Archive for July, 2011

RFID chips part 2

Posted July 31, 2011 By Ruth

Ok, first off the problem most people are having with this concept isn’t really the RFID chips themselves, its the PR release from MKS on the subject.  There are several folks who aren’t understanding the hoopla because RFID chips are easy to disable so whats the problem??

Apparently the Italian government is requiring RFIDs for inventory control by gun manufacturers (can’t find much in the way of proof of this, all the articles I can find on the subject are in reference to the MKS press release and I’ve already discussed my opinion of that press release).  But my lack of proof doesn’t mean much as I don’t read Italian even a little bit, thus limiting my search.

RFIDs are NOT GPS trackers.  GPS trackers require a power source to send out their signal and that takes up a HUGE amount of space.  Don’t believe me?  Go search for GPS tracking dog collars and take a look at the size of the units.  Trust me if the dog world could make those smaller they would, but if they did there’d be no room for a battery that could power it for a reasonable time.

RFIDs can be scanned from alot further away than 3 inches (regardless of what the MKS press release says).  Basic inventory control has to happen from alot further away than 3 inches or the time saved by just having to scan the RFID is lost by someone having to sort out a whole pallet to scan each box.  Infact there was a case not long ago where a hacker proved he could, with enough power and LOS, get a reading off an RFID chip from a distance of at least a few hundred feet.

Now I suppose you could track an RFID by taking note of when its scanned at point A, and then again at point B and comparing them, but thats still not GPS tracking.

Borepatch has a post up on the subject point out how someone in the know could crash an entire system just by hacking the RFID.  Makes me want one just so I can screw with their heads.

I’m still reserving judgement on Chiappa and MKS till we see if there’s a reaction to the outcry over the press release.  If nothing happens, or the contents of the press release are confirmed as legit and “we’re not apologizing you morons” then yes anything imported by MKS goes on the DO NOT BUY list.  It’ll be interesting to see though if Chiappa does anything.  I don’t know what their options are for US distributors, but if they decide its time for a new one once the current contract ends?  Then I might just have to change my mind on them.

The natural skeptic arrises….

Posted July 29, 2011 By Ruth

At least a couple of the bloggers I read have linked and commented on the hoopla regarding Chiappa Firearms deciding to add RFID chips to their inventory methodology.  Or rather, the press release apparently put out on the subject by MKS (Chiappa’s US distributor).

Now, first off, I’ll be surprised if this is the first firearm manufacturer who’s decided to put RFIDs on their guns, and I’m betting that after this whole mess that Kahr got themselves into a bunch more may just decide that RFIDs are the way to go.  As long as I can remove the chip at my leisure without voiding the warranty I really don’t care if thats the chosen method for inventory control.  And from reading the comments it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks so.

The problem comes in with the wording of the alleged press release:

Others may prefer to wrap the revolver and their head in aluminum foil, curl in a ball and watch reruns of Mel Gibson’s 1997 film, Conspiracy Theory. Well, that’s a plan too!

Sounds pretty bad huh?  and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that someone with more money than brains put their foot in their mouth that badly and killed their business.  But there’s a reason why I say “alleged” press release.

First off, what halfway skilled PR person is going to let a press release with those words out into the public?  But ok, so the PR person needs to eat too and would rather keep his or her job than censor a VIP in the company….right?  But there are other problems with this press release.  Almost all the bloggers and forums having snits over this are doing one of two things:  a huge number aren’t linking to ANYTHING, simply quoting the press release from somewhere, the large percentage of the rest are linking to each other in a circular pattern.  So I hit Google.  I wanted to see the original press release.  But there’s a problem.  At least 3 different places are saying that THEY received the press release:

http://trochronicles.blogspot.com/2011/07/chiappa-firearm-tracking-chip-rfid.html
http://www.ammoland.com/2011/07/28/rfid-chip-in-chiappa-firearms/
http://www.gunreports.com/news/news/Chiappa-to-put-Radio-Frequency-ID-Chips-in-Firearms_3209-1.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

now I can believe that the press release was sent out to several places in an attempt to get it out publicly, but there are some subtle differences between them.  And that combined with the rest of this is making me wonder a bit.

The one from AmmoLand appears to be the earliest of the 3 to post the PR (though one doesn’t give the time actually posted so I can’t be sure), and in that particular version there are several italicized and () comments, which is usually a mark of a comment from the publishing author rather than part of the actual press release, and those italicized comments INCLUDE the damning lines that are the actual problem.  There are also some factual errors in the statement as well.

