Sunday, December 14, 2008

Big update. Big changes!

It has been ages since I have made time to sit down and update little corner of the net. (Seriously though, who is really that busy?)

A lot has happened since my last entry. First and foremost I changed careers. I was getting pretty sick of my old job. I was only there a couple of years, but had taken part in setting up numerous web servers, FTP servers, Samba servers, Terminal Services servers (in the States, all remote control), a mail server, Virtual Server systems, and fielded dozens of hardware, software and network requests from coworkers. Lots to do. The only problem was the fact that I was hired as phone support, and never was under contract for any of the above mentioned. Then my Brainiac of a boss decided to tell me that I basically wasn't working hard enough, and that I was not putting in that extra effort like some of the others. He even compared me to a coworker that did nothing but support, but only hung around after work (not answering phones at all) for 20 to 30 minutes. Ridiculous! That was enough for me.

I guess his ignorant response was a good thing. I had been thinking for quite some time that I needed to do something different with my life anyways. I have mentioned in earlier posts that I was getting way out of shape, and frankly was getting grumpy. So I did a 360. I am now in construction, and I love it. I enjoy being my own boss (again).

I relaxed for a week or so after I said goodbye to the old place and only a few days later got myself involved in a great contract for multiple construction projects. It is mainly finishing work, but often involves other aspects of construction such as framing, sub floors, door and window installs, etc. I am involved in residential, commercial and university. I love the variety.

Even though I have to adapt to physical work and training myself to think along different logical patterns, I have to admit I love the work. I should have switched careers a long time.
I did sprain my left knee about a week into work. I get on trucking. I was tough, as it hurt like hell. I missed many Muay Tai classes due to the injury. When I finally returned to class, I hurt my knee again, due to my over-doing it. When will I learn.

I am still running Computer Help Canada, and now need to register another company for the general contracting I engage in. I need to think of a great company name. Any ideas?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Man, do I need exercise !!

I went to my first Muay Thai kickboxing class the other day. I knew going in that it has been years since I did any real exercise, and that it would feel like hell. Even with that expectation(not too positive, eh?) I couldn't believe how much I was sucking wind. I was sweating so much, it was burning my eyes. Iwasn't sure I could actually complete the hour, but I did. I think it may be over 10 years since i did any really workout.

After the class I hopped in the car for the long ride home and realized that I really enjoyed myself. What's not to like? I actually enjoyed sweating and getting my heart working again. I also think that learning how to punch and kick is great. Stretching was awkward, but that will improve in time. Of course, the folks at Scheer's are great too. At the end of class so e of the other students encouraged me by telling me I did a great job. I chatted with a few others and found that they are all really nice.

I am really looking forward to my next class. I will take at least one class per week at first, then after a few weeks I will begin taking two or three classes a week. This strategy and my new eating habits (Thanks Weight Watchers) will have me in great shape in no time at all.

NOTE: In my last entry I explained that I joined Weight Watchers. Well, in just 6 weeks, I am about one pound away from loosing my first twenty pounds. Not too bad ?!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Adios to my Traditions Tracker 209

I sold my Traditions Tracker 209 muzzleloader. I simply didn't like it. There was nothing really wrong with it. It worked well enough, but I just didn't feel right holding it (or some damn thing). No offense to anyone that already owns one, or is considering one, but that muzzleloader and I didn't jive.

So I will see if I can scrape up enough bread for a new one. Nothing too fancy. Maybe I'll grab the T/C Z-5 or the CVA Optima. Both are considered "magnum" muzzleloaders in that they each can handle three 50 grain pellets. Would I ever use three pellets? Doubtful, but using 120 grains of loose powder might be okay for some big beasts.

I am leaning towards the Optima right now, as it's more within my budget and I like the fact I can easily break it down with the removal of one screw, and have the barrel ready for a super cleaning if needed.

My dream muzzleloader would be the Lyman Great Plains rifle in either 50 or 54 caliber (left-handed of course). Those are around $520 up here where I am, so that dream rifle will be quite a ways off.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I need a reliable online note storage system

Okay, in the unlikely event that anyone besides myself reads this little web blog of mine... I am throwing out this request.

