03/26/14

Today’s Drug Deal

As you know if you follow my blog here I work in a industry and for a company that requires me to wear,  amongst other things, a Class B uniform, duty belt, and gun. Similar to police departments around the country. Well today after work I really really needed gas. I would not have made it home without it. So I stopped in at a gas station on my route home. Well I do the standard work flow of swipe card, open fuel hole, select grade and then inserted the nozzle in to my SUV. While I am doing this a male in his late 20’s exits the gas station itself. After I get my fuel pumping I decide to wipe down the windows, so I do. I get about half way through the drivers side and in my peripheral vision I notice the male walking within 10 yards of me and my SUV.

At this point I am stepping up my game and going up the next level in my head. I am turning now to face him, about to say something sharp and hard, but then he stops turned 90 degrees and goes toward the dumpster area. “Well whatever” I think, and I start going through my head, “what was that?” It was obvious he was checking me and my vehicle out it.

While I am thinking and looking, I am also moving to the back of my SUV to wash the rear window. All while watching my new friend who now was heading west up a street. So at this point I really am thinking, “whatever.” Then though I see another male, a little old and walking with obvious purpose towards the dumpster. The dumpster of the gas station has 3 walls around it and a gate which is open. He walks out of my line of site into the dumpster area, I can not see him for 20 seconds and then emerges. He is moving with purpose again, pocket something(again very obviously).

Now it all clicks. Male #1, dirt bag drug dealer and male #2 useless user. Drug dealer sizes me up, am I a cop, nope. He lays out his poison somewhere in that dumpster area, presumably after they have stuck the deal and the money has been exchanged. Male #2 waits for drug dealer to take off so they are not seen together and then after counting to made 5, he retrieves his buy.

Well that is today’s drug deal. I spent 10 minutes typing it, you spent 3 minutes reading it and those to idiots took 30 seconds doing it all.

03/25/14

#happyinmemphis

03/23/14

Cutting the Cord – Can I Stream.it?

Cutting the cord we have! We stream all most all of our media content. What we do not stream comes over the airwaves from my home built HDTV antenna. My wife and I dropped AT&T Uverse TV and internet. Then we picked up Brighthouse(Time Warner) service for just internet. 60 mbps down and 10 mbps up, plenty of power for all our devices.

Devices

What do we have in the house?

Roku 2 XS ChromeCast IP enabled BlueRay Player
Roku 3 ChromeCast Wii
Onkyo NR-717 Various Tablets and Phones Few Computers(including Laptops)

Our home phone system is also IP based. We use a standard cordless phone system with a main base and 4 satellite phones. I then have setup an OBi202 from Obihai Technologies to do the SIP conversion. OBihai Tech also does the conversion to run all the phones through Google Voice for the actual local phone number and voice mail.

Services

Besides the OBi Tech and Google Voice we have other cloud based services we use as well. First and foremost are the services everyone else knows that we use media. The standards Netflix(TV and Movies), Amazon Prime Instant Videos(TV and Movies, Hulu Plus(TV, new releases), and a few other lesser known services. I use things like PBS channel on Roku, OpenCourseware for MIT lectures and other very lesser known channels. So much so I do not even know what they are since I am not sitting in front of my TV.

Got a bunch of TV shows you watch, but your not sure which device to use and watch service or services to use on them? Here is a website where you can research what shows are on what service and at what price if any. Some shows are going to cost over and above the standard monthly access, especially those newer shows, but then again some are not. I pay 3 dollars per episode of Top Gear on Amazon Prime for new season episodes but for some shows like New Girl it is included on Hulu Plus.

Check your shows here:
http://www.canistream.it/

xs-pics

03/22/14

Get Home Bag Series – Part #2

At this point I do not know how many parts this series will be. As I said, this will be an on going project throughout the summer to make preparations for the coming fall and winter. With an impending move, both of us will be driving over the road more. A much further drive to work for me and a longer drive for my wife to school. So now with that news I really do give serious thought about useful and quality items. Odds are the two bags will never be needed in an emergency situation, I hope, but I would rather be prepared.

This only a small update. This knife I see as a light to medium duty knife. It is the Mora of Sweden Companion knife, in military green. It is a 4 inch stainless steel blade with a full chunky rubber grip. Comes with a nice plastic color matched sheath, not a super important feature, but from what I understand, as does the knife, the sheath holds up very well over time and is quite useful. I am fortunate that I actually have a few friends that own these knives and have only heard good things about them. Added plus, quilatity as you know, but also a very good price. $13.00 USD on Amazon.com right now.

Like I said light to medium duty cutting with this knife. Firecraft, food prep, defensive blade and other things along that nature. Being that the blade is stainless steel, it is still steel and will work well with a Light My Fire, magnesium fire steel. Which is making its way into the bag. I will talk more about that later in a tool grab style post. If anyone might have any suggestions on a larger chopping knife please feel free to leave them in the comment box.

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Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel 4.1-Inch Blade

03/22/14

The History Of Tech-The Idea Factory

5137957_origWell ok this is not about the entire history of every technology. That would be crazy hard and subjective. What I would like to share is a book I recently read. It is called The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. It is about the coming to together of the great minds that were the Bell Labs in the very beginning. Coming across and inventing things like the vacuum tubes and semi-conductors. All the minds that were there, where they came from and how they got there.

