Today has been one of those days…

Yup, I still have it.  It’s so nice when I can take one look at something and fix it without even really thinking about it.

Today’s Lesson In Electronics…


Hey, I thought it was funny.  Besides how else do you think they get made?  I know the answer to that question and I think when it comes to most people, just look at the picture and believe it.  It’s not that far off from doping, which is how it’s really done.

via Facebook

Another Comes Into the Fold…

So I got an email from Sean just after I posted on A Girl finding her new found freedom.  He had a domain but hadn’t been able to figure out how to effectively migrate from blogger.

A Girl’s success gave him renewed vigor.  I exchanged a couple emails and bootstrapped the blog last night.  This morning he got the content moved over but we had some issues getting the feed and redirects done.

Yeah, some of that was my fault, I screwed up his URL and did .org instead of .com, and missed something in the Template.  Thankfully though he couldn’t get the template to go in correctly.  We went back and forth in emails and he gave me admin access to go take a look.  Well it took me a couple minutes of looking around but I got it straightened out.

Sean has now officially crossed the fold to the dark side.  I put a fresh batch of cookies on the counter.

So, I hinted at it a little bit in the post about A Girl, but I think I’ll let a little more out of the bag now that I mainly just need to finish up things like the Terms of Service documents and some how-to guides and other general information.

So, any gun bloggers out there, or people interested in gun blogging that don’t want to deal with Google blogger, I am finishing an alternative.  You will be able to import all your content from Blogger, and there will be a how-to guide to redirect your traffic.

I have no idea how many are interested in such a thing.  If it is popular enough I am probably eventually going to move into a full virtual host and will resell hosting and support.  Is there any interest in such a service throughout the community of bloggers wishing to ditch specific services or ease the time they spend on it?

Repeat After Me…

Anything I do or say on the internet, despite any internal belief said discussions or pictures are “private”, could be provided to law enforcement to aid in prosecution against me. Just because I don’t have Facebook, Google, or any other company in my friends list doesn’t mean they won’t monitor what I say.

You did repeat it right?  If not, go back and repeat it.

What am I talking about I hear you ask.  This is what I’m talking about.

Facebook and other social platforms are watching users’ chats for criminal activity and notifying police if any suspicious behavior is detected, according to a report.

First if you’re surprised by this, do not take this the wrong way, you’re a gullible idiot.  I have a nasty habit of being blunt and straight forward, and I do not understand how people could think something said on Facebook could be considered “private”.

Here’s the thing, social media predominately relies on servers and infrastructure provided by someone else.  Anything you send to that server can be seen by them unless it is encrypted by you before transmission.  If you encrypt your data though, only those with the key will be able to read it.

That said, even your friends list should be considered suspect.  The digital world is not like the real world.  It anonymity, which is a strength I love, can also be used against you.  Neither of the two articles linked here should be considered surprising to anyone who is really aware of how the internet works.

I’ve had some friends tell me that Email is less secure than Facebook or other messaging services.  Yes I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after that one.  The wonderful thing about Email is you can easily add encryption and signatures.  You can’t do much about any middle host that stores the email while in transit.  They could decide to store a copy indefinitely.  What’s to stop Facebook from doing the same?  Your message can be stored by any router in between, and their systems can record and permanently store the entire conversation.

Here is my final lesson on the internet for today.  The internet is a giant mesh where anyone in the middle of the mesh can see what you wrote.  Doubly so when you’re primary point of contact is a service in the middle of that mesh.  To think that they wont look at what you’re saying is not just naïve, but stupid.  Especially since they can just use software to monitor for conversations that need to be red flagged.

Nothing, I mean NOTHING, you put on the net should ever be considered private.  Even if you create a private part of photo-gallery.  If someone compromises access, those private pictures are now in the wild, and odds are some will profit off of them.

*Red Team Hat On*: Me thinks I’m going to need to have a bunch of conversations with my friends involving explosives and other “suspect” behavior.  I loves me some false positives, quickest way to destroy any system.

CloudFlare Review

So a friend of mine ended up having his site offline last night after a DoS attack took his web hosting offline.

About 3 months ago I decided to give CloudFlare a shot.  After 3 months I thought I would give a quick overview of how it went and what differences I have actually seen.

Page load speeds, there was a noticeable difference when I migrated the site.  I left a archived version of the site available for tracking down broken links and the like.  So this was equivalent of me flipping the off switch.  Using the archived site is unbelievably slower than what it was prior to migration to Word Press.

Bandwidth usage proves this.


I did the change over in the beginning of April.  Sitemeter and Google Analytics both have shown at least a steady and slightly increasing traffic over those months, with January being the largest.  So I could say that effectively CloudFlare has cut my bandwidth down by 1/3.  CloudFlare’s analytics are accurate as well and provide some extra differentiation.


One downside though is as you can see above, AWstats is no longer accurate.  You can see the number of Unique visitors is no longer accurate, however you can see that the number of visits does reflect that number.

When I first did the change over I did have some weirdness and problems.  Mainly that my hosting provider was reacting to CloudFlare like it was a DoS attack.  The majority of the requests are forwarded through their network for speed reasons.  So the number of high hits from their services made them look suspect.  I got the issues straightened out and things have been much more stable since.

When my hosting provider did have a hiccup, the site content remained available.  While I couldn’t post new content, I wasn’t loosing viewership which was a huge plus.

There are also numerous apps that can be installed with CloudFlare to aid in thinks like link tracking and malware detection.  There is also a service to help monitor for people scraping content, including people hot linking images.

Overall I have found the service worth the setup time which actually was amazingly simple.  I’m not quite big enough to find their pro services worth it, however I do see how they might be beneficial if I had considerably more traffic.

