Paranoia Is Rational

On the heels of the California Supreme Court decision about cell phone searches comes a great discussion of what the decision means on a practical level from Ars Technica. Here's a quote I want to highlight:
A May 2010 study from the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers found that three out of every five new nonviolent criminal offenses don't require criminal intent. The Congressional Research Service can't even count the number of criminal offenses currently on the books in the United States, estimating the number to be in the "tens of thousands."
So, are you still certain you're not a criminal? To use my favorite example, just remember it is a violation of federal law (i.e. a crime) to use many cleaning products in a manner inconsistent with their labeling.

We've reached the point where the game is thoroughly stacked against Joe Q. Citizen. The .gov can find proof of some sort of crime, given enough evidence to parse. You may not think the .gov will ever be interested in you, and you may be right. However, given some of the more absurd examples of incompetence displayed lately, you may come under the crosshairs entirely by accident. Remember, its' not paranoia if they're out to get you.

Why give the .gov any help? Password protect your phone and don't talk to the cops.

Labels: , ,


Briefcase Guns

.308 that fits in a briefcase? I'm not impressed. All of my .308s fit into a briefcase.

Admittedly, I have an expansive view of what a briefcase is.

More seriously, that box looks awfully thick to qualify as a briefcase. My legitimate briefcase is one of these in gunmetal gray. Good luck fitting a .308 worth a damn in that envelope.




Apropos of nothing, here's a bit of comedy from my misspent youth.

I recommend the entire movie for your viewing pleasure.



End of An Era

So, in reading an article about the current activities of my old unit, I came across this tidbit:
The 3rd ACR is the last unit of its kind in the Army. Upon completion of its mission in Iraq, the unit is scheduled to transform to a brigade combat team equipped with Stryker vehicles, making this the last deployment of a traditional armored cavalry regiment in U.S. history.
And thus ends the Armored Cav.

Cavalry, not being an actual branch of service, is always more subject to the winds of change in the Pentagon. The perceived utility of the stand-alone cavalry regiment waxes and wanes. Read a history of the regiments and you'll see the constant reorganizations and redesignations as the Army struggles with what, exactly, to do with the cavalry.

I have no doubt that in the future, the BCT approach will reveal some shortcomings and an idea similar to the armored cavalry regiment will become useful again. It's how things go in the Army. Ideas that work are shelved in order to try something new, and eventually, they return to what works.

But I still feel a little sad at finding out the Regiment will be reduced to just another Stryker brigade with a funny name and some old traditions.


Track Count

As a side note to the previous discussion about the RAID, we currently have 9858 tracks on the music server. All of them acquired legally, I might add.

I'm mildly disturbed by the fact we're only up to D on the backlog of ripping the remaining CDs. We have a lot of music.



New Raid Box

So, in the continuing saga that is music at YPS Manor, I have a new piece of hardware. Let me take a moment to explain the backstory.

In the beginning was a WD NetCenter 320 GB network hard drive. I determined that 320 gigs was not going to be sufficient over the long haul. The WD now hides in the server closet and handles mundane things like recipe backups and archived downloads.

In attempt to get in front of the storage problem, I requested and received a Fantom G-Force NAS. As a proper child of the era, I grew up watching Battle of The Planets, so the opportunity to own a G-Force was fairly irresistible.

I should have resisted. A few weeks after I bought it, the fan went out. Not getting any response from tech support, I kludged up a new fan. Then the power supply went out. Twice. Then a hard drive failed. In short, it hasn't been the most reliable piece of equipment I've ever owned.

Well, right about the time the hard drive failed, I got an Amazon gift card. It nearly covered the purchase price of a ZyXEL NSA221 enclosure. I still had very little data on either of my last hard drive purchases. So, after a bit of drive swapping between machines, I have a 1.5 TB RAID-1 stack.

