Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nothing to See Here, Citizen!

Please disregard the military helicopters firing machine guns over downtown Miami (and Houston, and more to come for sure).  They are only training.  They are specifically NOT on a mission to desensitize you to seeing military helicopters firing on people in your city.


The canopy is armored but the tail rotors are not, and rotor heads probably can't take too many rifle rounds without suffering heavy damage.  A few hundred yards means several feet of bullet drop, and remember your windage.  More effective still would be a mortar round onto the helicopters when they are stationary on the ground.

"Every terrible impliment of the Soldier" includes mortars, but your government does not want you to have them.  Yes, that would be the same government currently in the process of getting you accustomed to being fired-upon by your own troops.  For your own safety, you understand.


Yes, we have come to the point of hypothetical consideration firing BACK (not first!) at helicopters flown by our own military forces.  Is this the change you were hoping for?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Well, at Least He's Thinking.

Two laundry machines were going and I was concentrating on work just now (21:50, well past bed time) and I didn't hear anything untoward.  My Darling Wife told me to go and chastise #3 for kicking the wall by his bed instead of sleeping.  I went in to the boys' room and #3 was sitting up in bed, on the side away from the wall. I asked him...

VFD: What're ye doing?
#3: My pillow is cold
VFD: It's cold because you're not sleeping on it.  Lie down
#3: (lies down)
VFD: (arranges blankets on the boy)
VFD: Go to sleep
VFD: (exit, close door)

I wanted to explain why she hadn't heard any gunshots or screaming, so I told my Darling Wife...

VFD: He was trying to re-arrange his blankets.  His pillow was cold, so he was trying to put his blanket on his pillow
VFD: Some peoples' kids.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Difference, At This Point, Does it Make?

No, I'm not going to bag on Secretary Clinton for trying to shirk responsibility for the four dead Americans in Benghazi.  This is about our BFFs the United Nations Peacekeepers.

Turns out, the difference it makes is THOUSANDS of dead Haitians.  Dead of Cholera, which was unknown in the Caribbean before the UN's Peacekeepers brought it with them from Nepal and dumped it with their kaka in the biggest river in Haiti for people to drink and to bathe in.

According to this piece by Johathan Katz, the UN were pointedly NOT interested in investigating the source of the outbreak because they already knew it was they who were killing those Haitians.  But hey, the dead haitians are black and poor so there's no need to talk about them on the nightly news! 

(which, of course, is why you should get at least some of your news from Instapundit, where I saw this story)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nobody Needs Ten Bullets...

  • Nobody needs ten bullets when three thugs break down their door.  Surely you will be able to dispatch them all with only 3.33 bullets each.  They will stand there like ducks in a row; probably FOUR is more than you need!
  • Nobody needs ten bullets when a pack of a dozen feral dogs decides you and your kids in the stroller look like lunch.  Maybe they will line up for you, so a few bullets can hit multiple dogs?
  • Nobody needs ten bullets when one bad guy is ducking behind a wall and you keep barely-missing him
  • Nobody needs ten bullets when they are in the middle of a firefight with federal agents coming to take their guns away.  Oh, wait that's what they don't want you to be able to do!
 Make no mistake: the people who want to limit you to certain kinds of guns and certain numbers of bullets would like very, very much to remove your guns from you - for your own protection, of course.  If the Police and Military are the only ones with guns, then the benevolent State will protect us from harm!

Nevermind the 300 million-odd guns already out there.  Surely every felon would turn in his gun, if only the dear leaders required it of him!  The guns already in the hands of bad people will evaporate like magic when gun control laws are passed, everybody knows that!

If you think
Limiting the number
Of bullets in a gun
Does anything
to protect
Anyone worth protecting,


You are a fool
and an Historical Illiterate.

She shouldn't have been a jew.  Her fault, really.  The State will protect us from the Other!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stupid Crazy Paranoid Parents Don't Want To Vaccinate their Kids!