I need a decent online note storage system that I can install on my own webserver.

I record a lot of notes. To be more accurate, I keep more than notes. I keep URLs, short documents, chunks of programming code, Linux scripts, and other little goodies. I have been using my Gmail account for this, but this doesn't seem right.

I know there are free services out there for note storage, like Helipad (which is really nice), but I want to host a note app myself. Why, you might ask? Well, what if something happened to Helipad, where would all my important notes go? If I hosted my own notes application, I could back it up myself (or at least blame only myself if that failed).

I was considering TiddlyWiki as an alternative. It is really cool, and easy to use, and even has a search function. But... there is one big catch, it is intended for local systems only, meaning you run it on your desktop, and not online. Sure there's a handful of online versions of TiddlyWiki, but most require a mySql database, and that makes easy backups and restores a pain in the ass (unless you know a super easy way to back and restore these suckers).

So what are my alternatives?


Ignore my comment below about Dokuwiki.
Dokuwiki worked great, but only for about a month after that it starting giving me errors. It was actually working great, then one day it just started giving me annoying errors, and even lost it's own editor icons.

I posted on the forum, but really got nothing helpful.

Looking back, I find it odd that a wiki wouldn't include an "Add New Page" button, forcing me to install a plugin instead. Come on Dokuwiki, is a simple "New" button too much for ya?

Quick, what is it?

I needed to identify a new firearm lately [not exactly new, but new to me]. What a challenge that was. The limited number of books I have did not help, and I was not having much success searching the Internet either.

So I relied on the good folks at and they kind enough to point me in the right direction.

This is what I was dealing with.

I will provide another hint; it's now a shotgun.

Still haven't figured it out. Here is an image that includes some proof marks:

It sure was a challenge, but sure enough the informed folks on the gunnutz forum figured it out. It is a Chassepot rifle converted to a 12 gauge shotgun in Belgium, as Liege. Pretty cool isn't it?
Apparently it is a black powder shotgun, so I don't know if I'll be shooting anytime soon, but you never know.. I have shotshell reloading equipment, and perhaps after some research, and a quick trip to the gunsmith [make sure it is safe], I might try it out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Some environmentalist drive me nuts

Recently I have come across a few periodicals or newsletter type publications promoting the protection of certain environmental areas or species. While reading them I thought of how nice it was to see that someone cares and how people are actually trying to make a difference. They what to save a species, or number of species, or are trying to save an area, etc. Great. I personally think we should all at least try and do a least a little to preserve or better our own world.

But I then realized that many of these publications are on paper. Some are on what is clearly recycled paper, which is okay, but others are publishing great, big, multi-page products made with thick glossy paper that is of a large format. I'm not referring to a couple of pages either, some of these things are huge.

Why? How is using all this paper helping? What logic is in use here? Save the fish, screw the trees?

Today, practically everybody has a computer and an internet connection. Why not publish on the web. Since the computers are already there, the environmental impact of their creation has already occurred. Why not use the computers instead of wasting paper? Email out some newsletters.

Some might say that these paper publications can all be recycled and used again. Ya right, everybody recycles paper! If we were all that environmentally conscious, we wouldn't need to read about saving our planet. we'd already be doing it.

Maybe my ignorance is showing here, but seriously, isn't there a more environmentally way to spread the message?

What do you think?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Camping in the rain sucks

Never trust the weather man.

Tammy, Maxwell, and myself went camping last week. We left for the Prince Albert National Park on Thursday morning. It rained during the 2.5 hour trip there, and continued raining non-stop the whole time we were there.

Tammy and I have never camped together before, and of course never set up a tent together before. We weren't exactly smiling during the process. Setting up a tent in the pouring rain sucks. It was so miserable, it was funny. We were soaked, sliding around making a mess.

The rain never let up. Other than bathroom breaks, which involved ponchos and hurrying to the facilities, we stayed in the tent and tried our best to entertain ourselves.

