Sunday, July 31, 2005
Mike’s Rules Of The Road
Reader Eric Parsons thinks that my list of stuff for long distance car trips is overkill; and for some of it he's right; but that list is based on my own personal experience crossing the country by car dozens of times. I've needed everything in my car at least twice.
Specifically, some of those items are for driving through the small mountain highways off the interstate, and on backline county roads. Generally speaking, the interstate is a far less exciting place so to speak.
Although I'm not a commercial truck driver, I HAVE been a courier driver (local and interstate), a security driver, an executive driver, and a roadie for a long haul mover. I've probably logged 4 or 5 times as many miles as the average driver (oh and for Mike, I HAVE been to Bondurants, and Barber, and a couple other. Great times.).
Just as an example, in the last year, during which time I have not been employed as a driver, and I lived at most 20 miles from my place of business, I have driven about 30,000 miles (which considering gas prices.....). Much of that was in long car trips (all around AZ, nor-cal, tour of Utah, tour of CO, trip to TX etc...).
Now think about a long haul truckers road time for a second: My long haul friends tell me they do at least 125,000-150,000 road miles per year, and that's well below maxium.
If you're on O/O (0wner Operator) working as many days per year as you can cram in, at up to 800 miles per day (assuming they keep vaguely legal), you can break in to 200k territory, maybe even 250k (if you're loaded all the time and have no life). If you're team driving you might do 50% more than that.
Think maybe they might know a little bit about driving?
H/T: Eric Parsons
Saturday, July 30, 2005
His trip will be from central California, to south texas, crossing through AZ, NM, and then into Texas. Not that big a deal for an experienced long distance driver, but it's his first drive half way across the country so hey...
Also, I'll be flying out to jersey to help Jim drive back across country when he moves to AZ at the end of August.
Anyway, here's what I think everyone should know about how to deal with desert and mountain travelling.
Okay first, just on the car front (all of this assumes a basically sound vehicle):
- Check your AC out before you leave, and make sure it is fully charged. You very definitely do not want your AC to go out in the middle of the desert at 135 degrees on the blacktop (its from 20 to 40 degrees hotter on the road surface than the "official" temperature).
- Check your belts, hoses, tires, and windshield wipers/washer system. All of the first three are absolutely critical, and put under a lot of stress by the heat, and the mountains. If your belts fail, and you dont notice for a while (which is entirely possible) you are going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Oh and VERY important, make sure you check your tire pressure every time you get gas (or at least every other time), and inspect the tires for damage.
Also every time you get gas, wash your head and tail-lights, and your windows.
- Change your oil, coolant, and transmission fluid (if you have an automatic). You are going to be spending a lot of time at low speed and high RPM, which is very tough on oil and coolant. Mountains and heat are especially bad for automatic transmissions.
First, you want to use a heavier viscosity oil (preferably a synthetic); I personally use a 15w50 full synthetic, though some recommend not using such a wide viscosity range.
Next you want to change your coolant out, and instead of 50:50, you want to mix 1/4 antifreeze, 3/4 water, and a bottle of water wetter . In fact, if you dont drive or live in environments that freeze at all; you should just run straight up water and water wetter. Trust me it's great stuff. Oh, and ALWAYS use distilled water.
As to your transmission, I HIGHLY recommend a heavy duty synthetic trans fluid (red line is your friend, but expensive).
If you have a manual, you should probably get your clutch and shift linkage checked, and change the fluids; but it may be prohibitively expensive to do so depending on your vehicle.
- Change your air filter. You will be driving through dusty nasty environments, for several thousand miles, and a clogged air filter is a BAD THING. While you're at it, use the opportunity to use a better filter like a K&N etc...
- Check out and possibly change your plugs, wires, and battery. Hot weather does bad things to batteries (as bad as very cold weather), and if your battery is iffy, now is the time to change it.
- Bring LOTS of water.
- BRING LOTS MORE WATER. Just for emergency purposes in case you brake down or overheat, I like to keep at least 2 gallons per person in the car (I usually keep 2 one gallon jugs behind my seat, and a 5 gallon emergency container in the trunk).
- Gatorade is your friend (diluted fruit juice is about as good). You can become dehydrated quickly drinking nothing but water, and without electrolytes you'll get some nasty headaches, which brings the next two points up...
