A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

Archive for September 2010

Sprint Activate Minneapolis and St. Paul 4G Service

Good news fellow Twin Cities denizens, Sprint has turned on their 4G service in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Of course I can’t find any place that actually has 4G coverage but I’m generally on the outskirts of the Twin Cities anyways.

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Written by Christopher Burg

September 30, 2010 at 9:30 am

If You’ve Got Nothing to Hide

Recently the Obama administration has been trying to require all Internet communication companies such as Skype to place back doors into their protocols. These back doors are to be used for law enforcement personnel to eavesdrop on conversations. Obviously the standard mantra of our government is, “if you’ve got nothing to hide you shouldn’t be worried.”

Well there is another danger in placing back doors into communication software as Bruce Schneier brings up:

These laws are dangerous, both for citizens of countries like China and citizens of Western democracies. Forcing companies to redesign their communications products and services to facilitate government eavesdropping reduces privacy and liberty; that’s obvious. But the laws also make us less safe. Communications systems that have no inherent eavesdropping capabilities are more secure than systems with those capabilities built in.

Any surveillance system invites both criminal appropriation and government abuse. Function creep is the most obvious abuse: New police powers, enacted to fight terrorism, are already used in situations of conventional nonterrorist crime. Internet surveillance and control will be no different.

Official misuses are bad enough, but the unofficial uses are far more worrisome. An infrastructure conducive to surveillance and control invites surveillance and control, both by the people you expect and the people you don’t. Any surveillance and control system must itself be secured, and we’re not very good at that. Why does anyone think that only authorized law enforcement will mine collected internet data or eavesdrop on Skype and IM conversations?

Any lock can be bypasses. The best option is to have the fewest doors possible. Ideally you have no doors to enter at all. By requiring yet another door our government is purposely requiring these protocols to be less secure. Of course this law is meant to protect them (government) not us so they don’t care.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 30, 2010 at 9:00 am

More Android 2.2 Fun

I mentioned that the recent Evo 4G update fixed quite a few annoying bugs that were driving me up a wall. Well I’ve come across a new bug and once again it’s with the media layer (this could be a pre-patch bug and I just never encountered it before). If you’re playing an audio file, pause it, leave the application, and come back after an indeterminate amount of time (the amount of time seems random) the audio file will not pick up where you paused it. Instead it resets to the beginning of the file.

This is extremely annoying when the primary audio you listen to are long podcasts and lectures. I’m getting into the habit of looking at the time the audio file is at before leaving an application expecting to have to fast forward to it when I come back to the application. I think Google really screwed the pooch with their sudden switch to the new media layer known as StageFright.

What’s sad is that Android 2.1 worked damn well but most new software being released (at least by Google) requires Android 2.2 to work. I know Google loves to play it fast and loose but when we’re talking about a phone operating system I think they need to spend a little more time testing before release.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 29, 2010 at 11:30 am

Happy Birthday Ludwig von Mises

Today is September 29th which makes it the birthday of Ludwig von Mises. If you’ve never heard of him I advise you to read the Wikipedia article. He was one of the most influential people in the libertarian movement and a proponent of Austrian economics. It’s too bad he’s dead now but you can listen to some of his old speeches which is at least something.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

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Richest 1% of Americans

There is a lot of talk about how we need to increase taxes for the richest Americans. People spout lines about how the rich need to pay “their fair share.” What these people never do is actually look into how much the richest Americans pay in taxes. Solely because I like to rain on peoples’ parades I looked into the matter.

I’ve discovered that the richest 1% of Americans pay 40% of the federal income tax. That means of all the money stolen by the government via income tax 1% of Americans pay 40% of it. In dollars that means the top 1% pay more than the lowest 95%.

Here’s the raw data on the percentage of income taxes per income bracket. I’d say the top 1% are already paying their “fair share” and then some. Maybe instead of looking to gouge these people which gives them cause to consider moving somewhere else (and remember these rich people generally own companies that employ a lot of people) our government should look at reducing the amount of money they spent. I’ll help them out here.

First and foremost bring our overseas troops back home. Our spending on national offense defense is a huge majority of our spending. Cancel all government approved bailouts, if a company is facing bankruptcy they did something wrong and their assets could be sold off to small start up companies who actually have good ideas. Eliminate welfare and social security, we can plan for our retirements better than the government. Disband some of the hundreds of federal agencies because frankly we don’t need an agency that exists only to ensure taxes and regulations on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms are followed. Hell if the government follows my ideas we won’t even need a federal income tax to make ends meet.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 29, 2010 at 10:30 am

That’s Impossible

Apparently an Al-Qaeda plot has been uncovered by I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E:

An al-Qaeda plot to carry out co-ordinated attacks in the UK, France and Germany has been uncovered, Western intelligence sources say.

Small teams of militants were to seize and kill hostages, similar to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, the sources said.

Sorry but that idea is completely impossible. The Mumbai attack required the user of firearms and firearms are strictly controlled in the UK, France, and Germany. Hey I’ve got an idea. Since gun control has worked so well at preventing mass shootings let’s make suicide bombing illegal! What didn’t anybody think about that?

Written by Christopher Burg

September 29, 2010 at 10:00 am

Glock Generation Four Sub-Compact

I’ve learned via Every Day, No Days Off that the Glock 4th generation sub-compact pistols should be coming out sometime soon. He is a scan of an advertisement on his site which shows the sub-compact Glocks will have the same interchangeable backstraps of their larger brethren.

I’m still waiting for the new Glocks in .45. Although I have no desire to rid myself of my 30SF I would like a Gen4 21SF. The 21SF is the gun I use to shoot USPSA and sadly mine happens to have the ambidextrous magazine release. I say sadly because the ambi mag releases on Glock pistols are known for not dropping magazines reliably. This is where somebody will stated Glock magazines aren’t “drop-free.” Frankly I don’t give a damn. My Gen4 17 and 30SF both drop magazines free and the only reason Glock released fully lined magazines is so they would drop free and thus appease the American consumers. In USPSA not having drop-free magazines costs time and I’m not a fan of that. Additionally it would be nice to have the larger magazine release button on my competition pistol.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 29, 2010 at 9:30 am