Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Silly Internet Quiz: Which SciFi Crew?

My results:

> You scored as Deep Space Nine (Star Trek). You have entered the dark side of the Star Trek universe. The paradise of Earth is far from you and you must survive despite having enemies on all fronts. But you wouldn�t have it any other way because you thrive in conflict and will know what needs to be done to take care of those around you. Now if only the Founders would quit trying to take over the galaxy.

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Serenity (Firefly)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Moya (Farscape)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

To boldy stay where noone has stayed before. Umm, no. Not unless I get to have my way with Major Kira (arf, arf).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday again?


Saturday I spent an hour or so redoing the repair job I started a week ago yesterday on one of our toilets. It had been running constantly and I decided it was time to replace all the innards. So, after getting a refurb kit from Lowe's I took the thing apart and replaced everything. Unfortunately, after I was done I had a very small, slow leak. By the time I was finished I was pooped and didn't get to look at it again until this weekend, largely due to being under the weather for most of the week.

I'd intended to take the toilet apart and slather the threads on all the plumbing with pipe joint compound, until I read the can which said to not use it on plastic threads. So, instead of pipe dope I used some Teflon plumber's tape, and that seemed to work well. I also omitted a cardboard washer which went between the plastic nut for the pipe leading from the tank to the bowl, since it appeared to be a leaky point. That seemed to take care of it. Plumbing work sucks and I have the utmost respect for plumbers.

I didn't really do anything "productive" yesterday, although I was able to spend time with the girls, always a good thing.

Last night after some googling, I ordered an adapter which will allow me to mount the Hakko AR-15 carry handle mount scope directly to the flat top of my Colt AR-15A3. When mounted on the carry handle, the scope is too high to get a good cheek weld, unless you add a cheekpiece to the stock, which I don't want to do. The CH mount scope would work better on an A1 or A2 upper, without the detachable CH, since it's a bit lower.

Anyway, the flat top adapter is made the Leaper's MNT-996, not exactly top-shelf gear but we'll see how well it works. I figured for $19.99 plus S&H it was worth a try. I couldn't find a similar adapter made by anyone else. I ordered it from Cope's Distributing, and will post a follow up after I receive it and try it out.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Next Rally Point Shoot March 19th

As posted by Jamie Young on TRP:

PA-Rally Point CCW/Home Defense gathering - Sunday, March 19th
Place: Indoor pistol range DoubleAction.org
Date: Sunday March 19th
Time: 12pm-6pm

It will only cost you $10 if you are there between 12pm-3pm and $15 per hour from 3pm-6pm. I've made special arrangements for to bend the rules on bringing ammo. You are allowed to bring your own ammo as long as it is no reloads, no wolf and no blazers. No calibers above 44 Magnum and velocities must be below 2000fps. Ammo will be inspected when entering the range. I promised the owners that nobody would bring reloads or steel case ammo, so please don't attempt to sneak anything in. Double Action will have ammo, targets, glasses, ear plugs ect. but ammo costs are $11 on up from 9mm-44mag.

Event Theme:

I'll ask everyone to bring your CCW and HD gun and any cool things you have for them (as long as they don't violated shooting range rules).

These shoots are pretty darn close to being gun shows so you are more than welcome to show off. Please mark all of your gear and accessories so people do not get things confused. There will be snacks and drinks available and I'll work on getting some kind of lunch deal worked out.

Please from various gun boards will be coming. We have a pretty big following on :

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Printing Digital Photos

RBT posted a query this morning regarding good options for printing digital photos. This was my reply on his message board:

Re: Printing of digital photos

I have been using http://www.kodakgallery.com/Welcome.jsp for a few years now. They used to be called ofoto.com. I've found their quality to very good, prices reasonable, and delivery quick.

You can upload your photos to them using a web browser or a local app, which is available for either Windows or Mac OS. Before I drank the Mac Kool Aid, I used Mozilla and Firefox on Linux on their site without any problems. Now I use "ofoto.app" on my iBook.

Accounts are free and you can use the serice to share pics online instead of emailing them to people. The online photo cropping/retouching tools seem to work OK.

I have no connection with Kodak Gallery except as a satisfied customer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More on the port deal

Continuing our Bizzaro World discussion, it looks like there may be legal action to stop the sale of six US ports to a company based in Dubai. And, it looks like I'm in the same camp with Senators Clinton and Menendez -- two people who I normally despise as statists of the worst kind -- on this issue. No wonder I'm stuck at home today with misbehaving sinuses, I'm have an allergic reaction to this lunacy.

On top of all that, Jimmy "Peanut Farmer" Carter is on the side of Bush on this matter. Given Carter's foreign policy track record while in office, this is a clear sign that the Bush administration is doing the wrong thing.

