Archive for the ‘Kindleing’ Category

Like an oncoming train.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Christmas is coming. But you don’t have a lot of time to shop and get physical objects delivered.

What to do? What. To. Do.

Well, if the object of gift giving has a Kindle or something like it, ebooks make fine gifts. And they can be delivered, even on Christmas morning.

I just finished, and enthusiastically recommend, Brian Krebs’ Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door. It isn’t quite the general book about spam I was expecting. His Krebsness is mostly writing about the Russian pharmacy spam gangs and their internecine warfare. There’s a lot of good stuff in Spam Nation; I’d recommend it for anyone in your life who has a interest in computers, computer security, or spam.

Another book that I really enjoyed this year is Amy Alkon’s Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck, an etiquette guide for the modern age. Much of her advice is based on the latest developments in cognitive science, too, so it isn’t just a list of arbitrary rules. Also enthusiastically recommended, for just about everyone. (With the possible exception of very small children. But if you have a late pre-teen or teenager on your list, I think they could get a lot out of this.)

Merry Christmas to me! (Part 2)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

I like Joe R. Lansdale.

I like free stuff.

Joe’s Bullets and Fire is available for free on the Kindle.

(Hattip: Mike the Musicologist. Stuff from Joel’s Classical Shop makes swell gifts this time of year. And remember, the Twelve Days of Christmas begin on December 25th, and don’t end until January 6th. So you’ve got plenty of shopping days left!)

Gratuitous gun porn (#3 in a series)

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Before last week, I had not purchased a gun since July of 2012*.

There are reasons for that. One was that I went through a period of unemployment, where I wasn’t purchasing anything but essential items.

A second reason is that it has been hard to find things I’ve been interested in purchasing. My local gun shops have had very few used guns that I was interested in; it seems that people are mostly holding on to guns rather than trading them in. When Mike the Musicologist and I went down to San Antonio, I did find a few interesting used guns, but either the prices were out of line (in my opinion) or (at Nagel‘s) I didn’t have the ready cash available to make the purchase.

When I decided I was going to the Smith and Wesson Collectors Association symposium in Columbus, I thought there was a good chance that I’d break the drought. I don’t buy guns just for the sake of buying guns, but I generally have a mental list of “grail” guns at any given time. The S&WCA annual meetings are a good place to find at least some of those guns, since many of my “grail” guns are Smiths.

I was lucky enough to find two guns that I fell in love with, both at the table of noted dealer David Carroll. I was even luckier in that they were within price ranges I felt I could afford, and that Mr. Carroll was willing to work with me on payment and shipping. (Mr. Carroll is a swell guy. Go buy things from him. Please.)

(As a side note, it isn’t as easy to buy guns over the Internet or out of state as lying liars who lie would have you believe. The S&WCA meeting was in Ohio. I live in Texas. As a non-resident of Ohio who doesn’t have any type of Federal Firearms License (FFL), I couldn’t legally buy a gun in the state. Private sale or dealer, it wouldn’t make any difference; I’d be breaking the law, as would the person who sold it to me. I had to have my dealer in Texas send Mr. Carroll (who is a licensed dealer) a copy of his FFL, Mr. Carroll had to ship the guns to my FFL dealer, and then I had to go to my dealer, fill out a BATFE Form 4473, and provide my Texas concealed carry permit to my FFL dealer before I could take possession of the guns. If I didn’t have a Texas concealed carry permit, I still could have gone through with the purchase, but my dealer would have had to phone in a NICS check. The only thing my Texas concealed carry permit gets me is bypassing the phone call, since I’ve already been through a background check.)

(If I had a limited collectors license, what BATFE calls a “Curios and Relics” (or “C&R”) license, I probably could have brought one of the guns home with me. The “C&R” license is less expensive and less invasive than a full FFL, but it limits you (generally) to guns more than 50 years old. So I still would have had to have the second gun shipped to my FFL, plus there’s the whole “traveling with a gun on an airline” thing, which is kind of complicated.)

(And I’ll admit, it gave me more than a little thrill when I went to my FFL to pick up the guns, and the guy behind the counter said, “Oh, yeah. I saw those earlier. Those are pretty.” They especially admired the one I’m about to write about.)

(I’m sure many of my readers already know these things. The above is for the benefit of new readers, and people who may not be aware of the process. Remember: lying liars who lie, will lie.)

