Friday, January 30, 2009

Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant

From Celestial Junk:

I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

“Very few people were true Nazis” he said, “but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Messing with Virtualization

In my ongoing quest to improve the efficiency of how I maintain my lab, I'm looking into virtualization as a way to setup test PCs.  This will probably work OK when testing applications, though it won't work when testing connectivity issues.  E.g., if I need to test tweaks for Windows XP's TCP setting to optimize throughput, I need to be running XP right on the hardware.

This morning I downloaded VMWare Server 2.  It's free-as-in-beer, always a plus when one's budget is limited.  For a host OS I'm using CentOS 5.2, running on one of my 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo boxes.  I figured I'd get better performance using Linux as the host, vs. using a Windows host.  The box has 3 GB of RAM so I should be able to run a couple of VMs concurrently, as long as I'm not doing something requiring significant disk I/O or network access.

For my first guest OS I loaded the Windows 7 Beta.  I'd previously run it directly on an identical PC, and was quite impressed.  Rather than an entirely new OS, it feels to me like Vista SP2 or Vista SE.  In other words, Vista without the suck.  It's a lot lighter than Vista and seems to run about as fast as XP does on this hardware.  Installing W7 into a VM went smoothly.

I'm now building a second VM, this time using Solaris 10 x86 (32 bit) as the guess OS.  Not being conversant with Solaris I'm using the default settings in VMWare and the Solaris install, except that I allocated more RAM than VMware asked for, 1024 MB vs. 540 MB.

VMware Server 2 uses a web interface.  Frankly, I'm not thrilled with this as compared with a non-web interface as it's sluggish.

After I use this setup for awhile I intend to replace VMware with Sun's VirtualBox to see how it compares.

Verizon 8330 Blackberry Bluetooth Tethering Working

After last night's firmware upgrade on my Verizon Blackberry 8330, tethering on my Mac wasn't working via either USB or Bluetooth.  This morning I got into the office and googled for the instructions on how to setup Bluetooth tethering (which isn't officially supported by VZW, but works anyway).

This post by "sirforce" on Crackberry Forums describes how to configure Mac OS X.5 to get onto VZW's EVDO network using a Blackberry 8330 and Bluetooth.  I am reproducing it here in the interest of spreading the knowledge, and in case the forum should disappear.

1. Added tethering your Verizon service plan for an additional $15/month.

2. Pair your phone with your Mac/MacBook via BlueTooth This worked on my MacBook Pro and Mac Pro workstation.

3. Add a new dial up modem in the networking preferences panel-
Configuration: Default
Telephone Number: #777
Account name: (change the number to your verizon mobile #)
Password: vzw

3a. Under advanced options:
Vendor: Other
Model: Verizon Support (PC 5220)
Check Enable error correction and compression in modem

Dial Mode: Wait for dial tone before dialing
Dial: Tone
Sound: On
The remaining tabs: DNS, WINS, Proxy, etc are all set to default settings no changes are necessary

4. Turn off your AirPort or disconnect your ethernet then press connect to dial up and enjoy near broad band surfing via Verizon -

If you're not on the EVDO network then your speeds will be more "dial up" classic like.

Once connected, your phone should have a notice at the top of the screen "Modem Mode Enabled"

On a side note:
I setup a friends modem without tethering on his plan and once the internet was connected and then attempted to load The web page that appeared was a verizon page that would allow the addition of tethering to the users account for $15 just by clicking the yes I agree, pretty cool!

Monday, January 26, 2009

GPS on Verizon Blackberry 8330

After getting annoyed that I couldn't tap into my Verizon Blackberry 8330's internal GPS, I did some searching on the Internet to see if there was a way to open access to it.  It turns out that a recent firmware upgrade allows you to use the internal GPS without shelling out for Verizon's Navigator service, which would incur a monthly fee.

I downloaded the updater from, following a link from Verizon's site.  Unfortunately, the updater is Windows-only, so I copied the 68 MB file to Hobbit, my MSI Wind netbook, and used it to update the Blackberry.

The whole process took about 20 - 25 minutes, and at one point I thought it stalled.  I left it alone and it eventually finished, putting me on v4.5.0.77, vs. 4.3.x which came with the unit.

Once the upgrade was finished I checkd the GPS functionality by opening the Blackberry Maps app, and saw that it was able to get my location.  Unfortunately, Google Maps hasn't been updated to take advantage of the internal GPS on this device, so I can't use it for accurately locating myself.  I'll survive.

