I can think of few better ways to spend a Saturday than in the company of a bunch of gunnies.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bourbon

I try to have one drink a day for my cardiovascular health. It seems to work well for my grandfather who's 88 years young and it gives me an excuse to have a snort. Generally, I'll have either a beer or bourbon on the rocks with a splash of water.

I've become something of a bourbon snob in the past couple of years. I used to prefer Jim Beam but awhile ago a friend introduced me to Knob Creek. What a difference! It's not just the alcohol content -- you can have 180 proof rotgut -- it's the smoothness. For example, good bourbons are aged longer and as a result, are smoother. After having Knob Creek for the first time I started trying different kinds of bourbon.

My top four so far are:

1. Knob Creek (aged 8 years, 90 proof). Two things about Knob Creek made an immediate impression on me. First is the texture. It's almost syrupy. Second, it has a nice, smoky undertone from the casks in which it's aged.

2. Labrot & Graham Woodford Reserve (aged 8 years, 80 proof). Woodford Reserve is a bit milder than Knob Creek and maybe a bit smoother, with a full taste. I rate it a close second.

3. Elijah Craig 12 year old (aged 12 years, ?? proof). I saw this on the shelf at the liquor store and felt I needed to give a 12 year old bourbon a try. It was very, very smooth and the taste wasn't as full as WR or KC. I don't remember the proof.

4. Baker's (aged 7 years, 107 proof). It's not as smooth as one through three, has a pretty good taste, and makes Knob Creek seem weak. Honestly, it's a bit much, although I have most of a bottle left and I'm not going to complain about finishing it.

Other's I've tried include Rebel Yell, which was pretty good although it's been several years, and Maker's Mark. I don't really care for the latter. Compared with other bourbons the taste seems "off" to my palate. Basil Hayden's (aged 8 years, 80 proof) was good, but I don't remember anything specific. Jim Beam Black (aged ?? years, ?? proof). For a mass market bourbon this is pretty good stuff. Judith picked up a bottle for me last year since she knew I was out of booze at the time. Not up to the small batch bourbons like one through four, but not bad. It gets bonus points for coming in a cool tin, which I now use to hold my spare change.

The next time I'm down in Maryland I want to sample some Henry McKenna, which comes in big pottery jugs. When my dad used to shoot at the Marriottsville Muzzleloader matches in the 70s, one of the prizes was a jug. The tradition was that the winner would have the first sip and then the jug would get passed around until coming back to him, and he'd get the last sip. (This was done after all the shooting was finished!) Dad says it's good stuff and my parents have an empty jug as a knick-knack in their family room.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What's going to trip up the GOP?

Kim duToit asks what we think the Republicans will do to shoot themselves in the foot during the next two years. I posted the following reply in his comments:

The biggest problem I see for the GOP transcends the different issues and can be summed up in one word: complacency. Karl Rove, et al., are watching the Democrats' orgy of self-destruction (e.g., moonbat ranting from Dean and Hitlery) and instead of offering a real viable alternative plan, are doing mostly nothing. When they do actually do something, it’s crap like expanding the PATRIOT Act or kow-towing to Vicente Fox.

How is the GOP working to slim the Fedgov? How is the GOP working to secure our borders? How is the GOP working to get past the gridlock in the Senate and get some more judges confirmed?

Just WTF is the GOP doing???

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Updates to The Shooters' Bar

I've made several updates to The Shooters' Bar (SM) tonight.

In doing so, I first tried out using NVU. Blecch. This program has promised but really needs some work. A couple problems I encountered include the unavailability of the "Font color" option and when I selected a block of text and tried to change it to "Body text," nothing happenned.

I wound up downloading Mozilla 1.7.8 onto the iBook and using Composer. It worked like a champ.

BitDefender Antivirus Trial Wrap Up

I've finished my 30-day BitDefender trial. In summary: I like it, but I won't be buying it because for my own use it isn't worth it. Were I setting up a corporate email server on Linux or *BSD for a client with Windows machines, I'd probably recommend it. There was a very noticeable decline in the amount of spam and viruses making it into my Inbox. That Said, since I mainly check email from my Mac, guarding against Windows viruses isn't a big deal, except for the time they take to delete.

Actually, I'm seriously considering going back to POP3 for building-tux.com anyway, using Pair's email server. Pair is in the process of upgrading their antivirus and antispam filtering, and I'm looking at taking advantage of them. Running my own server has been educational but at this point I don't really need it at home. I'm still pondering whether I want to do this.