Now, its entirely possible that this is an actual press release from MKS and they really don’t care that this is going to annoy their customers, and the factual errors are the result of that same “don’t care” attitude, BUT its enough to make me wonder a bit.

Now I know absolutely nothing about any of the above companies so, either way it should be interesting to watch and see what happens!

So, my copy of Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (Dresden #13) arrived in the mail today.  And yes I promptly sat down and ignored the world to read it.  (Ok, not really, I had to take the puppy out a couple times….I think I forgot to eat anything though….I don’t remember eating anything for supper anyway, guess I ought to do that.)  I won’t spoil the book for those who don’t read as fast as I do, or the previous book for those who are just starting the series and haven’t gotten this far, but I must say…..Take that Mab!!!  Take that!  Heh.

I’m off to go re-read it now, after I eat something…..As for the ending of Book 12, Butcher states in the acknowledgements “To my dear patrons, the readers, I can only thank you for your patience, after leaving the last novel the way I did, then making everyone wait another three months past the usual delay while I made sure this book was ready to go.  Enjoy! (And, technically, guys, Changes did NOT end in a cliff-hanger.  Seriously.)”

Maybe by the technical definition of the term, but it was a cliff-hanger regardless!

Got my waiver!

Posted July 27, 2011 By Ruth

In the mail today is the letter from the judge giving me permission to use references from my former home county instead of my current home county in the request for a pistol license.  Nice and quick, basically a week from the time I sent it to the time I got it back.

Next step is to go ahead and get the notorizations done on the application in the appropriate places and call to make the appointment to turn it in.

I will continue to update here.

Buying a house

Posted July 27, 2011 By Ruth

Ok, so I’ve mentioned before that we bought a house last year.  The process was hell.  I expected it to be stressfull and difficult, but not the level at which it ended up.  By the time we finally were able to move I was so stressed my doctor was trying to medicate me for high blood pressure.

At the time I thought we’d just gotten particularly unlucky.  We ended up with a particularly slimy & swarmy lawyer, the title turned to not be as clear as the seller had thought it was (seriously not his fault, but it took an extra month to fix THAT mess alone), and then there was the bank.  I’d THOUGHT that maybe we just got unlucky enough to have ended up with someone who was new to the process handling our loan.  That had to be it.  Surely no bank would deliberetly treat people like they did us.

Since then I’ve had a few conversations with other Realtors about it, and have come to realize that maybe the way we were treated wasn’t so unusual after all.  But this week one of my co-workers drove it home.  He’s in the process of trying to buy his first house.  Now he does appear to have gotten a better lawyer than we did, and there doesn’t appear to be any problems with the title (yet…..*knocks on wood*), but he’s having the exact same set of problems with the bank we did.  Seriously.

Look, I understand in today’s economy that lending out enough funds to buy a house, even a small, inexpensive house, is a risky business.  I understand that you want to know every piece of my financial background, work history, and what ever else you can come up with.  I get that.  But this is the first time I’ve done this and I know you know that cause you made a point of telling me I qualified for all sorts of “first time homebuyer” credits and discounts and whatnot.  I also cannot read your mind.  If you need specific paperwork by a specific date YOU HAVE TO TELL ME.  Preferably BEFORE 24hrs before the specific date.  Telling me 2hrs before close of the days business that since I’ve not gotten X documents into you today means that the commitment letter is going to be late and we might not be able to close on time…..just pisses me off.  By the time you’ve done it for the 3rd or 4th time my blood pressure headed through the roof.  Especially since I’ve been asking you since day 1 if there was anything else you needed from us.  Again, and Again…..

I realize that the mortgages discussed here aren’t large by anyone’s standards (except mine as I look at the staggering amount of money I and my husband have to pay off in the next 29 years), so you’re not making as much off them as mortgage for a $200k or $300k (or more) house.  But its the buyers like us that CAN buy houses right now.  Our credit is better than average, we’ve been in the same decent paying (not high paying, but decent) stable job for several years, and the housing prices are finally down low enough we can afford a decent house.  Dispite the economy the housing markets damn near perfect for folks like me, my husband and my coworker.

The bank we financed through was one we’d both had bank accounts with for at least a few years.  Once the whole process of buying the house and closing and getting moved was done we moved all accounts except for the bare minimum checking/savings combo out to another bank.  The fact that they neglected to send out our commitment letter when they said they were going to (our paperwork apparently sat on someone’s desk for a week before anyone realized that nothing had happened) was simply the last straw.  If we ever have to refinance we will be doing it through a different bank.

