Archive for the ‘General Hardware’ tag
Advocates of gun control like to believe access to firearms will become more difficult if the government restricts legal access. Perhaps this was true at one time but guns are, mechanically, simple devices and the equipment to manufacture them is becoming more affordable every day. Behold, the first (to my knowledge and the knowledge of the creator) firearm manufactures on a 3D printer:
As 3D printer technology becomes more affordable gun control will become more pointless. The obvious solution to this problem, according to gun control advocates, would be to place tight restrictions on 3D printers. Fortunately such controls would be equally pointless because there are already people working on do it yourself 3D printers. One the genie is out of the bottle it cannot be put back in.
It appears as though I’ll soon have to run to the wilderness and fight for my survival against the invading Red Army. They’ve already sent their fighter jets in but they’ve had little affect:
A vintage Russian jet was destroyed after crashing Thursday morning in Eden Prairie as it attempted to land for this weekend’s annual air show.
The pilot, who hasn’t been identified, was landing his 1975 MiG-21 at 10 a.m. at Flying Cloud Airport for this weekend’s Wings of the North AirExpo. Officials said the jet’s parachute, which helps slow the aircraft, was deployed, but appeared to collapse and detach, causing the plane to overshoot the runway.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to hear about MiGs crashing in my area… ever.
There are numerous heated debates regarding which method of energy production from renewable sources is the best one. The debate usually involved hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, and solar panels. What many people in this debate don’t see is that none of them are the best solution, the best solution is not to rely on any single source of energy. While people debate over the best method of renewable energy production some smart individuals at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) actually thought about the problem correctly:
Researchers at MIT have taken a significant step toward battery-free monitoring systems — which could ultimately be used in biomedical devices, environmental sensors in remote locations and gauges in hard-to-reach spots, among other applications.
Previous work from the lab of MIT professor Anantha Chandrakasan has focused on the development of computer and wireless-communication chips that can operate at extremely low power levels, and on a variety of devices that can harness power from natural light, heat and vibrations in the environment. The latest development, carried out with doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay, is a chip that could harness all three of these ambient power sources at once, optimizing power delivery.
Relying on any single source is tempting fate by creating a single point of failure whereas using multiple sources grants a great deal of redundancy. Why rely on just solar panels or just wind turbines when you can use both? After all, solar panels only work when there’s enough sunlight while wind turbines only work when there’s enough wind. Hydroelectric dams work continuously (unless there is a major drought) but the locations where they can be built are very limited.
Let’s learn a lesson from the guys at MIT and stop thinking about a single best solution (this goes for things besides renewable energy production by the way).
The free market works on competition. Established producers must continue to innovate in some way to keep themselves relevant while new producers must innovate in order to convince consumers to buy their products instead of the products being produced by the established producers. Personal electronics are one of the freer markets in the world, which is why we enjoy every improving cheaper products:
Just look at all those drives under a dollar per gig. The higher-capacity models offer the best value in virtually every family. Although the 40-64GB variants don’t look quite so good on this scale, they have asking prices under 100 bucks.
Solid State Drives (SSD) are becoming cheaper while their capacities are increasing. We can now get more for less than what we had to pay a few short years ago and the trend will continue. This news pleases me because the only reason I haven’t gone to SSDs is the price to capacity ration, I want more capacity and it’s simply too expensive for me to get what I want with an SSD. A year or two from now SSDs will likely have the capacity I’m looking for at a price I’m willing to pay and then I will jump on board.
I just wish all markets were as free as personal electronics.
I’m one of those ever more rare individuals who always wears a wristwatch. While I could just reach for my cell phone every time I wanted to know the time that isn’t my idea of practical nor desirable. Even as a young kid I was always fascinated with wristwatches, especially mechanical ones (quartz ones may be more accurate and the watch I wear most often, my Tissot T-Touch, may be quartz but my heart has always been with mechanicals). It’s a feat of human ingenuity to get all those little gears, springs, and jewel bearings running together in such in a way that allows us to accurately tell the passage of time. If you’ve ever taken a mechanical movement apart you can’t help but appreciate the engineering that went into its design and construction.
With that said I also enjoy those old videos that explain how things work. Needless to say I came across this gem, an old video that has to be from the ’50′s or ’60′s explaining how mechanical watches work. It’s actually does a very good job of explaining the concept (it seems older videos were much more straight forward and expressed their point clearer than modern videos usually do so they’re often better in my opinion):
For those of you wondering why I’m posting content about watches on my blog realize this is my blog and I will post what I want. It’s always fun to drive off of the beaten path and post things that have nothing to do with my usual content of guns and libertarianism.