Hmm...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Some thoughts on Apple's switch to Intel

Most of my readers are probably already aware by now that Steve Jobs announced on Monday that Apple will be switching from IBM's PowerPC CPUs to Intel x86 CPUs. Naturally, such a major architecture change has spawned a lot of Internet speculation, now it's my turn. :-)

In opinion, those who are looking forward to installing Mac OS onto a run of the mill PC clone are going to be disappointed. Jobs didn't say that Apple is going to transform the Mac into another PC. And just because Macs are now going to have Intel CPUs doesn't mean that the rest of their architecture will be PC-compatible.

There's a lot more to a PC than just an x86 processor. You have the North-bridge and South-bridge chipsets on the motherboard, plus all the associated circuitry for floppy drives (remember them?), USB ports, expansion slots, etc. I'd be surprised if Apple just goes ahead and adopts a PC-type motherboard.

Rather, I expect that in conjunction with the new CPU family we'll see a new Mac motherboard designed by Apple, one which won't be based on an open standard. The closed nature of Apple's hardware is a strength in one sense. The seamless fit between hardware and software on the Mac platform is possible because you have one entity in control of both. Naturally, the downside of this unitary control is a much smaller universe of software available for the platform.

Switching gears, the main reason for this switch almost certainly can be described in one word: laptops. Apple's top of the line PPC chip is the G5. Aside from IBM being unable to get the G5 to reach 3 GHz -- even with water cooling -- there are no G5 laptops. The G4 has been the top end for PowerBooks and iBooks. Laptops now outsell desktop computers, and if Apple couldn't get its flagship processor in a portable package, that's a marketing and PR problem of major proportions, regardless of the fact that 99% of users can get along just fine for now with a G4 laptop. But in computerland you always need to be able to bring out the New/Improved/Bigger/Faster product, or you're seen as lagging in the marketplace.

Looking to the future, as a recent Mac convert I'm hoping that the apps I've adopted will be made available for Mac/x86. Since those apps are largely open source -- Firefox, Thunderbird, NeoOffice/J, etc. -- I may be able to compile them from source myself should their respective developers not make pre-compiled binaries available.

The switch to x86 also brings with it the possibility of porting WINE to Mac OS. Aside from allowing existing Mac users to run Windows software, a properly-done MacWINE would ease the transition from Windows to Mac, much as it can for new Linux users. Unlike VirtualPC, which is a full blown hardware emulator which enables you to install Windows as an application under Mac OS, WINE Is Not an Emulator. It's a reverse-engineered implementation of the Windows APIs. Since it doesn't have to emulate hardware in software, performance should potentially be much better.

In any event, the next few years should be very interesting for us Mac users.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hell has officially frozen over

The rumors were true. Starting next year, Apple will be shipping Macs running Intel processors, and PowerPCs will be phased out by 2007.

MacNN has the report live from WWDC.

Holy crap!

Careful with that rack, Eugene

This morning I had an engineer for a video-over-IP-on-demand system we're looking at in our data center. He was to setup and demo the system. However, when we opened the equipment rack that the system came in, we were unpleasantly surprised. The front of the server mounted inside was missing the faceplate, the rack itself was bent in a few places, and the storage array's motherboard was half slid out the back of its chassis. Whoever shipped the thing either dropped it off the back of the truck, let something big hit it, or let the whole thing roll around in the back of the truck during transit. We documented the damage with a digital camera and the vendor will definitely be filing a claim with the shipper.

Despite the mess, it looks like the system will be usable. However, because they were a bit unclear on what we wanted to look at, they didn't ship a complete system as would be installed in a production deployment. So, he's returning tomorrow with some additional gear, and I'll get familiarized with it.

The system is based on a lot of open source software -- Linux, MySQL, Apache, Tomcat, and get this: Plan 9. That is sure something I'd never thought I'd encounter on the job.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Hotspots, yard sales, new toys, and parties

Friday I took the two Netgear WAPs out to our hotspot customer and replaced the SMCs we had onsite. Instant improvement -- not only could I get any of the wireless Windows clients online, but I noticed that the Netgears give better coverage. I'm not sure if they have a higher output or if the antennas are better, but I could see both WAPs in Netstumbler from either end of the building. In contrast, the signals from the SMCs would drop around the middle of the building. I so hope that I've finally put this one to bed.

Yesterday Judith and I had a yard sale, mostly to get rid of baby stuff and toys that the girls don't play with. We did pretty good: we sold one of our strollers, a travel swing, another less-portable swing, and some toys. We still have most of the clothes, so they got packed away in the crawlspace. Sometime in the Fall we'll join in a multi-family yard sale and hopefully unload some more stuff.

To publicize our yard sale, I placed an add for three days in our local paper, put up some signs, and placed an add on the Philly subsite of Craigslist.org. A woman who bought $30 of stuff said she saw the Cragislist ad, so it was definitely worthwhile. I'll definitely be using Craigslist again.