I mean, what could possibly happen?  The government said it was safe!  It's not like your child is going to develop narcolepsy after getting the new swine flu vaccine, right?

...oh, wait...

Please let's nobody panic and stop getting measles vaccines, okay?  But maybe, when the latest scare-of-the-week disease comes out, you might consider not taking the first vaccine that comes along. Oh, and -for once- I am VERY glad that the US FDA doesn't like to approve stuff just because a scare is on, and/or just because Europe is doing it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Windows Easy Transfer . . . IS!

I recently (months ago, this is a note from back when it happened) "upgraded" my work computer, from Windows XP (Professional, 32 bit) to Windows 7 (ultimate, 64 bit).  Because I was going from 32 to 64 bit, I had to start from scratch.  Regardless of the wisdom of doing so, I could have done in-place upgrades from XP to Vista to Seven, but only from 32bit to 32-bit.  When you eventually make the move to 64 bit, you will have to reinstall Windows from scratch, starting over with a formatted hard drive.  NONE of your programs or settings will transfer.
I used Windows Easy Transfer on my still-running XP installation and ran the program again on my now-running 7 installation.  It worked
I had to do a song-and-dance with Adobe to activate Photoshop, but even then, after I finally re-installed it on the new OS, all my settings were there.  Not just the Workspace (God bless Adobe for workspaces!) but my custom actions were there.  My bookmarks transferred to a new OS and a new version of both my internet browsers.  The desktop icons were even there.  It's just like using my old computer, except for the custom Windows Theme.
I never thought I'd say it but God bless Microsoft (for this anyway).  If you are migrating to a new version of Windows and do not use Easy Transfer, you are shooting yourself in the productivity.

Make Firefox STOP ZOOMING with Zcroll Wheel!

  • I use firefox all day every day.
  • I use my scroll ring to navigate webpages
  • Firefox likes to use some phantom input plus my scroll ring to zoom in/out of web pages.  All by itself, not touching the keyboard, even.
  • This makes me bozonkers
I had tried changing some other things in about:config, but this is what finally seems to have fixed it for me:
zoom.maxPercent set to 100 (vs. 300)
zoom.minPercent set to 100 (vs. 30)
This means, try as it might to zoom on a page, it can't do it with the scroll control on your mouse.  It still zooms with ctrl-+ and ctrl-- but then when you want to go back to 100% all you have to do is ctrl-scroll in EITHER direction!  This is a beautiful thing, my friends.

HDR Photograps Suck

Sorry, they do.  I just scrolled through several pages of the website of a wedding photographer who does HDR apparently as a matter of course.  It looks like crap, all of it.  HDR is a gimmick that looks cool the first time you see it.  Life isn't a cartoon, people, let's not have it colored like one!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why Do People Say Wikipedia is Unreliable/Not Reliable/Not Trustworthy etc.?

The analogy finally came to me!  I realized this morning that wikipedia is exactly as reliable and authoritative as going down the street and asking a random person what they know about some subject.  This is not exactly the same as an article in The World Book Encyclopedia for trustworthiness.

So: if you use Wikipedia as a reference in a college paper and your professor rejects it, it's because your instructor knows that a source edited by random people without any sort of credentials is as only almost as good as the paper it's written on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Obama Can't Do Doodly Squat. Yet.

The press has whipped people into such a frenzy that they are buying $900 AR pattern rifles for $2400 at guns shows, just so they can have one.  I will refrain from commentary on the timing and prices in this mess, but my continuing commentary is that this is 'just a scare' for the time being.

President Obama can't change the law of the land by himself.  The supreme Court already said you have a constitutionally-protected right to have guns.  More importantly than either of those, the current Congress is against Obama on this subject.  Congressmen have one job: get re-elected.  After the 1994 'assault weapons ban' went in, a whole BUNCH of them went OUT.  This must never be repeated, comerades!  In that vein, I present to you Borepatch's well-said commentary on why gun control isn't coming any time real soon.