After the jump, photos and words and things.


Random notes: April 14, 2014.

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Don’t forget: tomorrow is National Buy a Gun Day. I’m not sure I’ll be observing it on the 15th this year, but we’ll see how things go…

I see Lawrence’s killer paramedic, and raise: 77 arson fires in a Virgina county over five months. Serial arsons are kind of interesting on their own, but who did it and (allegedly) why, is the twist here.

In the past four days, the NYT has run two stories bemoaning the closing of J&R Music World. Just saying.


“There is a place for using apps and all kinds of technology to prepare for the holiday, but I would prefer to do that beforehand so that when you’re actually at the Seder you’re actually speaking to one another,” said Rabbi Daniel Nevins, the dean of the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, which ordains rabbis in the Conservative movement.

I think Rabbi Nevins is on the mark with this. But:

The use of the electronic Haggadot comes just as Conservative rabbis are embroiled in a debate over whether to make e-readers permissible on the Sabbath. Rabbi Nevins wrote a paper last year saying that such devices violated the spirit of the Sabbath and the holidays, traditionally viewed as a sanctuary from the workaday world.

If it is okay to read books on the Sabbath, why is it not okay to use e-readers? (Please note: while I have a great admiration for the Jewish religion and people, I am not Jewish, nor am I a Torah scholar.)

Lawrence also suggested at dinner the other night that I do a comprehensive prison personæ for the city of Bell: basically, a quick reference guide to who’s been convicted of what, and how much time they’ll serve. I may do that in the next few days, but I want to hold off a bit: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo is supposed to be sentenced on his tax charges later today, and sentenced on the other charges related to his role as Bell city manager on Wednesday. I will update here once Rizzo’s sentences are announced.

By way of Popehat on the Twitter: NYC’s Brecht Forum is closing. No, this wasn’t a place where folks sat around and sang “Mack the Knife” and other songs: that would actually have been kind of cool.

The center’s mission, according to its website, is to “create, within existing society, a counter-hegemonic culture of working people and their allies, who are capable of challenging the capitalist agenda, prefiguring new ways of thinking and of self-organization, as well as creating new ways of relating to each other and nature.”
Figures like Noam Chomsky, William Greider, Lewis H. Lapham and Naomi Klein have spoken at events at the forum. Affiliated groups include the Institute for Popular Education, the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory and the Strike Anywhere Theater Ensemble.

Yeah, Donnie, they’re Marxists.

“Rising Manhattan rents forced us to Brooklyn, but we have incurred debts and costs that are insurmountable,” the board members wrote, saying that they had decided to close the forum “with dignity” and the hope that “the larger project we all care so deeply about may survive in a different form.”

Awwwww. But where will they go now?

Plenty of serious discussion about politics and philosophy took place in the brick building on West Street, but the activists who gathered there had a lighter side, too, sometimes playing foosball or a Marxist version of Monopoly, called Class Struggle.

I was hoping to be able to provide an Amazon link for “Class Struggle”, just in case you have any children in your life that you hate. Sadly, it appears that “Class Struggle”, produced by Avalon Hill (!), is out of print and used copies are pricy. Here’s BoardGameGeek’s page.

TMQ watch: December 24, 2013.

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The heck with it. After the jump, this week’s TMQ


TMQ Watch: December 10, 2013.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As noted last week, this is TMQ’s bye week.

Meanwhile, we have obtained a copy of The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America. According to our Kindle, we got about 65% of the way through it while waiting for new tires to be put on WCD’s official vehicle. (“Daddy Drank Our Xmas Money”? Yeah, bullshit. Daddy put all our Xmas money into car tires. Daddy doesn’t even have enough money for cheap vodka. Not that Daddy’s bitter or anything.)

It probably will not happen today, but we do plan to have a review of King of Sports up between now and the next TMQ.

Pictures of MatchBook men.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013


Today, Amazon launched Kindle MatchBook, a new benefit that gives customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon.

Why is this interesting? Well, I checked my Amazon account to see what titles were available to me. Right now, there are six: three of them were purchased as gifts for other people.

So, I can get the Kindle ebook edition, at a reduced price, of a physical book I bought for another person. Let me repeat that: for a considerably reduced price, I can get the electronic edition of a book I don’t even own. I’m not sure if this is by Amazon design, or a flaw in their process. I would have expected Amazon to do some checking, such as: did this go to the primary shipping address on the account, or a different address? Was this a purchase off of someone other person’s wishlist?