- Caffeine is not your friend. Caffeine is both a stimulant, and a diuretic, and people tend to overdo it when they are driving. Then when their stomach or nerves complain, they cut off entirely, which casues withdrawal. Tired, wired, and dehydrated is BAD, especially at the 5000-8000 feet you'll hit in the high desert. More nasty headaches...
- Eat salty and starchy foods. Salt and carbohydrates let you keep and use the water, and keep your energy up. Helping you to avoid those nasty headaches.
Also, avoid greasy, very fatty, or very spicy foods; or much dairy. Diarrhea is a VERY bad thing, as are the many and varied forms of indigestion. Yes, truckers and professional drivers LOVE their grease, but they are also used to driving those long distances; plus I don't know a single pro driver who doesnt use tons of antacids etc...
- Wear a hat. I hate hats, but I wear them anyway. Also sun screen. You may not realize it, but driving all day inside tinted windows can still give you a nasty sun burn (especially on your left arm).
- Bring, and keep easily available; changes of shirts and underwear. You soak t-shirts pretty quickly driving in hot weather for a few hours, even with AC. This makes you itchy and crawly, and jsut generally uncomfortable. You wouldn't believe how much more comfortable you will be if you change your T-shirt (and possibly undies) every time you get gas.
- Buy sun shades for your car. Put them in place every time you park for more than a few minutes. They aren't a miracle, but they help.
- Books on tape/cd are lifesavers, as is satellite radio. Having done the long distance thing with Sirius radio, I can't tell you how much more pleasant it is.
- Bring a two way radio; ham if you're licensed (kb1dxj here), and a CB if you're not (and even if you are really). There are LOTS of places where cell phones dont work, and you may be stuck out somewhere for a couple hours if something goes wrong. Oh and speaking of cell phones and radios, make sure you bring chargers for all of them, preferably car chargers.
The mountains are gorgeous, but the prettier they are, the more dangerous they are; PAY ATTENTION.
- Get your brakes checked before you start out. They are the only thing keeping you alive. This is doubly true if you are heavily loaded, or carryign a trailer. Oh and if you are towing a trailer through the moutnains, you really should have trailer brakes. The electric ones aren't so bad to hook up. If your brakes are marginal, then change them; with somethign better than the factory pads. Factory pads are designed for low noise, and low dust in normal driving conditions, and almsot to a piece they SUCK for high heat, heavy duty applications. Remember, mountain driving feels the same to your car as running a road race.
- Going down is a hell of a lot more dangerous than going up. First thing, dont use your brakes unless you absolutely need to. Most cars brakes are only good for a few minutes on serious mountain roads before they are toast. When that happens you need to find a safe place to pull over and stop for at least half an hour. If it's night time you can watch as your brakes cool down from cherry red.
- Those speed limit warnings, and grade warnings arent jsut for truckers. Yes those limits are set pretty low, and no a decent car doesnt need to follow them as much as a truck does; but remember your vehcile will handle very different downhill, heavily loaded, than it does in the flat. Give yourself more margin, and keep close to the limits. But wait, I jsut told you not to use your brakes, how do I follow the limits?
- USE LOWER GEARS. Unfortunately most of us dont have jake brakes, but thankfully a few hardy souls still have manual transmissions and can get some decent engine braking going. Yeah autos can use engine braking too, but nowhere near as well, or with as many options; in fact some autos will drop the engine out of gear in an engine braking scenario (optimizing for economoy).
This is equally true going up as going down. When you are using lower gears, not only do you have the engine braking factor, but the lower gear gives you more throttle control. Select a gear that doesnt require lots of shifting as the road changes in grade and your vehicle changes in speed. The frequent shifting is harder on your transmission (and clutch) than the somewhat higher RPMs. That said, remember those high RPMs are hard on the engine and accessories. Watch your temperatures and fluid pressures if you can, and make frequent stops to rest, and let the car cool down.
- Watch the weather. Weather in the mountains can change faster than you could believe. Also darkness can come very quickly after an extended twilight.
- Keep some extra maintenance items, and spares of everything expendable (fuses etc...). At the minimum take a decent tool kit, and a replacement bottle jack sized to your car.
Personally I also keep an air compressor, duct tape, electrical tape, patching wire, safety wire, spare nuts bolts and screws, a tire repair kit, tire sealant (slime super duty, or ultra seal), every fluid in the vehicle, paracord, braided multi core heavy line, bungy cords, tie downs, tow straps, and a couple of ponchos.