Sipsey Street Irregulars is the first place I saw a list of the 23 ideas presented today by The Obama. In short, it is as I said: No BFD, no bans, no taking away your guns.  He can't act unilaterally, because he's not King of America, he's President and subject to (at least most of) The Rules.  My commentary is the wider blocks of text between the numbered items.

From the Wall Street Journal.
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
This should have happened already, what were they waiting for? After 9/11/11 we found out the intelligence community didn't tell itself to be looking out for the guys we KNEW were bad guys, who flew the planes into the buildings. We were supposed to fix the interagency communication, already - weren't we? Or was that just talk?
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
Translation: prevent crazy people from getting guns. Who disagrees with this? The standard disclaimer to "everybody should have guns" is "except for felons and the mentally deficient" so far so good. The only problem comes in when the State starts redefining who qualifies as crazy, but we're not quite to Soviet standards on that one. Yet.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
Incentives? This sounds like "tie information mining access to federal transportation dollars" until further commentary is provided!
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
This reminds me that, as a veteran and someone outspoken in my opinions, I am already considered a potential terrorist by my government. I don't like the sound of this, but only because of the people who will be implementing it, if any implementin' gets done at all.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
This right here is onerous, but hard to argue with. If you don't qualify to BUY a gun, should we really GIVE you one? Sure it's your property. Compensation in return for seized assets needs to be at LEAST fair market value, but it is, again, not a horrible idea.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
They do it already, if you ask - and if you pay $15 to $60 depending on the FFL. This is wasted time/money right here. Speaking to Bunkum!
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
Eddie Eagle has been going for Decades. Give the NRA a few million dollars to promote it? Sure! Spend a few million to tell people not to have guns? No thanks! Again, the implementation will be the difference between this being a good or a bad idea.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Because, of course, gun locks and safes keep criminals safe from homeowners with quick access to guns! But seriously, most quick-access gun safes can be defeated by dropping them on the floor . . . by a three year-old child. I've seen it. They suck, all of them. Not that it is any of Uncle Sam's business.
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
As if they don't already.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
This DOJ is pretty shady, but if we paid for the report, why not make it available to EVERYONE?
11. Nominate an ATF director.
Good luck with that. The BATFE is broken, and having a director (instead of an Acting Director) will not fix it. At least, not one that The Obama would appoint.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
"Front sight, press!" is what they need to know, school officials included.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
Enforce existing law. Let's see, who has been calling for this the whole time? Oh, that's right, GUN RIGHTS advocates! I am guessing this does not extend to prosecution of feloniously showing a television camera what a 30-round AR magazine looks like.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Another case of "sounds good, but who's going to do the research, and what's their agenda?!"
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
The private sector does anything innovative they can, and you sticking your nose in won't speed anything up, thanks.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
If a doctor asks about guns in your home, either get a new doctor or refuse to answer and ask them about guns in their own home. You never know you might just get a new shootin' buddy!
17. Release a letter to health-care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law-enforcement authorities.
Duh? This is a question?
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
Okay, so our kids are as worthy of protection as his? Great! How much does it cost to hire a guard for a few tens of thousands of schools at $40k/year? And who pays?
19. Develop model emergency-response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
Once again, "front sight, press" is key.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental-health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
This should also already have been done, but thanks.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
Two years after the law was passed, the rules for Obamacare are not finalized?
22. Commit to finalizing mental-health-parity regulations.
See 21, above.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
SOME of us have been having this conversation already, thanks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Gotta Say, Today Was A Good Day

If you grew up when/where I did, that line reminds you of a song.

My Darling Wife went grocery shopping and filled the entire floor of Bad Robot with goods, came home, walked out of the freezing and into the heat, and said for me to get the groceries.  Ok, no problemmo!  I stepped outside and could TASTE that it was freezing out there.  As I was gathering the first armload of evil, hateful, landfill-filling single-use bags, I noticed an unhappy phenomenon:

A car was coming up my street, creeping one mile an hour on the far side of the road.  'Who the [deleted] is this, creepin' up?'  I said to myself.  No harm no foul, though, yet, so I kept gathering groceries as the car passed.  Inside to unload, outside to reload the next load of groceries on my arms, and they have stopped two houses down.  Uh-huh.