I’m not going to lie, I have a love hate feeling towards bullpup rifles. On one hand they’re usually slower to reload, not friendly to left-handed shooters (as somebody who practices shooting with both hands this is annoying), and the triggers usually suck. On the other hand bullpups allow you to bring a full power rifle cartridge to bear without having to lug around an extremely long firearm. Needless to say I’m interested in the IWI TAVOR:
It looks like the perfect combination of ugly as sin and not really being all that ugly. Unfortunately this rifle is looking to have the same problem other bullpup rifles have:
The projected MSRP (for models without optics) will hopefully stay under $2k.
As The Firearm Blog stated this likely means the MSRP will be right around $1999.99. I wish a reputable manufacturer would release an affordable bullpup rifle because the price is always what gets me. It’s hard to justify spending $2,000 or more on a Steyr Aug when I can get an AR-15 for less than half the cost. The PS90 costs between $1,500 and $2,000 and it’s chambered in an expensive and almost impossible to reload anemic caliber.
I imagine some money could be made by a manufacturer who brings an affordable (let’s say under $1,000) and reliable bullpup rifle to the table.
Apple announced a new iPad. So what do I think? I’m glad you asked. Overall nothing surprising was announced but the new iPad does look like a suitable evolution of the iPad 2. The retina display is a welcomed addition as is LTE. Of course LTE isn’t available anywhere near me so it’s merely a nice idea (yes the world does revolve around me and therefore LTE is a meaningless feature until I have it).
Will I get one? I’m not sure yet. There are times that I find a tablet with a data plan appealing but then I stop and wonder if I would ever use such a device with any frequency.
Apple also released iOS 5.1, which supposedly fixes some battery life issues, I’ll let you know if I see a difference after running it for a couple of days (my hopes aren’t high since Apple has released several “fixes” that accomplished nothing).
In an attempt to grant a monopoly on counterfeiting to the Federal Reserve the United States government has been working with printer manufacturers. This cooperation, better known as corporatism, has lead to certain printer manufacturers equipping prints to place tiny dots on every page printed in order to trace what printer any document came from. No publicly available list of printer manufacturers who were implementing this system was publicly available until now. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request we now know who these printer manufacturers are:
Basically every major printer manufacturer. Still it’s nice to have a definitive list to reference.
Are you looking for an expensive, although wickedly cool, means of correcting your poor aim? Worry not for Sandia National Laboratories has you covered:
Sandia National Laboratories have invented a small caliber self guided bullet. The bullet contains an optical sensor, CPU, battery and electromagnetic actuated fins. It is able to track laser designated targets out to 2,000 meters.
Sometimes I feel as though I live in a science fiction universe. Sure we don’t have spaceships, flying cars, or man portable laser cannons but we do have extremely powerful computers that are so small the fit in your pocket, an effective worldwide communication network, and now we have self guided bullets.
When I stop to think about what this bullet entails I’m amazed at the human capacity for engineering awesome stuff. We’ve actually shrunk central processing units, batteries, and optical sensors down to the point that they can all be fitted into a single bullet. How cool is that?
As this technology is new it’s not ready for prime time but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that technology only improves over time so I’m sure we’ll have extremely cheap self guided bullets in our future.
People often complain about the lack of competition in the cellular phone market. For the most part there are only four players; T-Mobiles, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon. Opponents of capitalism claim this is an inevitable result of capitalism when in truth it’s an inevitable result of government involvement in the free market. New cell phone providers aren’t popping up left and right because licensing spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is fucking expensive. If it wasn’t for the massive cost of licensing spectrum from the FCC the cost of setting up a national radio system would be so cheap a drug cartel could do it:
When convoys of soldiers or federal police move through the scrubland of northern Mexico, the Zetas drug cartel knows they are coming.
The alert goes out from a taxi driver or a street vendor, equipped with a high-end handheld radio and paid to work as a lookout known as a “halcon,” or hawk.
The radio signal travels deep into the arid countryside, hours by foot from the nearest road. There, the 8-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) dark-green branches of the rockrose bush conceal a radio tower painted to match. A cable buried in the dirt draws power from a solar panel. A signal-boosting repeater relays the message along a network of powerful antennas and other repeaters that stretch hundreds of miles (kilometers) across Mexico, a shadow communications system allowing the cartel to coordinate drug deliveries, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes with the immediacy and precision of a modern military or law-enforcement agency.
With the ever increasing stranglehold our government is establishing over the Internet there may be a day when we have to establish a new network outside of the government’s control. When that day comes we’ll likely have to take a lesson from the Mexican drug cartels in setting up a wireless communication system that is both cheap to create and maintain but robust enough to cover a large portion of the population. It’s also interesting to watch the ingenuity of criminal endeavors. Since criminals aren’t bound by the letter of law they can innovate in ways businesses can not, and many of these innovations don’t involve violence but technological solutions to avoiding government forces.