Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Frankenstein AR15

Yesterday I received the PSA AR15 lower build kit that I’d ordered from Amazon and built of the lower receiver that I milled out from an 80% unit. The Spike’s Tactical mid-length upper that I ordered for it from AIM Surplus has arrived yet, so to test fire the lower I mated it with the top half of my Colt 6520.

Sorry for the pic in potato-vision.

I shot it this morning at the monthly Langhorne Rod & Gun Club practical rifle match. At the December match they allow for sighting in of new rifles and optics, and so they let me put a few downrange during this time to function test it. The rifle ran fine so I shot it in the match. (I brought the Colt lower just in case there was a problem but thankfully I was able to leave it in the case.) So far I have close to 90 rounds on the lower and it’s looking good. Zero malfs.

The Spike’s upper should arrive Monday and I’ll post a follow up pic after it’s all together. Initially, I’ll need to run it with irons using the carry handle from my Colt 6721. For an optic, I am pretty set on getting a low power variable such as a Burris Tac 30 or Nikon M-223.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Hobbit–The Desolation of Smaug

I don’t recall posting any movie reviews here on the blog before but there’s a first time for everything.

When it first came out that The Hobbit was being filmed it was supposed to be two movies, which made sense. "There" and "Back Again," ya know. When I heard it was a trilogy I questioned it.

For example, The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey had way too much padding that didn’t add anything to the story, IMHO.

I saw The Desolation of Smaug yesterday. IMO it's much better than the first movie, even though there is a lot of stuff in it that was not in the book.

Beorn was really well done, IMO. Smaug was fantastic. The CGI is excellent and Benedict Cumberbatch did an wondeful job of vocalizing him.

I've read The Hobbit and The LOTR 4 or 5 times. I was pleased with how faithful the LOTR movies were to the books. For The Hobbit I'm looking at them as movies inspired by the book and just enjoying them. It's not like Jackson went all Paul Verhoeven on them, the way the latter did to Starship Troopers.

I’d say that if you like fantasy movies or Tolkein in particular, go see TH-DOS. Just keep in mind that it’s not a faithful interpretation of the book.

New MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro I’ve been using at work since 2009 has been getting long in the tooth. It’s still usable but running apps like MS Office, it has noticeable lag. Since it’s out of warranty I was able to put in for a new machine.

Of the standard builds we can order one is a 13” MacBook Pro, non-Retina model, with a 750 GB hard disk, onboard Ethernet, and a SuperDrive (DVD burner). My old MBP has a 15” screen but I use a 24” external monitor at work, so I figured I’d save a little weight and go for the 13” model to make it nicer to schelp back and forth.

Well, a couple weeks passed and I got informed that my new machine was ready. Instead of ordering the machine I asked for, someone in the purchasing department ordered me the 13” MBP with Retina display, 2.9 GHz Core i7 CPU, and a 256 Gb SSD.


This model comes with two Thunderbolt ports, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader.s

There’s no SuperDrive or onboard Ethernet. I did get ahold of a Thunderbolt to Gig-E adapter, and we have a USB DVD burner at work, so I’m OK there. I’ll have to keep an eye on disk usage, but I had a Western Digital 640 GB USB drive laying around at home that I added to my bag, so that I can offload stuff I don’t use a lot.

The new machine is fast. Really fast. Redonculously fast. A cold boot to the login screen takes about 5 or 6 seconds. Word and Excel launch almost instantly. Outlook takes a bit longer but it’s bloated compared even to Word and Excel.

It was also setup with Parallels Desktop and a Windows 7 VM, which runs much faster than the Windows 7 VM in VirtualBox on my old machine. My primary uses for the Windows VM will be accessing MSDN and running Visio, which unfortunately isn’t available for Mac OS X.

Battery life is great. I haven’t really wrung it out but when fully charged it shows about 9 hours remaining. Depending on usage I could probably go all day if I happened to leave my power supply home.

I figure it’ll last me about four years.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Kovea Spider Stove Review

Over on Survival Preps, I’ve posted a review of the Kovea Spider canister stove. If you need a compact, lightweight stove for camping or backpacking, check it out.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

New Affordable 3D Metal Printer

Remember my post about the 3D printed 1911? As predicted, 3D metal printing is coming closer to reality for home users:

Anyone with access to a welder and the Internet soon could make his or her own replacement parts or tools with a new 3D metal printer that can be built in any garage.

Now, scientists have built an open-source 3D metal printer that costs under $1,200, sharing their design and software with the maker community.

"We have open-sourced the plans," in the hopes of accelerating the technology by allowing others to build upon the design, said project leader Joshua Pearce, a materials engineer at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

Link. Being open sourced, I expect this design to be developed rapidly. There's been a bit of stink raised recently by gun control advocates seeking to ban 3D printing of plastic guns because they are undetectable. 3D printing metal guns would make that moot.

This is a liberty enabling technology and control freaks like Schumer and Feinstein can't stop the signal.