Monday, February 20, 2006

We're in Bizzaro World

I think I woke up in the Bizzaro universe. WTF is the Bush administration thinking by approving a deal in which a company based in the Unite Arab Emirates will take over six major US ports? WTF is wrong when the leading federal opponent of this is Senator Charles Schumer, who it turns my stomach to note, I agree with?

Gah. I held my nose and voted for Bush -- with whom I hadn't been all that pleased -- because I thought he'd better than Kerry. Now I wonder. Sure, Kerry probably would've tried to ram through more gun control and other noxious policies, but ASSuming the Republicans retained control of Congress, they probably would've stalled it in the name of partisan politics.

Bush seems to be determined to turn his second term into a first class clusterfuck. Despite his protestations that Islam is a Religion of Peach, the clear evidence -- historical and currently -- is that it is a Religion of the Sword. It was spread by the sword and its most vocal adherents continue to espouse violent jihad against unbelievers. Islamic doctrine separates the world into two realms: "Dar al Islam" (realm of peace, i.e., Islamic rule) and "Dar al Harb" (realm of war, i.e., everywhere else). Unbelievers who fall into Dar al Islam get the choice of converting or being reduced to "dhimmitude," i.e., second-class citizenship subject to special taxation and reduced rights.

Don't forget that if you criticise Islam in any way you open yourself up to getting blown up or your head hacked off. Welcome to the 7th Century.

Now, a half dozen major US ports are supposed to come under the ownership of a company owned and run by Muslims from a country with a history of financially backing jihadis. As an aside, why the hell are any of our ports owned by any foreign entities? All US ports should be under US management, as a matter of national security.

Coupled with the Bush administration's flat out refusal to do anything about border security and we have a disaster in the making. While TSA goons cops a feel on grandmothers and hassles Congressional Medal of Honor winners at airports, we leave the back door open to anyone who can walk in.

Aside from "OTMs" -- Other Than Mexicans -- the border regions are seeing an increased influx of gangs like MS-13. We need to erect real barriers to unauthorized entry -- walls and fences where geography makes it feasible, patrols on foot and horseback, and UAVs where not. Legal immigration is good but illegal immigration needs to be brought under control. The federal government's first responsibility is national security and maintaining integrity of the borders is key to that. Even if it takes a few billion a year it's money well spent, certainly better spent than pissing it away on foreign aid to countries whose inhabitants hate us anyway. Our current situation is akin to Rome welcoming the barbarians, or the Indians watching the wagon train come over this hill, ultimately impotent to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, US energy policy is a fucking joke. The enviroweenies need to be told to go FOAD, we're building nuclear power plants, exploring for oil in more domestic areas, and figuring out realistic ways to partially sate our appetite for fossil fuels. Conservation is needed but as Jerry Pournelle has pointed out, you cannot conserve your way to prosperity. We need new energy sources. Domestic oil, coal, natural gas, biogas, biodiesel, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, whatever. Having multiple options makes the most sense. We shouldn't put all of our eggs in one basket, but whatever we do, we need to get them out of the Arab basket. Failure to do so will ensure that we never extract ourselves from the Middle Eastern quagmire. Eventually, failure to deal with these problems dooms the Republic to dissoultion and authoritarianism.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

H&R Model 158 Topper .22 Hornet/20 Gauge

I've wanted a rifle in .22 Hornet for a long, long time, and finally picked one up today. It's an old H&R Model 158 Topper single shot. It came with an interchangeable 20 gauge shotgun barrel and a Weaver K-4, 4x scope in Weaver rings. I found it at Seneca Arms (116 Gravel Pike, Green Lane, PA 18054). Along with the rifle I bought two boxes of Winchester Super-X 45 grain JSP cartridges.

The Topper rifles were built on the same action design as the H&R single barrel shotguns, which were produced in the millions. If I remember correctly, though, receivers meant for rifles were made from steel instead of the cast iron used for shotguns. They were intended as simple, low cost working firearms, e.g. for whacking woodchucks tearing up your cow pasture. Harrington & Richardson went belly up in the late 80s/early 90s and was reincarnated as H&R 1871 and New England Firearms. Marlin currently owns both the H&R 1871 and NEF brands, and you can buy newly made guns from them as the "Handi Rifle."

This is my second Weaver scope. My Savage Mark IIGL .22 LR wears a Weaver 4x28mm rimfire scope. The K-4 is intended for centerfire rifles, and as an older one, is all steel. Weavers optics and mounts have never been fancy but they are good glass and hardware.

The .22 Hornet is a neat little cartridge. It was created in the 1920s by a few employees of the US Army's Springfield Armory, including Grosvenor Watkins and Townsend Whelen. They took the black powder .22 Winchester Centerfire round dating from 1885, loaded it with smokeless powder and jacketed bullets. In 1930 Winchester started offering the .22 Hornet as a factory cartridge.