On a side note, this sort of intentional crippling of firmware features on their phones is one of the things that really bugs me about Verizon.  It's done purely as a way for them to charge more for features that are natively supported by their cell phones.  The only reason that I stick with them is that in my area they have the best network, by far.  If another cell provider had a comparable network and didn't intentionally cripple their phones, I'd be sorely tempted to jump ship when my contract expires.


Well, either the Blackberry firmware update or the OS X software update that I ran earlier today borked my ability to tether the BB to Rohan my MacBook Pro for EVDO Internet access.  I can tether it to Hobbit, but a couple different versions of the Verizon Access Manager fail to see the BB when it's connected via USB.  My Bluetooth tethering setup wasn't working, either.

I'll need to putz around with this more.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I've decided to refocus my blogging efforts on this site, rather than maintaining separate blogs for Survival & Emergency Preparedness and Obama.  Separating them was an interesting experiment, but it'll be easier for me to manage one site instead of multiple blogs.  I won't delete the other sites, but for the foreseeable future, topics which may have appeared on them will instead appear right here.

California at the Tipping Point

From the Chicago Boyz:

I think a threshold or tipping point exists in the ratio between the political power of those who pay taxes and those who consume taxes directly. After that tipping point is reached, those who pay taxes become the economic slaves of those who consume taxes.

I think California has passed that point.  Tax consumers now control the state government and can vote themselves almost any level of personal income and benefits they wish while taxpayers cannot muster the political capital to defend themselves.

Read the whole article, and the comments.  CA is in deep financial shit, and unfortunately the state is frequently a forerunner of the rest of the nation.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama Huffy with Press Corps

So Obama dropped in on the White House press corps, gets asked a substantive questions, and replies thusly:

"Ahh, see," he said, "I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."

WTF?  You're the POTUS.  Or are we not allowed to question the Obamessiah?

Paterson Picks Gillibrand to Replace Clinton

Well, well, well.

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson has selected Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, a 42-year-old congresswoman from upstate who is known for bold political moves and centrist policy positions, to fill the United States Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a person who spoke to the governor early Friday.

Although she's a Democrat, Gillibrand has a solid pro-RKBA voting record.

It'll be refreshing to not see another member of a polical dynasty in the Senate.

Update to The Shooter's Bar

The Shooters' Bar(SM) has been updated, adding Brian Toder of Minneapolis, MN.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Though for Inauguration Day

"After a time, you may find that 'having' is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as 'wanting.' It is not logical, but it is often true."

--Mr. Spock

Remember the Deacons for Defense

Why are these men forgotten?

In November 1964, a group of black American citizens in Jonesboro, Louisiana led by Earnest "Chilly Willy" Thomas and Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick founded a militia to protect civil rights workers against the violence of the Ku Klux Klan. They called it the Deacons for Defense and Justice. Most of them were war veterans with combat experience from the Korean War and World War II, and they armed themselves with military pattern semi-automatic rifles, carbines and pistols. Ironically, these are the same types of firearms that liberal politicians (including Barack Obama) are seeking to ban today as so-called "assault weapons."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Islamist Nazis

Periodically we hear that Muslim opposition to Israel and the US has nothing to do with antisemitism.  That's bullcrap.  Take a look at this:


And Obama wants to talk to these people?! 


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Contact your Senators in opposition to Eric Holder

Obama's nomination for Attorney General of the US has a terrible anti-RKBA record and was also a proponent of issuing Presidential pardons to Puerto Rican terrorists.  His anti-freedom record makes him an awful choice for A.G.

Please go here to send emails to your senators expressing opposition to his confirmation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Updates to The Shooters' Bar

Today I made several updates to The Shooters' Bar(SM).  A couple new members and a few updated entries for old members.  TSB is the place to go on the web if you're looking for a pro-gun attorney.

Received my new battery

I received the replacement battery for Rohan yesterday.  Apple FedExed it to me, even though they informed me the other day that it would take 7 to 10 business days.  To condition it I charged it last night, while today I'm running it down to about 10% remaining charge before plugging Rohan into A/C power.

Hopefully I'll get more than a year out of this one.