Inside, outside to get the next load again and they U-turn at the end of  the block.  I thought they were going to pull into a driveway, but they were just sitting there on the street, now on my side, now facing me.  Uh-huh.  I pulled my (concealed) pistol halfway out of its holster, so the grip was entirely exposed and ready to grab.  I prepared myself for a sudden rush of acceleration and a drive-by shooting in my general direction.  The thought of what motion I would need to make to fully draw my gun.  I considered the possibility of a carjacking as I had an obviously-newish car standing open and probably would have the keys handy.

Inside, outside to get the next load again and they are creeping down my side of the street now.  As they passed, I put the Captain's Chair in Bad Robot between my face and their windows, in case they felt like seeing me real up-close like.  They slowed in front of my driveway, then continued creeping.  They stopped in front of the house next door.  No further activity.  Drive-by less likely, jacking more likely.  Make this next trip to unload extra quick.

Inside, outside to get the next and final load.  They started creeping again, and stopped a few houses farther down the street.  Well, no threat to me, probably, anymore.  Aimed rifle fire still possible but seems less likely.  I went inside and grabbed my camera and superduperzoom lens and took up a position behind the truck in my driveway and started watching and shooting.  Blur.  Driver gets out and takes something from the trunk, can't see what. Solid 2.5 second exposure got a license plate and overall car shot, as they close the trunk.  Blur.  They walk to the door.  Thinking now about murder in the night, ears open for a door kicked in, gunshots, screams.  Blur.  Taking pictures in the dark: impossible.  No passing headlights to provide illumination on target.  20-second automatic exposure times, blech.

As I was trying to get another good shot of the car, I heard a woman's voice pleasantly thanking somebody and a man responding, wishing her a good night.

And here I was, ready to have a shootout.

Well, at least I'll be ready . . . God forbid!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Oh, Good. I Was Just Thinking . . .

You know, I was just thinking the number of men we were losing to a war we refuse to win was starting to dwindle to too small a number, and then comes this . . .

In Mali, the peaceful religion of peace is waging a war against people who just want to live their lives in peace . . . yes folks, the muslims are on the march in Mali.  France likes Mali.  France has recently begun dropping many Euros worth of ordinance on the "rebels", but those pesky terrorists muslims just don't want to give up!  So, since the whole idea of a standing army is to USE it, it is entirely possible that we are going to be joining France in kicking the shit out of MALI now. 


Sunday, January 13, 2013

The "We Are The 99" Sign Holders

You may recall during protests against evildisgustingrichassrichpeople a few years ago, some of the smelly hippy protesters were holding signs declaring themselves to be "the 99%" of America that for some reason resents the people who got to the top of the heap by their own effort.

Well here's a fun factoid for you: the people holding those signs are, in fact, the 1%.  If you have a few minutes, read this fine piece by Willis Eschenbach and then come back and tell me how not getting 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is some kind of hardship.

We have met the 1%, and he is us 

Kudos to Watts Up With That for hosting this fine writing!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Free Adobe Photoshop, From Adobe . . . Legally Until Further Notice