The Hercules powder company developed a new powder to allow 45 grain bullets to reach 2400 feet per second from a Hornet's muzzle. The name of the powder: "2400," and it's still made today by Alliant. From what I've been reading lately, the powder to use for best accuracy in .22 Hornet rifles nowadays is Hogdon's L'il Gun.

Because early rifles used rechambered .22 LR barrels, they had .223" groove diameters instead of the .224" diameter used in most other .22 centerfires. Sometime in the 30s or 40s gunmakers changed to .224" barrels for Hornets.

.22 Hornet rifles are suitable for small game and varmints up to about coyote size. I plan to use it for some target shooting and maybe some varminting. With good loads and assuming the gun shoots well, it should be fine out to about 200 yards.

Shotguns have never been a big interest of mine. I've had a few but the only one I still had up until today was an H&R Topper 12 gauge I got while in high school, and I haven't shot it in years. Before H&R went bankrupt, their quality control went downhill and my 12 bore is an example. When shooting it one time, the barrel lug into which you screw the forearm retaining screw sheared off. So, the forearm is now held on with duct tape. Anyway, while the 20 gauge barrel is good to have on hand -- it has a 3" chamber and modified choke -- I don't expect to use it a lot. However, I am planning to see how well I can shoot Foster slugs out of it. If I can do "minute of deer" out to 50 yards, I may take use it for deer hunting on a friend's property out in Chester County.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Marlin Camp 45 Questions

I received the following email today about the Marlin Camp 45 carbine:

My name is Mike H., and I ran across your site while looking for some
info on the Marlin Camp .45. There's one on Gunsamerica.com I'm very
interested, so I wanted to get your feedback on this unusual rifle.

First, what are you going to use it for, home defense, hunting, or just
simple target shooting? Also, what's the range? Finally, besides the sights,
what other mods would you do to it?

Thanks for your help,

To which I replied:

Hi Mike,

My primary use for my Marlin Camp .45 is plinking. Secondary uses would be home defense and teaching new shooters. Semiautomatic rifles are not legal for hunting in PA, where I live. The furthest I've shot it is 50 yards. It's basically a 100 yard gun.

The only modification I recommend is replacing the stock recoil spring with a Wolff 21 lb. spring. Combined with not-properly-tightened actions crews, the original weak spring can result in a cracked stock. The OEM spring is only 11 lbs., which may be OK for the Camp 9 but is way undersprung for .45 ACP. The Wolf 16 lb. spring works ok in .45, but the 21 lb. spring almost eliminates recoil, and just about eliminates lefthanders getting any "gun-schmutz" in their face from out of the ejection port.

I also suggest picking up a spare bolt buffer from Blackjack Buffers or Marlin, if they have any left in stock. I got one from Blackjack. If the gun has been shot a lot the original buffer may need replacement. So far mine hasn't.

My Marlin wears a Bushnell red dot sight using the rings that came with the sight, mounted on a Weaver base. The Camp Carbines use the same scope bases as the Marlin 336 lever actions.

If you need a folding stock for compact storage, Choate Machine and Tool makes a good one.

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lab day with SMC

Yesterday I spent almost all day in the lab with an engineer from SMC so that he could get a handle on the situation I'm having with the 6752 and 8612 switches. Among other things, he ran Ethereal to capture what's actually going across the wire when we plug into a port on the 6752 and try to use the IP3's automatic room-to-port mapping feature. Hopefully, with the data gleaned from yesterday's session, we'll soon have firmware which will allow us to:

1. Have client isolation on each port of the 6752.
2. Have remote, in-band management of the 6752 and 8612.
3. Allow the IP3 to use SNMP to automatically map rooms to ports on the 6752.

The other thing we're hoping to get is support for increased numbers of VLANs on the 8612s, which are aggregation switches. They currently support a maximum of 256 VLANs per switch, which just isn't sufficient for an aggregation switch; 1000 VLANs would be more like it. Hopefully this can be implemented in software and won't require a beefier processor or more memory on the box.

Monday, February 13, 2006


We got about a foot of snow after it stopped falling yesterday afternoon. Not too bad but I am very glad I have a two stage snowblower. It's a Troy-Bilt 524, the smallest of their two-stage units.

When buying the snowblower, I could have saved a hundred bucks or so by getting a single-stage unit. But that's penny-wise and pound-foolish IMHO. You really need a snowblower when you've got a foot or more of snow, and the smaller blowers just don't work all that well with that much. They require a lot more effort to clear the accumulation, and since the whole point of buying expensive gas powered machinery is to save musclepower, it just doesn't make much sense to me, at least for SE PA and northwards. Not to sound too smug, but my neighbors with the single stage units had a lot more trouble yesterday than I did.

The roads in my neighborhood this morning were still a bit messy, but the main roads weren't too bad. Surprisingly, though, most area schools are closed today, including Philly, so Judith gets to stay home. I may bail out of work a little early so I can beat the freeze-up on the roads tonight.

