Saturday, December 25, 2010

Microsoft Security Essentials v2

Without much fanfare, Microsoft has released version 2 of its Security Essentials antivirus and antispyware program.  This was not an automatic update.  I read about it in the Urban Commandos forum on and downloaded the installer manually.

I’ve been running MSE on a number of machines now for over a year and it’s been both trouble free and better performing than my previous choice in free AV software, AVG.

If I notice anything weird I’ll make a note of it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Strange VMware vSphere 4.1 Issue

I ran into a weird issue over the past couple of days while trying to deploy a couple of CentOS 5.5 virtual machines onto my vSphere 4.1 server.

I created a VM to serve as my template for future VMs, then exported it as an OVF template to my laptop.  (I do not yet have a vCenter management server, so I'm stuck running the vSphere Client inside an XP VM running in VirtualBox on my MacBook Pro).  Probably due to our network, the export took a couple of hours.

I then deployed two VMs from the OVF file.  Import went much more quickly than the export, thankfully.  When I ran the "system-config-network" tool to configure the IP address, subnet mask, gateway, hostname, and DNS settings, I noticed there was a duplicate of eth0.  The dupe wasn't present in my original VM.  If the dupe was not removed, running /sbin/ifconfig displayed that eth0 had all the correct info, but the machine could not reach the network.

Through trial and error, I discovered a workaround.  Upon running system-config-network, if a duplicate eth0 is present, select it.  Then blank out all values, save and quit.  Next, reboot the VM and once again run system-config-network, and configure eth0.  After doing all this networking worked properly and I was able to SSH into the VM from my laptop.

Once we get a vCenter Server I shouldn't have jump through these hoops.  vCenter includes the ability to clone a VM without doing an export and import, so setting up new VMs should be much simpler and faster.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wet Day at the Range

Today the weather was rainy and in the 50s but I didn’t let that stop me from getting out to the range.  The firing lines at my club are covered and surrounded by walls on three sides, so they are great for shooting in inclement weather.

I took the Century Arms C93 HK-93 clone along with my Century VZ-2008, a VZ-58 clone.

I put 240 rounds through the C93, 80 being Prvi Partizan M-193 5.56mm Ball with the remainder being Wolf .223 55 grain JHPs.  The best thing I can say about the Wolf is that it was cheap.  Compared with Prvi Partizan, Winchester, or Federal ammunition it’s rather dirty, downloaded, and inaccurate.  Plus, it smells bad when you shoot it.  However, my Colt AR-15s, Ruger Mini-14, 5.56mm AKs, and the C93 all seem to function fine with it.

After my first outing last weekend with the C93 I’d cleaned the bore and the inside of the receiver, but not field stripped the bolt carrier group.  I just saturated it in RemOil, wiped off most of the goop, relubed with automatic transmission fluid*, and reassembled the gun.  So, when I took it down for a full cleaning today, after having put 400 +/- rounds through the gun, it was filthy.  It may have been dirty but it ran just fine and showed no signs of sluggishness.  I suspect it could have gone many hundred more rounds without a cleaning as long as it was lubed.

So far, the C93 has 400 to 420 rounds through it with no malfunctions.  I measured the bolt gap before my first range trip at 0.010”.  After a good cleaning tonight, I measured it again and it hasn’t shrunk.

My first Century C93 was a lemon but this one is a keeper.  Unfortunately for my wallet, I’m liking the taste of HK Kool Aid and have been eyeballing the PTR91, Inc. “GI” model, which is a G3 clone.  The first time I ever shot an HK was an HK-91 in .308 over 20 years ago, and I was wowed by the mild recoil.  Several years ago I owned a Century C91 G3 clone but wound up trading it off, even though it seemed to run fine with the 100 or so rounds I fired through it.  Probably should’ve kept that one.

Anyway, a couple of months ago I installed a muzzle brake on my VZ-2008.  The brake was from CNC Warrior and is a replica of the Czech military issue brake.  It’s very effective at reducing muzzle flip and recoil, at the expense of significantly increased muzzle blast (which is typical of muzzle brakes).  The blast is even more noticeable when you shoot the rifle from under overhead cover.  Good ear protection is mandatory.

Because the brake reduces muzzle flip, which starts while the bullet is still in the barrel, I found that the point of impact was lowered by about a foot at 100 yards after I installed it.  So, today my goal was to get a 25 yard zero, then fine tune it at 100 yards.  I wound up only shooting on the 25 yard range.  With the rain I didn’t feel like loading and unloading my truck to move over to the 100 yard line.

I shot 80 rounds of Brown Bear 7.62x39 123 grain FMJ through the VZ-2008 today.  The rifle required a break-in period of about 200 rounds, along with some manual polishing of contact points inside the action after my first range trip with the rifle.  The phosphate finish was so thick inside the action that it caused failures to extract and eject due to short stroking.  This may be uncommon, as I’ve read other VZ-2008 reviews online and I’m the only person who seems to have reported it.