- Have extra oil, coolant, and bug removing windshield washer fluid (trust me on that last one). Also bug wipes and general cleaning wipes are a good thing.
- Big, strong cupholders help a hell of a lot. If you don't have good cupholders, see if you can get some aftermarket cupholders.
- 12 volt cigarette lighter power splitters are remarkably useful.
- Always bring toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels. Also a couple of real towels and babywipes are great. Oh and hand sanitizer is also a good thing.
- Have a good first aid kit, and keep it accessible. When I say, good first aid kit, I mean by my or Doc Russias standards. Also keep a small simple one in your glove compartment. You may never need them, but if you do...
- Make sure you keep a good medium sized knife (large folder or small sheath knife), a multi tool, a pair of EMT shears, and at least two flash lights handy.
- Have immodium AD, antacids, pepcid/tagamet/zantac, ipuprofen (or your other painkiller of choice), eye drops, and allergy/sinus medications handy; as well as refils of any prescription meds you may need.
- Keep a spare pair of glasses, contacts etc.. if you have them; and ALWAYS have a decent pair of sunglasses, and a spare.
- Keep copies of your prescriptions of any kind (medical, optical etc...).
Friday, July 29, 2005
Two weeks ago I had the AC on my bimmer serviced; doing the R134A conversion, and a charge and fill, which came out to about $170.
Not bad actually, considering it took a 3lb charge, and R134A is significantly non-cheap (about $10 a pound wholesale, plus the environmental fees associated with it and the disposal of the r12, which darn near triple that).
Well, the AC was doing great, and we headed up north to the canyon. The first day up we took the twisties (89a, GOD I LOVE that road), which necessitated a long time at low medium speeds and high revs; pretty much the worst possible conditions for vehicular machinery.
Some time around Sedona I started hearing a metallic rattle, which sounded suspiciously like my AC compressor. I tried turning the AC on and off, and sure enough, it was the compressor clutch. A little spray lube worked out for a few hours, but the rattling returned. I checked out the clutch when we stopped for the night, and it wasnt rattling/loose etc... so I figured it would take a real mechanical inspection.
We finished up our trip the next day, and the AC was working well the entire time. Unfortunately when we went out the next day, there was no AC whatsoever.
I did a little visual inspection, and there was a pool of fluid under the compressor, and the belt was gone.
So I went back to my AC guy, and the short story is (too late), I need a new AC compressor.
So six WIDELY varying quotes later, it comes down to $900 installed for a rebuilt third party compressor, out to about $1600 installed for a new OEM compressor.
Of course you cant really get around here without A/C....
Did I mention OUCH!
I'm jsut going to ahve to bite the bullet and take the cheaper option. It's jsut going to take a nice big bite of my reserves.
Oh and of course I need to change the belts now as well, but honestly I've needed to do that for a while.
Ok, I feel ... not better, but a little less irritated
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Well, it's official; my best friend is moving down here. He and his girlfriend are out putting a depost down on an apartment about a mile from here right now. Their move in date is the first week in September.
I'll be posting some "Me and Jim" stories soon, but suffice it to say this man is closer to me than my brother. I love him as my family, as do my mother and brother. I want him to be my best man when I marry again (he missed the first one), and he wants the same for me.
There arent many people in your life you can say you would kill or die for, he's one of them.
Not only am I getting my friend in close proximity, but it's getting him the HELL out of New Jersey, which has been not-so-slowly killing him for the last four years. He's miserable as hell up ther (who wouldn't be).
So obviously this makes me VERY HAPPY.
We played in a three seating poker tournament last night, where I came in 26th of 62 (Jim was 25th), 2nd of 16 (Jim was 6th), and 22nd of 56...
In the first seating I was about to take down a 15k pot, which would have put me in comfortably in the chip lead...
Before I turned my cards over, I said "I've got the straight"; and she only had ace high, and tossed them in.
Only the entire table had mis-read the hand, including me...
See we all thought I had the high straight, and the last caller tossed her hand in face up... Only I DIDN'T have the straight. Yup, we'd all missed that I missed one card.
Now heres where things get tricky...