In this first full portrait of the legendary Bell Labs, journalist Jon Gertner takes readers behind one of the greatest collaborations between business and science in history. Officially the research and development wing of AT&T, Bell Labs made seminal breakthroughs from the 1920s to the 1980s in everything from lasers to cellular elephony, becoming arguably the best laboratory for new ideas in the world. Gertner’s riveting narrative traces the intersections between science, business, and society that allowed a cadre of eccentric geniuses to lay the foundations of the information age, offering lessons in management and innovation that are as vital today as they were a generation ago.
~amazon.com

I would highly recommend picking this book up for a read. Especially if you have a background or mind for technology or electronics.

03/17/14

Get Home Bag Series – Part #1

I have a lot of passions, interests and hobbies. After this terrible winter I have given great thought to building two ‘Get Home Bags’ or BOB’s(Bug-Out-Bag) for my wife and myself to live in the cars. Two-thirds of the bag will be appropriated for surviving in the winter months and the other third for the other three seasons. Or maybe realistically 60/40. The inspiration for this project is partly due the this past winter of 2013/2014 and partly due to the terrifying video linked to below. Right now as of this writing I am in the preliminary stages of evaluating the needs, capabilities and products to put in the two bags I have. I am not setting a budget per-say, but I am not spending tons and the major components will probably be high-end military surplus. I am however looking to have these two bags finished and in place by the start of the winter 2014/2015.

Where am I with it you ask? The beginning, I have the bags and ideas.

The Bag:

USMC ILBE Pack in Woodland Digital

Specifications and Features:

Constructed of 720 Denier Cordura 4500 cubic inches of space Top buckle-removable Lid with internal pocket
Adjustable, heavily padded waist belt Collapsible hydration pack pocket on back Tall pockets run height of pack on either side
Internal aluminum frame Height-adjustable shoulder straps with sternum strap Many compression straps on sides and top
Dual-pull zippers on both sides run top to bottom Straps on lower part of pack to attach sleeping pad roll Collapsible “floor shelf”/divider in midpack
Heavily padded quick release shoulder straps Heavy rubber-wrapped webbing handles on either side

I will go into further detail in the next post. In the post I will cover not only the bag, but the first couple posts. Also go into a little more in-depth into my plan.

03/17/14

I Have Learned A Lot

I have traveled these past couple days. Started at home, traveled north through Detroit into Canada on my way to Toronto, Ontario Canada. I had planned on stopping in Detroit to take some photos of the abandoned skyscrapers and whatnot. Well, Thursday morning I just woke up way to late and subsequently got on the road way to late, about 3 hours, to do this. So instead I passed by my stops in Detroit and headed directly for my border crossing at the Ambassador bridge. Got there, and well I guess I meet a profile but I got invited to the secondary search area. So after CBP spent 30 minutes going through my SUV and looking me up on the computer and asking if I had any guns with me, I finally got through the border.

This is when my schooling started.

First of all I am not completely naive and understand certain differences between the US and Canada. Understanding this and actually dealing with this though are two different things. One of the first things I notice is the 90kph speed limit. After a few moments I remember that there is actually is basic KPH readings on my speedo. The metric system, I know it, not well but after a little thinking I was able to convert in my head. Road signs are different and look different.

Next is kind of related to the first, distances, specifically in kilometers. That one actually was nice. What I mean is that I have a sign saying “80 km to Toronto.” In theory that sounds bad because my brain is thinking 80 miles traveling at 55mph. Where as what was actually happening was that I had 80 kilometers to go while traveling 120kph. That is a much better, and faster, ratio of travel time and speed.

Then was my cell phone. I do not own a standalone GPS system for navigation. So I did not have easy communications or navigation, because I use the Google Maps app. I incurred some, probably expensive, international roaming charges because of a little data use. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4. Out of the box it is an unlocked international phone, supposedly. Mine is a Verizon Wireless version. All I should have to do is plug in a new SIM and probably change a few settings. This I will be testing out in the next few months.

This is a more related to just generic travel anywhere, but it was the “little-things.” Specifically parking and toll roads. In this modern world both things required cash. Well I do not carry cash, have not for a long time. That is going to change. Not a lot needs to be said about that. I am going to start keeping cash in my wallet and glove box 24/7. Plus when traveling my personal bags. I might even add a coin to the mix ass well. Now that I think about it I have coin in my backpack. About a $1.35 USD, enough to get my through my first toll to an atm. O well.

Finally I see that my old fashioned American plastic cards in my wallet need to be upgraded. What I mean is that most of the rest of the world no longer uses magnetic strips on cards. They use something called the ‘Chip-and-Pin’ system or EMV. These systems are much more secure. Remember Target and the other retailers at the end of last year? Yeah that would not have been possible with the newer system. Frankly it is just what the rest of the world is going to. While I was able to transact everywhere I went, it was not as smooth or easy as it could have been. Especially when I was purchasing gas this morning at the Canadian Petrol and breakfast at Tim Hortons. Plus that way I can have that new technology first, haha. The US is converting over to the ‘Chip-and-Pin’ system. Just slowly because of the amount of systems and vast cost.

Recap:
Navi
GPS/Communication Tech
Money/Commerce