But hey! I can get Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for 99 cents!

Add the professional narration of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for a reduced price of $12.99 after you buy this Kindle book.

Yeah. $12.99 seems a little steep. How much for the amateur narration?


Thursday, August 15th, 2013

The 5th edition of Learning Python is out.

Since I am not an idiot, I bought the ebook; doing so is easier both on my wallet and on my back. I started reading it and working through the examples last night.

Quoth Chapter 1, under “Who uses Python today?”:

The IronPort email server product uses more than 1 million lines of Python code to do its job.

I can only smile and say “No. Comment.

And a few bullet points later:

The NSA uses Python for cryptography and intelligence analysis.

So remember, folks: the NSA is spying on you, but they’re doing it with open source software. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

(Yes, yes, I’m sure the NSA also uses Perl and Java and Visual Basic and FORTH and even internally developed languages that are still classified. I just found it funny, is all.)

Stupid question, probably.

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

But why does the National PTA have an “official e-reader”? And what other “official” products does the National PTA have? “Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy: Official beer of the National PTA”? “Leica: Official camera of the National PTA”?

I know, I know, but does anyone have a better answer than “M-O-N-E-Y”?

After action report: Las Vegas, NV 2012.

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

I don’t have much new to report as far as equipment, but I do have a couple of notes on existing stuff. DEFCON for the past few years has run a “secure” network using MSCHAPv2 authentication.

  1. This worked fine on the Kindle Fire. I was able to log in and browse whenever the network was working. However, there seems to be some sort of bug in the Kindle Fire: after a certain amount of time, the wifi setting on the Fire would either stop responding completely (on/off switch wouldn’t do anything) or would immediately crash (with an error message) as soon as I tried to open the setting.
  2. The default Network Manager on Ubuntu 12.04 would not connect to the “secure” network at all, but just constantly brought up the authentication prompt. Google turned up more than a few reports of Ubuntu issues with Network Manager and MS-CHAPv2 authenticated networks, so it seems this is a known issue. I worked around this by downloading and installing wicd, which was able to connect. However, wicd does not appear to save network settings, so every time I wanted to connect to the network, I had to re-enter the configuration.

(In general, I’m seeing more and more problems with project e and Ubuntu 12.04. I suspect some of these may be issues caused by doing several upgrade installs in succession, so I may try doing a backup of /home, reformatting project e, and doing a scratch install and restore of 12.04.)

Food: I had excellent meals at Lotus of Siam (the sea bass drunken noodles) and at Piero’s Italian Cuisine, which is a very old-school Italian restaurant near the convention center.

That was some swell osso bucco. And I don’t think I paid much more for it than I paid for osso bucco at Ciola’s when they were still open.

I also broke with one of my rules and went back to Shabu Shabu Paradise again. In my defense:

  1. I really like these people and want them to be enormously successful.
  2. I haven’t been there since my last trip with Andrew and Mike the Musicologist.
  3. I kind of have a tiny little crush on the waitress. Who, by the way, recognized me from my previous visits, even though I was clean-shaven last time. (I think she’s married to the chef, so nothing’s going to come of that.)

I also had a good meal at Mint Indian Bistro, and very good breakfasts at Blueberry Hill on Flamingo and The Egg and I on Sahara. (The rule doesn’t apply to breakfast, as it is very very hard to find good breakfast places that aren’t casino buffets, Denny’s, or IHOPs in Vegas. If anybody does have a recommendation for a good breakfast place in Las Vegas, please feel free to drop it into the comments.)

I’ve been driving past Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas for years now, considering giving them a try and then not going after all. This time, thanks to Tam inspiring a German food craving in me, I thought I’d give it a shot. The verdict: meh. It wasn’t a horrible meal. The service was pleasant and efficient. But it seemed like I paid a fair amount of money for pretty average food. Walburg is better and cheaper and really not that bad a drive if I go there from work. (You’d be hard-pressed to spend $50+ at Walburg without either being too full to move or too drunk to drive.)

I drove past Flavor Flav’s House of Flavor several times (it is very close to my preferred ATM in Las Vegas, which, in turn, is far enough away from DEFCON that I’m not any more paranoid than usual about using that ATM), and I regret not getting a photo.