She had tossed her cards in, but she didnt say fold, they were face up, hadnt touched any other cards, and no-one else had touched them. Technically that's not a fold, but once someone tosses them in it can go either way. In tournament play that would generally have been considered a fold.
One of the other players says "hey, wait a sec... he missed it", and everybody took a double take...
So if I was a bastard, I could have forced the fold and taken down the pot, which would have given me something like 3/4 of the chips on the table; but it was a free game (prize was a poker tabletop) so I just let it go.
I mean, if you cant be a good sport in a free game; what the hell are you?
Anyway we're heading up to one of the local lakes and were' hittin a pontoon boat for the afternoon. Beer, and floating around, playing poker, eatin a picnic...
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Considering hes the founder of the LLP community, and I'm one of the first members; he and I are both classical liberals/muscular minarchists; we often comment on each others blogs etc...
Anyway for months we've been joking that we are doppelganger, or perhaps twins separated by 10 years... the evidence continues to mount.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Honestly, and I know this is going to piss off some of my readers (because they are among those of whom I am about to speak), I think koranic, AND biblical (and torah and talmudic) literalists are all completely shithouse nuts.
Nahhh, thats not exactly true. The definition of faith is a belief in that which has no provable or rational basis; and I have faith in some things; but not in a translation of a translation of a translation, of something that somebody wrote down about what some guys said about some other guy 80-300 years after he died, about 2000 years ago...
But hey, if it works for you fine; so long as you dont knock on my door at 6am on a weekend (I WILL come to the door with a shotgun); or try and kill, maim, or otherwise harm those who don't believe as you do.
A significant, vocal, and active minority of muslims fall into that last category; and a significant, silent, and inactive majority are doing nothing about it.
That kind of pisses me off...
UPDATE: Maybe y'all should know a bit mroe about my religious thoughts and affiliations. It's all in my essay "Faith, Belief, and Ideas"
I took Jim and his GF on their first visit to the canyon...
I'll tell you, you never get tired of the views, but after a dozen times, the little incidentals start to bug you. Like the japanese tourist drivers, with a rental down from vegas, doing 5mph below the speed limit and never letting anyone pass them for example.
Oh and one constant, rain or shine, no matter the time of year; Japanese and German tourists. Seriously, it could be 80 below and zero-zero; and theyd still be out there snapping away (japanese), or hiking away (germans).
Anyway, 6 hours of hiking, plus 14 hours (3 hours driving, plus 5 hours as a passenger today; and 6 hours driving yesterday) in the car on aforementioned mountain roads is tiring (but fun and well worth it). Pictures to follow, but sleep for now.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Or rather I HAVE convinced them to move down here, but I've jsut about convinced them to do it now, instead of a year from now.
They'll be here the rest of the week, and posting will continue to be light to non-existent.
Oh and for those of you not paying attention, they are dropping like flies from the heat out here. Sure, it's only 115; but combine that with 60-80% relative humidity (we're hitting our monsoon) and thats just not fun.
JohnOC and I took Jim out shooting yesterday, and we kept telling him "drink more water, if you dont gotta piss, you gotta drink", especially since he had ... overindulged shall we say... on red bull and vodka the night before. Genius ended up puking most of the day yesterday which of course means YOU NEED EVEN MORE WATER.
For all that, he didnt do too badly for someone who hasn't shot since he got out of the army almost 8 years ago; specially since he has a cross eye dominance problem (left hand, right eye).
Anyway, as the day goes on, Jims still not drinking enough water, because he says "but I jsutn puke it up again"... again not understanding that means he needs to jsut FLOOD his system with water (or preferably gatorade, or at least eat salty food), and he's getting more and more miserable. Oh and of course he hasnt kept any food down either.
Of course Jimmy being Jimmy, he insists that he can hang with it...
So we go pick up my brother, who is also Jims friend; and we head out to dinner, and the dollar chip poker tables... well after a couple hours, my brother and Jims GF are just DYING to go out and bar hop for the night.
The look of pain and nausea on Jims face was priceless.
Here's a tip for you folks, just about the worst you can possibly feel without a major illness or injury will result from combining alcohol poisoning, heat stroke, dehydration, and low blood sugar.
Do you see why I love this man?
Friday, July 22, 2005
On my Athlon XP 3200+ with 2 gigs of ram, on a 10mb net link, the page load was taking over 30 seconds, and CPU utilization was at 100% at least half that time. On my old P3-800 laptop with 256megs of RAM (my default testing platform for the low end. I dont have anything slower running windows at the moment) the page would barely load at all.
