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AGENDAS 

I read numerous blogs, websites, news postings, editorials and personal emails daily. (When my health permits it.)

Doing so helps me keep up on what’s going on in the world. Mostly.

(An American was killed in the Isis attack in London.  Bastards!)

I rarely watch television news. There is way to much spin, and omission for my taste. At least the Internet provides some variety.

But, there’s one commonality.

THEY ALL HAVE AGENDAS.

At least now, with the advent of fake news, it’s more obvious.

We Are FOOLS For The Internet

Remember when we were told that our Internet searches might be watched over surveilled ‘reviewed’ by the Intelligence ‘Community’ (“Jesus, you guys are kind to yourselves!” ‘Joe Turner (Condor)’, in Three Days of the Condor)

Now, my friend Borepatch brings us this:

Amazon Echo, Google Alexa, and the NSA

Amazon Echo and Google’s Alexa are Internet Of Things devices that listen for your voice commands and then do not particularly interesting things for you.  The minor convenience and gee whiz factor are way outweighed by how you are painting a big bulls eye on your house:

As a rule, IoT devices lack security and these are no different. Unlike other IoT devices, these personal assistants compromise your security in even more ways they you may think. In general, most users don’t read the Terms of Service (ToS) associated with IoT devices or software being installed. Users have a basic understanding that Amazon and Google will maintain your profile information, such as what music you listen to, when you turn off your lights, or even the coffee you order, in an effort to provide a better over-all experience. Over time these devices learn your preferences; the more intuitive and responsive the device, the more we tend to use it.

What is more alarming is what you don’t think about when using these voice activated devices including those from Apple and Microsoft. There has been a lot of discussion around the security and privacy of these devices over the past few months. One of the biggest concerns is the question of whether the devices are always listening. Both Amazon and Google say the devices listen for hot words that activate them, such has Hello Google or Echo/Alexa, but because these devices are controlled by and interact with by Amazon and Google, the hot words and or the device itself can be easily manipulated to allow for an always on “listening mode” by the vendor at any time by the way of a crafty term of service

How’s the security of these devices?  You can’t know.  What will the Terms Of Service provide to protect your privacy?  You can’t know:

Amazon:In order to keep the Amazon Software up-to-date, we may offer automatic or manual updates at any time and without notice to you.

Google:When a Service requires or includes downloadable software, this software may update automatically on your device once a new version or feature is available…

So the services can update the software without your knowledge, whenever they want, for any reason they want.  The terms of service state that they may sell or share your data to other organizations.  And this is creepy but entirely to be expected:

In addition to the vendor maintaining access to the device, it isn’t unfathomable that cyber-criminals could gain access as well. These are, after all, IoT devices and are just as vulnerable to being pwnd (geek speak meaning owned/or controlled) as any other IoT device. Both devices have indicators when they are in listening mode, however this can be easily disabled by a hacker. A hacker could be listening to your every word and you would not be aware.

And so would NSA listen in?  The Snowden revelations suggest that they might already be listening in.  How much data do they have?  Who knows?

It will be a cold day in Hell when one of these things shows up at Castle Borepatch.

It’s probably good we at Guffaw de alquiler cannot afford such things.  My roomie is not particularly tech savvy (less than I) , but loves toys!  Between the two of us, we have a PC, a laptop, two tablets, two smartphones, and she has a smart watch!
If indeed, United States intelligence (or Israeli?  They reportedly have a listening post not far from Fort Huachuca) is actually paying attention to what we email, and to whom, and records our cellular calls, and computer searches, adding a voice-actuated room-wide link to the Internet just seems like overkill.
Inviting what is essentially an open wiretap into one’s home, with which to do Internet searches, order products and services, pay bills, etc. seems a little self-defeating.  If privacy is your goal.
If we ever get out of this financial hole we are digging (with her working little, and surgery pending – putting her off for six to twelve weeks), I can see her wanting one, though.
Sigh.

 

H & K’s New Guns!

(from TFB, in part)

BREAKING: HK Releases SFP9 L, SFP9 SK, Maritime and Optics Ready Pistols

sfp

Heckler and Koch has just announced a few additions to their polymer pistol lineup. Known as the VP9 in the United States and SFP9 in Europe, H&K is adding the much awaited long slide SFP9 L and compact SFP9 SK variants to the current SFP9/VP9 offerings. Digging a little deeper, you’ll find a Maritime model as well as an Optics Ready model.

A few interesting features: One, there’s an option for either a push button or paddle magazine release. Two, optional 20 round magazines. Three, an optional manual safety lever.

Obviously we need to dig deeper into the specifications for other hidden gems. But the announcement will obviously elate H&K fans everywhere.

(the article here)

Is this a tempest in a teapot?  Does this appeal to the civilian market?  Is it even available to the civilian market?  And, most importantly:

They are H & K pistols, not known for their customer service.  Do we really want specialty firearms we cannot get repaired, should they need it?

