I bought a Glock. 
2012.08.18 18:15 - Guns
(I had a longer, probably more boring version of this post, but my login expired and I lost it. Hopefully, this captures the gist of it.)

I bought a Generation 3 Glock 19 last Saturday. I don't like it, but will, in the near-ish term, be using it to replace my beloved Browning Hi-Power as my default carry gun.

I'm retiring the Browning for a couple of reasons:

First, there are some middling complaints about the function of the gun which will take some effort (and money) to get fixed. Nothing has changed here: the magazine disconnect still irks me, as do the magazines that won't drop free, or that the hammer bites the web of my hand. None of this is serious enough to fix right now, but it's all stuff I want to get fixed.

Second, the logistics of the Hi-Power suck like hard vacuum. For a gun that's actually being produced, parts are difficult to find, and cost too much money. Factory anything costs anywhere from 25% to 100% more than it ought to, including the price of the gun itself. After-market accessories and parts exist, but are a bit thin on the ground. Holsters would be nearly non-existent if the Hi-Power weren't about the same size as a compact 1911.

So, it's going to go back in its case and only come out when I can't stand to carry the plastic wondergun or want to take it to the range.

Unlike the Hi-Power, I really don't love the Glock. I don't even like it. It's ugly, has a plastic frame and a striker-fired action. Everybody and their aunt has one and at least half of all Glock owners are rabid fanboys not entirely dissimilar to old-school Mac users (i.e. "I've only ever used this one thing of this type, but let me tell you how much better it is than whatever you're using now."). Disassembly requires pulling the trigger on a closed chamber, which can and has caused negligent discharges and injuries. The factory sights are made of plastic. The factory controls are too small. The grip doesn't feel good in the hand. It doesn't have an external safety other than the trigger blade.

But. The thing is, I didn't buy the Glock because I'd changed my mind and suddenly become a fan. I bought it because it solves the persistent problems I've had because I chose to use and carry the Hi-Power. You can buy parts or accessories for a Glock almost every place that sells guns. And the parts are affordable, they all drop in, and the gun shop probably has at least one guy certified as a Glock armorer, anyway. The guns have an excellent (if overblown) reputation for durability and reliability.

So, I don't like it. It's a choice which does not please me. But, I think I respect it, and that'll have to do.

In the meantime, I've replaced the stock magazine release, will have new sights on order before the weekend is out, and have already got a light and laser installed. Still need a holster and magazine carrier, but my wallet's been soaked enough for one month.
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It's been a month and a half. 
2012.07.10 18:20 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Meatspace Stupidity
On the one hand, I had a heart valve replaced on May 30th because, back in February, the doctor picked up on what turned out to be a congenital defect. I'll probably have a bit more to say on that later, but it turned out to be good that I didn't take any longer than I did getting it taken care of. Also, hospital food? Not very appealing, for the most part. It's been (correction: is still) an interesting and inspiring experience, but I'd recommend against doing it unless you have to (but, in that case, do it).

On the other hand, I am (finally) the proud owner of a shiny, new Bushamstermaster ACR. You may not give a crap, but I have been anticipating one for five years. I took it apart this evening (I at least field strip most guns after buying them and before shooting ) and put it back together, and mangled an O-ring in the process. It's not a critical part, thankfully, but it's a bit annoying, all the same. Otherwise, I am pleased, and look forward to shooting it as soon as I'm able.
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Memorial Day 
2012.05.28 11:47
To those who went and those who didn't come back:

Thanks.
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Roomba Rumba 
2012.03.25 15:50 - Miscellanea
Not quite four-and-a-half years ago, I snagged a Roomba Scheduler off of Woot.com. After about a year, though, the battery capacity had fallen so precipitously that it barely ran at all, and it didn't seem to be getting much out of being docked on the home base. At the time, I just figured the battery was kaput, so I ordered a new one, swapped it, and ... no dice. Roomba would charge fine directly from the wall, but not off the home base. This suggested a problem with the home base, but, at the time, I didn't have the information to confirm this (because it could still have been the Roomba's connection to the home base, instead of something in the home base, itself).

Three years later, I finally got tired of having a robot sitting around being useless, so I did some research, and hit upon somebody else's documentation of diagnosing their Roomba.

Although the model and symptoms aren't quite the same, that turned out to be my problem: the home base was cooked.

The long and the short of what I needed to confirm that:
  • A voltmeter. I have a cheap multimeter laying around someplace, but can't find it. I wound up buying a new multimeter at Home Depot, but Radio Shack had a cheap one I should probably have grabbed, instead.
  • A 4.7k ohm resistor, good for at least 1/4 watt. I bought some 1/2-watt 4.7k ohm resistors at Radio Shack. They worked fine
  • A means of connecting the resistor to either the probes of your meter, or to the contacts of the Roomba home base. One approach is pictured in the article linked above. I grabbed a bunch of alligator-clipped test leads while I was at Radio Shack.
With each end of the resistor clipped to a different probe, it was pretty trivial to check the voltage being put out by my home base. The good/bad news for me is that, instead of rising to about 22.5 volts, my base was falling to 2 volts. Well, as they say, there's my problem.

When the new base arrived, I double checked the voltage on it, just for good measure: it puts out a bit over 20. Not quite as high as it ought to be, but I'm not sure what the tolerance is on that number, and it sure seems to have done the trick: Roomba's been busily eating dust bunnies and getting caught on cables for over a week, now.
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The World Is Full of Mystery and Wonder 
2012.02.23 11:09 - Miscellanea
People, I don't know if you knew already, but I just found out squids can fly. Like rockets.

(Link stolen from SayUncle.)
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