The funny thing is, this is only in the last few days, and I havent made any changes, so I figure the problem is coming from one of the external links of Java scripts that I'm loading.
Well, I've been doing some testing; removing various items from the page etc... and the only thing adding any significant lag was the Alliance of Free Blogs Blogroll. Unfortunately removing it only made a small (but significant) improvement.
It seemed like the problem was in the sidebar, because it was taking FOREVER to load, while the main frame was loading immediately. To test this, I took everything out of the sidebar but the basic blogger content; unfortunately load times and CPU utilization only improved slightly.
So what I've done, is I've trimmed everything out of my sidebar that doesn't need to be there.
Then I set the "show posts" setting to 3 days. So if it's older than three days, it will be on the archive page (as well as the posts own permalink page of course).
That helped a lot.
I also set the archive attribute to monthly, so THAT page now takes a while to load, but the weekly archive listing was getting pretty long, and I have permalinks for every post, so I figure its a reasonable tradeoff. The July page takes the longest to load by far, though it has no more content than March or April, so I'm guessing a significant portion of the delay is some of the linked images loading.
Overall I seem to have cut load times by about 2/3, and cpu utilization significantly, but it's still spiking at 100%, and the load time is still fairly high.
The only other thing I can do, is move the site to my own hosted server, and use all local images. That should cut load times significantly, but I dont think I can afford the bandwidth increase, plus I don't want to screw up all the stuff that is already linking here.
Honestly, I should just set up a new blogging engine on my shared hosting service, but again, bandwidth and screwing up existing links and rankings etc... etc...
Basically, if it gets any worse I'll start looking into other options. I've had a couple MuNuvians persuading me to come over there, and that may be the solution as well... but it seems like everybody has a lot of issues with their moves, and they spend the next month fixing things...
Anyway, folks please report any performance problems to me so know where we are at, and I'll keep y'all posted.
When I’m not carrying IWB, I have a couple of strong side High-Rides (a Galco Cop, and a Wilson Lo-Profile for my Champion), and a don hume convertible belt slide that can do strong side, SOB, or cross draw; all in leather; but they are all for my 1911's (I DO have a Kydex OWB for my USP compact .45, but that only because it was $10 and I couldnt find a decent OWB that wasn’t $100, except for Fobus. I also have a generic beltslide that will fit any medium to large doublestack, but I still mostly carry it in a Kydex IWB.)
Anyway a few weeks ago, after two years of near daily carry; the belt clip on my Predator Kahr K9 Kydex IWB finally split.
Unfortunately everyone is out of stock for that particular model, so I'm going to have to wait a few weeks to get my replacement (lifetime warranty and all that).
In the mean time, I needed another way to carry the Kahr. Now I've generally stayed away from sheath style IWB holsters; as I said above prefering Kydex because it resists moisture, and doesn't deform, but after trying this out at Sportsmans Warehouse in Mesa, I decided to pick it up
NOTE: there is no model specific to the Kahr, however most soft Colt Officers ACP holsters fit the Kahr K series, and this is no exception.
What is different from most of the sheath style IWBs, is that this is a real holster, not some limp buckskin envelope. It's basically a full wet molded holster, turned inside out. It has a reinforced mouth, sewn in sight rail and every bit of the quality I expect from Galco. Actually I'd say its better made than my Galco Cop series high ride.
But thats' just looks, how does it perform?
Honestly, this is the best IWB I've ever used. It retains the weapon properly, and carries it almost invisibly. Most importantly though, it's the most COMFORTABLE IWB I've ever used as well.
The bigggest problem with kydex is that it is hard, and even when well melted and smoothed, it pokes you (and chews up the finish of your gun too). This is a well molded piece of leather, and it very definitely does not. This is one of the few holsters, and almost the only IWB I've used where I can say, I couldnt even feel that I was wearing a gun. Also Kydex has a tendency to slip forward or back on your belt while you're moving around, even if the clip is very tight. Because of the rough side out, but snag free construction of this holster, it doesnt move unintentionally at all; but it's still pretty easy to move when you want to.