“Why are they making these?  To sell, of course!” (Jeff Cooper)

What do you guys think?

In Search Of…

Old stuff!  (NO – not the 70’s TV series!)  😛

I’ve recently been blessed with the acquisition (or re-acquisition) of two firearms, as recounted in these pages – a first-year, original old frame style Ruger Security Six, and a Sig Sauer P245.

Both long out-of production and both ‘classics’ in their own right.

And both are fine to carry and shoot just as they are, but…

Like most gun folks, I cannot leave well enough alone!

Regarding the Ruger Security Six, she has the standard stocks.  When I was previously gun poor and carried her as a loaner (thanks again Dave the genius mechanic!) she was resplendent with a pair of Herrett Shooting Star checkered stocks.  Reportedly, these cracked beyond repair and have been discarded.

And Herrett no longer makes them for the original old frame.

Does anyone know where an old set might be acquired, or failing that, a similar style manufactured by some other manufacturer?

(Being an old-school gun guy just doesn’t get any easier?)

Now to the Sig Sauer P245.  Again no longer in production.  And the long-used night sites have faded to the brightness of the spark generated by breaking a Wint-O-Green Life Saver or white Necco Wafer in a dark closet.  Fortunately, when I can afford it, replacements ARE available.  (Although she does shoot quite well without any tritium, regardless!)

The ‘problem’ here is a decent IWB concealment holster.  Just like the Ruger, as they are no longer in production, finding accountrement for her is difficult.

AND, of course, I’m left-handed!

I like the idea of something straight-drop in Kydex, but at this point anything above a Fruit-Of-The-Loom, metal clip-on chamois pouch would suffice.

Anybody?  Bueller?  Bueller?ferris-bueller

Strange Bedfellows, Indeed!

It’s been said, politics makes strange bedfellows.  I’m not a fan of this guy, but, if he can make a living spewing juvenile, naughty drivel on pay-to-play radio – so be it.

I’ve no idea (nor do I particularly care) about his other political views, but this did appear on my radar…

Of course, being the libertine he pretends to be on radio would normally attract the LEFT (progressives, democrats, etc.) but I suspect this throws them for a loop…

(from Free North Carolina)

Howard Stern Comes Out In Support Of National Concealed Carry

Via Billy

Radio talk show host Howard Stern debuts his show on Sirius Satellite Radio January 09, 2006 at the network

Howard Stern applauded President-elect Donald Trump’s policy which would give concealed carry permit holders from every state the right to carry legally in any other state Tuesday on his SiriusXM radio show.

During his campaign, Trump told his supporters he believed in the right to concealed carry of firearms for eligible citizens and talked about supporting a national reciprocity policy for all legal concealed carry holders across the United States.

I’m Getting All Warm And Fuzzy!

try-not-to-feel-all-warm-and-fuzzy-inside-when-you_21from Wirecutter:

Bass Pro and Cabella’s combine

OMAHA, NEB. — Outdoor gear giants Bass Pro and Cabela’s will combine in a $4.5 billion deal announced Monday.

Bass Pro is paying Cabela’s shareholders $65.50 cash per share. The deal creates uncertainty about jobs in Cabela’s home state of Nebraska. The combined companies plan to keep some operations in Sidney and Lincoln, Nebraska, but it’s not immediately clear how many jobs might be lost.

Bass Pro CEO Johnny Morris says he hopes to continue growing the Cabela’s brand alongside his own Springfield, Missouri, based chain.

Capital One will take over running Cabela’s credit card unit as part of the deal. Activist investment firm Elliott Management began pushing for significant changes at Cabela’s last fall. Cabela’s employs about 2,000 people in the western Nebraska town of Sidney, which has about 7,000 residents.
SOURCE

Yeah, I don’t know about this merger’s effect on jobs, but there is a Cabela’s 40+ miles NW of me, and a Bass Pro maybe 7 miles NE of me.  If they both remain open, I vote to go to the NE location.  🙂

NOW, If I just had money…

(PS – word on the ‘Net is they are differently themed stores, and undoubtedly something will be lost in this merger.  As I’m pretty much a window-shopper only, it has little effect on me.  And I remember my first (and only) visit to Cabela’s.  And the handgun display proclaiming a model by LES BAUER! (it should have been Les Baer)  Not everyone is perfect.)

 

More Spam!

I don’t check my weblog spam file very often.  (or my email account spam, truth-be-told!)

If I somehow missed a legitimate comment by you, my apologies.

The reason(s) I don’t check:  here is a sampling from the current spam listed:

  • porn videos
  • naked free webcam girls
  • If you’re like most of my clients, you want to shine more attention on your Social Media presence.If that’s the case, let me take your Social Media Marketing over the TOP!Our Promotion Packages:
  • viagra pills for sale in canada/Online casino & Gambling Industry Numbers Revealed
  • Benefits additionally must be redistributed and workers want
    to pay attention to the tax and retirement
    consequences to getting an unplanned money infusion, it is not really
    a bonus.