John Lott on Eric Holder

Despite a huge Democratic Senate majority, Eric Holder’s confirmation hearings are going to be difficult. He has a long record to defend. Whether it is his involvement and inconsistent statements about Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich’s or his pushing Clinton’s clemency of the FALN terrorists or his failure to disclose his work for troubled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich after Blagojevich's legal problems surfaced, he faces tough questions.

Link .
From the WSJ :

Jews around Europe are increasingly under attack since Israel decided two weeks ago to defend itself after years of rocket fire at its civilian population. There have been arson attempts on synagogues in Britain, Belgium and Germany. Police last week arrested Muslim protesters who wanted to enter the Jewish quarter in Antwerp. Several Danish schools with large Muslim student bodies say they won't enroll Jewish kids because they can't guarantee the children's safety. In France, a group of teenagers attacked a 14-year-old girl last week, calling her "dirty Jew" while kicking her.
Most of the anti-Jewish violence and protests in Europe come from immigrants. In what may have been a Freudian recognition of the changing face of Europe, CNN two weeks ago used footage of anti-Israeli protesters in London in a report about the growing anger in the "Arab and Muslim world." The mythical Arab Street now reaches deep into Paris, London, Berlin and Madrid.
The depth of anti-Semitic propaganda in Palestinian and other Muslim societies is one of the most underreported facts about the Middle East. It is this anti-Semitism that predisposes Muslims in Europe to attack Jews and fuels the Mideast conflict. The hatred predates Israel's creation. To illustrate this point: The Palestinian leader during World War II, Hajj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, conspired with Hitler to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Luckily, the British stopped the German troops in Africa. The Mufti spent the war years in Berlin and was later indicted for war crimes but with the help of the Muslim Brotherhood escaped to Egypt. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Religion of Peace," my ass.  European Jews need to stop supporting politicians who let in the riff raff and fail to condemn antisemitism.  And it's not just in Europe.  The Palestinians and their supporters in the US have become bolder lately.  Last week we saw a Palestinian protestor in Fort Lauderdale calling for Jews to "go back to the ovens."   Given the willingness of our "leaders" to let virtually anyone immigrate into this country, I expect that Jewish Americans will face this more frequently in the coming years.

S.F. Housing Authority agrees to let tenants own guns

They blinked.

The San Francisco Housing Authority has agreed to allow its residents to own guns in a settlement of a National Rifle Association lawsuit that followed last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the right to bear arms.
In papers filed Monday with a federal judge, the Housing Authority agreed not to enforce a provision it added to tenant leases in 2005 prohibiting the possession of guns and ammunition. The ban will now apply only to illegal gun ownership, like possession of a machine gun or possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

I have to say I'm a little disappointed. I was hoping for more precedent, possibly incorporation of the Second Amendment. It should come in time, though.

Obama's Climate Czar Is Board Member of Major Carbon Offset Company

Via Gateway Pundit.

It was reported yesterday that Barack Obama picked a radical socialist as his climate czar. Carol Browner belongs to organizations that call for "global governance" and demand that rich countries shrink their economies to address climate change. But since her pick, Mrs. Browner'sname and biography had been removed from these socialist websites.

Now, it was discovered that this same radical eco-socialist is a board member of one of the leading carbon offset trading companies, APX!

This couldn't create, you know, a conflict of interest.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Lapdog Press

"We don't even bother raising our hands anymore."

In order for a democratic republic to properly function, the populace needs to be educated.  The media has consistently fallen down on its responsibility in this regard.  Change?  More like the same old crap.

Californication Spreading

Having fouled up California with their failed socialist policies, the locusts are abandoning ship.

Since the days of the Gold Rush, California has represented the Promised Land, an image celebrated in the songs of the Beach Boys and embodied by Silicon Valley's instant millionaires and the young men and women who achieve stardom in Hollywood.
But for many California families last year, tomorrow started somewhere else.
The number of people leaving California for another state outstripped the number moving in from another state during the year ending on July 1, 2008. California lost a net total of 144,000 people during that period — more than any other state, according to census estimates. That is about equal to the population of Syracuse, N.Y.

Unfortunately, they tend to bring their voting patterns with them.

Healthcare SNAFU in Massachusetts

More proof socialism does not work.