Tammy is now considering the purchase of a tent trailer. Just wait until she finds out what on is worth.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bad day at the range

I think I am actually getting worse at shooting.

I went to the range after work yesterday, and didn't exactly set any records. I was sighting in a new scope and trying out the new Choate stock on the Savage .223. This is the second time I have shoot this rifle, and I have to admit, I think I am starting to shoot worse than ever before. My groups were all over. I was lucky if I could keep them under 2 inches at 100 yards. This just isn't acceptable for me. I normally keep used targets for reference, but I tossed yesterday's. At one point I finished off a box of Winchester 55 grain cartridges, started a fresh box and found that my point of impact was about 2 inches higher than the last box. What the hell?

I don't get it. I used a bipod (which I prefer), and had sand bags to ensure I was steady. I can think of a pile of excuses. Maybe I just need to get used to the stock and scope (and new rifle). I admit that I can adjust the cheek pice so I can get a good cheek weld and maybe try adjusting the length of pull on the varmint stock.

Maybe I should just stop whining, get things adjusted, then try shooting a bit more. After all, I haven't shot more than 100 rounds in over a year. maybe I am jusst out of practice.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I took my 4 year old to the range

Yup, I took Maxwell, who was just a few days into his fourth year, to the range. We got up just before 6:00 Am to get there about 7: 00 AM. This is the best time to go, since there is less people around, and the temperatures are pretty nice.

Maxwell wasn't exactly thrilled to get up that early, but soon felt better once I reminded him where we were going. It was his first time, and I could tell his imagination was running wild about what "the range" might be. We hit the road and made it about 5 minutes out of town before wehad to turn around. Maxwell wanted to bring his shotgun. So after a quick return trip home for his toy, and a quick stop at Tim Hortons for an extra large double-double, we made it to the range to see that my buddies were already there and hitting paper.

Maxwell loved it. I didn't bring any firearms this time, as I just wanted him to feel safe and comfortable about the range, with it's benches, different people, and gunshots. I had already coached him in the car about the importance of keeping his ear protection on, and staying near me. He made me proud. He stuck to me like glue and looked great in ear muffs.

He soon realized that there was .17 MR and 22 long rifle brass lying around, and spent his time filling his pockets. He even sat at a free bench with his plastic over-under shotgun and firde a few shots. The guys were great, shaking his hand like a gentleman and making him feel welcome. It was truly a great first experience for a 4 year old boy.

I can't wait to take him again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Include HTML within PHP

I did some testing and found that I can now include HTML documents inside of my existing documents. This ability to reuse code beats me copying and pasting all the time. Now a simple edit to a single HTML file that I have included in multiple files can affect multiple pages without me having to edit each.

I couldn't find a reliable way to do this in HTML, so I was forced to use PHP. That's okay, as I have a little PHP integrated into my site anyways. Here's an example of what I did to include other HTML files in my existing HTML files:

The PHP page that contains this directive must have a .php extension and the server must support PHP.

Why did I feel like sharing this tip?
I found it difficult to find a way to include HTML in HTML, so I figured that even one more example on the Internet might help someone.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What a great week !

This last week has been great for a gun nut like myself. Finally after all the waiting, the goodies I ordered had arrived. I also went for a drive to Ted Gaillard's place and picked up my newly rechambered Remington 700. He was kind enough to sell me 100 pieces of 8mm Remington Magnum brass too. Returning to town that day, I checked the Post Office (yes my town is that small) and found a parcel ticket in my box. I was thrilled, as I was expecting the new Pact dispenser and scale combination to arrive. I handed in my parcel ticket and was surprised to see a long rectanglular box. My Choate stocks had arrived! I hurried home and cracked that box open. Damn their beautiful. Well, to me anyways.

Only a few days later I was lucky enough to come home and find that Tammy picked up another parcel from the Post Office. The Pact combo arrived. In minutes I had the box open, and started reading the manuals for the dispenser and scale.