Yeah, none of that interests me.  Especially when the social media spam is a comment on a post from years ago regarding a .44 Special revolver.

Besides, I’m nowhere near Canada!

😛

Taking Out A Sentry

So, a guy walks up to a sentry and asks, “Hi, sentry, new in town?”

Back-in-the-day, when I was young and foolish (I’m not so young, anymore) I used to read Soldier Of Fortune magazine.  (In addition to Shotgun News, Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Guns Magazine and pretty much every firearms periodical I could find!)  This was before they were sued for facilitating a hitman in their classifieds, and LTC Robert Brown (founder and publisher – U.S.Army-Retired) reportedly discharged a 1911 underwater at a Scottsdale resort pool.  Just to see if it would function.  Rumor was some alcohol was involved.

For me, being unable to get into the military, I was, as Brown described it, truly an armchair adventurer.

And, unlike Playboy’s centerfold (that used to be nude women – sigh), SOF had a centerfold with a different focus.  Sentry removal.

I’m certain Michael Echanis, premier martial arts editor, had something to do with the content.

It would illustrate techniques like the Turkish twist, and judiciously-lethal dagger placement, as though all the readership had been to the CIA’s ‘Farm’ or Ranger School.

Like we were all spec-ops assassins just aching to ‘take out a sentry’, silently.

Of course, we weren’t, but enjoyed reading such macho fodder, nevertheless.

And we’d do the joke about ‘taking out’ sentries whenever a new issue arrived on the newsstand.

And absorb tales of mercenaries world-wide, new gun reviews, read about the latest in electronic surveillance gear, U.S. and foreign military actions and macho TV and movies.

Mike Echanis died in a plane crash en route training in Central America.  And more lawsuits continued.

April 2016 was the last paper edition of SOF.  It continues to be available online.

I’ve not read it regularly for some years.  For me, just getting out of the armchair requires effort enough.  Forget adventure or sentries.sof

FTC – I bought my own.  Get your own!

 

When Is A Gun Store NOT A Gun Store?

GUN STORE

NOT the Glendale store!

Of course, there’s that store in Glendale, Arizona, (in)famous for allowing straw purchasers to buy quantities of guns for them to smuggle South-of-the-Border, at the behest of the federal government.

The end-recipients were cartels, who used them to murder their own people, and some Americans, and more recently (it’s been reported) some Europeans.

I’ve heard tales of stores who sell to private citizens, pretending they don’t know they are selling to straw buyers, who ultimately sell to unknown folks this side of the border.  As little attention is paid to smuggling into Mexico, it’s possible sales are to individuals (including Mexican police officers) who are simply flaunting U.S. and Mexican gun laws to try to protect themselves from the cartels!  And, being the capitalists they are, the gun dealers are looking the other way, knowing if they don’t do the sale, the store up the street will!

When outlining this post, another example came to my memory.  Not far from the now-defunct Royal Bookstore (as recounted in these pages), a small gun shop appeared.  The ubiquitous U-shaped glass display case, containing perhaps 40 handguns, and some long guns on the wall.

With a staff of eight or nine guys, all visibly armed!

SERIOUSLY – how can they afford to pay that many clerks?

I’d stopped by to check out their wares a couple of times, and the last time found them to be closed.  I then went to the nearby bookstore to see if they knew what had occurred.  It seems the gun store had been a front for a bookmaking operation!  This explains the large number of staff!

Hopefully, with Gunwalker (Fast & Furious) having made the front pages through the death of federal agents, legitimate gun stores have tightened up their procedures and are no longer allowing straw purchases!

Interestingly, the Glendale store remains in business!  :-0

 

51% – ers

from Brock Townsend:

Socialism’s False Promise

Via Billy

Given its track record, one wonders why socialism is gaining in popularity in the U.S. and what appeal it has to a generation that, apparently, knows little about it.

A recent survey from Harvard University has found that 51 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent support the economic system that has allowed even the poorest American to live better and to have more opportunity for advancement than most of the rest of the world. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed support socialism.

Why does socialism receive such strong support among the young? I think it’s partly due to what is being taught in too many public schools and universities and it is partly due to ignorance and human nature, which would rather get a check than earn one.

Three quotes about socialism sum up both its false promise and its danger.

Back-in-the-day, when I was going to college, I paid all my own tuition, bought my own books, and worked full-time.  At minimum wage or slightly more than minimum wage jobs.  No student loans for me!
This is not to say I wouldn’t have considered a loan – I didn’t think I’d qualify and didn’t know I’d a choice!
What changed, wherein young people cannot work and afford college on their own? 
(I suspect the government is involved!)
(In the interest of full disclosure, I barely make it on SSDI today, and sometimes borrow (or am gifted) money to pay my auto insurance, or to make groceries.  This is not a bleg, but just a statement-of-fact.  What changed, when I could once afford to pay my own way, and now cannot?  I suspect the government is involved.)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…