To much fanfare from both right and left in 2006, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to require all residents to buy health insurance. A new state health insurance clearinghouse was created, with taxpayers subsidizing those who couldn’t afford to buy coverage. Then Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, promised that “every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance.” Yet just two years later, Romney’s much-heralded “solution” — touted by many as the model for a national program — has become an embarrassing flop.
Just a year after the universal coverage law passed, The New York Times reported, state insurers were already jacking up rates to twice the national average. According to Dr. Paul Hsieh, a physician and founding member of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine, 43 mandatory benefits — including those that many people did not want or need, such as invitro fertilization — raised the costs of coverage for Massachusetts residents by as much as 56 percent, depending upon an individual’s income status. So much for “affordable” health care.

Link .

'Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years From the Wall Street Journal:

Many of us who know Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that "Atlas Shrugged" parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.

Rand, who had come to America from Soviet Russia with striking insights into totalitarianism and the destructiveness of socialism, was already a celebrity. The left, naturally, hated her. But as recently as 1991, a survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club found that readers rated "Atlas" as the second-most influential book in their lives, behind only the Bible.
For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.

Read the whole thing .

Dems Not Waiting on an Assault Weapons Ban

From the Firearms Coalition:

1. Gun-ban list proposed

Slipping below the radar (or under the short-term memory cap), the Democrats have already leaked a gun-ban list, even under the Bush administration when they knew full well it had no chance of passage (HR 1022, 110th Congress). It serves as a framework for the new list the Brady’s plan to introduce shortly.

I have an outline of the Brady’s current plans and targets of opportunity; we’re working on getting that news out ASAP after these ban lists and will probably be ready in the next few days. It’s horrific. They’re going after the courts, regulatory agencies, firearms dealers and statutes in an all out effort to restrict We The People. They’ve made little mention of criminals.

Now more than ever, attention to the entire Bill of Rights is critical. Gun bans will impact our freedoms under search and seizure, due process, confiscated property, states rights, free speech, right to assemble and more, in addition to the Second Amendment. See what 250 of your peers thought during our recent Bill of Rights Day event at the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix:

The Democrats current gun-ban-list proposal (final list WILL be worse): 

Rifles (YES and copies and duplicates):
• M1 Carbine, Sturm Ruger Mini-14, AR-15, Bushmaster XM15, Armalite M15, AR-10, Thompson 1927, Thompson M1;
• AK, AKM, AKS, AK-47, AK-74, ARM, MAK90, NHM 90, NHM 91, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR;
• Olympic Arms PCR; AR70, Calico Liberty, Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle or Dragunov SVU, Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, or FNC, Hi-Point Carbine, HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, HK-PSG-1, Thompson 1927 Commando, Kel-Tec Sub Rifle;
• Saiga, SAR-8, SAR-4800, SKS with detachable magazine, SLG 95, SLR 95 or 96, Steyr AUG, Tavor, Uzi, Galil and Uzi Sporter, Galil Sporter, or Galil Sniper Rifle (Galatz).

Pistols (or copies or duplicates):
• Calico M-110, MAC-10, MAC-11, or MPA3, Olympic Arms OA, TEC-9, TEC-DC9, TEC-22 Scorpion, or AB-10, Uzi.

Shotguns (or copies or duplicates):• Armscor 30 BG, SPAS 12 or LAW 12, Striker 12, Streetsweeper.

Catch-all Categories (for anything missed or new designs):
A semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has
(i) a folding or telescoping stock, (ii) a threaded barrel, (iii) a pistol grip (which includes ANYTHING that can serve as a grip, see below), (iv) a forward grip; or a barrel shroud.
Any semiautomatic rifle with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds. (except tubular magazine .22 rimfire rifles-unlike New Jersey which bans these too!).
A semiautomatic pistol that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine, and has (i) a second pistol grip, (ii) a threaded barrel, (iii) a barrel shroud or (iv) can accept a detachable magazine outside of the pistol grip, and (v) a semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
A semiautomatic shotgun with (i) a folding or telescoping stock, (ii) a pistol grip (see definition below), (iii) the ability to accept a detachable magazine or a fixed magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds, and (iv) a shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
Frames or receivers for the above are included, along with conversion and/or completer kits.

Attorney General gets carte blanche to ban guns at will:
Under the proposal, the U.S. Attorney General can add any “semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General.” Note that Obama’s pick for this office (Eric Holder, confirmation hearing set for Jan. 15) wrote a brief in the Heller case supporting the position that you have no right to have a working firearm in your own home.