Now I have a lot of work to do (can I really call it work?). I have about 180 pieces of 8mm Rem mag to form. So I will either have to borrow a buddies .35 dies or buy a set myself to create false shoulders on these cases before I fire form them to the new .338 Gaillard wildcat. I will also have to buy a sheet of stone flooring to use as a solid base for the Pact combo. I have read numerous recommendations suggesting that the scale works best on a sheet of smooth stone tile resting on a foam or rubber pad. This will make for accurate readings, as tiny bumps could throw off such a delicate scale. A cushioned and solid surface will defintely cut down on vibrations.

I need to run out and pick up a few pounds of powder too. Probably IMR 7828, or something similar. I can't wait to try out the new cartridge. I am tempted to fire form all of the cases without bullets, buy using the pistol powder and Cream of Wheat method. This will prolong barrel life, and not beat the hell out of me as I fire over 100 rounds.

One last note. I took some pictures of the two stocks I received. I'll post those in the next few days, to show off these great stocks. They truly are good products, despite what some others might suggest.
NOTE: I set the combo on a 13x13 foam-supported ceramic tile. This cuts down on vibrations that might affect the scale.

Choate has incorporated a nice integrated aluminum block to aid in securely mating the receiver with the stock.
Both the Ultimate Sniper and the Varmint stock have added accessories like extensions and alternate cheek rests.The Varmint stock differs from the Sniper (not just in color).Both stocks also have roomy forestocks allow for nice fat target barrels. I guess I need to save up some dough.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Moved to Blogger

I just transferred everything from my old Wordpress log to Blogger.

Why? I am lazy. I just don't enjoy having to frequently update or upgrade my Wordpress installation to handle security updates, etc.

Why Blogger? Why not? It's reliable, I don't have to update the software, and millions of users can't be wrong, can they? Heck, I can even edit the look and feel of the blog if I like (once I stop procrastinating and start doing it).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mugison and the Queens of the Stone Age

On May 5th I was lucky enough to experience the Queens of the Stone Age and Mugison at the Odeon Event Center.

Both bands were simply great. I admit I went in not knowing anything about Mugison, and wasn't sure what to expect. Wow, what a band. They sounded great, and were really into it. The guitar player was impressive, as he seemed to really be feeling teh power of the crowd. I liked them so much I didn't hesitate to grab a copy of their "not officially released in North America" CD. I am not sure how I would describe the style of Mugison's music. Maybe it's better of not being labeled under any particular music category. These guys are just Mugison. They rocked.

The Queens of the Stone Age blew me away. These guys are simply fantastic musicians, and played hard. I am so happy I got to see them live. It's something I'll never forget. I don't have to describe them too much, as many people are already well aware of the excellence of the Queens.

The show was great, and I will definitely see either of these bands again if given the chance.

Monday, May 5, 2008

HOWTO: Make web visitors never come back to your site.

I have the secret to making web visitors never return. It's easy. Just edit your page to make it look like it is under going maintenance. It doesn't necessarily have to say "Under Maintenance", but it does have to look like you are fixing it, and never took the time to prepare something off-site in preparation for a disaster, or a server move, etc.

Am I an expert in this? Perhaps not, but I am guilty of it. Take a look at NewToGuns. It is my own web site and I buggered up the xhtml to the point where I got pissed off and nuked it. Sure I kept all my articles, but the site is definitely "under maintenance"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I am getting anxious

Part of me loves waiting for new stuff I have ordered, while the other part of me hates the wait.

I still haven't received the two Choate stocks I ordered. I suppose it takes a while to get U.S export permits and all that. I am really looking forward to trying these out, even with the boring look of standard barrel profiles. I have been waiting since December, which seems like a long time ago to me.

I also ordered a nice powder dispenser and scale combo from Pact about 2 weeks ago. I phoned them today (okay, I am impatient sometimes) and was told they will ship in 5 to 10 days. Looks like I am getting one hot off the production line.I can't wait ot say good-bye to my old Lyman powder chucker, and hello to digitally measured powder loads.

I still haven't picked up my newly chambered rifle yet. The .338 Gaillard chambering was completed a couple weeks ago, but I haven't picked the rifle up yet. Part of me is anxious to get it, while part of me isn't, as I have no 8mm Remington Magnum brass available. Which brings me to my next point...