After the girls went to sleep for their afternoon nap, I put my AR-180B in a gun sock and went off to do some trading at Surplus City. I'd decided I was tired with it being so finicky as to the mags it likes, and I do have two other, reliable autoloaders in 5.56mm. Surplus City was willing to give me $400 for it so I fondled a few possible acquisitions: used Glock 20 (10MM) and Glock 21 (.45 ACP) and a CZ-83 in 9x18mm. I do like the big Glocks (better than the smaller Glocks, actually), and do have a hankering for a 10mm, but didn't feel like adding another caliber to the stable for now. The CZ-83 felt really nice and I can see picking one up in the future. I also looked at but didn't consider an FN FiveSeVen (5.7mm), due to the price of both the gun and ammo. I wound up getting a blued Ruger P90 in .45 ACP.

It took me a number of years to warm up to Ruger's centerfire autos. They have all the grace of a brick. However, they are generally dead nuts reliable, and in the case of those that my dad owns, quite accurate. I got to compare the P90 side by side with one of the new Ruger P345s, but the latter didn't fit my hand as well, and more importantly, feels too light for a gun in .45 ACP, IMHO. I could've bought a P90 in stainless steel but I like the look of blued steel better.

I'm going to do a little experiment with the Ruger. I normally use FP-10 or automatic transmission fluid as gun oil, and normally clean with Hoppe's No.9 powder solvent. I figure I'll put 500 rounds through the P90 while using only Ballistol to clean and lube the piece. FP-10, ATF, and Hoppe's are great products. But I'm always interested in alternatives, and I've heard very nice things about Ballistol from some end users, and it's less toxic than Hoppe's No.9.

Finally, we wrapped up the weekend by going to a 3rd birthday party for the daughter of the couple which introduced Judith and I.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hakko 4x21mm scope first impressions

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a Hakko 4x21mm scope for my Colt AR-15A3 from Personalsecurityzone.com. Although it's a flat-top, I decided on the carry handle-mount Hakko because for now I don't want to shell out more money for a BUIS. The scope came today. After S&H from NV to PA, the total cost came out to about $166.

Basically, this scope is the current production version of the old Colt 4x carry handle mount scope. IIRC, Hakko was Colt's OEM.

The Hakko came wrapped in a thin layer of foam packed in a cardboard box, along with a very generic instruction flyer, lens caps, and a lens cleaning cloth. After putzing with it for a minute or two I figured out how to mount it on my Colt.

The optics seem to be quite clear and the duplex reticle should allow precise aiming within the rifle's usable range. For a 21mm scope, it seems to have pretty good light gathering properties. After mounting it on my carbine I aimed at my kids' sandtable in the backyard. The sandtable was much more visible through the scope than through the irons. This was at about 8:45 PM, dusk.

I will post a follow up report after I get it to the range, which should be a week from Saturday.

Tomfoolery on the PA Gun Violence Commission?

Rather than going into details, check out GeekWithA.45's post on the matter. I posted a comment there with my idea for torpedoing this should it get introduced in Harrisburg.

More wireless aggravation

I spent all day yesterday in our lab testing new firmware on an SMC2555W-AG and two Netgear WG302 WAPs. (Our customer with the hotspot is still having problems.)

I found that the latest firmware for the SMC -- not available on their website, BTW -- does not fix the problems with Windows PCs inability to obtain an IP address after associating with the WAP. As before, my iBook works fine. So, I'll need to touch base with SMC on this.

With that behind me I decied to upgrade and configure two Netgear WG302s we had, with the intention of replacing the onsite SMC WAPs. The first unit ugraded and worked without any issues. I then spent about 2.5 hours trying to get online using the second box, which I know is from the same production run since the serial number is only off by three. I was able to associate with it but not get an IP on either of the two Windows PCs I have in the lab, nor with my iBook. I could access the WAP over the wireless interface and the Ethernet port, but only if a laptop was connected physically to it. If the WAP and a laptop were connected to the SMC8013 gateway, I couldn't even ping it, although the WAP showed up in the SMC's ARP table. I tried rebooting and factory defaulting the WAP and the gateway. No dice. I tried different LAN ports on the gateway, different Ethernet cables, straight-through and crossover cables. Nothing.

Finally, today I plugged the WG302 into a different gateway and it worked fine. (Insert long string of extremely foul expletives here.) The problem wasn't with the WAP after all, it was with the SMC gateway. I'm going to do some more testing this afternoon to ensure that it's stable, but I plan to go onsite tomorrow to swap in the Netgears and pull the SMC WAPs.