“A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.”
by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin




"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

slightly more secure data

So I have had a Cannon gun safe (basically what turned into their Scout Series before it was actually named that) for a number of years now, and I have been planning on exploiting their ethernet/USB-pass-through features for almost as long, without any easy way of actually accomplishing that.  The safe was always too far from the router for an ethernet cable to be anything but a trip hazard or eyesore, […]

we now have the most awesomest christmas tree ever

Yup, that is a real, live, honest-to-God, NCDOT traffic light underneath it. 

No, I am not saying where we got it. 

Yes, I wired it up myself. 

Yes, there is a fire extinguisher handy. 

for a less civilized age

I am certainly not encouraging my readers to knowingly break the law, nor am I saying I am going to break the law, but we all know how absurdly ineffective security theater really is, and the notion that law-abiding, peaceful citizens should be forcibly disarmed while criminals will simply ignore, bypass, or plow through the “security” measures is… distasteful. 

Thankfully, people have been thinking outside the box when it comes to self-defense […]

catching up on technology

And boy has phone technology leapt ahead and two years.  Anywise, the consensus from the intertubes appears to be that my old Galaxy S3 is dead on account of some variety of hardware fault, and is probably unrecoverable.  As such, here is the short list of possible replacements so far: 

A few clarifications… 

“Pure” indicates whether or not the Android operating system is left unmolested by manufacturers or carriers trying […]

the hits just keep rolling in

So, I have a Samsung Galaxy SIII originally locked to T-Mobile but since unlocked and running an AT&T SIM card.  It was rooted almost immediately after I received it (talk about bloatware…), and has been running the most-current, stable install of Cyanogenmod ever since (10.2.1, currently). 

I will not lie and say it has always been easy to keep it updated and running smoothly, but today takes the cake. 

I used […]

idiot-check time

So now that I have an income once again, it is time to consider replacing my now-six-year-old Dell XPS 630I, especially after the video card scare a few months back. So, I have built this parts list through PC Parts Picker – a far too handy site that not only finds you the best price for parts, but also the best combinations of MIRs, combo sales, and so forth.  […]

tiwhatnraam – choate machine and tool’s emergency car tool

Choate Machine and Tool is definitely an interesting company, where form always comes after function.  I would never go so far as to call any of their products singularly attractive in any aesthetic way, but they all appear to work just fine, and often have really useful features included at a very affordable price. 

In fact, if they had one at the NRAAM, I would have forked over for one of their […]

compies go “squish”

This game is totally worth $1 – as one of the reviewers says, you get to take on a T-Rex in a mech.  Do I really need to say anything else? 

(Ignore the Metacritic score; apparently this game has evolved over the years and they have never seen fit to re-review it.) 

tiwhatnraam – a. g. russell’s odin’s eye

So on the last day of the NRA Annual Meetings, we arrived in the Media Room and noticed that someone had left sheets on all the tables proclaiming, “Writers, we have a present for your wives! Stop by booth #XXXX to pick it up!”* 

I will not lie, we did not really make any serious plans to actually do so, but by complete happenstance we stumbled across the booth, which happened to be owned […]

tiwhatnraam – kel-tec cl-42

Alright, so what is that gibberish at the front of the post title?  “Things I was handed at the National Rifle Association Annual Meetings.”  These will be brief blurbs about things that companies at the NRAAM handed me; no promise or even discussion of a review was made or had, though I feel certain the companies in question were really, really hoping I would do what I am doing now.  Might as well indulge them.  […]

computer troubleshooting

So, as a follow-up to my last post, here is the situation: 


Yup, the master card finally kicked the bucket, limiting my resolution to 800 x 600 and putting those funky-arsed static lines across my screen. 

The technical details is that I have a ~5ish year old Dell XPS desktop tower with two NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 512MB cards in it SLI’d together (which, for those not familiar […]

the incredible, collapsible bow

I used to be a fairly handy shot with a simple recurve bow when I was a child – maybe not Legolas quality, but I could consistently whack and/or nick bullseyes at ranges where they were difficult to make out – but like so many other things, I rather got out of practice over the years. Our backyard is almost perfect for setting up a bow range, but I have been wishy-washing about what type […]

a series of fun facts

Cyanogemod 10.0.0 for Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones (and specifically the T, commonly found on the T-Mobile networks) does not support Picasa synchronization through the Gallery app. Your Google+ app will still happily upload your pictures to your Google Drive online storage space (though that space is now limited if you upload full-resolution pictures), you simply will not be able to see any pictures stored on the “cloud” from […]

a conditional value

One of the few commercials that stuck with me after the Super Bowl was this one by SodaStream, if only because it tweaked my WTF meter:

Apparently they had an even more in-your-face ad prepared that CBS did not allow them to run (you might need to click through to see it):

I have to give them credit for throwing down that gauntlet hard. But, as an engineer, an interesting concept […]

probably seems like a stupid question to someone

Alright, someone who reads this site either knows the answer to this question, or knows someone who knows the answer:

Why are there no prepaid cell phone SIMs/cards that do not have an expiration date? Or, at least, a yearly expiration date, rather than the longest I ever found, which was 90 days?

Or, to put it another way, how does the lease between these prepaid mobile virtual network operators and their host […]

hypothetically speaking

If one were looking for a three-dimensional printer with a minimum resolution of at most 100 microns (0.1mm) and a vertical build envelope of at least 7.5 inches (191mm) and that required a minimum of construction/assembly (specifically, no soldering), what would folks recommend? 

looks like a puma

That monstrosity I found on the interwebs is still for sale (the listing expired, but I am sure it will be back up). Color me not-at-all surprised… I still kind of want it, though.

I could really live with this, though:

Yup, that is a fully-functional, street-legal (at least in once-Great Britain) Warthog, built off a 1982 Land Rover Defender 110 with the 2.5L […]

the well finally ran dry

Well this news gives me a rather impressive sad:

“Old” bundles containing books that have already been published will no longer be available for bundle-priced purchase. (Already-purchased ones should still be available for download, though it is possible some books may need to be removed. Some books may need to be removed from the Baen Free Library as well; Toni hopes to get advance notice when such removals are necessary, but recommends […]

swappa-ing things around

So Better Half and I are looking into possibly changing our cell phone service provider, as well as upgrading our phones.  The former is actually the easy part these days… the latter is a bit more complicated. 

Since we are looking at pre-paid plans, we generally cannot get subsidized phones, which leaves us with the “unlocked” phone market.  Amazon carries more than a few of those, of course, but you […]

yes, i am an engineer. it shows.

Does anyone have any experience with Straight Talk Wireless?

Better Half and I got our current smartphones (HTC Incredibles) over three years ago now, and are still cruising along on a month-to-month plan with Verizon. Why? We actually got one of their "unlimited everything" plans, and as long as we do not touch it, we get to keep it (Verizon no longer offers unlimited data). However, the honest truth is that I […]