I had a local vendor order me 250 8mm Remington Magnum cases from the U.S. two weeks ago. I wonder how long that will take with all the shipping, and permits, etc. I was told around June, but after waiting all this time for my Choate stocks, I am not exactly holding my breath.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bucket Explore versus Jungledisk

Sorry Jungledisk fans, but I have to say that although it was only $20, it was $20 too much.

Bucket Explorer is a far superior product. Sure it cost twice as much, but it's worth it. I bought Jungledisk first because a friend recommended it, but wish I had tried Bucket Explorer first. Bucket Explorer is just easier to use, and has features I like. Creating and deleting buckets is a breeze. It's just a pain in Jungledisk. Bucket Explorer makes permissions a snap, and even offers easy linking to files. These easy to use public URLs and time-limited signed URLs are a nice touch. Perhaps it's minor, but Jungledisk's long bucket names such as 334HNDX984NXN49F8N-webbucket just aren't as nice as the simplicity of Bucket Explorer letting me create something nice and smple like "webbucket". Bucket Explorer (like Jungledisk) works in Linux. Anyone that has read enough of my past posts may realize I love using Linux, and Bucket Explorer is simply great on my KDE based distro (Mint Linux). It was easy to istall too. I also realy don't like the idea that Jungledisk stores my data in their own format. Good luck accessing files uploaded by Jungledisk with any other client software.

So what do I loose by deciding against Jungledisk? I realize that Jungledisk provided a backup feature. Well, I can use S3Backup if I need it, and it's free. Go ahead and check that link out, and have a look at S3 Webmaster while you're there, it's pretty cool too. Jungledisk does have Jungledisk-USB. With this I could carry around a working copy of Jungledisk on a USB key and access S3 from any USB supported computer. Okay, I can't find an alternative for this, but frankly, I wouldn't miss it. Jungledisk is$20 for life and that apparently includes updates. Sadly these included updates don't include the newly added Jungledisk-Plus features. BucketExplorer will only provide free upgrades for 6 months. I hope they reconsider this.
So what have I learned? I should have done more research before buying any S3 application.

By the way, you might want to skip both Jungledisk and Bucket Explorer and simply rely on the S3Fox addon for Firefox and find that you'll be entirely happy with that. It's pretty damn useful.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gundata is progressing nicely

Between slowly learning Python and trying to compare parts of it to Suneido, I have had a little time to work on Gundata. I am new to coding, versions, and licensing, but am tempted to offer up an Alpha version to a few testers. I have a few people in mind, but of course would consider more tester of you are willing (crazy or bored enough). There is a long way to go before I would consider this truly useful or problem free. I still need to add certain features, and add more reporting. (Not really selling it here am I?). I am also working on a simple website to provide downloads and get feedback.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Suneido and Python ?

I have run into a wall with Suneido. It's not Suneido's fault, Suneido is a great language, but it doesn't have the wealth of books and documents typically available with languages like Ruby, C#, or Python. My problem was my ignorance of programming. I really have no idea about data types, list, operations, etc. I am a beginner! So on a recommendation, I have decided to dive into Python. This way I can better learn how to program (at least its basics) and better understand Suneido, as it has many similarities to other popular languages. Who knows, once I get through this Python book, I might even go through the Ruby book I purchased a while back.

Yes that may not sound realistic. I am just getting into programming and learning Python and Suneido at once may be a bit much for my tiny brain. Why not throw Ruby in the mix too?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Screenshots of my new GunData software

Admittedly, the program is in Alpha, but I wanted to share a few screen captures I just grabbed. The two shots below are just portions of the firearms database and the load recorder. I have a fair bit of work to do before I even consider making this available for testing.

The Load Recorder screen:

The Firearms Database screen:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I switched camcorders

I had purchased a Samsung DVD camcorder in November. I thoiught it would be okay for the general videos I would be taking. I was surprised as to just how bad the quality of video was. Some videos were okay (not great), while others were horrible. I admit I am fairly ignorant of all the things someone should know when considering a camcorder purchase, but I figured that today's camcorders would give me some level of acceptable video quality. This just isn't true. I have seen better video on old VHS recorders.