In making this determination, the bill says, “there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a firearm procured for use by the United States military or any federal law enforcement agency is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.”

In plain English this means that ANY firearm ever obtained by federal officers or the military is not suitable for the public.

That presumption can be challenged only by suing the federal government over each firearm it decides to ban, in a court it runs with a judge it pays. This virtually dismisses the principles of the Second Amendment.

The last part is particularly clever, stating that a firearm doesn’t have a sporting purpose just because it can be used for sporting purpose -- is that devious or what? And of course, “sporting purpose” is a rights infringement with no constitutional or historical support whatsoever, invented by domestic enemies of the right to keep and bear arms to further their cause of disarming the innocent.

If these near-total bans aren’t enough, the most dangerous part may be the phrase “pistol grip” because: “The term ‘pistol grip’ means a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip.” In other words, any semi-auto long gun with a grip (that’s ALL semi-auto long guns) would be banned under the existing proposal. It’s not clear what they hope to achieve by deceptively banning guns with grips instead of just calling to ban the guns -- even an idiot can tell it’s the same thing.

I didn’t cover here all the magazine bans, transfer bans, dealer record-keeping and centralized reporting, and a host of nuisance details -- there will be time enough for that when the new lists are released soon: “As soon as President-elect Obama is inaugurated and the 111th Congress is sworn in,” according to Ms. Brady. Congress is set to be sworn in on Jan. 6, Inauguration Day is Jan. 20.

No one expects the new proposal to be less abusive than the current one supported by the party of the Democrats. Remember -- these bans were proposed when the congressional anti-rights crowd had no chance of success. Now they are ready to run wild, or according to Sarah herself, 
“I have never been so confident.” The “news” media has failed to report on any of this, preferring instead to blare that the incoming president supports the Second Amendment and commonsense (gun) laws.
To see the whole bill, go to and search for HR 1022, (switch to the 110th Congress if the 111th has begun).

The excellent Firearms Coalition started by the late Neal Knox and now run by his family members makes these important points about the upcoming Judiciary hearings for AG nominee Holder:

“The Democrat members of the Judiciary Committee are all sworn enemies to the Second Amendment and are unlikely to be swayed at all by any firearms related arguments, but might hesitate to confirm based on Holder’s participation in the pardons of 16 Puerto Rican terrorists and billionaire financier and arms merchant Marc Rich [and perhaps the Elian Gonzalez abduction by federal agents Holder authorized]. Any letters to Democrats should focus on those issues.

“On the Republican side, Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the committee has never been a friend to gun rights, but he owes his reelection to NRA support and has expressed concern over the pardon issues. Among the other Republicans, most are relatively reliable votes, but only Coburn has routinely taken a leadership role on Second Amendment matters. All of them need to be pressed hard to do everything they can to block the appointment.

“For more information about Eric Holder and why his appointment must be fought tooth and nail, go to our web site at”

Monday, January 12, 2009

Replacing Rohan's Battery. Again.

A little while ago I got off the phone with Apple support.  Once again I am in need of a replacement battery for Rohan, my MacBook Pro.  Rohan's current battery is a replacement for the original one.  I got it last February.  According to the OS X System Profiler, it has a cycle count of only 35, and is in "Check Battery" condition.

The call to AppleCare was pretty painless.  Having gone through this before I had the System Profiler up before I dialed.  Once I gave the tech information about the current battery's state, he put it in for a return.

Last time I did this the replacement was sent to me overnight.  This time I was given a 7 to 10 business day time frame.  I let him know that I'm not happy about that but didn't make a stink.

While I had the AppleCare rep on the line I also told him that if Apple adopts the non-user replaceable battery model of the new 17" MBP for the 15" MBP or the MBs, I won't be buying one.  My G4 iBook's battery was recalled.  My MBP is now going to be getting its third battery.  If I need to replace the battery in my next laptop I do not want to have to schlep it to an Apple Store or ship it overnight somewhere, losing the use of my computer for however long it takes for Apple to repair it and return it to me.  Depriving a customer of the use of his laptop for something that should be user-replaceable is inexcusable.  If it comes to that, my next laptop will be either a Lenovo Thinkpad or Dell Latitude running Linux.