One of the main reasons I purchased the Zyxel is because of the native support for Squeezecenter. I wouldn't have to spend my limited free time kludging together a solution. Ultimately, that was a failure for one simple reason: the Zyxel is slow. I expect slightly snappier response from my media server than I was getting. So on that front, it was a disappointment. I'm still using my little Zotac board with AMD Sempron for the media server, and keeping a backup of all the music on the Zyxel.

Other than that, the Zyxel has been fine. I had to RMA the first one for a bad power switch, but it's been flawless since then. It's a little slow on huge data dumps, like the initial copying of the music files. Setup was easy and painless, everything in the house recognizes it, it holds a ton of data. Woo and hoo. If you already have drives, or even if you don't, it's hard to go wrong with the Zyxel. A little work on your part gets a lot more storage space for the buck.

Labels: ,


Music Tails

In my assiduous attempt to avoid any further commentary on certain recent events, I'm going to talk about music. After all, my opinion on music is just as influential as my opinion on politics. I can't even get the person who lives with me to agree on either one consistently, so what hope do I have with the rest of you?

Anyhow, I received an Amazon gift card over the holidays, which neatly coincided with Amazon having a $5 MP3 album sale. Sweet! So, in no particular order, I downloaded the following:

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
The Birthday Massacre - Pins And Needles
Volbeat - Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
Combichrist - Making Monsters
Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits: 1974-1978
Apocalyptica - 7th Symphony [+Digital Booklet]
The 99 Darkest Pieces Of Classical Music

I paid for those 7 and am still dithering on what I should buy with my remaining bounty. The albums below weren't a difficult choice, since they were free:

Best of Nuclear Blast: 20th Anniversary Compilation
2010 Cool Tour New Artist Sampler
Gothic Metal - Metalhit Free Download Series
Death Metal - Metalhit Free Download Series
Thrash Metal - Metalhit Free Download Series
Folk Metal - Metalhit Free Download Series

I remain slightly confused as to what exactly "folk metal" is supposed to be, but this confusion is not new.

You may note some of my choices tend towards the obscure. A gentleman recently wrote a lovely article which explains the more recent oddities of the top-selling album list. I think it's worth your while to read, if you are interested in the slow-motion implosion of the record industry in the current form.



Substantive Commentary Free

I'm watching gob-smacked as people blame everything but an obviously deranged individual for what happened Saturday in Arizona. It really is quite impressive from a sociological perspective, but isn't going to do a damn thing for anybody.

I got no great commentary. People are crazy, shit happens, life sucks. Other people have thoughts, though. Try here, here, and here. Also there.

Also helpful, for the uninitiated, is this Q&A on gun laws.



Thought for a Random Wednesday

So, we watch a lot of the Disney channel around here; big Phineas & Ferb fans are we. So T, who like me could usually care less about any of this type of stuff, tells me that he read somewhere that one of the actresses on the channel has apparently come out of the closet because she was caught kissing that Bieber chick who dates somebody named R. Kelly. This Kelly dude is apparently famous for getting busted for running around peeing on people? Really?

Anyway, at a time when our country is coasting toward hell in a borrowed Chinese hand basket, can somebody tell me why this kind of nonsense is even considered newsworthy? Do we have this much spare time?

Crumbling Grandeur

Detroit has some really neat architecture that is currently falling into ruins. Volumes can be written about the collapse of the American auto industry and it's former leading city. On other days I could work up a few hundred words on my speculation as to the causes and conditions that led to the problems, but today I just have pictures.



New Year, Old Problems

So, in our first entry for SSDY, here's a lovely article on the only legal gun store in Mexico. I'm sure the WaPo would love for me too draw a different conclusion about the whole mess, but they spoiled it at the end with the following:

Alberto Islas, a security expert based in Mexico, said it is common knowledge that the easiest way for the average citizen to buy a gun is to ask a friendly local police officer.

"The cop will bring it to your house and show you how to load it," Islas said. "Of course, it is technically illegal."

One legal gun store, but the cops are dealing guns illegally? Yeah, those US gun laws are really the problem, guys.

Labels: ,