Getting Started With Ethernet Cabling

My new article, Getting Started With Ethernet Cabling, is now live over at TechBuilder.org. Aside from GSWEC, check out the "Recipes" there for some good reading interesting to PC system integrators.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gmail File Space

While looking through the latest issue of Macworld, I ran across a mention of a extension for Firefox called Gmail File Space, or Gspace. It allows you to use your Gmail account to store files through a very convenient, FTP-like interface from within Firefox. Since Gmail is a free service and how it works is subject to change at Google's whim, I don't think I'd use it for either email or file storage for mission critical stuff, but this could sure come in handy.

Here's a screenshot of it on my iBook (I didn't see anything about Gspace being Mac-only, so it should work on other platforms):

Click on the thumbnail to see a larger picture.

Monday, February 06, 2006

FDA Approves Rotavirus Vaccine

The FDA has approved a new vaccine from Merck to protect kids against the rotavirus. Amanda had this last March and it was just awful. The vomiting and diarhea required constant attention and giving her fluids to prevent her from getting dangerously dehydrated. Even then, she lost about 3 lbs. -- and she only weighed about 19 lbs. to start with.

If you have small kids talk to your pediatrician about the vaccine.

SMC Private VLAN Issue

Back in November I thought I had an issue with SMC's private VLAN feature on their 6752 switch licked. When using the feature I was losing in-band IP access to the box. Apparently the fix I thought I had isn't working in production.

I wish that our Ops people hadn't waited 3 months to let me know.

I'm in communication with them and SMC and I hope to have this resolved ASAP, but shit.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mozilla Updates

I updated Mozilla Thunderbird and Firefox today. I'd downloaded Thunderbird 1.5 a couple of weeks ago but had postponed upgrading until now. So far, it doesn't look like a major change from 1.0.5.

Firefox was released yesterday. It's supposed to fix memory leaks and have speed improvements. I first upgraded FF on my iBook and noticed a significant improvement in page load times. I ran top in a terminal before and after the upgrade, and it looks like the new release uses a bit less memory on the iBook. Sometime later I was using FF on my Dell under XP, and it automatically prompted me to upgrade. That went without incident, as well.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

DIY Motivational Posters

Go here and with an uploadable image, you can make your own poster in the style of "motivational" posters. For example:


Brian's new Mac Mini

Those of you who peruse the other Daynotes Gang sites may have seen that Brian Bilbrey got himself a Mac Mini. I sent the following to the Daynotes Backchannel this morning:

Welcome aboard the OS X train, Brian. A steward will be along with the Kool-Aid shortly. :-)

So did you add any options like more RAM or bigger HDD?

I think you'll like it. There are a large number of open source and free (as in beer) apps you can run on OS X. You can install many of these through the Darwin Ports system (http://darwinports.opendarwin.org/) or Fink (http://fink.sourceforge.net/).

Your favorite, Emacs is already installed by default.

I like iTerm (http://iterm.sourceforge.net/) as a Terminal.app replacement. It's more configurable and supports tabs. However, sometimes if I want to SSH into a *NIX box and need use of the function keys (e.g., for Midnight Commander or YaST), I launch X11.app and an Xterm.

Fugu (http://rsug.itd.umich.edu/software/fugu/) is a nice GUI front end to SCP and SFTP.

I use RBrowser Lite (http://www.rbrowser.com/) for FTP. If you license it, it'll handle SCP and SFTP, too.

ZTerm (http://homepage.mac.com/dalverson/zterm/) is a good terminal emulator if you need to console into a router or switch.

Adium (http://www.adiumx.com/) is based on Gaim but uses an Aqua interface. If you don't need the IM protocols is supports, then iChatAV is a very good AIM and Jabber client. IChatAV's voice support is excellent, at least when talking Mac-to-Mac. IM me if you want to try it.

Flip4Mac (http://www.flip4mac.com/wmv.htm) is a plugin that'll let you play .WMV files in Quicktime. MS dropped development of Windows Media Player for Mac (no great loss, it sucked anyway).

If you need a VNC viewer, check out Chicken of the VNC (http://sourceforge.net/projects/cotvnc/).

OpenOffice.org works ok on a Mac with X11, or you can try NeoOffice/J. I find the latter even slower than regular OO.o. I confess I generally use MS Office 2004; Office is nicer on the Mac than on Windows IMO and gives me 100% document exchangeability with Windows users at work.

Well, I give up

For whatever reason the G3 in my lab didn't even like Panther, so I gave up. I now have it setup with the original drive running Jaguar as the master IDE disk, and the 20 GB drive scounged from an old Qube3 as a slave. At least now the box has a decent amount of storage.

Trying to get the G3 running BSD over the past few days hasn't been a complete waste. I at least got to learn about the OpenBSD installer and Open Firmware.