The second msot important thing, is how well does the holster conceal the weapon, and in that regard this holster is EXCELLENT. It's quite thing, but its thick and soft edged enough to prefent outline printing; and it carries the weapon low and at a good angle for concealment. Even with a tucked in shirt, you can barely see that I'm carrying the weapon if I blouse the shirt out loosely.
Actually, about the only thing I would change, is to make it in black, so that it would be even less noticible on my waist (black pants, black shirt, black belt, black guns... brown holster)...
Actually, one more thing: although it holds its shape well, I'd put a spring band inside the reinforcing leather band at the holster mouth just to make sure it wont close after years of use and softening against the body.
The price was pretty good for a qualitypiece of leather, at $55, though more expensive than the kydex eqivalent (I think I paid $45 for the predator). Given the quality, and utility of the piece though, I'll call that a bargain.
UPDATE: Prompted by a comment from reader Quasi, I'm looking for good HK USP Compact .45 holster options.
As I said, I cant find any decent non-kydex options except for getting a custom holster. If there are any that people want to share, please let me know.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Windows is the best operating system in the world.
Windows is the most useful operating system in the world.
Now the geeks among you are saying WTF!!!
I HATE windows, it's a piece of junk.
Guess what, so is Linux.
So is OS X.
They ALL SUCK!
But Windows sucks the least for the most amount of people.
The issue at hand here is network effects.
In a market like computing, unless all vendors implement standards interchangeably (which will allow forcommoditization), then a single vendor will always develop an advantage. Because a vendor does not wish to be commoditized, unless they are competing on price alone, they will NOT willingly implement full standards; thus preserving their advantages. These advantage will result in further adoption of their product over other products, which increases their advantage, because no more people have access to identical experience/advantages. This will generally happen with the product that has the most advantages, for the most amount of people (more on this later)
At this point a network effect kicks in. The more individual users using a product, the more value that product has to the individual user. This gives individual users the incentive to switch to that dominant product.
Generally speaking, a viable, but not dominant minority product will rise in popularity, in direct opposition to the dominant product, with niche products developed to meet special needs.
This happens because of that “most advantages for the most people” issue. Yes, one dominant product can server MOST people needs, but the ones who were left out want OTHER advantages. This results in a strong minority product, and multiple niche products, but combined they will almost never achieve more than 25% or so market share (except in certain special circumstances or markets), because of the large network effect of the existing dominant product, which in and of itself has become the biggest advantage for the most people.
Markets without a dominant product tend to stagnate, or fluctuate wildly, unless all products submit to commoditization. This is due to consumer uncertainty, and competing standards. It is only once a defacto standard is estabished that markets tend to exhibit consistent growth, or measurable market patterns.
The "problem" in the OS market, is that this strong minority competitor has not happened with Windows, because the alternatives have been fragmentary and unfocused, or simply not viable. Now, the network effect for Windows is so large at this point, that only a needs based solution will use anything different.
Of course this excludes minority user populations like geeks and hackers (the good kind), who will use a technology for it’s technical superiority. They are by definition a niche market.
The only way this will change, is if Microsoft is unable to satisfy their large user bases needs to a sufficient degree. It doesn't depend on technical superiority, because the network effect is its own inbuilt technical advantage. The degree of technical inferiority required for a network effect to be negated is VERY significant.
This for example is why until recently Macs were still dominant in the graphics design world, and why they have lost that dominance.
For a long time Microsoft was not able to provide a viable solution to designers, who built a strong network with their Macs. This network effect grew stronger as more designers switched to the Mac platform, or made further investments in their already established Macs.
The problem is, as the MS solution got better and better, Apples solution did not improve at all. In fact relative to PCs (which wer eadvancing rapidly), apples solution worsened significantly.
Eventually, rapidly improving PC hardware, combined with a 3 year stagnation in Apples hardware capabilities, the near parity of software with Apple, and the compliance to standards of both major platforms; overcame this strong network effect, and now Macs are being replaced more and more by PCs; some of which run windows, and some runninglinux (for rendering and image processing).
This could easily happen with Windows (and even easier with Internet Explorere for example. Non I.E. browsers already have between 10 and 20% of the market, and there share is growing rapidly).
As more and more services and systems become networked, embedded, and appliance-ized (ugly pseudo-word that), the desktop operating system becomes less an independent operating environment, and more a network hub for managing the input and output of these various devices and services.
This has MS scared stupid, because the network effect works both ways, and is NOT transitive across needs.