Friday, January 09, 2009

First Look at Windows 7 Beta

Last night I downloaded the ISO of the Windows 7 Beta installation disc from MSDN.  This morning I installed it on a fairly generic Intel PC with a 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo, 3 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard disk, DVD burner, with an Intel DQ965 chipset.

Installation was a snap on this hardware, taking about 20 minutes.  Compared with Vista, the most noticeable differences upon first logging in are (a) the gadget bar on the right of the screen is absent, and (b) a new task bar.  Gadgets can be setup on the desktop but the gadget bar isn't loaded by default.  The new task bar merits some comment.

I've seen in various articles online how the new task bar is similar to the OS X Dock.  It does bear some resemblance.  E.g., you can drag an application icon to the Task Bar to create a launcher.  When you click on it, the app opens.  When you minimize the app, it does so to the icon, which is then surrounded by a box.  If you have more than one instance of an app open, the icon appears as a stack.  If you hover the cursor over the icon stack, you'll get a popup with previews of each window.


So far it runs faster on my hardware than Vista does.  User Access Control seems a bit less obnoxious, and it's less bloated.  For example, Windows Live Mail and Messenger are no longer part of the installation, but you can download them through Control Panel.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta is the stock browser and it runs very quickly.

Like Vista, if you press Windows Key-Tab, you can see all of your open apps.

There is still no built in SSH client, and the telnet client needs to be enabled through Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off, which is just dumb.

Oh, the default desktop background is a painting of a Siamese Fighting Fish, AKA a Beta Fish.  Cute.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Back to the Old Grind and a Range Report

Back to the old grind.  Yesterday was my first day of work since December 23rd, and it was hard getting up at 0610.  I'm not complaining, since I'm grateful to have a job in this economy.

Since my last post about the LRGC Kalashnikov Match (at which I did lousy because my rifle's sights were off), I spent time with the family, made it to the range a couple of times, and picked up a new toy.

The new toy is a Century Arms VZ-2008 Sporter, a semiauto clone of the Czechoslovakian assault VZ-58 rifle.  It bears a superficial resemblance to the AK, but there are no interchangeable parts.  Aside from having some technical difficulties with it when I brought it to the range Sunday, I'm going to hold off on posting about it, since I've pitched an article on it to a gun magazine.

My goal on the first range trip was to break in a new-to-me SAR-1 which I got from my dad.  The last time he'd shot it he experienced several malfunctions due to the fire control group (hammer, trigger, and disconnector).  He ordered a Tapco G2 FCG to replace the factory parts, but had never gotten around to installing it.  He also ordered an "L" shaped trigger and hammer pin retaining spring, which I used in lieu of the factory Shepherd's Hook.  The "L" spring is a lot easier to remove and install.

Tapco makes some good stuff and some bad.  The G2 FCG is one of their good products, this was third one I've installed in an AK.  It provides a light trigger pull with minimal creep, and little to no trigger slap.  (Trigger slap is when the action resets, pushing the trigger back forward, slapping your finger in the process.  This can be painful, especially in cold weather.  It's common on AKs.)

I ran a couple hundred rounds through the SAR-1 without any problems.  I needed to do some minor sight adjustments to zero the iron sights.  With the Wolf Military Classic FMJ ammo I was shooting, I was able to keep most shots within the black of an SR-1 target at 100 yards when shooting from a solid rest.  This is about as good as I can do with an AK and open sights.

After getting the SAR-1, I ordered a set of K-Var plastic handguards with a heat shield, and a Polish Tantal folding stock.  The wood furniture which came with the rifle looks good but the handguard heats up quickly in rapid fire.  I want a folding stock for storage and transport.  Unfortunately, I received the handguards but not the folding stock, because the merchant's online inventory wasn't updated before I put in my order, and by the time I did so it was out of stock.  so for now I have mismatched furniture on the gun.  So yesterday I ordered an East German folder from  Once I get that squared away the next thing I want to do is get the muzzle threaded and install either a muzzle brake or flash hider.

Something else I acquired over vacation was a three pack of Finnish Valmet M62 magazines, which fit other AKs in 7.62x39.  They all fit fine in my SAR-1 but a couple are snug in my MAK-90.  I ran about 300 rounds through them with no problems, and posted a report on a couple of boards.  One reply from a Finn indicated that the OD mags, such as those I received, were for trials and can bulge when left loaded.  Graphite colored M62 mags are good to go, however.  In any event they seem to be good range mags and a neat collectible.