Norinco Type 97

I am a huge fan of the AR15.

Here in Canada, however, ARs are considered a “restricted” firearm, meaning mine can only be transported between my residence and an “approved” gun range. Years ago I placed a pre-order for an AR-180B (which, for reasons that are also unclear is “unrestricted” in Canada), but delivery took so long I ended up cancelling before they arrived (and regretted it ever since).

Very recently (for the second time) a Norinco Bullpup rifle hit the market up here, a civilian version of the Chinese QBZ-95, except it’s chambered for .223/5.56mm and accepts STANAG magazines – oh, and it IS unrestricted.

Not missing the boat this time. I ordered mine right away.

Norinco Type 97

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Still alive and kicking, just swamped.

I realize it’s been some time since an update, and for that I apologize. My days off have been spent reno’ing rather than riding, and I’ve had little time for any serious R&R following our vacation.

Some updates are on the way, hang in there.

A Vacation at Disney

Home again, home again dancing a jig.

We’ve just returned from a week at Disney World (a place I haven’t been since I was wee), and while we had a blast it is nice to again be home amongst my techno-toys, boomsticks and two wheeled conveyances.

Jilly at Disney

We stayed in the Port Orleans – French Quarter resort, and managed to visit Downtown Disney, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom (twice) during our stay. We were joined halfway through our trip by my Mother, Step father and two sisters, which really “made” the trip.

One of the highlights was Jilly, Ros and Carolina having dinner at Cinderellas Royal Table where they met Cinderella in the main receiving hall, and then had a chance to meet a variety of other princesses as dinner progressed.

My favorites were the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Star Tours (both in Hollywood Studios).

All in all a good vacation. Now it’s time to get back to work (and school), and get planning our next trip.

Emergency power for cellphones

One of the items I felt was sorely lacking in our emergency kits was the ability to recharge our phones during a power interuption. Sure we have a generator, but if we’re on the move I’m not carrying the genny.

AA USB Charger

As a stopgap (at about $2.00 each) I threw two of these into our kits. Testing them, however, showed that the unit would kill two AA batteries in about an hour, restoring only 20% capacity to my smartphone. I’d need a bundle of AAs to charge my phone properly, and that’s not happening.

Leading up to our vacation I went out looking for some sort of portable external battery to extend the life of my smartphone (notorious for lasting a max of 12 hours or so), and happened across the Boost Turbine 2000. At about $50 the unit has a 2000mAh battery and a crank so it can be recharged when no outlets are readily available. Perfect, both for our vacation and to be added to the emergency kit on our return.

Boost Turbine 2000

Initial impressions are favorable, the unit charged my phone from 14% up to 95% in just over an hour, in the process draining the Boost Turbine to almost zero. Plugging the unit into a USB port recharged it in just over two hours (I experimented with the hand crank but have no real sense of what I was accomplishing and will have to give it another run when the internal battery is depleted.)

Edited to add: 07 Sep, 2013
Tested this during our recent vacation. The internal battery will recharge my cell phone once. Using the hand crank on the unit is a tedious process that quickly becomes tiring, but that does allow recharge the phone. The unit was useful when we were on a plane or sitting in an airport.

It has now been added to our emergency kit.

Triumph Bonneville – Horn Replacement

Well, I’d owned the Bonnie for an entire day before a Gas Company truck tried to change lanes through me. I did the usual frenetic combination of “I don’t want to die” things and even hit the horn to warn the driver (last item on the list) – the weak “Neep neep” that resulted, however effective, made me wince.

One of the first “upgrades” I did to the CBR250R was the horn, and for $15 it’s hard to get more bang for your buck.

So it was only natural the the first thing I changed on the Bonnie was replacing the stock horn with the Fiamm Freeway Blaster (although this time I just went down to Canadian Tire and bought one rather than waiting for the mail).

FIAMM Freeway Blaster Horn

I don’t buy that it is substantially louder than the stock horn, but the note is lower giving it a bit less of that “neep neep”, and while it’s a little bulkier than the stock version I think it’ll do. It is a “drop in” replacement, and does not require a relay or other upgrades.

Photos of the install after the cut.
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The new motorcycle – ’10 Triumph Bonneville

So that time has come.

Triumph Bonneville

Triumph Bonneville

The CBR rode off into the sunset, and I’ll admit that a tear did roll down my cheek. I’m sorry to see that bike go.

A quick clip of the bike running, added for Piet.

The anatomy of a burglary

The video below shows a few kids breaking into a house just before new years. Not a lot of technical expertise here. Give it a watch, and you’ll see a team of young burglars tackle a residential burlgary on a Saturday night at about 8:30pm.

This looks to be a fairly typical B&E, they ring the doorbell repeatedly and peer in the windows to make sure the occupants are not simply ignoring their efforts. The last thing these guys want is to run into a homeowner. An alarm system would likely not have prevented the burglary, but it would have certainly reduced the kids time on the ground inside the house.

Some quick thoughts on preparedness…

I’d like to be clear here, in my 40 years of wandering around I’ve been in precisely one major blackout (lasting more than 24 hours) and a few comparatively minor riots (as a result of employment). Statistically speaking my emergency preparedness efforts are at best a theoretical effort and at worst a sink hole for disposable income.

Much like insurance (which truthfully drains substantially more of my disposable income on an annual basis than the my emergency preparedness efforts), I sleep better knowing that the people I am responsible for wouldn’t immediately be reduced to eating crackers or scavenging for food the moment our supply chain is disrupted.

But WHAT am I preparing for?

Well, that’s the question isn’t it. The Government of Canada recommends a 72 hour kit as the “minimum” preparation. I’m fairly certain most of us could scrape by for a few days on the food in the back of our kitchen cabinets (fruit cocktail? beans? Spam?).

I have to admit that my motivation was based around the events at significant disaster sites, and the unpleasantness that fills the void between the initial event and the official response. It also helps that I’m a fan of Zombie Movies where scenes of people mobbing the grocery store at the first sign of trouble are all too common.

So here we sit, some emergency kits, a little extra fuel on hand, and our “essential documents” copied and ready to grab on a moments notice.

At this stage our level of preparedness doesn’t cost much money and is made up more of little habits than anything else.

Media Server Capacity Issues

Our most recent Home Media Server upgrade saw us transition from a cludged arrangement involving a pacific rim NAS and external USB drives to a Buffalo Linkstation Duo (4TB). Content is backed up to two USB HDDs every month (a manual process), and we are now hovering at about 75% capacity (3TB).

Buffalo Linkstation Duo

The Linkstation Duo can handle twin 3TB HDDs instead of the 2TB HDDs presently installed, and you can hang a USB HDD (up to 2TB) capacity off the NAS.

That said I can’t help but find myself browsing through 4 and 5 bay NAS devices with up to 12TB of capacity (and a $700-1100 pricetag). I think I’ll spend some money on the 3TB HDDs, which can always be moved to a larger NAS down the road.