These systems and services are standardizing on non-proprietary formats, or on proprietary formats which MS does not control; which means to enter these markets MS has to implement these standards, or to attemtp to establish a network effect with a competing standard, and other competitors have already established strong network effects and standards control in these markets.
MS is trying as hard as possible, as fast as possible, to build strong positions in all these secondary markets, to allow network effects to build. For the most part they are failing. Yes they make huge announcements and push big programs, but basically they are going nowhere. The ones that ARE viable, are moving to more standards compliance with the rest of the market so they can increase their market share.
This has Bill Gates personally frightened. No, I’m serious. Bill is PARANOID about competition and failure.
The next few years should be interesting
Oh and in case anyone missed it, we just had a discussion about market capitalism and microeconomics; not technology.
Now heres a fun thought experiment for you, especially to libertarians out there. Replace "linux" with "libertarian"... e.g. Apply network effect economics as I described above to a multiparty political market with a "first past the post" electoral system.
Yup, I'm an evil bastard.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
No. 733-05 IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 19, 2005
Small Arms Weapons Program Reviewed for Joint Service Potential
The Army announced today it temporarily suspended the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the acquisition of a new family of small weapons - Objective Individual Combat Weapon Increment 1 (OICW-1) - in order to incorporate joint requirements. The Army’s proposal has received interest from the other military services, and is further supported by several internal reviews reinforcing the increase in the potential for joint use.
Congressional notification has been made and today’s suspension of the program allows joint requirements to be viewed and incorporated through the Joint Capability and Integration and Development System process, which will occur immediately. Original solicitation started May 11, 2005, and is temporarily suspended effective July 19, 2005, until the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee (JROC) convenes, which is currently scheduled for early September.
Upon the JROC’s completion, the committee will issue a memorandum, which incorporates any new joint OICW-1 requirements. The RFP will be amended accordingly, and issued with a revised effective date for receipt of proposals.
OICW-1 is comprised of a family of small arms weapons that consists of a carbine, special compact, designated marksman, and light machine gun weapon systems. These weapons are intended to replace the M4 carbine, the M16 rifle, the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and selected M9 pistols. The capabilities development document calls for a family of weapons that possess a high degree of commonality, enhanced capabilities, and much higher reliability than our current weapons.
It’s been going around the defense contractor and parts supplier world for the past couple months that this was the way they were going to unofficially kill the thing, and resurrect it as a MUCH simpler program.
Basically someone realized that:
a. The requirements were fundamentally impossible to combine into a single weapon
b. and that even if it WERE possible, that weapon would not be usable
c. and even if it WERE usable, that weapon would be too expensive
d. and even if it WERE affordable, the requirements were wrong in the first place.
The current word from the suppliers is that they are looking for an AR lower based system, with a modified upper. Theres a lot of stories as to what the mods may be, but most agree on the AR lower.
Also the FN scar is semi-officially dead as well. FN made not nice during the selection process and pissed some folks off, so they decided the program should go bye-bye; which is what everyone really wanted at this point anyway (except for FN of course).
Next up, replacing the M9 with a cheaper version of the USP; that isnt the P2000, and is in either .40 or .45 depending on who you believe.
These are all semi-inside sources that I’m getting it from (I know a couple of subcontractors), and THEY aren't sure how accurate THEIR info is, but it seems that a few weeks after I hear from one of those guys, I see something similar in DR or AFJ etc…
Specifically, about a month ago one of my guys told me that there was going to be an official announcment in a few weeks, and that immediately after a couple of the specialty AR houses would have major announcements as well. So look for a big announcement from DPMS, Bushmaster, Rock River etc... in the next week or two.
Or not... this dance has been going on since 1990.
HT: Kim DuToit
UPDATE: A bunch of folks have been commenting "yeah we knew that two years ago, thats why they brought out the XM-8"
Well, yes and no.
Yes, the XM-8 was continued, as the kinetic portion of the OICW, and using some of the budget, but also as a separate program called the XM program.
But no. the XM-8 has been shelved as well. Last year they insititued a 50% parts commonality requirement on the LMG portion (actually it was always there, but they werent enforcing it before), and the XM8 when in the LMG configuration and 50% compliant would MELT.
No joke, the handguards were actually melting and parts were sometimes catching on fire.