The only setup required is to point your root DNS entry to CloudFlare and enter your DNS info that your hosting provider has into CloudFlare.  If you have a full website and you’ve had downtime from service issues, CloudFlare can help mitigate that.

We Need More Power!

So, we had a unique power source for field day.  A hydrogen fuel cell.


There’s a bank of lead acid deep cycle batteries under the fuel cell.  The cell basically acts as a battery tender charging the batteries and supporting the load while it is on and then turning back off when the batteries are full.


We ran a 48V DC bus (see the extension cord coming out on the left) ran that back into the communications trailer.  This decreased the I2R losses (see also here for info) from the longer cable run.  Within the trailer was a DC to DC converter that put out 13.8V for all of our communications equipment and we also had adapters to run our laptops and other equipment.


It actually was quite effective and we started with an “empty” tank and still ran for over 8 hours on it.  The calculations are we could run for over 48 hours on a single tank of hydrogen.  The cell its self has a rating of 1KW and we actually did get it up that high, however I didn’t get a picture of it.  The fuel cell was running like mad because we left it off after out thunderstorm to let things dry out.

In the mean time we kicked back into operational mode meaning 2 radios fired back up plus their associated computers and associated equipment for digital operation.  All just running off the batteries without the Fuel Cell maintaining them when necessary.

Our clue to go turn the cell back on was when the low battery alarm went off in the trailer indicating the 48V supply was starting to drop.  We did also have a 12V batter on the other side of the 48V to 12V converter in the trailer.  This was to add extra isolation for surging loads (radios).


The fuel cell worked great and was always fun when someone would brag about running off of solar.  Yeah, well we’ve harnessed the power of molecular bonds!

For those who don’t know how fuel cells work, the basic premise is that the electron from hydrogen is forced through the circuit as the proton mates with the oxygen to form water.

Now some would call this a wonderfully green technology, however that hydrogen has to come from somewhere, and most often than not it’s through electrolysis.


*Also as an aside since the wife and I were just talking about it.  If you’re a ham, do not use the term kilo-watt for phonetics.  The word you’re looking for is kilo.  Kilo-watt is very confusing because it is a compound word.  Are you saying K or KW?  Other’s do use the term watt for W, which while incorrect can further add to confusion.  Seriously, the IACO/NATO/ITU phonetic alphabet was developed specifically to limit confusion.  If your word choices were so great, why haven’t they adopted them?

You may think it’s neat and cute, but at least in the case of the wife and I, we slow way down to deal with your choice of phonetics.  I am reasonably sure that I am not the only one who has been confused by this usage.  It’s hard enough to dig phone messages out of the weeds, why add a bit of extra confusion to the conversation.  But that’s just my two cents, take it for what its worth.

CQ Field Day

I’m spending the day doing field day with the local ham radio club.  We actually have a hydrogen fuel cell that we’re running all our radios off of.  We spent a chunk of the morning hooking and setting up antennas including a nice Stepper IR that was donated for use during field day.


It took us a lot longer than expected to set that bad boy up.  We were having SWR problems and we’ve been trying to debug the issue.  First up was checking all the connections and we discovered this in one of the connections.


That however wasn’t the problem.  The SWR was still way above 3.  What else could be the problem.  Well we bypassed the 80m tuning coil and bang, SWR dropped to 1.  I think we found the problem.  At that point it was time to grab some lunch and now I’m working on logging while my compatriot runs the radio.


I’ll be busy until late tonight.  If you’re a fellow ham and you hear KD7PH, feel free to send a shout out. We’re going to start running some of the digital modes here in a bit but were running phone now.

It is nice being able to run that Stepper IR thought anywhere between 40m and 10m.  We haven’t tried running 80m since we pulled the coil but so far if we can hear them we can work them.  All running just measly 100 watts.

We just bumped to 15 meters to see how things will run for now.  I have to say I would like to get one of those for my house, the thought of the cost though doesn’t have me running to buy one

It is nice being able to do all this in an air-conditioned trailer.  Even though storms rolled in, the heat’s still pretty high and the humidity has gone up.  It’s going to be a fun day.

Well, that’s neat

During my lunch I did some browsing around and I found a really nice proof reader that has a plugin for WordPress tied into Jetpack.  Not only does it exist for WordPress though but someone created a plugin for Live Writer.

I know more often than not my writing leaves something to be desired.  This I attribute to the fact that my brain will mentally fill in words that are missing when I wrote it.  It usually takes at least 24 hours before my brain will actually catch missing material.  That’s a bit of a problem with how fast some information flows within the blogosphere.  I don’t exactly have an editor to proof my work before I hit the submit button.  Hopefully this will help with some of those deficiencies.

My brain is actually really good at filling in other people’s mistakes.  I have to seriously slow down my reading to catch mistakes.

In other news a couple of weeks ago I finally ditched the big beard since summer was finally showing up.  Normally I go bald specifically because I’m already bald on the top of the head anyway so I might as well just embrace it.

This limits my ability to have the big fat beard, which I do enjoy though it does make soup a serious pain. It just looks weird being bald and having a big bushy beard.  Also it’s really hot during summers out here and it’s just not necessary.

Now normally I go with what some would call the JayG look, bald and goatee, but that’s relatively common and frankly I just like being different.  So instead I’ve gone with the below.

With the hat on:


With the hat off.

imageYou can’t see it, but I’m flipping someone off in this picture.  He said something about a blinding light coming off my head.  I told him to just stop staring into the sun.

I still have the beard, doesn’t look scroungy, and still allows me to be intimidating if necessary.

So what say you?  Should I just go back to the goatee, or keep the trimmed line running back?