At work, I use Adobe Photoshop CS2.  It came from a retail package that is sitting on my shelf right now, with the serial number on the box.  I have been happily working with my 100% legit, activated, non-pirated CS2 for ages.  Then I upgraded my computer at work to a much-fancier one and installed a 64-bit copy of Windows to take advantage of many-times-larger RAM capacity in the new machine.  This means reinstalling and reactivating Photoshop.  It went like this:
  • Install CS2 using serial number from the box
  • Attempt to register with Adobe
  • Fail
  • Try again
  • Fail again
  • Call the phone number from the registration dialog box onscreen
  • Phone robot says go to and use my Adobe account to access a special download page
  • Visit download page
  • Stare slack-jawed as I see that ALL the 8 year-old Adobe software is apparently free (for me, the existing customer) to download, with activation serial numbers right there on the page
  • Uninstall CS2 as directed
  • Reinstall with the new package from
  • Select "Never Register"
  • Continue to use Photoshop CS2 to make gobs of money.
FIVE days before I went through this exercise, they turned off their registration servers.  This sucked, because the original, purchased software called home to activate itself with your unique serial key, once installed on your computer - and with the server down it couldn't activate.  As a courtesy to us dinosaurs on CS2 (current version is CS6) they made up a new installer that no longer calls the non-active activation server.  Sweet, thanks Adobe!

Then a few days later, everybody from Forbes to my boss were talking about how Adobe was just plain GIVING AWAY CS2.  It looks like one of a few things happened:
  • They decided to crush ALL interest in the GIMP and other free/lower-cost image editing software by slipping an old, but still very useable version of CS2 out into the wild.  Canny, and very good thinking!
  • They don't care anymore and could give a [deleted] what you do with CS2, but to get us to stop calling their support line they slapped this up there and STILL don't care
  • They put it up as a good-will gesture for legitimate customers, but didn't change the EULA or make a specific statement that it is only for paying customers, and then realized it was too late to change it now
The official statement on the matter from Adobe so far is "we did it for you, VFD, thanks for ponying up way back when, we still love you!"  The practial truth of the matter is that the End User License Agreement and the official statement both specifically FAIL to say "you have to have a PURCHASED licensed copy to use the free download everyone is talking about."  The EULA says "you need to have got it from us" and the statement does NOT say "you need to have bought it from us" AND I think most importantly, they have since removed the requirement that you sign up for a new adobe account to reach the download page.  Furthermore, they have said exactly bubkis about the subject for a week now.  Some online reportage is saying they didn't mean to give it away, but without a clear statement, they are probably just in CYA mode, reading things that aren't there into the non-statement Adobe posted at the first.

I think the very best thing Adobe can do now is to make a statement like Adobe forum member stagesound suggested:
"Due to a screwup with our activation server, we inadvertently published an activation-free version of CS2 along with the serial numbers to make the software usable. Since we've effectively given CS2 away, we may as well make it official - good luck to all new Adobe software users. You can now dump your open source or low-budget alternatives, and once you've used your CS2 for a while, we hope you'll consider trading up to the later versions which you'll enjoy even more!"

but I can't blame them if they don't.  We'll see, I guess.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Moment of Panic

Sitting at my computer, I noticed some serious crunching-data sounds from the hard drive.  I looked over and the firewall indicated inbound and outbound traffic and my heart started to think about going pitty-pat at what the [deleted] my computer might be doing as I was reading the news. . .

 . . . then I realized the sound is the humidifier smashing water into steam in the next room, and the internet activity is loading my headline news stories.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

BAD Pallet! Down! No Treat for You!

Little bastard tried to kill me. I was walking by and it grabbed and twisted my foot, threw me on the ground!

A freight shipping pallet, that is.  A particularly old and shabby one, with the last top slat held on by one nail at one end and a hooked nail poking out the other end.  I was walking by, minding my own (company) business and next thing I know I slapped the floor with my left arm to soften the blow as the concrete floor broke my fall!  WM was walking out of CO1's office and saw me (on the security video monitor) right after I hit the floor as he was leaving.  WM asked why I was lying down and CO1 looked up and saw me hurl the offending plank across the room.  The audio recording, it would be solid beeps when they played it on TV.  I got back to work.  WM hit the DVR controls and proceeded to have a good laugh (with everybody else I work with) at my expense, replaying my pirouette to the floor.

Oh well, no blood no foul, and this didn't even get me a bruise thanks Jesus!  Eventually CO1 did come around and ask if I were okay. He was still laughing a little.

P.S. when my Darling Wife called me later that day and I told her what happened, she LOL'd too.  Nice.