So no M-8 for now; which is funny because HK jsut printed up a whole bunch of armorers manuals, training manuals, and posters with the M8 designation on them.
Obviously HK isnt thrilled with this... Of course HK just got to develop their newest toy using Uncle Sams dime, and Uncle Sams time; something they are quite happy about.
Also, they are contiuing to develop the new grenade launcher component, both as a basic semi-auto grenade loauncer, AND as a smart projectile firing launcher. This is something I can see a use fur actually, I jsut wouldnt issue it to every infantryman (as the OICW was intended for).
It is VERY likely that the new solution will be an HK one, far more so than anyone else; for political anf financial considerations never mind the actual value of the weapon.
I have unnofficial word that the next major announcement for testing is going to be a convertible belt/mag fed heavy QC barrelled upper for the AR platform. What I’ve been told is that it will fire belt fed FA from open bolt, and all other modes of fire will be mag fed and closed bolt.
Take that with as large a grain of salt as you like, because the contractor rumor mill can be impressive.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
1. To expurgate (a book, for example) prudishly.
2. To modify, as by shortening or simplifying or by skewing the content in a certain manner.
[After Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare in 1818.]
LONDON (Reuters) - The word "fail" should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralizing pupils, a group of teachers has proposed.
Members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) argue that telling pupils they have failed can put them off learning for life.
A spokesman for the group said it wanted to avoid labeling children. "We recognize that children do not necessarily achieve success first time," he said.
"But I recognize that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary," he said.
The PAT said it would debate the proposal at a conference next week.
Well it seems that common sense is in retreat... oh excuse me, I mean it is "Advancing to the rear"... in all our schools, but in Britain it's running just a little bit faster.
Honestly, I could start ranting on this topic right now, and i'd be done... oh some time next week or so I'd guesss...
I mean: "But I recognize that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary,"
Excuse me for the hackneyd Orwell reference if I say it reminds me of this:
"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for thoughtcrime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak," he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. "Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?" [from 1984]The scary part is though, there are already many schools here in America that do not "fail" students. They give grades marked as "unsatisfactory" or "needs improvement" rather than F and D.
Grade inflation is a problem at all levels of education, which teachers say is for the beneift of the children, "Because they FEEL that they are doing better"
But they are not, that's the problem.
Of course to these people feelings are as imporant as results. Symbols are as (or more) important than reality. Self-esteem is the right of all etc...
Let me tell you something, self esteem isn't something that you can give out with hugs and smiles, and letting people fail by couching it in kind words. Self esteem is EARNED through COMPETITION, ACHIEVMENT, and SUCCESS. Oh and why is it that there is always talk about self esteem, but you never hear about SELF RESPECT ?
Oh my, those are dirty words arent they.
Could someone please tell me how this is somehow NOT a deliberate effort to institute an ideology of weakness, dependency, and failure?
H/T:Francis Poretto (for the Orwell quote)
Subject: an animal like you go have sex with your mom sisters and friends coward
a pig like you with all this bravery to hate others why dont you chickenMuzzleflash | Email | Homepage | 07.19.05 - 2:23 pm | #
fuck go to iraq instead of this false bravery a heck like you who only
knows how to eat shit and horny psycho ugly freak like you and your
loser friends do anyway what can a fuck like you living in shithole
desert like yours do other than fucking his mom and sisters along with
his fucked up cronies he is hanging out with so go fuck yourself burn
yourself and if you brave go to army you chicken shit fuck you loser redneck
If you knew what you were doing you wouldn't be making stupid comments about pigfat sending muslims to hell, retard-face.
Oh god this shit is funny
36 years ago, July 20th, 1969, 4:17pm Eastern Daylight time, human kind first touched down on another planetary surface with those words.
Piloting the orbiter was Michael Collins, and on the surface were Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Neil Armstong .
When Armstrong stepped out the hatch and mis-spoke his famous line... It was supposed to be "One Small Step for A Man", and Armstrong swears to this day he said it, but the radio noise drowned it out... and we left our footprints in the sand... there has never been a prouder moment in then history of the human race.
I'm going to repost my essay, "The Outside Looking In" here in honor of this day.
Chris Byrne, Feb 3rd 2003
We have spent the last 30 years collectively contemplating our belly buttons.
Let me explain what I mean by that (this is gonna take a while so get comfortable)