I did get some photos (but they didn’t come out well) of “Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer“. BBQ and beer? I can haz both?

(By the way, I was never offered a full can of soda on any of my Southwest flights. But I did get a full can of drinking water between PHX and AUS.)

Thanks to: Everyone at DEFCON 20 (staff, goons, presenters, and attendees), the folks at Shabu Shabu Paradise, Lotus of Siam, the Egg and I, Blueberry Hill, and Mint Indian Bistro, the Mob Museum, Amber Unicorn Books, Greyhound’s Books, Borepatch for linky-love, and anyone else I missed.

Kindle notes.

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Thursday and Friday were kind of slow days at work. For various reasons (including a series of discussions with several co-workers) I ended up downloading the Shooter app, which does run on the Kindle Fire. (I find that slightly surprising, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.)

Since the Kindle Fire lacks GPS and Bluetooth, you do miss out on a few features, such as interfacing with the Kestrel and GPS-based weather station input. On the other hand, I think the interface on a Kindle Fire may be slightly more pleasant; since you can apparently do cloud-based syncing, what I suspect will work out well is to do data entry on the Kindle Fire, sync with Shooter on your smart phone, and use the phone at the range.

This, in turn, led to me consider .22 LR ballistics. In turn, my consideration of same led me to start poking around on Amazon for some things I’d seen previously, such as The Complete Book of the .22: A Guide to the World’s Most Popular Guns (available used at a good price) and Rifleman’s Guide To Rimfire Ammunition (a book I want, but the Amazon prices aren’t that good; I’d rather support my local gunshop).

One of the books I found while poking around is a quaint and curious volume called The Art of Rimfire Accuracy by a gentleman named Bill Calfee. From what I can tell, Mr. Calfee has forgotten more about .22 accuracy than most people ever knew; he’s somewhat famous in the community as a .22 specialist gunsmith. (One thing that particularly amuses me is that Mr. Calfee builds custom .22 benchrest guns based on the XP-100 action; when I was six years old, I thought the XP-100 was the coolest gun in the world. I still want one chambered in .221 Fireball, but a Calfee .22 conversion sounds like it would be a neat thing to own as well.)

My understanding is that the book is mostly a collection of Mr. Calfee’s writings for Precision Shooting magazine: the book is 700+ pages long.

Mr. Calfee’s book is published by Authorhouse, a POD publisher and one that seems popular in the gun community. (Authorhouse also publishes The Rifleman’s Rifle: Winchester’s Model 70, 1936-1963, a book I want badly but can’t justify the $90 price tag for.)

Anyway, here’s my point: Mr. Calfee’s book in paperback is $42.63 with Prime shipping. Interestingly, it is also available on the Kindle…

…and the Kindle edition is $9.99. I’ve only made through the first three chapters so far, but it doesn’t look to me like there’s any photographic or other detail lost on the Kindle Fire. Welcome to the future of publishing. Now if we could only get more gun books on the Kindle, like History of Smith & Wesson or The Rifleman’s Rifle or Hatcher’s Notebook or even Applied Ballistics For Long-Range Shooting, things would be hopping…

(I can even see a version of the Litz book that runs as an application, and allows you not only to read the text, but also to do ballistic calculations based on Litz’s equations interactively within the book itself, instead of using the supplied CD. Hey, a fellow can dream, can’t he?)

After action report: Boise, ID.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

This is going to be more like a collection of random notes towards an AA report than an actual report. I do plan on a longer more thoughtful blog post later; probably this weekend, if everything works out the way I want it to. (I’m waiting for something to come in, and I need to go out to my mother’s place to take some pictures.)