Including today, my past two or three trips to the range with the VZ-2008 have been malfunction-free.  The VZ-2008 and I got off on the wrong foot but we’ve made up. Smile  I now consider it a tested, reliable rifle after about 400 trouble free rounds.

There are two things I’m not thrilled with on the VZ-2008, however.  First is the folding stock.  It’s an original Czech stock and while it’s very sturdy and allows for storage in compact areas, it isn’t real comfortable.  I’m toying with the idea of installing a fixed stock.  Another option would be to install an Ace folder like I have on my Arsenal SLR-101SG.  The Ace stocks are as comfortable as a fixed unit but still allow storage in small areas.

Second is the design that Century chose for the selector.  It rotates backwards from what would be ergonomic.  I.e., rotate it down to put the rifle on safe, rotate it up to fire.  AIUI, Czech-made semiauto VZ-58s like those from Czechpoint USA have selectors which work the opposite way.  I may be able to fit a Czechpoint selector to my rifle (a member of Arfcom reported doing so with his VZ-2008), which would be a big improvement.

A VZ-58 clone a good choice for someone who wants a semiauto rifle generally similar to an AK but wants something a little different.  It’s also a good choice for folks stuck in jurisdictions which prohibit AKs.  I understand that VZ-58s are popular up in Canada (with the magazines blocked to 5 or 10 rounds).  Also, Connecticut bans Kalashnikovs in 7.62x39 (but not 5.45 or 5.56), but does not ban VZ-58s or clones.

Incidentally, I’ve found that Bulgarian surplus 4 cell pouches for 30 round AK magazines work perfectly for VZ-58 mags.  They also work for HK-93/HK-33/C93 40 round mags, but you have to cut a new hole in the tab which secures the top flap.


* I’ve been using ATF as a gun oil for about 16 years.  It’s cheap, a quart last forever, and works really well.  ATF is a decent cleaner for carbon fouling, too.  Just don’t get it on your clothes because it stains.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Obamessiah Has Left the Building

In an administration chock full of "WTF?" moments, this takes the cake:

Here we have a sitting president in the midst of dealing with a tremendously important piece of legislation, the passage of which will have a significant impact on an economy circling the drain, and he can't even finish a press conference because he's kept FLOTUS waiting on a Christmas party.  And he hands things over to a previous president?

Holy. Fucking. Shit.  This is by far the least presidential thing I have ever seen.

In his prior jobs as a state and US senator, Obama had the bad habit of voting "present."  Now he's not even doing that.  Hell, Stevie Wonder can see that this ship doesn't have a captain now.

And don't think for  a moment that our foes around the world haven't noticed.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Good Day at the Range

Today I took my Century C93 (HK-93 clone) and my SAR-1 AK to the range for function testing and zeroing.

The C93 is a replacement for one I bought about a month ago which would not cycle when I shot it. I got the replacement rifle this past Wednesday. Today I ran around 160 - 180 rounds of Prvi Partizan M-193 Ball through it with no malfunctions, and zeroing it at 25 yards required only minor sight adjustments (elevation only, windage was spot on). This was quite a refreshing difference from the rifle I first bought. I'm very happy with this one.

After I received the rifle on Wednesday I measured the bolt gap with a feeler gauge.  It came in at 0.010”, which is within spec but on the low side.  After shooting it today I measured it again and so far it’s unchanged.  I already have a set of +4 rollers on order from Robert RTG, along with an HK sling and a couple of other small spare parts.

While I was annoyed at Century for them having shipped a non-functional rifle, they did make it right, and fairly painlessly.  Someday down the road I wouldn’t mind getting a Vector Arms V93, which is an HK-93 clone with a reputation for quality.  However, for now the C93 looks like it’ll be a good shooter, and at about half the cost of the Vector.

I've had the SAR-1 for a few years but recently installed an Ultimak with a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight on it. Since the Ultimak replaces the gas tube I wanted to verify that it still functioned OK, and make any necessary adjustments to the iron sight zero. As expected, the rifle functioned flawlessly through 90 rounds of Wolf Military Classic fed from 3 Finnish surplus Valmet mags. It turned out to still shoot to POA at 25 yards with irons. I was doubly pleased to find that I didn't need to make any adjustments on the Bushnell, either.

I'll verify zero at 100 yards with both rifles but they should be GTG.

An extra bonus was that with the temps in the mid-30s, I had the 25 yard range to myself.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hanukkah 2010

I took today off so as to not lose an unused vacation day by the end of the year.  I just finished peeling and cutting up a bag of potatoes that my wife will turn into latkes tonight, since it’ll be the first night of Hanukkah.