Droid, GPS, and Voice

Posted July 25, 2011 By Ruth

So a couple weeks ago I upgraded my cell phone to a Droid 2 Global, I didn’t really care about the “global” part, but I did want the slide out keyboard and Android OS, so that limited my choices.

So the other day I was headed for the house of an acquaintance, who’s residence I’d never actually been to, I knew vaguely where it was, but that was it.  So I figured instead of printing out directions from online I’d just use the nify GPS directions thingy on my new phone to guide me there.  Not that I followed its directions exactly (much to its apparent annoyance….), but that’s besides the point.  I did however have to pull over till I stopped laughing at one point.  Seems the programming that handles the voice over part of the directions has some area’s that were neglected.  In this case:  Syracuse.  Traditionally pronounced “Sear-a-kuuz” the phone pronounced it “Sigh-rack-use.”  It took me a minute to stop laughing.

Michele Bachmann

Posted July 25, 2011 By Ruth

Ok, I’ve not bothered to follow the whole media hoopla, I am aware that supposedly her doctor weighed in on her headaches.  I don’t really care if the media exaggerated the severity thereof or not.  I get stress headaches.  It takes one hell of a stressful situation, and even then they don’t qualify as “migraines” unless I end up with a visual migraine, but let me tell you something, a headache brought on by stress, no matter how minor a headache, DOES impede your ability to function.  It might be only a minor impediment if its a minor headache, but it DOES get in the way. 

Honey if you are already aware that you get stress headaches then the White House isn’t a job you need.  Every single president I can think of has walked out of the White House, at the end of his term, looking 10years older than he did when he walked in.  And that’s at the end of the FIRST term, those that served two terms generally looked closer to 20years older.  That is a job that is stress personified.  You’re going to have a constant headache, the real kind not just the figurative kind, and it’ll only get worse not better.  Don’t do that to yourself or your country.

Book Recommendations, in addition…

Posted July 24, 2011 By Ruth

I posted a bunch of Urban Fantasy book recommendations not to long ago.  Realized today I’d forgotten a series.

The Trickster Novels by Rob (short for Robyn, female) Thurman.  Now I don’t care for Thurman’s Cal Leandros series, but the two Trickster books have caught my attention.  Trick of Light, and The Grimrose Path, are the two titles, they’re a deliberate mix of Christian, Norse, and Native American (and probably a bunch of others) mythologies, done up with a twist or two.  No idea how long the premise will hold up (I’m thinking that it won’t hold up for to many more books, but we’ll see), but I’ve enjoyed the first two anyway.

And of course Helene mentioned S.M. Stirling‘s Change series.  For the people who wanted to know just how society would manage if suddenly electricity went away.  Just a note of warning for anyone who picks up a Stirling book, in his older stuff especially, but still to some degree in his new stuff, he LIKES making his bad guy a GRAPHICALLY sadistic, intelligently evil, person.  You have been warned.  Don’t come back complaining about the blood, rapine, and slaughter.

Update on Kapone

Posted July 22, 2011 By Ruth

Previous post here.

According to the Where’s Kapone Facebook page the reward has gone all the way up to $11,000 thanks to donations from a variety of sources.

The Animal Control Officer who picked up Kapone and Jersey has been arrested on charges of Animal Cruelty and falsifying records.  Infact its currently standing at 2 counts of Animal Cruelty.  After the warrent had been issued the ACO was out picking up another dog that had been supposedly hit by a car, someone at MAS warned her the police were waiting for her, so instead of bringing the dog right back she drove around for a couple hours, till the police were gone.  By the time she got back to the shelter the dog in her truck was dead, and the attending Vet says the cause of death was heat stroke, not the injuries from being by a car.  The charges of falsifying records appears to stem from the very incident where Kapone went missing.  According to her testemony and the shelter records she went out to pick up two dogs reported loose.  She reported verbally picking up two dogs, but instead of returning directly to the shelter she went home for an extended period of time.  She then returned to the shelter, and filled out paperwork for a dog matching Kapone’s description, but there is no record (including video) of her bring a dog into the shelter at that time dispite this paperwork.  She then went back out and drove around some more before returning to the shelter and doing paperwork for Jersey and bringing her into the shelter.  Please note that Memphis does NOT have GPS tracking on its ACO’s vehicles, infact a company offered to donate them a while back and MAS refused stating they didn’t need them, so there is no way to confirm exactly where this ACO and her vehicle were when they were not at the shelter.

Letter

Posted July 22, 2011 By Ruth

The letter to the judge asking for waiver actually arrived on Wednesday (which doesn’t actually surprise me), the return delivery confirmation hasn’t been triggered yet, but sometimes they don’t, so we’ll see.