  • You can do blog posts from the Kindle Fire. I wouldn’t recommend it, and there are some issues with the WordPress interface on the Kindle, but in a pinch it can be done. And it is better than trying to post from a smart phone.
  • On the other hand, I was at dinner one night with some friends. One of them was talking about a new gun he’d bought, but wasn’t sure what variant it was. He (and several other people at the table) were very impressed when I whipped out the Kindle Fire open to the appropriate section of the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson 3rd Edition. At least one person said, “That’s it. I’ve got to get one.” Yeah, I like having the Kindle Fire.
  • Speaking of books, I started and finished The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl on the way up. Tam has written about this book previously, and anything I could add except “go read it” would be superfluous.
  • Supposedly, according to the TSA, you no longer have to take out your laptop if it is under 12″. At least, that’s what I was told by a TSA agent in Austin (too late to do me any good) and the first TSA agent I spoke with in Boise. The second TSA agent in Boise apparently either didn’t get the memo, or the other two were wrong. Good old government ineptitude.
  • I feel obligated to link to this Oatmeal comic.
  • I had a lot of good food in Boise. Other than Bar Gernika and the Moxie Java on Chinden, I had a fantastic breakfast (as in, one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had) at a small place called Goldy’s in downtown Boise, and a very nice meal off the prix fixe menu at Chandlers Steakhouse.
  • Speaking of Chandlers, some folks have been talking about martinis, so I thought I’d post this: Chandlers calls this “The ’33 Plymouth”; it is, of course, made with Plymouth gin and Nolly Prat vermouth. They do warn you that it takes 10 minutes to make one; I consider it worth the wait.
  • There was a restaurant near the hotel that I (sadly) did not make it to, but was notable for the carved wooden sign out front stating “Famous Prawns”. I am sufficiently geeky that whenever I saw that sign, all I could think of was “No prawns at this altitude!”
  • I find that what gets under my skin about travel these days is mostly the minor annoyances. The $3 bottled water in the room. (A buck or $1.50, maybe. That’s gas station price. And what do you suppose the gas station’s markup on bottled water is?) The lack of notepaper and envelopes. (Remember when hotels used to supply those? I know, everyone emails now, but an envelope is still useful to hold receipts and other bits of important loose paper.) Annoying WiFi networks. Etc.
  • Minor annoyances aside, I did like the staff and the facility at the Riverside Boise. (And at least the WiFi was free.) The cookie and milk/coffee break provided by the hotel on Friday was a particularly nice touch.
  • Anyone ever read Lawrence Block’s short story about Keller the hitman, “Answers to Soldier”? I understand how Keller felt about Roseburg; I feel much the same way about Boise. It reminds me a lot of Austin twenty years ago. (And, much like Keller, I have fantasies about moving almost every place I travel to. And then I end up going back to Austin…)
  • I was reliably informed that on Thursday (the first full day I was there, when we spent much of the afternoon tramping around the Old Idaho Penitentiary) the high was 92 degrees. Balmy by Austin standards, but the humidity was 6%. That would explain why I was drinking water like it was going out of style the whole time I was there…
  • As small town as Boise feels, it is big enough to have at least three gun stores. (There may be more, but the show host recommended three specifically.) I was able to visit two: the folks at Boise Gun Company were really nice, and have a huge selection. Cliff’s Guns, Safes, and Reloading seems to be a great place for reloading supplies; they didn’t have quite the new or used selection of Boise Gun Company, but did have a couple of interesting used guns. (On the other hand, $2,000 for a Model 16-4 strikes me as high. But I didn’t try to talk them down, what with being an out-of-state resident and all.) And the staff at Cliffs was perfectly pleasant to me, thankyouverymuch.
  • Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to search for used bookstores in Boise. I did look for bookstores in Ketchum and along the route between Boise and Ketchum, but didn’t see any. Oddly enough, I also didn’t see any gun stores along the route. (They probably would have been closed on Sunday, but I was specifically looking for both gun stores and book stores, just to satisfy my curiosity.)
  • Speaking of Ketchum and the general area around it, can you say “yuppie heaven”? I suspect if you planted magnets on old Ernie’s body and placed him inside a coil of copper wire, you could provide enough power to light all of downtown Ketchum at night.
  • On the other hand, the stretch of 51/20 between I-84 and 75 is an amazing drive. This is basically 82 miles of…well, nothing, except high desert country, farms and ranches, mountains, and lots of curvy mountain road. I have a track of the route I took, and may post it later so folks can get a feel for what the country looks like.
  • I haven’t been a big KIA fan, but the rental company gave me a KIA Forte, and it turned out to be a pretty swell car. It handled well on the road, got close to 30 MPG, and felt pretty stable at 85 MPH. Plus, it had two 12V sockets, an aux input, and a USB plug up front. I haven’t checked the Consumer Reports repair records, but the Forte might be worth looking at if you’re in the market for a 4-door sedan.
  • Boise seems to have nearly as many thrift stores as Austin, Mom. I didn’t see any Goodwill stores, though; the majority of thrift stores seemed to be affiliated with the “Idaho Youth Ranch“.