In brief, Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jewish rebellion lead by Judah Maccabee over the Seleucids who had officially repressed the Jewish faith and desecrated the Second Temple in Jerusalem. 

Back in 2004 I put up a Hanukkah post bemoaning the choice of many of my co-religionists to support gun control.  The Shoah (Holocaust) was a mere 65 years ago, within living memory of many, and still, many, perhaps most Jewish Americans still fear and loathe guns and would see civilian controlled or banned.  For a people who values learning so much, we can be damn stubborn.

Thankfully, the past couple of years have seen two major victories for Americans who value their right to keep and bear arms, as a safeguard against criminals and rogue governments.

In the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment does indeed protect an individual right to keep and bear arms, independent of membership in the militia.  In 2010, SCOTUS extended the RKBA by applying it to the states with its ruling in McDonald v. Chicago.  As with earlier decisions which extended the protections in the Bill of Rights to the states, the full extent of the protection the RKBA will be afforded will only be seen after more protracted litigation.  But Heller and McDonald were major steps in preserving our liberty.

As Jews, we should be especially thankful for the right to keep and bear arms.  Since the Romans sacked Jerusalem and forced the Diaspora, Jews’ ability to defend themselves against violence has been curtailed as a matter of official policy.  In contrast, Jews in most of the United States can take up arms to defend themselves and their faith.

While the likelihood of official repression of Jews in the United States is remote, we cannot be complacent and adopt the “it can’t happen here” mentality.  Not in the age of resurgent Islamic fundamentalism, lax border controls, and jet air travel.

Since 1972, over 300 Americans have been killed by Muslim terrorists, not including the over 2700 who died on 9/11.  Many of them were targeted because they were Jews.

Unfortunately, the leaders of both major parties have been skittish of calling a spade a spade, with President Bush’s description of Islam as a “Religion of Peace” being the most notorious example.

Perhaps even worse is the current administration’s pro-Islam stance.  Beginning with Obama’s duplicitous 2009 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and continuing with a policy toward Israel which can be described at best as ambivalent, but more accurately as pro-Palestinian, Jews should be wary of Washington’s stance towards them.  We should not be fooled by his close association with kapos like Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, or the worst of all, George Soros.

Overseas, we’ve seen a resurgence in anti-semitism in Europe, while Arab children continue to be fed a diet of anti-semitic propaganda in the form of entertainment.  See this for example.  And need I mention the Iranian quest for nuclear arms, promoted by Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, against which the West seems ready to do nothing?

Instead of taking serious steps, the current administration engages in security theater, the most obvious example lately being the TSA’s “porno scanners” at airports.

Worldwide, the situation for Jews is probably more perilous now than any time since 1945.

So what should we as Jewish Americans do?

First, stop supporting politicians who support gun control.  Not only is gun control counter-productive in reducing violent crime, supporting it foments anti-semitism when you have people with names like Bloomberg and Schumer backing it.  Being armed may not save you from a nut who’s turned a 747 into a human-guided cruise missile, but a pistol can give you a fighting chance against terrorists in a Mumbai-style attack.

Second, stop supporting politicians who refuse to call Islamic extremism and terrorism by their proper names.  Stop supporting politicians who think American vets returning from Iraq are more of a terrorist threat than Muslim radicals.

Third, stop fearing the “religious right,” in which the mainstream media has included pretty much anybody who regularly attends church.  Guess what?  Observant Christians are some of the best allies that Jews have today in the US.  While we may disagree on theology, many of them accept Jews as G-d’s Chosen People and are staunch supporters of the State of Israel.  Indeed, many Christians are more supportive of Israel than a lot of JINOs (Jews In Name Only).

Fourth, take the coverage by the mainstream media of the Tea Party movement with several helpings of salt.  You may hear some Tea Partiers talk about social issues, but the bedrock of the movement is about getting the government out of your life.  Historically, governments have been the Jewish People’s worst enemies, whether the government in question was lead by a Pharoah, Seleucid king, Roman Caesar, a Caliph, a Pope, a Tsar, a Furhrer, or Politburo.

Finally, exercise your right to keep and bear arms.  In Biblical times, the Jews were an ass-kicking people.  More recently, Israel has repeatedly stunned the world with its feats of arms.  In contrast, most Jewish Americans have adopted a pro-government victim mentality.  It is past time that this passive attitude be discarded.  “Turn the other cheek” is not a concept consistent with Jewish theology.  In the Talmud, we are instructed that, "if someone comes to kill you, get up early in the morning to kill him first." (Berakhot 58a; Yoma 85b; Sanhedrin 72a).  Judaism does not require you to submit to an assailant.  Indeed, precisely the opposite is true.

Happy Hanukkah and may you dreidel always land on gimel.