So I just went ahead and tried another brand. This time with a little research, I grabbed a JVC model. It is pretty great so far. The model is the GZ-MG330AU. This might well be the smallest, lightest, hard drive based camcorder around. This thing is super tiny. It's actually a hybrid, in that it allows me to record to MicroSD cards as well as the 30 GB hard drive. Whether or not I'll use the MicroSD option, I don't know, but it's cool to know it's available to me. The camcorder also came with some pretty nice software from Cyberlink too. Now I can produce, view, copy, backup and burn DVDs with ease. DVD creation is a snap.

My first test video was a short length piece featuring my son (the ham). Quality was nice, too. I think I will crank up the video quality setting to Ultra Fine and see how it looks. So far I noticed little noise or deterioration.

I hope I don't have to returnn this one like the Samsung. I love this little bugger. Here's picture of the model in blue (4 colors are available).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What's up with Fujifilm ??

I thought I would look at the site and see what I could find regarding my new Finepix S800. I have to say I was a little surprised to find that neither the Fujifilm Canadian nor American sites list the S800. I even sent an email to fujifilm Canada's support asking about this, but they never responded. So I called Fuji. The lady that picked up was surprised by the model I described. She wondered if I wasn't meaning the S8000 (I wish I had an S8000). I explained that I really had an S800. She never heard of it. Maybe I meant the S700. I explained this one has more megapixels thant S700. She put me through tthe techs. I learned that this meant I was transfered to a line where no one picks up, and you have to leave a message. Gee, thanks!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I gave the firearms site a facelift was looking a little dark. I thought I should lighten it up a bit. Let me know if you like the new look.

Monday, January 21, 2008

If I knew Suneido was this much fun ...

I would have started coding years ago. I admit that I really have only scratched the surface when it comes to Suneido or programming in general, but I feel like I am actually doing alright. Sure I make mistakes and sit in front of the keyboard lost and confused at times, but that was expected. I only wish there was a really great book available that taught object oriented programming from the ground up, and that this imaginary book was based on Suneido. If I could, I'd write that book myself. Until then I will keep slugging away.

My most recent lesson learned in Suneido? My poor typing will result in horrible code. I really need to decrease my typing errors.

I picked up a new camera this weekend

I purchased a new Fuji Finepix S800 this weekend. Sadly I had to exchange it the next day due to a faulty flash. The camera was great otherwise, but the flash would not stay down (it should popup automatically). Once exchanged for a another S800, I was quickly checking out all the cool features. This camera is awesome. It has a ton of features and is very easy to use. I don't always rely on Auto mode for pictures, but found that the pcitures taken in that mode were excellent.

I need to practice a little more in Manual mode before I can start taking those real "artsy" shots, but I can tell already that this camera will allow me to take some superb pictures in all kinds of situations. The manual is big, but I expected it to be, as there are tons of features.

 Now I need to find a nice Finepix bag for it, or some other accessories.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Website neglect?

Poor was sadly neglected for months. I finally decided to put up a bunch of articles wether they all had photos or not. Most articles have really nice pics, while a couple need some images. Each article is of course informative and very readable without images, but I love pictures in documents.

So I no longer will have this poor little site sitting around in maintenance mode. Go over and check it out. If you are new to the whole firearms world, or just curious about guns, it's definitely worth a look. Let me know what you think.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm really getting into programming with Suneido

Man, I am on fire! I have already created a simple book in Suneido with 6 or 7 tabs. Users of my very  incomplete "GunData" program can already manage a firearms, cases, bullets, scopes, powders and loads databases. They can even use simple things to make life easier, like KeyControls with nice little Access buttons to easily add and update throughout the software. I am getting pretty good at some of the simpler Field definitions, and have even used some simple Rules. My Access screens are pretty basic, so I need to experiment with different interfaces like Horz and Vert to get things looking a little nicer.

I am considering the release of some sort of Beta version soon.